June 2016

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

Telephone: 508-994-4972



Publisher: Bob Branco

Editor: Terri Winaught

Proofreader: Leonore Dvorkin


The title of each article in this table of contents is separated from its author by three asterisks: ***. Three asterisks *** will also be used between each article to make it easier to use your browser's search feature. The articles are also numbered.

1) LETTER FROM THE EDITOR *** by Terri Winaught


*** by James R. Campbell

3) THE ABUSE OF SOCIAL MEDIA *** by Bob Branco (originally published in Word Matters,

4) From the Microsoft Accessibility Blog: SEEING AI: NEW TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH TO SUPPORT THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED COMMUNITY *** written by Daniel Hubbel, then shortened and submitted by Terri Winaught

5) PANHANDLING *** by Bob Branco, (originally published in Word Matters,


7) IS SOCIETY TOO SENSITIVE? *** by Bob Branco

8) WHAT GRINDS YOUR GEARS? *** submitted by Terri Winaught

9) DOG TOWN *** by John Justice

10) SPECIAL NOTICES *** Submitted by readers and compiled by Bob Branco

11) RECIPE COLUMN *** by Karen Crowder

12) READERS' FORUM *** Submitted by readers and compiled by Bob Branco

13) 1950s VERSION OF AN EMAIL *** submitted by Alan from Plantation, Florida


15) IN DEFENSE OF A DYING LEGEND *** by James R. Campbell

16) REMEMBERING WHEN *** by Karen Crowder

17) AN ANNIVERSARY TRIBUTE *** by Terri Winaught

18) CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA: Last Month's Winners and This Month's Question *** by Bob Branco




On the news this past week, anchors talked about cicadas coming out of hiding after 17 years underground. What a deafening ensemble of sound I am told they are making! News reporters conclude by saying that the cicadas will be gone by July 4th.

What a strange existence that must be. I couldn't imagine hiding in the earth's cavernous belly for 17 years, only to burst forth from the soil to sing, to mate, and then to die.

I hope that you won't hide from your inbox, but will instead be dying to read yet another vibrant issue of Consumer Vision, with its team of creative writers always striving to hone their craft.

As always, I'll conclude with tons of thanks to publisher Bob Branco, proofreader Leonore Dvorkin, original editor Janet Marcley, original proofreader Chris Locovare, and especially you, the readers.

Please feel free to contact me with your feedback and suggestions at 412-263-2022 (home) or by email at .

Thanks for reading with me, and enjoy a jubilant June.

Respectfully submitted,

Terri Winaught, Consumer Vision Editor



Many blind people are familiar with various chatlines for the blind. These are virtual meeting places where the disabled can connect with one another. Even though there are many chatlines on the Internet, the telephone provides access to chatlines for blind and disabled persons who don't have or want a computer.

These chatlines are classified as adult party lines, thus many have the mistaken impression that these lines are associated with phone sex and dating services. Nothing could be further from the truth. These lines provide social and emotional support to those who would otherwise live in total isolation. Medical science has a growing body of evidence that this type of support improves the overall health of those who have it, as opposed to those who don't. People who have a social network handle stress better, are at lower risk for strokes and heart attacks, and have stronger immune systems.

Yet, many phone companies must not take these factors into account, because they discontinue service to blind and disabled persons who frequent these chatlines.

It happens more often than we might think, and it is totally unacceptable. Companies that promise unlimited long distance are engaging in deceptive and false advertising, because the customer is led to believe that unlimited long distance means just that. When unlimited long distance is promised to a consumer, once the person pays for the service, no restrictions should be placed on its use. Companies who engage in this practice are breaking the law. The Braille copy of the bill a blind person receives may not say anything about restrictions. The print bill may be different, in that the fine print may contain a clause which restricts the user to a maximum of 5,000 minutes. In this event, the company is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, because they refuse to provide a disclaimer on the Braille bill, not stating there that they restrict service.

When a blind or disabled person purchases service, it is the job of the customer service representative to explain any restrictions on use that are part of the contract. To do otherwise is the type of deceptive advertising mentioned earlier.

Unlimited service means exactly what it implies. If the service is restricted, the bill should be adjusted accordingly. The disabled are paying for something they are not receiving because of a gross act of duplicity on the part of the phone company. When we pay for something we aren't getting, this is consumer fraud, and nothing short of it.

The phone companies are under various regulatory agencies: the FCC, the Justice Department, the Public Service Board, the utility companies, and the Attorney General. If these agencies don't take the phone companies to task for their duplicity, then the question becomes one of whether these agencies are guilty by association and of dereliction of duty. Agencies who fail to investigate, regulate, and, if necessary, prosecute the major players in this fiasco are AWOL: absent without leave, and for that, there is no excuse.

At one point in recent history, Congress saw a need to provide technology, communications equipment, and funding to the elderly and disabled. The result was the Older Americans Act, which seeks to serve that very purpose. This technology allows the elderly and disabled to contact doctors, nurses, and others who provide basic care and the essentials required for survival. Given what we have learned, it stands to reason that social contact fits in that category. This contact is vital, if not life-saving. The phone companies are taking advantage of people who are marginalized enough by discontinuing their service by imposing restrictions. These companies receive tax breaks and corporate welfare for providing these services. The services are direly needed by those who use them. It is a disgrace when the elderly and disabled are deprived of friendships and even the bare necessities of life due to the greed of the double-dippers who run these companies. We seniors and the disabled lose a lifeline when service is terminated because the companies decide that we are not respecting the restrictions they impose. But are they not disrespecting us in turn? I think so.

It is my prayer that the double-dippers who run these companies don't find themselves in our position: forced into dependence on the very services they seek to deny to us. I hope they never find themselves isolated, cut off, and deprived of the bare necessities of life. I know what that life is like; I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. Isolation will wreck your health; that is no joke. I've been there, done that, so I know. I would dread to think that the double-dippers who are guilty of this kind of duplicity have to go without someday because they denied everyone else the very service that they may find themselves in dire need of. 

