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That’s “Sir” to you Number One.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that actor Patrick Stewart will soon become Sir Patrick Stewart. His name is on the honors list just released, CNN is reporting.

Bully for you Patrick.

Now we can only wait for Bill Shatner to get his. Shatner is Canadian afterall and still eligible…

NB to readers: Speaking of Star Trek stuff… Your Maximum Leader just bought his first Blu Ray today. JJ Abrams reboot of the Star Trek franchise.

Carry on.

End of the year

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is sure this will be the last post of 2009. He plans on trying to relax some this afternoon and then getting to be early. He will travel to New York tomorrow to visit Kevin’s mom. Sadly, it will be a day trip. Up early, on the train, visit, then back on the train and home.

Your Maximum Leader has been in a funky mood of late. There are likely many contributing factors to this funk. General pessimism may be the leading contributor. Pessimissm about the economy, the course of politics, the general outlook for things if idiots continue to be elected and behave (surprise!) like idiots. Your Maximum Leader has never really played the role of Cassandra here on this blog, but he supposes he could if he could get more motivated. Since he is not motivated he’ll leave you with some interesting posts from others.

First off, you should take a moment to read Daniel Henninger’s latest on the WSJ. “A Rodney Dangerfield America?” Henninger’s piece is good, and optimistic. It is worth your time.

Then you should read the recent prodigious output by our friend Skippy. He has been on a tear recently writing good thoughtful stuff that often closely mirrors what your Maximum Leader has been thinking. You could read about Vladimir Putin, or the rule of law, or Iran or injustice.

FLG commends a piece by Jim Manzi. You can read FLG’s excerpt here or the whole piece here.

If you are just looking for some interesting things to read here are some suggestions:

Is there a new Da Vinci painting out there? And by out there we mean Boston.

You can check out Jesus’ neighbor’s pad. It comes with a place to hide from Romans.

Will Russians star in the real-life Armageddon? Your Maximum Leader was still hoping for Bruce Willis and Liv Tyler…

Check out some words or phrases that some thing should be banished from our daily dialouge.

Of course… You could just close your browser and spend some time with family and friends and enjoy yourself.

Carry on.

Drugs in agriculture

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader saw a particularly long, and particularly interesting, article on the AP news wire a moment ago. The piece is: Pressure rises to stop antibiotics in agriculture.

Your Maximum Leader happens to agree with the thrust of the piece, which is that drugs fed to pigs, chickens and cows are leading to super-bacteria that do not respond to antibiotic drugs. These super-bacteria can, and do, move to humans and pose a tremendous threat to human health. What surprised your Maximum Leader about the AP piece is that they attempted to show the other side of the argument, namely that antibiotics keep healthier herds promote quick growth and reduced feed costs.

Now the peice doesn’t attempt a full-blow economic analysis of the costs of giving antibiotics to herd animals on farms vs not giving them antibiotics; but your Maximum Leader wouldn’t expect that type of analysis from the AP. He hopes that some Ag school somewhere in the US is working with the economics department to do such an analysis…

Yet another reason that your Maximum Leader relies on the Smallholder for the great majority of his beef and pork… Smallholder doesn’t dope his animals.

Carry on.

Bad

Deus meus, ex toto corde poenitet me omnium meorum peccatorum,
eaque detestor, quia peccando,
non solum poenas a Te iuste statutas promeritus sum,
sed praesertim quia offendi Te,
summum bonum, ac dignum qui super omnia diligaris.
Ideo firmiter propono,
adiuvante gratia Tua,
de cetero me non peccaturum peccandique occasiones proximas fugiturum.
Amen.

Merry Christmas to all

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure if he will blog again until next week. Until then he wishes you all a very Merry Christmas.
Adoration by El Greco

Carry on.

Christmas in Venice

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has said time and time again here that he isn’t sure what the question it, but Venice often comes up as the answer. He continues to have a hankering to go to Venice at Christmas time. Your Maximum Leader blogged last year about a peice he read in the Guardian a few years back that planted the seed of this idea in his mind. Sadly, such a trip is still not in the cards for your Maximum Leader.

Of course, for the past two years the acqua alta has hit Venice at Christmas time. The news wires have been reporting flooding in Venice as rain, snow, and high tides combine for high water over the past few days. Apparently 60% of the city’s streets are underwater. The acqua alta this year doesn’t seem to be as bad as it was last year at this time.

