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Choke

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader may now pay full attention to baseball season.

After performances like this, your Maximum Leader wonders why he invests himself so much in some sports teams.

Right now he doesn’t even want to think about his beloved Caps…

That will, of course, change… There always next year afterall…

Carry on.

Calling Leni Riefenstahl

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader recently received an email from a close friend. The contained a link to a You Tube video and the comment “…this provides an argument why Germans should not be allowed to play rock and roll… EVER.
Note that this is a Queen cover tune.

Your Maximum Leader clicked through on the link and got this:

Now, first off your Maximum Leader should apologize to any of you who did watch the video. Sorry about that…

That is some awful shit. Your Maximum Leader didn’t think that Germans were allowed to wear brownshirts and boots like that any more… He is also glad he doesn’t speak any German (mostly out of fear of what the lyrics might actually say). Your Maximum Leader’s friend says it is a Queen cover. Your Maximum Leader admits that he can’t place the Queen song at all. He should try and google a Queen song with the lyric “Get me a light beer!”

Of course, for all your Maximum Leader knows, the singer might be saying “Get me a light beer or I’ll remilitarize the Rhineland! Watch your back Czech Republic!”

What ever happened to the happy anti-war sentiment of Nena and 99 Luftballons?

Oh Nena… Your Maximum Leader hopes you’ve shaved your pits at some point between 1984 and today…

(NB to readers: Your Maximum Leader remembers, back in the day, that he thought that Nena was rather attractive. Then one day on MTV he saw a live performance of 99 Luftballons. At first he was pretty excited because Nena was wearing some sort of torn up sleeveless white t-shirt on what appeared to be a humid day. (Wink Wink Nudge Nudge) He thought he might get to see a little side boob or something. Sadly, what he did get was an eyeful of armpit hair that he’ll never be able to un-see. After that day, your Maximum Leader never thought Nena was that attractive. Martha Quinn however…)

Anyhoo… Note to our German friends… Please no more…

Should your Maximum Leader be a little ashamed for invoking the name of Leni Riefenstahl in this post? She was an innovative filmmaker after all… And there was nothing innovative in that video…

Carry on.

100 Below: Animal passions

It seemed like she’d been talking forever. While she droned on he contemplated her form. She had wide hips and a large bottom. Her waist was narrow and accentuated her large breasts. There was something about the shape of her eyes and their position on her face that struck him. Something animalistic. Something arousing.

She mistook his gaze for interest in what she was saying.

Then the epiphany.

He blurted out, “Your face looks like a lion’s.” It was true; her face did have a leonine aspect. “I want you so badly. Let’s go.”

Now she stared at him.

Nats, polls & old houses

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has a few random thoughts to throw out there for your reading pleasure. Reading pleasure might be overstating the cast. How about he’ll throw out the random thoughts for your perusal…

First off… A note to Robbo. What the heck man? Every time you blog about the Nats playing well, they come back and get slaughtered. To wit. This post over at the Llamas is followed by the drubbing of last night. Ack. The Nats seem as they could show significant improvement over last season if they can get their pitching under control…

Secondly… Your Maximum Leader was polled last night on the subject of Governor McDonnell’s Confederate History proclamation. Sadly, your Maximum Leader’s opinions were not very well captured by the questions asked. They pretty much boxed you into either the Sons of Confederate Veterans camp or the we must remove all evidence of the Civil War that we don’t like camp. One of the questions, for example, asked if you supported keeping all of the monuments along Monument Avenue in Richmond that glorify various Confederate leaders as heros or if you support their removal. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t support their removal, but he also thinks a little balance is in order… Perhaps the lesson here is that your Maximum Leader shouldn’t participate in polls.

Lastly… Your Maximum Leader got a text from Joan yesterday that read: Am I the only southerner who finds it a touch scary when people from Boston or Nevada buy antebellum homes to “renovate”? Your Maximum Leader, although born and bred in Virginia, isn’t sure his “southerner” credentials are particularly strong. But as someone who actually does know something about antebellum homes his opinions are these: If the people coming to renovate the house are gay you have nothing to fear; they will do a great and accurate restoration. If the people coming to renovate are middle-aged empty nesters who are looking to retire, again nothing to fear. Pretty much anyone else from out of the area with no idea of the history of the house should be viewed with a wary eye. This opinion is formed by years of observation…

Carry on.

What the Lord has joined…

Greeting, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is not now, nor has he ever been in communion with the Episcopal Church of the United States. Frankly, he’s never been a member of any Episcopal/Anglican Church. He’s attended more than a few services in the Episcopal/Anglican Church, but that is about it.

