March 2018

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

Phone: 508-994-4972



Publisher: Bob Branco

Editor: Terri Winaught

Proofreader and Secondary Editor: Leonore Dvorkin

Formatter: David Dvorkin


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

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

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

2. HEALTH MATTERS: Health News You Can Use *** by Leonore H. Dvorkin

3. THE IMAGE OF YOURSELF: Four Great Ways to Waste Your Time *** by Dennis R. Sumlin

4. TECH CORNER: Editors, Your Jobs Are Not in Danger Because of Technology *** by Stephen Théberge


6. THE MOUNT EVEREST OF EQUALITY: My Pledge to Former Congresswoman Gabriel G. So That No One Else Will Die or Be Injured Because of a Senseless Act of Violence *** by Brian J. Coppola

7. SOCIETY'S TRENDS: Having Patience *** by Bob Branco

8. WEATHER OR NOT: The Superstorm of 1993 *** by Steve Roberts


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

11. TURNING POINT: More About Peer Support *** by Terri Winaught

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

13. RECIPE COLUMN *** by Karen Crowder

14. FYI: Three Medical Devices That Are Helping the Legally Blind To See *** from Low Vision Specialists of Maryland & Virginia

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



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

Hello, Consumer Vision Readers.

In February's Letter from the Editor, I mentioned that I would share anything I did that was special in acknowledgement of February as Black History Month. In addition, I also asked readers to share anything special they may have done or known about in their respective communities.

On February 21, the mental health agency where I work hosted a soul food extravaganza and Black History trivia contest. The food included fried chicken, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, greens, and sweet potato pie. The sweet potato pie was described as "out of sight," and the macaroni and cheese was described as "the best I've had in a long time."

As for the trivia contest, I would have done well had the questions centered around the Civil Rights Movement and past history. Since the focus was on current movies, actresses, and actors, however, I would not have been at all good at that had I been able to go. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling well that day.

My understanding is that they will be doing this every February, and I hope that will be the case. I'd love to hear what, if anything, was done in your respective communities.

On a different note, for baseball fans, spring training is well under way, and I sure hope other teams are doing better than the Pirates, who have won no games as of this date. I'd love to hear from readers about this, too.

One positive thing about the Pirates is that they are currently having an online auction to benefit the shooting victims of the South Florida high school on February 14. Although I doubt that I could place a high enough bid, I hope the Pirates' auction will raise the large amount of money those victims so richly deserve. It's just beyond heartbreaking that yet another mass shooting has taken place. There seems to be no clear solution on the horizon.

To conclude, I want to thank all of you readers for supporting Consumer Vision and offering your feedback; our talented writers, whose contributions are immeasurable; publisher Bob Branco; secondary editor and proofreader Leonore Dvorkin; formatter David Dvorkin; Janet Marcley, the former editor; and the previous proofreader, all of whose contributions have made and continue to make Consumer Vision a super success.

Terri Winaught,




Health News You Can Use

by Leonore H. Dvorkin

Like most people, I get my health news from a variety of sources: various printed publications (magazines and health newsletters), various online sources (mainly reports on recent medical research), emailed newsletters from my doctor's office, and more. While I would be buried in clutter if I kept all the printed material, I do set aside certain items of particular interest. For the March issue of Consumer Vision, I thought I would summarize a few of the recent items which have caught my attention. I hope that you will find them of interest, too.

The first four items below are from the March 2018 Consumer Reports newsletter, On Health.

1. A well-ventilated bedroom appears to lead to a better night's sleep. That means opening both your bedroom door and a window. We do that at all times of year. Even if it's very cold at night, below zero, we have the window open a couple of inches. We set the thermostat at 58 at night in the winter.

2. Dietary fiber does more than just help keep you regular; it has anti-aging benefits. It helps cut cholesterol, helps protect against diabetes, helps control weight, lowers the risk of colorectal cancer, reduces inflammation, helps reduce the risk of arthritis, and boosts good bacteria in the gut. The article is accompanied by photos of a variety of high-fiber foods: whole-grain bread and pasta, brown and wild rice, plain oatmeal, avocados, green peas, lentils, raspberries, almonds, sweet potatoes, pears, edamame, bulgur, and popcorn. Yum!

While it's certainly best to get most of your fiber from such natural sources—fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, etc.—my husband and I can also recommend a particular source of additional fiber. That's Kirkland (Costco) "Optifiber," made from wheat dextrin. (The label says, "Compare to Benefiber.") This is a tasteless, odorless, granular white powder that mixes very easily with any liquid or soft food, such as yogurt. Two teaspoons (one small scoop, provided) supply three grams of soluble fiber. An adult can take up to five scoops a day, but we take two or three at most per day. It's very effective, easy to use, and not expensive. Each container supplies 200 servings.

3. So-called memory supplements—fish oils, B vitamins, and ginkgo biloba—may be worse than useless. Supplements are not well-regulated, and some may contain undisclosed ingredients or even prescription drugs. Some can interact quite dangerously with prescription drugs. The article says that gingko biloba should never be paired with blood thinners, blood pressure medications, or SSRI anti-depressants.

So what to do instead to help protect your brain? Here are some recommendations.

a. Do a brain workout. Enhance reasoning and memory abilities; learning a new language is one very good way. But the much-touted computerized "brain games" have not been shown to help.

b. Exercise your body. Walking, weightlifting, yoga, and tai chi are suggested. (My husband and I are in our 70s, and we walk, lift weights, and use an exercise bike.) Physical exercise may help delay or slow cognitive decline. Other things I have been reading, recently, talk about how much even 30 minutes of exercise a few times a week can also help boost the mood.

c. Manage blood pressure. This dramatically reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, both risk factors for memory loss.

