Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, RIP

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader reads on the wire services that Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, has died at Windsor Castle. Aged 99. Your Maximum Leader doffs his cap and bows his head in honor of the man. Your Maximum Leader has always liked Prince Phillip. He was both of our age, but with more than a touch of Victorian/Edwardian sensibility to him. He was not politically correct, as many commentators are harping on today. That said, he was not malicious or mean with his un-PC comments. They were off-the-cuff and meant to inject humor. He was such an avid sport and outdoorsman. One of the type that your Maximum Leader wishes he had the time and resources to be. (At least hunting, fishing, hiking, and horseback riding. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t think he’d much like polo.) The Prince was a pilot and served in World War II. He was a devoted husband for over 70 years. Your Maximum Leader can hardly get his mind around that. Your Maximum Leader feels that he was the best father he could be in the circumstances in which he helped raise a family. The life of a British Royal (or most royals in general nowadays) is an exquisite prison from which there is no escape. It doesn’t lend itself to being a “regular” person.

Your Maximum Leader will toast the memory of Prince Phillip tonight, and wish him godspeed on his eternal journey.

Carry on.

Gus am bris an là, James

Greetings, friends.

If you are the praying sort, please offer up a prayer for the soul of my friend, James A. His story is a great one and worthy of praise. James, Jim as I knew him, was born after World War II in a small down in rural Alabama. His family was poor. They farmed a small plot, raised hogs and chickens, and did odd jobs. Looking for more opportunity than was afforded poor black boys in Jim Crow Alabama, Jim joined the Marines. He served honorably in Vietnam. In 1969 he met a girl in Boston. She was a single mom. She was also white. He married that girl and later adopted her son as his own. He and his wife had two lovely daughters together. After 20 years he retired from the Marines and worked a number of jobs, sometimes 2 at a time. He joined the VFW and advocated for Veteran’s rights. He became a member of the national board of the VFW for a time, but was better known for going through the halls of Bethesda Naval Hospital (now Walter Reed Medical Center) with all the zeal of a Marine Gunnery Sergeant (which he was) making sure the servicemen and women being treated there were being treated right and getting all the benefits they had earned by their service.

He was a good father to his three children. He taught them the values of fidelity, honor, faith, industry, and love. He was a devoted husband to his wife for more than 50 years. He was a patriot and proud American. He was a faithful and devoted member of his church. He was insatiably curious and always read to expand his knowledge. His baritone voice rang out in laughter and joy often. He was a great cook. He loved music. He was a fantastic dancer. And at almost every family gathering for the past 18 years he would ask us to all pause and look around. He would then tell us as we were looking around to, “See what love has created for us all.”

I am proud to have been a part of Jim’s extended family. I was unworthy, but highly honored, to help bear him in and out of church today and celebrate Mass for his soul. My life has been so easy compared to his. I have been enriched by knowing him.

Jim, I offer you words in the language of my ancestors, Gus am bris an là, agus an teich na sgàilean. Which means, “Until the day breaks, and the shadows flee away.”


Greetings, loyal minions.

Your Maximum Leader looked at the date and realized that his late mother would have celebrated her birthday this week had cancer not taken her last year.

Gus am bris an latha agus an teich na sgailean.

Carry on.

Rutger Hauer - RIP

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader reads that actor Rutger Hauer has shuffled off his mortal coil, aged 75. Your Maximum Leader first became aware of Rutger Hauer when he played his iconic role of Roy Batty in “Blade Runner.” He remembers watching that film in the small cinema at Beacon Mall on Route 1 in Alexandria (Fairfax County actually), VA in 1982. He loved the film when he saw it, and loves the film to this day. It is on your Maximum Leader’s personal Top Ten Films of All Time list. Your Maximum Leader loves the original cinematic release (with all of its cuts and with that voice over). He loves the “Director’s Cut” even more. (Some scenes were added in, the voice over narration was removed, and the “happy ending” was removed.) And he loves the “Final Cut” most of all. (With the “infamous” unicorn dream sequence.) Oddly, or not so oddly, your Maximum Leader didn’t care for “Blade Runner, 2049.” Cinematically, “2049″ was gorgeous. Then again, your Maximum Leader expects visual magnificence from Ridley Scott. In the end, your Maximum Leader felt that the “2049″ story didn’t need telling. The sequel is, in his mind, pointless. So, there is that.

