Saturday, December 31, 2011

Everybody Wants To Rue The World


Patti Smith is a long time favorite recording artist--warts and all. She's a much better role model than say, Madonna and that ilk. I like her cover of the Tears For Fears song better than the original version--though I do like their video.

I read once that she heard it in coffee shop or a mall somewhere in suburban Detroit and that it helped to inspire her to restart her career. Here's hoping.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Conservative Notion of Mass*

I find the designation of the Higgs Boson particle as the "God Particle" amusing. Amusing because I associate God particles with the lighter particles--the ones that defy measurement by virtue of their zero-point energy.

Zero-point energy is like Freud's terms das Ich, das Es, and das Über-Ich, which resounded better in German. As originally posited by Einstein, zero-point energy is that residual energy present in matter even at absolute zero Kelvin.  Those who don't believe in absolutes should ponder temperature scales--there are no negative degrees Kelvin. Anyway, even at zero Kelvin, atoms like hydrogen, the most abundant element, still have energy. If uncertain as to why, consult Heisenberg.
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*Lavoisier gave us the notion of Conservation of Mass--before he was beheaded by his government.

'Umble Pie

[I changed the title from "Humbler Pie" to 'Umble Pie because it reminded me of the Artful Dodger]

I guess Steve Marriott is an acquired taste. I'll never forget him as the leader of Humble Pie, the very first rock concert I saw. But he was more than that. He was a defining face (albeit a small one) of the 1960's rock and roll scene in Britain. I did a brief homage to him a year ago: link. But I forgot to mention that he was an uncredited inventor of Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love (well, he along with Willie Dixon).  Listen to this 1966 version of "You Need Loving" and tell me it didn't influence Robert Plant three years later:


Of course both Led Zeppelin and the Small Faces were copying Muddy Waters' 1962 version of Willy Dixon's "You Need Love."  Dixon sued Led Zeppelin in 1985 over copyright infringement and prevailed. He never sued Marriott. In the words of Plant:
well, you only get caught when you're successful. That's the game.
The whole story reminds me of Bob Dylan recording Dave Van Ronk's version of "The House Of The Rising Sun" in 1962 and then being one-upped by The Animal's version a year or so later as told in Martin Scorsese's "No Direction Home."

Übertramp

Many years ago, I saw Roger Hodgson in his erstwhile band, Supertramp. At the time, only his distinctive voice stood out and I had no clue that he was the brains behind that outfit. I lost track of his career and work, but he shows up from time to time. I blathered about one of his songs back here. He's still touring, and I wish him all the best. Here he performs one of his old Supertramp songs:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mittbestimmung

Mittbestimmung:  noun. The determination of Mitt Romney to become president. An English-German portmanteau word derived from Mitt + Bestimmung. Also a riff on Mitbestimmung, with reference to Romney's participation in government.

Arsenic And Old Lies

Alchemist's symbol for Arsenic
Some credit Arsenic with being present at the miraculous birth of organometallic chemistry. He was not.* Let me explain.

Organometallic chemistry is the mystical, covalent union of metallic elements with non-metallic elements--mainly carbon with metals. Saying that Arsenic is a metal is a bit like saying that Barack Obama is black. Arsenic, like phosphorus and sulfur, has different allotropes which is more a mark of non-metallic character.

The element has been known since at least 1250 A.D, but it was known much earlier as its sulfide and its affinity for sulfur is the chief cause for its toxicity. It binds to vital sulfur-containing proteins in cells and shuts them down.

Only about a dozen or so elements are poisonous (not including radioactive ones); the dirty dozen are (in alphabetical order): Aluminum, Antimony, Arsenic, Barium, Beryllium, Cadmium, Chromium (hexavalent), Lead, Mercury, Osmium, Thallium, and Vanadium.

Each name has its own story and its own LD50--some are much worse than others.
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*He because the word Arsenic derives from a Greek word corresponding to male potency. Link

Monday, December 26, 2011

He fought the Law and the Law One


Bobby Fuller (1942-1966) kept the Buddy Holly momentum going but also embraced the surf sound of Dick Dale (see previous post). He died mysteriously in 1966 after a series of waves came ashore in New York City.

