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In the marketplace of ideas…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is a big believer in the marketplace of ideas, free competition, blah, blah, blah, blah…

So… Imagine his interest in the concept of competition in art appreciation…

The Heretic Boys for Art.

Catchy…

Carry on.

More attention-deficit commentary?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was watching some old “Family Guy” episodes last night and heard Stewie Griffin say the line “Greetings, loyal minions.” Your Maximum Leader needs to find that clip somewhere he can use it…

Anyhoo…

Your Maximum Leader isn’t much in the mood for thoughtful commentary. He is pissed at Congress for screwing up so badly on the “bailout” or “rescue” or whatever you want to call it. Ideologically your Maximum Leader isn’t much for intervention in capital markets. But after assessing the gravity of this situation he feels that you have to do something. If for no other reason than to restore confidence. You know something… Congress is living up to a 10% approval rating…

There is so much blame to dish out in this economic mess your Maximum Leader has run out of digits to do the pointing. It is a crappy situation.

Frankly, the whole political/economic mess is enough to put your Maximum Leader in a foul mood. But then the Nats finishing the season with 102 losses sorta puts him in a bad mood too. Actually, what puts your Maximum Leader in a bad mood about the Nationals Baseball Club is not how bad they were this year. It is how bad he expects them to be next year. He is coming around to the belief that the Lerners don’t know how to run a team. He is coming to think that Stan Kasten will be gone before too long and that the Nats will flit away what goodwill they retain with their (small) fan base. I’m still a fan. I love the team and am committed to them. But sometimes love is hard.

Your Maximum Leader is also feeling less and less confident about the pick of Sarah Palin as VP. Sure she is on the right side of most of the issues important to him. But after watching the Gibson and Couric interview he is worried about her ability to do well as VP. The big test (in your Maximum Leader’s eyes) comes on Thursday when she and Biden go mano-y-foxyhockeymom. In the meanwhile he will wait with bated breath.

Carry on.

Nats rained out.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that the final Nats home game of the season was rained out and will not be replayed…

Just as well…

Robbo’s wish comes true.

The wish of all Nats fans comes true as well. Since the game will not be made up it is statistically less likely that the Nats will lose 100 games this season. Of course, they are sitting with 99 losses now, and they end the season with three in Philly. And the Phillies are playing for something… So it looks like it will be a 100 loss season (if not 102 losses).

Carry on.

Long on NRO

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader likes Rob Long’s writings in National Review and NRO very much. That guy is funny. Did you catch his piece today?

Super Size that Rescue.

Great piece from opening:

McDonald’s, as you know, maintained a complex and highly-leveraged commodity futures operation, and recent events in the financial markets have made our risk-management strategies impossible to maintain. All along, as we faced a softening demand for our products and in the wake of our increased exposure to losses in the commodity derivatives market of beef futures, hog swaps, egg instruments, bun swaptions, potato debt flotations, and partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil puts, it was our intention to reach some productive and effective understanding with our creditors and our business partners. Unfortunately, due to market conditions, that was not to be.

Effective close of business today, the McDonald’s Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Federal Department of Agriculture. They wisely — and quickly — stepped in to provide management with a credit facility, in exchange for ownership of the company. If you’ve seen the recent news about what the Treasury Department has done for AIG, the troubled insurance giant, you’ll understand what happened here. It’s basically the same, but with fries.

Read the whole thing. It is good.

Carry on.

Don’t go to Shelbyville

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that those damned people in Shelbyville just keep doing things to make our lives more interesting…

By more interesting your Maximum Leader means more interesting (and painful) for people other than him. You might think from the tone of these lines so far that your Maximum Leader might be ready to engage in a little schadenfreude. Well you would be wrong. For he gets no joy in reading that a man might have had his penis “accidentially” removed while in surgery. Apparently the poor bastard on the receiving end of his johnson being removed was in surgery to have a procedure done so that he wouldn’t suffer from swelling. (NB: isn’t “swelling” normal for that particular appendage?) While the surgeon was poking around he thought he detected cancer and swiftly removed the whole cancerous appendage.