One of the things (one of the many things) that made Blade Runner work was the stellar performance of Rutger Hauer. His brilliance in this role shows in this, Roy Batty’s final scene:

Your Maximum Leader has seen many other Hauer films, and films in which Hauer appeared. He was always as good as the role allowed him to be. He was, your Maximum Leader would say, a solid character actor that could be a leading man in the right role.

Rutger Hauer died last week (apparently) after a very brief illness. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, and children, and grandchildren. Gus am bris en la, Mr. Hauer.

Carry on.

George H.W. Bush, RIP

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that former President George H.W. Bush has died at his home in Houston. Your Maximum Leader suspected that President Bush, the Elder, would not long survive after the death of his beloved wife, Barbara. Your Maximum Leader can hardly imagine the grief consuming the close-knit Bush family for having lost their Matriarch and Patriarch in the same year. He sends his deepest condolences out to the Bush family.

Of course, this is a blog and don’t bloggers find a way to make everything all about themselves? So how can your Maximum Leader make this about him. Well… Read on…

Your Maximum Leader is of an age that came to be politically aware during the Reagan years. Your Maximum Leader was a Reagan-loving, National Review reading, conservative in the 1980s. All these things are still true today, but what that appellation means now is, he thinks, up for some debate in the current political climate. Back in the 80’s your Maximum Leader viewed Bush the Elder as a good, decent, distinguished, and eminently qualified man to be Vice-President to Ronald Reagan. He was a bridge to the broad swath of the Republican party (and some Democrats) that weren’t conservative Republicans. In 1988, your Maximum Leader thought it was G.H.W. Bush’s “turn” and he supported Bush for President in 1988. But your Maximum Leader was a bit of a snot back then and when it came time for Bush to run for re-election, your Maximum Leader briefly supported Patrick Buchanan as a primary opponent to President Bush. Your Maximum Leader wanted someone more “conservative.” It wasn’t that Bush wasn’t a great chief executive, he was. But your Maximum Leader wanted more Reagan. Of course, when the President soundly trounced Buchanan in the primaries, your Maximum Leader happily supported the President in his unsuccessful re-election bid.

Well, time has caused your Maximum Leader to think more and more favourably of George H.W. Bush. Not just think of him more favourably as a person (that wasn’t possible, George H.W. Bush is likely one of the best people to ever serve our Nation as President). He’s come to regard Bush as a better President as time moves on. President Bush (41) was the right man for the time he was elected. His practical nature. His good humour. His experience. His vision. And his natural restraint all were better suited to the job of President than your Maximum Leader thought at the time. Your Maximum Leader thinks that it is quite possible that Bush 41 will continue to grow in his esteem as time progresses. Indeed, your Maximum Leader wishes we had more men of George Herbert Walker Bush’s character and temperament willing to run and serve as President. Our nation is better off in every way for electing leaders like George Bush. He hopes we are soon gifted with another man or woman similar to serve in our highest office.

On a more personal note, your Maximum Leader has shaken the hand of four of our Nation’s Presidents in his life. He exchanged pleasantries with three of them. Your Maximum Leader shook Gerald Ford’s hand in a rope line once. He shook the hand of and spoke (with a group of others) with Richard Nixon. Of course, he has already recounted his meeting with Ronald Reagan. (More thoughts on Reagan’s funeral here.) Your Maximum Leader happened to be in a few places in 1988 and 1989 where he was able to shake hands and talk (briefly) with Vice-President then President Bush 41. There were a few campaign events in Virginia and DC where your Maximum Leader knew some people that could get him close to the Vice-President. Hands were shook. Words exchanged. Then there were a few rope lines and a receiving line in 1989. In every encounter Bush the Elder seemed to be kind, engaged, and considerate.

A surprising side note to these encounters came every Christmas from 1989 to 1992, when your Maximum Leader received an official White House Christmas Card from the Bushes.

So there you go, your Maximum Leader made it all about him…

George Herbert Walker Bush - Husband, Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather, War Hero, and President.

Gus am bris an latha agus an teich na sgailean.

Carry on.

More Death

Greetings, loyal minions. Once again, your Maximum Leader is going to have to dump the 3rd person schtick for this post.

My last post was predominantly about death. The death of my friend Jennifer. Learning of Jennifer’s death filled me with melancholy. Her death was made more emotional for me given what I was going through at that moment. I mentioned at the end of that last post, back in June, that some family issues were going badly and that if you could spare a prayer for my mom and dad to do so. Well here’s that story.

