December 2018 / January 2019

Published: November 25, 2018   Views: 466    Share:

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NOTE; Our new meeting times are Tuesdays from 9:30am to 1:00pm
 4 - Star Spangled Seniors “Holiday Show and Sing-a-long and Corny Radio Commercials”
11 - Roxanna Baker, Fun Holiday Songs on the Accordion
14 - TSB Board Meeting 10:00am-1:00pm, Biscuit Country Cafe, 7026 E Broadway
18 - Hungry Fox Restaurant and Country Store, 11:00am-12:45pm, 4637 East Broadway. Gift Exchange $10 limit, Cost $8.50-12 breakfast or lunch, beverage coffee or soda $3
25 - TSB closed for Christmas Day


 1 - TSB closed for New Years Day
 8 - Janice Deardorff, singing our favorite Western songs
11 - TSB Board Meeting 10:00am-1:00pm, Biscuit Country Cafe, 7026 E Broadway
15 - Tucson Expo, 445 S. Alvernon Way, Reid Park Doubletree Hotel, 9:00am-1:00pm, TSB will have an exhibit table, free drawings for prizes, vendors, and entertainment.
22 - Chris Wilson, “Introducing live AZ Wildlife”
29 - Suzanne Morrison, Interfaith Community Services, “Advanced Directives,” will stay until 11:45 am to help people Individually
Feb 5 John McCan, “All about the American Council of the Blind,” John is the Second Vice President of the National ACB, and the President of the State ACB

Save the Date:
TSB Spring Concerts, our annual fundraiser over two nights featuring: March 22, Christina Vivona Harpist, and on March 23, Old AZ Brass Band. Each night the program runs from 6:00pm-8:30pm, Fellowship Square, 8111 E Broadway Blvd, Tickets $10 each, plus a silent auction and raffle.
Save the Date:
Tuesday Jan 15, Tucson Expo, Reid Park Doubletree Hotel, 445 S Alvernon, TSB will have a table.


Thanks to All for your generous donations by buying Jim Click Tickets. At press time, TSB raised $1675 which will go into the TSB general budget to fund programs, entertainment, lunches, field trips, rent and insurance. A special thanks to Tom Young for all his hard work and being the Jim Click Raffle Chairmen.

TSB Annual Meeting Tues Nov 13, 2018
TSB elected Mike Bording, Gina Cline, Ralph and Linda Lueders, and Barbara Macpherson to the TSB Board of Directors. Congratulations to all!. We also celebrated TSB’s 15th birthday and enjoyed a delicious turkey lunch catered by Tony’s Italian Deli located at 22nd St and Wilmot.

News from AZ Braille and Talking Book Library, ABTL, 602-255-5578
AZBTL now has a Telephone Talking Book Club on the second Thursday of the month at 10:30-11:30am or 6:00-7:00pm on the same day. The last book they read was Book Thief. Sign up with your reader advisor. Also don't forget to ask for a pair of head phones which can help you hear the book better. If you like AZ history you can get AZ Highways and other AZ Magazines on one cartridge.

For those of you using BARD, we are the minority at only 18% of Talking Book subscribers, you will notice that best sellers are coming out quickly. Michelle Obama, “Becoming” the previous first lady came out on Tuesday and was available on BARD by Friday.

  Erma’s Eye Opener

Green Leafy Diet Could prevent Macular Degeneration
According to a very recent Australian study, macular degeneration, a major cause of blindness could be prevented by eating leafy green vegetables.

The Westmead Institute for Medical Research said that Looking at more than 2,000 Australian adults over a 15-year period, the study showed that vegetable nitrates found mostly in green leafy vegetables as well as beetroot could help reduce the risk of developing the disease.

“This is the first time the effects of dietary nitrates on macular degeneration risk have been measured,” Xinhua news agency quoted lead researcher Associate Prof Bamini Gopinath as saying.
“Essentially, we found that people who ate 100 to 142mg of vegetable nitrates every day had a reduced risk of developing early signs of macular degeneration compared with people who ate fewer nitrates.”

According to the institute, spinach has about 20mg of nitrate per 100 gram, while beetroot has nearly 15mg of nitrate per 100 gram. The study did not show any additional benefits for people who ate more than 142mg of dietary nitrate daily. Nor did it show any significant links between vegetable nitrates and late stage age-related macular degeneration. Their findings were published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Macular degeneration refers to the group of degenerative diseases of the retina that cause progressive loss of central vision.

