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So am I the only one to get sucked into “The Expanse?” May 25, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, fun, non squitur, silliness, Society, technology, Uncategorized, watch.
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Regular readers know that we haven’t got any cable or satellite, but I’m not completely dead to the culture, yet.  I still hear about things through blogs and news sites.  I heard about the SyFy network program The Expanse several months ago and quickly got sucked in.  Enough so that after I had exhausted the first season episodes available free on Amazon Prime, I waited a few months but finally cracked and bought the second season.  The show is by no means perfect, but it is very, very good.

One warning.  I guess the broadcast standards have really collapsed because the show has all kinds of cuss words in it.  It’s not really gratuitous, the situations generally call for such language, but the show features such dire situations so frequently the language does tend a bit blue.  And another warning – one unfortunate failing of the production was the inclusion of totally gratuitous sex scenes in the first episodes of both seasons.  This is such a sop to the sick and fallen culture it’s really sad to consider, because neither of these scenes is even remotely necessary for plot advancement or character development.

But aside from that there is very much right with the show.  The Expanse is set in the late 23rd century, a time when man has colonized much of the solar system, with Mars a heavily populated independent power and a huge population scattered on myriad asteroids and moons of the gas giants.  The Earth is still the greatest power in the solar system but Mars is rising and seeks to ultimately displace Earth.  There are lots of cold war-type tensions and then a radical new discovery literally changes everything.  The fight to gain control over this discovery and weaponize it for advantage drives much of the plot in the first two seasons.

The thing I like best about the show is that it is relatively realistic, as Sci-Fi goes.  It’s not quite 2001: a space odyssey, but it’s close.  They show real weightlessness, they show the effects of “high-G burns” when the interplanetary spacecraft must impose huge G-loads on the crew to do certain maneuvers, they show mostly realistic weaponry (but no anti-missile missiles is a pretty bad miss), long-range ship-to-ship, missiles, nuclear warheads, point defence guns, interplanetary guided missiles, etc.  It’s a quite fully realized universe and one that is enjoyable to watch.

The third major party in the series are the “belters,” souls who live among the asteroids and many moons colonized on the outer planets, people who have been in low-G and low-oxygen environments for so long their physiology has changed and they can no longer live on Earth.  They also have a unique language developed for the show, which to me sounds a lot like Afrikaans (and the English they speak is spoken with a South African accent).  The belters view themselves as outcasts who are preyed upon by the “inners” and violently punished whenever they “get out of line.”  This is another major story arc through the series.

The production values and CGI are top-notch.  There are some errors, like spacecraft with voluminous empty spaces serving no purpose (but they look pretty on TV) and crazily sped up transit times between, say, the rings of Saturn and the asteroid belt (which even at 5 million miles per hour – a speed the ships in the series regularly attain – could take many days or even weeks).

The acting ranges from fair to superb.  Shohreh Aghdashloo is brilliant as a leading Earth politician Chrisjen Avasarala.  I love Cas Anvar’s Martian of Indian-descent who speaks with a Texan accent, Alex Kamal.  Dominique Tipper has grown on me.  I think the dude playing James Holden is just OK.  Most of the others are serviceable but overall the acting does not bring the show down at all.

What really carries it along is the plot and the very well-realized universe.  The story is gripping and tends to draw you in.  They are dealing with end of the world solar system type scenarios quite regularly (hence, the language) but the scenarios are not utterly implausible.  Once you accept the MacGuffin that drives everything along it all flows very sensically.

If you like sci-fi it’s a definite must-see, provided you can get past the language and the two brief but gratuitous scenes in the first episodes of series 1 and 2 (fortunately you have a bit of warning for both and can easily skip past).  If you like good drama with a healthy amount of action, you’ll also probably enjoy it. If you think this culture has absolutely nothing to offer anyone and prefer a good book to anything broadcast, you’re probably wiser than I.  But sometimes my ‘ol noggin’ wants a break and this one wasn’t too bad.

Season 3 will air sometime in the first half of 2018.

