Category Archives: Dispatches

Anxieties of a Drug Trafficker

Photo by DeviantArt.comMadison, WI – One recent afternoon at the Brass Ring – a billiards bar on Madison’s east side – “Buddy,” a Wisconsin-based marijuana trafficker, talked the pros and cons of his business. He suggested that a rash of heroin-related high jinks across Dane County over the last year has stifled its growth as authorities step-up their interdiction efforts. “Anytime you get into a period like this – and I’ve noticed waves of it happening in the past – people become a little more insular about who they work with,” he said, nursing a Bloody Mary. “There’s no new faces and… Continue Reading

McKenna and Droogs Torment Private Citizen

Conservative talker Vicki McKenna (or a close likeness of her).Madison, WI – Every so often I’m blown away by an outstanding work of journalism. I love a well developed and thought provoking piece that enriches my understanding of the world I inhabit. I stumbled upon such journalism earlier this week, a work by Brian Sikma, an ambitious writer who pins down provocative issues with probing questions and unflinching fortitude. On Dec. 4, The Green Bay Press Gazette posted a story on its Facebook page about Wisconsin’s Department of Justice plan to slash funding for its Sexual Assault Victim Services program by 42.5 percent. The program, established in 1995, provides… Continue Reading

Recall Fever Sweeps Wisconsin

Wisconsin residents are working overtime to derail their governor.Wisconsin residents are working overtime to derail their governor. Madison, WI – Recall fever has struck Wisconsin, where a monumental effort is underway to oust Gov. Scott Walker less than a year after the radical conservative took office. After months of planning, the campaign began in earnest early last week when thousands of volunteers hit the streets to gather the 540,000 signatures necessary to force a recall election. Remarkably, in less than a week, more than 105,000 people have signed the petitions. That’s more than one-fifth of the total signatures needed, with more than 50 days to go before the… Continue Reading

Dude, Quit Pissin’ on My Van

_MG_2368The guy in the white plaid shirt in the background was one of four people I caught pissing on my van. Commerce City, CO – On our first day on the lot at Dick’s Sporting Good’s Park, a tall dready I’d met prior to the lot opening pulls me aside to ask if I want to do a bunch of coke. “Not really,” I reply. He seems a little surprised, a little disappointed. “Mind if I duck inside your van for a minute?” he asks, like he really needs a bump. “Ah,” I say, “I’d rather you didn’t.” No luck… Continue Reading

The Benefits of Using a Uniquely Human Trait: Foresight

RainbowCommerce City, CO – When hashing out the logistics of big projects I can always count on one thing: forgetting something important. Halfway to Denver I realized I’d forgotten several important things. First was a jar full of silver change that I save to pay meters, tolls and other small expenses. Next it occurred to me that I’d forgotten the folding table, which necessitated us having to purchase one in Colorado. I also left behind our drink cups and shot glasses as well as our extra cooler. In all, my forgetfulness set us back $100. D’oh! These were small things… Continue Reading

Down and Out in Denver

Flop HouseDenver, CO – One of my favorite state crossings is from Nebraska into Colorado. The landscape changes almost instantly from endless acres of corn-covered farmland to a craggy-soiled moonscape dotted with tufts of sage and desert brush. Barbed-wire fences meander into the horizon, disappearing into a wide open sky. I love Denver, t00. As far as cities go it is clean, easy to navigate and the people are notably polite and helpful. I was called ‘hon’ more times here than in Hon Town, Baltimore and the bums say ‘thank you’ whether you give them change or not. No one in… Continue Reading

Nebraska Gothic

Sod HouseGothenburg, NE – There isn’t much to Nebraska, at least along the I-80 corridor, which stretches clear across the state. Its sheer length and monotony is in and of itself a head game. Mile upon mile of flat, endless farmland that before long causes the eyes to go out of whack, as if you’ve stared too long at a fixed point. No amount of blinking or shifting around can bring the world back into focus. It’s nearly as bad as driving at night. Pulling over to stretch and gather your bearings is the only remedy. After fighting my eyes over… Continue Reading

Alcohol Saves the Day

GuitarGirlChicago, Il – The second episode of my food vending enterprise took me to Chicago, where the jam band Phish played three nights earlier this week at the University of Illinois-Chicago Pavilion, just ahead of a three-night run in Denver that will cap the band’s 2011 summer tour. Following a lukewarm debut of Daisy Dick’s Donut Ballz at the Grateful Garcia Gathering earlier this month, I expanded the menu to include a few hardier food items. My sidekick and I also brought along a cooler full of dank Wisconsin beer and another full of bottled water. And, for good measure,… Continue Reading

Daisy Dick’s Draggy Debut

The band plays to a nascent audience.The band plays to a nascent audience. Black River Falls, WI – Ya gotta love salient coincidences, those ones that punctuate life in ways that might tempt you to ascribe to them some deeper more transcendent meaning. On Thursday morning, as we rolled into Black River Falls, we saw hanging above the highway a banner announcing that weekend’s Jackson County Fair, which last year I worked as a carnie for Wenzel Amazements, an experience that in part inspired this current endeavor. Like the Wenzels I was back in Black River Falls to work a festival, a different one being held… Continue Reading

The Miserable Life of Rajib Mitra

For those of you wondering what I’ve been up to in Madison, here’s a sampling. It’s an article I wrote for Isthmus newspaper about a guy who, after a series of misfortunes and unfornunate decisions, decided to check out of life. Enjoy! The first letter to Fundamental Pete’s Ass-Jammery arrived in late September, but sat in the WSUM studio’s mailbox for several weeks before the show’s host, Pete Hnilicka, got around to opening it. It was a response to a choose-your-own-adventure bit that the college radio talk show had recently aired. The adventure left off with Hnilicka and a co-host… Continue Reading
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