Tag Archives: High Plains Blogger

World is my stage

This question comes to me from those who are aware of my left-leaning politics: How can you write this stuff on your blog, given where you live? 

My answer is simple. I write this stuff because the nature of this platform — my blog — allows me to reach far beyond the earthly boundaries of where my wife and I reside, which now is Collin County, Texas.

This is one of the many reasons why I love pursuing this version of my craft. I am able to speak my mind without reservation.

There once was a time when I had to be mindful of what I said and of the audience that was reading my thoughts. I worked for publications in the Texas Panhandle and in the Golden Triangle region of Texas that contained many readers who disagreed with my world view.

It’s not that it necessarily stopped me from speaking my mind. I just had to be a bit circumspect in the language I used. There would be no way I could refer to the 45th president of the United States as the Insurrectionist in Chief in, say, Amarillo, where he enjoyed tremendous political support during the most recent presidential elections.

Now that I am no longer employed by the newspaper that adhered to a pretty rigid conservative editorial policy, I am free to speak more freely. Which I do with gusto.

One of the struggles I fought during my nearly 18 years working in Amarillo and my nearly 11 years in Beaumont was trying to persuade readers that my signed columns were my opinion only and that they rarely reflected the editorial policy of the newspaper. I would write editorials on behalf of our editorial board that said one thing; I might be inclined to express a different view on a column that ran with my mug in a logo accompanying the text.

I no longer wage that struggle these days. The blog is mine. I own it. I also own the views I express on it.

Moreover, I am not constrained by my place of residence. The blog goes all around the world. How I do know that? Because I am able to track the sources of the hits I get on my blog. Over the span of a year, it covers our good Earth.


Why fret over this clown?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Some readers of this blog might be wondering why I spend any time  criticizing a member of Congress who represents a district where I no longer reside.

I will answer that query, presuming some of you are wondering.

I have spoken out about the Twitter rants of a Republican serving the 13th Congressional District of Texas. Ronny Jackson lives in Amarillo. He is a disgrace. I have said so, admittedly with extreme prejudice.

I care about that fellow’s rants for two reasons.

One is that my wife and I lived there for 23 years, longer than anywhere we have resided in our nearly 50 years of marriage. One of our sons still lives there. We have many friends there, too. I care about them. They should be represented by someone who (a) isn’t a carpetbagger and (b) isn’t prone to making defamatory remarks about the commander in chief, which Jackson does regularly about President Biden.

The second reason is that Ronny Jackson votes on legislation that affects every American. It’s the same reason I care about the goings-on involving other congressional fruitcakes and loons; Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Kevin McCarthy and Sen. Mitch McConnell come immediately to mind. When they vote on federal legislation, they put their imprimatur on laws that have a direct impact on every single American.

Congressman: detestable! | High Plains Blogger

I won’t apologize for harboring these feelings about members of Congress, any more than I feel the need to justify why I support other members of the legislative branch of government. Or, for that matter, why I continue to support President Biden … even as he struggles with crises, as he is doing at this moment.

We have plenty of fruitcakes in North Texas, where we now live. I’ll be getting to them in due course. I just felt the urge to explain a thing or two about why I still look back fondly at our time on what I call the Texas Tundra and why I want the best for the good folks who still call it home.

More in common than we thought

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A most startling thing happened to me today and I want to share it briefly.

I wrote a blog in the past day or so that was highly critical of the 45th president of the United States. It drew an angry response from a reader who called me an “idiot.” My oldest friend on Earth responded to this fellow and defended my honor; I am grateful for that show of support.

Then this individual noted that we have a common friend, a guy we both knew in high school back in Portland, Ore. I didn’t recognize his name; it turns out he ended up graduating from a nearby high school and didn’t attend the same high school as my friend and me during our senior years. We exchanged messages via Facebook about our common friend. We all served in Vietnam, they in the Marine Corps, me in the Army.

We shared a thought or two about our friend and about our shared service. Then this same guy who called me an idiot expressed that we have “more in common” than we thought.

A little while later, this fellow extended a Facebook “friend” request to me. I accepted it. Now we’re hooked up on social media.

I find that so very strange in a pleasant sort of way. In this time of extreme political polarization, the opposite too often occurs; longtime friends sever their friendship over … politics.

I hope my shiny new friendship survives after he reads more of my political posts, which I share on social media platforms, such as Facebook. I remain confident it will.

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.

Struggle continues …

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Try as I am doing to maintain a forward-looking focus for this blog, events and news reports about the recent past keep pulling me back.

So help me, I do not intend to keep looking in the rear-view mirror.

However, we now have reports that the 45th POTUS pressured the Justice Department to declare the 2020 presidential election to be “corrupt.” Yep, the former A**hole in Chief wanted DOJ to effectively condemn the results per the 45th POTUS’s request.

Oh, my. It appears to me that the great conspiracy concocted by the former Traitor in Chief is unraveling one layer at a time.

This is the kind of thing that the U.S. House select committee assigned to get to the bottom of the events that led up to 1/6 is going to be compelled to examine. In detail. I want it to be unvarnished and unbiased, too.

