Category Archives: Mark T Wayne

TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM

20161201-_jaj0288tby Mark T Wayne

Howard Brookins Jr, the alderman for Chicago’s 21st ward, was biking along Cal-Sag Trail on Nov. 13, when a squirrel darted into his path. The squirrel wrapped itself in the spokes of the alderman’s bicycle. [The Washington Post.] According to the alderman, “I can think of no other reason for this squirrel’s actions than that it was like a suicide bomber, getting revenge.” [The Chicago Tribune.]

If this is revenge, there is good reason for it. Yes sir! As the Post also reports: “Brookins denounced the eastern gray squirrel in a Chicago City Council meeting and has publicly spoken out about a toothy menace.” He complains of “aggressive squirrels that undermine efforts to overhaul the city’s trash carts.” [Chicago Sun Times] He claims that squirrels are gnawing through garbage cart lids at a cost to the city of $300,000!

According our own Alexander Harbinger PhD, such behavior is perfectly normal. “Like all rodents, the teeth continue to grow during an entire lifetime. It is gnaw or die.”

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Posted on Facebook by Alderman Brookins

As proof of the squirrel’s malicious intent, Alderman Brookings posted a photograph of the unfortunate animal on Facebook, caught in the wheel of his bicycle.

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Closeup of Brooking’s dead squirrel

Brookins did not escape injury from the ferocious creature’s attack. “The alderman flipped over the handlebars, fractured his skull, broke his nose, and knocked out a handful of teeth.” [Tribune]

The remedy proposed is extermination of all urban squirrels.

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Mark T Wayne

Revenge of the Squirrels

Of course, when faced with annihilation, any red-blooded squirrel is compelled to take action! Who can find it in their heart to condemn this animal?  But for the protection of the residents of our fair city, we must guard against further malevolent behavior perpetrated by these scheming creatures.

So far, this activity appears unique to the gray squirrels in Brookins’ 21st Ward.  The implications are startling and frightening.  These particular animals exhibit traits that must not be permitted to spread.

  • Brookins’ squirrels take a keen interest in civic matters and monitor city council meetings.
  • When action is required, Brookins’ squirrels organize in secret and plot the required counter-attack.
  • In this case, one squirrel soldier carries out a kamikaze raid on a leading enemy, Alderman Howard Brookins.

Jim Kren, our assistant editor, offered this opinion: “Squirrels are good-for-nothing vermin. They look out for their kind and know who is persecuting them. If you thwart their plans, they figure a way to take care of the problem. Nothing can stop them from getting what they want!”

But renowned squirrel expert, B. A. Christie MLS, holds a different view. “Squirrels are attractive, with fine coats and tails—a benefit to any neighborhood. They are strong, brave, loyal, intelligent, entertaining, and acrobatic. Squirrels prune and plant trees. And tough? I saw one fall fifty feet to the pavement—but after a few minutes, the little dear just hopped to its feet and ran off. Every levelheaded individual knows that squirrels are friendly. I believe Bill Murray said so in a motion picture.”

No, I am not entirely satisfied with the alderman’s flippant slur against these creatures. Nor do I entirely agree with the other opinions ventured damning them. No sir! Permit me to propose a few alternative theories on the matter:

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Greedy Guts the squirrel, outside my window

Cruelty to Animals Theory

Does it not seem a whole lot more believable to you that this squirrel lodged in the spokes of the good alderman’s bicycle during his hightly successful attempt to run it down? A fat squirrel lounging on a path can present a tempting target to certain personality types, and such behavior may seem quite natural to a politician, particularly an alderman. Has Brookins intentionally misrepresented the facts and blamed the true victim for the consequenses of his personal indulgence in an urban blood sport?

One strong indication of the veracity of this theory is seen in the alderman’s photograph. The squirrel is lodged in the front wheel, which indicates an attack by the alderman, not the squirrel. If, on the other hand, the animal lodged in the rear wheel, the alderman’s story might carry some weight.  Take dogs as an example.  Dogs are known to snap at automobile tires and invariably go for the rear wheel. It’s a question of catching the vehicle as it speeds by. Perhaps the ASPCA should investigate the matter. The evidence is clearly on display in the photograph published by the man himself!

