The Consumer Vision
Editor-in-Chief/Publisher: Bob Branco
Braille Production: Perkins Braille and Talking Book Library CD Production: Bob Zeida
Cassette Production: MAB Community Services
Print Production: Alpha Graphics
Formatting and Proof-Reading: Kathryn Arruda
Cassette Duplication: Gerry Arsenault
Treasurer: Maureen Bussey
Advisory Committee: Dan Germano, Marianne Martin, Lori Rego, Lisa Saulnier, Charles Soforenko, Gail Teixeira and Clayton Wall.
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-Table Of Contents-
By Bob Branco
By Kathryn Arruda
By Kathryn Arruda
By Bob Branco
By Charles Arruda
By Allison Vigna
By Kathryn Arruda
By Sue Small
By Bob Branco
By Bob Branco
By Bob Branco
By Gert Moore
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*The Consumer Vision is put together, largely by volunteer efforts with only a modest number of ads. Our readership, in its various formats has been steadily growing and is reaching people across the U.S.A. and overseas!
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-Highlight On Achievement- Stephen Hawkings
By Kathryn Arruda
The famous physicist Stephen William Hawking was born January 8, 1942 in Oxford, England. As a youngster, Stephen wished to study Mathematics, but it wasn't available at University College, so he settled on Physics instead. He was awarded a first class honors degree in Natural Science after three years of little effort. When he went to Cambridge he chose to do research in Cosmology and earned his Ph.D. Soon after arriving at Cambridge, he began developing symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a type of motor neuron disease. He gradually lost the use of his arms, legs, and voice, and is now almost completely paralyzed. The medical prognosis stated that he would not survive more than two or three years past his age of twenty-one.
Despite this, Professor Hawking has twelve honorary degrees, and is the recipient of many awards, medals and prizes. He is a Fellow of The Royal Society and a Member of the US National Academy of Sciences and since 1979, has held the post of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics. Stephen Hawking has worked on the basic laws which govern the universe, the principal fields of research being theoretical cosmology and quantum gravity. Among his many scientific investigations included are the study of quantum cosmology, cosmic inflation, helium production in Big Bang universes, the density matrix and structure of the universe, the nature of space and time, string theory, gravitational radiation, and wormholes. In 1974, he calculated that black holes should thermally create and emit subatomic particles until they exhaust their energy and evaporate. This is now known as Hawking radiation.
The slow progression of his disease has provided time to make influential discoveries and author many publications including A Brief History of Time, Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays, The Universe in a Nutshell, and On The Shoulders of Giants: The Great Works of Physics and Astronomy.
He uses an electronic voice synthesizer to communicate and still does lectures.
Celebrating his 65th birthday on January 8, 2007, Hawking announced plans for a zero-gravity flight and became the first quadriplegic to float in a weightless state. This marked the first time in forty years that he moved freely beyond the restrictions of a wheelchair. Hawking remains an active supporter of various causes and has appeared on a political broadcast for the United Kingdom's Labor Party. He also actively supports the children's charity SOS Children's Villages, UK. His sharp scientific mind, courage and perseverance are his crowning achievements. When asked about his disability, he replied, "I am quite often asked: How do you feel about having ALS? The answer is, not a lot. I try to lead as normal a life as possible, and not think about my condition, or regret the things it prevents me from doing, which are not that many."
By Kathryn Arruda
When growing up as an only child, there was always some kind of non-human being hanging around the house. Yes, the companionship of a variety of pets supported my formative years! Turtles, lizards, hamsters, a cat, fish and birds were just some of my favorite little friends. Some childhood adventures included them such as the time I brought my golden hamster to the grocery store to enjoy a ride on the conveyer belt alongside the tomatoes and boxed cereal. I just couldn't understand why the female cashier's face exploded into a gasp and a scream as my whiskered pal neared her outreaching hand. I swept him up protectively into my coat pocket while my mother apologized profusely for my mischief. Also, to her dismay, I had a tendency to bring home grasshoppers, frogs, toads and other outside dwellers. She often exclaimed, in exasperation, that if I could've brought home an elephant, I would have! Perhaps it's true. In any case, animals brightened my days, brought out nurturing instincts and an increasing wonder of the natural world. Some things never change as adulthood has continued to include the companionship of animals such as guinea pigs, a rabbit and dogs.
Not everyone is interested in keeping a pet but latest figures from the National Pet Owners Survey show that pet ownership is at an all-time high. This means that just in the U. S. alone, Americans own approximately 90 million cats, 73 million dogs, 139 million freshwater fish, 9 million saltwater fish, 16 million birds, 11 million reptiles and 18 million small animals! This steady increase in pet ownership is a confirmation that pets are truly enhancing our lives. Unless you're someone who dislikes animals or is too busy to care for one properly, you can receive social support, stress relief, and health benefits from bonding with them. It really is true that sharing companionship with animals can lower blood pressure, heart rate and even improve symptoms of depression. There is something soothing and life affirming about sharing ones' home and heart with a pet, whether you are alone or part of a multi-person household. Research has also shown that when conducting a stressful task, people have experienced less stress when their pets are with them than when friends or family are present. Perhaps it's because they don't judge us.
