Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Have you finished your baking yet?

Greetings, friends and neighbors and patrons all,

I am delighted that the winter season of lights is upon us. I absolutely adore the holiday adornments. I always have. They give me a variety of items with which to dally, often to Muriel's dismay.

Here is, however, a phrase I hear repeatedly here at the Pine River Public Library, usually uttered by the female of the human species, "Have you finished your baking yet?" "What" I ask myself "does this mean?" According to http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/baking, this means, "...ardent, blistering, boiling, broiling, burning, fiery, heated, red-hot, roasting, scalding, scorching, searing, sizzling, sultry, sweltering, torrid."

I have studied these women both fleetingly and with blatant stares, and I see absolutely no signs of scalding, scorching, or any other form of burning. Apparently it is simply a human expression of greeting during this holiday season.

After you are finished scorching yourself, humans all, January is a time for drinking from mugs after reading 15 books. Yes, indeed, the library's Adult Winter Reading Program begins in January and ends on the final day of February. Pine River Library's theme this year is "Curl Up With A Good Book." After reading 15 books and delivering your list to the library, you will receive a mug. Limit of two per person.

Note the picture of the mug in question:

Recognize that handsome creature on said mug? One small thing, though. What constitutes a "good" book? I have no answer for this. Perhaps you do?

In addition to the above, there are a few changes for 2009 here at Pine River Library.
1. Now in place is a limit of audio and video materials a person may check out. Limit of 7 each. You may mix tapes and CD's and mix videos and DVD's to equal 7.

2. Patrons may now renew material over the phone or online. Renewal is for one time only per item as long as the item is not on the waiting list, a high demand material, best seller or book club in a bag. Renewal of books can be done within 7 days of due date. Other materials can be renewed within 4 days of due date.

3. New hours, once again because of budget cuts. Hours remain the same, the exception being Monday 1-5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Confused? Check our hours on krls.org under library hours.

In conclusion, may I say, "Have you finished your baking yet?"

-Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal 17 Dec 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Make Thanksgiving a time of giving

I may be a four legged furry creature with whiskers, but I am not living in a vacuum.

I do realize that winter is upon us and with it comes the season of Thanksgiving. Traditionally Thanksgiving is a season during which we count our many blessings.

I don’t find this particularly difficult, since I once lived under an old car and now have a luxurious home in the Pine River Public Library.

For the uninitiated – I can’t imagine there are very many of those – the myth goes something like this: “…the American holiday has religious undertones related to the deliverance of the English settlers by Native Americans after the brutal winter at Plymouth, Massachusetts” [en.wikipedia.org]

But wait! Rather than gorging ourselves on more food than we would normally consume in a week and being thankful for Aunt Susan and Uncle Fred who recently arrived from Florida to share this holiday, why not approach it from the opposite perspective?

Instead of being the recipients, why not be the givers?

In terms of the myth, why not take the position of the Native Americans?

Embracing this theme, our Pine River Public Library will have a box available for anyone who would like to donate non perishable food for the local food shelf. Bring some food into the library for Thanksgiving and beyond. (The box will be at the library until spring.)Make it fun! Bring good stuff! Be creative! There are more things that come in cans than tomato soup and green beans!

In parting, let me just say that the holidays are a wonderful time to think of others. Of course, thinking of others needn’t be isolated in time, but for some of us a gentle reminder is helpful. I have my eye on a very tasty mouse for Muriel for Christmas. Shhhh. Don’t tell her. I want it to be a surprise. As many of you may know, traditionally cats were housed in libraries to keep the mice out of the books. This one will be boxed and wrapped festively and placed under the Christmas tree.

Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal 27 Nov 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Join us for Gaming Day Nov. 15th

Okay, so what’s Pictureka? I honestly have no idea. I am, after all, a mere pussy cat. A feline. A tom cat, actually. Sure, I can use a computer and read and write a fairly coherent sentence, but I fail to recognize this particular word or [I assume] object anywhere in my lexicon. Perhaps I should do a little research… Here’s what Amazon.com has to say about this:
Product Description:
Find it fast, find it first! Pictureka is the exciting game of visual hide and seek. Players compete to collect the most mission cards to win the game. Great for the whole family, and kids as young as six can play with older kids and parents. No batteries required. “

Apparently this is a game. This should have become immediately apparent since Hasbro donated it to all public libraries around the country. Since The Pine River Public Library is my home I should have noticed its presence. I have been sleeping on the job. Sorry. I find, upon further inspection, that American Library Association’s first annual National Gaming Day at your library will be Saturday, November 15th, 2008! Having gone through Muriel’s mail, I also find that we at the Pine River Library are participating and that the ALA is urging every public library to help set a record for the most number of people playing Pictureka. I should have snooped earlier. How illuminating!

