THE CONSUMER VISION

November 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

In this Table of Contents, three asterisks *** will be used to separate each article's title from its author.

To make searching for items easier, three asterisks *** will be used between articles.

Finally, three asterisks *** will also be used to separate the items in Karen Crowder's recipe column and in Bob Branco's "The Big Question."

1. NOTICE FROM THE PUBLISHER *** by Bob Branco

2. LETTER FROM THE EDITOR *** by Terri Winaught

3. FIRE SAFETY IN THE HOME FOR THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED *** by John Justice

4. MORE AWARENESS OF OUR COUNTRY IS NEEDED *** by Bob Branco (originally published in Word Matters, www.ernestdempsex.com)

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

6. IN DEFENSE OF THE USE OF ELECTRONIC DEVICES IN PUBLIC *** by Leonore H. Dvorkin

7. DRIVERLESS CARS *** by Bob Branco (originally published in Word Matters, www.ernestdempsey.com)

8. FLORIDA HURRICANES *** by Jose Tamayo

9. HAVING CONFIDENCE IN YOURSELF AND ACCEPTING COMPLIMENTS FROM OTHERS *** by Casandra Xavier

10. DEAF OR BLIND? *** by Ernie Jones

11. THE BIG QUESTION *** by Bob Branco

12. THE GREATEST GIFT *** by Michael Soares, with James R. Campbell

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

14. RECIPE COLUMN *** by Karen Crowder

15. CHINESE RESTAURANT HUMOR *** by John Justice

16. LITTLE POLITICALLY CORRECT RED RIDING HOOD. *** Submitted by Alan Dicey 

17. THE CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST: Answer to Last Month's Question, Winners, and Question for November. *** Submitted by Bob Branco

18. BOOK SIGNING NOVEMBER 17, 2016 *** About author Ann Chiappetta and her new book / Submitted by Leonore Dvorkin

19. PROOFREADER' S CONCLUDING NOTE *** from Leonore Dvorkin

***

1. NOTICE FROM THE PUBLISHER

Hi, everyone,

This month' s edition of Consumer Vision marks our tenth anniversary of publication! While we have come a long way in 10 years, and while we' re very pleased with our progress, the constant factor during the last 10 years has been our readers and contributors. Without these dedicated people who offer support in their own way, Consumer Vision would not exist.

Our magazine began as a dream of mine when I decided it was time to share beneficial information with anyone who cared to know about it. As a result of our efforts, Consumer Vision is being read by blind and sighted people in Africa, Europe, North America, South America, and Asia. When Consumer Vision was first created, our intent was not to make it a blindness magazine. I believe that all of us, blind or sighted, have a lot of other things in common, and every one of us is a consumer who has to deal with what life offers us on a daily basis. We are all people who happen to be in different situations, whether it' s blindness, deafness, arthritis, blond hair, employed, unemployed, black, Hispanic, or anything else.

I hope that we continue to move forward for a long time in the future, and continue to offer a quality magazine.

Warmest regards,

Bob Branco, Publisher

***

2. LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Dear readers,

Isn't it embarrassing when you know you should remember someone's name but you don't? Well, I'm going to share a memory trick that I like using. I think of a word that starts with the person's first initial, and the key is that the word has to say something nice about him or her. To give some examples, I would remember Bob Branco's name by saying, "brilliant Bob," and I would remember Leonore Dvorkin's name by saying, "likeable Leonore."

Recently, however, I found myself using the opposite of that memory trick when thinking of Hurricane Matthew. Instead of Matthew being magnificent or marvelous, that recent hurricane was monstrous and murderous. Because that severe storm caused such significant property damage and loss of life, my prayer as I write this is that all of our readers who live in the affected areas are safe, warm, and well. That prayer also goes out to guide and other service animals.

On a different note that takes us back to last month's Letter from the Editor, I promised that I would contact a retired rehabilitation teacher to get independent living tips for persons who are blind or have low vision. I will keep that promise once I get the retired teacher's e-mail address, and I look forward to sharing her tips. Any of you who have tips to share are certainly welcome and encouraged to do so.

On a final note, we recently had a reader who discontinued her Consumer Vision subscription on the basis that we were no longer blind"specific enough. While it's true that much of our focus is on individuals with blindness or low vision, we also have readers who are sighted. That said, I can't emphasize enough how much we value and appreciate our readers with all abilities.

Speaking of appreciating and valuing, I always appreciate, respect, and welcome your comments, feedback, and suggestions, so please keep them coming by phoning 412-263-2022 or e-mailing twinaught@comcast.net .

Thanks for reading with me, and may all of you be blessed with a Thanksgiving filled with

good food, even greater fellowship, and lots of love!

Respectfully submitted,

Terri Winaught, Editor

***

3. FIRE SAFETY IN THE HOME FOR THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED

by John Justice

There are three primary concerns when a fire starts in any home, regardless of the condition of its occupants.

Where is fire most likely to start?

If fire does occur, how do the residents get out safely?

How can the residents be warned in time?

WHERE DOES FIRE START?

In the area containing the heating system, in the area containing the washer and dryer, or in the kitchen.

SMOKE DETECTORS

The best defense against any fire is being notified when it starts. Smoke detectors in good working order can be life savers in an emergency. The best place for smoke detectors is either on the ceiling or no more than one foot from it. Most modern homes have eight"foot ceilings, so the detector must be at least seven feet from the floor. If the house has twelve-foot ceilings, the detector must be no less than eleven feet from the floor. Finding ceiling-mounted detectors can be difficult for a visually impaired resident. However, placing the detectors in such a way that the blind occupant can use other landmarks can make locating them easier and more reliable. For example, if the room has a light switch, the owner can draw a line from the top of the plate to the detector, which is mounted on the wall and well within the one-foot margin. In homes with higher ceilings, an aluminum ladder should be available for changing the batteries. Using a door frame as a landmark is also an effective locater.

Smoke detectors draw small amounts of air into a sensor. When a fire occurs, heat is generated, and smoke, being lighter than air, rises until it hits an impenetrable barrier, namely the ceiling. That is why the detectors must be mounted on or very close to the ceiling. When that sensor detects a certain level of carbon particles in one of the samples, the alarm is triggered. Even when that tone is sounding, the system continues to take samples of the air. When the count goes below a pre-set number of particles per cubic foot, the alarm will stop working. It is a good and reliable system, but there are some inherent problems. In the cleanest of houses, tiny pieces of dust, dog hair, and other foreign matter is floating around in any sample of the atmosphere. Eventually, the sensing device will clog with these elements and become useless. The best rule-of-thumb estimate is that no smoke detector will last longer than five years. This time frame changes drastically when there are people in the home who smoke or when there are animals in the house constantly. Dander is alive and well. Every fur-bearing animal generates dander to some extent. But even pet birds contribute to this floating menace, which can cause smoke detectors to become inactive eventually.

Mounting all the smoke detectors in the same configuration will assist the visually impaired resident. This means that the test button will always be in the same location and that anyone wanting to change the battery just turns the new detector to the right and it comes free of the mounting plate. Unlike older models, today' s smoke detectors are fitted with removable mountings and can easily be freed. The mounting plates are fixed permanently to the wall or ceiling. The unit itself can be removed by turning it in a clockwise direction. The detector can then be placed on a table where it is easy enough to remove and replace the battery.

