Essays in Idleness


Month: November, 2013

Lay sermon

What follows, on this Feast of Christ the King, is the slightly edited and contracted text of a “talk” I gave four years ago, in the “Scavi” of Saint Patrick’s Basilica at Ottawa. It was a pleasant evening, as I recall. Not one heckler, for a change, though many young people out from the city’s […]

Steven Temple

There would be a very long post, if I tried to tell the history of second-hand book-dealing in Toronto, if only from my own temporally limited point of view. It is too early in the morning for whisky, however, so I will skip to the end. Booksellers’ row along Queen Street West is now finished. […]


“Anyone can translate Chinese,” according to the beautiful lady who was teaching the use of the brush. This was in a backward little British school in Bangkok, wherein I was enrolled at age eleven, almost half a century ago. The class met in a small, yellow-plastered room, that opened on the side of a narrow […]

Our illustrious mayor

Toronto, or “Toto” for short, is once again in world news, thanks to our beloved mayor, Rob Ford. It is nearly a year since I mentioned him in a post I should have deleted by now, for being merely topical. I explained why every left-thinking person in the Greater Parkdale Area had been teased to […]

Dies irae

One of my upcountry correspondents wrote this in response to my “All Souls” column (published this morning at Catholic Thing): “Whenever our choir performs the Mozart Requiem, with its magnificent showcasing of the Dies irae, we sell out. Up here, in redneck country-&-western Grey-Bruce, we sell out: 700 tickets for a one-night stand. People are […]