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The death of wisdom

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader owns a number of books that used to reside in various public schools throughout the great Commonwealth of Virginia. These books were either purchased by your Maximum Leader (or his friend Smallholder) when the books were going to be purged from the school library. Although some of the titles he’s purchased have turned out to be lamentable works of scholarship; all in all your Maximum Leader (and Smallholder) have felt that it was better that the books live out our natural lives on a shelf in a home rather than being reduced to pulp or landfill fodder.

When these purged books wind up on his shelf your Maximum Leader has felt he’s done a good thing. High school libraries are not places of scholarship. Libaries in high schools are for reference. The old and out dated should be moved to make room for the new. It seems to be in the natural order of things.

But your Maximum Leader feels very differently about college/university libraries. Collectively, colleges and universities libraries are the storehouse of the accumulated knowlege of humanity. Every college, big and small, plays a role in preserving the history of humanity. The good. The bad. The lamentable. The very poorly written. The classic. The obscure. All works have a place in the libraries of the world.

Your Maximum Leader loves the very smell of “the stacks” of a college library. The older the better. (NB: The book preservationist would likely say that the smell your Maximum Leader likes is decaying paper. Sad thought…)

Your Maximum Leader doesn’t think that a book that finds its way into a college library should ever be purged.

Sadly… That is not the case as Professor Mondo details in a recent post. Here is the hardest part to read:

Finally, there was the sense that I was engaged in a kind of intellectual Black Mass, inverting the sacrament that I was meant to perform. I love my students, but I also love the worlds of literature and ideas; indeed, I show my love to my students by offering them these other things I value so much. These books, these ideas in them, matter so much to me that I’m devoting my life to the business of letting those stories and ideas survive another generation. But instead, I spent today making it that much less likely that a Mondovillian might encounter someone’s story or idea, even through a confluence of idleness and serendipity. Education is meant to help the mind grow, and I see libraries as symbols of the growth that has gone before us. Instead, I spent today making our symbol shrink. I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was the opposite of what I do.

Go thee and read the good Prof’s piece.

After reading the piece it makes me want to call my alma mater and make a donation and specify it goes to the library fund…

Carry on.

It’s Academic - 50 years

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was reading over the Washington Post today and saw this story on the TV quiz show “It’s Academic”. Apparently at the end of the current season “It’s Academic” will be the longest running quiz show in the history of TV.

Your Maximum Leader should mention that he appeared (twice) on the show back when he was a villain-in-training. Your Maximum Leader represented his high school twice on the program. Our team beat the competition and won the first round, but was defeated in the second round. We were defeated by a team from a Catholic girls school. Your Maximum Leader is convinced that the nuns instructed their charges to gently brush up against my partner (under the table and out of sight of the cameras) and distract him. Those Catholic girls!


Your Maximum Leader sometimes finds himself watching “It’s Academic” on TV when he is lounging in bed. He finds that his speed in answering questions is much slower now than it used to be. He feels good that in the subjects he once knew quite well, he still knows the answers and only has difficulty recalling the answer as quickly as the kids on TV. Then again, it has been over 20 years since your Maximum Leader practiced for a speed round…

Congrats on 50 years to Mac McGarry (the host) and the producers of this great show.

Carry on.


Greeting, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is going to be taking his family on a road trip next month.

Your Maximum Leader and his family will be going to Graceland.

Now orginally the trip was going to be very focused on Memphis. But in light of the terrible flooding in Memphis your Maximum Leader is changing things up and spending more time in Nashville. It looks like Nashville days will be June 23 and 25. Your Maximum Leader is going to try to get to Graceland on June 24.

If you live in Tennessee and would like to possibly meet up with your Maximum Leader, drop him a line via email.

Carry on.

18-18 and other sporting thoughts

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader feels it is time for him to do a sports post. He’ll start off with the best news in his sporting fandom. Namely that his beloved Washington Nationals are playing better than he expected.

The Nats, with an impressive win last night in Atlanta, are now sitting on a .500 record. Your Maximum Leader was not exactly expecting the Nats to be at .500 at this point in the season. Why were his expectations low? Mainly due to the fact that Ryan Zimmerman is out, and will continue to be out for a while while he recovers from abdominal surgery. Jim Riggleman, the Nats skipper, has been moving utility men in and out of different positions and messing with the lineup regularly. In years past that type of movement would not have the intended result, namely of keeping the Nats on a good and upward path. This year all appears to be working better.

Your Maximum Leader doesn’t believe that getting Zimmerman back later in the season will result in a sudden win streak and make the Nats contenders. It should enable the Nats to keep playing well and not be an embarassment to their fans and the game. Your Maximum Leader isn’t quite ready to revise is earlier prediction of the Nats winning 76 or more games this year, but right now - very early in a very long season - it is looking good for the Nats.

So, your Maximum Leader is pleased with his baseball team. He is not as pleased with his Washington Capitals. The Caps were eliminated from the playoffs and your Maximum Leader is only now able to write about it. Your Maximum Leader, now that the Caps are out, will inattentively follow the playoffs until the Stanley Cup finals at which time he will half-heartedly root for the Western Conference champion to defeat the Eastern Conference champion. If your Maximum Leader were pushed he’d declare himself for the Vancouver Canucks. He would like a Canadian team to win it. But we’ll see how it plays out.

And what of the Capitals? Well… This playoff loss was hair-wrenchingly bad. It was made worse because your Maximum Leader really isn’t sure what could have been done to improve the Caps chances of going the distance. Player moves during the regular season worked out. The defensive scheme that Coach Bruce Boudreau implemented was one that worked. Basically, the Caps were outplayed by the Tampa Bay Lightning (a division rival - ack!) in the series. Your Maximum Leader thinks that the only thing that could have been done differently would have been to keep Braden Holtby (a rookie goalie in our farm system) playing for the team into the playoffs. But even that path is fraught with danger as rookie goalies rarely win it all.

Your Maximum Leader doesn’t know what could be done to make the Caps winners. They are already contenders. They will continue to be contenders… But they aren’t getting over the hump and your Maximum Leader doesn’t see a clear path to improvement.

And then there is football…

Your Maximum Leader is nearly gleeful at all the issues surrounding football right now. He hopes that it goes badly all around and both the owners and players are taken down a notch for hubris. All in all, if you forced your Maximum Leader to take a side, he’d come down on the side of the players. He is all for lower rookie salaries, keeping the 16 game schedule and providing more retirement money for players. But all the same he feels like both sides are being petulent and childish in risking their status as the premier sport in America by fighting the way they are. Frankly, your Maximum Leader would be pleased if football were supplanted by baseball as the premier sport in America, but it isn’t likely to happen - sort of a major regular season work stoppage. (A stoppage your Maximum Leader doesn’t see happening.)

It is particularly funny to live in the DC area during all this turmoil in football. DC is, afterall, a football down. It is the Redskins all the time. Redskins fans are on sports radio breaking down the draft. They are speculating on the QB situation. They are talking in a way that completely ignores the real (if remote) fact that there might not be a 2011-2012 season. If there are missed games (or a missed season) your Maximum Leader doesn’t know what Redskins fan would do. He wonders how they would make it through the winter…


The long summer is still all ahead of us and we’ve got more baseball coming than we imagine. Your Maximum Leader hopes the Nats continue to play strong and stay near .500. If they are able to it will be a turning point for the organization and a cause for rejoycing among fans.

Carry on.

Awesome house

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader isn’t looking to move from the Villainschloss any time soon; but if he were to construct a new Villainschloss it would be sorta like this: Home Sweet Safe House. (Be sure to scroll through the photos on that link.)

While your Maximum Leader’s tastes run towards respectable Georgian-style brick homes, he could go with concrete bunker with modernist (Bauhaus even?) tendencies.

Carry on.

Satan has new dinner guest.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader went to sleep last night feeling low. His beloved Washington Capitals had just lost in OT to the Tampa Bay Lightning and gone down 2 games to none in the hockey playoffs.

Little did he know that the news this morning would be more upbeat.

According to every news source in the whole world, Osama Bin Laden is dead at the hands of a US special forces team.

Well this is good news. Your Maximum Leader doffs his bejewelled mylan cap to a number of people responsible for this event. First off, thanks to the warriors who actually carried out the mission. From the shooters to the techs who got the equipment ready to those on land and sea who monitored the progress of the mission. Well done to you all. Secondly, your Maximum Leader thanks all the intelligence operatives who got us the information we used to act as we did. Thirdly, thanks to all our servicemen all around the globe who protect the US and our allies.

And of course, you have to thank President Obama and his national security team. Well done to you all. It seems as though the President doesn’t equivocate or prevaricate when it comes to killing someone who needs killing.** Your Maximum Leader is grateful for that.

Your Maximum Leader is sure that more details and reports will come out over today and the next few days that will better inform us as to what exactly happened and how. He looks forward to reading them.

Your Maximum Leader is glad that we didn’t try to take him alive. He isn’t sure how we would have dealt with him given Atty General Holder’s proclivities for putting terrorists on trial in New York City. It is better that we went for the kill.

Your Maximum Leader wonders if any of the special forces troops rubbed a little bacon grease on their shells before going on this mission… We’ll never know… Officially anyway…

Your Maximum Leader has been reading and hearing that it was a Navy SEAL team that executed this mission. But officials seem to only want to say it was US special forces… Your Maximum Leader doesn’t care one way or the other. He is pleased that no servicemen (of any branch) were lost while on this mission.

Your Maximum Leader is glad that one less evil man lives and breathes on this earth today.

Carry on.

** UPDATE FROM YOUR MAXIMUM LEADER: Apparently one reader wasn’t sure what your Maximum Leader meant by this. He was referring to the killing of the Somali pirates a year or so ago. The President approved use of deadly force without much hesitation in that incident too.

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