THE CONSUMER VISION
Address: 359 Coggeshall St., New Bedford, MA 02746
Publisher: Bob Branco
Editing and Proofreading: 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: Tips for Boosting Brain Health / The Health of the Home: Our Recent Appliance Misadventures *** by Leonore Dvorkin
2. OFF THE MARK *** by Stephen Théberge
3. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: Classic Rock Fans in Mourning *** by James R. Campbell
4. QUALITY SERVICE AT THE BALL PARK *** by Bob Branco
5. WEATHER OR NOT: The Trifecta of Tropical Trouble: Our Growing Vulnerability to the Increasing Violence of Hurricanes *** by Steve Roberts
6. SPECIAL NOTICE *** from Bob Branco, Publisher
7. AUTHORS’ CORNER *** Info on Two New Books and Other Items from Leonore Dvorkin
8. MODERN BASEBALL AFFECTS PITCHING PERFORMANCE *** by Bob Branco
9. TERRI’S TIDBITS *** by Terri Winaught
10. RECIPE COLUMN *** by Karen Crowder
11. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST
1. HEALTH MATTERS: Tips for Boosting Brain Health / The Health of the Home: Our Recent Appliance Misadventures
by Leonore Dvorkin / Submitted 8/27/21
I welcome comments on any of my articles.
I continue to be impressed with the monthly newsletter from Consumer Reports called On Health, and I’ve often excerpted articles from there. Here is one from the September 2021 issue, followed by my short article about recent appliance-related misadventures in the Dvorkin household.
1. Steps to Boost Brainpower
Pandemic-induced isolation and inactivity have taken a mental toll on just about all of us. Many people have resumed at least some of their previous social activities, but even if you have not, here are some good tips for boosting brainpower.
a. Monitor your health. -- This means checking on chronic health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure. These conditions can damage the small blood vessels in the brain, affecting parts needed for thinking and memory. Get your hearing checked, too. Age-related hearing loss is related to an increased risk of cognitive decline and impairment. Some medications, such as prescription anti-anxiety drugs and over-the-counter sleeping pills, can impair memory, so review all your medications with your doctor.
Personal notes: To help with sleep, I recommend melatonin and valerian. Those have helped both me and my husband a lot. I’m now 75, and David is close to 78.
b. Keep moving. -- Regular aerobic exercise boosts blood flow to the brain and increases the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain involved in verbal memory and learning. A 2017 study of 200 people over 60 found that the more physically active the people were, the larger their hippocampus was. The most protective effects of exercise were seen in those over 75. Simply walking can also provide benefits. Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise most days. Focus on strength and balance, too. The stronger your muscles and the better your balance, the lower your risk of a bad fall that could cause a head injury.
Personal notes: As I’ve often mentioned in this publication, David and I work to get all types of exercise. We lift weights in our well-equipped basement, use our treadmill and exercise bike, walk outdoors if it’s not too hot or cold, and stretch. I teach two 60-minute exercise classes per week; those focus on weight training. I try to get in at least six hours of exercise per week, and David does even more. We assume the exercise is helping our brains as well as our bodies, and it definitely has a positive effect on mood.
c. Eat brain-friendly foods. -- A Mediterranean-style diet appears to be most protective for brain health. That’s rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, and healthy fats from foods such as fatty fish and olive oil. Fatty fish seems to be particularly protective. Aim for two 3.5 ounce servings per week. Information from other sources: Common types of fatty fish include herring, mackerel, salmon (farmed or wild caught), sardines, trout, and tuna. We eat most of these, most often canned, although expertly cooked salmon is superb.
d. Brain health supplements are widely advertised, but there is little evidence that they help older adults who consume a balanced diet. Vitamin B12, though, is often absorbed less efficiently with age. Your doctor can check your B12 level and might recommend a supplement. A personal note: When I had my recent heart health concerns, they did a blood test and found that my level of B12 was 10 times what it should be! So I cut out my own B-complex capsules and cut my multivitamin pills to three a week.
e. Keep drinking in check. Heavy drinking can kill brain neurons and speed up memory loss. Many guidelines advise no more than two drinks per day for men and no more than one drink per day for women, but less alcohol than that is better for the brain.
f. You don’t need brain-training games, and if you really don’t want to learn a new language, don’t feel compelled to do so. Just daily reading or playing board or card games can help keep your brain sharp. A social component can help as well, and walking and talking with others engages your brain and also gets your body moving.
g. Additional information after the main article here: Some forgetfulness is part of normal aging. But these are things to worry about, either in yourself or a loved one, as they might signal dementia: Frequently making poor decisions, trouble remembering to pay monthly bills, losing track of the date or time of year, difficulty having conversations, and often misplacing things and not being able to find them again.
