Note to self: alcohol edition

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader must remember that this list of alcohol spirits of which he can consume heroic quantities does not contain sake. The list does contain scotch and bourbon.

Sake is dangerous because you drink it in those little cups. You never figure that 15 or 16 cups later you might have a problem.

That is all.

Carry on.

Best wishes Bubba

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that Bill Clinton has been hospitalized in New York for a “cardiac issue.” The Washington Post reports that the former President has had bypass surgery and stents in the past. They also (snarkily) report that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was seen leaving a White House meeting but that she didn’t seem “concerned” or “rushed.”

While your Maximum Leader is reasonably sure that ole Hillary wouldn’t mind if Bill just keeled over and shed his mortal coil, your Maximum Leader doesn’t wish ill upon Bill. He hopes Bill makes a speedy recovery.

Of course, your Maximum Leader would also like to go on some international junket with Bill. Just to see how he rolls. One imagines he rolls large.

Carry on.

Breachers

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, back in the 1980s, could probably rattle off for your listening pleasure the names and general specifications for just about every armored vehicle in the arsenal of the United States, USSR, UK, Germany, Canada, and Israel. His knowledge of armored vehicles now is rather dated and rusty.

Back in the day (WWII to Vietnam and later) the US Army had modified tanks with large “flails” on arms in front of the tank. Imagine if you will a tank with two large arms extending forward about 15-20 ft in front of the tank. These arms held a large cylinder. To this cylinder were attached hundreds of lengths of heavy duty chain. These cylinders would spin rapidly and the chains would tear through the ground below and detonate hidden mines to clear paths for equipment and infantry. Here is a Wiki article on said tanks.

Your Maximum Leader suspected this type of vehicle was long retired, but he always wondered what took its place in the modern battlefield. He suspected that such a vehicle could be quite handy in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Well… Now he knows what is out there. Ladies and Gentlemen and admirers of cool military shit, he presents to you the “Breacher.” According to the AP piece:

The Breachers, metal monsters that look like a tank with a cannon, carry a 15-foot (4.5-meter) -wide plow supported by metallic skis that glide on the dirt, digging a safety lane through the numerous minefields laid by the Taliban.

If there are too many mines, the Breachers can fire rockets carrying high-grade C-4 explosive up to 150 yards (meters) forward, detonating the hidden bombs at a safe distance so that troops and vehicles can pass through safely.

The detonations — over 1,700 pounds (770 kilograms) of Mine Clearing Line Charges — send a sheet fire into the air and shock waves rippling through the desert in all directions.

That is just cool. So cool in fact that your Maximum Leader decided to create a new blog category called “cool stuff” just to list this post under.

Be sure to click through and see the photo of the Breacher. (Here is an image search for the Breacher.) It is cool…

Carry on.

Mittens in history

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been arguing with the Wee Villain over the past few days. It is the age old argument: gloves v. mittens.

In the snow, the Wee Villain has been complaining about his cold hands when he wears gloves. Your Maximum Leader has suggested that he try a pair of mittens instead. The Wee Villain doesn’t like mittens. Your Maximum Leader happens to like them in general, although he doesn’t wear them as much as he should.

Perhaps your Maximum Leader should read to the Wee Villain this peice he found on Prettier than Napoleon: Finland saved by mittens. From the piece:

Simo Häyhä is often revered as the deadliest sniper in history. Using nothing more than a Mosin-Nagant sniper rifle with stock iron sights, Häyhä is credited with felling 542 Soviet soldiers during the Finnish Winter War (with as many as 150 more kills by SMG). Nicknamed “The White Death”, Häyhä spent weeks in snow-covered forests, enduring sub-zero temperatures while sniping Russian officers, weapons crews and snipers.

Clicky on the linky and read on about Häyhä and his mittens.

Carry on.

Liberal Condesension

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader found an interesting peice on the Washington Post this morning while he was watching the snow fall, and fall, and fall.

