December 31, 2004

Blog Hiatus.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wanted to let his loyal minions know that he will be taking a long weekend from the blog beginning immediately. He shall return next week.

But before he goes he cannot pass up the opportunity to make an observation.

Oh how Ally teases your Maximum Leader. First she says how much she adores your Maximum Leader. And just a few paragraphs before she mentions her "physical abundances." How she teases your Maximum Leader. And all the while she denies that she is a tease...

And for Outer Life... Hey! This is notice that there will not be much posted here for the next few days.

And while there is certainly more that should be said, your Maximum Leader will just leave for a few days. He will likely be watching all of the Lord of the Rings movies this weekend... That means he will not have much time to blog...

Happy New Year my minions. See you in 2005.

Carry on.

December 30, 2004

Tsunami Disaster

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been, as have we all, horrified at the scope and scale of the destruction caused by the earthquake and resultant tsunami in the Indian Ocean. As so many others have noted, the loss of human life is so staggering as to be nearly unfathomable. One person killed, or two, or three, or perhaps a few tens of people we can grasp mentally. But when you start to talk about numbers going over 100,000 - and possibly more than 200,000 when the final counts are done - the numbers become just a statistic. A number on a page.

Your Maximum Leader and his family have made a contribution to the International Red Cross. Your Maximum Leader also encourages minions to donate to the organization of their choice. Other charities are UNICEF, Oxfam, and this comprehensive list at The Command Post.

Your Maximum Leader fears that the final death toll from this disaster will be over 250,000. When one considers that many small islands around Sumatra and along the Indian coast haven't yet been heard from; and the full extent of damage and loss from areas that are accessible hasn't been fully assessed the toll can only increase dramatically. And one would have to figure that privation and disease will start to take their toll as well.

This may well be the most horrible natural disaster to strike in your Maximum Leader's life. He is hard-pressed to recall any disaster as widespread, or as lethal.

Your Maximum Leader's prayers are with those who suffer in Asia as a result of this catastrophe. And his hopes are with those who bring relief.

Carry on.

Ditto That

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has read a number of articles all talking about the "sixth sense" wild animals may have concerning natural disaters. While over 100,000 people have been killed by the tsunami, very few wild animals have been killed.

Your Maximum Leader wondered what the animals know that he doesn't. Interestingly enough, the Velociman wondered the same thing. Albeit from a perspective your Maximum Leader couldn't replicate.

Carry on.

More Tsunami Talk

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, aside from the feelings of compassion for the victims and survivors of the Asian Tsunami, has some other comments to make on this disaster.

Some of the science concerning what has happened is fascinating. The Earth's rotation itself may have been affected. And islands around the earthquake area may have actually moved.

Scientists also are reporting that while there will be aftershocks, they do not anticipate more killer waves. One hopes this is a minor blessing.

And, outside the science of the tsunami there is the politics. Much hay has been made concerning the "stingy" comment from Jan Eegeland of the United Nations. At the time the comment was made the US had contributed $15 million to disaster relief. At the time the comment was made, that $15 million represented the largest donation from a western nation to date. The US has now donated $35 million to relief. President Bush pledges more money and other aid.

Your Maximum Leader was stung by the "stingy" comment. As were many others. That comment showed a number of things. First off it showed the insularity of the world in which so many UN officals live. They don't understand anything outside their organization, and they only see the UN as an altruistic world-government-in-waiting that only needs more money from rich countries to solve the world's problems. The second thing it showed was a stupendous ignorance of how the US appropriates money. In case you didn't know, the President or Secretary of State don't just take money out of the Treasury and spend it. It is appropriated by Congress. It can only be appropriated by Congress. Every year the Congress appropriates money for the USAID (United States Agency for International Development) for disaster relief. Money is also appropriated for other departments to be spend for disaster relief. It is this previously appropriated money that is being spent now. Additional funds will need to be voted on and approved by Congress. And in case commentators didn't know it, Congress is not in session right now. Our nations law-makers (and money appropriators) are on holiday and will not be back until around January 10. This limits the amount of money the United States has to allocate to relief at this point.

Do not fear, we will donate more. We will be the leader in this effort. Just as we always are. In 2004 nearly a quarter of all money given in relief for natural disasters came from the US. We are the largest donor in these situations. We may have been a little slow to act, but we are in it for the long haul.

And all this talk of relief by governments doesn't even begin to count the millions that will come from normal Americans donating their own money from their own pockets to help those people around the world they've never met, seen, or in some cases heard of before. We are the most generous people in the world, and we rarely get credit for it.

Now your Maximum Leader mentioned that we may have been a little slow on the uptake. Well, your Maximum Leader feels that President Bush was too slow in making some sort of statement of compassion. He doesn't feel that the President doesn't feel compassion for the suffering (as was implied by Matt Lauer on the Today Show this morning). The President and his staff probably wanted to wait and get more information before speaking publically about what the US response would be. While that may be a smart move tactically, it was not a smart move from the perspective of image-building. The President should have made some brief remarks sooner and said that details of the US response would be forthcoming.

Your Maximum Leader does not doubt that the role of the US will be great in this relief effort. He only hopes that the full role of the US will be appreciated when all is said and done. Unlikely, but he still hopes.

Carry on.

One for the Money, Two for the Money...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, in his never ending quest to bring you all the Elvis news that is fit to print, presents for you this article from today's Washington Post: Elvis, One for the Money.

The opening part of the article is the best part. The new owner of Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE), Robert Sillerman, plans on increasing marketing efforts in "under-Elvised" areas of the world. Your Maximum Leader loved that. "Under-Elvised" As far as your Maximum Leader is concerned, the whole world is a little "under-Elvised." We need more Elvis. Young Elvis. Leather-clad Elvis. Fat Elvis. Elvis-the-dad. Elvis-the-Karate-student. Elvis-the-lover-of-many-women. You name it, we need more of it.

Of course, you should read the second part of the article which deals with Elvis the "sellout." As with so many things about him, Elvis was the first great sellout. Of course, he was also the first great rock star. The first "A" list performer to do Vegas regularly. He was the first in so many things, it somehow seems appropriate to remember him as the first great sellout.

But Elvis is a complicated figure. A complicated tragic figure at that. Your Maximum Leader heartilly recommends Peter Guralnick's fabulous bio of the King. (Vol 1 and Vol 2) If you read them, you can make up your informed mind on Elvis.

Carry on.

December 29, 2004

Minion Mailbag Part CLXXII

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was pleased to learn that someone out there is still reading this blog. Ever since he asked the porn site to de-link Nakedvillainy your Maximum Leader has seen his inflated traffic numbers drop back to their normal levels... It was nice to dream.

Anyway. Your Maximum Leader wrote yesterday concerning a misleading headline about Stone Age stores. Today he sees he got a note in his villainous e-mail from minion Norm over at Quantum Thought. Norm writes:
If there are indeed Old Stores just coming to light then serious problems now exist. I am of course talking about back taxes. Do these Ancient Peoples think we are fools. There is no escaping the compounding of taxes that will have to be calculated and appropriate penalties computed. This slacking of fiscal policy cannot be tolerated. Please forward a complete listing of all "Stores" involved, square footage, inventories, and present ownership with complete address and tax identification numbers to Quantum Thought Internal Revenues, Egyptian Dept. Middle Eastern Enforcement Division.
Norm, your Maximum Leader salutes you for the vigour with which you keep up with tax collection laws. In the Mike World Order there is surely good work in "store" for you.

And dear minions, don't forget to check out Norm's blog, Quantum Thought. The Chinese Monkey Dancer is sure to entertain.

Carry on.

December 28, 2004

Misleading Headlines.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader asks you all to contemplate this headline: Archaeologists Find Egyptian Stone Age Stores

What pops into your mind? Wal-Mart? Target? (Or for the more afluent minions, Neiman Marcus?)

Would you have though for one moment that the article would really be discussing graneries? Like the ones Joesph built for Pharaoh? Would you really? Come on! You were thinking retail outlets. You all were wondering if some neanderthal woman was going to find a stone age store and look around for a nice bag to match her skins. Or, if it was a neolithic Sears, a set of those new-fangled flint arrowheads for that nice guy that knocked her up last winter. You know you were thinking that.

Could the misleading headline be the result of some editor thinking that no reader would know the word "graneries" if they saw it in a sentance? Did the editor know what a granery was? Humm.

Carry on.

Blog Anniversary.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader would like to doff his bejeweled floppy hat and salute the Acidman at Gut Grumbles on the 3rd anniversary of his blog.

Although your Maximum Leader doesn't always link to the Acidman's posts, or mention them nearly enough, he reads Gut Grumbles a few times a day. Indeed, the reason the blog is listed as "Acidman" rather than "Gut Grumbles" on the blogroll is so that your Maximum Leader reads it first as he scrolls down his blogroll.

And allow your Maximum Leader to write something else while he is talking about the Tall Dog at Gut Grumbles. Rob is the most open and honest blogger I read. He opens his soul and lets us read it. Not many people do that. I certainly don't. He has earned my respect without ever having met him.

I hope I can get down to Georgia sometime and meet him. I'll buy the beer.