2. The Health of the Home: Our Recent Appliance Misadventures
Have some appliance-hating goblins invaded the Dvorkin household? I’m beginning to wonder.
It all started a few months ago, when we needed a new washing machine. I’m not nuts about the new one, with its absurdly excessive 14 cycle options, but it seems to wash all right. Then quite recently, we had two more major appliances go bad on us. Our large refrigerator plus freezer conked out, and it took more than a week, several service calls, and a stunning $2,000 total to get it working again, plus replace all the food we had lost. But a new one of this size and type costs from $3,000 to $5,000, so we ponied up.
Then came the death of our 50-gallon, 13-year-old hot water heater. The liner had collapsed. $3,000 later, we have a beautiful new hot water heater with a 10-year warranty.
On top of all this, we had to replace our toaster and microwave oven in the last few weeks. And our coffee pot, which we use for brewing black tea, is making signs that it’s on the way out, too!
One good thing that resulted from all this is that I have a new appreciation of appliances and all that they do for us. We are very fortunate to have them and fortunate to have the money to replace or repair them as needed. Not all are so lucky, that’s for sure.
About the Author
Leonore Dvorkin has been teaching exercise classes since 1976, has been tutoring multiple languages since 1988, and has been editing books since 2009. She and her husband of 53 years, the author David Dvorkin, run DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services together.
David is the author of 30 published books, and Leonore has four books of her own.
Since 2009, they have put out more than 100 books of various types, both fiction and nonfiction, by other authors, the large majority of whom are blind or visually impaired. Bob Branco and other people who write for this publication are among their clients.
David and Leonore invite you to visit any of their websites for more information.
David Dvorkin: http://www.dvorkin.com/
Leonore Dvorkin: https://www.leonoredvorkin.com/
DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services: https://www.dldbooks.com/
If you are interested in their editing and book-production services, kindly read the information on the site before contacting them, as that answers many common questions about their specific services and about self-publishing in general.
2. OFF THE MARK
by Stephen Théberge
It was August 27, 2019, two years and one day ago, that I lost the remainder of my vision, going from severely visually impaired to totally blind. I had been preparing for this eventuality for years, but I didn’t think it would happen in a matter of a few days.
Fortunately, I was able to get a refresher in vision rehabilitation at the Carroll Center for the Blind. Preparing for vision loss when you have low vision and getting a refresher when you have lost it are totally different. The former is a more theoretical view, while the latter is a hands-on experience with reality. My skill set was very strong, so I adapted quickly.
The only fly in the ointment was the Covid virus. I was unable to get orientation and mobility, especially on public transportation, as we were quarantined. At last, I’m now getting the long-awaited training I’ve been looking forward to for well over a year. I expect to soon be back on my job at the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority, assessing Americans with Disabilities Act compliance. I’ll keep you all posted.
When our group attended Fenway Park to see the Red Sox in 2019, we never imagined that Covid would interrupt our 2020 gathering. More salient to me was that I didn’t realize I’d be blind in six weeks. I am grateful for the support of all of my friends and family.
On August 10th of this year, our group was finally able to attend Fenway Park again. Even though the home team, the Red Sox, did not win, the camaraderie of meeting each other again was fantastic. It was good to meet in person some people whom I’ve only known on a chat line. My friends and the staff at the park went above and beyond helping our group with various accommodations.
It was exhilarating to hear the crowds, but for a moment, I felt a twinge of sadness, as I could no longer see anything in the park. Of course, I could rely on my memory. I quickly resolved to enjoy the fare with all my other senses. It’s amazing how much you can learn about the game from the cheers and jeers of the crowd. Generally, cheers tell you that the home team has done something positive. They also play a horn sound when the team gets a home run. I did learn that a small group in front of me was rooting for the opposing team, so they cheered when they did something, but I was soon able to tune that section out. Also, I got descriptions of important game points from my friends who were sitting with me.
At the end of the game, the staff was very helpful in getting me to the intersection at Gate B of the park. I was going to take an Uber home. I have had no major problems with the app on my phone. It is very accessible, with voiceover, so I can hear what’s on the screen being spoken when I use the app. My biggest criticism is not being able to have an actual person help. I instructed the application to send an Uber to my location. This was at the intersection of two streets. I am not sure if it was the GPS or a quirk in the program, but it had everything else around me listed, but not my exact location. This happened to me once at home as well. I had it send a vehicle to my location, but realized in time that it was giving an address some 50 feet away. Fortunately, I was able to put in the address.
There were many people around, so I was able to get help to a nearby CVS where somebody told me Ubers pick people up. They were nice enough to stay with me until my ride arrived, which wasn’t too long, even though I told them they didn’t have to.
