Tag Archives: blogging

‘One-sided opinion’? Is there any other kind?

This blog of mine features lots of opinion, most of it is mine. I don’t hide my political bias. It is out there for all to see. You either agree or disagree with it.

I received a comment on the blog from an occasional reader (I am going to presume) who disagreed with my view on how Donald J. Trump might be impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. This critic finished the comment by saying:

I’m glad I’m not subjected to your one-sided opinion on a regular basis but, blessed to live in a country where you spew it I guess.

I appreciate the comment, but I am going to ask my critic through this forum: Is there any other kind of opinion than “one-sided opinion”? 

That’s the nature of High Plains Blogger. It “spews” opinion. I have some strong views, for instance, on the fellow who’s now our president. I am not happy that he’s there, so I gladly exercise my constitutional right to express my displeasure over his election and over the manner in which he attempts to govern this great country.

Back when I was toiling in my craft of daily opinion writing and editing, I occasionally would receive comments that came in the form of a compliment. They would allude to my “balanced” approach to opinion-writing. I never quite knew how to react to such a statement. By “balanced,” I wondered if the person implied I was wishy-washy.

I wrote regular signed columns for two Texas newspapers, in Beaumont and then in Amarillo, where my career ended. In both places, I wrote in two voices. When I wrote editorials for the newspaper, I recited the “company line.” I wrote editorials that comported with the consensus of the editorial board, which in Beaumont comprised me, the executive editor and the publisher; in Amarillo, the “ed board” included myself, an editorial staff writer and the publisher.

When I wrote my columns, the publishers and the executive editor to whom I reported (in Beaumont) allowed me to write in my own voice, which usually differed in varying degrees with the editorial policy espoused by the newspaper.

Perhaps that’s what they meant when they said my approach was “balanced.” I don’t know.

I do know that the description of “one-sided opinion” is, um, a redundant phrase. Of course it’s one-sided! It’s what I believe.

I’ll keep offering more one-sided opinions on a whole array of topics for as long as I’m able to string sentences together.

To the critic who doesn’t read my spewage regularly, thank you for your comment. I hope to hear more from you.

Blogging requires multi-tasking skills

For the first time — more than likely — since I started blogging full time I am left with too much to comment on.

Just today alone, the news exploded all over the place.

  • The U.S. House of Reps decided to put $5 billion to build a wall along our southern border into a stopgap funding bill, then got assurances from Donald Trump he wouldn’t sign the Senate version of a bill that would keep the government running.
  • The government is about to shut down partially.
  • Then to top it off, Defense Secretary James Mattis quit and told the president off in his letter of resignation. Man, he blistered the commander in chief’s rear end. He delivered the letter in person at the White House. And get this: He signed his letter without salutation; there was no “sincerely,” or “with great respect” or “God bless you, sir” at the end of Mattis’s resignation letter.

I’ve been focused this afternoon on the Mattis matter, as I consider it to be most critical at this moment. I believe his resignation and his reasons for quitting constitute a national security crisis . . . as if Donald Trump doesn’t have enough crises to keep him, um, occupied.

As for me, I now need to figure out what I can write about in the moment and what I can set aside for another day. This reminds me of the situation I faced as an opinion page editor after 9/11. We had more to write about than space would allow, meaning we had to decide which topics we could postpone for another time. It’s an editorial writer’s and editor’s ideal situation.

This blogger now has the same dream.

Blogging brings a particular joy

My calling as a full-time blogger gives me so much joy, it’s difficult to chronicle all of it.

It keeps me in the game of public policy and politics-watching; it allows me to have my voice heard and my “throat” cleared; it reaches a wide audience that includes those who like what I have to say and those who, well, dislike my message.

I want to speak to the particular joy I receive from those critics, the folks who take the time to give me grief.

They aren’t likely to comment on those matters with which they agree. I have some series going: I write about my Chihuahua mix dog, Toby; I comment on the retired life my wife and I enjoy; I now am writing about the joy that my career as a journalist gave me over nearly four decades.

When I turn my attention to issues relating to Donald Trump and my critical view of the man’s presidency, that brings out the critics. They dust off their weapons and fire away.

Yes, I enjoy getting ’em riled. Not because I want them fired up, that I want to cause them heartburn or cause anxiety attacks. My joy comes only in knowing they, too, are engaged at some level.

