The Consumer Vision - November, 2007

Editor-in-Chief / Publisher: Bob Branco

Braille Production: Perkins Braille and Talking Book Library

CD Production: Bob Zeida

Cassette Production: MAB Community Services

Print Production: AlphaGraphics

Formatting: Diane Battaglia

Proof-Reading: Kathryn Arruda

Cassette Duplication: Gerry Arsenault

Treasurer: Maureen Bussey

Advisory Committee: Dan Germano, Marianne Martin, Lori Rego,

Lisa Saulnier, Charles Soforenko, Gail Teixeira and Clayton Wall.

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Table of Contents

Credit or Debit.Decisions, Decisions 2

Man and Woman of the Year 4

"Thank You!" 4

How Innocent People with Chronic Pain May Only Respond to Narcotic

Medication 5

Retraction 5

How We Choose Our Words More Carefully 6

Catch a Vision 6

The Judicial System 8

Don't Get Taken by these Common Work at Home and Home-Based Business Scams:

Internet ScamBusters #61 9

The Red Sox Baby Their Pitchers Once Again 14

The Cats of Mirikitani 15

Dan's Kitchen 16

The Consumer Vision Trivia Contest 18

Soap Column 19

Too Much Debating on Sports Radio 21

Please Support our Sponsors. 22

Credit or Debit.Decisions, Decisions

by Christopher Locovare

It recently just occurred to me that along with vinyl records, black and

white televisions, and cars that you can fix yourself - cash may be the next

thing to slowly become extinct. During any given hour, of any given day,

more often than not, credit cards and debit cards are used for the purchase

of goods and services that easily total into the millions of dollars - and

that's only within a matter of a ten square miles in any town you care to

pick. So knowing how these cards work and the differences between them can

prove to be beneficial to all of us.

A credit card is most easily described as a pass to a pre-authorized loan.

As any "card holder" can tell you, they are very convenient, but there is a

lengthy form to complete before you can get one. The "card issuer" is a bank

of some sort, and they are the ones for whom you fill the form. By doing so,

and applying your signature at the bottom, you authorize the bank to do a

financial search into your past and make a judgment as to whether or not

they will give you a credit card and how much you will be allowed to

borrow - on credit. The biggest hurdle is usually when you are first trying

to get a credit card. It's kind of a catch-22. How can you get a credit card

if you don't have a credit history yet? The answer is that you need to get a

checking account first. Applications for credit cards will usually soon

follow your first "statement" in the mail. Filling out an application,

getting a credit card and later on, a credit card bill, is pretty much all

that most consumers really see and know about credit cards. But there is

much more. The other end of the transaction involves a merchant. How does a

credit card work with them?

The credit card is convenient for the merchant, also. When a customer

presents the card to the merchant, the transaction takes a matter of seconds

to perform. The customer gets the item and the merchant gets the money from

the bank. Right? Well, not really. The merchant has to have a "merchant

account" or "credit card processor." They are essentially the middle man

between the bank and the merchant. The machine through which the merchant

swipes is called a "card processing terminal." This terminal is wired to the

merchant account. When your card is swiped in the machine, your credit card

account number is read along with the amount being charged. This

information, along with the merchant's identification, is sent immediately

to the merchant account credit card processor. The merchant account credit

card processor is connected to a network that has access to an information

data base for all of the banks. The credit card processor ensures that your

account is legitimate and current, and that the amount being charged is

within the limit that has been preset. When these checks have been verified,

the amount of the purchase is added to your outstanding balance and the

merchant then has the amount added to their running balance of credits for

the day. At the end of the day, the grand total of receipts that the

merchant has accumulated is taken from all of the consumer's accounts and

deposited into the merchant's bank account.

A debit card works exactly the same way, except there is no application for

a loan, and the money is taken directly out of a checking account. That's

really the big difference here. With a credit card you are using the bank's

money. With a debit card you are using your money.

On the surface, that's the whole story. But let's dig down a little bit and

reveal some of the perks and pitfalls. When you use a credit card, you have

essentially written a loan for yourself. Pay off the loan on time and you've

improved your credit score. But while you're paying off the loan you are

also paying interest to the bank. You must be aware of what the interest

rate is on the card that you are using. There are very few regulations for

these rates and they can go as high as 25%. On many cards you can avoid

paying any interest for the first month if you pay the entire bill off when

it's received. So the good thing here is that you get to use the banks money

free of charge for a month.

