January 31, 2005

Madness? Classless? Genius?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader may only have time for quicky blog entires today. From SondraK we have notice of , this recently ended eBay auction. It seems as though you could have bid to advertise on this bonnie Scottish lass' sized 42GG cleavage.

(Excursus: For female minions. Is GG really a cup size? Your Maximum Leader is familar with cleavage. And he is familar with rather large bosoms. But he's never heard of a GG size. They certainly look large, but without a frame of reference....)

Of course, one has to admire the lass' ingenuity. She just got herself £422 (around $780.00) for 15 days of temporary tattooing. Not a bad deal at all.

Carry on.

January 30, 2005


Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader figured he'd tell you all not to expect much posting from him in the next few days. His glorious supercomputer is on the fritz. It seems as though something has become corrupt in the OS. It is so bad that your Maximum Leader was on the phone with Microsoft for 5 hours yesterday. They are stumped. (Well, honestly the good techs at their Nova Scotia call center are stumped. Thanks Tommy - your Maximum Leader knows you tried your best. Thanks your friends too.) We did everything you can imagine. We even reinstalled the whole operating system. About the only thing we didn't do was reformat the hard drive and rebuild all the s/w from scratch. (Which your Maximum Leader imagines will be the next step.)

Indeed, the call center is so stumped that they are having someone big-wig developer from HQ in Seattle call your Maximum Leader next.

So, your Maximum Leader is going to be taking a little hiatus from blogging, and e-mail, for the next few days. He will do his best to respond to any e-mail you send as he is able.

Carry on.

January 28, 2005

Congratulations Brian!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wishes Brian over at Memento Moron a hearty congratulations. (And sends a virtual backslap.) Go on over to his blog and wish him (and his lovely wife - and handsome son) the best.

Carry on.

Couture Listing.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader decides to post an article that might be more a propos of some other site. But hell... It's his blog afterall.

It seems that it is front page (of the online edition) news at the Washington Post when Dick Cheney underdresses at Auschwitz.

Now, your Maximum Leader does agree that the knit cap might be a little out of place. But the guy is bald. And he needs to keep his head warm. And yes we know he went hatless at the Inauguration. But weren't there heaters on that platform? (Your Maximum Leader thought there were.)

Regardless, it seems a bit much to go after the guy for a olive parka and boots. The writer of the article, Robin Givhan, said that the symbolism of the occasion called for Cheney to be dressed more like Vladimir Putin or Jacques Chirac.

Perhaps Dick Cheney was making another symbolic statement. By wearing the lace-up boots and an olive parka he looked more like the GIs of WWII who liberated Europe and saved the Jews in the camps.*

Carry on.

*- Your Maximum Leader knows that Auschwitz was liberated by Russians not Americans. But Americans liberated many other camps.

Scarecrow Lyrics

John Mellencamp*

Scarecrow on a wooden cross Blackbird in the barn
Four hundred empty acres that used to be my farm
I grew up like my daddy did My grandpa cleared this land
When I was five I walked the fence while grandpa held my hand
Rain on the scarecrow Blood on the plow
This land fed a nation This land made me proud
And Son I'm just sorry there's no legacy for you now

Rain on the scarecrow Blood on the plow
Rain on the scarecrow Blood on the plow

The crops we grew last summer weren't enough to pay the loans
Couldn't buy the seed to plant this spring and theFarmers Bank foreclosed
Called my old friend Schepman up to auction off the land
He said John it's just my job and I hope you understand
Hey calling it your job ol' hoss sure don't make it right
But if you want me to I'll say a prayer for your soul tonight
And grandma's on the front porch swing with a Bible in her hand
Sometimes I hear her singing "Take me to the Promised Land"
When you take away a man's dignity he can'tWork his fields and cows

There'll be blood on the scarecrow Blood on the plow
Blood on the scarecrow Blood on the plow

Well there's ninety-seven crosses planted in the courthouse yard
Ninety-seven families who lost ninety-seven farms
I think about my grandpa and my neighbors and my name
And some nights I feel like dyin' Like that scarecrow in the rain

Rain on the scarecrow Blood on the plow
This land fed a nation This land made me proud
And Son I'm just sorry they're just memories for you now

* - Or John Cougar Mellonhead as your Maximum Leader likes to call him. - Max. Ldr.

Meme for Sadie

I don't normally do these things, but I fear that unless I comply with sweet lass from Oklahoma's request, Skippy may supplant me as the subject of her lovesick poetry.

1. How many music files do you have on your computer?

None. What is this, a legal fishing expedition by Sony's lawyers?

2. Last CD you bought:

I honestly can't remember. I suppose I bought a Lonestar CD for my wife for Christmas in 2003. I received several for Christmas from family.

3. What is the last song you listened to before this message?

AC/DC "You Shook Me All Night Long"

4. Five songs that you often listen to or that mean a lot to you?

Lonestar's "Front Porch Looking In" and Tim McGraw's "Where the Green Grass Grows" are the official theme songs of Sweet Seasons Farm.

Dave Matthews' "Ants go Marching" - My requiem for suburban living.

Bare Naked Ladies' "Brian Wilson Song" - Love the instrumental part.

John Cougar Mellancamp's "Rain on the Scarecrow" - It was popular when my family lost the farm back in the Eighties. Still makes me mist up.

Um, I can't really think of anything else. I guess back in high school The Fine Young Cannibals' "Good Thing" got me through a rough breakup.

The Real Problem With Buster

The real problem with Buster is not that is peripherally portrayed the lesbian parents of a maple syrup-making kid. After all, being raised hellbound homosexual hags doesn't doom said hags' children to hell; children raised by homosexuals are no more likely to be homosexuals than children raised by God-fearin' heterosexuals.

The real danger to children is being raised by Jews and Muslims (And Buddhists and atheists and Zoarastrians - oh my!). Unfortunately, the devilish nature of heretical parents seems to be transmitted quite well to their progeny. Children raised in false religions are remarkably resistant to proselytization of America's true religion.

So PBS ought to cancel all the Buster shows in which preschoolers might be exposed to (and - God forbid - become tolerant of!) false religions. We should especially try to ban the shows exploring Pagan Native American culture and shows that show Muslims as anything other than terorrists on a fast track to eternal suffering.

Praise Jesus that Evangelicals running the show now and can take a stand against this evil liberal tolerance of individual differences and freedoms.

Christians Who Miss The Point

From the Washington Post

PBS's 'Buster' Gets An Education
By Lisa de MoraesThursday, January 27, 2005; Page C01

