I gotta have my orange juice.

Jesu, Juva

Archive for the ‘Miscellany’ Category

A blessing in disguise

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  1. Vehicle engine is throbbing badly, bring to shop
  2. Sorry, sir, you need a replacement engine, something broke badly inside; this is understandable at 290k miles. Authorize repair.
  3. Repair completed. I’m very sorry, sir, we made a bad mistake, it was not the engine but the catalytic converter.
  4. Free engine! Catalytic converter back ordered indefinitely but go ahead and pay for it.
  5. Inspection and registration due; failed inspection. (I live in one of the 22% of counties in my state that require an emissions test.)
  6. DMV website allows for cases of (1) part not available and (2) repair attempted, but I do not quite fit either case.
  7. Show up at license office, sorry sir, we can’t help you until your registration is overdue (?!)
  8. Return to license office, sorry sir, I don’t know why they told you that, but you need to talk to the license and theft bureau
  9. Sorry sir, you need a second failed inspection to get the attempted repair waiver, even though we all know nothing has changed with your vehicle since your last inspection
  10. Second failed inspection
  11. Meet officer and receive waiver code
  12. Bring waiver code to inspection station; code does not work
  13. Delays waiting for DMV to return calls to inspection station
  14. License and theft officer works with inspection station and advises them I should take vehicle to license office
  15. License and theft officer advises me that I should work with inspection station
  16. License and theft officer advises inspection station that I should take vehicle to license office
  17. License office — sorry, sir, we can’t help you with a waiver code, you need to work with inspection station
  18. License office confirms with license and theft officer this is the case
  19. License and theft officer advises me to work with inspection station . . . oh, wait, that inspection station? You are good to go, I overrode your inspection manually.
  20. Pay registration at license office

Written by Scott Moonen

April 30, 2022 at 6:35 pm

Posted in Miscellany, Personal

Metábasis eis állo génos (3-16)

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Had this year’s first swarm this week, from the hive that survived over-winter. It is a beautiful thing to see and hear! They were a good 40-50 feet up in a tree, so we made no attempt to catch them.

PCR test for chickens, ha! I will keep laughing until you tell me the cycle threshold. And I will fall off my chair when you tell me later this summer that they are testing the cows.

The Gray Havens were in town touring for their latest album. We enjoyed them!

Written by Scott Moonen

April 15, 2022 at 3:16 pm

Posted in Miscellany

Metábasis eis állo génos (3-15)

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Unless and until evangelicalism brings its little ones to the table, it is NGMI:

Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. (1 Corinthians 11:27-32, NKJV)

I’ve been reflecting on the use of instruments like non-disclosure agreements and security clearances. In many cases, these are not so much invitations to greater participation and responsibility as they are a simple form of protection and documented liability. Not so with Jesus:

No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. (John 15:15-16, NKJV)

Written by Scott Moonen

April 9, 2022 at 9:32 am

Posted in Miscellany

Metábasis eis állo génos (3-14)

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What I really want to know is: can you provide a definition of biologist?

EVERYONE KNOWS that the risk to grandma’s driving on the roads is so great that the ONLY SOLUTION is to drive 15mph OR you now have the option of dressing in bubble wrap. You could not possibly be loving your neighbor by attempting to deprive him of the soft despotism that will keep him “fixed irrevocably in childhood” (Tocqueville).

You heard it here first: Tony Faucyy.

We saw the head of Lenin about to speak, now we see the directors all speaking unintelligible babble. You know that:

Written by Scott Moonen

April 2, 2022 at 9:02 am

Posted in Miscellany

Metábasis eis állo génos (3-13)

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Leading up to 2020, Asher was seeking something to own and do beyond keeping chickens, which he shared with Charlotte but was largely her domain. I rejected backyard goat–keeping, but bees were an intriguing option as our town allows you to keep bees provided you have taken a class. So we took a class (online, sadly) from our county beekeeping association over the winter of 2020-2021. We spent about 8 hours in class, and later in the spring several hours at a practical exam and a paper exam. Of all our time in class, the practical exam was the most beneficial. Several of the seasoned beekeepers conveyed to us a vision of what I call “low-anxiety” beekeeping. Excessive anxiety over questions such as whether and when you need to feed your bees, or whether and how you can head them off from swarming, is generally counter–productive and can steal a lot of the joy of beekeeping.

Late in winter we ordered all of our equipment. We spent a little more money on the nice–looking Hoover hives, got our initial frames, nails, foundation wax, and other equipment (feeders, hats, gloves, smoker, hive tool, wire embedder) from the local Bailey Bee Supply, and ultimately found cheaper frames (deep, medium) and foundation (medium) from Western Bee Supplies. By the end of the year we had the materials to equip three hives each with two deep bodies and two medium supers, and had spent about $1700 on the trio including supplies from Home Depot to make an elevated stand. Assembling frames is a time–consuming but satisfying task.

