Monday, July 29, 2013

Dinner On the Dock In The Land of the Dead

In George Romero's fourth installment of his zombie series that began with the classic Night of the Living Dead, what’s left of mankind is cordoned off behind the walls of a fortified city while the walking dead roam the vast wasteland beyond. The few wealthy and powerful try to maintain an illusion of life as it was, dwelling high above the city in the exclusive towers of Fiddler’s Green, the last bastion of the ruling class. On the streets below, however, the remaining, less fortunate of the city’s inhabitants eke out a hard-scrabble life, seeking what little solace they can in the vices available -- gambling, flesh trade, drugs -- anything that offers even a fleeting respite from the hell their lives have become.Both the lofty heights of Fiddler’s Green and the demoralizing lows of the city below are lorded over by a handful of ruthless opportunists, who send out gangs of mercenaries to scavenge what commodities remain outside the gates of their fortressed city.

The plot of the movie reminds me a great deal of Rockford, and one event in particular, Dinner On the Dock. The petit bourgeois love it. They love to sit there with others like them and sip on an amateur beer and listen to music and generally be carefree. But, here's the thing: within blocks of where these people are sitting are food pantries, homeless shelters, a public outreach for the mentally ill, a shelter for battered women, a federal prison... the list goes on. Aside from the prisoners, most of those who depend upon those shelters and services wander right outside very near where this picture was taken. These people might even be able to see them as they enjoy their carefree summer night.  They're not going to invite them in, mind you. Hell, they're not even in there raising money to help those people. They're in there ignoring the problem. These are the type of people who don't bother to drive into this part of the city very often, and when they do they want to be assured they won't ever come face to face with the poor, the mentally ill, or the utterly forsaken. 

And the worst part is they want you to pay for it. No, that's not even the worst part. What's worse is if you ask any of these people they'll be happy to tell you the place is being paid for without public funds. But that's not true. In fact, it's a symptom of a much greater hypocrisy certain people are trying to foist off on the public. Here are some facts about who's paying so these examplars of sophistication and class can sit there and fiddle while the city burns.

-The city is agreeing to let the Brewhouse team keep 100 percent of the property tax increment generated from the building at 200 Prairie St. for the next 19 years. It amounts to an estimated $1.8 million to $2.5 million. The building is in the East River tax increment financing district that expires in 2032.

-The developers were able to secure about $2 million in federal historic tax credits three years ago. The five-member development team has pledged more than $1 million in equity. They’ve obtained energy tax credits as well, and plan to use those for a geothermal system. The team also hopes to obtain $2.2 million in state historic tax credits.

But none of that seems to bother one local politician, who said "The TIF is going to be paid on the back end. I have no fear that we’re going to hand over $800,000 and never see it again."

In Land of the Dead the zombies start to get smarter, they start to band together, and eventually they start to ignore the "fireworks" that are used to distract them and turn their attention towards Fiddler's Green. The homeless, mentally ill, and marginalized who are discharged from shelters daily and wander the streets until nightfall when they are allowed to go back inside probably aren't even aware of this event. Really, it shouldn't be incumbent upon them to shoulder these battles. They already have all the struggle they can handle in life. So, who is going to be their voice? Who is going to call out the hypocrisy and state the obvious that it looks like the worst form of bad taste to sit in the middle of a mess you helped create and aren't lifting a finger to solve trying to pretend you're sophisticated and urbane when what you really look like to someone with true civility and decency is far uglier than you'd like to believe.

And you want me to chip in for this on a local, state, and federal level, then watch you host events and build condos no one around here can afford to live in? I'm deeply offended that I'm being compelled to fund something I find repugnant. That's some nerve.

That's some Rockford. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

You Only Brought a Taser, an Ax Handle, and Brass Knuckles To a Fist Fight?

When 14 Hell's Angels were recently arrested for a rather vicious 14 on 1 beating and robbery, committed in the presence of an 11 year old girl who was being forcible restrained, the public didn't seem very outraged at all. In fact, they didn't see why members of a benevolent club were being harassed this way. Here's an account of that crime from The Rockford Register Star.

