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Footage of AFRES PJs Rescuing Harvey Victims September 6, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Flightline Friday, fun, non squitur, Society, Virtue.
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Yes this may be getting pretty dated, but the military moves slow.  Several Air Force Reserve Rescue Squadrons were deployed from around the country to help with rescues. Equipped with (now quite long in the tooth) HH-60G Pave Hawk helos and probably the most serious special operators USAF has to offer – Pararescue Jumpers (PJs) – there are many nice scenes of families being rescued.  In fact, I watched the first rescue on the video live streaming on the internet last week from the perspective of the ground.  Quite interesting to see it from the other end:

Were those New York guys from the 101st Rescue Squadron on Long Island being cheeky with their big NY letters on the side of the copter?

This unit has actually historically made some quite impressive at-sea rescues.  They conducted themselves with professional aplomb in everything I saw in the videos.

 

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Finally! August 30, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, firearms, fun, non squitur, silliness.
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New plates, baby:

Multi-shot Level IV steel body armor.  Two plates plus sides.  Yikes is it heavy.  My plate carrier now weighs 32 pounds loaded, and that’s without magazines (it’s more than a carrier, more like a tactical vest/carrier combo).

So now my kids like to put it on and engage in punching contests.

I don’t know if I ever mentioned this in a post, but when I went to Kansas this summer I took some soft body armor along to target shoot.  It was all Level IIIA stuff, soft kevlar.  Nonetheless, I was impressed with how well it faired.  I had several pieces stop anywhere from 5-10 9mm rounds from about 25 feet.  I had one stop seven 9 mm and about 15 .22LR rounds.  It puffed up like mad but it did very well against the kinds of rounds it was designed to stop – handgun caliber.  I was surprised that this soft-armor was capable of stopping multiple rounds so long as they didn’t hit too close together (within maybe 2″ of a previous hit).

I also took some video of bottle shooting and what not but the end result was not so great.  So much for relying on a giddy 13 year old cameragirl.

We’re Fine But Very Proud of My State August 29, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, disaster, General Catholic, Glory, sadness, Society, Victory, Virtue.
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Sorry I’ve been away the past few days, I even missed my birthday. I’ve gotten some e-mails from people wondering if we’re OK, and of course, we are, thank God.  Not much happened in Dallas, a bit of badly needed rain on occasion but that’s it.  The heavy stuff was all a good 100 miles or more to the south.

We do have family in the area affected by Harvey and all are fine to date.  Only one outlaw nephew lives in the Houston area but they have not been flooded.

Just been too busy with work and life to get on and blog.  I hope to have some time tomorrow, I’ve put some big things behind me the past two days, work-wise.

I am so very proud of my state and the residents of the Houston area.  Dallas and Houston have a sometimes not-so-good-natured rivalry but I have been blown away both by the tremendous outpouring of aid, Texan’s self-reliance (utter opposite of Katrina), and the (to date) very small loss of life in this once in a millennium cataclysm.  I don’t know how many thousands have been rescued by neighbors and other “civilians” but based on the bits of coverage I’ve seen it is quite probable a majority of the rescues have been carried out not by agencies of the state (at whatever level of government) but by private citizens.  #That’sTexas.

I had an exchange with reader Tim via e-mail last week, he forwarded one of the predictions of 30+ inches of rain last Thursday and I kind of pooh-poohed it.  I was right on – tropical weather events virtually never affect the Dallas area more than slightly, we’re just too far inland (close to 300 miles), but I feel terrible thinking this event was going to be more hype than real.  Ooops.  Even though that was a private exchange, I look pretty dumb now.

This natural disaster isn’t over  yet, even though the rains have moved off, for the most part, waters will continue to rise for another day or so as the ground drains.  I’ve certainly been praying for these poor souls along the coast, as I’m sure you have.  Even without loss of life the impact is going to be devastating.

Baby Daughter doing much better thank you and some Flightline Friday content August 22, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Domestic Church, family, Flightline Friday, non squitur, technology, thanksgiving.
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Thank you so much for your prayers.  My daughter has been home since late Thursday but required another 2 days to really recover.

Aye what a year.  All I can say is thanks so much and your generosity will not be forgottten. She started to really turn around shortly after I put out the mass request for prayers.  Yet another confirmation for how great our God is and how powerful – beyond our understanding – prayer can be.

I know I haven’t posted beans of late, very sorry, I really haven’t time for much of anything today (hopefully tomorrow), but here’s a little something non sequitur to tide you over if you care about this sort of thing – it’s some absolutely amazing footage of an Su-27P, probably of Belorussian origin, dogfighting with a USAF F-16 over Groom Lake/”Area 51″ in Nevada:

More images of the encounter below:

In truth this kind of thing has gone on non-stop since at least the mid-60s with the Constant Peg and Foreign Technology Division programs.  USAF pretended to kill this off in the early 00s but everyone rolled their eyes.