 

Guilt by Association Theory

Squirrels will eat just about anything, and have been known to forage during daylight hours, when they find trash conveniently strewn about—but they do not do so at night! They sleep at night. Does the timid squirrel gnaw through a garbage can in broad daylight, vulnerably exposing its hide to every kind of predator for an extended period of time? No sir! The thought seems akin to a neighborhood bunny rabbit attacking a Pit Bull in the act of sullying somebody’s front lawn!

Nighttime is the rat’s domain, not the squirrel’s. Nighttime is the likely period for damage to ensue. Could it be that, during the daylight hours, the alderman observed some squirrels in the civic-minded act of cleaning up the nocturnal mess left by sloppy rats? This is guilt by association of the worst kind! Both are rodents, but the similarity ends there! I propose that we are dealing with an unsuccessful rat control problem.  That is where the battle must be fought.

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Greedy Guts gets fed

Mistaken Identity Theory

Permit me to relate a perplexing personal incident. After one fine Christmas afternoon dinner, I noted a scurry of cold and hungry squirrels—sweet, harmless, and industrious animals that every normal person loves. My wife calls the big one Greedy Guts—an admirable fellow, in my opinion. I slid open the window and tossed out a handful of peanuts to the little beggar. Little did I know that my benevolence would provoke a strong reaction from my houseguest.

Jim Kren, our guest, turned violently red and spoke in loud and vitriolic indignation, “You feed those rats?” This man hails from an affluent tree-lined neighborhood teeming with a large and healthy squirrel population. Imagine his constant horror, living in such exquisite surroundings and unable to distinguish a squirrel from other rodentia. Unbearable! It explains that nervous tick.

For those that share Kren’s malady, permit me to quell such unwarranted and hysterical fears:

  • Rats hide in dark, filthy places—squirrels live in trees.
  • Rats carry rabies—squirrels do not.
  • Squirrels behave more like neighborhood bunny rabbits.

 

Scapegoat Theory

As noted, Brooking’s 21st ward appears to be the only area of Chicago suffering squirrel damage. No other alderman or city councilman has taken up the cause. That raises some questions. I own a home in the country. Its peaceful environs swarm with squirrels, rabbits, hawks, turkey vultures, and deer. Yet our garbage bin remains intact. How can this be? Are the alderman’s cans of less quality than others? Impossible! Those receptacles reportedly cost the city hundreds of thousands of tax dollars! Is it possible that squirrels are a scapegoat for some sort of political shenanigans? I put it to you, sir! Chicagoans have learned to accept business-as-usual in our longstanding tradition of machine politics as long as one keeps quiet about it. There is no call to harm the wildlife.

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A squirrel is not a rat

Noble Savage Theory

But what if Alderman Brookins’ allegations were true?  Could it be that we are witnessing an altruistic and noble example of squireldom? Yes sir! Such an image of heroic sacrifice warms my heart. Faced with the the personal hatred and vendetta of one malevolent alderman—faced with the annihilation of family and friends—faced with the end of a way-of-life-as-he-knows-it—one of Chicago’s bravest takes matters into his own paws.  He takes one for the team!

 

Mr. Wayne’s speculations are his own and do not always represent the opinions of this journal.

Image Credits: Bicycle photo by Alderman Howard Brookins. All other nature photography by John Jonelis.

 

Sources

Washington Post – ‘Suicide bomber’ squirrel hospitalizes Chicago politician who spoke out against squirrels

Chicago Tribune Kamikaze squirrel gets revenge on Ald. Brookins

Chicago Sun Times – Alderman says ‘aggressive squirrels’ eating through garbage carts

 

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 © 2016 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Characters, Chicago Venture Magazine, city, Conflict, Education, gentrification of the city, Jim Kren, Mark T Wayne

THROW THE BUM OUT

Mark T Wayne 1cTby John Jonelis

Mark T Wayne hurls his cigar to the barroom floor and grinds it under his heel. “Lonagan, you’re a consummate ass!”

“Shuttup ‘n’ have anudder whiskey.”

“You sir are heavily inebriated.” Wayne’s voice resonates above the noise of the crowded bar.  “I know better than to get tight oftener than once in three months.” He lifts his chin and peers down his nose at Loop Lonagan. “It sets a man back in the esteem of people whose opinions are worth having.”

