December 30, 2003

What do you make of all this?

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was over looking at the Minon and Lackey blog and saw a link to this. Your Maximum Leader doesn't know what to make of it. But it is cool in an unusual and time-wasting sort of way.

In other news... Although the photo they chose to accompany this article was not terribly flattering, it seems as though many men would like to take Angelina Jolie out for a candle-lit dinner on New Years Eve. If you were to take Angelina out on a date and hit it off with her would you 1) have to get a tattoo of her name on your person? 2) exchange vials of blood? 3) agree to co-star with her in "Tomb Raider 3: Lara Croft Makes It Hurt So Good?" (Just asking.)

Hemlock (guest blogging for Conrad) has some great links for bad fiction. Go and read it.

Your Maximum Leader has said to his closest minions for many years that he wants to go on Safari in Africa and kill some big game. He has always thought that Cape Buffalo would be a fine target. Thus, he loved reading this on Kim Du Toit's site. (NB: For those of you concerned that your Maximum Leader would pull a Teddy Roosevelt and want to kill all them cute Lions, Tigers, Rhinos, and Elephants - fear not. Your Maximum Leader doesn't need to kill endangered game.)

Once again, that machine of a blogger, Dr. Keith Burgess-Jackon, just keeps churing out great stuff. Your Maximum Leader particularly liked this reading list.

That is about it for now.

Carry on.

More bloggy goodness & Minion Mailbag.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader's brain has been just churning with bloggy thoughts today. He has just looked over some of the daily news on the wire. Ah... The stories to report.

Is it possible to "manhandle" Jacko? Wouldn't he have to be a "man?"

John Edwards is not interested in the Vice Presidency. At least so says Reuters. I suppose that means he is looking to be out of politics soon.

Wow! Playboy is 50! Here are some of Andrew Stuttaford's thoughts on the big party Hef threw. Ah... Your Maximum Leader remembers the first Playboy he ever saw. Indeed, years later he found a copy of it in a used book store and bought it for a whopping $10 (American). He supposes that many of his preferences for the female form were shaped by those first images of Kathryn Morrison (Miss May 1978). She was very very hot. She had a pleasant curve to her hips, full breasts, fantastic calves, faint tan lines (but only the "panty" line), and that little bit of fleshyness right around her (in-ey) navel. (Your Maximum Leader loves tan lines; and can't stand out-ey navels.) Just thinking about her makes your Maximum Leader feel "funny in the pants" to quote our good deity, Allah. Sadly, the prose "interview" with Ms. Morrison is very 1978. The phrase that seems to stick in my mind is something to the effect of "I like swimming at the indoor pool. It is warm, like a womb." Your Maximum Leader wonders who ghosted her stuff? Which is an interesting question in general. Who writes those words that they stick all around the photos. (NB to Hef: Fewer words and more photos would keep our interest longer. I'll read the articles about stereos and jazz music and the neatest gadgets. But let me objectify the women please.) As luck would have it, that particular magazine was the same one that cost Anita Bryant her job as the Florida Orange Juice spokeswoman. In the Playboy interview she gave that month she indicated that she believed gays were going to hell. Humm... Imagine controversy about gays in 1978! Who'da thunk it? Plus ca change...

Did you happen to see "Love" at the opening of the Harrods sale? No? Fear not. Behold the Yahoo Slideshow of your Maximum Leader's weakness, the ever desireable Jennifer Love Hewitt. Just wait until the MWO... All the fancy baubles you want. Palaces. Gold. And your Maximum Leader's platonic affections...

Your Maximum Leader thanks his Poet Laureate for his thoughtful gift. As he mentions in his post, your Maximum Leader is a big Elvis fan. I have raised the Villainettes to be Elvis fans. And in the Mike World Order (MWO), your Maximum Leader will "request" that the Pope beatify Elvis. Yes, Saint Elvis of Graceland. And glorious cathedrals will be raised in his name! And his gravesite shall be the destination of thousands of pilgramages! Vials of his sweat will demonstrate remarkable curative properties that will baffel scientists... Oh yeah... Elvis is a dead rock & roll star... Let's not forget that. I've seen a number of Elvis impersonators in my time. Some good, some not-so-good. I can hardly wait to hear this one. Many thanks to my Poet and trusted Hominid.

Well, it has been a long time since your Maximum Leader has dipped into the Minion Mailbag. Let's see what virtual letters might be found there...

First, here is a note from one nameless minion:

Does your mother know what you are doing?

Your Maximum Leader responds thus:

Indeed. The esteemed mother of your Maximum Leader does know what he is doing. As I have her imprisoned at this moment and her only contact with the outside world is a single 10 inch VGA monitor (under shatterproof glass) that only displays this blog, she is well aware of what I am doing. But shed no tears for her. Her imprisonment is a good one. (Think Princess Elizabeth in the Tower. Not Brad Davis in a Turkish prison.)

And here is another note. This one from newly minted Minion, Kilgore Trout. (Who's blog one should visit frequently.) The good Kilgore writes:

Subject: Your Vile Servant

Your unworthy minion, Kilgore Trout, begs a moment to thank his Maximum Leader for his kind endorsement of his blog. Your contemptible lackey, whose every stinking breath certainly offends his Maximum Leader, cringes to the marble floor and assures his wise and benevolent master that Naked Villainy is itself a blog of the greatest quality, and your undeserving disciple has posted a link on his own blog.

Your worthless apostle wishes his Maximum Leader the finest and most decadent of Pardoning of the Dwarves holidays.

Kilgore Trout
Minister of Propaganda,
Chaotic Not Random

Your Maximum Leader responds thus:

My dear Kilgore. Allow your Maximum Leader to compliment you on the tone of your recent message to me. Your obsequiousness was spot on. And for someone who has never been to the Villainschloss, you can be excused for the slip about the marble floors. Over the years I've found that marble flooring doesn't clean up well after its been bled upon. Marble also becomes slippery and can cause one to loose his footing. That's why your Maximum Leader prefers slate. It doesn't get as slick, nor does blood stain it.

Also, please know that you too have been added to the blogroll. It is a great pleasure to do this. Your humor and keen insight make us chuckle. (NB to Kilgore: I think you are on to something with the whole PAT thing. It would be more interesting to force football teams to make a play from the 2.)

Lastly good Kilgore, your Maximum Leader is pleased to see that you achieved coitus recently. Your long drought is over. May it not be repeated. I must note that you got "lucky" in the wee hours of Christmas morning. This must have been a great gift to you from that special someone. Of course, your Maximum Leader remembers one Christmas Eve/Day a number of years ago... Well, rather than bore you with the details let it suffice to say that while he was never molested by a priest; your Maximum Leader has always been aroused by the incense burned in a full-blown Catholic mass. After one such ceremony, your Maximum Leader could hardly wait to pounce on Mrs. Villain. Kilgore, your Maximum Leader can only hope your moment was "very special." (And didn't involve a Catholic priest, but could involve incense.)

And finally, another nameless non-minion writes (and those with tender eyes should prepare to be visually assulted by foul language):

What the fuck is wrong with you. You should be killed for saying all the shit you do about little people. You bigoted asshole. I hope some little people get to smack the shit out of you with bats and make you bleed. Die fucker.

Your Maximum Leader responds thus:

First, it was the Big Hominid (our Poet Laureate) who wrote about the beating and pardoning of the dwarves. But, since you cannot seem to be bothered to read by-lines allow me to say that regardless of who wrote the material - I find it funny and allow it to stay on the blog. Since you obviously do not understand humour, I find you tiresome and rather shallow. I hope you do not return to my site ever again. But if you do, be warned that I will surely hunt you down, beat you, and then piss on you for good measure. Now go.

Really.... Go... Stop reading you cretin....

Still here? Idiot.

Still? You just can't stop you blathering fool.



If you are still reading, please just click here and entertain yourself.

And that about wraps it up my minions. Light blogging this week again. Perhaps I shall unveil my big essay... Or perhaps not... I'll move as I please.

Carry on.

December 29, 2003

Post Christmas Wrap-up & the terrorists have won...

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader emerges from the Villainschloss after 6 days of rest and relaxation. To be quite honest, Christmas day was not very relaxing. The Villainettes were wild with glee at all of the gifts they got. But that is to be expected from Villainettes. Overall, he feels recharged and reinvigourated. And to assure that his good mood continues into the new year, he may well go back into the sweet isolation of the great obsidian tower of the Villainschloss for a few more days this week.

So let us see what there is to blog about...

Mudslides in California. It is a really horrible thing. Mrs. Villain was distressed to hear about this on Christmas.

Your Maximum Leader also feels badly for the people of Iran. 25000 dead from earthquakes. Very sad that the mullahs controlling Iran don't know anything about building codes.

Your Maximum Leader thanks the Minister of Agriculture for the beef. Especially with Mad Cows on the loose. Damn those Canadians.

They found me a new pet!

Your Maximum Leader is still writing his big post. But he is trying to edit and re-write and polish his work.

And finally.... Your Maximum Leader can proclaim that the terrorists have won. Yes they have. We no longer live in a free country. We live in a feeble state cowed by terrorists and thugs. Allow your Maximum Leader to explain...

For Christmas dinner at the Villainschloss, your Maximum Leader, Mrs. Villain, the Villainettes, your Maximum Leader's honoured in-laws, and the esteemed parents of your Maximum Leader like to dine on fine prime rib roast of beef, yorkshire pudding, broiled potatoes, asparagus salad, and onion casserole. (In case you were wondering, we had cold appetizers this year - not the normal mushroom-caps stuffed with crab meat. And, of course, the dinner is finished with some pies and cakes. And we know dinner is truely finished when your Maximum Leader adjourns to his study with Port and Stilton. But I digress...)

