THE CONSUMER VISION

April 2016

Address: 359 Coggeshall St., New Bedford, MA 02746

Telephone: 508-994-4972

Email: bobbranco93@gmail.com

Website: www.consumervisionmagazine.com

Publisher: Bob Branco

Editor: Terri Winaught

Proofreader: Leonore Dvorkin

CONTENTS

Here, three number signs ### will separate the title of each article from its author. Three number signs ### will also be used between each article to make it easier to use your browser's search feature.

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR ### by Terri Winaught

THE PROPER CARE AND FEEDING OF CHAT LINES FOR THE BLIND ### by James R. Campbell

ARE FISH FRIES SAFE? ### by Terri Winaught

DOES GOVERNMENT OVERDO IT? ### by Bob Branco

(Originally published in Word Matters, www.ernestdempsey.com)

INTERNET RADIO ### by James R. Campbell

THE DANGERS OF ONLINE DATING### by Bob Branco (Originally published in Word Matters, www.ernestdempsey.com)

AUDIBLE SIGNALS ### by Ernest Jones

HOW SIGHT IS TAKEN FOR GRANTED: TALKING OVER AN AUDIO PRESENTATION ### by Bob Branco

SPECIAL NOTICES ### Submitted by readers and compiled by Bob Branco

TIPS FOR VIPS

(Because Visually Impaired Persons Are Important, Too) ### by Penny Fleckenstein

RECIPE COLUMN ### by Karen Crowder

READERS' FORUM ### Submitted by readers and compiled by Bob Branco

EASTER CELEBRATIONS ### by Karen Crowder

CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST ### by Bob Branco

PROOFREADER'S CONCLUDING NOTES ### from Leonore Dvorkin

###

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

March 19, 2016

Tomorrow is both my husband's 57th birthday and the first day of spring. Regarding tomorrow's seasonal transition, it is going to feel more like winter's last stand in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with snow in the forecast. I suppose that the seemingly topsy-turvy trends I have seen this winter are due to an ocean-warming phenomenon known as El Niño, which I understand somwhat, but not well enough to explain.

Moving on to congratulatory commendations to March's contributors, I found Lynda Lambert's article about butterflies beautifully inspirational. John Justice's article "A Bad Sense of Humor" was a well-written, honest reminder of the horrible things we humans can do to each other. Although the sugar cube perpetrator obviously saw himself as quite the jokester, what he did was not at all humorous.

Just as I commend our more-than-capable contributors, I also want to thank you, the readers, for your feedback and encourage you to keep your comments coming. Please feel free to express your opinions and make suggestions by emailing me at: twinaught@comcast.net. To speak with me, phone me at home, 412-263-2022, or call my cell phone, 412-506-2004, to which you can also text.

Thanks for reading with me, along with publisher Bob Branco, proofreader Leonore Dvorkin, and former editor Janet Marcley for having developed Consumer Vision into a publication well worth reading.

Terri Winaught

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THE PROPER CARE AND FEEDING OF CHAT LINES FOR THE BLIND

by James R. Campbell

One of my ongoing concerns in life centers around the lack of social contact for many blind and disabled persons. Having experienced this type of isolation firsthand, I have a great deal of compassion for the blind and disabled who don't have the social support that they need.

Science has validated the role of social contacts in promoting good health. People who have friends that they trust and associate with cope with stress better than those who don't. The benefits of this type of support are varied and far-reaching: lower blood pressure, lower heart rate, reduced chance for heart attacks and strokes, improved mental health, and improved immune cell function, which lowers the risk of illness and potentially helps the body destroy abnormal cells before they become malignant.

In fact, people who are taking antidepressants have discovered that the medicine is more effective if they have a set of friends to talk to on a regular basis. I have experienced this firsthand.

In many cases, it is difficult for the blind and disabled to find friends in their cities. There are many reasons for this, but in the end, the effect is the same. Many of the blind are left with no choice but to depend on talking books, TV, and their music. Even computers, which have opened doors for many, can't provide the one-on-one human contact that is needed.

Enter the next best thing: the chat lines for the blind. Contrary to what many believe, these are not adult sex lines; rather, they are lines that allow the blind and disabled to talk with others who are in the same position. They provide an outlet that is otherwise lacking. Even if the chat lines don't provide the touch of a warm hand or a personal presence, they are invaluable in that they provide a way for the disabled to make friends.

My first introduction to chat lines was on April 30, 2010. One of my longtime friends brought me into a chat line he was affiliated with in order for me to have the experience of talking to a new set of people. I found the experience enjoyable. At first, I wasn't sure this was for me, but I gave it further consideration. I was affiliated with the Permian Basin Poetry Society, and I had a set of friends right here in Odessa. But I wanted another outlet, just in case things shifted here at home.

I signed up for the chat line on May 3, 2010. I set up two very important rules for myself that I try to follow:

The chat line was not to be used as a replacement for local friends from the Permian Basin.

I would use the chat line for the purpose of helping as many people as I could on a daily basis.

