October 30, 2004

Weekend Villainy, Halloween 2004

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader didn't forget Friday Villainy. He decided to put up one long post for the whole weekend. (As it is unlikely that either he or the Smallholder will post anything. Which would leave the proverbial door open for the other Ministers...)

As Halloween is upon us, your Maximum Leader thought it best to return to the realm of literature for our weekly examination of villainy. As many of you know, your Maximum Leader loves monster movies. He particularly loves vampire films. And Dracula films are the best. As he's blogged before, he loves all the Dracula films. Alas, this year his Frank Langella version of Dracula has died. It was on video and the tape has gone bad. But in it's place he now has a Christopher Lee Dracula by Hammer. So there are some slight changes to the Dracula film fest.

Anyho... Your Maximum Leader will present for your consideration the passage from Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula" that both scared and titilated him as a young man when he first read it. It is the final few pages of Chapter 3. Jonathan Harker, the diarist/narrator of this passage, has fallen asleep in a room of the Count's castle. A room to which the Count has warned him not to venture. He wakes to discover...
I was not alone. The room was the same, unchanged in any way since I came into it. I could see along the floor, in the brilliant moonlight, my own footsteps marked where I had disturbed the long accumulation of dust. In the moonlight opposite me were three young women, ladies by their dress and manner. I thought at the time that I must be dreaming when I saw them, they threw no shadow on the floor. They came close to me, and looked at me for some time, and then whispered together. Two were dark, and had high aquiline noses, like the Count, and great dark, piercing eyes, that seemed to be almost red when contrasted with the pale yellow moon. The other was fair, as fair as can be, with great masses of golden hair and eyes like pale sapphires. I seemed somehow to know her face, and to know it in connection with some dreamy fear, but I could not recollect at the moment how or where. All three had brilliant white teeth that shone like pearls against the ruby of their voluptuous lips. There was something about them that made me uneasy, some longing and at the same time some deadly fear. I felt in my heart a wicked, burning desire that they would kiss me with those red lips.It is not good to note this down, lest some day it should meet Mina's eyes and cause her pain, but it is the truth. They whispered together, and then they all three laughed, such a silvery, musical laugh, but as hard as though the sound never could have come through the softness of human lips. It was like the intolerable, tingling sweetness of waterglasses when played on by a cunning hand. The fair girl shook her head coquettishly, and the other two urged her on.

One said, "Go on! You are first, and we shall follow. Yours' is the right to begin."

The other added, "He is young and strong. There are kisses for us all."

I lay quiet, looking out from under my eyelashes in an agony of delightful anticipation. The fair girl advanced and bent over me till I could feel the movement of her breath upon me. Sweet it was in one sense, honey-sweet, and sent the same tingling through the nerves as her voice, but with a bitter underlying the sweet, a bitter offensiveness, as one smells in blood.

I was afraid to raise my eyelids, but looked out and saw perfectly under the lashes. The girl went on her knees, and bent over me, simply gloating. There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive, and as she arched her neck she actually licked her lips like an animal, till I could see in the moonlight the moisture shining on the scarlet lips and on the red tongue as it lapped the white sharp teeth. Lower and lower went her head as the lips went below the range of my mouth and chin and seemed to fasten on my throat. Then she paused, and I could hear the churning sound of her tongue as it licked her teeth and lips, and I could feel the hot breath on my neck. Then the skin of my throat began to tingle as one's flesh does when the hand that is to tickle it approaches nearer, nearer. I could feel the soft, shivering touch of the lips on the super sensitive skin of my throat, and the hard dents of two sharp teeth, just touching and pausing there. I closed my eyes in languorous ecstasy and waited, waited with beating heart.

But at that instant, another sensation swept through me as quick as lightning. I was conscious of the presence of the Count, and of his being as if lapped in a storm of fury. As my eyes opened involuntarily I saw his strong hand grasp the slender neck of the fair woman and with giant's power draw it back, the blue eyes transformed with fury, the white teeth champing with rage, and the fair cheeks blazing red with passion. But the Count! Never did I imagine such wrath and fury, even to the demons of the pit. His eyes were positively blazing. The red light in them was lurid, as if the flames of hell fire blazed behind them. His face was deathly pale, and the lines of it were hard like drawn wires. The thick eyebrows that met over the nose now seemed like a heaving bar of white-hot metal. With a fierce sweep of his arm, he hurled the woman from him, and then motioned to the others, as though he were beating them back. It was the same imperious gesture that I had seen used to the wolves. In a voice which, though low and almost in a whisper seemed to cut through the air and then ring in the room he said,

"How dare you touch him, any of you? How dare you cast eyes on him when I had forbidden it? Back, I tell you all! This man belongs to me! Beware how you meddle with him, or you'll have to deal with me."

The fair girl, with a laugh of ribald coquetry, turned to answer him. "You yourself never loved. You never love!" On this the other women joined, and such a mirthless,hard, soulless laughter rang through the room that it almost made me faint to hear. It seemed like the pleasure of fiends.

Then the Count turned, after looking at my face attentively, and said in a soft whisper, "Yes, I too can love. You yourselves can tell it from the past. Is it not so? Well, now I promise you that when I am done with him you shall kiss him at your will. Now go! Go! I must awaken him, for there is work to be done."

"Are we to have nothing tonight?"said one of them, with a low laugh, as she pointed to the bag which he had thrown upon the floor, and which moved as though there were some living thing within it. For answer he nodded his head. One of the women jumped forward and opened it. If my ears did not deceive me there was a gasp and a low wail, as of a half smothered child. The women closed round, whilst I was aghast with horror. But as I looked, they disappeared, and with them the dreadful bag. There was no door near them, and they could not have passed me without my noticing. They simply seemed to fade into the rays of the moonlight and pass out through the window, for I could see outside the dim, shadowy forms for a moment before they entirely faded away.

Then the horror overcame me, and I sank down unconscious.
Your Maximum Leader read this passage first when he was 12-13 years old. It had a powerful effect on him, on many different levels, at the time. When he saw this passage on film, he remembered the feels he felt so many years before. If you haven't read the book, your Maximum Leader commends it to you.

Carry on.

October 29, 2004

Seasonal News from Scotland.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader reads that a soon to be abolished baronial court in Scotland is pardoning 81 people convicted of witchcraft between 1500-1600.

The witches were convicted on the basis of spectral evidence. That is to say that witnesses against the "witches" were said to "feel evil spirits" or "heard spirit voices."

Your Maximum Leader has to get in his two groats worth on this one. First off, where is the outrage that a soon-to-be-abolished reminant of feudal Scotland is exercising its powers and not just sitting around waiting to go away?

Secondly, according to the Witchcraft Act of 1735 it is a crime to pretend to be a witch. Your Maximum Leader wants to know if the accused weren't just pretending to be witches.

And lastly, your Maximum Leader is noting down "spectral evidence." Be warned that in the show trials of the MWO you may just hear that term again.

Carry on.

It's Good to be The King.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader dedicates this post to his good friend P.H. in Atlanta, GA. (Who your Maximum Leader knows reads this site every so often - even if your Maximum Leader's conservative politics raise her blood pressure to dangerous levels.)

Your Maximum Leader is pleased to see that Saint Elvis is still topping lists. In this case it is the list of the top earning dead celebrities. "E," as he is known around the Villainschloss, is at the top of the list. He's the leader of the pack. $40 million last year. Rock on baby!


Carry on.

What Men Want

Ally over at "Who Moved My Truth" asks what men want.

It is notable that there has NOT been a sequel to that Mel Gibson/Helen Hunt comedy in which the shoe is on the other foot. We were all charmed when Mel got to listen in on feminine internal dialogue. It was funny because it was true. One suspects that listening in on male internal dialogue would be horrifying because it was true.

I don't think there is a simple answer to Ally's question.

It depends on age and very much on the guy. I have male friends who don't seem to move beyond their glands when it comes to evaluating women.

Truth be told, when I was a wee lad I perhaps was not as sophisticated as I am now. I wasn't looking for a mate when I was 16. Or 20.

Ironically, when pressed by a high school female friend about my ideal woman, I wrote a description along the lines of:

Fiercely intelligent.
Intellectually curious.
Willing to tell me I'm full of crap when I'm full of crap.
Socially adept (so I don't have to be).
Able to light up a room with her smile.

Just before my marriage to Mrs. Smallholder, said friend pulled out my old letter and showed it to me. I had described the Good Sally years before I actually met her.

Now, when I wrote that description at 18, I left out (for politically correct reasons) the idea of physical beauty. I have a type, but am not wedded to it. At the age of 33 I'm willing to admit openly that one ought to attracted to one's spouse physically.

I have known and know some wonderful women who are just great people and I enjoy their company tremendously, but, were I single, I would not date them because they aren't pretty. Call me shallow if you will, but if why should one move beyond friendship if there is not a physical spark?

At the age of 33, I would also add some requirements to the list, but I'm not sure how you would determine whether a woman met those requirements pre-marriage.

A good mother.
Willing to compromise.

I lucked out. But I'm not sure how you could determine these things prior to cohabitation and parenthood.

