October 2020
Address: 359 Coggeshall St., New Bedford, MA 02746
Phone: 508-994-4972
Publisher: Bob Branco
Editing and Proofreading: David and Leonore Dvorkin
Formatting: David Dvorkin
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.
2. HEALTH MATTERS: Ways to Help Yourself Stay Healthy This Fall and Winter *** by Leonore H. Dvorkin
3. TECH CORNER: Across the Great Divide *** by Stephen Théberge
4. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: 2020 in Retrospect *** by James R. Campbell
5. WEATHER OR NOT: What Does It Take To Get a Hurricane To Develop? *** by Steve Roberts
8. THE HANDLER’S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs *** by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.
10. TIPS FOR VIPS (Because Visually Impaired People Are Important, Too) *** by Penny Fleckenstein
11. RECIPE COLUMN *** by Karen Crowder
12. MARCY’S SCHMOOZE TINNIH *** by Marcy J. Segelman
by Karen Crowder
I would like to respond to the article written by Marcy J. Segelman in the September Consumer Vision entitled “Becoming Disenchanted with Religion.” While Ms. Segelman has a right to her opinions, and where these opinions are not necessarily those of Consumer Vision or its editorial staff, I must respond to her words. While I cannot judge Ms. Segelman based on her own personal feelings, I would like to say something about the chat line that she referred to in her article. I will not mention the name of the line because Ms. Segelman didn’t mention it. Furthermore, if I mentioned the line’s name, those who want to agree with Ms. Segelman will associate its name with her own thoughts and will remember the name in a negative way should they decide to support her.
This particular chat line is a Christian line where many friendships were formed. It provides spiritual support, especially to the blind community. Many blind people are not working and need comfort and advocacy. This chat line serves that purpose and much more.
There is something happening on this line every day, including Bible studies, other prayer meetings, music, old-time radio, sports talk, games, general chats, support group meetings, humor, trivia, weather reports, and more. The line administrators recognize the need for these activities, and they know how important it is to make these activities available to all of us. Like any other line that is run properly, this line has its rules and guidelines. In Ms. Segelman’s article, she referred to a friend who was disciplined by the line administrators. All I can say is that this only proves how love and respect are encouraged—not only on the line, but in life itself. If the line administrators feel that someone is showing a lack of love and respect, they will act accordingly.
I am proud to be a part of this line and to moderate one of its chat rooms. While I do the best I can to fulfill all my responsibilities, I take great comfort in knowing that I make a lot of blind people very happy to be a part of it. With that in mind, I hope this chat line never goes away. It helps many people.
2. HEALTH MATTERS: Ways to Help Yourself Stay Healthy This Fall and Winter
by Leonore H. Dvorkin / September 26, 2020
I welcome comments on any of my articles. Email:
The 52-page AARP Bulletin devoted several pages in its September 2020 issue to staying healthy this fall and winter, doing what you can to stave off COVID-19 and the flu. Here are some of their tips, along with additional comments from me.
a. Get plenty of fiber, as it feeds the good bacteria in your gut. A good choice for breakfast is unsweetened bran cereal plus blueberries. Blueberries and other dark berries are rich in flavonoids, which are antioxidants that improve the health of macrophages and other virus-eating cells. — My comment: Some other high-fiber foods are avocados, beans, broccoli, brown rice, figs, lentils, peas, and pears.
b. Take a brisk walk or cycle, swim, or jog. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of exercise at least three or four times a week. Immune cells circulate in the body during exercise and for three or four hours afterwards. — My comments: Here at home, my husband and I have a treadmill and an exercise bike. When we go outside to exercise, we take our masks, making sure to wear them if there are other people nearby. We also stay at least six feet away from others. Don’t forget resistance exercise for building muscle strength. We have lots of dumbbells and barbells, but even simple pushups on the floor and squats (partial knee bends from a standing position) done holding light weights in the hands, like cans of soup, can build strength in the upper body and legs.
c. Some people, including the immunologist quoted in this article, recommend at least 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, but I think that’s probably unrealistic for most people. However, if you can manage five or six servings of such foods per day, that’s great. We eat lots of fresh fruits, usually strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, fresh pineapple, grapes, and fresh pears or peaches in season. But any fruits are good. Prunes have many benefits. Eat a variety of vegetables, and have those raw or lightly cooked, as you prefer. Microwaving preserves the most vitamins.
d. Stress is a high-powered immune suppressant, so do what you can to reduce yours. – My comments: Certainly we are all under stress to one degree or another during this pandemic. If you have lost your job and perhaps have lost your home or are afraid you will lose it, the usual suggestions for how to reduce stress are not going to cut it for you. But if you are under just a moderate amount of stress, this article says that you might consider taking up a mind/body activity such as yoga, tai chi, or meditation. Mindfulness training can help, too. Things like gardening, painting, and other hands-on hobbies, as well as regular exercise, can all help.
A supplement I really like is GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid). It has the welcome ability to both promote relaxation and increase mental focus. I recommend the delicious, chewable, 100-mg tablets from Natural Factors called Stress-Relax Pharma GABA. I have one whenever I have a stressful task ahead of me that also requires mental acuity and concentration. We buy the bottles of 120 chewable tablets from Amazon for $40, so it’s just 33 cents per tablet.
e. Plenty of research indicates that loneliness and social isolation can increase inflammation throughout your body. This effect appears to increase with age. The article has a few suggestions that surely many people are acting on now.
If the weather is nice, consider scheduling a meeting in a park with friends, making sure to wear your masks and maintain social distance. We have seen several groups doing just that in our own nearby park.
