THE CONSUMER VISION
 
February 2021
 
Address: 359 Coggeshall St., New Bedford, MA 02746
Phone: 508-994-4972
Email address: bobbranco93@gmail.com
Website: www.consumervisionmagazine.com
Publisher: Bob Branco
Editing and proofreading: David and Leonore Dvorkin
Formatting: David Dvorkin
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
In this Table of Contents, three asterisks *** are used to separate the title of each article from its author. In the same way, three asterisks *** will be used to separate articles to make using your browser’s search feature easier. If any of you have screen readers that make searching difficult or undoable with asterisks, please let us know not only that, but also if three number signs ### would be easier. If you are a screen reader user for whom neither symbol works, please let us know what works best, and we’ll do our best to accommodate.
 
In columns like Special Notices, Readers’ Forum, and Recipes from Karen Crowder, letters of the alphabet—A, B, C, etc.—are used to separate items.
 
1. HEALTH MATTERS: The Impressive Benefits of Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) *** by Leonore Dvorkin
 
2. TECH CORNER: Virtual is Not a Dirty Word *** by Stephen Théberge
 
3. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: Of Mayhem and Remembrance *** by James R. Campbell
 
4. A WORD ABOUT SPORTS: Early 2021 Resembles 2020, to Our Sorrow *** by Don Wardlow
 
5. WEATHER OR NOT: The Tempests of Tomorrow, Part 3 *** by Steve Roberts
 
6. SPECIAL NOTICES
 
7. TURNING POINT: More About Warmlines *** by Terri Winaught
 
8. MY LIFE DISABLED *** by Trish Hubschman
 
9. THE NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION CONTRADICTS ITSELF *** by Bob Branco
 
10. THE HANDLER’S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs *** by Ann Chiappetta, MS.
 
11. AUTHORS’ CORNER: Two New Books and Some Notes *** by Leonore Dvorkin 
 
12. DO WE ALWAYS HAVE TO SAY WE’RE BLIND? *** by Bob Branco
 
13. TERRI’S TIDBITS *** by Terri Winaught
 
14. TIPS FOR VIPS (Because Visually Impaired People Are Important, Too) *** by Penny Fleckenstein
 
15. RECIPE COLUMN *** by Karen Crowder
 
16. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST
 
***
 
1. HEALTH MATTERS: The Impressive Benefits of Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA)
by Leonore H. Dvorkin, 1/25/21
Email: leonore@leonoredvorkin.com
I welcome comments on any of my articles.
 
Source:
“Top 10 Ways Alpha-Lipoic Acid Restores Health,” by Liz Mueller
Natural Grocers Health Hotline magazine, February 2021, Vol. 43, pp. 11-13
Also consulted: WebMD and other online sources
 
My husband, David, has been taking ALA for several years, but I started taking it only recently. By chance, I happened to see this magazine article the very same day I started taking the 300 mg capsules: two per day with food and water, Swanson Vitamins brand, $12 for 120 capsules, less if on sale. What I read was extremely encouraging. Here are the main benefits listed in the article, with the information condensed.
 
a. Fighting metabolic syndrome: This is a cluster of dangerous conditions: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess fat around the waist, and high cholesterol and/or triglyceride levels. This potent antioxidant has been shown to improve insulin resistance, lower blood sugar, and lead to weight loss. An effective amount of ALA appears to be 200-600 mg per day.
 
b. Blood sugar support: In a 2018 study of 1,245 subjects with metabolic disorders, ALA was found to lower fasting blood glucose and insulin, reduce insulin resistance, and lower blood HbA1c concentration, which is a marker of glycemic control over the past few months.
 
c. Type-2 diabetes: A 2006 study revealed the dramatic effects of supplementing with ALA on improving insulin sensitivity in overweight adults with Type-2 diabetes. 600 mg twice daily produced significant improvements in just four weeks. A separate placebo-controlled study showed that ALA reduced blood glucose levels by 10 to 30 percent.
 
d. A healthy weight: ALA encourages healthy weight loss and weight maintenance by supporting energy production and metabolism. A 2018 study showed that ALA supplementation resulted in reductions in weight and body mass index (BMI). Studies have used doses from 300 to 1,800 mg per day. One study showed promising results with just 300 mg per day.
 
e. Liver health plus detox support: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, NAFLD, is a condition in which too much fat is stored in liver cells, and it’s become the most common form of chronic liver disease in the developed world. It can be caused by obesity, Type-2 diabetes, and eating poorly, especially foods containing high-fructose corn syrup. If left untreated, it can lead to cirrhosis, hardening of the liver. ALA has been shown to protect the liver in cases of NAFLD by reducing inflammation and oxidative damage in the liver. Studies investigating ALA’s effect on NAFLD have used 1,200 mg of ALA per day.
 
f. Brain health plus neuroprotection: ALA readily crosses the blood-brain barrier. In the brain, it neutralizes the damaging effects of oxidative stress and improves energy production in the brain. It supports healthy brain aging and mental sharpness and reduces the symptoms of dementia. Studies indicate that it’s effective for neurological and cognitive support and helps maintain memory and mental sharpness throughout the lifespan. It may even help guard against Alzheimer’s. In one study, 600 mg per day given to Alzheimer’s patients for 12 months resulted in a stabilization of cognitive functions. Animal studies have shown that ALA reduced brain damage after a stroke. Other studies have shown that ALA can improve motor-impairment symptoms related to Parkinson’s disease.
 
g. Nerve health: Up to 50 percent of diabetic patients develop diabetic neuropathy: pain, loss of sensation, and weakness, particularly in the lower extremities. Studies have shown good results for patients with diabetic neuropathy with 600 mg of ALA per day. It’s so effective that in Germany, it’s approved as a treatment for the disorder. It has also been shown to promote nerve regeneration and the reduction of inflammation after severe nerve injury.
 
h. Immune system health: Mounting evidence shows that ALA can support all immune cells. It restores and improves normal function to immune system cells like natural killer cells and regulates the body’s immune response to certain viruses, including the common cold and flu viruses. It’s also been shown to inhibit the replication of HIV.
 
i. Restore taste and smell: Italian and British researchers gave ALA to 44 patients from 18 to 67 years of age. After 60 days with 600 mg of ALA per day (200 mg three times a day), the patients either completely regained their sense of taste or showed marked improvement. Ninety-one percent reported at least some improvement. A separate study showed dramatic effects of the same dosage of ALA (600 mg per day) on patients 22 to79 who had lost their sense of smell following a viral respiratory infection.
 
j. Autoimmune support: ALA has been shown to be beneficial in certain autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. A study of MS patients found that 1,200 mg of ALA daily for two years reduced brain tissue loss and improved the subjects’ walking speed.
 