Happy 3rd anniversary Rob. I hope for many more.

Carry on.

Where Is EPE's Cut?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, as loyal minions should know, is an Elvis man. He likes to keep up with goings-on concerning "The King" in the news. So imagine his interest when he read this headline: Man Auctions Water From Cup Elvis Used.


It seems Mr. Jade Jones of Belmont, NC just made $455 by selling water from a cup from which Elvis purportedly drank in a 1977 concert.

Your Maximum Leader, who is an Elvis fan afterall, is all for people buying and selling their Elvis related stuff. But really now... Water? Deep frozen then transferred to a vial? $455? That is a little much.

But speaking of Elvis artifacts... Your Maximum Leader has a rule concerning Elvis-stuff. It cannot cost more than $25 (US). With the exception of Elvis CD box sets, nothing Elvis related your Maximum Leader owns cost him more than $25. This rule has been an albatross around his neck however. You see, your Maximum Leader would love to purchase the perfect Velvis. (Velvet Elvis Portrait that is.) The Velvis must be of "The King" circa 1976. He should be dressed in a jumpsuit (American Eagle jumpsuit or Aztec Sun jumpsuit preferably) and he should be sweating profusely. A general blue-tint to the work is also acceptable. Your Maximum Leader has been looking for the perfect Velvis for years. But everytime he finds a suitable contender, it is more than $25. Once, while traveling through Missouri, your Maximum leader found a near perfect Velvis. It was hanging on the wall of the Jesse James Hideout and Saloon, off I-70 roughly in the middle of the state. Your Maximum Leader haggled with the proprietor of the establishment. But, sadly, the proprietor wouldn't part with it for $25.

The search continues.

Carry on.

Liquid Dynamics

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader must be in a rather base frame of mind today. Why? Well who really knows why, but in keeping with the bodily needs theme he has going he'll refer you all to the contemplations of the Poet Laureate.

Your Maximum Leader can give the Big Hominid a two word answer that explains the urine droplet on top of the urinal.

Magic Droplet.

Carry on.

Did You Ever Wonder...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, once, lived in an apartment building. (Okay, upon reflection make that twice.) And while a denizen of that apartment building, he noticed a very attractive asian girl living in the twin building across the street. Our schedules were dissimilar so we never passed each other. But your Maximum Leader would generally spy her walking out of her building to her car, or sometimes talking on a cordless on the balcony. Once, your Maximum Leader found himself standing in a long queue next to this girl. He wondered what to say.

Well, if you Maximum Leader were Kilgore Trout, he may have chosen to blog an open letter to her.

Alas, your Maximum Leader wasn't so inspired.

Carry on.

December 27, 2004

NPR and the Milk Cow Blues

An interesting piece on cow-share milking on NPR.

I considered cow-sharing since several people have expressed interest in Bonnie's milk, but decided that the effort, trouble, and risk did not justify the potential profit. But I'm glad to see other small family farms making a go of it.

Merry Christmas to All!

And well-wishes for the sick villains.

UPDATE FROM YOUR MAXIMUM LEADER: Many thanks to the Smallholder on his well-wishes. The Tomboy Villainette is still a little under the weather. And your Maximum Leader himself is generally fatigued. Although this could be a result of over-indulging in left-overs for the past few days...

I Fell In To A Burning Ring Of Fire.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, among his varied musical delights, has a real soft spot for Johnny Cash. He was truly on of our nation's greatest poet-songwriters. He was also, later in life, a man repentant for his past. And that made him sympathetic and admirable. Your Maximum Leader can respect a man who admits he's done wrong and is contrite.

Why bring this up now? Well, go on over to Brian B's blog, Memento Moron and read some of Brian's thoughts on Cash.

Carry on.

Why Is This News?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader would like to know why what President and Mrs. Bush gave each other for Christmas is news.

If you all are so nosey and feel you want to know what your Maximum Leader got for Christmas here you go... A Vladimir Horowitz CD (with Tchiakowski & Beethoven pieces), A Cowboy Junkies CD, A Winston Churchill Speeches CD, The Star Wars Trilogy on DVD, Burton & Taylor's "Taming of the Shew" on DVD, Orson Welles' "Touch of Evil" on DVD, "Blade Runner" on DVD, Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles" on DVD, A book "Treasures of the British Museum," A book "Churchill: His Life As A Painter," A book "Washington Schlepped Here," A book "I am Charlotte Simmons," and some tea from Mighty Leaf.

There might be one or two your Maximum Leader left off the list... But you'll just have to live with it.

Do you feel better now? Jeez.

Carry on.

UPDATE: Brian asks the same question with a novel twist, how do celebrities acquire surprise gifts for people when their images are splashed all over everything? Good question. Your Maximum Leader supposes, like Brian, that personal assistants get everything for them. In which case the gifts are surprises for the giver and receiver. Speaking of assistants, your Maximum Leader knows two people who do have a "shopping assistant" on their "payroll." These people pay a monthly retainer to an individual ($75/month) who will do their shopping for them. And your Maximum Leader isn't talking about running to the store for eggs and milk type of shopping. He is talking about "my anniversary is next Wednesday and my wife needs a gift" type of shopping. Indeed, this "shopping assistant" knows all the important people and dates; does the buying and then drops the presents off at the office for giving. The "shopping assistant" also drops off a photo of the gift along with a description of the gift in her invoice. She invoices for her time ($25/hr) and the gift (Cost + 5% handling fee). Your Maximum Leader once asked his acquaintance if he thought a "shopping assistant" made sense financially and emotionally. The acqaintance said yes. He knows he'll always have a gift and never forget an important anniversary. And, living in Northern Virginia, he'll never have to set foot in Tysons Corner Center again.

Carry on.

Cooling Off Period.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was persusing the Wall Street Journal's OpinionJournal and the article on gay marriage by Johnathan Rauch.

As frequent readers know, the gay marriage debate is one that has waxed and waned here at Nakedvillainy over the course of the year. Your Maximum Leader just wanted to direct those minions who just can't get enough of this subject to go on over and read Rauch's piece. (You have to register if you haven't already.)

If he didn't say it after the election, but he thinks he did, your Maximum Leader does think some of the anti-gay marriage amendments to state constitutions passed this November were a bit overreaching. Your Maximum Leader, while not wanting to expand the accepted definition of marriage to include gays, has no over-arching objection to civil-unions.

Read the piece if you like. If not, well... Not.

Carry on.

December 26, 2004

Interview: Part One

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has found a subject on the internet worthy of your time and careful consideration... The subject would be, your Maximum Leader himself. Read sexy Sadie's Interview with the Maximum Leader: Part One.

She is a lot more interesting, and sexy, than David Frost.

Carry on.

Reggie White, RIP

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wonders what the Divine plan is for the Green Bay Packers. He's learned that former Green Bay defensive end Reggie White died this morning.

He was 43.

Sad news indeed.

Carry on.

Rum, Sodomy, & the Lash... But No Page 3

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is suffering from a touch of the flu or something. Indeed, some nausea-inducing bug is going around the villainschloss. So, he is taking it easy now.

And as you know, taking it easy often equates to sitting down and surfing the internet.

Well, as your Maximum Leader was catching up on his overseas newspaper reading what should he see? He sees that the Royal Navy has banned "The Sun" with Page 3 girls.

Prudes. They claim topless girls disrupt fleet cohesion or something...

It will not happen in the Mike World Order.

Carry on.

December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas.

Greetings, loyal minions.

Your Maximum Leader wishes all of you a very Merry Christmas. May your stockings be filled, and your presents under the tree be many.

And may you spend this joyous day in the bosom of friends and family.

Carry on.

December 23, 2004

Plan Is On Track - Revisited.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees the Smallholder is making plans... Humm...

Let's review his list:
1) Get promoted to Panjandrum CHECK!

2) Survive the first purge CHECK!

3) Wait until the excesses of the MWO turn the populace against Mike

4) Seize power by posing as a populist liberator

Do you know why this list strikes your Maximum Leader as funny? Let him show you this other list:
1) Get promoted to important party position. CHECK!
2) Survive the first purge. CHECK!
3) Wait until the excesses of the Party Leadership turn the people against the General Secretary. (This should happen by 1936.)
4) Seize power by posing as a true party leader and liberator of the people.
That was Sergei Kirov's list. Heh.

Carry on.

December 22, 2004

Dr Freud, Paging Dr. Freud.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is looking forward to a little rest. "What do you mean esteemed Maximum Leader?," ask you the loyal minion. Well, for the past two nights Mrs. Villain has been subjecting your Maximum Leader to the most unreasonable demands. She insisted that your Maximum Leader finish the "Christmas Letter." She has also wanted your Maximum Leader to confirm the address list for those he wishes to recieve such a letter.

Now, your Maximum Leader's "Christmas Letter" is no ordinary Christmas Letter. Indeed, it requires a tremendous amount of creative energy for your Maximum Leader to complete. You see, your Maximum Leader can't stand the typical "we're-all-wonderful-let-me-tell-you-about-our-vacations-and-how-above-average-the-kids-are" letters. So your Maximum Leader tries to write a "themed" letter which cleverly inserts the critical family information in the midst of some humourous writing. In the year 2000, the letter took the form of a Supreme Court Brief (mocking the Bush v. Gore decision). Last year's letter took the form of a "Patriot Act" wire-tap transcript. And this year it was tough to harness your Maximum Leader's muse. But, he eventually did it. The letter was completed Monday night. Mrs. Villain likes it much better than last year's. It is a 527 organization fundraising letter.