Also, Zoom chats can help fill the gap. I’ve met that way with my sisters in Kansas City, as we have no idea when we will be able to travel to see one another again. When the pandemic struck, I had to give up the twice-weekly exercise classes that I taught and all the in-person language instruction that I did, but I am meeting my language students by Skype, now. There is no way to replace the language group meetings that I hosted every month, but we are all holding out hope that we will be able to resume those sometime in 2021. In the meantime, we are all exercising our patience muscles.
f. Interestingly, it appears that Omega-3 fatty acids, the kind that are in oily fish, such as fresh tuna, sardines, salmon, and mackerel, can measurably reduce levels of inflammation in older adults. Also, animal studies indicate that dietary fish oil can increase the health and circulation of antibody-producing B cells. — My comments: We regularly eat tuna, salmon, sardines, and kipper snacks, which is smoked herring. We like to mash the sardines with a little mustard and either just spoon up the mixture or spread it on toast.
g. The last suggestion in the article is one that I virtually never follow, but that doesn’t mean that it might not help you. That is, try a screen-free evening wind-down. Turn off your cell phone, tablet, and computer three hours before bedtime. The reason is that those digital devices emit blue light, which suppresses the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.
My comments: Each of us takes a 5-mg capsule of melatonin about 30 minutes before bedtime. The brand we are currently using is Nutricost, but there are many on the market. There are also time-released versions, but this one seems to work fine for us. Also, optometrists offer blue light protection in eyeglass lenses. I even saw an advertisement for eyeglasses for youngsters that are made with blue light-blocking lenses even if the child does not need corrective lenses. My older sister sent a photo of one of her granddaughters, who is in sixth grade, sitting at her computer wearing just such glasses. Those might be quite important now that so many kids are in front of their computers for many hours every day. My glasses have such protection, too.
About the Author
Leonore Dvorkin is a writer and editor, and she has taught exercise classes since 1976.
She is the author of four published books, including her breast cancer memoir. The title is Another Chance at Life: A Breast Cancer Survivor’s Journey. The 2012 edition is the most recent one, and the book is available in e-book, print, and audio. There is also a Spanish edition. Full details are here:
Her husband of 52 years, David Dvorkin, is the author of 29 published books. Both Leonore and David write fiction and nonfiction. Both of them have a strong interest in health, fitness, and nutrition, and David has found many of the articles that Leonore has cited for this publication in the past.
Together, David and Leonore have been running DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services since 2009. Most of their 60-plus editing clients are blind or visually impaired. They invite you to visit any of their websites, which are linked to below, for more information about their books, articles, and various services.
Note: David and Leonore will be guests on Bob Branco’s “In Perspective” on Friday, October 16, starting at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time, talking about DLD Books. Bob will be sending out details later. 
David Dvorkin:
Leonore H. Dvorkin:
DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services:
3. TECH CORNER: Across the Great Divide
by Stephen Théberge
We’ve heard of the digital divide in the past, but I hadn’t witnessed any great discussions on it until I watched “Full Measure” on television on Sunday, September 20, 2020. It was good to be reminded of these issues.
There are estimated to be between 18 and 21 million Americans who either have no internet or they have such bad service that they’re not doing much better in internet speed than in the old dialup days, which is insufficient for the most basic needs people have online. This is usually the case in rural areas. Internet is viewed by some as being nearly as important as electrical service.
For some, satellite internet is the only option to get online. One often can’t even do a simple task like reading a newspaper. The speed is so slow that the website they connect to times out, so they have to reconnect. Imagine the frustration in not being able to do a simple Google search, or having slow email. Things like streaming music or videos are impossible. I recall using Napster back at the beginning of the millennium. I had dial-up and it took hours to download an album. Most servers and services online would now not even work at such slow speeds.
There are many remote areas in this country where in some cases the cost to connect just one house can cost $5,000. The documentary showed a case of one lone home way out in the country. Naturally, most companies won’t make the effort to connect one customer. The big companies find this prohibitive. How many years would it take to get the investment back?
In Virginia, a cooperative of citizens, the utility companies, and government is bridging the gap. They are laying fiber-optic cables and getting folks online. Previously, many had to go to a library or find a local WiFi hotspot in the city.
The United States government has set aside tens of billions of dollars to help with this task in the coming decade. Many big companies, like Verizon and AT&T, have benefited from these monies, but they did not have to show accountability for how many people in rural areas actually benefited from the injection of capital. This is where the co-op in Virginia differs. It’s run as a non-profit organization. The people in the community are directly involved with the building of the infrastructure, and accountability is demanded.
The idea was based on similar efforts undertaken in the 1930s. At that time, there were concerns that rural or remote areas would be at a disadvantage in being hooked up to the electrical grid. The government gave great financial help to have these people be on a par with their urban peers. Just as was the case back then, such projects can take a long time, even decades. It reminds me that our highways and transportation systems are nowhere near complete.
I’m not trying or willing to spark a debate about capitalism vs. “socialism.” I feel that “Full Measure” does not engage in such a debate either. They simply report the facts. This isn’t and shouldn’t be a partisan issue. I invite you to make up your own mind. You can watch the piece online at the link below, assuming you are on the positive side of the “Great Divide.”
Full Measure for 9/20/20:
Follow me on Twitter at @speechfb
Read and post on my writer’s blog:
Check out my coming of age science fiction novel The MetSche Message and its sequel The MetSche Maelstrom at
Watch my Youtube channel. Many blindness-related issues, and the latest Branco Broadcasts.
4. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: 2020 in Retrospect
by James R. Campbell
What a year it has been!
