Friday, May 13, 2016

The Kitty Genovese Murder

On March 13, 1964, a Queens, New York woman was stabbed in the street with multiple eye and earwitnesses. After a man above yelled down for the attacker to, "Get off that woman!" the attacker drove off. He came back ten minutes later and attacked her again. Kitty Genovese died on the way to the hospital.

Kitty Genovese. Image credit: Wikipedia

The case has been written and talked about many, many times over the years. Legend has it that 38 people stood by and watched, doing nothing. There are a couple of misconceptions about that. 

One...nobody knows where the number "38" came from. Few actually saw the crime and many of the earwitnesses weren't sure what they were hearing. Many thought it was a domestic dispute and back then, people lived by this philosophy:

Today, everyone has an opinion on your life and isn't afraid to tell you how to live it. Back then, a man could be beating his wife in broad daylight and people would walk on by...

Daily Mirror clip (allegedly) from the 50s.
Also, if we heard something like that today, what would we do? Dial 911. Guess what? In 1964, there was no 911. You'd call the local police station and get a desk sergeant who might tell you to mind your own business. In fact, the Kitty Genovese murder helped push the system into existence.

Kitty Genovese. Image credit: Joe Corrado

Another reason for the apathy of those who saw and heard the murder was something called The Bystander Effect, also known as Genovese Syndrome. The more people who are present when a person is in peril, the less chance that person has of being helped.

Often the bystanders are vindicated in Kitty Genovese's murder as though they held the knife. History has forgotten the actual murderer, this guy:

Winston Moseley. Photo credit: Wikipedia

There was one other guy--Karl Ross--who has been singled out as a bystander who should have acted. He opened his door and watched the crime, closing it and doing absolutely nothing until it was too late. Could he have saved Kitty, if only he'd acted sooner?

Kitty Genovese. Image credit: NYPost via AP

But one woman is left out of the stories about the crime. Sophie Farrar, a neighbor who was only four feet eleven inches tall, heard that there was a murder in progress and ran straight to it. She reportedly ordered Karl to call the police and stayed with Kitty until help arrived.

Kitty Genovese. Image credit: All Day via CBS News
What would you do if you saw a crime in progress?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Keep Calm and Chive On

We were driving around town one day when we saw a large redneck-style truck with this sticker on the back window:

An odd thing to see on the back of a big truck. Was the driver just a big fan of loaded baked potatoes?

Or maybe it's some new dance?

So, of course, I used my smartphone to look it up.

And you can imagine my surprise when I learned what it meant.

The saying refers to, some sort of photo site. When I typed in "What does 'Keep Calm and Chive On' mean?" this is what came back:

In case you missed it, that's a worship of:

  • Bill Murray
  • Pictures of cats
  • Soft pornography

An odd mix of items, no?

So in case you ever see a bumper sticker on the back of a car telling you to "chive on," now you know.

What's the strangest bumper sticker you've ever seen?

Monday, May 09, 2016

Introducing the Haunted Stepsister by Medeia Sharif

I grew up in a blended family and I know the complications that can come when you have step-siblings. My friend Medeia Sharif has a new book that takes those complications to the next level. The main character's new stepsister may just be possessed by a demon. The book is out today! Scroll down to read more about it and buy your copy before you leave.


Sixth grade isn’t easy for Jesenya Moradi, especially since her father’s recent remarriage and tension with her new stepsister, Kammy. After an incident at school that nearly destroyed Kammy's life, Jess has been desperate to get on Kammy’s good side. But a fateful trip to an allegedly haunted bathroom changes both girls’ lives forever.

The rumors about the bathroom are true, and now Jess is convinced a demon's possessing Kammy. Eerie things happen whenever she's around – flying objects, flickering lights, not to mention the fact that something, or someone, is making people into its puppets.

Worse, the demon seems fixated on making Jess confess her part in ruining Kammy's reputation. Sticking to her Muslim faith, Jess enlists the help of an imam to exorcise the demon from Kammy. But can they get rid of the demon before it destroys her new family?


Madeia Sharif was born in New York City and she presently calls Miami her home.She received my master’s degree in psychology from Florida Atlantic University. After becoming a voracious reader in high school and a relentless writer dabbling in many genres in college, she found her niche writing for young people. Today she’s a MG and YA writer published through various presses. In addition to being a writer, she is a public school teacher. Her memberships include Mensa, ALAN, and SCBWI.