If you feel as I do, let your representative know that you are concerned about the abuse we are put through by the phone companies. And, as always, thanks for your time.

With Loving Kindness,

James R. Campbell



3) THE ABUSE OF SOCIAL MEDIA *** by Bob Branco (Originally published in Word Matters,

Social media is an amazing invention. I take my hat off to those who created it, because it took an enormous amount of intelligence to set it all up.

However, I am quite sure that the creators of social media did not intend for all the abuse that goes with it. How often do we hear about people who were bullied on social media to the point where they either thought about or successfully committed suicide?

Despite my blindness, I am one of the most active Facebook consumers around. For me to be as active on Facebook as I am, I needed to understand the proper uses of this form of social media. My posts are proper, productive, and beneficial to other people. While I try very hard to use Facebook in this fashion, I read lots of very offensive posts and comments. I often wonder if those who post these hateful remarks on Facebook are doing it for pleasure or because

they are too cowardly to confront people face to face. After all, it's very easy to hide behind a keyboard without worrying about what other people might say or do.

In fact, I think that the abuse of social media is so out of control that new laws have to be created in order to regulate behavior. Slander, bullying, and other forms of abuse mean the same if you use social media as if you were making a personal public display or writing something inappropriate to a newspaper.

As a result of what's going on, Facebook has a rather unfair reputation at times. I know people who are afraid to use it even if they have the best of intentions. They are afraid that Facebook bullies will use personal information in order to hurt them. One way to avoid harassment on social media is to limit as much personal information as you possibly can. Try to be professional and objective. The less that anyone else knows about you personally, the better off you will be. In the meantime, there are ways to report abuse on social media. Just follow the guidelines that are offered to you on each site.

After all, you are still in charge.


4) From the Microsoft Accessibility Blog:

SEEING AI: NEW TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH TO SUPPORT THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED COMMUNITY *** Written April 7, 2016 by Daniel Hubbell, then shortened and submitted by Terri Winaught

Microsoft's mission is to empower every person and every organization on Earth to achieve more, which includes creating and delivering technology for people of all abilities. As a part of this effort, Microsoft has debuted a new research project in development, Seeing AI. The aim of this technology—which is still under development—is to enhance the orientation and mobility experience for persons with blindness or a vision impairment.

Seeing AI will use computer vision, image recognition, speech recognition, natural language processing, and machine learning from Microsoft's Cognitive Services and Office Lens to help describe a person's surroundings, read text, answer questions, and even identify emotions on people's faces.

Seeing AI might be used either as a mobile app or via smart glasses from Pivothead.

Although Seeing AI will not replace guide dogs or canes, it will add another layer of information that could further enable people of all abilities to use technology more personally and enjoyably.

This project was born out of last year's one-week Hackathon, an event where Microsoft employees work together and try to make wild ideas a reality.

Seeing AI is an innovative technology which was presented at a Microsoft Build Conference earlier this year, and to which significant improvements have been made in a short amount of time.

As always, Microsoft continues to collaborate with partners worldwide as it strives to push boundaries and create opportunities for persons of all abilities on the planet.

To have Terri Winaught email you the original article, phone 412-263-2022, or contact her at

Proofreader's note: You can also find Daniel Hubbel's article at:


5) PANHANDLING *** by Bob Branco (Originally published in Word Matters,

In the city where I live, there are lots of panhandlers who stand on street corners, in parking lots, and on highway exit ramps. Some even bring their chairs and bask in the sun while soliciting money from the general public. They do this in order to make a living or to support a drug habit. Quite often, these panhandlers disrupt the flow of traffic or intimidate people who are trying to go about their day. Many women are afraid of them when they make eye contact; yet, as long as they make the money that they want, these panhandlers aren't going anywhere.

Our city council has tried to come up with a solution to this problem. Many people call talk shows with their own ideas. A city ordinance has been proposed in order to limit panhandling. It was even suggested that the sheriff release many of his deputies throughout the city to guard each location at which a panhandler works in order to regulate activity. In my opinion, if anyone believes that panhandlers are loitering or committing vagrancy, there are already laws on the books in order to solve the problem.

While we are in an uproar about panhandling, there is a factor that further complicates the situation by tying the hands of city legislators. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, panhandlers have constitutional rights, meaning that they are allowed to panhandle. As a result, the ACLU has threatened to take action against my city. With that said, I have to ask the following question: What about our rights as average citizens? Who's protecting us? If

panhandlers are breaking laws that already exist, how can the American Civil Liberties Union overrule this reality? For example, the State doesn't want any pedestrian to walk on or off a highway, and it doesn't matter what he's doing. So, if a panhandler stands on an exit ramp, he's already breaking the law.

When you see someone panhandling, you have to decide whether or not you should give him money, and if you do, you hope he uses it wisely. How often do people unknowingly support someone's drug addiction by being generous in this way? This is an issue that will be debated for a long, long time, and frankly, I don't know what can be done about it.



Before losing my eyesight, I figured that the blind—those who had little or no light perception—saw only black, but this is not the case. I see mostly gray, more often a bright, glaring gray. This brilliant glare continues even on the darkest night, giving me the feeling that the room is ablaze in light.

I asked some other blind people what they "see." What follows are their responses. (Their names have been changed.)


I lost my eyesight at age four. At first I could tell when there was a flash of lightning or car lights in my face. Then sometimes I might notice when there was a wall, but the next day, this could be all gone. With my eyesight fluctuating, this light/motion causes splitting headaches. Today I see mostly gray with some bright glare, which then fades to blackness but quickly returns to the bright gray.


I see gray light with some flashes. I get headaches (some severe), occasional flashes, and bright glare. I wear very dark glasses, which seems to help some.


