Issue #16
April 1, 2014

In This Issue

Greetings from Our President
Word on the Street
Guess Who Took another Trip around the Sun
Our Out-Of-Sight Superstar
Why Do We Fear the Blind
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) & Web Accessibility
CVS Pharmacy Offers Talking Prescription Labels
Separate is not Equal
Help Raise Bail Money For Our Jailbird TJ (Tass)
April Fools Day: Origin and History
Did You Know? Where to be During an Earthquake
The Bookshelf -
Determination, Dedication, and Drive Will Not Stop Deaf-Blind Judoka Dreaming of Olympic Gold
What States Have the Highest and Lowest Taxes
7-128 Softwares Top Websites for Accessible Computer Games
Flick, Swipe, and Tap - eSSENTIAL Accessibility
Healthy Choice, Healthy Living - Health Benefits of Being Nice
Field of Play: Awakening to the Truth of the Paralympics
And Survey Says
The Recipe Box - Hersheys Hot Fudge Pudding Cake
The Benefits of Dark Chocolate
Dear Betty Blunt
Survey on Fashion
Think Tank
Words to Live By
A Round of Applause
Oosabelle’s List
What is happening on Out-Of-Sight

Greetings from Our President

I am cautiously optimistic that despite this long and cold winter, that April showers will indeed bring May flowers, but, do not quote me on that quite yet.

I hope that you will enjoy the articles in this issue as much as you have done so in the past. I appreciate all those that make an effort to supply us with interesting and informative articles month after month. Without your dedication, there would be nothing to pass along to our membership.

And as always, if you want to see anything else included in this type of format, write an email to:

Best regards,
Lee Richards


To navigate quickly to the different articles in this newsletter using JAWS, System Access, or Window Eyes, press the letter H to move through the headings. For MAC users, press Control Option Command plus the letter H.

Word on the Street

Got any news for us? We would love to hear what is going on in your world, so please keep us up to date and write to:

We look forward to sharing your news with our extended family, here on Out-Of-Sight!

Guess Who Just Took Another Trip Around the Sun?

Help us celebrate our April birthdays!
Please help us build our birthday list, by sending your Username, first and last name, date of birth, (year optional), and where you live, to:

Our Out-Of-Sight Superstar

by: Karen Santiago

The superstar crown has flown from the east Coast of New Jersey to the west coast of California, Riverside California to be exact. Only a mere 2,451 miles or 944 kilometers, in order to reach Harrison Tu who is our superstar for the month of April.

Harrison was born on May 7, 1995, in Newark, CA. Yes, he is still a bit wet behind the ears, but a great addition to the OOS family.

Harrison was diagnosed at birth with micropthomnia, which means small eyes. While in his mom’s belly, his eyes never fully developed. However, the rest of him did. He was 3 weeks late and 9.5 pounds, and his mother only weighed 100 pounds! Ouch! If that was not enough for his mom to bear, no pun intended, Harrison would not let anyone but his mom carry him for his first two years of life. Can you say spoiled?

Harrison’s parents are of Chinese descendant his native language is Chinese. He has one sibling, a younger brother, Sebastian. Even though his brother was 4 years younger, he was pretty smart. He knew that Harrison could not see so when he was getting his baby teeth he would use Harrisons arms as teething rings. Ouch again!

Harrison attended a preschool for the blind. It was there that he started to learn English and braille. It was the first and last time that he attended a school for the blind. The rest of his education took place inpublic schools.

Before starting Kindergarten, his family moved to Castor Valley, CA where there were better schools and services for the visually impaired. After Harrison graduated from the fifth grade, the family moved to San Diego. Harrison completed the rest of his education in San Diego. While in high school, Harrison worked for 1 ½ years as a web tester for Envision 508. His job was to check out websites to see how accessible they were. He said that this was a boring job since there were so many items on a list that he would have to check out. As we all know, there are so many websites that are not accessible as we would like.

It was the day after his high school graduation that his family made the move to Austin, Texas. Harrison had been accepted to the University of California Riverside, but his father gave him the option of going to the University of Texas, Austin. However, it took only one day in the heat of Texas for Harrison to stick with his original choice of attending the University of California Riverside. If you read last month’s newsletter you would know more about his college life experience, and his major of economics. So if you want to know about his college life, go back to the March newsletter and read the article.

Harrison has always been an honor student. He knows nine foreign languages, and is working on a tenth. When I asked him how he learned all of those languages, he said that it was his secret and he was not giving it out. Hmmm, makes me wonder.

He was a 10 time California state finalist for the braille challenge (2002-2010, 2012). This braille literacy contest tested one’s speed, accuracy, comprehension, proofreading skills, and much more. He has received medals and he was once a national finalist. With this great knowledge of braille, he would be a good player to have on your team while playing Wheel of Words!

He was a member of the Blind Stoker Club, an exclusive tandem bicycling group. In 2008, 2010, and 2012 he participated in the Cycling for Sight events. This was three days of cycling up and down the Pacific coast, a 200 mile route, in order to raise awareness and funds for both the Braille Institute and the San Diego Centre for the Blind.

Harrison was the idea behind bingo for the RS Game site. He contacted the administration and posed his thoughts and ideas for a bingo game on the site. They liked it, and now you can play it. He also created the voice files for the game. If you want to hear him as the bingo caller, just pick the voice named Harry.

In mid-2012, Harrison became aware of Out of Sight from an ad he heard on RS Games. He first started attending games and chats because he was going through some personal issues. He called it his escape. He was able to resolve the issues he was dealing with, and continued to stay with OOS, because he was having such a great time.

He recalls Word Burst being his first experience with Out of Sight. He says that his favorite games to join in are Family Feud, Chain Reaction, Ghost, and of course Word Burst. Harrison has created a tutorial for Zilch; how to use the GMA Dice, and how to use the Zilch scorsheet. If interested, press F6 in the Zilch room. Harrison has just recently started to teach Spanish in the Learning Center. So come and habla Espanol every Sunday at 7:00. He also fills in as a host if needed and available.

Who could forget that Friday evening when Harrison was paired up with Glenda for a fun game of the not so newlywed newlywed game. I am sure that Glenda would like to forget it. If I remember correctly, they got one question right, and it was not the one about thongs. Harrison did not even know what those were. Well, anyways, it was a very memorable and hysterical game.

Harrison is now known as macro and cheese on the site. For those of you who do not know, Harrison loves to eat and drink soda. While conducting this interview, he was feasting on a large pepperoni, bacon, and sausage pizza, 12 pieces of breadsticks, and 10 pieces of chicken nuggets. Oh, and 4, yes I meant 4, liters of Mountain Dew. This food was all for his own consumption. Burp Burp. Rumor has it that his screen name may soon change to rubber duckie, due to all of his time in the tub, while on the site!

Harrison says that he enjoys chatting with others on the site because it is fun to hang out and talk about random stuff, share lives, and unwind. Harrison concluded this interview by saying that his life would be so different without Out of Sight, and he is so glad he found it!

Congratulations Harrison for being the April Member of the Month!

Why Do We Fear the Blind

By: Rosemary Mahoney

A FEW years ago, when I mentioned to a woman I met at a party that I was teaching in a school for the blind, she seemed confused. Quote, Can I just ask you one question? End quote, she said. Quote, How do you talk to your students? End quote. I explained that the students were blind, not deaf. Raising the palms of her hands at me, as if to stem further misunderstanding, she said, quote, Yes, I know they are not deaf, but what I really mean is, how do you actually talk to them? End quote.