A Little Blast from the Catholic Past November 11, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in fun, General Catholic, history, manhood, priests, religious, silliness, Society, watch.
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I’d never heard of Fr. Bernard Hubbard, SJ before stumbling on the video below last night.  It was posted on a channel I subscribe to, that features a wide variety of uploaded videos from 30 to 80 years ago.  This one is from the early 50s, I would imagine, and shows Fr. Hubbard – apparently, a well known explorer of Alaska and northern Canada – first traveling up the Alcan Highway and then traversing the Gastineau Channel by boat.  Not much Catholicism is present, other than a blessing before eating a giant trout caught by Fr. Hubbard.  Lots of product plugs, for the boat company that funded the trip, the Libby canned foods, Johnson outboard motors, and even the hams and bacon Father and his traveling companion brought.  You won’t see any clerics, but, then again, they were traversing a wilderness.

A little description:

“Highway to Adventure” is a 1950s-era film that takes accompanies Alaskan explorer Father Bernard Hubbard along the Alaska Highway, referred to in this film as the Alcan Highway. (Hubbard was a Jesuit priest, geologist and explorer who popularized the Alaskan wilderness.) The highway runs through Canada and connects with continental United States with Alaska. The film opens with “polite officials” greeting motorists as they enter Canada and stop at “modern” hotels and restaurants as they pass through the Great North. The film is filled with breathtaking, scenic views including many of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks as the film crew heads to the Alcan Highway.

Meh, I enjoyed it. You may find it boring, but the recommendation is worth what it cost you:

Non Sequitur – the Mighty Marlin 60 vs. the Righteous Ruger 10/22 August 4, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, family, firearms, fun, non squitur, silliness, technology, watch.
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Just a fun gun post.  I happen to own both a Marlin 60 and a Ruger 10/22 “tactical.”  Both are .22LR rimfire semi-auto rifles.  Both tend to be quite affordable, the Marlin much more so than the Ruger, especially when the Ruger is tricked out with folding stock, 25 round magazines, Picatinny rails, red dot sight, etc.

I happen to like both guns quite a bit. I’m not a big fan of “tacticool,” modding out guns with all kinds of synthetic stocks, rails, and accessories. They can certainly add a certain amount of utility to a firearm, but they tend to make them heavier and more unwieldy.  I’m just the kind of guy who would freeze at a critical moment trying to decide whether to fire, turn on the laser, use the flashlight, or grab the pistol grip.  Having said that, because it kind of came that way from the start, I’ve tricked out my 10/22 to a probably silly degree.  Pretty much all my other non-hunting rifles are bone stock.

Having said that, in many ways, I prefer the cheap little Marlin to the Ruger.  I think the Marlin’s action is better and smoother.  I think it’s slightly more accurate.  It weighs about half as much (acknowledging, much of that difference is my own fault). And, rather significantly, I’ve never been able to overrun the action of the Marlin with my finger, while I have done that with the Ruger, especially if the ammo isn’t of the best quality.  That is to say, I get a misfeed and the gun jams when trying to fire very quickly in semi-auto. Most of that is probably on the ammo, but I get the impression at times I’ve just flicked my finger faster than the action can work. I’ve never had that happen with the Marlin.

The Ruger has a big advantage in being magazine fed, and holding far more rounds (25 vs. 14 or 15 for the Marlin), if you have BX-25 magazines. Even if one only has the “stock” 10 round cylindrical magazine, it is far easier, and faster, to slap a new magazine in, than it is to reload a 14 round tube, even with speed-loading aids. It is very customizable.  The folding stock can be very handy.  As an entry-level “tactical” or “sporter” type gun, it’s very inexpensive and easy to handle.  With the Marlin, there’s very little around to customize it with, and even adding a scope requires buying special hardware for the rings.  Which, is no big deal, but I bet more than one owner has been frustrated to find that awesome new scope he just bought won’t mount on his rifle as it came from the store.