4. Another article in this same information-packed issue of On Health talks about the new guidelines on blood pressure. Here they are:

a. Normal: Top number less than 120 and bottom number less than 80.

b. Elevated: Top number between 120 and 129 and bottom number less than 80.

c. Numbers are also given for Stage One and Stage Two, and "hypertensive crisis" is defined as a top number over 180 and a bottom number of 90 or higher.

High blood pressure is very dangerous. If left unchecked, it can damage your arteries and increase your risk for heart attacks and stroke, as well as for kidney damage and possibly dementia.

So what to do? Well, obviously, the first thing is to have your blood pressure checked by your doctor. You need to know your numbers. Where they are will determine what course of action is best for you. Stage one hypertension can often be managed just as well with lifestyle changes as with medications, which can have some very unpleasant side effects. Lifestyle changes include a diet with lots of fruits and vegetables and low in salt, plus weight loss and regular exercise.

(Note: My own blood pressure numbers are almost always in the 110/70 range, and often lower. I have inherited high cholesterol, but that is very well managed with a statin, Atorvastatin. With my Medicare coverage, I pay only $6 for 90 pills, enough for three months. I have taken statins for years, with good results and zero side effects.)

5. "Special UV light safely kills airborne flu virus, finds study" (February 9, 2018)

This article is from Columbia University Medical Center, via

After years of having had not even a cold, we did not escape the flu this year. Thus we were quite intrigued to read that a new kind of light can kill airborne flu viruses without harming human tissue. This is so-called far ultraviolet-C, or far-UVC. The conclusion of the study is that the use of overhead far-UVC light in public spaces such as hospitals, doctors' offices, schools, airports, and planes could provide a powerful check on seasonal flu epidemics and even flu pandemics. The lamps currently cost less than $1,000 each, and the cost would drop significantly if the lamps were mass-produced. The concluding sentence is: "Unlike flu vaccines, far-UVC is likely to be effective against all airborne microbes, even newly emerging strains."

I hope you've enjoyed these short health news summaries. I will have many more in the future.

About the Author:

Leonore H. Dvorkin has lived in Denver, Colorado since 1971, where she works as a foreign language tutor, exercise instructor, and book editor. She holds two BA degrees in languages. She is the author of four published books and many articles, mainly on health, fitness, and nutrition. Her husband is the prolific author David Dvorkin, who has 28 published books of his own (science fiction, horror, mystery, and nonfiction). Since 2009, they have been running what is now DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services. Many of the contributors to this magazine are among their 35-plus clients.

Leonore's website:

Leonore's email:

DLD Books:

David Dvorkin's website:



Four Great ways to Waste Your Time

by Dennis R. Sumlin

There are plenty of ways that we can spend our time. Reading, exercising, playing sports, bar hopping, or watching ‘80s reruns on TV are all fun things to do. There are also tons of things that we often do that totally waste our time and bring us down. Let me tell you, you can find better things to do than these. How much time do you spend doing these?

Living in the Past

If you spend your time rolling around in the dusty sandbox of the past, you will be spending each present moment shaking out your underwear. While it's just fine to kick back and relive some good times, spending too much time in the wayback machine takes our eyes off the current moment and all that is in front of us.

Many of us carry around regrets and judgments from the past in our mental wallets. The longer we spend thinking about the past, the more negative thoughts and images will spring up. Do not waste your time. Drop the past in favor of the present. Drop the regrets in favor of new chances. Instead of living in the past, use it as a tool to make a better future.

Caring What People Think

While it is wise to take in perspectives from others, focusing on the thoughts and opinions of others is pointless. There are always going to be people who like you, don't like you, love your ideas, hate your ideas, and so on. There is a person who could come up with just about any viewpoint you can think of. Keeping your attention on these things only makes you scared to do much of anything for fear of another's take.

In order for us to move forward with anything, we have to put aside others' opinions and believe in the worth of our deeds. No one can live our life for us, and what kind of life would it be, spending time looking at things through others' eyes instead of our own?

Blaming Others

When we blame others for the things that have happened to us, we give up responsibility for our own lives. We are saying that we are helpless, and that our lives are out of our control. We become victims of our circumstance and the whims of other people.

Not only does this waste our time, but it leaves our human potential adrift. We spend time thinking of all the ways that our upbringing, past relationships, alleged disabilities, or other factors limit us from parts of our lives.

Stop blaming your mammy, stop blaming your ex, stop blaming the kid who punked you for your lunch money in second grade, stop blaming Obama. Claim your life, and make it work!

Comparing Yourself to Others

When we compare ourselves to others, we count their fortunes instead of our own. We put ourselves down and smother our fire. We gaze out of the window of their private jet while ours shakes and flutters.

It's fine to admire somebody, respect them, and even take tips from them, but we must take what we see and make it our own. We must live our true purpose and plant our own seeds. We each have our own gift to bring to the table, and there is only one table exactly like yours.

When you find yourself involved in one of these party pooper scoopers, what do you do to refocus?



Editors, Your Jobs Are Not in Danger Because of Technology

by Stephen Théberge

A preface to this article: I am using Word 2016, but I have heard that other people have issues with other programs as well.

I have just finished the rough draft of the upcoming sequel to my novel The MetSche Message. I really appreciate the spell check feature, and to some degree, the grammar checker. They can be very helpful in finding common mistakes, such as forgetting commas where they are absolutely necessary.

There were some errors in typing where the spell check had no clue. I would go over it and discover what word I had wanted. I also was amazed how bad our typographical errors can be. One thing that really amazed me was how even the grammar and spell checker can be totally wrong.

The word "alright" is always overlooked by it. It recommends replacing it with "all right," even though the spelling is correct. You can find it in any dictionary. There are others that it wants to split up, even though they are not supposed to be divided. For example, you would say to somebody, "You got the problems all right on your test." Then you could say, "Alright, go celebrate with a pizza."