In reality, the fact that this occurred in broad daylight, in perfect clear conditions, and close to the border of the 8,000 square mile Nevada Test and Training Range (or close enough for super telephoto lens to grab these shots – probably no more than  6-8 miles from the Range’s boundary) almost certainly means USAF has far more modern and capable adversary aircraft for evaluation.  Su-27P is OK but dates from the late 80s.  Sukhoi has certainly turned out better variants of the endless Flanker series since (Su-27M Su-27SM Su-32 Su-33 Su-35 Su-30M Su-30MK Su-30MKK/I/M Su-34).

Space alien conspiracy theorists who try to penetrate the Range near “Area 51” report seeing Sukhois fairly regularly.  Some are surprisingly old – Su-22s, for certain.

That Flanker is a big b—h.  It’s got an absolutely enormous RCS, too, especially from the front, from what I have learned.

PS – May put this up with much more detail on Friday, but F-35 is, finally, 5 years late and billions of dollars over budget, starting to shape up.  Several score are in service with more and more active duty squadrons and the reports are extremely, extremely positive.  It’s kinematic/aerobatic performance is not so bad as it long appeared to be, and the integrated avionics/mission system are simply out of this world, a massive quantum leap in capability over everything that’s come before.

Still got fairly short legs and inadequate internal payload for stealth mode (thanks, Marine Corps and Congress!) BUT it is a far cry from the unmitigated disaster its widely been described as being.  I’ve been a very serious critic of the F-35 for nearly 20 years and think improved F-16s and/or Mudhens with a large F-22 buy would have more than sufficed for far less money, but this is what we’re stuck with and it does finally seem to be coming around.  It would be the height of idiocy to scrap the program now after ~$100 billion invested and with the investment finally about to start paying off.

The first practical functional software block (Block 3F) has been undergoing flight testing for months and should start to hit active training and tactical squadrons next month.  Given 6.5 million lines of code it’s hardly surprising it took some time to iron out difficulties, plus the program was very badly managed from a prototype to test to production standpoint, for political reasons the services were induced to place the aircraft in production far before it was really ready, and this has had the effect of adding a huge amount of cost while delaying overall full operational capability.  The good thing is these extremely extended service trials have revealed about all the bugs that could possibly be found.

We also have to note how much the procurement program has been derailed since McNamara royally screwed it up in the 60s, and then was made worse in the 90s.  The standards products have to meet to be qualified are ridiculously onerous, and teeny tiny corner of the envelope issues get turned into showstoppers.  Yes there have been not so teeny tiny problems with the F-35 but most of what is reported are situations that are unlikely to ever repeat themselves in real life.  That is one reason why it costs so much (and takes so long) to get complex systems into service these days, the test requirements are orders of magnitude more extensive (and in many ways just plain asinine) than they were in the 50s, 60s, and even well into the 80s.  Suffice it to say had the F-35 been developed along 1950s or 1970s lines it would have been judged an  unqualified success years ago.

Then again, it’s really an apples to oranges comparison.  Aircraft in the 50s and even early 80s were not nearly so software dependent, as they are today.

And every other engineer knows just how much the software engineers screw everything up.  Right, TE?

Our Year of Trial Continues: Please Pray for Our Baby Daugbter August 17, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin.
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My sweet baby girl, such a great gift of God for parents who thought they were probably too old to expect more children, has been hospitalized since last night.  She has dehydration and probably some kind of chemical/pharmaceutical poisoning.  She’s getting better but slowly.  Not out of the woods yet.

No we don’t know what caused it and yes we have child proofed all medicines and dangerous chemicals but the signs point to probably some kind of medicine ingestion.

Please pray for our sweet adorable baby. She has brought so much light and joy to our family and all her siblings (and parents) are absolutely devastated that an accident like this could have happened.  Yesterday was a rough day.  My son had an accident and got hit in the head with a heavy object and then Josefina just sort of cratered and went unconscious and catatonic.  As I said she is getting better but only slowly.

God bless you for your prayers.  I know I have asked so much tbis year but I also know their power.  You have my gratitude.  Thank you.

 

 

 

Great News on My Son July 13, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin.
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Thank you all so much for your continuing prayers.  The results of his latest MRI were very positive, the tumor/abnormality is stable and the neurosurgeon does not need to see my son for another year!   And we got this news on my boy’s 8th birthday.  We are of course extremely pleased.  We continue to pray he may be entirely healed of this malady without any further medical intervention.

He continues to battle stubborn dyslexia that may be directly caused by this tumor.  We’ve just engaged in a major program to assist with this.  I pray he is able to read with less difficulty.