I really don’t think you can go wrong with either gun.  I agree with the gentleman in the first video, the Marlin 60 makes a very good first gun.  Perhaps not the first gun a child ever shoots – a break action gun might be a more prudent choice – but for a child somewhat experienced with firearms, it is an awesome “first gun” for them to own.  My kids have largely learned to shoot on one.  Even my more skittish daughters like the light weight and ease of handling the Marlin 60.

Pretty thorough review from the great Hickok45 on both guns:

One gun owner who agrees with my take, though most prefer the 10/22 to the Marlin.  I agree with his reasons:

Remnant Comes out hard for Trump July 28, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, fun, General Catholic, secularism, Society, Tradition, Virtue, watch.
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Riddle me this, Batman: Trump has been a consistent, lifelong liberal, until the last few years or less.  He has deviated from liberal orthodoxy on points, but, overall, he’s been very liberal. His campaign rhetoric has been improving, going from mostly conservative a year ago to almost always conservative today. But he has years of quotes that can be pulled identifying acceptance of all manner of liberal orthodoxy.

Romney, Dole, McCain, and others, were despised for being turncoats, RINOs, sellouts, wafflers, whatever, because of their many past departures from truly conservative stands on various matters.   I tend to agree very strongly with the derision those past candidates richly earned, which is why I am so strongly leaning towards standing on principle in this election, and voting for the best possible candidate in spite of odds of winning.

So here’s my question.  Why does Trump seem to get a total pass on this?  Because the elite establishment hates him? That’s a lot more about class aspiration and tribal signaling than policy, though.

Anyway, I know I said I was going to move away from this topic for a while, but the Remnant just put out a video that is a near perfect corollary for yesterday’s post, so here it is.  I will say it appears from the comments that Matt and Ferrara were either ignorant of, or ignored, the Constitution Party alternative.  I don’t think it would change their conclusions much, but I think it important to bring that up.

As the video goes along, they transition from “Yes it’s morally permissible to vote for Trump” (I’m in total agreeance) to “Dang  you really should be voting for him and it’s kind of bad if you don’t.” Early on, it’s made clear that voting for Trump is not and cannot be a moral obligation, due some of his non-Catholic positions, but by the end, I was sorta getting the impression it would be a really bad mistake not to vote for him.  With which I’m not in agreement, at least not at this point, anyway.  Apparently I’m in a small minority on that.

I was also kind of surprised when they said it was those having a hard time supporting Trump who were causing division between traditional Catholics/people of good will.  Hasn’t been my experience, but okayzers.

It’s a very good video with many good insights and I’m sure it will be a gratifying watch for the many Trump supporters who have been patiently putting up with me:

‘Merica!

My last day at work in video March 14, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, asshatery, family, fun, silliness, watch.
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I actually have a really good prospect pending for later this week.  It’s that same one I requested prayers for a couple of weeks ago.  Things continue to move forward, kind of slowly.

I never described my layoff day in much detail.  I think the video below describes it pretty well. You know I had been through numerous rounds of layoffs in the previous few years.  I have basically zero respect for senior management at my former employer and think they are beyond clueless.  They are taking what was at least a pretty fair company and just running it into the ground.  I really believe, odds are, the place will not exist in 2-3 years.

Taking all that frustration and pent up fear and anger that had built for years, and, uh……..yeah.  Things were said.  This video actually describes that final scene pretty well, especially the very end:

Hopefully, it won’t turn out like this:

Sheesh, the plague.  That’s not good.  Thank God for tetracycline.

Pretty close to the mark, eh?

Various and sundry Wednesday June 3, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Ecumenism, episcopate, error, foolishness, fun, General Catholic, persecution, sanctity, Society, Tradition, watch.
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Cleaning out the ol’ inbox of items I haven’t had time to get to.

In this photo taken on Monday, May 18, 2015, a Pakistani Christian couple look at large cross, under construction at a cemetery in Karachi, Pakistan. Towering over this violent port city in Pakistan, where Islamic militant attacks and gangland shootings remain common, is an uncommon sight in this Muslim-majority country: a 42-meter (140-foot) Christian cross. The cross, being built by a businessman who said the idea came to him in a dream, is rising as Christians in Pakistan often face discrimination. (AP Photo/Shakil Adil)

First up, a wealthy Christian man in Pakistan is building the largest cross in the country.  This has peeved the country’s militant and thoroughly wacked-out muslim majority, but he’s continued the effort.  There’s a catch, however, that will surely gladden the ecumaniac’s hearts:

Now towering over this violent port city in Pakistan, where Islamic militant attacks and gangland shootings remain common, is an uncommon sight in this Muslim-majority country: a 42-meter (140-foot) Christian cross.

