Mets v. Nats

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is all excited today. By sheer chance 4 tickets to tonight’s contest between your Maximum Leader’s beloved Washington Nationals and the New York Mets landed in his lap today. Tickets come complete with parking pass. Parking in the “red zone” - which is closest to the ballpark. Looks like your Maximum Leader will be enjoying a little baseball tonight with his villainous family.

The Nat’s curly “W”
Go Nats!

Carry on.

Dude! That’s totally awesome.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t have much to add to this graphic other than “Yup. This is all awesome stuff.”

Table of Awesomeness

Okay… Your Maximum Leader will add that he doesn’t quibble over most of the elements. But he does think that Elements 32, 33, 37 and 95 aren’t all that awesome. But that is likely just a personal bias. Your Maximum Leader isn’t all that excited about antimony, bromine and selenium either…

Many thanks to the totally tubular bloggers over at the Ministry of Minor Perfidy.

Carry on.

Surefire way to get comments

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader knows that the Volohk Conspiracy is a much better and well visited blog than this one. But sometimes it just seems like even the big boys at Volohk just want to post something that is a surefire subject to get commenters running to their site.

The issue is, of course, slavery as a cause of the US Civil War.

Your Maximum Leader firmly believes that if he wanted to get comments going on a post, he’d just have to write something about slavery on the blog. Indeed, the Smallholder has done this a few times in the past to exciting results. More recently Ilia Somyn on Volokh has written posts that have gotten 260 comments, and 161 comments respectively. Damnation. That is a lot of yammering about the cause of the Civil War.

Frankly, your Maximum Leader believes that the State’s Rights argument was the reason for the Civil War. The “state right” in question was owning slaves. So the whole thing is a bit circular to him. State’s Rights = Slavery and Slavery = State’s Rights.

So… While we are on the subject here is a topic for you…

Resolved: Georgia had it commin’ and Sherman was the man to dish it out.

You can sign up for your side in the comments. Argue away.

Carry on.

Will’s Guns of August

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is a regular reader of George Will’s columns (and has been for years). He doesn’t quote Will too much here. This is a factor of your Maximum Leader becoming an irregular posting type of fellow as well as the fact as Will gets so much coverage on other sites.

Well… Your Maximum Leader is citing Will today. Not for any specific thing he said in his column today. But rather because of the tenor and tone of the ending of his column today. It struck your Maximum Leader as filled with a deep melancholy - which he shares with Will. Here it goes:

What is it about August? The First World War began in August 1914. The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact effectively announced the Second World War in August 1939. Iraq, a fragment of the collapse of empires precipitated by August 1914, invaded Kuwait in August 1990.

This year’s August upheaval coincides, probably not coincidentally, with the world’s preoccupation with that charade of international comity, the Olympics. For only the third time in 72 years (Berlin 1936, Moscow 1980), the Games are being hosted by a tyrannical regime, the mind of which was displayed in the opening ceremonies featuring thousands of drummers, each face contorted with the same grotesquely frozen grin. It was a tableau of the miniaturization of the individual and the subordination of individuality to the collective. Not since the Nazi’s 1934 Nuremberg rally, which Leni Riefenstahl turned into the film “Triumph of the Will,” has tyranny been so brazenly tarted up as art.

A worldwide audience of billions swooned over the Beijing ceremony. Who remembers 1934? Or anything.

Your Maximum Leader remembers George. He remembers and has been mentioning this very fact to his children every night.

Carry on.

Stafford County Board of Supervisors

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is (generally) a proud resident of Stafford County Virginia. He lives just over the border between Stafford County and Fredericksburg. (And for those of you not Virginia residents, you might be interested to know that incorporated cities (like Fredericksburg) are self-governing and not part of the counties that surround them. They are seperate jurisdictions. So, the City of Chicago, IL is both a city, but it is part of Cook County, IL. Virginia is the only state where incorporated cities are not part of counties.) So while he might describe his residence as being “in Fredericksburg” he does this to denote a more common and compact geographic area and not a real political description.

