If you are interested in subscribing to Consumer Vision Magazine please contact Bob Branco at (508) 994-4972 or email bobbranco93@gmail.com.

If you would like to make a monetary contribution to the Consumer Vision Magazine, please make your check payable to the Consumer Vision, and send it to Robert Branco, c/o the Consumer Vision, 359 Coggeshall Street, New Bedford, MA 02746.

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The Consumer Vision

          January/February, 2015

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

Telephone, 508-994-4972

Email Address, bobbranco93@gmail.com

Web site, www.consumervisionmagazine.com

Publisher, Bob Branco

Editor, Terri Winaught


Letter from the Editor ### by Terri Winaught

Impaired Vision ### by Ernest Jones

Tips for VIP'S (very important people who are blind) ### by Penny Fleckenstein

God in the Schools ### by Bob Branco

The Color of Love ### by Terri Winaught

How Blind are We, Really? by John Justice

A Little About Leftovers ### by Terri Winaught

This Curated List of Banned Words is Cray-Cray ### by Erik Deckers, Copyright, 2015.

Special Notices ### by Bob Branco

If a Table could talk ### by Karen Crowder Celestial Light ### A Poem by Susan Bourrie, Copyright from Undercover, 2014

Celestial Light ### by Susan Bourrie

 Learning to Make Good Garlic Bread By Karen Crowder

Answer from November/December's Trivia Contest ### by Bob Branco

Trivia contest for January/February ### by Bob Branco

Note: In addition to being used in the Table of Contents, three consecutive number signs ### are also used between articles. This feature affords readers an easy and convenient way to locate and skip articles.



Dear Readers,

As I write this on January 2nd, 2015, I want to wish all of you the blessings of a New Year filled with happiness, health and hope.

To those of you who celebrated Hanukkah in 2014, I hope that the Menorah-whether lit with the traditional candles or electricity-reawakened within you the awe of that first miracle when oil that should have lasted for just one day lasted for eight. If there were children in your family who enjoyed the Dreidle, singing songs and getting Hanukkah gelt, I hope that their faces were lit up with smiles while their minds were enriched by a greater understanding of history and miracles.

On another joyous note, if you celebrated Christmas as I did, my prayer for you is that your heart was rekindled with a deeper love of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Since this holiday is especially hard on those who are grieving a loved one's death, I hope your pain was softened by supportive hugs and lightened by friends willing to listen.

On a final celebratory note, some of you may have enjoyed the seven days of Kwanzza-not so much a holiday as it is a celebration of African principles and spirituality. I hope that sharing cultural pride with family and community left you with a deeper appreciation of culture and roots.

Last, but far from least in importance, I'd like to welcome two new members to the Consumer Vision contributor family.

Penny Fleckenstein is the dedicated mother of 6, an excellent cook, and a shining example of the many skills those of us who are blind can develop. I asked Penny to write "how-to" columns in response to a reader whose recent feedback was that we needed a magazine with how-to columns of relevance to persons with vision loss.

Our second new contributor is Joyce Driben. Having enjoyed Ernie Jones' guide dog stories so thoroughly, Joyce asked me if she, too, could share dog tips and stories. Because Joyce wanted more time to prepare her story, it will be in the March/April issue. The important focus of Joyce's article will be "things to keep in mind and questions to ask" when getting a first dog.

As someone who is 74 years young, Ms. Driben remains an active advocate in the community of persons with disabilities.

Enjoy this issue; feel free to contact me at t.winaught@verizon.net, and thanks for reading with me.


    Terri Winaught, Editor

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          Impaired Vision

           By Ernest Jones

I hear often that a person has impaired vision. Why does one become impaired just because they are blind? To me, being impaired means the person is unable

to perform normal daily tasks. True, we can’t drive the family car — something that is really hard to give up — and we usually can’t read normal print.

But does that make us impaired?

Now, I know the term impaired vision is usually intended to mean a person has poor eyesight or is blind. But for me, that labels the blind as being just

a little below the sighted people. Who likes to be called "impaired"?

"Vision" can mean looking ahead, looking into the future as one makes plans. One needs vision to do daily tasks, and uses vision as he tries to gain education and work skills.

A few years back I cut through the wall on the back side of our fruit shed and installed a new window. I wanted more light inside the shed, and the room needed better summer ventilation. A friend, a man who demands perfect work in his construction, said, "You did good — that window is level and square." Then he added, "Almost as good as I would have done."

