October 2021
Address: 359 Coggeshall St., New Bedford, MA 02746
Phone: 508-994-4972
Publisher: Bob Branco
Editing and Proofreading: David and Leonore Dvorkin
Formatting: David Dvorkin
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: A Simple Recipe and an Assortment of Health-Related Suggestions *** by Leonore Dvorkin
2. ARE THE CENSORS HERE? *** by Stephen Théberge
3. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: Target USA *** by James R. Campbell
4. AFGHANISTAN *** by Peter Altschul, MS
9. SPECIAL NOTICE *** from Bob Branco, Publisher
10. AFTER ROE *** by Peter Altschul, MS
12.  RECIPE COLUMN *** by Karen Crowder
1. HEALTH MATTERS: A Simple Recipe and an Assortment of Health-Related Suggestions
by Leonore H. Dvorkin
I welcome comments on any of my articles.
A. A Simple and Tasty Vegetarian Recipe
We tried this the other day and loved it. It’s simple, cheap, and fast, but also healthy: just our cooking style!
Makes 3-4 servings.
One 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained in a colander
One 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, with liquid from can
One medium white or yellow onion, peeled and chopped
About 3 tablespoons olive oil
Light dashes of seasonings of choice. (We like the combination of sea salt, black pepper, dehydrated garlic, and safflower oil in Kinder’s “The Blend,” in a shaker dispenser.)
One cup basmati rice or other rice of choice, covered and cooked on low in two cups water with one tablespoon of olive oil and an optional dash of salt. (Note: All rice is gluten-free.)
1. Cook rice first, then cover pot and set aside until serving time.
2. In a frying pan, sauté chopped onion on low heat in olive oil, stirring frequently, for about 4-5 minutes, or until it becomes translucent.
3. Add beans, tomatoes, and seasoning to frying pan. Mix thoroughly and simmer for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Put rice in bowls and spoon the other mixture over it.
Serve with a salad if desired.
The following health items are all from the October 2021 issue of Consumer Reports ON HEALTH magazine, my favorite such publication.
B. Vocal Music Boosts Stroke Recovery
Listening to vocal music after a stroke appears to be more helpful than listening to just words or instrumental music. The stroke survivors in the study listened to the music they enjoyed for at least an hour a day for a month.
C. The Risk of Alcohol Plus Extra Pounds
According to a study of 465,437 adults, those who had more than two drinks daily were six times more likely to develop fatty liver disease and seven times more likely to die from it over 10 years compared to those who had fewer than two drinks per day. Carrying extra pounds boosted risk by an extra 50 percent. (The article does not say how many extra pounds add this much risk.)
D. Stay Well This Winter
1. Get your COVID-19 vaccine shots, and then a booster shot when you can. (I had my Pfizer booster at Walgreens on September 25. I had only a slightly sore arm and minor fatigue afterwards.)
2. Get a flu shot in September or October for all-season protection. For those 65 and over, there is the high-dose vaccine. Medicare pays for flu shots, and they are not expensive in any case. News as of September 28: Dr. Fauci is urging people to get their flu vaccines soon, as they expect an early and bad flu season this year.
3. Get the bacterial pneumonia vaccine if you are 65 or older. That is PPSV23, or Pneumovax 23. (My husband and I have both had that, with no bad aftereffects.)
4. Keep wearing those masks in public places. They can help protect you from COVID-19, flu, and colds. Even with a mask, keep your distance from anyone coughing or sniffling.
5. Wash your hands. Clean them regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have access to a sink, use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
6. Stay home when you’re sick. Symptoms of problems can include fever, cough, chills, a runny nose, or congestion. See a doctor right away for a diagnosis, either in person or via a telehealth service. If you have the flu, antiviral medications can reduce the severity of symptoms, but they work best if taken within two days of noticing the first signs. Early treatment with monoclonal antibodies and other medication may improve your prognosis if you have COVID-19. Early testing is essential, so you can isolate yourself if need be.
E. Eat Right for Better Hearing, Teeth, and Vision
1. For your hearing:
In one 22-year study, women who followed diets (such as the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet) that emphasize higher intakes of fruits and vegetables and lower intakes of sodium, added sugars, and saturated fats, as well as limiting starchy carbohydrates (white rice, potatoes, and pasta), had about a 30 percent lower risk of hearing loss. Avoiding or controlling type 2 diabetes is also important, as it can impact hearing by damaging the tiny blood vessels in the ears. But while you are filling at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables, also get enough protein. At least two servings of fish per week are helpful for hearing.
2. For your teeth:
Get plenty of vitamin C from fruits and vegetables. Try to get at least half your protein from lean meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. All are rich in phosphorous, a mineral that protects and rebuilds tooth enamel. Limit saturated fat and processed meat, such as bacon, sausage, and hot dogs. Dairy products help provide calcium. Focus on whole grains, such as oatmeal and brown rice. Processed grains are higher in sugar, which the bacteria in your mouth feed on.