When it dawned, the nation was embroiled in the failed impeachment saga in Washington. The House passed the resolution to impeach President Trump in light of the allegation that he pressured the government of Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden’s dealings with a company in that former Soviet republic. The Republican-led Senate failed to convict the president, paving the way for Trump to remain in office.
But the nightmare was just beginning. Iraqi militias fired missiles at an American base, killing a number of U.S. troops. By way of reply, a drone strike was authorized to take out Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian general who carried out a decades-long campaign of terrorism against American interests at home and abroad. Tensions in the Middle East increased accordingly.
In February, the pandemic reached our shores. As of this writing, over 200,000 Americans have died of the virus. The socioeconomic impact of Covid-19 is shocking. Schools, restaurants, churches, and businesses have been adversely affected. In many cities and states, social distancing and ordinances that require people to wear masks in public are still in force. Many people aren’t following these guidelines, putting the rest of us at risk.
Our president has initiated a program to produce new antivirals and vaccines in an effort to bring the pandemic under control. For the near future, however, perhaps it’s best if we wear masks and use social distancing to protect ourselves and our families.
In May, the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota by rogue cops sparked nationwide riots and calls for racial justice. In my hometown of Odessa, Texas, the protests have been peaceful; not so in other cities. Riots and violence have been the order of the day in Seattle, Washington, Portland, Oregon, and other locations since the death of George Floyd.
The National Football League is providing support to the Black Lives Matter movement, even going so far as to wear Jacob Blake’s name on their helmets. Since when is it ever acceptable for an organization that once held itself in better regard to support a sex offender who waved a knife at police before he was shot?
And it isn’t over yet. The presidential election of 2020 is one of the most important events in the history of this great land. Nothing less than our future is at stake. The choice is clear: Do we want higher taxes, trade deficits, out-of-control regulations, and ineffective law enforcement? Or would we rather have a strong military, a police force with the full power to protect and serve with the funding it deserves, American energy independence, medications made in our labs at home, secure borders, and the best hope for mankind, backed by small business?
We aren’t simply voting for the candidate of our choice this time around. We are voting for our future and that of our offspring. It is urgent, vital, and essential that all eligible voters go to the polls to cast their ballots. We can’t let the mob in the streets decide our future at the end of a gun barrel.
It is an absolute necessity that everyone who can vote show up at the polls. If you receive a mail-in ballot, take it straight to the shredder. Mail-ins are subject to manipulation, and they will create more problems than it’s worth.
Only we can decide what kind of future we have. Regardless of your decision, let us never lose sight of the possible future that can be ours if we live up to our duty in this election.
As always, thanks for your time.
With loving kindness,
James R. Campbell
A reply from the editor, Leonore Dvorkin:
As a responsible citizen and as someone who has voted consistently for over 50 years, I cannot let Mr. Campbell’s statements about mail-in ballots remain unchallenged—and after all, the President himself voted by mail this August, in the Florida primary!
Here is a good article about the fairness and safety of mail-in voting, written by a political scientist:
The fact is, there is no reliable evidence that mail-in voting is any more subject to fraud or manipulation than voting by machine is. My state, Colorado, is one of several that have used almost exclusively mail-in voting for several years already, with no problems. There are many safeguards having to do with the ballot itself, and the ballots can either be mailed or deposited in one of dozens of very secure, large metal drop-boxes in the area. We will get our ballots before mid-October and will fill them out right away. We are very confident that our votes will be counted in good time, as we will use a drop box. Colorado’s system is so good and secure that it could be a model for the rest of the nation. I don’t know anyone who does not like it.
5. WEATHER OR NOT: What Does It Take To Get a Hurricane To Develop?
by Steve Roberts
This has been a very active hurricane season. So what does it take to get a hurricane to develop?
A hurricane develops in an area where southeasterly winds from the Southern Hemisphere converge with northeasterly winds from the Northern Hemisphere. Where these air flows converge, the air rises. This is what meteorologists call the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Sea-surface temperatures have to be 80 degrees or higher to a depth of 200 inches. If the waters are below 80 degrees, the ocean will not liberate enough heat to the overlying atmosphere to foster hurricane development.
The air must also be moist. The warm and humid air out in the tropical Atlantic rises very vigorously, as heat and moisture rise to the skies.
The winds must blow at the same speed and direction with height in the atmosphere. Any change in wind speed and/or direction with height results in wind shear. Wind shear limits the vertical development of thunderstorms, shearing the tops off those convective towers that could enable a wave to grow into a tropical cyclone.
Finally, you have to have an area of upper-level high pressure that enables the air within a hurricane to be evacuated out of the top of the storm. With all these elements in place, a tropical wave can become a tropical depression, then a tropical storm, and eventually a hurricane.
Was this active hurricane season a result of climate change?
Most computer models of earth’s atmosphere say that in a warmer world, hurricanes will be fewer but stronger. But not everyone is on board with that idea.
Meteorologist Dr. Michael Mann believes that the very warm waters of the tropical Atlantic will be conducive to the development of more hurricanes going forward. If Dr. Mann is correct, then we can expect to see very busy hurricane seasons for the next 50-60 years.
If the models are correct, then we may see a reduction in hurricane frequency beginning in the next 15-20 years.
Note:  Steven P. Roberts is the author of the nonfiction book The Why and Whats of Weather (2014) and the novel The Great Winter Hurricane (2015). Full details are on his website: 
Hi, Bob.
I have a comment about the chat line that Marcy Segelman referred to in her column last month. During this pandemic, a lot of people that come on the line do not have much in the way of other support systems, and with other lines shutting down, this line is their only form of refuge. I, for one, am glad it’s there.
by Leonore H. Dvorkin / C 2020
1. Marketing is perhaps the hardest part of writing, especially for authors of self-published books. Be prepared to work at it. Do not be discouraged. Keep trying.
