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Photograph

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader’s iPod dished out an REM song he’d not heard in forever, but one he just loves. It is “Photograph.” (Written by REM and Natalie Merchant.)

Sadly, your Maximum Leader can’t find a non-rights protected copy of it anywhere to post.

It is a wonderful song. Take his word for it.

Carry on.

Still the enemy of all mankind

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader saw this piece by John Yoo on Ricochet and felt like sharing: Pirates: Still the Enemy of All Mankind.

There is nothing in the piece that you don’t already know if you’ve ever read this site before (or ever read Fear and Loathing in Georgetown). But your Maximum Leader makes it a point of always trying to re-link articles that mention “Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead!”

By the way, if you haven’t seen The Wind and the Lion, it is worth your time.

Carry on.

Monday Stuff

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader will probably be doing very little posting between now and after Labor Day. Lots of back-to-school stuff going on which requires his attention. (So Mrs Villain tells him.) Of course, every time your Maximum Leader warns you all that posting will be light, he winds up posting a lot. Then when he posts nothing… Well… He posts nothing…

What to write about now?

Your Maximum Leader had some people over to the house for dinner yesterday night. He anticipated preparing some fancy appetizers. He’d thought of serrano ham and marchengo cheese and proscuitto with melon as two ham-based dishes. (With a mix of olives stuffed with feta, almonds, sun-dried tomatos, and garlic. To be clear, each olive was not stuffed with all of those items. There was a variety of 4 different olives each stuffed with a different item.)

Well… What did the great Muse of Scotland once say about the best laid plans? The ham based appetizers never made it to the table.

Gosh… Your Maximum Leader is so (SO!) torn up inside thinking that he might have Serrano ham and proscuitto just laying about in the icebox. What ever will he do with that wonderful, tasty, succulent cured pork goodness just sitting around? Sadly he is too busy to invite people with whom he’d share the ham.

He’ll just have to eat it himself…

The horror… Oh the horror…

In other news…

Your Maximum Leader is sad to admit that he watches “True Blood” on HBO. He has come very close to giving up on the show on a number of occasions starting last season. This season has a bunch of storylines going on. Most of the storylines don’t do a damn thing for him. While enduring the storylines he doesn’t care for he keeps thinking that he’ll just stop watching. But then the vampire characters just draw him back in. Specifically he is speaking about Denis O’Hare’s performance as Russell Edgington. Damn that man can work magic in that role. If it weren’t for the Russell story-line your Maximum Leader would have just stopped watching earlier this season.

Moving along…

Hey! Is it too early to shill for Christmas (or back to school)? You know that you are looking for a new t-shirt in which to knock about the house or wear on a quick trip to the mall. Have you considered a Naked Villainy T-shirt? If you are particularly stunning woman have you considered a Naked Villainy Tank-top and Thong combo? Your Maximum Leader will keep shilling this particular combination until he gets photos in his mailbox one day of some sultry lass clad only in the tank and thong combo. If that day ever comes your Maximum Leader let you all know. If you want to check out the store the link is here. Your Maximum Leader is probably going to update the store soon with a new t-shirt or two. (Not like lots of people are knocking down the doors to buy the old stuff…)

Anyhoo…

Your Maximum Leader has been re-reading books he’s got on the shelf. He realizes that he’s looking at the books on the shelf and not remembering their contents any more. So he’ll both conserve money and do a little re-education for himself. Like FLG, your Maximum Leader might revisit Hume’s “Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.”

That is about all from the Villainschloss now…

Carry on.

King Richard III of England - RIP

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader asks that you remember Richard III, King of England. He was killed in battle at Bosworth this day in 1485. He fought valiantly, if not triumphantly. He was the last Plantagenet to rule England. He was the last King of England to die in battle. And his death marks the generally accepted end of both the Wars of the Roses and the medieval period in England.

It is from Shakespeare’s play Richard III that the name of this site is taken. The important lines come in Act One, Scene III:

But then I sigh; and, with a piece of scripture,
Tell them that God bids us do good for evil:
And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With old odd ends stolen out of holy writ;
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.

