### 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.
 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!

Anonymous 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!

### 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…