My Uber driver was also very nice and seemed to know a quick way to get me home that I wouldn’t have thought of. He also went into the lobby with me until he confirmed I was at the right building and was not stranded, even though I had many non-visual clues that I was at the right building, from the grass on the side of the walk to other subtle clues. People earn good tips this way and should be rewarded for their kind service. I always give generous tips in situations like these.
Having a great time with my friends at the park, meeting others I only knew on a phone chat line, and getting out to a major event for the first time in well over a year, I learned that the best help we can get comes from the kindness of both friends and strangers. Although the Uber app was off the mark in terms of pinpointing my exact location, enough people were around to make my trip home much quicker. I could certainly have fired up an app on my phone and navigated to one of those locations around me that the Uber program told me about, but it would have taken me more time and been more frustrating.
I hope you will all have a good fall, which is around the corner. This summer has been much too hot and humid for my liking, but that’s one thing about New England: The weather will definitely change at some point. I’m looking forward to crisp autumn days.
Read and post on my writer’s blog: http://blinderwriterweb.wordpress.com
Check out my coming of age science fiction novel The MetSche Message and its sequel The MetSche Maelstrom at http://www.dldbooks.com/stephentheberge/
Watch my Youtube channel. Many blindness-related issues, and the latest Branco Broadcasts.
3. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: Classic Rock Fans in Mourning
by James R. Campbell
August 25, 2021
Classic rock fans are saddened by the passing of Charlie Watts, the longtime drummer for the British band The Rolling Stones. Watts, who was 80 years old, died yesterday at a hospital, surrounded by his family. His fellow musicians have sent their condolences to his wife, children, and grandchildren. In addition, Sirius XM Deep Tracks Channel 27 is featuring music by The Rolling Stones in his memory.
Watts joined the band in 1963. He came into the group due to the late Brian Jones, who shared the guitar duties with Keith Richards until Jones’ death in 1969. Mick Taylor replaced him until 1978, when Ronnie Woods took over his spot.
Watts was a private man who shied away from the fame the other members of the Stones thrived on. He spent much of his free time with his family and the horses they loved. Like the others in the group, he had substance abuse issues, which he overcame with the help of his wife. In his tribute, Elton John called Watts the most stylish drummer he ever knew. His many friends described him as a calming influence in the band.
The Stones have been performing and recording since 1962. Their string of hits is long, including “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction,” “Honky Tonk Women,” “Brown Sugar,” and “Angie.” They have sold millions of albums and have enjoyed countless sold-out concerts on their many worldwide tours.
The band has had its share of controversial press coverage due to the members’ loose lifestyles, substance abuse, and tragedy. In 1969, Brian Jones drowned in a swimming pool after he left the band. The most disturbing episode happened during the Altamont rock festival in December of 1969. During that concert, four people were murdered by the Hells Angels, who provided security for the event. Many believe that the dream of the Sixties died on that day.
On a personal note, I didn’t care for the Stones as much as I did other groups. Their best work was from 1966 to 1969. Their best albums were Aftermath, Her Satanic Majesty’s Request, Beggar’s Banquet, and Let It Bleed. I would have changed the name of one of the albums to Her Psychedelic Majesty’s Request. In my opinion, the name Her Satanic Majesty’s Request reflected badly on the Stones’ legacy. The song “Sympathy for the Devil” fits in the same category. I like the music, but the title and the lyrics are not to my liking.
I am sure that the Stones did some good in the world. Mick Jagger, who is a pilot, flew a planeload of supplies to Nicaragua after the earthquake in 1972. I applaud the band for that.
For better or worse, The Rolling Stones have left their mark on the music industry. They couldn’t have done it without Charlie Watts. The band would have been different without him. During the band’s current tour, Steve Jordan, a protégé of Watts, will be filling in. The question is whether he will replace him on a permanent basis. Only time will tell.
Charlie Watts will be missed by his legions of fans. He will be remembered for his poise, his class, and his drumming. Rest in peace, Mr. Watts.
As always, thanks for your time.
With loving kindness,
James R. Campbell
4. QUALITY SERVICE AT THE BALL PARK
by Bob Branco
August 13, 2021
I have had numerous discussions with blind people about the quality of services that we need, as well as how certain situations in our lives should be more adaptable. In some cases, we become discouraged when the environment is not as adaptable as it should be. Therefore, we tend to stay away from that environment. A classic example is the sports stadium. Most of these stadiums are large, with many entrances, exits, stairs, ramps, elevators, and even an escalator. On some of the stairways, there is no railing to hold onto. This poses a problem for those of us with limited balance.
