THE CONSUMER VISION
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Publisher: Bob Branco
Editors: David and Leonore Dvorkin
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
In this Table of Contents, three asterisks *** are used to separate the title of each article from its author. In the same way, three asterisks *** will be used to separate articles to make using your browser's search feature easier. If any of you have screen readers that make searching difficult or undoable with asterisks, please let us know not only that, but also if three number signs ### would be easier. If you are a screen reader user for whom neither symbol works, please let us know what works best, and we'll do our best to accommodate.
In columns like Special Notices, Readers' Forum, and Recipes from Karen Crowder, letters of the alphabet are used to separate items.
1. HEALTH MATTERS: The Benefits of Avocados, Tree Nuts, and More *** by Leonore H. Dvorkin
2. THE IMAGE OF YOURSELF: Sex, the Primal Drive *** by Dennis R. Sumlin
3. TECH CORNER: Through the Static *** by Stephen Théberge
4. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: From the Dim Light of Defeat *** by James R. Campbell
6. MARCH MADNESS: A Crazy Month in Weather *** by Steve Roberts
7. WHY WE NEED RICH PEOPLE *** by Bruce Atchison
11. THE HANDLER'S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs *** by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.
12. TURNING POINT: How Art Can Assist with Mental Health Recovery *** by Terri Winaught
13. TIPS FOR VIPS (Because Visually Impaired People Are Important, Too) *** by Penny Fleckenstein
14. TWO MEMORABLE VALENTINE'S DAYS *** by Karen Crowder
15. LIMERICKS *** by Sue Lichtenfels
16. MARCY'S SCHMOOZE TINNIH *** by Marcy J. Segelman
HEALTH MATTERS: The Benefits of Avocados, Tree Nuts, and More
by Leonore H. Dvorkin
1. The Many Benefits of Avocados
A German friend of ours recently informed us that an avocado restaurant has opened in Amsterdam. That is, it serves only foods and beverages made from avocados. We found that amusing and somewhat weird until we looked into the astonishing array of benefits from this popular fruit, which is usually eaten as a vegetable. Below are some of its impressive benefits, which I have gleaned from two separate online articles.
a. The avocado helps prevent many diseases or improve many conditions, including arthritis, congenital disabilities (this is due to its folate content), constipation, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides. It also improves bone health and is anti-carcinogenic.
b. It provides healthy, monounsaturated fat. This helps control the appetite for up to three hours after the avocado is consumed and helps with weight control and weight loss. It also aids digestion.
c. It is rich in many nutrients, including 20 vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins B, C, E, and K. It helps protects the eyes due to its lutein content. The avocado also helps with nutrient absorption.
d. It even nourishes the skin, from both inside and out. Eating avocados provides the benefits listed above, and you can spread the mashed fruit on your skin as a face mask. I have not yet tried that, but will.
Too often in the past, my husband and I have been disappointed with the avocados we bought in the supermarket. While some were delicious, just the right texture, many others were a waste of money because they proved to be brown, stringy, and altogether icky when they were cut open. Tired of wasting money on them, we stopped buying avocados years ago, preferring to merely enjoy guacamole once in a while in restaurants.
Now we've discovered a fantastic product that is allowing us to enjoy fresh, creamy avocado on a daily basis. The "Wholly Guacamole" organic minis have a mild flavor and are gluten-free and kosher. (For our blind readers: The "wholly" is spelled w h o l l y.) Each little 57-gram mini cup contains approximately one-half avocado, which is plenty for one serving. Other ingredients are water, onion, vinegar, salt, and garlic. The mild flavor suits us fine. A serving provides 120 calories, 6 grams of carbohydrates, and 3 grams of fiber. Each little plastic cup is sealed with an easy-open, pull-tab paper cover. Thus these could go into your lunch container and travel with you to work or school with no fuss or chance of spoilage. To store the containers, refrigerate or freeze them.
From Costco, we bought a box of 20 mini containers; on most days, each of us consumes one. Since we haven't looked for this product in other stores, we don't know how readily available it is, but I hope you can find it if you are a fan of avocados. Several of my students are buying these as well, and they all love them. So here's to avocados, to the Wholly Guacamole brand, and to your good health!
2. Physically active women have significantly decreased risk of heart disease
Source: EurekAlert, 2/19/19
In a large study of sedentary time and cardiovascular disease in women, with 5,000 subjects aged 63 to 97, the researchers found that less time spent sitting or reclining significantly reduced cardiovascular disease. The subjects were tracked for up to 4.9 years. A key finding was that reductions in sedentary time that were spread throughout the day were also associated with lower risk of cardiovascular diseases. The bottom line of the article is: Move more and move more frequently during the day to decrease your risk of heart disease. This applies to younger people, too, not just those over 60. There has been an alarming increase in the number of younger people in the U.S., both male and female, experiencing heart trouble. So if you can, get up and move, and work to lose weight if you are carrying any extra. Most people with any education are well aware of the connection between overweight or obesity, diabetes, and heart trouble.
3. Eating nuts may reduce cardiovascular disease risk for people with diabetes
Source: EurekAlert, 2/19/19, and the American Heart Association
My husband and I love nuts of all types and eat them daily, so this was good to read. —
Eating more nuts, especially tree nuts, may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease among people with Type 2 diabetes, which affects more than 30 million Americans. Nuts are full of unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vitamin E, folate, and many minerals. A study of over 16,000 men and women found that even if people ate nuts regularly before they were diagnosed with diabetes, adding more nuts to their diet proved beneficial at any age or stage of the disease. Some types of tree nuts are almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, and pistachios.
