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Audible

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been having a rough week. He hopes yours is going better…

In the spirit of the intellectual FLG, your Maximum Leader is listening to…

And…

You know the lyrics of The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald are pretty moving. Your Maximum Leader can’t recall ever hearing this song until about 1 year ago. (Not being a Gordon Lightfoot fan he supposes.) It happened to be on his iPod and it was dished out randomly. (NB: He gets treats that way. He’s got nearly 9,000 songs on the iPod and he doubts he’s actually listened to more than 3,000 of them.) It is a pretty powerful song all in all.

And…

And…

Given how his week is going… He wishes he were driving Route 66… And he doesn’t mean the new I-66 in Northern Virginia. (That would likely drive him over the edge.) He means the “real” Route 66 from Chicago to LA…

Carry on.

Still checking for fruit…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is still checking various pieces of artwork to make sure they have fruit… Here is a sort of racy one:

Allegory of 4 Seasons

Bartolomeo Manfredi’s Allegory of the Four Seasons.

Fruit present… It’s arty…

Carry on.

And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that today is the Feast of St. Crispin. You know what that must mean…

WESTMORELAND
O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!

KING HENRY V
What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin:
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more, methinks, would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made
And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian:’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember’d.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

For the more visually oriented of you:

Lord Larry’s version:

Or Ken’s version:

Your Maximum Leader has to admit that after he watched that clip of Ken’s version he wondered if Prince Vultan was going to fly in screaming “DIVE!!!” and he and the hawk-men would destroy the French army…

Carry on.

Fall festival you say…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that Sir Basil is warning that we’ll be studying for a fall festival with the RCBfA.

Your Maximum Leader has found his study partners:
Vampire Hotties
He’s especially fond of Monica Bellucci in the center there.

And if Mr P needs enticing to come to this meeting perhaps this will help:
vampirehotties2.jpg

By the way… Your Maximum Leader, who as you all surely know is a Dracula fan, went and got Dracula the Un-dead the other day. He is a sucker for the “official sequel” status of this book. So far Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt are doing pretty well keeping your Maximum Leader turning the pages… Perhaps a review will be up before Halloween.

Carry on.

The joy of consumerism and global markets

Greetings, loyal minons. Your Maximum Leader was just experiementing in the kitchen. Before you get sidetracked wondering just what was he experimenting on in the kitchen… To satisfy your curiosity… He is boiling a pork roast in pickling spices and salts to see if he can get the effect of a corned beef only with pork… He’ll fill you in later on how that turns out…

Anyhoo…

While he was gathering together spices he noticed something and started to think…

When your Maximum Leader was a young boy he remembers that we always had French’s Yellow Mustard in the house. Sometimes, very rarely, we might have a small jar of Grey Poupon in the house. Insofar as mustard went, that was it. French’s and GP.

Today he was noticing that he has many mustard choices available at his fingertips. He has French’s and Grey Poupon. He also has a polish mustard with big old chunks of mustard seeds. He has a spicy brown mustard from the midwest somewhere. Two different “german style” mustards that go well with sausages of various sorts. He also has a horseradish infused mustard. He also has a large tin of Coleman’s mustard powder and a small jar of whole mustard seeds.

That is a lot of mustard choices for you. What is crazy is that we all (your Maximum Leader, Mrs Villain, and the villainous offspring) all love mustard. Hardly any sandwich is complete without mustard.

In the too much information category… Did you know that there is only one “hot” sandwich upon which your Maximum Leader will put mayonaise? Just one… If he makes himself a cheesesteak sandwich (at the Villainschloss) and uses provolone cheese, he will put lots of mayo on the roll (in addition to the steak, provolone, onions and peppers). If he makes himself a cheesesteak sandwich and doesn’t use provolone he also doesn’t use mayo… Crazy huh?

Anyhoo…

Your Maximum Leader will take a moment to thanks American consumerism, foodie-ism, and global trade for opening up the world of mustards to all…

Carry on.

Boasting can get you in trouble.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader saw an interesting headline on the wires today. Here it is:

Saudi female TV journalist gets 60 lashes.

When your Maximum Leader read the headline he thought to himself… “She must have been driving a car. Or perhaps she was out in public without a male escort. Maybe her head was uncovered by a gust of wind and her revealed hair startled a bunch of old men. Perhaps she spoke without first being spoken to?”