In 2005, I took a group of people with disabilities to a Boston Celtics basketball game at their home facility. We had to depend on each other in order to find our seats, which were near the top level. We had to go through a number of twists and turns, and the experience was so discouraging that I decided not to go back there for a long, long time. We had little or no assistance from the ushers, which didn’t help the situation. On the other hand, I’ve been taking groups of people with disabilities to Fenway Park to catch a Boston Red Sox game on numerous occasions, and although the experience was a bit more accommodating for a blind person, it can prove to be complicated if your mobility is limited. Don’t get me wrong. We received help from the ushers, and we were grateful for whatever help they offered us. However, the last time our group went to a Red Sox game, our experience with the ushers was one to write about, if for no other reason than to encourage people with disabilities to consider attending a sporting event if they had little confidence in coping with their environment effectively.
On Tuesday, August 10, 23 of us traveled to Fenway Park to see the Red Sox play the Tampa Bay Rays. Our group included eight blind people, two in wheelchairs, and several people with slight cognitive disabilities. Seventeen of us chartered a bus from New Bedford and traveled nearly 60 miles to the ball park in Boston, while six others met us there. We had to worry about which gate to report to, how our digital tickets would be scanned, and how we were going to arrive at our assigned seats. This wasn’t new to most of us. We’ve been on similar outings for the past several years, so we know the drill. While most of us were at the gate trying to have our tickets scanned through the Fenway Park phone app, a few ushers approached the group and offered mobility assistance. It wasn’t as if one of us had asked for help. These ushers approached us with an organized plan.
After we were satisfied that our tickets were properly scanned, the ushers brought us into the stadium. We took an elevator up to the level where our seats were and eventually approached our section near right field. Many of us sat in the handicap row at the top of the section, so there were no stairs to climb. One of our blind guests walked very slowly, so the usher brought out a wheelchair for him to ride in.
We arrived at our section, sat in our assigned seats, and enjoyed the game. When the game was over, the ushers came back to our section and brought us out to the front gate so that we could wait for our transportation. We thanked them for their generosity, kindness, and sensitivity to the situation. I later learned that one or two of these ushers were training to become mobility instructors. Based on the treatment that we received, that didn’t surprise me at all.
The next day, I wrote a letter to the Fenway Park ticket office expressing my appreciation for how they helped us secure our tickets, but also to pass a message along to the ushers, thanking them once again for their help at the ball park.
As I talk to different people about our wonderful experience at the Red Sox game, I expect to hear two common reactions. Some people might say that this is what ushers are supposed to do, especially when Fenway Park allows groups of persons with disabilities to go to the games. Others might say that the ushers went above and beyond the call of duty. It’s up to us to decide which opinion is more accurate. No matter what, I hope this experience serves to encourage many other people with disabilities to attend sporting events, having faith that they will receive the proper assistance that they are entitled to. If you go to a game, and for some reason the ushers do not approach you, do not be afraid to ask for one. I have no doubt that he or she will assist you with whatever accommodation you need.
Bob Branco blogs at www.brancoevents.com/category/recent-news
For information about Bob’s self-published books, check out www.dldbooks.com/robertbranco/
5. WEATHER OR NOT: The Trifecta of Tropical Trouble: Our Growing Vulnerability to the Increasing Violence of Hurricanes
by Steve Roberts
Hurricane Vulnerability Issues
As people move to the coast, they build houses or buy existing houses within recently built subdivisions. As the number of homes and high-rise apartment buildings that are built along the shoreline increases, so too does the level of structural vulnerability to landfalling hurricanes.
As time goes on, hurricanes will have more property to damage or destroy. All of these homes constitute a growing level of insurance risk. Some of the residents may have home businesses that could be threatened by a landfalling hurricane. The insurance industry faces a three trillion dollar risk along the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts.
A modern-day hurrricane could do tens of billions of dollars in damage to the places it strikes. As coastal development increases, so too does the potential for a hurricane’s destruction. A hurricane’s damage potential increases with the construction of every house or apartment complex built along the coastline.
The growing coastal population presents those within emergency management with a truly daunting dilemma. How do you get all the people who are in harm’s way to safety? Who should stay, and who should go? If too many people evacuate, lives could be lost.
Stronger Hurricanes and Their Impacts
As hurricanes become stronger, they will become more destructive. A house that would have survived winds of 150 mph would be destroyed by winds of 200 mph. Coastal development will give a hurricane more to destroy, and the stronger hurricanes of the future will have a greater capacity for destruction.
Damage is expensive. The increasingly destructive hurricanes of the future will come with a truly hefty price tag. Could a landfalling Category 4 or 5 hurricane do half a trillion dollars in damage? A hurricane making landfall in Miami, then crossing the Gulf of Mexico and striking Houston, could do half a trillion dollars in damage.
