by Peter Freyne
Today, Tuesday, is the day I spend writing "Inside Track" for the Seven Days print (and online edition). It'll be out and up tomorrow morning. So newswise, that's where my mind will be today.
But I wanted to write this "Big Picture" post to get some feedback from you guys and gals. Until a few weeks ago, the blogoshpere was virgin territory for me.
Look, I love criticism. "Inside Track" started in the Burlington-based Vermont Vanguard Press back in 1981, a couple months after Bernie Sanders won the mayor's race by 10 votes over the incumbent Democrat Gordon Paquette. Those who recall those days will remember the column was not popular with da' mayor nor with his Prog supporters who vented their anger regularly in Vanguard letters-to-the-editor trashing yours truly. In the 1990s we zeroed in on the Self-Righteous Brothers. Anyone remember them?
Unlike blog responses of the present, folks put their names on what they wrote. Some have done so here, too, but most use fake-IDs. Hey, believe me, after doing this for the last quarter century, I've got a pretty thick skin. Besides, getting called every name in the book is what real columnists want. Trust me.
Flashback - Summer 1976.
Location - Southbound on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. "The Magnificent Mile" as it's known.
Transport - Behind the wheel of Cab 2706, a leased red-white-and-blue American-United taxi.
Time - About 5:30 P.M. Evening rush hour.
I'm stopped at the southbound lights at the crosswalk between the Tribune Tower to my left
A crowd of pedestrians surges across in both directions as the light turns red. Suddenly the silence is broken as Mr. Commuter mutters, "Look at that goddamn piece-of-shit drunk."
"Excuse me, sir?"
Mr. Commuter leans forward (there were no bullet-proof shields in American-United Cabs - mostly Ford LTDs) and points to a figure in the crosswalk moving left-to-right with the flow of people.
"See," he says, "Right there, There's Royko, that goddamn drunk."
Mike Royko, then with the Chicago Sun-Times had won a Pulitzer a few years earlier for his memorable bio of the first Mayor Richard Daley. It was called Boss. He was not stumbling as he walked. In fact, he looked perfectly normal.
I read Royko's five-day-week column religiously as did so many Chicagoans. Along with incidents like the angry Royko reader above, I came to realize that the front seat of that cab was my journalism school..
And a damn good education it was.
Anyway, back to the present. Like to know the thoughts of the intelligent readers of this blog. How's it going so far? What do you think of the posts? The comments? Should posters register?
I can't help but think of the local state social worker who got busted a while back at Leddy Park having a rendezvous with a 14 year old girl he'd been talking to anonymously online from work. She turned out to be a Vermont State Trooper.
Some of the blog comments to date sound like their writers are also inhabiting a similar power-tripping fantasy world. Hey, it's a free country, but some "Freyne Land" readers may find that stuff juvenile, useless and boring. I don't know.
You tell me.......please!
And thanks for stopping by Freyne Land.