THE CONSUMER VISION

July 2016

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

Phone: 508-994-4972

Email: bobbranco93@gmail.com

Website: www.consumervisionmagazine.com

Publisher: Bob Branco

Editor: Terri Winaught

Proofreader: Leonore Dvorkin

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Three asterisks *** are used to separate the title of each article from its author. In the same way, three asterisks *** are used between each article to make it easier to use your browser's search feature. In sections with several submissions, such as Special Notices, three asterisks are also used to separate the submissions.

1) LETTER FROM THE EDITOR *** by Terri Winaught

2) IS THERE AN ADVANTAGE? *** by John Justice

3) HUMOR AND CIVILITY CAN GO A LONG WAY *** by Stephen Theberge

4) RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN AMERICA *** by Bob Branco (originally published in Word Matters, www.ernestdemsey.com)

5) WHAT GRINDS YOUR GEARS? *** by Terri Winaught

6) THE PERILS OF POLITICAL PROMISES *** by John Justice

7) POLITICAL UNREST IN AMERICA *** by Bob Branco (originally published in Word Matters, www.ernestdempsey.com)

8) THE BLIND ON THE JOB *** Success Stories Compiled by Bob Branco

9) COMPUTER TECH 101 *** by Jim Morgan

10) HOW MUSIC BECAME PART OF ME *** by Casandra Xavier

11) SPECIAL NOTICES *** Submitted by Readers and Compiled by Bob Branco

12) RECIPE COLUMN *** by Karen Crowder

13) TIPS FOR VIPS (Because Visually-Impaired People Are Important, Too) *** by Penny Fleckenstein

14) READERS' FORUM *** Submitted by Readers and Compiled by Bob Branco

15) A JOKE *** Contributed by Bob Branco

16) AN EASY QUIZ *** Submitted by Alan from Plantation, Florida

17) WHAT PEOPLE WHO ARE 70+ HAVE TO LOOK FORWARD TO *** by Alan from Plantation, Florida

18) TRIBUTE TO TANIA *** by Terri Winaught

19) CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST: Answer to Last Month's Question, Winners, and July's Question *** by Bob Branco

20) A CONCLUDING NOTE FROM THE PROOFREADER *** by Leonore Dvorkin

***

1) LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Early in the morning on Sunday, June 12th, I was watching Headline News Network in a state of half wakefulness.

"Oh, my God!" I murmured as I became more alert. What prompted that response was the news from Orlando, Florida that a hate-filled bloodbath had occurred at the Pulse nightclub.

As more of the horrific details unfolded regarding hostage-taking, escape attempts, critical injuries, cries for help, and death tolls, I found myself wondering how hearts become that scarred by hatred, and souls seem not to care.

Though I know intellectually that ideologies gone awry can increase hatred and incite violence, I find myself wondering what happened to philosophies that promoted and perpetuated positive change. What happened, for example, to the power of nonviolent resistance that so inspired the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. that he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1963? What happened to hands held in a rainbow of solidarity and voices that joined Joan Baez as she sang about overcoming bigotry with the healing balm of equality?

When I decry hate rhetoric and its repercussions, I'm not just talking about ISIS (also known as ISIL) and radical Islam: I am equally disgusted by the pastor who calls himself "Christian," yet had this to say about the Orlando tragedy:

"Since Pulse was a gay nightclub, the tragedy isn't that people were killed; the tragedy is that more of them weren't killed!"

Shame on you, Pastor, for spewing such venom!

On a more positive note, the goodness, care, and compassion that make love what it is will always win out.

In Orlando, for instance, people who had been shot held others who were dying.

At the Boston Marathon in 2013, spectators wanting to help ran to the wounded, not knowing if more explosions would erupt.

In Newtown, Connecticut in 2012, some teachers were able to save traumatized children by locking doors that even a troubled gunman couldn't open.

Yes, good continues to revive faith in humankind and speak to the spirit of resilience.

Speaking of all things good, my prayer is that you will have a safe, spectacular Fourth of July.

I appreciate the goodness of the work shown every month by publisher Bob Branco, proofreader Leonore Dvorkin, former editor Janet Marcley, former proofreader Chris Locovare, and all of our dedicated, talented writers.

I thank you, the readers, for your goodness in shaping this dynamic magazine by making suggestions and expressing opinions. Please continue to do so by emailing twinaught@comcast.net, and thanks for reading with me.

Sincerely,

Terri Winaught, Consumer Vision Editor

***

2) IS THERE AN ADVANTAGE? *** by John Justice

Blindness is a challenging problem for anyone to face. But is there an advantage for those who were blinded at birth? Conversely, is there a better chance at life for someone who lost his sight at a later time? This article will address that question more directly.

At one time, there was a theory applied by education specialists. The premise was that a person without sight who received specialized training from an early age had a better chance of success in any undertaking. That same questionable position created schools for the blind and training facilities that taught people what were considered special skills that they would need through life. In a school like that, the student would learn Braille, touch typing, and other activities which were tailored for use by someone without sight. 

But diseases like diabetes and macular degeneration were causing adults to lose their sight at an alarming rate. How could people like this be taught? What skills could a fully grown adult learn that would make it possible for him or her to live from day to day? Training centers were created throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in Europe and other well developed countries. These facilities tried to address the unique problems faced by someone who could see most of his or her life and was suddenly faced with continuing to exist without sight, the primary sensory input for most people.

A study was generated with the express purpose of determining which group had a better chance of making it through life. The idea was to compare skill sets and then, using that information, to improve on the way adventitiously (accidentally) blinded people were rehabilitated. The study involved 100 people from varying walks of life. Fifty people were chosen who were blind from birth. The remaining people included those who lost their sight later. As the project moved along, information began to pour in and to be analyzed by the organization for what they thought would be clear and indisputable indications. 

As it turned out, no conclusive evidence was found. There were no detectable trends showing that one particular group made more progress in dealing with blindness. There were members of each subset who showed remarkable development, while others in the same group made very little progress, if any. No one was more surprised than the people who had initiated the study. 

Of the 50 who were blinded at birth or within the first three years after birth, less than 10 percent were able to overcome the challenges presented by being blind. An additional 20 percent showed some progress but did not compare favorably with the small group who did take advantage of every opportunity they were offered and achieved rewarding careers or family lives in spite of their blindness.

Of the 50 people who had been blinded at a later point in their lives, 70 percent were overwhelmed by their affliction and became completely dependent on those around them for daily needs.

This study did include certain controls or limitations, which must be indicated here. The members of the study group were between the ages of 20 and 50. An attempt was made to select people from as many varying racial backgrounds as possible, and an additional effort was made to include people from various economic and developmental levels.

What, if anything, was the study's final conclusion? Any reasonably intelligent and communicative blind person could have told this group the answer before the study even began. Yet, as usual, these sighted scientists weren't about to listen to the advice provided freely by any of their guinea pigs. Their conclusion ran to more than 200 pages of closely printed text, but it all boiled down to one indisputable fact. Blindness is an affliction which impacts each person individually. How that problem is handled must, of necessity, be on an individual basis.

The testing did reveal some interesting observations. In the group composed of people blinded at birth, many did not achieve their full potential because they were held back by well-meaning family members or by organizations or schools which never allowed them to face the real world and its problems. The tendency of their support systems was to isolate and protect the blinded person from possible hurt or disappointment by screening him or her from any exposure to real daily challenges. 

In a strange way, these people lived a life which could be compared to what happened to blind people more than a hundred years ago. In those days, blind people were either institutionalized or locked away from the world by families who didn't understand their problems. Back then, there were no schools or supporting agencies that provided the kind of training blind people would need. Specialized schools began to appear as early as 1890 and are still operational today, to some extent. Although the schools for the blind did try to instruct their students in basic educational skills, it wasn't until the 1970s that things like daily living skills were taught.