If we add sea level rise to this circumstance, hurricanes will threaten and damage more property than they would from intensity increase alone. Stronger hurricanes, sea level rise, and increasing population will come to a head and threaten us with the trifecta of tropical trouble.
About the Author
Steven P. Roberts is the author of the nonfiction book The Whys and Whats of Weather (2014) and a weather-related novel called The Great Winter Hurricane (2015). Both books are in print and e-book formats. For full details, see https://www.dldbooks.com/stevenproberts/
6. SPECIAL NOTICE
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 which 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 firstname.lastname@example.org , 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 would be beneficial for our listeners, please indicate your interest in appearing on In Perspective. You can email email@example.com 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 of the recordings.
Note that the program on October 22 starts at 4 PM vs. the usual 5 PM.
Friday, September 3: Angela Paulson, coming out as a lesbian, 5 PM
Friday, September 10: Congressman John Leboutillier, 5 PM
Friday, September 17: Patty Fletcher, author of Pathway to Freedom, Book One: Broken and Healed --How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life, Second Edition, 5 PM
As yet, there is no guest for September 24. Contact Bob later on to find out if one has been found.
Friday, October 22: Donna Halper, Associate Professor of Media Studies, 4 PM
7. Authors’ Corner
A. Legend of Three / Book One: The Rise of Marpatronia
by Robert D. Sollars / C 2021
In e-book and paperback from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online sellers.
140 pages in print.
For cover image, synopsis, author bio, buying links, and information about the author’s previous books, visit his website: https://www.dldbooks.com/robertdsollars/
“Children, children, listen to me,” said the regal, bearded teacher. “I’ll begin today’s history lesson with Marpatronia’s greatest achievement. This story is very old and concerns some of the greatest heroes and heroines that our realm has ever known. All of this occurred more than a thousand years ago.”
“Do you mean you’re going to tell us about Lord Robywt, Aileen, and Angela?” a boy asked excitedly.
“You’ll see when I start, little Ebanon.” The child was named for one of the heroes of old.
Mr. Roberts began: “The world was stunningly beautiful, full of peace, brotherhood, and understanding. That is, until the grumblings—and understand, children, that their name is never capitalized—appeared seemingly out of nowhere.”
“Hordes on the horizon! Hordes on the horizon!” the booming voice of the captain of the guard called from the east wall. Then from the south wall and the north and the west came the same cry.
Thus begins the tale of two warring realms, rage and revenge, love and passion, familial bonds broken and restored, magic and heroism—and a seductive scepter whose full power is yet to be revealed.
Description of the cover:
The dark blue of the background at the top of the cover gradually changes into deep red at the bottom. At an angle across the cover is a long sword with a silver blade and a black and gold hilt. The point of the sword points to the upper left. The cover letters are in silver gray, with the title at the top, the subtitle slightly below the middle to the left, and the author’s name at the bottom. The cover was designed by David Dvorkin of DLD Books.
About the author:
Robert D. Sollars lives in Tempe, Arizona, and is best known for his books on security.
This is his first published novel. More of his fiction is to come.
B. Uneasy Tides
by Trish Hubschman
C 2021 / Number four in the Tracy Gayle mystery series
$3.99 in e-book / $8.50 in paperback / 149 pages in print
Cover image, synopsis, author bio, direct buying links, and information about Trish’s previous three books: https://www.dldbooks.com/hubschman/
Blair wants Danny to get her an interview with his first wife’s present husband, Robert Taylor. He’s the CEO of a major computer software company. Danny reluctantly says he’ll see what he can do. He and Tracy go to the Taylor residence for a Christmas party. He hasn’t seen his first wife, Deb, in over 30 years. She sucks up to him.
At the party, Deb is drunk and disappears with her husband’s business partner. Her son from her second marriage, Darren, isn’t present. Her daughter Lily is flirting with a young man. Becca, her daughter with her third husband, a musician, is sincerely excited about Danny’s presence.
Danny and Tracy feel out of sorts and by midnight are ready to leave, but they have to find Deb to say good night. It’s then that mayhem breaks out. Becca summons them down to the pool area. Her mother is passed out on the cement, bruises on her face and arms. Two men are pulling Robert Taylor’s body out of the pool.
Deb is the most likely suspect, but she insists she didn’t do it. Danny’s older brother, Derek, a prominent attorney, takes her case. If Deb didn’t kill her husband, who did? There were so many possible suspects at the party.
