May 2018

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

Phone: 508-994-4972

Email address:


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

2. THE IMAGE OF YOURSELF: Manifest Your Mission! *** by Dennis R. Sumlin





7. WEATHER OR NOT: Another Busy Hurricane Season Is on Tap. Now, What Should You Do? *** by Steve Roberts


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

10. RECIPE COLUMN *** by Karen Crowder




1. HEALTH MATTERS: More Health News You Can Use

by Leonore H. Dvorkin

Hello, readers. Once again, I have a heap of interesting health--related articles on my desk, so I'll get right to condensing the contents of some of them for you.

Note: The lack of capitalization on most words in the articles' titles is not an error on my part. The articles were transmitted that way.  

1. "Everyday exercise has surprisingly positive health benefits" — ScienceDaily, 1/25/18

Low--intensity physical activity, such as standing, walking, or doing household chores, can be surprisingly beneficial. Even replacing 30 minutes a day of being sedentary with everyday activity reduces the risk of fatal cardiovascular disease by 24%. This conclusion was reached following a 15--year study in Sweden. Moderate activity, such as taking a brisk walk, is even better. The recommendation is 10 to 30 minutes a day. Thirty minutes a day of moderate activity can reduce the risk by as much as 77%.

Personal notes:

I have read elsewhere that if you tend to be sedentary, even getting up from your chair every 30 or 45 minutes and moving around a bit for a few minutes can be a big help. There is really no need for a standing desk. See the article that I summarized below, #2.

My parents both had heart trouble, so I am doing my best to avoid it with a good diet, exercise, and not smoking. I try to exercise at least six or seven hours a week, doing a combination of walking, lifting weights, and using our exercise bike. I'm also working hard to lose weight, using the fabulous Five--Two Diet that I wrote about before. For that, you simply eat normally five days a week. On two other, non--consecutive days, you consume only about 600 calories per day. We eat mainly lean protein, non--starchy vegetables, and fresh fruits on those two days.  

2. "Standing room only at work" — ScienceDaily, 2/12/18

This is what I had suspected: that the promotion of standing desks in offices, claiming improved posture, reduced mental stress, and a general boost to wellbeing, may be more marketing hype than anything else.

A study in Finland investigated the physical activity, metal alertness, stress, and musculoskeletal strain in employees at a large software company there. It showed that standing versus sitting results in only modest promotion of physical activity, and it does not have an effect on mental alertness. Nor does it have an impact on work posture comfort or workstation satisfaction. In fact, it seems to shift the stress--recovery balance more toward stress than recovery. Also, stress and strain in the legs and feet are raised, as is the risk of varicose veins, common in those who stand for long periods of time. There is also an increased risk of lower back problems, which are exacerbated by always being upright.    

3. "Drinking water may help exercising seniors stay sharp" — EurekAlert, 4/22/18

The essence of this study was that in order to reap the full cognitive benefits of exercise, seniors should drink plenty of water throughout the day, but especially both before and after exercise. The perception of thirst is often blunted as one ages, so it's important to make better hydration a habit.

4. "Putting a fork in cognitive decline" — EurekAlert, 12/20/17

I've seen this rather surprising bit of news elsewhere, too. A simple way to help promote brain health and slow cognitive decline as one ages is to eat one serving of leafy green vegetables per day. Leafy green vegetables that are listed here are spinach, collard greens, and lettuces.

A serving is listed as only one--half cup, which is not much; I usually have more than that at a time. I like buying organic, pre--washed greens in plastic containers, alternating between baby spinach leaves and mixed salad greens of varying types. Those plastic boxes are in just about any supermarket, I assume, as there are dozens of them in any standard supermarket here in Denver.

5. The Best Foods for Your Heart — from CNN Online, 2/26/18

I could not print this out, and so am working from my handwritten notes. I think I got the basics! 

The best foods include: 

a. Oats and barley, due to the soluble fiber they contain.

b. Salmon and other fatty fish, such as tuna, mackerel, herring, lake trout, and sardines, as these are rich in Omega--3 fatty acids.

c. Dark leafy greens: salad greens, spinach, kale, chard, and mustard greens, as these are rich in many vitamins and minerals.

d. Nuts and seeds, which help reduce blood pressure and supply potassium, magnesium, and other minerals.

e. Beets help lower blood pressure and supply betalains, which are antioxidants. (Beets seem to be the new "it" food. Interesting!)

f. Avocados help lower bad cholesterol and benefit insulin control.

g. Olive oil improves heart and brain health, lowers the risk of brain cancer, and increases longevity. (I've read over and over that extra virgin olive oil is the best.)

h. Legumes, which are beans, lentils, chickpeas, and black-eyed peas, lower cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. They are also high in protein and are low on the glycemic index. Canned beans are fine, but be sure to rinse them well. 

i. Low--fat dairy products are all good, and they can help reduce blood pressure. Plain yogurt and kefir, which tastes a lot like buttermilk, are especially good.   