Richard is, in your Maximum Leader’s opinion, one of the most maligned kings in all history. Shakespeare’s play, while vastly entertaining, is far from an accurate portrayal of history and the man as we now know him. But that is the subject of another post.

To close, allow your Maximum Leader to post an obituary first penned by Rex Stout.

“PLANTAGENET — Richard, great king and true friend of the rights of man, died at Bosworth Field on August 22, 1485. Murdered by traitors and, dead, maligned by knaves and ignored by Laodiceans, he merits our devoted remembrance.”

While your Maximum Leader would not lump Shakespeare in with the knaves, Richard’s memory has certainly been besmerched by many.

Remember poor Richard Plantagenet.

Carry on.

Right on principle

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has no political capital to expend so his suddenly wading in from the sidelines on the “Ground Zero Mosque” is only slightly less interesting than President Obama wading in suddenly from the sidelines on the same issue.

By now, unless you live under a rock, you have heard that a group wants to put a mosque in a building a few blocks away from the World Trade Center site.

So… Let your Maximum Leader just unload on this issue, and others on the periphery of the issue…

To speak directly to the issue of the mosque…

There are two questions at the heart of the mosque issue. The first question is can a mosque be built near the site of the World Trade Center attacks? The second question is do people want a mosque built near the site of the World Trade Center attacks?

The first question, the rarely asked question, in this discussion is so very important and so constantly overlooked that it makes most of the people on both sides of this “debate” seem like drooling idiots. Can the mosque be located in the building in question? So long as local zoning laws and building codes are followed it can. Of course it can. There is no legal reason why you can’t put a mosque in that building.

It was the this first question that President Obama was trying to address in his remarks on the subject recently. Now let your Maximum Leader go on the record and say that he wonders why the hell the President would inject himself into this “debate.” It is a loser all around for him. It makes no sense, from a political perspective, to comment on this issue. Sure my liberal friends can say “He needed to use the bully pulpit to do the right thing.” Yeah, your Maximum Leader can see that. But in this case doing the “right thing” diminishes the President’s ability to do the right thing later. He is spending political capital (that he is losing at a rapid rate) on an issue that so inflames peoples sensibilities that there is no possibility of coming out ahead. Sure the president is “right on principle” as the linked Washington Post peice says, but he is completely wrong on politics. Furthermore, President Obama’s opinion on this matter cannot affect the situation one bit. The president isn’t on the Zoning Board for lower Manhattan. He doesn’t own the property. He isn’t a stakeholder in the neighborhood. His opinion ain’t gonna change a thing.

In fact, President Obama’s opinion and the opinion of your Maximum Leader are worth about the same in this “debate.” Neither of us are contributing to the discussion. We are throwing our opinions into the crashing noise of raised voices that passes for debate on this subject. We are just two more voices crying out into the cacaphony. Two more voices that, frankly speaking, don’t need to be heard on this.

Of course, your Maximum Leader is a lowly blogger with minimal following and no future in politics short of an armed coup and Barack Obama is President of the United States. He is coming up with the short straw in this game.

Your Maximum Leader hasn’t addressed the second question yet. Does your Maximum Leader want a mosque built on the site discussed? When this “debate” first began his answer was that he didn’t care much one way or the other. He sympathized with the many who just didn’t want the mosque so near the World Trade Center site; but in the end he figured out that NYC officials and stakeholders in the project would do the right thing.

