[nfb-talk] FW: Weekly Email Edition for September 27, 2010

Steve & Shannon Cook cookcafe at sc.rr.com
Mon Sep 27 22:57:45 UTC 2010


Steve & Shannon Cook
Today I married my best friend.  
The one that I laugh with, live for, love.
October 11, 2003 
-----Original Message-----
From: The Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind
[mailto:editor at matildaziegler.com] 
Sent: Monday, September 27, 2010 1:20 PM
To: cookcafe at sc.rr.com
Subject: Weekly Email Edition for September 27, 2010

This is the Matilda Ziegler Magazine 

Weekly Edition for September 27, 2010

20 Thorndal Circle

Darien, CT 06820


Website: www.matildaziegler.com

Email: editor at matildaziegler.com 

Ross Hammond, Editor

Table of Contents

Letter from the Editor

Feature Writer Ann Chiappetta - Books and Technology: Introducing

Feature Writer Alena Roberts - I'd Rather Have a Car Drive Me, Than
Drive While Blind

Feature Writer John Christie - Olympus Offers New Accessible Digital

Feature Writer Lynne Tatum - A Writing on Readers

Contributor Terri Winaught - Part Three: Ray Charles - Soaring to

Op Ed with Bob Branco - Does Everything Happen Because We're Blind?

Sensible Questions from the Sighted World

News - The Kindness of Strangers Still Alive in Some Places

Technology and Environment - Turning Floating Garbage Into Fuel

Recipe of the Week

Special Notices - New Listings

Pen Pals - New Listings

Special Notices - Previous Listings

Pen Pals - Previous Listings

You may skip to a new section at any time by using your browser or
word processor's Find or Search function to look for the ## symbol.

Letter from the Editor

Hello Everyone,

I hope you all had a great weekend. I'd just like to make a quick
announcement about the audio edition. I'm currently in the final phase
of getting everything organized so that I can send all of the
September articles off to be professionally recorded and made
available sometime in early October. I'm really excited that I'll be
able to offer a spoken-voice audio version to you and I hope that you
enjoy the changeover from the current synthetic voice. 

That said, I'd like to take the opportunity to thank the Association
for the Blind of Western Australia for providing a free DAISY audio
edition of the magazine for as long as they have. For me, it was the
first gesture I received from an outside organization as editor of
this magazine and is one I will never forget. If you are interested in
voicing your thanks for their wonderful help, please email me your
messages and I will pass them on.

That covers everything for now. I hope that you all have a great week
and I'll talk to you again in October! I can't believe it's already
that time again.

Take care, and thanks for reading.


Ross Hammond, Editor


Feature Writer Ann Chiappetta - Books and Technology: Introducing

Six months ago I received an advertisement posted on a blindness
related email list asking for book reviewers. Being a writer and a
digital book user, I replied to the ad and was introduced to the Read
How You Want on-demand digital book enterprise. 


ReadHowYouWant Pty Ltd and its R&D parent company, Accessible
Publishing Systems Pty Ltd, are both Sydney, Australia-based privately
held companies co-founded by electronic publishing pioneers
Christopher Stephen and Greg Duncan. When Chris's sister, who suffers
from MS, developed difficulty reading, they began experimenting to
determine whether people with reading difficulties could benefit from
changing the text format.

After more than four years of testing, ReadHowYouWant has
successfully developed award-winning conversion technology that
reformats existing books into high quality, alternative formats
quickly, easily, and at price points comparable to standard format
books (http://www.readhowyouwant.com/about-us.aspx).

If you want to find out more about this eBook publisher go to:

If you would like to try your hand at downloading and reviewing books
for this publisher, here are some tips: formats available for
reviewers include large print, Braille, and DAISY (DAISY are all via
download). The reviewer must have the equipment to read the material.
I prefer to use a Victor Reader Stream listening to the default
synthesized voice. Other possibilities include other digital book
readers and other portable computing devices, like laptops and/or note
taking devices, and home computers. Refreshable Braille displays are
also another option for those with print disabilities. If you can
download files, you can surely participate in this read and review

Another suggestion is to post your review on not just the publisher's
blog but also on your own blog and on any social networking sites,
like Facebook. I've reviewed two novels for this program, both of
which are cross-posted on my personal blog,
www.brainnatter.blogspot.com and the Read How You Want blog,

Why do I continue with the program? Simple, I love to read and write.
I took a chance and have been pleased with both the Read How You Want
website itself and the book choices. 

If you are interested in downloading a book for reviewing, please

Bradi Grebien-Samko, Publicist

Email: bradi at readhowyouwant.com

Business phone: 971-340-9853

If you want to read more about the founders of this enterprise, go



Feature Writer Alena Roberts - I'd Rather Have a Car Drive Me, Than
Drive While Blind

Driving has to be one of the most visual things you can do, so most
days if you asked me if I'd like to be able to drive while blind, I'd
say no. This feeling is not because I don't think that technology
should be created to allow a blind person to drive, but rather I don't
believe the added stress of operating a vehicle when I can't see my
surroundings would be worth having access to a car. Instead, I would
rather own a vehicle that drove me, and thanks to researchers at Yale,
that possibility may be closer than we thought.

One of the reasons why we don't already have cars that drive
themselves is because it's really difficult to mimic human sight, but
a prototype of a super computer may have finally mastered this
challenge. The NeuFlow, as it's being called by its creators, is a
super computer that is able to process its surroundings in real time
just like the human eye. It is able to accomplish 100 billion
calculations per second, and it fits on one single chip, which means
it should be easy to put it into cars and other robotic machines.

To me, having cars that drive themselves comes with multiple benefits
outside of giving the blind access to better transportation. For one,
cars would become immediately safer because an emotional human
wouldn't be operating them anymore. Part of the added stress of
operating a vehicle that was designed to be driven by the blind would
be worrying about other drivers. If all cars drove themselves, then
everyone could enjoy their rides in the car. Computer-driven cars
would also follow all traffic laws which would likely mean far fewer
accidents. Finally, commuters would have the option of doing something
productive on their way to work, and would likely be less stressed
because they didn't have to worry about focusing on they're driving. I
think all these benefits could come from having a much better public
transit system, but since I know how attached people are to their
cars, then I hope the driverless car is in our near future.