Description of the cover:
The photo shows a foreboding seascape, with a cloudy sky, rocky beach, and rushing tide. The colors are gray, blue-gray, black, white, and dark brown. The title letters, at the top, are in red. Below the main title, the subtitle letters are in white. The author’s name is at the bottom of the cover, also in white. To the lower left, superimposed on the seascape, is a red and black electric guitar. It symbolizes Danny Tide and his band, Tidalwave.
Trish Hubschman lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Kevin, author of the poetry and song collection Outside the Circle, and their dog, Henry. She holds a B.A. degree in English with a writing emphasis. For a longer bio and details about her previous Tracy Gayle books, please visit the website linked to above.
C. Three Additional Notes from Leonore Dvorkin: Editor, DLD Books
1. Potential illustrators for children’s books by clients of DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services
Here’s good news for our editing clients who are planning to write children’s books that they wish to have illustrated. Quite recently, my sister Anne sent me the names of two good friends of hers in the Kansas City area. I have communicated with both women, and they have sent some samples of their impressive artwork.
We have not yet discussed prices, but I made it clear to them that David and I charge quite a bit less than the industry standard for our editing and other book preparation work, also that the majority of our clients can’t afford to pay high fees for artwork. They seem to be all right with that concept, and Anne says they are both eager to work with us should the need for their services present itself.
Now David and I have at least these two names of artists, and a new client may be putting us in contact with yet another artist soon. David and I think it will be very good to have a few different artists’ names in reserve.
So onward and upward, with a valuable further expansion of the services that we can offer our many creative clients!
2. Some puzzling but welcome August 2021 book sales for David Dvorkin
Most of you know that David is the author of 30 published books, both fiction and nonfiction. Two of those are in the genre known as alternate history, in which the author imagines that some real historical event turned out quite differently than it did and then how different the world would be if that were the case.
David’s novel BUDSPY sets forth a very different ending to World War Two. David was born during that war in Reading, England, and he did a great deal of research on Nazi Germany before he wrote his book. The result is a novel that garnered some impressive review quotes from major publications and other authors. Here is the information on David’s website about the book. http://www.dvorkin.com/bud/index.php
It has gone through three editions and is currently for sale on Amazon in paperback, e-book, and hardcover. The beautiful hardcover is from IngramSpark. David designed the cover of the third edition.
The puzzling but very welcome news we received a few days ago was that on just one evening, there were eight sales of BUDSPY on the Barnes and Noble website. A few days later, there was another sale of the same book on Amazon. We have no idea who bought so many copies at once or why.
I wish to note here that we and all of our DLD Books authors get their best royalties from Amazon book sales in the U.S. The royalties from other sellers and in other countries are quite a bit lower. That’s why we tell everyone to push Amazon as the place for people to buy their books. However, any sale is a good one, as I’m sure all you writers will agree!
3. Many of you know that the oldest author who works with us is Mary Alice Baluck, now 94 and living in a retirement home in Ohio. She has already published two novels. Those are the impressive historical novel Heaven’s Doorway and a novel in a more modern setting called The Pond’s Reflection: Finding Frannie. Full details of both books are on her website: https://www.dldbooks.com/marybaluck/
On September 1, Mary Alice called me with the news that she will soon send us not just one but two sequels to Heaven’s Doorway, and that she will have a book signing for both of her already published books sometime this month. (I do not have details of the place and time.) For this issue of The Consumer Vision, I mainly want to express my admiration for a person of that advanced age with such astonishing energy and imagination. So if you ever get to feeling that you are “too old to write,” I hope you will think of Mary Alice and feel inspired!
8. MODERN BASEBALL AFFECTS PITCHING PERFORMANCE
by Bob Branco
Copyright August 19, 2021
What is it with baseball managers and front offices? They seem to have a fetish about pitchers facing opposing batting orders for the third time during a baseball game. Where is it said that pitchers automatically lose control at that point? I don’t think there is any solid evidence, because each pitcher is different from any other. Yet, pitchers are often removed before the third time around. Roger Clemens rarely had a problem facing batting orders for the third time. Pedro Martinez rarely had that problem. Jim Palmer rarely had that problem.
On Tuesday afternoon, Tanner Houck, the starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, was taken out of the game after four innings in exchange for a bull pen that manager Alex Cora admitted was underperforming. If the bull pen is underperforming, and if Tanner Houck was pitching reasonably well, then why remove him from the game? If we want to talk about the lesser of two evils, an underperforming bull pen vs. facing the other team’s batting order for the third time, I’ll take my chances with the latter. Furthermore, how does a manager gain trust or confidence in his starting pitcher if the manager continues to deny his starter a chance to try to prove he can handle the opposing batting order for the third time? At some point, you need to have faith in your pitcher, especially when your alternative is not a viable option right now. I’ve witnessed many starting pitchers who improved as the game went along, even when they face the opposing batting order for the third time. In other words, the third time can be a charm.