6. A Collection of Things from the Consumer Reports On Health magazine, May 2018

a. Gum disease is linked to a higher risk of cancer of any type. Researchers do not yet know why.

b. Best foods for the heart: kale, lentils, oatmeal, sardines, and walnuts.  

c. If you are on a weight loss and fitness plan, it can help your partner slim down, too. Many couples mirror each other's health habits, for better or worse.

That is certainly true for David and me! April 9 was our 50th wedding anniversary. I think we grow more alike all the time. :-)

About the Author:

Leonore H. Dvorkin is a writer, language tutor, book editor, and exercise instructor. She is the author of four published books, both fiction and nonfiction, as well as many fitness and nutrition articles. Her husband is the prolific author David Dvorkin, who has 28 published books, both fiction and nonfiction, to his credit. He wrote two of those with their son, Daniel, who is a biomedical researcher. David and Leonore have lived in Denver, Colorado since 1971. Together, they run DLD Books Editing and Self--Publishing Services. Most of their more than 35 clients are blind or visually impaired; among them are some of the contributors to this magazine.

Leonore and David invite you to visit any of their websites. Comments on their writing and inquiries about their services are always welcome.

Leonore's website:

David's website:

Information about DLD Books Editing and Self--Publishing Services:

Leonore's email: 

David's email:    


2. THE IMAGE OF YOURSELF: Manifest Your Mission!

by Dennis R. Sumlin

Whoever we are, and wherever we come from, most of us want to know the answer to one simple question. How do I make a difference? Out of that come questions like…

What are my talents?

How do I use my talents to make that difference?

What is that difference?

Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur, change maker, or public speaker, you can take these three steps to begin to manifest your mission, to use your natural power to change the lives of others while creating the lifestyle that you have always wanted.

Claim It!

The first step in using your power is to start by claiming it. You cannot use something that you do not own. Just as you cannot call a house yours until you buy it, you have to first take notice of your own power, and then claim it.

Get to know yourself. Make a list of five of your best qualities: five things that you or close friends and family say about you. For example: good singer, strong leader, sense of humor, communicates well, thoughtful, helpful, compassionate, good listener, and so on.

Remember to resist the temptation to compare yourself to other people. Nobody has the same strengths in the same balance as you do. We are all individuals, and we cannot be fairly measured against what others do or do not have.

When you see your talents and strengths laid out in front of you, claim them and accept them, no questions asked!

Cultivate It!

Once you have clearly identified your strengths and talents, it will serve you well to cultivate those qualities. It's time to sharpen what you already have. For example, if you find that you have a knack for speaking, take a speaking course, or hire me as your speaking coach! If you have a knack for numbers and business, take a business class. The point is to build and develop your strengths and use them to build your empire.

Any ability can always get stronger, and there are multiple ways to use any one strength.

Incorporate It!

The act of incorporation is to introduce a part into a whole. Applied to talents and strengths, you can take a new or developed strength and fit it into your already existing venture.

For example, if you already have a business up and running, then you introduce your sharp

speaking skills. This helps in bringing in more customers and investors while raising your company's profile. Thanks to that Life Coaching course, you now have another dimension of skills in your counseling practice to benefit your clients.

Claim it, cultivate it, and incorporate it! These three steps will help you spot, spark, and succeed, using the natural power and talent that you have been given.

If you want to develop your speaking skills, begin an entrepreneurial strategy, or make an upgrade in your personal life, I am the coach for you. Let's work together to manifest your mission!



by Stephen Théberge

I am sure that many of you would like to see a good litany of lawyer humor. Yet, I want to point out a rarely thought-of area. Attorneys, in many cases, have improved our lives. I also normally don't focus on the blind community, but recent developments have driven me to pen this article. For example, my employment at the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority came about due to a lawsuit against the Boston Center for Independent Living. The lawyers sought no money from them, but rather instituted a program to ensure compliance. Even though the lawsuit has been settled, the MBTA will continue this program for the foreseeable future. Click here to learn all about this:

My second endeavor is working for various attorneys to test websites for accessibility from my home. Some have argued that it is exploitation of the blind. It is true, we aren't given an hourly rate to do this, but are only compensated when a settlement is reached with these companies. Personally, when I have gotten paid, I found it well worth the time investment. The agents who represent us never claimed that we were full-time employees. Furthermore, there are a plethora of websites that aren't accessible, and it wouldn't be economically feasible to pay us, the small minority, especially considering what these positions pay on a full-time basis. We should look at ourselves as temporary employees, or even semi-volunteers.

