THE CONSUMER VISION
Address: 359 Coggeshall St., New Bedford, MA 02746
Publisher: Bob Branco
Proofreading and Editing: David and Leonore Dvorkin
Formatting: David Dvorkin
TABLE OF CONTENTS
In this Table of Contents, three asterisks *** are used to separate the title of each article from its author. In the same way, three asterisks *** will be used to separate articles to make using your browser’s search feature easier. If any of you have screen readers that make searching difficult or undoable with asterisks, please let us know not only that, but also if three number signs ### would be easier. If you are a screen reader user for whom neither symbol works, please let us know what works best, and we’ll do our best to accommodate.
In columns like Special Notices, Readers’ Forum, and Recipes from Karen Crowder, letters of the alphabet—A, B, C, etc.—are used to separate items.
1. HEALTH MATTERS: Dietary Do’s And Don’ts for Kidney Health *** by Leonore H. Dvorkin
2. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: The Dangerous Course of a Troubled History *** by James R. Campbell
3. A WORD ABOUT SPORTS: Goodbye to a Sports Talk Pioneer *** by Don Wardlow
4. WEATHER OR NOT: The Western Wildfires and Climate Change *** by Steve Roberts
5. ONE WAY TO SOLVE INACCESSIBLE WEBSITE PROBLEMS FOR THE BLIND *** by Bob Branco
6. SPECIAL NOTICES
7. AUTHORS’ CORNER
8. A KIDNEY FOR LOVE *** by Trish Hubschman
9. RECIPE COLUMN *** by Karen Crowder (with an addition from Leonore Dvorkin)
10. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST
1. HEALTH MATTERS
Dietary Do’s And Don’ts for Kidney Health
by Leonore H. Dvorkin / C 2021
I welcome comments on any of my articles.
Kidney health has been getting a lot of media attention, lately, along with the dangers of excess sodium. Thus I thought that a brief article on foods that are either good or bad for the kidneys would be in order.
I am not a medical professional or medical expert, and I do not pretend to be. I am merely deeply interested in health in general and particularly in nutrition and fitness. That interest is born from the fact that my family medical history is not the best, and also that I myself have a long history of health problems, including breast cancer. I don’t smoke or have high blood pressure, but I have some of the other risk factors for kidney disease—in addition to being well past the age of 60, after which one’s risk for kidney disease increases. Thus my health-conscious husband and I, now that we are in our mid-to late seventies, are making an effort to reform our diet in ways that we hope will help protect us from kidney disease.
An important note:
In no way are these lists of foods intended to substitute for your doctor’s advice. They are merely lists that I hope will be of interest and use to you, as they have been to us. My main source was the reputable Healthline.com, and these suggestions were backed up by several other health-related online sources. I encourage you to do your own research and ask your doctor for dietary suggestions for kidney health. That is, there seems to be much that you can do to help avoid kidney problems, not just get treatment for actual kidney disease, which kills thousands of Americans every year.
First, some kidney basics:
a. Among other things, the kidneys filter waste products, excess water, and other impurities from your blood. They regulate pH, salt, and potassium. They produce various hormones that regulate blood pressure, control the production of red blood cells, and promote bone health.
b. Risk factors for kidney disease include being age 60 or older, having been born at a low birth weight, having cardiovascular disease or a family member with it, having high blood pressure or a family member with it, being obese, and smoking. (I assume they mean close family members, not distant ones.)
c. General tips for keeping your kidneys healthy:
- Keep active and fit. Find at least one exercise that you enjoy and stick with it. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day. (I myself lift weights, walk, and use our exercise bike, exercising at least six hours a week.)
- Control your blood sugar. Diabetes is a major risk factor for kidney disease.
- Monitor your blood pressure. Try to keep it at 120 over 80 or below. High blood pressure is a major risk factor.
- Monitor your weight and eat a healthy diet. Most important is to eat a diet low in sodium, phosphorus, and potassium. We have found that cutting back on sodium is not nearly as hard as we had anticipated.
- Drink plenty of liquids. If possible, include eight glasses of water a day.
- Limit the number of OTC (over the counter) pills you take, mainly NSAIDs, which include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. Tylenol (acetaminophen) is a safer alternative.
d. Some foods that are BAD for the kidneys include:
- Dark-colored sodas (Soft drinks are bad for you in many ways.)
- Avocados (high in potassium)
- Canned foods (Draining them and rinsing them, including doing this with canned fish, can dramatically reduce the sodium levels. You can also buy reduced-sodium or low-sodium soups and other canned goods, but they are more expensive. You can just rinse many canned foods in cold water, and you can make your own soup at home. Things like dried split peas, beans, and lentils are inexpensive and nutritious.)
- Whole wheat bread (high in phosphorus and potassium)
- Brown rice (Good substitutes are bulgur, buckwheat, pearled barley, and couscous, all lower in phosphorus.)
