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Seven Days Blogs: Freyne Land

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Peter Freyne, 1949-2009

Peter Freyne never missed a deadline in the 13 years he worked for Seven Days. He delivered his political column, "Inside Track," every Tuesday by 4 p.m. and was never subtle about it. Shortly after emailing his article, Freyne would show up at the office to answer questions, argue, check last-minute facts and, depending on his mood, terrorize our staff. His column was the last thing we squeezed into the paper before sending it to press.

So it’s ironic — not to mention premature and terribly sad — that Peter Freyne left this Earth early on a Wednesday. After battling cancer, seizures and a strep infection that spread to his brain, he died peacefully at Fletcher Allen Health Care at 12:26 a.m. today — six hours after our weekly deadline. Did he have a hand in the timing of his final departure, knowing the news would break just after the paper went to bed? We wouldn’t put it past him to go out with a poke.

Peter-freyne Freyne, 59, came out of the bar-stool school of journalism, along with his hero, Chicago newspaperman Mike Royko. He never went to school to learn to be a political columnist, but brought his considerable and diverse life experiences to a fun and informative “Inside Track” that originated in the Vanguard Press, Burlington’s original alt weekly, in the late ’80s. Freyne was the rare reporter who could skewer a politician in print and have a drink with him two days later — until he gave up drinking. Many of his “victims” became his sources — and in some cases, friends.

Vermont journalism has been a lot less lively since he retired last June. Here's a video that Eva Sollberger made of Freyne right after that, when Seven Days readers once again named him the state's "Best Print Journalist" in our annual Daysies survey.

His passing marks the end of an era. He may have planned that, too.

Please direct media inquiries to Seven Days Co-editor Pamela Polston, 864-5684, pamela@sevendaysvt.com.

Click here for downloadable press images of Peter.

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Click here to read comments about Peter, and to add your own.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Signing-off

Vt062303freyne Time to bid farewell to "Freyne Land."

It's been a great run. New writing challenges ahead.

Heck, I've outlived Tim Russert by six months!

In fact, thanks to the wonders of modern medicine, and six months of chemotherapy from the good folks at the Mary Fanny on Hospital Hill, I beat the deadly cancer that was on track to end it all about one year ago.

But along the way, something else popped up. Had one of those grand mal seizures during a chemotherapy session. They did tests, but couldn't explain it. And I, Dr. Freyne, figured it was a reaction to the chemo-dose going in too fast. Sensitive, Pete!

Anyway, for more than a year I took my twice-a-day anti-convulsive pharmaceuticals like a good boy. Felt fine, but felt slightly "different."

However, I never appreciated how important those little yellow pills were until I stopped taking them for two days earlier this month. I started feeling like my "old" self again!

Then, bingo-bango! Had another seizure and ended back up in the Mary Fanny. Learned my lesson well.

Each day of life is a gift.

It's got to be for a reason, eh?

And it only works best when we realize we're in it together.

That's the only way we'll get this country back on course.

The Bums of Bush Land have taken a very heavy toll, but the times are a-changing.

See ya out there!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Farewell, Tim Russert!

Howard Dean on the Passing of Tim Russert

Washington, DC - Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean issued the following statement on the passing of NBC Meet the Press host Tim Russert:

20070131russerttim "Today we lost one of the true giants of American journalism and a tremendous public servant.

Tim Russert will be remembered for many things.  A committed family man, devout Catholic, devout sports fan, author, mentor.

A tough interviewer, Tim delivered the news with authority, in a plain-spoken way that made the great issues of our day accessible to everyone.   His love of politics and our country came through in his relentless pursuit of the truth and in the quality of his work as a journalist.

On this sad day, our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones."

Thanks, Ho-Ho.

Dittos.




Friday the Thirteenth

Dark_sky_2 Relax, Pedro. You’re back on the Keppra, the stuff that prevents seizures. You thought you were smarter than the doctor. Stopped taking it. After more than a year of twice daily pill-popping, you wanted to be “off drugs.”

But you learned the hard way that some drugs are good for you, didn’t you?

Some are downright necessary.

10-4. 

Meanwhile there is a gubernatorial race going on somewhere, isn’t there?

Gentleman Jim Douglas, we know, is in continuous campaign mode. Gov. Scissorhands wears the name proudly. Sure he’s a Republican at a time that political label isn’t doing too well, but folks trust him and he’s regularly distancing himself from the Bush-Cheney cabal.

His Democratic challenger House Speaker Gaye Symington is out there somewhere, isn’t she?

And seeing Progressive candidate Anthony Pollina campaigning with a haircut in a pin-stripe suit is just too funny for words.

The Old “Inside Track” would suggest the wagering lines would be around whether or not Speaker Gaye breaks the 40 percent line in November....and whether Tony the Prog gets into double digits, as in over 10 percent.

P.S. At right "Dark Sky" by sister Maureen out in Santa Fe.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Miss me?

Cest_moi Couple days in the Mary Fanny was I. Thought I knew more than my doctor and stopped taking one of my prescribed twice-daily pharmaceuticals.

Not going to do that again. Ever.

Promise.

Ah, life. We're only passing through....

As has been my experience, nothing but the best care up on Hospital Hill from the docs, the nurses and the rest of the Fletcher Allen Health Care staff.

The good news is that, upon getting out, I've discovered my older sister Maureen has a website!

Placita Maureen's got eight years on me and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She majored in mathematics many years ago in college [Marymount] and started her career in the IBM computer-world of the 1960s.  But she subsequently radically changed career paths and tapped into an artistic talent that opened up a whole new world inside her.

I don't know about you, but her work blows me away.

Check out more of her incredible paintings right here.




Thursday, June 05, 2008

Bernie Tips France!