My comments:
 
While the range of listed benefits may seem all but incredible, my further research on various online sites, including WebMD, backed this article up. Some sites even listed additional benefits, including improved skin health, improved cardiovascular health, and the slowing of the aging process. I invite you to do your own research. Just do a Google search on “benefits of alpha-lipoic acid” (or “benefits of ALA”), and many articles will pop up.
 
The introduction to this article also stresses the importance of good diet, which is defined as eating more vegetables (preferably organic), eating reasonable amounts of healthy fats like olive oil and avocado oil, eating protein from humanely raised and grassfed animals, and reducing refined carbohydrates, sugar, and vegetable oils. Try to avoid highly processed foods, which usually contain both refined carbohydrates and unhealthy oils.
 
Due to my own health issues and certain aspects of my genetic inheritance, I’m glad to have read all this about ALA, and I feel that I’m doing myself a big favor by adding it to my regimen of supplements. An update from February 3: My A1C has already dropped a little, which is very good news. I’ll be happy to report on any more results later.
 
About the Author
 
Leonore H. Dvorkin is the author of four published books and numerous articles; most of the articles are about health, fitness, and nutrition. She also has decades of experience as a tutor of four languages and as an instructor of exercise classes, mainly weight training. Since 2009, she and her husband of almost 53 years, David Dvorkin, have been running DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services. The majority of their many clients are blind or visually impaired.
 
David is the author of 33 published books and numerous articles. Both David and Leonore write fiction and nonfiction.
 
The Dvorkins invite you to visit any of their websites for more information about their books and services. Their most basic aim is to provide excellent, comprehensive service at very reasonable rates.
 
David Dvorkin: http://www.dvorkin.com/
Leonore H. Dvorkin: https://www.leonoredvorkin.com/
DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services: https://www.dldbooks.com/
 
***
 
2. TECH CORNER: Virtual is Not a Dirty Word
by Stephen Théberge
 
Someone recently told me that they didn’t like using the word virtual when describing a meeting or other event held in such a fashion, as they felt it meant it was not real. Not liking the word does not make the fact any less so. If I dislike being referred to as blind, that will not change the fact that I still am so.
 
Looking up the word “virtual” gives us many meanings. The one that struck me in terms of this conversation comes from dictionary.com:
 
Existing, seen, or happening online or on a computer screen, rather than in person or in the physical world
You can take a virtual tour of the museum before your visit.
I've started working out with a virtual personal trainer.
 
I am certainly as upset as anybody else that we can’t meet physically, as we used to before the virus struck, but meeting with people virtually is a treat. I don’t understand objecting to calling it virtual, and it’s very real. I’ve taken virtual classes and tours and had a virtual graduation from the Carroll Center in June 2020. As the director of the center pointed out, calling it a “virtual graduation” somehow seems to make it feel less real, but as she also pointed out, for the attendees of the ceremony, it was indeed real.
 
In the strict definition I quoted above, one might see it as merely something having to do with a computer or computer screen. Technically, a smart phone is a form of computer. The real power of this definition is the part that says, “...rather than in person or the physical world...” which really opens a lot of possibilities. Even though we may be separated by continents, even if we’re using Zoom, we’re still in the physical world. We’re just not in close proximity. I suppose one could argue that one of the major virtual events that may have actually not taken place in the physical world was the first manned Moon landing, as the Moon may not be technically part of our world.
 
Virtual events have been going on since ancient times. One could argue that the putting down of words on paper or animal skins is a virtual representation of a writer’s thoughts or speech. Writing, performing music, dance, and other arts are really virtual representations of the artist’s thoughts. It is just as real as if you were there and they were speaking them to you.
 
It’s certainly upsetting to watch sporting events without actual fans in the stands, but here again, these events have been listened to and watched virtually for decades. Since Marconi invented radio and television took off, things have been witnessed virtually for decades. This is true of live sporting events, watching the New Year come in at Times Square, and even Presidential inaugurations. How many of us have done these things in person? Why does our new high-tech equipment change the virtuality of an event? Even before that, well before the internet, the use of a telephone was one of the biggest virtual inventions.
 
One could argue that with computers and smart phones, the use of a camera makes things that are virtual more real. In the “old days,” we didn’t get to see faces. I’ve heard stories of people attending meetings at work online and getting to see their boss in a bathrobe. I don’t think that back when we were growing up in the ’60s, we would have said that a long-distance phone call to a relative was not real. We wouldn’t have said we were meeting our grandmother virtually, either. People who use chat lines wouldn’t say they were not really socializing, even though it’s still a virtual meeting. Calling learning remote does not make it less real.
 
A good alternative, for people who so dislike the V word, would be “in essence.” We didn’t use the V word in the old days when we listened to radio shows like Top 40, sporting events, and the like. That’s also true for television. With the advent of the online options, we have so many choices to have real connections with a multitude of people who share common interests. I’m not a fan of doing things remotely in the age of Covid-19, but I am thankful that we didn’t live through the type of pandemic of 100 or more years ago. In those times, quarantine was much more traumatic. People had to travel great distances, and instant communications were not an option. I would agree that a group of people can meet and pretend to have a gathering in a restaurant at home. It’s not a real gathering, as it used to be, but just different than what we used to have. I know all the writers in Consumer Vision in a virtual sense, not having met most of them, yet it’s no less real than having them read to me in person. It’s just different.
 
Let us hope that by summertime, we’ll be able to meet in person and have fewer virtual meetings. Stay safe and healthy.
 
Follow me on Twitter at @speechfb
Read and post on my writer’s blog: http://blinderwriterweb.wordpress.com
Check out my coming of age science fiction novel The MetSche Message and its sequel The MetSche Maelstrom at https://www.dldbooks.com/stephentheberge/
Watch my Youtube channel. Many blindness-related issues, and the latest Branco Broadcasts.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQbs0c1vLDuYmb08okZSk8g/videos
 
***
 
3. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: Of Mayhem and Remembrance
by James R. Campbell
 
Five dead in D.C.
 
This should have been the front-page headline in every newspaper and online publication for January 7, 2021. Unfortunately, the deaths of Ashley Babbitt and three others during the melee at the United States Capitol are relegated to the lower shelf of coverage as the great ruckus over who bears responsibility for initiating the confrontation rages.
 
Congress had planned to meet, as it does every four years, to certify the winner of the latest Presidential election. That was the intent, and this exercise in democracy would have been an ordinary part of the process, except for one thing. Many Republicans in the House and Senate wanted to challenge the validity of the electoral votes that gave our new President-Elect the White House in lieu of what they and tens of millions of voters have come to conclude was a rigged election.
 
The Trump campaign has alleged that irregularities were rampant. Hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots were thrown out, representatives from the parties were not allowed to supervise the recount in many places, and the Democrats even went so far as to register deceased individuals in many precincts, all according to President Trump.
 