- Bananas (These are high in potassium; pineapple is better.)
- More than a small amount of any dairy product if you have kidney disease. (Try oat milk.)
- Oranges and orange juice (Eat grapes, apples, and cranberries instead.)
- Processed meats, including those that are salted, dried, cured, and canned. (They include hot dogs, ham, bacon, pepperoni, jerky, and sausage. All these tend to be high in sodium.)
- Pickles, olives, and relish (All are high in sodium.)
- Apricots, fresh or dried, as they are high in potassium. (Note: The high potassium level given in the article was for a whole cup of dried apricots, which I can’t imagine eating. I have just one or two at a time.)
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes, which are high in potassium. (Reduce the potassium by soaking the potatoes in water for at least four hours before cooking them.)
- Tomatoes, especially tomato sauce (high in potassium)
- Packaged, instant, or pre-made meals (all high in sodium)
- Frozen pizza, microwavable meals, and instant noodles (all high in sodium)
- Swiss chard, spinach, and beet greens (all high in potassium)
- Dates, raisins, and prunes (all high in potassium). Again, they talk of very large portions. We are simply limiting our portions.
- Pretzels, chips, and crackers (These tend to be high in sodium.)
e. Some foods that are GOOD for the kidneys include the following. These are all low in sodium, phosphorus, and potassium.
- Blueberries (These are good for you in many ways.)
- Red grapes
- Egg whites (rather than whole eggs)
- Buckwheat (I love Bob’s Red Mill Creamy Buckwheat Hot Cereal.)
- Olive oil
- Skinless chicken
- Bell peppers
- Macadamia nuts (We also recommend Brad’s Naturals Roasted Macadamia Nut Butter.)
- Shitake mushrooms (We rinse shitake mushroom crisps to reduce the sodium.)
Enjoy the good foods, and good health to you!
About the Author
Leonore H. Dvorkin is the author of four published books and dozens of articles. Her husband, David Dvorkin, is the author of 30 published books and many articles. They both write fiction and nonfiction. They have been married since 1968 and have lived in Denver, Colorado, since 1971. They are self-employed and presently work entirely at home.
Leonore teaches German and Spanish, plus small weight training classes. Together, David and Leonore run DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services, offering comprehensive services at very reasonable rates to help authors self-publish their books in print (both softcover and hardcover) and e-book formats.
They invite you to visit any of their websites for more information about their writings and their services.
David Dvorkin: http://www.dvorkin.com/
Leonore Dvorkin: https://www.leonoredvorkin.com/
DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services: https://www.dldbooks.com/
2. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH
The Dangerous Course of a Troubled History
by James R. Campbell
The island nation of Taiwan has been a staunch ally of the United States since its creation in 1949. Located on the island of Formosa, it is one of the bastions of freedom in Asia and one of the most successful free enterprise markets in the world. Due to the hard work of its people and the quality of its goods, Taiwan enjoys a level of prosperity that rates among the highest in the world, with a GDP of $1.4 trillion.
The nation was formed in 1949 after the Chinese Nationalists were defeated in a brutal civil war by the Communists under the leadership of Mao Zedong. Taiwan was led by Chiang Kai-Shek, the deposed leader of mainland China until his death in March of 1969.
America has kept a close military alliance with Taipei from that time, as the democratic government has been under constant threat from the Chinese in Beijing. At times, there have been clashes between the mainland and the island nation, which is not recognized by the CCP, the Chinese Communist Party. The reds in Beijing have had their eye on Taipei from the outset, claiming that the nation of Taiwan doesn’t hold any claim to legitimacy. They would like nothing better than to subjugate it and bring it under the red flag.
In recent months, concern has increased on the international scene due to the number and size of air exercises that have penetrated Taiwanese air space. The Biden administration has warned that the U.S. will respond with force if China attempts to take the island.
Taiwan owes it success and robust economy to a free market, whereas China depends on slave labor to produce its products, which it sells on the open market through unfair international trade practices. China obviously wants to co-opt Taipei’s economy under the Communist model for its own benefit. Even though China has a GPD of almost $27 trillion, they are not satisfied.
The free world, in many ways, has turned a blind eye to the fact that China’s economy is built on the backs of slave labor, including the use of children to manufacture its inferior products in order to sell its goods on the shelves of American stores, with Walmart leading the way in the peddling of the illicitly made items.
If the Chinese economy is doing so well at the expense of its own citizens, why did they send 56 planes into the Taiwanese air defense zone? The answer is clear. It boils down to China’s efforts to become the dominant world power. Taiwan has been a thorn in Beijing’s side since the nationalists fled to Formosa after Mao’s army assumed power. The CCP resents the fact that Taipei is the capital of a free state and that it has the backing of the United States.
