Trousered Ape
An exercise in presumption.
Sunday, May 30, 2004
The saga continues...

The futon arrived on Tuesday the 18th and gives universal satisfaction. The ants are still marching, but more like one by one instead of ten by ten (thanks to Raid, that most useful WMD-in-a-can). I've been catching up on the lawn, and also removing the burgeoning walnut forest (we have a couple of walnut trees and the squirrels love to bury the nuts and then forget about them, so every year 14 or 15 new trees sprout up).

The Equestrienne continues to do well at her riding lessons, and has successfully completed her first year of home schooling, thanks to her own efforts and those of the Human Bride.

Work has been quiet but busy. My team leader leaves on Friday. He has been tutoring me to take over some of his responsibilities. I have already been developing estimates and specifications as part of my normal work; I'm getting up to speed on Optio Design Studio (a tool which lets you design a form which can then be filled in with data directly from a database and printed, rather like Word's Mail Merge, only more powerful); and then there's our project management software. This last worries me a bit: will I be just doing the busywork of entering and updating projects, or will I be expected to do real managerial work? Time will tell; but the only thing stupider than trying to make a manager out of me would be me letting it happen. (Of course the real question is, will I have the guts to not let it happen?) [06/04/2004 - This paragraph has been edited to remove uncharitable and slightly paranoid phrasing - BtA.]

We got the financing for the furnace, but before we can get it installed, we need the chimney inspected and a chimney liner put in. They're coming to look at it on Tuesday.

Finally, I will be on my own from Wednesday to Sunday, as the rest of the family is going up to Massachusetts for the graduation of the Bride's niece from Harvard. I was scheduled to go, but the transition at work requires my presence all week; plus, I don't want to miss the farewell on Friday.

God bless anyone who's reading this.
Sunday, May 23, 2004
A quick, simple, and accurate stress test at a hitherto unknown blog, Trust the Truth (via Minute Particulars).
Geoffrey K. Pullum, at Language Log, writes of a
new assault
on civilization: a bank is dropping the term "account number" and replacing it with "relationship number". Mr. Pullum's comment was "What I need to know is whether they are interested in me for myself, or whether they're just after my money." (The Human Bride wonders if an overdraft results in a Dear John letter.)
Thursday, May 20, 2004
Peony Moss, of Two Sleepy Mommies, deftly ripostes to the Poe version of Dick and Jane.
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
It may be that one of the issues that a beginning blogger must confront is that of what to blog and what not to blog. Some blogs stick to issues while others are more inclined to record the minutiae of their owners' daily lives. Oddly enough, although I greatly enjoy reading about others' minutiae, I am reluctant to write about my own, feeling that no one could possibly be interested, and that anything I blog should "amaze the whole room, and be handed down to posterity with all the eclat of a proverb." This is, no doubt, vanity; so, to mortify my vanity, I shall write at length about myself.

It's been a weekend.

Saturday was fairly busy. The Bride was gone all day. She went in to work about 6 AM; as one of the REF coordinators for our parish, she largely sets her own schedule, apart from the actual classes, and finds early Saturday mornings convenient for doing paperwork and planning. Then she had to both attend and assist at the sexual abuse training sessions that the Scandal has brought to us. Finally, she was scheduled as one of the Eucharistic Ministers for the 5 PM Mass.

The girls and I did the grocery shopping in the morning. After lunch, I mowed the back-of-beyond yard (not to be confused with the back yard), which alternating rain and sun were rapidly restoring to a state of virgin wilderness. We then played with the hose for a while to cool off, and I began work on weatherproofing some lengths of wood to repair the fence on which our grapevines grow.

Sunday, ant season returned. Much of the early morning was spent chasing around the house with a can of Raid in one hand while moving furniture and picking up rugs with the other. We decided during the fun that the time had finally come to toss out the old couch, suffering from years of active children and cats.

The girls and I went to the 11 AM Mass, at which the Storm Queen, who on Friday finally grasped the concept of the potty, demonstrated her mastery by six times requesting to be taken there (fortunately, we had arrived late and were, unusually for us, sitting near the back). Then home again, and after lunch the family went out to buy a futon to replace the late and unlamented couch (yes, I know it was Sunday, which we try to keep restful, but this was somewhat forced upon us). Sunday evening, the Bride went to the inaugural meeting of the parish Youth Group.

Monday had some time ago been planned as a day off from work, as the Bride was scheduled to attend a diocesan REF meeting (though in the event the meeting was scheduled for the evening). The morning was quiet. We went out to lunch with my team leader from work - who told us that he had just given his notice. This was not entirely unexpected, as he has been obviously unhappy in his job for some time now, but still the reality takes some getting used to. He was my mentor when I started there, and as a team leader probably the best supervisor I have ever had: always ready with help when it was needed, but hands-off when it wasn't, lavish with the positive feedback, invariably straightforward. I don't know what will become of the team; I know I will miss him enormously.

