Sunday, August 30, 2009


"People say I'm crazy, doing what I'm doing..." - J. Lennon, Watching the Wheels

By Patrick Alcatraz

McALLEN, Texas - Those who know me know that things like these, adventures in paradise or walks down the ghetto's dark streets, generally spark something elegiac in me. I'm not one to look at the sky and say it is falling, nor am I the guy to say we must turn to religion. I'm more the guy who, at a black tie party, will jump into the pool and do an educated swan dive with great laughter. Absolutely, I love a mountain climb in the dead of winter, or a stroll into a spicy cafe on the hottest day of the frickin' year. In the case of my current project, it is surviving not only the usual South Texas summer scorch, but a sort of roll that has me wondering about today's human nature.

The Metropolitan, a news magazine of astral proportions, is my latest albatross. You'd think Jonathan Livingston Seagull's desire for the flock would be enough to get all aboard in some sort of even-ragged synchronicity. As Belushi might say, "But, nooooooooooooh..." You can, Virginia, lead a man to water, but he'll horse around. To back up: The Metropolitan was born out of a desire to create something new & different in the love-starved Rio Grande Valley of Texas - a shank of harsh land where people dream dreams considered easily attainable elsewhere. The Met is stubbornly pressing onward to its mid-September publishing date. Tabloids of America have never had a harder row to hoe. Talk about stuttering starts. Yet, we'll see if the mettle of a few diehards - Mssrs. Rovira, Young, Olvera, Wellersdick, Mounce, etal - is enough to get this DC-3 off the runway. I am wondering.

People have come to the manger and heard the editorial spiel, fallen in with the flock, and then bolted when the job exacted its demands. Such may be the personality of the Rio Grande Valley worker, perhaps yet another layer of this labor problem that so cripples this great country. But life goes on, and we shall throttle up and see whether Orville really needs his brother here at Valley Hawk, whether the right seat is filled, and whether the rudder stands the Gs of a steep climb. How ever does anything get done here? I am reeling. Still, even Sir Edmund took a break during his ascent on Everest, took a break to check on his Sherpa guides, to make sure they held to the mission at hand. Is it possible that the horse that is the Rio Grande Valley worker cannot be steered. I wonder in the same way that George Armstrong Custer wondered that fateful day in the hills of the Dakotas. The piercings are adding up, and the thorny crown now feels like a full-grown, needle-heavy chapeau on my head. What was The Last Temptation of Paz? That late-Spring day, when the project was first mentioned among the few, it was something no different than, say, posing the idea of perhaps buying a new car. It did shine-up the town.

So, we're still aboard The Pinta, meeting (see photo above) with people somewhat interested in joining the flock, in helping to push The Metropolitan down the fallopian tube, to fill the space that is that desolate, attention-seeking womb known as piss-poor RGV Journalism.

Who's gonna take that longshot gamble, as Seger might sing about here.

As of this neat, Columbia-blue Sunday morning, it is the proverbial tight fight in the late rounds. And, oh, once mid-September's days come along, check your local coffee shop or convenience store or courthouse newsracks for a publication that should startle you. The bad and mediocre are easy to find. You have to wait a bit longer for the spectacular...

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