Hearing this, I felt my work would pass inspection of any critic, blind or not. I had used vision in "seeing" this project completed. Being blind didn’t stop Dave from doing some repair work underneath his car even if it was dark. But he found he needed more muscle power and a couple more hands to lift the heavy part and hold it in place while he bolted it securely. Calling to his neighbor, who had just arrived home, he asked the man

to give him a little help, and shortly Dave had the stubborn piece fastened securely in place. Was Dave impaired because he needed help? Or was he just using vision in getting help to finish his project?

Philip, a friend of mine, was an executive manager in a large banking chain in Canada. He was also blind, but was able to use vision to work in a job typically held by sighted people.

Another friend and his wife were building a new house under contract. When it came to laying the tile in the kitchen and bathrooms, he told the lead contractor he and his wife were doing this work. The contractor objected, but at last had to give in, saying, "I fear your work will be inferior to what I demand of my workers." But after the tile was all in place and the floor cleaned, the contractor said, "you did as good or even better than my men would have done."

My friend is blind, while his wife fully sighted. He cut the tiles, she laid them in place. Again, he was using vision to complete a task others thought impossible for a blind person to do. Later, nearing completion of their new house, this same "vision" helped my friend to point out many defects that the sighted workers had not found, causing the contractor to be even more demanding that his workers do only the best work.

If the blind are to succeed, they can’t take the easy road of feeling impaired, but must use vision to press forward and gain the training and knowledge needed to work in the sighted work place. They must keep vision forever in front of them and grasp its power. They may need to use more effort than the sighted in order to be another worker in their chosen field, but by refusing to feel impaired, and with vision, they can achieve their goal.

In my writing I avoid using "impaired vision," instead writing "fading eyesight" or "blind." I think some people — blind or sighted — don’t like using the word "blind." But I wonder why. I am blind, not really liking this condition but that is life. But I do not feel impaired. Nor am I disabled, other than not being able to drive the family car or read print. I can still walk several miles with no great feeling of tiredness, and my physical work in the yard and garden helps me to stay active. I do things by feel, hearing or smell; just because I don’t use my eyes, why should I be called impaired? I still have vision.

I know many people, both blind and sighted, will not agree with me, and that is OK. But just call me blind, not impaired.

Have a great day as you use vision to plan for tomorrow.

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(Visually Impaired Persons, who are also very important people).

By not your average single mom, Penny Fleckenstein

Happy 2015, Everyone!!! As a blind single mom, I'm always scouring

the universe for tips to make my life easier. In this column, I

plan to share them with you, and give you the opportunity to

share. Life is hard enough, so it's great when we can find ways

to make life less stressful.

As you know, we've just completed the Holiday Season. In our

household, we have a Thanksgiving dinner, a Christmas dinner and

an Easter dinner. One of the things I love is butternut squash. I

used to be able to find it in the frozen section at the grocery

store, but for the past couple years, it has not made an

appearance. so, at


I found the following butternut squash recipe

using fresh butternut squash.

How to make Butternut Squash The Easy Way

by Robyn Stone

Prep time

1 min

Cook time

4 hours

Total time

4 hours 1 min

Learning How to Cook Butternut Squash the easy way makes life so

simple. Get these easy tips for cooking butternut squash.

Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch


butternut squash


1. Wrap butternut squash with aluminum foil and place inside the

slow cooker insert. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.

2. Remove from slow cooker and allow to cool for about 15

minutes before trying to handle.

3. Unwrap butternut squash, slice it in half with a knife, and

then scoop out the seeds and membrane from the inside of the

butternut squash and discard.

4. Scoop out the soft butternut squash flesh with a large spoon

and place into an airtight container for later use.

5. Keep refrigerated up to one week in an airtight container.


Robyn xo

What else have I found out this past holiday season? They sell

already hardboiled peeled eggs at the grocery store. Wow!

Another Wow, at zennioptical.com you can, by providing them a

copy of your prescription for eyeglasses making sure it includes

the pupil distance, buy frames for $6.95 which reduces the cost

of your eyeglasses drastically. My friend, Beth, recommends them

highly saying that she knows several families from our church who

have many children who consistently order their glasses from this


Yes, can you believe it, yet another wow! I'm knitting my very

first prayer shawl, and my friend, Carol who is also from my

church, told me to keep my ball of yarn in a ziplock bag or a

pitcher so that it can tumble around in there so it won't get

lost or so the cat is not tempted to play with it.