Some would argue most vigorously that I should say something like, "You answered all the questions correctly on your test." These varying shades of writing can be most confusing to immigrants who come to this country. They have learned all the rules in books. Yet the fact is that there are not always black-and-white rules in writing. One sentence may be more grammatically correct than another, but there are a lot of shades of gray. Language is evolving all the time. This is true for both written and spoken forms.

Another issue I have is with the dictation feature on my iPhone. These problems are not limited to Apple devices. Sometimes it really massacres what I've said. Yes, not speaking clearly and background noise are important factors. There are some idioms and expressions that it just can't pick up on, and it invariably destroys my intended meaning. I don't have as much of an issue when I'm posting on Facebook, but I'd like some neatness.

Speaking of Facebook, I didn't realize I had autocorrect on when I was putting in my posts. Apparently, it misspelled things in my post when I was using dictation. It was a bit embarrassing. My sister pointed it out to me and said something to the effect of, "You know, when you use autocorrect, it makes you look like a bad writer." I had been telling people how my writing was going on my sequel. Voiceover can't show me visually that there are errors, unless I go and look at it letter by letter. I don't find this necessary for Facebook posts, as my friends know of my vision issues.

I have heard the term "Grammar Nazi." These are people who insist on being right. They don't understand the nuances of language; they may not be aware of subtleties and variances in meaning. My mother came from French Canada and had a really hard time learning these subtleties. I wager, if you were not brought up speaking and writing a language, it may be nearly impossible to comprehend these shades of meaning. That is why I admire editors and translators.

In translation, another spiny issue for technology, a literal word-for-word transcription isn't sufficient. The person must have a good understanding of both languages. I've read translations of works in French and English. I do confess that my French has suffered a lot over the years, as I am rusty. However, I can tell a good translation from a bad one.

Take a look at the two snippets below.

"He had once given up weed for nine months, but that was his vice, although he still had discipline. Anybody did compared to me."

"He had once given up weed for nine months, but that was his vice, although he still had discipline. Anybody did in comparison to me."

I would not argue that the second example is a bit more elegant, but the grammar checker would have it like this.

"Anybody did compare to me."

That is really not sensible.

Take this last example.

"First of all, I fell so hard for Maurine. How could I resist her?"

The spell checker or grammar checker would have had it corrected to "First of all, I feel so hard for Maurine. How could I resist her?"


"First of all, I felt so hard for Maurine. How could I resist her?"

It is clear that the software doesn't understand the idiom of "falling for somebody" or "I fell for someone."

So, I have the work of editing, adding, deleting, and changing things in my rough draft. I just want to let Leonore and David Dvorkin know that I will be looking forward to their excellent editing, formatting, and cover design services when I have completed my work. I can't imagine that a software program will ever be able to replace the uniquely human process of writing and editing.

P.S.: Leonore, the spell checker suggested "Leonora." Sorry, computer, I don't know her.

P.P.S.: I typed this quickly and went over it for corrections. When the spell check and grammar found it acceptable, I read it over. It was amazing how I dropped words in my fast typing, but the computer did not pick it up.

Follow me on twitter at @speechfb

Read and post on my writer's blog:

Check out my Web page for information about my coming-of-age science fiction novel, The MetSche Message:

Watch my Youtube channel. Many blindness related issues, and the latest Branco Broadcasts.



In January, I called a company that provides employment assistance to individuals with disabilities. More specifically, they provide assistance to people with developmental disabilities. I was disgusted when I learned that this organization pays its employees fifty cents to a dollar per hour to complete a task. I cannot live off fifty cents.




My Pledge to Former Congresswoman Gabriel G. So That No One Else Will Die or Be Injured Because of a Senseless Act of Violence
by Brian J. Coppola

I never take it for granted that neither I nor my family will become victims of gun violence or any other violent crime. It could happen.

Consider the violent crimes that happened during the past couple of weeks. First there was the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a mass shooter we'll call Nik, a former student, went into the school and killed 17 people and wounded many others with an assault rifle. Then another man, Jeff, went into a public library in Winchester, Massachusetts and stabbed to death a medical student, a young woman who was simply minding her own business, reading and studying with her own laptop to become a doctor, working with children. He also stabbed a 77-year-old man who was simply trying to help the victim. This raises questions whether authorities are ignoring the warning signs of such mentally ill people.

Should we bring back state mental institutions and put people who fit certain criteria in them on a limited basis?

Is it time for our schools to stop sweeping incidents of a serious nature under the carpet and start to deal with them appropriately?

Though I was not a victim of gun violence on December 31, 1977, I was the victim of another type of violent crime. I told my mother I was going to wish some neighbors a happy New Year that night. On my journey, I happened to see a pizza truck parked in the parking lot of a housing project in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

A friend of a neighbor followed me through the unlocked door of one of the neighbors to whom I was going to wish a happy New Year. The television in the living room was left on. The family was not at home. The man picked me up, carried me around the house, then up a flight of stairs and into a bedroom. He laid me on the bed of one of the neighbor's children. He disrobed me and put his mouth on my privates.

I yelled that I was going to get one of my school teachers to call the police. He choked me and said in an angry tone, "Shut up." He did the same routine again. I was raped that night, December 31, 1977. I was 13 years old. The man looked like my father, except that he had a beard. My father never wore a beard. My father always shaved. The man who raped me also had alcohol on his breath.

At the time of the incident, my mother and father were getting ready to go out for New Year's Eve to celebrate their wedding anniversary. My parents got married December 30, 1951. My first sister was born March 4, 1952. She is the one I am closest to.

