Essays in Idleness


Month: October, 2015

All Hallows’ Eve

In a dream I was dreaming, of a recent morning before first light, there were children with lanterns wandering the streets. The dream was already fading, when I came to write it down, but there remained several indelible touches. Chiefmost was my surprise, upon descending (as the eye of some camera or some bird) from […]

On four hundred million

Red Chinese statistics are worthless, as intelligent statisticians know. The stupid rely on them anyway, arguing that nothing else is available. This is a typical manoeuvre of modern scientism: taking worthless information at face value, then constructing elaborate fantasies upon it. They call the result, “settled science”; then chastise the sceptics because they can produce […]

Ave maris stella

After a storm-blowing day, figuratively but also literally, there is the making of tea, and the longed-for quiet in which to collect oneself. To be now warm, and dry, surrounded by my books; and kept, in the light and company of a candle. A hymn tune had been forming from dust in the air, but […]

Non possumus

La Chiesa maestra non inventa la sua dottrina; ella è teste, è custode, è interprete, è tramite; e, per quanto riguarda le verità proprie del messaggio cristiano, essa si può dire conservatrice, intransigente; ed a chi la sollecita di rendere più facile, più relativa ai gusti della mutevole mentalità dei tempi la sua fede, risponde […]

Hae nobis propriae sedes

If the Viking priests from the age of the Orkneyinga Saga (composed eight centuries ago, about matters through centuries before it), returned suddenly to their old haunt on Papa Stronsay, they would have lively conversation with the current inhabitants. As they could not speak English, nor these new monks Old Norse, the chatter would be […]

Wrong how?

It seems that Tony Blair and I were wrong about Iraq — at least, according to Tony, who made a less than complete confession to some other talking head on the weekend. Jeb, the brother of Dubya Boosh, says something similar from time to time, by way of securing his reputation as a wimp in […]

Questions for ye bishops

Further to yesterday’s effusion, and to round out my comments for a week through which I have tried, Lord have I tried, to avoid “news,” “views,” and unpleasant speculation from the Synod at Rome; … well, I’ve been chatting with some fellow hack on a phone, and he said he had some questions for the […]

Vigilate & orate

Among my favourite pop-Protestant hymns is “To Be a Pilgrim,” as sung by the empyreal Maddy Prior. This partly at least because she sings the salty original words of John Bunyan, and not the fey Edwardian rewrite that is to be found in Vaughan Williams’ English Hymnal. Bunyan did not hesitate over terms such as […]

The universal tourist

There are men I would trust with my life; men I would trust with my bags; men I would not trust with them; and those who need hanging. Using the hundred or so adult inmates of the Greater Doganate for my statistical sampling, I’d say it is one of those Pareto curves, in the common […]

Drinking note

There are at least two tables, within pubs in the Greater Parkdale Area, where, notwithstanding I was once quite welcome, I am not today. Some think this is because of my opinions, which are those of a rightwing fanatic and religious nutjob. But no: it is because I am willing to express them. This is […]

The triumph of drivel

“While Mr Trudeau is the product of two political families — his father was prime minister — he came to politics late, after working as a snowboard instructor.” A friend in Washington ping’d me this webpage snip from the New York Times this morning, together with his condolences. It captures, perhaps, more adequately than the […]

Game on

Two events to mention in the Greater Parkdale Area, today. By far the most important, in the view of most citizens, will be the baseball game at the former Sky Dome (can’t remember what they call it now), between our Blue Jays and the strangely-named Kansas City “Royals.” As monarchists, we are pleased when any […]

Shipshape & Bristol fashion

Just before attaching him to the helium balloon, that will carry him eastward towards China, I should like to explain to some gentle readers why a certain beloved Pope Benedict, who knew a certain Cardinal Kasper to be an heretick, did not have him defrocked and excommunicated, but rather left him in position as a […]