Speaking of Holidays and celebrations, are you planning to

celebrate your birthday this year? There are many places you can

sign up for their emails, and they thank you by sending you a

birthday certificate near your birthday. I googled eat free on

your birthday and my city and state (Pittsburgh, PA), and I found

a list of places which feel your birthday is important. I signed

up for some of the places with the help of my sighted son, Isaac,

and am enjoying the benefits this month. Some of the places are:

Starbucks: a free drink on your birthday, Houlihans: a free

entree the week of your birthday, Moe's Southwest Grill: a free

entree the week of your birthday if you wear more than your

birthday suit and buy a drink, Noodles and Co.: a free entree the

week of your birthday, Benihana: $30 gift certificate for dinner

Monday through Thursday with the purchase of another Entree for

the month of your birthday, and Qdoba: another free entree deal.

There are so many more. If you have any suggestions to add to

this list or tips you wish to contribute to a future column,

please email me at: goodthaimom@gmail.com I'm always intrigued

and excited in simple recipes, hobby hows, cleaning tips, and

easing stress.

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      God in the Schools

      by Bob Branco

When I went to elementary school nearly 50 years ago, it was a great feeling

to be told by my teacher that it was time to pray.  Every morning, the class

went silent for several moments while we took the time to pray for

ourselves, our family and our friends.  I was very happy to do it.  It was a

very important part of our school day.  The teacher endorsed it, and the

class went along with it.

When we recited the Pledge of Allegiance, we had no problem using the words,

"Under God."  Those words were a very special part of the pledge, and we

thought nothing to the contrary.

When I lived at Perkins School for the Blind, we ate three meals a day in a

cottage.  Prior to every meal, we would say grace, using the same prayer,

"God is great, God is good.  Let us thank him for our food.  By his hands

must all be fed.  Give us, Lord, our daily bread.  Amen."  As with silent

prayer and the use of "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, these words

before each meal at Perkins were extremely significant, and were accepted by


In spite of what we did in school relating to God, and how we felt about it,

society has tried very hard to take God away from the schools.  As far as

I'm concerned, we shouldn't be told not to pray, and we shouldn't be asked

to consider the elimination of the phrase, "Under God" from the Pledge of

Allegiance.  Why is it so important to those who are against these

traditions?   If these people don't want to pray, then we can't make them

pray.  Yet at the same time, their wishes are forced upon those of us who

have the desire to keep praying.  Let the teachers continue to have a moment

of silence every day, and if those of us want to use that time to pray, we

should be allowed to do it despite these naysayers.

I firmly believe that with each attempt to take God away from the classroom,

the environment in school has become more dangerous.  There seems to be a

lot more disrespect in school today than there was prior to the elimination

of prayer.  I don't have to mention all the school shootings.  All I need to

do is talk about kids who throw chairs and swear at their teachers just

because they are asked by their teachers to put their smart phones away.

Last week at a local high school, a girl hit a teacher in the head for

telling her off about smoking weed.  Furthermore, I keep hearing about all

the rights that children have today, rights that I didn't have until I

reached the age where I was entitled to them.  I didn't complain or get

upset.  I was a child, and children follow rules until they reach an age

where they have the freedom to do as they please.  I accepted this concept


I am not a social scientist, so I won't pretend that I know why these

terrible situations are happening in school right now.  It may be lack of

discipline by the parents, or it may be that parents are passing their

responsibilities to the teachers, or it may be as simple as the lack of a

religious presence in the classroom.  Even though I don't know the exact

cause, I believe it is safe for me to think that if we brought God back into

the schools where He belongs, much of what's going on may not be happening.

These people who are protesting prayer and the language in the Pledge of

Allegiance have no basis for their protest.  It may be that they have a

problem with God.  This doesn't mean that they have to take it out on the

rest of society, and force us to comply with their way of thinking.

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by Terri Winaught

"Mom, why does Charles speak with a southern accent?" I asked with a nine-year-old's curiosity.

"He's Negro, honey."

"Oh, okay."

