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A Little Peak at Why Texans Love Their State So Much March 10, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Art and Architecture, awesomeness, family, foolishness, fun, General Catholic, history, Latin Mass, silliness, Society, Victory.
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I lived in Idaho for a year and worked at a place that, because it was such a craptastic nightmare of pollution and amazing danger, had to recruit across the entire nation to bring in a flood of new engineers to replace those who constantly left.  So I wound up being a new hire working with people from Arizona, California, Michigan, etc.

Now I was actually replacing a previous UT grad who just bled “Texas is Awesome” all over the place.  He DROVE 24 hours or so back home at least every 2 or 3 months.  He bragged Texas up one side and down the other.  After he left and they hired me, I was fairly homesick.  I, too, lamented having to leave Texas and especially Austin (OK, a, it was different then, and b, I was all of 22), and probably described how awesome it was.  And it drove my co-workers nuts.  They kept asking me, “what’s so great about it, what’s so great about it?”  I had a hard time describing it.

I think those who haven’t lived here for an appreciable length of time can comprehend the extent of the love affair many Texans – natives or transplants – have for this place.  As to the why…….it’s hard to explain.  Texas has its own, very dramatic, history. It was an independent nation.  It is huge.  The food is varied and awesome (Whataburger!).  The women are gorgeous, prettier than any other state I’ve been to, though some other southern states come close.  Cowboys, the oil industry, the ranching, Hispanics that have been in Texas longer than Mexico has been a nation, the huge wide open sky which some easterners used to tall trees and narrow vistas find oppressive.

It has the most varied geography of pretty much any state in the union including maybe even Alaska and California.  You can be in deep East Texas piney woods that look like Alabama, the Rocky Mountains, or flat unbroken scrub brush desert.  But the heart of it all, the prettiest, best part, to me, anyway, is the Hill Country.  I fell in love with the Hill Country in college and have adored it ever since.

The people are generally awesome, too, but we are getting too many and the urban areas have become more and more generic Top 10 market type places. So don’t think about moving here!  There’s snakes everywhere and black widows and you have to rinse the sand out of your coffee cup every morning and its hotter n’ blazes n……..

Seriously, Texas also has a deep Catholic heritage that the fading protestant majority has tried to minimize but which this video gives at least some recognition to.  It’s from the early 60s and is in good color.  You can see the fields of wild bluebonnets that are just about to start blooming, among the Indian Paintbrush and the Firewheel and Mexican Hat and others. There is even a brief shot of a TLM at an ancient mission in South Texas.  German immigrants, of which my wife is a pureblood descendant, get a mention.  Her father is one of the dwindling speakers of Texas German.

Texans I think will really enjoy this video, even though it is possibly a bit hokey and juvenile.  Outsiders will lament and gnash their teeth in great jealousy.  Clear streams with white limestone bottoms, oak and cedar trees, white rock cliffs and rolling coastal pastures, mountain laurels…….my wife and kids are going to Pipe Creek next week, and I have to stay and work. I know everything will be wonderfully in bloom. Waaaahhhhh!

A Highly Illuminating Blast from the Past February 28, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in fun, General Catholic, history, huh?, Revolution, secularism, sickness, Society, the enemy.
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Wow.  You might find the video below as intriguing as I did.  It covers the early part of George Wallace’s 1968 election campaign as a third party candidate. Later he chose the often unfairly maligned Curtis E. LeMay for his running mate.

It’s interesting what is and isn’t discussed in the video, which I believe was produced by a friendly Alabama TV station.  Segregation is never directly addressed – which of course had been a huge part of Wallace’s political past (though leftists might hear a “dog whistle” in repeated appeals to law and order) – but then neither is Vietnam.  What is discussed may sound eerily familiar to you, as it did to me.  Many of the same concerns that resulted in Trump’s election were being voiced by millions of Americans (Wallace got 14% of the vote and won several southern states) fifty years ago: horror at liberal overreach, grave concern over an increasingly totalitarian judiciary pushing an always leftist agenda, an increasing sense that individual liberties were being steadily curtailed.  Hey, 60s people, wait till you get a load of cultural marxism/political correctness!  Are any of you Wallace supporters still around?!

May dad had an AuH20 (Goldwater in that very atomic time) sticker on his car in ’64, but voted for Nixon in ’68.  West Texas used to be covered in billboards demanding the impeachment of both Johnson and Earl Warren.  Those early efforts were sadly unsuccessful, and now we’re much further down the line of leftist totalitarianism, being perhaps one presidential administration away from the final demise of the “American experiment.”  Fortunately, that did not come to pass, at least, in 2016.  But it might in 2020, if Trump cannot roll much of this leftist agenda back.

Wallace, of course, did not earn much Catholic support.  Jim Crow segregationists -and he had definitely been one – had little more love for Catholics than they did for blacks.  Catholics returned the sentiment, in general.  It is surprising that Wallace did attract quite a bit of support outside the South, as the video makes clear.  Numerous Americans were disgusted by Johnson and exceedingly concerned over what was then the still quite nascent advance of cultural marxism and leftism in our country.  Whatever Wallace was, and I’m certainly no big student of him, he seemed to appeal to developing and broad-ranging concern that America had gotten badly off-track and was in danger of becoming lost.  Reagan would tap into this same sentiment to great success in 1980, finally gaining wide crossover support from Catholics for a Republican nominee.