I knew, because I had been asked this question before by reasonably intelligent people, that the woman did not know exactly what she meant. All she knew, was that in her mind, there existed a substantial intellectual barrier between the blind and the sighted. The blind could hear, yes. But could they properly understand?

Throughout history and across cultures the blind have been traduced by a host of mythologies such as this. They have variously been perceived as pitiable idiots incapable of learning, as artful masters of deception or as mystics possessed of supernatural powers. One of the most persistent misconceptions about blindness is that it is a curse from God, for misdeeds perpetrated in a past life, which cloaks the blind person in spiritual darkness, and makes him not just dangerous but evil.

A majority of my blind students at the International Institute for Social Entrepreneurs in Trivandrum, India, a branch of Braille Without Borders, came from the developing world: Madagascar, Colombia, Tibet, Liberia, Ghana, Kenya, Nepal and India. One of my students, the 27-year-old Sahr, lost most of his eyesight to measles when he was a child. (Like many children in rural West Africa, Sahr had not been vaccinated.) The residents of Sahr's village were certain that his blindness, surely the result of witchcraft or immoral actions on his familys part, would adversely affect the entire village. They surrounded his house and shouted threats and abuse. They confiscated a considerable portion of his parents land. Eventually, the elders decreed that Sahrs father must take the child out to the bush, quote, where the demons live, quote, and abandon him there. The parents refused and fled the village with their son.

Many of my students had similar experiences. Marcos parents, devout Colombian Catholics, begged a priest to say a Mass so that their blind infant son would die before his existence brought shame and hardship on their household. The villagers in Kyiles remote Tibetan village insisted that she, her two blind brothers, and their blind father should all just commit suicide because they were nothing but a burden to the sighted members of the family. When, as a child in Sierra Leone, James began to see objects upside down because of an ocular disease, the villagers were certain that he was possessed by demons.

In these places, schools for blind children were deemed a preposterous waste of resources and effort. Teachers in regular schools refused to educate them. Sighted children ridiculed them, tricked them, spat at them and threw stones at them. And when they reached working age, no one would hire them.

During a visit to the Braille Without Borders training center in Tibet, I met blind children who had been beaten, told they were idiots, locked in rooms for years on end, and abandoned by their parents. These stories, which would have been commonplace in the Dark Ages, took place in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. They are taking place now. Nine out of 10 blind children in the developing world still have no access to education, many for no other reason than that they are blind.

The United States has one of the lowest rates of visual impairment in the world, and yet blindness is still among the most feared physical afflictions. Even in this country, the blind are perceived as a people apart.

Aversion toward the blind exists for the same reason that most prejudices exist: lack of knowledge. Ignorance is a powerful generator of fear. And fear slides easily into aggression and contempt. Anyone who has not spent more than five minutes with a blind person might be forgiven for believing, like the woman I met at the party, that there is an unbridgeable gap between us and them.

For most of us, sight is the primary way we interpret the world. How can we even begin to conceive of a meaningful connection with a person who cannot see? Before I began living and working among blind people, I, too, wondered this. Whenever I saw a blind person on the street I would stare, transfixed, hoping, out of a vague and visceral discomfort, that I would not have to engage with him. In his 1930 book The World of the Blind, Pierre Villey, a blind French professor of literature, summarized the lurid carnival of prejudices and superstitions about the blind that were passed down the centuries. Quote, The sighted person judges the blind not for what they are but by the fear blindness inspires. ... The revolt of his sensibility in the face of 'the most atrocious of maladies' fills a sighted person with prejudice and gives rise to a thousand legends. End Quote. The blind author Georgina Kleege, a lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley, more tersely wrote, quote, The blind are either supernatural or subhuman, alien or animal. End quote.

WE take our eyesight so much for granted, cling to it so slavishly and are so overwhelmed by its superficial data, that even the most brilliant sighted person can take a stupidly long time to recognize the obvious: There is usually a perfectly healthy, active and normal human mind behind that pair of unseeing eyes.

Christopher Hitchens called blindness quote, one of the oldest and most tragic disorders known to man. End quote. How horribly excluded and bereft we would feel to lose the world and the way of life that sight brings us. Blindness can happen to any one of us. Myself, I used to be certain I would rather die than be blind. I could not imagine how I would have the strength to go on in the face of such a loss.

And yet people do. In 1749, the French philosopher Denis Diderot published an essay, quote, Letter on the Blind for the Benefit of Those Who See, end quote, in which he described a visit he and a friend made to the house of a blind man, the son of a professor of philosophy at the University of Paris. The blind man was married, had a son, had many acquaintances, was versed in chemistry and botany, could read and write with an alphabet of raised type and made his living distilling liqueurs. Diderot wrote with wonder of the mans good solid sense, of his tidiness, of his surprising memory for sounds and voices, of his ability to tell the weight of any object and the capacity of any vessel just by holding them in his hands, of his ability to dismantle and reassemble small machines, of his musical acuity and of his extreme sensitivity to atmospheric change.

The blind man, perhaps weary of being interrogated by Diderot and his friend as if he were a circus animal, eventually asked them a question of his own. Quote, I perceive, gentlemen, that you are not blind. You are astonished at what I do, and why not as much at my speaking? End quote. More than any of his sensory skills, it was the blind mans self esteem that surprised Diderot most. Quote, This blind man, he wrote, values himself as much as, and perhaps more than, we who see. End quote.

I have learned from my blind friends and colleagues that blindness does not have to remain tragic. For those who can adapt to it, blindness becomes a path to an alternative and equally rich way of living.

One of the many misconceptions about the blind is that they have greater hearing, sense of smell and sense of touch than sighted people. This is not strictly true. Their blindness simply forces them to recognize gifts they always had but had heretofore largely ignored.

A few years ago, I allowed myself to be blindfolded and led through the streets of Lhasa by two blind Tibetan teenage girls, students at Braille Without Borders. The girls had not grown up in the city, and yet they traversed it with ease, without stumbling or getting lost. They had a specific destination in mind, and each time they announced, Now we turn left, or Now we turn right, I was compelled to ask them how they knew this. Their answers startled me, chiefly because the clues they were following, the sound of many televisions in an electronics shop, the smell of leather in a shoe shop, the feel of cobblestones, suddenly underfoot - though out in the open for anyone to perceive, were virtually hidden from me.

For the first time in my life, I realized how little notice I paid to sounds, to smells, indeed to the entire world that lay beyond my ability to see.

The French writer Jacques Lusseyran, who lost his sight at the age of 8, understood that those of us who have sight are, in some ways, deprived by it. Quote, In return for all the benefits that sight brings we are forced to give up others whose existence we don't even suspect. End quote.

I do not intend to suggest there is something wonderful about blindness. There is only something wonderful about human resilience, adaptability and daring. The blind are no more or less worldly, stupid, evil, gloomy, pitiable or deceitful than the rest of us. It is only our ignorance that has cloaked them in these ridiculous garments. When Helen Keller wrote, quote, It is more difficult to teach ignorance to think than to teach an intelligent blind man to see the grandeur of Niagara, end quote, she was speaking, obviously, of the uplifting and equalizing value of knowledge.

Rosemary Mahoney is the author of the forthcoming book, quote, For the Benefit of Those Who See: Dispatches From the World of the Blind. End quote.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) & Web Accessibility

By: Cynthia L. Effinger
Submitted by: Roger Khouri

On March 6, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that a consent decree with H&R Block had been entered requiring the company to establish accessibility of its websites and mobile apps under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The decree resolves the departments allegations that individuals with disabilities are denied full and equal enjoyment of the companys tax-preparation focused goods and services provided online.

