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I’ll never forget February 12, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Admin, disaster, General Catholic, Papa, sadness.
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The third anniversary of the tragic abdication of Pope Benedict XVI was yesterday, but I still feel betrayed and massively let down. I remember my wife telling me the news, and at first I thought it had to be a hoax.  I refused to believe it until the evidence became overwhelming.

I know some feel he had every right, that he alone could judge his age and capacity, but I am convinced Pope Benedict XVI was “forced out,” or fell to the wolves around him.  His resignation remains unparalleled, the comparisons to Celestine being really apples and oranges.  It was the seizure of Vatican financial assets that compelled him to believe he could no longer govern, I think.  We’ll likely never know for certain, in this life.

I also cannot believe what happened later that same day was just “one of those things:”

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In less than a year, Jose Bergoglio will be 80.  But mark my words, he will never resign.  He is having waaay too much fun remaking the Church to suit his ideology.  Progressives almost never give up power voluntarily.

Update on my work situation February 4, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin.
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So this is a different ball game.  Previously we’ve just had layoffs, this is an entire restructuring and it is going very deep. I’d say my chances of getting let go are better than 50%.

To date, our entire design facility in New York has been shut down.  That is where the majority of hardware and mechanical design was performed. 3/4 of both teams have thus been lost (3/4 of both were in New York).  The plan is to move virtually all hardware design to India.  Yeah, see how that works out for you!  My former employer, Cisco, tried that, and after a few years had to bring it all back because it was a total failure.  But that’s my company, always about 10 years behind everyone else and determined never to learn.

So even with this shutdown in New York, the loss of ~70 high skilled engineering jobs, and one death (I kid you not, one guy died the day they made the announcement – stress induced myocardial infarction.  Please pray for the repose of the soul of Roy Metz), there is to be a 15% layoff here in Richardson.  Entirely within product development, which just makes brilliant sense – cut the one organization that actually develops product that sells and makes money to the bone, while leaving all the overhead groups like HR and accounting untouched.

I’m of two minds of how it will go – either they will completely wipe out hardware development in the US, in which case, I’m done, or they’ll keep a small group here, in which case, I’ll probably be OK, for a while. But the handwriting is on the wall, this place is deader than fried chicken.  I am actively looking for the first time in 8 years, really, I’ve flirted in previous layoffs but I’m really about it this time.  Applied to two jobs so far this morning.  See how it goes.

I thank you again for your prayers.  You guys are awesome, and I can really feel the support.

Reader asks – gun recommendations February 3, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Domestic Church, family, Society, technology, the struggle for the Church, true leadership, Virtue.
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A reader sent me the following request concerning what kind of firearm I would recommend for someone starting out.  I hope he doesn’t mind, but since my own experience is fairly limited I thought I would open the query up to the readers who can make their own recommendations.  Here ’tis:

I am finally getting serious about arming myself, in no small part due to your recent post and some others by Father Z.  Can you recommend a good dealer for both a handgun and a long gun in the Richardson/Plano area?  What about shotgun vs rifle? My brother (a police chief in a small town in Illinois) suggests the former for home defense, but if the crap hits the fan I think it’s wise to have both. Any favorites you’d suggest?

As far as where to buy a gun in the area requested, I suggest Gunmaster on Ave. K in Plano, just south of Spring Creek, near the old Wells Bros farm store.  They usually have a good selection of new and used guns but may be a bit light on handguns.  For a lot of new handguns, Cabela’s or some other big box might be the best alternative I know of.

But what kind of gun to get?  That’s a difficult question.  There are so many out there.  My initial inclination is to go semi-auto in a long gun and hand gun.  Don’t mess around with a revolver.  You know I like Russian-style guns.  I think they’re great for beginners because they take abuse and will function even if you don’t clean them so well.  But price range is a really important consideration.  And not just the price of a gun, the price of ammo, too.  That’s another reason I like SKS and AKs, the guns are equal to or less than many competitors and the ammo is generally substantially cheaper.  So maybe start with a used SKS and see how that goes.  Those don’t require magazines, you feed 10 rounds in through the top with stripper clips and you’re ready to go.  A good quality used SKS can be had for $300 range today.

Other options in semi-auto (again, knowing your price range would be very helpful, prices below new):

AR – a billion varieties, all kinds of calibers prices from generally $600-up
PTR91 – US-made semi-auto version of the HK91/G3.  Generally $900-up.
Ruger Mini-14/Ranch Rifle – .223 (same as AR), lots of people swear by them, not always as customizable as an AR, a bit more expensive ($700 – up)
M1A – I’d love one.  7.62×51 NATO (.308 Winchester).  Very rugged. Based on M14 design.  But expensive. $1000-up

One benefit of an AR for new gun owners is the low recoil.  An AR-15 clone in .223 kicks waaay less than an AR in 7.62×39, and that can really help new shooters stay on target. I just happen to prefer a larger round with greater penetration, so I put up with the extra recoil.