For those of you unaccustomed to making yorkshire pudding, you need fat. This is not to say that you need to be fat, but you must have liquid beef fat in which to cook the pudding. This fat must be heated until it satisfies the three "S"es. The fat must be "silent," "still," and "smoking" before you add the pudding batter. Now, to move along the narrative...

With Americans being more health conscious than ever, our beef is being trimmed of its fat in a way completely unknown to our parent, grandparents, and other ancestors. Hamburger is proudly sold as being "95% lean." This, my loyal minions, is a travesty. A few years ago, on Christmas day, your Maximum Leader looked into the oven in which was cooking the Christmas roast and saw that there were no drippings! And not only that, there were only 2 teaspoons of fat in the pan. This, my loyal minions, was not enough fat with which to cook the yorkshire pudding. So that year your Maximum Leader vowed never to be without sufficent fat on Christmas; lest his yorkshire pudding be cooked in Crisco and barely edible. From that year forward, your Maximum Leader himself has always gone out to a local butcher and acquired some extra fat for his yorkshire pudding. This year, the trip to the butcher was a rude awakening in how the terrorists have taken control of our nation.

Your Maximum Leader went to the grocery store and went to the meat department. Mrs. Villain has always had luck with this store and their butchers, so your Maximum Leader decided it was acceptable to patronize himself. He noticed a burly proletarian-looking fellow with a blood-spattered lab coat and assumed this man to be the butcher. Allow your Maximum Leader to recount what conversation ensued:

Maximum Leader: Good evening. Good man, are you the butcher here?
Butcher: Meat cutter.
ML: Come again?
Butcher: Meat cutter. I'm the meat cutter.
ML: (Thinking that someone called a meat cutter is a butcher's apprentice.) Will the butcher return presently? I have need for beef fat and must speak with the butcher.
Butcher: Listen. We don't call ourselves butchers anymore. We are meat cutters.
ML: You don't say...
Butcher: Yup. Even the Union has changed its name. We don't like to be called butchers anymore.
ML: Why is that? After hunters and prostitutes, butchers are practioners one of the oldest and most noble professions in the world.
Butcher: Don' know. I just know I am a meat cutter. So you need fat?
ML: Yes I do.
Butcher: Come back tomorrow at 8am. We should have some then.
ML: Indeed. I shall send my man for it. Good day, Mr. Meat Cutter...

Now your Maximum Leader must say it... What the F**k? Since when have butchers not been butchers? And sure enough, the friggin union is calling itself the "Meat Cutters." Your Maximum Leader was troubled by this nomenclature change while driving back to the Villainschloss in the Villainmobile. Then it dawned on him. The Butcher of Baghdad. The Butcher of Lyons. Damnit! The media was giving butchers a bad name... So they went and decided to call themselves "meat cutters."

And so it is. Butchers have gotten a self-esteem issue because everytime some homicidal maniac kills people the appellation "The Butcher of 'Fill-in-your-locality-here'" is liberally applied by the press. So to overcome their self-esteem issue, the butchers are no more. The butchers are dead! Long live the meat cutters! Damn the terrorists and nazis who have done this. Damn them all to hell... And that, my loyal minions, is another sign that the terrorists have won.

Carry on.

the Pardoning of the Dwarves

[NB: I hate the plural form "dwarfs." It's arguably the more commonly-used form, but I'll continue to write "dwarves" until somebody shoots me.]

Every New Year's Eve's Eve's Eve (i.e., the 29th of December), the Maximum Leader steps out onto the soaring perch of his 200-meter-high obsidian balcony, surveys the fawning masses below, and begins the annual Pardoning of the Dwarves ritual, which ends with the incantation, "I PISS ON EVERY LAST ONE OF YOU."

All the captured dwarves are brought forth into the daylight from their dungeons, flogging chambers, and forced-breeding dens, where they are ordered to stand in ranks while the wee Villainettes randomly select seven dwarves (yes, seven) for pardoning.

The audience wildly applauds the Maximum Leader's demonstration of compassion and mercy. They celebrate with a feast, followed by an even more thorough flogging of the remaining dwarves. The seven pardoned dwarves are sent into the woods where they may seek their fortune as manual laborers, but are forbidden sexual congress with normal human women (a law put in place after the embarrassing Snow White incident).

Tomorrow, then, is the Pardoning of the Dwarves. Your attendance is requested. Please assemble in front of the Villainschloss Balcony to bask in your Maximum Leader's Ponderous Peroration, and make sure your stomachs are empty, that they may be filled with the flesh of all manner of slaughtered beasts and birds. Please bring your horsewhips (and your good cheer) if you plan to participate in the Supplementary Flogging.

Glory to the realm!


December 24, 2003


Long review of the LOTR films from a long time fan of the books posted by yours truly at Big Hominid's blog.

December 22, 2003

Light Blogging this week.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is going to have to announce that there will be very light blogging this week. As it is Christmas (and Hannukah is wrapping up too!), your Maximum Leader is going to be spending time at the Villainschloss with Mrs. Villain and the Villainettes. This means blog time will be minimal. He hopes to jump onto the blog from time to time and write something, but no guarantees.

Did your Maximum Leader mention that he saw "The Return of the King" this weekend? Well he did. It was great. The whole Lord of the Rings saga is definately one of the greatest movies ever made. I will have to revise my movie list accordingly.

In other news, your Maximum Leader decided not to fisk this post on another site. I just don't have it in me. The arguments against this position have been made over and over. I just found myself becoming distracted and bored in my fisking attempt. Let it suffice to say I didn't get the jump from how stopping support for Israel would both end terrorism and also serve to recognize the humanity of all people. And, it also annoyed me insofar as there was an assertion of basic human rights. As your Maximum Leader has said before, there are no such things (in his mind) as basic human rights in the sense alluded to by ForensicHorologist. Rights are the construct of the state. They differ from state to state and culture to culture. I don't really think you could get a group of people from diverse cultures and backgrounds around the world to agree on more than 2 "basic human rights" that could be globally accepted. And recognizing those 2 rights is not going to move us any closer to a better more peaceful world.

Your Maximum Leader is still writing a piece on rationality, law, politics, and society. So, stay tuned.

Your Maximum Leader, as he does every day, was reading Professor Burgess-Jackson's site. (It is the Analphilosopher link on the sidebar.) And he read this piece about the Professor's egg carton. I wonder if the Minister of Agriculture could comment on how what a chicken is fed might affect the appellation "all natural." The Professor's eggs, it seems, come from grain fed chickens. Would some other feed mixture affect how "natural" the chicken (and by extrapolation the eggs) are? I wonder. (And as an aside: Professor, again, thanks for your writings every day. There is always something to think about in your writings or excerpts every day.)

In other news....

Your Maximum Leader loved this... I would definately throw back a lobster dressed as Barbie.

Your Maximum Leader would love to own this.

Watch out Bill Gates! Rupert is going to have the Fox Operating System before you know it!

Do you want to know why this story is false? If a group of Kurds found Saddam before we did they would have killed him in a particularly unpleasant way. End of story.

And that is the end of this post.

Carry on.

Classic Link

No message. Just a funny link.

December 19, 2003

More mindless blogging...

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is doing a little bit 'o blogging to pass a little time. First off, he had to remove the link to the German Uberbabe, Heidi Klum. As she is now with some Italian granddad-lover's child, she no longer deserves a place of esteem in the link list. But, fear not! The very-dear-to-our-hearts, Jennifer Love Hewitt remains. Ah, Jennifer, why does your Maximum Leader bother to stray from you? He wonders....

Sad, yet not so sad, news from Israel. The Uzi is officially retired. While the gun does have its problems (read the article - your Maximum Leader agrees completely with the deficiencies listed) it is somewhat sad that the gun is no longer officially in the arsenal of the IDF. Your Maximum Leader doesn't know much about the Tavor (the Uzi's replacement), but will endeavour to find out more.

Never send a cat to do a dog's work. Your Maximum Leader (a dog man himself) firmly believes that man's best friend would be able to "finish the job" in this type of case. Now that old woman will wonder what the gleam in ever cat's eye really means for her...

Is this guy related to Keith Richards? I mean really... What would it take to kill this guy if a Blood Alcohol Content of 7.22 will not? Your Maximum Leader, like Robin Williams, is convinced that Keith Richards will survive us all. It looks like Keith will not be alone...

Tables turned on bad "John." It is good to see a story like this. Your Maximum Leader is glad to see the Bakersfield "lady" take the law into her own hands and give this sicko a little taste of what he should get. (Alas, our criminal justice system might not give him any worse punishment than he has already received. And one can only hope that the "lady" will not be charged with anything.)

Yeah. I know it's a church NOW. But I bet the guys sitting there will not be thinking about salvation.

Welcome back Annika. Your Maximum Leader missed you. But he still strongly disagrees with you about the F-4 Phantom. Brick with wings...

Kilgore Trout is funny. Very funny. Many thanks to Anna for finding him. (Note to Anna: Love the Christmas photo and kewpie. Both excellent.)

This man is a machine. If you don't check out Professor Burgess-Jackson's blog every day you will miss something very thought provoking. And that would be your loss. Your Maximum Leader doesn't know how he does it. He always is posting something. It is great. Your Maximum Leader wishes he had the time and spare neurons to do such good work.

Your Maximum Leader would like to learn more about what is going on at this UNESCO Conference that Tyler Cowen over at Volokh is attending. It seems a little scary.

For all you single people out there. This is a good quotation.

And finally.... Your Maximum Leader is working on two (yes two!) more substantive blogs. One is just fisking something he read earlier. The second is something that has been germinating for a while.... Until later my minions!