As I put back on my clothes, I yelled out the window of the room I was molested in, "Mommy, Mommy, help me! He's choking me! He's killing me!"

My mother sent my middle sister and my father out to see what was going on.

I was supposed to go to the hospital the night of the rape for a medical exam, but instead, the police instructed my mother to give me a shower and put me to bed. The next day, I went to the hospital for a medical examination. Unfortunately, evidence was washed away from the shower.

The rapist was brought to court and was ultimately let go on January 26, 1978. The dates of the probable cause hearing were January 17, 1978, January 24, 1978, and January 26, 1978, the day he was let go without being told to stay away from the housing projects where my family lived. For one and a half years, he kept coming back, posing as a reverend. He was finally brought back to court for continuously coming back to where we were living despite being subject to a restraining order issued by the Lawrence police.



Having Patience

by Bob Branco

As blind people, we are often asked by the sighted population about how we do things. While some questions are sincere, others are downright ridiculous. Nevertheless, we have to keep in mind that some people are completely unaware of how we go to the bathroom, how we feed ourselves, how we dress, and how we make love. There seems to be no end to these questions, so we are resigned to expecting them all the time. As blind people, we have choices. We can be resentful, answer the question proudly, explain politely that it's none of their business, or think that perhaps these inquisitors really don't know very much about blindness or that they have never met a blind person at all.

On February 16, I had such an experience while at my local gym. Before I went into the exercise room, I had to take care of business with the receptionist at the front desk. As usual, I carried my white cane with me, though that shouldn't matter. I was there to use the treadmill, not to prove I am a blind person. While I was in the process of getting my daily gym pass, the receptionist asked me for my driver's license. By now, I'm sure that many of you would have a lot to say about that receptionist because she asked a blind man for his driver's license while he was carrying his white cane. What's the matter with her? Doesn't she know the man is blind? She can see his white cane, can't she?

Well, a very wise blind friend of mine said it best. We have to think about the possibility that some sighted people are completely unaware of blindness. Therefore we should provide teachable moments. When we are asked about ourselves or asked to produce drivers' licenses, we should patiently explain as calmly as possible who we are, what we do, or what the white cane means. Alternatively, we can simply move forward and not get into that discussion. For example, when the receptionist at the gym asked for my driver's license, I simply told her that I do not drive, and then gave her another ID to prove who I am. She accepted it, and I headed for the treadmill.

Should the receptionist have known what the white cane is? Absolutely. However, at that moment, it didn't matter. Perhaps there might be an opportunity where I can show this young lady what blindness is all about, but not on February 16. I was simply a normal patron at a gym ready to do exercise. I could have said a lot more, as I'm sure many of you would have. I'm also sure that some of you may have resented the situation. I've heard sarcastic answers to blindness questions many times.

While I don't want to continuously answer questions about blindness throughout my entire life, I also don't want to give the sighted population reason to believe that blind people are resentful, when we're not like that. This is where the teachable moments come in. If we are all patient and answer these questions as if the inquisitor is totally ignorant on the subject, then I believe there would be more mutual respect, faith, and trust. I am not saying that you would answer a question sarcastically, because many of you wouldn't. However, I've heard sarcasm in this context, and this is why I talk about teachable moments.

If you would like to subscribe to my blog, please go to



The Superstorm of 1993

by Steve Roberts

Was it a Harbinger of Things to Come?

On March 12, 1993, a tempest of epic magnitude developed down in the very warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. This tempest would come to be called the Superstorm of 1993. How did this "storm of the century" develop?

Out in the Pacific Ocean, the Polar, Pacific, and Subtropical branches of the jet stream were beginning to come together. All three branches of the jet stream converged down in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Polar jet stream carved out a huge trough in the central and eastern United States. This trough unleashed a blast of late-season Arctic air that would do a January chill proud.

The Arctic blast pushed a frontal boundary into the Gulf of Mexico, where it stalled out. The stationary front served as a convergence zone, as southerly winds struck the front from its warm side, and northerly winds struck the front from its cold side.

With the violent collision of starkly contrasting air masses came the lifting of air from the surface of the earth. With the jet stream directly over the stationary front, the stage was set for the formation of a truly great tempest. All that was lacking was a catalyst to spark the development of this bomb.

An area of upper-level low pressure from the West Coast reached the point of jet stream convergence, and a storm was born. Thunderstorms violently erupted in the early spring air. As these convective towers tapped into the upper-level winds of the jet stream flow, the air within the developing storm ascended even faster. As the storm traveled across the Gulf of Mexico, it rapidly intensified.

On the evening of the 12th, the superstorm assaulted the west coast of Florida with heavy rain, high winds, and violent thunderstorms. The Superstorm of '93 spawned 11 tornadoes. This storm also clobbered Cuba, earning it the name the International Storm.

During the wee hours of March 13, the Superstorm of '93 launched up the eastern seaboard of the United States. This storm brought blizzard conditions to Atlanta. Washington, D.C. was next to be blasted by this tempest. Eventually, Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston would get in on the act.

The Superstorm of '93 dumped two to four feet of snow in the areas hardest hit. Every airport in the eastern United States was closed for a brief period of time.

This storm would go up into eastern Canada, where it would dump tons of snow that were whipped around by fierce winds. This storm of the century would go on to impact everyone from Cuba to Newfoundland.

As bad as the Superstorm of '93 was, it could have been a whole lot worse. The storm raced up the east coast of the United States, limiting the amount of time it had to impact any point along its path. Had the storm moved at one-half to one-third its actual speed, it would have produced a lot more snow than it did.

The storm's inside track put it to the west of the big cities, causing the snow to turn to rain in the big cities and their northwest suburbs. Had the storm taken an outside track, staying to the east of the big cities, all of the precipitation would have fallen as snow throughout the urban corridor. A slowly rolling outside runner would have been far more impactful than the Superstorm of '93 actually was, as an inside runner speed demon.