The cross, being built by a businessman who said the idea came to him in a dream, is rising as Christians here often face discrimination. A tiny minority of Pakistan’s 180 million people are Christians who eke out livings in menial jobs like garbage collection.

Christians have faced mob violence in blasphemy cases, which often turn out to be false allegations over personal disputes.  Under Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws, anyone accused of insulting Islam, the Prophet Muhammad or other religious Islamic figures can be sentenced to death. [There was a time when the state authorities in Christian countries did the same. The Inquisition, contrary to its popular depiction, almost entirely made up by militant Church-hating endarkenment philosphes and their intellectual children, was actually a means used by the Church to afford the accused some rights in these kinds of proceedings]

Christians also face extremist attacks. A Taliban suicide attack outside two churches in Lahore in March killed 15 people during services. In 2013, another Taliban suicide attack killed over 80 people at the All Saints Church in Peshawar.

The persecution has forced some Christians to flee, though some remain, like businessman Parvez Henry Gill. Gill said he had a dream some two years ago in which God told him to do something for his community…..

“I want to show the world the Christian community in Pakistan has religious freedom,” he said….. [Yeah, tell that to Asia Bibi.  I don’t know how you can have freedom when dozens of Christians are being beaten, bludgeoned, or blown up every year]

…….The construction of the cross came as a surprise to many living around it, neighbor Adnan Ali said. But Bishop Sadiq Danial of Church of Pakistan, an Episcopal church, said he offered to demolish the cross if it becomes too divisive, though he doubted it would come to pass. [What does that mean?  Is the “bishop” going to get out there with a hammer and chisel and take the thing down?  Typical Anglican approach, serve the world and multi-culti interests before Christ, not that I would expect much different]

“We spread peace,” he said.

And muslims answer with bombs and rockets.  How’s that workin’ out for ya?

Now for something completely different, and much better – did you know the 33 buttons on the cassock worn by priests and bishops is symbolic of Christ’s 33 years on earth?  That’s so awesome!  Everything in the Church’s magnificent Tradition has meaning!

cassock

My wife also sent me this pic a few days ago.  No particular message, just something to meditate on as we see indications of outright persecution rising all around us:

bloodycrucifix

A couple more things.  I saw this video below the other night and thought it had potential, but wound up being pretty stupid in its ending.  First of all, a Predator would run through medieval level warriors, even the great Knights of the Temple of Jerusalem, like a buzzsaw through butter.  Secondly, I hated the “give peace a chance” ending.  Thirdly, they did manage to make the Church, or at least the Templars, look corrupt and worldly.  Fourthly, this wasn’t the “dark ages,” it was the Middle Ages.  Finally, a woman?  If you watch the video, you’ll see her at one point try run through some brush……she comes off dainty and silly.  She’s no Joan of Arc.

Anyway, if you’ve got 20+ minutes to kill, you might give it a watch.  It does have pretty high production values for such a low budget indie type effort:

Much better, an Texas Country Reporter episode on a couple that lives way out in West Texas with no electricity or running water.  I wonder how far from Shafter they live?  Looks pretty similar.  They live in a 19th century standard of living and seem quite happy doing so.  Good for them, that’s the kind of “prepping” I can understand, though I’m sure I’m too soft at present to be able to live like that:

Inbox now clean.  Yay me.

Back when politics was for adults April 20, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Basics, Christendom, history, non squitur, rank stupidity, Society, watch.
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I stumbled across the following video on Youtube, and I found it remarkable not for content, or for video quality, but for something else, something a bit more elusive.  Below is an interview between an American journalist and a British government official from 1954 or 5.  The official is Selwyn Lloyd, Minister of Defense in the government of Prime Minister Anthony Eden.  The reason I found the video remarkable, is that the conduct of both the reporter and the government official are so radically different from what we almost invariably see today.

