Rabbit and doing some good

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader forgot to publish this post yesterday. So here is the post he’d written for yesterday:

Your Maximum Leader cries out at each and every one of you! He cries out “Rabbit!” (Since it is the first of the month.)

Now that we have this out of the way…

Your Maximum Leader is involved some in the activities of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation here in the Fredericksburg, Virginia area. The Cal Ripken Foundation is building a ball field in our area to give poor and “at-risk” kids a nice safe place to play baseball. It is a very worthwhile cause. If you would like to do something to help this cause you might go to the Pepsi Refresh site and vote for the Foundation to get a grant from Pepsi. Here is the information:

Go and vote. It don’t cost nuthin’ and it could help out kids in your Maximum Leader’s fair city.

Carry on.

SE Cupp and bacon

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has seen S.E. Cupp on Fox a few times. He tries to read her pieces over at the Daily Caller. He also gets her tweets. She is an interesting commentator and he’s enjoyed what he’s read.

Of course now she is doing her best to catapult herself into the stratosphere of sexy political commentators. How you may ask?

Please read: S.E. Cupp’s “Can bacon save the world?”

Keep the bacon coming S.E..

Also worthy of note about S.E. Cupp… She is a hunter, publish author, and rational atheist who doesn’t hate religion.

Carry on.

Braaaaaains!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader’s ongoing fascination with the zombie apocalypse continues. This time with this cool graphic from College Life.

zombie pandemic, zombie outbreak
Source: Online Classes

So for us East Coasters it looks like a long ride through zombie infested land to the west. Or duke it out with the undead in the Appalachians.

Your Maximum Leader is bringing his firepower to the Smallholder’s farm in case of a zombie apocalypse… Don’t ya’ll get any ideas about tagging along neither…

Carry on.

Some Nirvana in Kentucky

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is returned from a quick trip to Kentucky. The purpose, as he mentioned in a previous bleg, was to road trip with a good friend to visit Bourbon distilleries. Specifically the Maker’s Mark distillery.

By the way, my loyal minions… What the hell is up with you people? Have none of the 3,000 unique visitors per month to this site ever been to Lexington, Kentucky? None of you? He blegs for a restaurant suggestion… And nothing… On the one hand he is glad that no one made up a recommendation. On the other hand he now wonders if any of you get out…

(NB to you all… Your Maximum Leader read his site statistics for the first time in months in order to ascertain how many of you might be out there…)

Your Maximum Leader will not bore you with all the sundry details of the whole trip. He’ll say that he visited three distilleries. Four Roses, Wild Turkey, and Maker’s Mark. Of those three, if you were going to visit one… He’d tell you without hesitation or reservation that the only one worth your time was the Maker’s Mark distillery.

As longtime readers of this spot know, your Maximum Leader is a Scotch whisky type of fellow. He comes from a long line of Scotch whisky drinkers. But over the past few years a combination of patriotism, changing taste, and the economy have started a love affair with Bourbon whisky. (Great Bourbon is a hell of a lot cheaper than great Scotch by the by. And times are tough you know…)

Your Maximum Leader’s favorite Bourbon is Maker’s Mark. He does like the Wild Turkey “Rare Breed” and Wild Turkey “101″ as well; but Maker’s is his favorite. He suspects this is due to the lack of rye in making Maker’s Mark. This is not to say that he doesn’t like Rye whisky. In fact he does. But if he is going to go down that taste path, he’d just as soon have Scotch.

In case you need photographic evidence of the trip…

Here is your Maximum Leader posing with the Maker’s Mark sign:
Maximum Leader at Makers Mark sign

As many readers surely know, Maker’s Mark is famous for the wax seals on their bottles. The distinctive red wax is applied by hand to every bottle. If you happen to visit the distillery and want to pony-up the cash, you too can dip a bottle of Maker’s in the red wax yourself. Needless to say, if you are making the trip you really have to do the dipping too. So here are just two shots (from the sequence of shots taken) showing your Maximum Leader dipping his bottle of Maker’s.

