February 2018

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

Phone: 508-994-4972



Publisher: Bob Branco

Editor: Terri Winaught

Proofreader and Secondary Editor: Leonore Dvorkin

Formatter: David Dvorkin


In this Table of Contents, each article title will be separated from its author by three asterisks ***. Three asterisks *** will also be placed before and after each article, both to separate them and for ease of location. To make searching even easier, each article is also preceded by a number.

In columns like Karen Crowder's recipes, Readers'Forum, and Special Notices, letters will be used to designate separate items, starting with A, B, C, etc., depending on the number of items.


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

3. HEALTH MATTERS: Benefits and Components of the Mediterranean Diet *** by Leonore H. Dvorkin

4. THE IMAGE OF YOURSELF: Three Steps to Transform Your Past *** by Dennis R. Sumlin

5. TECH CORNER: Technology Humor *** by Stephen Théberge

6. READERS' FORUM (4 submissions)

7. WEATHER OR NOT: The Blizzards of '78 and Climate Change *** by Steve Roberts

8. THE DEMMIES: A new novel by Ann K. Parsons

9. THE HANDLER'S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs *** by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.

10. TURNING POINT: What Is Peer Support? *** by Terri Winaught

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

12. RECIPE COLUMN *** by Karen Crowder

13. POETRY CORNER: A New Consumer Vision Feature

14. MARCY'S SCHMOOZE TINNIH *** by Marcy Segelman




As you may have gathered based on the title of our publication, Consumer Vision focuses on you, the consumer. Whether you are blind or sighted, I'm sure there are things that happen to you that either please you or annoy you. You may find that many of us share your feelings and would like to offer support.

Aside from being a quality magazine, I think of Consumer Vision as a platform where we can all work together as one community. If there is anything you would like to share with us, I'd be happy to include it in our Readers'Forum. You may have been the victim of a scam, have been discriminated against, had a bad day at the supermarket, taken an enjoyable trip with friends and loved ones, had a problem with a product, or had any other experience you would like to share. All you need to do is send your comments to, and I will be happy to publish them in the Readers'Forum. You have the option of remaining anonymous if you wish.

I hope all of you have a very pleasant winter, and here's hoping for warmer weather and a bright future.

Warmest regards,

Bob Branco

Publisher, Consumer Vision



Hello, readers.

With this first comment, I know I will be dating myself, since it involves a commercial from the 1960s. Specifically, there was a commercial in which it was hard to tell the difference between butter and margarine. Once Mother Nature is certain it is butter, the other person in this ad announces that it is margarine. Mother Nature then says,  It's not nice to fool Mother Nature. Well, if you live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, it could be all too easy to think that Mother Nature has been fooling us. One day the temperatures are in the single digits and even below zero; yet another day, they are in the low 60s. I know that some of our readers have had it much worse, for example, the mudslides in California and the Nor'Easters in New England. I pray that none of you were negatively affected by those extreme conditions.

Yet another source of concern is the extent to which the flu has become a severe epidemic this year, resulting in many deaths, including those of many children as young as six. Although news reports indicate that this year's vaccine is not as effective as it could be, doctors continue to encourage everyone to get vaccinated. I took that advice, and unless you have religious convictions against that medical intervention, I hope you will do likewise.

Finally, with February being Black History Month, I will be sharing in the March magazine what I did in February to participate in applicable events. If you do the same, I would love to hear about it.

To conclude, I want to thank all of our creative, talented writers, publisher Bob Branco, proofreader and secondary editor Leonore Dvorkin, formatter David Dvorkin, and, of course, all of you who keep this magazine going and growing by being such loyal readers.

To offer any feedback or suggestions, always feel free to reach out by calling 412-263-2022 or emailing

Thanks for reading with me. Take care, and stay well.

Terri Winaught, Editor



Benefits and Components of the Mediterranean Diet

by Leonore H. Dvorkin

When they hear the word  diet, many people assume that the touted eating plan is probably very restrictive, a plan that would make them feel terribly deprived. However, unless you are currently a hater of fresh fruits and vegetables and are addicted to things like hamburgers, French fries, chips, soft drinks, and sweets, chances are that you will find the Mediterranean diet delicious and pleasant, as well as health-inducing. In fact, many of its main components may already be among your favorite foods. They certainly are favorites of ours.

So, what foods make up the Mediterranean diet? According to a 2017 Mayo Clinic article, this diet emphasizes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. Red meat is eaten only a few times a month, while fish and poultry are eaten at least twice a week. Residents of Greece eat very little red meat and average a whopping nine servings a day of fruits and vegetables! Butter is replaced with a healthy fat such as olive oil. (Extra-virgin olive oil is generally acknowledged to be the best.) While bread is an important part of the Mediterranean diet, it's typically eaten plain or dipped in olive oil, rather than smeared with butter or margarine. Pasta and rice are also parts of this diet. Herbs and spices, rather than salt, are used to flavor foods. Red wine is consumed in moderation. (I myself don't drink any alcohol, as it's a known risk factor for breast cancer.) Further health recommendations include regular exercise, even if it's something as mild as walking, plus enjoying meals with family and friends when possible.

As for exercise, most experts urge some combination of aerobic exercise (walking, swimming, jogging, bicycling, etc.) and resistance exercise, using either weight machines or free weights, which are dumbbells, barbells, and ankle weights. My very fit husband and I are both in our seventies, and we both love weight training. I teach four exercise classes a week, combining a wide variety of weight training exercises with stretches and calisthenics. 

As for fish, the fatty varieties are richest in omega-3 fatty acids. Such fatty acids lower triglycerides, decrease blood clotting, decrease the risk of sudden heart attack, improve the health of blood vessels, and help moderate blood pressure. Types of fatty fish include mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, tuna, and salmon. Many of these are available canned. I love a good tuna salad, which I make with Primal Kitchen avocado oil mayonnaise, a bit of curry powder, chopped celery, and a sprinkle of dried chopped chives. I serve that on rye or sourdough toast, sometimes heated in the toaster oven.