As for this blog, I will continue to keep a fairly tight rein on it. I won’t be commenting on every single thing involving the ex-Insurrectionist in Chief. He has a boatload of trouble awaiting him.

The Manhattan (N.Y.) district attorney has indicted his company on tax issues. Georgia officials are examining whether he committed election law violations by pressuring the Georgia secretary of state to “find” enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory there; the Justice Department has ordered the Internal Revenue Service to turn the former Tax Cheater in Chief’s tax records over to Congress.

Yep, we have plenty of grist on which to chew.

We also have a president seeking to stem the tide of an outbreak of COVID virus infections; he is trying to put more Americans back to work; Joe Biden is seeking bipartisan approval of a massive infrastructure package.

All of that deserves your blogger’s attention as well. Stick with me. I’ll do my level best to stay focused on the future.

Keep looking forward

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Your humble blogger — that would be me — feels the need to affirm a vow from an earlier post.

It is that I will not become fixated on the blathering, bellowing, bloviating and bombast coming from the mouth of the 45th president of the U.S. of A.

He is going to make a lot of noise for the rest of this year and perhaps even part of next year. He is going to repeat The Big Lie — that the 2020 election was stolen from him — in the hopes of energizing that fanatical and gullible base of dipsh**s who continue to adhere to his irrational rants.

I do not intend to comment on each rant as if he were still the POTUS. He isn’t. I don’t expect him to ascend to the nation’s highest office ever again. Hell, I don’t even expect him to be a serious candidate for the White House.

My only reason for commenting on him today is because the lunatic/imbecile/moron/con man/fraud continues to hold considerable sway among a large minority of American voters. For the life of me I don’t know why or how … but he does.

My intent is to keep looking forward.

I am acutely aware that some critics of this blog are going to suggest that I remain “fixated” on the 45th POTUS’s pronouncements. I will answer them with a plain no … I am not. 

I’ve already declared that I continue to endorse the presidency of Joe Biden. He has restored a sense of dignity and decorum to the high and exalted office he occupies. We are recovering from the pandemic. Our economy is revving up nicely. President Biden is re-establishing our nation’s role as a world leader. We are re-engaging in vital international partnerships that his predecessor stripped away because he wanted to “put America first,” whatever that meant.

This American patriot wants President Biden to succeed. I intend to keep my focus aimed toward the future.

Be advised on one point: I will not remain silent if POTUS 45 gets himself into deep legal trouble or if his machinations gin up the fanatical base to do things that mirror, say, the Jan. 6 insurrection.

My keen interest will lie in where the current U.S. president intends to lead us.

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.

‘Assault on democracy’ explained

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A critic of this blog wants to know how Texas’s efforts to restrict voting is an “assault on democracy,” as President Biden has described it.

I’ll take the bait and offer what I believe is an explanation for all to read.

It’s an assault because our form of representative democracy — as I have understood it — intends to make voting easier for all Americans. Thus, states and local governments have enacted early-voting laws; they have given citizens a chance to cast ballots in a variety of ways; they have sought to extend early-voting days and hours to enable citizens to have their voices heard.

Texas Republicans along with their GOP colleagues in several other states have determined that such voting initiatives also lead to corruption of the voting process. They have concocted the Big Lie about the 2020 presidential election about “rampant vote fraud” where it did not exist and have projected it onto efforts to restrict access to those who wish to vote. The Texas GOP legislative caucus also wants to give judges more power to overturn election results.

One of the tragic consequences of this effort is that the GOP is  targeting minority voters who — get a load of this — tend to vote Democratic. Shocking, yes? Rather than seeking to compete head to head with Democrats over their ideas and policies, Republicans instead are seeking to restrict access to all eligible U.S. citizens.

Where I come from, I consider all of that taken together to be an assault on democracy. The Texas Democratic legislative caucus has stalled the GOP assault — if only temporarily. The Legislature likely will  reconvene soon in special session to figure out a new strategy to continue its attack on our democratic process. I hope Democrats hold firm.

This brief response likely won’t persuade my blog critic friend of anything. I just felt the need to clear the air.

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.

Oh, this blog gives me fits

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

No matter how many times I tell myself how much I love my new role as a full-time blogger, I cannot get past some of the headaches associated with it.

All of them have one thing in common: technology.

I am a technological novice. I am not at all fluent in the language that Internet experts use when they converse with each other. They speak a jargon that is as self-contained as the language that doctors, lawyers and even journalists use when they speak to each other.

So, when technology throws me a curve ball, I am left to (a) my own devices or (b) call on one of my sons who happens to be quite fluent in the language known to those with more than a modicum of knowledge about this stuff.

Hell, I don’t even know a modicum of it.

I have been enduring some technical issues with this blog. I have had to rely on my son to walk me through it. We have had three-way conference calls that include him, me and the domain hosting service for which I pay a handsome annual fee.

I am in the middle of a technical issue right now. We will work our way through it. We’ll slog our way out of the mess.

Will this matter make me less in love with what I do these days? Not on your life. I will persist in seeking answers to these issues. I might even one day become semi-fluent in the language I ought to know when I get one of these geeks on the phone.

I could use some good thoughts and even a prayer or two.