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Shakespeare for Bloggers.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader realizes that his nearly four years old schtick here at Naked Villainy may have convinced some of you that he is a pompous illest who you wouldn’t want to spend much time with… He hopes that those of you who know your Maximum Leader might think differently…

As many long-time readers know, your Maximum Leader is a great lover of Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s plays, while a joy to read, are really meant to be experienced not only in your mind, but with all your senses. To get the full effect you need to see and hear them. (Excursus: Indeed, your Maximum Leader and Villainette #1 watched Olivier’s King Lear just this past weekend.) This is one of the reasons that your Maximum Leader has always been a fan of well-done film versions of Shakespeare’s plays. But more than seeing The Bard on celluloid, his works should be seen on a stage… And that is where your Maximum Leader is going with this…

The Shakepeare Theatre Company of Washington is currently performing one of your Maximum Leader’s favourite plays, Richard III. This production has been very well reviewed. (See here, here and here.) Your Maximum Leader was going to be picking up some tickets for himself and his lovely wife to see this play before it closes on March 18th. So he wondered… Would some among the blogging community like to see this play too? Could we get discounted group tickets? Would there be drinks beforehand (or afterwards - remember though, the play is long)? These questions and so many more can be answered by your Maximum Leader, if only he could gauge interest.

If you are interested in a night of Shakespeare let your Maximum Leader know. Shoot him an e-mail at “maximumleader” - the “at” symbol - “nakedvillainy” - “dot” - com. He will get a quick head-count and see what can be done about the tickets. Your Maximum Leader had hoped for a Saturday or Sunday Matinee (2:00pm) in late February. But that is not etched in stone. If you have a preference for days or times let your Maximum Leader know. Matinee tickets regularly run for $70. They say that groups of 10 or more can get discounts between 20 and 50%. Don’t be stingy! This is culture people!

If you are interested… Write your Maximum Leader and let him know…

Carry on.

RIP Bar, Hub and Stub

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wants to note the passing of some important figures this week.

The first is champion race horse Barbaro. As you have no doubt heard, Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro was put down yesterday. Your Maximum Leader did not really bond with this horse. While he was intellectually disappointed that the horse lost his battle for survival after a brutal broken leg; he can’t say that he is emotionally torn up over this. It is, if anything, a testament to the improvements in veterinary medicine that Barbaro wasn’t put down 8 months ago when the leg was broken at the Preakness. It is sad to see such a beautiful animal’s life cut short, but your Maximum Leader isn’t going to shed tears over the horse’s passing.

After 16 years of faithful service to astronomers around the world, it appears as though the Hubble Space Telescope is dead. At least the primary optics and optical controls are dead. There are secondary systems that appear to function, but who knows how long that will last. Your Maximum Leader is a little dismayed by this. Again, intellectually he isn’t all torn up about it. Afterall, the Hubble is 16 years old. As your Maximum Leader understands it, the telescope was designed to operate for 5 years. By that standard the past 11 years have been gravy for scientists. Your Maximum Leader doubts that NASA will send the shuttle up for another repair mission. It is probably time for a new telescope. It will take some time to design, build, test, and launch. The benefits to human understanding that flow from a space telescope are worth the time and treasure.

And finally, au revoir to public smoking in France. Well actually, smoking in public places or on the property of public buildings is going to be banned on Thursday. The French will still be allowed to smoke outside, in their homes, or in places that approximate homes - like hotels. What will happen to our stereotypcal Frenchman sitting in a cafe, sipping his coffee and smoking a Gauloise? Well… If your mental picture of the Frenchman has that virtual Frenchman sitting outside smoking and drinking coffee; then that picture will not change. If your virtual Frenchman is sitting in a cafe or restaurant; then the Frenchman will be sipping coffee and nervously drumming his fingers and eyeing the door as he craves his niccotine fix.

If you are living in or visiting France, your Maximum Leader suggests you smoke ‘em while you’ve got ‘em.

Carry on.

Random Pensees

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has more frivolity for you…

Observation One:

Alexander the Great may have conquered the known world, but he never ate mashed potatoes covered in rich creamy melted butter.

Question One:

Does a single person working at Starbucks ask someone out for coffee? Because they work at a coffee house do they have to skip right to drinks and/or a meal when they date?

Just thoughts…

Carry on.

Some quizzes.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t have much going on today. Well… That didn’t come out right. Your Maximum Leader’s mind isn’t clear today and thus he doesn’t have much going on blog-wise.

That means filler.

Here are some quizzes for filler. Most of them found via Rachel.

If your Maximum Leader were a political ticket he would be:


You’re Romney-Gingrich!