The Department of Justice intervened in the suit filed by the National Federation of the Blind and two plaintiffs against the company. While H&R Block does not admit liability, under the terms of the decree they will pay $22,500 to the plaintiffs and a civil penalty of $55,000 to the DOJ. In addition, the company agreed to implement a number of changes, including hiring a skilled web accessibility coordinator, adopting a web accessibility policy, and evaluating employee and contractor performance based on successful web access programming.

The suit was brought pursuant to Title III of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public accommodations in the full and equal enjoyment of goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages and accommodations. Up until now, courts have been split about the extent to which Title III of the ADA applies to websites operated by places of public accommodation. While this suit was brought pursuant to Title III, employers should take note of the decision and how it relates to Title I, which governs discrimination related to employment. The H&R settlement serves as a reminder that disability-related discrimination no longer just occurs in real life, but also online.

Employers subject to the ADA (those with 15 more employees) are required to make reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities in order to enable them to participate in the workplace. The accommodation process starts before employment even begin. Employers must make sure that if they promote a job or allow for an online application process that their website is accessible to those who may have hearing impairments, low vision or blindness, motor or neurological disorders. An organization called the World Wide Web Consortium has developed Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, commonly referred to as WCAG 2.0, that can serve as technical standards for making internet content accessible to the disabled.

No longer is it enough for an employer to make a building ADA accessible; they must also make their online presence accessible, too, for both employees and private citizens.

CVS Pharmacy Offers Talking Prescription Labels

Submitted by: Rich De Steno

CVS/pharmacy Now Offers “Talking” Prescription Labels for Individuals with Vision Impairments Through its Online Pharmacy

CVS/pharmacy announced today that it now provides ScripTalk talking prescription labels for prescriptions ordered for home delivery through its online pharmacy, The ScripTalk labels provide a safe and convenient way to access information on prescription labels for individuals who cannot read standard print. The ScripTalk labels are free to pharmacy customers who are blind or visually impaired. Customers can also obtain a free ScripTalk reader from Envision America that will enable them to listen to the information on the ScripTalk label.

quote. We are pleased to offer the ScripTalk service to our online pharmacy customers who are visually impaired. Enhancing access to important information about prescriptions is in keeping with our purpose of helping people on their path to better health end quote says Josh Flum, Senior Vice President of Retail Pharmacy at CVS Caremark.

Today’s announcement is the result of collaboration between CVS/pharmacy, the American Foundation for the Blind, American Council of the Blind and California Council of the Blind. These groups applauded CVS/pharmacy’s actions.

quote. The lack of accessible labels on prescription drug containers puts people with vision loss at serious risk of medication mishaps, end quote said Paul Schroeder, Vice President of Programs & Policy at the American Foundation for the Blind. quote. We applaud CVS/pharmacy for taking steps to provide speech access to label information for customers with vision loss along with its willingness to evaluate methods to improve large print labels. end quote

quote. This agreement is a positive step that allows for a greater level of privacy, safety, and independence for blind and visually impaired Americans of all ages who take prescription medications, end quote said Kim Charlson, president of the American Council of the Blind.

quote. The California Council of the Blind applauds CVS’s willingness to offer access to the information on prescription medication labels. As a result of this initiative, persons who are blind or visually impaired who use CVS mail order to fill their prescription needs will have the same direct, and independent access to label information as do sighted customers, end quote stated Donna Pomerantz, President, California Council of the Blind.

About CVS Pharmacy

CVS Pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS), is America’s leading retail pharmacy with more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy and Longs Drug stores. CVS/pharmacy is reinventing pharmacy to help people on their path to better health by providing the most accessible and personalized expertise, both in its stores and online at

Separate is not Equal

Submitted by: Debi Chatfield

On February 26, 2014, Safeway took an important step in meeting its goal of a fully usable digital experience for all customers. In a banner posted on its site, the company announced it was eliminating the Safeway separate text-only website it had maintained for many years. Eliminating the text-only site is part of Safeways commitment to making its main site accessible to all users. Safeway announced its accessibility initiative this past December, after working with its blind customers in the alternative dispute resolution process known as Structured Negotiations.

Safeways so called Access Site was no doubt established out of a concern that blind customers and others with disabilities could not use the main site. But as in most things, separate in this situation was not equal. The Access Site did not provide customers with the same information or functionality as the main site. Blind customers shunted off to the separate site often missed out on deals only available to main site users.

But the separate site is soon to be a thing of the past. The following notice is now posted on the Safeway text-only Access Site
Attention: As of April 30, 2014, this Access Site will no longer be available. Please visit and bookmark our main website at:
which has been updated to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA. For more information, the Safeway Accessibility Policy is available in the footer of our Grocery Delivery site.

Congratulations Safeway on your commitment to an accessible, usable digital experience for all customers.

Help Raise Bail Money For Our Jailbird TJ (Tass)

Tim Reid, also known as TJ or Tass on Out-of-Sight, is getting locked up to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. He needs our help to bail him out. Here is what he has to say:

Dear Family and Friends,
I'm proud to tell you that I'm going "behind bars" to help in the fight against muscle disease. I'm joining other community leaders to help raise critical funds for MDA, and I need your help to reach my bail!

The 2014 Clarksburg Lock-Up takes place on 04/16/2014, but I'm raising my bail before I go to jail! All you have to do is go to the web address below, to make a secure, online donation today. Your support will help families living with muscle disease, and help guarantee that I get out of jail. I will be sure to add you to my list of contributors.;jsessionid=469EFDF8C171A160DA81FCCE0A5C76E7.app252b?df_id=1614&FR_ID=8989&PROXY_ID=2151055&1614.donation=form1&PROXY_TYPE=20

Please dont be intimidated by the preset amounts on the website. Remember, every dollar counts.
When you visit the webpage, there is an option where you can enter the amount you want to donate.

Please Note:
There are 2 boxes that can be checked.
1. If you wish to remain anonymous, check the box that says "Do not display my name in Honor Roll".
2. If you wish for the amount of your donation to be anonymus, uncheck the box that says "Yes, you can display the amount of my donation publicly".

Please support me in this important goal by visiting my fundraising page and making a contribution. Your tax-deductible donation makes a difference to the hundreds of kids, adults and their families who are afflicted with this disease.

Thanks in advance for your help. Don't hesitate to email me with questions. You can reach me at

Tim Reid

Remember, it only takes one muscle to make a difference. YOUR HEART!

April Fools Day: Origin and History

The uncertain origins of a foolish day
by: David Johnson and Shmuel Ross
Submitted by: Roger Khouri

April Fools Day, sometimes called All Fools Day, is one of the most light-hearted days of the year. Its origins are uncertain. Some see it as a celebration related to the turn of the seasons, while others believe it stems from the adoption of a new calendar.

New Years Day Moves:
Ancient cultures, including those of the Romans and Hindus, celebrated New Years Day on or around April 1. It closely follows the vernal equinox (March 20th or March 21st.) In medieval times, much of Europe celebrated March 25, the Feast of Annunciation, as the beginning of the new year.

In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII ordered a new calendar (the Gregorian Calendar) to replace the old Julian Calendar. The new calendar called for New Years Day to be celebrated Jan. 1. That year, France adopted the reformed calendar and shifted New Years day to Jan. 1. According to a popular explanation, many people either refused to accept the new date, or did not learn about it, and continued to celebrate New Years Day on April 1. Other people began to make fun of these traditionalists, sending them on Quote. fools errands, End Quote, or trying to trick them into believing something false. Eventually, the practice spread throughout Europe.