The Democrats have the support of a large number of officials and journalists who are convinced that there is no evidence of voter fraud on a scale that would invalidate the Biden-Harris win on November 3. According to them, the entire narrative from the Trump team is a conspiracy theory designed to upend a legitimate expression of the will of the people.
 
The Democrats accuse Donald Trump of obfuscating the process, refusing to share vital information with Biden’s incoming cabinet, mounting endless court challenges, and appealing to state legislatures to recount the ballots in their jurisdictions.
 
Every effort that the Commander-in-Chief has made to investigate the chance that this election was stolen has been shot down by the Supreme Court. With legal options dwindling, he urged his supporters to turn out to add their voices to those in power who were brave enough to question the results of the November 3 turnout. Hundreds of thousands came to the Capitol to make their grievances known, which it is their right to do, but somewhere along the way, the crowd was infiltrated. Those infiltrators rushed the Capitol, disrupted Congress while it was in session, and fought with Capitol police. One woman was shot and killed, and three other persons died of medical issues during the public outburst.
 
Now questions are being raised: Why was security so lax in light of the rally? Perhaps one reason may be the changing attitude toward law enforcement. The movement to defund the police has taken root and gained momentum due to the constant flood of reports of brutality and senseless killings of blacks and other minorities by cops. Could it be that the Capitol police officers were afraid to be more aggressive in the face of such accusations?
 
Both President-Elect Biden and President Trump appealed for peace after the riot. Meanwhile, the news media are fighting among themselves. Does that sound familiar?
 
CNN aired a broadcast that claimed that a coup was under way to remove the President-Elect before he took office. This was aired on Newsmax TV last evening. NBC and the mainstream networks are calling what happened yesterday an insurrection. Tucker Carlson of Fox News told his viewers in tonight’s broadcast that yesterday’s mob action was a legitimate protest that got out of hand because of interference from outside agitators. “The people who engaged in the violence we saw yesterday do not represent America. They broke the law, and they must pay,” the outgoing President said.
 
Even as we speak, some are calling for Trump’s removal from office through the 25th Amendment, which provides for the removal of the nation’s leader if he or she is unfit due to mental or physical illness.
 
It has been said that riots and revolutions are the language of the unheard. Many feel that the voices of those who believe the election was snatched by the Democrats have been unanswered. This may have led to yesterday’s events.
 
It is my position that any person or group on either side who fomented or directly participated in the uprising in Washington yesterday defeated the purpose of the effort to dispute the election results. These people have forgotten the values that represent the best that our nation can be. A Japanese sage once said: “There is no such thing as a pure or impure land that exists outside the minds of the people. If their hearts are pure, so is their land. If their hearts are impure, their land will be impure also.”
 
That being said, all of us would do well to remember the spirit of Dr. King and Mahatma Gandhi. Would they have approved of what we witnessed? We know the obvious answer: They would not. Let me close with the final statement from Lester Holt of NBC Nightly News for January 7: “Good night. Take care of yourselves and each other.”
 
As always, thanks for your time.
With loving kindness,
James R. Campbell
Campbelljamesr1968@gmail.com
 
***
 
4. A WORD ABOUT SPORTS: Early 2021 Resembles 2020 to Our Sorrow
by Don Wardlow
 
I’m sure we all hoped 2021 would be a better year than 2020. Initial hopes were dashed on January 6 with the attempted insurrection at the Capitol building. And while the rest of the world returned to some version of normal after that horrible day, the world of sports continues to be a confused shambles. After seven baseball Hall of Famers died in 2020, three more have passed away at press time. Longtime Dodgers’ manager Tommy Lasorda was first, followed by Dodgers’ pitcher and Braves’ broadcaster Don Sutton. On January 22, the man I still consider the home run king, Henry Aaron, passed away at age 86. The day after, Larry King was lost at 87. King was the only Covid victim in the group.
 
While Larry King never played any pro sport, he was a huge fan and welcomed athletes on his radio show, then on his TV show. He was a boyhood chum of Sandy Koufax when they grew up in Brooklyn. I called his radio show when he was interviewing the maverick umpire Ron Luciano, author of The Umpire Strikes Back. If there’s a funnier book about the umpire’s job, I haven’t found it. R.I.P., Larry King.
 
While college football managed an orderly end to its season, college basketball has been and still is in disarray. Smaller schools, like my alma mater, Rowan University in New Jersey, have had to cancel their basketball seasons entirely. Around the country, the number of games a team has played varies wildly. The Big 10 conference has cancelled countless games on the women’s side. On the men’s side, the University of Michigan has postponed all games until sometime in February. It isn’t just the players catching the disease. University of Texas men’s coach Shaka Smart and Baylor women’s coach Kim Mulkey have both come down with it, causing their teams’ games to be postponed or cancelled. While you can’t expect young athletes to follow the rules, I would have expected better of their coaches. Both Duke and University of Virginia have cancelled their women’s teams’ seasons entirely. Nearer to where I call home, Rutgers hasn’t played a women’s game since January 3 and won’t until at least February 7. Somehow, their men’s team hasn’t had a postponement yet.
 
In my opinion, college hoops should be shut down for the season. I wouldn’t have been in favor of this move a year ago, but over 400,000 Americans have died since last March, and that would give anyone pause. The NCAA isn’t ready for such a radical move. As of January 19, their plan was for the men to hold their entire tournament in Indianapolis, and the women to hold theirs at a site to be determined, with San Antonio, Texas, as the front runner. The suits in charge (the ones who rake in all the money) feel the risk is lower if all the teams are in one location. That makes sense, as long as no player goes out to a bar, hangs with somebody who’s sick but isn’t showing symptoms, then returns to his team hotel. The biggest outbreaks in baseball in 2020 were caused when players left the team hotel and went to parties or strip clubs. And major league players are (theoretically) adults. College students are that much more likely to kick over the traces.
 
As for spring sports, college baseball, which normally opens the first weekend in February, won’t do so this year. At the earliest, college baseball will begin on Friday, February 19. The major leaguers can’t agree, as usual. Teams playing in Arizona have asked MLB owners not to allow players to go there, owing to high levels of Covid-19 there. MLB says, at least as of now, that training camps will open on time in both Florida and Arizona.
 
In sum, early 2021 hasn’t shown much of an improvement over the year just passed, bringing death and disarray to the sports world. I only hope that starting in February, we’ll see a brighter day.
 
***
 
5. WEATHER OR NOT: The Tempests of Tomorrow, Part 3
by Steve Roberts
 
The Great Winter Hurricane: A Climate Change Calamity
 
What Is the Great Winter Hurricane?
 