Military surplus – If you’re willing to go with a used guns, aside from the Russian types and derivatives you can get excellent former military rifles.  M1 Garand would be high on my list, but ammo is expensive and sometimes hard to find (you cannot use regular .30-06, have to get Garand-compatible ammo), and for bolt-action, Mosin Nagant is a great gun and can often be had for less than $300 (and ammo is incredibly cheap), also Lee-Enfield, Mauser K98 (these two can be found cheap but ammo may be high due to rarity)……

As far as handguns, again, price is a big factor.  I originally thought I wanted a .40 or .45, until I looked at the ammo prices.  While 9 mm may not have as much stopping power if you’re dealing with someone all cranked out or, inexplicably, wearing armor, the ammo is waaaay cheaper.  And there are a million good handguns in 9 mm.  I chose an EAA Witness in 9 mm for myself. That was about $350. I know people who have Springfield XD or XDM 9 mm and really like them, but I didn’t like their feel in my hand that much.  I do have one beef with the Witness, after quite a few rounds the hand grips can start to come loose.

My wife got a Bersa Thunder .380.  .380 is another fairly inexpensive handgun ammo, though its stopping power is even less than 9 mm, for the most part.

Shotguns are great for home defense, and again, there are tons.  You can go pump action or semi-auto.  Prices vary widely as does quality. I’m not much of a shotgun guy.  But I would tend to agree that while a shotgun is great for home defense in a normal, relatively peaceful law/order type scenario, if things go to crap a rifle would probably be better.  Shotguns are terribly limited in range.

If it were me, I’d probably get a lower-priced AK/SKS/AR clone and a 9 mm pistol.  If you want high quality like Glock or Kimber you’re going to pay for it.  A 9 mm “automatic” can go from under $300 to well over $1000.  Glock’s are good (I’m not high on the safety) quality and are in the $500 range.  If you have some experience with firearms or want more power then an AK instead of the AR.

Maybe the requester could give us some more details, like price range and level of experience.  Readers are welcome to respond.

Would you, in your charity, pray for your host? February 2, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin.
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The company I work at is not doing well.  At all.  It has not been for a long time.  It never recovered from the telecom implosion of the early 00s.  Like Nortel and many others before it, it looks like our Japanese sponsors may finally have tired of running an operation in the US that loses money almost every year.

Sooo…..there is another round of layoffs.  This makes the 9th round I’ve experienced since coming back here in 2008.  An entire office in New York is being shut down.  It looks like the company is going to almost entirely abandon its local hardware and mechanical design teams.  There will be another round next month.  If I weather those, there will be a six-twelve month hiatus, if past experience is any guide.

There may be a small design staff kept going here locally for some time to support sustaining efforts, perhaps for a year or even several.  But I need wisdom to know whether this is finally the time to jump ship or if I should wait it out.  It’s much easier to find a job if you already have one.

I also, of course, have a baby on the way and a large family to provide for.  So if you would please, in your charity, pray for me and my family, that I may either weather this round of layoffs or find like employment elsewhere, I’d appreciate it.  Your prayers are so greatly appreciated.

Mach-bustin’ Monday – Phabulous Phantoms Phorever – UPDATED! February 2, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Flightline Friday, fun, history, non squitur, silliness, technology.
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Eh…….lame.  Gotta think of a new name for relocated Flightline Friday’s.  Back in the 1990s, the Nevada Air National Guard 192nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (TRS) was one of the last Phantom operators in US service. In fact, they were the dead last to fly the RF-4C recon variant, right up until October 1995.  Only the F-4G defense suppression variant lasted longer in the Guard, and that only until the next year.

You don’t see flying like this in the Air Force much anymore.  You will see Phantoms at 20 feet off the deck, you will hear the sound barrier broken (twice), and you will see aircraft do tail stands over lakes, kicking up a huge amount of spray. This is the Air Force I loved and wanted so much to be a part of, but it hardly exists anymore, even in the Guard (which has always been a bit wilder and a bit less straight laced than the active duty and Air Force Reserve).