Our Favorite Martian

I think of it as a sort of a year end clearance:

Behind the Metallic Curtain

An imaginary line runs down columns and across rows in the periodic table, dividing metals from non-metals:


The diagonal line can be thought of a boundary demarcating a section of elements equidistant from Fluorine, the epicenter of electronegativity:


Roughly, the "blue" elements closest to queen Fluorine (upper right) and fanning out across the territory up to and bordering the metallic curtain are non-metals; those beyond (yellow) are deemed metallic. But what makes a metal a metal and vice versa? What is the essence of "being metallic?"

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

If love is sought as a child seeks gifts,
from giving to getting its value then shifts
Your love is your gift that you give by choice,
In choosing who gets it I don't have a voice.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Last Letters From Stalingrad: #21

original

...This terrible confusion has been going on for eleven days now. Today I can send you a few lines just once more. I hope that you received all the rest in good condition. I have been spared nothing either. But still, all in life was beautiful once, so these days have to be endured calmly.

We have been pushed entirely into the city. This damned city! If only the end would come soon! Then, as I wrote before: 'Let me go on my way contentedly..."

   Farewell!
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The key to understanding this ongoing series may be found here, and here. Each letter (39 in all) was written by a different and anonymous German soldier who knew he was going to die. I associate these letters with Christmastime for reasons explained at the links.

Last Letters From Stalingrad: #19


...I just heard at the Command Post that mail is going out. I hope you can read what I am writing. There is no better paper available here. But the main thing is what is on it. And it's getting dark too. I have been detailed as a motorcycle courier and get around a lot. Otherwise I wouldn't have known that we were allowed to send letters. I am still doing pretty well; I hope the same is true of you. Except that riding around in ice and snow is no picnic. Guess who I ran into? The son of Gründel, the merchant. He is in the depot. He will be sitting pretty for a long time yet. In this way I got a can of pork and two loaves of bread. We are not allowed to send packages, otherwise I would send you the can. But then, I won't mind eating it myself either. How is little Marie doing and how are the folks? I haven't got a letter for a long time now. The last two came two weeks ago, from Richard. Now I have to finish, because it is already dark, and I still have ten kilometers to go.

Last Letters From Stalingrad: #18

...It's enough to drive me mad, dear Helmut; here I have a chance to write and I don't know to whom. A thousand poor devils who are lying in their holes up front and have no suspicion of such a chance would envy me and give me a year's pay for it. A year ago we were sitting in Jüterbog together, cramming "military science." And now I sit right in the middle of the shit and don't know what to do with all that trash. But it is just the same with everybody else around here. It is an idiotic situation. If you should ever notice the name 'Zaritza' in the OKW-report* (just possibly they might happen to tell the truth some day), then you'll know where I am. Do we live on the moon, or do you? We sit in the mud with 200,000 men, with nothing but Russians all around us, and are not permitted to say that we are encircled, completely and without hope.

I received your letter on Monday, today is Sunday, a real holiday. Above all, I would like to comment on the words with which you congratulated me for having been given front-line duty. I have just read Gneisenau (not everybody has time to do that) and would like to quote you a sentence which he wrote to Beguelin after the defense of Kolberg:
On reading this news, I thought that they might have heard the thunder of our cannon and might send up prayers for our salvation. There were days when the earth shook, and I behaved like gambler who bravely puts up his last louis d'or in the hope that his luck will turn. For there was a time once when I had ammunition for only fourteen days, and yet I could not decrease my fire for fear the enemy would become aware of my lack of ammunition. It is a scandal how badly this fortress was provided.
Ah, dear boy, those were the days. Gneisenau should have heard the rocket salvos, and the discharge of 200 guns per kilometer. Not only he, but you too, and then you wouldn't be in such a hurry to come "up front." Don't be peeved now. I don't want to shatter your faith in your own bravery, but here it would do no good. Here the brave and the cowards die in one hole without a chance of defending themselves. If just once we had ammunition for "only" 14 days, man! would we have had fun with the fireworks! My battery has just 26 rounds left, that's all, and there will be no more. Since you are one of the disciples of St. Barbara,* you can draw your own conclusions. Here I am: still in one piece, with a fairly normal pulse, a dozen cigarettes, had soup day before yesterday, liberated a canned ham today from a supply bomb (there is no more regular distribution; everyone is on his own), am squatting in a cellar, burning up furniture, 26 years old and otherwise no fool, one of those who was mighty keen on getting his bars and yelled Heil Hitler with the rest of you; and now it's either die like a dog or off to Siberia. That wouldn't be so bad. But to know that it is done for something utterly senseless makes me see so red.
But let them come. The third still has 26 rounds and their commander has an 08 with six shiny bullets. It is time to finish; "vespers" are coming, time to crawl a little deeper into the earth. Dear old boy, you can save yourself an answer to this letter, but think of my lines in, let's say, two weeks. You don't have to be clairvoyant to foresee the end. What it will actually be like, you'll never know.
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*Zaritza is a river outside of Stalingrad. "OKW" stands for Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, Supreme Command of the Armed Force.