The Mayo Clinic article that I read stresses the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, especially to the heart. It's a diet that has been extensively studied. A meta-analysis of more than 1.5 million adults found that this diet is associated with reduced risks of both cardiovascular mortality and overall mortality. The diet is also associated with reduced incidences of cancer, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's. In several health publications, I've seen the recent report that women who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts may reduce their risk of breast cancer. A further benefit of the Mediterranean diet is a lower level of LDL cholesterol, the so-called  bad cholesterol that is likely to build up in your arteries.

Given that I had breast cancer in 1998 and that my father had Alzheimer's, I am always on the lookout for news about how to help prevent both of those much-feared diseases. My article in the January 2018 issue of Consumer Vision was on oils, and I mentioned the newly discovered connection between Alzheimer's and canola oil. Based on that, we have switched from canola oil products to those made with either olive oil or avocado oil.

My husband, naturally enough, is always on the lookout for news concerning how to help prevent prostate cancer. EurekAlert! is one of his favorite sources for health articles, as that site presents short, clear summaries of health articles from a wide variety of medical journals, university studies, etc.

A EurekAlert! article from January 10, 2018 is about a study that was written up in The Journal of Urology. The title is  A more complete Mediterranean diet may protect against aggressive prostate cancer. In this article, three diets are compared.

1. The unhealthy, typical Western diet is full of fatty dairy products, refined grains, processed meat, sweets, and fast food.

2. The so-called prudent diet emphasizes low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and juices.

3. The Mediterranean diet consists of lots of fish, boiled potatoes, fruits, vegetables, legumes, olive oil, and not much juice. (I myself drink no juices other than V-8 juice.) Note the addition here of the boiled potatoes.

Only the Mediterranean diet appeared to be associated with a lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer. The main point of the article is that a high intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may not be enough, that other important dietary elements are fish, legumes, and olive oil. Legumes include peas, beans, lentils, and peanuts.

Should you wish to research this diet on your own, you will find many articles about it online. Google  benefits of the Mediterranean diet or just  the Mediterranean diet, and many will pop up. Glancing at a few others, I see that they all summarize the diet in much the same way that I did above, and many include tantalizing photos of various healthy dishes.

If you are a sedentary person, no one expects you to be able to run a marathon or bench press 150 pounds a few weeks after you start exercising if ever! Likewise, proponents of good diets do not expect people to transform all of their eating habits right away. With both diet and exercise, the goal is to take one healthy step after another, gradually modifying your habits. So here's wishing you good luck with any reforms you choose to pursue!

About the Author:

Leonore H. Dvorkin has lived in Denver, Colorado since 1971. She is the author of four books, tutors three languages, and teaches four exercise classes a week. She has taught weight training since 1976. She's also the author of more than 30 published articles on health, fitness, and nutrition. Since 2009, she and her husband, the prolific author David Dvorkin, have been running DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services. Thus far, they have put out some 50 books by some 35 clients, most of whom are blind or visually impaired. David's forthcoming book, his twenty-eighth, is Self-Publishing Tools, Tips, and Techniques. It will be for sale in print and e-book formats from Amazon. Look for that by late February or early March 2018.

More Information:

Leonore's website: (books, articles, services, photos, and more)


Phone: 303-985-2327

David Dvorkin's website:

David's email:

DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services:




Three Steps to Transform Your Past

by Dennis R. Sumlin

Anyone who has been born has a past. As we get older, this past fills up with people, places, and experiences that shape who we are. The thing that really shapes us is the way we look at our past. The events in our lives happen, and it is up to us to interpret them. Therefore, we can change our past, and here's how.

Step 1. Stop defining yourself by your past.

As we grow, we learn. The important thing to remember is that your past does not define who you are. You are not your failed marriage; you are not the child you were; you are not your business that went under; you are you. When we come to understand that we are not the mistakes and lapses of the past, then we open ourselves up to the understanding that we can, at any moment, change for the better. We have the power to define ourselves, right now, in this moment.

When we over-identify with dust and particles from the past, we run the risk of repeating mistakes and begin defining ourselves with disempowering messages. We also deny ourselves the chance to correct unhealthy patterns because we believe that they are fused with us. Do not give away your personal power to events and situations that will never happen again.

Step 2. Learn from your mistakes.

After we understand that our past is not who we are, then we can learn from what history has to offer. Being able to look at the past in an objective manner allows us to see things from many different angles and take multiple lessons from it. We can ask ourselves what we could have done differently, why we felt a particular thing, and so on. This information will help make us ready for the future challenges ahead, and it will allow us to come to terms with our past.

When we see that the past is one of the best guides for the future, then we begin to appreciate where we have been. Mistakes and failures help us get closer to our personal values and help us know who we are. When I first started to look at my mistakes this way, it was hard and a little painful, but the way we improve our past is to change the way we see it.

Step 3. Make a better now.

The best way to improve the past is to make the best out of this moment. Every current moment will become the past. Living life as our best selves every day will create days, weeks, and months of a great past.

When we make a better now, we let go of shame and guilt. Shame causes us to hide who we are and avoid situations. Shame implies that who we are has to match with somebody else's standards, or else. Who are we living for, anyway? Guilt is about our actions and whether they measure up to a moral or value code. The question you may want to ask yourself is,  Whose moral code? Nobody has to live with your past but you.

When I used these steps, I was able to come to terms with the past, to get a better sense of who I am and what drives me, and all that allowed me to make each moment the past I want to look back on. Remember, you can look at your past to learn from it, but do not become it.



Technology Humor

by Stephen Théberge

I took this from the following online source:

The Future Diary of a Mad Digital Homeowner

Moved into my new digitally-maxed home, our Hermosa Beach house, at last. Finally, we live in the smartest house in the neighborhood. Everything's networked. The cable TV is connected to our phone, which is connected to my PC, which is connected to the power lines, all the appliances, and the security system. Everything runs off a universal remote with the friendliest interface I've ever used. Programming is a snap. I'm like, totally wired.

