Memorial Day 2013

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has just returned to the Villainschloss from a short outing to Culpeper, VA. On Saturday, the Wee Villain asked if we were doing anything special for Memorial Day. Mrs Villain and your Maximum Leader asked if he had anything special in mind when he asked. The Wee Villain then surprised both his parents by saying that we all should go to Culpeper and visit the grave of your Maximum Leader’s paternal grandparents.

You see, your Maximum Leader’s paternal grandfather, like so many of his generation, was a World War II vet. He was with the SeaBees in the Pacific during WWII. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t know much of this grandfather’s time during the war (whereas he knows much more about his maternal grandfather’s time during the war). He knows that he was a diver and set explosives in coral reefs. He blew up coral reefs to make holes for pilings that would support airfields or docks on small atolls during the island hopping across the Pacific towards Japan.

Your Maximum Leader didn’t have much of an opportunity to talk to his paternal grandfather about the war. His grandfather died in 1980 when your Maximum Leader was 10. The thought of asking about the war hadn’t occurred to your Maximum Leader by the time he was 10.

Your Maximum Leader was told, by his paternal grandmother, why his grandfather was buried in Culpeper - a place with which he had no connection prior to his death. Apparently, he received a letter in the 1970s from the Veteran’s Administration (VA) indicating that Arlington Cemetery was being closed as it was running out of space. If my grandfather wanted to be buried in Arlington he needed to fill out some forms to reserve a place. Before filling out the forms, my grandparents went around and looked at some other federal cemeteries in the region to see if another one might be an appealing place to spend eternity. The National Cemetery in Culpeper was that appealing place. The cemetery is not terribly large, and is dominated by a large hill. The top of the hill, and the southern slope of the hill, are filled with Union dead from the Civil War.

(NB to readers: As is the habit in the South, Confederate dead were buried in town cemeteries or in special cemeteries for Confederates only. Union dead were often left where they were until, under flag of truce, Union soldiers came to retrieve and/or bury their dead. Your Maximum Leader recalls that the Union dead after the Battle of Fredericksburg (Dec 1862) remained on the field until February 1863 - when Robert E. Lee wrote to Joseph Hooker and indicated that Hooker should send men to bury the dead of Fredericksburg. Thus, you have a proliferation of “Federal Cemeteries” in and near towns where battles were fought during the Civil War. Many of the Civil War dead in Culpeper fought & died in cavalry campaigns around Culpeper in 1862 & 1863.)

The north slope of the hill on which the National Cemetery in Culpeper is situated, was mostly empty when my grandparents visited. Just up the hill from the empty area where my grandparents would eventually be buried is a large monument erected by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania honoring her Civil War dead. Both my grandparents were Pennsylvanians, so it seemed appropriate that this would be their final resting place. So my grandparents returned the paperwork indicating that they would be buried in Culpeper.

Your Maximum Leader and his family took the 45 minute trip from Fredericksburg to Culpeper this morning and went to pay their respects to his grandparents and all the other citizen-soldiers buried there. While he was there, there was a small ceremony going on with some local politicians and officials speaking on a platform near the entrance to the cemetery. Your Maximum Leader didn’t linger for the ceremony, but did hear some of the remarks and some of the patriotic songs played by the band.

All in all it was a pleasant way to spend part of Memorial Day 2013.

Here is a picture looking up the hill towards the grave of your Maximum Leader’s grandparents. The trees beyond the brick wall obscure the Pennsylvania monument and the main flag pole.

National Cemetery at Culpeper

Carry on.

Who’s Grinchy?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader asks you, who’s grinchy?

whosgrinchy.jpg

The one on the left is much more grinchy.

Carry on.

Various thoughts on Death

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is trying to make some time to blog. Why you might ask? Well, no reason in particular save that of thinking that he might have something to (virtually) say. There was one specific impetus today to write. He read a blurb on some website he frequents (and cannot recall now) that interviewed some very tech savvy people and asked them what ancient technology they insisted on keeping though it was very much outdated. One person talked about an old touch tone phone at their home they loved. Another talked about an old calendar notebook. But one said a blog.

A blog you say…

Hummm… Your Maximum Leader has one of those. Is this medium truly ancient and dead? Well. If it is it makes your Maximum Leader more resolved to try and keep using it.

So…

Your Maximum Leader has been thinking about death a little bit recently. The thought was first brought on a few weeks ago when Mrs Villain’s grandmother passed away. She was 105 and 3 months. She was, if your Maximum Leader might be forgiven for sounding uncaring, ready to go. And it was her time. Indeed, it was past her time. Probably 3-7 years past her time depending on which event one might want to use as a delineation. (She broke her hip about 7 years back and became mostly immobile at that point. But about 3 years ago her sight and hearing gave out pretty much continually - there were days when she seemed to be able to hear better than others.)

Regardless. She shuffled her mortal coil without excessive suffering or illness. As your Maximum Leader tweeted that night (using a paraphrase of a prayer that jumped into his awareness), the long burden of years was lifted for her.

In some ways, the long burden of her years was lifted for the rest of us as well. Your Maximum Leader doubts that she really remembered who he was for the past few years. There were times when she seemed to recognize Villainette #1. She did always remember Mrs Villain. Your Maximum Leader was amused to himself that she was able to recall Villainette #1. Your Maximum Leader’s eldest did make an impression on “great nannie” as we called her. We took Villainette #1 up to great nannie’s house in Rhode Island a few times before age and the onset of some infirmity required the move to the assisted living facility. Great nannie must have really bonded with Villainette #1 in a way that few did afterwards. Your Maximum Leader was amused that great nannie would remember Villainette #1; but wasn’t too sure about the father of this growing girl.

Great nannie also loved the Wee Villain. Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure that she always knew that the Wee Villain was her great grandson; but he was always sure that great nannie loved boys. She raised two of her own. She always seemed to prefer the company of men (over the company of “weak women”). Your Maximum Leader thinks that, with her own strong New England personality, she just had little toleration for the public face of women in her age.

Anyhoo…

Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure exactly how he should feel about great nannie’s passing. He is a little relieved. He thinks that it is something of a blessing. At some level he might even be happy for her. But he generally isn’t sad. He’s prayed for her (now that your Maximum Leader is trying to be more observant of his Catholic faith). But he isn’t sad. Should he feel some guilt about this? Perhaps. But as far as deaths go, this one is as good as one can get.

After thinking about this peaceful passing, there are other ruminations on death that come into his mind.

Two cases in particular. That of murderer Jodi Arias and kidnapper Ariel Castro.

Allow your Maximum Leader to step back and go over some ground that he’s not trod here in a while. For those of you who might not have been around years ago at the onset of this blog (and if you weren’t your Maximum Leader has to wonder what on earth brought you here more recently), your Maximum Leader has for most of his life favored and supported the death penalty. That effectively changed thanks to a post by our bloggy friend Skippy. The post concerned the case of Cameron Todd Willingham. That post, the links in it (especially to the New Yorker piece on Cameron Todd Willingham) and later the movie Incendiary basically changed the way your Maximum Leader thinks about the death penalty and its application.

(NB: You should read all of those links. And if you get a chance, rent Incendiary. Your Maximum Leader drove from his home in Fredericksburg, VA to downtown DC to see the movie during its limited run at one cinema in the area.)

Basically, the death penalty is over applied in the US. We like to think that we are being tough on crime by prosecuting and convicting in death penalty cases. But really, we are in the end harming our justice system. The harm is caused by a pervasive sense of doubt as to how the death penalty is applied and if it was called for. Was the death penalty sought because the accused was poor? Was black? Was marginally mentally competent? Was the prosecutor up for re-election? Too many questions.

But then just as one’s mind starts to ponder the many questions about the death penalty, as person like Jodi Arias comes around.

Without restating the whole sorrid case allow your Maximum Leader to summarize Jodi Arias thusly: a somewhat cute crazy bitch murdered her sometimes boyfriend. Unlike Skippy your Maximum Leader doesn’t find Jodi Arias all that physically attractive so he doesn’t quite get the national fascination with the story. (We Americans do like to follow capital cases with a hot defendant. Your Maximum Leader is willing to concede that he might have been more interested in the Arias case if a) he had found Arias more physically attractive and b) it hadn’t just gone on and on and on and on.)

Now… In the case of Jodi Arias, the state should go ahead and execute her. This is as clear a proper application of the death penalty as there can be. Crazy woman has wild monkey sex with boyfriend in the shower. He tells her afterwards that he’s not taking her on vacation with him. Crazy woman stabs and shoots him to death and then plays stupid. Jodi Arias should, now having been convicted, be ushered quietly in front of a firing squad and shot. Sadly, only Utah still shoots people - so lethal injection it is.

Unless you are against the application of the death penalty in all cases (and bully to you if you are); your Maximum Leader can’t see any reason why Jodi Arias shouldn’t be executed. (NB to Skippy: Okay there is one reason. To be Skippy’s sex-toy for a period and then be executed.)

So now having stated a case where your Maximum Leader has no trepidation in serving up an execution, let him move on…

At lunch with some respectable men about town the other day your Maximum Leader mentioned off-handedly that Ariel Castro should not be considered for the death penalty.

Just in case you missed it, Ariel Castro is the Cleveland man who kidnapped three young girls. Raped them. Beat them. Induced miscarriages in them. And ultimately fathered a child (of rape) by one of the kidnapped girls. He repeated these crimes over and over on these girls for a period of at least 10 years.

Yet this man shouldn’t, in your Maximum Leader’s estimation, be prosecuted for capital crimes. The most simple reason for this is that none of his victims died. Now, you are thinking to yourself, “Self, what about those miscarriages.” Good point. Although he’s against abortion, it isn’t quite the same. Pregnancies end for many reasons. Even the healthiest and most careful women can miscarry. Though there is a purposeful element to the miscarriages/abortions inflicted by Castro on those poor girls, your Maximum Leader isn’t able to commit to them being murder under the laws of the land. (NB: If it turns out that there is evidence that the babies had reached a stage of development where they might have lived outside the womb if delivered; then your Maximum Leader will reconsider this opinion.) Castro is a terrible waste of a human being. But his victims live. Because of that, the state shouldn’t attempt to kill him.

Your Maximum Leader didn’t realize the shock that this position would cause at the lunch table. One of his friends asked if his opinion would be different if the victim was one of the Villainettes? Of course it would. Your Maximum Leader would seriously advocate for the execution of people who inflicted minor harms on his daughters. But, that is because your Maximum Leader is their father. The law should be applied without that passion. It should be applied rationally and at arms length. Being as objective as possible, Ariel Castro, in your Maximum Leader’s opinion shouldn’t die for his crimes. A lifetime of solitary confinement punctuated by prison shower sodomy? That seems just. But death seems too much.

You may disagree (and frankly you are welcome to). But from what he knows now, that is how your Maximum Leader sees it.

So, there are some thoughts your Maximum Leader has been having about death… And look at that… He’s made a blog post out of them. Perhaps this medium isn’t as moribund as expected.

Carry on.

What the deuce is this? A post?!!?!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader isn’t dead. He is just living the dream of being a father with responsibilities. He wants to blog. Trust him on that. He does. It is just carving out time to do it.

So what is going on that he wants to comment upon? Well… Too much for the short time he has to write this. He hopes that he can write some this weekend. Here are some possible bloggy topics: His trip to the Land of the Great Mouse in Orlando Florida earlier this year; his trips to various Civil War battlefields with his family (to commemorate the 150th of many of these battles); his tribulations as a father of two teen girls and a boy who persists in pushing his buttons; and the regular stuff political and social.

What your Maximum Leader really needs to do is cut out a block of time (an hour or so) once or twice a week to just write a post.

As if that will happen….

If you happen to get on the ole Twitter machine, you can find your Maximum Leader at this twitter handle: @maximumleader (or clicky this link).

Carry on.

    About Naked Villainy

    • maxldr

    Villainous
    Contacts

    • E-mail your villainous leader:
      "maxldr-blog"-at-yahoo-dot-com or
      "maximumleader"-at-nakedvillainy-dot-com

    • Follow us on Twitter:
      at-maximumleader

    • No really follow on
      Twitter. I tweet a lot.

Spanking the monkey of injustice.

    Villainous Commerce

    Villainous Sponsors

      • Get your link here.

      Villainous Search