One hopes the biopsy results were positive.

Carry on.

Attention-deficit commentary

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader (as you are certainly tired of hearing) is still having PC problems so his posting has been infrequent. He has also been watching lots of TV recently. That is generally a bad thing, but he’s been watching mostly baseball, football, The Sarah Conner Chronicles, Burn Notice and True Blood. Between TV and family, he’s been neglecting you all - his reason for blogging… So… To bring things up to date… Here is some short pithy commentary for you…

Saw the President on Tee Vee last night. He still can’t deliver a speech worth a damn. But he gave a fine (short) rationale for what he wants to see done. No major complaints on that.

McCain suspending campaign to work on economy. Think it is a bad idea in general. Too easy to cast as partisan and desperate move. Presidents should multi-task. But it does show that McCain is serious in his beliefs about “putting country first.” He should (at least) keep ads on the TV.

Bailout package… Very complex issue. Need to do something to get credit moving again. Probably should find way to buy up non-performing financial instruments. Just the ones that aren’t performing - not the ones that are “sub-prime” or could prove to be non-performing. Buying assets (mortgage backed securities) and holding them seems like a reasonable solution as the assets will presumably be more valuable in future. Your Maximum Leader suspects that some closer oversight (ie: regulation) of investment banks is going to have to be done in future.

Postpone the Presidential debate on Friday? Bad move. Later in season makes gaffes harder to recover from. Just do it and get this party started. Your Maximum Leader overheard someone in coffee shop yesterday say “Isn’t this election gonna be over really soon? I can’t stand much more.” Ditto that.

Obama and Biden will be holding a rally in Fredericksburg this weekend - Saturday afternoon… Your Maximum Leader might actually go and see them. Emphasis on the “might.” He might choose to stay in the Villainschloss bitterly clinging to his guns and faith.

Nats gonna lose 100 games. Damnation.

Mets gonna blow playoffs? Likely. Cheering.

Packers will (likely) win the NFC North and make the playoffs. Cheering.

Sex robots? Why… Yes please… Make mine a Sophia Loren (circa 1960) model… Or a Jennifer Love Hewitt (circa 2005) model… Humm… One wonders how the licensing would work for that?

Get your flu shots. Don’t be a statistic.

Be afraid… Chinese in space…

Please keep your pants on. The doughnuts will be right out.

Your Maximum Leader knows lots of people will mock this story about Sarah Palin recieving a blessing against witchcraft. Hell… You know… Your Maximum Leader will accept whatever blessings you choose to bestow on him. Just to be clear, he might think some things you might bless him for could be silly… But he’ll accept the blessings in the spirit in which they were given. Perhaps we could all stand to be a little more grateful…

Just to be clear… Your unstinting loyalty to your Maximum Leader is also appreciated. (Potentially silly) blessings notwithstanding.

Carry on.

Yikes! That will leave a mark

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is still suffering from computer problems. He supposes he last recourse will be to wipe his hard drive and reload everything. He has a good backup of data, so that shouldn’t be a big problem… Just a big nagging chore over a weekend…

Anyhoo…

Your Maximum Leader has wanted to comment on the financial meltdown occuring right now. Alas, between family time and computer time being limited, he hasn’t been able to carve out a bit of time to write something cogent. And this crisis deserves cogent thinking. It is a problem of tremendous complexity that has many causes and is beyond a short sound bite/short blog response. For the most part your Maximum Leader is glad he’s had computer problems because if he’d just started spouting off about the financial crisis it is likely he’d have written some pretty damned stupid stuff. Indeed, when he does write about it; it is likely he’ll still write some damned stupid stuff.