All of that said, I would like to return to Ally's post:

"My roommate and I are having a discussion regarding the difference between what men and women look for in a mate. She is frustrated, as the gentlemen she is currently interested in (and he is interested in her) often talks about mundane things despite the fact they are still getting to know each other. She wonders that he does not ask questions about her - questions about personal subjects, such as the meaning of life and what she wants in life, etc. (These are things she asks him.) He does inquire about her well-being and general topics, but he does not inquire on any deeper, philosophical issues."

Perhaps Ally's roommate is being unfair to the poor lad. His failure to ask about her worldview might not be reflective of the fact that he doesn't consider her life partner material. Perhaps those sort of things don't matter to him. Not everyone is a navel-gazing philosopher like the folks here at Nakedvillainy. There are plenty of people out there who are good, solid, folks, but just aren't particularly interested in self-reflection or metaphysics.

Really, pondering the great imponderables isn't what makes a good mate.

I had a couple of very nice girlfriends who would have married me (one was more vocal about it than the other) way back when. I didn't want to marry them because they weren't particularly interested in the meaning of life and could have cared less when the Maximum Leader, The Foreign Minister, Wallstreet, The Minister of Propaganda and the Horseman of Famine debated politics.

Looking back at myself, I'm a bit ashamed of my arrogance. They were great people and would have made good wives. As it turned out, I'm glad that I was immature back then - otherwise I wouldn't have ended up with the great wife I now have. But the fact that Sally is willing to partake in intellectual discourse doesn't make here a good wife - other, more mundane traits are what really matter.

I stand ready for flaming and condemnation.


Bill over at Bill's Comments has been unusually prolific of late.

Go read.

A Good Question

Analphilospher asks an important question:

"How can John Kerry wage an effective war against radical Muslims when he can't wage an effective presidential campaign?"

The amateur hour aspects of Kerry's campaign raise serious doubts about his leadership abilities. Don't tell me that it is not his fault because the real blame lies with his management team. Folks, the ability to pick good advisors and to sort through the chaff of opinions to reach a good decision is a key characteristic of leadership.

Almost no one will argue that the Gipper was an intellectual. But he had the ability to appoint cabinet officers and White House staffers who could translate his vision of America into reality. Whether you love him or hate him, Ronald Wilson Reagan was an incredibly important figure in American history.

Kerry's inability to discipline and, dare I say it, fire ineffective staffers bodes ill for the effectiveness of a Kerry administration.

The blogosphere as a whole has been trashing the undecided voter. Perhaps the indecision comes not from ignorance but from a legitimate angst over the choices offered in this election. I can see several scenarios where a voter might have thoughtful positions on the issues but still be unwilling to vote for the other side.

A liberal who likes Kerry's social positions might be very nervous about foreign policy by committee.

A libertarian alarmed by Bush's demonization of people outside of the mainstream might be concerned that Kerry will take Bush's wrongheaded health policy and magnify its faults.

A fiscal conservative might be alarmed by Bush's penchant to spend money like a drunken sailor and the endless sea of deficits on the horizon, but how could he be confident that Kerry would impose fiscal discipline?

Someone who desperately wants to win the war on terrorism might be alarmed at Bush's handling of postwar Iraq and refusal to adjust a failing policy, but be concerned that Kerry's naivete about our allies also bodes ill.

Keith Burgess-Jackson is right. Bush ought to be tremendously vulnerable as an incumbent whose economic and foreign policies have resulted in a net loss of jobs (Note to Rusty: Notice that I am talking about actual jobs, NOT unemployment percentages which are also up), and a quagmire of an insurrection. Kerry's leadership failures have meant that many people who are dissatisfied with Bush's leadership will STILL VOTE FOR BUSH.

One wonders if the Democratic Party is actually, as an institution, suicidal.

Many of our readers may suspect that I'm pulling a Sullivan, but your humble Smallholder, despite my beliefs that government ought to balance the budget, that progressive tax rates are a societal good, that we ought not to discriminate based on consensual bedroom behavior, and that we should balance economic and environmental issues, has had to do a lot of soul-searching before deciding how to cast my Tuesday ballot.

If Kerry had offered even a smidgen of reassurance on foreign policy, he would have had my vote hands down. As it is, I'm not so much voting for him as I am voting against the incompetence, obstinacy, rigidity, and willful blindness of Bush's foreign policy team. I do so without much faith in the plan(s) that Kerry has offered to win the war. But at least he might do something different.

Always On Our Mind...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is all about caring for his ministers. Even when we don't agree on political matters, we are always friends.

This link goes out to the Minister of Propaganda who is out there trying to elect John Kerry to the highest office in the land. M of P, you may not be posting here, but we're still thinking of you. Just in case you missed it: Nude Kate Moss Portrait May Fetch $6.4M at Auction. That auction is Feburary 9 at Christies.

Carry on.

For the Foreign Minister

I dearly love the long-suffering Foreign Minister's better half.

So I post this link with trepidation.

Ally at "Who Moved My Truth" asked what men want.

For the Foreign Minister, I can't think of a girl who better meets the definition of "Gregfraulein" than Annika.


Conservative enough to make Smallholder's eyes bleed.


But, more importantly,

Enthusiastic about Nazi Machine Guns AND plays WW II tactical games.


(Sounds of Greg swimming the Atlantic Ocean)


I'm a homewrecker. Forgive me, Mrs. Foreign Minister!

The Answer to a Question.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is nothing if not full of answers. You just ask your questions and he answers. Sometimes, if your name happens to be Molly, you ask questions and your Maximum Leader thinks about them for a while and makes you forget that you asked a question. Then, voila! Your Maximum Leader has an answer.

Alas, poor Molly. This answer is not for you. (But your Maximum Leader knows he still owes you an answer or two.)

This answer is for Ally. Ally before asking her question admonishes her readers to be afraid, be very afraid. Well your Maximum Leader took casual note of the warning and pressed on. Ally's question is a doozy. Ally writes:
My theory is this: women look for specific things, like professions, hobbies, activities, etc. when looking for a mate. I believe men look for more general characteristics in women - such as, a sense of humor, a good person, easy to get along with....and of course, the physical aspect. A guy could care less if a woman likes scrap-booking or windsurfing, as long as she is a good woman and he can do his sport or hobby in peace.
Ay yai yai! What a theory to have to validate! Your Maximum Leader was going to write something snarky here. (If only to validate the Smallholder's theory that your Maximum Leader hasn't been himself lately.) But that little voice that your Maximum Leader is so successful at silencing overcame him and he decided to blog personal for a moment.

Many years ago your Maximum Leader had a theory of his own. Men and Women were ultimately incompatable in almost every way. The goal of a man was to find a woman who could tolerate him, and whom he could tolerate. Then, the man would have to go on with his own friends and the woman her own friends. Their lives would touch only in scenes reminiscent of Charles Foster Kane and Emily Monroe Norton Kane having breakfast.

Well, your Maximum Leader doesn't hold that theory any longer. Except in cases of men getting trophy wives. Then there this model may be the case, only with a little more craven undercurrent.

Well, your Maximum Leader knew a number of traits he was looking for in a woman when he decided to get serious about looking for one. He wanted a woman who shared his basic political beliefs. A woman who had deeply held spiritual convictions. A woman who would give him space when he needed it. A woman who enjoyed many of the same cultural interests as he did. And a woman who wanted and was able to have children.

As you can see, these are very self-centered wants. As long as any perpective woman and your Maximum Leader met on these points; your Maximum Leader thought things could work out.

For the sake of full disclosure, your Maximum Leader has also always had a thing for dark, curvy, swarthy women. Black hair, olive skin, hips, some bum, more than a handful of boob. Sort of like Salma Hayek. Yuuuummmmyyy. So it would be nice if a woman who met the aforementioned criteria would also be dark and swarthy. But your Maximum Leader matured and realized that of all the traits he was looking for, the purely physical ones were the least important.

And your Maximum Leader is lucky to be able to say that Mrs. Villain does share your Maximum Leader's political outlook, is deeply spiritual, cultured, loves (and has borne 3) kids, and has both nice boobs and a nice bum. Most importantly, Mrs. Villain gives your Maximum Leader time and space to do things he wants to do. And your Maximum Leader lets her do her thing. She hasn't tried to change him, nor he her. She communicates her expectations and desires clearly and without subterfuge (most of the time). She has her own interests and hobbies. And except in those areas where our interests overlap, she does her thing and your Maximum Leader does his thing. And we get on famously.

It is interesting. Your Maximum Leader and Mrs. Villain were set up by the Foreign Minister's lovely (and long suffering) wife. She hesitated to set us up for the longest time. She did so because Mrs. Villain is very willfull and stubborn about a great many things. And your Maximum Leader is stubborn and quite willfull about a great many more things. Mrs. Foreign Minister assumed that we would butt heads all the time and never agree on a thing. But as it turns out, those things that Mrs. Villain is stubborn about don't bother your Maximum Leader in the least. And vice versa.

So, your Maximum Leader supposes that Ally's theory is not too far off. Men have a few broad (self-centered) criteria by which they judge women. If those criteria are met, men believe things can work out. They key is change. In your Maximum Leader's experience the root cause of relationship distress is one party trying to change the basic nature of the other party. Generally the woman is trying to change the man. Your Maximum Leader isn't sure why many women feel they have to change a man to conform to their vision of how the man should be. Furthermore, your Maximum Leader doesn't understand why so many man let women try to change them. Regardless, allow your Maximum Leader to pass along a helpful hint to all women; when it comes to men - what you see is what you get. There ain't a lot of changing going on.

