Thursday, January 15, 2009

Valentine's Day brightens winter

Happy white time of year, friends all.

It’s hard to believe we could tire of the beautiful winter landscape of north central Minnesota. As a black feline, the contrast alone should ignite my spirits.

However… Thankfully February presents us with a red holiday. Yes, I am speaking of Valentine’s Day. A brief history is in order. “Which St. Valentine this early pope intended to honor remains a mystery. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there were at least three early Christian saints by that name. One was a priest in Rome, another a bishop in Terni, and of a third St. Valentine almost nothing is known except that he met his end in Africa. Rather astonishingly, all three Valentines were said to have been martyred on Feb. 14.” ( Have a peak at this website. It is really interesting. Upon searching I find that there are 219 entries using the simple search word “valentine”. Everything from “Clifford’s Valentine’s Day” by Norman Bridwell to cookbooks on how to prepare Valentine’s Day cookies is represented. I, however, prefer to “cut to the chase”, as they say.

Bring me a Valentine’s card! I adore them. They show me that you have thought of me and that you love me. Bring me one any time in February and I will give you one in return, expressing my affection for you!

We have another fun filled event at the Pine River Public Library other than bringing me, Browser, Valentine’s cards. It is a Wii Game Day. This should brighten our January, which, judging from our parking lot, could use a little brightening. On Saturday, January 24th from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM our library will be having a game day. Games will include Wii sports, Wii Play, Rock Band, Dance Dance Revolution and Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz, just to name a few. Space is limited to 20, so you will need to sign up in advance. This gives me yet another opportunity to see you.

While the masochists of our community are standing out on the ice in Hole In The Day Bay (named after Chief Hole In The Day, born during a solar eclipse) fishing and freezing, you can be having a dandy time in the cheery, warm confines of our wonderful Pine River Public Library. The games are geared to ages 8 to 100, so bring Granny. (I especially like her since she doesn’t insist on carrying me around.) We will have teams. Teams are always good as they cause… teamwork! Go figure.

Smile! It’s winter. You can stay inside and read or come to the library and play games.

Affectionately yours,

Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal 15 Jan 2009

Thursday, January 08, 2009

"Curl up with a good book' this month


It all happens so quickly. Out with the old, in with the new. But what about all those cookies and candies left from the previous holiday, getting stale on the kitchen counter? And what about the fruitcake?

I have a wonderful idea, but first let us explore the fruitcake in question. I began searching the internet for the history of this item but became immediately sidetracked. Google “fruitcake lady”. Turn on the sound on your computer. (I usually leave mine off so I won’t be bombarded by shockingly loud sounds during relatively innocent searches.) You will love this, I promise! But about those fruitcakes – they are for the birds. Literally. Take your fruitcake and place it on a high stump away from the neighborhood dogs and cats (well, maybe only the dogs) or stuff it inside one of those wire cages for bird cakes and allow the birds to feast on it. The rest of the cookies and other crumbs too mangled to identify can go the same place, perhaps stuck to the fruitcake. Wish those cold feathered friends a happy new year.

Now, on to what to do during the long, cold winter months in the North Country. Curl up with some light reading like “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910). I have read this fine literature several times, usually during the winter months.

But wait! January is a time for drinking from mugs after reading 15 books. Slightly lighter reading is more to the point. Pine River Public Library’s Adult Winter Reading Program begins in January and ends on the final day of February. “Anna Karenina” may take the whole time slot!

Incidentally, if you would like information on authors you may be considering reading, log on to or use your library card and log on to and go to the online services.

Novelist is a handy way to find books that may mirror authors you already like or to read reviews of books you may not have considered reading until now.

Our 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 2/person.

In addition to the above, there are a few changes for 2009 here at Pine River Library.

New hours, once again because of budget cuts. Hours remain the same, the exception being Monday 1PM to 5PM and Saturday 10AM to 1PM. Confused? Check our hours on under library hours.

In closing may I wish you and yours an informed and delightful new year, filled with the unexpected.

-Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal 8 Jan 2009

Monday, January 05, 2009

Travel back in time with 'Land of Hundred Wonders"

Browser here with another book review:

What of "Land of a Hundred Wonders" a novel by Lesley Kagen? The reviews on the back of the jacket say things like "...sensitive", "Poignant, compelling...", "...touch your heart", but this misses the point of this book entirely.

For anyone under the age of about 60, this book will transport you back to a time about which you know absolutely nothing.

If you haven't lived through it, you can't understand it.

This book will help you know much about this era, because its characters are sympathetic and authentic.

The book takes place in the early 1970s in a small southern town. On some level it is an historical novel. No, the characters are not based on real people, and yet they are. The town is divided between the haves and have nots, and it is sometimes difficult to tell which is which. It is also racially divided: physically, racially divided.

The southern sheriff is every bit as confused and corrupt as any you will find in the history of that era. The hero of the piece is a post-traumatic stressed Vietnam vet living in a tent in the woods in summer, a cave in winter.

Though immorality is studied in depth through the interaction of the characters, true immorality is not so easy. No right and wrong here, easily defined. What might seem terribly wrong in a different setting becomes perfectly understandable, and what is truly terribly wrong becomes clear.

I invite you to travel back in time and visit with Gibby, Clever, Billy and Cooter, lifelong friends to whom life has not always been so kind. You won't regret it.

As always, I remain,

-Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal 1 January 2009