To begin at the beginning, about 30 years ago my mother was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma cancer on her left hand. She had a series of surgeries to remove the cancer, and then many of the lymph nodes on her left side. The result of the surgeries was that they got the cancer, but mom suffered from many other problems as a result. These problems led to pain, infections, and a host of other circulatory issues.

Fast forward to 2016… Mom and I were on the phone just before Thanksgiving. She mentioned, offhandedly, that she felt a small lump in her left hand. She described it as smaller than a pea, but hard. I suggested that she see her doctor right away as that lump was bound to be bad. Mom agreed that it probably wasn’t good, and said she’d see a doctor. Without going into details, because they aren’t all that exciting and pertinent to this narrative, she didn’t see her doctor. She didn’t see her doctor about the lump for nearly a year. When she did see her doctor about the lumps, the doctor immediately recommended surgery and chemotherapy. Mom dragged her feet and didn’t get surgery until late March 2018. This is, as you can no doubt calculate on your own, over a year after she discovered the lump. When she finally had the surgery, two lumps were removed. One was slightly larger than a golf ball. The second a bit smaller than a ping-pong ball. Both tumors were malignant. Both had extensive blood supplies. Both were very brittle. After surgery, mom declined chemotherapy. Her stated reason was that it would negatively affect her quality of life. I told her that her quality of life hadn’t been great with all the suffering she’d had as a result of her delay in treatment. She didn’t have much to say about my comments.

As an aside here, if it seems like my role in this narrative is mostly observational, you’d be reasonably close on that. Over the past 30 years I’ve learned that my mom wouldn’t take advice on medical matters from anyone. It got to the point where I learned that it was better for both of us for me to not offer opinions more than once. She learned that if she wanted a sympathetic ear to listen to her complain about her health, when she’d chosen not to do anything about it, I was not the one to call. If she brought up a health issue our conversations would fall into a pattern. The pattern was: mom would bring up health issue, I would listen, I would ask if she wanted my opinion on the matter, if she did I’d give her my opinion, if she didn’t we’d move on. Then after an opinion or no opinion was given that would be the end of it. If either of us brought it up again the response from the other was “We’ve talked about this already. Has anything changed?” If nothing changed, there was nothing to talk about and we moved on.

After the surgery, mom got an infection in her hand. It was treated, and I thought it was under control. Little did I know.

A few days after Mother’s Day, I got a panicked call from my sister. Mom was in the hospital. She was unconscious, and no one was sure what was going on. To shorten this part of the story, it turned out mom’s infection was not under control and was widespread and caused swelling around her brain. She was in a medically induced coma for about 5 days while they treated her infection. Once it was under control they brought her out of the coma and started additional treatments to get her vitals back to the normal range.

After about 10 days in the hospital she was moved to a rehab facility to help her regain her mobility. This is where she was in early June when I last wrote. While she was at the rehab facility she had a visit from her regular doctor. We were told then that after studying the various imagery that was done during her hospital stay, her doctor had noticed that her lungs were filled with small spots of cancer. No doubt this cancer was started by bits that had broken off during the surgery on her hand in March and had now settled in and metastasized into lung cancer. After some discussion with her doctor, mom decided that she would begin a regimen of immuno-therapy drugs (which she described as not being chemo to me) to try and treat the cancer in her lungs.

But that day I knew that the end was coming soon. I knew in my heart and mind that the time for treatment was long past and that this was the confirmation of a death sentence that had been written out months before.

Mom stayed in the rehab facility until mid-June. She went home for a single night. The day after going home, she went into a hospice. She was conscious and alert for a time in hospice, but soon the opiates came into play and she faded into that drug-induced sleep that would lead to her death on July 4th*.

I suspect that I am writing this to do some mourning and some soul-cleansing. I am beginning to develop more of a detachment to the course of the end of my mom’s life that makes it possible to type this. As I think back over what happened over the course of these months I’ve come to conclude that when the cancer came back, in 2016, mom had just had enough and didn’t want to continue. There isn’t really another explanation. She knew, and frankly we all knew, that by not getting treatment at the onset of this that it would only end one way. Death. And it was only a question of how long it would take to reach the end. In mom’s case I would say that the real physical suffering was from January to her death. The cancer had grown so much and was so painful before the surgery that it was a burden. Then the infection, hospitalization, and then hospice. None of that was good. But it was inevitable based on her choices.

I am not bitter about her choices. Truly I am not. People have free will to exercise as they want. We can disagree with them. We can think they are making bad choices. But the choices are theirs to make. The only judgement that counts in this is Divine judgement.