If I did not follow these self-imposed regulations, then there was no sense in going on a chat line. Many of the people I have talked to there have been of tremendous help; I learned to use my laptop with help from my friends on the chat line. For that, I am eternally grateful. In addition, when my friend in Midland got sick, my chat line friends came to my aid. They made sure that I did not walk through that cactus patch by myself. They prayed for my Midland friend; it wasn't left entirely to me. When I needed to talk about my concerns for her health, they shared those concerns. I haven't forgotten. How do you repay somebody for that?

However, the regrettable fact is that many people don't view the chat lines the same way that my friends and I do. Instead of using the lines for good, they engage in all sorts of nefarious activities: gossip, bigotry, duplicity, and what I will describe as nothing less than audioporn. Some of the things that you hear are so bad that they put the worst rap artists in the shade. Some people three-way into one chat line from another, which is prohibited. When you block one number, they get a spoof card, which allows them to change the number, thus allowing them entry into the chat line, where they continue the harassment and spew their verbal vomit. Some of the things you hear on these lines are so bad that they would make a pregnant nanny goat sick.

There is a disclaimer that is part of the policy that one must accept in order to be on these lines.

That is, the line owners will not be held liable for anything that happens to anyone who joins the chat line. You join at your own risk, and can leave at any time. The assumption is that we are mature adults, and that we join by choice. This is a fair and accurate assumption for the most part.

The problem stems from people who use these lines for the nefarious purposes that I outlined earlier. These people may be adults by age, but their maturity is questionable, at best. If we ignore them, which we have tried to do, this changes nothing, and they keep going. It makes no difference; these people don't even behave like children. They act like animals; the prevailing thought on their part is this: "I will get my instant gratification no matter how anyone else feels and regardless of who gets hurt."

It is this kind of thinking that turns the people who would most benefit from them away from the chat lines. There are some people who aren't satisfied unless they can spread the misery around; others need to be as miserable and empty as they are. And it isn't that they can't find anything better to do; it is a matter of deliberate choices on their part. If I ever engaged in the kind of conduct that I have witnessed lately, I would leave the chat line in the next five seconds and never go back, no questions asked. These people never stop to think that they are cutting their own throats, which is bad enough. Beyond that, they are harming others in the process.

These lines would benefit if more people would approach them with the attitude that they exist so that we can help each other, not tear each other down. But as a friend once said, courtesy is an eight-letter word.

The display of common courtesy and the shared commitment to each other as human beings is the proper care and feeding of chat lines. I sincerely hope that I have reached at least one person. If I have, then my task has been successfully completed. Thanks for your time.

With Loving Kindness,

James R. Campbell

Email: J.campbell@grandecom.net   

###

ARE FISH FRIES SAFE?

by Terri Winaught

If there's anything that's been a time-honored Lenten tradition, it's the Friday night fish fry.

Churches and fire halls nationwide are staffed by volunteers bustling about to serve fish sandwiches, fish platters, macaroni and cheese, and pierogies.

KDKA TV, Pittsburgh's CBS affiliate, recently conducted an investigation to see if these fish fries are safe. The conclusive evidence was that fish fries are indeed safe, with each one having certified food managers, individuals trained by the Allegheny County Health Department in proper food handling and preparation procedures.

If you have come to enjoy the food and fellowship that cause so many to embrace this time-honored tradition, be assured that the food that loving volunteer hands prepare with such dedication is both delicious and safe.

Here's hoping that your Lent was a spiritually enriching journey, and that your Easter was celebrated with Resurrection joy.

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DOES GOVERNMENT OVERDO IT?

by Bob Branco

(Originally published in Word Matters, www.ernestdempsey.com)

Was George Orwell right? In his book entitled Nineteen Eighty-Four, which was written in 1948, he predicted that Big Brother would be watching over all of us someday. Not only do I think he was absolutely right, but Big Brother happens to be our own government. Just think of all the ways the government rules us.

Let's start with technology. As more people go online to do shopping, banking, and other important life tasks, their personal information is revealed for the whole world to see, including our government. If you go to Google Earth, you get to see your own neighborhood, which means that cameras have been installed so that anyone could find your territory.

Our government has also interfered with what private businesses can do. Although I am thrilled to go into buildings where smoking is not allowed, it was the government that made this smoking ban happen. I've also heard that certain restaurant owners have been asked not to serve specific foods or drinks.

Have you noticed that on many applications for services, they now ask you about your ethnicity? What does your ethnicity have to do with qualifying for fuel assistance or Paratransit services? Again, welcome to our government.

If these examples aren't frustrating enough, the government adds insult to injury by charging many small business owners additional property taxes, permit fees, and other charges that put their small businesses at financial risk.

When the government runs our lives, it usually wants more money in order to do it. The more money that government takes from the consumer, the harder it is for the consumer to function. How is this good for our economy? How is this good for each of us? Do we really need to be watched over and told how to run our businesses, our families, and our lives?

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INTERNET RADIO

by James R. Campbell

I thoroughly enjoyed Bob Branco's article about Internet radio that appeared in the February issue of Consumer Vision. Bob posed the question, "Will Internet radio take over the airwaves?" See "Is Internet Radio Overrated?" by Bob Branco, Consumer Vision magazine, February 2016.