The group composed of adventitiously blinded people didn't have much better success. Like those blinded at birth, many of these people were isolated and cushioned from their surroundings by well-meaning family members or by organizations that were supposed to be helping them adjust. Only a small percentage of this group broke free from the expected behavior and tried to live independent lives in spite of their vision loss. The majority of that group became frightened by the thought of facing the world without sight. The terror such thoughts invoked created deep depression, and in some rare instances, there were documented cases of attempts to end their lives.   

That study did generate monumental changes in the way training blind people was approached. Today, through the efforts of several organizations for the blind, training centers do try to give their students a well-rounded set of skills they will need to survive. Although Braille and touch typing are still taught, computer skills and things like cooking, sewing, and housecleaning have been introduced into the curriculum. The entire focus of the training has drastically changed. Today, the educator concentrates on giving each student the knowledge and abilities he or she will need to live from day to day. The system is by no means perfect, but it has come a long way from the days of blind students who were ejected into a world they had never known after being isolated and protected for as many as 12 years.

Technological developments have made it possible for visually impaired adults to learn as much as they can from sources such as the Internet or the Library of Congress. Screen readers have come a long way in the past 10 years and are still being improved.  

 In the final analysis, it's up to each of us as blind adults to break out of our cocoons and make our way in a world which is poorly prepared to accept us. If we are going to be the best that we can be, we must not allow the sighted world to say no! It has been said that the best support comes from someone who understands the problem. This is especially true of the sighted world. They will not learn or understand unless we take the time to explain things to them. Being exposed to an injustice or a denial of your rights is bad enough. To accept that denial is much worse! 

John Justice

Website: http://www.dvorkin.com/johnjustice/

Email: john_justice@verizon.net

I'm pleased to announce that my second book, a novel, has just been published. The title is The Paddy Stories, Book One. For information about the book and a review of it, please see below in Special Notices, section number 11 in this issue. 

***

3) HUMOR AND CIVILITY CAN GO A LONG WAY

by Stephen A. Theberge

We can all relate to people crossing the street to avoid us, waitstaff asking others what we'd like, and so many more things that understandably anger and frustrate us. On Father's Day, I had two such experiences. Not only did I use these as teaching moments, but I also learned some lessons.

A blind friend and I were returning from Perkins School for the Blind's alumni weekend on Father's Day. I was at South Station and got some food. The person stated that the bill was $11.40. I gave her $15 in two bills. She told me that I owed her 40 cents. I told her that I had given her $15. In a disappointed voice, she exclaimed, "Oh!" Rather than get angry, I left and said, as I was doing so, "Shamey! Shamey! Shamey!" in a humorous voice. I should have had my money identifier with me rather than looking at the bills an inch away from my eyes. Also, if she had heard the money identifier announcing the bills, she would have gotten the message that blind people could be really independent.

When my friend and I were seated on the train, a gentleman asked if he could sit near me to use the outlet to charge his phone. I had no objection to that. I think he would not have known that my friend and I were blind, as our canes were folded up. I was wearing a Perkins School for the Blind Alumni T-Shirt. He quickly inquired, "Are you blind?" and I had no problem confirming the fact. He then left to find another seat. I was frustrated again, but at this point, I didn't think there was any "teaching moment" there. Sometimes we have to choose our battles.

We have to always put ourselves out there. Some say that humor isn't appropriate, but I think it is on a case-by-case basis. I think we have to appear as "normal" as we can. Even in the sighted world, it isn't appropriate to express anger in an uncivilized manner. If we want to be independent, we have to accept our role in educating others when we are called to do so, even if we'd rather not, or want to shout out. Our voices can be better used to show that we can teach others in a civilized—and yes, a humorous fashion.

Note: Stephen A. Theberge is the author of the 2016 science fiction novel The MetSche Message

The book is available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and multiple other online sellers.

For the plot summary, cover photo, free text preview, and buying links, go to: http://www.dvorkin.com/stephentheberge/

***

4) RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN AMERICA *** by Bob Branco (originally published in Word Matters, www.ernestdempsey.com)

When Barack Obama was elected in 2008 as our first African-American president, I honestly believed that it would mean the end of racism as we knew it. After all, having a black president would be the ultimate acceptance. Unfortunately, racism continues, and part of the blame is on the media. While there are still many people who practice racism, there are also those who feel discriminated against because of color, nationality, sexual preference or religion.

For example, it is felt by many that a majority of terrorists in this world are Muslims. I haven't studied this topic well enough to either agree or disagree.

However, there has been tremendous prejudice against the Muslim population as a result. The haters will hate, and the media feeds off that hatred. This creates a dangerous spiral. While there are Muslim terrorists, we have many good Muslims in this world who are very kind and helpful.

I don't need to go into detail about what happens to the black population, except to say that even now, young children learn very fast about racism and discrimination. Four years ago, several young black teenage girls were creating disturbances in my neighborhood. I thought of these kids as being mean, never giving any thought to their color, because it didn't matter to me. Nonetheless, when my white neighbor scolded these black teens for good reason, the young group responded, "Oh, you are mad at us because we're black." Obviously, this opinion was learned, and most likely from adult racists.

So this problem goes on and on, and I'm not sure what can be done about it, since the election of our first black leader didn't solve it.

Every human being is created differently from every other. We can talk about height, birth marks, skin color, flat feet, disability, etc. No two people are exactly alike. On that basis, we are forced to accept everyone else as unique, because everybody is. You would think, based on this fact, that there shouldn't be any more racism or discrimination at all. However, they still exist, as a result of the hungry media and bitterness. I suggest that those who practice racism listen to a very popular song by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder entitled "Ebony and Ivory." The lyrics in that song speak for themselves.

Proofreader's notes:

Here is a link to a recording of "Ebony and Ivory" on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZtiJN6yiik

Robert Branco is the author of three nonfiction books and many articles; he also edited a cookbook. His book My Home Away from Home recounts his years at Perkins School for the Blind. Details: http://www.dvorkin.com/robertbranco/

***

5) WHAT GRINDS YOUR GEARS?

by Terri Winaught

As many of you know, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) has been utilizing the courts and working with the Treasury Department to make currency accessible. Despite their efforts, U.S. currency is still inaccessible, and that really "grinds my gears," especially since I believe that there are European countries where persons with blindness or low vision can identify their respective currencies independently. I hope to hear from European readers if that is true.

To learn more about this issue, visit www.acb.org to read the update that the Council issued from Alexandria, VA on June 9, 2016. You may also email Anthony Stephens, Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs, at astephens@acb.org. Mr. Stephens can also be reached by phone at 202-467-5081.

As always, I welcome not only your feedback but also any additional updates, especially from members of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) or any other advocacy groups, so that I can offer the broadest possible perspective. My email address is: twinaught@comcast.net.

Terri Winaught

Proofreader's notes:

 

Yes, several other countries have accessible paper currency. The bills can be distinguished by size or length, by making them in strong colors for the visually impaired, or by including Braille dots, depending on the country. The U.S. is very behind in this, and I hope we will learn from others. Here is an article on the issue: http://time.com/money/4073753/blind-people-tell-money-bills-apart/

A personal note: When my family and I lived in Germany for two years, we were quite intrigued by the beautiful and colorful German banknotes and by the fact that the different denominations were of different sizes. We have been told by several Europeans that they find American banknotes very confusing, due to their uniformity of size and color.   

***

6) THE PERILS OF POLITICAL PROMISES

by John Justice

Politicians make promises that sound so good, especially during an election or a primary race. Unfortunately, any politician, regardless of party affiliation or political position, is only one person. In our country, any serious proposal would have to be viewed and authorized by many more politicians who do not necessarily share the candidate's point of view. With that in mind, any promise made by a candidate should be viewed after adding a measure of reality. The purpose of any promise made during an election is to create an environment in which the speaker appears in the best possible light. If enough people are convinced by this artificial picture, then the politician is elected, or at least chosen as his or her party's candidate for office. 

