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Monday, February 26, 2007

Monday Drug Shopping

Posted By on Mon, Feb 26, 2007 at 8:47 PM

So I dropped into Walgreens in downtown Burlap for some AA batteries around 5 p.m. on Monday and who do I bump into head-on but Vermont Secretary of Transportation Neale Lunderville!

Sec. Lunderville, who lives near downtown,  was picking up prescription drugs for an allergic condition he has. He was gracious enough to hold still for a photo AND take one of this blogger, who's gotten a little light on top.

Incidentally, last week a former Associated Press bureau chief echoed our recently published remarks that Sec. Lunderville has gotten more good press in his first few few months running that agency than all the previous Vermont Secretaries of Transportation have in the last 20 years!

Still, getting positive comments from the likes of yours truly does put Young Lunderville, Gov. Jim Douglas' former campaign manager, on shaky ground amidst his Republican teammates.

The price of being a good communicator. And, oh yeah, nice shot, Mr. Secretary of Transportation, of yours truly at Walgreens.

Who needs a lot of hair?

What did it ever do for Patrick Leahy? Or Bernie Whatshisname, the U.S. Senator the Capitol Steps have NEVER heard of?

In the past two weeks, the biotechnology industry has kicked in at the personal level in Freyne Land, and this columnist/blogger with cancer has lost most of that thick white Irish mop from the top of the ol' skull. (And the beard has mostly fallen out, too.)

Chemotherapy is action.

Cool. And the tumor's shrunk to almost nothing!

Then, speaking of chemotherapy, one picks up the Vermont newspaper and learns all is not well in Drug Land.

Barre mayor wants death penalty for drug peddlers

BARRE— Mayor Thomas Lauzon on Saturday said he hoped the Legislature wouldconsider imposing the death penalty on convicted crack and heroindealers, and to legalize marijuana.

Failing that, the mayorsaid, he would call for a public forum in Barre to kick off a statewidediscussion about the growing drug problem in Vermont and steps —including the death penalty and legalization — to control the situation.

"I'msure everyone will distance themselves from me," Lauzon said Saturdaynight of his death-penalty call. "But if anyone tells you we're winningthe war on drugs, they're lying."

the rest of it.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Bernie Sanders
Out-of-Step Steps?

Posted By on Sun, Feb 25, 2007 at 9:54 AM

Out on the town town last night to catch the Capitol Steps at the Flynn Theater.

Pamela from Seven Days was my "date" and vice-versa. Good to be out and nice to see a lot of old faces.  Haven't been to the Flynn in a few years.

Pamster and I reminisced about our own earlier appearances on the Flynn Stage: she as a punk rock diva of the early 1980s, et moi, as a variety show actor doing Shakespeare's Henry V in the 1990s.

Getting old. Just like Capitol Steps, if I do say so myself.  But I hope we're staying sharper than they are.

Burlington, Vermont got one of three Steps troupes performing last night. They are a successful operation. Pump out the CDs. But is it asking too much to expect such a successful professional troupe to pay attention to the locale they are getting paid big bucks to appear in?  And maybe even pay a little attention to that locale's unique politics?

To the five-member Capitol Steps troupe we got, Burlington, Vermont could have been Burlington, Iowa. In fact, sitting in my balcony row was Burlington Progressive City Councilor Tim Ashe from Ward Three. (Didn't see if Burlington's Progressive Mayor Bob Kiss was there. It was a full house.)

But I do know that in their performance that began at 8:05 P.M. and ended at 10 P.M. - with a 15-minute halftime - the Capitol Steps never once uttered the word "Progressive."

And not once did a Capitol Step, fresh from Washington, D.C., mention the name of Vermont's newest special-delivery package sent to Washington, D.C. - a United States Senator and the only Independent in that chamber. Not once!

In fact, at one point, one of the Steps asked how many Republicans were present?

A smattering of applause.

Then he asked how many Democrats were in the room?

The place broke up. Loud applause and cheers.

But that's where he stopped. Didn't bother to ask how many Progs or Independents were in attendance. Didn't the dude from D.C. know he was in the People's Republic of Burlington, Vermont?

The Capitol Steps started up in 1981.

Good year.

That's the year Bernie Sanders, excuse me, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, won his first political office - mayor of Burlington.

You'd think a sharp, talented, successful band of D.C. performers would know?