I certainly don't have the answer, but I have some perspective that might be helpful. I also hope to alert the readers concerning the threat posed by the Copyright and Royalty Board (CRB) with regard to the future of Internet radio.

When I was growing up in the 1960s, radio stations were owned by local people in the community. Their focus was community-based. Whenever there was a need, they answered the call. Even though the stations played the most popular songs, they catered to their listening audience.

In the mid- to late ‘60s, a new breed of radio station began to emerge. These stations catered to the counterculture; they played underground music from groups that got very little if any airplay on traditional stations. These stations evolved into album rock stations, and were, for the most part, operated by students on college campuses.

Enter the big broadcast corporations; they took over many of the local stations. Thus the banner was passed to networks and conglomerates, wrenching control from local owners.

The conglomerates decide what songs the stations can play. Thus the listeners are treated to a revolving door made up of the same songs, day in and day out. While we may like the songs, a steady diet of this gets boring in a short time. Add the factor of the change in music; rap music began to emerge in the late ‘80s. I tried to go with the flow as far as the change in music (even today, heavy metal has its place), but when it comes to songs that glorify gangs, drugs, and hatred for women, that is where I draw the line. Give me my psychedelic sounds any day of the year, please!

Enter Iinternet radio. Even if it is a one-person hobby, it serves a purpose in that the person running the station has the freedom to play material that commercial radio stations won't touch. Many of the people who operate these one-person franchises do so as a way of resisting the control of the commercial stations, as well as giving listeners access to a variety of music they won't hear anywhere else. They are risking it all to reclaim a freedom that has been denied to us by the giants of the industry.

A new threat to this freedom has appeared on the radar screen in the form of the CRB. They are demanding royalties from the stations for the right to play the music. It is evident that the  Recording Industry and Artists of America, the RIAA, are doing so in order to recover losses in revenue. But these losses are largely if not entirely due to mismanagement and greed on the part of the RIAA. While I understand that the equipment is not cheap, as I see it, that is no excuse for the inflated prices of compact discs. When the playlists were determined by the giants (the corporate rulers), people began flocking to the Internet to get the music they wanted to hear.

There are a number of petitions on the Internet that you may sign in order to save Internet radio, if you choose to do so. Go to Google and type in "save Internet radio." The more people we get, the greater the impact. The CRB and their henchmen are doing everything they can to take away another one of our basic freedoms. How much longer can we count on being free if this trend continues?

In order to do my part, I placed a call to a local talk show called The Morning Drive. This show is hosted by Robert Hallmark on KCRS, a news/talk station in Midland, Texas. The Morning Drive is a forum that allows listeners to call in with comments about the events that impact our lives every day. I thought that the threat that we are facing was important enough to bring to the attention of the listeners. When I attempted to explain what we were facing, Robert Hallmark responded with the following question.

"Why don't you listen to our station? We're free!"

But is this really true? What about the advertising that the station runs for the products the listeners buy in order for KCRS to keep operating? Where would KCRS be without this advertising?

I should have known that Robert Hallmark is in favor of commercial radio, and that he would promote his station. That is easy to understand, but if the CRB had its way, where would that leave those of us who like the rarities that you don't hear anymore?

We would wind up spending more money for CDs. When you have to choose between CDs and groceries, your food and your health win out every time, or they should! As I have aged, I have found that there is only so much material stuff one can absorb, and that one more CD won't replace friendship. I am sure that many feel as I do, that we can't allow the greed of a few to take another right from the many! I hope this helps.

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THE DANGERS OF ONLINE DATING

by Bob Branco (Originally published in Word Matters, www.ernestdempsey.com)

It seems as though every time we turn around, there is an ad on television about online dating. The ad asks single people to apply on a dating site, where they can meet their special someone. Many of these dating sites charge a high fee, and we're supposed to give out as much personal information as possible.

Despite the push for online dating, I still believe that personal contact is the way to meet people. Personality is what counts. When people are communicating with one another on a dating website, they don't know anything beyond the written word. Anyone can write what they want, whether it's true or not. There is no expression to indicate truth or dishonesty. 

If I were searching for my significant other, I would want to meet her, talk to her, get to know her, and figure out her strengths and weaknesses. You can't do that on the computer. I have heard of cases where potential couples on a dating site plan to meet, even to the point where they travel hundreds of miles, only to discover that the potential date is a fake or a criminal.

This is not to say that online dating doesn't ever work. I know a woman who met her husband that way, and as far as I know, their marriage is very successful. On the other hand, it's not the method I would recommend. There are too many unknown factors which take the place of personal introduction at a local library, mall, restaurant, church, or any other place you choose to meet someone.

Online dating has become a popular industry that makes a lot of money, and as long as there are many single people out there who believe there is no other way to find their mates, the industry will continue to grow and grow. Despite all that, the human touch is always the answer. So, why not continue to go about your day, meeting other people and hoping for the best? 

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AUDIBLE SIGNALS

by Ernest Jones

(From Different Views, March 2016)

My cane struck the pole. I pressed the walk button, then took 12 steps to what I hoped was the edge of the curb. There was no curb to really show the street's edge; it had been made to lie flat with the street, thus allowing for wheelchair crossing.

