Pray for tornado victims in OKC! – UPDATED! May 20, 2013Posted by tantamergo in Admin, disaster, General Catholic, horror, Interior Life, sadness, Society.
My parents lived in Oklahoma City for some years before I was born. My brother and sister both lived there for a spell. The Oklahoma City area was struck with an extremely powerful tornado just a few minutes ago. I actually watched it live online. The tornado was a monster, at least an F4 if not an F5, and several schools were in its path and were just about obliterated. The students were still in school at the time. While there is no estimate of casualties at this early time, it is certain there were many injured and killed. I am seeing live coverage from KFOR in Oklahoma City right now, and the damage is on the level of a small nuclear device. A huge swath, at least a half mile wide, goes right through the middle of Moore. This is the same area that was severely struck by a tornado in 1999 (which killed 44 people), and there were several tornados just yesterday in the OKC vicinity, although damage was not nearly so extensive. But it has been surreal to see storm chasers having to dodge power-transmission line repair trucks as they chase these huge tornadoes. The one storm that went throught Moore has recycled and now spun out another tornado further to the east.
Please pray for these souls! What a catastrophe! FSSP has a parish in Edmond, which I think is south of the affected area, but many souls at that parish may be affected.
We have been considering buying land in Oklahoma. It’s a very nice state, under-rated in many respects. These storms don’t really affect those plans, at least as far as I’m concerned. Where we are looking is out of the area where the tornadoes normally occur, anyways.
I wanted to update the post with better videos. These are from Jeff Master’s Wunderblog. There is a tornado watch for NTX today, but my weather gut tells me we’re only going to see small hail and straight line winds. Yesterday actually felt like a much more weather-breeding day than today. I remember when I was a kid, and a tornado took out Vernon and Wichita Falls……..you could feel it, all day, that there were big storms coming. It was an oppressive day, not really that hot, but just so still and muggy, and all the animals were acting weird. And sure enough, we had some terrible storms that night, but luckily no tornados.
Incredible time lapse of the tornado, but with a big gap for when it was actually doing most of the destruction over Moore:
Ground based view, with damage at the end:
Latin Mass tonight May 20, 2013Posted by tantamergo in Admin, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Interior Life, Latin Mass, North Deanery.
1 comment so far
There is Novus Ordo Latin Mass tonight at St. Mark in Plano at 7pm. This is the last Mass for some time. I think the Mass is on hiatus for 3 weeks, to be re-tooled. When it comes back for the new fall season, however, watch out! It’s going to be as wild and upredictable as a cross between I Dream of Genie and Bewitched, if you can imagine that!
Seriously, the Mass will be on break for a few weeks after tonight, Monday, May 20.
Prayers for local tornado victims May 16, 2013Posted by tantamergo in Admin, Dallas Diocese, disaster, horror, North Deanery, sadness, Society.
It was a wild and wooly night in North Texas. We drove home from Mass under a torrential downpour, with tornado warnings all around. The really severe weather was down to the south and west of DFW, from west of Granbury to east and south of Cleburne. I pray for the repose of the souls of the deceased, and all those who had their lives turned upside down last night:
Mile-wide tornado near Cleburne:
We drive through part of the area the tornadoes struck all the time. The path through Johnson County followed near US67 for quite a while. It is most fortuitous that the huge tornado was in mostly rural areas. Otherwise, the damage could have been of biblical proportions. Thank God for that.
Prayer request May 9, 2013Posted by tantamergo in Admin, Domestic Church, Ecumenism, family, General Catholic, Interior Life, sadness, Virtue.
Please pray for a friend of the family who was bitten by a copperhead snake last night. She did not even know she was bit until much later. She had to go to the hospital and has been in intensive care. She has 6 children, the oldest of which is 8, and is a recent convert to the Faith who is really struggling with opposition to her conversion within her own home. So, would you, in your charity, pray for Lydia C and her recovery and continued conversion?
She also has a son with severe development disabilities. He is in need of almost constant care. That, coupled with twin babies, means this mother has her hands terribly full. Perhaps you could also add William C. to your prayers, for a miraculous healing, and for the conversion of Lydia’s family?
Many, many thanks!
