Archive for June, 2013

Recipe of the Week – Thyme Mustard Catfish Over Black Eyed Pea Cakes

Submitted by Dave Hutchins

Ingredients:
4 catfish filets
1/4 cup dry thyme
2 cups yellow mustard
Seasoned flour – enough for dredging
3 cups leftover cooked black eyed peas (these are best cooked with ham hock for flavor)
1/2 cup cooked, chopped bacon
1/3 cup roasted red peppers
All purpose flour, enough to bind patties
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Directions:
Spread mustard and thyme over catfish. For best results marinate overnight. Dust fish with seasoned flour patting off excess. Deep fry until golden brown. In a medium bowl, coarsely mash beans with a fork, adding bacon and roasted peppers to mixture. Add just enough flour to mixture to help bind. Season with salt and pepper. Shape pea mixture into 4 patties. Melt butter and oil together in a large skillet over medium heat. Add patties and brown on both sides until crispy.

Yield: 4 servings

Reader’s Forum – Week of June 24, 2013

For your convenience, all Reader’s Forum submissions are separated by the ## symbol.

Bruce wrote:

I would like to thank Terri Winaught for writing about the “Fix the Web” project in the UK. Readers may find it interesting to know that the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton, Massachusetts now has a “for profit business” within our nonprofit organization that aims to teach companies, government agencies, educational institutions, and other organizations how to create web content that is more easily accessible for those requiring assistive technologies to browse the internet. We show them how to follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) in order to make their websites function better with JAWS, ZoomText, or similar assistive technologies. We will be holding our first ever Consumer Forum in August to invite blind and vision impaired consumers to share their experiences with us to help us identify some New England area companies in a wide variety of categories who have websites that have accessibility and usability barriers. We know that when we approach companies to try to convince them to purchase our evaluation and remediation services, our ability to tell them that there are real consumers who are having trouble transacting business on their sites will make it an easier sell for us.

Anyone who would like more information about our Forum or our services may feel free to contact me directly. Thank you.

Bruce Howell
Accessibility Services Coordinator
The Carroll Center for the Blind
770 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02458
Email: bruce.howell@carroll.org

##

Danni wrote:

In response to Alena Roberts – Do We Need a Cell Phone Carrier That Sells Phones for the Blind? I say no! Blind and Visually impaired folks are always hollering about wanting equality and it’s ridiculous to have a separate phone company! What we need are phones or software accessible for the blind that anyone can use! And the phones should be made accessible to all companies not like it is now where some companies have a certain phone while others have other phones!

##

David wrote:

Firstly, Perkins must have had some incredible cooks. It must be quite the school. I understand that anyone who went there will let you know it within minutes of meeting you. We at the Louisiana School for the Blind, later School for the Visually Impaired, (guess being impaired was better than plain blind), never had such interesting meals. I do not recall any soufflé or muffins. We had the worst biscuits, flat, and doused with syrup. We never saw real butter on the table. Oatmeal was of a glue-like consistency, and we were told to put milk in it. The milk was naturally cold and that made the concoction even more viscous and nauseating. While I actually like liver, they ruined it as they did Friday fish sticks. It was a major accomplishment for the Student Body to have chocolate milk sometimes at lunch as a choice. That school was not about choice. We never had language classes, nor art or music history, nor interesting PE choices i.e. yoga, dance, and such. You took what you were given and that was paltry! I’m glad mainstreaming is the norm now. While I can see that there is, even now, the need for blind schools for some students, most should mainstream and live in the real world, not a blind make-believe land. I think it is psychologically destructive to a young child to rip it away from family at age six and stick it in this bizarre atmosphere. It’s not, after all, a posh British-style boarding school, but more a factory where blind were vanished away from “normal” people and teachers were rather Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, one way for parental visits, another once parents had gone.

Secondly, Mr. Branco’s thoughts on volunteering and church were interesting. I would first have to get to church. Our para-transit service does not and has never run on Sundays. Cabs can be unpredictable and rides to church have dried up for me since 2005. I’d like to again read even if only sometimes at the church I once attended and once occasionally read at. I’d like to become active though I do have some health concerns that might make weekly attendance problematic. I liked feeling as though I belonged somewhere and that if I needed, maybe someone might help somewhere. You sure can’t expect anything like that from a coworker and probably shouldn’t. Alas, I cannot sing. So choir is out. I’m not a musical blind person. It just saddens me because I did try to get rides. I vividly recall an assistant priest at the church saying rides were not her ministry so I should talk to the rector and the bishop saying it was amazing as a blind person that I could have a spiritual life. Shame on both of them! When I found rides in another town while I was in college, it took months to work out. Maybe, Jesus is busy?

