A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: It is the unspoken statistic, but it is as real as anything to do with the lingering U.S. war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the military, 1,800 American servicemen have killed themselves since the initial invasion of Baghdad. That is in addition to the more than 4,000 who died in battle. This week, families of the soldiers who committed suicide asked President Barack Obama to change the government policy of not forwarding letters of appreciation to mothers and fathers of these servicemen. By week's end, the White House had reversed the policy and agreed that such letters are needed, as well... - Eduardo Paz-Martinez, Editor of The Tribune

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

And Then It Was Over:...Sissy Was all Dressed Up And Everywhere To Go...You Could Wonder, Or You Could Go Ahead And Roll With It...


COMBES, Texas - You can look at Life from behind a load of lenses, from clear ones and from darkened ones, from a wide world of perspectives, from every single prejudice moving along your veins, from every window, from every point on the ground. But what I always found in my travels and in my relationships with Human Beings is this - it's okay to want to see everything through those neat rose-colored glasses, the ones that paint over the bad, the worst, the cheap and the ugly.

It's late in the year, everybody's gone or dead or missing. Things are ending here today, and all I know is that I'm sticking with Sissy Estrada for as long as she'll have me. A case can now be made for believing that things at times end well. It'll be a trip, is what Sissy has told me. I'm okay with everything that may or may not mean.

Any woman who can look at the future and smile in love after her mobile home has burned down cannot be all bad. She is over boyfriend Junior Bonner in a Big Way. I wish he'd passed-on in a much different manner, but perhaps finding yourself at the bottom of the North Sea is a new way for a cowboy to say adios. Someone else will miss Ol' Junior. We're back from an early-morning jaunt to the beach east of here, and, yeah, that sunrise played nicely from behind those rose-colored glasses. Sissy is in the living room of my place, all dressed up and everywhere to go.

The Tribune is history. The offices were packed and shuttered last night. It's an ending, not the best in the eyes of a few, but an ending just the same.

I've told Sissy I'll do my dangest to be a good boy from here on out and what she said was, "Well, we'll pretty much have to wait and see..." Someone who knew me from way back once said that all that could ever hold me for any length of time was a killer snowstorm. Who knows about that? I doubt it, is what I'd say. But if we go simply on thoughts, well, that's somewhere in the ballpark of whatever it is that could hold me. I'm intrigued this time, however.

It's as I like to say, "Something has to end so that something new can begin..."

- 30 -

Former Tribune Reporter Junior Bonner Offed In Amsterdam...Cops Arrest Prostitute With Record of Servicing Goofy-Looking Dudes...


COMBES, Texas - An Amsterdam prostitute with a history of abusing her customers has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of former Tribune reporter Junior Bonner, and authorities in The Netherlands say he may have been killed and dumped in the frigid North Sea.

"There was a row in her working space between them and something happened," said inspector Einar Gilkison in a long-distance telephone interview. "Our information, second-hand as it is, is that Mr. Bonner requested a series of sexual positions he had diagrammed for the prostitute, blanked-out near the end and then refused to pay for the services, reportedly telling the prostitute he could not recall even meeting her."

The prostitute's name was being withheld pending a court appearance, added Gilkison, a detective who also investigated the vicious killing of another Tribune reporter - Ron Mexico - a month or so earlier. Indeed, it was Mexico's murder that had drawn Bonner to Amsterdam, where, he had said, he was staying until he tracked down Mexico's killers.

Police said they found an inner tube-sized pool of blood on the prostitute's saggy bed and a trail of blood droppings that led first to the small kitchen and then to a dark alley behind the building. In the alley, police found a weathered cowboy boot and a belt buckle adorned with a map of Texas. A hundred feet up the alley, other police officers found a beat-up leather wallet shorn of cash or any sort of identification papers. Police said the wallet had brand markings and appeared to have been purchased at a JC Penney store.

Authorities released a photo of the prostitute in question (shown here).

It was not known whether Bonner was drawn to the woman because Ron Mexico may have visited with her  prior to his death. Police did acknowledge that she specialized in "weird, goofy-looking clients."

"We found four-five condoms at the foot of the bed, but we have no way of connecting them to Mr. Bonner," said Inspector Gilkison. "They are of the ribbed variety and red in color, if that means anything."

Reached in the living room, Bonner's former live-in girlfriend Sissy Estrada said, "The North Sea is not where a southwestern man like Junior Bonner goes to die. That is so bizarre..."

Bonner hailed from Colorado. A brother, Hargis Bonner, said this: "I blame the goddamned Rio Grande Valley for Junior's death. That place is no good, I tell you. It even smells of death. Junior was a good man, full of kindness and heart. To die in the North Sea says much about God. There is no God...All there is in Life is bullshit, one episode of bullshit after another. Goddammit! I'm in the mood to hit the road down Texas way and kill me somebody, yes sireeee.."

- 30 -

Tribune Religion Writer Rannah O'Donnell Splits...Says She's Had It With Editor Patrick Alcatraz...

Special to The Tribune

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas - In any other nacho-fueled tale of wheelhouse romance, the lovely Rannah O'Donnell would have been the gal the playboy gets at the end of the flick. Not in this moving cantina brawl pushed onward by border lust and disgust. O'Donnell, shown above as she sunned on the beach here this afternoon, is leaving town.


"It appears my dear Patrick has again chosen another woman over me, and a woman can only take two of those in one lifetime," she said, referring to on & off boyfriend Tribune Editor Patrick Alcatraz and his ongoing flirtation with former Tribune writer Junior Bonner's galpal - the intoxicating Sissy Estrada.

O'Donnell, The Tribune's religion writer for a portion of this summer, says she is moving to New York City, where she will work free-lance Journalism for a group of Middle East newspapers. "I'm not bitter at all," she said twice. "I'm just not the one for him. Too bad. But his eyes can only look at her..."

Alcatraz declined to comment on O'Donnell's surprise decision. It was less than two months ago that he chose former Tribune writer Ron Mexico's widow - the concupiscible Elaine Benitez - as his main squeeze. The two were minutes from marrying when Mexico's son shot and killed the bride at the beginning of the beach-front ceremony in Benitez's home country of Panama.

Late this afternoon, Alcatraz called this reporter to say: "That is one fine picture of Rannah. Print me a copy, willya?"

- 30 - 

Monday, September 27, 2010

In Combes, Sissy Estrada Waits On Tribune Editor Patrick Alcatraz...No Thoughts On Boyfriend Junior Bonner...

"Samuel Johnson defines the novel as a 'small tale, generally of love.' The French say, 'without adultery, there is no novel.' Who am I to disagree?..." - Patrick Alcatraz

Special to The Tribune

COMBES, Texas - Sissy Estrada was up for the attention. Patrick Alcatraz had gifted her with a day at the beauty spa and she had not only said yes, but happily looked forward to the make-over. Somewhere across the northern Atlantic Ocean, her beau - Junior Bonner - stayed on the trail of his friend Ron Mexico's killers, oblivious to his girlfriend's new flirattions. Amsterdam in late-September wasn't all that bad of a place to be; he had his furry Russian hat and gloves at the ready for the first snowfall. It ain't my homeland Western Colorado, but it sho 'nuff is purty, he told himself as evening fell.

In South Texas, Sissy looked at herself in the large mirror she'd purchased for her bedroom inside the doublewide mobile home she now, it seemed, shared with Tribune Editor Alcatraz, a man she said had the strength of a panther in the sack. "Not bad at all," she said, looking at herself from head to toe, stopping to focus on the new shoes and underclothing Patrick had purchased for her online from Victoria's Secret and some Parisian shoe store. Junior Bonner had never done such things, giving her only a blue jean jacket and three pairs of blue jeans with accompanying blouses he had bought for her on sale at Mervyn's Department Store in McAllen.