It’s Ascension Thursday May 9, 2013Posted by tantamergo in Admin, awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Latin Mass, Liturgical Year, North Deanery, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
And it’s been a very messed up day. I fried my smart phone last night. I think it may be fixed, but I lost the morning getting it taken care of. That’s why I didn’t have the early morning reminder post about Mass today I wanted to do. So, here it is. I am also running around with my head spinning, as I just got my rear handed to me by my priest/spiritual director over a matter in which I have been gravely in error. I was very disappointed to still find so much error running around in my head. And yes, it’s on a subject I’ve blogged on, but it’s not what I would call anything core to the Faith, just revealing of very distorted thinking. Certainly the inheritance of my protestant upbringing and latent paganism. More on that, possibly, later. Not today. I’m still processing.
Anyway, it’s Ascension Thursday, get thee to Mass. There are still Masses available in the Diocese, even though it is now mid-afternoon.
Non sequitur – Midway Magic and Melbourne mayhem May 8, 2013Posted by tantamergo in Admin, awesomeness, fun, non squitur, silliness, Society.
I was browsing the internet last night, and somehow started reading about HMAS Melbourne, the last aircraft carrier to serve in the Royal Australian Navy. Melbourne was one of many Magestic-class light fleet carriers the British were building at the end of WWII. The sudden end of the war left the British with many nearly complete aircraft carriers they could no longer afford. So the ships of this class wound up serving in many NATO and allied navies: HMCS Bonaventure in Canada, Karel Doorman with the Royal Netherlands Navy, Sydney and Melbourne to the Royal Australian Navy, and I think there were some more. These were tiny ships. I mean tiny. Even by WWII standards, they were quite small. They displaced only about 17,000 tons, compared to 27,000 tons for the massively produced American Essex-class.
During the stunning period of post-war military aircraft development from 1945 till about 1960, aircraft speeds and weight went up immensely. Whereas a WWII aircraft might weight 10,000 lbs, by 1960 there were 70,000+ lb aircraft operating from carrier decks. And speeds went from a max of around 400 mph to 1500+ mph. These huge jets landed at twice the speed of the previous propeller driven planes. All that drove aircraft carrier development to larger and larger ships, culminating with the American nuclear powered Enterprise and Nimitz classes, ships of 1100 ft length and over 90,000 tons displacement.
Amazingly, in spite of the enormous changes in aircraft and aircraft carrier technologies, the tiny light fleet carriers inherited from Britain continued soldiering on well into the 1980s (and some, way beyond that). The ships, with tiny, 700 ft x 100 ft flight decks (compared to 1100ft x 250 ft for an American supercarrier) and very low speeds (24 kts max vice 33+ for a supercarrier), continued to operate heavier and larger jet aircraft until their eventual demise. The difference in size can be appreciated by bow-on shot of HMAS Melbourne in company of USS Midway (CV-41) – the smallest of the American supercarriers.
Operating high-speed aircraft like the A-4 Skyhawk from a tiny deck like this was, to say the least, adventurous. The aircraft you see on deck, S-2 Tracker piston-engine anti-submarine warfare aircraft, literally barely fit when landing, with only a few feet of clearance between the wingtips and the island. Many American and even British pilots (the Brits having larger carriers, but nowhere near as big as American ones) refused to try to land on these tiny ships. But the Aussies did, and for decades. But losses were very heavy.
Melbourne was always considered an unlucky ship. She sank two other ships in collisions – one of her own navy, and one of the USN. As I said, loss rates were high. And the ship, designed to operate in the North Atlantic and Arctic waters, was designed without air conditioning. Temperatures in the engine rooms could reach 170 degrees. She was always a very uncomfortable, crowded ship. But, she served for nearly 30 years, and gave Australia a unique fixed wing carrier capability unequaled in the region. Since Melbourne’s retirement in the mid-80s, Australia has not managed to field another carrier.
In contrast, the other ship in the photo above, USS Midway, was always considered one of the luckiest, most blessed ships in the fleet. She had an incredibly storied career. You can witness the advances in aircraft carrier development in photos by observing the changes to Midway between 1945 and 1969. When she was commissioned right at the very end of WWII, at 900 ft length and 45,000 tons, she was by far the largest carrier in the world:
But, she still had the straight, or “axial” flight deck arrangement, where aircraft took off and, more critically, landed, directly along the long axis of the ship. This was very dangerous, because aircraft already landed were parked at the bow of the ship, and an aircraft landing later that had an accident could wind up sliding into dozens of aircraft parked at the bow. This happened on more than one occasion, and the losses were terrible.
