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Bush, Koizumi, and The King

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been busy watching the video of President Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at Graceland. The AP news wire story is here. Video clips are here.

Junichiro Koizumi is the coolest. The whole trip is cool.

As long time readers know, upon the commencement of the Mike World Order the Pope in Rome will declare Elvis Aaron Presley to be a Saint. He is the patron saint of the MWO.

There may be lots of princes in the world, and a few kings too… But there is only one who is The King.

Carry on.

Risk & Courage

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was reading over the news wires and caught this peice about the impending launch of the Space Shuttle a few days ago. The jist of the AP wire story is that astronauts on the Discovery are going to be risking their lives when NASA launches the shuttle on July 1. NASA calculates the odds of a fatal disaster at 1:100.

Frankly, those odds seem a little too precise and clean to be the real odds. But hey… Your Maximum Leader is not a statistician…

Regardless of what your Maximum Leader might think about the Space Shuttle programme or the job NASA is doing, he is a big believer in space exploration. (NB to all readers: In case you’ve not read - or can’t remember earlier pronouncements on the Space Shuttle - your Maximum Leader believes that the shuttle is an old programme that needs to be scrapped and NASA needs to focus on other types of exploration. Your Maximum Leader will commend to you Buckethead’s recent entry on the Post Office & Aviation for a good template for future NASA endeavours.) Being a big beliver in space exploration he is also a realist. Exploring space is a dangerous business. All sorts of exploration (in the true sense of the word - not the 2nd grade version of “let’s explore our feelings!”) aredangerous excursions. There is a significant chance of death. That chance of death is, in some ways, what is alluring about exploration.

What upset your Maximum Leader about that Reuters peice was the hand-wringing, namby-pamby “Oh My God We’re Gonna Die!” element of it. On the one hand, the success, through the early 80s and then again through the 1990s, of NASA marketing Shuttle voyages as reasonably safe can lead to an over-acute sense of danger as we try to get the programme started again. But on the other hand your Maximum Leader thinks it is a reflection of our hand-wringing, namby-pamby, milquetoast society.

Are Americans explorers any more? Are we risk-takers? Do we have courage to dare might things and win glorious triumphs (although checkered by defeat)?

More and more your Maximum Leader isn’t sure that we as a nation are courageous. Sure there are lots of courageous Americans. Those courageous Americans are astronauts, police officers, soliders, sailors, airmen. But as a whole Americans may have lost (or are in the process of losing) our sense of national courage. We wring our hands over the Space Shuttle. We wring our hands over our fat lazy children. We wring our hands over what “the world” thinks of us. We wring our hands about everything. And because we are a public people, we do our hand wringing publicly. Our public decent into pansyness has strengthened our enemies, weakened our friends, and made us look to the world as uncomfortable as a metrosexual at a monster truck rally.

Your Maximum Leader will watch the Space Shuttle launch tomorrow. He will say a prayer that our astronauts are launched into space and safely returned. He will not anticipate the worst. He will not expect to fail. He will hope to watch with respect as the courageous astronauts do what they are trained and want to do. If, God forbid, there is a disaster, your Maximum Leader will greive. Then he will hope we get right back on that horse and ride.

Carry on.

A Eulogy for Rob Smith

Greetings, loyal minions. I will drop some of the blogging shtick I normally engage in while writing for this post. As this entry is posted a memorial service is occurring in Savannah for Rob Smith.

As many other bloggers have written, many more eloquently, I am more than a little surprised at the sense of grief I feel. There is a void that I hadn’t expected would be there. The void is complicated by a number of factors. Why should I have such a range of emotion for a person whom I never met - and corresponded with via e-mail very infrequently?

As other have mentioned, to read Rob’s writing was to start to know the man. Perhaps he is one of the few who you could really say you know through his writings. Rob didn’t write from behind a mask. He wrote and let every raw emotion, impulsive thought, humorous contemplation, or serious reflection just flow out through his keyboard.

Unlike other blogs where the primary author has problems, I never felt like an unwelcome voyeur when reading Rob’s work. Other blogs have share the quality of a diary. A diary where the author writes and doesn’t really think there is anyone else out there reading. There is something discomforting about reading someone’s most intimate thoughts and thinking to yourself that you are somehow intruding into their life. I never got that feeling from Rob’s writings. In fact, Rob’s writing was welcoming and engaging to the reader. He wrote about his experiences knowing that he had an audience. Rob wrote desiring an audience. He didn’t want us to throw him a big pity party when things were hard. He just wanted you to know what was going on in his life and what he thought about it.