"Mervyn's," she said, "...Mervyn's? Oh, boy...Mervyn's!"

That cowboy Junior would fade, was her feeling as she sat back on the old couch and looked at herself on the mirror across the room once more. For effect, and really to know what it was Patrick would be seeing later that night, she lowered her black sports bra and scoped her breasts, nipples especially. Patrick could spend hours on her breasts, is what she knew. It had become clear to Sissy that Junior was no Patrick; that, although both were men, sex-explorer Patrick brought her a little more adventure in the sack. This, she said aloud, is not about faithfulness or any such rot. This is about a woman perhaps finding the one man that made life and all it entails worth living, battling.

Sissy rose sexily and stood in front of the mirror briefly before walking into the living room to conduct an interview with this reporter.

"I don't know if it's over with Junior," she said right-off. "Exactly how does a woman ever know things are done with a man? Short of being murdered, I mean..."

The telephone rang.

"Yes, I love the clothes," she cooed into the receiver. "...Yes, yes, yes, yes!"

She said something about keeping the fires burning and then hung up the phone.

"Any other questions?" she asked. "No, right? - I knew it. Gotta go bathe, but, anyway, thanks for coming by..."

Junior's latest photo had been of a new car he had purchased in Amsterdam, a big, American car he would use to hunt down Ron's killers. The color sucked, was what Sissy had thought at seeing it, not that she cared..
- 30 -   

In Amsterdam, Former Tribune Reporter Junior Bonner Buys European Clothes and Checks Out The Red Light District...

Special to The Tribune

COMBES, Texas - Word comes that former Tribune reporter Junior Bonner has begun his investigation into the vicious murder of ex-colleague Ron Mexico in Amsterdam last July. The photograph shown above was handed-over to The Tribune by Bonner's former girlfriend, Sissy Estrada, who still resides in his mobile home here.

"It shows him wearing European clothes and walking away from a cheap Amsterdam floosie he likely sexed," Estrada said during an interview Sunday afternoon. "He says he's getting places with the investigation, but who really ever knows with Junior?"

Bonner was fired by Tribune Editor Patrick Alcatraz after Bonner confessed to taking free shrimp plates from a seafood mogul he'd befriended in Brownsville. Aggrieved, he left South Texas and announced he would fly to The Netherlands with the expressed purpose of solving Mexico's killing.

Ron Mexico, a reporter's reporter, was knifed and shot to death by wandering thugs while he moved across Amsterdam's fabled Red Light District. In fact, he had been living in a second-story flat with an unknown woman only blocks from the popular tourist attraction. Mexico also had been fired by The Tribune after violating the publication's No-Drinking-Whiskey-While-Covering-City-Hall policy.

"He was my friend and somebody has to bring his killers to justice," Bonner wrote in an Email to galpal Estrada. "I'm on the hunt, honey. And I'll get those boys, 'cause what they did and how they did it pisses me off. You know Ol' Junior. He ain't taking this sittin' down. I miss you, Sissy, and I hope you're being faithful to your cowboy..."

Tribune Editor Patrick Alcatraz, visiting the shorts-clad Sissy Estrada while this reporter interviewed her, said: "Bonner's a good, hard-nosed, no-nonsense reporter who blew it with the seafood plates, but he'll get his information before this story's over. Ron Mexico did not have a better friend on staff."

Asked about her relationship with Junior Bonner, Estrada said, "Long-distance relationships are hard on me. You know what they say...'Out of sight; out of mind,' so who knows? Maybe I'll just have to move on, huh?"

As this reporter departed her doublewide mobile home set between two scraggly mesquite trees, Alcatraz was on the couch, taking his harness boots off...

- 30 -

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lawsuit Filed Against Tribune Writer Ricardo Klement By Man Who Alleges Ricardo Stole His Wife...

Special to The Tribune

EDINBURG, Texas - The irate husband of an attractive McAllen woman involved in a yearlong sexual affair with Tribune Writer Ricardo Klement has filed a hefty lawsuit alleging alienation of affection. "He took my wife from me and this lawsuit is one way to make that sonofabitch pay," said Henry Layton, a McAllen businessman who said he and his wife met Klement at a wine-tasting event in town.

According to the filing, Layton seeks $12 million from Klement as compensation for entering into the torrid sexual affair that ultimately led Janet Layton to leave her husband. The affair began as afternoon meetings in area motels where the two hilariously registered as Mr. and Mrs. Adolf Eichmann, but later segued into Mrs. Layton practically living in Klement's houseboat on the Laguna Madre east of Port Isabel.

The filing is wrought with details of the meetings and includes a video submitted by Mr. Layton to the court depicting Klement and Mrs. Layton, who is 34, inside a Brownsville motel. "You can see it all right there," said Henry Layton. "The guy even falls off the bed while they're changing positions. Outrageous! He can have her, but it's gonna cost him."

Tribune Editor Patrick Alcatraz, a man who does not tolerate immoral shenanigans from staff reporters, said Klement would be suspended immediately and likely would be fired. "Our policy is clear on our reporters engaging married women in sexual adventures," said Alcatraz. "Ricardo Klement knew that policy and signed-off on it upon being hired. It's too bad, because Klement has done remarkable work for The Tribune."

Reached at his houseboat, Klement said, "Love will make you do strange things, man. It just happened. What can I tell you? Yeah, Janet is here with me right now. She's in the shower..."

- 30 -

Sept. 24, 2010: Harlingen Terrorized by Attacking Mosquitoes...A Date That Will Live In Infamy...

Staff Writer

HARLINGEN, Texas - In the city at the end of a popsicle stick, the burning issue today centered on Lame Duck Mayor Chris Boswell and whether his toney neighborhood was the only one sprayed with mosquito pesticide while the rest of the meatless sandwich that is Harlingen saw no relief.

That would be local celebrity private dick Joe Rubio's take. Today, The Rubester penned a story for the nascent Blog in which he says that is exactly what happened in town.

"The tropical storm Hermine brought us some heavy showers and both the county and the City of Harlingen waited for mosquito spraying from the State of Texas - Gov. Rick Perry," Rubio began in his breathless, soul-sapping tale of annoying bug woe.

Boswell apparently was busy studying - and framing, we presume - the city's proposed budget and, well, he seemed incredulous that anyone would raise the topic of mosquitoes when he's dealing with bigger, more-menacing financial monsters.

“I am in a budget meeting and this subject comes up?" he asks in Rubio's story.

But Joe Rubio, a seemingly tireless gumshoe, goes on: "The first area that was sprayed by the city of Harlingen was Mayor Boswell’s residential area. It started to rain afterward and there was no more mosquito spraying. The budget cuts had forced the director of this department to minimize mosquito-spraying because he was down to $150 left in the budget. Therefore, no one got sprayed except the mayor’s area."

Buggy stuff.

Rubio hangs it on Boswell like a towering Shaquille O'Neill dunk on George W. Bush: "Message - take care of the Boss first and the hell with the peasants. Seven days left for the new budget (to take effect), and I guess we can spray for mosquitoes once again if Mr. Boswell suffers the first bite. Sixty-seven-million-dollar budget and we allow city govenment leaders to play the blame game."

In the history of local complaints against city government, MosquitoGate ranks somewhere between residents lining up for the opening of Chick-fil-A and the heart-breaking ousting of the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings from the recent United Baseball League playoffs.

Breathing just ain't ever easy here, as Rocker Bill Haley used to say when he called Harlingen home...

- 30 -

Friday, September 24, 2010

Two Days After His Firing, Former Tribune Reporter Junior Bonner Takes a Naked Flight to Amsterdam...

Staff Writer

HARLINGEN, Texas - You can say what you want about former Tribune writer Junior Bonner, but that he is boring would not be one of those things. Junior took a flight out of the country late last night, bound for Amsterdam, and he sent us this photo from inside the charter flight he caught in New York.

