Category Archives: Bill Blaire.

KIDNAPPED

Clamps and Bone TBy Mark T. Wayne

Weeks have passed since my last conscious memory.  Weeks, I say!  A man can lose his hat and perhaps even his pants, but to lose several weeks is inexcusable.  Think what mischief might transpire over such a span of time!

I find myself crammed in the back seat of a slow moving vehicle on an unfamiliar and crowded freeway.  How did I get here?  I know the date by the prominent display on that infernal wireless device issued me by my employer.

Big Beefy Bill Blaire the Giant and Jim Kren the Toady occupy the front.  Neither accosts me with the usual raucous humor or churlish inquiry.  Perhaps they assume I still sleep peacefully. I resolve to surreptitiously conduct an investigation on the mobile internet.

Not a single message from Jonelis since he left.  The man must still be on sabbatical—in Israel, I think.  He left me in charge of this yellow rag of a journal and nobody has heard a peep from him since that day. That, sir is not good for troop morale.  Men will lose their discipline under such circumstances.  My last memory is a wild party at our offices behind Ludditis Shots & Beer.  I recall watching that execrable Lonogan fellow crack open another bottle of vintage Scotch and pour it into a dish for his trusty bull terrier, Clamps.

Now I sit in this automobile with no memory of circumstances since that time.

Mark T Wayne

Bill Blaire, the Paul Bunyan of Chicago, grips the mangled steering wheel of this automobile with his sausage-sized fingers.  That man knows how to fill space.  His head protrudes through a hole in the ceiling colloquially known as the sunroof.  The driver’s seat jams against the back, clearly off its rails.  Big Bill blocks any view to that side, but at least I feel secure in the knowledge that he is comfortable and in full control of the vehicle.

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Where Are We?

Kren gesticulates wildly at an overhead sign.  A glance reveals the surprising fact that we are driving away from Newark Airport toward the Holland Tunnel.  I have no recollection of the flight and from his plaintive squawks, I am given to understand that he does not wish to go in that direction.

I consider the possibilities and grit my teeth.

Perhaps we are running from the law.  I steel myself with the thought that whatever damning evidence comes forward at our trial, even if I gain back my personal memory of it, we can blame Jonelis for everything that has transpired.

Perhaps the magazine staff has kept me in a drug-induced coma all these weeks to accomplish some foul purpose yet to play out at an undisclosed but diabolical destination.  Even now, they run rampant down the public highway, my helpless body in the back of their car, kidnapped!

I stop this line of thought because there is no profit in such dire speculation, I choose to assume we are indulging in a sightseeing excursion.  I will enjoy the view.  Here we are in New Jersey and it is a fine day!  And such scenery, sir!  If I remain very quiet, those two may let me alone to enjoy it.

Yes, scenic wonders hold a peculiar attraction for me.  I will cross any wasteland on horseback, donkey, or camel and sleep in a tent to catch a glimpse of a marker of dubious historical import.  Travel in this comfortable little automobile seems a luxury by comparison to other excursions I have expounded upon in my writing.

We cross a high bridge fringed by a continuous line of blowing garbage.  I take that as the source of New Jersey’s fertile moniker, The Garden State.  The vista features a spectacle of belching smokestacks along with the other evidence of this nation’s industrial might, stretching all the way to the horizon.  I am in awe, sir!  Awe, I say!

Smokestacks

The two in front are still unaware that I have aroused from my slumber.

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Wireless Travel

We escape the Holland Tunnel and exit to Staten Island.  I receive my first clue to the real points of interest in the area. The sign directs us to Freshkills Park, New York.

Freshkills!  Every muscle pulls taught as I consider the possible motives for a destination with such a name.  But no—I quickly recover my equilibrium.  We are probably bound for some historic battlefield from the Civil War.  Lacking a travel guide, I turn again to my infernal device to consult Google, the fount of all modern knowledge.

My search reveals alarming locales such as Arthur Kill and Kill Van Kull.  According to Wikipedia, these are bodies of water separating Staten Island from New Jersey.  Also listed are Dutch Kills, English Kills, Bronx Kill.

Here I see references to the Whorekill River and the Murderkill River.  Who can explain such rude use of the English language?  I live in a city known far-and-wide as the murder capital of the world, but we have no such violent names associated with our waterways.  I believe I can travel to foreign lands and experience less culture shock!

My interest in this excursion is piqued and I cling to the hope of keeping these revelations alive in my mind.  Now that recent events have proven my memory faulty, I write everything down.

Further investigation reveals that Kill as a corruption of the Dutch word for creek.  I look up English Kills and find it feeds into Newtown Creek, an estuary that separates Brooklyn and Queens.  Wikipedia identifies that important waterway as the most polluted industrial site in the country, containing decades of discarded toxins, thirty million gallons of oil, raw sewage from New York City, arsenic, cesium-137, and polychlorinated biphenyls.  I leave the definitions of those ominous titles to your imagination.  The main point is the anthropological significance.  Yes sir!  It helps explain various behaviors and escapades the citizens perform in this area of the country.

But I believe we are headed for Freshkills Park.  I punch that name into the infernal device.

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The Park

What one can learn on the internet is staggering!  I say it again—staggering!  Freshkills Park is a 2,200 acre site—twice the size of Central Park.  Long before ecologists corrected our opinions of such property, the area was deemed an undesirable swamp.  Those were wilder days when intrepid men did not shrink from massive and daring exploits.  In 1947, the city began to improve the place by filling it in.

Their ingenuity gained admiration from municipalities everywhere.  This was the main destination of those daily barges of Manhattan refuse—barges that apparently did not always dump their cargos at sea, as other cities in the world do.  Why, with twenty barges a day, each loaded with 650 tons of material, this landfill has become the largest man-made structure in the world!  The Empire State boasted that it would one fine day become the highest point on the East Coast!  Consider that colossal achievement, sir!

Artist's Conception - Wikipedia

Artist’s Conception – Freshkills Park – courtesy Wikipedia

What better landfill material than garbage?  Garbage is the single biggest commodity produced by man!  It is readily available and inexpensive.  People actually pay their city haul it away!  Now, with merely another twenty years of planning and many billions of taxpayer dollars, this dump will become the second-largest park in New York City!  I call that progress!