Perhaps the best course of action might be to research one or two important questions. How many promises made during a run for office are actually fulfilled once the candidate is elected? How many promises made during a run for office are waylaid, distorted, or completely destroyed by other members of government who have their own political agenda?

The best way to choose a man or woman for office might be to look deeper into the candidate's real personality. Every politician is like an onion. He or she has many layers, and the trick is to learn as much as possible about how the candidate really feels in general. If we peel away the layer which is made up of promises and positions designed to get him or her into office, what is left might be the genuine information we need to make the right decision. 

What is this candidate really like? Does he or she have personal views that are contrary to our own beliefs? In short, it's not what he or she says that is the entire picture. How does the candidate really feel about things that are important to us and to our future? To quote an old saying, "Actions speak louder than words."  You might find a candidate reacting to some immediate influence and saying things that are objectionable. If we base our opinions on that single situation, are we getting the real picture of this individual? That is unlikely.

On the other hand, if we research how the candidate has reacted over a long period of time, a much more reliable image will be revealed. Anyone can hold a temporary point of view, but the person's longterm personality traits can be determined by observing his or her reactions over time. "Once a crook, always a crook." People can and do change, but everyone reaches a point at which his or her overall personality can be recognized. If we study our country's history, we will find numerous examples that prove this theory. 

One of the most devastating tools used by an unscrupulous politician is the art of distortion. The candidate will take a minor issue and manipulate media coverage in a manner which can turn that issue into a major problem or a personal flaw. Another trick is to distort coverage by highlighting certain parts of an issue while completely ignoring other elements that might change the image entirely. Unfortunately, professional news sources will often use this form of distortion to gain coverage in a situation. If the issue is changed enough, it can be turned into a long-running story. The average person may not be aware that political news equals a great deal of revenue for television, radio, or print media. Every media source has its own agenda, hidden or acknowledged. With that in mind, learning other points of view is essential to someone who wants to know the truth about any situation. 

"Words can deceive, actions can confirm." As members of the public, we have almost unlimited access to many kinds of information. Our use of those resources to verify any political position is our responsibility. Before taking any political position or choosing any candidate for office, we should be well informed. Opinions are our right. Ignorance is our downfall. The only way we can guarantee that the candidate we have chosen is the correct one must be based on knowing exactly how that person will react in any situation. Even then, we can only make the choice which matches our own political point of view. 

Disagreement isn't a crime. It's a way of life. If we disagree with a neighbor on the choice of candidate, that is to be expected. This is, after all, a democracy of the people and for the people. Candidates will be successful in their run for office when they hold positions which are shared by a majority of constituents. This process allows us to elect most members of our government. In theory, we elect our choice of candidates who, in turn, pass legislation which supports our points of view. 

There are times when Congress holds one political position while the Executive Branch has an entirely different agenda. It is then that a well-meaning president is prevented from initiating changes which might benefit us as a whole. The reverse situation has often occurred. Congress passes legislation which is vetoed by the president, forcing Congress to try to achieve a majority which would override that veto.

Our only defense against political chicanery is the right to vote. "Throw the bums out!" Our democracy is complex, and like any highly developed machine, it will require occasional adjustments. As citizens of this country, we are given a part in making those changes. The balance and perils of politics will, in time, do the rest.   

Proofreader's note:

I agree with John that it's important to get different views of political issues. That's one of the main reasons why I so much like THE WEEK magazine. I get it in print, but there is a digital version available: 50 issues for $49.50. A wide variety of current topics are covered quite succinctly three ways: by a writer from the left, one from the right, and one from the middle, who writes a sort of summary of the main points of the topic. I really appreciate that truly balanced coverage. The magazine covers domestic and international news, social issues, food, travel bargains, books and movies, music, and much more, all in just 38 pages each week. The primary focus is on politics. To subscribe, just Google THE WEEK Magazine, and it will take you to the site. 

***

7) POLITICAL UNREST IN AMERICA

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

The first amendment of the United States Constitution gives us the right to freedom of speech. This is one of the reasons why we should be proud to live in this country. On the other hand, freedom of speech does not mean that we all get to agree with everyone else about what we believe in.

Politically speaking, this is why the party system evolved. Different sections of the population developed their own beliefs and used these beliefs to strive for political superiority. Personally, I don't believe in the party system. I think people should be allowed to run for office based on their individualism, and nothing more. If you like what he stands for, you vote for him. If not, then no.

Though many of us respect opposing opinions, some people feel that they would rather take drastic action against these opinions than simply respect the fact that we are all unique in our own way. When opposing groups fight with one another, causing political riots, how does that help anyone? If you think long and hard about it, who really benefits?

Though Donald Trump was popular enough to win the Republican Party's presidential nomination, a large segment of our population disagrees with him vehemently. Many protestors have been very disruptive during Donald Trump's political events. It's okay to protest, but do it right. There are legal steps to take when fighting a cause or disagreeing with a particular philosophy. We are allowed to picket, sign petitions, prevent someone from being elected by voting for the opposition, or vote someone out of office. Doesn't a protestor realize that when he uses physical force in order to fight a cause, it doesn't make him look any better than the person he's fighting against?

I will go further. It's not just political opinions that cause riots. There have been riots over religion, territory, race, sexual preference, and higher taxes. Ultimately, a riot could end up as a full-fledged war. There is much frustration in this country. I don't deny it, because I get frustrated a lot. This doesn't mean that I will cause a riot. It means that I will use my assertiveness training in order to express my opinion in a respectable matter and leave it at that.

I know how to disagree with someone and remain friends with that person, just as I hope that if others disagree with me, they will continue to be my friends.

Let's stop fighting and try to get along. We will never agree with everyone about everything, so let's all relax. Life is too short.

***

8) THE BLIND ON THE JOB

The following are success stories from blind people about what they do for work. The stories were compiled by Bob Branco.

Hi, Bob.

Well, I began my teaching career at the University of Vermont while I was still in grad school, working towards my PhD. Since then, I've been teaching a course in Political Economic Geography, plus covering introductory courses as well. As various topics arose, current events, local schools would contact the university for speakers. Thus began a second career, teaching middle school, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades, and I taught a course at the local high school in Public Issues and World Affairs. When not in a classroom, I also sell real estate and insurance on the side to make extra money. Should anyone be interested in knowing more about my teaching or my other interests, feel free to write or phone, and I'll be happy to let you know.

Alan and Bluff

Proofreader's note:

No contact information was supplied.

Alan, if you send that information to Bob, we will be happy to include it in the August issue of The Consumer Vision.

***

My name is Jenny Hwang. I have been working at Alphapointe for a year and a half part-time.

I work in TeleServices as a Call Center rep. We work on projects on behalf of colleges and universities. We call high school students on behalf of the school, asking if they would like to apply to our school.

We have also conducted surveys over the phone to compile data for the New York State and Dutchess County Department of Health.

***

9) COMPUTER TECH 101

by Jim Morgan

jim@theblindperspective.com

As the 1984 hit by Rockwell and Michael Jackson says, "I always feel like somebody's watching me and I have no privacy." In this day and age, passwords are absolutely essential to keep people out of places they have absolutely no business being in. Based on a suggestion by one of those dictators we call editors, I thought we'd talk about passwords.

The number one thing to remember about passwords is, as you might expect, REMEMBERING them. According to some statistics I've seen, the "administration" of forgotten passwords takes up approximately 56 percent of all tech support tickets. In fact, quite a few websites have a specific link to click on if someone has forgotten their password. With that in mind, let me give a couple of facts about passwords, as well as the current rule of thumb for creating them.

