Tag Archives: High Plains Blogger

Be careful of the ‘magic word’ in social media spats

It’s an acknowledged truism in baseball that when you get into an argument with an umpire, uttering the “magic word” will get you ejected from the playing field in a New York nano-second.

What, pretell, is that magic word? It is “you.”

That’s right. Shout the word “you” at the ump and he’ll toss you. As in “f*** you!” or “you son of a b****!” or “you blind b******!”

The profanities? No sweat. Just don’t attach “you” to the vilest epithet you can utter.

That rule of thumb ought to apply to social media spats. I quite frequently witness these arguments erupt along my social media networks, namely my Facebook news feed. They usually originate with an item from High Plains Blogger that I distribute to my Facebook “friends” and my actual friends, who also happen to read these musings on Facebook.

Two or more readers of the blog then will get involved in arguing back and forth about a point I seek to make in the blog. I usually stay out of it. I prefer to let them go at it, tooth and nail, hammer and tong.

I’ve been fortunate in this regard: Whenever I do exchange thoughts with critics of my blog, the folks on the other other end usually are civil enough to respond like ladies and gentlemen. I don’t have to invoke the Baseball Rhubarb Rule that gets activated whenever someone blurts out the magic word “you.”

I don’t like name-calling when dealing with just plain folks like myself. Yes, I’ve been known to attach a pejorative description or two to people in high places. The president of the United States, for example, has received his fair share of name-calling from me. But, hey, if he can dish it out … right?

I’ll continue to seek to stay above the nastiness that erupts occasionally along this particular social media network, but I won’t stand for anyone dropping the magic word on me as their way of impugning me.

Hey, everyone has their limit.

The blog isn’t going away

I feel the need to repeat this one more time.

I’ll type it slowly. So … read verrry carefully.

I intend to keep writing this blog until I no longer am able.

This restatement comes in the wake of some interesting responses to an earlier post that went out on High Plains Blogger. I wrote about the upcoming move my wife, Toby and Puppy and I are set to make to Fairview, Texas — a little village tucked neatly between Allen and McKinney, about 30 miles or so north of Dallas.

It’s in Collin County. It’s a bustling place, full of new things to do, places to see and explore.

Yes, the newness will be a joy to experience.

However, some things won’t change with the move from the Texas Panhandle to the Metroplex.

High Plains Blogger will remain alive and, hopefully, well. Some of the responses along my social media network come have asked whehter I’ll keep writing it.

Yes! A thousand times yes!

I don’t pretend to have an infinite wave of fans who hang on every word that comes from this blog. I have my share of critics and political foes. Many of them are actual friends, not just social media acquaintances who like to bitch at me.

One of the greatest joys of writing this blog is how many of my actual friends — those who disagree with my politics — remain my friends despite our world view differences.

The folks who have asked me whether I intend to keep writing the blog generally are those with whom I agree politically.

I intend to keep firing off these missives and musings for as long as I have most of my marbles. There are times when I’m a bit slow on the uptake, but I don’t think the butter has slipped off my noodle just yet.

I retired from full-time print journalism in August 2012. I kept my head in “the game” through some part-time work. I wrote feature stories for Panhandle PBS and NewsChannel 10 websites in Amarillo; I helped produce the weekly Quay County Sun in Tucumcari, N.M. They kept me active and engaged in the community I have called home for the past 23 years.

Some new digs and new experiences await my wife and me. Toby the Puppy will be just fine as long as we’re nearby.

One element of constancy remains intact. High Plains Blogger is here to stay for as long as I’ve got my wits about me.

It’s what I do.

Happy to report this friendship shows durability

A recent trip to the Golden Triangle produced a wonderful — but not surprising — acknowledgement from a friend whom I have known for more than three decades.

His name is Fred. He and my wife and I managed to catch up during our visit to the Beaumont area.

Fred reads this blog frequently. He is critical of my political point of view. He sees the blog mostly through Facebook, which is one of the social media platforms I use to distribute my musings about this and/or that political happenstance.