3. For your eyes:
Drink at least 64 oz. (8 glasses) of water or other beverages daily. Good hydration is key for dry-eye, a cornea-related condition common with age. Omega-3s may protect against dry-eye, too, as well as macular degeneration. Get at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Make about half of them dark in color, such as raspberries, blueberries, kale, and spinach. These are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect the macula of the eye. (Note: You can buy the combination of lutein and zeaxanthin as a supplement. We buy Puritan’s Pride Lutigold Lutein 40 mg pills, and we each take one a day.)
From other online sources: Coffee, tea, juices, and sports drinks all count toward your daily liquid total. Coffee and tea were formerly thought to be dehydrating, but that myth has been debunked.
Control your weight. Obesity has been linked to a higher risk of cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.
About the Author:
Leonore Dvorkin and her husband, the author David Dvorkin, have lived in Denver, Colorado, since 1971. Leonore tutors German and Spanish by Skype or Zoom, as well as in person, and she teaches small weight training classes in her home gym.
David is the author of 30 published books, and Leonore has four published books. They’ve both also written dozens of published articles.
Since 2009, David and Leonore have been running DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services. They edit and prepare books for self-publication in print and e-book via Amazon and Smashwords. The books are then sold worldwide online. They have worked with over 60 authors of novels, short stories, essays, memoirs, books for children, informational nonfiction books, and more. Some of the regular contributors to this newsletter, including Bob Branco, are among their many blind or visually impaired clients.
David and Leonore invite you to visit any of their websites for more information on their books and services.
David Dvorkin:
Leonore Dvorkin:
DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services:
by Stephen Théberge
In the past month or two, I had two interesting experiences on Facebook regarding the fact checkers they use, by their claims, to reduce the spread of false information on the platform. I think this could be useful, but also think the system puts too great a burden on its users, many of whom may not have any experience with critical thinking, nor the ability to independently research information in a responsible manner. I did not take specific dates nor copy specific posts, but feel I can summarize the salient points.
I shared a photo post with all my friends at one point. Naturally, being blind, this may not have been the wisest thing to do. I’m very reluctant to do so now, especially since the fact checkers tagged me. Fortunately, it was not pornography. The minor infraction was that a person said to be in the photo, according to the fact checkers, was not that individual. I don’t know if the originator of the photograph knew this and deliberately spread it online, or if it was an honest oversight.
I recently shared a post that I found fascinating. According to it, carrots were originally white, purple and some other color that I cannot recall. The post claimed that Dutch farmers in the sixteenth century made a hybrid of the carrot, giving it the orange color we’re all familiar with today. Again, the fact checkers tagged this as false. I did preliminary research online and as far as I can tell, this does indeed seem to be an urban legend.
Just last weekend, I was reading some innocent posts online. Somebody was concerned that putting a glass bottle of hot water in the refrigerator might cause problems. One contributor mentioned that hot water freezes faster than cold water. Naturally, this seemed counterintuitive to me, but that would not, in and of itself, make it false. After all the research I did online, and consulting with someone I know who was a physicist, I have come to conclude this is a belief held by the masses that is simply untrue. I will leave it to the reader as a homework assignment; I did not save any links to cite the information.
It will certainly take away the spontaneity of sharing posts if one has to think of researching before they share posts, or even putting information online.
The penalty for passing misinformation is having the post appear lower in a newsfeed. In effect, not as many people get to see it. I think Facebook tags it as containing false, and sometimes partially false, information. Repeat offenders risk losing advertising privileges on the platform. I have many thoughts and feelings on this practice. A lot of it is done by computer algorithm. When something is tagged, a person, at some point, may get to look at it. Basically, a computer is combing posts and deciding by artificial intelligence whether something is valid or not. With the plethora of posts, there is no way a human being could go through them all.
This issue comes up in trivia games I have played. An answer key may have one answer, but further research may reveal something else. Much of it is how the question is asked and the specificity of the language used. Anybody can cite studies to prove their point; others can, and very often do, find counter-studies. The real issue is understanding the difference between facts, assertions, and mere emotionalism. I’ve read “studies” in which one would easily fall for an emotional argument. I am by no means claiming to be an expert on this subject, but I do feel my education has given me the ability to think critically. I don't think the Facebook fact-checking scheme is all bad, but it may make people cleverer in how they misrepresent information. Also, it’s making it equally difficult for people to put valid information out there.
The article I cite below seems to capture the way these debates are going. I have not taken the time to independently research all the studies listed in the piece, but any good writer or experienced political news reader can immediately notice that Facebook is being portrayed as suppressing the truth about the dangers of wearing masks, or at the very least underplaying the dangers of doing so. This is one debate I am not going to engage in. My point here is that one can easily throw out a large amount of rhetoric, backed by “studies,” and easily sway many by these methods. In fairness, these methods are not new. It goes back as long as we’ve had writing. Check this link:
The bottom line is that it is almost certain that the Dutch did not create orange carrots. I would never have even thought of checking this out if it were not for the Facebook fact checkers. My concern is that a computer algorithm may tag something as not true that is not so black-and-white. Even the label “partially false” that the fact checkers use illustrates that some things are not always easy to determine without more research.
I hope you are all looking forward to the autumn season. I am. Let us all keep our heads about us and embrace critical thinking and common sense.