ROCKFORD — All 14 suspected Hells Angels sought by authorities in connection with a June 27 beating and armed robbery of a Rockford area man are in police custody.

Chicago Police Department officers arrested a 13th man, Jose Vielma of Countryside, on Friday night. The last of those sought, Christopher L. Lawson, 39, who was previously listed as at-large, turned himself in to Rockford authorities Sunday.

Lt. Marc Welsh said police began to investigate the case after a man was treated at an area hospital for injuries consistent with a severe beating. Seventeenth Circuit Court Judge Ronald White authorized the arrests after being consulted late Thursday night.

Court documents say the victim, whose most recent entry in online records lists a Machesney Park address, was attacked by the 14 men who allegedly conspired together to beat and rob him.

One man hit him with an ax handle, another struck him with brass knuckles and two men started a fire in an attempt to burn evidence of the beating, court documents say. He was punched by three men, tasered, struck with a hammer and stabbed with a knife.

They stole his wallet, keys and white GMC 

An 11-year-old girl, whose relationship to the victim was not been specified by authorities, was held against her will while the victim was attacked, court documents say.

Seems like most of the people of Rockford don't have a problem with that. But this afternoon when an almost identical crime came across the Scanner...

14 suspects beating up 1 female victim near the 10th ave park

The comments were of quite a different color...

Which left me scratching my head, wondering , which is it? Is this type of violence alright, or not. Or is it only alright when certain people do it? Now you don't have to peel back the poopblossom very far to detect the virulent racism that permeates the soul of this city like a malignant tumor. While the rest of the world tries to move on into this new millenium, Rockford stays behind, and festers. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Rockford Supplants Longview, Texas As America's Angriest City In 2013 According To Gallup

I walk the streets of Rockford daily. This early evening I discovered I was out of milk and had to walk to the next block where there's a small shop that sells such things. On the way I have to pass the bus stop and a small sitting area where the elderly and disabled from the Faust across the street often sit to pass the time. This evening two rather large black gentlemen were standing there waiting for the bus. Unlike a lot of people, I rarely walk in fear. I wasn't this time, but as I approached I didn't know if I had anything to say to them. They took care of that. The first man said "How you doin'?" I said "Fine. And you?" He similarly affirmed he was doing fine. The second man said "How you doin'?" I said "Fine, thank you. How are you doin' tonight?" He said he was fine, too. And that's how I got to the locally owned convenience store.

A few weeks ago a new Gallup study concluded Rockford, Illinois is now America's angriest city, supplanting Longview, Texas.

Ironically, I was in Longview just last year. I decided not to get off the train I was riding when the conductor said the following: "You can go ahead and get off here in Longview, Texas and stretch your legs and have a smoke, but don't get too comfortable because I'll leave you here. I know, I've seen me do it." 

I didn't get out of my compartment at Longview. They might have been really angry out there, I don't know. 

People in Rockford are angry. I won't deny that. I'm one of them. But typically I'm just angry because it seems like the thing to do around here. The buildings are falling down, no one has a job, crime is awful, and the best anyone can seem to do as far as solving the problem is print up a bunch of smart-ass Tshirts making fun of those who are just reporting the news. 

I don't have a solution, either. I feel like if people are angry here they're perceiving reality correctly because it's a place where you can get very angry if you're paying attention.

Someday I'll probably go from here. Most people with any sense do. 

Maybe I'll move to Longview, Texas. I hear it's nice there.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Racism In Rockford As Told By Screen Shots

I'm going to stand back and let the citizens of Rockford speak for themselves on this one. Keep in mind the housing complex they are referring to is a few blocks from where I live and is beautiful and a great new addition to a neighborhood that has a great potential to rebound and thrive. Most of them have most likely never been there. Screen shot number one, for your viewing displeasure...

