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Happy Day my friend!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been a bad friend. He’s not called back his best buddy Kevin after a conversation last week where a call-back was promised. There isn’t any reasonable excuse that he can give, except to say that the renovations (which are very close to being done) distracted him. (NB to Kevin: Sorry man. I’m a loser.)

Some of you might also read Kevin’s blog, Kevin’s Walk, and be following the story of Kevin’s mom in her ongoing battle with brain cancer. Kevin, his family (and by extension, me) have been you dealt a tough hand to play out.

While I suspect that today will be a busy one for Kevin, it will probably not be too busy in the celebration of his 40th birthday. Kevin will likely be busy preparing to travel with his mom and dad down to Texas to visit relatives.

I wish Kevin a very happy 40th birthday with many happy returns. I hope that you have a great day today and enjoy the time you will be spending with mom. All of you are in my thoughts and prayers today.

(2nd NB to Kevin: I’ll call today. Promise.)

Carry on.

Edward M. Kennedy - RIP

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is sure that by now you’ve heard that Senator Ted Kennedy has died. If for some reason this blog is your first exposure to this bit of news your Maximum Leader suggests the following:

1) Swear your complete and unquestioning fealty to your Maximum Leader (contract written and signed in blood will do).

2) Just go to the WaPo and read this 5 web-page long obituary.

Your Maximum Leader will not heap praise or scorn on Kennedy’s memory. His life can be read however you choose based on your own views. There is plenty of material for detractors and haigiographers alike.

Your Maximum Leader will leave you with this thought… Of all the obituaries and commentary that he’s read so far today on Kennedy’s passing there is one person’s obituary/comments that he’d like to read. Alas, that person’s not written anything on the subject yet. That blogger would be Skippy.

Carry on.

Mind wandering…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader’s mind has been wandering since lunch today. He had lunch at a local eatery today and couldn’t tell if the absolutely stunning young woman waiting on him was angling for a big tip or was legitimately being flirty.

She got the big tip by the way… So whichever it was it worked…

Carry on.

“Town Hall Meetings”

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader read an interesting opinion piece on the WaPo last week. It is Today’s Town Halls a Departure From de Tocqueville, Rockwell by Phillip Kennicott. In it Kennicott spends a whole opinion column without giving his opinion on the whole topic of “town hall meetings.” Your Maximum Leader will remedy this by giving you his opinion of “town hall meetings.”

Your Maximum Leader is a strong advocate of thoughtful debate. He enjoys going to listen to people (hopefully people with some measure of expertise) discuss issues of the day. He imagines that he would greatly enjoy participating in one of the (mythological) town hall meetings depicted by Norman Rockwell (and mentioned/debunked in Kennicott’s piece). Participatory democracy has its place in small homogeneous groups, like small close-knit rural communities or in Robert Nozick’s ideal minimal states. The keys to having such a town hall meeting work are listening and thoughtful response.

Alas, what passes for a “town hall meeting” today is not at all what your Maximum Leader wants to think about as a “town hall meeting” except in as much as the meeting might take place in a town hall or other public building. Let us first agree to call these meetings “Q&A sessions with ‘decision makers’” because that is what they really are supposed to be. You get a Congressman or Senator (or Administration Official - or President Obama) standing in front of a bunch of people answering questions that are asked. Nothing is actually to be decided at these meetings. No policy is actually going to be made. No amendments offered to legislation. No county codes adopted. These are glorified question and answer sessions.

Of course, when you add uncertainty, fear, arrogance, and single-mindedness to a question and answer period you get what we’ve been seeing around the country in the past few weeks. These aren’t really question and answer periods. They are open mic sessions at your local school where you can say whatever crosses your mind. This goes equally for the citizens and the “decision makers.” There are no subject matter experts (for the most part) at these meetings. The decision makers don’t know what the hell they’re doing. And the angry citizens don’t know much except that they are angry.

These meetings should be called “name-calling recrimination meetings.”

This is not to say that your Maximum Leader isn’t sympathetic to the average citizen who is afraid of what his government is contemplating doing to the nation’s health care system. In fact, your Maximum Leader is just as appalled as those people who seem to make the highlight reels on every newscast. If your Maximum Leader were to attend one of these shindigs he would not be inclinded to call people “nazis” (unless he were sure they actually were) or reference how they will surely meet with a dire heavenly judgement (like the President said once, that judgement is above his pay-grade). Your Maximum Leader would really have liked to ask the President at his “town hall” one question. That question would be “Mr. President, where exactly can I find the legislation that constitutes your health care plan? I’d like to read your plan and not one of the dozen proposals in front of Congress that is not your plan.” To your Maximum Leader’s knowledge President Obama references his plan a lot; but no one has read the legislative text of that plan. One could stop a lot of “misinformation” about death panels and such if you actually had a single presidential plan to which to refer…

Ah well… Your Maximum Leader has thought that in the mainstream public forum true political discourse is dead in America. You have to go to small blogs and niche publications to get real discourse and discussion. It is out there; but you will not find it at NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN or Fox…

Carry on.

