### Our car was blessed, an Erin Report

Our beautiful beach-beater came to us via Ali, who was letting her go because he was selling most belongings before returning to India for the next few months. When we first drove her as our own, I reached up and began to peel away a golden sticker from the inside of the windshield. I quickly stopped myself and we have since come to love the three Hindu deities that adorn our Accord. I'm not superstitious, nor do I worship Hindu gods/goddesses, but something about taking a sticker off that was put there as part of a Hindu blessing ritual made me feel like I'd be ending our good luck streak.

I did a little research on Hindu blessings and learned that many Hindus believe in blessing everything, especially the tools they use in daily lives. From what I understand, the puja, or blessing ritual, is preformed by a pujari (Hindu priest) upon the purchase of a new car. The purpose is to rid the car of all bad influences. Hands are washed with holy water, the owner is given three handfuls of rice to sprinkle over the front of car, then a swastika is drawn with paste made of turmeric and water (aside: swastikas were born in India 5000 years ago and are good luck symbols). More rice to bless the swastika, then mantras to recite, then meditations on Lord Ganesha, break 1 coconut and 4 lemons. The pujari often places a small symbol of Ganesha in on the dash.

Back to our car. She has not one, but three idol stickers. We've got a sticker of Gansesha - worshipped as the lord of beginnings and as the lord of obstacles; a Lakshmi- goddess of wealth, light, wisdom, the lotus flower and fortune, and secondarily of luck, beauty, courage and fertility, and a Vishnu - All-Pervading essence of all beings, the master of and beyond the past, present and future, the creator and destroyer of all existences, one who supports, sustains and governs the Universe and originates and develops all elements within.

All I have to say is, Thank goodness we have some protection on these wacky Hawaiian roads!

### On the Height of J.J. Barea

Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea standing between two very tall people (from: Picassa user photoasisphoto).

Congrats to the Dallas Mavericks, who beat the Miami Heat tonight in game six to win the NBA championship.

Okay, with that out of the way, just how tall is the busy-footed Maverick point guard J.J. Barea? He's listed as 6-foot on NBA.com, but no one, not even the sports casters, believes that he can possibly be that tall. He looks like a super-fast Hobbit out there. But could that just be relative scaling, with him standing next to a bunch of extremely tall people? People on Yahoo! Answers think so---I know because I've been Google searching "J.J. Barea Height" for the past 15 minutes.

So I decided to find a photo and settle the issue once and for all.

I then used the basketball as my metric. Wikipedia states that an NBA basketball is 29.5 inches in circumfe…

### Finding Blissful Clarity by Tuning Out

It's been a minute since I've posted here. My last post was back in April, so it has actually been something like 193,000 minutes, but I like how the kids say "it's been a minute," so I'll stick with that.
As I've said before, I use this space to work out the truths in my life. Writing is a valuable way of taking the non-linear jumble of thoughts in my head and linearizing them by putting them down on the page. In short, writing helps me figure things out. However, logical thinking is not the only way of knowing the world. Another way is to recognize, listen to, and trust one's emotions. Yes, emotions are important for figuring things out.
Back in April, when I last posted here, my emotions were largely characterized by fear, sadness, anger, frustration, confusion and despair. I say largely, because this is what I was feeling on large scales; the world outside of my immediate influence. On smaller scales, where my wife, children and friends reside, I…

### The Force is strong with this one...

Last night we were reviewing multiplication tables with Owen. The family fired off doublets of numbers and Owen confidently multiplied away. In the middle of the review Owen stopped and said, "I noticed something. 2 times 2 is 4. If you subtract 1 it's 3. That's equal to taking 2 and adding 1, and then taking 2 and subtracting 1, and multiplying. So 1 times 3 is 2 times 2 minus 1."

I have to admit, that I didn't quite get it at first. I asked him to repeat with another number and he did with six: "6 times 6 is 36. 36 minus 1 is 35. That's the same as 6-1 times 6+1, which is 35."

Ummmmm....wait. Huh? Lemme see...oh. OH! WOW! Owen figured out

x^2 - 1 = (x - 1) (x +1)

So $6 \times 8 = 7 \times 7 - 1 = (7-1) (7+1) = 48$. That's actually pretty handy!

You can see it in the image above. Look at the elements perpendicular to the diagonal. There's 48 bracketing 49, 35 bracketing 36, etc... After a bit more thought we…