(Proofreader's note: It says online that there were 318 fatalities connected with this storm.)

Climate Change: a Superstorm Catalyst

There are lots of articles on the internet that explore the connection between Superstorm Sandy and climate change. Try as you might, you will find only one piece that connects climate change and the Superstorm of '93. That one is a student term paper. As I said in my earlier piece, titled "Superstorms and Climate Change: a Broader Perspective": "For those of you who are in search of the next Frankenstorm, I daresay that you are on the hunt for the wrong monster."

Over the last few years, we have seen a wavier jet stream, which is characterized by ridges and troughs. Ridges bulge to the north, and troughs buckle to the south. The troughs in our wavy jet stream are conducive to the development of storms, some of which can go on to be huge. The Superstorm of '93 formed within a truly huge trough.

The waters in the Gulf of Mexico and western North Atlantic are much warmer than they were back in 1993. The warmer waters within these oceanographic regions will lend more energy to the storms that develop out over them.

The easternmost part of the United States has seen some huge blizzards during the last few years. These big storms are a product of the oceanographic and atmospheric conditions previously mentioned.

Perhaps we all should all be asking this question: Could climate change bring us a recurrence of the Superstorm of '93? In my opinion, the answer is yes. The Superstorm of '93 is more likely to recur than Superstorm Sandy.



The following information is from the February ACB E-Forum. I have eliminated the listings for the children's books.

What's New from NBP?

Now available is the Windows Screen Reader Keystroke Compendium: Covering JAWS, NVDA, and Narrator, compiled by Dean Martineau. It is available as one small braille volume, BRF, and Word. Braille-related keystrokes are not included.

Also available are a variety of Microsoft and Windows Guides, iOS Guides, Mac OS guides, Android guides, and a guide called Computers You Can Talk To: Siri, Alexa, Google Now, and Cortana, by Anna Dresner.

For more information, contact National Braille Press at 1-800-548-7323, or visit


A new nonfiction book:


by David Dvorkin / C 2018

In print and e-book formats from Amazon and multiple other online sellers.

Full details, cover, free 20% text sample, and buying links:

Self-publishing has exploded in popularity in recent years. However, many authors hesitate to go this route because they think the process is extremely difficult. Or they take the plunge, make mistakes, and are disheartened. To make matters worse, self-publishing services have proliferated, preying on authors' uncertainties and lack of knowledge about self-publishing. These services often charge you excessive amounts of money to do what you can in fact do yourself.

Since 2009, I have been self-publishing my books and my wife's books, and I've helped over 35 clients to publish their own books—a total of over 80 books as of February 2018. This book distills what I've learned about the process. I hope it will enable you to self-publish your book at little or no cost and not fall prey to scams.

About the Author:

David Dvorkin was born in Reading, England in 1943 and lived in South Africa for 10 years. He attended college in Indiana and Texas. He holds a BA degree in math, physics, and astronomy and a master's degree in math. From the mid-1960s until 2010, he worked variously as a math teacher, an aerospace engineer, a computer programmer, and a technical writer. He is the author of 28 published books: science fiction, horror, mystery, and nonfiction. His wife of almost 50 years, Leonore Dvorkin, is also a writer. Together, they run DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services. They welcome inquiries regarding their comprehensive and affordable services: David and Leonore have lived in Denver, Colorado since 1971.

By the same author:


A suspense novella by David Dvorkin, C 2012

In e-book and print formats from Amazon and multiple other online sellers.

Full details, cover image, and free text sample:

If you like creepy stories with surprise endings, this one is for you!

When Jimmy Flanagan returns from war with one arm missing, he's one of the lucky ones. First, because he returned alive. Second, because an experimental program allows him to be fitted with an advanced, high-tech artificial arm. Now he's free of the Army, he has a new arm that's better than the one he lost on the battlefield, and his girl has been waiting for him. He should be a happy man....



Living and Working with Guide Dogs

by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.

Hello again, readers. I hope the winter hasn't treated you or your animals harshly. I, for one, hope flu season has passed without any more episodes in our family.

Speaking of the flu, did you know about the dog flu? It's referred to as canine influenza. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC),,

"Canine influenza (also known as dog flu) is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by specific Type A influenza viruses known to infect dogs. These are called "canine influenza viruses." Experts at the CDC state, "No human infections with canine influenza have ever been reported." The CDC identifies two viruses that cause canine flu, "two different influenza A dog flu viruses: one is an H3N8 virus and the other is an H3N2 virus. The signs of this illness in dogs are cough, runny nose, fever, lethargy, eye discharge, and reduced appetite, but not all dogs will show signs of illness. The severity of illness associated with canine flu in dogs can range from no signs to severe illness resulting in pneumonia and sometimes death."

It is important to know that, while the origins of the two viruses mentioned here are linked to horse flu and most likely mutated, what is commonly called jumping species, experts do agree that it is very unlikely these viruses can be passed from mammals like the horse or dog to humans.

What should you do? Check with your local veterinarian and ask if your dog should be vaccinated for canine influenza. I did, and my region is not at risk, so I didn't elect to vaccinate my dogs. If you plan to travel with your guide dog to different parts of the country or abroad, it is good to ask about it, along with other required vaccinations. I also keep up with the monthly preventatives to keep my dogs protected from fleas, ticks, and heartworm disease.

