Tag Archives: blogging

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?

Happy Trails, Part 69

Blog-writing remains one of my current passions.

It gives me immense satisfaction in this era of retirement. I wrote opinion articles for many years as a print journalist. Then I stopped being a print journalist.

But I didn’t stop writing opinion pieces. I just post them now online. They get distributed via this blog platform. I have my share of subscribers to the blog and for that I am grateful. My aim is to grow that subscriber list.

I distribute the blog posts through various social media. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are my main vehicles of conveyance.

Here’s one aspect of that process that I want to discuss briefly: Facebook prompts some serious arguments among those who read these posts on that medium.

To be candid, I have a sort of out-of-body experience as I watch these folks argue among themselves.

Someone might comment on a blog post; someone else then might respond Person No. 1’s comment; Person No. 1 then might respond to the response.

And … off they go.

They’re snarling and growling at each other. Occasionally, these exchanges get intensely personal. I have read actual name-calling, although those instances are rare. What happens is that someone might insult some else’s intelligence. In one recent exchange, one of the quarrelers accused  another one of being unable to understand what he reads; thus, one guy accused the other one of being a dim bulb.

I have no particular desire to stop these exchanges. I just choose to stay away from them. No, I don’t mean to suggest that I “stay above” these arguments. I just don’t have the stomach, let alone the time, to engage in continual back-and-forth arguments that at times seem as though they have no end.

One of the lessons I carried with me from print opinion journalism to full-time blogging is that nothing I write is going to change anyone’s mind. We all have our biases. We have our own set of values, most of which were formed when we were, oh, much younger … if not when when we were children.

I prefer to state my case on this blog. And then walk away to the next topic. Oh, I might quibble and quarrel with someone, but I’m only good for about three or maybe four responses; and, yes, I’ve gone beyond that a time or three. Then I’ve had enough.

The way I see it, my relative lack of fighting spirit preserves the love I have for this new retirement adventure.

Oh, how I love blogging.

Sharing some good news about this blog

I feel the need to share a bit of good news about High Plains Blogger.

The old year is about to become history, and I want to thank readers of this blog for reading these musings and sharing them when you feel compelled to do so.

2017 gave High Plains Blogger its most page views in a calendar year, most unique visitors, best daily views/visitors average over the course of the year, best monthly views/visitors average.

I thank you for that.

My goal with this blog has been to expand its reach. My Word Press enables me to look daily on the worldwide reach of this blog. During the course of 2017, my blog was seen in virtually all of North and South America, most of Europe, a huge chunk of Asia (and we can include Australasia) and a growing portion of Africa. All told, more than 150 nations were represented in the past year by High Plains Blogger readers.

Much of my attention in the coming year will continue to be on politics and public policy. As those of you who follow this blog know, however, I’ll likely spend more blog-writing energy commenting on retirement and the joy it brings my wife and me as we continue our ongoing transition to this new way of life.

Bear with me on that. I simply enjoy sharing these outlooks with those of you who might be heading in the same direction we are heading.

Oh, but this is an election year. Political junkie that I am, I will be unable to contain myself as I comment on what I see occurring on the myriad campaign trails across this great country of ours.

For now, I simply want to say “thank you” for giving High Plains Blogger its best year yet.

Happy New Year. Let’s enjoy the ride together.

Blog logs another year; the fun will continue

Another year as a full-time blogger is about to fall by the wayside.

High Plains Blogger has been at full throttle for more than five years. Given that I no longer work for a living, I am spending a lot of time — some might argue an inordinate amount of it — at a keyboard pounding out musings/spewage on this and/or that issue of the day; I like sprinkling the blog with what I call “life experience” posts, which comprise mostly thoughts about retirement and pet parenthood of the most lovable puppy God ever created.

My daily “hit” count continues to grow. 2017 produced my best-yet yearly total of page views and unique visitors. I’m getting my share of “likes” and commentary from readers.

The blog will continue into 2018 and I hope well beyond.

The only issue I have yet to resolve with the blog is what to call it. I came up with the name High Plains Blogger as sort of a two-pronged tribute: One was to the location where my wife and I have lived for more than two decades, on the High Plains of Texas; the other was to pay a small tribute to one of my favorite film stars, Clint Eastwood, one of whose films is “High Plains Drifter.”

We’ll be relocating — we hope soon — to North Texas. I am torn between changing the name to a more generic title; I have a working name in mind, but I haven’t yet made that decision.

You see, High Plains Blogger has developed something of a following that I don’t want to jeopardize; and by “following,” I don’t mean to imply that everyone is a fan. The blog has its critics.

