Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Saturday afternoon, March 20th, was Tolkien Reading Day at the Ft Lee Public Library. We in the tri-state area was blessed with lovely warm, sunny weather that day. I wore my new Renaissance gown with jewelry I created. List of the “readings” is as follows. . . .
LotR Banners
[Banners of Rohan and Gondor]

Tim: "The Ring Verse "in 3 languages, then 4 excerpts from "On Faerie Stories"
Carole: The true "death of Denethor", then "Namarie"
Charlene: Boromir/Frodo at Amon Hen / Breaking of the Fellowship
Mary: Bilbo presents Arkenstone to dwarves' "enemies"
Adam: Bilbo and Smaug dialogue from The Hobbit, then Bilbo's 111st b'day speech
Dennis: Bilbo and Gandalf meeting from The Hobbit, with assist from Timdalf
Group: “New York Friends of Tolkien” excerpt from the "Council of Elrond" dramatic reading

Lady Boromir

Dennis and Tim
[Dennis and Timdalf]

Proud Lady B
[The proud Lady Boromir from Gondor]

Afterwards a group of us went out for Chinese food at a local place in Ft Lee, NJ, before heading off to our respective homes.

Sunday afternoon, March 21st, I joined other members of TGTSNBN at Fort Tryon Park for Winter/Spring Cosplay. The weather was sunny, warm and the park was busy. We made quite a stir with our Harry Potter style of costumes...............
Char with Hedwig
[The Hufflepuff witch posing with Hedwig]

[TGTSNBN posing at Ft Tryon Park]

House of Hufflepuff

Gryffindors are Courageous
[Gryffindors are Courageous]

[Ravenclaws are Smarties]

Tuesday evening, March 23rd, I hung out with other Losties [ie: Deborah, Jax, Elena, Jenni, Sarah, Shannon and Tony] at the Irish Rogue pub to watch the latest episode featuring Richard.

Wednesday evening, March 24th, I jumped on the NYDoP CCR team conference call at 8:45pm.

Friday evening, March 26th, I joined other ladies at Friday Nite Knits in Kensington neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Sunday afternoon, March 28th, I joined other members of TGTSNBN in Riverside Park for Quidditch. Afterwards several of us headed over to TOAST for a late brunch, and diverse conversations.

Tuesday evening, March 30th, after I went to my foot doctor appt, I stopped by Borders in Columbus Circle and then off to the LOST meetup at Irish Rogue pub.


Tuesday evening, March 2nd, after I went to my foot doctor appt, I stopped by Borders in Columbus Circle and then off to the LOST meetup at Irish Rogue pub.

Early Thursday evening, March 4th, I joined Cielito and Judy at MoMA for the Tim Burton exhibit, which was quiet awesome and impressive. Lots of film footage, costumes, drawings and sculptures of Burton’s unusual work since the mid-1970s. Afterwards we walked over to 8th Avenue to nosh on some food at Cosmic Diner, and catch up on news/gossip.

Friday, March 5th, ended up being the most stressful day of the whole work week. What with work and the entire crazy BS swirling around TRD, well, I finally snapped and was in an empty partner’s office in tears. Want nothing more to do with A&J, via Heren Istarion, plus their friggin stubborn obstructionism with regards to NETS / TRD. Can the “dramatic reading” for the Council of Elrond script be salvaged at this point in time remain to be seen? I’m working with Dennis, Tim and Carole on this endeavor.

Saturday morning, March 6th, I joined several other TGTSNBN members at Simple Studios for our first yearbook two-hour meeting. Later that evening I headed back into lower Manhattan [after getting some pampering at my local nail salon] and attended the “Potter Pundits Live” event at Pace University. It was very enjoyable, enlightening and informative. The pundits were Travis Prinzi, John Granger and James Thomas. Plus I purchased a few of their books regarding the Harry Potter lexicon and phenomenon. I talked with fellow TGTSNBN member [Jim] after the event about LOST.

Tuesday evening, March 9th, I attended the LOST meetup at the Irish Rogue pub.

Wednesday evening, March 10th, I participated in the NYdoPeace CCR team conference call regarding R14. Those in attendance on the call were Kevin, Joe, Dawn and I. Dawn announced she is about 11 week’s preggers.

Thursday evening, March 11th, I joined a few others of the newly formed “New York Friends of Tolkien” group to start rehearsals for the dramatic reading of “Council of Elrond”. In attendance were Adam, Carole, Tim, Dennis and I. The rehearsal was held at Carole’s home in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.

Sunday afternoon, March 14th, I attended the fantastic “Pier Antiques Show” at Pier 94. I haven’t been to a Pier Antiques Show since February 2002. I used to go with a few friends since the early 1990s. One friend has since passed away, and the other severed our 20-year friendship in 2003. [That last one caused me mental and emotional pain.] It felt good to go back to the “Pier Antiques Show”, like visiting a long lost friend. I checked out every booth and even purchased some pendants at 50% off.