This rounded, curbless corner also allowed large trucks to cut the corner, which I found out. Waiting for the light to change, I had to jump back, thanks to a warning from another pedestrian, who shouted as this large truck cut the corner where I had been standing.

Taking a few deep breaths, I found my way back to that pole to press the walk button again.  Once again, I walked the 12 steps to the edge of the street, hoping I was facing the correct direction. I waited for the side traffic to begin moving, telling me I had a green light. But today, after that large truck, there was no side traffic to alert me it was time to cross.

Hearing the traffic begin to move in front of me, I had no choice but to turn around and retrace my steps. Swinging my white cane, I was fortunate to find the pole. Once again, I pressed the walk button. No longer positive of my direction, I walked the dozen steps to what I hoped would be the edge of the curb-less street and waited.

Again, there was no side traffic, and the silent light gave me no indication. When the traffic started moving across in front of me, I gave up. Making a right turn, I headed down the sidewalk to the next intersection where there was no signal, but there was also a curb to line up with. Hearing a break in traffic, I crossed the street and stepped up on the curb.

Never after have I attempted to cross at this silent stoplight, feeling safer to cross at an intersection without a light. An audible signal would have greatly eased this problem. Furthermore, the pole with the walk button was so far back from the curb, it was hard to find when one's eyes don't see.

There was a time when curbs were actually curbs. Today a pedestrian may find a totally flat curb, where a blind person can walk straight out into the street without knowing they had left the sidewalk.

With improved accessibility for all, the needs of the wheelchair user and the blind pedestrian find themselves on a collision course. Whereas before, the blind traveler could feel a certain safety that an actual curb would indicate the presence of a street, this is no longer the case. Curbs also used to line up fairly well with the opposite curb. All too often today, they don't line up.

What does this mean for the blind pedestrian? We can no longer time the light cycle by counting, and we can no longer line up with a curb edge. We are left with lining up with our parallel traffic as it begins to move and hope it isn't a vehicle making a right turn on a red light. Pedestrians can be struck as they step off a curb, colliding with a vehicle making a right turn on a red light.

While signals used to be timed like clocks, more often today the signals, like phones, have become "smart." They can detect by various methods how many cars are in a queue to cross at an intersection and can adjust the signal timing to accommodate these differences.

Have you wondered why there are poles with buttons at many intersections? This is not to accommodate the blind; it is to alert the smart signals that a pedestrian is waiting to cross, to allow ample time for such crossings. These timings are worked out in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices that traffic engineers are compelled to follow. The next time you sit with your car idling at a lighted intersection where no cross traffic exists, you might wish for a smart signal.

As a pedestrian, you will see the importance of taking time to press the button. Without the walk sign, you may not have enough time to complete the crossing.

When buttons were introduced, workers used existing poles for their placement; you may have noticed that there wasn't any set pattern for their placement. In such cases, how was the blind person to find the pole, let alone the button to press? Thus came the installation of accessible signals.

These poles with the walk buttons need to be placed as near to the curb as possible. The sound can be adjusted to be quieter because of the proximity. A pedestrian with both hearing and visual impairment will know that the walk sign has been illuminated by the vibration that the button makes. With the beeping sound, the approaching blind traveler can locate the buttons to initiate a crossing. The orientation of the button plate can give a clue as to the direction of travel.

After the button has been located and pressed, the next step in the process is to find the curb edge and line up appropriately. To insure that the light will change, a blind pedestrian has been taught to wait until the perpendicular traffic is moving along the street to be crossed before pressing the button. Then the light should give a walk signal at the beginning of the next flow of parallel traffic.

There is extensive street work planned into the foreseeable future, and city workers are making great strides to improve the safety for all pedestrians. It is a learning process for everyone; we must work together to make the best outcome. Special thanks go to city workers for their willingness to work with the blind of the community.

Ernest A. Jones

Author of Onesimus, the Runaway Slave

Encouraging the blind

Greater love hath no man then this

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HOW SIGHT IS TAKEN FOR GRANTED: TALKING OVER AN AUDIO PRESENTATION

by Bob Branco

(Originally published in Word Matters, www.ernestdempsey.com)

Have you ever tried to listen to a presentation, a movie, or anything else that interests you, only to be surrounded by people who would rather talk? It's frustrating, isn't it? Being blind, I rely on my hearing. I would assume that people with vision rely on their hearing as well, but I am now going to tell you about an incident which proves how some people take their vision for granted.

Recently, I was at a banquet where the organizers gave a one-hour presentation about what they do. I expected it to be a very touching presentation, similar to many others that I have heard over the years. I was sitting far away from the stage at a round table which accommodated eight to ten people. My friend and I tried to be extremely quiet, but most of the other people at the table were talking over the presentation. It got to the point where I couldn't hear most of it. My friend and I tried to politely ask the others to keep their voices down, but we were unsuccessful.

To make a long story short, we finally found out why there was so much chatter at my table during the presentation. Apparently these people couldn't see the stage. Being a blind person, I couldn't see the stage, either. But guess what? I still wanted to hear what the presenters were talking about. So, even though the sighted people at my table had the same problem that I had, why did they have to talk? This is why I believe that vision is often taken for granted. If a sighted person can't see something, it's often disregarded. In this case, they couldn't see the stage, and so it didn't matter to them who was speaking on the stage. They needed to see who it was before they paid attention.