I address the individual sitting ahead of me in my magnificent baritone.  “Mr. Kren,” I pause for effect. “Did you bring the camera?”

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The Awful Truth

The man looks back at me and drops his jaw.  “Yer awake!”  He punches the giant.  “He’s awake!  Hey Blaire, Mr. Wayne’s awake!”

Just then we turn into the Staten Island University Hospital.  I sense the worst.  Running my hands through every pocket, I fail to turn up my pistol.  There is no taser app installed on my infernal device.  I am entirely at the mercy of these men and whatever foul operation they intent to perform at this institution.

Big Bill pulls to a stop at the curb.  His door creaks loudly and he extricates his head from the open sunroof.  Then he smiles at me, wide enough to display the gaps in his dental work, and utters in a deep, slow rumble, “Hi…Mister…Waaaayne.  Hope…yer…feelin’…oh…kay.”

They wheel me into the clinic and Kren explains the circumstances to the doctor who is apparently some relative of the execrable Lonagan.  I sit aghast at the account of the staff party—my last memory of home—Clamps happily lapping up good Scotch from his dog bowl and I, innocently reaching down to scratch the coarse fur behind his ear when he abruptly lifts his massive head—

Clamps & Bone

Have you ever been clocked on the jaw by an 85 pound bull terrier?  The dog means no harm and I understand it’s a common enough occurrence among those that own the breed but there is nothing to recommend the practice.  No sir!  I cannot recommend it!

read SABBATICAL

Mark T. Wayne is acting managing editor of Chicago Venture Magazine.

Photo Credits – Wikipedia, MS Word, John Jonelis

Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com 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 angel, angel investor, App, Bill Blaire., Characters, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, loop lonagan, Mark T Wayne, Mobile, vc, venture capital, wireless internet

SABBATICAL

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.”

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

“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.   ■

read ROUGHING IT

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

Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com 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

A LOOP LONAGAN CHRISTMAS

Clamps Portrait TJohn Jonelis

This is outrageous.  I’m concentrating on my computer screen when a huge mitt grabs me by the back of the belt and plucks me from my chair.  Next thing I’m dangled high over the desk, arms and legs flailing till I steady my balance and end up nose-to-nose with Big Bill Blair, our urban Paul Bunyan.

“‘Scuse me, Mr. Jonelis,” he says in a slow polite rumble that carries with it a stale smell of corned beef and cigar.

Big Bill slowly chews gum. Looks disinterested.  Acts like nothing’s unusual.

I know he once terrorized jobsites for Boilermaker Local 1, but he’s supposed to be tame now—supposed to be working for me.  Cripes, I even took him fishing this summer!  Yet this guy just reaches across my big WWII Air Force desk and picks me up as if I were a gum wrapper.

Canada 2014-8592p Bill Blaire SMALL A

Fishing with Big Bill Blaire

Abduction at Gunpoint

He turns his lazy gaze to the side. “Whaddayuh want I should do with ‘im, Mr. Lonagan?”

“What else?  Bring ‘im with.  Think yuh can handle ‘im all by yerself er what?”  I turn to see Loop Lonagan holding a huge Glock, giving the orders.  What is this?  Some kind of magazine mutiny?

Bill tucks me under an arm and we swoop out of the office (in the back room of Ludditis Shots ‘n Beer) and into the main dining area.  Between the pool tables, I see Alexander Harbinger, Mark T Wayne and Jim Kren tucking away potato pancakes while Donatas Ludditis polishes the bar.  Nobody glances our way.

ludditis-shots-and-beer-500

My Office

“Hey!  Look sharp!  Youse guys is all comin’ with me NOW!”  Loop makes menacing gestures with the oversized automatic.

First I see four sets of jaws hang wide.  Next they’re lined up behind us.  We move out to the street.

I scan for police.

Nothing.  Loop’s wagging that big pistol around and still nothing.  This is Chicago.

Like any ordinary citizen, I’m feeling a mite indignant by now and I jab an elbow into a tender place.  Bill doubles over and drops me to the cold concrete pavement.  Not wasting any time, I scramble to my feet and glare a challenge at Loop.  “What the—”

He puts two fingers to my lips.  “I’m warnin’ yuh John, don’t start up with me.   I had it up to here!” 

I pause a moment, tantalized by the thought that a clue to this madness might be forthcoming.

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A Clue to the Madness

The others crowd around, probably hoping for a fight while Loop keeps talking.  “Been plannin’ this shindig fer months ‘n’ nobody shows up.  Not a one!  Even set it a week early so nobody’s got an excuse.  My brother Boyle—” Loop’s voice alternates from angry to one pinched in mockery.  “—He’s settin’ up trains for Little Sean.  My sister Bridgett—she finally got an appointment with that oh-so-special hair dresser.  And Brianna ‘n’ her crowd all caught some kinda bug—‘n’ they’s so-so considerate and don’t wanna get me sick.  And Grandma ‘n’ Grandpa Lonagan—they’s way-way too tired after all that shopping.”   

He’s suddenly serious.  “Then my new gal Irene and her family o’ forty cancel out.  That finally sets me off.  I’m tellin’ yuh, da table’s all set—lotsa wine, sixteen waiters, da works.  More fancy food than you can eat in a month.  You guys is all invited!  Wanna come?”  

I’m stunned to silence. Do we want to come?  To a Loop Lonagan Christmas party?  I picture the sumptuous feast waiting for us and my mouth waters!  Hell yes we all want to come! Besides, everybody knows how important this is to Loop.  He cashed in millions and millions on that big deal and for months he’s been planning this huge event.  And now his lousy miserable family—many that he probably supports, the ungrateful louts—they let him down at Christmastime, the poor sweet guy.  And we haven’t seen his new penthouse yet, either.  Sure, we’re all eager to oblige!  A little thing like kidnapping can’t stand in the way of friendship!  (Such is the state of my rationalization.)

Loop abruptly moves down the street.  Blaire herds us along like sheep, but Ludditis, Wayne, Harbinger and Kren all follow grinning at one to another.  This is gonna be good.