Then your Maximum Leader went ahead and clicked through and read the piece. Do you know why the woman got 60 lashes? Because she worked for a tv station that aired a program in which some idiot man bragged about his sex life.

You read that right. She worked for a television station that aired a show in which a man bragged about his sex life. Please note that she did not brag about her sex life (presuming she has one - which one hopes for her sake she does not). Neither did she appear on the program in question. She just worked there.

Oh… In case you are wondering, apparently the man doing the bragging got five years in prison and 1000 lashes. The female victim of Wahhabi justice seems to have gotten off easy by comparison.

Your Maximum Leader hopes to live long enough to see the Saudi legal system modernize to the 1700’s. He could send some Blackstone’s over there if it would help…

Carry on.

If there is fruit…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader reminds you that if there is fruit in the painting it must be art…

For your viewing edification… Susanna (or Shoshanna - he’s told by Jewish friends) and the Elders by Alessandro Allori.
Susanna & the elders
Clicky to embiggen.

Your Maximum Leader had completely forgotten the story of Susanna and the Elders. He had to quickly refresh his memory before he felt he could post this piece of art.

He might read the story to his children over the weekend…

Carry on.

The Greatest Naval Victory in the history of the world.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader will be lifting his glass today to toast Admiral Lord Nelson and the hearty tars of the Royal Navy as he celebrates the 204th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

On this day in 1805, Lord Nelson led the fleet into combat against the combined French and Spanish fleets off Cape Trafalgar. By the end of the day the Franco-Spanish force was destroyed or driven to port. Any hope Napoleon had for invading Britain was dashed that day. The battle also resulted in about 100 years of complete naval supremacy by Britain over the seas of the world.

The late and very lamented hero of the hour:

Lord Nelson.

Nelson’s plan called for the fleet to be divided into two columns. The two columns would be sailed (under tremendous fire) into the Franco-Spanish line in a way that would bisect that line in two places.


You can see the plan in the illustration above. Or if you prefer you can click here for a nicer antique rendering of a similar image.

Before the battle Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory, flew the following signal:

England expects that every man will do his D - U - T - Y.

And over the course of the day, every British sailor did his duty.


This last painting hangs in your Maximum Leader’s living room. (In case you cared.)

Of course, Nelson was killed by a sniper during the battle.

After the battle thousands of posters celebrating the victory were posted over the whole of the British Isles.

Your Maximum Leader has a similar poster that he needs to put up in his redesigned office. He wishes that he had a photo of it, because it is much cooler than the one depicted above.

Nelson’s body was preserved in rum and returned to a joyful nation who interred the hero in the crypt of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.
Nelson’s Tomb St.Paul’s

Your Maximum Leader hopes that all you Anglophiles (and lovers of the fruits of the Anglo-Western tradition that we continue to enjoy in the US) will remember the great service done on behalf of civilization by Lord Nelson and the men of the Royal Navy over two hundred years ago.

Carry on.

Monday Nights

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader had at least three potential blog posts to type out last night. But then he remembered… It was Monday night. Monday night is the one night he actually enjoys watching television. Although the DVR is recording the programs he likes, he still wants to sit and watch them. So last night it was “How I met your mother” followed by 30 minutes of laundry and housekeeping. Then “Two and a half men” and “The big bang theory.” Then your Maximum Leader switches over to ABC (from CBS) to watch “Castle.”

“Castle” is a great show. Your Maximum Leader has no idea how popular it is. He imagines that since he really likes it the show can’t be too popular. The dialouge is great. The stories are interesting. The acting is great. It is time well spent, in so much as tv can be time well spent.

Of course, your Maximum Leader has to swtich over from the programmed tv to Monday Night Football too. He thought that the Chargers would do justice to those beautiful power-blue uniforms and beat down the Broncos. While the game was close and good watching (at least what he saw last night an on highlights); the Chargers couldn’t pull it out. Perhaps the Broncos are an elite team that your Maximum Leader should watch more carefully…

Anyhoo… Perhaps tonight he’ll have a chance to discuss how fun his weekend was… And it was very very fun…

Carry on.

He lives…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that Sir Basil lives… Basil also posts to remind us about Wodehouse’s birthday.

One hopes that Basil will make a habit of posting with less infrequency.