The piece is Gerard Alexander’s “Why are liberals so condesending?”

Rather than give his own intro, your Maximum Leader will excerpt some of the key points here we go:

Liberals have dismissed conservative thinking for decades, a tendency encapsulated by Lionel Trilling’s 1950 remark that conservatives do not “express themselves in ideas but only in action or in irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas.” During the 1950s and ’60s, liberals trivialized the nascent conservative movement. Prominent studies and journalistic accounts of right-wing politics at the time stressed paranoia, intolerance and insecurity, rendering conservative thought more a psychiatric disorder than a rival. In 1962, Richard Hofstadter referred to “the Manichaean style of thought, the apocalyptic tendencies, the love of mystification, the intolerance of compromise that are observable in the right-wing mind.”

[…]

…liberal confidence and its companion disdain for conservative thinking are back with a vengeance, finding energetic expression in politicians’ speeches, top-selling books, historical works and the blogosphere. This attitude comes in the form of four major narratives about who conservatives are and how they think and function.

The first is the “vast right-wing conspiracy,” a narrative made famous by Hillary Rodham Clinton but hardly limited to her. This vision maintains that conservatives win elections and policy debates not because they triumph in the open battle of ideas but because they deploy brilliant and sinister campaign tactics…

[…]

…the second variety of liberal condescension, exemplified in Thomas Frank’s best-selling 2004 book, “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” Frank argued that working-class voters were so distracted by issues such as abortion that they were induced into voting against their own economic interests. Then-Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, later chairman of the Democratic National Committee, echoed that theme in his 2004 presidential run, when he said Republicans had succeeded in getting Southern whites to focus on “guns, God and gays” instead of economic redistribution.

[…]

The third version of liberal condescension points to something more sinister. In his 2008 book, “Nixonland,” progressive writer Rick Perlstein argued that Richard Nixon created an enduring Republican strategy of mobilizing the ethnic and other resentments of some Americans against others. Similarly, in their 1992 book, “Chain Reaction,” Thomas Byrne Edsall and Mary D. Edsall argued that Nixon and Reagan talked up crime control, low taxes and welfare reform to cloak racial animus and help make it mainstream. It is now an article of faith among many liberals that Republicans win elections because they tap into white prejudice against blacks and immigrants.

[…]

Finally, liberals condescend to the rest of us when they say conservatives are driven purely by emotion and anxiety — including fear of change — whereas liberals have the harder task of appealing to evidence and logic. Former vice president Al Gore made this case in his 2007 book, “The Assault on Reason,” in which he expressed fear that American politics was under siege from a coalition of religious fundamentalists, foreign policy extremists and industry groups opposed to “any reasoning process that threatens their economic goals.” This right-wing politics involves a gradual “abandonment of concern for reason or evidence” and relies on propaganda to maintain public support, he wrote.

[…]

These four liberal narratives not only justify the dismissal of conservative thinking as biased or irrelevant — they insist on it. By no means do all liberals adhere to them, but they are mainstream in left-of-center thinking. Indeed, when the president met with House Republicans in Baltimore recently, he assured them that he considers their ideas, but he then rejected their motives in virtually the same breath.

[…]

To many liberals, this worldview may be appealing, but it severely limits our national conversation on critical policy issues. Perhaps most painfully, liberal condescension has distorted debates over American poverty for nearly two generations.

Starting in the 1960s, the original neoconservative critics such as Daniel Patrick Moynihan expressed distress about the breakdown of inner-city families, only to be maligned as racist and ignored for decades — until appalling statistics forced critics to recognize their views as relevant. Long-standing conservative concerns over the perils of long-term welfare dependency were similarly villainized as insincere and mean-spirited — until public opinion insisted they be addressed by a Democratic president and a Republican Congress in the 1996 welfare reform law. But in the meantime, welfare policies that discouraged work, marriage and the development of skills remained in place, with devastating effects.

