Nats/Cards

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been listening to the the Nationals/Cardinals game going on now (it is about 9pm now). This is the second game of a doubleheader (caused by a rainout yesterday).

The Nats appear to be blowing a (once) six run lead. The game is now Cards 6 - Nats 8. But it seems that the “mo” (as in momentum people…) is now with the Cards…

Will turn off computer and watch game now…

If the Nats blow this…

Carry on.

For Eric…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader feels badly that he has not written a better review of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (hereafter IJ&TKOTCS). Our friend Eric was kind enough to point this out in a comment to an earlier post. So here is an attempt to provide you with more of his thoughts on IJ&TKOTCS.

Your Maximum Leader, in his youth, spent many a rainy Saturday watching old movies WDCA Channel 20 out of Washington DC. These movies were, predominately, from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. They were mostly black and white and more often than not they were one of three genres. Horror, Science Fiction and “adventure.” These movies were the great “B” films of the age. They were matinee fare for his grandparents and parents. They were lazy TV for him.

These films were great, if you were about 11 years old. The dialogue was right on the 11 year old level. The stories were simple. The action was engaging. The women were vixens. It was all mightly good.

Of course, when your Maximum Leader watches these films now, he cringes. The dialogue is forced and campy. The jokes were stale in 1930. The “special effects” weren’t that special (although he does note that we’ve come a long way in that department). Thankfully… The women are still vixens.

So… Back to IJ&TKOTCS…

IJ&TKOTCS would fit perfectly into the mould of a 1954 Saturday matinee, except it would be in color. Frankly, as he said in his earlier post, years from now if an 11 year old is watching WDCA on a Saturday morning - he might see IJ&TKOTCS and be most pleased. (In fact your Maximum Leader’s 11 year old nephew thought IJ&TKOTCS was great.)

Your Maximum Leader grew very tired of all of the “old” jokes and cracks in IJ&TKOTCS. One couldn’t go through a few minutes without someone commenting on how old Indy was or Indy commenting on how old he was. It got tiresome. While the general quality of the script didn’t decend to the level of Star Wars II: The Attack of the Clones (perhaps the nadir of the Star Wars movies in terms of script), one could see the strong hand of Lucas in every word written. Your Maximum Leader has been told that George Lucas went to college (okay… film school), but if he were to go on just the body of work he’s produced since 1988 he would conclude that Lucas has in fact regressed to being 11 years old.

As for the plot… IJ&TKOTCS can be summarized by Indy meets the X-files and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Woo-hoo there are space aliens with crystaline skeletons (the skulls of which appear to be filled with mulitcolored, glowing saran wrap)! There are nasty Commies! It should be noted that the leader of the Commies carries a sword around with her. Way not to stand out there. Wearing a rapier with your socialist laborer’s jumpsuit in 1957. You know, your Maximum Leader thought wearing rapiers on the hip went out of style around 1657. He supposes there must have been advantages to being a communist in the 1950’s. Not only could you disavow Stalin, vacation in Cuba (after Castro), crush eastern europe at a whim, but you could also wear rapiers with impunity.

Does your Maximum Leader really need to go on here? Not really, but he will make a few more points… Only a complete, total, drooling idiot wouldn’t have picked up that “Mutt” Williams was Indy’s love-child with Marion. When Indy tells Mutt (before he knows that Mutt is in fact his son) that it is okay that Mutt not go to college but should do what makes him happy any thinking person would know that this is just setting up the whole “I don’t care what I said to you before - you’re going to college young man.” speech for a later scene. (And a really thinking person would know that the later scene would be punctuated by some crisis - oh… like sinking in quicksand.)

Your Maximum Leader was greatly saddened by the pathetic peripheral role into which Marion Ravenwood (Williams) was relegated. She essentially is a driver for a big chase scene. Other than that there isn’t much of a role for her. She hardly speaks. She is full of great potential - especially considering how great a character she had in the first film. But that potential is unrealized. Your Maximum Leader will again attribute this to the hand of Lucas. Is your Maximum Leader the only one who thinks that all women in Lucas roles are characatures of women in other movies?

All in all, your Maximum Leader went into IJ&TKOTCS thinking it was really going to be much worse than it actually was. Which is saying something. If the particular showing he caught had cost any more than the $6.50 it did he would have felt badly ripped off…

Well… There you have it… A longer review of IJ&TKOTCS.

Carry on.

Congrats Wings

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been without internet at the Villainschloss quite a bit of late. Bad thunderstorms through the area have been wrecking havoc on power and telecom grids…

Imagine your Maximum Leader’s chagrin when the power went out at the Villainschloss just about 40 seconds into the first period of last night’s decisive Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals. Since it was later and nearly time for the wee Villain and Villainettes to go to bed, your Maximum Leader didn’t fire up the back-up generator. As power was restored about 2am, he missed the game. He saw highlights… A poor substitute, but better than a sharp stick to the eye.

Congrats to the Detroit Red Wings, and their fans. Your Maximum Leader doffs his bejeweled floppy cap in your direction.

Also allow him to add this… Fear not Penguin fans… Your boys are maturing and they will hoist Lord Stanley’s cup a few times before their time is done.

Carry on.

Topless Ban!!!!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees in the Washington Post today that the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association has made a greviously bad recommendation. Wanna know what that recommendation is?