"They call it the Naked Flight," he said in a text message from aboard the airliner. "That's me to the right of the woman's nalga, the one on the aisle. I kinda look funny without muh cowboy hat, huh? Oh, well, whatever..."

Bonner, fired from The Tribune this past week for accepting free shrimp plates from a Brownsville seafood joint, promised to send updates on his European doings, among those would be a report on the killing of former Tribune writer Ron Mexico in Amsterdam last July.

"I wanna see that Red Light district where they shot him for muhself," Junior went on. "Gonna get the official police report and go to the exact scene of the murder. Don't know that The Netherlands has ever seen a cowboy investigative reporter like me. I'm free-lancing, so if someone throws a plate of free shrimp at me, I'm a-gonna eat the damned thing, without worryin' my little head about it."

Bonner is traveling alone. His girlfriend of three months, Sissy Estrada, is staying at Junior's doublewide trailer home in Combes. The Tribune was unable to reach her for comment about Junior's flight aboard an airplane full of naked passengers...

- 30 -

GREAT SCOTT!!!:..Three Matamoros Thugs Caught Trying To Steal The Body of Former Tribune Editor Juan Jones...

Staff Writer

HOUSTON, Texas - Police here have arrested three Matamoros, Mexico thugs who were caught trying to steal the body of former Tribune editor Juan Jones from his gravesite at an all-Black cemetery. "Those boys are sick," said one of Juan's relatives. "It was beyond ghoulish. To take a man out of a hole in the ground. What is this world coming to?"

The leader of the grave robbers was identified as Tipurcio Goma Garces, 33, a bus mechanic. Cops said the second man was 33-year-old Ramon Quick-Frito, a street vendor dealing in tacos, wrestler masks, belts and candies who is said to have lugged two shovels to the cemetery. The third thug was id'd as 47-year-old Raymundo Plundo Lozano, an unemployed Internet graphics artist.

"We had a patrol out here and that is the only reason we got these miscreants," said a spokesman for the police department. "We're unclear on the motive. But I will tell you that the Black community here is not happy. Those guys are lucky we got them and not the neighborhood chapter of the Black Panthers."

Jones was shot dead in Matamoros last month after spending a day in a hospital following a vicious beating at a Matamoros nightclub. Mexican police told Alarma! magazine that three Mexicans also partying at the club - El Last Trago Bar - took offense at seeing Juan Jones passionately kissing and fondling a young Mexican woman. He was shot as he walked toward the international bridge that would have taken him into Brownsville.

A family member said Jones would be re-buried sometime today.

"It's been raining and raining, so the ground is not right," said Taquanda Monique Jones. An attractive Asian woman who said she was Juan's last girlfriend arrived from New Orleans at mid-afternoon and was seen praying at the gravesite, which, from my perspective outside the main gate, looked like a mound of dirt that had been worked-over by a billion ants. Asked to comment on the bizarre attempted heist, the woman, who gave her name as Amy Luong Tseng, said: "Juan's soul is now out of the bottle and we have to put him back as soon as possible..."

Police said the three Mexican grave-robbers would be arraigned today and likely be deported over the weekend. "Two of them began crying as soon as the other jail prisoners began hooting & hollering," said a jail guard at the Harris County Jail. "The third one looked like he'd just seen the Virgin of Guadalupe. He wouldn't uncross his arms and kept them over his chest the whole time while being booked..."

- 30 -         

At The Tribune, Romance Blooms & Word Comes Of A Late-Night Dinner Date In McAllen...

Staff Writer

McALLEN, Texas - You'd have to know about Life in the American Newsroom. You'd have to know something about how romance just crawls through such environments to understand the scene at The Tribune this morning, when reporter Rannah O'Donnell arrived to begin her second stint at the online publication.

Just watching Editor Patrick Alcatraz scoping-out Rannah said it all (see photo above). We are welcoming more than just a much-needed religion writer; she will be his pet. Undoubtedly, there will be sexual fireworks around here. For sure.

This is not one of our usual news stories, but Alcatraz is one of those picky guys who believes a news organization should be transparent - even if it means the staff is thrown into the mix. O'Donnell was here earlier this year, back when Alcatraz began dating former Tribune writer Ron Mexico's widow following Mexico's vicious murder in Amsterdam. Some staffers said Alcatraz was crazy to choose Elaine Benitez over Rannah, but perhaps he is right about his Even-Steven approach to life. Benitez was gunned down in Panama by Ron Mexico's angry son, who did not fancy seeing Alcatraz having his ex-step-mom in the sack. Alcatraz was not hurt in the wild shooting. Ron Mexico, Jr. remains in solitary confinement inside a roach-infested Panamanian prison while awaiting trial.

The word in the Newsroom this afternoon is that Rannah told someone who told someone else that she and Patrick Alcatraz are dining-out in McAllen later tonight...

- 30 -

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tribune Reporter Junior Bonner is Fired... He Took Free Shrimp From Seafood Restaurant...

Staff Writer

McALLEN, Texas - Reporter Junior Bonner has been fired after allegations surfaced that he has been taking free shrimp plates for the past six months from a seafood restaurant in Brownsville. The surprise dismissal was announced this morning by Tribune Editor Patrick Alcatraz, who said, "If there is something I abhor it is reporters taking free food from anyone. Our policy is simple - you take free food; you're fired."

Bonner, a native of Colorado, had been with the online publication less than a year. It was not known who fingered Junior, but rumors surfaced as early as last month. Reached at his mobile home in Combes, Bonner said: "I'm guilty, yep. I took those shrimp plates without paying for them. Was it wrong? Absolutely. Does it taint my reporting for The Tribune? Yes, I suppose it does. Should anyone believe what I write? Perhaps not..."

Bonner said he would be taking a few days off and then fly to Amsterdam for a little vacation time. He would not say whether his local girlfriend, Sissy Estrada, would be going with him.

Alcatraz, who only yesterday returned to the editorship of The Tribune, said he takes a hard line against any reporter receiving anything gratis. "Taking freebies soils the profession," he said. "A reporter trading in his ethics for a plate of shrimp? That is not a reporter. That is a freeloader. Junior Bonner knew our employment policies..."

Reporter Ricardo Klement, the senior staffer in the newsroom, said this: "What Junior did is unforgivable. And I agree that his cowboy ass should have been fired. People without morals don't belong in Journalism. I wish him luck, but know that he's a rotten dude, as they say in his world. What man takes free food anyway? It's not something a man ought to be doing..."

- 30 -   

COMING HOME:...Former Tribune Editor Returns To Again Lead The Publication's Unbridled Staff...

Staff Writer

McALLEN, Texas - They liked to say that Patrick Alcatraz rode on the wings of the nightingales, swooping across high-sky turbulence of the sort that would have felled a mere mortal. Well, Alcatraz is climbing another tower of blooming clouds as he makes his return to once-more serve as editor of The Tribune.

It was two months ago that he fired then-Tribune writer Ron Mexico, leading Mexico to fly to Amsterdam for some sort of escapism, a decision that soon led to his death - murdered by unknown thugs as he bopped-about the city's Red Light District. Mexico's death was followed by then-wife Elaine Benitez's grieving period, which eventually led her into the arms of Alcatraz. The two then flew to her native country of Panama, where she was gunned down by Mexico's son on the morning of their Alcatraz was not hurt in the shooting.

He now comes to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas from Montreal, where he has been mourning Ms. Benitez's death in his own way. "I'm clear of that," he said today in a cellphone chit-chat with this reporter. "Mourning is not a forever thing, not with Human Beings. We survive it and we move on..."

