THE CONSUMER VISION
Address: 359 Coggeshall St., New Bedford, MA 02746
Publisher: Bob Branco
Editors: David and Leonore Dvorkin
Formatter: 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. KILLING ME SOFTLY WITH SILENCE *** by Dennis Polselli
2. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: There’s No Worse Time Than Now! *** by James R. Campbell
3. A WORD ABOUT SPORTS: Is a Year Enough to Stop a Baseball Disaster? *** by Don Wardlow
4. WEATHER OR NOT: Winter Storms across the United States *** by Steve Roberts
5. WHAT ARE YOUR THEORIES ON WHY BLIND PEOPLE ARE SO UNDEREMPLOYED? *** by Liam Urven, submitted by Stephen Théberge
6. SPECIAL NOTICES
7. AUTHORS’ CORNER
8. STAYING SAFE & SECURE DURING THE HOLIDAYS *** by Robert Sollars
9. A VERY ENJOYABLE WEEKEND: MY REPORT ON MILEHICON #51 *** by Leonore Dvorkin
10. RECIPE COLUMN *** by Karen Crowder
1. KILLING ME SOFTLY WITH SILENCE
by Dennis Polselli
I have been deeply disturbed recently by ads depicting blind people as totally clueless about their surroundings and even what time of day it is. Vanda Pharmaceuticals’ recent ad campaign regarding Non-24 has taken a negative turn that threatens to undo all the gains we have made in our march for equal treatment to take our places in the work force. What bothers me the most has been the silence by an organization that, in my opinion, sets the gold standard for civil rights— not only for persons who are blind, but for people with all kinds of disabilities. I single out the National Federation of the Blind because they have been fighting to change public attitudes on blindness since 1940.
See if some of these phrases sound familiar to you: “The problem is not our blindness, but the public’s attitudes toward blindness.” “When given the proper training, blindness can be reduced to a nuisance.” “They tell us there’s no discrimination, and that the blind are not a minority, but we know who we are, and we will never go back.” NFB has fought issues from employment to the quality of rehabilitation in this country, opening up their own orientation centers, to unionizing sheltered workshops, fighting for minimum wages before any other disability group did so, even fighting for the right of blind persons to sit in emergency exit row seats in airlines.
But now, ads dealing with Non-24 have been very disturbingly depicting blind persons being late for jobs because they didn’t know what time of day it was, and even blind persons being unable to lead normal lives. NFB used to protest and picket outside TV studios when programs depicted the blind as incompetent and unable to do their jobs. But there’s no picketing outside Vanda Pharmaceuticals. That’s because Vanda Pharmaceuticals poured money into the American Council of the Blind, paying some of the costs for their national conventions. They have done the same with NFB and Perkins School for the Blind. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you. In the meantime, blind persons looking for gainful employment are being hurt as potential employers watch these ads and are influenced by how the blind are portrayed.
I think it’s time for the NFB to sit down with Vanda Pharmaceuticals and restructure their ads to educate the public on Non-24, and to do so in a way that does not continue to foster negative stereotypes on blindness and the blind. As the late Dr. Kenneth Jernigan would say: “We want no strife or confrontation, but we know who we are, and we will never go back.”
2. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: There’s No Worse Time Than Now!
by James R. Campbell
There is no doubt that Donald trump is one of the most controversial presidents of our times. From his campaign in 2016 until today, he has been surrounded by turmoil and a plethora of accusations. Most of these center around the claim by Democrats that he conspired with Vladimir Putin’s Russia in his bid for the White House. Allegations persist that he asked Russian cyberintelligence operatives for dirt on Hillary Clinton, leading to an entire disinformation campaign, the aim of which was that the billionaire real estate mogul from Manhattan would gain the White House.
Many people, myself included, saw Trump as volatile and dangerous. His most frightening aspects were his history with women, the accusation leveled against Mexico (“They’re bringing drugs, gangs, rapists, and crime into the US”), and the appeal and support of White Nationalists and others who follow racist ideologies. I even went so far as to tell Aunt Sue that I would never vote for that man. I said, “We don’t need a misogynist in the White House!”
Yet President Trump has surprised many, even me, over the last three years. He has worked tirelessly to put America first and bring jobs to our shores. He moved the capital of Israel to Jerusalem, and he has rebuilt our military; his predecessor did everything he could to tear it down and bring our nation to its knees. He has reduced the territory under the stranglehold of the Islamic State, and gone out of his way to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, albeit that appears to be a one-sided effort.
Recently, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been in the news. Their belligerent actions in the Gulf include the seizure of foreign oil tankers, increased support for terrorists, and other aggressive moves. Two weeks ago, a Saudi oil terminal was hit by two Iranian missiles and drones. Half of Saudi oil production was affected for a time. Intelligence has led to one conclusion: Teheran is responsible. No other terrorist group in the region has the ability to pull off this type of attack.
The focus has shifted yet again. A whistleblower filed a complaint about a phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky in which (it is alleged) our president threatened to withhold military aid from Ukraine if the Kiev government didn’t investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who is tied to a Ukrainian company.
The Democrats, under the direction of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have launched a formal impeachment inquiry. They believe that the phone call highlights activities that pose a risk to national security, the Constitution, and our way of life. One Congressman said: “If President Trump gets away with this, what checks and balances do we have in place?” The impeachment ball is rolling, even after Vladimir Zelensky denied that there was any pressure from President Trump in open hearings before a national television audience on September 25, 2019.
