Ephemeris by Norm Sibum

’SBlood, I am as melancholy as a gib-cat or a lugged bear—And in this way I meant to cobble together a post out of dialogue bits from the tavern scene in Shakespeare’s I Henry IV; but that, in doing so, I was very likely to come off poorly in respect to this site’s new editorial policy, one of its injunctions being ‘nothing cute’. Which, as per the letter of the law, suits me fine. So then, moving on. Lately, P M Carpenter, Distinguished Political Commentator on things political to the south of here, his interest in Canadian sex scandals minimal, has been putting his money quotes on a horse named Jim Webb, former senator from Virginia and a writer, to boot, as an in-house rival to Hillary’s presidential ambitions. However, quite recently, this same Mr Carpenter confessed that he has nearly lost it altogether over the Democratic Party’s strategical bone-headedness. Losing it like that would have put him in league with untold thousands who have long since begun to wave the white flag as a way of saying, “No more political. Or if you insist, then something with teeth in it.” The man, through no fault of his own, has seemingly arrived at a centrism of sorts by accident. Spawned by the extreme polarizations in the hearts and minds of the body-politic, a whirlwind reaping whirlwinds swoops up a nominally left of centre fellow and sets him down on a yellow brick road of reason, pragmatism and political temperance; for all that his newfound company includes such oddball types as Tin Men and Cowardly Lions and break dancing Men of Straw all looking to get their grooves back, not to mention the Wicked Witch of the West who has other ideas; and then there is a smattering of political scientists, in addition to a few straggler-poets, thinking, perhaps, that in Oz, there is gainful employment and a meaning to existence, and it is not such a bleak business after all. Now, how did those Romans get all those beasts that they, with such gusto slaughtered in their amphitheatres, across the Mediterranean and not run afoul of the SPCA? The other night, Mr. Bastien put the question to me, but I had no idea. Pharmaceuticals? He then reminded me how Lucan turned Virgil’s ‘arms and the man’ on its head by intimating something along the lines of ‘humans in the arms of arms’. Trouble is, the paraphrase comes off sticky in English. The words to follow may not come trippingly off the tongue either, but in any case, more trouble; or that the War Party, irrespective of party affiliation, is back in the saddle in Washington —Leopardi has it in his Zibaldone that when you take possession of the horse (that horse which you have long desired) you encounter a pleasure that is necessarily circumscribed, and you feel an emptiness in your soul, because the desire that you actually had is not satisfied. (Because, however infinite desiring may be, pleasure has term limits.) Even if it were possible for it to be satisfied in extent, it could not be so in duration, because the nature of things requires again that nothing be eternal. I wonder how much of the above may be applied to the Brass Ring of the Presidency and True Punditry and Military Spending and whatever is Code Red in Fifty Shades of Grey? Morning. Nikas. Overnight, Christmas decorations have appeared in the café. The sight of them, in conjunction with a mild hangover, deposits in me a mood. Something like the banality of the passing of time in its predictability and transience. Be that as it may, last night I was introduced to the voice of Karen Dalton, she singing ‘Katie Cruel’ as if for all of time. The violin backing her up might have come out of an Armenian mountain range. London Lunar has been whispering in my ear sweet nothings in regards to the novelist Kirsty Gunn. In particular he had in mind her book The Big Music, the writing of which was apparently inspired by bagpipes. Once in Paris, pure happenstance, I was walking about Notre Dame Cathedral, and an Armistice Day service started up, the bagpipes of which nearly brought me to my knees. I have never been so blindsided in my life. But yes, there has been a lot of loose chatter in past months to do with a very hot war on a not so distant horizon that may or may not blindside us. Or, speaking of the so-called Pivot to Asia or Putin the poster-boy bogeyman of the moment, let Hotspur from the above-mentioned Henry IV cop the last words. HOTSPUR: Uncle, adieu. O, let the hours be short till fields and blows and groans applaud our sport.Exeunt.