Dogs can motivate us to play, get out of the house and exercise and sometimes increase socialization with others who stop to chat about our animals. Furry animals, in general, are wonderful at snuggling. We can enjoy comfortable moments of silence with them, they are great at keeping secrets and could care less if we're having a bad hair day. Regardless of whether our pets are the cuddly type or not, the interaction and caring for an animal has positive effects on us and are a helpful antidote to loneliness. Watching fish swim in their aquatic environment can be such a pleasurable, soothing past time. Many people are fascinated with reptiles and snakes. Their primordial appearance and silent manner give them an air of mystery. Birds are known to be wonderful companions and the bonds that they form with their human are very deep. There is something heartwarming, delicate and gentle about a domesticated bird perched trustingly on one's finger or shoulder. They also have a sweet song or lively chatter to share with us.
Owning a pet may not be for every one, as needless to say, they require additional responsibilities and work. However, the benefits certainly can outweigh any drawbacks, as many animal lovers will tell you. But even if you can't have a pet, chances are you may know someone who has one whose company you can enjoy during a visit. Nursing homes are recognizing the value of animal visits such as therapy dogs whose gentle presence cheers the confined elderly. It's recommended to avoid the temptation of acquiring an exotic animal whose needs may be too difficult to fulfill by yourself or even be illegal to own. Many veterinarians aren't licensed to treat these animals. Farm animals are pretty interesting in their own right but most of us have neither the proper space nor knowledge of how to take care of their particular needs. Luckily for us, there are a wonderful variety of domesticated animals that make excellent companion pets in apartment or house. Whether it's tiny such as a domesticated rodent spinning happily in its exercise wheel or as regal as a Great Dane trotting the perimeters of your property, there is an animal with a personality that can enrich your life!
Coming up in the next issue: Companion Animals - Assisted Living
By Bob Branco
I went to Small Claims Court for a payment review hearing this morning because a man named Jeff owes the Consumer Vision money. On January 23, Jeff did not show up at the original hearing, meaning that I won my judgement of $95 plus Court costs.
This morning, Jeff did not appear in Court once again, which means he has a second default charge. I don't know if he'll be given a third chance, but I'm almost positive he will because that's what seems to happen in the modern judicial world. These defendants get three and four chances to appear in Court, even though the judges are positive that they attempted to notify these defendants each time.
The other thing that totally amazes me is the number of defendants who default on a given day. This morning, the judge took a roll call of all small claims, payment review, and civil cases before he even heard one case. He did this so he could sort them all out, and I don't blame him for that. However, he told his audience that he actually had so much work to do today that he had no time to conduct trials. Well, no wonder. The judge must have called approximately 200 cases, and I'm willing to bet that 175 out of 200 defendants weren't even in the courtroom. If I took Andre, my parrot, into the court room with me this morning, he'd leave there saying, "Default! Default! Default!" I'm sure that a large percentage of these defendants who didn't show up were asked to come back this morning for a second or third time. Perhaps if the Courts were tougher, many of these defaulting defendants would have been punished after their first contempt-of-court charge, allowing the judge extra time to conduct a few trials today.
Believe me, there's more to talk about as far as respect for the Court is concerned. When the judge begins his day, he asks everyone to shut off their cell phones, and to do it now, please! Several people didn't get the message, and their cell phones rang in the middle of the judge's roll call. Also, many people were seen walking into the courthouse wearing pajamas. Have we really sunk to a new low? Maybe these judges ought to go to Anderson Little and stock up on dress suits to pass out to some of the participants before the session begins. The judges should also confiscate all these pairs of pajamas the way they confiscate cell phones if not shut off. I'm sure my girl friend would be more than happy to hold huge pajama parties with all that was confiscated. She could ask the judge to release these pajamas to her so that her friends won't have to bring their own when she has a party. We're talking about Court here, so let's all dress appropriately. I will be very honest and tell you that there were lots of things I'd rather have done this morning instead of being in Court hearing about all these defendants who never showed up, how judges have no time for trials, how people go to Court in their pajamas, and how cell phones ring even though the judge orders people to shut them off immediately please! However, I went to Court because I had to. I know my responsibilities.
Jeff owes me $95 so that I could put it towards the cost of running the Consumer Vision Magazine, where, as a matter of fact, I will be publishing this article.
For Immediate Release Contact: Bonnie Schachter
January 17, 2008, Fountain Valley, CA. Pocket Reference Journals, Inc. a medical publisher of pocket-sized health journals has just finished producing its first CD of their "My Pocket Doctor", A Reference Guide and Journal. It was written by an Endocrinologist, a Certified Diabetes Educator, a Registered Dietitian, and a Rocket Scientist!
This CD is a helpful tool for educating the "newbie". It's an expanded adaptation of the book for information on disease terms with easy to understand descriptions. Information on blood glucose testing, insulin facts, pills, new medications, dining out, illness complications, as well as such other important topics such as traveling, leisure and exercise, and smoking and alcohol are also included. The ABC'S of diabetes, a diabetes food plan, resources by phone and web, and so much more. Running time is one hour.
It's upbeat, and talks to you as in a conversation with musical dividing lines. Sylvia Hernandez, RD, CDE sounds like the diabetes educator you wished you had. Any newly diagnosed diabetic that's just been informed that they have diabetes should be listening to it.
Pocket Reference Journals, My Pocket Doctor recently won an Award at the 14th Annual National Health Information Awards. The reference journal won in the category of Patient Education Information. It was chosen from among 1,000 entries judged by a panel of 27 health information experts, and educators from across the United States.
