Great Lomax Astro Piece in Texas Monthly

A Terrific Article on the Astros 2017 Ascendance

Reading Texas Monthly these days is an interesting experience on many levels. The old hard print periodical still attracts some excellent writers with some interesting material, as evidenced by the current piece by John Nova Lomax that I went there to read anyway in the December 2017 edition, but the magazine management and layout team sure doesn’t make things easy to find.

If time is ever a factor for you, allow some clock-beats for roaming through pages of advertising before you ever stumble onto an index of content section on page 10, complete with obfuscative subject titles in fairly small type under a column entitled “Reporters” as a “Lead” article identified as “Over the Moon” (blah, blah, blah) by John Nova Lomax. Seeing the word “Astros” in the article’s blah, blah, blah content descriptor verbiage was your major cue. If a buddy had recommended the article to you, as was the case for me from my good friend Sam Quintero, you would have been keyed on searching for that item’s Astro identity clue from the git-go in the old magazine way.

And you would have found it on page 41, as finally noted.

Before I finally read the Lomax piece, which turns out to be a very well done article about how Houston finally overcame its growing cultural fear of the curse that always rises to choke hope and the fulfillment of great expectations on the field of athletic competition with others – the worm finally turned – and fought back hard – and it overcame – while defeating the three arguably most legendary franchises in baseball – the Red Sox – the Yankees – and the Dodgers – in a decisive clearing of the path for a brand new champion from Houston – and one dripping in the sweet orange sight and scent of Houston Strong.

“We are the champions! ~ We Are The Champions! ~ We Are the Champions – of The World!”

Read the article. “The Fall and Rise of the Houston Astros” by Jeff Salamon that follows the Lomax column on page 44 is worth the price of admission itself in its visual chart depiction of how the Astros owner Jim Crane supported and General Manager Jeff Luhnow executed plan unfolded over time as the elixer that spirited the turning of that worm on schedule and in time to transpose into the championship club that had been predicted, as planned, for the Astros in 2017. It did not unhinge. It just got stronger and happened. The Salamon chart is a superb visual on how that came to be.

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Some Notes on the Texas Monthly Style and Its Implications

We almost forgot that there are journal entities out there still trying to make money on the backs of writers and other creative people. Then we got our hands on the December 2017 issue of Texas Monthly. We didn’t see any date of obvious publication prior to our scented article search, but did we confirm it later when we took a closer look at the pricing bar code on the face of the magazine cover. Here’s a close up of the unobtrusive way in which Texas Monthly handles their responsibility for time stamping the issuance of a periodical that sells for $5.95 a copy:

We also noted on the cover some language that almost created the impression that the Texas Monthly had now shifted into gear as an advertising catalog that simply happened to include some narrative reporting and fictional material about as often as you find a gas station on I-10 West in southern New Mexico:

Had we been more attracted to a little round dab of red, we could have found our Astros article page number by simply taking a close look at what was there, but we didn’t. For us, we were moved as creatures of ancient habit to search for early, easy to find tables of content didn’t happen. What we encountered was the paper-format version of what we try like hell to avoid on the Internet with ad blocker apps. And the little red dot turned out to be a rare drift of floating useful information:

One more physical item. This one lacks a visual.

The cover is actually a two piece door. If you open them, left and right, what you get is another advertisement. This one is an invitation to San Antonio’s Tricentennial Celebration Party on New Year’s Eve.

None of us can be sure where this change is going for sure, but these attitudes are building sharply as a result of our cultural immersion into the digital social media era:

1) Writers are getting more opportunities to write today, but nobody wants to pay them for what they do. After all, today, everybody is a writer.

2) People today expect to get reading material for free.

3) Commercial rag mags are weighting their writers down with the expectation of the publication making most of their money from advertising sales. (i.e., Texas Monthly) The more the magazine goes up in cost, the more readers are driven to either not buy the magazine or simply wait for their chance to create their “free” copy of the article alone as they have learned to do with Internet material over the past twenty years. It’s a sad note, but it happens.

4) With the new technology, publishers are issuing more book releases, printing what sells, and only marketing what seems to have a chance at a commercial sales breakthrough into the blue.

5) It is what it is. Younger people today are challenged by how creatively they must show their talents to the world. As often happens, older people are having the greatest problem of adjustment.

6) Like all adjustments, even this one will work its way out. In time. But it will always remain in motion toward further change. It’s the nature of all living things.

 

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

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2 Responses to “Great Lomax Astro Piece in Texas Monthly”

  1. Sam Says:

    Be careful, you may spend some money before you get to the article! Hold on to your wallet and credit card!!!

    The article is definitely a good read.

    Bill, thank you for sharing it with everyone else!

  2. Larry Dierker Says:

    Texas Monthly is no different than the Astros. They don’t waste an inch of Minute Maid Park on anything but revenue generation. Tal’s Hill didn’t make any money. Where it was there are now cash registers. I quit the Chronicle when they started the fold-over ads. I’ve quit TM too.

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