The Gene Man

Alberto Martinez was the 24th wealthiest person alive according to the news reports in 2089. He liked breaking into the top 25 list. He was high enough up to feel an inordinate amount of public esteem based solely on wealth, but he was far enough down that he could still go out and have dinner in public and not be recognized by everyone.

Years ago Alberto, Big Al to his friends and close colleagues, parlayed a genius mind and newly-earned medical degree into a moderately lucrative job in a small but robust lab that had a corporate entity that sold its services to the masses. That service was genetic mapping. Want to know your ethnic background? Send a saliva or blood sample. Want to know if you have genetic indicators for various hereditary diseases? Send a saliva or blood sample. Will your children be gay? Send two saliva or blood samples. We’ll send you a report with all the details.

Telosgene International, Big Al’s company, was a hugely successful. First hundreds, then thousands, then hundreds of thousands, then millions of people voluntarily sent saliva swabs or blood from pin-pricks to Telosgene for mapping and testing. Big Al was one of the leads in Telosgene’s labs. He made up new methods of testing and mapping people’s DNA. Faster methods. Cheaper methods. He worked with programmers to create databases filled with DNA records. After a time Telosgene would find your relatives for you based on your DNA.

Big Al moved from position of importance to position of more importance in the company. After a time he leveraged buyouts of other companies. Before long Telosgene was not just into DNA mapping services, but was producing custom-made cancer treatments based on a patient’s DNA and the DNA of their cancer.

Then Big Al pushed the envelope. He got a permit in Guatemala to start genetic modification of fertilized human eggs. Want your kid to have blonde hair and blue eyes? We can improve the chances - even when there were none to begin with. Want a boy over 6 ft tall with good musculature and a better chance to be a star athlete? We can do it! Want to rid your progeny of that family balding gene? No problem! Now pay $5,000,000.00 US for each egg we work on and hope implantation works out okay.

The move into genetically modified humans was what put Telosgene on the proverbial map. But Big Al didn’t put himself on the board or give himself a fancy title. He just kept his plurality ownership of the private firm working for him on the down-low.

But, Big Al’s power in the company was challenged by people with a different vision. A vision that was more cautious. Had more ethical review committees. Wanted transparency and public oversight. It was then that Al remembered that he had personally done some work for a Russian. A Russian with an unsavory reputation, an unlimited bankroll, and a family disposition towards obesity, heart disease, cancer, and bone density problems. Pavel Igonov was the head of a huge crime syndicate and Al reached out to him. What would it take to make Big Al’s ethical headaches disappear? Pavel was happy to solve his problems for $5,000,000, or a daughter with blonde hair, blue eyes, perfect figure, and none of the family’s hereditary problems. The deal was struck. Pavel took care of Al’s ethical problems, and Al personally worked on the egg that would grow up to become Nadezhda Pavelova Igonova, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, girl with a knack for languages, and a body like mortal sin.

But, as the old saying goes, in for a penny, in for a pound. Big Al found Pavel asking for help for others in his organization. In exchange Pavel would do Al favors. Licensure in some European nations wasn’t as much of a hassle. Inspectors at Telosgene facilities became more accommodating and less eagle-eyed.

After a time Big Al wondered how far, or how little, he could really trust Pavel. That was when he had a brainstorm and set a plan in motion. It started by offering one of Pavel’s bodyguards some pheromones that made Nadezhda’s teeth chatter, her cheeks flushed, and her body filled with desire for the bodyguard. Once Pavel’s angel started to secretly disobey daddy’s orders to avoid the bodyguard, Al gave the bodyguard a new pheromone. It filled Nadezhda with lust, and Pavel with rage. The problem resolved itself when Pavel found Nadezhda and the bodyguard in the pool house together. Guns, knives, and table utensils were all used the most merciless and inhumane ways. When it was over all three were dead, and Al found himself the power behind a huge Russian crime syndicate.

Over the next few years, Big Al used his power to expand his company’s wealth, influence, and power. He was careful to stay as far under the radar as possible, but eventually his avarice compelled him to formally run the company and direct its board. That was when the real wealth, the almost unimaginable wealth, flowed to him.

He had all he’d ever dreamed of, and more. He even made himself a Nadezhda and groomed her just the way he wanted her to be. In secret of course, his long-time wife, Carley, wouldn’t have approved. Big Al figured that he would have Carley meet with an unfortunate accident when his Nadezhda 2.0 was ready to turn 18.

What Big Al didn’t know was the Carley Martinez had figured him out years ago and had plans of her own.

(This is not the story I mentioned previously in this post. That story still is a work in progress.)

Safe, Legal, and Rare

Greetings, loyal minions. We seem to have come a long way from the days when Democrats wanted abortion to be “safe, legal, and rare.” Haven’t we? I have contemplated writing a post on abortion for a while now. But I haven’t. It seems like this might be the time to do so in light of recently passed laws in Georgia, Alabama, Missouri, and Kansas.

For those of you who might be reading, this post will have the following form: I’ll discuss my own personal views on abortion, then I’ll discuss what my views are about abortion in America. These views are in conflict with one another, and are the cause of some intellectual distress within my own conscience.

To begin. Simply put, my own view is that abortion is the willful killing of an innocent human life and is wrong. There isn’t much subtlety to that position. It is as starkly absolute as it looks in the words on your screen right now. It is a clearly stated and forceful statement.

I wasn’t always as clear on this personally. Though raised Catholic, I went through long portions of time away from the Church. Certainly my Catholic upbringing has always influenced my thoughts on abortion, it would be an overstatement to say that my views were always in line with Catholic teachings. (Or are now…) There was a time in and around college, where my views on the subject were better described as “well, it seems wrong to me, but I just don’t really care that much.” I feel a certain amount of shame in that supreme ambivalence given the words I just typed a few short sentences ago. But that was where I was. I didn’t think about abortion much and deliberately avoided thinking about it for quite a while. But I was forced to think about it one afternoon while walking in a park with a girl.

We were friends in college. We never dated each other. It frankly never occurred to either of us that we should date each other. It was a plain old friendship in which sex rarely came up as a subject. I was dating others. She was dating others. And everyone seemed pretty cool about it. We didn’t talk much about sex at all. A rude joke here and there. Perhaps some clumsy innuendo once and a while. Innuendo that was always a little forced between us.

One day, shortly after we graduated, we were walking in a park near my house. We chatted about all the normal things we talked about. Then she stopped at a small playground in the park and sat on a swing. I sat in the swing next to her and there was silence. She didn’t look at me when she plainly stated, “I’m pregnant.” I wasn’t sure how to react. I looked at her and I’m positive my confusion in how to respond was plain on my face. She looked at me, and with tears welling up in her eyes she said, “I don’t want to be.”

The circumstances that lead her to that point are as unimportant as they are common. Not paying attention. Messing around. Accident. Knowledge of what was happening. Realization that the boyfriend is all wrong. Their relationship is all wrong. She isn’t ready. She doesn’t want to be ready. She doesn’t know exactly what to do.

So she tells me.

I was the only person she had told. That sort of surprised me. I would have figured I was down the list of people she would confide in. But I was at the top of the list. I didn’t know what to say. So she did the talking. She thought she was going to abort the baby. She wasn’t 100 percent yet, but she was 85 percent. She was telling me because she wanted me to take her and be with her and if needed stay with me a day or two after.

I admit that I am told by my friends that I am a pretty loyal friend and will do what I can to help a friend in need. My first reaction to being “asked” to help my friend get an abortion was that I would take her, and be with her, and let her stay with me after if she wanted. She seemed greatly relieved by my answer. We sat for a while, then continued on our walk in silence. We parted with kisses on the cheek, but few words. She said she would let me know.

I didn’t sleep much for the next few days. Her boyfriend didn’t know. Should he? Should he be given some say in the matter? How would he react? Shouldn’t he help her out? What about my friend’s brother with whom she was especially close? Wouldn’t he be more appropriate? After going through all the others in my mind I started to reflect on my role in all this. What was I doing? Should I counsel her to seek another choice, or at least investigate another choice? If she wanted my help and I gave it what would I be responsible for doing?

In that moment I realized I was against abortion. Why would I worry about the moral consequences of an abortion to which I was tangentially a part if the whole act wasn’t wrong? Is driving a hitman to a hit and letting them stay in your house to lay low for a few days after not morally wrong? In that moment I had terrible misgivings. I was conflicted because now I realized I didn’t want to do what I’d agreed to do. I was a wreck. And if I was a wreck, I could only imagine how my friend felt.

I don’t recall praying, or asking advice of others, or doing anything to work through my impending moral dilemma. And then the weirdest thing happened. My friend and I never spoke of it again. About a week later she gave me a call and suggested we meet for a quick dinner and a walk. I agreed. I had decided to play it by ear not bring up the subject and see what she wanted to do. We had dinner. We walked. We got ice cream. We parted company. About two weeks later she told me she was accepting a new job in Pittsburgh. She asked if I would help pack up her truck. I said yes. I helped pack her up. Her brother was there too. She told me that the boyfriend wasn’t in the picture any more. She went to Pittsburgh. We talked for a few months after, then we truly parted company. We haven’t spoken since. I heard about her for a few years through mutual friends. There was no single parenting talk. I don’t know what she did or how she did it. I don’t know if she sensed my misgivings and decided not to ask me afterall.

And that is the story of how I came to have the views on abortion that I hold. As you can read, my view crystalized pretty sharply back then. It hasn’t changed too much over time. I still think abortion is wrong because it is the killing of an innocent, defenseless, person who deserves a chance at life.

In light of this, one would think that I would applaud the recent changes to the laws of Georgia, Alabama, Missouri, and Kansas. Well… That is where I run into problems.

I realize that we live in a constitutional republic. I also want the maximum amount of liberty possible under that government. I am suspicious of government and am often suspicious of the motives of others. I also realize that though I believe what I believe about abortion strongly, I can’t help but also believe that others don’t share my beliefs in this matter.

One would think that I wouldn’t have a problem with abortion in the public sphere. If I believe in liberty, and the sacrosanct nature of the individual as an individual entitled to the protection of and from the state, then I should support abortion rights. I get hung up on the fact that there are two people in this equation and how should they be treated. How, in fact, should they be treated? Does a woman have the same, more, or equal rights as a baby within her?

At this point I find myself falling into a legalist mindset, or perhaps it is a type of etymological/verbal sophistry. I want to find terms from which the argument can flow. This is likely some sort of latent attempt at Socratic reasoning or just some sort of self-justification to assuage a guilty conscience.

I can tell you where this mindset on the issue of abortion started in my brain. College, some time in early 1988. I went to a fascinating (and horrifying) debate. The debate was between a Philosophy professor at my school and a visiting Philosophy professor. It was a dispassionate and intellectual exchange. No heated words. No protesting. No finger pointing. It was just two smart people exchanging thoughtful arguments on a hotly debated issue. The professor from my school set out the “Pro-life” position. It was the visiting professor that was most memorable to me however. She set out her “Pro-choice” position. I was young and dull-witted and didn’t see where she was going when she started off. She started with cognitive abilities of various apes. Then got into human language and reason. Then proceeded into conscious thought and ability to express complex abstract ideas. Before I realized it, she had set up an argument in which she had gotten many of us to accept the position that in order to be fully human one had to have some apprehension of language and reason in order to be fully human. Then next thing you know, she is arguing that one should be able to commit infanticide of children up to about 6 months old because prior to that point they weren’t fully human and thus not entitled to full protection of the state.

In retrospect, it is interesting that back in 1988 a rational, and horrifying, intellectual debate suggesting infanticide could be viewed as an academic exercise that was dismissed by everyone who heard it as “going too far to make a point.” Now in 2019 there were bills being introduced in my state legislature that wanted to codify roughly the same point. And the Governor of my Commonwealth went on radio and seemed to advocate for the very position that was seen as “too much” 30 years before.

So people have differing opinions on abortion and it seems to be advantageous to find some consensus under which we can all live. But the problem is in the definition of terms that no one can agree upon. If that fertilized egg has become a human, then it is entitled to the protection of the state. If that fertilized egg is just a “fetus,” or an “organism,” or a “parasite,” or a “clump of cells,” then it seems pretty clear that it isn’t a person entitled to the protection of the state.

For many years, I (and others) wanted to try and define “viability.” If we could decide when that “pre-human” became viable outside the womb then we could establish a point at which one could say “A-ha! The pre-human is now fully human and shouldn’t be aborted as it is a person with rights and entitled to the protection of the state.” Viability was a thing I really tried to figure out with an earnestness that amuses my more cynical self today. Do you want to know what I came up with? I figured out that with technology and medical advances “viability” doesn’t mean anything. I would almost be willing to wager that in my lifetime (I’m 50 now) we will have artificial wombs into which we can put fertilized eggs and have them develop until they are grown into babies ready to be born in the traditionally understood sense. I am certainly willing to say that the point during a pregnancy that a baby becomes viable outside the womb keeps getting pushed closer and closer to the time of conception. So viability is a moving, and thus meaningless, target.

The current fashion of law seems to be the “heartbeat” standard. When the “pre-human” has a heartbeat it changes into a human and is entitled to the protection of the state. A fetal heartbeat can start after about 4 weeks. As is often said in the news, the fetal heartbeat can begin before most women know they are even pregnant. The upstart of this argument is that a woman needs time to learn she is pregnant so that she can decide if she wants an abortion. There is something in me that wants to see both sides of this argument. If you want to allow abortions, you need to allow a woman sufficient time to realize she is pregnant. But if you want to make sure you are protecting innocent life, then the heartbeat seems like an objective and observable milestone at which one can set a benchmark. I am not sure if the heartbeat is the benchmark I would set, but I fully recognize that any benchmark at all is arbitrary.

Do I support the “heartbeat” laws? I’m not sure. I certainly don’t support unlimited abortion on demand. I am left wondering where did “safe, legal, and rare” go? I also would like to know where the rape, incest, and life of the mother exceptions went.

So that I am clear, I realize that, intellectually, how a baby was conceived shouldn’t affect the baby’s legal status as a person with rights. But I freely admit I have a real problem making a woman (or young girl) carry a child to term that was conceived by rape or incest. I can’t do it. It seems wrong to even consider it in fact. Forcing a woman to bear a child that will end up killing her also seems too far to go for me. So removing the exceptions for rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother seems to be going too far for me in our society. (NB: Another dear college friend of mine, Ashley, was faced with the choice of having a baby or taking cancer treatments. She chose to have the baby and delay cancer treatments. She died shortly after delivering her son. I don’t know how I would have dealt with my wife having to make that choice. I’m glad I never had to. But I do know that I pray for Ashley, and her surviving family, all the time.)

I don’t pretend to have answers for society at large in this. I know that there is a point after which abortion should be prohibited. I just can’t articulate in a meaningful way where that point is that doesn’t seem completely arbitrary and thus irrational.

Broadly speaking, I would like to prevent pregnancy so that abortion isn’t the primary focus of our arguing. To that end, I wouldn’t mind if birth control became more widely available. I know some of you out there are saying to yourselves, “What? As if it isn’t already widely available.” I know what you are saying, but making some birth control pills over-the-counter wouldn’t upset me in the least. So many places give condoms away it amazes me that people buy them. And “day after” pills exist in this morally gray area that I don’t contemplate much. Mostly out of a selfish desire to leave a morally gray area for me to hide my conscience within like an ashamed shadow.

I wish that we, as a society, on this issue could get a commission together of intelligent and rational people on both sides and lock them in a comfortable, isolated, hotel somewhere and have them come up with a compromise that everyone hates but agrees to live with for the sake of civility towards one another. Sadly, civility isn’t valued and both sides prefer becoming more intractable in the hopes of “winning” the argument once and for all. But this is one of those issues for which there is no real winning at all.

Carry on.

Writing Is Hard

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wanted to log in and just state on the record that writing is hard. Well, some types of writing are hard. He could write some drivel on this site (as the archives have proved he has in the past) rather quickly. But he had an idea for a short story. Your Maximum Leader has been reading (and re-reading) some short story collections lately. He figured he’d try to flesh out this idea he had and publish it here. He sat down about 2 weeks ago and typed words on a screen for 3 hours. Then he was tired and saved the work and went back to if a few days later. It wasn’t very good. So he has been opening up the file and reworking, and editing, and rewriting what he has. But it still isn’t very good. He’s been debating how much more he should work on it, or if he should abandon it. Right now he is strongly supporting more work because to abandon it seems metaphysically damaging.

So there will be more work and hopefully something mediocre will come of it…

Carry on.

Graduation

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader notes that it is college graduation season. He attended one today. His nephew was graduated today from the University of Mary Washington. (NB: Which he still thinks of as Mary Washington College. Because that is what it was for ever and ever. Just like his own alma mater, which went from Longwood College to Longwood University.) This graduation will be the first of a number of them over the next few years. Villainette #1 will be graduating from university next year. Then another nephew from high school the year after that. Then Villainette #2 from university in 2021. Then the Wee Villain and a niece from high school in 2022. Over the next few years your Maximum Leader is going to be compelled to sit through overly long ceremonies in questionable weather listening to people say doubtful things.

All in all, today’s graduation at UMW was very good. We had excellent, and shaded, seats. The ceremony was relatively quick (in that no one spoke for very long - the featured speaker was allowed 10 minutes). Your Maximum Leader was informed that due to a new staff member reading the graduates names in a more crisp and speedy fashion a full 40 minutes was trimmed off last year’s graduation. Your Maximum Leader doffs his bejeweled mylan cap to him. (He did do a fantastic job.)

Your Maximum Leader isn’t as sure that he’ll be as lucky with Villainette #1’s graduation next year. She is a student at Virginia Commonwealth University. VCU is the largest university in the Commonwealth of Virginny. She will have two ceremonies. The main one with the main speaker and all the graduates. Then a “smaller” one (of about 4000) for just her college within the university. It will be the same when Villainette #2 graduates from Virginia Tech. That is a lot of sitting and listening for your Maximum Leader in the month of May to come. He probably ought to buy a nice cushion to bring with him…

Carry on.

Stir Fry

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, as some of you may know, is of British extraction. His ancestry is mostly Scottish and English. There is a smattering of Welsh, Irish, Norse, and German (Bavarian, he’s told) thrown in to complete his Northern European genetics. And like any good person with both British ancestry and a love of British history, he is all up for some cultural appropriation. In this case, culinary appropriation in the form of stir fry.

Your Maximum Leader loves to stir fry. This is not to say that he is authentic in any way whatsoever. In fact, your Maximum Leader would dare to say that no self-respecting Asian person would recognise or condone some of the things that are prepared in your Maximum Leader’s wok. Speaking of the wok, that piece of cookware is likely the best $35.00 he ever spent. In 1991, your Maximum Leader bought a Wally Nash endorsed “Great Wok of China” from a department store in Richmond, VA. (NB: It might have been Miller and Rhodes, but he can’t recall.) He still uses this wok to this day. (He still has the spatula, ladle, and wire strainer that came with the set - though he had to buy new bamboo steaming baskets.) He has affectionately called this the Wally Wok ever since…

So, your Maximum Leader loves his wok and he loves stir frying in it. There is something that appeals to him about the style of cooking. Get all your ingredients together. Do all your prep work. Then the cooking is actually rather quick and you can get down to eating. Additionally, if you prep right, there isn’t a hell of a lot of clean up. Then there is the eating. The food can be eaten in one dish - again, keeping clean up to a minimum.

As your Maximum Leader said, he loves to stir fry though he freely admits that he rarely makes anything that an Asian person might recognise as a traditional dish. Your Maximum Leader’s approach to his style of appropriate stir frying goes something like what happened tonight. Allow him to weave the story now for you…

So, it has been rather busy in the ole Villainschloss over the past few days. This morning Mrs. Villain left early, and your Maximum Leader (and the Wee Villain - who is not so wee any more as he is 6 feet tall at 14 years old) was running late. The hounds haven’t been feeling well either (one of them has been vomiting - though not near meals which is confusing). Needless to say, this morning was a rush and nothing was taken out of the freezer to serve as a major protein for dinner this evening. So, upon arriving home tonight your Maximum Leader had to improvise. Tonight, he knew, was going to be a stir fry night because your Maximum Leader was cooking only for himself and the Wee Villain. Both of whom are fond of stir fry.

Recognising that it was going to be a stir fry night, your Maximum Leader started to think about what he was going to cook. He needed a protein from the freezer that could be mostly thawed quickly in a microwave without destroying the flavour or integrity of the protein by microwaving. He recalled that he had a pound of pork belly in the freezer that was cut into a nice slab that would get mostly thawed, but not cooked, in a few minutes. Your Maximum Leader retrieved the pork belly from the freezer, put it in the microwave, and started the defrost process.

While the pork was thawing, he had started the rice cooker and went to the fridge to get some veggies to add to the mix. He got himself a medium sized onion, 3 stalks of celery, a few green onions (these because they were looking sort of wan and he figured they needed to be eaten quickly), and a nice sized carrot. He also pulled a bag of frozen broccoli out of the freezer. He poured out a nice sized bowl full of broccoli and set about cutting up the fresh veggies. He rough cut the onion. The pieces were small enough so that they would cook quickly, but large enough to be easy to grasp with chop sticks. He did the same with the celery and green onions. He ran the carrot through a mandoline.

(NB: Your Maximum Leader has a cheap and sucky mandoline right now. It is similar to this one. In fact, your Maximum Leader’s isn’t as nice as the one pictured in the link. It is awful. Food gets jammed up in it. The grip piece slips too often. It is a mess. He would prefer a nicer one. Something like this one. Mrs. Villain does not endorse the idea of another mandoline for the simple reason that your Maximum Leader doesn’t use the one he has very often. And even though he explains that he would use one more if he had one that didn’t suck, that argument doesn’t seem to hold water.)

