To all who come to this happy place, welcome!
This is my newest attempt at a blog, and I think I’m in the right place in my life and in my career to attempt this again after my tenure at xanga. Like so many of us, I jumped on the bandwagon around 2004, and while it was fun and worthwhile at the time, it eventually became abandoned, and in time I just deleted the whole thing. I’m not convinced there was anything on it worth saving.
But with a great deal of free time on my hands now that I have earned my Ph.D., I am eager to try this anew, and share some fresh insights. First question, though– What is The Northumbrian Countdown? My intent is to make this a simple place to share my ideas on the topics that most interest me. These are very diverse indeed, but will often include history (particularly the history of U.S. religion and politics), elections, the U.S. presidency, Walt Disney World, The Beatles and other latter-day music groups, the 1970s, a smattering of tastefully-addressed politics, theology, Buffalo, Singapore, the Adirondacks, and all-around nostalgia.
What’s that? You meant, why did I choose The Northumbrian Countdown as a title? Well, first of all, I wanted a name that was almost impossible to trace back to me in real life. (The last attempt was a dead giveaway, and led to a number of people reading my blog whom I would rather not have.) But the countdown part refers to my predilection for making exhaustive, comprehensive, lists and rankings. My brain fundamentally works in top ten lists, even though I feel the need to go beyond mere listing, and actually explain why I have ranked things as I do. The Northumbrian part is, to be frank, a conceit. For those of you familiar with the early annals of the Anglo-Saxons, it is an allusion to the Venerable Bede, the great historian of the English Church. Bede was a witness to, and participant in, the dynamic synthesis of the organized Greco-Roman, spiritual Judeo-Christian, and hardscrabble Germanic ethos. Like Bede, I fancy myself working in an ivory tower, trying to make sense of a confusing world in transition. Bede is trying, moreover, to situate himself in his own time– he is, after all, one of the first to try out the now-conventional system of dating from the approximate birth of Christ. All historians are, then, a little bit like Bede, trying to organize the past around what each of us feels to be significant, trying to be cognizant of just what facilitates the change that takes place around us.
So, consider this wordpress blog my own Northumbria, if you will. As I chronicle the present and scrutinize the past, I invite you to join me and weigh in yourselves. Roll up, roll up, for the mystery tour…