My old pal noted that his wife once questioned why he reads this blog, reminding him that he disagrees with my leanings so vehemently. “Hey, no problem,” he said to me. “It’s only politics. Just because we disagree doesn’t mean we can’t be friends.”

There, dear reader, are the magic words.

I was heartened in the extreme to hear my friend say that to me. I wrote a blog post more than five years ago about that very thing and how this blog has cost me a friend or two along the way.

True friendships outlast politics

It just goes to show you that real friends don’t let politics get in the way of solid relationships … such as the one Fred and I have forged.

Thank you, my friend.

Facing a topic quandary for this blog

A relocation might be approaching more quickly than my wife and I thought. More on that at a later date.

As we prepare to detach ourselves eventually from the Texas Panhandle and relocate to the Metroplex region of North Texas, I am facing a bit of a quandary: how to transition from commenting on local matters that pertain to the Panhandle to our new surroundings.

High Plains Blogger will retain its title even after we relocate. I have made that “command decision.” I like the name. I’m comfortable with it. The blog title does pay a sort of tribute to one of my favorite actors, Clint Eastwood.

It comments heavily on national political matters. I also like commenting on local issues. Even though my wife and I departed the Golden Triangle more than two decades ago, I am even prone to offering a word or two about life in our former digs. along the Gulf Coast of Texas.

Our time in the Panhandle, though, is more than double than what we spent in what I affectionately call The Swamp. Thus, I likely will continue to keep an eye on goings-on in Amarillo and the Panhandle even after we depart for points southeast of here.

I do intend to familiarize myself with issues unique to the area north of Dallas where we’ll end up. I cannot pretend to know all the nuances that go into every issue. Heck, I am quite willing to acknowledge that I don’t know all there is to know about everything that happens in a community I called home for more than 23 years.

But … my Panhandle knowledge base is a good bit more informed than it will be when we relocate to the Dallas ‘burbs.

Oh well. It might be that I’ll refocus my attention on matters relating to national politics, government, public policy and, oh yes, a bit of life experience thrown in from time to time.

Heaven knows the president is keeping my quiver full of arrows.

Blogging ‘payoff’ comes in many forms

VILLAGE CREEK STATE PARK, Texas — We’re about to shove off soon for points north of our former haunts along the Texas Gulf Coast.

We have too many friends left unseen on this return, but we’ll vow to get caught up with them on our next visit — which we hope will be sooner rather than later. Many of them read this blog.

This visit has produced an unexpected — but quite welcome — acknowledgement of my new calling as a full-time blogger.

Some of the friends with whom we got caught up told me how they have learned a bit about Amarillo and Texas Panhandle politics from the blog posts I have filed for all these years.

How does it get any better than that? To my way of thinking, it really doesn’t.

I don’t write this blog to obtain notoriety. I merely write it because it gives me pleasure. I like ranting. I get a kick out of raving on occasion. I don’t mind hurling a criticism at those in power. I cannot resist the temptation to “afflict the comfortable,” although I do not really believe this blog “comforts the afflicted.”

However, to be told by friends that High Plains Blogger has provided a bit of an education about a region of Texas that is far away from the Gulf Coast makes me smile — and gives me more than enough reason to keep going for as long as I am able.

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.

Responsible for deaths? Nope!

I have to share with you a comment that came to me today after I posted a blog on today’s March For Our Lives in Amarillo, Texas.

I don’t like doing this, but I feel the need to share with you a point of view that is highly critical of yours truly, and it also accuses me of something I’ve never before heard.

Here it is, in part:

The writer of this article, with his slant, is partially responsible to the moral decline that has lead to children being killed and rights having been eroded.

You are accountable as a public writer, and I hold you responsible for lying to our youth and ultimately getting them killed.

I do not know the author of this comment. That is, if I do know who it is, the writer didn’t reveal his or her identity to me.

The item I posted on High Plains Blogger offered a word of encouragement to the several hundred marchers who trudged from Ellwood Park to the Potter County Courthouse in downtown Amarillo. They gathered and marched to protest the gun violence that has taken too many young lives in our country; the marchers want change and they want it sooner rather than later.