Paying off your balance without being late has other benefits, also. You

will soon find your mailbox filled with offers from banks, not only offering

you additional credit cards, but very attractive rates that are as low as 0%

to transfer funds from your present accounts to theirs. These are called

"balance transfers." While these offers can be very beneficial, read the

offers carefully. The lowest rates, like the 0% offers, are usually for a

specific time period; usually 3 to 9 months - a year at the most. There is

also a fee for the transfer that is usually 3% of the amount transferred or

$75, whichever is less. And be aware of what the rate is going to be AFTER

the promotional rate expires. I've seen this rate jump up to 21%. And don't

think that you can have that really low rate for the entire term you've been

promised. Send in one late payment and you'll find your next bill at the new


Now, for some of the stuff that is mostly kept in the shadows. Almost all

credit card companies have some kind of benefits program. They usually take

the form of accumulating points for every dollar that you charge to your

card. Some flaunt their programs - like the sky miles programs. Others allow

you to cash in your accumulated points for clothing or furniture or even

boats, if you have enough points. The issue here is that you have to ask

about these programs. If you don't ask, they won't reveal them and the

points that you have accumulated will go down the drain. There is one

provision, though. You cannot accumulate points on balance transfers. Also,

I haven't seen any kind of program like this for debit cards.

Another benefit that you get by using your credit card is called buyer

protection - and it's free. Let's say you used your credit card to purchase

something, whether it's face to face, or over the phone or internet. You get

the item home and you find that the darn thing is broken, or scratched, or

maybe you just never received it. What you need to do is call up, or go back

to the merchant, and see about returning the item and getting the charge

reversed, if that's what you want. The merchant will usually try to satisfy

your complaint. The reason for this is because the merchant needs to stay in

good standing with the credit card processor. If the merchant doesn't want

to reverse the charges, send back the item or leave it at the merchant's

counter and contact your credit card company. Tell them what happened and

they will reverse the charges for you. This is known as a "charge-back." The

key here is that you had to have made the effort with the merchant to

resolve the issue. This feature is the BIG difference between credit cards

and debit cards. If you used your debit card for this transaction, you're

out of luck. The merchant has the money from your account and it doesn't

matter who you call - you're stuck.

Man and Woman of the Year

The Consumer Vision is currently accepting nominations for Man and Woman of

the Year.

If you know of such a humanitarian, always giving to the fullest, please

submit a name and brief summary as to why you nominated this candidate to

Bob Branco, c/o The Consumer Vision, 359 Coggeshall St., New Bedford, MA,

02746 or email

The deadline for nominations is 12/20/07. Our committee will review all

nominations. The names of the winners will be published in January 2008.

"Thank You!"

The Consumer Vision thanks you for your thoughtful contributions. Our

readers enjoy and benefit from this information.

Please be sure to proof read your work before sending it to us.

Again, thank you for your very informative articles on issues we don't

discuss often enough.

How Innocent People with Chronic Pain May Only Respond to Narcotic


By Emily Wong

My pet peeve is when people don't understand about chronic pain and how a

narcotic may work better than other groups of drugs. I am a thirty-eight

year old woman who has been suffering with chronic migraine headaches. I

have been to several different doctors and had no success with the common

drugs prescribed to prevent the pain. It took years to convince my doctor to

let me try a narcotic medication, such as the well-known Imitrex. My primary

care doctor finally prescribed Oxycodone and this has been the most

effective drug. It has even kept me out of the emergency room. Before I was

on Oxycodone, I was in the ER at least once a month. It's greatly improved

my life. Now, I am able to socialize and enjoy life more. I have friends who

have several types of chronic problems, such as back pain, neck pain, knee

pain, arthritis, cancer, etc. This is the only drug that works for them, as


What really bothers me is that different drug stores have different policies

about picking up medicines. For example, one of my medications has to be

mailed. It takes about two days, depending on when the mail arrives to the

drug store. Therefore, I have to let them know a week in advance when I need

a refill. From what I understand, it has to be picked up in the doctor's

office. A different drug store may refill it in twenty-four hours. What if

you were someone who needed an insulin shot? My point is that individuals,

such as drug addicts who abuse medications to get high have spoiled things

for innocent people. Used correctly, these medicines are therapeutic and not

bad drugs.


I would like to print a retraction of the classified advertisement for "Work

at Home."

I heard it on the tape version of the newsletter and I was baffled. I

contacted Bob Branco immediately and informed him about what I found.