What I mean is this: what we see here was a serious conversation between grownups. I do have some problems with the behavior of the reporter, we can start to see the deleterious trends that have afflicted journalism for several decades now in his pompous behavior and attributing his own criticisms of British government policy as questions put to the interviewer from nebulous “some say” sources, but he would be considered an elder statesman of “broadcast journalism” if he behaved similarly today. However, in Lloyd’s measured and well-formed responses, I have to say……this is politics for grown ups.  This is so different from today, when politicians are always on a script, always making only very finely parsed responses, and rarely say anything of true substance.  Goodness, our pathetic president built an entire campaign and presidency on nothing but “optics,” presenting a false image of himself as a sexular pagan savior and almost never addressing serious questions with a serious response.  Even worse, we have the politics of emotionalism and division, that seeks to turn us into ceaselessly warring classes, races, and victim groups – the better to be controlled by the self-anointed elites.

I’m not saying that I agree with everything Lloyd advocates,  nor that his answers are even right.  But they are serious and thoughtful, and not just spoon-fed pablum for the masses.  And that gets me to the final point, the reason we have such low brow politics and politicians today (this is not a strictly American phenomenon, it is occurring throughout the former Christendom), is because society itself has been (deliberately) dumbed down to such a level that politicians are able to get away with such foolishness.  There have always been bottom-feeding politicians, of course, but they were usually outcasts and one-offs.  Today, that’s how almost all politicians behave, and the media right along with them.

So just a small, brief, non sequitur post for your consideration today:

Instead of this, today we get “trigger warnings,” kabuki politics, and US representatives too dumb to start a car on their own.  Yeah…….we’re done.

Short Flightline Friday June 13, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Flightline Friday, fun, silliness, Society, watch.
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I know some bloggers think posting videos is weak, but I don’t care.  I actually like finding videos on other blogs, and they sure make my Fridays a lot easier when I haven’t got much time.

Short Flightline Friday today, a really cool video from the San Diego Air and Space Museum on the Republic F-105 Thunderchief, aka the Thud, Ultra Hog, Lead Sled, etc.  The F-105 was the USAFs primary strike aircraft for the first half of the Vietnam War.  All during Rolling Thunder, Thuds headed North every day.  Out of 833 F-105s build, 395 were lost in combat in Vietnam.  So many others were shot up or otherwise combat fatigued to death, that USAF could only field about 2 1/2 wings of F-105s by 1970, but Thuds stayed active in Vietnam until the end.

This video shows the Thud before the Vietnam War got started, from 1964.  Some really cool details on the North American R-14A radar which was quite advanced for its day.  But it was not really good enough to provide the capabilities listed in the video, relying on the R-14 for blind terrain-following in the weather would have been suicide.  It took a few more years for true terrain following radars to come into service:

This video below is quite a trip down memory lane for me.  Col. Fred J. Ascani, the man at the beginning of the video and the narrator throughout, figured hugely in both Chuck Yeager’s career and the breaking of the sound barrier.  In fact, then Col. Ascani was Colonel Albert Boyd’s deputy as head of the Flight Test Division at Wright Air Force Base, and when Boyd became commander at Edwards, Ascani followed him there as his deputy.  Ascani later commanded the 50th Tactical Fighter Wing with Yeager under him again as a squadron commander.

During this video, which highlights many Aeronautical Systems Division programs from the mid-60s, Brig. Gen. Ascani was then back at Edwards.

Ascani was a good Catholic who had 8 children.

F-105 scenes from above mostly repeated below. The Bullpup was not “deadly,” it was dang near worthless.  It was hated by crews in Vietnam and quickly replaced.

A note on gun pods – they rarely work.  An internally mounted gun is rigidly mounted to the airframe at numerous points to maintain accuracy.  A gun pod – especially those shown at ~4:00 in the video – is attached at only two points (and those close together), and those SUU-16 pods on the F-4 were notorious for spraying shells so wide they hit everything but the target. They were useless for air-to-air work, and not real good at ground attack, either.