The Great Winter Hurricane is a superstorm that stalls for a lengthy period of time due to persistent blocking high pressure to its north. This truly great tempest could stall out for 24-48 hours or longer. In the worst case scenario, this storm could stall for 100 hours.
 
The Great Winter Hurricane will produce a widespread snowfall of 2-4’ per hour. There may be locally heavy snow bursts that produce snow of 3-6’ an hour. These heavy snows will be whipped around by winds of 75-100 mph. These ferocious winds could blow the snow into tremendous drifts that are as high as 20-30’. Within thundersnow squalls, winds could reach or exceed 100 mph.
 
The Great Winter Hurricane could produce widespread thundersnow activity. Under the right conditions, this superstorm could go on to be an electric snow blitz. Should this take place, we could be looking at widespread snowfalls of 3-6’ an hour or more, with winds that are well in excess of hurricane force.
 
The fierce winds of this great tempest will roil the seas. This superstorm could cause the seas to build to heights of 40 feet or more. The huge waves of this great tempest could devastate properties along the shore during this storm’s multiple high tide cycles. When all is said and done, the Great Winter Hurricane would bury the urban corridor beneath 6-10’ of snow. There is even the potential for more than that if the storm stalls for a long enough period of time.
 
Would we be forewarned?
 
A tempest like the Great Winter Hurricane would be predicted many days before it assaulted those of us in the Northeast United States. If the Great Winter Hurricane were predicted to occur on a Monday, you would start to hear television meteorologists discuss this storm on the previous Monday, if not sooner. This storm would be way out by Hawaii when TV meteorologists began to discuss its potential impacts on the urban corridor.
 
Initially, there would be great uncertainty about how the storm would impact the region. The Euro model might portray a stronger storm that stalls for a shorter period of time. The American model might predict a weaker storm that stalls for a longer period of time. These model differences may have meteorologists puzzled as to what guidance to use. By Thursday or Friday, the models will come into agreement, allowing meteorologists to speak with more certainty when discussing this storm and its impact.
 
Great Winter Hurricane Warning Shots
 
A storm like the Great Winter Hurricane will not just come out of nowhere. The circumstances conspiring to develop this great storm will evolve over time. As nor’easters and the highs that block them each become stronger, the standoffs resulting from their abutment will become increasingly lengthy and violent.
 
A Great Winter Hurricane warning shot is defined as any nor’easter or snowbomb that stalls because of blocking high pressure. A progressively moving nor’easter that deposits 12-18’ of snow may go on to produce 20-30’ of snow because it stalls for six hours. Great Winter Hurricane warning shots may themselves be historic. If you had a storm that produced as much snow as the Blizzard of 1978 and the Great Blizzard of ’78 combined, that storm would be a Great Winter Hurricane warning shot. It may take 15-20 years of climate change, but the Great Winter Hurricane will strike!
 
Note: Steven P. Roberts is the author of the nonfiction book The Whys and Whats of Weather (2014) and a weather-related novel, The Great Winter Hurricane (2015). For full details, see his website:  https://www.dldbooks.com/stevenproberts/
 
***
 
6. SPECIAL NOTICES
 
From Bob Branco, Publisher
 
Please join our podcast mailing list! Each week, Peter Altschul and I record a podcast called In Perspective, where we invite special guests to talk about their projects, professions, and other issues that benefit our listeners. Sometimes, Peter and I discuss a topic by ourselves. You are welcome to appear on our show, and we would also like you to subscribe to our mailing list free of charge. If you would like to receive copies of our show each week, just send a test email to bobbranco93@gmail.com, and I’ll see that it's done. If you want to participate in any episode of In Perspective, we can send you a Zoom invitation. Also, if you have a topic that you feel would be beneficial for our listeners, please indicate your interest in appearing on In Perspective. You can email bobbranco93@gmail.com or call 508-994-4972. To check out a previous episode of In Perspective, go to www.brancoevents.com and click on “In Perspective Podcasts.” At that point, you will see a list of archived shows from latest to earliest.
 
Here is a list of guests for the months of February and March 2021, along with dates and times of the recordings. Please note that the start time is 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
 
Friday, February 5, panel discussion, the role of vocational rehabilitation counselors, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, February 12, Clifford Wilson, blind attorney, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, February 19, Father Jamie Dennis, Parochial Vicar of Blessed Mother Catholic Church, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, February 26, Former Congressman John Leboutillier, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, March 5, Jonathan Gale, Disability Policy Specialist/Consultant, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, March 12, DeAnna Quietwater Noriega, author of the new memoir Fifty Years of Walking with Friends, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, March 19, Peggy Chong, the blind history lady, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, March 26, Alan Dicey, past president of the Blind Chess Association, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, April 2, Ray Irving, digital voting and music, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, April 23, Deborah Kendrick, author of When Your Ears Can’t Help You See, 5:00 p.m.
 
***
 
7. TURNING POINT: More About Warmlines
by Terri Winaught
 
In the December 2020 issue of Consumer Vision, I mentioned that a warmline is similar to a suicide hotline, except that one doesn’t have to be in crisis to phone a warmline. Having also mentioned that warmlines exist nationwide, I said that I would start providing information about warmlines in Massachusetts, since so many readers, including publisher Bob Branco, live in that state. Beginning then with Boston: Their warmline was established in 2009, and their toll-free number is 877-733-7565.
 
When that warmline got started, they were initially open only three afternoons a week, but I wouldn’t be surprised if their hours have expanded during the past 11 years.
 
Again, what makes warmlines turning points is that one needn’t be in crisis to call them; they are often staffed by persons with lived mental health experience, and they are sometimes funded by reinvestment dollars generated by the savings that are accrued from state psychiatric hospitals being closed. Although states still operate some psychiatric hospitals, the number of facilities has dwindled significantly by operating on the premise of how much better it is when people can receive community support that enables them to be reintegrated into an out-of-hospital setting.
 
If you would like me to feature a warmline in your home state, feel free to reach out as follows: Work phone: 412-488-4912.  Cell: 412-595-6187.  Home phone:  412-263-2022.
Email me at: twinaught@pittsburghmercy.org
Or send braille letters to: Terri Winaught, 400 Cochran Road, Apt. 409, Pittsburgh, PA 15228.
 
Next month, I’ll not only give more details about the Boston warmline but will also provide information about additional Massachusetts-based warmlines.
 
Terri Winaught
TWinaught@pittsburghmercy.org
 
***
 
8. MY LIFE DISABLED
by Trish Hubschman
 
First published in Recovering the Self / Journal of Hope and Healing, December 22, 2020
 
I’m deaf/blind and have walking/balance issues. I have a progressive neurological condition. Nobody has ever been able to figure out what it is. I’ve been to countless neurologists over the years. They’ve put me through the same battery of tests, but no one’s been able to come up with a diagnosis. I have my own theory. I presented it to the last neurologist I went to. She didn’t agree with me, but my theory makes more sense than anything else. I was diagnosed with optic atrophy of the eyes when I was 18 months old. This condition is called optic atrophy 1 (OPA1).
At two years of age, I contracted a staph infection and was hospitalized for 10 days. I think the gene that caused the optic nerve damage altered and caused the other disabilities.
 