Although I was beginning to learn about racial differences, I still had no idea of the extent to which they had torn the fabric of American society. It wasn't long, however, before I heard family members speak disparagingly about persons of color, and watched on TV marches in the South that broke my heart. Why did Montgomery Alabama Commissioner Eugene "Bull" Connor have to spray fire hoses on, and send attack dogs after, marchers who were assembled peacefully, as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution? Why were Black southerners and supporters beaten so badly on the Pettus Bridge while marching from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, the capital, that March 7th, 1965 is sometimes called, "Bloody Sunday?" And isn't Judy Collins' lullaby to Medgar Evers' son, after his father's murder, a sad commentary on hatred: "Bye, bye, my baby, I'll rock you to sleep; sing you a sad song,  it might make you weep. Your Daddy is dead, and he'll never come back; and the reason they killed him:  because he was black." (Though this assassination occurred in 1964, it took 40 years for Byron de la Beckwith to be convicted and imprisoned for life.)

To say more about peaceful protests, when a white woman from Michigan, Viola Lieuzzo, dared to walk in solidarity with the Selma marchers, she was killed by the Ku Klux Klan on March 27th, 1965. (On the album "Treat me Right," Blues singer Robin Rogers sings a tribute to Lieuzzo entitled, "Color Blind Angel.")

On a more personal note, my mother-who usually couldn't have been more loving and nurturing-threatened to have juvenile court declare me incorrigible for dating a black man. I was also the target of comments like, "If you could see, you would feel differently," and, "You always stick up for "the colored," so why don't you just go live with them?" Despite such insults, I believe in color blind angels. I believe that color blind angels can heal the wounds that conflict creates and reconcile willing spirits.

I also believe in Gandhi's philosophy that "while violence may be a temporary solution, the evil it does is permanent." I believe in a similar statement by Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. that, "what self-centered men have torn down, other-centered men will build up."

I'll conclude by comparing my beliefs to a tightly knitted afghan: I casted on stitches of curiosity; I knitted rows of tightly held beliefs; I pearled panels of opposite values; and I'm binding off with my belief that love comes in all colors.

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A remark made by an acquaintance prompted me to wonder just how blind some visually impaired people are. When we stop seeing, do we stop perceiving as well? Can a person who is without sight still appreciate the beauty of a sunset or the lovely colors of autumn leaves? Can a blind man place value on the loveliness of a woman though he doesn't see her?

Can a woman without sight appreciate the way a dress is seen? Is hearing, tasting, smelling and touching things the only way we as blind people can understand the world around us? How does our early childhood effect our perceptions as adults?

Recently, I published a poem which was almost exclusively oriented in visual concepts. For some reason, seeing those things in my mind has never presented a difficulty. But is that kind of inner vision a problem or even an impossibility to some people with no vision? Think about that, will you?

Some time ago, my wife and I participated in a discussion of the trouble some visually impaired people have with directional concepts. If any of my readers are partially sighted, this doesn't really apply to you as much as to someone with no sight at all, especially a person who has been blind since birth. One of the more successful methods I use for orientation involves projecting a grid within my head which lays out the proposed route from place to place. You mentally place yourself on that map and move the point of reference along the grid. Some visually impaired travelers memorize the route, turn by turn, counting the number of down curbs or using some other recognizable topography.

As children, some blind people are sheltered and protected to a great degree. They have a limited idea of what the world is like around them. At times, this restriction can have a long term effect on how they "see" the world for their entire lives. We use our other senses to develop a picture of the neighborhood we live in. Around the corner from our old home, was a steak shop which always smelled like burning onions. That was a fantastic olfactory point of reference. If the wind is right, we can smell the fresh baked bread before we actually reach the local bakery. Our local street intersects a major highway called York Road. That traffic provides an excellent auditory queue to our location. If you show a sighted person a map, he or she might be able to "trace" the route from a starting point to the eventual finish. Not all sighted people can do this. Some, as I once said in an article, "can't find their way out of a parking lot" because they're not capable of placing themselves dimensionally.

Here’s the stretch of your imagination though. If a blind person has a directional concept problem, is he or she also unable to picture the beauty of some of the scenes I mentioned above? Are the two related in some way? Is the ability to picture something within your mind based on your conceptual capability? No, I'm not going around the bend as our English readers might say. I'm very serious here. Since "picturing something in your head" is a primary part of that directional ability, maybe someone like that can't picture a beautiful image either. If you were born without the ability to conceptualize, then maybe your world is without visual support of any kind. Is that sad? No, I don't think so. There are those who have never seen a snow flake or ridden a river in flood. Do they live full and interesting lives? Of course they do.