The Tribune of late has been edited by Eliot Elcomedor. He has announced plans to take a much-needed vacation, but will remain on staff, as a writer. "Everybody needs a breadth of fresh air every now and then," he said this afternoon during a brief conversation in The Tribune newsroom. "Looks like Cabo San Lucas for me, for a week or two, and then maybe Hono...or Borneo."

Most staffers expressed surprise at hearing of Alcatraz's return, not because they opposed the move, but because all seemed to think he was settling down in Canada with a new woman. "That'll keep a man where he is," opined writer Junior Bonner. "I know about girlfriends and about staying in some town a man may not necessarily like. Women know where the nest belongs, and when it's ready. Patrick perhaps believed this woman was not the one..."

At about the time of the announcement noting Alcatraz's decision, the family of Elaine Benitez in Panama City forwarded a painting of her to the offices of The Tribune. It is rumored that it will hang in the publication's conference room...

 - 30 -

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Where's Kinky?:...As The Psycho Tea Party Rousts America's Weirdos, We Wonder About Friedman...

"I support Gay marriage. I believe they have a right to be as miserable as the rest of us..." - Kinky Friedman

Staff Writer

HARLINGEN, Texas - America's new politician is apparently coming from the Far (F)right. Yeah, that's the witch Christine O'Donnell seeking Vice-President Joe Biden's old Senate seat in Delaware, and that's the racist Carl Paladino seeking the governorship in New York, and that's well-hipped Sharron Angle and her psycho abortion babble going after Democrat Harry Reid's Senate seat in Nevada. Toupeed dentist Rand Paul's shaking up the GOP in Kentucky, while a few less-notable Teabaggers are doing their best to bring the Meth den into national politics. That, America, is your rebellious Tea Party.

It used to be a case of voters having cause for yelling, "We're Mad as Hell!" Now, you can add "We're Stupid as Hell!" to that list of anger bombs.

So, we wondered, where's Texas perennial candidate Kinky Friedman?

This would be a fine time for oddball Kinky to hit the political stage. His unique and independent brand of biting satire on all things political would play nicely alongside the ridiculous Republican noise. We can only hope that the last six weeks left in the campaigns will settle into something America can digest in an intelligent manner. So far, it's been anything but that. The Republican crazies have taken the stage hostage, creating a strange mix of nonsense and fear as a rallying cry for those feeling a bit disenfranchised.

Friedman's many runs for statewide office ended in defeat, yet much of the blame for that went to his unwillingness to play the game with a straight face. Kinky made fun of career politicians such as Governor Rick Perry, and his penchant for black cowboy garb never did rid him of the rural rube characterization many Republicans heaped on the country musician's back. Still, the inanities he uttered during his campaigns would be rather lame today when compared to the utterings of the debt deadbeat O'Donnell, the under-sexed Angle, the goofy Paul and the rest of their Teabagger brethren.

It's not yet time to declare these noisemakers victors. Election Day is November 2. We'll see whether the country is ready for a Big Top circus in Congress. A victory by O'Donnell would get us the First Witch to serve that hallowed body. Sharron Angle would be the First Ditz and Paul the First Imbecile. Where is predictable Strom Thurmond when you need him? Where is eyeballing Wilbur Mills? Where is racist Trent Lott? These guys? Are you kidding me? It's been awhile since brains were a pre-requisite for a national political campaign. That is Sarah Palin's legacy. She opened the barn door and the diseased pigs are now face-first at the trough.

As for Kinky, well, he may just have been ahead of his time. We can only imagine that Great Debate between the heady Kinkster and the idiot Sarah Palin...

- 30 -

Shocked By Criticism Aimed At Tribune Writer Junior Bonner, His Gal & Family Respond...


COMBES, Texas - Well, well, well. It appears our old friend Junior Bonner has his loyal friends and lovers. And they're coming out of the woodwork in his defense. Seems the Bonner family and girlfriend have taken offense with Tribune readers who have criticized the Ol' cowboy. They say he's no old goat.

"If they knew Junior like I know Junior, well, they wouldn't be saying those mean things about him," said his girlfriend Sissy Estrada (shown above). "Junior Bonner is loads better than any abusive Hispanic man around here, and there are many, many of those. Why don't they pick on those losers? My last boyfriend is in prison for robbing a finance company in Brownsville and for beating-up a woman from Mexico. Junior's never robbed anyplace or taken a hand to any woman."

More came from Junior's brother, Hargis Bonner (shown wearing his favorite yellow snap-button shirt), who also joined the fray, rifling a string of Emails to The Tribune from his home in Alamosa, Colorado.

"Junior may look like a broken-down cowpoke, but he's a tough, good man," Hargis wrote. "You ask around here and you'll see how Junior's helped this community in a variety of ways. He'd donate half of his winnings to the local schools when he was cowboying up in Wyoming. And many people down there likely don't know he served his country as a tank commander in the Army. If they're judging him only on looks, well, they should look at me. The Rio Grande Valley must be full of pretty people, is all I have to say."

Junior Bonner was taking it all in stride.

"I'm not a poster boy for New York colognes or newfangled tennis shoes," he said. "And you won't find me at the beach, but I'm okay with living where I'm living. You gotta be from somewheres, no? So, some of these women find me a sight for sore eyes. Is that it? Can't figure it out, rightly. Sissy says they're criticizing me, so who knows? I ain't got time for such nonsense, partner. My job is to write stories and I'm on it."

As he readied his muddied El Camino for a drive into Harlingen, Junior Bonner drew on a bit of range philosophy to place things in perspective: "All I know is that hundred-proof whiskey is a cowboy's color TV..."

- 30 -

For Dallas Cowboys Fans, Surprising Losses Bring Quick Funk...

"If it's the ultimate game, how come they're playing it again next year?" - Duane Thomas, on the Super Bowl, 1972

Sports Editor

BROWNSVILLE, Texas - So, the Dallas Cowboys are 0-2 as they head into this weekend's game with powerful Houston? Yeah, that could be a problem for die-hard Cowboys fans, many of whom live & die with their fortunes here in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Houston just beat the Washington Redskins, a team that had beaten the Cowboys in the season opener. A week earlier, the Houston Texans had cold-cocked the mighty Indianapolis Colts in Houston. It'll be a bear - and we don't mean Chicago - for the Pokes to beat the emerging Texans on their home field.

But, you know, it really doesn't mean much.

We agree with former Cowboys running back Duane Thomas (shown in photo above), who said winning or losing the Super Bowl is no big deal. There's another one next year, was his point. The 1972 game Thomas speaks about in the above quote featured the Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins. Dallas won Super Bowl VI by a score of 24-3 in New Orleans that day, although there were a few interesting side gags ahead of the game.

According to Dolphins head Coach Don Shula, then-President Richard M. Nixon called him to suggest a play the president thought would work against America's Team. It involved a pass to all-pro Dolphins wide receiver Paul Warfield. Shula called the play late in the first quarter, but it was broken-up by stellar Dallas defensive back Mel Renfro. It also was the year Miami's defense got its name for that particular era. Some sportswriter asked Cowboys Coach Tom Landry about the Dolphins' defensive team and Landry told them he could not recall any of the players' names, but added that they were a tough bunch without a superstar. Sportswriters then tagged Miami's unknowns as the "No-Name Defense".

For Americans, football is more than just a game. The stories behind the stories are colorful threads in the social fabric of this country. Who can forget Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian's crazy pass against the Redskins. Lynn Swann's graceful catches against the Cowboys for the Steelers were memorable for their beauty, nevermind the touchdowns. Humongous lineman Refrigerator Perry lining up at fullback and scoring for the Bears ranks way up there in the Fans' pleasure ledger. Cowboys defensive end Ed "Too Tall" Jones rushing like a manmountain must have been beyond scary (see photo of Jones charging QB Terry Bradshaw of the Pittsburgh Steelers)above). It goes on and on.