What are your thoughts? Do you hope that one day the blind will
drive, or would you rather have a car drive you instead? 


Feature Writer John Christie - Olympus Offers New Accessible Digital

Olympus is now offering two new digital recorders. The Olympus DM-4,
the most recent recorder that came out in June 2010 has some new
features. However, the DM-2 also has some good features. They provide
high quality recording and playback. They also have large color LCDs
and voice guidance. Both models also have intuitive menus and stereo
mix. The DM-4 also has text to speech and voice recognition. You can
record, edit, and play podcasts with both of these models. In
addition, you can record and play music, textbooks, and audio books.
The DM-4 and the DM-2 have an internal memory capacity of 8 gigabytes
and 4 gigabytes. The DM-4 also has voice recognition so users can
verbally navigate menus with voice commands. Users are also able to
set the time and date and create a schedule using only voice commands.

Both of these devices offer stereo microphones so users can play and
record PCM, MP3 and WMA (Windows Media Audio) files. These features
make this recorder a useful tool for school, work or home. You can
listen to your audio book at the gym or listen to your podcast on the
way home.

In addition to voice recognition, the DM-4 is a DAISY Player, which
means it can play Talking Books.

The DM-4 and DM-2 both have a feature called voice guidance. When the
feature is turned on, users can navigate menus and various set up
options guided by a voice. The pleasant voice informs users to set the
time or date and other menu selecting modes. It also tells you the
folder name as you go from one folder to another.

The text to speech function allows users to hear the time and date of
the recording as well as key words those users can set. Users can
identify the recording without listening to the whole recording. Text
files are also able to be played on the DM-4.

The DM-4 can hold 8 gigabytes of media, equivalent to 2,000 hours of
recorded playback. The DM-2 can hold 4 gigabytes and will play back
1,000 hours of recorded material. Both devices have a removable
microSD media card to further expand capacity by up to 16 gigabytes.

The DM-4 and the DM-2 both have a rechargeable lithium-ion battery,
which can be operated for more than 20 hours. You can recharge the
recorders with an AC adapter or by connecting to a computer with a

Olympus Sonority Software is accessible with Windows or Mac. Using
this software, you can erase noise, adjust sound effects and divide
files. You can also upload, organize files, and download podcasts. You
can also move media to both devices by using the USB cable provided
with both recorders. 

The DM-4 and the DM-2 come with Li-ion Battery, AC Adapter, Stereo
Earphone, USB Cable, Conversion Cable (DM-4 only), Carrying Case,
Strap, Olympus Sonority Software, Instruction Manual and Warranty

The DM-4 comes in black, while the DM-2 comes in silver. You can get
the DM-4 from Ferguson Enterprises. Their phone number is
605-854-9280. At this time, I don't know if they sell the DM-2 digital
recorder. They sell the DM-4 digital recorder for $299. This includes
the tutorial. This price is right in line with other devices like the
Victor Reader Stream, while allowing the user to record media as well.

The DM-4 and the DM-2 digital recorders are great recorders. You can
record lectures and get rid of any background noise by using the
Olympus Sonority Software. In addition, you can use the DM-4 to
download talking books if you're able to. The recorder is also an
excellent recorder to take around especially since it comes with a
carrying case.

The DM-4 is definitely a product that I may purchase in the future.
When I was present for a demonstration, the voice navigation was very
clear and guided the user easily through the menu and various
functions. I'm also very fond of the idea of transferring files from
the recorder to the PC. 

For more information on both recorders you can go to


Feature Writer Lynne Tatum - A Writing on Readers

This piece has been on my mind for several years and now I am finally
allowing it to flow from my fingers. Do you believe in readers? Are
you comfortable with someone knowing your personal affairs? Do you
trust people to that extent? Our unqualified answer to those questions
is a resounding yes, but we have had reasons to question our sanity as
we have had readers who could barely read on a first-grade level, much
less the complex mail and documents we present. On the other hand, we
have waxed poetic on readers whose voices and delivery were absolutely
stunning. We would have allowed them to read our contacts list had
they agreed. Okay, perhaps I am exaggerating just a bit. Allow me to
tell you about some of the more interesting personalities who have
crossed our reading path. I will do my best to organize the piece as
chronologically as I can.

Our reader adventure began with a young woman from South Africa who
had a most pleasant voice and demeanor. She eased us gently into this
unknown realm with her dulcet tones and efficient reading style. What
a pleasure it was and I shall never forget her. Ironically, I cannot
recall her name, only her lovely voice. I know, that is just too

>From the same organization, we were then paired with an effervescent
gentleman from Italy. His name I do remember, but I shall not name
names in this article. This man had the most wonderful Italian accent
and his reading skills were excellent. We will always recall a
particular evening when we asked him to read a recipe. He read with
great enthusiasm and vigor and we were rolling along quite calmly
until he came to the passage where we were to "Beat the hags." Beat
the hags? Wait. Why would we want to do that? Additionally, we did not
know any hags at that time. Things have changed since then, but I
digress. Now, readers are volunteers and you do not want to offend
them, but we simply could not hold it in and broke into uproarious
laughter. He asked ever so innocently what was so funny. When we told
him, he burst out as well. We were very sad to see him go and wish him
great fortune wherever life has taken him.

We feel a spark of pride in knowing that we have educated two young
people in the fine art of check writing. They were volunteering as
part of their school's community service program and at the urging of
their parents. We talked them through it and their smiles of
accomplishment brought satisfaction to our mature hearts. Our first
young lady probably went on to an Ivy-League college as she was
attending an elite school here in Manhattan and our latest young male
reader is experiencing his first semester at the renowned Brown
University. Highly proud, you would have thought we were their
parents. Imagine a young woman with dulcet tones and a young man of
seventeen with a wonderful resonant baritone voice. We discussed
boyfriends and all things social with her and the highly popular
American Idol television show with him. As he admitted at a volunteer
awards ceremony, it took two hours to read twenty-minutes worth of
mail. I promised to keep the Idol chatter down and not bring up that
highly frustrating show. Thankfully, no one was taking bets. Maria put
forth a valiant effort in trying to keep us on track but it was a
losing battle, to be sure.