Once again, I can enthusiastically recommend various Costco products. Their delicious mixed nuts, which come in a 2.5-pound plastic jar, include cashews, almonds, pecans, Brazil nuts, and macadamia nuts. They are lightly roasted and salted, but a 1-ounce serving contains only 100 mg of sodium. Costco also sells separate bags of almonds, pecans, and walnuts, all of which we buy; those are unsalted. Their extra-large peanuts, Virginia variety, which come in a can and are also roasted and salted, are the most delicious I have ever eaten. One-quarter cup has only 120 mg of sodium. The Costco almond and peanut butters are also delicious and nutritious. After opening those, stir the separated oil back into the nut butters and refrigerate them; they do not harden. We eat a variety of nuts every day, both at breakfast (actually a sort of brunch) and as snacks, and I put them on my cereal. It's wonderful to know that they are so very healthy.
About the Author
Leonore H. Dvorkin and her husband, the prolific author David Dvorkin, have lived in Denver since 1971. Leonore works as a book editor, a language tutor, and an exercise instructor. She is the author of four published books and many articles. David is the author of 28 published books and many articles and is currently working on book number 29. Both Dvorkins are very health- conscious. They are always striving to learn more about nutrition and exercise and to apply any lessons that they can to their own lives.
Since 2009, David and Leonore have been running DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services, helping other authors to get their books, either fiction or nonfiction, published in e-book and print. They offer their comprehensive services at very reasonable rates, with a discount for those who are blind, otherwise disabled, and/or low-income.
They invite you to visit any of their websites:
DLD Books: http://www.dldbooks.com/
Leonore Dvorkin: http://www.leonoredvorkin.com/
David Dvorkin: http://www.dvorkin.com/
2. THE IMAGE OF YOURSELF: Sex, the Primal Drive
by Dennis R. Sumlin
As humans, we have a few basic, instinctual needs. We have the need to eat. This maintains our life and gives us energy. We have the instinct for self-preservation. That is where things like "fight or flight" come in. Our body and mind try to keep us safe in other ways, such as forgetting traumatic incidents and so on.
Not only does the body help us live, but it drives us to create more of us. We have a primal drive to continue our species, and we do that through sex. There is a never-ending debate on which drive is the strongest, hunger or sex. Regardless of which one wins on any given day, sex is required if more humans are to populate this earth.
The Purposes of Sex
We all know that one of the main reasons for sex is to procreate, but sex has other purposes as well. Sex allows us to feel pleasure and to bond with another person. Sex allows us to express deep feelings, allows us to relax, and contributes to good health and a sense of self.
Sex plays a role in many areas of a person's life, both physically and psychologically. The lack of sex can contribute to low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy. Many people use masturbation to replace or supplement sex. Masturbation is a healthy way to release built–up sexual tension, to add to playtime with a partner, or to show yourself appreciation.
The power of sex serves us best when we are aware of our own sexuality. Being aware of what we like and what turns us on is vital to a healthy sense of self. We should be aware of any unhealthy triggers or addictions so that we can overcome them. Just as we should be aware of our own sexual ups and downs, we should also be able to discuss sex openly with a partner. Sex works best when partners are on the same page. If you find that a partner is not sexually compatible, then you are in a better position to guide the future of that relationship.
When sexuality is hidden or repressed, all kinds of problems will spring up.
1. You may feel shame or guilt for your preferences.
2. Addictions may go unaddressed.
3. You may experience major relationship issues around communication, fidelity, and overall satisfaction.
The power of sex requires that we act responsibly. Sex power is best used in an honest, respectful, and positive way. We should respect other people's right to have their preferences, as we expect the same in return.
Sexual relationships work best when we are with somebody who we want to be with and who wants to be with us. It works best when partners leave their issues and stress outside and use sex to reconnect with each other.
Beliefs About Sex
There are those whose faith gives them certain rules and ways to handle sex. There are beliefs that instruct their followers against masturbation and fantasy. Personally, I believe that sex and self-pleasure are totally natural human drives that should be enjoyed, not abused, by responsible adults, but if you choose to follow a sex-restrictive belief system, you still need to become aware of who you are sexually. You still need to communicate your beliefs and preferences around sex. Doing otherwise is unfair both to you and to anybody you get involved with. Just because you may prefer to wait till marriage does not mean you can be lax in communicating your needs.
The Spirit of Sex
Sex is natural. It is one of the most natural things on the planet to do. Humans are not the only ones to have sex for pleasure. Sex drive is a spectrum that both men and women can fall along. You can like the opposite gender, the same, or both. As we move forward, the idea of more than two genders has been presented. Understand that this is all part of the sexual continuum.
Sex is about two souls coming together to express love or simply to enjoy each other's company. Remember, we are spiritual beings having a human experience, so human sexuality does not conform to the earthly rules we make up. Good, honest, open sex contributes to overall life enjoyment.
I ask that you open your mind to your own sexuality. I ask that you get clear on who you are and what you like sexually. I ask you to openly communicate to your partner about your shared intimate life. I ask that you continue to work on unhealthy addictions and triggers so that you can clear your system of sex shame. I ask that you live as your whole self. Your sexual self is not some separate, dirty, naughty thing; your sexual self is part of your whole self. Your penis is not some filthy, autonomous devil; it is a part of who you are.
Enjoy sex, enjoy love, and enjoy yourself!
Catch the Core Confidence Life Podcast at www.CoreConfidenceLife.com
3. TECH CORNER: Through the Static
by Stephen Théberge
Recently, my friends and I were talking about why the blind and visually impaired are underrepresented in the media compared to people with other disabilities. Many in our community agree. A friend of mine suggested we bring it to the press and advocate for ourselves.
This idea sounds good on the surface. I explained that although I have no objection to putting our concerns on social media, it would be a challenge. Note my article of last month, in which I discussed saturation.
I'm not an expert in media relations. Nor do I have official advertising experience or training. It's obvious that large companies use such experts, most often paying them very well, which they wouldn't do if they didn't expect them to increase their profits.