So, in the mid-50s, Midway put in for a refit to add an “angled deck”, which added a protrusion on the port side of the ship to allow aircraft to land at an angle, so that if they overshot they would merely fall overboard, and not wreck the entire carrier air wing:
Bah, in the original post, I got fooled by CV-14 Ticonderoga! Sorry for the mistake, but upside down, the 14 read as 41! I thought the angled deck looked too small.
But as aircraft got still bigger, heavier, and faster, even this change was not enough. So, Midway was put in for the infamous SCB.101.66 refit, which would rebuild her from the hanger deck up as a supercarrier. It was the most intensive refit any US Navy ship ever underwent, and it resulted in massive cost overruns:
Needless to say, taking a ship that originally was much narrower, and displaced tens of thousands of tons less, and adding all that huge topweight associated with increasing the flightdeck from 2 acres to 4, absolutely shreded the ship’s handling characteristics. Whereas Midway had been rather nimble before, now she was a wallowing cow. She sat several feet deeper in the water than she had before. As more and more weight accumulated, her trim characteristics got worse and worse, until in the 80s she was put in again to try to correct her handling problems. Huge blisters were added to the side of the hull, but they actually made the problem worse.
By that time, Midway was homeported at Yokusuka in Japan. The ship was turned over to Japanese shipwrights, men who stunned the US Navy with their incredible skill and professionalism, and the handling problems were at least somewhat improved. It is said that one of the reasons Midway lasted so long in service, nearly 50 years, was due to the skill of the Japanese who serviced her for the last 10 or 12 years of service.
Midway developed such a legend in the Navy, that there came to be a term for her exploits: Midway Magic. Some fer instances: Midway only had two catapults, vice the 4 on most supercarriers, but she would routinely launch as many aircraft with her two catapults, in the same amount of time, as those with 4. She had some operational exploits which were the stuff of legend, like NORPAC ’82. Her air wings in Vietnam had one of the highest, if not the highest, kill-to-loss ratio of all the many carriers that served in that war. Throughout the war, Midway lost relatively few aircraft.
Midway was finally retired in 1992, after 47 years of service. Far, far longer than any other WWII carrier. Always a lucky ship, instead of being scrapped or sitting in boneyard limbo forever like many of her sisters, she is now a museum in San Diego, CA, and one of the most popular attractions in that city.
This pic provides a nice overview of the change in Midway’s flight deck:
One more photo to show the advance in carrier design. This photo was taken at the now sadly closed Naval Air Station Alameda in San Francisco. SanFran used to be a great navy town, until they decided to go insane. It’s from 1974. From left, CV-43 Coral Sea, very similar to Midway but slightly younger, then the last two WWII Essex-class with very small angled decks (any naval historians know why the angled deck was so small? Couldn’t it have been larger if they offset a third elevator to port abaft the island and taken other topweight balancing measure? They just look so small!) CV-19 Hancock and CV-34 Oriskany, probably my all time favorite carrier, then finally, CV-65 Enterprise, the world’s first nuclear powered aircraft carrier and, for a long time, the largest ship in the world. The Enterprise flight deck is 3/4 of an acre larger than Coral Sea or Midway’s, and over 2 acres larger than the Essex class, even after the angled deck was added with the SCB-125 refits! Over 4 1/2 acres!
Alright, now some sequitur stuff.
Latin Mass tonight at St. Mark May 6, 2013Posted by tantamergo in Admin, Dallas Diocese, Latin Mass, North Deanery, silliness.
Same bat-time, same bat-channel. There may be a change to the Mass in a few weeks with the use of EP1, the closest to the Roman Canon, so pray for that, if you feel so moved. I have been.
St. Mark in Plano at 7pm
Stolen from the always funny LarryD.
April 30th – a sad and glorious day April 30, 2013Posted by tantamergo in Admin, Basics, disaster, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Holy suffering, persecution, self-serving, sexual depravity, Society.
