THE CONSUMER VISION
Address: 359 Coggeshall St., New Bedford, MA 02746
Publisher: Bob Branco
Editor: Terri Winaught
Proofreader and Secondary Editor: Leonore Dvorkin
Formatter: David Dvorkin
TABLE OF CONTENTS
In this Table of Contents, each article title will be separated from its author by three asterisks ***
Three asterisks *** will also be placed before and after each article, both to separate them and for ease of location. To make searching even easier, each article is also preceded by a number.
In columns like Karen Crowder's recipes, Readers' Forum, and Special Notices, letters will be used to separate items, starting with A, B, C, etc., depending on the number of items.
1. LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
2. HEALTH MATTERS: More Health News You Can Use *** by Leonore H. Dvorkin
3. THE IMAGE OF YOURSELF: Five Surefire Ways to Enjoy Each Moment *** by Dennis R. Sumlin
4. TECH CORNER: From Soup to Nuts: The Skinny on Self-Publishing *** by Stephen Théberge
5. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: Protracted Replay *** by James R. Campbell
8. WEATHER OR NOT: Heat Waves in New England *** by Steve Roberts
10. THE HANDLER'S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs *** by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.
11. TURNING POINT: They Overcame Adversity *** by Terri Winaught
12. TIPS FOR VIPS (Because Visually Impaired People Are Important, Too) *** by Penny Fleckenstein
13. A CANADIAN'S VIEW OF GUN CONTROL *** by Bruce Atchison
14. RECIPE COLUMN *** by Karen Crowder
15. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST
1. LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
"No coffee today" was how a news report on Channel 4 today introduced the shutdown of Starbucks coffee shops for four hours of anti-bias training. (The need to implement this sensitivity training on Tuesday, May 29, stemmed from an April incident in which two black males were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks for allegedly loitering, when what they were actually doing was waiting for a companion.) Since that unfortunate incident, which sparked protests and which seemed to be an outright example of racial profiling, the coffee chain's CEO personally apologized to the two males. Also since then, the popular coffee chain has adopted a policy that allows individuals to use the restroom even if they are not ordering. With these seeming to be steps in the right direction, my hope is that the extensive publicity and the anti-bias training will combine to create a more consistently inclusive establishment.
Yesterday was Memorial Day, but there is a community in Maryland for whom it was anything but a holiday, as eight inches of rain falling in three hours turned Main Street into a raging river, tore sidewalks apart, and tossed cars about as if they were plastic versions of themselves.
When this same community was affected by a similar storm in 2016, residents were told that storm was one in 1000 years. Yet, just two years later, this devastated suburb not far from Baltimore must again struggle to recover as residents make the difficult decision to rebuild or move out. It goes without saying that my prayers go out to both residents and responders so significantly affected by a storm that was described as worse than the one two years ago.
To end on a more positive note, I was heartened to hear both on the news and even on my favorite soap opera, The Young and the Restless, acknowledgement of Memorial Day being not so much a celebration as a commemoration of those who lost their lives fighting in wars both past and present. Part of my day yesterday included phoning people who have served or whose family members have served in the military to thank them for their service. If you enjoyed picnics yesterday, I hope you stayed safe by keeping food at the right temperatures. I also hope you took time to reflect on, pray for, or send positive energy to family members who lost loved ones in combat.
Finally, as we move ever closer to "the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer," to quote singing icon Nat King Cole, I wish all of our readers happiness, safety, and wellness. I also thank publisher Bob Branco; secondary editor and proofreader Leonore Dvorkin; her husband, David, who does a perfect formatting job; contributors past and present who have provided a wealth of information over the years; and of course you, the Consumer Vision readers, without whose loyalty this magazine couldn't have grown and thrived.
To offer me comments, feedback, and suggestions, contact me as follows:
Home phone: 412-263-2022
Cell phone: 412-595-6187
Or send a braille letter to Terri Winaught, 915 Penn Ave., Apt. 307, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.
Thanks for reading with me and also for supporting Consumer Vision.
Terri Winaught, Editor
2. HEALTH MATTERS: More Health News You Can Use
by Leonore H. Dvorkin
Healthy diet may lower risk of hearing loss in women
Science Daily, 5/11/18
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Hearing loss affects about 48 million Americans. Now, a 22–year study of almost 71,000 women in the Nurses' Health Study Two has found that eating a healthy diet is associated with a lower risk of acquired hearing loss in women.
The beneficial effects were observed if any one of three healthy diets was followed. One of them was the AMED, or Alternate Mediterranean Diet. I have written about that diet twice before for Consumer Vision. It includes extra virgin olive oil, grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish, and a moderate intake of alcohol. The DASH diet is high in fruits, vegetables, and low–fat dairy, and is low in sodium. The AHEI-2010 diet is similar to these.
Women who followed healthy eating patterns had an approximately 30% lower risk of moderate or worse hearing loss compared to women whose diets least resembled these healthy patterns.
Obesity Is Shifting Cancer to Young Adults
If your children or grandchildren are overweight, here is alarming new information that makes a compelling argument for trying to get them to slim down, the sooner the better. A researcher at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has compiled evidence from more than 100 publications to show how obesity increases the risk of 13 different cancers in young adults.
Among the highlights from this article are the following:
a. Obesity is shifting cancers to younger age groups.
b. Of the 20 most common cancers in the U.S., including breast and thyroid cancers, nine are now being reported in young adults.
c. Young people with body mass indexes of over 30 are more likely to experience aggressive malignancies.
d. Childhood obesity may have lasting effects that could lead to cancer early and late in life. That is, obesity can permanently alter a young person's likelihood of developing cancer. Obesity causes changes to a person's DNA that can add up over time.
e. Obesity accelerates cancer progression.
f. Acid reflux in obese individuals increases their risk of esophageal cancer.
g. We must work to prevent the expansion of the obesity pandemic in both children and adults. Otherwise, as many as 110 million obese children and adolescents worldwide will remain at risk of developing obesity–associated cancers.
