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Caps tonight

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is going to the Capitals v. Ottowa Senators hockey game tonight.

He isn’t sure what type of a game he’ll see. The Caps have locked up the number 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. They can afford to rest a little before the playoffs.

Your Maximum Leader is worried. If the Caps rest, will they be rusty in the playoffs? If they don’t will they be too beat up to go the distance? He is glad that he isn’t Coach Boudreau right now… Hard balance to maintain…

He will say that if the Caps are feeling a little embarassed about their dreadful loss a few days back they might want to play hard tonight…

Carry on.

Returned from Cayo Hueso

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is returned from a few days down in beautiful Key West. You want to know something? Your Maximum Leader might be the only normal person to go to Key West for 4 days, experience beautiful sunny 80 degree weather; and return home just as pasty and fish-belly white as he left.

Your Maximum Leader might recount more of his trip in a later post. Let us give a quick summary for you if you are so inclinded…

High points: friends’ wedding, “Little White House” visit, Hemmingway house visit, eating fish caught by friends at Eat it Raw (fish was cooked), drinking so many cuba libres that your Maximum Leader figured he might just go and try to libre the island of Cuba.

(NB to all: Your Maximum Leader takes his cuba libres in his own form. He likes white rum, coke, splash of lime juice, crushed lime wedge, and a float of 151 proof rum. He found that the bartenders at Eat It Raw thought his variation on the popular drink was particularly good.)

Low points: listening to a mediocre piano bar singer at hotel for longer than he wanted, waking up early due to cruise ship horns sounding at dawn, blister on heel from shoes

Regrets: not going deep sea fishing when friends did go with Captain Keith on the Lucky Strike.

There might be a photo of your Maximum Leader and a more detailed post coming… Or not…

Carry on.

Wither your Maximum Leader?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has had a shortage of quality blog time for you all. This situation isn’t going to change over the next few days. He admits that he could have blogged some last night, but he got distracted by the Akira Kurosawa film extravaganza on TMC last night. (BTW, Happy Birthday Kurosawa-san. You would have been 100 years old yesterday.) After putting his villainous offspring to bed he spied “Rashomon” on the tv. Next thing you know, the “Seven Samurai” was on. Then your Maximum Leader fell asleep. He’s such a wuss that way.

What to blog? What to blog?

Well… First of he should congratulate the President, but most of all Speaker Pelosi for getting the damned health care bill passed. It was tremendous work on their parts. Your Maximum Leader gives most of the credit to the Speaker who must have used every bit of parliamentary/political/personal knowledge she knew to twist all the arms to make the deal happen. Your Maximum Leader wasn’t sure that she would pull it off. He wasn’t sure that is until she saw Steny Hoyer and the Speaker announce a vote would be held on Sunday. Once they actually gave a day for the vote and were adamant that it would happen your Maximum Leader knew they had the votes. So… Congrats to them. It was a tough slog, but they got the job done.

Is your Maximum Leader happy about the bill? Of course not. It sucks. But you have to give credit where it is due. And it is due in this case.

So what next? Well… One hopes that the Republicans can run an effective campaign this year and take the House or Senate back and work on serious modification of the bill. Your Maximum Leader thinks Fishersville Mike is right on with a slogan of “Change - the right kind this time.” Why does your Maximum Leader say serious modification and not outright repeal? Let’s be honest. Even after a few months there is inertia that sets in on any legislation. There isn’t going to be an outright repeal. Major modifications is the best course. It is the way the system works. Why did you think they were pushing so hard to pass something? Once it gets on the books it is there… Some portions of the law just enacted will remain no matter how hard one tries to remove them.

Ah well… One hopes that Republicans (for lack of a better alternative) can get their acts together and run a tight campaign and put themselves into a position where they actually have some institutional power in Congress…

Did you Wagnerians out there see that Wolfgang Wagner died this week? The grandson of Richard Wagner and longtime Bayreuth Festival director passed away at age 90. His daughter (and teutonic hottie) Katharina Wagner is currently the festival director.

Your Maximum Leader may, or may not, post again this week. He is off to Key West, Florida for a few days of sun, fun, and marriage. A good friend of his is getting married in Key West on Friday night. It should be fun. It has been a long time since your Maximum Leader was last in Key West. If you have any suggestions of things for him to see or do, leave a comment. (No need to comment that he should leer at drunken spring-break co-eds. Please accept that as read…)

This good friend getting married is the owner of Key West Key Lime pies. If you want to get yourself get best key lime pie EVAH (EVAH!!!) feel free to clicky on the linky and buy…

Later gators… Perhaps your Maximum Leader will get some sun…

Carry on.

Admiral, Sultan or King

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, although having no Irish ancestry, does enjoy partaking in a little corned beef & cabbage and Guinness beer on St. Patrick’s day. Yesterday evening he found himself singing along to the refrain of this song (which was playing on his iPod)…

While your Maximum Leader greatly enjoyed himself, his family was not as impressed with the singer or the song.

Carry on.