Problems With This Explanation:
There are at least two difficulties with this explanation. The first is that it does not fully account for the spread of April Fools Day to other European countries. The Gregorian calendar was not adopted by England until 1752, for example, but April Fools Day was already well established there by that point. The second is that we have no direct historical evidence for this explanation, only conjecture, and that conjecture appears to have been made more recently.

Constantine and Kugel:
Another explanation of the origins of April Fools Day was provided by Joseph Boskin, a professor of history at Boston University. He explained that the practice began during the reign of Constantine, when a group of court jesters and fools told the Roman emperor that they could do a better job of running the empire. Constantine, amused, allowed a jester named Kugel to be king for one day. Kugel passed an edict calling for absurdity on that day, and the custom became an annual event.

Quote. In a way End Quote, " explained Prof. Boskin, Quote, it was a very serious day. In those times fools were really wise men. It was the role of jesters to put things in perspective with humor. End Quote.

This explanation was brought to the publics attention in an Associated Press article printed by many newspapers in 1983. There was only one catch: Boskin made the whole thing up. It took a couple of weeks for the AP to realize that they had been victims of an April Fools joke themselves.

Spring Fever:
It is worth noting that many different cultures have had days of foolishness around the start of April, give or take a couple of weeks. The Romans had a festival named Hilaria on March 25, rejoicing in the resurrection of Attis. The Hindu calendar has Holi, and the Jewish calendar has Purim. Perhaps there is something about the time of year, with its turn from winter to spring, that lends itself to lighthearted celebrations.

Observances Around the World:
April Fools Day is observed throughout the Western world. Practices include sending someone on a Quote. fools errand, End Quote, looking for things that do not exist; playing pranks; and trying to get people to believe ridiculous things.

The French call April 1 Poisson d-Avril, or Quote. April Fish End Quote. " French children sometimes tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying Quote, Poisson d-Avril, End Quote, when the prank is discovered.

Did You Know? - Where to be During an Earthquake

Submitted by: Katie Chandler
Written by: Doug Copp, Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager

My name is Doug Copp. I am the Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager of the American Rescue Team International ARTI, the world's most experienced rescue team. The information in this article will save lives in an earthquake. I have crawled inside 875 collapsed buildings, worked with rescue teams from 60 countries, founded rescue teams in several countries, and I am a member of many rescue teams from many countries. I was the United Nations expert in Disaster Mitigation for two years. I have worked at every major disaster in the world since 1985, except for simultaneous disasters.

The first building I ever crawled inside of was a school in Mexico City during the 1985 earthquake. Every child was under its desk. Every child was crushed to the thickness of their bones. They could have survived by lying down next to their desks in the aisles. It was obscene, unnecessary and I wondered why the children were not in the aisles. I didn't at the time know that the children were told to hide under something.

Simply stated, when buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings falling upon the objects or furniture inside crushes these objects, leaving a space or void next to them. This space is what I call the 'triangle of life. The larger the object, the stronger, the less it will compact. The less the object compacts, the larger the void, the greater the probability that the person who is using this void for safety will not be injured. The next time you watch collapsed buildings, on television, count the 'triangles you see formed. They are everywhere. It is the most common shape, you will see, in a collapsed building.

  1. Most everyone who simply ducks and covers WHEN BUILDINGS COLLAPSE are crushed to death. People who get under objects, like desks or cars, are crushed.
  2. Cats, dogs and babies often naturally curl up in the fetal position. You should too in an earthquake. It is a natural safety/survival instinct. You can survive in a smaller void. Get next to an object, next to a sofa, next to a large bulky object that will compress slightly but leave a void next to it.
  3. Wooden buildings are the safest type of construction to be in during an earthquake. Wood is flexible, and moves with the force of the earthquake. If the wooden building does collapse, large survival voids are created. Also, the wooden building has less concentrated, crushing weight. Brick buildings will break into individual bricks. Bricks will cause many injuries, but less squashed bodies than concrete slabs.
  4. If you are in bed during the night and an earthquake occurs, simply roll off the bed. A safe void will exist around the bed. Hotels can achieve a much greater survival rate in earthquakes simply by posting a sign on the back of the door of every room telling occupants to lie down on the floor next to the bottom of the bed during an earthquake.
  5. If an earthquake happens and you cannot easily escape by getting out the door or window, then lie down and curl up in the fetal position next to a sofa or large chair.
  6. Most everyone who gets under a doorway when buildings collapse is killed. How? If you stand under a doorway and the doorjamb falls forward or backward you will be crushed by the ceiling above. If the door jam falls sideways you will be cut in half by the doorway. In either case, you will be killed.
  7. Never go to the stairs. The stairs have a different moment of frequency. They swing separately from the main part of the building. The stairs and remainder of the building continuously bump into each other until structural failure of the stairs takes place. The people who get on stairs before they fail are chopped up by the stair treads horribly mutilated. Even if the building doesn't collapse, stay away from the stairs. The stairs are a likely part of the building to be damaged. Even if the stairs are not collapsed by the earthquake, they may collapse later when overloaded by fleeing people. They should always be checked for safety even when the rest of the building is not damaged.
  8. Get Near the Outer Walls Of Buildings Or Outside Of Them If Possible. It is much better to be near the outside of the building rather than the interior. The farther inside you are from the outside perimeter of the building the greater the probability that your escape route will be blocked.
  9. I discovered, while crawling inside of collapsed newspaper offices and other offices with a lot of paper, that paper does not compact. Large voids are found surrounding stacks of paper.

Spread the word and save someone's life... The Entire world is experiencing natural calamities so be prepared. We are but angels with one wing, it takes two to fly.

In 1996, we made a film, which proved my survival methodology to be correct. The Turkish Federal Government, City of Istanbul , University of Istanbul Case Productions and ARTI cooperated to film this practical, scientific test. We collapsed a school and a home with 20 mannequins inside. Ten mannequins did 'duck and cover and ten mannequins I used in my 'triangle of life' survival method. After the simulated earthquake collapse we crawled through the rubble and entered the building to film and document the results. The film, in which I practiced my survival techniques under directly observable, scientific conditions , relevant to building collapse, showed there would have been zero percent survival for those doing duck and cover. There would likely have been 100 percent survivability for people using my method of the 'triangle of life.' This film has been seen by millions of viewers on television in Turkey and the rest of Europe, and it was seen in the USA , Canada and Latin America on the TV program Real TV.

The Book Shelf -

Book #1
King and Maxwell
Author: David Baldacci. Read by: Orlagh Cassidy; Ron McLarty. Reading time: 12 hours, 58 minutes.
Genre: Suspense Fiction, Bestsellers
A teenager hires ex-Secret Service agents Sean King and Michelle Maxwell to find out the truth after he receives a communication from his father--who was reported killed in action in Afghanistan. Their investigation leads to the highest levels of power. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2013.

Book #2
Lee Tanner Author: Phillip Underwood. Read by: Jerry Fordyce. Reading time: 6 hours, 16 minutes.
Genre: Western Stories
Lee Tanner is the kind of man who knows you do not get something for nothing. He is used to hard work. So when he wants to start his own ranch, he has trouble accepting the kind offers of banker John Tate and his lovely--and eligible--daughter, Eleanor. But Tanner also knows that people do not say "no" to the Tates. Some strong language.

Book #3
Train man
Author: P T Deutermann. *Not Available on BARD at this time.
On a dark night, a bridge is blown to smithereens, thunderously plunging a one-hundred-car-train deep into the Mississippi River. In Washington, the FBI scrambles--sending Assistant Director Hush Hanson and agent Carolyn Lang to investigate the deadly act of domestic terror. Hanson is a team player and killer marksman. Lang has an agenda of her own. By the time the two agents leave Washington, they are on a collision course with each other. And another bridge has exploded. Now, the investigation is exploding into an inter-agency feud. The brass is after a terrorist cell, while Hanson and Land suspect a single man--the Train Man--is bringing down the bridges on by one. But as more death and destruction strike the river, on one can guess that far greater danger is looming. A top-secret, emergency shipment of unstable nuclear waste has been sent west by train. And when the nukes meets the river there will be no way across.

