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.

Armoured Trains

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is quite fond of the choo-choos. Oh yes indeed. He would make most of his travel rail travel if time, expense, and availability of stops weren’t a factor. He would gladly hop on a train and go to just about anywhere he had to go.

Sadly, he does not. He could take a commuter train to DC more often. (But for where and when he goes driving is best.) He does prefer and take the train to Philly, and NYC when he has occasion to go there. He’s planning a trip to Roanoke on the train (to visit Villainette #2). But making the time to get the train that goes to Roanoke is a bit of a chore.

If your Maximum Leader were truly a murderous dictator (or merely a tyrant, or even a person of conspicuous wealth) he would gladly have a private train on which he would travel. Of course, your Maximum Leader’s train would be much nicer looking that Kim Jong-un’s. Kim’s train is nothing special to look at. Your Maximum Leader would prefer more streamlined, and not green. Something like Raymond Loewy would have designed. Like one of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s S-1 or T-1 locomotives (seen here). But obviously (and sadly) not steam powered. One thinks the locomotives would have to be diesel (or some futuristic diesel and electric hybrid - running on electric on the electrified tracks of the Northeast Corridor, but having diesel for the non-electrified track). And it goes without saying that while your Maximum Leader’s train would be stocked full of fine foods, adult beverages, and comely conductors like Kim’s train, it would travel faster than 37 mph.

Of course, your Maximum Leader mentioned the very famous PRR S-1 and T-1 locomotives as a basis for the design of his train. Your Maximum Leader’s favourite locomotive in the whole wide world is the Norfolk & Western J-Class. He would probably use the J-Class as a model for the locomotive on his (completely hypothetical) armoured train.

NB: Your Maximum Leader must have some British English box checked on spell check because armor appears wrong but armour appears to be correct.

Carry on.

Old

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader’s eldest offspring, Villainette #1, has a milestone birthday today. She is 21.

Where do the years go?

Carry on.

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader reminds you, in case you forgot to mark your calendars, that today all subjects of the Mike World Order will celebrate the anniversary of the birth of our lifelong and great friend, Kevin. You may read his regular musing over at his blog, Big Hominid. You should read his blog. Unlike your Maximum Leader, over on Kevin’s blog you get regularly updated content. Like almost every single day! Sometimes twice a day! What the deuce?

On this day my buddy has turned 49. He, like me, are closing in on the half century mark. And for those of you who keep up those who think about these things, actuarially speaking we have already passed the half-way point of our expected life span. So, we have that going for us.

My life has been enriched for knowing Kevin. His recent visit to the US, for he lives and works in South Korea, was a boon for me. I got time to spend with him, and he treated me to a wonderful seafood dinner on a dark and stormy night. I only wish I could have spent more time with him. I often wish I could spend more time with him. But geography gets in the way.

Happy Birthday, Kevin.

Carry on.

The Next Villainschloss

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has found the plans for the next Villainschloss. Thanks to Allplans.com.

It is the Darien II Castle House Plan. Clicky here to see the page.

For you too lazy to click, here is a stolen image…

AllPlans.com Darien II Castle House - Scottish Castle House Pla

With a few modifications, it would perfectly suit his needs…

Carry on.

Follow your Maximum Leader on Twitter @maximumleader

Ave Kevin!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is really happy for his best buddy Kevin, who will now be a professor at Catholic University of Daegu (S. Korea). It looks like Kevin will be shipping off to the Land of the Morning Calm in August. We will miss him here, but are happy to see him doing what he wants to do.

Carry on.

God Save the King! Richard found!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is sure that by now you have heard the news. No it isn’t that the Ball’mer Ravens won the Super Bowl. The news is greater than that. (Though the news has been overshadowed by the big football game.)

The remains of King Richard III of England have been positively identified. According to the Washington Post (and many other news outlets) the remains found five months ago under a parking lot in Leicester are “beyond a reasonable doubt” those of the last Plantagenet king of England.

Your Maximum Leader is positively giddy with the news. As long-time readers (if there are any of you left) know, your Maximum Leader is a big fan of Richard III. Your Maximum Leader supposes that the next big decision for the archeologists and others involved with the dig will be how to re-bury the King. Your Maximum Leader believes there are really only two choices available for re-burial. The first, and most likely, is that Richard should be lain to rest in Leicester Cathedral (a short distance from where he was found). He has, after all, been buried in Leicester for 500 years already and short of being put back under the parking lot, this is a reasonable choice. The other choice is that specified by Richard himself. As your Maximum Leader understands it, the King had plans in his will to be buried in York Minster.

Your Maximum Leader knows that Leicester wants to keep Richard’s remains and seems to be lobbying for that outcome. Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure if the good people of York are anxious to have Richard buried there. But it would seem as though they would want him. What community wouldn’t want to have a king buried in their city? Your Maximum Leader is pretty sure that Westminster Cathedral shouldn’t be in the running. That said, many people will probably argue for Westminster…

The one sidebar on this whole discovery that your Maximum Leader would like to see it this: a 3-D model of Richard’s skull used to make an image of what he looked like in life. That would be the most fascinating bit of discovery yet to be revealed. We’ve seen what King Tut looks like (and countless other Pharaohs). I’d like to see Richard’s face.