Nov. 30

Hot stuff!! Programmed my VCR from the office, turned up the thermostat, switched on the lights with the car phone, and remotely tweaked the oven a few degrees for my pizza. Everything nicely cozy when I arrived. Maybe I should get the universal remote surgically attached.

Dec. 1

Had to call the SmartHouse people today about bandwidth problems. The TV drops to about 2 frames per second when I'm talking on the phone. They insist it's a problem with the cable company's compression algorithms. How do they expect me to order things from the Home Shopping Channel?

Dec. 8

Got my first SmartHouse invoice today and was unpleasantly surprised. I suspect the cleaning woman of reading Usenet from the washing machine interface when I'm not here. She must be downloading one hell of a lot of GIFs from the binary groups, because packet charges were through the roof on the invoice.

Dec. 10

Yesterday, the kitchen CRASHED. Freak event. As I opened the refrigerator door, the light bulb blew. Immediately, everything else electrical shut down lights, microwave, coffee maker everything. Carefully unplugged and replugged all the appliances. Nothing. Called the cable company (not from kitchen phone). They refer me to the utility. The utility insists that the problem is in the software. So the software company runs some telediagnostics via my house processor. Their expert system claims it has to be the utility's fault. I don't care; I just want my kitchen back. More phone calls, more remote diagnostics. Turns out the problem was  unanticipated failure mode. The network had never seen a refrigerator bulb failure while the door was open. So the fuzzy logic interpreted the burnout as a power surge and shut down the entire kitchen. But because sensor memory confirmed that there hadn't actually been a power surge, the kitchen logic sequence was confused, and it couldn't do a standard restart. The utility guy swears this was the first time this has ever happened. Rebooting the kitchen took over an hour.

Dec. 12

The police are not happy. Our house keeps calling them for help. We discover that whenever we play the TV or stereo above 25 decibels, it creates patterns of micro-vibrations that get amplified when they hit the window. When these vibrations mix with a gust of wind, the security sensors are activated, and the police computer concludes that someone is trying to break in. Go figure.

Another glitch: Whenever the basement is in the self-diagnostic mode, the universal remote won't let me change the channels on my TV. That means I actually have to get up off the couch and change the channels by hand. The software and utility people say this flaw will be fixed in the next upgrade SmartHouse 2.1. But it's not ready yet. Finally, I'm beginning to suspect that the microwave is secretly tuning into the cable system to watch Baywatch. The unit is completely inoperable during that same hour. I guess I can live with that. At least the blender is not tuning in to old I Love Lucy episodes.

Dec. 13

I just bought the new Microsoft Home. Took 93 gigabytes of storage, but it will be worth it, I think. The house should be much easier to use and should really do everything. I had to sign a second mortgage over to Microsoft, but I don't mind. I don't really own the house; now it's the bank's. Let them deal with Microsoft.

Dec. 14

I'm beginning to have doubts about Microsoft Home. I keep getting an hourglass symbol when I want to run the dishwasher.

Dec. 15

This is a nightmare. There's a virus in the house. My PC caught it while browsing the public access network. I come home and the living room is a sauna, the bedroom windows are covered with ice, the refrigerator has defrosted, the washing machine has flooded the basement, the garage door is cycling up and down, and the TV is stuck on the home shopping network. Throughout the house, lights flicker like stroboscopes until they explode from the strain. Broken glass everywhere. Of course, the security sensors detect nothing. I look at the message slowly throbbing across my computer screen: Welcome to HomeWrecker: Now the Fun Begins! (Be it ever so humble, there's no virus like HomeWrecker!)

Dec. 16

They think they've digitally disinfected the house, but the place is in shambles. Pipes have burst, and we're not completely sure we've got the part of the virus that attacks toilets. Nevertheless, the Exorcists (as the anti-virus SWAT team members call themselves) are confident that the worse is over.  Homewrecker is pretty bad, one tells me,  but consider yourself lucky you didn't get Poltergeist. That one is really evil.

Dec. 19

Apparently our house isn't insured for viruses.  Fires and mudslides, yes; viruses, no my agent tells me. My agreement with SmartHouse explicitly states that all claims and warranties are null and void if any appliance or computer in my house networks in any way, shape or form with a non-certified on-line service. Everybody's very, very sorry, but they can't be expected to anticipate every virus that might be created. We call our lawyer. He laughs. He's excited.

Dec. 21

I get a call from the SmartHouse sales rep. As a special holiday offer, we get the free opportunity to become a beta site for the company's new SmartHouse 2.1 upgrade. He says I'll be able to meet the programmers personally.  Sure, I tell him.

Follow me on twitter at @speechfb

Read and post on my writer's blog:

Check out my coming of age science fiction book page for full information about my novel The MetSche Message.

Watch my YouTube channel for many blindness related issues and the latest Branco Broadcasts.

Proofreader's note: I could not see a copyright attached to the original version of the above article. Therefore, I took the liberty of editing it just slightly to correct various errors. In general, be sure that you are submitting only original articles to Consumer Vision, or that anything you have copied is not copyrighted. -Leonore Dvorkin



A. I'd like to address the employment issue from a technological perspective.

I have freelanced since June 2013. There are more options for those interested in telecommuting, but I still face accessibility barriers. I have applied to several jobs only to be stopped in my tracks by an inaccessible website with poorly labeled buttons, controls without alt text, or screenshots.

The burden of proof is on the visually impaired person to prove that he/she can do the job. Employers do not know about assistive technology.

Freelancing allows me to use my own equipment. Another barrier to telecommuting is the technology requirements. Many virtual phone jobs require secure wired broadband connection and a dedicated phone line. Sometimes, this is not possible due to limited Internet connectivity options or economics.




B. Hi, Bob.

I would like to thank Leonore for the article about the oils. It won't take much for me to change to olive oil as I usually do use that instead of canola except for pie crust. I have read that even that can be made with olive oil, as can cakes and other baked goods.

I have a little suggestion for the salad dressing. I cook balsamic vinegar until it is about half the amount and pour it back in the bottle. I just put a little extra-virgin olive oil on the salad and sprinkle on the vinegar it is amazing!

Thanks again for this article. I am passing it on to friends and family if I have your permission to do so.

