Tag Archives: blogging

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.

Allow this boast

I shouldn’t boast, given that I criticize Donald J. Trump for doing so.

Just bear with me for a moment.

I have just logged the 402nd consecutive day posting a blog on High Plains Blogger. I happen to believe that’s boast-worthy.

You might ask: Why?

It’s because I like to think I have a lot to say. It’s importance, of course, is open to interpretation. Much of my blog involves political and policy matters; less of it involves life experience, but I do consider that important, too. I also have series of posts on the blog: I talk about retirement and I also discuss adventures my wife and I have with Toby the Puppy; and I also look back from time to time on the full-time journalism career that concluded nearly eight years ago.

On that last point, my journalism endeavor hasn’t ended completely. I wrote for a public TV station in Amarillo for a time after leaving print journalism; I also wrote for a CBS-TV affiliate, also in Amarillo. Since moving to the Metroplex, I have become a freelance blogger for KETR-FM public radio at Texas A&M University-Commerce. And … I am a freelance reporter for a group of weekly newspapers, writing chiefly for the Farmersville Times.

Through it all, I have kept firing away on my blog. It’s what I do.

Some folks tell me I am a “prolific” blogger. I take that as a supreme compliment. I have help in that regard. The world is bursting with news on which to comment. It’s been that way since, oh, roughly about the time 9/11 occurred. That event changed the world and brought bloggers and other commentators like me along with it.

So, this blog continues apace. I am thrilled to be able to contribute some small perspective to the huge world of opinion.

Hey, it beats working!

Blog streak goes on and on

I feel like bragging for just a moment about this blog I write.

High Plains Blogger has posted musings for the past 357 days. That’s at least one per day for nearly a year.

Why is that worthy of a bit of braggadocio? I guess it’s just because I feel like bragging about it.

The blog once surpassed a year in the number of consecutive days in which a blog item had been posted. Then technical difficulties got in the way. I had to go a full day without posting a blog item while the hosting outfit I hired worked through the problem. They fixed it in short order and so I started a new streak.

I hear occasionally from friends of mine who say they “marvel” at the volume of items I post. Well, that comes from friends. My adversaries don’t offer that kind of comment. That’s OK. I get it.

I am blessed — or cursed, depending on how you might consider it — with an abundance of time. Retirement allows me to vent, to rant, to pontificate, to offer a perspective on this or that. And so … I do.

I am not into writing daily just to keep streaks alive. I have quite a bit to say on a number of topics. The president of the United States, quite clearly, occupies much of my time these days. I’ll stay on his a** for as long as it takes.

Meanwhile the streak goes on.

At times it becomes a game of ‘Can You Top This?’

You know already how I enjoy writing this blog.

It’s what I do. I enjoy getting told that I am a “prolific” blogger. Now and then, though, I have to stop and watch some of the reactions that come from those read my musings.

Those who like what I write respond to those who dislike my point of view. The reverse of that is true, too.

I have been watching a few readers of this blog go at each other hammer and tong.

Regrettably, though, these exchanges get personal. They get nasty. They become an insult contest. They also become a sort of a “Can You Top This” game, where one individual offers a smart-aleck retort to something that comes from some unknown adversary. I say “unknown” because quite often the antagonists are acquainted only through whatever social medium they see this blog; Facebook is the most common platform I use to distribute my blogging spewage.

Back and forth they go. Seemingly forever. They wear me out, man!

Watching these exchanges play out as a result of something that comes from my fingers simply reinforces my self-imposed rule: Don’t get into a pi**ing match, particularly with someone you don’t know; everyone always gets wet.

However, it does give me a chance to watch and to revel at times in the snark that emanates from those who like to one-up someone on the other side.

If only they would avoid the meanness.

‘Trolls’ are out there, but not sure they’ve found me

Someone who I do not know has begun following High Plains Blogger and has emerged as an individual I gather appreciates the point of view expressed in this forum.

Lately, though, this person has begun questioning the quality of the “trolls” who criticize my point of view. This individual believes I should get “better trolls.”

I’m an old guy and I am not entirely sure what an Internet “troll” really is, so I looked the term up. Here’s what I found:

In Internet slang, a troll is a person who starts quarrels or upsets people on the Internet to distract and sow discord by posting inflammatory and digressive, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the intent of provoking readers into displaying emotional responses and normalizing tangential discussion, whether for the troll’s amusement or a specific gain.

This definition has me wondering: Do I even have anyone who follows this blog who fits the description mentioned? I am not entirely sure that I do.

I have plenty of critics. They weigh in frequently when I criticize the president of the United States. When they do, they often draw responses from other High Plains Blogger readers who take them to task for what they say. When those exchanges begin, I generally stay out of the way; I’ve mentioned already on this blog that I prefer to let my commentary stand on its own and let others have the last word.

Now and then, though, the back-and-forth gets pretty darn fierce, even ferocious. That’s when this particular individual — again, someone I do not know — takes Internet foes to task, all the while urging me to “get better trolls.”

Even though I have been blogging for about a decade now I do not know how to do what this individual is asking of me. Nor do I even fully believe I have “trolls” as defined by the example I have provided who are weighing in regularly.

Whatever. I’ll just keep plugging away and take the brickbats along with the bouquets. Hey, it goes with the territory.

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.

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.