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Man on the Street

Mark T WayneThe line abruptly halts.  Loop is talking to a street bum and I move up to hear.  “…Big Bubba?  Great!” says Loop, “and Old Man Percy?  Yeah, he can come along too.”  Then he sees me standing close.  “John, this is Fred.  I told you he’d be an asset to the magazine.  That was a long time ago and it looks like yuh missed yer chance.  He accepted the post as my personal sekertary.”  Fred shakes my hand while Loop keeps talking.  “Fred here rounded up some o’ my old street friends and a couple I ain’t met yet.”  Loop is smiling now.  “And I got Lonny and Lucile to come.  They run that terrific diner.  And Kate and Lafonda, too—they been workin’ at that joint forever.”  Loop spreads his arms in an expansive gesture.  “That makes Sixteen!  We yank all them extra spacers outa da table and it’ll be just right!  There’s gonna be one waiter fer every guest!”

Then he waves an arm.  A bright red stretch Hummer—it must be fifty feet long—slides to the curb sideways with the sound of squealing brakes and tires.  A fine, fat Santa Claus sits behind the wheel.  I think he’s smiling.  A tall, distinguished-looking man in a bowler hat steps out and holds the side door open in a deferential and inviting manner.

Naturally, we all pile in.

Some go straight for the car bar.  I sit back and watch.  Turns out the bowler hat’s name is Meadows—Loop’s new butler.  Loop hands him the Glock, which instantly disappears in his tailored coat.  I wonder how many other weapons he carries in there.

Along the way we stop and pick up various individuals and soon arrive in full celebration at a swank high rise with a view of Lake Michigan.

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Loop Lonagan’s Penthouse

Santa opens a door and we spill out like Cheerios from a cereal box except there’s nothing uniform about us.  I wonder if they’ll even allow us in this place.  True, Loop is wearing a suit that easily cost $2,000 or more and Meadows is impeccable.  Alexander Harbinger always looks distinguished and Mark T. Wayne might get away with his white flannels.  But Lonny and his crew came straight from work at the diner.  That guy still wears a greasy apron over a greasy undershirt.  Then there’s Fred and his friends Big Bubba, old man Percy, and a couple of guys named Pete and Eugene—right off the street.  And of course, Ludditis and me—I’ll leave that to your imagination.

A doorman wearing shoulder boards opens the huge glass entrance and stands at attention.  He doesn’t blink an eye as we file past.  Loop leads us to an elevator.  “This one’s mine,” he says.  The door opens to his key.

It whisks us straight to the penthouse.

Clamps and Bone 500

Clamps

It’s a strange feeling stepping off an elevator directly into somebody’s living room.  Clamps, an 85-pound bull terrier, enthusiastically greets each of us in turn, then disappears somewhere in the recesses of the room, tail wagging.  Turns out, Loop’s condo is the size of a furniture store.  A fifteen-foot-tall Christmas tree graces the room with thousands of tiny white lights and the most amazing collection of individual Christmas ornaments.  It’s flanked by piles of wrapped gifts.  Somewhere off to the side, a Swing band plays loud and lively carols.  Two blondes staff the bar and in no time, we’re all lounging on leather sofas singing along or listening to Mark T. Wayne tell ridiculous stories.  Old Man Percy sleeps in his chair.

Football Santa 500

Football Santa

Putting up my feet, I lean back to enjoy the music for a while.  Waiters rotate among the crowd balancing trays stacked with tall stems and tiny plates.  Ludditis cracks walnuts with his biceps.  He does that any time he gets a chance.  Harbinger is the only one who sits military-straight, a plate balanced on a thigh, a shot of schnapps held between two fingers.

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The Christmas Bash

Then a gorgeous buxom blonde, wrapped in a white towel, peeks out a door, bending low to best advantage.  In a heavy Swedish accent, she beckons to us.  Fred immediately floats toward her.  I’m thinking that guy’s pretty quick on the uptake.  Loop leans a hand on my shoulder.  “Hilda gives real good Swedish massages,” he says.  “And dis place’s got five hot tubs, all staffed.”

I look around and some of the other guests have already left to take advantage of the amenities.

The band plays Glenn Miller’s In the Mood.  Lonny and Lucile, now changed to formal attire, dance and they soon work up an enthusiastic jitterbug.  Kate surprises everybody by nicely filling out a slinky evening gown, bare back, neckline plunged to the waist, and Ludditis sweeps her away even if she’s sixty years younger.  They can cut a rug, too.  Lafonda, still in her waitress uniform, tugs Big Bill to the dance floor.  They make a good couple—she’s nearly tall enough for him, and certainly adequate in girth.

FREE SAMPLES - VODKA OR GIN 500

Open Bar

I’m polishing off my third round of spiced eggnog-and-cognac, when Fred emerges from the bedroom scrubbed clean, looking relaxed from his massage, wearing a big grin and a dark Hart Shaffner Marx suit.  If he’s Lonagan’s new secretary, he looks the part and then some.  After another eggnog, Big Bubba plops down beside me, decked out in spanking new Carhartts and smelling like a flower garden.  Amazing Loop had anything on hand big enough to fit him.  Eugene shows up in camo pants and an Eddie Bauer chamois shirt.  Loop says he can get these guys on the Bears roster.  If not—he just shrugs.

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Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth

Now Hilda and the other Swedish bombshells are packing the elevator, followed by a squad of haberdashers wheeling racks of clothing.

Pete sits with his drink, scrunched up, looking sour and desperately filthy.  Einstein 6bFor some reason, Donatas Ludditis is angry with the guy, and he’s waving his powerful arms in wild gesticulations.  Then the shouting starts.  “You not want Swedish massage?” says Ludditis.  “Why you not say?  Why you not give this old man a chance?  Now is too late!  Look, they all go!”

Pete utters a viscous curse and Ludditis gives it back double.  That cuts it and they’re at each other with bare knuckles.

In an amazing display of athletic prowess, Meadows grabs each by the shirt collar and hustles them to the elevator for its next trip down.  That accomplished, he brushes his hands and coughs by way of getting our attention, then announces, “Dinner is served.”

Old Man Percy jogs awake.

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The Feast

We file into a baronial dining room.  Loop must’ve scrounged the wood paneling from the Potter Palmer mansion.  The table is huge with delicately carved legs, fat as tree trunks—the sideboard enormous—the artwork of questionable taste and probably not fit for polite company.  I will not describe it here.