Jean Marcley

Jean, as I wrote to you, you certainly have my permission to pass the article on to others. I'm flattered. And yes, I have read that pie crust and other baked goods can be made with olive oil. A very light, almost tasteless one is Bertolli Extra Light-Tasting Olive Oil. That should be suitable for baking. -Leonore Dvorkin


C. My Written Testimony to the Massachusetts Legislature's Joint Committee on the Judiciary in Support of the Juvenile Sexual Violence Act, H 2270, A Bill Drafted by Me

by Brian J. Coppola

Some 40-43 years ago I was a victim of sexual assault on multiple occasions. Three of the incidents occurred at a special needs boarding school for the blind, by three students, and one incident occurred in a housing project where my family and I lived during my childhood, by an adult who claimed to be a reverend. The case involving the adult did go to court, and the man was let go, due to no probable cause to hold him over for trial. The three cases in the boarding school for the blind never made it anywhere, because at the time I was only a child, afraid to tell anyone for fear of retaliation and being deemed a  tattletale, or fear of my parents pulling me out of a good place where I was getting a good education.

Dear Honorable Members of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary,

My name is Brian J. Coppola, a person with a visual and hearing impairment, who also happens to be once a victim, now a survivor, of campus assault and campus sexual assault at a special needs boarding school some 40-43 years ago. That was when the school started accepting more severely multiple handicapped students, as well as normal high"functioning blind and deaf/blind students who went there to receive an education, due to the fact that regular public schools were not equipped to educate handicapped children, let alone high"functioning blind and deaf/blind children.

The incidents I survived started to occur around the period of deinstitutionalization and at the time Chapter 766 and Education for All Handicapped Children were passed into law. While the public schools were not ready to educate blind and deaf/blind children, the special needs blind schools were not equipped to handle severely multiple handicapped children, some of whom were wheelchair-bound, while others had severe developmental or psychiatric issues along with blindness. I was integrated into a cottage that had such students with multiple handicaps, and unfortunately, it was the severely multiple handicapped pupils with severe behavioral issues who were involved in both sexual abuse on separate occasions and physical abuse.

At the time, the staff were either not supervising, or sitting there, egging it on, or just simply not prepared with manpower, elevators, and ramps to handle such severely impaired students. The bigger question seems to remain. Why does it take up to 40 years for these issues to finally be investigated? You and I know that this conduct occurs in all boarding schools, whether they are prep schools or special needs schools.

For fear of retaliation or embarrassment, the families pull the victims of the abuse out of their schools, which probably would have happened in my case had I told my parents what had occurred. When the truth comes out this late in the game, under internal investigation, shouldn't the school committees or the board of directors of the institution's alumni associations have jurisdiction over such matters of sexual abuse, and if the accused are found guilty, shouldn't they be deemed as no longer in good standing?

Closing schools is not the solution to the problem. Nor is pulling victims out of school. The solution lies in suspending or expelling the perpetrators from the schools and hiring more qualified and mature staff, enthusiastic about working with children in the educational or human service environment, with decent pay commensurate with experience not just hiring residential staff only in their teens, just taking such jobs, working with children in the educational environment just to get through college or other post-secondary education. These types of jobs must be taken seriously and responsibly.

We must stop defending the indefensible. Parents also need to take their fair share of responsibility for the actions of their children when school administrators call them regarding the questionable behaviors of their sons and daughters. Saying,  Heck, I work two jobs! What do you want me to do about it? just does not cut the mustard and should not be accepted. Schools are a place to learn, not a dumping ground or a babysitter.

I would like to share a link with you regarding a news story about an internal investigation of allegations of sexual abuse at a prep school. Here is the link.

I hope you will find the wisdom, strength, and courage in God's name to stand up to campus abuse, campus sexual assault, and campus rape and let the Commonwealth of Massachusetts take a strong lead on this critical issue. I ask and beg for your support and a release of H 2270 as reported favorably and ought to pass. If you have any questions for me, please do not hesitate to contact me at (508) 265-5099.

Happy New Year 2018, and have a wonderful day.

 Sincerely yours,

Brian J. Coppola

400 Merrimack Street

Methuen, MA 01844



D. Speaking Up About What's Bothering You

by Leonore H. Dvorkin

No details, as they are private, but recently I learned a very good lesson regarding the value of honesty: specifically, the value of speaking up, calmly but clearly, about something that is bothering you, something between you and another person. Chances are that you and the other person have both been laboring under certain misconceptions. This other person and I both were. Once those are cleared up, you can move forward, with both of you happier and your friendship intact.

Honesty really is the best policy at least more often than we might think. So if something is bothering you, pluck up your courage and speak up, either in person or in writing. (My truth-telling was done via email.) You may well end up very glad and relieved that you did so.

(Note: After I posted this on Facebook, it garnered a lot of Likes. I would imagine that most if not all of us have been in such an uncomfortable position at least once. This particular cleared-up issue is going to have good effects on my life for a long time to come.)



The Blizzards of '78 and Climate Change

by Steve Roberts

The Forgotten Blizzard of '78

On January 20, 1978, a huge storm system was launched up the east coast of the United States from the Gulf of Mexico. This great tempest buried everyone from Virginia to Maine under a foot or more of snow.

In southern and central New England, this snow bomb deposited snow at rates of 1 to 2 inches an hour, whipped around by winds of 50 to 60 miles per hour. When all was said and done, the Blizzard of '78 would leave 15 to 25 inches of snow in its wake.

The Blizzard of '78 shut down all southern New England airports for about 24 hours. Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island were all placed under a State of Emergency for a brief period of time.

The Blizzard of '78 was a snowstorm like none other. The meteorologists who forecast it said that it was a one-in-100-years storm. Those of us who experienced its wrath thought that we had seen the worst that weather could throw our way.

The Great Blizzard of '78

However, on February 1, a blast of bitterly cold air overspread the eastern half of the United States. The Arctic air was provided by a huge high that was centered over Minnesota.

On February 3, a low developed over Alberta Province. This so-called Alberta Clipper screamed along the polar branch of the jet stream.

