Attack of the Killer Memes

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader thinks you have some time to kill and figures he’ll suggest a few quizzes a give you a meme to review to take up some of your time…

First… The meme… Because all the cool kids are doing it.

It is the average American Meme. All the items listed are things that apply to average Americans. The ones crossed out are the ones that do not apply to your Maximum Leader. Pithy commentary in italics.

Eats peanut butter at least once a week. Your Maximum Leader had to think hard on this one, but then realized that in fact it has been about three weeks since he’s had peanut butter. (But only about 3 hours since he ate some peanuts.)

Prefers smooth peanut butter over chunky. Your Maximum Leader thinks chunky peanut butter is positively barbaric.

Can name all Three Stooges. But why would you want to. The Marx Brothers are far superior.

Lives within a 20-minute drive of a Wal-Mart.

Eats at McDonald’s at least once a year. With little kids who think that McDonalds is the finest of all eateries…

Takes a shower for approximately 10.4 minutes a day Likes to take much longer showers.

Never sings in the shower. You wouldn’t want to listen when he does.

Lives in a house, not an apartment or condominium.

Has a home valued between $100,000 and $300,000.

Has fired a gun. He even owns a few.

Is between 5 feet and 6 feet tall Six foot three actually.

Weighs 135 to 205 pounds Humm… 205 lbs… When was your Maximum Leader last 205 lbs? He thinks it was his sophomore year of college.

Is between the ages of 18 and 53.

Believes gambling is an acceptable entertainment option. Absolutely.

Grew up within 50 miles of current home Just barely out of range actually. Well, it depends on how you parse this. If you go by actual driving route, then you exceed 50 miles. If you go the way the bird flies, he might come in just under 50.

And two quizzes below the fold…


Carry on.

Loyal Minion Locator

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader agrees with the Velociman that this smells somewhat of meme-ness, but it seems fun nonetheless.

If you would like, add yourself to the Loyal Minion locator map.

Carry on.

Banned Book Meme

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader saw this over on Lemuel’s site and thought he’d play along before Lemuel decided to go and delete his site.

Here is how it works. Below are listed the top 110 banned (or otherwise contraversial) titles on the list. Entries in Bold Type are ones that your Maximum Leader has read in their entirety. Entries in Italicized Type are ones that your Maximum Leader has read in part or has read significant excerpts from. Entries in plain type are those your Maximum Leader has never read in part or in whole.

Here are the top 25 books on the list. The remaining entries (26-110) are below the fold.

#1 The Bible (Read almost all of it. But there are some books he’s not touched.)
#2 Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
#3 Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervates
#4 The Koran (He’s read the Penguin Classics English translation.)
#5 Arabian Nights
#6 Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
#7 Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
#8 Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
#9 Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
#10 Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
#11 Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
#12 Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
#13 Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
#14 Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
#15 Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
#16 Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
#17 Dracula by Bram Stoker
#18 Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin
#19 Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
#20 Essays by Michel de Montaigne
#21 Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
#22 History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
#23 Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
#24 Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
#25 Ulysses by James Joyce

Heinlein Meme

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is grossly tardy in completing this meme for JohnL of Texasbestgrok.

The meme is this. One reviews a Robert Heinlein list of accomplishments that distinguish a generalist human from a specialist insect. After reviewing the list, one identifies the things listed in the quotation that you have actually done.

Without further adieu, the Heinlein quotation:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

As John and Robbo have already done, your Maximum Leader will take the list and address each point ad seriatim. The bold items are Heinlein’s. The plain text is your Maximum Leader’s pithy commentary.

Change a diaper - Indeed. Although this item is overrated generally. Your Maximum Leader also wonders if Heinlein had cloth diapers in mind or just the modern Velcro types. In either case your Maximum Leader can answer in the affirmative. Although he will admit that the cloth diaper he changed was a wretched mess.

Plan an invasion - Certainly if computer simulation counts then your Maximum Leader does so a few times a week. Otherwise this is a toughie. He has done some of those “survivalist” games and played capture the flag and paintball. There was strategery involved. So perhaps that counts.

Butcher a hog - In the strictest sense, no. He’s not ever butchered a live hog. He has taken whole (gutted) carcasses and butchered them into smaller pieces. Perhaps if he’s lucky he’ll do this once at Smallholder’s farm.