When the game was over, most of the conversation was about Garrett Whitlock, the pitcher who relieved Tanner Houck after four innings. Talk show hosts and their callers kept saying that Whitlock had a bad day on the mound. In the first place, Whitlock should never have been on the mound. Houck was pitching just fine, thank you very much. Therefore, it’s not fair to blame Whitlock because he inherited a poor managerial decision.
I have made another observation as to why managers pull starting pitchers way too early. It is widely documented that front offices tell their managers what to do based on analytical and statistical knowledge of what should happen on the field. As far as I’m concerned, managers should have complete authority on the baseball diamond. They should not be told by analytics departments how to treat players. Managers are smart enough to know when a pitcher is tired, or when a player has problems at the plate or in the field. They don’t need computer printouts or scripts to dictate what is supposed to happen. If I were a general manager of a major league baseball team, my manager would be given complete authority to do whatever he wanted to do, according to baseball rules. That’s how it’s supposed to be.
As we continue to ask questions about why managers remove starting pitchers way too early, a common response is that the team owners are trying to protect their investments. Many of these pitchers make millions of dollars, so it’s important to preserve their arms. Here’s the problem. Despite the efforts of owners to protect their investments, there have been more Tommy John surgeries than ever before, leaving pitchers out of baseball for 18 months at a time. So much for protecting your investment. If pitchers were not told to throw hard all the time, maybe they wouldn’t have these problems. I grew up in an era when pitchers were much more creative and not so aggressive. They threw more curve balls, sinkers, sliders, knuckle balls, and other slow and deceiving pitches to go along with an occasional fast ball. Today, it’s all about the fast ball. I don’t know why it’s believed that if pitchers threw fast balls all the time, baseball would be much more enjoyable. To me, there is less creativity that way.
I have a message for team owners and front offices. To the team owners, I say, let your pitchers be more creative, and you won’t have to worry about them getting hurt so easily. My message to front offices is, leave your managers alone. Let them manage the way they know how to manage. They know their players better than you do. Put your computer away. Recognize baseball as a sport that involves the human eye test. That’s how it was always meant to be.
Originally published on Bob Branco’s blog.
To subscribe to his blog, go to www.brancoevents.com/category/recent-news .
9. TERRI’S TIDBITS
by Terri Winaught
Although I try not to get too political when submitting my tidbits, I’m afraid that this item will smack of politics more than usual.
Anyone who knows me even somewhat is aware that I voted for President Biden because, while I give credit to former President Trump for having done some good things, I dislike his demeanor and many of his policies. That statement doesn’t mean, though, that I think our current president is perfect. I’m extremely unhappy with his handling of the crisis in Afghanistan and the extent to which it has escalated and exploded. While I don’t blame him (or anyone, for that matter) for believing that there is a point at which we can’t fight other people’s battles, I can also think of no reason why we couldn’t have kept at least a skeleton force in Afghanistan, as we have in other countries. Given the recent tragic explosion that resulted in death and injury, my heart goes out to the people of Afghanistan who are suffering more than the people of any country or culture should have to suffer.
God alone knows how this intensely conflict-filled situation will be worked out. It will take Him and people desiring global peace to do it.
To offer any comments or feedback, write or call me:
Terri Winaught: firstname.lastname@example.org;
Home phone: (412) 441-0925
Cell phone: (412) 595-6187
You can also address braille correspondence to: 5700 Centre Ave., Apt. 609, Pittsburgh, PA
10. RECIPE COLUMN
by Karen Crowder
When September arrives, days are noticeably shorter with more fall-like temperatures. In early to mid-September, we can enjoy more swimming. Lakes, ponds, pools, and beaches remain open until late September. When people take vacations, trains, buses and planes are less crowded. Schools and universities open by early to mid-September. Roadside stands and ice cream stands remain open. People can enjoy lobster rolls, onion rings, and fried clams across New England. In Leominster and other towns across central Massachusetts, our favorite ice cream stand remains open until early October. Farm stands have an abundance of tomatoes, zucchini, apples, and peaches. In 2021, church bazaars have returned. There are enticing baked goods, delicious meals, handmade items, and bargains from white elephant tables. At the country store late in the evening, I bought some fresh herbs and cute notepads. I have baked cookies and brownies for several bazaars; they sell well.
There are three special days during September. Labor Day is on Monday, September 6. The Jewish Holiday Rosh Hashanah begins on Monday, September 6 and ends on Wednesday, September 8. The observance of Yom Kippur begins on Wednesday, September 15 and ends on
Thursday, September 16.
