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The Consumer Vision
Address, 359 Coggeshall St., New Bedford, MA 02746
Web Site, www.consumervisionmagazine.com
Email Address, firstname.lastname@example.org
Publisher, Bob Branco
Editor, Terri Winaught
TABLE OF CONTENTS
NOTICE FROM THE PUBLISHER ###
by Bob Branco
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR ###
by Terri Winaught
LANGUAGE LESSONS ###
by Terri Winaught
THE DANGERS IN ONLINE DATING ###
by Bob Branco
HAVE YOU EVER HAD A "POOR ME" PARTY? ###
by Ernest Jones
A DIFFERENT SIDE TO OUR FAITHFUL GUIDE DOGS ###
by Ernest Jones
READERS FORUM ###
THREE DAYS OF A ROSE ###
by Susan Bourrie
WALKING AGAIN ###
by Karen Crowder
CONSUMERVISION TRIVIA CONTEST ###
by Bob Branco
Notice from the Publisher
If you wish to respond to any material in this edition of Consumer Vision, please do not send any emails to my G-mail account. I only use that account for sending out the magazine. You may send all of your correspondence to email@example.com . Thank you for your cooperation.
Letter from the Editor
When you were little, did you ever ask a parent for money, only to be told, "What do you think I am: a money tree?" or, "Money doesn't grow on trees, you know." Though my parents were generous to a fault, there was the occasional reminder that money didn't grow on trees. As I think back on that interesting idiom, I wish more than ever that money did grow on trees! Why, you may ask? Well, if one could plant a money tree in the rich soil of a well functioning economy, I could just peel that paper from bountiful branches and pay somebody to do things like, look at a piece of mail when I am on the phone with a well-intentioned customer service representative who asks, "Well, isn't there someone there who can check that for you while we're on the phone?" When I reply that nobody is here and that I seldom, in fact, have anyone to read mail or help with other visual tasks, I am then asked in an equally helpful voice, "Don't you have a social worker from the Blind Association?" When I patiently point out that I don't, I would also love to add that I wish I had a somebody tree: That way, I could just find somebody on one of those fruitful branches of giving, and pay that person from the abundant branches of my money tree. You probably get my point by now, so I'd love to hear from anyone who has ever wished there could be a somebody tree, money tree, or both. (Being aware that some of our readers are sighted, I can't emphasize enough that I am in no way attempting to demean what I know are questions well intended and suggestions well meant. Rather, my point is to address what can be a frustration to which many of us who are blind or vision impaired can relate.)
To address money matters on a more serious note, Consumer Vision Publisher Bob Branco and I have been exploring ways to generate revenue so that this accessible magazine can keep moving forward. One option would be to sell advertising at a rate of 15 cents per word in those formats of this magazine in which ads are permitted (US Postal regulations specifically prohibit advertising in Braille publications). An additional source of funds could be the sale of cookbooks which our publisher has capably compiled in Braille, Large-Print, and on CD. Braille cookbooks cost $10 and are sent Free Matter for the Blind as are the Large-print editions. Although Large Print and CD also cost $10, there is a $4 shipping and handling charge since those formats cannot be sent Free Matter. To order a cookbook from Bob or to give him ideas about companies that could be potential advertisers, see the front page of this magazine for contact info. (Although businesses that offer products or services to persons with vision loss or other print disabilities would be excellent prospects, we welcome ads from any interested company.)
Finally, this Editor extends hearty congratulations to regular writer Karen Crowder who had her first publication of a poem in the Fall-Winter 2014-2015 edition of Magnets and Ladders, a twice yearly online publication. Congrats also to Ernest Jones who not only is a regular contributor to this magazine but is also published regularly in Magnets and Ladders. This accomplished professional writer also has a monthly column in a local Washington State newspaper.
Some of you might be gifted writers who've just been afraid to put yourselves out there. You may just be surprised to unlock talent you never thought you'd tap into. To submit a poem, article, or essay, use the contact information at the beginning of Consumer Vision to reach Bob Branco. (This invite also goes to John Justice and others whose writing hasn't graced our pages for awhile.)
