Smallholder: The Last Romantic

Now that the Maximum Leader has removed comments, I can safely post this vignette without the risk of all of our female readers begging me to violate the Seventh Commandment. While the Maximum Leaders is correct that out friends Ally and Sadie are indeed lovely and sexy, their swooning over my manure-spattered boots has grown a bit tiresome. I personally don’t mind so much when Sadie stalks me from afar, her ontiued presence in the barn loft makes Mrs. Smallholder uncomfortable.

At any rate, since I can now relate this story without triggering a flood of love letters in our comments, here ’tis:

At a play group this summer (I should stop calling it baby group), one of the mothers was describing how she and her husband were taking a couple-only vacation to celebrate their anniversary. The in-laws were going to watch the kids and they were going to spend a week at the Homestead Resort. Many of the moms swooned over the idea of a brief liberation from child-rearing and living in the lap of luxury for seven days. Homestead mom basked in the approval of her peers, confident that no one else would be able to top her romantic getaway.

She of course, did not know who she was dealing with.

Mrs. Smallholder cleared her voice and spoke.

“Seven days at a resort? My husband is taking me on a tour of grazing dairies and we are spending the night at the Knight’s Inn in Galax, Virginia. Two whole days of looking at cows and grass and a night at Motel Six’s discount competitor.”

You should have seen all the moms swoon. I could only humbly reply, “Sorry ladies, this one’s taken.”


Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wanted to let you all know that he’s turned off the comments on this blog for an indetermined period. They appear to be causing some problem with his hosting service. So, at least for the time being, comments are gone. They might return.

So, you’ll just have to read the posts and if you have the urge to comment you can send an e-mail to your Maximum Leader (or Smallholder).

Carry on.

Who Knew?

Sadie reveals what the Maximum Leader and Elmo have in common.

Super Seekrit Note to Sadie: Has anyone mentioned that your humble Smallholder is the spitting image of Jon Stewart? Or that the Minister of Propaganda has more than a passing resemblence to K-Fed?

For Sadie

David Hasselhoff: Jedi Knight

Why Blogging Is A Bad Idea

Imagine if Mrs. Smallholder and I had returned early from dinner and found the baconnabbers hard at work. Imagine they wouldn’t have killed an enraged Smallholder as he charges them with a trailer hitch. Imagine Smallholder manages to connect with said hitch and splatters baconnabber brains all over the driveway.

The cops come. At first they are willing to accept that Smallholder acted in self-defense. Until they get an anonymous tip about an obscure blog called “Naked Villainy” and a “100 below” essay included therein.

Do you think this might have been a problem?


Wav files from Sweet Seasons Farm here, here, and here.

Bruno Kirby

I can’t arrive at a position about Starchild Abraham Cherrix.

He is a sixteen year old with Hodgkins cancer. He went through a round of chemotherapy which was debilitating. The chemo gave him a temporary reprieve but the cancer has returned. Even with aggressive treatment, recurring Hodgkins has a less than 50% survival rate. Things look grim. Rather than go through the hell of another round of chemotherapy, he decided to try an alternative medicine treatment that is largely diet-based. His parents have supported this choice and Accomack county has stepped in. They claim that the parents are negligent to allow the boy to refuse another round of treatment. A court case ensued in which social services tried to force the lad to undergo chemotherapy. Yesterday, a judge allowed Cherrix to continue down the path of his choice.

On one hand, I am a strong supporter of an individual’s right to make choices about his or her life. A woman at my church has decided to stop chemotherapy because the odds were grim even with the chemo and she didn’t want to spend her last months nauseated. My grandmother did the same thing. When the doctors discovered a grapefruit sized tumor in her uterus, the 90 year old thanked them and then went home to die on her own terms. I think I would do the same if I was 90 and the kids were grown. Right now, I’d fight on with even a 1% chance of survival because I have an obligation to my children - being there.

The problem with being a supporter of individual rights is that the kid is a minor. He is 16 and seems thoughtful and well-spoken in the coverage I have seen. 18 is an arbitrary cut-off, but it is the cut-off for adulthood that we usually accept.

