Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Blog Recommendation - Gone Away

It’s not often that I find blogs that I feel, based on the quality of their work, I can really recommend. The other day, however, I ran across one. The moniker is “Gone Away.”

The blog’s owner, Clive Allen, has an interesting bio, a snippet of which follows:

“I am so ancient you wouldn't believe. Although I was born in England, I grew up in Africa, married and had a kid (Mad) there, before returning to England in 1976. Two more kids (Boogie and Pootle) arrived in the next few years and I had a variety of jobs, wrote a book (The Gabbler's Testament, no, not published yet), got divorced and remarried (a lovely American lady named Kathy). We emigrated to the States in September, 2004, and now live in Oklahoma (which is OK, by the way).”

Clive has the ability to tackle all sorts of topics, from Formula 1 racing, to the current state of education, to the grind of blogging.

His writing is excellent, his insights are valuable. A couple of samples follow to give you some flavor of how good his work is. The first is from a piece titled “A Blogger’s Lament:” (page four in his index)

“I admire those who retain a sensible perspective on blogging. By that I mean the bloggers who post when they have something to say and otherwise live ordinary lives that do not depend upon the blog. How wonderful it must be to have no concern over whether the blog is read or not, to care less about statistics, to post without even a thought of whether you last posted yesterday or a month ago. What freedom that must be!”

“The rest of us are slaves. Oh, we can explain that there is a purpose behind what we do, that the blog serves us in the achievement of some high-minded goal, that it is merely the means to an end. But the fact is that we become slaves to the blog. To blog with a purpose implies that we intend to reach others, for whatever reason. And that means we have to be concerned with traffic, to know that others are reading and that we become more effective in drawing return visits to the blog. So we become interested in statistics, beginning perhaps with a hit counter but soon desiring more details. Then we begin to learn how to ensure that the numbers continue to mount: post regularly, know your audience and deliver what they want, make the blog attractive and easy to navigate. All these are the elementary things that add up to blog success.”

Then there’s this about the state of education (page 67 of his index):

“In those days schools were schools. By this I mean that their prime intention was to educate the children entrusted to them, rather than to entertain, to indoctrinate or to allow them to discover their inner selves through freedom to do precisely as they wished. The methods chosen for them to attain this purpose of education were primitive by today's standards. They believed, for instance, in discipline. The theory was that, if they could persuade the students to sit quietly and listen, there was a strong possibility that they might absorb the odd fact or two. And I hardly need tell you that their chosen method of instilling such discipline involved the application of severe pain upon any dissenting rear ends.”

“Strangely, these outdated and inhuman methods were very effective in providing the vast majority of us with an education that was to prove of some use in later life. Without exception, we left school being able to read fluently, write a passable letter, solve basic mathematical tasks without recourse to a calculator (which did not exist then anyway) and dress appropriately enough for a job interview. Some of us were even taken beyond this already considerable achievement to what we might think of as higher things. These would include such matters as a grounding in the classics of literature and art, some vague acquaintance with calculus or trigonometry and a working knowledge of history and geography but, in some cases, there was a possibility that steps might be taken towards an understanding of self and society.”

Please note that each post is indexed by page. That means you will have to scroll to get from post to post. It’s well worth the time and effort.

I’m adding Gone Away to my “Blogs of Note.” I recommend that you make it part of your regular reading as well.


Gone Away said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Phil. I'm in the process of adding your blog to my list of recommended blogs at this very moment!

carrie said...

do you think it is really clive allen?

PoliShifter said...

Please consider joining the Big Brass Alliance


EuroYank said...

I am in the process of reviewing your blog as well. If I find at least 51% of your material to be thought provoking and not typical or even englightened right wing trash I will add you.

First I must completely disect your blog and not just spend a few seconds to give it a once over.