Tag Archives: blogging

Will stay at it … for the duration

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Walking through the ‘hood this morning with my wife and Toby the Puppy, I made a declaration that I want to share here.

It was simply this: I do not miss going to work every day, meaning that I enjoy this retired life. And I also intend to keep working part-time on my two reporting gigs for as long as I am able.

I need to lay down an important marker: The length of my reporting gig well might not be totally in my control. I do work for someone else in both instances. They might decide down the road that they no longer need my meager writing and reporting skills. If they bid me adieu, well, that’s the way it’ll have to be.

However, I am getting no indication that will occur. At least not today or perhaps even next week.

That all said, I have learned quite a bit about myself as I have trudged into this world of being a Retired Guy. I hated the way my working life came to an end. I have ditched the anger and have embraced fully the life into which I was thrust.

I have learned that I simply enjoy stringing sentences together. I write my blog daily (which I am doing at this very moment). I also write for a weekly newspaper, the Farmersville Times, which circulates in the community that sits just seven miles east of us in Collin County, Texas. And then there’s the blog I write for KETR-FM, the public radio station affiliated with Texas A&M University-Commerce.

I just cannot stop writing. Nor can I stop meeting people and learning about the communities where my wife and I frequent these days. Indeed, my wife recognizes that in me and she acknowledged that desire when I declared my intention to keep writing for the duration. “It’s what you do,” she said.

So, with that I hope to keep doing it until I no longer am able.

More critics, please

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I don’t get nearly enough feedback from critics of this blog.

Yes, I enjoy the affirmation I get from those happen to agree with the points of view High Plains Blogger expresses. I don’t want that to end.

However, I do want more critics to see these blog posts, to share them with their friends and associates in social media land, and to respond to me with constructive criticism.

One such critic lauded me for the way I express myself but then said it would be “boring” to hear only from those who agree with me. He is right. Indeed, I once commented on that very subject back when I was writing columns and editorials for the Amarillo Globe-News.

My comment, as I recall it, came in response from a reader in Perryton who chided me for my “liberal” views. I responded in a column that I sought to offer a dissenting view to the readers of the solidly Republican Texas Panhandle. I reminded this fellow that it, indeed, would be boring to receive only affirming comments.

I continue to enjoy writing this blog. It gives me energy. It keeps me engaged in some of the things that required me to stay alert, given that I once got paid to comment on issues of the day. These days I do all this commentary on my own. It’s a labor of love … you know?

My social media acquaintance makes an excellent point, though, about those who comment on my musings/spewage. He weighs in regularly. I appreciate his comments.

I appreciate them so much I want more criticism … as long as it’s constructive.

Blog hits milestone

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This blog post represents a milestone for High Plains Blogger.

The moment I post this item it will mark the 700th consecutive day of blog commentaries from this platform.

I consider that a pretty big deal. So I thought I would pontificate briefly about what it means to me.

It means, simply, that I have been faithful to my boast that I although I cannot claim to be be an expert on anything, I have a lot to say about … oh, everything.

Some of my friends have called me “prolific.” I accept that description. I actually welcome it. I get that some posts sometimes do not measure up to what I would like to consider a high standard; perhaps this blog item qualifies as that kind of post.

The blog has kept me in “the game,” so to speak, since my daily journalism career came to a halt nearly nine years ago. I also have been able to write blogs for a public TV station, a network affiliate TV station, a public radio station and for the past couple of years a North Texas weekly newspaper.

So, while my daily print career crashed and burned, I have been able to keep my juices flowing through this blog and other media platforms.

Seven hundred consecutive days is a fairly big deal, the way I see it.

I now will try to add another 700 consecutive days, after which I intend to really brag.

Memoir in the works

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The question comes with surprising frequency when I tell folks what I did for a living for nearly four decades.

It goes something like this: Are you going to write a book about it?

My answer is usually the same: Well … not exactly. However, I am renewing a commitment I made some years ago not long after my career in daily print journalism came to a sudden halt, which is that I am going to finish a memoir I intend to write for my sons and any other family members who are interested in reading it.

You see, my career enabled me as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers in Oregon and Texas to do many things not available to other human beings. It also allowed me to cross paths with people I admired and, yes, loathed from afar.

I was able to meet a future president of the United States, a former POTUS, someone who was running for the high office. I flew over an erupting volcano, I endured a landing and takeoff from a nuclear powered aircraft carrier. I stood in the presence of one of the 20th century’s most iconic political figure.

My wife has been nudging me to finish what I have started. Yes, I got started some time back on this memoir. I have let the effort lapse, much to my dismay.

Then we met recently with one of my oldest and dearest friends. He, too, likes to write and has paid marvelous tributes to his late wife. My friend encouraged me with affirmation that the highlights of my career are worth sharing with my sons.

It’s a project that needs finishing. My only “problem,” if you want to call it that, is that I am not sure I ever will be able to finish it, to tie a bow around it and present it. Why? I keep recalling individuals and occurrences that filled me with so much joy.

But … the work will commence.

Happy Trails, Part 192: Relief from hassles

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

LOST HILLS, Calif. — It occurs to me that the more time I spend in our RV traveling the nation’s highways the less time I spend thinking — let alone commenting on — about the issues of the day.

This retirement journey of ours has taken us from coast to coast to coast across this vast nation; we have seen about half of Canada as well. We have put tens of thousands of miles on two RVs and on our pickup we have named Big Jake.

And all along the way I find myself thinking less and less about the bad and the good of government policy, of the politics that drive and the individuals — aka the idiots — who make the pertinent decisions.

It’s restful emotionally if not always physically.

What happens then, when we return from trips to hither and yon? I feel more energized when we settle back into our permanent home, the one attached to the good Earth.