I also support a parent or next-of-kin’s right to make medical decisions when the person can’t make a decision for themselves. If we assume that Abraham can’t make decisions as a minor, then my default position would be to accept the parent’s decision. I certainly don’t think that a bureaucrat ought to step in and decide. Longtime readers of this blog will remember the Schiavo case and my abhorrence of government meddling. Of course, unlike Abraham, Terri was already dead. Abraham has a certain percentage chance of living if he takes the chemo.

While respecting parental rights, I do think the state has a right to step in - in narrow circumstances. A six-year old from a Christian Science family with a ruptured appendix ought not to die because we defer to his parent’s religious convictions. A couple of years ago, a local Pentacostal preacher was bitten by a rattlesnake while snake-handling in the pulpit. Rather than rush him to the hospital, the congregation prayed with him for a cure until he died. Now, as an adult I’ll respect his right to refuse treatment. But if the rattler had jumped out of the pulpit and bit a three year old who then died because her parents sat around and prayer for divine intervention, I’d charge the parents with negligent homicide. Imagine a five year old Jehovah’s Witness who could be saved by a simple blood transfusion refused by his parents.

These things aren’t black and white - life is a grey-scale continuum. I’ll confess that Abraham, with his relatively advanced age pushes toward the white side (allowing him and his parents to make their own decision). The fact that he might have an almost even chance of survival with chemo pushes us towards the black (state intervention). The fact that it would be a societal problem if we encourage the development of a second-guessing nanny state (Bill Frist nonwithstanding) pushes us back toward the white - not out of consideration of Abraham’s interests but to protect us all from interventionist politicians.

One thing that does make me lean towards te black is that their alternative treatment is just plain hokey. I may be a redneck agrarian with no medical knowledge, but I suspect that abstaining from sugar ain’t gonna stop the cancer cells. Although I think their choice is, well, dumb, it is their choice - but I contradict myself once again - wasn’t I just willing to override the choices of Christian Scientists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Snake-Handlers?

So I give up.

Count me as indecisive and squishy.

What do the loyal minions think? Should the judge have forced Abraham to get chemo?

Bruno Kirby

Joel Achenbach has a very sweet obituary of actor Bruno Kirby in today’s Washington Post. Beyond being an amusing actor, he sounds like he was a good man.

Institute for Justice

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t really endorse organizations on his blog. But there are, if you look down his right side nav bar under “Villain Approved Sites” you will see a few companies or groups that your Maximum Leader feels strongly enough about to link on his blog.

Of those companies or groups there are a few he actually donates to. Yes… Your Maximum Leader makes charitable contributions. (Egad!) Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure that belonging to the NRA constitutes making a contribution to a group. (He thinks this because he receives benefits of being a member of the NRA.)

But one organization from which your Maximum Leader does not recieve a tangible benefit, but he wholly supports is The Institute for Justice.

IJ is an independent, libertarian public interest law-firm. They were key players in a number of Supreme Court Cases last year. Not the least well-known of which was Kelo v New London, CT. Alas, they lost that one. But one hopes that the vast public outcry over the Kelo case is changing how eminent domain works in our nation.

If you have some extra cash, and you believe in supporting people trying to overturn often insane (or just inane) government regulations through use of the courts, you should consider donating to The Institute for Justice (or the Castle Coalition).

Carry on.

Elvis is still The King

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been off mourning today. Yes… The black jumpsuit was out of the closet and worn in honor of the passing of The King.

On this day, in 1977, Elvis Aron Presley, The King of Rock and Roll, departed this world. He was the victim of his own excesses. Many think that with a “mafia” of adherents and hangers-on, someone should have tried to save Elvis. But really, how do you save a 42 year old man from himself?

Your Maximum Leader loves Elvis for so many different reasons. The cultural change that his popularity in the 1950’s ushered in has been both a boon and a bane for our nation (and one could argue - by extension - the West). Your Maximum Leader loves the groundbreaking music he recorded. (Music which, by the way, your Maximum Leader can listen to with his children without worrying about bad language.) Your Maximum Leader, in a way filled with pathos, even likes the overindulgent 70’s Elvis. Once could try and find analogies between Elvis and our national self image. But your Maximum Leader will lay off that for today.

Today, your Maximum Leader will lift a glass in memory of The King. And, he suspects, somewhere in Toronto, Skippy will celebrate in his own way…

Carry on.