Many of my chatline friends wonder what the government is hiding. Their thinking is that the impeachment inquiry is a red herring that has been designed to cover up the bigger story that the American people aren’t supposed to hear. My question is this: What will happen if we get into a regional war in the Middle East during the impeachment inquiry? Do the Democrats want a strong leader, one who will do what he thinks is right as Commander In Chief, or would they prefer to change horses in midstream, with unforeseen consequences? If they don’t like the way that Donald Trump has handled Iran, I believe they will be less satisfied with Mike Pence. I believe that he would take a tougher stand than our current leader.
Regardless of what happens, we can’t afford the impeachment hearings with so much uncertainty in the Persian Gulf. Just the other day, someone told the press that we are one missile away from a regional conflagration. And I would suggest that we should not make the grave error of thinking that our enemies abroad aren’t watching what happens at home. They will hit us when our guard is down. The major squabble over the implications over one phone call is the kind of opening they look for.
If President Trump did anything wrong, then he should pay the price. If he alone denied it, the question would be open, but when Vladimir Zelensky denied it, as I see it, the matter was closed. I am not a Congressman; I’m only a layperson who is concerned about our country and its survival. It seems that the latest hen house brawl in Congress is more important than our national security. The Democrats disagree, which is their right. Be that as it may, they need to leave the brouhaha over the phone call in File 13 for the time being. We don’t need the distraction in light of world events. There’s no worse time than now!
As always, thanks for your time.
With loving kindness,
James R. Campbell
3. A WORD ABOUT SPORTS: Is a Year Enough to Stop a Baseball Disaster?
by Don Wardlow
This could happen to you, in or near the city or town where you live.
I wanted to fill you in on an idea that’s now in the planning stages. If Major League Baseball (MLB) and Minor League Baseball (MILB) have their way, when the 2021 season opens, more than 40 small towns and cities won’t have minor league baseball as they know it—in some cases as they’ve known it for decades.
I haven’t been secretive about my opinion that a number of failing major league teams need to drop off the map. I think Bud Selig had one good idea in his ill-spent reign as Commissioner, which was the idea to shut down the Expos and Twins entirely at the end of 2002. Then he didn’t follow through. Now, at the major league level, not only are we stuck with the 31 teams we have (a lot of which are horrid), but MLB wants to expand. The talent pool is desperately shallow now and could easily dry up entirely if any more MLB teams are born.
While I would have preferred for some major league teams to fold their tents, I don’t like the proposal that 42 minor league teams now affiliated with MLB squads could be shut down after the 2020 season. MLB and MILB have to reach an agreement by then, and this proposal will be contentious at best.
In these days of ridiculously expensive MLB tickets ($15,000 per seat for Game One of the 2019 World Series, with standing room at $470.00), the minor leagues have offered a quality product at usually reasonable prices. I was blessed to be able to broadcast minor league baseball just as it began to boom. This boom came about before, during, and after the bitter MLB strike of 1994-95. With the boom came higher attendance and the sound of cash registers jingling at gates and concession stands in minor league cities from Lethbridge, Alberta to Ft. Lauderdale.
The present proposal would cut the minor leagues down from 160 to 120 teams. MLB is aware that some cities (Hagerstown, New Orleans, San Antonio) have stadiums that aren’t up to snuff. New Orleans has already lost their AAA team, with their stadium being given as the reason.
The AAA team at Pawtucket, Rhode Island, a Red Sox team since the 1970s, is moving after next season. The reason is the same: It’s cheaper to build new than to upgrade McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket. Those moves are on a case-by-case basis. MLB is making noises about closing the Appalachian League and Pioneer League (rookie ball) and the New York Penn League (short-season A-ball) entirely and reclassifying teams that continue to exist. No change this dramatic has been proposed in more than 50 years.
Where teams remain, MLB hopes to work with the minor leagues on raising salaries for minor leaguers, improving their travel and upgrading their accommodations on the road. MLB also wants minor league teams to stop changing affiliations every two or four years. In a handful of seasons, Trenton, New Jersey went from being a Tiger team, to the Red Sox, then the Yankees, as they are now. They’ve stuck with the Yankees for nearly two decades, which is what MLB hopes to see happen more often. They don’t want the Mets’ AAA team to be in Las Vegas, as it was until 2019 began and they moved to Syracuse. For a while, the Marlins had an AAA team in Calgary. You can guess what happened if a major leaguer got hurt and a replacement was needed quickly. It took too long to get a guy from Calgary to almost anywhere in the majors.
If the present proposal is ratified, the Northwest League (now a short-season league) will expand to a full 140-game schedule. Meantime, no games will be played in places like Batavia, Staten Island, and Brooklyn (all in New York), Lowell, Massachusetts, and Mahoning Valley, Ohio, where the New York Penn League team has had entries since the time when I was a broadcaster. If the league shuts down, New Britain Stadium (home of the Connecticut Tigers) won’t have a team connected to the bigs.
Most of the 10 Appalachian League cities that may lose their teams have grown accustomed to having them around. They’re in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee, far from any major league city. The Pioneer League even has long-standing teams in Billings and Great Falls, Montana, along with other teams in even more distant reaches.
If the teams go, the fans lose. Potential broadcasters have fewer places to learn their craft. ESPN broadcaster Matt Vasgersian broke in as a rookie radio man in 1991 with the Appalachian League Huntington Cubs the same year I broke in with the Miracle. You would think more minor league teams would be needed if MLB plans to expand. As of now, that’s not the route MLB wishes to take.