[…]

Perhaps the most important conservative insight being depreciated is the durable warning from free-marketeers that government programs often fail to yield what their architects intend. Democrats have been busy expanding, enacting or proposing major state interventions in financial markets, energy and health care. Supporters of such efforts want to ensure that key decisions will be made in the public interest and be informed, for example, by sound science, the best new medical research or prudent standards of private-sector competition. But public-choice economists have long warned that when decisions are made in large, centralized government programs, political priorities almost always trump other goals.

Professor Alexander’s piece really appeals to your Maximum Leader. (Apologies to you all who thought your Maximum Leader was just excerpting a few short bits from the piece - he wound up excerpting a lot more than he thought he would.) Of all of the things that annoy your Maximum Leader about political discourse in America today the immediate dismissal of any conservative idea at all using any of the four methods Alexander describes is the most annoying. The third and fourth items are particularly galling.

Your Maximum Leader has from time to time had political debate on poverty and crime in which he was engaged ended by another person throwing out that his arguements were blatantly racist. He has often wondered by no liberal seems to equate the playing of the race card to end a discussion as obnoxious as a pro-lifer invoking God’s will to end a discussion on abortion.

Sadly, when it comes to debate many on the left would prefer to “debate” the conservatives who easily fit into a category that is easily dismissed. Take for example Ann Coulter. Coulter is intelligent and can make a clear detatched and reasonable argument for her positions; but she often just takes the rhetorical points and doesn’t go for the reasoned discussion. Your Maximum Leader also realizes why she does this. She does it because most liberals are really not interested in a discussion because they have already boxed conservatives into a preconceived sterotype and don’t feel a discussion is possible or necessary.

This is not to say that there aren’t conservatives who do legitimately fall into the stereotypes and with whom you can’t have a logical discussion - there are. But so many liberals don’t realize that they too are the mirror images of the conservatives that they so often marginalize.

Your Maximum Leader doesn’t have a larger point here except to say that he agrees with Gerard Alexander’s piece. You should click through and read it. If you have thoughts you’d like to share on this topic, comments are open as always.

Carry on.

Carnival

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is preparing for more snow. He is sick of the stuff frankly. He made a last trip to the store to get some extra charcoal. This is in case the power at the Villainschloss goes out, he’ll grill food. Sadly, his back-up generator will not be able to be repaired for about 2 weeks. That, put succinctly, sucks. But there is naught he can do but complain about it.

Your Maximum Leader noted that Venice’s Carnival started this week. (NB: Effectively, Mardi Gras in New Orleans began Sunday night.) Sadly, your Maximum Leader is not in Venice, but snowbound in Fredericksburg. According to a Reuters report, there is still hotel availability at some higher-end Venice hotels right now. The bad economy seems to be putting a little bit of a damper on the celebration. You can see a Reuters video report on this story by clicking here.

The snow that is headed towards your Maximum Leader has not yet arrived. It was originally expected to begin about midday. It looks now as though it will not start until later this evening…

Carry on.

Ugh. More snow

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader hasn’t had much fun this weekend. The snows started on Friday night. The Villainschloss lost power at about 9pm Friday night. So your Maximum Leader went to engage the backup generators. Guess what happened?

Nothing.

The back-up generator was non-functioning. Your Maximum Leader tried a few different fixes he could think of. But no go.

Lucky for us the power came back on after about two hours. Your Maximum Leader went to sleep and woke up Saturday morning to the snowstorm continuing in full force. Guess what happened then… About 5pm on Saturday the power went out again. This time it didn’t come back until about 5pm on Sunday. By that time your Maximum Leader and the family had dug out the driveway, sidewalks, and porch. Your Maximum Leader had also chopped wood for the ole woodstove.

Your Maximum Leader is sore all over. Did he mention that he slipped on some ice today and scratched his knee something horrible. (He didn’t know it was bad until Mrs. Villain said “Is that blood all over your pants?”)

Needless to say the prospect of 6-12 more inches tomorrow/Wednesday is not anything to which he’s looking forward.