A Link For Gun Geeks

For the Maximum Leader and the Foreign Minister.

Plus, this guy lives in my neck of the woods.

In another post, he describes himself as a “Iam a Bullmoose, Teddy Roosevelt conservationist.”


Is it just me or is the incorporation of instant messaging into standard English a sign of the approaching apocalypse?

It’s just me?

Ok. Never mind then.

But if you do want to laugh out loud, I offer you this gem from Agent Bedhead:

“Jessica Alba is everything Paris Hilton is not: poised, gracious, publicly well behaved and physically attractive. (Okay, they’re both ot-nay oo-tay ight-bray, if you know what I mean. But Jessica is adorably dumb, like a cocker spaniel puppy, while Paris is more like that tick-infested possum that keeps rooting around in my garbage cans.)”

Smallholder: The Maximum Leader’s Friend

Text of my phone call to the Maximum Leader last night:

ML: “Hello?”

SH: “Hey. Just calling to let you know that the new Ryan Seacrest show on E! is about to do an interview with Jaime Pressly and Jennifer Love Hewitt.”

ML: “Jennifer Love Hewitt! Oh my god! (titters like a little girl)”

SH: “Oh wait, he is only interviewing Emmy nominees on this show, so Jennifer Love Hewiit won’t be on. Only Jaime Pressly. Talk to you later.” (Click)

UPDATE FROM YOUR MAXIMUM LEADER: Hummm… The Smallholder must be back at work again. To think… A man who would “crank call” his friends like this is out there teaching the youth of America. Weep for the future.


The Volokh Conspiracy provides a series of links to the Kreshnar promotion contretemps here.

In short, Kreshnar is a conservative philosopher who has been publicly critical about some of SUNY Fredonia’s policies, including affirmative action. Kreshnar was recommended by his peers for promotion to full professor, but the college president, overturning the factulty recommendation, denied Kreshnar’s promotion. In his denial, the president acknowledged that Kreshnar’s teaching was excellent, that his publication record merited promotion, but then said that he was denying that promotion because Kreshnar had “misrepresented” the university’s positions and harmed the university’s reputation.

You can read all the primary source documents here. (Never, ever, mess with a PhD and leave a paper trail)

The good news is that the release of the related memos and the public attention they have garnered has forced the president to reverse his position and Kreshnar has received his promotion.

I just want to comment on a tiny little part of the while topic. During the conflict, Kreshnar offered to submit his newspaper columns to be reviewed for purposeful factual inaccuracies. The president wanted a a vaguer, open-ended review process. Interestingly, Kreshnar wanted a process that was open and the president wanted a process that was secret.

A commenter at Inside Higher Education said:

“President Hefner admitted his mistake, to his credit, but Professor Kershnar seems to see no contradiction in first offering to have his articles vetted by a censorship committee prior to publication and then when the offer is accepted with an add-on complains that the uniersity attempted to stifle his speech. Faustian bargains of the sort that President Hefner and Professor Kershnar made behind closed doors have no place in the academy.”


If the commenter had actually read the primary documents, he would have seen Kushnar’s proposal in a different light. I read it as a very clear smack to the president. Kreshner’s proposal, focusing on “factual inaccuracies” was simply a way to show that the president’s claims of misrepresentation were bunk - in order to stop his newspaper columns from being published, the committee would have to demonstrate what factual inaccuracies were in the proposed article. Since the president’s claims that Kreshnar was misrepresenting the university’s policies were never supported, one imagines that the president’s real problem was the Kreshnar accurately represented the univerisity’s policies in an unfavorable light. Kreshnar’s proposal was calling the president’s bluff: Show me the misrepresentation. Oh, you can’t? Then give me my promotion, you free-speech-squelching jackass.

I find it heartening that Kreshnar’s liberal colleagues went to bat for a colleague with an opposing but intellectually valid viewpoint and that the administration’s attempted denial was the product of asinine bureauratic impulse rather than a direct political motivation.

CSI: Batesville

Your humble Smallholder lives in the tiny virginia hamlet of Batesville. Population: 100 (actually 99 now that the horse has died). We actually have a town song that we sing during the Christmas carol festivities in which we proudly proclaim ourselves a podunk “one horse town with a lot of heart.”

But crime, my friends, has come to Batesville.