Thank you David F

Op Ed with Bob Branco – Terms and Expressions

How often have you heard people describe a blind person as sightless? Many people in the blind community believe that the term is inappropriate, and that it is used to avoid the fact of our real disability. I understand, because we are who we are, and we are not ashamed of it. Blind is a word that describes vision loss, so therefore nobody should have a problem using that word.

I think that most people who refer to us as sightless do it for two reasons. First, they might think that our feelings would be hurt if they used the right term, and second, I think they call us sightless because they believe it makes sense. Nevertheless, we are who we are. No matter how we feel about the word sightless, I want to point out that there is a group home in the state of Ohio with sightless in its name. I just wonder if advocates have noticed it as of yet.

When it comes to terms and expressions, a blind friend of mine recently compared the inappropriateness of sightless to Negro, and I am trying to figure out the similarities. The dictionary defines Negro as a member of the black race. It doesn’t define sightless as someone who is blind.

As a child, retarded was a very common word which described someone with mental challenges. Today, many agencies and organizations serving persons with mental challenges dropped retarded from their titles because more and more people find that word to be offensive.

I know that we all have varying opinions about the terms Sightless, Negro and Retarded, and I am curious to read your comments in the Reader’s Forum.

Feature Writer Lynne Tatum – Here Are Other Games to Play

I enjoy playing games of varying types and degrees of difficulty but I find myself overwhelmed by the infinite assortment and uninterested in learning to play the hottest game of the week. I use a combination of technology and good old brain power and imagination to host and play games that can include almost everyone.

As Activities Coordinator for our Alumni Association, I was tasked with providing interesting activities for this weekend. Maria found herself up on a stepstool passing down what old board games we have left. Some we couldn’t find, others were in a shambles and the ones that were in reasonable condition, we couldn’t remember how to play or couldn’t read the small print on the cards. Here’s where my iPhone came in quite handy. Knowing, but unable to find, our game called Scattergories, I remembered that I’d purchased a game called 94’s. If you search for Scattergories in the AppStore, that is the game that comes up. Thankful I’d installed the paid version, our Alumni members sat happily playing for Hershey’s kisses. I set the game to “Relaxed” mode (no timer) and allowed “Samantha” to read the categories and letters we were to use. Example: Musical Styles beginning with the letter R. As you can imagine, some categories were easier than others. This game is quite accessible with the voiceover screen reader and can be played solo or in teams. There are tips and jokers and hints but we played the straight game and had a wonderful time.

Did you know that Siri can be used as a countdown timer? I told her to set a timer for three minutes. During this time period we moved through the alphabet, trying to think up songs beginning with each letter. Now, you might be thinking that’s easy enough. I challenge you to try it. I bet, like us, you’ll think of the older and standard tunes and newer tunes will completely evade you. Full disclosure: we were in a group where the average age was at least fifty years old, so perhaps our long-term memory was kicking in as our short-term memory went right down the tubes.

Another fun game that requires only your memory is known to us as a Sing Down. A leader of a team offers a word that must be in either the title or somewhere in the song. If played by teams, each time a song is sung that another team has listed, that song is eliminated. A note taker is recommended in this situation. We played as one, mostly harmonious, team.

Lastly, have you ever played musical chairs with people who are blind and visually impaired? I’ll leave that to your fertile imaginations.

Feature Writer Karen Crowder – Another Great Alumni Weekend at Perkins

Friday afternoon June 14, I rode with Carol and Bonnie on the 1:10 PM Fitchburg train to North Station in Boston. We were attending the annual Perkins alumni weekend. At North Station, Carol Fithian, a Perkins student in the 1960s, patiently waited for us. It was nice conversing with Carol. I had not spoken to her in years.

At 4 o’clock we walked with other alumni to the grand Howe building. Standing in a long line, we slowly proceeded toward the registration area in the museum. At the registration table we were handed weekend schedules, name tags and a list of students staying at Perkins.

Young volunteers walked us to our assigned cottages. I was in Brooks cottage on the west side of the campus with my three friends.

After my kind volunteer left my room, I perused the schedule and list of students.