If you ever see this kind of thing, please write me at,

Thank you, Robert Pacheco

How We Choose Our Words More Carefully

by Bob Branco

Back thirty or forty years ago, when people talked about individuals with

disabilities, they used terms that we hardly ever use today. Some of it has

to do with the development of political correctness, and some of it has to

do with the fact that the issues facing persons with disabilities are at the

forefront so much nowadays that we consciously are more careful about what

we say. Allow me to cite some examples.

Today, when speaking about a person who has difficulty learning, we say that

he has a cognitive disability, or that he is "mentally challenged." In the

old days, this type of individual would have been referred to as "retarded."

Personally, I'm not too fond of that term, so I can understand why others

have gradually gotten away from using it as well.

Another item to take notice of is the use of the term "disabled person." It

is best to say, "person with a disability." It is not that this particular

individual is generally not able, but rather that he has a certain

limitation that hinders him.

For decades, one of our local universities has been referring to the place

where individuals with disabilities receive services as "Disabled Student

Services." Apparently, someone at this university found that to be a

negative term, probably because it implies that students are unable. Now, if

you have a disability and need services in this capacity at that university,

you would go to the "Center for Access and Success." I think that's a very

appropriate term. It's positive, and it means exactly what it says. You are

offered access, as well as assistance, in your efforts to be successful.

Catch a Vision

by Allison Vigna

Dear Catch A Vision:

I am an inmate at the Bristol County House of Correction. My name is not

relevant, but I uphold the name of JESUS CHRIST in high regard. I needed to

write this to help someone going through the same thing I am experiencing.

One night, I penned these words, so I want you to publish them because they

have been inspiring to me.

God's spirit doesn't make cowards out of us. The spirit gives us power, love

and self control. Don't be ashamed to speak for our Lord, use the power that

comes from God and join with me in the suffering for telling the Good News.

God saved us and chose us to be his holy people. We did nothing to deserve

this, but God planned it because he is so kind. Even before time began, God

planned for Christ Jesus to show kindness to us. Now, Christ Jesus has come

to show us that he defeated death on the cross and brought us the Good News.

He shines like a light in the darkness and offers life that never ends. This

is a true message. If we died with Christ, we will be raised with him, if we

don't give up. We will rule and reign with him some glorious day. If we deny

that we know him, he will deny that he knows us. If we are not faithful, he

will still be faithful to us.

Christ cannot deny who he is...God spirit clearly says that in the last days

many people will turn from their faith in Christ and they will be fooled by

evil spirits and by the teaching that come from demons.

He has said to run from your temptations today that capture you. Young

people - always do the right thing. BE FAITHFUL, LOVING, easy to get along

with, worship God in spirit and truth, and keep your hearts pure. Keep away

from senseless arguments which only lead to trouble. God's servants must not

be troublemakers. They must be kind to every one and must be good teachers

and very patient.

Thank you for this opportunity to share my faith in Jesus Christ our Savior.


* * *

Dear Sister in Christ,

Thank you for sharing on matters of the heart. To put these words into

practice is what God is asking every believer in Christ Jesus to do. What we

do with our faith depends on us and our relationship with Jesus Christ. I am

glad to hear from someone who is behind the wall of prison to be set free in

their mind and spirit and to live in high expectancy of Jesus impending

return to this earth to gather his believers. The fruits of the spirit are

gentleness, meekness, longsuffering, kindness, and most of all, love.

Don't give up, Jesus is on our side.

Allison Vigna

The Judicial System

by Bob Branco

Quite often, we hear that the courts are backlogged with cases, and that is

why people have to wait a very long time for their day in court. In the past

year or so, I have learned a little more about the judicial process, and

based on my new knowledge, I've come to agree with public thinking on this


On June 21, 2006, a man asked to use someone's bathroom and proceeded to

take a handful of DVDs from that person's home. During questioning by the

New Bedford, Massachusetts Police Department, the robber admitted to

stealing the DVDs so that he could trade them for cocaine. On June 26, the

suspect was asked to appear at a pre-trial conference, and did not attend.

