Skip to main content

Marcus' tour of the USS Iowa

Saturday morning I decided to skip my usual pickup game at the Braun courts to spend some quality time with Marcus. I asked Erin if she had any good ideas for something Marcus would like and she suggested a tour of the USS Iowa which is docked down in Long Beach, about 30 minutes south of Pasadena. So I bought an adult ticket online (kids under 6 are fee), and the boy and I got dressed, hopped in the race car, and took the 110 south.

Marcus took a power nap in the car, and when I pulled up to the docks I woke him up to a view of the massive USS Iowa battle ship.

We handed the attendant our ticket at the entrance and walked up the gangplank to begin our tour. The path is marked out clearly and it meanders back and forth, yet steadily up one deck after another. I had a lot of childhood memories from reading military books, and I was proud to recognize about half of what the various tour guides and plaques said. It's a lot of fun to have Marcus becoming intensely interested in all of the same things I loved as a kid: battle ships, carriers, jets, helicopters, guns, soldiers, etc.

We wrapped up our tour with a lunch of ham and cheese sandwiches and a shared bottle of Sprite in the chow hall below decks. While we ate, Marcus looked up at me and said, "Dad, today I am so happy!" That day, I certainly was, too.
Dad, this water is pretty dirty.
Dad, this is where they load the ammo. 
Long-arm shot.
Dad, we're WAY bigger than that boat. 
The USS Iowa's various anti-missile defenses: chaff mortars (foreground) and "R2-D2" 20mm radar-guided Gatling gun (background)
Dr. Strangelove...
...or, How I came to love the 16-inch main-gun shells. Yeeee HAW!


Megan said…
Great pictures! Looks like you had a fun time. That last picture is a hoot -- looks like something my husband would set up.
mama mia said…
Bernie would have loved this...we can go to the old battleship Texas next time you guys are in town!

Popular posts from this blog

An annual note to all the (NSF) haters

It's that time of year again: students have recently been notified about whether they received the prestigious NSF Graduate Student Research Fellowship. Known in the STEM community as "The NSF," the fellowship provides a student with three years of graduate school tuition and stipend, with the latter typically 5-10% above the standard institutional support for first- and second-year students. It's a sweet deal, and a real accellerant for young students to get their research career humming along smoothly because they don't need to restrict themselves to only advisors who have funding: the students fund themselves!
This is also the time of year that many a white dude executes what I call the "academic soccer flop." It looks kinda like this:

It typically sounds like this: "Congrats! Of course it's easier for you to win the NSF because you're, you know, the right demographic." Or worse: "She only won because she's Hispanic."…

Culture: Made Fresh Daily

There are two inspirations for this essay worth noting. The first is an impromptu talk I gave to the board of trustees at Thatcher School while I was visiting in October as an Anacapa Fellow. Spending time on this remarkable campus interacting with the students, faculty and staff helped solidify my notions about how culture can be intentionally created. The second source is Beam Times and Lifetimes by Sharon Tarweek, an in-depth exploration of the culture of particle physics told by an anthropologist embedded at SLAC for two decades. It's a fascinating look at the strange practices and norms that scientists take for granted.
One of the stories that scientists tell themselves, whether implicitly or explicitly, is that science exists outside of and independent of society. A corollary of this notion is that if a scientific subfield has a culture, e.g. the culture of astronomy vs. the culture of chemistry, that culture is essential rather than constructed. That is to say, scientific c…

The Long Con

Hiding in Plain Sight

ESPN has a series of sports documentaries called 30 For 30. One of my favorites is called Broke which is about how professional athletes often make tens of millions of dollars in their careers yet retire with nothing. One of the major "leaks" turns out to be con artists, who lure athletes into elaborate real estate schemes or business ventures. This naturally raises the question: In a tightly-knit social structure that is a sports team, how can con artists operate so effectively and extensively? The answer is quite simple: very few people taken in by con artists ever tell anyone what happened. Thus, con artists can operate out in the open with little fear of consequences because they are shielded by the collective silence of their victims.
I can empathize with this. I've lost money in two different con schemes. One was when I was in college, and I received a phone call that I had won an all-expenses-paid trip to the Bahamas. All I needed to do was p…