Your Maximum Leader has changed his mind now. He wants the mosque built. He is willing to stand up for the principle involved. The principle involved is twofold. The first is a straight property rights issue. If you follow local laws you should be able to build what you want on property you own. If the landowners want to lease the space for a mosque, great! Let them do it. The mosque shouldn’t get any special treatment or concessions. If they can put a mosque there they should. The second issue is the religious issue. This site is a few blocks away from the World Trade Center site and was damaged in the attacks of September 11. But it wasn’t the object of the attack. The building in question wasn’t destroyed and rebuilt. How close is too close? From what your Maximum Leader reads there are some mosques in the general vicinity already. Why is this one a big problem? Would it be a big problem if it were a block further away? Two blocks further? 10 blocks further? Would “society” object to a Christian Church being put in the same building? A Buddhist temple? A meeting hall for the followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

This brings your Maximum Leader to a issue that has now been simmering in his mind for a year or two. How long are we going to fetishize the whole lower Manhattan area around the World Trade Center site? Your Maximum Leader doesn’t like calling the site Ground Zero. He doesn’t because Ground Zero is a term that can be used in any disaster. He is concerned that at some point in the future people will be upset by some other disaster site being called “Ground Zero.” Sad isn’t it.

If your Maximum Leader could point out a few items… The World Trade Center site is very valuable real estate. He should be redeveloped (and is being redeveloped). But many Americans have a maudlin fixation on the site. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks there was a sort of consensus that we needed to get on with rebuilding the World Trade Center site. Now your Maximum Leader wonders if we are going to start objecting to certain uses of the redeveloped space? Would a muslim charity renting office space in a new World Trade Center building be objectionable? Would investment bankers (given their role in the recent economic troubles) be objectionable in that they weren’t a “good enough” type of organization. Should we just build a mega-public safety center on the site and fill it with Firefighters and Police officers?

Is your Maximum Leader the only one that worries about this? (Well… When he’s not waxing eloquent over Lindsay Lohan and mastubating furiously Skippy might have some similar concerns. But that could just be your Maximum Leader projecting on Skippy.) We still use Pearl Harbor. Is it “less sacred” than the World Trade Center site? We have built all over Bunker (and Breed’s) Hill? Is that site less meaningful because of it’s continued use? Is it just a question of scale? If more patriots died at Bunker Hill would we have objected to building on and around the site?

Your Maximum Leader isn’t advocating that we all forget the attacks of September 11th. Not at all. But at some point we need to take a more practical approach to how we will use the land of lower Manhattan.

Carry on.

Fiction: The Commissar

The Commissar sat upright at his desk. He regarded the wide expanse of polished wood in front of him. The desk was clear except for a plain gray metal lamp, a telephone and a pad of paper. He looked up across his office. It was positively spartan. There were few file cabinets that he never opened himself. To his left a picture of the General Secretary on the wall. There was a flag in the corner behind the Commissar. Across the desk from him were two plain wooden chairs with no cushions. Beyond the chairs was a stand from which hung the Commissar’s uniform cap. The floor was dull and bare. It was a utilitarian space, save for the desk.

The desk was magnificent. It was mahogany, elaborately carved and polished to a high sheen. The Commissar often admired his richly wooded reflection while he worked. He loved the desk. He loved it because he appreciated beautiful things, however bourgeois they may be. He appreciated the skill of the craftsman who made the desk. He found himself imagining the craftsman selecting the wood. Imagining the hours carving the flourishes in the legs, the staining, the polishing. How many hours, days or weeks did it take to make this desk? It was the Commissar’s only indulgence in his office.

He reached out and rubbed his fingertips along the edge of the desk closest to him. Did anyone at the General Staff office know about the desk? They surely did. The provincial Governor admired it when he visited. The Commissar offered the desk to the Governor declaring that it was too opulent for the Camp and it was more suited to the Palace of the People. The Governor declined the offer. The Commissar was stone-faced and expressed his disappointment that the Governor didn’t want the desk; but he smiled deep inside his soul glad that the Governor didn’t agree to take the desk. The desk pleased the Commissar. The Commissar didn’t allow himself many pleasures.

The General Staff? They didn’t care about his desk. Did they? He’d visited Headquarters. The offices there were positively opulent. The Commissar wondered if one day he’d be on the General Staff and have a splendid office. Would he take this desk with him? No, he would not. He wouldn’t want to show evidence of his attachment to any object. Attachment to possessions was a counter-revolutionary impulse. He suppressed his attachment to the desk. He thought it was likely that he would have a nicer one if he were appointed to the General Staff and would never give this desk a second thought.