Deep frame and foundation

Placement of the hives was tricky! Our property has a lot of shade, but we found some space in the back of our garden that was relatively sunny, open, and also faced towards the south. This worked fairly well, although it is sometimes a little nerve-wracking to work in the garden. Generally the bees have kept to themselves; only twice have we had innocent bystanders standing near the garden get stung.

Starter hives

We started out with two nucleuses from our friendly local Garden Supply Company, at the time each costing $195. We had a much more exciting ride with our two hives than I ever expected for first–year beekeeping. Over the course of six months, we had: (1) one hive send off a swarm high in a tree, which Asher captured in the face of a coming rainstorm to form a third hive; (2) evidently we failed to capture the queen, or she later died, so we recombined this hive with the other hive; (3) which later sent off a swarm that we failed to capture; (4) a friend found a feral swarm in an abandoned hive of his, which we brought back to our house; but (5) in the dearth of fall I believe this hive robbed both of our other two hives, resulting in only one hive entering into winter. We purchased another nucleus this spring ($215) and are starting out our second year once again with two hives.

I remember remarking that it would be good for Asher to experience husbandry, to be responsible for something which was under his influence but not completely under his control. It turned out to be a great lesson for me as well!

Another thing that I didn’t expect as a first–year beekeeper was the degree to which we had to wrestle with varroa mites. Twice in our first year we had to treat our hives for varroa mites ($100 for two formic acid treatments and personal protection equipment) when at least one hive had extremely high mite load.

Some of the most interesting bee behaviors we observed were swarming, washboarding, bearding, and orienting flights.

Bearding

Written by Scott Moonen

March 26, 2022 at 8:29 am

Posted in Miscellany, Personal

Metábasis eis állo génos (3-12)

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We need to be laughing:

He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
​​The Lord shall hold them in derision. (Psalm 2:4, NKJV)

From the archives: my review of Greg Gilbert’s little book on the gospel.

Alex Berenson writes: “The only question left is not how much good but how much damage those miracle shots have done.”

You gotta raise your kids to become your curators of music. This week I’ve really enjoyed Sarah Sparks (thank you, Charlotte!):

and David Francey (thank you, Ivy!):

Written by Scott Moonen

March 18, 2022 at 5:03 pm

Metábasis eis állo génos (3-11)

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Written by Scott Moonen

March 12, 2022 at 9:37 am

Metábasis eis állo génos (3-10)

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I’ve been reflecting on the proper kind of mask. It occurs to me that vocations are a practiced self-denial, a practiced governance and stewardship of our selves in order to better steward other things. It also occurs to me that the family is the first and chief place of practiced (in both senses) affection.

Some things are impossible for God:

Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. (Hebrews 6:17-18)

I learned Stein’s law this week: “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”

You really know that you’re in thrashing mode at work when every meeting ends up veering into a discussion of every thing.

I’m struck by the sevenfold sun of Isaiah 30:26:

Moreover the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun,
​​And the light of the sun will be sevenfold,
​​As the light of seven days,
​​In the day that the LORD binds up the bruise of His people
​​And heals the stroke of their wound.

I see here the world’s end in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. But maybe there is some Bism there too; you ain’t seen nothing yet when it comes to global warming. Are we meant to adapt and thrive in the time of the sun’s final days? I do think we are meant to bind the Pleiades and loose the belt of Orion.

And you thought That Hideous Strength was fiction:

On my first visit to Moscow, I met one of Lenin’s embalmers. “When I began, the body was in a poor state”, said Styopa, whose expertise was the use of electricity. Skin grafts and a new partial-vacuum glass sarcophagus had helped to inhibit decay, but Styopa’s shock treatment had reversed it. “Once every two or three months, a high-voltage charge was applied to keep up the tone. But the first time we tried it I overestimated the power needed. Lenin suddenly sat up from the table, his arms shook, and his lips started to quiver. I thought he was going to speak. It was quite a shock. After that, we reduced the voltage.”

Written by Scott Moonen

March 5, 2022 at 2:04 pm

Posted in Miscellany

Metábasis eis állo génos (3-9)

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I typed “poli” in the browser bar to get to my political Twitter list. My fingers landed one position to the left so I got “oiku” instead. Thinking I need to start a new list now.

My wife and I took a trip recently and we had a lot of opportunities to experience and evaluate service and hospitality. It was always best when personality was subdued. At the same time my company sent out a survey to measure how comfortable everyone feels bringing their “authentic self” to work. Even setting aside the fact that I’m literally not allowed to bring my own authentic un-jabbed self to work, the contrast made me laugh. I am a better and more effective programmer and architect if my personality remains subdued behind my “mask.” See: Manners, Nowhere, Personhood.

I’m so proud of my kids:

Written by Scott Moonen

February 25, 2022 at 4:46 pm

Posted in Miscellany

Metábasis eis állo génos (3-8)

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I’ve just finished Hannah Coulter and am working my way through Jayber Crow. Delightful books!