None of these inbreds seemed to know or care that what the CEO of the RHA is true, and this is a complex for the elderly and disabled.
But none of that seems to matter. These are people who are angry that are fat, stupid, and poor, and have to work crappy jobs on top of that to finance their unfortunate habit of breeding and creating more fat, stupid, and ugly creatures. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

This Is Where I Make the Poetry

A lot of people think where they live is rough. Fear has become a big industry in America. Sales of guns are skyrocketing and the amount of people prepping for some inchoate apocalypse is mind boggling. Follow the money I always say. However, the neighborhood I live in was recently named the 14th most dangerous in America. How do I live in a place like that? Here's what I do...

I'll wake up and look out the window to see what the weather is like. Then I generally have a nice, tall glass of water, fluoride and all, then contemplate what I might eat for lunch. Usually I haven't prepared very well, so I don't have anything, and I take to the mean streets and go to the next block where I often buy a turkey sandwich and a soft drink from the Middle Easterny looking guys who have a convenience store there. Almost always when I walk through the door the guy there says "Hey buddy, how are you today?," and I'll generally respond that things are favorable. 

Then I'll go home and eat that and look out the window. It's a great view. Probably the most interesting one in the entire town. I've seen everything. The first year I moved in the restaurant I live behind put in a beach in the alley and had music shows all summer. I've seen fights and fucking and frolicking and more misery and dejection than I care to remember. The garbage dumpsters behind the row of restaurants are very popular among the homeless. But there's joy, too, mostly in the form of drunken revelry, but that counts, too.

I've always dreamed of living in such a place. I grew up in a small town where one can take a walk any time night or day and not get hassled. I'm not sure it would be wise to head south from my current location at night. I have to be honest and admit I don't have much business there and don't attempt it very often.

If you continued to Google Earth this down to street level you'd probably see me at the northernmost tip of this map manning one of the last poetry outposts in the pre post-Apocalyptic dystopia of Rockford. The average income is something like $8,600 in the shaded area. All around me is the area they are attempting to gentrify. I love it. I like to feel I am doing my bit to class things up. My mood often depends on which window I look out of. I have my choice. The historic Midway Theater and Faust Landmark Hotel, the Irish Rose and the great white North, or dumpsters and Latino dishwashers on break or carting the leavings of affluent white folks to the trash. This is where I make the poetry. This is where I watch the homeless turned out of the shelters each day make their way to the dollar store. This is where I watch the ambulance pick up the despondent elderly several times a week from The Faust. This is where I wonder when they will put a roof on the Midway Theater. 

I like it. It suits me. It's various. I have my choice of half a dozen good restaurants in walking distance. Same with a cold beer or good live music. My experience in the shaded area is different from almost everyone else's. It's where I always wanted to be. At almost the exact geographic heart of Rockford, Illinois. I was born three blocks east of where I am now sitting. I inhabit this neighborhood, but I'm not any real part of it. Nothing I do here makes life any better for the rest of the people the city, state, and federal government has left behind. 

So, the hipster kids down the block can print up a new batch of Tshirts about how ironic it is that the perception is this is a terrible place when it's really oh so lovely to them, but I'd feel slightly abashed if I wore such a thing and ran into one of the people around here who truly is miserable and feels helpless about it. I have one of those Tshirts because I like to support what other people are doing. It's soft. And oblivious of the suffering going on around it.

Like most of Rockford.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

There's Nothing Confusing About a Roundabout

I love to hear it when macho men say something like "There's nothing confusing about a roundabout." These are usually the same Type A jackholes who think it's funny to drive full speed in an ice storm, then go home and complain on Facebook that everyone is driving like a little old lady. There were multiple fatal cat crashes in Rockford yesterday, so safety is an issue here just like everywhere else in the world. 