I have worked for companies like Sony, Fidelity Investments, and various universities who  wanted to improve their websites and make them more accessible. Most of us would consider $50-$100/per hour lucrative. Also, there is no economical way this could be a full-time job. Perkins Solutions has also stated that they have contract programs that work with companies to make sites accessible. Yet, these jobs are not going to be plentiful, merely due to the economics.

There are many companies, students, and universities who solicit voluntary input to have people fill out surveys and give feedback. If people choose to participate in these pro bono pursuits, I hardly find it to be exploitation. I would simply point out to them that I would wish to be compensated. Also, these entities can't guarantee that the testers are qualified.

My current situation testing sites came about on LinkedIn, a professional site that matches employers and potential workers. Leon Cosgrove LLC found my technical background and experience worthy of giving me a chance to give them input into accessible website development.

Also, as with Perkins Solutions, there are many organizations and entities that are actively educating companies and universities about how to make their platforms more usable by people with various disabilities. I believe many people feel there is only one approach to this problem.

I am not going to start a battle about which organizations for the blind are better than others. The fact remains, however, that the National Federation for the Blind was instrumental in having ATMs accessible for the blind. I am also aware that agencies that have been considered rivals in the past do more in cooperation to work on laws that will help us.

Going back to my work at the MBTA, as a result of the settlement and the MBTA's commitment to continue down the path brought about by the BCIL litigation, the model program it started is now a road map for transportations systems throughout the United States.

Others have worried that being represented and giving power of attorney to a firm is a problem. I have always been consulted, and continue to be, when it comes to bringing action against developers of websites. Furthermore, I made sure these employers were legitimate. We must always do our homework.

If I could live in an ideal world, every second I used to test websites would be compensated with cold, hard cash. Every email and phone call would be on the clock. Rather than being bitter about being exploited by the hours that I wasn't paid for, I recall the money I've received. I was able to get my iPhone. The very people who complain about exploitation wouldn't have any problem having a commission for the blind or the state do this. That is another argument for another article. In an ideal world, all websites would be accessible and we could work anywhere without regard to computer accessibility.

I know somebody who was very concerned about these law firms. They stated that there should be another solution. I agree. Ideally, another solution would be desirable. But this is our reality now. I would be open to and welcome suggestions as to how to force people to do what the law, namely the ADA, is supposed to do. This situation is not unique to us alone. There are many laws on many things, but the real world and the issue of education and enforcement are different than our idealistic wish.

I think the balance is just about right. We have many individuals educating. Before any litigation is brought, there is almost always a dialog to try to get consensus to have compliance. Litigation usually is, and always should be, a last resort. We should be honored to be part of the process. No lawyer, law, or understanding can be gained without the people it affects. I find we are more involved now than we ever were before.

Some have argued that if we participate in these matters, the blind will be seen as people who like to or are prone to litigate. I doubt that many folks in the general public are even aware of what goes on behind the scenes. If we are educating, and litigation is a last resort, this prejudice is false. We should not be considering what these "people" think, but be examples of productive and proud ambassadors for our community.

Follow me on Twitter at @speechfb

Read and post on my writer's blog,

Check out the page for my coming of age science fiction book, The MetSche Message

Watch my YouTube channel, with many blindness related issues and the latest Branco Broadcasts.



by James R. Campbell

© March 31, 2018

Friday afternoon in Odessa, Texas. The Christmas rush was nearing its end for another year. Dear and I were doing our last--minute shopping for the holiday meal we had planned. We were walking down the frozen food aisle after picking up some frozen tamales.

"Is there anything else you want from here?"

"A frozen pie would be nice; maybe a Dutch apple."

"I thought about a pecan pie, but we don't have any corn syrup," she said.

"Not this year, baby. I don't see how you can do it right now."

The last two months hadn't been easy on Dear. On November 3, she took a tumble in the bank that resulted in some broken ribs. I don't have to tell you how hard that was. After 63 years, that poor old woman still doesn't understand.

There are two things I have dealt with since childhood. One of those is the health of loved ones. The other pattern involves stories of missing girls. The latter began in 1965 when two girls disappeared in Dallas. They were UT students. Their killer is presently confined in Huntsville for a life term.

This event was a rude and very frightening experience for a little boy of ten. It played on my insecurities. The message was sent: "Our girls aren't safe; the whole society is sick!" How does a child respond to that? For that matter, what is the appropriate response by adults who have no direct connection to the ultimate outcome?

Eventually, the news coverage of the plight of the Verks was too much. I limited my news time, opting for Internet radio instead. The only hope that anyone had was that their daughter would be found in time to spend Christmas with her family.

There were times I felt as if I was flying in circles that went nowhere. I even began to question whether my feelings were normal. I have no doubt that the greater Permian Basin felt the same way. It was a hurt that never went away; there was no need for, or sense in it.