So, worry not about the Cowboys. There are still 14 games left to play this year. And if they blow it and don't make it to this particular season's Super Bowl, well, there'll be another one next year...
- 30 -

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Looking For Something, Tribune Writer Junior Bonner Says Adios To City Life...


COMBES, Texas - Junior Bonner wanted to talk. It was danged late in the day and, as happens with writers, he was yapping away about this book he is writing, talking as if the best thing to do at the time was to release unneeded words from the creative caverns of his grass-whorled brain. "Time, man," he was saying, "...time holds the key to Life. You grab at time and you're ahead of the game. You gotta collar it. You let it collar you and there goes your Life."

His book is a run-through everything that represents Life, from birth, to journey, to death.

And he's fast at working it, even if the damned book is still in his brain. It's not that unusual for paperback writers to spend a year - or more - with a subject without putting a word down on paper. Ideas have to germinate. Plots have to be hatched. Characters have to fit-in. It takes time and thought, absolutely.

For the moment, Bonner's biggest hassle is finding a place to live, a place to sit down at his computer and begin the book. "I looked at Brownsville, but that town is too noisy with whimperings and, well, clearly depressing. Harlingen was no better, and McAllen is simply not who I am. Too many shiny, washed cars there. I need a town not afraid to wear its loneliness, its poverty, its dirty shirts, its struggle to survive."

So, he's come to Combes, a city of barely 1,500 residents - most seemingly uninterested in the political doings of Washington, D.C., the problems of the Jews in Israel, the drug war in nearby Mexico, the Afghanistan adventure, unemployment, Wall Street, the Tea Party or any such faddish pop-culture stuff.

"I'm where I should be," Bonner said as he wheeled out of this town's only convenience store, a bag of Bugler and a six-pack of Lone Star beer at his side. "My gal Sissy & I are going to enjoy this place, man. You know it..."

Junior Bonner switched on the ancient radio in his two-tone, 1967 El Camino and was rewarded with a song by country crooner Mickey Gilley. "Yes, sireeee, that music takes me back to my Urban Cowboy days," he said as he rolled the driver's side window down and spit out a golf ball-sized wad of saliva. "Life don't get no better'n this, Eliot..."

- 30 -

In Brownsville, An Endless Soaking Has Weary Residents On Edge...

Special to The Tribune

BROWNSVILLE, Texas - By mid-afternoon, the smell moving across this sleepy bordertown led a few locals to opine that it was either similar to a portly man's used armpit pad or a soggy mattress of the sort left out on the streetcurb for collection by the city sanitation department. Or, as one resident put it as he stood outside a downtown cafe, "Man, I'm ready for 40 days and nights of no rain. One more day of this and all of us around here are going to grow gills and fins..."

When it comes to getting more than its share of awfulness, Brownsville leads all other Rio Grande Valley of Texas communities in bitch-slappings by Mother Nature. Lately, it is unwanted rain - a string of deluges seemingly without end in sight. September around here has been one arm-tiring sweep of the old mop after another for the city's many, many poor.

According to the National Weather Service, Brownsville has been soaked by almost 35 inches of rain this year. That is more than 15 inches above normal for any period between January & September of any given year, with the only exceptions being hurricane landings.

"It's gone beyond bad-hair weather," said a semi-attractive woman standing under a storefront overhang as the rain beat ceaselessly directly above her. "And, me, I'm waiting for a city bus. Hopefully, it won't be one with a leak in the ceiling. Water everywhere. I think I'll have a shot of whiskey when I get home."

Across town, battered cars rolled slowly, drivers evading small ponds at intersections and bicyclists doing their best to keep the wheels rolling in the rising waters. "We're being punished for something or another," said a man exhibiting the city's ever-present personality trait - fatalism. "I know I've not been good all damned year, like many of my neighbors. But, I ask, why not Harlingen or McAllen? Why must it always be Brownsville?" Overhead, a thunderclap exploded across the darkened sky, startling him one more time.

Lemonade would not be the evening drink here...

- 30 -

Monday, September 20, 2010

BIOLOGY AT THE SHRINE:...Are We Science, or Are We Religion?...

"I can talk for days about modern religion, only what will it get me? The planet is lost I've come to decide. It will take more than everybody suddenly deciding to read a very old book to save it and chances of ever uniting the world on the subject of God is long-gone. There is no reason to lie anymore; the sinners have taken control. You can sit in church and look up at the marble statues lining the pretty walls with nice captions like "On the third day, Jesus was stripped of his clothes" and you know everybody sitting there instantly places a sexual image in his or her brain before turning to its true meaning, which is that this guy, rare as anything, gave his life so that all who came after him could live. It was, I thought, a tremendously Big Sell, perhaps too big a thing to accomplish..." - Eduardo Paz-Martinez, Playing A Spanish Number


SAN JUAN, Texas - My quarrel with the church I served as altar boy all those years ago goes much, much deeper into the past, certainly farther than the eye can see in any direction, the sky included. My walks along the 14 Stations at the Catholic Shrine here are but a handful, not because I don't enjoy it out in the open, but more because I never feel satisfied, spiritually or otherwise. What is it about the simple question that has chased Human Beings through the ages. Yeah, that one: What are we?

The words in italics above are said to come from my first novel. Who knows? I don't remember them, but then I don't remember much of what I wrote in my other four novels. Maybe it's because I spent so much time with those stories that letting them go was the equivalent of letting a woman go - when it's over, you just have to let her go, go into your backpages. They say I'm good at that, although I sense that as age has crept-up on me...that I may be losing that worthless talent.

Anyway, I do think often and hard about religion, about whether there is a God and about whether we're nothing more than multi-cell biology - descendants of early tadpoles, that stuff. Apes? Yes, I am sure we share much with the ape. If only they could talk and give us their opinion. Apes have no ability to bullshit, unlike our ballyhooed Priests, Rabbis, Medicine Men, Ayatollahs or Imams. Those self-serving guys have blown it for everybody, and we're paying the price. Faith is an empty a word as is the top half of a bag of potato chips. Trust has gone fishing, as in Wall Street. God? Lennon was right: God is a concept by which we measure our pain. So, you must be asking, what brings me here, with this?

Well, it began a few weeks back, when I was telling a friend who's become more than just a friend that I hated the idea of having a freakish skeleton inside my body. I asked whether a God would design that into a Human Being, or whether that was merely cells reproducing themselves into such an odd thing. Apes have very similar skeletons, as do monkeys, and, yes, most living things have a form of a skeleton or another. The funny one for me has to be the skeleton of the giraffe. What God would design that skeleton? You'd have to be drunk to come up with a giraffe, a hippo, a llama, a camel at the time of creation. What for? There was only one epoch that needed or cherished the camel, and that epoch has long passed. No, the camel continues to exists because of biology. We exist thanks to our ability to farm, to work, to feed, to breed. And, of course, our lot is as fragile as a 119-year-old woman. We will soon be gone, forever.

Science, however, is what will save us, or at the very least allow humans to stick around a bit longer.

Science holds the key, not religion. Religion has sparked more wars and death than all plagues combined. Is it possible that all Mankind could vanish from one generation to the next and then be re-born just as fast? Yes. Without a doubt, and without too much of a hassle

Life as we know it is blood, bones, organs - all biological wonders passed on with every birth. Religion only gets in the way with its fairy tales, its promises, its words of suffering here so that you can live nobly in Heaven, its desire to note pain while ignoring death. We say that because we do not believe that any God worth his weight in salt would ever create such a graceless ending for human life. It is biology that cries, that laughs, that perspires, that exults, that damns, that believes, that ignores, that praises, that wants, that takes. Religion pushes you there, selling the idea that when you die you go to a better place.

I ask myself: Could there really be a better place than New York?