Follow me on Twitter: @speechfb
Read and post on my writer’s blog:
Check out my coming of age science fiction novel The MetSche Message and its sequel The MetSche Maelstrom at
Watch my Youtube channel. Many blindness-related issues, and the latest Branco Broadcasts.
by James R. Campbell
Those of us who were living in 2001 will never forget the morning of September 11. It began like any normal day. However, it would soon prove to be anything except that. On that fateful and tragic day, over 3,000 innocent civilians perished at the hands of Al Qaeda hijackers who commandeered four jet liners for the ultimate suicide mission. Two planes took out the World Trade Center, one struck the Pentagon, and another crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It was only the courage of the passengers that saved more lives on that day.
The architect of this dastardly act of cowardice was Osama bin Laden, a sworn enemy of the U.S. At the time of the attacks on our homeland, he was under the protection of Afghanistan’s Taliban regime, who owed allegiance to him for funding their war against Soviet armies in the 1980s. The game plan was to draw the United States into a ground war in Afghanistan.
The evil mastermind got his wish: Operation Enduring Freedom was launched on October 7, 2001. Soon, the Taliban were ousted by our special forces and the Northern Alliance, a resistance force that opposed the Muslim fundamentalist regime in Kabul. Under the rule of the radical Mullahs, women were not allowed to have education or opportunities and strict Shariah law was enforced, often by public executions in sports stadiums. Even worse, terrorist training camps were given free range to recruit fanatics to carry out acts of violence abroad.
For the past 20 years, America and her allies have been involved in a bloody campaign against the Muslim extremists who fought in the hills, as their fathers did during Soviet occupation. The firepower of NATO kept the Taliban and its cohorts at bay, and for once, freedom flourished where there had been none.
As the years went by, and the casualty factor climbed, the people of our nation became tired of the war: 2,000 plus dead, tens of thousands wounded, and one trillion dollars spent over 20 years. Under mounting public pressure, former President Donald Trump agreed to withdraw all American forces from Afghan soil by September 2021. When Joe Biden became President, he sped up the process. He broadcast that our troops would leave by August 31.
In recent weeks, we have seen the results of that decision. As the Taliban advanced, the Afghan army fell apart and fled. Kabul fell much faster than anticipated, and a rushed evacuation of Americans and our Afghan supporters was under way. Over 150,000 people have been airlifted from that war-torn nation. For that, we can be grateful.
Or can we?
The fall of Kabul to the very people we deposed 20 years ago opens the doors for a return to the days of dread. Many Afghans are now living in fear. The plight of women and girls is appalling, as they face the return of slavery and violence at the hands of male relatives, and worse. As if that weren’t bad enough, terrorist groups such as ISIS-K have already made their mark, killing 13 of our service members and almost 200 Afghan civilians. The new government in Kabul excludes women, and a recent video broadcast from Sean Hannity revealed that the Taliban were beating women for demonstrating for their rights. One of the security ministers in the new regime is a known terrorist. The reset button is on negative. The doors are open for only God knows what!
Is this a harbinger of worse to come? That fear is on the minds of those who remember 9/11. Many believe that it’s only a matter of time. Who knows?
I wish the United States had the gumption to leave a security force in Afghanistan, as we have done in South Korea. We have been there since the 1950s. If we weren’t there, Kim Jong Un would launch an attack on the South and reunite the country under his tyrannical rule. The same thing is happening in Kabul as of this writing. It is a concern of many, if not most—as it should be.
We can’t take the memory of 9/11 and throw it out, any more than we can dishonor the veterans who gave their all to defend our freedoms. If we do, it’s a grave mistake. I hope we never make that mistake. Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat its errors.
The people of Afghanistan haven’t forgotten. Have we failed to remember? I haven’t.
As always, thanks for your time.
With loving kindness,
James R. Campbell
by Peter Altschul, MS
Copyright 2021
September 5, 2021
Secretly preparing to lose while pretending that we are winning.
That dissonance was the primary cause of the United States' chaotic exit from Afghanistan after spending 20 years and at least $2 trillion while ending the lives of more than 171,000 people, including 2,461 United States service members and propping up a corrupt, unpopular government.
While we failed in our quest to create a country in our own image, our presence contributed to Afghanistan's infant mortality rate decreasing by 50 percent, life expectancy increasing by six years, and the university graduate rate increasing by nearly 650 percent (1). Women became more educated and empowered, which often leads to more prosperity.
Over time, a consensus developed among United States citizens that we needed to leave Afghanistan. In 2020, President Trump negotiated with the Taliban, cutting out the government we said we supported. Among other things, he agreed that U.S. and NATO troops would leave by May 2021 and insisted that the government we supported release more than 5,000 Taliban leaders. In return, the Taliban promised not to attack United States and NATO troops. President Biden consented to honor the agreement, though he extended the withdrawal date to August 31.
So the withdrawal started, plagued by that "secretly preparing to lose while pretending that we are winning" dissonance. President Biden and military leaders assured us that the troops they had prepared were willing and ready to continue the fight while secretly withdrawing contractors that repaired equipment that our Afghan allies had been using for years and quietly withdrawing from the Bagram Airfield in early July (2). Biden bureaucrats didn't speed up the process to vet those Afghans who wanted to seek asylum because they had supported our troops that the Trump administration had stymied due to their dislike of immigrants because the Afghan government complained that such a speed-up would convey a "we've lost" message.
