A few of thoughts

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is going to forget how to blog if he keeps going on his intermittent rate of updating. Here are some thoughts and tidbits for your reading pleasure.

First off, in keeping with your Maximum Leader’s advocacy of King Richard III of England (per post below); you might be interested in knowing that archeologists believe that they have found the church in which Richard’s remains were buried after the King’s defeat and death at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. Here is the article: Lost medieval church found beneath parking lot. Here is the first bit of the piece:

The hunt for King Richard III’s grave is heating up, with archaeologists announcing Sept. 5 that they have located the church where the king was buried in 1485.
“The discoveries so far leave us in no doubt that we are on the site of Leicester’s Franciscan Friary, meaning we have crossed the first significant hurdle of the investigation,” Richard Buckley, the lead archaeologist on the dig, said in a statement.
Buckley and his colleagues have been excavating a parking lot in Leicester, England, since Aug. 25. They are searching for Greyfriars church, said to be the final resting place of Richard III, who died in battle during the War of the Roses, an English civil war. A century later, Shakespeare would immortalize Richard III in a play of the same name.
After his death in the Battle of Bosworth Field, Richard III was brought to Leicester and buried at Greyfriars. The location of the grave, and the church itself, was eventually lost to history, though University of Leicester archaeologists traced the likely location to beneath the parking lot for the Leicester City Council offices.

The article continues to say that if the archeologists find Richard’s grave, he will be reinterred in Leicester Cathedral.

Of course, your Maximum Leader’s readings have all pointed towards Richard’s body (bones mostly) being removed from his grave and thrown into the nearby River Soar during the Tudor dissolution of the monasteries. So it could be that Richard will not be found at all. Your Maximum Leader, for one, really hopes that they find Richard’s grave and are able to give him a proper royal burial.

Your Maximum Leader apparently bought too soon when he purchased Kindle Fires for himself (in June) and Mrs Villain (in August). Now Amazon has revamped and expanded the line of offerings in the Kindle Fire department. Your Maximum Leader is a little intrigued by the prospect of an HD Fire. The other interesting bit is the kid-proofing settings that are coming with the Kindle Fire OS upgrade. Villainette #1 and the Wee Villain frequently “borrow” one of the Kindles in the house. (The former to read books and the latter to watch videos.) It would be nice to put a filter on the items (mostly video content) that we could keep the kids from watching. Anyhooo… Your Maximum Leader should have waited and gotten the second Kindle later in the year when the new HD models were available.

Some commenters on the tablet computer market are writing that Amazon’s new Kindle Fires are game changers in the segment. Your Maximum Leader disagrees with this. He sees the Kindle Fire as an entertainment platform; whereas other tablets are computer surrogates with increased functionality. Perhaps most tablets are entertainment platforms and not computer surrogates to their owners… In which case, the new Fires might actually be game changers…

You might be curious to know your Maximum Leader’s thoughts on the recently completed national party conventions. He doesn’t have many thoughts on them. He didn’t watch anything beyond the recaps on morning newsfotainment programs (mostly ABC’s GMA to be honest). Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure how watching would benefit him at all. The candidates and their supporters are not adding anything of substance to national debate (such as it is). They are repeating tropes they’ve been trotting out for the past 18 months at least. Conventions are nothing more than pep rallies for the hardcore supporters. Your Maximum Leader can do without such pep rallies. He’s looking forward, without good reason by the way, to the Obama/Romney and Biden/Ryan debates. He is looking forward to them because there might be some real substance discussed at those events. He must emphasize the “might” in that last sentence. Debates are tightly scripted and rule-bound. That noted, they are live and extemporaneous to a limited extent. It is possible that one or both of the debaters might go off-script and something worthwhile come up. It hasn’t happened too often, but it does happen. So there is that.

So, you might be thinking, if your Maximum Leader wasn’t watching the political conventions; what was he watching. Why he was watching his beloved Washington Nationals baseball club. The Nationals continue to lead the National League East; and are battling it out for the best record in baseball (with the Cincinnati Reds). Your Maximum Leader loves baseball. He has always enjoyed watching the Nationals (in person and on TV). This season has been different. Your Maximum Leader tunes in (or arrives at the park) fully expecting to see the Nationals win a game. This has not been the case in past seasons. It is thrilling spectacle.