4. WEATHER OR NOT: Winter Storms across the United States
by Steve Roberts
The Alberta Clipper
An Alberta Clipper is a moisture-starved but energetic little storm. These storms form when a shot of moisture coming in off the Pacific meets up with a shot of very cold air coming out of the Arctic. An Alberta Clipper will move along at speeds of 30-50 mph. Because of their great speed and limited moisture, clippers leave little snow in their wake. A typical clipper system will deposit 1-3 inches of snow in the places along its path.
Though most clipper systems are innocuous, the Alberta Clipper can clobber. If a clipper slows down or stalls out off the Northeast Coast, it can become a potent nor’easter, capable of producing lots of snow. If an Alberta Clipper links up with a moisture-laden storm coming out of the Gulf states, then you can get the development of a snow bomb. Even with both factors taken together, clobbering slippers are rare.
The Pineapple Express
The Pineapple Express is a flow of deep, rich, tropical moisture that emanates from the central tropical Pacific, south of the Hawaiian islands. This flow then shoots lots of moisture into California and neighboring states.
These great storms can dump lots of rain at the coast, while just inland, there can be huge mud slides. These great storms can dump snow that is measured in yards, not feet! A Pineapple Express can persist for a week or longer, bringing great peril to the people of the western United States.
The Colorado Low
The Colorado Low is a great beast of a winter storm. These storms form in eastern Colorado on the front range of the Rockies. These storms form when warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico collides with bitterly cold air coming out of the Rockies. Where these flows meet, rapid storm intensification takes place.
A typical Colorado Low will dump snow at rates of 1-2 inches an hour, with the heaviest snows falling 150-250 miles to the west of the storm track. Colorado Lows typically travel to the northeast, heading into the upper Midwest and western Great Lakes.
The Chattanooga Choo-Choo
A Chattanooga Choo-Choo is a storm that forms in the eastern portions of Tennessee when a cold front and a weak upper-level disturbance link up. This storm then goes to the northeast, overspreading the Ohio Valley and lower Great Lakes with heavy snow..
The Pan Handle Hook
This storm forms in the southern Rockies near southeast Colorado. This storm moves slowly to the southeast towards Alabama. Then, the storm shoots to the northeast, heading toward the Great Lakes. This storm is known for dumping heavy snow in western and central Illinois.
The Texas Panhandler
A Panhandler forms when cold air from the Rockies clashes with warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. Unlike the Pan Handle Hook, the Panhandler takes a more typical path from the west to the east. These storms can produce heavy snow across vast sections of the plains and the Midwest.
A typical nor’easter forms when a low in the Ohio Valley dies off, handing its energy over to a secondary low to the east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. This low then quickly develops as it runs up the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. These storms produce heavy snows throughout the Mid Atlantic and Northeast United States.
Some nor’easters develop down in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. These storms then run up the East Coast of the United States. These storms can produce heavy snow throughout the northeast United States. If a nor’easter coming out of the south links up with an Alberta Clipper or upper-level low, a bomb cyclone will detonate!
Note: Steven P. Roberts is the author of the nonfiction book The Whys and Whats of Weather (2014) and the novel The Great Winter Hurricane (2015). The books are for sale in e-book and print on Amazon and other bookselling sites. The e-books are text-to-speech enabled. Details, cover images, free text previews, and buying links are at: https://www.dldbooks.com/stevenroberts/
5. WHAT ARE YOUR THEORIES ON WHY BLIND PEOPLE ARE SO UNDEREMPLOYED?
by Liam Urven
Submitted by Stephen Théberge
One of the biggest issues about having a disability is the way you are treated by possible employers. Usually when you’re looking for gainful employment, you answer an ad, send a resume, and go for an interview. If you meet the qualifications and they like what you bring, you are hired.
Now, I would like to tell you how looking for gainful employment works for me. I look through the ads. I weed out the obvious things I can’t be doing. Truck driving isn’t going to happen. So instead, I search for things I could be great at. Sadly, there are no MLB umpire listings, so this means I don’t have guaranteed employment. I settle on customer service rep. I’m very good at working with people. I’m calm, patient, and try to make sure that the person I’m dealing with gets what they need.
I send a resume. The company is actually interested, so they call me in for an interview. This is when it gets hairy.
I am dressed up like I’ve never been dressed up before. (I’m actually wearing pants.) I walk into the office, have the customary hello-how-are-you handshake, and we start talking about my resume and what I can bring to the team. You can feel the tension in the room. The HR guy wants to ask the question that’s bothering him. I can tell since between questions there are extra- long pauses, the nervous shuffling of papers, and throat clearing. Also, that annoying clicky pen thingy people do. You know, with the top of the pen. They go click-click, click-click. It drives me crazy! Gaaah! Anyway, I digress.
He finally finds the carefully worded question. I suspect that in the back of his mind, he’s wondering how to ask the question without a court summons magically appearing in front of him. “How do you feel you would solve any challenges that working with a lack of sight may impose?”
I’m ready for this and explain my experience with working on a computer, the software I use, and my knowledge of operating systems. I then go on to explain that I multitask very well between a phone and a computer. Though my ability to quickly scan a spreadsheet is slower, the Find function makes it easier to quickly find what I need. The interview feels like it’s gone well. He explains what they do customer service for, and I am actually interested. So away I go into the wild blue yonder.
And of course I never get a call back. I can’t even begin to tell you how often this has happened. I have interviewed for many different positions—service rep, fry cook, dishwasher, cashier. And the result is the same. It turns out that especially when it comes to anything involving a kitchen, I am automatically considered to be a liability. Let me tell you, I am about 50 times more careful than your average Joe and Joanna when it comes to kitchen safety. I need all 10 of my fingers in good working order. How else am I going to effectively read braille and feel objects?