The Suggested Retail of the CD is $12.50, and is also available with Braille labeling for E-Z identification for the blind. It's a must have for the newly diagnosed diabetic. Quantity discounts are available. See, and listen to an online audio sampler at www.pocketreferencejournals.com.
"Keep It Simple & Safe"
By Charles Arruda
As a visually challenged individual, I like to find creative and efficient ways of approaching every day tasks. The purpose of this article is to share simple and safe tips to all, whether visually challenged or not. I tend to spend a good amount of time in the kitchen helping out with the cooking and cleaning. Here are some of my favorite tips to make the most of my time.
1. I never chop garlic anymore. For a couple of dollars, one can buy a jar of pre-minced garlic to use in soups, casseroles, Italian food or any recipe that calls for garlic. The flavor is very good. Just keep the jar refrigerated between uses and it'll last a very long time. I just love it!
2. Get an extra large digit kitchen timer. This is a great little device to keep handy. Mine has three buttons: minute, seconds, and start/stop button and came from the local Walgreens. It also has an audible beeping sound every time you press the minute or second button so you can conveniently count the time accurately, especially if your vision isn't sharp. I use the timer both in and out of the kitchen to set it for anything I want to keep track of. The whole family loves the large number display!
3. Have you ever gone out and bought all those nifty counter appliances advertised on the TV infomercials only to let them collect dust? Well, here's one that really is very useful. I just love my crock-pot! Now here's a kitchen appliance that is worth its weight in gold. It's easy to use, fills the house with great aromas, is energy efficient, won't heat up the kitchen on a hot summer day, and simmers meals to perfection. You can cook food from scratch, use canned or frozen vegetables, and it'll cook the less expensive cuts of meat impressively. I like to use creamed canned soup as a base for gravies and sauces. There are also slow cooker meal kits available in the frozen section of most supermarkets.
Nowadays most crock pots a.k.a. slow cookers have removable crockery liners for ease in cleaning. They're available with either digital or dial controls and range from basic to high tech models. If you have no useable vision, I recommend a cooker with a dial control with the basic settingsoff, low, high and optional: warm. Once you memorize the control positions, you'll be all set. The metal base of the slow cooker does get hot so use mitts when handling it and place it on an insulated mat to protect the counter surface. At cleanup time, let the crockery-lining cool down before washing it. Even if you aren't much of a cook, you 'll be amazed with the delicious meals you can prepare with simple ingredients.
4. The deep or jumbo skillet. Now, this is a versatile pan! It's available in non-stick and stainless surface and it has two handles. One is the typical long handle while the other is shaped like a U so it can be grasped easily. The model with the non-stick surface usually has handles that are insulated. You can cook anything in it that you would use a standard frying pan for and more as it has extra height.
This is a very useful skillet for a low sighted or blind person as it allows a steady, balanced handling with both hands. Its higher sides can help prevent food from accidentally spilling out of the pan when stirring or moving the pan around. The jumbo skillet usually comes with a glass lid for simmering and steaming. Just remember to use safe, non-scratching utensils on the nonstick finish and avoid abrasives when washing it. Also, let the pan and the lid cool down before washing them.
5. Now this isn't really a kitchen tip but is just a little something that I like to do as a handy labeling system for medications. I put a small piece of masking tape on the tops of the pill bottles and use a thick black marker to write the *first letter of each prescription name. This makes it easy to identify the meds at a glance, as many of the bottles are similar in size.
I began this system to help keep track of our dog's medications so we wouldn 't have to rummage through the pill bottles to read the small print every time. It worked so well that now we mark our own medication this way. (*If you have more than one medication with the same first letter, you'll have to devise a different, yet identifiable letter for one of them.)
Well, that's it for now. I hope these tips will be helpful to you in your every day routine.
And always remember-K.I.S.S.- Keep It Safe & Simple!
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Envision has immediate openings in manufacturing, retail sales, printing, and administration, in Kansas and throughout the United States. If you haven't worked in a while, we can help you with job skills training. And through education assistance, you can create new opportunities and realize greater independence.
At Envision, we focus on ability, not disability. We know that people who are blind or low vision can make a positive contribution. At our facilities, they do it every day. And our business has grown with this talented workforce. Today, we're the largest employer of blind and low vision workers in Kansas.
Envision employees enjoy some of the best benefits in the industry. You'll earn competitive pay, plus health and dental benefits, paid vacation, personal time off, a retirement plan and even life insurance.
If you're moving in order to accept a job at Envision, you may qualify for relocation assistance. We can help you get settled in your new life with personal assistance to secure suitable housing, transportation, necessary social services and independent living needs. Employees can also take advantage of our vision rehabilitation services, including assistive technology, resource referrals, and other services.
Envision is a Kansas-based private, not-for-profit agency. Revenue from the sale of our manufactured products and our base service stores helps fund vision rehabilitation services for people who are blind or low vision. It's a good feeling knowing that your work helps others become more independent.
To learn more, please visit our website at www.envisionus.com or e-mail Mark Benson at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also call toll free (888) 425-7072 or fax us at (316) 267-4312.
Online Resources Work For Mentoring Program
By Kathryn Arruda
Partners for Youth with Disabilities (PYD) are a non-profit organization that has been providing a mentoring program for 20 years. They are committed to empowering young people to reach full potential in personal development. Adult mentors with disabilities serve as positive role models providing support, understanding and guidance for youth striving to reach personal, educational and career goals. PYD has locations in Boston, Western Massachusetts and Lawrence and has opened the National Center for Mentoring Youth with Disabilities to assist other organizations that are interested in creating mentoring opportunities.