St. Barbara was the patron saint of artillery.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I Need A Little Christmas


Last Letters From Stalingrad: #17


...In Stalingrad, to put the question of God's existence means to deny it. I must tell you this, Father, and I feel doubly sorry for it. You have raised me, because I had no mother, and always kept God before my eyes and soul. 
And I regret my words doubly, because they will be my last, and I won't be able to speak any other words afterwards which might reconcile you and make up for these. 
You are a pastor, Father, and in one's last letter one says only what is true or what one believes might be true. I have searched for God in every crater, in every destroyed house, on every corner, in every friend, in my fox hole, and in the sky. God did not show Himself, even though my heart cried for Him. The houses were destroyed, the men as brave or as cowardly as myself, on earth there was hunger and murder, from the sky came bombs and fire, only God was not there. No Father, there is no God. Again I write it and know that this is terrible and that I cannot make up for it ever. And if there should be a God, He is only with you in the hymnals and the prayers, in the pious sayings of the priests and pastors, in the ringing of the bells and the fragrance of incense, but not in Stalingrad.
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The key to understanding this ongoing series may be found here, and here. Each letter (39 in all) was written by a different and anonymous German soldier who knew he was going to die. I associate these letters with Christmastime for reasons explained at the links.

Last Letters From Stalingrad: #13


...Unfortunately, the Christmas I have to tell about was not beautiful, but we were comfortably warm. Our position is right on the banks of the Volga. We got hold of some rum; it was thin but tasted marvelous. My buddy brought something with him from division headquarters: ham and meatjelly. I suppose he swiped it from the kitchen, but it tasted magnificent, and they have more, else he couldn't have swiped it. Bread is mighty scarce. So we made pancakes: flour, water, salt, and underneath it ham in the pan. The flour wasn't exactly homegrown either. This is the fourth Christmas since the war started, but this time was the saddest of all. We will have to make up for it all when the war is over, and I hope that next year we can celebrate Christmas at home.

We have been in Stalingrad for three months now and still have not made any headway. It is rather peaceful here, but on the other side, on the steppes, they are fighting. The fellows there don't have it as good as we do. But that's their bad luck. Perhaps it will be our turn soon, because their losses are heavy. But the best thing is not to think about it. And yet you keep thinking about it; if you haven't anything to do for 24 hours but daydream, your thoughts turn towards home. Did all of you think of me on Christmas Eve? I had such a strange feeling, and it sometimes does happen that you feel it when someone thinks of you.

Last Letters From Stalingrad: #12


A young Wehrmacht soldier writes to his sister for the last time:

...Well, now you know that I shall never return. Break it to our parents gently. I am deeply shaken and doubt everything. I used to be strong and full of faith; now I am small and without faith. I will never know many of the things that happen here; but the little that I have taken part in is already so much that it chokes me. No one can tell me any longer that the men died with the words "Deutschland" or "Heil Hitler" on their lips. There is plenty of dying, no question of that; but the last word is "mother" or the name of someone dear, or just a cry for help. I have seen hundreds fall and die already, and many belonged to the Hitler Youth as I did; but all of them, if they could still speak, called for help or shouted a name which could not help them anyway.

The Führer made a firm promise to bail us out of here; they read it to us and we believed in it firmly. Even now I still believe it, because I have to believe in something. If it is not true, what else could I believe in? I would no longer need spring, summer, or anything that gives pleasure. So leave me my faith, dear Greta; all my life, at least eight years of it, I believed in the Führer and his word. It is terrible how they doubt it, and shameful to listen to what they say without being able to reply, because they have the facts on their side.

If what we were promised is not true, then Germany will be lost, for in that case no more promises can be kept. Oh, these doubts, these terrible doubts, if they could only be cleared up soon!
_____________________________________
A key to understanding this ongoing series is here, and here. Each letter (39 in all) was written by a different and anonymous German soldier who knew he was going to die. I associate these letters with Christmastime for reasons explained at the links.