Hope you are warm and injury free.

Carry on.

Virginia Government and SNOW!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that the Virginia General Assembly (both the House and Senate) are going to adjourn until next week so that the Delegates and Senators can make it home before the huge blizzard arrives.

Your Maximum Leader suggests that the Governor and General Assembly go to the Bass Pro-Shop and get some sleeping bags and camp beds then order a lot of pizza and a few kegs of beer and just tough it out in the State Capitol during the snow. Perhaps if they are all trapped together for a long weekend they could work out the $2 billion shortfall in the Commonwealth’s budget.

Don’t waste a good opportunity…

Carry on.

Forgetful

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has seen that the National Weather Service has increased the forecast of snow in this are to 16-24 inches of accumulation. That is a lot.

All this weather talk has been making your Maximum Leader think of sunnier weather… and art… He always thinks of art you know. If only there were a way to combine sunny weather and art in one visual medium?

Perhaps the late great Alberto Vargas could help us with that…

Indeed he can…

vargas_suntan.jpg
Depending on your workplace, that image might be NSFW.

Your Maximum Leader loves the caption on that piece. BTW, Your Maximum Leader should point out that suntan lotion should be applied every 15-20 minutes while outdoors in the sun.

NB to Sir Basil: Please note how sun reflects realistically off the fruit and there is no sweat on the bubbly.

Carry on.

Out four bucks

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is out four bucks this morning. Yup. He has to pay up tonight. You see, he bet his family that they would not be going to school today. He didn’t see the people in Stafford County Schools buckling down and getting kids to school. Apparently your Maximum Leader is wrong. The schools are opening two hours late today.

Of course, they will be missing school a lot next week if the expected 10-20 inches of snow falls down here on Friday and Saturday.

Your Maximum Leader is growing weary of the snow. He thinks he’d be less weary of it if the state/county were a little better at clearing it away from the roads. We don’t get much snow here, so they don’t have lots of practice.

Carry on.

Tentacled beasties

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that the coast of California is being assulted by giant squids. No beachgoers are safe! Run for the hills! Check that. Run for the hills that aren’t washing into the sea to be devoured by giant squids!

Do you think that there could be a connection between parts of California washing into the sea and the presence of the giant squid? Is this mother nature trying to cull some of the human herd?

Carry on.

Rabbit and Bacon

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader will, in the tradition of his Scottish ancestors, wish you all the word “rabbit” as it is the first of the month. Tomorrow he will likely have to wish you all “groundhog!” As he thinks he mentioned before, he doesn’t know why all his relatives rush around calling everyone on the first of every month and saying “rabbit” but they do.

Your Maximum Leader should also wish his wonderful sister-in-law a happy birthday. Since she is not a regular reader of this space, he’ll have to do better than this forum for birthday wishes.

So, your Maximum Leader has mentioned a few times how much he is enjoying his own home-cured bacon. He is going to have to start changing up his receipe as he does this more. Before he can start experimenting however he is going to need more pork bellies. He’s having a dickens of a time trying to find someone who can supply them. The local grocery stores can’t special order them apparently. (Even Wegmans - who hithertofore had seemed to be able to order just about anything.) The local butcher shop seems to be able to get some, but your Maximum Leader would have to order at least 100 pounds of pork bellies to meet the minimum requirement. That sucks. So he continues to work on getting pork bellies…

Speaking of bacon… Did you see this rating of widely available bacon? The only one he’s eaten off the list is the Oscar Meyer Turkey Bacon. Sometimes Mrs Villain feels she’s doing us a favor by purchasing turkey bacon. Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure about that line of thinking; but it is better to have turkey bacon than none at all. If your Maximum Leader is using the bacon in a dish (like omlettes or something) then turkey bacon is passable. But in dishes where bacon is a key player (and not part of the supporting cast) then only pork will do.

That is about it right now. He’ll possibly post more later tonight…

Carry on.

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