Four years ago, the organization averaged 60 new mentoring matches per year between disabled adults and disabled youths with similar health issues. Since adding an online feature to its program, more than 600 matches have been attained. The program initially runs background checks on the adults before matching them with disabled youths. If the pairing works, the mentors and their proteges can stay in contact through instant messaging, e-mail, and Internet forums. Like any relationship, occasionally a pairing might not click and individuals can then be matched with another mentor or mentee.
Sometimes, friends who have been under the original mentoring program have broadened their contact by incorporating the newer online feature. Partners Online offers a secure online community with chat rooms, forums and more. One can participate with others in issues that revolve around subjects of interest including politics, careers, and the challenges of living independently. Partners for Youth with Disabilities offers a variety of group and educational programs that build skills in the areas of independent living and career development. It also provides enriching opportunities for socialization, leadership, community service and more. To learn more about the organization or to apply to the program, visit their home page http://www.pyd.org/index.htm. Click on the links to read their mission statement and learn more about their programs, opportunities, resources, funders, current news and events and achievements.
If you are interested in information on how to replicate their programs, contact Regina Snowden, Executive Director, at 617-556-4075 x 11 (TTY: 617-314-2989) or via email at email@example.com.
You may also send PYD your feedback, comments and questions via the contact information below:
Main Administrative Offices:
95 Berkeley Street
Boston, MA 02116
Phone (voice): 617-556-4075
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By Allison Vigna
Dear Pastors/Leader & the Army of Jesus Christ:
We would like to introduce you to one of the most exciting movements in America's history...ReignDown USA!
We feel humbled to share a prophetic vision from our Heavenly Father that is calling America to personal repentance, bringing Him back to the center of our lives, our relationships and our nation.
We simply ask that you take a moment to pray and seek God's will to see how He would like you to personally respond to His call to repent, for yourself and on behalf of our nation. Too often, we as Christians get distracted, lose our way, and forget that without Jesus Christ at the center of all we do we can become lost, make hasty decisions, and move further and further away from His will for our lives. But our Heavenly Father says that if we come humbly before Him, seek His face, pray, and turn from our sins out of obedience to Him. and if we cry out for healing and forgiveness... restoration and mercy... He will REIGN DOWN an unprecedented blessing and restoration unlike anything this nation has ever witnessed before. Imagine the power of repentance in one person's life. Now imagine the power in the entire Body of Christ in America coming together and repenting at once.
Please join us on April 26, 2008, where across the United States, all denominations of the Body of Christ will come together as "One Nation Under God". We will simultaneously pray, worship our Lord, repent of our own sins, and as a nation, repent from turning our backs on God, the very foundation our country was built on.
We need your help to fulfill God's vision. We are seeking leaders in every state to lead their respective state's arena or stadium event in the following areas: state captain, marketing, fundraising, worship, prayer, volunteers, and administration. Prayerfully consider your involvement and sign up on our web site!
We invite you to hear the vision and witness the call He has placed on us and on our nation by visiting www.ReignDownUSA.com. Please pray and truly seek God's call.
It is time. God is calling us all back to Him!
Pastor Walt and Shawn Marie Cole
Dear Catch A Vision:
Thank You, Pastor Walt and Shawn Marie for Obedience.
We have organized a venue right here in New Bedford, Massachusetts for this special day and we pray that you come out and join us at:
New Bedford High School 230 Hathaway Blvd.
New Bedford Ma 02740
Time: 6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. Date: 04-26-08
Doors open @ 5:00 p.m. *First Come Basis*
Special Thanks to All who have worked on getting this Day together.
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ......AMEN.
By Kathryn Arruda
Can you imagine the tongue being used as a surrogate eye? For quite some time now, scientists have been aware that the brain is capable of adapting and compensating for a loss or injury in sensory signals. The brain can take many different sensory inputs and combine them in unusual ways. With this in mind, studies have included the use of tongue stimulating experiments, utilizing an array of in-the-mouth electrodes to give blind people a sense of vision. It's believed that the tongue has great potential to receive visual information and transmit it to the brain. As we know, the tongue is coated in saliva and this is an electrically conductive fluid. Also, compared to other parts of the body, the tongue is especially densely populated with touch sensitive nerves.
The prototype device of the tongue stimulating system allows the perception of tongue stimulation as shapes and features in space. Wisconsin neuroscientist and physician Dr. Paul Bach-y-Rita is one of the device's inventors. He notes that research has proven that the brain is quite adaptable and in the experiments, the tongue becomes a surrogate eye. When an image reaches the eye's retina it is the brain that interprets the nerve impulse signals. In earlier studies, using the electrode stimulation on the skin, blind participants came to recognize shapes and even track motion, such as a ball rolling down an inclined plane.
Some of the Wisconsin based work has been featured in the film: "Touch: The Forgotten Sense". Touch works in a myriad of ways and with such potential, researchers continue experimental study in this area. As an example, a Florida based institute is working on a helmet devised to transmit images to the brain via the tongue. It incorporates the use of camera, sonar and other equipment, as well. With the advent of time, scientific research will continue to bring forth interesting and advancing methods to increase perception of human senses and ways to achieve innovative and beneficial technologies.
*For more information on the work of Dr. Paul Bach-y-Rita and his colleagues, check out an informative article at: http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20010901/bob14.asp
*For online information about the University of Wisconsin's tongue display, see: http://kaz.med.wisc.edu/.