This young man also helped us complete the 2010 Census, over which I
had a head-scratching moment as to what to call myself. Well, it
really just came down to Black or African-American. I am still
thinking about it. I knew that I did not feel comfortable with Negro,
although I was advised by representatives of the 2010 Census that some
older Americans wanted that designation included. Kudos to them for
attempting to satisfy as many citizens as possible. I think I am
leaning towards an American of Caribbean and Southern heritage.
Cari-South, perhaps? I will keep working on that.

Is it not reasonable to assume that readers should be able to read?
Perhaps you are thinking they should be auditioned, and I agree with
you whole-heartedly as we have suffered through volunteers who fairly
mumbled and stumbled from one sentence to another. It was torture by
reading, I tell you, and it was not pretty. One particular session was
beyond tedious and caused Maria to fall asleep, leaving me with the
grueling task of slogging through it. Oh, how cruel. I must also
mention the fact that you never know what readers will find boring or
engaging. I am under the assumption that when they sign up to read,
they agree to read just about anything, barring erotic material. Who
knew that reading a catalog would send a reader practically under the
table? The man fairly flew out of the room when the session was done.
He did not even stop to say goodbye. We sat there speechless for ten
seconds and then broke into uncontrollable giggles. Starting out
upright, he ended up slumped over the table almost foaming at the
mouth. We never saw him again. Good thing.

Another memorable reader entered the room; meticulously arranged
three cups of coffee and proceeded to drink from each in turn. Reading
all addresses, he commented on every state he had visited. I need not
tell you that the session took a painful year and a half. Help!

Years ago, we were indeed fortunate to be paired with one of the most
organized readers we have ever known. She used colorful markers and
folders to identify and hold our important documents. She located all
manner of services and had us in tip-top shape for the length of her
service. We learned that she not only organized us but was a
craftswoman who made detailed cabinets and other furniture. We do miss
her. We stayed in touch for a few months, perhaps even a year, but
sadly, we did part and have not heard from her since.

It really is a horrendous situation when readers insinuate themselves
into your personal and financial life. This was the case with a
controlling volunteer who made unwanted and unsolicited judgment
calls. Opinionated to the max, she felt it her duty to advise us on
most aspects of our lives whether we needed advice or not. I am
thoroughly glad that we only knew her for about a year. Once dragged
through the mud of her manipulative nature, I became justifiably
gun-shy about ever having another reader. The problem was that my
vision was becoming worse and I was procrastinating with regard to
sitting down and getting the job done. This situation could not

Would you believe we have had a reader who was a host on QVC? We have
caught her on television a time or two. Maria more than I, as she is
practically glued to that channel. She is a lovely lady and we remain
friends and see her on occasion for dinner. She reminds me of a
Charlie's Angel type (a 70's television action show) as she is
slightly built but proudly admitted that she can use a gun. We all
chortled as she pronounced 92nd Street Y as "92nd Streety."

The reader prior to the young man I have come to call Mr. D. Brown,
was a kind, young woman who left us once she became pregnant with her
first child. She had a beautiful baby boy and resigned from her job
because she could not bear to leave him for long periods of time. We
regretted losing her but no one could blame her or stop her.

Our current reader is the most artistically inclined, if you will. We
saw her perform a stand-up routine at a comedy club here in New York
City. She was quite good. We will, no doubt, discuss her fabulous
performance in greater detail when next we meet for our reading
session. She warned us about eating any food at this establishment as
she thought it might not be safe but, of course, we did and I am glad
that I am alive to write this selection.

It has been a pleasure recounting some of the more interesting and
humorous facts about our readers, but in all seriousness, they have
performed a priceless service that we could not do without. Their
time, energy, and efforts have been greatly appreciated over the years
and we would be in a hopeless fix were they not around to assist with
both trivial and important matters. Yes, we could accomplish reading
tasks using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software such as the
Kurzweil 1000 and Open Book. Speech synthesizers are lovely things,
but they definitely lack a certain warmth and humor in their delivery.
Bottom line: As long as reading volunteers will have us, we will
definitely have them.


Contributor Terri Winaught - Part Three: Ray Charles - Soaring to

In 1959, Charles crossed over to top 30 radio with the release of his
impromptu blues number, "What'd I Say," which was initially conceived
while Charles was in concert. The song would reach number 1 on the R&B
list and would become Charles' first top ten single on the pop charts,
peaking at number 6. In wikipedia, a free, online encyclopedia in
which articles, authors, and writing styles vary, this chart topper is
described as "having lyrics that are very suggestive in their
back-and-forth call and response between Ray Charles and the
Raelettes." Before he left the Atlantic label in 1959 for more
lucrative opportunities with ABC Records, Ray released his album, "The
Genius of Ray Charles."

Hit songs, such as "Georgia On My Mind" (US #1), "Hit the Road Jack"
(US #1) and "Unchain My Heart" (US #9) helped Charles transition to
pop success. (Georgia On My Mind was so popular, in fact, that it
garnered its first Grammy in 1961, was sung for Georgia's State
Legislature on April 24th, 1979, when it also became that state's
official song, and was also performed during the 6th season of
Designing Women--on previous episodes of that show, Georgia had only
been performed instrumentally.) 

Ray's landmark 1962 album, "Modern Sounds in Country and Western
Music" and its sequel "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music,
Vol. 2," helped to bring country music mainstream. Though, these
albums also brought Ray controversy. In the Movie, Ray, which is
available on an audio-described DVD, there is dialogue in which Ray is
described as "a sell-out." As noted in his 1978 autobiography, Brother
Ray, several of his friends and colleagues disparaged the decision to
go Country as "crazy." Based on additional dialogue from the movie, it
seems possible that some labeled him "a sell-out" because Charles was
already so well known for jazz, rhythm and blues, and combining those
styles with Gospel to pioneer the African-American music style that
came to be known as "soul." 

