Tag Archives: High Plains Blogger

‘Decency’ got lost amid the politics


This blog provokes its share of scolding from critics.

A scolding came in overnight that I want to share here. It comes from a High Plains Blogger critic who revealed something to me I should have known was there all along: Politics can blind people. It blinded me.

I wrote an earlier blog post suggesting that President Obama made the wrong call in declining to attend the funeral of Justice Antonin Scalia. I cited all kinds of “political” reasons for his decision. I looked past the obvious one.

Here’s part of what my critic noted:

“Could I add another reason or two to go? How about decency? How about respect for a high-ranking member of your government? How about to show support for the family and unity to the country in a time of loss? I guess all of those pale in comparison to the politics of it all.”

Well …

I suppose I could say that “None of us is perfect” and go on to the next topic. That would tend to lessen the sting of criticism. I won’t go there.

The individual’s comment goes on to suggest that the toxic atmosphere in Washington — and, indeed, all across the land — has tainted many people’s view of things.

I am no exception.


A mystery of life needs solving


Life is full of mysteries.

There are too many of them to list, but given that one of this blog’s stated missions is to discuss “life experience,” I am going to veer far, far away for a moment from politics, policy and the future of American jurisprudence in the wake of a Supreme Court justice’s death to discuss one of those mysteries.

Perhaps you’ve tuned in to one of cooking shows that tells you the secret of peeling an egg.

Here’s what just happened to me.

I boiled two eggs this morning for breakfast. I left both of ’em in the water for exactly the same length of time. I peeled the first egg and tore it ribbons. Half of the egg white stuck to the shell as I struggled to remove the shell.

Then I turned to the second one. The shell came off almost in a single piece. Slick is a whistle, man. No sweat.

I’ve never bought into this theories one hears from the likes of Racheal Ray or Martha Stewart about how to perform this simple, mindless task. Put salt in the water? Put cooking oil in it. Heat the water that’s already warm? Heat it when it’s cold? Mutter some ancient Native-American chant? Cross my eyes, stick out my tongue and stand on one leg?

These eggs came from the same carton. For all I know they might have come from the same damn chicken!

It’s a bloody mystery, I’m telling ya.

Whoever can solve this mystery — definitively! — is my candidate for a Nobel Prize of some kind. I’m willing to make up a category.




Down to just three jobs


This is another in an occasional series of blog posts commenting on upcoming retirement.

Four jobs have turned to just three.

More or less.

I worked my last shift today as a “regular” part-time employee of an Amarillo auto dealership where I’ve been working for more than two years.

No, I didn’t quit. I merely asked to work on an “as-needed basis.” Someone calls in sick? Or goes on vacation? Or gets stuck in the snow and ice? Call me. I’ll be available . . . maybe.

My availability will depend mostly on whether my wife and I are on the road tooling around the country towing our fifth wheel, or visiting with our granddaughter — and her parents and two brothers — in Allen, Texas.

This retirement status has been slow to take root. I’m continuing to have too much fun as a freelance blogger for two media outlets. I’m continuing to write news features for NewsChannel10.com, which is the website for KFDA-TV in Amarillo. I also am writing blogs for PanhandlePBS.com, offering perspective on public affairs programming. The third job involves editing news copy and proofreading pages for a weekly newspaper in Tucumcari, N.M.

I’m now officially a Social Security recipient, joining my wife, who decided to take “early retirement” a couple of years ago. Social Security says that at my age I am able to collect “full retirement benefits.”

But the idea of going to work two or three — or sometimes four — days a week became something that I found less appealing now that our household income took a dramatic boost once Social Security benefits began arriving.

I don’t intend to quit the auto dealer job entirely. However, as retirement inches closer, I am looking forward to spending a lot more time at home doing what I enjoy the most . . . which is to write.

And, oh yes. I also will keep pounding away from this platform.


Time to get back into the game


That was a nice break from the presidential political campaign.

It’s now over.

High Plains Blogger has been pretty quiet for the past few weeks on the goings-on related to the Democratic and Republican campaigns for the White House. The intent was to stay quiet during the Christmas holiday. I had given thought to maintaining the moratorium through New Years Day. I admit it: I can’t do it.

So, I’ll be getting back in the game.

* * *

The Iowa caucuses are coming up, followed quickly by the New Hampshire primary.

Donald J. Trump continues to lead the GOP pack, although for the life of me I remain baffled to the max as to what’s going on with Republican voters. I keep hearing and reading things about how Trump has changed the rules of the campaign. How he’s rewriting the playbook.