As the holidays approached, I turned my focus to Courtney Paige's family. There had to be a way to make this Christmas, of all times, special. The time we spent with them was treasured indeed. They would be spending Christmas in Oklahoma with Courtney's family. Dear and I would be alone, as we had been for the last three years.

Courtney and her family left on December 19. We were left with the assignment of feeding the cat. This became the highlight of the week. Kitty would wait for me to sit down before snuggling up to me on the couch. This brief time was looked forward to every day when Dear came home.

Christmas Eve was nice. Our friend came over to exchange gifts. I got clothes, and both of us got slippers. Dear got some other nice things. Our neighbor Sandy borrowed our oven, as hers was inoperable. The visit with her family was enjoyable.

I was up early on Christmas Day. Later in the morning, I began to prepare the pea salad and get the ribs ready for the oven. Dear came in to finish the pea salad, even though I could have done it.

The sun was pouring through the window. As I worked, I often thought of the Verks. What kind of Christmas would they have? What of the other families with missing daughters? Did anybody raise $200,000 as a reward for information on their whereabouts? As these thoughts emerged from time to time, I would pray through it.

We ate early: ribs, pea salad, cranberry sauce, and stovetop stuffing. After we ate, we took care of the cat and returned home. The evening was spent on the chatline, passing good wishes to friends. I enjoyed a piece of pie with a fresh mug of green tea. The evening meditation was highlighted by Brian Auger's album from 1972, Closer to It. Bedtime was at 10:00 that evening.

Courtney and family returned the next day. We exchanged gifts a few days later. I got summer sausage, and Dear got a throw. We took them out to eat the day after Courtney's birthday. The meal was enjoyable, as times like this always are. I was very happy to spend this quality time with the family, as treasures like it are few and far between.

Dear is doing well, considering what she goes through at 84. Her recovery was slow, and she will always have issues with those ribs. We must be careful, as her balance isn't that good. She has a cane that she uses when she walks. I'm so glad that she's made it this far. It was all she could do to fix the casseroles for Thanksgiving dinner that year. Even in the best of times, we didn't need the stress that we had to deal with. I held up well until she took that tumble in the bank.

On January 12, 2017, Lori Verk appeared on TV once again to plead for her daughter. She told the viewers that the family never celebrated a single holiday in 2016. My worst fears had been confirmed.

This news underscores the very reason that it was important to me to celebrate Christmas that year, even if it was just the two of us. The Verks didn't, and in my heart, the amoral, maladaptive social deviants who took their daughter away from her family and friends couldn't care less if anybody celebrated Christmas if they were paid to be that way.

It was hard on everybody. These things always are. During the worst of it, my friends were there for me. My local friends advised that my meditation should be directed toward coming to peace with the inevitable. At the end of the day, that isn't easy, but it is necessary. I pray for the people who did this, and for their families. What other option do we have?

At the same time as the Verks were searching for their little girl, cops in Durant, Oklahoma were giving out free hams, turkeys, and gift cards for toys to people they stopped at random. Two diametrically opposing stories that epitomize the best and worst of humanity.

It is helpful to look for positive stories at times like these; we don't have enough of them. Each of us has a part in making our world better. One good deed, no matter how small, goes a long way.

As always, thanks for your time.

With loving kindness,

James R. Campbell



A. I am writing in response to Steve Théberge's article in the April Consumer Vision. While I agree that Facebook and other forms of social media allow us to make a lot of different connections without personal interaction, I firmly believe that direct human contact is valuable to our development. Steve referred to the fact that kids don't play outdoors as much as they used to. I believe they should. Not only is it good exercise for the kids, but outdoor playtime allows them additional self-expression, confidence, and assertiveness. These qualities are very important in human development. If we all sit with our smart devices, how are we expressing ourselves and learning to react to real-life situations? While I still love technology and the opportunities it gives us, let's not forget outdoor games, physical activity, hugs, and everything else that I'm afraid is being left behind.

Bob Branco


B. Terri,

I enjoyed this month's Consumer Vision. My favorite articles were the recipe column and the one you shared about the human library. I also enjoy the letters that you write for the magazine on a monthly basis.


C. Hi, Bob.

My issue is with Facebook. I understand why they share our data with third-party sources so they can keep the site free to use. What upsets me is their political bias. Conservative sites have been shut down or censored, while liberal sites get a pass. It's unfair for such a monopoly to call conservative content hate speech just because they disagree with it. Only sites calling for violence against people should be closed down or suspended.

Sincerely yours,

Author Bruce Atchison


D. Bob, people are wondering if they should stay on Facebook or other forms of social media. That is quite a current issue facing us. As for me, I'm staying on Facebook.