Bear in mind this important note, though: No one is required to read these musings. We’re all free to look the other way, to ignore whatever it is that is posted under the name of High Plains Blogger.

That these critics choose to read it and then to comment tells me that (a) they want their blood pressure to increase or (b) they cannot get enough of whatever anger they have pent up inside of them.

Whatever, man.

I know it’s too much to ask these critics to share these messages. I ask only one thing: Just keep reading.

Many thanks to you all. Some of you keep me humble. All of you, though, keep me energized.

Hooray! Blog sets page view/visitors record!

I am now going to use this forum of my very own making to boast just a bit. I’ll be brief.

High Plains Blogger has just set a record for yearly page views and unique visitors. The end of the year is still about three weeks away.

This blog has increased annual page views every year since its inception. Perhaps the news that it’s setting a record isn’t much to boast about.

Too bad. I’ll do it anyway.

I owe the good year for this blog to one tremendous month. February brought this blog its biggest single day of page views and unique visitors; the daily average for February was by far the best monthly average I’ve recorded. It carried me to the end of the year on put this blog on pace to set a record.

I want to thank those of you read the blog. Whether you agree with its world view is beside the point. I appreciate your readership very much. I also appreciate those who share my musings with your own social media networks, with the hope that those with whom you share are spreading the word even farther.

The next year allows me to turn the page, to start over. I hope 2019 is even better than the record-setting year we’ve just recorded.

Taking a break from the rough-and-tumble

This blog is taking a brief hiatus from feasting on its main menu of political prey, namely the president of the United States.

Perhaps you’ve noticed the absence of Donald Trump-bashing on High Plains Blogger. For those who believe as I do about the president, don’t give up on me; I’ll return to the feast in due course. For those who oppose my view about the president, I apologize in advance . . . for the same reason I have given to those on the other side of the great divide.

My focus the past couple of days has been on the death of a great American, the 41st president, George Herbert Walker Bush.

I am trying to imagine a major American public figure who has led a more full and enriching life than President Bush. Perhaps I need to think harder about it, but I keep coming up empty.

GHW Bush led the fullest of lives. I want to honor that life. I have discussed a bit of policy regarding his time in the Oval Office hot seat. Yes, I had issues with him as president. I didn’t vote for him either in 1988 or 1992. However, when someone as devoted to his country as President Bush was passes from the scene, I find it wholly appropriate to set aside those differences and honor a life well-lived.

I don’t know at this moment when I’ll get back into the battle over the current president’s mounting difficulties. I might wait until after President Bush is buried later this week. I might suit up before then.

For the time being, I’m enjoying the break I’m taking from the rough-and-tumble of what is unfolding before our eyes.

I’ll see you on the flip side soon.

Can’t stop writing … the streak goes on and on!

I have to write a boastful blog post about … my blog.

I’ll be brief, but here goes.

I post High Plains Blogger via Word Press, a perfectly fine platform. It has begun reminding me daily that I am on a heck of a streak. As of today, I have posted blog entries for 711 consecutive days.

Let’s see, two years comprise 730 days, so I’m only 19 days away from establishing a two-year streak on this blog.

Some of my friends have expressed some measure of amazement that I post as much as I do on this blog. Some call me “prolific.” Some of them say they like what I have to say. Others say they dislike my point of view … but they read it anyway.

I’ve actually had a critic or two stop reading my blog items, only to return to reading them. They are quick to offer criticism; once in a while they might write something that supports what I might say, although those instances are less frequent than the criticism I get from them. One critic and I got into a snit and he said he was done with my blog. He was gone. Then he came back and he is among those critics who is quick to fire off a comment that takes me to task. Hey, that’s OK. It goes with the territory.

I just wanted to brag a bit that I’ve got a 711-day streak on the line. I intend fully to keep growing it for as long as I can continue to string sentences together.

For better … or worse.

Waiting for POTUS to deliver the goods

I wrote a blog post in December 2016 that laid out some of the things that could produce a good word from High Plains Blogger about Donald John Trump Sr.

Nearly two years later, I am still waiting for the president to deliver the goods on what I had hoped — with all sincerity — would happen and, thus, enable me to write something wholly positive about the job he is doing.

Hoping for Trump to earn praise

My strong fear now is that Donald Trump is beyond help. He cannot earn a good word, ever, from this blog.

