Trousered Ape
An exercise in presumption.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Coincidentally apropos of my distress at the Storm Queen's dreams of glamour, the Old Oligarch has posted some excellent reflections on modesty (credit for starting the discussion goes to Theresa at Destination: Order).

No double standard here:  SecretAgentMan has some strong words for men who dress more formally for the golf course than they do for Mass.  (Disclaimer:  While agreeing with the sentiment, I could not myself put it in such terms without being Pharisaical.  Having a naturally formal temperament, reinforced by many years in a school with a dress code, I am as comfortable, if not more so, with coat and tie as without.)

More programming haiku:

I’m a programmer.
The proof? My cube is covered
With Dilbert cartoons.

Why do I appear
So harassed and so frazzled?
Data conversions.

I apologize.
It seems I have deleted
Your live database.

Random bloggable thought:

If I indulge a wish to see someone burning in Hell, I may be obliged with a front-row seat.
Monday, July 26, 2004

It appears that a rash of confessions of humility has broken out at St. Blog's.  It started with Steven Riddle at Flos Carmeli, then spread to Tom of GoodForm at Santificarnos and Jeff Miller at The Curt Jester.  All of them have testified to how blogging has taught them that they are neither as smart nor as knowledgeable as they thought.  I find myself, then, in excellent company; permit me to add my voice to the chorus, except that in my case I was made aware of my ignorance and foolishness and pride long before I started this blog.  After many months of visiting Amy Welborn, Mark Shea, Kevin Miller, Fr. Rob Johansen - to name only a few - and countless others, not the least of whom have been the aforementioned Steven Riddle, Tom of GoodForm, and Jeff Miller, it has been forcefully brought home to me that I'm not such hot stuff as I thought.  So many out there exceed me so by so much in so many ways: in piety, wit, eloquence, learning, clarity and consistency of thought - you name it.

So, then, you ask, why did I dare start blogging?  Well, for a long time I didn't.  At the same time, I wanted to be part of such a goodly company.  Finally, I concluded that, so long as I kept within my limitations, there could probably be no harm in it.  I would not advertise myself as being any more than I am (hence the title Trousered Ape); I would write what I could and when I could; and if someone found something worthwhile in it, why, so much the better.  Even an irritating grain of sand, under the right circumstances, can cause a pearl to be generated.  I can aspire to be an irritating grain of sand.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Prayers Which God May Not Answer.
Those most likely to be from my lips:
Lord, let the uneducated "see the light"
And vote Republican as You intended.
Lord help me to keep my mind open to others' ideas;
Stupid and incorrect though they may be.
Lord help me be less independent...
But let me do it my way and in my own time.
God, help me to keep my mind on one th --
Look at her !  Whew !!!  -- ing at a time.
(Via Envoy Encore.) 

Tuesday, July 20, 2004
I'm a Philistine!  I'm a Philistine!
The Teachout Cultural Concurrance Index, from About Last Night, and my responses:

1. Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly?Fred Astaire (narrowly)
2. The Great Gatsby or The Sun Also Rises?The Great Gatsby (it's shorter)
3. Count Basie or Duke Ellington?Ignoro
4. Cats or dogs?Cats
5. Matisse or Picasso?Douanier Rousseau
6. Yeats or Eliot?Ignoro, but probably Eliot
7. Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin?Buster Keaton
8. Flannery O’Connor or John Updike?Ignoro, but probably O'Connor
9. To Have and Have Not or Casablanca?Ignoro primum
10. Jackson Pollock or Willem de Kooning?Any good indoor flat paint, light blue
11. The Who or the Stones?Incupidendi
12. Philip Larkin or Sylvia Plath?Ignoro
13. Trollope or Dickens?Dickens (by a hair)
14. Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald?Ignoro
15. Dostoyevsky or Tolstoy?Tolstoy (just for War & Peace)
16. The Moviegoer or The End of the Affair?Ignoro secundum
17. George Balanchine or Martha Graham?Ignoro
18. Hot dogs or hamburgers?Hamburgers
19. Letterman or Leno?Sleep
20. Wilco or Cat Power?Huh?
21. Verdi or Wagner?Gilbert & Sullivan
22. Grace Kelly or Marilyn Monroe?Ignoro
23. Bill Monroe or Johnny Cash?Ignoro primum
24. Kingsley or Martin Amis?Ignoro
25. Robert Mitchum or Marlon Brando?Robert Mitchum
26. Mark Morris or Twyla Tharp?Ignoro
27. Vermeer or Rembrandt?Rembrandt
28. Tchaikovsky or Chopin?Ignoro
29. Red wine or white?Sorry, I'm wine-deaf
30. Noël Coward or Oscar Wilde?Ignoro
31. Grosse Pointe Blank or High Fidelity?Ignoro
32. Shostakovich or Prokofiev?Ignoro
33. Mikhail Baryshnikov or Rudolf Nureyev?Ignoro
34. Constable or Turner?Constable
35. The Searchers or Rio Bravo?Ignoro primum
36. Comedy or tragedy?Comedy
37. Fall or spring?Spring
38. Manet or Monet?Manet (do I have to?)
39. The Sopranos or The Simpsons?A book
40. Rodgers and Hart or Gershwin and Gershwin?Ignoro
41. Joseph Conrad or Henry James?Ignoro
42. Sunset or sunrise?Sunrise
43. Johnny Mercer or Cole Porter?Ignoro
44. Mac or PC?PC
45. New York or Los Angeles?Incupidendi
46. Partisan Review or Horizon?Ignoro
47. Stax or Motown?Huh?
48. Van Gogh or Gauguin?Manet
49. Steely Dan or Elvis Costello?Incurans
50. Reading a blog or reading a magazine?Tie (though blogs are cheaper)
51. John Gielgud or Laurence Olivier?Gielgud (narrowly)
52. Only the Lonely or Songs for Swingin’ Lovers?Ignoro
53. Chinatown or Bonnie and Clyde?Another book
54. Ghost World or Election?Huh?
55. Minimalism or conceptual art?Manet
56. Daffy Duck or Bugs Bunny?Bugs Bunny
57. Modernism or postmodernism?Incurans
58. Batman or Spider-Man?Batman
59. Emmylou Harris or Lucinda Williams?Huh?
60. Johnson or Boswell?Tie
61. Jane Austen or Virginia Woolf?JANE AUSTEN RULES !
62. The Honeymooners or The Dick Van Dyke Show?Another book
63. An Eames chair or a Noguchi table?Reading in bed is good
64. Out of the Past or Double Indemnity?Ignoro
65. The Marriage of Figaro or Don Giovanni?See #21
66. Blue or green?Blue
67. A Midsummer Night’s Dream or As You Like It?Tie
68. Ballet or opera?Another book
69. Film or live theater?Film
70. Acoustic or electric?Do they make electric violins?
71. North by Northwest or Vertigo?North by Northwest
72. Sargent or Whistler?Sargent
73. V.S. Naipaul or Milan Kundera?Ignoro
74. The Music Man or Oklahoma?The Music Man (easily; besides, Shirley Jones was much cuter in that one)
75. Sushi, yes or no?Hamburgers
76. The New Yorker under Ross or Shawn?Ignoro
77. Tennessee Williams or Edward Albee?Ignoro
78. The Portrait of a Lady or The Wings of the Dove?Ignoro
79. Paul Taylor or Merce Cunningham?Huh?
80. Frank Lloyd Wright or Mies van der Rohe?My father
81. Diana Krall or Norah Jones?Huh?
82. Watercolor or pastel?Watercolor
83. Bus or subway?Subway
84. Stravinsky or Schoenberg?Ignoro
85. Crunchy or smooth peanut butter?Jelly
86. Willa Cather or Theodore Dreiser?Ignoro
87. Schubert or Mozart?Mozart
88. The Fifties or the Twenties?The Fifties
89. Huckleberry Finn or Moby-Dick?Moby-Dick
90. Thomas Mann or James Joyce?Thomas Mann
91. Lester Young or Coleman Hawkins?Huh?
92. Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman?Emily Dickinson
93. Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill?Abraham Lincoln
94. Liz Phair or Aimee Mann?Huh?
95. Italian or French cooking?Hamburgers
96. Bach on piano or harpsichord?You name it, I like it
97. Anchovies, yes or no?No
98. Short novels or long ones?Long ones
99. Swing or bebop?Ignoro
100. "The Last Judgment" or "The Last Supper"?Tie