E. Hi, Bob.

One year ago, self-publishing through CreateSpace was "the thing." This year, CreateSpace is being seen by librarians, independent bookstores, and writers' organizations that have events and give out awards as something to be shunned, like vanity presses. The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators has a list of legitimate publishers and prefers that members only submit books for award nomination that have been published with the help of literary agents. Poor quality of content and editing are the reasons self-published books are now being shunned; however, the list of authors who self-published at times include Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Andy Weir, who used CreateSpace for his bestseller. Writers without spellcheckers, such as Louisa May Alcott, still became popular too. Have other readers of your magazine experienced pushback this year? If they have, how are they responding?




by Bob Branco

Are jobs going away? Think about it. Think of the professions that are going in the direction of automation. We keep hearing about driverless cars, robotics, automated ordering of food, self--service cash registers, and much more. Imagine all the jobs that could disappear in the coming years: gas station attendants, drivers, cashiers, waitresses, telephone operators, housekeepers, etc.

While society tries to sort out the next job shift in our economy, we have to think seriously about ourselves and what we are capable of doing. It is so easy to recommend training in automation and how to maintain or manufacture this technology. The fact is not all of us possess the kind of intelligence necessary in order to do that.

Those of us who drive, answer the phone, wait on customers, handle a cash register, or clean a house may have spent our entire working career doing this one particular task, not expecting our careers to be in jeopardy. But that's okay, because it's supposed to be easy for us to suddenly run a business, begin a career in writing, or make a robot. While some of us can attain these goals, others cannot. How many blue--collar workers in their late forties have the desire or even the capacity to make these career changes? As you know, many companies prefer younger people to fill future jobs. People who are older are up against it.

My mother, God rest her soul, spent 24 years on an assembly line as part of the process of manufacturing ring binder notebooks. At 16 years old, she dropped out of high school in order to go to work in a factory while taking care of my sick grandmother. My mother had no other work experience than factory work. Yet if she were alive today, and a little younger, people who know about the next job shift will suggest that she run a business, start a writing career, or go for training in high technology. This is easier said than done.

A friend of mine has another solution for a fast changing economy. She proposes universal income for all. So, even if you are the victim of a dying job, you will still make money as if the United States became a socialist country. Our government is trillions of dollars in debt, so where will this magical universal income come from? Though many people will still have the desire to work and perform quite well while knowing that they would be entitled to universal income, you know as well as I do that some may not be motivated to go to work because their happiness will be realized in the form of such income. So, what will the blue-collar industry do while their ancestors worked very hard to be extremely productive? God only knows.

In the past, job shifts made sense because machines didn't take over the work force. Cars replaced the horse and buggy, but people still drove those cars. Computers took over pencil pushing, but people still operated computers. People who wash dishes for a living still perform their work, even though they now use automatic dish washers instead of hosing down dishes by hand. When the Merlin telephone took over the rotary phone, receptionists still had to answer it. Today, machines are taking over, so job shifts are not so simple anymore. If my job disappears, what happens if I go somewhere else for a job and watch that job disappear as well? If driverless cars are mainstreamed in our society, everyone who drives for a living is in danger of losing their job, and it won't matter what the job is. It could be a food delivery job, a cab driver, a trucker, or anything else related to a motor vehicle. Again, many of these drivers are blue-collar workers in their forties and fifties who neither think about another career nor expect to start over.

There is a lot to sort out, and I do not envy economists who have to do so.

Bob Branco blogs at


7. WEATHER OR NOT: Another Busy Hurricane Season Is on Tap; Now, What Should You Do?

by Steve Roberts

The Four Horsemen of a Hurricane

The four horsemen of a hurricane are storm surge, rainfall-induced river flooding, high winds, and tornadoes.

When preparing for a hurricane, it helps to know what you are up against. A landfalling hurricane brings two elements to the people who incur its wrath: wind and water. Each element carries two impacts. The water delivers storm surge and river flooding. The wind impacts are high winds and spin-up tornadoes.

The storm surge is the most deadly impact of a hurricane. 90% of all hurricane deaths are attributable to storm surge. As a hurricane approaches the coast, fierce winds push water onto the shore. Winds of great force dam the flow of water, preventing its return to the sea. Waves traveling on top of the surge hammer away at structures that are built along the shore.

There are a few things that you can do to protect yourself from a hurricane's storm surge:

* Take things from the first floor to the second floor of the house.

* Take all of your important papers to a place of safety.

* Pack your car with your stuff and go to a place of safety.

Heavy Rains from Hurricanes

A midsummer cloud burst can dump rain at 1--2" an hour or more. A hurricane can dump rain at the same intensity for three or four hours straight. In a typical hurricane, you can get 6--10" of rain. This is more than enough rain to produce widespread river flooding. Should a hurricane slow down or stall out, you could be drenched by feet of rain.

