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Godly Serendipity

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader asks if you, perchance, read John Derbyshire’s column on National Review Online yesterday? No? Well, it is entitled “God & Me” and the link is here.

Your Maximum Leader has always been a Derbyshire fan - as longtime readers know. While your Maximum Leader hasn’t linked to Derb’s articles all that much - he always reads them. Yesterday’s piece struck a chord in your Maximum Leader. You see, your Maximum Leader has written a similar piece about his own beliefs. Indeed, he’s re-written the piece about 3 times. Small changes here and there. Changes to try and capture a nuance of belief.

Your Maximum Leader will not claim to be in full agreement with Derbyshire’s comments. But there are some passages that are remarkably similar.

But you may not know what those passages are… Because, frankly, your Maximum Leader doesn’t think he has the guts to publish something so personal on the subject of his religious beliefs. Sure, your Maximum Leader can drone on and on about politics and his views on this or that. He might write things you agree with, things you disagree with, and perhaps things you find objectionable. But he just doesn’t feel up to publishing a Q&A on his religious views.

Your Maximum Leader doffs his bejeweled floppy cap (mylan cap for those of you wondering) towards John Derbyshire for having the guts to write honestly about just about anything.

Carry on.

Returned and spent

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is returned from New York City. He had a great time, but must admit that between going non-stop while in the city and the time change; he is beat.

Beat. Tired. Kaput. He can hardly think straight. And with Halloween today he’s got many responsibilities with his villainous progeny to get done today.

Thus he doesn’t have a good idea for a post.

He will say that if you are in the NYC area in the next few months you should really check out Martin Short’s show “Fame Becomes Me.” It is very very funny. Your Maximum Leader laughed his arse off for 90 minutes straight.

With any luck, your Maximum Leader might actually have an idea to blog about today… Or tomorrow… Keep checking this space for more.

Carry on.

2-1, St. Louis & a neat quiz

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is sure that by now you have all heard that the St. Louis Cardinals have taken a 2 games to 1 lead over the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. Your Maximum Leader can’t say as he’s displeased by this, being a National League man and all. With Jeff Suppan going on the mound for the Cardinals tonight, the Tigers are going to have to start pulling out some offense if they want to “get back” in the series.

It is interesting how a few short days ago everyone (and by everyone your Maximum Leader means sportswriters and those guys who always talk sports) was sure that the Tigers were going to quickly vanquish the Cards. Your Maximum Leader happened to mention to his lovely wife how he thought that the Cards might (just might) be a little less beat up and more motivated than people thought. Your Maximum Leader also believed that the Tigers were not well served by quickly winning the American League. The long layoff may have turned out to hurt the Tigers. Momentum they had built up by defeating the (hated) Yankees and the A’s would likely have dissipated (nay - disappeared) in the week they waited for the NL Champion to be crowned.

If the Cardinals do wind up winning the World Series; your Maximum Leader suspects that the long layoff can be blamed for silencing the Tigers’ bats. Your Maximum Leader is looking forward to Game 4 tonight. It should be a good one.

Just before this post wraps up…

Do you think you know baseball?

Do you think you could do a better job calling plays than the umpire behind the plate?

Do you think you have what it takes to call the balls and strikes and fouls?

Well… Try out this quiz and test your knowledge of baseball rules. It is an on-line (multiple choice) version of “You Make The Call.”

The best your Maximum Leader has done on a randomly generated 10 question quiz is 7 of 10. (In case you were wondering.)

Carry on.

World Series & one football comment

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is preparing to watch game tree of the 2006 World Series. As you may recall, your Maximum Leader is a huge baseball fan. It is with some anticipation and sadness that he anxiously watches the World Series. He is anticipating the result and knowing which team will reach the top of the proverbial greasy pole. But, some sadness is within him as he knows that he’ll now have to wait for next year.

Anyhoo…

Your Maximum Leader is, and always has been, a National League man. He loves the National League game. And, traditionalist that he is, he likes the fact that if you play in the field you have to bat; and if you bat you have to play in the field.

As a fan of the National League, he is rooting for the Cardinals. He has seen games in St. Louis (at the old stadium). The Cards are an old and storied franchise who deserve a win.

But, he is drawn to the appeal of the Detroit Tigers. A team that a few years ago (okay, last year) was so miserable that to have suggested then that they would now be competing (and favored) for the title of World Champions would have gotten you laughed at. (Or mugged if you were actually in Detroit.)