A Lenten Endeavor for men – Tabernacle Watch Society March 10, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Basics, Dallas Diocese, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Interior Life, Latin Mass, Lent, mortification, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue, watch.
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thCA640CSJ

Guerin

Over 100 years ago, in still-Catholic France, Blessed Louis Martin (father of the Saint and Doctor of the Church  Therese of Lisieux) and his brother-in-law Isidore Guerin participated in a perpetual tabernacle watch society at their local parish in Lisieux, Normandy.  At that time and place, this was a popular if challenging activity.  If I remember my history right, Martin and Guerin volunteered for undesirable middle of the night “shifts” at least weekly, if not much more frequently.

The idea, of course, was the Our Blessed Lord would never be alone in the Tabernacle.  A particular piety developed in France regarding the lonely, forgotten Christ in the Tabernacle, and faithful souls took it upon themselves to accompany Jesus in the tabernacle, while adoring, offering prayers, meditating, etc, during their period of watch.  You can find a number of prayer cards from France expressing that piety.  They are very sweet in disposition.

But to get the the heart of the matter, I have felt called for a time to try to emulate that effort here in our own Diocese.  What I propose – at least as far as I administer – is setting up a tabernacle watch society to keep watch Louis_Martin_1with Jesus as much of the day and night as possible at our local TLM parish. I would certainly encourage and rejoice at similar efforts at other parishes, but I will only have direct involvement with Mater Dei.

I tried to broach this idea last year to a smaller, private group of individuals but I let it peter out. I really want it to happen, this year.  So what I propose – and this is open to all, not just Mater Dei parishioners, but the watch would have to happen there – is that I get a list of names of men only.  I would get your name by your leaving a comment on this post. You could also leave a day/time when you think you could keep watch.  The goal is ultimately to have 24 hour coverage by men, but for now I’m just looking to see how much interest there is and how much of the 168 hours in a week we could cover.  That’s another point, the idea is that you would commit to a given time each week, preferably for at least one hour.thCAXTIXQ3

I say men, because I really want to limit this to men.  In so many parishes, it seems that nowadays it is women who predominate in worship and involvement.  That’s less true in traditional communities, but still somewhat valid even there.  Maybe it’s always been the case, but I’ve read that in times past church/parish leadership was much more exercised by men, and I think there would be a lot of benefits for the men themselves and the Church at large by seeing men take a visible leadership role in the life of a parish. It would certainly provide a great example of leadership in our louismartindeathown families, where we are the heads of our little (or big!) domestic churches.

Again, please comment or contact me directly if you want to sign up.  I’ll try another venue, as well, to garner interest.  In a few days, I’ll post a file showing everyone’s days and times. I will try to watch on Tues from 8-9p and Thurs from 7-9.  The idea is that we won’t have 30 men from 7-8 on Wednesday night, but no more than two or at most 3 men at the same time.  I hope to have a man or two present at all hours, rather than just a big group all at the same time. I do realize coverage during certain daytime hours and late at night will be difficult. But we’ll see what develops.  You can start with your watch immediately if you want, or wait for a week or two until I get things formalized.

Pray God, there will be more posts on this in the future.

If you like this idea, as I said, you can certainly implement the same in your own parish, but I am only administering this one at Mater Dei.  But do let me know if you set up your own watch society!

My intent is to name this watch society in honor of Blessed Louis Martin.  I hope this act of charity will be beneficial to souls and increase Eucharistic piety generally.  It is a way to sanctify each week to Our Lord, but outside Mass.

thCAHRQLZX

 

Two final notes of clarification, this will be keeping watch in with Our Lord in the tabernacle, not in the monstrance. The Host will be reserved, not displayed.  And it is intended that this society would continue on ad infinitum, and hopefully spill out into surrounding parishes.  It is not just for Lent, though that seems a good time to start it.

Gentlemen, if you replied to me last year with your interest, please do so again, I have lost all that data.