*For information regarding the film Touch: The Forgotten Sense, directed by Kun Chang, contact:
518, Rue Sherbrooke Est.
Montreal, QC H2L 1K1
A note of thanks to John Tavares for forwarding the Science News Online article/url:http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20010901/bob14.asp to the editor for research purposes into this interesting topic.
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By Sue Small
Can you imagine being deaf?
The world is silent, but even if they can't
hear and some are unable to speak,
they are like you and me.
They have feelings and they know good cooking.
They can see with their eyes, but their language
is different from ours.
They see beauty like you and me.
When they laugh their language is beautiful
not only on their lips, but on their hands too.
They feel rhythm with their bodies and the expression
on their face is part of the language too.
Deaf people have gifts and talents.
God made them as well as you.
It is written weeping endures for evening.
The joy comes in the morning, like winter,
with its bare branches, but the spring comes
with its breathtaking green leaves and awesome
pink, yellow, and blue buds.
After a hard struggle comes the light of
redeeming grace, a new day of laughter on the
other side and pearly gates and streets of gold.
The best part will be when we are in the
presence of Jesus where there is no sorrow
or worry about tomorrow.
The joy comes in redeeming grace for Jesus
taking our place so we could have hope
of redemption heirs of the royal priesthood.
There is heaven and hell, but God chose
heaven for us as we are willing to ask him in
Those That Can Be Reached
Deaf people cannot hear, but they can feel the gentle breeze in their hair.
Deaf people cannot hear, but they can feel the vibrations of a pounding drum.
Even though they cannot hear, they can tell their story with their hands.
Like a dancer moves to the music to tell a story, a deaf person tells their story with their hands.
Even though they cannot hear, they can be reached by God.
For God has a story for them of Love and Grace and one who cares for them
By Bob Branco
I don't know what the requirements are in order to secure a field permit for recreation or sporting activities in other parts of the world, but here in Southeastern Massachusetts it's a nightmare. Years ago, it was so easy for someone to obtain a field permit from the Park Department locally. It should be easy. Most of us use parks for recreational and educational purposes. I can tell all of you first hand how a sue-happy society has evolved the process into something that is completely out of control.
I applied for my very first field permit in 2000. I wanted to start my own blind baseball team, the first of its kind in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
In order for me to get my field permit, all I had to do was go to the recreation office, fill out paper work, request a field, and get it. There were no hitches, conditions, expenses or trickery involved. The process was that simple. In 2003, cities and towns began changing the way we apply for permits because they are afraid of being sued. Now, when I apply for my field permit in order to run my slow pitch softball league, I have to take out a one million dollar insurance policy in order to protect the city or town from being sued. For the past several years, I had to pay premiums on accident and liability insurance. Mind you, all we want to do is have fun at a local park.
This year, when I went to my insurance agent, she added a third insurance, one that I could take if my softball league could afford it. You may want to sit down for this. Besides accident insurance and liability insurance, I was offered a chance to buy sexual abuse coverage. When my agent told me about this, I asked a question that may appear stupid, but it was what I thought of at the time. I asked my agent the following question: If a member of my softball league wanted to abuse someone sexually on my field, why is it the town's fault? If that was a stupid question, please forgive me. I just couldn't see the connection between sexual abuse and suing the city or town. I suppose a city or town could be sued if it was believed that there wasn't enough police protection or supervision on the softball field. If it's that easy to sue a city or town over an incident on a softball field, then it should be just as easy to sue them no matter where the act takes place.
My point is this: Has the system gone way too far on all levels just because we want to play softball, which, for most of us, is an activity that helps you relax after a hard day's work? Our goal as a society is to keep kids off the streets so that they won't be bored or get into trouble. However, if organized sports leagues go out of business because they have to spend hundreds, even thousands more dollars to pay out in insurance premiums, that doesn't help the cause. If you're a kid, you now have one less activity to occupy your time, and if you're an adult, one of your options for relaxing after a hard day's work is taken from you. All in the name of the fear of law suits.
Don't get me wrong. If we ran a youth league, I can see where all coaches should be checked out first. My frustration is about the dollars that we are forced too spend in order to prevent law suits. If one of my infielders dislocates his kneecap while bending down to catch a ground ball, should he sue Dartmouth? Regarding sexual abuse, that's a crime, which means the police get involved. Last week, one of my former players held up his girl friend at gunpoint in his home. If this incident took place where I have my field permit, do we really think that someone would actually sue the town over it? It's a police and Court matter.
If the holders of field permits are forced to spend all their League money in order to prevent suits, what are we telling our youth? On one hand, today's youth need something to do. If they play softball, it keeps them busy, yet if youth leagues run out of money because of all the insurance they now have to buy, where does this leave all these kids who enjoy the game? Who knows. Perhaps a large percentage of murders or drive-by shootings in Greater New Bedford were caused by people who had no structure in their lives.
You could be the best fund-raiser in the world, but even if you do everything humanly possible to raise money in order to run your organization properly, you are now asked to raise additional money to pay insurance premiums. You may have to get more corporate sponsors, more cash donations from the business community, more free baseball equipment, more umpires who would agree to work for less money, and a vender's license to sell food during your activity. I've already asked for some of this just to keep my league going.