We sit down to an elegant setting, a waiter stationed behind each chair.  Loop asks me to pray and I do.  I thank the Lord for our meal, our companionship, and ask him to give everybody here the guts to rely on the One who paid it all because none of us will make it on our own steam.  Lonagan is already fidgeting.  Kren is clearly perturbed.  A couple others look uncomfortable.  But there are those at the table who echo my Amen.

Then the food comes and keeps coming.  Pheasant, Duck, Goose with dressing and potatoes.  Wine and exotic fruit.  All the trimmings.  This is game harvested by Lonagan himself.  Yes, he belongs to a fancy hunt club.  Owns it for all I know.

I’m happy to see Ludditis rejoin the party and we dig in with enthusiasm.   I ask him what happened and he gives me a cryptic response:  “He called plenty but chose few.”  He gives no other explanation, but the words sound familiar.

After huge helpings of mincemeat pie and ice cream, Loop sets out a mahogany box of cigars.  Fred taps a cigarette from a pack and three waiters snap expensive lighters to life.  I stagger out to the showroom and select a big soft couch for a nap.  Before I nod off, I hear Loop yell, “Presents everybody!”  The band strikes up again and brings me pleasant dreams.

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Overnight Guests

Late next morning, I say goodbye to Santa Claus and his long red Hummer.  All is well and I’m content.  And there’s still plenty of time to recover before for my family festivities get underway.  But the rest of that crowd keeps it going till after the New Year.

Deep in my heart I utter a silent, Merry Christmas to Loop Lonagan.

Ω

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For more on Loop Lonagan [click here]

Photography by John Jonelis except for Donatas Ludditis and Mark T Wayne

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Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com 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

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Filed under angel, angel capital, angel investor, big money, Bill Blaire., Bums, Characters, chicago, Chicago Venture Magazine, Chicago Ventures, Christmas, city, Derelicts, Donatas Ludditis, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Homeless, Innovation, Innovation and Culture, investor, sleeping on a sidewalk, the man with the twisted lip, vc, venture capital

INJURIES TREATED BADLY

Team Interval 7

by John Jonelis

Kids are dropping dead on the athletic field. Dead!  These are our kids—those highly cherished and precocious little brats, grades K-12.  Just a few years back we suffered a miserable year—120 deaths according to the Youth Sports Safety Alliance.  Here’s a huge problem waiting to get fixed.

I recall Coach Bodle from my high school years. “Hey kid,” he’d say, “Scrape yerself off da ground. Yuh got yer bell rung is all.  Shake it off!  Da team needs yuh.  Get back out there and gimme a hunert ‘n’ twenty percent!”  An inspiring speech.  Always got results.  Players knew the alternative.  During my moments of serious academic pursuit, I’d draw Coach Bodle in the margins of my textbook. The result always came out looking like the Frankenstein Monster.  This was a guy whose claim to fame was an ejection due to unnecessary roughness in a semi-pro football game.  But I made allowances for his furious temper.  Had no alternative.  Anyway, I figured the guy got his bell run too many times.

That was a different era. Nowadays coaching is a profession.  They know better.  The liability is huge.  People can go to jail.  Eighty percent of athletic injuries happen at the high school level.  Same old/same old doesn’t cut it and the demand for change rings powerful and loud.

Tonight I get to see Tyrre Burks, founder of Team Interval tell us what he proposes to do about it.

BNC 500

The Field of Play

Last time I saw Burks, he was winning the pitch competition at FFF here in Chicago. He probably deserved that win.  When a social entrepreneur presents his company well, he’s gonna get the nod.

But now we’re in the friendly confines of BNC Venture CapitalTeam Interval 3I don’t know if you ever had the pleasure, but month after month, BNC—short for Business Network Chicago—puts on the best show in town.  That is if you like personal confrontation and plenty of drama like I do.  If you want a chance to rake a budding entrepreneur over the coals.   If you enjoy watching grown men turn beet red with anger in their eagerness to ask probing business questions.  Oh yes, there’s always some smart guy that says, “Wait a sec. Go back three slides.  Where’d you get that number?”

The beauty of the system at BNC is Len Bland’s five magic questions. Answer all five and you’ve probably got a sound business plan.  Dazzling the throngs with pizzazz doesn’t cut it here.  You must address the tough stuff.  That keeps everybody in the room at attention because the crowd gets grilled on some of this too.

FFF 9-17-14 JAJ-2169e200The Q&A can get a bit hot. But tonight, through it all, Tyrre Burks remains poised.  Informed.  Confident.  Pretty much indomitable.  He’s tall, fit, and stands proud.  Somehow, the guy manages to seem humble about it too.  I guess professional sums it up.

And why not? This is a man that knows his business.  Burks played Pro Football—a career plagued with injuries—so he understands this problem on the personal level.  He teaches High School, so he knows the weaknesses in the current system.  I see passion, and passion gets results.  The man is on a mission bigger than himself—Full reporting of childhood sports injuries.  And he seems to know precisely how to make it happen.  As he unpacks his plan, I find myself hoping he’s right.

Team Interval 2

Lousy Records

The way we record injuries just stinks. Most go unreported.  Records are sketchy.  Team Interval 4Many teams don’t even hire trainers. Ambulances get called too late.  Disaster strikes and parents bite their nails waiting for information.

Here we are in the mobile information age, surrounded by advanced medical technology. So what do we do?  That’s right—we drop the ball.  Only 18% of sports injuries get documented at all.  Eighteen percent!  There’s no meaningful data from ages 8-18!  I don’t know about you, but statistics like those get my attention.

Consider it from the coach’s perspective. I think we can agree that nobody wants players dropping dead on the field of play.  Don’t you think a coach wants to know if a kid had five concussions since his Pop Warner days?  Or a heart problem?  You better believe it!  What about college programs?  Do you suppose a recruiter would like to review the childhood injury records for prospective scholarship athletes?  Well, d’ya think?

So how do we get that done?

Right here at BNC, Tyrre Burks is giving us his answer. Trainers will log the injuriesIf there’s no trainer on staff, then the coaches.  Trainers? Coaches?  That takes me by surprise and seems to raise the emotional level of the entire room.  Objections get raised right away.