We took the kids over to see the demolition of Main Street last week to make way for the roundabout at Main and Auburn. I'm not sure if it will be a good thing or not, but I know anyone who doesn't allow that it will be confusing to many people at first is a fool. I remember initially it was the Walgreens corporation that pushed the city to tear down several businesses at Main and Auburn whether they liked it or not, which Bobby Salamone at North Main Tavern did not. I drank in that bar for several years and he would come in on occasion and play the spoons or pump several hundred dollars into the video poker machine. I remember hearing Walgreens had offered the family a number that seemed rather generous. I wonder what they got from the city. After the city went to all that effort Walgreens took a pass. 

Nothing confusing about that. The city obviously has something in mind here and on Morgan Street. I think it might be entertaining to get a frosty beverage and go sit at the intersection of Main and Auburn once they get this roundabout in place. There's nothing confusing about Rockford. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ingersoll, The Gaylord Estate, and Racism In Rockford

Notes: In terms of clarity and disambiguation, the auction described in this blog occurred at the estate of Robert Gaylord, Jr, who was the Treasurer of Ingersoll for 40 years until retirement in the early 1980's. His brother, Edson Ingersoll, was the owner of Ingersoll. Factual information in this article was obtained from The Rockford Register Star, The Chicago Tribune, and public records of the discrimination lawsuit Ingersoll settled in 2001 with the EEOC. 

Rockford has a history of being one of the most racist and segregated cities in America. Unfortunately, Rockford also has a present of being one of the most racist and segregated cities in America. The Rock River makes an almost complete separation of black and white in Rockford. The largest employer was the first company sued for racism in the 1980's, and the school board was also sued for racism in recent history.

Last October I went to my first auction. At the estate of one of the heirs of the Ingersoll corporation. The Ingersoll family ran the company into bankruptcy, costing several hundred people in Rockford their jobs before selling to a foreign interest. Researching the family I learned that many had considered them prejudiced in the past, but I was unprepared for what I witnessed at the auction itself. The auction itself was not held at the estate of Edson Ingersoll, the last in the family to run the corporation, but Robert Gaylord, Jr., a family member who had been eased out of the family business in the 1970's, and who had no real controlling interest in Ingersoll policies. It was crowded, and looking for a quiet corner I found a cozy nook in one of the wings of the house, and listened as a woman who had worked as a domestic maid for the family recounted how mistreated she was by the family all those years, and all the slings she endured, and how she had come to this auction merely to wander the estate without being harassed or enduring more abuse.

I felt a certain unease as I wandered the rooms, trying to stake out artifacts I wanted to bid on, and saw mementos of sexism and perceived racism that might have been acceptable in mixed company in the 1950's or 60's when I'm sure they were acquired, but not something most people would want company to see in modern America.

I talked to someone I knew about the estate, and he said he remembered being there with Sears delivery installing a washer and dryer and the lady there said "I sent home the n&**#@ maid today." Not in 1868, or even the 1960's, this happened less than a decade ago in Rockford, Illinois.

When the story was written about and covered in the local media the man was made out to be a hero. The family was lionized. Nobody mentioned anything about the discrimination suits or selling out the people of Rockford. I feel like I want to mention it. Just for a record. Maybe a record nobody cares about.

This is one of the little gems I found at the auction. Along with dolls and Beatles records and board games and all the types of things little rich girls would have had growing up in the 60's. Boxes and boxes of board games and troll dolls and record albums, many of them never even opened. They used to ride skateboards and roller skate in the twisting hallway that runs nearly fifty yards to an underground parking garage. It's a magnificent house designed by famed architect Jesse Barloga. Someone bought the estate the next day, but the sale was rescinded when the neighborhood association balked at that person opening a bed and breakfast there. 

The Chicago Tribune did a piece about how the Ingersoll Corporation was symbolic of the fall of Rockford titled Rough Ride In Rockford.  And here's the EEOC lawsuit that ruled against Ingersoll in a discrimination lawsuit brought on behalf of "blacks and women." 