No I am not endorsing Wallace or some of his more unfortunate views in posting this.  It is to me a highly revealing time capsule of an America that was, which ain’t nearly so different as we might have thought it would be from today.  If you’ve got 30 or 60 minutes to invest, I think it’s worth your time. Wallace certainly did recognize some of the gravest threats this republic faced then and now, and articulated them quite well.  Of course, a few years later, after being shot in 1972, he would reverse many of these opinions and become much more liberal.  Nevertheless I think this has some value from both the historical perspective and from a sociological point of view, in terms of comprehending just how long and deep the same concerns that led to Trump’s media-aided emergence in 2016 have existed.  I tell you what, it is almost mind-blowing to see George Wallace packing halls in, of all places, San Francisco!! – California used to be a fairly conservative state until the invasion of illegal immigrants and burned out hippy summer of love leftovers totally remade that state’s demographics.

If you want to save time I think  you can get a good feel for the whole by just watching the first 10 or 15 minutes. After that it does become a bit more repetitive.

UPDATE: Wallace took some stands that most people today find appalling.  His “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” seems unfathomable.  Of course, he was always more a populist than a true segregationist – that portion of the Alabama white populace that elected him in ’64 wanted segregation to persist, so Wallace became that group’s champion.  As desegregation became inevitable Wallace jettisoned that rhetoric quickly, and as I noted, in later life wholly repudiated those policy positions.

Having said that, LBJ, often lauded as a civil rights pioneer, is widely reported to have said, regarding the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the creation of the welfare state – “we’ll have the niggars voting for us (the democrats) for 200 years.” This was part and parcel with a racism inherent within much of the democrat party that I think, in much more subtle but possibly more destructive ways, persists to this day.  Of course, virtually everyone has forgotten that all of those measures required strong Republican support to pass Congress, as the democrat party was badly split on those issues.  Interesting how that works out, the democrats have always reaped the electoral rewards of these stands taken in the 60s today, to the extent that the entire Republican party, or merely to vote Republican, is considered irretrievably racist by the Black Lives Matters movement and others dedicated to the furtherance of Democrat political interests.  The current Republican president is being presented as history’s biggest monster simply because he exists, not because of anything he’s actually done, which isn’t much, yet.  This is the new normal for Republicans going forward.  The media-government complex  (those Wallace lambasted as “pseudo-intellectuals”) cannot be destroyed soon enough.

Meanwhile, democrats continue to cultivate a virtual plantation where they keep minorities voting reliably for them even as those same minorities cultural, moral, and even economic situation continues to horribly deteriorate as a deliberate result of democrat-leftist  policies.  Someone will write a great comic tragedy someday, some great masterpiece of literature, if such things still exist 100 years from now, covering exactly this comedy of errors.  It would be unbelievably if it were not true.

Flightline Friday: The Best Book on the ATF Program and YF-23, Ever February 24, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Flightline Friday, foolishness, fun, history, reading, sickness, technology.
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I did a Flightline Friday about a year and a half ago discussing, among other things, the YF-23 Advanced Tactical Fighter prototype produced by Northrop.  The Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) program was initiated in the 1980s by the USAF to produce not just an F-15 replacement, but a fighter that could finally and decisively sweep the skies over Central Europe during an all-out conflict with the Soviet Union.  It was designed to be the most comprehensively advanced and dominant air combat aircraft ever produced.

The program evolved over the course of the 80s.  From many disparate concepts from a whole lot of companies – very few of which exist anymore – the program was eventually narrowed down to a competition between a team led by Northrop (with McDonnell Douglas) and Lockheed (with General Dynamics and Boeing).  Northrop produced the YF-23 (and this was ALL Northrop, McAir had almost nothing to do except some cockpit layout and providing the landing gear from an F-15), and Lockheed the YF-22 (here the situation was entirely different, GD contributed TONS to the Lockheed design and may have saved their bacon.  Lockheed massively redesigned their aircraft proposal in 1987-8, requesting 6 additional months from USAF to do so, because the original concept had so many problems).

At any rate, history shows, for reasons that are still inexplicable to some, that USAF preferred the ugly, block-like YF-22 to the graceful YF-23. Both aircraft had advantages over the other – the YF-23 was faster, in most respects stealthier and had superior supersonic maneuverability, while the YF-22 was better in the close-in, subsonic fight and carried substantially more missiles internally.

Even though the aircraft were designed nearly 30 years ago, much data on them has remained classified.  Particularly classified has been concrete data on the production aircraft proposed by Northrop for the F-23.  The actual production F-23 would have differed significantly from the YF-23, for a variety of reasons, though not nearly so much as the F-22 has wound up differing from the YF-22 (of course, USAF had a great deal to do with that, and details on Lockheed’s original engineering and manufacturing development version of the YF-22 – basically their vision of the production aircraft – have been even harder to find than those of the F-23).

Also somewhat limited has been extensive detail on the numerous other submissions made over the early phase of the ATF program from companies like Grumman, North American (Rockwell), McDonnell Douglas, Boeing, etc.