2. Shortly before or right after your book is published, make a list of prospective contacts, a list of anyone you think might be interested in your book or who could possibly help you spread the word about it. Some names may be obvious, while others may come to you in time. That’s why you need a list on your computer: names of people to contact and the dates on which you contacted them.
3. Family members and friends are obvious first contacts. However, do not be surprised if some people say they will get the book, and then they do not. Be happy for the few such sales you do make by going that route. If family members and friends are willing and able to help spread the word about your book, that can be a huge help. Think Facebook, Twitter, etc.
4. If you are a client of DLD Books, make sure everyone you contact has the URL of your DLD Books website. For example, the URL for our most recent client, Frederick Kamara, is The URL is your primary marketing tool, as the website has the cover image, synopsis, author bio, direct buying links, and more: all that prospective buyers need.
5. We can get postcard-size book ad cards made up for you. The cover of the book is in full color on the front of the card, and the back cover text and contact information are in black and white on the back. When there is a sale on at VistaPrint, the cards are a real bargain. David can order those quickly and easily and have them shipped directly to you.
6. Consider any possible academic contacts. That includes any teachers or fellow students who you know are still living, and also the alumni associations or newspapers of any schools on any level that you attended, even abroad. Some of our clients have had nice write-ups about them and their books in their online alumni magazines. You might be surprised by what contacts you can find with some online searching.
7. Don’t forget business contacts, people at any place you ever worked. Companies also frequently have newsletters, and they are often happy to mention unusual accomplishments of their present or past employees. Even a few words, just enough to name you and your book, could be a big help.
8. If you belong or belonged to any professional organizations, be sure to contact them, too.
9. If you are a member of a church, check to see if it has a newsletter and if that offers news from parishioners.
10. The main newspaper of your home town might possibly be interested in you and your book, especially if it is a smaller community.
11. Check with local book clubs, even if you are not a member. Many libraries run them, for both fiction and nonfiction. If any relatives or friends of yours are book club members, ask if their groups might be interested in your book.
12. Important: If you want to come up with a pattern letter that you will wish to send to anyone other than friends and family members, I mean a somewhat formal letter introducing yourself and your connection to the place and your book, I can edit that for you for my usual low editing fee. In your contact correspondence, feel free to use any ads that I wrote for your book or books.
13. Sad but true: Most physical bookstores are not interested in carrying copies of self-published books. The main reasons are that Amazon gives them a too-small discount compared to mainstream publishers and that they cannot return unsold copies. However, a few clients of ours, people who live in smaller or moderate-sized towns, have had bookstores in their towns be willing to carry their books and even host them, the authors, for readings and signings. Smaller, independent bookstores are generally more open to this than places like Barnes and Noble are. However, a client of ours who lives in a small town got her one and only local Barnes and Noble to carry her two books and to let her do two signing events. So it’s worth a try. The worst they can say is no, and they might say yes. A book ad card given to the manager of each bookstore in your area might be a help.
14. Caution: Do not spend more than a very few dollars on any kind of paid ad. Paid ads are often just cheats. In the past, we ourselves spent thousands of dollars on marketing that never did us any good. Nowadays, emails and online contacts of various sorts are much more apt to get you results, and those require mainly just time.
15. Absolutely do not fall for come-ons from places offering to re-publish your book and/or market it for you, telling you that they can advertise your book for you, approach Hollywood with your story, blah, blah, blah. Those people are first-class swindlers, and they are very good at looking out for and then preying on hopeful self-published authors. Their fees typically amount to thousands of dollars. Online, there are now ways to check out which places are legitimate and which places are cheats. Remember, you do not need another publisher. Technically, you are the publisher, and Amazon and Smashwords are your worldwide selling platforms.
16. Writing contests which you have to pay a fee to enter are also things to avoid. They mainly make money for the people running the contests.
17. From Victoria Strauss, the author of the fabulous column “Writer Beware”: Scammers are impersonating real literary agents and agencies, soliciting writers out of the blue to spend thousands on worthless “services”: book reviews, book trailers, “book scout” representation, and “publisher insurance” (even though there’s no such thing). Beware!
About the Author:
Leonore H. Dvorkin is the author of four published books, and her husband, David Dvorkin, has 29 published books to his credit. Both of them write fiction and nonfiction. Since 2009, they have been running DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services. The majority of their many clients are blind or visually impaired. Their primary goal is to offer excellent, comprehensive service at very reasonable rates. All the books they edit and prepare for publication are issued in e-book and quality paperback formats, and they can discuss hardcover and audiobook options with interested clients.
DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services:
One of David’s books is Self-Publishing Tools, Tips, and Techniques (C 2018), a comprehensive how-to manual for those who want to prepare their own books for self-publication. But if you desire assistance, that is what we are here to provide.
8. THE HANDLER’S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs
by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.
Hello, readers. In this month’s column, you will read about the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International.
Many years ago, during the first two years of becoming a board member of Guide Dog Users, Inc., a national guide dog user organization affiliated with the American Council of the Blind, I learned about other service and guide dog groups in the United States and around the world. I’ve met guide dog mobility instructors from Australia, Portugal, Norway, and Canada. One thing these other guide dog training organizations have in common is membership in IGDF. Think of it as a license or accreditation provider.
Here’s a little bit about them from the web:
Our Mission
The International Guide Dog Federation supports its members in their efforts to encourage and advance the provision of guide dogs as a safe means of independent mobility for people who are blind or partially sighted.