FFF 9-17-14 JAJ-2168e500

How to Answer Stupid Questions

Bill Blaire once coached football and wrestling—till they politely asked him to leave. When he stands up to ask a question, his bulk blocks half the room.  His deep rumble rattles the light fixtures: “Dem coaches ain’t dumb,” he says with all sincerity.  “And reportin’ injuries is gonna turn out real dumb fer a coach.”   When asked to elaborate, he indicates in so many words that it opens a guy up to liability.

Team Interval 5Turns out, according to Tyrre Burks, the reality is just the opposite. Nobody wants to get sued.  That’s a huge incentive, especially for trainers and coaches today.  It occurs to me that reporting absolutely everything might just be the best CYA maneuver in the business.  And maybe Burks is right.  Given the tools to do it quickly and immediately, a coach will dutifully log every incident, if not for the player’s benefit, at least to protect the old career.

Sheldon Tommygun looks like he’s about to burst a blood vessel and he finally gets called to speak. “An athletic staff,” he says in his incongruously cultured voice, “isn’t qualified to make a medical diagnosis.”

Turns out, when you think about it, any trainer, any coach knows when a player gets his bell rung or hurts a knee. When follow-up is required, the doctor’s diagnosis will appear on the athlete’s and the school’s records. Mission accomplished.  Burks predicts that we’re moving to legislation to mandate this in 48 months.  If that happens, there’ll be a land grab for the data.  And don’t forget the goal—to save over a hundred lives a year.

Janet Case used to teach school and I’ve been after her to write for this journal. “Coaches are disinclined to fill out detailed injury reports,” she says with admirable precision.  “They are overworked and ill-equipped to carry out such a function.  How do you turn an onerous task into an immediate action?”  Yeah—that’s the question on everybody’s mind, but maybe not quite in those words.

Turns out it’s a simple pictorial interface. FFF 9-17-14 JAJ-2178e200All a coach or trainer needs to do is whip out his phone or tablet and highlight an area of the body where the injury occurred, and add a voice memo.  The system instantly alerts all the right people from parents to administrators to ambulance and doctors.  It’s tied to an electronic tracking system that organizes the records and documents.  This is the first universal health record system for athletic injuries.  Coaches can make informed decisions about the status of individual players and the injuries that accumulate in other sports.  Administrators get a birds-eye view of the health of all their athletes and can analyze trends and re-direct policy using the data driven dashboard.  For college programs, it’s like a CarMax report for players. “Later on,” says Burks, “Insurance companies will get involved.”

Loop Lonagan has the floor. “Yer gonna run into all kindsa privacy issues. This bird ain’t never gonna fly.”

But it turns out Burks system is up and running in 16 school systems.  FFF 9-17-14 JAJ-2177e200He’s deep in negotiation with more.  It’s already built with with role permissions that prevent privacy issues.  This thing is moving and moving fast.

Warren D. Mink calls out, “Go back three slides. What’s that number?”  A lot of time gets spent in a group effort at basic arithmetic.  When the argument finally winds down, I’m too confused to know if their sums are correct.

I walk to the front, congratulate Tyrre Burks, trade business cards, and then escape for my train. Later that week I learn Burks landed another huge contract.  Yes, this is moving very fast.

Team Interval 6

Contacts & Credits

TEAM INTERVAL – www.teaminterval.com

TYRRE BURKS – Tyrre@TeamInterval.com

BNC Venture Capital – www.bnchicago.org

FFF – fundingfeedingfrenzy.com

DATA – www.YouthSportsSafetyAlliance.org

PHOTOGRAPHY – John Jonelis, Team Interval

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Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com 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

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LIES ABOUT PARADISE

Canada 2014-8643ATas told by Mark T Wayne

I recognize a sharp character flaw among outdoorsmen of all sorts—an uncontrollable urge to exaggerate—particularly after an excursion to a wilderness such as northern Manitoba. Permit me to treat you to a few horror stories of the Great North Woods.  I promise to debunk them all.

 Mobs of Tourists

Multitudes of crude drinking-age folk and their dirty urchins shack up in run-down resorts and shabby private cabins. They dot the shores and pollute these once-fine waters. Long, loud lines form at boat ramps.  Rough individuals engage in open hostility.

Mark T Wayne

Huge speedboats, stinking of gasoline and oil, cut across fishermen’s lines. Meanwhile, high-speed suicide boats equipped with 150 horsepower motors shoot up rooster tails of greasy water as they propel themselves gunnel to gunnel at 70 miles per hour in a desperate competition for the rare undisturbed fishing spot.

Canada 2014-8226A

That may be true of many waters one might fish.  But my experience is entirely different. Ours is THE ONLY LODGE ON THE LAKE.  I am speaking of a body of pristine water almost FIFTY MILES LONG with close to 150 islands!  Dense forest surrounds us for hundreds of miles.  NO ROADS.  That is correct sir!  Our magazine staff and I have the place all to ourselves and for a span of four days, we OWN this vast stretch of wilderness paradise.

Canada 2014-8279A

Yes, I must congratulate Jonelis, no matter what anybody says about the man. He picked a plumb spot!  This is the NORTHSTAR RESORT on KNEE LAKE, MANITOBA—one of the newest of Chicago’s startups.

“Chicago Startup?” you ask. “Aren’t you gentlemen thousands of miles north of that distinguished metropolis?”

Canada 2014-8343pAPermit me to justify my claim:

  • Most all the patrons either hail from Chicago, once enjoyed that honor, or pass through O’Hare Field on their way here.
  • This is Northstar’s first full season.

I submit that they qualify as a Chicago Startup.

We are guests of the Cree Nation and they provide abundant hospitality. Canada 2014-8168AThis is Cree water—a protected Trophy Northern Pike Lake.  Professional management handles the lodge.  The Cree handle our boats, chop our wood, fillet and cook our fish.  Most important of all, they bring us to the best fishing spots.  My only responsibilities are fishing, eating, drinking, gambling, and indulging in the time-honored tradition of gross exaggeration.Canada 2014-8722A. 150jpg

One note—Manitoba Law: Barbless hooks.  Artificial lures.  All pike released unharmed. But consider—if we kept them all, our boats would sink from the weight of our daily catch.  These fish live to bite again and according to local lore, some of the largest pike have names.