Our politicians and military leaders were shocked—SHOCKED—that the army we had trained so well surrendered so quickly to the Taliban, ignoring our rapid withdrawal of support. They were horrified—HORRIFIED—that the Afghans who worked with us were in danger of being abandoned to the whims of those head-chopping, women-imprisoning, cultural artifact-destroying Muslim extremists known as the Taliban.
The last phase of the withdrawal was predictably chaotic, as were the chirps of Monday morning quarterbacks. (Perhaps the evacuation would have gone more smoothly if we hadn't withdrawn from Bagram Airfield, as it had better facilities than the Kabul airport.) By the time the troops left on August 31 after a horrific ISIS-K attack, approximately 122,000 people had been evacuated, leaving behind around 500 Americans and an unknown number of Afghans who wanted to leave.
A far-from-graceful exit, but losers can't be choosers.
Yet the Taliban has asked the United States to maintain a diplomatic presence. They want us and our allies to get their billions in assets unfrozen. They want to be recognized as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. They probably want help in confronting ISIS-K, who believe that the Taliban aren't extreme enough. The Taliban could help us evacuate more people and maintain a toehold in Afghanistan, which contains huge amounts of rare earth elements (3) that are critical components of technology-based economies.
The Taliban appears to have kept their end of the Trump agreement, as they didn't attack any of the troops as they withdrew. But this is the violent, misogynistic-on-steroids group whom we fought against for 20 years while supporting their forerunners in the 1980s. How and how much should we work with the Taliban? I don't know, but we have a long history of working with government thugs.
And we lost, and losers can't be choosers.
Perhaps we should think long and hard before trying to impose our way of doing things on others. Perhaps we should publicize successes to encourage people to stay the course while we're supporting them to change something for the better. Perhaps we shouldn't celebrate physical and verbal violence.
And perhaps we should think about how each of us can do a better job secretly preparing to lose while pretending that we are winning. How, how much, and to whom should we let down our guard when we are losing badly?
I wish I knew.
by Anne Donna, MSW, LCSW
I am Anne Donna. This is the first article I’ve shared with Consumer Vision. I have a background in social work, and I have worked in human services for 20 years. I currently co-lead a support group for blind and visually impaired people sponsored by the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI). I hope you find this article helpful.
Probably one of the most important things that people can learn to do well for themselves is advocating for their medical care. I learned this several years ago when I worked with elders. I think that people in past generations felt that doctors were gods, and they should just take their word as law. It is important to note that this information is relevant to blind, sighted, or people with other disabilities, as well as those individuals who do not have a visible disability.
One of the things I learned to do was encourage my clients to be more proactive when getting their medical care and take more active steps to that end. One of the most important things to do is to write down all of the medications that have been prescribed. It’s also important to include over-the-counter products you use, such as a daily vitamin. What I do is include all of that information in a Word document. It will be important to update the medication list as your medical provider instructs you to make changes such as adding, decreasing, or discontinuing a medication.
The next Items on that same or a separate page are all of the discussion topics that you have for a medical appointment to be discussed with a medical provider. The medical provider might be a primary care doctor, or nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant. You may choose to have someone accompany you to the doctor’s office for the appointment. For some people, this is a good idea, in case something is missed. In other cases, you might want to do this independently. Whatever decision is made by you, it is important to have pen and paper or a device to record instructions that are given to people so that nothing is missed.
If you are asked to document something like pulse rate or blood pressure, the information can be written in a Word document or an Excel spreadsheet. If using a computer is not your choice, this record can be written in a notebook or recorded with a recording device. This can be shown to the medical provider at the next appointment.
For blind or visually impaired people, there are adaptive devices such as talking thermometers or talking sphygmomanometers (blood pressure devices) that read the blood pressure aloud.
It is helpful to prepare ahead before such an appointment. Take time to do this so you won’t feel overwhelmed. Also, take the time you need to get there so you won’t feel rushed, even if you have to wait awhile before the appointment.
It’s all about preparing in advance. Follow these steps, and your appointment will go smoothly.
See you in another issue of Consumer Vision with another topic.
by Bob Branco
We’ve been hearing a lot about the Black National Anthem. I didn’t know that one existed in this country, but at any rate, the Black National Anthem will be sung before the Star Spangled Banner prior to many football games this year. First of all, I’ve never heard the song, so I don’t know the lyrics or the tune. I’m also sure it’s a very good song and sends a positive message. However, there is no black national anthem or any other anthem besides the one we established many years ago in this country. Our own National Anthem is for everyone, no matter what race, color, gender, religion or sexual preference. We are all part of one race, the human race.
Instead of society allowing another song to be presented before a sporting event, why doesn’t it simply endorse the fact that we are of one race and do whatever it can in order to unite all of us? Would you agree that the singing of what is believed to be the Black National Anthem will serve to divide this country even further?
