Main Street

Main Street- by Roger Allen publisher – July 9, 2009

July 9, 2009 // 0 Comments

25 Years Ago… It was a trip down memory lane. The class of ’84 opened their time capsule a few days ago. Inside, among other memories, were 10 issues of The Rockford Squire. They dated from the first weeks of publication under that name after I bought the original local paper, the Rockford Register. The papers were full of names I knew well. Jack Schwab was mayor, Dave Bass led the band. There were dozens of others, some of whom are no longer around. Many were friends of mine and I miss them. A lot of local businesses took out ads in the first few issues. Some are still here and surviving the current downturn. Neil Blakeslee, attorney at law, was there, and The Sewing Room. Sears-Coon’s ad was there, although the business is gone now. Floyd Havemeier’s business was called The Melting Pot, but that successful company has absorbed about four others to become Herman’s Boy in a larger location. J.T. Stitchery was a first customer, and the Old Mill was there. Byrne Electric supported our efforts to start a new paper, and so did Wynalda Litho. Rockford Flower Shop is at its same address and so is Young Insurance. The Squire changed its address, but we’ve hung in here through thick and thin (which is why you can read this). In a front-page article of issue No. 1, I explained how I named the Squire. In case you missed it, here’s a reprint: “To choose a name for something like a newspaper gives one pause. The name will certainly be before the public often and will, we hope, last for a long, long time. If unsuitable it is not easily changed. “One cannot think of Rockford these days without some association with Squires Street Square. However, there is a great deal more to Rockford than a part, although a unique part, of its commercial district. Rockford is also the home of many sophisticated people who prefer a smaller city and its quieter pace. Most of us in this area own our own homes, many with some acreage. “Recalling the English definition of a ‘Squire’ as a ‘landed proprietor or country gentleman,’ there was really little question that the name of the paper should […]

Main Street – July 2 2009

July 2, 2009 // 0 Comments

America’s last king Every Independence Day we wave the flag for our Founding Fathers who led the revolution. This year, in the renewed spirit of fairness, let’s say a few additional words about the guy on the other side, King George III of Britain. Down the centuries, he’s been portrayed as a loony in lace cuffs. Actually, he was a pretty stable ruler in between bouts of what medical experts now think was the blood disease porphyria. (During his sick times, yes, he acted like a lunatic.) We’ve regarded him as a tyrant. In that day and age, however, ruling their colonies was what European monarchs did. North American holdings represented a big investment and a large part of British lands; little wonder the king didn’t let them (us) get away without a fight. And, as European rulers go, King George was a fairly moderate landlord. George III got utterly bad press for at least 150 years after the launching of the U.S.A. Nowadays, historians don’t roll their eyes about him quite as much. Who knows? A more recent George in American history may get some of that revisionist history he’s been hoping for, although it’s never quick in coming. As he said in May 2008, “I’ll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office.” Despite wars and financial and political downers, our country, 200+ years later, is still a going concern guided by the Constitution put in place by our founders. I am proud to be an American. Happy Fourth of July, everybody! Speaking of history… They opened the time capsule last Saturday. The high school class of 1984 had buried it. When it was buried, I had recently re-started a newspaper that I called The Rockford Squire to continue the tradition of the Rockford Register. Over the past 25 years there have been ups and down with the Squire. For profits and pay it was mostly down, and for hard work it was always up-but it has also been the most satisfying job I ever had. I got to know lots of people in the community and I generally knew what was going on around town. We did a story on the capsule when it […]