These political satirists steered away from the War in Iraq, impeachment of George WMD Bush and other 800 lb. gorillas, preferring instead to dabble in drinking jokes about Ted Kennedy and his son, Dick Cheney hunting jokes and "Springtime for Liberals and Hillary!"

You know what?

Capitol Steps have gotten establishment boring.

P.S. Meanwhile, you know what really keeps me going? Waking up to emails like this one:

Hi Peter,
    God Bless you in going through your treatment regimen.  My husband and I have been fans of yours for years. Truth to Power is an awesome thing. Just had a biopsy myself last week, waiting until next Monday for the news.  Reading your blogs about your trip over the past few weeks has made this a little less scary for me . Thanks for sharing your experiences, and we'll keep praying for you. I have 3 kids under 6, so I'm hoping for a real good result!

    Peace,  KB

In this together, aren't we?

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Update on the Cancer-Patient Columnist

Posted By on Sat, Feb 24, 2007 at 11:05 AM

That's me in the chemo-recliner up at the Mary Fanny on Wednesday. Nice little TVs, eh? I'm watching Hillary in the too-damn-early Texas Democratic presidential candidate debate. On drugs.

I was finishing up my second of six scheduled chemotherapy saturations. Getting a very specific IV vein-drip of Adriamycin, Cyclophosphamide and Vincristine. Then a 100 mg. dose of Prednisone by mouth which I continue for the following four mornings. Don't ask. I've never heard of them. They don't exactly know why this mix of chemical shit works against the cancer I've got. They only know it does.

My second chemo-dosing was interrupted the previous Friday after taking in Rituxan by IV for more than two hours. Had the little seizure, which got me admitted to the hospital for the weekend and checked out with an MRI and a Spinal Tap!

Negative so far. There's no history of Rituxan causing seizures, says Doc Pillemer the oncologist, so they're curious. Plus, I've never had a seizure before. At least none that I remember over the course of the past 57 years. You don't think it's 'cause of some old "Inside Track" columns I wrote about FAHC CEO Bill Boettcher, Trustee Ritchie Tarrant and their Renaissance Scam, do you?

So Doc Pillemer put me on some Dilantin, three capsules once a day. It's an anti-seizure med that slows down brain impulses. It feels like a downer. Don't like downers. Have to be sharp to hit Jim Douglas and the rest of the pols with the questions they're not expecting. Asked the Doc if I can stop taking it and he's put me on a neurologist track to see if that's possible. So yesterday, I got slid into an open time slot for an EEG - an Electroencephalogram - up on Patrick 5. An EEG measures electrical activity in one's brain - brain waves.

Anita Rocheleau of South Burlington (pictured with me) was the electroneurodiagnostic technologist.  Big title, eh? In fact, all the words are long up on Hospital Hill.

The EEG takes a little over an hour - the first 30 minutes spent attaching 25 electrodes to one's head to measure the electrical activity on the other side of the skull. Liked the part where Anita flashed the strobe lights in my eyes. Like an old rock concert.

I go back on Wednesday to get the official brain-wave reading from an official neurologist.


Also worth noting that along the way, several of the folks in the white jackets have mentioned I would likely qualify for Vermont's Marijuana Registry should I choose to apply. Legal pot at last!Vermont Marijuana Registry
rtment of Public Safety
Title 18 V.S.A. Chapter 86



In 2004, the Vermont General Assembly passed S. 76, An Act Relating to Marijuana Use by Persons with Severe Illness. This piece of legislation creates an exemption in state law from criminal penalties for the use of marijuana to alleviate the symptoms or effects of a debilitating medical condition as long as it is done in compliance with 18 V.S.A. Chapter 86. The law also creates a registry of individuals who are eligible to receive this exemption... 


The Act creating the Marijuana Registry was designed to protect certain seriously ill and terminally ill patients from state criminal penalties for using marijuana to relieve the symptoms or effects of their debilitating medical condition. Only people with a debilitating medical condition may use marijuana. A “Debilitating medical condition” means:

(A) end of life care for cancer or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS);


(B) cancer, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, multiple sclerosis (MS), or the treatment of these diseases or medical conditions if

(i) the disease or condition or its treatment results in severe, persistent, and intractable symptoms;             and

(ii) in the context of the specific disease or condition, reasonable medical efforts have been made over a reasonable amount of time without success in relieving the symptoms.

      The Act also allows a “caregiver”  to register and receive the same criminal protections as the registered patient. However, the caregiver is not entitled to use marijuana.

More here.