I am not specifically prepared to address how we would mount a successful campaign to have our case heard and presented in the general media, specifically the press, newspapers, radio stations, and television. My limited experience with running small advertisements on Facebook for my books may be helpful to a point.
It all goes back to the issue of social media saturation, which I discussed last month. If you look at advertisements alone, you realize that, as an advertiser, you really need a novel way to attract attention. Not only can people ignore your ad, but they can opt out of receiving your ads in the future. If they aren't interested anyway, they won't be buying your product.
I also suspect that since my Facebook page isn't officially a business page, I'm probably not as visible as those who have more money. Unfortunately, I cannot afford to join Facebook Business.
It's possible to target your Facebook advertisement to many different demographics. You can choose your audience—male, female, both sexes, age ranges, different interests, countries, and many other aspects. You then choose how many days the ad will run, as well as your daily budget. You can choose to spend from $1 to $200 daily; that determines the maximum number of people reached in your campaign. In my case, I generally take $1 for 10 days. This guarantees that my post will be seen by as few as 250 people to as many as 1,400.
The next step, which is the most important, is called post engagements. This is the number of folks who actually click on the ad and want to learn more. In my case, it's simply the link on Amazon where they can complete reading the book synopsis and choose to purchase it.
Although I'm not an expert on advertising saturation campaigns or any other kinds, I still knew that a very low percentage of people would click on my ad. A very small percentage of those who actually clicked on my post would then purchase my books. Nonetheless, it's discouraging to have an ad campaign reach 1,200 people and have only nine people click on it. Even that generated no sales. The last one had 965 views with 16 clicks, but still nobody purchased my latest book.
I'm certainly not in a financial position to hire a Darrin Stevens, the advertising executive on the 1960s TV show Bewitched. It would also be nice to have someone versed in witchcraft make all my campaigns a success. All kidding aside, unless you are nearly a genius at thinking out of the proverbial box, you'll have to pay an expert to help you. The honest ones will tell you there are no guarantees. Somebody online was running an ad to have you pay $200 a month to promote yourself and work. They told me they could reach 1,000 people, but they couldn't verify it. They naturally told me they reached a quality audience.
There are many people online, especially for self-published authors, who make great claims about helping authors spread the word. Many of these offers are tempting, but it's almost impossible to be sure of the results. Amazon has options to help you advertise your books, but it's very expensive if you want to break through the saturation. There have been issues with false positive reviews and claims of being a bestseller.
The reverse is also true. I heard of a scam today in which a company or group will put up many bad reviews for your service or product and ask for money to remove the bad stuff they posted.
Someone I know with some knowledge of what goes on in the media, both social and traditional, informed me that some authors actually ordered a great number of their own books from Amazon and thus falsely inflated the sales figures. I suspect they paid somebody to order their books, as I don't understand how my ordering 10,000 copies of my books could be construed as sales. They'd probably be used as kindling at the next fireplace gathering of my family.
Even before the age of the internet, I heard that to keep something selling, the consumer must constantly be reminded of the product. That may have worked for the clients of McMann and Tate, the fictional advertisement agency of Bewitched. It might, and probably does, work in real life as well; many companies do it and must find it profitable. But for the small fry indie author person, the wallet can't sustain this.
As David and Leonore Dvorkin of DLD Books have always told their clients, "Don't expect to earn your bread and butter from your writing." Also, they have been very supportive and have kept me motivated. If they hadn't, I would not be working on my third book. Dreams of even limited success are good, but the love of writing is really the only motivator for me.
Follow me on twitter at @speechfb
Read and post on my writer's blog: http://blinderwriterweb.wordpress.com
Check out my coming of age science fiction novel, The MetSche Message, and its sequel, The MetSche Maelstrom, at http://www.dldbooks.com/stephentheberge/
Watch my Youtube channel for many blindness-related issues and the latest Branco Broadcasts.
4. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: From the Dim Light of Defeat
by James R. Campbell
If we are to believe the news coverage of the latest turn of events in Syria, the terrorist army known as the Islamic State is down to its last few square miles of territory. Allied forces in Syria, backed by American Special Forces and air power, are on the verge of taking back this last strip of land.
An awkward, if not sad, state of affairs has emerged with respect to the thousands of foreign fighters who fled their home nations to join this group of extremists, who want to drag the rest of the world back in to the 7th century. Under their control, infidels, (nonbelievers) would be beheaded. Women would be stoned for adultery. Homosexuals would be thrown from buildings or crucified. And those who blaspheme the prophet Mohammed would be slain. Many of those who joined the cause of the caliphate in its heyday were Americans who were disillusioned by our way of life and misled by internet recruiters who promised a glorious life in Paradise, complete with 42 virgins, for those who died for the cause of Islam.
The campaign against ISIS that began during the Obama presidency has escalated during President Trump's term in office. This is one of our president's many accomplishments that will be his legacy when he leaves the White House. When we became involved in the conflict in 2014, ISIS controlled huge sections of territory in Syria and Iraq. In addition, the group has a foothold in many other countries, including Afghanistan, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Through their internet recruiting efforts, they have terror cells in our homeland who have carried out acts of violence against Americans on our own shores. The 2015 attack in San Bernardino is a prime example.
The problem we are facing centers around those who want to come home after fleeing our homeland to join the renegades fighting in Syria and Iraq. Should we take them back? Some countries say no. Great Britain is giving thought to stripping the citizenship from its subjects who fled Britain to join the Islamic State. President Trump, for his part, has urged Theresa May's government to arrest those people and put them on trial. This is how he plans to deal with Americans who turned on our own people in favor of the caliphate.
The news has featured the case of an American from Alabama who joined the terrorist organization in 2014. She wants to come home, claiming she was misled by the online recruiters. "The violence and bloodshed that I've seen have changed me," she laments.