“So whaddayuh think I should do?” His dog, Clamps, squirms in his arms and kicks wildly as Loop wrestles to gain a better hold on the 85 pound bull terrier.  He finally locks an arm around the animal’s thick neck.  Clamps immediately relaxes, bone in mouth. “Look Wayne—yer da one said I oughta take da guy in.  So you tell me how t’ get ‘im out.”

“Hmm…yes, I see your point. Options are a bit scarce at such times.  Your editor shows up at the door leaning on two canes, a bit unsteady on two new metal knees.  Never refuse to do a kindness, unless the act will work great injury to yourself—especially when it’s a close friend and your employer.” Wayne pauses a moment and inspects Lonagan more closely.  “But five months have elapsed since that day, and now I find myself sharing this fine bar with a sloppy drunk—a man utterly beyond reason or decorum, hugging a dangerous beast to his body like a rag doll.”

Loop plays with his dog’s ears.  “The police don’t want poor Clamps tied at da curb again.  Dey say he might eat a pedestrian.”

Therapy Dog

Therapy Dog

“Don’t blow smoke rings, Lonogan! There is only one course of action left to you! Claim back your domicile!  Throw the execrable bum out!”

“Throw out Jonelis?”

“That, sir, is precisely what I say.”

Loop Lonagan slowly wags his head. “He’ll throw me outa da magazine. Then where am I?  Gone, like a puff o’ smoke.”

“Where is your spine, sir? Can it be that abusive over-exposure to bitter hops has eroded it in total?  Look at you, stroking that hideous beast as if it were some lovely young woman.  Is that the proper posture for a grown man while seriously drinking?  Get ahold of yourself!  I say put the moocher out on the street!”

“Don’t ya think I tried? Sheesh, he moves right in with dat new therapy business.  Pavlovian PT he calls it.  Gals right outa some Hollywood movie swarmin’ all over da joint.  I can’t get no peace er sleep.  He fills my penthouse with exercise machines.  And busy? If he ain’t liftin’ weights, he’s gettin’ a Swedish massage or an ice pack or he’s loopy on pain killers, and then he’s asleep er somepin. Can’t hardly talk t’ da guy. When I do, I dunno what t’ say.”  Loop squeezes his eyes closed a moment.  “Today dis crew shows up t’ move da resta my furniture out da door—where to, I dunno.  More weight machines is comin’ in!  Yeah, Jonelis finally graduates therapy.  It’s strength trainin’ from now on!  So insteada my nice penthouse condo, I got a swank health club.”  Loop swallows a shot of scotch and immediately chases it with a slug of beer.  The pungent amber liquid dribbles down his jaw.

Mark T Wayne 1d Bold

Mark T Wayne

Wayne scowls at him. “You, sir, are mixing good medicine with poison. Give an Irishman lager for a month and he’s a dead man. An Irishman is lined with copper, and beer corrodes it. But whiskey polishes the copper and is the saving of him.  You’ll do well without that swill.”

“Dat’s da best idea you come up with since I knowed you. No wonder my belly’s naggin’ at me.  Bartender!”  Lonagan shifts his dog so it can lap beer from his mug.  Clamps knocks it over and yellow suds run down the counter.  The dog leaps onto the bar and voraciously polishes the wet varnished surface with a wide tongue.

Loop lifts the animal from the bar and hugs it close.  “Bartender! Gimme anudder scotch.  Make it a triple.  No more Blatz fer me!”

A muscular kid shows up with a towel and mops up the smelly mess while glaring at Loop under thick black eyebrows. He talks in a low voice with clenched teeth: “What’s with the dog?”

Loop makes an indignant expression. “It’s a therapy animal. You got a problem with that?” 

A long scar on the kid’s cheek flames red. “Hold down the noise, mister, or you and and your dog and the guy with the white suit are outa here. Y’ follah?

“Big talk—yadda yadda yadda.  Y’ gonna back it up?”

The bartender abruptly moves down the bar and serves another customer while Loop raises the fresh tumbler of whiskey.

Wayne’s finger idly traces the rim of his empty glass.  “Certainly the Drone’s Club is near at hand.  I believe they offer a gymnasium.  You might mention the possibility.”

