The Consumer Vision
Web Site: www.consumervisionmagazine.com
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Publisher: Bob Branco
Editor: Janet Marcley
CD Production: Bob Zeida
CD Reader: Bob Zeida
Email Production: Bob Branco and Janet Marcley
Braille Production: Perkins Braille and Talking Book Library
Board of Directors: Clement Beaulieu, Darryl Breffe, Steve Brown, Lauren Casey, Dan Germano, Bob Hachey, Allen Hensel, Alan Soule and Gail Teixeira
Note: For searching purposes, three asterisks (***) have been inserted just before the beginning of each new article or section.
Table of Contents
A Notice from the Publisher
When sending correspondence to Consumer Vision, please do not send a direct reply to my G-mail account. This account is only used for sending out the magazine, because Verizon regards it as Spam material. If you wish to respond to an article or send any other comments, please use firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.
On another note, I have been working with the office of
Senator Ed Markey of
Bob Branco Releases his Fourth Self-published Book
April 24, 2014
Press release for
“Weighing Things Up: Essays on Trends, Technology, and Present-Day Society”
by Robert T. Branco
Published by CreateSpace and Amazon in print and e-book on April 23, 2014
Paperback: 314 pages / $13.95
“Weighing Things Up” is Robert T. Branco’s fourth published book. One of his previous books is “As I See It: From a Blind Man’s Perspective” (Revised and Expanded Edition, 2013). That book consists of 35 essays having to do with issues and problems affecting the blind.
“Weighing Things Up” includes 30 additional essays on issues pertaining to blindness and the blind, but then goes well beyond those in its scope. Another 73 short essays have to do with bureaucracy, holidays and our changing attitudes toward them, some absurd pieces of legislation, politics, scams, sports, modern technology, and a wide variety of social issues. Numerous comments and links to articles offering more information were added by the editor, Leonore H. Dvorkin.
The majority of these essays were previously published in either Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind or in the author’s own newsletter, The Consumer Vision Magazine.
Robert T. Branco is a lifelong resident of
You can reach Bob by email at email@example.com; Phone: 508-994-4972
Please visit his book-related website for more information and buying links:
by Ernest Jones
The night dragged on as sleep evaded me. With the aid of a sleeping pill I had fallen asleep shortly after turning the light out but was wide awake two-and-a-half hours later. I feared my sleep was over for the night. Many nights I got only two hours’ sleep. If I slept for four hours I felt I had a great night.
I knew how people, especially blind folk, could mix up their days and nights. But I figured this was from not being active during the daylight hours — they would take the easy chair option with reading or TV and not do any real exercise during the day. My day always started at 6 in the morning, when I would get up to feed Randy and take him out for relieving. I kept active throughout the day with long walks, time on the computer, yard/garden work and household chores. Still, I’d find myself nodding off if I stopped to take a break, and nighttime sleep would elude me.
I put up with this for several months as my energy level dropped. Then, during a visit to my doctor, I mentioned this sleep problem. He immediately explained why it was happening. “Your brain is not getting the light signals needed to know the hour change, as your eyes don’t allow any light to enter in. Production of melatonin by the pineal gland is inhibited by light to the retina and permitted by darkness.”
Strange, I thought, for I should have realized this. I decided to do some checking and found I was not alone.
Non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder (N24HSWD) occurs in a great majority of individuals who are totally blind and lack the light sensitivity necessary to reset their body clock. As a result, these individuals suffer from sleep deprivation, which may lead to difficulties with concentration and memory, as well as an increased risk of errors, accidents, bouts of depression and lack of energy. For many totally blind individuals the sleepless nights and daytime fatigue are considered the most disabling aspects of their blindness.
The timing of human sleep is governed by the length of time since a person last slept and by their internal body clock. The internal body clock, or circadian pacemaker, controls the timing of human sleep with a rhythm that is regulated by a tiny region of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Signals from the SCN help us stay awake and counteract the effects of fatigue. These signals peak in the evening, when the drive for sleep is high, and then diminish when bedtime approaches.
The intrinsic circadian body clock regulates biological functions in an approximate 24-hour cycle and requires regular input from the environment to help maintain synchrony to the 24-hour day. In most people, circadian rhythms are precisely synchronized to the 24-hour day by exposure to environmental synchronizers such as light. Without light, an individual may “free run” slightly longer or shorter than 24 hours, causing a slight delay or advance in their body clock each day.