I have no doubt that they have. It can't be otherwise. Any rational human being would be affected by witnessing, let alone participating in, the atrocities of which this group is guilty. For his part, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made it known that this woman isn't welcome on our shores. It has come to light that she encouraged ISIS supporters to drive large vehicles into crowds during holiday events. I can understand his reasoning. Can this woman, or others like her, be trusted? I don't believe so, and I'm certain that the great majority share this sentiment.
The present situation raises two questions: Would these people be sorry if the extremist organization had been victorious? Would they be willing to discuss the activities they were involved in and the future plans of any terror cells still in existence?
These questions are of utmost importance. In the first place, we need to get a grip on the factors that caused these young people to become involved with ISIS. The reasons are varied and could range from, but not be limited to: a quest for adventure, feelings of disaffection, anger at society, and disgust with the decadent lifestyle that seems to permeate our culture today. Speaking as someone who has an interest in forensic psychology, I believe that the FBI behavioral science unit would be of great benefit in developing protocols for profiling these individuals. This would help us to see the warning signs, so we could reach out to potential ISIS recruits before it's too late.
Anyone who fled to the Middle East to join the militant group should be required to discuss their activities or knowledge of other ISIS activities with the proper authorities as a part of their sentence. It would be hard for most normal people to trust anyone who had joined ISIS. We must not lose sight of the fact that ISIS has sympathizers here at home. The terrorist army has a foothold in other nations. And who is to say they won't return to Iraq and Syria once our troops come home? It stands to reason that any information we get from defectors who return home would be a boon to the international community in fighting a war that will last for the next generation.
This is my position with respect to the issue posed by the last stand of these barbarians who have wrought so much death and misery in the world. Why would any prudent person join an outfit like that after what they have put so many families through? If we find the answer, we will be one step closer to ultimate victory.
As always, thanks for your time.
With loving kindness,
James R. Campbell
5. SOCIETY'S TRENDS: Marty the Robot, the Beginning of an Economic Armageddon
by Bob Branco
We've all heard about how robots are gradually entering the work force in order to perform many jobs that people do. I think robots are fascinating. They're fun to watch. However, they do not put food on the table for their families.
Recently, I heard that a local supermarket is introducing a brand new employee, Marty the Robot. From what I've learned so far, Marty will be responsible for observing the store. If he sees a problem with the inventory or something on the floor, he will alert the manager. Marty may be doing more work once he's upgraded. From a business standpoint, I can understand why Marty works for this supermarket. He doesn't take home a paycheck. He doesn't need health insurance. He doesn't call in sick, unless someone has to maintain him. If Marty feels he's doing a great job, he won't ask for a raise. So, Marty saves money for the business.
Now let's look at the flip side. Marty can't financially provide for someone's family. He will increase the unemployment rate because people don't have to do his work. If a customer in the store has a question about an item in stock, Marty can't talk to her.
I am totally amazed at the number of people who continue to argue that the transition from the horse to the car was just as difficult as what's going on now. That's not a good argument. People were involved in the transition and kept working. Robots and other forms of automation are replacing people altogether. If you believe everything you hear, there will eventually be no more drivers, no more food servers, no more housekeepers, no more stock clerks, no more cashiers, no more telephone operators, and no more custodians. Much of the blue-collar industry will be gone.
How do you replace blue collar jobs with tech jobs when most of the blue collar workers aren't trained for them? Would a career truck driver suddenly manufacture and maintain sophisticated automated technology? If you had an aunt or mother who spent her entire working career cleaning houses, is she suddenly going to make robots just because that's where the job market is headed? Not everyone is trained to manufacture automation. You have to go to high-tech schools for that, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A 55-year-old blue-collar worker will likely not do that. Would all 50-year-old factory workers want to be social workers? Many of these factory workers won't go to college at this late date because they will have neither the desire nor the ability to do so. Some of these factory workers may be high school dropouts, while others have learning challenges.
I realize that Marty is just one robot in a large store, and his work is minimal. However, he's just another example of a very scary trend in our economy. Automation is taking over. This is nothing like previous job shifts that many argue were just as difficult to get used to. Automation did not take over back then. People did new things. What new things will people do if we have driverless cars, robot surgeons, automated answering services, automated delivery services, online shopping, mechanical floor washers, self-checkout machines, automated food service, and other job replacements? What will our economy be like? As the years go by, a typical conversation in an average household might start this way: "Sorry, honey, I can't provide for the household anymore because a robot is going to do my job." As I implied earlier, you can't turn a blue-collar worker into a white-collar worker at the snap of a finger. It could be age, mental capacity, or any number of other factors that affect this. Is automation our economy's Armageddon? I am reluctant to say no.
One popular solution to this problem is for us to be self-employed. That sounds reasonable. Let's all start our own businesses. Well, sales might be out of the question, because Amazon might have a monopoly on any idea we may have.
Another concern I have about robotics has to do with agencies that support people with learning disabilities. One of the most common jobs given to such individuals is bagging groceries. If robots take over that responsibility in the future, this will likely affect such job placements by these agencies. Then what will happen?
In the early 1980s, a college professor gave a lecture to a class that one of my friends participated in. During this lecture, the professor said that by the turn of the century, technology would move ahead of us and would eventually do us in. Is he right?
Bob blogs at www.brancoevents.com/category/recent-news
6. MARCH MADNESS: A Crazy Month in Weather
by Steve Roberts
March is the first month of spring, but don't tell that to Old Man Winter. In the month of March, you can be bathed in the warmth of spring or plunged into the deep freeze of winter.
During March, actively melting snow and heavily falling rain can produce severe river flooding. Making matters worse, the ground is still frozen, causing all that water to run off into the rivers and streams.