I know I didn’t have a hearing or walking problem early on. In the 1970s, I watched a lot of television. I sat on the floor close to the set because of my vision loss, but I don’t think I had any trouble hearing it, nor did I turn the volume up. The result of watching TV and imitating what I heard is that I have a good speaking voice and an imagination. I also read a lot and had my nose close to the book.
 
When I was around 10, my folks noticed something odd about my hearing and walking. I got my first set of hearing aids (HAs) when I was in fourth grade. It was a horror story. There was too much screeching noise. Nothing made sense. I spent more time trying to hide from everyone because sound coming in was physically painful. Nothing positive came out of those hearing aids. I took them off, and that was the end of that. I was labeled lazy and in my own world after that. In sixth grade, I started writing poetry and short stories. I was content, though lonely. I was shy, and it was easier and safer being alone than having to try to explain my disabilities to people, especially when I didn’t understand them myself.
 
Teachers kept saying things like, “You wear glasses. Why can’t you read the chalkboard?” Or, “You should get hearing aids. They’ll help.” No, they wouldn’t. I have nerve damage. I needed clarity in hearing, not volume. Hearing aids could only amplify sound. I knew this but couldn’t explain it to people, and I didn’t have a solid doctor’s diagnosis to back me up. That came around 2000. I have auditory neuropathy, a slow-moving auditory nerve. Sometimes the signal gets in. Sometimes it doesn’t. This means that sometimes I’ll hear something and sometimes I won’t.
 
I graduated high school, went to college, then got a job as a typist with a New York State agency and got married. In the mid-1990s, I started looking into getting a cochlear implant (CI). That would improve clarity of sound, not just amplify it. I went to several Ear, Nose and Throat doctors. They said my hearing was too good to qualify me for the CI. I protested. We were in a quiet room and I could still see faces. Visual clues are important for people with hearing loss. I was referred to Helen Keller National Center on Long Island’s North Shore. I was again fitted for hearing aids, which were useless. HKNC was too far from where I lived, so I was sent to a college closer to my home to see the audiologist. Finally, I found someone who gave me the name of a CI doctor. In October 2002, I underwent my first CI surgery. The doctor messed up. I was now deaf in my left ear and had no CI. Two years later, I had the surgery at New York University hospital with a fantastic surgeon. I’ve had two upgrades of the external CI device called a speech processor. The CI isn’t perfect, but it works better with my type of hearing loss.
 
The vision disability that I started out with has progressed, but very slowly, along with the two disabilities that I wasn’t born with, the hearing and walking issues. I don’t watch TV anymore and I can no longer see print on a page, but I listen to audio books and continue to write poetry and stories.
 
About the Author
 
Trish Hubschman is the creator of the Tracy Gayle mystery series, which includes TidalwaveStiff Competition, and Ratings Game. She also writes short stories, poetry, creative nonfiction, and articles. She is a graduate of Long Island University’s Southampton Campus and has a B.A. degree in English-Writing. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Kevin, and their miniature German Shepherd mix dog, Henry. Her website, with full information about her books, is https://www.dldbooks.com/hubschman/
 
***
 
9. THE NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION CONTRADICTS ITSELF
by Bob Branco
 
As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, sports leagues have to be more creative about how to approach their activities. For the most part, they have done a good job managing the situation. However, I take issue with one professional sports league that seems to be contradicting itself, whether it knows it or not.
 
The National Basketball Association started its season two months later than usual because the previous season ended much later than normal due to the temporary shutdown of sports. This year, the NBA wants to make an effort to protect its players from the Coronavirus, or so they say. Teams are playing back-to-back games in various cities in their own conferences so that they’ll spend less time traveling. That sounds reasonable. The more time players remain in a specific location, the less likely it is that they’ll be at risk.
 
However, while the NBA went out of its way to schedule back-to-back games in these cities, teams are traveling across the country to the other conference, making stops in various cities to play one game. Think about how much of a contradiction this is, and how the NBA is defeating its purpose. While the Celtics played two consecutive games in Indiana and two consecutive games in Detroit, the Toronto Raptors, who were forced to play their games in Tampa, because Canada is not letting in teams from the United States, went on a road trip to Phoenix, Sacramento, Golden State, and Portland. The Raptors are only playing one game in each of those cities and had to travel thousands of miles.
 
In my opinion, the NBA did not send the proper message to its players. In fact, they should have scheduled their games the way the National Hockey League is doing it. Each team in the NHL is playing games against just their division, which limits travel dramatically. The message is quite clear: Stay in your own division, no matter how many games you play against a given opponent.
 
The contradictory behavior by the NBA serves as another example of much of society not taking pandemic regulations very seriously. These regulations are not always consistent, and it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about sports, school, dining out, or anything else. We have to be much more consistent about pandemic regulations if all of society will properly get the message.
 
Originally published in Bob Branco’s blog. To subscribe to his blog, go to www.brancoevents.com/category/recent-news
 
***
 
10. THE HANDLER’S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs
by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.
 
Winter greetings to all. By the time you read this, January will be behind us. Here in New York’s lower Hudson Valley, we are experiencing milder weather, with periods of rain resulting in less snow and ice. One thing that seems more frequent is windstorms and tidal flooding. It reminds me of the weather pattern that caused major damage to the harbor towns nearby during the mid- 1970s. One storm pushed the rogue ice and tides so high that most of the boat yards lost the boats that were in winter storage on cradles. They were lifted free by the floods and were found floating in the harbor.
 
I don’t wish for this to repeat itself but do wish that this pandemic would resolve soon. The concern for our dogs is not being able to get out and guide us. Prior to Covid, when we felt a little bored in the winter, we would meet in a mall for a walk and coffee, or go to lunch and do a little shopping, then return home. It kept my dog and me active. Now, though, well, going to the doctor is exciting. So much has changed, and I wonder how many of the changes will become part of the post-Covid routine. Only time will tell.
 
Our family snapshot has changed, too. We lost my first guide dog, Verona, last May, and a few months later, we gained a new cat. His name was Noodle, but we just call him Kitty. Really, that’s his name. Since, like our other cat, Papa, he grew up with our dogs, we have cooperation 95% of the time. The dogs respect the cats, but sometimes the cats get a little uptight with one another. That’s when May noses them apart like the kitty referee. Bailey stays out of it, preferring to rest on the couch. He does like to be rubbed on and seems to understand not to chase the cats. Kitty visits when April, our daughter, comes over a few times a week. He loves to ride in the car and drapes himself over her shoulder whenever possible. He plays fetch, too. I wonder who taught him that?
 