I also would love to hear from you with any feedback or suggestions at: 412-263-2022, home; 412-737-8004, cell (call or text), firstname.lastname@example.org, E-mail; or email@example.com, alternate E-mail. If Braille is your preferred format: Terri Winaught: 643 Liberty Ave., Apt. 205, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. (Though I respond most quickly to E-mails, phone calls, and texts, I promise to answer all correspondence as promptly as possible.)
Take care, thanks for reading with me, and Happy Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwaanza, Merry Christmas, and a safe winter holiday.
Editor's Note: For your convenience, three number signs, ###
will be placed between articles to make it easier to search and also to skip any content.
Man living without arms or legs shoots down the disability stigma in new book
Kent Bell wasn't expected to live more than 24 hours after he was born. He came into the world without arms or legs and now, 49 years later, he has accomplished
more in life than the average person (including a guest spot on Oprah!).
In his new book, "Look Ma, No Hands, No Legs Either," he opens up about his childhood and how he became the man he is today by not letting his disability
define him. He has since attended college and become a vocal activist for people with disabilities.
By Terri Winaught
Northeastern is one of many hospitals in Philadelphia, PA where I grew up. Fran, my favorite cousin who still lives in Philly, worked at Northeastern where many of my family, including me, were patients.
When I last had a reason to phone them, I was given the option to hear menu prompts in English, Polish, and Spanish (Northeastern Hospital is located in a predominantly Polish neighborhood).
Offering multilingual menu prompts is something that so many places of business do that I was surprised the first time I used my credit union's phone teller banking service. I was surprised because they gave menu options and prompts in English only. This is something about which I have mixed feelings.
On the one hand, I would expect to learn a nation's language were I to move to another country. That part of me feels that persons who choose to emmigrate to the United States would benefit from the encouragement to learn English. That said, the other side of this coin is that English is a difficult language to learn, with spellings that defy reason and therefore give no clues to proper pronunciations. When I think of English's ideosyncracies combined with an appreciation of cultural preservation and pride, it then seems reasonable that people have the option of receiving information in their native languages.
To tell me what you think, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 412-263-2022.
The Dangers in Online Dating
By Bob Branco
I know there is more to this, but I will keep it as simple as possible.
There is a new phone ap which allows someone to express interest in another
person by checking their profile and evaluating their looks. I think we all
know that many people lie about their profiles, so I will move onto their
looks. Looks are important. You want to look attractive in society. I get
that. However, looks do not constitute a person's total make-up. Some of
the most attractive men and women in the world turned out to be mass
Some of you may argue that if you start corresponding on line with your
potential date, it helps. What helps more is if you know the person's
personality. It's their personality that means a lot. You want to know if
the person will respect you, if he will open the door for you, if he will
pull up a chair for you, if he sincerely expresses an interest in what you
do, if he acts enthusiastic about being in your presence, if he says please
and thank you, if he tells you how he feels about you in a tone that you
accept. You can't determine these things on line.
Again, some of you will argue that you have had successful relationships
evolving from on line correspondence. Good for you. I firmly believe there
is too much risk involved in this process. Today's young people need to be
more aware of how it was decades ago. You meet your partner in a classroom,
a playground, a grocery store, a library, a Church event, a restaurant, a
night club, etc. You say hello; she says hello, and then you talk to one
another about yourselves and find out how respectful the two of you are.
Here's a great question. If you use an online service, and the person you
meet does something harmful to you, is the service liable? If I sound
ignorant it's because I don't know enough about online dating, but with that
said, I'm satisfied with my lack of knowledge on the subject.
Your thoughts are welcome.
Have you Had a Poor Me/Pity Party?
