Tag Archives: High Plains Blogger

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.

Maybe time is right after all … maybe

I dug a blog post out from nearly a year ago.

I had posited a notion that Donald J. Trump shouldn’t meet with North Korean despot Kim Jong Un. I said Kim wasn’t worth the time or the attention of the leader of the greatest nation on Earth.

Guess what. The president is hoping to meet no later than May with Kim. They’re going to talk about, oh let’s see, denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula? One can hope.

Don’t meet with the dictator, Mr. President

I am not yet ready to fully endorse this planned summit. I remain highly skeptical of the president’s ability to negotiate with the goofball North Korean dictator. Moreover, I have grave doubt about whether the president’s foreign-policy team is able to provide him with the kind of intelligence he needs going into this meeting.

That brings me back to another point: questioning whether the president is able to accept, digest and accept the analysis that his team provides him.

I am backing off just a bit from my earlier declaration saying that Trump shouldn’t meet with Kim.

It’s just a bit.

Time to boast … just a little, or, maybe a lot

You know how much I love blogging full time. The picture above declares it.

You might not know for certain how much I love doing so when I smash, obliterate, pulverize previous records for page views and unique visitors.

It has happened in this month, which is about to conclude after just 28 days.

My daily record was smashed by a factor of more than four; my monthly total was wiped out by a roughly 50-percent cushion; I’m on track to smash another annual record for page views/unique visitors.

What in the world drove this month’s huge traffic? I posted an item the other day that called attention to Empower Texans, a far-right political action group that has been trashing West Texas lawmakers with bogus charges and outright lies.

Empower Texans: It’s hitting the fan

That one got someone’s attention. It has been distributed far and wide. The page view and visitor counts showed up on my Word Press analytic table — and simply blew me away as I watched the numbers explode.

This blog gives me great pleasure even during slow periods. When the traffic ratchets up to the level it has done in the past couple of days, well, that sends me into orbit.

For that I thank those who read this blog. I thank those who share these musings with their own friends and social media acquaintances. I also want to thank those who comment on the blog posts — even when they disagree with my words of, um, wisdom.

Oh, how time flies for this blogger

Nine years ago today I introduced myself to those who follow blogs.

It was Feb. 13, 2009 when I posted my first blog item. My intention was to give readers a chance to know just a little about yours truly.

The blog actually appeared on the Amarillo Globe-News’s web site at first. I transferred it to High Plains Blogger after I left the Globe-News in August 2012.

Here is what I wrote then:

Introducing me, John Kanelis

I intended the blog then to focus mostly on local matters, as I was writing for the local newspaper and the posts were pertinent to issues the paper was covering at the time.

It didn’t stay that way. I left the paper and then started commenting on a whole array of issues far beyond Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle.

I invited comment and community discussion then. I still do today.

My entry into the blogosphere produced a fairly paltry response. I am not too proud to acknowledge that the increase in page views has been slow, steady slog. It’s a lot greater today than it was in 2009. It’s not sufficient to satisfy me. For that matter, I am convinced that I’ll never be totally satisfied with the volume of page views and unique visitors this blog attracts.

Hey, I’m like the salesman who earns a living based on the sales he produces. It’s never enough, right?

I just felt compelled to look back briefly at the beginning of my blogging experience. I was doing it for my employer then. Now that I am no longer employed, my current blog posts are more pure. I am able to speak with greater clarity about my own world view.

It still is more fun than I deserve.

But, shoot, man! I won’t apologize for it.

Time has this way of flying by

It wasn’t so long ago that I would snicker and tease my friends who were young parents.

“Oh, my baby is just growing up so fast. It seems like yesterday that he (or she) was born,” they would say. I’d ask: “And how old is your baby now?” The answer: “Oh, my baby is turning a year old.”

My response often would be something like this: “Talk to me in 20 or 30 years and then we can discuss how ‘time flies.'”

That was then. I noted nearly four years ago about how our precious granddaughter was getting ready to celebrate her first birthday.

First birthdays are the most important

Emma Nicole is about to turn — and I am gulping as I type these couple of words — 5 years of age.

These days I no longer snicker at my young-parent friends. I feel their angst, their anxiety, at times their frustration.

Time is scampering away from us. I remember the day Emma came into our lives quite vividly, just as I remember when our sons arrived, too; that was more than four decades ago.