When it comes to passwords, there are some that we use over and over again. Psychologists state that the average person has around five passwords that they use regularly. The passwords themselves may, and in a lot of cases do, change over the years, but the number is relatively static. The way I heard it, five is about the maximum that a person actively stores in their conscious memory, although the subconscious is capable of quite a few more. As a general rule, you want to stay away from using either all numbers or actual words. I know that Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) are all numbers, but that's a different thing. The reason for staying away from the above is that there are programs out there that try every combination of numbers and the contents of the current Webster's Collegiate Dictionary to sniff out passwords at VERY high speed.

To put it another way, a four-digit PIN has only 10,000 possible combinations, and the dictionary will fit on the smallest of flash drives. However, a 6-8 character password, which is the most common length these days, is a minimum of 139,314,069,504, or 72 to the 6th power, possible combinations. See the difficulty there? In case you're wondering where the 72 comes from, it is the 26-character alphabet times 2 (capitals and lowercase, since a lot of passwords are case sensitive), numbers 0-9, and the 10 special characters. That's why a lot of sites nowadays have you enter combinations of letters and numbers and even a special character, like the percent sign, as well as having at least one of the letters be capitalized. This defeats those (for want of a better term) "sniffers," since they can't lock on a match with any efficiency or speed. In addition, some sites will only give you a small number of tries before locking you out until you get the site's help to unlock it.

Of course, the next big questions are when do I use a password and how do I keep track of them? As far as the when is concerned, most of the time, you'll want to insert one, but not necessarily every time. The question to ask yourself is if there is something here, be it the computer, a file, a backup disk, a flash drive, etc., that has something that only you should be able to get to. For example, anything that has your Social Security number or bank account information is generally something to keep secured. However, if it's not necessary, don't put it in, since it's just one more thing to keep track of. I've had a couple of friends who, on more than one occasion, were locked out of their computer because they couldn't remember the Windows password and they were the ONLY one who used said computer. Conversely, I have an acquaintance who has a laptop she takes all over, and it has some sensitive documents that she gets to from the desktop. So, in that instance, a password is somewhat necessary. I will say that I have passwords on my Access databases that have sensitive information, such as the banking information I mentioned earlier, or any contact information for friends and family, but none on others, such as my audio/video collection and music databases. The bottom line is that, like a lot of things, it's up to you.

Just remember one important fact: If you set up a password on your computer and you lose it, it can be VERY difficult to get back in.

I have a database that I did years ago while at The Metris Corporation to track employee attrition. I had kept the database, even though the information tables were inaccessible, because it had some other parts, such as Visual Basic code, that I wanted to keep and have as models for other databases.

The database had a password on it while I was working on it and, for some reason, it never got removed when I brought it home. Anyway, I wanted to get into it for something and couldn't remember the !@#$% password. I went through the standard ones I might have used with no success, nor was I able to ferret out the password looking at the actual file code. Fortunately, I got lucky and used variations on a logical password and happened to get it right. Needless to say, I removed said password ASAP, so that I wouldn't have to worry about it again. That's the danger with passwords, unless you have a place to keep them.

This brings me to the point of how to keep track of passwords. There are numerous ways, including writing them down, keeping a file on the computer and, if you want to get real fancy, have a database or something like it.

The one thing you SHOULDN'T do is trust your memory, especially if it's an important password. I wouldn't write them down and then just leave that lying around, either. The whole point of a password is security. One method that is reasonably safe is writing the password in Braille. Let's face it, not many people like us read and write in Braille, to say nothing of the sighted public. Still, you want to put such a list in a safe place, so that you'll know where it is and can get to it if you need it.

I guess, in the end, when it comes to passwords, it all depends on you and your particular needs and personality. I have a database that I secured with a password that I use a LOT, and it has all my needed secure information, including passwords and banking information, so that I can get to them quickly whenever they're needed. More often than not, the one time you really need a password and can't remember it, you need it somewhat quickly.

But, whatever way you wish to do it, please be careful not to make it too obvious, and NEVER use your banking PIN on the computer as a password since, if it ever gets cracked, you could be in a world of hurt. Anyway, that's my "sermon" for this time. Happy computing!

***

10) HOW MUSIC BECAME PART OF ME

by Casandra Xavier

I grew up in a unique setting and was surrounded by music at all times. I grew up listening to Sade a lot of the time at the age of seven. How? My sister was in high school and had a large collection of music. She had all of Sade's music, and I heard her playing it one day. After hearing the Sade song "No Ordinary Love," I wanted to hear more of her work. The sound captivated me for the first time at that age. The harmony was great. I did not understand the lyrics, and I was not supposed to, anyway. I was a very curious kid at seven and eight years of age. I grew up with blindness and deafness, which meant that most of my world was tactile. In fact, I was born with congenital blindness and deafness. My world was instantly different. Anything that sounded or felt interesting, I would return to again and again.

I asked my sister who the singer was, and she told me. I wanted to experience the sound of the song again. She played it a handful of times until she got tired of me listening to the same song repeatedly. I listened to all of Sade's music and experienced an awesome musical trance right away.

I got older and started noticing what happened in the musical lyrics. Some of it sounded very innocent. When I created a play list, Sade and many others like her were added to my collection. As I entered my twenties, I often found myself listening to similar artists, because they created the same comfort in music for me. My friends would ask me how I found out about the stuff I heard at such a young age. I grew up with it all blasting in my ears all day, every day. My mother did not like me listening to that type of music, but she stopped trying to stop it. My mother believed the music I snuck to hear was too sexual, but I did not care. I remember my mother and sisters complaining and saying, "You're only 13, what do you know about Sade and Marvin Gay?" We were still into the large stereos and multiple speakers in the early 2000s, which meant that my room was always thumping with oldies.

Of course, being who I was, I listened to them even more, because I knew they did not like the type of music I played the moment I got home from school while doing homework and chores. I played the music loud because of my lack of hearing, and I basically had all of the music they didn't like playing all day long. I even got access to Luther Vandross and Anita Baker. I felt like a completed old soul, totally content with music that existed long before I was born.

I often wondered how the influence of the music I listened to would cause any damage to me, other than the volume being too high for my already horrible hearing.

I wondered why my parents refused to let me hear music that did not have profanity of any kind in it. Could there have been any weird stories hidden behind the music I liked? I did not hear anything about the musicians other than the fact that they were humans, like the rest of us.

Whenever someone had a major event happen to them, music was always associated with it all. For me, music was always my "go to" for anything major and not so much for any small events in life.

The day I started college, the first song that played in my mind was "Missing," by Everything but the Girl. Strangely that day, I felt a wave of sadness hit me like a ton of bricks. I started missing people and places once I got situated in the dorm. So, I packed an overnight bag and came home for the first weekend of college. I was starting at a women's college, but that was not the reason for the sudden wave of sadness. I was overwhelmed and beyond stressed that day. Not to mention, I got flashed by someone through a window. This mysterious creature called my name and then showed me her breasts pressed against the window. I scowled at whatever she said and did. My brother was my eyes and saw that. I told him I was not spending the night. It was far too much in one day. By the way, during my run for the shuttle off campus, my soon-to-be best friend Miracles was running with me to find out what was wrong. To her, I looked upset, and she wanted to find out why. At the time, I was not very open to speaking to anyone, so I didn't talk to her until I came back the following Monday afternoon. She remembered me very well and made it a point to speak to me when she saw me leaving my room.

I missed the music studio I used to visit. I wouldn't be doing that because of the academics I committed my time to and the folks I hung out with over the summer.

When I first attended a school for the blind and was once again overwhelmed, the song I heard was "Couldn't Cause Me Harm," by Beth Orton. Music finds a way to incorporate its way into my life in any way that it can. Plus, I always have music playing in the back of my mind. I am okay with that, because I am musically inclined in some small way. My brain is wired differently than the rest of my peers, anyway. There is always music there; I am always thinking of ways to alter and perfect a sound I hear. The experience at a school for the blind was a very different and unforgettable moment. It was not like college, where everyone else could see and I couldn't.