Ever the versatile musician, Ray Charles continued to record major
pop hits, including "Busted" in 1963 (US #4) and "Take These Chains
>From My Heart" (US #8). 

Given his vocal versatility and instrumental genius, this writer is
not at all surprised that "Brother Ray" achieved the landmark
successes that enabled him to break down society's barriers of culture
and color. What does at least somewhat surprise this writer, though,
is Ray's ability not to be denied his dreams, despite the difficulties
of addiction and arrest. Charles' 1965 arrest in Boston for heroin
possession was his third, having previous police encounters in
Indianapolis, Indiana, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Again referring
to the 2004 movie, Ray, the hostility of the arresting officers in
Indiana as "Unchain My Heart" played in the background, was evident as
they referred to that #9 pop hit as "jungle music that was ruining the
nation's young people." 

Ray's 1965 arrest was followed by successful drug rehabilitation at a
Los Angeles, California clinic and being on parole in 1966. Never one
to lose hope or humor, Ray's next songs--"Cryin' Time," "Let's Go Get
Stoned," and "I Don't Need No Doctor" reflected victory over

In 1967, Ray released the hit, "Here We Go Again" (US 15), a song
which he would re-record in 2004 as a duet with Norah Jones.

Though the songs Ray charles released later in the 1960's and into
the 1970's were hit-and-miss as chart toppers, that doesn't mean that
his career was over: Rather, Ray was driving his career in new

In November 1977, Ray Charles hosted NBC's Saturday Night Live, and
played a major role in the 1980 hit film "Blues Brothers"--the website
lyricfreak.com describing Ray's performance as a "cameo."

Though Ray Charles supported Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the
Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's, he courted controversy in 1981 by
touring South Africa at a time when they were being internationally
boycotted because of their system of Apartheid.

In 1985, Ray sang for President Reagan's second inauguration, and
appeared on the Happy Anniversary episode of NBC's Bill Cosby show
that same year. In 1986, Ray rendered his unique version of "America
the Beautiful" at Wrestlemania #2, and in 1989, Ray recorded a
Japanese song that translated into English as "Ellie My Love." This
was also the first song by a Westerner so successful in Japan that it
sold over 400,000 copies. During the late 1980's and into the 1990's,
Ray made several appearances on the Super Dave Osborne show where
Charles performed short vignettes in which he was driving a car as
Super Dave's chauffeur.

In 1990, longtime friend Quincy Jones produced the Skhaka Kahn hit
"I'll Be Good to You," on which Ray collaborated by also singing. Also
in 1990, when successful Mupetts creator Jim Henson died of bacterial
pneumonia, Ray joined the Mupetts cast as they sang "It's Not Easy
Being Greene." Ray commented on that trademark theme song by saying,
"Jim Henson took a simple song, a piece of felt and made it into
something powerful."

In the early 1990's, Ray added to his newfound fame and recognition
among young audiences by recording a Pepsi commercial in which he
popularized the phrase, "You've Got the Right One, Baby, uh huh." Also
in the early 90's, Ray was among many singers who were part of the
moving "U.S. Aid For Africa."

In 1993, Ray performed at President Bill Clinton's first
inauguration, and appeared on episodes of "The Nanny," as a character
named Sam, in 1997 and 1998.

Between 2000 and 2004, Ray performed with vocalists who were as
varied as his multifaceted career and included B.B. King, Bonnie
Raitt, Elton John, James Taylor, Johnny Mathis, Norah Jones, Travis
Tritt, Van Morrison and Willie Nelson.

At the age of 73, "The Genius" made his final crossover journey on
June 10, 2004 at 11:35am in his Beverly Hills, California home where
he was surrounded by family. The man who had spent a lifetime
exploring and journeying was interred at the Inglewood cemetery in
Inglewood, California. The BBC noted after Charles's funeral that "It
did not go unnoticed that Susaye was the only Raelette to sing at
Ray's service."

In Part Four--and the final part of this series--I'll be quoting what
famous people and publications said about Ray; the number of Grammys
and other awards Charles received, some aspects of his personal life,
causes to which he donated and websites on which you can find Ray
Charles apparel, CDs, DVDs MP3s, and song lyrics--in short, everything
Ray--since this final part will be entitled, "Ray Charles: A Lasting

Are any Ziegler readers Ray Charles fans? If so, do you have any of
his earliest music, including the 45s? What are some of your favorite
Ray Charles tunes? I'll be interested in hearing answers to these
questions along with any additional comments you may have in Readers


Op Ed with Bob Branco - Does Everything Happen Because We're Blind?

In my experience, I often encounter blind people who believe that
most of the bad things that happen, or things that frustrate us, occur
because we are blind. Being blind myself, I encounter a lot of
rejection in my adult life, particularly while looking for work, so I
think I can understand where this attitude might be coming from.
However, I want to put this in its proper perspective.

Two years ago, I was planning a reunion of 50 blind people from my
former high school. When I booked the restaurant, I was told by the
manager that the group could not order food off the entire menu
because there would be too much traffic in the kitchen while the cooks
were trying to fill the numerous orders. Instead, I was asked to pick
a handful of items from the menu, and give the group those choices.
Someone in my group felt that we were treated this way by the manager
because we are blind. I would like to know what our blindness has to
do with what goes on in that kitchen. Was the man trying to tell me
that if we were all sighted, the cooks in the kitchen would have an
easier time fulfilling all of our food orders? I don't see the logic
in that, yet, this kind of attitude is out there whenever a blind
person or group is faced with a special obstacle, which I believe was
meant for anyone, blind or sighted. Did I enjoy choosing several items
from that menu for the entire group of fifty blind people? No, but I
certainly wouldn't blame the whole problem on our blindness. That
makes no sense.

Several months ago, a blind woman from Arkansas had a bad experience
on the telephone with her pharmacist. Without going into detail, the
pharmacist gave the woman a run around. I wasn't there, so I don't
know the cause of this problem, yet the woman is convinced that she
was treated badly because she is blind. Isn't it possible that there
was a problem at the pharmacy to begin with? Maybe someone called in
sick, or maybe the delivery truck broke down, or maybe someone just
had a bad hair day. It is quite possible that if the woman had sight,
she would have been treated the same way.

