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We’re all gonna die!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader happened to drive by three grocery stores today during lunch time. If the crowds in the parking lots (of people buying milk, water, toilet paper and the like) are any indication of the level of apprehension associated with the impending arrival of Hurricane Sandy; then your Maximum Leader can only declare that we are all gonna die. And soon.

Your Maximum Leader does need to buy some milk, by the way. But that is because he and his family consume about 5 gallons of milk a week and we normally buy on Friday…

Damn.

This all being said… Your Maximum Leader has his backup generator standing by with plenty of spare fuel. So that means we should be just fine…

Carry on.

RIP - Jacques Barzun

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader learned this morning (thanks to a tweet from the AP) that renown historian Jacques Barzun had died at the age of 104. Your Maximum Leader, not meaning to sound horrible, had thought that Dr. Barzun had already shrugged off his mortal coil a while ago. Your Maximum Leader remembers reading (part of a borrowed copy of) “From Dawn To Decadence” when it came out. At that time Dr. Barzun was in his early 90s. Your Maximum Leader, sadly, assumed that the masterwork had been published and with his life work complete death followed. (NB: Your Maximum Leader has still never finished that book… And he doesn’t think he owns it… Humm…)

So it is with some sadness and surprise that we can read his obituary as it appears today. The Washington Post obit is here “Jacques Barzun wide-ranging cultural historian dead at 104.”

Your Maximum Leader is glad to see that Dr. Barzun’s aphorism about baseball is in the obituary. Your Maximum Leader remembers seeing the aphorism on a plaque in the Baseball Hall of Fame (just like the article says). The saying is: “Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball.”

Rest in peace professor.

Carry on.

St Crispin’s Light Brigade

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that this is St Crispin’s Day. That means that today is the anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt. A great English victory over the French in the 100 Years War. A victory that, thanks to the Bard, probably clouds our collective memory and makes us Anglophiles assume that the English won the 100 Years War, which they did not.

The best remembrance of the Battle of Agincourt actually comes from the ole Twitter machine where user Michael Gebert (@skyfullofbacon) tweeted: “Christ, it’s St. Crispin’s Day and that means the old man will be showing his arm scars and going on about Harry the King & Exeter all night.” That made your Maximum Leader laugh aloud.

Of course, if it is St. Crispin’s Day, that means it is also the anniversary of the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava.

And overlooked in all this is St. Crispin himself.

If you are so inclined, and your Maximum Leader is, lift a glass and remember Harry the King, Bedford, Exeter, Warwick, Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester and their great victory today. After a few celebratory glasses, you can wallow in the plight of the Light Brigade. And after a night of hard drinking you can be thankful that you didn’t end up like St. Crispin.

Carry on.

Very exciting!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader grew up in an area that was, once upon a time, part of the large land holdings of George Washington. Your Maximum Leader lived close to Mount Vernon and in a strange way thought of Washington as something of a neighbor. A neighbor with a large house with a great view (among other things).

(NB: In high school your Maximum Leader had classmates who worked summers at Mount Vernon. He was often able to use these connections to “sneak” into the estate on beautiful summer days and waste away time sitting on Washington’s yard watching the river roll by.)

So why is your Maximum Leader bringing this up now?

Well, a few days ago (in fact on the first of the month) your Maximum Leader mentioned that his good buddy Mark had won an essay contest sponsored by the Ladies Association of Mount Vernon (the owners and maintainers of Washington’s estate - and memory). As a winner Mark was invited to come to Mount Vernon and be schooled in all things Washington and Mount Vernon. Well, by pre-arrangement, your Maximum Leader went to visit his buddy after the day’s programs ended. It was late (after 9:30pm in fact); but a visit with Mark is always a good time. So, after having a drink and some oysters in Alexandria, we returned to the estate.

We entered through a side gate and went to a complex your Maximum Leader had never seen. Apparently the estate keeps a number of fair-sized “houses” on the grounds to house people who are participating in educational programs (like Mark, the Smallholder) or, one supposes, donors who would like a special perk… In addition to staying on the grounds, Mark was invested with a pass that allowed him to walk the grounds at all hours (provided, of course, that he didn’t attempt to enter any building and otherwise behaved himself). Armed with this pass, Mark took your Maximum Leader to do something he’d never done before…

Now, over the course of his life, your Maximum Leader has been able to go many places in Mount Vernon that others normally don’t go. He’s been up to the third floor of the mansion and seen the bedrooms and storage rooms up there. He’s also climbed up to the cupola and looked out of it at the Potomac and the estate. It is pretty fun… But last night he got a treat he’d never expected to get.