Tuesday evening, March 16th, was a busy one with the NYDoP meeting at 6:30pm and then afterwards racing uptown for the LOST meetup at Irish Rogue pub.

On Thursday evening, March 18th, I attended a “New York Friends of Tolkien” mini meeting at Carole’s place in Chelsea. The overall meeting was productive even with Timdalf’s temperamental outbursts.

Duchess Note: Stay tuned for more "personal news" updates, news articles and photos from recent events.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Vanity of Vanities: The Iraq War Seven Years Later
Truthout Staff Editorial

A Civilized Riot: A Movement for Healthcare Justice
Jeanine Molloff, Truthout

Health Care is a Civil Right
by Congressman Kucinich

Each generation has had to take up the question of how to provide for the health of the people of our nation. And each generation has grappled with difficult questions of how to meet the needs of our people. I believe health care is a civil right. Each time as a nation we have reached to expand our basic rights, we have witnessed a slow and painful unfolding of a democratic pageant of striving, of resistance, of breakthroughs, of opposition, of unrelenting efforts and of eventual triumph.

I have spent my life struggling for the rights of working class people and for health care. I grew up understanding firsthand what it meant for families who did not get access to needed care. I lived in 21 different places by the time I was 17, including in a couple of cars. I understand the connection between poverty and poor health care, the deeper meaning of what Native Americans have called "hole in the body, hole in the spirit." I struggled with Crohn's disease much of my adult life, to discover sixteen years ago a near-cure in alternative medicine and following a plant-based diet. I have learned with difficulty the benefits of taking charge personally of my own health care. On those few occasions when I have needed it, I have had access to the best allopathic practitioners. As a result I have received the blessings of vitality and high energy. Health and health care is personal for each one of us. As a former surgical technician I know that there are many people who dedicate their lives to helping others improve theirs. I also know their struggles with an insufficient health care system.

There are some who believe that health care is a privilege based on ability to pay. This is the model President Obama is dealing with, attempting to open up health care to another 30 million people, within the context of the for-profit insurance system. There are others who believe that health care is a basic right and ought to be provided through a not-for-profit plan. This is what I have tirelessly advocated.

I have carried the banner of national health care in two presidential campaigns, in party platform meetings, and as co-author of HR676, Medicare for All. I have worked to expand the health care debate beyond the current for-profit system, to include a public option and an amendment to free the states to pursue single payer. The first version of the health care bill, while badly flawed, contained provisions which I believed made the bill worth supporting in committee. The provisions were taken out of the bill after it passed committee.

I joined with the Progressive Caucus saying that I would not support the bill unless it had a strong public option and unless it protected the right of people to pursue single payer at a state level. It did not. I kept my pledge and voted against the bill. I have continued to oppose it while trying to get the provisions back into the bill. Some have speculated I may be in a position of casting the deciding vote. The President's visit to my district on Monday underscored the urgency of this moment. I have taken this fight farther than many in Congress cared to carry it because I know what my constituents experience on a daily basis. Come to my district in Cleveland and you will understand.

The people of Ohio's 10th district have been hard hit by an economy where wealth has accelerated upwards through plant closings, massive unemployment, small business failings, lack of access to credit, foreclosures and the high cost of health care and limited access to care. I take my responsibilities to the people of my district personally. The focus of my district office is constituent service, which more often than not involves social work to help people survive economic perils. It also involves intervening with insurance companies.

In the past week it has become clear that the vote on the final health care bill will be very close. I take this vote with the utmost seriousness. I am quite aware of the historic fight that has lasted the better part of the last century to bring America in line with other modern democracies in providing single payer health care. I have seen the political pressure and the financial pressure being asserted to prevent a minimal recognition of this right, even within the context of a system dominated by private insurance companies.

I know I have to make a decision, not on the bill as I would like to see it, but the bill as it is. My criticisms of the legislation have been well reported. I do not retract them. I incorporate them in this statement. They still stand as legitimate and cautionary. I still have doubts about the bill. I do not think it is a first step toward anything I have supported in the past. This is not the bill I wanted to support, even as I continue efforts until the last minute to modify the bill.

However after careful discussions with the President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Elizabeth my wife and close friends, I have decided to cast a vote in favor of the legislation. If my vote is to be counted, let it now count for passage of the bill, hopefully in the direction of comprehensive health care reform. We must include coverage for those excluded from this bill. We must free the states. We must have control over private insurance companies and the cost their very existence imposes on American families. We must strive to provide a significant place for alternative and complementary medicine, religious health science practice, and the personal responsibility aspects of health care which include diet, nutrition, and exercise.