A. Labor Day Hamburger Stroganoff
B. Baked Eggplant Slices
C. Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies
Note: The recipe for baked eggplant slices was submitted by Marcy Segelman. The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe is from 50 Sweet and Savory Recipes, by the Nestlé Corporation.
A. Labor Day Hamburger Stroganoff
When my husband and I owned our home in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, we always enjoyed company on Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day weekends. In 1996, everyone looked forward to this easy and delicious stroganoff.
One pound 80% lean ground beef
Two cloves garlic
Dashes of allspice
Six whole mushrooms
One-half stick butter
One-half sweet onion
One 10-ounce can Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup
One low sodium beef Herb-Ox or bouillon cube, dissolved in one-half cup water
Dashes of Worcestershire sauce
Optional soy sauce
Two tablespoons flour
One-half pint sour cream
One bag Success rice.
1. In a 12-inch deep cast iron frying pan, melt butter on low heat for five minutes. Add minced garlic, broken-up mushrooms, and chopped onion. Sauté the vegetables for 10 minutes on low heat. Stir vegetables around the pan with preferably a metal slotted spoon for one minute.
2. Add ground beef and stir it with the vegetables to blend the ingredients. Add allspice and a pinch of salt, stirring briefly with the slotted spoon. Sauté stroganoff for 15 minutes on low to medium heat. Add mushroom soup and the Herb-Ox or bouillon cube diluted in one-half cup water. Add to stroganoff and add flour. Stir stroganoff around with a stirring spoon until it is thoroughly mixed.
3. Also add Worcestershire sauce and optional soy sauce.
4. Cook stroganoff for 20 minutes on low to medium heat. The enticing aroma of this dish will fill your house.
5. While it is cooking, prepare the Success rice. Fill a locklid saucepan half full of water. Add a little salt when it comes to a boil. Add the bag of rice. Cook the rice for 11 minutes. Put rice in an airtight plastic container and add a little butter or margarine.
6. After 20 minutes, add the sour cream and blend it into the stroganoff with a metal stirring spoon. Note: You can keep it on low heat, covered, until serving time.
Partially fill bowls or crocks with rice, adding the stroganoff.
(Editor’s note: Karen did not say how many this would serve, but I would guess three to four people.)
B. Baked Eggplant Slices
I thank Marcy Segelman for this recipe. It is a celebratory dish during either Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur.
One and one-half pounds eggplant
One-fourth cup oil
Two cloves garlic
Three-fourths teaspoon salt
One-eighth teaspoon pepper
One-half teaspoon oregano
1. Cut eggplant crosswise into half-inch pieces.
2. Sprinkle slices well with salt and let them stand in a colander for 30 minutes.
3. Remove them and beat oil with garlic and seasoning.
4. Brush each side of eggplant with oil mixture. Place slices on cookie sheet or 13” by 9” pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, until they are tender.
They should serve six people.
This recipe is from a Jewish low cholesterol cookbook.
C. Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies
Two 12-ounce packages Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chip Morsels, divided
Two and two-thirds cups all purpose flour
One teaspoon baking soda
One teaspoon salt
One cup or two sticks butter or margarine, softened
One cup packed brown sugar
One-half cup granulated sugar
One teaspoon vanilla extract
Three large eggs
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Melt two cups morsels in small, heavy-duty saucepan over low heat. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat.
3. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.
4. Beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Beat in melted chocolate. Gradually beat in flour mixture.
6. Stir in remaining two cups chocolate morsels.
7. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheets.
8. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes or until cookies are puffed. Cool on baking sheets for two minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Makes four dozen cookies.
I hope all Consumer Vision readers are enjoying this wonderful summer. Unlike last summer, many Americans have received COVID-19 vaccines and feel confident to travel. It is exciting to visit family friends or relatives after so long. However, because of the Delta variant, we must continue to wear masks in public places. We hope this will be an incentive for more Americans to receive shots. I have traveled to northern Maine to visit my step-daughter and family. After almost a two-year absence, it was a lovely, enjoyable visit.
Let us all pray for a kinder, more united America.
11. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST
Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the August Consumer Vision. Quarterback Tom Brady attended college at the University of Michigan. Congratulations to the following winners:
Jan Colby of Brockton, Massachusetts
Nancy Hays of Waterbury, Connecticut
Marcy Segelman of West Roxbury, Massachusetts
Jo Smith of West Dennis,Massachusetts
Robert Sollars of Tempe, Arizona
Steve Théberge of Attleboro, Massachusetts
And now, here is your question for the September Consumer Vision. What historical figure said, “Give me liberty, or give me death”? If you know the answer, please email email@example.com, or call 508-994-4972.