Find me and my four books on the web: www.annchiappetta.com or read my blog at www.thought-wheel.com
Subscribe to my monthly email list: AnnieSharesNews+subscribe@groups.io
My DLD Books URL is https://www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta/  There you will find full information about all my books: cover images, synopses, free text samples, direct buying links and more. My fifth book, a novel, will be published sometime in 2021.
***
 
11. AUTHORS’ CORNER
 
A. The Pond’s Reflection: Finding Frannie
A novel by Mary Alice Baluck
 
In print and e-book from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online sellers. 484 pages in print.
Copyright 2021
 
Cover image, full synopsis, free text sample, direct buying links, and author bio:
https://www.dldbooks.com/marybaluck/
 
At age 23, Frances Louise Carter falls blindly in love with handsome David Kuspin. There are plenty of red flags, but Frannie ignores them. After a year of going together, they plan to be married.
 
On her wedding day, Frannie feels no love and affection from David, and on her wedding night, she definitely does not feel cherished. The scales have fallen from her eyes. She now knows that the man she married is not the one she loved. She rises early, writes a letter of explanation, and leaves the hotel to catch a bus home.
 
Thus begin two years of soul–searching and introspection. Frannie does much of this sitting by a peaceful pond, talking to the ducks. They become her most trusted confidantes. Emerging at last from her emotional cocoon, she’s invited to go fishing with an acquaintance and ends up falling deeply in love once again. Hank Childers becomes the true love and center of her life—not least because he loves the ducks as much as she does.
 
Frannie’s heart is always open and vulnerable when it comes to family affairs. That begins with her parents and her older sister, Pat. Pat’s husband and his parents, Hank’s parents and his two younger siblings—all play major roles in the story. The members of the three families all share in each other’s joys, successes, failures, and eventual grief.
 
The many twists and turns will keep you reading to the healing conclusion. Enjoy the book!
 
For those who cannot see the cover image: It shows a young man and woman sitting on a bench by a peaceful, sun-lit duck pond with their backs to the viewer. The woman has red-brown hair, as Frannie does, and the man is wearing a baseball cap. His right arm is around her shoulder. The cover image was supplied by the author’s daughter, Linda Pompeii.
 
Mary Alice Baluck, now 93 years old, lives near Youngstown, Ohio. Her first novel was Heaven’s Doorway (2020). The dramatic story is set in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and it features three strong women in three countries: Ireland, Canada, and the U.S. Lake Erie plays its own prominent role in the novel. Details are on the author’s web page, linked to above.
 
B. Fifty Years of Walking with Friends
by DeAnna Quietwater Noriega
C 2021
In e-book and print from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online sellers. 271 pages in print.
Full details, including cover image, synopsis, author bio, direct buying links, and free text preview: https://www.dldbooks.com/dqnoriega/
 
More than half of this eloquent, informative book is devoted to the author’s first guide dog, Tammy, and it soon becomes plain why. As the dog matured from beginning guide to seasoned veteran, the author went from starting college to embarking on her long marriage and her impressive working life.
 
Each of the author’s nine guide dogs thus far is described in loving detail: what it looked like, what unique personality traits it had, and why it had to retire from guiding. Age, illness, a tragic accident, and more—each required a return for the author to The Seeing Eye ®, the country’s oldest guide dog school. The beautiful German Shepherd pictured on the cover of the book with the author is her ninth dog, Enzo.
 
In prose and poetry, Noriega describes not just her loyal canine companions, but also the family she was born into, her children and grandchildren, details about her years in college as a blind student, and her subsequent work experience. While she accentuates the positive, she does not shy away from letting us know that there have been more than a few negatives in her life, too, including episodes of abuse and discrimination.
 
Experienced guide dog handlers will find much here that is movingly familiar to them. Those who have never walked beside such a marvelous companion will benefit greatly from learning what the dogs are trained to do, how they need to be cared for, and how observers should and should not interact with them. Touches of humor lighten almost every chapter, and the book ends with three imaginative, amusing skits in which the players are all guide dogs.
 
DeAnna Noriega and her husband, Curtis, currently live in Columbia, Missouri.
 
C. Notes from Leonore Dvorkin, Editor, DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services:
 
DeAnna Noriega, whose new book is summarized above, received a wonderful note from Dr. Kathryn D. Botsford, who works for the American Printing House for the Blind. Dr. Botsford plans to use DeAnna’s book in a course she teaches for new teachers of children with blindness.
 
Also, Trish Hubschman, author of the Tracey Gayle mystery series and of entry #8 above, “My Life Dasabled,” has reported to me that she only recently started listening to e-books from Amazon and Smashwords. She has found the sound quality to be excellent: better, in her opinion, than for the books from Bookshare. This was good news for my husband and me, as all the books that we edit and get published are in print and e-book formats from Amazon and in e-book format from Smashwords. Some of our clients’ books are also on Bookshare and BARD, and a very few have also been professionally recorded and are for sale on Audible.           
 
***
 
12. DO WE ALWAYS HAVE TO SAY WE’RE BLIND?
by Bob Branco
 
For over three years, I, along with several other sports fans, have been recording a weekly podcast called Sports Round Table. Some of us on the panel are blind, while others are sighted. Obviously, it doesn’t matter if we’re blind or sighted. We still know sports.
 
One of our major responsibilities is to market and promote the show as much as possible. So far, we’re heard on several internet radio stations and on a chat line bulletin board.
 
Recently, I contacted the director of a local radio reading service about including Sports Round Table as part of their program schedule. Keep in mind that this radio reading service offers material for blind listeners, including major newspapers, radio shows, and other beneficial information. When I introduced Sports Round Table to the director, he had a lot to say about it. For one thing, he regards Sports Round Table as a regular sports show. Where there are many similar shows all over the country, he felt that we were too average to be part of his program schedule. However, he said he would consider airing the show on one condition. Those of us who are blind must identify ourselves as blind sports panelists on the air. I guess it doesn’t matter how average our podcast appears to be. If we introduce ourselves on the air as blind sports talk hosts, it indicates to the radio reading service that blind people are doing things for blind listeners.
 
As for identifying ourselves as blind people on the show, I have a problem with that. Why should it matter that we’re blind? Despite our blindness, we’re capable of doing ordinary things. Think about how this sounds: “Welcome to Sports Round Table. My name is Bob Branco, and I’m blind.”
 
When I ask you if we always have to say we’re blind, it doesn’t mean that I don’t think we should accept our disability. It means that we are ordinary people who conduct ourselves normally. We just happen to be blind. What if we were Black, Jewish, or homosexual? Would a radio station want us to identify ourselves as such when we only talk about sports?
 