But here's the theory I'm trying to portray in brief.  Suppose Joe Blink has never seen in his life. Joe has no idea of what it's like to see since he's never experienced that sensation. Joe may or may not have a problem with placing himself within his environment when planning a trip down town. But he uses no visual cues of any kind in his daily life. Joe enjoys a good steak or the smell of something baking in the oven. He listens to the radio or perhaps he enjoys music or playing an instrument.

When it comes time for him to get married, Joe is attracted by the scent of a lady, by her voice and by her soft velvety skin. If he's very lucky, when she touches him, Joe glows inside but it isn't light, it's a warm feeling that begins in his middle and spreads outward to the very tips of his fingers. If she too is blind, his girl might touch him and even caress his face. But, unlike those stupid movies, she isn't trying to read what he looks like. She might feel his broad protruding chin and his hooked and prominent nose. She might feel his bushy eyebrows and the way his hair lays against his head. She might even remember some of those details in a way. When Joe touches her, the same thing happens.

Are these two ordinary people, who happen to be blind, less able to enjoy life because they can't "picture" each other? Is their life less fulfilling when they make love? If one more opinionated butt head tells me my life isn't complete because I can't see, I'm going to turn out the lights and kick his behind for him. The final analysis is this: Life is what you make it. There is nothing more personal than living. We are all as individual as possible. Okay. So maybe this man can't appreciate the glory of an oak tree in autumn. But then maybe I can't appreciate one of his interminable chess games.

A poet once said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That just isn't enough damn it. How about this? Beauty is a joy perceived by one who lives it.  

But my primary question still stands. If you are one of those totally blind people who has a problem with directional concepts or "orientation" as it is sometimes called, do you also have difficulty in picturing something which is completely visual in nature? Are the two conceptual problems based on the same limited access?

Let’s examine that concept for a moment. An attempt was made some years ago to teach totally blind children to recognize shapes. Wooden blocks were used. Each block was distinctly formed. There was some success in having the children identify the block by its feel. A student could locate a triangle or rectangle and select it from a carton filled with many different blocks. Based on the tests performed, it was decided that a visually impaired child could understand and choose certain items based on their shape. The problem arose when that concept was used in everyday life. Mobility instructors would create maps with raised lines and Braille labels. The instructor would describe how a certain street intersected at an angle. I can still hear the woman saying, "Remember how that angle felt when you touched the map. Now picture that in your head when you go out for the walk." The idea worked for some students but others just couldn’t make the connection between what they were feeling on the map and how those actual streets would appear in real time. When the tactile display failed, the Mobility instructor developed other methods which could be used to have the student move successfully

from the training center to the end of the route and back again.

Overbrook School for the Blind made some modifications which added ramps where stairs had originally been used. Those small changes created dismay for my wife who attended that school for twelve years. Suddenly, all of her remembered points of orientation no longer existed. When we traveled upstairs, her sadness was almost overwhelming. Walls had been removed which separated the residential areas from other parts of the school. Elevators had been installed where none had existed. Changes like that can destroy a visually impaired person’s orientation. Given time, the new changes

would be learned and new points of reference would be developed.  

Since we are all unique in our perceptions of the world around us, perhaps the best approach might be to study the student and create a mobility concept based on that person’s individual strengths and weaknesses. Using your remaining senses can be taught. If a person has an excellent memory, perhaps that ability could be used to memorize complex routes.

The only way a visually impaired person can learn the world around him is by experiencing it. Confining someone to a restricted limited environment is condemning that person to living in a prison for the rest of his/her life.


PERSONAL E-MAIL: john_justice@verizon.net 

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by Terri Winaught

With the holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Years Day comes more food than we could possibly eat in one sitting. That said, we find ourselves with lots of leftovers, and that can lead us to ask, "How long can we keep them, and how should we reheat them?"

According to nutritionists from the Cleveland Clinic, we should discard any food that has been in the refrigerator for more than four days.

When warming leftovers, these same nutritionists recommend heating them in the oven so that they can reach an internal temperature of 165 which will destroy any bacteria that may have formed. When following these guidelines, keep in mind that food can look, smell, and taste good, but still contain bacteria that can make us sick. So, as much as we hate to discard those goodies that have been prepared with so much care and love, I'll end with this thought: "When in doubt, throw it out."