If you live near a river, you must evacuate at once. A hurricane can cause flash flooding, which is rapid and catastrophic in nature.

Take whatever you have to the upper floors of your house, or take things to another place of safety.

Be sure to locate and take your flood insurance policy, as insurance does not cover the damage resulting from flooding. With all of these preparations finished, leave your house and hope for the best.

Run from the Water; Hide from the Wind

Up until now, I have talked about running from the water. Now, I would like to discuss hiding from the wind.

A hurricane's high winds can topple trees, rip off roofs, and instantaneously disassemble whole houses. Thank God, these kinds of winds are very rare. A hurricane can also cause small spin-up tornadoes. Because these are such similar impacts, you prepare for them the same way.

Protect yourself from the wind by going to the lowest level of your house. Keep as many walls between you and the wind as possible.

Places such as interior hallways, bathrooms, and basements will give you the greatest protection  possible.

The bathroom affords you great protection, because plumbing lines fortify the structure of the house.



A. The Lyra and the Cross

Historical fiction by Elizabeth L. Sammons

C 2018 / 378 pages in print

In e-book ($4.99) and print ($14.95) from Amazon and Smashwords

Cover image, longer synopsis, free text preview, author bio, and buying links:

Short synopsis:

Classics buffs and faith-based readers alike will enjoy this novel, which mingles Greek and Jewish traditions in the pre-Christian world. Drawing on her own experience as a journalist, Peace Corps volunteer, and interpreter, the writer depicts a world as full of interfaith conflict and difficult choices as our own. Along with familiar Biblical characters, readers will find stories of a slave turned freedman, a Greek orphan adopted into Judaism, and two bittersweet love stories.

Amazon review quotes:

"Historical fiction at its best! The author explores the politics, religion, and culture that provide structure in the volatile world at the time of Christ. … [The story] rings with truth and clarity."   -- P.M. Newman

"A riveting tale of culture, religion, and character." -- MZ

Editing, cover design, formatting, and e-book conversion were done by David and Leonore Dvorkin of DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services:


B.  Cry Purple

by Christine McDonald

C 2013 / 221 pages in print

This gritty, gripping, moving autobiography is the story of the author's 17 years as a street-corner prostitute and crack cocaine addict in Kansas City, Missouri. She recovered from all that, but lost her vision and her eyes to a congenital connective tissue disorder. She is now a single mother, employed and very politically active, living in the St. Louis, Missouri area. She is also the author of The Same Kind of Human: Seeing the Marginalized and Exploited Through Eyes of Grace (C 2016).

Christine is available for public speaking engagements.

Cry Purple has over 100 mainly five-star reviews on Amazon. It was edited by Leonore H. Dvorkin, and the cover design is by David Dvorkin. The book is available in e-book and print from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and other online sellers.

Details, convenient buying links, and author contact information:

Coming: Cry Purple, the movie, will be filmed in Kansas City in the spring of 2018.


C. News from DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services

from Leonore Dvorkin, Editor

We are very happy to report that in April of this year, authors whose books we edited and formatted sold an impressive 79 books total—and those were only the online sales (from CreateSpace, Amazon, and Smashwords) that we could see. One of our authors reports that in addition to her several online sales, she sold 25 more copies at a single speaking event, bringing the April DLD Books total to at least 104 books. I say "at least" because there may well have been additional sales that we were not able to see.

Also, you can see from the above ad that Christine McDonald's 2013 book Cry Purple is being filmed in Kansas City this spring. She is far and away the most successful of our clients thus far.

The bottom line is that yes, it is generally difficult to make it as a self-published author, but it is not impossible to do so. Our 35-plus clients, with more signing on with us all the time, are proving that every month. We congratulate them and wish to express our deepest admiration for their hard work, perseverance, and effective marketing strategies.


9. THE HANDLER'S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs

by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.

Hello, readers. Here in New York, it's time to put away those heavy winter coats and prepare for spring. It's also time for the big shed. What I mean is, the dog fur will be flying, the winter undercoat will drop off, and for many dog owners, it means hours of grooming, brushing, and vacuuming.

I live with three dogs that shed and grow dense undercoats during the winter. We don't call those huge hair balls dust bunnies; we call them Wookies.

How to wrestle and cut down on those rolling hair tumbles shared by your dog? Here are some tips and tricks. I hope you find them helpful and, if you are like me, fight the good fight and don't let the Wookie win.

Use de-shedding shampoo for the first bath after winter. Furminator ™ brand de-shedding shampoo is very good. Some handlers have reported Shed-X ™ brand shedding control shampoo works well to control shedding after the big shed, which happens twice yearly for most dogs. If you are like me and use a groomer, you can request a similar product.