This is not to say that men don't change. That is not your Maximum Leader's point. For example, Mrs. Villain now knows that toilet paper must always come off the roll from front of the roll. And your Maximum Leader now knows that toothpaste tubes must be squeezed randomly along their length for them to work properly. Little things people can, and do, change.

Don't try to change the big things. If your man keeps his underwear in the top dresser drawer with all his socks; don't ever try to move them to another drawer. (This is a much bigger thing than most women realize.) If your man plays computer games all night if left alone when you are dating; he will do it after you are married. If your man doesn't get enthusiastic about scrap-booking or antique shopping when you are dating - but goes along to be nice (and maybe get some play later); don't expect him to want to help with your scrap-books or go antique shopping after you are married. Just ask a man what he likes to do and he'll tell you. Note those things down. Don't try to force him to like what you like.

Think of your relationship in terms of a Venn Diagram. Draw two big interlocking circles. Put your shared interests (honestly) in the overlapping area. Then put your individual interests in your non-overlapping circles. Try to find someone with as many shared interests as possible. But things you don't share early on, you will not likely share later on. Just live with it.

And that is about all the relationship advice your Maximum Leader can muster up right now.

Carry on.

Latest from VDH

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader just read the latest from Victor Davis Hanson on National Review Online. The money quote: "Not our power, but our will, is the target." Target of Al Qaeda and other terrorists that is. You ought to go and read it if you have not already.

Indeed, you ought to go and read Hanson's "Carnage & Culture" or "Ripples of Battle." They are genuinely scholarly works that are readable and thought provoking.

Carry on.

New SciFi Babes Poll

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that JohnL at TexasBestGrok is back and has a new SciFi babes poll. This poll is among women of the Star Trek: The Next Generation Cast. Your Maximum Leader, as the saying goes, doesn't have a dog in this fight. Although he tends to favour Counselor Troi over the others. Dark hair, olive skin, boobs. Although the whole idea of such a counselor as a senior officer offends your Maximum Leader's jingoist tendencies. You see your Maximum Leader is much more of the "suck it up and take it" school of counseling. If you're looking for a shoulder to cry on, your Maximum Leader is probably not your man. That said, Counselor Troi is quite easy on the eye.

A whole argument can be made for Dr. Crusher. If you are going to argue more than just the purely purient aspects of the comparison. But your Maximum Leader will keep his mind in the gutter for this one.

Carry on.

Dream Job?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was laughing out loud today reading the latest from the crack young staff at The Hatemonger's Quarterly. Your Maximum Leader loved the post; but will have to quibble over one small point. It is a dream job. Really! It is. Any news reader job (the news anchor at ABC - who's name your Maximum Leader does not speak or write) is like hitting the lottery. Read the teleprompter with the appropriate emotion and get paid millions to do so. In some ways it is better than the lottery. Because your employer will fly you around the nation to do "live broadcasts" on their nickle. What's more, do it for long enough and soon the great unwashed will start to think of you as an "expert" or a "celebrity." You don't even need to complete high school (like that news anchor on ABC) to do it. It is as close to perfect as a job can be.

Carry on.

Heifer Project and H.P. Lovecraft

I didn't see the Lileks reference to the HPI that the Maximum Leader detailed below, but in searching for it, I came across some neat Lovecraftian references. I wonder what Lileks' non-literary audience made of it? I wonder if the Christian right sent protests to the paper?

At any rate, the Smallholder-in-laws buy a calf in my name every year. It is a very worthy cause - "teach a man to fish" and all that.

More Wacky Electoral Outcomes

Greetings, loyal minons. Your Maximum Leader received a note from a minion to take a look at a Matt Glassman piece on Tech Central Station. In it, Glassman spells out one of the other interesting senarios that are plausible in the case of an Electoral College tie or neither candidate getting a majority vote in the Electoral College.

The senario is that if the election goes to the House of Represenatatives; the House is Consititutionally mandated to consider the top three Electoral vote getters. What happens, says Glassman, if the Electoral count going to be inconclusive and a "faithless Elector" (knowing the House has to consider the top three candidates) casts his ballot for John McCain?

Very interesting. How weird would that be loyal minions. A man who didn't campaign for president and someone who wouldn't have a significant number of popular votes being considered for an office he wasn't looking to occupy (this time around anyway).

The possibilities are nearly endless. What fun.

Carry on.

October 28, 2004

The Heifer Project

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader shocks you no? What is this? A farm post by a blogger here not called Smallholder?

Not exactly. Your Maximum Leader was over reading the Bleat again today and he saw a link to The Heifer Project. So he clicked through and started to read. Very interesting. Sustainable charity. What a great idea. Take a look and decide if you should give yourself.

Carry on.

UCMJ Didn't Need Changing.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader didn't comment on the recent change to the Uniform Code of Military Justice which now prohibits US soliders from "engaging" prostitutes. It was your Maximum Leader's understanding that prior to the recent change, if a GI was stationed or otherwise serving in an area/country/other jurisdiction that had legal prostitution; the GI could avail himself of the services of a prostitute.

Now, your Maximum Leader is not an advocate of prostitution as a rule. But his general feeling on the matter are that if some appropriate jursidiction (like a state in the US or a foreign nation - or administrative subset of a foreign nation) wants to have legal prostitution that is fine. If you are inclined to partake, fine. If not, you may ignore it.

So, recently the UCMJ was changed. It is now illegal for our soliders or sailors to hire a prostitute, even in areas where prostitution is legal.

Which brings your Maximum Leader to the impetus for this post. He was over on the Lost Nomad blog and read this interestingly titled post: When Adultery is Better Than Paying a Prostitute.

It seems as though the penalties for hiring a prostitute are more severe than are the penalties for committing adultery with another GI's spouse. What the hell? That is just wrong. Just on the face of it, it is wrong. But when you stop to think of the potential problems adultery within the ranks can cause it would seem as though consorting (if it is consorting) with a prostitute would be a much less serious offence.

Your Maximum Leader would hope that the Department of Defence would come to its senses in this matter at abolish the prohibition on prostitution. And if not that, at least equalize the punishments for bad behaviour.

Carry on.

Lunar Eclipse

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is saddened because he missed the eclipse lasst night. Did you all see it? Here are photos.

It was a clear night and the moon shone brightly around 8pm. Periodically (during commerical breaks between innings), your Maximum Leader would go out on to the Villainschloss grounds to look at the moon. Just as the moon was about 1/2 covered in shadow, clouds moved into the area. It stayed cloudy the rest of the night and consequently your Maximum Leader missed the show.


Carry on.

Why Does a UN Vote Make the News?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was reading over the newswires when he saw the following headline: UN Votes Overwhelmingly Against U.S. Embargo on Cuba.

Why exactly is this news? The UN General Assembly has been casting the same meaningless vote for years. Why does it merit a place at the top of the news wire? Except possibly to show US contempt for the UN... Humm...

Carry on.

Frivolous Spending

Sometimes I wish that I was irresponsibly rich and, to coin a phrase, needed to be taxed.

I would love to have these sets of blocks for my children. Look at the price tags.

If anyone out there in the blogosphere wants to be my sugar daddy, e-mail me.

UPDATE FROM YOUR MAXIMUM LEADER: Your Maximum Leader is happy to buy some lumber and dowels and then come over to your place with a few power tools and make some blocks. We could spend the difference on beer... Or books...

UPDATE II FROM YOUR MAXIMUM LEADER: Your Maximum Leader just forwarded to the Smallholder a very kind e-mail from the good people at Barclay Woods. He will not go into the contents of the e-mail. (Leaving that to the Smallholder should he choose to.) Let is suffice to say that your Maximum Leader is very pleasantly surprised that they should respond to quickly to this post. Also, let your Maximum Leader say that he feels a little badly about making the snarky comment above. It is obvious to your Maximum Leader that the good people at Barclay Woods care about their product and are mindful of its cost. It seems like a good company.

Yassir goes to Paris

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader reads that Yassir Arafat is going to be going to to France for medical treatment.

Your Maximum Leader thinks it is so that he may die among friends.

Carry on.

An Announcement from the Villainschloss.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has a few things to say. Pay attention now. You may be quizzed later.

1) Your Maximum Leader has a personal reason for being happy that the Sox swept the Cards in the World Series. Now he can tune into all the horror flicks on AMC and TMC and watch them without using the split screen function of his TV. Now he can spend time relaxing watching Christopher Lee bite buxom women and turn them into vampires. He can enjoy the cheap thrills of a teen slasher movie. He can watch Bruce Campbell host the Scariest Moments on Film on BOTH AMC and Bravo. And he can do this without fearing he will miss something good on the baseball diamond.