The health care debate has been severely hampered by fear, myths, and by hyper-partisanship. The President clearly does not advocate socialism or a government takeover of health care. The fear that this legislation has engendered has deep roots, not in foreign ideology but in a lack of confidence, a timidity, mistrust and fear which post 911 America has been unable to shake.

This fear has so infected our politics, our economics and our international relations that as a nation we are losing sight of the expanded vision, the electrifying potential we caught a glimpse of with the election of Barack Obama. The transformational potential of his presidency, and of ourselves, can still be courageously summoned in ways that will reconnect America to our hopes for expanded opportunities for jobs, housing, education, peace, and yes, health care.

I want to thank those who have supported me personally and politically as I have struggled with this decision. I ask for your continued support in our ongoing efforts to bring about meaningful change. As this bill passes I will renew my efforts to help those state organizations which are aimed at stirring a single payer movement which eliminates the predatory role of private insurers who make money not providing health care. I have taken a detour through supporting this bill, but I know the destination I will continue to lead, for as long as it takes, whatever it takes to an America where health care will be firmly established as a civil right.

No Insurance Company Left Behind
Katie Robbins, Healthcare NOW

Obama’s Budget Revealed: Money for Wars and Weapons, While More Americas Face Joblessness and Hunger
Jo Comerford, Tomdispatch.com

US House Votes to Bail Out the Healthcare Industry – The Health Care Hindenburg Has Landed
Chris Hedges, Green Change

Woolsey to Introduce Public Option Bill ASAP
Suzy Khimm, Mother Jones

Eraser Duty for Bart?
Maureen Dowd, NY Times

15 Executives Who Get Paid Millions to Deny You Health Care Coverage
Gregory White and Gus Lubin, Business Insider

Kucinich Challenges Gates on Civilians Killed in Afghanistan

US Advice to Europe: Spend More on War-Making

Air Strike on Civilians Reverberates Beyond Afghanistan

Plan B? US Plans for Possible Delay in Iraq Withdrawal

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Message from, Louis Nuyens III, at Thom Hartmann's "Hour One: Health care" Blog

Here are some things about the current health insurance "reform" legislation that most people do not know (which make it worse than no change at all). . . .

1. (Almost certainly) PROHIBIT states adoption of single payer systems! Study after study has shown that a single-payer system is the only economically sustainable health insurance system for the U.S. Surely you know that? And comparisons with other "first world" countries demonstrate vast superiority of single-payer systems over for-profit systems. It is absolutely vital to preserve the rights of states and local municipalities to establish single-payer systems in order to create models that would break the resistance in DC for a national system, similar to what happened in Canada. (To kill state-level single-payer, the insurance companies would happily be willing to tolerate a limited "Public Option" -- especially one that is rigged to fail.)

2. FORCE people to buy overpriced insurance, whether they can afford it or not -- guaranteeing massive profits to private insurers -- under risk of penalties including jail-time for those who do not comply. That is a pretty sick kind of "universal coverage."

3. RIG the "public option" to fail -- part of that current legislation would require Public Option services to be priced at "market rate". Also, the Public Option system is likely to end up with the sickest of the sick, increasing likelihood of failure. (There are other trap-doors built in, as well.)

4. Allow insurers and HMOs to continue to titrate care (e.g. By rewarding providers who deny care, instead of freeing physicians to order the best options, and by allowing continued bureaucratic and cost-based decision-making to override physician recommendations regarding evaluation and treatment options).

5. Single-payer systems have already gotten as far as the Governor's desk in California (only to be killed by Schwarzenegger), and appear on the verge of success in several other states.

6. Remember -- for-profit health insurance companies make money by NOT providing care! "Public Option" is just a ruse -- a rotten carrot being used to sell a very, very bad bill that is little more than a give-away to the health insurance companies.

7. WE SHOULD OPPOSE OBAMA'S BILL AND FIGHT FOR A SINGLE-PAYER SYSTEM. At the very least, we should oppose this bill unless it adopts protections for the rights of states and local municipalities to adopt single-payer systems.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Snowy Winter in Brooklyn
Morning Snow Dec 31
[Morning of December 31st – last day of 2009]

Time Waits for No One
[Snowy visions around my hood in January]

Subway Station Jan 28
[Waiting for the #7 during a snowy commute]

Feb 10 blizzard
[The blizzard on Feb 10th 2010]

Fred Flare Shop on Feb 10th
[Fred Flare shop stayed open during the Feb 10th blizzard]

A lonely snowman braves the storm
[A lonely snowman braves the snowstorm in Feb 2010]

Snowfall in the hood on Feb 26
[Snowfall in my hood on Feb 26th]

Back Courtyard Feb 26
[The back courtyard of my apartment bldg on Feb 26]

Morning Commute on Feb 26
[Waiting for the #7 during a wintery morning commute]

[Duchess Note: More updates with News articles, Photos and Personal News over the next week or so. Stay tuned.......................]