Today' s detectors are fitted with a kill switch. As soon as the 9-volt battery is removed, all electrical connections are interrupted. The unit is completely inoperable. This small spring-loaded switch has to be pressed down before a new battery can be fitted. There is a pull tape which passes under the battery. To remove the battery in this kind of detector, the home owner just pulls on the tape. Some other types of detectors have doors that open, exposing the battery. And in one model we found, the operator presses on the battery panel and it clicks open. However, there is one common denominator here. Every model has that kill switch, which is either a small spring-loaded lever or relays which won' t make contact until the battery is present. For the record, the estimated life of a 9-volt battery in a new smoke detector is approximately one year. The fire department recommends that these batteries be changed after that period.

The modern smoke detector has unique and audible ways of informing the owner when a battery needs changing. The unit will emit a single loud beep at one-minute intervals until a new battery is installed. Only one type of 9-volt battery should be used in any smoke detector. The dry cell or nickel cadmium battery is the safest and longest-lasting choice. Although they are rare, the older batteries are still sold in some stores. They produce power by allowing acid to erode metal plates within the enclosure. There are several problems with this type of 9-volt battery. The chemical process involves sulphuric acid, which will, given time, create leaks in the outer casing. The contents will then flow slowly over the entire battery compartment. Acid, in any form, is very destructive. It will ruin parts of the detector and render it inoperable. This type of battery is much less expensive than the dry cell. Never use cheaper batteries in your smoke detector! Your life is too valuable to be lost over a few cents. The nickel cadmium 9-volt battery will fail eventually, but it will do so without causing any lasting harm to the device itself. But the designers of today' s modern smoke detectors have incorporated that warning system into every model.

The technology that goes into the design of smoke detectors is simple but effective. Today' s fire science recommends that a working detector be placed in every room of a home. Most people sleep on the upper floors of their houses. Most fires occur at night when the occupants are sleeping. If all of the detectors are in good working order, even the deepest sleeper will hear one of the alarms in time to react. In addition to detectors in each room, devices should be placed in any hallway which has access to lower floors. Smoke will move more freely in an area which has the best ventilation.

RESPONDING TO A FIRE

How does a blind person or a family with a handicapped member prepare for such an event? We recommend several courses of action. First of all, if the family is new in a neighborhood, contact should be made with the local fire and police departments. In most cases, a representative will be sent to the home. That trained fireman or policeman will determine the best emergency plan for each family. Once an emergency plan has been developed, each family member should memorize it. The most important thing to remember is to get away from the fire location as quickly as possible. As a general rule, take your cell phones and your guide dogs and leave the house by the closest exit. Once you are outside, you can then call 911 and inform the emergency personnel. Always state the problem clearly. Then, follow the police or fire dispatcher' s instructions to the letter. Note the key elements here.

Identify yourself and your address.

Indicate clearly your physical impairment and that of any other family member.

Explain the circumstances for your call.

Give the dispatcher your exact location.

Answer any questions he or she may have as clearly and concisely as you can.

Follow the dispatcher' s instructions as closely as possible.

TRAPPED ON AN UPPER FLOOR

If the fire traps you on an upper floor, close any intervening door. Then place a towel, blanket, or pillow at the bottom of the door and push it firmly into place. A wet towel is the most effective barrier to smoke. This precaution will prevent smoke from entering the room for as long as possible. Call the fire or police department. Follow the steps above, including telling the dispatcher where you are. As a part of your explanation, let the dispatcher know which room you are in, where it is with respect to the front or the rear of the house, and which floor you are on. Inform the dispatcher that you have guide dogs. Then go to the nearest window which is unobstructed, open it as far as possible, and lean outside. If the firemen can see you, they will set up a ladder and get you out of there.

As for your dogs, they are in the best possible place. As mentioned before, smoke rises. The area closest to the floor is the one which has the cleanest air. The firemen will get your friends out of there, too.

EMERGENCY ESCAPE EQUIPMENT

Emergency ladders are available for purchase. They hang from a window using metal brackets. They are extremely dangerous and can be deadly. Don' t be fooled by a well-intended sales person. If the chain or rope ladder isn' t anchored properly, it can shift or become detached from the window easily. The only safe emergency ladder is one which is mounted securely to the side of a house. Keep one thing in mind. If you use a ladder, there is no way to tell what is waiting for you on the ground. Fire doesn' t keep to set margins. It could have broken through the side of the home and you might descend right into it. You might feel the heat in time. But what chance does anyone have on an unsecured ladder with eighty plus pounds of dog on his or her shoulders? The best and safest course of action is to make sure that you are as secure as possible, then stay put and wait for the professionals. The open windows will provide you with an uninterrupted flow of clean air.

WHAT TO DO IN AN EMERGENCY

Always make sure that your air supply is clear and that the smoke from the fire is as obstructed as possible.

Notify the fire department of your address and precise location in the building.

Notify the fire department of the existence of any physically handicapped or blind occupants.

Notify the fire department of any animals, especially guide dogs, you may have with you.

Stay as close as possible to an unobstructed window.

Never jump from a burning building, even if you know the area.

Never move toward a fire.

Never attempt to deal with a fire yourself.

Never become separated during an emergency. Always stay together.

Take no action without carefully considering the consequences.

This article was intended as a guide, not a hard and fast set of rules. Your own situation might be quite different. The best tool in any emergency is common sense. The second best tool is an emergency plan that is simple and flexible enough for everyone to understand and act on.

Personal e-mail of John and Linda Justice: john_justice@verizon.net

Note: John Justice is the author of two works of fiction. Those are It' s Still Christmas and the longer book The Paddy Stories: Book One. Both books are in e-book and paperback formats, available from Amazon, Smashwords, and several other online sellers. Full details, free text samples, and buying links are at: http://www.dvorkin.com/johnjustice/

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4. MORE AWARENESS OF OUR COUNTRY IS NECESSARY

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

If you have nothing better to do today, take a walk through the streets of your city and ask 100 millennials a few questions about the history of the United States. I think you will be shocked at the number of these 20-year-olds who know nothing about our country' s founding, our Constitution, and other significant events which helped to shape the United States. Without this knowledge, how can these young people apply it if they want a future in government? How can they enforce a Constitution that they were never taught? Therefore, how does this help our country moving forward?

While listening to a syndicated talk show one afternoon, I heard such an interview. A reporter went to a beach and spoke to many young people about the history of the United States. I heard their responses, and I was appalled. Why don' t these kids know all the things we were taught in school?

This is an important segue into the root of the problem. You can' t blame these young people for not having enough knowledge about our government if it isn' t taught anymore. Yes, you heard correctly. A lot of schools no longer teach civics, U.S. history, and related topics. I don' t know why, and frankly, I don' t understand why. If we want to keep our freedoms and continue to run the country as our founding fathers wanted it to run, how effective will our future leaders be if they' re not fully educated about this topic? What are these schools thinking?