So… Why does your Maximum Leader bring this up? Well, until recently, he felt that Stafford County, VA was a pretty well governed place. Sure he’s had little complaints here and there about stupid things. But they were all pretty minor. Last month there was a great debate swirling in the county. There was a proposal in impose a Business, Professional and Occupancy License tax. This mouthful of a tax was shortened to the BPOL tax. Basically, the BPOL is a tax that the Commonwealth allows localities to levy on certain types of businesses in their locality. He says certain types of businesses because some businesses that are regulated at the state level are not subject to the tax. The federal government is (as you would expect) also exempt from the tax.

What is the BPOL a tax on? It is a tax on gross receipts at a fixed rate. Regardless of a company’s profitability, they would be taxed. To give you an example. Let us say that you own a small business. Your company has gross receipts of $500,000. In Stafford the first $200,000 of gross receipts are exempted from tax, and the remainder is taxed at $.16/per dollar. So, your hypothetical company would owe $48,000 in tax. Of course, the tax doesn’t look at your expenses. So it is possible that your hypothetical company has $500,000 in gross reciepts and $450,000 of expenses. In this senario, your company profit would be reduced from $50,000 to $2,000. Isn’t that fun!

So… All of the localities around Stafford County have implemented a BPOL tax. Of the localities around, none of them have been growing at the rate that Stafford has. Stafford has been well regarded in the business community because of the low taxes and ease of doing business in the county. In an effort to lure businesses other localities have waived payment of the BPOL as an enticement. (Fredericksburg VA has done this quite a bit recently - so much so that one wonders why any business pays the tax in the first place. They should just threaten to move and ask the City Council for an exemption. But your Maximum Leader disgresses…)

So… The county that doesn’t have the BPOL has been growing and thriving (compared to the other areas). What does the Stafford Board of Supervisors decided to do to change this? Well… Implement a BPOL in Stafford of course!

Your Maximum Leader (being a civic-minded dude) has been to a few County Council meetings in the past. So he decided to go to this one too. Well… There were hundreds (literally hundreds) of citizens who showed up to speak against the BPOL. There were so many people in the courthouse that the fire marshal required that offices in the building be opened up for people to sit in and wait because it was a hazard to have them standing in halls. There were more people at this public hearing than your Maximum Leader has ever seen at a county supervisors meeting - ever. (In any jusrisdiction in which he’s lived - including Fairfax County VA. Indeed, there were more people at this county supervisors meeting than he’s seen in the galleries of the US House of Representatives when real business was being done.)

So… What were the hundreds of citizens there treated to? Allow your Maximum Leader to present into evidence this 10 minute highlight reel:

Alas, your Maximum Leader’s supervisor (Mr Schwartz) presided over this abortion of a public meeting. He is a complete and total putz. It makes your Maximum Leader’s blood boil to watch this.

FYI… Your Maximum Leader stayed at the hearing from 7ish when it began until about 10pm. The public comment period ended and the supervisors voted at 3am. Madness…

In case you are wondering (and the video isn’t clear), the BPOL was implemented (over the protest of the professional staff employed by the supervisors to run the county as well as hundreds of citizens) on a 4-3 vote. Sort of… As you might have seen from the video, it took a few tries for the supervisors to figure out what the fuck they were doing. Your Maximum Leader still isn’t sure that Supervisor Joe Brito knows who the fuck he is or what the fuck he’s doing.

So while your Maximum Leader is generally pleased with the governance of his state, he is now displeased with the governance of his county.

Carry on.

XXIX Olympiad

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader loves the Olympics. He’s been a real couch potato while watching them on the TV. (Ironic isn’t it?) He’s been watching alone, with the family. He is NBC’s wet dream of Olypmic viewer in fact. He switches from one channel to another during commerical breaks to catch what is going on on another NBC affiliate showing the games.