Of course, one of your Maximum Leader’s favorite players (Ty Cobb) was a Tiger. So that is draws him towards Detroit. Your Maximum Leader also wonders if the Tigers could be made a metaphor for their city. Could people rally around the Tigers and work to make a better Detroit?

Okay… Your Maximum Leader was caught up there in a moment of complete delusion…

Regardless of which team wins, he hopes for a long and hard faught series.

Hard won series - without cheating (yes, your Maximum Leader means you Kenny Rogers).

And one more thing… Tony Romo isn’t all that good.

Carry on.

Last Meals, etc.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wonders if you caught this little tidbit on the news wires last week. It seems one Mr. Michael Dewayne Johnson cheated the proverbial hangman by slitting his own wrists with a makeshift knife shortly before he was to be executed in Texas. According to the article, Mr. Johnson was despondent at the prospect of being exectued for his crimes. (His crime by the way, was the 1995 killing of gas-station owner Jeff Wetterman.)

So… The hangman was cheated… But so was Mr. Johnson. Mr. Johnson didn’t get to partake of his requested last meal. And that is too bad for him. Afterall… Last meals in the Texas deathhouse, while not haute cuisine, are pretty impressive.

Mr. Johnson could have had Two chili cheese dogs, two cheeseburgers, two orders of onion rings with French dressing, turkey salad with French fries, chocolate cake, apple pie, butter pecan ice cream, egg rolls, one peach, three Dr. Peppers, jalapeno peppers, ketchup, and mayonnaise. (Like Richard Williams - executed in Feb 2003.) Or he could have had Two 16 oz. ribeyes, one lb. turkey breast (sliced thin), twelve strips of bacon, two large hamburgers with mayo, onion, and lettuce, two large baked potatoes with butter, sour cream, cheese, and chives, four slices of cheese or one-half pound of grated cheddar cheese, chef salad with blue cheese dressing, two ears of corn on the cob, one pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream, and four vanilla Cokes or Mr. Pibb. (Like Stanley Baker Jr. - executed in May 2002.)

Your Maximum Leader remembers that Eric’s (proposed) last meal(s) are a little more upscale and to your Maximum Leader’s liking. Frankly, your Maximum Leader doesn’t know what he would want for a last meal. Your Maximum Leader can be very fickle in his moods concerning food. But, it is likely that he would try and get something particularly obscure that would take time to locate and prepare. Preferably something like fresh tiger-meat tartare (prepared from tigers killed in Bangladesh only). Or a blackened Coelacanth steaks stuffed with a mix of lobster and sperm whale meat…

Carry on.

Saudi Succession

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has a bit of a monarchist streak in him. But you knew that. If you are anything like your Maximum Leader (and admit it, if you don’t think you are you certainly aspire to be like him) you are curious aout the Saudi Royal Family.

Yes. Curious.

It is so huge. There are so many princes. Lots of them. One expects a robust Muslim family to have a few, but really… We’re talking thousands. So, when it comes to royal succession you can become confused. Does the crown go to a brother of the late king? A son of the late king? A nephew of the late king? A grandson of the late king? Who knows really.

Well… In an effort to make the succession go more smoothly, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has set up a committee to figure things out.

Heh… A committee of relatives… Unless the Saudi Royals are a lot more agreeable than families your Maximum Leader knows, he hardly sees how a committee of them will be able to easily sort out who gets the top job and who gets passed over…

By the way… What every happened to the Sultan killing off all his male relatives to assure succession to the throne of his sons? When did that little tradition go the way of the DoDo?

Carry on.

Kim Jong-Il Poetry

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader needn’t remind you all that he has a poet laureate. Yes indeedly-do. He does.

Your Maximum Leader’s poet laureate is none other than the Big Hominid.

Evidence of his poetic prowess.

Carry on.

Housekeeping 10/23/06 Edition

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader returns to his blog. If any of you are out there and still reading - well thanks… You remain near and dear to your Maximum Leader’s heart. (For you know that he blogs for you…) If you know of minions who stopped reading for some mad reason - well… Tell them that they need to start again…

For those of you who care… Your Maximum Leader had a great time last week at his formal ball. It allowed your Maximum Leader to dress up in his tuxedo and look all dapper. Mrs. Villain was all bedecked in cocktail dress, pearls, and designer handbag. We were quite a site. The pre-ball party was a hit. (Your Maximum Leader had some guests over for dinner before the ball.) As you always should at a function like this, your Maximum Leader prepared enough food for about twice as many people as actually attended. Which was good as he lived off the leftovers all weekend. (Nothing quite like nibbling on prime rib and pork tenderloin for three days.)