Instead of apprehending him on the spot for contempt of court, the judge

scheduled another pre-trial conference for July 13, and again the suspect

did not show up, leading to a third one on August 17. After the third

pre-trial conference, the victim was awarded restitution for the theft. As

of this writing, 15 months later, no restitution has been granted because

the suspect broke his agreement with his probation officer by running away

from two half-way houses and not going to work. To begin with, there was no

need for three pre-trial conferences in this case. Not only should the

suspect have been apprehended after the first one, but to me, the case is

open-and-shut. All a judge has to do is look at the original police report

to find where the guy admitted to stealing the DVDs so he could snort

cocaine. How much more simple can this be? As for restitution, I wonder how

many victims actually get what the judge awards them, because, for whatever

reason, many defendants can't or won't comply with the guidelines for

payment. This particular suspect's probation officer explained that in order

to pay back the victim, the suspect had to get a job. Well, if he is in no

position to get a job because he is in a drug rehabilitation facility, then

how can the victim get his money back?

On September 5, 2007, a 34-year-old woman with special needs was mugged

while walking in a local park. A young punk took her cell phone and left in

a get-away car. After the thief took off, he called the victim and told her

that in order to get the cell phone back, she had to perform sexual favors

for him. The young woman had a witness - a 17-year-old girl who also has

special needs. The police detective who was assigned to the case brought a

photo of a possible suspect to the victim, who successfully identified him

as the mugger. The witness went to the police station and looked at the same

picture. She also successfully identified the guy as the mugger. What is my

point, you ask? Well, the mugger appeared in court for his hearing on

October 30. The end result was that he now has to go before another

magistrate. Prior to the original court date, the District Attorney's Office

informed me that they would not accept the testimony of either woman as

evidence, because the process by which they identified the mugger was

inappropriate. I don't want to believe that the District Attorney's Office

is not accepting these two reports because both women have a learning

disability. I'm not even accusing that office of this type of

discrimination. However, it wouldn't surprise me if some of my readers are

thinking it. As with the first case, this case is also simple. The guy took

a woman's cell phone in front of another witness. Both the victim and

witness identified him, but yet he has to have a second hearing in front of

a new magistrate.

If you are waiting for your day in court, I think you can see why it takes

so long. The court dockets are full of cases where most defendants default,

and then the judges have to reschedule these same cases. A mugger is

identified, goes to court, and yet needs to go back again, taking up another

spot on a court calendar.

I don't understand.

Don't Get Taken by these Common Work at Home and Home-Based Business Scams:

Internet ScamBusters #61

Internet ScamBustersT by Audri and Jim Lanford

Copyright (c) Audri and Jim Lanford. All rights reserved.

Hi everyone:

Today's issue is about a very important topic that we've never covered in

depth before: home-based business scams and work-at-home scams.

However, before we get going, an important point:

The FBI reports Web fraud claims rose sharply in 2002. In fact, they

*tripled* from a year earlier. Not a surprise to Internet ScamBusters


OK. Let's get started...

Top 10 Work At Home and Home Based Business Scams and How to Avoid Them -

Part 1

Home-based business and work-at-home opportunity scams rank very high on the

list of the top types of Internet fraud.

In this issue, we'll focus on the Top 10 home-based business/work-at-home

scams. We'll give you the straight goods on envelope stuffing, mystery

shopping, and other common home-based business "opportunities" you may have

seen floating around the Net.

Then, in the next issue, we'll give you some important tips you can use to

kick the tires of any online job offers or business opportunities you find

so you can protect yourself from those that are scams.

Work-At-Home and Home-Based Business Scams

There are two basic types of scams involved here. Scammers using both types

are aiming at folks who want to make money from home, either by:

1.  Having you work from home, doing envelope stuffing, craft assembly, or

other tasks where you are (supposedly) paid by a company as an employee.

There are certainly some legitimate telecommuting jobs, but work-from-home

jobs are often just big scams.

Before we go any further, a sobering quote: "There are very few legitimate

[work-at-home job] opportunities available," says Beverley Williams,

President and Founder of the American Association of Home-Based Businesses.

2.  "Helping" you start your own home-based business as a mystery shopper,

network marketer or other businesses where the only money anyone sees is the

money the scammer pockets.

Certainly, there are LOTS of legitimate businesses that can help you start

your own home business. We'll help you figure out which are real -- and

which are just scams.

Our goal with Internet ScamBusters is to save you time, money and heartbreak

before you fall for the scams. Remember -- if it sounds too good to be

true... *it probably is.*

Why Are These Scams So Successful? It all comes down to psychology. Besides

the "make money fast" dream that many Internet newcomers fall prey to,

home-based "opportunities" scammers mooch off the following groups. Perhaps

you belong to one or more of them:

1.  The Sick, Disabled, or Elderly: If you are elderly, ill, or have a

disability, you may have problems landing a traditional job.

