Hanging Out in Rockford: One way to fix it

By Mike Leifheit


This has been a strange December. Business is getting better. In the good weeks, we are up. In the bad weather weeks, we are down, but the trend is good. It is beginning to look like things are turning around. Except for when the media kill our business unnecessarily.

I am sitting in a booth under James Joyce with John and Marilyn Lamar and Frank Schier. They are having dinner. (All three of them have ordered the Wagyu sirloin. It’s the last three orders we have in the house. Wagyu is the kind of steer that becomes Kobe. Waygu is the steer, Kobe is the method.) On this particular night, we are the only people here. The television stations have been scaring the hell out of everyone about going anywhere.

Frank brings up the irresponsible behavior of the local broadcast media in reporting the weather. They really do go overboard. I personally have driven every day for weeks. I think the city has done a pretty fair job of keeping the main streets cleared. I drove to Chicago on the Tuesday and Thursday when the media were telling everybody to stay home. I had no difficulty at all. Frank says we should do something about it because it hurts every business in the community.

I am going to take a different direction on this one. I think we should all stop watching local media. It’s all terrible anyway. If you stop watching it, I guarantee you will feel better. I have, and I feel immeasurably better. We don’t need them to tell us it is snowing out. It is winter in Rockford, and it snows in the winter here. It has every winter I have been here for my 64 years. As a trend, I don’t see it slowing up soon.

We are all adults. If we do not watch the bad, badly-produced, local media, we can just look at the sky instead and make our own determination about driving safety. This will probably prove to be more accurate than listening to their prognostications, as they are wrong more than 50 percent of the time. And the added benefit is we won’t be depressed by their doom-and-gloom newscasts. It’s a win-win. You save time and eliminate depression, all in one fell swoop.

I have also sworn off totally on the Rockford Register Star. I can be in a wonderful mood and pick up the Register Star for even a few moments only to have it sour my whole day. Any important news will get to me through my customers, Café Greco, etc., and I don’t run the risk of getting pissed off. It is a much better plan.

I think we should all stop watching cable news, too. The health insurance debate is boring. We have absolutely no control over the outcome. Seventy percent of the electorate think we should have a public option and our representatives instead do the bidding of the corporations. Our local congressman says he doesn’t want to support anything that gets between us and our doctors. Why, then, is he supporting the health insurance companies when that is exactly what they do?

And why are we paying attention when it does absolutely no good? There really isn’t any point. We can watch and comment all we want, and they are still going to do what they want, make money off people being sick when it is illegal in the rest of the world. So why are we watching? It makes no sense. Let’s just sign off on all this television stuff altogether, unless it’s a movie or something else like football or something that entertains us.

So, my solution to the problem is let’s all stop watching television. It’s bad for your mood. Most of the time, it is wrong. You aren’t getting any exercise. The politicians use it to manipulate your ideas. Take my word for it, there is an immeasurable sense of relief when you give it up. You are better off going to the health club or the YMCA or going out to dinner or almost anything at all. Hey, why don’t you skip television and come down to the Irish Rose?

By the way, Thursday, I’ll be down at Café Greco for Crissy’s birthday party.

Mike Leifheit’s “Hanging Out In Rockford” reviews locally-owned restaurants, businesses and Rockford life. Leifheit is owner of the Irish Rose restaurant.

From the Dec. 30, 2009 – Jan. 5, 2010 issue

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