The recent debacle in Afghanistan hasn’t helped. The Chinese Communists watch the news and follow social media, just like the rest of us. They smell blood in the water and are trying to take advantage of an obvious weakness.
Our best bet for dealing with China is in the economic sphere. A military confrontation could easily devolve into a third world war, which would in all probability involve the use of nuclear weapons. The threat of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse), resulting from a nuclear detonation in the upper atmosphere, is possible, as is a cyberattack that could shut down the power grid, leading to a calamity that most Americans would not survive.
President Richard Nixon made a grave mistake when he opened the door for China in 1972. The U.S. would have been better off if we had never traded with China. In my view, all trade with Beijing should be discontinued, not merely because of the threat to Taiwan, but also as punishment for the part they played in the recent pandemic. At any point, rational options for dealing with the CCP are few and will require international cooperation to have any effect. We can only pray that the situation doesn’t deteriorate, and that we have the wisdom to mount an appropriate response if it does!
As always, thanks for your time.
With loving kindness,
James R. Campbell
3. A WORD ABOUT SPORTS
Goodbye to a Sports Talk Pioneer
by Don Wardlow
Since I heard that New York sports talk show host Steve Somers was retiring, I’ve been wondering how to say goodbye to a pioneer. You see, the word pioneer describes Somers, one of the first voices on WFAN, the New York radio station that made 24-hour daily sports talk possible. Since I got the news, I’ve been wondering how it will be without him.
Wherever you may be, from Maine to Florida to California, you can’t turn on a radio and surf the dial without finding 24-hour sports talk. Every major network has a 24-hour sports outlet. In a small town, you may have only one choice. Living between New York and Philadelphia, as I do, you can get two from each major city. If you were born in the new millennium, you probably think it was always this way and always will be this way. However, people of a certain age know it wasn’t.
Until ESPN came about, there was very little sports talk radio. Nobody thought the 24-hour cable TV station would last. Even when it proved to have staying power, it was driven by game action, so sports talk radio still lagged behind. There were improvements. From a couple of hours a week in the 1970s, some stations started airing a few hours a night and more on weekends. WFAN in New York, then at 1050 on the dial, became the first 24-hour sports station, and Steve Somers was one of its earliest voices. The very first was Suzyn Waldman, giving an hourly sports update. She’s now the color commentator on Yankees radio broadcasts. While older and more famous voices such as Jim Lampley, Bill Mazer, and Pete Franklin took the air in prime time, Somers handled overnights, which most radio broadcasters call the “graveyard shift.” Somers would never call it that on the air. He’d always say he was “schmoozing” with his callers. His callers were many, which you wouldn’t expect after midnight. I was a constant listener, since I’ve never slept well. His voice and those of his callers gave me comfort on those long nights.
On October 7, 1988, it became easier to hear Somers and other WFAN programs. The station moved from 1050 on the dial, with its relatively weak signal, to AM 660, a 50,000 watt flamethrower. Now Somers could be heard all the way down the coast to Florida. I would hear him from time to time when I lived in Florida. That was years away. Living in Jersey in the early years of WFAN, Somers’ callers became as familiar as he was: Short Al; Eli from Westchester; Doris from Rego Park, whose health issues made her voice distinctive from anybody else’s; and Miriam, the Islanders’ fan. Miriam intrigued me. Like me, she’s blind. She knows hockey the way I know baseball. I was in my twenties, then, with no one to share my life. It took forever to even get through to his call screener, but one night it happened. I told Eddie Scozzare I didn’t want to go on the air, but I wanted to give him my number and ask him to pass it on to Miriam. Such a thing could never happen today, but in 1990, the gambit worked. The astonishing thing is, Miriam called me and I asked her out. That’s where the dream ended, as she wouldn’t give me a date. A decade later, Rick Reilly would give her a very flattering write-up in Sports Illustrated. The piece gave me a smile as I remembered talking to her.
Steve Somers was born in San Francisco and began his broadcasting career there. He worked in Atlanta and Los Angeles before becoming one of the original WFAN voices. Once it was clear the station was there to stay, Somers didn’t always occupy the late night hours. He moved to middays in 1995. Later, he would do evening shows, which would often be preempted by Yankees baseball games. That’s still his time slot now as his time runs down.
Besides the callers, what he said made Somers memorable. He called the Mets “the Metropolitans” and very occasionally called the football Jets “the Jetropolitans.” He’s the last man to still call the NBA’s New York Knicks “The Knickerbockers,” which is officially their name. He dubbed the New York Islanders’ home arena “The Nassau Mausoleum” rather than calling it the “Coliseum.” The team itself became “The Icelanders” in his hands. The occasional Yiddish word would drop into a sentence, and even if you had no clue what it meant, it didn’t matter because it was Steve Somers delivering it. Unlike the cookie-cutter voices you hear, particularly on ESPN, Steve Somers had a distinctive voice, difficult if not impossible to impersonate. He will be impossible to replace, and for those of us who were fortunate enough to hear him, particularly over a bedside radio during many sleepless nights, impossible to forget.