As this was going on, a moisture-laden area of low pressure was taking shape along the Texas Gulf Coast. This storm would travel the sultry winds of the subtropical branch of the jet stream.

On the evening of February 5, both systems phased up and bombed out to the east of Hatteras. The pressures fell and the winds roared with great gusto. Thunderstorms would erupt and a storm like none other would impact the Northeast United States.

The Blizzard of '78 would overspread southern New England with snowfall of 2 to 3 inches per hour that was whipped around by winds of 60 to 70 miles per hour. The evening rush hour was a nightmare. On February 6, 2,000 cars got stuck on Route 128 because a tractor-trailer jackknifed, blocking traffic in both directions.

The seething seas of this bomb cyclone battered coastal communities with huge waves. Residents of Duxbury had to be rescued by boat as sea water inundated their homes. This storm's violent waves shattered numerous sea walls up and down the Atlantic Coast. Portions of Anthony's Pier 4 restaurant were destroyed by the storm's massive waves.

Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island were all placed under a State of Emergency that lasted for a full week. The airports of these states were completely shut down for nearly a week.

The forecasters who predicted this storm were floored by what they saw, and the storm did everything that it was predicted to do. The Great Blizzard of '78, as it came to be known, buried portions of southern and central New England beneath two to three feet of snow.

Could They Happen Again?

Although I can't see a single winter with both blizzards of '78 again, I do think that climate change greatly increases the odds of recurrence.  How does a warmer world increase the likelihood of seeing a huge blizzard? you ask.

As the Arctic warms, the jet stream flow slows down. A slower-flowing jet stream is wavier than a faster-flowing jet stream. The ridges in the wavy flow feature warm, dry conditions. The troughs in the wavy flow feature cold and potentially stormy conditions. The East has been on the cold and stormy side of the wave pattern.

The eastern side of the trough also features the greatest amount of lift. Because of all the lift that is associated with the lee side of the trough access, the pressures within the storms that travel this portion of the flow can deepen quickly. This is what caused the first Blizzard of '78 to develop.

The sea surface temperatures in the western North Atlantic are extremely warm. These very warm waters will lend more heat and moisture to the storms that develop out over them.

The snowstorms that have struck the Northeast U.S. over the past few years have produced lots of snow due to the warmer than usual Atlantic and the wavier jet stream. These tempests often dump snow at rates of 2 to 4 inches an hour. Snowfall of that intensity was rare in the 1970s and '80s.

There has also been a spike in the incidence of thundersnow over the last couple of decades. A thundersnow squall features locally heavy snow and very high winds, as well as the shock and awe of thunder and lightning. Thundersnow squalls can produce snowfall rates of 3 to 6 inches an hour.

The last decade has seen an increase in high-over-low blocking. High-over-low blocking occurs when a high in the higher latitudes blocks a low to its south, causing it to stall out.

Sometime in the next decade or so, there will be a severe bomb cyclone that stalls due to persistent, blocking high pressure. This storm will produce very heavy snow that is whipped around by fierce winds owing to the storm's internal dynamics and its abutment with blocking high pressure.

The Blizzard of '78 occurred 40 years ago. Don't count on 40 years to elapse between now and its next recurrence. Though it may seem counterintuitive, the next tempest of this magnitude may be wafting in the winds of our warming world.



A. About In Perspective

I would like to tell all of you about my podcast In Perspective, featuring Bob Branco and Allen Hensel. Each week, Al and I talk about current topics, or we invite special guests to talk about their projects. You're probably wondering who Al is. Al Hensel attended Perkins from 1967 to 1972. Some of you know him better as Allen Dow.

In Perspective can be heard on C Joy Internet Radio every Tuesday morning from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Just go to and hit  Listen Live.  

Another way for you to listen to In Perspective is through the Massachusetts Radio Reading Service. If you have a receiver, you can hear the show every Sunday evening from 10:00 to11:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

You can also listen to In Perspective on Chat Oasis. Just call 712-432-3645. Press 1 for the main menu, 1 for the rooms menu, and 15 for a bulletin board. If you do not hit the pound key, you can hear our latest edition of In Perspective in its entirety.

I also have a list of subscribers to whom I send In Perspective as a link. If you would like to be one of those subscribers, please let me know and I will add you to the mailing list.

Branco Broadcast is a weekly telephone conference call where participants listen to inspirational speakers. The call takes place on Mondays at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Guest will give brief presentations about their jobs, hobbies, or other endeavors, and will then take questions from our participants. If you'd like to be a guest on the Branco Broadcast conference call, just email me at and we'll set up a date for your appearance. The phone number to call Branco Broadcast is 712-775-8984, and the pass code is 514295.


This is a great testimony of how some sighted people educate others about magic, the blind and life itself.


B. A New Novel


by Ann K. Parsons / C 2017 / 445 pages in print

In e-book ($3.99) and print ($17.95) from Amazon and multiple other online sellers.

The Demmies is also on Bookshare.

Full details, cover, author bio, and more:


The demmies were the public's darlings, but they led a double life. By day, they posed for pictures, were guests on TV shows, and helped to increase knowledge about genetic engineering by taking part in scientific experiments. By night, they faced Dr. Albert Lud's unauthorized experiments and his torture.

Was there something better for the genetically engineered, foot-high humans? Could they escape? If they did, could they find food, shelter, and freedom from the ogre who tormented them? Could they trust any of the  big folk to help them? These were some of the questions that kept Alex Kenyon awake at night.

His daughter Ruth wondered what made a human being. Was it size? Was it intelligence? Was it belief in God? What made her know she was a human being, even though only nine inches tall?

This is the story of how Alex's and Ruth's questions are answered.

A note from Leonore Dvorkin of DLD Books (

A marketing tip for any author is to take advantage of all possible personal connections: friends, family, work colleagues, church groups, book clubs and other clubs, alumni associations, etc. Ann Parsons took that advice and contacted her alma mater, Elmira College (in Elmira, New York) regarding her book. They responded with a wonderful notice about the book in their online alumni magazine. Go here to see it:

If this is not accessible to you, I can tell you what it includes. The headline is:  Alumna Authors Suspense Novel. Following that is a large photo of the cover, a brief synopsis, a link to the novel on Amazon, and the link to the author's website (provided above). An author could hardly ask for more. Thank you, Elmira College!