But as I noted in the earlier blog post … there’s always tomorrow.

Maybe. Possibly.

664 days and counting

This blog is distributed on Word Press, a fairly common platform for bloggers to send their myriad messages into the world.

Lately, I’ve gotten a bit of interesting news from the folks who run Word Press. They tell me I’ve submitted blog entries from High Plains Blogger for 664 consecutive days.

That means I’m closing in on two years of daily submissions from High Plains Blogger.

Honestly, it almost seems longer than that. I’ll rely on Word Press to know the facts on this kind of thing; they keep track of it far more than I do. Perhaps I missed a day back in 2016 for reasons I cannot remember.

I suppose I could scroll back through the archives to confirm it.

Aww, never mind!

A friend told me recently he was astounded at the prolific pace with which I write blog entries for this forum. I told him what I’ve told  you already here: It’s what I have done for a long time.

A family member of mine — someone who disagrees with me politically — just recently made the same observation. I told him that I cannot stop writing these blog entries because, as I mentioned to him, they provide a form of relaxation for me. I find writing them almost therapeutic in nature. Indeed, with so much grist pouring out of Washington, D.C., since about, oh, Nov. 8, 2016, I have no shortage of material on which to comment/pontificate/vent/rant … whatever you want to call it.

So, with 664 consecutive days in the bank, I plan to keep pounding out these missives.

As I have mentioned perhaps a time or three too many already, I am living the dream.

Blog passes milestone … holy cow!

I probably should wait to mark a blog-writing milestone, but what the heck … I thought I would do so today.

This is the 9,001st post I’ve published on High Plains Blogger. I was looking at some blog stats last night when I noticed I had hit the 9,000 mark, which I thought was rather remarkable.

I am telling people I meet that I am a full-time blogger. I get the question when I encounter strangers, who ask, “What are you doing these days?” It doesn’t pay much, but I hope to earn more income from this new “job” as we move forward.

I do consider it a job in the sense that I spend a lot of time during most given days putting my thoughts into my laptop and then posting them for the world to see.

There is no shortage of topics on which to comment. For that I thank Donald John Trump Sr. — among others — for providing me with plenty of grist on which to pontificate.

I won’t spend a lot of time with this post. You know already that I love this job. It provides me an outlet to vent, rant, rave and occasionally sing the praises of … people and events.

OK, we’ve passed the 9,000-post mark. I’ll likely weigh in when we get to No. 10,000.

For now, I’m out and on to the next thing.

No shortage of commentary grist

I can peg the day when it all began.

It was a Tuesday. Sept. 11, 2001. A colleague popped his head into my office that morning and asked, “Did you hear? Someone flew a plane into the World Trade Centers.” I asked, “Was the weather bad?” He said no; the weather was beautiful. “What kind of moron would do that?” I asked. I turned on the TV — and then watched the second jetliner crash into the other WTC tower.

The horror began.

It hasn’t let up. That was the day that as an opinion journalist — an editor and an editorial writer — that I’ve never had to struggle to find topics on which to comment.

More than one person has asked me about how I am able to write so frequently on varying subjects. I don’t really have a good answer. The only thing I can trace it to occurred on 9/11.

That singular event granted editorial writers such as yours truly with a sort of professional “dream scenario.”

It goes like this: My task for many years after that horrifying event was to decide which subjects I could set aside for another day. The opposite of that option is struggling to find subjects to write about to fill a gaping space on the editorial page.

Those opportunities seem — mysteriously, I should add — to have mushroomed into many other facets of commentary. In the weeks and immediately after 9/11, as the United States prepared to retaliate and as we searched our national soul for what happened on that terrible day, we were consumed by the act and our national response to it.

I stayed at my daily print journalism post for another 11 years after that day. Then my career at the Amarillo Globe-News ended. I have continued my passion for commentary damn near daily since I walked away from a rewarding and moderately successful career.

And in this strange and unexplainable way, I have maintained the pace that was set on 9/11. A day does not arrive that fails to produce something on which to comment. Yes, this blog has spent a lot of energy commenting on matters relating to the presidency of Donald Trump. I am able to look elsewhere, too.

Such as right now, commenting on the environment that produces such a rich harvest of topics on which to pontificate.

It’s great to be alive in this day and time! Yes?