One of the things that makes your Maximum Leader so excited to watch the Nationals is the sheer potential of it. By potential he means that he honestly feels this team has no limitations on their ability to advance. Neither are they weighed down by history. Some of you out there might wonder what your Maximum Leader means by being weighed down by history. This is a hotly debated item. To explain further… Your Maximum Leader’s second favorite sport, ice hockey, serves as his example. His beloved Washington Capitals have been a great team for the past 5 years. But, they can’t get to the championship game in the playoffs (Division championship or Stanley Cup). The Caps are great to watch and exciting during the season. They make it to the post-season. Then your Maximum Leader expects them to make it to the second round and be eliminated. It has happened so many time in the team’s history it almost seems like a forgone conclusion. Your Maximum Leader is weighed down by negative expectations. It can be debated that the players (who come and go for the most part) feel this history as well. Players say that they don’t feel the weight of history on them as they are playing. But your Maximum Leader doubts that. The Caps potential seems limited - and will until they make it to a championship game. The Nationals aren’t like that. Baseball’s long history in Washington is punctuated by stretches of baseball’s absence from our city. While it is true that the Washington baseball club hasn’t make the playoffs since 1969 (the year your Maximum Leader was born) and hasn’t won in the playoffs since 1933 (before your Maximum Leader’s parents were born); it must be noted that there was no baseball in Washington from 1971 until 2005. So there really isn’t a history that weighs on the city or the players. This franchise can write its own history. Your Maximum Leader hopes it is great history at that.

Carry on.

61-40

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been lucky this baseball season. He’s been to 7 games so far with the prospect of at least 3 more by the end of the season. He’s enjoyed watching his beloved Washington Nationals in person and on the TV all season. There has actually been a surreal quality to watching the Nats this year. They just keep winning and sometimes winning in spectacular fashion. The pitching staff is nationally vaunted - and deservedly so. The team’s offense has performed where it needs to. Defensively they are very sharp.

There is good baseball in Washington.

The old saying in the Washington area, in the days of the Washington Senators, was “Washington. First in war. First in peace. Last in the AL East.” Since returning to Washington, that old trope has (more often than not) been modified to “Last in the NL East.” Well, minions… Today not only are the Nationals in first place in the NL East (as they have been for most of the season); but they are now the best team in the bigs. At 61-40 the Nationals are a half game above the Reds and Yankees.

Let us bask in the glory of baseball for a few hours at least…

Go Nats!
The Nat’s curly “W”

Carry on.

Well this is unexpected, and sort of sad.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is a little sad by the performance in the last few games by his beloved Washington Nationals. They have been squandering great pitching performances with a lack of offense. The team just can’t get men across the plate. That problem is made worse by the absence of Michael Morse and Ryan Zimmerman. Calling up Bryce Harper is exciting, and may bear fruit, but it isn’t enough now.

Your Maximum Leader hopes the Nationals can string together some wins over the next few games and not completely waste their hot start.

In other sports news…

Your Maximum Leader will be in the Verizon Center tonight rooting for his (also beloved) Washington Capitals in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semi-finals. Your Maximum Leader thinks he’s drunk the Caps kool-aid. He is feeling good about the team’s chances in this series. The defensive style of play is well suited to the playoffs. By playing a simplified game and doing everything possible to minimize mistakes the Caps have been able to tough out enough wins to make it this far. Your Maximum Leader thinks that they could win this series and move on to the Conference Finals. If that happens, your Maximum Leader will be beside himself with joy.

Carry on.

Well this is unexpected.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, as you know, is a great fan of his Washington Nationals baseball club. Apparently said Washington Nationals have decided to call up (1st pick overall and potential offensive-stud-in-the-making) Bryce Harper from the minors.

Crazy. Read about it here on the Washington Post.

The Nat’s curly “W”

Carry on.

Mindless rambling for the point of updating.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader got tired of looking at the last post at the top of his blog. Sadly, he doesn’t have a good idea for a single cogent post. He’s sure he’s had some ideas over the past few days; but his brain is blank now.

In politics there isn’t much out there for real commentary. Obama blah blah blah blah. Romney bleh bleh bleh bleh. The real race will not heat up for a while yet. Provided that there is much of a race. Your Maximum Leader still thinks that Obama will win re-election. Not because he deserves it mind you. Rather because Republicans are hell-bent-for-leather to be idiots. Romney is, of the crop who chose to run, the most electable. But just being the non-Obama is not going to win in November. Neither man is talking about the real issues facing our nation. Neither man seems serious about governing in a way that reverse the problems of spending, taxation and debt that imperil our nation’s future.