Ann Chiappetta is a poet and author of two books, UPWELLING: POEMS and FOLLOW YOUR DOG: A STORY OF LOVE AND TRUST. To view her books, go to To read about Ann, find her on social media, and listen to recent interviews or subscribe to her announcement list, go to



More About Peer Support

by Terri Winaught

In February's Turning Point column, I discussed Peer Support as a turning point in mental health recovery by explaining what it is, with emphasis on Peer Supporters being individuals with lived experience navigating the behavioral health system. I also shared that Peer Support is the fastest-growing discipline in the behavioral health field.

Having laid that foundation, I will expand on it by explaining what Peer supporters learn in a class taught by staff at Mercy Behavioral Health Services.

First, attendees learn what Peer Support is; how it got started; and the transition in the mental health system from the medical model, in which recovery was never mentioned, to a recovery model, in which Peer Supporters and Certified Peer Specialists share parts of their recovery journeys and model recovery principles.

Because sharing has to be done within the context of appropriateness and boundaries, class participants are next told how to craft their stories.

From there, and to increase the effectiveness of these professionals, class attendees are taught how to help their peers develop Wellness Recovery and Action (WRAP) plans, how to prepare Mental Health Directives, and the many skill sets involved in conducting Wellness Coaching.

So that this training will be more than just academics, trainees get a chance to do a six-month internship so that they can put their new skills to practical use.

Although employment upon graduation is not guaranteed, many individuals go on to find meaningful careers in Peer Support or as Certified Peer Specialists if they take more specialized training. Learning more about themselves and enhancing their recovery in the process is what makes this class a turning point for so many, as it definitely was for me.


On March 12, I will be sharing my recovery story within the framework of the Human Library—a concept I discussed in my May 2017 column. I will be sharing my story within that context in my April column.

Through a writing group to which I belong, I have had the pleasure of meeting an author who is also a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). With those combined skills and experiences, this professional teaches a course on Healing Through Healing. Although I was told that Leonard would be happy to share in one of my future columns how writing can be a turning point in behavioral health recovery, and I have already submitted questions, that is as far as it has gone so far.

If any of you want to share a recovery story, please be assured that I will not only tell your story with the utmost respect, I will also email you a rough draft before submitting it to Consumer Vision. To contact me about sharing your story, or with any feedback or suggestions, feel free to call me at 412-263-2022, home, or 412-209-9818, cell.


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

by Penny Fleckenstein

who Blogs at:


Time is valuable—more valuable than money. There is plenty of money available, but time runs out. When creating (writing, knitting, cutting out paper dolls, cooking), I rarely feel my time is wasted, especially when I'm successful. When I play solitaire, read a book or story I don't understand, or watch TV, I feel guilty. I multitask. I listen to an audiobook while knitting or playing solitaire. I listen to music while I write, or I delete email when on the phone.

I spent two hours in the Apple Store because after the latest update, my BrailleNote Apex no longer connected to my iPhone. I needed sighted help to reconnect them. I spent my mall walking time at the Apple Store. I waited for my tech for an hour. The message on my phone stated that my device was incompatible. I felt frustrated. I considered complaining about him. I called HumanWare and André Dubois talked me through the process. That evening, Eric had them connected. I decided to cut my tech some slack, as he did help me with another issue. When listening to an attachment, my phone locks and turns off the mp3 or the video. When I listened to my attachment in the Apple email app, I could listen to all of it. I only had this problem in the Gmail app. Double tap on attachment, select the browser, and it opens automatically. I also learned about Apple TV and how it's a set-top box that syncs to all your Apple devices.

Later, I ordered chicken fettuccine Alfredo. The waiter said it was Cajun chicken. I gave him the go-ahead. I was surprised when my fettuccine noodles were bowtie pasta. A little strange. I considered complaining. Nothing was "wrong" with the food. It tasted delicious. What a change from how I used to be. Now I pick my battles.

Last week, I took on the strenuous project of reorganizing my kitchen. It was difficult to find things. I put the less-used products behind the more often used products. I lined the spices up, taking three shelves in the cupboard, and put full bottles of salad dressing, ketchup, and sauces behind the spices. I placed the closed oils behind the spices and keep only the opened ones on the counter to the left of the stove. I moved my serving utensils to the drawer on the right of the stove, still keeping the stirring and whisking utensils in the drawer to the left of the stove. I've made cooking less hectic.

While discombobulating my kitchen, I found the base to my Master-kut. I don't know what happened to the slicing cones. I searched on the internet for a new set of cones. There are five cones: a grater, a slicer, a julienne slicer, a thicker julienne slicer, and a grater that makes the carrots into pretty little curls. It's been years since I've used this tool. I felt that with all the produce I get, I would put new cones to good use. My friend Beth found a new Master-kut on for $200. She found a used one on eBay, which I purchased for $20.

Now I do a little bit of cutting with the knife, cutting ends off the onions and cutting some at the end to make uniform slices, and cutting the bad parts out of vegetables such as potatoes and sweet potatoes. One hand turns the crank as the other hand holds the vegetable against the cone. My vegetables (cabbage, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini) are sliced quickly. It cannot slice tomatoes or peppers. I could chastise myself for procrastinating or I can choose to be happy that we found a whole unit on eBay for a good price. Now I can slice one thing and grate another with two people working at the same time. Is that multi-multi-tasking?

Another problem I've been working on a solution for since Christmas is playing solitaire with braille plastic cards. They are more slippery than the cardboard cards I would buy from the store and braille myself. Someone gave me a deck of plastic braille cards for Christmas. I was happy to receive them. Brailling cards with a slate and stylus is time-consuming and hard on my fingers. First, I tried playing on my bed. The cards wouldn't stay still and went everywhere. I then moved to my bedroom floor, which is carpeted. My legs fell asleep quite often and my back was hurting. I bought a new comforter for my bed. I placed the fuzzy side up. My legs were still falling asleep and my back was still hurting. It felt good to sit on my bed instead of the floor. My back was hurting so much, I decided to sit on my bed with the TV tray in front of me. The wood of the TV tray made it impossible to play because the cards kept falling off. I cover the TV tray with a fuzzy towel or a small fuzzy blanket. My next step, to allow more room for my cards, is a card table with a small rug on it.

