Essays in Idleness


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Peter Geach

But of course, we are all Jacobites up here in the High Doganate. (See here.) We do not allow this to distract us, however, from our loyalty to Her Majesty the Queen. While it is true, quite frankly, that she is not a Stuart, Elizabeth II is a very fine Queen: the bestest you could […]

In those days

Two articles by Tony Esolen, which appeared this week before my Internet-trawling eyes, strike me as having been entirely worth the attention of anyone who missed them, and good to consult for contemporary “background” on this last, first, and most holy of Ember Days. I cannot improve either by paraphrase, so shall direct gentle reader: […]

Ten Editions

On the northwest corner of Spadina and Sussex avenues, in Toronto, Ont., there remains a shophouse, from another era. There were once many like it, in that section of Spadina near Bloor; but the contrast today with sterile office and apartment towers makes this survivor stand out as an architectural enchantment. A smaller late Victorian […]

O Adonai

The Lord (Adonai in Hebrew) who made the Covenant with Israel, the Lord who delivered His people in that Covenant, is the Lord of the Creation, or as we say, Christ Jesus. My title this morning is that of the second of the venerable “O Antiphons” — responsories or little hymns of one stanza, each […]

Somewhat feline

Christmas is coming: did you know? … (Gentle reader is instructed to hold that thought, while he considers what follows.) * The last message in the combox of this Idlesite, when I removed it some months ago, said something to the effect, “You have cut off your nose to spite your face.” It was a […]

Star dust

I see that the Curiosity Rover has been detecting little burps of methane in the Martian atmosphere. Cue the tabloids to announce, “Life on Mars!” Biomethation (methane production by microbes) is one possible explanation of the burps. There are a few hundred known alternative explanations. Our wee mechanical toy landed on the bed of what […]

The blind eye

Hypocrisy, as we all know, is the homage vice pays to virtue. I dislike it very much, especially when I find it in myself, and realize that it will have to be confessed. It is bad, bad, bad. But there are worse things than hypocrisy, sometimes, and I’m inclined to wink at a little hypocrisy […]

Help is on the way

Gaudete! … Gaudete in Domino semper! … Iterum dico, gaudete! … As a once-Anglican; nay before that, as an unreligioned boy who became utterly entranced by the Bell Anthem of Henry Purcell, I cannot look upon the Latin words in this morning’s Introit without the sung translation pealing forth, in my mind’s ear: Rejoice in […]

Nay, nay

The world is full of blather. Some days I don’t want to add any more. I suppose the world has always been thus, but the blather wasn’t always copied and amplified. Gutenberg has a lot to answer for; but so do others. In the New Yorker, or rather its website, I had just read a […]

Thirteenthing China

My piece over at The Thing today goes back to China (here). I, as others going back perhaps to Matteo Ricci, if not to St Francis Xavier, see a natural fit between the Thomist account of heavenly things, and the Confucian account of things under Heaven. This link was explored and attempted, in the past, […]

The gimcrack gourmand

For reasons any Punjabi would likely understand (and as a child of Lahore I claim some modest appreciation), pork curries are comparatively rare. But up here in the kitchen of the High Doganate, the problem what to do with your leftover fried pork-belly rinds arose last night, and I set about solving it in a […]

The cosmic duh

There are some things that cannot be verified or falsified. These would include all axioms of logic; even those of post-modern “paraconsistent” logics, wherein the very Law of Non-Contradiction is (implausibly) denied, but which are axiomatic on their own terms. We are out of science and into faith territory when we discuss logic; or the […]

Pests of this kind

The phrase in my heading is from the Syllabus of Errors, whose 150th anniversary we also celebrated, yesterday. It was published quite intentionally on the tenth anniversary of the Dogmatic Definition of the Immaculate Conception — tacked onto the encyclical, Quanta Cura, itself a magnificent condemnation of the whole, unqualified idea of “freedom of conscience,” […]