The first years of my sight loss, I saw a large number of floaters, which sometimes sent me scurrying for cover as they appeared to come out of the distance and swoop down, as if a large bird was dive-bombing me. I have also seen strange things, clear, unmistakable objects, such as the sun rising behind the hood of a school bus, my father's and mother's faces in what appeared to be one of those moon faces you see hanging on a wall, or a Coca-Cola van driving down the street in front of me. These short clips of amazement usually last only a few seconds, but what a show.

As my vision grows steadily worse, I still see colors and textures that take shape near the center of my vision, like blues, oranges, maroons, and my favorite, which is the most amazing shade of purple. I also see lines of what looks like grains of wood, which usually line up with the aspects of the room I am in. They are 3-D in their construction.


I have prosthetic eyes, man-made eyeballs. There are times when I see what might be considered black with my left eye and a dirty gray with my right. Lately, I'm seeing "colors" with my left eye: beautiful greens, blues, and lilacs to deep purples.

If I see "black," there is a sense that there's a vast open space in front of me, like being in a cave. When I see white or any light colors—which also have flashing sparkles in them—like silver, light tan, eggshell, etc., the feeling is that were I to lean forward, I'd smash my nose into a wall. So it's an interesting contrast, with my right eye feeling like there's a hard, blank wall in front of me, while my left eye feels there's a vast open space before me.

If both eyes are "seeing" the same thing, it's not so bad. But sometimes, there is a feeling that there's "something" in front of and kind of beside me on my right, which I know to not be true. So were I outside, I'd be wary, as it could be a wall, a tree, or even a person. At the same time, the feeling of the infinite vastness fails to warn me of things that might be near, because my sensory system doesn't pick them up. I am told my sight center in the back of my head remains active, making up pictures my eyes can no longer see.


When I first lost my sight, I'd wake in the night to brightness and think my blindness had been a dream and I was waking to a room with a light on. Then reality would strike when I closed my eyes and the brightness remained.


At age 17, I had a detached retina in my left eye, and in 1965, I had a detached retina in my right eye, leaving me totally blind. Since I have no retinas, you would imagine I would see nothing but black. But for 50 years, now, I've "seen" washes of incandescent light with dots of bright red, green, yellow, blue, pink, and green, all of them dancing and bobbing about. At times, a bright white light ripples through this whole jumble of colors.

I see pages of telephone books. The names and numbers are back lit; I can actually read them. At other times I "see" a plaid tablecloth: red, blue, and a rust color. On the table is a reddish brown vase, sort of the color of burnt peanuts. In the vase is a selection of daisies and pinks, along with bachelor buttons and ferns. The doctor told me the sight center in the back of my head was still active.


Even when our eyes no longer work for us, our magnificent brain continues to supply us with beautiful—even if at times confusing—pictures.

Have a great day.

Ernie Jones

Author of Onesimus: The Runaway Slave

Encouraging the Blind

Greater love hath no man than this.


7) IS SOCIETY TOO SENSITIVE? *** by Bob Branco

Just think back to when you were a child. You jumped out of trees, tackled your friends on the playground, and took many other physical risks. Why? Because that's what kids do. Today, I believe that on many levels, kids are not allowed to be kids. Here are some examples of what I'm talking about. In many schools throughout this country, the game of Tag can no longer be played during recess, because it is believed that the kids will get hurt. In at least two more schools, children have been suspended for kissing one another or for calling their teachers cute. At another school, a third grader was not allowed to have his cupcakes decorated with little toy soldiers, because this implied an act of violence.

Then we have the politically correct fanatics who think that half the population should be offended about things they aren't offended about at all. The Washington Redskins is a well-established team in the National Football League. For decades, I've had no problem with the term "redskin," and I still don't. All of a sudden, these fanatics want to get rid of the term— not only because of what it implies, but because we are supposed to be angry about the use of that term. In addition, a student union in Oregon wants to do away with Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech because there weren't any references to the transgender population.

I could go on and on, but I only have so much space to write in. The question is, why has society become so sensitive? Why can't we be ourselves anymore? There were never any issues when we were ourselves, so why the sudden concern? If we continuously have to look over our shoulders every time we take a breath because it is believed that we are doing something wrong, then I have a good reason to worry about our future leaders. If they are too scared to lead, then we'll simply become a frightened society, which causes a lot of weakness.


8) WHAT GRINDS YOUR GEARS? *** by Terri Winaught

This article is also a letter that I will be submitting to the editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

"People Like Me"

Dear Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Letters to the Editor:

"People like you shouldn't have children!" said the doctor treating me at a Pittsburgh hospital in 1984. Although he didn't say that with malice, his tone was definite.

"You mean because I'm blind and have a mental illness?" I asked.

"Because you have a mental illness," he declared. "People with mental illness should get their tubes tied." During much of the 20th century, people with mental illness and other disabilities were often victims of forced sterilization.

As a society, we've come a long way. Yet, even today, perceptions of people with mental illness remain filled with stereotypes that create and perpetuate shame and stigma. People with mental illness continue to face discrimination in housing, employment, and other areas that help wellbeing. It's unlikely that people with heart disease, diabetes, or cancer face the same stigma.

If you or someone you love has a mental illness, you are not alone. One in four people has a mental illness.

To play an active role in stopping stigma and replacing it with facts, consider joining an advocacy group like NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania, Community Support Program, or Peer Support and Advocacy Network. Encourage state legislators to pass a 2016-2017 budget that restores funds previously cut from mental health services.

I am living proof that recovery is possible. I work for the organization where I used to receive services. Being a mental health peer employee bestows on me the blessing of being a hopeful, healing, transforming presence—to people like me!

As always, I'm eager to receive your feedback or hear about your similar experiences.