“Yeah, yeah, but dey won’t let ‘im bring in his Pavlovian PT team. Same with East Bank, Union League, ‘n’ all da udders.  He’s too cheap t’ buy all them gals memberships.”

Both men stare into space. This goes on for a good two minutes as the noise of the crowd swells around them.

“Ah! A thought occurs to me…” Mark T Wayne draws himself erect, yanks his white lapels, and takes a step as if lecturing an audience, “Your domestic problem is transparently simple. Argue with the man!  Pick a fight!”

“How’s a guy gonna do that? Jonelis treats ever’body so nice—so polite.  No a harsh words, No foul language.  No nothin’”

“Shout him down! You need not be logical or coherent, nor do you require provocation.  Drown him in curses at high volume!  If that brings no response, I happen to know that you are skilled in the fine art of fisticuffs.  Pummel the man with blows!  Violence, sir!  That’s the ticket!  Beat him senseless!”

“C’mon Wayne, he’s just outa surgery ‘n’ all…”

“That man is gaining health by the day as you lose yours!”

Loop Lonagan goes suddenly quiet and rubs his chin with a blunt fingertip. He drops Clamps to the floor and the dog immediately strains the limit of a heavy leather lead, lashed to the stanchion of the barstool.  People immediately abandon the area adjacent to Lonagan and Wayne.  The dog pants with teeth fully exposed, tongue lolling outhis way of smiling but people shrink back, forming a big empty circle.

After a minute, Loop pulls out a cell phone.  “Hey Nick? It’s me.  Remember our talk?  Well, what about it?”  Loop rolls his eyes as he listens.  “Yeah…yeah. Okay! Done!”  He pockets the phone and grins a satisfied grin. “I’m takin’ yer advice.  If Jonelis fires me, you’ll find me right here.”  He moves his arm in a sweeping gesture.  “Dis whole place is mine now.”  

READ SERIES FROM BEGINNING

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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 © 2016 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

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Filed under angel, angel capital, angel investor, Characters, Chicago Ventures, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, loop lonagan, Mark T Wayne, vc, venture capital

HOW TO TREAT THE OLD MAN

20150624-_JAJ0962by John Jonelis

Here’s the right way to treat your old man:  For Father’s Day, take him where you’ll boat 402 hard-fighting northern pike, the trophy of a lifetime, and as many fat walleye as you want—all in four days.  That’s 4 minutes per fish—not counting walleye!  Maybe the Old Man’s memory isn’t showing signs of improvement lately, but he’ll remember this trip the rest of his days.  It’s a glimpse of paradise.

He knows this lake and longs to go back.  With the right encouragement, there’s no way he can turn down your invitation.  But what if he can’t bust free?  Let’s say he gives the usual objection that he’s too busy.  Here’s what you do:

20150623-_JAJ0933402 Northern Pike

Justification

Figure out what’s got him tied down.  In this case it’s Chicago startups.  So you point out this is one of Chicago’s hottest startups and qualifies as a business trip.

Sure, it’s way north of the North Side.  It’s north of the 55th parallel.  That puts it at the northern fringe of the Boreal forest.  North of that lies tundra.  Last year the ice still measured four feet in early June.  But according to Mark T. Wayne, it qualifies as a Chicago Startup for two good reasons:

  • Most all the patrons either hail from Chicago, once enjoyed that honor, or pass through O’Hare Field on their way.
  • This is only their second season of operation.

They don’t even stock the waters.  You cast barbless hooks and release every fish unharmed—except, of course, the big fat walleye you eat for shore lunch.  Ever experience waters as virgin as that?  Wanna go?  I guarantee he’ll say yes.

20150621-_JAJ0836

Fresh Walleye for Shore Lunch

Solitude

A huge part of the value of this excursion is the solitude of the north woods.  Solitude has no price tag, so shoot the works!   Surprise the old man!  RENT THE WHOLE LODGE!  Sure, the facility holds 25 guests.  So what?  It’s only money!

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Think of it—just the two of you.  The only habitation on the lake.  No civilization for hundreds of miles!  No roads.  No phones.  Nothing but a 45-mile-long stretch of ice-cold drinking water.  150 islands.  More shoreline than Lake Michigan.  Fir and aspen trees as far as you can see.  Beaver, deer, and bear.  The bald eagle.  The blue heron.  The loon.  Loads of pike and walleye.  A comfortable boat and the best fishing guide in Canada.  A top-pro staff that caters to the old fart’s every whim.