PBS was surprised to receive a letter from new Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, warning the public TV network against airing an upcoming episode of the kids show "Postcards From Buster," because PBS had already informed her office it would not send the episode to its stations, programming co-chief John Wilson says.
"We made the decision . . . [Tuesday] afternoon, a couple of hours before we received the letter from the secretary of education," Wilson told The TV Column yesterday.
"It came at the end of many days, maybe even a few weeks, of looking at rough cuts of the program and deliberating."
Spellings, who has been charged with the difficult task of fixing the nation's troubled public education system, took time out on her second day on the job to fire off a letter to PBS CEO Pat Mitchell expressing "strong and very serious concerns" about the "Postcards From Buster" episode. Specifically that, in the episode, called "Sugartime!," the animated asthmatic little bunny visits Vermont and meets actual, real-live, not make-believe children there who have gay parents.
For those of you unfamiliar with the spinoff of the popular children's series "Arthur," which combines animation and live action, each week, 8-year-old animated Buster and his animated dad travel to another locale, where Buster, armed with his video camera, meets actual, non-animated people, who introduce him to the local scene -- clogging in Whitesburg, Ky.; rodeo barrel racing in Houston; monoskiing in Park City, Utah; doing the Arapaho Grass Dance at the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. Additionally, Buster meets a family from a different cultural background.
In the episode that knotted Spellings's knickers, Buster goes to Vermont and meets children from two families, who show him how maple syrup and cheese are made.
At one of the homes, Buster is introduced to all of the children and to the two moms. One girl explains that one of the women is her "stepmom," whom she says she loves a lot.
One of the women asks the kids to get some maple syrup and some cheese for dinner, and to stop by the other home to borrow a big lasagna pan. In the other home, Buster is introduced to the whole family, including two more moms. Then the kids head off to get the ingredients, and Buster learns where syrup and cheese come from.
In her letter, Spellings reminded Mitchell that the show is being funded in part by the Education Department and that a principal focus of the law authorizing such "Ready-to-Learn" programming is "facilitating student academic achievement."
In the conference committee report for fiscal year 2005 appropriations, Spellings continues, Congress reiterated that the unique mission of Ready-to-Learn is: "to use the television medium to help prepare preschool age children for school. The television programs that must fulfill this mission are to be specifically designed for this purpose, with the highest attention to production quality and validity of research-based educational objectives, content and materials."
"You should also know," Spellings says, "that two years ago the Senate Appropriations Committee raised questions about the accountability of funds appropriated for Ready-To-Learn programs." A bit ominous, we think.
"We believe the 'Sugartime!' episode does not come within these purposes or within the intent of Congress and would undermine the overall objective of the Ready-To-Learn program -- to produce programming that reaches as many children and families as possible," Spellings wrote.
Why, you might wonder, given that preschoolers who watch the episode learn how maple syrup and cheese are made, not to mention useful English-language phrases (the series is also designed to help children for whom English is a second language).
Because, Spellings explained in her letter, "many parents would not want their young children exposed to the life-styles portrayed in this episode." She did not say how many is "many," or cite a source for that information.
Congress's point in funding this programming "certainly was not to introduce this kind of subject matter to children," she added.
Au contraire, says WGBH, which produces "Postcards." The Boston public TV station says it will air the episode and has offered it to any station willing to defy the Education Department, which, in fairness, did shovel out major bucks for this series and, therefore, understandably feels it has the right to get in its two conservative cents' worth.
According to Brigid Sullivan, WGBH's vice president of children's programming, the RFP -- that's government-speak for request for proposals -- on the show said Ready-to-Learn was looking for a program that would "appeal to all of America's children by providing them with content and or characters with which they can identify. Diversity will be incorporated into the fabric of the series to help children understand and respect differences and learn to live in a multicultural society. The series will avoid stereotypical images of all kinds and show modern multi-ethnic/lingual/cultural families and children."
Except, it would seem, children who have two mothers.
"We have produced 40 episodes," Sullivan said. "We have tried to reach across as many cultures, as many religions, as many family structures as we can. We gave it our best-faith effort. We have received hate mail for doing [an episode] about a Muslim girl. We've also received mail from Muslims saying thank you."
Buster, Sullivan said, has visited "Mormons in Utah, the Hmong in Wisconsin, the Gullah culture in South Carolina, Orthodox Jewish families, a Pentecostal Christian family -- we are trying to do a broad reach and we are trying to do it without judgment."
According to Sullivan, the "Buster" brouhaha started in December when, during a routine meeting of representatives from WGBH, PBS and the Education Department to discuss upcoming episodes, a WGBH rep mentioned that there might be some "buzz" on "Sugartime!" PBS insists that although it made its decision not to distribute the episode on the very same day that the newly appointed Spellings decided to fire off her letter, the decision had nothing to do with the kerfuffle brewing at Education over the episode.
Which, we've said before in similar situations, sounds great if you were born yesterday; otherwise, not so much.
"Ultimately we came to the conclusion that what was meant to be the background or backdrop of two families that happened to be headed by two mothers continued to find its way into the foreground," Wilson said.
"It's too sensitive to raise in a children's program," he added. "We know we have a number of kids . . . who don't have a parent or caregiver in with them watching to put it in context. At the end of the day what was meant to be a sort of background context of who this family is and who the parents are, overshadowed what the episode was really about, which was going to this part of America and learning about things that are uniquely Vermont.
"Yesterday afternoon we literally decided that it was an issue best left for parents and children to address together at a time and manner of their own choosing."
We asked all parties involved what they would say to the children who were filmed for this episode, and who expected to be seen on national TV and are now being told by the federal government that their families are not fit for other children to see on national TV -- at least not on any show that has received federal funding.
"That's a difficult question," Sullivan responded. "I guess I'd have to say from the producers' standing . . . it was our intention to include, not to exclude, anyone who is part of our society, and that for children to see a reflection of themselves on TV is an important part of their development."
"I've been thinking about that today," Wilson said. "Honestly, I feel for these families because they're real people, not actors cast and paid to do this, and I do feel bad that through no fault of their own and ultimately no fault of the producers they have been put in a situation they never imagined themselves in. To that end, I'm sorry for that."
An Education Department spokeswoman responded in a statement: "The episode is inappropriate for preschoolers. We are funding an education program for preschoolers, and one would be hard-pressed to explain how this serves as educational material for preschoolers. It's up to parents to decide for their children, not the government in a taxpayer-funded video for preschoolers."
We asked her to clarify what it was the department felt should be left to parents. She explained: "To decide when they want their kids to know about the lifestyles depicted in the film."

They're Desperate.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader just laughed and laughed when he read Jeff's DESPERATE LIBERALS. It took your Maximum Leader a moment to fully appreciate (since he doesn't watch the show). But it is funny.

And by the way, doesn't Jeff's new site look good? Yes. Yes it does.

Carry on.

Arnie Remarries.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that 75 years young Arnie Palmer has remarried in Hawaii. He says he feels "like a 25-year-old."

Your Maximum Leader attributes the feeling to Viagra or Cialis or something. And he hopes that Arnie's new wife (who's age goes unmentioned in the linked article) is about 25 years old.

If your Maximum Leader should outlive Mrs Villain (which he thinks is unlikely) he would want to try and marry some lass 1/3rd his age. Of course he would do this out of a death-wish. Hoping to "work" himself to death.

Congrats Arnie. You are still your Maximum Leader's favourite golfer.

Carry on.

Updated Politics

Some Maximum Leaders also die at the hand of lunatic lieutenants driven to homicidal rage by the use of apostrophes to make words plural. Said ministers may be punks whose own grammar is quite atrocious, but still harbor hypocritical horror for the misuse of apostrophes.

I'm just sayin'.

UPDATE FROM YOUR MAXIMUM LEADER: Problem fixed. Typo caused by merging two sentances together when in draft. And as an aside, it is always good to see people being honest about their own hypocritical horrors.


Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been rather quiet on political issues of late. This is more a factor of it being a slow time of the year for political issues than disinterest. Your Maximum Leader just hasn't felt passionately enough about any political goings-on to feel he needed to comment on them at length.

He does plan on writing a political polemic over the weekend, it should be up for Monday.

Here are some quick thoughts on politics.

Your Maximum Leader applauds Teddy Kennedy for coming right out and saying what Democrats have, hithertofore, been too afraid to say. Namely that the US should cut and run in Iraq. While it is possible that the soon-to-be elected Iraqi national assembly will ask the US to leave, your Maximum Leader doesn't think it will happen for another year or so. The sensible Iraqis, who don't get lots of press, but are likely the largest portion of the Shia and Kurdish population, don't seem to be in a great rush to see the US leave. The realize that they are in a precarious situation. Namely, surrounded by other states that would like to see Iraq disappear; and filled with insurgents from the whole muslim world. They need time to develop their own national security forces (army and police) and gain full control over the Sunni Triangle.

It doesn't cease to amaze your Maximum Leader that people (around the world) are shocked that the US hasn't been able to completely rebuild Iraq. Nevermind that Saddam fought a 10 years long war with Iran that started his nation down the path of industrial and economic decline. Then came the invasion of Kuwait. Then the 12 years of embargo by most of the world. Then the US liberation. In three years, with an insurgency going, the US should have been able (so the masses think at any rate) to rebuild a country that was in decline for over 20 years? How unrealistic is that. What the US has done is given the Iraqis a chance to rebuild and reconstitute themselves. We've given them the possibility for a better future.

President Bush seems closer to making a Social Security Reform proposal. Now, your Maximum Leader hasn't said it before, but he believes that Medicare, Medicaid, and the new Prescription Drug benefits are much greater problems than is Social Security. But that doesn't mean that Social Security shouldn't be addressed. Americans do not save enough, and they have come to rely on a wealth-transfer program to take them through their twilight years. Any reform of Social Security that promotes more indivdual savings and more individual responsibility for saving is a good plan in your Maximum Leader's opinion. Indeed, your Maximum Leader has always been particularly pessimistic concerning his own future with Social Security. He's assumed he would have little or no benefits in his twilight. This was a major motivating factor for forming the Mike World Order. You gotta have a plan. And everyone knows that Maximum Leaders don't retire. They die suddenly from undisclosed causes after "having a bad head cold" for a few weeks. Then the state-run TV stations play the dirges and mournful remembrances for days; making you long for the funeral to end so you can get back to Jerry Springer, Oprah, and reality TV.

Condi Rice is now Secretary of State. Your Maximum Leader thought her confirmation hearings, and subsequent Senate floor debates, were disgraceful. But he says this as a conservative partisan. He completely understands why Boxer, Kerry, and others did what they did. And he doesn't believe for a moment that the 13 Democrats who voted against Dr. Rice did anything but act according to their own consciences. But they were wrong. Condi Rice, your Maximum Leader believes will do very well in her new role. He also thinks that if she were a Democrat she would be lauded as a symbol of America. Look! A smart black woman is our number one diplomat. Look at her deal with the Saudis, the French. See how uncomfortable they are with the future! But because she is a Republican - she is a liar and in the pocket of the president and incabable of independent thought. Your Maximum Leader didn't recall that the Democratic Senators wanted Warren Christopher or Madeline Albright to be independent of President Clinton. They didn't want Christopher or Albright to lead a separate foreign policy from Foggy Bottom with no input from the White House. Humm... It must be that partisan stuff again. You know, parade the flag, waive the bloody shirt. It is all for appearances you know.

And in other non-political news... Another idiot is tattooing himself for cash. Listen, as far as your Maximum Leader is concerned, the only advertising on body parts your Maximum Leader wants to see are blog-ads on SondraK's exquisite arse. (Which,by the way, never, EVER, fails to captivate your Maximum Leader. If there is a Platonic form of arse-ness - it may be manifest in SondraK's arse.)

Carry on.

Another Sign of the Decline of Western Civilization.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader felt he must note yet another sign of the impending doom facing our civilization. The sign occured this morning on the "Today" show. They did two pieces which are clear portents of evil things to come. The first was a story on the book "He Just Not That Into You." The angle of the story was how this bestselling book is causing dating problems for men. Your Maximum Leader's take is that this book is causing dating problems for men who are dating neurotic women with no self-confidence and little self-esteem.

