Tag Archives: High Plains Blogger

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.

Frustration mounts, then subsides with this blogging business

I get along mostly just fine with this blogging technology I am learning how to navigate.

Until things happen such as what occurred this evening.

I was sailing along, pontificating about this and/or that. Then I posted an item about Donald Trump’s plan to stage a military parade on July 4. I don’t like the idea and said so. Except that my post didn’t see daylight.

Why? Because the Word Press platform on which I post these blogs failed to function properly. I lost my ability to “publicize” my entries.

I was so mad I could spit.

I called the hosting company I use to manage my blog “domain.” A young man walked me through the process of “restoring” my blog. I hedged, balked and said I’d call him back.

Then I turned to another expert, a young man with whom I am quite close: my son. He was busy at home and said he’d call back.

I then called the tech support outfit back, got another young man on the phone, told him my problem, he troubleshot it, then fixed it.

One little problem. All the text I had posted over the past 24 hours was wiped out. Gone. Pfftt. Vaporized.

I won’t repost this stuff that I lost. I’m just using this little episode to express my frustration and my gratitude for getting my blog back up and running.

Yes, I do love writing this blog. The technology is great … when it works properly. When it doesn’t it, um, is a pain in the posterior.

I’m marching on.

Loving the blog, but not so much the back and forth

I’ve told you already how much I love writing this blog. It gives me a release for pent-up frustrations, enables me to say something good about people when they deserve it and it serves to help me maintain whatever skill I have in stringing sentences together.

Writing for this blog does produce some moments of frustration. I want to share one with you.

I have my share of critics out there in Blog Reader Land. I don’t mind that in the least. In fact some of them keep me humble, honest and I hope sharp.

Given that I distribute High Plains Blogger on a number of social media platforms, I hear from critics who challenge me with questions. If I am tough on Donald Trump, they want to know why I don’t recognize the sins of those on the other side of a given political divide.

I choose not to answer those critics. Why? Because their minds are made up. As is my mind … on most occasions and matters.

A couple of critics have challenged my reticence on social media. They don’t appreciate my silence when they take me to task. One critic once said that I don’t respond to those who disagree with me. I have actually gone back and forth with some of those who disagree with my world view. They are actual friends, not Facebook “friends,” of which I have quite a few — and a few of whom often challenge my spewage on this blog.

One fellow believes I also fail to correct misstatements on my blog; he calls them “lies,” apparently believing I make these misstatements knowing they are false. He manages occasionally to state what he believes is the truth, so I let that stand as the correction.

I choose to avoid the give and take, the back and forth and the attempts at getting the last word because I know it’s futile. I won’t change their minds. They won’t change mine.

As I have noted before, I prefer just to put this stuff out there. I let my assertions stand on their own and then let others argue among themselves over their validity.

But … I so love writing this blog.

Legislators don’t need a full-time salary

Blogger’s Note: This post was published originally on KETR-FM’s website — www.ketr.org. Your blogger wanted to share it here as well.

I actually have wrestled with this issue on occasion, but I cannot shake my belief in my original thought about it.

What is the issue? Whether to pay Texas legislators a working salary to serve in the state Senate and the House of Representatives. I kind of get the argument in favor of paying them a salary on which they could live.

I keep coming back to the idea that I really like the idea of a “citizen Legislature.”

So, let’s leave the salary issue alone.

The 86th Legislative Assembly has adjourned sine die. It completed its 140-day cycle and, near as I can tell, Gov. Greg Abbott won’t summon them back for a special session this summer.

That’s fine with me. Our legislators can get back to work on their day jobs.

Texans pay their legislators a whopping $600 per month, who also get an expense allotment of $190 per day when the Legislature is in session. That amounts to around $33,900 when the Legislature is in session, and about $41,000 for a two-year term for a member of the Texas House of Representatives.

Is that enough for someone to live on? Of course not! But that isn’t the point.

The Texas Constitution ostensibly allows for regular folks to take a break every odd-numbered year for about five months to write laws, to argue among themselves and to persuade each other to support their legislation.

When they’re done, they go home and resume whatever it is they do when they aren’t in Austin.

The Legislature also appropriates money for staff, some of whom serve between legislative sessions. When the Legislature is in session, House members and senators hire additional staff to handle the deluge of business that occurs from January to May every odd-numbered year.

I like the principle of a citizen Legislature. It gives at least the appearance that our elected lawmakers have an understanding, a kinship, with the people they represent. They are bound to return home and under the strictures of the laws they enact.

I am acutely aware, too, that often the chintzy salaries we pay our legislators might shut out actual working men and women from serving. It costs a lot of money to give up one’s day job to head to Austin for five months every other year. That means those elected to the House and Senate might be, oh, lawyers or physicians who have the financial means to serve in the Legislature.

What’s more, the lieutenant governor who presides over the Senate and the speaker who presides over the House also receive essentially the same salary as the legislators they manage in either legislative chamber. Plus, the lieutenant governor and House speaker essentially hold down full-time legislative jobs.

My version of reality tells me the state system of paying legislators a chump-change salary works well for the state.

As the saying goes, If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Besides, even if it is broke, paying legislators more money isn’t likely to be sufficient to repair what needs fixing.