I don’t know anything about the guy who posted the videos, only that he had a close association with the 192nd TRS and may have been a pilot himself.  He posted some movies with lame-o music, but the ones I chose all have the beautiful sound of two roaring General Electric J79-GE-8 engines:

The Phantoms of the 192 TRS (and Alabama ANG, and active duty Phantoms out of Bergstrom) served in Desert Storm.  They joined F-4Gs out of George and Spangdahlem as the only Phantoms in the Gulf War (though Pave Tack equipped F-4Es of the 4th TFW at Seymour Johnson only missed the conflict by one day).

Mostly just taxi and takeoff in that one, BUT you do get to see up close the Sidewinder rails added to only the recce Phantoms that served in the Gulf War.  Reconnaissance aircraft always operated by the motto “Alone, Unarmed, and Scared Shitless Unafraid,” until someone figured out that was kind of dumb and why not hang a couple missiles for self defense.

Phantoms in the Gulf.  BA tail code means the former Bergstrom AFB near Austin.  Those jets caused me many a hangover with their 6 am wakeup calls on Saturday morning flying right over my apartment.  SH is really a cheeky tailcode.  That’s the Reno “High Rollers” of the 192nd.  “SH” in military parlance, derivating from the Vietnam era, meaning Sierra Hotel in the phonetic alphabet, or, more accurately, “Shit Hot.”  Meaning a truly excellent job.  I can’t believe they got away with that code on all their jets, because everyone knew what it meant.  Also see ALQ-119 ECM pods on some of the jets.

Some more low flying, often 100 ft or less.

One more video.  Red Flag 16-1 started just a few days ago.  This is the ultimate, most realistic air combat exercise in the world.  Featuring mixed forces of fighters, bombers, tankers, cargo aircraft, Brits, Israeli’s, Aussies, Germans, etc, (depending on the event), it is often viewed as more challenging than  much of the combat flying that has occurred over the empty, undefended deserts of the last 15  years.

Night launch:

I note that E-3 Sentry “AWACS” now have ESM pods on the wing tips, and they finally got the new engines.  For crying out loud.

Bones in full ‘burner.  Raptors venting and actuating.  Electroluminescent tape formation lights glowing an otherworldly green. Typhoon. Aggressor F-16s.  Las Vegas glowing like a barking carnival in the background.  What’s not to like?!?

It is scuttlebutted about that the French are barred from Red Flag for an indeterminate length of time.  The reason: they have behaved like jerks.  Red Flag is supposed to be a “bring your best, let it all hang out” kind of exercise.  Things like radar, ECM gear, ESM, and weapons operate in war reserve mode, meaning their best, fullest capabilities.  The informal rules are, everyone brings their best, does their best, and learns a great deal along the way.

But the French weren’t playing along.  They kept operating in limited training mode, not using WRM on their radars and other kit, but using advanced ESM (electronic support measures or electronic signals monitoring) to soak up everyone else’s emissions, the better to devise countermeasures against them, and thus make their aircraft – the Dassault Rafale – more saleable.  They did this once, got stern looks, twice, got warned, and three times, got kicked out.

Or such is what I hear.  This is not the kind of thing that gets published.

s-l1000

Update: OK, so I stumbled on this TERRIBLE 1981 made-for-TV movie called Red Flag: The Ultimate Game. It is filled with awful acting and even worse sappy melodrama, BUT, it has some great footage of F-4s and F-5s going at it at Nellis back in the early 80s.  Even more, it shows what was then totally state of the art air combat maneuvering instrumentation systems (basically, video screens displaying and recording the progress of each aircraft’s mission in the Nellis range, from takeoff to landing, including air combat, “kills,” and all the rest). They also get the O’ club and general fighter pilot camaraderie of that time fairly well (but I guess Jeremiah Weed, crud, and dead bug hadn’t been invented yet, or didn’t make the cut). The movie itself is trash, but some of the footage is awesome! (CONTENT WARNING FOR FREQUENT IMMODEST DRESS AND IMMORAL DEPICTIONS OF MARITAL BEHAVIOR):

TLM in San Antonio reduced to twice monthly? January 26, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, General Catholic, huh?, Latin Mass.
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Wondering if any readers from San Antonio can fill me in.  There is only one location where the TLM is offered in the Archdiocese of San Antonio, and that is St. Pius X parish.  That 12:10 Mass has been weekly for some time, but some people on Facebook (this is via my wife) were saying it is being reduced to twice monthly?  Can anyone confirm?  The parish website mentions some individual Mass cancellations but does not indicate that twice monthly will be the new regime going forward.

I’d appreciate any input you can provide.

Saying dumb things January 25, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, blogfoolery, foolishness, silliness.
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Sometimes I say dumb things. It is almost impossible (for me) to crank out a thousand-plus posts a year and not have some clunkers.  Or, at least, that’s how I like to rationalize my mistakes.