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


[Duchess Note - Sincere and humble apologies for the long delay in posting news, articles or pix on my blog. Its been a hectic time at work and in other area's of my life. Hopefully things will calm down abit going forward. In the meantime, enjoy the latest in "personal news".]

Monday, Feb 1st, had a foot doctor appt in the late afternoon.

Tuesday evening, Feb 2nd, I attended the LOST meetup at Irish Rogue pub for the premiere of Season 6th of the TV series. I hung out with Jax and Elena from TGTSNBN at the LOST meetup. Both episodes 1 and 2 were awesome, as well as clearing up [somewhat] the Smoke Monster theory, but also causing more confusion on other fronts. This is typical of LOST.

Thursday evening, Feb 4th, at 8:30pm I participated in the NYdoPeace CCR team conference call regarding a DoP resolution.

Friday evening, Feb 5th, at 7pm I joined several other ladies at Friday Nite Knits.

Saturday afternoon, Feb 6th, at 1:30pm I attended “The Gathering to Celebrate Howard Zinn” at Revolution Books on West 26th Street. Afterwards, I walked down to Union Square to check out B&N, farmers market and Whole Foods.

Monday evening, Feb 8th, I attended an event at Park Slope United Methodist Church hosted by “Brooklyn for Peace”. The event was titled “Which Way Afghanistan?” and featured guest speakers [ie: Congressman Nadler and Anand Gopal from the WSJ]. Saw Josh Skaller and Doug Biviano at the event, and sat next to Debra Sweet of WCW.

Tuesday evening, Feb 9th, I attended the LOST meetup at the Irish Rogue pub for episode three. This time I arrived early enough to obtain a cozy seat and didn’t move until 10pm.

On Wednesday, Feb 10th, we got slammed with another large snowstorm of the winter season. Those of us who made it into the office were allowed to leave early at 4pm. From there I went to my chiropractor appt. On the way home through the snowy streets of my Brooklyn hood, I saw, and photographed, a lonely snowman on the snow covered sidewalk. I don’t think anyone’s ever made a snowman on my street block.

Thursday evening, Feb 11th, I jumped on the World Can’t Wait conference call and the topic was mostly on STUPAK bill and pro-choice rights for women.

On Friday evening, Feb 12th, I joined other ladies at the Friday Nite Knits group in the Kensington neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Tuesday evening, Feb 16th, I attended the LOST meetup at the Irish Rogue pub for episode four. I mostly hung out with Jenni, Elena and Greg from TGTSNBN. Plus I even won one of the raffle prizes [ie: LOST video game] at the end of the episode.

Thursday evening, Feb 18th, I participated in the NydoPeace CCR team conference call. The main topic for the call was prepping for the team’s upcoming meeting with Councilmember Mendez office on Feb 24th near City Hall.

Friday evening, Feb 19th, I joined several other ladies at the Friday Nite Knits.

Sunday afternoon into evening, Feb 21st, I joined in with several of TGTSNBN activities. The main event was the celebration of the 200th meetup at Hurley’s pub off of Broadway. Good turnout at Hurley’s, wildly fun times, videos, music, Death Eaters performance, dancing, food, drink and much hilarity.

Tuesday evening, Feb 23rd, I attended the LOST meetup at the Irish Rogue pub for episode five.

Wednesday afternoon into evening, Feb 24th, I took half a personal day from work, so that I could join Kevin Fagan in a meeting with Councilmember Mendez at her legislative office. It was a good meeting, very informative, and we were happy to learn the councilmember re-introduced the DoP resolution on Feb 3rd. It is now known as Resolution 14. Afterwards I headed back to Brooklyn to a health food café to utilize free Internet service. Typed up the notes from meeting with Mendez and emailed it to Kevin, plus surfed the net abit, and made phone calls. I then headed back into Manhattan and went to my friend Larry’s place. I purchased Chinese take-out for us both while he worked on my 2009 taxes.

Friday evening, Feb 26th, I joined a small dinner party [ie: Karen, Carol & Gary] at a Thai restaurant on West 48th Street. Good food, interesting conversations, and it was great seeing Karen. She was visiting NYC for a few weeks before heading back to Montana.

On Sunday, Feb 28th, I headed up to CT, via MetroNorth, to hang out with my good friend Katherine. We mostly hung out in the Stamford and Norwalk area. I paid my respects at the gravesite of an acquaintance of mine [from my youth in Pound Ridge] that passed away in June 2009. We hung out at the Stamford Mall to do some shopping and nosh on a leisurely lunch. From there we headed up to Norwalk for abit more shopping, as we were hunting for some gifties for Katherine’s grandson. Throughout all this we caught up on news, gossip and other bits of info, plus finally got to exchange Xmas gifts.

[Duchess Note - Will be posting some of my experimentation with new digital camera. Stay tuned. . . .]