At the annual President’s reception, there was an atmosphere of congeniality. President Rothstein cordially welcomed us, before the annual talent show.

It began at eight o’clock. There were 22 acts with many songs and piano selections. I read two poems and two women performed a hilarious skit, which had everyone laughing.

Saturday morning was busy. After breakfast there was a chapel service report from the President and the annual alumni meeting. Many former Perkins students who live in the Boston area just come for the meeting and afternoon activities and some stay for the banquet.

While the alumni meetings are going on there are Perkins apparel such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags, and other items at the tables outside the chapel.

After the annual memorial service there is lunch and afternoon activities. I did not choose to go to the technology demonstration at the New Grosbeck center or the tour of the renovated pond and new lower school. I chose to help make lovely centerpieces for the banquet tables.

On this warm afternoon, ten to fifteen alumni walked with volunteers to the classroom adjoining the Perkins greenhouse.

A pleasant teacher who teaches horticultural classes to students during the academic year would help and guide us. With volunteers, we would enjoy arranging centerpieces in a relaxing oasis.

As we listened to her talk we were passed roses, daisies, mums, irises, carnations and non-fragrant flowers. Water was poured into vases and we started arranging centerpieces. With experience doing this the previous year, I arranged the most fragrant flowers in the center. I was complimented on this arrangement before leaving my kind volunteer and heading to the peaceful greenhouse where there is lavender, rosemary, thyme, lemon mint and lemon geraniums. The sound of softly flowing water from fountains and a small pond and the perfume of flowers, herbs and small fruits, make this greenhouse aesthetically lovely and soothing to the mind and spirit.
At the banquet I chatted amiably with friends and the meal was good, especially the salad, crusty Italian bread and the chicken entree. Conversations were interspersed with announcements of door prizes and speeches by former staff and students. After singing the Alma mater at nine o’clock, another alumni weekend was almost over.

At Fisher cottage there is a coffee house for relaxation and refreshments. I was about to leave when a friend entered Fisher cottage. We sat sharing memories of alumni weekends past and our lives for over an hour.

Sunday breakfast was simple French toast, fruit and coffee. At nine thirty Bonnie, Carol and I took Para transit to North station. We said our goodbyes to Carol Fithian vowing to keep in touch. We got on the11:20 train tired and content after a lovely, unforgettable alumni weekend.

To find out information about Perkins go to www.Perkins.org. For information about the wide range of products Perkins carries go to www.perkinsproducts.org. If you wish to find more information on their apparel or the Alumni Association call Perkins at 1-617-924-3434

Feature Writer John Christie – Blind and Deaf Groups Want to See Captioning in All Types of Media Become Commonplace

On May 14, 2012 the Senate Help Committee held a meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to amend The Americans with Disability Act so that the deaf could have more captioning of movies and the blind could have more movies video described. One group that is against having movies accessible to the blind and deaf are the movie theater owners. John Fithian, President and CEO of The National Association of Theater Owners said that they strongly oppose the new legislation and rules. He also said that the association doesn’t want to go to court and spend money on lawyers. He also stated that 53 percent of digital screens in movie theaters are accessible. Fithian also said that the reason why more digital screens aren’t more accessible to the blind and deaf is because the equipment is being manufactured slowly. Brian Charlson, who is the Chair of ACB’s Information Access Committee, said that with 25 million Americans with vision loss we need video description. It is the key to our culture. It provides the blind and visually impaired information about our culture that is on the screen. If we didn’t have video description, a blind or visually impaired person would miss out on a lot of our culture that is primarily visual. Charlson also asked for this to be provided on airline and internet videos. He also felt that we should have standardized equipment so that anyone can use devices and equipment right away and not have to figure out what works and how.

Andrew Phillips of a deaf organization called NAD said that the deaf like open captioning. He also said that a lot of the equipment that is used for captioning in movie theaters is cumbersome to use. Phillips also said that the airline industry has done a terrible job with captioning. This is unfortunate because programs have been captioned elsewhere. They just have to be passed through. Phillips also stated that the vast majority of segmented news programs are not captioned along with news video clips. He also said that the Boston Marathon coverage was not closed captioned. There were also representatives there from the FCC and U.S. Department of Justice.

Both the deaf and the blind feel that captioning and video description should be as common as an able bodied person seeing a picture on TV or a movie or video. Maybe someday in the near future, it will be. It can’t come soon enough especially when the baby boomers are getting older and beginning to have health problems such as vision and hearing issues.