4. WEATHER OR NOT
The Western Wildfires and Climate Change
by Steve Roberts
Over the last several weeks, we have been seeing lots of news stories about Western wildfires. What is behind this outbreak of wildfires?
Over the last decade, the western United States has been in the throes of a severe drought. Drought sets the table for wildfire by drying out vegetation.
Dry vegetation starts to burn at a lower temperature than moist vegetation. Once this dry vegetation burns, it burns at very high temperatures. These hotter fuels prime the fuels near them by heating those fuels to the flash point, the temperature at which combustion commences. These ultra-hot wildfires spread with truly great rapidity.
The vast majority of wildfires are started by humans, but Mother Nature has been known to spark some fires of her own. Out in the dry West, the sun warms the ground, and the ground warms the air. As the air ascends, it expands and cools, condensing its moisture into clouds and precipitation. The process of condensation releases lots of latent heat into the atmosphere. This release of heat fosters the further vertical ascent of air, leading to the development of thunderstorms.
Because of how dry it is in the western United States, the air must rise to a great height to condense its moisture into clouds and precipitation. The thunderstorms that form as a result of this dry air convection are called high-based or dry thunderstorms.
High-based thunderstorms, as their name suggests, are thunderstorms whose cloud bases are very high above the surface of the earth. Because of how high these cloud bases are, the rain that falls from these clouds must fall a long way to reach the surface of the earth.
High-based thunderstorms are dry thunderstorms for three reasons: First, the rain that falls from the bases of these convective towers must fall 10,000 or more feet before reaching the ground. Second, the air these raindrops are falling through is very hot, giving it the capacity to evaporate lots of those raindrops. Finally, the air is very dry, leading to even greater evaporation. You could be right under a dry thunderstorm and get nothing more than a few sprinkles. The limited rain from dry thunderstorms gives their lightning unlimited capacity to touch off the tinder-dry forests of the West.
The Climate Change Connection
Wildfires release lots of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. These gases will go on to warm the globe and dry out the West. The drier forests will burn hotter and faster, releasing even greater volumes of methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This is a feedback loop in which wildfires lead to climate change, and climate change leads to more wildfires. If you think the wildfires of today are bad, wait until you see the wildfires over the next 20 years. As the world warms, Western wildfires will get worse.
Steven P. Roberts is the author of the nonfiction book The Whys and Whats of Weather (2014) and the weather-related novel The Great Winter Hurricane (2015). Both books are in print and e-book formats from Amazon and other online sellers.
For full information and buying links, see his website:
5. ONE WAY TO SOLVE INACCESSIBLE WEBSITE PROBLEMS FOR THE BLIND
by Bob Branco
Many of us talk about how websites are not accessible for the blind. We’ve kicked this topic around forever. Law firms even find a way to recruit website testers in order to report problems.
However, I would like to talk about my own website, www.brancoevents.com. It was designed with blind people in mind. My web designer was very careful about this and made sure the site was as navigable as possible. In fact, the Fall River Commission on Disability consulted a mutual contact of ours about modeling their website after mine. As far as I know, everyone is satisfied so far. This is not to say that my website is perfect, because nothing is. With that in mind, I’d like you to navigate the site and tell me if companies, agencies, and other organizations should use this site as a model for what they may want to do. My belief is that if companies model their websites after mine, most blind people will feel quite comfortable navigating those sites. Lawyers will stop trying to sue businesses when it’s possible that the web designer for a particular business doesn’t understand compliance in the first place. I’d rather teach a business owner than sue a business owner.
I would like to credit Jacqueline Sylvia of JS Web Solutions for making my website as blind- friendly as possible. Jacqui is now semi-retired and is not taking on additional clients. However, I want to give credit where credit is due.
If you take a look at my website and realize how blind-friendly it really is, perhaps you may want to work with sighted business owners who either want to build or upgrade their own websites. For the most part, they will cooperate with you. If not, it’s likely because they want sighted people to see pictures, which disrupt the navigation of these sites by blind people. Just let them know about noncompliance, and I’m sure that most business owners would prefer to work with you rather than be sued. Again, I’d rather teach someone than sue someone, especially if the individual sincerely doesn’t understand disability law. If I were sighted and I designed a website with graphics, I would prefer that you come into my office to tell me how to fix it than for a lawyer to send me a subpoena or citation. I might not understand the law because I never had to. There’s nothing wrong with learning.