2,054

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader received a tweet today from Professor Larry Sabato. The tweet read: Be afraid. Be very afraid. It’s the Ides of March. Think you have no enemies lying in wait? That’s what Julius Caesar thought 2,054 yrs ago.

Now here is the crazy bit…

Your Maximum Leader, upon reading that, thought to himself, “It couldn’t have been that long ago? Could it?”

Your Maximum Leader can see you all rolling your eyes, sighing, and exclaiming “Oh. My. Gawd. Is my Maximum Leader really that out of it?” Well the answer to that is no he is not.

Here is the deal. When you hear of Caesar being assassinated you think 44 BC. You think of an actual year. 44 BC is one of the few dates of which almost anyone educated in the western tradition has at least heard. When it comes up (if it comes up) in conversation one normally mentions the year, 44 BC. Very rarely does anyone say, “Two thousand fifty four years ago, Julius Caesar was murdered in the Theatre of Pompey.” Precisely articulating the span of time from the murder to today emphasizes the distance between ourselves and the events of the Ides of March. Saying something happened in 44 BC doesn’t cause one to start to do the math backwards from the present to the past.

When your Maximum Leader thinks of Caesar’s murder he actually sees the murder. Well, he sees it in the cinema of his mind. He sees Ciaran Hinds being done in at the end of the 1st season of “ROME” on HBO. (NB: Sometimes he sees Rex Harrison being done in from “Cleopatra” or sometimes it is Louis Calhern from “Julius Caesar” or any one of a number of interpretations from the long history of film.)

Because your Maximum Leader is able to “see” the murder in his mind it is almost like the event is more recent than actually being 2,054 years ago. It is like the movies have created a type of memory in his mind. A type of memory that is similar enough to memories formed during your Maximum Leader’s lifetime that it feels more actual than distant.

Of course, this could just be proof that your Maximum Leader is going crazy…

Carry on.

UPDATED: Many thanks to my Bro Kevin for pointing out the misspelling of Caesar’s name throughout this post. That could be corrected now. For as long as I can remember I’ve misspelled the name. I know this about myself and normally check it. But I can say in my defence that Professor Sabato misspelled it in his tweet… So I am in good company.

Mixed metaphors

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader will pass along this link with almost no comment:

Batman, fighting a shark, with a lightsaber.

What can one say? It is the Dark Knight, taking on Jaws, with Darth Vader’s lightsaber…

Your Maximum Leader would have actually picked a different colored lightsaber for Batman, but hey, it works fine as it is.

Carry on.

More Lola

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader realized that some of you might not want to go and name your own price to download any of the lovely and talented Lola Astanova’s music. So he thought he might entice you with a sample of her playing from her You Tube channel…

Here you go, clicky here to hear and see Lola Astanova playing the 3rd movement of Rachmaninoff’s Sonata #2.

Or you can clicky here to visit her You Tube channel and choose a video for yourself.

Carry on.

Lola

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader debated last year about dropping the dreamy Jennifer Love Hewitt from the premier position at the top of the list of objects of his platonic affections. He toyed with dropping JLH in favor of Lola Astanova.

Well… Recently your Maximum Leader has decided to just make the break… JLH is still sorta dreamy, but she is just desperate and weird. She bedazzels her vay-jay-jay. (Ewwww.) And the way she seems to talk about dating and relationships makes your Maximum Leader think that JLH is Jennifer Aniston lite.

So… Your Maximum Leader proudly announces that the object of his platonic affections is the lovely and very (VERY) talented Lola Astanova.

Wanna learn more about the lovely Lola? How about checking out a nice peice on her in the Wall Street Journal?

If you really want a taste of why your Maximum Leader is drawn to Miss Astanova, go visit her website and download one of the pieces from her “Debut” album. You’ll not be disappointed. Your Maximum Leader gladly paid full price for it on iTunes…

Carry on.

News Break (again)

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader tried a few news break posts a few years ago. (2004 to be exact. Including this one that was slightly notorious for the last line.) Do you remember news breaks? The networks would drop one commercial from a prime-time break and give you a 30-45 second review of the top stories nationally. (Remember Jessica Savitch’s famous final news break in 1983?) Your Maximum Leader used to miss the old news breaks… But now with the proliferation of 24 hour news networks they don’t have much of a place in regular broadcasts.

There are of course, local news breaks during prime-time. They exist to entice you to stay up to watch the 11pm news…

So… Here is a news break for you…

Abortion threatens to derail health care legislation, again.

Watch out! Another runaway Toyota.

Biden tells off Israelis in Israel.

Andy Richter is a professor of show business.

La Lohan can’t work, so she sues babies.

The popcorn you are eating has been pissed in. Film at 11.

Carry on.