But as the old year passes on and we welcome the new one, I feel the need to tell the whole wide world — or at least the portion of it that cares to hear this news — that I intend to keep up the pace of commentary for as long as I am able.

My strongest hope of all is that I remain able to a long time.

Happy New Year.

Break from politics? Umm, not this year, folks

The past couple of years have enticed High Plains Blogger — meaning me — to take a break from political commentary during the Christmas-New Year holiday period.

I am not going to take such a break this year.

I decided to stay in the game, but with one important caveat: I am going to refrain from some of the occasionally harsh rhetoric I use to describe certain politicians with whom I disagree.

You know about whom I refer, in particular.

There are others, to be sure. But my intention for the next few days will be to keep a civil tongue in my mouth — so to speak — and offer criticism without referencing the president in ways that I have been prone to do on occasion.

It’s my way of adhering to some semblance of civility and decency during this holy time.

It’s a joyful season for my family and me. Indeed, I intend to avoid discussing politics with friends and family members on Christmas day. Those who read this blog, thus, are forewarned. No discussion of the president, his administration, his policies, his pronouncements … nothin’, man!

I might, time permitting on Christmas, take a moment to salute a pol or two who does something that merits praise.

That would enable me to maintain the Christmas spirit … wouldn’t it?

For now, I’ll try my level best to keep the dagger sheathed, the arrows in the quiver … whatever!

The coming year promises to provide plenty of ample targets of opportunity. Hey, it’s an election year!

Enjoy yourselves.

Lesson learned about marketing a blog

I have just received a valuable lesson in marketing and (if you’ll pardon the expression) self-promotion.

It was delivered to me in the lobby of a movie theater by a woman who had a kind word about the work I used to do.

I purchased a ticket to a film I went to see with my son. When I stepped away from the ticket counter, a nice lady said, “I love your work at the paper, John.” I turned to see who made the remark.

The woman said she “I love what you write,” and gave me a thumbs-up. I thought for an instant: How do I handle this?

“Well, thank you, but I’ve been gone (from the Amarillo Globe-News) for five years now,” I said. The lady looked surprised. “You have?” she asked. “Yes, nearly five years now,” I said.

“Well, I’m embarrassed,” she said. “It’s OK, no worries,” I said.

Then she pivoted. “Well, I miss you.” I thanked her again and went on my way.

OK, where’s the lesson? I should’ve been carrying my business-card wallet with cards identifying me as the author of High Plains Blogger. You see, that way I could have just handed her a card and said, “I’m still writing. This is what I’m doing now.”

Simple, yes? Of course it is! That’s going to be my standard operating procedure from this day forward.

To be candid, I’m kicking myself in the backside as I write this brief blog post.

Five years after quitting my job I’m still getting these kinds of greetings from strangers. To be totally honest, I find it gratifying, even when I meet folks who might have disagreed with what I wrote for the Globe-News back in The Day.

***

Spoiler alert: I’m planning to post a blog entry in a few days commemorating the five-year anniversary of my departure from daily print journalism. That event hit me hard in the moment … but life has turned out to be far better than I ever imagined.

No longer missing the sniping from left and right

I once posted a blog item about two fellows with whom I had a sort of professional relationship.

One is an ultraconservative firebrand; the other is an ultraliberal firebrand. I offered the notion that I must be doing something right to have angered both of them for essentially the same reason: I tilt too far the other way.

Here is what I wrote in July 2010.

Barbs from the left and the right

I was working full time at the Amarillo Globe-News then, as editor of the Opinion pages. I would leave that job about two years later. I’m still blogging my brains out.

What I find refreshing about blogging in this context — as a retired former journalist — is that I no longer have to argue with critics who say I tilt too far in the opposite direction.

I tell people now — and I’ll reiterate it here — that I am now free to speak without apology. It’s not that I ever apologized for what I wrote when I was a working print editorialist. It’s just that I felt the need to correct whatever misinterpretation a critic would level at me.

“Your paper is too liberal,” they might say. “That rag of yours is too conservative,” others might say. No one can say that about this blog.

As the sayings go: “It is what it is,” and “What you see is what you get.”

As time marches on since my departure from daily print journalism I find myself separating myself more easily from the regular occurrences that would develop, such as the one noted in that July 2010 blog post.

I love telling friends with whom I cross paths that these days I am: unfettered, unchained, unrestrained, unleashed, uncaged, untethered, unrestricted … you can put the prefix “un” in front of any descriptive term you want.

That’s me. I’m having a blast, man.