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This Curated List of Banned Words is Cray-Cray

by Erik Deckers

Laughing Stalk syndicate

Copyright 2015

"It's that most wonderful time of year, with curmudgeons all yelling, and everyone expelling, bad words with a sneer, it's that most wonderful time of the year!"

At the beginning of each year, if all the word nerds and syntax snobs have been good, Lake Superior State University (LSSU) gives us its List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.

This year was no different. On New Year's Eve 2014, LSSU curated its 39th list of much-hated words, and I'm re-curating it for the ninth year in a row. Or I was until a few minutes ago.

That's because "curated" made the list. It's a snooty, pretentious word for "collected" or "organized." Commonly referring to the job of museum collection organization, it's become the go-to marketing term that means "I copied other people's crap to look like I'm doing something useful." I see it a lot in my day job and I wish I could see less of it.

Maybe it will get buried under this year's polar vortex.

That's the fear-mongering word for "really cold weather," and it got the old ice axe as well. Now that TV meteorologists like needlessly frightening viewers too, "polar vortex" has become the fearsome word to describe when the temperature drops below 20.

According to LSSU, the word was submitted very early last year, when Kenneth Ross said, "Less than a week into the new year, and it's the most overused, meaningless word in the media."

Nice going, news media. You ruined a word in one fifty-second of a year. That may be a new record, and you were the ones who gave us "fiscal cliff."

But LSSU got a jump on banning the word before anyone else (bae, which rhymes with "bay," I'm told) when they burned a snowman named Mr. Polar Vortex during their annual Snowman Burning last spring.

I mention "bae" because that should have been burned too. It's used to describe your boyfriend or girlfriend. You put them "before anyone else," and use the word to aae — annoy everyone else.

It's so bad that S. Thoms of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan said, "I heard someone refer to their ramen noodles as 'bae'!"

I can understand putting a fettuccine bolognese before anyone else, but ramen? Eww, have some self-respect! No foodie would eat ramen.

At least not anymore, now that "foodie" has been banned. If only we could ban the people who call themselves foodies.

We used to call them gourmands. But now, foodies like to take selfies (banned in 2014) with their winie and beerie friends, two terms coined by Randall Chamberlain of Traverse City, Michigan.

"I crave good sleep too, but that does not make me a sleepie," said Gradeon DeCamp of Elk Rapids, Michigan.

I suppose if you could find new techniques and methods for hacking your sleep, that might make you a sleepie. Except now "hack" is banned. Those things we called "tips" or "shortcuts" are called hacks. Life hacks, travel hacks, food hacks, sleep hacks, video game hacks. You name it, someone's got a hack for it.

Of course you don't need hacks if you have a good skill set to begin with. Which is actually just a term for "skills." Which we need to start using again since "skill set" got whacked.

"Skill set" is the term for people who don't know about plural words, like "skills." They use it to sound all impressive and business-y. But if business people want to be efficient, doubling the number of words to express an idea isn't very efficient.

In fact, it's downright cray-cray.

That's apparently what young people are saying when they mean "crazy." While not officially doubling the number of words, they're just doubling down on the first syllable instead, as in "my bae is cray-cray."

"Cray-cray." It just sounds annoying. Or is that "annoy-annoy?" (For the sake of accuracy, LSSU spelled it "cra-cra," but everyone else spells it "cray-cray," which is just nuts.)

The big takeaway from all this?

One, we're no longer allowed to say "takeaway." The word that means the big idea you learned, the thing that stood out for you has been taken away from us.

The other big takeaway? People aren't happy. We love to complain. I hate that "literally" is slowly changing to mean "figuratively," something LSSU didn't ban. (Come on, you guys!) Other people hate words like "cray-cray" and "bae" and "foodie." We just can't be happy, no matter what.

It's like the country is being covered by a grumpiness vortex.

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        Special Notices

compiled by Bob Branco and submitted by our readers.

Please come join us at The Chat Oasis. A chat line for the disabled. Designed for the visually impaired but all disabilities are welcome. Call 1-712-432-3645.

Hi Bob,


Free Enabling Technologies Romeo 25 braille embosser to a good home for parts.  Just pay shipping.  Embosser had low hours but sat for some time in storage.  Embosser works, but half the page isn’t readable, braille becomes faint on the right side.  Enabling would probably repair at their flat rate, so someone could get a fairly inexpensive embosser, but try at your own risk.  Serious inquiries only please. 