Mark and your Maximum Leader wandered the grounds at midnight. There wasn’t another soul about. It was wonderful.

One often never stops to think how a place might be other than the times at which you are used to seeing it. Your Maximum Leader always associates daylight and other people with being at Mount Vernon. But it is a different experience in the dead of night. It is quiet. Real quiet save for the wind and noise of insects. And that there are no other people around gives it a completely unusual feeling. It was very cool.

Your Maximum Leader snapped a few pictures on his iPhone. Sadly, he didn’t know how to adjust the settings to make the photos better than they are. But he did try to lighten them up a little for your viewing pleasure…

Here they are:
Mt Vernon at midnight

Mt Vernon at midnight pt 2

And in case you are interested, you can click here to see the daytime view of the first image (big picture) or you can click here to see the daytime view of the second image.

Your Maximum Leader will remember this visit for a very very long time. Thanks Mark!

Carry on.

An open letter to our friend Skippy.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been thinking about this for a while now…

Dear Skippy.

We hope that you know that among all the bloggers of the world, you are among our most favored. Your political insights and commentary so often mirror what we are thinking that often we don’t see the point of writing on a subject after you have discoursed on it. This election year (in the US) has not been different than past election years in that respect. We, like you, have thought from early on that Romney will be the nominee. We have also believed, as you have that President Obama will win re-election. This is not due to his deserving to be re-elected; but due to Romney and the Republicans being so pathetic.

We have read and taken to heart your many exhortations (including the latest one) that we should vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson for President of the United States. After much consideration, we have decided that we could, in good conscience, cast our vote for Governor Johnson. He is a sensible Libertarian, and although we don’t agree with him on all the issues - as if we have ever agreed with every candidate on all the issues, he does have a reasonable plan for addressing the most pressing problems facing the United States today.

This is a big step for us. We normally don’t believe in voting for 3rd party candidates in national elections. We believe that voting for the 3rd party candidate is not a “protest” vote in a meaningful sense but more “throwing one’s vote away.” This year though, the two major party candidates just aren’t doing it for us. So we have thought long and hard about voting for Governor Johnson.

But then a crazy thing happened to our home state of Virginia four years ago. For the first time in our life, Virginia went for a Democrat in a Presidential election. Virginia awarded her electoral votes to Barack Obama in 2008. Now, in 2012 it looks like Virginia is a “swing state.”

We wouldn’t need to see a talking head on some cable news program to tell us we are living in a swing state. We’ve lived it for nearly a year now. You can’t turn on the TV or radio (or often the interwebs) without being bombarded with political ads.

You know, for years we’ve wanted to see all the attack ads and know what it is like to be a contested marketplace. Now we’re wishing we could go back to the days when the only time you saw a political ad was when it was highlighted on the news or when you went looking for it on the interwebs. It has been hell. The ads are maddening in their omnipresence. It is enough to drive a man to drink (much more than he normally does).

So, Virginia is a swing state. For the first time in our lifetime, our vote actually does mean something (Presidentially speaking). Now we find we are faced with a major problem. Do we cast our vote for a deserving man (Gary Johnson) who has no chance of winning or cast our vote for Romney or Obama in hopes that our vote does affect the outcome of the national election.

We know that the press are reporting that (alternately) Virginia is very close or the President is slightly ahead. According to information we’re getting from people who have access to internal polling from the various campaigns, everything is within the margin of error of any poll.

If we thought that Virginia was going solidly for either Romney or Obama, we’d vote for Gary Johnson. But this year it seems to be a more prudent course to use the lesser of the evils approach to casting our vote. Although we don’t think it will help him in the broader Electoral picture, we will likely vote for Romney. He is not our first (or second or probably third - okay he is our second choice actually) choice; but he is a better choice than voting to re-elect President Obama. And just so you know, even using the lesser of two evils approach the choice between Romney and Obama is an unpleasant one. Neither man has a serious plan for directly addressing the most serious problems facing the US. But one man has had nearly four years to work on those problems and has pretty much fucked it up at every opportunity. So, perhaps change is the best course.

We’re actually quite disappointed that it has come to this. But there it is. We’re pretty much screwed no matter how we vote; but it is wiser to do it this way than any other.

Cordially,

Your Maximum Leader

PS - if you are ever down our way, you have an open invitation at the Villainschloss.

So there you have it.

Sad.

Carry on.

There’s always next year

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is still recovering from the 9th inning collapse of his beloved Washington Nationals. It has been years since your Maximum Leader has felt that passionately about a baseball game. (Indeed, the last time he felt as crushed by the outcome of a baseball game was Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. Your Maximum Leader, then a Braves fan - as DC was still without baseball - felt miserable for days. NB: He was also crushed by Game 6 of that same series.)

Your Maximum Leader, although it was late at night and he was dead tired, couldn’t fall asleep after the end of the game. He felt miserable for the Nats players who had accomplished so much this year.

All your Maximum Leader can say is, there’s always next year. And Nats fans can hope that, like those Braves of the 1990s, the Nats are perennial contenders. (And unlike the Braves of the 1990s - we can hope they win it all more than once.)

The Nat’s curly “W”

Carry on.

Hope springs eternal

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader had ever intention of watching the Veep debate last night. But the best laid plans and all… He didn’t watch. Why you may ask? Well let your Maximum Leader tell you.

He was too busy celebrating a walk-off home run by Jayson Werth in an elimination game in National League Divisional Series. Werth battled for 13 pitches (13!) before he got the one he was looking for and knocked it into the visitor’s bullpen; thereby saving the Nationals’ season. Your Maximum Leader and his whole family were jumping up and down in the Villainschloss and creating all sorts of commotion. It was great. We were in such a state we didn’t want to ruin the mood - so politics was out.

Tonight will be the deciding game five in the series. We will be watching.

The Nat’s curly “W”

Carry on.

Root, root, root for the Natinals

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wishes that in a few short hours he was at Nationals Park rooting on his beloved Washington Nationals baseball club in game 3 of the National League Divisional Series. The Nats did a good job by getting the split in St. Louis in the first two games. Now they need to close this out at home.

Some thoughts…

As many have commented, the team with the best record in baseball - and thus having home field advantage through the playoffs, shouldn’t have to play their first two games on the road. Your Maximum Leader knows that it is for this year only; but it is still wrong. It gave the Cardinals an opportunity to go home, get a little rest, and play in familiar surroundings. If you win a “play in” game, you shouldn’t get to recharge your batteries and collect your thoughts. You should have to go straight along and face your next opponent. That said, what is done is done…

On the other hand, your Maximum Leader thinks it might have been a little boon to the Nationals to open with the top of their rotation on the road. Sure both of our starters (Gio Gonzales and Jordan Zimmermann) were shaky… That was nerves (mostly) in your Maximum Leader’s opinion. The Cards have had Zimmermann’s number all season, so his rocky outing (in a drubbing we might add) was a combination of nerves and a problem with the Cards. The bottom of the National’s rotation does well at home and your Maximum Leader expects that they will continue to do so.

Your Maximum Leader is a bit disappointed that the Nationals are the day game in today. He doesn’t object to day playoff games, indeed he loves them. Your Maximum Leader feels that the Nationals got the day game to assure the Yankees’ game is in prime time. He understands the financial reasons behind this move; but he’d like to see a New York team get the short end of a scheduling stick once and a while.

Your Maximum Leader will be closely following the game once it gets underway. He will hope for victory for the Nats.
The Nat’s curly “W”

Carry on.

RP III (560) and Natinals

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader needs to point out to you all that on this day in 1452, Richard Plantagenet, later the Duke of Gloucester and even later King Richard III, was born at Fotheringay Castle.

Your Maximum Leader has been planning a longish treatment of Richard III for this space. He wanted to discuss (monologue actually) Richard as a young man, Richard as Warden of the North for his brother, Edward IV; and finally Richard as King. Of course, this is more a concept in your Maximum Leader’s brain than an actual draft of anything. Your Maximum Leader realizes that he’ll need to work on this soon if he wants to get it done before the DNA results are in from the skeleton exhumed from the ruins of the Greyfriars Monastery in Leicester. (The DNA results that might show if the skeleton is in fact that of Richard.)

Anyhoo… Take a moment to toast our ole boy Richard on his 560th birthday.

The other big news around is very big indeed. The Washington Nationals are the National League East champions.

Allow your Maximum Leader to type that again…

The Washington Nationals are the National League East champions.

It makes your Maximum Leader so happy to type those words. Sure the Nats lost their game to the Phillies last night and clinched the division with the Braves losing to the Pirates. But hell, they have won 96 games this year. 96 games! Three years ago they won 56 (or so games). They should be happy and proud. Your Maximum Leader is already working over playoff possibilities in his brain. Just so you know, your Maximum Leader would prefer his beloved Nationals would face the Cardinals or Giants in their first series. (Assuming that the Cards beat the Braves in the wild card playoff and/or the Reds wind up with the best record in the regular season overall. This all assumes that the Cards don’t fold and the Dodgers don’t sweep the Giants in their final series. All of which could happen.) Your Maximum Leader can’t tell you how giddy with excitement he is. He is going to try and get himself some playoff tickets… He might also buy some playoff swag.

NB to readers: You all don’t really have any idea how big a deal it is that your Maximum Leader would consider buying playoff swag at this stage. After years of disappointment with his beloved (and now locked-out) Washington Capitals, your Maximum Leader doesn’t buy playoff swag. He normally holds out until his team “wins it all.” He has been burned too many times by his team getting into the playoffs and choking early. But this year he feels that he ought to take the plunge early…

Anyhoo…

Your Maximum Leader is going to root (root root root) for his Nationals and hope they go far into October (and into November?)…

Carry on.

Rabbit

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader cries out “rabbit” in your general direction. (As it is the first of the month…)

Your Maximum Leader had a lovely day this past Saturday. Due to heavy rains in the area on Friday night, all of the baseball infields were too wet for play. Thus, the Wee Villain’s baseball game was cancelled. As it was an otherwise glorious day, your Maximum Leader took the Wee Villain, Villainette #2 and your Maximum Leader’s sainted father up to Washington DC. While there we walked around to all the monuments/memorials at the western end of the National Mall. We visited the Jefferson Memorial, the George Mason Memorial (which your Maximum Leader didn’t know even existed - and he must add it looks like it needs some TLC), the FDR Memorial (which he’d never visited before - and he likes), the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial (another first - and the statue is out of proportion to the site and location - your Maximum Leader wishes another design had been selected), the Lincoln Memorial (the greatest of them all), the Vietnam Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the memorial for the signers of the Declaration of Independence and finally the WWII Memorial. It was a lot of walking on a beautiful day. A great time was had by all.

When not walking our nation’s capital, your Maximum Leader was watching baseball. He’s been waiting for the Nationals to clinch the National League East. It has not yet happened. He thinks tonight might be the night…

By the way Nats fans… Did you see Michael Morse’s “phantom home run” from Saturday’s game? Your Maximum Leader is having trouble getting the embed video on this site, but you can visit this site to see the “reset swing and home run.” In all your Maximum Leader’s years of watching baseball, he doesn’t recall seeing anything like this.

Anyhoo…

Longtime readers of this space might remember Smallholder. Smallholder is our resident farmer/history geek. Well… Smallholder called over the weekend to notify your Maximum Leader that he had won an essay contest sponsored by the Ladies Association of Mount Vernon. The theme of the essay was how George Washington’s farm practices were still relevant to the modern American farmer. The upside of winning this contest is that Smallholder is going to get a weekend at Mount Vernon geeking it out with the staff archeologist, staff archivist and such. Your Maximum Leader admits he is envious of Smallholder’s luck (and talent) in winning this cool weekend. Your Maximum Leader doffs his bejeweled mylan cap in Smallholder’s direction…

And finally…

Your Maximum Leader has the (half) season finale of Doctor Who on the ole DVR. He can hardly wait to watch it. He thinks he’ll be a little sad as he knows this is the farewell to the Ponds. And your Maximum Leader (who is not fond of gingers on the whole) is very (VERY) fond of Amy Pond (played by the lovely Karen Gillam). Your Maximum Leader doesn’t want the Angels to get Amy…

Carry on.

    About Naked Villainy

    • maxldr

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