Obesity Now Linked to 12 Different Cancers
The Guardian, 5/23/18
Headline: Earlier studies found links between excess body mass and seven different cancers, but new evidence has found five more. The article goes on to say that the World Cancer Research Fund has identified the 12 as cancers of the bowel, breast (post–menopause), esophagus, gallbladder, kidney, liver, mouth, pancreas, prostate, stomach, throat, and uterus. The WCRF also says that roughly 40% of cancers are preventable. Smoking is the biggest cause of cancer, but one must also eat a healthy diet, get more exercise, and lose weight if overweight.
Sugar's Dark Effect on Your Mental Wellbeing
by Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS
This is a short summary of a fairly long article that was published in a Denver magazine, Natural Grocers good4you Health Hotline Magazine, May 2018, Vol. 12. Natural Grocers/Vitamin Cottage is a Denver–area health store chain that was an area pioneer in offering healthy foods, a wide variety of natural products, and small classes on a variety of health issues.
a. In the section of the article on how sugar harms our mental state:
A high–sugar diet can contribute to depression, anxiety, and even dementia. The link between sweets and mood disorders is particularly pronounced in males. A diet high in sugar and processed meats, with a low consumption of fruits and vegetables, has clear negative effects on teens. Research has shown that the quality of teenagers' diets may even affect their mental health for the rest of their lives. Among older people, those with high blood sugar, even without a clinical diagnosis of diabetes, have a faster rate of cognitive decline.
b. In the section of the article on how to lower your risk:
Cut out soft drinks and fruit juices. Instead, drink plain or flavored sparkling water and tomato or V-8 juice. Probiotic–rich, fermented foods can help fight off the candida that is often at the root of sugar cravings. Such foods include kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso. Healthy fats, such as olive oil and avocado oil, can also help keep your blood sugar stable. Cinnamon is a popular spice that can help lower blood sugar, even in fairly small amounts. Note: I've read elsewhere that Ceylon cinnamon is the best. If you can't find that in the supermarket, you can order it online, as I did. With a small funnel, I refill as needed a 1.9 ounce spice bottle that some Saigon cinnamon (Spice Islands brand) came in years ago. I often add a couple of dashes of cinnamon to a bowl of plain yogurt, fresh fruit, and mixed nuts, with a few drops of stevia as a sweetener. You can also stir a little cinnamon into coffee.
Marijuana May Lead Non–Smokers to Cigarettes
In the U.S., cigarette smoking has long been on the decline, but marijuana use is on the rise. Researchers at Columbia University and the City University of New York found that the use of marijuana is associated with three disturbing trends: increased odds of taking up the smoking of cigarettes, of taking up smoking again if someone had quit, and of continuing to smoke cigarettes if one uses cannabis and smokes cigarettes at the same time. In addition, cigarette smokers are five times as likely as nonsmokers to use marijuana daily.
Statistics from the CDC:
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths. Currently, about 15.5% of U.S. adults smoke cigarettes. Smoking rates are highest in parts of the Midwest and the South.
About the Author
Leonore Dvorkin and her husband, the prolific author David Dvorkin, are the authors of a total of 32 published books, 28 of which are by David, and more than 50 published articles. Most of the articles by Leonore are on the subjects of health, nutrition, and fitness. She is an award-winning exercise instructor and has been teaching weight–training classes (exercises with weights) since 1976. She also tutors Spanish, German, and English (formerly French as well). Since 2009, David and Leonore have been running DLD Books Editing and Self–Publishing Services. Thus far, they have edited over 50 books by over 35 clients, most of whom are blind or visually impaired. They invite you to visit their websites for more information, and they welcome inquiries about any of their services.
Leonore's website: http://www.leonoredvorkin.com
Leonore's email: email@example.com
David's website: http://www.dvorkin.com/
DLD Books: http://www.dldbooks.com/
3. THE IMAGE OF YOURSELF: Five Surefire Ways to Enjoy Each Moment
by Dennis R. Sumlin
In this busy world we live in, many of us do not take time to stop and notice the small things that make a big difference. With work, family, and other responsibilities, the subtle things in life are left undone. Remember these small things. You would be surprised at the positive impact they make.
1. Give thanks. Every morning, when you wake up, after you stop arguing with the alarm, stand up and give thanks for another day. Give thanks that you made it to the other side of midnight, and give thanks for everything your life has given you. If you are not doing this already, it may be a little difficult to start and keep up with, but after a few days of doing it, you will see the difference. You will start to notice more positives in your life. You will find more and more things to give thanks for, and during the tough times, these positive, grateful thoughts will give you some comfort.
2. Enjoy each moment. Once a moment has passed, it has passed. No other moment will ever be the same. Even doing the same thing is different. Speaking the same words sounds different each time. Pay attention to the moment you are in and what you are doing in that moment. When you get up in the morning, pay attention to how your body feels, how you feel after giving thanks, how the shower feels as it hits your body, how the towel feels when you dry off. Notice the taste of breakfast and how the air feels when you walk out of the house. After a while of noticing these things, you will enjoy them a lot more, generally be happier doing activities that you thought of as routine, and add more value to the experience of living.
3. Give yourself a hand. So often we go through life with particular goals and other things that we want out of life, and we forget to thank ourselves for giving us what we already have. Whatever we have is because we played a role in getting it. Thank yourself, remind yourself what you have, and tell yourself, "Good job!" Celebrate new achievements, no matter how small you think they are. Your small achievement could be the very thing another person is striving for right now!
4. Tell yourself about you. This may sound odd. You already know you, right? What would you tell yourself, anyway? Tell yourself what you see in the mirror. Tell yourself about how you love your muscular body, how tall you are, your attractive face, or whatever you see that looks good to you. Everybody loves to be complimented, and you're no different. Tell yourself how much of a great person you are. You are funny, sexy, tough, smart, focused, calm, or any other quality you notice in yourself. If you have a hard time looking at yourself this way, think about the compliments others have given you and repeat them. You will feel better almost as soon as you start saying the words, and it will improve your view of yourself and focus your mind on the good things. After a while, good aspects about you and others will seem to leap out in front of you.
5. Express yourself. Tell people how you feel about them. We know the all-too-common story about people who do not express how they feel about each other until it is too late. That is one reason, but another reason is that it feels good. Openly expressing the love or respect you have for a person will generate good feelings in both you and them. They will most likely return the favor. Now the good feelings are bouncing back and forth.
These quick tips will show results fast, both within you and around you.