Rob was unafraid in writing. Unafraid in a way I know I could never be. I compartmentalize. I have compartments forvarious elements of my life. Blogging is one compartment. I carefully segregate the compartments of my life and don’t generally blog (at least in a meaningful way) about compartments I don’t want to share. Rob, as best I could tell, didn’t have internal barriers similar to those I’ve erected. His life was one open book. A book he freely made available to all. If you were lucky, and I wasn’t, you might have gotten to meet Rob and become more a part of that life story than you bargained.

I felt connected to him in a way I don’t feel connected to other writers I read regularly. I don’t imagine other writers want me to connect to them, quite frankly. Most bloggers, myself included, are content to know that there is an audience out there who cares - at some level - to read what we put out. As long as someone reads, we’re happy. At some level Rob wanted people to connect to him. Rob’s title graphic said that he was on a ceaseless quest for adoration from people who didn’t know him. The only way people can adore you is if they know you. And Rob let you know him through his writing. If you liked it, you adored him. If you didn’t, well he didn’t give a rat’s ass about you anyway.

When I read that Rob’s service was going to be today, I started making calls. I was nearly done booking a flight, rental car, and hotel for a journey I felt I needed to make. It was only when I called my wife and remembered the date that I cancelled my plans.

If it weren’t my son’s second birthday I would have left DC early this morning and made my way to Savannah. I would have been traveling by plane and car to attend the memorial service of a man I never met. Instead, I will be at home. I will spend time with a son I love deeply.

By spending time with my son today, I’ll remember Rob Smith. I’ll be grateful for doing so. I’ll be more grateful than normal because I’ll be doing something that Rob longed to do, but couldn’t; and now will not have the chance to do. When I put my son to bed tonight I’ll go downstairs, pour myself a drink, and put on a John Prine album. For Rob.

Rob, if I can butcher Robbie Burns for you: If there’s another world, you live in bliss; If there is none, you made the best of this.

Fare thee well Rob Smith. Fare thee well.

Carry on.

Jawas Back!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that The Jawa Report appears to be alive again.

They also appear to be posting photos of hot chics.

Carry on.

Standing Fast

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has, from time to time, expressed his almost always favorable opinion of his state government. Overall, he thinks that we here in the great Commonwealth of Virginia have it pretty good when it comes to state government. We have a Democratic Governor (Tim Kaine) and a Republican General Assembly (lead in the state Senate by your Maximum Leader’s Senator John Chichester; and lead in the House of Delegates by your Maximum Leader’s Delegate Bill Howell).

We’ve had, here in Virginia, a little bit of a budget impasse over the past few months. The normal ebb and flow of our budgeting process has been disturbed by our Governor, Mr. Kaine, trying to get a tax increase through the General Assembly. The Governor has had the support of Republicans in the State Senate, including the support of Mr. Chichester. The obstacle to passage of the tax increases was Speaker Howell and the (generally quite fiscally conservative) House of Delegates Republican majority.

In the end, your Maximum Leader is glad to say, Speaker Howell and House Republicans killed the tax increases. Your Maximum Leader will commend to you the Fred Barnes article in Opinion Journal for some analysis on this point. The great idea in Barnes’ piece is the rediscovery of the bicameral legislature (and idea articulated by arry Sabato of UVA). One house in a bicameral legislature holds great power. Power that is often not exercised in the name of “getting along” or “bipartisanship” or “getting things done.”

Long-time readers will know that your Maximum Leader is quite fond of gridlock and NOT getting things done. In Virginia, the “thing” to get done was a tax increase. Thanks to our House of Delegates that thing didn’t get done. Just because both houses of the legislature are controlled by Republicans doesn’t mean they have to work lock-step with each other. One hopes that now our federal government will take a cue from Virginia. The issue that comes immediately to mind is immigration “reform.” The US House and Senate have passed widely divergent bills on this subject. They will meet in conference to try and work out a compromise bill that both houses of Congress can agree upon. Your Maximum Leader hopes that the House Republicans will decide not to compromise and kill all hopes of an immigration bill in this Congress. No bill is better than a bad bill.

Carry on.

Lightbulb + Anus = News

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees, on the Reuters news wire no less, that one Fateh Mohammed, of a dark, dank, and dangerous Pakistani Prison, recently underwent surgery to… Erm… Well… Let’s read the headline again: Operation removes lightbulb from anus. The money quote:

The doctor treating Mohammad said he’d never encountered anything like it before, and doubted the felon’s story that someone had drugged him and inserted the bulb while he was comatose.

Imagine your Maximum Leader channelling his best Dr. Evil voice. “Yeah… Right…”

One supposes, however, that this news item now will give creedence to all those urban legends about people coming into emergency rooms around the world will all manner of objects “stuck” in their anus. Everyone has heard a gerbil story (or two). Your Maximum Leader and the Smallholder once got a chuckle (and frankly still do get chuckles) from a story where the object was an egg. Heh.