This misalignment between an individual’s body clock and their sleep/wake schedule may result in a circadian rhythm sleep disorder (CRSD), a non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder. As a result, the sleep-wake cycle of these individuals moves gradually later and later each day if their circadian period is more than 24 hours, or earlier and earlier if it is less than 24 hours. This condition occurs often in subjects who are totally blind and lack the light sensitivity necessary to reset the circadian clock.
It is estimated that about 1.3 million Americans are legally blind, with approximately 10 percent having no light perception. Clinical studies estimate that about 50 percent of totally blind individuals suffer from N24HSWD. Thus, approximately 65,000 Americans may suffer from this disorder. The “free running” of the body clock results in an approximately one-to-four-month repeating cycle where the clock continually shifts about 15 minutes a day until the cycle repeats itself. As time progresses, the internal circadian rhythm of these individuals moves farther and farther away from the 24-hour light-dark cycle, which gradually makes sleeping at night virtually impossible and leads to extreme sleepiness during daytime hours.
Eventually, the individual’s sleep-wake cycle moves back into alignment with the night, and “free-running” individuals are once again able to sleep well at night. However, the alignment between the internal circadian rhythm and the 24-hour light-dark cycle is only temporary.
In addition to cyclical nighttime sleep and daytime sleepiness problems, this condition can cause daily shifts in body temperature and hormone secretion, and is sometimes associated with depression symptoms and mood disorders.
If you suffer from not being able to sleep nights, tell your physician. There are some natural medications, other than just sleeping pills, that help a person to sleep better. In addition, a new medication was recently approved by the FDA that will greatly help those suffering from sleepless nights. So if you are having trouble sleeping, tell your physician and get the help you need. Then, wake in the morning to have a great day.
Comments about the No-Touching Policy
by Bob Branco
In the March/April Consumer Vision, Joe Machise wrote an
article on how the
While Joe Machise has taken action against this independent living center’s policy; the center defends it by suggesting an alternative to the sighted guide technique, which is verbal instruction by their staff. In other words, Go Left! Go Right! Go Straight! For what it’s worth, I don’t believe that this form of verbal instruction is a viable alternative to the sighted guide technique.
In your lifetime, how often have you either given or were given the wrong directions, for whatever reason. Keep in mind that when a person is facing you, his left is your right, and his right is your left, so you have to create a mirror image for yourself in order to help him. Thus, mistakes are possible.
If a blind person is unfamiliar with the
Several weeks ago, after I held a trivia event for patients in a convalescent home, the sighted activities director guided me to the elevator. She said, “I’m on your right. No, I mean your left.” I know she didn’t mean to make that mistake, but it does happen more often than we care to admit.
There has been a lot of speculation about why this independent living center decided not to offer the sighted guide technique. Therefore, the director should explain herself before she and her center develop an unfair reputation, not to mention that she may be in violation of certain sections of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Yes, the blind should be able to familiarize themselves with their surroundings, and walk around an office without help, but until that happens, sighted guide is the solution.
An Early Red Sox Game
by Karen Crowder
On a sunny afternoon in April
Turning on my radio I expect music or talk radio
I hear a pleasant voice of a sports announcer.
It is the end of an early inning
Of an afternoon Red Sox game.
Opening windows, I let spring air in
I sit remembering last October
The exhilarating excitement of their last play-off game.
Late on a cool Saturday night the Red Sox won
New Englanders were ecstatic, participating in another world series,
After the first game on Thursday night
I hoped we would easily win as we had in 2004.
That Sunday many fans were resigned to losing again
Wednesday night no one missed a minute of that last memorable game.
Would the Red Sox triumph?
After the breathtaking suspense of the ninth inning
There was elation at
Thursday at North station meeting people from distant states
You noticed their excitement
Chatting about visiting
For an unforgettable historic baseball game.
There was joy everywhere
Sunshine and Warm weather fitting this jubilant day.
Saturday morning thousands marched through Boston
Beautiful sunshine with warm temperatures added to this festive atmosphere
People celebrating a triumphant World Series.
Today we listen anticipating a win on this sunny afternoon.
Will the Red Sox repeat the spell-binding season of 2013?