When I was in school 40 years ago, one of our teachers asked his students to stay after school and write down the first ten amendments of our Constitution as a form of punishment if they did something inappropriate. For many years I made fun of this punishment and thought it was stupid. However, the more I hear about the lack of knowledge that today' s generation has about this country, the more sensible I find this punishment to be, because it' s an educational punishment. We can' t continue leading this country if the United States Constitution is no longer an educational focus.

I want the United States Department of Education to get the message and to realize what is happening. We are not headed in the right direction if important information is not regarded as it once was.

***

5. WHAT GRINDS YOUR GEARS?

by Terri Winaught

Bridgeville, Pennsylvania is a community located to the west of where I live in Pittsburgh.

When I called a ranch in Bridgeville to arrange a horseback riding event for BOLD (Blind Outdoor Leisure Development), I was told that they were not "equipped" to host a group of people who are blind or have varying degrees of vision impairment. I was further informed that this venue's insurance would not cover something like this.

This company's refusal grinds my gears for several reasons. First, I see that refusal as a blatant violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Second, since when does a business have to carry "special insurance" to provide recreation to a population with disabilities?

To share any thoughts or experiences with me, you can reach me at 412-263-2022 or by e-mail: twinaught@comcast.net

***

6. IN DEFENSE OF THE USE OF ELECTRONIC DEVICES IN PUBLIC

by Leonore H. Dvorkin / C 2016

In the September 2016 issue of The Consumer Vision, there was an article entitled "Seven People in a Waiting Room." The author, Jane Kronheim, bemoaned the ubiquitous use of electronic devices (cell phones and tablet computers) in public spaces. She expressed a longing for older-style communication among people in places like waiting rooms and cafés: casual, friendly chats about sports, holidays, politics, etc. 

I submit this article in support of a contrary view. Although I myself am not a heavy user of such devices in public, my highly educated and tech-savvy husband (the author David Dvorkin) most certainly is, and I have gradually grown more accustomed to seeing such things in just about everyone's hands these days. They are used by toddlers, teens, and adults. Even many elderly people like and use them, as I witnessed the other day in my doctor' s waiting room; a man of at least 80 checked his smart phone and then chuckled merrily at whatever it was he was seeing there.

What might all those people be doing with those devices? Are they merely engaging in frivolous pastimes that do little more than cut them off from their neighbors? Most likely not. Here is a list of just some of the many things that people might be doing on their devices.

Reading the news, perhaps from all over the world, not merely what is printed in the local newspaper. There are a great many foreign periodicals that are translated into English every day and published online.

Getting the local weather report. With a special app, the seeker can find a weather report on his or her specific neighborhood, not just the metro area. The app can also give up-to-the minute warnings of things like coming storms, high winds, flash floods, smoke from nearby fires, and much more.

Doing homework on any level, from kindergarten to graduate school. Even if a student is not taking an actual online course, many teachers on all levels now assign homework that must be done online. Our son, who has a PhD in Bioinformatics and is a biomedical researcher, does most of his work on his computer, and he sometimes has to work more than 80 hours a week. I cannot imagine that he does not take advantage of every spare moment to work if he is required to wait for some long period of time in a public place.

Filling out online applications: for jobs, college you name it. Likewise, the person could be writing or updating his or her résumé. Or perhaps the person you see perusing his or her screen is reviewing the qualifications of prospective employees and is about to send an e-invitation to an interview to some fortunate and grateful recipient.

Reading magazines or books. My husband and I now do the vast majority of our news reading online. In addition, we love our Kindles for reading novels. Amazon allows downloaded e-books many of which are very inexpensive or even free to be read across all the devices that one might own: a Kindle e-reader, a computer, or a smart phone. The program keeps your place for you, so that whenever you access the book that you wish to continue reading, on whichever device you choose to access at the moment, you are taken right to where you left off. You can also adjust the type size and screen brightness, as well as engage the text-to-speech feature if you wish. Earbuds or headphones allow you to listen to text or music without disturbing your neighbor.

Writing email, articles, or even whole books. My husband is the author of 27 published books, and he's hard at work on book number 28. He often has his iPad or larger laptop with him, and if he has a long wait somewhere, he either reads or writes. Of course he will answer if anyone speaks to him, as he is never rude, but he prefers to be as productive as possible. He has zero interest in discussing things like sports with strangers. We also have a thriving business editing books by other authors; David often works on one of those books if he has the time to do so when out in public for long periods of time such as when waiting for his car to be serviced, as Ms. Kronheim was doing.

As for cell phone use, most younger people text. Sure, they might be writing something very superficial, but plenty of face-to-face chats are extremely superficial, too. Let' s not pretend otherwise. However, those people who are using their cell phones to text or telephone might be engaging in important communications indeed, even vital ones, with friends, family members, colleagues, employees, or employers. The observer has no reason to assume that the communication is frivolous; it could be quite the opposite. The person might be announcing the birth of a baby, responding to or communicating the news that a loved one is gravely ill or has died, responding to the offer of a longed-for date or job offer, finalizing the plans for a wedding or a funeral, or dealing with anything else that life throws his or her way.

These are just a few of the many useful and important things that people might be doing on those devices. The people are very far from dissolving and evaporating, as Ms. Kronheim put it. Instead, they are engaged and present in ways that could not have been imagined just a few years ago.

In fact, research tells us that people are reading and writing far more than they were before such electronic devices became common. To quote the author Anne Trubek: "If anything, we are in a golden age of writing. Most Americans write hundreds if not thousands more words a day than they did 10 or 20 years ago. We have supplanted much talking and phone calling with texting, emailing, and social media." (From an article by Sarah Begley, TIME Magazine, September 12-19, 2016, page 24.)

I can certainly attest to the validity of those statements. I write at least a dozen emails every day, some short and some quite long, to my friends, relatives, students, and editing clients in many states and various countries. Every Friday, I use Skype to give an English lesson to a woman in Tokyo. Since the advent of e-books, I' ve been reading many more books every year than I ever did before. David and I also use Facebook and Twitter, and we both have blogs. Of course, the torrents of junk email that we both receive every day can be beyond annoying. But overall, we feel that the many positives of our various electronic devices far outweigh the negatives.

Obviously, we have plenty of company!

***

7. DRIVERLESS CARS

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

There is a lot to be said about driverless cars that supposedly will be taking over our lives in the very near future. These amazing vehicles will not be operated by human beings, and will be programmed to take us wherever we want to go. Those of us with transportation issues, especially the blind, are encouraged to ride in these cars. After all, these cars are our saviors. They will know how to navigate on the road, know how to stop when they' re supposed to, know how to park, and know exactly where all the obstacles in the road will be.

Defenders of these cars claim that they are safer than those operated by humans because of human imperfection. There will be no one to fall asleep at the wheel, drive drunk, use a cell phone, or create road rage. What a wonderful car, right?

Think again. Remember that these so-called wonderful driverless cars, which are supposed to be saviors for anyone with transportation problems, are also fallible machines. Like today' s cars, driverless cars have to be taken to the shop for repair. Who is going to repair them? If I have to sit in a driverless car with no knowledge of how the car works, how would I know that there' s a problem? If the car is fully operated by computers, the problem won' t occur gradually. Furthermore, if I' m on a main highway, and suddenly the car' s sensors fail, how would I know? It' s likely that the car would crash or tumble into a ditch, and I would be too dead to do anything about it.