Well all that has ended, as former Northrop Chief Test Pilot and YF-23 lead pilot Paul Metz has now, in conjunction with Steve Ginter, produced THE seminal book on not only the F-23 but the entire ATF program. And this thing is an absolute gem. I was up way past 1 last night because I could not put the book down.

Just a few of the highlights:

  • Loads of never-before seen photos of ATF submittals and YF-23
  • Incredibly detailed construction drawings of YF-23
  • Extensive sections of the F-23 EMD submittal (upon which the USAF judged the winner of the competition – again, this was the manufacturer’s plan for final production design, maintenance, operations, etc) are repeated
  • Incredibly detailed construction drawings of the F-23 EMD design.  There has been one of these outted before but Metz adds several more
  • Detailed history of YF-23 development including key players involved, like Yu Ping Liu, who designed the aircraft’s stealth characteristics
  • Detailed history of Northrop’s internal design progression towards a stealthy air combat fighter over the years 1971-1986. The YF-23 design was basically fixed by late 1985 (!!)
  • An unprecedented amount of material on the Naval ATF version.  During the late 80s, it was planned that the Navy would buy a navalized version of the ATF winner to replace the F-14.  The end of the Cold War killed that idea.

The book is brand new (hit shelves Christmas last year) and a bit high (~$38).  It’s not real long but it is jam packed with information.  One of the things I have noted from those involved in the YF-23 program is the fact that it was a labor of love, the people working on it really loved each other and the amazing product.  That really shows through in this book, even though Metz eventually went to work for Lockheed and became chief test pilot on the rival F-22 team (after Lockheed won the competition), I get the sense from this book that his heart was always with the F-23.  As well it should have been.  It is still, as of this writing, conceptually the most advanced and capable aircraft ever produced.

A quick addendum: I noted in the post linked in the top some deficiencies with the YF-23 design that may have helped inform USAF’s decision to prefer the F-22 concept.  Because we knew so little about the F-23 EMD proposal, it was assumed some of those problematic features would have remained the same. No more.  The F-23 EMD corrected both the engine fan blade viewing problem and, for the most part, the shortfall of internal carriage of AMRAAMs compared to the F-22 (still would have been one short, but that’s a pretty small difference).  The F-23 EMD was MUCH different from what people thought based on the limited info that was out there.  If anything, it made the aircraft even more attractive.  If only they could have gotten rid of that canopy brace……

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If you have anything more than a passing interest in the F-23 or F-22, get this book.

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They May Not Have Known Each Other, But They Sure as Hell Chewed Some of the Same Dirt February 17, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, family, history, non squitur, silliness.
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My paternal grandparents met and married in Phillips County, Kansas in the 1920s.  They may have known each other well before that, but they married around 1930.  My grandfather’s surname was obviously Roach.  My grandmother’s was Pennington.  God rest both their souls.

150 years earlier, Francis Roach was a very early settler of Kentucky.  He arrived there perhaps 4 years after Daniel Boone led the first permanent party of white settlers across the Cumberland Gap in 1775 (an earlier attempt in 1773 had to be abandoned due to attacks by indians).  Francis served in the Revolutionary War under General George Rogers Clark.  A little bio on Francis:

Personal Information:
Born:  April 1739 in Fairfax Co., VA
Family: He was married.
Death:  9 Jul 1845 at his son David’s house at Lamb’s Point (Worden) [106 years old!]Military Record:  He enlisted in 1779 and again in 1780 when he served with Capt.Dougherty on the frontier. He went with his captain in the service of his country under the command of General George Rogers Clark in 1782, and in 1786 he fought the Indians under the command of General     Benjamin Logan. During the campaigns into the Indian country in the present state of Ohio, in one he helped cut up and destroy their corn at “Old Chillicothe of the Little Miami”. Mr. Roach had drawn a pension of $24.67 a year since 1832 (he was 93 when he applied).

Burial:  Hamel Tp.

Narrative:  Being an orphan boy, he was bound to a master, who removed with him to North Carolina in early life, where he married. In 1779 he emigrated to Kentucky, where he spent the first six years in a fort at Dougherty’s Station, near Danville in Mercer Co.; and after residing in several other parts of that state (he is on the 1799 tax list for Christian Co., KY – 299 acres), moved to Madison Co., Il living there till his death.

Francis was a man below the middling stature, of a swarthy complexion, gray eyes, and of active bodily faculties, which he retained to a remarkable degree till his last illness – was naturally of a cheerful disposition, rather weakly the first thirty-one years, which probably taught him how to be prudent in managing his health, having enjoyed, uniformly, (with the exception of two or three attacks of fever and ague) good health during that period. He was always an early riser – a day rarely dawned before he was out of bed – winter and summer.  [Well he certainly didn’t pass that trait on to me]

Mr. Roach was always a temperate man, using ardent spirits only in the shape of “morning bitters”, as was the custom of the day – ate meat generally at every meal – never liked or drank coffee [so that’s where it get it from!], but tea occasionally for the last ten years, and totally disused ardent spirits for the same period. He became a professor of religion, and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church in the year 1787, in which he remained a devout member the balance of his life. [as were at least some of his descendants 200 years later]

After he was 100 years old, his eyesight became so dim that he could with difficulty discern one person from another – being guided more by their voice than otherwise. He never had the benefit of an education, and consequently had not much need for spectacles.