When I was going to Minnesota to attend Blind, Inc., which was one of the best schools for the blind run by the National Federation of the Blind, I heard "Lucky Star," by Madonna. It was a burst of energy through the sound, which was what matched my feelings toward Minnesota. When I finished training, I still felt the same burst of colorful and good energy, coated with a tinge of sadness, because I was leaving. The song I heard when I left Blind, Inc. was "Heaven," by the one and only Kem. This is a good thing, as I associate music with experiences at times. The saxophone in the song made it a lot better for me.

I remembered asking my classmates what songs they were hearing when they first came to Minnesota or Blind, Inc. Some people surprisingly said nothing. I wondered how someone walked the earth not hearing music in the back of their mind. Then again, they might not be musically inclined to any degree, or they had different brain wiring. I promise that I was not on drugs through any of these major events in my life. I was simply being Casandra. I was well received in Minneapolis by most, but a small number did not like me because of how "unique" I was and stayed true to that.

Some say that my wiring is genius, and some just don't understand the musical association part of it. I am an artist first and everything else last.

I've met some people who could see colors or shapes in people's voices, but that's a totally different thing that happens with some folks.

I am aware that there are some kids that are influenced by music and they've had to seek therapy for the issues they deal with. I found a small piece of credible source from a therapist named Claudia M. Gold, MD: "Recently in my behavioral pediatrics practice I saw James, a 5-year-old boy (details, as always, have been changed to protect privacy) who struggled with severe social anxiety. The lunchroom and gym were particularly difficult, and he would retreat into silence. In a visit with his parents, we were discussing how to approach the teachers about making him comfortable in school. We had a full 50-minute appointment, so we were, in a sense, free to let ideas emerge. That's when his father observed, "You know, he loves classical music." His mother described a recent outing where there had been a lot going on and James was quite agitated. But when someone put on some classical music, James became completely calm and seemed at peace."

In my earlier years, I found that listening to music helped me concentrate on my schoolwork when I became slightly anxious. Even as an adult, I still find music comforting in the middle of large tasks in or outside of my home. I have always associated music with moments and have regarded it as an assistive tool for getting through certain tasks.

Reference:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/child-in-mind/201109/music-children-and-brain-development

Proofreader's note:

When I received the above article from Terri Winaught, it had two different titles, one in the Table of Contents and another in the body of the newsletter. Obviously, I had to choose one, so I did. The other title was, "How Music Became Important to Me."

 

***

11) SPECIAL NOTICES

Proofreader's note:

In order to separate them more clearly, I have placed three asterisks between the various special notices this month, as some of them are rather long. 

BLIND BARGAINS

Blind Bargains is an informative website that contains articles, apps, classifieds, deals, E-bay auctions, news, and podcasts, all of which focus on blind-specific technologies.

To see all that this website has to offer, visit www.blindbargains.com. The site can also be accessed on a mobile device.

***

VOICE SENSE

Gently used Hims Voice Sense for sale. This includes:

Voice Sense

Updated software

A/C adaptor

2 USB cables

Carrying case

Voice Sense command summary (Braille)

CD

I will sell this device for $650. The price includes shipping within the United States. Shipping cost may need to be added for Alaska and Hawaii. I accept personal checks and money orders.

Contact Barbara Sheinbein

Telephone: 314-965-8006 (Central time)

Email: homeplate9@sbcglobal.net

***

THE PADDY STORIES, BOOK ONE

A novel by John Justice / Copyright 2016 / 371 pages

Edited by David and Leonore Dvorkin / Cover layout by David Dvorkin

Summary:

Blind Paddy Flynn, orphaned at age eight, travels by train from Philadelphia to California in 1947 to live with his childless aunt and uncle. Part One tells of his mother's death, his time in a children's home, and then his eventful journey to California.

In Part Two, Paddy and his closest friend from Philadelphia, Lucy Candelaria, are reunited in California. Their unusual and loving relationship and their special form of communication make up a major part of the story.

The cast of characters includes the residents and staff of the children's home, the family Paddy stays overnight with in Chicago, the train staff, the several adults who accompany him on different legs of his journey, his welcoming relatives and their wonderful dog, and various neighbors there in California.

With his loving nature and can-do spirit, Paddy brings joy and inspiration to many others. He even stands up to bullies. But how will he adjust to life at a school for the blind? Book One of The Paddy Stories ends with Paddy once again having to face an uncertain future.

To be continued in Book Two.

For sale in e-book ($4.99) and print ($15.95) on Amazon.com and other online sites.

Full details, cover photo, text preview, and buying links: http://www.dvorkin.com/johnjustice/

Review of The Paddy Stories, by Abbie Johnson Taylor (Copyright 2016):

In Philadelphia in 1947, eight-year-old Paddy Flynn, who is blind, has lost his father as a result of World War II. He is then orphaned when his mother dies after a long illness. He spends time in a children's home, where he befriends a Japanese boy who teaches him Judo, so he can stand up for himself when confronted by the home's bully. He also develops a special bond with Lucy, another resident at the home.

Meanwhile, his uncle and aunt in Oakland, California go through proceedings to adopt him. Once those arrangements are made, Paddy is sent to them by train. Along the way, he relies on the kindness of strangers, who travel with him most of the time. In California, his uncle and aunt, having no children of their own, welcome him with open arms and treat him as if he were their own son. He eventually looks upon them as if they were his parents.

He adjusts to life with his new family, and by some miraculous twist of fate, he's reunited with Lucy, but they are separated, temporarily, at the end of the book, when Paddy is sent to the California School for the Blind in Berkeley. The book also contains subplots involving other children and staff at the home in Philadelphia, but their stories end more happily than Paddy's does.

When I first ran across this book, I thought it was for children, but further perusal told me otherwise. It tells the story of a little boy, and parents could read it to their children, but there are scenes that might not be appropriate for younger readers.

I met this book's author, John Justice, through the Behind Our Eyes writers' group, to which I belong. This book was edited and produced by David and Leonore Dvorkin of Denver, Colorado, who are also helping me get my book My Ideal Partner published in e-book and print. Leonore is quite the publicist. I probably wouldn't have known about John's book if she hadn't mentioned it in emails she sent me regarding my book.

I was prepared for a horror story about a poor little blind boy, beaten and taken advantage of in a society that held little respect for persons with disabilities, but I was pleasantly surprised. Even in the children's home, where I expected a "Miss Hannigan," like in the movie Annie, staff and other children were friendly and helpful. I was amazed when a nun showed up at the home and offered to ride with Paddy on the train to Chicago, where a local church formed a network of volunteers, who rode with Paddy in stages the rest of the way, until he reached his destination.

Of course no story would be a good one without conflict, and there's plenty of that here: one bully at the children's home, another on the train, and a third in California, not to mention the California School for the Blind's policy that all students must be residents at the school during the week. Paddy, though, is not one to be considered a poor little blind boy. When his mother became ill, she instilled in him the importance of being independent, knowing she wouldn't be able to care for him much longer. He takes everything in stride, and although he cries himself to sleep in the California school's dormitory at the end of the book, there's a glimmer of hope. I'm looking forward to seeing what Book Two will bring.

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

Books:

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That's Life: New and Selected Poems

My forthcoming book is My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds. It will be published later this month, July 2016. Look for a summary of it in the August issue of The Consumer Vision.

***

FROM PATTY FLETCHER

Hello, everyone! My name is Patty Fletcher. I am currently offering one month of free advertising in my online newsletter The Neighborhood News to all new subscribers!

This is a $5.00 value.

Send subscription requests, advertising, literary submissions, or PayPal Payments to me at: patty.volunteer1@gmail.com

To subscribe, send your first and last name and your email address.

To place your ad, please send your information including contact info. Only one link per ad.

Font and size: Times New Roman, size 12. There is a 200-word limit, with or without a photo.