And the fun never ends here at The Pine River Public Library! Other games will also be available! Monopoly Express, the classic game in a faster version for those who perhaps have ADD – and others, of course - as well as Hey That’s My Fish and THE a MAZE ing LABYRINTH will be available.

Join me and my friends for National Gaming Day at the Pine River Library during our regular hours Saturday. That would be from 10am to 2pm. Ah, that explains Monopoly Express! We would have to be open much longer for the regular game to be played to the bitter end!

Until next time, remain...

Browser, the library cat

P.S. (that means “post script” – stuff that comes after…) Most games are ages 8 and up, but Pictureka is age 6 and up.

Published in the Pine River Journal Nov 13, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Haunted House fund raiser kicks off Oct 24

Hello and happy haunting season, Yee of little faith.

But first: Is there somebody living near the library that has a really big bird in a cage? I ask this because our newspapers have gone missing quite a few times in the last couple of weeks. Sometimes they are returned in part, sometimes not. Or possibly you have a new puppy? Or is it that you can’t get your woodstove started and need a lot of paper for that task? Whatever it is, we actually purchase this newspaper for everybody in the community to come into the library and read. The operative word here is “into”. You, sir or madam, could be doing the same. If there is part of the newspaper you wish to save, two things might be possible. Either you could ask staff to save the paper for you for later or you could have columns you wish to save copied at the library. Either way, quit taking the paper! Thanks.

Now, about Halloween… . The Pine River Friends of the Library presents the Haunted House Fundraiser, indoors and out of the woods. This year it will be Friday and Saturday, October 24-25 and 31 from 6:30 to 9:30 PM. It will be held at Cass County Fairgrounds. In my last column about this I examined goblins. Mossy rocks and tree roots, remember? This time let us examine ghosts. I am of two minds concerning this. Either they exist or they don’t. Duh! So which is it? I did a simple search on krls.org [Kitchigami Regional Library System] in the catalog using the search word “ghosts”. I found 545 volumes addressing ghosts. This is apparently a weighty subject. Think about it. If you piled 545 books, videos, DVD’s, and books on tape and CD, how much would they weigh? A lot! Do the research and decide for yourself. I watched innumerable television programs on the subject and have yet to see an actual specter caught on film. Still, there was one compelling piece where the “medium” asked the ghost to show its presence and right there on my TV screen a chair moved. Not a little. A whole lot. It wasn’t under any table where somebody could have moved it with their foot. It was out in the room. I have no idea what this means. Do you?

Happy ghost hunting and happy Halloween. Visit the Haunted House at the Fairgrounds. It’s a fun thing to do in late October!

Until next time, I remain,

Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal 23 Oct 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pick up a book, join the Community Read

Here is the latest on the Community Read, friends and neighbors. It will begin on October 13th and conclude on November 24th of this very year.

I have indeed read the featured book, “Four Miles to Pinecone” by Jon Hassler (March 1933 – March 2008). Mr. Hassler was a teacher as well as a writer. He taught highschool . This may be why the main character in this book appears so natural. Mr. Hassler knew his teenagers. He mainly wrote about small town rural Minnesota. Interestingly, this particular book was originally written in 1977, yet it has a completely current feel. The only thing that might date it a little is the lack of mention of computers (which you don’t miss at all) and the lack of mention of cell phones (which wouldn’t get good reception in a tiny town in northern Minnesota on the Canadian border anyway). So much for being outdated. The basic conundrum is a moral question. Do you rat on your friends or not? And if so, when? And why? Though the book’s action begins in St. Paul, the main action (and I do mean “action”) takes place in the woods of northern Minnesota. It is a mystery story. It is credible. The characterizations are scrupulous. The setting is realistic. It is a one sitting read. I, personally, didn’t wish to leave my hero stranded by doing something as mundane as going to sleep in between chapters! He might need my input, like yelling out “upper left for first gear, you dummy…”.