Our good friend and occasional commentator Polymath hired a guy out of Crozet to paint the roof of Polymathschloss. The painter brought his ne’er-do-well son along to help (I found this out much later). And this is where the serpent enters the garden. Years from now, when we look back a bemoan the loss of the innocent Batesville years, we will all blame Polymath. We might even have to arrange for an old-school blanket party to help him atone for his sins.

Ne’er-do-well son, driving home from the paint job evidently saw my pigs who are pastured right next to the road. He tells one of his buddies and they decided to have a pig roast.

They came at night, shot one of the pigs with a crossbow, jumped the fence, manhandled the 300 pound carcass over the fence, hung it up in paint man’s garage, and went to a party. These two 18 year old dropouts then brag to everyone at the party that they shot a pig in Batesville.

Unfortunately for them, some of the kids at the party liked my pigs. People who drive down my road frequently slow down and even stop to enjoy the pigs. Most people have never seen pigs being pigs in the woods. The Batesville pigs are well known and beloved. I keep running into people at the pool or the local store who talk about them. Yep, I say, they’re mine. At any rate, some of those kids did the right thing and came to tell me who killed the pig.

I called the cops. And, not knowing that they had stolen the body, spent an hour walking through the woods trying to find the victim. Not finding anything, I figured that the other pigs,being pigs, had eaten their less fortunate colleague.

When the policeman finally showed up, I gave him the names of the perpetrators. A dead pig is not a high priority in the police department, so he suggested I file a citizen’s warrant (he was familiar with the two boys from previous cases). So I went to the magistrate to swear out a warrant against the two boys. The magistrate looked up livestock killing and found out that it was a class five felony. I swore out a citizen’s felony warrant and the magistrate told me it would take a week or so to serve the warrants.

I was pretty hot, as you can imagine. But I also realized that a conviction would be almost impossible. I thought that the body has disappeared and the only evidence was based on hearsay. So I was not optimistic about justice and definitely not optimistic about recovering the loss. Unlike the Maximum Leader and Minister of Propaganda, your humble Smallholder is not a “man of wealth and taste.” I’m a school teacher and a farmer and the loss of one seventh of my hog crop was a big financial blow to my family.

And then I got to thinking. Many of the criminals I deal with in the after school program have parents who are enablers. I knew that the triggerman lived in a trailer park and had recently beaten his father so badly that he had to go to the hospital, so it was unlikely that he had parents to bail him out. But through the miracle of the internet and property tax records, I discovered that paint boy’s family owned a house in Crozet. So I looked up the Snow family of Crozet in the phone book. There are a lot of Snows in Crozet. But I did find a listing with the boy’s name.

Woman answers the phone: “Hello?”

“Is C____ Snow there?”

“He’s not in right now.”

“Well, you tell your boy that I know he killed my hog and if I don’t have restitution by the end of the day, I’m prosecuting to the full extent of the law!”

“Wait, wait! My husband C_______ is thirty years old. This happens all the time. We are always getting calls for the C________ who is eighteen.”

Oops. Ah well, it was worth a try.

But the woman evidently called the correct group of Snows because the next day paint man comes up my driveway with $1000 in cash. Introduces himself and says he is the father of one of the boys who shot my pig. I invite him inside because I want witnesses and have a friend in the kitchen. Dad comes in, almost in tears, and tells us that he came home from work to find the pig hanging in his garage. The boys told him they bought it somewhere but he thought the story sounded littly hinky and was upset about all the blood on the floor. He told them to move it. He says his boy was a good boy and had never been in trouble except when he was with the triggerman. I refrained from saying that his boy wasn’t good at all if he thought it was morally acceptable to shoot and steal someone’s animal. He says that when the other Snow called him he called the boys in and the triggerman came up with the $1000 to pay me. I asked why the boys hadn’t come over and he said that he didn’t know what kind of people we were and was afraid that I might be violent towards the boys.

Now, if I had come upon them in the act of stealing the pig, I don’t know what I would have done. My wife and I were out for our anniversery dinner. My wondeful inlaws told us they would stay up late to watch the wee ones and that we should see a movie too. If we had come straight home from dinner, we might have pulled up behind their truck. If that had happened, I’m not sure what I would have done. I imagine I would have been enraged. And I also imagine that I would have felt protective of my wife. I probably would have picked up the trailer hitch on the floorboard of the truck and went after them. Either they would have killed me with the crossbow or I would have beaten them pretty badly. I’ve actually had nightmares about this. I kill one and go to jail and can’t see my kids.

