Fiat Lux!

I was texting with a friend when the power suddenly came on and I wrote FIAT LUX!!! and she responded with ?????

Anyway, tonight’s update shall happen.

What do y’all think? Post the three CIDUs that went unused, or just stick them at the end of the queue?

We started making up a list of (not-obvious) things to do ahead of the next once-in-a-decade meteorological event (which will probably be Hurricane Josephine next week, the way 2020 is going), and I’ve already added “Queue up CIDU for a week ahead.”


  1. I don’t know if anyone reads the Old Testament in Latin anymore. But there are probably other books that use the phrase, so people may know it from there.

    Biblical allusions used to be ubiquitous but not many people know their Bible any more.

  2. “What do y’all think? Post the three CIDUs that went unused, or just stick them at the end of the queue?”

    We were recently deluged with the 24-hour project. I’d vote for adding them to the end of the queue, unless any of them are especially topical.

    And welcome back.

  3. larK beat me to the response I wanted to make upon seeing “Fiat Lux”!

    But I think my first exposure to the phrase (as with a number of Church maters) could well have been from reading “A Canticle for Leibowitz”.

    Welcome back to the world of the well-powered!

    Thanks to the sump pump guys for keeping some sort of posting activity going.

  4. larK stole the wind from my sails, as I was primed to make a FIAT reference. I will note that yes, they have in fact made luxury models.

  5. See, I never gave it a thought because when my kids were growing and we walked into a dark house, I’d always say “Fiat lux!” when I switched on the light.

    Okay, I’m sure your families do weird things too.

    Likewise, they grew up hearing so many “of Damocles” references, that when we saw this during a family trip

    They both said “Motorcycle of Damocles!”

    My grown niece mentioned to me recently that every time she has a bad knot in her sneaker, she calls it a Gordian Shoe Lace. Neither of us remembers when I taught her that, and I don’t remember it at all, but she knows it was me.

  6. “Sump Pump Guys” is not exactly “The Kids in the Hall”, but it is an identity of sorts.

    You can’t change the past, man. Just let it go. Put them at the end of the line.

    As for “Fiat Luxe”, I was raised in a household of casual non-belief. Fortunately, it was long enough ago that I got some basic Bible stories from school (I still remember daily “Lord’s Praryer” recitations) and from sometimes going to Sunday School with friends who told me how much fun it was (there were snacks, which was good, but the Jesus talk cut into my colouring time). When I started to read, though, I started to pick up some of the references.

    I agree with Mitch4 That “A Canticle for Leibowitz” is an amazing book. In my top 10. The New Yorker says it’s good too!

  7. Back in college some of the physics nerds used to wear t-shirts that said “And the Lord said:“, (followed by Maxwell’s field equations), “…and then there was light!
    P.S. In spoken form those equations are impossible to cite (too complicated and hard to remember), so I prefer to replace them with the much simpler “E = h • ν” (Planck’s law relating energy vs. wavelength).

  8. As much as I would enjoy a double dose of CIDUs for the next three days, my vote is the same as Arthur’s (put them back in the queue, unless there’s a timing element involved). However, it might be nice to tag those three posts with “water damage”, as a reminder of when they should have shown up.

  9. Wouldn’t it be funny if these three posts were actually reposts? Then we’d have: regular post, repost and replacement post. Etc.
    Putting them back in the queue is fine with me.

  10. And I was trying to reproduce a remembered nerd-kids remark, where the conventional greeting “What’s new?” is mentally respelled with “nu” and then answered by solving the energy equation for frequency and saying “E over h”.

    (Which can be carried out one more step by implying the Yiddish interjection or filler word “nu”, pretty much “well…”)

  11. @ Mitch4 – I am 99.44% certain that I delivered or at least heard the “E/h” joke at some point in my college career.
    P.S. The “snoo” joke (“What’s ‘snoo’?” / “I dunno, what’s new with you?”) appeared at least three times in “Pogo”, using a variety of lead-ins to introduce the word “snoo”. On at least one occasion, one of the characters in the strip reacted to it with a grumbled “Not that ten year old gag again!