I run a bowling league for persons with disabilities. Sometimes we
have to take several Sundays off during the bowling season because
outside organizations decide to hold big tournaments which use up all
the lanes. This happens a lot in the bowling world, and I think
nothing of it. Yet someone felt that our league was being tossed
aside, probably because some of us have disabilities. If all of us in
the bowling league were able bodied, the tournament would still
happen, the entire bowling alley would still be filled up, and we'd
still have to take several Sundays off, so who was this person trying
to kid?

Being blind for my entire life, I know all about being frustrated and
being denied certain opportunities based on blindness. I won't deny
that this happens to all of us. But when we start using blindness as
an excuse for every bad thing that happens, then this attitude only
hurts us even more. A visually impaired woman in my own city actually
told someone that every bad thing that happens to her is the result of
her being blind, so there you go, that sums it all up.


Sensible Questions from the Sighted World

Since we've had a few articles that cover the sheer ineptitude of the
sighted world when trying to understand the blind community, I figured
that I'd ask some friends of mine if they had any unanswered questions
for those of you who are visually impaired. I've also included a
couple of my own. I do hope that the questions proposed here are
considered sensible. None of them have anything to do with the
existence of Braille chicken acquired from blind-only grocery stores,
I promise.

The first is one that I've wondered about and is then followed up by
a similar question. It has to do with trust. There have been many
articles written in this magazine by our feature writers and
contributors that have mentioned the help of strangers. Without trying
to sound too paranoid or pessimistic about my fellow humans, the truth
is that there are many people out there who would gladly take
advantage of someone who cannot see. Whether it's a clerk at a cash
register or a person guiding you through a busy area, there is always
the chance that their intentions, no matter how well they present
them, are actually a disguise. Do you find it difficult to trust
strangers who offer to help you? Are you apprehensive about asking a
stranger for assistance? Do you feel that you're a better judge of
character now that you have to focus on things outside of someone's
facial mannerisms to gauge their intentions? 

The next question that works off of the previous was given by my
girlfriend who works with children. She asked me what the parents of
blind children, or conversely, blind parents with children, tell their
kids about how to treat strangers. Of course, at younger ages, they're
probably taught to not speak to strangers, as every parent tells their
child for their own safety. But what about when they start to breach
that age where independence begins to take over and situations arise
where interaction with strangers becomes a greater possibility? Is
asking for assistance recommended only if it is absolutely necessary,
or are they encouraged at an early age to become comfortable with
public intervention? From a parenting perspective, I'm sure there are
many different views on this that may change from situation to
situation and not remain static.

Going in another direction, a friend of mine who is my technology
go-to guy, asked what piece of modern technology has impacted your
lives the most. I briefly talked to him about the virtues of screen
readers and things like VoiceOver on the iPhone and how they've made
all of the information we tend to take for granted entirely accessible
to the blind. I'm still interested to see what you have to say, as I'm
sure that your answers will vary.

Going in yet another direction, one friend of mine, who considers
herself quite the matchmaker, was curious about the relationship
aspect of the blind community. She was initially curious about the
outlets used to find a mate. I assured her that you all are no
different and that you enjoy the same things we do, but it was her
final remark that really caught my attention. She said, "Think of the
dynamics of a first date for you and I. Your first opinions of the
person are almost undoubtedly aimed at their looks. Is he or she
pretty, what are they wearing--things like that. If you can't see the
other person, the entire game is changed, so to speak, and instead of
looks driving your initial feelings about the person, you immediately
dive into their character and find out who they truly are. It seems so
much more intimate." As I listened to what she had to say, I realized
that I had never really thought about it like that and I felt that it
was not only insightful, but a great thing to pass on to you. The
questions that eventually emerged from our conversation were: Are
looks as important in your relationships as they are for many new
sighted couples? If not, do you feel that your relationships work
better because you're not so focused on looks, and rather who the
person is inside? Do you think compatibility is easier or harder? In a
culture where so much emphasis is placed on looks and shallow
behaviors prevail so often, do you feel that you're able to bypass
many of the shortcomings that go along with dating and get to know a
person much better?

Again, I hope that these questions will be viewed as at least mildly
intelligent and not as an unfortunate continuation of sighted
ignorance. I also hope that if you have a response to any of these,
that you'll submit them for the reader's forum. Not only will I pass
the answers on, but it will hopefully open up some interesting dialog.


News - The Kindness of Strangers Still Alive in Some Places

Bill Lewis has a story that he will most likely tell for the rest of
his life. After finding himself stranded in Florida with a baby on the
way in Iowa, he decided that the only way to get home was to make the
trek himself. So Bill took to the roads, with his hands propelling his
wheelchair northward, hundreds of miles to his home.

You may be wondering why on Earth anyone would ever do that, or what
situation presented itself where that was his only option. Bill was in
Florida with friends, who incidentally had their house foreclosed
upon. With friends unable to provide Bill with any money, he found
himself responsible for his own transportation. He had purchased a bus
pass, but it was lost. With no money, no other options, and a baby due
in the winter, Bill started his journey.

After making it 150 miles, and with no more than blistered hands and
a bottle of Gatorade, a random passerby on the highway picked him out
in the darkness and stopped to ask if he needed help. The man, who
asked not to be named, said he was worried that Bill would be in
danger with no reflectors on the back of his chair.

After getting Bill into his car and hearing his amazing story, the
man drove him to a nearby hotel and bought him a room. The man
explained to the hotel manager that he would not be staying. After
hearing Bill's story from the good samaritan, the hotel manager got
the staff involved, knowing that they had to continue to help him get

The hotel manager decided to create a Facebook page that explained
Bill's story, saying, "He is prepared to roll all the way home to
Iowa...this man needs your help," and asked for donations to help get
him the rest of the way home. This was all done without Bill's

The ticket needed to get him home cost $200, and within only a few
hours, donations were coming in from as far away as Canada to help.
The next day, when Bill came to the front desk to leave, he was handed
a ticket and told, "No more wheeling for you, Bill."