If anyone ever asks you if guide dog training programs are certified and accountable to a high standard, the answer is yes. A program that is not a member of IGDF may not be the best program to choose from. At least that’s my opinion. Another thing to consider is choosing a trainer if you want to self-train a dog. IGDF lists private trainers who have been accepted and are also held to a high standard.
I hope you enjoyed the inside track of the guide dog lifestyle. Until next time, wags from our clan.
I’m on the Web: and my blog is
Making meaningful connections with others through writing.
Coming soon to Audible: Words of Life: Poems and Essays.
Coming in spring or summer 2021: my first novel.
My four published books include books of poetry, essays, and stories, plus my memoir, Follow Your Dog: A Story of Love and Trust.
Details of all the books are here:  
A.  Lighting the Darkness
Nonfiction by Frederick J. M. Kamara (C 2020)
In e-book and print from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online sellers
E-book: $4.99 / Print: $12.50 / 260 pages in print
For the cover image, author bio, photographs of the author, contact information, and buying links, see
Cover art by Marco Conteh
With this book, the first volume in a series, I didn’t presume to write anything of immense importance or of any outstanding nature. The intent was merely to share some of my personal experiences as a child born in a small African village and then to relate details of my subsequent social contacts and opportunities, my studies, and some of my accomplishments.
I was born in 1946 in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone, and I lost my sight between the ages of six and ten. But over the years, I went on to study first in Freetown, the nation’s capital, then in both England and the United States, eventually earning a B.A. degree and two master’s degrees, as well as rising quite high in the civil service of my home country.
I fled Sierra Leone in 1997 because of the bloody coup d’état there. I was fortunate enough to be evacuated by American Marines with the help of my younger brother, Bob, an American citizen. Bob passed away on January 1, 2009. I dedicate this book to his memory.
I am proud to say that I became a trailblazer for blind children in particular, and children and young persons with disabilities in general, in Sierra Leone. Hence the title, Lighting the Darkness.
Frederick J. M. Kamara currently resides in Bowie, Maryland.
B. Four Christmas-Themed Books You and the Young Ones in Your Life – Plus a New Addition
Submitted by Leonore Dvorkin, Editor, DLD Books Editing and Self–Publishing Services
Here are five delightful, imaginative books of varying lengths, sure to bring holiday joy to both children and adults. Just click on any of the provided website URLs for full information and buying links. All books are in e–book and print from Amazon and other online sellers. The e–books are inexpensive and are text–to–speech enabled. Free text samples are on the authors’ websites. The newest book, the second one by Susan Bourrie, is also an audio book from Audible.
1. The Christmas Carriage and Other Writings of the Holiday Season, C 2016, by Alice Jane-Marie Massa. A heartwarming collection of holiday memoirs, short stories, and poetry. Includes photos of her beloved guide dogs. The website also has information on the beautiful cover photo of a Christmas carriage and the black horse pulling it. Details: 
2. The Misadventures of Mistletoe Mouse, by Susan Bourrie, C 2016. Enjoy the lively adventures and misadventures of Mistletoe Mouse and his friends Molly Dolly and an express reindeer, as they work to make terrible Christmases terrific, tackling every challenge with energy and imagination. This traditional tale is sure to please children of all ages. Older children will delight in reading it to younger ones.
3. NEW from Susan Bourrie in 2020: 
Meander: The Princess Who Had Ants in Her Pants
Meander is chosen to be Prince Fred’s lucky bride, but she soon finds herself dissatisfied with courtly life—even after she learns how to do many things very well.  After turning the castle upside down and roaming the entire countryside, she finally finds something that makes her happy as she sits quietly for hours and hours on her royal throne. Read this delightful story to learn what it is.
In e-book and print, also in audio from Audible. Full details are on the author’s website, linked to above. 
4. It’s Still Christmas, by John Justice, C 2015 / Only $1.99 in e–book format.
Once getting by financially, the Gleasons have become homeless and close to hopeless. With Christmas drawing near, their lives are about to undergo a drastic change. The lifesaving aid they give to a stranger, an elderly Jewish widower, is soon repaid in ways they could never have imagined. Enjoy this touching story of mingled hearts, faiths, and trust.
For details of this and John’s other books, see: 
5. Christmas on Valley View Farm, by Brian Nash, C 2010 
This third book in the wonderful Valley View Farm series, suitable for children 9 to 12, has everything a young reader could desire. Christmas is coming, and young Daniel Riggs is dreaming of what might be in store. But a kidnapper has plans for Daniel's feline friend Midnight. Helped by the talkative farm animals, Daniel faces a bloodthirsty panther, rides a thrilling ghost train, and then revels in holiday magic.
For details of this and Brian’s other five books, see:
C. News flash from Leonore Dvorkin of DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services:
Regular readers of The Consumer Vision know that David and I put all our clients’ books out in e-book and print, and that we can also put clients in touch with professional narrators who are willing to offer substantial discounts to qualifying authors. Recently, I have also mentioned that we can help authors get their books out in top-quality hardcover format from IngramSpark. Now IngramSpark has announced that it is supplying free ISBNs, International Standard Book Numbers. (Note: Amazon KDP and Smashwords already do not charge for ISBNs.) This policy change substantially reduces the author’s cost for a hardcover edition. Details will follow in the November issue of The Consumer Vision and will also be added to the DLD Books website. 
10. TIPS FOR VIPS (Because Visually Impaired People Are Important, Too)
by Penny Fleckenstein
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I’m sitting at a picnic table in North Park as I write this. I’m watching Zachary, my 11-year-old son, and Isaac, my 23-year-old son, play spike ball. It’s played with a net that looks like a mini-trampoline and a soft ball. The ball resembles a mini volleyball. Usually, the game is played with four people, but there is also a two-person version. They’re hitting the ball with their hands flat. It’s a copy of volleyball. They’re alternating throwing the ball to each other and playing spike ball.