With age as the strongest known risk factor, the disease is more likely to occur after the age of 50., with about one in seven American aged over 80 having the disease, and there is currently no cure for it. Thus, prevention may be the best-known solution.

Hope and praying for everyone to have a happy and safe Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year.
- Lovingly, Erma Seal, President

  News You Can Use by Barbara Macpherson

Believe it or not the Holiday Season is here. If I had one gift to get for a visually impaired person it would be the Echo Dot Alexa ranging $29-39 depending on the model. You will need an internet connection, an Amazon account and sighted help to set it up But, once set up you run it by using voice commands. Hunter and I have three Echo Dots in different rooms and they have given me many hours of joy.

What Alexa and the Echo Dot Can Do For You?
Echo Dot is a home speaker the size of a hockey puck that runs on voice commands. Below are skills you can enable and features that make the Echo Dot an important part of your life. The Echo Dot can be used to:
Tell you what time it is. Set timers and alarms. Tell you the outside temperature and weather in Tucson, give a 7 day forecast on any city in the US. Make phone calls hands free and be safe in an emergency situation. Listen to audio books from Audible, and in the future books from the AZ Braille and Talking Book Library

Listen to Amazon Music and Radio $8 a month. You can play any artist, or type of music and play albums. Listen to ocean sounds when going to sleep. Also it is easy to turn your lamp on and off using voice commands when connected via Home Kit.

You can also listen to the latest news, sports games and find out sports scores, check out what is playing at the movie theater. Play games such as Jeopardy or Three questions.

Some new skills I discovered: Alexa will play the National Federation of the Blind’s President's message, Positive quotes from Two Blind Brothers, Alexa will play podcast, including “Eyes on Success.” She can also add groceries to your shopping list and these can be printed out for help with shopping. Also, Suns Sounds of Arizona Radio is available, they read many interesting magazine and newspaper articles. Plus, whole articles using Wikipedia are read about famous people such as Erma Bombeck. It is amazing what Alexa, the assistant built into the Echo line of voice activated devices can do for you. Put the Echo Dot on your holiday list this year so your family can get you one.

Have a Very Merry Holiday Season and a Happy New Year! - Barbara

  Tech Bytes by Wesley Derbyshire

With the deadline for accessible user interfaces to be offered to visually impaired customers as ordered by the FCC by December 20, 2018, it is a perfect time to look at how this feature is used. Several manufactures have already complied, including Apple TV, AT&T’s DirecTV Genie, the Comcast X1, Samsung TV, TiVo Roamio, Roku, and the Verizon Fios TV cable box, But please verify the model and information regarding Talking Guides and audio for remotes. The American Council of the Blind are leaders on this topic and you may provide feedback to them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Yet, ultimately it is Audio Description that becomes paramount for full enjoyment of video content. Audio Descriptions narrate information about actions, characters, scene changes, on-screen text, and other visual content. It describes in great detail what is on screen during moments when dialogue is not spoken. Originally the FCC designated audio description for television as video description, and there are four different terms that remain in the marketplace! Commonly audio description is access via SAP (Second Audio Program) which was designed exclusively for analog television, and now everything is digital, but we still continue to reference the term SAP, even though it is technically not correct.

Here is a general method to access Audio Description, it may be slightly different on your equipment. Watching via cable or satellite service, the signal must be selected from the audio menu on your cable box via its remote, NOT the TV's remote, generally by selecting SAP or other terminology such as MTS or Audio. When using a recording device (DVR), generally speaking, it usually is not necessary to turn the secondary audio channel on during the recording of a show, instead select the option at playback time. Also, some cable DVR boxes, such as DirecTV's Genie, reset the SAP option after playing a recording, while others leave it on. Caution for all methods, if you leave your set on the secondary channel, you may find NO audio at all when descriptive audio is not available for the program, meaning the secondary audio channel is not in use.

The above references broadcast and cable TV channels, yet many viewers are moving to on demand services such as NetFlix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, among others. Netflix began supporting audio description in 2015 after a complaint from the American Council of the Blind. During the past three years Netflix has rapidly expanded its audio description offerings and made its website and mobile apps accessible for people who rely on screen reading software. Titles that currently have audio description can be found at

Amazon continues to improve their video content with audio description. To view a complete list, browse to any webpage and type the following into the search box “Movies and TV Shows with Audio Descriptions”.

Hulu is in the process of complying with the rights of blind users after settling a lawsuit brought forward by Disability Rights Advocates. Hulu will provide audio descriptions of scenes and facial expressions, where possible. Hulu will also update its website and software applications to ensure people can use screen readers.