The second item for which your Maximum Leader has been harassed was the address list. Your Maximum Leader reviewed the list, and then printed out labels. Mrs. Villain just informed him that a late addition address on the list was incorrect. Your Maximum Leader said no, the list was correct. Then Mrs. Villain said, "Well, do Mr & Mrs "X" live in Nipples, Florida?"

Ooops. Your Maximum Leader must have spent too much time reading Sadie's blog or thinking about Jennifer Love Hewitt. Heh. Nipples, Florida. (As you may have guessed, your Maximum Leader's friends live in Naples, Florida.)

A funny slip as it were.

Anyway... Mrs. Villain notified your Maximum Leader that she was taking the Villainettes and the Wee Villain to her sainted parent's house today and would return late tomorrow. Thus, your Maximum Leader has the Villainschloss all to himself...

Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! He chortled in his joy!

Carry on.

The Plan Is On Track

From the Desk of Smallholder:

To Do List:

1) Get promoted to Panjamdrum CHECK!

2) Survive the first purge CHECK!

3) Wait until the excesses of the MWO turn the populace against Mike

4) Seize power by posing as a populist liberator

Good Stuff From Brian

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader makes it a point to read Memento Moron daily. Brian is a good blogger who discourses on everything from Christianity to Cooking. Today, your Maximum Leader commends to you two posts from Brian. The first is: For Whom the Christmas Bells Tolls. It is a reprint of a James Thurber parody of Earnest Hemmingway. It is spot on - and quite seasonal.

The second is this post entitled: Recycling Good Cheer. While your Maximum Leader and the Smallholder often prompt other bloggers to write something, it is good to see the AirMarshal prompting comments from others. Read over Brian's thoughts on "re-gifting" (which BTW is a hot-button topic at the Villainschloss).

Carry on.

Interview Teaser.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that Sadie is beginning to publish teasers for her long-running interview with your Maximum Leader. And what a good teaser she chose. The question concerning the signs of the Mike World Order.

Go and read. And your Maximum Leader suspects that before too long the whole interview will be posted...

Carry on.

December 21, 2004

Farm Subsidies Aren't Just Bad For America

Professor Weissman at Columbia lectures on the fate of farm subsidies in Saudi Arabia:

He starts with a good pedagogical activity: make the students consultants:

As an economic consultant to Nigeria, it is your job to advise the new
democratically elected, well intentioned, transparent, and relatively
corrupt-free Nigerian government about how best to use the proceeds from its oil
export industry. Nigeria's goal is to use its oil revenues to promote the
development of another export sector in preparation for when its oil reserves
are exhausted.

Having laid the groundwork and focused students on their task, he then provides background material so they can begin to consider their options:

In preparing your report, you've come across two similar situations involving
Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Like Nigeria, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are rich in oil.
Unlike Nigeria, however, these countries have been at least partially successful
in generating wealth with their oil reserves over time. For example, compared to
Nigeria's per capita GDP of $240, Saudi Arabia has a per capita GDP of $7240.
What have Kuwait and Saudi Arabia done with its oil revenues? Can and should
Nigeria attempt to follow either of these examples?

This is an economics class, but many history teachers would do well to follow his model. The point, he says, of examining past experience is to make educated decisions today. History teachers too often forget why history is important.

Let's first look at Saudi Arabia. Rising oil prices in the seventies and early
eighties left Saudi Arabia with vast reserves of cash. At this time, the
government of Saudi Arabia was greatly concerned about its dependency on the
West for food - Saudi Arabia imports most of its food because deserts are not
conducive for growing wheat and other food crops. This confluence of oil wealth
and national security concerns led Saudi Arabia to implement a wide array of
farming subsidies to Saudis willing to attempt to farm in the desert. The
subsidies ranged from free water for irrigation and free land to cheap loans for
farming equipment. In addition, the government provided farmers with price
supports for wheat and dairy products - promising to pay farmers as much as five
times the world market price per bushel because of the high costs involved in
growing wheat in the desert. In other words, Saudi Arabia regularly paid its
farmers as much as (let's say) $40 for a bushel of wheat that the government
would then sell on the world market $8, with the net result being a government
loss of $32 per bushel above the cost of the already generous farming subsidies.

The U.S. subsidies are not as extreme but they have the same affect: artificially directing farming investment and development into areas that will not be sustainable sans the government teat. With feedlot margins of a handful of dollars per animal, dropping corn subsidies would put the big feedlots out of business. But now that the meat industry has concentrated and moved towards industrialization, removing that subsidy would cause a cascading affect throughout the food industry and disproportianately impact poor families who spend a great portion of their family budget on food. The decision to move to industrial farming was abysmally stupid.

Sorry. I'll climb down off the soapbox and return to professor Weissman.

What was the result? Saudi Arabians took advantage of the subsidy program by
starting farms (with the free land and water) and then hiring foreigners
(Jordanians, Palestinians, and others) to manage the farms while the Saudi
owners remained comfortably in the cities. From the perspective of achieving
autonomy from Western wheat the program was at least a short-term success. By
the mid-eighties, Saudi Arabia was a net exporter of wheat. In 1992, Saudi
Arabia was the 6th largest exporter of wheat in the world. Currently, Saudi
Arabia is the home of the largest dairy farm as well, producing as much as
390,000 liters of milk a day.

Mmm. You know how your Minister of Agriculture LOVES concentrated dairy operations! The facility currently milks 29 THOUSAND cows.

By 1995 the Saudi Arabian government finally recognized that the large-scale
agricultural sector, made possible by subsidies and incentive programs, was
environmentally and economically unsustainable.

Ya think?

Gee, how is the grain mono-culture confinement feeding working out here in America?

Compounding the problem was the decline in oil revenues, which led the Saudi
government to cut back the popular incentive program.

Ah, you see where this is heading, don't you. Saudi official: To reduce our dependence on foreign food, we will spend our oil revenues to grow food inefficiently in the desert. So when the oil runs out we will have... inefficient farms in the desert!

What can Nigeria learn from Saudi Arabia's experience? Well, the first question
is whether or not Saudi Arabia realized its objective of agricultural
self-sufficiency. As the sixth largest wheat producer in the world, it would
appear that the answer is yes. However, this self-sufficiency has proven to be
only as durable as their supporting oil revenues; a decline in oil revenues
resulting from either low oil prices or declining production undermines the
Saudi self-sufficiency achievement. So any achievement of self-sufficiency was
To see this, let's advance the calendar fifty years and imagine what Saudi
Arabia might look like once its oil reserves are exhausted. Without the oil
revenues to finance the agricultural subsidies, the Saudi wheat and dairy
industries will collapse. This will leave Saudi Arabia with nothing to show for
its decades of oil production, and Saudi Arabia will find itself without
dependent on the West for food and with nothing to offer the West either
politically or economically in return. What about the Saudi know-how and
expertise in cultivating the desert? As long as wheat can be grown more cheaply
in sufficient quantities around the world in plains and flatlands such as Russia
and the American Midwest, Saudi expertise in desert farming will remain
non-marketable. Of course, should humanity ever decide to colonize Mars Saudi
ingenuity and know-how will prove invaluable in irrigating and establishing
farms on the red planet. Considering some possible alternative uses of the oil
revenues only strengthens the conclusion that Saudi Arabia wasted billions of
dollars of oil revenues chasing shadows.
What could Saudi Arabia have done
differently? Well, Saudi Arabia might have followed the example of Kuwait. In
the 70s and 80s Kuwait invested the bulk of its proceeds from oil exports
abroad. The expectation was that the growth of its foreign investment portfolios
would provide Kuwait with a steady stream of income in the future when its oil
reserves are exhausted. Kuwait's plan went awry after the Gulf War - Kuwait was
forced to sell a substantial portion of its foreign holdings in order to pay for
reconstruction. While Kuwait failed to achieve its objectives, imagine what
Kuwait's position would have been after the Gulf War had the oil revenues been
frittered away as farming subsidies. Consequently, at least in comparison with
the Saudi self-sufficiency plan, Kuwait's use of its oil revenues must be scored
a success.
Note that our evaluation of Kuwait's plan is not contingent on
the fact that the funds were invested internationally rather than domestically.
True, Kuwait's disinclination to invest domestically in an alternative sector
was fortunate in hindsight - had Kuwait invested locally the proceeds would have
been lost when the war devastated this industry along with the rest of Kuwait.
Thus, had Kuwait developed a domestic sector other than oil, the devastation
would have left Kuwait without the resources necessary to rebuild without
resorting to loans. However, other than the advantage of diversification (by
holding wealth domestically in the form of oil and abroad in the form of foreign
assets), there is no advantage in pursuing foreign over domestic investment
opportunities. Theoretically, absent the Gulf War, had the oil revenues been
used to nurture a domestic growth sector that could have developed a comparative
advantage this would have secured Kuwait's financial future as well as foreign
investment. So why did Kuwait choose to invest the funds abroad rather than
domestically? This is a good question and is worthy of discussion, but as
investigating this question would take us pretty far off topic, we're going to
postpone examining this issue for now.