So I say to anyone who sees this, especially if you own a business: Do not immediately dismiss an application from someone with a disability. We want to work and be productive members of society. We’re careful, hardworking, and will be 55.73 times happier to have that job than any other candidate. If safety is an issue, ask us about it. We’ve learned to adapt to living with our disabilities. I’ll be honest. I’d love to run a dishwasher for $9 an hour if it means I’m pulling down a paycheck and being part of the workforce.
I also say to these blindness organizations out there: It’s great that there are blind lawyers and business owners and all that, but guess what? Not everyone wants to defend O.J. in court. Not everyone wants to run a vending business. I would love to be able to work in a store, flip burgers, wash plates, or help people find out why their Dora the Explorer Play Castle of Wonder hasn’t shown up yet. I realize these aren’t glamorous jobs, but they’re jobs. Why don’t you focus some time and energy on how to make point-of-sale systems accessible for blind cashiers? Why don’t you focus on working with restaurant chains on safety protocols for blind workers? How about working with makers of database software to make their web interfaces compliant? Instead, we focus our energies on boycotting a TV show because the blind character isn’t played by a blind woman. That doesn’t better our lives at all. That just gives press coverage. Whether or not The CW has a blind person playing a blind person doesn’t mean anything when the rent is due.
One of the main reasons employment among blind people is so high is that we do not have fair access to jobs. There are a ton of things we can’t do, but many more we can do. Let’s focus on those public sector jobs, even though they’re not sensational. Here’s a thought: Let’s help people so they can be living the lives they want. Wouldn’t that be great?
Steve Théberge’s book information: http://www.dvorkin.com/stephentheberge
First author interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKPiHTJpgqg
6. SPECIAL NOTICES
I have received several emails from individuals claiming that they are from Dell Services. The sender has a Gmail address and attaches a PDF file with an invoice number. The sender provides a toll-free number and says that I need to be near my computer or laptop and provide them a code. The email is written in broken English.
If your readers receive an email similar to this, please direct them to Dell’s phone scam reporting site at https://www.dell.com/support/incidents-online/us/en/19/reportphonescam.
Unfortunately, there is a captcha.
If the email comes from a Gmail address, users can file a report with Google at https://support.google.com/mail/contact/abuse?.
This site, from the Federal Trade Commission, provides direct email addresses.
I prefer this method because it is faster than dealing with inaccessible forms.
There are two email addresses on this page.
7. AUTHORS’ CORNER
A. Publishing: The Old Ways vs. the New
by Leonore Dvorkin
Copyright October 27, 2019
Our business: DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services: http://www.dldbooks.com/
The other day, I sent Patty Fletcher, who helps market our editing clients’ books, a note about my frustration with Amazon. It concerned their delay in posting the correct price for the newest book by John Justice, one of our more prolific clients.
Just after I sent Patty the note, I had to smile at myself for any impatience. I should know better. That’s because, while the modern system of self-publishing might not be perfect, when I compare it to the old ways of traditional, mainstream publishing, I have to say that it is almost unbelievably fast and reliable.
My husband, David Dvorkin, is the author of 29 published books. His first science fiction novel, The Children of Shiny Mountain, was published by Pocket Books in 1977. The first 17 of his 29 books were published by mainstream, mainly New York publishers. Thus we had many years of experience with those methods of publication.
David typed the manuscript for his first several books on a manual typewriter. Only later did he get an electric typewriter and then, eventually, a personal computer. You can imagine the tedium of typing a book on hundreds of sheets of paper and then having to type many, many pages over again to suit the publishers, who often wanted drastic cuts and other changes. All this was done, by the way, while David was working full time as a computer programmer. He could only write in the evenings and on weekends.
Even after he’d had a few books published, there were dozens of other frustrations. Those included—but were certainly not limited to—the following: Hunting for a competent literary agent. Gathering a whole desk drawer full of totally impersonal rejection slips from agents and publishers. Sending out each manuscript as a large pile of typed pages (paying lots of postage each time) and waiting weeks or even months for a response, yet not being allowed to submit his book to more than one agent at a time.
Even when an agent did sell his latest book to a decent publisher, David most often had to wait months or even more than a year for it to come to press. Then he received royalty reports and checks only twice a year, never knowing for sure how accurate those were. Also, with traditional publishing, if your book does not sell well virtually right away, it is unpublished, and it usually takes at least seven years to get the rights back, so that you can then re-issue the book as a self-published book.
All of the above are things that we went through many, many times beginning in the 1970s. They are only a few of the reasons that we gave up on traditional publishing in 2009 and have never looked back. In our opinion, the new methods are way better and a huge relief. Here are just a few of their many advantages.
With self-publishing, we have complete control over the content of each book and its cover. We can set our own prices for the book. It is published within about 48 hours of the file being submitted to Amazon. It is sold worldwide online in print and e-book formats. The e-book is text-to-speech enabled, so there is no real need for an audio version. It stays in print forever, or until we remove it from the multiple selling sites. Author’s copies are very cheap and arrive within a few days of being ordered. Those can be sold for any price we desire. And so on.
David has even found that self-publishing has given him new motivation for writing, as well as a tremendous sense of freedom and control over his own writing output. So, while marketing is the hard part, to tell the truth, it always was. Good marketing takes lots of media savvy, good connections, self-confidence to the point of boldness, and not infrequently, a fair amount of money. But even if commercial success never comes, the love of writing can be sustained more easily, we believe, when it is bolstered by all the freedoms that self-publishing grants the writer.