Now listening to…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader should know that in order to blog one needs to actually push the “publish” button down on the bottom of the post…

Taking a page from FLG and Ellison… Your Maximum Leader is currently listening to:

More by The Sundays

Your Maximum Leader once saw The Sundays at The Boathouse in Norfolk years ago with a good friend of his. This was the show where your Maximum Leader learned that people idiots would create a “mosh pit” to just about any type of music out there… He also learned that Harriet Wheeler, the lead singer, was much better looking than your Maximum Leader had assumed…

Be true to your school by The Beach Boys.

“Valentino” by Diane Birch. Your Maximum Leader highly recommends Diane Birch’s album. You should click that link and listen to Valentino. He would embed the video, but it is wider than his column for posting allows. Indeed, Birch’s album is filled with great songs…

“Noah’s Dove” by 10,000 Maniacs.
“All things dull and ugly” by Monty Python.
Personal Jesus by Johnny Cash.
“Caban La Ka Kratchie” by Georges Fondant.
“Manana (is good enough for me)” by Peggy Lee.

There you go…

Carry on.

No karma posting. Information only.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is just letting you all know that he and his villainous progeny will be attending the Washington Nationals vs. Milwaukee Brewers contest tomorrow night. We’ll be down in Section 127 if you happen to be nearby.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not in any way attempting to predict or influence any outcome in the contest. Your Maximum Leader and his family are looking forward to a good contest in which we can admire the performance of great professional ball players like Ryan Zimmerman and Prince Fielder.

Your Maximum Leader might buy a half-smoke for himself as well. He might also attempt to stimulate the local economy by buying a souvenir (or two) as a means to remember the game.

Carry on.

Perfection

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was reading over his favorite blogs this morning - as is his habit. And he discovered a wonderful little tidbit.

Fellow camelidophiles, all hail our Maximum Llama!

Robbo… Your Maximum Leader will have to keep an eye on you… You have the 3rd person schitck down too well…

Carry on.

The horror… Oh the horror.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was watching Apocolypse Now Redux over the weekend so he’s had that wonderful line on the mind. Now he has occasion to use it.

Your Maximum Leader would like to publically ask Brett Favre to just fucking hang up the cleats and call it a career. The Vikings now Brett? Is it just to get the chance to “stick it to the Packers” twice this year and show them what a big mistake they made? Your Maximum Leader thinks that the only thing keeping Favre in the game now is bitterness towards the Packers. The first time we went through this your Maximum Leader thought Favre had some gas in the tank. But after looking at him with the Jets last year… Well… After Week 3 it wasn’t all moonlight and magnolias (if you catch your Maximum Leader’s meaning).

You should have stayed in Hattiesburg and lived out your life coaching high school ball and coming back to Wisconsin for Packers reunions…

But no…

Does no one have the sense to gracefully bow out?

Carry on.

Ugh.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader got some bad news today. The ongoing renovations to the Villainschloss that he’d hoped would be concluded tomorrow or Thursday now look to be going on until at least next week.

Trim is the culprit… Apparently the rather plain baseboards found along the floor of the Villainschloss are no longer manufactured. Thus, it is impossible to replace some sections. It appears as though the entire basement will get new baseboards now. That adds time this week to the repairs. Also, the specific carpet that Mrs Villain chose for the basement is still on order (and a week delayed).

Your Maximum Leader’s wa is very disrupted. He was hoping to become undisrupted this week… Alas, it is not to be.

Carry on.

Ave Bacon!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees (thanks to Fishersville Mike) a great piece on bacon. (Apparently the link came first from Ye Olde Instapundit, but your Maximum Leader saw Mike’s link first).

The piece is “To some a fad, to others an artisanal craft.”

If this excerpt doesn’t make your mouth water you are not the type of person with whom your Maximum Leader will sit down and break bread.

[Allan] Benton [of Madisonville, TN and the “undisputed king of artisanal bacon”], a former high-school guidance counselor, bought a smokehouse in 1973 from Albert Hicks and spent the next 30 years perfecting the art of bacon. Industrial, store-bought bacon is fast-cured in a day or less: injected with watery brine, flash-smoked, and packaged for shipping. Benton makes his the way his grandfather did. He dry-rubs the pork bellies with a mixture of salt and brown sugar and lets them rest for almost six weeks, switching midway through from a 38-degree cooler to a 45-degree one and finally to an aging room. Then, they spend 48 hours in a smokehouse, with the smoke generated from an old wood-burning stove.

To the eye, the Benton’s product looks pretty much like any thick-sliced bacon. To the mouth, however, it’s completely unlike any bacon you’ve tasted before. Upon first bite there’s a very strong salty hit, then you notice the chewiness of the meat, and finally there’s a warm rush of hickory smokiness that lingers and lingers while you savor the whole bite.