If you want to develop effective communication and leadership skills and be the person you know you are, contact me.
4. TECH CORNER: From Soup to Nuts: The Skinny on Self-Publishing
by Stephen Théberge
One would wonder why I've chosen self-publishing as a topic for a Tech Corner. The truth is that with all the online and social media activity, self-publishing relies heavily on many types of technology. Actually, I am deferring my discussion to David Dvorkin and his new book, Self-Publishing Tools, Tips, and Techniques. I not only gave it a five-star review rating on Amazon, but felt he was objective in his presentation.
One of the first impressions I had was of the table of contents. It read like a syllabus for a college course. I mean this in a most positive and sincere way. Indeed, David's book would be a great tool for those taking marketing or writing courses.
Dvorkin opens with a well-defined outline of the shrinking traditional publishing industry. He then goes into self-publishing taking hold. The next chapter objectively points out the pros and cons of self-publishing, as he tries to answer the question of whether or not you should do so. I sense, and agree with him, that it probably is the way to go, but David does not shrink away from the realities of the industry. I was very enlightened by his clear presentation looking at the pluses and minuses of literary agents. Again, he is not against agents, but he has a clear understanding of the issues on both sides.
He then continues to outline the "Big Self-Publishing Barrier." He makes no rosy promises of bestsellers or Hollywood movie offers. Yet, he rightly points out that traditional publishing is no better a guarantee. Even an agent will not be a pass to quick success. He also alludes in many parts of the book to the fact that if you don't like writing, then you shouldn't do it. Also, he very rightly points out that traditional publishers are interested mostly, if not exclusively, in profits rather than literary merit.
A full chapter entitled "Writing Is Its own Reward" did a lot to make me forget the grim realities of publishing of any kind. I really value his real-world experience, given that both he and his wife, Leonore, have had many books published traditionally and via the self-publishing platforms.
He then goes into scam artists who prey on the dreams of would-be bestselling authors. David does a very good job of outlining what to look for if you want services such as editing, cover design, and all the other many minute details of self-publishing. I think he rightly points out that we can edit our own books, but as we are so close to our own work, it is likely we will miss things.
The vast kernel of the book is replete with every possible technical and other detail to get your book on the three major online sites. Smashwords, Amazon, and CreateSpace are the ones he discusses. He points out that with print on demand production, you can print one to however many books you want. It will always cost the same amount of money per book. He states correctly that the quality of these books is up to par with traditional printing houses. All of these sites are not so-called vanity presses. They offer many tools and services to help you get your book out there.
Chapter 10 was concerned with marketing. One theme of David's book is that there are no real hard and fast rules to self-publishing, let alone traditional approaches to getting one's work out. His experience in the field and his knowledge of the minutiae of the industry are impressive. He mentions the "tsunami of self-publishing" to illustrate the odds any author is facing. Also, it is important to note that he tells us we are our own publicists.
I like how near the beginning of the book (and I'm paraphrasing) David says something like "The advantage of a traditional publisher is that your editor is on your back." With self-publishing, not having an editor nagging you to meet a deadline could be a negative. He is only illustrating that an author aiming for self-publication has to be self-motivated. The rewards are that every decision is entirely in the author's hands. Again, in true fashion, David points out that this can be daunting, and that many people have given up before they even started.
He points out success stories of self-published books. Fifty Shades of Grey is the only example I can remember that he gave, but there were a few others. It is also clear that one should not expect any such glory or success. Yes, indeed, that probably shouldn't be the goal, as one will be very disappointed if they live in this semi-delusion. On the other hand, David does not say to give up, either.
He also talks about how the old days of small, independent presses have given way to monopolies. The big conglomerates, most overseas, have taken a stronghold on traditional publishing, making the prospect of success even less likely.
David assures the reader that all the steps, technical and otherwise, are relatively simple, and can propel anyone to fully self-publish their work. I agree, and the level of detail about all of the issues is breathtaking. However, as my sequel nears its release, I will continue with DLD Books ( www.dldbooks.com ) as my professional team to help me do the editing, design the cover, and then get my book online. With my lack of vision, I don't feel I can delve into the intricate details, especially the visual ones, when it comes to getting this just so.
Follow me on twitter at @speechfb
Read and post on my writer's blog, http://blinderwriterweb.wordpress.com
Check out the Web page for my coming of age science fiction novel, The MetSche Message, http://www.dldbooks.com/stephentheberge/
Watch my YouTube channel for many blindness-related issues and the latest Branco Broadcasts. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQbs0c1vLDuYmb08okZSk8g/videos
5. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: Protracted Replay
by James R. Campbell
These days, the news is filled with stories of events that have major bearing on our everyday lives. The list is endless: the Facebook scandal, North Korea's historic meeting with its southern neighbor, Syria, and teacher strikes in various states, just to name a few.
One of the trending and pertinent stories in the news today centers around a caravan of migrants from Central America. These people have fled from their homes in El Salvador and Honduras due to crime and violence in their homelands. They are poised on our southern border, and their goal is to seek asylum in the U.S.
The story isn't new. In August 1978, Nicaragua was ripped apart by what would be a 12-year war. It began with a revolution by Sandinista guerillas, who were attempting to overthrow the government of Anastasio Somoza. Somoza fled in July 1979, and the leftist government of Daniel Ortega assumed power. In the meantime, conflicts broke out in Guatemala and El Salvador. When Ronald Ragan ascended to the presidency in the U.S. in 1981, he armed government forces in those countries and sponsored the Contras in their bid to unseat Ortega. The end result: Refugees from the affected nations fled in droves to the United States.
Enter the sanctuary movement, an underground railroad of the 1980s that provided safe haven for refugees from the embattled states. Division was seeded between the sanctuary movement and its detractors, who believed that these people were not refugees at all, that they were coming here to take advantage of America instead.
Many feel that way today. The charge is being led by our president, Donald Trump. His tough stand on illegal immigration, including the proposed border wall, is part of his America First agenda. He asserts that much of the crime, gang activity, and trafficking in sex and drugs is brought into our country by illegal immigration. There is evidence of the harm that comes when states provide free education, housing, food stamps, drivers' licenses, and even voting rights to illegal aliens. These policies, at their best, do nothing but encourage poverty and dependence on the welfare state for daily survival. Yet California proclaims that it is a sanctuary state, even though the state is two billion dollars in the red because of its support of aliens. In an effort to change this trend, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered the government to stop funding cities and states that engage in the practice of providing safe haven to these individuals and groups.