Defenders of driverless cars try to use the logic that we were once skeptical about today' s cars when we had horses and buggies. They also remind us how we were worried about microwave ovens and personal computers when they first came on the scene. Yet we accepted them as part of our lives. We can' t compare a personal computer to a driverless car. Think about how often our own computers crash or need work. Why wouldn' t a computer in a driverless car need work from time to time?

Then there' s the matter of insurance. If I own a driverless car, I would never be at fault if the car fails because the car will supposedly know what to do all the time. If there' s an accident, who would pay for damages to my car and injuries to me? Do I sue the manufacturer every time, as long as I' m still alive to sue?

I' ve been told that someday humans won' t be allowed to drive anymore and that we would either have to accept the driverless car or do a lot of walking.

Well, if that' s the case, I will walk a lot. I need the exercise.

***

8. FLORIDA HURRICANES

by Jose Tamayo

It simply started as usual in this part of the world. A hurricane brewing in the Atlantic is nothing that we are not used to. To give you some perspective, in 1992, Hurricane Andrew devastated south Florida like no hurricane had ever done. It was not expected, but it came through Miami like a monster uninvited. Homes were destroyed, plummeted to the ground; the place looked like a war zone. I remember walking out of my apartment building after the storm and seeing all the damage. No electricity, no water, nothing at all. It was a disaster zone. Electricity came back and the TV was back on. I was sighted back then. I watched as people went back to their hometowns to find nothing there. Homes were flattened to the ground. It looked like bombs had been dropped because everything was everywhere. People arrived back home to find rubble. But the human desire to survive is unreal; people began to rebuild. It took a long time to get back to some sort of normalcy. Hundreds of thousands of people were homeless. Many blamed officials for not being prepared for such an event. Building codes were brought into question because of the third-world appearance that we got as a result of this horrendous hurricane.

Hurricane Andrew had humble beginnings, starting off as a tropical wave right off the west coast of Africa. This hurricane led to massive evacuations across Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. Fifty-five thousand fled the south Florida Keys, 517,000 fled the Miami area, 300,000 left Broward County, and 315,000 fled Palm Beach County. The winds were at 165 miles per hour when the hurricane hit in Homestead, Florida. Tides were measured in Biscayne Bay to be as high as 17 feet. Almost eight inches of rain came down. There were about 26 billion dollars in damage in Florida alone. The hurricane destroyed more than 25,000 homes and damaged more than 100,000. Ninety percent of mobile homes were destroyed by the storm. In Homestead, only nine mobile homes were spared from over 1,100 standing before the storm. Over 160,000 residents became temporarily homeless. 1.4 million people lost electricity and 150,000 lost phone service. Seventy thousand acres of mangroves were damaged as well.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/21/20-facts-hurricane-andrew-anniversary_n_1819405.html

So, Matthew was slated to hit Miami, but we dodged a bullet. We were more prepared now than ever to ride out the storm. It passed us 40 miles east of the coast and dropped some rain and brought some wind, but that was it. The story is different for Haiti, where over 844 lives were lost, also for northern Florida. We are now moving forward and looking forward to the end of hurricane season. Hurricane Matthew has taught us yet another lesson: that we must be ready even if the storm takes a turn away from us. The worst is not to be prepared.

Proofreader' s note: To read a very moving personal story written by a Red Cross volunteer who helped after Hurricane Andrew, see Andrew' s Angels: A Volunteer' s Story of Hurricane Andrew, by Nancy D. Pelletier (C 2013). With photos; 312 pages. In e-book and paperback formats. For full details, a free text preview, and buying links, see http://www.dvorkin.com/nancypelletier/ 

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9. HAVING CONFIDENCE IN YOURSELF AND RECEIVING COMPLIMENTS FROM OTHERS

by Casandra Xavier

How do you feel about yourself? How do you feel when people compliment you?

I'm a young African American woman who is also educated. There are a few things about me that others may not know. I am exposing these things about myself because I want to resolve them. I've been told by people of both sexes that I'm an attractive person. I'm a confident person, but I don't coo over myself like most women my age do. I don't walk around exposing any skin, and I would never ask another person, "Hey, do I look sexy?" because I'll hear it flat out. I'm not conceited, either, but I know when I'm certainly looking appealing. I pay attention to the way I appear to others. To me, I just want to look like a human being. To others, I'm hot, sexy, gorgeous all of the above.

In total honesty, people make me blush every single time I get compliments. The blushing makes me want to vanish into thin air. It's so bad that they see me blush. Because they see that happening, they do it on purpose in order to make their day complete if they're around me. I'm 27 years old and I have a hard time accepting compliments about looking attractive. I feel like the times I blush so hard, it transpires through the phone. I need to bury my whole existence into a shadow. They'll seek me out to keep the blushing up.

I was at a wedding party, and I was surrounded by folks, and a woman came along to compliment me. As soon as she did that, everyone noticed and I uncontrollably blushed. She saw me blush and thought it was cute and kept it up. I wanted to disappear because everyone noticed and the compliments came pouring in. I'm a fedora hat and feather wearer, and that grabs all eyes from both sides. Wherever I walked, the attention grew on me. I figured I'd stop moving around when people wanted to be on my arm or vice versa. In other words, if I kept moving to different parts of the area, people would notice me more.

I don't mind the compliments because people are free to speak their minds. It goes one way or another. Everyone would either swarm around me or they don't even notice me. The times I go unnoticed are the times to be cool.

If I were married, I'd be a problem for my spouse. Either he'd be happy to see that I'm still attractive or be jealous. I don't know how I'd feel if I had a jealous or proud spouse. Maybe I'd blush until my cheeks lit on fire.

Lately, I've been attracting folks more than anything. They've all been cooing after me and wanting to see me without my sunglasses. I've been trying to stay tough about this, but parts of me want to squirm and vanish. I wear sunglasses because I don't wear my prosthetic eyes. I've been comfortable without them and just wearing sunglasses. One person made every attempt to catch me without my glasses and see my bare face. One day after months, she got lucky by surprise when I was not expecting. I didn't care. She was happier than someone who won a lottery of a million dollars over catching me without my sunglasses. On the inside I am squirming and wanting to vanish. The compliments fell in like a hailstorm in the middle of winter. All I heard was, "Ooooh, my goodness! You're so gorgeous!" That time would've been a perfect time to disappear.

My skin glows; according to those who describe me, I have a chocolate brown skin color that glows. The radiating glow is what attracted many men and women who get a good look at me. I have long dreadlocks that reach the end of my back, and there's a brownish red color on the ends. During the video chat, my skin and "prettiness" were the main and only subjects at the start of the conversation. Please do not take this as if I am being self-absorbed, because I am not. I've never been swaddled in compliments so much in my life. It was mind blowing, and of course, I wanted to vanish. I'm surprised that I have not melted yet.

Some folks only get on FaceTime with me just to see my "radiating" and "glowing" face. Either they're saying it on purpose or they mean it. I could never tell if someone was flirting. That is also one thing about me. I can't detect flirting for the life of me. It's the most awkward feeling ever when trying to know if someone is flirting. I'm the person that needs an outright approach. Otherwise, I'm bathed in perplexity about what's going on. I want to vanish into thin air.