2) Your Maximum Leader is officially sick of the campaigning for President. He thought he wouldn't become sick of it. But now in the last week he has discovered that THERE IS NOTHING NEW TO TALK ABOUT. As he expected, the campaign has devolved into both sides becoming as shrill as possible and hoping to change minds by pointing fingers. Yes, this is how it always is every four years. No, it doesn't surprise your Maximum Leader at all. No, it doesn't upset him. He is just tired of it. Great Jeezey Chreezey people. It's not like we haven't been blogging about all this and paying close attention to politics for well over a year now. He doesn't know how much more pre-election blogging he can do. Your Maximum Leader is sure he will have much more to say about the election, on Tuesday or thereafter. But right now it is just getting on his nerves. In your Maximum Leader's opinion the media is doing everything it can to boost Kerry's chances. To the point now that they are rehashing every old story they can get their hands on. This is not to say that there aren't questions to be raised in all these matters - there may be. But nothing that your Maximum Leader has heard in the past week has changed anything substantive in anyones mind.

3) Your Maximum Leader doesn't believe that anyone who is still "undecided" at this point should be allowed to vote. The "undecideds" are, categorically, stupid.

Allow your Maximum Leader to address any "undecideds" who might be reading these words: If you are still undecided, as of Thursday, October 28, 2004, you are perhaps the most spineless, gammy-handed, crack-addled, mush-brained, drooling fool in all of North America. How can you not have heard enough? The only concievable explanation your Maximum Leader can come up with at this point is that your brain is not capable of operating both its autonomic nervous system and stringing together a cogent thought at the same time. At this point nothing either candidate, or their adherents, can say to you will be new or insightful. It has all been said before. What are you waiting for? A sign from the Almighty instructing you on how to vote? Let your Maximum Leader clue you into something. The closest you will come to hearing from God are the words you are reading right now. Your Maximum Leader is here to tell you that you may inherit the earth, but you shouldn't vote. Because any ballot you cast will be a bad one. Stay home. Floss for once. Investigate getting sterilized. Just don't vote. Our nation is better off without you casting an uninformed vote for either candidate. And by the way, if you don't have children yet (and your Maximum Leader hopes you do not) you'd better have them soon. Because when the MWO comes, you will not have to investigate sterilization - it will be a reality for you. (Of course, in the MWO you will be allowed to vote; because your vote will not mean anything.)

4) Did your Maximum Leader mention that he loves horror movies and plans on watching them continuously between now and Sunday? Oh he did? Well, if any minion has see the recent "Van Helsing" movie and would care to tell your Maximum Leader about it, he would be most appreciative. He was considering renting it sometime this week.

Your Maximum Leader feels much better now.

Carry on.


Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has only one thing to say concerning the $804,129 some idiot paid for Barry Bond's 700th homer ball.

Stop the insanity.

Carry on.

Sawks Win! Sawks Win!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader doffs his bejeweled floppy hat and congratulates the Boston Red Sox on their great World Series Victory. He will not attempt to capture the spirit that have overcome the Red Sox nation. But he will comment that he has been surprised by the general lack of rioting and mob destruction.

If you want to read about it, as if you haven't already, you should check out the Major League Baseball Wrapup site.

Congratulations again exorcists of the curse.

Carry on.

Yassir: "I'm not dead yet."

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader reads that Yassir Arafat is holled up in his Ramallah compound and barring the Grim Reaper from the door. Or, as the headlines put it in late 1970's-era Soviet fashion, "very sick."

Now let it not be said that your Maximum Leader wishes ill upon any man. Your Maximum Leader doesn't want Yassir to suffer. That is suffer any more than the many victims of his decades long terror campaign against Israel suffered before dying.

Be that as it may, your Maximum Leader did stop to think about what would happen after Yassir Arafat died. Your Maximum Leader pondered this question from the point of view of the Arab/Israeli question. He wasn't focusing on what to actually do with Arafat after he died. Luckily for all of us, Iowahawk has been thinking about it for us. Top Ten Uses For A Dead Palestinian Nobel Laureate.


Carry on.

October 27, 2004

Fash-ism Tutorial

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that those wacky Munuvians are back up. So, the first place he went to look was the lovely Annika's site. He needed to see if she had posted her promised piece on shoe fashion.

And so she has: annika's journal: Fash-ism Tutorial For The Maximum Leader

Male minions! You must go to Annika's site and read what she has posted. Look at the photos. Learn them. Know them. Impress your girlfriend, spouse, or casual female friends with your wide-ranging knowledge of ladies footwear. Double your pleasure by commenting to your lovely sex partners by commenting on her stylin' d'Orsay pumps with ankle strap as you remove them and gently caress her calf...


But that is not all! The Divine Minion Molly also sent your Maximum Leader a slew of e-mails all containing photos of the shoes of which he knew nothing.

So it seems your Maximum Leader has been properly schooled. By two women...

Heh. "Schooled." By TWO women... Heh.

He now knows something of the different types of ladies footwear out there.

Your Maximum Leader will likely spend the next few days looking at women's feet and trying to work out the classification system. Before too long, he will be schooling the Villainettes...

Carry on.


I enjoyed the Maximum Leader's link on the book collecting habit. Both Mike and I are inveterate bibliophiles. My wife requires me to hand over my wallet before she lets me go into a used book store.

My wife and I live in a century-old two over two farmhouse. It is cramped and genteely collapsing around our family. But I love the dining room. The previous owners installed built-in bookcases around two entire walls. It houses almost half of my books and I love being able to pluck a book off the shelf for a quick ten minute read.

When Mike and I visited Seward's house and Sagamore Hill, I returned and smugly told my wife that since both of these great men had bookcases in every room of the house, she should let me install a bookcase in every room of our house.

She looked at me, rolled her eyes and said "look around."

We have a bookcase in every room of the house.

At the very least, I explain to Mrs. Smallholder, my vice runs to books and not booze, drugs, or hookers. She might sometimes think a crack whore addicition would be cheaper.

Even bookcases have an emotional claim on your Minister of Agriculture. My daughter's bedroom has two bookcases; one made by her Maternal grandfather and the other built by a paternal great-grandfather from scrap wood left over at the Rockford Moose Club where he checked coats.

When my grandmother died and the family divided her furniture, we took a bed built by my great-great-great Uncle (who also helped build the benches for an important 1854 meeting in his hometown of Ripon, Wisconsin) and a cheap, mass-produced faux wood bookcase that my father gave her when he got back from Korea in 1954. My wife thinks this bookcase is ugly, and she is right. But it is a part of family history. Even if it had not been a reminder of Vater Smallholder's overseas adventure, I would still remember it as the place where Grandma kept "Uncle Wiggly" books for the grandchildren.

The bedroom bookcases are mass-produced items; fiberboard white Walmart specials. They date to when my wife and I were in college and will probably be workhorses until we can afford something better - probably about when Jack finishes graduate school.

The Maximum Leader has a great collection of books AND some very nice bookcases. His skilled father-in-law handcrafted a couple of glorious, dark brown edifices. My favorite Maximum Leader bookcase isn't handcrafted. It's a mass-produced cheapo bookcase. Perhaps the Maximum Leader would like to tell the story of when someone broke into his apartment and, instead of robbing him, left a bookcase.

An Off-topic Quiz.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader saw an interesting sounding quiz on Pejamesque today. He took it and scored 50%. He presents to you the: Al Gore or the Unabomber? A quiz.

Carry on.

More Electoral College. (Nightmares Edition)

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader knows that we've been spending lots of time on the Electoral College here at Nakedvillainy. And he also knows that we aren't the only ones talking about how the election might turn out (electorally speaking).

Your Maximum Leader has been waiting to see if any news source would report on any of the really unlikely senarios that could come up. And behold, the Washington Post obliges.

Your Maximum Leader thinks a tie is quite unlikely. What is more likely is the senario of Bush winning the popular vote and losing the Electoral vote. While he recognizes that many would view such an outcome as a bit of delicious karma, frankly your Maximum Leader (who can - intellectually - appreciate that view) thinks it would be a bad outcome.

Anyway. Read the post and conjure up your own electoral nightmares.

Carry on.

The Charlock's Shade

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader always feels relaxed and refreshed after reading Enoch Soames' blog, The Charlock's Shade.

Yesterday, your Maximum Leader wrote a note to himself to be sure to direct his readership over to this post: Ones own library.... He read it last night and loved it. Be sure to click through to the full article on the Chronicle of Higher Education website.

And following other links on The Charlock's Shade, your Maximum Leader found a fine post on Wagner. Specifically listening to Wagner's operas in a large opera house versus a smaller opera house. Your Maximum Leader has heard Wagner's Ring Cycle produced at the Washington Opera house (before it ws refurbished); and he's heard "Die Walkure" and "Der Fliegende Holländer" at the Harrison Opera House in Norfolk, VA. (He's also seen some Wagner at the Met in New York, but his memory of the music is not as clear as the others.)

As you might imagine, the Harrison Opera House in Norfolk is quite smaller and more intimate than the Opera House at the Kennedy Center in Washington (or Constitution Hall - where the Washington Opera performed most of its last season). And your Maximum Leader's memory bears out what James Panero is writing on Armavirumque. The music at Harrison was "ringing and resonating." You could feel it deep into your bones. And frankly, that is the way Richard wanted it.

Mrs. Villain frequently chides your Maximum Leader for playing his copies of Sir Georg Solti's recording of the Ring very loudly. For some reason she doesn't like your Maximum Leader "feeling the music in his bones" while in the Villainschloss.