2. The Stay-At-Home Mother: Whether you have a spouse or you're single, you

may be looking to supplement or create an income while raising children.

3. The Low-Income or No-Income Family: You or your spouse may have just lost

your job, and you feel desperate and anxious to find work as the bills pile


4. The Person Without Higher Education: You're not stupid or dumb -- you

just didn't go on to college or university.

To summarize, these scammers are often preying primarily on the sick, the

disabled, the elderly, the unemployed, parents, and people without a lot of


The Top 10 Home-Based Business / Work-At-Home Scams

Note: These scams are not ranked by dollars lost or people scammed. In fact,

there's nothing scientific about the list. It's just the ten home-based

business scams we find the most disturbing.

10. Craft Assembly

This scam encourages you to assemble toys, dolls, or other craft projects at

home with the promise of high per-piece rates. All you have to do is pay a

fee up-front for the starter kit... which includes instructions and parts.

Sounds good? Well, once you finish assembling your first batch of crafts,

you'll be told by the company that they "don't meet our specifications."

In fact, even if you were a robot and did it perfectly, it would be

impossible for you to meet their specifications.

The scammer company is making money selling the starter kits -- not selling

the assembled product. So, you're left with a set of assembled crafts... and

no one to sell them to.

9.  Medical Billing

In this scam, you pay $300-$900 for everything (supposedly) you need to

start your own medical billing service at home. You're promised

state-of-the-art medical billing software, as well as a list of potential

clients in your area.

What you're not told is that most medical clinics process their own bills,

or outsource the processing to firms, not individuals. Your software may not

meet their specifications, and often the lists of "potential clients" are

outdated or just plain wrong.

As usual, trying to get a refund from the medical billing company is like

trying to get blood from a stone.

8.  Email Processing

This is a twist on the classic "envelope stuffing scam" (see #1 below). For

a low price ($50?) you can become a "highly-paid" email processor working

"from the comfort of your own home."

Now... what do you suppose an email processor does? If you have visions of

forwarding or editing emails, forget it. What you get for your money is

instructions on spamming the same ad you responded to in newsgroups and Web


Think about it -- they offer to pay you $25 per email processed. Would any

legitimate company pay that?

7.  "A List of Companies Looking for Homeworkers!"

In this one, you pay a small fee for a list of companies looking for

homeworkers just like you.

The only problem is that the list is usually a generic list of companies,

companies that don't take homeworkers, or companies that may have accepted

homeworkers long, long ago. Don't expect to get your money back with this


6.  "Just Call This 1-900 Number For More Information..."

No need to spend too much time (or money) on this one. 1-900 numbers cost

money to call, and that's how the scammers make their profit.

Save your money -- don't call a 1-900 number for more information about a

supposed work-at-home job.

5.  Typing At Home

If you use the Internet a lot, then odds are that you're probably a good

typist. How better to capitalize on it than making money by typing at home?

Here's how it works: After sending the fee to the scammer for "more

information," you receive a disk and printed information that tells you to

place home typist ads and sell copies of the disk to the suckers who reply

to you. Like #8, this scam tries to turn you into a scammer!

4.  "Turn Your Computer Into a Money-Making Machine!"

Well, this one's at least half-true. To be completely true, it should read:

"Turn your computer into a money-making machine... for spammers!"

This is much the same spam as #5, above. Once you pay your money, you'll be

sent instructions on how to place ads and pull in suckers to "turn their

computers into money-making machines."

3.   Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)

If you've heard of network marketing (like Amway), then you know that there

are legitimate MLM businesses based on agents selling products or services.

One big problem with MLMs, though, is when the pyramid and the

ladder-climbing become more important than selling the actual product or


If the MLM business opportunity is all about finding new recruits rather

than selling products or services, beware: The Federal Trade Commission may

consider it to be a pyramid scheme... and not only can you lose all your

money, but you can be charged with fraud, too!

We saw an interesting MLM scam recently. One MLM company advertised the

product they were selling as FREE. The fine print, however, states that it

is "free in the sense that you could be earning commissions and bonuses in

excess of the cost of your monthly purchase of" the product. Does that sound

like free to you?

2.  Chain Letters/Emails ("Make Money Fast")

If you've been on the Internet for any length of time, you've probably

received or at least seen these chain emails. They promise that all you have

to do is send the email along plus some money by mail to the top names on

the list, then add your name to the bottom... and one day you'll be a


Actually, the only thing you might be one day is prosecuted for fraud. This

is a classic pyramid scheme, and most times the names in the chain emails

are manipulated to make sure only the people at the top of the list (the

true scammers) make any money.