I had no considered how Kuwait's economic policy had laid up a store of resources for the post-invasion reconstruction. Fascinating.

Shut up! I'm not a geek!

So what can Nigeria learn from the examples of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia?
First, the Saudi national security objective was ill considered because farming
in the desert can never become sustainable and its ability to perpetually
subsidize agriculture is limited. Furthermore, the opportunity cost of diverting
resources to agriculture was a reduction in investment in possibly profitable
alternative sectors. National security can be a legitimate justification for
trade barriers in certain circumstances, however. Consider the ban on trading
weapons grade plutonium. The Saudi case is a particularly good example of an
ill-conceived national security motivated anti-trade policy because of the
long-term non-viability of the program.
The Saudi case also yields some
insights regarding the limitations of the infant industry argument for trade
barriers. Suppose that the Saudi government wanted to use its oil revenues to
help nurture an infant industry. Would agriculture be a wise recipient of the
infant industry motivated trade protection? Should Nigeria emulate the Saudi
policy? Even to the extent to which the infant industry argument is credible
(and we haven't really delved into the robustness of the infant industry
argument yet), Nigeria (unlike Saudi Arabia) should choose to back a potentially
profitable industry. While, as we've seen, comparative advantages can be gained
or lost over time, some comparative advantages are natural or inherent - Saudi
Arabia will never become the breadbasket of the world. Resources devoted to
developing a comparative advantage in an infeasible sector are inefficiently
used. Consider the Saudi case. Fewer resources could have created a viable
breadbasket elsewhere (such as Saudi investment in Egypt), leaving the remainder
of the resources over for another purpose.

The Old Naval Academy Dairy Farm

Is now organic!

Of course, this really isn't a family farm - it is a corporation. But the methods used here can be and are being adopted by small dairy farms.

I would like to see them reduce the grain ration and move toward intensive grazing, but they are at least being good stewards of the land in their organic cropping scheme.

Christians Who Miss The Point

From Tuesday Morning Quarterback:

Can't spare the time to string those holiday lights? Why not hire Christmas Décor, "providing professional holiday and event decorating services since 1986." Christmas Décor will deck the exteriors of homes or businesses; "we also offer complete takedown and storage services." Gwendolyn Bounds of the Wall Street Journal reported that Christmas Décor charges a few hundred dollars for simple home lights, but has billed as much as $30,000 to decorate mansions of the rich. Hey rich people who live in mansions: if you have $30,000 to spend on Christmas lights, Jesus would tell you to give the money to the poor. ("Whatsoever you do to the least of them, you do unto me" -- not that Jesus has anything to do with Christmas!)

Getting Out the Rope.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader noticed an interesting article on the news wire and decided it needed his commentary. Here is the article: Hangman Is Finally Learning the Ropes.

It appears as though Sri Lanka has had a hangman on their payroll for the past three years, although until last month, the death penalty was illegal. And frankly, the death penalty has been dormant for 30 years.

Think about that for a moment. The government of Sri Lanka has a person on their payroll to do a job that no one had done for 30 years. Your Maximum Leader has to ask, "Does that job come with civil service benefits?" If so, damnit what a fantastic job.

Regardless of that, the government of Sri Lanka is either stupid (for having a hangman with no one to hang) or remarkably filled with foresight (for having a hangman on the ready in case someone needed hanging - and in your Maximum Leader's experience there is ALWAYS SOMEONE who needs hanging).

Well Mr. Suranimala (not his real name), your Maximum Leader doffs his bejeweled floppy hat in your direction and offers you best of luck in your career. And if you need some rope, write, your Maximum Leader has plenty.

Carry on.

Um... yuck!?

Recently at a family dinner, I sat down at the table prior to the meal. I noticed that Styrofoam/paper coffee cups had been set out for the guests to drink out of. A bit odd, but not totally out in left field. As I went to get some water, I noticed that my cup was not only dirty, but it had faint traces of lipstick around the rim, as well as what appeared to be coffee stains inside it. So I had been given a used disposable cup.


Same meal later, the hostess has served salad. A particularly nasty salad. The host made light of the fact that noone was eating. He said

"eat up, or I'll be eating salad all week."

The hostess then said indignantly

"it's better when it ages a few days anyway."

And, you know, I think she was serious. Aged salad. What a thought. Let it sit for two or three days. BigHominid came up with the best term to describe aged lettuce: Raped Seaweed. Yummy.


Gift etiquette

Recently, Family Member A was caught re-gifting. A gave B a Christmas present that B had given A several years prior. Now, granted, nobody told A that she had been caught, but still.

So what is the general take on re-gifting? Personally, I think it's tacky. I don't think you should ever repackage a gift.

I will admit that I may have been guilty of it in the past. In going to a party (particularly of the holiday or house warming variety) I have brought along the traditional bottle of wine, that may itself have been a housewarming or holiday gift. Since I am not a big wine drinker, and my wife doesn't really drink as a rule, wine only ever gets consumed at our house during parties, or when I'm out of beer and not in the mood for whiskey. As a result, we have a dozen or so bottles of wine at home. These bottles have been either purchased for a party, and not opened, or been given to us as gifts. So if we find ourselves in need of a gift, there you go.

Re-gifting, to me, says "You aren't worth my time or effort, so here you go."

Peyton Manning of Blogging?

I did peter out a bit - work and family intervened (not to mention the drunken bachanalia that I had to break up in my hayloft last night - darn that Sadie!). But 30 posts t'ain't too bad, even if some were rather anemic.

I hope that the recent output justifies my recent post to Panjamdrum. I'm designing my new uniform now. One word for our minions: Braid. Lots and lots of braid.

Plus shiny bits.

December 20, 2004

Public Financing of Stadiums

Smallholder hereby calls for a law declaring it to be illegal for municipalities to construct ballparks for the primary purpose of housing public teams.

This is a perfect example of a good use of the interstate commerce clause (unlike the atrocious stretching of the Constitutional elastic underway in Ashcroft v. Raich). Ballparks [Ballclubs - ML], a private enterprise, threaten to move out of state in order to force concessions from local governing bodies.

It has to stop.

Baseball does NOT need the subsidies. Players command huge salaries on the basis that they ought to share the wealth that their team generates. If a team paying for its own stadium would force economy on the payroll, I don't have a lot of sympathy for a guy making eight million annually to play a game being forced to take a 50% pay cut.

Let's do the math. Say a stadium costs $300 million. A team finances it at 10%. So $30 million a year of the team's revenue will go to debt service. So player salaries fall by a portion of that amount and the team owner pays the rest out of other revenue streams.

The law has to be national. If a state or locality enacted such a law, other cities would be more than happy to poach teams.

Green Bay has it right. Let the fans own the team. There was no blackmail when Lambeau needed to be updated.

UPDATE FROM YOUR MAXIMUM LEADER: Alas, the Smallholder's attempt to be the Peyton Manning of bloggers appears to have petered out... And his great exertions of the day seem to have affected his memories. While your Maximum Leader full agrees that professional sports franchises do extort money from localities; he must say that Congress need not get involved in stadium financing issues. And your Maximum Leader must also point out that Lambeau Field improvments were jointly financed by both the Packers and Brown County, Wisconsin. Not solely by the team.

UPDATE: Thanks for the correction, Mike. My faulty memory told me that the stadium was paid for by selling more stock - the same stock issue that allowed you and Vater Smallholder to become shareholders. I stand corrected.


My wife and I, whilst wrapping presents*, discovered that over the last few months we have purchased close to forty books for our daughter's third Christmas.

She'll get some other toys as well, but the vast numbers of books astounded me. Emilie already has more books than most adults in our country. And she loves them.

We must be doing something right.

* Okay, okay, my wife was wrapping. I'm not a wrapper - except about Hominid Attire.

What's This, My Sweet?

Sadie is now calling herself "Denver Girl."

Is she indicating that she too has been rejected by the unattainable font o' testosterone that is Kilgore Trout?

Is she usurping our sweet Betsy? Methinks the Maximum Leader will have to discipline her.

And we all know that he wants to.

But who is this Mocha that Denver Girl nee Sadie talks about? Sounds like a stripper name...

Math Matters

Who says farmers are ignorant?

Math is ubiquitous.

Sustainable Farming

We need more farmers like F.W. Owen.

Don't listen to the salesmen who say that farmers have to "get big or get out."

Don't listen to the ignorant environmentalists who say commercial farming is unsustainable.

Don't listen to the animal rights yahoos who think that all farm animals are, by definition, mistreated.

There is a path that keeps farmers in business, protects the environment, and treats animals well.

False Reports of Mutant Toads

If they only read Naked Villainy's insightful posts about toad sexing, they wouldn't have looked so foolish.

I mean, come on, everyone should be able to tell the difference between two-headed mutants and toads l'amour!

