Essays in Idleness


Paying one’s way

There are times when one really must go to gaol, or at least risk it. And this, even though one is in a small minority, and will receive only contempt for being “difficult.” A few “Red State” Americans will understand what I mean. We don’t riot when we don’t get our way, like delinquent children. At our best we make the situation plain, and take the consequences.

We do believe in self-defence, however, for ourselves and our families, and I am heartened that in Florida, the State apparently intends to restore the citizen’s ancient right to shoot looters and other housebreakers.

But against outrageous Batflu regulations, this tactic won’t work. The State itself is the perpetrator, and it is much too strong to resist. Not being a Left-progressive, I do not advocate shooting at policemen. The question — What to do? — should be answered in another way.

Suppose, to obey the regulations, the Catholic Church of which I am a member is specifically ordered to desecrate her Mass. Visitors must wear muzzles, must approach the altar in strange batty ways, not sing, and receive Communion in the hand. Priests to wear plastic gloves, as if Christ himself were a vector of infection. In my parish, pews have been removed, and tape marks placed on the remaining, to show where the penitent may rest his behind. One needs a ticket just to get in.

There is no point in objecting: the majority of parishioners play along. They do whatever they’re told, and are still scared silly by (mostly false, or aggressively misleading) media reports. One may go in “between acts” (if one can, without a ticket), and say the Lord’s Prayer solemnly, and perhaps one Hail Mary before body and soul are repelled by the fatuous bat-masks. Even so, the pastor sends around frightened emails. He is worried that some congregant may rat him out for overlooking some petty regulation, and fears at every moment that the cops will close him down.

This was once only a problem in Red China.

What should Church and churches have done? They should have stood their ground. They should have forced the government to show its hand, and arrest all the Christians, or give up. They should not “demand” that they be given the same rights as Walmart customers, but take them.

(Nothing against Walmart customers, by the way; they should refuse to be dehumanized, too.)

As the Mussulmans have been teaching us, there is no advantage in being soft and wet. Make the authorities more afraid of Catholics than they are of suicide bombers; and yet without flourishes of terrorism. But who would join me, in these degenerate times?

In passing, I am disgusted that even one self-styled Catholic or general Christian voted for Biden, in the election next door, given his support not only for abortions but a round number of anti-Christian policies besides. He pretends to be a Catholic himself, but disproves this by everything that comes out of his mouth, including habitual lies. Trump is actually closer to a Papist. Biden casually compares his opponents to Nazis, thus skipping beyond the reach of civil discourse. But we have become accustomed to such garbage, and not having it collected any more.

Fake Catholics should be told that they are fake, and dismissed fairly sharply. They should not be welcomed into Roman churches, but sternly asked to behave, or leave.

The flip side of this is gaol preparations. For that, and worse, has often been the price of devotion — not to the pagan gods of the State, but to the Risen Lord.


There are people who are almost the opposite of idlers — not many, but a few. They are not necessarily the most intelligent people, nor the deepest thinkers: what must be done seems obvious to them. That it will be difficult, both we and they take for granted; we prefer the term, “impossible.” These are not, usually, the most attractive people, though a strange light or charm may summon impressive allies. This is different from the “charisma” we normally associate with politicians, however, and which is the mark of a fraud.

Monstrous energy is the mark of the heroic non-idler. He may be put out to pasture, but he won’t stay there. Like goats, these heroes can’t be still unless sleeping, and don’t much sleep. They have their missions, they cannot be stopped. Like, notoriously, honey badgers, or weasels (another animal hard to herd), they are mission-focused, and cannot be distracted. Snakes, especially, dislike them.

For they do not give up. They are, because focused, quick studies, and very hard to outwit. They are easy to underestimate, however. Put one on a job, and if he lives, it gets finished. One thinks of Donald Trump, or Florence Nightingale. I could name more.

But as it is Armistice Day, I will think of Florence Nightingale, and her medical mission to the troops in Crimea. Later, her invention almost from scratch of modern nursing techniques.