The second story was on MILFs. Yes, MILFS. (For those of you who don't know, and your Maximum Leader can't imagine there are many of you in this category; MILF stands for "Mom I'd Like to F**k.") They didn't use the term MILF exactly. But they had a whole piece on how Moms are sexier than ever. What? Do we really need to hear this early in the morning?

Great Jeezey Chreesey. How much longer could we possibly have?

Carry on.

Save the Cutty Sark

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, the great Anglophile that he is, was intersted to read an article describing how British lottery money is being used to save the Cutty Sark, from slow dry rot. Your Maximum Leader remembers visiting the Cutty Sark on his first visit to Britain in 1985. (He didn't visit the Cutty Sark on subsequent visits.) He is happy to learn that this iconic vessel will be preserved, and with it part of Britain's, and the worlds, maritime heritage.

The Cutty Sark is a beautiful ship. She is the paramount example of clipper ship naval architecture. She is graceful, sleek, and fast. She conjures up for your Maximum Leader adventure on the high seas and the 19th Century tea trade. And her famous races with the "Thermopalae" from China and India.

Then again, the ship also conjures up scotch whisky. Cutty Sark was your Maximum Leader's sainted father's scotch for years. Until your Maximum Leader started buying him better scotch.

Carry on.

January 27, 2005

LA Train Crash

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader doesn't have much to say about the LA commuter train crash yesterday. His heart goes out to the families of the victims.

He reads that the man who left his SUV on the tracks will be charged with murder. As he should be.

Your Maximum Leader is quite upset with Juan Manuel Alvarez. If you are going to kill yourself just get a gun and eat a fucking bullet. Or jump off a cliff into the sea. If you are going to kill yourself do it in a way that will not harm others, and will ruin your body in a way that precludes an open casket funeral. No one would want to look at a cowardly shell of a man who chose to kill himself rather than face life's challenges.

Your Maximum Leader hopes that (if the case is proved) Alvarez is executed.

Carry on.

Now Who's Been Cavemanned?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader may not post too much over the next two days. He has lots of stuff to do, and lots of people to meet. And he hasn't been getting much sleep at the Villainschloss. (The wee Villain appears to be getting 4 teeth in at once.)

Well, Sadie has passed along a meme which your Maximum Leader feels oddly compelled to complete. Here goes:

Random Ten
Cowboy Junkies - Lay It Down
Shooglenifty - Whisky Kiss
Beatles - White Album
Tom Jones - Reloaded
Handel - Royal Fireworks Music
Elvis Presley - Memories
Elvis Costello - Very Best of Elvis Costello
The King - Gravelands
Wagner - Tristan und Isolde
Kim Possible Soundtrack

What is the total amount of the music files on your computer?
Question worded poorly, regardless of that - Last time your Maximum Leader checked, it was around 300 MB 3.25GB. (Verified last night.)

The last CD you bought [was]:
Not sure. He knows he bought the Princess Diaries II CD for Villainette Number One recently. So that is it.

What was the song you last listened to before this message?
Her Majesty - the Beatles

Five songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.
Cowboy Junkies - If you were the woman, and I was the man.
Elvis Presley - If I can dream.
REM - Me in honey
Tom Jones - Sexbomb
Richard Wagner - Liebestod

Who are you going to pass this stick to (five persons & why)?

Damn. Your Maximum Leader has no idea. If five of you read this and haven't already answered, and want to. Let me know. You'll get some linkage. (For what that is worth.)

Carry on.

January 26, 2005

Deep Thoughts on Truth

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was trying to peruse the various blogs he enjoys reading. He hasn't had much time for reading of late. But for those of you more inclined towards abstract thought and philosophical questions you would do well to scoot over to Armavirumque for Roger Kimball's entry, A few thoughts about truth.

What makes this entry very timely for your Maximum Leader is that just this weekend Villainette Number 2 (the tomboy Villainette) asked him, "What's time?" To which your Maximum Leader, misunderstanding what she was asking replied something like, "Two thirty-five in the afternoon." (Your Maximum Leader always likes to add "in the afternoon" or "in the morning" or "at night" when addressing the time to his progeny. He's not sure why, but he does.) She responded, "No. What is time? Not what time is it." Your Maximum Leader thought for a moment and responded that time was "the hours and minutes we used to measure the day." While in the broadest philosphical sense that answer wasn't a good one; it was satisfactory for a five year old.

But it did get your Maximum Leader to think about abstractions like time, truth, and mathematical proofs.

Then your Maximum Leader poured himself a scotch and ceased to think deep thoughts. Instead allowing himself to ruminate on the smokey-ness of an undiluted glass of Ardbeg.

Carry on.

Roy Hallums, American Hostage

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader admires bloggers who are true advocates for a cause. (And without meaning to be too glib, it is easier to admire those bloggers who advocate causes with which your Maximum Leader agrees.) Bloggers like Charles Johnson who have suffered personally for their tireless advocacy respected by your Maximum Leader.

Another blogger who is a tireless advocate for Americans taken hostage is our blog-pal, Rusty Shackleford of the Jawa Report.

Rusty first started writing about Roy Hallums last November. Shortly after Roy was abducted in Iraq. Roy's family has contacted Rusty frequently and will sometimes contribute information and comments on Rusty's site.

Your Maximum Leader recommends that you go over to The Jawa Report and read the updated entry concerning the release of a video of Roy Hallums. Rusty was far ahead of the mainstream media on this, and he continues to report all the information available.

And pray for Roy Hallums and his family.

Carry on.

January 25, 2005

Robbie Burns Day

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader always likes to celebrate Robert Burns' Birthday. It is a time for feasting and good cheer. Robert Burns was born this day, January 25th, in 1759. He is the greatest poet of Scotland - their Bard.

Tonight, your Maximum Leader plans a Villainette friendly Burns Supper. We'll start with the Selkirk Grace. Then move into Chicken, Vegetable & Leek soup, Meatloaf (replacing the Haggis) and finish off with trifle. We'll likely read some Burns poems and talk about our Scottish heritage.

Excursus: In case anyone cares your Maximum Leader's ancestry - as best he can figure it out (not being a geneology nut) is: maternal grandmother was Scottish, English, and German; maternal grandfather was Scottish and Welsh; paternal grandmother was Scottish and more Scottish; and paternal grandfather was Scottish and English. What always struck your Maximum Leader as interesting was that there didn't appear to be any Irish in there. Scotch-Irish being a particularly common mix.

Your Maximum Leader will, most likely, be the only one drinking whisky. He will also, most likely, be the only one wearing a kilt. (We do have one that the Wee Villain might fit in. He'll have to check.)

Your Maximum Leader will now present for your reading pleasure two Burns poems. The first is one that made him think of a good man of the soil. Although the Smallholder doesn't have a stil on his property - he could... Here is the first:
John Barleycorn: A Ballad

There was three kings into the east,
Three kings both great and high,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn should die.

They took a plough and plough'd him down,
Put clods upon his head,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn was dead.

But the cheerful Spring came kindly on,
And show'rs began to fall;
John Barleycorn got up again,
And sore surpris'd them all.

The sultry suns of Summer came,
And he grew thick and strong;
His head weel arm'd wi' pointed spears,
That no one should him wrong.

The sober Autumn enter'd mild,
When he grew wan and pale;
His bending joints and drooping head
Show'd he began to fail.

His colour sicken'd more and more,
He faded into age;
And then his enemies began
To show their deadly rage.

They've taen a weapon, long and sharp,
And cut him by the knee;
Then tied him fast upon a cart,
Like a rogue for forgerie.

They laid him down upon his back,
And cudgell'd him full sore;
They hung him up before the storm,
And turned him o'er and o'er.

They filled up a darksome pit
With water to the brim;
They heaved in John Barleycorn,
There let him sink or swim.

They laid him out upon the floor,
To work him farther woe;
And still, as signs of life appear'd,
They toss'd him to and fro.

They wasted, o'er a scorching flame,
The marrow of his bones;
But a miller us'd him worst of all,
For he crush'd him between two stones.

And they hae taen his very heart's blood,
And drank it round and round;
And still the more and more they drank,
Their joy did more abound.

John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
Of noble enterprise;
For if you do but taste his blood,
'Twill make your courage rise.

'Twill make a man forget his woe;
'Twill heighten all his joy;
'Twill make the widow's heart to sing,
Tho' the tear were in her eye.

Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
Each man a glass in hand;
And may his great posterity
Ne'er fail in old Scotland!
And here is the second. The second is a eulogy written by Burns on the occasion of the death of a family friend, William Muir. Your Maximum Leader read it at his maternal grandfather's funeral two years ago. It was, as much as these things can be, a bit hit. Indeed, your Maximum Leader's sainted father and beloved father-in-law both said that they wouldn't mind if it were read at their own funerals. Your Maximum Leader agrees with that sentiment as well.
An honest man here lies at rest,
As e'er God with his image blest:
The friend of man, the friend of truth,
The friend of age, and guide of youth:
Few hearts like his with virtue warm'd,
Few heads with knowledge so inform'd:
If there's another world, he lives in bliss;
If there is none, he made the best of this.
Your Maximum Leader bids that you take a moment and read a Rabbie Burns poem today. And if you are so inclined, have a little dram of whisky to toast him too.