First Love

The very wise Mr. Morhart, my AP European history teacher, once gave me this koan:

"Love in high school is hell. You have the apparatus to feel all the emotions, but none of the experience to put it all in perspective."


To The Victor Go The Spoils

When the Berlin Wall came down, all sorts of communist paraphenalia hit the market.

The Maximum Leader got a Makarov and a cool East German border guard overcoat.

I wanted a statue. When I win the lottery, I'm going to purchase and ship over one of those ubiquitous Lenin Exhorting The Masses sculptures anchoring the square of every little one-horse hamlet in Eastern Europe.

I'll plant it in the garden, on it's back, exhorting arm thrust skyward, and plant red-blooming flowers all around it.

The red garden will be featured on the Home and Garden channel. Writers from the Smithsonian Magazine and New Yorker will opine on the triumphant symbolism.

You all can come visit.


A friend from college days - a history professor beloved by Mike and I, just became a father.

His wife had twins.

He is 61.

I struggled to cope with newborn-induced sleeplessness at 31.

He will be 79 when his kids graduate from high school.

On the other hand, he will be able to retire in a couple of years and be a full-time dad, a job I would love to hold.

Fatherhood is cool. I welcome Big Jim to the fraternity.

This May Be Wrong

Does anyone else find the cartoons on Annika's site hot?

The santa girl is cute, but not as cute as some of the previous icons, like the girl who took offense at Helen Hunt's outspokenness.

Tell me I'm not the only one.

Update: More Annika cartoons here.

Apologizing to Cows

Via the Lovely Annika: Apologize to a cow.

Her timing is perfect, since I just delivered meat to my customers on Saturday. Hopefully the Maximum Leader will see fit to comment on his humanely raised, grass-fed, hormone and anti-biotic free beef.

Cedar Trees

I am going to take a bold stand here and advocate arborcide.

Cedar trees ought to be extinct.

When you drive down the road and see a pasture with a crop of cedar trees, it is like a big neon sign saying "this farmer does not take care of his pasture."

Cedar trees harbor ticks.

Cedar trees grow up in fence lines.

Cedar trees make poor firewood.

Cedar trees are an alternate host for apple cedar rust.

The only use of a cedar tree is too teach young people to develop a work ethic. You give them a maul, a bucket, and send them out to tackle the seedlings.

Join the anti-cedar crusade now.


Ally has argued in defense of intelligent design.

I disagree, but that is a post for a more reflective day.

Until then, I give you a great site discussing the constitutional issues around the teaching of evolution in the classroom.

Carry on.

UPDATE: Bill Keezer correctly points out my need to clarify the wording above; Ally has argued for the teaching of intelligent design. He also notes that he has had a discussion with another blogger about this topic. I'll have to catch up on my reading.

A Response!

The BigHo replies to my moralistic soapbox poem:


Ah, you think like a Westerner-- contracts are actually important to you.

Yeah, if I were in the States, I'd agree with you. We could actually talk about"principle." But here, where the bosses don't really give a shit what thecontract says, all's fair in love and war. You keep your dignity in whateverway you can. I'm probably going to lose mine after tomorrow.

As for your sympathy for my boss-- don't worry: she needs none. The woman's asneaky little bitch, using the receptionists as spies, laying guilt trips onKorean and expat teachers to get them to do her bidding, issuing random threatsabout firing Korean teachers-- even writing up a TWO-PAGE-LONG list ofcomplaints about one of the expat teachers, a newbie named Valery, who in myopinion is trying her best & didn't deserve such shitty treatment (she's onlybeen in Korea for six months). If my boss were to get canned for failing tomanage me, that'd be icing on the cake.

Part of what allows me (or any expat here, for that matter) to think and act soextravagantly is that being fired isn't a tragedy. There's no black mark onyour permanent record-- all hagwon (language institute) jobs are shady to somedegree or other. In all likelihood, you've been fired for unfair reasons.That's typical of many expats in Korea. Foreigners who toe the line to theKorean bosses' satisfaction almost never receive extra perks for their goodbehavior (or the perks are insultingly minimal). If anything, they're screwedharder, because they've proven they can be used. It doesn't pay to be a goodlittle soldier in a Korean business.

In such a poisonous environment, idealistic talk about upholding a contractmeans little.

I loved the poem all the same, but thought I should inform you of the uglyrealities here.

BTW, as I blogged before, my brother already gave me the "stick to the contract"lecture. Heh. Yeah, in a perfect world...


Extemporaneous Blogging

When I was in Civil Air Patrol...

Shut up! I was not a geek!

When I was in Civil Air Patrol, we did an activity called extemporaneous speaking. You drew a topic out of a hat, prepared for two minutes, then delivered a five minute speech.

I once had to do "corrugated tin."

I am going to need help if I am going to find enough topics to meet the goal of 48 posts in 24 hours. Send your extemporaneous topic to When I check my email, I will make a post within two minutes.

Fetishizing Nature

Does anyone know any PETA supporters or dogmatic proponents of animal rights who have actually had to survive by the sweat of their brows?

Analphilosopher claims to have been surrounded by agriculture as a child, but I get the impression that his was a hobby farm rather than a smallholding.

I wonder how much actual nature the "don't hunt the deer" crowd has actually experienced. The absolutists seem to have no idea that choosing not to hunt the deer in the absence of natural predators does not restore natural balance. Not hunting is crueler than hunting - leading to starving, disease-ridden herds. Additionally, deer tend to reduce the prosperity of other species and eliminate forest biodiversity as they overgraze favored plants. Saving deer from hunting reduces the kills other animals by detroying their habitats.

But, claim the moralists, we won't be the DIRECT killers.

We shouldn't have disturbed the environment -> Stop hunting deer -> If the deer destroy the remaining environment, it is not our moral concern.

I wonder if they would also agree with:

We shouldn't have invade Iraq -> Stop fighting the insurgency and withdraw -> If the people of Iraq fall into the hands of a brutal Shitte thugo-theocracy, it is not our moral concern.

Apples and oranges, I know.

Shut up! You try doing 48 posts in 24 hours.

Speaking of Transcendentalism

The best ever smackdown of Thoreau can be found in either Michael Pollan's Second Nature.

He has a whole chapter on Walden Pond and discusses how those who fetishize nature don't really realize that letting things remain "natural" is no longer an option. The world has been so changed that no truly "native" plantings can survive without human intervention. The best part of the essay challenged Thoreau's smug contemplation of his superiority in letting his beanfield be destroyed by "natural" weeds. The weeds, you see, were man-introduced as well. Plus, Pollan points out, it is a lot easier to be sanguine about the failure of your crops when you don't rely on those crops for your very survival.

Speaking of Herman Hesse

Was it just me, or was the collective unconscious a load of horse crap?

I mean, come on!

The whole transcendentalist inner-light tradition annoys me.

Speaking of The Celibate

Wouldn't it just suck if our old girlfriends got blogs?

Ex-Smallholder Girl:
"And then he tried to go out with me and my friend in the same evening! The Cad! Well, at least he wasn't inadequate like the Minister of Propaganda"

Ex-Maximum Leader Girl:
"Mike was hitting on me?"

Ex-Minister of Propaganda Girl:
"I am, like, so tired of all these girls trying to get to my man just so they can get into a movie. They are, like, so shallow. I wonder when Rob will get home? My agent says there will be a bit part in his movie..."

Ex-Foreign Minister Girl:
"Greg is such a stud, but I wonder about his friends. Mark dances with his hands over his head and Mike keeps chatting with strange men he meets in the club."

Prolix Smallholder

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader will take a guess that the Smallholder either received his new home PC and is playing; or he has traveled to visit relatives who have a good PC and a high-speed internet connection.

Just a guess.

Carry on.

Male Agendas

Ally, the always insightful doyenne of Who Moved My Truth, points out that men and women think differently.

I agree.

Ladies, when you are analyzing the actions of your man, you are probably reading waaaaaay to much into things, kind of like Mr. Crowder did with Herman Hesse in tenth-grade English.

The Celibate likes to try to figure out what her dates are thinking.

Answer: Not much.

Would you like an illustration of this principle from Smallholder's dating history?

Of course you would.

Freshman year of college. I had kept in contact with a couple casual girlfriends from high-school. I mean casual in that we were friends who occasionally kissed. No baggage or anything. In fact, one of the girls was also casually seeing my best friend - the currently MIA Minister of Propaganda. If I came home for a weekend, I might catch a movie with whoever was around. One might visit Longwood on the occasional Saturday. No commitment, or anything.

While I was off at Longwood, they became good friends. Never bothered to tell me about it. They knew they were both seeing me and weren't upset by it.

So over Christmas break, a buddy and I decide to have a formal dinner and take friends caroling afterward. So I call one girl up - she was a singer - and asked if she wanted to be my date. She said sure, but couldn't come to dinner because she had some kind of madrigal rehearsal. Cool.

Well, I get to talking with girl number two. She tells me that she has church that evening, and I figure, hey, I can have dinner with her before church. Completely innocent. Didn't have an agenda or think it through at all.

But then they started talking about what they were doing over the weekend. They discover that one has a date with me at 6:00 and the other is meeting me at 8:00.

