A literary convergence of the triumvirate

Locally Grown TriumvirateShortly after lunch today, I paid a visit to Jerry Bilek at Monkey See Monkey Read to look for some xmas presents.

About ten minutes later, Ross stopped in to pick up an order. 

About ten minutes later, Tracy stopped in to place an order. 

We handed the camera to Jerry to take our photo, and we soon got to arguing over who got to buy the book.


  1. David Henson said:

    I like looking books up online and then instead of screwing around with on line ordering – just ask Jerry to get them – if he has the book in stock it’s half off – if not it’s there in 2-3 days.

    December 18, 2007
  2. Ross Currier said:

    David, you are absolutely correct. You get them just as fast as ordering on-line, there’s no shipping charges and the price is usually lower than the non-local source.

    Thanks for sharing the reminder, or tip…

    December 19, 2007
  3. BruceWMorlan said:

    I stopped in to get a copy of “Golden Compass” (no used available) but he dredged up a used British version (Northern Lights). Too cool for words, then viola!, a used copy of a Patrick McManus book (They shoot canoes don’t they). Solved two of my shopping problems in less than two minutes. And with the Holy Trinity of the LG crowd shopping there, it is clear that this is THE destination for mover’s and shaker’s.

    December 19, 2007
  4. Don’t forget about River City Books…they can get books within 2-3 days as well depending upon wholesaler availability!
    You can also search online!

    December 19, 2007
  5. If I see one more ‘xmas’ instead of a’ Christmas’ with a capitol C, I’m gonna turn my carols up a few notchos so they waft loudly across the street. No, not that Carol! Christmas Carols!

    Speaking of capitol C,
    Congrats to Ray Cox! I know he has a story or two!

    and another one,
    St. Olaf Choir is on PBS tonight at 8pm!

    December 19, 2007
  6. Hello, Bright, I just googled “Xmas” and found it is not an attempt to take the word Christ out of Christmas but is an abbreviation dating back to 1551, when X was used for Christos. Another source says the word for Christ in Greek is Xristos and X stands for Christ’s name, no disrespect intended.

    Who says this site is not educational? Not I!

    Yes, the St. Olaf Choir is on PBS at 8 p.m. tonight and I read in the Northfield News that the simulcast of the Dec. 22 Christmas Festival broadcast to 197 movie theaters (2 hours) will be on channel two at noon on Dec. 23. Tonight’s special will be rebroadcast on Dec. 24 at 8 and at 10 a.m. on Christmas Day. The 2005 Christmas in Norway with the choir, band and orchestra will be on at 10 p.m. Dec. 24 and 8 a.m. on Christmas morning. As a former band member, I would like to see that but (so sad) I will be on the beach of Playa del Carmen, Mexico, next week….Feliz Navidad.

    December 19, 2007
  7. Xcellent work, Susan. Thx, but I wonder how many of those exporters of xmas know that one! And I still do wonder if it was a proper x at all…at any rate I wouldn’t think it’s all that good to abbreviate the name of a man who did so much to show the world how to love each other. Spell it out, and shout it out!

    December 19, 2007
  8. Lisa Guidry said:

    I agree with you Bright, but sad to say many have forgotten the real meaning of Christmas. ” Jesus is the reason for the Season” and I’m not ashamed to admit it or celebrate His birth.


    December 19, 2007
  9. Paul Fried said:

    Lisa and Bright: I agree. That’s why it’s great to attend the St. Olaf Christmas concert — a reminder of how great the texts of sacred carols are in contrast to “Have a holly, jolly xmas.” O, by golly!

    It’s hard to keep ancient religions alive when culture is always changing, adapting. The “X” in “Xmas” may seem that way, but as Susan’s post hints, it may be that we project our disappointment about secularization of Xmas onto the “X,” when it’s actually much larger than that.

    Over my desk I have a close-up of a corner of a Russian Icon. It shows angels in Jacob’s dream, climbing Jacob’s ladder. The angels have wings. But if you read the Bible carefully, you notice that many of the oldest references to angels mention no wings. The ladder was in the dream as a means of transportation, for the messengers of God to go from heaven to earth and back. No need for wings if you have the right ladder. (Add plug for favorite Nfld hardware, lumber or home improvement store here.)

    The wings come later in the Bible as the cultural heritage, literature, poetry, metaphors develop. It seems that in some places, God rode on the “wings” of the wind, or the wind was the breath of God. Ladders are kind of clunky, so as a mode of vertical transportation, wings won out.

    No mention of wings in the Jacob’s ladder dream story, but in paintings, because of cultural hindsight, the painters put wings on the angels, who were on the ladders (an early representation of redundant systems? Probably not…).

    This is like the old Catholic practice of shrouding the chalice on the altar before the breaking of the bread. I grew up thinking it was all devised to add a sense of mystery and majesty. Actually, it had a much more practical purpose: In ancient times, it kept the flies out of the cup before the invention of screens.

    An ancient religion can seem like an old ship that has accumulated a lot of barnacles, and it’s unclear whether the original wood or the barnacles are doing most of the work of keeping it afloat. Learning the history sometimes leads one to find that original meanings can be obscured by, or even at odds with, some of the barnacles that got tacked on later. (Here I’m a Catholic, sounding like a Protestant….)

    December 19, 2007
  10. Julie Bixby said:

    Lisa, your comment that “many have forgotten the real meaning of Christmas” is a valid one. The problem is that many have never learned the history of Christmas.
    Jesus was not born on Dec. 25th. Google the history of Christmas. It is quite enlightening.

    December 20, 2007
  11. Paul Fried said:

    Julie and Lisa:
    It’s also interesting to note that of the canonical gospels, the first written was Mark, and it is strangely silent about things like virgin birth, shepherds and angels, wise guys following a star and traveling without passports, slaughter of the innocents, escape into Egypt, etc. The story of the escape to Egypt to avoid the slaughter of young children portrays Jesus as the new Moses, and this, at a time when Israel/Judea and other lands were occupied by Rome. To the audience that originally heard the gospels and caught the allusions to the Old Testament/Hebrew scriptures, the birth story has more radical implications that have, for the most part, been lost, forgotten, ignored.

    For the story to claim that a census displaced people and made them register in their town of birth, and that there was no room at the inn — this does not reflect well on the Roman occupation.

    When we think of the birth of Jesus today, we’ve been trained to hear only the sanitized version. We like to think the politics of empire, occupation and oppression have nothing to do with it. Just that mean Herod guy.

    December 22, 2007
  12. Christine Stanton said:

    Seeing as we are talking about the history of Christmas, read my greeting I wrote today on one of my retail outlets. http://www.prayerbedes.etsy.com It is funny how many things we think we know are not always correct. 🙂

    December 23, 2007
  13. Anne Bretts said:

    I was raised Catholic and my Dad was born on Jan. 6, so I always felt odd when people dumped the Christmas decorations just as the 12 days of the season were starting.
    Now, by Jan. 6 the bikinis and lawn furniture are out at the stores and we’re looking at Valentine hearts, Easter bunnies and garden supplies. I guess it’s just the American unwillingness to live in the moment and truly enjoy it. We’re always rushing to the next big thing so furiously that when we arrive it always seems a letdown.
    I still leave the tree up in memory of Dad, and I’m thinking this might be a good year for a 12th night party with a bonfire to burn the old trees and all the bitter memories of the past year.

    December 23, 2007

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