Carry on.

January 24, 2005

Abortion Primer for Democrats

This was on NPR this morning.

Until Democrats set aside their hoary old canards that abortion foes want to subjugate women and realize that the pro-life movement is a principled resistance to what some Christians believe to be murder, they do not have much chance of winning the White House. According to the commentator, if it were not for abortion, many Evangelicals would actually vote Democrat on the basis of their faith. But Evangelicals, like many of us, realize that they have to prioritize their values*. Ending the annual slaughter of innocents in our own country trumps just about every other consideration.

Go. Listen to Mathewes-Green.

* Recall that your very own Smallholder, advocate of gay rights, separation of church and state, progressive taxation, and (efficacious) government intervention in society, considered voting for Bush on the Iraq issue until I had the epiphany that Bush, Rumsfeld, et al. were refusing to learn from the lessons of history and blind to current reality, dooming the Iraqi effort more surely than Kerry's shiftlessness.

Conservatives and Gay Marriage

The Analphilosopher claims:

"No conservative can support homosexual marriage."

He further elaborates:

This morning I received a letter from a man who challenged my claim (here)
that "No conservative can support homosexual 'marriage.'" He said I shouldn't make such absolute statements. Why not? Compare the following:

No liberal can support slavery.
No libertarian can support progressive taxation.
No Christian can support (or condone) adultery.
No feminist can support exclusion of women from the professions.
No Marxist can support private property.

Conservatives can disagree about many things.

The nature of marriage is not one of them.

Methinks the Analphilosopher is mistaken.

The term "conservative" has become rather loose today. The general guideline that conservatives desire less government intervention and liberals more has become blurred. In KBJ's defense, he generally uses a narrowed, more precise definition of conservative than the one in common use. In KBJ's taxonomy, a conservative tends to give presumptive value to tradition.

I assume this is what he means when he states that "no conservative can support homosexual marriage." Since there has been no tradition of gay unions, the argument goes, one ought not to tamper lightly with the venerable institution.

But perhaps other conservatives would place more weight on other traditions. Perhaps some conservatives might favor individual liberty when said liberty does not harm others. Other conservatives might value the tradition of small government, and wish to avoid government intervention in our private lives.

Analphilosopher obviously gives greater weight to the tradition of marriage as a child-rearing institution. Leaving aside the concept that gays perhaps ought to be allowed to rear children (children who will be universally wanted children since special arrangements for adoption or insemination will be required), his statement that anyone who varies from this orthodoxy cannot be considered a conservative smacks of hypocrisy.

KBJ has taken a rather extreme stance on animal rights, casting the universal tradition of omnivorism lightly aside. His position on the moral claims of animals places him well outside tradition and the American mainstream.

One might state:

No conservative can support the moral claims of animals.

In KBJ's defense, I don't recall him ever advocating the advancement of his animal rights agenda through federal legislation, which would be an undeniably liberal proposition. My take is that he hopes to convince the vast majority of Americans that our moral reasoning about animal rights is flawed, leading to the recognition of animal rights through persuasion.

Buckley A Liberal?

I must have missed the memo.

January 23, 2005

Heeeeere's Johnny! RIP

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader reads that TV Legend Johnny Carson Dead.

Rest in peace Johnny Carson. Your Maximum Leader always enjoyed your show, and never really thought Leno was as good.

Carry on.

January 22, 2005

100 Below, Part the Third.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader decided that if the Poet Laureate could do it, and the Smallholder could do it; then he could too. Here is his 100 Below contribution:
Hamish scratched himself.

Across the field the herd was grazing. The morning sun warmed them.

It was going to be one of those days.

He smiled broadly, and then lifted his kilt to relieve himself. He noticed a few of the long-haired cows turned to watch him.

In the corner of his eye he saw something. The sun silhouetted a husky man.

It was Bruce.

Bruce bounced something angrily in his hands.

Was it a walking stick?

Was it a broadsword?

Did Bruce know?

It was going to be one of those days.
With 7 words to spare.

Carry on.

One Bitter, Bitter Man.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader had the following article forwarded to him by a loyal minion. Alas, there is no link attached, but according to the by-line attached it comes from the AP News Wire. Here goes:
Scientist's Saturn Experiment Forgotten During Landing
Wind Measurement Device, 18 Years in the Making, Never Turned On

SPOKANE, Wash. (Jan. 21) - David Atkinson spent 18 years designing an experiment for the unmanned space mission to Saturn. Now some pieces of it are lost in space. Someone forgot to turn on the instrument Atkinson needed to measure the winds on Saturn's largest moon.

"The story is actually fairly gruesome," the University of Idaho scientist said in an e-mail from Germany, the headquarters of the European Space Agency. "It was human error - the command to turn the instrument on was forgotten."

The mission to study Saturn and its moons was launched in 1997 from Cape Canaveral, Fla., a joint effort by NASA, the European agency and the Italian space agency. Last Friday, Huygens, the European space probe sent to the surface of Saturn's moon Titan, transmitted the first detailed pictures of the frozen surface.

Atkinson and his team were at European space headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany, waiting for their wind measurements to arrive.

The probe was to transmit data on two channels, A and B, Atkinson said. His Doppler wind experiment was to use Channel A, a very stable frequency.

But the order to activate the receiver, or oscillator, for Channel A was never sent, so the entire mission operated through Channel B, which is less stable, Atkinson said.

"I (and the rest of my team) waited and waited and waited," he wrote, as the probe descended. "We watched the probe enter and start transmitting data, but our instrument never turned on."

Officials for the European Space Agency said last week they would investigate to learn what happened. They were not available for comment on Thursday, nor did NASA officials immediately respond to telephone messages.

Atkinson wrote in his e-mail that fellow scientists rushed to comfort him and his team.

Most of his team has returned home, but Atkinson has remained in Germany because he still has a task to perform - reconstructing the entry and descent trajectory of the probe.

There is hope that some of his data survived.

"We do have Channel B data and although driven by a very poor and unstable oscillator, we may be able to get a little bit of data," he wrote.

Also, he said some of the Channel A signal reached Earth and was picked up by radio telescopes. "We now have some of this data and lots of work to do to try to catch up," he wrote.

Even so, he said the overall space mission was a huge success, and the Europeans in particular were thrilled with the success of their Huygens probe.

"In total, the core of our team has invested something like 80 man years on this experiment, 18 of which are mine," Atkinson wrote. "I think right now the key lesson is this - if you're looking for a job with instant and guaranteed success, this isn't it."
Your Maximum Leader wouldn't want to be near Dr. Atkinson for a little while. And if you happen to be a friend of Dr. Atkinson, do yourself a favour and remove any firearms, knives, or other household tools from his immediate reach.

Carry on.

Lawrence Summers/Your Maximum Leader - Role Reversal.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader would like to do a little role reversal here. Let us assume, for the sake of a blog post, that your Maximum Leader could take control of Harvard President Lawrence Summers' body and mind. (Ewww! But this is just a hypothetical.) Right now Summers is going to any possible news outlet and saying that his recent comments about woment were wrong. If your Maximum Leader could speak for Summers, this is what he would say in an apology letter:
Dear offended womyn.

I am deeply sorry for having offended your tender sensibilities by suggesting in an open discussion among scholars that there may be inate differences between males and females of our species. I mean really! What the hell was I thinking? I should know better than to base my off-the-wall opinions on data mined from sources like the SAT, ACT or the ASVAB. Those silly tests aren't worth a damn. (And I'll check to make sure we don't look at any of those test scores in our admissions process. Who knows what asinine mistakes we would make if we started doing that?)

Perhaps you should find a like-minded member of the Women's Studies program at Princeton to nurture your fragile ego back to strength.

Damn! I did it again. Going on about that horrible stereotype of women being more nurturing than men. When we all know that women and men are equally able, and predisposed, to nurturing behaviour.

Now just so I don't repeat this sort of outburst again. Would one of you be kind enough to give me a list of subjects which should not be brought up in discussions among tenured faculty, in an accredited university which has a long history of open discussion of contraversial ideas? (NB: I don't need you to add to the list criticism of professors in the African-American Studied department. I've already learned that one.)

And you know while you're at it, please shut the pie hole of that Camille Pagila person. She just doesn't know when to quit; and it confuses me.

Yours sincerely,

Lawrence Summers
(Contrite) President of Harvard University
Of course, your Maximum Leader doesn't expect Larry to grow a pair and stand up for what he said.


Carry on.

Hook 'Em Satan!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader doesn't know why, but he burst out laughing when he read the following article off the news wire: Norewegians Confused by Bush Salute.

It appears that the infamous hand-signal salute to the University of Texas Longhorns in the US is the same hand-signal used by Norwegian Satanists to praise their evil master.

Doesn't this seem like just the proof so many people around the world have been looking for? George W. Bush (and Jenna Bush too) is really just Satan returning the salute of his minions. Why wasn't this reported sooner?

Your Maximum Leader, for one, is glad that we have Norway in the world to point things like this out to those among us who are unknowing.

And what is up with Norwegian Satanists? Aren't Norwegians good Lutherans? Or did all the Norwegian Lutherans move to Minnesota? Your Maximum Leader can't recall.

Carry on.