What can we do about this problem?

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SPECIAL NOTICES

Dear Friend,

We would like to invite you to participate in a unique marketing opportunity and exciting event hosted by The Seeing Eye. From April 25 to May 6, 2016, we plan to hold our 8th Annual Online Auction. Right now, we are seeking auction items for a target audience of more than 50,000 Seeing Eye supporters.

Companies who donate one or more items for the online auction will have the opportunity to showcase their products/services in our online auction catalog. Each page will include a detailed description of the item(s), photographs, the company's logo, and a direct link to their home page. The Seeing Eye's excellent reputation will provide an added measure of trust to those companies whose products/services are included in our online auction.

The Seeing Eye, Inc. is a 501(c)3 organization, Federal I.D. number 22-1539721. Since our founding in 1929, we have created over 16,000 partnerships with Seeing Eye dogs and individuals who are blind from the United States and Canada, enabling them to lead fuller lives as contributing members of their families, communities, and places of employment.

We hope you will take advantage of this unique opportunity and participate in our 8th Annual Online Auction. When the auction is live, it will be hosted at www.BiddingForGood.com/SeeingEye.

You may also contact me at 973.539.4425, or by emailing auction@seeingeye.org.

Item donations should be received by April 1st and may be addressed to:The Seeing Eye Auction team, 10 Washington Valley Road, Morristown, NJ 07960

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Maureen Smith

Auction Team Leader

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Hi, my name is Patty Fletcher.

I will soon be starting a monthly free Motivational Phone Conference.

These conferences will be designed to:

Motivate you to successfully set and obtain goals,

Become more successful in your hunt for employment if you wish it,

Help you set and obtain personal goals, 

Help you learn to live with mental illness if you have it,

Help you live with others in your life who have mental illness,

Help you learn to live with disABILITIES if you have them, and

Help you learn to live with others who have disABILITIES. 

If you're interested in participating in such conferences, please email me at: patty.volunteer1@gmail.com

Please include:

Line 1, first and last name

Line 2, email address

Line 3, social media contact (optional)

Line 4, phone number (optional)

Time zone in which you live, and what time a call would work for you. 

It is my wish to motivate and educate, never to demean or make one feel small.

I invite you to follow me,

Patty L. Fletcher

http://campbellsworld.wordpress.com/

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TIPS FOR VIPS (BECAUSE VISUALLY IMPAIRED PERSONS ARE IMPORTANT, TOO)

by Penny Fleckenstein

Blogs at: http://notyouraveragesinglemom.com

Email: goodthaimom@gmail.com

Ah, yes, April! With the promise of sunnier days ahead, many consider it a time of cleansing and refreshing; some people call it spring cleaning. At my place, we're scurrying around getting ready for a big family gathering and a sale we're going to participate in as graduates of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. It's a Christian financial workshop my son Isaac and I took at my church. It is also available at other churches. For $90 per family, it packs a lot into the course, and you can go to future workshops if you want a refresher without paying any extra. Amazing how that translates back into spring cleaning.

We'll be using the carpet shampooer I purchased from the thrift store for $30. I figured that if I spent $30 on it and it worked once, it would be cheaper than renting. I got my money's worth, so now if it stops working after this time, I will have been satisfied.

However, I've struggled with my vacuum cleaner choices for years, and still want the perfect one. I've not been convinced to go bagless, so I buy my vacuum cleaner bags for my Oreck canister, Oreck upright, and Panasonic vacuum cleaner from http://www.amazon.com, where, incidentally, I also buy my 37.5 lbs. of dog food. As I've mentioned in the past, I find Sam's Club and Amazon to be indispensable. I started to buy my Purina Pro Plan dog food from Amazon right after I found out that my friend, who was happy to go to PetSmart for me once a month, had just experienced the passing away of their dog. Although he agreed to continue picking up my dog food for me, I didn't have the heart to ask him. It was right around Christmastime, and my children forgot that we order our dog food from Amazon, so when the big box came, they were quite excited. Everyone in the house, except for me, thought someone had sent us a very big Christmas package.

Since Christmas, I've made a few discoveries. On one of my mall walks, I was desperately looking for curly shoelaces for Zachary's sneakers. I was tired of tying and untying his shoes.

He's six years old and hasn't learned how to tie his shoes. He thinks you just tie them up in knots. My mornings were filled with consternation as I struggled to first untie the knots, then tie the laces properly. My friend Toni was determined to stop at every shoe place and ask for curly shoelaces. What we did find is at the Finish Line. They have these So-Mine Strapz No-Tie Shoe Laces that are made of silicone. They slip into any shoe with eyelets. On the packaging, you can feel how they have the shoe laces, the "strapz," laid out exactly the way they go on a shoe. They come in various colors, even neon green, and only cost $3.

This is the little blurb they have on their website about them:

"When you're dashing out the door, the last thing you want to deal with are your shoe laces. Don't worry, So-Mine Strapz Shoe Laces have you covered. These no-tie laces replace your traditional, time-wasting tie laces. The stretch silicone laces fit any shoes with eyelet holes. Each pack includes 18 laces—enough for two shoes—in three different sizes. Easy to follow instructions come along for the ride, so you can slip your sneakers on and go in no time!"