Years ago, before the invasion of lawsuit phobia, a local radio station put its team in a League, and there was no problem. Today, this same radio station won't participate in my League or anyone else's because they, too, are afraid of liability. Even though my League took out a one million dollar insurance policy, the corporation that owns this radio station will not honor my coverage, because they feel they have deeper pockets and need their own special protection.
Why don't we all stop being so afraid and just play ball?
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FOR SALE: Eighteen half-hour blank videotapes. Asking price is $15 for the set. Please call 508-994-4972.
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By Bob Branco
Can someone tell me why the United States Congress and Senate have to get involved with sports controversies? If it's illegal for an athlete to use steroids or for a foot ball coach to videotape the other team's practice session, then let the appropriate system handle these cases.
When the foot ball commissioner found out that the Patriots videotaped the Jets, he punished the Patriots by taking away their 2008 first-round draft pick. That should have been the end of it. All of a sudden, Senator Spector and others are involved for whatever reason. On at least two occasions the steroid issue in baseball has come before either the Congress or Senate. I don't understand it at all. Baseball has a Commissioner with the power to take punitive action against players who use performance-enhancing drugs. If there is a system in place now, even though it took years to establish itself, why bring politicians into it? I would understand politicians getting involved if there was a means to an end. But please tell me what kind of decision the Congress or Senate can make regarding sports that would force Commissioners to abide by it? Are they the judge and jury all of a sudden? It's almost as if baseball and football are now being run by the Congress instead of by their own Commissioners.
There is a war going on in Iraq right now. The United States economy is in tough shape. Kids are shooting other kids in schools. Many of us are paying too much tax. There are many homeless people in the world, etc. Let's allow our Senators and Congress to devote all of their time to these issues which affect all of us. If Roger Clemmens did something wrong, let baseball or the Courts take care of it. This is why we have a judicial process.
The following is a very popular item in numerous sites and blogs all over the Internet. I couldn't resist adding it here for your perusal. What do you think of it? -- The Editor
The Spoiled Under 30 Crowd
If you are 30 or older you will think this is hilarious!!!
When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were when they were growing up; what with walking twenty five miles to school every morning...uphill.both ways... yadda, yadda, yadda.
And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it! But now that I'm over the ripe old age of thirty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a darned Utopia! And I hate to say it, but you kids today don't know how good you've got it!
I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have The Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!!
There was no email! We had to actually write somebody a letter with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox and it would take like a week to get there!
There were no MP3's or Napsters! You wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the damn record store and shoplift it yourself!
Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and mess it all up!
We didn't have fancy crap like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called they got a busy signal, that's it!
And we didn't have fancy Caller ID Boxes either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your mom, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, a collections agent, you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!
We didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like Space Invaders and Asteroids and the graphics were horrible! Your guy was a little square!
You actually had to use your imagination! And there were no multiple levels or screens. It was just one screen forever! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like life!
When you went to the movie theater, there no such thing as stadium seating! All the seats were the same height! If a tall guy or some old woman with a hat sat in front of you and you couldn't see, you were just out of luck!
Sure, we had cable television, but back then that was only like 15 channels and there was no onscreen menu and no remote control! You had to use a little book
called a TV Guide to find out what was on!
You were inconvenienced when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your butt and walk over to the TV to change the channel and there was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday morning.
Do you hear what I'm saying!?! We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little brats!
And we didn't have microwaves, if we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove or go build a fire...imagine that! If we wanted popcorn, we had to use that JiffyPop thing and shake it over the stove forever like an idiot.
That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled. You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980!
The Over-30 Crowd
By Bob Branco
Have you ever wondered why the human operator at Directory Assistance knows exactly where you want to call even though their voice-recognition computer misunderstood you? Here's a real example. Today I asked the computer to look up the Acushnet Public Library. It thought I said the Worcester Public Library, so it asked me if that was what I meant, and I said no. The computer transferred me to an operator who knew that I said Acushnet. Well, if the computer thought I said Worcester, how did the operator know it was Acushnet? Someone told me that these voice recognition computers need a lot of training before they get to know your voice. Well, if that's so, what is wrong with having human operators answering the phone all the time? We survived many years talking to operators. They are at the phone anyway in case the computer misunderstands you, so let the operator pick up the phone like she always did. These telephone companies are investing thousands of dollars on voice-recognition computers when they probably pay operators less money to provide a human touch. If a computer is not infallible, then why not use a human being exclusively? She's there anyway.
Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the Consumer Vision, January edition: The girl singing group formed by children of a member of the Beach Boys and a member of the Mamas and Papas was Wilson Phillips. Congratulations to the following winners:
Ward Biondi of Old Bridge, New Jersey
Lori Rego of Westport, Massachusetts
Jan Colby of Brockton, Massachusetts
Maureen Bussey of New Bedford, Massachusetts
Dennis O'Brien of New Bedford, Massachusetts
Steve Soares of New Bedford, Massachusetts
Lucille Burkhardt of Little Rock, Arkansas
Jake Joehl of Evanston, Illinois
Jason Seeger of Warminster, Pennsylvania
Janet Barnard of Orrick, Missouri
And now, here is our trivia question for the March/April edition of the Consumer Vision: On the television series, "Leave It to Beaver," who was Lumpy Rutheford's sister? If you know the answer, please email us at email@example.com or give our office a call at 508-994-4972.
A frog goes into a bank and approaches the teller. He can see from her nameplate that her name is Patricia Whack. "Miss Whack, I'd like to get a $30,000 loan to take a holiday."