Now they knew that they were both seeing me. But evidently, by trying to see them both in the same evening, I had violated some horrible rule, so they drove over to my house to break up with me.




I really wasn't trying to be a scumbag. But evidently their analysis of my actions differed.

You Know What Would Make This Better?

If only the Air Marshal had just posted a long, insightful essay chock full o' philosophical goodness, only to see my irreverent quest to outdo Manning shove his post down the page.


Another Christian Missing The Point

Did you read about the woman so desperate to have another baby that she killed a pregant woman and cut the baby out of her stomach?

It gets better.

She was caught because she was showing off "her" new baby. Among the show-off stops was her pastor.

She butchers a woman, then shows off the ill-gotten good of her crime to her pastor?

I'm so glad she is my co-religionist.


Christians Who Miss the Point

In Today's Post.

Imagine if Christians who put all their energy into fighting court battles used their passion to, I don't know, help the poor?

I could be wrong, but I thought that it was "render unto Caesar," not "render Caesar prostrate before your political action committee."


If I Was Single

I'd hit on the first minion to find the Tom Lehrer homage in the previous post.

Lab Coats

The Big Hominid has been fighting a running battle with his employers over wearing a lab coat to teach English classes.

For an introspective gent
with a philosophical bent
I must say
Without delay
That BigHo really should
Mood or no mood
Put on the lab coat
It won't hurt his scrote
He signed a job contract
Perhaps an inconvenient fact
But if he takes the pay
They can tell him how to play
It may be a joke
Wearing a lab coat*
I'll confess its silly and dumb
But when the day is done
He cashes that EC check
So while their policy may be dreck
Wear the darn coat
Without an admonishing post-pay meeting note**
Aside from the contract
I'll pursue another tact
A principled stand
By a principled man
Is well and good, just ask Thoreau, Gandhi, and King
But with civil disobedience there is a little thing
About taking the responsibility for the rule breach
But when you are in Korea to teach
Your refusal to conform
And adhere to the norm
Doesn't land you in the klink, alack and alas
It will be your supervisors who take it in the ass
So, Buddhist scholar
I shouldn't have to holla!***
Set aside your self and think of the group
Don't make your supervisor the dupe
A gaijin**** you may be, so privileges accrue,
But letting others take the fall ought to be beneath you.

Thanks very much.
I'm here through Sunday. Try the veal.

* We are the folksong army it doesn't have to rhyme
** And it doesn't matter if we put a couple of extra syllables into a line
*** Holla back young 'uns! What? It works for rappers! What? Do I need more profanity?
**** What, gaijin is Japanese? Well aren't you the Far East scholar?

Peyton Shmanning

You think Peyton Manning is a stud.

Ha. I laugh in his general direction.

He might have thrown 46 touchdowns, but I, the great and marvelous Smallholder, can write 46 blog entries in a day.

Just don't ask for meaning, insight, or coherance.

Hell, don't even ask for no rudimentary gramma or speling or punctuation

Feeling Lucky?

Go to

Type in "toad sexing."

Click on "Feeling lucky?"

Things That Smallholder Thinks Should Go Away (Pale Shadow of Kilgore Edition)

1) When your snot freezes inside your nasal passages and turns into hard little chunks that internally stab your delicate nose tissues.

It was cold this morning when I went out to the barn. NINE degrees. I couldn't even use the tried and true method of keeping your feet warm (standing in a fresh cowpie) because Bonnie appears to have been too cold to take a dump. Perhaps the Big Hominid has ideas about de-constipating a bovine.

2) Star Wars and All Its Evil Permutations.

I hate to break it too you, geeks of the world, but Star Wars sucks. Seriously. The plot is stupid and unbelievable, the dialogue trite, the actors untalented, the science ridiculous, the special effects dated, the romance forced, the philsophy asinine, the alien cultures unoriginal and vaguely racist, the jedis silly.

You only liked it because you saw it when you were ten. Admit it. Any movie half as hackneyed that was released today would languish in obscurity. Think of the atrocity committed against Robert Heinlein. You don't see Dina Meyer or Denise Richards action figures*, now do you?

3) Sadie living in my barn.

She claims that she will have a new blog up soon and will move into the new digs. She had better. We miss her witty, wascally writing. But more importantly, since she started sleeping in the hay loft, the sheep are acting more even more skittish than after a visit from the Maximum Leader.

* But I'd buy the Dina Meyer one.

Inferiority Complex Take II

Kilgore has rejected me (indirectly) as well. I hounded the Maximum Leader to set him up with a friend of ours but Kilgore - get this! - wasn't interested.

But I bet Denver Girl would have applauded his dexterity.

Why Has Skippy Forsaken Me?

If you saunter over to "Enjoy Every Sandwich," you will find a delightful political blog spiced with nuggets of self-loathing and perversion. It's Grrrrr-eat!

As you peruse the postings, notice the right side of the screen. Skippy has posted all kinds of abuse from his readers. The Maximum Leader even got a spot on the honor roll by commenting on Skippy's nipples.

But take note: There is no Smallholder quote. Why not? Whenever I link to one of Skippy's excellent articles, I try to craft a paragraph appealing to the self-deprecating side of Skippy's brain. But do my little alliterative or silly little insults make it into the hall of fame? Noooooooo.

I can't write anymore. I have to go cry in the corner.

C-Span To The Rescue?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is upset that he cannot be in New York City on Thursday, January 6, 2006.

Why you may ask? Well, in addition to the fact that he hasn't been to NYC since before the attacks. (Yes, your Maximum Leader's memories of New York City still include the World Trade Center.) But the second reason is that he would love to be at this debate. Alexander Hamilton v. Thomas Jefferson: Of these two great Americans, which had the greatest impact on America?

What a great subject. Your Maximum Leader will write C-Span and suggest they attend and broadcast. He encourages his minions to do the same. Send your suggestion to: events - at -

Carry on.

December 19, 2004

Barnes Collection Can Move to Philly.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is distressed to hear that a judge has ruled that the famous Barnes Collection may be moved to downtown Philadelphia.

Here is an LATimes article on the debate about the move.

And while your Maximum Leader is dumping links... Here is a good one from the Cranky Professor.

Your Maximum Leader has been following the contraversy concerning the Barnes Collection for a number of months now. To boil it down for minions who just don't know what the hell your Maximum Leader is talking about (and don't care to click through on the links) here are the critical issues. Albert C. Barnes established a foundation upon his death, the purpose of which was to preserve his collection of art in situ at his estate. The collection and estate were to become a school for artists. Fast forward many years and it appears that the trustees of the Barnes Foundation feel that the Foundation doesn't have enough money to keep operating. The trustees propose moving some of the collection to museums in downtown Philly (a few miles away).

The key disputes are these: did the Trustees of the Foundation really try to come up with some method of funding that didn't require the movement of some of the collection downtown? and is it legal to do so since moving the collection is directly at odds with the primary purpose of the Foundation?

From the perspective of the law, it seems that the second question is answered. The collection (or parts of the collection) can be moved. The first question remains unanswered. Your Maximum Leader hasn't read anything that seems to say with any authority that the Trustees did more that give a quick examination to other options before deciding to just go with a move to Philly.

The underlying issue, which is the one that concerns your Maximum Leader. What is the purpose of establishing a foundation (like the Barnes) if at some point down the road the trustees have the ability to undo that which the original donor sought not to have undone?

Your Maximum Leader believes that there will be two major results of the Barnes decisions (should they be upheld on appeal). The first is that collectors will decide that out-right bequests of art to musuems or universities along with money to try and help out with the maintenance of the collection. But these bequest will probably not situplate that the collections be displayed in a particular fashion or be kept together.

NB: Your Maximum Leader has always been fascinated by how museums sell off parts of their collections to acquire new additions to their collections. He is intrigued by who the big Muesum Directors use their positions to fashion musuem collections in their image... But that is likely a subject for a later post.

The second possible result of the Barnes decisions is that private collections will just remain private or be liquidated upon the death of the collector. Why bother trying to preserve your collection through a fancy endowed foundation if trustees down the road (with no connection to the original collector generally) decide to fight the terms of the foundation because they seem out-of-date or troublesome. While sell-offs may in the end be a boon to museums (they could acquire peices in which they are interested without being saddled by others they are not); they will surely be a boon to private collectors who have no intention of displaying their collections ever.

It is a tough position to be in if you are a wealthy collector.

In other collection news, the Natick (Mass) historical society just sold the oldest known copy of The Scarlett Letter for over $500,000. Why? Because keeping the document wasn't part of their mission. (Which is to keep artifacts concerning the town's history & heritage.)

Carry on.

December 17, 2004

Tax Forgiveness In a Dictatorship.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader read this on the news wire: Hitler Was a Tax Dodger, Researcher Finds.

Now aside from the obvious question of why anyone would care if Adolf Hitler paid his taxes or not there is another interesting question to ask here. Namely, if as the article says, Hitler used the Enabling Act of 1933 to forgive himself his prior tax debt can you really still call him a tax dodger? Really now. Think about it. If the IRS comes after you for taxes you owe, then you beat the IRS in tax court; you never really were a tax dodger. How is the Hitler case much different? In this case the Bavarian Government came after Hitler who allegedly owed back taxes. But when Hitler becomes dictator the tax office offers to forgive his back debt. He was forgiven. Great Jeezey Chreesey people.

