Tag Archives: High Plains Blogger

Love is overpowering

I feel a compelling need at this moment to extend a heartfelt thank you to those who have reached out to my bride and me in this most challenging time in our life.

My goodness, the outreach has come from many quarters, some of them I didn’t expect. Just today, a neighbor approached my son and me as we were walking toward our home in Princeton. She asked, “Where is your wife? I have missed seeing her.” I told her what you already know, that she is in the hospital recovering from a setback she suffered the other morning when she was stricken by a seizure.

My neighbor started crying while offering her prayers.

We continue to look forward to her beginning her treatment for cancer, which will come when the top-notch medical staff at Medical City/McKinney gets her seizures “under control.”

The love my family and I are feeling has been overpowering and, of course, so very welcome. It is coming from former colleagues of mine and of my wife, people I know only through some vague social media connection, from actual friends of both my bride and me and from total strangers.

This outreach helps buttress my belief in the general goodness of humanity.

As for those who have reached out and who have extended their hope for a positive outcome — which my family and I embrace — I hope they see this brief blog post and know my thanks to them comes from my overflowing heart.

My gratitude extends far beyond any measure.


Lessons keep piling up

One of the many lessons I am learning as I cope with my life being turned upside down, inside out and shredded into a million little pieces is that my emotions can run across a gigantic field.

I am alternately frightened, heartened, saddened and joyful. Sometimes those emotions come all come at once.

My wife’s fight against cancer is just beginning. She is tough and resolute. We are hopeful for a positive outcome, and we have ample reason to expect one. Her radiation and chemo treatments begin soon after she leaves the hospital where she has stayed since Dec. 26. Her discharge date is just about at hand.

She is receiving expressions of love and support from far and wide, from people we know and love, from casual acquaintances, even from people she’s never met. That love strengthens me beyond all measure.

And I’ll be candid about one more point. I had said on this blog that I would take a break from commenting on political matters as we commence this fight. I am withdrawing that pledge. Why? Because I feel strong enough emotionally to dish out some criticism and yes, offer some praise when it’s warranted.

The love that is coming our way is delivering that strength.

For that, as well as for the love that is pouring in, I thank you.


‘More to life than … politics’

Mitt Romney wasn’t speaking to me in real time when he told a black-tie crowd in 2012 that “There’s more to life than … politics.”

The Republican presidential nominee was speaking of his relationship with his opponent in that year’s election, President Barack H. Obama and how their differences in policy didn’t create undue personal animosity.

Well, Romney’s words are speaking loudly and clearly to me now. My wife in the midst of a struggle against a potentially serious illness. Her challenge has become my challenge, too, along with our immediate family. Indeed, this time in our life will test all of us.

However, I am going to take a page from my bride’s playbook, as she is the most resolute person I ever have encountered.

What is the nature of this illness? She underwent surgery this week to remove a growth in her brain. The surgeon submitted samples of the tissue to a pathologist to enable him to “know what to call it.” We are waiting to learn the results.

Her fight consumes us fully. Thus, I have decided to take a break from the normal contents of this blog, which often includes political commentary that contains its customary ration of criticism of pols and their policies.

Why is that? Because I, too, have learned the vivid truth of what Mitt Romney said more than a decade ago.

There truly is “more to life than politics.”


Personal matters take over

I feel a compelling need to report to you that I am taking a break from my usual rants about this or that in the world of politics.

We all experience things in life that put all of that nonsense into its proper place, which for me at this moment is the trash bin. I plan to fetch it all from there eventually.

Just not today.

My bride and I are dealing with a serious medical matter that requires both of us — as well as our immediately family — to be strong. She’s already the toughest person I know. She is the one with the challenge right now.

I will be standing with her.

I plan to provide some details when I receive them. I do not plan to get too specific. Some things need not be shared.

I am likely to dig out a few archived blog posts to share with you. I also will speak about our journey as it unfolds through this challenging time.

As of this moment, your blogger is taking some time away from the hustle and bustle of political crises to concentrate on much more important matters closer to my heart.

No one is closer to me than the love of my life.


Enjoying the after life

No, I am not dead. Not by the longest shot imaginable. I am delighted to report that there once was a time — long ago — that I wondered whether I would enjoy my life once I quit working full time.

I am even more delighted to tell you that the answer is yes. Not just yes, but hell yes. I am enjoying myself more than I could have imagined when I was full of piss and vinegar.

Time has this way of tempering one’s passions. It tempered mine, to a degree, particularly the passion I had every day as I prepared to go to work as a newspaper journalist. It did temper my passion, though, for commenting on issues of the day. I remain dedicated to that proposition more than ever … or so it seems. The difference now is that my commentaries are solely my own and I do not answer to an editor of a publisher.

That is not to say that I am free of restraints. Good taste and societal norms do keep me reined in a bit … but it’s only just a bit.

I remain delighted and full of energy to keep writing this blog and keep my head in the game.

One of the things I learned a decade ago when my career ended that there surely is a post-journalism after life. I am living proof that it exists. Unlike the big after life, I am still around to tell you about it.

I just wanted to share the good news with you.


No ‘non-politics’ pledge this year

Years past have seen your friendly blogger — that’s me! — pledge to move away from politics during this holiday season.

I won’t make that pledge this year. I had only mixed success in keeping previous promises. This year I will forgo doing what appears to be the impossible … which is set politics aside in this period between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

However, I am making this pledge, which I am comfortable with, as I believe I can keep faith with it. Blog posts during this period will not contain the occasionally personal rhetoric I spew when referencing Donald J. Trump, the man I still consider to be an existential threat to our nation’s political fabric.