So did ya catch that opening ceremony?

You know something? No country can do opening ceremonies quite like an autocratic state. What were there 20,000+ performers? It cost some humongus amount of money. You just can’t marshal those resources in an open society where private donations are funding the games. Your Maximum Leader told his Villainettes to pay attention closely. Not only was the opening ceremony interesting, but we’ll not see one quite like it again for a while. (Until another autocratic state gets to host the games.)

Your Maximum Leader was impressed by the lighting of the torch. He still thinks that Antonio Robello did it best in Barcelona in 1992. Remember Robello? (Visual reminder here for you:

As for the competition. How ’bout those American girls in the individual sabre? Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Your Maximum Leader watched the competition. That bronze medal contest was a damned close run thing. The sweep of the medals was great. It filled your Maximum Leader with patriotic pride.

He’s been watching the swimming contests. He thinks that Michael Phelp’s bid to win 8 golds is a long shot, but he seems to have karma going his way now.

What is up with our gymnastics team. They are all 4′11″ blondish and cute. What is Bela Karoly doing to our program?

And allow your Maximum Leader to ask a general question to all of you out there… What is up with Canada? Your Maximum Leader knows they sent a team. He hasn’t seen a Canadian in contention for anything yet. Are our northern neighbors all in track & field or something? One would think that Canada would be a competitive nation in the summer olympics. Hell, the Norwegians are winning medals. So what is up with Canada? Your Maximum Leader wouldn’t mind seeing some silver and bronze going their way. (Your Maximum Leader wants to hog all those gold for his own countrymen/women.)

Anyhoo…

Your Maximum Leader will be watching again tonight (and every night) for the next two weeks.

Carry on.

Mayor Kilpatrick

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has only been following in the most casual way the trials of Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. He really doesn’t care. In fact, he is glad that a mayor other than the one in DC has been acting badly. (That affair by Villaragosa in LA isn’t really bad enough for your Maximum Leader to care.)

So… Your Maximum Leader must ask now that Kwame is jailed

Will Kwame be the beyotch or will he have a beyotch?

Your Maximum Leader guesses that since he is not in the “general” population he will likely have one if he wants one. But if he was in the general… Oh yeah… He would be need to find himself some rouge and hose…

Carry on.

The latest on E

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is sure that you all know that he is a big Elvis fan. How big an Elvis fan? Well let us just say that in the Mike World Order he would exert Charles V-like pressure on the Vatican to accept Elvis as at least “Blessed.” Heresy it is… But that is your Maximum Leader… (He’d be willing to erect edifices and schools and orphanages, and hospitals as penance…)

Anyhoo…

So… Your Maximum Leader sees that one of his least favourite Elvis jumpsuits sold for a whopping $300,000 at auction recently. According to the news article:

The online sale by auctioneer Gotta Have It! ended at 3 a.m. The pre-sale estimate was $275,000 to $325,000.

The white outfit with a plunging V-neck and high collar features a blue-and-gold peacock design hand-embroidered on the front and back and along the pant legs.

It is cinched at the waist by a wide belt decorated in gold medallions in a design resembling the eye of a peacock feather.

The auctioneer described the seller as “a big Elvis collector” and declined to say who bought it.

Presley paid $10,000 to have the outfit made by Los Angeles designer Bill Belew, who created all of The King’s stage wardrobe between 1968-1977. It captured the rock ‘n’ roll legend’s fascination with peacocks as a good luck symbol and the auction house said it was among his favorite Belew designs.

In case you are not curious enough to click through to see the obligatory pic… Here tis:
Elvis’ Peacock Jumpsuit

Your Maximum Leader’s favorite Elvis jumpsuit… The rising phoenix jumpusit. Alas, your Maximum Leader can’t find good photos on the web to share with you. He thinks he might have a photo of his own to post from one of his many trips to Graceland… If he can find it he’ll post it.

Carry on.