Main Street by Roger Allen — June 25, 2009

June 25, 2009 // 0 Comments

Big worry, short fingernails A lot of people worry about the national budget deficit. The idea of the government spending borrowed money goes against the grain. But, on a personal scale, we Americans did the same thing with our unrestrained credit card binge and mortgages we couldn’t afford. Let’s not get all moral about the national budget deficit. But the deficit problem is real and the facts aren’t simple. President Clinton was relatively frugal, so George W. Bush inherited a small surplus. Then, under the Bush administration, Congress actually reduced taxes (with most reductions going to the already wealthy) while embarking on two wars. This combo of lowering taxes during war had never been done before. (Wonder why.) The result was a gigantic budget deficit made to seem only huge-because (holy moley!) the Bush folks didn’t include the costs of the two wars in their budget numbers. President Obama inherited a uniquely ghastly fiscal fiasco; he and his team of advisers, including the respected Warren Buffet, decided on the stimulus package to try to fend off a total meltdown. We’re printing money like crazy and selling bonds to foreign governments to back it up. No wonder we Americans are biting our fingernails down to the first knuckle. On the other hand, we Americans are still buying loads of stuff from China and putting it on our bill. Way to go, Wal-Mart! Bet the Chinese are laughing all the way to the bank. Ye gods. What happens if we can’t pay those bonds when they come due? Do the Chinese get to foreclose on us? Are we going bankrupt? I can see where the Feds might have to sign over Boulder Dam to the Chinese to help cover our debts. And how about Connecticut? Will the Chinese demand ownership of some small state to cancel our debt? I think about these things as I nibble away at my fingernails. Momentary worry A guy goes to the supermarket and notices an attractive woman waving at him. She says hello. He’s rather taken aback because she looks familiar but he can’t place where he knows her from. So he says, “Do you know me?” She replies, “I think you’re the father of one of my kids.” Now his […]

Main Street by Roger Allen publisher – June 18, 2009

June 18, 2009 // 0 Comments

Starting summer in style The Start of Summer parade was a lot of fun and I didn’t have to walk. My daughter Beth, who now manages the Squire, provided me with a lawn chair on the trailer. In exchange, I had to wear a flowered shirt and a funny hat. Children of staff members ran around throwing candy while I sat and waved at the crowd. Life is good. I keep discovering new fringe benefits of old age. I did notice, however, that there was a lot more interest in the candy than in me sitting and waving. Paying for health Turn on the TV or radio and you hear talk about universal health care. Actually, we already have it. It’s the “fee for service plan.” Most of us can get medical care, even if it means going to an emergency room for a condition that may be short of an actual emergency. What we are talking about now is “health insurance.” There are always problems when you deal with OPM (Other Peoples Money). If there is a way to abuse the system, somebody will do it. “If I don’t have to pay directly, I want the best and money is no object.” That kind of thinking can put a huge strain on any system. If we have universal health insurance, somebody is going to have to regulate usage. Sometimes we aren’t going to like it, but the present system in this country is out of control. All other developed countries in the western world have some kind of  universal health insurance, and their health statistics and cost of care compare favorably with ours. Amazing A guy sees a sign in front of a house: “Talking Dog for Sale.” He rings the bell and the owner tells him the dog is in the back yard. The guy goes into the back yard and sees a mutt sitting there. “You talk?” he asks. “Sure do,” the dog replies. “So, what’s your story?” The dog looks up and says, “Well, I discovered my gift of talking pretty young and I wanted to help the government so I told the CIA about my gift. In no time they had me going from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies […]

Main Street, by Roger Allen publisher – June 11, 2009

June 11, 2009 // 0 Comments

D-Day Those of us who lived through WWII know June 6, 1944, was the day we started to feel that victory really was ahead of us. There was a lot of bad news stretching from Dec. 7, 1941, to this date. We lost ground in Africa, France, and the South Pacific. Nazi submarines were sinking our ships everywhere, including off the coast of New Jersey. Those were grim times but on this date we pushed back, big time. The casualties were horrific, but those Americans didn’t die in vain. We won, and fascism lost. The single life Two bachelors, Larry and Frank, went out to dinner. The conversation drifted from office to sports to politics and then to cooking. “I got a cook book once,” said Larry, “but I couldn’t do anything with it.” “Too much fancy stuff in it, huh?” asked Frank. “You said it,” Larry replied. “Every one of those recipes began the same way: ‘Take a clean plate…’ ” Shrewd plan The State wants to turn loose about 4,000 prison inmates to save money. They say it costs $32,000 a year to keep each one in prison. Hey! How about I take a couple and tie them to a tree in my back yard? I’d do this cheap-only $20,000 a year, maybe. That saves the State $24,000 and gives me $40,000. That’s more than I ever got at the paper and all I have to do is sit and watch them all day. Sure, I’d have to rent a Porta-potty and make some oatmeal and macaroni and cheese a couple times a day, but I’ve got the time for it. I guess I’d have to give them umbrellas in the summer and warm coats and quilts in the winter, but that’s about it. Seems like a win-win deal to me. Since the State is willing to let them go, they couldn’t be actually dangerous. Living in 2009   1. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.  2.  You haven’t played solitaire with real cards in years.  3.  You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your        family of three.  4.  You e-mail the person who’s working at the desk        next to you.  5. […]

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