Essays in Idleness


Month: August, 2016

Swimwear issue

It is well that I am not the editor of Sports Illustrated; for were I so, I might commission a special burqini swimwear issue, just to provoke … everybody. All my lithe supermodels would be wearing burqini and veilkini variants, some with Marianne liberty caps and so forth. In the shoots, I would have them […]

The common man

The usual way to remove inferior races from public spaces is to price them out. Municipal and regional governments are the guiding hand, through their planning departments. The “gentrification” process is done overtly through tight by-laws, licencing, and commercial regulation, all arranged on the Clintonian principle of “pay to play.” This makes the respectable zones […]

On discernment

True, I am a simpleton, with a weak hold on the English language (and yet weaker on any other). My difficulties begin with basic vocabulary. There are words that pass over my head, not as the baptismal dove, but like some poorly-aimed vegetable matter. Even if it splatter me — as for instance let us […]

The ground beneath her feet

The epicentre of the Italian earthquake was by Nursia (Norcia in current Italian), birthplace of Saint Benedict, and his twin sister, Saint Scholastica, in the year 480. An oratory was built over the Roman foundations of their family home, for the pilgrims who came to pray with the founder of Western monasticism. Then, by the tenth […]

Positive reinforcement

“The flight went really well and the only issue was when it landed.” I pick up such delightful phrases in my (entirely unnecessary) morning ramble through the news on the Internet. This one had me giggling, for, in addition to applying to the test flight of a commercial blimp — which nose-dived upon approaching the […]

Movers versus Shakers

There is no safe place on earth, and as we have become aware through developments in astronomy, the planet itself is exposed to celestial flotsam such as asteroids, and effluvia from decaying stars, including any in our near vicinity that may happen to go supernova. Verily, I am reminded in my walks through the Greater […]

Beyond ornithology

There are, so far as I can count, six kinds of flying creatures about this earth: birds, bats, aeroplanes, helicopters, flies, and pterodactyls. There are many species within each of these orders, and I have simplified this morning’s Idlepost by excluding things that merely float upon the breeze, such as smoke and squirrels. Indeed, my […]

Eorum culpa

“O God, I give thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this Republican.” The passage is a slight update by Timothy Williams at Crisis (here), on the original in Saint Luke. The parable of the Pharisee and the Publican is among the more biting of Christ’s […]

Salmon from a tin

I love Fridays, because, we get to eat fish. Of course, anyone can do that, who has the money, regardless of his race or cult. But as a Catholic, with some few ascetic aspirations, I try to deny myself fish on the other days. Then I can wake Friday morning with the thought, “Ho! This […]


Here is a stunning ’graf: “In most parts of Europe, democracy took firm root only after the killings and expulsions of World War II turned countries that had once been home to a large number of minorities deeply homogeneous. Democracy in those places is a creation of the nation state, and for outsiders, membership in […]

The right tool

Much as other porcupines, an Italian porcupine will be generous with his quills; one has only to come near and he will discharge several. Those who deal in book-binding, in paper-mounting and art conservation, will be grateful indeed for so fine a gift. Must it be an Italian porcupine? So I believe. But one need […]

De anima

Of course, I am some kind of Christian fanatic, or “Roman candle” as I prefer, but I still think people might have a use, even in areas such as manufacturing, and the economy. I will acknowledge that our replacement by robots has improved efficiency in many trades, especially those involving repetitive tasks. This includes fruit-picking, […]

The why-I-am-not chronicles

Often I am asked by correspondents to define something they call “conservatism.” I rather thought I’d answered this question before, though it is always possible I was mumbling. So lest there be confusion, or perchance new readers, let me give the definition again. Conservatism is a form of embarrassment or timidity; in an American context, […]