Thank you for your correspondence. I feel elated when I hear from you. Write to say hi or to contribute your ideas.



by Karen Crowder

With the arrival of March, we can expect more spring-like days in New England. If the month is mild, crocuses and daffodils begin budding.

March 2018 has seven exciting and special days. Daylight Saving Time begins on the 11th, and Saint Patrick's Day is Saturday, the 17th. The first day of spring is March 20. Palm Sunday is March 25, and the baseball season begins the 29th. Good Friday is March 30. Passover begins on the same day. There is a Jewish holiday, Purim, during March.


On chilly evenings, chowder and cornbread are wonderful New England comfort foods.


A. Hearty Corn Chowder

B. Old-Fashioned Meatless Fish Chowder

C. Delicious Cornbread

A. Hearty Corn Chowder

I have made this meatless corn chowder for guests, and they love it. It is simple to prepare using creamed and regular corn, with the butter replacing bacon.


One can creamed corn

One can regular corn

Two Maine russet or Yukon Gold potatoes

One small onion, preferably sweet

Four tablespoons butter

One cup water

One 13-ounce can evaporated milk

One-half cup light cream or half-and-half

One cup milk.



1. In a large saucepan, melt the four tablespoons of butter. After 5 minutes, add minced or chopped onion.

2. Let onion cook for 10 minutes, then add cut-up potatoes. Let them cook on low heat for 20 minutes. Add water and allow vegetables to cook on medium heat for 30 minutes. The extra cooking enhances the flavor of these vegetables.

3. Add corn, milk, cream or half-and-half, and evaporated milk.

4. Gently stir ingredients. Simmer chowder until serving time.

Everyone will love this hearty chowder when accompanied with cornbread biscuits, popovers, or rolls.


B. Old-Fashioned Meatless Fish Chowder

This chowder was requested by guests and my late husband, Marshall. He often requested it on chilly or rainy Friday evenings. My mom and I often ate it before or after Mass on Good Friday. I used bacon when making it for my husband and guests; however, it is delicious without it. Part of this recipe is from Our New England Cookery, published in one braille volume in 1982 by The National Braille Press. The cookbook was written by members of the Massachusetts chapters of the National Federation for the Blind. The original name for the recipe is New England White Clam Chowder. I used suggestions from another recipe in the cookbook, Connecticut Fish Chowder.



Two pounds haddock, cod, or flounder

Four or five Maine russet or Yukon Gold potatoes

One medium onion, preferably sweet

One-half stick butter or four slices bacon

Four cups water

Two cups milk

Two cups light cream or half-and-half

Dashes of curry powder, thyme, garlic, and salt.



1. In a Dutch oven or saucepan, melt butter for 5 minutes. If you are using bacon, microwave it on paper towel-lined plate for 1 minute and 20 seconds. Crumble it into pan and sauté for 5 minutes. Put chopped onion into butter or bacon fat. Cook it for 5 minutes, stir, then add water.

2. While water is coming to a boil, cut potatoes into small pieces, placing them in plastic or glass container. Add them to pot, cover, and allow everything to cook for 40 minutes on low to medium heat. Add fish and cook for 20 minutes.

3. Add milk, the cream or half-and-half, and spices.

4. Stir ingredients around with a metal stirring spoon.

Let chowder simmer until serving time. Fish chowder is delicious with hot bread or rolls.


C. Delicious Cornbread

I resurrected this old recipe in February, and it was delicious.


One and one-half cups yellow corn meal

One cup all-purpose flour

One and one-half teaspoons baking powder

One and one-half teaspoons baking soda

One-fourth teaspoon salt

Six tablespoons sugar

One-third cup sour cream

One and one-fourth cups milk

Two eggs

One stick of butter.


1. In a large mixing bowl, measure all dry ingredients. Stir them with a wire whisk.

2. Place three-quarters of the stick of butter, about 6 tablespoons, in a small bowl and melt by microwaving for 50 seconds.

3. Add sour cream to dry ingredients. In a small mixing bowl, put 2 unbeaten eggs and milk. With a wire whisk, stir eggs and milk for 2 minutes.

4. Add egg-milk mixture to other ingredients, and stir for 2 minutes. Add melted butter, incorporating it into cornbread batter, stirring for 2 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in microwave for 25 seconds. Spread half of butter around bottom and sides of round glass or metal cake pan. Pour batter into pan, pouring rest of butter over top of cornbread batter.

6. Bake cornbread for 40 minutes.

7. Remove from oven and allow cooling in pan for 10 minutes.

8. Run knife around pan to loosen cornbread. Turn pan over onto large plate lined with parchment or waxed paper and foil. Let cornbread cool for half an hour. If you are not eating it right away, refrigerate it, covered with more foil and parchment paper.

It is good eating for breakfast, lunch, supper, or a late-night or mid-afternoon snack. Everyone who tries it will ask for the recipe.

I hope all Consumer Vision readers appreciate March, with the beginning of spring and the baseball season. Let us pray for a peaceful, less divisive country and world.


14. FYI

Three Medical Devices That Are Helping the Legally Blind To See

from Low Vision Specialists of Maryland & Virginia / The link to the article:


Every day, researchers and scientists are gaining new understanding of how the eye works and adapting modern technology to enhance and improve sight. The same technology that is being used for virtual reality headsets, advanced iPads, and laptops is now being used by scientists to create advanced medical devices that help the legally blind to see. If you or a loved one are legally blind or have low vision, here are three medical devices you should know about.