Mr. Roach was a hatter by trade, but most of his labor was spent on the farm, which never ceased as long as his eyesight served him. He was seen cutting corn stalks in the field with a hoe after he became a centenarian.

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Daniel Boone had a sister named Hannah.  Hannah married another Revolutionary War soldier named Richard Pennington.  They, like Francis, moved from North Carolina to Kentucky in the late 1770s.  In fact, Hannah and Richard belonged to the first worship house set up in Kentucky, the Mulkey Meeting House, the later version of which still stands to this day, and outside of which Hannah’s earthly remains lie.

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While these families crossed the Cumberland Gap almost contemporaneously and lived in relatively close proximity for some times, they rapidly scattered within a few years. The Roaches in particular seemed to have a serious case of wanderlust, picking up and moving every 20 years or so.  And not just across town, but to entirely different states, when to do so involved great danger and a journey of weeks or months. After Kentucky they went to Illinois, then Iowa, and finally Kansas.  Why those good Southerners went to Yankee land I have no idea………well, actually I do, they were not big on fighting for the right of a handful of very rich and decadent men to own slaves.  In fact all my forebears who fought in the Civil War – and there were quite a few – fought for the North.  I’d have to check, but every single one of them may have.

I don’t know if my dad has ever established that the Roaches and Penningtons knew each other at this early date, but given that there were probably not 500 whites in all of Kentucky at this early date it’s possible. It has been established via genealogy that these are the same Roaches and Penningtons. Amazing that descendants of these families would, 3 or 4 generations later, wind up marrying.  In the words of Gunny Highway, they may not have known each other, but they sure as hell chewed some of the same dirt.

So, yes, I am also distantly related to Daniel Boone.

A Beautiful, Edifying Episode from the Life of St. Simeon Stylite January 26, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, episcopate, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, history, Interior Life, mortification, reading, Saints, sanctity, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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The man who stood upon ever-taller stone columns for decades, St. Simeon Stylite is probably better known among Eastern Christians than those in the West.  Fortunately, St. Francis de Sales included the following episode from the life of St. Simeon Stylite in some of his letters, letters which were compiled into a book called Finding God’s Will For You. There are serious lessons regarding obedience in this tale, too, but obedience is an issue so fraught with peril in today’s Church, where so much of the leadership has gone amok.  How to deal with authority that is demanding 135794-004-971f6b9eacceptance of grave sin and destructive error under threat of severe persecution?  There are writings from the Tradition that help guide us, but they are not terribly voluminous or comprehensive.

This situation we are going through is not entirely unique.  In the protestant revolt, whole bishops and princes tried to take dioceses and countries into error.  Did souls go along, under obedience or more prurient motives?  Most did.  But in almost every locale, some remained faithful.  Many of those are called Saints or Blesseds today.

I think the lesson, as it develops below, also serves as a guide to us.  Worthy shepherds will give broad latitude to subordinates who show a willingness to be obedient.  But those seeking to impose their will, and heterodox beliefs, on the Church, will always seek to impose their will in virtually every regard, and won’t grant such latitude.  Whenever it comes down to promotion of error, subordinates are freed from their duty of obedience.  Unfortunately, those seeking to impose a different religion often know how to mask their efforts to at least some degree, making the process of discernment a most difficult one.  Pray that God may enlighten you as to which matters require your obedience.

Anyway, from Finding God’s Will For You, pp. 61-2:

While the incomparable Simeon Stylites was still a novice at Telada (a monastery in Syria), he refused to respond to the advice of his superiors who wished to keep him from practicing the many strange forms of austerity he observed with inordinate severity.  For this reason he was expelled from the monastery as a man not very susceptible to mortification of heart and much given to that of the body.  Afterward he came to his senses, became more devout and wiser in the spiritual life, and behaved quite differently, as is proved by the following event.
download-15When the hermits who were scattered about the desert regions near Antioch learned of the extraordinary life he led on his pillar, where he seemed to be either an angel on earth or a man from Heaven, they sent him a representative whom they instructed to speak for them in the following fashion: “Simeon, why have you left the great path of the devout life, trodden by so many great and holy predecessors, and followed another path unknown to men and far distant from everything seen or heard of up to the present?  Simeon, get down from that pillar, and join the others in the way of life and method of serving God used by those good fathers who were our predecessors.”

In the event that Simeon agreed with their advice and showed himself ready and willing to descend from his pillar so as to condescend to their will, the  hermits had instructed their messenger to leave him free to persevere in the kind of life he had begun.  Bu such obedience, those good fathers said, they could easily recognize that he had entered this kind of life  under divine inspiration. On the contrary, if he resisted, despised their exhortation, and wished to follow his own will, then they resolved that it would be necessary to take him down by force and make him give up his pillar. [These were most wise shepherds with the love of Christ in their hearts.  They are happy to give wide space for novel forms of devotion, even when they do not fully understand them, provided sufficient submission to Christ and His Church is evident]

When the deputy had arrived at the pillar, he had no sooner announced his mission than the great Simeon without delay, without reservation, and without any reply, started to descend with obedience and humility worthy of his rare sanctity.  When the delegate saw this, he said, “Simeon, stop and stay there, persevere with constancy, and have saintsimongood courage.  Follow valiantly your enterprise. Your sojourn on that pillar is from God.”

