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FREEDOM OF THE PRESS


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FREEDOM OF THE PRESS (TO FUCK SHIT UP)


by Mort Poisson


Goddamn it, I was hungry...but first I had to contribute to an oil executive's retirement fund by pumping a couple gallons in to my untrustyold Opel Kadette. As I leaned lazily against the car, casually stripping theplanet of fossil fuel, I noticed a sign above the pump that offered a freecopy of The Rockford Register Star with a gas purchase. "As if they are not buggering me enough," I thought as I recalled the last few times I perused what is known among the literate of Rockford as "THE WORST FUCKING NEWSPAPER ON EARTH." My contempt for our local daily stems not from any discontent with the political content of its Op/Ed pages (after all, one must remain awake to get properly riled), nor can I any longer be offended by The Register Star's advancement of journalism-as-junkfood, since the good guyslost that fight around the time the RRS' parent company, Gannett, cooked upits flagship Egg McMuffin of news, USA Today, back in the darkly prescient days of Reagan, Nutra-Sweet, Emp-TV, and Tylenol tampering.

No...my main, lingering beef with the Register Star (which, I'll admit, I use mainly assource for local obituaries) is the paper's seeming inability to get through ONE fucking article without completely slaughtering an important fact (or six). Time and again I have seen them misspell and misapply names; fumble simple natural facts well within the grasp of the youngest school child (as,for instance, when they stated recently that a shark was indeed a mammal);and commit errors of syntax and obliterate clarity to the point where thereader has no idea what has happened. If the intent of the Register Star is to keep the citizens of Rockford dumber than Dubya's ass, then it is succeeding briliantly.

Of course, The Rockford Register Star has weekly competition in the form of The Rock River Times, for which - despite the frequently clunky writing,crazed rantings, and unfortunate occasional indulgence of the diseased fucks at The Rockford Institute - I have a strange soft spot. I sort of like the freewheeling nuttiness of The Rock River Times, exemplified by the missives from the Nelson Mandela of cannabis, E.J. Pagel. The paper really does seem to trying to be of service to the community...its heart is in the right place(Yeah, I love to guffaw at the goofy conspiracy rants of Joe Baker, who probably wears a tinfoil hat when writing his "indisputable" diatribes--Dr. Mality). Plus, the RRT has improved greatly since it jettisoned that walking intellectual yeast infection, Judy Howard. What Rockford most certainly doesn't need is another forum for a pious, tight-assed, "moral" scold. Religious-Political psycho Pat Robertson seems to be on Rockford television all-fucking-day-long. How much more of that crazy religious shit can one city take and not be in the cesspool of Kansas?

Ahhh, well...the tank was full, I was now broke and I saw no need in torturing my brain pondering the shortcomings of the local media. Before you know it I would be assessing the value of local TV news and talk radio and it was too nice a day for such torment.

That nice day was about to end.

I pulled out of the BP station and waited for traffic clear on Charles Street when a bright red Dodge Charger rushed up behind me and the driver began frantically laying on his horn, as if I were making him late for some desperately important event, like kidney dialysis or a frat house gangbang.I glanced both ways and there was no way in hell I could make it across traffic without getting tagged, certainly not in my puny little Kadette. Now, I'll admit to becoming a more cautious driver with age, but I'm no hokey-pokey dancer. I just happen to have an aversion to driving my car infront of a rapidly approaching mini-van full of children. As the asshole continued to honk. I glanced into the mirror and just as I suspected, the car was being driven by one of the very worst strains of humanity on the planet, a young, clean-cut, all-American white boy. You know the type: all Eddie Haskell-like smarm and "Aw shucks" self-effacement when dealing with authority figures, but when loosed on society the picture of aggressivesociopathy. Scott Peterson, John Wayne Bobbitt, Timothy McVeigh...all fine examples of the ilk. For a look at the aging variety of this species, one need only glance at the jerk-offs currently running the country.

HONK!