100 Below: Vader’s visit

Commander Terek of the Imperial Star Destroyer “Attacker” was selected to approach the Captain about the memorandum sent in advance of Lord Vader’s arrival.

“Sir, is this a serious request?”

“Yes.”

“It is to be “masculine and robust” like his own. Have you ever seen his?”

“Of course not. It’s covered.”

“But how?”

“How the hell should I know? Use that stuff keep for shore leave. It promotes growth.”

A week later, the Captain and the Commander met Lord Vader on his arrival.

Vader said, “Your moustache is impressive Commander.”

“Thank you my Lord.”

The steroid worked, in two ways.

Delmarva Shorebirds

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader isn’t at the Villainschloss. In fact he is out taking a quasi-vacation with family at Ocean City, MD. Last night, to mix it up a little bit, your Maximum Leader took his niece and nephews and Villainette #2 to their first Single A baseball game. We saw the Delmarva Shorebirds take on the Kanapolis Intimidators in Salisbury, MD.

It was a great time. Arthur Perdue Stadium is a wonderful fan friendly place. Lots of helpful people. Plenty of bathrooms. Easy access to concessions. A hot tub in left field (an amenity of which your Maximum Leader didn’t avail himself). A carousel and moon-bounce for the kiddies. It was really great. It kept the two littlest kids distracted. Your Maximum Leader did actually get to watch the game some.

Your Maximum Leader forgets how much he really does like minor league ball. There is still a certain purity about it that you don’t feel in the big league parks and with big leaguers. These guys down at Single A ball WANT to play. Your Maximum Leader didn’t figure that all of them were under contract with big league team (the Shorebirds are an Orioles affiliate). So some of these guys might be pulling down $20,000/year to ride in the old team bus and stay in old hotels to play ball.

Almost without exception, you could tell the players were really trying hard to impress the fans and show that they had potential. Your Maximum Leader says almost without exception because there were two noteworthy exceptions in the “play with all your heart” exuberance that your Maximum Leader saw. The exceptions were the two starting pitchers. Your Maximum Leader hasn’t seen two more pitchers with less enthusiasm for fielding in many years. The two pitchers were almost identical in their pathetic fielding. A few times short liners where it to either side of the mound, and the pitchers stood there and didn’t even try for a ball that was 1) at glove height and 2) passing withing 2-3 feet of the pitcher. The pitchers also had trouble covering first on short hoppers hit to the first baseman. Three batters reached base because the pitcher didn’t hustle to first for what should have been an easy out. It was crazy.

Pitchers not wanting to field aside… The game was quite thrilling. The Shorebirds were down 3-1 in the bottom of the ninth. They got a man on with no outs. Then the next batter hit a triple into deep left-center field. The first runner scored and the cut-off man on the relay overthrew the ball to the third baseman. The ball careened into the Shorebirds dugout and the runner was awarded home to tie the game. Then in the bottom of the tenth, the Shorebirds got another runner on first, he reached second on a throwing error, and scored on a long single to right.

And after the game there were fireworks for the kids.

The whole experience (including 4 kids tickets, two adult tickets, 5 ice creams, 4 lemonades, 1 Dr. Pepper, 1 bottle of water, 8 rides on the carousel, 8 trips in the moon bounce, 4 trips to the wiffleball batting cage and 1 balloon) cost less than $100.

It don’t get much better than that.

Carry on.

Blogosphere inaccessible

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that many of his favorite blog sites are inaccessible to users of Internet Explorer today. Some issue with Sitemeter… Your Maximum Leader doesn’t use Sitemeter. Indeed, there are many of those fun plug-in thingies that your Maximum Leader doesn’t use. Yeah, not using them might reduce his site traffic and keep a few people from finding this site. But hey. Your Maximum Leader has been around for 5 years and if you want to find him, he’s out there.

Of course, there are some bloggers who are saying that if you wouldn’t use Internet Explorer then you wouldn’t have the problem. Well… Last time your Maximum Leader checked more people use IE than any other browser. Shouldn’t you want to keep your site as acessible to the largest number of readers as possible. If more people use IE than any other browser, shouldn’t you keep that in mind when you construct your web site?

