Tag Archives: High Plains Blogger

About to set a blogging record

I am going to boast for a moment or two about this blog. Forgive me if I sound a bit self-serving.

Probably in the next 24 hours or so High Plains Blogger is going to set a record for page views and unique visitors for a single calendar year. What makes this bit of news boast worthy is that we still have two months left in this calendar year.

2019 will turn into 2020 soon. By the time it does, this blog will have shattered to smithereens the record it posted in 2018, which beat the mark it set in 2017, which was greater than the readership it had in 2016.

That’s the good news.

The not-so-good news (I refuse to call it “bad) is that I will have set the bar extremely high for the next record to be broken by the time 2021 rolls around.

My hope is that 2020 proves to be a banner year, too, for High Plains Blogger. I enjoy writing it. I thoroughly enjoy being able to spend the time that full-time retirement allows me to spend.

I am likely to have just a tiny bit less time over the next year. I have taken on a freelance writing gig for a local newspaper group. I will continue to write for KETR-FM, the public radio station based at Texas A&M University-Commerce.

My interest in maintaining my personal blog remains high.

I had two stupendous months earlier this year, in January and again in March, that enabled me to set this record. I cannot predict what events will transpire during the remainder of this year or next year that might send blog traffic through the roof.

I’m just proud of the record I am about set. I am hoping to maintain interest in this blog.

What’s left now is merely to offer a word of thanks to those who read these words and those who find them worth sharing with their own social media network of friends and acquaintances.

As for what’s ahead, well … let me at ’em.

Why comment on Amarillo matters? Here’s why

I got an interesting response to a comment I published on this blog about Hodgetown, the ballpark where the Amarillo Sod Poodles play baseball.

It goes like this: ” … how can someone who hasn’t even been to a game or live in Amarillo anymore comment on what benefit it will have for the city?”

Hey, it’s a fair question. I’ll answer it.

I lived in Amarillo for 23 years. I am about to turn 70 years of age. I have worked full time as a journalist in three communities: one in Oregon and two in Texas. Of the three cities where I have lived and worked, I spent most of my time in Amarillo.

I had a home built from the ground up in Amarillo. My wife and I sank our roots deeply into the Caprock during my time there. We still have plenty of friends who live there, along with one of our sons.

I have a keen interest in Amarillo and its development. Yes, it is true that I now live in Collin County, but I believe I retain some institutional knowledge of the city I have departed.

My view of Hodgetown, the Sod Poodles’ home field, is that the ballpark will become a community icon over time. Fans will continue to flock to the ballpark to watch the Sod Poodles. Indeed, I also believe Panhandle residents will be more than happy to attend other community events that will occur inside the walls of the $40 million structure.

My support for the ballpark has been unwavering. I admit to having a doubt or two about the baseball team actually coming to Amarillo, given the turmoil that roiled the City Council for a time after the 2015 municipal election. The team, though, made the move from San Antonio.

Will I keep commenting on the Sod Poodles and on matter relating to Amarillo’s progress? Damn right I will.

My affection for Amarillo runs too deeply for me to turn my back on the city I called home for all those years.

How long will Trump criticism last? For as long as it takes!

Critics of this blog ask me from time to time: How much more criticism of Donald Trump must we endure from you?

My answer: I will keep it up for as long as this man is in public office. It might even go on after he no longer is president, depending on how loudly he might continue to bitch and moan about the state of play.

I make no apologies for my intense loathing of the notion that Donald Trump got elected president of the United States. It is visceral. It’s personal. It has little to do with policy, given that Donald Trump doesn’t have any core values on which he bases his policy pronouncements.

I’ve offered a good word or two on occasion; come to think of it, I believe that’s all he has earned from High Plains Blogger … a good word or two.

I intend fully to keep hammering away at this individual.

It’s not as if he sees the comments regularly. I doubt he does. He’s got a zillion Twitter followers; I have, shall we say, significantly fewer of them. I do include the president’s Twitter address on items that I post on this blog and distribute through that social medium.

So, I am trying to get Trump’s attention.

Trump won the 2016 election and thus made himself a sitting duck for critics. It goes with the territory associated with being elected to the highest office in the land. Every single man who’s held the office has accepted that fundamental truth … until Trump came along.

Sure, the president has his supporters. They are entitled to express themselves, too.

As for me and the negativity about Trump that this blog presents, I just consider myself as contributing to the vast marketplace of ideas and opinions about the world’s most important politician.