Having read that and listened to my personal account, you might be surprised when The Rockford register Star wrote about the auction the Gaylord family was lionized as being "big financial contributors to the Rockford community, and the head of the Chamber of Commerce at the time was of course for sweeping the whole thing under the rug. It mentions he was a big game hunter and an influential member of the Rockford think tank The Rockford Institute. Remember them and how the Southern Poverty law center considered them on their radar as a racist organization

Seems like an ongoing theme with the Gaylord family, but The Rockford Register Star seems to think they're just swell people. This is what we deal with in Rockford. A very thinly veiled history of outright racism that hasn't been put in the past by any degree. 

The Gaylord estate. Nice place. But what about the people? Kind of like Rockford. I did well at the Gaylord auction. My favorite thing I bought was an old piece of driftwood that looks magnificent no matter what direction you turn it. I'll never forget being there or what it taught me about digging into the history of the city I was born in. I imagine there are hundreds of stories like this one in the founding of this city. Dozens of places and parks and building that have sordid histories in them we'll never really know about. Digging beneath the surface is something we don't do here, I think because we know it's rotten, and life is already rotten enough around here. 

"As early as 1973, Rockford was found to be segregating its black and Hispanic children in inferior schools. The practice festered, touching off an epic court battle that led a federal judge to conclude in 1993 that Rockford had raised discrimination to an "art form." By 1999, the town's taxpayers had spent $238 million on the drastic remedial measures required by the judicial decree--amid bitter resistance in some quarters. Legal fees topped $20 million.

Ingersoll fought a similar battle to its detriment. In 1977, it became the first U.S. company to be barred from federal contracts in a discrimination case, after the government charged it with bias against blacks and women. Edson Gaylord said the company's employment records were private, and he never put much stock in government work anyway." By Greg Burns
Tribune senior correspondent
October 23, 2005

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Rockford Labor News Ceases Publication After 101 Years

After 101 years of being the voice of labor in Rockford, The Rockford Labor news dropped off its final issue April 12th, and will publish no more. Owners Don and Mary Brady, who recently celebrated their 60th year of marriage, often worked seven days a week keeping the paper going throughout the years, but finding no one interested in carrying on their work, folded operations.

Makes sense. In a city once renowned for making things, and now known more for its incredibly high violent crime and unemployment rates, a paper touting the working person simply is no longer needed. Hasn't been for over 25 years.

Sure, there are still union members in this area that make a good wage based on decades of organizers and brave union members getting their heads cracked open so they can reap the benefits and vote Republican, but none of them seem to know how or why they have a health insurance plan.

Like Rockford Labor, The Rockford Labor News is antiquated. Union members sat on their asses during Tuesday's elections, and as far as I'm concerned they can just keep sitting on those fat asses as Morrissey dismantles the Fire and Police unions, then goes for municipal workers. Labor doesn't need a newspaper to be its voice anymore in this city because it already has a voice... an overly-satisfied grunt of an overstuffed pig un aware it is being led to the slaughterhouse. if you did not create, and you do not zealously defend the unions that take care of you and your family, there are plenty of people perfectly happy to see them taken away from you.

Goodbye Rockford Labor News. You have been irrelevant for a quarter of a century, but your efforts were noble. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Rockford Voted. Sort Of.

The results of Tuesday's mayoral election was no surprise here in Rockford. Slightly more than 20% of eligible voters did vote, and less than fifty percent of those voted for the incumbent, Larry Morrissey. But that was enough. 

What was a slight surprise was the turnover on the City Council. Several incumbents were turned out, but fortunately we're going to see some welcome new faces like 3rd Ward Alderman Tom McNamara. 

So, business (excuse me, lack of business) as usual here in Rockford for four more years. 

The mayor held his victory celebration at The District, a douchebag bag most people i know would never set foot in. It's a fitting location, considering it sits in the same building as Paragon, a bar that cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in still unpaid loans. It was a bar the douchebags also loved, and touted it as a great example of something classy in Downtown. What it was, and what The District is, are further examples of corruption and reach-around deals putting unearned and undeserved money in the pockets of those who support the mayor. The District will be out of business within five years, and those who receive taxpayer benefits, including the family of one of the mayor's largest campaign contributors, will pocket that money and move onto something else they can fuck up. 