She had her millions of admirers, in Victorian times, although she was privately detested by the élites. Partly, this was because she got things done, that they knew to be impossible; and forgot to flatter them. Soon after her death (in 1910, neatly at the end of the Edwardian), the snakes came out again, from under their rocks. (One thinks of Lytton Strachey, and his Eminent Victorians, among the most scabrous and despicable books I have read.)

Was she an imperialist and militarist? (We are back to Miss Nightingale.) You bet. That is why she is misunderstood in a time of “rampant,” ideological pacifism. The idea that winning a war, that needs winning, is compatible with true charity towards one’s own troops, and even those of the enemy, is beyond the intellectual capacity of the progressive mind — for which enemies are for killing, and friends are for throwing under the bus.

Currently, I wish to champion Miss Nightingale as a heroine of cuisine. The words below the asterisk are frankly plagiarized, from some food column I wrote decades ago, that just happened to recycle itself, under my wet flipflops. This surviving fragment starts by invoking Thermopylae, Salamis, Plataea; and Vimy Ridge.


“An army moves on its stomach” [I wrote], but it is hard to find anywhere in history an example of an army that cared much for the gourmand. Actually, I have misstated this entirely. It is hard to find examples of officers who cared for what the troops were eating — so long as it was nutritious and sufficient and did not contribute to mutiny. For the most part military food has been indistinguishable from prison food, and presented similarly.

This is partly understandable. War is not a picnic. I [used to] find it difficult to cook in the proximity of squalling children; I suppose the rattle of gunfire, incendiary bombs, and the whistle of incoming mortars might be equally distracting to the higher sort of culinary exercise.

But the circumstances of a field kitchen are not wholly grim. Dried herbs and spices are very light to carry, and wherever one happens to be on campaign, there are the fruits of that countryside. Moreover, as most old soldiers will recall, and the readers of their diaries and memoirs in their absence, most days are not that exciting. There is plenty of time to think about food. There are long periods of boredom and waiting with nothing to look at but the sky; interspersed with short periods of pant-shitting terror.

Supposing, for a moment, a bit of imagination on the part of quartermasters and cooks, and a semi-intelligent rationing authority, a war might be conducted with a bit of style. There could be rivalry between regimental kitchens, or between the galleys in Her Majesty’s fleet. Food could be made a powerful inducement in the recruitment drives.

There are some little sparks like this, in history. In the Crimean War, Florence Nightingale, that extraordinary lantern-bearing angel, procured the voluntary help of Alexis Soyer, the leading London hotel chef of the day, to advise her on the organization of field hospital kitchens. These quickly became the place to eat — almost worth getting wounded. M. Soyer applied his very broad mind to analyzing the limitations of field cookery, then turning each limitation into a strength. (I recommend his Culinary Campaign in the Crimea, 1857.)

Morale is not a small thing in the conduct of war. A hot meal served in defiance of logistics in the cold wet of a hideous trench, comes to remind us of victory, in the very face of the enemy.

Instead, our military food traditions seem to descend from the Scots — those bold, hardy warriors sweeping through Northumbria in the 14th century, without baggage carts. In Froissart’s Chronicle we read of their diet: under-done meat from rustled local cattle, thin oatmeal cakes, and river water.

Perhaps that’s the way it has got to be. Certainly it’s the way it was, from what I learnt asking veterans (including my papa, and his papa).

So in remembering the men, and women, who served, we might put off breakfast today until eleven. Perhaps then the sludge should be eaten from a tin bowl, with a slab of stale bread (no butter). Not from any desire to fast, but to help us remember them; and those for whom such a meal was their last, this side of paradise.

Big, red, & shiny

Some years ago, when most things happened, there was a Finnic lady. She preferred this to “Finnish,” for she spoke English well. Sometimes she would use, “Uralic,” to the puzzlement of almost everyone, in the Asiatic city wherein she was conducting business. It was a store, where one could buy Scandihoovian furniture, light fixtures, bottles, and other material goods. These were early days of the “Asian Tiger” economies, but already there was a surplus of the “upwardly mobile,” many with European and even more with American post-secondary degrees. They just loved Scandihoovian things.