Determination, Dedication, and Drive Will Not Stop Deaf-Blind Judoka Dreaming of Olympic Gold

By: Foundation for Retinal Research
Submitted by: Roger Khouri

At six months of age, Michael Larsens doctor told his parents that he was visually impaired and it took another twenty-five years to get a definitive diagnosis of Lebers Congenital Amaurosis disease. Now thirty-four years of age and member of the Blind Judo Foundation, Michael is on his way of using the sport of Judo for building his lifes path.

Its not been easy coming from being bullied and harassed to getting bloody noses and being ridiculed by fellow students along the way to make his way in life. Because of being bullied, Michael would eat lunches in the teachers lounge to avoid the constant harassment of fellow students. He constantly wore dark glasses to shield the penetrating light which did not help matters either.

Other children his age would corner Michael in the boys locker room with continued bullying thinking they were out of sight of the schools Principal and Teachers. Adding to the distress of being blind, Michael realized he was having problems hearing. Constant visits to doctors revealed scars on his ear drums. Besides being blind, Michael now has to wear hearing-aids which adds to being constantly bullied.

You can almost imagine the verbal, physical and psychological abuse Michael was under. But if you know Michaels determination, dedications and drive, you will also know the saying Quote, if it is to be it is up to me, End Quote, says Michael. Michael knew what he had to do to turn what some might consider a disadvantage into an advantage.

Having endured enough abuse by others with the latest bout of spitting on him, it was time to take charge of his situation as his parents felt the whole problem was Michaels fault. Of course this was not really the case.

In 1987 at the age of 8 Michael signed up for Jujitsu to develop his self-worth and to learn how-to cope with the negative effects of bullying. Judo, an offshoot of Jujitsu was started at the age of 12 and Michael has been a consummate student of the sport training under the legendary Judo Coach Willy Cahill.

Competition, camps and tournaments have always been a spark that has kept Michael dedicated in becoming a master in Judo. Hence, in February - March 2014 he will head to Germany for a Training Camp and International German Judo Championship Tournament especially for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

The Blind Judo Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization whose mission is to empower the blind and visually impaired using the tools and tenets of Judo. These include but not limited to confidence building, character development, how-to make commitments and follow through, humility, respect and responsibility. All members of the Foundation are volunteers. Funding of blind and visually impaired athletes to train, travel locally, nationally and internationally are through tax exempt donations, the financial life-line. Donations are tax exempt.

To learn more about the Foundation, check out and at Facebook
or contact Ron C. Peck at
(425) 444-8256

What States Have the Highest and Lowest Taxes

Submitted by Rich De Steno
From CBS News

If you hate paying taxes, pay attention to where you live. Residents of the nation's lowest-tax states pay less than one-quarter of the levies contributed by those in the highest-tax states. And that's even when they earn the same amount and spend the same amount on everything from housing to beer, according to an analysis by personal finance site WalletHub.

The site looked at 10 different taxes, from property and state and local income taxes to those on vehicles, food, alcohol, fuel, telecommunications and sales. The total tax hit was based on a hypothetical individual earning $65,596, with a $174,600 home, a $17,547 car and who spends a set amount -- the national average -- on everything from groceries to gas.

The result: This individual pays $9,718 in state and regional tax levies if he lives in New York. That's nearly 15 percent of his income. But he pays just $2,364, less than 4 percent of gross income, if he lives in Wyoming.

It's worth noting that the WalletHub study differs from other research on the highest tax states because it does not factor in average wages in the various states. The Tax Foundation, for example, also does a ranking of highest tax states. But it attempts to gauge the average tax hit by using state-specific wages. This analysis holds wages and spending constant, allowing Americans to consider just how much or little they'd pay if they picked up their current lifestyle and moved a few states away.

Under this analysis, a resident of Connecticut would see that if he moved across the border into Rhode Island -- and had no change in income, housing or spending -- he'd save $2,195 annually in taxes alone. A Californian moving across the border to Nevada, meanwhile, would save $6,139.

10 states with the lowest average annual tax burden:
1. Wyoming, $2,365
2. Alaska, $2,791
3. Nevada, $3,370
4. Florida, $3,648
5. South Dakota, $3,766
6. Washington (state), $3,823
7. Texas, $5,193
8. Delaware, $5,195
9. North Dakota, $5,588
10. New Mexico, $5,822

10 states with the highest average annual tax burden:
1. New York, $9,718
2. California, $9,509
3. Nebraska, $9,450
4. Connecticut, $9,099
5. Illinois, $9,006
6. Wisconsin, $8,975
7. Vermont, $8,838
8. New Jersey, $8,830
9. Iowa, $8,788
10. Maine, $8,622

Here is the link to the complete rankings:

7-128 Softwares Top Websites for Accessible Computer Games

Submitted by: Debi Chatfield

Check out the links below for the list of some cool Top Accessible websites for the blind, deaf, and motion impaired.

Top 25 Sites for Gamers who are Blind

Top 22 Web Sites for Gamers who are Motion Impaired

Top Eleven Web Sites for Gamers who are Deaf

Top Web Sites for Accessible Gaming Industry and Community Leaders

Flick! Swipe! and Tap! - eSSENTIAL Accessibility

Reach, Serve, and Empower people with disabilities.
Submitted by Roger Khouri

The eSSENTIAL Accessibility assistive technology app™ gives those who have trouble typing, moving a mouse, or reading a screen due to a variety of conditions such as stroke, paralysis or arthritis - the tools they need to navigate the Web. The app is free to the end-user, and simple to use.

Organizations that feature the app on their websites are committed to making it easier for people with disabilities to access information online.
For more info, please visit

Healthy Choice, Healthy Living - Health Benefits of Being Nice

By Lawrence MacLellan

Professor Sam Bowles from the Santa Fe Institute recently coined the phrase quote, survival of the nicest end quote.

Quote, Groups with many altruists tend to survive end quote, he says. Quote, Altruists cooperate and contribute to the well-being of fellow group members end quote.

In other words, we have an in-built capacity to help others, especially those close to us, to ensure the survival of our community.

Give and Receive

Research shows kindness can also make us happier. Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky from the University of California asked participants in a study to perform random acts of kindness over ten weeks. She found happiness increased with people who performed a wide variety of kind acts over people who performed one act of kindness repeatedly.

Generate Health

Kindness is good for you in other ways. Professor Stephen Post, author of Why Good Things Happen to Good People, has examined the evidence that being kind is good for your health.

Quote, A strong correlation exists between the wellbeing, happiness and health of people who are kind end quote, says Post. Quote, It’s difficult to be angry, resentful, or fearful when one is showing unselfish love towards another person end quote, says Post.

Natural High

A 2005 study from Hebrew University in Israel found a link between kindness and a gene that releases dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter in the brain.

Research by Alan Luks in his 1991 book, The Healing Power of Doing Good, found that helpers reported a distinct physical sensation when being kind. Many reported feeling more energetic, warm, calmer and greater self-worth, a phenomenon he calls the quote, helpers high end quote.