(NB: Intellectually, I should ask my priest about this. Perhaps some of my more theologically trained readers – if I have readers still – could educate me on this point. Does refusal of treatment that had a reasonable chance of success constitute suicide of a type? I wonder.)

I am not divine in any sense, Christian, Buddhist, Pagan… So, my judgement, such as it is, doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. But I feel sad that, in my judgement, my mom decided that she didn’t have any reason to continue in life. Intellectually, I can see how she came to her conclusion. But it still saddens me. At some level one can’t help but personalize thoughts like this. If I had been less detached from her (as I described above) would she have made the same decisions? I’m really of two minds about it. If I had done more to engage her and try to convince her of a different path, perhaps she would have made different choices. But on the other hand, years of experience brought my mom and I to the point where we had a “system” for dealing with health concerns that satisfied both of us.

Who knows?

I have prayed for my mom and will continue to do so. Although she left the Catholic church decades ago (and Christianity and “organized religion” for that matter), I am having a Mass offered up for her at my church. (Sunday, December 2, 2018, 7 am, St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Fredericksburg, VA if you are inclined.) To do so is definitely a comfort for me, and I hope a comfort for her soul as well.

By way of a postscript to this tale of dying, my father is living with me now (not quite full-time) at the Villainschloss. This is a problem mainly because he has mental illness issues that make life with him difficult. (And to be honest, I can’t help but think my father’s condition may have informed my mother’s choices…) Also, my mother, in a fit of pique years ago, set up her estate in a way that satisfied her wishes at the time, but have now placed significant burdens on my father and sister. So, there is that too…

And that, loyal minions, is how my summer has gone… Pretty crappy by the by.

I hope your summer has been better than mine. And I hope you have a good Labor Day weekend.

Carry on.

* – For what it is worth, the Fourth of July is, even in light of my loss, the greatest of all holidays in the US calendar. If I must enumerate the reasons behind my thinking again they are: 1) Good Weather, 2) Secular, 3) No gift giving, 4) Outdoor grilling, 5) Fireworks, 6) Girls in swimsuits.

Not Enough Time

Greetings, loyal minions. No third person schtick for me in this post…

This weekend was a difficult one and has left me feeling melancholy.

Saturday started out fine enough. I was doing “normal” stuff. I got a haircut. I did the grocery shopping. I paid some bills.

Then I needed to find some old paperwork. I went into the closet in my study and was looking through a box in which I keep some old paperwork. Next to the paperwork box happened to be a box of “college memories.” Photos, trinkets, old papers from my college years. Protruding out of the box were two photo collages made for me by friends. I took them out and looked at them. One was made by my old friend Beth. Beth now is married, a mom, and a teacher in Oregon. One of the photos was of Beth and Jennifer. The photo was taken in 1992. Beth was finishing her Masters degree and Jennifer was 17.

Jennifer was 17 and had been accepted to college and would be starting her Freshman year that fall. Perhaps the photo was just after the school year had begun, so Jennifer would have just turned 18 in June. Jennifer was bright. Very, very bright. She had finished high school early and was starting college. She was witty. She was fun. She was off-beat and charming. She was a wonderful addition to our little circle of friends. I was working at the time in the Admissions office. So I knew a little about her background. I also knew that some strings were pulled to admit her due to her age. I didn’t pull the strings, but I knew who did (and would have had it been up to me).

I left my Alma Mater (and my post graduation job in the Admission Office there) and moved on to other things. I would check in with friends and with Jennifer from time to time over the next four years. One time she told me a fantastic (and somewhat horrifying) story of a summer she spent in Madagascar. She was working in a village and was struck with some sickness that incapacitated her. She was in a fever state unaware of what was going on around her. When her fever broke she was in a small grass hut, with an old lady. The old lady explained to her that the rest of the villagers had fled guerrillas that were terrorizing the area. Since Jennifer couldn’t be moved, the old lady volunteered to stay with her. The old lady said that if the guerrillas came she would have tried to fight them off if they’d wanted to take Jennifer as a slave. The old lady said that the guerrillas did come to the abandoned village and saw the two of them. But decided to leave them both alone and move on. I wish I could do the story justice, but it is not my story to retell…

In 1996 she was about to graduate and I was about to get married. I heard through mutual friends that Jennifer had gotten accepted to graduate school and was going on to study Anthropology. It was at this point that we lost contact with each other. From time to time over the intervening 20-odd years, I caught myself looking at the photo and thinking that I ought to use the Facebook and catch up with Jennifer.