Readers of this space are likely familiar with the ongoing secession of various Episcopal parishes in Virginia from the Episcopal Church of the United States (ECUSA) and their joining the Anglican Communion (under the auspices of a branch of the Anglican Church in Africa). The secession (schism if you will) has been the subject on an ongoing battle in the courts. You see the congregations that seceeded took their physical church buildings with them. Here is a little overview from the Washington Examiner.

If you happened to read that piece you might recall seeing that St. Stephen’s Church in Heathsville, VA is among those churches in the thick of the dispute.

So now your Maximum Leader is coming to the point… You might recall (from the last post) that your Maximum Leader went to visit his in-laws over the weekend. The path from the Villainschloss to the in-law’s runs through Heathsville, VA. For many years your Maximum Leader has driven by St. Stephen’s and always notices the wooden Victorian structure as he passes.

(NB: Indeed, he always tried to guess the age of the building as he passed. It is a little game your Maximum Leader plays in his mind while he drives across Virginia. He tries to guess the age of old homes or buildings based on what he knows of building styles and trends in VA. In the case of St Stephen’s he knew that although the congregation was established in 1664, the building was much later. He figured from the style of the church that it was likely built after the Civil War, but prior to 1900. He has toyed with dates from 1870-1880. And he learned recently from the church web site that the building dates from 1874.)

When St. Stephen’s left the ECUSA your Maximum Leader knew that there were bound to be some hard feelings. The tangible sign of the change came a little while after St. Stephen’s organized with the Anglican Communion. The sign was, in fact, the church sign. The old sign in front of the church was white with the crest of the ECUSA and it read “St. Stephen’s Church, Episcopal, Est 1664.” Then one day there was a new sign. It wasn’t white, but sort of gray. The crest of the ECUSA was gone and in its place was a symbol like a compass rose. The new sign read “St. Stephen’s Church, Anglican, Est 1664.”

Down the road about 50 yards from St. Stephen’s Church (Anglican); the first church sign appeared outside what had heretofore seemed to be a nice sized private home. Now within a stone’s throw of each other are a little white church which is St. Stephen’s (Anglican) and a nice house which is St. Stephen’s (Episcopal).

This past weekend, your Maximum Leader met his in-laws in Heathsville to go to the Farmers Market at the courthouse. While standing on the green behind the courthouse, he started talking to his father-in-law and a family friend about the church split. At some level your Maximum Leader knew that the split had to be hard on the tiny town of Heathsville. He knew that a significant portion of the original congregation (perhaps 20%) had not supported leaving the ECUSA. Those people are now the core of St. Stephen’s (Episcopal). He imagined that the Episcopal congregants were likely bitter and angry. Well, listening to the friend of the family describe it, the schism has torn some families apart. Two families were in fact pointed out to your Maximum Leader. They stood on opposite sides of the green. He is sure their physical position happened to be coincidence at that moment in time. But to hear the tale, these were close families. They were neighbors, friends, and at the distant cousin level related by marriage. Now they will not speak to each other. The kids no longer play together or even socialize at school. The adults avoid each other in public. It was sad to see. If your Maximum Leader had been more bold (and had the time) he’d have actually approached the people directly and asked them about the experience. He isn’t sure why he would want to hear the lurid details of the sad story from the actors themselves; but he does. He isn’t sure what he could learn from that. Perhaps it is a twisted voyeuristic tendency in him? At some level he wants to hear the story of what happened at the congregational level.

Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure that he’ll ever hear the tale directly from the people themselves. At some level just putting faces to what has happened in this tiny town has been enough to humanize the story…

In case you care to… Here are two web sites for you. St. Stephen’s (Anglican) and St. Stephen’s (Episcopal).

Carry on.

To explain

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has had a heck of a few days. The biggest event was Thursday when Villainette #2 sustained a rather nasty toe injury during Karate class. The injury required 9 stitches to her left big toe and nearly 5 hrs in the local ER. She’s been hobbling along now on crutches since then, but will likely be walking with a boot on the left foot for another 10 days or so.

So what happened you might ask? Well, your Maximum Leader’s version of the story involves the brave Villainette #2 taking on a room full of Ninja coming at her. She faught them off but as they retreated and dragged off their dead one was able to stab at her toe slicing the skin open and causing a nasty bleeding wound.

The truth of the matter is that while doing lunging exercises she got her toe caught in a gap between the mats on the floor and fell forward. The stuck toe combined with the falling body caused the skin to tear around her toe.