One thing among many that strikes me is the occurrence of faintly familiar names like Proudfoot and Otha. It turns out that there is a bit of Cantuckee in the Shire! From Guy Davenport:

The closest I have ever gotten to the secret and inner Tolkien was in a casual conversation on a snowy day in Shelbyville, Kentucky. I forget how in the world we came to talk of Tolkien at all, but I began plying questions as soon as I knew that I was talking to a man who had been at Oxford as a classmate of Ronald Tolkien’s. He was a history teacher, Allen Barnett. He had never read The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings. Indeed, he was astonished and pleased to know that his friend of so many years ago had made a name for himself as a writer.

“Imagine that! You know, he used to have the most extraordinary interest in the people here in Kentucky. He could never get enough of my tales of Kentucky folk. He used to make me repeat family names like Barefoot and Boffin and Baggins and good country names like that.”

And out the window I could see tobacco barns. The charming anachronism of the hobbits’ pipes suddenly made sense in a new way. The Shire and its settled manners and shy hobbits have many antecedents in folklore and in reality—I remember the fun recently of looking out of an English bus and seeing a roadsign pointing to Butterbur. Kentucky, it seems, contributed its share.

Practically all the names of Tolkien’s hobbits are listed in my Lexington phone book, and those that aren’t can be found over in Shelbyville. Like as not, they grow and cure pipe-weed for a living. Talk with them, and their turns of phrase are pure hobbit: “I hear tell,” “right agin,” “so Mr. Frodo is his first and second cousin, once removed either way,” “this very month as is.” These are English locutions, of course, but ones that are heard oftener now in Kentucky than in England.

I despaired of trying to tell Barnett what his talk of Kentucky folk became in Tolkien’s imagination. I urged him to read The Lord of the Rings but as our paths have never crossed again, I don’t know that he did. Nor if he knew that he created by an Oxford fire and in walks along the Cherwell and Isis the Bagginses, Boffins, Tooks, Brandybucks, Grubbs, Burrowses, Goodbodies, and Proudfoots (or Proudfeet, as a branch of the family will have it) who were, we are told, the special study of Gandalf the Grey, the only wizard who was interested in their bashful and countrified ways.

I’ve struggled for awhile to understand the key differences between incrementalism and abolitionism, since I admire some men in each camp and these differences seem to be obscured in the discussion. I’ve come to conclude two key points in favor of abolitionism:

  1. First, positively, abolitionists rightly point out that incremental legislation gives away the farm. I think you could distill the most compelling case for abolitionism as follows: “You know, brother, I could be an incrementalist too if we knew that incremental legislation was truly passing over some babies. It would be a sad thing but not an abominable thing. We know that we are incremental in this way when we pass over New York by starting in Oklahoma. And we know that we are incremental in this way by passing over a million other partialities in the law and focusing on this one. Maybe God has even called you to address those partialities instead of abortion. But it is so important to realize that incremental abortion legislation doesn’t actually pass over the Downs syndrome babies and the pre-heartbeat babies and the IVF babies. It explicitly offers them up to slaughter and essentially encodes in the law the position that they are non-persons. That is a disastrous compromise and I can’t support it in any way, even though I still give thanks to God for a life saved.”
  2. Second, it is not true that the abolitionists are pursuing a Procrustean outcome that trades one partiality for another. It is not the case that abolitionism wants to automatically send every father and mother to the chair. Rather, I’ve heard the abolitionist position summarized as “we just want to recognize life as life and practice common law.” Common law makes room for degrees—or in Biblical terms, distinctions between high-handed sins and sins of inadvertency or being led astray.

A hearty amen to this: An Open Letter to Justin Trudeau and the Federal Government.

One of the exceptions I take to the Westminster Confession of Faith is its statement that we should not consider God to be the “author of sin” in WCF 3.1 and 5.4. I agree that God is not “responsible for sin” nor “accountable for sin” nor an “approver of sin” (e.g., Heb. 4:15), but I think that the common sense of author has changed today, and I believe we should be able to fruitfully speak of God as the author of all things in the same way we speak of him as ordaining “whatsoever comes to pass.”

Wayne Grudem offers the language of God as author (chapter 16 section B.6) but in recent editions he added a clarification: “the analogy of an author (= writer, creator) of a play should not lead us to say that God is the ‘author’ (= actor, doer, an older sense of ‘author’) of sin, for he never does sinful actions, nor does he ever delight in them.” I agree with Grudem’s distinction.

John Frame comments on this in The Doctrine of God (see here) and I suspect he is the reason behind Grudem’s adding the qualification above. Frame, too, cautions that there are two senses in which we might use “author,” and I agree with the distinction he makes: “One might object to this model that it makes God the ‘author’ of evil. But that objection, I think, confuses two senses of ‘author.’ As we have seen, the phrase ‘author of evil’ connotes not only causality of evil, but also blame for it. To ‘author’ evil is to do it. But in saying that God is related to the world as an author to a story, we actually provide a way of seeing that God is not to be blamed for the sin of his creatures.”

Written by Scott Moonen

February 19, 2022 at 2:25 pm