For a few days now, I've been puzzled by a spike in the number of visits to Mad Padre. Normally, this humble little blog gets 30-40 visits a day (no, not all from me, I don't count those. Sheesh.) Yesterday, the blogger.com utility told me that Mad Padre had 339 pageviews just on 23 September. Eighty two of those visits were to my post on the Grenadier Guards band visiting Suffield, which I could understand, since the Grenadier Guards is probably frequently googled by British Army buffs. However, 190 pageviews were to a very early post here, from 1 August, 2008, Peter Rabbit, Tank Killer. I was wracking my brains as to why a 4+ year old post was getting that much attention.
The answer lay in the fact, unknown to me, that Sven Hassel died in Denmark several days ago. If you don't know who Sven Hassel was, I can explain by saying that in the mid 1970s, when I was a preadolescent, my older brother had two things that fascinated me and were forbidden to me. One was a collection of Playboy magazines, the other was a copy of Hassel's book, Wheels of Terror. Both were pornography of a kind. Hassel, a Dane who may or may not have been soldier in the German army (details of his wartime life are debated)wrote a lurid series of novels on a group of misfits in a German penal regiment that somehow got lavished with state of the art German Tiger tanks. Comparing these books to All Quiet on the Western Front would be a gross insult to Remarque. My 2008 post, Peter Rabbit, Tank Killer, is a brilliant (not mine, I hasten to say) mash up of Beatrix Potter with Hassel's grand guignol pornography of violence.
Google's Blogger Dashboard also showed me that most of the visitors to my blog interested in Peter Rabbit Tank Killer were coming from a site called metafilter, where, lo and behold, someone had posted a link to the Potter/Hassel spoof on my blog. I was a little deflated to solve this mystery. Just seeing the increase in pageviews was encouraging me to think that people are being drawn to this blog's eclectic miz of spirituality, erudition, dry humour, and kickass sermons. Well, some of you are, to be sure, and I am happy to note that in a few weeks or maybe a month, Mad Padre will reach 100,000 pageviews over four plus years. There are many times I think of wrapping this little vanity project up, and then I hear someone tell me how much they value this space, and I am encouraged. So thank you for your support. And hey, you, Sven Hassel fan guy, stick around. You might like it here.