So did this Finnic lady, “in principle.” She was quite proud of “some” of the things that she was selling. This included a culture of sophistication, in the salons she conducted, Saturday afternoons. I, who sometimes attended, happened to notice that the guests consisted almost entirely of sophisticated white Occidentals, though occasionally a splendidly attractive Oriental woman, on the arm of a sophisticated, white lover. The house, too, was a splendid thing, full of choice Scandihoovian objects, which in their simplicity set off Asiatic antiquities to brilliant effect — turning them from objects of religious veneration into Western “art.”

I was very young, and more adept in those days at keeping my mouth shut. Too, I was dazzled by the Finnic lady’s guests, and thrilled to find myself among them. Ah, to be part of any élite.

Her store struck me as more downmarket. The son of an industrial designer, I had already acquired criteria of taste to rank objects above and below a certain standard. (That’s how I became an Anglican, incidentally; before descending to a Romish Catholick. The trinkets were more likely to be in good taste.)

One day, however, I asked this Finnic woman to explain her choice of stock. I’m afraid I asked this rather awkwardly, being young, but no offence was taken. She explained that, while she did not like such things herself, her customers were inclined to buy articles that were “big, red, and shiny.”

Now, I quite understand, possibly already understood, that a merchant who wants to remain in business will consult her customers’ tastes, in preference to her own. We must make a living. Some of us have children to feed, and in the old days, wives. Moreover, through the years, I have witnessed the progress of many haughty merchants into bankruptcy. The same might be said for the fashionable, generally, once the fashion in which they trade passes away. Indeed, none of this is any of my business; and I should mention that the only commercial enterprise I ever started, went the way of all flesh.

The world is full of items that are big, red, and shiny. This grieves me. Hardly anywhere will you find a law against them, at least over the last six centuries. (Previously, there were sometimes sumptuary laws.) A person, today, would have to be a leftwing loon, to formulate an objection. And as several readers have observed, some not even gently, I am a rightwing sort of loon.

Let me observe, however, that the world is quite complex. Taste, alone — vapid conceptions of what is in good taste — make strange enemies. But also it makes strange friends.

Cottage cheese & noodles

Those would be egg noodles, of course, with pressed cottage cheese: very nutritious. Too, they help bring out your inner central European peasant (who is not a “liberal”). I have no German or Slavic ancestry myself, but I’m willing to pretend. You put on the face, and get in the mindset. Add a dash of Mongol.

Lately, since the world went crazy, or rather confirmed that it had long been so, I have taken a renewed delight in “comfort food.” I believe that I confessed this the other day; but if one is going to write nearly daily Idleposts, one must acclimatize to constant repetition. Since most people read at half-attention (the way they do everything else), this is just as well. A point may not be picked up until the tenth time it is mentioned; and then soon forgotten again. The Idleposter keeps banging away. He’s just like that himself.

Not so with food. I got the point of cottage cheese and noodles, the very first time. Some diced onion or shallot fried in butter, salt, and blackpepper to excess, then dump it in boiled noodles with the cheese, and sour cream. The more the merrier, in my view (I am pro-life), but if you’re poor, you’re poor.

In my humble but persistent opinion, the socialists in high office have conspired with dairy farmers almost everywhere to make cheese ludicrously expensive. This is an outrage. I used to be able to recite enough statistics to make your ears curl; but hell, just trust me. Should the world return to the sort of freedom that was normal only a few centuries ago, we could all go back to eating bread and cheese. Or, noodles and cheese in the fast lane. To say nothing of meat, when we resume keeping animals.

With wine, or beer, according to the climate. Why, I recall buying wine in Paris only one half-century ago, and noticing it was cheaper than milk. Both of them were aged.

It was a simple life, I was young and happy, reading books I could hardly understand, because they were in French. Often I had to read things ten times to get the point, but then I noticed it was just the same in English.

Owing to politics, I was not in Prague. Why, at that moment, I wanted to be there, is a secret I will take to my grave. But not being there didn’t bother me, much; indeed it spared me the walk, for I used to find trains too expensive, and horses inconvenient to park. Still, I longed for noodles; and Czech dumplings.