Your Maximum Leader prefers his version of the story…

Friday your Maximum Leader went to Richmond to visit for a bit with Smallholder who was there chaperoning some students from the school where he teaches. It was good to see him and to chat about all manner of things. A sample of topics included Tea Parties, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and the flap about Confederate History month, farming, King Lear, parenting, charcuterie, volcanoes, and how young girls seem to be dressing more slutty with every passing year…

The Saturday and Sunday were spent at your Maximum Leader’s in-laws on the Chesapeake Bay. Sadly there was no fishing involved - as the boat was out of the water and in need of a little scraping and painting of the hull. But your Maximum Leader was able to nap and relax and get some stuff straightened out with his in-law’s computer. He normally doesn’t attempt to blog (or use the internet) at his in-laws. This is because their house is for fun and relaxation. And until about a week ago they didn’t have high speed internet (but a 48k dial-up connection). They now have high-speed internet and that is what was the cause of some of the PC issues your Maximum Leader helped fix.

Your Maximum Leader has been watching a lot of hockey of late. As some of you may know the hockey playoffs are underway. Your Maximum Leader, out of some silly supertitition he supposes, is not going to comment on his team, the Capitals. But if you are a hockey fan you know what is going on…

Carry on.

Bread

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader recalls reading that during the age of Caesar (Julius and Augustus) roman legionnaires almost always had access to pork or other meats. But the legionnaires always wanted a ration of bread every day. The citizens of Rome depended on a free bread ration for hundreds of years.

These people liked their bread.

When your Maximum Leader thinks of modern cultures that like their bread his mind first goes to an idealized France. He knows that the culture of bread in France has been dramatically on the decline for many years. But in his mind he likes the idea of going to the bakery in the morning and getting fresh baguettes every morning…

We aren’t big bread eaters in the US of A. Not like other cultures.

Your Maximum Leader likes his bread. He prefers crusty bread that is roughly torn from a loaf. Or just a bread with a good tasty crust. He doesn’t like his bread too doughy in the middle.

Last night your Maximum Leader craved bread with dinner. So he stopped at the local Giant and bought a fresh baguette on his way home for dinner last night…

Well, he needs to report that in slightly less than 24 hours he’s now eaten the entire baguette himself. He cut peices for dinner to sop up juices from dinner. He ate some with honey as a snack last night. He toasted a little this morning with jam for breakfast. And he just finished off the loaf as a sandwich and some slices eaten with onion and brie.

He feels sort of piggy today. But it is piggy in a reasonably good way.

Carry on.

Random thoughts from a weekend

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader will share with you a number of thoughts he had over the weekend and actually wrote on a little scrap of paper in anticipation of making a blog post out of them. Sadly, they aren’t too pithy…

‘Tween girls (your Maximum Leader’s daughters for example) appear to only have two modulations for their voice. Inaudible whisper and wailing banshee.

Your Maximum Leader’s 10 year old daughter (Villainette #2) throws a tighter spiral with a football than he does.

Your Maximum Leader’s 5 year old son (the Wee Villain) throws a football at least as well, if not as far, as your Maximum Leader does.

Those last two observations hurt.

Pollen is a pain to clean off every friggin thing it touches.

Your Maximum Leader feels badly for the people of Poland. He wonders if the late President ordered the pilot to land the plane or if the pilot did it on his own authority. It is hard to imagine that the pilot of the ill-fated flight would make that call on his own.

The Washington Capitals lost their last regular season game to Boston on Sunday. It looks like the Caps have drawn the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the NHL playoffs; which begin Thursday for the Caps.

Your Maximum Leader wonders if there is a special sub-set of screenplay writers in California who’s job it is to adapt hit hollywood movies into catchy porn films?

Your Maximum Leader is glad he doesn’t have to go to DC this week. Traffic and protests will render the city unbearable.

Your Maximum Leader forgot to mention last week that he went and saw “Clash of the Titans.” The fact that he took nearly a week to mention this event should tell you all you need to know. RELEASE THE KRAKEN!!!!

Carry on.

Two unrelated links

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is sure that most of you have heard the news already that Justice John Paul Stevens will be retiring over the summer. While your Maximum Leader can’t say that he often agreed on publicized decisions by Justice Stevens; he will thank Justice Stevens for his service and welcome him into retirement.

The next link is to this piece in the National Journal singing the praises of David Frum. Your Maximum Leader would have missed the piece were it not for a link from Orin Kerr.

Your Maximum Leader isn’t a strong Frum man. He is rather ambivelent towards Frum. He agrees with some stuff, and disagrees with other stuff. It is on the subject of what it takes to govern and the echo chamber that is Fox News that your Maximum Leader finds himself in agreement with Frum.