Carry on.

December 18, 2003

Tabula Rasa

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sat down before his ubercomputer to blog. And he sat. And he sat. And he sat, sat, sat.

Then he wanted to congratulate the Minister of Agriculture for his kind call last night to discuss his new cattle trailer. Your Maximum Leader hopes to be able to see it in action very soon transporting the next steer purchased for his dining pleasure from the auction to the green, green fields of home. And then a few months later, from the green, green fields of home to a good Mennonite butcher....

Then he sat. And he sat. And he sat, sat, sat.

Then, your Maximum Leader turned off his ubercomputer and decided to watch another episode of The History of Britain by Simon Schama on DVD. He watched two episodes. The one about Henry II and his sons. And then the one on Edward I and the wars with Wales and Scotland. Love them both.

Then he sat. And he sat. And he sat, sat, sat.

Then he went to bed. Then he woke up. And there is still nothing interesting him enough to blog about...

Carry on.

December 17, 2003

Just blogging...

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader might try to get some quality blogging in today. (Or might not, as your definition of "quality blogging" may differ from mine.)

First, allow me to say that there are piles of quality blogs over at the Poet Laureate's site. He is producing copious volumes of mental meaticles for your reading pleasure. Want to discuss order? Or more on order? Or even more on order? It is here for you.

And allow me to also direct you to Easterblogg where the ever insightful Gregg Easterbrook contemplates the question "Where is Osama and why can't we find a rat?" I think it is very important to read that last paragraph of his post. Gregg suggests that we find an Iraqi rat to pay the bounty that we put on Saddam's head. I completely agree.

Where is the justice in this photo? He is old enough to be her father for Christsakes! Don't you worry... Flavio might meet with a firey end in the MWO. But don't fret about Heidi, she will be well cared for. And the child? Well... There is always the army... At least your Maximum Leader's weakness is still without a little "Love" growing inside her.

"A-double-lizzle" continues to crack me up. But following the links in this post to the "Jewcy" products and previewing some of the products upsets me for some reason. Call your Maximum Leader a prude but this shirt is a little bit offensive. (But then again, your Maximum Leader is the proud owner of this shirt. So I suppose I shouldn't be critical.)

Today would be a great day to be in Kitty Hawk. 100 years of powered flight. Humm... It only takes about 100 hours to get through security at Midway Airport in Chicago. Is this really progress?

U-oh! The Chinese are cracking down on those people who sponsored (organized?) the orgy for that group of Japanese tourists. One would think that with China becoming more and more capitalist in their economic orientation they wouldn't want to crack down on this type of stuff... Afterall, if they didn't they could sure make those brothel owners in Thailand anxious.

Have you ever eatten bad curry? It will kill ya. I had some bad curry once at this place in Adams Morgan in DC. Whew! Be glad you weren't paying homage to your Maximum Leader that night.

Remember how all those Palestinians started naming their kids "Saddam" and "Osama" a few years ago. Do you think they are going to want to pull a "Tariq Azziz" too?

Could this be the reason the original inhabitants of Easter Island left? No food. No doctors. No Cable.

Now it is all Russia's fault. Those lousy EU bastards.

Your Maximum Leader wonders what Andrew Sullivan (or for that matter the Minister of Agriculture or Poet Laureate) think of this? Okay. Here is what Andrew thinks.

Did your Maximum Leader already mention his weakness? Oh... I must have... Nevermind.

Carry on.

General comments

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been busy preparing for Christmas, and hasn't had time to blog. And after a quick survey of the blogosphere, it seems most of the good topics have been covered at great length, and in many cases more eloquently put than your Maximum Leader can summon up the creativity to match... You see, your Maximum Leader has recently been charged by Mrs. Villain to write the Christmas letter for circulation amongst family and a few very loyal minions. Think of it as an annual circular of the goings on at the Villainschloss and innocuous update on the progress of the MWO. It is quite draining to write a letter that both satisfies the curiosity of the reader who wants to know what is going on, but also does so in a fashion that is unlikely to be duplicated by others. This year's letter will take the unconventional form of a dialogue transcribed for the readers pleasure....

Moving along...

Your Maximum Leader (a member of the NRA and proud gun-owner) does have to concur with the befuddled Minster of Agriculture on the whole shooting guns in the air bit. Eugene Volokh has some interesting posts on this matter here and here. (Okay, the first one is just a statement, but the second one is more interesting.)

Speaking of Eugene Volokh, he recently requested readers of his site to contribute ideas for him. He needs something that could have been invented by ancient Romans, but was not. Here is the link to his post, and here is a follow-up. Your Maximum Leader is still thinking about this. Everything I've come up with would require modern manufacturing techniques.... Humm...

In other news... Does human waste along the highway occur with such frequency in Washington state that legislation should be required to combat it? Makes one wonder about just how livable the Seattle area is.

Ack! First Gwyneth. Now Heidi too? And the father is Italian? Humm... German/Italian relationships haven't worked too well in the past. Not that your Maximum Leader wouldn't want them to be a happy couple.

Your Maximum Leader already tires of all of the whiners around the world (and at home) who want to see Saddam tried in an international court. It is right that the Iraqis should try him. If they want international involvement, I say Saddam can try and hire some of the lawyers who work in the Hague for his defence.

And to close this short post... Your Maximum Leader must state something for the record. The Minister of Agriculture's beef (that is to say the steer he recently slaughtered as his annual tribute to your Maximum Leader) is quite delicious. At the Villainschloss we dined on a fine roast of said beef. It was very tender, it marinaded well, and there is a noticable taste difference from store-bought beef. The flavour of the beef is more direct (for lack of a better description) than in store-bought beef. There is also a flavour that reminds me slightly of lamb in it. (Yes lamb, which I realize isn't cow. Allow me to continue...) Your Maximum Leader believes this is due to two factors, one the youth of the steer when harvested; and the fact that it was grass-fed - not grain-fed. Your Maximum Leader equates this flavour to being fresh and clean with lamb, and feels the same applies here. It was quite good and he looks forward to eating more and more.

Carry on.

December 16, 2003

Saddam Celebrations

Someone please explain to the poor befuddled Minister of Agriculture the celebratory tradition of firing guns into the air -- The bullets eventually come DOWN you ignorant sacks of crap! Ten people have died from and over 80 have been wounded by falling bullets:

"Woo-hoo! We have captured the evil man who killed hundreds of thousands of our countrymen! Let's shoot into the air and kill a few more of our countrymen!"

This assinine style of celebration astounds me.

I many be accused of lacking sympathy, but this also reminds me of the wedding party that accidentally got shot up by an American aircraft. To celebrate the wedding, they began firing their rifles into the air. The pilot believed (not unreasonably) that he was being fired upon and lit them up. While it is sad that they died so needlessly, and with the full knowledge that that incident hurt us diplomatically, but I have a hard time saying the pilot ought to be disciplined.

It ought to be illegal to shoot weapons in celebration as a simple public health precaution.

I await the NRA onslaught which will inevitably arise to defend the right of people to enjoy their weapons in any way that they see fit, regardless of the public consequences.


December 15, 2003

Giving the Poet Laureate a run for his money...

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was perusing Allah's site and found a link to Iowahawk. He read the haiku and laughed and laughed. He then read the Saddam vs. Dems debate and laughed and laughed. Read for yourself!

Carry on.

Maximum Leader Returns.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader goes away for a few days, and then Saddam Hussein is captured. Coincidence? We think not...

Lots of stuff to think over before doing a serious post. Thanks to my loyal ministers for blogging in my absence.

Carry on.

December 14, 2003

They Got Him!

Go to any news url, cnn, usatoday, washingtonpost etc, and the lead story will be about the capture of Saddam Hussen. Wonderful news all around.

That is, unless you are a Democrat. I wonder if Dean, Gephart et al. are sitting at home banging their heads against a wall. Given the state of disorder in the Democratic party, and the absolute lack of any sort of vision displayed by the Left right now, this has to put a damper on their chances in 2004.

Still, it's a joyous day for any who love Freedom, and Liberty Great news all around.

Actually, it's a crappy day for me. I have to fly to Seattle today in this nasty weather. For someone who dislikes air travel already, yuck.

PLUS, I have to miss the Skins-Cowboys game.

December 13, 2003

O Tacitus!

Back from Africa-- again-- Tacitus offers up a meditation on shifting political perceptions and realities. Selected chunks of dairy cow:

I have in recent weeks started to question just what the American left thinks American conservatism is. I go through Jesse Taylor's '03 Most Annoying Conservatives list to find not a single individual whom I read or pay attention to; Tim Dunlop tells me that I'm in a minority if I don't listen to Limbaugh or Hannity; and Dave Neiwert spends a great deal of time and energy countering the eliminationist threat from the marginal idiot Misha. And now Meteor Blades is telling me that the American right is about to achieve its greatest dream. Well, no.

I mean, maybe I'm on the margins. Maybe all the other kids on the right really are taking their marching orders from NRO and Fox News. Maybe everyone else really is arming for violence against the left in '04, and I'm excluded due to shoddy marksmanship. Maybe we really are on the brink of pulling off a fantastic policy coup despite all available evidence.

Or maybe, just as the right could barely bear to acknowledge Clinton's conservative achievements -- balanced budgets, welfare reform -- so the left can now hardly admit the liberalism of George W. Bush and the modern "conservative" movement. I could be wrong -- it's just a thought.