Anyhoo…

Your Maximum Leader should inform you all that he will be gone for while this week as well. Depending on how things shake out he will be going to New York City on Thursday or Friday of this week. He’ll be staying for the weekend. Returning to the Villainschloss late on Sunday. Mrs Villain will join him for Friday through Sunday. It will be your Maximum Leader’s first trip to NYC since 2000. It will be Mrs. Villain’s first trip ever to the Big Apple.

It goes without saying that there will be no blogging during the trip… At this point our schedule on Saturday is somewhat flexible. We will likely go to the Met for a while. Mrs. Villain would like to go downtown and see the World Trade Center site. On some level your Maximum Leader does too. We’ll have to see how things work out.

Meals are planned. Lunch at Barney’s. Breakfast at Norma’s. Dinner at Felidia’s. Broadway play (Martin Short’s play - only one we could agree upon) followed by trip to a deli…

If you have any suggestions on things your Maximum Leader should take in while there - feel free to shoot him an e-mail.

In other news…

How about that Pittsburgh v. Atlanta game yesterday? Wow! What a contest. It was riveting football. Your Maximum Leader, who didn’t really care who won really, hardly left the sofa the game was so good. Frankly, the Philly v. Tampa Bay game was also excellent. It was hard to choose which to watch…

Anyhoo… Monday Night Football tonight… More baseball tomorrow…

Carry on.

Trafalgar - 201

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wants to remind you that today is the 201st anniversary of the greatest and most glorious naval battle in the history of the world. Yes, on this day two hundred and one years ago, Lord Nelson and the hearty tars of the Royal Navy defeated (soundly) the combined Franco-Spanish fleet under Admiral Villaneuve.

Wikipedia has a pretty good page on the battle.

Britishbattles.com also has a good page on the battle.

Your Maximum Leader hopes you raise a glass and toast Britannia Triumphant!

Carry on.

Joyriding.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader thought he’d get some quality posting time in this week. Well, wrong he was. It looks like he will not be posting much until next week. His schedule became very hectic yesterday and doesn’t look like it will let up for a few days. What is your Maximum Leader doing?

Well… If you were in Bethesda, MD yesterday afternoon you might have seen your Maximum Leader tooling around in the 2006 Bentley Flying Spur. Your Maximum Leader is helping a friend narrow his search for a new family truckster. He’ll have to admit that the Bentley is a truly fine automobile. Probably the finest automobile he’s ever sat/ridden/drove in. Your Maximum Leader’s heart is filled with lust for the Bentley. Of course, your Maximum Leader’s preference would be for a Continental GT and not the Flying Spur… But hell… It takes all kinds…

Today your Maximum Leader is going to be in various places around DC on business. Tomorrow, your Maximum Leader is preparing for a formal ball he will be attending. Preparing in so much as he and Mrs Villain and your Maximum Leader’s Brother and Sister-in-law will be hosting 8 other couples for a pre-ball dinner… Lots of stuff to take care of… (Your Maximum Leader thinks he’s buying booze in fact…)

So, until later… Ciao.

Carry on.

Baby. You got real ugly.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader presents you with quiz results.


The Zombie Movie Survival Quiz


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Your Maximum Leader doffs his bejeweled floppy cap to GeekLethal of the Ministry of Minor Perfidy.

Carry on.

300,000,000, mostly unmarried.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader reads that somewhere in Southern California a hispanic baby became the 300,000,000th American. Well huzzah for him (her). Our great republic has officially crested a big population milestone. It seems that population milestones, like birthday milestones, seem to end in the digit “0.” This particular milestone seems to have lots and lots of zeros in it.

Your Maximum Leader will have to admit that he had assumed that the US population had exceeded the 300 million mark some time in the last decade. He must wonder about the accuracy of the 300 million number. Many experts (your Maximum Leader not among them) say that the 300 millionth American was either born or illegally entered the US months ago. The Post article cited above says:

This year, there’s a good chance the 300 millionth American has already walked across the border from Mexico.

Does that really make the person “American?” Have we gotten to the point where simply residing in the United States makes you an American?

Now your Maximum Leader is all for legal immigration. But he is disturbed by the fact that everyone just accepts that to live in America makes you American. Your Maximum Leader wonders from time to time what it really means to be American. Frankly, your address never really figured into that equation. But if that is the biggest criterion for citizenship - we’re in very deep trouble.