Source: http://www.coataccess.org/node/10147Take

Feature Writer Ann Chiapetta – How Do You Vote Part 2: HAVA Continued

The Help America Vote Act (Pub.L. 107–252) was developed and enacted in 2002 in an effort to, in part, prevent another election catastrophe like the one which occurred in the 2000 presidential elections. In the 2000 presidential elections, almost 2 million lever machine votes were disqualified due to the punch cards registering multiple votes or none when run through vote-counting machines.

The goals of HAVA are: to replace punch card and lever-based voting systems; creating the Election Assistance Commission to assist in the administration of Federal elections; and
establishing minimum election administration standards.

What does all this mean in terms of accessible voting for people with disabilities now and in the future? Lever style punch card machines will soon be replaced, but how and when is uncertain. Fully accessible machines can use headphones, sip and puff, foot pedals, joy sticks and other adaptive technology to provide the necessary accessibility. Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) are mandated to be present at every Federal election. Many States and even local elections also offer BMD machines in an effort to support HAVA. Yet, the old fashioned lever machines are still being used. As always, change is hard, especially when it comes to the voting process. It is a fundamental right of citizenship and the transition from the old to the new will take time. What I hope for is that the accessible machines will prove themselves and this will help to propel the United States to adopt a better voting machine with everyone in mind and, by doing so, put an end to voting segregation.

For more on HAVA:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help_America_Vote_Act
www.eac.gov

Feature Writer Alena Roberts – Help Celebrate Ann Sullivan Macy by Signing the Petition and Contacting Your Representatives to Support the Macy Act

There have been numerous laws put into place over the years to support children with vision impairments. Some may say that we have done enough, but the number of blind adults that are unemployed is still too high and the Braille literacy rate continues to fall. The American Foundation for the Blind has written a bill called the Macy Act that would improve educational standards for visually impaired students and add support for teachers and other personnel who work with these students.

June 27th is the anniversary of Helen Keller’s birthday. On that day, AFB is asking that everyone who believes in the Macy Act call their Senators and Representatives to ask for their support of the bill. Here is a link that will provide you with phone numbers for contacting your members of congress: http://www.afb.org/blog.aspx?BlogID=7&BlogEntryID=762

AFB has also created a petition for the act that you can sign to show your support as well. Sign it by visiting this link: http://www.afb.org/section.aspx?DocumentID=6028&FolderID=3&SectionID=3&TopicID=138&mode=survey

For those that enjoy reading laws, here is a link to the act in it’s entirety: http://www.afb.org/section.aspx?DocumentID=6028&FolderID=3&SectionID=3&TopicID=138

Finally, because this act celebrates the work of Ann Sullivan Macy and Helen Keller, here is a link to a video that was recorded in 1930 where Ann describes how she taught Helen to speak: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gv1uLfF35Uw

Letter from the Editor – Week of June 24, 2013

Hello Everyone,

Hope you had a great weekend now that it’s officially summer and you’ve enjoyed some lovely weather.

The audio edition for May went out last Monday, if you never received the email the audio edition is available here http://www.matildaziegler.com/2013/06/17/may-2013-audio-version-2/ or send me an email and I can get it to you.

Thanks for reading and to those who wrote in to the Reader’s Forum.

Sincerely,
Editor

Recipe of the Week – Hamburgers, Scandinavian Style

Submitted by Dave Hutchins

Yield: 8 Servings

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground veal
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon instant minced onion
2 teaspoons sea salt
1-1/2 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup salad oil
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
2 medium red onions, thinly sliced
1 loaf rye bread or 8 rye buns or the bread of your choice.

Directions:

In large bowl, mix meat, ketchup, instant minced onion, salt, pepper, celery seed and garlic powder. Shape mixture into 16 thin patties; chill. Mix vinegar, oil and dill weed. Place onion slices in shallow glass dish; pour vinegar mixture over onions. Cover; refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Wrap rye bread in a single thickness of heavy duty aluminum foil. Place on grill 4 inches from medium coals. Heat 20 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove onions from marinade; reserve marinade. Place hamburgers on grill 4 inches from medium coals. Cook 5 minutes on each side, or until done, brushing frequently with reserved marinade.

To serve, place 1 hamburger patty on slice of warm bread; top with onion slices, a second patty and second slice of bread.

Note: if you don’t care for veal you can substitute ground turkey or ground chicken.