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International Holocaust Remembrance Day

My netsurfing today took me to Dorian de Wind’s article on Dutch Jewry in the Holocaust.

Today, Jan. 27, is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a date chosen to commemorate the Red Army’s liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp on Jan. 27, 1945.

De Wind’s article pointed me to the Digital Monument to the Jewish Community in the Netherlands, a site set up to remember Dutch Holocaust victims.

My youngest brother has for years maintained a family tree that’s been striking for the number of deaths recorded in Auschwitz and Sobibor. Click the compressed image below to see the whole thing.

I decided to test the Digital Monument to the Jewish Community in the Netherlands against a subset of my brother’s information, that being the nine siblings of my great-grandfather, who left Europe well before World War I (yes, WWI).

Of the nine siblings, two died in infancy. One survived the war in Europe. The other six died in then camps along with spouses and children.

Here are those six siblings:

Mozes Mozes (65) – died in Auschwitz with daughter Rachel (36) and sons Izak (36) and Jacob (27). Son Isidor died, age and place unknown. Rachel’s son Bernard (13) died at Auschwitz.

Samuel Mozes (61) – died in Auschwitz along with daughter Chelly (37) and son Izak (36).

Israël Mozes/Nijveen (57) – died in Auschwitz.

Betje Mozes (49) – died in Sobibor.

Hinderika Mozes-Zilverberg (53, the memorial site has the name wrong) – died in Sobibor; daughters Rachel (25), Anna (21), and Saartje (16) died in Auschwitz. Daughters Geertje and Sara also died, age and place unknown. Son Jacob (30 in 1945) survived.

Isidor Nyveen (age unknown and not in the Dutch Web site) – died, place unknown as did son Jacob (age unknown).

The one sibling who survived, Charles Nijveen, lost his son Max (29) in Auschwitz. Daughter Rachel (32) died of illness in Amsterdam in 1942. Daughter Judith survived the war, and was a blast to hang out with in 1979.

Student work

On the whole, I was impressed with the work my JOUR 428 students did on their final projects last semester. I adopted a loose definition of “journalism” so not all of these are strictly news, but I enjoyed their work.

Now, you can too. Here are the links in no particular order:

Bonus fighting of the man:

This happened again. I triumphed again. I am not impressed with the record-keeping involved in the process.

I’m dyeing

I look like this:

TobogganDec2013

For Halloween, I temporarily dyed my facial hair to look like Tony Stark. I looked like this:

halloween

Many people urged me to keep dyeing, so I bought Just for Men Mustache and Beard, in light brown.

I followed the instructions and left it on for five minutes. I looked like this:

1st

I wasn’t happy with the coverage, so I dyed it again, this time leaving it on for ten minutes. I’m a daredevil. I looked like this:

2nd

Not bad, eh? I am my mother’s son. Also, I need a haircut.

Symbols of faith

I found this display in a local Michael’s.

faith-symbols

Hopefully, when the “Charte des valeurs québécoises” become law (ha!), the store will post a guide to tell us which of these symbols is too ostentatious for government work so we can know which will keep us (university professors count!) out of jail.

charter-image

Bonus iOS 7 bug:

Apparently, if you alter a playlist in iTunes, the changes will not propagate to your synced iPhone/iPad in iOS 7. You have to create a new playlist in iTunes, copy everything from the old into the new, then make your changes.

I had to rename my Top Tunes playlist to Favourites because Siri kept insisting I was asking to shuffle my non-existent Pop Tunes playlist.

A hidden gem 90 minutes west

As summer began I had never seen a live moose. It was somewhat embarrassing for a Canadian, so seeing a living moose was on my bucket list.

The easiest way to find a moose to look at is to find a zoo that harbours one, you’d think – but there are few zoos within driving range of Montreal and the two I know of (the Biodome and Granby Zoo) don’t have moose. Parc Safari has deer but otherwise focuses on African mammals.

To Google I went, where I discovered Parc Omega, located roughly across the Ottawa River from Hawkesbury. It’s a drive-through circuit, like Parc Safari and although it’s been around for two decades, I’d never heard of it before. It focuses on local and European fauna: a bunch of deer species; black bears; boars; wolves and foxes; etc. The park also offers overnight accommodations which are hardly necessary but which we decided to try out.