He turned and looked out the window at the low buildings of the Camp. Subversives in drab uniforms were marched under guard towards the fields. Although the Camp was formally called a “Regional Workers Re-education and Preparatory Facility” there was no re-education or preparation going on in the Camp. The reactionaries and counter-revolutionaries interned in this Camp were hopeless. They could never be reintegrated into decent society. They would work or die here. In fact most would work and die here.

As the Commissar gazed absentmindedly out the window there was a sharp double rap at the office door. He immediately recognized the speed and strength of the knock as that of his ADC.

“Come!” The Commissar ordered after quickly adjusting his posture in his chair.

His ADC opened the door with his right hand. Under his left arm were nestled a stack of plain folders of various thicknesses. The small severe-looking ADC strode across the office and positioned himself directly across the desk from the Commissar.

“Today’s final assessments Comrade Commissar.” The ADC looked the Commissar straight in the eye and waited for the slight nod from his commanding officer before placing the folders on the smooth top of the desk and gently pushing them across to the Commissar. When the folders were positioned in front of the Commissar the ADC took a backwards step and fixed his eyes on a bare patch of wall above and behind the Commissar.

The Commissar reached into his jacket pocket and withdrew a small pair of wire rimmed glasses. As he placed the glasses on his face he unlocked a side drawer of the desk and removed a small inking pad and stamp.

This was always the final administrative act of the day. His review of the “assessment” folders. The Commissar and the ADC had developed this routine that was followed day in and day out without variation. The assessments weren’t really assessments. They were the death warrants to be executed the next day. Some days there was only one folder. Other days there were as many as one hundred. The Commissar recalled that the most in a single day was three hundred thirty-four. The original number for that fateful day was three hundred and thirty-three. When he saw that number printed out the Commissar thought that the repetition of the number three was numerically disturbing. While knowing he shouldn’t be superstitious he suggested to his ADC that he must have forgotten one file on his desk. The ADC’s measured demeanor broke for a split second before he swiftly left the Commissar’s office and returned a moment later with the “forgotten” folder. The Commissar wasn’t sure why he suggested that one person be added that day rather than one be postponed to the next day.

Then the Commissar realized why he always added to the list and never subtracted. He didn’t want to seem as though he wasn’t zealously exercising the will of the Party.

The Commissar placed the inking pad and stamp on the desk to the right of the folders. While he did this he visually counted the folders. Fifteen today. Most of the folders were rather thin. He carefully opened the first folder with his left hand and saw the summary sheet. The summary sheet was neatly typed and smelled faintly of glue. He noticed that some of the glue affixing the photo to the upper left corner of the sheet had protruded from the side of the photo and was congealed on the paper. In another day that little node of glue would cause the summary sheet to stick to the inside of the folder.

The Commissar thought for a moment that he might use his fingernail to remove the excess glue. Then he thought better of it. He never actually touched any of the pages inside the folder. He only handled the folders themselves. In these cases the folders were temporary vessels. The paperwork would be left in the folders for a few days. After a few days the paperwork would be removed from the folder, bound together, then stacked in a plain brown box and put into long-term storage. The folder would get reused.

This rather odd office procedure was ordered by the ADC to the rest of the Administrative Staff. The idea of this procedure did not come to the ADC on his own. He developed the process after a conversation with the Commissar. The Commissar noted that there wasn’t any need to waste folders on these reports when they were just going to sit in boxes. The ADC in an effort to conserve office resources determined that not only should the folders be reused but that the thinnest and cheapest paper be used for the assessment reports.

The ADC’s vigorous pursuit of cost-savings and efficiency pleased the Commissar when he learned of it. The Commissar mused to himself, on more than one occasion, if the ADC had ever tried to understand what might have motivated the request. It was doubtful that the ADC ever had. The Commissar’s request, insofar as the ADC was concerned, was just another way the Commissar was conscientious in doing the business of the Party.