This isn't exactly a new topic, but it's an important one. I've found it supremely ironic that the rubric "small-government" can't be applied to Republicans, to the extent they feel it necessary to legislate morality and private conduct at the national level. I find it ironic that Dean appears to be the fiscal conservative while Bush appears-- no, IS-- profligate. It's ironic that many liberals seem to have, through a perhaps too-thorough immersion in the postmodernist version of pluralism, painted themselves into a weird little corner in which "respect all cultures-- do not judge!" becomes an ethic that protects those cultural forms that, by all rights, deserve to disappear.

We're in an amazing period of ideological flux right now. People's perceptions and interpretations of the same event are wildly different: the world isn't just spinning; it's spin.

Great time to be alive and aware.


December 12, 2003

American Livestock Breed Conservancy

For the Foreign Minister:

Bonnie is on the "watch list," but Ayrshires are certainly representative of a wider gene pool than Holsteins. Holsteins now make up over 95% of dairy cattle today, so I guess the rest of the dairy breeds (except maybe the Jersey) are becoming rare.

When I add sheep to the operation it will be Tunis sheep. A cool rare breed with a cool history.

All three of our chicken breeds are on the albc list, though Orpingtons are recovering.

I would love a guest blog on bovine immunology from Mrs. Air Marshall!

Rare Breed

I like Rare Breed too. Best bourbon around. For the FM's benefit, I checked, and Rare Breed IS available in Germany.

Sweet seasons is the place for me....

Thanks for the epistle on bovine longevity. Its intriguing to me. I guess, in a way, I am living part of my life vicariously through the MA.

When is the MA going to put up a website so we can "virtualy" check in on the farm?

Have the steers gone to the big house?

Personally, I like the rare breeds myself. For no other reason than it is something that you don’t see every day and you are keeping alive breeds that are not marketable but are possibly still very good beef or dairy cattle.

Is there anything in the US like The Rare Breeds Survival Trust?
Is there any niche market for steaks or milk from something other than over geneticized cattle?

It reminds me of produce. It seems like all the really good fruit and vegetable varieties (that taste good) have been replaced with varieties that produce well (and maybe look better on the shelf).

Back to the Trenches

December 11, 2003


My God, the minister of Agriculture is long winded....

My wife got her MS working on a degree dealing with Bovine Immunology. If you want, I can have her guest blog on that, for your benefit. She's been working on Biophysics related to EM fields since about 97, but I'm sure she'd willingly take a walk through the cowpatties of her past.

For those who don't know any of us... in one of those bizzare coincidences, I went to Elementary School with the Minister of Agriculture, I went to High School with Max Leader, and Minister of Agriculture went to College with Max Leader.

Not that any of that matters to the unwashed masses.

Bovine Longevity

The Maximum Leader’s vacation has left a heavy burden on his loyal lieutenants. Since there is nothing in the news that is particularly electrifying, I will blog on the contentious, much-debated issue of bovine longevity. For those of you who care not one whit about cattle, skip this blog. If you are interested in random farming thoughts, read on.

Last weekend a professional photographer came to Sweet Seasons Farm. He is a stock photographer who sells family-type pictures to magazines like “Parenting Today.” In return for allowing him to sell any marketable pics, we will be getting as many professional-quality prints of my daughter as we wish. Cool deal, huh?

We set up one shooting location next the barn my Dad and I have been building. I pushed a few hay bales together in the location chosen by the photographer to maximize light, propped my beautiful daughter atop the hay bale with a Buff Orpington hen, and sat down to pose with the family.

My bovine who thinks she is a canine decided that she needed attention and that the family picture would be incomplete without her presence and joined us. The photographer ended up taking a bunch of shots of just the heifer (What! Are you saying the cow is better looking than my daughter!?).

(In case you were wondering, in the light of the fact that our family portrait includes a chicken and a cow, my “farm dog” Kermit is not in the picture. He has decided that it was too cold for his runty little butt and returned to the warmth of the indoors. The declension model is so, so, true.)


The photographer was quite taken by Bonnie’s cheerful friendliness. We went through an entire conversation about having a family cow. At one point, he asked about how long a cow lived. I had to pause and collect my thoughts before I answered.

Bovine longevity is a tricky issue.

Very few cows actually live long enough to succumb to old age. Male cattle have an even shorter life expectancy.

Veal calves (usually bull calves of the dairy breeds) have the least amount of time on this globe. They are generally slaughtered at one to three months of age. Of course, considering the conditions that veal calves suffer, the short lifespan may be a blessing.

Baby beef steers are generally walk the last mile at between 8 and 12 months of age.

Most beef steers (or beeves) are sent to slaughter at 14 to 16 months of age after several months of intense grain feeding.

Bulls in beef herds may last to 4 or 5 years – if kept any longer, they will end up breeding their own daughters that have been kept as replacements. Sometimes farmers might trade bulls and that would give the traded bulls a two year extension, but usually bulls are just sent to the slaughterhouse when the threat of inbreeding arises.

Dairy bulls kept for semen – and these represent a tiny, tiny percentage of bulls, may live a couple years longer since inbreeding is not a factor. The limit here is imposed by the constant increase in the genetic merit of each Holstein generation – A bull whose semen carries a premium one year is obsolete two years later. Even a freakishly awesome bull may not live long – his semen can be harvested and shipped for years after he has met the butcher.

Most dairy cows will live for around 5 years – three lactations is the average. With few exceptions, they simply wear out fast. Since Holsteins have now been so genetically modified, their huge udders do not last for years; instead of producing one or two gallons of milk a day, there are now some top-of-the line Holsteins that produce 12-15 gallons of milk a day. Imagine your wife or girlfriend (or yourself) and then increase breast size by a factor of 8. That is where our Holsteins are now. Eventually the udder attachment will start to give out and the cow will lose its ability to produce milk. Genetic advancement lays a role too. If a dairy farmer is following sound genetic practices when purchasing semen, the new heifers will ALWAYS be better than their dams. An older cow producing 24,000 lbs of milk a year will be sent to the butcher to make way for her daughter who produces 24,500. The genetic improvement has come at a price; modern Holsteins have a remarkably small gene pool – good bulls who throw milk production might father tens of thousands of calves. While this has led to unbelievable increases in productivity, it has come at the cost of lower fertility – many cows have difficulty becoming pregnant so they are culled too. Additionally, the conditions in which dairy cows are raised also limits their lifespan. In many operations, the cows never leave their barns and are on hard concrete their entire lives. By the time they reach four or five years of age their knees are so afflicted with arthritis that they have to be culled. Constant exposure to built up manure allows disease to spread. One particularly nasty manure-borne disease is Johnes disease. I visited a 1400 cow dairy two years ago in which the disease was endemic. Johnes disease is the bovine equivalent of Krohn’s disease in humans – the intestinal lining of the stomach is gradually eaten away, causing great pain, and eventually death. The dairy did not even attempt to keep new heifers from catching the disease. Since the progress of the disease is as slow as it is painful, it does not cause a real drop in production until the cow is four or five years old – at which point most cows are going to be culled anyway. A few strong cows that have good udder attachment and are good milk producers might warrant a few more lactations – those cows might be lost to Johnes but the percentage is so small that it isn’t economical to try to isolate them from the pathogen.

Beef cows last much longer. Since the pressure for genetic improvement is much lower, there is not the same incentive to switch out cows for newer models. They also tend to live their lives on sod, which preserves their legs. Most will survive until age takes a toll on their ability to calve or breed back. A tremendously efficient beef producer might replace his cows every seven or eight years – the point at which the pregnancy cycle starts to stretch from twelve to fifteen months. More relaxed cow-calf operations might hold onto a cow to ten or twelve years.

Which brings us to Bonnie. She is an Ayrshire and one of the reasons I chose that breed is because they have not been genetically suped-up to the same extent as the black and whites. A high level of milk production isn’t that important – four gallons a day will raise four calves (and four more after those are weaned). I expect that she will be able to calve and milk for me for twelve years or so. While it doesn’t make much economic sense, at that point I’ll keep one of her daughters and let her retire. She is already a pet – she won’t end her days as hamburger. With grass to eat, a barn to shelter her old bones in the winter and room to roam the other three seasons, she will probably live to twenty or twenty-five, a loyal old 1100 pound pet.

ML's trip

Ohwhere oh where is the ML going?

Is he going to the hospital to have that big growth on his left butt cheek removed?

Is he going to camp out for disney on ice tickets for the Villainettes?

Or is he just at home spending several days gaming on his new supercomputer, not showering, existing only on a diet of diet soda, cheap beer and cheeze doodles, until his back room office smells as nasty as a Frenchman's left shoe.

The world may never know.

Maximum Leader will be away.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader must leave the dark imposing towers of the Villainschloss and do a little travel. Is he going to confer with the Pope? Give the latest set of marching orders to Dick Cheney? Is he going to the Trilateral Commission meeting? Is he going to Belgium to see how his plans for dominating Europe through the auspices of the EU are going?

That is the question.... One that will be more shrouded in secrecy than G.W. Bush's Thanksgiving trip to Baghdad...

So while your Maximum Leader is away, he will leave this space in the trusteeship of his various Ministers. May all of you blog well in my temporary absence. Your Maximum Leader hopes to be blogging again on Sunday.

Carry on.

EU / ML ascension strategy

Now the real reason the French/Germans/Russians opposed the war becomes apparent once again. We snuffed out one of their best customers. Shouldn't have been selling military related equipment to a nation under a UN embargo, anyway, but I guess that's irrelevant. Europeans are free to ignore the UN when convenient.

UN control of the Internet? I can see the rules now. Every 5th e-mail sent MUST denounce Israel. Well, since Al Gore invented it, who better then Kofi Annan (sp?) to administer it.