Regarding our own National Anthem, I think that other songs are more appropriate. The Star Spangled Banner is a powerful song, and the words are significant. However, the song is about a war victory. It does not really describe our country. A national anthem describes the country it represents. Such songs include “America,” “America the Beautiful,” and “God Bless America.” If you think about the lyrics to all three of these songs, would you agree that they represent what this nation is all about? The Star Spangled Banner is a very important song with its own meaning, but does it define America?
Needless to say, I accept the Star Spangled Banner as our National Anthem, and I get angry when it’s preempted by commercials prior to sporting events on the radio. Furthermore, I do my best to honor the anthem if I am at an event where it’s played. I stand up and put my right hand over my heart. All I’m suggesting is that other songs might qualify as our anthem. I know this is a subject for debate, but in the end, I think anyone who brings a healthy argument to this discussion is as patriotic as anyone else who takes part in it. I would much rather have people debate about our National Anthem than about the latest gossip on social media or about who slept with someone’s girlfriend last night. In other words, if you present an intelligent argument about which song should be our National Anthem, you are showing me how much you care about our country and about what our founding fathers wanted for us.
Bob Branco blogs at
Bob has also written five self-published books. For more information about these books, and how to buy them, check out
Editor’s note:
After reading Bob’s article, I discovered that the poem and song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was actually adopted as the Black National Anthem in 1900. You can find the stirring words and melody online. One link that I found accompanied the song, the words of which appeared on the screen, with dozens of iconic images of Blacks throughout American history, from times of slavery onward. Many well-known images of brutality against Blacks were combined with positive and inspiring pictures of Black political leaders, writers, scientists, and more. It is an impressive compilation. Here is the link to it, on the Blackpast site.
- Leonore Dvorkin 
Dear Bob,
I enjoyed all of the articles in the September issue of Consumer Vision. Karen's recipes sound delicious, and I plan to try them. The articles about the trip to Fenway Park evoked fond memories of my first trip there back in 1967, when a group of us students in the Perkins summer school enrichment program went to a game. I can understand why Terry waxed political in her column. The situation in Afghanistan is very disturbing. I generally learn a lot from the weather articles and I appreciate them. The book reviews were interesting, and it is encouraging that DLD Books publishes work by so many blind and visually impaired authors. Kudos to all of the columnists who contribute to this publication.
Editor’s note: 
I need to clarify that DLD Books is not a publishing company. We (David and Leonore Dvorkin) are mainly editors, and we do all else necessary to prepare books for self-publication via Amazon KDP and Smashwords. With self-publishing, technically and legally, the authors themselves are the publishers. See our business website for much more information.
- Leonore Dvorkin, Editor, DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services
A. News about a wonderful review of one of David Dvorkin’s many books:
This very positive, well-written review of David's comic zombie novel, Children of the Undead, appeared on Amazon recently. It’s from Jesse Ellyson, who is also a writer. Below is most of the review. To read the rest, see the book on Amazon.
Children of the Undead
by David Dvorkin
Reviewed by Jesse Ellyson August 13, 2021 on Amazon.
Instead of giving us the stereotypical shambling dead, Dvorkin has given us the liveliest zombies we've ever encountered. He's decided to have a little fun with his zombies. The result is a roller coaster ride of a book, more fun than you can shake a dead, severed limb at. If Mel Brooks were to die and come back as a zombie and then write a book, this is very close to the book he would write. And while old Mel is still alive, he could do a lot worse than a movie adaptation of Children of the Undead.
Buy this book now. Don't wait for the apocalypse. Don't wait for the zombies to take over the world. Buy the book now, while you still can.
From Leonore Dvorkin:
The book is for sale in e-book, paperback, and hardcover on Amazon and in e-book on Smashwords.
E-book: $3.99
Paperback: $12.95 (C 2012)
Hardcover: $29 (C 2020) This reviewer bought the hardcover.
Here is David's Web page about the book:
On the Web page are direct links to the book on various online buying sites.
B. Unconventional Customer Service: How to Break the Rules and Provide Unparalleled Service
by Robert D. Sollars / C 2018 / 127 pages in print
In e-book ($2.99) and print ($9.50) from Amazon and other online booksellers
Details, free text sample, buying links, and more:
This book was designed to assist you and your company in the pursuit of providing excellent service to those who count the most in your business: your customers. The basic precepts that I present here are as applicable to a salesman selling knickknacks as they are to a security officer walking a patrol in a dark warehouse at 3:00 a.m.
Over my decades of working in many capacities for many different types of companies, I have personally used all of these ideas, and they’ve all achieved great client satisfaction. They may need some tweaking to fit your company, but they will work. I guarantee it.
“Knowing Robert for the past 30 years, I’ve seen his unconventional customer service grow in popularity. It simply works! I would not hesitate to recommend that you consider his expertise and his passion for assisting others with this issue.”
—Jerold A. Ramos Sr., CFE, CPP, CRM, CMMR
Robert is also the author of Murder in the Classroom: A Practical Guide for Prevention, C 2018.
This book draws on his more than 30 years of experience in the security field. For full details (cover, free text sample, buying links and more), see his book-related website, which is linked to above.
Robert’s newest book is his first novel, which is in the genre of sword and sorcery fantasy. The title is Legend of Three, Book One: The Rise of Marpatronia, C 2021. See his website for full details.