During March, the nor'easters that impact the Middle Atlantic and New England can stall for several days, producing widespread river flooding. In March, it's not unheard of for a nor'easter to stall for three or four days.
On March 12-13, 1888, a fierce winter storm ravaged the northeast U.S., dumping as much as two to four feet of snow. This storm came to be known as the Blizzard of 1888.
105 years to the day later, the Superstorm of 1993 took aim at the northeast United States. This great storm spawned 11 tornadoes in Florida. These twisters were in association with an intense squall line that swept across that state. This storm dumped feet of snow from Georgia to Maine. This tempest was also referred to as the Storm of the Century.
The deadliest tornado in American history took place on March 18, 1925. This storm, called the Tri-State Tornado, took 695 lives in Missouri, 11 in Illinois, and 32 in Indiana. The Tri-State Tornado was part of the deadliest outbreak of tornadoes in U.S. history, with a total of 747 lives lost.
March madness is not just a concept of college basketball; it's also a reality of March weather. The Arctic blasts, blizzards, river floods, spring warmth, and severe weather are products of an atmosphere that is driven to madness by the process of seasonal change. March weather can also be maddening to those of us who have to deal with it.
7. WHY WE NEED RICH PEOPLE
by Bruce Atchison
Wouldn't it be nice if the rich weren't so rich and the poor weren't so poor? In actuality, things would be worse if there were no rich people.
Here's why we're better off with wealthy people.
First of all, rich folks invest their money. Unlike a dragon lying on a mountain of gold and jewels, wealthy businesspeople create jobs through their industries. Money is useless unless it passes from one person to another. Business owners hire people to make products and perform services. Those workers then buy products and services.
Wealth is greatly multiplied through capitalism, whereas hoarding wealth retards the growth of a country's economy. Socialist schemes also diminish a country's growth in that civil servants don't produce products and they often give poor service. When governments try to run businesses, the results are woefully pathetic. Furthermore, crown corporations such as Air Canada and Canada Post run deficits because they lack the competition present in situations where monopolies are nonexistent.
Wealthy citizens buy luxury products and hire people to work for them. If everybody were equally poor, there would be no incentive to build large homes and high-end cars. Nobody would be building and buying yachts and private jets, either.
Neither would there be any incentive to achieve great things. When people are denied the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and reap the rewards of their work, they end up like workers in the former Soviet Union. Farmers who would have worked until the crop was gathered in instead left at quitting time. Craftspeople didn't work as hard because they had no reason to. Only when people have a vested interest in their labor do they put their full energy into what they do.
Furthermore, entrepreneurs are much more likely to create innovative products than is the case with government workers. The hope of profiting from their inventions drives talented individuals to accomplish feats of ingenuity, benefiting not only themselves but all of society.
Socialism, on the other hand, robs citizens of incentive. If they get the same pay for just doing their job as for coming up with a brilliant solution to a problem, folks are more likely not to bother doing more than they have to. This decreases tax revenues, giving governments the incentive to raise taxes on fewer and fewer productive people. In the end, the economy craters.
Selling my books has taught me much about economics. By allowing failures, marketing has taught me about what sells and what doesn't.
Author Bruce Atchison.
8. A LETTER FROM TERRI WINAUGHT (former editor of Consumer Vision)
Hello, Consumer Vision Readers.
As I write this on February 24, 2019, I want to start by apologizing for having been out of the loop for so long. I was sick and am still trying to recover, I am much better, though.
Since my last letter, things have been chaotic, both politically and meteorologically, so let's start with the weather.
If any of you were affected by the January Arctic vortex, flooding, or snow falling where it normally doesn't, I hope you have since recovered. (In terms of snow, who would expect snow in Las Vegas, other parts of Nevada, and Kingman, Arizona?) Since many of you are guide dog users and lovers, I also hope you were able to pause whatever you were doing long enough to keep your dog's paws free of snow and ice. (Sorry for the pun; I had to do it.)
Transitioning to politics, were any of you affected by the 34-day government shutdown, or were any of your family members negatively impacted? Since one needless shutdown was more than enough, I am so glad that the possible second one failed to materialize.
On a different note, one I think is more positive, February was Black History Month, and many events occurred in Pittsburgh to acknowledge and celebrate it. Those acknowledgements included film festivals, varied presentations, and panel discussions, such as the one in Pittsburgh on Saturday the 23rd, presented by the African-American Leadership Association (AALA). What types of events occurred in your city, town, or borough? I'd love to hear whatever you'd like to share, just as I'd like to hear about any Women's History events in March, since March is Women's History Month.
To conclude, I want to thank our contributors and especially our loyal readers, without whom we would have no Consumer Vision. After all, how could a magazine exist and thrive if no one read it?
As always, I welcome and want your feedback, so contact me in any of the following ways:
Home phone: 412-263-2022
Cell phone: 412-595-6187
Send braille correspondence to my new address:
400 Cochran Road, Apt. 409, Pittsburgh, PA 15228
Take care, stay well, and thanks for reading with me.
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Learn and work from home!
Meet a few of our recent graduates: https://www.sourcingfoundation.org/voices-of-success.html
10. AUTHORS' CORNER
A. Good News from DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services
Submitted by Leonore Dvorkin (Editor, DLD Books)
February 24, 2019
David and I are happy to announce that our editing and self-publishing service has now been in operation for 10 full years, from 2009 to the present. In that time, we have put out over 60 books by over 45 authors, most of whom are blind or visually impaired.
We wish to express our heartfelt gratitude to all our clients, past, present, and future. Years ago, we could never have dreamed that our business would grow and prosper to this extent. It has been and continues to be quite the adventure and learning experience! We have worked on novels, books for children, memoirs, essays, short stories, poetry, and more.
Four new items:
1. We are now working with two top-ranked audiobook narrators, a man and a woman. Their detailed ads are below. Two of our clients are already taking advantage of their services. Details about those e-books will come at a future date.