Write to adapt@kc.rr.com

The Branco Broadcast is a weekly telephone conference program which features inspirational guest speakers.  To participate, call 712-432-3645, and then press 1 for the main menu, 1 for the rooms menu, and 6 for my conference room.  Each speaker will give a presentation about his or her topic, and then will take questions from our participants.  Below is a list of future dates and times for the Branco Broadcast and its inspirational guest speakers.

Monday, January 19, Sharla Glass of Envision America, 3:00 P.M., Eastern, 2:00 Central, 1:00 Mountain, and 12:00 noon Pacific Time

Monday, January 26, Subhashish Acharrya, founder of Project Starfish, 7:00 P.M. Eastern, 6:00 Central, 5:00 Mountain, and 4:00 Pacific Time

Monday, February 2, Steve Roberts, author of "The Whys and Whats of Weather" and "The Great Winter Hurricane", 4:00 P.M. Eastern, 3:00 Central, 2:00 Mountain, and 1:00 Pacific Time

Dear Bob Branco, 

I have created a screen reader-friendly Alabama Resource Handbook containing resources pertaining to the blind and visually impaired for use by consumers

and professionals. 

This handbook is for the residents of Alabama and includes the many organizations for the blind and visually impaired covering areas such as employment,

housing, transportation, and more.

The handbook includes contact information on the local, regional, and national level.  

For more information on pricing and formats please contact Insightful Publications by email at


or by phone at (808) 747-1006.  

The interactive Christian site is a website that aims blind

Christians and others unite in worshiping the lord through interactive

communication and events. It has a voice chat feature that allows

others to talk and connect with each other and the link to join is:


Have you ever desired a newsletter where everything is from a blind perspective? One that is loaded with informative articles such as interviews with the

movers and shakers of the blind community, modern and future  technologies, book reviews on already existing audio books, or even crafts that are specifically

tailored to being blind friendly?

You may have the need to search for a braille device or sell an electronic gadget.  We have the perfect venue to advertise the sale or the desire for such

unique items.  Wait no more!  Starting in early 2015 a new and exciting newsletter will be launched. It will be distributed via email as an attachment

at the beginning of each month.  The even more exciting thing is that it will not cost you a penny.  It is completely free to its subscribers.  If you

want to add your name to the email distribution list and be assured we will not use your email for any other reason other than to send you the monthly

newsletter,  Send an email to


with the word ‘subscribe’ in the subject line and we will add you to the email list.  Feel free to go to


for periodical updates and developing news as it happens. 

Be plugged into The BLIND PERSPECTIVE where we aim to keep you entertained and informed!

I am offering a booklet of grade 2 braille contractions for the price

of 5 dollars. If you would like to have one, only email me if you

could send the money to Macedonia. My email address is:



penpals and singles is a free monthly electronic magazine that gives a

chance for blind people to find more friends or someone special. To

subscribe, send an email to:


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         If a Table Could Talk

        By Karen Crowder


The table sat alone in our favorite furniture store,

On A picture perfect Tuesday afternoon June of 1992

The white oblong wooden table stood waiting for people to cherish it,

When I   touched the smooth polished wood I said "Let's buy this,

Marsh, it is like the table which was in my Mother's dining room,"

I smiled as we examined it we bought it with the gorgeous glass fronted hutch,

The six upholstered chairs also like ones in my parent's dining room.



On that sunny Friday afternoon,

our brand new furniture was set up and delivered,

The table finding its rightful owners,

The furniture transforming the large airy kitchen,

Its surface decorated with colorful place mats

 a round wooden lazy susan  at its center.



Love and joy were constant,

Smiles and kisses before toast and coffee,

Summery morning sun shining across its grand surface,

Marshall and I sharing gentle conversation and laughter on summer evenings eating supper, supper,

Our radio softly playing

Telling us news of that day



Friends and family   gathered around it for July birthdays and barbecues,

When our Blind friends touched this new lustrous surface,

Delighted they said, "You have a beautiful table."

On a cold autumn night in 1992, I served

Crispy baked chicken and creamy mashed potatoes,  

Animatedly Friends chatted catching up on our lives,

On thanksgivings and Christmases, the table was draped with a festive tablecloth.

New   year's  993 breakfast of cinnamon rolls coffee and  fruit salad were  appreciated,  Our  Friends celebrating  another New Year's day..


New year's day 1999, company sat comfortably in aging upholstered chairs,

The table's marked surface covered with plates of delicious fried chicken dinners

With lazy conversation, we enjoyed the sumptuous meal.