The UN is great. Saudi Arabia lets a school full of little girls burn to the ground, killing all involved, because their fire fighters aren't allowed to mingle with "single women" due to Morality issues... and the UN is silent. But every time an American Soldier flicks a booger on the ground, the UN calls for an investigation. The UN has become an "I hate America/Israel" forum. I used to think that at the very least, it was good to have representatives of all these nations in the same room talking. Now I'm not sure it's even worth that.

And with regard to the UN and the EU, where do their legitimacy come from? I'm a big believer that legitimacy of governments flows from the people on up. Legitimate elections are the implementation of the voice of the citizens. So how is the UN a legitimate voice for anything, unless it's power flows, through governments, from the people? And where to the fat, chocolate munching Belgian bureaucrats get off thinking they can rule the world by decree from Brussels? I don't think we should acknowledge the EU in any way, until it's run by elected officials.

Note to ML... Become a Belgian bureaucrat. That's your path to eventual power. There's no accountability for the EU, so all you need to do is rise to power there, declare yourself leader of Europe. Chose whatever title you want, let's say Chancellor for arguments sake. Don't renounce your American citizenship. Once you're ML of Europe, then use your financial assets to win the Republican nomination for president. Let's be real, enough money will by you anything in the GOP. And you can raid your European coffers. Once you are both ML of Europe and President of the US, you can throw off your Chancellors robes and declare your self Darth Maximus, Dark Lord of the Sith, Imperious Leader, or whatever you want.

Can’t believe the EU is crying about this!

What did they expect? Here again, they are so confident in their winning the steel tariff issue that they want to take this to the WTO.

And to hear Russia complain that they are owed 9 Billion! That is what they get for selling Saddam crappy soviet military equipment, outdated oil drilling equipment, and GPS jammers. This Iraq business is going to cost the US way over 80 Billion and I don’t want a penny of it to go into the hands of the EU vultures REGARDLESS of whether or not it was a “just” war.

And, now the UN is meeting in Geneva to discuss Internet access for everyone (read poor countries that cannot afford the infrastructure). That is fine and dandy, but I am sure that they want the US to help foot the bill. I have also heard that on the agenda is moving the control of the internet out of the hands of the United States and under UN control.

Yeah, that is exactly what we need. Maybe Robert Mugabe will be the UN minister responsible for this equal access project.

Back to the Trenches


December 10, 2003

More EU Whining.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been quick preoccupied today and unable to blog much. He did, however, happen to take a break to catch up on the news and various blogs. He wanted to write something concerning the US decision to only allow contractors from countries allied to the US in Iraq to bid on Iraqi reconstruction contracts. He read some other bloggers and decided to direct his minions to Gregg Easterbrook. Choice line: Are France and Germany so pathetic now that their contractors must receive handouts from American taxpayers?

Carry on.

More Battlestar Galactica

Greetings loyal minons. Your Maximum Leader enjoyed watching the Sci Fi channels "Battlestar Galactica" mini-series on Monday and Tuesday night. He shall now share some thoughts on it with you...

I really liked how it became a human drama and not just a space adventure shoot 'em up. The human stories were the prime movers of the story. They did a great job of developing characters that were full. Full in the sense of being real and accessible to the viewer. The special effects were good. CGI gets better and better. I liked the way the show looked. The sets were good, there was enough of the old series in it to satisfy my nostalgic impulses, but it was new enough for me to recognize the art direction involved was good.

I enjoyed the the way the Cylon concept had been modified from the series. They were created by humans to make life easier and then decided to rise up against their creators. This storyline taps into some interesting archetypal stories. But one interesting subtext to the new human-esque Cylons is their capacity to feel emotion and to grow and learn intellectually. In some respect the primary Cylon character in the story (the hot blonde one) seems to have feelings for Baltar and is giving him help (if she is in fact more than a figment of his imagination - another great possible storyline). In what way could they be like Replicants from Blade Runner.... Humm....

On a lighter note:

But Boomer is a Cylon!!!!! ACK! Yes, she is a Cylon. Hummm... Like the Replicant (Rachel) in Blade Runner, she doesn't know. She may even think she is a human. Is Apollo going to have to invite her back to his place, get her drunk, sleep with her, and then start describing her memories for her to make her realize she is a Cylon?

Also, So let me get this straight. There are 12 models of Cylons. And as best we can tell there are four models that look and act like humans. And of those four models, there are two male models; and two female models. The male models are generally unattractive and even sorta geeky. But the female models are a scortching hot blonde and an equally hot asian. As as best we can tell, both female models are quite hormonally active. Hummmm... What was the downside to a Cylon takeover for Baltar? (Assuming they would let him live...)

And finally... Where did all The Brothers go? Col. Tigh used to be a Brother; now he is an old bald boozing white guy. Boomer used to be a Brother; now he is a hot asian chick (Cylon). The only Brother I saw was the one guy panicing on the Transport ship with the Education Minister/President of the Colonies. Okay, what's her name, that used to be the Blonde communications girl; she is now a Sister. But really... What happened? The "Lords of Cobol" (sounds like a bad heavy metal band made up of middle aged computer programmers) sent almost all the Brothers to Earth? Where's the love in that?

That is all for now.

Carry on.

December 09, 2003

Take that MD!

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, for many many years, has had harboured a real dislike of Maryland. It must be said that some of your Maximum Leader's best friends and most loyal minions live (or have lived) in Maryland. But it still pains him to travel to/in that state. Now, it gives him great pleasure to say that Virginia has bitch-slapped Maryland in the US Supreme Court.

Carry on.

Drinking Rules

As I sit here at lunch reading the Maximum Leader's link to the "Rules of Drinking," a couple of rules are jumping out at me:

25. It is only permissible to shout 'woo-hoo!' if you are doing a shot with four or more people.

Uh-oh. I seem to be in violation. Unless there is an exemption for exclamatory "woo-hoos" that are issued while spinning in a circle.

60. If you are broke and a friend is “making sport of you”, you may steal any drink he leaves unattended.

The Maximum Leader and the Foreign Minister will never finish a drink again.


Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that the good Dr. Burgess-Jackson has posted a fun quotation about reason on his blog. It summarizes your Maximum Leader's thoughts almost exactly. Which reminds him, work continues on a treatis concerning rationality in politics and civil society.

Carry on.

Listmania continues!

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader read this list last week. Your Maximum Leader believes that all his ministers will enjoy it. Thanks to Conrad of the Gweilo Diaries for the link.

And in a non-listmania moment, the Foreign Minister hasn't been at the Villainschloss since the Maximum Leader has his new TV installed. It is quite nice. Just ask the Poet Laureate... And, although Mrs. Villain doesn't know, there is now a new DVD player and extra speakers coming for Christmas.

Carry on.

Foreign Minister's movie list.

It was hard narrowing the list of movies that I like to 10 or less, so I didn't. I figured that this would be my desert island DVD collection if stranded on a desert Island with a wide screen plasma TV and a DVD player. I have provided links to Amazon if you are curious enough to check them out further.

He she goes...
To Catch a thief My all time favorite movie. Grace Kelly IMHO was the hottest babe to ever be on the silver screen.

Strange Days "Futuristic" (set at the 1999-2000 new year) movie with some really cool technology. Raph Finnes is the lead

Blade Runner This is how I envision the "future" to be... not the replicants exactly but the "enviroment" of the setting.

Ice Pirates Made in 1984 a comedy sci-fi movie that makes me chukkle just thinking about it!

Pulp Fiction Hey can I give you a foot massage?

Brazil Dark Comedy from a member of the Python Troupe

City of Lost Children Neat French film about a man who steals the dreams of Children. Cool Visuals

Mad Max and the Road Warrior What is not to like about this Post Apocalyptic movie?

Body Double Met the lead actor in a bar once.... cool movie

The Duelist Riddley Scott's early period piece film set in Napoleonic wars. Cool to watch fashions change as these two calvalry officers go at each other through the various campaigns

The Wild Bunch Sam Peckinpah created the slow motion violence genre and generally uped the violence ante with this western Gem. I think it is the Best Western of ALL time. Set at the end of the Cowboy era in 1913(?) Cant say enough about it!

Cross of Iron IMHO the best WW2 movie ever. Same director as Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah ) lots of slow motion violence and is pretty authentic as far as props and uniforms go. The worst thing is everybody in the movie has a 1970's haircut.

Repo Man Emilio Esevez stars in this wacky dark comedy (complete with Aliens, and Cross Dressing John Wayne)

Caligula (not rated version) When in Rome... do as Caligula!

12 Monkeys
Ironically I am not a big fan of Bruce W but he is the lead in this movie (along with Brad P) Futuristic world gone wrong movie.

The Toxic Avenger *snicker Snicker* you mean you haven't seen this?

Fight Club While I am not a Brad P fan either, here he is again in what I think is a very interesting movie.

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen This movie is another hoot from the Monty Python alumni. I once read that the Nazis made a version of this film late in WW2. Hard to believe the walls were crumbling around them and they had time to make an epic film (this link is not to the Nazi version)

Clerks Never heard of Snowballing till I saw this movie.... I guess it was educational.

The Usual Suspects IF it shows up on all of our lists it must be good!

Galaxy Quest Tim Allen did a great job in this....

Amadeus This is the kind of movie that made me get a DVD player. Ironically, i don't have it in my collection yet but this is one that I would take to a desert Island with me.

Field of Dreams Strangely, I stayed glued to the screen whenever this comes on. I am not a Kevin C fan (or a big baseball fan for that matter) but this movie gets me.

