Yearly Archives: 2016

Strokes of Genius

MADISON, WI––Chris Johns anxiously circles his thumb around the rim of an empty Corona as he explains how his business partner in the remote-sex startup he hopes to showcase in January — at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas — stopped returning calls just days before Christmas. Now, on the 10th day of silence, Johns slowly comes to terms with the revelation that his partner — whose promises he staked much of his company on — may have defrauded him. He lights a Newport and reaches for his phone. “We’re talking less than three weeks to… Continue Reading

Urban Oasis

Fred and Nancy Risser in their ‘urban oasis’ MADISON, WI––The uneven gravel driveway points toward the interior of a residential block squeezed between East Gorham and East Johnson streets, where distressed concrete and indifferent weeds accent the real estate holdings of absentee landlords with all the charms of a cinder block. “This way,” directs Nancy Risser, a retired high school Spanish teacher. As instructed, I follow her and her husband, Fred, America’s longest-serving state legislator. The senator has anticipated rain on what has, until then, been a sunny Friday afternoon. He has brought along umbrellas for everyone just in… Continue Reading

Guns for Everyone

But even a beefed-up background check system won’t keep the plunderbund of felons, spousal abusers, drug addicts, and the violently unstable from exploiting loopholes to avoid checks. Waukesha, WI––In early February, I found a man willing to sell me an Italian submachine gun with a fifty-round magazine, no questions asked. The 9mm Spectre M4 was one among thousands of weapons up for grabs at a February 6 gun show in West Bend, Wisconsin. A particularly fearsome firearm with pistol and forward-vertical grips, it is capable of firing up to 150 bullets per minute. Used by Italian special forces, the M4… Continue Reading

Comp Time with Marissa Jones

Philadelphia, PA––The blockbuster success of the true-crime podcast Serial has spurred the glut of new crimecasts flooding into the stream over the last 18 months. Most have died a quick, unnoticed death. Others have hanged on until succumbing to their creators’ lack of vision. It’s easy to be a talking head. It’s even easier to regurgitate what Nancy Grace squawked about the night before. Easier still is endless conjecture in the absence of an independently obtained fact. Audiences don’t want to hear you read a newspaper. And Google News is not a teleprompter any more than you’re a legal analyst… Continue Reading

Your Scribe is Back!

Madison, WI––A great man, a wise man, a profound man, in 2001, encapsulated the essence of life in song. His name is Jack and he sang: The road is fuckin’ hard, The road is fuckin’ tough-ah, There’s no question that-eh It is rough, rough stuff. It’s the fuckin’ road my friend But it’s the only road I know… And so it goes… I said that. I haven’t written much here at TFS since heroin laid me to waste and took the life of someone very dear to me, but onward and forward one must always go. Life is an ongoing… Continue Reading

Help Solve a Disappearance

MADISON, WI –– Hello My Dear Fans, I’ve been away for a very, very longtime and here is why: I’m in the final throes of nine-year project that began as an idea for a humble little book about a man named Amos Mortier, who had gone missing from my hometown of Madison, Wisconsin on Nov. 8, 2004. After making some excellent progress on a story that has turned out to be more challenging than anything I’ve ever taken on, my life took an unexpected turn in New Mexico, when me and my ace, Sarah No, in our boredom, began a… Continue Reading