Patty looks at the frog in disbelief and asks his name. The frog says his name is Kermit Jagger, his dad is Mick Jagger, and that it's okay, he knows the bank manager.
Patty explains that he will need to secure the loan with some collateral.
The frog says, "Sure. I have this," and produces a tiny porcelain elephant, about an inch tall, bright pink and perfectly formed.
Very confused, Patty explains that she'll have to consult with the bank manager and disappears into a back office.
She finds the manager and says, "There's a frog called Kermit Jagger out there who claims to know you and wants to borrow $30,000, and he wants to use this as collateral."
She holds up the tiny pink elephant. "I mean, what in the world is this?"
(You're gonna love this)
(Here it comes)
The bank manager looks back at her and says: "It's a knickknack, Patty Whack.
Give the frog a loan. His old man's a Rolling Stone."
AD SPACE AVAILABLEOne Quarter, Half and Full Page AdsContact Bob Branco at 508-994-4972, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Gert Moore
All My Children
Kendall is stunned to find an unhinged fan waiting for her in her hotel room.
Kendall tries to play along with the overzealous fan but finds herself in even more danger as a result. Aidan senses something is wrong and breaks into Kendall's hotel room in the nick of time. Aidan insists on sleeping in Kendall's room to make her feel safe after knocking out her stalker. Ryan lets himself into Kendall's room only to find Kendall and Aidan in a seemingly compromising position. Jesse, Angie and Tad are unaware of how close their enemy has come. Tad meets his long lost uncle Robert who is secretly tied to the mystery surrounding Jesse's death. Mrs. Remington softens towards Angie and Tad and shows them a special pendant her son left her before he disappeared.
Opal finds herself warming up to Robert who is clever at getting information from her. Zach and Greenlee find themselves a little too close for comfort when they play at pole dancing together. Erica's shocking admission of guilt stuns Samuel but charms the press. Samuel and Dre share a very cold reunion. Greenlee is annoyed that Ryan seems to be remembering Annie but none of the life they shared instead. Zach is furious when Aidan tells him that Kendall met Ryan in a hotel bar and lied to him about it. Jesse finds a clue in Remy's date book. Tad pleads with Adam to allow Krystal and Jenny to move back into the mansion for their own protection. Erica requests that she be allowed to begin serving her sentence immediately.
Jonathan leaves town. JR's bone marrow is harvested by force. Richie is delirious with fever when his body seems to be rejecting the transplant. Ryan is confused by his feelings for Annie. Samuel makes it his mission to see Erica go to prison for her crime. Kendall fears for her marriage to Zach. Richie plans on taking JR out of the equation when it comes to Babe. Tad is stunned to learn that Kathy is actually Kate.
As The World Turns
Ameera faces a dilemma. Noah takes steps to protect Ameera. Matt pleads with Casey to keep his secret. Alison, meanwhile, digs into Matt's past. Meg and Paul find themselves thrown together. Vienna and Henry suffer from a case of mixed signals. Jack is saddened as Parker prepares to go to trial. Carly is into a dangerous situation by Kit. Jack hurries to save Carly. Carly then uses herself as bait in order to get back at Kit.
Barbara is suspicious of Sofie. Gwen arrives at a major decision. Alison makes a shocking discovery.
Bold and the Beautiful
Ridge wants Brooke to make a decision once and for all. Taylor sabotages herself while on the witness stand. Eric promises Donna that they will have a future together. The judge awards custody of Jack to Nick. Brooke proposes to Ridge. Eric and Stephanie have a surprise guest at their anniversary party. Katie tries to encourage Bridget to make a play for Nick. Bridget is angry about Brooke's betrayal. Pam makes her feelings clear to Donna. Donna and Eric prepare to wed.
Days of Our Lives
Steve learns that Ava has a criminal past, but refuses to blame her for the plane accident. Chloe wants to stay at the mansion, which Philip agrees to. Sami is shocked when E.J. prevents her with annulment papers. Ava is determined to get her revenge on Steve. Philip has an interpreter tell him about a private conversation that Chloe has. E.J.`s visa has expired, and he is expected to leave the country...Kate sees Chelsea`s reaction to Bo`s new doctor, Daniel. Belle and Shawn recommit in their love for each other. John hires Rolf as his butler. The Bradys tell Bo goodbye, but Kayla wants to try an experimental surgery. Shawn and Belle tell their families they've reconciled. Ava sees a psychiatrist.
Dr. Devlin becomes interested in Sam. Luke and Scottie get in each other's faces. Diego's bombs are about to blow up the Alcazar piers. Nadine is too close to the piers! Lucky's down, Jason is close, but it's Nikolas who gets to Diego first. Diego knocks Nikolas unconscious, but Emily helps out. Johnny remains in the padded cell. Kate learns all about Sonny's night of passion with Claudia. Luke asks Lulu if she's keeping anything about Laura from him. Jason asks Patrick if he'll ever be able to work again? Nik tells Diego that he's going to make sure that he stays dead this time. Liz is finally free from danger. Lucky overhears Liz's surprising confession. Spinelli finds a lead on Michael's whereabouts. Lulu thinks that Johnny might be killed. Jason might be through with working for Sonny. Emily insists that Nikolas make the toughest choice of all. Sonny is in the process of re-evaluating his career choice. A face from Jerry's past complicates things for him. Alexis faces the hard, cold fact that she is into Jerry. Monica learns (from Jason!) that she has a new grandson. Port Charles is graced with a visit from Anna Devane. When Spinelli discovers who his father is, he swears Stone Cold to secrecy. Robert Guza hints that there is "love in the future for all the bad boys of Port Charles" and that includes Jerry Jax! The focus will be on "Romance, Revelations and Rip-roarin' action." Jason will take a bigger role in the Quartermaine's lives, particularly Monica's. The Zacchara family remains a big part of the storyline.