BTW, if some loyal minion out there wants to really really really show how much they love their Maximum Leader they would buy him the Solti recordings on CD. As much as it disgraces your Maximum Leader to say it. His current copies are a combination of LP records and tapes. Weep...

Carry on.


Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader doesn't know how long or detailed this post will be, or even if he will actually publish and keep it up. But reading the word omnibenevolence in the Smallholder's post about the Packers struck a chord in him.

Your Maximum Leader and Mrs. Villain frequently disagree over the characteristic of Omnibenevolence in God. Mrs. Villain's beliefs are quite straightforward. God is all-good and all good things come from him. Evil, bad, germs, disease, disasters, and all other non-good things are not part of God's creation. They are errors.

NB to readers: Just to let you all know. Your Maximum Leader will not broach any further discussion of Mrs. Villain's beliefs here. He only described them to put his beliefs in a little context.

Now your Maximum Leader believes that God is beyond our comprehension. And to the extent that it is possible to know such things, God created and emcompasses all things. Good and Evil are all part of God and God's creation. God is beyond typical moral appelations like Good and Evil.

In this context, God is both responsible for Good and equally responsible for Evil. That is responsible to the extent that we can understand God.

Your Maximum Leader, while certainly demi-godish, does not presume to understand or even guess at God's plan for anyone. But it certainly does seem as though God is witholding good things from Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers.

Or, as your Maximum Leader's Catholic upbringing tries to remind him, God doesn't give unbearable burdens to those who cannot handle them.

What a post. Damn.

Carry on.

Why Does God Hate the Pack?

Did you read the Bleat today?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader started down his list of blogs he reads every morning when he discovered that all the Munuvians appear to be down. ("The piper is down. I repreat, the piper is down.") So, your Maximum Leader shot off a little e-mail to a few good munuvians letting them know (in case they didn't already). One of those good Munuvians, Robert the Llamabutcher (So? Charley teels me you're a bootcher.), wrote back accusing Rusty of hogging bandwidth and crashing the party. Which may or may not be the case.


Robert said that your Maximum Leader really had to read the Lieks bleat today. So, your Maximum Leader interrupted his normal reading to do just that.

It was worth it.

Turn. Go. Read the Bleat. Now.

Carry on.

Baseball & Football

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is anxiously anticipating tonights game four of the World Series. There will be much rejoicing in Beantown (and across the Red Sox nation) if they Sox should pull it off. Your Maximum Leader believes that they Sox can do it and will do it. The Card's pitching has just come apart in the World Series. Your Maximum Leader looks at the games and wonders how the Cards even got to the World Series with pitching like this... This could be the game to do it.

But then again... A long-time Sox fan told your Maximum Leader yesterday that if there is a curse it will work out this way: The Sox will lose the next four games to the Cards. Then the Sox's accomplishments against the Yankees will be forgotten. And the woe that is being a Red Sox fan will be compounded 100 fold.

But really, your Maximum Leader thinks the Sox will pull it out tonight. Go Sox!

Your Maximum Leader wonders how he could have forgotten to link to this week's TMQ column? Gross negligence on his part. If only members of the 101st Airborne Division had been sent to the Villainschloss to secure your Maximum Leader's computer from misuse by Mrs. Villain the link would have been posted yesterday.

The Packers did well last weekend. That is a good thing. For many different reasons. But the main one is that your Maximum Leader has always disliked the Dallas football franchise. He can't put a finger on why this is. It is an irrational dislike he's sure. But your Maximum Leader is comfortable in his dislikes.

Speaking of the Packers... Your Maximum Leader has learned that he has just scored tickets to see the Green Bay Packers take on the Washington Redskins this Sunday at 1pm EST. He's told the tickets are very good. (Mrs. Villain thinks the seats are the very posh ones where you have real people come up to you and you order á la carte food which is brought right to you in your seat!)

These tickets have caused two dilemas for your Maximum Leader. The first is should he wear his Brett Favre jersey to the game. Your Maximum Leader believes in supporting his team, but he is torn about this game for completely irrational reasons.

You see... The AirMarshal and your Maximum Leader were talking on the phone the other day and the conversation went something like this:
AM: You know that in Presidential election years when the Redskins win the game immediately preceeding the election, the imcumbent wins.
ML: Really?
AM: Yup. And when the Skins lose, the incumbent loses.
ML: Really?
AM: Yeah. So if you really want Bush to win, you'll have to root for the Skins against the Packers.
ML: Humm...
AM: How's that for irony? Sucks to be you.
Okay. That may not be a true transcript of the conversation, but it does summon up the essence of the dilema. So let us see if your Maximum Leader has this down. Skins victory = Bush re-elected. Packers victory = Kerry elected.

Damnation. That is a tough choice. On the one hand, your Maximum Leader almost feels as though he should wish the Packers to "take one for the nation" and lose. But on the other hand, if the Packers don't win this game making the playoffs becomes so much harder and this could be Favre's last chance to win another Super Bowl.

Of course, there is no emperical relationship between Redskins victories in games preceeding Presidential elections and the outcome of the election. It is just an interesting coincidence. This has been a year when all sorts of long standing records appear to be being broken. (i.e.: No team coming back from being three games down in a series and winning the series.)

Well, your Maximum Leader will have to keep thinking this one over.

Should he wish for a tie?

Carry on.

UPDATE: Here is a Washington Post peice on exactly what the AirMarshal was talking about. Wow! What a statistical coincidence. Since 1936 when the Skins have won at home on the Sunday before the election - the incumbent wins. And from the article it seems as though your Maximum Leader isn't the only one with a funny feeling about the game.

Evil Beer!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader presents you with a sign that beer can do strange things to a man. Or even to a monk. Buddhist Monks Fall for Beer Girls.

Let us just hope it all works out and isn't just a bad case of celibacy mixed with beergoggles.

Carry on.

October 26, 2004

Critical Moment Paralysis, or, Alternatively, Why Smallholder Is Glad That He Was Not Called Upon To Lead Men In Combat

I had a rather disconcerting experience last Friday.

I decided to stop in Staunton to visit Vater Smallholder and see how his colonoscopy had gone. Assuming that things had all checked out, I was planning on delivering a bit or ribbing too. Rectal examinations are always humorous as long as the snaky pipe is in someone else's rear.

When I pulled off 81 at Route 275, there was a heinous accident just ahead of me. I didn't actually see the hit since I was on the turn of the exit, but probably would have heard the screams of shearing metal if I hadn't been jamming to the Black Eyed Peas. Three cars up, a driver pulled onto 275 without looking and was hit at about 50 or 60 miles per hour. The cars crunched, slipped across two lanes and slipped into a narrow ravine. As I completed the exit turn, the car wheels were still spinning.

One car had flames coming out of the engine compartment.

I slid my trusty F-150 into a ditch and ran across the highway. I was the first person to reach the burning car and pulled the driver's door open. The woman inside had a broken nose and was spewing a bit of blood. She was also obviously dazed.

I hesitated. If the flames were rampaging around the car, I would have pulled her out without a second thought. But now that I was standing next to the vehicle, I could see down into the engine block (the hood was accordion crumpled up against the windshield. Looking back, I'm not quite sure how that happened - the whole front was crumpled, but the hood was crumpled more than the body of the engine compartment). The flames were just little flickers and what had at first appeared to be smoke turned out to be a cloud of escaping steam.

So I hesitated. If the fire wasn't that bad, did it still justify pulling her from the vehicle? What if she had a head or spinal injury? Would moving her cause more damage?

This hesitation lasted maybe five seconds while my brain wrestled with the best solution. Then a voice behind me said: "I'm a nurse. Let's get her out." Grateful for direction, I followed orders.

The nurse had been in the car behind me. When I looked around, there were over a dozen people pulling over and running to help. I had one of those "God bless America" moments - all these people were rushing to help total strangers.

The careless driver was in worse shape. He was bleeding profusely, his nose was airbag mush, and he was clearly incoherent. He was rolling from side to side in his seat and moaning. We decided that we had to stabilize him until help arrived (several people had dialed 911 on their cell phones). But we couldn't get to him - the impact had crushed in his door and we couldn't pop it open. The other doors were locked.

A couple big truckers and I grabbed the edge of the doorframe that had bent outwards and pulled it back just enough for a skinny teenager to reach his arm in and unlock the back door. We jerked it open and the teenager crawled through the car to open the passenger door. Another nurse had arrived at the scene and crawled in to administer first aid with an EMT kit. We tried to tell the man to sit still but he kept flailing around so someone sat in the backseat and held his head against the headrest.

I'm glad his car, crumpled side and front as it was, did not catch fire - we couldn't have gotten the man out of his vehicle because the engine has pushed the dashboard back into the passenger compartment, trapping the man's right leg.

Help took fifteen minutes to arrive, but when it did arrive it arrived in force - two fire trucks, two ambulances, an EMT vehicle and a fire sedan. When it became obvious that all the helpers who had stopped were getting in the way, I said goodbye and continued on to my parents' house.
Driving away, the adrenaline drained away and I began to get the shakes. I kept thinking about that moment of hesitation.