B. Just published!
VANESSA’S STORY: A NOVEL
by John Justice
Independently published, C 2019
In e-book ($3.99) and print ($17.95) from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online sellers.
The e-book is text-to-speech enabled.
481 pages in print.
Details, cover image, free text preview, and buying links are on the author’s website: https://www.dldbooks.com/johnjustice/
This is John Justice’s fifth book. See below for the titles of his other works.
From the Introduction
This is a work of fiction. For the most part, any resemblance to real–life characters is coincidental. There is, however, one exception. I have included many of my own life experiences and those of my wife, Linda.
Adventitious blindness, visual impairment developed after birth, is extremely difficult to face. The techniques and experiences described here are based on actual, documented cases. When faced by this tremendous challenge, a person has the choice of learning to live blind or spending the rest of life in a limited, restricted environment.
About the Novel
After their terrible accident at Crater Lake, young Vanessa is blinded, and her boyfriend loses his legs. How will they ever adapt, either physically or emotionally, to their daunting new realities?
Vanessa’s Story is set years before the advent of the adaptive technology for the blind that exists today. Here, her own determination, support from her family, inspiration from a blind acquaintance, and excellent training at a center in Arkansas set the young woman on her path toward a brighter future.
Along the way, plenty of challenges and even dangers arise. A certain close relative is more than difficult to deal with until her own life circumstances and attitude change for the better.
As she gains confidence and maturity, Vanessa discovers that no vision is required for her to find new and lasting friendships—and then, at last, new love.
Description of the Cover
A young woman with long hair and a short skirt stands upright, with her arms drawn back behind her. Her posture radiates confidence and determination. She is in profile, facing right, silhouetted in black against dramatic black and red-orange clouds that are mainly below her. Behind her, the sky is a pale blue-green; it gradually darkens in tone toward the top of the cover image. Above the girl’s head are a crescent moon and a few stars. The title is in white above her, and the author’s name is in white below her. The words “A Novel” are in black to her left, against the palest part of the sky.
C. Other Books by John Justice
It’s Still Christmas / C 2015
The Paddy Stories: Book One / C 2016
The Paddy Stories: Book Two / C 2018
Love Letters in the Grand: The Adventures and Misadventures of a Big-City Piano Tuner /
Full details and buying links are on the author’s website: https://www.dldbooks.com/johnjustice/
Editing, print layout, and cover design of John Justice’s books are by David and Leonore Dvorkin of DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services: http://www.dldbooks.com/
D. Four Christmas-Themed Books for You and the Young Ones in Your Life
Submitted by Leonore Dvorkin, Editor, DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services
Here are four delightful, imaginative books of varying lengths, sure to bring holiday joy to both children and adults. Just click on any of the provided website URLs for full information and buying links. All books are in e–book and print from Amazon and other online sellers. The e–books are inexpensive and are text–to–speech enabled. Free text previews are on the authors’ websites.
1. The Christmas Carriage and Other Writings of the Holiday Season, C 2016, by Alice Jane-Marie Massa. A heartwarming collection of holiday memoirs, short stories, and poetry. Includes photos of her beloved guide dogs. The website also has information on the beautiful cover photo of a Christmas carriage and the black horse pulling it. Details: https://www.dldbooks.com/alicemassa/
2. The Misadventures of Mistletoe Mouse, by Susan Bourrie, C 2016. Enjoy the lively adventures and misadventures of Mistletoe Mouse and his friends Molly Dolly and an express reindeer, as they work to make terrible Christmases terrific, tackling every challenge with energy and imagination. This is a traditional and wholesome tale that is sure to please children of all ages. Older children will delight in reading it to younger ones.
3. It’s Still Christmas, by John Justice, C 2015 / Only $1.99 in e–book / $7.50 in print.
Once getting by financially, the Gleasons have become homeless and close to hopeless. With Christmas drawing near, their lives are about to undergo a drastic change. The lifesaving aid they give to a stranger, an elderly Jewish widower, is soon repaid in ways they could never have imagined. Enjoy this touching story of mingled hearts, faiths, and trust.
For details of this and John’s other four books, see: https://www.dldbooks.com/johnjustice/
4. Christmas on Valley View Farm, by Brian Nash, C 2010
This third book in the wonderful Valley View Farm series, suitable for children 9 to 12, has everything a young reader could desire. Christmas is coming, and young Daniel Riggs is dreaming of what might be in store. But a kidnapper has plans for Daniel’s feline friend Midnight. Helped by the talkative farm animals, Daniel faces a bloodthirsty panther, rides a thrilling ghost train, and then revels in holiday magic.
For details of this and Brian’s other five books, see: https://www.dldbooks.com/brianknash/
8. STAYING SAFE & SECURE DURING THE HOLIDAYS
by Robert Sollars
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” That has been a Christmas classic since Andy Williams belted it out with his flair nearly 60 years ago. And for nearly everyone who celebrates this time of goodwill, fellowship, and peace, it is wonderful.
But there are those who want to take it away from you. There are innumerable criminals out there who wish to rob you of your holiday spirit. This post is an effort to prevent them from taking your warm fuzzies, safety, and security from you.
You must be aware of who and what are around you at all times, always, with no breaks for the season. This sounds simple enough to do, but during the holiday season, it really isn’t. And the first unusual thing you will read here is to be, as some call it, hypervigilant: watchful of literally everything and everyone around you, not just the special sales and gifts.