It’s the last 80-degree day. The sun is shining, and the wind feels just perfect for kite-flying.
It’s been an interesting September, unlike any other. Zachary and Eric are doing online school, except for Eric’s welding class, which is in person. Isaac’s youth group is meeting in the back yard of the church while wearing masks. Zachary goes to school for about four hours a day. Every week we have to order his breakfast and lunch, and we pick them up for the week every Wednesday. I forgot to order last week, so I was very nervous about forgetting this week. We made it just in time. This is a really good reason to set reminders on the phone or on Alexa.
WPABOLD (Western Pennsylvania Blind Outdoor Leisure Development) had a call in which Mark Senk talked about the Amazon Echo devices and the Google Net Mini. I play games with her, such as The Daily Question, Lie Swatter, Go Fish, and Hangman. I didn’t know you could ask her to print the shopping list on a wireless printer. I also didn’t know that you could set her up to pay a bill through PayPal. Way nifty!
Life is now different from what we’ve ever known it to be. I saw a post from Peter Altschul for an ACB community open mic night. The talent is amazing. I was so impressed that I sent an email to, and in the morning, I had the daily schedule of Zoom calls. I use my iPad or iPhone, and others call in on their landline phones.
Besides open mic night, there is a mix of informational meetings and social gatherings: a morning coffee social, a West coast coffee social, writers’ workshops, knitting and crafts, chair yoga, Pilates, a group for widows and widowers, an evening social, karaoke, and technology meetings. These Zoom sessions are open to anyone who’s interested. ACB membership is not required. As one of the participants said to me, “We can still physically distance without socially distancing.” These meetings have boosted my morale and are helping many through this pandemic.
I’ve also been perfecting my skills on the iPhone and iPad. I’m dictating emails by first the one finger double tap in the text field and then two finger double tap to start and end dictation. When I forgot to do the one finger double tap to begin editing the text, I would do the two finger double tap and start my music. I also found out, through the help of Abbie Taylor, that I have to tap on the reply above the email and not the reply below the email. That way my message goes on top of the previously sent message and not below it. I’m also using the voice search option to find a buried email.
I’ve been having fun sending recorded messages on Messenger and WhatsApp. It’s really great when I get a recorded message back, especially from a classmate whom I haven’t heard from since high school. The recordings are limited to one minute on Messenger, but I got an email from Reginald George, who stated that on WhatsApp, the recording time can be up to half an hour. He told me I can one finger double tap and slide up to lock the recording.
It’s a little disturbing to hear my iPhone speech chattering on. I asked someone how to stop it. She suggested I stop speech before recording, then tap the bottom of the screen to record and slide up to lock, and then tap the bottom of the screen to send my voice recording. I’ve worked hard at this, and I can’t seem to figure out a solution that eliminates the iPhone speech. Maybe next time I’ll just turn my speech on at the beginning of the recording. That way the messages I receive while recording won’t interrupt me.
Our evening at the park will wind down soon. We’ve had grilled hotdogs. Isaac and Zachary had beef ones, and I had vegan ones. I really appreciate the array of meatless items at Walmart from Field Roast products, Garden, Morningstar Farms, and Tofurky. I especially love the Field roast burgers, Morningstar Farms veggie meatlovers’ burgers, the Italian sausage, and Tofurky deli slices.
Walmart also has a good variety of gluten-free products. I’ve had So Delicious ice cream, which is dairy-free. Isaac bought these ice creams from Target. I also love their So Delicious yogurt, made with coconut milk.
I can’t stop fall from progressing into winter. I’m concerned that trick or treating will be canceled. I so look forward to handing out treats to all the children. I generally plan to give two items out to each child. Last year, we gave away microwave popcorn and Capri Sun to 120 children. I’ll miss seeing their joy.
What would make me feel joyful is if our friend Luke were to come by our house on his electric bike. I’ve been so curious about it. It cost him about $900. I’ve never encountered an electric bike.
I hope you’ll find joy in the midst of this pandemic. I’d love to hear from you in my email: That’s T H A I, as in from Thailand. Blessings.
A note from Leonore Dvorkin:
Currently, I have the pleasure of working on editing two books by Penny: a book of poetry and a children’s book, which is being illustrated by my grandson. I look forward to being able to tell you about them once they are published.
by Karen Crowder
In October, days grow shorter and cooler. Nights are often cold enough to heat homes and apartments. Pumpkins, butternut squash, and apples are available at farm stands, supermarkets, and orchards. Beautiful autumn flowers like chrysanthemums—“mums”—are available at local supermarkets or farm stands. October is the height of the foliage season throughout New England, as leaves turn riotous colors. There are three special days. Columbus Day is Monday, October 12. White Cane Day is Thursday, October 15. Halloween is Saturday, October 31.
This month, I have three good recipes that readers and listeners will appreciate.
Creamed Codfish Casserole with Mushrooms
Sauce for Hamburgers and Hotdogs
Margaret’s Brownies
A. Creamed Codfish Casserole with Mushrooms
My mother often made this delicious dish for our family on cool autumn evenings. The creamed codfish was surrounded with potatoes. I changed it, using mushrooms and topping it with a buttery Ritz cracker and onion topping.