Last Letters From Stalingrad: #11

[The key to understanding this ongoing series may be found here, and here. Each letter (39 in all) was written by a different and anonymous German soldier who knew he was going to die. I associate these letters with Christmastime for reasons explained at the links.]

...Today O--- and I are enjoying a wonderfully quiet evening. For once everybody is sitting around across the street and not here. The Russians are quiet, and we were able to close up shop early. A good bottle of Cordon Rouge drunk peacefully in the evening made us feel especially good.
I read Binding's war diary* and some other things. How incredibly well this man echos what moves and touches us out here. He purges the experience of all that is false and irrelevant.  Only the crucial things radiate from his mind, from his words.

We expect nothing more of great decisions that would have to be made...by the men on top. Whether time will not outrun these decisions anyhow, no one can say!  But there is nothing else for us to hope for. The only thing that has been done until now has been fearfully violent fighting over Hill X inside and outside the city. Generals and colonels have played with the possibility that this hill, of all things, might be a turning point in world history! And not only generals!

Everyday a few positions are taken; everyday, the enemy or we, depending on who happens to be holding them at the time, are thrown out again! Neither the enemy nor we have so far had sense enough to decide to take only what can be held.

One can safely say that with little things it is the same as with big things!  This perpetual activity without result demands an indolence or an endurance which is almost impossible to muster, and since it consists only in waiting, it wears you out.

Soon it will be ten o'clock. I want to sleep as much as I still can. The more you sleep, the less you feel the hunger. And the hunger is not pleasant, it's cruel.

All my love to you.
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*He's referring to Rudolf Binding's A Fatalist At War, published in 1927.

I Had A Dream...


...about getting a tumor removed from the top outside of my head. It was like a flabby, flat little thing about the size of a pink eraser.  It just came off in my hands and felt soft and squishy and left a crater. I think it may have been the remnants of the groove I laid down in my head related to MamaM’s comment back here.  I thought of freezing it for a biopsy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Shenanigans!


Shenanigans was a game we never owned and so I never learned to play it.  Could someone please explain the rules?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Conversations with Henry

Henry: Mendeleev was the best chemist the Russians ever produced.

Me:  What about Shilov?

Henry: Yeah, him too.

Germanium Arrived According To Plan

Germanium is a metalloid and thus only a half-metal. Despite this, it was a "planned" element. By planned I mean that its existence was foretold by the father of the periodic table, Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev.

Mendeleev was not the first to bring rhyme and reason to the elements--first came columns--Döbereiner's triads, and later rows--Newlands' Law of Octaves. But Mendeleev properly put together the whole kahuna, or at least what was known at the time. More importantly, he correctly predicted elements. Here's what he knew and what he knew must exist in 1871:

Click to enlarge

It's hard to see, but Mendeleev left a blank: "--  = 72 " in Group IV.  He called the unknown element eka-Silicon meaning one below Silicon. Eka-Silcon was discovered in 1886 and had an atomic mass of 72.6 amu. Van der Krogt tells the story of naming Germanium here, along with some Roman history.

Mendeleev also predicted the existence of eka-Aluminum and estimated its mass as 68.  The element was discovered and named Gallium in 1875 and had an atomic mass of 69.7 amu. The agreement between theory and experiment was almost as astonishing as Bode's Law. But Mendeleev's table survived.

Sing Hosanna, Hallelujah!


This one is my mother's favorite.  I adore it too--what's not to like? The song features a banjo, that greatest of American instruments. It also has a complexity which many Christmas Carols lack.

The New Christy Minstrels spawned the likes of Barry McGuire* (Eve of Destruction), Gene Clark (The Byrds), Kim Carnes (Bette Davis Eyes), and the Kenny Rogers. The NCM belonged to that wonderful but brief period of American music between the death of Buddy Holly and the invasion of The Beatles.
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*His growling voice appears briefly at the 1 min 44 sec mark.

Disequilibrium


Lots of potential there. The question is: will the light or the darkness spread?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

That Chicken had a lot of Gall!