The altar boy used to march to the church after classes in elementary school, led there by serious-faced nuns who used every minute and second of the next hour to ingrain in me the good tenets of the benevolent Catholic religion. And I threw-on my costuume on Sunday morning and did my part in the sermon. I don't know exactly where I lost it for the Catholic religion, but I think it sort of started when one of the nuns walked me to a barber shop and told the barber to cut my moptop into something else.

I didn't get that, and, as I grew older, didn't get any of the rest. When my mother died two years ago, we held the funeral mass in the same church I had served as a young Catholic boy. I honored my mother with a lengthy eulogy that spoke of her life as a great mother, but also posed what I thought were serious questions to her God. I recall the Father standing not more than five feet to my left coughed loudly upon hearing my words to his God, and it was then that I knew his reaction wouldn't bother me in the least.

The dignified-looking Father in his pressed robes and graying hair, I told myself, was, like me, biology - a mere mortal waiting on his turn. Nothing would save him from the suffering, either, was my feeling at that soulful moment. I walked off the altar feeling my poor mother deserved a better fate and knowing that the church she had so believed in could do no more for her...

- 30 -

Sunday, September 19, 2010

SUNDAY EDITORIAL:...Numbed By The Killing...When The Blood Flow Is Over There...


BROWNSVILLE, Texas - Reports of the latest combat are sketchy, but estimates on the dead stood at "dozens" yesterday afternoon. No, it was not local residents, although it could have been people with close ties to this despair-shackled bordertown, people who had dined in town the night before, people who had sold drugs here, people who had family or girlfriends or wives living alongside the American citizenry.

The killings were taking place in broad daylight, under rain-heavy neighboring Matamoros, Mexico. Wheeeeew! There for a second it was as if I would write about some deranged shooter or group of shooters taking-out this poor city's population at some crowded fleamarket, or at a discount grocery store, or at the forever-availing government Food Stamps office. Only, no, it's not anything to do with this side of the Rio Grande. All that shooting and killing and butchering is taking place on the southern banks of the passive river.

It is the war that is and isn't.

Much has been rumored and much has been ignored, by Brownsville's people and by the Brownsville press. One Blogger has chanced the ill-advised and written brazenly about the heartless, vindictive killers. This bit of military poetry was included in a post published this past week by The Brownsville Literary Review: "Wake up, Brownsville! The barbarians are at the gates! Today Mexico celebrates its independence and I have never felt less free in my life. I can't sleep. I'm afraid. I fear for my six-year-old son. I fear for my pueblo. I fear for my country. And nobody says nothin'!"

Meanwhile, the mainstream Brownsville Herald has been dragged slowly into the fray. It has begun to cover a war spreading by the day. There are two other Blogs in town, Brownsville Voice and something with the strange name of El Rrun Rrun. Neither has touched the Matamoros War with any regularity or notable reporting. Brownsville Voice seems to have no interest or knowledge on things Mexican, and El Rrun Rrun (what does that mean, anyway? Is it Aztec for something unique, or what?) has become a specialty Blog focusing on the less-dangerous doings at the local school district. Its operator is said to be quite familiar with Matamoros, yet he chooses to battle legalese and not chance an errant bullet. Matamoros is the story of the day in Brownsville. How these writers can look the other way speaks volumes about their seriousness of purpose, which is, to be frank, missing-in-action.

It would be something altogether different if Matamoros and Brownsville did not co-exist literally side-by-side. Its lands are separated solely by the river. Properties roll to the northern and southern banks and it is said that all it takes to land a golf ball from the U.S. banks of the river to the rusting, metal roofing of the Mexican customs station is a mere 9-iron. Rifles are fired each way across the river on New Year's Day just for fun, and it is a known fact that bored U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to walk the riverbanks on this side often get into shouting matches with itchy Mexicans on the other side. The relationship between both communities is close, geographies fitting into each other like pieces of a puzzle. Yet, it may as well be two cities separated by the much-wider Amazon.

In Brownsville, residents these days go about their lives, perhaps worried, but seemingly oblivious to the bloody battles they soon hear about in graphic and disturbing words. In Matamoros, the streets are owned by the battling thugs fighting for turf one humble neighborhood at a time - day and night. Public places are attacked. Gunfire moves like crazed, unwanted buzzards. Evening falls slowly, but nothing changes. It is a killing War Zone for the Mexicans and a handy "over there" mirage for the Americans in Brownsville.

The war is not here, and that is enough for locals to rest easy - or as easy as they can rest. The Human mind is not that super. It cannot simply block-off pain, death or war. Residents can only tell each other that it doesn't matter, that it is not happening in town, that the people being killed are not Americans, that the children crying at seeing their dead parents are not Brownsville children. Life is best taken one minute at a time. This is a town used to a mountain of other hassles and disappointments. It has long lived without much, with dreams that are easily attainable elsewhere in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

Now, as the Drug War morphs into a Daily Hell...Brownsville has again chosen to merely let things be, let them be...

- 30 -

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Letter From Edinburg:...A Writer Battles His Cheese Demons & Lives To Eat Another Enchilada Plate...


EDINBURG, Texas - The chef at the little Tex-Mex restaurant likely couldn't help himself; he insisted on sinking my chicken enchiladas under a pond of yellow-white melted cheese. Lord and everybody who knows me knows I hate cheese - of anykind, anytime.

Not that it is an unusual thing. Most people have some food or another they simply cannot stand, much less eat. A friend in New Mexico would not eat apple pie, even on the coldest of gorgeous December nights, when our other friend would serve it after dinner in that walled uniquely-Santa Fe compound that screamed nourishment and the ensuing laying-out of a full-table of food & snacks. Another friend in Dallas could not stand cooked Spinach, equating it to weeds, and, as she would say, "Who eats weeds?"

Well, for yours truly, it is cheese. There is something unappealing in cheese for me. And that smell! Dang! It arrives armed, as if from darkened innards of an abused cow, one sexed by a cold, heartless, cruel bull. No thanks. So, I said, to the young waitress, in a sugared tone: "Sorry, I suppose I should have said no cheese..." She reached down for the plate and lifted it as if lifting a basket of rejected jewels, her face giving me the tiniest of frowns, but a discirnible frown nonetheless.

Is it me, or are local cafe employees put-off by customers who return Tex-Mex plates for, uh, something else? I say, yes. I get these looks that say: "You should be happy you have something to eat, you moptopped ingrate." Still, I smile at them, because that's what my mother said I should do when women even think about being mad at me. The chubby waitress smiled back, turned and retreated to the kitchen. Shortly, my chicken enchiladas arrived as if three Roman ships brought up from the bottom of the ocean, laid-out on the plate side-by-side, nothing but the delicious Mole sauce covering their corn hulls in a sort of economical manner - my preference, as well.

Perhaps it's my fear of Big Plates. Throw an overly-generous  fajita botana at me and see me rise from the table and head for the car. Moderation at the dinner table is my manna. It keeps me fit and it keeps that popular Big Belly off my body. Cheese only takes you there faster, is my feeling. Cheese is a killer. Cheese will settle you down faster than a wife. It's just not good for the digestive system. Imagine the engine on a diesel submarine and know that is what you need to work cheese down your gut and through the unlit highway known as the colon. Not a pretty sight.

So, I ate my $3.99 enchilada plate at my corner table, listening to the Tex-Mex music bursting out of the ceiling speakers, thinking why in the holy hell would anyone want to ruin a perfectly tasty plate of chicken enchiladas with a river of cow belly stuff? I gave myself no answer. I had none.

Seated at a table nearby, a couple, both healthy in size, ran their forks through their plates. I couldn't make out what they were eating, but I do know that both plates were covered by a thick blanket of what looked like cheese. I don't know what else those cheese-stuffed two got into later that night, but I suspect that both fell asleep before they could enjoy the best of desserts - the rest of what Life offers in bed...