So now your Maximum Leader has veggies prepped and his rice going in the cooker. He took the pork belly out of the microwave and could tell that he had timed it right. The belly was still slightly hard through the middle and the ends had not turned colour (from cooking) yet. So he diced up the pork belly. With all of his mise en place complete he set about getting his spices out.

Your Maximum Leader and the Wee Villain tend to like stir fry with a little heat. When cooking for the whole family the spicy heat has to be kept to an absolute minimum as Mrs. Villain doesn’t care for anything spicy. So, with this in mind, your Maximum Leader retrieved from various places around the kitchen the following: peanut oil, soy sauce, cayenne pepper flakes, garlic/chili sauce (made by the same company that makes Sriracha), hoisin sauce, garlic powder (as he has no fresh garlic), salt, pepper, and some peanuts.

The actual cooking of the dish went thusly… The wok was heated up with some oil in it. Then your Maximum Leader added the cubed pork belly in small batches so that it would brown and crisp up a little. He liberally salted and peppered the meat as he cooked it. When all of the pork was in and had been browned (but not fully cooked) he added the onion, celery, and carrot. He added a little more oil and cooked these veggies until the onions started to become translucent. At this stage he added a few tablespoons of soy sauce to the bottom of the wok and threw in the still mostly frozen broccoli. Now your Maximum Leader knows that this introduction of cold veggies reduces the cooking temperature of the wok and somewhat defeats the purpose of using a wok. But, as your Maximum Leader was a little lazy it worked out okay. The combination of thawing broccoli, with soy, and the oil and juices from the meat allowed for a bit of steaming to take place. Your Maximum Leader let the lid sit on the wok while the temperature rose. As this was happening, he used his time to do a few dishes. When the steam started to escape the wok, he went back to stir fry. Removing the lid and letting the steam escape was the starting point to cooking down and thickening up the sauce in the wok. He mixed everything together and also added garlic powder and red pepper flakes very generously. When most of the liquid had cooked down, your Maximum Leader threw in the hoisin sauce and stirred it around. Then he generously threw in the garlic/chili sauce. He mixed this around and then reduced the heat and added in his peanuts. By this time the rice was done as was the rest of dinner.

All in all dinner was tasty. The meat was good (but it is hard to mess up pork belly - which is awesome in general). The veggies were crisp and colourful. The sauce binding everything together had a touch of sweetness (from the hoisin) at the beginning but ended with significant heat at the end. Your Maximum Leader doubts that any aspect of this stir fry melange was “authentic” in any Asian cuisine. But being the appropriator that he is, it used methods and spices and created something that worked.

Your Maximum Leader would, if left to his devices, probably eat stir fry (of one sort of another) 3 times a week. Indeed, when he was single (something that hasn’t been true for over 23 years now) he did eat stir fry 3 nights a week. Mrs. Villain demands more variety so there isn’t as much stir frying as your Maximum Leader would like.

Anyhoo… Stir Fry for dinner is pretty good…

Carry on.

(Follow your Maximum Leader on the Twitter! @maximumleader)

Non-spoilery Game of Thrones Update

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is a fan of Game of Thrones (and the Song of Ice and Fire novels). He’s made to secret to anyone who wants to listen that his favourite character is Daenerys Targaryen. She has had, in the books, a fascinating character arc. Her arc in the television show has not been quite as in depth, but then again, it is television. (NB: the most interesting character arc in the whole story - books or TV - is Jaime Lannister. But that is a tale for another time.) In addition to her character development, there is the obvious attraction. Your Maximum Leader, as a somewhat nerdy guy, is really turned on by hot women with dragons. Yes, that allure could prove self-destructive, but it is an allure nonetheless.

Until this week’s episode, (Season 8, Ep 4 - The Last of the Starks), your Maximum Leader would have given Daenerys about a 60% chance of “winning” the Game of Throne and sitting on the Iron Throne as the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms… Sadly, he is lowering that chance down to 20%. Some of the things said and done in the episode and making your Maximum Leader fear for the Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains, etc., etc..

Out of fear that Kevin will read this, that is all your Maximum Leader will say right now. But if it turns out that Dany doesn’t make it to the end of the show, your Maximum Leader is going to be very sad, upset, and destructive. He might even scream “dracarys” and burn his Daenerys Targaryen Funko toy.

Carry on.

(Follow your Maximum Leader on the Twitter! @maximumleader)

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