Anyho… Fateh Mohammed, your Maximum Leader hopes that you just stick to sodomy in the future and try not to use lightbulbs again.

Carry on.

Missing .38 returned

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader probably wouldn’t take the time to mention to you that a .38 calibre pistol stolen 16 years ago has now been recovered and returned to its rightful owners.

Well… He would take the time if the .38 calibre pistol belonged to Teddy Roosevelt and was stolen from Sagamore Hill.

He’s glad to see that the FBI found the gun and it will soon be back where it should be.

Carry on.

Links for your reading pleasure

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader had planned to just make this a quick post with a pithy comment on one link. But in the interval from opening the new post to starting to type, your Maximum Leader changed his mind and has decided to dump a few links.

First off… Check out Bill’s Comments on how out of control our elected Representatives have gotten. Good stuff. Your Maximum Leader might quibble a little bit with the implication Bill leaves that some term limitations might be in order (and that might be a truly subliminal implication that your Maximum Leader is inferring from the peice), it is a good piece. Check it out. (NB to Bill: It also shows that you haven’t run out of things to say…)

After Bill you should check out the nice piece by Robbo on the Llamabutchers about the 150th anniversary of the Victoria Cross.  Dates like the anniversary of the Victoria Cross are things your Maximum Leader should put on his calendar so he doesn’t forget them. Of course, if you want to get a little outraged at the British Government, follow Robbo’s link to Tim Worstall. Your Maximum Leader, once upon a time, had the pleasure of meeting some Ghurka Vets of WWII. They were quite aged at that point (probably late 60s or so). And at the time your Maximum Leader decided two things for himself. The first was that even a 60 years old Ghurka could kick your Maximum Leader arse. The second was that when the Mike World Order comes he was gonna have to get himself a regiment or two of Ghurkas to be personal bodyguards. If you ever want to read a pretty good book about the Ghurkas your Maximum Leader will recommend this one.

You know something… Your Maximum Leader never thought that the Crack Young Staff was one to make nice.

Read the Colossus’ piece analyzing the Democratic strategery concerning Iraq. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t like to linger on the Democratic party’s comparisons of Iraq to Vietnam - mainly because he thinks they are wrong-headed. The Colossus has made the arguments your Maximum Leader would have.

Did your Maximum Leader mention that he might consider voting the Insufferable Prick party in the next elections? Well… He is considering it. That is if he doesn’t write himself in. Or!… He should try and run on the IP ticket! Yeah Baby yeah!

Speaking of voting… Vote for your favourite Hoosegow Honey. Your Maximum Leader has voted for Jessica. She looks as wholesome as one can look. In a mugshot…

Wilford Brimley. Yes. Wilford Brimley.

And with Wilford your Maximum Leader must close this post. Afterall, how can one top Wilford Brimley?

Carry on.

Dr Rusty.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader hasn’t noted here, but has noticed in his travels around the blogosphere, that his friend Dr. Rusty Shackleford’s site The Jawa Report has been down for quite a while now. (Don’t clicky that linky - it don’t work.) Of course, Dr. Rusty has a backup site. It is here. (Clicky on this linky - it works.) Keep checking in on Dr Rusty.

If you don’t, the terrorists have won. And, unfortunately, that is not any hyperbole. They will have shut down a site that exposes their deeds for any who want to see.

Carry on.

Civics Quiz

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader just took a civics quiz he saw on MSNBC (via Phoenix). Take the quiz yourself and see how you score.

For the record, your Maximum Leader scored 95% - he missed one question. Also for the record, he missed the same question as did Phoenix. That would be question 19 - the one about the form the INS needs. He guessed close, but didn’t get the prize. (In fact, he imagines he picked the same answer as did Phoenix.)

The hardest question (for the record - since your Maximum Leader is doing lots of recording in this short post) was the one about which Amendment to the Constitution does not address or guarantee vting rights. Your Maximum Leader resisted the urge to google and sat in his chair trying to recite the words of each of the Amendments listed as possible answers. That was really tough.

Carry on.

Open Letter to Rush

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has decided to publish an open letter to radio personality Rush Limbaugh. Here goes:

Dear Rush.

Once again your Maximum Leader feels he must write you about this whole drug kerfluffle you find yourself in. Your Maximum Leader would think that after the last time you would have learnt your lesson. This is apparently not so. For being the all-knowing maja-Rushie (or however you style yourself now - your Maximum Leader hasn’t listened to you since some time in 1994**), you are sometimes a real ignoramus.

Did you really think that the Miami-Dade police department is going to just let you waltz on through their airports without looking at your bags? Did you really think that using the General Aviation terminal and a private plane was going to reduce scrutiny on your luggage? Come on. One doesn’t have to be one-tenth as villainous as your Maximum Leader to know that Johnny Law - and local prosecutors - are gonna keep after you.