While living in Minnesota, I would be in downtown Minneapolis with a few people streaming across the street behind me. These are complete strangers, as men and women talk about how pretty I am, telling me that I am too pretty or good looking to be blind. Yes, I am further more interested in my travel skills than I am about how I look. I could easily say, "I am a damn good traveler; I could go anywhere I want in the world," but would not brag about how I look. I'm more concerned about how smart I am and how much information I retain. I'm more concerned about being glad to say that I am a good person 98% of the time. The other two percent is from being grumpy in the morning, someone talking to me through my slumber, and I wake up to grumble at them. I ask them to leave me alone, wait until I get my Starbucks coffee. Even after my coffee, let it settle in for 15 minutes before coming near. I'm more concerned about being able to succeed in a world designed for sighted people. I'm worried about everything else but being cute and sexy. The looks don't remain the same, but the interior structure of your heart does.

How do I look? I'll ask the question to myself and never out loud. I'll say I look and feel very good on the inside, and that would carry on to the outside.

What's the first part of your face someone would compliment? I want you all to think about this the next time you speak to someone either over the phone or through video chat.

I take care of myself and I keep up with my hair and appearance. I'm not a dress or skirt lady. I wear slacks and shirts that cover. The last time I wore a skirt was for my 21st birthday. That night was a night never to be forgotten. I had random lap dances coming out of nowhere. The club shut down early for the night after some guy tried to fight another guy over a lousy dance with me. This incident was in Boston during the summer. So, I decided to rock the jazzy appearance, which consisted of being fully clothed and cool. Dressing well is what saved me from the random lap dances and bar fights. I'm honestly not saying this to exaggerate anything. I am being absolutely honest. I stopped going to nightclubs because I needed someone by my side at all times for security purposes. People were getting too grabby.

If you and your friends or sisters need to be escorted to your car each night you party, you probably should consider no longer going out to party in the clubs. I guess it would be time to host your own parties with people you know.

This is a slight exhibition of how I feel about compliments and having my own confidence. I would like to hear your stories and read into your perception.

***

10. DEAF OR BLIND?

by Ernie Jones

While you go about your daily life working, driving, caring for the house and children, watching TV or any other activity have you ever thought how life would be if one day you lost your hearing or eyesight? If told that you had to lose either your sight or hearing, which would you choose? Are there any advantages or disadvantages of one disability over the other?

I have not had a lot of experience with people who can't hear, but here is some of what I have learned. The deaf people I have been in touch with say they would rather not hear than not be able to see. They use their eyes to help them cover for not being able to hear.

On the other hand, the blind say it is better to hear than to be able to see, for they "see" much with their ears.

Sighted people can usually tell if a person is blind, as the blind person is being guided by another person, by a guide dog, or with the white cane. Those who are deaf may not even give a clue to their deafness, unless they are seen using sign language or don't acknowledge you speaking to them until you are right in front of them.

When out walking, those who are deaf may appear to be like everyone else. They stroll along as one who has no disability. They need no help at street crossings, don't hold a white cane, or need to be guided by a guide dog or another person. They see the street crossing signals and read the signs along the street. They enter stores with no hesitation, able to locate the items they are shopping for. They drive their autos, can travel alone, and are quite independent. They don't need a guide, and only use a cane if they also have some balance problem.

But the deaf don't hear the wind chimes in the breeze, don't hear the birds singing in the trees overhead, don't hear their dog bark a welcome, or the neighbor's cow bawling, or the flock of geese flying overhead. They don't hear the gurgling stream as it bounces over the rocks on its way to the valley below. They don't hear beautiful music ringing forth from the choir or from happy children singing Christmas carols. Their eyes have to do double duty, working for their ears, too.

People who are legally blind, but who still have enough eyesight to get around without aid in public, may be considered haughty when they don't wave to someone nearby. I found this out from a fellow church member. When it was known that my eyesight was failing and that I had to retire early, he came to me and said, "Now I understand. I was beginning to think you were a little stuck up, for the other day you walked right past me and completely ignored me."

I wonder how many other times I may have passed a person I knew and never greeted him or her.

I am very thankful I was not given the choice either to be blind or deaf, for I have no idea what I'd say. No one wants either disability. But speaking from blindness, I am thankful for my hearing. I am excited when in mid- to late winter I hear the red-winged blackbirds back in our area, for I know spring is coming. I enjoy being part of a choir or hearing others sing, and hearing an orchestra play. Yes, I am thankful I never had to make the choice; I am thankful I can hear.

Either disability may cause frustration and confusion when out in public, both for the individual and for others.

A friend of mine, Dick, who is blind, went out to eat with one of his friends, Larry, who is deaf. Noticing Dick's white cane, the server turned her attention to Larry, not knowing he was unable to hear.

Looking at Larry she asked, "Hello, what would you like today?" Then she added, "And what would your friend like?"

From his years of friendship with Larry, Dick had picked up some sign language, and also understood his attempts at speech. So as the waitress spoke to Larry, Dick repeated with sign language to Larry what she had asked. Larry answered Dick in his not-so-clear voice what he wanted, after which Dick explained Larry's order to the server.

It became a game for the two men until at last the waitress got the message. She learned that being blind didn't make Dick so he couldn't talk or that his brain wasn't working well. Nor does being deaf make the person of less worth.

Remember, both the deaf and the blind can have important roles in the community.

Have a great day and please take time to see and hear.

Ernie Jones

Author of Onesimus, the Runaway Slave

Encouraging the Blind

Greater love hath no man than this.

www.villageadventist.org/watch-live

www.bmt.tv/ernie

***

11. THE BIG QUESTION

by Bob Branco

I have decided to bring back an old feature: the Big Question. While drafting the November edition, I sent out a question to our subscribers, hoping that we would get quality answers to be published. The question that I asked was,  How do you feel when you witness someone talking about their personal problems on the cell phone in public? Here are some of the responses that I received. If your response didn' t make it, it was because there wasn' t enough space. We do apologize, but this was a very popular question.

***

Bob,

There is a victim in today' s society. That is an appreciation for privacy. Some would say that this invaluable commodity no longer exists due to the increasing involvement of electronic communications. It is getting to the point that younger people don' t expect privacy and it is no longer a primary concern for them.

We think that the practice of broadcasting personal information to anyone is rude and unnecessary, but younger people just don' t care. As members of the older generation, we expect and even demand privacy at certain times. When someone else doesn' t share that view, it makes us uncomfortable. It becomes very unpleasant. A young woman was standing at the train station waiting for the next scheduled arrival. She was talking to someone and telling him/her that she couldn' t come over that night because her  friend (monthly cycle) had arrived. That was the last thing I wanted to hear. Yet, she didn' t seem to care who might be listening in on her conversation. There is no way I would ever expect my wife to say something like that out in the open.

John Justice

***

Hi, Bob.

When I hear people discussing personal information in public on their cell phones, I say to myself, "Thanks for sharing, but I could have lived without knowing all of that. That's way too much information (WTMI)!"

Terri

***

Hi, Bob,

I, for one, think it is in very poor taste to talk about things that are so highly personal. I feel it's one thing to talk about light-hearted things in public, but not personal. That's how I feel. Thank you for letting me voice my opinion.