Call Hitler what you like. (And your Maximum Leader likes to call Hitler a psychopathic-genocidal-criminal-against-humanity-one-decended-testicle-rot-in-hell-bastard.) But don't call Hitler a tax evader.

Carry on.

So That's Why Greg Hasn't Been Posting!

He's been drunkenly celebrating the triumph of his interpretation of the Second Amendment.

See here - scroll down to the second part of the post.

I'm off to sulk.

UPDATE FROM YOUR MAXIMUM LEADER: Seems the diagram wasn't wrong after all. Heh.

This Is So Wrong...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was browsing through the blogroll and stopped by TexasBestGrok. JohnL refers his readers to this post on the Rocket Jones site: Rocket Jones: 25 Things Men Shouldn't Find Sexy, But Do

Your Maximum Leader probably shouldn't have been drinking when he read it. He almost spewed hot tea on his keyboard.

And at the risk of being thought a perv... Your Maximum Leader wholly agrees with 23 of the 25 points. (Your Maximum Leader's particular favourites are: 6, 10, 11, 19, and especially 22 & 24. Damn 22 & 24 are hot!)

Your Maximum Leader should also add that number 5 on the "Things that men should find hot but don't" list is absolutely true.

Okay... This post was a little adolecent of your Maximum Leader... But he liked it.

Carry on.


My cousin the dairy farmer is frustrated with the increasingly stringent regulations about nutrient (read: manure) management. One of his favorite quotes is that while "city people" always blame farms for polluted water in Lake Geneva, that:

"The lake water was perfectly fine when there were 300 dairy farms and 10 houses. Now there are 10 farms and 3000 houses. The water quality is worse now. How can it be the fault of the farmers?"

I never argue with him on this point. But here is what I think.

Well, in 1940, there may have been 300 farms, but they generally had 20 to 30 dairy cows grazing 160 acres of land. Crops were grown rotationally around the property, but most of the land remained in sod. The cows, while walking, distributed their manure over the entire acreage. Since the sod absorbed water and prevented erosion and wash-outs, there was very little run-off.

Fast-forward sixty years. My cousin now has 1400 cows on 80 acres. The cows get a large share of their nutrients from grains and supplements, dramatically increasing the phosphorus content of their manure. 1400 cows produce a lot of manure - over 100 pounds per day per cow. So we are looking at 70 tons a day, or close to 26000 tons of manure per year. Since the cows are kept in confinement, their manure stays on concrete until a bobcat operator pushes it down the alley into a manure lagoon. The manure and all of its nutrients sit until the winter.

When crops are harvested for silage and hayledge, the manure is pumped into trucks and spread on the fields. Since the fields, particularly those previously planted to corn, are bare, there is nothing to prevent rainwater from washing the manure right down into creeks and into the lake.

Manure is a valuable addition to the land. I bring truckload after truckload of stuff donated by horse people to my garden every year. An organic system that does not use chemical fertilizers should shoot for five to ten tons of manure per acre per year. Given unlimited resources, many organic farmers would love to go as high as 40 tons per year.

But one can go too high. If phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium (the npk on your fertilizer bag) become to highly concentrated, they can "burn" plants and do them in. In an organic system, this is avoided by working in the manure bit by bit during the year, allowing the soil bacteria to incorporate the nutrients bit by bit.

In a mechanized field crop situation, the manure is spread at the very point that the soil bacteria is LEAST able to do its job - when it is cold. Bacterial action slows and finally almost ceases as the thermometer drops. And the manure is added all at once. So instead of being incorporated into the soil, it sits, frozen, under the snow, until the snow melts in the spring and drains all those nutrients into creeks and the groundwater.

So going back to the previous example, we have 20-30 cows dropping 350-500 tons of manure on 160 acres over an entire grazing season - averaging about 2 1/2 tons per acre. The bacteria begins breaking down each patty as it falls. When winter closes the pasture, the manure is set aside for spreading in the spring (one can drive wagons on sod).

The modern confined dairy, unregulated, might spread 300 tons of manure per acre - all at once. The manure has greater concentration of nutrients. It is spread in the winter so as not to disturb row crops, so bacteria doesn't break it down so it can be held in the soil. bare earth allows the nutrients to leach faster. Snow melt accelerates the process. This is why state governments are beginning to require nutrient management plans so that overloading the carry capacity of the land is avoided.

This doesn't even consider the fact that to make machine handling easier, the manure solids are mixed with liquid to form "slurry" so that it can be pumped through hoses. Sometimes the manure lagoons fail, spilling their poisonous contents.

Perhaps big dairy farms ARE responsible for water pollution.

But what do I know? As he would say, I'm just a city person.

Toad Sexing

Who knew that a simple little post about toads would generate so much interest?

For those of you who wish to sex toads at home, here is a step-by-step guide:

1) Make sure your toad is a toad. Many people seem to confuse frogs and toads. Frogs are moist, have smooth skin, and are generally found near water. Toads are dry, have bumpy skin, and are terrestrial except when they mate.

2) Pick up the toad gently, but with enough control so that it doesn't squirm loose and splat itself on the ground. Hold the toad away from your body because they will attempt their standard defense mechanism: peeing on you. Toad pee is very acidic, and if you were a dog or predator, you'd drop the poor guy quickly. As it is, you'll want to wash your hands after you are done sexing your toad.

3) Turn the toad over in the palm of your hand so it lays with its back down and its head between your thumb and pointer finger. Gently wrap your fingers around it's body. Maintain enough pressure that it cannot squirm forward, but don't squeeze it too hard either.

4) Turn your hand so the toad is right-side up in relation to the ground. Use your middle finger to stroke or tickle the toad's belly. If the toad croaks, you have a male. If it does not, you've got a lady.

Nakedvillainy: Your one-stop-shop for crucial how-to information. Tell your friends.

UPDATE FROM YOUR MAXIMUM LEADER: Gordon, the Cranky Neocon, wrote back to say that he did get a squeak. So we know Gordon has a male. (NB to Minions: Read Cranky Neocon daily! Daily! Yes, every day. Okay... Every non-holiday weekday would suffice.)

Also, you know people are fighting for traffic in the blogosphere when the Llamas start elbowing their way into the whole domesticated farm animal millieu. All your Maximum Leader can say is, "Beware Llama-boys! Farm animal posts are the provence of the Smallholder! Remember, we've got pitchforks and inseminators and we know how to use them!"

Rest in the Welcoming Arms of Paris...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader caught an interesting headline off the wire a few days ago. The headline read: Paris is the City of Blight for culture-shocked Japanese.

It seems that Japanese moving to Paris are growing ill once they discover that not all French women are models wearing couture and Parisians are not as welcoming as the tourist information makes them out to be.

What your Maximum Leader would like to know is who does Paris' media buys and advertising? Because if they've convinced a whole nation that Parisians are friendly and beautiful they must be damned good.

Carry on.

Friday Villainy - December 17, 2004

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has learned some disturbing news. This news is positively villainous. It is fully deserving of becoming this week's Friday Villainy update.

You Maximum Leader reads that Lisa Marie Presley is selling 85% of Elvis Presley Enterprises to Robert F.X. Sillerman. At least so says Billboard Magazine and the Reuters News Wire.

For $100 million, Robert Sillerman gets pretty much all of Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE). What he doesn't get is Graceland itself, the contents of Graceland, and "Elvis' personal effects." Lisa Marie retains 15% of EPE as well as her father's home and personal effects.

How do you tell someone that this could be a very bad idea? Lisa, Lisa, Lisa. Your Maximum Leader would love to have you over to the Villainschloss to discuss this. How does one put this gently? You're no Elvis Presley. You've got some talent. You're sorta cute. And your Maximum Leader is willing to forgive you the whole Michael Jackson & Nicolas Cage thingies. (And while your Maximum Leader is fessing up about things... Your Maximum Leader would have dated you hard, even married you; if it meant he could get to go upstairs in Graceland. There... Your Maximum Leader has been more honest with you than was Nick Cage.)

But really Lisa... Do you think it is a good idea to sell off your dad's likeness, imgae, movie rights, and music portfolio? Your Maximum Leader doesn't think so.

So, loyal minions might we wondering to themselves, "What makes this so villainous?" Let your Maximum Leader explain. Robert Sillerman now owns the exclusive rights to GREATEST AMERICAN ICON EVER!!! How much more villainous can you get?

Really now. Think about this. Robert Sillerman "owns" THE KING. Possibly the most recognizable icon in all of Americana. And he can market "E" any way he wants.

Absolutely. Friggin. Brilliant.

Your Maximum Leader hears that the first major move will be an Elvis themed casino on the strip in Vegas. If that materializes your Maximum Leader will never set foot in Ceasar's again...

Carry on.

Skippy Is My Hero

Yeah, he's balding, misanthropic, and caustic. And yes, he may have an unnatural obsession with Lindsay Lohan. And when I say unnatural, I say that with all the ideological fervor of a red-state fundamentalist who thinks the Taliban were too permissive.

But his political analysis is spot on.