….I implore you to observe carefully how those holy anchorites of old in general meeting found no surer mark of heavenly inspiration in a matter so extraordinary as the life of St. Stylites than to see that he was simple, gentle, and tractable under the laws of most holy obedience.  God blessed the submission of that great man and gave him the grace to persevere for thirty whole years upon a column more than fifty feet high….Thus this bird of paradise, living in air and not touching earth, was a spectacle of love for angels and of admiration for men.  In obedience, everything is safe, apart from obedience, all is subject to suspicion……..

……..A man who ways that he is inspired and then refuses to obey his superiors and follow their advice is an impostor.  All prophets and preachers inspired by God have always loved the Church, always adhered to Her Doctrine, and always had Her approval……… [When the superiors give evidence of being impostors by not adhering to Doctrine, the entire machine breaks down.  Especially when even the highest authority gives such evidence.  The great trouble is, after 50 years of successively advancing inculcation of error in souls, there are very few who don’t hold erroneous beliefs, who don’t support some form of abuse.  If it were not for her supernatural element, I daresay, the machine stops.]

———–End Quote———–

I get in “trouble,” sometimes, as I am viewed as not being sufficiently supportive, or critical, of groups like the SSPX.  But in this time of mass confusion and untold calamity, I have a difficult time telling someone “you err” in their differing responses to the crisis.  I do have some limits – I think sede vacantists go too far, and those who reject the Church altogether and leave for some other sect/church – but overall I have a hard time blaming someone, in this unending mass of confusion and conflict, from arriving at a little bit different conclusion than my own.  I think the key remains: “Love God, and do what you will.”  I pray He will be merciful and understanding with us all who are groping about in the dark in this time of so little light.

This Stinks: Gene Cernan dead at 82 January 16, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Four Last Things, General Catholic, history, manhood, sadness, Society, technology, Victory.
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The old Apollo guys are going to their reward one by one.  Who is left at this point that walked on the moon?   Buzz Aldrin, Al Bean, Dave Scott, John Young, Charlie Duke, and Jack Schmitt.  All are in their 80s.

But today the last man to walk on the moon died.  Gene Cernan, who lived outside Kerrville, was 82:

Gene Cernan, an early NASA astronaut who was the last man to set foot on the moon, died Monday, NASA announced in a tweet. He was 82.

Cernan was the commander of Apollo 17 in December 1972 – the last lunar mission and one of the final Apollo flights. When Cernan stepped out from lunar module “Challenger” he became the 11th person to walk on the moon. His lunar module pilot, Jack Schmitt, was the 12th. But as commander, Cernan was the last to re-enter the module, making him the last person to walk on the lunar surface.

Cernan had previously served as the lunar module pilot on Apollo 10 and was a pilot on the Gemini IX mission.

Cernan logged 566 hours and 15 minutes in space, of which 73 hours were spent on the surface of the moon, according to NASA.

Cernan was one of only three men to travel to the moon twice.  The other two were Jim Lovell (still alive) and John Young.

There was a big row in NASA in the first half of 1970 when Nixon foolishly decided to gut the Apollo program (although, in his defense, most all of NASA management wanted it gutted, too).  After it was announced that Apollos 18-20 would be cancelled, even though the hardware was already almost entirely built (everything but the LMs for Apollo 19 and 20), the scientific community got all fired up because the then-current crew rotation would mean that no scientist would fly to the moon if Apollo 17 was the last mission.  The first scientist scheduled to go was Jack Schmitt to the Tycho Crater on Apollo 18 with Commander Dick Gordon.  No Apollo 18 meant no scientist on the moon.

But not so fast.  The science guys raised a big enough ruckus that NASA management was “encouraged” to change the crew rotation.  Gordon and Schmitt had been training together for 6 months at that point so Gordon hoped the entire crew for 18 would just replace Gene Cernan’s crew for 17.  That would have left Cernan out in the cold.  But instead, the awesomely skilled former X-15 pilot Joe Engle was bumped as LMP from Apollo 17 in favor of Schmitt, and Dick Gordon had to watch his chance to be the somewhat famous last man on the moon go up in smoke.

Gene Cernan was a bit of an anomaly among early Apollo astronauts in not being a test pilot.  He was an attack aviation guy in the Navy, flying Skyhawks, when he found out he had been accepted into the third round of astronaut selectees.  Cernan was generally viewed as a competent straight shooter who perhaps had the flaw of being a bit aggressive in his self-promotion.  There was quite a bit of that among the Apollo astronauts, of course.  After his time in NASA and almost de rigeuer collapse of his first marriage, Cernan became a bit of a sad creature, a sort of a caricature of his salad days version of himself, always Captain Cernan, always the former astronaut, not Geno or Gene anymore.