Robert D. Sollars lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
Phone: 480-251-5197
Sent by Leonore Dvorkin of DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services
We project that these two books will be out by mid-October 2021. More information will be in the November issue of The Consumer Vision. Updates will be on the authors’ websites after mid-October.
1. The Collected Misadventures of Mistletoe Mouse, by Susan Bourrie
Her website is
This one volume will combine her three charming Mistletoe Mouse books, which are Christmas-related books for children. The books have been slightly revised for this collection. The separate revised versions of the original three books will also soon be offered for sale online. The original versions, from 2016, 2020, and 2021, are still for sale on Amazon and Smashwords now. This new collection will be in softcover and e-book, and most likely also in hardcover later on.
2. Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me, by Abbie Johnson Taylor
This is Abbie’s second novel. It’s an emotional tale of dementia, brief infidelity, and a teenage girl’s discovery of and meeting with her biological father—and what happens after that.
Abbie’s website is
From Bob Branco, Publisher
Please join our podcast mailing list! Each week, Peter Altschul and I record a podcast called In Perspective. During our podcast, we invite special guests to talk about their projects, professions, and other issues that benefit our listeners. Sometimes, Peter and I discuss a topic by ourselves. You are welcome to appear on our show, and we would also like you to subscribe to our mailing list free of charge. If you would like to receive copies of our show each week, just send a test email to, and I will see that it's done. If you want to participate on any episode of In Perspective, we can send you a Zoom invitation. Also, if you have a topic that you feel is beneficial for our listeners, please indicate your interest in appearing on In Perspective. You can email or call me at 508-994-4972. To check out a previous episode of In Perspective, go to and click on "In Perspective Podcasts." At that point, you will see a list of archived shows from latest to earliest.
Here is a list of upcoming guests, along with dates and times of the recordings. Please note that all times are Eastern Time. Also, the 4 PM start time on Friday, October 22, is not a mistake. Our guest prefers it that way for personal reasons.
Friday, October 8: former New York Congressman John Leboutillier, 5 PM
Friday, October 15: Denise Russell, Speak to Me Products, 5 PM
Friday, October 22: Donna Halper, Associate Professor of Media Studies, 4 PM
Friday, October 29: A panel discussion about current events, 5 PM
Friday, November 5: Kestrel Verlager, Scams and Scammers, 5 PM
Friday, November 12: Patty Fletcher, author of “Pathway to Freedom Broken and Healed: Book One: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life, Second Edition,” 5 PM
Friday, November 19: Jonathan Gale, Disability Policy Specialist, 5 PM
Friday, November 26: Pastor Darryl Breffe, radio broadcasting, religion, and C Joy Networks, Inc., 5 PM
Friday, December 3: Courtney Stevens, coping with pandemic mandates in school, 5 PM
Friday, December 10: Peggy Chong, the Blind History Lady, 5 PM
Friday, December 17: Dave Wilkinson, athlete/runner, 5 PM
by Peter Altschul, MS
Copyright 2021
September 2, 2021
I have adapted the following essay from one of the same name in my book Riding Elephants: Creating Common Ground Where Contention Rules (2021).
In late January 1973, the United States Supreme Court legalized abortion through the Roe v. Wade decision, resulting in endless acrimony that has settled into predictable channels.
If Roe is overturned or made irrelevant, each state will be able to decide how it wants to address abortion. Some will make it illegal, some will mandate varying degrees of restrictions, and a few will maintain the status quo.
According to friends who attended college in the 1950s and 1960s, wealthy women wanting abortions either traveled to Europe or had the procedure done in a hospital. Those with less money often resorted to coat hangers, poisons, and other life–endangering procedures.
“But surely you and your friends engaged in less unsafe sex back then?” I asked.
After a certain amount of genial laughter, my pre–Roe contacts regaled me with stories about illicit affairs, sudden disappearances of their pregnant friends who would return not pregnant, and how sometimes their female friends were kicked out of school while their sex partners were allowed to stay.
How many abortions took place annually prior to Roe?
I’ve seen figures ranging from 100,000 to 1.3 million, but no one knows for certain. It was difficult to keep accurate statistics for a procedure that was both illegal and frowned upon.
These pre–Roe patterns will reemerge if Roe is overturned. On steroids. For those women wanting abortions who live in no–abortion states, some might decide to carry their baby to term, some might travel to states with more liberal abortion policies, and some might resort to more dangerous methods.
Providers in abortion–lenient states might market their services to women in no–abortion states through on–air and social media campaigns. Foundations might be established to assist women with little money to get that abortion done in semi–legal safety.
Technology will make the abortion process less invasive. Pills now exist to terminate a pregnancy, though their side-effects can be fatal. The overturning of Roe will encourage entrepreneurs to create something that will allow women with unwanted pregnancies to bypass the traditional abortion swamp more safely. Just take those pills. Or put some contraption near the womb. No worries. Federal and state government leaders might try to intervene, but our experience with illicit drugs suggests that businesspeople will create and distribute products despite government huffing and puffing if enough money can be made.
