A fine downpour of rain for the last two or three hours...

On this Octave of the Holy Innocents; we are coming to the end of the first part of Christmas: tomorrow is the Vigil of the Epiphany, then the great feast itself, and then three or four Sundays post Epiphaniam, Septuagesima, and then the feast of Our Lady's Purification at the Temple on 2nd February brings a close to the Christmas season.  But we don't want to slip too hurriedly through the Christmas weeks!

They at Saint-Eugène seem to be taking a break from streaming Holy Mass until Sunday, which is the nearest Sunday following the actual date of the Epiphany (January 6, of course): they will have celebrated the feast itself with low Masses but will keep the 'external solemnity' on the 10th, the Sunday allowing a greater participation of the people and so forth. That's my hypothesis, anyway; the webpage list of Masses ends yesterday and the new one isn't online yet. 

I ordered a few books at the Public Library-- i.e. placed 'holds' on them; when they become available the Library will drive them over to the Sheldon Branch where I can pick 'em up (it's in the same shopping plaza as my supermarket and pharmacy)-- anyway, one of them is Joseph Tainter's Collapse of Complex Societies. Quite coincidentally, I see that Dr Gilleland at Laudator Temporis Acti has a post just before Christmas about someone's list of 200+ reasons why Rome collapsed

'Anarchy, Anti-Germanism, Apathy ... Bankruptcy, Barbarization, Bathing ...'—a German scholar recently produced a remarkable and fascinating list of the 210 explanations of the fall of the Roman empire that have been proposed over the centuries. In German they sound even better, and certainly more portentous: Hunnensturm, Hybris, Hyperthermia, moralischer Idealismus, Imperialismus, Impotenz. (For those who are intrigued, Hyperthermia, brought about by too many visits to overheated baths, could cause Impotenz.)

A fascinating and amusing list it is, too, but it could be repsonsible for the loss of hours (and I don't mean in serious study of the historical sources). I notice 'Jewish influence' on the English list but not in the German one; I suspect I simply don't know what to look for. And it is, after all, a list of causes that have been argued by historians: not a list of more defensible causes etc etc. 

Was looking for Jonathan Dove's Under Alter'd Skies, his version of Alfred Tennyson's In Memoriam, but could find only Three Tennyson Songs, an earlier work, on YouTube. Have been listening to Under Alter'd Skies at Spotify, the album Solitude featuring the tenor James Gilchrist, accompanied by pianist Anne Tilbrook, performing songs of Purcell, Schubert, Barber, as well as Dove's seven songs. 

Ante Vesperas. The squirrels and the jays have been alternating as they each take a peanut. The bird stays on its branch until the squirrel scurries off to its perch atop the disused aquarium and then it swoops down to seize a nut. Then one of the other squirrels collects its peanut and runs off, and then another jay flies in and on and on it goes until I lose interest... or perhaps until one or the other mistimes  its taking and both a jay and a squirrel pounce on the same peanut at the same time. I've never seen such an encounter but wouldn't mind doing so; no idea whether the bird is more apprehensive of the squirrel or the squirrel is of the bird.