One of the stories that captivated my attention in 2014 was the plight of the unaccompanied children from Central America who were turning up at the border. My cousin Lisa was here; she was caring for me at the time. One evening, we were watching the news when the story made another appearance.
"What do we do, Lisa?" I asked.
"James, we can't take care of them. We don't even care for our own here at home. How do you expect us to take care of them?"
"We could take care of our own, Lisa! We just don't do it. We spend 700 billion every year for foreign oil, and that money lines the coffers of ISIS and al Qaeda."
I understood what Lisa was saying, but I am not a machine with no feelings. I know Lisa isn't either. She is good-hearted. She is unfamiliar with my history. I once knew some girls from El Salvador who went to get their paperwork straightened out while government troops were killing demonstrators in the streets of San Salvador. I met one of the girls in my first English class at Odessa College. I was concerned for their safety. The end result of this was my direct opposition to all foreign involvement in the Central American conflicts. I supported the sanctuary movement and became outspoken in my opposition to the Russians as well as to Reagan's policy. Both sides were wrong, and the innocent people in the middle were my top priority.
Today's migrants are the children and grandchildren of that time. My heart goes out to them, but I also see the point of view of the other side. My view is summed up as follows: "Let us say to the migrant who wishes to make a new life in our homeland, ‘You must become one of us! This doesn't mean that you abandon your heritage; instead, it means that you must integrate yourself into our society. It is an absolute requirement that you do so. You are required to speak, read, and write English and follow the appropriate path to citizenship. You must find meaningful employment and pay your way as you go. We are not required or equipped to pay for your housing, education, food, or health care. You must obey our laws or be subject to the appropriate penalties for breaking them. You must pay taxes and serve your new homeland if called upon to serve. These are the rules; if you refuse to abide by them, you must go back! It can't be any other way. There is no free ride here: those days are over, bottom line!'"
I am opposed to the wall; it reminds me of Berlin. I am in favor of more border patrol agents and better surveillance. Aliens who commit offenses in the U.S. are subject to prosecution, conviction, and sentencing guidelines outlined in our Constitution. If they commit crimes here, they must be subjected to constitutional requirements accordingly.
It's one thing to empathize with those who are fleeing violence in their homeland, but the time has come when we can't afford those who refuse to pay as they go. We have no better glaring example than California. The nation can't afford to support unfettered access any longer.
As always, thanks for your time.
With loving kindness,
James R. Campbell
6. THE BIG QUESTION
This question was submitted by one of our readers for feedback. We would love hearing your response.
I've always wondered: When blind people offer their services as volunteers for church or civic organizations, is the offer taken seriously, or do you get the polite brush-off? I've had it on both sides of the spectrum. Most experiences have been positive. I am currently volunteering as a side-walker at a therapeutic riding center and will soon be working day camps for the Champaign-Urbana park district.
Most therapeutic riding stables allow kids as young as 14 to volunteer as horse leaders and side-walkers. I've always wondered if they see the people with disabilities as inferior to them or equals, since many are adults with developmental or physical disabilities. I hope and believe they look past the disability and see the person for who they are inside, rather than as a person to be pitied or thought to be amazing for what they accomplish.
When I volunteered at Camp Courage last year in Jacksonville, Illinois, I witnessed junior high kids as counselors working with adults. Those adults lived for the camp and counted the days until the next camp the following year. That is sad, but most of us can identify with those campers to one degree or another. The thing that gives me hope is that most of us become involved in our communities and are appreciated for our individual talents and gifts rather than our disabilities.
If you have any comments, please write to Consumer Vision at firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. READERS' FORUM
by Stephen Théberge
I have done a 180 since writing my last month's article, entitled "Lawyers and Litigation Have Lifted Our Livelihood." Let me just say, I've completely changed my views and would not have published it if I had known then what I know now.
I want to thank all involved for educating me on more "real" opportunities. I would rather have been paid for inconsistent work on an hourly basis than maybe getting paid if a company settled a case. Also, I think litigation should be a last resort.
Anybody interested can start at: www.access-works.com.
My last article was admittedly written in the heat of emotion rather than being based in more solid research.
CreateSpace Isn't a Vanity Press
by Stephen Théberge
An anonymous contributor to last month's Consumer Vision stated that librarians and others frown on CreateSpace as a "vanity press." They should know that CreateSpace is a subsidiary of Amazon, and they actually have many marketing services. This isn't what vanity presses do. Also, publishing has changed dramatically since the old days. Certainly, a literary agent is not a bad thing, but both indie and traditional authors, as well as libraries and bookstores, must think out of the box.
The fact that Cry Purple, a self-published, autobiographical book by Christine McDonald, is going to be made into a movie proves that the old beliefs about publishing are no longer necessarily the way to go. We must be our own agents, publicists, and advertisers. Of course, if our fans can help us market our works, so much the better. It's less expensive than an agent.
The Blind and Education
by Bob Branco
I have had many discussions with blind people about how we were educated. Some of us lived at private schools for the blind, while others were mainstreamed in public schools. Quite often, I am asked to compare the two situations. In my opinion, both have their advantages and disadvantages.
When I was at Perkins School for the Blind, I received a quality education, because most of the material was readily accessible and available. Our school books were in braille, and we borrowed braille books from their library any time we wanted. We were also taught independent living skills and received lots of individual attention. The only disadvantage to living at a private school is that you can't be at home in a sighted world.
While you are able to live in a sighted world if mainstreamed in public schools, it might be tougher to keep up with your classmates. Material might not be readily available, so it may have to be ordered ahead of time. Instead of the individual attention that you would get at a private school, you are now part of a very large group of sighted children, hoping you are able to keep up. Public schools do not offer courses on how to teach blind children independent living skills, which means that it is up to the parents of these blind children to teach them how to live independently. Many parents won't do that for various reasons. They might not have the time, or they're a bit overprotective, or they might feel that these skills can't be taught to blind children.
I would like to open up dialog with our readers about this subject.