For the most part, I understand where the Radio Reading Service director is coming from. He runs a service for blind people, so he needs to prove that his programs and services are defined specifically that way. However, if Sports Round Table is too ordinary for his service, why should it make a difference if the panelists are blind or sighted? It’s still regarded as an average show.
 
We, the blind panelists on Sports Round Table, have decided not to identify ourselves as such on the air, meaning that we are moving on from that particular radio reading service. In my opinion, it isn’t worth the extra effort and energy to be included on the radio reading service just so we can say we’re blind people on every episode of Sports Round Table. There are many other media outlets that we can approach without this added condition.
 
***
 
13. TERRI’S TIDBITS
by Terri Winaught
 
Hello, Consumer Vision readers.
 
I was in utter disbelief when I last talked with a friend and former colleague who said that he knew nothing about the January 6, 2021 would-be insurrection in Washington, D.C. Rude though it was to ask him, “What rock have you been living under?” I couldn’t imagine that there was anyone who didn’t know about and therefore wasn’t saddened by the violence, injuries, and deaths that made January 6 of this year “a day that would go down in infamy.”
 
As for former President Trump’s feelings about losing, no one likes to lose, especially something as important as a presidential election. If there was any possibility that the November 3, 2020 election could have been rigged and therefore fraudulent, it’s only right that ballots needed to be recounted. What was horribly wrong, however, was the bullying and pressure that went on for months, in some cases even culminating in death threats. Given the extent to which inflammatory rhetoric kept being spewed like the poison it turned out to be, no one should have been totally surprised by what happened in our Capitol on that fateful day. While the first Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to free speech, freedom of the press, and the right to assemble freely, that can never be misinterpreted as the right to use anarchy and hate speech to overthrow the democratic republic that America is.
 
As for impeaching Donald J. Trump for his significant and inflammatory role in the Capitol riot, I wish, now that he is no longer President, that there were a way other than impeachment to hold him accountable. I don’t know what that other accountability strategy there might be, since Donald Trump is no longer President. It just seems a waste at best and divisive at worst to impeach someone who is no longer President.
 
Since I am very much interested in receiving reader feedback, please feel free to contact Bob Branco about publishing your comments in Readers’ Forum or emailing me: twinaught@pittsburghmercy.org. You are just as welcome to send braille feedback to:
Terri Winaught: 400 Cochran Road, Apt. 409, Pittsburgh, PA 15228.
 
Terri Winaught
TWinaught@pittsburghmercy.org
 
***
 
14. TIPS FOR VIPS (Because Visually Impaired People Are Important, Too)
by Penny Fleckenstein
 
Blog: http/notyouraveragesinglemom.com
Email: goodthaimom@gmail.com
 
I've decided to spread my love all year long, not just on Valentine's. We're still in the midst of the pandemic and winter.
 
In order to lift my mood and spread my love, I spend time on Livewire, ACB Community, and other group chats. To sign up for Livewire, call 631-403-1000. To participate in the ACB Community on Zoom, email Cindy at community@acb.org
 
These communities are brimming with beautiful, supportive people. I've met some incredible people who have helped me immensely. With my sister Darunee leaving this Earth on December 30th and Mom being hospitalized for a month, I've really needed the support of my friends and family.
 
Renzo Rios-Nino has changed my digital life. He has a knack for explaining how to better use my iPhone and iPad. I possess a hesitancy about new technology; it takes me a while to develop the mindset of new technology skills being something good. Renzo has motivated me to use my i-devices, making them more functional for me. In the past, I had my children delete my text messages. Now, with the new update, deleting my text messages is easy. You open messages and find a conversation by flicking with one finger to the right. When you're on that conversation, you do a flick down with one finger, and it'll say “pin.” When you do another flick down with your finger, the phone announces “delete.” Then you double tap, flick one finger to the right, and it asks you if you want to delete. Then double tap, and your conversation is gone unless the government wants to examine your phone for evidence. It took me a while to clean up my phone from over a year's worth of messages, but how wonderful it is to have done it on my own. Renzo is also teaching me how to work Facebook. I'll tell you more about that next month, after I've become a Facebook Mobile master.
 
I received a gift of a Blaze ET for Christmas and my birthday. It’s an amazing power tool for the visually impaired. It’s a book reader able to store and read a variety of documents, an FM radio, web radio, calculator, clock, color identifier, and scanner with optical character recognition (OCR). It comes with earbuds, a leather case, charger, and cords. It connects to WiFi, has Bluetooth, and is relatively easy to learn. It comes with a braille quick start guide and a CD. It’s sold by Hims, Inc. It costs $800 and was $100 off for Christmas.
 
Yesterday, after struggling with the Blaze ET for hours, I called BARD to get technical help so the Blaze ET can download and read library books, including NLS BARD and Bookshare. I had the librarian sign in as me to get the Blaze ET approved as a purchased player. The instructions to get the serial number were wrong, and I ended up finding it myself despite their bad directions. After my device was approved by the library, I had to wait for a file from Hims that I had my son Eric install on the flash drive of the Blaze ET, which has 12 GB of total space.
That's even more than my BrailleNote Apex, which only has 8 GB of storage. During that phone call, I discovered that the web address for BARD has changed. I remember it as bard at loc dot gov. Somehow, I never knew about the change to https://nlsbard.loc.gov No wonder I could no longer read and download books to my BrailleNote Apex. Here I was told by Humanware that I had outdated technology.
 
I successfully downloaded a book from NLS BARD and played it on my Blaze ET. I wasn't happy with the volume on the book, so I will need to use my earbuds or my Bluetooth speaker in order to clearly hear this book. I was on a roll with the library, so I decided to attempt to change my login and password on my iPad. I changed my email a couple of years ago but was stuck trying to get it working properly on my iPad because the screen is broken. It only shows lines. I spent two hours till it finally worked. To do this, when you open the BARD app, it puts you at the navigation menu to listen to a book. Double tap on the third tab, which is “browse BARD website.” It will open the web page and say User ID. Double tap to edit, make sure insertion point is at start, and type in your new email address. I then double tapped to “start insertion point at end” and pushed delete to erase my old email address. Then, I swiped with one finger to the right and found another edit box. It didn’t say this was for the password. I typed in my password, logged in, and now all is well with BARD across all my devices. I can read audiobooks and magazines on my Blaze ET, my digital player from the library, my iPhone, and my iPad. I can download and read refreshable braille books on my BrailleNote Apex.
 
I used to read audiobooks on my BrailleNote Apex and my Booksense. When I set my Braillenote to factory default, I erased the key from Humanware. When Zachary bit the SD card for my Booksense, I no longer had the key for the Booksense. I have never been able to retrieve those keys from Humanware or from Hims.
 