By Ernest Jones
Have you ever had a Poor-me Pity Party? If honest, I think every person at
one time or another has had such a party. Why did this happen to me? Why
did I trip over that crack in the sidewalk? Why did my marriage fail? Why did
I go blind? In this column I want to talk about the poor-me parties we often
have while still trying to show a positive attitude. This will be hard, for
in all my writing about blindness I have tried to steer clear of saying
anything that sounds like a pity-me feeling. But a reader suggested I
write on this subject, so following are some responses I got from other blind
people. "My poor-me feelings hit hard the day I knew the last shred of hope was
gone - there was no way to save my eyesight. With a friend's loving care,
I was helped to know that blind or not, life could be great."
"I think we don't like to talk about these poor-me moments because it's
hard to be real with each other. I had just returned home from Seeing Eye
with Neena, my seventh guide dog. Setting out on what I hoped would be a
great mobility walk, I found everything going wrong. Neena was unfocused,
distracted and appeared to not understand what she was to do. I came home
and she was just wild - she destroyed one of the cat's favorite toys, and
chewed the corner off my braille copy of National Geographic. I finally
burst into tears. My husband, being a kind and generous man, said he would
watch her for a while so I could rest. We both knew that tomorrow would be
a much better day."
"I've spent much of my early career working with people with all types of
disabilities. Some of them had a poor-me attitude - so much so it was
difficult to motivate them to be productive. The poor-me people just sat
in one spot while the world waited on them. But those who refused to allow
self-pity to control them adapted and learned rapidly that life was still
"Then there are people like Erik Weihenmayer, who has climbed the seven
highest peaks in the world. Not everyone, disabled or not, aspires to
those lofty accomplishments - most of us are 'average Joes.'
"Everybody has a moment or two of poor-me. Any time a person compares him
Or herself to those around them and feels they are missing out, the door to
poor-me thoughts is opened wide."
"Some years ago I had an incident that upset me very much. My daughter,
then 20, went into labor. She begged me to stay with her after the doctor
told her they would be doing a C-section. I felt so useless. After all, I
was blind - what good was I? I was upset because I would not be able to
see my grandchild come into this world. Then a baby's cry filled the operating
room and I began to relax. After they had cleaned up the baby and swaddled
her in a blanket, the nurse placed her in my arms. I kissed the soft downy
hair on her head and cuddled her against me. I could feel the small racing
heartbeat. I touched her small hand and tiny fingers wrapped around my
finger. The nurse said that my granddaughter was wide awake and looking
right at me. A bond of love was formed right then. You don't have to see
love to know when it is present."
"A life full of self-pity is not healthy. Stop dwelling on what should
have been done, what mistakes your parents or doctors made. That's
history, and whether it was right or wrong, it cannot be undone. Look to the future
and make plans to accomplish the things you want to do."
As far as poor-me, I will listen to others seeking pity, then explain to
them all of us have limitations, no matter who we are. Also, I will
proudly inform them there are quite a few people who would love to be in my shoes.
I let them know I have made it this far, and plan to continue to go upward.
"I was told I couldn't care for my wife when she broke her ankle because I
was blind, so they admitted her to the rehab unit for about two and a half
weeks. When she came home, a nurse came to the house to check on her
well-being. The nurse was surprised when she saw a clean house and a
full-course meal on the table. I had no time for self-pity, and the health
nurse never needed to return to check on my wife's welfare.
"Even though there are negative/poor-me feelings, it is the awareness of
these thoughts and feelings that help to turn us to remember there is
always someone who has it worse than we do. Look on the bright side of life."
"After lying in bed in a coma for days from a mining accident, I woke to
find I was blind. Of course I was depressed, but my God and friends helped
me up. I determined to keep busy, caring for our yard and even teaching in
our church. I haven't time for a pity party."
The French philosopher Voltaire said, "The longer we dwell on our
infirmities, the greater is their power to harm us."
Shut the door to the poor-me party and open it to life.