Check out information about Bob’s five self-published books at
Bob also blogs at www.brancoevents.com/category/recent-news
6. SPECIAL NOTICES
A. From Bob Branco, Publisher
Please join our podcast mailing list! Each week, Peter Altschul and I record a podcast called In Perspective. During our podcast, we invite special guests to talk about their projects, professions, and other issues that benefit our listeners. Sometimes Peter and I discuss a topic by ourselves. You are welcome to appear on our show, and we would also like you to subscribe to our mailing list free of charge. If you would like to receive copies of our show each week, just send a test email to email@example.com, and I will see that it's done. If you want to participate on any episode of In Perspective, we can send you a Zoom invitation. Also, if you have a topic that you feel is beneficial for our listeners, please indicate your interest in appearing on In Perspective. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-994-4972. To check out a previous episode of In Perspective, go to www.brancoevents.com and click on "In Perspective Podcasts." At that point, you will see a list of archived shows from latest to earliest.
Here is a list of upcoming guests, along with dates and times of the recordings. Please note that all presentations start at 5 PM Eastern Time.
Friday, November 5: Kestrel Verlager, scams and scammers, 5 PM
Friday, November 12: Patty Fletcher, author of “Pathway to Freedom, Broken and Healed: Book One, How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life, Second Edition,” 5 PM
Friday, November 19: Jonathan Gale, Disability Policy Specialist, 5 PM
Friday, November 26: Pastor Darryl Breffe, radio broadcasting, religion, and C Joy Networks, Inc., 5 PM
Friday, December 3: Courtney Stevens, coping with pandemic mandates in school, 5 PM
Friday, December 10: Peggy Chong, the Blind History Lady, 5 PM
Friday, December 17: Dave Wilkinson, athlete/runner, 5 PM
Friday, January 7: Dr. Karl Albrecht, 5 PM
Friday, January 21: Linda Stewart, 5 PM
B. Yesterday I received a snail mail letter from the IRS, with copies in large print and braille, containing information about their accessible formats.
To request paper copies, call the following telephone numbers.
For tax forms, instructions, or publications in braille or large print, call the tax form telephone number at 800-829-3676.
For a copy of your tax notice in braille or large print, call the tax assistance telephone number at 800-829-1040.
And here are the websites:
IRS Accessible Forms & Publications
The Internal Revenue Service offers content in a variety of file formats to accommodate people who use assistive technology such as screen reading software, refreshable braille displays, and voice recognition software. We have prepared hundreds of tax forms and publications that can be downloaded or viewed online in text-only, braille-ready files, browser-friendly HTML, accessible PDF, and large print.
Our PDF tax forms comply with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1; however, the IRS does not advise filling out forms on mobile devices.
For more details, visit the Information About the Alternative Media Center [Kes: includes ASL videos]
7. AUTHORS’ CORNER
A. Here is a little editing joke we saw online.
Interviewer: “Can you tell me why you became an editor?”
Interviewee: “Well, to make a long story short…”
(from Leonore Dvorkin, Editor, DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services)
B. THE COLLECTED MISADVENTURES OF MISTLETOE MOUSE
by Susan Bourrie / C 2021
In paperback ($19.95) and e-book ($4.99) from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online sellers.
322 pages in print. Also now in high-quality hardcover format (cloth bound with a paper dust jacket) from IngramSpark, sold on Amazon for a temporary price of $30. The price will rise to $35 on November 5, 2021.
For full details, see the author’s website: https://www.dldbooks.com/susanbourrie/
This collection includes the late 2021 revisions of the complete texts of all three Mistletoe Mouse books:
1. The Misadventures of Mistletoe Mouse (C 2016)
2. More Misadventures of Mistletoe Mouse (C 2020)
3. The Merry Misadventures of Mistletoe Mouse (C 2021)
For Pre-K through 4th grade and children of all ages. Older children will enjoy reading the books to younger ones.
In Book One, Mistletoe Mouse befriends Molly Dolly, who has been left behind in Santa’s workshop on Christmas Eve. With the help of an express reindeer, the two of them become Christmas Consultants and work to make terrible Christmases terrific. Whether he is dangling from a tree, covered with seaweed, confronting a stranger, or scampering through a skyscraper, Mistletoe Mouse tackles every surprise and challenge with bravery and imagination.
In Book Two, a terrible sickness has spread throughout the world. Mistletoe Mouse, Molly Dolly, and their reindeer friend do all they can to aid as many people as possible. They help put out a forest fire, find a home for a homeless family, visit patients in the hospital, and teach a reluctant elf that there’s no place like school.
In Book Three, Molly Dolly and the intrepid mouse expand their business to include not just Christmas, but the entire year. They do this by becoming Caring Consultants. Mistletoe Mouse has even more adventures and misadventures as Molly Dolly embraces technology and Junior Elf works to invent a cure for the worldwide sickness.