More on this as it becomes available. In the meanwhile… God Save the King! Hail King Richard III.

Carry on.

And now for a public service announcement

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has had this tune running through his mind (and off his lips) for a few days now… For your earworm pleasure:

In case you were wondering about the end of the video. That is a public service from the Melbourne (Australia) Metro system.

If only WAMTA here in DC could be so ingenious.

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.

Loyalty binds me.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, a few days ago, noted that archaeologists believe that they had found the Greyfriars Monastery in the city of Leicester. The monastery church was the burial location of King Richard III after his death at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Now, the same archaeology team believes that they may have found the mortal remains of Richard himself.

Archaeologists believe they have found the skeleton of King Richard III from the Telegraph (UK).

Your Maximum Leader is practically beside himself with excitement.

Here are some interesting passages from the piece:

Five key aspects underlined their belief that appears to have ended a decade-long search for his remains.
The skeleton was an adult male, who appeared fit and strong. He had suffered significant trauma to the head where a blade had cut away part of the back of his skull; an injury consistent with battle.
A barbed arrow head was found lodged between vertebrae in his upper back, and spinal abnormalities pointed to the fact that he had severe scoliosis, a form of spinal curvature. This would have made his right shoulder appear visibly higher than his left, which is consistent with contemporary accounts of Richard’s appearance.

Could this be King Richard? DNA tests are being conducted on the remains. Your Maximum Leader would be curious to know exactly the source of the DNA they will be using to do the comparison. There aren’t a lot of Plantagenets hanging about nowadays. (Your Maximum Leader suspects there is some English noble that can claim descent from some Plantagenets - the Dukes of Norfolk perhaps?)

This is a very exciting find. Your Maximum Leader hopes that the remains are those of Richard and that he will be re-interred with all of the honors due a King of England in Leicester Cathedral. (Although to be buried in a fine tomb near Henry VII in Westminster might be fitting as well.)

Your Maximum Leader will follow this story as closely as possible.

Carry on.

UPDATED: According to Wikipedia, and this news piece, the DNA being used to identify the remains comes from Michael Ibsen, who’s late mother, Joy, is a matrilineal descendant of Cecily Neville - the mother of Kings Edward IV and Richard III. If you click on the link you can see Mr. Ibsen being swabbed for a DNA sample at the dig site in Leicester.

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.

Another like you

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader isn’t as hip and with it as you might think. (A shocker! He knows…) Well, thanks to a free SXSW playlist he downloaded from iTunes (see - he’s trying to be hip) he has not been exposed to the work of Hayes Carll.

For your listening pleasure, here is your Maximum Leader’s favorite song of the moment “Another Like You”:

And if you like’d “Another Like You” here is a second Hayes Carll work, “She Left Me for Jesus”:

Your Maximum Leader will have to buy some Hayes Carll music.

Carry on.

Congratulations!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wishes his friend Buckethead and his lovely wife many congratulations on the birth of their fourth perfidious offspring…

Your Maximum Leader is sorry he missed this last week, but is glad that mother and daughter are well.

Carry on.

As if we needed more proof of his awesomeness

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been happily married for nearly 15 years. Do you know what would have made him more happily married for all those years? Let him tell you… He would be more happily married if he could look back on that happy day and remember how he was married by Bruce Campbell and had Sam Rami serve as an altar boy.

Yeah… It seems two lucky nerds are going to get themselves hitched by none other that Bruce Friggin Campbell. That is just awesome. A deadite/zombie/Evil Dead themed wedding. Totally cool.

Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure that his lovely wife would be as enthusiastic over this theme as he would. Frankly, your Maximum Leader isn’t sure that his saintly (now departed) Grandmother would have approved of any wedding other than the one he had at St. Michael’s Catholic Church.

Your Maximum Leader would have liked a Bruce Campbell wedding… Instead of the whole “You may kiss the bride” bit your Maximum Leader could have grabbed his lovely wife and said “Gimme some sugar baby.” It would have been great.

Perhaps when your Maximum Leader is old and affected with dementia he’ll remember that he had a Bruce Campbell themed wedding…

Many thanks to the good folks over at Pajiba who directed your Maximum Leader to this news.

Carry on.

Holy Hot Wheels Batman! (We wants)

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is doing his best to stay dry today. The rains are not staying mainly on the plain, but are in fact falling everywhere.

So… Did you see? Warner Picutres and DC Comics have apparently licenced a company to make (and sell) Adam West/Burt Ward era Batmobiles. Oh… If your Maximum Leader had $150,000 lying about with no better application he’d run out to Fiberglass Freaks and get himself one. That would be one cool ride to have. Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure it would be a chick magnet. In fact, if it would attract anything it would be middle-aged men, small boys, and geeks of all ages. Owning a Batmobile would likely always get you invited to drive in local parades… That’s not too shabby…

Anyhoo… We wants…

Carry on.

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