New audio channel makes fashion accessible for people with
September 19, 2014 - In a partnership dedicated to making
Information about fashion accessible to people who have disabilities, Emily
Davison and Laura Legendary have created Fashionability, a social media franchise
Consisting of an audio channel on the Audioboo platform, a Facebook group
and page, a Twitter account, and a blog and RSS feed. Davison, blogger on
the Fashioneyesta.com blog based in the UK, and Legendary, designer
and owner of Elegant Insights Braille Creations, based in the US, joined
forces in a very stylish collaboration to create an audio guide to accessible
The Fashionability channel aims to cover many aspects of fashion and beauty,
jewelry and accessories, health and fitness, to provide tips and
education, as well as to raise awareness about representation of people
with disabilities in the media. "I have been campaigning with a team
of dedicated individuals with the organization Models of Diversity
to target fashion brands to add models with disabilities to their
advertising campaigns." Says Davison. "there is the fundamental fact that
people with disabilities are not equally represented in the fashion
advertising industry. This immediately creates problems for people with
disabilities as it shows society that disability is not considered to be
relevant to fashion and thus all these unfair stereotypes occur."
Content on the Fashionability channel will also be provided by
Guest contributors, people with disabilities who are subject matter
experts in a variety of fashion-related topics. One such contributor is the organization Living Paintings, www.livingpaintings.org
, based in the UK.
The Fashionability channel is set to launch on September 19,
2014, and will be available via RSS feed and in the Lifestyles category on
. Plans are also in the works for text transcripts of the audio programming, which will be made available on the Fashionability blog.
"The Fashionability brand will focus on accessibility and inclusion," says
Legendary. "When most people think of fashion, or more broadly,
style, they may think of it only in terms of a visual medium. The lack of
accessible information suggests that people with disabilities are somehow
less interested in looking and feeling their best. I hope that, with the help of
Emily and our contributors, we can create a resource inclusive
of all walks of life, all ages, all socio-economic strata, all body types and
all abilities. I want to provide sensible, approachable, fashion
and style information that is within reach...of everyone."
For more information, send email to email@example.com
. Visit the Fashionability Channel at http://www.audioboo.fm/channel/fashionability
About Emily Davison: Emily Davison is a UK based writer, disability
campaigner, and journalist who currently writes about fashion on her blog fashioneyesta.com which she founded in July 2012-a blog created
to enable people with sight loss to access fashion and cosmetics.
About Laura Legendary: Laura Legendary is a speaker, author, andeducator,
specializing in disability awareness, advocacy, accessibility, and
assistive technology. She is also the owner and designer of Elegant
Insights Braille Creations, a distinctive collection of jewelry and accessories,
made in the USA, and embossed in Braille. Visit
To read Laura's blog, go to Accessible Insights Blog at
A Different Side to our Faithful Guide Dogs
By Ernest Jones
This month I decided to write about A different side to our guide dogs. I have often mentioned how our guide dogs help us, how devoted they are but I thought
a more light side to this great companion might be good to share. So here is my article.
Did you know our guide dogs like to enjoy life, even if this may not be according to the strict laws of being guide dog? Here are a few examples of the
other side of the guide dog.
A friend was in a group of people at a business meeting/luncheon. When it was my friend's turn to speak, he got up and gave his guide dog, Harry, the command
to go forward. The pair moved smoothly, with Harry guiding perfectly. For some reason, though, the whole crowd burst into laughter.
"Now what has Harry done?" my friend asked himself.
What he had not known was that behind where he was sitting was a table covered with slices of various pies. Harry had snatched a pie and chomped it down
without missing a beat in his guide work.
After a long, tiring flight home from guide dog training school, Wayne knew his new guide dog, Moses, would need to be relieved. Thus, after entering the
front door, Wayne guided Moses through the house and toward the door to the back yard. While passing through the kitchen, Wayne was surprised to hear the
dog crunching on something. Then he remembered that before leaving for the guide dog training school, he had left the table covered with drying jalapeno
peppers. Moses had scarfed one down. But, as Wayne told me, Moses never looked at that table again, nor bothered anything on it again. He had learned.