As Mitt Romney, you are a study in contradictions. You have a background in staunchly
religious conservatism, yet all your friends seem to be secular liberals. Despite claiming to
be in favor of one kind of life, you have supported another kind of death. And while you look
completely bland, your name is quite funky. All this combines to make you seem schizophrenic,
but people still seem to want you to lead them to gold. Even though no one is quite sure where
you live.
You select Newt Gingrich as your running mate so he can replace Dick Cheney at this post too.

Take the 2008 Presidential Ticket Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Not exactly your Maximum Leader’s expected result…

If he were a train:



You’re the 20th Century Limited!
Fast, sleek, and stylish, you are considered to be one of the most
important people around. Despite having a flashy exterior and very rich friends,
you see your main role in life as relatively routine and even mundane. When you
hang out with others, you want to spend the whole day with them and rarely stop
along the way. If you were a color of carpet, it would be red.


Take the Trains and Railroads Quiz
at RMI Miniature Railroads.

Acceptable choice.

If your Maximum Leader were a state:



You’re Virginia!
Part of the old school, you like both historical sites and crazy
amusement parks. You like saying the word Commonwealth but couldn’t really explain the
concept or how it applies to your life. You like five-sided shapes, five-cent pieces,
and possibly anything else having to do with the number five. Every now and then, you
discard chaff from yourself that you just don’t feel you need. And since you’ve been
wondering… yes, there is a Santa Claus.


Take the State Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Good choice… Excellent choice in fact.

If he were a country:



You’r the United Kingdom!
You’re a much weaker person than you used to be, but you still
act like you did when everyone looked up to you.  Despite this, you’re
probably a better person than you were when you had so much power over those
around you.  Though you do have a strange fascination with jewels and monarchs,
which lets you play in castles, but also end up leading a sort of tabloid lifestyle.
 You really like the Beatles, even more than you like Oasis.


Take the Country Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid

Another good choice…

Enough frivolity for the day…

Carry on.

Look out there are Llamas.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was wasting time last night on You Tube. While wasting time he learned a lot about Llamas.

Not these Llamas

These Llamas:

Remember, if you see a Llama near a bunch of swimmers you’d better cry out, “Look out, there are Llamas!”

Carry on.

News of archaeology

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, back in his college days, had occasion to hang out with a few people who were big into archaeology. Indeed, at your Maximum Leader’s school taught one of the foremost experts on pre-Columbian Virginia. Many of his students were friends of your Maximum Leader. During his time at school, and after, he learned much about archaeology - without having to spend all those tedious hours in the sun and dirt looking for clay chards, rubbish pits, and arrowheads. So while his knowledge of archaeology is all academic, he does have an interest in archaeology.

Recently there were two tidbits on the news wire that bear note. The first is that what might be the first furnace in the English colonies has been discovered. According to this piece some amateur archaeologists have stumbled onto what might be the remains of a 1619 furnace used for making iron ore.

Not far from your Maximum Leader is the site of George Washington’s father’s furnace. At some point your Maximum Leader seems to remember reading that Washington’s father, Augustine, thought that he could make as much money off his furnace as he could as a planter. Your Maximum Leader also seems to remember that Augustine Washington’s furnace burned down a few times and was thus abandoned. Perhaps this is lucky for us. Young George might have grown up a smithy and not a surveyor. Who knows where that would have led us?

The other news from the world of archaeology is from Rome. New research in and around Rome’s Palatine hill are discovering all sorts of interesting sites - and showing that the Palatine area needs stabilization and preservation. According to the article, rainwater is one of the primary contributors to decay of the Palatine sites. One expects that to be the case as there can’t be a lot of development in the area. Your Maximum Leader didn’t realize that only about 40% of the 67 acres of the Palatine area are open to the public - and most of that space is around the Flavian Amphitheatre.

Your Maximum Leader would love to get on a plane right now and head to Rome… But it is not in the cards…

Carry on.

Get well Blues Boy

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader reads on the news wires that B.B. King has been hospitalized in Texas.

Your Maximum Leader has seen B.B. King play twice and is something of a fan. He hopes that B.B. recovers quickly.

Carry on.

Auto Show

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t have a lot of time today. He is going to the Washington DC Auto Show today. Then heading out to dinner. Then going to the University of Maryland v. Georgia Tech basketball game.

Not much time to opine on the State of the Union Address or the Democratic response. Perhaps tomorrow…

In the meanwhile… Melt your pennies and make a buck.

If you melt enough pennies you may be able to afford a 77 square foot flat in Knightsbridge for a meagre $335,000 (US).