Pro–life activists will build upon their current strategies: protests, prayer vigils, crisis pregnancy centers, and proposing legislation to prevent those at–home remedies. More ominously, they might build on actions taken in Tennessee, Arkansas, Wisconsin (1), Montana (2), and most recently Texas, charging women with felonies for using drugs that endanger the life of their unborn child or subsidizing people to sue those who support women who choose to terminate their pregnancies.
How will the number of abortions change? No one will know for certain, but all activists will weaponize any available statistics.
Pro–life and pro–choice advocates might remember that a woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy often feels alone, alienated, and unsupported. They could ponder that, according to Karlyn Bowman, a polling expert at the American Enterprise Institute, a majority of people in 2015 thought that abortion was murder and that it should still be legal. They could look toward Europe for answers, where abortions, teen pregnancies, and the surrounding rancor are all lower.
In 1998, I became part of a project that encouraged pro–life and pro–choice activists across the United States to dialogue and, whenever possible, work together to address abortion–related issues: preventing teen pregnancy, encouraging parents to communicate better about the connection between love and sex, promoting adoption, and creating conditions where abortions are less likely to take place.
Could this cooperative energy be harnessed again to encourage some joint action? If not, overturning Roe v. Wade will cause the current hostility to morph from one dreary battle fought in predictable channels to 50 battles that will interact in unpredictable ways, perhaps resulting in real bloodshed. After all, pro–life activists have compared abortion to the Holocaust and slavery, both of which resulted in carnage.
by Marda Bartel
The group sat in a circle. Three of us were tense and expectant. It was our graduation day.
No, this was not high school or college or even guide dog school. This was a different kind of graduation, a graduation from an adult partial hospitalization day treatment program, and three of us, bound together by the journey we had taken with each other through mental illness, had accomplished another milestone in our recovery.
After the opening speech by the therapist group leader, a basket was passed around the circle and each of us graduates selected one rock from the many in the basket. When our names were called, we passed our rocks to the person to our right. That person was to say something to us, something about how they'd seen us grow or other words of encouragement that we could take with us. When the rock came back around to me I was to respond to all of the comments.
I was close to tears. I was overjoyed to have accomplished this milestone, but I knew I would miss my fellow patients. I had been together with some of them for the entire four years that I had attended the program. We had seen each other through a lot, including several return trips to locked psychiatric units, coming out feeling like failures and still persevering, building our lives again. I knew we could keep in touch. But it wouldn't be the same. Still, though, it was the ending of one period of my life and a new beginning.
After the ceremony, I had a special gift and thanks for Erin, my "apple juice angel." Whenever Erin and I had a group together, she brought me a can of cold apple juice from the machine. I couldn't remember then how it had started. I never asked for it. But quiet, gentle Erin had watched me drink apple juice whenever they had it at morning snack and, though both of us were on disability, she provided my afternoon refreshment at least two or three times a week. Whenever I protested, she hushed me. Now I wanted to thank her. She loved to knit and had helped me with my knitting when I couldn't figure out how to fix a mistake. So I got her a particularly popular knitting book and had one of the social workers write my message in it, along with the Braille equivalent, taped to the inside of the front cover. Erin told me it was the first time anyone had ever given her a book as a gift. We didn't keep in touch. But every time I drink a glass of apple juice, I think fondly of Erin, and I hope that whenever she opens the book, she'll think of me.
I was heading off for Texas and a new life with my new husband. The little western Massachusetts town where I had lived for the past few years would no longer be my home. I was nervous, of course. Although I had known some successful blind couples, I was wondering if Pat and I would make it. So far, we have, and it's been over six years.
I stayed out of day treatment for a couple of years but have since gone back. I graduated last week from a partial hospitalization program I attended for the past six months and have stepped down to an intensive outpatient program, three days a week instead of five. Now it's not such a rush to work my afternoon part-time job two days a week.
Why am I writing this for this magazine? Over the years, sometimes in hospitals or day treatment programs, sometimes just from getting to know people, I have discovered a community within a community. I can think of at least 30 people that I have known personally who have been living with both blindness and mental illness. Like many of them, I know I will be on psychiatric medication for the rest of my life to counter the chemical imbalance in my brain. Like many, I suffered from severe and prolonged child abuse, and that scarred my psyche. Now I am becoming an advocate, not only reaching out to the blindness community in general, but also serving as a mouthpiece to give voice to the many who are successfully overcoming both the darkness of the blind and the darkness of the mind.
by Karen Crowder
When October arrives, days are shorter and nights are longer and colder. In New England and the Northeast, everyone appreciates Indian Summer-like weather. However, by mid- to late October, nighttime temperatures are often in the 40s and 30s. Most farm stands close by mid-October, but orchards are still open. Ice cream and roadside stands close by mid-October. It’s a good time to buy fresh apple cider and apple doughnuts.
There are three special days: Columbus Indigenous People’s day is Monday, October 11; National White Cane Awareness Day is Friday, October 15; Halloween is Sunday, October 31. The World Series begins in mid-October.
A. Chicken Rice Soup with Herbs
B. Carrot Raisin Muffins
C. Yummy Microwave Fudge
A. Chicken Rice Soup with Herbs
With the coming cold and flu season and COVID-19 and the delta variant, hot chicken rice soup is comforting. I was sick with a cough and fever and decided to prepare this as my main meal. Since I had gotten fresh mint, parsley, and basil at the church bazaar, these were welcome additions to the soup.