Also should point out that Sen. Richard Sears (D-Bennington), distinguished chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has a bill in this session with co-sponsors - S. 7 - that would expand Vermont's original Medical Marijuana Law and lower the registration fee.


One might even call it "civilized," eh?

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Bernie Sanders
Vermonter Wins Peace Prize

Posted By on Fri, Feb 23, 2007 at 6:39 PM

Second Vermonter, actually.

And that's just this year!

"With America and the world under constant assault from a Bush Administration and Republican Party, it is hard sometimes to remember that acts of justice are performed every day. Part of the overwhelming sense of helplessness unleashed by the combined incompetence and extremism of the Bush GOP is due to not being able to avert one's eyes from the wounded world that they scar even more every day.

" is now awarding a weekly 'Wings of Justice Award' to honor individuals who speak out and take action on behalf of the great American tradition of courage, Constitutional Rights, secular inclusion, truthfulness and common sense."

The following is from the latest "Wings of Justice Award":

"This past week, Vermont became the first state in the Union where both legislative houses passed resolutions calling for the forthcoming and orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.  It shouldn't be lost on anyone that Vermont "has lost more soldiers per capita than any other state in the nation.

"State Representative Michael Fisher (pictured at right in the Statehouse cafeteria Friday), led the effort to save Vermont men and women in uniform from being put in harm's way for an undefined mission and delusional pursuit of an un- determined victory. Fisher put the lives of his fellow Vermonters in uniformat the top of his state’s legislative agenda.

"I really do believe we can have full respect and support for our troops and at the same time speak out against the policy that ledto this war and keeps this war going," Fisher said.

"In fact, there is no higher regard for our GIs than saving them from the politically motivated mania of a rogue regime sitting in the White House.

"For his compassion and his conviction, Michael Fisher -- State Representative from Lincoln, Vermont -- is awarded our BuzzFlash Wings of Justice Award."

Recent Wings of Justice Award Honorees:

Maxine Waters - February 14, 2007
Ted Kennedy - February 7, 2007            
Molly Ivins - January 31, 2007
Bernie Sanders - January 24, 2007            
Bill Moyers - January 17, 2007

Not bad company for the member from Lincoln, eh?

Rep. Fisher, 41, is a Democrat. He was born in Philadelphia and moved to his present town in 1988. The father of two is a social worker by profession. Picked up his MSW at UVM. It's Fisher's seventh year in the building. He's vice-chair of the Human Services Committee this term.

Here's the Vermonter's official award page.

Congratulations, Michael!

Likewise, Ol' Bernardo!

Nice to see a new face at the leadership level eh?

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bernie Sanders
Douglas vs. Shumlin AND When is an Illegal Alien Really an Illegal Alien in Vermont?

Posted By on Thu, Feb 22, 2007 at 5:58 PM

The end of February is closing in.

March Town Meeting Day approaches.

And right on schedule, the public bickering between the Republican in our governor's office and the Democrats running our Statehouse is picking up! 

Gov. Jim Douglas told reporters at his weekly press conference at the state capitol Thursday that Vermonters support his “aggressive agenda to take the state forward in the 21st Century.” The Governor insisted he encounters  “trememdous support” in his travels around the state for the Douglas "Affordability Agenda" and it continues to grow!

Vermont’s Republican Guv said he’s been "waiting patiently" for Vermont’s Democratic legislature "to focus more of its time and energy on the public policy that’s most important to Vermonters." He mentioned  "reducing property tax growth, making housing and higher education more affordable, and passing legislation that will move Vermont to becoming the first E-State in the nation."

"As we head into the Town Meeting break," said Jim from Middlebury, "Vermonters have every right toask what the Legislature’s been doing that’s going to make Vermont moreaffordable, to make our economy stronger and our families moreprosperous?

"The answer, unfortunately, is very little action."

Putney Democrat Peter Shumlin is the Senate President Pro Tem this session replacing Peter Welch, who went to Washington to replace Bernie Sanders, who went from House to Senate to replace Jeezum Jim Jeffords, who retired.

Putney Pete is the senate leader and viewed as a prime future Democratic candidate for governor...maybe even in 2008?

Not suprisingly, Sen. Shumlin had a dramatically different analysis of the legislature’s progress so far this year. Like night and day. That's Shummy doing an impromptu in the Cedar Creek Room after the Guv's shot.

