Essays in Idleness


Month: June, 2015

Shades of homer

Oh dear, was it a mistake to put millets out for my finches, and then some agéd pot barley after that. More proof that I cannot be God, even to these avians. The finches didn’t mind at first, were curious and poked about. I had sprinkled some crushed ancho chilli into the millets, to give […]


There is a saying among the finches who visit my balconata: “The Lord Denizen of the High Doganate works in mysterious ways.” Or rather, I’m convinced that they don’t understand me. My seeds they are happy enough to take, but they will not trust me. They let a Jay, on one occasion, alight on my […]

Fraternal charity

Being no expert or authority on anything, I am loathe to pronounce ex cathedra judgements, even from the Chair of the High Doganate. Perhaps I am excessively shy: I stick only to self-evident propositions, condemn only the most obvious frauds, and shower my moronic enemies with only the most affectionate abuse. I never say anything […]

Drawing a comparison

There could be an international banking collapse Monday, I gather from this morning’s perusal of “the news.” This because the Greeks have now pushed it, not only to the limit, but somewhere beyond. We offer no investment advice, up here in the High Doganate. Nor do we prognosticate from Saturday to Monday: much might happen […]

The goose procession

The closest thing we have to a settled reactionary faction, here in Parkdale, are the Red-Necked Grebes over in the pond precincts of Humber Bay Park. These Podiceps are hard to miss, this time of year, with their fetching black caps, their distinguished grey faces, and their superbly contrasted necks which, locally, are of a […]

Shock effects

Many people there are, whose modus vivendi with the world seems founded upon one and only one principle: never shock anyone. I refer to the class that can also be described, from a slightly different angle, as “total bores.” One loves them, of course — tepidly, as suits their condition. With imagination, one may “feel […]

Opposite Christmas

Today is the Summer Christmas, or rather, was treated as such in the High Middle Ages, from what I understand. The account of Saint John Baptist in Luke’s Gospel places his conception about six months before the Annunciation to Mary. In symmetry, three Masses were offered, as for Christmas Day. It was this rich mediaeval […]

Aside on the discharges

Like a dog with his teeth on your ankle, or a shark with his mouth on your arm, I’ve been going on about environmental questions these last few days. I wonder what got me going? The Humber River (whose mouth is visible from the High Doganate) has this morning strewn mud into Humber Bay. A […]

Air conditioning

[I have added somewhat to this, since it was posted, for the usual motive: to clarify some minor obscurities that were leading certain readers to grief.] * It would be hard to convey my views on air conditioning in a brief essay, but I’ll try. The Holy Father conveyed his in less than a paragraph […]

Dominus illuminatio mea

“The Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear? The Lord is the protector of my life: whom shall I fear?” I have lifted this quote from the Introit to today’s Mass (Vetus Ordo), for the fourth Sunday after Pentecost. I have tampered slightly with the standard English translation, by removing the […]

Sunlight on the vines

I should add, however, that the gentle reader not inclined to read the thing (Laudato si’) is in error. Moreover, he should have read it first, before considering my own prattle on the topic, or that of anyone else. But I haven’t the power to enforce good habits. My own attempt to “read it with […]

Five thousand max

As so often on the Internet, G.K. Chesterton has come up with the best comment on Papa Francis’s environmentalist encyclical: “The essence of all pantheism, evolutionism, and modern cosmic religion is really in this proposition: that Nature is our mother. Unfortunately, if you regard Nature as a mother, you discover that she is a step-mother. […]


Today’s heresy, formed from the Greek henas theos, for “one god,” was coined by the German idealist, Friedrich von Schelling (1775–1854), a formidable purveyor of heresies himself. He wasn’t condemning it, for he imagined it a thing of the past. Henotheism is his word to describe the development of monotheism, in the ancient world. An […]