Another time, Wayne was sitting out on his front steps with Moses lying at his feet. A neighbor came over for a chat, accompanied by his two small, yappy
dogs. Try as he might, the neighbor could not get his dogs to stop barking. Finally, Moses got up and, walking over to the two noisy dogs, he hiked his
leg and let fly. Immediately the two dogs stopped barking and began to yelp as they raced to their home.
Moses returned to Wayne's side, and giving a great sigh, lay down on the front sidewalk.
"Well, guess he told them," the dog's owner said.
My first guide dog, Melita, was a great dog. I could leave her in the yard as I worked outside and she would stay close by me. One day I called her inside
after I finished hanging out the laundry to dry on the lines. She came running to me, but a couple of hours later she let me know she needed outside. I
could not understand, because she had refused all water that morning. But heeding her actions, I took her out and she really did need this relief. Knowing
she had not had any water, I tried to think what had caused this problem - then I thought of what was growing in the garden.
About two hours, later my wife returned home. After the greeting I said, "Better check the melons."
"They are not ready," she told me. But I insisted, and after a little pressure she went to check the melons. She found one of the largest almost-ripe cantaloupes
nearly devoured. These dogs know good food.
Randy likes to lie on the porch beside me as, sitting with my feet on the steps, I shell peas or beans or snap green beans. He knows he will get either
some of the pea pods or some green beans to munch up. But I think Randy's favorite food is either strawberries or apples. He can smell these fruits as
soon as they are carried into the kitchen, and will keep staring in at my wife, Dorothy, as she prepares these fruits. Of course, Dorothy always makes
sure she has some for me to give him to eat.
Guide dogs are taught to guide, not to defend their owners. But still there are times the guide acts as a guardian. Take the guide dog that forced the
intruder who had crawled into the apartment through an open window, into a corner where he would not let the man escape. The dog just stood, staring at
the intruder but if the man tried to move away the dog would snap his teeth with a clicking sound.
Two officers answered the call for help and after making sure the intruder was acting alone, the officer in charge told the other to handcuff the suspect.
"What about the dog?" the second officer asked, very hesitant to approach the burglar with the dog standing guard.
The blind resident gave a quiet command and the dog moved over to sit beside her, all the while keeping his eyes on the suspect.
Later, after their apartment was once again made secure, the woman's young children decided it was time to sleep with their mother. Then, doing something
he never was allowed to do, the dog showed the lady he, too, wanted on the bed.
"Okay," she said, "I guess you deserve this," and almost immediately the dog was on the bed - one adult, two children and a large dog, all huddled together
for a well-deserved sleep.
Thanks so much for the Consumer Vision; I read it right through just now. I also thanked Terri for coming on board - I think it's great that you found such a creative person to help out!
All articles are well written and as always, oriented to blind
empowerment and healthy living - great work from all who put it
Your comments about the computer and online culture are accurate. It is getting to the point where one has to be tech savvy just to sweep a hallway or clean a toilet. I do feel the same as you on this issue. Yes, most of us can use the computer and I'm also lucky to have the right mind set to just get into it, but I feel for those who struggle
and then just feel left out from something irrelevant to the job at
hand - for example, needing to use a computer to get a job as a
custodian, chef, etc.; its not fair. Moreover, one has to have access
to technology such as an internet hookup, updated computer
equipment, and so on. We do not always have that privilege.
I have a teenage daughter in middle school, and the school is expecting her to have all sorts of technology on hand. They aren't even teaching cursive writing anymore, just the use of a computer.
The thing is, this technology will change so much in the next 10 or 20 years that what is learned now in tech may be completely useless sooner rather than later.
This is what one doesn't realize; that the use of a computer, ipod, and all other so called technology is at the mercy of the programmer. If a new program is a hit in the future, the old program is out, and the knowledge on how to operate it is useless.