Monday, July 19, 2004
Meanwhile, back at my life...
...where not a lot is going on.  The Equestrienne completed a week of horse camp, where she had a wonderful time, and the Storm Queen has started dance classes, where she, too, has a wonderful time.  Who knows, we may have to rename her the Dancing Queen.  (Or, possibly, the Glamour Queen - while putting her to bed one night, she began to rhapsodize about someday she'll "be sitting on the swimming pool steps, not wearing a swimsuit but the bra and underwear thing [i.e., a two-piece suit], sipping lemonade through a straw from one of those glasses with a little umbrella in it."  Oh dear.  Before we had children we swore we'd never have Barney in the house.  Now I wonder if we should have let them watch anything else.)
Work continues to be busy.  Most of the projects I was working on have come to an end, and new ones are starting.  We've sold some of our software to a very upscale city in California, and I'll be doing some of the customization.  Unfortunately, their IT work is done by an outside consulting firm, which also bid on the deal - so we'll be working with the people we beat out on a large contract.  Early indications are that they may be hostile and uncooperative - and they have friends in the city too.  Ick.  I'm also involved in the expansion of our Web front end to interface with our Virginia Real Estate Tax and Personal Property Tax packages.  The former will be pretty straightforward, but the latter...Virginia's personal property tax includes cars; the car tax is very unpopular and was supposed to have been abolished; but instead they adopted in 1998 something called the PPTRA (Personal Property Tax Relief Act) which has to be one of the most bizarre and convoluted ways of thwarting tax reform that I have ever seen.
The new year of home schooling starts tomorrow.  The Equestrienne did very well her first year - approved by the evaluator and the district, and great scores on her Stanfords (oh, and she also learned a lot).  The Storm Queen starts formally participating this year, and we hope her solipsistic self-assurance ("I don't want to do it that way, Mommy - it's OK if I do it my way") doesn't get in the way too much.  The Human Bride runs the school, but I hope to be involved to the extent of teaching Latin to the Equestrienne.
That's about it.  God bless you.
Sunday, July 04, 2004
Another blogger, during an email exchange sparked by my Purgatory post, sent me her thoughts, which well illustrate the attitude I'm trying for:

I suppose from my readings of various saints, some who had visions of Purgatory, I have a horror of the place. I do not want to go there (although, between Hell and Purgatory, of course, I'd go with the latter). And something else I've gleaned from the saints: merits cannot be gained in Purgatory. We can only gain merits in this life; once we die, it's over. And the merits we gain (purely through the grace of Christ, of course) contribute to the glory and the joy we experience in Heaven. It's clear that saints attain varying degrees of perfection, and those who have made the most out of their lives on earth are the ones who enjoy the most inconceivable joys in Heaven. I suppose I really want to be one of those saints--and I can't be if I settle for second best, if you know what I mean.

One last thing that motivates me: St. Paul commands us in 1 Corinthians 9:24: "Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win." Thus, we are commanded to run, not so as to win second or third prize, but so as to *win* first prize. Which means we are to strive with all of our might to do and be the best we possibly can here on earth.



Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Please pray for the souls in Purgatory

May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace.

New address bobtheape88...at...gmail...dot...com

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