The French seemed to do noodles with chicken and wine; I was capable of adapting. In their countryside, they seemed to do a better job at being peasants than, say, the English. But neither seemed conversant with pressed cottage cheese. Fairness compels me to admit that the French had other cheeses, however. And the English, a whole lot of cheddar.

To be poor, ideally to be young on top of it; to have noodles and cheese. This is the secret of being happy. The books are probably optional. But these kids today, they don’t understand.


P.S. the plainest proof that The Election was stolen from Trump, is currently being provided by that country’s Left “mainstream” meejah, now including, or course, “Big Tech.” The speed at which they joined forces to blot out reporting on the numerous, very plausible court challenges to the counting in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, &c — each of which Trump was clinching until late votes started pouring in — and the many anecdotal reports of monkey-business in Dem-controlled cities, known to be extremely corrupt — contrasts brightly with their glacial patience when e.g. Gore was challenging a few unfallen chads in select counties of Florida, a few years ago. That they had, all, falsified the polls leading up to the election was anyway proved by the overall result. That was a psy-ops game: Biden did not win by up to seventeen points. The statistical anomalies in his local spikes, in precisely the states he had to take to squeak home, are in the same genre. I do not think Trump can overcome the headwinds now set against him. But the truth remains the truth, even when it is suppressed.

Note, I am not alleging “a vast leftwing conspiracy.” This is hardly necessary among the sort of people who do these sorts of things: our “progressive intelligentsia.” The end justifies the means for them, and the attraction to dishonest means comes quite naturally. We must pray for their intentions.

Your problems solved

A discussion on some email thread, this evening, on the presidency of William Henry Harrison. This lasted for thirty-one days, in 1841, before Mr Harrison succumbed to something like the Batflu. The question posed was, will Joe Biden, now declared president of the same country by its meejah, and by vote-counters in cities like Philadelphia, serve longer?

The correspondent was referring to the 25th Amendment of the Natted States Constitution, which, as Nancy Pelosi likes to point out, empowers Congress to replace a President if — in the august opinion of several Very Important Persons — he is unable to get up in the morning. This would complete the coup by which Commie-La Harris, the well-known California harridan, is raised to “legitimate” totalitarian power.

My guess was that, with the assistance of modern medical technology, Mr Biden could serve a full term.

Note, in order to replace him, a vote of two-thirds is needed, in both houses of Congress. But the Republicans, even after the ballot-stuffing is concluded, will retain at least one-third in both, and could thus defeat the measure. Moreover Mr Biden, being projectively comatose, would be unable to reverse this by Executive Order. Then, by keeping him on life support, over the subsequent forty-seven months, Ms Commie-La is prevented from assuming his office.

In passing I should like to say a nice word for the late President Harrison. He was not only elected to the highest office in America, but was the last British subject to attain it (having been born in the Thirteen Colonies). Surely that is worth a salute.

As things play out in my fertile imagination, Mr Biden comes to a good end. He wakes, after a year or two in his coma, having been miraculously transformed into a faithful Catholic, and resumes his duties to general applause — rather as Pope Benedict might resume his office, although that would require the unfortunate demise of some fellow from Argentina. Still, the sudden obviation of all the Argentine bulls and appointments, would help me to contain my grief.

In the American case, I can’t help thinking that simply confirming the re-election of Donald Trump, would be a better route to a happy destination. All that is required is for the Supreme Court to disallow post-election voting. The downside, of course, would be rioting in the streets, but hey, they have the National Guard for that. And the worst damage would only occur in cities like Philadelphia.

Bird-brained discussion

A couple of starlings, alighted on the remains of my balconata, are giving their “take” on current events. I cannot quite make out what they are saying, but from this distance, their views sound harsh. Though possibly I am reading too much into their remarks. Perhaps they are only giving their opinion on the cosmetic “makeover” of this building, being performed to the music of jackhammers. (The volume of this noise has been slightly reduced, since needed construction materials failed to arrive from Red China.)