Healthy on the inside means healthy on the outside. Keep your dog's diet free of grains like corn and wheat and rich in Omega-3 fatty acids/oils like fish oil. Most premium dog foods now add Omegas, but many dog owners add a supplement capsule with each meal. Omegas help reduce dry skin irritation, which can reduce shedding. Omegas also help soften the dryness from the pads on feet and strengthen a dog's nails.

Daily brushing helps release the oil that keeps a dog's coat clean. What you catch in the brush won't end up on you or on the floor. Grooming tools vary depending on the dog's coat. It's best to refer to the experts for tips. Contact your local dog groomer for advice. Most guide dog schools supply graduates with the basics, a slicker brush and metal comb. For a Labrador, this is usually fine for regular grooming, but coats differ from dog to dog, so handlers find what works best and often experiment with tools like shedding rakes and other grooming implements.

Remember: Basic grooming includes wiping ears with ear wipes and eyes with a warm, damp cloth or soft paper towel and brushing teeth with toothpaste meant for dogs.

A reliable vacuum is also a much-needed tool in a household with pets. We use a stick vacuum for quick daily clean-ups and an upright vacuum for weekly cleaning.

Note: Products mentioned are available at all major pet stores and on

Ann Chiappetta, M.S.

Author and Consultant

Visit Ann's book-buying site:

Ann is the author of two books:  Upwelling: Poems and Follow Your Dog: A Story of Love and Trust.



by Karen Crowder

May arrives with warmer, longer days. Temperatures often rise into the 70s and 80s. Supermarkets bring New Englanders fresh corn, asparagus, Vidalia onions, and strawberries. By Memorial Day, lilacs are blooming with their sweet, gentle scent.

There are five special days in May: Cinco de Mayo on May 5, Mother's Day on May 13, White Cane Week May 15-21, the beginning of the Islamic celebration of Ramadan on May 16, and Memorial Day on May 28. Memorial Day is the unofficial beginning of summer.

This month I invite readers to make tacos; delicious fresh corn; and tempting, delicious, dark chocolate brownies.


A. Marshall's Favorite Tacos

B. Microwaved Corn on the Cob

C. Delicious Dark Chocolate Brownies

A. Marshall's Favorite Tacos

After Marshall taught me how to prepare tacos, we enjoyed them on warm spring and summer evenings.


One pound 80% lean ground beef

Half a packet of low-sodium El Paso taco seasoning

Three-fourths cup water

Dashes of garlic

Six El Paso taco shells

One garden tomato

Four ounces Cabot mild cheddar cheese

Mild Ortega sauce

One-half cup of sour cream, optional


1. Preheat cast iron or non-stick 10-12 inch frying pan. Break up one pound 80% lean ground beef. Put it in pan.

2. Dilute seasonings in water in a glass measuring cup. Add this to the ground beef. Stir meat mixture with a slotted spoon. Keep pan on low to medium heat, stirring infrequently for 30-40 minutes.

3. While the meat is cooking, cut tomato into small pieces on a cutting board. Place pieces in a plastic container. Grate cheese into a bowl. Put cheese and tomato beside each other on counter.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place taco shells on a cookie sheet.

Bake them on lowest rack of oven for 4 minutes.

5. Put several spoonfuls of meat into each taco shell. Top meat with some tomato and cheese. Repeat this procedure with all tacos. Top each taco with sauce and sour cream. If serving two, each person will have three tacos.

After you try tacos, your family will ask for them often, because they are delicious.

Variations: You can substitute cooked chicken or fish for the beef.

B. Microwaved Corn on the Cob

This is delicious with tossed salad on warm evenings.


Two ears of fresh corn per person

A little water

Optional butter and salt


1. Cut off ends of corn and take the husks off ears of corn over a sink.

2. Rinse corn, making sure all the silk is removed. Wrap each ear in a moistened paper towel.

3. Prick each covered ear with a fork. Put four to six ears of corn on a large dinner plate.

4. Microwave all ears of corn for nine minutes.

Serve corn hot with optional butter and salt.

C. Delicious Dark Chocolate Brownies

The original name for this recipe is "Dark and Dusky Brownies." It is from ChocolateChocolate, by Lisa Yockelson, published in 2005. It is in print and Braille. The Br number is Br16915. This recipe is in Volume 2 of five volumes. I have made changes to the recipe, using less flour, sugar, cocoa, vanilla, and salt, and omitting egg yolks. I use extra bittersweet chocolate and regular instead of mini chocolate chips. I use granulated, not superfine, sugar and salted instead of unsalted butter. I also cook them at 330, not 325, degrees. I also changed wording and methods, making this recipe easier for blind bakers.