At the moment, though, I am fixated mostly on how to find our way to our next destination and to those beyond. We’re going to see family and friends and we also intend to explore and gawk at nation’s splendor in the western half of the United States of America.

The blog commentary on the comings and goings of those in public life will take a bit of a breather.

But I don’t intend to surrender the opportunity to comment on issues when they present themselves.

It’s just that our retirement journey tends to pull my attention away from the people and policies that used to occupy so much of my waking moments back when I worked for a living.

Calling all comments

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

As many of you know already, I love to write this blog. It gives me great relief, allowing me to vent on this and that, to provide my admittedly biased perspective on world events and news of the day.

However, it does provide me with a frustration. Really, it’s just one for now.

I post these items on WordPress, a platform designed for this kind of cyber activity. I also distribute it along several social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Each blog entry on WordPress contains a tab that allows readers to offer comment.

My frustration? So few readers of this blog actually take a moment to comment. One gentleman comments regularly. That’s it! No one else weighs in. Well, mostly no one.

High Plains Blogger, I am proud to declare, is read around the world. The vast majority of visitors to the blog, of course, reside in the United States. But a healthy minority of them also reside in Ireland, in Ghana, Australia, Germany.

It reaches tens of thousands of people each year. I enjoy the worldwide impact this blog might be having; I cannot confirm any impact, because I cannot be sure whose blood might be boiling or who might want to offer me an atta boy.

Occasionally I hear from a critic. They weigh in, offer a comment or two telling me I’m a dumbass. I usually respond to them, often with a touch of snark. Hey, it goes with the territory.

This blog post seeks to solicit more comments. I want there to be some honest discussion. Moreover, be advised that I never have rejected a comment because it disagrees with the brilliant observation I offer.

The invitation is out there.

On a roll that keeps on rolling

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Hey, everyone! I’m on a roll.

A while ago I posted an item on this blog about my approaching 600 consecutive days of posting. Well, I am now at 618 consecutive days … and counting.

I won’t go on and on about this feat. I just want to boast a bit that my volume isn’t abating. Not one bit.

The truth is I am blessed with a phenomenon that bloggers and other commentators occasionally find most rewarding. It is that I have a wealth of topics on which to comment. The cool aspect — one of the many such aspects — of running my own blog is that I work for no one but myself. That means the universe is open to me. So I get to write about it.

I admit that I don’t hit home runs every trip to the plate. I whiff on occasion. Hell, I might be whiffing with this brief comment.

But that’s OK. I am able to keep my streak alive for as long as I can.

Technical difficulties at times nearly get in the way of maintaining this consecutive streak. I had a close call just a few weeks ago. High Plains Blogger’s consecutive streak stayed alive.

So, with that I’ll keep on going. Thanks in advance for reading. You are most welcome to share this spewage whenever the spirit moves you to do so.

Blogging is just so much fun

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I once thought that the terror attacks on 9/11 broke open a dam for opinion writers. I went through a lengthy spell while writing opinions for a daily newspaper that I had to confront more topics that I could comment on each day.

My task after 9/11 became difficult: I had to decide what I could set aside for another day.

I left daily journalism more than eight years ago. I now am a full-time blogger. I am relearning now that the Donald Trump Era of American politics has given me a new surge in subjects on which I can comment.

Soon, though, the Trump Era will come to a merciful end. I am hopeful for a new day in American politics. President Joe Biden promises to restore our national soul. I hope he does. Our soul is in dire need of restoration.

If he does, then I hope that the trove of topics on which to comment will remain full. I am going to use this blog to offer all manner of opinion on issues of the day.

It gives me reason to keep on blogging.

Blogging expands one’s audience

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Every now and then someone asks me this question about High Plains Blogger: How can you put these views out there living as you do in the middle of Trump Country?

OK, the question is paraphrased, but the message I get is the same. Someone such as me who tilts to the left must be nuts writing while sitting in a home built in the middle of a neighborhood full of Donald Trump fans.

Well, that leads me to tell the questioner that my blog goes far beyond the folks who live on our Collin County, Texas, street.

I am able to check the worldwide reach of this blog. At last count, I has been read by folks in more than 100 nations around the world. I recently had a first-time reader look at the blog in Moldova. So, I hope the Moldovan reader shares the blog with his or her neighbors.

This is one of the cooler aspects of writing this blog. The vast majority of page views and visitors to the blog reside in the United States. Ireland provides the second-most number; it’s a distant second, to be sure, but those Irish are reading the blog.

The scope of cyberspace gives folks like me to express my views openly, candidly and freely. There once was a time when I worked full-time for newspapers when I had to dial back my own bias and write editorials that spoke for the newspaper. I worked for conservative publications in Oregon and in Texas. So, while I was able to express my own views somewhat freely in my signed columns, the editorials I wrote were another matter altogether.

Those days are behind me now. I am writing this blog totally unencumbered by corporate considerations. It’s all mine. It also enables me to speak far beyond my neighborhood or even far beyond the borders of the state where my family and I have lived for the past 36 years.

Our planet is big — and small — all at once.

Duty overtakes blogging

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

For those of you who might be waiting for a full-scale, full-throated, front-on return of this blog, I am making an announcement.

It will return in full and frequent force just as soon as I clean up our house.

You see, household duty has pulled High Plains Blogger away from the usual frequent fare of commentary on this and that. I have climbing up and down ladders, step ladders and step stools for the past few days as we paint the interior of our home.

We just completed the first phase. We’re going to take break, collect our thoughts and decide what color we want to plaster on the remainder of our walls.

Now I get to return to something I love doing, which is offering commentary on issues of the day.

Hmm. Let’s see. I think we have a few topics to discuss.