"I don't quite understand what the Governor's frustration is today," said Shumlin, the Nose that Knows.  "All I can tell you is that I've never seen a legislature work harder, provide more leadership and deal with more difficult issues than we are this session. I think it would be tremendously helpful if the Governor would spend more time doing policy with us and less time doing politics."

A pair of marvelous political word smiths are these, eh?

ON A DIFFERENT TOPIC - as expected, questions were raised by the press corps about the apparent sanctioning by Vermont's governor of his in-laws use of illegal Mexican aliens on their Middlebury dairy farm. Here's a transcript of the interesting back and forth. According to the Guv, the Foster Brothers dispute the accuracy of The Burlington Free Press story, at least as far as their admitting to having illegal aliens working on their farm.

The Guv: It’s not their job to be immigration agents. There are federal agencies that have that responsibility and I expect those agencies to do their jobs.

I think everyone agrees our immigration system is flawed. This may be a rare occasion where Chairman Leahy of the Judiciary Committee,  the president of the United States and I have the same view. We need to reform our immigration laws and provide for a guest worker program so that here no question about the validity of the documents of the workers on our family farms.

I’m pleased Sen. Leahy is going to have some hearing on Tuesday on this topic in Washington and I hope it’s an item he can move forward quickly.

Press: But it is illegal to hire undocumented workers?

The Guv: That’s correct.

Press: And so farmers, the Fosters among them, are doing that, right?

The Guv: Well, I don’t know that and you can talk to them. They frankly take great issue with the characterization that was in another metropolitan daily. They don’t believe that was a fair representation.

Press: You think those workers are legal?

The Guv: Well, I’m not saying what I think, I’m saying what they’ve told me, so I’m inviting you to talk to them.

Press: Is it their contention that they have the proper paperwork, these workers?

The Guv: Well, again, they’re not immigration experts but employees on that farm, and I assume other farms, do the same thing that you and I do - present a Social Security Card that's issued by the Government of the United States with an appropriate number on it so that social security taxes and other income taxes may be withheld. You may want to talk with them.

Press: But how can they be legal if they don’t have a "Green Card?"

The Guv: Well, we’re not asked for them when we’re employed. You’re not suggesting racial-profiling in employment, I hope?

Press: No.

We’re you misquoted in that story saying you were aware there were illegal Mexican aliens there?

The Guv:  No. I didn’t say that. What I’m telling you is that the Fosters believe they were not accurately represented.

Press:  Do you think there are illegal immigrants working at the Foster Farm?

The Guv: I don’t know the answer to that. I’m not naive. I think it’s not an unreasonable assumption in the agricultural industry of Vermont there are people who don’t have documentation that they can support, but the real answer to this dilemma, I believe, is to change the federal law.

Press: Is there sort of a "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Thing" going on in the farm community where they desperately need the labor. Vermonters aren’t doing it. There is a workforce available. But there is this problem with the federal law. So they don’t have to prove, under the labor law, the document's accuracy, but a lot of them know?

The Guv: Well, your assessment of the labor situation is exactly right. I talked about the demographic challenge that the state is facing overall and it's’s certainly true in farm labor as well. A lot of the farm families today aren’t as big as they used to be in terms of the number of kids. Historically in Vermont there were families with a large number of children who did the work on the farm and that was the source of labor for literally centuries.

Now families are smaller. More people, including spouses work off the farm. There are fewer working age people in Vermont to do that work and it's hard work. I’ve worked on my in-laws'' farm. It’s very tiring, exhausting work. It’shard labor and a lot of people are not interested in doing that work.

He has a way with words, our governor, doesn't he?

Wouldn't be surprised if the Freeps followed up to see if the Fosters actually do dispute their story's accuracy - as reported by no less a source than Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas!

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Will Bush Administration Look the Other Way?

Posted By on Wed, Feb 21, 2007 at 7:04 PM

A bit of behind-the-scenes buzz going on Wednesday in Vermont political circles stretching from Burlington and Montpeculiar all the way to the District of Columbia. Surely the Feds cannot ignore the fact that federal law is now being openly broken at the Middlebury dairy farm owned by the in-laws of our distinguished leader - Gov. Jim Douglas.

Sam Hemingway broke the story in Sunday’s Burlington Free Press. Nice catch, Sam! And a whole lot of people have noticed. Especially the fact that Vermont’s Republican governor acknowledges the fact he’s been aware the law was being broken at the Foster Farm for quite some time.