So perhaps I will give my own views on The Election instead. Or not: for my own points will mostly repeat those already made in media that the “mainstream” are blacking out (a tactic that usually backfires), and are censored or warning-flagged on social media.

Trump failed to win beyond the margin of fraud, and so his vote is being cancelled in the citadels of political corruption: cities like Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee, &c, where massive ballot-drops (approximately 100 percent Biden) can be performed, and protected by unambiguously Democrat-serving judges as the Republican lawsuits pile in. The media howl, that opposing fraud is “undemocratic,” and as one wit observed, this won’t be over until 131 percent of the vote has been counted.

This is nothing new, unless we consider the scale. Kennedy was able to steal the 1960 presidential election by ballot-stuffing in Chicago and Texas, and Nixon was too much the gentleman to object. (But what if Trump proves not to be a gentleman, in a streetfight with half of America behind him?)

For many years, Democrats were able to hold the South by lynching blacks and enforcing Jim Crow. With “civil rights,” changing demographics, and the wealth that comes from taxing capitalism, this strategy changed to buying minorities off. It is still in effect, in the form of “identity politics,” but must change again soon with the times.

Trump has increased the Republican vote-share in every “race and gender” category, except white males. Among those “white supremacists,” his share slipped by five percent.

After well over a generation of replacing news with progressive “narratives,” the meejah have understandably lost track of what is happening around them. Even their “human interest” stories, sports coverage, Hollywood and so forth, is now so heavily trampled under ideological strutting, that it can appeal only to those who already agree. Their practice of choosing between demonstrable truths, and demonstrable lies, according to which better fits the narrative (“political correctness”) has already cost most newspapers their existence, and is beginning to tell against the Googlesearch imperium, Twitters, Facebooks, and You-Boobs of Big Tech.

But there is, arguably, reason to hope, even in that world. Technology tends to get out of the hands, of those smugly installed as its masters, and just as little Apple ate the lunch of big IBM, the future will surprise them. This does not mean it will be a better future, however. Machine versus machine is not edifying. It tends to end in the victory of machines.

What interests me, is the future for little creatures in our High Tech world. I am thinking specifically of men and women. How much autonomy will they be allowed? (They are too small to simply take it by force.) But might the trend be reversed in which our freedom is constantly diminished? By unexpected developments? Which?

Perhaps that was what the starlings were nattering about. I can’t really say, however, for both of them have now flown off.

The morning after

And so: The Peeple have spoken. They couldn’t make up their minds, however, so now it is the lawyers’ turn. May the best lawyer win. And may what he gets be a surprise, BIGLY.

My CDIC (Chief Displaced Irish Correspondent) forwards this excellent analysis from Twitter:

“The vast majority of marine life is concentrated near the coasts of continents, because these are the places where the ocean floor gets exposed to sunlight. The rest of the ocean is called ‘The Floatover’, by smug self-important fish, polyps, pinnipeds, cetaceans, crustaceans, &c.”

On the subject of data, I’m against it. Thanks to the “Internet Closet” in this building, I’m on a data diet at present. (It’s almost as if one of the jackhammers had an accident.) Everything went down just before NSM election results started coming in. Verily, God is merciful. My computer and email now “flicker” unpredictably, but the telephone is a dead loss. And, “blogging will be light” until (the horror, the horror) things come up again.

As gentle reader will know, I’m in favour of keeping everything in the closet. Or, everything nasty, at least. Any Democrats I find can go in there, too.

Today in history

Who knows what will be the result of today’s general election, south of the border? I certainly don’t, and it is the first in my short life for which I have no idea. I correctly guessed the winner of the last fourteen such elections, going back to 1964 (when I was eleven years old). For most, it wasn’t very difficult, although all I had was information from the newspapers, and some native common sense. Perhaps I was lucky, if one may call it that. Or, “privileged,” to have any brains at all. Today, I am persuaded that my luck has run out.