This scam should be called "Lose Money Fast" -- and it's illegal.

1.  Envelope Stuffing

This is THE classic work-at-home scam. It's been around since the U.S.

Depression of the 1920s and 1930s, and it's moved onto the Internet like a

cockroach you just can't eliminate.

There are several variations, but here's a sample: Much like #5 and #4

above, you are promised to be paid $1-2 for every envelope you stuff. All

you have to do is send money and you're guaranteed "up to 1,000 envelopes a

week that you can stuff... with postage and address already affixed!"

When you send your money, you get a short manual with flyer templates you're

supposed to put up around town, advertising yet another harebrained

work-from-home scheme.

And the pre-addressed, pre-paid envelopes? Well, when people see those

flyers, all they have to do is send you $2.00 in a pre-addressed, pre-paid

envelope. Then you stuff that envelope with another flyer and send it to


Ingenious perhaps... but certainly illegal and unethical.

In the next issue, we'll share ten tips on avoiding home-based

business/work-at-home scams.

The Red Sox Baby Their Pitchers Once Again

by Bob Branco

Once again the Boston Red Sox are babying their pitchers. The latest is that

they wanted to limit the amount of innings that Clay Buckholtz pitched this

season. They were afraid that Buckholtz would be burned out or too tired if

he pitched more than 150 innings this season, no matter how good he is.

Let's face it. Buckholtz qualified for the third starter in the playoffs,

after Beckett and Shilling. Don't you agree that he's better right now than

Lester, Wakefield and Matsuzaka?

In 1967, the Red Sox had a pitcher on their staff named Jim Lonborg, who was

about the same age then as Clay Buckholtz is now. Lonborg won 22 games and

lost 9 that season, and was the best pitcher on the staff. Given the fact

that baseball teams had 4-man pitching rotations in 1967, and that more

complete games were pitched, I am positive that Jim Lonborg pitched more

innings in 1967 than any pitcher on the Red Sox staff this year, or perhaps

even in baseball. Not only did Lonborg win 22 games because he was the best

pitcher, but also because he was allowed to pitch. No team ever limited

innings pitched for anyone back then. I also don't believe there were more

pitchers on the disabled list 40 years ago than today, even though pitchers

pitched many more complete games with less rest. If Jim Lonborg was in the

Red Sox organization today, as good as he was in 1967, and at the same age,

he'd probably be in Double-A, under the watchful eye of Theo Epstein making

sure that his pitch counts and his innings were limited. We would never see

the real Jim Lonborg today.

I am positive that if Clay Buckholtz pitched in the playoffs, it wasn't

going to destroy his life or career. He wouldn't suffer any traumas or have

his arm dangling down like a piece of spaghetti. I think he would have

handled it just fine. He's not hurt, and he would have gotten a lot more

rest between games than any other pitcher ever did.

The Cats of Mirikitani

by Kathryn Arruda

First-time director Linda Hattendorf has crafted a poignant documentary

about Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani, an eighty-five year old, formerly homeless

artist who was living in the streets of New York City. It was in the SoHo

neighborhood that she found him sleeping in the entryway of a local

mini-mart. He bid his time painting richly expressive watercolors of cats

and flowers, bombs and internment camps, handing them out to people and

managing to scrape together a survival with meager earnings. Hattendorf

began documenting Mirikitani's work and developed a deep interest in

learning the story of the life of this artist.

Born in Sacramento, California, and raised in Hiroshima, Japan, Mirikitani

spent several years in an internment camp in the wake of post-Pearl Harbor

America. He emerged from the prolonged detention with memories of possessing

promise at the age of 25, but was now marred with the bitterness of hardship

and great loss. On September 11, 2001, in the acrid, choking dust of the

World Trade Center tragedy, Hattendorf found Mirikitani and invited him to

take refuge in her small apartment. In the many months of his stay,

Hattendorf took on the research of finding connections to his past and to

his qualifications of U.S. citizenship so he could receive benefits to

secure his independence. Slowly, the feelings of anger and hardened pride

gave way to a restorative sense for Mirikitani and his journey took on new,

evolving chapters.