The Commissar glanced over the first summary sheet and then took the stamp in his right hand. In a well-repeated motion the Commissar ever so slightly tapped the stamp to the ink and then lightly stamped the box at the lower right of the summary sheet. The stamp touched the paper with just enough pressure for the stamp image to lightly show on the paper without the ink penetrating to the page below. With the tips of the fingers of this left hand the Commissar closed the folder and slid it off the pile and across the desk towards the ADC, who immediately picked up the folder from the desk and waited for the next.

The Commissar repeated this process fourteen more times.

When he had all the folders in hand the ADC thanked the Commissar and withdrew.

The Commissar replaced the stamp and pad in the drawer and locked the desk, removed the glasses from his face, and sat back in his chair.

He alternately smiled and grimaced to himself at the thought of what he’d just done and the pathetic process he had implemented to salve his infrequent guilt. He’d stopped signing the death warrants only a week into his command here. He’d suggested to the ADC that a stamp with the words “By order of the Commander, Region 58 Workers Re-education and Preparatory Facility” would be sufficient to fulfill the final administrative step in the gruesome path to death for so many. The Commissar would not have kept the meticulous records if he’d not known that the Party, for reasons passing his understanding, wanted to keep meticulous records of every subversive dispatched in the name of the people.

The Commissar was an educated man and he’d realized the remote possibility, very remote possibility, that the People’s Revolution might one day be overthrown by some other Order. That Order might want to punish those instruments of the Revolution who survived. The Commissar thought himself a survivor and took some precautions against a highly conjectural future where he wasn’t at the top of the ruling class. This process with the folders was one of those precautions. No signatures. Stamps could be used by anyone. No fingerprints. He never touched the reports. Reports typed on cheap paper that would yellow, fade and deteriorate in time.

These steps might not actually help him if the time ever came. Then again, they couldn’t hurt.

The Commissar sighed and pushed back his chair from the desk. He stood and straightened his uniform. He brushed invisible detritus from himself and his reflection in the polished desktop caught his eye. He admired the beauty of the desk again and smiled in self-satisfaction of possessing it.

The Commissar walked across his office, placed his cap on his head, opened the door and exited the office. He walked out of the Administration building acknowledging only his ADC and the guards at the main entrance with a short half salute.

The Commissar walked towards his quarters and was given a wide berth by all in his general vicinity. Not once did Commissar think about his duties on the walk. He took in the warm sun, green grass, full trees and fresh air. They were beautiful and he appreciated beautiful things.

Things you did in college

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader isn’t running for political office. He isn’t planning on running for political office. Indeed, some of the things he’s written in this space (including what is coming in this post) would likely keep sensible people from voting for him. Lucky for your Maximum Leader that he is not seeking to represent the people of Virginia (or Kentucky let’s say) in the United States Senate. Pseudo-benevolent Dictators can have more skeletons in the closet than can someone running for US Senate.

But here is a hypothetical question for you… Let us say that one night in college your Maximum Leader happened to have a little problem with self-retraint and decided to enlist the help of Smallholder and go out and knock on the door of a particularly hot girl we knew. When she opened the door we blindfolded here and tied up up and then took her to our sooper seekret hideout. Upon arriving at our sooper seekret hideout we unblindfolded her and told her that she’d have to pound shots with us and and then we’d initiate her into our cruel cult of personality…

No biggie right?

Just another wacky Friday night at college with nothing better to do…

Now, your Maximum Leader isn’t saying that he ever did anything like this in college. Nor is saying that Smallholder did anything like this. On thinking back, it is likely between the two of us we could have found a few girls we knew who would gladly have volunteered for such an outing. (Kinky eh?)

Then again… Neither your Maximum Leader nor Smallholder are running for the US Senate… Unlike someone else you may have heard of.

By the way, on the Villain-o-meter this type of behaviour deserves 4 marks (out of 10). If the “abducted girl” developed some sort of Stockholm Syndrome like attachment to her “abductors” and became their somewhat willing love-slave this would get 6 marks (out of 10).

