Essays in Idleness


Month: May, 2014

That peace is indivisible

“The definition of ‘peace’ in our common usage, as in our politics, has been narrowed to the absence of armed conflict. This is extremely suggestive, of an order in which peace, as any good, must be humanly imposed. Peace, to the mind that has taken the transcendental claims of democracy for granted, is a question […]

Hapless voters

There is, so to say, good news and bad news for democratic European Unionists. The good news is that, for the first time, voter turnout actually increased from the previous election to the European Parliament. Just over 43 percent of the eligible bothered to vote, up 1/10th of 1 percent. The bad news is that […]

Hierarchy or mediocrity?

It is for others to judge our merits, defective as their judgements may be; it is for Another to come to the correct and final Judgement. It is not, as I was taught even by post-Christian parents, for us to put ourselves forward. For that is in poor taste at the least, and ugliness provides, […]

The floor-tile calculator

On some item of news (it doesn’t really matter which), I was just reading some (better than average) media “analysis.” It told me things could get better, or they could get worse, thanks to the election of a charismatic, and intensely sectarian, politician. (Okay, it was India.) Which will it be, good or bad? The […]


For some reason I do not understand, my invitation to speak at a fundraiser for some remote riding association of the Conservative Party of Canada has been withdrawn. I learnt this only last night, although the message was relayed many days ago. Somehow I had missed it. It would seem my email receiver marked it […]


Perhaps I’m not quick enough, but I would like to be the first to not welcome the landslide election victory of India’s new “Hinduist” prime minister-elect, Narendra Modi. Democracy has done it again, and I gather they are dancing in the streets at Delhi, as “the people” are wont to do, whenever they have decisively […]

Lhude sing

If we must have great crashing sounds, I’d prefer they be thunder, accompanied by lightning. We enjoyed a few flashes with late supper on our balconata yesterday, up here in the High Doganate. We’d been promised the same, for tea, the day before, but the weather prognosticators with their sophisticated computer models cannot predict a […]

An empowering thought

It has come to my attention that a considerable proportion of the people around me are Heretics. This includes members of my Commentariat; much of the congregation at my church, and up in the choir; people at large in the Greater Parkdale Area; and who knows how many beyond? I believe I may be a […]


Mothers have great power, in earth as in heaven. Those who are just, have the greatest power. Or, such was my thought, some many years ago, in observing a mother of the Italian ethnicity, something under five feet high, but all gristle. She had a delinquent adolescent son, over six (feet). He played extremely obnoxious […]

Against happiness

The word “happiness” has turned up, in my correspondence and several other places, as if it were the mot du jour. Everyone wants to be happy. I would guess from this that everyone is un-happy. As Nikolay Chernyshevsky used to ask, “What is to be done?” (Lenin also asked, and indeed it is the basic […]


There is some controversy, apparently, about whether the final movement in Boccherini’s Guitar Quintet No. IV should include castanets. Some learned gentleman (forgotten his name already) used the loaded term “notorious” to describe that movement, attributing this to the irresponsible intrusion of castanets into so many performances of it. This was not “correct” the man […]

The ribbing

Is it just me, or has all public discussion of everything been reduced to facetiousness and sarcasm? Perhaps this is a facetious exaggeration. I noticed it fully in public debates — meant, I suppose, to be entertaining — on the question of the existence of God. I have caught a few of these debates at […]