And lastly... some PORN
I saw Bad Girls III in college and visions of it still dance in my head. Sadly it is not available anymore as it had Tracy Lords who was like 17 at the time (unbeknownst the the Porn Industry or Feds). So I guess I will take a classic like Devil in Mrs Jones

Back to the Trenches...

the FM

Update from Maximum Leader: I believe that the WW2 Baron Munchausen was produced in 1943 (and in colour from what I understand). Here is the first link I could find for the version the Foreign Minister is speaking about. At some point in the mid-1990s there was some company that was releasing this film along with Olympia and Triumph of the Will... But I can't find them any more...

Dogpile on the EU Rabbit!

I would like to revel in my minion-ness and agree 100% with the ML on this EU Steel-Tariff-Sanctions-Tax thingy. (Notice my use of correct grammar and technical terms).

This is just another example of the slippery slope/nose under the tent thing that scares me about Gun control (but that is another topic).

But what really blows my o-ring is that fact that if we don’t work with world opinion, they call us Unilateralist, if we do comply, their newspaper (and other media outlets) report things like “US buckles to EU, EU wins trade War with US, or Bush succumbs to pressure from EU.” They keep score like it is some sort of football match.

Why is it that every other country can look out for its interest without a hitch but when we do likewise, we are the bad guy.

Europe has been protected by the US for the last 60 years which has enabled them to focus on their socialist states. Now, with the enemy gone, they see themselves as having risen above brute force politics and that they are more civilized or higher on the intellectual food chain than those of us in the God fearin’, Jerry Springer loving US.
(The Europeans love Jerry Springer too, they just hate to admit that they have just as nutty folks in their countries).

Makes me sick it does.

Besides, with the dollar in the toilet, we don’t need tariffs anyway. The fall of the dollar has made European goods (and steel) 35% more expensive anyway.

I think that the most important thing we could do as a nation is pour millions of dollars and other resources into building a soccer team that will win that freakin’ World Cup. That is about the only way the world would respect us anyway.

And then melt the friggen trophy down and make bullets for our troops to use in the Middle East.

The next best thing we could do is spend the same amount as the Iraq war has cost or even just $50 Billion on a fossil fuel alternative.

Back to the trenches….

The FM

Update from the Maximum Leader: Your Maximum Leader published the my anti-EU blog w/out doing any proofing late last night. He has proofed more now, and believes the Tariff spelling issue and the loses vs. looses issue to be resolved. He should wait to do his invective when he can proof-read.

EU and Trade.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader's hackles are raised and his blood pressure is slowly elevating. (Neither of these are good signs for the uninitiated.) He was driving one of the Villainettes out to do a little Christmas shopping when he heard a disturbing report on the NPR program "Marketplace." Here is the link if you want to listen to the report. It seems the lummoxes at the EU have decided that since they got the US to back down on Steel Tariffs they ought to draw from the well again. Now they are demanding that various tax subsidies (ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization - WTO) be repealed or they will institute their own tariffs on various American products.

Now. Before your Maximum Leader completely loses his cool let him note a few things. First, he believed that the Steel Tariffs were bad and that they should be repealed. Second, he is a big believer in free trade, but not a big believer in the WTO. In fact, your Maximum Leader is not a big believer in multinational organizations that promote "international law." He firmly believes that while collective action is a good thing, ultimately there is no sovereignty greater than that of the individual nation-state. And ultimately, the nation-state needs to be able to act in its own interests. International law, while a novel idea, is subordinate to the law of the individual nation-state. That is to say that each nation must choose to obey international law, or have that law dictated to it by others. Lastly, your Maximum Leader is a big believer in fair play. Now....

So the little EU pencil-dicks have decided that we can't give tax breaks to various corporations to allow them to compete with European Consortiums that are FRIGGING OWNED AND SUBSIDZED BY THE EU MEMBER STATES! It seems that according to the WTO, a government can't give a tax-break to a company; but if they want to buy a huge part of the business and funnel tax money into it by way of stockholding and special grants that is fine. I'd like to see some French farmers learn that their subsidies are going to be cut. I'd like to see what happens when Airbus loses the financial support of Germany, Spain, and France. I'd like to see what Mercedes would do without occasional help from the Government. I'd like to see the Germans and the French abide by the same financial guidelines they are FORCING DOWN THE THROATS OF ALL THE OTHER EU STATES!

Your Maximum Leader is angered by this. But alas, the hour is late, and your Maximum Leader needs to get some sleep. He promises more invective in the morning.

Carry on.

Battlestar Galactica

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader just finished watching the first episode of the new SciFi mini-series "Battlestar Galactica." On the balance it was very good. (Except he was a bit dismayed by overuse of the pan flute to give extra "emotion".) He enjoyed the CGI special effects. But, he is not sure he likes the moral situation created by the Cylons being the robot creations of humans who turned on their creators. (But in a way the producers have now tapped into a greater archetype. Greek Gods vs. Titans. Master vs. Slave. etc) For the first few minutes it was looking like it was going to be one be make-out session. Everyone seemed to be making out with everyone else. Crazy really. Your Maximum Leader will give a full review after part two tomorrow.

Carry on.


Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader will rise to the challenge of the Minister of Agriculture. Firstly let your Maximum Leader say that he is glad to have the M of A suggest a topic. Your Maximum Leader was looking forlornly at his blog wondering what to write. No longer!

The list alluded to by the M of A, the one that marriage (not Mrs. Villain specifically) put a stop to, was the infamous list entitled: The most desireable women in the universe ever. While I do not retain a copy of this list anywhere I do remember many of the Top 10. (And this was a Top 10 listed in no particluar order.)
1. Vivian Leigh
2. Helen of Troy
3. Heidi Klum
4. Margaret Thatcher
5. Paulina Porizkova
6. Benazir Bhutto
7. Olivia DeHavilland
8. Julie Christie
9. Raquel Welch
10. "The future Mrs. Villain"

That was more or less the Top 10 at one point. There were about 50 other "Honorable Mentions" on the list. And the list got updated according to your Maximum Leader's whim every few weeks/months. If he was called upon to make another list, but this time updated to the year 2003 (as the last time this list appeared was 1993) that list would look like this:
1. Vivian Leigh (still one of the hottest women ever.)
2. Heidi Klum (yeah baby yeah!)
3. Salma Hayek (you can't hear my drooling can you?)
4. Jennifer Love-Hewitt (still can't put a finger on the fascination...)
5. Margaret Thatcher (women with power... grrrr)
6. Lisa Ling (glad that she left "The View" and is now on National Geographic)
7. Laurie Dhue (on Fox News. I could watch her read the news all damn day.)
8. Angelina Jolie (if I can't describe why I like JLH, I REALLY can't describe my attraction to AJ. She should strike me as sorta trashy and revolting, but she isn't...)
9. Lucy Liu (all this, and she can still take me.)
10. Mrs. Villain (remember this list is in no particular order.)

As for the list actually requested by the M of A... Here goes:

15 Movies your Maximum Leader wouldn't want to do without:
1. The Lion in Winter. Possibly your Maximum Leader's favourite flick ever. (It is by far the best Christmas movie ever.)
2. Lawrence of Arabia. When I think of an epic film, this is the one I think of.
3. Bridge on the River Kwai. Humm, two of the top three are David Lean films; and two of them star Peter O'Toole?
4. The Godfather Parts 1 & 2. These really are one film, and when they were made, I think Coppola envisioned them as one.
5. Monty Python and the Holy Grail. As they say on Comedy Central, this is the greatest movie ever.
6. The Empire Strikes Back. The best of the Star Wars flicks. One I saw 13 times in the cinema. Countless times on video.
7. Army of Darkness. "Good. Bad. I'm the guy with the gun."
8. Tombstone. "I'm your huckleberry."
9. Empire of the Sun. Stephen Spielberg doing what he does best, directing kids.
10. The Usual Suspects. Great drama.
11. The Seven Samurai. Kurosawa's greatest film.
12. Dr. Strangelove. Kubrick's greatest film.
13. Dr. Zhivago. Love in the taiga.
14. The English Patient. Love in the desert.
15. The Lord of the Rings Cycle. (Pending the outcome of the last film, which by rights should be great.)

Update: Your Maximum Leader really wants to go to a top 20. Then he could add some films he forgot like: Blade Runner, Touch of Evil, Ben Hur, Ian McKellan's Richard III, and Lawrence Olivier's King Lear.

Your Maximum Leader couldn't limit his list to 10. It was just not possible.

Carry on.

Help! Medic!

I think I ruptured something reading the Foreign Minister's diatribe. My wife and I were rolling on the floor.

My wife reminded me of another favorite movie - Army of Darkness. This also should be on my list, but I don't know which of the others to bump.

The only reason Highlander is absent is because, while the movie is tremendously fun, the lead is perhaps the worst actor alive.

Is the correct spelling gyp or gip? I used the latter in my post but think the Foreign Minister may be correct.

Update: The Maximum Leader believes "gyp" is correct. And checking in his trusty OED, it would appear that "gyp" is correct. The eytomology indicates that the word is derived from "gypsy" and means a fraud or swindle.

December 08, 2003

FM is enraged by Crappy Quality Fast Food

I was at Popeyes the other day and .... well It pissed me off enough to 1) write the company; and 2) Create a website dedicated to it. Take a look at

Interesting selection M of A I would include usual suspects in my list too! I will write my favs at a later date after some consideration.


Favorite Movie Lists

I know the Maximum Leader is fond of lists.

He used to keep a wonderful list on his refrigerator in grad school - but I suppose Mrs. Villain has put a stop to his practice of frequently updating that list. I don't suppose he would like to share the title and contents of that list, would he?

At any rate, some comrades and I were talking about good history movies today and it got me to thinking about movies in general. Listed below is my shoot-from-the-hip top ten movies of all time.