Read this book, everyone. It was written for young adults. It is, however, ageless and genderless. If you are a cat, as am I, there are fish mentioned. A favorite of mine!

The conclusion of the Community Read falls during American Education Week. Kelly Virden of our Pine River Journal will have weekly “activities” in the paper to encourage participation.

In conclusion may I suggest that you turn off that box with moving pictures and pick up a book.

I remain,

Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal 16 Oct 2008

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Halloween is nearly upon us

Are you done with your Christmas shopping yet?

I personally am not, since the grass is still green and there are still a few hold outs in flower world.

However, since Muriel has been extremely busy, as she always is, she has made available for purchase at the front desk of the Pine River Public Library 2009 Browser the Library Cat daily pocket planners.

There are a limited number – more than 9, less than 9,000 – available, and Muriel assures me they would make great stocking stuffers, whatever that means.

And so on to the season that is actually upon us, Halloween, Ghosts and goblins.

We all have a vague idea about the “ghost” part of this, but what in the world are “goblins”? “The American Heritage Dictionary” characterizes them as “A grotesque elf said to work mischief or evil”.

Wikipedia.org states, discussing their roots “…One fabled origin for goblins is in France in a cleft of the Pyrenees, from which they spread rapidly throughout Europe. They hitched a ride with Viking ships to get to Britain. They have no homes, being nomadic, dwelling temporarily in mossy cracks in rocks and tree roots…”

I have seen creatures hiding in mossy cracks in rocks and tree roots, but I don’t think they were goblins. If this description is accurate, they had too many legs!

But let us not digress. The Pine River Friends of the Library presents the Haunted House Fundraiser, indoors and out of the woods. This year it will be Friday and Saturday, October 24-25 and 31 from 6:30 to 9:30 PM. It will be held at Cass County Fairgrounds.

Wow! That’s different and interesting. I might have to wander over and have a look. I will have to dress appropriately in my black cat disguise…

According to the bulletin discussing this event, there will be ghosts, goblins, snacks and fun, so be checking in those mossy tree roots and rock cracks.

Cleo is once again the lady to call if you need more information or want to volunteer. I called her myself. This is her real phone number: 587-3996. I volunteered. She was non-plussed by my effort. Oh well. I’m certain you will fare far better.

One last bit of information before I close. Pine River Library and Pine River/Backus school are joining forces on a community read this month. The book will be “Four Miles to Pinecone” by Jon Hassler. I have begun to read this book and was immediate struck by the vivid descriptions and characterizations. I shall read on. It is not a thick book. Perhaps I’ll write a review for later publication. Call the library for more information about the dates associated with this community read. 218-587-4639.

As ever, I remain,

Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal October 9th, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What are the origins of "crying wolf"

In an effort to better edify you, my trusted readers, I have decided to take a brief hiatus from my normally sardonic tone. Recent weather events have caused many to discuss the possible repercussions of crying wolf, but where does this phrase originate?

Once upon a time in the far off Russian satellite of the Ukraine lived a young composer, Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev (April 27, 1891 – March 5, 1953).

Prokofiev suffered persecution in Russia and was forced to flee to America for a time, returning to Russia in 1935. In 1936 Prokofiev wrote a piece for his son based on the story, “Peter and the Wolf”. This is the story from which came the phrase, “…cry wolf…”.

Here is the story quoted verbatim from Wikipedia.org:

Peter, a Soviet "pioneer" scout, is at his grandfather's home in a forest clearing. One day Peter goes out into the clearing, leaving the garden gate open, and the duck that lives in the yard takes the opportunity to go swimming on the nearby pond. She starts arguing with a little bird ("What kind of bird are you if you can't fly?" - "What kind of bird are you if you can't swim?"). Peter's pet cat sneaks up on them, and the bird – warned by Peter - flies into a tall tree while the duck swims to safety in the middle of the pond.