The more offensive he is toward his primary foes, the better it goes for the guy. I thought he was toast at the very beginning when he denigrated Sen. John McCain’s heroic service during the Vietnam War. Good grief, the list of insults has grown beyond my ability to remember them all.

But … by golly he remains at the top of the heap.

The Democrats? It’s still Hillary Clinton’s contest to lose (although I’ve never quite understood that phrase; I’ll just use it anyway, because it’s what pundits keep saying).

I’m going to be watching and waiting for Trump to say the one thing that sends his campaign into the crapper. It might not be a single utterance, though, that dooms his weird campaign. It might be an accumulation of things that will dawn on GOP primary voters when they finally get the chance to cast actual ballots.

They’ll need to ask: Is this the guy we really and truly want to nominate to become the 45th president of the United States of America?

If it’s going to be Trump, well, as Hillary Clinton herself as said: Fasten your seatbelts.



Thank you, readers, for joining this adventure

Blog concept in word tag cloud

I entered the blogosphere on Feb. 13, 2009, with this post:

“My name is John Kanelis and I am joining the world of bloggers.

 “What will this blog feature? That will depend on my mood and what I see as I go through my day, and travel through Amarillo and the Panhandle.
“My discussion topics will be mostly local, I predict, but not exclusively so. They’ll focus mostly on politics and policy. They’ll have an edge. They will invite comment and community discussion.
“I’ve been in daily journalism for 32 years. I’ve watched the media change during that entire time, but never at the pace it is changing now. Thus, this entry into the Age of Blogging is an exciting venture for me.
“With that, well, let’s talk.”
I was working full time as a print journalist for the Amarillo Globe-News, and the blog was written exclusively for that publication. My association with the newspaper ended abruptly in August 2012, but the blog has continued.
I want to thank those of you who’ve stuck with me over the years and hope you’ll stick around for as long as I continue to vent, rant, cajole, coax, praise, pound and offer a word or two of my brand of wisdom on this and/or that subject.
We’re heading toward the end of an eventual year and the next one is shaping up to make this one look like a walk in the park.
I intend to be there to watch it unfold.
As always, I hope you’ll feel free to share these musings with your own social media friends, acquaintances and assorted contacts as you see fit.
Thanks so much.
Stay tuned. There’s much more to come.


Looking forward to getting back into the game


This time off I’m taking from presidential political commentary on my blog has allowed me to look at some other things.

I’ve enjoyed the time away. I like commenting via Twitter on these political matters, but High Plains Blogger remains my main outlet for venting, ranting and raving.

High Plains Blogger will return in due course and I’m quite certain there’ll be plenty of fresh meat on which to chew.

Until then, I’ll keep my attention focused on lots of other issues.

Command decision: no-politics policy to be lifted …

trump and carson

… The day after Christmas.

I’ve made a call on the immediate future of High Plains Blogger. I can do that, because it’s my blog.

I had pondered whether to maintain the “no-politics zone” policy on the blog through the entire holiday season. I stated it publicly here. My hope initially was to keep presidential political commentary out of this blog through Christmas and through the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

I no longer can maintain my silence in this forum for that long.

We’ve only got 15 more days until Christmas. I believe I have the intestinal fortitude to keep presidential political commentary out of High Plains Blogger through Christmas.

After that? No can do.

There’s too much material out there. Too much low-hanging fruit. Too many fish in that barrel. Too many targets of opportunity. The environment is just too damn target-rich.

I won’t name names. You know who  I’m talking about.

For now, I’ll leave it at that.

I’ll keep offering brief commentary via Twitter, which feeds to my Facebook news feed.

High Plains Blogger, though, will remain a no-politics zone.

For now …


Moratorium is proving to be a severe test


I feel compelled to make an admission.

The self-imposed moratorium I have placed on High Plains Blogger is providing a stern test of internal fortitude.

I have vowed to steer away from presidential politics commentary at least through Christmas. So far I’ve been quite faithful, although I’ve strayed dangerously close to the line; some might accuse me of crossing it prematurely.

With all the chatter going on out there about, oh, Donald Trump’s assertion about cheering on 9/11, Chris Christie’s endorsement by the New Hampshire Union-Leader, Ted Cruz’s rise in public opinion polling, Ben Carson’s visit to the refugee camps in Jordan … why, I am having trouble keeping my fingers from typing something to say about any and all of it.