After finding Bill a nice shirt and tie from the hotel's lost and
found, the manager dropped him off at the Greyhound bus station and
bid him farewell, knowing that he'd be reunited with his loved ones in
only a couple of hours. "These are the kind of people in this world
that you just have to help," said the manager. "It was amazing to see
the hearts of so many people open up to help a stranger."

In a world filled with so many wrongs, it's stories like these that
give you hope for the future of humanity. To know that kindness of
this caliber--with nothing more than the satisfaction of helping
someone as the reward--still exists is a wonderful notion.

To read the original article, please go to


Technology and Environment - Turning Floating Garbage Into Fuel

We've spoken before about the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch, which is
roughly the size of this country and represents years of pollution
that is finally catching up to us. Now, two companies are developing a
way to collect and process the plastics that make up the patch and
turn them into usable diesel fuel.

Through a partnership between Kaisei and Covanta, an ocean clean-up
initiative and renewable resources company, a new collaborative effort
is being made to solve the problem of the garbage patch while being
able to simultaneously create a usable byproduct from the floating

Kaisei is currently planning on multiple research missions to collect
and analyze the types of plastics in the patch to determine the best
way to convert them into usable fuel. Covanta, who has been involved
with renewable energy projects at the municipal level, has also done
some work on marine debris and is looking to develop a system that is
catered to that type of waste repurposing. 

The main barriers now are a lack of defined technology to make this
all happen and funding to develop those technologies. Kaisei needs the
tools to conduct the research, and Covanta's systems aren't quite
ready for commercial applications just yet. It's one of those
frustrating, glass ceiling situations where the goal is defined and
the development of the appropriate systems is very possible, there's
just a delay in getting all those pieces together.

This partnership does have support from some large groups, though.
The Clinton Global Initiative organized the partnership between the
two organizations and both are members of the initiative's Rethinking
Waste group. Former President Bill Clinton recently spoke at the UN
and could potentially gain funding from many sources if he can present
the problem as a global issue and not just an American one.

The ultimate goal of this collaboration is huge, as it will represent
a reduction in a massive amount of waste while providing fuel for our
everyday lives. Hopefully their funding gap will close and they will
be able to aggressively seek a solution to this problem and begin
their operations as soon as possible.

To read the original article, please go to


Recipe of the Week

Lamb Chops with Blackberry-Red Wine Sauce

58% less sat fat and 59% fewer calories than the original
recipe—here's a recipe for a special dinner. The fruit sauce is
impress-your-guests lovely but oh, so easy. From EatBetterAmerica.com

Prep Time: 20 min

Start to Finish: 40 min

Makes: 4 servings


2 teaspoons oil

1 large pear, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped (about 1 1/3 cups)

1/4 cup sliced green onions

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup fresh blackberries or Cascadian Farm® frozen organic
blackberries, thawed

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

4, 4 to 5-ounce lamb rib chops, cut 1 inch thick, or eight 3-ounce
lamb loin chops, cut 1 inch thick


1. For sauce: In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add
pear, green onions, and cloves; cook about 3 minutes or just until
pear is tender.

2. Add blackberries; reduce heat. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring often;
remove from heat. Stir in red wine vinegar. Set aside to cool.

3. In a small bowl, stir together allspice, salt, and pepper.
Sprinkle evenly over chops; rub in with your fingers. Place chops on
the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals. Grill until
desired doneness, turning once halfway through grilling. Allow 12 to
14 minutes for medium-rare doneness (145°F) or 15 to 17 minutes for
medium doneness (160°F).

4. Serve lamb with sauce.

Nutritional Information

1 lamb rib chop plus 1/4 cup sauce: Calories 170 (Calories from Fat
70); Total Fat 8g (Saturated Fat 2 1/2g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol
40mg; Sodium 200mg; Total Carbohydrate 13g (Dietary Fiber 4g, Sugars
7g); Protein 13g Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 4%; Vitamin C 20%;
Calcium 4%; Iron 8% Exchanges: 1/2 Fruit; 1/2 Other Carbohydrate; 0
Vegetable; 2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Fat Carbohydrate Choices: 1

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.



Horizons for the Blind, a Crystal Lake, Ill based not-for-profit
organization, announces the launch of directionsformeTM
(directionsforme.org), an exciting new Internet based service that
makes consumer packaging information available in an accessible online
format for people who are blind, visually impaired or simply have
trouble reading the increasingly small print on packages or labels.

There are limited resources, if any, for visually impaired consumers
to access this information. Many websites are not designed to be fully
or even partly accessible for text-to-speech screen readers, Braille
output devices, screen magnifiers and web-enabled cell phones.

This important information is often ignored because of the difficulty
in seeing it. Some of this information is of a convenient nature but
drug interaction and allergy warnings could be life threatening.
Gaining comprehensive access will foster self sufficiency and allow
consumers to lead more healthy and independent lives. 

directionsforMeTM was designed specifically for the blind and
visually impaired consumer and employs innovative methods to simplify
the user experience. 

Skip to Main Content: Allows you to bypass repetitive information
contained on each web page. 

Subject Headings: Lets you go directly to the information you want
without wading through content you do not.

Formatting: After consulting and testing with actual users,
information on the directions site is set up in the most efficient and
understandable way possible.

The Directions website will address a glaring disconnect between
consumer product manufacturers and this underserved population.

The easy-to-use format makes directionsforMeTM appealing to a wide
range of consumers. With the amount of information on consumer
products increasing dramatically and the print size decreasing just as
significantly, many consumers, particularly the growing senior
population, are having trouble reading the information on packages and

Through a licensing agreement with Gladson, Directions features over
300,000 products in food, health and beauty and general merchandise
categories. It provides consumers a consistent, one-stop source for
preparation directions, nutrition facts, ingredients, allergy/drug
interaction warnings and more.