Still, they rarely make men like this anymore.  We’re much too soft to produce such steely eyed missile men as those who flew to the moon in a delicate, lowest-cost government-run contraption.  Engineering was done on slide rules back then, with no 3-D solid modeling and with less computing power in the entire NASA basement than one smart phone today.  And yet they did it, and the engineers of back then were probably far, far better than those of today, man for man.

Gene Cernan was at least a nominal Catholic most of his life.  Not sure if he died one.  I pray for the repose of his soul.

Few know Cernans’s most dangerous mission was not Apollo 17, was not on Apollo at all, but was on Gemini 9A.  During the mission he was to perform only America’s second spacewalk, the first since Ed White briefly flew outside Gemini 4.  What most people did not know at that time, is that White barely made it back inside the spacecraft.  His inflated pressure suit did not want to fit in the cramped capsule and he and commander Jim McDivitt struggled mightily to get it closed. As a result, White got quite severely overheated.

Well, White’s walk lasted perhaps 20 minutes, whereas Cernan’s was scheduled to last several hours.  However, he also ran into problems with inadequate cooling in his spacesuit, especially when in the 250 degree temperatures on the sunny side of the world.  Physical exertion, of which there was plenty, made him sweat profusely.  Then, when the capsule went around the night side of the earth, all that moisture inside his suit froze.  His visor was almost completely frosted over and Cernan was blind.  He barely managed to make it back inside the ship, and probably had a heat stroke trying to get the hatch shut.

Cernan and Stafford repeated their two-man team on Apollo 10, when another accident could have killed them both.  An incorrect setting on a guidance computer caused their Lunar Module to tumble out of control while practicing the landing maneuvers that Apollo 11 would perform on the first lunar landing.  The telemetry showed the LM “Snoopy” doing three 360s before Stafford flipped the switch to go from backup abort guidance to the Apollo Guidance Computer.  That fixed it.

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So, While I Was Away, Dallas Got a New Bishop January 4, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, General Catholic, history, huh?, priests, secularism, Society.
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Edward Burns from, of all places, Juneau, AK, was named to replace departed <giggle> Cardinal <snort> Farrell about three weeks ago, while I was in beautiful but cold North Carolina.  This is a real under-the-radar kind of appointment.  Burns is not as young as I feared (59, meaning Dallas won’t be saddled with one man, great or disastrous, for thirty years, like Albany and Rochester have been), and he’s led a fairly low profile heretofore.  I’m not entirely certain, but there’s a good possibility that his former Diocese, Juneau, is the smallest in the nation.  Heck, it’s 6000 Catholics are smaller than probably 2/3 of the parishes in this diocese.

I’ll admit this appointment happened a great deal sooner than I thought.  Bishop Cardinal Farrell had said, before departing, that a replacement would be named within 2-3 months.  I scoffed at that, since other dioceses have waited 18-24 months to get replacements, but he was obviously better informed than I: the replacement was named just over 3 months after Farrell departed for his new sinecure in Rome.

New Bishop Burns hails originally from Pittsburgh, and got some love from Pope JPII (via Ratzinger) in being appointed one of the co-chairman of the apostolic investigation into the (deliberately engineered) vocations crisis in the US, and later was appointed to the Vatican review of US seminaries.  After that, however, he was sent back to Pittsburgh to the post he had held before he had been elevated to the USCCB in 1999, as rector of the diocesan seminary in Pittsburgh.  After an additional year in that role was apparently sufficient purgatory and he was then consecrated Bishop of Juneau by Benedict XVI in early 2009.  I don’t know if these moves signify a rising or falling star or are simply the vagaries of Church assignments for a man being groomed for the episcopate.  Beats me.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh under Bishop David Zubik is generally seen to be somewhat on the conservative side, I think, at least relatively speaking by 201X American standards.  What that means for our new Bishop Burns in Dallas is uncertain.  This guy does not have much of a paper trail, though he has been fairly reliably pro-life, at least in a few public pronouncements.  He doesn’t seem to be a screaming liberal, but I could be fooled.

I’m also uncertain what Burn’s appointment means for the Diocese.  It does seem something of a step down, from receiving the consummate insider (and clearly a man on the rise) in Farrell, who had been a protege of the notorious but highly influential Cardinal McCarrick, a big player in the politically important Archdiocese of Washington, DC, and a deeply committed USCCB apparatchik, to this guy, wonderful though he may be (or may not be) from the Diocese of North Pole.  Does that say something about how Dallas is perceived within the Church? Under Farrell, Dallas went from being something of a backwater with a scandalous recent past (the boy-rape scandals and decadent seminary situation being Farrell’s two biggest repair priorities in office) to being a destination, from being a place that received bishops from elsewhere to one that exported many into leadership positions in nearby dioceses.  Or is it a situation where a diocese in crisis merited an admittedly sharp administrator (if hardly an inspiring, doctrinally strong shepherd), and now that the crisis is supposedly past (though things continue to be buried), someone of a lower profile could be named as replacement?  I do not say any of this as a criticism of Burns, it’s simply comparing the very disparate past histories of two different men.