9) DOG TOWN *** by John Justice 

One Christmas, I received a gift which was something that brought enjoyment for years to come. My folks bought me a Schwinn tandem bicycle. For those who might not be familiar with it, a tandem bicycle has two seats, one behind the other. With this wonderful machine, I could ride with anyone who was willing to take me out, and the exercise was exactly what I needed. 

Summer finally came, and my sister Jane agreed to be the pilot on a certain warm and sunny day. We wore hiking boots with our jeans tucked into the tops. We took off along Goshen Swainton Road and crossed the railroad tracks. Then we negotiated Dennisville Road, a two-lane local highway. For miles, we met no one at all, not even a passing car. On our left was a section of woodland, while on the right was a huge field, stretching for as far as Jane could see. Little did we know that we were riding right into trouble.

Jane told me that houses were beginning to appear on either side of the road. The buildings became more numerous, and then we were in the middle of Swainton. We had never been here before. The structures were old and badly maintained. Jane described old cars and other junk that was strewn in the yards. The funny thing is, we didn't hear or see anyone at all.

It was then that the dogs came running toward us. All of them were loose, and every one of them seemed to be ready to attack us. The noise was tremendous! Later, my sister described them to me. Most of them were mixed-breed dogs, ranging in size from small ones weighing about three or four pounds to several monsters that probably weighed a hundred pounds or more. We were glad for those hiking boots, since several of the bigger dogs tried to bite our feet.   

At this point, we came to an old, run-down store on the right. It had a small parking area in front, and Jane had the sense to take advantage of it. She steered into the lot and cleared the two gas pumps. But the dogs were still all around us. The store owner came out and began using his push broom to discourage the pack of dogs. He yelled and swatted at them while we pedaled as fast as possible around the lot and back onto the road. Now we were headed south, toward home. But those blasted dogs just wouldn't give up. I still don't know how Jane avoided hitting one of them. 

We had no idea where the road led beyond Swainton. Later, Mom and I followed it, and it came out onto Route 9, a major state highway. It's a good thing that Jane and I didn't continue going north. If we had, we would have ended up miles from home.

As we made our way back down the road, all but a few determined dogs gave up and stopped chasing us. One big bruiser was still with us, and he was trying to get hold of my left boot. We did two things right that day. We never once tried to kick the dogs, and we never stopped moving.

As we left the small town behind, the last dog finally stopped, looked around, and realized how far he had come. He gave one final bark and turned around. 

We never, ever went up Goshen Swainton Road again. When we shared our experience with Mom, she was half mad and half entertained by our adventures. I asked her about all those dogs, and she told us that the local county dogcatcher had tried visiting Swainton once. He certainly had about 20 good reasons for doing that, as my sister and I knew only too well. He drove the truck into town, and as soon as he stepped down, the canine reception committee gave him the same greeting they had given us. He reached for his net and was ready to start work when a shotgun boomed from one of the houses. The side of his truck was peppered with birdshot. The man got back into his truck, turned around, and never went up there again.      

When we reported the incident to the local police, they simply told us to stay away from Swainton, otherwise known as Dog Town.    

John and Linda Justice

Personal email:


Note: John Justice is the author of many published articles and some songs. In 2015, his short book It's Still Christmas was published in e-book and print. Full details, a text preview, and buying links are on his website, listed above. His much longer forthcoming book is The Paddy Stories, Book One. It will be published later this month, June 2016. A brief synopsis of the plot follows here:

Blind Paddy Flynn, orphaned at age eight, travels from Philadelphia to California in 1947 to live with his aunt and uncle. He's soon reunited with Lucy, his special friend from Philadelphia. With his loving nature, courage, and can-do spirit, Paddy brings joy and inspiration to many others and even stands up to bullies. But how will he adjust to life at a school for the blind? To be continued in Book Two.




Hello, everyone! My name is Patty Fletcher. I am currently offering one month of free advertising in my online newsletter The Neighborhood News to all new subscribers!

This is a $5.00 value.

Send subscription requests, advertising, literary submissions, or PayPal Payments to me at:

To subscribe, send your first and last name and your email address.

To place your ad, please send your information including contact info. Only one link per ad.

Font and size: Times New Roman, size 12. There is a 200-word limit, with or without a photo.

When your free month is up, if you wish to continue advertising with The Neighborhood News, the cost per year is only $15.00. This allows you to place an ad meeting the above requirements for an entire year.

All ads must be submitted by the 30th of the month without fail.

I accept PayPal or money order payments.

If you wish to mail a payment, please email me, and I will send you my mailing address.

We are currently looking for literary submissions. We do not charge or pay for publishing those. Literary submissions can be short stories, narratives, or poems. They are not to exceed 2,000 words in length. To have a literary submission published, you must be a subscriber, and the submission must come edited.

To have your submission edited, contact Claire Plaisted:

Director, Plaisted Publishing House or

Thank you for your business.

My blog:

Note: Patty is the author of the book Campbell's Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life (C 2014). Her book-related website is:  There you will find a photo of the book's cover, a synopsis, a text preview, buying links, and more. The book is for sale in e-book and print formats from Amazon, Smashwords, and other buying sites. 



A science fiction novel by David Dvorkin, C 2010

In paperback and e-book formats from and multiple other online selling sites.

Occasionally, James Benton is surprised at the role the mineral jacksonite has played in his life. His rootless childhood, his parents' disappearance in interstellar space, his lack of any emotional attachment since then—none of this would have happened without the influence of jacksonite. He's not alone: jacksonite has had an immense influence on everyone in the galaxy.

Now jacksonite has brought Benton to Colliery, the only world where the mineral is found. Colliery is a beautiful planet, a veritable Garden of Eden. But here Benton will be forced to delve below his own surface, to search within, as he penetrates the serene and lovely surface of Colliery. In knowing and liberating a world, Benton will finally know and liberate himself.

