My brother’s clefts: When birth defects aren’t defects – Infancy to surgery.

I didn’t think of my brother Karl’s cleft lip and cleft palate as birth defects or disabilities.   These birth defects a disability, or not? Guest blog by Barbara Schonborn** Part One: From Infancy to early surgeries. A Princess Usurped. Until I was almost two years old, my life was idyllic. My mother read to me often—I sitting in her lap, a book in mine. She sewed clothes for me, cooked for my father and me, and took me to the Sunday nursery at our church in Boise, Idaho. I knew how … [Read more...]

Will OJ get parole tomorrow? Where and how to watch his hearing.

I mentioned in a prior blog that the ALCATRAZ EAST crime museum just opened an exhibit around a new acquisition. The item is the White Ford Bronco that carried a frantic and suicidal O.J. Simpson during one of the most famous televised car chases ever. For this reason alone, millions will be tuned in tomorrow to O.J.'s parole hearing. But, as you know, there are many other reasons to tune in.   I'm going to watch because, tho I'm a dispassionate criminologist regarding most topics, I have a … [Read more...]

July is National Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness month: Two special blogs coming soon.

In honor of  National Cleft & Craniofacial Disorders Month, I'm planning two special posts in the upcoming weeks from a guest blogger. Stay tuned and be ready to be surprised and informed.   Cleft and Craniofacial Disorders Month. Go here for information about the meaning of this July's commemoration and for info about the many organizations supporting it. Also, consider donating a copy of Cleft Heart: Chasing Normal to one of these organizations . . . or to your dentist or … [Read more...]

Crime Museum: Down but not out with addition of OJ’s Bronco..

Just had a wonderful trip to Tennessee, but missed the Crime Museum there. I saw the Grand Ole Opry  the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Jack Daniels Distillery—all in the Nashville area.  Alas, I didn't make it across the state to Alcatraz East in Pigeon Forge where the renamed Crime Museum relocated recently. Crime Museum The founder of the museum, attorney  John Morgan , formerly operated it  as the National Museum of Crime and Punishment in Washington, DC. He figured DC was where laws … [Read more...]

Cocaine, mental illness, trauma: What killed Carrie Fisher?

      I'm working on a memoir tentatively titled Four Murders and a Funeral.  In one of the murders, powdered cocaine plays a role. At least that's what the defendant and his attorney would like us to believe. Whether  the drug was to blame for the murder and whether addiction was involved is part of the story I tell. Cocaine  Carrie Fisher's use of cocaine never became much of a criminal justice issue. Some feel celebs get a pass for behavior that lands others of us  in … [Read more...]

Cleft lip dad adopts cleft lip baby.

This cleft lip news out of Atlanta made my Father's Day last Sunday. The day had been marred by the death of my best friend's wife the day before. However, I then noticed this news about cute-as-a-boot Hattie Pierce, pictured below. Like myself and so many others, Hattie was born with a cleft lip and palate, .     Hattie Pierce w cleft lip and palate. Cleft lip dad & daughter duo get surgery at same hospital. She  was adopted by Brian Pierce who'd had his lip surgically restored long … [Read more...]

Male privilege and women in elevators.

So here's my first bit of advice to those of my male gender. Slow down or cross the street if you're following a woman walking ahead of  you in the middle of the night on a lonely street.   Male privilege and women in elevators. My current book deals with male privilege among other things. Last week I thought back to one of my earliest realizations of this phenomenon. Male privilege realization. I was old enough to be walking around my sleepy town at night —maybe age 15 or so. I … [Read more...]