As recently as March, I assumed that Mr Trump would win an overwhelming landslide: something like Nixon’s in 1972, or Reagan’s in 1984. People do not generally vote against their wallets, and the behaviour of Democrats, especially in the House, might trigger a landslide there, too. “Trump Derangement Syndrome” was already in full force, but I could remember the Bush-Hitler and Ray-Gun derangements on the Left. These did not spread among those not flirting with mental illness. The Democrat Party could be counted upon, to be wrong on all the major issues, but moderately so. It wasn’t actually dangerous to vote for them, as it is now.

I had also been through the “revolutions” of 1968 and forward, and watched them burn out. As a young man I had been distressed by the Vietnam anti-war, and the damage it had done to the superpower on which we depend for our freedom and security. It was also fading into the past, and at the fall of the Berlin Wall I naively supposed that socialism was defeated. The 21st century looked brighter than the 20th had been. Now I know better.

While things might look grim at the moment — imagine if what is becoming a demonic party actually won? if someone like Kamala Harris actually became president? — they look worse, as we glance ahead. What makes this election so discouraging is that it could be decided by a rising generation that has been crap-indoctrinated in our schools, “informed” by poisonously deceitful mass media, and further disoriented by all-but-universal social media.

They are a tremendous, and growing force — of low-information, high-malice voters. One looks at the mouth-parts of an “AOC” and realizes that, indeed, she is the voice of the future, unless God intercedes. And we have given Him little reason to do so.

Should Trump nevertheless win, against an opposition that is so yuge, it would most likely be the last hurrah for an America, now turned against itself. For even those who support him are, in the main, voting only to keep their wallets.

Pericles in ancient Athens, by any standard among the greatest politicians (read Thucydides, more carefully this time); and oddly, Plato, too, in his Republic, knew what was required of a great city or πόλις. It must, as it were, believe in its own myths. There are several other qualities that are essential, that we might want to revisit if there is still time. None have much to do with any political theory. There is no abstract “democracy,” but modifications must allow freedom, and merit; as Pericles (via Thucydides) perfectly understood. Too, a long, uninterrupted history, is not merely advantageous but crucial.

Trump is no genius, according to me; although he is very quick and smart, to the cost of his enemies. He “sort-of understands” these things, however, and I pray he won’t be punished for this kernel of wisdom. Too, I pray, that the Senate will hold for the Republicans, because regardless of the presidential election result, if the Dems take the Senate they will not hesitate to remove him. Even if they can’t, they are now hell-bent in schemes to alter the Constitution, from which there would be no looking back.

They seek only power. That is what invites demonic inhabitation.

General declaration

It is All Souls, today; which, if you think of it, is the opposite of Hallowe’en when, according to legend, we are visited by all the spooks and ghastlies who rise out of the graveyard. On All Souls, we go into the cemeteries, rather — to place candles on the graves of our deceased relatives; to honour them, and rekindle our love; to rekindle, too, memories of grace; and to reflect on ourselves, while we still can, in the dimming light of our forefathers. Or more precisely, we used to do this, a long time ago.

How appropriate when this happens, or would have been if it happened, on the eve of an important election. For as Edmund Burke (the oft-smeared philosopher of modern “conservatism”), wrote, society is a partnership not only of the living, but also of the dead, and those yet to be born. When we, the living, vote or do anything in view of the whole, we act on behalf of this whole.

We are not mayflies. Time is not empty, as it may seem to the smaller insects. What we do has consequences not only for ourselves, and not only for the immediate company, buzzing around us. We have been given this moment of life, and the honour of place, in the unfolding of generations. We do not have significance only to ourselves.

Those who cannot see this — currently the overwhelming majority — should never have been entrusted with the vote, or any serious responsibility. It is a tragedy that our society has degenerated to the point it has, and in that tragedy no surprise that we have real, material, spooks and ghastlies, roaming the streets in the manner of Antifa.

Yet as Christians, if we are, we know that this is only part of the immensity of Time. It will pass, as all things pass; it will end, as all things end in this world.

While we live we are deeply involved in the consequences of our actions. When we die the living actions stop, but we continue to be involved in the consequences. Or so I have observed, and would add, that it is in our interest not to go to Hell.