PEN PALS - New Listings

jessica.grant1984 at gmail.com 

I would like to correspond with people between the ages of 20 to 35.
Not only would like to correspond with people around the untied states
but I'm looking to correspond with people in Charleston South
Carolina. I would really like to get to know people in my hometown so
I can go and do things. If anyone would like to get in-touch with they
can reach me by email. I also enjoy listening to Christian music and
other types of music.

Another thing is I like to read books in Braille or in digital


I'm looking for male or female pen pals. I'm a Christian, I like
shopping. I like to talk on the phone. I like to read different
magazines, listen to any kind of music, and I love animals. I'm
looking for the same in a person. I listen to any kind of music except
for opera and country. So if anyone wants to contact me by email I
will appreciate it. You can reach me at tonyasmith75 at live.com


ahmed.refaat.22 at hotmail.com

I would like to make male or female friends from all over the world,
especially from England, America, and Canada. I'm Egyptian and my
interests are music, reading, and computers.


SPECIAL NOTICES - Previous Listings

Blind pianist, Stephanie Pieck, is giving a concert to benefit the
non-profit organization, Freedom Guide Dogs for the Blind, in
Cassville, NY. Freedom trained Stephanie's guide dog, Ecko and placed
him with her through their Hometown Training program.

This FREE concert is being held at Open Arms Church in Schenectady,
NY on Saturday, October 9 at 2:00pm. It will feature the classical
works of Beethoven, Chopin and more. Plus, there will be refreshments,
and demonstrations with Freedom Guide Dog representatives. 

Donations are encouraged and will go toward the training and
placement of guide dogs to help the blind and visually impaired. 

Pieck is an award-winning blind concert pianist who has performed in
the United States, the Czech Republic and Poland. She is a highly
successful teacher of both blind and sighted students and sees
concerts as an extension of her educational work. 

The piano for the event is being provided by Artist Pianos in Latham,
NY. You can visit their website at www.artist-pianos.com 

For more information contact: 

Nicole White

Freedom Guide Dogs

1210 Hardscrabble Rd. 

Cassville, NY 13318

Ph. (315) 822-5132 

Email: nicole at freedomguidedogs.org 

Web: www.freedomguidedogs.org


In honor of National Guide Dog month I would like to make the readers
aware of my recently written E-book. If you are some one who is
considering looking into getting a guide dog this is the book for you.
If you are a guide dog handler from any school and maybe would like to
get some incite with regard to issues pertaining to you and your dog
then this is the book for you. The book is both entertaining and
enlightening. It is full of personal experiences and practical advice.
So come on and celebrate National Guide Dog Month with this addition
to your library. Please visit http://guidedogmanual.weebly.com for
more information and articles.

(see my contact info on the website) Note: This website is very
accessible with screen readers.


Learn to play the guitar with Ray Starr $10.00

A country music cd featuring Ray Starr is available entitled Your
Lovely Letters.

17 music tracks for $12.00

Please make checks payable to Ray Rokita

Send to 3816 Schlee Street

Lansing, Mi 48910-4435

Or you can make a purchase using pay Pal.

My email address is kb8kyr at att.net


Blind or Visually Impaired? - How You Can Learn to Play Chess
Absolutely free of cost!

"The Gymnastics of the Brain" or "The Martial Arts of the Mind" feel
the "Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat" or just have fun, a
great hobby, wonderful inexpensive recreation, playing Blind or
sighted people alike.

A great way to meet others, take this games of Kings to whatever
level you like! 

Please see the Web site of the United States Braille Chess


Or subscribe to our List group:

US_BCA-subscribe at yahoogroups.com

A cordial group of Blind or Visually Impaired Chess enthusiasts who
enjoy playing Tournaments or just Friendly Games with those of their
own strength and knowledge of this wonderful sport using email
messages or computer voice communication programs! 

To join, or for more information about how to enroll in a completely
free of cost Beginning Chess Course, through the Hadley School for the
Blind, in either Braille or Audio Cassette format and receive your
absolutely free full size high quality accessible chess set, contact:

Alan Dicey, President

United States Braille Chess Association - USBCA

Email: adicey at bellsouth.net


Hello, I am selling a: 

Screen reader Connect Outloud version 2.0. $80 

Item is like new, price includes insurance, mailed when check clears.

For more information call Johnny, at 803-209-6690. Thanks!


Don't STAND 4 Vision Loss — RIDE or WALK!

October 23, 2010 

Double Up 4Vision

Tandem Bike Ride/Walk Fundraiser 2 Fight Vision Loss. 80% of vision
loss is preventable or correctable! 

WHO: Lighthouse International 

WHAT: Pairing people with and without sight on tandem bikes to share
the experience! 

Single cyclists are welcome. Anyone can walk 
 Everyone can cheer
you on! 

WHERE: Riverside: West 135th – 70th Streets 

WHY: Vision loss touches everyone 
 Ride for yourself or someone
you love 

REGISTER: doubleup4vision.org

LEARN MORE: (212) 821-9688 • tandem at lighthouse.org


Asking best offer including shipping for all items below. 

Media rack which is a lightweight wood like frame which can be used
either for CDs or DVDs when incased in plastic jackets. Have rubber
feet to protect surfaces. It has a sliding divider for use as an
organizer. Next selling are 3 plastic audio cassette holders for up to
8 cassettes each. 

Selling various cables: 2 serial cables each with 25 pin male and 25
pin female connectors, 2 parallel cables, each 25 male/centronics 36
male parallel, and some power cables. 

Barbara Sheinbein

314-965-8006 weekends/evenings

batterseye at sbcglobal.net


I am Dirk Slabbert, living in Kimberley, South Africa. I work at the
South African National Defense Force, here in Kimberley.

Someone helped me writing a short article on the battles around
Kimberley, the Anglo-Boere war, 1899-1902.

If you are interested in these kind of things, contact me and i will
send it to you, no cost, just interesting reading stuff. If you know
someone in the military or interested in this, as said, let them
contact me.

I will also give some info regarding this article, on request.

No financial income for me, just sharing something that interests me,
giving my hometown a bit of a "write-up".