Living and Working with Guide Dogs

by Ann Chiappetta M.S.

Hello, readers. It's winter, and time to talk about keeping those doggie feet safe and healthy.

Before continuing, I would like to encourage all dog owners to sign up for weekly email updates from what is offered on the internet. The list in this article is by no means complete or finite; I am merely sharing examples of reliable resources, at least according to my personal opinion. I hope you explore what is offered and find it helpful to find your own dog-centric references. My favorites for keeping abreast of positive training and behavior methods are: The Whole Dog Journal (, Modern Dog Magazine (, and ( Each of these sites offers a free weekly email list and great blogs. For veterinarian-based health information, I use Dr. Mercola on the Web:, of course my own local vet, and the veterinary advice of my guide dog school training program. I also use the Pet Food Advisor for dog food recalls sent right to my inbox, .

Okay, now onto helping your dog's feet during the ice and snow and the spreading of those nasty ice-melting chemicals. The danger is not only external, but also internal. Your dog is often exposed, not only when the road salt and ice melt touches the paws, but also when the dog licks it off, ingesting it. It is still unclear just how much ingesting it can do over time, but why take chances? If it is bad for humans to ingest it, it's most likely bad for our dogs, too. The best protection is preventative, meaning foot protection, which I call the dreaded dog boot. Dogs will tolerate them, and some dogs may learn to accept them, but don't get your hopes up. We are asking a dog to accept unnatural devices to be put on their feet and prevent them from feeling the ground, then asking them to walk around like nothing is wrong. Fortunately, dogs can learn to tolerate boots with time, praise, and food rewards. Consult with your dog's training program for tips and advice on how to help your dog adjust.

Next, choosing the boot is also important. For short trips, perhaps the thin, semi-disposable rubber foot cover called Pawz is good. For longer walks in the slush, ice, and melting agents, heavier boots with more protection are better. Seek advice from your guide dog school instructors if you are rusty or if your dog is resistant.

Do not be surprised that with practice and praise, that after a week of wearing boots, your dog will overcome its resistance. Before this, though, be ready for some laughs or even some frustration. My retired dog walked like a duck the first hour or so. My current dog becomes a speed racer, as if the faster he gets to the destination, the sooner the boots will be removed. Paw licking is common, too.

Use Musher's Secret "! for keeping your dog's feet from chapping or from excessive dryness; it is a paraffin wax-based product that's safe for dogs. Applied twice weekly, the product helps build an invisible barrier from heat and cold. Also, examine your dog's feet frequently. After walks, clean off any ice melt from feet and belly with unscented baby wipes or warm, damp paper towels, and dry feet to prevent chapped skin.

As for what style, type, or brand of dog boot to use, just like boots made for people, there are so many styles, it could make you just give up on trying to find the right style, size, and fit. Remember the links to the websites I mentioned in the beginning of this article? I recommend using those resources to research and read the reviews of the dog boots on today's market.

My personal favorites are the Pawz disposable dog boots ( They are made of latex and are like thick balloons that protect the dog's feet from getting wet. It takes practice putting them on, but I find them suitable for short walks in sloppy weather and on hot days that don't exceed 90 degrees. For complete protection, I like the Ruffwear ( or the Ultra Paws winter boots ( Ask your guide dog school if Ruffwear offers a discount. Most schools provide the first set to take home after training. Some don't, so ask.

Have a safe and fun winter.

Ann Chiappetta, M.S. is an independent author and consultant. To read or listen to her book interviews, go to her personal website,, or her book-related Web page, . Ann's latest book, FOLLOW YOUR DOG: A STORY OF LOVE AND TRUST, and her poetry collection, UPWELLING: POEMS, can both be found there.



What Is Peer Support?

by Terri Winaught

When you think of helping professionals in the mental health field, do you think of therapists, service coordinators, and psychiatrists? For the longest time, those are the helpers I thought of. Though there is nothing wrong with that, since those professionals provide important services, there is another professional in this field whose services and perspectives are invaluable, because they are based on and shaped by lived experience. These professionals are called Peer Support Workers. Peer Support Workers are individuals who not only have a mental health diagnosis or a co-occurring disorder, but these professionals are required to share that they have lived experience.

In terms of self-disclosure, Peer Support Workers are encouraged to share, but only when appropriate and when doing so will assist the person with whom they are working.

Because having a Peer Support Worker can be a significant turning point for persons who are also in recovery, this has become the fastest-growing field in the behavioral health profession.

Having taken training to be a Peer Support Worker and having also done an internship as completion of that training, I wanted to take that a step further. To do that, I took training in 2013 that enabled me to become a Certified Peer Specialist. In this latter capacity, I not only get to use my lived experience to guide others in their recovery journey, but I can also bill Medicaid for my services if I work in an agency or department with services that are billable.

Although neither Peer Support Workers nor Certified Peer Specialists are therapists, we are important spokes on the Wellness Wheel by linking people to resources, modeling recovery, and conveying the message of hope that recovery is possible even from a serious mental illness.

If Peer Support sounds like a field you would like to know more about, contact your local office of Behavioral Health.

In the March issue, I will provide specific information about Peer Support services in Allegheny County and the certification process for providing that service there.


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

by Penny Fleckenstein

Who blogs at:


Some days, I feel the universe is against me. I hear that the first five minutes of your interaction with someone sets the tone for the day. For example, today I left my cell phone somewhere because I felt rushed. After spending $30 on a taxi to retrieve it, I feel relieved, now.

I need to remember to take sips from my new Brita water filter bottle. It filters 40 gallons of tap water and cost me $13 for two on, saving me a lot on bottled water from the store. No more heavy boxes of water for others to lift, and no more bottles to clutter up my house and recycle. It's convenient.