January 21, 2005

Hey? Where Is Everybody?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader realizes that some of you may be wondering what the hell is up today. Why no posting?

Frankly, it is because your Maximum Leader has been fixated on SondraK's arse all day and unable to type.

Damnation! With such a fine booty as that one your Maximum Leader should hope she could get two digital cameras and a flat screen monitor too.

Carry on.

January 20, 2005

100 Below

A Meme from the non-angst ridden, perpetually euphoric and never dyspeptic Big Hominid.

Here's my one hundred word story:

We drank beers on the porch, as men do.

Uncle John talked of the Pacific. Dad talked of Korea. I talked about the farm.

"Uncle John, it's hard to explain how wonderful it felt to ride on the tractor next to Roger, the wind at our backs, the city boy spreading manure with his cousin. I didn't even mind getting covered by spray."

Uncle John put down his beer, strong hands clutching his sides, chortling gleefully. He rubbed his bald pate, his grin framed by ruddy cheeks, "Hell, boy! Roger knew better than to drive downwind trailing a spreader!"

The Ring

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, as many of you know, is a big Wagner fan. So, in his never ending quest to keep the work of Richard Wagner in front of his minions he commends to you this site from the Goethe Institute. It was drawn to your Maximum Leader's attention by JohnL of TexasBestGrok. Many thanks to JohnL.

If you are unfamiliar with the Ring Cycle, it wouldn't kill you to go and look over this site. Which as John mentioned, is geared towards introducing the Ring to school-kids.

Carry on.

January 19, 2005

Bad Poetry to Welcome the Wee Foreign Minister

Hark! The Naked Villains Sing
Welcome to the wee little thing

Born to conservative gun nut vile
A promising lad, a wee new child

A boy who will surely be
Terror to his daddy

Like his dad, true not fake
Bottle-rocket guns will make

From his Dad the wee boy learns
Napalm in the front yard burns

Boys will be boys, that's not far wrong
But before I cease to sing this song

If I don't warn, remiss I'll be
Keep him away from Emilie!

Or there will be a sad end to this tale
Smallholder doesn't mind going back to jail

Congratulations, Greg. We are so happy for you!

226,000 and Counting.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that the tsunami death toll is up to 226,000. He thinks his 250,000 number isn't going to be too far off. Sadly.

Carry on.

Bruce Campbell Review.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, and the Smallholder, are both big Bruce Campbell fans. When it was first released on DVD, your Maximum Leader bought Bubba-ho-tep. He watched it one night with Smallholder. And he's watched it once since then. All in all, your Maximum Leader would have to agree with Rocket Jones in his review of the film: "No one f*cks with the King"

If you are a Bruce Campbell fan - and God only knows why you wouldn't be - you should rent this one.

Carry on.

Ah... College Life...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader couldn't contain his guffawing at the latest from the Velociman: An Athens Tale.

Your Maximum Leader has but a single question, did the boy soon depart as well?

Carry on.

Biological Imperatives Fulfilled - Again!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is very pleased to announce that the Foreign Minister (and Mrs. Foreign Minister) have been blessed with a healthy baby boy. The lad is their second child. He was born yesterday, January 18. 9 lbs 2 oz. 20 inches long.

Many congratulations.

Carry on.

Meme Time!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader decided to play a meme game he saw on two sites. (Llamas & Memento Moron.) Your Maximum Leader decided to play off of Brian at Memento Moron's list. Here goes:

Copy the following list of first lines to poems. If you are familiar with the poem, leave it there. If not, replace it with one you DO know. Put your changes in Bold, put the rest in normal text. Then link back to me. Here are my results:

1. Do you see this ring?
2. There was three kings unto the east
3. Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita (Midway on our life's journey, I found myself)
4. So you dare me to take the square root of my mother, do
5. Do not go gentle into that good night,
6. In Xanadu did Kubla Khan A stately pleasure-dome decree
7. How do I love thee, let me count the ways
8. Half a league, half a league,
9. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
10. 'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Your Maximum Leader should state for the record that Number 4 is the opening line from a poem by the Big Hominid.

Carry on.

UPDATE: ACK! Had your Maximum Leader read Don's post, he would have seen that the Robert Browning line was replaced by Robert. It seems wrong to put the line back in. So your Maximum Leader changed his Number One line to a different Browning poem.

Sidebar Changes - Housekeeping

Greetings, loyal minions. You Maximum Leader instructs his minionly readers to regard his sidebar for some small changes.

First and foremost is the elevation of our devoted reader, minion, and star geometry proof writing friend Bill, of Bill's Comments to Loyal Minion status. Your Maximum Leader isn't sure why he didn't do this sooner. Perhaps it is a case of the obvious being overlooked. For a while it was also a sense of aethetics. Four seemed like a good number for the group... Anyway. A very deserving blog has been bumped up to Loyal Minion status. And you all should go and visit Bill regularly and read his writing.

Secondly, Eric also got a bump up. This is because your Maximum Leader found himself reading Eric's site every day that it made more sense for him to be higher up the blogroll. Plus, Eric has a cool car now. And your Maximum Leader would have purchased a nice Caddie instead of the Villainmobile had it not been for the Villainettes. Yes, dear minions. Your Maximum Leader figured it would be better to have a Villainmobile that would easily seat one Maximum Leader, one Mrs. Villain, and two Villainettes. Indeed, the back seat of the CTS (and it's variants) is just a little small for the big people your Maximum Leader knows. But the Caddie is a beautiful car, and your Maximum Leader would like to drag Eric sometime. Villainmobile vs. SWG-mobile.

NB: Eric would win that race most likely. The CTS/CTV has more low-end torque and greater acceleration over the short haul. The Villainmobile will do 0-60 mph in about 6 seconds. But, that number is misleading. It does 0-45 in about 5 seconds. Then it really kicks in and hauls arse. Of course, the CTS/CTV is also about 1000lbs lighter than the Villainmobile. But unlike the CTS, a full-sized man like your Maximum Leader can engage in all manner of shenanigans in the backseat of the Villainmobile without feeling cramped or put out. A claim one cannot make about the CTS.

Next up, Minions will notice the "Blog Machine." on the sidebar. Gordon was kind enough to set up your Maximum Leader a few weeks ago with an account. But your Maximum Leader putzed around and didn't get around to configuring it until just now. It is up. And working great. Thanks to Gordon. Now if only others in the Blog Machine clique would add your Maximum Leader to their Blog Machines.... (Hint! Hint!)

Finally... Your Maximum Leader has been investigating a number of options concerning upgrading his blog. As many of you know, he is using Blogger to publish to his own web host. And he has a custom template. He is contemplating a major overhaul of how the site looks (read: he's looking to make design changes beyond his abilities) and functions (read: he's thinking of ditching Blogger and moving to some more powerful blogging tool). He's been thinking about going to Movable Type. Then again, he's also thought of WordPress. And as far as designers go, he was going to contact the wonderful Francey again. But he thought he also ought to check out Sekimori or Moxie. So many choices!

Do you know, my minions, the problem with all these designers? They all make cheery bright sites. Your Maximum Leader (in keeping with his autocratic tendencies and his love of medieval kings named Richard Plantagenet) was thinking of a blog template that had the look and feel of Westminster Hall. (Other - better - photos here, here, here, and here.) But that might be hard to capture... It is that wonderful feel to the hammer beam roof of Richard II that your Maximum Leader would like to capture. It is one of the most wonderful rooves in the world. With the angels, the wild boar, the roses. And that staircase with the window. It is a perfect medieval space.

Of course, how all that would translate into a template for a blog is beyond your Maximum Leader... Which is why your Maximum Leader needs to retain an artsy-type to help out. A web designer to play Michaelangelo to his Julius II. Someone to who would be Titian to his Charles V. A creative genius to be Raphael to his Cosimo de Medici.

If any one of his loyal readers has a suggestion as to good designers/blogging software they care to pass along, please e-mail your Maximum Leader: maxldr-blog * at * yahoo * dot * com.

Carry on.

January 18, 2005

Attorney General of The Empire State

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader loves New York politics. It is a rough and tumble world with no quarter given by anyone of any party. So it strikes your Maximum Leader as particularly interesting that the scions of two great political families are squaring up to run for New York Attorney General. Andrew Cumo and RFK Jr. are both looking at running in the Attorney General's race.

The subplot here is even more interesting. Cumo has recently separated from RFK Jrs sister, Kerry. Doesn't this sound like it could be fun?

Your Maximum Leader will hope for a Cumo (or other) victory in the Democratic Primary. He just cannot stand to listen to RFK Jr. RFK Jr's voice sounds so strained and filled with concern that it is annoying. Cumo is a more vivacious speaker.

Carry on.

Golden Delicious Parachute

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader reads that the CEO of one of his favourite companies, Krispy Kreme, has been sacked.

Now, Scott Livengood has not been a particularly good sheppard for this company over the past few quarters. But, your Maximum Leader firmly believes that KK will make it out of these troubles okay. But your Maximum Leader must ask this question...

Do you think that there is probably some neat clause of Livengood's contract that would allow him to get those golden delicious doughnuts at a discount (or free) for life? Your Maximum Leader would have negotiated for that being put in there were he Krispy Kreme's CEO...

Have you ever had a Krispy Kreme doughnut? Your Maximum Leader's mouth is watering and his arteries hardening just at the thought.