C. WHY GRANDMA DOESN’T KNOW ME
by Abbie Johnson Taylor / C 2021
On Amazon, Smashwords, and multiple other book-buying sites
$3.99 in e-book, $12.50 in paperback / 274 pages in print
For more information, visit the author’s website:
Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.
After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.
Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.
Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?
Abbie Johnson Taylor is the author of two novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. Her work has appeared in Magnets and Ladders, The Writer’s Grapevine, and other publications. She lives in Sheridan, Wyoming.
D. R.I.P. Ann K. Parsons
It is with deep regret that we announce the following:
After a long struggle with cancer, Ann Parsons died peacefully on October 4, 2021.
On June 6, 2018, she was a guest on Bob Branco's podcast In Perspective, talking about her family and educational background, her work as a tutor of braille and adaptive technology, and her novel, The Demmies.
The title of the one-hour episode is “Adaptive Products for the Blind, Upgrading, Authors, Braille, Employing the Blind.”
The link to the episode: https://www.brancoevents.com/in-perspective-6-9-2018/
Ann Parsons’ book-related website, with full information about her imaginative novel, plus much biographical information, is https://www.dldbooks.com/annparsons/
Since notifying our large group of editing clients of her death, we have received notes from several people telling us that they either knew Ann or knew of her. It is clear that she was much admired and liked and is greatly missed.
—Leonore Dvorkin, DLD Books
E. Two Announcements from DLD Books
David and I will send more details to our editing clients in the near future, but for now, we’d like readers of this newsletter to know the following.
1. After much thought and over a decade of charging the same rates, David and I have decided that we will keep in place our current low rate of $20 per hour for our editing and other services for our many clients who are blind, visually impaired, otherwise disabled, and/or low income. However, beginning on January 1, 2022, we will charge $30 per hour, vs. the current $25 per hour, for our clients who do not fall into the above-listed categories.
2. I have already told some of our clients about the brand-new case laminate hardcovers from Amazon KDP. Those are the smooth, shiny, very firm book covers that you often see on children’s books or textbooks, with the cover images and text printed right on the cover. That is, there is no dust jacket. The quality from KDP is high, with sewn (not glued) pages. The price for the buyer is not exorbitant, royalties are good, there is no set-up fee, and there are reduced prices for authors’ copies. There are other benefits as well, also some advantages over the more traditional hardcover books (cloth bound with paper dust jackets) put out by IngramSpark and sold on Amazon. However, we can help our clients get their books done that way, too.
Sometime in the near future, I will be preparing a list of advantages and disadvantages of each format and sending that to our clients. Then the client can choose which hardcover format to use (if either), in addition to the standard paperback and e-book formats that we use for every client’s book. We are very pleased to have this new option to offer our clients, and a few have already expressed interest in it.
-- Leonore Dvorkin, Editor, DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services
8. A KIDNEY FOR LOVE
by Trish Hubschman
It’s July 7, 2016, in the early morning hours. Tim and Billy sit in the surgery center at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Cornell Medical Center, New York City. They’re waiting for their transplant surgery to begin. Theirs is the second one on the schedule. Tim has a rare, inherited condition called Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). His kidneys have failed. Doctors removed both his kidneys the previous month, when Tim was hospitalized for diverticulitis. He was already doing dialysis.
“It began in 1992-ish,” Tim says. He had a cyst but didn’t think anything of it. “It was just a signal cyst, which anyone could have,” Tim says. “Years later, when I had appendicitis, the PKD was discovered.” In PKD, multiple fluid–filled cysts form in the kidneys. This can drown the kidneys and can eventually cause kidney failure, as it did in Tim’s case.
His 30-year-old nephew, Billy, donated one of his healthy kidneys to Tim, giving him the gift of life and love. Seven or so months earlier, Tim’s doctors decided he needed new kidneys and he was put on a public organ donor waiting list. On average, it’s a five or six year wait for an organ donation. “I honestly didn’t see myself surviving five years on dialysis,” Tim says. It was wearing him down terribly.
Tim needed help. When Billy heard this, he jumped into action. “It took me all of about five seconds to reach out,” Billy says. He contacted the transplant clinic at the New York Presbyterian Hospital (NYPH). They needed a blood sample from him. NYPH got back to him a week later with the bloodwork results. “They said there couldn’t have been a better match,” Billy says. At this point, they asked if he could come to NYPH to start the interview and testing process.
Over the next six months, Billy underwent a lot of testing to make sure he was the perfect match for Tim. “He also had to train his staff to take his place,” Tim says. Billy manages the State Cafe and Grill in Easton, Pennsylvania.