Of course, if you move to Knightsbridge, there will be no reason for you to celebrate that John Kerry has decided not to run for President in 2008. One supposes the field was a little too crowded for his taste.

Carry on.

Breaking up is hard to do.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader saw an interesting little article over on Yahoo. It was an assortment of little (probably unscientific) factoids about American’s attitudes towards breaking up.

Now… Allow him to state for the record, your Maximum Leader is a happily married fellow. He would never “break up” with Mrs Villain. Indeed, he feels very strongly about this. Perhaps it is his Catholic upbringing coming to the fore on this. But your Maximum Leader has been very clear that he would rather live in wedded misery than divorce. Indeed, if it ever came to it, he would dedicate his life to making Mrs Villain’s life as miserable as possible - without getting divorced.

He might consider an annulment. Might… He worries about the bastardization of children…

But this is just idle chatter, because on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being suicidal misery and 10 being perfect bliss; your Maximum Leader is pretty sure his marriage is a 9.3. That is rather exact measurement he knows. But from time to time your Maximum Leader and his lovely (and loving) wife don’t see eye to eye on things… That would account for the .7 deduction.

Anyhoo…

Your Maximum Leader was surprised at some of the Yahoo entry’s factoids…

Before breaking up 31 percent would spend one last night of hurrah together. A night of “hurrah?” Humm… Could this be a coded use of “hurrah” that your Maximum Leader hasn’t seen before? He thinks it is. He’s used all sorts of euphemisms for conjugation - as it were. But “hurrah” has never - ever - been one of them. Your Maximum Leader will also speculate that 92.2 percent of that 31 percent are male.

About 50 percent of daters give people three o five dates before they decide how they feel (though West Coasters tend to judge a little quicker). Humm… Three to five dates? Does that seem like enough? What type of dates are we talking about? Meeting for coffee? Dinner? Movies? Dancing? Your Maximum Leader wonders. If you meet for coffee say you spend an hour together. One imagines that you will be talking for most of that one hour. But let us say you go out dancing… Even if you go out dancing for three hours will you talk with the person for a whole hour? Of course West Coasters are quicker to decided. One wonders if Bobgirrl is giving her future ex-husbands enough time?

Men are quicker than women to consider their date to be their girlfriend/boyfriend. Especially men in their 40s. 16 percent of men vs. 8 percent of women consider their date their boyfriend/girlfriend after three to five dates. Men on the West Coast are significantly more likely than other men to have exclusivity before considering someone their boyfriend/girlfriend. Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure what to to think of this one. 3-5 dates. One supposes that if it takes 3-5 dates to decide if you have “feelings” for someone then it should take 4-6 dates before you declare that your are boyfriend/girlfriend. Don’t you think? Really now… If you make up your mind on date 5 that you have “good feelings” for someone wouldn’t you then require one more date to firm things up?

A disturbing factoid on which to end this post…

After breaking up, 23 percent will cut him/her out of all their photos. Are 23 percent of people that pyscho? Really now… This bit seems a little too OCD for your Maximum Leader to buy. For goodness sakes… If you only had 4-6 dates how many photos could you have? If you dated for years… How long would that take? This seems quite odd in fact. Your Maximum Leader just can’t imagine wanting to take the time to do all the cutting…

Single people are welcome to drop your Maximum Leader a line and describe their favorite break-up stories… If you are single, female, and take a shine to the Maximum Leaderly type - feel free to send photos of you and your ex. Then feel free to go on over to the Naked Villainy store and buy yourself a sexy camisole and matching thong. Then take a photo of yourself wearing your Naked Villainy apparel and e-mail it to the ex. It will empower you and make them feel miserable for having lost such a catch… (Also… Copy your Maximum Leader on that message…)

Carry on.

Free Will Pt 2

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, a few days ago, posted about an Economist article about the shrinking realm of “free will.” This rather lengthy post (admittedly mostly excerpts) elicited a response from your Maximum Leader’s best bud, the Big Hominid.

In part Kevin wrote:

My buddy Mike is worried about the disappearance of what many philosophers call “libertarian free will.” I’d venture that Mike has little to worry about: even if we become capable of tracing every single human impulse back to a previous physical cause such that nebulous concepts like “mind” and “will” need not be invoked as explanations, there will always remain the question of predictability. Although not often explicitly included in philosophical definitions of freedom, it is usually implied that freedom contains an aspect of unpredictability. This is not to say that freedom is merely a form of randomness; after all, random phenomena do not demonstrate the existence of freedom. But a free creature, and that creature’s interactions with its environment and with other, similarly endowed creatures, will produce possibility trees that ramify in surprising and unpredictable ways. Rest easy, my friend. You’re as free as you need to be.