Carry on.

Ah... Now We Can Feel the Hate...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is pleased to note that the Crack Young Staff has returned to blogging. And what a wonderful entry they present to us: The Morals of a Nation.

Your Maximum Leader must state for the record that he hasn't read the "Personals" in a newspaper in, he suspects, 5 or more years. He has only visited a site like Match.com once - and that was to proof-read a profile that a good friend of his had written. (She wanted to make sure it didn't make her sound too desperate. Or morally liberal.) But allow your Maximum Leader to state on the record that he had no idea those ads have gotten so racy! Really now. There are probably whole sections devoted to adultery!

Wow! Sorta makes one want to go and read the paper in the morning.

Carry on.

Col Blimp: 'angin's too bad for 'em?, Part the Fourth

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been rather quiet of late. He has been spending quality time with his wee Villain most evenings when he would, otherwise, be blogging. Indeed, the wee bairn has gotten himself into a routine where he and his daddy like to lay on the sofa watching some tv or old movie (last night it was "The Seven Samurai") until sleep overcomes him...

Anyho... All minions really ought to go to Col. Blimp's site and read the ongoing discussion of capital punishment. Here is the link: 'angin's too bad for 'em?, IV: response to Tom, Misspent, and the Maximum Leader. Follow all the links. Read all materials. This is one of the most thoughtful discussions of the subject that your Maximum Leader had read/particpated in. It is the type of highbrow discourse that gets your Maximum Leader all worked up.

He hopes to comment further soon.

Carry on.

If I Were A Rich Man

You frivolous rich folk can keep your hummers, flat-screen televisions and Cayman Island condos.

If I win the lottery, I'm putting in an underground water line to the barn.

It's -5 degrees windchill.

The hose is frozen solid.

The frost-free water spigot is a hundred yards from the barn.

The animals are drinking about 70 gallons of water a day. And about 10 gallons is thrown out as I chip off the ice twice a day.

Two five gallon buckets weigh about 80 pounds.

The frost-free water spigot is a hundred yards from the barn.

Seven trips carrying 80 pounds.

It's -5 degrees windchill.

Screw your Gucci loafers, fancy jewelry, season tickets and subzero appliances. Give me water in the barn!


Sadie hammers the bio-fuel lobby.

Here's another criticism:

The last thing we need to do is to give additional incentives to grain monoculture. Clean cultivation around corn already results in massive erosion annually. Imagine if economic factors brought marginal hillside land into production. The ol' Mississippi just got a whole lot muddier.

I'm rooting for fuel cells. If only there was an efficient way to pluck the hydrogen out of the air...

January 17, 2005

Playing With The Variables

Bill did some nice work with the statistical likelihood that my watch would be recovered. However, I would quibble with his variable a; probability of the raft capsizing at a particular point. Assuming that our raft had capsized at that point, he assumed that rafts capsizing at that point would be fairly frequent and assigned a variable of .25 to the value.

Actually, our raft did not capsize at that point. I must have, while paddling furiously, banged my wrist on the innertube, releasing the lock pin. In fact, we did not capsize at all.

I would wager that very few rafts run into problems that dump out the occupants. The occupants might lose the occasional oar, but they are big floaty things with a wide base. But lets be generous and say that 25% of rafting expeditions experience a catastrophic dunking during their trip. So we'll leave a at .25, but rename it "chance of dunking." The question is, where will the accident happen and how likely is it that it would happen in a particular point - we need a new variable -- aa - likelihood of dunking at the exact location.

Setting aside Aristotle's fox/rabbit "infinitely closing gap," in reality there are a finite number of places that a raft might overturn. Let's assign the area of overturning to be eight feet by eight feet - about the length of the raft. If a raft overturns, the people walking around to right it should step all around this area, and if the location coincides with the resting place of the watch, probably step on it. So, using this arbitrary benchmark, we now need to find the number of locations in which a dunking might occur.

Estimating the length of the trip is difficult. For a two hour trip with a drift rate of, say, 3 miles per hour, a raft would cover 6 miles. So that would be linear 31,680 feet - or 3,982.5 possible locations. Assuming that 90% of the trip is placid floating between the excitement of the rapids, eliminating 90% of the locations gives us 398.25 locations.

Linear locations.

Because rafts don't follow down the river in the same exact path as all previous and future rafts. They meander side to side, limited only by the banks. If the average width of the James River over the length of the rafting route is 300 feet. We might exclude thirty feet on either side of the shoreline; you want to trend towards the middle to avoid running aground. This gives us (300-30-30)/8 width of raft = 30 side to side locations. Further assume that the patterns during the rapids (we have already eliminated the calm portions of the river), funnel the rafts into a few channels. So eliminate 90% of the side-to-side positions.

This gives us 398.25 linear locations and 3 side to side locations, for a total of 1194.25 possible locations for the raft to capsize. The watch is only at one of those locations. So, 1/1194.25 gives us a value for aa of .008367.

Of course, this positional reasoning would eliminate Bill's "d" variable, doubling the chance of the watch being found.

Perhaps I'm guilty of "trying to get a certain answer." I don't think so. This exercise was solely because reading Bill's reasoning had me chewing over the probabilities for the last couple of days.

It is probably irrational to attribute an unlikely occurrence to divine intervention: "God loves me because my watch was recovered." One would be just as justified in attributing an unlikely negative event to divine retribution: "God hates me because I have throat cancer."

Eh, whatever.

Thanks to Bill for providing some interesting intellectual diversion.

UPDATE: Actually, Skippy, God DOES hate you. And Bret Favre. But the rest of us are cool.

Can't Feel the Hate

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is becoming cranky. Not cranky in the sense that Gordon is cranky. But cranky none the less.

What is up with The Hatemonger's Quarterly today. It is Monday. Where is the newest update of the humble weblog by the Crack Young Staff? (Who are, by the way, 47% female. That same 47% dislikes being called "you guys.")

What is up? Did they decide to take Martin Luther King, Jr. Day off? Great Jeezey Chreezey. What is this internet thingie coming to? (Or more accurately - To what is this internet thingie coming?)

Carry on.

Happy Birthday To My Favorite Kurt Vonnegut Character!

If you don't get the title, this post isn't for you.

From today's Washington Post:

50 Miles, 12 Hours and Desire
By Jonathan E. KaplanSpecial to The Washington Post Monday, January 17, 2005; Page C12

At 5 o'clock in the morning, more than 800 runners gathered in downtown Boonsboro, Md., in late November to start the John F. Kennedy 50-mile ultramarathon.

Started in 1962, the JFK 50-miler is the oldest ultramarathon in the nation. It starts with a nine-mile ascent to the Appalachian Trail and is followed by a six-mile descent over sharp rocks and slippery wet leaves.

The next 26 miles trace the gravelly flat C&O Canal along the Potomac River. If marathons start at Mile 20, a 50-miler begins at Mile 30. Even at this distance, my goals came down to minutes and seconds per mile.

I had run the first 16 miles in four hours. So much for finishing in 10 hours. It took me seven hours to run 30 miles. So much for breaking 11 hours. All that remained was to finish 50 miles in less than 12 hours.

Growing up and in college, I swam competitively. I was not very good, but the simplicity of the sport was appealing: choose a goal, train and race. For several years in my twenties, I ran marathons and triathlons. In 2000, I finished the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon. In 2001, two weeks after Sept. 11, I ran a 50-mile race in Vermont's mountains, but did not finish it.

Then, the training was a staple of my life. I loved my bikes and running shoes the way I loved playing with Legos as a kid. I loved being in the water, on a bike or running where nobody could bother you. Training and racing helped simplify my life by organizing it.

But I was not a professional and never would be. The time spent exercising started interfering with my career and maybe my marriage. Plus, after Sept. 11, endurance sports seemed trivial when so many had died and thousands of servicemen and women faced real, deadly adventure in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I sold my bikes and poured myself into my work. I tried to be a decent husband. I tried living the way I imagined emotionally well-adjusted people live, by exercising in moderation. I even tried other outlets for adventure, such as traveling to Iraq and Venezuela.

But the year had been tumultuous. My wife said she was unhappy being married because I had become self-absorbed. Reporting on Congress just wasn't as exhilarating as it had been at first. So I turned to my old emotional crutch and decided to run the JFK.

The standard response when you tell someone you're going to run 50 miles is always the same: "You're crazy!" or "Are you insane?" But for me and others, training is a way to sort out feelings.
At least subconsciously, race day -- Nov. 20 -- was significant because it is the anniversary of my sister's death in 1981. (The race memorializes President Kennedy, who was killed Nov. 22, 1963.)

If I was running from my past grief, I was not alone. I heard a woman tell someone she had "hooked up with a guy at my 10th-year high school reunion, got married, had kids, got divorced, and started running."

A male runner talked about his failed marriage. The winner was quoted in The Washington Post saying that he started running after his relationship with a longtime girlfriend ended. As I regained my endurance while preparing for the race, I stopped caring what other people might think. This felt good! I lost 20 pounds, ate and slept better, and was more disciplined. I felt saner even if what I was doing was crazy.

