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This Too Shall..... On:2020-10-23 13:00:00

is the closest I come to a motto, slogan, catchphrase or what-have-you, and I even have the teeshirt to prove it.

MeI'm sure you are all intimately familiar with its source, the Old English poem Deor1, wherein it serves as a refrain, so I won't bore you by rehashing such well-known material.
I'll merely mention that it paraphrases 'this too shall pass' though the original 'of that over went, of this so may' seems so much more elegant. However you phrase it, though, it leads to an interesting situation: on a time things are looking as bleak as in the original poem or maybe even way bleaker, feeling despondent, down, defeated, dreary as the days drag, but then I am comforted by the thought þæs ofer eode þisses swa mæg 'this too shall pass' and then eventually, as things will, it does pass and life is again "gay and bright an new"2 (and not just at the Balalaika a little before WWI3) but for me and right now, and it's wonderful... for a while, but then, then I think Oh! no! no! this merely temporary happiness too shall pass [sob]
... I wonder if I have a bipolar disorder.

And it's not just me, it's everything! Certainly most of human behaviour.
Take politics—(Please as a certain Mr Youngman4 was won't to say).
Now, I never know how long it will be till you get to hear this, so I don't know if What's'is-face won this time or if it was What's'is-other-face, or if we're already on to which ever it is against What's'is-other-other-face, or if political discourse has continued on it's downward spiral—I mean plummet to the equivalent of that schoolyard song of my schooldays:
I hate you, a bucket full of poo;
A bucket full of poo and a monkey from the zoo.
A monkey from the zoo with a bucket full of poo;
A bucket full of poo I've trained him to hurl at you
I hate you, I hate you......
Or instead has soared to the heights of another:
Twelve Score and four years ago—or what ever the count's up to by the time you hear this, or someone says it—our mothers and fathers brought forth on this continent ....
Whichever way it goes I bet that its tenor will soon swing in the opposite direction again in a bipolar frenzy up and down, though I strongly suspect that the trend (as we statisticians say) has always been slightly and inexorably downwards at least since the days of Cicero.

And this is true in even wider (and even evener more important) things than politics.
Consider... the population cycles of the snowshoe hare, Lepus americanus, and the related ones of the lynx, Lynx canadensis. Life is good and the hares go forth and multiply, indeed they exponentiallify and the predator lynxes do what they do so well and they too increase. And then some little thing goes wrong and the hares' population collapses followed by that of the lynxes, only to then start to grow again.6

And beyond that, and even on a grander scale there have been vast cycles in the biodiversity and biomass of the earth as a whole: life grows and diversifies in manic extravagance only to have a biotic crisis and crash in depression in one of its periodic extinction-level events, the latest of which we are probably in (and probably causing) right now7.
These collapses have been caused by all sorts of untoward happenings, from the addition of oxygen to the atmosphere to massive volcanic eruptions to severe and painful cases of haemoroi...I mean asteroids.
The current one (if it really is one (and yes, it really is one, so there!)) caused by our desire to burn stuff and have WAAAY too many babies and use our intelligence to support (at least to some degree of support) more and more of us with more and more intricate and less and less sustainable systems and technology.

So today as the artic and antarctic icecaps melt we are reminded that the world too is bipolar.

Cheerio for now
Richard Howland-Bolton (both of him)


1  If you need to refresh your memory.

2  As sung by Ilona Massey in the 1939 musical Balalaika
At The Balalaika
music George Posford, lyrics Eric Maschwitz
When the melancholy shadows fall
My heart is melancholy too
Then I hear the Balalaika's call
And life is gay and bright and new
At the Balalaika
Where there is magic in the sparkling wine,
And mellow music in the candles' shine
I have a rendezvous!
At the Balalaika,
Who knows what ecstasy tonight may bring,
What lovely melody my heart may sing,
Before the night is through,
I hear a violin, a haunting gypsy violin
And when it sighs its strangely tender song
I know that I belong
At the Balalaika
Oh let me linger there till break of day
Where hearts are young and balalaikas play
I have a rendezvous!
At the Balalaika
Oh let me linger there till break of day
Where hearts are young and balalaikas play
I have a rendezvous!

3  Written just before WWII though of course portrayed as just before WWI.

4  Though I believe his politics was more marital

5  Actually, on reflection, I think this is more likely a song I made up a couple of months ago and just HAD to add. (A contrafactum on A Bushel and a Peck by Frank Loesser
I love you a bushel and a peck
A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck
A hug around the neck and a barrel and a heap
A barrel and a heap and I'm talkin' in my sleep
About you, about you
'Cause I love you a bushel and a peck
You bet your purdy neck I do
A doodle oodle oh
A doodle oodle oodle oh doo
I love you a bushel and a peck
A bushel and a peck though you make my heart a wreck
Make my heart a wreck and you make my life a mess
Make my life a mess, yes a mess of happiness
About you, about you
I love you a bushel and a peck
A bushel and a peck and it beats me all to heck
It beats me all to heck, how I'll never tend the farm
Never tend the farm when I wanna keep my arm
About you, about you
A doodle oodle oodle oh doo
A doodle oodle ooh doo doo

(My version is sooo much better!)

6  Population collapse cycles see Proceedings of the Royal Society B

7  Extinction Events and a list of the buggers!

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