1. Wilco’s new record, Wilco (The Album), leaked earlier this week, prompting the band to stream it on their site for free. A serious review would be premature, but I will say that upon my initial listen, the songs strike me as stronger than those on Sky Blue Sky and the production a bit tighter. Which is good news, as I have been starting to agree with this guy. The mockingbird in me is also excited about the way Jeff plays with the Jesus imagery in “I’ll Fight”, the My Sweet Lord pastiche of “You Never Know”, and the touching humility of “Solitaire” (sample lyric: “It took too long to see/I was wrong to believe/In me only”).

2. An utterly fascinating article entitled “What Makes Us Happy?” in the new Atlantic Monthly, reporting on the longest-running (begun in 1937!) longitudinal study of mental and physical well-being ever attempted, the Grant Men study. A few choice findings from the mouth of head researcher, Dr. George Vaillant:

“[When] asked, ‘What have you learned from the Grant Study men?’ Vaillant’s response: ‘That the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.'”

“What we do affects how we feel just as much as how we feel affects what we do.”

“It’s very hard for most of us to tolerate being loved.”

The accompanying video is also gripping. His bit on exhortation and forgiveness at about 3 min mark is particularly relevant:

3. The latest volley in the American Religious Identity Survey discussion over at ChristianityToday.com entitled “The New (Evangelical) Mainline”, much of it a response to the recent Newsweek article, “The End Of Christian America”. The CT article contains such potentially-awesome-but-ultimately-disappointing lines as:

“A rigorous and public recommitment to the unchanging truth of the gospel is essential if we are going to continue in bringing more people to the foot of the Cross and assist them in becoming fully devoted followers of Christ.” [i.e. Law-Gospel-Law… sigh. I recommend Aaron’s assessment from a couple months ago.]

4. What did you think of all the TV season finales this week? I felt LOST delivered the goods, bigtime (as always The A/V Club review says it all) and would love to hear your thought and theories (especially you, Jacob…). The Office was a tad lame/obvious – though Rolf strikes me as having potential – and 30 Rock had a good-not-great end to a good-not-great season, albeit scoring serious points as per normal with Dr. Spaceman. Oh and Dollhouse finished on a serious high – please God don’t let FOX cancel another great series. (I am glad to hear they’re putting Sit Down Shut Up out of its misery…).