E-mail address: dirk.nelia at telkomsa.net



Are you or someone you know visually impaired and employing a guide
dog in their everyday lives? Sirens Media, a prominent television
production company working in conjunction with a major television
network, is casting a documentary television series centering around a
fascinating family, small business, or close group of friends where
one or more members use guide dogs to help navigate their lives.

If this sounds like you or someone you know, drop us a line ASAP!
We'd love to hear from you!

Please send an email with the following info to:
assistanceanimals at gmail.com

- Your name, age, gender, profession

- Contact information – email, phone, and physical address

- A recent photograph of yourself

- A short biography and description of why you and the people in your
life might make great TV


FREE OLD-TIME-RADIO TAPES. Gary Benjamin will give his entire O.T.R.
collection on reel-to-reel tapes to the first person that contacts
him. It is over 200 reels, over 1000 hours. Also included is his
Braille catalog and index file cards for proper I.D. You must have a
reel-to reel tape recorder to play them. He'll ship everything FREE
MATTER. Contact him at: GARY at INGRAMCT.COM.


For sale: New Dell PC with 2GB memory, 160GB hard drive, CD/DVD
burner, wi-fi card, modem, speakers, keyboard and mouse, and Windows
XP Professional installed. Asking $525.00. Other Windows 7-based PCs
and laptops are available for less. Will install System Access
StandAlone for an additional $350.00. Please contact AdaptiveWare at
615-884-8904; toll free 800-470-7482; or email
kaththy at adaptiveware.net.



Hello everyone.

My name is Jorge Paez, and I'm the CEO and President of PAEZ
PRODUCTION NETWORKS, a digital media production release and
distribution company.

Right now we are looking for talented producers and editors in the
area of music. The requirements are as follows:

Must have at least 5 years experience in any of the following:

Sonar, Cakewalk, Logic Studio, Logic Studio Express.

Must be able to show a sample of his/her work if requested.

Please write to info at jopa music dot com if you are interested,
with the subject line "producer application", a short bio, and
experience level plus information on the system you use to produce. NO



I have 2 new websites.

The first site is called the blind community, and is an informational
site. The site is designed for the blind to get all sorts of
information, from how to play that certain game, to how to make that
favorite dish, and whatever else you could think of. The site has a
podcast that people can submit audio too, and a message forum. People
can submit audio for the podcast by going to the podcast submissions

The site is www.theblindcommunity.webs.com

If you need to contact me regarding the main blind community site,
use the contact us page for my contact information.

The second site is called hdp productions. If you are looking for
someone to do voiceover work for you, such as for an internet radio
station, voice mail greeting or prompts, or whatever, then go to my
hdp productions site.

I can do voiceover work, and best of all, I won't charge you a thing!
That's rite, it's completely free!

Just fill out the request form for a voiceover, and within 24 hours,
you will have the mp3 file! There also is a contact form on that site
if you want to contact me. That website address is

Please note that there is a separate contact page on the message
forum for the blind community.


Books And Beyond is a show that plays on ACB Radio each weekend. It's
hosted by Bonnie Blose, and we talk to authors, editors, publishers
and other creative and interesting people. Sometimes the shows are
blindness related and sometimes they're not. I also make the show
available each week on sendspace. For the latest Books And Beyond
show, call 773-572-3166 anytime and choose from the menu. To download
the most recent file, go http://www.sendspace.com/file/ep40oz For
questions, email Nancy Lynn at freespirit52 at charter.net


Need training or technical support? 

The world of assistive technology is constantly evolving. I strive to
guide you by sharing what I've learned, building on your strengths,
and placing the tools in your hands to achieve your goals. 

Adapt on Demand

"The help you need when you need it"


E-mail: adapt at kc.rr.com 

My services include work environment assessment, accessibility
testing, purchasing advice, computer training, network setup, virus
and spyware removal, and general hardware and software technical
support by phone or through E-mail at $20 per incident. 

I make this pledge. If I haven't assisted you to your satisfaction I
won't accept payment. I'm in this to help people first. 

Invest in yourself! Contact me soon to discover the ways we can work
together to adapt technology toward pursuing your dreams.


PEN PALS - Previous Listings

Nicole Bond

3530 FairDawn DR

Colorado Springs, CO 80920

bethesdalily at gmail.com

Nicole is an avid reader and is passionate about Bible study. She
also enjoys reading THE PILGRIM'S Progress, the poems of George
Herbert, books by Joni Eareckson, and other Christian materials.
Although she is not musical herself, she enjoys music and loves to
write. Feel free to E-mail or sent Braille or taped letters to the
above address.


I would like to correspond with people between the ages 20 and 35.

The things that I enjoy are listening to Christian music and other
types of music.

Reading books on tape or in Braille. Talking on the phone. I also
enjoy the internet.

If anyone would like to correspond they reach me by email I will
reply back.

jessica.grant 1984 at gmail.com


My name is Andrew. I am 23 years old. I am totally blind. I am
looking for other blind pen pals my age or older than me. I am a
Christian and look for Christians as well as non Christian friends. My
email address is andrewjedg at gmail.com I am looking for other blind
pastors as well. I am also looking for somebody the name of Kim
Etheridge who is a regular Ziegler reader. I couldn't send her an
email because of email delivery problems.


My name is Milton Koja, and my email address is palolo at optonline.net
I am originally from Hawaii but I now live here at 160 north Main
Street Apartment 11 A. New City New York. I am a keyboard player and
singer working around the Rockland County area. And I especially love
all of my Seeing Eye Dogs. Mahalo and aloha


Mr. Delbert Walker

Jordan Hills Apartments

806 Erie St. Apt. F. 

E. Jordan, MI. 29727 

He would like to correspond in Braille format. He enjoys reading,
listening to baseball and listening to country and ethnic music.


Gerry Fitzpatrick

139 Pembridge Drive

Winchester, Virginia 22602

blindedveteran at gmail.com

Legally blind disabled Vietnam veteran


reginamukuka at yahoo.com 56 years old and a blind lady, and a widow,
catholic by religion, hobbies, gospel and country music, cooking,
singing, knitting, looking after my family and making friends.



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