Damn! That reads good. Your Maximum Leader is salivating. Indeed, reading this short account of Allan Benton’s attention to bacon reminds your Maximum Leader of Tommy and Dee Dee Darden of Smithfield. (Remember your Maximum Leader’s Quest for Ham?) Your Maximum Leader is going to have to find himself a way to get some bacon from Mr Benton.

Of course, reading this peice also reminds your Maximum Leader that he has to get cracking with Polymath on the construction of a smokehouse so that we can cure and smoke some hog parts we get from Smallholder and make our own bacon and ham.

NB to Ham lovers everywhere! The Darden’s have a new home page! Here ’tis. Enjoy.

Hummm… Ham… Bacon…

Your Maximum Leader has some fresh tomatoes and was planning on making BLTs for dinner tonight… He wonders if it is still a BLT if he adds a few slices of ham to the mix… Gotta feed the cravings…

Carry on.

Random thoughts on sports & religion

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader happened to see little pieces of Michael Vick’s press conference today. Here are some thoughts your Maximum Leader had while watching…

He is happy with Michael Vick being allowed back into the NFL. He’s done his time and come close to ruination by his own actions. Although many people apparently don’t agree with him, your Maximum Leader believes that the brutal killing of dogs is not as bad a crime as killing another man. (There doesn’t seem to be much outrage at the actions of Donte Stallworth for example.)

Your Maximum Leader believes that the Eagles are a bad fit for Vick. More precisely, he doesn’t see what Vick brings to the Eagles. They would have been better served getting a wide receiver or two for McNabb. Vick brings distractions to the QB position that neither the team nor their fans need or deserve.

Your Maximum Leader wonders what brought Tony Dungy and Mike Vick together? The religious zeal for redemption and helping the fallen find redemption must drive Dungy in a very profound way. Your Maximum Leader has mused to himself in the past about the connection between religious zeal and good players/coaches in sports (football in particular). Many very sucessful and well-regarded coaches and players have been devout Christians. Dungy, Reggie White and Joe Gibbs leap to mind. Your Maximum Leader has mused that the same single-mindedness exhibited in their faith helps them be better at their sport. He suspects it does. The single-mindedness trait is strong in so many players and coaches. Where the single-mindedness doesn’t manifest itself in religion off the field it often manifests itself as tremendous egoism. At least that is the jist of the musing your Maximum Leader has done on this subject.

Your Maximum Leader wishes Mike Vick well. That said… Your Maximum Leader can’t abide by any Philadelphia sports team. So he suposes his well-wishes to Mike Vick are limited.

Carry on.

Break the karmic circle

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader notes with bit of suspicion that the Washington “Natinals” have not won a single game since your Maximum Leader noted (below) that they had won 8 games in a row.

Now… Your Maximum Leader started off his last Nationals post by stating that he did indulge himself in some silly sports superstitions. He debated then if he should write about the win streak. He didn’t come out and say that if he wrote the post the win streak would end… But… He wrote the post and behold the streak ended.

So this post is going to try and provide a little karmic energy to break the cycle of obviously bad juju that has been in the air since the last post.

The Nationals are beginning to look hapless again. They have lost their last 3. They were shut out last night. This is not to say that the Nationals are back to the way they looked a few months back. Nope. They haven’t regressed that much. But they aren’t scoring. They aren’t hitting too well. They aren’t pitching well… They are looking more like the 40-75 team they are.

The Nats go again against the Reds in Cincinnati tonight. There is no telling how the game will go… But the spectre of the 1962 Mets still hangs (tenuously) over the Nats.

Carry on.

Chirp.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, for reasons passing understanding, just signed up on Twitter.

He now tweets.

Interested in becoming a follower?

Here is the feed. (Twitter.com/maximumleader)

Pithyness will follow.

Carry on.

Congratulations!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader decided to make a second post and not update the one below…

Your Maximum Leader’s beloved sister and brother in law were just parented a second time. Your Maximum Leader’s sister delivered a healthy little girl. 7 lbs 6 oz. 19 inches long. 10 fingers and 10 toes (assuming you count opposeable thumbs as “fingers” - would it be better to describe them as 10 correct digits on hands and feet?)

Many congratulations…

Carry on.

Joy and sadness

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is caught between conflicting emotions today.

Your Maximum Leader’s sister is, at this very moment, in the hospital. We hope very soon to hear the good news that she has safely delivered her second child. We don’t know if it will be a boy or girl, but we should know soon.

That is happy news.

Then there is the very sad news that Kevin’s mom (who is like a mom to me as well) will lose her battle with cancer sooner rather than later.

When I received word from Kevin about the diagnosis I was stopped at a red light. I had to pull over for a minute and cry.

It was a very hard afternoon.

Carry on.

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