2. David is now working to help previously published authors re-issue their out-of-print books as self-published books, giving those books and their authors' careers new life.
3. Cry Purple, the gritty autobiography by our most successful client, Christine McDonald, is now being made into a movie. Details of her 2013 book, which is for sale in e-book and print, are here: http://www.dldbooks.com/cmcdonald/
4. Our client Mary Hiland, author of the 2017 book The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living: A Daughter's Memoir, sent a link to a lovely article about her that was published in January 2019 in the online alumni magazine of Toastmasters International. The article is called "Portrait of Success," with the subtitle "Book-Signing Smarts." Go here to read the article: https://www.toastmasters.org/membership/alumni Congratulations, Mary!
David and I have multiple new books scheduled to be published in March or April and several additional projects lined up to work on after that. Very soon, readers can look for new works by Ann Chiappetta, David L. Faucheux, J. D. Hart, Lynda McKinney Lambert, and Joan Myles. After that will come new books by our clients John Justice, Robert D. Sollars, and Stephen A. Theberge, as well as books by first-time authors that will come out later in 2019 or 2020. As usual, full information about the new books will be on the authors' websites, and I will place ads for them with Bob Branco, Patty Fletcher, and Lori Motis as the authors desire.
Note: All the books we work on are available in print and e-book from Amazon and Smashwords.
In conclusion: Thanks again so very much to all our clients and to all of you who have recommended us to others. We could never have developed DLD Books to this degree without your confidence and assistance.
B. SPECIAL PRICES FOR HAVING YOUR BOOK RECORDED
A notice from Leonore Dvorkin of DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services
Are you interested in having your book recorded for Audible, which is part of Amazon? These two top-ranked audiobook narrators, LeeAnne Rowe and Adam Barr, have very kindly offered substantially reduced prices to blind and visually impaired authors, as well as certain others. Details follow here.
1. LeeAnne Rowe (a.k.a. Lillian Yves)
2. Adam Barr: narrator, actor, and singer
Adam would be pleased to work with blind and visually impaired authors at the rate of $100 PFH as his schedule of other books allows. This may take some flexibility from authors regarding release dates, but he will make every effort to meet reasonable date demands. He will also consider projects from authors who are in difficult economic situations for reasons other than visual impairment on a case-by-case basis, again subject to calendar demands.
Note: His regular prices range from $180-$225 per finished
2957 S. Quay Way
David's cell phone: 303-885-3421
Besides books, we will gladly edit shorter things, such as short stories, articles, essays, business letters, etc. As mentioned above, David can also help previously published authors get their out-of-print books re-issued as self-published books in print and e-book.
11. THE HANDLER'S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs
by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.
Greetings, Consumer Vision readers. It's winter here in New York's lower Hudson valley, which means snow, ice, and staying indoors.
While it's safer, warmer, and acceptable to hunker down and hibernate, our dogs may not need as much downtime as we do. Here are some helpful ways to keep busy, work your dogs, and keep it fun and interesting. These tips can also be applied during the sweltering summer with one caveat: a late evening or early morning walk in summer can often be done to beat the heat.
First, let me mention short trips. Instead of passing up a trip to the grocery store or pharmacy, harness up your dog and go. For that matter, why not schedule a mall walk? A community calendar or senior center might also have the information for group walks, and most public transportation can take you there.
Next, if you live in an apartment complex, you can practice indoor targeting to doors, steps, or elevator work to break up a boring day while waiting out a storm.
Finally, playing and practicing daily obedience and adding a few new tricks or reversing the repetitions helps. Play hide and seek by having the dog sit/stay or down/stay, then go into another room, then call the dog. Other boredom breakers are short grooming sessions or finding a treat ball dispenser to dole out a handful of the morning or evening meal.
I like to say it is the quality of the teamwork combined with the frequency of it. For example, two short, interesting walks in new or varied routes is just as beneficial as a long, more routine walk. When I injured my knee, I could manage a few blocks, but not much else. Bailey and I walked a route around my complex and up another walkway, then back. It helped us both, and he loved doing something new.
It's frustrating when the snow isn't removed and patches of ice prevent safe travel. I often ask a friend or family member to assess the sidewalks and common areas, and I avoid taking any chances. If you must travel, make sure you're wearing good non-slip shoes and that your dog's feet are protected, and when the temperature is 25 degrees or lower, limit the time outdoors to 30 minutes or less.
Here's hoping the snow melts quickly. I hear spring is just around the corner.
Find my books at http://www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta/
Coming soon: WORDS OF LIFE: POEMS AND ESSAYS (March 2019)
12. TURNING POINT: How Art Can Assist with Mental Health Recovery
by Terri Winaught
In May, 1979, at age 26, I received a master's degree from Duquesne, a private Catholic university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Specifically, I graduated with a master's in education with a specialization in counseling.
If I had thought about turning points in mental health recovery at all at that time, I would have thought about talk therapy and medication being the best combination for success. While studies have shown this combination to be better than either treatment method alone, it is equally true that other, less traditional modalities can be significant turning points when recovering from a serious mental illness (SMI).
Before continuing, it is also worth noting that when I received my master's, recovery from mental illness wasn't even part of the conversation. Instead, the thinking was that one didn't recover. He or she "maintained" at best. One recovery tool, now that recovery is known to be possible, is art. To elaborate, I currently have a colleague who has found art in the form of painting to be not just enjoyable, but also therapeutic. Art has been such a significant recovery tool for this colleague, whom I'll call T.J., that she has even given presentations to persons in recovery to demonstrate how beneficial art can be. At the same time, T.J. has become so accomplished and confident as an artist that she has already found people willing to buy her paintings. With self-esteem often being low to nonexistent in those of us whose lived experience is with a mental health issue, what a significant boost to emotional wellness this is!
