I began Padre Steve’s World Back in February of 2009. I started it mainly as a place to write about my experience in the Iraq War and my struggle with PTSD. It initial was, and on occasion still is a vehicle to help integrate those experiences into my life so that I might experience some measure of healing. When I began this site I really did not expect it to become what it has become.
Now as anyone knows I am a member of the Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish and that the Deity Herself speaks to me through Baseball. That combined with the fact that I am a historian somewhat of a military theorist means that I love statistics. I also love to look at facts, data and interesting stories and try to make sense of them. I do this with baseball of course, as well as how leaders can apply lessons of the past to present conflicts and recognize dangers of their possible courses of action.
I am an introvert but writing has helped me get out of myself. I have ended up writing about people in my life, significant losses experienced at our medical center and how others have made a difference in my life. As the site matured I found that I was writing less about me and more about other people, history, theory and various social and political events. Of course the latter frequently stirred up a lot of crap in me so at times, especially dealing with subjects such as “The Lies of World Net Daily” or former Navy Chaplain, defrocked priest, convicted criminal and professional liar Gordon “Chaps” Klingenschmitt. The site also allowed me to spend a lot of time sharpening my academic research skills as well as writing about baseball. So this has become something more than a navel gazing site where I pick out the lint of my soul for all to see. While my experiences pervade a lot of what I write as no one can write in a vacuum one’s experience, training, culture and worldview all influence what we write about and how we interpret events, they are not the central focus of the site anymore. I think I have about 40 different subject areas that I post on now and who knows if that number will grow.
During this past year I have met a lot of people in person and online and had a good number of people post some very kind comments as well as some very challenging ones. On the rather amazing side I have had people from my past, like the UCLA Army ROTC “Chief Lord of Discipline” Colonel Bruce Lawson find me and look me up as well as the son of the late Master Sergeant Harry Zilkan who was out training NCO as well as others. I have had visitors and comments from around the world including the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Singapore, Australia and Russia. In all I have had over 700,000 views of the site since February and thousands of clicks on individual articles. The comments that touch me the most are those who comment that what I write has touched them, helped them or provided them added knowledge about a given subject as well as those that in my more difficult times have offered me encouragement and prayed for me. Through this I have also come across some very good bloggers and writers that I enjoy reading. It has provided me a new network of acquaintances and associates to bounce ideas off of and have input from. So I have to say that this has been a very helpful thing for me this past year and has given me ideas that I hope will one day will get published. I have over the past year discovered some topics that I would like to publish and a I am ruminating on those even now.
My top 10 articles this year are listed here, as you can see they represent a wide range of topics:
Star Trek, God and Me 1966 to 2009
The USS Enterprise NCC-1701 B
I posted this on May 29th 2009 and to date it has 6827 hits. This was done on a lark and kind of took on a life of its own. There is a reason that Star Trek is so popular after over 40 years. It is that it touches people’s lives and the stories, though set in the future are about the human condition and people can relate to them even now. I know I do and that was the point of this article. The post still gets 10-40 hits a day.
The Ideological War: How Hitler’s Racial Theories Influenced German Operations in Poland and Russia
Einsatzgruppen at Work
I published this article on September 14th 2009 and it now has gathered a total of 3649 hits. This article is a revision of an academic paper that I wrote for my Masters Degree in Military History. I have studied modern German History, 1870 to the present for many years; in fact the bulk of my undergraduate history studies involved the topic. In particular the period from the fall of the Kaiser in 1918, the German Civil War, the Weimar Republic and the Nazi Period have been my specialty. When I posted this I expected that it would primarily be read by history wonks like me but it seems to have gained a substantial number of readers and still picks up a decent number of daily hits.
Halloween Book Burning Update: Bring the Marshmallows Please!
Pastor Marc of Amazing Grace Baptist Church, Book and Bible Burner and Heretic Confronter in Chief
I posted this on October 25th as a follow up to an article about a little Baptist Church that was hosting a book burning. I found the subject fascinatingly terrible and had to write about it. Humor blended with satire, history, religion, sociology and a bit of dare I say sarcasm created a monster. This is my fastest growing article. It’s funny how that “Old Tyme Religion” can get you going. To date this post has 3292 hits.
The Forgotten Cold Warriors
Icon of the Cold War: The Berlin Wall Goes Up
I wrote this back on July 26th 2009 as a tribute to those who served in a truly forgotten war, the Cold War. It now has gathered 2906 hits. As a Cold War vet myself like my dad I have felt for many years that the American government and both political parties have done little to recognize those who served, frequently in harm’s way during this conflict that spanned the globe over a period of 40 years. I imagine that the same is true in Russia and the former Warsaw Pact nations. The article still gets a decent number of daily views, not like the top three but still a good number showing me that a significant number of people have feelings for those who served as well as their own service during the Cold War.
