Category Archives: alcholics


Tahiti TBy Mark T Wayne

“He’s in Tahiti,” says Loop Lonagan.  “Dat’s where Jonelis is.  Them guys at Heartland Angels oughta know.”

Speaking strictly for myself, I see no excuse for a man like Lonagan and place no weight on his opinions.  I may fire him—I have not yet decided.  After all, Jonelis ain’t here.  He announced a sabbatical and disappeared.  That is correct, sir!  I am in charge!  That is my hat on the hook.  Those are my boots resting on the WWII Air Force desk.  I will take this opportunity to exercise my power as I see fit.  Any fool that criticizes my splendid white suit or magnificent mustache may face instant dismissal!

“I dunno….”  Big Bill Blair’s deep bass rattles the desk drawers.  Mark T Wayne 2“I bet Mr. Jonelis is just…I mean prob’ly just…just holed up someplace on a binge.  That’s duh way I’d play it.  I mean with a bottle and a broad—”  Bill stops, puts his huge hand across his mouth, lazy eyes locked on Janet Case—the only woman in the room.  Perhaps Bill is experimenting for the first time with some form of deep thought.  Then he seems to come to a decision:  “Well he’s just holed up, see?”  He sets his jaw.  I consider it providence that he does not utter any more lewd speculation.  Even a giant must take account of the moral sensibilities of others.

Bill is so big we built a special chair for him out of packing crates and lumber.  It keeps him in one place.  Better that than permit him to roam the office like a rogue elephant, knocking over boxes and squashing feet.  It is true, there is plenty of space in the back room of Ludditis Shots & Beer, but Bill is a large and powerful man and rather clumsy.  Perhaps this is not your plush corner office but while I’m in charge, I insist on keeping it neat!

Albert EinsteinDonatas Ludditis breaks out in a big Lithuanian grin.  “I take sabbatical too, some day.  On yacht maybe—all alone.  Ride ocean waves.  Snooze away in peace.  Fight sudden squalls.  Fish for meals.” He sighs happily and settles back.   “Is good.  I think Yonn think same way as me.”  I grant Ludditis his opinion.   He owns this bar and is technically our magazine’s landlord, but at his age, I would advise him to consider that trip right quick.

The sweetest part of my new situation is that Jim Kren, the insufferable toady, remains Assistant Editor.  Now he is my toady—mine, I say!

“Jonelis isn’t the yachting type—he’s a pilot,”  Kren says peevishly, then points to a photograph hanging from a nail, depicting John’s yellow Stearman biplane in flight.  “He always talked about making a flight across the Atlantic.  That’s what he’s doing now.”


“In that crate?”  Lonagan grabs the photo and studies it closely.  “Where’s he gonna store the extra fuel?”

A feminine voice cuts the air.  “Strike the airplane.  What kind of idiot would cross the ocean in an open cockpit during winter?  The only place to refuel between here and the British Isles is Reykjavik, Iceland.”  This is Janet Case talking, a professional correspondent that Jonelis hired prior to leaving.  She slips off her horn rimmed glasses and speaks in precise diction.  “Put away the sailboat.  John gets violently seasick.  You can forget about Tahiti, too.  I happen to know he won’t be caught dead on a beach.”

Ludditis Shots and Beer

“Maybe it’s one o’ dem nude beaches.  I’d kinda like—”

“Lonagan!”  At my shout, he abruptly stops.  That man is execrable.  “Have the decency to let the lady speak.” 

Janet inspects Lonagan from a distance, as she might a fungus growing in an unexpected place.  “That’s ridiculous.  The man can’t tan.  Twenty minutes in the sun and he’d fry to a crisp.  Ugh!  What a repulsive thought!  I regret bringing it up.”

I shudder at the image as well.  A fully exposed over-plump torso, red as a rotting apple crawling with flies.  Intolerable!

Lonagan plunges into further speculation and the others add their opinions in rapid fire:  mark twain collection“Maybe he’s opening a casino.  Hitchhiking the continent.  Climbing Everest.  Racing the Iditarod.  Spearfishing for Great Whites…”  The room is loud with the shouting of opinions.

For my part, I can think of no better sabbatical than rafting the Mississippi.  Knowing John, I figure he’s in a comfortable houseboat or cabin cruiser, swaddled in a comfortable chair, sipping a hot coffee, reading the collected works of America’s greatest author.

Perhaps one day we will know the truth.   ■


Photos of bar by John Jonelis.  Stearman from Wikipedia.  Others public domain.

Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link. This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.

.Copyright © 2015 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved


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Filed under alcholics, angel, angel capital, angel investor, Big Corporations, big money, Bill Blaire., Bums, Characters, Chicago Ventures, Conflict, Donatas Ludditis, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Heartland Angels, investor, loop lonagan, Mark T Wayne, vc, venture capital


Canada 2014-8843ATas told by Mark T Wayne

Danger and deprivation make up the joys of any wilderness expedition. Have you ever heard an adventurer speak of anything else? I have not, sir! Our bold band is bound for a rare excursion! Today, we hope to try our mettle against the Canadian Wild!