First off, your Maximum Leader was pleased that his post appeared under the rubric of “Great Reads.” It was an undeserved compliment. But, compliments aside, something about what Kevin was saying disturbed your Maximum Leader.

A day or two after reading Kevin’s comment your Maximum Leader had the pleasure of talking (alas not at enough length) on this subject with Buckethead on this same topic. At that point your Maximum Leader recounted his (then rather vague) misgivings about predictability and free will. It seemed as though if one were to accept Kevin’s point (and there isn’t any reason not to frankly) then one wasn’t really talking about free will but rather statistical probability.

Buckethead and your Maximum Leader speculated that neuroscience, genetics and understanding of human physiology expand more and more human behavors would be able to be traced to a particular genetic, hormonal, or other factor. While it would be wrong to say that all human behavior in all instaces would be controlled by some genetic/physiological predisposition, we speculated that the range in which one could possibly behave might be severely constrained.

Allow your Maximum Leader to try to use an analogy… As our scientific understanding expands, our range of action is decreased. If a human being could be said to be a car, with unlimited free will one would be free to drive where ever one would want to. On the road, off the road, on the highway, in the mud… Where ever. But, as we learn more about how genetics affect our choices, our driving choices are limited. Rather than being able to go any where, we are only able to drive along a two lane highway. We can drive where ever we want on that two lane highway - but we can only drive on our designated road.

This doesn’t particularly seem like “free will.” At least it doesn’t seem to be free will to your Maximum Leader. He realizes that this argument is highly speculative. Rarely do people exercise free will to an extreme. We act within the strictures of social conventions and normal behavior. But what if through tens of thousands of years of breeding we humans are predisposed towards following social convention? Is that even a choice? What if the extent of your ability to make a choice is deciding to wear white after Labor Day?

Then we can get back to the issue of predictability… If human genetics predisposes one towards a particular activity or behavior, how free are you to really resist? How long to you hold out against your nature? Sure, there is an element of unpredictability. But are we talking about free will - or statistics? Can one say that the chances decrease that one will avoid one’s nature as you get older? Would they increase? Can you truly avoid your own nature?

It is still a vexing question.

Carry on.

O.S. and Bruce Campbell Pt 2

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader didn’t know that AdWeek had reviews of TV commercials that take longer to read than the commercial does to view.

Well… AdWeek lets loose on Bruce Campbell’s Old Spice ad.

Clicky here to linky…

To paraphrase Sally Field… They like him. They really like him.

Carry on.

Influenza

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is fascinated by the whole idea of an influenza pandemic. From time to time he even blogs about the latest information about what science is doing to study pandemic.

Lately there has been a lot of news about scientist studying the 1918 pandemic and the virus that caused it. Your Maximum Leader thinks that he blogged about how some scientists got samples of the 1918 virus from the frozen bodies of Alaskans who died during the outbreak. It appears as though another group of researchers have created a strain and have studied it in monkeys.

They have found that the virus in question causes an infected person’s immune system to attack its own lungs. Eww… Quite nasty. A virus that causes your own body to destroy your own lungs. Not a pleasant way to go.

Carry on.

Izzard on Empire

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, after finding the Bruce Campbell ad below, was just browsing around on You Tube. While there he found a small bit from Eddie Izzard’s comedy routine “Dress To Kill.”

Izzard is one of your Maximum Leader’s favorites. Give a listen. But use headphones or something because (as with all comedy it seems nowadays) the routine is rife with the ole F-*** word.

Carry on.

New spokesman

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is a big Bruce Campbell fan. Indeed, careful readers of this site might even have noticed that Mr. Campbell’s own web site is permanently linked on this site (over on the right side).

Your Maximum Leader always likes to see that Bruce is working. He wants Bruce Campbell to be in front of the people. Making money. Cashing in.

It seems as though the people over at Old Spice have decided to harness the cash machine that is Bruce Campbell. Here is their latest ad:

Love it.

You should go out and buy some Old Spice. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t recommend that you wear it… It may have some disinfectant or anti-zombie qualities of which you may be unaware… But buy it so that we may see more Bruce Campbell ads…

Carry on.

100 Below: One night at the party

It was him.

How could that be? He was dead. Well… He was said to be dead. There was no body. But to show up now after so many years? It didn’t make sense. He looked good for being dead. Well… He looked good at any rate.

“Hullo Roger. I thought you’d died alone. A long long time ago.”

And so it was that Roger Patton was addressed by his arch-nemesis. Years later, when his revenge was complete and total, Roger would look back at that day as one of the happiest in his life.

    About Naked Villainy

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