You know… Your Maximum Leader probably ought to pick up some Wodehouse to read and own…

Carry on.

That was the week that was…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is borrowing a post title from good ole Tom Leherer. Damn that man was funny. One can suspect that he is still funny, although not performing. Sadly, this post will be neither funny nor informative. It will likely be crap.

Since it has been a few days you’ve probably been wondering, “Self, what has happened to my Maximum Leader? I feel lost without his inspired musings.” Well… Your Maximum Leader has been taking care of Maximum Leaderly things. You know like creating fake “balloon boy” stories to distract people from the real news. He has also be shuttling his handsome children from one activity to another. Damn. Those kids are doing a lot. Karate. Piano lessons. Sports. “Play dates.” It is crazy. Then when he’s had time to sit down and relax he’s been watching some early season hockey and now baseball playoffs. Blogging hasn’t seemed like a priority.

Even if blogging hadn’t seemed like a priority over the week, your Maximum Leader’s love of his minions has caused his fingers to itch for the keyboard so that he can share some thoughts about the week’s events with you all.

First off… Your Maximum Leader, as many of you know already, is not a big Rush Limbaugh fan. And when he says “not a big fan” he really means “not a fan at all.” Anyhoo… Your Maximum Leader knows that Rush has said things in his 20 years on the air that have offended people. But to cite quotes that he apparently didn’t say in order to blackball him from a group trying to buy the St. Louis Rams football team is low. Very low. It is both lazy and inexcusable for the press to use unsourced books for gathering offensive Limbaugh quotes rather than actually trying to use the approximately 14,500 hours of recorded material from his radio show to get a quote. Your Maximum Leader feels pity and distain towards the reporters who started to circulate the fake quotes and he feels a little sympathy towards Rush Limbaugh. Your Maximum Leader knows that conservative commentators aren’t given any slack or even the benefit of doubt when it comes to racial issues; but this strikes him as being beyond the pale.

Having said that, your Maximum Leader doesn’t believe that the group dropping Limbaugh from investor list is a problem. That is a business transaction. These things happen. Frankly, the NFL saying that they didn’t want Limbaugh is a little much for your Maximum Leader; but that too is a business matter. Your Maximum Leader isn’t going to get worked up about this part of the story.

Your Maximum Leader has seen the tops of Meghan McCain’s boobs this week. Your Maximum Leader thinks that Meghan McCain is sorta cute. He is a little disappointed in the hullaballoo that has ensued after that photo got around. People need to lighten up some. If a paparazzi photo of her appeared on the internet showing her in a swimsuit would she still be a slut? Doubtful on that call. Sure this was a silly thing to do; but to jump all over her (metaphorically) is crazy.

While speaking of Meghan McCain… She seems to be writing for some web site and excoriating social conservatives for being… socially conservatives. Many conservatives don’t seem to believe that there is a place in the Republican party for Meghan McCain or others with similar beliefs. Perhaps we should all think back to 1994 when the Republican’s took back the House of Representatives. The “Contract with America” didn’t contain any major “socially conservative” clauses. (The reduction of welfare spending could be considered a budgetary matter with a social component.) The thrust of the contract was to reduce the size of the government and balance the budget. Now we know that the late Republican House didn’t end well on that count; but your Maximum Leader would argue that the future for the conservative movement, and Republican party, is to get back to the macro-economic issues and broad ideas on the size and scope of the federal government. Tabling some of the more divisive social agenda and actually producing on the economic/government side of the equation has been a winning formula in the past and should be in the future. It would likely be easier to have conservatives and Republicans coalesce around a few basic agreeable principles than to demand action on all fronts. (Indeed, just look at how action on all fronts seems to be working out for the President right now.)

Olympia Snowe voted to get the health care bill out of committee. That is sad news. One hopes that the liberal House will insist on keeping the poison-pill public-option in the bill and Olympia (and Susan Collins) will decided to opt out of the final bill. If Democrats want the bill they should pass the bill. They have the votes. It is clear that they want something resembling “bipartisanship” on the bill. But it is also clear that the votes aren’t really there. Just pass a bill if you have the balls to (which your Maximum Leader doubts). Otherwise just shut the hell up and try a different approach - like tort reform and removing some of the barriers to interstate insurance competition…