For information on my 2013 book about my years at Perkins, My Home Away from Home, as well as my several other published books, please visit my website: http://www.dldbooks.com/robertbranco/
8. WEATHER OR NOT: Heat Waves in New England
by Steven P. Roberts
See my website for information on my book The Whys and Whats of Weather (C 2014):
A heat wave is defined as three or more days in which temperatures reach or exceed 90 degrees. A heat wave in New England generally lasts three or four days. A few will last five or six days. Years can pass between such scorchers.
In New England, heat waves often coincide with high humidity. The heat and humidity create truly oppressive conditions that we call the heat index. The heat index is the combined measure of heat and humidity expressed as a "feels like" temperature. A 95-degree air temperature coupled with a 70-degree dew point would give you a heat index of 100 degrees.
The dew point is a measure of how much moisture is in the air. The higher the dew point, the more moisture there is in the atmosphere. The dew point also tells you how low the air temperature can fall. If the air temperature is 90 and the dew point temperature is 75, then the air will only be able to cool to 75 degrees. When the dew point and the air temperature match, the air becomes saturated and the temperature holds steady, due to the condensation of moisture in the air, which releases latent heat. This is why heat wave nights are so warm.
New England heat waves occur when the Bermuda high parks itself between the island of Bermuda and North Carolina. The southwesterly winds on the western side of the high send warm, moist air up from the Gulf of Mexico. You may hear some meteorologists talk about the heat pump. The Bermuda high is that heat pump.
The Heat Wave Warning System
People have died from the heat in the past. Because of the deadly impacts of the heat, the National Weather Service has devised a heat wave warning system to protect the population from heat-related stresses and their deadly impacts.
An excessive heat advisory is issued when the heat is deemed dangerous by the officials at the National Weather Service. When an excessive heat advisory is in effect, take it easy, drink lots of fluids, and wear lightweight and light-colored clothing. It is also advised that you take frequent breaks when working out of doors.
An excessive heat watch is issued when the heat is thought to be potentially deadly. During an excessive heat warning, heat emergency shelters are opened on a widespread basis. Companies will issue heat emergencies, and all outdoor construction sites will be ordered to shut down. During an excessive heat watch, stay in air conditioning and increase your intake of fluids. Confine all outdoor activities to the coolest hours of the day.
The heat wave warning system is something that we must all be acquainted with, as we will see more heat waves in a warmer world. Next month, I will discuss this aspect in more detail.
9. SPECIAL NOTICES
Across Two Novembers: A Year in the Life of a Blind Bibliophile
by David L. Faucheux
What the book is about:
Friends and family. Restaurants and recipes. Hobbies and history. TV programs the author loved when he could still see and music he enjoys. The schools he attended and the two university degrees he attained. The career that eluded him and the physical problems that challenge him. And books, books, books: over 230 of them quoted from or reviewed. All in all, an astonishing work of erudition and remembrance.
David L. Faucheux lives in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Full details: http://www.dldbooks.com/davidfaucheux/
This 510–page book was edited and produced by Leonore and David Dvorkin, of DLD Books. The beautiful cover, the author's biography, and handy buying links are all on the website that is linked to above. The book is for sale in e–book and print editions from CreateSpace, Amazon, and Smashwords.
As of May 2018, Across Two Novembers has garnered 13 glowing reviews on Amazon, many of them from other authors. Go to the book on that site to read them all. Some of the reviews are also on David's website.
May 2018: The author Peter Altschul sent the following comments to Leonore Dvorkin. He granted his kind permission to reproduce them here.
"I just finished David Faucheux's Across Two Novembers.
I enjoyed its quirkiness as it wound through a variety of topics, not least the
intersection between blindness, chronic illness, food, and the Louisiana
zeitgeist. I also enjoyed the editor's notes."
Peter's website: www.peteraltschul.com
An alternate history novel by David Dvorkin. Third edition C 2010.
Full details, the covers, dates of the three editions, many review quotes, and buying links are at:
Summary and comments by David Dvorkin:
Suppose the Nazis didn't lose World War II. No, they didn't win WWII. They didn't lose. At the height of Nazi power, Hitler died and was replaced by a ruling clique that quickly came to terms with the Allies.
Decades later, officially no longer fascist, Germany dominates Europe and is advancing steadily eastward into the territory of a shrinking Soviet Union. Much of the rest of the world is dominated by an ever more fascist United States.
No, it's not a contemporary novel. It's alternate history. Really.
The Franklin Watts edition (the first one) has the best cover of any of my novels so far. I adore it. It's striking, it's esthetically pleasing, and it captures the essence of the novel perfectly. The artist, Honi Werner, has since become quite famous. I've never met her, but I hope I will someday. Some authors manage to buy the original paintings for their covers; I want to buy this one more than any other.
"Agreeably alarming thriller. ... A ‘what if' that works. Budspy is smart, fast, and mean without ever dipping into hokey or otherwise distracting futurisms."
Engaging thriller. ...Taken as a conscience-less romp, it succeeds just fine."
"Boldly speculative. ... Author Dvorkin has a vivid imagination, and he imbues his new world with a chilling Teutonic authoritarianism. ... An involving anti-utopian thriller."
Norman Spinrad in Asimov's
"When it comes to this theme, Budspy is superior to just about everything short of The Man in the High Castle itself. ... Masterful."
"Well told adventure. ... There is a degree of subtlety and insight working in this novel that one encounters rarely."
10. THE HANDLER'S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs
by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.
Hello, readers. I hope that by now you and your guide dogs are enjoying summer fun and warmer temperatures. Dogs, generally speaking, love to bask in the sunshine, and both my Labrador retrievers often lie out flat, like a canine version of human sun worshipers. Very cute.
For this issue, I've decided to include a short essay based upon the folks Bailey and I encounter while commuting to work on the Paratransit bus. Being an author is a singular effort, but the inspiration for a piece of writing is often presented while going about one's daily tasks, like traveling. I hope you enjoy it.
Hold It Up Proudly
Bailey stood, signaling that our Paratransit bus was pulling to the curb. I praised him with a "Good boy!" and he guided me to the door. We stepped up, and as I asked the driver which seat was open, a familiar voice greeted us. Bailey, being the most curious dog ever in the world, decided to try to sniff the passenger's bag, and I corrected him and directed him to back up into the space where he would be safe and away from temptation.