Accordingly, I don’t expect to be so visceral and angry even when referencing those who follow what passes for the former POTUS’s ideology. It is terribly tempting to speak the ugly truth about those who I believe hold treasonous views about our democratic process.

I’ll refrain from snorting fire.

That all said, I will continue to speak what I consider to be the truth about them, their cult leader, the misguided notions that come forth. I just won’t use angry rhetoric.

I also realize that having laid down that stipulation, readers of this blog will interpret my comments as being, well, unkind. That is their problem. Not mine.

If I sound unkind or mean, it’s all unintended. Therefore, I will offer a pre-emptive apology of a type I detest hearing from those in the news. If I offend you, I am sorry.


Dealing with trolls

I have reached what I think is a reasonable conclusion about some readers of this blog and those who are generally critical of the media.

I will try to explain myself.

Critics of this blog base their criticism on their perception of my politics. I lean left. Critics generally lean right. I have been relentless in my criticism of Donald J. Trump. Critics seem willing to give him a pass on his hideous behavior.

My conclusion is that they only are interested in what I say about politics in general or about Trump in particular.

I have sought over several years writing on www.highplainsblogger.com to cover a wide range of issues. Some of them go beyond pure politics. Some posts deal with real life and the joys and sorrows that go with living a long time.

I want to single out one critic who, when I write about my experiences serving our great nation in uniform, often does offer a word of thanks and gratitude … and I always appreciate his saying so.

Generally, though, he and others save their most intense fire for when I pontificate about the many failings of our immediate past POTUS.

How do I deal with it? I let ’em have their say. I’ve already delivered my view. I rarely have a need or certainly a desire to engage in an argument with someone whose mind is as made up as mine.


‘Old jobs’ not as good?

A frequent critic of www.highplainsblogger.com decided to weigh in with a comment about President Biden’s job performance.

He disagrees — not surprisingly — with my assessment of the job growth that has occurred during the Biden administration. My critic says Biden has created “no real new jobs.” That the only jobs being “created” are the old jobs that are being filled again.

Hmm. I rolled that one around for just a moment.

It occurred to me that the old jobs are just as valuable as the new jobs. I mean, those who are filling the old jobs are paying taxes and contributing to the nation’s economic well-being just as much as they would be had they occupied “new jobs.” Isn’t that right?

The critic just cannot seem to grasp that I remain as faithful to Joe Biden as he does to Donald Trump. Except for this important qualifier: Biden defeated Trump in 2020. Oh, and Trump is in a deep pile of dookey over, well … you know.


Calling all comments!

As much as I enjoy blogging and foisting my world view on those who take the time to read my musings, I now want to express an annoying frustration with High Plains Blogger.

It is the lack of varied responses. My blog draws responses from a narrowly defined audience, as best I can tell.

Do not get me wrong. I appreciate those who do take the time to comment on my offerings. They read them on a few social media platforms I use to distribute these posts. I also am acutely aware that High Plains Blogger is being read by a worldwide audience. Readers from dozens of countries on every continent inhabited by human beings have read these offerings.

More to the point. I am astounded at how so few of them take the time to comment on the “reply” block on the bottom of my blog posts published on Word Press. One guy is a regular commenter. He’s a critic of this blog. I generally don’t engage in debate with him because there’s little point in individuals talking past each other. He won’t change my mind and I won’t change his mind.

Another gentleman chimes in on occasion, often to respond to the critic. I hear from maybe two or three other commenters who take the time to reply infrequently to my Word Press posts.

I guess I am using this post to call for greater, more varied response to my offerings.

Or … could it be that I am boring the readers of this blog? Gosh. I hope that’s not the case.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep slogging on with a word of thanks to those who take the time to read these messages. If you have a response to share, then by all means speak up.

Oh, and I fully expect the critic I mentioned earlier to offer his usual brand of venom.


Blogging keeps me relevant

Blogging has produced many joys in my post-full-time-newspaper world.

One of them is that it allows me to keep doing what I did with modest success for nearly 37 years: offering opinions on issues of the day.

A corollary to that joy is the notion that it also allows me to cling just a bit to a career that gave me great satisfaction and it perhaps will allow young people coming of age in this era a chance to understand and perhaps even appreciate the craft I pursued.

Whether these young people will be reading blogs or writing them remains to be seen, of course. I hope they do both. I want to remain relevant, even in some small way, to how they search for news and information and, yes, even opinion on issues of importance.

To be crystal clear, I am not yet out of the newswriting game. My full-time career ended just a month short of a decade ago; wow, it seems like just yesterday when my boss told me my services would no longer be sought at what once was the leading newspaper in the Texas Panhandle and one of the leading media outlets in West Texas.

I walked away from that post on the spot and haven’t looked back — too often in the years since.

I took up blogging along with a few part-time, temporary gigs along the way. I have managed to stay fresh and alert writing blogs for Panhandle PBS, for KFDA NewsChannel 10 in Amarillo and now for KETR-FM radio at Texas A&M-Commerce and for the Farmersville Times near where my wife and I landed in late 2018.

I even had a month-long stint as an editorial writer for the Dallas Morning News! That gig ended at the end of 2021, but at least I can say I wrote for a major metropolitan daily newspaper … if only for a flash in time!

The one constant in all of that has been High Plains Blogger. I decided to keep the name even though I no longer reside on the High Plains of Texas. Hey, it developed a brand … you know? Why mess with it?

So, with that I will keep on blogging. My work might not always remind others of the once-glorious craft I pursued, it surely keeps me energized enough to keep going for as long as I am able.