What a fantastic destination this place is. The deer and elk come right up to your car for food. Conveniently, the park’s main building sells bags of carrots for $2.50. The park warns you to keep your car windows half closed, but we preferred having the deer stick their heads in our van. The boars are also friendly, although too short to reach the windows. The ibex are a bit shyer.

The herd of bison ignores the cars but you’re not supposed to feed them anyway. I’m sure there’s a link there. Musk oxen, bears, and the wolves and foxes are penned in. You can look, but you can’t touch, or feed.

You can get very close to black bears and timber wolves on the park’s boardwalk. I’m sure they have gauged the animals’ leaping ability with some precision. Again, you are not supposed to feed them, but wild blackberry bushes grow around the base of the boardwalk supports. The bears had eaten all theirs, but we could reach some ripe berries on the wolf side. The bears would sit up and are extraordinarily good at snatching berries out of midair.

And in one pocket of the park, nearly smack dab in the middle, I saw these:

Meese in afternoon.

Meese in afternoon.

A moose at sunset.

A moose at sunset.

Bucket filled.

Five of us spent the night in what the park calls a prospector tent, which is really more like half a log cabin with a tent perched on top. It had real beds and a Keurig. Unfortunately, the shower is only cold and you are not allowed a fire. The tent suffered from a lack of ventilation and a clammy feel, but that’s made up for by the fallow deer in the forest around you and free access to the back side of the wolf/bear boardwalk. You’d have to pay again to get your car back in the park, though. That’s a policy the management should rethink.

Here are four dozen or so of my pics. As it turns out, everything we thought was a whitetail deer is actually an elk.

IMG_0688

I'm not a deer, I'm an elk. Morons.

IMG_0689

I can't hear you. I have a tag in my ear.

IMG_0691

Happy boar is happy.

IMG_0692

Suckling pig.

IMG_0693

Fallow deer.

IMG_0694

I dare you to shoot me.

IMG_0695

Elk say "My mud!"

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Interspecies napping.

IMG_0697

Count the points on that elk!

IMG_0698

Arctic fox. Not a seal.

IMG_0700

Skinny red fox.

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Red fox.

IMG_0702

Bison, medium shot.

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Bison, close shot.

IMG_0704

Bison, long shot.

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Red deer.

IMG_0707

Red deer and flies.

IMG_0708

Coyotes.

IMG_0709

Coyote pack.

IMG_0710

Ibex at rest.

IMG_0711

Ibex.

IMG_0713

Scratching bear.

IMG_0714

Bear cubs.

IMG_0715

Sitting bear.

IMG_0716

Shedding black bear.

IMG_0719

The elk is immune to my Vulcan pinch.

IMG_0720

Elk.

IMG_0723

Grey fox.

IMG_0729

Mammalian young.

IMG_0733

Raccoons at rest and play.

IMG_0734

Boar.

IMG_0735

Boared.

IMG_0727

Black bears, from boardwalk.

IMG_0736

Elk with her baby.

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Elk.

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Arctic wolf.

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This is not the late Crash, but an arctic wolf.

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Arctic wolf, allegedly.

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Ibex.

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Timber wolf, from boardwalk.

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Timber wolves.

(Click to enlarge any photo.)

Play radiologist

I can’t find the break in the intermediate phalanx. Can you?

FingerR1

FingerR2

FingerR3

Yup, deja vu

I don’t have cool X-rays like last time – yet – but I did break another finger. I have two small fractures, one in the finger tip and one at the proximal end of the intermediate phalanx (middle finger bone).

There’s no pain anymore. Most of the pain was emotional. I walked into Emergency at 9:55 p.m. and walked out just short of nine hours later. It had been a busy night, mostly with gastro patients who tended to vomit in the waiting room. I and my finger were low priority.

The mild pain I posted about from the waiting room had by midnight grown into real pain. The triage nurse could not give me any ibuprofen without a doctor’s permission and I was waiting to see the doctor, so I had to grin and bear it.

Once I saw the doctor, he was kind enough to get me some ibuprofen. I got the X-ray, the news, and a small splint.

finger2

What was worst about my experience was leaving the hospital to find that someone had rubbed Nibbler the wrong way.

Grrr.

Grrr.

Bonus animal:

Somehow, my allergic self has agreed to let this thing live with us permanently.