You’ve read on this blog how much we have enjoyed grandparenthood, even though Emma lives some distance from us — for the time being. We’re in the process of shortening that distance dramatically. We hope that day arrives much sooner rather than later.

As we move along with the rest of our life together, my wife and I are preparing for the next big challenge. It will be likely our final relocation. Then we’ll be able to enjoy the full fruits of grandparenthood.

Oh, brother. The time does have this habit of getting away from us.

So many ways to get sucked into social media war

I am going to declare this for all the world to hear.

Never will I allow myself to get into a Twitter War with anyone! Never! It won’t happen.

Yes, I am involved with social media. I have a Facebook account with more than 725 “friends” and acquaintances on the social medium. I have gotten into a snit or two with some of my “friends” who have unfriended me along the way. I got into another argument with someone with whom I got disconnected; I am unsure how that happened. Whatever.

I keep reading about individuals waging a “Twitter War” with someone. Or with some group.

I am moved to ask: Who declares victory? Is it the party who calls it quits first? How long does one wage such a “war”?

You know perhaps that I don’t like engaging in Facebook Wars, either. I see too many of these exchanges go on seemingly until the proverbial cows come home. They do get personal and nasty.

I feel quite badly that some of these exchanges over Facebook occur as a result of High Plains Blogger posts I share via that medium. Some of my actual friends will read something, they’ll comment on it and then they launch a fusillade of responses. Some of them are favorable to the person who posts the original response; others of them are, well, unfavorable.

The war commences.

I won’t go there. I don’t have the stomach of any kind of social media warfare. Hey, I’ve seen the real thing, I mean, actual warfare where people shoot guns and drop bombs on each other.

When people go to “war” via social media, well, they can count me out. Either they have too much time on their hands, or I am too preoccupied with writing this blog.

Off like a rocket in new year

I read once that bloggers usually don’t go wrong if they blog about their, uh, blogs.

That’s what I am about to do.

The first month of the new year is about to go into the books and I am happy — and proud — to say that I am on pace for a record year for page views and unique visitors.

High Plains Blogger set the record in 2017 for both categories. The new year is off to a rip-roarin’ start.

I am grateful beyond measure for that.

How do I plan to keep the momentum moving forward? I’ll do more of the same thing I did in 2017.

I’ll acknowledge the obvious. I had help from the man who took office as president of the United States one year and 11 days ago. Donald John Trump Sr. has kept me in the chips with grist about which I could comment.

So, with that I extend a word of thanks to the president. Thank you, Mr. President, for the service you’ve provided to High Plains Blogger.

There have been other factors, too. Amarillo business and civic leaders have helped move this city forward. I’ve enjoyed following the events relating to downtown revival and have been an avid supporter of the efforts to breathe new life into what had been a moribund city center.

So, we’ll proceed apace with commentary on politics, policy and life experience. Let’s keep enjoying the ride together.

Blog continues to provide therapy

Readers of High Plains Blogger know that I have taken a dim view of Donald John “Braggart in Chief” Trump’s penchant for boasting.

Thus, I’m going to beg your forgiveness for a brief moment.

I want to boast a bit myself.

This blog set an annual record for page views and visitors in 2017. During the year the blog set a monthly record as well, while during month posting a best-ever daily average.

How, then, is High Plains Blogger doing as the first month of 2018 draws to a close? Pretty darn well.

There’s a chance the blog will finish the month with its second-best performance. I’ll take that as a victory.

High Plains Blogger will continue to offer its blend of commentary on public policy, current events and life experience — even after my wife, Toby the Puppy and I relocate to an undetermined place in North Texas.

I’m still wrestling with whether I should change the blog’s name. It no longer will originate from the High Plains of Texas. I am proud, though, that High Plains Blogger’s name has developed a recognizable brand.

If I change its name, you’ll be the first to know.

But writing this blog provides me with a sort of therapy. I spent an entire career stringing sentences together. Much of that time involved writing opinion pieces, whether editorials on behalf of the newspapers where I worked — in Oregon and Texas — or in columns that ran under my own name.

Thus, High Plains Blogger helps keep my head in the game.

Make no mistake, there remains plenty of issues on which to chew.

Life is just so good. As the saying goes: If I were doing any better … I’d be twins.