Just as art can be a crucial turning point, so too can crafting, especially knitting. Those of you who knit might find research that has been conducted on the therapeutic value of knitting both exciting and informative. That will be the topic of my next Turning Point column.
As I have said previously, I would love nothing more than to include in this column any recovery stories that you would like to share. Should anyone wish to have his or her recovery journey included, please be assured that I will treat your information with the utmost respect and dignity. To share your story, feel free to email me: email@example.com. I can also be reached as follows:
Home phone: 412-263-2022
Send Braille correspondence to:
400 Cochran Road, Apt. 409
Pittsburgh, PA 15228
Thanks for reading with me, and together let's roll away stones of stigma from tombs of distrust and create open spaces in which understanding can grow and flourish.
13. TIPS FOR VIPS (Because Visually Impaired People Are Important, Too)
by Penny Fleckenstein
who blogs at http://notyouraveragesinglemom.com
February has been filled with much learning and experiencing.
Even on Sundays, my lazy days, I accomplish a lot of knitting while listening to motivational speakers on Brendon Burchard's HPX podcast (HPX stands for the High Performance Experience), Ted Talks, and YouTube. I love to luxuriate and learn and see where all this listening takes me. I am currently reading a book on Audible entitled Rejection Proof, by Jia Jiang. It's based on his 100 days of rejection videos you can watch on YouTube. He transforms from being terrified of rejection to being empowered.
Wow! What an adventure I'm on. Yet I started this while feeling very drowsy and under the weather.
When I do go out, I find interesting people to talk to, and I learn a lot from them. I have more fun talking to people who work at the Pittsburgh Children's Museum than from looking at the exhibits. The TapeScape is a huge maze, made entirely of packing tape, with tunnels to crawl through and slides to go down.
While others in our group were exploring more of the TapeScape, my aide and I went to the Rube Goldberg room, where there was a Rube Goldberg machine designed to paint a line. I started asking questions. Clifford, the designer of the machine, told me his story. He said I should remember one thing: Everyone is a teacher and everyone is a student. Decide what to teach and keep your mind open to learning. I also spoke with Amanda, who travels with exhibits and maintains them. By speaking up and listening, I find out so many people's stories. The decision I made at age 18 to become an extrovert has really paid off. You never know who you'll meet. One time, I met the general manager of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and his fiancée. Who would have guessed they would be riding the city bus?
Last year, I went to a tea party that BOLD (Blind Outdoor Leisure Development) had organized at Janet's penthouse. This year, she decided to host a Chinese Lunar New Year Party. She taught me about tea eggs. You boil the eggs, tap the shells all around with the back of a spoon, and marinate them in tea. She used jasmine tea, peppercorns, cinnamon, and star anise. When I made the tea eggs at home, I used green tea, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and peppercorns. I do not have jasmine tea. They tasted really good after I marinated them for three days. I'm planning to make soup with tea, as Jamie Oliver does.
Janet also taught me to broil tofu after pressing the water out of it. I've tried to bake crispy tofu but could never get it right. I feel better now that I can broil it, and it gets almost as crispy as fried tofu. Tea eggs and broiled tofu have revolutionized my life, just as avocado chocolate mousse and black bean brownies have.
Janet fit 17 of us and three guide dogs in her living room with the use of rented tables and rented tablecloths. That surprised me, because I have always figured out how to accommodate people with tables I already had. It would never have occurred to me to rent them. For $20 per table, and a little more than that per tablecloth, the company delivers them to her home and picks them up. No need to launder the tablecloths; just fold them.
Please drop me a note and let me know if I have helped in any way. I believe you will adore Rachael Hollis on Brendon Burchard's HPX Podcast and Jia Jiang, the author of Rejection Proof, as I do. Maybe you have tips on how to become an extrovert. I still have moments when I feel like crawling into my shell.
14. TWO MEMORABLE VALENTINE'S DAYS
by Karen Crowder
Until Valentine's Day, 1968, I thought there was too much emphasis on that day. As I went into May Cottage's dining room for dinner. I did not expect anything special. However, I was surprised to discover a card near my plate.
Did I have a secret admirer? Could it be from the man I had met at the 1967 music festival held near New York City? Dan and had I met at the Saturday night dance, and time flew by as we talked. We had exchanged addresses, and we began writing to each other during the summer and fall. That June, he graduated from the school for the blind in Batavia, New York, and was in a piano tuning course.
I hurried through my meal and went upstairs to the privacy of my room. I opened the envelope. The braille message in the Valentine was short. It would change my world. "You mean so much to me." It was signed "Love, Dan." On the bottom of the shiny braille valentine, there were cute X's and O's for hugs and kisses.
I was ecstatic. I was now part of the group of girls who had boyfriends. I ran out into the sunny Tuesday afternoon and across the girls' campus to the girls' recreation room. I ran in, telling my friends my news. They were happy for me.
Throughout the rest of that week, I was filled with happiness about the promising relationship.
During my junior year, Dan and I phoned and wrote to each other almost every week. The phone calls were short; long-distance rates from New York to Massachusetts were prohibitively expensive. We also kept the Post Office busy. My letters were often scented with perfume from a floral cream sachet.
The world took on a surreal quality with the magic of this budding relationship. I lived in the immediate present, sharing aspects of my life with this special man in my letters. We saw each other twice, in the spring of 1968 and after Christmas of 1969, when it ended. However, it was special because he was my first love.
Twenty years later, in 1988, my life would unexpectedly change on Halloween Weekend. I re-met Marshall Crowder, who was visiting my friends in Quincy.
As we talked on that Saturday night, time flew by. We discovered we had common interests, such as science fiction. That Sunday, we sat listening to tapes of Ray Bradbury's dramatized stories. As the afternoon went by, I liked Marshall's openness about himself. He shared the difficulties he'd had since his separation and his impending divorce. He asked my friend who was preparing dinner, "Is there anything I can do to help?"
