Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Anne Frank

A few months ago I ran across some information about Anne Frank. I forget what I was Wikepedia-ing (like my verbalization of a noun?) but I linked around and ended up reading up on her. I had never read her book as a youngster but essentially knew the story and I became further intrigued.

during my lunch time at work I read very lengthy excerpts of her diary. It struck me hard - so hard that she remained in my thoughts.

I'm the father of a young girl. I cannot, in any way, conceive of what Otto Frank, her father, went through. To be forcefully separated from his wife and two teenage children on some train platform and have no idea their fate has to be beyond horrific. And the end? To be the only survivor? Honestly, I can't get my head around it, but when thoughts of such hit me, I hug my child that much harder.

So, last week I'm cruising around the channels and run across a made-for-television movie of the Anne Frank diary starring Melissa Gilbert. It was made in 1980 or so and basically just revamped the young lady's diary, but spared the horrific end. It got me all charged up on learning more once again.

It almost felt compulsive, if you will. I remember in the late 90's after seeing Titanic getting riled up to learn so much about that event that I went to the library and researched the hell out of it. So its not out of the ordinary for me to really, really get into something and want to learn everything I can about a topic. But this topic is far from a pleasant subject to say the least. And hits so much harder than Titanic, which was afterall, just a horrible accident and in actuality on such a tiny scale compared to the Holocaust.

This past week, I'm channel surfing and stumble upon a bunch of stuff on the History Chanel about Hitler, his bunkers, the concentration camps, and interviews with survivors and it hits me in the gut all over again.

Of course, there's a million stories like Anne Frank's from that period, but hers gets plenty of attention because of her diary was published and her father remained such an advocate for the remainder of his life.

Its just so fucking sad! She was simply a young woman who enjoyed reading and writing and hopscotch and ping-pong. She fought with her mother and adored her father and was subjected to the end result of her life because she happened to be born Jewish. That's all. Her family wasn't particularly political or even religious for that matter. Yet she was deemed guilty by madmen and essentially sentenced to death.

I've recently read quite a few survivor accounts, such as the absolutely mesmerizing Dentist of Auschwitz and an interview with Hanneli Pick-Goslar, a childhood friend of Anne's.
Its almost surreal how people can overcome in my view.

As a consequence, I've ordered another, more complete Anne Frank movie and while I'm anxious to see it, I kind of dread it as well. As big a movie buff as I am, I've never seen Schindler's List either. It just never seemed to happen, so I plan on watching that soon too.

Anne Frank, were she alive today, would be turning 80 in June. Only 80 years old. Perhaps she'd be a vibrant grandmother who was reknowned for her writing career. Anyone at 14, 15 and 16 who could write like her had a future in it and it was that aspiration that she never got to pursue. Only 80. These events occured closer to my birthdate than I am now to my graduation from High School. How's that for incredible?

What mankind can do to one another is beyond my comprehension. There but for the grace of God, or luck go any one of us, eh? And its still happening in the world today.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Do You See What I See?

You can hope like HELL that others see in your kid what you do, can't you? Sadly, however, they probably don't.

I'm sure most see my Little One as a precociously beautiful, smart little girl. When I use my unjaded dad-eyes, I believe most think she's sweet and compassionate and funny and sassy and smart. Her after school instructors think she's the bomb and tell me so frequently when I arrive to pick her up. Co-workers, friends and family constantly compliment on how good-mannered she is and how sweet and fun she is. Her grandparents absolutely adore her, which one would expect, of course. But we can tell, both sets click with her more than their other grandchildren, whom they no-doubt love very much. But its there. Favoritism methinks.

Having said all that, I'm sure she's not her teacher's absolute favorite. I'm also rather certain her gymnastics teacher isn't so keen on her either. My daughter gets really rambunctious during gymnastics and doesn't listen as well as she should. The old-school Romanian instructor gets frustrated with her, which I think is justified. But then, isn't gymnastics about burning off excess energy and having fun? She is six after all and since I'm not seeing any gold medals in the future I just assume its a pleasurable experience for her. Which it is. And one of my sister-in-laws has had a couple negative things to say (or so I've heard) but I think it stems from jealousy in that her sort-of weird kids don't get the attention my Little One does. Honestly, part of the reason is the kids don't even say a simple "hello" when you see them and greet them. There's no eye contact and they're in their own little world. My little girl runs over and hugs and kisses everyone. So, who will get the attention in that event? Right!