Wearable technology is making it easier for those with progressive eye diseases like macular degeneration to see and have a higher quality of daily life. It's called "wearable technology" because these medical devices are worn as glasses or worn over glasses.

IrisVision: We believe that this is the most exciting, powerful, and affordable advanced medical device to be released to the market in recent years. IrisVision is designed specifically for those suffering with macular degeneration and other eye diseases. The technology makes blurry things in the central field of vision clear; that's the area that most often deteriorates from macular degeneration. The software in IrisVision magnifies the central field of vision using a 16 MP camera. The screen displays 10 x more pixels per inch than an HD TV and provides a 70° field of view, the widest on the market today. Adjustable settings on the device include contrast, ambient levels, interpupillary distance, and more. Each device can be customized by the wearer to adjust magnification and field of vision.

NuEyes, featuring ODG Smartglasses, is a powerful device that performs like an Android tablet. It combines custom software and smart glasses. The technology provides magnification up to 12x, has built-in Bluetooth control, and contrast enhancement of print. A speech-recognition feature lets wearers use voice commands to manipulate the image to meet their needs. NuEyes technology incorporates a camera on the front of the blacked-out glasses that acts as a set of eyes. The camera captures images and projects them on the lenses for the user to see. NuEyes can enhance vision for those suffering from macular degeneration, Stargardt's disease, retinitis pigmentosa, and other visual impairments.

eSight: eSight captures real-time video to help the legally blind see. It gives wearers the freedom to manipulate images in a way that best suits their purposes and is hands-free. The technology allows the image to move quickly, adjusting pixels along the way, as the user moves between indoor activities like reading and watching television to outdoor activities like walking. How does it work? eSight's components work in tandem with the user to enhance the quality of images reaching the eye, delivering more data and triggering an increased reaction from the cells in the eye. When more high-quality data is passed from the eye to the brain, sight is enhanced. eSight technology is contained in a headset that is worn mounted on carrier frames just above or in front of the eyes. The technology includes a high-definition camera, OLED screens, and multiple supporting technologies used to capture and display a real-time video feed.

These medical devices use advanced technology to improve the daily lives of people with low vision by allowing them to see their loved ones, participate in hobbies they enjoy, watch TV, and, in some cases, drive a car.




by Marcy Segelman

Shalom! I want to take you on a trip through Purim. This is one of my favorite holidays. It is a very festive time. Many people dress up as all the different characters in the story of Esther. The story itself is implausible as history. It is better viewed as imaginative storytelling, not unlike others that circulated in the Persian and Hellenistic periods among Jews of the Land of Israel and of the Diaspora. This story had gone through many different versions before being linked with Purim.

The story goes that Haman (known as the wicked one), royal vizier to King Ahasuerus of Persia, plotted to murder all of the Jews in the empire. His plot was thwarted by Mordecai and his adopted daughter, Esther, who had become the wife of the king. Purim celebrates the Jews' survival and the execution of Haman.

Mishloach manot

This is a gift of food from one friend to another. People from the synagogue make and distribute these through the Jewish community. The package has many goodies—raisins, prunes, Hamantaschen (triangular pastries resembling the hat Ham is said to have worn), cookies, etc.


Esther was a vegetarian (or at least a flexitarian).

While Queen Esther lived in the court of King Ahasuerus, she followed a vegetarian diet consisting largely of legumes so that she would not break the Jewish dietary laws. For this reason, there is a tradition of eating beans and peas on Purim. (After all, you'll need something healthy after all the booze and hamantaschen.)


Earlier, I said that hamantaschen are designed to look like Haman's hat. Another story is that they resemble his ears or pockets. According to this theory, the cookies represent Hamans's ears because of the custom of cutting off a criminal's ear before execution. Another theory is that the three corners represent the three patriarchs whose powers weakened Haman and gave strength to Esther to save the Jews, Yet again another theory: Because the German word Tasche (all nouns are capitalized in German) means "pouch or "pocket," the cookies could signify Haman's pockets and the money he offered the king for permission to kill the Jews. Finally, in recent years, some feminists have suggested that the cookies, which are not dissimilar in appearance to female reproductive parts, were meant to be fertility symbols.

In 1945, a group of American GIs held belated Purim services inside the confiscated castle of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. The Jewish chaplain carefully arranged the candles over a swastika that was carved into the bookcase in Goebbels' main dining room, and Jewish soldiers explained to their Christian comrades in attendance about Haman and why it was so fitting that a Purim service should be held in a castle belonging to Goebbels.

There are many things about this holiday that are great. The best part is that it is a family holiday. When the story of Purim is read aloud, whenever the name of Haman is mentioned, you are supposed to drown it out by making a noise with your gragger—Yiddish for "noisemaker." The louder the noise, the better. A Purim spiel (Yiddish for "play) is a humorous and dramatic presentation of the events outlined in the Book of Esther, often performed on Purim eve. There is a commandment to have a festive meal on the day of Purim. Wine and liquor are traditionally served at the festive meal.

Jews are commanded to give small packages of food or gifts to friends on the day of Purim. It is also a commandment to give to the poor on Purim.

I hope you got a little bit out of the story of the Purim, one of my favorite holidays.


Marcy J. Segelman



Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the February Consumer Vision. Kiki Dee collaborated with Elton John on "Don't Go Breaking My Heart." Congratulations to the following winners:

Mark Blier of Sierra Vista, Arizona

Jan Colby of Brockton, Massachusetts

David Faucheux of Lafayette, Louisiana

Chad Grover of Corning, New York

Steve Théberge of Attleboro, Massachusetts

And now, here is your question for this month's Consumer Vision. Who wrote the book entitled Don't Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It's Raining? If you know the answer, please email or call 508-994-4972.