Proofreader's note: Here is the URL for these laces: http://www.finishline.com/store/product/so-mine-strapz-no-tie-shoe-laces?productId=prod767092 .

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New books:

Below are the summaries of two books that were recently edited and produced by Leonore and David Dvorkin. Both are available in paperback and e-book formats from Amazon, Smashwords, and mutiple other online sellers. The authors report that they have received very favorable comments on the covers and the texts.

1. The Sayzeh Song, by Chaim B. Segal

Tracing the author's life from preschool to seventh grade, the narrative is dominated by Jewish studies, music, schooling, hard life lessons, and some very difficult family dynamics. Growing up in Dayton, Ohio, the blind author had painful introductions to the Holocaust, religious prejudice, and race relations. Missing, however, is any shred of self-pity. His resilience is astonishing. (Book One of five that are planned.)

More details, cover photo, author biography, text preview, and buying links: http://www.dvorkin.com/chaimsegal/

2. The MetSche Message, by Stephen A. Theberge

Andre, nearly blind, experiences years of alienation, frustration, and abiding sadness in the face of human beings' cruelty to one another. His sources of joy are few: good food, music, computer science, and the arms of his lover, John. Only in middle age does he learn that he and a very few others have been chosen by two far superior alien races to deliver a message to all of humankind.   

More details, cover photo, author biography, text preview, and buying links: http://www.dvorkin.com/stephentheberge/  

On March 21, 2016, Stephen was a guest on Branco Broadcast. Here is the link to that broadcast:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFkncZE7SFU&feature=youtube_gdata 

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RECIPE COLUMN

by Karen Crowder

 Across the northeast, April brings showers with warmer temperatures. When it is unseasonably warm, by late April, lilacs, irises, and lily of the valley are blossoming. People seed their gardens and lawns, and they buy fresh asparagus and strawberries in supermarkets. 

 I hope you enjoy this diverse column. There are four recipes this month: one salad, one soup, and two Passover recipes.

Marcy Segelman generously submitted the Passover recipes. In 2016, Passover is April 22-28. Passover symbolizes when people of the Jewish faith left Egypt to flee the Pharoah. In their haste, they forgot yeast as a leavener for their bread. Matzo was an acceptible substitute, and today, it is used in Passover and other Jewish recipes. You can find Matzo meal and farfel flour  in the Kosher aisle at supermarkets. These ingredients are part of the Mock Oatmeal Cookies. Marcy says the first two days are the height of this season. They are celebrated with services and delicious meals. She is a reader of Consumer Vision and gave me this insightful information.

CONTENTS

1. Delicious Egg Salad

2. Tried and True Ham and Cheese Soup

3. Mock Oatmeal Cookies

4. Passover Brisket

1. Delicious Egg Salad

 On lazy warm days, egg salad sandwiches make a delicious picnic or light supper. Good accompaniments are baby carrots, celery, and chips. I spiced up this recipe by adding mild spices and relish made by my stepdaughter Pam. People love my egg salad. One woman always requests it during the summer. This recipe generously serves four people.

Ingredients:

Six to eight large eggs

Four to six tablespoons of mayonnaise; Cain's is best.

One tablespoon of relish  

One pearl or one quarter Vidalia or sweet Spanish onion

Dashes of salt, curry powder, dried dill, garlic powder, and dried or fresh chives

Method:

Fill saucepan half full of water. Add a handful of salt to the water. Salt helps make peeling of hard-boiled eggs easier. 

When water is coming to a boil, gently place eggs in it. Let eggs boil gently for 15 minutes.

After shutting off heat, drain water into sink, then fill pan with cold water. Let eggs cool for 20 minutes.

Drain water and shell eggs, putting shelled eggs one by one into a small bowl. Examine each one for bits of shell. Rinse them again, putting them into a medium stainless steel mixing bowl. Mash them gently with a fork, adding onion and spices. Add mayonnaise and relish, blending mixture for a minute with a plastic or metal stirring spoon.

With a separate spoon, taste; if mixture is not moist enough, add another spoonful of mayonnaise. Mix again, then chill mixture until it is ready to serve.

Egg salad is best served on fresh hamburger, hotdog, or deli-style rolls. The rolls can be spread with a little butter, margarine, or extra mayo, along with generous amounts of egg salad.

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2. Tried and True Ham and Cheese Soup

The original name for this soup is simply Ham and Cheese Soup. It's from The Soup Cookbook.

I know no better way to use leftover Easter ham.

 Ingredients:

Two cups whole milk

Five tablespoons butter or margarine

Five tablespoons flour

Two cups ground-up ham

Six slices American cheese

Four to six ounces sharp cheddar cheese

One-half small onion

One-fourth cup ham liquid

One cup light cream

Nutmeg (optional)

(I added the American cheese, onion, and ham liquid.)

 

Method:

In large double boiler or saucepan, sauté onion in two tablespoons of butter or margarine. Add the rest of the butter or margarine, plus the flour. Stir for a minute. Turn heat off and add milk and ham liquid. Stir sauce infrequently for 25 minutes on low heat.