I wake early in a Winnipeg hotel eagerly anticipating the last leg of the trip to our remote outpost. To my disgust, this day again serves up low clouds, fog, and thunderclappers chasing in from the northwest. Time is running thin. If we cannot reach our destination today, we must return home, tails between our legs, helpless victims to the evil of modern air transport. So far, our party has lost two souls and a full day of fishing! We will not tolerate any more delays!

Bad news! Winnipeg International Airport is closed due to the perils of nature! I expect we will remain in this teaming metropolis until the weather lifts and we return to Chicago, discouraged, demoralized, and none the wiser.

Jonelis gets on the horn. I hear the name Loren Bukkett uttered and then John cuts the connection and announces he has arranged a flight! My esteem for the man moves up an inch—a mistake as events will reveal.

Mark T Wayne

A shiny new van arrives to haul eight hearty survivors to our bush plane. Bill Blair immediately crawls to the roof of the vehicle—a surface large enough to accommodate his enormous torso—and lies down for an opportune nap. We run a couple straps across his midsection, just as a precaution and the rain holds off, allowing Blaire a peaceful sleep all the way to the floatplane. His rhythmic rumble elicits rude hilarity from one-and-all. To appreciate the fidelity of his snore, one must grasp the scale of the man. Call him the Paul Bunyan of Chicago.

One wonders how a pontoon plane will break water with such a giant aboard.

That question becomes a matter of serious financial speculation among our rowdy crew. But Jonelis smiles knowingly and refuses to indulge in the wager. I admire integrity in an expedition leader. A gentleman never bets on a sure thing. And his refusal portends foreknowledge! Vision! On the other hand, he booked this trip and actually may know precisely what to expect.

I will outline the plan as I understand it: A bush plane will insert us deep in the Canadian Wilds. Our destination is 500 miles north of Winnipeg—far north of Musky habitat—a land where the ferocious Northern Pike gets its name and grows to prodigious proportions. No towns. No roads. Nothing but Jack Pine, Birch and Big Lakes for hundreds of miles! That is right sir! Our magazine staff is headed for a fishing excursion in the lake country of Northern Manitoba and maybe—just maybe we will survive the journey.

Pontoon Plane - Flintaero


Friends experienced in this sort of travel give me to know that it will require as many as three Cessna floatplanes and two fuel stops to haul the lot of us to such a remote locale. We will slowly wallow through the sky, each plane well over legal weight with barrels reeking of gasoline and cases of beer serving as passenger seats. Such a trip requires the entire day. We arrive near dark, our guts puked out, refusing food and barely able to walk.

I ruminate on the veracity of this horror story and whether our plane will make three trips, when our van abruptly stops at a private strip beside a neat King Air—the most lavish of executive turboprops—tricked out in soft leather seats. When Jonelis borrows an airplane, he does the job right!

This is his friend’s craft, but John betrays that it is essentially identical to one the lodge charters. Apparently, such luxurious transportation is the norm at outposts so far north.

Canada 2014-8863

Someone forgot to fit this plane with pontoons. After we untie Blaire from the roof of the van and jar him awake, I inquire.

Turns out, the typical floatplane route is impractical for such vast distances. Our outpost actually carved out a landing strip in the rugged forest, quarried their own gravel, and used the trees to build cabins. That is raw determination, sir! Perhaps in the lower States we have forgotten but the frontier spirit still lives in the North Woods!

This plane comfortably accommodates all eight of us—and by removing two seats, even Bill Blaire settles in without difficulty. He uses a convenient luggage tie-down in lieu of a seatbelt. This is real flying as originally intended. SPEED—wonderful SPEED is the order of the day, just as it was in the glory days of aviation. No execrable lines. No officious and probing security! No ground delay or gnashing of teeth! This ain’t Chicago, Mr. Mayor!

Rather than a full day, this trip will take under an hour and a half! We will be on the water and fishing by 10:00 this very morning! We are getting closer to heaven!

Bush Pilot

I have been told that I will meet a crazed bush pilot—one such as Brian Dennehy—Rosie from the motion picture NEVER CRY WOLF.

A Bush pilot’s job may seem dangerous to American sensibilities, but flight in the wilderness requires a combination of skill, intrepid resourcefulness, and dauntless courage lacking in our unionized flight crews and their innumerable regulations.

No pilot appears.

Jonelis hands a magnum of Grant’s whiskey to the vile Loop Lonagan, and while our group passes the bottle and indulges in coarse jokes and raucous laughter, my suspicions start acting up: How is it that our plane will depart when those at a major international airport do not?