Technical issues create maximum frustration

There are times when I feel as if I’m speaking Martian, or times when the other person is speaking to me in Martian.

Technical difficulties occasionally get in the way of all the fun I have writing this blog.

They barreled into my fun time this morning. I don’t know if they’re fixed. At the moment the site that I use to write this blog is working. My most recent post has been distributed along the various social media I use to publicize these musings. Life is good … for the moment.

The frustration occurs when I call for technical support. I use an Internet hosting company. I’ll call them when things like this occur. I usually get a very young person on the other end of the line. I tell the youngster about the issue that’s plaguing me at the moment. He or she will respond with a rapid-fire sequence of sentences that usually involve lots of initials and acronyms.

I have more than once stopped the individual and reminded them that I am old man who isn’t fluent in the language they are speaking. I haven’t yet grasped all the nuances of Internet-speak.

Those who are kind will tell me that I have communicated my concern to them clearly. They say I can speak to them in their language better than I think I can. That’s all fine. I understand what customer service is all about: Their mission is to make me feel comfortable making a phone call.

Arguably the most astonishing aspect of this computer age is the vast array of entry points the “techs” can use to access this and/or that “tool” available to me. I don’t know where these access points can be found, so I rely on the experts to wander through the maze of options that only they know exist.

Blogging remains a lot of fun for me … when the computer system I use is working well. Which is most of the time.

When it’s not, well, I venture into a world with which I am totally unfamiliar. Maybe I will learn how to navigate through the darkness.

Or … maybe not.

Happy Trails, Part 165: RV becomes interchangeable

Our fellow retirees perhaps have fielded the same question that we get on occasion: How do you like traveling in a recreational vehicle?

My wife has come up with the perfect answer: It becomes whatever we want it to be. She then will explain how our fifth wheel becomes our “home” by the lake, or in the mountains, or on the beach. It’s interchangeable. It becomes wherever our travels take us.

When we lived in Amarillo, we had many friends who would talk of spending weekends at their “mountain cabin.” They drive off to Angel Fire, or Red River, or Taos, or Santa Fe. During our years in Beaumont, our friends would love to escape for a weekend at Crystal Beach, or Bolivar Peninsula.

Now that we are foot loose and able to do what we want, when we want we are able to enjoy the unique ambience that all those places bring.

It’s easy to do. We just hook up our fifth wheel to the hitch in the pickup we named Big Jake, grab a few groceries and a few changes of clothes … and then we hit the road.

RV travel has its assorted challenges, to be sure. You can guess what they present: mechanical issues, inclement weather, traffic delays … all those sorts of things. We deal with them as they present themselves.

It also brings much joy and relaxation.

Among the matters that bring smiles to our faces is the knowledge that we can enjoy the vast variety of nature’s splendor that awaits us as we travel along the open road.

Watching the name-calling … oh, my

I am having another one of those blogger’s out-of-body experiences.

I posted an item about Robert Mueller, Donald Trump and the report the former special counsel filed about his lengthy probe into alleged “collusion” with Russians who attacked our election in 2016.

Two readers of the blog responded. They are lefties. A rightie responded to one of them. One of the lefties responded to the rightie.

One of the respondents started bastardizing one of other’s names. Then came the profanities. They started using foul language in describing each others’ intelligence.

Me? I’m staying out of it. Not my fight.

The arguments stayed (more or less) on topic, although not entirely.

I guess this is my way of wishing these respondents would cease the personal attacks on each other. None of that furthers anyone’s argument. They end up talking past each other.

I might be spitting into the wind on this one.

A lot of folks take rebuttals quite personally. In the exchange that has been occurring over the past couple of days, I totally understand how either side can take offense at what the other guy is telling them.

Witnessing all of this as if I’m sitting in the peanut gallery just fills me with resolve to try like the dickens to stay civil with those who criticize my musings.

So … the beat goes on.

Waiting for the ‘perfect headline’ to present itself

I won’t belabor this topic, but it deserves a quick-hit mention anyway.

I am waiting for the chance to use several acronyms in the same headline. I am don’t yet know the circumstance will present itself, but I’m going to look for it.

They are: POTUS, VPOTUS, SCOTUS and FLOTUS, referencing the president, vice president, U.S. Supreme Court and first lady.

I use them individually whenever I write about them on High Plains Blogger. I’ve even written a headline a few times that contains two of them. Three is a stretch. Four seems impossible.

But bear with me. I’m on the hunt. Patience is the key.