Peter's grandfather scolds Peter for being outside in the meadow ("Suppose a wolf came out of the forest?"), and, when Peter defies him, saying that "Pioneers are not afraid of wolves," takes him back into the house and locks the gate. Shortly afterwards "a big, grey wolf" does indeed come out of the woods. The cat quickly climbs into the tree, but the duck, who has excitedly jumped out of the pond, is chased, overtaken and gulped down by the wolf.

Pioneer Peter fetches a rope and climbs over the garden wall into the tree. He asks the bird to fly around the wolf's head to distract him, while he lowers a noose and catches the wolf by his tail. The wolf struggles to get free, but Peter ties the rope to the tree and the noose only gets tighter.

Some hunters, who have been tracking the wolf, come out of the forest ready to shoot, but Peter gets them to help him take the wolf to the zoo in a victory parade (The piece was first performed for an audience of pioneers during May Day celebrations) that includes himself, the bird, the hunters leading the wolf, the cat and grumpy grumbling Grandfather ("What if Peter hadn't caught the wolf? What then?").

In the story's ending, the listener is told that "if you listen very carefully, you'd hear the duck quacking inside the wolf's belly, because the wolf in his hurry had swallowed her alive."

Though charming in and of itself, the story is augmented by instrumental themes for each of the participants.

It is something once heard, never forgotten.

The Pine River Public Library has a copy of the CD, narrated (The story is told with a background of musical themes.) by David Bowie. There are also other renditions of “Peter and the Wolf” throughout the Kitchigami Library system.

Take a break from television and enrich your life and the lives of your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, neighborhood children, or anybody at all. Listen to “Peter and the Wolf”.

Until next time, I remain...

the library cat.

P.S. The cat’s theme is played on clarinet! How fitting. I am also black like a clarinet.

Printed in the Pine River Journal Sept 25, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Take a nostalgic return to school days

"School days, school days,
Good old Golden Rule days,
Reading and writing and 'rithmatic,
Taught to the tune of the hickory stick.
You were my queen in calico,
I was your bashful barefoot beau..."

Working backwards,

1. What young man would ever attend school without his trendy footwear. Ask any mother whose credit card is maxed out by the 1st of September.

2. I’d bet the youth of today has absolutely no idea with “calico” is. “The American Heritage Dictionary” characterizes calico as “..a coarse cloth usually printed with bright colors…”. And then there is the calico cat, but I don’t think they meant some child was dressed her in favorite pet.

3. How many of you think the teacher or some other individual at school is playing an exotic musical instrument called a “hickory stick”? You’d be mistaken. Once upon a time not so long ago children were given a good swat if they misbehaved at school, presumably with a hickory stick. Today those educators would be taken to court!

4. “Rithmatic”? Of course that is the shortened version of arithmetic, adjusted to fit. (Is it iambic pentameter? I’m a little obtuse when it comes to identifying various types of poetry. I just know what I like.) The question I have here is whether children actually work the problems themselves or whether they are trained in the finer art of working a calculator. I’ve never attended school so I honestly do not know.

5. Now to the most important and never out-dated portion of this rhyme. The Golden Rule. The rest of this ditty may seem like Grandma’s lexicon, but The Golden Rule should live forever. Wikipedia.org characterizes it as “the ethic of reciprocity”. They went on to say,

“…The ethic of reciprocity or the Golden Rule is a fundamental moral value which simply means "treat others as you would like to be treated." It is arguably the most essential basis for the modern concept of human rights …”

“Human” rights? I beg to differ. Feline though I may be, I feel obliged to suggest that I too be treated as you might wish to be treated. With deference.

And so back to school. Children, enjoy your school days. Learning is a gift.

Until next time, I remain,

Browser, the library cat

PS. I have lost my collar. By this printing it has perhaps been returned. If not, let me describe it as red with black paw prints and jangling tags attached. If you find it – I must have lost it when I was in the throws of some adventure or other – please return it to The Pine River Public Library.

Printed in the Pine River Journal August 28. 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Looking foward to 'Magical Cooking'


Thursday, August 7 at 2:00 PM the Pine River Library will present a program by performer Chef Roberto entitled “The Magical Cooking Show” as a part of our summer reading program with the theme of “What’s cooking at your library”.

An entertaining look at the wonderful world of cooking this exciting program, emphasizing books and reading, helps children to learn while having fun at the same time. A Chock-ful of Crazy Cookery, Unbelievable Magic and Terrific books.