Viking ships and art and stuff.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader would apologize for going so long without posting. But then he thought that this is his own damned blog and he don’t owe you nuthin’…

So there…

Sorta…

Anyhoo…

Your Maximum Leader had an action packed weekend from Friday through Sunday. On Friday - Saturday your Maximum Leader went out with some friends so celebrate a “bachelor party” of a very good friend who is getting married at the end of the month. The party consisted of going out for a wonderful dinner at Chima in Tyson’s Corner. (Your Maximum Leader nearly ate enough meat to get the “meat sweats.” Then we retired to a private suite at the Ritz where we consumed fine liquors and played poker through the wee hours of the morning. Lest you think there was anything more going on allow your Maximum Leader to go on the record and say that there is a distinct difference between a bachelor party where the attendees (and honoree) are in their 20s and a bachelor party where the attendees (and honoree) are in their 40s. We had the more civilized type… The 40-something one…

Then on Saturday your Maximum Leader spent some quality time with the Wee Villain and the Wee Villain’s friend, Thomas, who came by the Villainschloss to play.

On Sunday your Maximum Leader and his family went to Falls Church, VA to stand as Godparents to your Maximum Leader’s lovely little niece. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t mean to sound like he is complaining… But… The Mass at your Maximum Leader’s sister’s church was a bit long. This is not to say that your Maximum Leader objects to the long-form of the Mass; he does not. What he does have a little problem with however is a long rambling homilies that don’t have any apparent point other than to relate some disjointed experiences in the priest’s life to various readings of the day. Sadly, your Maximum Leader didn’t get anything out of the homily, except that the priest has tried to minister to lots of stray souls who didn’t seem to get the message. After the Mass, there was a rather long delay before another service for the baptism of the three young girls. That was a little long too, but it seemed to go much faster (as he was participating). Your Maximum Leader marveled at how well behaved the Wee Villain was as he is not used to sitting quietly (in any environment not just church) for nearly 2 and a half hours.

So… That is what your Maximum Leader did over the weekend…

In other news…

Some Swedes have discovered a whole bunch of new shipwrecks in the Baltic Sea while surveying the bottom along the path of a gas pipeline. Some of the wrecks are over 1000 years old according to the piece. You know what that means… That means they are Viking ships… Could there be some type of “Mary Rose“-esque Viking ship waiting to be brought up from the bottom? Perhaps a great example of the style (like the Gokstad ship) is ready to be salvaged and displayed… That would be cool… Perhaps they will find the ship of Urferd Forkbeard.

In news of the art world… Through use of ultraviolet rays art restorers have found the details of Giotto’s work in the Peruzzi Chapel in Santa Croce in Florence. Your Maximum Leader wants to go to Florence almost as much as he does Venice. (In fact, in decending order the cities he wants to visit in Italy are: Venice, Florence, Rome, Ravenna, Pompeii, and Naples.) Our friend Mark, who blogs over at WitNit, actually was kind enough to take some photos of the tomb (& monuments) of Machiavelli in Santa Croce while he was on vacation in Florence a few years back. (NB to Mark: You still rock! Thanks for those photos again.)

Apparently the restorers in the Peruzzi Chapel have done their ultraviolet scans and are leaving the paintings as they are for future restorations. Here is the salient part of the piece:

Even though they are often referred to as frescoes, the Peruzzi scenes were actually painted “a secco,” or on dry plaster, unlike his famous frescos in the Bardi Chapel, which is also in Santa Croce, or his works in St Francis in Assisi.

He painted the Peruzzi Chapel toward the end of his life and some experts believe he was striving for a different effect than he achieved with the fresco technique, in which the painting is done while the plaster is still wet.

“It allowed him to obtain something more rich in terms of colors, of decorations,” Frosinini said. “But over time, dry painting is very fragile,” she said.

Even after the 1958 restoration removed the “non-Giotto” parts added by 19th century “restorers,” the paintings were left faint and anemic, like a patient who had never fully healed.

But they come to life under ultra-violet light.

In the scene where God is accepting John the Evangelist into heaven, the wrinkles in John’s forehead, the threads of his beard, the whites of his eyes and God’s welcoming gaze appear like fleeting but powerful visions.

Unfortunately, they will remain fleeting forever.

The lush details are only visible when they are bathed in ultra-violet light and subjecting them to such constant bombardment would be not only impractical but harmful.

Your Maximum Leader hopes that the ultraviolet images can somehow be distributed digitally so that those of us who are interested in seeing the full scope of Giotto’s work are able to do so.

Carry on.

Ave Skippy and Ave BigFred!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was so distraught over the loss of the US Olympic Men’s Hockey team at the hands of our noble brethern to the north that he forgot to wish you all “rabbit” yesterday.

Anyhoo…

Your Maximum Leader would like to take a moment to with our friend, minion, and go-to Canadian Skippy. Your Maximum Leader wishes Skippy a very happy day. One hopes he finds a female companion (or two) to help him relieve the “pressures” of being a year older today. Many (happy?) returns Skippy.

Your Maximum Leader would also like to give a huge (HUGE) shout out to reader “BigFred” who provided a Latin rendering of the little expression that gives your Maximum Leader so much joy. Thanks to BigFred we have:

in vicis of mestitia a magnus penis est vacuus

So, we may have a winner on how to render, in Latin, the expression “When your luck has run out, a big dick is useless.” This has made my day.

Carry on.

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