“I’m certainly aware they have Mexican workers, but I’ve never run into any of them when I was there,” Douglas told Hemingway.

Oh. Okay. As long as you never actually saw one. Then it’s fine.  Whew!

But what if Governor Douglas’ in-laws were growing marijuana?

As long as you never saw it, Governor?   


This little stumble has a lot of jaws saying it won’t be too long before Gov. Douglas reigns his “Karl Rove”  back in. You know, the new, personable and media-savvy Transportation Secretary Neale Lunderville (with arms folded at right. Adm. Sec. Mike Smith to his left). Many a veteran Vermont pol is wondering aloud this week how much longer Gov. Scissorhands can put off a Lunderville recall back into the inner sanctum on the Fifth Floor.

Young Neale (currently in his early 30s), was his campaign manager in 2002 and 2004 and not too far away in 2006. He’s the saviest political mind to pop up in the Vermont GOP in a long, long time.

He was appointed Vermont’s Secretary of Transportation with transportation qualifications that did not go beyond his own personal driving experience.  Even his mother, reliable sources say, questioned Gov. Douglas’ judgment.

But Neale Lunderville is an extremely gifted manager and motivator. And he most definitely gets it. You know - “it.”  In fact, he gets “it” so well, we’ve heard Democrats sing his praises - off-the-record only, of course.

In the last three months, Sec. Lunderville's received more favorable press coverage than previous Vermont transportation secretaries have garnered in 20 years.

Governor Lunderville?

Somebody's got to do it.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bernie vs. Big Media

Posted By on Tue, Feb 20, 2007 at 8:43 PM

In terms of war in Iraq, said Vermont's junior United States Senator Bernard Sanders Tuesday evening, "People would say to me, 'Where were Democrats on the war? Why did everyone sell out?'"

Well, in fact, said Sanders, "A majority of Democrats voted against the war and the American people did not know that."

Several hundred thousand Americans, he told the audience at St. Michael's College, "turned off the American media and went to the BBC to get a more objective analysis."

The important point, said the Senator, is that it's just too simple to blame President George W. Bush. We must “hold the media complicit as well," he said. The media, charged Sanders, "became a loudspeaker for the White House and that is not an accident."

I watched Sanders speak from the comfort of my own bedroom. Ol'Bernardo's Town Meeting was broadcast live, not over the television,but over the Internet on I watched him on my desktop!


Health Care?

"What many of you may or may not know," said former House member Bernie of Burlington, "is that the proposal that had the most support in House was a single-payer bill." It received very little coverage from the corporate media. he said.

Global warming?

For years, what the media would be talking about, said Sanders, was "there is a major dispute among scientists about whether global warming exists."

Actually, said Sanders, an Independent aligned with the Democrats, "There was very little dispute. Exxon-Mobil disputed it," he noted, "and Exxon-Mobil was able to get its point of view out very well."

Sanders told the Town Meeting attendees that he and allies opposed to the current corporate control of the media intend to focus in the months ahead on one major point - the airwaves are owned by the people and the companies that hold the FCC licenses to broadcast over them "have a certain responsibility."

"How can the public reclaim the airwaves," asked the senator from Vermont, "and make the stations accountable?"

Stay tuned.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Targets the Media!

Posted By on Mon, Feb 19, 2007 at 8:30 PM

I'm old -fashioned. I miss Lincoln's Birthday and Washington's Birthday. This President's Day stuff lacks historical context and perspective. Any old president will do. Even Richard "I am not a Crook" Nixon?

Even Nixon.


Anyway, it was a quiet Presi- dent's Day in Burlap's South End.  A lot of folks still had work to go to on this "holiday."

That's a shot of Hayward Street out front looking peaceful.

Tuesday,  is "Inside Track" Writing Day - our lips are sealed. I get it in to Pamela at Seven Days by 4 p.m. and it's at the printer by Six.

At 7 p.m. the spotlight will be at St. Mike's McCarthy Arts Center where Vermont's junior United States Senator Bernie Sanders is holding a "Town Meeting On Media Ownership & Why It Matters!"

FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein and Paula Routly from Seven Days will be on the distinguished panel among others.

But the really good news is you can watch the goings-on from the comfort of your own home!

No, not on "Vermont's Own," WCAX-TV, but online - live - at


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Sunday, February 18, 2007

My New World

Posted By on Sun, Feb 18, 2007 at 9:03 PM

Quick! Guess what that's a photo of at right?