When your free month is up, if you wish to continue advertising with The Neighborhood News, the cost per year is only $15.00. This allows you to place an ad meeting the above requirements for an entire year.

All ads must be submitted by the 30th of the month without fail.

I accept PayPal or money order payments.

If you wish to mail a payment, please email me, and I will send you my mailing address.

We are currently looking for literary submissions. We do not charge or pay for publishing those. Literary submissions can be short stories, narratives, or poems. They are not to exceed 2,000 words in length. To have a literary submission published, you must be a subscriber, and the submission must come edited.

To have your submission edited, contact Claire Plaisted:

Director, Plaisted Publishing House

plaisetedpublishinghouse@gmail.com or www.plaistedpublishinghouse.wordpress.com

Thank you for your business.

My blog: http://campbellsworld.wordpress.com/

Proofreader's notes:

Patty is the author of the book Campbell's Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life (Copyright 2014). Her book-related website is: http://www.dvorkin.com/pattyfletcher/  There you will find a photo of the book's cover, a synopsis, a text preview, buying links, and more. The book is for sale in e-book and print formats from Amazon, Smashwords, and other buying sites. 

Patty is very pleased to announce that her book has been recorded and is now available for free download from BARD. Here is the information she sent me to add to her website and to send to others:

Now Available for Download from the National Library Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

http://www.BARD.LOC.gov

 Campbell's rambles: how a seeing eye dog retrieved my life DB83921

 Fletcher, Patty L. Reading time: 6 hours, 16 minutes.

Read by Suzanne Toren.

 Disability

 A woman recounts her experiences working with a guide dog after using a cane for thirty-one years. Describes the training process, finding a connection with her dog, and the impact on her life after returning home from training. Discusses the effect of her increased independence on personal relationships.

C 2014

Download Campbell's rambles: how a seeing eye dog retrieved my life

 

***

12) RECIPE COLUMN

by Karen Crowder

With the arrival of July, Americans anticipate another Independence Day celebration. In 2016, it is a long holiday weekend. In Massachusetts, there is the annual weeklong Boston Harbor Fest with many attractions, and their delicious Chowder Fest. There is the nationally televised Esplanade Fourth of July concert. The finale of a magnificent display of fireworks ends a great celebration.

In July, people enjoy taking trips to Cape Cod near the South Shore, or Cape Ann on the North Shore of Massachusetts. Both capes are known for excellent seafood, especially lobster, fried clams, and chowder.  

I hope you will enjoy this column featuring a potpourri of recipes. They are all easy to prepare.

CONTENTS:

a) Marshall's Crabmeat Sandwiches

b) Claire's Potato Salad

c) Salmon Loaf

d) South Shore Chocolate Chip Squares

a) Marshall's Crabmeat Sandwiches

On an August Sunday evening, my husband-to-be, Marshall, introduced the taste of canned crabmeat with this recipe. I made changes, adding curry, which made a flavorful crabmeat filling.

Ingredients:

Two cans crabmeat

Two to four tablespoons mayonnaise

Dashes of curry powder

Optional: a little chopped onion

Hamburger rolls

Optional: butter.

Method:

In a small mixing bowl, put drained crabmeat, mayonnaise, curry powder, and onion (if desired). Mix ingredients with a fork. Put hamburger rolls in a toaster oven. Make depressions in each one, adding the optional butter for added flavor. Toast rolls for five minutes. Add crabmeat filling and serve as a light supper with salad and chips. This dish can also be served as a light lunch or evening snack.

 

b) Claire's Potato Salad

 My friend Claire made me a delicious potato salad on a warm Friday. She decided to add baby carrots, hoping I would like it. She also served me her good tuna salad sandwiches. She used Yukon Gold potatoes, popular in New England.

Ingredients:

Two to four medium Yukon gold potatoes

One medium sweet onion

Two to four unpeeled baby carrots

Dashes of salt and dill

Two to four tablespoons mayonnaise.

Method:

Boil cut-up unpeeled potatoes until tender (this should take 20-25 minutes). After draining potatoes, let them cool. In a mixing bowl, chop up carrots and onions, adding mayonnaise and spices. Add potatoes and toss everything together with a spoon. Refrigerate until serving time. This makes a delicious side dish with barbecued chicken, ham slices, or tuna or salmon salad sandwiches.

c) Salmon Loaf

This dish was popular at my parents' home in July, when we celebrated my Aunt Anna's birthday. She was a nun after Vatican II. (She was free to travel.) She often visited our home, and my mom knew salmon loaf was her favorite dish. My mom often made a loaf with egg sauce. However, in 1977 on a hot night, we decided to try out a new salmon loaf recipe from the now out-of- print Braille cookbook A Leaf from Our Table. She made the cucumber sauce, which had sour cream and Miracle Whip instead of the egg sauce. It made a lovely addition, especially when she served leftover tuna on a very hot, humid evening. I never made the sauce, making changes to the original recipe. I used Ritz crackers instead of bread crumbs, adding evaporated milk and mushrooms.

Ingredients:

One 12-ounce can pink salmon

One can low-sodium condensed mushroom or celery soup

One 5-ounce can evaporated milk

One small can mushrooms

12-16 Ritz crackers

One small onion, preferably sweet

Two eggs

One-half cup Miracle Whip

Dashes of curry powder, dill, dried chives, and salt

Optional Miracle Whip and sour cream for a topping.

 If you are doing this by hand, chop up onion, mushrooms, and Ritz crackers in a small electric chopper. Add them to a large mixing bowl. Drain salmon and add it with all other ingredients. Mix ingredients with clean hands. If you are using a food processor, process crackers, onion, and mushrooms for one minute. Add salmon, processing it for one minute. Add soup, milk, and eggs, processing for 30 seconds. Add Miracle Whip and spices, processing for one minute. Do not worry about the soft consistency of the loaf.

Lightly grease a 9x5-inch metal loaf pan with a little margarine or butter, then put the salmon mixture in the pan. Spread a little Miracle Whip on top, along with a dollop of sour cream (optional). Spread topping to cover the entire loaf. Bake for one hour at 375 degrees. Serve this with salad or cole slaw and mashed potatoes or rice. This dish was a year-round hit at our house.

 d) South Shore Chocolate Chip Squares

 I was given this recipe when I was 12 from a friend I met at day camp. My mom and I made it several times. Although my friends and I liked it, my mom thought it too sweet. As an adult, I revisited this recipe, changing it, adding margarine and more chocolate chips and using one instead of two cans of sweetened condensed milk. It takes little effort to make.

Ingredients:

21 whole honey graham crackers

One can sweetened condensed milk

One stick Land O' Lakes or Imperial margarine

Two and a half to three cups Nestlé's semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Method:

In a glass bowl, melt margarine in a microwave oven for 30 seconds. Let it cool.

Crush or process all graham crackers. (If you are doing this by hand, crush them in a large Ziploc bag.) Put them in a large mixing bowl. Add condensed milk and cooled margarine. Mix ingredients with a wooden spoon. Do not worry about the stiff batter. Add all the chocolate chips, mixing them in.

Preheat regular oven to 350 degrees.

Cover the bottom and sides of a 7x11-inch pan with foil. Grease the foil lightly with margarine, butter, or Crisco. Put all the batter in the pan, making sure bottom and sides of the pan are covered. Bake the bars on middle or low rack of the oven for no longer than 40 minutes. Any longer, and your squares may burn.

 Let bars cool in pan on the counter. Transfer uncut brownies to a large foil-lined dinner plate. If you are not cutting them right away, refrigerate them, making sure they are covered with extra foil.

These brownies will disappear quickly when you serve them at a picnic or barbecue. They keep for days when refrigerated and sealed in Ziploc bags or airtight plastic containers. Everyone will be asking you for the recipe. The original name for this recipe was icebox brownies. The Chicago Catholic Guild published A Leaf from Our Table in 1970. It was a two-volume Braille book, the first volume containing the salmon loaf, which was in the Fish section.