I had a most edifying lunch today. I saw a friend and coworker I had not seen in a year or more. He is a Vietnamese expat. In point of fact, his family was profiled in the centerfold of the diocesan newspaper, Texas Catholic, in the most recent issue. He did not make it for the group photo, but most of his family was there and you can see them in the paper on page 13. His parents were awesome Catholics, they had 8 kids and have 15 or 16 grandkids. Perhaps God may bring a few more. And I should say congratulations to Hiep, for he and his wife just had another child.
My friend and I share many interests: history, virulent anti-communism, some military affairs, our profession, our Faith, etc. It’s always very good to see him. But he reminded me today, because I had forgotten, that today is a sad anniversary. Today marks the 38th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon, the “final” if temporary victory of the communist north over South Vietnam. I say temporary, for there are still millions of practicing Catholics in Vietnam and I have every confidence that God will permit them to throw off this godless enemy of His Church someday soon.
But it was interesting that I saw my friend at this time, and that I the Texas Catholic would have this special edition on some of the Asian Catholics in the Diocese, because I had just finished reading the section of Dr. Warren Carroll’s monumental The Rise and Fall of the Communist Revolution that covered the Vietnam war. Dr. Carroll confirmed a view my friend and I have held for a very long time, that the Vietnam War was not lost on April 30, 1975, but on November 2, 1963, with the murder of the only man capable of leading South Vietnam to victory over the communist north (I’m not saying he would have, but he was the only one even remotely capable of it), Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu. Carroll dispels many of the myths and outright lies the media has spread regarding Diem and his rule, and argues persuasively that it was the callous and stunningly amateurish murder of Diem that sealed Vietnam’s fate. The northern communists certainly said so, Carroll quotes several North Vietnamese sources as being joyously stunned at the murder, which convinced the North to ramp up their pressure on the now leaderless South. On November 3, the North Vietnamese politburo released this statement:
“The consequences of the 1 November coup d’état will be contrary to the calculations of the U.S. imperialists … Diệm was one of the strongest individuals resisting the people and Communism. Everything that could be done in an attempt to crush the revolution was carried out by Diệm. Diệm was one of the most competent lackeys of the U.S. imperialists … Among the anti-Communists in South Vietnam or exiled in other countries, no one has sufficient political assets and abilities to cause others to obey. Therefore, the lackey administration cannot be stabilized. The coup d’état on 1 November 1963 will not be the last
Full on invasion by the North followed. The war was now America’s to fight and lead more and more, to the detriment of the South Vietnamese will to fight and grow as a nation. Just like welfare, having someone come in and provide for your nation, even in terms of defense, is stultifying and leads to all manner of emotional and psychological ailments. South Vietnamese society, which had been forming up fairly well under Diem (to be sure, there were many problems), fell into corruption and decadence.
From an American Catholic perspective, this whole sad history reveals yet another enormous failing by the Kennedy Administration. For it was the Kennedy Administration that drove the coup that resulted in Diem’s death to fruition. Diem had made a powerful enemy in the bungling, communist-friendly (he wasaccused of being a Soviet spy, which he may in fact have been) W. Averill Harriman, who as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian Affairs had travelled to Vietnam and suggested to Diem that his policies were wrong. Diem gave Harriman a good lesson in Vietnamese culture, showing Harriman’s rank ignorance, leaving Harriman feeling personally insulted and determined to remove Diem from power. He got his chance 2 years later, when communist infiltrators within the Vietnamese buddhist community had stirred up international angst through a series of staged immolations of heavily drugged monks. The Kennedy Administration was wavering in its support for Diem, and one Sunday afternoon at the State Department, Harriman, with no official role in government whatsoever, drafted a cable to Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge of S. Vietnam telling him to encourage a coup against Diem. This Lodge did. It must be noted that neither Kennedy, nor Secretary of State Dean Rusk, nor SecDef McNamara, nor any senior figure in the Kennedy Administration reviewed or OK’d the cable save for Undersecretary of State George Ball, one of the most liberal members of the Kennedy Administration and an avowed opponent of Diem’s. On Monday, when it was discovered what had occurred, significant infighting developed within the Kennedy Administration, with McNamara, to his rare credit, and many others being aghast at the proposed murder and removal of the leader of a major US ally while that ally was fighting for its life. But Kennedy, to his profound discredit, failed to be moved by the many warnings of disaster should Diem be removed (and the implications that South Vietnam really was nothing but a US puppet, making the war entirely ours), and stuck with the direction of the original cable no one approved. The rest, is history. It’s one of the many shameful acts the only “Catholic” President of this nation routinely committed. It also completely blows out of the water the claim by the Kennedy sycophants that he planned to pull the US out of Vietnam. It was in fact Kennedy’s actions that made it inevitable that huge US forces would be committed.
