Essays in Idleness


Month: July, 2015

Hybrid warfare

Íñigo López de Loyola, better known to us as Saint Ignatius of Loyola, whose Feast we observe today (in both the traditional and the novel Calendars), was a valiant and gallant soldier. He had more than proved himself in the field, from teenage years through his twenties. Indeed, he owned a reputation for swashbuckle and […]

More enthusiasm for GMOs

The genetic modification of science by hoodoo is a theme of interest up here (in the High Doganate). I read journalists such as Henry I. Miller, in Forbes, much to the displeasure of at least one correspondent, who does not like his “tone.” I, for my part, very much enjoy it. Miller is an abrasive […]

Trying to understand Lu Yu

Among my chief regrets in life, is my lack of education. For instance, I cannot read classical Chinese. I cannot read modern Chinese either, but that does not bother me. The failing is on my part alone. As a child, in the Bangkok Patana school, in a special class that met by klong-side, an attempt […]

Liturgy fairies

The expression in my title was used by a certain Scotchman, of Catholic affiliation if not Catholic sensibility, to describe certain beloved Fathers in a certain beloved Parish. He said they care for nothing except the liturgy, and implied that they spend all their days dressing up. Note the further insinuation that they are deficient […]

As the world turns

Has it occurred to anyone in the Obama administration that the Persians, perhaps, cannot be trusted? Probably not; but it need not occur to them. They are told it every day. And the Turks, not quite doing as they say? (Ditto; but with fewer reminders.) I refer only to the governments of the respective nations, […]

In no strange land

I am very bad at remembering birthdays, dinner dates, anniversaries. Perhaps that’s why I now live alone. This week I set some kind of record, not only by forgetting the birthday of a good friend, which I suppose could be overlooked in some years. But this was a round-numbered birthday. Saint Philip Neri turned five […]

Chronicles of Gadara

That, “a gentleman never unintentionally gives offence,” is something I first heard from my mother. The barb was not placed unintentionally in the bait: a gentleman only gives offence on purpose. Taken not as a moral injunction, but as a sociological observation, there is, or there was, some truth in this. In higher British society, […]

Ninety-seven percenters

A lovely term appears in today’s dispatches, new at least to me: “thermal machismo.” It is used to describe people who, like the Lord Denizen of the High Doganate, or the Pope, refuse to buy air conditioners, and instead, tough it through the heat of summer. Or at least, tell other people to do so. […]

Little Tibet in Parkdale

“Do not commit any sins. Practice all the virtues. Subdue your imagination. This is what the Buddha teaches.” This English tag is painted in small capitals, red on yellow, under a line of Indic abugida which I take for Tibetan. Though if it were Dzongkha, Drendjongké, Ladakhi, Balti, or Purik, you could have fooled me. […]

The daily forty-five

God bless Mollie Hemingway, who had the patience to list forty-five irreproachably relevant journalistic angles on the Planned Parenthood baby organ harvest story — in case some major gliberal media outfit, with the budget to gather news directly, should decide to cover it. She delivers at the outset the gorgeous conceit that, maybe they just […]

On the other hand

A cow writes, that I have been unfair to her and her kind. The cattle are a benign race, she claims. They are not nearly so manipulative as Perfesser Fleischkopf has alleged. They are not, certainly not, like the white lab rats who delight in getting the white lab-coats scurrying about, by such simple devices […]

A new model for society

Whatever you might say against European imperialism and colonialism, it was good for the dairy industry. Ditto the railways which, beginning with the Great Western, made a fortune delivering rural milk supplies to the Great Wen of London, using methods soon copied by entrepreneurs in Paris, New York, Bombay. We forget, don’t we, that before […]

Strait up

The parable of the unjust steward, in Luke 16 and today’s (Old) Mass, presents “difficulties” to the interpreters, we learn. One giggles when one reads that. Jesus is commending a shyster who, about to lose his job, cuts deals with his boss’s debtors. He still has the legal power to write off debt, but won’t […]