The passenger, whom I will call Sonya, announced she was going to my guide dog school to observe a graduation. She has been thinking about a guide dog for the past year, since her vision has deteriorated. Whenever we meet on the bus, she spends the time asking me questions. I answer them. This time she asked the most familiar questions, the ones I asked all those years ago, when I first began the exploration of applying for a guide dog, questions like, Was she blind enough for a dog? What if, on some days she walked a few miles and other days she just cleaned the house? Would a dog be able to be part of her life?
She was also trying to describe a new harness my school used for running guides that resembles a Y with an adjustable handle. All these questions, and she was finally going to a graduation to see for herself just how much a dog can enhance someone's life and get a person back to being more independent. I was so happy she was taking a chance and evaluating her choices. Part of her reluctance was due to her wondering how a dog would fit into her life and her family. How would she be able to show the dog what she wanted? Would the dog be able to be part of her extended family and be good with her grandchildren? Our conversation took on a very serious connotation, as if she was ready to make the commitment and apply or stick with the cane.
After she got off the bus, I thought about how, like Sonya, I got to a point of extreme frustration with a white cane, being exhausted from the mental vigilance and finding it a laborious tool, that, while helpful, also had its limits and had let me down. I think folks like us, who have lived with vision and then gradually lost it, are just unequipped to make a complete and successful transition to exclusively using a cane, because our brains have aged and aren't as flexible. I also hit my learning ceiling with braille in a similar fashion. I studied braille for six months with an instructor. After a 20-minute session of reading braille, I was mentally exhausted and could not move past the phenomenon. My fingers would get numb, and my head felt as though it was going to explode from concentrating so hard. For me, and for many other folks who lose vision later in life, the adjustment to progressing from simple tactile reading to reading a novel is just too much for the brain to handle. Moreover, folks like me have already learned how to read and write visually; later on, as we lost more vision, thanks to computers and assistive technology, we were able to transition to listening the way we had been taught to with sight. Folks like me just want to be able to manage vision loss and not be overwhelmed by it. But I digress.
Back to the dog or the cane discussion. Why, one might ask, is using a dog less stressful? A dog takes the adjustment to a different level, allowing a person to share the mobility experience and be less vigilant. The handler relies less on constant tapping, stopping, and realigning a path; with another sentient being, walking down a street goes from a solitary effort to a team effort. The partnership takes the stress off the person, and the experience of being out and about in public becomes more pleasurable and less isolating. The dog is the team's eyes, does the shore-lining, the obstacle avoidance, the targeting. The handler follows, directs, and keeps track of the team's location.
I smile and think, How many times have I found myself talking to my dog? How many times have I thanked the Powers that I was a guide dog user after being redirected from a dangerous situation? How many times has my dog kept us from being hurt, or worse? How many times did my dog find our way from a situation where I got lost? How many times has my dog comforted me, my clients, and provided unconditional regard to whoever needed it? The answer is simple: I trust my dog, and we are a team, and no matter what we face, we will work through it together.
As for Sonya, whatever she chooses to do to manage living her life with vision loss, I hope that she stays active and engaged. Adjusting to losing sight takes time, and I think Sonya is a brave and focused person for exploring all her options.
Ann Chiappetta, M.S. is the author of Follow Your Dog: A Story of Love and Trust and Upwelling: Poetry.
To read about and to purchase her books, go to www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta/
Learn more about Ann by going to: www.annchiappetta.com
11. TURNING POINT: They Overcame Adversity
by Terri Winaught
Abraham Lincoln was the president known for his leadership during the divisive Civil War between America's North and South, just as he is known for his issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation that ended slavery (officially) on January 1, 1863. Did you know, though, that this former president achieved these monumental successes despite experiencing clinical depression throughout his life? Today, according to a November 2005 article in The Atlantic, "Lincoln's condition would be considered a political liability and a character issue." Yet it was this man with "this liability and character issue" who led the United States through what was perhaps the most difficult period in its history.
Patty Duke was another notable who achieved a different kind of success while dealing with bipolar disorder throughout her 69 years. Duke wrote about life with this mental health diagnosis in her book A Brilliant Madness.
I'm sure that the list goes on—and, indeed, could go on and on—but my point here is to say that, despite stigma and stereotype, those of us with mental health issues can and do succeed and overcome a still much misunderstood and stigmatized condition.
12. TIPS FOR VIPS (Because Visually Impaired People Are Important, Too)
by Penny Fleckenstein
Who blogs at: http://notyouraveragesinglemom.com
Email me at: email@example.com
Two months later, and I've moved to a new place. I had never imagined such a strenuous move, considering that we didn't move far.
I've experienced some truly traumatic days. When I'm exhausted from a long day, when events don't go exactly as I please, I remind myself of the truly traumatic days and feel better about my life. Most days go better than expected.
I wish I had a tip on how to avoid a truly traumatic day. They come when they come and are unavoidable. I expected April to be a high stress month, allowing myself two weeks of overlap when I was occupying and working in both places. I've moved from a much bigger place to a relatively smaller place. Over a month later, I'm still unpacking. With six meltdowns in April, a truly traumatic day, and the death of my oldest daughter's mother-in-law on May 5, I am still adjusting to living in a smaller place with a lot more outside traffic. My three sons love our three-bedroom apartment.
Looking back, I expected too much from myself. I had this vision that I could move and socialize. I could still show up to events and doctor appointments. Instead, I had to cancel out of most of the events, forgot some medical appointments, suspended all writing, and participated in what was essential to maintain a modicum of sanity. I had many helpers, and we hired a moving company that moved the appliances, furniture, and the already packed items. We had my sons' friends helping us on two days. We moved several more truck and car loads. Eric and I even walked things over. I was up at all hours cleaning, sorting, packing, cleaning, and unpacking. I felt the cycle would never end.
I found out the movers don't disconnect and hook up appliances.
Thank God for my friend John, who has been with me through the whole moving process. We needed to read the instructions for taking the refrigerator apart before the movers came. As a result, John broke the connectors for my ice and water. It is still not fully functional, due to slow shipping of parts from Sears. I paid an extra $20 for priority shipping. Almost two weeks later, and it still has not been shipped. After calling, I was given a refund on the difference between priority shipping and regular shipping.