I don't really have as much of a distaste for the corruption as it might seem, but since almost no one else seems to have any at all, I feel compelled to at least point out this place needs an enema. The petit bourgeoisie always look vaguely hemophiliac and besotted to me. Ashen and debauched. Hoglike. It's possible we will see investigations and indictments within the next four years, but Rockford serves a couple of functions regionally and even internationally that are overlooked and are major factors mitigating against change. The first is the heroin trade. Rockford is one of the main hubs for heroin traffic in the Midwest. You can't have that kind of operation going without a lot of people looking the other way. I don't have much of an opinion about the heroin trade, either. It just is. 

Rockford is also a sort of municipal toxic dump. Most citizens are unaware of it, but a big industry around here is accepting other peoples' garbage. It's a harsh statement when you're discussing human beings, but rather accurate. So, we have some wings of the cheerleading department making these hollow pronouncements that Rockford is great and the other wing encouraging the misery to continue because it's damn big business and keeps the funds rolling in. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Less Than a Week Before Mayoral Elections Rockfordians Still Trying To Decide Among Least Slimy Candidate

Less than a week before April 9th's mayoral and city council elections, Rockfordians are still trying to find a candidate for any office that doesn't smell like bullshit. In a last minute "bombshell," which was probably meant to be an "April surprise," a "concerned citizen" came forward to various news agencies claiming the sitting mayor's development group, Morrissey Realty Group, was being fined $1000 a month for accepting $400,000 in TIFF dollars, then showing no progress on a 7th Street loft project which the ever-optimistic Rockford register Star opined three years ago would revitalize downtown. It may have revitalized someone's wallet, but as far as helping spur development in Midtown (because the reporter mis-identified which neighborhood 7th Street is in), not a single visible sign of construction has begun. Three years after accepting the money, the development group is blaming the downturn in the real estate market for putting the project on the backburner. But they already took the money. If they don't want to not use their own money that's fine, but they took OUR money.

What was interesting about the story wasn't the in-your-face level of blatant corruption, but the fact that several news agencies reported the story emanated from a "concerned citizen" who turned out to be Louis CK lookalike and 1st Ward Alderman Brian Leggero. Leggero is a Republican, which is irrelevant in Rockford where party affiliation just tends to slow one down, but more importantly, many believe he has another axe to grind.

Listen, Mr. Alderman, if you're not getting your share in Rockford, you only have yourself to blame. There's plenty to go around. Don't hate, participate. As for the rest of Rockfordians disillusioned by the process, The Rockford Register Star conducted a poll whose results indicated a three way heat for the mayor's election this Tuesday. This time apparently a Republican AND a Democrat decided to run, and although nobody knows who either one of them are, they know they're not the current mayor. And in Rockford that just may be enough to get you elected. It has been before.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

High Unemployment Rate In Rockford Due To Volunteerism

Rockford has an unemployment rate of 13.1%. And I think I know why. All the corporations we keep giving tax breaks to in order to create jobs are hiring... volunteers. A company with $122,568,336.00 in assets, paying its executives a healthy salary, plus bonuses, taking every tax incentive in the book from the community, then asking a potential work force with some of the most miserable unemployment numbers in the nation to volunteer, for a shirt and jacket... 

That's Rockford, baby!!!

We have rescue missionsfood pantries, and treatment centers for the mentally ill overrun with those who need help, and The Rockford International Airport thinks their mission of greeting visitors to Rockford, Illinois, takes precedence over all that?

Shame on you.

From the "application"...

"...must work cooperatively and courteously with diverse groups of people; be able to access multiple references in a timely manner in response to customer requests for information; demonstrate oral and interpersonal communication skills, and have the ability to respond calmly in emergency situations. A basic knowledge of the internet or the ability to learn basic computer skills is necessary. The ability to travel to/from the airport in all types of weather conditions is required..."