One pound codfish
Four to eight whole mushrooms
Four tablespoons butter
Four tablespoons flour
Two cups milk
Pinches of curry powder and salt
Optional: Shakes of Worcestershire sauce
Sixteen Ritz crackers
One-quarter onion, minced
One-half stick butter
1. Rinse codfish thoroughly under cold water. Put it on a paper towel in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate it.
2. Put butter in a double boiler. Melt on low heat for seven minutes. Add flour and stir with a wire whisk until it is smooth.
3. Add milk, spices, and optional Worcestershire sauce. Stir sauce with a whisk until there are no lumps. This will take two minutes. Stir infrequently for 25-30 minutes.
4. After sauce is thickened, turn off heat. Butter the bottom and sides of a five-quart casserole dish. Put codfish in the dish, scattering broken-up mushrooms around it.
5. With a one-half cup measure, add the thickened sauce and stir it around with a metal or plastic stirring spoon. Be sure it is evenly distributed throughout the casserole dish.
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
7. In a small bowl, break Ritz crackers into small pieces. Add minced onion and butter. With clean hands, blend crackers, onion, and butter. Scatter crumb topping over entire top of fish.
8. Bake codfish casserole for 35-40 minutes.
Serve this hot casserole in crocks or soup bowls. Tossed salad and rolls go well with this satisfying meal. Your family and guests will request this dish again.
B. Sauce for Hamburgers and Hot Dogs
by Diane P. May
This recipe is from OUR SPECIAL READERS’ FAVORITE RECIPES. The Braille one-volume cookbook was published in 2010 by the National Braille Press in Boston. It was edited by former Our Special editor Diane Reader.
This sauce can be made throughout the year.
One-half small red onion, minced
One cup mayonnaise
One-fourth cup Dijon mustard
One cup catsup
1. Mince onion with a paring knife into a small mixing bowl. Add mayonnaise, mustard, and catsup.
2. Blend ingredients thoroughly with a stirring spoon for a few minutes. If you are not using sauce immediately, store sauce in a large jar or airtight container and refrigerate it. Use sauce within two weeks.
I added these directions. The original recipe lacked detailed chopping, mixing, and storage directions.
C. Margaret’s Brownies
This recipe is from Brownies Delight Book. I purchased this braille one-volume book from Blind Mice Mega Mall.
I had to expand the mixing and storing directions, which were minimal in the original recipe. I decreased the amount of sugar and butter but added bittersweet chocolate and chocolate chips. However, when I wrote this recipe, I used the amount of butter in the original recipe. My brownies were too dry.
One and one-half cups flour
Two and one-half cups sugar
Six eggs
Three teaspoons (or less) vanilla
Three sticks of butter
Eight ounces unsweetened chocolate
I added one-half bar bittersweet chocolate and almost one cup of Nestlé’s chocolate chips.
1. In a double boiler, place butter, unsweetened chocolate, and Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate. Melt butter-chocolate mixture on low heat for 15-20 minutes. Bring eggs to room temperature in a bowl of lukewarm water. After 15 minutes, stir chocolate-butter mixture. When melted, let it cool for 10 minutes.
2. Attach whisk to mixing bowl. Break eggs into the bowl. Start mixing eggs on low speed, turning it to medium speed for five minutes. Begin adding sugar, slowly turning mixer to low speed. Turn it to medium speed again and mix for five minutes. Turn off mixer.
3. With a one-cup measure, add the chocolate-butter mixture. Add vanilla. Mix on medium speed for two minutes. Slowly add flour and one-half cup chocolate chips. Mix on low speed for one and one-half minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 7”x11” Pyrex pan with parchment paper. Grease it with a mixture of shortening and butter. Add a dusting of flour. With a one-cup measure, scoop half of the brownie batter into pan. Spread it over entire pan with a sandwich spreader or spatula. Sprinkle batter with some chocolate chips and bittersweet chocolate. Spread rest of the brownie batter over entire pan. Sprinkle batter with chips and bittersweet chocolate.
5. Bake brownies for 25-30 minutes.
6. Cool uncut brownies on a counter for one hour. Line a dinner plate with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Turn pan over and place uncut brownies on the plate. Cover them with foil, plastic wrap, and a sheet of parchment paper. Refrigerate brownies overnight.
Cut brownies the next day. Store them in one or two airtight containers. This makes 24-30 brownies. They are delicious around Halloween and the holidays.
I hope Consumer Vision readers and listeners had a lovely September. Let us hope and pray for a peaceful, trusting America. May readers have a happy, blessed October.
by Marcy J. Segelman
I’d like to start by remembering a great person and pioneering woman whom we have lost: Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
We Jews recently celebrated Rosh Hashanah, our New Year. By the Jewish calendar, this marked the end of the year 5780 and the beginning of the year 5781. This year, Rosh Hashanah began on the Sabbath, so the shofar (a hollowed-out ram’s horn, played like a trumpet) was not sounded to announce the holiday, as it normally is. However, the shofar was sounded to mark the middle and end of the holiday.
The shofar is also sounded to mark the beginning of the next holiday, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This is the holiest day of all. It is a day of fasting. Also, as on the Sabbath, one is not supposed to write, use money, talk on the phone, or drive. On Yom Kippur, we pray for forgiveness for any sins we have committed during the preceding year. It is our opportunity to start fresh again and promise to do better in the coming year.
Normally, the day is spent in the synagogue, praying. It’s challenging now because of the pandemic. Zoom services are the closest thing we have at the moment. It has been a learning experience. I’ve learned a lot about using the computer this way and feel very proud of that. There is always room for learning things.
On Rosh Hashanah, I make sure to take Bonnie to the service. I thank everyone who has helped me do this. She and I go way back. We were bat mitzvahed (the Jewish confirmation ceremony for females) together as adults in a handicapped organization many years ago. I told Mom and Dad that as long as I can, I will look out for Bonnie and never let her forget her roots and what our parents instilled in us.