This move is more expensive than anticipated. I've bought different food storage containers that are taller to fit into this smaller place. I really like the ones I bought at Dollar General, although I feel they were pricey. I bought plastic jars with grips for your fingers at Dollar Tree and got even more containers at Walmart. Kmart did not have much of a variety. They keep them by the school supplies.
I've been making frequent trips to the Red White & Blue Thrift Store.
My feet were feeling such pain from the hardwood floors. I bought area rugs for $57 (a big one for the living room, a big one for Eric's room, a small one for Zachary's room, and two small ones for my room), a bookshelf with a glass door for $35, and a potato bin for $8. It is a wooden bin with holes in it and looks very much like a garbage can with a little handle on the lid. Some of my other purchases in the past month have been a three-tiered dish drainer from Amazon.com for $53 and an automatic stainless steel kitchen trash can for $50. It happened to be on sale. It is normally priced at $62. What my feet love the most is the gel pad for me to stand on in front of the kitchen sink. Mine was $25, but there are bigger ones for $50.
I've misplaced a lot of items: my diabetic shoes for a month, my life alert buttons, and some of my medicated creams and vitamins.
We purchased my dream headboard with under-the-bed drawers from the Red White & Blue Thrift Store, only to find they're too big to fit into my room. The headboard simply can't fit in through the doorway of my bedroom.
I'll have more moving tales next month. Stay tuned!
13. A CANADIAN'S VIEW OF GUN CONTROL
by Bruce Atchison
Mass shootings are an almost weekly occurrence in the U.S. Moreover, the news shows every detail, since whatever bleeds, leads. But feelings are subjective and lead to bad laws. It's especially so with gun crime.
Mentally ill, jihadis, or emotionally troubled foes commit these crimes. The Columbine and Sandy Hook elementary shootings were done by such folks. Many mass shooters took psychotropic drugs with aggression and paranoia side effects. Others discontinued their schizophrenia medicine. Islamists heed Quranic verses to kill infidels. Europe has had many attacks by Muslims compelled to take vengeance on "unbelievers." Even Canada had a jihadi attack on the Houses of Parliament. If the sergeant-at-arms hadn't had a gun in his car, many would have died.
News reports encourage copycat attacks by disturbed folks. Killing students or strangers feeds their warped need for fame.
The media misuse terms like "assault rifles" and "semi-automatic weapons." Guns such as the AR-15 are the same as other rifles but for the paint job and magazine. They fire a bullet at a time when the trigger is squeezed. Then another round moves to the chamber. Automatic guns keep firing, as long as the trigger is squeezed, until the magazine empties. The media abuses phrases to take advantage of public ignorance. Most folks neither know or care how guns work. So their emotions are stirred by tales of gunmen with "assault rifles."
But won't gun control reduce crime? Nations like Canada and the UK have strict laws. Getting a rifle license is hard, and a handgun permit is almost impossible to get. Gun crime still happens, proving laws don't stop crooks. Most gun crimes in these lands are done by crooks who steal guns or buy from the black market.
Gun crimes are fewer in states and provinces with more freedoms for law-abiding folks. For example, Texas has fewer killings than California, since thugs fear being shot. There's a huge gap between cities with strict laws and ones with fewer rules. Chicago and Baltimore have murder rates higher than cities with fewer rules. The shooting in Aurora, Colorado was in a gun-free zone, since the punk knew nobody would fire back. The same was true of the Pulse night club attack in Orlando, Florida by a Muslim.
Mass shooters are often heavily armed. They carry more guns and ammo than they need. I've never heard of a gunman committing mass murder without wearing a bullet-proof vest plus rounds for several guns. They need it all to feel bold. I once saw CCTV video showing how chicken these punks are. Two teens robbed a store with AR-15s. A senior shot at the jerks with his pistol. Both fled the store. They could have outgunned that man, but they ran.
Remember the robbery at a Texas Walmart? A man chased the foe after he shot some shoppers and killed him. If not for that man's concealed carry permit, the thug would have kept killing. The Broward County school massacre shows what happens when nobody has a gun or the guts to use one. The school resource officer didn't use his. Neither did the local cops enter the school to stop the gunman. Most of the dead students would be alive if somebody had shot that man. Furthermore, he was a troubled individual who gave ample warning of his illness. He even dialed 9-1-1 for help. Nobody listened, and nothing was done until he snapped.
Also, gangs and mentally ill people who can't get guns use other tools to do crimes. Knife attacks in London, England hit record levels of late. A man in Toronto drove a rented van into crowds on Yonge Street for almost a kilometer before cops nabbed him. So guns aren't the only tool folks can use to kill.
Only a fraction of gun crimes are perpetrated by hunters and sports shooters. Robbers prefer pistols, as they're small and easily hidden.
Criminals won't register their guns like law-abiding folks do. Canadians paid millions for a non-working system. It failed since the bureaucrats didn't get it. Even worse, cops still aren't safe from gunmen if they go to a home without a gun registered there.
How can our governments reduce shootings?
First, they must lock up mentally ill folks. Liberals thought that emptying asylums was humane, but it wasn't. Former patients who should have been locked away for their own good fell through the cracks. Mentally ill folks must be a proven danger to themselves or others before agencies take action. So people who need help don't get it until they snap.
Killers must be harshly punished. This deters folks from abusing guns.
Most gun crimes are committed by gangs, so they must be banned when they break the law while using a gun or knife.
If properly trained folks easily got concealed carry licenses, crooks would be reluctant to risk being shot for crimes.
And what about Switzerland? With a gun in every house and citizens well-trained to use them, gun crime is low. Crooks, knowing they could be shot, are usually deterred.
People want background checks to ensure only mentally well folks get guns. This won't help when crooks steal guns from gun safes or shops. They also buy guns from people with clean records.
Honesty won't help when folks apply for a license. Folks can plot murder while claiming they'd never misuse a gun. Crooks use fake driver's licenses and stolen identities to get gun licenses, since the tracking system has no info on those names. Remember Dylann Roof? That drug user got a .45 caliber handgun through an FBI background check error. Roof shot nine black church members at a Bible study. This shows that background checks are faulty. FBI agents also tested the system with fake driver's licenses and were sold guns each time. This shows how broken tracking systems are.