  12. “Not that ten year old gag again!”

    Ambiguous (probably intentionally) between how long it’s been around, and age of the audience members it appeals to …

  13. It’s not as if we don’t end up with double posts a lot of days anyway, though rarely by design.

    But yeah, we’ll send these three to the end of the queue. And tweaking Kilby’s suggestion a bit, I’ll tag them “Hurricane Isaías” (more accurate than “water damage”).

  14. Front of the line or end of the queue? I don’t know. Let us see them, then we can decide.

  15. Lark, not all Fiats are luxury cars. The second car I ever owned was a Fiat 128, which was an economy sub-compact which proved hard to keep a clutch in.

  16. Thanks to cxp for the correction. Even without looking up the units, I should have known that “wavelength” was wrong (longer wavelengths have lower energies, not higher ones) – ooops.
    P.S. @ Mitch4 – There wasn’t any ambiguity involved, it was clearly a dig at the age of the joke (even though Kelly’s humor was multifaceted and appreciated by a wide range of readers, by that time his primary audience was a good bit older than ten).
    P.P.S. @ Bill – Did the hurricane’s name really have an accent? Most American agencies tend to be perplexed by anything that isn’t standard ASCII(*). For that name, I would just as soon have expected NOAA (or whoever assigns the names) to use Hebrew characters as an “í”.
    P.P.P.S. (*) – We were very careful to avoid any German “Ümläüts” when selecting names for our kids.

  17. Besides the appearance in “fiat lux”, there’s another one in the Latin version of Mary’s response to the Annunciation. A Catholic friend of mine once quipped that “Mary’s blue Fiat” could have been the vehicle used for the Ascension. (In German, the latter event is called “Himmelfahrt“; a literal translation would be “Jesus drives to Heaven”.)

  18. Kilby, it would be disrespectful to omit the accent in the hurricane’s official name, wouldn’t it?

    That said, I’ve rarely seen it spelled with the ccent.

  19. Caveat that it is pedantic, I cannot help myself: technically after the light is on the tense is perfect instead of present and the mood is indicative instead of subjunctive, so it should be “facta est lux!” Sorry I can’t help myself.

  20. @ C.o.W. – But the light is not (yet) on when the phrase “fiat lux” is uttered. First comes “Let there be light!“, and then comes (afterwards) the part with “And then there was light“.

  21. Himmelfahrt or not, Jesus did not drive to Heaven. He left his Honda four-door sedan for the Apostles to use. See Acts 2:1: “And when the day of Pentacost was fully come, they were all with one Accord in one place.”

  22. @ MiB – Eleven disciples in one vehicle? Not to be disrespectful, but I thought that the usual model for those kinds of cars was an Austin Mini.

  23. @ CIDU Bill – “…traffic on the site was barely down for the three days I was gone…
    That’s because we all kept checking in to see if you were OK (effectively: “new post” = “dry basement”).

  24. Glad you have your have your electricity back Bill.

    Robert has started again on “we have to buy a generator for the house” – first thing we looked at online when electricity was back. Saw the prices and remembered why we have not bought one.

  25. “Saw the prices and remembered why we have not bought one.”

    During Hurricane Irma we had not electricity for several days. Except for one house across the street; the old woman living there evacuated but left the generator running for five days ’til, thankfully, it finally ran out of gas (ruining everything in the fridge anyway). However, the REST of us had to have our doors/windows open ’cause of the heat, so we got to hear the generator noise for days . . . I swore then that we’d get one, too. The noise was, for me, worse than any heat.

    So we, too, have been considering this, but have been put off by the price – around $10,000 for a whole-house generator. And so far we’ve just been playing the odds that we won’t need one.

    Altho every month, she runs the d*mned thing for 10-15 minutes to see if it still works, which reminds me AGAIN of how we really need to get a generator.