This film is a winding road of vintage past mingled with destitute life in

New York City, yet it becomes a story of healing and closure, of salvation

and humanitarianism. The Cats of Mirikitani has been presented on PBS

channels and is available on DVD. This straightforward documentary is being

presented at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and receives recognition on

various web sites, as well. Information about Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani and

this first film by Linda Hattendorf can be found at the MFA home site,, and also at

If you are touched by human interest stories and of the lives of artists,

please consider seeing this worthwhile film.

Dan's Kitchen

This is a recipe for brownies from brownie mix.

Makes about 20 to 25 brownies.


one box of Pillsbury Classics Traditional Fudge Family Brownie Mix (19


1/2 cup of Wesson oil

1/4 cup of water

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup of shelled walnuts

a little Crisco or Pam

optional: a can of chocolate frosting

optional: a small package of candied cherries


9 by 13 glass or metal baking pan, 21/2 to 3 inches deep

one large can or bottle to use as a rolling pin to crush the walnuts to a

small size

a square-shaped rubber spatula

a cookie sheet on which to grind the walnuts

one medium to large plastic Ziplock bag to hold the nuts while crushing

measuring cup

a whisk to beat the eggs

a mug to hold the eggs

a large mixing bowl to mix all of the ingredients

a can opener

a butter knife to spread the chocolate frosting

a kitchen timer

a cake tester or toothpick

Saran wrap or foil to cover the baked brownies


1. Check to see if you have all of your ingredients and utensils.

2. Measure one cup of walnuts.

3. Carefully pour the walnuts into the Ziplock bag and zip it closed.

4. Pass your hand over the bag of nuts and flatten it down.

5. With a rolling pin or manageable bottle or can, crush the nuts into small

pieces, but not too fine.

6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

7. Grease the bottom of the baking pan with Crisco, using your fingers, or

spray on the Pam.

8. Break and beat the two eggs.

9. Open the brownie mix and pour it into the large mixing bowl.

10. Pour 1/2-cup of Wesson oil and 1/4-cup of water into the large mixing


11. Pour in the two beaten eggs and crushed nuts.

12. Mix the ingredients very well with the square-shaped spatula. Do this by

turning the bowl around with one hand, and with the other, bring your

spatula across the bottom of the bowl.

13. Keep turning and stroking until you reach 50 or so strokes.

14. Carefully pour the mix from the bowl into the pan. Use the spatula to

make sure you have emptied all of the mix into the pan.

15. With the spatula and your fingers make sure that the mix evenly covers

the pan, especially the corners.

16. Put the pan in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes.

17. When the timer rings, check your brownies with a wire cake tester or a


18. If the cake tester or toothpick comes out clean, your brownies are done.

Otherwise, cook for 2 or 3 more minutes.

19. Let your brownies cool. Then, cut the brownies with a knife into 2 or 3

inch squares.

20. With a spatula and your fingers, take the brownies from the pan and put

them into a container or plate.

21. Optional: Frost the brownies now with the chocolate frosting from the

can. Open the can of frosting and spread the chocolate frosting over the

brownies with a butter knife. You may need help in spreading the frosting

the first time.

22. Optional: Open a package of candied cherries and place one or two

cherries on each brownie.

23. Cover your brownies with Saran wrap or foil very well, so they will

remain fresh.

24. If desired, put the brownies in the fridge or the freezer if you are not

going to eat them for some time. Be sure that they are very well wrapped.


The Consumer Vision Trivia Contest

Here is the answer to the Trivia Question submitted in The Consumer Vision,

September edition:

According to Rick Dees, the youngest female singer to have a number-one hit

song on the top 40 is Jo-Jo, at age 15.

Congratulations to our winner: Sharon Costa of New Bedford, MA

* * * * * * *

And now, here is our November Trivia Question:

What are the names of the seven children on the television series "The


If you know the answer, please send your name, address and phone number to

The Consumer Vision at or give our office a call


(508) 994-4972.

Soap Column

by Gert Moore

The week of November 5th...


Lucas is desperate to call for an intervention for Sami.

Shawn proposes a wedding date to Belle.

Will admits he'd like to live with Carrie and Austin.

Hope tells Bo about Philip and Belle's torrid secret.

Max makes a stand when Ford shows up at the Cheatin' Heart.

Kate warns Philip not to interfere with Shawn and Belle's relationship.

VCR Alerts:

All gather to watch Sami wed EJ

Someone is shot at Sami and EJ's wedding.

Stefano is determined to find his son's shooter.

Sami is desperate to save EJ.

Will has a run-in with the law.