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Did I remind you to get a big plane?  There’ll be 40 empty seats on that turboprop when it whisks the two of you from DuPage Airport to this wilderness paradise.

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That empty plane gives a good, strong first impression.  Don’t underestimate the value of a first impression.  And the stewardess has little to do but serve drink after drink to the old goat!  Congratulations on beating the O’Hare rat race!

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Your destination is a 4,000 ft. landing strip carved out of the forest and paved with gravel quarried on site.  The harvested trees make up the raw material for building such a facility.

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Comfort

You pick this particular outpost because it boasts all the amenities and you know the Old Relic loves the lake with a passion.

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Suppertime, he sits quietly on the deck, gazing at the magnificent view as if in a trance. You grill up a thick steaks and he tucks his away with obvious relish, then pats his profound middle and pronounces himself satisfied.

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Remember how old he really is.  Fishing from a plush swivel seat will wear him out, even after that nap at shore lunch. No, he doesn’t have any energy left in him tonight—not even enough for a quiet game of chess.  But don’t let that trouble you.  At that latitude and time of year, the day peaks at 17 hours and 22 minutes of sunshine.  Neither of you will see the dark of night and you’ve got the place to yourselves.  So just tell him stories till he happily nods off.  Then slip over to the lodge to sharpen your skills at the pool table.

20150621-_JAJ0840

 

Don’t Laugh

Show the old codger some respect.  He doesn’t deserve it and sure doesn’t get any at the office.  It will take him off guard and make him happy.

  • Don’t laugh when he dresses in camo from head to foot so the fish don’t see him. He really believes it helps.

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  • Don’t chuckle when he flails away with his fly rod while you’re fishing spoons with a fast reel. Sure you cast twice as far as he can.  Sure, you boat a pike before he completes his first cast. Sure, you boat another before he strips in six feet of line.

He finally hooks a five-pound hammer handle.

Naturally you put away your rod as soon as he hooks that little fish.  You stand mum as he plays it for a ridiculously long time.  You don’t even snicker when he mentions his light tippet. Sure, you could’ve boated five more lunkers in that time span and you’re itching to get back in the game.

You refrain from casting your lure. You praise him effusively. You give him a sense of victory and you’re patient. That pike he just caught has rows of sharp teeth that will destroy his hand-made creation. Eventually he must run out of flies and start fishing your way.

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  • Don’t gloat when the Old Fogey finally switches to conventional tackle. “After all,” he says, “the fish are so aggressive, it’s inefficient to fish a slow retrieve.” But he insists on using a fancy and expensive bait casting setup rather than simple spinning gear. Naturally, he experiences the usual backlash incidents and you boat more pike every time he digs a mess of line out of his reel. At such times you avoid snide remarks that others will thoughtlessly make, such as, “I’ve yet to catch a fish while my lure is in the boat.”

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  • You intend to use just one lure the entire trip. Your tackle box merely carries spares of the same design. His carries every pattern known to man. Don’t criticize him for constantly switching baits. He acquired this habit over decades of fishing unproductive waters close to home and he’s trying to match the hatch. Avoid such comments as, “Fish are not impressed with the time you spend fiddling with your tackle box.” No, let him stalk his prey slowly, in his own way as appropriate to his age.

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  • Show an extra measure of kindness. Give him the boat’s casting deck for the whole trip. He’ll appreciate that. Don’t make derisive comments when he asks the guide to mount the swivel seat up front. Remember, his feet are as old as he is.

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  • Don’t laugh when his expensive 16-inch-long stainless steel needle nosed pliers goes over the side. That can happen to anybody.

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  • Hold your tongue when the Old Geezer methodically de-barbs the hooks on that snazzy new lure, using a special and expensive tool. He then plops the bait into the lake, forgetting to attach the line. It sinks to the bottom before the guide can reach for the net. You’ll be glad you remained silent when he gives you a wan smile and says, “I forgot to remember.”