Meanwhile, if you own a food processor, grind up the ham and cheese. When sauce is thickened, add ham and cheese mixture. If you do not own a food processor, break up ham and cheese, putting mixture into a glass or plastic bowl. Add it to the sauce.

After 10 minutes, add light cream and (optional) nutmeg. Let soup simmer until serving time. This soup is good on a cool spring evening with rolls, tossed salad, and fresh strawberries.

I made this recipe often after New Year's, and after Easter, everyone loved it.

The Soup Cookbook was published in 1971. it is in Braille. Check to see if it is still available from your regional library.

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3. Mock Oatmeal Cookies

Submitted by Marcy Segelman

From The Complete American-Jewish Cookbook

Ingredients:

Two cups matzo meal

Two cups matzo farfel flour

One and one-half cups granulated sugar (You can decrease this amount to one cup.)

One cup raisins

One cup chopped nuts

One teaspoon cinnamon

One teaspoon salt

Two-thirds cup vegetable oil

Four eggs

 Method:

Combine all dry ingredients. Beat in eggs, then beat in eggs and oil. Drop by heaping teaspoons onto greased, foil-lined cookie sheets.

Bake in moderate, 350-degree oven for 30 minutes. Check for doneness after 22 minutes.

Yields four dozen cookies.

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4. Passover Brisket

Submitted by Marcy Segelman

This is a Kosher recipe.

Prep time 9 minutes, cooking time 3 hours

Yields 8 servings

Ingredients:

Two and one-half pounds brisket

One tablespoon paprika

One-half teaspoon basil

One teaspoon salt

One teaspoon pepper

Three medium onions, sliced

Two cloves garlic, peeled, cut in half

One and a half cups ketchup

One and a half cups dry red wine or ginger ale

Method:

Put wet and dry ingredients on all sides of brisket in deep roasting pan.

Put extra onions on top for extra flavor and moistness. You can place potatoes and vegetables such as asparagus or green beans in pan alongside brisket.

Bake at 350 degrees for 3 hours.

Marcy suggests: "This dish should be served at the height of Passover, on the first or second day."

This recipe is also from The Complete American-Jewish Cookbook. Authors: Anne London and Bertha Kahn Bishov. Publisher of the 1989 edition is Harpercollins. Check with your regional library to see if this book is available on NLS cartridge. It is on Amazon.com.

To all Consumer Vision readers: Happy Easter season, happy Passover, and for Massachusetts residents, happy Patriots' Day.

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READERS' FORUM

Hi, Bob.

I would like to comment on Braille advocacy. The article made a good point that we don't always have sighted help when we need it, and if we did, we might not want to ask them to read personal information that is private. We don't have privacy in financial matters, we still don't have

accessible curency, and we don't have access to personal financial iformation in Braille. Not all financial institutions provide Braille, and they should be made to by law, because this is an ADA issue if there ever was one. 

The problem is that the blind community refuses to advocate for Braille in areas like this, and if one of us does, we are the only one, so we are just told no. This is how bad it is: I have requested that the companies that sell products for the blind provide manuals and catalogs in Braille, but they say no. Perhaps this is the reason that some blind people say, "Why should I learn Braille when there is no practical use for it?" We are told that the reason is the high cost of production of Braille. I say, "Oh, give me a break!" Once you have the equipment, then it's just the cost of the paper. I will always advocate for and use Braille when and where possible.

Brian Sackrider

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Hi, Bob.

I'd like to comment on proper dress. It all goes back to the parents. For example, if Mom or Dad goes to a job interview in ripped jeans, the kids think it's okay. One more example is our public figures dressing badly. So gone are the days when people think of how they look.

Jo

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Hi, Bob.

I would like to express my agreement with your March editorial about primary elections. Since the President of the United States is elected in one national election, I can see no reason why this shouldn't also be the procedure with primaries. Regarding the 2016 election, for example, should people who voted for Ben Carson or Marco Rubio—both of whom have suspended their campaigns—feel that their votes don't count?

Terri Winaught

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Dear Bob,

Thank you for yet another delightful and informative issue. 

Especially drawn to your article on telephone scams, I am sending a few extra tips which I hope are of use.

First, a favorite tactic for gaining information is the survey call. No matter how nondescript the questions might seem, or whatever promises of privacy are given, we all know that the selling of personal data has become an enormous industry. My belief is, unless I am willing for anyone on the globe to know any fact about my family life, I will not disclose it.

Also, especially for those with small businesses, the withholding function is a godsend. Every advertiser, bogus or real, targets us big-time. Aside from that, why should any of us speak with someone who hides their phone number? Still, the phone company charges for this service, so it is not for everyone. 

Caller ID proves equally fruitful. Anyone considering buying a new phone system should ascertain that this feature is included. While you can pay the phone company a monthly charge, it is more cost effective to buy it already installed. (If someone is hassling you, it is fun to check up on whether or how many times they have tried before.) This mechanism is not foolproof, as it fails to block international calls, but for those like me who have family and precious friends in other countries, this is good news.   