While not being totally mistrustful and apprehensive of people, you definitely need to take care and be wary of potential scammers and those following you. Also, know where you are and how you got there at all times. Wandering around the mall, you may overlook some little issue that could become a bigger problem when you try to leave with your purchases.
Carry only one credit/debit card and never, absolutely never, flash a wad of cash. Use your wallet instead of having the cash in your pocket, unless you are fortunate enough to have a bodyguard. Criminals watch how you pay for your purchases. If they spot numerous credit/debit cards or a big wad of cash in your wallet, it makes you an obvious target.
Carry your wallet in your front pocket. This may sound like a weird tip, but stop and think for a moment. Which pocket is closer and harder to get into, your rear or front? Your wallet is less likely to draw the eye of a potential pickpocket if it’s in the front. If they do try to steal it and it’s in the front pocket, chances are you will notice before they get away with it.
Ladies, if you’re not wearing pants with pockets, place your purse around your neck and shoulder and wear it across your body on your chest. This will make it harder for someone to steal or open it up. You never want to make yourself an easy target. Therefore, make those pickpockets find an easier person to pick on.
Make frequent trips to your car.
If you’re in the middle of a shopping frenzy, planning to shop till you drop, then make sure that you don’t drop from being robbed! Make a purchase or two and take it to the car. Then go back to the next stop. This will allow you to keep your hands free, and you’ll able to pull out your keys quickly if you perceive you are being stalked.
Never carry so many packages that you can’t see well or your hands can’t move freely. If your hands are full and you can’t reach your keys easily, or you can’t clearly see what is ahead of you, you make a very easy and inviting target for a criminal, whether they assault you while you’re moving toward your car or after you’ve reached it and have to put your packages down. As with the first tip, always be aware of what’s going on around you.
Another little tip that may help during those Christmas shopping outings while going to and from your vehicle: Keep your keys poking between your fingers. This is especially true if you are overly burdened with packages. The reason? They make a wonderful weapon to slash a criminal who tries to accost you. And it also helps you to save time in unlocking the car, so that no one can pounce quickly. While at your vehicle, you are the most vulnerable to being robbed.
While Traveling Home
Check your rearview mirror frequently while on the way home from shopping. This may sound a bit weird and unusual during the holiday season, but the reasoning is simple. When you have a carload of gifts, the criminals may not want to assault or rob you in the parking lot. They’ll follow you home and take what they want when you’re most vulnerable—while you’re in the driveway, garage, or parked and unloading.
If you’ve spent a hard day and you have your shopping done, what’s the worst that can happen, especially if you’re on a limited budget? It’s to have all those gifts that you shopped for, budgeted for (possibly for months), coveted, and think are perfect be stolen. This means that your entire season will be spent with anguish and anxiety and you will miss out on the joy of giving. Should I even mention the anxiety and stress of those gifts being stolen and disappointing loved ones?
Always check for frayed cords on your lights or other appliances, and never put them under rugs. This may seem obvious, but it really isn’t. Christmas is when a lot of house fires occur. And because of this, you have to be more careful than normal when plugging in those lights and novelty items in the yard. Fire hazards can happen if a cord is the least bit frayed and placed under a rug to prevent people from tripping on it. Inspect the cords and plugs carefully before utilizing them. If they are the least bit frayed, then use them away from other flammable items. But you really should throw them away and purchase a new set. Also, ensure that your outlets aren’t overloaded with those pretty lights and novelty displays. While the multiple outlet extensions are supposedly safe, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Also ensure that your tree is well watered. A real Christmas tree can go up in flames within 30 seconds. If it is ignited, it can become a blowtorch that would make a welder smile in delight. It will turn your home into a smoldering pile of ashes and a training exercise for the fire department. An added note to prevent a fire: Always turn out the lights when you go to bed or leave your house, just to ensure that no sparks will ignite the house or tree.
Lock the house as tight as a drum.
Once again, you may think this is obvious, but it isn’t. People have to be constantly reminded to lock their windows, doors, and back gates to try to keep criminals out of their homes. Because our minds are on happier subjects, sometimes we forget to lock the house. And if a door, window, gate, or even the doggie door is left unlocked, a criminal can get in and take your holiday from you.
Wrap those pretty packages and place them in a closet.
Sound a little weird? Imagine the surprise on a criminal’s face when they open them! It’s not unusual for a thief to break in through the front window and take the packages from under the Christmas tree. Despite the racket it makes, criminals will do most anything to give gifts they didn’t work, shop, or pay for, possibly to feed an addiction.
So make it hard for them! If they do break in and steal your packages, then they’ll be sorely disappointed when they open them and find nothing but a pile of rocks or other trash. (Save the doggie doo or litter box for the porch pirates.) The person the present was intended for will, hopefully, be greatly surprised, excited, and grateful!
I certainly hope that the Christmas and holiday season will be wonderful. And I ask of you, those who celebrate, please remember the reason for the season. If someone is rude and surly to you, remember that they may have had someone be rude and surly to them earlier. A smile and a few kind words will go a long way toward bolstering the warmth and fellowship of the season.
9. A VERY ENJOYABLE WEEKEND: MY REPORT ON MILEHICON #51
by Leonore Dvorkin
Copyright October 26, 2019
Comments on my articles are welcome.
Here in Denver, there’s a large, yearly science fiction convention called MileHiCon. It started in 1968, so this year, it was MileHiCon #51. David and I have attended for over 40 years. The convention is always held on a weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) in late October. This year, David was on three panels. Our son, Daniel (now 50), was on six or seven panels, although David and I were able to attend only one of those, on DNA research. Daniel is a research biologist, and he often speaks on scientific topics at the conventions.