Of course she's independent, sassy at times and doesn't always listen great (which we work like hell on) but she would also give you her one and only cupcake, or the last of her M&Ms, if you asked. She's an only child who doesn't want for much, but normally when she asks for something and is rebuffed, she says "that's okay, maybe we can get it for my birthday?" She shares all her toys with her friends very unselfishly and when we get overwhelmed with stuff will pick out items for us to donate. She cares for our dog compassionately and has a tremendously sophisticated sense of humor. She told me she felt badly because she was sick and thinks she might have been mean to her friend and wanted to call her today to apologize. I knew nothing about it, she volunteered it.

As a result of being sick with a fever, last night she woke up and puked all over the bed. My bed. I mean, all over! And at 5:30 in the morning. Mrs. Noveau and I, in perfect concert, got her cleaned up, the linens in the wash and the bed remade (thank GOD for that $100 mattress pad when we go the new bed).

And all The Little One was saying the entire time, even when covered in vomit, was "I'm sorry. I think I'm sick". Her concern, in her distress, was that she was putting us out. We assured her it was okay and that everyone gets sick like that and we could take care of everything which we did.

So, to her teacher, her gymnastics instructor, my sister-in-law and anybody else that feels otherwise, come visit during the off hours. Say, 5:30 this morning? Perhaps, you'd be singing a different tune. That's a sweet compassion that's in one's DNA. It can't be taught really but I'm proud as hell its there.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Addition to the Family

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Care for a Swim?

I was actually going to blog about the woman who swam the Atlantic today. Amazing, huh? Unbelievable, you say? That's what I thought. Something about it didn't sit right with me from what I heard in the early reports.

Of course, the news made a big deal of it. They love to tout accomplishments and heroism without really scrutinizing things. My cynicism doesn't allow me to though. For instance, I wouldn't say that Sully - the pilot who safely landed the plane in the Hudson - is a hero by my definition. He was skilled and calm and professional and, frankly, amazing. He did what perhaps none other could. But he didn't do anything heroic really; other than preserve his own life as well as those of his passengers. Heroism in my view is one who risks life or limb for the benefit of another. Something altruistic. I don't see how that plays here. He did his job. Incredibly did his job, but landing the plane was not heroic - just amazing. In no way meaning to diminish what he did, I just don't see that he was heroic. And, by his account on 60 Minutes, neither did he.

Anyway, I got to thinking what a really big deal to sail across the Atlantic. Upon first hearing of the swim, I assumed she took months or even years to accomplish it but even then I figured she had assistance from currents. I also supposed the boat kept moving while she rested.

What I was unaware was that if one does the math, it makes the feat look more ridiculous when one takes into account how fast an Olympic swimmer travels and how fast this 56 year old woman swam in high seas. Obviously, my skepticism wasn't too far off.

Oh brother! I hate when the media pisses on my leg and tells me its raining.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Come On Down!!!

If negotiations go well tonight, I think the Mrs. will be driving home in new car. I even have a HUGE wad of cash to wave in front of them in case they think we're not serious.

Having said that, she really, really wants the car. Who am I kidding? Even if negotiations don't go well, she'll be driving home a new car. I can never say no to her, lol.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Can You Believe This?

My mom sent me this information: unbelievable!

Did you know that ANYONE can find information on driver's licenses, pictures and all??

I went there, typed in my name, town and state and there it was! Thanks Homeland Security! I guess we have no rights to privacy now?

Anyway, it was easy to put on the "do not post" list, but one has to wonder what else is out there.

I removed mine. I don't need to be THAT traceable!

Check it out:

Thursday, February 5, 2009


The excitement of winter kinda loses its edge when we have 1 to 2 snowstorms per week, dawn temperatures around zero, ugly, dirty, salty cars inside and out and $1200 furnace repairs.

So, Spring? You go ahead and make your appearance any day now, ok? I like winter, but even I've had enough.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Another Car

My household is in the market for another new car. This time for Mrs. N. Her car's really getting up there in miles and part of the reason I took the casino job was to be able to buy things we need and not have to really crimp to get by.

Anyway, we'll use our tax refund to help as well, so perhaps we're a month off.

Last night I came home to find a few boxes in the kitchen. They were from her trunk and she was sorting through it to throw out some stuff and put other stuff in a more appropriate location. My little pack-rat has issues chucking stuff at times.

Since we had been looking at new cars earlier in the day, and seem to like a particular one for her, I asked if her cleaning out her old car was a form of "nesting".

She said it wasn't. I have my doubts.