Better mental health care is what our countries need. Laws won't stop crime, but they do punish evildoers.
14. RECIPE COLUMN
by Karen Crowder
June brings the promise of another delightful summer. Ice cream and roadside stands are open for another season. There is a profusion of local produce—strawberries, rhubarb, asparagus, and chives in New England. Produce is best from your or a neighbor's garden. Local produce is available at farm stands or supermarkets. Fragrant summer roses, peonies, honeysuckle, and lavender are in bloom. Summer begins on June 21. Lakes, pools, ponds, and beaches are open until September. There are weddings, graduations, and alumni gatherings.
According to the American Fund Children and Adult Calendar, there are four special days in June: Flag Day on June 14, the ending of Ramadan on June 14, Father's Day on June 17, and Helen Keller's birthday on June 27.
A. Macaroni Tuna Casserole
B. Mushroom Asparagus Cheese Omelet
C. Old-fashioned Strawberry Shortcake
A. Macaroni Tuna Casserole
There are cool evenings in June, and tuna casserole is just right.
Four tablespoons butter
Four tablespoons flour
Two and one-quarter cups milk
One-quarter cup half-and-half
Dashes of curry powder and salt
Two six-ounce cans tuna
Two small white pearl onions
Three large mushrooms
Two cups elbow macaroni
Two slices American cheese
One slice Scala or Italian bread broken up for crumbs.
Two tablespoons butter
1. In a three-quart saucepan, melt one-half stick butter for five minutes on low heat.
Add flour and stir with a wire or silicone-coated whisk for one minute.
2. Add milk slowly to the flour-butter mixture. Add half-and-half and spices. Stir on low heat until it is smooth. This will take two minutes.
3. Stir infrequently for 25 minutes. While sauce is cooking, fill a lock-lid saucepan half full of water. Cover and turn to medium heat. Add a dash of salt; noodles will not stick as much. When water is nearly boiling, add two cups elbow macaroni. While macaroni is boiling, break up vegetables in a small bowl. Add a little butter and microwave vegetables for 60 seconds.
4. When sauce has thickened, add vegetables. Open tuna and drain. Add tuna to the cooking vegetable sauce. Stir for one minute and cook tuna mixture for 10-12 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, drain macaroni and fill pan with cold water. Drain again; this keeps the macaroni from clumping together.
6. Put macaroni in large buttered casserole dish. Add half of tuna and broken–up slices of cheese.
Add rest of tuna mixture. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Crumble bread and mix with soft butter. Sprinkle buttered breadcrumbs over entire top of casserole.
7. Bake casserole for 35 minutes.
Serve in bowls or crocks while it is hot. There will be many requests because it is so delicious.
The casserole goes well with a green salad and strawberries.
B. Asparagus Mushroom Omelet
I enjoyed this at a local diner. I have made it several times on warm nights.
Four large mushrooms
Four thin asparagus tips
Two large eggs
One-fourth cup milk
Two slices American cheese
One-fourth stick butter
A dash of curry powder
1. In an 8–inch nonstick or cast iron skillet, melt butter for five minutes. Break up mushrooms and asparagus in a small bowl. Add to butter in skillet and cook on low heat for 15 minutes.
2. In a small mixing bowl, beat eggs for two minutes with a wire or silicone-coated whisk. Add milk and spices and beat vigorously for one minute. Add cheese and beat gently, incorporating it into the egg mixture, for one minute. Add egg mixture to vegetables. Do not stir. Cook omelet on low to medium heat for 15 minutes. When entire top of omelet is firm, it is done.
3. With a thin metal spatula, gently go under the omelet and slide it onto a large plate.
Eat omelet while it is hot. A green salad and bread go well with it. If you are serving two, double the recipe. It is a light meal on a warm night
C. Old-fashioned Strawberry Shortcake
I published this recipe in the early May 2013 edition of the Matilda Ziegler Magazine. This may have been previously published here, but I hope old and new readers will enjoy it.
Six tablespoons real butter; no substitutions
Six tablespoons sugar
Two cups flour
One-half cup milk
One-fourth cup light cream or half-and-half
Three teaspoons baking powder
One-fourth teaspoon salt
For the strawberries:
One quart strawberries
One-half cup sugar
1. In bowl over sink, rinse strawberries, removing leaves and stems. Cut strawberries into small slices in a small mixing bowl with a paring knife. Add sugar and let strawberries sit. This will release some of the juice.
2. In medium mixing bowl, measure out all dry ingredients. Cut up butter over bowl, adding it to flour mixture. Blend mixture with clean hands until it is crumbly. Add milk and cream or half-and-half.
3. Stir shortcake batter with a wooden spoon until it is smooth. Refrigerate strawberries until shortcakes are ready to be served.
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
5. Scoop batter onto cookie sheet with a one tablespoon measure. This should make 15 to 18 biscuits.
6. Bake them for 18 minutes.
7. Let biscuits cool on cookie sheet. If not serving soon, put shortcake biscuits in a Ziploc® bag and refrigerate. Top biscuits with strawberries. You can top the strawberries with vanilla ice cream.
I got ideas for the strawberry shortcake preparation and biscuit recipes from two cookbooks, the 1979 Fannie Farmer edition and the 1971 edition of The Joy of Cooking.
I hope Consumer Vision readers are looking forward to summer after unseasonably cold weather in New England and the Midwest. I hope all readers have a happy June with all the summer festivities. Let us hope and pray for a congenial, peaceful America.
15. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST
Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the May Consumer Vision. Stormy Daniels is a porn star. Though your answers varied, that is the short version of who she is. Congratulations to the following winners:
Roanna Bacchus of Orlando, Florida
Jan Colby of Brockton, Massachusetts
Nancy Hays from Oakville, Connecticut
Jo Smith of West Dennis, Massachusetts
Abbie Taylor of Sheridan, Wyoming
Steve Théberge of Attleboro, Massachusetts
And now, here is your question for this month's Consumer Vision. What 1980s television series ended its episodes with, "Sit, Ubu, sit! Good dog!" If you know the answer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-994-4972.