Maximum Leader preparing to dip bottle

Maximum Leader twirling his bottle

The Maker’s Mark distillery is really worth the trip if you are in the area. (Of course, your Maximum Leader made the 470 mile - each way - trip for no other reason but to go.) The grounds are fabulously kept. The facilities are great and the people are terrific. Everyone we encountered was so wonderful. Your Maximum Leader was particularly pleased with Betty and Susan (who gave him his tour and who greeted us upon our arrival, respectively). In addition, the man who was mixing the mash in the fermentation barrel was very happy to answer some questions while he worked. Even the fellow doing the weed-whacking near the parking lot was a cordial guy.

Your Maximum Leader was not as pleased with Four Roses or Wild Turkey. To be honest he’d never heard of Four Roses. Apparently much of the Bourbon produced by Four Roses is for export only. The Four Roses distillery was okay. In many ways it was about half-way between the Maker’s distillery and the Wild Turkey distillery experience. Maker’s Mark was almost a high-end theme park dedicated to Bourbon. Wild Turkey’s distillery was more like walking through a factory. Four Roses was somewhere in the middle.

To be fair to Wild Turkey, they need to be more factory-like. They are producing in a month as much product as does Maker’s Mark in a year. Where the Maker’s facility was characterized by manicured green lawns, nice sidewalks, beautiful shade trees, and well-tended buildings; the Wild Turkey facility was characterized by paved streets, rail road sidings and the constant hum of machinery.

Oh yeah… Did your Maximum Leader mention that Wild Turkey’s visitor center doesn’t have a serve permit? So while your Maximum Leader was getting small samples at Maker’s and Four Roses, they can’t let you try the goods at Wild Turkey. That was a little sad.

Anyhoo…

Your Maximum Leader might, at some point in the future, return to Bourbon country USA. He was rather charmed by Lexington and the surrounding horse country. He can see himself going (with Mrs Villain) to Lexington and taking in some horse racing, fine dining, and another visit to Maker’s Mark…

Carry on.

Mixed metaphors

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader will pass along this link with almost no comment:

Batman, fighting a shark, with a lightsaber.

What can one say? It is the Dark Knight, taking on Jaws, with Darth Vader’s lightsaber…

Your Maximum Leader would have actually picked a different colored lightsaber for Batman, but hey, it works fine as it is.

Carry on.

Viking ships and art and stuff.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader would apologize for going so long without posting. But then he thought that this is his own damned blog and he don’t owe you nuthin’…

So there…

Sorta…

Anyhoo…

Your Maximum Leader had an action packed weekend from Friday through Sunday. On Friday - Saturday your Maximum Leader went out with some friends so celebrate a “bachelor party” of a very good friend who is getting married at the end of the month. The party consisted of going out for a wonderful dinner at Chima in Tyson’s Corner. (Your Maximum Leader nearly ate enough meat to get the “meat sweats.” Then we retired to a private suite at the Ritz where we consumed fine liquors and played poker through the wee hours of the morning. Lest you think there was anything more going on allow your Maximum Leader to go on the record and say that there is a distinct difference between a bachelor party where the attendees (and honoree) are in their 20s and a bachelor party where the attendees (and honoree) are in their 40s. We had the more civilized type… The 40-something one…

Then on Saturday your Maximum Leader spent some quality time with the Wee Villain and the Wee Villain’s friend, Thomas, who came by the Villainschloss to play.

On Sunday your Maximum Leader and his family went to Falls Church, VA to stand as Godparents to your Maximum Leader’s lovely little niece. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t mean to sound like he is complaining… But… The Mass at your Maximum Leader’s sister’s church was a bit long. This is not to say that your Maximum Leader objects to the long-form of the Mass; he does not. What he does have a little problem with however is a long rambling homilies that don’t have any apparent point other than to relate some disjointed experiences in the priest’s life to various readings of the day. Sadly, your Maximum Leader didn’t get anything out of the homily, except that the priest has tried to minister to lots of stray souls who didn’t seem to get the message. After the Mass, there was a rather long delay before another service for the baptism of the three young girls. That was a little long too, but it seemed to go much faster (as he was participating). Your Maximum Leader marveled at how well behaved the Wee Villain was as he is not used to sitting quietly (in any environment not just church) for nearly 2 and a half hours.