Word got out what Billy was doing for his sick uncle. People were impressed and wanted to help. “I really didn’t want to make a big deal of it,” Billy says. I’m a very private person. Several restaurants in Easton held fundraising events, such as the Billy the Kidney Pale Ale release party. Billy had a beer named after him. All this made him feel uncomfortable. “I don’t normally like talking to people outside of work about work,” he says. The fundraising came about when the owner of the restaurant he manages wanted to help with Billy’s rent and bills while he was in New York having the surgery, then home recuperating. “He reached out to local establishments in town to see if they would help,” Billy continues. “All this was without my knowledge.” Thirteen hundred dollars was raised and given to Billy. It would cover his bills for a month while he was recuperating after surgery. “I never really knew what to say except thank you,” Billy adds. “I don’t feel I deserved it.” He wanted to donate the money, but the owner of the café told him to use the money to pay his rent and bills and donate anything that might be left over.
The two men were in surgery side by side. One medical team removed a kidney from Billy. The other team monitored Tim and prepped him to receive it. They pumped strong meds into Tim’s system to make sure it was clean and to immobilize the immune system so it wouldn’t reject the new organ.
When the transfer was complete, they were taken into Recovery, then became roommates for the duration of the stay at NYPH. Billy stayed in the hospital for three days, Tim a little longer. “The doctor told me to stay home as long as I could,” Billy says. At least one month was recommended. The first week home, he took walks and did stretching exercises. “I was in good spirits the entire time,” he adds. “The fact that I have only one kidney doesn’t slow me down.”
The routines of his daily life haven’t changed.
Tim is eternally grateful for his new, lifesaving kidney. He’s super cautious with it. He avoids people who are sick and washes his hands frequently. During these pandemic times, he always makes sure he has a mask and gloves when he leaves the house. “I cannot say enough about Billy for doing this for me,” Tim says. “The love we all share is not said in words, as it lives in our hearts. There are no words to express what he did to allow me to see my daughters grow up. I owe him my life. I know he has a special place saved in heaven for him as well as all those who donate organs.”
Tim and Billy urge those who are considering donating an organ or signing an organ donation card to be activated upon their death to do so. “So many people are waiting for life-saving organs,” Tim says.
To find out about organ donations, please visit
To learn more about kidney disease, visit the National Kidney Foundation at https://www.kidney.org
Trish Hubschman is the author of the Tracy Gayle mystery series: Tidalwave, Stiff Competition, Ratings Game, and Uneasy Tides.
Tracy is a Long Island private detective. Her sidekick, Danny Tide, is the leader of the rock band Tidalwave. Tracy is hired to find out who set fire to Danny’s tour bus. While doing this, more dangerous things develop.
Trish is a graduate of Long Island University’s Southampton Campus and has a Bachelor’s degree in English-Writing. She is deafblind and lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, author Kevin Hubschman, and their dog, Henry.
Her website, with full information about her books, is https://www.dldbooks.com/hubschman/
9. RECIPE COLUMN
by Karen Crowder
November arrives with the beginning of the holiday season. The weather is changeable, with warm days but snow by mid-November in New England. Apple cider, apples, and cranberries are available at local supermarkets. In 2021, unlike 2020, many Americans will once again celebrate holidays with friends and family.
There are five exciting days. Election Day is Tuesday, November 2. Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday, November 7. Veterans Day is Wednesday, November 11. Thanksgiving is Thursday, November 25. The celebration of Hanukkah begins on Sunday, November 28.
A. Velvety Mashed Potatoes
B. Holiday Creamed Onions
C. Apple-Cinnamon Coffee Cake (recipe given to me by Marcy Segelman in 2017)
D. Added by Leonore Dvorkin: A Recipe for Lower-Calorie Cole Slaw
A. Velvety Mashed Potatoes
A holiday dinner is not complete without buttery mashed potatoes. In 2010, I was entertaining friends for dinner and my KitchenAid stand mixer did a wonderful job of whipping up delicious mashed potatoes.
Five or six Yukon Gold, Maine, or russet potatoes
One and one-half sticks butter
Three-fourths to one cup milk
One-fourth cup light cream or half-and-half
Dashes of salt, chives and garlic.
1. Fill a lock-lid saucepan half full of water. Add salt. Heat water on medium heat for 15 minutes.
2. Rinse potatoes but do not peel them, because that way, the vitamins are retained. On a large wooden cutting board, cut all potatoes into small pieces, discarding the ends. Put cut potatoes into a plastic or metal bowl. Add them to hot, almost boiling water. Let potatoes cook for 20 to 27 minutes.
3. Drain potatoes into a colander. However, with a lock-lid saucepan, a colander is unnecessary.
4. In a large mixer bowl, put three fourths of a stick of butter. Add hot potatoes and mix on medium speed with beaters or a paddle attachment for two minutes. Add milk and half-and-half or light cream and extra butter, herbs, and salt. Beat mashed potatoes for three minutes on medium to high speed. With a spoon, taste the potatoes. If they are smooth, they are ready to be served.
Add butter to each serving. These mashed potatoes will be requested again during the holidays.