Most major movie companies already provide an audio description track, and the same already exists for many TV shows and movies that are available on the various streaming services. I have already enjoyed a couple of Walt Disney movies with audio description through Netflix. Likewise, most of the TV series I have watched on Netflix include fabulous descriptive audio. Careful, it is easy to become a couch potato with so much to choose from, so set your alarm for Tuesday mornings at TSB.

  Eye Talk by Annie Schlesinger

MDSupport was founded by Dan Roberts when he was diagnosed with macular degeneration. He says he was in shock but then he decided to learn as much as he could about the eye disease. He maintains a web site, which is found at, which has articles on many eye related topics, and he hosts a free monthly teleconference on the third Thursday of nearly every month. The next one is January 17, 2019. Call 1-888-866-6148 to register and receive a pin. Then you call the teleconference number on the date and time, enter your pin and join the conversation. He does presentations about topics concerning the eyes, keeping up on the latest research, and there are folks from all around the country call in with questions and news.

Tip: Keep all doors fully open or closed and keep all cabinet doors and drawers closed when not in use. If in doubt, assume a “defensive posture,” with arm extended and fingers turned toward you, then explore.

  Around Town

Audio Description, AD at ATC, Arizona Theater Company by Barbara McPherson.
Gina Cline and I went to see Erma Bombeck at the Arizona Temple of Music and Art, 330 South Scott Avenue, Box Office 520-622-2823, or visit their website at: We enjoyed the play and learned that Erma Bombeck was active in promoting the ERA, Equal Rights Amendment for Women. Erma Bombeck wrote the column "At Wits End" from 1965-1995. I was so inspired that I put 43 of her quotes together and a few are included after this article.

The next play with audio description will be "Music Man" a musical on Thursday Dec 20, at 2:00pm. Additional plays are:
- Feb 7, 2019; Thursday 2:00pm, “Two Trains Running” by August Wilson
- March 28, 2019; Thursday 2:00pm, “American Mariachi” by José Cruz González
- May 9, 2019; Thursday 2:00pm, “Things I Know To Be True” by Andrew Bovell

Audio Descriptions (AD) is a free service provided by a theater where the narrator reads the program to you ahead of the performance. During the performance the narrator will tell you what is happening in the play between the dialogue in the play. Visually impaired individuals wear headsets to hear the description of action, characters, and other details. If hearing impaired special equipment is available. You need to call the box office ahead of time, to make sure that the equipment is properly charged. Tickets are sold at half price on the day of show starting at 1:00pm, and there were many single seats up front price around $20-$35.

Irma Bombeck Quotes

  1.  “Never go to a doctor who lets his office plants die.”
  2. “Never have more children than there are car windows.”
  3. “Treat house guests as perishables. Get rid of them before they go bad.”
  4. “Don’t confuse fame with success. Madonna is one; Helen Keller is the other.”
  5. “Guilt is the gift that keeps on giving.”
  6. “Have you any idea how many children it takes to turn off one light in the kitchen? Three: It takes one to say ‘What light’ and two more to say ‘I didn’t turn it on’.”
  7. “I am not a glutton - I am an explorer of food.”
  8. “If a man watches three football games in a row, he should be declared legally dead.”
  9. “If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it.”
  10. “Insanity is hereditary. You can catch it from your kids.”
  11. “Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth.”
  12. “Once you get a spice in your home, you have it forever. Women never throw out spices. The Egyptians were buried with their spices. I know which one I'm taking with me when I go.”
  13. “Some say our national pastime is baseball. Not me, it’s gossip.”
  14. “Sometimes I can't figure designers out. It’s as if they flunked human anatomy.”
  15. “Worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.”


In our issues you'll find:

   Upcoming Events
   Special Stories
   Ermas Eye Opener
   News You Can Use
   Thoughts from our Sunshine Lady
   ... and more

Timothy: Cactus walking with a white cane, dark sun glasses, and white cowboy hat.

Volunteers Needed


TSB needs sighted volunteers to:

  • drive
  • assist with activities
  • help with luncheons, field trips, and fund raising events

IRS #  84-1636485
TSB is a 501c3 Organization

Green Check Mark in square box with Black border.

Or mail your donations, which is 100% tax-deductible to:

Tucson Society of the Blind
P.O. Box 57655
Tucson, AZ  85732

Thank you for your support

For membership and general information contact:

Barbara Macpherson, President
  (520) 298-2427

Tom Young, Director
  (520) 721-1029

Email TSB