In other census related news, it seems as though unmarried households have edged out married households in America as well. 50.2% of US households are headed by a single parent, compared to 49.8% which are headed by married parents. This saddens your Maximum Leader. He came from a traditional two parent household. He is providing his children with a traditional two parent household. There seem to be study after study showing the benefits of living in the two parent household. These studies are alway quickly attacked by groups that don’t want to be seen as supporting traditional families. Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure where he is going with this. He wishes that people would think about what they are doing before they start having children. Of course he also wishes that people were generally less self-centered and more thoughtful about everything…

Anyhoo…

Somewhere out there is the 300,000,000th “American.” Your Maximum Leader wishes him well and hopes that what makes America American is still going strong when he grows up.

Carry on.

The Undesired Gift

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was looking at one of his bookshelves and was noticing his copy of Larousse Gastronomique. And a story popped into his head. You see, for many years on this particular bookshelf there was a copy of Larousse Gastronomique and a very handsome copy of a “cookbook” put out by Le Cordon Bleu a Paris. They sat side by side as dual tomes of French culinary reference at your Maximum Leader’s fingertips.

But today, only the copy of Larousse Gastronomique remains…

The story begins in the late 1950s. Back then your Maximum Leader’s maternal grandfather was in the employ of the Department of Defense and seconded (as it were) to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Also back in those days, the French were full military members of NATO. From time to time business took your Maximum Leader’s grandfather from Washington DC to Paris. On these trips he got to fly first class, drink wine, eat good food, and meet with lots of military types who said “harumph, harumph, harumph” a lot.

On one of these trips to Paris, your Maximum Leader’s grandfather was taken by his French hosts to Le Cordon Bleu. He was feted, wine’d and dine’d and generally shown a good time. The next day your Maximum Leader’s grandfather returned to the famed cooking school to pick up a little something for his loving wife. He selected a new cookbook they had just published. It was about 500 pages thick. The tome was bound in green leather and covered in gold leaf. Roughly a third of the pages were colour photos of the food described in the pages. The “cookbook” was acutally a meal planner. The first chapter showed the various courses one should prepare for multicourse meals. Then subsequent chapter broke down the recipies for each course.

It was quite a book. Quite an impressive book in fact. It was the type of book that a collector of books would look at and want to own. In fact, it was more of a tome than anything you could get from the Easton Press.

Your Maximum Leader’s grandfather had the book smartly wrapped and flew it back in his carry on bag from Paris to Washington DC. Upon returning home he gave the book to his wife (your Maximum Leader’s maternal grandmother). She regarded the book dimissively and put it aside. She didn’t speak to him for a while.

You see, your Maximum Leader’s grandmother was insulted that her husband felt the need to suggest to her (by the gifting of the book) that she might need a fancy french cookbook. She was an excellent cook. And she didn’t need any fancy schmancy book to tell her how and what to cook for a 7 course formal summertime dinner.

So, the leather-bound, gold-leaf encrusted, fancy schmancy cookbook languished - unopened and unthought of - in the bottom of a closet for decades.

Decades later, your Maximum Leader came across the cookbook. He was rumaging through the closet looking for something else. He found the book and brought it out. He showed it to his grandparents, who explained the story. His grandmother said that if he wanted the book he could take it. Of course, he did.

So, the fancy Cordon Bleu cookbook and the Larousse Gastromonique sat side by side on his bookshelf for years.

Until they were both destroyed by a renegade dog while your Maximum Leader was in graduate school…

But that is another story.

Carry on.

Acropolis

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader saw this photo on the news wire and liked it. Thus he decided to repost it here.

Stormy Acropolis, Athens

Your Maximum Leader admits to liking photos of thunderstorms. He thinks they are cool.

Carry on.

Nazification of Confederacy

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was reading through his National Review magazine and came across one of the articles on the VA Senate race. In it, an interesting term was cited from James Webb’s book “Born Fighting.” Here is an extended quote from the book which your Maximum Leader will post without comment.

The greatest disservice… has been the attempt by these revisionist politicians and academics to defame the entire Confederate Army in a move that can only be termed the Nazification of the Confederacy. Often cloaked in the argument over the public display of the Confederate battle flag, the syllogism goes something like this. Slavery was evil. The soldiers of the Confederacy fought for a system that wished to preserve it. Therefore they were evil as well, and any attempt to honor their service is a veiled effort to glorify the cause of slavery. This blatant use of the race card in order to inflame their political and academic constituencies is a tired, seemingly endless game that is itself perhaps the greatest legacy of the Civil War’s aftermath. But in this case it dishonors hundreds of thousands of men who can defend themselves only through the voices of their descendants.

Carry on.

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