While your Maximum Leader did think that Republicans, Conservatives and Tea Party activists being obstructionists on the issue of health care “reform” was a sound strategy he wants to temper it by stating that the tactics of a vocal minority are not the same as those of a governing majority. A corrallary to this is that advocating an unwaivering objection to an unpopular policy and gaining much popular support for that position is not the same as the objection itself having great popular support. Not enough conservatives seem to understand these ideas.

Carry on.

.333

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader notes that his beloved Washington Nationals hung on to win their first game of the season yesterday. They beat Philly 6-5.

That means that the Nationals win percentage is .333. .333 is a great batting average but not too much as a team win percentage. Let us hope for some good work in New York against the Mets.

Carry on.

Without context…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader gives you this paragraph to mull over without any explaination of context:

If Leibniz is right, then natural disasters aren’t the result of divine punishment for sin. They are the foreseen but unintended consequences of a well-regulated and overall good system of natural laws. So religious believers can explain the causes of earthquakes in purely natural terms (Leibniz was an avid scientist himself), while still maintaining belief in a divine, nonpunitive purpose for allowing such events. The harmonization of natural and theological explanations, reason and faith, is Leibniz’s true legacy.

If you would like full context, you can click here for the piece by Samuel Newlands at the WSJ.

Carry on.

Wherein we agree with the WaPo Editorial Board

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t often find himself in pretty much complete agreement with an unsigned editorial published by the Editors of the Washington Post newspaper.

Today is the day he does find himself in agreement with the Editors of the Washington Post on the issue of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s proclamation declaring April 2010 “Confederate History Month.” From the editorial page:

It’s fine that Mr. McDonnell decided to proclaim April as Confederate History Month; the Confederacy is an important chapter of history that merits study and draws tourists to Virginia. But any serious statement on the Confederacy and the Civil War would at least recognize the obvious fact — that slavery was the major cause of the war, and that the Confederacy fought largely in defense of what it called “property,” which meant the right to own slaves. Instead, Mr. McDonnell’s proclamation chose to omit this, declaring instead that Virginians fought “for their homes and communities and Commonwealth.” The words “slavery” and “slaves” do not appear.

Even more incendiary is the proclamation’s directive that “all Virginians” must appreciate the state’s “shared” history and the Confederacy’s sacrifices. Surely he isn’t including the 500,000 Virginia slaves who constituted more than a quarter of the state’s Civil War-era population, who cheered the Union and ran away to it when they could.

As James McPherson, dean of Civil War scholars, commented on learning of Mr. McDonnell’s proclamation: “I find it obnoxious, but it’s extremely typical. The people that emphasize Confederate heritage and the legacy, and the importance of understanding Confederate history, want to deny that Confederate history was ultimately bound up with slavery. But that was the principal reason for secession — that an anti-slavery party was elected to the White House. . . . And without secession, there wouldn’t have been a war.”

It’s difficult to understand why Mr. McDonnell, who in his inaugural address paid eloquent homage to former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, the grandson of slaves, and spoke movingly of slavery’s evils, would now trade in such glaring historical omissions. Charitably, we might suspect sloppy staff work; less charitably, we’d guess he is pandering to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a group that lionizes the Confederacy and pressed for the proclamation. It’s possible the governor thought he was being sensitive by eliminating the obnoxious glorification of the Confederacy’s “cause,” a word that appeared in a similar proclamation by former governor George Allen (R), whose idea of office decor ran to Confederate flags and nooses.

Okay… Your Maximum Leader thinks that the dig at George Allen was a bit gratuitous (although he’s sure his good friend Smallholder would disagree on that point). But the general thrust of the editorial is right on.

Your Maximum Leader thinks it is important to add one important observation. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t believe Bob McDonnell is a racist. In the brief time your Maximum Leader actually had regular friendly contact with (then Delegate) McDonnell your Maximum Leader never picked up any cue that might have signalled that McDonnell had a prejudiced bone in his body. This sentiment is echoed by UVA Government professor Larry Sabato who tweeted as much earlier today.

Your Maximum Leader wants to believe that this proclamation is a combination of the WaPo Editorial Board’s charitable and less-charitable explanations. He believes that staff in the Governor’s office decided to pander to the Sons of Confederate Veterans. (Of course your Maximum Leader can’t for the life of him understand why one would pander to them…) And that the staff decided to make a few minor editorial changes to the old proclamation and get it issued without much consideration.