One can Campbell’s chicken rice soup
Two to four whole or sliced mushrooms
Two or three tiny parsley leaves
Three tiny sweet basil leaves
Two tiny mint leaves
A dash of garlic powder
One can water
One-half can either milk or half-and-half
One teaspoon butter or olive oil.
1. In a one-quart saucepan, place butter or olive oil. Heat it for five minutes and add broken-up herbs and mushrooms. Sauté herbs and vegetables for 10 minutes.
2. Add soup, water, and milk or half-and-half. Stir soup for one minute. Cover saucepan and heat soup on low-medium heat for 10 minutes.
3. Stir ingredients around again and heat for 5 minutes.
Serve soup in a large mug or bowl (2 mugs or bowls if serving two people). Accompany it with a few crackers, peppermint tea, and a banana. The aromatic leaves give flavor to the soup.
B. Carrot Raisin Muffins
I must give partial credit to Marcy Segelman for this recipe. We were going to a picnic, and I was responsible for desserts. She said, “How about carrot raisin muffins?” I made them, and they were appreciated. However, in this recipe, I will add cinnamon and optional allspice.
Two cups all-purpose flour; Gold Medal is good
One tablespoon baking powder
One-fourth teaspoon salt
Six tablespoons granulated sugar
Two large eggs
Three-fourths stick butter
One and one-half cups milk
Three-fourths cup raisins
Three-fourths cup finely chopped baby carrots
One-fourth teaspoon nutmeg
One-fourth teaspoon cinnamon
A dash of allspice (optional).
1. In a large mixing bowl, measure out flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and spices. Stir to aerate ingredients with a fork or wire whisk. Melt one-half stick butter in microwave in a small custard cup or bowl for three minutes. Let it cool before adding it to muffin batter. Before adding liquid ingredients, chop baby carrots, with ends cut off, in an electric chopper. Just press it three times.
2. Break room-temperature eggs into a smaller mixing bowl. Whisk them for one minute. Add milk. Whisk the two ingredients, adding them to the dry ingredients. Stir ingredients with a wooden spoon and add melted, cooled butter. Stir again for two minutes. Add floured carrots and stir. Add raisins and remaining melted butter. Stir muffin batter for two minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 16 muffin tins with a mixture of butter and Crisco. With a ½-cup measuring cup, measure batter into each muffin cup almost to the top. Place muffin pans in oven and bake muffins for 30 minutes.
5. Put them on kitchen counter, and when they are still warm, turn them over to cool.
They are good while hot. Either serve them right away or store them in Ziploc bags and refrigerate them. Hot or cold, they are good any time of day.
The carrot and raisin muffins had disappeared by the time the picnic was over.
C. Yummy Microwave Fudge
The original name for this fudge is Four Minute Fudge, originally published in the Out of Sight cookbook. I renamed it, and it was published in Bob Branco’s cookbook What We Love To Eat, copyright 2011. My recipe is different from the original recipe. I add extra cocoa, chocolate chips instead of nuts, and occasionally a square of bittersweet chocolate.
Note: I have shortened part of this recipe because of space.
One pound box or bag confectioner’s sugar
One and one-half cups Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa
A pinch of salt
Three sticks of salted butter, no substitutions
One optional square bittersweet chocolate
One 12-ounce bag Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate chips
One teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Optional nuts.
1. In a glass 3-quart casserole dish, measure confectioner’s sugar, cocoa, and salt. Stir them around with a fork and add butter and optional bittersweet chocolate.
2. Put the dish in the microwave and cook on high for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Place hot dish on counter. With a wooden spoon, stir in chocolate chips and vanilla.
3. Microwave fudge for 90 seconds.
4. Stir fudge with wooden or plastic spoon. The fudge hardens in minutes.
5. Line a glass 7” x 11” pan with plastic wrap. Grease it with butter. Measure fudge into pan with a large spoon or ½-cup measuring cup. Cover fudge with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours. Cut it into squares.
This fudge is perfect for Halloween or the holidays.
I hope all Consumer Vision readers have had a lovely September. In New England, October is the foliage season. Let us pray for a more united America and fading of the COVID-19 pandemic because of booster shots.
Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the September Consumer Vision. The historical figure who said “Give me liberty or give me death” was Patrick Henry. Congratulations to the following winners:
Roanna Bacchus of Oviedo, Florida
Marda Bartel of Austin, Texas
Jan Colby of Brockton, Massachusetts
Daryl Darnell of Urbana, Illinois
Nancy Hays of Waterbury, Connecticut
Trish Hubschman of Easton, Pennsylvania
Brian Sackrider of Port Huron, Michigan
Robert Sollars of Tempe, Arizona
Steve Théberge of Attleboro, Massachusetts
And now, here is your trivia question for the October Consumer Vision. True or False: The man who sang the ‘70s hit song “Disco Duck” still has a weekly Top 40 program on the radio. If you know the answer, please email or call 508-994-4972.
Copyright © Consumer Vision Magazine, All rights reserved.

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