Jo

***

Hi, Bob,

I hate it! I probably do it also but am very aware of it when I take personal calls in public. I try to make it very brief, and say, "I'll call you back!"

Bonnie

***

Hi, Bob,

I think not only is it rude to others around them, but it speaks about the character of the person sharing those private items. I would hope none of those people were my friends, as I would wonder what about me they would share that I told them in confidence.

Judy

***

Hi, Bob,

I feel awkward and embarrassed. I really don't want to hear someone's personal business if I'm sitting on a bench in the sunshine or in the laundry room. It's as if they aren't aware that others can hear every word.

Valerie M., New Jersey

***

Hi, Bob,

I feel disgusted when people discuss highly personal matters on their cell phones while in public places. Nothing's taboo anymore, seemingly.

It's bad enough when they talk about toilet habits or gross topics like how operations on them went, but I feel sickened when they talk about sex and their own revenge on people. It's worst of all when a person's on a bus and can't get off.

People use such foul language too. Everything's f___ this and f___ that.

It's like these oafs have no consideration for others and they're off in their own little world.

A clever person could record that and blackmail them with it or report those people to the police if it's a drug deal. Doubtless they'll wonder how the cops found out and still remain clueless.

Sincerely yours,

author Bruce Atchison

***

Hi, Bob,

To me, it's a no-brainer. If people who share personal matters on their cell phones in public don't worry about others overhearing them, then why should I? It's none of my business. I have better things to concern me.

Abbie Johnson Taylor: http://abbiescorner.wordpress.com

Note: Abbie Johnson Taylor is the author of the recently published book My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds. In e-book and print from Amazon and other online sellers. For full details, see http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com/memoir.htm 

***

Hi, Bob,

It makes no difference to me.

Joe Machise

***

Hi, Bob,

I think that taking care of one' s business and blurting out information which is nobody else' s business is extremely uncouth and shows a blatant lack of manners.

Mark Blier

Sierra Vista, Arizona 

***

Hi, Bob,

First of all, people have no idea how loud they speak on a cell phone. So yes, I have heard people broadcast their latest sexual conquest across the room and was embarrassed for them. Then there are those who do not speak English, but swear constantly in their conversation. Then there are those talking to themselves who walk up quickly behind me and scare me that they are having some sort of breakdown talking to themselves. I feel very ill equipped to help them cope better, so pull off to the side and let them pass. So actually I am happy for those who quietly tweet to their friends.

For a while we had a smorgasbord of ring tones, from cats purring to metal music so loud the shingles shook in terror. So glad that has become less and less of a nuisance.

Becky

***

12. THE GREATEST GIFT

by Michael Soares, with James R. Campbell

This story is a loving tribute to a remarkable woman, as told by her husband. It is a story of undying love and commitment that will last through the ages.

At the time they met, Mike was working as a dishwasher at Epcot Events near Orlando, Florida. Susan was working for the Department of Children and Family Services in Jacksonville. A mutual friend brought them together. Phone conversations were followed by a personal visit to Jacksonville. Mike relocated so that he could be close to Susan. A whirlwind courtship led to the couple' s marriage in June 2006.

Mike is legally blind; he also has a learning challenge. His new bride taught him the daily living skills he needed to survive.

 I learned everything I know from her! Mike said.  She had more patience than most. She knew how to help me. For that, I am grateful.

Sue loved sci-fi books and movies. She was a devotee of Star Trek and Ghost Adventures, a show on The Travel Channel. Mike told me they could watch movies for hours. She loved to crochet, cook, and read. She had wide-ranging musical taste, especially for  60s and  70s music. Her favorite artist was Kenny G.

Susan and Mike were active members of the LDS church in Jacksonville. Sue had a long history of helping those in need. Many people benefitted from her help.

Sue lost her job at the Department of Children and Family Services after 20 years of service. She became depressed. She and Mike turned to each other for comfort. They lived on disability and relied on their faith to get by. That faith was tested yet again in April 2007, when Sue was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis. She was a diabetic, and the Avandia the doctors prescribed had destroyed her liver. Yet, she carried on as best as she could. When Mike was diagnosed with diabetes in 2012, Susan helped him alter his diet accordingly.

Ultimately, the autoimmune hepatitis proved lethal. Sue Soares died peacefully at home at 6:35 p.m. on August 20, 2016. She is greatly missed by those she touched in life.

Love is the greatest gift, and it is free. There is no doubt that the love these two people shared will burn as an eternal flame that will last through the years.

***

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

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

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! As I write, my thoughts are on our celebration of Halloween. While my 7-year-old son, Zachary, goes trick or treating with his sister Katrina, I will be sitting on the front porch handing out treats with a short essay I've written about why I'm blind. In years past, it has been a microwave popcorn packet and a hot chocolate packet. I'm not sure what treats I'll be handing out this year. If it's bad weather, I will have close to 75 trick or treaters. If it's a good weather year, the number increases to 150. We have so many kids, it's easier for me to just sit on the front porch and wait. It's an activity my guide dog Bryanna and I enjoy. I allow the children to pet her if they would like. That's a bonus.

With Thanksgiving come preparations for holiday shopping, especially on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I've been known to wait till December 22nd to order things from amazon.com.

I'm not particularly attached to celebrating Christmas on December 25th, so it works for me. Sometimes I like to take advantage of the after-Christmas sales and celebrate our Christmas on Russian Christmas, which happens to be my son Eric's birthday. In January, he will be 18.

Beware of stocking fees when you return a big ticket item. Zachary's dad just bought a brand-new computer through Amazon eTECH. There was a problem with it, so he returned it. They claim they have fixed the problem, and because they have to sell it as used, he can agree to pay for shipping back to him or pay the company $76. I've heard of stores charging restocking fees, but it has never happened to anyone I knew. When he returned the item, we had no idea that there would be such a fee.

There's no need to buy a big-ticket item to contribute to someone's joy. One of my favorite presents from last Christmas is the Perfect Brownie Pan, which I received at the Golden Triangle Council of the Blind Christmas party. Our limit for spending is $10. I usually go a little over, and I always get something practical to give away. The Perfect Brownie Pan really does work, baking your bar cookies into perfectly formed squares. No need to worry about cutting.

Other baking products I love are metal measuring cups, metal measuring spoons, and silicone bakeware. There' s no need to spray the muffin pan, loaf pan, or pie pan. When the baked goods are done, they slip out with great ease.

Besides baking, cooking, and shopping, a lot of people travel. I already bought tickets for my son Isaac to come home from Chicago. I was able to get a ticket from Chicago to Pittsburgh for $42 in December in the middle of the week, and the way back for $49 in January, on Southwest Airlines. I was tempted to buy the tickets when they were each $74 one way, but I waited a couple of weeks, and by chance, I was able to snag a good deal. I love Southwest Airlines because they don't charge extra for two checked bags. I did find out that they do not sell blankets and pillows on their flights. When I travel next time, I will bring my blanket that folds and zips to become a pillow.

I hope you have been able to make good use of many of my tips.

May you travel safely, find lots of great bargains, and enjoy your family and friends. If you have a few minutes, please write to me at goodthaimom@gmail.com . It is always a blessing to hear from you!