Canada 2014-8091A

Once Jonelis sees us securely strapped in our seats, he personally slips into the cockpit and dons a set of headphones. I take that to mean only one thing!

No bush pilot is crazy enough to make the journey in this weather!

My instinct for survival goes into full panic mode. With wisdom born of a long life, I fumble with my seatbelt. I wish to disembark this flying coffin—IMMEDIATELY!

My hands shake and over my loud objections—before I can set myself free—the props are spinning!

Canada 2014-8852A

With no other airplane in sight, we immediately take off into the gloom!

I am now closer to Paradise than my original intention! Reversed is my strong aversion to all those meticulous safety procedures at O’Hare Field! I now favor the other side of the argument!

Dark cloud cover swallows us. Violent turbulence throws me about in the seat and I tighten my belt so as not to violently strike my head on the roof of the cabin.

Jonelis’ mad voice oozes from overhead speakers as if this were any other day. He speaks in that slow confident drawl common to all pilots. “This is your captain speaking. Due to favorable tailwinds, we will reach our destination at zero nine hundred. Please keep your seatbelts fastened in case of turbulence. In the event of a low ceiling at or destination, we will divert to Thompson.”

Canada 2014-8112A

Presently we dive then level off. Then without warning, we break free of the clouds. Our “pilot” has discovered smoother air, and indeed, the rugged ride abates—somewhat. I glimpse views of wilderness scenery.

Then that insanely calm voice again: “You may move about the cabin. Refreshments are located in the box at seat 2B. Please keep your belts fastened while seated.”

I crouch low and squeeze down the aisle to the front, where I help myself to delightfully hot coffee, a pleasant breakfast of Egg McMuffins, and five tiny bottles of Jack Daniels Sour Mash. I squirrel these treasures in my pockets and hold the rest tight to my chest as I return crabwise to my seat.

Canada 2014-8108A

While the rest of the passengers continue their wild celebration, oblivious to the danger, I speculate on the lunatic at the controls. Does he know how to land this thing?

In the space of an agonizing hour, Jonelis is circling.

Outside the little window, I spot an airstrip. Is it the right one?

As the madman shoots the approach, the aircraft again bucks and yaws like a bull at a rodeo and I spill sour mash across my fine white suit. A roaring wells up in my ears, and my head aches.

I utter my final prayers.

Canada 2014-8107


Go to next installment – FISH STORY

Back to beginning – ROUGHING IT


Photography by John Jonelis. except for Mark T Wayne, Patrick Dennehy from Tail Slate, and Pontoon Plane from FlintAero

Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link. This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.

.Copyright © 2014 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved



Filed under alcholics, big money, Bill Blaire., Canada, Characters, chicago, city, Innovation, Innovation and Culture, Invention, investor, loop lonagan, Mark T Wayne, new companies, The City


Glass_of_whiskyLoop Lonagan and John Jonelis

“I still sez he ain’t nothin but a well-dressed snake oil salesman. Too smooth. Too articulate. Voice too modjoo—madju—modulated. Guy shows up with FOURTEEN team members then hogs the whole show fer hisself. And that video with Joan London—” Then Loop Lonagan shakes his head and mutters under his breath. “Maybe it’s the flowing white hair. Kinda like the guy sold me my first car.”

Dr. Frank W Gibson

Dr. Frank W Gibson – CEO

“What do you want?”  I ask him.  “Should he speak street slang and dress like a bum?  I think he did a professional job of representing his company.” 

We’re at our corporate offices in the backroom of Ludditis Shots & Beer, fresh from a BNC Venture Capital meeting.  Loop’s boots are resting on my battered WWII Air Force desk and his Bull Terrier, Clamps, sleeps under my desk. “Face facts, Loop. Avantcare is solving the alcohol and nicotine addiction problem, and they’re doing it with a natural product. I think Sobrexa is the real deal.”

Clamps sleeping

“Bullshit. They went herbal just ‘cause that don’t take no FDA approval.”

I slide the bottle of REDBREAST across the desk with a tumbler, just to be polite, and he sits up and pours till the whiskey reaches the rim. “I think you’re missing a few pieces.” I say, trying to sound reasonable. “How many times did you duck out of the meeting for a fresh beer?  Let’s take it apart.  Addiction is a terrible thing.  Fact:  Their success rate is three times higher than anything out there.”

REDBREAST Irish Whiskey TLoop slams his tumbler down and Whiskey sloshes across the desktop. “Prove it,” he says. “All them herbal remedies is like that. Who knows what works and what don’t? The burden o’ proof is a hellavalot lower than what ya gotta do fer a real drug. Then there’s always some moron believes in it and says it works.” 