David gave a solo presentation on “Apollo at 50.” That was about his years at NASA, working on five of the Apollo missions, including Apollo 11. It was at 3 p.m. on Friday, which is not a good time slot, as many attendees have not yet arrived by that time. But still, some 20 people attended the talk: not bad.
I’m glad that we brought over 20 copies of David’s newest book with us to the convention, as we sold at least 15 copies in direct, person-to-person sales. That book is When We Landed on the Moon: A Memoir. Full details are here: http://www.dvorkin.com/moonland/ It’s in e-book ($2.50) and print ($8.50) from Amazon. On two display tables, we put down book ad cards for the moon landing book and for David’s how-to book on self-publishing, and quite a few cards got picked up.
After David’s presentation, while I was selling the books, I was surprised to be addressed in Spanish by someone. The man speaking to me, Eric, turned out to be someone whom I taught at least 15 years ago, when he was taking Spanish at a local college where I used to tutor. Eric bought a copy of David’s book, and I invited him to my monthly Spanish group meetings. I hope he’ll come. But what a surprise: that Eric was there at the convention and that he happened to attend David’s talk. I’d had no idea that he was a sci-fi fan. It’s a small world for sure!
From Sandy Diersing, a friend who makes inexpensive jewelry and who always exhibits in the Dealers’ Room at MileHiCon, I bought a charming pair of earrings: little hematite bells on silver hooks. I love the shiny dark gray of hematite. Years ago, I had some earrings that were brass bells, but they were very heavy and hurt my ears. These are much better.
Sandy’s friend who stopped to chat with her bought two copies of David’s book, which was a very nice surprise. The woman makes toys that help teach science to kids.
A local science fiction author whom we’ve known for decades but with whom we very seldom converse stopped to talk with us for about 45 minutes in the hotel coffee shop. Cynthia is now 77, one year older than David. We had a pleasant conversation, mainly about writing, work, and families. I’ve noticed before that as people age, they become more eager to make warm, personal connections with folks, taking the time to sit and really talk, rather than just waving and calling out something along the lines of, “Hi! How are you?” and then walking on.
A woman who sat behind us at one of the panels we attended had a little poodle, a service dog of some sort. When the woman gave the command “Free,” the dog could socialize: wagging her tail, licking my face, and letting herself be petted. The words “Service dog” sent her back to service mode. Those commands were new to me.
At one point, a blind woman was having trouble getting her guide dog to take her where she needed to go in the large, crowded, rather frantic lobby outside the presentation rooms. She was obviously growing more and more frustrated, and finally, she sounded almost on the verge of tears. Why the heck was no one helping her? I was some distance from her, guarding David’s and my possessions while he was in the restroom, but I was almost ready to just leave the stuff on a table and go help the woman when finally another person did. Later, I saw the woman sitting with her dog, doing something with her phone, while she waited (I assume) for her transportation. If I see her again at future conventions, I will be sure to keep an eye out for whether she needs assistance.
Another local author was telling us about his upcoming hip replacement. He’s not yet 60, and he’s in better shape than most people, as he used to do very serious weight lifting, so his need for the surgery was a surprise to us. At least he has the insurance to pay for it. Another friend told us about his recent, quite successful cataract surgery. Many people I know, including relatives of mine, have had cataract surgery, and one of my language students had successful hip replacement surgery a few years ago. Another of my students had successful knee replacement surgery. Given that many of our friends and acquaintances are 60 or older, health problems are frequent topics of discussion. The discussions can be depressing or encouraging, but the many problems are a fact of aging that we all have to accept and deal with.
All in all, it was a fun convention, and we are very happy to have sold so many copies of David’s new book. We may possibly go to another sci-fi convention in 2020; there’s one in Albuquerque, New Mexico that we could drive to, as that’s about seven hours from Denver. We even have an old friend there whom we could visit. Gary moved from Denver to Albuquerque two years ago.
Now it’s back to work, with lots of editing, housework, and more. But we’re glad to have had this break from routine. It was mentally refreshing and emotionally satisfying on many levels.
Wishing all of you satisfying work and relaxing breaks from it –
About the author and her work:
Leonore Dvorkin and her husband, the author David Dvorkin, have lived in Denver since 1971. They are the authors of a total of 33 books; 29 of those are by David. They are mainly in the genres of science fiction and horror, with quite a bit of nonfiction as well. Leonore is the author of four books: one novel, a short play, her breast cancer memoir, and that last book in Spanish. Full details are on her website, linked to below.
Since 2009, David and Leonore have been running DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services. Their aim is to provide excellent, comprehensive service for very reasonable rates, with a 20% discount for those who are blind, otherwise disabled, and/or low income. To prepare books for publication by Amazon KDP and Smashwords, they provide editing, print layout, e-book conversion, cover design, the back cover text, and more. Since 2009, they have edited over 75 books for more than 45 clients.
In addition to writing and editing, Leonore tutors four languages and teaches exercise classes, mainly weight training. She now works almost exclusively at home.
David and Leonore invite you to visit any of their websites for full details about their books and services.
David’s website: http://www.dvorkin.com/
Leonore’s website: http://www.leonoredvorkin.com/
DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services: http://www.dldbooks.com/
10. RECIPE COLUMN
by Karen Crowder
As November arrives in New England, trees are almost barren as leaves cascade to the grass and sidewalks. Days are shorter and cooler. However, everyone anticipates the holiday season.