Conn a ship - various motorboats and one sailboat.

Design a building - Design - yes. Design a structurally sound building that could get an occupancy permit - no.

Write a sonnet - English/Shakespearian style - yes. Italian style - no.

Balance accounts - Balance accounts using generally accepted accounting practices? No. Manage the Villainschloss accounting (aka: cash flow statement) - yes.

Build a wall - Yes. A brick wall with his grandfather.

Set a bone - Never done.

Comfort the dying - Yes. A few more times than he would have cared to do.

Take orders - In business, yes. Military, no. From Mrs. Villain, once in a while.

Give orders - In business, yes. Military, no. To Mrs. Villain, once in a while. To Villainettes, all the damn time.

Cooperate - Yes. Often more than he would like to.

Act alone - Yes. Sometimes not as much as he would like to.

Solve equations - Yes. Although not in a while.

Analyze a new problem - Yes. Operations management is all about analyzing and managing problems.

Pitch manure - Yes.

Program a computer - HTML only. And not very well at that.

Cook a tasty meal - Very well in fact.

Fight efficiently - not really.

Die gallantly - not yet.

There you go. Your Maximum Leader will not tag anyone for this. But if you happen to be so inclined, please track back.

Carry on.

Bill’s Memes

The convivial Bill over at Bill’s Comments hit me with two memes as the school year wound down. I confess that I have been laggard by a month and a half with my responses.

So here’s the first. The task was:

Pick five of these and complete them:

If I could be a musician…
If I could be a farmer…
If I could be a psychologist…
If I could be a lawyer…
If I could be a missionary…
If I could be a gardener…
If I could be a painter…
If I could be an architect…
If I could be a doctor…
If I could be a linguist…
If I could be a writer…
If I could be a professor…
If I could be an athlete…
If I could be a justice on any court in the world…
If I could be a world famos blogger…
If I could be married to any current world politician…
If I could be a scientist..
If I could be an actor…
If I could be a chef…
If I could be an innkeeper…
If I could be an agent…

If I could be a musician, I’d be an acoustic folk singer who sang songs with a narrative, much like Slaid Cleaves. I’d include some biting social and political satire a la Tom Lehrer. I’d also put out children’s albums and make silly videos for Sesame Street and PBS.

If I could be an architect (a career I considered for some time), I’d build open, airy homes that sacrificed the empty space of today‚Äö?Ñ?¥s McMansions for smaller, more intimate living spaces built with high quality materials and a thoughtfulness. Perhaps I would write books in the same vein as Sarah Susanka.

If I could be a writer, I’d write science fiction. I’d take simple technological innovations and explore how they would change the social fabric. It wouldn’t be pedantic and dry; the social ramifications would be the backdrop for character-driven developments. Hopefully I could inspire my fellow novelists to think of their characters as more than sitcom actors with cool gadgets. Too many books simply don’t stop and think about the social implications of technology.

If I could be an actor, I’d star in B-movies like Bruce Campbell. I’d work on book projects that were true to the author’s vision: No atrocities like “The Postman” or “Starship Troopers” would be on my resume. Once my quirky charactertizations proved themselves in the marketplace, I’d use my clout to give the Minister of Propaganda the top director’s chair. My furious intensity and stunning good looks would leave me in the deliciously awkward position of turning down advances from Jaime Pressly, Jessica Alba, and Evageline Lilly. I’m married, after all. The best part of my fame would be posing for those library “Read!” posters.

If I could be an innkeeper, I’d run an agrotourism establishment. Visitors to the bed and breakfast would stay on the farm, relaxing on the front porch, savoring farm-grown delicacies, and even, should they be so inclined, having a chance to milk the family cow. The inn would be pet friendly, and for folks who don’t travel with their companions, we would have the option of having a pet go with the room ‚Äö?Ñ?¨ either a goldfish or a hound. I actually might do this one day.

Bill’s Book Meme

As a confirmed, bibliophile, this one is hard to tackle.

Total Number Of Books Owned Ever: Other than childhood books, I am still in possession of the vast majority of books I have owned. I have owned many. I love used bookstores, chain bookstores, yard sales, library clearances, and My family and friends have learned that a book is a safe gift for their beloved Smallholder. To quote Tom Lehrer: “More, more! I’m still not satisfied!”