I hope all Consumer Vision readers have a wonderful July and enjoy this recipe column.

 ***

13) TIPS FOR VIPS (Because Visually Impaired People Are Important, Too)

by Penny Fleckenstein, who blogs at: http://notyouraveragesinglemom.com

Whoops! I missed the June issue entirely and, if it weren't for going through vegan cookbooks, I might have missed July's, too. I just might make it by the skin of my teeth!

It wasn't that I forgot you, Consumer Vision readers. I got inundated with preparing for my big bike trip and my son's graduation from high school and his graduation party. I am blessed to have had plenty of help making all the preparations. I have wonderful friends and family and even an ex-husband who helped make everything possible for a successful graduation and party.

I reserved the location in February: the basement of my church. The party took hours of planning, shopping, set-up, and clean-up.

It took several times talking to Isaac to determine what he wanted out of the party. He told me at first that he wanted cookies and no cake, and then later changed his mind to no cake or cookies, but an ice cream bar.

We decided to make this party all about Isaac. It was truly a memorable event.

His sister, Katrina, who is good with videos, worked on his slide show, while Isaac planned all the music. The party lasted from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m. There were two other graduation parties that day, so we didn't feel the need to be the sole provider of food for everyone, although we had plenty. I ordered linguine salad and turkey and Italian hoagies from our local deli. Isaac made baked ziti, and two things which he is especially known for: buffalo chicken dip and his own special recipe of lemonade. My friend Gayle brought over her homemade lazy stuffed cabbage. We bought vegetables from Sam's Club: the cute mini peppers, broccoli florets, celery, baby carrots, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes.

We had ranch dip, French onion dip, and hummus, along with two kinds of crackers and two kinds of cheese. My friend put vegetable trays out on the tables, so that people could easily munch on the vegetables.

The party had a lively atmosphere, with Isaac the star of the show. I could have had everything catered, but the Isaac touches really made the party. He told me that one person came to him and said they'd been to other parties that day and that ours had the best food. That made me smile. It truly was the best party we have ever planned.

But, wait, that wasn't all! The ice cream bar was fantastic, with vanilla, Cookies ‘n' Cream, and chocolate ice cream. As toppings, we had strawberries and bananas, rainbow sprinkles, M&M's, Oreos, strawberry syrup, chocolate syrup, and Reddi-wip. The ice cream and any of the toppings could be put in a bowl, a sugar cone, or a cake cone.

We had an array of board games for anyone who chose to play them.

It was a beautiful day out, so people could go outside if they desired. Adults, kids, and teenagers had a fabulous time.

The hard part was putting it all together. The beautiful thing is that the whole family, including my ex-husband, worked together with help from friends to make this party a complete success. Of course, there were a few glitches. We didn't have mayonnaise for the hoagies, we had some technical difficulties that had to be worked out with the slideshow and the music going on at the same time, and the church ran out of the industrial garbage bags. I figure we fed and gave over 100 people a fun time.

Here are some of my recommendations for planning a big bash:

Try to have a variety of different foods so that those with different dietary needs will feel welcomed. No one should go away from your party hungry.

Buy more than what you need.

Make a list of not only the supplies you need, but the order in which things need to be done. As I was walking from my house to the church a mile away, I realized I had forgotten all about the food I had ordered from the local deli. Thank God it is on our way to church.

Don't expect to get everything in one shopping trip. This required four shopping trips: two to Sam's Club, one to Dollar Tree, and one to the store across the street from the church.

Pick a convenient location. Our church is great, because it's got televisions for the slideshow, a WiFi connection for the music, tables, chairs, a well-stocked kitchen (we made use of utensils and trays), an outdoor area, a large indoor area just in case the weather didn't cooperate, and bathroom facilities. And it's right across the street from a grocery store.

If you don't have enough help, don't feel bad about hiring help. I've had parties for which I hired a couple of teenagers to help supervise the younger children. I've hired others to help with set-up and clean-up or just doing things during the party itself. It's great if people pitch in.

We dropped off a lot of the items at the church the night before. It helped that the fridge and freezer were practically empty.

I brought my own dish soap to wash the dishes. Their dish soap was in a large container which I couldn't handle well because of the inflammation and weakness in my wrists, hands, and fingers.

Make use of roaster ovens and crockpots to keep food warm.

Use storage bins or laundry baskets to transport supplies.

Make sure your cell phone is charged and in good working order. Mine was not, which led to some embarrassing situations.

To share any helpful tips you may have or comments, please email me, Penny Fleckenstein, at: goodthaimom@gmail.com

Here's to many happy celebrations!

***

14) READERS' FORUM

Hi, Bob.

Some of your readers had questions as to what I taught on the university level. Well, my degree is in geography, so I mainly taught Political Economic Geography, basically world and foreign affairs, plus many mid-level courses and introductory courses. In high school, I taught two courses, American Historical Geography and Public Issues and World Affairs to Seniors. To middle schoolers, I taught World Geography and American Historical Geography.

As to why Perkins didn't teach cane travel to seventh graders, that's a question for Perkins. It can't be for a lack of money; just look at the number of trips Dr. Waterhouse took overseas. Just looking at the dollar amount of such trips, one would think Perkins was more interested in blind and visually impaired children in third-world countries. 

During the 1960s, the State of Vermont spent $12,500 just to send me to Perkins. So how was that money spent? In my opinion, the emphasis was then, and still is, on Deaf-Blindness. If one compares the budgets for Deaf-Blind, versus Blind, some rather interesting figures stand out. 

Alan and Bluff

***

Hi, Bob.

As this magazine's editor, I absolutely love and value the unique creativity and talents of all of our writers.

Regarding May's issue, I would like to commend John Justice for the honesty with which he wrote about his perspective on bariatric surgery. Going through so many life-changing processes couldn't have been easy, and I wish you nothing but continued success, John. I admire and respect your courage.

Moving on to columnist Penny Fleckenstein, she loves writing TIPS FOR VIPS, because you're all important to her. Sometimes, though, she runs out of topics, so would welcome your suggestions. To support Penny in this endeavor, I encourage you to suggest topics or ask questions by emailing her at: goodthaimom@gmail.com.

Let's keep those visions coming.

Terri Winaught

Pittsburgh, PA

***

Hi, Bob.

Facebook: I'm impressed you use it. What do you mostly do on Facebook? I stopped my account in June of 2014. I found it took too much time and I got overwhelmed with all the posts. I found that JAWS jumped around on the Facebook Web pages, and I wrote a response to someone and didn't realize it went everywhere. I never fully understood who could read my posts: my friends, friends of my friends, their friends. Where does it stop?

Panhandling: Their right to hit me ends where my nose begins. 

Eyes: Unlike Jan, when I experience black, I hate it. I feel like I'm in a black, dark cave and am depressed. I like the bright, sunny days best, when I think I can see a tiny trickle of golden rays. I do so miss colors.

Dog: I'd never want to go walking alone with my guide dog if things like being attacked and left with $7500 in medical bills could happen. Where is the ACLU or all the do-good liberal organizations when they are needed?

Trivia: Becky Thatcher. Tom takes a switching for her in the movie from the 1970s. He and she were passing a slate and it dropped, and the teacher turned and demanded to know who had done that. Becky had, but Tom was not letting a girl take the licks, though I wonder if she would have been switched, a girl and a judge's daughter at that!

Anonymous

***

Hi, Bob.

This letter is a follow-up to the article THE DISABLED WAGE: ONGOING STRUGGLE FOR UNLIMITED LONG DISTANCE. I am writing to you, the readers, in order to inform you of the next step in the process. It is a vital step that I believe is long overdue.