Bernie Vermont's Independent U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has declined to endorse a presidential candidate...until now.

Ol' Bernardo finally let his ol' cat out of the bag this week - to the people of France, well, actually to the readers of Le Monde .

Sen. Barack Obama is his candidate.

Le Monde Capitol Hill writer Corine Lesnes ends her piece on Vermont's one-of-a-kind senator with a little insight into things to come down Washington-way in January.

Cheer up, folks. Time to pull together. Brighter days ahead.

Here's a translation of the kicker on Corine's Le Monde piece:

Bush_plate "Bernie" and his group of progressive friends in Congress are already working on a program for first 100 days of 2009: medical coverage for all, reduction in military spending, reform of trade agreements, and the end of the war in Iraq ... "I told Barack Obama not to worry for its first three months, we have already prepared the ground for him", said "Bernie".

Also... I caught this license plate down the block the other day.

Nice.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Please, Obama....no!

Noway It's 2:45 on the east coast, and no public concession yet from Hillary Clinton wife of Bill, mother of Chelsea.

But Barack Obama has claimed the Democratic nomination, and behind the scenes the deal is going down, hopefully before the evening network newscasts.

Please, Baracko, please don't give the lovely lady the vice-presidential slot on your ticket.

Please, no more stories about presidential fellatio by White House interns in the Oral, sorry, Oval Office. No more blow jobs that become impeachable offenses.

Please, Obama WHamma. Don't go there.

How's about....Bill Richardson of New Mexico?

The dude speaks fluent Spanish!

Gratias, amigo.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Tuesday Afternoon

Hayward_fleurs Dark and damp in Burlap this afternoon, so let's take a look at the ol' corner of Howard & Hayward Streets  a couple weeks ago when spring arrived.

Nice.

Earthquakes in China and Burma and Tibet. Tornadoes churning across the United States and America's airwaves are dominated by the stage-crafted presidential political horse race.

The "He Said-She Said" soap opera that sells advertising.

Every now and then they slip a little something in about the latest display of incompetence and felonious deceit in the White House, but, hey,it takes away from the flag-waving and the hand-shaking and the advertising.

And has anyone else noticed the absence of jokes in our daily discourse?

I'm not talking about stand-up comics, I'm talking about the jokes we used to hear and share on the way to work or school or in the lunchroom? The laughter once a key part of daily life in our human existence?

Over the past week, everyone I've asked - "Hear any good jokes lately?" - has drawn a blank. In fact, since George W. Bush moved into the White House, humor has been a stranger.

This decade will be remembered for many things, but "funny" won't be amongst them.

Finally, my inquiries did turn up this one from a UVM grad student moving out across the street. She said she got it from her father who passed it along to her as a joke to keep handy for moments such as these when they're in short supply:

Adeliepenguin A cop had a radar speed-trap set up and a guy drives by in a Honda with a penguin in his front seat.

The cop puts on the lights and siren and pulls him over.

"Excuse me, sir," says the cop. "You'll have to take that penguin to the City Zoo."

"Whatever you say," replies the driver.

Next day. Same cop. Same speed trap. Same dude with the penguin in the front seat drives past.

The cop pulls him over again.

"Hey, I thought I told you yesterday that you had to take that penguin to the Zoo?"

"I did, Officer," he replied. "And today I'm taking him to the Art Museum."


Monday, June 02, 2008

Brain Surgery

Hayward_fleurs_2 Lunchtime on Monday, though I rarely eat lunch anymore. Sorry.

But can someone please tell me why, in this high-tech TV Age, I cannot watch U.S. Sen.Ted Kennedy's brain surgery "live" on my television set, or laptop or cell phone [were I to actually own a cell phone]?

C'mon. I was raised on The "Dr. Kildare" Show and "Ben Casey" in the 1960s. Even worked for two years in the surgery ward at the old General Hospital in downtown Minneapolis [1972-74]. I can handle it.

Instead, it's the commercial-hawking endless stream of Barack "town meetings" and Hillary "town meetings" and McCain "town meetings" that fills America's screens.

Pathetic propaganda.

But propaganda is what sells, right?

Everything from gas-guzzler, air-polluting cars to hard-on-enhancing pharmaceuticals.

Propaganda sure worked well for Adolph Hitler in the 1930s. And here at home, as successfully employed by Robert McNamara in the 1960s, worked for LBJ, the Texas Democrat in the Lincoln Bedroom. And, as successfully employed by Karl Rove in this decade, it's worked for "W," the Texas Republican currently leading the United States of America.

Lucky us!

Anybody catch 60 Minutes on CBS last night?

David Martin's story on "The Pentagon's Ray Gun" is certainly worth a visit.

As a wise old man once said: Holy fucking shit!

When will we ever learn?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Sirota Visit

Up-and-coming political author David Sirota blew through Burlap this week, kicking off his two-month national book tour. Got surprisingly little attention from the local media.

Sirota_at_borders In fact, the only press to catch his appearance with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders at Borders Bookstore on Church Street the other night were a few 7Days types and a writer from the Washington, D.C. bureau of Le Monde, the big paper in Paris...France [right]. She interviewed him before his appearance upstairs before a standing-room crowd of 50.

David who?

David Sirota,
former press secretary to Congressman Bernie Sanders. David started with Ol' Bernardo back in 1999. Just a youngster in his early twenties. Was with him for a few years.

Now at 32, David's one of the new stars of the rising generation in American politics. His new book, The Uprising,  [catchy title, eh?]  includes a big chapter involving Bernie of Vermont.

Still, no local press covered his visit. No Freeps, no VPR, no WGOP, er, WCAX?

Sirota's Uprising was, however, newsworthy for The Colbert Report on Thursday evening....here.

Interesting.


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