Lots of audience participation (including some special fun for the parents). Come join us at the library!

In the interest of continuity I have decided to review a cookbook. Given the enormity of selecting a single volume among the many, I have chosen a compendium of deserts.

Fearless readers all, you may not realize that your resident feline has a taste for the sweet. Yes. I admit it. I am a lover of sweets. My personal preference, of course, is ice cream. However, for the sake of convenience (I am familiar with this tome.) I have chosen one of our more popular volumes here at the Pine River Library, “The Cake Mix Doctor” by Anne Byrn.

Given the title, one would suppose this book is simplicity itself. Page after page of a variety of delicious cakes made only from ingredients residing dustily in your cabinets waiting to be rearranged. Maybe, I shall open a page at random…

· 1 package plain yellow cake mix – check
· 1 cup smooth peanut butter – well, not quite a full cup and it has a tiny bit of jelly in it
· 1 stick butter – does it have to be butter?
· 2 large eggs – do they have to be large or would Jumbo be okay? Or medium?
· 1 package (12 ounces; 2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips – what if my bag is smaller? Or larger?
· 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk – who stocks that?
· 2 tablespoons butter – we’ve addressed this before
· 1 cup frozen unsweetened grated coconut, thawed – What?!
· 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract – I’m pretty solid on that

I have tried several of the recipes in this book and they have proven to be better by-in-large than just dumping out a box of cake mix and adding the requisite water, oil, and eggs.

The key, as I see it, is to read the recipe before the fact – preferably before you go to the grocery store – and make a list of that elusive frozen coconut and any other ingredients not currently living in your kitchen. You might also wish to make sure you have the correct configuration of baking container such as a Bundt pan.

There are several recipes requiring one of those.

Many of the recipes come from friends, relatives and the odd step neighbor-in-law. All are given credit for their concoctions. (Some are better cooks than others.)This book is perfect for someone who bakes often for a family or for church potluck dinners and is tired of the same cake or bar recipe. There is quite a variety here and even suggestions for variations. A worthy perusal.

Thank you again for honoring me with your readership. I am humbled.

Remember to attend The Magical Cooking Show if you are able. I will be in evidence.

Until then, I remain

Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal 7 August 2008

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Pine River Was Blessed by O'Brien

Loyal Readers,

We have lost a good friend. Marlys O’Brien is the reason we have a library in Pine River. She is the reason we have a Kitchigami Regional Library system at all. As a young woman she rode around the countryside carrying books to farmers and their families when they were too busy to leave the fields.

During the 1960’s she worked with the state of Minnesota to create the Kitchigami Regional Library System which serves Beltrami, Cass and Crow Wing counties. The Head office was and is located in Pine River.

When I first came to live at the Pine River Library, the Regional Library had just move out of the building that was once an old clinic with the remainder of the librarians “headquartered” in a garage next door, the book mobile parked in a portion, the front of the building being The Pine River Public Library.

I lived in the alley behind. Muriel and then library assistant, Don Corbin, took me in. Marlys had already retired at that time, but she was a friend to all.

Among the wonderful things about her including her love of her library was her love of people. She loved to do story time for the children and was especially fond of stories about frogs.

There were birthday parties for the staff each month honoring whoever had a birthday in that particular month. Everyone would cluster around the table in the back of the building (garage) and have coffee and cake.

And! If you worked at the library you got your birthday off! That was Maryls’ doing.

Marlys had a book review program on the radio as well. She would check out piles of books looking for just the right one to review on the radio.

After we of the Pine River Library moved to our new building, Marlys would come in often. She always treated me well, saying, “Browser always knows how to make a friend.” So did you, Marlys. So did you.

Take a minute out of your day to thank your lucky stars that the world has been blessed by people like Marlys O’Brien.

Until next time, I remain...