My brain often stops to consider the pros and cons of each situation. This is generally an asset, but in a crisis situation it is a liability. What if the nurse hadn't been right behind me? I probably would have ended up pulling the woman out of the car anyway, but what if she had had a neck injury? I don't think she did because by the time I left she was sitting up and talking to the paramedics, but it was a possibility. How bad would you feel if, trying to be helpful, you paralyzed a spinal cord victim?

Thinking about that critical moment hesitation, I had to stop and thank God that my military hitch ended before I had to make any decisions more important than who would get a three day pass. I imagine that in a combat situation, there will always be several possible courses of action. Good leaders make decisions instantly and carry them out. Would hesitation to consider the pros and cons of each action end up getting soldiers killed? Thank God I will never have to find out.

More Minion Molly's Mailbag (Electoral College Edition)

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wanted to write this yesterday; but he was too tired to blog in the evening. So, we return to our ongoing discussion of the Electoral College today. (Is this still "Part the First, Subpart(b) or have we moved to (c)?)

Your Maximum Leader will first comment on why he thinks "Anti-Faithless Elector" laws will not withstand Constitutional scrutiny. To address the Smallholder's point. Your Maximum Leader believes his position is sticking with a strict construction of the Consitution. Historically, states have been able to manage the terms and condiditons of election (except in matters expressly defined by the Constitution). But, as you can imagine, the federal courts have been more activist in their attempts to redress real (or imagined) greivances. Thus, the states have less authority to regulate how elections are conducted. Your Maximum Leader would like to see states be able to (if they so desired) set up a situation in which pledged Electors for all political parties on the ballot are slated. And those Electors are pledged, and perhaps pledged under penalty of law, to vote a particular way. It is a little nonsensical to believe that a state would be keeping with the letter and spirit of the Constitution if they slated one set of Electors to vote a particular way regardless of the outcome of the popular vote.

As this type of restriction (pledging under penalty of law that an Elector will cast a vote in a particular fashion) is not explicitly allowed (or prohibited) in the Constitution, your Maximum Leader feels that should a court ever review a "Faithless Elector" law they will just make up some decision to suit their purposes. Given the way courts have ruled over the past 60 or so years, it seems likely that a federal court would want to take descretionary powers away from states and give it to some federal entity.

Your Maximum Leader doesn't believe that "Faithless Elector" laws should be unconstitutional. He just believes that federal judges would make them so if such a case ever came up.

Just your Maximum Leader's feeling... Anyway...

So, after our little posts of last week, your Maximum Leader got some messages from others concerning our Electoral College discussion. Loyal minion JohnL of TexasBestGrok (still the best blog on the internet for aircraft cheesecake and Sci-Fi babes polls) writes:
You can pass along to the Smallholder that I really meant no offense to Molly the Democrat. I admire gun-toting Democrats, a sadly endangered species. I am in fact unaffiliated with either major political party here in Texas.

While it's no secret to readers of my blog that I will vote for President Bush this time around, it has nothing to do with Party affiliation. It has everything to do with war and taxes. Bush will fight to win the war and seek to make tax relief permanent. Kerry? I'm not sure about the details of all his "plans," but in short I'm sure he'll surrender to the Islamists and raise my taxes to boot. I disagree with much of the Republican Party platform, and even more so with the Texas Republican Party platform (which is quite a bit stronger on social conservatism than
on general principles of individual liberty). I guess I'm a South Park Republican, or, under my own terminology, a "clothespin" Republican (see here) who would likely be voting for the Libertarians this year if they hadn't nominated an anti-war moonbat.

My pointed words were aimed at puncturing the righteous indignation of the Democrats (whom I perhaps unfairly conflated with Molly), who so recently ran a ruthless party machine in Texas. Doesn't mean I approve of the Republicans' tit-for-tat, but I do find irony a delicious snack.

Yours in free-market villainy,

Your Maximum Leader must tip his bejeweled floppy hat and say "hear, hear" to JohnL's love of savory irony in the Texas Democrats being upset that the Texas Republicans learned a thing or two about redistricting from them. The Texas redistricting fight is a perfect illustration of the lesson that neither party really seems to learn. The great wheel of Karma spins around and sometimes you're on the winning side; and sometimes you come back as a dung beetle. Texas Dems should feel nothing but embarassment over the behaviour of their elected representatives in the Texas House. It was pathetic.

And from what your Maximum Leader knows of Texas Democrats (and of Molly) he feels he can say that Molly does appear to be a rare bird in the flock. And we all here don't think you meant any offense by lumping Molly in with other Texas Democrats. Really, how were you to know?

You know, your Maximum Leader does think of himself as a conservative. It just so happens that the primary conservative party in the US right now is the Republican party. This does not mean he blindly votes the party line. He can say that while he hasn't ever voted for a Democrat for President or the House of Representatives; he has voted for Democrats for US Senate, State Senate, State House of Delegates, Mayor, County Supervisor, and Sheriff. Your Maximum Leader does measure the candidates as a whole and votes for the one most aligned with him. He has never felt as though a vote for a third party candidate was a good move. Mainly because as much as I might favour a party like the Libertarians in the abstract, they are oftentimes a bit too wacky for serious consideration.

And, interestingly enough, shortly after JohnL wrote his e-mail your Maximum Leader received an e-mail from the Divine Minion Molly. She wrote:
Dearest Maximum Leader,
I've come out of Astro mourning briefly to respond to your wonderful post on the Electoral College. You truly did it justice. Thank you for taking up for me. I'm not a "whiney Democrat". I just wanted a nice discussion on the Electoral College without the snide goose references. I hadn't even thought of the redistricting fiasco when asking your thoughts on the Electoral College. I could go on a good rant about Tom DeLay sticking his nose in everything but I won't.

To JohnL- I'm a 7th generation Texan so my ancestors were probably in the Democratic Party machine after Reconstruction so I'll take full responsibility for it. :) Also, he needs to add Claudia Black from Farscape to his Sci Fi Babes.

To Smallholder- I loved your diagram on the filtering between the people and the presidency. I think this is important. The Founding Fathers set it up this way because they didn't trust the "common people". Also, I don't have a concealed handgun permit, so my gun stays at home unless I'm going to the shooting range.

To clarify my position, I favor the proportional allocation plan that is trying to be passed in Colorado. I think more people would vote if they thought their vote would count.

One of the reasons I do like your site dearest Maximum Leader is that you welcome all views on any subject. Plus, you've just gotta love someone who speaks about himself in the third person.

The Divine Minion M
(Not Molly the Texas Democrat)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Blah-dy, blah. It is nice to know that you favour proportional allocation of Electors Molly. But your Maximum Leader really wants to know if you own some mules, t-straps, kitten slides, or strappy sandals? Really now... Let us not get off track talking about the Electoral College or redistricting when we can consider footwear!

Okay... Moving on... The first comment your Maximum Leader must make to Molly is this, "What good does your gun do you at home?" (But if it is there unattended, your Maximum Leader hopes it is in some locked container.) Anyhoo...

Molly, your Maximum Leader is pleased that he lived up to expecations in the Electoral College discourse. He is also sure that the good Minister of Agriculture has as well. Also, Claudia Black does seem quite attractive. Click here for work safe pic. Perhaps JohnL will have a women of Farscape poll. (Alas, your Maximum Leader has never watched Farscape. But he hears that his Villainous Sibling does.) And your Maximum Leader thanks minion Molly for the kind words about writing in the third person. It is much harder than it seems.

As for Tom DeLay's nose, your Maximum Leader does believe that a US Congressman who doesn't stick his nose into redistricting in his state is not deserving of being a Congressman. Admittedly, DeLay had a larger role than your Maximum Leader would have thought appropriate in the whole matter. But nonetheless, the problem appears to be with the Democrats not liking the taste of sour grapes.

But back to the matter of the Electoral College...

The more your Maximum Leader thinks about it, the more he believes that moving to proportional allocation of Electoral votes is not something to which we as a nation would look forward. The more your Maximum Leader mulls it over, the more he believes that widespread adoption of proportional allocation would: 1) increase the already insane amount of money candidates spend on elections; 2) would not actually increase the number of candidate visits to out of the way places in an effort to court votes; 3) would result in narrow popular vote/electoral vote outcomes to lead to more polarized politics (lack of mandate); 4) send elections to the House with terrifying freqency; 5) not improve the nature of or character of the national debate.

Well. That seems to be all the pithy commentary your Maximum Leader can summon up right now. He supposes we are back to talking fashion again. (BTW, the lovely Annika wrote your Maximum Leader and said she might come up with a women's footwear primer for our edification! Yay!)

Carry on.

The Blame Game, Aircraft Accident Edition

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader the NTSB has officially blamed pilot error for the crash of American Flight 587 in November 2001. You remember this one? The one that crashed into the neighbourhood in New York? The one everyone feared was a terrorist act just a few months after September 2001?

Well, according to the news wires, it was the pilot applying too much pressure to the rudder. Sadly now, Airbus and American are duking it out over who, ultimately, is going to pay.

Carry on.

Speaking of Clothes Horses...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader can't believe his luck. Knowing that the Minister of Agriculture is a "clothes horse" and can pull off just about anything; your Maximum Leader thinks it is time for the M of A to trade in that John Deere cap he wears around the farm for something more stylish. Ah yes. This should do quite well.