Gallium, named after France (or was it a chicken?), lies just west of Germanium in the periodic table. An imaginary (Imaginot?) line separates them. Actually, both Gallium and Germanium are metallic but a clear demarcation runs diagonally east of Germanium, separating the metals from nonmetals--the "haves" and the "have nots" in terms of sharing the electronic wealth:


Once upon a time I briefly worked for an oil company in Cleveland. An older material scientist (whose name escapes me) once showed us interns a neat trick in the lab. He melted some Gallium metal (it melts in your hand) and showed us how a sheet of Aluminum will absorb Gallium (like dissolves like even liquid metals). The older gent, who was a British ex-pat, explained that during WW II, the RAF feared that the Germans would sneak over and sabotage their planes.  In those days, aircraft were often made of unpainted Aluminum.

Here is a video showing how Gallium wrecks an aluminum coke can. Imagine some nefarious kraut doing that to an airplane's wings.

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Actually, Aluminum is not absorbing--rather, Gallium is invading.

The reason that Gallium liquifies is related to why Copper is so ductile and bears repeating: if you give an atom a perfectly filled sub shell along with one extra electron (the 31st one), the metallic bonding will be weak and non-directional. It all makes perfect sense to me.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Think Zinc!

Elemental zinc is used like electronic paint. The element is always found as Zn2+, but it may be coaxed into taking back two electrons. The word "zinc" entered the lexicon via German, Zink, presumably when it was discovered by alchemists. The usual sources viz., van der Krogt and the OED are silent regarding a hunch of mine--that it was so named because of its toothy appearance. My trusty Duden Vol 7 confirms that the word Zink is distantly related to the German word for tooth, Zahn--apparently from the metal's appearance when freshly prepared.

We've all seen how zinc appears when coated on sheet metal. The pattern is called spangling and comes from the underlying crystalline zinc which to me also looks "toothy."


A thin layer of zinc oxide/carbonate passivates the underlying steel from oxygen, but even if the coating is scratched, the exposed iron will not corrode because adjacent zinc offers up its electrons instead. This basic notion was first conceived by Sir Humphry Davy in the context of protecting copper sheathing on ship's hulls. link  In the days of iron rails, little zinc spikes were hard-wired to rails and served the same purpose. Rail workers only needed to come by periodically and replace the spent zinc anodes and check the wiring. Nowadays, aluminum and magnesium anodes are also used, depending on the application.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Man Who First Galvanized The World...

...was Luigi Galvani (1737-1798). In 1791, he discovered that a frog's leg would twitch when touched by static electricity. This in turn galvanized a young gal by the name of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. The rest is history.


Not quite. Galvani and Alessandro Volta got into a dispute regarding the nature of electrical effects in nature. Volta went on to invent the battery in 1800 to confute Galvani's notions. That led directly to the discovery of several chemical elements, as I wrote about here

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tweaking Socrates

I found an interesting critique of the Socratic Method here: link  The author gives a brief summary of the method and enough links to start an earnest discussion, which the commenters took up.

One visual image which struck me was provided by commenter Jay in that link:
Assisting them in coming to that conclusion by providing with some questions for them to answer in their own words just facilitates that, and is a much more efficient way to prevail your point than simply telling them what it is and insisting on it’s superiority.
I say "visual image" because Linus Pauling's notion of catalysis sprang immediately to my mind: the lowering of barriers to change.  I illustrated this back here:


A deployer* of the Socratic Method lowers the tipping point of going from position A to position B. This is consonant with what the commenter Jay said. But suppose that the change from A to B is uphill because that change is difficult? Or suppose that that change is flat out wrong?  Suppose that the deployer of the Socratic Method is wrong in his or her conclusions, i.e., about the desirability of new position B?  In other words, suppose that someone deploying the Socratic Method successfully lowers the barrier to changing a deployee's* mind, but that the subsequent state of the deployee is unstable or even wrong? The deployee will easily fall back to position A with little or no effort (note that the backwards B -->A barrier is much, much lower than the forward barrier).

One way to avoid such a Sisyphean struggle is for the deployers of the Socratic method to themselves be subjected to Socratic methods to test the stability of the points they are trying to encourage.  In theory, this should work. But suppose that deployers of Socratic methods themselves avoid or dodge Socratic encounters?

In nature, there are enzymes which work on enzymes and not just on lowly substrates.

Who mocks the mockers?
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*I'm using deployer/deployee nomenclature to mean that the person deploying the Socratic Method is the teacher and that the person being worked on is the deployee (student).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I Repeat!