(NB to readers: Amazingly, no one seems to think that seriously discussing austerity and changes to federal spending and taxation is path to the presidency of these United States…)

If it is of any consolation, for those of you out there thinking that China is all the shit (Paul Krugman, your Maximum Leader is glaring at you)… The Economist just ran a podcast discussing Chinese demography and how the 1 child policy can likely cause massive economic distress in the 2030 and on timeframe. Apparently in rural China the birth rate is 1.7; in most urban areas it is closer to 1; but in the most cosmopolitan cities (Shanghai for example) the birth rate is .7. That will cause massive strain on China’s ability to maintain growth (and care for an aging population).

Of course, once China goes to hell there is no telling who will want to purchase US Treasury bills and finance our spending… India? We’re looking at you…

In other political news… Your Maximum Leader sees that sleezebag Tareq Salahi has filed papers to run for governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. After nearly spitting out a mouthful of Makers Mark while reading that news, your Maximum Leader regained his composure and became more amused. This is a guy most famous for crashing a state dinner at the White House. He also has a habit of getting sued for not living up to his commitments and being a general asshole. One imagines that somehow this will somehow transform the “Real Housewives of DC” into a new reality show entitled “Governor’s Mansion Here I come!” Sweet jeebus… Just when you think politics couldn’t get any lower…

In sporting news…

Your Maximum Leader has long been disgusted with the complete disregard people in the Washington DC area have for all teams that are not the Washington Redskins. The Washington Capitals have been competing in (and yesterday won) a hard playoff series with the Boston Bruins. The Washington Nationals are the best team in the NL (and the second best in MLB). But what is everyone in Washington focused on? The NFL draft.

Your Maximum Leader believes that Robert Griffin III is likely a good guy and excellent football player. He may actually have what it takes to help the Redskins improve. But really now, at this point your Maximum Leader couldn’t give a damn about football and is now getting actively annoyed at continued football talk.

Your Maximum Leader caught his first Nationals game of the year last Friday. He watched his beloved Nationals win (a nail biter) over the (Florida) Miami Marlins. (NB to readers. The Marlins new stadium looks interesting, but their new uniforms look like crap.) It was a great experience. He is sure he’ll take in a number of games this season. He hopes that other Washingtonians will do so as well. It is embarrassing and tragic that the Nationals are doing so well and can’t sell more than 20,000 tickets to a weeknight game.

Did you know that if the Nationals play .500 ball the rest of the year they will make the playoffs? Really… Who knew?

As for the Capitals… Your Maximum Leader’s emotional state was a roller coaster ride during the first round of the playoffs. All peaks and valleys. He isn’t sure if he’ll hold up if the Caps go far. He is anxiously awaiting word of which team the Caps will draw in the next round of the playoffs. He feels the Caps will match up well against Florida or New Jersey. He isn’t so sure about the Rangers. And he dreads Philly. Philly seems to be on a mission this year.

Well… That is about it for now… Your Maximum Leader will think of other stuff and try and get some down here…

Carry on.

Boys of Summer

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has let his blog go to hell. As in, he can’t be bothered (apparently) to write for it. He hopes to turn over a new leaf and write more, but real life seems to continually conspire to prevent him from blogging.

Take the past seven days for example. Your Maximum Leader and Mrs Villain have been running kids around town for piano, baseball and softball. And not meaning to toot his offspring’s horn but… Villainette #2 decided she wanted to try out for her school’s softball team - and she made the team (beating out some more experienced girls). Then the Wee Villain brought home some virus that has had everyone in the family in the bathroom with all manner of unpleasantness spewing forth from our orifices. So all that has kept him from blogging.

But hearing excuses for not blogging is a tired refrain here. Your Maximum Leader will try to blog more…

Anyhoo…

Last night was the official opening night of baseball season. Your Maximum Leader knows that many of you are out there pointing out that the Athletics and Mariners played two official games last week in Japan to kick off the season. Insofar as your Maximum Leader is concerned, those two games are abominations and shouldn’t count. He doesn’t mind exhibition games played in other nations. Frankly, if you can get both teams to agree to it in advance, he wouldn’t mind regular season games in other countries as a sign of good-will. But to have season opening games overseas a week before the season begins is just plain wrong.