I’ll keep plugging away, though, at other topics. The world, I’m learning, is full of interesting developments that are occurring every hour of every day.

Yes, I might sway and swerve close to that line as we go plow ahead toward Christmas. But my intent is to retain High Plains Blogger’s status — with apologies to Bill O’Reilly — as a no-politics zone.

Wish me luck. Some good karma also would be appreciated.


Entering the ‘no politics zone,’ more or less


Bill O’Reilly is fond of telling viewers to his talk show on Fox News that they’re entering the “no spin zone.”

Well, of course he’s wrong. He spins the news to his point of view every single night.

That’s his right to do so.

Accordingly, High Plains Blogger is entering — if only for the holiday season — what I’ll call a “no politics zone.” I’ll be truthful, though, on this point: I might not be totally faithful to that pledge.

My plan is to stay away from the presidential campaign at least through Christmas. I will give it my best possible shot to stay away from it through New Year’s Day. I cannot guarantee success.

Where might I fall short on my no politics pledge? A candidate running for the highest office in the land just might say something so outrageous, so beyond the pale, so ridiculous that I might be compelled to comment.

I’ll resist that temptation with every fiber of my being. I can promise that.

However, this bears repeating because some of my social media contacts didn’t get it the first time I announced this hiatus from politics: I will continue to write snarky comments on my Twitter account, which then will be fed automatically to my Facebook account.

It’s High Plains Blogger that’s taking the break. Got it, y’all?

The blog will continue to provide commentary on issues of the day. There is quite a lot going on out there that has little — if anything — to do with raw politics. My intent is to keep my eyes and ears open.

I am just tired of the sniping, lying, demagoguery, fear-mongering, name-calling, reputation-impugning, mud-slinging and whatever other negative term you want to hang on the nature of this campaign.

I do not expect any of it to cease during the holiday season. I’m just planning at this moment to tune most of it out while I celebrate (a) Thanksgiving and (b) Christmas with my family.

The way I look at it now, a rest from most of that bad political behavior I going to allow me to rest up for when the real campaign gets going after the first of the year.

I’ll need some good karma, though, to help me resist the temptation to weigh in.

I’m asking for it here. My true intention really is to maintain a no politics zone.

Meantime, let’s all enjoy the season that’s upon us.




Time to suspend politics


The business card I have been handing out for some time now talks about High Plains Blogger’s intent, which is to comment on “politics, current events and life experience.”

Well, dear reader, I’ve made a command decision regarding this blog.

I am suspending the “politics” part of this blog’s mission effective on Thanksgiving Day. My intention is to stay out of the political dialogue through Christmas. Heck, I might be inclined to wait until New Year’s Day before re-entering the fray.

Why the change?

I am weary of the anger and the nonsense that’s coming out of the mouths of all the presidential candidates … in both major political parties. What’s more — and this is even more to the point — I am weary of the back-and-forth that has ensued, not just among the candidates but also among their legions of supporters and opponents.

I’ve at times entered the fray with my own commentary, only to be sniped at by those who disagree with me. I don’t mind the disagreement. I’ve merely had it up to here with the anger that such commentary — not just from me — has engendered in partisans on both side of the aisle.

So, High Plains Blogger is going to take a breather from all of that.

Will this blog comment on current events as they occur? Certainly. It will not, though, engage in the political discourse that emanates from those events. And by all means the blog will comment on life experience, both personal and of things the author — that would be me — observes on his journey.

Rest assured on this point: I am not giving up totally on politics cold turkey. I will continue to comment on politics through my Twitter and Facebook feeds.

I do not intend to use this blog as a forum to state my own political bias. The way I figure it, Twitter only gives me 140 characters to make a statement. That’s efficient and doesn’t require too much emotional energy on my part; plus, my tweets are posted automatically to my Facebook feed, so — pow! just like that — I’m able to perform a two-fer.

But I’m also thinking of scaling back significantly the political commentary on those two social media outlets. Nor am I going to argue any point.

So, those of you who spend a lot of time engaging others in political debate and name-calling on social media are welcome to knock yourselves out; I will not join you in that exercise in futility.

Here’s my final thought on all of this.

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for all that we have. I am grateful beyond measure for the many blessings in my life. Christmas? Well, that is the time we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. What more can I say about that?

In keeping with the Christmas spirit, I hereby refuse to be dragged into the emotional gutter by politicians whose mission is to distort the other guys’ world view.

Thanksgiving is almost here. High Plains Blogger will stay in the game for a little while longer.

After that? I’ll see you on the other side.