Some local pro-life folks have apparently met with Bishop-elect Burns and came away heartened.  So maybe he’ll be awesome.  My guess is that very little will change, practically speaking.  There isn’t anything in his background, that I have found, that indicates he might have a innate hostility towards Tradition, over and above what most men formed in his time and place have.  Of course, it’s difficult to say, most of this is just speculation off of a few thread of evidence.  If you have found documentation that indicates reasons for concern or elation, please share them.  My research has been limited to an afternoon and an evening during the break.  I admit I am mostly just spitballing in this post.

One thing that has changed, and I imagine this was planned under Farrell, is that the local pro-life Mass and march will be split into two days, and the march will be little more than a short stroll from the convention center to an empty parking lot on deserted, weekend downtown streets (the last bit being per usual, unfortunately).  This isn’t a major change, formerly held on one day with a Mass and a mile or so long march through downtown Dallas, the local pro-life March has, over the years, degenerated into a self-congratulatory spectacle garnering precious little media coverage and accomplishing mostly mutual back-patting. I don’t criticize those who participate, it’s certainly fine to get some reinforcement for one’s pro-life beliefs, but the March reaches basically no one who is not already converted and I don’t think it accomplishes a great deal in the defense of life in any concrete sense. As such, we’re going to just pray/counsel outside a mill, instead of participating in the March.  Unfortunately, in the wake of the court’s overturning of Texas HB2, mills that had closed down due to the bill are re-opening, like the notorious Northpark mill which is nearly complete.

Important Education for Kids: The Truth About Communism, 1962 January 4, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, disaster, error, General Catholic, history, horror, Revolution, scandals, secularism, sickness, Society, unadulterated evil.
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Narrated by Ronald Reagan, at the start of his political career, with an introduction by Alexander Kerensky, this relatively short (a little over an hour, in two parts) video provides an accurate, concise, brutal overview of the history of communism, primarily in its twentieth century incarnations in the Soviet Union and Maoist China.  Covered in detail is communism’s history of massive blood-letting among its own citizens, with tens of millions of Russians, and over 100 million Chinese, directly killed by their government through either direct action or deliberate acts of policy that had the effect, predicted well in advance, of causing millions to starve.  This of course leaves out the likely billions killed through abortion and/or contraception.

Unfortunately, the scale of communism’s evils are so great that even the very rotten core of the Soviet system, the hellish GULAG archipelago, receives only brief mention, but this vehicle of repression was at the heart of Soviet means of repression.  The Volga-Don canal project, during the construction of which tens of thousands (if not hundreds) perished, is briefly discussed, but the horrors of the Kolyma gold mines and other even worse examples from the GULAG were likely not known at this time, so they do not get mentioned.

Also noted is communism’s demonic messianic zeal to spread everywhere possible, including the use of espionage, propaganda, cultural subversion, and even violent repression when it starts to gain a sizable following.  The Frankfort School of German cultural communism was not well known enough at this time to gain a mention, but there exist abundant denunciations of this school and its sad success in destroying the Christian foundation of the West and badly subvert almost all of Europe and much of the United States.  That’s probably one complaint I have about this movie, it’s a product of its time and focuses almost exclusively on the political/economic/military aspects of communist expansionism, with very little attention paid to the far more important cultural aspects.  In the film’s defense, however, it should be noted that the revolution against the culture communism has achieved in the past 50 years was in its most nascent stages when this film was made.  The Gramscian theory was little known, and it seemed direct government to government military/economic confrontation was the pressing threat.  Little did these folks know, including, I think, Reagan, that the seeds of the destruction of the West had already been planted deep within key Western institutions like the academy, press, and governmental agencies, at this time.

This kind of material is certainly not taught in schools anymore. Few homeschool programs, to my knowledge, give serious attention to the evils of communism. As such, an entire generation of children has now been raised, and is coming to adulthood, not only failing to comprehend the evils of communism, but even being heavily propagandized into accepting its supposed “glories,” if kids are in the public schools in particular.  These two videos could go a long way towards making up this educational shortfall, which, I must admit, exists for my own children, in spite of my frequent dinner-table denunciations of this most satanic of political-economic systems.  Having not grown up in the Cold War, they simply do not know the extent of communism’s relentless, unimaginable evils.

If you have kids, I pray you strongly consider having them watch these if they are of an appropriate age.  There are some scenes of violent repression and some mass graves, but not much that I would say is inappropriate for kids of 10-12 years of age or so.  You may want to give the videos a perusal before showing them to children.  Some of the scenes may be disturbing for some kids – pretty much rows of bodies both barely covered with soil and lying out in the open.  But given how much such scenes are an inseparable aspect of communism, you might consider letting your kids seeing them so they may grasp its reality.

Quick Hits: A Little Good, A Little Astroturf, a Little Horror November 14, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in asshatery, disaster, error, General Catholic, history, horror, pr stunts, priests, rank stupidity, scandals, self-serving, sickness, Society, unadulterated evil.
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Getting to the Astroturf first, ads placed on Craigslist demonstrate the, ah……professional.…….nature of the anti-Trump protest riots:

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$1500 a week to lay about all day and riot/break s–t all night? Probably tax free, too?  Although 77 hours per week sounds like rather more work than most Obama/Hillary supporters are wont to do.  They probably just work a night or two a week to earn enough money to buy their drug of choice.