But someone out there is not writing stupid stuff. That someone is, as he often is, George Will. Your Maximum Leader was surprised, but in general agreement, with the tenor of Will’s latest column on John McCain. The harshest part of Will’s piece today was the close:

Conservatives who insist that electing McCain is crucial usually start, and increasingly end, by saying he would make excellent judicial selections. But the more one sees of his impulsive, intensely personal reactions to people and events, the less confidence one has that he would select judges by calm reflection and clear principles, having neither patience nor aptitude for either.

It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama is not ready for the presidency. It is arguable that McCain, because of his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited to the presidency. Unreadiness can be corrected, although perhaps at great cost, by experience. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?

Your Maximum Leader has been pretty confident in the leadership abilities of John McCain from the primaries on. He’s said that John McCain was the only Republican who could possibly win in November. That is still the case. But listening to McCain over the past week have caused your Maximum Leader to shake his head and say “John… John… What the hell is wrong with you?”

Carry on.

Mets/Nats posting

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been watching the Mets/Nats series this week. He’d been hoping to see the Nats play the role of spoiler in this NL East Pennant race. While they are still poised to do so… (Ending the season in Philly you know…) The late season surge your Maximum Leader had been enjoying seems to be petering out.

To wit this lovely Yahoo Sports headline: Mets crush Nats to keep pace with Phillies.

Your Maximum Leader forgets who wrote it (Thomas Boswell perhaps?) but earlier this year a sports commentator mentioned that the winner of the NL East will be determined by the team that beats the Nationals more frequently. So true…

Speaking of Mr Boswell… Did you Nats fans catch his column the other day about the Learners and spending money on the team? Very interesting…

Carry on.

Jurassic Beer…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader remembers being told growing up that “Tang” was a “space age drink.” It was, afterall, developed for our astronauts. Tang. Velcro. Pens that write while inverted. All tangible commercial products brought to us by the research that went into putting a man on the moon.

Occasionally the unexpected outcome of science makes for a good commerical product. Take for example beer made from million year old yeast. From the Washington Post:

Raul Cano is the real-life “Jurassic Park” scientist. Yes, there is one.

A day before that movie opened in 1993, Cano announced that he had extracted DNA from an ancient Lebanese weevil entombed in amber, just as the fictional employees of InGen do with a mosquito to create their dino-amusement park. One newspaper account said the “achievement” refuted “the long-held view of many biologists that DNA of so great an age” couldn’t be preserved.

But Cano was less interested in extinct reptiles than in Homo sapiens now roaming the earth. He next revivified ancient bacteria from the gut of an amber-encased bee and hoped to turn the strains into new antibiotics. That didn’t work, and Cano, who has a doctorate in medical mycology, put his 1,200-specimen organism collection on the back shelf and returned to more fruitful microbial endeavors, like assessment of petroleum-degrading diversity in sand dunes and the bioinformatics of Lactobacillus acidophilus.

And then, last month, a breakthrough.

The product?

Beer.

“I was going through my collection, going, ‘Gee whiz — this is pretty nifty. Maybe we could use it to make beer,’ ” says Cano, 63 , now the director of the Environmental Biotechnology Institute at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.

The result is Fossil Fuels Brewing Co., which ferments a yeast strain Cano found in a piece of Burmese amber dating from about 25 million to 45 million years ago. The company — in which Cano is a partner, along with another scientist and a lawyer — introduced its pale ale and German wheat beer with a party last month at one of the two Bay Area pubs where Fossil Fuels is made and served.

Very cool. Your Maximum Leader has been trying to find some of this beer available for sale recently. To no avail yet. But he’ll keep trying.

Carry on.

Reprieve

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that the Large Hadron Collider has been shut down.

Why you ask?

Fear of the collider creating a singularity that sucks the Earth into it?

Nope.

Bad cooling mechanism.

Your Maximum Leader supposes that this means we will not have to live in fear of being sucked into a black hole of our own creation in the next few weeks…

Carry on.

The Defeat of Superman

Lex Luthor triumphed. Superman’s lifeless body hung limp from the unusual rope around his neck.

“How did you do it?” a bystander asked.

