From Claude Shannon To Demonic Mosquitoes To Bluegill

Must be something in the water.
Must be something in the water.
Here’s some information for you: this is a statue of Claude Shannon, tucked in-between two unfrequented buildings in tiny Gaylord, Michigan (most buildings are unfrequented here). Shannon’s the guy who made major contributions to cryptography and singlehandedly invented information theory, a feat made possible, dietitians speculate, because of his steady diet of bluegill, like these pictured below, fished from pristine, frigid Northern waters.

In an eerie coincidence, Yours Truly, who walked in the same woods, swam in the same lakes, and ate of the same flesh, followed a similar career path as Shannon, though with far less stunning results. But then I mixed my fish with plenteous quantities of black squirrel, pegged with a semi-automatic assault rifle (a .22; the squirrels surely saw it as an assault), and nobody ever claimed gamey meat was brain food. Incidentally, several of the tails adorned the back of my old ten-speed Schwinn.

The real reason for worms.
The real reason for worms.

The bluegills (eleven in total) yesterday gave their lives in a noble cause: nourishing the digestive systems to replenish the blood sucked away from our party by the hoard of mosquitoes released directly from hell onto the waters of Navajo Lake. At one point they were so thick that a cloud of them, by some fell collective will, attempted to make off with one of our smaller members. They would have made it, too, except that somebody’s cell phone went off with a Beatles ringtone and the bugs that didn’t flee committed suicide by smashing themselves into the side of the cabin. Since they had previously fed, you can image the vivid scene of carnage. It didn’t stop me from eating my s’more.

And a one and a two and a...
And a one and a two and a…

Speaking of the opposite of bad music, I gave you Ralph Schweigert and the Gaylord Community Band, pictured here with Kathy Chau née Dobrzelewski (pronounced just as it’s spelled), whose sister (or cousin?) I knew back at St Mary’s. I hadn’t seen Ralph for thirty years, but since the restraining order had expired I went up and said hi. The music stand blocked his escape so he was forced to say that if he knew I were coming he would have invited me to play. I demurred and noted that he probably wanted the band to sound good. He said that, back in the olden days, I added a lot to the band.

I agreed that this was true. I added volume: the band was at least louder when I played, my lungs of a capacity only exceeded by my ability to pontificate internetickly (yes, internetickly). Ralph wanted me to say hi to his wife before we left, but he couldn’t find her. I told him not to worry because my picture was probably still up at the post office if she wanted to recall me.

Incidentally, “Anyone who has at least a high school level proficiency on a traditional band instrument is eligible to become a member” of the community band.

Gaylord today, Lake Michigan and beautiful Charlevoix tomorrow!


  1. Richard A

    So you are a Michigander. Good for you!

  2. Ray

    You’re so lucky to make the post office bulletin board. I thought those were all affirmative action jobs reserved for minorities. Women are also very underrepresented on the bulletin board. Blatant sexism no dought.

  3. Ye Olde Statistician

    How does a place like Michigan get a lake named Navajo? Did that fabled tribe once conquer most of North America and leave these eponymous features behind, much as Rome, NY, indicates the once vast extent of that Empire?

  4. Bert Walker

    Are you referring the post office bulletin board that advertised you and nine others who are apparently very popular as the headline read “Most Wanted?”

  5. Steve E

    A decidedly bony creature the bluegill; difficult to fillet, but well worth the effort. Where I grew up we called them sunfish. Although, they were less prized than the almost-a-pound jumbo perch–so tender you could cook them with the skin on until it was crispy.

  6. Kevin Kilty

    I wandered by this way after having not visited for a long time. I’ll spend more time here today.

    Claude Shannon also wrote a Master’s thesis on the relationship of Boolean algebra to electrical circuitry; doing so back at a time when there was almost no electrical circuitry to speak of. I’ve heard it described as the most significant M.Sc. thesis of the Twentieth Century. That makes for a nice line on a c.v.

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