Canada 2014-8267 500

Pike Set Free

Harsh Conditions

I hear ugly reports of outdoor privies with no walls or roof whatsoever—one’s rump exposed to swarms of biting flies and mosquitoes, and interested bystanders.

My experience is entirely different. No pit toilets here.  The plumbing is all indoors—modern, new and clean.  Hot and cold running water.  Showers.  Facilities that rival fine hotels.

Canada 2014-8467A

Our Cabin

I have heard a typical base camp described as a set of rotting clapboard shacks or moldering canvas tents Canada 2014-8512Adating back to frontier times, swarming with biting flies, mosquitoes, and other vermin, and periodically overrun by man-eating bears.

Perhaps one can find such conditions if looking for trouble, but my experience is entirely different. I find solidly and exquisitely constructed log cabins gorgeously appointed with appropriate and tastefully rustic furniture.  Everything is meticulously maintained.  Tight-fitting screens grace all windows and the roofs do not leak.  We sleep upon firm new mattresses and choose between wood fire and electric heat.  The lodge generates its own electricity.

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Canada 2014-8505A

The main lodge boasts a full commercial kitchen, bar, billiards, and poker tables. Yes, they spared no expense constructing this magnificent facility.

I must admit that a bear pays us a kind visit.Canada 2014-8138A The abundant scent of cooking explains the presence of this noble predator.  The kitchen staff wastes no time chasing the animal off with angry shouts and vigorous gesticulations.

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I hear agonized complaints of Black Flies so thick they crawl across your eyeballs and into your mouth. The Mosquito is called the National Bird and you are out of Deet.

Canada 2014-8600AThat is enough, sir! Permit me to address this repeated barrage of braggadocio regarding swarming insects.  Fishermen love to blather about such things in polite conversation.  I will set the record straight forthwith.  Canada has no national bird.  Manitoba’s provincial bird is the Great Grey Owl.  Canada 2014-8602AOur sightings of flying creatures include the Bald Eagle, the Golden Eagle, and the Blue Heron.

It is true that some fishermen who have not done their research arrive at these shores during Black Fly Season. Such is the price of ignorance!  But a well-designed lodge is strategically perched on a high peninsula where cool lake breezes waft away flying vermin.  I do not require insect repellent on this entire trip!

Canada 2014-8821A

Our Cabin

According to popular wisdom, there is no protection in an open boat. Exposed to the elements all day, one is cold and miserable.  You endure constant driving rain and sleet.  You are constantly wet from head to foot, your energy and spirits entirely sapped. 

Canada 2014-8380AIt is true that on this trip, we experience the full range of weather. One day reaches 80 degrees Fahrenheit and finds me decked out in short pants, my pale hairy legs exposed for all the wildlife to see.  The next day brings wind and rain but in my Gore-Tex rain gear, it cannot touch me.  The next day is refreshingly cold, but the simple addition of an insulated sweatshirt turns my rain gear into winter garb.  I laugh at the weather, sir!  Laugh, I say!

 

I am full to the eyeballs with stories of leaky boats with motors that sputter, stutter, then die. Others tell of harrowing canoe romps, paddling until—I suppose until one cannot paddle any longer.  Your frail craft pitches in the waves miles from shore as you frantically bail water from the bottom. 

My experience is entirely different. Canada 2014-8805AWe explore this enormous lake in comfortable fishing boats—ample even for Bill Blaire, the Paul Bunyan of Chicago.  These boats are tricked out with carpeted casting decks and plush swivel seats.  Depth finders and live wells.  Ice coolers and communication radios.  Fine big motors and guides to operate them.

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Horrible Grub

I am told that for breakfast, a surly cook serves up execrable mush slopped into dirty leaking bowls.

Canada 2014-8135AUp here, we awake to the heady aroma of bacon and eggs, flapjacks with real maple syrup, Red River cereal, and piping-hot coffee. We congregate at the well-appointed main lodge and roll up our sleeves to punish that food in a proper manner.  Blaire asserts that bacon is a basic food group and I concur.  He didn’t attain such gargantuan stature eating boiled vegetables.

I am led to believe that, likely as not, we will catch nothing fit to eat. At noon, we may be 20 miles or more from the lodge and will go hungry till supper. “Bring sandwiches,” they say. Then they go on to suggest peanut butter and jelly or cold canned beans shoveled down the gullet in a pitching boat. 

Canada 2014-8153AFirst let me state unequivocally that we suffer no difficulty catching our lunch. The only delay in capturing fat delicious Walleye are trophy Northern Pike that grab our twister tails before the jigs can reach the bottom.  Many times, we hook two of these savage water wolves at once!  To be fair, I must admit that the Walleye grab the Pike baits too.

After a full morning exerting oneself in the raw elements, no food on earth tastes better than freshly caught walleye!Canada 2014-8210A   Walleye is a delicacy served in the finest restaurants but these are not anonymous fish—no sir, these are OUR walleye.  This is an important point if you wish to understand the joys of a wilderness excursion.  An intimate connection with the source of food is emotionally satisfying in a profound way.  I admit it is difficult to convey the feeling in words.  One must experience such a thing to appreciate the bliss it engenders in one’s whole being.

Canada 2014-8208APermit me to expound upon our lunch experience because it gives me a great deal of pleasure. Every day, our boats rendezvous at a different rocky island and we conclave among the jack pine and birch to tell lies and drink beer.  Meanwhile, the guides fillet our fish, chop wood, and start a bonfire on which they will cook our meal.  Yes sir—we indulge in that glorious, overwhelmingly delightful tradition known as SHORE LUNCH.  To those of you lucky enough to experience this ritual please indulge me while I explain it to the uninitiated.

.While the food cooks, we explore the island, beer in hand. Naturally, everyone is in jovial spirits.  Kren casts a line from shore.  Ludditis snaps a photo of Jonelis and Bill Blair.  For some reason they wear camouflage.  Strange.  Can it be that those two actually believe fish cannot see them when dressed in such garb?