I will incorporate my newly discovered breathing technique called the BreatheOutDynamic system, or BODs. I've learned about BODs from a book I downloaded from the Library for the Blind called Just Breathe Out: Using Your Breath to Create a New, Healthier You, by Betsy Thomason, BA, RRT. This concentration on your out breath was developed by a cyclist named Ian Jackson. This book gives you testimonies, the breathing technique, and exercises you can practice every day for a healthier body. I have not yet finished reading it, but I'm so excited to integrate the BreatheOutDynamic system into my life.

Last Thursday, I was using this breathing a lot to keep myself calm throughout the day. There was one dissatisfaction followed by another followed by another, from morning to evening. It really felt as if it were  one of those days, but then I decided to put gratitude into practice. I was thankful I got Zachary to his children's choir and art class on time. I was thankful the Access driver spent over 20 minutes looking for me. God must have sent my friend Christy out right on time for her to tell the dispatcher I was at a different building than what I thought, and I got to Benihana at just the right time. I arrived there smiling and ready to celebrate my birthday.

My friend and I sat at the hibachi table with five or six others. A young lady was celebrating her 19th birthday with her family. Two gentlemen from Youngstown, Ohio sat near me, one named Demaine, and the other named Terrell. We had a lively conversation in which Terrell took the time to fully explain Skiplagged (that's skip lagged) to us. It is an app and a website in which you type the city you desire to fly to, say JFK Airport. From Pittsburgh, a flight to JFK would be $400 one way. However, if you buy a ticket to a different destination where the flight connects at JFK Airport, you can get off the plane at JFK and skip the connecting flight. Voilà, you end up at your destination city without paying the high price of getting there. You must only travel with carry on, because if you check your luggage, it will go to the destination on your ticket. This is a light traveler's dream. According to Terrell, the developer of Skiplagged saved over $50,000 in one year by using this technique. The airlines took Skiplagged to court, and Skiplagged won. This is perfectly legal. Besides finding out about Skiplagged, one of the sweet gentlemen paid for our meal.

So, all right, the universe wasn't against me at all once I changed my attitude and started feeling grateful about my day. What a revelation!

I am always thankful when I hear from my readers. You brighten my days and make me feel awesome.



by Karen Crowder

Throughout February, days are longer and a little warmer. There is the anticipation of spring. Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day occur on February 14. Presidents'Day weekend is from February 16 through the 19th.



A. Haddock (or Cod) and Crabmeat Casserole

B. Chicken Rice Vegetable Soup

C. Delicious Scones


A. Haddock (or Cod) and Crabmeat Casserole


On New Year's Day, this recipe made a delicious dinner. I was entertaining my friend Jenny throughout the holidays.



One pound haddock or cod

One 6-ounce can crabmeat

Four tablespoons flour

One-half stick real butter

One and one-half cups milk

One-half cup half-and-half

A dash of light cream

Dashes of curry powder and salt

Four whole mushrooms.



10 Ritz crackers

Four tablespoons butter

A small amount of minced onion.



1.  On low heat in a double boiler or saucepan, melt one-half stick butter for 5 to 7 minutes. Add flour and stir with silicone or wire whisk for 30 seconds. This will incorporate both ingredients. Turn off heat, adding milk, half-and-half, light cream, and spices (the curry powder, and salt).

2. On low heat, stir cream sauce for 5 minutes, incorporating the milk, spices, half-and-half, and light cream. Stir sauce infrequently for 20-25 minutes.

3. While the sauce is thickening, prepare stuffing and fish.

4. Place Ritz crackers, butter, onion, and spices in a small mixing bowl. Blend Ritz crackers, butter, onion, and spices with clean hands. Open crabmeat, draining liquid into the sink. Add it to Ritz cracker mixture. With clean hands, blend crabmeat into Ritz cracker-onion-butter-spice mixture for two minutes. Place mixing bowl in refrigerator. Cover stuffing with plastic wrap until you are ready to use it.

5. Grease bottom and side of casserole dish with one tablespoon butter. Rinse the three pieces of haddock or cod and lay them in the bottom of the five-quart casserole dish.

6. When sauce has thickened, turn off burner, letting sauce cool for 10 minutes. Place some crab stuffing on bottom piece of fish. Place the next piece of fish over stuffing. Add more stuffing, and place last piece of fish over the stuffing. Place more stuffing on top. Arrange broken-up mushrooms around the sides of the fish.

7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set pan of sauce beside casserole dish. With a one-cup measure, pour sauce around and over the haddock-crab casserole.

8. Bake the casserole for 35 minutes.

Serve hot, either alone or with rice. Jenny and I liked the casserole dish. It was a great way to begin a new year. I recommend this delightful casserole for holidays or Valentine's Day.

B. Chicken Rice Vegetable Soup


 On January 2, it was bitterly cold and a fitting afternoon for hot soup, garlic bread, and peppermint tea. I added vegetables and spices to make plain chicken rice soup more presentable.


One large can Progresso chicken rice soup

Four whole mushrooms

One half to three-fourths cup frozen or fresh broccoli

Optional slice of red pepper

Dashes of curry and garlic powder

Olive oil

One teaspoon butter

One-half can water

One-half can milk

Optional dashes of light cream or half-and-half



1. Put olive oil and butter in the bottom of a lock-lid saucepan. On low heat, let it melt for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, broccoli, and pepper. Let vegetables cook for 15 minutes.

2. Add chicken rice soup to vegetables.

3. Add water, milk, half-and-half or light cream, and spices.

4. Stir ingredients around and cover saucepan. Let soup cook on low heat for 40 minutes. The tempting aroma will permeate the house or apartment.

5. Serve soup with saltine or Ritz crackers, two slices of hot garlic bread, and tea.

 C. Delicious Scones

 This recipe is from Cook's Illustrated Best Recipes. The original name for it is Cream Scones with Currants. My recipe differs. There are no currants or heavy cream, and there is more sugar and butter. I sift the dry ingredients. There are four tablespoons of sugar, not three, and almost six tablespoons of butter. I use a combination of milk, half-and-half, and light cream. I use melted butter and sugar on the tops of the scones.