Review quote: "A headlong trip over, under, and through worlds of greed, sex, politics, intrigue, and adventure, of miners and mindpickers, cavesnakes and triple-crossers. An absorbing mix of hard science and action science fiction, with the unmistakable Dvorkin touch."—Connie Willis

Full details, cover photo, additional review quotes, text preview, and buying links:



Coaching for Health & Wellness, Success & Achievement in Work, Life and Relationships  "Dreams Determine What You Want, ACTION Determines What You GET!"

Does life feel like it's getting on top of you?

Could you benefit from a place to take some time-out?

... to explore your dreams and goals

... to get back on a front foot again

My name is Martin Fleming. I have been a practicing life coach in Mayo, Ireland for the past five years and have now relocated to Norfolk in the UK. I am committed to providing one-to-one coaching in a safe, confidential and non-judgemental environment. I am a member of the Life and Business Coaching Association of Ireland (LBCAI).

I work with both individuals and couples on an open-ended basis or for an agreed time period, with the aim of enabling you to enhance your life and to live it more fully.

I am experienced in coaching and helping clients who have experienced difficulties with:

• Stress

• Relationships

• Parenting

• Fitness/Nutrition

• Losing Weight

• Career/Job

• Etc.

My practice is now based in Great Yarmouth, where I coach clients locally, but I'm within easy reach of Norwich, Lowestoft, and surrounding areas in Norfolk, so can coach clients from these areas, too. I also provide telephone and Internet coaching to people further away or overseas.  Please contact me for further information if you wish me to coach you via Internet or phone.



Mobile: If you live outside the UK, please dial: +44 (0)7470 393 669

If you live in the UK, the number to dial is:

07470 393 669


11) RECIPE COLUMN *** by Karen Crowder

As I sit at my window on May 26 after 10:00 PM, the temperature in Fitchburg is in the 70s. For two days, temperatures have reached 90 degrees. It will be a typical Memorial Day weekend, with warm weather. With the arrival of June and summery weather, pools, lakes, beaches, and ponds are open. There are high school and college graduations, with school ending for another exciting summer vacation. In 2016, Father's Day is June 20. The Perkins Alumni weekend is June 19 through early afternoon of June 20.

 Flowers, herbs, vegetables, and fruits are blooming across New England. 

This column celebrates summer's arrival with easy recipes: my friend Claire's tuna salad, fresh fruit salad, delicious tossed salad, and easy fudge brownies.


a) Claire's Tuna Salad Sandwiches 

b) Fresh Fruit Salad

c) Delicious Tossed Salad

d) Easy Fudge Brownies

a) Claire's Tuna Salad Sandwiches


My friend Claire lives in my complex. When I visit her, she always makes very good tuna salad sandwiches. With chips and juice, they make a nutritious meal.


Two six-ounce cans water-packed tuna fish

One or two sticks celery

Two to four baby carrots

One medium sweet onion

Four to six tablespoons of mayonnaise

A dash of mustard

Four slices whole grain bread


Mince or chop all vegetables into small pieces.

Drain water from cans of tuna, then put tuna and vegetables into a medium mixing bowl.

Add mayonnaise and optional mustard.

Mash ingredients with a fork, then stir with a spoon.

Refrigerate tuna salad until serving time.

Put generous portions of the salad on the bread, which has been spread with a little mayonnaise.

This makes a nutritious meal on a hot summer day.


b) Fresh Fruit Salad

 Everyone appreciated the fruit salad I often made for barbecues or as a side with breakfast. It is simple: fruit with no dressing.



Two bananas

Two medium oranges

One pink grapefruit

One large container strawberries and one large container blueberries, if available.

Optional: raspberries


Cut up bananas, placing them in a large bowl.

Cut up citrus fruit and add to bananas.

Add rinsed, hulled, and cut-up strawberries.

Add rinsed blueberries.

Stir all the fruit together. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

This is great at any barbecue as an addition to the coleslaw and tossed salad.


c) Delicious Tossed Salad

One or two servings of this salad will make a satisfying supper. I was introduced to this salad when I joined a Bible study group in 1983. It was so delicious that I had two servings as part of the potluck supper.


One head of lettuce

Sliced onion (optional)

Several spoonfuls of low-fat or full-fat cottage cheese

Seasoned croutons

Ranch, buttermilk, or other salad dressing


In individual salad bowls, put a generous amount of lettuce, the optional onion, cottage cheese, croutons, and dressing. Serve the salad right away. It is simple to make on a hot summer evening.


d) Easy Fudge Brownies

I discovered this recipe when thinking of what to make for my friend Claire for her birthday. Browsing through the bar section of The Fannie Farmer Baking Book, I found this recipe. I made changes, using less sugar and adding chocolate chips instead of nuts. Claire's birthday is in late June, and the brownies were a part of the birthday celebration. The original name for these brownies is Chewy Fudge Brownies, from the 1984 Fannie Farmer Baking Book.


Four squares unsweetened chocolate

One stick butter

Almost one cup granulated sugar

Two eggs

One teaspoon vanilla

One-half cup all-purpose flour

One quarter teaspoon salt

One-half cup of mini or regular Nestlé's semi-sweet chocolate chips


In a three-quart saucepan, heat chocolate and butter on low until mixture is melted.

This should take 8 to 10 minutes. Stir mixture with a large metal or flexible plastic spoon to be sure mixture is thoroughly melted.

Turn off heat, allowing chocolate/butter mixture to cool.

Add sugar and stir with silicone-covered whisk for two minutes.

Add eggs, beating with silicone-covered wire whisk for two minutes. 

The mixture should be smooth.

Add vanilla, beating with whisk for one minute.

Combine flour and salt in another small bowl, then add them to the above mixture. Gently stir batter with a large wooden spoon for a minute, adding chocolate chips. Stir for a minute.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line an eight-inch square metal or Pyrex pan with tinfoil.