We have also seen some positive developments in other areas, so your prayers really do help.  Please continue them, this is a long road and while the news regarding my son has been all good since the initial onset of near-fatal seizures, we will, in the best case, probably be dealing with this for years.  But I cannot thank all of those who have prayed for Benedict enough.  I know it is the prayers, and God’s Grace, which is making all the difference right now.  I shall always remember you in my prayers.

I also feel Father’s blessing of Benedict also played a role.  I have so very much to be thankful for.  My words to do not adequately express what I feel.  The outpouring of support for us has been amazing.  My wife and I are so very grateful for all the aid, spiritual and material, we have received.

God bless all of you.

Please Pray for Reader Entering Benedictines of Mary Queen of Apostles July 11, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, family, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, religious, Restoration, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, Virtue.
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A young lady I have tremendous concern for, and for whom I have prayed for several years, is entering the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles in Missouri this weekend.  This reader had a previous experience with the Carmelites in Valparaiso, NE that, in God’s good will, did not work out.  This vocation means everything to her, she has felt a firm calling to the religious life for many years.  I know I ask you for so many prayers, but the growth of traditional religious life is just as vital as the growth of the priestly religious orders. In some senses, the growth of traditional religious orders, particularly women’s religious orders, may be even more important.  I know a number of traditional priests who attribute their own vocations to the prayers of these holy, traditional nuns.

Please pray that it be God’s will that this vocation be her true calling and that she find great happiness and holiness among this wonderful group of nuns.  I have prayed and will continue to pray every day for her.  May Our glorious Lady intercede for this young lady.

Thank you and God bless you.

Update Post July 10, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Basics, Domestic Church, Father Rodriguez, fun, General Catholic, Grace, priests, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Lots of people have been asking me for an update offline and on regarding my family.  Things are OK, my son had a follow-up MRI over 2 weeks ago but we still haven’t gotten the results yet.  Partly because my wife took a much needed week off from house and (most) kids, and partly because of scheduling problems with the doctor.  But we have no reason to suspect any change in his tumor status.

It’s just continuing to be a very trying time.  If it’s not one kid it’s another of late.  But we’re hanging in there.

We did have a blessed event July 4, Father Michael Rodriguez came to our house and met my wife and kids for the first time.  He also blessed Benedict, which was very much appreciated.  It was wonderful to spend a couple of hours visiting with Father.  He has a special message he wants me to convey to whatever readers are left after so many long absences on my part of late (yes, both of you), and I pray I get to that tomorrow.  Much of that message will be familiar, but it does contain a proposal I think is as novel as it is important, and has great potential to strengthen the Faith during these times of unprecedented insanity among those charged with care of souls at all levels of the Church.


We are carrying on all right though very busy.  I made a trip to the farm over the past 2+ weeks since I posted, as I said my wife was out, there was a holiday weekend, we have another priest coming over tonight……there’s always something.  One more brief post today, God willing and hopefully I will have more time tomorrow, as well.  Also my work situation will, I pray, really start to calm down within the next month or so.  It’s been nuts all year since early February when I got handed a great stinking pile of manure and was told to turn it into a golden swan by year’s end.  Maybe it’s not quite golden yet but hopefully closer to an aluminum falcon than the dead duck I was given charge over.  At least it’s functional. Making the ill-conceived plans and poorly executed product I was handed into something decently functional is probably one of the biggest accomplishments of my career, and the whole thing was utterly alien from my past experience.  My performance review next year better read like a Roman triumph.

But enough of that. Pray for us, God willing I can post some more substantive things tomorrow.

Please pray for my son June 22, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Domestic Church, family, Holy suffering, sadness.
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My son has another MRI tomorrow.  This year of Our Lord two-thousand and seventeen has really been our annus horribilis, not just with my son’s brain tumor diagnosis but a dozen other things as well.  We’re facing myriad challenges on many fronts.  We’re having a major problem with almost every child. One is mired in persistent scruples.  Another is sinking into depression.  Others have suddenly decided to flake out academically.  And my son, even if his tumor is not growing, which I pray it is not, is having some severe behavioral problems, we think related to the anti-seizure medication, which we’ve changed, but we aren’t really sure.  And academically he’s really struggling, at least with reading.  Of course he has dyslexia which may be being caused by his tumor.  And all these are only some of the more major items.

My wife is about at her wits end.  She about came apart this morning and needs as much prayer support as my son does.

I know I don’t post much lately and maybe I’ve been testy because I am just about overwhelmed myself but I know the power of prayer and would greatly appreciate your support. We have always been incredibly blessed by Our Lord and Savior but with great blessings frequently comes heavy crosses.  This is our time to bear particular crosses.  Our Lord is desiring us to grow in our faith and in our reliance on Him, but it’s not an easy trial to experience. I – we – cannot do it alone.  So I appreciate your support more than words can say and pray for all of your daily, particularly if I am aware of a special need and generally for all the rest.

