Tag Archives: blogging

Silicon Gulch not exactly fully connected

DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas — Yours truly’s string of consecutive blogging days came dangerously close to ending this week.

How could that happen? Here’s how: We hauled our fifth wheel recreational vehicle to Pedernales Falls State Park, set up our campsite and then discovered that our site had zero Internet accessibility and damn near no cell phone service.

Is that a bad thing? Not at all. Except that I want to keep the streak alive. It has survived. Here, though, is the quandary.

Pedernales Falls is near Austin, which I’ve always been led to believe is one of the most “connected” communities on Earth. Hey, it’s the hub of what they call the Silicon Gulch, that stretch of real estate between Austin and San Antonio. High-tech firms continue to sprout all over the region.

I didn’t anticipate being disconnected from rest of the planet, being that we are vacationing in this highly connected, 21st-century community.

There might come a day when I no longer want to keep this blogging streak alive. I have occasionally enjoyed being disconnected from the Cell Phone Universe.

The good news, though — if you want to call it that — is that we are to travel to my brother-in-law’s house in this suburban Austin community. It is from here that I am able to post these musings.

And so, the streak goes on.

Our travels will take us very soon to Sea Rim State Park in the Golden Triangle region of Southeast Texas. Let us hope — or let me hope — that we have Internet available there to keep this blogging streak on course.

Blog alert! Having trouble publicizing these musings

High Plains Blogger uses several social media platforms to publicize its musings, missives, essays . . . whatever.

Facebook is one of them. At the moment, your friendly blogger — me! — is experiencing difficulty with Facebook.

I have notified the gurus at Facebook trying as best I can to explain the issue. I keep getting messages that say they’re working on the problem.

I’ll continue to post items on High Plains Blogger, but will depend on Twitter as my primary publicizing platform.

Bear with me. And with Facebook.

The streak continues

Not much to say with this post, except that I want to boast briefly.

Today marks the 865th consecutive day I have written posts for High Plains Blogger. That exceeds two straight years — and then some!

I just want to let you know that I plan to continue offering commentary on politics, public policy and what I call “life experience” for as long as I am able to string sentences together.

You always are welcome to read it. Whether you agree with my musings is, well, up to you.

I won’t apologize for my own bias. Nor will I ask you to apologize for yours.

I am enjoying the ride so far. I hope you are, too.

Let’s hold on with both hands.

Time to brag about another record

Time for a bit of braggin’, if you don’t mind.

High Plains Blogger has just recorded a record month of page views and unique visitors — and we still have another week to go!

This blog was able to set a record for “hits” in 2018 on the strength of an extraordinary month. In February, the blog smashed through the ceiling by recording its greatest — by far! — single day of page views and visitors.

We started 2019 with another smashing month. January will give way to February in week, but already High Plains Blogger has registered its best-ever monthly performance.

What drove this latest record? Unquestionably it was the resignation of Kori Clements from her post as head girls volleyball coach at Amarillo High School in Texas. I commented on it over the course of about four days. Traffic zoomed!

I guess that speaks to the depth of feeling that the Amarillo athletic community feels about itself and about the principals who give it a special standing.

On the strength of this tremendous month of traffic, I am now on track to set another record by year’s end. Sure, I’ve got to keep the momentum going.

I’ll do my best. Hey, we still have a federal government that will give High Plains Blogger plenty of grist to throw out there for discussion.

‘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.