I don’t mind criticism of the items I post. I welcome it if it is constructive and well-reasoned. Most of it is. This item, though, isn’t. It ascribes some really nefarious consequences to my little ol’ blog.

As for who is responsible for causing the deaths of young people, my inclination is to lay that blame at the feet of those who support unrestricted gun ownership, believing that the Second Amendment guarantees it. These weapons do have a way of ending up in the wrong hands … you know?

Maybe I should feel somewhat — more or less — flattered that the individual who responded to this blog thinks I have that kind of influence on our society.

I’ve never seen myself as having such stroke. I like to think High Plains Blogger is able to have some impact on elements of the human condition. But to suggest that it is partly responsible for the deaths of young Americans, well … that’s going a bit far. Don’t you think?

I have no real ulterior motive in sharing these thoughts with you. Perhaps you can read them in their entirety when you click on highplainsblogger. com — which I invite you to do.

They marched for a cause that could make history

With that, I believe I’ll go about the business of coming up with other topics on which to pontificate.

Boorishness, like bias, a matter of perception

A High Plains Blogger critic has called me out — again!

He doesn’t like the way I referred to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders as “young lady.” He thinks I sound “boorish,” “offensive” and condescending when I refer to her in that context.

He and I have exchanged a few words over that item on social media, but I feel compelled to offer this brief blog post to set the record straight on a thing or two.

I am 68 years and 3 months of age. Sanders is 35 years of age; she is nearly nine years younger than the younger of my two sons.

When I refer to a public official as a “young lady” or a “young man,” I do not do so with boorishness in my heart. I don’t perceive myself to be a boor. Any offense I deliver through these commentaries are taken that way by those who disagree with my world view, or whatever perspective I present.

I consider a criticism that I am being boorish in the same light as I take the term “biased.” Someone who accuses me of “bias” always — without failure — is someone who takes a different viewpoint. And I admit the same when I read “bias” in commentary with which I disagree.

One man’s bias is another man’s profound wisdom.

The same can be said of “boorishness,” although boorishness can rise — or sink — to levels that reach universal agreement. An example might be, oh let’s see, Donald Trump telling “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush in 2005 that his celebrity status entitles him to grab women by their private parts.

OK, maybe that’s a stretch. Trump, after all, got elected president of the United States even after those remarks were made public. What the heck, it was worth bringing up in any event.

I’ll accept the criticism that comes with writing this blog. As for my use of the term “young” preceding “lady” or “man,” I’ll continue to do so whenever I see fit.

Growing old allows it.

So there.

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?

Decision made on name of blog

I have made a command decision I want to share with you.

Some time back I mused out loud on this blog that I might change its name when we relocated to North Texas. The name “High Plains Blogger” has served two purposes. One was to salute our location on the High Plains of Texas; the other was to salute one of my favorite actors, Clint Eastwood, who starred in “High Plains Drifter” a few decades ago.

Well, our move is fast approaching and I’ve decided — drum roll! — to keep the name of this blog.

We intend to remain semi-mobile even after we relocate to North Texas. We have family matters to consider that will bring us back to Amarillo periodically. Thus, I won’t sever my ties to this city we’ve called “home” for 23 years.

I doubt I’ll be able to continue to comment with as much regularity on local matters as I’ve been able to do. My local-content musings have diminished considerably since I quit my daily print journalism job at the Amarillo Globe-News on Aug. 31, 2012.

I’ve remained somewhat connected through various media about goings-on in Amarillo and the Panhandle, enabling me to offer commentary on issues as they’ve presented themselves.

I won’t be disconnected completely even after we depart for points southeast of the Panhandle. The blog, though, is likely to concentrate more on state, national and international issues — along with the occasional stories about our beloved puppy, Toby, and musings about the retired life with which my wife and I have become quite comfortable.

Those retirement segments hopefully will include some travel tales as we embark on journeys across this continent of ours.

High Plains Blogger has developed an identity. I like being associated with it.

Now, I could change my mind and come up with a new name. If I do, you’ll be the first to know.

Meanwhile, thanks for reading and sharing. I am having the time of my life.