Loyal fans will listen cheering every game won.
Your Amazing Ways: a Poem About JAWS
by Karen Crowder
You sit content on our desks
Always smiling Never unhappy
Your voice is always deep with inflections
You are never disturbed by noise and distractions
The blind always rely on you
Tirelessly you read our emails or documents
Never objecting to any content on the "world wide web"
Spell checking our words and punctuation in our written documents and emails
You were a wonderful invention
Thought up by computer geeks in the 1990s
You have the most distinctive voice of neighboring speech technology
We are disgruntled and disappointed when you fail to work
You have a creative name and picture, a name
From the movie JAWS which represents your always patient ways
Letters to the Editor
I have been looking for a product that would read prescription labels on pill bottles. I asked Maxi Aids, and they said there was no such product. Freedom Scientific has a desktop scanner that has a built-in slot for a bottle to fit on for scanning. The bad news is that it's over 1800 dollars. How can blind people afford these products, especially if they are on fixed incomes?
These companies are making money hand-over-fist every time someone buys one of these outrageously priced products. One time, I e-mailed Freedom Scientific and told them that not everyone can afford their products, and the response I got was, "If you don't like our prices, then you don't buy our products." What an attitude! They think that blind people are made of money, but we know that's the furthest thing from the truth, at least for some of us anyway.
My name is Sean and my husband and I have been married for 13 years and counting. Yes, we have lost a great deal of money. We have been told by family members that we should divorce to get our money back. We are conservative Christians and believe that it is morally wrong to cohabitate in order to keep our money.
I have always contended that the government really doesn’t
support marriage and I’m so glad to know someone is finally speaking out about
this fact. While we are trying to enhance our skills and actively looking for
work, we live on this meager income in the state of
If there are abnormally cold months, then our gas and electricity go up. There isn’t much room for error financially.
Here’s a perfect example of our struggle. I don’t talk about this much but in February, we had a high energy bill and a couple of other things happen. River started to get an ear infection, and I also needed meds. River needed to be seen and we did what we could for him for about the last week to keep his ears from becoming out of control with the infection. I felt like a terrible person because we couldn’t get River the attention when he needed it. Our family says they would be willing to help but neither Todd nor I wants to rely on them for everything. Due to a high energy bill in January, Todd’s parents had to give us some money the month before so we could literally buy food. Because of his parents last month, we didn’t have to even think about doing without our food. I really didn’t want to have to ask our family again for more money in March for any reason. I absolutely hate having to ask anyone for money because it can make the family members feel they can begin to control us, in little ways at first. It gives them room to ask about
what else we are buying, etc., and that feels extremely invasive to me. I can’t wait to get a job and out of this whole system. We both desperately would like to work. Todd is trying to become a Braille transcriptionist and is holding a volunteer job at Independent Living Resources and, while this is a wonderful experience for him, we still are not receiving money for his efforts. He is a reliable worker and putting his all into it, for no pay. There is a hope some day that he will get his certificate and get paid.
While God does provide, we feel that it is the government’s responsibility to discontinue the money cuts once a couple is married. It really isn’t fair.
This month, we were just meals away from running out of food. That has never really happened to us before in all our years of marriage. Our small money is barely making ends meet, as we didn’t end up with enough food for the month.
I just wanted to share and you can use whatever information I’ve given you as testimony in your case to the government. I think this should be brought to national attention. It’s almost like the government wants to punish the disabled for getting married. It does make me wonder if the government is afraid that two disabled people or just one disabled person will get married and have more disabled children. I hate to say this but a male and female living together greatly increases the likelihoods of a child being born. Furthermore, it is about 50/50 risk for having a disabled child. If the playing field could be leveled, then upcoming disabled children would have a better chance at
employment and not be a further burden to the government. However, this current system really is lacking right now as it stands.
Also, I have had some meds that our insurance wouldn’t cover and they were expensive. We had to do some work to get a comparable med.
Just because we are blind or otherwise disabled doesn’t mean we should live like second-rate citizens. If you have cancer, you will get the red carpet urgent treatment.
If you have anything else, you might not get the exact prescribed medication from the physician. How do I know that? I had uterine cancer. I got the operation, the meds, and the whole nine yards. When I came to the doctor for allergies, our insurance was unwilling to pay for the meds needed. How does this relate? I had to pay for what I could afford and do without the rest, as one med was like 50 dollars plus. I am the rule rather than the exception.