Oh yes… It looks like the dreamy Jennifer Love Hewitt might be back on the market soon. Good news for some lucky guy. (NB to JLH: call your Maximum Leader. He is not your love match. Well, perhaps an unrequited platonic love type of thing. He needs to sit you down and find out where your mind is. He fears you are becoming a needy emotional wreck like Jennifer Aniston. You don’t need to go down that path. You need to be more comfortable about yourself and less emotionally dependent on losers to validate your self-image… Your Maximum Leader is the only person from whom you need approval. Just call… And send photos… Preferably in a Naked Villainy T-shirt and Thong…)

Well… That is about it for now. Perhaps your Maximum Leader will blog more later. Perhaps not. He does know that he’s got a great weekend planned. Perhaps there will be photos in it for you later…

Carry on.

Geeks of the world rejoice!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is always on the lookout for science he can use. Although in this case since he is already married with kids, this next story is not of much use to him. It may be of use for some of the single geeky guys out there that read this site…

According to scientists at the University of Sheffield (as reported in Canada’s Globe & Mail) , women who take the pill are more likely to fall for “good providers” (read: geeks) than “aggresive specimens” (read: jocks). Here is the meat of the science in the piece:

During ovulation, women prefer men with symmetrical, masculine features. These men are aggressive, compete with other men, and in some cases exhibit “creative intelligence,” write the authors. More importantly, their major histocompatibility complex genes – the ones that build our immune systems – are considerably unlike the individual woman’s. According to earlier research, being attracted to a person with a different immune system is advantageous because the baby will inherit a larger arsenal to combat disease.

But during the infertile phase, women appear to prefer men who are more genetically similar to their relatives. Others opt for men who exhibit more “feminine” characteristics and have the means to invest in child rearing, Dr. Alvergne said.

Well… That could be useful news for those of you out there looking for a girl or guy with whom to mate. Of course your Maximum Leader didn’t quote the best part of the piece. The one that mentioned how lap dancing strippers figured into this research. Your Maximum Leader will leave that as a tease for you to click through.

Your Maximum Leader wonders if this news is one layer of a giant plot revealed… Afterall, it is more probable that geeks were the ones that invented the contreceptive pill to begin with. Did they know that by reducing the “dual sexuality” (mentioned in the piece) tendencies in women they increased their own chances of scoring? Hummm…. Something to think on…

Carry on.

Its official… Nobel Committe actually bunch of crack whores.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader hears it from here. In deepest Georgia, James Earl Carter has buried his head in the ample bosom of his wife to hide the sounds of his wailing. Mr. Carter is recounting his accomplishments. Camp David. Habitat for Humanity. All those elections he monitored. All those dictators with whom he negotiated. All those visits to Haiti… They were all steps towards earning a Nobel Peace Prize. Alas, he now recognizes the error of his ways. If he hadn’t had an accent, was younger and more buff, and was reknown for soaring oratory he wouldn’t have had to actually do anything to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

Your Maximum Leader doesn’t hear any crying from Henry Kissinger. Why? Because years ago Henry melted down his Nobel medal and fashioned them into little pins that read “Hammered by Henry.” He then took the pins and the prize money and spent a week in Vegas that is remembered to this day…

So Barack Obama has won the friggin Nobel Peace Prize. What can you say but “What the fuck?”

Barack Obama has done as much to advance world peace as has your Maximum Leader. Barack Obama has made a whole bunch of speeches about outreach and change. Your Maximum Leader once wrote a 10 step plan that would result in a more peaceful world. See! Same difference.

Of course this is not to say that the Norwegian Nobel Committee had much credibility with your Maximum Leader. Their picks the past few time round have been dubious at best. But this award takes the cake for undeserved honors.

In many respects this award is nothing more than a “great effort” certificate that kids get for playing team sports - regardless of their record. Only in this case there wasn’t much effort put in by the winner before getting the certificate…

If the President has any sense whatsoever (and it is likely that he does not in this matter) he’d send Hillary (or Bill) Clinton to accept the award on his behalf, and give a speech about peace… That would be on par with the accomplishments that lead to the award being given in the first place.

Carry on.