- 30 -

A Day With Fox News Is A Day For Funneling Dollars To Saudi Arabia...


McALLEN, Texas - A few years back, the nation reeled upon hearing that the Japanese had purchased Rockefeller Center in New York and the iconic Pebble Beach Golf Course in California. More recently, heads turned when Mexican zillionaire Carlos Slim bought a 5% interest in the New York Times last year. It all may seem odd, but this country has a long, long history of welcoming foreign investors.

The latest one is News Corp., owner of Fox News.

Its second-largest holder of voting stock is Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, a nephew of the Saudi king.

Surprised? You should be. Fox News forever carps about the attack by those notorious 19 Saudies on the World Trade Center in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, yet it readily takes Saudi money for its right-wing operation. A cynic might be driven to say: "Isn't that a bit unAmerican?"

But then the Saudis are our allies in the war on world terror, so perhaps that is how News Corp. justifies it. The corporation's principal owner is Rupert Murdoch (shown in photo above), an Australian who became a U.S. citizen and later purchased the New York Post and, more recently, the Wall Street Journal. It's something to think about when you know that most neo-conservatives and Teabaggers comprise the larger portion of Fox News viewers.

That dominant cable outlet's ability to generate advertising dollars does nicely by the Saudi prince, a faceless moneychanger benefitting from our crazy, jagged politics. Just know that next time you watch Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity on Fox...that you're helping to funnel dollars to a rag-wearing Arab who likely would wish ill on America at the drop of a quart of oil.

We're not purposely being racist with this; We're just tired of the hypocrisy and the lies that cripple this Great Nation by the day...

- 30 -

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tribune Editorial:...Why We Ask Questions Of Commissioner Marra, And Why They Should Be Answered...


HARLINGEN, Texas - So a handful of malcontents are up in arms about our story on City Commissioner Kori Marra and her flight to California for medical treatment. Whoooop-dee-doo. Welcome to the Big Time, lads. Politicians - every stinking one of them - is fair game on the question front. They may choose to not answer questions, but words will be written.

Here's a sorta primer on news coverage and elected officials: They serve the public and, in America, questions can come from anywhere - from the barn, from the sidewalk, from the balcony, from behind the bar, from the rich, from the poor, from foreigners, from the upper deck, from anydamnedbody who wishes to launch a question. Why Commmissioner Marra's backers are up in a tizzy is the mystery. Do these rubes not remember their high school civics classes. We say "high school" because, from what we've seen, there is no credible college or university within 248 miles.

Politicians enter the fray voluntarily. They posture themselves for election. They know the game. They know piercing arrows will come sooner or later. Why? Because the voters are fickle. Because, as it happens, stuff always hits the fan. It is as predictable as old people battling arthritis. Commissioner Marra has been a lightning rod for months. Her style of public service is better suited for a travelling circus, play here & go there, play here & go there. A check of her accomplishments ledger would not be kind to the native West Texan. Her service is very much like the activities of a college student auditing classes, bopping in without facing the consequences of failure to master the subject matter. No, this commissioner is no model for the city's young, aspiring leaders.

But tell that to her backers on That site has become Marra Central, a sort of bus terminal for discordant vendors trying to sell a myth, a lie, a false portrait. Nothing wrong with that, because visiting Jerry Deal's Blog is a choice. But make no mistake, Commissioner Marra is an open book - subject to being criticized, even when ill. What's lost here is that we were not laughing-off her ailment as much as wondering why all the secrecy, especially from, which published an astonishing story saying it knew all along why the commissioner was not tending to her duties at City Hall. With a Newsman like that...who needs News? How can you trust a news reporter who will slam the desk drawer shut instead of dumping all contents on the floor for full review?

Yeah, what else about Commissioner Marra does Jerry Deal know, and is not telling?

Politicians have no criticism shield as they make their way from election to election. We are reminded of one Thomas Eagleton, a politician who played a bigger room. Eagleton briefly shared the Democrat George McGovern's presidential ticket in 1972. When the press got wind that he'd received electroconvulsive therapy (brain stuff), Eagleton didn't scream foul. He simply informed McGovern he was leaving the ticket. Eagleton knew the game. He knew it is an unforgiving sky that politicians fly.

The press? Reporters cruelly nicknamed him "Sparky."

It's a Big Boy's game. Nothing is off the table with politicians. Not whether they're Gay, indebted, abusive to spouses, crooked, adulterous or dishonest. The voters have a right to know everything. They supported a candidate to do a job, and if an illness limits that duty, then the voters need to know. It doesn't have to mean resignation. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt served four terms years while bound to a non-electric wheelchair. It's not a big deal. Just own-up, be honest.

Acknowledging problems is part of the responsibility, the contract a public servant signs with the voters who elected him/her. So, Ms. Marra, tell your constituents what is behind your many absences at City Hall, your decision to keep things under wraps. Is it a minor ailment? Is it something serious? Residents of Harlingen now know something is wrong and, well, you know about the Human brain and its ability to form the worst of images. Come clean, Madam.

You may just see genuine community support burst forth like some benevolent hot springs geyser...

- 30 -

Thursday, September 16, 2010

In Sorta-Healthy Harlingen, Something Ails City Commissioner Kori Marra...


HARLINGEN, Texas - Just when you thought it was safe to head-on into the cooler months of Fall along comes another front-burner Kori Marra crisis - this one, we're told, personal & medical. The Harlingen city commissioner reportedly is in California getting treatment for something or another. That's a personal matter, we know, but she is a public servant, an elected official whose constituents would like to know what's going on.

According to Tony Chapa of, the city's Number 1 Blog, Marra is being treated for arthritis. Editor Jerry Deal of the city's Number 2 Blog,, posted this about the travelling commissioner: "Marra, who has a serious medical problem had made arrangements for medical treatment in California sometime back...It is my understanding this is an ailment that had gone into remission, but now has appeared again."

So, yeah, quien sabe que pasa.

Marra, however, has quickly garnered a reputation as a commissioner not opposed to leaving town when important meetings surface for the city commission. Our info is that she missed three crucial meetings on the city's budget, failed to show for a few votes, and now missed last night's meeting, which was the first for the city body under the stewardship of new City Manager Carlos Yerena - a hiring Marra is said to have opposed.

It sort of reminds us of a schoolboard president we used to know in Fort Worth who one day moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and would only fly-in for the "most important meetings." We ask: Is that representation?

Is Kori Marra's district getting what its residents voted for? What, if anything, has she done for her constituents? We'd like to know, as we're sure many of the people who backed her would also like to know. She lives in town, but conducts her public service like some here-today/not-here-tomorrow carpetbagger. Not good, Gladys. Not good at all.

Still, we sincerely hope she regains her health. Most mortals have a hard time worrying about others when their health goes crazy. The only question left here is: What is her ailment? Perhaps will tell us. Jerry Deal, Public Relations Man extraordinaire, seems to know her well, enough anyway that he's the only Blogger she seeks when mired in controversy. And, you know, Deal is a "Newsman," so we expect he'll deliver the goods sometime today, although we won't hold our breadth.

Hmmmmm. Why California, commissioner? Not one doctor in town, in the Rio Grande Valley, in Texas knowledgable about such things? Not that one can't shop for one's doctor, but California, eh? Interesting...

- 30 -

Former Tribune Writer Ron Mexico's Last Book To Be Published In Panama...

Special to The Tribune

BROWNSVILLE, Texas - The juicy story surrounding the killing of Panamanian acrobat Elaine Benitez has captured the imagination of Panama, and now a publishing company in the Central American country says it will print her murdered husband's last novel.