I’ve learned that in those intervening years she excelled at everything. She went to Yale and got her Master’s Degree and PhD. She taught at the University of Toronto. Then she moved to UCLA and was teaching there. She published many papers and a book. She was on the fast-track of life it appeared.

Until she died of cancer in 2015.

I didn’t learn of this until last night (Sunday - a day after I looked at her photo) when I saw a post on the Facebook from a mutual friend who was lamenting that Jennifer’s June birthday had just passed and what a shame it was that her life was cut so tragically short. I feel badly that I didn’t know. If someone told me it didn’t register. I felt pretty awful about it when I read over the obituary I found. I am still feeling badly about it now.

It was a sad way to cap a sad weekend. I’ve been dealing with some family issues, and those issues went badly on Sunday morning. I’ll not go into detail here, but if you are the praying type, please spare a prayer for my mom and dad. They are both going through some bad stuff right now and could use all the divine assistance they can get.

I hope this week will be better… I will pray for Jennifer as well, and again if you’re the praying type, please keep her in your prayers too.

Carry on.

The Writing Project - 2. Fare Thee Well, Hef.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has learned, Hugh Hefner has shuffled off his mortal coil and is now in that great Playboy Club Lounge in the great beyond.

Like boys (men now?) of a certain age, Hefner’s contribution to society, Playboy Magazine, had a part to play in your Maximum Leader’s formative years. He remembers the first Playboy he ever saw. It was the issue for May 1978. Here is a picture of the cover of the issue. He remembers finding it in the spare bedroom of a friends house. The friend’s uncle had been staying with them for a time, and had left the magazine out. My friend and yours truly took the magazine and spent an inordinate amount of time looking over it. Specifically looking at the three sections that contained the nudie pics. The Playmate of the Month was Kathryn Morrison. There was another photo group of some model. There was also a picture spread of a New York City swingers club and the orgies within. It was pretty exciting for excitable boys.

As it turns out, many decades later, your Maximum Leader was in a used bookstore and they had a room in towards the back of the store that was separated from the rest of the store by a black curtain above which was a handwritten sign reading “Over 21 only.” He entered the room expecting to see lots of smut and erotica. But instead the room was filled with neatly ordered rows of magazine racks holding pretty much every back issue of Playboy and Penthouse every published. Remembering the first Playboy he’d ever seen, your Maximum Leader went to find it. Sure enough it was there. He paid for it and the magazine now resides on a shelf in his gun safe.

(NB: It wasn’t until he’d purchased the magazine that he bothered to read the articles. One of which was the famous Anita Bryant interview.)

In later years, mostly in college and immediately thereafter, your Maximum Leader would pick up a Playboy when he’d heard there was an article that was worth reading. The titilation factor was also a consideration in buying the magazine, but he did read the articles.

As for Hefner himself, there isn’t much your Maximum Leader wants to say. He’ll let others speak to the nature of the man. Insofar as your Maximum Leader could tell, Hefner was a lifestyle unto himself. You can judge it as you like. Regardless of how you choose to judge him, Hefner did what he chose to as he chose to. Few people in this life do.

And now, since smut has been a theme of this post… One of your Maximum Leader’s favorite smutty songs…

Carry on.

King Bhumibol, RIP

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader stirs from his slumber to note the passing of King Bhumibol of Thailand. As reported in the AP, the King was the world’s longest reigning monarch. Beyond his longevity, he was the unifying figure in Thai society. Even here in the United States that is evident. To wit: your Maximum Leader can’t recall a Thai restaurant, or the home of Thai immigrants, that he’s been in and has not found at least a small photo of King Bhumibol.

It will be interesting, and concerning, to watch the situation in Thailand over the next few months. The military junta running the country will undoubtedly feel pressure to allow some sort of democracy to re-start in the nation. Your Maximum Leader has read, and John Oliver popularly noted, that the Crown Prince is not a particularly beloved (or competent) figure. One hopes that the transition from one monarch to another is peaceful. But in the world we live in, we’ll have to keep an eye on this unfolding situation.

Carry on.

Follow your Maximum Leader on the Twitter or on at: @maximumleader.

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.


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.


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.

Margaret Thatcher - RIP

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that Yahoo news, and apparently Reuters, are reporting that Margaret Thatcher has died.

This is turning out to be a sad day.

Carry on.