Carry on.

What Has This Day Become?

Greetings, loyal minons. Your Maximum Leader sees today becoming one big fashion statment. Heh. Your Maximum Leader will direct his loyal minions to the House of Mirth to read recent posts on unmentionables (or knickers, or undergarments, take your pick).

First read Will's post on female undergarments.

Then read CellieB on male undergarments.

And where is Sexy Sadie in all this discussion? Why she and the Smallholder are chewing on the same article. Humm...

Carry on.


I am surprised that the Maximum Leader did not turn to his trusty Minister of Agriculture for fashion advice. For those of you who only know us from the blogosphere, I am known for being quite the dapper clothes horse. I'm sure that Mike, Greg, Rob, Dave, and Kevin would all attest to their feelings of fashion inferiority when confronted with one of my tasteful ensembles.

I was unaware that your style of Jeans made a statement about your political philosophy.

I, like the Maximum Leader, used to be a 501 buttonfly guy. I always chuckle when I hear that term because it reminds me of a bad pickup line contest from college. A group of guys were sitting around the dorm room trying to figure out the absolute WORST yet successful pickup line anyone had used. One guy actually had had success by calling a girl and asking if she wanted to come over and "test fly the button fly." Ah, true love in college.

Now I'm a Kirkland guy. What does that say about me?

Annika and Fash-ism.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader must make a confession. He reads the lovely (and ideologically pure) Annika's site every day. (Do you? You should. Here's a link for you.)


Something has been bothering your Maximum Leader for WEEKS now about Annika's site. That damned Fash-ism poll near the top of the sidebar. What the hell are some of those things?

Your Maximum Leader knows they are all footwear. He understands basic pumps and boots. But what for the love of your Maximum Leader are: Mary Janes, d'Orsay pumps, t-straps (which sound quite sexy btw), peep toes, slingbacks, strappy sandals (which sound sexy in a granola-crunchy-Greatful-Dead-chicka way), kitten slides, and mules (which don't sound sexy at all).

Your Maximum Leader probably could have figured all these things out for himself had he wanted to spend some time googling these terms. But instead your Maximum Leader chose to continue to let his ire grow. Finally this past weekend, your Maximum Leader asked Mrs. Villain and his Villainous Sister-in-law (who by the way used to be a buyer for Lee Jeans, and Liz Claiborne - and has lots of experience in couture) what the heck these footwear items were.

Your Maximum Leader now knows what a Mary Jane is. (It turns out that the Princess Villainette likes Mary Janes.) And they could also help with a Mule. (It seems as though the Princess Villainette also has a pair of Mules. As does the Villainous Sister-in-law.) They couldn't help with the other stuff.

So your Maximum Leader asks you... What are these other things?

Your Maximum Leader will inquire of Annika as well. But he is befuddled.

And while your Maximum Leader is on the subject of Fashion. (A subject of which he admittedly knows little.) For how long has there been some sort of cosmic divide between "Levi's People" and "Wrangler People?" Great Jeezey Chreezey people! They are just jeans! Your Maximum Leader got a lecture from a minion over the weekend the jist of which was that one couldn't be a good conservative and wear Levi's too. Wranglers were the jeans of conservatives.

Well, your Maximum Leader had never heard this before. Your Maximum Leader, by the way, is a Levi's man. He doesn't own but two pairs of jeans, and they are both (and have always been) Levi's 501 button-fly jeans. ALWAYS. (Okay, maybe not always. But certainly since your Maximum Leader had a say in what clothes he wore this has been true.)

So could someone please clue in your Maximum Leader on the whole jeans issue here too? Throw your Maximum Leader a frickin' bone here. He is Maximum Leader afterall. How can your Maximum Leader allow a seemingly crucial issue to the great masses of the unwashed minions go un-noticed?

Anyway... If some minon(s) care to opine on this, they have your Maximum Leader's attention.

Carry on.

October 25, 2004

Democrats not for Kerry.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader had the opportunity to talk to some old friends on the phone over the weekend. All of them, for purposes of this blog, happen to be long-time Democrats. What follow are anecdotal stories about people your Maximum Leader happens to know.

With all of them your Maximum Leader chatted and caught up before politics came up. In most cases, your Maximum Leader didn't bring up politics.

The first one is a late 50's, female, resident of Ohio (of all places). She mentioned if your Maximum Leader was tired of the election yet. Your Maximum Leader said he was getting tired of it; and asked her if she had seen enough of the candidates to make up her mind. He even suggested that she didn't need her mind made up. Your Maximum Leader then got an earful! And what a surprising earfull it was. This intelligent woman (who hasn't ever in her life pulled the lever for a Republican nationally) said that she was going to stay home. John Kerry made her feel uncomfortable and unsafe. Your Maximum Leader pressed a little and wanted to know why. She said that while she cannot abide by Bush, Kerry worried her because, "All he knows how to do is talk." She said that if a chemical/biological weapon were set off by terrorists in the US (which, by the way, she doubted would happen) she was convinced that John Kerry would talk with everyone in the world about what to do and equivocate until it was too late to do anything. That is what got her goat. She didn't trust him to act when called upon to act.

This was interesting because no fewer than 4 or 5 hours earlier, your Maximum Leader was talking to one of Mrs. Villain's relatives (a Democrat, male, resident of VA) who indicated that he planned on voting for the President for the same reason. He didn't trust Kerry to act even if we were attacked. (This man in a veteran with no great love towards the President.) But he said he couldn't, in good conscience, vote for Kerry.

The third Democrat your Maximum Leader spoke to was the most interesting of the bunch. She is a liberal (communist practically) living in Florida. (She is a 30-something mother of two living in South Florida with her "husband." She likes to call him her "Partner" because "husband" is a sexist term which suggests submission to male authority.) In 2000, this woman called your Maximum Leader nearly every day after the election telling him how the Republicans were going to caught in their dirty little tricks to steal the election and how the power of the Bush family would be broken. Anyway... This woman informed your Maximum Leader that she was voting for some odd third party group of which your Maximum Leader had never heard. He asked why she wasn't voting for Kerry. She informed him that, "If I wanted to vote for some pandering bastard murderer I'd vote for Bush." Your Maximum Leader felt the likely follow-up question to that statement was, "Pandering bastard is understandable, but where do you get the murderer from?" "Look," she said to your Maximum Leader. "If I wanted to elect some assult-weapon wielding Nazi I'd vote for Bush. It disgusted me to see that footage of Kerry out where ever he was in his outfit boasting about killing that helpless bird."

The conversation then turned to Thanksgiving plans (or non-plans as the case of your Maximum Leader's friend might be).

So, for what it is worth. Three Democrats your Maximum Leader knows. None of them voting for Kerry.

Of course, do these stories mean anything in the grand scheme. Probably not much. They are just anecdotal evidence of some people being dissatisfied with their candidate. But if there is non-anecdotal evidence of something going wrong for Kerry, it seems to be coming from Hawaii. Your Maximum Leader has read a number of articles about this poll showing Bush and Kerry neck-in-neck in the Aloha State. If Hawaii goes for Bush... Well... Your Maximum Leader would be gobsmacked. Just the prospect of it is as likely to your Maximum Leader's thinking as would Saddam Hussein winning a popularity contest at a neocon cocktail party.

Carry on.

Where is our bionic thyroid?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader just read that Chief Justice Rehnquist is in the hospital for thyroid cancer treatment.

Your Maximum Leader seems to remember reading something not too long ago about the Chief Justice's failing health. Well, we need to call the people who gave Dick Cheney his bionic heart and see if they have a thyroid for the Chief. We need to have him stick around for a while longer yet.

Carry on.

Conservatives for Kerry

Wow. I feel rather foolish. Not a week after I post about my amazement at the way that the Republican party puts aside its internal conflicts in order to unite around their candidate, it seems some major conservatives are declaring war on the Bush administration.

Republic Switchers chronicles conservatives making the switch to Kerry.

Scott McConnell of The American Conservative Magazine has endorsed Kerry (as the lesser of two evils):

Kerry's the One
By Scott McConnell

There is little in John Kerry's persona or platform that appeals to conservatives. The flip-flopper charge-the centerpiece of the Republican campaign against Kerry-seems overdone, as Kerry's contrasting votes are the sort of baggage any senator of long service is likely to pick up. (Bob Dole could tell you all about it.) But Kerry is plainly a conventional liberal and no candidate for a future edition of Profiles in Courage. In my view, he will always deserve censure for his vote in favor of the Iraq War in 2002. But this election is not about John Kerry. If he were to win, his dearth of charisma would likely ensure him a single term. He would face challenges from within his own party and a thwarting of his most expensive initiatives by a Republican Congress. Much of his presidency would be absorbed by trying to clean up the mess left to him in Iraq. He would be constrained by the swollen deficits and a ripe target for the next Republican nominee.

It is, instead, an election about the presidency of George W. Bush. To the surprise of virtually everyone, Bush has turned into an important president, and in many ways the most radical America has had since the 19th century. Because he is the leader of America's conservative party, he has become the Left's perfect foil-its dream candidate. The libertarian writer Lew Rockwell has mischievously noted parallels between Bush and Russia's last tsar, Nicholas II: both gained office as a result of family connections, both initiated an unnecessary war that shattered their countries' budgets. Lenin needed the calamitous reign of Nicholas II to create an opening for the Bolsheviks.

