Category Archives: Dispatches

Killing Time in the Dells

A wax depiction of a technique developed in ancient China where rats are encouraged to eat people alive.A wax depiction of a technique developed in ancient China where rats are encouraged to eat people alive. Wisconsin Dells, WI – Normally I’m not keen on tourist towns, with their bubble-gummy aesthetic and overpriced fare, but there are exceptions, of course. Wisconsin Dells, where I spent my Fourth of July, is one of them. And though I’ve visited dozens of times over the years, it still holds a secret or two. Located about 50 miles north of Madison, along Highway 12, the city, along with nearby Lake Delton, attracts more than five million visitors annually. Famous for its massive… Continue Reading

Highway History: Myself, a Marker and the Massacre

Near the confluence of the Bad Axe and Mississippi Rivers, outside of Victory, WI.Near the confluence of the Bad Axe and Mississippi Rivers, outside of Victory, WI. Victory, WI – The nation’s highways are dotted with commemorative plaques, memorials and points-of-interest. Wisconsin alone has 520 such markers, each offering a tidbit of state-approved history. Many of these markers are tributes to obscure local figures, events or milestones, significant to few beyond the civic boosters who raised the money for their creation. Most are forgotten as quickly as they’re read. But every once in a while one will arouse the imagination and compel you to contemplate an unimaginable history. Here, just south of Victory,… Continue Reading

The Unlucky Civilian

Jennie WadeGettysburg, PA – Mid-afternoon on July 1, 1863, a young seamstress named Virginia Mary “Jennie” Wade, along with her mother and two younger brothers, left her home in the center of Gettysburg to be with her oldest sister, who earlier that day endured a horrific childbirth, as Confederate soldiers marched on the 2,400-resident town. The Confederacy’s push into Union territory was the first salvo of what would later be seen as the most decisive battle of America’s Civil War. For three days Gettysburg shook as nearly 94,000 Union and 72,000 Confederate troops slaughtered each other with bayonets and close-range shooting.… Continue Reading

The Daily Dose of Indignities

Illustration by Alexandra RaeBrent Delzer, 36, is currently serving a three-year federal prison sentence after pleading guilty in August to one count of conspiracy to traffic marijuana. “The Worst Summer Camp Ever” is a series of Delzer’s dispatches from the Federal Prison Camp in Duluth, Minnesota. The Feral Scribe interviewed Delzer on the eve of his surrender to federal marshals in September. That interview, which provides more details about his case, can be found here. Wow, it is really hard to stay motivated in this place. You’d think that, with all the time I have that I be cranking shit out no problem.… Continue Reading

The Warlock Speaks, but Doesn’t Dazzle

Publicity StillManhattan, NY – The warlock arrived at 7:30 p.m. in a black SUV just outside the stage door of Radio City Music Hall. I had been in contact with the warlock’s publicist, Larry Solters, which is to say that Solters had denied my request for an interview with his client, a.k.a. Charlie Sheen. Undeterred, I told the security guard prior to Sheen’s arrival that I was supposed to meet Solters at 7 p.m. by the stage door. It’s a trick that has worked to get me backstage in the past, but New Yorkers are savvier when it comes to such… Continue Reading

I Heart Baltimore, Hon

At Angelo's, we ordered "the biggest slices in town." Coming in at 18-inches, was nearly the length of my forearm.At Angelo’s, we ordered “the biggest slice in town.” Coming in at 18-inches, was nearly the length of my forearm. Baltimore, MD – We rolled into Baltimore just after 6 p.m. on Friday, arriving at my friend’s home in the Hampden section on the city’s northwest side. Kendra, an old friend from Madison, moved to Baltimore 18 months ago, where she landed a nice job and has made enviable inroads into Baltimore’s comedy scene. She’s a comedienne, you see, and I’ve been meaning to visit and catch a performance. She’s insanely funny, and when she’s on, she’s on. But as… Continue Reading

The People in My Day

Illustration by Alexandra RaeBrent Delzer, 36, is currently serving a three-year federal prison sentence after pleading guilty in August to one count of conspiracy to traffic marijuana. “The Worst Summer Camp Ever” is a series of Delzer’s dispatches from the Federal Prison Camp in Duluth, Minnesota. The Feral Scribe interviewed Delzer on the eve of his surrender to federal marshals in September. That interview, which provides more details about his case, can be found here. Hello again from the frozen north. I wanted to start this installment with just a little more on my intentions and reasoning behind this series of articles. I… Continue Reading

Turning Bones into Art

Harry Raymond Eastlack suffered from a progressive condition that turned tissue to bone.Skeleton of Harry Raymond Eastlick, who suffered a progressive condition that turned tissue to bone. A few Sundays ago, I was at Philadelphia’s Mutter Museum viewing the Hyrtl Skull Collection, an ensemble of multi-ethnic craniums collected from throughout Central and Eastern Europe by Dr. Josef Hyrtl during the early 1800s. Hyrtl, a professor of anatomy at the University of Prague, believed that racial and intellectual traits could be determined by studying the cranial bone structures of various groups. The museum acquired Hyrtl’s 139 skulls, along with thirty-six placentas and six sets of genitals, in 1875. Beneath each skull is a… Continue Reading

Federal Inmates Ain’t All That

Illustration by Alexandra RaeBrent Delzer, 36, is currently serving a three-year federal prison sentence after pleading guilty in August to one count of conspiracy to traffic marijuana. “The Worst Summer Camp Ever” is a series of Delzer’s dispatches from the Federal Prison Camp in Duluth, Minnesota. The Feral Scribe interviewed Delzer on the eve of his surrender to federal marshals in September. That interview, which provides more details about the case, can be found here. I was going to start this project some time ago. I had it all set in my brain on how I was going to do it and how… Continue Reading

The Perils of Low-Budget Motels

Meth Hearse found in Cookesville, Tennessee.Meth Hearse found in Cookesville, Tennessee. For the budget road tripper, occasional stays in a fleabag motel are a given. They’re convenient, cheap and charming in their own special ways. I’ve stayed in my fair share of them. Some had mold beneath the peeling wall paper. One came with hair in the sink. In another, a used condom and wrapper laid rudely in the bathroom wastebasket. More than a few had cigarette burns in the carpet. Paying between $25 and $45 a room, it never was any surprise that these rooms didn’t sparkle or smell particularly well. The trick is… Continue Reading
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