I remember learning qbasic programming just to run the first Apple 2
computers in the late 70's, then the new fad of DOS operating systems
came out (I really liked them!) and now its into the Windows. I am an expert at XP but now that's out, so its back to the drawing board every time there's a so called update that supposed to make things better but I'm not so sure it does.
So I think we should continue to encourage writing and dexterity skills on the
kids in school, as one will never know what the future holds.
I am very upset about the cancellation of the Ziegler. I really want it back, mostly in braille and Internet.
I believe in 3 powerful words: "Yes, we can." I believe in triumph, in unity, and in self-determination. While it's harder to ask for a Pen Pal, there
are no real magazines online which have real-life experiences for blind people! Most information that is centered around the blind is of very little use,
unless it's advocacy-driven, (ACB, NFB.) And it's harder to sell products due to bogus scams.
Still very few magazines for the blind cater to how-to hints or research. When I count the faith-based groups with blindness-specific articles, not too
many are available. Consumer magazines, like Bob's, are needed, as is the Ziegler. Never say never! There is always hope: of a restart, of a new beginning.
If you are looking for a way to braille short documents, letters,
postcards, songs and other similar items, feel free to email me at:
I would be glad to braille out from email documents and over skype for
50 cents per page.
Three Days of a Rose
By Susan Bourrie
You were more a mirror than a present,
taut little bud with thorns extended,
with pretty petal arms drawn defensively
Pale and pink.
Soft and silky.
No armor-plated stance
could conceal your soft dependency.
You leaned upon the milk-white vase next morning
breathing a come-to-me fragrance
that promised more warmth
than you could give.
Your arms had loosened
around and around,
but remained impregnable
to even the most gentle touch.
Come close, but not too close," you sighed.
"Be near, but not a part of me."
By his return you rested, almost limp,
with arms outstretched and curling
around and around and around.
Head tilted haughtily,
fully grown and fragrant,
you smiled at our embrace.
"How is my little rose"?" he asked.
"Blooming," I announced with pride,
By Karen Crowder
I sit imprisoned in this wheelchair,
My right ankle fractured, it rests on a sloping metal plate,
Secure it is clothed in cloth and foam surrounded by an unforgiving plaster cast,
People running in and out of glass doors in this nursing home,
With a heart filled with envy and longing,
I wish to be mobile running and walking,
Everyone is laughing animatedly chatting,
Smiling on this warm summer like September afternoon,
It was in mid September I walked anywhere carefree and confident,
Shopping at a supermarket, buying iced coffee and crispy plain doughnuts,
Traveling on trains to Boston and Maine,
With one careless action feet slipping on a bathroom floor,
Shocked and traumatized, I knew my life had changed forever,
On this balmy September afternoon
I dreamed of running and walking again on both feet,
In late October on a cool sunny Friday afternoon,
I proudly walk with a flexible tall walking boot,
As my neighbor and I chat, grasping the metal railing I saunter up the ramp,
Approaching the glass doors of our complex,
We walk with a fast food lunch entering my quiet abode,
During my month in a rehab unit I experienced much,
Fighting battles with pain anxiety and discouragement,
Participating in activities, watching television,
Eating meals in the dining room and meeting new friends.
Exercises and tedious learning worth every moment,
I appreciated the kindness of the staff who always encouraged us,
Every day I worked towards coming home to my apartment.
Consumer Vision Trivia Contest
Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the September/October Consumer Vision. The original version of "Cry Baby" was recorded by Garnet Mimms and the
Enchanters. It reached number four on the Billboard Top 100, and number One
on the soul chart. If you use the above information in Google or YouTube,
you will find it. Congratulations to the following winners.
Phyllis Stevens of Johnson City, Tennessee
Jan Colby of Brockton, Massachusetts
Russell Carrick of Denver, Colorado
John Justice of Hatboro, Pennsylvania
And now, here is your trivia question for the November/December Consumer Vision. Name the only professional basketball player to play exactly 50,000 minutes with the National Basketball Association. If you know the answer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-994-4972.