This belief should not, and frankly does not, absolve the Governor of ultimate responsibility. His signature went on the proclamation. He is responsible for knowing what is in the proclamation and for questioning why such a proclamation was needed (or any way called for). Someone on the Governor’s staff should have asked what the hell was going on with the proclamation and given some pushback. Your Maximum Leader can’t understand why neither the Governor nor his staff seemed to have an inkling of the outcry the proclamation was bound to cause.

This whole incident is a sad misstep by a Governor who doesn’t need missteps. He had a very successful General Assembly session and has really been on-message and on-task since being elected.

If your Maximum Leader were advising the Governor, he’d advise a public mea-culpa and amend the proclamation to denounce slavery and encourage study of the full (and accurate) history of the American Civil War.

Carry on.

100 below: 80’s movie remake hell

“So I have this 80s movie remake idea. Take “The Final Countdown” a step further. The USS Ronald Reagan is transported back to December 5, 1941. They are able to stop the attack on Pearl Harbor. Then they single-handedly sink the Japanese fleet. Then they go and nuke Tokyo. Then they sail around to the Atlantic and nuke Berlin to end WWII. It is sort of an Inglourious Basterds alternate history ending.”

The executive asked, “Could we add a CGI Ronald Reagan to the movie?”

“Of course!”

“Friggin’ brilliant. Green light!!!!”

1 down and 161 to go

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader didn’t get a chance to actually watch his beloved Washington Nationals go down to ignominious defeat to the Phillies. He watched the game track on ESPN and listened on the radio when he could catch the signal.

Well… The season is long…

You know, the dearth of sporting event broadcasting on radio in the DC area is sad. You can’t get a Nationals or Capitals regular season game on the regular radio unless you are in downtown DC. The pathetic AM broadcast station (which your Maximum Leader will not even deign to name here) must be powered by the treadmills of 1000 hamsters and can’t be heard anywhere in DC. (But on cloudy nights your Maximum Leader can barely pick up the signal from WFAN in New York City…)

Your Maximum Leader wished that the Nats and Caps could get broadcast on an FM station - like the new format 106.7 which is a sports-talk format station now. Wouldn’t it be great if a sports-talk station actually could broadcast a few games too?

Sadly, it is probably more profitable for 106.7 to talk about the Redskins all year round than attempt to broadcast baseball games.

While your Maximum Leader is staking a shot at the Washington area’s Redskins fetish… He was a bit miffed that the biggest sports story of the day was Donovan McNabb coming to DC and not Opening Day for Baseball. It actually got under his skin all day yesterday. He knows that if the Nats were better they might have had a higher profile… But Washington loves to talk about the Redskins to the exclusion of other sports…

By the way Redskins fans… Bringing Donovan McNabb to DC to start for the Skins might win you two more games (count ‘em 2) over last year. Without the draft picks you need to build an offensive line worth a crap your QB will only make a difference if he is a superman. Which McNabb is by the way. But a great QB with no protection still can’t carry your team.

Sad…

FYI, your Maximum Leader, while following his Washington Capitals very carefully, is not going to blog much about them. He fears his comments will upset their Karma… He hopes you understand…

Go CAPS! (And get your act together Nationals!)

Carry on.

Happy Day America!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wishes you all a very happy day. A very happy opening day for baseball in fact. Your Maximum Leader knows that the Yanks and Sawx played last night so one could argue that opening day is at least already underway. Your Maximum Leader believes this is really opening day. Teams going all over the country in glorious day games. Every team is excited, every fan is filled with anticipation and for a short while every prediction is the right one.

Your Maximum Leader will not be able to head out to Nationals Park to catch his beloved Nationals take on the Phillies this afternoon. President Obama will be throwing out that first pitch to much fanfare. Your Maximum Leader read a tweet (which was later sent to him in an email from a friend) that wondered how many innings the Nats were going to get out of Obama before they had to go to the bullpen.

Heh. That’s funny…

Your Maximum Leader figures that the President could go on star power alone for 1 inning, then would have to rely on the Secret Service to disrupt batter for another 2 innings… So Obama could go for three before the Nats hit the pen.

Your Maximum Leader has been mumm on making predictions for the Nats this pre-season. This has been because he’s been following the Capitals very closely and because he can’t tell what type of team the Nats will be this year. They should improve noticeably. But from where they were, they don’t have anywhere to go but up. They should be able to win at least 70 games. Your Maximum Leader hopes that they could win near 80 games. But they will end up at the bottom of the NL East regardless. Your Maximum Leader hopes the Nats can be spoilers for other NL East teams (like the Phillies, Braves, and Mets) who all seek playoff berths.

Happy baseball America! Enjoy another great summer at the ballpark.

The Nat’s curly “W”
Go Nats!

Carry on.

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