There are four special days in November. On Sunday, November 3, Daylight Saving Time ends. Tuesday, November 5 is election day across America for city mayors and other officials. Monday, November 11 is Veterans Day. Thanksgiving Day is Thursday, November 28.
Foolproof Crescent Rolls
A. Cranberry-Orange Relish
I made this relish with my mom near Thanksgiving in 1969. In 1993, I found an identical recipe in the 12th edition of the Fannie Farmer cookbook. I prepared it for years during the holiday season. We had a large kitchen at our home in Fitchburg. I gave jars of relish as gifts to our family and friends.
One bag of cranberries
Two cups granulated sugar
1. In the container of a food processor, place sectioned oranges and half the bag of cranberries. Process fruit for two minutes.
2. Add the rest of the cranberries, processing for 90 seconds.
3. Pour processed fruit into a medium stainless steel mixing bowl and add sugar. Stir sugar with chopped cranberries and oranges with a wooden or plastic spoon for two minutes. Put half of the relish in a medium-sized, airtight plastic container. Put remaining relish in clean glass jars.
Refrigerate all relish and eat within two weeks. Make relish several days before Thanksgiving. Jars of this make nice gifts for the holidays. Cranberry-orange relish goes well with turkey and chicken.
B. Foolproof Crescent Rolls
I have made these rolls several times. They are always delicious. In 2011, I read Homemade on cartridge. There I found these rolls, which I made for Thanksgiving. I spent a mild Thanksgiving Day with my friend Marian. She loved these rolls with the delicious dinner. I have made these rolls for church gatherings, and everyone loves them.
One and three-fourths sticks butter
One-half cup sugar
One teaspoon salt
One cup milk
One package standard or rapid-rise yeast
One-third cup water
One teaspoon sugar
Six cups flour. Three cups can be King Arthur bread flour.
1. Soften one stick of butter in a large mixing bowl for 30 minutes. Add sugar, salt, eggs, and lukewarm milk. The milk should first be microwaved in a Pyrex one-cup measure for 50 seconds. When lukewarm, add to egg/salt/sugar/butter mixture.
2. In a cereal bowl, put yeast and one teaspoon of sugar. Microwave one-third cup water for 40 seconds. Cool to very warm and add to yeast mixture. Stir and leave it to foam for 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Mix other ingredients with a mixer paddle or beaters for three minutes.
4. Add foaming yeast mixture and one cup of flour. Keep mixing as you add each cup of flour. Hold back three-quarters cup of flour.
5. Remove beaters or paddle and attach the kneading hook. Knead dough for six minutes on medium speed. If dough feels sticky, turn off mixer and add remaining flour. Knead dough on medium speed for four minutes. The dough should spring back when you touch it.
6. With clean hands, transfer dough to a large, buttered stainless steel mixing bowl. Dot top of dough with butter. Cover the entire bowl with plastic wrap.
7. Put oven on warm for two minutes. Shut it off. Place bowl in the lower rack of the oven and let it rise until it pushes against the plastic wrap. This rise takes one hour and 50 minutes. Open oven door and touch the plastic wrap. If dough pushes against it, remove from oven and shape into two large rolls.
8. Punch dough down. Melt three-fourths of a stick of butter in microwave in a Pyrex custard cup or glass cereal bowl for 40 seconds. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Flour a wooden or silicone board with flour. Put half of roll of dough on the board. Roll it in to an oblong with a floured wooden or silicone rolling pin. With a biscuit cutter or clean hands, shape dough into rounds. Brush each round with butter and roll it up. Place each roll on the cookie sheet. Repeat this procedure with remaining dough. You should have 50-60 rolls. Put remaining butter over tops of rolls.
9. Cover the cookie sheet with plastic wrap and place on lowest rack of oven. Let rolls rise for an hour. When they push against the plastic wrap, they are ready to be baked. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. After five minutes, bake rolls for 20-22 minutes.
10. Put the cookie sheet on the kitchen counter. Turn warm rolls over.
It is nearly impossible to resist sampling one. Store half of the rolls in a gallon Ziploc bag in the refrigerator. Freeze the rest in a gallon Ziploc bag. Everyone loves their tender texture and delicious flavor.
C. Frozen Pies
With hectic schedules, many people love the convenience of frozen pies. They are ready to eat in an hour and 15 minutes. In 1991, it was our first Thanksgiving as a married couple. Our stepchildren came for dessert. Everyone enjoyed the hot mincemeat pie. As a child, I often had delicious frozen apple pies that my mom topped with vanilla ice cream.
Place the frozen pie on the counter. Preheat oven to approximately 350 degrees. Prick the top crust with a fork in several places. Place the pie on a cookie sheet. Bake the pie for an hour. If it is not done, bake it for another 15 minutes. Serve it plain or with ice cream.
I hope our readers have a blessed and happy November. Let us pray for a safe and happy holiday season across America.
11. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST
Here is the answer to the question submitted in the October Consumer Vision. The other name for Amyotrophic Lateral sclerosis is Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Congratulations to the following winners:
Daryl Darnell of Urbana, Illinois
Susan Jones of Indianapolis, Indiana
Jean Marcley of Bradenton, Florida
Marcy Segelman of West Roxbury, Massachusetts
And now, here is your trivia question for the November Consumer Vision. On the television show Get Smart, what was Agent 99’s name in the series? I am not looking for the name of the actress. Obviously, her name on the show was not 99. She had an actual name that was mentioned in one or two episodes. If you know the answer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-994-4972.