The blind represent such a minority, especially those of us who are totally blind. For those of us who never had sight, business isn't willing to take the risk of hiring us because of our unemployment rate, even though it's not our fault. For years I worked for the insurance industry, and they are the greediest people unless you have the right connections, political or otherwise. One of my sisters owned her insurance agency. She could have hired me but said she couldn't afford me. This was in the late '70s, and the so-called reasonable accommodation to hire me would have cost her a grand total of $9.00 a year; no fooling. She talked about how companies could get a tax write-off for hiring people like us, but somehow, for her, it wouldn't work. I had other relatives who had businesses who didn't want anything to do with a blind person.
I am the youngest of 17 children. There's no easy
solution. In a way I owe my first job to
the hippie movement. I started working at the
You are welcome to share this information because none of us knows what turns our lives may take. It's as if I'm being punished for working; and, frankly, I think it's harder for blind people to find jobs today than it was when I started.
We really need to be imaginative about trying to find a
place for ourselves in the working world. In May I'll be 70 and no one
wants to hire someone who has been out of the work force since the early '80's,
but I'm still trying to earn something. There is a shortage of church
organists all over the country, but unless you can drive, and if you live in a
rural area, there's nothing you can do. I moved here to
Greetings, Directory Assistance
by Karen Crowder
Twenty years ago, calling Directory assistance was simple
A friendly voice asked us for city-state and phone number
Information always presented with a smile
For the blind and elderly directory assistance was convenient.
We knew the end was near
When a recording asked you to write down the phone number requested
Today a computerized voice cordially asks for city and state
When we carefully recite do you hear us?
You often give the wrong city or state
When frustrated we say "no you are confused, your now monotonous voice asking us to repeat”
When I almost mispronounce
You politely ask for a business or residence, when we give its name word by word,
you often present us with a business or residence we never heard of.
When transferred to an operator
We are content finally receiving correct information.
We miss a bygone era
When a dependable friendly operator answered.
They were familiar with cities and towns across the
Giving us prompt service with correct phone numbers.
Automation was so efficient for your growing corporations.
Now we have an impersonal inefficient directory assistance.
Writers Devoted Our Time to You
by Karen Crowder
The Ziegler magazine has been appreciated by the blind since the early 1900s
Its articles engaging and informing readers around the globe.
For over one hundred years, it graced homes and schools
It arrived each month, in Braille, and later also audio formats
Audiences perusing Special Notices, Reader's Forum and the pen pal columns
Special Notices advertised summer camp cruises run by or for the blind.
Confident blind adults advertised their businesses, and books written by blind authors
The Pen Pal column helped link people across the globe
Reader's Forum was our community for expressing complaints and opinions;
we would share triumphs big and small
Intelligent commentary captivating every reader's attention.
In 2010 the Ziegler evolved in to a weekly online publication
Blind writers were hired to produce OP Ed and feature articles
We were honored to work writing for this magazine
It boosted our confidence and self-esteem
Every week we hoped to inform, enlighten or entertain blind audiences with our writing
Every week we patiently devoted hours creating articles
We diligently researched topics and stories to delight our cherished audience
Writers spent days writing and revising every article
Many late Sunday nights I would do final rewrites
Patiently finding the right words and sentences to express my ideas.
We Conscientiously sent articles to our editor for each Monday edition
On Monday January 6, 2014, without warning this marvelous publication went into a hiatus
Sending ten writers in to the ranks of the unemployed
Face book or a blog will never erase the void left for thousands of readers
Many do not have computers and relied on the words of the Matilda Ziegler on
Our articles and columns delighted thousands of loyal fans
They now ask, "when will we hear the words of the Matilda Ziegler again?
The Consumer Vision Trivia Contest
Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the
March/April Consumer Vision. Of
Congratulations to the following winners:
Debi Black of
Don Hanson of
Jan Colby of
Karen Palau of
Robert Baran of
Joyce Driben of
Phyllis Stevens of
Marda Anderson Bartel of
Jean Marcley of
Mark Blier of
Susan Jones of
And now, here is your trivia question for the May/June Consumer Vision.
Who was the oldest of the Walton boys on the television series, “The Waltons”?
If you know the answer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-994-4972.