RIP - Jacques Barzun

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader learned this morning (thanks to a tweet from the AP) that renown historian Jacques Barzun had died at the age of 104. Your Maximum Leader, not meaning to sound horrible, had thought that Dr. Barzun had already shrugged off his mortal coil a while ago. Your Maximum Leader remembers reading (part of a borrowed copy of) “From Dawn To Decadence” when it came out. At that time Dr. Barzun was in his early 90s. Your Maximum Leader, sadly, assumed that the masterwork had been published and with his life work complete death followed. (NB: Your Maximum Leader has still never finished that book… And he doesn’t think he owns it… Humm…)

So it is with some sadness and surprise that we can read his obituary as it appears today. The Washington Post obit is here “Jacques Barzun wide-ranging cultural historian dead at 104.”

Your Maximum Leader is glad to see that Dr. Barzun’s aphorism about baseball is in the obituary. Your Maximum Leader remembers seeing the aphorism on a plaque in the Baseball Hall of Fame (just like the article says). The saying is: “Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball.”

Rest in peace professor.

Carry on.

Richard Plantagenet - RIP

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader asks that you remember Richard III, King of England. He was killed in battle at Bosworth this day in 1485. He fought valiantly, if not triumphantly. He was the last Plantagenet to rule England. He was the last King of England to die in battle. And his death marks the generally accepted end of both the Wars of the Roses and the medieval period in England.

Richard III, By the Grace of God, King of England and France and Lord of Ireland.

It is from Shakespeare’s play Richard III that the name of this site is taken. The important lines come in Act One, Scene III:

But then I sigh; and, with a piece of scripture,
Tell them that God bids us do good for evil:
And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With old odd ends stolen out of holy writ;
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.

Richard is, in your Maximum Leader’s opinion, one of the most maligned kings in all history. Shakespeare’s play, while vastly entertaining, is far from an accurate portrayal of history and the man as we now know him.

Your Maximum Leader, out of habit, will republish the famous Rex Stout New York Times obituary for King Richard:

“PLANTAGENET — Richard, great king and true friend of the rights of man, died at Bosworth Field on August 22, 1485. Murdered by traitors and, dead, maligned by knaves and ignored by Laodiceans, he merits our devoted remembrance.”

For those of you interested in learning more about Richard you might try the following links: Battle of Bosworth Field from Wikipedia, or the general Wiki on Richard.

Carry on.

UPDATE: Yes, your Maximum Leader would love a mug. Thanks to Robbo for suggesting it.

Carry on.

Winston S. Churchill - RIP

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader would remind you all that on this day in 1965, Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill died at his home in London, England.

Churchill has always been a personal hero of your Maximum Leader’s. Your Maximum Leader was quite disappointed with Time Magazine when they didn’t select him as the “Man of the Century” for the 20th Century. (Okay, he had already been declared by Time Magazine the man of the half century in 1950… But still… BTW, does anyone care about Time Magazine anymore?) Sadly, your Maximum Leader is finding that many of the details of Churchill’s life that he used to be able to cite from memory are slipping from his memory. (As are so many other tidbits…) Your Maximum Leader has decided, as a result, to relearn what he’s been forgetting. He’ll pull some volumes out of his expansive Churchill Library and set himself to reading.

You all should, in the words of the monument set inside the main doors of Westminster Abbey, “Remember Winston Churchill.” Without Churchill there is no telling how much worse off the world would be today.

Carry on.

PS from your Maximum Leader: Mitt Romney is the only Republican presidential candidate who has pledged to return to the Oval Office the bust of Churchill returned to the British Ambassador by President Obama. Why can’t we get a debate moderator to ask the rest of the candidates their position on this esoteric (but important to your Maximum Leader) issue?

Carry on.

Curtains for the little man

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that Kim Jong-Il has croaked. Your Maximum Leader can’t say he’s sorry at all to hear of Kim’s passing. One supposes that we’ll have to watch North Korea carefully to see what happens in the coming days.

One wonders who, if anyone, the US will send to the funeral (assuming we’re invited). Your Maximum Leader would likely send Bill Richardson if we send anyone above a functionary with the State Department. Of course, anyone other than Richardson, Sectretary Clinton, Vice President Biden or a former US President would likely be viewed as insulting. Which it would be in fact.

Carry on.

    About Naked Villainy

    • maxldr


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

    • Follow us on Twitter:

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

Because your Maximum Leader is bitter, cynical… and likes kinky sex.

    Villainous Commerce

    Villainous Sponsors

      • Get your link here.

      Villainous Search