Essays in Idleness


Month: September, 2017

A good shove

There are lines which are old, worn, and commonplace, but to hear them delivered to the General Assembly of the U-nighted Nations is pure joy: “The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.” The President of the Natted States Merica fleshed this out, as […]

The push-back chronicles

My idea of Christianity came from reading the Gospels. There was the Christ of Hungerford Bridge (whom I have mentioned elsewhere), but too, the Christ of intellectual apprehension, upon whose acts and sayings one might make notes. Or if gentle reader will indulge, the Mystical and the Theological, respectively. These are not contraries. As very […]

Politics of the risible

You have to laugh. That is an actual instruction, gentle reader. Please obey. Through long-settled bad habit, I look at “the news” every morning. Sometimes I have the wisdom to leave this until I have swallowed the full pot of coffee; sometimes my will cracks early. What I find, every day, is a farce. True, […]

The long march

There is a secret about the Devil that I propose to share with my readers. I hope it doesn’t get me into trouble. It is an interesting secret, which emerges from the careful study of Catholic doctrine, as it has been articulated through the centuries. If we want to understand the Devil, that is the […]

The strait, and narrow

Well, I suppose a lot of people are selling swamp land in Florida now. In other news, the school year has recommenced, and I find myself once again modestly deranging the minds of innocent young seminarians, on the topic of Literature. Catholic Literature. (All great literature is Catholic: did you know?) Here are five things […]

Timor mortis

A poet from the other side of Lake Ontario, John Ashbery, died last week. I’d been so busy not looking at the news, and finding it full of air when I saw it (weather news, mostly) that I didn’t know until a poet in California tipped me off this morning. Ashbery himself — who like […]

Of providence & order

Trust in Providence is an attitude of mind, installed at conception, but later it becomes a choice. On this Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary we recall the place of choice in human history: of God’s choice of the path to redemption for fallen, sinful man. It was not our choice. God […]

On pushing back

I beseech you, gentle reader: abjure the bait of praise and the dread of blame. I can see no other path to recovery from constant retreat in the Culture War. For there is an even better option than the “Benedict” one, currently in fashion among the Catholic genteel. It is to stop sulking, and win […]

Calcutta, my love

Gentle readers sometimes ask, and a few asked yesterday, where they can find my works prior to the inauguration of this Idleblog. The answer is generally, I don’t know. There is much on clippings, collected mostly by my late father, and discovered in his files when he died. I had no idea, until then, to […]

A memoir

Twenty years have now passed since a Saint of the universal Church died and was translated to Heaven, from Calcutta. I remember it vividly, because I was soon there, as correspondent for a Canadian newspaper chain. I’d come away suddenly from a week of Princess Diana-mourning, through which I’d made myself increasingly unpopular by failing […]

Among the soft-bodied eight-limbed molluscs

Lovely piece on the octopus linked through Maggie’s Farm this morning (here), after one gets through the mandatory Japanese eroticism. They are wonderful slimy things, if you have ever wrestled with one. I haven’t, myself, but the (magnificently Catholic) poet Roy Campbell used to do bouts for the tourists, back home in South Africa. It […]