Grease the tinfoil with Crisco or butter, dusting the bottom and sides with a little flour.

With a half-cup measuring cup, ladle brownie batter into baking pan. Make sure batter covers the entire pan.

Bake brownies for 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and place uncut brownies on a large plate.

Let them cool, and if not cutting them right away, refrigerate them overnight.

After cutting brownies, store them in a quart or gallon Ziploc bag. You should have 24 brownies. These were a hit at Bob's picnic and with my friend Claire on her birthday.


I hope all Consumer Vision readers have a wonderful June and have enjoyed reading this column.



Hi, Bob.

On the safety at the ball park, I feel it's about time to protect the players and the fans. The thing is, the fans sitting in the area of the netting can see through it, so it is better to be safe. But I don't know why it took so long to put up some kind of protection. I for one think it's been a long time coming.


Hi, Bob.

1. Dr. Alan Dalton: He sounds like a real pistol. Wonder why some blind people refuse to sit on their "asses" and others are up and at ‘em?  I have heard it said that those blind persons who were always at a residential school from a very early age, ages 5-7, are not always as proactive, but have been taught to be dependent. I don't know about this, but it's interesting to think about. Others suggest that Voc Rehab makes blind people dependent. I am thinking of the book The Making of Blind Men, by Robert Scott, not yet out on BARD.   

I'm surprised Perkins didn't have someone orient Alan Dalton when he first arrived. Sort of sink or swim. I wonder if he was there when Tom Sullivan of If You Could See What I Hear fame was a student. Interesting.

And lastly, what does Dr. Dalton teach? It was never mentioned in the article.

2. Casandra Xavier: I hope she had a little vision to walk around Boston. I can understand her feelings regarding the white cane. I agree, but as the 1980s American Express Card commercials said: "Don't leave home without it." I can't, even if I'd like to!

3. Jens Naumann: A fascinating story. I don't think I could just reach out like that to Africa. He must be most unusual. What a story he must have to tell.


Hi, Bob.

Your little article about the fencing going up at Fenway Park reminded me of the time I attended an Indianapolis Indians game a few years ago with some colleagues from work.

My neighbor and I arrived just a couple of minutes late, and had no sooner sat down than a baseball grazed the top of my head.

I WANT THAT BALL! I yelled. I knew it was the only way I would ever catch a baseball.

As it turned out, my boss caught the ball and was happy to give it to me. It now sits in my bureau drawer. I only wish I'd had it autographed!

A couple of guys came from the medical staff at Victory Field. They offered to have me transported to the hospital, but all I wanted was ice. Seriously? Was I going to ruin somebody's evening over that?

Several people worried that I might end up with a concussion. I'm happy to say, I did not. All's well that ends well. I was certainly thankful for the ice, though.

Susan Jones, Indianapolis, Indiana

Hi, Bob.

Your Consumer Vision was very good this month. I would like to let your readers know that many of the medical equipment devices written of by one of your readers, devices that still do not talk, are in development, and some should be out shortly. I have misplaced the link where I found this information, but they can Google "Talking Medical Equipment in Development" and find it. I found the newsletter to be very entertaining and informative. Keep up the great work.

Patty Fletcher



Dear Friends,

I have no idea who put this together, but it is wonderful!

Long ago and far away, in a land that time forgot,

Before the days of Dylan, or the dawn of Camelot,

There lived a race of innocents, and they were you and me,

For Ike was in the White House in that land where we were born,

Where navels were for oranges, and Peyton Place was porn.

We longed for love and romance, and waited for our prince.

Eddie Fisher married Liz, and no one's seen him since.

We danced to 'Little Darlin,' and sang to 'Stagger Lee,'

And cried for Buddy Holly in the Land That Made Me…Me.

Only girls wore earrings, then, and three was one too many,

and only boys wore flat-top cuts, except for Jean McKinney.

And only in our wildest dreams did we expect to see

A boy named George with lipstick, in the Land That Made Me…Me.

We fell for Frankie Avalon, Annette was oh, so nice,

And when they made a movie, they never made it twice.

We didn't have a Star Trek Five, or Psycho Two and Three,

Or Rocky-Rambo Twenty in the Land That Made Me…Me.

Miss Kitty had a heart of gold, and Chester had a limp,

And Reagan was a Democrat whose co-star was a chimp.

We had a Mr. Wizard, but not a Mr. T,

And Oprah couldn't talk, yet, in the Land That Made Me…Me.

We had our share of heroes, we never thought they'd go,

At least not Bobby Darin, or Marilyn Monroe.

For youth was still eternal, and life was yet to be,

And Elvis was forever in the Land That Made Me…Me.

We'd never seen the rock band that was Grateful to be Dead,

And Airplanes weren't named Jefferson, and Zeppelins were not Led.

And Beatles lived in gardens then, and Monkees lived in trees.

Madonna was a virgin in the Land That Made Me…Me.

We'd never heard of microwaves, or telephones in cars,

And babies might be bottle-fed, but they weren't grown in jars.

And pumping iron got wrinkles out, and 'gay' meant fancy-free,

And dorms were never co-ed in the Land That Made Me…Me.

We hadn't seen enough of jets to talk about the lag,

And microchips were what was left at the bottom of the bag.

And hardware was a box of nails, and bytes came from a flea,

And rocket ships were fiction in the Land That Made Me…Me.

Buicks came with portholes, and side shows came with freaks,

And bathing suits came big enough to cover both your cheeks.

And Coke came just in bottles, and skirts below the knee,

And Castro came to power near the Land That Made Me…Me.

We had no Crest with fluoride, we had no Hill Street Blues,

We had no patterned pantyhose or Lipton herbal tea,

Or prime-time ads for those dysfunctions in the Land That Made Me…Me.

There were no golden arches, no Perrier to chill,

And fish were not called Wanda, and cats were not called Bill.