In the afternoon, I had to meet with a representative from our heating oil company about replacing our furnace. The current one was installed about 1950 and has finally reached the end of its useful life. A new one will cost anywhere from six to eight thousand dollars; fortunately, financing is available, and, the way oil prices are going, saving even a two or three hundred gallons a year will significantly help pay for it.

And so it went.
Monday, May 10, 2004
Anybody who thinks the environment is fragile doesn't have a yard to maintain.
Friday, May 07, 2004
Scene: The Ape, with a book. To him, the Storm Queen (who has recently learned to read).

Storm Queen: What are you reading?
The Ape: The Annotated Tales of Edgar Allan Poe. (Shows frontispiece picture of Poe.)
Storm Queen: Well, I'm glad he didn't write Dick and Jane!

The moment she spoke those words, the Ape knew he had been challenged...so...

If Poe had written Dick and Jane:

Once upon an autumn morning, suddenly and without warning,
Came before my saddened eye a youth denominated Dick.
"Oh!" I cried in joyous wonder, "Oh, oh, oh!" No, 'twas no blunder,
My pall of sorrow rent asunder, my gladdened heart now beating quick -
Yes, my tired heart, once mired in sadness, now was beating quick -
My fevered soul no longer sick.

Oh, so gamesome his disporting, his curveting, his cavorting,
Such surcease my soul affording, that had been so sad of late.
"Look, look, look!" was all my uttering, said distinctly, with no muttering,
Wingéd words from my lips fluttering, giving thanks to kindly Fate -
With such simple words did I give thanks to beneficient Fate -
"Look!" did I reiterate.

To athletic Dick now entered sister Jane, like him engendered
In the fecund, many-splendoured womb of her whom they call Mother.
Circling, she swiftly skated; though one skate was separated
From her foot, she still gyrated, round and round about her brother -
Rapidly she still gyrated, round about her gamboling brother -
Thus they played with one another.

Two did not complete the tally, still to come was Baby Sally,
Brisk, for she disdained to dally, bearing her umbrella high.
"Look, Dick, look, Jane, look at Baby!" went the glad refrain, for maybe,
Maybe, she'd do something funny, so with sunny heart did I -
Hoping to see something funny, as my heart was leaping high -
Fix her with attentive eye.

Senses reeling, rapture-smitten, still I could descry a kitten,
"Puff" on leathern collar written, join the twosome and the tot.
Close behind her, softly panting, gleeful, gay and gallivanting,
Caracoled that regal canine whom the others knew as Spot -
Danced and pranced that noble spaniel known to all the world as Spot -
Oh, the bliss that they begot!

Woe! no sooner had elation reached its final consummation
Than a demon of vexation crept its way into my breast.
Were they of intent refraining from explicitly explaining
How I might hope for regaining her whom once I had caressed?
Brought they no hope of regaining her whom once I had caressed?
By whose love I once was blessed?

"Tell me, children, dog, or kitten, shall the lamp be ever litten
That will guide me though the shades to find the maiden I did love?"
"Look, look, look," said Dick, defiant, "Oh, oh," said Jane, uncompliant,
"See," said Sally with a sigh, and "Woof," said Spot, and "Mew," said Puff -
No one told me, neither Dick nor Jane nor Sally, Spot, or Puff -
"Oh, look, see," was their rebuff.

"Villains!" shrieked I in my madness, "bearers of deceitful gladness,
Thus to leave me in my sadness, here condemned forevermore!
Watching Dick and Jane and Sally, sundered by the dreadful valley
Of the shadow from that maiden whom I did betimes adore -
From that rare and radiant maiden whom I did betimes adore!"
"Oh," they quoth...then quoth no more.
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
Since, apparently, it isn't a blog until you've ranted about something, herewith is my maiden rant:

Why is it that today's Catholic illustrators have a hard time depicting our Lord as a real human being? I have had a number of occasions to look for Catholic children's books, and every time, I find myself confronted with varying depictions of what I term "Snagglejesus": a more or less goofy cartoon character with popping eyes and a lopsided toothy grin (one senses that he would have that grin even on the cross). The "kid's page" provided every Sunday at my parish church is just as bad. Do the publishers think that children cannot relate to a "grown-up" image? Are we witnessing the fruits of a generation raised on Saturday-morning cartoons? Are cartoonists cheaper? Or what?

I need to look harder.
Monday, May 03, 2004
Seen a couple of times last week: a bumper sticker reading

"Is it Sunday yet?

The sentiment is, perhaps, a tad off-target?


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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If Edgar Allan Poe had written “Dick and Jane”

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