God bless you and thank you and I appreciate your patience while I am in a time in my life where sharing the Faith with others through words has to take a back seat to more pressing matters.  May God have mercy on us all in these trying times.

Multi-Part Tour through the Spanish Missions of San Antone: Part II, Mission Espada June 14, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Christendom, Ecumenism, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, history, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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The first part covered Mission Concepion, this post covers Mission San Francisco de la Espada.

I again will give some coverage of the general and liturgical history of the mission, while sharing a number of photographs I took.  Mission Espada – and in particular the chapel – fell into more complete ruins than just about any of the missions.  Mission San Jose experienced a horrific roof/wall collapse in the 1890s during Mass – no death toll was reported, but it gives an idea of the decrepitude into which these structures were allowed to slide.  When locals finally took notice of the significance of these decayed treasures, protestants played a significant role in funding and restoring all the missions.  Strangely enough.

The main facade of the chapel is really about all that is original to the structure.  Most of the rest of the building was replaced in the 20th century.  You can see at the top the local bricks which were made by natives and were used in the construction of this mission.  These are supposed to be some of the first masonry bricks made in Texas.

The door is an interesting shape and attracts a good amount of intention.  It is shaped almost like a keyhole.  I do not think the doors are original.  They are heavily weathered but being cedar I would guess they are somewhere on the order of 80-100 years old.  Again, most of the original doors, furnishings, statues, and even stone structure of the original missions was removed by locals – primarily the descendants of the natives who originally occupied the missions – for their own private use from the 1790s onwards as the missions were forcibly secularized by the Spanish government and the mission communities rapidly fell apart thereafter.

The bells are still functional, and these are the pulls they use to ring them at the start of Mass to this day.  I did not get a clear answer on whether the bells are original or not, but it was great to see a parish that still has real bells and uses them – though not for calling the Angelus, unfortunately.

Another shot showing the interior of the door and the pull cords for the bells.  The stucco interior is a 20th century replacement.

As I said, these chapels are still in regular use.  I had to go to Mission Espada and Mission San Juan twice, in the first case because a Confirmation? was going on, and the second because Mission San Juan is really only on Sundays for Mass and occasionally for special events.

But I’m a trooper, and went back the next day, Sunday, to visit the chapels when I knew they would be open but empty. You can get a sense for the small size of the chapels, this one, I would estimate, is about 3/4 the size of the local Carmelite chapel. Some Dallasites will know how small that is.

Mission Espada has been as thoroughly wreckovated as any of the missions.  While it is gratifying to see a tabernacle in all of them, altar rails and high altars were all removed at some point.

These statues are wonderful, and if not original to the mission they are close period pieces or excellent replicas.  I’m quite certain the statue of our suffering Savior is of Spanish Colonial origin, but I’ll get to that later.

Some kind of structure remains where the proper pre-conciliar altar would have been.  I saw these in two of the missions, a large stone or concrete block.  I am imagining it formed the basic structure of the original altars before they were removed.

Mission Espada contains no trace that I could detect of the original altar or altar rails, which is sad, since at least replicas of the originals or some kind of pre-conciliar replacement would have been in place during the general restoration of the 1920s-30s.

Beautiful statue of Our Lady.  I do love the polychrome.  I don’t what vintage the crucifix is, but it was also very pretty though shunted off to the side and largely blocked by flowers.

Sorry the lighting is so poor on this, even with flash the image was shrouded in shadows. This is a magnificent colonial era crucifix, or a great replica.  The hair would be real human hair, as was the custom min the Spanish colonies.  Polychromed, and possibly carved by local natives, whether they were original natives to these missions or not.  There was no one around to answer any questions about Mission Espada or any of the remaining art.

This is a glorious statue and so evocative of both the period and Spanish liturgical style generally.  The joints are bunched up because the arms can be repositioned for various poses, though I doubt anyone has dared to do that with this statue in many years.  Amazing that such craftsmanship could be achieved with nothing but hand tools.  I imagine all the interior mechanisms are wood.  I have no idea what condition they are in, or whether they have various fabrics with which to dress Our Savior for different festivals or liturgical periods.  I tend to think not.

I also don’t know how old these pews are – they look quite old and worn – but was again amazed by their quality given that they are probably at least a century or so old, and could be quite older.  Again, nothing but hand tools like chisels and awls made such sturdy, long-lasting pews.  Very impressive to an amateur woodworker like me.

Ceiling.  I just love how that aged cedar looks.

St. Francis.

Out of time, I’ll try to post more tomorrow.  And I plan on covering my favorite, the most traditional, liturgically, Mission San Juan Capistrano.

One thing that strikes me is that absolutely NONE of this would exist if the Church had the same attitude towards evangelization then that it has today.  The Church has truly been betrayed by her own, she is almost unrecognizable from her historical self.