What can Trump do to win me over? Try this

A critic of High Plains Blogger blistered a recent post with a comment in which he challenged me on Donald Trump’s performance as president of the United States.

I do not know this gentleman, but I am glad to hear from him, even as he skewers me from time to time. His comment ended this way:

I also get that your hatred for President Trump so clouds your views that there can be nothing the President does that will be a positive for this country. Nothing except resign. Am I wrong?

I replied to him directly on the blog, but I want to share some additional views here.

I wrote in a subsequent post that my opposition to Donald Trump is visceral and deeply personal. He is unfit for the office he holds.

However, there are plenty of things the president could do to win me over. Given his performance to date and the campaign that resulted in his bizarre 2016 election victory, he isn’t likely to do a single thing to make a fan out of me.

What would he have to do? He would need to fundamentally change his view of government. Trump would have to exhibit in full view what I call an “authentic” sense of compassion, empathy and understanding of the plight of those who weren’t given the privileges he received upon being born into a family of considerable means. He would have to exhibit a sense of humility and actually admit when he makes a mistake.

Is the president beyond all that? Well, you can be the judge of that. I am quite certain a 72-year-old man whose sole mission in life prior to becoming a politician was aimed at self-enrichment, who never has demonstrated a commitment to public service will never change.

Are my views “clouded” by bias against Donald Trump, as my critic has suggested?

You bet they are! Here’s the thing, though … he has earned my scorn.

***

You can read the post that elicited the comment and you can see the gentleman’s full response here:

So, just who is the politician who ‘hates’ America?

Trump has become the cause for serious depression

Donald Trump causes depression. I believe it might be a clinical depression at that.

Here I sit in Flyover Country, Collin County in Texas, a place where Trump still stands tall. I write this blog full time in my retirement years. I spend a lot of time cogitating over what to write, offering commentary on this and that public policy and those who make those policies.

The president’s latest Twitter tirade/torrent/tempest has taken aim at four members of Congress who have been critical of Trump and his policies. He has gone after them with racist rants.

It’s depressing, man. I find myself looking for positive elements.

The Amarillo Sod Poodles, the minor-league baseball team that now plays in the city where I used to live, is one option. I take joy in reading about the big crowds they’re drawing and that ballpark that graces the downtown district.

So, too, is the ongoing renovation of that city’s downtown business/entertainment district.

I like commenting on adventures with out 5-year-old pooch, Toby the Puppy.

I relish talking to you about retirement, travel and spending time with our precious granddaughter, Emma.

High Plains Blogger, though, is built largely around the discussion of public policy and the politics that drive it. I make no apologies for my bias. I know I have it, although my bias is no more pronounced than anyone else’s bias.

My commentary on the president, however, is getting me down. As in down in the dumps. I don’t like feeling this way. I don’t like the feeling of hopelessness that at times creeps into my skull when I think of this guy, which — I regret to acknowledge — is quite often … perhaps too often.

I’ll have to get over it. I’ll work through it.

If only Donald John Trump would stop providing all that grist that gets me down.

Writing a blog produces occasional out-of-body experiences

Have you ever had an out-of-body experience? Or even what you believe an actual such event would feel like?

I get ’em on occasion writing this blog. I’ve been doing this since 2010, fulltime since 2012.

Here’s what happens: I write something on High Plains Blogger and then publish it. I post these items on various social media, including Facebook. Someone comments on it. The initial comment usually is negative. Then someone responds — not to the blog, but to the initial responder. Then Responder No. 1 fires back at the antagonist; Responder No. 2 shoots back.

Then it starts. Back and forth they go. Occasionally, someone else chimes in. Then perhaps a fourth, or fifth individual who happens to be part of my Facebook “friend” network will read these exchanges and decide to weigh in as well.

Oh, boy. Sometimes it gets nasty. As in real personal. There’s a bit of name-calling at times.

I think once or twice I have sought to intervene, usually via “private message” on whatever social medium I’m monitoring. I might tell one of the parties to cool it. Usually, though, I let it ride. I let the combatants have their say.

Eventually one of them gives up. Not surrender, actually. Just decides he or she has had enough of the other person.

Why mention this at all? It’s my way of acknowledging the deep divide that separates individuals or groups of individuals. There’s little I can do about it, short of not posting items that rile folks up. I can’t go there. I have this insatiable need to provide commentary that is sure to invoke the kind of out-of-body experiences I feel on occasion.

I can’t help myself.

For that I apologize. However, I’ll keep on going.