The year 5780 was an awful one in many ways. May 5781 be far better. As we say, shana tova, meaning “(have) a good year.” Some Jews prefer to say l’shana tova tikateyvu, meaning, “May you be written (in the Book of Life) for a good year.”
by Karen Crowder
This is a two-part article about Joe Machise’s surviving Covid-19. It is about how it changed him.
Joe is a 73-year-old totally blind man who lives in a small apartment in Lynn, Massachusetts. He lives alone and is estranged from his family.
Saturday, May 2, 2020, was a picture-perfect spring day in Massachusetts. Joe awoke on this beautiful day feeling different. His senses of taste and smell were gone, and he felt lethargic and listless. Could it be the onset of a spring cold or the flu?
His pleasant, predictable world changed throughout the day. He had a dry cough and his chest hurt when he took breaths. He also felt drained and spaced out, “as if he’d had too much to drink.”
Joe phoned me that night. He told me about his loss of taste and smell. I felt uneasy. Gently I suggested he should think about being tested for Covid-19.
By Monday afternoon, Joe called his doctor. He was becoming weaker and losing his appetite.
On Wednesday, May 6, his doctor urged him to take an ambulance to North Shore Medical Center in Salem.
Thursday afternoon, May 7, an ambulance drove Joe to the emergency room at 4:00 p.m. Although anxious and frightened, with encouragement from phone friends, he took the Covid-19 test. The nurses were very kind, giving Joe intravenous fluids because of severe dehydration. He was also in AFib. His heart rate was 180 beats a minute. Part of his treatment was being given potassium.
Joe was admitted early Friday morning at 2:00 a.m. He was on Pingry floor, a Covid-19 unit. He felt terrible about his diagnosis but accepted it. He was in a room alone and preferred it. He stayed at this hospital for 13 days.
As Joe told me, “That first week was like going through Hell.” This was because of steadily worsening symptoms. They were weakness, intestinal problems, nighttime hallucinations, hearing voices in a dream-like state, and scary dreams.
However, the kindness and compassion of his nurses, nurse’s aides, and his doctor made the week tolerable. Because of dehydration, he was still on intravenous fluids. He enjoyed broths, soups, water, juice, and ginger ale. To strengthen a weakened immune system, he was given daily doses of vitamins A, C, and D-3, plus zinc and potassium. The potassium helped his heart.
His doctor was from India and had recovered from Covid-19 himself. He encouraged Joe, saying he would get better. During his first week, he was often fed by nurse’s aides because of his weakened state. Since he suffers from anxiety, Joe was given extra anxiety medication and melatonin but still had trouble sleeping. He would lose track of time. He felt near death and depended on prayer.
My friend from North Carolina and I called him each day, encouraging him. Other friends and a cousin and his brother also called Joe. The intervention of a Catholic chaplain, giving Joe the sacrament of the sick via phone, and many people’s prayers helped. By Friday, May 15, his appetite and spirits began returning. The probiotic Florastor® was prescribed, as was the new antiviral drug remdesivir.
He slowly got better. The dining staff would phone him each day and read the menu to him. For breakfast, he often had scrambled eggs, oatmeal, and toast with peanut butter or English muffins. This was accompanied with coffee and juice. For lunch and supper, he often had cheeseburgers, tuna melts, or pizza. He treated himself to ice cream or cake. When we spoke to him on the phone that Friday, we knew his outgoing spirit was returning. He talked more to us each day. He appreciated the many acts of caring and kindness shown by friends and everyone on the hospital staff.
During the first and second week, to prevent blood clots in his legs, elastic boots were put on Joe’s legs. Because of anxiety, he did not want shots in his belly. The boots gently squeeze your legs so blood doesn’t pool in them. Much of the time he was there, he was unable to walk.
By May 17, Joe realized his days at North Shore Medical Center were coming to an end. Although a social worker suggested rehab, his doctor and Joe thought going home and recuperating there was a better choice.
Joe will always remember the incredibly kind staff at this hospital. He also appreciated hearing from his cousin and brother. He appreciated the delicious food, especially the tuna melts, roast beef, mashed potatoes, and toast with peanut butter.
His doctor was encouraged by Joe’s swift recovery and his resilience. With sadness, on Wednesday evening, May 20, Joe left his second home. An ambulance returned him to his small apartment in Lynn. He had trouble walking long distances because of weakened lungs and legs. He had questions. When would his services with PT and visiting nurses begin? Joe had 14 days of self-quarantine; how would he receive meals? Even with these challenges, he was glad to return home. Although the next two weeks would be challenging, he had a new lease on life. There would be mixed blessings and a spiritual renewal.
End of Part One
To be continued.
Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the September Consumer Vision. The narrator in the novel Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, was Pip. Congratulations to the following winners:
Roanna Bacchus of Oviedo, Florida
Daryl Darnell of Urbana, Illinois
Nancy Hays of Waterbury, Connecticut
Karen Palau of Buffalo, New York
Jo Smith of West Dennis, Massachusetts
Steve Théberge of Attleboro, Massachusetts
Publisher’s note: Steve Théberge of Attleboro, Massachusetts, guessed the answer to the trivia question submitted in the August Consumer Vision. The Seattle Kraken will be the new team in the National Hockey League as of 2021.
And now, here is your trivia question for the October Consumer Vision. Name the six children featured on The Brady Bunch. If you know the answer, please email or call 508-994-4972.
Copyright © Consumer Vision Magazine, All rights reserved.

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