But around Mile 30, I had my doubts as physical pain turned emotional despite the presence of my cheering wife and two friends. I placed several cell phone calls to other friends, but spent the next 14 miles battling to regain my composure from feeling hungry, sore and despondent.
Finally, with eight miles to go, I turned onto the road leading to the finish line. I had 60 minutes to break the 12-hour mark. In real life, at work, or in a relationship, it's tough to push aside anguish or discomfort and home in on one goal. Out there, amid the rain, the grime and the fatigue, all I could do was to tap into that emotional pain lurking in me.

That combination of emotional and physical pain yields clarity. Tears welled up in my eyes. Yet I reeled off those miles faster than I had run all day. The fluorescent orange placards counted the miles. Six. Five. Four. Williamsport's water tower emerged in the distance. Three. Two. One. With 600 meters left, I was running as hard as I could. Eleven hours and 52 minutes later, I hugged my wife and cried from relief.

More on the Food Chain...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, after his own little diatribe about the food chain, figures he really ought to pass along to you (if you haven't read it already) this wonderful Llama tidbit.

It reminds me of something the Big Hominid wrote. But to be honest, your Maximum Leader cannot recall if the Big Ho's peice was in his book or on his blog.

Carry on.

Zhao Ziyang - RIP

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader reads that Zhao Ziyang is dead. Aged 85 years. He had lived under house arrest since he was ousted from power after his siding with pro-democracy students demonstrating in Tiananmen Square.

Your Maximum Leader remembers that at the time of the Tiananmen demonstrations, he had hoped that Zhao would leverage his position at Deng's right-hand man to move China towards real political reforms (which would match the economic reforms already underway). But Deng was more reactionary when it came to political reforms, and the People's Liberation Army wasn't interested in political change.

Your Maximum Leader will not engage in a game of "What If?" here. That type of game is an intellectual exercise in self-indulgence anyway. But perhaps when China does move towards real political reform Zhao will be positively remembered... Of course, he might just be another Alexander Kerensky figure. Someone who had a chance to make a change - and blew it.

Carry on.

January 16, 2005

Splendiferous Day!

Even if Bill wants to mathematically minimize metaphysical munificence, there is still the feeling of divinely-inspired joy that one can feel swelling one's chest on days such as I had yesterday.

It was Saturday - so I slept in until seven o'clock.

Snuggled with the wife and dogs under the covers for a bit.

Rassled with rat terrier Kermit.

Fed the calves. Two or three are taming down enough to ask for chin scratches.

Gave Bar-vac 7 vaccinations. Most farmers have to use cattle chutes and assistants to vaccinate their cattle. I just walked the boys into the corner, calmed them, and stuck 'em.

Watched the sheep scamper on the hillside.

Scratched the goat. Told him he is a nuisance and likely to end up in the stew pot.

Noticed that Bonnie's pregnancy is starting to show. She is also starting to display a little udder development. Gave her a good scratching behind the ears. Told her that she is a "bonnie lass" of a cow in my groundskeeper Willy voice.

Gathered two still-warm chicken eggs that had been laid in the previous fifteen minutes.

My dear wife cooked the fresh eggs the way I like 'em - over easy - and used them to top pancakes. Ate breakfast at the bar on the high stools with my daughter next to me gleefully scarfing down blueberry pancakes.

Wrote a silly Nakedvillainy post to tweak a blogosphere pal.

Had no grading - I finished the marking period on Friday. Sat in a comfy chair and read the last couple of chapter of the "Moral Animal" by Neodarwinian Robert Wright. I thought his moral philosophy was unsatisfying, but really enjoyed learning about kin selection and the genetic basis for our internal thought processes. The book, besides being a combination of science, philosophy, and social commentary, illustrates its themes by using a Darwinian analysis of Charles Darwin's life. I have read a couple of biographies of old Chuck, but examining the grand old man's life choices in terms of genetic fitness was an interesting twist.

Built block towers with my daughter. Sang some silly songs. Enjoyed the fact that she is creating on her own now - she has made up her own little song about her family. It's really just a sing-song repetition of the names of grandparents, uncles and aunts, parents and brother, but it is something she made up all by herself. Gave out several high fives for peeing in the potty.

Held and tickled Jack. He's starting to smile and giggle when you play with him.

Returned some kid toys to the family down the street. Talked with Paul about cutting firewood with a chainsaw. Har! We be men! Scratch, scratch, spit.

Played pretty-princess dress-up with Emilie. (Not a word, Mike, not a word!)

Chatted with the Foreign Minister on the phone.

For dinner, ate a pizza "made" by a two-year old.

Put the kids to bed. Read a few "Apple Tree Farm" stories. Sang more silly songs.

Watched a mindless comedy with my wife.

Began the Byzantine conquest of the world in "Medieval Total War." Justinian was a potzer.

Went to bed with Tim McGraw lyrics in my head:

I'm gonna live where the green grass grows
Watch my corn pop up in rows
Every night be tucked in close to you
Raise our kids where the good lord's blessed
Point our rockin' chairs towards the west
And plant our dreams where the peaceful river flows
Where the green grass grows

How was your day?

January 15, 2005

Silent Sadie

Alas and alack!

The splendiferous Sadie has taken a blog sabbatical. When I was able to blink back the tears, I saw the cryptic last sentence of that post. It implied that the sabbatical had been discussed with the Maximum Leader and that he had encouraged this course of action - a course of action that denies the entire blogosphere of Sadie's sensationally spirited and saucy, sometimes salacious commentary.

Why, it makes a man want to hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats.

Well, fellow Sadiephiles, your humble Smallholder has done a little digging. Whilst the Maximum Leader was in Rome dictating dogma to the palsied man with the big hat, I broke into the Villainschloss and uncovered this damning chat session transcript on the Villainous ubercomputer:

Sadie: Oh, Maximum Leader, I don't know how I can go on! Ever since I
spent those days hiding in the Smallholder's barn, life hasn't seemed worth

Maximum Leader: Oh dear Sadie! Don't succumb to despair. Homelessness
can happen to the best people. You have moved on! The new
fistfulofnights blog is a wonderful new place to hang your hat. Just
forget about the whole episode and get on with your life.

Sadie: Oh, Maximum Leader, you poor naif. It wasn't the homelessness
or the sleeping amongst hay bales that has ruined me. It was

Maximum Leader: Smallholder? I don't understand.

Sadie: Of course you don't. As a putatively heterosexual male, you
probably don't sense the overpowering virility of a servant of the soil.
Having met the Minister of Agriculture, I realize that I can never be
happy. Smallholder is so devoted to his wife and kids that not even Jaime
Pressly could induce him to stray. And, having seen Smallholder, the
thought of not having him for my very own drains all color out of life like a
bizarro-world Ted Turner.

Maximum Leader: What about the Irish guy?

Sadie: Oh him. Well, he's nice and all, but can he shovel manure like
Smallholder? Can Irish guy calm a frightened calf? Smallholder is so
dreamy when he is adding hay to the chickens' egg boxes. Oh, the
unbelievable virility of a 240 pound man who wears a John Deere cap while
banding cattle! My knees tremble thinking about it. He's so dreamy.
If only I hadn't been spying on him from the hayloft, I might yet love the Irish
Lad. But Smallholder has ruined me for other men. And I can't have
him. (Sobbing uncontrollably)

Maximum Leader: Damn you Smallholder! You heartbreaking agrarian
Adonis! Why must you be so darned attractive? Why must you spurn the
world's attractive women so they will never look at other men?

(There was a break in the chat here. I suspect Sadie was weeping
woefully and the Maximum Leader was ruefully reflecting on all the women in
college who used him to get close to Smallholder)

Maximum Leader: Well, Sadie, I wish I could help. About the only
thing I can recommend is to go on a serious drinking jag. Serious alcohol
poisoning might just damage your memory enough to help you forget the force of
nature that is Smallholder. So get drunk and stay drunk until you can find
a way to live without him. Just try not to go all Ben
on us.

Gully Washer

We had an honest-to-goodness gully-washer last night. Driving, pounding, unremitting rain.

While hard rain always concerns the hillside farmer, I did enjoy listening to the wall of sound produced by our tin roof. Not many tin roofs these days. Ours is a hundred years old, and I've had to patch it in a couple of places. I'll have to paint the roof this summer, a task for which the acrophobic are constitutionally ill-suited (I've jumped out of helicopters, but by God I hate being on a ladder ten feet in the air). Despite the trouble, rainy nights make the tin roof worthwhile.

I had left a wheelbarrow leaning against the barn. The goat, pain in my spanked tuckas that he is, had shouldered it down and it landed right side up. There was three inches of water in the barrow (attention Analphilsopher: ought it to be "was three inches" or "were three inches?" Lord, how my borderline literacy must drive the sentence diagrammers mad). Three inches is a great deal of rain to have overnight.

All the animals were cozy in the barn, but as I walked out to check on them this morning, I notices toads leaping about underfoot. The gully washer must have driven them out of their rapidly filling hidey hibernation hole homes. This has been a very mild January, but I think active amphibians is really going a bit to far.

When I went inside the barn, some of the toads must have followed the light beam - toads like to cluster around lights because the lights attract yummy insects.

Why are you looking at me like that? I just happen to know a bit about toads.

Shut up! I'm not a geek!

Toads in the barn alarmed me. I am afraid that your average toad will not fare too well when stepped on by a two hundred pound calf. So, softy that I am, I ended up on my knees, hand-catching the little guys (and gals - I checked!). I carried them out of the pasture and let them go near the house.