And middle-aged was 35 and old was 43,

And ancient were our parents in the Land That Made Me…Me.

But all things have a season, or so we've heard them say,

And now instead of Maybelline, we swear by Retin-A.

They send us invitations to join AARP.

We've come a long way, baby, from the Land That Made Me…Me.

So now we face a brave new world in slightly larger jeans,

And wonder why they're using smaller print in magazines.

And we tell our children's children of the way it used to be,

Long ago and far away in the Land That Made Me…Me.

If you didn't grow up in the 1950s, you missed the greatest time in history. Hope you enjoyed this read as much as I did. If So, PLEASE FORWARD this note to someone who will appreciate these memories.

With best regards,

God Bless,


Plantation, Florida

Proofreader's notes: Here is this poem, with some different lines, narrated on YouTube:

You can also find it online in print, again with a few slightly different lines. Here is one such site:



The sun's warming rays were breaking through the clouds, the west wind's soft breeze wrapping us in its feathery cloak as we headed down the road. The traffic was light due to the early hour, and my guide, Randy, was showing his eagerness for a walk. His guiding was great, and he alerted me to the road crossing, working as he was taught at guide training school many years before.

Crossing Valley, we headed straight up Clarence, planning to walk the nearly two-mile loop. There was silence but for a few birds and the wind rustling the leaves on the trees we were walking under.

I felt Randy give a surge of power and felt the pull on his harness. About the same time, I heard the clicking of another dog's feet as he ran towards us. Thinking someone was out walking his dog, I called a greeting, but got no reply. Almost as soon as my voice left my throat, I understood.

Immediately, there was a dog at Randy's head and another at his tail. I was swung around in circles as Randy tried to avoid a bite and to let the dogs know to get away. The silence was broken by the barks and growls of these dogs. Was this attack an hour long, or was it actually only a few seconds long? Seemed an eternity to me right then. I yelled, but it did no good. Again I kicked out and felt my foot connect with a dog's body. Swinging the end of the leash around, I felt it connect with the other dog. They backed off, and seizing the moment, Randy took me nearly running up the road, the dogs returning to their yard. I was shaken up and was angry at those people. I wanted to return home the short route, but didn't want to pass those dogs again, so I let Randy lead me up the hill, and we continued our walk home, taking the long way around as first planned.

This is the same house where my first guide dog and I were attacked some 13 years earlier, leaving a $7,000.00 medical bill for me, the woman saying it was my fault, as I was walking five minutes early. But this woman is gone, now, and others of her family are living there; I'm not sure if it is a son or a grandson and family. I also know they have been warned following several reports from other people walking the roads. For several months, we felt the owners had at last learned and were keeping their dogs in, but evidently they figured no one would be out walking at 6:30 in the morning, so they could turn their dogs loose again. What is a leash law to them?

Neither Randy nor I suffered any bites, but it was easy to tell the stress on Randy. In the cool, mid-50-degree morning, he was panting and his walk slowed. Unlike our last walk, this morning I stopped several times to encourage him with words and pats as he took a breather beside the road. Praise God, we are fine physically, but once again, it appears our walking alone has to stop. But even with this fresh in my mind, I know well that most dog owners are responsible and will keep their dogs home.

Just another day walking with my guide dog.

Ernie Jones

Author of Onesimus, the Runaway Slave

Encouraging the Blind

Greater love hath no man then this.


15) IN DEFENSE OF A DYING LEGEND *** by James R. Campbell

Springtime in West Texas. The weather is nice, and winter is releasing its grasp on the land as the chill of January gives way to the warmth of May.

The flowers are in bloom, the trees are budding, and the insects are flittering about. With the change in weather, the ants emerge from their beds in search of food.

There is one animal that is missing from the equation: the Texas horned lizard, also known as the horned toad. This small reptile, measuring four to six inches in length, is endangered, and many wildlife experts and fans alike are coming forward in a last-ditch bid to save it.

The horned lizard is a creature that has fascinated some and frightened others. Its small body is covered in spines; this helps camouflage the lizard when it hides in sand dunes or among cacti that grow in desert areas. This discourages predators; when all else fails, the horned lizard squirts blood from its eyes in self-defense. 

There are various species of horned lizards. Their range extends from Florida to the deserts of Mexico. The horned lizard is as much a part of Western folklore and symbolism as the long-horned steer, the six-shooter, and the horse. The horned toad is the state reptile of Texas.   

The horned lizard is vanishing from areas where it once lived. Its population is declining, and it has all but disappeared from many of its former habitats. Unfortunately, we play a huge part in this tragedy. Rather than depend on the horned toad to eat the ants we are so bothered by, out of convenience, we buy a synthetic pesticide. This eats the horned toad's stomach, and as a result, the horned toad dies as a consequence of a poor decision on our part. Eighty percent of the horned lizard's diet consists of harvester ants; the depletion of the food supply is a factor in the decline in the horned toad population. Fire ants consume harvester ants, and this competition leaves the horned lizard at a disadvantage.

Fire ants first made their appearance in the United States in 1929, arriving aboard a cargo ship that docked in Alabama. They have spread in the South and West and have made themselves a nuisance since their arrival. The closest natural predators in the United States are armadillos, nematodes, silverfish, and parasitic ants. The last three are limited in use, due to the economic damage they cause.  

But there is worse ahead.

We are encroaching on the horned toad's living space. When we build another shopping center in an undeveloped area, for example, we take more space for ourselves. The horned toad, as well as other animals, have no place to go.

Biologists in Texas are making efforts to study the horned lizards in their natural environments. Groups of biologists from the Fish and Wildlife Service go into remote areas, searching for ant mounds. Where there are ants, there are horned lizards. When the biologists catch one of these creatures, they remove one of its toes. The loss of a certain toe or combination of toes helps the biologists keep track of the lizard and its movement. The toes are shipped to Texas Christian University in order for scientists to study the genetic variation in horned lizard populations.