As you will see, I don't go for high culture in my cinematic experiences, so if you are looking to find intellectual enlightenment, my friends, look elsewhere.

I would like to challenge the Maximum Leader and the other guest bloggers to post their own lists, be they cultured, pretentious, silly, or scatalogically profane (and yes, Big Hominid, that last adjective pairing was for you). If you could only have ten movies in your DVD player for the rest of your lives, what would they be?

I'm betting "Das Boot" makes the Foreign Minister's list.

Without further ado, the Minister of Agriculture's list in no particular order:

Big Trouble in Little China - This movie has me in hysterics every single time I see it. The relationship between the leads is a mirror of the way my childhood best friend and I interacted. Once, when he visited me at my now wife's house, we ended up watching it until four A.M. with a case of beer. My wife, who at that point could still have come to her senses and ditched me, had to work the next morning. As the night wore on and the case got emptier, we might have become a little loud. We woke her up around four and she came out of the bedroom to find us, drunk as skunks, crashing around the furniture in ridiculous kung-fu poses and gibbering in pidgin Chinese. And she still loves me! Amazing.

Unforgiven - Beautifully filmed. Awesome acting. Morally ambiguous plot. Friendship and revenge. Go see it. Now.

Saving Private Ryan - Best war movie ever. Every single high school student should have to watch the Normandy landing AND Schindler's list. This, kiddies, is what your grandparents did for us.

Mad Dog and Glory - A quirky charecter movie with De Niro, Uma Thurman, and Bill Murray. I think all three do a tremendous job - particulary De Niro playing a timid and repressed everyman. There are also some great small roles - the quiet menace of David Caruso, the charmingly stupid celebrity-obsessed mobster played by Mike Starr and Kathy Baker's victim of domestic abuse. Sweet movie.

T2 - You know that you quote from it. Neat special effects - an awesome, fun action flick that actually had a thread of a plot. I don't need much of a plot, but I want some. So many directors today seem to think you can substitute explosions for minimal plot development. The only weak point it Eddie Furlong - he can't act worth crap. About the only good thing about T3 was that he was replaced.

Last of the Mohicans - Awesome historical epic. Filmed at an old-style pace, the scenery is breathtaking and the actors are excellent.

Usual Suspects - Cool little plot drama. Everything ties together. Kevin Spacey is sublime.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail - I can't think of a social situation in which a quote from Monty Python would not be appropriate. There are so many classic vignettes, I won't even get started, except to say that Gawain was a pansy - Zoot definately deserved the recommended punishment. For a girl's costume birthday party I got together with my buddies Rob and Stuart and borrowed tunics from my Mom's children's choir. Banging coconuts together, we pranced through the streets of Alexandria (to the great amusement of the Alexandrians). Great fun and awesome party. (The gift was great too - her boyfriend at the time was extremely jealous and possessive, so, of course, we bought her lingerie at Victoria's Secret. My two buddies, both of whom, ahem, "knew" the girl, got into an argument over the appropriate cup size. The middle aged, classy sales lady at Victoria's Secret had to stand there and seem attentive while two teenagers tried to represent the size of the young lady's gifts with their hands. I found great amusement in both the lads' animated discussion AND the poor woman who was trying to retain her dignity. Victoria's Secret outfit - $60. Watching your friends argue heatedly about breast size - priceless). As a final note on MPHG, I am thinking of changing my handle from smallholder to "Mark the shrubber."

Unbreakable - M. Night Shalyman's best flick. It proceeds at a stately pace, allowing Bruce Willis to show us the quiet power only he can summon. I wasn't too impressed with Samuel L. Jackson here, but love the pace and the story too much to drop it from the list. A buddy of mine who is much more knowledgable about movies (he makes them) tells me he found the whole thing trite. But I just like it. So there.

Aliens 2 - My high school buddy Aaron and I knew this film by heart. The special effects are cool, the aliens scary, the government agent is corrupt, Lance Hendrickson is the coolest cyborg of all time, and it has women wielding flamethrowers. Cool stuff. Of course, after the army stint, I realize the tactics are FUBARed. But what the hell, this is one awesome movie.

Lord of the Rings - I know this is actually two movies (about to be three), but it also deserves a place on the list. It made my wife a Tolkien fan. Or maybe she is just a Viggo Mortensen fan...

Wild Things - This movie has an awesome plot and the denouement is one of the best. But we all know the movie's popularity is due to the pool scene, n'est ce pas?

Honorable Mention:
Poison Ivy 3 - In probably the greatest gip in Acadamy Awards History, Jaime Pressly was denied the Best Actress Oscar. I'm still bitter.

Well there it is. Everyone pick up your figurative pens and take issue on my list - what worthies have I overlooked in my cinematic ignorance?

Forget the Camel's Nose in the Tent, I've Got a Whole Heifer in the Coop

In an earlier post, I tangentially extolled the benefits of humanely raising cattle. Yesterday I found one drawback.

My gorgeous heifer of Scottish extraction, an Ayrshire named Bonnie, is more canine than bovine in her devotion. She follows me all around the pasture, bellows for attention when I leave the house, and delays construction work on the barn by rubbing up against my construction crew (Dad and myself). This is all well and good - I enjoy her company and like to scratch her chin and cheeks.

But yesterday - oh man.

We have moved the chickens into their winter quarters in the barn - the chicken tractor (a possible future post?) does not provide enough warmth. At any rate, I stepped into the coop portion of the barn to refill their waterer and check on the chickens. Bonnie did not approve of squandering my attention on non-mammals, so followed me into the chicken coop before I could turn to shut the door. Her bulk pushed me back and was quite disconcerting for the chickens.

The coop is eight feet by six feet, with less walking space in the center because of the roost arrangement. A 230 pound guy and a 300 pound heifer take up most of that space. The chickens were frantic and I could not get her to turn around and push her out the door.

I finally had to squeeze out the door and call her from the center hall of the barn. She managed to get out without stepping on any egg-producers.

Still, perhaps I should scale back on her rubs and treats. This might have been much worse if she was at her full size of 1100 pounds.

David Brin on the Lord of the Rings

David Brin does a cool "historical" analysis of Tolkien's work. The winners write history, so he has us wondering what the War of the Rings was really about. Could it have been analagous to the 1848 uprisings in Europe against Metternich's aristocratic system? Cool stuff.

Mmmmmmmmmm Boooooooooze

Gotta love yeast.

Yeast feasts on sugar, and produces alcohol. If you start with starches such as barley, corn, rye or wheat, then you have (sort of) beer. Start with fruit and you have wine. If you take advantage of the fact that alcohol boils at a lighter temperature than water, you can boil that beer/wine at a relatively low temperature, collect the steam, condense it, and you have something more alcoholic.

Do this two or three times and you have Aqua Vitae. The Water of Life. Spirits. Now store your Aqua Vitae in Oak Casks. As the seasons pass, the contents of the cask mellow, and absorb flavors out of the wood. It stands the chance of becoming perilously drinkable. The Scottish learned that if they caused their barley to sprout, and then halted the sprouting by smoking it over peat fires, they would increase the sugar content in the grain, and improve fermentation. This is called Malting. And this Barley Malt made quite a nice Aqua Vitae. The Scottish called it something like "Usquaebach." (I'm sure I have that word spelled wrong) That also means Water of Life. Take the first half of that word, Anglicize it, and you have the origins of the word Whiskey.

UPDATE from the Maximum Leader: The Scottish gaelic is either: "Uisge Beatha" or "Uisgebaugh." Your Maximum Leader has always peferred Uisge Beatha, which seemed more accurate from his ill-fated attempt to teach himself Scots Gaelic.

If you started with grapes in the first place, then you are a brandy drinker, and I'm not interested in you. Go back to France you cheese eating surrender monkey.

If you started with Corn, Barley, Rye and or Wheat, you're on your way to Bourbon, and Kentucky. Start with Makers Mark or Wild Turkey. If you go for Wild Turkey, get the 101 proff variant.

As for Scotch, I prefer Laphroaig or Lagavulin, if I can get it. It's what my cousin calls a "Sea Captain's drink". Something for people who say "Arg" a lot. The ML prefers his dram's a wee bit lighter, and more delicate in flavor, although he has a wonderful bottle of 10 year old Ardbeg he shares with me when I come to visit. Ardbeg, Laphroaig and Lagavulin all come from a little breath of heaven in the Hebrides known as Islay. I hope to make a pilgrimage there some day.

All this is my way of saying... I need a drink.

December 07, 2003

Vote! Vote now while you have the chance!

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has noticed that the blogosphere is filled with voting it seems. It must be the time of year. It has come to your Maximum Leader's attention that his very very loyal minion, his Poet Laureate, the Big Hominid has been nominated for an award as the Best Essayist among Asia Bloggers. Go over to Flying Chair and vote. Vote early. Vote often. Go to an internet cafe and vote on all their machines. Just do it. Your Maximum Leader exhorts you to action!

Carry on.

December 06, 2003

Great Personal.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was surfing the blogosphere and followed some links and stumbled upon the Minion and Lackey site. He laughed and laughed at many of the posts. But this one caused him to nearly fall out of his throne. The Minion and Lackey have now ended up on the blogroll.

Carry on.

December 05, 2003

Great Friday Quiz.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was perusing the Volokh Conspiracy and found this link to a great quiz. And as it turns out your Maximum Leader is:

Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

Great quiz...

Carry on.

Shocking news from Reuters.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, while himself impervious to the effects described herein, wants to warn his loyal followers to these dangers.

Carry on.


Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is quite peeved right now. He wrote a nice lengthy post filled with witty and pithy comments on the days news. And then, when he was attempting to post it... Blogger crapped out and the writings were lost. Very very very bad.

Carry on.

December 04, 2003

Sir Mick

Those boys just can't get along, can they?

Bad News for the Maximum Leader

TWA has announced the closing of Dulles Airport due to the ice storm. Unfortunately for the Maximum Leader, TWA's policy about one-way tickets means his ticket to Germany is non-refundable.

Comment from the Maximum Leader: ? We don't get it. Unless this is some sick twisted joke about your Maximum Leader going to visit that cannibal guy. In which case... we get it. By the way, did Dulles really close due to an ice storm? Hummm... We didn't hear that...

December 03, 2003

She's having a baby.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wishes to share a thought with you. Harlot.

Carry on.

Accomplice Still At Large

If you read to the bottom of the story, the cannibal dismemberment film shows a second offender who has not yet been apprehended. He is said to be over six feet tall, have red hair, and look like a "former football player gone to seed."

Perhaps we should ask the Foreign Minister to be on the lookout for the second gum-man.


Cannibal in Germany

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader feels that this is the most disturbing news story he has read in a while. It is disgusting. And when your Maximum Leader thinks about it, the worse punishment this cannibal can get in Germany is life in prison. (But according to the article, the cannibal may get as few as 5 years.) Ah... Sweet justice.

Carry on.

Farm Dogs and the Declension Model of History

Last night it dipped to freezing. I decided to go out to the barn to check on the heifer’s bedding and to check on the chickens. I brought Kermit, my dog, with me. Instead of companionably following his master into the pasture, he decided to wait, shivering, on the front porch.

Before I go any further, I need to issue a disclaimer: I love my dog. I think he is wonderful. He is trainable, affectionate, and a great snuggler. However, as a farm dog he gives rat terriers a bad name.

Rat terriers are true farm dogs. They herd, guard, hunt, and, as their name suggests, are hell on rodents. An English breed popularized by Teddy Roosevelt, they became one of the most common breeds in the Midwest during the 1930s and 1940s. My Grandfather had one, my Dad had two, I had two as a child, and now my daughter is growing up with Kermit (who is named after T.R.’s son, NOT the frog).

A common theme we find in primary historical documents is a longing for and romanticization of the past – people like to talk or write about the Good Old Days. This is such a common cliché, that we have a name for it: The Declension Model. “Things were great back when I was young, but it has all been a decline since then.”

Cotton Mather, Jonathan Edwards, George Fitzhugh, William Jennings Bryan, Woodrow Wilson, Huey Long, George Wallace, Ronald Reagan, Pat Robertson, and recently, Tom DeLay have proclaimed their adherence to this model. “If, back in the good old days, we had elected ol’ Strom, we wouldn’t have the problems we have today.”

You can even see it in those insipid after-school specials: If you believe the Lifetime Network, Teenagers today have more stress than at any time in history: Drugs! Sex! Consumerism! Peer pressure! Drinking! Anorexia! Alcoholic parents! Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!

Now, generally, I tend to scoff at the declension model. We are living in a bloody golden age. Last I checked, high school seniors aren’t concerned that when the graduate they’ll be packed off to “Beach Party Vietnam.” Spare me the peer pressure crap. (Then again, given the Bush administration’s determination to fight a guerilla war on the cheap, we may be in a similar position in a few more years).

What Cotton Mather saw as a decline – a reduction of the power of the established church, I view as progress. What Wallace saw as a decline I see as progress - “forever” didn’t last very long, did it, you schoolyard-barring segregationist? What Roberston sees as decline I see as progress: “Feminism is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.”

After re-reading that last sentence, I guess I need to clarify that I am in favor of equality for women, not killing your children. That’s usually bad.

By now the patient is reader is probably at the end of his or her rope: “So tell me, Minister of Agriculture, what does the declension model of history have to do with farm dogs?”

Well, let me tell ya.

While the declension model is an inaccurate way to look at history, it seems to me that the declension model does apply to rat terriers.

Modern rat terrier Kermit:

* Would rather be inside in a comfy chair than checking out the animals in the barn.
* Has stopped killing rabbits because he has learned that he ends up getting a bath afterwards. He used to kill rabbits in the garden. But once he began plunging his head into their stomach cavity, I would take it away, and then wash the gore off of his face. Kermit is smart. I guess he figured out that he won’t get to revel in the glory of the corpse AND he will get a bath. So now he just chases them. Sometimes we inadvertently train our dogs and children the wrong way.
* Is nervous and cowardly around other dogs.
* Is easily distracted.
* Is scared of my calves.

“Good Old Days” rat terrier Boots:

* Fought a bull to save his master’s life.
* Once killed a dozen rats in six seconds.
* Herded cows.
* Didn’t take crap from any other dog.
* Was focused on his work.

Boots was a legendary canine. Many of my father’s fond childhood memories revolve around this feisty little rat terrier.

My father’s father was not renowned for his anger management. Once, while working with a Holstein bull, he pulled too hard and yanked out the bull’s nose ring. Dairy bulls are temperamental, aggressive, extremely dangerous and huge. One of the biggest benefits (aside from genetic improvement) of the rise of artificial insemination is that dairy farms are much safer places without these beasts. But back in the 1930s and 40s, cows were bred naturally. To contain the bulls, you had to build six foot tall solid wood stalls. This is a good way to keep the bull from attacking you when you walk by the pen. But it is also a good way to get killed if the bull attacks you while you are in the pen.

Grandpa’s deringification (is that a word - hell, I’m German - it’s a word now) enraged the bull. It reared and knocked him to the ground. Trapped by the walls of the pen, laying on the ground, Grandpa was doomed – the hooves would grind him to dust.

But old Boots came a runnin’, leapt the six foot partition, and took on the bull - a little twenty-five pound dog prepared to fight a one ton package of truculence for his master. Normally Boots would head for the back legs of cattle to herd them, but on this day, sensing that he needed to distract and detour, he went after the bull’s chest and nose. His assault was so furious and bewildering, the bull completely forgot his vengeance and my grandfather was able to scramble to safety.

He also lived up to his rat terrier name, acting as the prince of rat control on the farm. One day when they were cleaning out the grain bin, a lifted sack of feed revealed a dozen rats which immediately began to flee. But there was no safety. Quick as a flash, Boots was amongst them, biting, shaking, dropping, biting, shaking, dropping, biting, shaking, dropping. I have seen Kermit and Patches, my childhood terrier, do the rat terrier neck shake. They grab and then give a powerful shake the breaks the neck of the rodent. Patches once shook a mouse so hard the detached head flew across the carport. You can actually hear the bones snap from twenty feet away. But I have never seen them kill multiple rodents that quickly. Knowing that he did not have time to play with his quarry or to savor the kill, Boots efficiently killed and moved on before they could escape. He was true to his breeding. For a quick discussion of rat killing records, check out this link:

I’m not sure if I support rat killing as a sport – it seems to be a practical exercise on a farm. For a visual example of the English ratting sport, you might check out the movie “The Great Train Robbery” starring Sean Connery. It shows an English sporting club for gentlemen in which ratters do their thing.

Boots was also a good herding dog. Ratters seems to have a natural instinct to go to the back of leg of the herdee. Boots was excellent at this and was used twice a day to bring the cows into the barn. Usually this was simple since cows want to be milked. But on one occasion, a bossy cow refused to go into her stanchion and broke out of the barn, heading for the back forty. Dad just called out “Git ‘er!” and Boots was after her like a rocket. The cow ran all the way to the back of the forty acres with Boots on her heels, leaping with every second stride to nip at her back leg. Boots, of course, new enough to nip for persuasion rather than damage; he distinguished between bovine and rodent quarry. At the back of the pasture, with nowhere to go to escape her relentless pursuer, she gave up and hightailed it back to her barn where she was quite content in her stanchion.

Dad grew up in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. My grandmother used to bring in a bit more money for the homestead by working as a maid for the rich folks around Lake Geneva. Every year she would open up their summer houses. Farmers don’t get many days off, but once a year Grandpa would drive his wife and Dad to Lake Geneva. While Grandma cleaned, Dad and grandpa would go fishing off the lake house docks.

One year, a group of young rich kids came along and spotted the “lower class” kid fishing on “their pier.” I guess they thought it would be fun to kill the poor kid’s dog, so they sent their German Shepard to attack Boots. After hearing the “sic ‘em” command, the German Shepard came barreling down the pier, intent on doing in Boots. Boots jumped up and galloped to MEET the Shepard halfway. Within seconds, the much larger dog was yelping and hauling ass. You attack a rat terrier at your own risk.

I remember Patches being the alpha dog over a collie. My Dad’s current dog Reilley desperately tried to breed the Maximum Leader’s whippet/retriever even though he could walk under Maia’s belly. Ratters are generally confident, bold dogs. But Kermit, God love him, cowers in fear whenever he meets a new dog. Maia is a gentle soul who just wants to play with him, but poor Kermit is just terrified of her.

Kermit is also easily distracted. Boots stayed very focused on his work. When my Dad was just five or six, one of his jobs was to take the cows to graze between the cornfield and the road. My grandparents couldn’t afford to refence the farm, so there was nothing to keep the cows from leaving the grass and eating the corn. Except a boy and his dog. Dad and Boots would sit out in the strip of grass. Whenever the cows started to move toward the corn, dad would tell Boots to go round them up. Pretty soon, Dad became irrelevant. The cows would decide to try the corn and Boots, without a word from Dad, would stand up and growl. The cows would move away from the corn and Boots would lie down. Until the next time they eyed the corn.

I wonder if my grandchildren will tell stories like this about their mother’s childhood dog.

Probably not. Terriers are just not what they used to be in the good old days.