  26. @ Andréa – Why not just get a gasoline-powered lawnmower, remove the muffler, and position it so that the open exhaust pipe points at her house? Every time she turns on her generator, you can up the ante and blow her away. Shouldn’t cost more than 100 to 200 bucks.

  27. SHE NEVER COMES OUTSIDE (a very old woman), so she’d never know about it. Her (I think) son comes over and does the testing.

    Lawnmower? We don’t got no steenkin’ lawnmower!

  28. Altho every month, she runs the d*mned thing for 10-15 minutes to see if it still works, which reminds me AGAIN of how we really need to get a generator.

    It might be running itself. Some are designed to do that on an “exercise schedule”.

  29. Andréa –

    What we find is about US$5,000 plus installation, which is apparently not cheap – and of course our electricity comes into the house in the back north corner and our natural gas comes in to the house in the front south corner, so there would be extra charges for the installation as they have to run connections to both and the generator would be somewhere near the electricity in the back. There is natural gas in the basement near where the electricity comes in (for our water heater, the only thing it is used for plus a closed off connection in the same area of the basement from the gas stove the former owner had) apparently those cannot be used from what we have read.

    Our RV only has a dorm size fridge and we would have to leave that generator running – blowing car gas fumes out of the exhaust pipe for same, next door to our neighbor’s house and their 2 young daughters’ bedroom windows so that is not a solution. RV battery will not run that fridge as for as long a time as it would generally be needed for a storm power loss around here and not much will fit in it.

    In normal years we make several trips in the RV in the warmer weather and our solution to possible loss of electricity from storms in the warm weather has been to keep a minimal amount of food in the fridge/freezer. Of course since we are going out for food less than an average of once a month this year, both the freezer in our fridge and the dorm fridge sized freezer in our basement are both overfull, so we were very lucky that we had our electricity back the same day.

    Some people still do not have Internet, cable, and/or telephone back yet.

  30. Oh – I meant to mention – the generators we have looked at self run for testing and exercise, so your neighbor might not have to do anything for it to run monthly.

  31. It would be over $10 grand for a whole-house generator (and why have any other size/kind?), and frankly, I don’t like the idea of have any kind of flammable liquid that close to the house. We have no gas lines in this subdivision; everything is electric except the pool heater, which is solar. Our electric bills are higher than in Wisconsin, but then, we have no gas bills, so it averages out.

    (However, don’t ever let anyone tell you that Florida is ‘cheaper’ than other states to live in JUST because there is no state income tax; you pay much more in many other ways, such as high car & home insurance rates, high sales taxes, high HOA fees in many subdivisions, high property taxes, flood insurance that is mandatory in many places, etc., etc. It’s all a matter of balancing the pros and cons and making decisions based on those.)

  32. During my childhood in Miami, there was a conspiracy to pretend you didn’t need good heating in homes. Up to about 1960 we lived in a little house with a fireplace, which was not bad, actually. Then we moved to a suburb and got central air conditioning, which was great, but no fireplace or furnace, as the idea was that “reverse cycle” of the A/C would suffice for heating on the occasional chilly day. [For those not familiar with the term, consider how an A/C normally pumps hot air to the outside while it pumps cooled air to the inside. Now switch that around.]
    No way!
    The next time we moved, getting a place with a furnace was a deal-breaker requirement.

  33. Huh, that’s interesting, as we have no furnace and have been fine with the reverse cycle (and an electric patio heater for the lanai) . . . maybe ’cause our new one was installed in 2019 and is, therefore, more efficient? Of course, ‘cold’ here is anything under 50 degrees, but we have had a few days below 40 degrees, with no problem.

    Funny side note . . . when new mattress was delivered, the guys couldn’t figure out what the wires over the box mattress were for . . . ‘Electric blanket,’ I told them. Quizzical looks exchanged, explanations shared, heads shook as they left. I use one all year ’round, as I prefer COLD air and WARM blanket.

  34. The “lanai”?! In my day you had either an unenclosed slab patio, or if you were lucky a built-up “Florida Room” and you liked it!

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