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Hi ho, Jeffrey the Blogger here.

Last night was fraught with technical difficulties. I don’t know whether to blame Microsoft Word for Mac, or my Macbook, but I fought the dreaded spinning pinwheel for a couple of hours before I could get through to my manuscript and keep working. Sigh.

This morning is better. I’m enjoying good coffee and a hearty breakfast at Laughing Ladies Cafe (formerly Hotwire Cafe) and working on THE chapter… the one that gives the book its title: Raven’s Ladder.

Meanwhile, I’ve learned a couple of interesting things…

1.
Yet another new Sam Phillips song will be a bonus for those who pick up the July/August issue of The Believer.

2.
Happy Catholic has posted a Top Ten List of books that Catholics should read. I was surprised and delighted by one of those titles….

3.
Yes, it’s that time. We’ve reached the half-way mark, so I’m watching as music critics post their favorite albums of 2009 so far.

Here’s my list, in alphabetical order:

  • Leonard Cohen – Live in London (The perfect Cohen treasury.)
  • The Decemberists – The Hazards of Love (Ya gotta take it all at once, but it is so worth it.)
  • Ramblin’ Jack Elliott – A Stranger Here
  • Dave Matthews Band – Big Whisky and the Groogrux King (No, I can’t believe it either. I didn’t know they could win me over.)
  • St. Vincent – Actor (Such a technicolor trip. I so admire her efficiency. None of these songs wear out their welcome, even though they’re stacked as high as a seven-layer cake with sonic sweetness and frosting and gumdrops.)
  • Aaron Strumpel – Elephants
  • Allen Toussaint – The Bright Mississippi
  • U2 – No Line on the Horizon
  • M. Ward – Hold Time
  • Wilco – Wilco (the Album)

Honorable mentions include

  • Neko Case – Middle Cyclone
  • PJ Harvey and John Parish – A Woman a Man Walked By (STRONG CAUTION: There’s some sick and twisted stuff here, but there are also some very strong songs. So this is not a recommendation. This is more like a confession.)
  • Iron and Wine – Around the Well
  • Eleni Mandell – Artificial Fire
  • Amadou and Miriam
  • Laura Gibson – Beasts of Seasons
  • Andrew Bird – Noble Beast
  • Buddy and Julie Miller – Written in Chalk

What are your favorites so far?

4.

Good heavens! Looking Closer reader Gaith has begun an ambitious new online endeavor: The Complete Calvin and Hobbes Blog. In an email to me, he says, “Though it may be madness, my goal is to review each and every strip, once daily.” Wow. Anne and I often read from our complete Calvin and Hobbes treasury before we sleep. It seems to tune any strings that have gone wrong inside our minds and hearts during the day. So I highly recommend a frequent diet of Watterson’s gift to humanity.

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