The Fort Worth Zoo has had some success breeding horned lizards in captivity. It must be noted, however, that this is difficult, due to the reptile's lighting and dietary requirements. This explains why those of us who tried to keep them as pets wound up losing them in the end. Like me, many boys and some girls thought the lizards would be around forever. I have known of some folks who sold them for 10 cents for babies and 25 cents for adults.

The Texas horned lizard is protected because it is endangered; to have one in your possession can result in a stiff fine. On rare occasions when we have managed to get one, we turn it loose. Bubba saw one last year. Like me, he was thrilled. There was an ant bed in our yard. I told Bubba to watch the lizard eat the ants. I am trying to teach him and the doll that the horned lizard is our friend. They perform a valuable job for us; they are humble, even if some are scared of them. 

I have a bolo tie that I wear that has a horned toad on it. I wear it as a symbol of my devotion to an animal that I have loved since I was 10 years old. I am sharing this with readers in hopes of reversing a tragic trend. I have heard members of my family tell me that it is too late, that the horned toad can't be saved. I say, why not? If we don't succeed, we can say we tried, and they can't take that from us.

For more information, including how you can help, visit In Texas, the Fish and Wildlife Service makes money to support this effort by selling horned toad license plates.     

Proofreader's note: You can find many online articles about and photos of this fascinating creature by Googling "Texas horned lizard."


16) REMEMBERING WHEN *** by Karen Crowder

 In 1955, you could buy Lifesavers or Tootsie Rolls for a penny.

Hershey Bars or peanut butter cups cost a nickel.

Fares on the MTA buses were a nickel.

A chocolate fudgsicle was a nickel from the ice cream man.

 In 1965, a bottle of soda was 10 cents.

You could make local phone calls for a dime.

A creamy ice cream sandwich from the school store was a dime.

A tube of ChapStick was just 10 cents.

You could ride the subways or buses for a dime or 15 cents.

In 1975, a cup of hot coffee was a quarter.

Cokes or ice cream cones had crept up to 25 cents.

Lunch at McDonald's was under a dollar.

Meals at other fast food restaurants were also under a dollar.

 In 1985, lunches at fast food restaurants were over a dollar.

Penny candy and bars for a nickel were relics of bygone days.

A bag of groceries cost over $30 in 1985. Most apartment rents were already over $400 a month in Massachusetts.

In 2005, soda was over a dollar, and the cheapest lunches were $5.

An ice cream cone cost over $2.

Rents were going sky high: 700 to a thousand dollars per month in Massachusetts.

We knew the days of easy living were over.

 Now, in 2016, some say there is an economic boom.

Many do not see it as they struggle to buy necessities for $50.

We long for carefree days!


Proofreader's note:

While prices of consumer goods were certainly lower in the past, so was the minimum wage—by quite a lot. Here is what I found online for the minimum wage for the years named above:

1955: 75 cents per hour

1965: $1.25

1975: $2.10

1985: $3.35

2005: $5.15

2016: $7.50 to over $9 per hour, depending on the state.

Some cities have raised it to $12 per hour.

In 2015, 14 cities and states actually approved a minimum wage of $15 per hour. That is 20 times the rate in 1955. Details:

Many people now believe that the national minimum wage should be $12 or even $15 per hour. I agree. Here in Denver, the average rent is now over $1,300 a month, and the average house price is nearing $400,000. I really don't know how so many people can afford to move here, but they are coming in droves. My husband and I are very glad that we bought our three-bedroom house in 1971— for $28,500. It is now worth more than 10 times that.—Leonore Dvorkin 


17) AN ANNIVERSARY TRIBUTE *** by Terri Winaught

Poetry is a genre I like so much that I have written it since third grade. That being the case, I am familiar with many poetic forms, but it was only recently that I heard of the haibun from a member of Behind Our Eyes, a writers' group to which I belong.

The haibun is written with two prose paragraphs followed by a haiku. Haiku is a Japanese style in which the first and third lines contain five syllables, and the second line contains seven.

If you like this form, you might want to try writing one. If you do, I'd love to read it and tell you what a good job you did.

Garnet and Delores (Dee) Mimms were married on June 28, 1967. Though he was a soul singer in the 1960s, Garnet is now a pastor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

As the Mimmses prepare to celebrate their 49th anniversary, I wish this loving couple—whom I had the pleasure of meeting in 2014—nothing but the best.

Like beautiful birds,

Years of love have just flown by:

Happy forty-ninth!

Proofreader's note: To read more about haibun, go here:



Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the May Consumer Vision. In 1988, the two songs that entered the top 40 in the same week entitled "Don't Be Cruel" were sung by Bobby Brown and Cheap Trick. Congratulations to the following winners:

David Faucheux of Lafayette, Louisiana

Don Hanson of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

And now, here is your trivia question for the June Consumer Vision. In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, who was Tom Sawyer's sweetheart? If you know the answer, please email or call 508-994-4972.


As always, I did my best to correct all contributions for any errors in punctuation, spelling, and spacing. In a very few places, I made slight changes to the prose, mainly in the interest of improved clarity and flow. I also made all links live, provided a few more links, and provided some extra information and comments in a few places.

If you, the contributors, are ever unhappy with what Terri and I have done with or added to your submission, please contact us. My own contact info is:

Leonore Dvorkin, Denver, CO

Home phone: 303-985-2327



On my website, you can find full information about my four published books, my many published articles on health and nutrition, and information about my husband's and my services for other authors. Since 2009, David and I have edited and produced almost 30 books, both fiction and nonfiction, by other authors. Several more books will be published this year. Most of our clients are blind or visually impaired. Among our many clients are Bob Branco, Patty Fletcher, John Justice, and Ernest Dempsey.