Two cups all-purpose flour

One tablespoon baking powder

One-half teaspoon salt

Four tablespoons sugar

Five to six tablespoons real butter

One"half cup half-and-half

One-fourth cup light cream

One-fourth cup milk

One egg

Two tablespoons sugar

One tablespoon melted butter



1. Put all dry ingredients in sifter. Sift them into a medium mixing bowl.

2. Add cold butter, blending all ingredients with clean hands until dough feels crumbly.

3. Add milk-cream mixture and stir with a wooden spoon for two to three minutes.

4. Add room-temperature egg, lightly beaten with a fork. Stir into scone batter for two minutes.

5. Line cookie sheet with foil. Lightly grease it with butter. In a small bowl, melt one tablespoon butter in microwave for 25 seconds. In a small bowl, measure out two tablespoons of sugar.

6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Scoop out small mounds of batter with a tablespoon measure, placing scones on cookie sheet. Brush a little melted butter on each one and sprinkle tops with a little sugar.

7. Bake scones for 15 minutes. Allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Turn scones over on cookie sheets and sample them while warm; they are delicious. Store scones in Ziploc bags and refrigerate them.

They are delicious hot with butter for breakfast, or an afternoon or evening snack with coffee or tea. The cookbook was produced in braille volumes by the National Braille Press and was published by America's Test Kitchen. The copyright was by the editors of Cook's Illustrated in 2004. I am not sure if you can get it from National Braille Press.

I hope Consumer Vision readers are enjoying a New Year. Let us pray for a peaceful, kinder, more loving America and world.



(Note: Only original poems will be accepted for this new feature. Please do not copy the poems of others for submission, as that would violate copyright protection. Thanks.)

In Praise of Beige

C 2018 by Leonore H. Dvorkin

I love the beige of the undulating desert,

of waving, dry grasslands,

of soft, sweet cats,

of good black tea with plenty of milk,

of walls that form the modest background

for the bolder colors of framed art and books,

of the wood that is the main part of a pencil,

an instrument of creation,

of the cardboard that forms the boxes

in which so many good things arrive on our doorstep,

of the pattern in the elegant vinyl that graces our kitchen floor,

of the soothing stones that form the border at the front of our lawn,

of the T-shirts that harmonized so beautifully

with my husband's lovely red hair,

now gone.


My Uniform, a Guide Dog Poem

by Penny Parker

I know you only see a dog when you see me in the street,

But look a little closer before we get to meet.

You'll see I'm in my uniform.

This harness that I wear should tell you that I'm working;

I have a human in my care.

The flash that shines upon my lead shouts out the job I do,

I'm guiding in my uniform, I'm steady and I'm true.

Now would you grab a policeman, a doctor, nurse, or nun,

A fireman or a surgeon, so you could have some fun?

Would you want to hug them, distract them from their task?

I'm not so very different, so THINK, is all I ask.

I'm doing such a special job, I'm being someone's eyes,

Distracting me to make a fuss really isn't wise.

Would you rush to hug a police dog, or a sniffer dog for drugs,

Or a guard dog barking madly, just to get some hugs?

I doubt they'd greet you kindly, their owners too may shout.

So please I ask you nicely, walk on and miss me out.

I'm working in my uniform, it's very clear to see.

So this I ask you kindly, don't attempt to distract me!



by Marcy Segelman

Shalom, everyone. I want to cover an era that we as family and friends do not always talk about: that is, when your parents or some loved one in the family is on their last part of life, just before death. It is hard to see this unfold unless you have been there at one time yourself. Here is a family that is going through a very hard time. The youngest is a very good friend of mine. We speak daily or when she needs a person to listen. We go back a way. In our grandparents'day, it was a mitzvah to have a friend for a very long time and help them when you could. We would never look back and say,  Well, I did that for you. It was done just because it needed to be done. I have many friends who have lost their parents. No one thinks about the people that are left behind. We do take care of them during the week of Shiva (the seven-day period of mourning) but the thing is, I feel it is later when those people need more of a check-in. Go to dinner. Make sure there is food and the house is in order.

As a person goes through this, it's quite a strain to all. A lot of people feel comfortable when the whole family can come together, and if there is a problem of any kind, resolve it. That would make the person more comfortable. That is why today I think that when a person is ill and there is no longer any hope left, all the relatives should be able to see the person. I am not sure, but I say this because I see it in hospitals today. When I was young and my mother was dying and she was at her worst stages, they would not let me in to see her anymore. This to me was very bad; it caused me many large problems. If there are siblings, it is great if they can be there for each other. Your siblings are the ones who understand you better than others and can advocate for you. I know that if it were not for my brother, my other family members, and friends, it would have been a very hard and very tough time to go through.

One of these people that I'm talking about is a very strong and caring person who has her own serious problems, but she is here for her family and friends. I have been ill many times, and she would call to see how I was. We talk on the phone, and this is just as good as a visit to the house.

Being that we all have our way of praying, I ask that we all take time out not only to pray for what we have and should not take for granted, but also to think of our families, friends, and many acquaintances that we have made over the years, to think how those have added something to our lives that we did not notice until it was needed. I will let you think on that for now.





Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the January 2018 Consumer Vision. The significance of the sentence  The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog is that it contains all 26 letters of the English alphabet. It is often used for typing practice, to test keyboards, or to illustrate type styles (fonts). Congratulations to the following winners:

Mark Blier of Sierra Vista, Arizona

Cleora Boyd of Fort Worth, Texas

Jan Colby of Brockton, Massachusetts

Leonore Dvorkin of Denver, Colorado

David Faucheux of Lafayette, Louisiana

Don Hanson of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Susan Jones of Indianapolis, Indiana

Brian Sackrider of Port Huron, Michigan

Jo Smith of West Dennis, Massachusetts

Steve Théberge of North Attleboro, Massachusetts

And now, here is your trivia question for this month's Consumer Vision. Which female singer did a duet with Elton John entitled  Don't Go Breaking My Heart ? If you know the answer, please email or call 508-994-4972.