Giving Freely

Kindness has another similarity with happiness - it cannot be bought. Professor Sam Bowles says economists often make the mistake of assuming people are inherently selfish. But Bowles report, published in Science this year, found otherwise. Bowles believes we resent the idea that our principles can be bough: we prefer to do good deeds for their own sake. Quote, People enjoy being kind to others much as they enjoy eating ice-cream. It gives us pleasure end quote, he says.

When a person performs an act of kindness, the brain produces dopamine, associated with positive thinking. Secondly, the brain has its own natural versions of morphine and heroine: endogenous opioids, such as endorphins. It is believed that when a person does an act of kindness they feel good on a chemical level thanks to the production of these endogenous opioids.

Physically, the benefits come from the relaxation of your nervous system and your cardiovascular system. If you do an act of kindness face-to-face with someone - for instance you help someone carry their shopping - you create an emotional bond. The body produces Oxytocin, the bonding hormone. It binds to the lining of our blood vessels and causes the dilation of the arteries. The side effect of all that is a reduction of blood pressure. Oxytocin is a cardio-protective hormone. For me, that realisation is one of the most significant breakthroughs. At the same time, kindness benefits the nervous system. The longest nerve in the human body, the vagus nerve, which controls inflammation in the body. It plays a role in keeping your cardiovascular system healthy. Studies show that people who practice compassion have a more active vagus nerve.

To feel these benefits, you don't have to go out looking to change someone's life. It can be a matter of small things. If you're on the look-out, you automatically start to notice opportunities. For instance, a woman going down stairs with a pram. There's something I call the 21-day kindness challenge. You do one act of kindness every day: make a cup of tea, pay a compliment. Something you wouldn't usually do, but which will make a difference.

David R Hamilton is the author of Why Kindness is Good for You

Making a difference: Extraordinary tales of everyday kindness

My father died the day before I married. Too late to cancel, the family said, so we made our vows. Beside me stood my best friend, Sally. We stayed with her on our honeymoon in Cornwall. Dad would have wanted us to go. While our husbands were off beachcombing, Sally held me tight, talking softly as bitter tears spilled on to her shoulder. She spoke of my fathers joy that I was at last ready to settle down. She knew things my husband could not - he'd only met Dad a couple of times. Sally enveloped me with her compassion, but gave me space to grieve. She carried my grief, so my new husband didn't have to. Her strong arms held me together when I was falling apart. And when my tears dried, she gave me back to my husband, calm and with a smile on my face.
By: Kini Brown
I sit on a chair next to my bath wearing a black binbag. I crook my neck at an angle as my sister sprays my hair – and half of my face – with warm water. She dispenses shampoo into her hands and massages it into my head. Her small, familiar hands with blotches of eczema touch and massage my scalp, loving me, ridding me of any last trace of "hospital smell". I cannot wash my own hair because I cannot raise my left arm. I have just had an operation to relieve my body of breast cancer. I am terrified. I am alive. I am loved. But now, I have clean hair.
By: Caroline Earnshaw
I had recently separated from my husband when my friend, Tracy, asked me to go round for coffee. She took my kids into the garden and, on returning, found me fiddling with her CD player. It had a mechanism when the open button was pushed. Better than yours?" Tracy asked. I do not have a CD player anymore, I answered. A few weeks later, I took the kids on holiday. Tracy asked for my keys, just to keep an eye on the house, she said. On our return home, I found that not only had Tracy and her niece totally spring-cleaned my chaotic house, her partner had given my garden a makeover. When they left and the kids had gone to see their father, I (rather emotionally) slowly walked round my clean, ordered home, then I spotted it - in the corner of the living room, a new CD player, exactly the same as Tracy's. I spent a long, long time pressing that in-out-in-out button. I still do.
By: Emma Coquet
On the morning of 21 July 1991, I received a telephone call from my daughter. She was crying hysterically saying that her baby daughter, Lindsay (who was slightly less than 10 months old) was found dead in her crib. My husband and I got into our van and drove off at high speed. I was sobbing hysterically. About an hour into our drive, I told my husband to stop at the rest stop ahead. I was still crying as I made my way into the toilet. I could barely see through my tears. As I was washing my hands, a woman walked up and put her hands on my arms and held them. She said: Whatever it is... I hope it gets better for you. Those few words spoken to me in the worst moments of my life have continued to resonate in my mind.
By: Ronna A Whitaker
I was 29km into a 30km bike ride, struggling up one of the final inclines. I was in the middle of Sweden, on a borrowed bike, with three people I met only days earlier on a working holiday with a charity. I had not been on a bike in 20 years, and I am not especially fit. Spiritually, it felt like a pilgrimage. Like every pilgrim, I had reached a moment of real anguish and torment. It was as if the difficult times in my life were manifesting themselves in the physical pain of that very moment. Then I felt a hand gently pressing on the small of my back. A fellow cyclist had pulled alongside me and was supporting me on my upward climb. That simple touch melted years of tension, mistrust, isolation, and fear. His gesture was the kindest thing anyone has ever done for me. I made it up the hill and to the end of what felt like a very long journey.
By: Rae Ritchie

These stories of kindness are taken from the December issue of 'Psychologies' magazine.

We never know what may be going on in someone’s life and a kind word, a act of kindness could make all the difference in that person’s life. Not only can you put a smile on someone’s face, it feels so good.

For your health,be nice and make someone smile.

If you have any questions for Lawrence, or would like a certain topic covered, please write to:

Field of Play: Awakening to the Truth of the Paralympics

By: Scott Russell, CBC Sports
Submitted by: Roger Khouri

Sit-skier Josh Dueck , of Vernon, B.C., pushes the limit every time he competes, helping to break down traditional barriers in Paralympic sport.

Brian McKeever wins Canadas first gold 5:57
Canadas Lauren Woolstencroft, who won five gold medals at the 2010 Paralympics, says more people are seeing the Games as a high-performance sporting event. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Following my return from Russia and the Olympic spectacle, I honestly thought the subsequent broadcast of the Paralympic Winter Games from Sochi was going to be a grind. I was never more wrong.

Each day as I witness the Paralympians in action, I feel myself reawakening to the magic of sport, not to mention the resilience and fortitude that can reveal itself during the course of honest competition. The Games are nearly half over they have flown by and somehow I wish they would never end. The crowds have been spectacular and the athletes themselves have worked wonders.

I no longer think of them as disabled, in spite of the fact that they ski at mind-boggling speeds in fragile, sled-like contraptions; or legally blind while following trailblazing guides down the mountain. It amazes me that sledge hockey players who are missing limbs and have severely limited mobility can bang and crash with the best of them and fire the puck like cannons at the opposing net.

Shifting away from inspiration, participation
So good is visually-impaired cross-country star Brian McKeever that he wore out not one but two guide skiers on his way to a gold medal in dominating the 20-kilometre race at Sochis Laura nordic facility. How could anyone not be impressed by McKeevers raw athleticism?

Lauren Woolstencroft was born without one arm and missing both legs below the knees. Yet she went on to win eight Paralympic titles as an alpine skier while claiming five gold medals at the 2010 Games in Vancouver/Whistler alone. She is the first winter Paralympian to be inducted into the Canada Sports Hall of Fame.

Quote. I always left the Games feeling the Paralympic movement and accessibility were better understood and I have no doubt the same will be true in Russia, End Quote, Woolstencroft told me. She added that Canadians were exposed to the reality of this kind of sport like never before at the 2010 edition of the Paralympics, and that the lines which too often separate able-bodied athletes and their disabled counterparts have been altered forever.

Quote. I think there was a real change in those Games in that people began to see the Paralympics as no longer just an inspiration, participation event, End Quote.Woolstencroft reckoned. Quote. Instead they saw the Games as a high- performance sporting event where athletes were pushing boundaries every day. End Quote.