B. Holiday Creamed Onions
Creamed onions were always part of Thanksgiving, New Year’s, or Easter dinners at our home in Fitchburg.
Three-fourths stick butter
Six tablespoons flour
Three cups whole milk
One bag sweet boiling onions
Optional: two to four slices American cheese
Dash of salt
Optional dashes of nutmeg.
1. In a double boiler, melt butter. After five minutes, add flour. Stir the butter-flour mixture with a whisk for one minute. Add milk and stir until there are no lumps. Let cream sauce cook on low to medium heat for 25-30 minutes, stirring infrequently.
2. While sauce is cooking, rinse onions and cut ends off. Fill lock-lid saucepan almost half full with water. Cook onions for 10-15 minutes. Drain them and when they are cool enough, peel them and put them in a metal bowl.
3. Add optional 2 to 4 slices of American cheese to the sauce. After five minutes, add onions to the sauce.
4. Simmer creamed onions on low heat until they are ready to be served.
Creamed onions pair well with turkey, chicken, and ham. My stepchildren loved the American cheese I added to the creamed onions in 1995. It was the last year we had Thanksgiving dinner in our home.
C. Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake
Marcy Segelman’s aunt always made this recipe. Everyone loved it.
For the cake:
Four large egg yolks
One cup sour cream
One and one-half teaspoons vanilla
Two cups cake flour
One cup sugar
One-half teaspoon baking powder
One-half teaspoon baking soda
One-fourth teaspoon salt
Twelve tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter
One cored and peeled apple sliced into one-fourth inch wedges tossed with two tablespoons lemon juice.
The filling and topping:
One-third cup packed light brown sugar
Two tablespoons sugar
One cup pecans or walnuts, optional
One and one-half teaspoons cinnamon
One-half cup cake flour
Four tablespoons unsalted butter
One-half teaspoon vanilla.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Grease parchment paper with shortening and flour.
3. Make topping by hand or with a food processor. Combine sugar and nuts, pulsing a few times. Add flour, butter, and sugar and put one-fourth cup of topping aside. If you are not using nuts, blend flour, butter, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla by hand in a mixing bowl.
4. For the cake: In a large mixing bowl, beat yolks, one-fourth cup sour cream and vanilla on low speed for 30 seconds. Add butter and three-fourths cup sour cream, mixing on low to medium speed for one minute. Add dry ingredients and mix on low to medium speed for three minutes or until dry ingredients are combined. Scrape down sides of bowl. Pour two-thirds of batter into prepared pan. Smooth surface with spatula. Sprinkle with cinnamon filling and put apples on top. Add the rest of the batter and add topping. Smooth everything around springform pan with a spatula.
5. Bake cake for 55 to 60 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
6. Cool cake in pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Loosen sides with a small spatula to remove cake. Wrap cake in parchment paper and plastic wrap. Store cake in refrigerator on a plate until serving time.
This recipe is a great hit not only on Jewish holidays but throughout the year.
Note: I had to change some wording on Marcy’s recipe. It is from the Kosher cookbook and apple website.
I hope all readers have enjoyed this lovely, mild autumn. With more people getting the Covid-19 vaccinations, life may return to the normal we knew by the middle of 2022. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. Let us keep praying for a more congenial and united America.
D. Lower-Calorie Coleslaw (an easy recipe from Leonore Dvorkin)
1. In a soup bowl, measure out the amount of bagged coleslaw (pre-cut, pre-washed chopped cabbage, often mixed with chopped carrots) that you want for one serving. This will probably be at least three-quarters of a cup.
2. Even if the coleslaw is pre-washed, rinse it in cold water by putting in enough cold water from the tap to cover the coleslaw. Swish it around, then hold your hand at the side of the bowl to drain the cabbage.
3. Once it is drained, add just 1 tablespoon of bottled coleslaw dressing or ranch dressing and mix the cabbage and dressing with a soup spoon. The dressing should add no more than about 60 to 70 calories, but it adds sufficient flavor.
4. Add a handful of raisins and another handful of cashews or other nuts or seeds of choice. (We are now buying only unsalted, unroasted nuts from Costco, so as to reduce our sodium intake.)
Mix and enjoy this light, healthy snack or side dish.
5. This takes me only about two to three minutes to prepare for myself, which I do most days of the week. Cabbage is a very nutritious vegetable, and as I mentioned in my health article this month, it’s good for the kidneys.
10. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST
Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the October Consumer Vision. Rick Dees, the singer of Disco Duck back in the 1970s, currently has a weekly top-40 music show. Congratulations to the following winners:
Daryl Darnell of Urbana, Illinois
Nancy Hays of Waterbury, Connecticut
Trish Hubschman of Easton, Pennsylvania
And now, here is your trivia question for the November Consumer Vision. What is the name of the newest team to join the National Hockey