I live in a six room house that contains ten free-standing bookcases. The master bedroom also has a built-in bookcase, as does the kitchen cabinetry. The dining room has two continuous walls of floor to ceiling built-in bookcases. When we moved to this house, a large portion of my collection would not fit, so over half of my books are now stored in the attic over the garage. So, without counting: a ballpark 3500. Mrs. Smallholder’s answer, again without counting: “Too many!”

My collection is heavy on American and European history, gardening, animal husbandry, biography, and science fiction, but there are bookshelves devoted to more esoteric topics. There is a shelf for educational psychology, a shelf for winemaking, a shelf for parenting advice, and one for military leadership. On the history side, I have a shelf dedicated to Theodore Roosevelt’s work (complete with bust purchased with the Maximum Leader at Sagamore Hill), two shelves of Churchill, an entire family heirloom bookshelf for World War II histories (heirloom not because of quality but because it was the first thing my father bought for his mother on his return from Korea. She kept it in her living room and stocked it with books and games for the grandchildren. We have continued the tradition of family bookcases for our children. One of the bookcases in their room was made by my maternal grandfather and one was made by my father-in-law). I shudder to admit it, but Mrs. Smallholder has coopted one of the shelves for Princess Diana biographies.

Last Book Bought: “Collapse” by Jared Diamond

Last Book I Read: I read books concurrently. The most recently finished in the rotation were:

Mark Steyn‚Äö?Ñ?¥s “From Head to Toe,” a volume of conservative political and social commentary,

Jared Diamond’s “Collapse,” which is hardly in need of description except to say that much of the conservative criticism is off the mark. In particular, Victor David Hanson’s condemnation of Diamond’s supposed opposition to private property revealed that Victor David Hanson did not even have the intellectual honesty to read the book he was reviewing. Diamond is actually in favor of long term private land ownership because it leads to good stewardship (he singles out an oil-company managing their fields for long term exploitation as a positive example). It is short-term rapine ownership or tenancy that he faults. Why would a tenant worry about erosion if he knows that the land won‚Äö?Ñ?¥t pass to his son? A very interesting book and a must read (take note, conservatives: in it’s entirety) for anyone who claims to have an interest in public policy.

Terry Pratchett‚Äö?Ñ?¥s “Going Postal,” a fluffy-read-a-chapter-before-bed book.

Dierman and Smith‚Äö?Ñ?¥s “War Without Hate,” a book about WW II’s North African campaign that does a wonderful job presenting the memories of veterans but is rather short on the big picture.

I‚Äö?Ñ?¥m currently reading McCulloch‚Äö?Ñ?¥s “1776″ and Hochschild‚Äö?Ñ?¥s “King Leopold’s Ghost.”

NOTE: I worked on this at the end of July but did not have a reliable connection to post. The book information is out of date, but does provide a snapshot of my summer reading. I’ve visited a couple used book stores since then, plus a library book sale and have added a couple of dozen books to the library. Including, the Minister of Propaganda will be glad to know, the crowd pleasing tome entitled “Physiology of Reproduction and Artificial Insemination in Cattle.”

Five Books That Mean A Lot To Me:

Wow, it’s hard to narrow down the list to five volumes. I’ll put a few down.

Jim Paul’s “Catapult: Harry and I Build a Siege Engine” ‚Äö?Ñ?¨ loaned to me by a friend, I was reading it while waiting for my boy Jack to be born. It was the first book read to my son. It is an odd little book, but a fun read for those whose eclectic interests include military history, the politics of the current funding of art, and carpentry.

Gene Logsdon’s “The Contrary Farmer” ‚Äö?Ñ?¨ Practical advice and farming philosophy. Logsdon is an inspiration to the new organic farming movement. I have ten of his books.

Joel Salatin‚Äö?Ñ?¥s “Salad Bar Beef” ‚Äö?Ñ?¨ Farming as it is meant to be: family oriented, ecologically sound, with an eye to the consumer rather than the industrial marketplace.

Norton Juster’s “Phantom Tollbooth” ‚Äö?Ñ?¨ A Children’s book where ideas and intellectualism matter.