Four ounces Baker's unsweetened chocolate

Three ounces bittersweet chocolate

Two sticks butter

Four large eggs

One and one-half cups sugar

One teaspoon vanilla

One cup all-purpose flour

One-fourth cup Hershey's unsweetened cocoa

One-fourth teaspoon baking powder

A dash of salt

One cup Nestlé's semi-sweet chocolate chips


1. Place chocolate and butter in a three-quart saucepan or double boiler. On low heat, melt chocolate and butter mixture. This takes 12-15 minutes. Shut off heat and allow mixture to cool. This takes 20-25 minutes.

2. While chocolate/butter mixture is melting and then cooling, put eggs (in the shells) in a bowl in warm water.

3. Measure all dry ingredients into a crank sifter. Sift them into a medium mixing bowl.

4. Break eggs into a small mixing bowl and beat them with whisk for two minutes. Add sugar and beat for two more minutes. Add vanilla and beat for 30 seconds more.

5. Add the egg-sugar-vanilla mixture to cooled chocolate mixture. Beat for two minutes. Then stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate mixtures. Add dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon for two minutes. Blend half of chocolate chips into the brownie batter.

6. Preheat oven to 330 degrees. With a one-cup measure, measure half of batter into greased and dusted 7"x11" glass or metal foil-lined pan. The foil should be greased with some Crisco and dusted with cocoa. Place extra bittersweet chocolate and chips in the middle of the brownie batter. Add rest of brownie batter to the pan. Place any extra chocolate chips or bittersweet chocolate throughout top of batter.

7. Bake brownies for 39 minutes. Put pan on the top rack and bake them for 10-12 minutes.

8. Take the brownies from the oven, placing pan on a counter or top of toaster oven. Let brownies cool for over an hour. Transfer to a dinner plate. Cover with foil and parchment paper.

9. Refrigerate them overnight or for another hour.

10. Cut brownies into four squares with a serrated, short knife. Cut each square into four to six brownies. Put brownies in container or serve them right away. They make delicious desserts when paired with ice cream. With a hungry family, they will disappear in hours.

I hope all Consumer Vision readers enjoy the warm May weather.

Let us pray for a more patient, forgiving, and peaceful America.



by Bob Branco

When I was in school, math was one of my favorite subjects. I enjoyed algebra, trigonometry, statistics, and other advanced math courses that involved serious number crunching. I have also followed professional sports for nearly 50 years, and like many of you, I depend on statistics to help me judge how well players are performing. In baseball, I always want to find out players' batting averages, their on-base percentages, how many home runs they hit, what a pitcher's earned run average is, etc. I regard these stats as factual, because they are based on actual data that can be calculated as part of a formula. What else can statistics mean?

Recently, baseball decided to create fake statistics which can never, ever be proven as factual and mean absolutely nothing. Let me cite two new stats which I have no use for: Wins Above Replacement, also known as WAR, and Defensive Runs Saved.

Supposedly, WAR calculates the number of wins that an outfielder helps a baseball team win compared with the performance of the outfielder he replaced. First of all, we don't know who he is replacing. How can you calculate a stat by comparing a player with someone we don't know? If Mookie Betts helped the Red Sox win five games based on his WAR, then who is the guy who wouldn't have helped us win those games? We don't know, because there is no default outfielder when determining WAR. Thus, WAR is a fake stat, or at best an educated guess.

Now let's talk about Defensive Runs Saved. The other night, Betts made a terrific catch in the outfield, probably saving a run. Yes, I emphasize the word "probably." If Betts played that ball on a hop, there may have been other factors preventing that run from scoring, but we'll never know one way or the other. Therefore, Defensive Runs Saved is an educated guess, not a fact.

As I said earlier, math is one of my strong suits, so before anyone implies that I won't accept the concept of statistics, I not only pointed out in this article that I depend on them, but I believe there's a difference between real and bogus statistics. My question is: Why do those who love sabermetrics take this stuff seriously? We don't know if Jackie Bradley's Wins Above Replacement is 5, 4, or even 3 games, because we don't know if the guy he's replacing is better or worse. We also don't know how many runs Jackie saves, because there are too many intangibles.

Keep the stats coming, but base them on actual data.

Bob blogs at



Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the April Consumer Vision. On Leave It to Beaver, the cat that kept coming back to the Cleaver house for food was Bootsie.

Congratulations to the following winners:

Roanna Bacchus of Orlando, Florida

Mark Blier of Sierra Vista, Arizona

Jan Colby of Brockton, Massachusetts

Nancy Hayes of Oakville, Connecticut

Amy Stefanik of New Bedford, Massachusetts

Steve Théberge of Attleboro, Massachusetts

And now, here is your trivia question for the May Consumer Vision. Who is Stormy Daniels? If you know the answer, please email or call 508-994-4972.