Indeed, these Games in Sochi have had that kind of influence on me. Most striking is the example of sit-skier Josh Dueck of Kimberley, B.C. A former freestyle coach who crashed and broke his back a decade ago, becoming paralyzed from the waist down, Dueck now roars down the track at Rosa Khutor in each of his events. He is even been known to do a back flip at high speed.

Breaking down barriers
He is a high performance athlete by any definition of the word. Quote. Sport is a creative art for me, End Quote, Dueck suggested, when I interviewed him at last summers Olympic/Paralympic summit in Vancouver. Quote. It is a way to become the person I am and I begin each run by asking, ---What will the mountain allow me to do today?---End Quote. ---Paralympians are tough.--- Colette Bourgonje, Paralympic cross-country skier and racerThe attitude that these are “disabled” athletes is no longer valid, in my estimation. They may be athletes who compete with a disability or impairment but there is nothing about their capacity to compete and amaze which is any different from anyone else. More astounding is that I find myself wondering: What old barrier will Dueck eradicate each time he gets to the start line?

Quote. Paralympians are tough, End Quote, said cross-country skier Colette Bourgonje. She is 52 years old and was rendered paraplegic 34 years ago after being hit by a car. Bourgonje has since competed in seven Paralympic Winter Games as a skier, and Summer Games racing in a wheelchair. She has won multiple medals in both and is the first person in a wheelchair to graduate from the University of Saskatchewans physical education department. Bourgonje works as an elementary school teacher in Saskatoon when shes not racing, and was named the provinces female athlete of the year in 2010.

Quote. This is all about ability, End Quote, she emphasized. And shes right, as is snowboarder Tyler Mosher who, at long last, is getting a chance to compete in his favourite sport as it makes a debut on the Paralympic program.

Mosher is not in Russia simply to take part.
Quote. I feel like I have won the gold medal already, End Quote, he offered. Quote. And yes, it is a great journey but I play to win. End Quote. Which is the essence of all sport and something which I am convinced applies, without prejudice, to these incredible competitors.

It is the awakening that inevitably comes over you when you accept the Paralympians for who they are. They are athletes, pure and simple, who give it everything they have got each time they venture onto the field of play. And, to me, that is sport without an asterisk.

And Survey Says

By Roger Khouri

In this small section, I pose an interesting question and await your thought-provoking replies. Well, it may not be that technical; I simply ask you something and hope you take 2 seconds out of your busy day to send me a reply. LOL.

I will review last months question and then I will give you Aprils question. Be sure to read Mays newsletter to see what folks sent in as a reply.

Getting a good nights sleep is so so essential for everyone. Yet, in the blind community, many sleep disorders exist. So, last month, I tried to pick your brain to offer us any tips and tricks that you use to help get some shut eye. And, perhaps if anyone was tossing and turning and could not get to sleep, he/she could try using one of your suggestions.

For me, it is not music, or counting sheep, or even drinking hot coco that helps me drift into dreamland. It is simply turning on a talk radio show. Even if it is an interesting topic being discussed, I still find myself quickly falling asleep. Try it out and please let me know if it works for you. Nancy wrote in to say that listening to an audio book does the trick for her.

• Here is what the experts say from Apartment Therapy to help promote the right conditions to get a fine night of sleep:

1. Eat a Small Dinner - This is a huge deal and so easy. While a big meal before bed can keep your digestion working for hours, a small meal puts only a light demand on your body and allows it to rest much more fully.
2. Avoid Alcohol - While a great way to FALL asleep, all those fun drinks, like wine and beer, etc, will ruin a good nights sleep by causing dehydration.
3. Unwind Your Mind - Like your body, your mind can be over stimulated and make it hard to get a really good nights rest. When I have a stressful day at work I make an effort to not work or look at email after dinner. Computers and work stuff can really wind me up. Instead, I will take a hot bath and read a book, both of which totally take my mind off the day.
4. Three Nights in a Row is the Magic Number - Sleep is cumulative, so do not expect a really good nights sleep on your first night. You need at least two nights and preferably three to get into a really good groove and bank some deep rest.
5. Exercise Helps - Being physically tired really contributes to a good nights sleep and that does not happen to most of us who work in offices these days - remember when you were a kid, ran around all day and collapsed at night? Having daily exercise as a part of your routine contributes strongly to your body relaxing at night.
6. Avoid Caffeine - Not having coffee or tea at night seems obvious, right? But as a chocolate lover, I have also learned to wean myself off of chocolate for dessert when I want a good nights sleep. In general, stimulants are NOT your friend when looking for a great nights sleep.
7. Unwind Your Body - I already recommended a hot bath for helping to unwind in the evening as the heat and water is very relaxing for the skin and muscles. If you do not have a bath or that much time, just having a shower and giving your body and hair a good scrub is excellently relaxing. Pair that with moisturizing any dry skin and jumping into fresh, clean sheets and you are golden.
8. Keep Bedtime & Rising Time Regular - Our mind and body organism thrives on comfortable, regular routine, and I find it much easier to fall asleep and wake happily when the times are consistent. Even if your evening time changes, try to keep your rising time consistent. This way your body always will know when to wake and you will avoid that feeling of having gotten up "on the wrong side of the bed." I now barely need to set an alarm, because my body always wants to wake at 6am.
9. Drink Water - We all lose a lot of water while sleeping at night, so that keeping yourself well hydrated really helps your body to rest comfortably. If you have a night out and drink alcohol, a lot of water before bed really helps, but even on a "dry" night, keep your water intake up (but not too much so that you have to wake and pee!).
10. Light Matters, Noise Not So Much - Light is a much bigger disruptor of sleep than noise. Electric lights outside your window (or in your room) AND the sunrise will trigger waking mechanisms in the body, so keeping your windows well covered and eliminating any other ambient light is necessary to ensure a good rest.

OK, now that we have covered tips for getting some zzzzs, and I really hope they make a difference for those of you who have trouble falling asleep,, let us talk a bit about filling your tummies.

For those of us who live amidst cold temperatures during some parts of the year, a hot Bowl of soup is a staple for warming up our freezing bones. Yet, a bowl of soup means so much more for others. So, for this months survey question, I would like to hear about your favourite soup and why. For me, cream of broccoli soup is the bomb. I can still remember the first time I tried it and I was sold. I had enjoyed it while at a café with friends. And, what about you? Do you have a story to share about a particular type of soup? Please write back to
with your stories and we will publish them in next months newsletter. No worries, we will keep the replies anonymous.

The Recipe Box -

By Suzy Barnes

This month's recipe can be put in the oven right before your meal. When the timer goes off, just take it from the oven, and by the time all are ready for dessert, so is the Hot Fudgy Goodness.

Hersheys Hot Fudge Pudding Cake
A rich, moist chocolate cake that makes it's own fudge sauce while baking.
Original recipe yield: 1 - 9 inch square cake

3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup self-rising flour
1/4 cup HERSHEYS Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup HERSHEYS Cocoa Powder
1&1/4 cup hot water

1. Heat oven to 350 F. Combine 3/4 cup granulated sugar, flour and 1/4 cup cocoa. Stir in milk, butter and vanilla; beat until smooth.

2. Pour batter into ungreased 9-inch square baking pan. Stir together remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar and remaining 1/4 cup cocoa; sprinkle mixture evenly over batter. Pour hot water over top; do not stir.

3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Remove from oven; let stand 15 minutes. Serve in dessert dishes, spooning sauce from bottom of pan over top. Garnish with whipped topping, or Vanilla Bean ice cream.

The Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Submitted by: Rich De Steno
From CBS News HealthDay

It's said that dark chocolate can be good for your heart, and new research may have uncovered why.
Louisiana State University researchers tested cocoa powders in a model of the digestive tract and found that certain bacteria in the stomach eat dark chocolate, ferment it and then release anti-inflammatory compounds that benefit the heart.

The study was scheduled for presentation Tuesday at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in Dallas.
Quote, We found that there are two kinds of microbes in the gut: the good ones and the bad ones end quote, Maria Moore, an undergraduate student and one of the study authors, said in a society news release.

Bacteria in the gut may hold key to many diseases
Quote, The good microbes, such as Bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria, feast on chocolate end quote, Moore said in the news release. Quote, When you eat dark chocolate, they grow and ferment it, producing compounds that are anti-inflammatory end quote.

Study leader John Finley, a professor in LSU's department of food science, said, Quote, When these compounds are absorbed by the body, they lessen the inflammation of cardiovascular tissue, reducing the long-term risk of stroke end quote.

Finley said he believes this is the first study to examine dark chocolate's effects on different types of stomach bacteria.

The researchers also found evidence that people could gain even greater health benefits if they eat dark chocolate with solid fruits such as pomegranates and acai.

Data and conclusions presented at meetings typically are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Dear Betty Blunt

Please note:
This submission is not to be taken seriously. It is just for fun! If you would like to submit a question for Miss Betty Blunt to answer, please write to:

She may or may not answer your question seriously, and she may or may not give you the answer you were hoping for, but one thing is for sure, you will get a good laugh out of her witty, bold, and blunt advice. She will often make comments that we all wish we could say, but are just too afraid to make. So, send in your questions, and let us see if she can help you with your relationship issues. If you wish, your initials, city, and state will be altered to conceal your identity.

Dear Betty Blunt,

Most people sing the praises of getting a smart phone but I am regretting it. You see, I am constantly getting text messages and calls from my wife. She needs this and that, and she is also checking in with me. It is really getting a bit too much. When she texts me to get some groceries, I feel like replying back with aclosed for business emoji. Or, can you suggest a better emoji?

Darrin Tayler
Whistler, B.C.

Dear lacky,

Smart phones were invented by a woman. It is the eye in the sky that will help to keep you in check. Anytime you get a juicey thought about a cute mini skirt that waltzes by, your wife automatically gets a text message. So, that is why she is constantly checking in with you. And, in terms of getting you to do some errands, stop complaining! Food is on the table when you get home, so, keep that in mind when you are wolfing it all down. Lastly, the emoji that I would suggest you use when your wife texts you is the one you would see listed as Monkey who hears no evil and see no evil. You are her lacky, so just do what you are told and things will be great. Happy wife, happy life!

Betty Ball Buster Blunt

Dear Betty Blunt,

Who would have ever thought that a person could have such good hearing. There was this time when I took the trash out and when I returned inside, my wife asked if I had picked up the paper cup that I dropped. I was shocked and could not believe that she heard the cup all the way outside. And, after I powder my nose, I spray the bathroom with a freshener. My wife can even hear how many times I scqueezed the trigger on the freshener. Wow, that is some pretty amazing hearing. Do you have any explanation for this super human ability?

Adrian Carleston
Helderberg, New York

Dear stinky,

Have you ever heard the motto, I am woman, hear me roar? Guys are typically ones who do not pay attention, so, we wanted to make sure that they actually hear the roar. You need to be told to --- hear --- the roar. Women are super humans with much abilities that will continue to amaze you. Your wife also has the great hearing ability to decode all your thoughts. So, when you are debating with yourself, she can hear it all. When you make a snarky comment under your breath, she can hear it. When you are told to clean up and you say OK, but your thoughts brush it off, your wife can hear you. Superman was a ficticious person, but, superwoman lives with you and she is real! She has tuns of super human abilities, as do all women. So, do not be so clumsy when taking out the trash next time, and be sure to keep squeezing that trigger on the bathroom freshener Mr. stinky, because if you do not do it, she can hear you, even behind closed doors.

Betty Superwoman Blunt

Survey on Fashion

Reprinted from NFBNet

Are you interested in fashion and style? How do you get current info about what others are wearing? We are seeking information from blind and visually impaired people about their access to information regarding fashion and style. We would be very appreciative if you would take our quick, confidential, ten question survey about how you receive information, what fashion topics you are interested in, and ways that you think style can be made more accessible. With this data, we hope to work on projects which will be usable and important to the blind in terms of accessing current fashion information. We know that there are disparities in the knowledge of style, and we would like to fill these gaps. Please take our survey and let us know how we can make this topic more user friendly. Here is the survey link:

If you have questions, comments, or concerns about the survey, please contact Laura at:

Remember, that everyone has the right to look, and feel, fabulous!

Think Tank

Submitted by: Debi Chatfield

Thank you to everyone who submitted answers to last month’s brain teasers. Many of you were very close, but close only counts in horseshoes! A big congratulations goes out to Charles Rivard, Debbie Granger, Harrison Tu, Lawrence MacLellan, and Suzy Barnes for correctly answering both brain teasers!

In case you missed them, here are the March brain teasers and their answers:

1. You are running in a street marathon, and you overtake the person in second place. What place are you now?
Answer: Second place.

2. Forward I am heavy, but backwards I’m not. What am I?
Answer: Ton.

Now, for our super duper April brain teasers! Can you solve these? Let’s see who has their thinking cap on!

1. A boy was rushed to the hospital emergency room. The emergency room doctor saw the boy and said, quote, I cannot operate on this boy. He is my son, end quote. But, the doctor was not the boys father. How could that be?

2. What gets wetter as it dries?

Please submit the answers to these brain teasers to:

We will let you know if you are correct, and if so, we will publish your name in the next issue of the newsletter. Have fun trying to solve these puzzles!

A Round of Applause

Thanks goes out to you, our extended family on Out-Of-Sight! You participate and spend your time getting to know one another on the site. Without you, there would be no need for programming, no need for special activities, and no need to even have a site. So, thank you very much! Thanks for making this community an Out of Sight place to be!

Oosabelle’s List

No, this is not Craig’s List, but it is the next best thing! If you have something to sell, or announce, send us your ad, and we will post it, as long as there is space available in the newsletter. Send your ads to:

** Are you having trouble with your computer? Did you just purchase that must have app, but have a question? Perhaps, you have some tips to share? If so, please join the BlindTech e-mail list.
to join, send a message with subscribe in the subject line to:
alternatively, you may visit:

** Hey girls, I have just opened a free online jewelry boutique and am extending an invitation to you to come inside and look around. We have lots of great hard to find items with discounts of up to 60 percent. And be sure to check your email for my sale items every Wednesday. And be sure to come in often and check out any new arrivals that may come in as well.
You can also open your own free store as well. So I hope you will do so and join my team. And please help me spread the word and tell all your friends about it.
Thanks for visiting and have a great day. Click below or copy and paste this address into your web browser:

Also, stay tuned for invitations to an online jewelry party. Thanks for visiting and helping spread the word.
Your friend Cynthia Owusu

What is happening on Out-Of-Sight?

If you would like to receive our daily announcements and schedule of events, please write a blank email to:

That is all there is to it! You should receive a daily announcement from us within 24 hours. These announcements not only highlight the schedule of the day, they provide important information about any cancellations, new events, or special messages from our hosts or board members. Stay informed with our daily announcement!

Also stay tuned for our monthly newsletter, which will be distributed on the first of every month. We look forward to your input and suggestions for future newsletters. Please submit your questions, comments, or article submissions by the 20th of each month to:

Catch the vision--it is Out of Sight!