But once the act was over, I wouldn’t have been violent. So I tell the man he needs to go get the bys and bring them to the house to apologize and pay restitution themselves - and I’ll have a police officer there to witness the restitution.

He leaves to get the boys and I call the police. They don’t seem to be that interested in coming out until I say that I don’t know what will happen. Then they dispatch a police officer.

The boys drive up, give me the thousand dollars, and confess that they killed the pig. The triggerman starts bawling and says they “only wanted to eat it.” (”Well, in that case, be my guest! Stealing from my family is fine as long as you want to have a pig roast!”) Paint boy mumbles that he was “just in the wrong place at the wrong time.” This set me off. I hate when kids try to deny responsibility and place blame on the world at large. I lit into him: “No, you made a choice. You and your buddy chose to come to my house after dark. You chose to climb over my woven wire and electric fences. You chose to help your buddy get the hog over the fence. You chose to load the hog into your truck. You chose to hang it up in your garage. It wasn’t a series of circumstances beyond your control. You chose to commit this crime.”

Our friend, who is witnessing this from the front porch, says it was better than a crime drama on TV. I then lit into both of them for hurting the pig, hurting my family, and hurting the community as a whole because they would have one less pig to watch.

The policeman stood there and listened until I wound down. He then said that it was good that they had paid restitution but there was a felony arrest warrant for them and he would take them downtown. He handcuffed the crying boys and took them in.

CSI Batseville: Making the guilty confess!

I’ll continue the saga in another post.

Monday Night Football

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure why his post of last night didn’t show up until today. Not like it was a great post or anything… Just a hiccup in the Al Gore created internets or something…

Well, your Maximum Leader said that he was wasting his free time yesterday playing Rome:Total War and watching Monday Night Football. Since you, loyal minion, probably have no interest whatsoever in reading about the e-exploits of your Maximum Leader as leader of the Scipii faction as he has taken most of Greece and significant chunks of North Africa; he will instead regale you with his thoughts on Monday Night Football.

Frankly, your Maximum Leader didn’t give a hoot about the game. Raiders v. Vikings. It is preseason and they don’t count for anything. He would, instead, prefer to give catty assessments of his thoughts while watching the game.

First thought… Your Maximum Leader’s digital cable package doesn’t seem to inclue ESPN HD. And that sucks. He’ll have to rectify that situation right away.

Second thought… Vikings new uniforms are nothing to write home about. In fact, your Maximum Leader prefers the old ones. Second thought sub-a… What happened to the Viking painted on the midfield “grass?” The great Viking head is now replaced with some pseudo-funky “MV” in a san-serif font. For a moment your Maximum Leader wondered to himself, “MV? What the hell does that stand for? What happened to the Viking head?” The new owner is just indulging his wife and redesigning the uniforms and the grass for her to feel like she is part of the ownership experience… Oy! Is that a sexist thought or what?

Third thought… Your Maximum Leader loves Tony Kornheiser. But Tony seemed to be ready to void on himself at any moment. If there is a reason to broadcast Monday Night pre-season games it is let Tony get more at ease with himself on the show. Overall he gives Tony a C+ in his initial outing.

Fourth thought… Your Maximum Leader still doesn’t like Joe Thiesman. He never really has liked Joe. When he was QB of the ‘Skins - he was okay. As a broadcaster, he doesn’t do it for your Maximum Leader. Joe seemed to want to engage in banter with Tony, but it was forced sounding. That could have been because of Tony’s nerves.

Fifth thought… Michele Tafoya is a great sideline reporter, but your Maximum Leader would prefer a much younger, much hotter, much more suggestively dressed, vapid female sideline reporter. Your Maximum Leader has a soft spot in his black heart for Suzi Kolber. So she stays. But how about just giving the other mic to the various cheerleading squads to pass around? That would be more fun.

Sixth thought… Art Shell is one mean-looking S.O.B.

Seventh and final thought… He can’t wait for real games to begin…

Carry on.

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