"Hey, buddy!" I thought to myself, "What the hell are you doing behind me? Shouldn't you be whistling Lee Greenwood tunes in Iraq or shoving your giant cock down the throat of some delusional young dimwit 'til she gags on an abusive internet porn site?"

I finally said "Fuck it" and made a right turn when an opening presenteditself. The testosterone poisoned bunghole in the Dodge (does Chrysler offera shit head discount of some sort?) flew into the street, cutting directly in front of an SUV which was forced to lock up its brakes. The SUV's driver lay on his horn, vigorously cursing the little prick. "That fucker can't die soon enough" I thought, "But they'll probably make him the president of a bank or the pastor of a church or elect him to Congress."

Hungry hell...I needed a drink...and I made sure I found one, and thus spent the afternoon sweetly devising torturous deaths for that golden haired boy in the Charger. For one lovely afternoon I turned myself into Rockford's own Alberto Gonzales.(You turned into Don Gasparini?--Doc)

MORT POISSON'S LIKES AND DISLIKES

Yes, dear reader, I, Poisson, actually like a few things about Rockford, America and the world...but it wouldn't be a Mort Poisson piece without a little kvetching!

RESTAURANT CHAIN I LIKE
Potbelly's Sandwiches - great bread, excellent ingredients (try the smoked ham), just the right amount of food. Doesn't taste the least bit pre-fab.

SONG I DISLIKE
That fucking "You're Beautiful" song by that whinging little dork whose name I can't remember - I ignore mainstream music, but this burning, itching hemorrhoid of a record has insinuated itself into the culture to the point where I can almost hear it being played on planes flying overhead.

'70s LOW BUDGET SLEAZOID SKIN FLICK I LIKE
Cry Uncle! - A low-down New York private-eye sex spoof that features an obese slob detective as a hero; a hard core sex scene featuring a 65 year old man and a giant dildo; lots of paint peeling, filthy locations; a stoned-out hippie orgy in a fleabag motel; a scene of blatant necrophillia with a dead junkie; and some of the ugliest nude bodies ever to have appeared on film. Consequently the film reaches heights of sleazy fun that are mindboggling. From the director of Rocky and The Karate Kid!

INTERNET MESSAGE BOARDS I DISLIKE
Damn near all of them. It seems you are only one or two posts away from being called a moron no matter what you write. I long for those pre-internet days when you had an inkling in the back of your mind that the generel public wasn't nearly as bad as you thought. The internet proves they are worse and can provoke feelings of misanthropy faster than a retail job at Christmas.

SUPERMARKET I USED TO LIKE BUT DON'T ANYMORE
Highlander - Kroger bought it and fucked it up. Period. So much for progress.

LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL I DISLIKE
Paul Logli - Sorry, but I'm old enough to watch a dirty movie or read a dirty book if I want. You're not
my dad. I had a dad, and he spoke French. You don't speak French, do you Paul? No. So you are not my dad...get it?

"Stick a fork in him.""Put him out to pasture"."Send him down the road". Add your own cliche here...as long as it means "Get lost, Paul!"

UNDERRATED FISH I LIKE
Bluegills. Fried Bluegills taste great. Listen you oh-so-smart local restauranteurs...put some fried Bluegills on the menu and I might give you a chance!

BEST HARDWARE STORE IN AMERICA
Nicholson's...but you knew that.

RESTAURANTS IN THE ROCKFORD AREA I LIKE
Thai Hut, Downtown Hot Dog Cart, Deli Italia, Ridott Corners, The Great Wall, Taco Loco, Bing's Drive-In, Lydia's, the late, lamented Gudalajara, breakfast at Der Rathskellar, the steaks (but not the pasta) at Maria's (though I'm sick of being treated like a non-entity when trying to get seated)...a few others I can't think of now. There is no "fine dining" in Rockford. Get over yourselves and enjoy what you have.

LOCAL RESTAURANT I DON'T LIKE
The Stockholm Inn - So why is it every political douche bag who stops in Rockford takes a handshaking turn through this den of tight old Republicans? Does water rise to its own level? Could that lady at the door smile just once?