I put this up last year but I'm doing it over because it never gets old and because nobody has a monopoly on Christmas!

Here's the playlist for a Christmas CD I made a few years ago and shared with family and friends. The first seven or so are historical and "classic" and the last dozen or so are mostly culled from either Firestone or Goodyear vinyl LPs from the mid-to-late 1960s. My parents had them when I was a kid and they'd stack them up on the console stereo every year and let them play.  My mom still has these LPs and she knows how much I want them. She's holding onto them for now until she's sure I've been as good as possible to her.

Bells ~Strasbourg Cathedral
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing ~ St. Paul's Cathedral Choir
Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht (Silent Night) ~ Thomanerchor
White Christmas ~ Bing Crosby
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas ~ Judy Garland
Jingle Bells ~ Frank Sinatra
Blue Christmas ~ Elvis Presley

These are the Firestone and Goodyear tunes:

It's Christmas Time All Over The World ~ Sammy Davis, Jr.
Do You Hear What I Hear? ~ Andy Williams
We Need A Little Christmas ~ New Christy Minstrels
Silver Bells ~ Doris Day
I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day ~ Johnny Cash
Jolly Old St. Nicholas ~ Maurice Chevalier
Sing Hossana, Hallelujah ~ The New Christy Minstrels
Go Tell It On The Mountain ~ Brothers Four
Toyland ~ Doris Day
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! ~ Eydie Gorme & Steve Lawrence
Santa Claus is Comin' To Town ~ Tony Bennett
Baby, It's Cold Outside ~ Eydie Gorme & Steve Lawrence
Wonderful White World Of Winter ~ Bing Crosby
Frosty The Snowman ~ The Ray Conniff Singers
Sleigh Ride ~ Eydie Gorme & Steve Lawrence
Winter Wonderland ~ Eydie Gorme & Steve Lawrence
Twelve Days Of Christmas ~ Dinah Shore

Monday, December 12, 2011

"The Cause of Death is the Envy of Entropy"

Annie Gottlieb's ambivalent insight stuck with me--that's why I marked it as a favorite on Twitter.

But what is the "envy of entropy"?  Perhaps it's the moment--or a series of moments when the struggle to stay together and mount life's challenges is lost. Life is endergonic and physical death is chaotic and disorderly--entropy.  Letting chaos ensue by letting go is the "envy of entropy."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Buried At Sea

I took my son to Pearl Harbor last summer. My family was on vacation, staying on the Big Island, but I insisted on flying over to Honolulu for a day trip and he wanted to go too. It was an expensive side trip, but I just couldn't get that close without paying my respects.

We got there early in the morning after all the morning tickets for the USS Arizona Memorial were already gone (I think they give the early ones to package tours--not to walk on visitors like us). Anyways, we got tickets for later the same day which gave us plenty of time to visit the nearby USS Missouri.
The guns of the USS Missouri point out over the sunken remains of the USS Arizona
Japan surrendered onboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, less than four years after Pearl Harbor. I already wrote a bit about that ship back here. The Mighty Mo (BB 63) keeps vigil over the sunken remains of the USS Arizona (BB 39); the two ships are poised, bow-to-bow, symbolizing the beginning and the end of the Pacific War. The Missouri is worth a self-guided tour, much like the USS Midway in San Diego is.

Back at the Arizona, the US Park Service shows a great short documentary film narrated by Stockard Channing. I found a snippet of it here (wish I could find the whole thing):


The movie is well-made and teaches the whole inevitability of Pearl Harbor. It's emotionally moving too and softened me up before the boat ride over to the memorial perched over the wreckage. That's really all that's left on the surface--a memorial. A turret base still protrudes, amazingly, given that all iron needs to rust is water, salt, and oxygen. I credit the turret's longevity to the chromium and nickel mixed into the steel--Kruppstahl--but that's just me.

Underwater, the Arizona is remarkably intact.link Of course you can't dive her, but the Park Service does regular underwater inspections--but I found this cool model of the wreck back onshore:


After paying our respects, we returned to the museum exhibits and various grounds and memorials.

This plaque touched me:


What a comfort to know where one's final remains belong!  That sentiment, along with the shipwreck aspect, reminded me of the last scene in James Cameron's Titanic where the fictional Rose Dawson rejoins her erstwhile lover in death:  Link