Libros de Centro America spokeswoman Nancy Lourdes-Melodia told reporters gathered at a Panama City bar late today that her press will publish "Marijuana Girl," a novel Ron Mexico wrote while working for The Tribune. Ron was viciously murdered in Amsterdam last month, after being fired from his reporting job at The Tribune for violating the publication's no-drinking-while-covering-city-hall policy.

Ms. Benitez, an icon in her native country, was shot and killed recently by Ron Mexico, Jr. on the morning of her beach-front wedding to former Tribune Editor Patrick Alcatraz. The younger Mexico remains in solitary confinement at a heavily-fortified, roach-infested federal prison outside Panama City. According to friends of the troubled scion, he was distraught at learning of his stepmother's impending marriage to his father's best friend. Elaine Benitez died after being shot more than six times. Patrick Alcatraz reportedly is living in Montreal with another woman.

Ron Mexico's book, published under his pseudonym of N.R. DeMexico, is a "false memoir" that tells the story of a Brownsville,Texas woman he befriends and later turns-on to Marjuana. According to notes on the book's jacket, it is a work of fiction, although the setting is said to be a variety of distinguishable low-rent cantinas and motels. In one of the scenes, a drug dealer delivers a shoebox full of weed to Ron's motel room and takes his cash and his clothes, forcing Ron to leave the motel in his girlfriend's underclothing.

"There is much anticipation in our country," said Ms. Lourdes-Melodia of the book, which is set for release tomorrow. "We are even sending a copy to our former president, Manuel Noriega, who, as all of you fuckin' Americans know, was imprisoned in Florida before being transferred to France."

Efforts by this reporter to reach Patrick Alcatraz for comment were unsuccessful. A woman answering the telephone at his flat in Montreal said he went out last weekend to buy the newspaper and had, as yet, not returned...

- 30 -

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Tribune Special Report:...How The Low-Rider Urinal Rode Into The Rio Grande Valley of Texas...

Staff Writer

McALLEN, Texas - Okay, so, yeah, we spotted a few low ones at the Chase Bank on S. 10th Street here, and then again at the BBVA Compass at the corner of Nolana and N. 10th. But we hear low urinals in the Men's Room of public places are a common sight now.

So began The Tribune's latest investigation, really after we received this Email: "What's the deal with the low-rider urinals that are showing up everywhere? You'll find a row of regular urinals and then one set about a foot lower. In newer bathrooms, there is at least one set low even if there are only two urinals. I assume it's an ADA thing - urinals set at the normal height were discriminating against midgets or guys with extremely long penises. Often, the low one is the only one not in use so you have to use it and then you get piss splash all over your pants legs."

It's not that sort of conspiracy.

The low urinals are meant for use by kids. What would be a bit more interesting around here would be the arrival of French-style urinals for men (see photo above). That would be something, say, at El Rancho in Harlingen, or at Cobbleheads in Brownsville, or at Alhambra's here in town. A little practice never hurts, says this observer.

There you have it - one more mystery solved by The Tribune's crack reporting corps...
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In Harlingen, A Melancholic Mood Settles Over MyLeaderNews.Com - The City's Number 2 Blog...

Staff Writer

HARLINGEN, Texas - A rare calm moved across this noisy city's Old Guard sector all afternoon yesterday, hours after - Harlingen's uber-conservative Blog - lost to its chief rival,, in The Tribune's Best Blog in Town poll.

"It's a graveyard scene over there, is what I hear," said one wag who'd supported Tony Chapa's "You can almost hear the life-sapping guttural swallows of Maalox on that side of town..."

On his Blog,'s editor Jerry Deal posted this sobering note: "I am surprised that I received 60-plus votes since many of my readers did not know of the poll (I did not either until someone wrote me about it) and I did not ask them to vote for Myleadernews as Tony Chapa did for Myharlingennews."

The final tally was 85 to 63 in favor of Tony Chapa's blog.

"It's huge!" added another resident. "Tony's taken a lingering beating from the crazy neo-cons. is doing the people's bidding, while Jerry Deal works for the Old Guard in town, that small group of self-serving politicians and business suits who have run this community into the ground. The time has come for Jerry to dance his last waltz..."

Deal was not saying much more. Instead, as he often does when criticized, he buried his head in abstract stories he posted following release of the poll results. Indeed, his best journalistic efforts of late have been a Twilight Zone-angled story about mutilated cats and something about how business is done in McAllen - fluff pieces extraordinaire, as his readers might say.

How Deal rebounds from this mind-numbing defeat is what readers now await. There is no Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings game tonight and no Freak Show that was disgraced baseball player Jose Canseco to bail him out. There is no hurricane headed his way to write about. There is nothing new on new City Manager Carlos Yerena or controversial Police Chief Danny Castillo.

No, about all Jerry Deal can hope for is a new assault by Tony Chapa on his pet City Commissioner Kori Marra. When that happens, Deal will bolt from his doldrums like a crazed banshee in her defense, eyes ablaze, arms flailing, feet hoofing it to the computer, mind spinning tales of all-out support and thinning fingers ready to play the only song he knows to play when her name pops up on - "You Are My Sunshine."

For the moment, his tires are flat and the only sound being emitted by readers is a cow-killing symphony of haunting, barnyard sobbing. Cue the battered wagon train pulling out of Tombstone...

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

THE KNOCKOUT: Tribune Poll Yields Stunning Last-Minute Victory for

Staff Writer

HARLINGEN, Texas - A stunning final push by his supporters carried Tony Chapa and his to victory in The Tribune's weeklong poll asking readers to name their favorite local Blog. The final tally was 85 to's 63.

It was Jerry Deal's MyLeaderNews carrying the load for most of the previous six days, in slim and wide leads, but MyHarlingen News saw a flurry of last-minute votes after Chapas rallied his many backers.

It is so: is the city's Best Blog - by a respectable winning margin.

The defeat likely will be ill-received by rabid supporters of, many of whom believe it is Deal who brings the community better material. That may or may not be so, but Tony Chapa rests easy knowing crunch time always brings out the best in his Blog and in his supporters - all who believe wholeheartedly that pushes drug-using baseball players and perceive that it backs city officials interested in keeping the city tied to its segregationist past.

Of late, has kept hammering at officials Deal endorses with an endless stream of fawning, supportive write-ups on

"Deal is Old School," wrote one commenter in an Email to The Tribune"He is writing about a town he remembers, from way back when things were different. Today's Harlingen is not Jerry Deal's Harlingen. He is backing the losing side..."

Wrote another, "Tony Chapa may not be a newsman, but he's the one on the right track if we want to look to the future, not the past. Jerry Deal? Not for me, nope."

The poll will be repeated in three months to see if the mood of the city has changed.

We were taken by Chapa's dogged approach to seek change in Harlingen. The town is seen elsewhere in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas as a falling town, a community desperately needing - and seeking - change. In the writings we have seen on, that progressive verve is simply not there. Perhaps it is the "Energy" aspect of the equation - Tony Chapa has it and the much-older Jerry Deal doesn't seem to have it.

The Tribune did not investigate reports that one of's backers had voted as many as 25 times. The final count made that allegation moot. We were given the name of that individual by a reliable source. Ultimately, we decided that the individual in question is a ten-percenter whose contributions to the city's future largely will be nil...

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Unbridled Anticipation Grips Harlingen:...But First, The Story Before The Story...

Staff Writer

HARLINGEN, Texas - This is what I get for showing up early, yet another boring assignment. "Write the piece telling of the piece that's coming regarding our poll," wrote Tribune Editor Eliot Elcomedor in an overnight Email to this Gung-ho reporter.

So, excuse me for a few minutes while I go brew a pot of needed coffee.

Anyway, the much-awaited poll results will be tabulated about noon, with the story coming sometime soon after that. Voting continues for a few more hours yet in our search for the Best Blog in this high-energy, low-results community of 74,000 souls.

Man, it's early. And after last night's boozing, well, even my hair hurts...
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