D-Day- Courage, Sacrifice and Luck, the Costs of War and Reconciliation
Omaha Beach at Low Tide
This was published on June 6th 2009 as a tribute to those who served and gave their lives on D-Day and during the Normandy campaign. It talks about the reconciliation between Allied and German soldiers after the war and I relate it to my own dealings with the Iraqi people and military. It voices my hope that one day Iraqi and American veterans can have the kind of reconciliation experienced by some of those who fought so hard against one another during the brutal Normandy campaign. To date it has 2887 views.
Operation “Dachs” My First Foray into the Genre “Alternative History”
Field Marshall Erich Von Manstein
This article was posted on August 9th 2009 and was a rewrite of a paper I wrote in one of my Masters Degree classes. It was inspired by Kenneth Macksey’s alternative history “Disaster at D-Day.” It was unusual in the fact that I wrote an alternative history as if it had actually taken place using real sources, people, places and events and writing as if the “what ifs” had actually occurred. In this case that would be the success of the March 1943 attempt on Hitler’s life had succeeded. It has 2314 hits to date and still gathers a decent number of hits making me wonder if it has potential for expansion as a possible book.
Cowboys Stadium meets Seinfeld: A Scoreboard and a Nose that You Can’t Miss
Cowboy’s Stadium and its Massive Scoreboard
This post combined my twisted sense of Seinfeld like humor into what I think is a pretty witty post about the monstrous scoreboard at the new Cowboy’s Stadium in Arlington Texas. It seems to get a decent number of hits whenever the Cowboys play. I wrote it on August 30th 2009 and it has 1570 hits to date.
Turning Points: The Battle of Midway, Randy Johnson Gets his 300th Win and Chief Branum Gets Her Star
SBD Dauntless Dive Bombers at Midway
This article was posted on June 4th 2009 and dealt with three different but for me interrelated events. The first was a tribute to those who fought at the Battle of Midway, the second future Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson getting his 300th career win as a member of the San Francisco and a fallen Shipmate, Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Pamela Branum who was posthumously promoted to Senior Chief at her memorial service. To date it has 1449 views and a significant number of comments.
These Boots were Made for Walking: The Navy NWU Suede boots
The NWU and its Boots
This was one of my earlier posts done on April 18th 2009 and provided my review of the new US Navy suede work boot which is worn with the Naval Working Uniform or the NWU. It has surprised me that it has garnered 1332 hits. It was a follow up article to a humorous article that I had written previously about all the different kinds of camouflage uniforms in use by the US Military entitled: The NWU- Now we all have different camouflage.
Memorable Recruiting Slogans and the All Volunteer Force
This article was a humorous look back at some of the military recruiting slogans that have been around since the beginning of the “All Volunteer” military in the mid 1970s. I posted it on May 4th 2009 and it now has 1084 hits.
Other Articles of Interest
Since I have posted well over 300 articles to the site since its creation I have listed some other articles that I thought were significant below:
Baseball in Between Life and Death in the ICU
Mortain to Market-Garden: A Study in How Armies Improvise in Rapidly Changing Situations
The Treaty Cruisers: A Warship Review
Sometimes You Wanna go Where Everybody Knows Your Name
It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts-Thoughts on 26 Years of Commissioned Service
You Win a Few, You Lose a Few. Some Get Rained Out. But You Got to Dress for All of Them
Remembering the Veterans in My Life…Memorial Day 2009
Alzheimer’s Disease, Ghost Fleets and Waiting for the End
Reformation Day: How Martin Luther and Hans Kung Brought Me to an Anglo-Catholic Perspective, a Book and Bible Burning Reaches Ludicrous Speed and Yankees take Game Three 8-5
My Brotherhood of War
Connecting…Baseball and Having My Dad Back for a Few Minutes
Lessons for the Afghan War: The Effects of Counterinsurgency Warfare on the French Army in Indo-China and Algeria and the United States Military in Vietnam
The Uncomfortable Legacy of Colonel General Ludwig Beck
A Christian Defense of the Rights of Moslems and Others in a Democracy (or Constitutional Republic)
I like Jesus very much, but He no help with Curveball
Comebacks in Baseball and Life: 27 Outs- the Baltimore Orioles teach us a Lesson in Life
Here’s to you Jackie Robinson
The Demons of PTSD: Abandonment
Doubt and Faith: My Crisis in Faith and Why I am Still a Christian an Advent Meditation
Padre Steve’s World Series Prediction and Book and Bible Burning Update
Dien Bien Phu- Reflections 55 Years Later
Brothers to the End…the Bond between those Who Serve Together in Unpopular Wars
World Series Game Six: Duel of the Old Dogs
The 2009 Season at Harbor Park…the View from 102 a Season in Pictures
I guess that is enough for anyone who wants to poke around on the site. There is a place to subscribe to this site via e-mail if you want as well as a place to subscribe to comments.
I look forward to a good year of writing as life goes on. I pray that you have a wonderful New Year.