***

14. RECIPE COLUMN

by Karen Crowder

The month of November brings colder weather with the end of another foliage season in New England. This year, Thanksgiving occurs on November 24, with a longer holiday season.

Jo, who lives on Cape Cod, contributed a recipe for Jo's Turkey or Chicken Leftovers. The dip and cranberry-orange relish can be prepared throughout the holiday season.

Note: In the October recipe column, I made an error on the chocolate chunk cookies. There are one stick of margarine and one stick of butter in the batter. I apologize for the oversight.

 

CONTENTS

a. Easy Vegetarian Dip

b. Cranberry-Orange Relish

c. Jo's Turkey or Chicken Leftovers.

***

a. Easy Vegetarian Dip

This dip has always been a hit with my family and friends.

Ingredients:

One container Cabot or other brand vegetarian dip

One 24-ounce or two 12-ounce containers sour cream (preferably Cabot)

 You can add a dash of Worcestershire Sauce.

Method:

Empty the container of vegetarian dip and container(s) of sour cream into a medium-size stainless steel mixing bowl. If you are doing so, add Worcestershire sauce at this time. Stir the ingredients for three minutes with a plastic stirring spoon. Transfer vegetarian dip to a large plastic container with an airtight lid. Refrigerate it until serving time. This dip is delicious with crackers, chips, or raw vegetables. Your guests will enjoy it while watching the football game or the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

***

b. Cranberry-Orange Relish

This cranberry-orange relish was one of many recipes given to us in our home economics class at Perkins. My mom and I made it before Thanksgiving in 1969 with a meat grinder. When preparing it for the holidays at our home in Fitchburg, I used a food processor. I often gave jars of the relish as gifts to my family and friends during the holidays.

 Make it several days before Thanksgiving or Christmas. This allows the flavors to set. If you are giving it as gifts, use clean glass jars. Use the relish within a week.

                                       

Ingredients:

One 1-pound bag cranberries

Two medium oranges

One and three quarters or two cups granulated sugar.

 Method:

Rinse cranberries, and then put them in the container of a chopper or food processor. Put the cover on the container, then press the button several times to grind the cranberries. If you have a small chopper, put the already prepared cranberries into a large mixing bowl. You do not need to proceed with this step if you have a larger food processor. Add the two oranges with the peels. Grind with a few pulses until mixture is blended with the cranberries. With a smaller chopper, you must do this step separately after grinding all the cranberries. Put relish in a large stainless steel mixing bowl. Add sugar and stir it with a plastic or metal stirring spoon until fruit relish is thoroughly blended. This step will take three minutes. Pour the relish into a large plastic container. Refrigerate relish until serving time. Serve this delicious relish alongside turkey or chicken.

Any leftover relish should be refrigerated and used within a week.

***

c. Jo's Turkey or Chicken Leftovers

Jo Smith from Cape Cod kindly gave me this delicious recipe. It has been part of her family's holiday celebrations for years. It is a wonderful way to use leftover turkey or chicken after Thanksgiving.

 Ingredients:

One pound cooked and cut up turkey or chicken

One 12-ounce can peas and carrots

One 10-ounce can cream of chicken or chicken mushroom soup

One medium onion, chopped

Two tablespoons butter or margarine

One can frozen biscuits.

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a nonstick skillet, sauté onion in butter or margarine for five minutes. Add turkey or chicken. After sautéing for three minutes, add vegetables and soup. Let mixture warm for three minutes. Put mixture into a pie pan or 9x9 inch metal or glass pan. Top with the biscuits. Bake casserole for 30 minutes. Jo says this dish has been a big hit at her house. She says you can put butter on the biscuits if you take them off your serving of the casserole. The recipe for cranberry-orange relish is a great addition when serving this casserole.

The relish and dip are easy to transport to the nearby home of any friend or relative.

The recipe for cranberry-orange relish can be found in the 1979 Fannie Farmer cookbook. The leftover turkey or chicken dish can be found in the 2001 All Time Favorite Recipes. Over this title, it says, "Grandma's Casseroles." However, the original name for this recipe is chicken and biscuits. Jo changed the recipe, using leftover turkey or chicken.

 I hope all Consumer Vision readers have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving and holiday season.

***

15. CHINESE RESTAURANT HUMOR

by John Justice

I was working in a factory in Newark, New Jersey many years ago. Music had let me down, as it often did, and I had no choice but to do something to bring in money for food and rent.

About two blocks from the factory was a small local Chinese restaurant. I have always enjoyed good Chinese food, so I would stop there occasionally to eat dinner before taking the bus home. There were times when I was the only customer, and I got to know some of the staff. At first, they were reserved and barely spoke to me, but after a while, one of the men would come and talk to me while I waited for my meal. They asked many questions about why I would use a dog to get around rather than a white cane. I explained the advantages patiently and after a while, everyone knew about my dog.

One day, a new waiter joined the staff. The manager spoke to me and asked me to participate in a joke they were going to play on the new man. I agreed readily. A few minutes later, the waiter brought out my fresh pot of tea. One of the kitchen staff said something to him, and apparently he looked down. The sight of Star lying under the table must have been a real shock. He dropped the pot and ran into the kitchen. Fortunately, he was far enough away that neither Star nor I were splashed by the hot tea. The laughter came pouring out of that kitchen!

I had learned very early that the Chinese mustard should only be used sparingly, if at all. Although it looks completely harmless, that mustard is very hot!

One day, a customer came into the restaurant while I was there. He tried to act as if eating Chinese food was something he did every day, but his comments soon told everyone that he didn' t know a thing about that kind of cooking.

He ordered eggrolls and asked the waiter which of the two sauces would be best. There was duck sauce, a mild sweet addition, or the Chinese mustard. The waiter didn' t have too much to say about either of them. Finally, the man took a teaspoon and put quite a bit of the mustard onto his eggroll. I heard the waiter speak to his friends and soon, several of them were looking out of the kitchen doors. That man took his first bite and his eyes practically crossed. He tried to hide his reaction, but it was hopeless. He put down the eggroll and uttered one hoarse word.  Water!

Once again, the kitchen was filled with laughter.

There is a moral to this story. Listen to what your waiter tells you about dishes you have never tried before. And never think that Chinese people don' t have a sense of humor. They do!

Personal e-mail of John and Linda Justice: john_justice@verizon.net

***

16. LITTLE POLITICALLY CORRECT RED RIDING HOOD

Submitted by Alan Dicey

(Author unknown but not entirely. See the note at the end of the story.)

There once was a young person named Little Red Riding Hood who lived on the edge of a large forest full of endangered owls and rare plants that would probably provide a cure for cancer if only someone took the time to study them. Red Riding Hood lived with a nurture giver whom she sometimes referred to as "mother," although she didn't mean to imply by this term that she would have thought less of the person if a close biological link did not, in fact, exist. Nor did she intend to denigrate the equal value of nontraditional households, although she was sorry if this was the impression conveyed. One day her mother asked her to take a basket of organically grown fruit and mineral water to her grandmother's house.

"But Mother, won't this be stealing work from the unionized people who have struggled for years to earn the right to carry all packages between various people in the woods?"

Red Riding Hood's mother assured her that she had called the union boss and gotten a special compassionate mission exemption form.