Carry on.

X-Files: WWII Edition

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t have many people he’d consider his personal heros. There are a few however. At the top of that list is Winston Churchill. (Also on that list are George Washington and Elvis. You can see others over on the right side nav bar under the “Pantheon” heading.

So… Your Maximum Leader likes Churchill…

Imagine his surprise when he saw a headline on his Yahoo homepage this morning about a Churchill UFO cover up. Wha? Well here is the juicy part of the peice (which can be found in its entirety here: Did Churchill order a UFO cover up?):

It’s a conspiracy theory worthy of the “X-Files,” and it goes like this: Churchill, then the prime minister, apparently ordered a cover-up of an encounter between a Royal Air Force bomber and an unidentified flying object during World War II. The reason: Churchill feared that news of the incident would create public panic and a loss of faith in religion.

The Daily Telegraph explains that Churchill is reported to “have made the orders during a secret war meeting with U.S. General Dwight Eisenhower, the then commander of the Allied Forces, at an undisclosed location in America during the latter part of the conflict.” He ordered that the information remain secret for a period of 50 years.
[…]
Apparently, Churchill’s order was overheard by one of his bodyguards. The man, also a member of the Royal Air Force, kept the secret to himself for years, but told his daughter at some point, and told his wife on his deathbed in 1973. The man’s daughter later told her son (the bodyguard’s grandson, for those of you keeping score), and he inquired about the incident with the Ministry of Defense in 1999. That inquiry made it into the files that were made public on Thursday.

According to the report, the crew of the plane did manage to take photographs of the UFO, which “hovered noiselessly” near their plane before zooming away. Alas, the photos, if they do indeed exist, were not released.

So there it is. In case you are wondering about it, here is the link to the article in the Telegraph that is the basis of the article on Yahoo.

Now let your Maximum Leader say that he thinks that the odds of there being extraterrestrial life (in some form) somewhere out in the universe somewhere are statistically rather high. He also thinks that the odds of that life being able to travel the vast distances across space (and time) to come to Earth and stop by without saying hi are pretty much zero. So he doesn’t believe in UFOs - to be clear.

So your Maximum Leader doesn’t know what that RAF bomber crew might have seen, or what story might have made its way to Churchill… But in time all UFO stories have been debunked by careful examination. To much time may have passed for this UFO story to be debunked as well. But if we were able to get the all the facts your Maximum Leader is sure that we could sensibly explain whatever it was that those RAF flyers saw.

The more interesting question to this story that doesn’t seem to be asked is what exactly Churchill’s advisors might have thought the UFO was and what theories they presented to WSC to make him classify the incident.

Where are Agents Muller and Scully when you need them?

Carry on.

Weird Dream

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader skipped out to the beach for a few days and while there had a brainstorm for a short story. So that explains his (now usual) lack of posting…

Your Maximum Leader doesn’t normally blog about his dreams. This is mainly because dreams (Inception aside) are just subconscious ramblings of you mind trying to unwind. Last night your Maximum Leader had a dream that was positively frightening. It did, in fact, wake him from his slumber. In the dream your Maximum Leader’s legs were encrusted with some material like peat moss. The moss was infested with flesh-eating ants that were trying to make a colony in his legs. In the dream after a bit of panic your Maximum Leader took a long knife and cut off the infested moss. He then swam in a very cold river. Apparently at this point he woke up.

This was the first time a dream has caused your Maximum Leader to wake up from a deep sleep in longer than he can remember.

Oddly… Shortly after waking up a loud thunderstorm blew in. It was comforting and put your Maximum Leader right back to sleep, happy in the knowledge that we were getting much needed rain.

If any of you out there care to play Joseph to your Maximum Leader’s Pharaoh and try some dream interpretation feel free to go for it. (NB to all minions: your Maximum Leader thinks dream interpretation is bunk by the way - but have at it anyway.)

Carry on.

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