A. Burlington International Airport.
B. Richie Tarrant's Florida home.
C. Fletcher Allen Health Care.

Looks like an airport, doesn't it? How about calling it "Boettcher Field" in honor of the two-year federal jail sentence FAHC's former CEO Bill Boettcher got for building it?

In fact, that's what the folks who work there commonly call it - "The Airport!"

Actually, it is the dazzling lobby of the new $300 million-plus Renaissance Center atop Hospital Hill. Like an airport, the Renaissance Center was designed to get people in-and-out as quickly as possible. Efficiency counts.

So I'm in the recliner last Friday afternoon in the RENAISSANCE outpatient chemo center up on Hospital Hill - the Hematology -Oncology Unit - and about every 30 minutes the nurse is cranking up the concentration of Rituxan, the first of four "wonder" drugs dripping into the IV that's plugged into the vein on my right forearm.

After a little over two hours with the rate cranked up from 50 cc's an hour to something like 350 cc's and hour, they say I sort of lost it. Had some kind of "seizure," and the proof, says the doctor and nurse who were there, is the fact I could not, when asked, name the current president of the United States.


Howard Brush Dean?

They immediately halted the R-CHOP chemotherapy on Friday and sent me for a MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) of the Freyne brain and ordered up a Spinal Tap on Saturday.

The MRI, says the Doc, came back negative for any indications of lymphoma.

Likewise, the first checks on my spinal fluid, tapped on Saturday (left) by Sadie Mills M.D., a Mary Fanny resident, Woodstock, Vermont native and graduate of both UVM and the UVM College of Medicine. I think I was Sadie's second spinal tap. An honor and a privilege!

Marc Greenblatt M.D., the attending, snapped this nice photo of the columnist/ bloggers' spine actually being tapped on Saturday. It was at our request. They don't provide this kind of "journalistic" service for all their patients.

Besides, it's only a very long, sharp needle.

I was told before being released from FAHC this afternoon that the first tests showed no evidence cancer cells have spread into the columnist's spinal chord and nervous system. Further tests, however, will be conducted, I'm told, to be absolutely sure.

The FAHC docs have also written me a prescription for anti-seizure medication.  Apparently they do not consider my presidential memory lapse could possibly have been related to the Rituxan dose they were pumping into me?

Hey, I'm a sensitive guy. Really.

Anyway, the plan is to finish the 2nd chemo treatment sometime this week and get back on schedule.

Here's a shot of what it looked like at the foot of my hospital bed today before being released. There's Marc Greenblatt M.D., the attending and Saturday's spinal-tap photographer on the left, Kim Dittus M.D. a FAHC "fellow" (which means she packs a Ph.d in addition to an M.D.), and first-year resident David Greenberg M.D., graduate of Tufts School of Medicine.

Look like they know what they're doing, eh?

Well, sort of? The white coats do it.

Also, calls, cards, notes and letters of encouragement continue to arrive from strangers, friends and folks we did not actually think were "friends."

It's been a pleasant education and reminder - we are all in this together, dear sisters and brothers. One family.


Saturday, February 17, 2007

Weekend Update.dfg34hdb

Posted By on Sat, Feb 17, 2007 at 1:47 PM

I laid ever-so-slightly low this last weekend. Popped into the Big Heavy World open house on Friday, then spent all day Saturday recording.

Sunday, a bunch of Seven Days scribes went to Montpelier for the Vermont Press Association Awards. I tied for first place in the arts criticism category with Margot Harrison, our literary authority. Brent Hallenbeck of the Freeps took third. There was no second place.

Next stop, Pullitzer.

Here's the full breakdown of our accolades, courtesy Cathy Resmer:

* 2nd place feature photograph, non-daily, Jay Ericson.
* 1st place feature story, non-daily, Paula Routly.
* 3rd place best local story, non-daily, Cathy Resmer.

We competed against all VT newspapers for these awards:

*2nd place best state story, Ken Picard.

* The Mavis Doyle Award, given to one VT reporter who exemplifies the qualities of Mavis Doyle, former statehouse reporter. The award is a general excellence prize for exceptional work, and stresses fairness, accuracy, and a desire to further the public interest. That prize went to our own Ken Picard.

What a team.

Later that night, 7D soul-stealer Matt Thorsen came over to take pictures of our dwarf hamster for my story in Wednesday's animal-themed issue. It turned into a family photo shoot, with the cats getting in on the action. Too cute.

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