The sportsmanship committee of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association recommended banning fans with bare or painted chests from indoor games last month. The proposal will take effect if a committee of state athletic directors OKs it next week and the association’s Board of Control approves it June 19.
“People say, ‘Hey, we are attempting to take the fun out of high school sports.’ That isn’t the intention at all,” Tom Shafranski, assistant director of the association, said Thursday.

Au contraire mon frere. The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association is trying to take the fun out of high school sports. You can read the whole piece here.

Your Maximum Leader is of two minds when it comes to topless fans. These topless fans are okay:
packer-jersey.jpg

This topless fan… Not so okay…
fat2.jpg

Your Maximum Leader believes his position here is clear…

Carry on.

Some people shouldn’t be laid off

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is not a whining socialist. He is not a gamy-handed collectivist. He is not a isolationist. That said, he is in favor of the government keeping some people employed for their whole lives. Those people would be the nuclear scientists working on building, improving, and keeping going America’s nuclear arsenal. A good number of those people work at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Some of those people are being laid off. Per the Associated Press:

Because of budget cuts and higher costs, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory laid off 440 employees May 22 and 23. Over the past 2 1/2 years, attrition and layoffs have reduced the work force of 8,000 by about 1,800 altogether.

According to a list obtained by The Associated Press, about 60 of the recently laid-off workers were engineers, around 30 were physicists and about 15 were chemists. Some, but not all, were involved in nuclear weapons work or nonproliferation efforts, and all had put in at least 20 years at the lab.

Some lawmakers and others said they fear the loss of important institutional knowledge about designing warheads and detecting whether other countries are going nuclear.

Also, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said job reductions at Lawrence Livermore and two other big U.S. weapons labs represent “a national security danger point.” These unemployed experts might take their skills overseas, Feinstein said.

[…]

The possibility is also on the mind of the nation’s top nuclear weapons official, National Nuclear Security Administration chief Tom D’Agostino.

“Always in a situation where people leave under less-than-ideal circumstances, we worry about that, and it’s something I assure you we’re looking at closely,” D’Agostino said. “I’m always concerned about the counterintelligence part of our mission, and we have an active program to go make sure we understand where we’re vulnerable and where we’re not.”

Asked to elaborate, NNSA spokesman Bryan Wilkes said the agency is “always on guard for foreign entities approaching our employees, active or retired, but it’s their responsibility to alert us to those circumstances.”

The NNSA is aware of no instance in which a U.S. nuclear weapons scientist had gone to work overseas, he said.

He said the agency regards the possibility of a hostile government picking up laid-off workers as “highly unlikely,” in part because these are American citizens who have responsibly held high-level clearances for many years, and because federal law provide stiff penalties — which range as high as life in prison — for divulging nuclear secrets.

[…]

Lawmakers and others have expressed concern that wave after wave of work force reductions will diminish the lab’s expertise. D’Agostino said he could not guarantee that national security would not be harmed.

With a self-imposed nuclear test ban in place since 1992, maintenance of the warhead stockpile — Lawrence Livermore’s top responsibility — is performed on supercomputers. So is the task of designing a new generation of warhead, which Lawrence Livermore won the right to do last year.

The layoffs have reduced the lab’s roster of experts with invaluable experience they had gleaned from taking part in actual nuclear tests, Sale [a laid-off physicist who until recently worked at Livermore] and others said. “Designing, building and seeing a device go off is very different from designing a device and handing it to a computer jockey,” Sale said.

Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney, whose district includes part of the lab, said the stakes are especially high as the United States tries to divine through science what other countries are doing inside their weapons programs.

[…]

Los Alamos, the New Mexico laboratory that built the atom bomb during World War II, cut its work force last year by about 550 through retirements and attrition, and Sandia, also largely in New Mexico, plans to shed dozens of workers.

Congress cut $100 million from Lawrence Livermore’s budget in the fiscal 2008 budget, and the lab has been hit with an additional $180 million in unexpected costs from its transfer last year to a new management company, lab spokeswoman Susan Houghton said.

So it seems that your Maximum Leader joins California Senator Diane Feinstein (D) in her concern over these lay-offs. Your Maximum Leader and Senator Feinstein doesn’t see too many issues on which he and the Senator agree. (Although it is possible that there are on plenty of mundane issues that never bubble up into the media on which they agree.)

Your Maximum Leader is a free-trader. The downsizing of American Airlines, United Airlines, GM and a host of other companies don’t scare your Maximum Leader. He is disappointed that these companies haven’t found ways to get healthy and competitive faster; but those are the breaks. That said, your Maximum Leader does fear that our national security is too seriously jeopardized by the outsourcing of our defence related industries. He is also worried about what is happening to our nuclear scientists. He doesn’t advocate permanent employment as policy. But he is willing to make an exception for people who can help a hostile power develop the weapons needed to destroy us.

Before you think your Maximum Leader has gone all soft on you… Yes, he knows that brainpower alone isn’t enough to get a bomb. You need materials, specially engineered equipment, etc etc. Let it be known that your Maximum Leader isn’t convinced that non-proliferation protocols work well. He doesn’t want to tempt fate by letting our brain-power proliferate too…

Carry on.

Game 6

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader had a choice… Blog or watch Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals. He figured that the game would be decided quickly and he could do both.

Boy was he wrong.

Now he is a bleary-eyed Maximum Leader who stayed up way past his bedtime. Sadly, your Maximum Leader actually dozed off for a moment and missed the game winning goal by Peter Sykora. He saw the replay right after it happened. But the live broadcast was missed.

Now he will likely be grumpy all day.

Carry on.

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