Canada 2014-8592p Bill Blaire SMALL A

Jonelis and Bill Blair in Camo

The head guide calls us to table. Our first shore lunch yields deep-fried walleye with onions and potatoes, hot beans and corn. To my tastes, this represents the ultimate in wilderness cuisine.  I am subsequently proven wrong.  Canada 2014-8576AThe next day, we are introduced to Walleye with peppers and sharp seasoning.  The day following that, they roll out Honey Garlic Walleye!  I squeeze my eyes closed to concentrate fully on that exquisite flavor!  I will always remember shore lunch as the pinnacle of life as we know it.

On this particular day, Alexander Harbinger is first to spot a floatplane headed directly to our island. The plane lands on the water and taxies to a rock slab.Canada 2014-8201A  Out the door pops the manager, dressed in his Sunday best, balancing a platter high like a professional waiter.  Martinis in long stemmed glasses!  I tell you sir this is my idea of roughing it!

After a full meal, we lay about on huge slabs of rock, looking perhaps like beached whales. Jim Kren finds sleeping quarters more to his liking.  If this is the wilderness, we lack for nothing.

Canada 2014-8211A 300When traveling to remote areas of the world, one is frequently warned about the dangers of drinking the local water. Consequences are colloquially known as Montezuma’s Revenge.

On this lake, I bring a mug along on the boat and dip it in the freezing water whenever the thirst takes me—no ice cubes required. And I suffer no unseemly maladies whatsoever!

Lousy FishingCanada 2014-8261h 2X3A F-500b

I have it on competent authority that fishermen typically sit in boats all day and return perhaps with a small bass and a couple puny pike of no account. 

Canada 2014-8558AUp here, we are well beyond the habitat of the Bass and Musky. The great Northern Pike is king and grows to prodigious proportions not seen further south.  The lake is virgin.  They do not even stock it!  No sir!  Yet, a man can almost walk on water across the backs of these ferocious predators.

And indeed, our hearty crew experiences glorious fishing with a pike strike about every five casts.Canada 2014-8360A The only impediment to a man landing 150 worthy fish is overindulgence in Canadian beer.  There is no other excuse sir!  And I repeat—they do not stock the lake!  These fish are aggressive!  Large Pike attack anything we attempt to bring to boat, including their own kind!

Canada 2014-8403AThis is akin to pulling pan fish out of a favorite fishing hole one after another. But we are throwing heavy lures on stout lines and steel leaders.  We cast with rigid rods at toothy giants that savagely attack the bait with a jolt that sends a shiver down a man’s shoulder.  These fish splash gallons of water, jump and dance on their tails, roll up in your line, dive under the boat, and generally do everything possible to escape.Canada 2014-8356A  With barbless hooks, it requires only a momentary slack in one’s line and the fish is free!  Repeated tug-a-war matches such as these strain a man’s entire body.

No one can call a pike fisherman lazy!

Canada 2014-8836A

No Night Life

Friends who travel to the wild tell of returning after a day of howling rain to dark leaky quarters buzzing with biting flies and mosquitoes. In total exhaustion and utter defeat, the intrepid explorers crawl under inadequate blankets and share body heat with friendly field mice, marmots and perhaps a snake or two.

Canada 2014-8459A

.I have yet to see these vermin you continually reference, sir!  We are back in the shelter of our fine log cabin. Weary but satisfied, I treat myself to a warm shower and then slip into the white terrycloth robe kindly placed on my king-size bed by the excellent maid staff.

.We all indulge in cocktails while Jonelis grills thick steaks on the deck in full view of the lake.

Canada 2014-8500pA

After a satisfying meal, we repair to the lodge for a night of poker and aggressive wagering. You may criticize such vice, but in defense of the entire group, let me point out that cards provide scant diversion after the experiences of such a day unless real money is at stake.  We trade our petty empires back and forth across that table.  Seated around me are men who know how to live!

Canada 2014-8518A

Sweet Home Chicago

Such experiences often come to an end before reaching a climax. The return flight yields none of the drama of our journey to paradise.  Canada 2014-8883

Too soon we find ourselves in the magazine’s corporate offices—the backroom of Ludditis Shots & Beer where you find the best potato pancakes in town.  Jonelis raises his feet to his battered WWII Air Force desk.  I raise a jigger of Sour Mash and read the words emblazoned upon his shirt:  SURGEON GENERAL WARNING:  FISHING IS EXPENSIVE, ADDICTIVE, AND MAY LEAD TO AN UNCONTROLLABLE URGE TO EXAGGERATE.

.Ludditis Shots and Beer 3

Our Corporate Offices

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The Real Thing

Ludditis discovers an online video that shows, in slow motion, a Northern Pike attacking its prey. I place it here for your edification.

Pike StrikesVideo of Pike Strike [click here]

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Go to – HOW TO TREAT THE OLD MAN

Go back to Episode One – ROUGHING IT

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Northstar Resort on Knee Lake can be reached at northstarresort.ca  Northstar Resort makes no endorsement of the statements and views expressed in this article.

Photographs by John Jonelis and Donatas Ludditis

Video of Pike Strike from Underwater-Ireland.com

T-shirt text ©earthSUNmoon.

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Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com 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

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Filed under big money, Bill Blaire., Canada, Characters, chicago, Chicago Venture Magazine, Chicago Ventures, Donatas Ludditis, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, investor, loop lonagan, Man's Favorite Sport, Mark T Wayne, new companies

FISH STORY

Canada 2014-8780Atas told by Mark T Wayne

Fishermen are liars!

After a superb day of fishing in the Canadian Wilderness, I prepare to utter my first exaggeration when Jonelis comes in with this monstrous THING.  Look at it sir!  This stretches all limits of credulity!

Naturally I object and make accusations of foul play.  Just look at that fish!

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Fish Story JAJ

Jonelis and his “Pike”

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Catch and Release

I have no way to prove fraud.  Knee Lake is 500 miles north of civilization – a protected Manitoba Trophy Lake.  We must obey strict rules.  Catch and release, of all things!  Quickly lifting a Pike from the water for photographic purposes is as far as one can stretch it.  Then the fish goes free!

Since Jonelis followed the law and released that THING unharmed, the only souls who actually saw it are himself, his toady Jim Kren, and their Cree guide.  These witnesses all swear to it!  There is the picture, sir—right on the back screen of his Nikon—the appalling photograph that I share with you here.