That evening, we listened to the scary story "The Ravine," and we snuggled, sharing a few kisses. As I left at midnight, I did not know if I would see him again.
I was wrong. We called each other daily and had our first date in early December. On that date, we immediately felt comfortable with each other, able to communicate about anything.
By right before Valentine's Day, we knew our relationship was deeper and turning into love. However, distance was still a factor: I lived in Quincy, and he lived in Leominster. We dated again. We saw each other on weekends, and in September 1989, we became engaged. We were married in July 1990. Our marriage was blessed at our home by the Catholic Church in July 1991. The ceremony was on the 14th. It was the day of our first wedding anniversary.
Whether you are in a relationship or not, Valentine's Day may bring unexpected surprises, as it did for me in 1968 and 1989.
by Sue Lichtenfels
There once was a blind man who couldn't find work.
No one could get past his little quirk.
Despite years of schooling,
And government ruling,
Still at home unemployed he'll lurk.
There once was an expensive little gadget.
It was cheaper than most, we had to have it.
iPhone, oh iPhone, you're so nice.
No other device will suffice.
Now we're addicted to this smart phone habit.
Not the Victor
There once was a player named Victor Stream,
Whose books and files read like a dream.
The best friend of many,
He's helped plenty.
But now he's on the backup team.
For those who can see without full sight,
Losing vision may be a fright.
Zoomtext enlarges the screen
While devices focus the scene.
Don't worry; your life will be all right.
Susan Lichtenfels is a mother and wife living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is both blind and physically disabled. While the bulk of Susan's written work includes informational articles, promotional copy, and training documents, she recently wrote and produced her first play.
16. MARCY'S SCHMOOZE TINNIH
by Marcy J. Segelman
Time goes very fast as we enter the later seasons of life. I have been fighting with this subject of death and what one goes through.
Losing my mother to cancer was very hard. I turned 12 on September 17, and my mother was in the hospital, lying in a bed with all kinds of tubes in her. Back then, children were not always allowed to see their loved ones in the hospital.
I carried on with my normal life of going to school. I went to school on October 21, as I did every day. When I went to call my mother on the payphone, there was no one at the other end. I called my home, and my aunt answered the phone. She said she was there keeping my grandmother company. My mother had died, and she and others were helping with the preparation for the funeral and shiva, the Jewish mourning ritual, but this was kept from me till I came home. A lot of people were there. The rabbi was there and talked with me about what had happened.
In our faith, when someone dies, they must be buried within 24 hours. The service is held at a funeral chapel, and then there's another service at the cemetery. There are a lot of Jewish cemeteries, but the most popular one is where my family's buried, Sharon Memorial Park in Sharon, Massachusetts. Our family joke is that it's a great place to have a picnic. When you come in the main gate, there is a wonderful fountain. There are no headstones, just footstones, which have the information written in English and Hebrew.
After the funeral, people come back to the home for shiva. This ritual continues for seven days. Shiva is the Hebrew word for seven. We cover the mirrors, and we do not play the TV or radio. The mourners are cared for by others. By custom, when you enter the home, you do not ring the doorbell. The door is open. You come in and sit, and you reach out to the mourners. You let them talk with you.
There is always food made for the family, and there is always food out for the people that come. If you bring food, it should be in a glass dish because of the Jewish dietary laws. Usually, the dishes are dairy (no meat). If you bring a dish, it's customary to leave it for the full seven days. Times are set for when the people can visit the home and for when the family would like private time for family.
At the funeral, the family members are given black ribbons to wear for 30 days. A parent who has lost a child wears the ribbon on the left side; other relatives wear it on the right. It was strange to wear it for so long. I remember I did this for my mother. When the time was coming to an end, we had either swimming or gym class at school. I changed my clothes and lost the ribbon. There were only a few days left in the mourning period, but I felt I had done something terrible. I was assured that it was okay.
From that day forward, I became the woman of the house. My grandmother had the biggest hand in raising me. My father and brother had no idea about a young girl's needs when it came to becoming a young lady. That was the mother's job—homemaking and bringing up the children. If the child was a girl, it was the mother who molded her and taught her about the home and anything that went with it. I had my own sick childhood, and with my mother's sickness as well, it was not a normal household.
Here is where death and becoming an adult overnight change your life. You lose your childhood because you must take over things that others would be doing, things that you would be learning to do, but instead you learn them by doing them and making small errors along the way. I lost my mother at a young age, and then 20 years later, my dad and grandmother and many others.
I wrote this because over the years, I have lost very precious people, including one that shared a special bond with me, my friend Kathy. She and I shared a medical condition that we both were supposedly free from. She had bad headaches. Her husband, John, took her to the hospital, and they said she'd be fine. They went home, and she said, "I don't feel well." He brought her back to the hospital. As they pulled up to the door and he was going to carry her in, she died in his arms.
I light a memorial candle each year in her memory. There is no one left, and I feel I must do this for her. She did so much for me at my very first job. We became best friends. She and I would talk about how people were. It is also a symbol on different holidays when we light the candle for all the dead.
As always, shalom to you all.
Marcy J. Segelman
17. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST
Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the February 2019 Consumer Vision. The commercial ad that used the phrase "I can't believe I ate the whole thing" was for Alka-Seltzer. Congratulations to the following winners:
Jan Colby of Brockton, Massachusetts
Chad Grover of Corning, New York
Trish Hubschman of Selden, New York
Jean Marcley of Bradenton, Florida
Jo Smith of West Dennis, Massachusetts
And now, here is your trivia question for the March Consumer Vision. Which state in the United States is known as the Granite State? If you know the answer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-994-4972.