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  • There are plenty of legitimate ways to lose lures.  Like that monster pike that strikes right at the boat, just as the Old Fossil lifts his lure from the water.  As you and the guide watch, it shakes its awesome head once, twice, three times, straightens out a new and expensive 50 lb. titanium leader, and then makes wake as it swims away with a precious hand-painted spoon.  Naturally you’re thinking, “I hope that thing tastes good,” and “I wonder if that paint job will give the fish indigestion.”   But of course, you keep those comments to yourself.  Losing a fish that big hurts real bad and you want to treat the Old Man real good.

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  • Don’t scoff when he wonders where on the lake you are at any given time. Admit it. You don’t know either.

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  • Above all, hide your smirk when, every day, you outfish him almost 2 to 1. He’ll face the numbers when he pays off the bets. He’s not so competitive these days and after such terrific quantities of fish, he really won’t care if you get more than he does.  He may even prefer it, and where does that leave you if you crack wise?

20150620-_JAJ0784.

I Got the Whole World

You and the guide untangle a small Pike from the net.  Eventually, you look up to see the Old Man’s line snagged on another rock.  As usual, he keeps his rod bent in an exaggerated manner and his line taught way too long —  just to make sure.  There’s no movement whatsoever.  He’s telling you it’s a big one, but even the guide doesn’t buy it. “You’re towing the boat,” he says softly.  Yeah, the Old Reprobate’s got bottom.  But you humor him and in a couple minutes you’re glad you did because his reel slowly goes click, click, click.  That’s life at the end of the line!  Something with a lot of weight!

When the fish decides to swim, it peels off line fast and at will, making the reel sing.  That happens again and again — every time the Old Man works it close.  You get several good looks and cry out in awe like any faithful son.

Finally, the monster tires and doesn’t shy from the boat.

Now it’s safe in the enormous net.

The Old Man hoists it and you snap a photo.

Have you ever seen a pike so healthy?   That fish measures 43 in. and weighs maybe 30 lb.  He caught it on a homemade lure and it puts him in the record books a fourth time.

And it’s Father’s Day!

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Now you note fresh tooth marks across that lunker’s midriff.  That also happened last year when he brought the magazine staff up here.   The guide will bring you back to this spot to cast for that bigger one nobody saw—an opportunity of a lifetime!

The Old Man is bending over the side of the boat, gently reviving the fish.  Pike are sprinters, not marathon runners, and after the long fight, it’s exhausted.  He slowly moves it back and forth, forcing water through the gills.  Artificial respiration.  It finally requires a rap to the head to wake it from its stupor and the trophy pike slowly, slowly disappears deep into the cold clear lake.

And that’s how to treat the Old Man.

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The Numbers

(Because of standard boat bets, you keep an accurate tally of northern pike.  All fish are caught on barbless hooks and released unharmed. 4 days on the water, less shore lunch = 27 hours in the boat.)

27 hrs / 402 northern pike = 4 min. per pike by actual count.  You don’t count walleye because they’re too easy to catch and this is a protected northern pike habitat.

62% by Son, 38% by Old Man.  Naturally you refrain from gloating and you don’t even consider saying, “If you stopped fooling around, we’d catch more fish.”

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How do they get a big ornate pool table and all that other stuff to such a remote place?  Check out the episode of Ice Road Truckers that involves a winter convoy to this lake over the frozen river system leading to Hudson Bay.

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The Hot New Startup

This is North Star Executive Outpost on Knee Lake, Manitoba, a protected pike sanctuary.

northstarresort.ca

Talk to Hope Levenhagen at 800-563-7151

hopelevenhagen@northhavenresort.ca

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Personal Notes

This advice is for others, because you, my son, adroitly accomplished it.

Heartfelt thanks to Curry Fequet, Doug Woodland, Lynn Peters, Hope Levenhagan, and the entire North Star crew for giving the Old Man a slice of heaven on earth.

Read BEST GIFT

Read 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 © 2015 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

All photos by the author.

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Filed under angel, angel capital, angel investor, big money, Canada, Chicago Ventures, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Mark T Wayne, vc, venture capital

HAWKS

Hawk Logo_JAJ0561by Mark T. Wayne

“Quit talking business!  This is important!”  A shocking pronouncement coming from one’s employer!  I go mum.  We sit behind thick glass, watching the Chicago Blackhawks clobber the Anaheim Ducks in the final game of the series.  The Hawks will win this game and go on to the coveted Stanley Cup.  That is correct, sir—an opportunity for a third championship in just a few years!