In the slideshow accompanying the article linked above were a number of pictures showing the high water and people going about life in the high water. But one photo caught your Maximum Leader’s eye. Before there was rain and high water, there was snow in Venice. Here is the photo that caught his eye:
tetarchs in snow
It is a sculpture of the four tetrarchs on the corner of St Mark’s covered in snow. Your Maximum Leader knows this sounds strange, but he’s known of this sculpture for years and has seen photos of it before. But for some reason he made the incorrect assumption that the peice was inside St. Mark’s, not outside. He’s now been disabused of that misconception.

Anyhoo…

Your Maximum Leader would still jet off to Venice in a minute if circumstances allowed.

Carry on.

Still Alive

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is still alive and well. His lower back is aching a little, but otherwise he is fine. As you may know, about 18 inches of snow fell on the Villainschloss over the weekend. As our good friend Skippy points out, he’s had less snow in Toronto than your Maximum Leader’s had in Fredericksburg VA. (NB to Skippy: Damn you Skippy! Having snowless sex with your girlfriend in Canada!)

At this point your Maximum Leader is sick of the snow. In fact he was sick of the snow on Sunday. He was sick of it after a few hours of shovelling. He is extra sick of it now. Your Maximum Leader’s street is now plowed or treated in any way. And the roads leading to your Maximum Leader’s street are not plowed or treated in any way either. It makes for fun driving!

There is not much else going on. Almost all of the Christmas shopping was done before the storm, so no worries there. We have made a run for some groceries, but we could have made it if we needed to.

Hanging over the whole holiday is what is going on with Kevin’s mom. It is not good news and it has me rather depressed. I have known how her story was going to end. But I find that perhaps I’d not mentally prepared myself for a sudden change in her situation. It is a sudden change that seems to have occured now. I don’t know what to hope for in terms of her health. I feel hollow and fake in saying that I hope whatever is “best” happens. I don’t know what “best” is in this case. I hope for strength for all of us who love her.

Carry on.

One job re-created

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that in this down economy at least one new job has been created. Well… To be honest… It isn’t really a new job created, it is more like an old job is recreated. Or even better, one old worker is coming out of retirement.

Yes Virginia, the Noid is back.

Dominos pizza is changing their recipe to make a tastier pizza, and they are bringing back the Noid. As best your Maximum Leader can remember, he’s been avoiding the Noid since about 1990. Indeed, he’s been avoiding Dominos since about the same time. He’s never been a fan of Dominos pizza. He’s prefered Papa Johns. That is until he discovered a local mom & pop place nearby that has great pizza - Miones. So, he gets is take-out pizza from Miones (and sometimes Wegmans if the mood strikes him when he is in the store).

Good luck on the recipe change Dominos. Your Maximum Leader still likely will not buy your pizza, but he hopes that it does wind up tasting better.

Carry on.

Battle of Noryang

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wants to point out that today is the anniversary of the great naval battle of Noryang.

What? Never heard of the battle of Noryang?

Well… It was the great battle in 1598 that was the last major engagement of the Japanese invasions of Korea during the rule of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (the Taiko).

Here is the Wiki page on the battle.

The major figure in this engagement was Admiral Yi Sun-Sin, the Korean commander. Admiral Yi has been described as the Nelson of the East. (Although given the time difference, perhaps it would be better to describe Nelson as the Yi of the West.)

Now you may be saying to yourself, “My, my. My Maximum Leader is such a learned man that he can spout off famous naval battles of the East as well as the West…” Well, let your Maximum Leader set you a little straight. While he is mostly self-taught in what he knows of Korean, Japanese and Chinese history, this is a special case. (NB: your Maximum Leader did take a year long course on Chinese history in college. It was a great class, but as with all survey classes you wind up missing a lot of good stuff in the name of getting everything in…)

Why is the battle of Noryang and Admiral Yi a special case you may be wondering? Well let your Maximum Leader tell you.

Your Maximum Leader’s best bud Kevin is part Korean as you may know. At Kevin’s house was (and still may be) a model of a turtle ship. Admiral Yi used turtle ships against the Japanese. They were his fast assault ships. Now, your Maximum Leader has always had a love for things naval, and a fairly large model of a turtle ship in his friends house was pretty damned cool. Many years later Kevin gave your Maximum Leader a carved statue of a pretty kick-ass looking warrior as a gift. At first your Maximum Leader thought the statue was just your run-of-the-mill Korean warrior. Indeed, your Maximum Leader thought it was a Korean “samurai.” Your Maximum Leader was sorely mistaken. The carved statue was in fact a replica of a famous statue of Admiral Yi. (If you click through on Yi’s link above you will see the statue in question. You will also see that Admiral Yi looks like a veritable badass. Indeed, your Maximum Leader should suggest Admiral Yi to Ben Thompson of Badass of the Week.) So, for many years your Maximum Leader has had a statue of Admiral Yi Sun-sin in his office/room/home. His children have asked who the “samurai” was in the past and he’s had to set them straight. Just a little while ago the Wee Villain asked if he could borrow the statue of Admiral Yi. When asked why the Wee Villain responded that he couldn’t find his Darth Vader action figure and he wanted a big guy with a sword to use “against the Barbies.”