Read here.

Why has the entire conservative world accepted, lock, stock, and barrel, the meme that the mainstream media is a liberal cabal seditiously slandering Republican candidates?

As Skippy shows in his post, the media is rather hostile to liberal candidates as well.

Hmmm. A press skeptical of government officials and candidates. The Republic is in peril!


Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has started to write more on Christianity... But alas, due to your Maximum Leader's busy schedule; lack of sleep has caught up to him. So nothing thoughtful tonight.

But before your Maximum Leader goes... He was following links and came across some questions answered by our much beloved Sadie. He enjoyed reading her responses...

There is more to blog about here... But your Maximum Leader can't string together a cogent thought now...

Carry on.

December 16, 2004

Glad We Didn't Send In The Cash.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader would like to summon up the energy to rant on the subject of MLB move to Washington teeters on collapse.

But he can't.

He would love to rain-down rants and vitriol upon the heads of Bud Selig and MLB owners for holding localities hostage to their own enrichment.

But he can't.

He would love to laugh uproariously about the DC City Council who wouldn't understand a good deal for the District of Columbia if it bit them on the arse.

But he can't.

He would love to point out how MLB and the owners especially seem to do everything in their power to destroy every bit of enthusiasm a fan may have for the game.

But he can't.

He would love to admonish the leaders of the District of Columbia for making deals they have no intention of living up to.

But he can't.

Why can you Maximum Leader not summon up the strength to do all this ranting? Because in the end, Bud Selig, the MLB owners, and the District Government just aren't work a warm bucket of piss. (To quote a famous Vice President from Texas.)

Move the Nationals to Vegas, baby!

Carry on.

Ag Post

We need more farmers like this.

Folks who care about animal welfare, the environment, and helping family farms survive should support grass-baed dairying.

Minion Mailbag - Toads Edition

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader likes to give praise (and glinting medals) to people who he thinks deserve them. Of course, most of the time it is your Maximum Leader himself who is most deserving of praise and medals. But it seems as though we have to occasionally spread the wealth to our panjandrum, the Smallholder.

Just as Aristophanes had his great hit "Birds" so the Smallholder must have his great hit "Toads."

Let your Maximum Leader dip into the Minion Mailbag to see what readers are saying... The Divine Minion Molly writes:
Smallholder outdid himself with his Toad Post. I was LOL! I had several male gay friends in college and would go with them to gay dance clubs. They have the best music and drinks! I thought I was soooo liberal and open minded until a woman asked me to dance. I almost fainted, but I did decline politely and said I was with a guy. I later saw her on the dance floor and waved. I was kind of flattered because she was really pretty.
Ah Molly... This reminds your Maximum Leader of a time when he was out with the Foreign Minister. There was a club called "The Machine" were he liked to go and dance with friends. As your Maximum Leader has said before, he is not a dancer. So while the others were dancing, your Maximum Leader was holding down the table. While sitting drinking his beer, a guy at the next table struck up idle conversation with your Maximum Leader. We talked sports, the weather, some local events. He asked if he could buy the next round for us. Your Maximum Leader gladly accepted. Then we drank and talked more. Then your Maximum Leader bought a round for us. (All this talk was intersperced with interruptions from dancing friends returning to the table.) Finally, the guy looked over at your Maximum Leader and said, "Hey, would you like to dance?" Your Maximum Leader said (not quite catching on), "With whom?" He replied, "With me." Your Maximum Leader, the dim bulb brightening, said that he was quite flattered but that he was more interested in the waitress wearing the spandex bodysuit and using syringes to shoot Jagermister shooters down his throat. The guy was very cool with it. We kept talking throughout the night. At the end of the evening, when he saw that your Maximum Leader was leaving he shook hands and said that your Maximum Leader was "really cool about the whole dancing thing."

Another loyal reader, Gordon (the Cranky Neocon) writes:
I just wanted you to know what I was doing at 11:00 last night. I was rubbing my two toad's bellies listening for a peep. We live near a pond and "adopted" them last summer.

You're seemingly random musing actually performed a great service. And shut up, I am not a geek!

Thank you!
Well Gordon, your Maximum Leader is very glad that the Smallholder's homespun, down-on-the-farm wisdom made your day. Of course you didn't say if you got the peep. We are dying to know.

And your Maximum Leader should take this opportunity to plug Gordon's blog, Cranky Neocon. If you aren't reading it every day, you should be. It is, as billed, your conservative funhouse.

Congrats Smallholder! Toads is a big hit. Hell, keep this up and you'll be a veritable Baxter Black.

Carry on.

A Case for Wagner

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, a great Wagnerian in his heart, commends to you Rachel's latest "A Case for Wagner."

Carry on.

NBA, Floor Seats, & Ludwig

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was out late last night. And frankly he'll be out late tonight and tomorrow night too. So, there may not be as much time to blog (and to research Christianity) as he'd hoped.

Last night you might have seen your Maximum Leader on TV if you were watching the Wizards v. Miami basketball game. Your Maximum Leader was mistaken about one thing though. He was not 4 rows behind the Miami bench. He was four rows from the court directly across from the Miami bench.

Let your Maximum Leader say that he isn't much of an NBA fan. But one could certainly get used to seeing the games from those seats. Your Maximum Leader could hear the players talking to each other. He could see the eyes of the players and see what they were seeing. It was incredible. And allow your Maximum Leader to say this as well, Shaq is big. Really really big.

Another benefit of the good seats is that one was up close and personal when the "Wizards Dance Team" performed. Upon seeing the "Wizards Dance Team" two words jumped into your Maximum Leader's brain. Skank. Ho. Your Maximum Leader was close enough to the dancers, and their "costumes" were tight enough that he was pretty sure he could see the scars from boob-jobs. (As well as the thong lines in spandex.)

Well... That seems to be a little graphic for first thing in the morning...

So in other news...

Ludwig Von Beethoven was born this day, December 16, in 1770. Happy Birthday Ludwig. You're among your Maximum Leader's favourites. He may even play a symphony or two today to celebrate.

Carry on.

December 15, 2004

Meme from Sadie & Housekeeping

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is running very busy today and will not be able to make updates as he would like to today. First off, he will apologize to the Smallholder for the "appeal to authority" point this morning. The Smallholder was not really doing an appeal to authority. But your Maximum Leader still maintains that the inclusion of the Google numbers didn't really advance any argument.

First off (subpart a), your Maximum Leader believes he does have a copy of "Science and Health" in his library. (Which also includes The Book of Mormon; the Bible (King James, New King James, New American, some Pre-Vatican 2 version, and the NIV); the Koran (two different translations); the Tao-Te-Ching (2 translations); the Analects of Confucious (2 translations); and a host of other pan-religious writings.) He will attempt to verify quotes for the Smallholder.

Secondly, to answer the Smallholder again... The award was given to this site by the sexy and mirthful Sadie. At who's request your Maximum Leader now publishes this meme thingie (which was completed last night):

Three names you go by:
Your Maximum Leader
The Maximum Leader

Three screennames you have:
naked villain

Three things you like about yourself:
Enormous genitals

Three things you hate/dislike about yourself:
pudgy belly
pudgy belly
pudgy belly

Three parts of your heritage:
More Scottish

Three things that scare you:
Smallholder covered in cow dung
Smallholder covered in sheep dung

Three of your everyday essentials:
A radio
The internet

Three things you are wearing right now:
Nakedvillainy t-shirt
Sweatpants (black)
Gore-tex slippers from Lands End

Three of your favorite bands/artists (at the moment):
Cowboy Junkies
Tom Jones
Frank Sinatra

Three of your favorite songs at present:
Something More Besides You - Cowboy Junkies
Sexbomb - Tom Jones
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear - Frank Sinatra

Three new things you want to try in the next 12 months:
Arrange for a weekend trist with Sadie in Vegas
Arrange for a weekend trist with Anna in Napa
Arrange for a weekend trist with Minion Molly in Vail

Three things you want in a relationship (love is a given):
Mutual Respect
Great Sex

Two truths and a lie:
I am a smart guy.
I am a married guy.
I am going to try for weekend trists with Sadie, Anna, and Minion Molly.

Three physical things about the opposite sex (or same) that appeal to you:

Three things you just can't do:
Climb mountains

Three of your favorite hobbies:

Three things you want to do really badly right now:
Have sex
Go to London
Win the lottery

Three careers you're considering:
Evil Scientist
CEO of Evil Corporation
Maximum Leader of the Mike World Order

Three places you want to go on vacation:

Three kids names:

Three things you want to do before you die:
Compose an Opera
See the Villainous progeny grow up and be happy
Nail Jennifer Love Hewitt

Your Maximum Leader hopes this makes Sadie happy. Now your Maximum Leader is going to jum into the Villainmobile and dash off to Washington DC for the Bullets/Orlando Magic game. If you happen to like the NBA and plan on watching the game, you might see your Maximum Leader sitting behind the Orlando Bench about 4 rows back. He considers this the "Chair-Throwing Fan Zone." If you are wondering why your Maximum Leader will be there, it is to assure that Shaq and your Maximum Leader are on the same page as to his role in the MWO...

Carry on.