I starred and archived the key I received yesterday for the Blaze ET. I won't let that happen again if I can help it. Now I feel relieved that after this time, I have my BARD life in order.
 
I feel I don't contribute enough. Being an understanding, loving friend is enough. Thank you for your love in emails. Have a blessed Valentine's.
 
***
 
15. RECIPE COLUMN
by Karen Crowder
 
As February arrives, days are growing longer. By mid- to late February, we are treated to hints of spring across New England and the Northeast. Spring catalogues begin to arrive via mail or in our inbox. Even with a few snowstorms, there is the promise of winter’s end. There are three special days in February: Valentine’s Day is Sunday, February 14; President’s Day is Monday, February 15; Ash Wednesday is February 17.
 
I have three tempting, nutritious recipes this month: Raisin Bran Muffins, Broiled Salmon Steaks, and Delicious Winter Vegetable Soup.
 
A. Raisin Bran Muffins
 
On January 18, 2021, I decided to prepare Raisin Bran muffins. I like them. They’re based on a recipe from the 1979 Fannie Farmer cookbook. I used Raisin Bran, not bran, and added more milk and sugar.
 
Ingredients:
 
One and one-half cups Raisin Bran
Three-fourths cup milk
One and one-half cups all-purpose flour, such as Gold Medal
Three teaspoons baking powder
One-fourth cup granulated sugar
A pinch of salt
One-half stick butter
Three-fourths cup milk
Two eggs
 
Directions:
 
1. In a large mixing bowl, measure out the Raisin Bran and add three-fourths cup milk. Allow the cereal to soak in the milk.
2. In another container, measure out flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients with a fork.
3. Microwave butter in a small cereal bowl for 35 seconds. Let it cool. In a small mixing bowl, add room-temperature eggs and three-fourths cup milk. Combine these ingredients with a wire whisk for one minute.
4. Add dry ingredients to the Raisin Bran-milk mixture. Stir this mixture with a wooden spoon for one minute. Add egg-milk mixture, stirring batter for two minutes. Add cooled butter, stirring muffin batter for two minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 14-16 muffin pans with a mixture of Crisco and a little butter. With a one-half cup measure, measure muffin batter into muffin pans. Bake muffins for 30-35 minutes.
6. Cool muffins on kitchen counter, and remove from pans.
 
If you’re not serving them right away, store muffins in Ziploc bags and refrigerate them. Who can resist trying a hot muffin with butter? These delicious muffins will disappear fast with a hungry family. They are wonderful for breakfast when accompanied with fruit and coffee. They are also welcome with coffee or tea as an afternoon snack. They provide fiber and are nutritious.
 
B. Broiled Salmon
 
Salmon is healthy, and it’s delicious baked or broiled. Don’t worry about bones in salmon steaks. The broiling technique makes salmon so tender that the bones are very easy to remove.
 
Ingredients:
 
Two salmon steaks
Two tablespoons butter
Squeezes of lemon juice
Dill, if available
One spoonful of mayonnaise or Miracle Whip.
 
Directions:
 
1. Mix lemon juice, butter, mayonnaise or Miracle Whip, and optional dill in a small bowl. Spread mixture on top side of salmon steaks.
2. Put steaks on broiler rack with the pan underneath and set oven to 450 degrees. Set oven timer for 17 minutes.
3. After 9 minutes, turn oven off, open door, and pull rack out with oven mitts. Turn steaks over, spreading rest of butter-lemon mixture over the other side of the salmon steaks.
4. Close oven door and turn it on. Broil steaks for nine minutes.
 
Serve salmon steaks on large dinner plates. They will fall apart and will be juicy and easy to eat. Sprinkle them with a little salt or Mrs. Dash to enhance flavor. They are unforgettably delicious. Hot rolls and a green salad make a delicious, healthy supper.
 
I now have a talking Black and Decker toaster oven, so I can confidently broil salmon.
 
C. Delicious Winter Vegetable Soup
 
It was Tuesday evening, January 26. It was cold, with an oncoming snowstorm in Massachusetts. I prepared this delicious soup.
 
Ingredients:
 
Seven unpeeled baby carrots
Six whole mushrooms
One Maine, Yukon gold, or Russet potato
One-half red pepper
One-half or two small sweet onions
Four tablespoons butter
Pinches of garlic and curry powder
One 10-ounce can chicken rice soup
One 10-ounce can condensed mushroom soup
One-half can water
One-half can milk
One-fourth cup light cream
 
Directions:
 
1. In a four-quart saucepan, melt two tablespoons of butter on low heat for five to seven minutes.
2. Wash mushrooms and break them up into small pieces, putting them in a small container. Add mushrooms to the butter. Add garlic and curry powder.
3. On a cutting board with a paring knife, cut baby carrots into small rounds, placing them in a small container. Add them to the mushroom-butter mixture.
4. Rinse unpeeled potato and place on rinsed cutting board. Dice the potato.
5. Add two tablespoons of butter to the saucepan and add diced potato.
6. Rinse and cut red pepper. Remove all seeds and discard them.
7. Dice one half of the onion and refrigerate the other half in a Ziploc bag.
8. Cut red pepper and onion into small pieces and place vegetables in a container. Add them to the vegetable-butter-spice mixture. Stir them around and cover saucepan. Sautee vegetables for 15-20 minutes.
9. Add soups, filling half of the chicken soup can with water. Add mushroom soup, filling half of the can with milk. Add one-fourth cup light cream. Stir soup for two minutes.
10. Cover saucepan, cooking soup for 25 minutes on low heat.
 
Serve this soup with a green salad and hot rolls, biscuits, or bread. The addition of fruit and tea makes a balanced, nutritious meal on cold winter evenings.
 
I hope readers and listeners have had a happy January. The true bright spot is the beginning of a new presidency. Joe Biden and his cabinet will be working to solve economic problems caused by the pandemic. With the wide distribution of vaccines across the nation and globe, I am hopeful we are on the path to healing America. Have a blessed and happy February.
 
***
 
16. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST
 
Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the January Consumer Vision. The football player known as Broadway Joe was Joe Namath. Congratulations to the following winners:
 
Jan Colby of Brockton, Massachusetts
Daryl Darnell of Urbana, Illinois
David Faucheux of Lafayette, Louisiana
Don Hanson of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Nancy Hays of Waterbury, Connecticut
Jean Marcley of Bradenton, Florida
Jo Smith of West Dennis, Massachusetts
Steve Théberge of Attleboro, Massachusetts
 
And now, here is your question for the February Consumer Vision. Who sang the 1992 hit song “I Love You Period”? If you know the answer, please email bobbranco93@gmail.com or call 508-994-4972.
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