Ending these bits of advice on a hoot: Despite our fire wall, my husband once got a sales call during which, after refusing the product in question, he was told by the female sales rep that she was 21 and in search of a man.

Sorry, wrong number.

Warm regards,

Colleen Swan

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Hi Bob.

Regarding the article "Guide Dogs and the ADA":

I have traveled with my guide dog from the East coast to the West coast several different times and on different airlines. I must say that I have never had an incident from the moment I walked into the first airport all the way through my final airport destination. At times, a staff member at the security location would like to have me remove my dog's harness, but I just politely tell them that the harness doesn't come off. Yes, they pat her down, but that is their job. Usually everyone I come into contact with will either ask if it is all right if they do something to the dog, or ask for help from me.

I think the way you and your dog are treated depends a great deal upon both your behavior and that of your dog. The dog must be well trained and under your command. You must be polite, informative, and knowledgeable about the ADA laws. Yes, there may be a time when you are faced with an uncomfortable situation, but deal with it in a calm, respectable manner. This will usually prove to end up as a positive experience for both parties involved

Anonymous

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Hi, Bob.

Having read your article about proper dress in the latest Consumer Vision, I'd just like to say one thing. Although wearing pajamas in public is going too far, I think it's important to recognize that society is more informal than it was years ago. So it should be okay to dress casually in most situations, as long as the clothes look presentable.

Later,

Henry Achin

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EASTER CELEBRATIONS

by Karen Crowder

 

We enter the church parking lot;

Winds blow across the grotto and fire-pit.

We choose not to walk or stand outdoors

On this cold Easter eve.

Sitting in warm, comfortable church pews,  

Through microphones we listen,

Hearing people praying and singing outdoors,

Brave parishioners proceeding into a darkened church,

Away from the less hospitable, chilly outdoors.

 The candles now lit,

Holding them in our hand,

Prayers and Old Testament readings recited,

The congregation awaits Easter's joy.

Candles extinguished, church lights on,

Bells ring, alleluias now sung,

The Easter vigil celebration heightened.

Everyone feels exhilaration after forty days of solemn reflection.

 The priest intones the homily,

The congregation renews baptismal rites,

Welcoming new Catholics into our parish.

The congregation sings beautiful Easter songs

Of the risen Jesus infusing us with hope.

Our hearts lifted, we receive unleavened bread and wine,

A new sense of joy and peace in our hearts.

As the last hymn ends,

This Easter celebration continues.

The priest inviting us to a reception in the parish hall,

My friend and I assume a simple repast

Of doughnuts, coffee, and cookies.

Holding onto parishioners' arms with our white canes,

We enter the hall amazed

As our new friends describe the bounty on tables,

 Of pasta, sandwiches, pizza, and dessert.

Crowds look at the offerings.

My friend and I choose modest fare,

And chatting, we continue the celebration of Easter's arrival.

 Soon the hall empties.

As we walk into chilly winds.

Our driver and new friend

Appreciates our company

As we arrive at our abodes,

Welcoming the Easter season

 Into our hearts.

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CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST

Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the March Consumer Vision. The President of the United States who said, "Read my lips" was the first George Bush. Congratulations to the following winners:

Mark Blier of Sierra Vista, Arizona

Debi Black Chatfield of Sun Lakes, Arizona

Jan Colby of Brockton, Massachusetts

David Faucheux of Lafayette, Louisiana

Roanna Bacchus of Oviedo, Florida

Don Hanson of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Karen Crowder of Leominster, Massachusetts

Brian K. Nash of Edwards, Missouri

Henry Achin of Lowell, Massachusetts

And now, here is your trivia question for the April Consumer Vision. What is the speed of light? If you know the answer, please email bobbranco93@gmail.com or call 508-994-4972.

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PROOFREADER'S CONCLUDING NOTES

Each month, I receive the file of The Consumer Vision after it has been assembled by Bob Branco and edited by Terri Winaught. I then make any needed corrections as to spacing, punctuation, the spelling of the names of products, etc. I also add URLs where I think they will be helpful, and I make all the links live. I also do extremely light editing to some pieces, usually in the interest of clarity.

In this issue, both Terri and I were unsure of the exact punctuation and spacing that Karen Crowder desired for her lovely poem, "Easter Celebrations." So we both just did our best, according to our perceived meaning of the lines. We hope that the result meets with the author's approval.

To all contributors:

If any of you are ever unhappy with what has been done with your submission, please contact me directly, and I will put an apology and a correction in the next issue.

Leonore Dvorkin, Denver, Colorado

Home phone: 303-985-2327

Email: leonore@leonoredvorkin.com

Website: www.leonoredvorkin.com (books, articles, editing assistance, and more)

Information about the comprehensive editing and publishing services offered by me and my husband, the author David Dvorkin: http://www.dvorkin.com/epubhelp/

Since 2009, we have edited and had published almost 30 books, both fiction and nonfiction, by other authors. Most of our clients are blind. Bob Branco, Patty Fletcher, Ernest Dempsey, Chaim Segal, and Stephen Theberge are five of our clients. We will soon be releasing a novel by John Justice and a nonfiction book by David Faucheux. Both of those authors are contributors to Consumer Vision. Look for details of their books in future issues.