So, I had two that I felt had gone astray as I considered them over the weekend.  One in particular was dumb, regarding the new foot-washing regime. I even prefaced, as a sort of warning, in that post that I was about to say something ill-advised.  But, I should not have given into the temptation to write that.  It was a pointless jab born of excessive scandal and mounting frustration.  The post has been amended.

Look, I study a bit of history, and I am just about convinced the Church has not been afflicted with such a destructive pontiff (and with this one, the destructiveness seems to have some deliberation behind it) since the Renaissance princes of the 16th century (yes, I know….Paul VI.  But give the man time).  My scandal reached a peak of pique last week, so while that’s not an excuse for saying dumb things, consider that as part of the background that encouraged them.

The other post I felt I did not write well was nothing to give scandal, it was just an opinion I got a bit carried away with.  I wrote a post about manhood and the difficulty of instilling masculinity into adult males.  I asked whether such was even possible.  Upon reconsideration, I went too far.  I’m not entirely certain what prompted me to say that, it seemed to make sense at the time, but as I tried to reconstruct my reasoning later I felt I had gone too far.  What I should have said is that it is very difficult to instill a sense of masculinity of men who do not receive the basic tenets in childhood, not that it is impossible.

My hope in saying that was to encourage fathers to really be engaged with their children, especially their sons (but daughters need a proper appreciation of masculine behavior, as well), stressing the importance of inculcating a sense of manliness/masculinity at a young age.  But due to various distractions I never got around to actually saying that till the comments.

Anyhoo…….don’t mean for this to be a long post of self-justification, but when I make a goof, I try to own up to it.

 

Any readers in OKC want to help me with a small project? January 15, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin.
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I’m not absolutely certain you would have to live in OKC, but it would help.  I’ll give you a hint what it’s about: proving hypocrisy or a double standard, as in whether Oklahoma City government possesses an anti-Catholic bias.

You can probably figure out from there what I’m getting at.  E-mail me at larryr103@gmail.com if you are interested in collaborating. Note, this project is fraught with repercussions, many of which could be ugly. Those need to be taken fully into account before proceeding. We can discuss that offline.

Thank you for your consideration.  God bless you.

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You guys are smart…….anyone recommend a new AK in the $7-800 range? January 15, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, blogfoolery, fun, silliness.
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I have two SKS, one of which is a Chinese-made SKS-M built at the factory to take AK mags.  They’re nice guns, though I’ve been having persistent minor, but annoying problems with the -M for a while now that I can’t seem to get permanently fixed.

As such, I’ve been looking at buying a proper AK-47 type in 7.62×39.  I’ve been reading about the various makes, and there seems to be a wide discrepancy in opinion on many of them.  For instance, some people advise to steer far clear of a WASR or Zastava (N-PAP), and go with a more expensive model.  I’ll tell you, I’ve handled a few of the cheaper ($5-600) models from Century and they felt like junk (sloppy action, loose fitting stock, splintery wood, etc).  But if you don’t go with Century, it seems like there is a huge price jump to a brand like Arsenal or similar that puts you in the $1000 price range, which is really higher than I want to go.  On the other hand, others say that new WASRs (that are actually available) are much improved and shouldn’t be a problem (and there are “better” types from Century that cost a bit more but may have a lot higher quality).

I should add that I’d like to buy new, I’ve bought some used guns and my experience has been mixed.  That’s another complication, it seems a lot of places are sold out of new AKs of any type (thanks, Obama).

I have read that the Century C39, which is entirely US-made, is pretty good and I have seen them in my price range.

Anyone have experience with different AK types and feels competent to make a recommendation?  I’m not a great expert in the type, there is a huge variety and I’ve barely scratched the surface of the many different makes and models available.

And, yes, I like Russian guns.  Always have.  I don’t have anything against ARs I just don’t want one.  I guess it’s my latent commie sympathy showing through, or something.

It’s also a way to respond positively to my bishop’s very negative rant.  See, I’m helping keep some Serbian or Bulgarian in a job!

Husbands, let your wives buy guns….. January 14, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, silliness.
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…..if they so wish. And vice versa.  It’s in Ephesians, there.  Somewhere.  Read it again. You’ll find it.

Pretty sure it’s just about a commandment when it comes to Russian guns.

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Ooohh I’d love a Dragunov/SVD/Romak/PSL.  7.62×54.  Just about like a .30-06.  And that PSO-1 sight is pretty slick.

 

SVD_PSL

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