Bush has behaved like a caricature of what a right-wing president is supposed to be, and his continuation in office will discredit any sort of conservatism for generations. The launching of an invasion against a country that posed no threat to the U.S., the doling out of war profits and concessions to politically favored corporations, the financing of the war by ballooning the deficit to be passed on to the nation's children, the ceaseless drive to cut taxes for those outside the middle class and working poor: it is as if Bush sought to resurrect every false 1960s-era left-wing cliche about predatory imperialism and turn it into administration policy. Add to this his nation-breaking immigration proposal-Bush has laid out a mad scheme to import immigrants to fill any job where the wage is so low that an American can't be found to do it-and you have a presidency that combines imperialist Right and open-borders Left in a uniquely noxious cocktail.

During the campaign, few have paid attention to how much the Bush presidency has degraded the image of the United States in the world. Of course there has always been "anti-Americanism." After the Second World War many European intellectuals argued for a "Third Way" between American-style capitalism and Soviet communism, and a generation later Europe's radicals embraced every ragged "anti-imperialist" cause that came along. In South America, defiance of "the Yanqui" always draws a crowd. But Bush has somehow managed to take all these sentiments and turbo-charge them. In Europe and indeed all over the world, he has made the United States despised by people who used to be its friends, by businessmen and the middle classes, by moderate and sensible liberals. Never before have democratic foreign governments needed to demonstrate disdain for Washington to their own electorates in order to survive in office. The poll numbers are shocking. In countries like Norway, Germany, France, and Spain, Bush is liked by about seven percent of the populace. In Egypt, recipient of huge piles of American aid in the past two decades, some 98 percent have an unfavorable view of the United States. It's the same throughout the Middle East.

Bush has accomplished this by giving the U.S. a novel foreign-policy doctrine under which it arrogates to itself the right to invade any country it wants if it feels threatened. It is an American version of the Brezhnev Doctrine, but the latter was at least confined to Eastern Europe. If the analogy seems extreme, what is an appropriate comparison when a country manufactures falsehoods about a foreign government, disseminates them widely, and invades the country on the basis of those falsehoods? It is not an action that any American president has ever taken before. It is not something that "good" countries do.

It is the main reason that people all over the world who used to consider the United States a reliable and necessary bulwark of world stability now see us as a menace to their own peace and security. These sentiments mean that as long as Bush is president, we have no real allies in the world, no friends to help us dig out from the Iraq quagmire. More tragically, they mean that if terrorists succeed in striking at the United States in another 9/11-type attack, many in the world will not only think of the American victims but also of the thousands and thousands of Iraqi civilians killed and maimed by American armed forces. The hatred Bush has generated has helped immeasurably those trying to recruit anti-American terrorists-indeed his policies are the gift to terrorism that keeps on giving, as the sons and brothers of slain Iraqis think how they may eventually take their own revenge. Only the seriously deluded could fail to see that a policy so central to America's survival as a free country as getting hold of loose nuclear materials and controlling nuclear proliferation requires the willingness of foreign countries to provide full, 100 percent co-operation. Making yourself into the world's most hated country is not an obvious way to secure that help.

I've heard people who have known George W. Bush for decades and served prominently in his father's administration say that he could not possibly have conceived of the doctrine of pre-emptive war by himself, that he was essentially taken for a ride by people with a pre-existing agenda to overturn Saddam Hussein. Bush's public performances plainly show him to be a man who has never read or thought much about foreign policy. So the inevitable questions are: who makes the key foreign-policy decisions in the Bush presidency, who controls the information flow to the president, how are various options are presented?

The record, from published administration memoirs and in-depth reporting, is one of an administration with a very small group of six or eight real decision-makers, who were set on war from the beginning and who took great pains to shut out arguments from professionals in the CIA and State Department and the U.S. armed forces that contradicted their rosy scenarios about easy victory. Much has been written about the neoconservative hand guiding the Bush presidency—and it is peculiar that one who was fired from the National Security Council in the Reagan administration for suspicion of passing classified material to the Israeli embassy and another who has written position papers for an Israeli Likud Party leader have become key players in the making of American foreign policy.

But neoconservatism now encompasses much more than Israel-obsessed intellectuals and policy insiders. The Bush foreign policy also surfs on deep currents within the Christian Right, some of which see unqualified support of Israel as part of a godly plan to bring about Armageddon and the future kingdom of Christ. These two strands of Jewish and Christian extremism build on one another in the Bush presidency-and President Bush has given not the slightest indication he would restrain either in a second term. With Colin Powell's departure from the State Department looming, Bush is more than ever the "neoconian candidate." The only way Americans will have a presidency in which neoconservatives and the Christian Armageddon set are not holding the reins of power is if Kerry is elected.

If Kerry wins, this magazine will be in opposition from Inauguration Day forward. But the most important battles will take place within the Republican Party and the conservative movement. A Bush defeat will ignite a huge soul-searching within the rank-and-file of Republicandom: a quest to find out how and where the Bush presidency went wrong. And it is then that more traditional conservatives will have an audience to argue for a conservatism informed by the lessons of history, based in prudence and a sense of continuity with the American past-and to make that case without a powerful White House pulling in the opposite direction.

George W. Bush has come to embody a politics that is antithetical to almost any kind of thoughtful conservatism. His international policies have been based on the hopelessly naive belief that foreign peoples are eager to be liberated by American armies-a notion more grounded in Leon Trotsky's concept of global revolution than any sort of conservative statecraft. His immigration policies-temporarily put on hold while he runs for re-election-are just as extreme. A re-elected President Bush would be committed to bringing in millions of low-wage immigrants to do jobs Americans "won't do." This election is all about George W. Bush, and those issues are enough to render him unworthy of any conservative support.

World Series thoughts.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader just couldn't wait until tomorrow to blog on his World Series thoughts. Are you ready for the one big thought? Here it is... (Although your Maximum Leader hesitates to touch the keys to spell the word.) Sweep.

Yes, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader thought last night that it is possible for the Red Sox to sweep the Cards. Now, having typed the unthinkable, your Maximum Leader must tell you what led to this idea.

Factor 1: Cards pitching. The Cards starters are now no longer playing at the level they were at the end of the season and through the first two rounds of playoffs. They are tired. They don't seem to be controlling the ball. They are the reason that the Sox have been spotted two or more runs in the first inning in both games.

Factor 2: Sox pitching. The Sox pitchers have been great. They have been better in starters. In middle relief. And in closing out the game.

Factor 3: Momentum. The Sox have carried their momentum from the ALCS into the World Series. The Cards have not carried their momentum from the NLCS into the World Series.

Last week your Maximum Leader said that the Cards would have to split the first two games in Fenway to have a shot at winning the series. They did not. Game 1 was the game they could have taken. It would have been hard, but they were, a few times, poised to make a run on the lead. But they didn't. That will likely prove to be their undoing.

You see, the Cards are great at home. And they have lots of advantages over the Sox when they play in St. Louis. No DH. Homefield crowd. etc. But there are only 3 games in St. Louis. The Cards could win all three games in St. Louis, and then have to go to Fenway to lose two more games. Your Maximum Leader was sure that if they didn't take one of the first two against the Sox they wouldn't win the series. Now the Cards may just prove your Maximum Leader correct.

Of course, what makes this funny is that the only reason the Sox have homefield advantage in the Series is because the AL won the All-Star game. How funny would that be? The Sox win all their home games and thus the Pennant because of the All-Star game.

Well, we'll have to wait until Tuesday to see what will happen. But your Maximum Leader wouldn't be surprised if the Sox came on strong and won the first game at Busch Stadium. If they do... Well, your Maximum Leader will not type it again...

Carry on.


Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader makes it a point to visit the Acidman's site once or twice a day. Your Maximum Leader loves reading his thoughts and observations on goings-on and life. Well, it seems he's had an "encounter."

Now your Maximum Leader is sceptical. No mono-breasted, prehensile tail sporting alien babes have ever come to the Villainschloss and offered to mow the lawn or do the dishes for him. (He has enough trouble getting Mrs. Villain and the Villainettes to do that stuff for him.) So, either the Tall Dog is the luckiest man on the face of this planet... Or he had a tipple too many from ye olde bottle...

Carry on.

Saint Crispin's Day.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader fresh off celebrating the mosts glorious naval battle since the creation of the world last week is ready to celebrate again. For today is the feast of Saint Crispin Crispian. A day when the English, under good King Harry (V) Plantagenet, crushed the French at Agincourt. Need a pick-me-up? Try The Bard's take on a motivational speech.

You know something? Perhaps all this English over the French celebrating might annoy some (the one?) francophone reader of this site.


Carry on.

October 23, 2004

Now even more hairy!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader read the lastest from his Poet Laureate and said, "Ah yes, this is the Hominid as we know and love him."

Your Maximum Leader has worried quite a bit about the Big Hominid over the past few months. And to make matters worse, your Maximum Leader hasn't written/chatted with him as much as he should. Perhaps moving into a new place with more room and DSL will improve things a little.

Or maybe we'll just have to pray for the interession of one of God's tentacles.

Carry on.