That brisk bitterly cold Saturday afternoon

We shared hot coffee and crisp warm doughnuts,

Not knowing our guest's departure would start the end of a carefree era.

We nearly parted with this lovely table when moving to Liberty place in 2002."

It stood with grace near our kitchen at 200 Atlantic Avenue,

Our reader sorting and reading mail on its graceful surface,

New Chairs with casters made the aging   table attractive,

After Marshall departed this world

Friends sat in these restful chairs,


Enjoying hearty corn and fish chowders and soups summer and winter evenings,

Friends praising my beef stroganoff with rice on Friday March 2008

My step children insisting, "this table is on its last legs."


I asked older wiser people for advice, "They insisted, don’t give this up whatever you do."

The leg was wobbley wouldn't tightening it fix the problem,


 In June 2010, I had to move,

On moving day, helpful men began lifting the table,

It fell apart after serving its purpose for 18 years, 

It had given us much joy and fond memories.

With countless celebrations on its surface at Marden Street and 200 Atlantic Avenue

If it could talk, it would appreciate how we had cherished it.

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        Celestial Light

        by Susan Bourrie

        (From GROUNDCOVER)

Why must we put away the tree this year

and pull the plug on its celestial light?

Why must we pack the tinsel and the cheer

that keep away the darkness of the night?

Why must the star whose glow is warm and mild

Be snuffed out on a designated day

and memories of that Most Holy Child

who lies beneath it ever fade away?

Why must the peace of this beloved season

be shelved like some discarded children's toy?

Why must good will defer to solemn reason

that says this world is not a place for joy?

The faith and love that we all hold so dear

are meant to last until this time next year.

Copyright, © 2014, by GROUNDCOVER, Ann Arbor, MI  December, 2014

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         Learning to Make Good Garlic Bread

          By Karen Crowder

I was a young adult when I learned to appreciate garlic bread. In restaurants, the real butter was used; one slice was never enough? When I had my first apartment knowing little about garlic, I used garlic salt because it was inexpensive. I used it in soups also hoping that butter and garlic salt would make a delicious garlic bread.


I had a small gathering, my friend preparing spaghetti and meatballs. My contribution would be garlic bread. It was not received well.  My friend commented, "it was too salty."  My efforts had been in vein, and I never served it at a party again. When my husband Marshall and I met, again at a friend’s house she also used garlic salt when making garlic bread. I was not fussy; it was good with the fish. My husband knew a better way to prepare it.


Soon after we were married, I tried my first attempts at making it. I used butter and garlic powder. While good it did not match the bread served at our favorite restaurant in Leominster. I looked up recipes; they all said real cloves of garlic tasted better.  How did you peel and cut them? By 1993 I got a garlic press and started learning to make the bread I make now. That press did not last, and by 1995, I had invested in a $15 press that lasted for years. I proudly made bread for my kids and grand kids; they all loved it. I was able to mix the right proportions of butter and garlic. A loaf of Italian bread would disappear when I made the bread. For Consumer Vision readers here is how I make garlic bread. If you do not own a garlic press, cutting cloves up into small pieces after peeling them is sufficient.


Press 4 or 5 cloves of garlic into a one-half or three quarters stick of butter. You can also put a little olive oil with it. Mix everything with your hands if you have time.  Chill the garlic butter mixture for half an hour. Open a loaf of French or Italian bread, spreading the garlic butter mixture liberally on both halves of the loaves.  Wrap the bread in foil, and put it on a baking sheet.  Cook it in an oven preheating it at 375 degrees.  Bake the loaf for ten minutes. Garlic bread goes well with chowder, pasta, fish, and chicken dishes. Garlic bread also makes a delicious snack or breakfast with coffee and juice. Note:  garlic powder will do okay, as well as jars of already cut up garlic. Yet fresh garlic is superior and keeps longer. If you can, try locally grown garlic the taste is even better.


Remember garlic is also good in omelets, pizza, soups and rice.  It is good for your health.

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        Consumer Vision Trivia Contest

Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the November/December Consumer Vision.  The only National Basketball League player to play exactly 50,000 minutes of NBA basketball was Elvin Hayes.  There were no winners.

And now, here is your trivia question for the January/February Consumer Vision.  Who was the first President’s wife to have a life and career of her own?  If you know the answer, please email bobbranco93@gmail.com or call 508-994-4972.