What is a Meatball? My First Giveaway!

My boys are touring the aircraft carrier the USS Hornet today. As their guide, they have my dad, a former Navy pilot who flew off of this historic carrier back in his glory days. (This was before he lived in Africa, where he had a pet monkey and from whence he brought back a real, but dried and hollowed out, elephant's leg, which we kept our toys in when we were kids. It was our toy box. It was also before he was a hippie potter living in San Francisco and carting his kids from street festival to street festival; I loved those days, and the inevitable face-painting that went with them. It was way before he was an entrepreneurial Irish pub owner in Sonoma, California. He's actually had several glory days.)

In order to prepare the boys for their trip today, he gave them some questions to answer, and sent them links to YouTube videos about naval aviation. I watched them with the kids, and learned a few things about flying. I post the same links here for your education and enjoyment.

If you'd like to see the short quiz (5 questions) and the other links for all of the answers, let me know and I will forward it to you.

As a bonus question, he gave them the following challenge:
Answer the following question and we will go to lunch at your favorite burger place; otherwise, bring a sandwich. What is the "Meatball" and when is it used in carrier operations?"
I offered the following answer: "A meat ball is a big mushy ball of meat that you eat with spaghetti. It is used when the crew on a carrier has a potluck during a carrier operation." Suffice to say, I will not be going to my favorite burger place and am stuck here at home eating a PB&J. The boys, on the other hand, have burgers and shakes in their future.

So I throw it out to the blogosphere, and hereby launch my very first giveaway. Answer the bonus question above in the comments to this post. I will select a random winner from all of the correct answers (of which I'm sure there will be thousands), and that winner will receive...A BOOK! We have eighty bazillion kajillion books that we are currently trying to shed ourselves of. We have several boxes that fall in the "don't just drop these at the community recyclying center," category, because we've seen the book vultures that hang out there, just itching to be the first ones to rifle through your boxes when you drop them off and God knows what they do with them: sell them? Who knows, but those folks give me the creeps and I'll be damned if they're getting their sweaty, stale-coffee smelling hands on my book treasures. And yet, we are at a loss as to how to get rid of them. I'd much rather give one (or two) to my lovely readers. The books fall in the general categories of literature, gardening, landscaping, theology, religion, art...and random. I will accept answers today through Saturday, and will do the drawing on Sunday.

If you are the winner, we will communicate via email to find a book (or two) in this great sprawling collection that is perfect for you. If you hate all of the selections, I'll send you a pair of previously owned soccer cleats. That's the other things we have kajillions of around here. I can't promise they will fit you, or anyone in your family. They might make interesting garden planters. Maybe an herb garden?

What, indeed, is a meatball?

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Comments

I'm waiting until David gets home - I'm sure he knows!
Jennifer said…
Oh how I would love to be able to say I know this one, but I'd be lying... and I refuse to cheat so I won't google. All I keep thinking is how much I would love some spaghetti and meatballs right now.. Is that bad, ya think?
Teacher Mommy said…
I don't have a clue, really. Sigh.

But I also had pet monkeys when I lived in Africa. Never the hollowed out elephant's leg, though--they were so endangered by that point, I never even saw one in the wild in that country, which was named after the ivory trade, after all! Had to go on (photo) safari in Kenya to see that.
Kerri said…
The carrier's landing system, to aid aircraft in landing aboard the carrier, has evolved from a experienced pilot waving some fabric covered paddles (thus the moniker "Paddles" for the Landing Signal Officer), to a integrated system of visual and electronic aids. The most prominent visual aid is the “Ball”, or "Meatball", a yellow light between a set of green horizontal datums (lights). It represents the aircraft's position in relation to the appropriate glide-slope. If the "Ball" is above the datums you're high, below you're low. To illustrate the accuracy necessary to bring an aircraft aboard, a typical modern landing system would have the following glide sloop window. At the start of the approach, three-quarters of a mile behind the boat, from full high to full low in the ball's horizontal reach, is about 21 feet of altitude for the a/c. At the ramp at the stern of the ship's flight deck, its about four feet. Right at the arresting wires, each cell (increment) of the ball represents nine inches of altitude.

no need to send me any books...I took hate the recycling center creepy lurkers and have too many here ,too.
Laurel said…
"Naval aviators know that traffic light as the Improved Fresnel Lens Optical Landing System. A pilot uses IFLOLS to discern his glide slope—the angle at which aircraft descend and land—by tracking the up-and-down motion of a “meatball,” a bright amber light. The more closely aligned the meatball is with a horizontal row of green “datum” lights, the closer an aircraft is to its prescribed glide slope." Lifted directly from http://www.airspacemag.com/how-things-work/meatball.html

BTW: I need some size 10 and size 6 soccer cleats :)

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