Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Don't Blink, You Might Miss It!

Today, June 29th,  we will get an extra second added to our day to keep our timing with the earth's rotation.  Instead of the usual 86,400 seconds we will have 86,401 seconds to use this day.

 I might sleep an extra wink, stay awake to finish a movie, or let it slip by unnoticed.

What will you do with your extra second?  

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Fight in Public - What would You Do?

I slipped my change into my wallet and pulled my car up to the stop sign up ahead when I heard the yelling. A young couple were walking along the side of the road about 100 yards from where I was and they were screaming at each other.

I had seen the couple on my way to the drive-thru sandwich place.  At that time they were on a hill and I could tell they were angry.  The young man was walking away from the young lady who was yelling at him.  I figured they had been at the nearby pool and were now having an argument.

But here I was a mile or so further and they were still screaming.  Making my way towards the access road, I wondered if the girl needed help or was trying to get away.  Over and over the man was screaming,  "You f--ing B*tch!"  A car on the main road pulled over and began to talk our their window to the couple.  I wondered if I should call the community police to come check out the manner and help to de escalate the situation.

When I saw the young man try to get in the back seat of the car, I thought perhaps these were friends of theirs.  Now everything would be okay, so I went on my way to complete a few errands before heading home.

I was taken by surprise when about 15 minutes later and a mile down the road I see the young couple still walking on the road, still having words.  The car that had stopped to help was nowhere in sight.

What should I do, if anything?   They seemed to be less intense--or maybe they were just tired from walking and screaming.   I saw the young lady sit down with her back towards the man.
A tiny flicker of wondering if they weren't doing this for attention flitted through my mind.

I went on home with these questions:

Do we have a moral obligation to help people who appear to be in distress?

Will a middle-age woman alone be acting wise if she stops to intervene on two raving 20 somethings?

Should police be called for a domestic verbal fight takes place on the public roadway when shootings, burglary, and assaults may be occurring?

Why do people display their inappropriate behavior?

What would you have done ?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


When people think of Americans, what do they think?

You may or may not find surprising how others think of us (Americans) in the clip below.  The question is asked "How do you distinguish Americans from others?"  Watch and see if how we see ourselves is how others see us.

Americans are plump, loud, eat hamburgers & drink a lot, don't care about how they look, and yet are positive and confident.  I think the best quote is that when you speak to an American you can smell freedom.

What kind of stereotypes might we hold on others?  (youth, religious, the poor,  Europeans, Africans, Asians, etc)

This brings me to two actions:
  • We must take a look at ourselves.  Do others see the true us?  Does how we think of ourselves align with how others see us? 
  • We must take a look at how we see others. Do we carry any stereotypes? Do our stereotypes color how we interact with others?  


What stereotype of Americans do you find most surprising?

Friday, June 12, 2015

A Greek Holocaust

We've all heard of  the Holocaust- the slaughter of Jews during World War 2.  But did you realize there were additional atrocities committed in that time frame.  On June 10, 1944 a Nazi troop invaded the Greek village of Distomo and massacred everyone.  The only villagers to survive were those who were out in the fields or away from the village for the day.

This was during the occupation of Greece.  The Axis powers of Germany, Italy, and Bulgaria all spent time occupying Greece during the WW2 time frame.

The reason for the German Nazi's to murder this village ? Retaliation.  They were retaliating for a partisan (Greek resistance) attack upon the Nazi troop division.  They believed some of the partisan members were Distomo villagers.

So the Nazi's came to town.  They beheaded the local priest. They shot women and children. They took their bayonets to little babies in their cribs.  They killed the men, young and old alike. And if that is not enough-- the village was looted and burned before they left.

A few days later the Nazi's returned to the village, but the villagers had received a message alerting them and the surviving villagers fled to the the hills.

Read and see more about the Distomo massacre here.

 This horror reminds me  of stories that had been shared with me when I lived in Greece.  Stories that I found difficult to comprehend because they seem to be so out of my realm of experience.

A story stating that Nazi retaliation was common place. People stayed home- did not venture out unless absolutely necessary.  If something happened to a German soldier, their troops would gather the first 5 Greeks they saw and retaliated with death.  You could be merely walking down the street to buy a loaf of bread and be grabbed and shot.  This happened in a small train station village near me.

Another story of how Nazi's came to my in-laws village.  The village knew they were coming and ran to the hills.  Some villagers stayed back and were found dead when the village returned.  Babies and children put in outdoor ovens to bake, men and women shot. The village plundered.  My mother-in-law ( who would have been around 12-13 years old at the time) tells me that her younger brother was snatched by the Germans.  They never saw him again.  They believe he was taken to be raised German.  Or maybe that is just easier for her to think that than to believe he might have been killed.  His remains were never found, so they have hope he remained alive.

And even a slight hint that my own grandfather may have had a part in the Greek resistance.  I need to investigate this more.  He died during this time period (early 1940's) from pneumonia that he caught while walking from one village to another in winter.  That was what I had always been told until recently when I was told that he did work against the Nazi's.

Really.  People I know and love personally have experienced these things.  I can hardly fathom it because the blessed life I have led on this western hemisphere of the world.  A land that has not seen the horrors of war up close and personal in our own yard.  

It is important that these stories aren't forgotten.  As George Santayana's quote says, "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it."