If you remember, in the last article I wrote, I outlined the issue that many blind persons are having with the major phone companies and their deceptive practices with respect to the provision of unlimited long distance service to the disabled and the elderly. In a nutshell, the seniors and disabled are being denied vital service because they call chat lines for the blind, or in some other way violate restrictions on their service that they should have been made aware of in the first place. It wouldn't be a far stretch to say that the laws that govern the phone companies are being violated, first of all because of misrepresentation on the part of the phone companies. When the Braille bill the blind customer gets doesn't mention these restrictions, then the ADA is being violated, especially when the restrictions are disclosed only in fine print.

Therefore, the impetus for the article. The question then became: Why stop there?

I knew something more could and should be done. The answer: a petition to the various entities who regulate and oversee the phone companies.

My phone company has never given me any hassle, but what about the other blind people who haven't had such an easy time of it? Who will stand in the gap for them?

The obvious answer: We will defend ourselves and stand up for what is rightfully ours.

The task seemed daunting and somewhat intimidating. I am aware that the phone companies have money and will do whatever they feel they have to do to protect their profit margin, no matter how inflated it may be. But isn't it that way with the Copyright Royalty Board? Whose side are they on?

You're taking a really big risk here, I thought to myself. But, on the other hand, who else will do it? Even if someone else may or may not have the same idea, why leave it entirely up to the other person?

And then there are the naysayers and prophets of pessimism within our own ranks who say it will never work, the risk is too great, and money wins out every time. What happened during the early days of the civil rights movement? Have we forgotten? I hope we haven't.

Anything that is built or accomplished with little or no effort is easily destroyed. If we have it too easy, then we become complacent, thinking: That was a cakewalk; the next step will be easy.

And what happens when we are disappointed when we find out that this isn't the case?

A great deal of forethought went into the next step, but I took the plunge anyway! A petition concerning unlimited long distance, and our right to have it, is presently on change.org. With the help of the Microsoft Disability answer desk team, I composed it and put it up on the change.org website. But I could never have done it alone. The helpful hands on the Microsoft Disability Answer Team helped, and no one should forget that, least of all me.

Now it's in your hands. Only you can decide whether it is worth it to stand up for the cause of unlimited long distance for the blind. If so, the petition is there for the signing. And, as always, thanks for your time.

With Loving Kindness,

James R. Campbell

***

Hi, Bob.

I wanted to let you know that I am reading your latest Consumer Vision right now. I like what I see so far. As a reader/consumer, and as a news and literary magazine creator myself, I find this magazine very well done. I have just reached the Special Notices section. I have enjoyed it so far. I especially liked the article on phone chat lines. I would like to invite that writer to contact me at The Neighborhood News. I think that is definitely a topic that needs to be discussed. I applaud you for starting that. I also very much enjoyed the article done by writer/reader John Justice, the one called "Dog Town." Yes, ladies and gentlemen, towns like that really do still exist. Amazing, isn't it? I encourage you to pass my comments along to your readers, contributors, etc. I will go now and finish reading. I invite you, as an author and reader, to send me feedback on my magazine.

Patty Fletcher

Website: http://www.dvorkin.com/pattyfletcher/

***

15) A JOKE

A man is driving down a country road when he spots a farmer standing in the middle of a huge field of grass.

He pulls the car over to the side of the road and notices that the farmer is just standing there, doing nothing, looking at nothing.

The man gets out of the car, walks all the way out to the farmer and asks him, "Ah, excuse me, mister, but what are you doing?"

The farmer replies, "I'm trying to win a Nobel Prize."

"How?" asks the man, puzzled.

"Well, I heard they give the Nobel Prize to people who are out standing in their field."

***

16) AN EASY QUIZ

Which of the following names are you familiar with?

1. Monica Lewinski

2. Bill Clinton

3. Hillary Clinton

4. Adolf Hitler

5. Jorge Bergoglio

6. Winnie Mandela

7. Vladimir Putin

8. Linda Lovelace

9. Saddam Hussein

10. Tiger Woods

You had trouble with #5?

You know all the criminals, murderers, thieves, sluts, and cheaters, but you don't know the pope?

Lovely, just lovely!

Whoa!

With Best Regards,

God Bless,

Alan

Plantation, Florida

***

17) WHAT PEOPLE WHO ARE 70+ HAVE TO LOOK FORWARD TO

by Alan from Plantation, Florida

This is something that happened in an assisted living center where my wife used to work.

The people who lived there have small apartments, but they all eat at a central cafeteria. One morning, one of the residents didn't show up for breakfast, so my wife went upstairs and knocked on his door to see if everything was okay. She could hear him through the door, and he said that he was running late and would be down shortly, so she went back to the dining area.

An hour later, he still hadn't arrived, so she went back up towards his room and found him on the stairs. He was coming down the stairs but was having a hell of a time. He had a death grip on the handrail and seemed to be having trouble getting his legs to work right. She told him she was going to call an ambulance, but he told her no, he wasn't in any pain and just wanted to have his breakfast. So she helped him the rest of the way down the stairs and he had his breakfast.

When he tried to return to his room, he was completely unable to get up even the first step, so they called an ambulance for him. A couple of hours later, she called the hospital to see how he was doing. The receptionist there said he was fine: He just had both of his legs in one leg of his boxer shorts.

Whoa!

With Best Regards,

God Bless,

Allan

Plantation, Florida

***

18) TRIBUTE TO TANIA

by Terri Winaught

I wish I could have known you, baby girl: born in a decade of challenge, change, pain and promise.

I wish I had known you when your voice became a harp that enchanted listeners, soared to the sky like a robin, and sang the sun to sleep.

If I had known you when cancer began stealing so much, like the cowardly, cruel thief that it is, I would have shaved my head if that would have helped you feel less alone and different.

When I get to meet you, I'll have so much to tell you.

I'll tell you how happy I was to meet your father after 50 years of waiting and wanting.

I'll tell you what a warm, welcoming, and gentle woman your mother is.

I'll tell you that your daughter is such a precious, priceless gift that your soul must have sung lullabies of love when you first saw her.

I know I'll get to meet you when the fevered pitch of my earthly life is done and I'm called to my eternal home.

With eyes that will see for the first time, I'll survey the features that make you special; embrace you, Tania, as if I've always known you; and our dancing feet will create works of beauty.

When trumpets blare along gold-paved streets, we'll know that our tears have turned into rejoicing, and life is now complete!

***

19) CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST

Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the June Consumer Vision. Tom Sawyer's sweetheart was Becky Thatcher. Congratulations to the following winners:

Jan Colby of Brockton, Massachusetts

Terri Winaught of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

And now, here is your trivia question for the July Consumer Vision. According to the nursery rhyme, who had so many children that she didn't know what to do? If you know the answer, please email bobbranco93@gmail.com or call 508-994-4972.

***

20) A CONCLUDING NOTE FROM THE PROOFREADER

by Leonore Dvorkin

As always, I did my best to correct all contributions for any errors in punctuation, spelling, and spacing. A few of the product names were misspelled, but the Web makes it quick and easy to check and correct those. In a few places, I made slight changes to the prose, mainly in the interest of improved clarity and flow. I made all links live and provided a few more links. I also added some extra information in a few places.

If you, the contributors, are ever unhappy with what Terri and I have done with or added to your submission, please contact us. My own contact information is:

Leonore Dvorkin, Denver, CO

Home phone: 303-985-2327 (I am at home most of the time.)

Email: leonore@leonoredvorkin.com

Website: www.leonoredvorkin.com

On my website, you can find full information about my four published books (one of them in Spanish), my many published articles on health and nutrition, and information about my husband's and my services for other authors.

Since 2009, David and I have edited and produced almost 30 books, both fiction and nonfiction, by other authors. Several more books have been or will be published this year. Most of our clients are blind or visually impaired. Among our many clients are Bob Branco, Ernest Dempsey, Patty Fletcher, John Justice, Abbie Johnson Taylor, and Stephen Theberge, all mentioned in this edition of The Consumer Vision.