To paraphrase Helen Hunt in As Good As It Gets," seriously, Rockford, the mayor's office, Chamber of Commerce, and Rockford Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau, "Do you have any control over how creepy you get?"

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Rockford, Illinois Is a Slimy Kleptocracy

As the election for mayor approaches on April 9, and aldermen are chosen, you can discern a real political trend in Rockford, Illinois. Nobody seems particularly interested in joining a political party around here. And here's why...

Rockford is a kleptocracy. Political parties require accountability to state and national advisers. Nobody in Rockford really wants those type of people snooping around here. 

Same thing with the media. When Forbes named Rockford it's Third Most Miserable City the town went up for grabs in indignation. Or so we thought. But what really had happened was a few sources did their best to gin the populace up and get them to respond in anger that anyone would even hint that a town with a history of virulent racism, a poor education system, one of the highest unemployment rates in America, an epidemic of obesity, incredible violence, a heroin epidemic, and political corruption should be mentioned by the national media as unpleasant in any way. 

No one wants political parties or national media in Rockford. It has taken generations to set Rockford up as the kleptocracy it has become, and those who are raking in the cash are happy that everyone has given up on Rockford. 

The galling part is that they use a lot of the public funds they receive to try and persuade the locals that everything is happiness and rainbows and that they should accentuate the positive and ignore the men behind the curtain profiting from decay, corruption, and illegality. Of course the national media isn't buying it, but they hardly give a shit after they get their sound bite and story about how fat, stupid, lazy, backwards, and ugly we are. They have no motivation to intervene.

So, we have a kleptocracy that has all but cut Rockford off from the rest of the world. So they can chop and divide it up among themselves. 

Looking good.

And it's a double-edged sword, because we have no politicians who represent us in Springfield or Washington, and because Congress saw fit to carve up our House seats so we have two out-of-towner carpetbaggers "representing" us, we have virtually no one to speak on behalf of our schools, or our economy, and out city on any level. Anyone who studies history knows, when a power vacuum is formed, someone steps in to assume that power. That is exactly what has happened in Rockford. We have shadowy leadership, sweetheart deals, no bid contracts, misplacement and mismanagement of state and federal funds, and law enforcement that seems to be stumped just who and how all this heroin is getting here, being processed, and being shipped out. 

Someday it will be announced the feds were here all along "monitoring," and that either a major heroin ring, or a huge political bust has been announced, but it won't make much difference. The city has been divided up. It's in the bag. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Rockford: A Symbol of Failure

"In the late seventies, city leaders sought a symbolic icon to bridge the economic and cultural division between east and west Rockford. State funding provided financial grants to ensure Rockford's downtown remained the city's center for arts and creative endeavors. The city hired Alexander Liberman to design and build a sculpture that would sustain Rockford's downtown. The sculpture was placed at the corner of State St. and Wyman St. in 1978. Six years later, Symbol was disassembled and moved to Sinnissippi Park. Since 1984, Symbol has been placed along the river, north of downtown Rockford." from

I vaguely remember this and how up in arms everyone was. I don't recall ever hearing anyone say this was a great idea and they felt more civic pride because of it. If anything, the consensus was this enormous monstrosity WAS symbolic, but of the death of Downtown Rockford. I now live a few blocks from where this sculpture used to sit, and a short walk from where it now sits. We never saw it, because like everyone else, we never went Downtown. The only time I ever remember being there as a kid was when we went to my cousin's graduation at The Coronado.

But I'm not here to disrespect the aesthetics of the sculpture, the seemingly oblivious placing of it in the middle of what used to be a busy city street in the heart of the former shopping district, or the expense. 

What really bothers me about Symbol is the same decision making process that still bothers most working artists in Rockford today: they hired someone from out of town to do it. And paid them a lot of money. Then claimed it symbolized partly the thriving art community in Rockford. What an insult.