Wasn’t there supposed to be something about equality and egalitarianism on the web?

We’re all about egalitarianism here at Naked Villainy…

Carry on.

Big Train debut.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader notes that there isn’t much to cheer for in Washington nowadays when it comes to baseball. But, back 100 years ago there was something worth cheering over. That something was Walter Johnson, who made his major league debut on August 2, 1907 for the Washington Senators.

The early 20th century “Nats” didn’t always give you much to cheer for either. But they did win the World Series. And they did have one of the most dominant pitchers ever to play the game on their team.

Your Maximum Leader looked up some of Johnson’s stats. He didn’t realize that Johnson was a career .235 hitter with 24 home runs, 255 RBI, and 13 stolen bases. That is pretty respectable for a pitcher. Those numbers do pale in comparison to 417 career wins and a lifetime ERA of 2.17 (and nearly 6000 innings pitched!). But those offensive numbers are something you don’t see every day.

Carry on.

General Sports update

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that so much is going on in the world of sports. Of course, none of these goings on seem to benefit any team that your Maximum Leader cares much about…

In baseball, the trade deadline has passed and his beloved Nationals have done nothing to better themselves. On the one hand it is understandable. They are 21 games out of first place in the NL East. That pretty much makes this season a moot one. But one (okay… Your Maximum Leader is the one) could have hoped that they might do something to bring a little offence to town. Or they could have decided not to trade away their (defacto) closer to Arizona. The Nats games get harder and harder to watch, but your Maximum Leader continues to suffer through in the hopes that the Nats can be a spoiler in the NL East race. Since the race is down to the Mets, Phillies and Marlins the winner of the division will likely be decided by which team can beat the Nats more during the stretch. Your Maximum Leader will hope that the Nats show some signs of life and don’t just roll over and die (any more than they already have).

In other baseball news… Manny to the Dodgers. Jason Bay to the Sawx. Wow. Didn’t see that one coming until it happened. Manny had grown tired of Boston - and Boston had grown weary of him. It makes sense really. Manny didn’t want Boston to exercise their options to keep him (so that he could get a bigger deal from someone else). But to do it in the classless way the Manny did it is sad. One hopes that teams would shy away from someone who could basically give up on his team to make a point. But, since Manny is someone who can produce when he wants to, someone will pay him. The Sawx have probably made out pretty well by getting Bay.

In more baseball news… Have you seen those LA Angels play. They just seem to be putting the smackdown on everyone. First the Sawx. Now the Yankees. Eeee! They are looking pretty damned strong right now. One wonders if they can keep it up down the stretch.

And finally… Your Maximum Leader is a Green Bay Packers fan. He is also a huge Brett Favre fan. But now the story is getting on his nerves. Your Maximum Leader hopes that Favre will stay retired. If he does not, the Packers should try and trade him to an AFC team - or at least a non-NFC North team. Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure what the hell Brett is thinking when he seems to want to go to Minnesota. You can’t go giving the Vikings a QB when they are a division rival. That is plain ole stupid. At this point, your Maximum Leader just hope the whole thing will just go away…

Carry on.

Note to self… No buses in Canada

Greeting, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is making a note to himself. The note says don’t take a long distance bus trip in Canada. If you do you might be snoozing on the bus and one of the other passengers suddenly decides to stab you and cut off your head with a hunting knife.

Really… It happened.

Your Maximum Leader supposes that he understands the immedate reaction of the other passengers and bus driver to flee the bus and get away from the killer. But at some point wouldn’t you think that someone ought to have tried to intercede before the attack got to the severed head stage? Your Maximum Leader doesn’t know how he would have responded if he were there. But it appears as though only after the bus was cleared did the driver and some others go back in to try and stop the attacker.

Awful stuff.

Carry on.

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