Pirates, Zombies, etc.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been busy this week. He is entertaining a guest at the Villainschloss, attending some political fundraisers, and helping Mrs Villain shuttle the Villainettes and Wee Villain from one activity to another. He’s wanted to comment at length on a number of issues in the news, but is going to settle for short bullet points today…

Did you see that Somali pirates attacked the flagship of the French Navy in the Indian Ocean? Now your Maximum Leader was surprised by this headline. Then reading the piece caused him more surprise. The first surprise was that the French flagship in the region is a fueling vessel/command vessel. One would have thought that the flagship would be a destroyer/frigate/cruiser. You know, a friggin WARSHIP with big friggin GUNS and MISSLES! Alas, it apparently is not so. After that first surprise there was a second one in the piece. The second surprise is that the French vessel was attacked by two small boats - and one got away. This probably shouldn’t surprise your Maximum Leader, but it does. Afterall, if you don’t have a warship to blow things out of the water how exactly do you expect to get both pirate boats? Still, your Maximum Leader will chalk this encounter up as a win for the French navy.

Secondly… It looks like your Maximum Leader and his best buddy Kevin will have a boys-night out on Saturday and go and see Zombieland. Woo hoo!

Thirdly… It looks like your Maximum Leader will get another boys-night out later in the month and will visit Smallholder and Polymath. While visiting those two fine gentlemen, guess what he’ll do? He’ll go and see Zombieland again… Then he’ll get to go into the woods and use a shotgun to blow the heads off zombie targets. Then he’ll get to drink beer all night while stirring the apple butter being made for the town fair. Is that a cool weekend or what?

Next up… Thanks to you all who congratulated Mrs Villain on her new PC, or those who asked how the Acer laptop is working out for us. Well… After a week all seems to be going very well. Laptop runs fine. The only beef is that the bottom of the laptop seems to get a little hotter than did her Dell. But that is a minor quibble.

About all this David Letterman stuff going on… Your Maximum Leader doesn’t really care (in a broad sense) about Dave having multiple affairs over the past 20 years. His a little disturbed that no one seems to be focusing on the whole “Dave-having-affairs-with-people-who-work-for-him” part. These women are employees of Worldwide Pants. Dave is the owner of Worldwide Pants. That seems to be a problem from a sexual harassment point of view. At least that is what attorneys your Maximum Leader knows have always told him…

And finally… Your Maximum Leader has many readers who know about these things… If you receive an invitation to a Ball (as in a glittering dance that would make Cinderella proud) and the invitation notes that the ball is “Formal” should one automatically assume that suitable attire is tuxedos for men and evening gowns for women? Your Maximum Leader awaits your thoughts on this one.

Carry on.

Acer

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader spent money he hadn’t planned on spending this weekend. He doesn’t feel too good about it, but it is best that he ponied up the cash.

So, Mrs Villain has a laptop computer. It is a 5 year old Dell Inspiron. It was a fine computer for about 3 years. Then it started to act funny. About a year ago it got its hard drive wiped and s/w reinstalled. It got a little better. But for about a year it has been slow and unresponsive. (We’re talking about needing 15 mins to boot up on turn-on. MS-Office programs taking 3-5 minutes to initialize.) Admittedly, the laptop has been bashed, dropped and otherwise abused by both Mrs Villain and our children. In many ways it is a miracle that the laptop works at all.

Well… Mrs Villain needed to do lesson plans and such yesterday. Her habit is to park herself in front of the tv and watch football while doing the work on her laptop. Well… After taking 20 mins to boot up, the laptop was well into another 10 minutes to get MS Word going. The whole while Mrs Villain was complaining and carrying on. Finally, your Maximum Leader couldn’t take any more. He’s been suggesting to Mrs Villain that we get her an inexpensive Netbook or a real cheap laptop (since her computing needs are limited to word processing, internet checking and email) for months. Indeed he nearly bought an HP netbook on Woot.com a month or so ago. (At the time Mrs Villain said she could manage for a little while longer.)

Well. Your Maximum Leader packed the family into the truck and off we went in search of a netbook/laptop for Mrs. Villain. Yes, we were impulsive and didn’t research this endeavor like we would have liked. But if you only need a computer for word processing, internet checking and reading email do you really need to do a pile of research? Basically we were shopping for price.

Eventually Mrs Villain ended up with this Acer from Best Buy. She is very happy.

Of course, your Maximum Leader now wants a laptop for himself… Alas, his desires aren’t as economical. He spent the afternoon configuring various Alienware or MacBook Pro boxes. He shouldn’t tease himself like that…

Carry on.

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