When reviewing these events, what once again stands out, more than anything, in precipitating this disaster, is the extreme arrogance of Kennedy and his “best and brightest.” They were so sure they knew everything, could do no wrong. Never have so few who thought they knew so much actually known so little.
I mentioned it’s also a glorious day – it’s the Feast of the glorious Sienese lay Dominican, Catherine! I pray that St. Catherine of Siena will fervently implore the Lord to forgive the injustices this nation visited upon the Vietnamese people and to free them from the yoke of oppression. I know her intercessions are very efficacious – I pray her intercession will work a great miracle!
There is another glorious aspect. Had it not been for the ineptly conceived, led, and fought Vietnam War, this country would not have benefited from the presence of several millions of Vietnamese, including my friend and his family. In a sense, I have benefited from their suffering. I know this nation has been greatly blessed by their presence.
An apology to Bishop Farrell April 29, 2013Posted by tantamergo in Admin.
I wrote a post regarding some views expressed by Bishop Farrell on gun control policy earlier today. I’ve decided to delete the post. I had inadvertantly left a statement in at the bottom of the post that is not indicative of my genuine feelings but was more an exercise in venting, which I do sometimes when writing and I’m stuck. I had a very hard time writing that post, for various reasons. It was an unfortunate statement I did not intend to be published and I was mortified when I found it had been. I express my sincere regret to any and all I may have scandalized, especially those who receive posts by e-mail.
I ain’t got much to blog about today……. April 26, 2013Posted by tantamergo in Admin, awesomeness, fun, silliness, Society.
……..so, another non sequitur. If you ever happen to go to lovely Port Aransas, Texas, you will surely see many ships pass through Aransas Pass and into Corpus Christi Bay and the Port of Corpus Christi. You will also likely see a number of oil platforms offshore, mostly abandoned, since the wells in such shallow water were likely sucked dry years ago.
We went to Port Aransas last fall, and I really enjoyed looking at the platforms through binoculars and studying them, because I’m an engineer and a geek. Even better was watching the tankers pass through the channel. But after a day or so of that, I couldn’t figure out why the tankers were queueing up a few miles offshore, just hanging out. While oilfield work ships would come in and out each morning and evening, the tankers just sat there for days. Towards the end of our stay, I figured out what the reason was. A huge fixed offshore platform, like the one below (the Bullwinkle platform, produced in 1988, still the world’s largest fixed-base platform) came through the pass. It was immense. We could see it being loaded at Ingleside when we were driving to Port A, because the Corpus Christi Bay area is so flat you can see for miles. But when that platform came through the pass, it was unbelievable how huge it was, and the fact it was being towed out to sea, moving, floating, as it were. Incredible! I would guess the one we saw was probably more like 1200 feet tall, vs. Bullwinkle’s 1750 feet.
Platforms like this can be used in anywhere up to 1500 feet of water. Most are used in water 1000 feet deep or less.
Bullwinkle with topsides installed. I read that after 25 years of service, it’s about to be retired. It’s about 120 miles SW of New Orleans.
Another type you might see passing through Port Aransas is the spar type. This is a newer technology used for truly deep water. The Perdido spar shown here is presently operating in water 9800 ft deep, servicing 20 odd wells over dozens of square miles. These amazing bits of technology are not tied to the ocean floor. They are attached with cables, and held in place with very precise thruster systems. Still, it is amazing all that pipe stays in place, miles and miles of it, even as the platform moves quite a bit. Perdido is presently producing over 100,000 barrels of oil a day.
It was sure amazing seeing that huge fixed platform get towed out. We watched it for hours. It was so big it took it a long time to disappear as it slowly moved out to sea. It’s quite a feat that such things are done rather routinely.
Robert Earl King has a song about the guys who build these things in Ingleside: