January 30, 2004

Rules to blog by?

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has not had the PC access he is accustomed to over the past few days. (No time to explain... Just cope...) But he was out surfing the blogosphere and came upon this posting from the Commisar at the Politburo Diktat. These are 10 good rules to blog by. But, as you may have noticed, your Maximum Leader has violated rule number one in this very post. He will review them all, and try to be better about how/what he writes.

But your Maximum Leader will not identify himself in the silly way the Commisar asks...

Carry on.

Bring out your dead!

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is pleased with the ongoing commentary between the Minister of Agriculture and the Foreign Minister. Thanks for blogging while I have be predisposed.

Your Maximum Leader was persusing NRO today in a free moment and read (as he is wont to do) John Derbyshire's January Diary. Towards the end of the column he asked that readers forward to him lists of the recently dead who should be exhumed and hanged.

What fun! Here is the first list I could come up with... (after only 5 minutes reflection)

Lenin (not recently dead, but in such a state that hanging remains an option)
Stalin (ditto Lenin's comments)
Kim Il-Song (isn't this the current Kim Jong-il's - dictator of North Korea - father?)
Fidel Castro (okay he isn't dead... but if we could hang him...)
Idi Amin
"Papa Doc" Duvalier
Ayatollah Khomeni
Emperor Hirohito (okay, I think he was cremated... But after lots of reflection I think he should be hanged for complicity in WW2 crimes.)

Your Maximum Leader requests that his loyal Ministers and minions give this some thought and blog away!

Carry on.

Dead President Hair Auctioned!

Nothing says I love you like:



if he hasn't seen it yet...

... the Maximum Leader might want to put this site on his blogroll.

(via Tacitus)


January 29, 2004

no porn surfing for me thanks to the small holder...

I thought I would come home (its late) and surf a little porn in the few hours that daddy has at night when the Warden and the Munchkin were in bed but
The M of A has to write a dissertation that begs for a clarification reply from me.

If the M of A could have read these (his own!) post 10 years ago when we were in college together he would not believe this stuff came from his own pen!
You are turning in to quite the conservative republican friend. The last hurdle is coming to the realization that your neighbors don’t need to be taxed heavily and your are IN!
Boy that Guard thing got your panties in a tussle didn’t it? Fortunately, we have the clarity that hind sight can give us. When you volunteer, you are usually given a choice of Jobs and when you get drafted, you usually get the shittiest job (combat infantryman). I am not saying that it was not possible to avoid combat duty in Vietnam by joining the Nat G. I am sure thousands did that. My point was that it was not a 100% safe bet. Fortunately, we did not have to use the Guard in Nam like we did in WW2. Maybe the reason more guard troops were not sent was that the guard was full of Senators sons. But in 1968, your average dude joining the guard could not guarantee that his unit would not be mobilized. If you wanted to avoid the war, go to Canada or the UK.
I got most of my figures from Google and it was not as easy to find as I thought. I had to cut and paste some from various sources, some used mobilization and some used actual figures of on the ground troops. My use of figures was just to reinforce the point that, in just about every War we are in, NG troops have been sent. I bet that there are more guard troops that are in or will go to Iraq than the numbers that went to Nam… but still some went.
RPGs were a Soviet development from the German concept of a hand held anti-tank device. Some sources say that the RPG-1 was simply the Soviets continuing to produce the German Panzerfausts (developed in August 1943) in captured factories. The RPG-7 is the one that Indian Jones used in the Pre-WW2 epic and was not developed until 1961. But that was not the only hokey thing about IJatTD!

Hey M of A
I had a unanswered question regarding Bull/Steers. Is it necessary to de-ball them? They are only living long enough to gain 1400lbs or 1 ½ right? If they are not in a mating situation do you need to de-nut them? If you do de-nut them, do you replace hormones with a shot? If so why take the nuts off?

Back to the trenches

Sometimes It Is Embarassing to Be a Liberal -- Er -- I Mean a Progressive

I think I ‘m going to have an aneurism the next time some ignorant leftie decries “Bush’s unilateral pre-emptive war.”

Gosh darn it, it wasn’t unilateral. Note the root – “uni” – this means “one,” my vocabulary-challenged brethren. The U.K. was actively involved. Poland and several other nations sent contributions of diminishingly effective aid. I’ll grant you that France and Germany and Russia may have been against the war. But that doesn’t cancel out the folks who actively assisted in the military effort.

If you think the war was morally wrong or misguided, by all means argue your point. But stop yelling things that aren't true.

When liberals use the term “unilateral” they are simply holding up a sign saying “liberals are stupid.” We’re not. Or at least some of us aren’t.

More on the pre-emptive thing later.

The National Guard and Vietnam

The Foreign Minister has challenged my assertion that National Guard Service was a way to avoid Vietnam.

FM: “Speaking of George, I really get irritated when people mention Draft dodging by folks joining the National Guard.”

The purpose of my post was not to bash our President. My concern was with the hypocrisy of partisanship – why would the same people who damned Clinton for student deferments give their man a pass on the Guard -- Or damn Clinton for smoking dope while ignoring Bush’s chemical history. Or damn Clinton for lying about Monica and yet be unconcerned about Nigerian uranium. Shoot, the list goes on and on.

I don’t think Greg was rising directly to the defense of George; if I understand it correctly, he was simply disputing my assumption that the Guard was a haven for war-dodgers.

I had always bought the argument that serving in the Guard was a popular way to avoid dying in a rice paddy on the other side of the world, but I take the FM’s arguments about the military very seriously. His knowledge of military history is pretty darn scary – I remember his indignation as we watched an Indiana Jones movie: “That’s inaccurate! The RPG the German is carrying wasn’t developed until 1942!” So I began to second-guess myself.


In the event that I was mistaken, I asked my colleagues born in the late 1940s about their recollections, did a bit of googling, and applied a bit of logic to the numbers cited by the Foreign Minister. After this research, I think I have solidified my understanding of the Guard as a way to avoid Vietnam, but stand ready to evaluate additional information.

BRIEF ASIDE (Or, alternatively: Smallholder just can’t help himself)

But since the original post was about the partisan hypocrisy surrounding the condemnation of Clinton’s student deferment and giving Bush a pass on his student deferment and Guard Service, I do want to start with a link to an article that hits that point better than I did:


Selected quote from the article above:

Those are questions that nearly every American male born in the 1940s or '50s has had to answer at some point, but they retain the greatest moral force for those who seek public office -- particularly for those few who seek to become the nation's commander in chief. Like many of the personal issues that have come to dominate debate in this era of tabloid journalism -- from youthful drug "experimentation" to marital infidelity -- the examination of Vietnam-era draft dodging is all too often an occasion for sanctimony, lying and hypocrisy.

The case of George W. Bush appears to be no exception. According to the exhaustively researched investigation published on July 4 by the Los Angeles Times, young Bush was jumped over a long waiting list of applicants to the Texas Air National Guard in 1968. Bush was about to graduate from Yale and lose his student deferment, and he obviously had no overwhelming urge to fight in the bloody jungle that his father -- then a Republican congressman – would later blast Bill Clinton for avoiding.

One interesting trivia tidbit I found while doing research was that while Lloyd Bentson was blasting Danny Quayle’s Indiana Guard Service, he forgot to mention that he had used his political pull in Texas to get little Lloyd Jr. into the Texas Air Guard. Amusingly enough, LB III served in the same unit as our current president and was promoted to First Lieutenant on the very same day – election day between their two fathers. Small world, huh?

If any of you are readers of “Lying in Ponds” -- http://www.lyinginponds.com -- you know that one of the pieces of data used in assessing the partisanship of columnists is their willingness to apply standards that they use to criticize the other side to their own party. Look! Look! Smallholder is nonpartisan! He lambastes Bentson and Bush for the same sin!

But if, if I may, let us return to the matter at hand:

Was the National Guard used to avoid service in Vietnam?


I asked four members of my department (I teach history in a public high school) about their recollections. All four immediately responded that the Guard was a way to avoid service.

Jack told me that he was lucky in that he finished his active duty hitch in the army just thirty days before the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. He continued to serve in the National Guard, but was immune from a call-up. He remembers with pride that he coached an awesome basketball team for the guard – several athletes joined the guard as a way of immunizing themselves against the draft. In fact, Jack is still all warm and tingly about the game he played against Army Guard member Oscar Robinson, a hall-of-fame Basketball star.

Joe just laughed when I asked him the question. He had looked into the Guard himself – his draft number was 87 at a time when the first 100 were guaranteed to be drafted. But the waiting list was too long. Joe lucked out in that the war wound down and they didn’t make it to his number that year. He also pointed me toward CCR’s “Fortunate Son,” which criticizes the way that the war was really a poor man’s fight.


Some folks are born to wave the flag,
Ooh, they're red, white and blue.
And when the band plays "Hail to the chief",
Ooh, they point the cannon at you, Lord,
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no senator's son, son.
It ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one, no,

Henry, who was in the sandwich generation between Korea and Vietnam and thus was in no danger himself, answered that, at least in the Shenandoah Valley, the saying was that the smart kids went to college, the rich kids went to the guard, and the poor dumb kids went to Vietnam.

Tim, whose athletic ability kept the student deferments flowing until marriage and fatherhood, agreed that the Guard was a good way out for those folks who couldn’t stay in school.

100% of the folks agreed that the Guard was a way out. I will grant you that a polling sample this small is unreliable. Would the other MWO bloggers ask their family members, friends, and co-workers and report back?


Quick Google survey:

The first article talks about today’s Guard and makes an explicit comparison to the Vietnam-era guard. According to the author, the use of the Guard to avoid combat has become a losing strategy because of the changing makeup of the armed forces.


Salient quotes:

Although National Guardsmen were not commonly called overseas during the Vietnam War, University professors and military analysts say the National Guard can no longer be considered a safe haven in the conflict with Iraq.

"I don't think anybody who has half a brain thinks of the National Guard as a place to hide out," University history professor John Lynn said. "But it may be more than they ever anticipated."

And a bit latter on:

According to University history professor Mark Leff, the National Guard being called to service creates a different mentality in the United States.

"There is a major difference in terms of the people going or the people being concerned that they might go," Leff said. "Now there is a different sense of commitment because people are no longer joining the National Guard in order to avoid the draft."

The following article traces the changes in the force structure that makes a Guard call-up much more likely in 2004 than in 1965.


Selected quote:

There is no question that as currently constructed, Total Force has placed an increasing burden on Reserve forces over the past decade, as the U.S. military has confronted a steady stream of small wars and peacekeeping missions. In the four decades of the Cold War, Guard and Reserve forces faced only two presidential activations—for the Berlin Airlift in 1948-49 and for a very limited call-up during the Vietnam War. Since 1990, in contrast, the Reserves have been activated at least six times, participating in major military missions in the Persian Gulf War, the southern and northern no-fly zones over
Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and now, once again, Iraq. It is not unusual to find reservists who have been called up four or even five times in the past decade.

This article is a good primer for the Total Force concept. As a former officer in the Reserves, I have to tell you that I think the Total Force concept is a bad idea and that I agree with Rumsfeld’s push to move essential duties back into the active arm of the military. Perhaps my disdain for the readiness of the Reserves would be a good future blog post…

Finally, here is a Washington post article that traces Bush’s use of connections AND talks about how the Guard could be used to avoid Vietnam.


Four months before enlisting, Bush reported at Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts to take the Air Force Officers Qualification Test. While scoring 25 percent for pilot aptitude – "about as low as you could get and be accepted," according to Martin – and 50 percent for navigator aptitude in his initial testing, he scored 95 percent on questions designed to reflect "officer quality," compared with a current-day average of 88 percent.

Among the questions Bush had to answer on his application forms was whether he wanted to go overseas. Bush checked the box that said: "do not volunteer."

Bush said in an interview that he did not recall checking the box. Two weeks later, his office provided a statement from a former, state-level Air Guard personnel officer, asserting that since Bush "was applying for a specific position with the 147th Fighter Group, it would have been inappropriate for him to have volunteered for an overseas assignment and he probably was so advised by the military personnel clerk assisting him in completing the form."

During a second interview, Bush himself raised the issue.

"Had my unit been called up, I'd have gone . . . to Vietnam," Bush said. "I was prepared to go."

But there was no chance Bush's unit would be ordered overseas. Bush says that toward the end of his training in 1970, he tried to volunteer for overseas duty, asking a commander to put his name on the list for a "Palace Alert" program, which dispatched qualified F-102 pilots in the Guard to the Europe and the Far East, occasionally to Vietnam, on three- to six-month assignments.

He was turned down on the spot. "I did [ask] – and I was told, 'You're not going,' " Bush said.

Only pilots with extensive flying time – at the outset, 1,000 hours were required – were sent overseas under the voluntary program. The Air Force, moreover, was retiring the aging F-102s and had ordered all overseas F-102 units closed down as of June 30, 1970.


The Foreign Minister cited the following statistics:

In WW2 300,034 Guardsmen reported for active duty

In Korea, 138,600 Guardsmen were federalized including eight infantry divisions, three regimental combat teams, and 714 company-sized units.

VIETNAM During the Vietnam War, 102 Air National Guard units, consisting of 10,511 personnel mobilized. This included four tactical fighter squadrons. The Largest Army units to mobilize were the 29th Infantry Brigade and the 69th Infantry Brigade. Thirty-four Army Guard units consisting of 12,234 personnel mobilized.

GULF WAR 1 Of the 265,322 reservists mobilized, 63,050 were Army Guardsmen and 12,428 were Air Guardsmen.

BOSNIA President Clinton deployed the National Guard again on Dec. 8, 1995. Although this is an on-going mission, as of Nov. 22, 1999, 19,093 reservists have or are serving in the Bosnia.

2003 – Iraq As of March 19, 2003, more than 138,000

My point is that joining the NG is no safe bet to avoid going to war. In Vietnam, it was mostly Air Guard units deployed and GW was a Pilot. Your chances of being sent to war are infinitely greater being in the Guard than being in Canada or England.

My first quibble with these numbers is that mobilization is not necessarily the same thing as going to Vietnam. Many of the units currently mobilized for the “war” in Iraq are not serving overseas. My old unit was called up to active duty and is running training exercises in New Jersey. While I don’t minimize the disruptive impact on my old colleagues’ lives and families and thank God that I have not been separated from my daughter, living in hotels in New Jersey is a far cry from getting sniped by a muhajadeen.

I would speculate (I don’t know and stand ready to be corrected) that many of the 10,000 or so Guardsmen called up for Vietnam never went overseas, instead freeing up better trained active duty folks to go overseas.

I also would call the reader’s attention to the “10,000” mobilized. Vietnam was a long war. Even if we limit the timeline to between post-Tonkin and our withdrawal, you are averaging about a thousand men per year over a decade -- this at a time when the draftee army was in for over half a million personnel. If you assume that half (I’d think is was more) of the activated Guardsmen never left the continental U.S., we are talking about 500 guys per year – less than a tenth of a percentage point of the troops “in-country.”

Furthermore, as the articles I found by googling indicate, going to Vietnam was something for which Guardsmen VOLUNTEERED (George checked “Do not volunteer”).

The Foreign Minister makes specific mention of the danger of pilots, but if the Washington Post is correct, Bush couldn’t have had he wanted to – there was a minimum number of flight hours required before you could volunteer – probably to limit pilot volunteers to former active-duty folks with real experience.


If membership in the guard carried the same risk of Vietnam service as being drafted, one wonders why Guard units had waiting lists while the same population that produced eager Guard volunteers earnestly endeavored to avoid the draft by any means necessary. My favorites are the hall of fame quarterback Joe Namath who was 4-F due to “knee problems” and Woodie Guthrie’s unique solution (http://www.arlo.net/lyrics/alices.shtml).

The Foreign Minister is certainly right that Guard members had a greater chance of getting sent to Vietnam than draft dodgers who ran to Canada, but only because an infinitesimal chance is infinitely greater than a zero chance.

January 28, 2004

Movie List

An internet poll comes to some different conclusions about top movies than we did:


Good Thoughts and Smallholder's Response to the Gauntlet

I would like to send out good thoughts into the blogosphere for the Maximum Leader's relations. They are good folk. I hope everything works out well for them.

The Foreign Minister has taken me to task for saying that people used the Guard to avoid Vietnam service. I am preparing a response, but it is likely to be another of my "brevity is the soul of wit" efforts, so I need a bit o' time to formulate my response.

Woo-hoo! I love being spanked by the Foreign Minister. He's firm but fair.

Smallholder is Movin' On Up

I am sorry that the blogpostings have been a bit spotty these last few days. I could blame the fact that the new semester has kept me so busy and the snow kept me away from my high speed connection, but I guess I should level with you, gentle readers, about the real reason.

I think I may be too good for you.

My farm is now graced by a peacock. I mean, er, my estate. I don't know from whence he came, but there he is, every day, hanging with my tick control guinea hens.

Caesar (named by my wife at the Maximum Leader's suggestion) is a regal creature with a shimmering blue-green chest. He was stand-offish at first, but now he seems comfortable and joins the guineas as they beg for handouts (darn welfare queens!).

In fact, he may be getting too comfortable. He was doing a mating display yesterday. I guess he thinks the guinea fowl are simply ugly peafowl.

The Maximum Leader has had experience with peacocks (care to blog a bit, oh great one?) and tells me that they are nomadic by nature and eventually Caesar will make his way to a new home.

I suppose he originated on one of the estate homes in the neighborhood (As the Maximum Leader and Foreign Minister can attest, we are the smallest abode in the area - ALL of my neighbors NEED to be taxed). But, as long as he is here, Sweet Seasons Farm is now an estate.

Bow before me, unwashed peasants.

Sea Power, Oscars, and suffering.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader took a few days off blogging to attend to some family business. The esteemed brother and sister-in-law of your Maximum Leader have been dealt a tough hand right now. And though they will come out of it better than they went into it, it is time to close ranks and support the family. Thus, your Maximum Leader hasn't had a lot of time to blog.

To mention a few noteworthy items...

First. Your Maximum Leader believes that the decline of the Royal Navy of Great Britain is a bad thing. He also thinks that the decline of the US Navy is a bad (and potentially much worse thing). So, if you think you would like to help grow the US Navy you might want to check out this site. The Sea Power Ambassador site is financed, in large part, by the shipbuilding industry. But that sponsorship does not discredit the aim of the group, which is good.

Second. Your Maximum Leader is happy for the cast and crew of "Return of the King." They got many well deserved Oscar nominations. Your Maximum Leader disagrees somewhat with the Air Marshal's last post. I think Sean Astin did kick it up a notch as Sam in ROTK, but the ensemble cast was so strong it is hard to pick one (or two) for an Oscar nod. And if Bill Murray wins for "Lost in Translation" then we can honestly say that only an Oscar-award winning actor could have pulled off the job of Carl Spackler.

Third. Your Maximum Leader feels he must nit-pick a small point from a recent post over on the Big Hominid's site. In the excerpt provided by the Hominid the good Rev. Mark Stanger said:

I think a 5-year-old who has to get cancer surgery and radiation and chemotherapy suffers more than Jesus suffered; I think that a kid in the Gaza Strip who steps on a land mine and loses two limbs suffers more; I think a battered wife with no resources suffers more; I think people without medical care dying of AIDS in Africa suffer more than Jesus did that day. I mean, I don't want to take away from that, but this preoccupation with the intensity of the suffering, I think, has no theological or spiritual value.

While your Maximum Leader doesn't for a moment think that the suffering of a child or a land-mine victim, or a battered wife are miniscule; crucifixion is one of the most horrible ways to be killed. The victim doesn't die quickly, they often linger for many many days while they slowly drown in their own fluids. Because it is such a horrific way to go is why the Romans used the method with such frequency.

That said, your Maximum Leader (raised Catholic by the way) does believe that too much is made of Jesus' suffering and that causes the main point (resurrection and salvation) to be missed. In the end, your Maximum Leader just disliked the analogies.

And as a postscript to that last note... Notice how the good Rev. Stanger mentioned the suffering child. Is there any more cliched appeal to emotion than suffering children. Once again, the modification of the good Dr. Johnson must be invoked in this space. Patriotism, and the welfare of children, are the last refuges of a scoundrel.

Light blogging over the next few days my minions. Your Maximum Leader hopes that his loyal minister will be able to blog in the meanwhile.

Carry on.

January 27, 2004

Oscar Thoughts

Ulitmately, I think the Acadamy Awards are a joke. That little Troll Jack Valenti needs to just go away, and never come back. Still, it's fun to talk about them.

I'm a bit disapointed that there are no acting nominations for Return of the King. I thought Sean Astin deserved one for Sam, and I thought cases could be made for Ian McKellen (sp?), Billy Boyd, Andy Serkis and several others. I wasn't enamored of Viggo Mortensern's performance, or Elijah Woods, but they were fine.

And no nomination for Return of the King for Cinematography? Right there, that tells you how legit the Oscars are.

I was glad to see Johnny Depp get a not for Pirates of the Carribean. I thought he was great in that movie. Although there was more than a trace of Keith Richards in his performance. Maybe that's what made it great.

Bill Murray for Best Actor? Hey, why not. I'm told Lost in Translation is the performance of his career.

Bing and Bong

Seen the show a couple of times. Pretty cool. My daughter likes it. Can't get that theme song out of my head though.

My wife insists that the singer of the Bing and Bong show is the same woman who voices Dorothy the Dinosaur on the Wiggles. I haven't bothered to check it out.

January 25, 2004

Another one of my vices Bing and Bong

Is anybody else out there a fan of this show/cartoon Tiny Planet?
i can't get enough of this thing.

one empire recognizes another

Bill Gates will be receiving an honorary knighthood. Oh, for God's sakes...


January 23, 2004

Royal Navy... RIP

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is overwhelmed with melancolia. The once proud Royal Navy is slowly becoming no more. Look upon this Guardian article, ye mighty; and despair.

As an Anglophile and great lover of the history of the Royal Navy this makes your Maximum Leader very sad. Indeed, he has a framed poster above his computer in the Villainschloss that reads "The British Navy guards the freedom of us all." Alas, we know that Britain's time as a world leader has passed. But come on John Bull! You're going to give up 300 years of naval supremacy over the French! Be ye prepared to give up kippers, bangers & mash, and beans on toast to the onlslaught of croissants, coq au vin, and roquefort.

Your Maximum Leader finds it hard to continue.

Carry on.


Re: Greg's post on Dean, below...

Tacitus' take on Dean is not quite as frothing as that of other anti-Deaners. He says:

I finally caught Dean's "YARRRRRRAAGHHHHHHH" moment on the telly (yeah, I'm a bit behind things these days). In context, I didn't find it at all the manic moment that it has been portrayed, and I think Dean is getting unnecessarily and unfairly hammered over it. My impression was of a guy standing in front of a disappointed and demoralized crowd who needed to be rallied into action. He was doing what a candidate has to do in those moments.

My failure to see the 'weirdness' of the pirate moment I believe is that I've watched Dean on the stump before. He has always had an awkward quality to him when he whips up a crowd. A sort of uncomfortable air, as if he simultaneously bathes in the adoration yet loathes the moment. If that awkwardness and agitated style is new to any commentators -- they just haven't been paying attention. To characterize this speech as it has been strikes me as disingenuous. I think that if the video were seen in New Hampshire and elsewhere without the surrounding 'Dean has lost it' commentary it would have had little if any influence. Color me skeptical that there wasn't a bit of premeditated pouncing on this one by some intra-party Tigger. After all that's what Tiggers do best.

I didn't watch Dean speak except for a few sound bites while I was in the States. Then a couple days ago I watched a video clip (and heard an audio clip) of Dean's "YAAAARGH" rant, and that's all the context I've had concerning Dean-in-motion. To me, Dean came off as unhinged, but I grant that Tacitus may have a point: if Dean's like this at every rally, then maybe it's not a sign that he's self-destructing-- it's just a sign that he's... excitable.

Theory: Dean and I may have something in common: a "performer" side of our personality that shows up in certain circumstances but not in others. Call me crazy, but I trust Dean's wife when she claims in the Deans' ABC interview that Dean's not an angry guy at home. Of course, she knows he's running for high office and isn't about to betray her husband by revealing his foibles, but I still think she's sincere. So maybe Dean, like yours truly, gets a little over-the-top when it comes to public moments, and feels the urge to do things he might not otherwise do. Viewed in this way, the whole "would you trust this man as your doctor?" meme needs to be reexamined. Perhaps Dean one-on-one is nothing like Dean behind a mike.

Am I the only one who still writes "mike" instead of "mic" these days? Sorry; I hate "mic"-- looks too much like an insensitive slur against those drunken, brawling, filthy Irish bastards, pissing syrupy stout and shitting boiled potatoes everywhere, God love 'em.


Please stop giving dean such a hard time!

Come on folks.... I want him to get the nomination! Every time someone pokes fun of his primeval scream, his credibility erodes, and I don’t want that to happen till next September/October!

He is probably the easiest on the Dem plate for George to beat.

Speaking of George, I really get irritated when people mention Draft dodging by folks joining the National Guard.
In WW2 300,034 Guardsmen reported for active duty

In Korea, 138,600 Guardsmen were federalized including eight infantry divisions, three regimental combat teams, and 714 company-sized units.

VIETNAM During the Vietnam war, 102 Air National Guard units, consisting of 10,511 personnel mobilized. This included four tactical fighter squadrons. The Largest Army units to mobilize were the 29th Infantry Brigade and the 69th Infantry Brigade. Thirty-four Army Guard units consisting of 12,234 personnel mobilized.

GULF WAR 1 Of the 265,322 reservists mobilized, 63,050 were Army Guardsmen and 12,428 were Air Guardsmen.

BOSNIA President Clinton deployed the National Guard again on Dec. 8, 1995. Although this is an on-going mission, as of Nov. 22, 1999, 19,093 reservists have or are serving in the Bosnia.

2003 – Iraq As of March 19, 2003, more than 138,000

My point is that joining the NG is no safe bet to avoid going to war. In Vietnam, it was mostly Air Guard units deployed and GW was a Pilot. Your chances of being sent to war are infinitely greater being in the Guard than being in Canada or England.

Popeye’s has not responded…. But I did not expect them to.

Back to the trenches…..

January 22, 2004

From Below

>>Your Maximum Leader knows the President means well. But what is up with all this spending? And all these new programs? Ack!<<

Go Figure. Maybe this president isn't a true conservative? I don't think Dubya could even spell "Hamiltonian", much less comprehend the principles behind it. I think Bush is a mish-mash of principles that don't really fit well together. Incredibly socially conservative, fiscally out of control, and internationally unilatterally hawkish. I don't think Bush comprehends, or cares about, the role of the Executive branch as laid out in the constitution.

I yearn for the days of Clinton-Gingrich. Yeah, those two were sleazeballs, but they were smart sleazeballs who understood how to compromise, work togehter and they actually do some good stuff.

>>What? What was that you say? It's an election year and the President is starting to make promises? Well shuck your Maximum Leader's corn and call him baldy! Surely not! You mean all this other stuff we've been spending money on was just LEADING UP TO ELECTION PROMISES!<<

Well, duh. I assume ML is trying to be sarcastic here. The problem with George Dubya Shrub is that just about everything he's done since last March has been geared towards next november. Speaches, policies, and initiatives all seemed to be setting himself up to make claims during the election, and positioning the democratic party to look bad.

Yes, it's nothing that hasn't been done before. But this administration is more blatant, unappologetic, and takes things to a new level.

I still suspect that when the dust settles, this will go down as one of the most corrupt regimes ever to hold the White House.

Iowa, State of the Union, and stuff

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wanted to wait until after Iowa and the State of the Union to give a little commentary on the political happenings around our great Republic.

First... I'm sure you've seen it... Howard Dean's "Incredible Hulk" moment. What can one say except: Yeeeeaaaaaahhhhggggrrrhhh! Really! Has Dean gone completely mad? I'm beginning to think so. This moment has been parodied so often all ready, I'm not sure I can add anything as funny or substantive as has already been written. I do like what James Lieks wrote about the "Dean/Hulk" moment. And the audio file he connects to is great. (And make sure you read the whole thing. I liked the remake of the famous Apple "1984" commercial.)

Dean's behaviour is beginning to concern me. Did the good people of Vermont (including some of Mrs. Villain's relatives) somehow miss Dr. Dean's pechance for getting "lost in the moment." If he gives a primal scream after placing third in Iowa can you imagine what will happen if he wins in NH? It also makes you wonder how he reacted to making a good diagnosis while in medicine. ("I just discovered your enlarged prostate Mr. Smith. You're gonna need treatment. Yeeeeeeeeeaaaaahhhhhhrrrrgggghhhh!") I wonder how much damage has been done to his campaign by that yelling moment.

While I joked a while ago that I thought that John Edwards would be out of politics soon, it looks like he will linger on for a while more. I still just don't think he has it in him to win the nomination. He is being too nice. Sooner or later he will have to get dirty. Politics is a very dirty business afterall. And while Senate races in North Carolina are not cakewalks, they are nothing like what will happen to you running for President. Overall, I think Edwards (while not getting the nomination) is the Dems best candidate out there. He talks the talk, but hasn't been in politics long enough to know all his walks. I seem to remember reading somewhere that Karl Rove is most afraid of an Edwards campaign. (Tired to find the link, but couldn't dig it up...)

Second... The State of the Union Address. Is your Maximum Leader the only person in America who wishes that modern presidents would go back to the precedent of Jefferson and just have some lackey run a copy of the address up Pennsylvania Avenue, hand it off to the Speaker of the House's office; who in turn would have it read into the record? No, really? Is your Maximum Leader the only one?

Now your Maximum Leader fully understands the need to have event where the President can look "Presidential." But the State of the Union has become a launchpad for some of the most ill-conceived ideas and programs besetting our nation today. Certainly your Maximum Leader is all for the War on Terrorism. And I am pretty much okay will all of the foreign policy messages. But all that other stuff. Whew! What the hell is going on at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

What? What was that you say? It's an election year and the President is starting to make promises? Well shuck your Maximum Leader's corn and call him baldy! Surely not! You mean all this other stuff we've been spending money on was just LEADING UP TO ELECTION PROMISES! No Child Left behind is just a prelude to no semi-sentient biped left behind? You mean that the prescription drug "benefit" is just Act 1 of George W. Bush's magum opus "America's National Health Service?" Is the Department of Homeland Security just a ramp up to our very own Committee of Public Safety?

(Aside: Two things... Since when has Tom Ridge worn a hearing aid? Your Maximum Leader spied it in his ear as he walked down the asile last night. Of course, it might not have been a hearing aid after all. It might have been an earpeice so he could listen to Patriot Act wiretaps while the President spoke! Second thing... In case you are a new minion and haven't read the master plan. In the Mike World Order (MWO) there will be a large impersonal "Commission of Public Safety." It will, as you can imagine, be lead by a very trusted minion who will hold the innoccuous title "Commissioner of Public Safety." The Commission of Public Safety will be a combination of CIA, FBI, NSA, National Reconnaissance Office, Coast Guard, INS, and some special forces thrown in for good measure.)

Your Maximum Leader knows the President means well. But what is up with all this spending? And all these new programs? Ack! (Or if I were Howard Dean: Yeeeeeeaaaaaaahhhhhrrrrrgggghhhh!) Jonah Goldberg's recent NRO column is a good summary of that which I am blogging about. Your Maximum Leader believes that government (at least the Federal Government) is not the solution to most of the problems that might ail us.

If creating these new programs and spending all this treasure is supposed to out-Democrat the Democrats... Well it never will. Because what George W. Bush is doing will only become a low-end benchmark for that which the Dems would like to do. Ack!

Now the question becomes, if you let your mind wander for a moment, do you vote for the Republican who spends like a Democrat? Or the Democrat who spends like a Democrat? Hummm... Toughie. I suppose if there is no difference in domestic politics, it comes down to foreign policy. And, in your Maximum Leader's mind, Bush has that all locked up.

Your Maximum Leader is going to get off his arse and start working on the MWO right quick....

In other news....

Your Maximum Leader knows he already blogged about Charlie, Winston Churchill's parrot. But really, he deserved to be mentioned again and again. I might even find a way to add him to the ole sidebar...

For those of us of Scottish extraction this is good news. Just in time for Burns Night Dinners!

For those of you with a little too much time on your hands, and a desire to oggle some adult material. This article about a new search engine is for you.

Your Maximum Leader was told by a minion that this woman is fat. (Photo is work safe. Just a hottie brazilian girl on the beach.) Your Maximum Leader sits agog in the Villainschloss after hearing that. This curvey brazilian chicka is fat? We are really screwed up in this society if that is now fat. Crazy...

Of course, if you visit Booble.com, or look with lust in your heart at the photo of that brazilian girl, you may want to atone and remember this Rabbi's prayer. Let's repeat: "Please God, help me cleanse the computer of viruses and evil photographs which disturb and ruin my work..., so that I shall be able to cleanse myself (of sin)."

And since it is upon us your Maximum Leader says: "Gung hay fat choi." (Not sure if that is transliterated properly! On this item your Maximum Leader is open to corrections.) The Year of the Monkey is begun! Your Maximum Leader doesn't know what he will do to celebrate, but some celebrating is in order.

And with that my loyal minions, your Maximum Leader bids you...

Carry on.

January 20, 2004


The problem with the NHL is threefold

1. Poor product
2. Poor marketing
3. Ridiculously over priced.

1. Compare games played today to games from 10 years ago prior to the recent expansion boom, and you'll see what I mean. Watch NHL on ESPN Classic... playoff games from the late 80s/early 90s and you'll see a fast paced, skilled game that is as compelling and exciting as anything Football or Basketball have to offer.

Now, scores are much lower, the premium is on checking forwards, and skaters are not allowed to skate. GM's want bigger guys who can hold and hook the faster guys. The reason is that officiating has tanked. Penalties aren't called consistantly, and there's no accountability for bad officiating.

In the mid 80s, if a forward beat a defenseman on the rush up the ice, the defenseman would try to hurry back, but the forward would have earned a breakaway, and a scoring chance would result. Now the defensman will trip or hold the forward and more often than not, a penalty is not called. this equalizes the game, putting a premium on guys who can fight along the boards. Now most of the action is in the corners, along the boards. Is this exciting? Not really.

2. goes without saying. Hockey has expanded into markets where it has no natural hold. The league has done little, if anything to promote hockey away from games. Promotions at games are great, but that's preaching to the choir.

3. For a shitty product, the prices are absurd. This is largley the fault of about half a dozen GM's i.e. the rich ones. They pay Baseball prices for hockey stars without the revenue to cover it.

The real problem lies in the lack of revenue. The NFL has the lucrative national TV deals. Baseball has huge TV contracts. So does Basketball. Using the NFL as an example, each team gets enough revenue from the TV contract to cover the salary cap. So there is no real benefit comparing a large market (i.e. New York) with a small market (i.e. Green Bay). Hockey is a gate driven sport, so high ticket prices, local TV revenue, and merchandise are the main source of operating revenue. The NHL is basically a minor leage compared to the big boys. It's one of those situations where

Costs >> Revenue

So it can't continue. Simply put, either Cost has to come down (i.e. salaries), or Revenue has to go up. Since the product sucks, and national popularity is dwindling (following a brief surge in the mid 90s), Revenue stands little chance of going up. Since the players have a semi-strong union, Salaries have little chance of going down.

it's nice to say "Hey, reduce salaries accross the board" but realistically that is absurd.

The NHL, simply put, is screwed as is. So there'll be a labor stoppage. The NHL is already losing popularity rapidly. Being gate and merchandise driven, revenues are dropping. Salaries are going up. So what's the solution?

1. Improve the product.
2. Reduce cost
3. Market

1. will only happen with a contraction of the league. Simply put, there are too many sub-par players in the league because there are too many teams. 10 teams have been added in the last 15 years. That's absurd. Most teams in the 80s had two quality lines, now a team is lucky to have one. Also, an improvement in officiating MUST take place. Officiating is a joke now, even worse than MLB.

2. Salaries have to drop, and costs have to come down.

3. The current NHL administration, going on 10 years, has been absolutely incompetand in this regard. No reason to believe this'll change.

So to say it again, the NHL is screwed. Anyone who watched the Salt Lake or Nagano Olympics saw some of the most amazing hockey the world has ever seen. That's the level of talent out there today. And despite the fact that the NHL has those same players, the game on NHL ice isn't the same.

Want to see good hockey in 2004? Go see the Disney movie about the Miracle on Ice. Probably better hockey than the NHL right now.

Reviving Hockey

The Great Maximum Leader
Linked a sports story
Great One fears hockey lockout

In the article Mike linked, Hockey officials attempt to explain why fans aren’t coming to the games. They have all kinds of suggestions, but seem to miss the real economic reason.

Basic supply and demand should set prices. If the price of a family outing to a sporting event is so high that demand increases, the real answer to hockey’s woes should be to reduce ticket prices.

If owners are losing money under the current price structure, it seems to me that they should try to sell more tickets. Even if the tickets cost less, the owners might make more money if more sold, resulting in more concession sales as well. It seems to me that the overhead for the rink will be the same whether it is packed or half-full.

Not being a real hockey fan, I propose a simple math problem for the Air Marshal and/or Maximum Leader:

Reduce the average annual salary of players from 1.79 million to the mere pittance of $790,000. Multiply by the number of players on an NHL team roster. This would be the annual savings. Instead of putting that money in the owner’s pocket, divide the savings over the number of home game seats in a season. What is the total possible reduction of ticket prices?

While I dislike Snyder’s incessant price-gouging ever since he took over the Redskins franchise, at least one can argue that Snyder is simply allowing supply and demand to set the prices. If the stadium still fills when people are paying hundreds of dollars to go to a losing ball club’s games, then the fans get what they deserve. The NHL can’t even argue that they are selling all their seats. Ego, they are overpriced.

For once I would like to see a sports franchise owner admit that his team is screwing the fans by overcharging for a weak product. Or a player admit that he can no longer justify his multi-million dollar contract on the grounds that the people are paying to see him play.

Exam Day Musings: Pro-Gun Argument, Iowa, The Chemical Morality of Bush and Clinton, Fast Food Gyps, and Maximum Leader Re-Education

As the soul of brevity, I have another short post for you today. We have finished the semester at my high school. Since I teach Standards of Learning courses, my kids do not have a school-administered exam. They are off, my grades are done, my papers for the new classes coming Thursday are prepared, and I have some serious blog-surfing time on my hands.

Kim Du Toit has an excellent post today. The second in-defense-of-Norway letter is interesting reading. Gun control advocates typically point to Europe as examples of how firearm prohibition reduces violence. Norway seems to refute that thesis; they have even more guns than we do and still have a low crime rate. Lest you think I have joined the gun-nut bandwagon (though I’m sure the Foreign Minister smiles every-single-frickin’-time that I extol the virtues of my scoped 306), I should also point out that the pro-gun group also makes the asinine argument that many states in America with lenient gun laws have lower crime than stricter jurisdictions like D.C. Perhaps areas with higher crime have responded to that crime by passing gun control measures. Additionally, outlawing gun-purchases in D.C. when everyone can hop across the border to gun-friendly Virginia is going to be ineffective. It seems to me that crime levels are a function of several variables in society such as (but not limited to) economic opportunity, freedom, individuality, assimilation, and level of homogeneity. In general, I believe that the availability of firearms is not a causal factor. That said, if crime exists, I believe that drive-by-knifings are a) less effective and b) unlikely to result in innocent sleeping children catching ricochets with their skulls.

I was highly entertained by the Iowa results last night. As other commentators have noted, Dean came across as a lunatic in his “concession” speech. (UPDATE from ML: Thanks to Allah and All-Emcompassing for link.) Both Kerry and Edwards showed class. I have blogged here before about this Democrat’s Dean problem. It looks like I may be cured by Iowans’ elective surgery on the doctor.

I’m not that excited about either Kerry or Edwards. I saw Edwards on an interview show a year or so ago and he came across as vapid. Dismissing him, I haven’t paid much attention to his campaign. Maybe I should take another look; perhaps my first impression was inaccurate. At least the Des Moines Register thinks so.

I have a buddy who thinks a Kerry-Clark ticket destroys Bush on the national security ticket. I actually thought of a rather pithy campaign statement” “V.P. candidate Clark WON a war. Bush has dragged us into a quagmire. During the last quagmire, while Bush was using his family connections to dodge danger, Kerry was saving lives and serving his country in Vietnam.” Of course, Clark’s war was in no way comparable to either Vietnam or Iraq. The Serbs were like gnats to our modern military. The real crime is that both Bush Senior and Clinton dithered for YEARS while genocide was raging in the Balkans. Once we got serious and started dropping bombs, the Serbs came to heel quickly. Think of all the lives we could have saved if we hadn’t listened to modern day Chamberlains and the Cliveden-set “give peace of chance” nimrods. I don’t really blame Bush for dodging Vietnam; if you knew that a war was hopeless, would you want to die for no particular reason? Had I been old enough, I would have served if drafted, but you can be darn sure I would have worked assiduously to keep my education deferment in play. And if I wasn’t a scholar and my dad had political juice, I sure as hell would have used connections to get into the guard. But the military service thing seems to matter to a lot of people. Remember when the Republicans kept bashing away at Clinton’s educational deferments? But they got strangely quiet about the sin of dodging Vietnam when their candidate was a former (AWOL) member of the Texas Air Guard. I ask you, putting aside partisan rhetoric, which is more disturbing: the guy who took advantage of the educational deferments available to everyone, or a guy who dodged the war by using Dad’s political connections, taking the spot of people who had been in line for the Guard appointment for a longer period of time.

Now I’m really rambling.

Also think about how indignant the Republicans were that Bill smoked a joint in college (breaking no American law since he was in Jolly Olde England), but then were not bothered by the never-refuted allegations that their boy had snorted coke as an adult. I was bothered more by Clinton’s refusal to take responsibility and stupidity when the Mary Jane allegations surfaced. The whole “I didn’t inhale” thing was a big red flag warning of his troubling personal ethics that plagued his whole administration. If he would have just said “I was a stupid college kid in the SEVENTIES. I smoked a little dope and I regret it and hope my daughter will make wiser choices than I did,” the Minister of Agriculture would have applauded. But the “I didn’t inhale” thing – ARGH! How stoooopid do you think we are. Of course you inhaled. That’s the point of smoking dope. I do have a problem with Bush’s cocaine use (alleged, but never denied), particularly when he sponsored mandatory sentences for first time drug offenders. Even granting that he made mistakes (youthful ones like Henry Hyde’s “youthful” affair when he was forty?), he should really explain why he should be forgivin’ for hell-raisin’ ‘fore he came to the Lord and other people should do a decade in the joint.

While I’m on the whole drug morality topic, I’m not sure sitting around with buddies and altering your consciousness is a sin, as long as you don’t endanger anybody. The Maximum Leader, Foreign Minister and I have been known to drink a little beer now and again - though I only get drunk when the ML or FM are around – I blame their bad influence on my otherwise exemplary character. I’m not sure how smoking pot is MORALLY different than drinking beer. The argument against pot-smoking, to me at least, is that it is STUPID. When I am sitting at home and drink a few beers, or drink a few beers at a bar and have a designated driver, I endanger nothing – not innocent bystanders or my own freedom. If I get caught smoking dope, I’m in the legal system. My property may be seized. As a convicted criminal, I wouldn’t be able to coach my daughter’s pee-wee soccer team. I wouldn’t be able to get a job holding public trust (we teachers are on the list of drug-tested professions). I never even did a Bill Clinton in college; one positive test would have jeopardized my ROTC scholarship. But I can’t say my lack of acquaintance with the doobie is a moral stand.

Cocaine may be another animal, but the only real moral objection to snow I can think of right now is its more addictive nature. Still, if Bush wanted to get stoned at a party and someone else drove him home, the stupidity rankles me more than his “youthful” moral lapses.

But someone else did not always drive George home. He drove drunk several times, endangering the lives of other people. He even lied about being arrested for it – under oath on a jury questionnaire – but the morality police don’t seem troubled. But if Clinton lies about a hummer, it’s an impeachable offense. Disclaimer: while I don’t think he should have been impeached, I think that if he had any decency or really cared about his political agenda, Willy should have resigned.

Inquiring minds want to know: What happened with the Foreign Minister’s tribute to Popeye’s? (Perhaps the ML will insert the appropriate trackback link here)

Did Popeye’s admit their misdeeds and compensate the FM in some way? Or has FM funneled his Chicken-shack-fueled-rage into his new thespian career?

In my blog-o-sphere trek I have noted that the Maximum Leader frequently leaves comments on other people’s blogs. Yet he has no comments on his own. Since I find that sometimes the comment threads are highly entertaining and/or educational, I urged him to add the feature, but, alas and alack, the ML cares not for the insights of his minions. For my unforgivable boldness, I was shipped off to a “Clockwork Orange” style re-education center.

I will never question the Maximum Leader again. The Maximum Leader is always right. The Maximum Leader is a benevolent despot. I do not need to think because the Maximum Leader thinks for me. The Maximum Leader can spend my income more wisely than I ever would. The Maximum Leader is a wise and handsome man.

I’m signed up for graduate-level re-education courses next week, so watch this space for Maximum Leader haikus.


All in all this past weekend was a great weekend for football from my point of view.

Not a big fan of New England teams, but my Father in Law is from there, so I have no problem cheering for the Pats. As long as I can disassociate Pats fans from bitching and whining Bruins fans, I can root for the pats. Ugh. Bruins fans in '98 were just the biggest group of babies I've ever seen, when the Caps beat them in the playoffs. I've never seen a bigger bunch of sore losers. Maybe I don't like the Pats. Mrs. Villain is a big Pats fan, so at the very least I'll root for them for her sake. Plus there's something about seeing Peyton Manning Loose that I find oddly satisfying. Seeing that ugly, inbred, cornfed, redneck visage of his in abject despair is quite nice. Plus now I don't have to hear my wife tell me how dreamy he is.

As for the NFC game it was a good outcome for several reasons. First of all, I always liked Stephen Davis, and when he was here in DC, he was a great team player with a good attitude. I'm sorry Spurrier let him go (big mistake), but Davis is one of those players who I'll always root for. Secondly, I hate the Eagles. Seeing Philthadelphia lose is always good. But this was more than that. This was absolutely wonderful. McNabb has a horrible day, in big party due to his rib injury, but also his supporting cast just blows. The play calling was suspect at best... again. And while I think Carolina was just a better team, the Philly mentailty still says "Choke".

This is the city that has brought us such paragons of sports virtue as Ron Hextal, Buddy Ryan, Andre "Dirty" Watters, Alan Iverson, Charles Barkley, John Kruck etc. Philly's version of a Champion is punk/GM Bobby Clarke? Please. As for the Eagles, what's the significance of the name Norm Snead? That's who they traded Sonny Jurgensen to Washington for. Oops.

My Father in Law insisted that I had to root for the Eagles in this game because my wife's brother currently resides in that city. Yeah, right. I'm sure he'll root for the Skins because I'm in DC. Uh huh.

As for the SuperBowl, I think the Pats will do it. The Panthers are good, but the Pats have a better defense, than the Panthers, and Tom Brady is a more accurate QB in the short game than McNabb is. Ultimately, the Pats get the not because their D and special teams are better. I think the Panthers will run the ball with some success, but they simply won't score enough on the Pats to win the game. It'll be a great, nasty, physical SB with lots of hitting, and a potentially close low scoring game.

Kilgore's Right!

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was just over on Kilgore Trout's page. And all he has to say is "Amen Brother Kilgore!" Read this post. Now let your Maximum Leader state that he couldn't care less about the NBA; but he loves hockey. And the NHL post-season is waaaay too long. (And frankly the league is too big. Did you see this article about the impending lockout and the general financially sucky situation the league is in?)

Anyway... Football... Final score prediction: Patriots 24; Panthers 17. I know this is a gutsy call. Not only because your Maximum Leader is predicting that the Patriots will win a 15th straight game (and aren't the odds against that something like 3,000,000,000:1?); but that the chances of predicting a final score are nearly impossible. But your Maximum Leader, a religious reader of Gregg Easterbrook's TMQ column, has read that 24 - 17 is the most common score of the past season. So there it is.

Finally... The safety rules!

Carry on.

Churchill's bird.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was unaware that Churchill owned a parrot. Indeed, someone's fact-checker may have been asleep when this hit the wire. But your Maximum Leader, the great Churchill admirer, loved this.

Carry on.

January 19, 2004


Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader had a little sit-down with the Villainettes this morning to discuss Martin Luther King, Jr.. They wanted to know more about him and why we get the day off because of him. Your Maximum Leader tried to explain in a way appropriate to the Villainettes.

Since he was thinking about MLK, your Maximum Leader decided he would share some thoughts on MLK with you. First, your Maximum Leader believes his best speech is this one. Which is often known as the "I've Been to the Mountaintop." speech. It was delivered in Memphis, TN. Your Maximum Leader has traveled to Memphis many times. One time he visited the Lorraine Motel. The spot is a somewhat errie one. The neighbourhood (at least the last time he saw it) was run down, but in the middle of the run-down area was this sparkling building. In a way, the setting bespoke a problem. The building where King spent his last hours is a gloriously kept facility inviting visitors to come and learn. But the neighbourhood is run down, and in some ways desolate looking. Would a better tribute to King have been the redevelopment of the whole neighbourhood?

Carry on.

January 17, 2004

Slow Friday.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader must also wish the Big Hominid's Dad a Happy Birthday. The Big Hominid's dad is one of the best people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. If the world had more like him, I would begin to doubt my own Hobbsian tendencies. Perhaps because there are so very few like him, he is that much more great. Happy Birthday!

Your Maximum Leader was perusing the Classical Values site today. Normally, on Friday over on CV, he posts results of web-quizes he's taken. Today one fascinated me. So... If your Maximum Leader were a country he'd be:

the United Kingdom!

You're a much weaker person than you used to be, but you still
act like you did when everyone looked up to you.  Despite this, you're
probably a better person than you were when you had so much power over those
around you.  Though you do have a strange fascination with jewels and monarchs,
which lets you play in castles, but also end up leading a sort of tabloid lifestyle.
 You really like the Beatles, even more than you like Oasis.

face="Times New Roman">Take the Country
at the Blue Pyramid

Your Maximum Leader isn't sure about the "weaker than you used to be," insofar as it refers to his person. But overall he likes the outcome.

In other news...

Have the planets aligned? Are the heavens about to fall? One of the greatest duo's in TV/Movie history reunited (if only for 30 seconds)! Allah be praised!

Of course, your Maximum Leader doesn't really think Allah had anything to do with that last bit. But he is sure funny! And by the way. Go, read!

Your Maximum Leader is a little disappointed in Dr. Burgess-Jackson today. It is about Pete Rose. I was, for years, conflicted on the whole "What to do with Pete Rose?" issue. Now I am not. I believe Pete Rose should be posthumously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. When Rose was a player, he was great. He always played to win, and you could see it. But, as a manager he violated the cardinal rule of the game. He bet on baseball. As others have said, no violation goes more to the heart of the game than betting on the outcome of games. It calls into question the basic integrity of the contest. Pete Rose allowed himself to get banned from the game by not controlling himself. He must now suffer the consequences. If you like you could read what one of your Maximum Leader's favourite players has to say about the whole mess.

Scotch and Cigars.... In Scotland... Heaven.

Did you know Anna at Primal Purge was back? Your Maximum Leader loves her. Words hardly explain the pleasure I get from reading her stuff.

Your Maximum Leader bought a CD the other day. It was Tom Jones Reloaded. It is awsome. He was just listening to "Sex Bomb" on the way to the Villainschloss...

Not much else going on....

Carry on.

January 16, 2004

4th and 26

It's inexcusable for a defense to allow a 27 yard pass on 4th and 26 when the game's on the line. What the defense should have done is rush 4, contain McNabb and cover all receivers. Give McNabb the short underneath stuff, because the philly WR's hadn't been getting too much yardage after the catch if my memory serves.

The blitz had been workind sporadically, but most sacks of McNabb were coverage sacks where the LB's were working on containing McNabb. I also understand that the Blitz was designed to force McNabb into a quick throw which theoretically would be a short throw. Obviously that didn't work.

Also, Green Bay should have gone for it on 4th down. late in the game. Trying to draw a veteran Philly defense off sides was a NCAA trick that rarely works in the NFL. Green Bay was getting good yardage out of both the running game, and the short passing game and should have tried maybe a play action pass.

And the Pack should have run the ball down Philly's throat in the second half rather than opening up the passing attack.

January 15, 2004

Good reads.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader laughed and laughed at the following posts...

Frank J over on IMAO.

Allah's most recent Dean-O contribution. Your Maximum Leader almost feels guilty sending you over there and exploding our benevolent Deity's bandwidth. But, while you are there, give a few zakats.

Carry on.

Fall of the House of Green Bay Redux.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader must take issue with his esteemed Minister of Agriculture. He had wanted to blog out his feelings about the recent Green Bay loss, but to paraphrase Dr. Evil "A villainous Maximum Leader doesn't speak aloud about his feelings/His hurt and his pain don't make him to appealing."

I cannot disagree more about the 4th and 26 conversion of the Eagles. It was a real problem. It was a real problem because Coach Sherman (or Coach Donatell) called for a BLITZ ON 4TH AND 26!!!!! A FRICKKIN' BLITZ!!!! Why? Why? Why? It makes no sense. The whole game had shown that while blitzing was moderately effective; if a blitz call started to collapse the pocket witout getting the sack, there was a chance that McNabb would run. So, you want to PREVENT him from running forward. You also want to PREVENT the big play. The Packers could have given up 24 yards and still gotten the ball back. (I say 24 yards in case the Eagles got an overgenerous spot. Which they in fact, did.) How about a PREVENT defence? I know you would have given up some yards, but you had yards to give. What the Packers did was stack the line and go into man coverage. That was the idot call. If they don't convert, well then game over Pack on their way to Carolina. But, by setting up a situation where a long yardage play could work, the Pack helped do themselves in.

Additionally, on the 4th and goal in the 2nd Quarter that the Pack went for but didn't get. Another stupid move. Always take points early and go for it late. (As TMQ always says.) If the Pack had taken the points, the outcome of the game may have been different.

As the Minister of Agriculture says, the run was working well. But, the Packers didn't go for the run down the gut enough. Particularly in the 3rd Quarter. They were a little too pass-happy.

And, of course, the big untold item from the M of A's post... Favre should have taken the sack and not lofted it up without looking.

There. Your Maximum Leader is done now.

Carry on.

The Fall of the House of Green Bay

Many commentators around the net have bemoaned McNabb’s completion on 4th and 26. As the long-suffering progeny of a mixed Packers/Redskins marriage, I feel compelled to add my two cents.

The real problem was not the 4th down completion. A good quarterback will sometimes make those type of plays happen. What gave me heartburn, long before the tying and winning field goals, was the coach’s decision not to go for it on 4th and 1 on the 40-yard line with 90 seconds to go.

I had no quibble with the failed 4th and goal attempt that failed – a gutsy call that, unfortunately, did not work out. Perhaps this failed touchdown attempt led to the decision to punt the ball away when a conversion would have won the game.

I think that decision was asinine. The run was working pretty well. A punt was only going to get you twenty yards. Those twenty yards wouldn’t have made much of a difference to a pass-driven last-second drive. But more importantly, the Pack should have gone for it to KEEP THE BALL AWAY FROM MCNABB!

One bloody first down and the Pack could have run out the clock and reached the Conference Championship.

Cool Posters

Conservatives might not find these as funny, but you all have to admit the appropriation of the WW II patriotic poster style (America's Socialist Realism?) is amusing:


Sorry for the minimimalist contributions over the last couple of days. Trying to save the chilled calf has me runnning at a severe sleep deficit. Alas, there is no happy ending in sight.

Quick update & minion mailbag.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader figured he'd do a quick blog. Mainly, he wanted to agree with the Poet Laureate that this post on Cerebral Bypass is a very thougtful, if somewhat melancoly, blog. Very well done.

Additionally, your Maximum Leader agrees with much of what Gregg Easterbrook says about the whole "Paul O'Neill" hullaballou going on now.

And, quite surprisingly, your Maximum Leader got an almost immediate reponse to his pithiness of yesterday. An unnamed minion wrote:
I think it is awful what you wrote about that suicide bomber woman. It would still be a tragedy if she had killed those people three years ago.

Your Maximum Leader responds:
Dear Unnamed Minion. You misunderstand my villainous humour. Your Maximum Leader was implying that it would have been better had the bomber killed herself before she bred. (The linked article mentions that the bomber was the mother of two.)Your inference was incorrect. As you ought to know, your Maximum Leader is very sympathetic to the victims of homicidal Palestinians. Perhaps you should read more carefully.
Yours cordially,

NB: What type of sicko mother kills herself and leaves behind two kids? Lets check that article again. Reuters reports that:

Wearing a green Hamas sash and headband, Reyashi, from a middle-class merchant family in Gaza, said in a farewell video she had dreamed since she was 13 of "becoming a martyr."

What type of society (if you can call it that) creates an environment where little girls want to die? Don't try to pull out any relativist arguments with your Maximum Leader here. He will not tolerate them.

And the article goes on:

She concluded by saying: "God gave me two children and I loved them so much. Only God knew how much I loved them."

Lets see. God gave her two children whom she claimed to love. Did it never occur to her that rather than blowing herself up, God might have wanted the two children to have a loving mother? Humm.... Call your Maximum Leader crazy, but my logic seems a bit more straightforward than hers. Hell! Isn't there some sort of "nuturing kids" gene in women? After years of listening to various feminist-types, your Maximum Leader was convinced he couldn't nurture a soul because he wasn't a woman. (Of course, it turns out that he is more a nurturer of the "Benevolent God-Emperor" sort than the "June Cleaver" sort.)

What makes it even worse is that your Maximum Leader is sure that whoever raises those children will impress upon them day and night what a wonderful and heroic mother they had. Sickos. Just sick.

Carry on.

January 14, 2004

Slow day it seems...

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has decided to try a quick blog to end his day. He sees that there is not much going on in this space today. He supposes we really outdid ourselves yesterday....

Your Maximum Leader added a new link to the Villainous Culture area. It is to Samuel Pepys' Diary. For the uninitiated, Samuel Pepys (pronounced: peeps) was a 17th century Englishman who kept a diary for much of his life. This site republishes his diary, day by day. It is great. If you have never heard/read/been told about Pepys you are obviously very loosely educated.

I don't know about you, but after all that happened to Roy Horn, I wouldn't keep a lion around as a pet. But on the other hand, if it was good enough for Rameses the Great, it must be good enough for your Maximum Leader.

Let's see. Yes to Elway, Art Monk, and Barry Sanders. A minion asked your Maximum Leader today if he thought Deion Sanders would make it into the Football Hall of Fame with John Elway.... Your Maximum Leader laughed and laughed and laughed. Then after wiping the tears of laughter from his eyes, ordered the minion never to come and speak with him again unless he had another good joke for your Maximum Leader's enjoyment.

Children scared of Prince Philip with a gun... What? What? Why would they be scared? He wasn't shooting at them. He was killing pheasants. Why are the children of England terrified of gunshots? Because they are completely unfamiliar with them. Sad really. Not like the schoolkids of western Virginia or Pennsylvania (or NC, SC, GA, FL, AL, TN, etc) who often take off a day of school to join their dad's on the first day of hunting season....

Dean wins! Dean wins! (Dean wins completely unbinding, meaningless, and silly nothing of a primary.) It does surprise your Maximum Leader that Dean did win. He would have put money on Sharpton taking, as George Clinton calls it, "Chocolate City." But now it seems as though little Dick is not going to play nice.

A pity she already bred. If she had only done this 3 years ago...

They are still pretending to be a democracy in Haiti. Who knew?

Fairfax County's Jail is charging prisoners with cash to stay in the jail. If jails charged on a "means-tested" basis... What would Texas be able to charge Andy Fastow?

Worst dressed. Most skanky. Think of the awards she ought to win.

That Annika. She is so saucy. She teases her Maximum Leader so with these tales of her past, and photos of herself.

Mr. Green very angry. But unlike David Banner, we like Mr. Green when he gets angry.

But what about THE CHILDREN! Couldn't the $100/Iowa Caucus voter be better spent on THE CHILDREN. Wouldn't each of THE CHILDREN in Iowa prefer to get the $100 themselves? They would likely spend it on something stupid... But in so doing THE CHILDREN would stimulate the economy and provide jobs for their parents (and myriad sweatshop labourers overseas). And that gentle readers would be better than political advertising.

Yes yes. Dr Johnson, if he were a contemporary writer would surely modify his famous dictum to read that "Patriotism and the welfare of children are the last refuges of soundrels."

Carry on my minions.

Revisionist History

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader started this post last week, and put it aside for no reason. Now he has decided to finish it.

Your Maximum Leader is very disturbed by this Thomas Hibbs peice on NRO. What the hell? First people (cretins) in Richmond get upset by a proposed statue of Lincoln in their fair city. Now the US Park Service is rehabilitating John Wilkes Booth in Ford's Theatre? What next? An Enola Gay exhibit that says that the Japanese were helpless victims of the atomic bomb? Oh yeah...

Your Maximum Leader realizes that the cost of his freedom of speech is sometimes having to listen to cretins. But really? How about a little real history here. That the US Park Service is saying "Lincoln had it coming." in Ford's Theatre is unexcusable. Your Maximum Leader remembers going to Ford's Theatre as a young villain and seeing the museum. He remembers going to the house across the street where Lincoln died and seeing the bed and (preserved under glass) the blood-stained pillow on which the President's head rested as he died. It was very moving. And to think it is being perverted by a bad interpretation makes me angry. He needs to figure out what he can do to stop this. (Short of an early beginning to the MWO which would easily solve this and so many other problems.)

Carry on.

January 13, 2004

While we were talking about guns...

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader grows distressed about the apparent ammunition problem the US Army is running into. He's read two blogs about it today. First is here at Winds of Change. Second is here on Kim Du Toit's blog. Your Maximum Leader doesn't see why the Army couldn't buy regular leaded ammo as a stopgap. Unless it is some cheesy "environmental friendly" requirement in federal procurement. That would be sucky.

Carry on.

I Guess that Evening at the Theatre is Out.

Which leader am I?

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader took a test to see what type of leader he is. Results:

Thanks to Conrad at Gweilo Diaries for the link.

Carry on.

Who eats the most SPAM?

Greetings loyal minions. It is the contention of the Maximum Leader that Hawaiians eat more Spam every year than any other Americans. This doesn't really surprise me. Perhaps their Polynesian heritage contains some "Spam-loving" gene. Your Maximum Leader remembers on his last voyage to Korea to visit the Big Hominid that he took a case of Spam as a gift for the Hominid's relatives. Asians (if your Maximum Leader may generalize) seem to love Spam.

For more Spam-y goodness... Visit the Spam website. Link on sidebar too!

Carry on.

Thanks FM!

The MOA stands corrected on assault weapons. I did not know that the classification was so arbitrary; I thought an assault weapon was a rifle designed for infantry combat (like an AK-47). Perhaps that is a major problem when outlawing certain types of weapons: how do we define what is legal? To paraphrase a rather silly legal "principle," "I know an assault rifle when I see one."

I'm still not buying the all or nothing argument, on either the Second or First Amendments. Just as I don't think Bobby Seale's exhortation to "Burn some pork" has little relevence to my ability to express political opinions, the FM's desire to own a Panzerfaust has little relevence to my ability to shoot pesky verminous Bambis. Or, to use the "Well regulated" phrase, I don't see how asking gun owners to take a safety course, use gun-locks, and register their weapons puts an undue burden on my possessing a 306 scoped doe snuffer. Just sayin'.

Kilgore Trout and Spam Haikus and Spam Trivia Question


Check it out.
Read the archives.
The ML even has a link on the sidebar.
I about ruptured myself as I did my pre-school blog surf this morning. A juicy tidbit from November to get you started (he's talking about your Bush @TM "tax relief checks"):

"I always wondered what Bill Gates did when he received his check. I want to think that, just like me, he looked forward to receiving his check in the mail and daydreamed what he would do with the precious little windfall. Did he linger outside shop windows, peering in at mp3 players and digital cameras? Or maybe he wandered into a jewelry store and found a perfect little diamond pendant for his wife, and it was $329.95, and he talked the merchant down -- Look, I'll have $300 in just like a week or so. I'll be able to give you $300 even, cash. Come on, man, I'm just asking for 9.077132899% off. My wife would love that pendant. I can see Bill getting home from work, and finding the check in the mailbox, and getting in his car and hurrying to the bank to cash the check just before closing time. Then he ran to the jewelry store and handed the surprised merchant a stack of twenties -- See? I told you! Three hundred dollars and not a penny less! -- and took the pendant home to surprise Melinda, who kissed him and said Oh, it's beautiful, Bill, and then she wore the pendant to the dinner table, even though they were only having Sloppy Joes.

"None of this happened, of course. One of Bill Gates' army of accountants and tax lawyers took the check and dumped in with his other $34 billion or whatever, which increased his wealth in roughly the same way that you would increase the volume of the Atlantic Ocean by pissing off the side of a cruise ship. Or maybe Bill got hold of the check and let his kids color all over it, or maybe he threw a party for all his rich friends and they used their $300 checks as rolling papers for doobies, and then they all sat around and laughed like hyenas while they smoked their tax relief checks."

I was giggling maniacally by the tiume I got to the Atlantic Ocean line.

KBJ has some haikus that will likely amuse the Big Hominid:


Were these Spam poems inspired by our earlier discussion of Spam hymns?

Quick trivia: What American State has the highest (by far) per capita consumption of Spam?

January 12, 2004

I certainly don't want to start THIS argument again....

But watch what you say.
I quote the MA
"I can see no legitimate reason for owning an assault weapon. In trained hands, a semi-automatic is as useful (if not more so) for home defense."
"assult weapons" are semi automatic or at least, the ones that 99.9999% of the ones that owned buy your average American Gun owner. Fully AUtomatic guns are heavily regulated by the government and require additional background checks by local, state, and FBI, fingerprinting, and punitive taxes (which takes a minimum of 3 months to complete.
A semi auto is a semi auto mechanically speaking. Give it a bayonette lug and a folding stock and it now becomes an evil "assult weapon" that must be banned.
That is why there has been so much troubles (and loopholes) with things like the Brady Law. They determined Assult weapons by physical appearance, so the Gun folks took the bayonett lug off, took off flash surpressor, gave it a hunting style stock and a 10 round magazine and *poof* it was OK.
Same gun, different clothing.
So if you are going to Ban them... then you have to ban them all and that won't happen. Duck hunters use semi-auto shotguns, Olympic teams shoot with semi-auto rifles, target shooters.... etc etc.

The main thing is, if we want to keep the "right" that we have, we all have to stick together. That means the guy that shoots deer from his back porch to protect his blackberry patch has to stick up for and help out the guy who collects WW2 machine guns (even though he does not shoot them much).

On another note.

If cattle guys take the nuts off a bull, do they then give them hormone shots? If so, why take the nuts off in the first place if you have a small herd and are going to butcher them in a year anyway?

Back to the Trenches

Chilled Calf

I went to the livestock auction last Thursday to buy five calves. I have orders for nine sides of beef and will put one side in the freeze for the Smallholder family. Unfortunately, the veal buyers were out and outbid me on many of the finest calves. Some of the calves went for $140.

I still have a hard time following the rhyme or reason of the prices that different calves fetch. Before the auction, I make a list of calves worth bidding on by:

1) Checking the suck reflex – you want a calf that is so eager to eat that it will suck everything put into his mouth – if he will grab your fingers, he is a potential purchase.
2) Checking the nose – a red nose indicates a cold or sickness.
3) Checking the navel. I wet navel indicates that the calf is only a day old and probably has not had enough colostrums. Colostrum is the first mother’s milk that jump starts the immune system. Many farmers (particularly those with large operations and many other responsibilities) don’t take the time to milk out the colostrums and feed it to the calf, just dumping the males at the next auction. I calf that has not had its colostrum will succumb to an infection rather rapidly.
4) Checking the tail – you want to check to see what type of elimination the calf is having. While all calf manure is runny (liquid in, liquid out), you want something with some consistency and color – a clear watery liquid that smells really bad is called “scours.” Scours will dehydrate a calf rather quickly. I saved a calf with scours last year, but it was an incredible amount of work.
5) Checking for swelling around the umbilical cord – an infection will cause puffiness.
6) Watching it walk. You want an active, steady calf.
7) Checking the “blockiness.” Calves start with very bony hips and a large indentation on either side just forward of the hip. If the calf is several days old it starts to get thicker or blockier, thus indicating that it has bypassed early illnesses and has had its colostrum and is eating well.

There seem to be other criteria that I am unaware of. One calf that I thought was reasonably solid drew no bids. I was so freaked out that the veal buyers weren’t bidding (what was I missing?) that I hesitated and didn’t bid. It ended up being bought for five dollars. Perhaps I should have bid on him, but I wasn’t sure enough of my judgment to take a risk.

I ended up getting three medium-level calves for just under my budgeted price. Two were definite deals; they have been solid feeders and healthy over the last few days. One is doing well, but needs convincing at feeding time.

I went to another auction on Saturday, but the selection was rather poor. There were a couple of good calves that went for $150 – way too high for my blood. There was one calf that I had marked down as a possible that no one bid on. He was a little stiff, but I figured that was because of the bitter cold – he seemed sound otherwise.

I had had some experience with a chilled calf. When the neighbor went away, I watched his herd of Angus cattle for him. He had one calf that he was supplementing with a bottle. The little guy’s mother had only one functioning teat. Most farmers would have culled her years ago, but my neighbor is emotionally attached to this particular cow and kept her. In most years, her calf learns to steal milk from other cows. This year’s calf did not learn to do this and is really stunted in growth. After a month, he started to give the calf a bottle in the evenings. When I took over, I had to walk all over his top field of twenty acres to find the little guy and coax him to take the bottle. One cold evening I found him huddled in some brambles and I had to rouse him to eat. He just did not want to get up. I eventually got him up and moving – very stiffly, and got him to take the bottle. The calf at the auction barn seemed to move that way.

When no one bid on him, I bid $2. Someone else offered $5, and I took the next step at $7.50. Sold. An awesome deal – if he will live.

By the time I got him home, he did not want to stand up at all. I had to throw all 95 pounds of him over my shoulder and carry him to the barn. I got him into a warm stall, rubbed him down all over (to get the circulation going) and brought him a warm bottle of milk replacer. His suck reflex was gone. I had to prop him up over my knees. You should never let a calf drink lying down – they have to be standing for the pipes to work properly. If a calf drinks while sitting, some of the fluid is bound to go down into the lungs and cause pneumonia. I then held his mouth with one and hand and tilted the bottle with the other. A slow, slow trickle of milk replacer came out and he is forced to swallow. This was hard, cold work – an hour and a half to get a single feeding of four quarts into him. I was up with him a good portion of Saturday night.

Most veal producers jolt the calves with heavy dose of antibiotics whether they need it or not. I try the organic approach – adding sugar for electrolytes and eggs to help digestion. My martyr of a wife is taking over the midday feedings, but I’ll still be out early morning and evening.

And you know what? I’m loving the challenge. Trying to save the little guy while looking out the barn door at the snow laying on my fields is sublime.

I just need one more calf to complete the set of five. ;)

There is no Vast Left Wing Conspiracy!

Or maybe they just left me out.

Packers/Wall Street

First... My condolences the entire Villain clan on the football debacle last night. I think it must have been a left wing plot. Nothing else can explain allowing the Eagles to convert on 4th and 26, in addition to that pass that Favre lofted up in OT.

Secondly... Grateful Dead concert circa 1993 or so. College buddy of mine looks at Max Leader's college roommate putting on a GD tee shirt. "My God you have the biggest nipples." Am I right in assuming that the large nippled individual is, indeed, Wall Street?

Wall Street

The re-emergence of the Maximum Leader’s college roommate (hereafter referred to as Wall Street) is a joyous event. I anxiously await an update on his post-collegiate activities.

I too, lack understanding about why we fell out of touch. I had presumed that he was in hiding with Saddam and Osama. After all, as the ML can vouch, his anus of destruction certainly qualifies as a Weapon of Mass Destruction. (In a bizarre ritual, the ML was awakened every day of his college career by his roommates’ thunderous anal perorations – the Big Hominid would have been proud of these diarrhetic discursions)

Some of the best days of my life were spent at the end of my sophomore year, hanging out on a porch overlooking metropolitan Farmville, drinking beers and dinking golf balls into the community. The rest of the horsemen were graduating, so I was savoring the last bits of daily companionship before they entered the real working world. Good friends, good conversation, profane jokes, bottomless beer mugs chilled in the freezer by our host, and knowing that I was going home to a hot girlfriend who didn’t mind that I spent most of the day with my buddies. Plus, there was some boot-shooting going on. Don’t ask.

You might have been puzzled by the horseman reference. We jokingly called ourselves (among other things) the five horsemen of the apocalypse – Death, War, Famine, Plague, and Recession. The ML’s roommate, being a business major, was Recession. The Foreign Minister, prior to abandoning Clauswitz’s “other means” for the art of diplomacy, was a WW II re-enactor so earned the moniker of War. I was dubbed Plague for my advocacy of the use of blood agents during the first Gulf War. The host of the hilltop house was Famine, simply because he was Irish. I don’t remember if the ML became Death by default or if there was a reason behind it. Perhaps he could enlighten us.

I wonder what random combination of searches brought Wall Street to the Naked Villainy Blog. I don’t think that there is any searchable link to our real identities on this site. I hope our long lost comrade-in-arms will reveal how he happened to find Mike’s pet web project.