So… That is what your Maximum Leader did over the weekend…

In other news…

Some Swedes have discovered a whole bunch of new shipwrecks in the Baltic Sea while surveying the bottom along the path of a gas pipeline. Some of the wrecks are over 1000 years old according to the piece. You know what that means… That means they are Viking ships… Could there be some type of “Mary Rose“-esque Viking ship waiting to be brought up from the bottom? Perhaps a great example of the style (like the Gokstad ship) is ready to be salvaged and displayed… That would be cool… Perhaps they will find the ship of Urferd Forkbeard.

In news of the art world… Through use of ultraviolet rays art restorers have found the details of Giotto’s work in the Peruzzi Chapel in Santa Croce in Florence. Your Maximum Leader wants to go to Florence almost as much as he does Venice. (In fact, in decending order the cities he wants to visit in Italy are: Venice, Florence, Rome, Ravenna, Pompeii, and Naples.) Our friend Mark, who blogs over at WitNit, actually was kind enough to take some photos of the tomb (& monuments) of Machiavelli in Santa Croce while he was on vacation in Florence a few years back. (NB to Mark: You still rock! Thanks for those photos again.)

Apparently the restorers in the Peruzzi Chapel have done their ultraviolet scans and are leaving the paintings as they are for future restorations. Here is the salient part of the piece:

Even though they are often referred to as frescoes, the Peruzzi scenes were actually painted “a secco,” or on dry plaster, unlike his famous frescos in the Bardi Chapel, which is also in Santa Croce, or his works in St Francis in Assisi.

He painted the Peruzzi Chapel toward the end of his life and some experts believe he was striving for a different effect than he achieved with the fresco technique, in which the painting is done while the plaster is still wet.

“It allowed him to obtain something more rich in terms of colors, of decorations,” Frosinini said. “But over time, dry painting is very fragile,” she said.

Even after the 1958 restoration removed the “non-Giotto” parts added by 19th century “restorers,” the paintings were left faint and anemic, like a patient who had never fully healed.

But they come to life under ultra-violet light.

In the scene where God is accepting John the Evangelist into heaven, the wrinkles in John’s forehead, the threads of his beard, the whites of his eyes and God’s welcoming gaze appear like fleeting but powerful visions.

Unfortunately, they will remain fleeting forever.

The lush details are only visible when they are bathed in ultra-violet light and subjecting them to such constant bombardment would be not only impractical but harmful.

Your Maximum Leader hopes that the ultraviolet images can somehow be distributed digitally so that those of us who are interested in seeing the full scope of Giotto’s work are able to do so.

Carry on.

Breachers

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, back in the 1980s, could probably rattle off for your listening pleasure the names and general specifications for just about every armored vehicle in the arsenal of the United States, USSR, UK, Germany, Canada, and Israel. His knowledge of armored vehicles now is rather dated and rusty.

Back in the day (WWII to Vietnam and later) the US Army had modified tanks with large “flails” on arms in front of the tank. Imagine if you will a tank with two large arms extending forward about 15-20 ft in front of the tank. These arms held a large cylinder. To this cylinder were attached hundreds of lengths of heavy duty chain. These cylinders would spin rapidly and the chains would tear through the ground below and detonate hidden mines to clear paths for equipment and infantry. Here is a Wiki article on said tanks.

Your Maximum Leader suspected this type of vehicle was long retired, but he always wondered what took its place in the modern battlefield. He suspected that such a vehicle could be quite handy in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Well… Now he knows what is out there. Ladies and Gentlemen and admirers of cool military shit, he presents to you the “Breacher.” According to the AP piece:

The Breachers, metal monsters that look like a tank with a cannon, carry a 15-foot (4.5-meter) -wide plow supported by metallic skis that glide on the dirt, digging a safety lane through the numerous minefields laid by the Taliban.

If there are too many mines, the Breachers can fire rockets carrying high-grade C-4 explosive up to 150 yards (meters) forward, detonating the hidden bombs at a safe distance so that troops and vehicles can pass through safely.

The detonations — over 1,700 pounds (770 kilograms) of Mine Clearing Line Charges — send a sheet fire into the air and shock waves rippling through the desert in all directions.

That is just cool. So cool in fact that your Maximum Leader decided to create a new blog category called “cool stuff” just to list this post under.

Be sure to click through and see the photo of the Breacher. (Here is an image search for the Breacher.) It is cool…

Carry on.

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