Browser, the Library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal 26 June 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

'The Good Guy' is an excellent read

Fellow readers! I recently read a book that knocked my socks off - or would have if I wore socks. Normally in spring I consider very carefully what I read. This time of year I spend a great deal of time out of doors. With the rains this year, however, I have read voraciously.
Dean Koontz has become a favorite of mine because of his Odd Thomas series, so when I had read all of those (except the new one, "Odd Hours," which just arrived on our shelves of our library and has a long reserve list). I tried another recent novel of his, "The Good Guy" had a certain appeal base on title alone. Who doesn't like a good guy? According to "The American Heritage Dictionary," the word "good" is defined as "superior to the average valuable," sound like me!
I gravitate to novels that chronicle an ordinary person doing extraordinary things. This book is certainly no exception. It begins in a bar with a very normal guy suddenly thrust into a situation that defies explanation. Our hero, Tim Carrier, is certainly no super hero. He's a brick and stone mason like his father before him. As he sits on the stool in his friend's bar drinking his simple beer, he is approached by a gentleman who mistakes him for a killer for hire. Money and a photograph are thrust into his hand. The gentleman leaves the bar quickly. Mulling over this development, Tim is approached by a second man. This man is the killer for hire, of course. Predictable? Not Dean Koontz! Never! Tim, posing as the hirer, insists that he has change his mind. The killer is welcome to the money but the contract is off. Not!
Thus begins a journey that kept me up all night. There is a girl, of course. There is always a girl. This one is not beautiful, thank goodness. I would have been disappointed in Mr. Koontz had the girl been ethereal or breathtaking. She is unusual, I like unusual. Gives me something to chew on and whispers of foreshadowing. She has a '39 Ford parked in her kitchen and a past about which she refuses to speak, though she assures Tim that is involves nothing whatsoever that would entice someone to kill her. Tim, too, is more than he appears, though we, the readers, are teased only with hints of what this might be. Classic Koontz.
This journey through a couple of days in the lives of two seemingly normal, even boring people, is fast paced and full of quick twists and turns. There are even a couple of dogs, though no cats, perish the thought. Unlike many Koontz classics, there is no supernatural of sci-fi intervention. No need for magic. The story is magic enough.
Happy Reading.
-Browser, the library cat
Published in the Pine River Journal 19 June 2008

Friday, May 30, 2008

Ah, the season of new beginnings: spring

I had thought about beginning this epistle with something about being lost, but I stumbled onto a quote from J.R.R.Tolkien (1892-1973) on brainyquote.com. “Not all who wander are lost”.

Guess I wasn’t lost after all. You see, gentle readers, (or will see if you visit our fine Pine River Public Library) the library is rearranging a little at a time. Fine for you. You don’t live here. It is, however, a little confusing for me. I have therefore been wandering.

The young adult books are now mixed in with the adult books. The large print books are thinking of moving themselves to the area where the biographies now live. The tables are the old ones but the chairs are new and I understand that new tables are on the way. There is a new computer desk thanks to the City of Pine River.

The paintings on the walls have gone from snow scenes to spring ones thanks to the Pine River Art Club. I worry. Will they be moving my food next? Will I, in my wanderings, be able to find it? Would you be willing to volunteer to come to the library and help with all the changes? Will you please be careful not to hide my food?

All that aside, the summer reading programs are scheduled to begin June 9th and will run through August 2nd. Interestingly – or it is for me! - The theme this year is “What’s Cooking at Your Library”.

Kids can sign up the first week in June to get their reading program packets. There are two age groups. Teen Read with participants from ages 13 to 18 and Children’s Read with ages 5 through 12.

The younger group with receive prizes for each week they complete. There are also summer activities for these readers on Thursdays from 1:00 to 2:30. The final program, “Chef Roberto’s magical cooking show” is open to the public at 2pm on August 7th.

A list of all the fun stuff is available at the front desk of the library. The teen readers will also receive prizes, but finish all 8 weeks and receive a free personal size pizza coupon and your name will go into a drawing for a really good prize. I promise! The library is also planning one activity a month for the teens who wish to participate.

Hope to see you soon.
I remain,

Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal May 29,2008

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Free downloads now available at Pine River Public Library

Dear Readers, et al

As you may know, I often wander about on the front desk of the Pine River Public Library, sometimes looking for a comfortable spot on which to recline and sometimes just browsing. Recently, during such meanderings, I was reminded of many features at our library of which you may not be aware. Many of you may have looked at, but not seen, “Book Page”. This monthly book review circular is amazingly informative. I read it all the time for ideas for new authors or new books I wish to read. It addresses fiction, nonfiction, adult reading, young adults, and younger people. Your Pine River Library has purchased these to be free to you! Who knew? Something for nothing! Book Page is also available online at bookpage.com.