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Mark T Wayne

Examining the Evidence

Speculation among our group runs hot and fast, yielding various methods by which Jonelis might pull off such an elaborate hoax, given his limited mental faculties:

  • First, there is the CONSPIRACY angle—Loop Lonagan calls it “Da Chicago Way”—influence, power plays, and deals under the table. Alexander Harbinger agrees and points to the “clout” the guide will enjoy in his circles. Yes, he may name any price for his services, sir! Nobody has seen a Northern Pike that big in a hundred years! But the photograph stands as mute evidence—a horrific image that cannot be ignored. No, we must refute it directly.  I adroitly reach to press the DELETE key but Kren holds the camera too tight and close for even the most skilled tactical maneuver.  The lot of us huddle around and commit to a meticulous study of the image on the screen.
  • Bill Blaire, the giant, speaks first, saying in a slow, deep rumble, “He’s holdin’ da fish real close to da camera.”   CLOSE TO THE LENS is the common practice among all men of our ilk. But no—I direct your attention to his hands. The digits do not appear oversized, as they would in such an amateur stunt and his arms stretch wide with everything in sharp focus. The answer must lie elsewhere.
  • Donatas Ludditis suggests in Eastern European English that the Nikon possesses a BIG FISH BUTTON hidden deep in some arcane sub-menu. In an age of useless technological advances, this seems plausible enough. But I do not know of any advertisement that makes such a claim. A camera manufacturer is bound to trumpet a revolutionary feature such as that! Imagine trying to keep it secret once an enthusiastic and slavering marketing department finds out. No, this line of thought bears no fruit whatsoever.
  • I conclude that the man brought along an INFLATABLE FISH in his luggage so he could finance the trip off the sweat of the workers.  Joe Perogi goes so far as to slip off and search his gear. He returns dejected.  To my quizzically raised brows he returns a brief shake of the head.  Jonelis must have sunk the thing in the lake where it will forever rest in peace under a fifty-mile stretch of icy water. Yes, this seems the most likely answer. But how can I prove it?

I cannot. I am stuck in the mud.

That excellent essay by America’s greatest author comes to mind, ON THE DECAY OF THE ART OF LYING, and I wonder if this man has singlehandedly reversed that long-term trend. With abundant clarity of thinking, I reason that none of us will ever catch a fish close to the scale of that THING and our money will be measured out by the inch. When we pay off our wagers, this joy ride might end in outright hostility. Yes, there is little doubt—we must pay the man!

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Record Breaker

Now those three reprobates are signing the official Manitoba Master Angler papers.  Each scrawls his distinct and individual X.  According to Jim Kren, the boat’s official measuring stick is insufficiently long for an accurate report.  That much is true.  They write up that fish at 70 inches and brag that it’s probably more! Do you, sir, have an inkling what a Northern Pike such as that weighs?  Of course not.  Nobody does.  No such fish exists–I think.

The end result?  Jonelis goes into the record books for a third time.  And I still say it’s a fish story.  Probably.

For his part, in the midst of our group’s raucous opinions and heavy drinking, Jonelis appears stunned and numb.  With glazed eyes, he stares at something seemingly far away.  Practically in a trance, he responds to questions with inarticulate mumbling, and only after long pauses–apparently for deep thought.  We get nothing useful out of the man except for his unseemly state of bliss.

We all turn to Kren for the exact location of the crime so we might repeat it.

With utmost cruelty, Kren stands mum on that one essential fact.  Then to my utter disgust, he relates a far-flung account of the three of them fighting the fish in shifts for hours and hours.  In his version—which seems highly suspicious to a man of my sensitive nature—the monster jumps clear from the water and then sounds fifty feet deep several times—peeling off line as if a big Ambassadeur reel possesses no stopping power!

When I object, the man shows real audacity and claims that the fish was taken on a fly rod.  One wonders why fishermen must embellish a yarn so far beyond reason.

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Fish Stories Grow

Then Kren zooms the display close to the fish’s flanks and points out lacerations on its hide.  In my outrage, I have overlooked this, but there they are!  Tooth marks!  Fresh blood, sir!  A significantly more massive fish attacked this lunker during the fight!  This is too much.  I blanch at the magnitude of such propaganda!

.Tooth Marks

Tooth Marks

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Up until now, old man Ludditis has behaved reasonably well and even held his liquor.  Now he whips out his huge Galaxy Note and searches till he produces a picture of a pike eating another pike at boatside.  Then he finds a video.  The infernal internet!  One cannot avoid that wicked web of deceit—not even in such a desolate locale.  I post those files below for your edification.

What conclusion can a thinking man draw from such events?  Let me say that it is not an opportune time to tell my own lies, which seem to me rather meager by comparison.

I might also mention that I brought my swim trunks along but WILL NOT take a dip in Knee Lake!  If invited, I will simply point to the fact that the water is too cold.  ♠

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Go to Episode 4 – LIES ABOUT PARADISE

Go back to Part 1 – ROUGHING IT

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Pike eats Pike www-northernpikefishing-ca 500

Pike eats Pike 

 

 

pike-eat-pike underwater www-fighnhunt-co-nz

WATCH YOU TUBE VIDEO HERE

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Photographs of Boat and Big Fish Copyright © John Jonelis 2014, taken at Northstar Resort on Knee Lake, Manitoba.  Northstar makes no endorsement of this story.

Northstar Resort on Knee Lake can be reached at northstarresort.ca

Photograph of “Fish Eats Fish” from www.northernpikefishing.ca

Video of “fish eats fish” from www.youtube.com/watch?v=K45YcVyAATw

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Go to Episode 4 – LIES ABOUT PARADISE

Go back to Part 1 – ROUGHING IT

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Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com 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

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.

2 Comments

Filed under big money, Bill Blaire., Canada, Characters, chicago, Chicago Venture Magazine, Chicago Ventures, Conflict, Donatas Ludditis, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, loop lonagan, Mark T Wayne, Marketing, Mobile, Mobile App, new companies, the chicago machine, the machine

CLOSER TO HEAVEN

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!

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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.

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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

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Go to next installment – FISH STORY

Back to beginning – ROUGHING IT

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Photography by John Jonelis. except for Mark T Wayne, Patrick Dennehy from Tail Slate, and Pontoon Plane from FlintAero
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Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com 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

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