As far as I’m concerned, Loop’s full of bunk, so I’m ready to debate him.  Maybe he’ll even take a swing at me—you can never tell. “Apparently it actually does—work, I mean. Look at all those independent studies. Craving fades in three weeks. After 8 weeks, you’re done. The addiction is killed.”

Loop just sneers.  “Maybe it’s the patient gets killed.”

“C’mon Loop. Nobody gets away with that stuff anymore.”  And as far as I know, nobody does.  Health food stores are staffed by highly trained nutritionists and quack cures get shouted down all over the internet. “Consider this:  Alcoholism is now officially a disease.  With the new health care laws, who knows? Doctors could be writing scripts for Sobrexa pretty soon.”

Avantcare Artwork

Seems like a state-of-the-art therapy to me. “Look, it changes the neurophysiology of the body and brain and it’s response to alcohol and nicotine. It works on the neurotransmitters that cause the addiction in the first place. ” I stop talking because Loop is shaking his head and pointing his finger at me like he’s taking aim.

“So does Prozac,” he says.  “Nobody’s changing da neuro—nooru—da physique o’ my brain.” He downs his tumbler of the Irish whiskey and it occurs to me that alcohol may not be the only mood-altering drug he’s experienced in his lifetime. The way he packs away the hooch, maybe this Sobrexa is just what he needs. “Whadaya see that I don’t ?”  he says.

I settle back in my chair. “Money! It’s like this: Asking an alcoholic to stop drinking or a smoker to stop smoking without any help is like asking a man with a broken leg to run a mile.”

“So what?”

Loop seems to be getting more and more unreasonable.  I stop and consider another approach. “There’s a story about a guy that complained about Sobrexa. Said he couldn’t stand the smell of pot any more since he started the treatment. So what was his beef? All he wanted to cut back on was his alcohol abuse.”Avantcare 1

A wheezing laugh escapes from Loop and pretty soon he’s all smiles, so I keep hammering at him.

“Don’t you realize there’s 15 million untreated alcoholics that won’t even admit they’re sick? Avantcare LogoWho wants detox on his permanent electronic medical record? This company figured out that anonymity is the key to driving sales, so you can buy it right on an e-commerce site—nobody the wiser. That’s huge!  65% of customers click and buy. 9% provide personal information. 15% of chats result in a sale. One out of four phone calls ends in a sale.”

Loop drains his tumbler. “Pass me over summore o’ dat Pink Tit.”

I wince at the popular Irish moniker and slide the bottle across. He refills his glass, then holds it up to the light. “Been meanin’ to cut back. Maybe I’ll give that Sudoku stuff a try.”

“Sobrexa.”  Sheesh—I just made a sale! If it’s that easy, maybe those hockey stick projections actually make sense.

Let’s talk about the Glass Mountain Capital.”

Loop gives me a double-take. “Who—da leg breakers? Sure why not?”

“They’re not enforcers, Loop. This company turns bill collection into a science.”Glass Mountain logo

“Whadaya talkin’ about? You call da guy ‘n’ either he pays er else.”

That gets a laugh out of me. Nowadays, bill collectors have to comply with CFPB rules – that’s the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. No strong-arm stuff allowed. It just puts a stain on the industry anyway so this is a new approach. “You’ve got it all wrong, Loop.  This is debt collection without harassment. Treating people with dignity and respect. Protecting the reputation of the brand you represent.”

You mean you can’t call up some deadbeat and threaten his cat er somethin’?  How d’ya get any leverage over da guy?”

Anthony Nuzzo of Glass Mountain Capital 300

Anthony Nuzzo – CEO

I lean my head back in my hands and grin. “Analytics. They monitor everything and record every collection call, then analyze the data. Say they get 100,000 accounts. They use technology to figure out which ones are collectible and put all their resources on those. Then they match the right collector with the right consumer for a good outcome. That way, they collect more with less.”

Loop lets out a snort. “I ain’t convinced.  You done?”

“No. These guys are way ahead of the curve.  They safeguard data for the client as well as the customer. They’re real careful to stay in compliance. That’s good for everybody.”

“John, you ain’t makin’ no sale here yet.”

Glass Mountain artwork

“Okay, try this: While their competitors are going belly-up, these guys are growing fast. US Bank called them—not the other way around. They expect 80 Billion in collectibles by the end of the month and on average earn 4.25% of that.”

Loop sits up straight in his chair. He’s done the calculation. I always enjoy seeing that look of avarice transform his face when that happens.





Photo credits—Avantcare, Glass Mountain Capital, Tektite Group




Glass Mountain Capital

BNC Venture Capital

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau


Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link . This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.

.Copyright © 2013 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved



Filed under alcholics, angel, angel capital, angel investor, big money, BNC Venture Capital, Characters, Chicago Ventures, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship and Politics, Innovation, Innovation and Culture, Invention, investor, loop lonagan, pitch, vc, venture capital