Just a bit more proof as to the planned, coordinated, and unspontaneous nature of these riots.  This is not a mass reaction of a lot of the people against the President-elect, this is a tiny group of professional agitators looking to get paid.

Now for something a bit happier: at least one reader liked the video of Father Hubbard I posted last week.  The same channel I found the first one at posted another one – they must have liked the linkback.  More awesome natural beauty, more poised if a bit campy commentary, and more plugs.  I think I liked this one a bit more than the first, even without the nearly drowned grizzly cub:

And now for the worst reaction to the election of Trump yet – and that’s saying quite a lot.  A mom completely traumatizes her 8 y/o son by demanding he pack his suitcase and leave the house because he voted for Trump in a mock school election.  Not sure what lesson mom was trying to teach here, but the emotional scars and damage to her relationship with her son will likely last a lifetime, unless his mind mercifully buries this hideous memory:

I am normally very opposed to governmental intrusion into families under the guise of CPS for specious reasons, especially since CPS likes to persecute homeschoolers at times, but this is waaay over the top and might merit quite a bit of counseling if not more.  Given that mom apparently thought this was fit to post publicly, what else is she doing that she’s too ashamed to make public?

It is sickening to think we live in a culture so filled with narcissists that someone would actually do this to their own child over something so trivial.  But there are no depths to the depravity to which people will sink absent faith in Jesus Christ and a powerful role for His Church in the culture.

Sorry to group all these things together but I’m out of time for the day.  I’m giving poor Fr. Hubbard really bad company in this post, God rest his soul.

What Used to Be Common, Expected, in the Church, Today is Unimaginable November 14, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, disaster, Ecumenism, error, General Catholic, history, Revolution, sadness, scandals, secularism, Society, the struggle for the Church.
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Could you imagine finding a nearly full page ad for the Church in a major national weekly magazine, not only encouraging souls to become Catholic, but even arguing – if tacitly – for the Church as the One True Church founded by Jesus Christ?  Can you imagine a piece of evangelization produced by an institutional source like the Knights of Columbus making plain the Precept of the Faith to assist at Mass on Sunday in such a secular environment?

I bought a bound volume containing all issues of Newsweek for the first half of 1954.  About once a month, the ad below ran:

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Bringing out a bit of the text:

Catholics believe that Christ not only called upon us to honor and serve God…..but prescribed the ways in which we should do so.  He did not say how often we must go to church  [I disagree with this.  He did, Author/Inspiration of Sacred Scripture, command us to keep the Sabbath holy, every week]……….nor how many prayers we were to recite.  But He did establish a Church with the power and authority to carry on His work…..and He promised that His Church would last to the end of time-that it would have God’s protection in teaching all men to observe all things.  He had commanded, especially to believe and to be baptized and thereby become members of His Church to attain the purpose of their lives.

And how do Catholics know theirs is Christ’s Church?

Because it possesses the distinguishing marks Christ gave His Church. It covers the earth as Christ said it would.  Unchanged after nearly 2000 years, it continues to live and grow, in fulfilment of His promise that His Church would last to the end of the world.

But the most convincing mark that He gave it is its unity of faith, worship and obedience under the authority of the lawful and historical successor of Peter, the first Bishop of Rome and the “rock” upon which Christ built His Church.  Just as Peter was the first Pope and the first Vicar of Christ, so also is Pius XII the 262nd Pope and the Vicar of Christ today.

If you would like to know more……

First of all…..what effective catechesis and apologetics!  In a couple hundred words, hugely important and key truths of the Faith and brought out in a most convincing manner.  No wonder so many tens of thousands were converting the Church every year in this timeframe!  Geez, it’s almost like believing this Catholic stuff is actually good for winning over souls, rather than constantly apologizing for it (in a negative way), undermining it, and trying to explain it away.

Secondly…..how about the near total implosion of the unity of Faith that could, quite honestly, still be promoted in 1954?  Yes, there were seething currents of modernism and leftism hidden under the surface, but for most believers and those outside the Church, she still presented then a vibrant bastion of faith, truth, and morality.  That vibrant face attracted many millions before the Church began her program of self-demolition just a few years later, with the death of Pius XII.

Thirdly…..while it is not directly stated, it could be understood from the above that the Church is the ONLY TRUE Church.  I do think the wording regarding baptism could have been sharpened up, but we almost all have experience of just how embarrassing Catholics, leader and lay alike, would find even such hints at the Church’s unique, Christ-given role today.  Especially under Francis, but going back decades, such clarion calls to the necessity of conversion through baptism and then membership in Christ’s Church for salvation have been notably absent.  Concomitant with that absence has been the near total implosion of the Church’s evangelization efforts, the hemorrhaging of souls, and the rise of all kinds of errors and demonic sects.

Again, it is important to notice the context: this was not an advertisement in a spiritual magazine, or a mid-50s copy of America (even then, not so spiritual), or anything of the sort, where one might expect a bit more direct language.  This was in a liberal-leaning (at that time) secular magazine.  We haven’t seen anything like this in decades.  And that sums up the crisis in the Faith in very stark terms.