Essays in Idleness


Month: May, 2017

On the road

I am going upcountry through the week, blessedly without electronic connexions. Verily, I have never known how to upload an Idlepost, from anywhere except the High Doganate, being essentially unteachable, as my webmaster son will confirm. Meanwhile, I invite readers to peruse the 963 Idleposts in the thread below, which I have yet to summon […]

Of back-ups & throwbacks

The hard way, because it is the only way left, we (the “we are the world” we) may gradually learn that abject dependency upon computer networks was a dumb idea. We’re not there yet, but getting closer, as a gentle reader near London reports, who wants to be in Cairo, notwithstanding the breakdown of the […]

Vietnam revisited

There are, if I count aright, three types or classes of military strategists: 1. The students of Sun Tzu. 2. The students of Carl von Clausewitz. And, 3. Total idiots. Never having been offered a general command, I’m still not sure which type I would be. But I do know which I’d prefer. Alas, almost […]

On pageantry & apocalypse

I notice from photographs (it is unnecessary to read media texts) that Melania Trump, who declined the headscarf in Arabia, was wearing a fulsome mantilla in the Vatican. A nice Catholic girl from Slovenia (married only once, if irregularly) she knew what she was about. The pope might want to discuss her husband’s diet, but […]

The movie

I know a young lady with an interesting obsession. Since her mother died, she is charged with the notion that her mother can see everything she does. She hasn’t much changed her ways, she reports, but feels a new accession of guilt, or more accurately, shame. “Belinda,” let us call her, for that is not her name. […]

Just one good smack

The Bronx is a borough of New York City which houses, as we say in India, 14 lakh inhabitants. (A lakh is 10 to the 5th, written 1,00,000.) This is a large number, according to me. For most of the known planetary history, that would make it the world’s biggest city. I am including several […]

Sweetness & light

One imagines the disembodied souls of the schoolchildren, wandering the streets of Parkdale while they sleep. “Give me Dante! Give me Petrarch!” they cry. But instead, when their souls return and they wake, they will be given a stone. Gentle reader may take this as a criticism of our education system, which carries on through […]

Of Adam & Eve

The castle is stormed, since yesterday’s Idlepost, by ladies denying that they are bibliophobes, liberphobes, libellumphobes, volumenphobes, chartaphobes, codexphobes, or book haters. Several make good arguments for themselves. My chief correspondente in western Massachusetts reports that every room in her man-free house is book-dominated, and the hallways were lined, too, before she began “downsizing.” So would […]


Since Holy Week, up here in the High Doganate, we have been doing the most ambitious spring cleaning that we can recall ever having done, voluntarily. I say “we,” but I got no help at all from Bodo and Katrina (the pigeon couple I mentioned last week), my purpled finches have been absent without leave, […]

Of prophecy & prognostication

One is often told “you cannot live in the past,” or, by way of self-contradiction, that one is doing so. I would if I could, though of course I should like to choose which past to live in. Meanwhile, what is one to say for those who aspire to live in the future? Can they […]

In praise of anarchy

Good: Trump fired Comey. About time. I have nothing against the man, but he needed to be fired. Everyone should be fired, it builds character. I will draw the line at hanging, usually. But yes, turn them out on the street, make them earn a living. That is incidentally my scheme for the improvement of […]

On the speed of thought

I’ve been outsmarted by a pigeon, in the wee hours of this night. Rather, by two pigeons, of a single mind. They have decided to interpret an article of furniture briefly parked on the balconata (up here in the High Doganate) as a dovecote. They are trying to nest behind and under. While I appreciate that they […]


The latest thing in Europe is “to have an existence.” I noticed this phrase often coming up while half-following the French election campaign. They now have a thirty-nine year old technocrat for president, named after a diacritical mark in Latin and Hungarian. That makes him, I think, a long vowel, or a heavy syllable. I […]