Another piece of information obviously visible on our front desk is a rack of leaflets. Because they are in plain sight, you may not have noticed them. (We all know that the best way to hide something is in plain sight!) One of the new ones is entitled “MyLibrarydv” It is a way to download movies, how- to videos, travel videos, etc. These are free downloads! Again, something for nothing! You’ll need to have your library card handy to access this service. It is available by accessing krls.org. KRLS stands for Kitchigami Regional Library System; in the off chance you didn’t know that. More information is easily available by picking up one of the flyers from our desk – my nap area.

Not enough cool stuff? This next is available to accessing krls.org and clicking on online services, the same place you found MyLibrarydv. “Net Library” is also new. You can download audio books – FREE! Just use your library card. Download them directly onto your MP3 players, if you’d like. (Sorry, IPods don’t work for this.) Or how about this: its spring and time to tune things up. How about “Small Engine Repair Reference Center”! Or “Auto Repair Reference Center” containing the complete automotive repair manuals that were originally published in the” Chilton Total Car Care Series”?

Make your life so much simpler. Use your library card. If you don’t have a home computer, come use one at the library, to see what’s out there for you, my library friends.
Speaking of library friends, we wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Eradelphian Club for their generous contribution of $1,000 to our roof repair fund. It appears we are well on our way to putting a new lid on our building!

Until next time, I remain,
Browser, the library cat.

Printed in the Pine River Journal April 3, 2008

PS. Be sure to read my new column of book reviews. I will try to cover a wide range of literature for all ages.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A look at "The Owl and the Pussy Cat"

I have considered for sometime launching a column specifically for the purpose of reviewing literature. I am, as you must know by now, a voracious reader. Though future endeavors will be aimed mainly at current literature - fiction, non-fiction, and poetry - I have chosen to pick limb from limb - and to annotate - a timeless and absurd child's poem entitled "The Owl and the Pussycat" by Edward Lear first published in 1871. Some of the verbiage is antiquated or obscure. I often wonder what children make of this.

On the surface this poem should be a very short undertaking. Owls and cats are not the dearest of friends. Depending on breed and stature, they would either be worthy adversaries or the cat would be lunch for the owl. Not so. These two are sweethearts. I think not.

Stanza I
The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
and sang to a small guitar,
'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are!'
Excuse me! I know of few if any pussycats who would venture forth in any boat, regardless of color. And furthermore, honey? Canned tuna, maybe, but honey? Both of these creatures are carnivores. And owls don't sing. So much for this stanza.
Stanza II
Pussy said to the Owl, 'You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you ging!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?'
Let me just interject that a ring is the least of their problems.
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in the wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose, his nose, his nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.
This part is only plausible if you ignore the fact that the two of them lived on honey for a year and a day. I have read accounts of humans afloat on rafts in the sea for mere days or weeks, and the end result was not happy.
Stanza II
'Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?'
Said the Piggy, 'I will.'
Ah! That explains why they brought all that money.
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
Only a turkey would marry these two!
They dined on mince, and slides of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon.
They dined on what? Minced, in and of itself, only means "chopped in fine pieces." I don't remember the mention of cutlery anywhere in the body of this poem. And a runcible spoon? this item, considering a possibly unmnetioned Swiss Army Knife (conceivably used to extract the ring from the pig), is not a common inclusion. It is, instead a very specialized slotted spoon.
I give this poem a rating of 8 out of 10. In spite of content it remains entirely entertaining (and you can dance to it).
Believe it or not, there exists Lear's unfinished posthumous "The Children of the Owl and the Pussycat." Never mind!
Until Nest time, I remain...
-Browser, the library cat
Printed in the Pine River Jounal 21 February 2008

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Opportunites abound at library

Our wonderful Pine River Public Library (my home) is hosting a talk by Craig Nagel. Craig is a writer for Echo Publishing & Printing - as am I - but Craig went the extra mile and actually wrote an entire book! Craig's column for the "Echo" is entitled "The Cracker Barrel". My column is in the "Pine River Journal", of course, you know: just look up. Craig, however, has been writing his column for 25 years! I can lay no claim to such longevity as I am much younger than 25. Time will tell in that respect. Craig's book is available at our library and is entitled "A Place Called Home: Moments from an ordinary life". On the surface this could be my life story here at our library. I'd better get writing! Here is the full article written about Craig and his book:

"... Nagel's observations of the world around him - sometimes witty, sometimes philosophical, always fresh and unique - have earned him a loyal following... Join him as he contemplates the mystery of the night sky on a midnight walk at 30 below zero, stares eyeball to eyeball in the chicken coop with an intruding Great Horned Owl, paddles his way through an autumn marsh as he and his wife harvest wild rice, and reflects upon the mystical resurrection of early-spring frogs, who days before were entombed in frozen mud."

Wow, Craig! I wouldn't care to encounter a Great Horned Owl. I might get carried away...

As Kilgore Trout would say, "and so it goes..." Kurt Vonnegut

Come to the library for the book talk. It is on February 20th from 6pm to 7pm. Bring your own copy of the book if you would like it signed. Come to the library at another time. Any other time.

We could use a few helpers here. We need a volunteer to help deliver books to our dedicated seniors who are "shut ins". These loyal men and women are avid readers. The Pine River Library has for many years had a senior outreach program but are currently in need of some helpful soul to take responsibility for this program. It's an every-other-week kind of deal. Contact Muriel at the library if you are interested. Also, we need somebody to come in and help put books back where they go after the rest of us are finished with them. The official phrase for this is "shelving books", but if this was only about putting books on shelves, any 6 year old could do it! They need to go where they belong. Come help. It's a nifty way to discover books. Somebody else may have read something you never thought of reading. In that case, don't put it on the shelf, check it out! This is a really good way to get out of the house, too, for something other than going to the grocery store. One to three days a week for a couple of hours would be a great help. Give Muriel a call about this as well. Keep that phone ringing!

Until the next time, keep reading those books.

Browser, the library cat

Friday, January 25, 2008

Read a perfect number of books this winter

Hello, constant readers.
Today’s lesson is about numerology, a subject about which I have been reading. The key word here is “reading”. It is the season for “Hot reads for cold nights” at the Pine River Public Library. Winter, with the days shortened, is an excellent time to turn off the electronic devises and read something. I have been doing exactly that. Hot reads, for the uninitiated, consists of reading 15 books in the period of January 1st through February 29th, entering these books on a sheet provided by the library, and returning the completed list to the library. The first 24 individuals (notice I did not say “people”) who return their completed list will receive a coffee/soup/milk/whatever mug. After that, magnets will be given to the remainder of those returning their lists. There will be a drawing at the end for a key ring. All that aside, I think the significant number in all of this is the 15 books. Why this particular number, I ask myself.

“Numerology is one of the oldest of the psychic sciences…modern numerologists prefer a simplified numerical and alphabetical code, based upon the theories established by Pythagoras, the famous Greek mathematician and mystic, who rose to fame about the year 550 B.C.” Here’s what he said: “The world is built upon the power of numbers.” Each number has a particular significance attributed to it in numerology. The numbers 1 through 9 are the ones used. So what about longer numbers, you may ask. The answer is simple. Just add all the numbers together until you eventually have one number from 1 to 9. That is the power number for that particular longer number. Okay. On with this. 15 books. 1 + 5 = 6. 6 is the number we want focus upon. The significance of the number 6 is as follows:

“6 is the symbol of dependability. It is in harmony with nature, representing the six colors of the rainbow. It is the perfect number, being divisible both by 2, an even number, and 3, an odd number, thus combining basic elements of each.” (“The Complete Illustrated Book of the Psychic Sciences” by Walter B Gibson and Litzka R Gibson) Wow! The bottom line here is simple. Read a perfect number of books and get a perfect mug!

Oh… and if you want a copy of your list – or anything else, for that matter – Pine River Public Library has a fancy new copy machine. Black and white copies are $.25/page and color copies are $1.00/page. I’d invite you to sleep on it with me – it does make a nice warm bed – but most of you are probably a little large for that. I am not casting aspersions, only suggesting that most of you probably weight more than 15 pounds, the perfect weight!

Read on!
Until next time, I remain,
Browser, the library cat.

Printed in the Pine River Journal 24 January 2008