Belle accuses Phillip of using Claire to get to her.


Richie's condition is revealed.

Adam bares his soul to Krystal.

Erica holds Ian for the first time.

Lily makes a lunch date with Richie.

Joe finds out something about Erica.

JR falls off the wagon.

Kendall holds Zach responsible for the mess they are in.

Richie stays one step ahead of Ryan.

Greenlee struggles to do the right thing.


Sofie makes a decision.

Meg arranges for a paternity test.

Holden has a meeting with Bonnie.

Evan Walsh IV hits town.

Luke struggles to make progress.

Dusty plants a kiss on Emily.

Barbara sinks to a new low.

Emily and Dusty have a fiery encounter.

Sofie and Gwen almost uncover Barbara's scheme.


Jax, Jerry and Sam walk into an ambush.

Jason gets Elizabeth a gun.

Tracy, Luke, and Scott end up trapped together.

Lulu wants to use herself as bait.

Alexis has a medical crisis.

Lucky fights to save Maxi.

Zacchara lashes out at Nikolas and Emily.

Jerry has devastating news for Carly.

Sam and Lucky face off with Zacchara.

Nikolas' worst fear could be realized.

Jason puts his life on the line for Elizabeth.


Dorian gets disturbing news.

Natalie works hard to make Jared jealous.

The Buchanans arrive at Asa's ranch.

Marcie goes into hiding.

Cole faces death.

John and Marty make love.

John and Ramsey become allies.

Two people close to John disappear.

Viki has a bad work day.

Natalie finds romance.


Victoria's condition declines.

Heather receives info that could put Paul behind bars.

With Clear Springs still on her mind, Lauren suffers panic attacks.

Victor is devastated to realize his part in the Clear Springs disaster.

Neil and Karen up the ante.

Victor and Nikki struggle to make an agonizing decision about Victoria and

her baby.

Paul opens up to Heather, incriminating his friends.


Nick surprises Taylor with a special present.

Jackie makes a splash.

Stephanie receives a disturbing gift.

Patrick Duffy returns as the Logan girls' Dad, Stephen.


Alan secretly trashes Olivia's room.

Frank sends the IRS after Cyrus.

Marina asks Cyrus to marry her.

Ashlee discovers more of Doris' treachery.

Will comes between Cassie and RJ.

Dinah moves in with Lizzie.

Josh grows concerned about Will's behavior.

Reva basks in her relationship with Jeffrey.

Lizzie loses at her own game.

Sneak Peeks: PASSIONS

Gwen attacks Eve.

Esme pushes Fancy to fight for her man.

Tabitha and Endora are reunited.

Spike is the target of an evil spell.

Eve faces the Hospital review board.

Theresa slaps Pilar.

Tabitha makes Theresa an offer.

Gwen is poisoned.

A menacing woman threatens Pilar.

Julian gets drunk with Esme.

Too Much Debating on Sports Radio

by Bob Branco

I enjoy listening to Craig Mustard and Larry Johnson on radio station WEEI,

an all sports talk radio station in Boston. At times, they even crack me up

the way they argue. However, there are times when they get a little carried


This morning, a caller attempted to speak to them, but as he tried to get

his point across, Mustard and Johnson chose to continue their argument with

each other. The caller never said what he wanted to say, and they moved on

to another caller. Why bother calling the program to say what's on your mind

if the two co-hosts are only going to have their own personal fight while on

your time? You know how it goes. Sometimes if you want to call a sports talk

show you have to wait nearly an hour before it's your turn. You worked out

everything you're going to say, and then you're met with two co-hosts who

want to argue back and forth. If Mustard and Johnson like to argue so much

and pick on each other, why can't WEEI simply devote a time for them where

no phone calls are taken. Just put Mustard and Johnson in a room and have

them go at it for two hours straight with no telephone.

Do you agree?

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Phone: (508) 679-0100 / Fax: (508) 679-0900

Whaling City Transit, Inc. is family owned and operated.

We have been providing school bus, wheelchair transport and van services to

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Want to play The Consumer Vision Trivia Contest?

Give it your best shot!

Winners will be recognized

in the next issue.

Turn to page 17 to find last issue's winners and this issue's question!

Best of Luck!

* * * * * * *

Got news?

Got a question?

Got something to say?

Get it to us!

The Consumer Vision

Bob Branco

359 Coggeshall Street

New Bedford, MA 02746

Phone: (508) 994-4972


* * * * * * *