"But Mother, aren't you oppressing me by ordering me to do this?"

Red Riding Hood's mother pointed out that it was impossible for women to oppress each other, since all women were equally oppressed until all women were free.

"But Mother, then shouldn't you have my brother carry the basket, since he's an oppressor, and should learn what it's like to be oppressed?"

Red Riding Hood's mother explained that her brother was attending a special rally for animal rights, and besides, this wasn't stereotypical women's work, but an empowering deed that would help engender a feeling of community.

"But won't I be oppressing Grandma, by implying that she's sick and hence unable to independently further her own selfhood?"

Red Riding Hood's mother explained that her grandmother wasn't actually sick or incapacitated or mentally handicapped in any way, although that was not to imply that any of these conditions were inferior to what some people called "health."

Thus, Red Riding Hood felt that she could get behind the idea of delivering the basket to her grandmother, and so she set off.

Many people believed that the forest was a foreboding and dangerous place, but Red Riding Hood knew that this was an irrational fear based on cultural paradigms instilled by a patriarchal society that regarded the natural world as an exploitable resource, and hence believed that natural predators were in fact intolerable competitors. Other people avoided the woods for fear of thieves and deviants, but Red Riding Hood felt that in a truly classless society, all marginalized peoples would be able to "come out" of the woods and be accepted as valid lifestyle role models.

On her way to Grandma's house, Red Riding Hood passed a woodchopper and wandered off the path in order to examine some flowers. She was startled to find herself standing before a wolf, who asked her what was in her basket.

Red Riding Hood's teacher had warned her never to talk to strangers, but she was confident in taking control of her own destiny and chose to dialogue with the wolf. She replied, "I am taking my grandmother some healthful snacks in a gesture of solidarity."

The wolf said, "You know, my dear, it isn't safe for a little girl to walk through these woods alone."

Red Riding Hood said, "I find your sexist remark offensive in the extreme, but I will ignore it because of your traditional status as an outcast from society, the stress of which has caused you to develop an alternative and yet entirely valid worldview. Now, if you'll excuse me, I would prefer to be on my way."

Red Riding Hood returned to the main path and proceeded toward her grandmother's house. But because his status outside society had freed him from slavish adherence to linear, Western-style thought, the wolf knew of a quicker route to Grandma's house. He burst into the house and ate Grandma, a course of action affirmative of his nature as a predator. Then, unhampered by rigid, traditionalist gender role notions, he put on Grandma's nightclothes, crawled under the bedclothes, and awaited developments.

Red Riding Hood entered the cottage and said, "Grandma, I have brought you some cruelty-free snacks to salute you in your role of wise and nurturing matriarch."

The wolf said softly, "Come closer, child, so that I might see you."

Red Riding Hood said, "Goodness! Grandma, what big eyes you have!"

"You forget that I am optically challenged!"

"And Grandma, what an enormous what a fine nose you have!"

"Naturally, I could have had it fixed to help my acting career, but I didn't give in to such societal pressures, my child."

 And Grandma, what very big, sharp teeth you have!"

The wolf could not take any more of these species-ist slurs, and, in a reaction appropriate for his accustomed milieu, he leaped out of bed, grabbed Little Red Riding Hood, and opened his jaws so wide that she could see her poor grandmother cowering in his belly.

"Aren't you forgetting something?" Red Riding Hood bravely shouted. "You must request my permission before proceeding to a new level of intimacy!"

The wolf was so startled by this statement that he loosened his grasp on her. At the same time, the woodchopper burst into the cottage, brandishing an axe.

"Hands off!" cried the woodchopper.

"And what do you think you're doing?" cried Little Red Riding Hood. "If I let you help me now, I would be expressing a lack of confidence in my own abilities, which would lead to poor self-esteem and lower achievement scores on college entrance exams."

"Last chance, sister! Get your hands off that endangered species! This is an FBI sting!" screamed the woodchopper, and when Little Red Riding Hood nonetheless made a sudden motion, he sliced off her head.

"Thank goodness you got here in time," said the wolf. "The brat and her grandmother lured me in here. I thought I was a goner!"

"No, I think I'm the real victim here," said the woodchopper. "I've been dealing with my anger ever since I saw her picking those protected flowers earlier. And now I'm going to have such a trauma. Do you have any aspirin?"

"Sure," said the wolf.

"Thanks.

 I feel your pain," said the wolf, and he patted the woodchopper on his firm, well padded back, gave a little belch, and said, "Do you have any Maalox?"

Proofreader' s note: The above version of this story seems to be an adaptation of the version in Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, by James Finn Garner. Copyright 1994 by James Finn Garner. Published by Macmillan Publishing USA.

 

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17. THE CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST

Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the October Consumer Vision. The two main ingredients in a martini are gin and dry vermouth. Congratulations to the following winners:

Mark Blier of Sierra Vista, Arizona

Mike Cataruzolo of Watertown, Massachusetts

David Faucheux of Lafayette, Louisiana

Terri Winaught of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Jo Smith of West Dennis, Massachusetts

Don Hanson of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

And now, here is your trivia question for the November Consumer Vision. Who sang the 1997 hit song  Barbie Girl ? If you know the answer, please email bobbranco93@gmail.com or call 508-994-4972.

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18. BOOK SIGNING NOVEMBER 17, 2016

Author Ann Chiappetta will be holding a book signing to launch the release of her new poetry collection, UPWELLING: POEMS.

The event will be held from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. in Yonkers, New York.

Address: Westchester Disabled on the Move, Inc., 984 North Broadway, Suite LL-10, Yonkers, NY 10701.

Bring your copy for Ann to sign, or purchase the book for $8.00, cash only.

Light refreshments will be served. To find out more, please contact the author at 914-393-6605 or ann.m.chiappetta@gmail.com

Ann' s book can be purchased in electronic and print versions. For full details and buying links, go to http://www.dvorkin.com/annchiappetta/

Special thanks to WDOMI for donating the meeting space; to Albert Rizzi, founder of My Blind Spot (www.myblindspot.org) for donating the refreshments; and to The Westchester Disability Advocacy Partnership (WDAP) for their support in promoting this event.

 A brief synopsis of the book:

Guide dogs, death, and a disturbing dream. Marriage, memories, and intriguing mysteries. Eroticism, abortion, and a wonderfully poetic essay. In this collection of 23 of her short poems from several decades, Ann Chiappetta explores an enormous range of emotions and topics. These poems may variously pierce your heart or warm it, surprise you or amuse you. But they will surely move you and make for lasting memories.

Edited by David and Leonore H. Dvorkin
Cover by David Dvorkin

 

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19. PROOFREADER' S CONCLUDING NOTE

Bob, Terri, and I apologize if there are any typos or other errors that remain in this issue. We all work for many hours every month to bring you the best, most informative, and most accurate issue that we can put together. There are always references to be checked, and there are numerous general writing and spacing issues to be dealt with. All of us do our level best, and we very much appreciate all our loyal readers and our talented contributors. Keep up the good work, and we wish all of you a joyous holiday season. 

Leonore Dvorkin

Email: leonore@leonoredvorkin.com

Website: http://www.leonoredvorkin.com/

Blog: http://denverspanishtutor.blogspot.com/