C.S. Lewis and Lloyd Alexander‚Äö?Ñ?¥s fantasy series ‚Äö?Ñ?¨ which solidified the love of reading my mother encouraged since birth. I remember racing to the library of Springfield Elementary to check out the next Prydain book before the Minister of Propaganda could get his grimy hands on it.

Carl Schurz’s three volume autobiography ‚Äö?Ñ?¨ Visiting my wife in Evanston, Illinois, she was interested in this incredible used bookstore find. I knew that a woman who would listen to my excited monologue about the German-American abolitionist, Republican leader, and T.R. Progressive over drinks was a keeper!

Those are a few that just leapt to mind. There are others which influenced my general life outlook, political philosophy, and teaching, but I have already exceeded the limit.

Musical Tastes Meme

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been tagged by Eric with a meme request. You know something? Your Maximum Leader thinks this is the first time he’s been tagged with a meme in months at least… Certainly it is the first one he has categorized as under the subject category “Memes” since moving to the new blog style…

Anyho… On with it!

1. Person who most influenced your musical tastes:

Your Maximum Leader would have to say his sainted mother. Mum is a classical music lover herself. His early childhood memories are filled with a soundtrack sung by Sherrill Milnes, Placido Domingo, Beverly Sills, Maria Callas, and Kiri Te Kanawa. Your Maximum Leader’s love of classical music definately comes from her. As does his love of other music. Mum used to play the guitar. She would play various folk songs and some “classic country.” It was not until much later in life (perhaps aged 10-12 or so) when he started to listen to more contemporary music. A few longtime friends stand out in his memory as being the ones who exposed your Maximum Leader to different types of music that he loves. Tom M exposed him to “alternative” music. Dave C exposed him to lots of classic rock and heavy metal. (Although your Maximum Leader isn’t really a big metal fan some bands are actually quite worthwhile.)

2. Top 5 songs to drive to:

This is sorta tough. Your Maximum Leader is sort of moody when it comes to car music. Right now he has a mix CD in the Villainmobile and the following songs are among his all-time favourite driving songs. (In no particular order.)

Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash. Preferably the live version recorded in Folsom Prison or San Quentin.

Driver 8 by REM. This is actually your Maximum Leader’s favourite REM song.

Key to the Highway by Eric Clapton and BB ing. Your Maximum Leader probably has 4 versions of this song in his album collection. This one is best for driving. It is off the “Riding with the King” album. It is a clear blues-y recording that has a groove.

Once In a Lifetime by the Talking Heads. Your Maximum Leader has been caught driving through town from time to time singing loudly “Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was. Same as it EVER WAS.”

Promised Land by Elvis. Okay. This was originally a Chuck Berry song. But The King owns it in his recording. Your Maximum Leader has 3 or 4 Elvis versions. He recommends the one off of “Platinum, a Life in Music”

3. # of CD’s you own:

Oy. This one caused your Maximum Leader to go and count. Answer: 148. This makes him want to go out and buy two more. If you would like to get completely pedantic about this, your Maximum Leader counted a multi-disk set (like a Wagner Opera or Elvis Boxed set) as 1 CD. He counted titles not actual disks.

4. Song/CD you were listening to when you lost your virginity:

Why is there a general assumption that there was music going? In fact, in your Maximum Leader’s case there was no music playing. Not like he would have heard it over his pounding heart.

5. Song(s) played at your wedding:

Humm… Let’s see. “Ave Maria,” “Hail Mary Queen Enthroned Above,” a latin “Kyrie,” and “To Jesus Christ, Our Sovreign King.” Like Eric, your Maximum Leader assumes the question means at the Church service.

6. Favorite sad song:

Oy. Toughie. Very tough indeed. “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” Pretty much anyone’s recording of it. This might be a little cliched. But that is one hell of a sad song.

7. Song you’d like played at your funeral:

Well… Your Maximum Leader has always espoused his love of the pre-Vatican II Latin Funeral mass. He’d really like to have one where the priest stood with his back to the congregation the whole time and never mentioned your Maximum Leader’s name until the end when he asks the Lord to accept the soul of our departed “name here” into his care.

But in terms of music… If he could have Richard Wagner’s “Liebestod” from “Tristan und Isolde” playing that would be great.

And that is it…

Now, your Maximum Leader isn’t a big tagger of others when it comes to memes and things. That said he’d be interested to read the answers of any of this Minsters…

Carry on.

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