Your Maximum Leader let the Wee Villain play with the statue for a while… Seeing as his motives were pure…

Carry on.

Vegas baby.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been invited to come to a close friend’s bachelor party.

In Vegas.

This event might take place next month. Possibly in February.

Bachelor party… Vegas…

He’s never been to Vegas for a bachelor party.

He has seen “The Hangover.” (And he has it on good authority that “The Hangover” will be under the tree in Blu-Ray this Christmas.)

Your Maximum Leader wishes he could say more. But if he did he’d likely have to kill you all. Then himself… Secrecy must be assured.

Carry on.

But is it a Christmas song?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader broke out the Christmas song playlist on the old iPod yesterday. 7.5 hours of Christmas music for his listening pleasure.

But there is a problem. On a few different Christmas sampler albums he has on the old iPod the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” appears.

Why?

What exactly qualifies “Baby It’s Cold Outside” as a Christmas song? It is just a song about a guy trying his best to make sure he gets lucky on a snowy night. Indeed, as he thinks more about it how is this song played nowadays? Really, the guy is getting the girl to smoke and drink. He’s basically liquoring her up to make sure he can get a little play that night. Why aren’t feminists going on about this horrible mysogynistic song? Perhaps they are and your Maximum Leader just doesn’t know about it.

There is nothing particulary Christmas-y about the song so why is it on Christmas/Holiday samplers?

In case you are wondering… One of your Maximum Leader’s favorite versions of the song is by Sir Tom Jones…

He also likes the Ann Margaret/Al Hirt version.

While “Baby It’s Cold Outside” shouldn’t be thought of as a Christmas song, your Maximum Leader is all for winter makeout songs. So it still has his seal of approval.

Carry on.

Joe is powerful

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has thought for a while, and continues to believe, that Joe Lieberman is the most powerful man in the US Senate. By extension, Joe one of the most powerful men in the whole country. (By further extension, Joe is one of the most powerful men in the world…) It is Joe we can thank for pulling the plug on the public option in the health care bill. We can also thank him for (apparently) killing the expansion of Medicare in the bill.

So long as Joe Lieberman is that 60th vote in the Senate he will likely get his way on lots of items.

Joe is what your Maximum Leader would call a moderate Democrat. In this case moderate modifies Democrat to mean “not completely loopy.” Certainly in foreign affairs your Maximum Leader and Joe Lieberman are often on the same side of issues. And while Joe and your Maximum Leader don’t as frequently see eye to eye on many “domestic” issues; your Maximum Leader finds that the can side with Joe with enough regularity to make it noteworthy.

Of course, this power that Joe has now comes at a price. His sometimes Democratic collegues will hate him for his current stance. Harry Reid and others are waiting for the time they can stab Joe in the back and put him in his place. Your Maximum Leader is sure that Joe knows that they are gunning for him; but he’s played the game a while and will not likely be taken unawares.

Way to go Joe… Now if only you could get some tort reform in the bill… That would be sweet.

Carry on.

Now listening to…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is (again) stealing a page from FLG’s book. He’s now listening to:

and

Carry on.

Eternal questions pondered

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was just reading the lastest Badass of the Week entry. It is on the Kraken. Sadly, the Kraken didn’t quite do it for your Maximum Leader. But being in a badass frame of mind he provides you with this eternal question:

Ninjas vs Pirates? Which is more badass?

Well… Ben, the chronicler of all things badass, answers the question here.

Your Maximum Leader has pondered the question and agrees with Ben’s rationale.

Carry on.

Hog heaven…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is going to go and get his freshly slaughtered and butchered hog tomorrow AM. He will likely leave the Villainschloss around 5am to make the best of his day.

One ham and all the bacon will remain unfrozen. Your Maximum Leader will have to get to curing on Saturday afternoon or Sunday.

Yummmmm… Ham… Bacon…

He’ll try and photo the process for you… No guarantees however. If he does it all wrong he will not want to have to bask in his defeat photographically.

Carry on.

UPDATE: As excited as your Maximum Leader is to get the hog, Mrs Villain is probably just as (if not more) excited to get fresh hamburger from the steer that will also be picked up…

Carry on.

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