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...]

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 hero QB Peyton Manning faces accusations.

Talk about hitting a player after he's down. An "allegation" about cleft lip Bronco quarterback Peyton Manning using prohibited Human Growth Hormone (HGH) surfaced while Manning was sidelined by a foot injury (partially torn plantar fascia in his left foot). The idea that Peyton Manning is now the backup QB for the Broncos jars all of us who consider him a hero as a five-time NFL league MVP. If you are a die-hard Manning fan, this one-two punch hurts. As readers know, I've celebrated Manning in … [Read more...]

Disability Freak shows——Hits and misses.

 Perhaps you saw the "Side Show" song and dance number during Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this year production. It intrigued me how the two female leads were able to stay "conjoined" at the hips or shoulders through the difficult dance maneuvers. Conjoined twins.   "Side Show"— not-so-disabled twins. Perhaps you've also seen episodes of  "Freak Show," part of the American Horror Story anthology  broadcast on the cable television channel FX in the United States. It features a variant on a … [Read more...]

Bullies steal prized NFL football from cleft lip Kid

    It saddened me to hear that Nationall Football League star Gordy Soltau just died. Football legend Gordy Soltau. A  member of the 49ers Hall of Fame, he scored 24 touchdowns and 70 field goals in his career, only one of  three players in NFL history to have ever done this.The great receiver and kicker, who died of natural causes at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, California was born in 1925, and  played an important role in my life. The following, excerpted from my memoir, Cleft Heart, … [Read more...]

Gaga’s Disabilities Foundation Under fire.

  Gaga in dodo over disabilities song lyrics?                             As promised, I'll provide some information about Gaga's beleaguered "Born This Way" Foundation (BTWF) and her mother who cofounded it with her. But first, a few words about the "Born this Way" song, which stirred controversy when she released it. Besides the expected negativity from those who hate gay-friendly lyrics, several … [Read more...]

Disabilities and Lady Gaga’s anti-bully lyrics.

  Lately, news reporters have been writing about Lady Gaga's foundation to combat bullying. Because so much of the foundation is linked to the recording artist's words in "Born This Way," it's important to look at the lyrics. Disabilities mentioned. What's exciting to me, besides the anti bully message, is Lady Gaga's use of the word "disabilities "about two-thirds into her song:  "Whether life's disabilitiesLeft you outcast, bullied, or teasedRejoice and love yourself today'cause baby … [Read more...]