What makes the whole situation worse is that it was viagra. Freakin’ viagra. Need some female companionship did you? Need a little boost to get jiggy? Didn’t think you could bum some viagra off one of your limp-dicked buddies? Sweet mother of God you are ignorant sometimes.

Your Maximum Leader has one word of advice for you… Mule.

yours cordially,

Your Maximum Leader

There you have it readers. Sometimes you can’t save a grown man from his own hubris. But that doesn’t keep your Maximum Leader from trying.

Carry on.
(more…)

Rob Smith - RIP

Gretings, loyal minions. I just read that blogger Rob Smith of Gut Grumbles has died.

My very deepest sympathy go out to his family and his many friends.

God Bless you Rob. I hope you’ve found peace.

Carry on.

World Cup Update

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader hasn’t watched a single World Cup match. But everyday he looks over the sports pages and sees who’s still in and who’s been sent packing. For those of you who might care here is the organized list of the nations your Maximum Leader is rooting on…

1) England
2) Austraila
3) Switzerland
4) Italy
5) Spain
6) Germany

Yup… Your Maximum Leader is witholding his affections from all Second/Third World nations. Frankly, if you’re not a European or Aussie your Maximum Leader is hoping you shed a tear in your beer and go home.

Carry on.

UPDATE: Our friend Basil Seal cites a Weekly Standard piece about soccer that fairly sums up your Maximum Leader’s sentiments on the matter. Here is the Weekly Standard piece.

Simon Schama

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader greatly enjoyed Simon Schama’s book Citizens. It is a wonderfully readable and engaging book that follows the course of the French Revolution. (He gifted it to the Big Hominid years ago, but he isn’t sure that the Big Hominid has read it yet. Not his field really.)

Your Maximum Leader also owns Simon Schama’s History of Britain on DVD. It is eminently viewable and engaging to historian and non-historian alike.

Rembrandt’s Eyes has been recommended to your Maximum Leader - but he’s never bought or read it.

Your Maximum Leader has always thought that Simon Schama is a rare find. He is a historian who is a good writer. Most popular “Historians” would be dismissed by “Professional Historians” as “Journalists” or “Popular Writers.” David McCollough is the first person to fall into that appellation. Ask lots of historians in the academy and they would tell you that McCollough is not a historian but a writer of history. Schama is a professional historian who can write. But also Schama has a feel for the larger picture. This talent is evinced in the History of Britain where he moves his narrative along by carefully chosen vignettes that capture the essence of his message.

Why is your Maximum Leader blogging this? Well, Schama is well-written up in today’s Washington Post and he wanted to set up the link before passing it along. The Post bit is a good read. You should check it out.

Carry on.

Shiny!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is coming to you from a rain besotted Villainschloss. Damn! Has it been raining. By your Maximum Leader’s unscientific reckoning (by way of an inflatable kiddie pool in the back yard) he’s received about 8 inches of rain since Saturday. More is coming down as he types these words.

For those of you commuting in the DC area, your Maximum Leader weeps for you. Parts of the Beltway closed due to flooding, roads washed away by flooding, and just plain ole flooding… It is not yet approaching Biblical proportions - but give it a few days more.

Since there was much rain and no need or cause to do much else over the weekend, your Maximum Leader partook of watching DVDs he’d been given for his birthday.

Your Maximum Leader has now watched 3 of the 4 disks containing all the episodes of Firefly. He’s really enjoying it. When your Maximum Leader finishes the Firefly TV episodes, he’ll watch Serenity. For this viewing experience your Maximum Leader must thank his fantastic in-laws (who bought Firefly) and his friend the Big Hominid (who bought Serenity).

The show is really well written and put together. It is a shame that (according to various web sites) there will be no more episodes or films. Apparently Serenity only grossed about $38 million while it was in the theatres. That didn’t cover the $40 million cost of the film. But DVD sales have been strong and that is worth something. Although your Maximum Leader also reads that Joss Whedon has no intention of working for the FOX network again. And FOX still owns broadcast/film rights to the characters and stories. The combination of not making enough money and broadcaster/writer feuding means we are not likely to get any more stories of the Malcolm Reynolds and his merry band.

Of the episodes your Maximum Leader has seen (which is now nearly all of thm) he likes Jaynestown, Our Mrs Reynolds, and Trash the best. Although Inara is dead sexy (but not as dead sexy as Dead Sexy Sadie) he finds Saphron very alluring. It must be the bad-for-you vibe that is attractive. That and the boobs…

Anyhoo… That is what your Maximum Leader did over the weekend…

Carry on.

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