My Samaritanism (is that a word?) is probably futile. The temperature will drop to 20 degrees tonight, so I suspect most of the toads will freeze to death unless they have found new spots to hunker down.

Well, it mattered to those toads for today.

UPDATE: The paper said we had 3.1 inches of rain overnight. I didn't do too badly with my wheelbarrow estimate.

January 14, 2005

Might I Have A Blindfold?

'Tis I, the "Sucky Smallholder."

I was afeared that posting any thoughts about community college would result in a firing squad.

I didn't post it for a bit, considering the risk of offending people in the blog community who I respect and even (from the appropriate non-stalking electronic remove) care about.

I asked the Maximum Leader to look the draft post over and see if he thought it unsuitable for publication. I figured he'd look at it, we'd chat, and make a decision. But I perhaps didn't make the tenative nature of the review very clear to my esteemed generalissamo. Quick like a bunny, like Hooker bringing Wallace's outline of natural selection (as, of course, an "able correspondent" who supports the real work of his friend Chuck, whose unfinished work wasn't really scooped) before scientific society. Ah well, me thoughts are me thoughts, and I might as well be damned for a goat.

That said, I have to say, if one is going to be flamed, one couldn't ask for better flammings than those offered by Ally or Powerfmn (although I'm afraid to ask what the "fmn" stands for). Both folks are models of civil discourse. We haven't seen any namecalling and both support their stances with solid evidence. Both have experiences that have opened my eyes to the larger community college phenomenon.

I would quibble with one of Powefmn's statements. I too took a class at a Northern Virginia Community College. I remember, as a high school student, being appalled at the slack-jawed inattention of the other people in the classroom. There was no student involvement in the learning experience at all. I remember wondering why most of those people were there. Weren't they paying to be there? Why would you pay to be somewhere you find to be absolutely booooorrrrriiiiiinnnngggg? How the heck do you learn a language if you never speak in class? Perhaps that one class was atypical and Powerfmn and Ally's experience with community college classes are more representative of the whole.

One thing I do know is that I wish Ally and Powerfmn had been at Longwood with Mike and I. Discussions would have been much more fun if they had been multipolar. And I would have had my erroneous presuppositions challenged (and changed) with polite ferocity.

Minion Mailbag - Community College Edition.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader loves it when minion-folk decide to write a whole post for him. As has loyal reader/minion "Powermfn." Powermfn is a longtime reader of this humble weblog (if your Maximum Leader may quote the Crack Young Staff). Well, Powermfn has a bone to pick with the good Smallholder concerning his recent Community College post. Let's see what Powermfn's message says...
I reckon it all depends on the community college itself and where it is located. It has been my experience that those CC's located in and around places like D.C. or, for that matter, wherever there is a military installation such as the naval installation at Norfolk, you are likely to find the following:

1. A preference by the government to send their officers to the local CC's to get their tickets punched.

2. An absolutely amazed group of officers already with with undergraduate and graduate degrees in hand who discover that the math classes being taught today at the CC level are so tough that it is like "trying to nail Jello to the wall". (A quote from a naval commander)


1. Some of the private and even some of the public high schools in the northern Virginia area especially choose to send their AP and IHP students to the local CC's for certain courses such as calculus, etc.

2. The influx of immigrant students (mostly those from Asia) has made for some of the most incredible academic competition, again in any class with anything to do with math.

3. Big state universities like Tech are actually recommending that at the very least those students on the waiting list enroll at the local CC and take the state required courses which would leave them free to really immerse themselves in their chosen major once they ever do get off the waiting list and onto a big state u. campus.

4. VCU actually recommends to their student body that if they can swing it at all financially to take summer courses at the local CC for credit transferable back to the big alma mater.

5. For a fact, I have seen with my own eyes that the campus of the community college in Lansing, Michigan, right next to Michigan State University is a far more modern and attractive place than many of the sites on the big u. campus and certainly far more modern and attractive than the state capitol building. Worse yet, there was such an atmosphere of total seriousness from the CC student body as they sweated through computer science, etc. courses that the whole effect was rather off-putting. This was college! Where was the good old rah-rah stuff in the halls and on the green?

6. Check out in different states where those states insist that one go to obtain Board certification and licensing in such areas as optician. Yup. The CC.
There you have it. Thanks to Powermfn for the thoughtful comments. It seems as though Ally isn't the only one who likes a little "spanky-spanky" of the Smallholder's (aka Mocha's) tuckas.

Carry on.

Smallholder Elicits Responses...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wanted to take a moment to do a little link-dump of come recent Smallholder related posts on other blogs.

First up, star geometry proof student, Bill, figures out some probablilities for the Smallholder.

Next up, Kathy, who dwells among the Cate Eaters, writes a thoughtful post concerning community colleges.

Lastly, it seems that the Smallholder is no longer on the outside looking in... See Skippy's site... Read last sidebar comment.

Carry on.

UPDATE: Loyal Minion Sadie wrote your Maximum Leader to request that he append this message. Her amendment to this message: "Smallholder sucks." Your Maximum Leader isn't sure to which recent Smallholder post this refers; but he's willing to go out on a limb and say it is the Community College post.

January 13, 2005

correcting false impressions

"Angst-ridden"? Smallholder doesn't know me that well, does he?

There's a huge difference between blowing off steam and... well, Woody Allen.


Some Casual Reasons Not To Be a Vegetarian.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was making himself a hamburger for lunch today. (Made he should add from the delicious beef he purchased from the Smallholder...) While he was frying up that delicious patty of ground cow these thoughts entered his mind:

1) Vegetarians suffer from the "Three C's." Concern - about what they are eating. They can't just go anywhere and eat. They have to think of places. Meal prep isn't really meal prep so much as meal planning. What will you eat? When? Does this bean have enough protein for me? Can I make an alfredo sauce using vegetable margarine, soy milk, and fake parmesan cheese? (NB: You can - but you wouldn't want to eat it.) Crankiness - because the vegetarian always has to think about what they are eating they aren't ever really happy with what their choices are. Condescension - "You're eating THAT? Eeewww. (Under breath) Killer!"

2) The Arctic Tundra Senario. What if you are stuck on the Arctic tundra of Siberia or waaaay northern Canada? Are you really gonna try and thaw out the perma-frost and grow some beans? Your Maximum Leader votes for killing some of those absolutely deeeeelicious Polar Bears and chowing down. (Note: Polar Bear skins make for warm clothing in a pinch. And being trapped in the Arctic counts as a pinch. As well as appropriate places for male/female "conjugation" if placed in front of a roaring fire on a cold winter night.)

UPDATE: Brian reminds your Maximum Leader that going after Polar Bears without the appropriate gear can be a fatal undertaking. Yes. Yes. Your Maximum Leader knew that. Your Maximum Leader assumes that it goes without saying that one wouldn't trek near the Arctic without appropriate gear. Like a fine large calibre hunting rifle. Something that chambers a huge Weatherby round.

3) The Antartica Senario. What if you were going to trudge to the South Pole? Would you really want to carry all those beans and pasta? Hows about just killing a few penguins? Sure they are mostly blubber, but you can kill more than a few. But blubber can be burned for heat. (It does smoke and give off a foul odour. But it beats freezing to death.)

4) The Trapped in the Andes After Your Plane Crashes Senario. So, your DC-10 flys into the side of a mountain in the Andes and you're trapped. You can 1) move down below the frost line and clear a patch of land and try to grow some crops from what you are able to scavenge or 2) eat your fellow passengers in a brave effort to stay alive until someone comes to rescue you. (NB re:the cooking of people: now old people and vegetarians will be sort of lean and sinewy. So they will require slow cooking with liquids to be more than a piece of shoe leather to chew on. Babies are cute and cuddly, but they are also tender and well marbled with layers of fat. Be sure to reduce your cook time and check frequently to make sure you don't over-do them. It is more humane to go after the old and vegetarians first - as they would be the first to perish from exposure. After they are gone... Try the morbidly obsese and work your way down to plain ole people.)

5) The "Pick-up and Fly Anywhere" Senario. Unless you are going to a developed nation or a predominantly Hindu nation, you need to eat meat. On Safari in Kenya your craving for a tofu-burger with organic lettuce on a toasted whole wheat bun isn't going to get you far. You'd be better off with a tasty medium-rare water buffalo steak with a side of gazelle tartare. If you are lucky, you might convince a Masai tribesman to give you some flatbread to put your buffalo steak on. When on your fact-finding mission to Iraq, you might be offered some roasted lamb or goat by your friendly Kurdish guide. Don't tell him you'd prefer a nice salad of romain lettuce and colourful veggies instead. What he doesn't have a salad? Well then you'll just stick to the hummus... Trust your Maximum Leader on this one... Take. The. Lamb. You'll be better off.

6) "The Children! Think of the Children!" Senario. Think of them. The children of the great Texas cattlemen. The children of the few remaining cowboys. The children of the slaughterhouse workers. The children of the meat department manager at your local grocery store... Think of all the children. Looking at you Mr/Ms Vegetarian. With those weepy brown eyes. Their quivering lips. The tear-streaked faces. What do they say to you... "Meat is tasty. You're an omnivore, why will you not fulfill your place atop the food chain? If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?"

And those, dear minions, are just a few reasons not to be a vegetarian.

Carry on.