Olivia suspects Gus and Natalia haven't really split. Beth can't find Rick. Jonathan rejects Lizzie's attempts to seduce him. Bill catches Jonathan trying to frame Lizzie. Alan and Jonathan try to cut a deal which cuts Lizzie out. Lizzie and Alan make a deal to double cross Jonathan. Bill is bound and gagged. Lizzie turns to Bill for comfort. Josh gets his job back. Will moves in with Reva and Jeffrey. Philip bails Rick out. A
family baseball game gets chaotic. Olivia has her doubts about Gus' devotion to her. Marina tries to catch her aunt out again. Jonathan and Lizzie battle for Sarah. Cyrus gets hired to do some questionable work- by Jonathan. Cassie and Reva cut a deal. Beth worries when she notices that Rick has gone missing. Mel helps her ex-husband while Beth weighs her options. Strange letters are found around town. Reva's dismayed by her son's choice. Lizzie has second thoughts. Bill may have taken on more than he bargained for with Alan. Cyrus wants to come clean. Josh and Reva give Cassie more than she wants to see. Will displays his talents for creating danger.
One Life to Live
Natalie and Jared try to fight their desires. Clint comes to a decision. Antonio gets shocking news about his finances! Lee threatens Nora's job. Starr turns to Dorian for help with Cole. Cris is asked to create a wine label for the vineyard. Gigi and Marcie resume their friendship. Todd warns he'll turn Cole in for shooting Miles! Gigi and Rex's hidden feelings are apparent to Natalie! Charlie finally figures out Dorian's real motives! Charlie and Jared beat Dorian at her own game! Jess makes Nash suspicious when she wants to hire Cristian. Jared confesses his guilt of what his life has become. Starr is infuriated by her new bodyguards! Viki has to step in when Natalie begins grilling Charlie! Langston becomes worried for Cole after hearing Todd accuse Cole of raping Starr. Deciding to stay in Llanview, Todd forbids Starr from seeing Cole! Starr has no choice but to break up with Cole - for his own safety! Cris and Antonio receive surprising news from Nora. Antonio's assets are frozen by the FBI! Dorian tries to blackmail Charlie into breaking up Rex and Adriana. Jared admits to Nigel he's living a lie - and is taped saying so! Jared ends up getting Natalie to erase some damaging info - about himself! Jared admits he had a younger brother who died! Lindsay takes Walter Honeycutt (a past friend of Asa's) under her wing. Rex gets Gigi a job! Gigi confesses that Rex is really Shane's father - and Rex and Adriana almost hear her! Rex and Jared have an altercation - after Rex sees Gigi kissing him! Lee's connections are revealed. Fans are promised to be shocked by a major secret! Dorian will make things official by adopting Langston.
The Young and the Restless
As David fears losing Nikki, she makes a decision regarding his problem and their relationship. Lily is once again, faced with Chloe's criticism of her weight. Victoria and J.T. face Reed's illness. Nick pays Victor a visit and things get heated! Brad is up to no good when he meets Walter in an effort to get dirt on David. Jack learns the truth about the Bardwell marriage! Phyllis becomes Adam's confidante. Neil expresses his feelings to Karen and asks her to move in. Amber must decide what to tell Daniel about the money. Paul's daughter Heather may be on her way out of town. Adam finds out how Nick and Phyllis got together. Paul is brought into the Jeffrey Bardwell mystery by Kevin. Nikki looks at David in a different light, but ultimately decides to stand by him as he faces his addiction.
She offers to repay Walter, but David is reluctant. Nick confronts Victor about influencing Eric Forrester. Adam manages to convince his father to let Beauty of Nature take an ad in Restless Style magazine. When he heads to the warehouse to let Nick and Phyllis know, he winds up in the dark with his favorite redhead! Daniel and Amber head down a passionate road once again, but this time Daniel ends up very angry! Adam and Victoria aren't hitting it off at work! Neil makes it known to Karen that he has strong feelings for her and asks her to move in with him. She returns the sentiment! It's big trouble on the horizon when Jana overhears Gloria and Kevin scheming - this time they're going to get rid of Jeffrey and pin it on Jack! Chloe continues the pressure on Lily to slim down. Sabrina is excited by Victor's offer to view his art collection.
As they return to town, Gwen wastes no time planning her reunion with Ethan. Miguel demands to know if Kay used magic to save him. Noah looks to Pilar for romantic advice. Fancy worries that she'll lose Luis if she can't stop her mood swings. Sheridan tries to convince Luis that Fancy has gone back to Noah. Getting Ethan back may be harder than Gwen expects. A body that looks remarkably like Theresa's shows up in the morgue. Esme imagines a future with Julian, but Viki isn't happy. Noah suspects that evil forces are controlling Fancy. Gwen tries to get Ethan to move on, but he still wants revenge for Theresa's death. Theresa wakes up in the morgue...but she's not alone.
Reminder: Passions airs on DirecTv Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 2 PM and 5 PM EST with marathons every Thursday from 2-4 PM EST.
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