I comply with Jonelis’ rude order.  I do it because I sympathize with his lack of discipline in this arena of violent chaos.  And of course, like most men, I am quite prepared to revive my boyhood when the opportunity arises.  Certainly, there are subjects other than business worthy of utterance.

Mark T Wayne

Lonagan is at my right, constantly jostling, constantly booming, “Did ya see dat?” shouts the execrable fellow.  “He jammed da butt o’ his stick right into dat poor sap’s kisser.”  Permit me to note that Lonagan is able to perform a multitude of tasks simultaneously:

  • He shouts expert opinions about every detail of this free-for-all.
  • He gnaws great hunks from greasy bratwurst.
  • He swills beer from a paper cup with great skill.

I have never before witnessed a hockey game.  I attempt to test its worth with my closest scrutiny, but find it difficult to comprehend my editor’s rationale—dragging me out here to write about six bearded hooligans with faulty dental work beating up six over-muscled goons.  How can I stay abreast of the Chicago private equity action?  Nothing of impact happens in California.  Most of their financiers chase after the same-old, same-old mobile apps.  But I agreed not to talk business.

John thru the glass_JAJ05618B

Against the glass

Jonelis and Lonagan both jump to their feet and beer sloshes onto my fine white flannel suit.  “Goal!” they scream in rough unison, and the stadium erupts in opposing voices of victory and outrage.  Jonelis pounds my shoulder.  “Did you see that?  Did you?  A rebound—that’s the way to score a goal—always crowd the net!”  I am perplexed.  How can he possibly assume that I did not witness the occurrence?  Does the man think I am blind?  We are right here in the front row of the roaring crowd, watching this madness with an entirely unobstructed view!  A gentleman named Toews, who I am told, for some unknown reason, pronounces his name Taves, just flung a small black object into the goal by artful use of a stick.  I saw the act, as did every other bloodthirsty spectator in this crowded coliseum.

Meanwhile, Lonagan gesticulates broadly with both arms, then breaks into impassioned laughter that squeezes out a few tears.  He reaches across me and punches Jonelis square on the shoulder.  “Dis is da best!  First class airfare.  First class box seats!  I kin hardly believe I’m here!  What made ya ask me?”

Jonelis seems momentarily at a loss for words.  He grins sheepishly, then admits in a somewhat lower tone, “You know how to throw a party—I don’t.”  He clears his throat.  “After we win this game, I want to celebrate.  I want to do it right.”

I catch a glint in Lonagan’s eye.  “You want I should pour it on industrial strength?”

A wan smile.  “That’s the general idea.”

“Yer on!”  Lonagan grins like a slathering bulldog.  “What about old whisker-puss here?”

“He’s covering the game.”  Then Jonelis addresses me.  “Get the article out tonight, will you?”

I care not about a drunken felon denigrating the quality of my mustaches, but the second insult inflicts its sting.  My host reduces my status from guest to employee.  Such is the level of respect shown an accomplished novelist.  A writer is without honor, sir!  (I secretly resolve to delay the entire project for several days.  I, too, enjoy the Lonagan fellow’s raucous celebrations.)

Two huge bodies in bulky uniforms slam into the glass inches from my nose with an impact that rattles the structure of the enclosure.

I sit up and take notice.

Pinned, the Hawk reaches under an inadequate face guard and grabs the nose of the angry Duck, who bars his stick against the Hawk’s hairy throat.

A whistle!

With a bleeding nose, the Duck skates to the penalty box.

In the ensuing power play, I note amazingly deceptive and expert stick handling.  Fascinating!  Other members of the team, entirely out of the action of play, perform acts of sadistic menace upon each other’s persons.  These go unnoticed by the officials, otherwise engaged.  As an organ plays magnificent chants, I wonder how thugs learn to skate with such skill.

Toews scores another goal and I am wearing flecks of Lonagan’s mustard.  Only a few minutes have transpired since the splattering of beer—inadequate time to allow my suit to dry.

I stand and cheer!  “Hooray!”

This represents an important lesson!  Yes sir!  How is it that I have never before attended such an event as this?  And I speculate on the odds of bribing a season ticket from some luminary with the only real weapon I own—the promise to not write about him.

Read KIDNAPPED

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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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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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.

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.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