It happened again just recently when the Nicholas Conservatory hired a muralist from Colorado to paint a mural. That project cost over $50,000 and used public funds, but no Rockford artist was considered to paint it. I find that ridiculous. I personally know a dozen artists who could have done that job just as well, or better. But none of them were contacted. However, when the RACVB or the Chamber of Commerce or City want to promote Rockford they sure do talk up how Downtown is experiencing a Renaissance due in no small part to artists, musicians, and small business owner.

What a slap in the face. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

In Rockford Less Than Twenty Percent Is Overwhelming Success

Only in Rockford, Illinois, is an approval rating of less than twenty percent thought of as overwhelmingly successful, as the head of The Rockford Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau crowed about their Misery Loves Company campaign, which has many locals infuriated for its pure tone deafness. 

These are the actual results from the Rockford register Star. Anyone who has ever studied statistics knows it's hard to do any worse than this. Adolf Hitler probably would have garnered at least ten percent. In response to to these results the local media... said nothing. They just continued to cheerlead for the campaign by announcing Tshirts were available.

Inability to count, just another reason why Rockford, Illinois will never stop being made fun of.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

And a River Runs Through It.

Here at The Rockford we don't really long for the days of slavery as The Southern Poverty Law Center has claimed. In fact, to our paleo brains slavery isn't nearly far enough. We want to return to the Old Testament. We know rivers were invented by God for a reason, and the reason here in The Rockford is to keep people where God wants them.

One of the most racist, backwards, ignorant, corrupt places in America. And a river runs through it.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Rockford Institute of Paleo-Brained Racists Breathes Collective Sigh of relief That Black Pope Is Not Chosen

The paleo-brained conservatives at the Rockford Institute today breathed a collective sigh of relief when a Black man was NOT chosen Pope.

"We're just barely decent enough to not do it here", the knuckle-draggers said "but we're going to go do some high fives and unleash a bunch of Nwords in the bar," Institute Chairman Sven "Jesus was no Nword" Carlson said. 

The Rockford Institute For Advanced Supplying of Vague Things

Here at Rockford we know a lot of things. We got the brains. We tell people in faraway places what to do while the city crumbles around us. People want to know how we get paid so much to tell people how to do things we are incapable of doing ourselves, but that's a trade secret. We are like vampires among the citizens of The Rockford. Parasites. Leeches. 

We supply things. Don't ask what the things are. In fact, don't ask anything. We are The Rockford. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How To Do The Rockford Turnaround

James Rockford is a low rent, ex con private detective. He barely works enough to keep his 1974 Pontiac Firebird. Or 1975 Pontiac as he bought a new one for each year the series was on television, but declined to do so after 1978 because he hated the new design. 

In that Pontiac James Rockford created what famously became known as The Rockford Turnaround, a maneuver he used to avoid anyone following him. 

How to do the Rockford Turnaround

Monday, March 11, 2013

Rocky The Rockford Blog Mascot

On The Rockford Files, James Rockford's father, a retired truck driver named Rocky, was played by actor Noah Beery, Jr. 

Here he is playing chess with his son while Pirates shortstop Mario Mendoza looks on. 

Jim Rockford: This is Jim Rockford. At the tone leave your name and message, I'll get back to you. 

Joseph 'Rocky' Rockford #2: [Beep] Hi sonny, it's Rocky. I got the bill and I've been trying to figure out what everybody owes on LJ's birthday party. Tell me, did you have the pink lady? 

I bet Jim Rockford didn't have the pink lady? How do I know? 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Welcome To The Rockford Blog

Welcome to the Rockford Blog. A one stop source for all your Rockford needs. You want Rockford, we got Rockford. 

Jim Rockford

You want Rockford poetry? We got Rockford poetry. Let me look around and see if I can find that Rockford poem.

Rockford CSI

An ant crawled 
Into the bottle of Grolsch 
I left on the counter last night 
And drowned like an American 
Tourist in a Dutch brothel. 
I notified the Coroner’s Office 
And they have deemed it 
Death by misadventure 
Though no one is sure 
Who to notify. 

You want fast cars?

We make