“Simple actually. I discovered that Clark Kent was really Superman. Then I bribed Kent’s cleaning lady to give me all the vacuum cleaner bags out of Kent’s apartment. I paid extra for paper towels she used to clean the shower. I collected the loose hair that I found in the trash and fashioned them into a rope. The rest is… Tragedy…” Luthor’s voice trailed off before he started laughing.

More computoid and conversations…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure what to make of his computer. He runs Windows XP professional. He has a number of logins available. Only one login is an admin login… It seems as though the non-admin logins work fine. The admin login (your Maximum Leader’s own of course) when activated causes the blue screen of death and memory dumps. No viruses found on PC. Your Maximum Leader thinks it is a XP Service Pack 3 error. He still cannot start the PC in safe mode and uninstall the Service Pack. Any guidance any reader can provide in this will be appreciated.

And… While your Maximum Leader is dealing with computer issues… You really ought to check out Fear and Loathing’s dialogue with a resident of his dorm. Yes… Read “Three Conversations with One Man.”

Carry on.

Computoid… And James Bond Theme

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is still having computer problems. He believes we’ve eliminated virus as potential cause. It is either that a Windows XP update went horribly wrong… Or the hard drive is dying a painful death. Either way your Maximum Leader is still screwed on the computer front.

But… For those of you who are interested… The theme music to the upcoming Bond film has already been used as a Coke commerical. Here is the commerical for your viewing pleasure:

Interesting… Your Maximum Leader wouldn’t have pegged Bond for a Coke Zero guy…

Carry on.

Limited posting

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader will likely be posting even less frequently than normal over the next few days. He is having big-time computer problems. He has some sort of BIOS problem. He fires up Windows XP Professional and logs in, then gets the blue screen of death. There is some bigger problem here, because he can’t seem to log in in “Safe Mode” to try and look and see what is going on. He’s not installed any applications that might be the cause of the problem - but it is possible that something (like Windows itself) got an automatic update that is screwing with everything.

I got a message indicating that a file called NTACESS.SYS might be the cause of my problem. If you know anything about this, please feel free to email at the address on the sidebar.

Carry on.

Bond… James Bond

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure why he didn’t jump on the bandwagon sooner! What bandwagon… Well the “rate your favorite James Bond” bandwagon of course. All the best blogs are doing it. Sir Basil. FLiG.

So here you go:

1. Sean Connery - is there really any doubt of this? He could even pull it off wearing that horrid rug in “Never Say Never Again.”

2. Daniel Craig - Heresy for putting him so far up the list? No. Your Maximum Leader really thinks he nailed the role. The upcoming film might affect this rating… But for the moment here he is.

3. Pierce Brosnan - Now we are getting towards the dregs. Brosnan was a less-Roger-Moore than Roger Moore Bond.

4. Roger Moore - Sure he did “Moonraker”… But he also did “For Your Eyes Only.”

5. George Lazenby - “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” would - without a doubt - be the best James Bond film made if it had anyone but George Lazenby starring in it.

6. Timothy Dalton - Always looked constipated. ‘Nuff said.

And for those of you who care… Back in November of 2006 your Maximum Leader rated his favourite Bond girls… That list still stands…

Did your Maximum Leader mention that he received the new James Bond novel for his birthday this year? He did. He read it. “Devil May Care” by Sebastian Faulks The “big deal” about this book was that Faulks was going to “write in the style” of Ian Fleming. The “style” was a decernable attempt to replicate the way in which Ian Fleming turned a phrase or wrote action. Alas… The story just seemed to wear thin on your Maximum Leader. Indeed, he’s now sat for a few minutes just trying to remember the plot at all. There are a few parts of the book that he could remember (bombers blowing up a big hydrofoil in one part). But on the balance the book was completely forgettable.

Your Maximum Leader just might sit down tonight with a scotch and watch “From Russia with Love.” (Or he might sit down with a scotch and watch Tivo’ed episodes of “Burn Notice” and “Penn & Teller’s Bullshit.”)

Carry on.

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