IMG_0750

Does anybody have an in on inexpensive loratadine?

Deja vu

Yup, I took another softball in a fingertip.

This time, the nail didn’t split and blood didn’t spill.

It happened in the first inning of a doubleheader and had I left the game, we would have had to forfeit both games. So I moved to first base and did what I could.

Batting, I had even less power than I normally do and my finger would occasionally hurt like hell. It’s bearable otherwise, like a mild headache.

Nevertheless, I feel I should get it checked out so I’m sitting in Emergency, waiting for an X-ray at least.

20130818-221214.jpg

Bar-mitzvah speech

Saturday was Child Three’s bar mitzvah. He performed well, after what was frankly a poor rehearsal the week before. Let’s hear it for misguided life lessons!

Our last out-of-town guests leave today and while it is a nice change to spend time with them, my freelance schedule is piling up. I have a deadline of the end of the week to subtitle a 50-minute documentary on spontaneous human combustion (cough, bullshit, cough), copy-edit a 36-page e-zine on NoSQL, copy-edit two shorter tech articles, apply to teach courses next year, and iFigure out why a client’s iCal won’t sync with his iPad or iPhone. Is it just me or has Apple gone downhill since Steve Jobs died? The new iTunes is crap, interface-wise.

So I’m blogging. And not about my pretend baseball team, which is riding Roy Halladay, Jason Motte, Matt Kemp, and Jay Bruce to ninth place.

Enough about me. Let me now discuss my speech, the one I gave at the bar mitzvah. Some people asked to see it, so here it is. It’s not a direct transcription, since I ad lib and some of this is from memory.

I’d like to start by pointing out that Child Three’s bar mitzvah is not the only special occasion today. As Elvi implied earlier, it is Star Wars day. May the Fourth be with you. And purely by coincidence, it’s Free Comic Book Day. If you go to a comic-book store today and ask, they’ll give you a free comic book. We didn’t know that until this week.

I learned on Facebook just a few days ago that today is also International Naked Gardening Day, and the weather’s beautiful, so go for it.

Here we are again, for what’s probably the last time in terms of my offspring.

I’d like to thank everybody for being here, especially those who travelled from all over North America. It is the NHL playoffs, so I’d like to thank them by team. We have people from the home territories of the San Jose Sharks, my sister from the land of the Vancouver Canucks, my brother from the Washington Capitals, and my brother, mother and Grandpa Marty from the AHL’s Houston Aeros, at least for a few more weeks.

There’s a huge contingent of family from the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Congrats on scoring a playoff goal this decade. Start planning your parade.

I don’t want to make this a downer, but there is something I have to acknowledge. I’m almost certain that everybody here who was at our girls’ earlier bat-mitzvah celebrations has, at one point or another this week, thought about someone who was around for those earlier occasions but isn’t with us now.

You know who I mean. He had white hair, was basically friendly but had his grumpy moments, and if we can be honest, he went through a lot of pain near the end of his life.

He even bit me when I was trying to help him. I still have a scar on the palm of my hand.

I speak, of course, of our late dog, Crash.

All the same could be said for my dad, except about the scar. He wasn’t strong enough to bite hard enough to leave a scar.

I wanted to honour my father in some way during this morning’s service without bringing down the mood too much, so what I decided to do was to wear this suit, which belonged to him. These are his pants. This is his coat.

(GET CLUMP OF DOG HAIR FROM POCKET)

And this is Crash’s coat.

Thank you all for coming.

Child Three, you drive me crazy sometimes, but we got there and passed with flying colours, mostly shades of purple. And if you think what you’ve done up to this point was hard, just wait until you have to sit down and write 200 thank-you notes.

(L to R) Synagogue president, Sister Tracy, Brother Jeff, cantor, cantor's husband, Brother Mitch, Mum (in pink), parnass.

(L to R) Synagogue president, Sister Tracy, Brother Jeff, cantor, cantor’s husband, Brother Mitch, Mum (in pink), parnass.

Another nice thing about Lose It

When you lose your supper multiple times overnight, you can go back and delete the entries that are now all over the bathroom.

I’ve lost four pounds since yesterday afternoon and that is not an exaggeration.

Go look up “norovirus”. I’ve worn a trough in the carpet between my bed and the bathroom.

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