Back in February your Maximum Leader predicted 85-90 wins for his beloved Washington Nationals this season. He is going to stand by that prediction. Especially after watching the Marlins get pounded by the Cards last night. Perhaps the Marlins (who have been Nats killers in the past) will not be quite as strong as he thought. Of course, one game does not a season make. The Marlins have got to figure out their left side. Lots of miscommunication there.

Speaking of the Marlins… That new stadium looks nice. Your Maximum Leader’s tastes in stadia is one of extremes. He either wants “throwback” stadia (like Camden Yards - which turns 20 this year) or very modern and new (like Miami’s new stadium). Your Maximum Leader wouldn’t mind seeing a game in Miami. He even thought he’d like to see a game from that “Clevelander” bar in left field at the new Miami park. It has bars, a pool, dancing girls - oh yeah, and seats at field level. Actually, if you wanted to watch a game the “Clevelander” would likely be a bad place to watch. Too much else going on…

Anyhoo…

The Nationals open against the Cubbies in Chicago in a few hours. He is looking forward to a strong showing by the Nats and coming away with a win.

In other Nationals news, your Maximum Leader feels badly for John Lannan. After carrying the team’s pitching for a few years now he was optioned to AAA two days ago. Lannan is a good pitcher. Frankly, your Maximum Leader has more faith in Lannan than he does in Chen-Ming Wang or Tom Gorzelanny. But, apparently Davey Johnson and Mike Rizzo believe they are better off with others over Lannan. Your Maximum Leader would be a little sad to see Lannan go to another team, but he also wants Lannan to play. The guy was opening day starter for a couple years for pete’s sake. He should be able to play.

Well… Your Maximum Leader will try and listen to the game on the radio today and follow his Nats on their way to a great season.

The Nat’s curly “W”

Carry on.

Oiling the glove

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wanted to note that this past Sunday was that glorious first sign of spring. The day pitchers and catchers report for spring training. That means that baseball season will soon be upon us.

Now, in your Maximum Leader’s mind it is still hockey season. But since the hockey season hasn’t been going well for your Maximum Leader’s beloved Washington Capitals; he is already beginning to idly speculate about his equally beloved Washington Nationals and how they will do this season.

Your Maximum Leader is feeling good about the Nats this season. So good that he thinks that they will win between 85-90 games. They will likely finish 2nd or 3rd in the NL East. (NB: your Maximum Leader’s NL East prediction: Philly, Washington, Florida, Atlanta, NY Mets.) He predicts that the Nats will win 85-90 games. They may contend for a playoff spot (wild card of course).

It should be a good summer for baseball in DC.

Carry on.

Monday night notes

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is sitting down and overstimulating himself. He is typing a blog post on his laptop. He is watching the end of Al Pacino’s movie “Looking for Richard.” And from time to time he is switching over to watch his beloved Washington Capitals get trounced by the Florida Panthers.

In the realm of hockey, the Capitals looked okay on Saturday night when your Maximum Leader attended the game. They (the Capitals) looked okay against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. But they are playing for crap tonight against the Panthers. They are down 5-1 and your Maximum Leader can’t bear it any more. He is switching off the game in favor of other electronic stimulation.

Your Maximum Leader never thought he’d be “one of those people” who would have the computer on while doing other things. Like watching a movie… But, alas, he’s become one of those people.

Anyhoo…

Your Maximum Leader is finishing up watching Pacino’s documentary about Shakespeare’s Richard III. “Looking for Richard” came out in 1996. As longtime readers of this space (if such a thing exists anymore with the lackadaisical updating that has been the hallmark of this blog for a while now) know, your Maximum Leader is a great fan of both the play Richard III and the actual historical Richard III. That might seem like an odd combination as we all know that Shakespeare’s play is a Tudor propaganda piece and real hatchet job on Richard and the real Richard was likely not that bad a king… Well… Back to the movie…

Your Maximum Leader really wanted to see the film back in 1996 when it came out. But time and location conspired against him. At the time he lived in Virginia Beach and the film was only playing in limited release. Needless to say, he didn’t see the film. Basically he has waited since 1996 to see this movie. The night before Thanksgiving your Maximum Leader couldn’t sleep and noticed that “Looking for Richard” was on HBO so he hit the DVR and recorded it. He was excited that after so many years he would now get to see the film.

Well… Reality did not quite live up to expectation. In 1996, Pacino was just starting to fall into his new mode of “yelling as acting.” So there was a little bit more yelling than your Maximum Leader would have liked. There were a few sequences where Pacino and the other cast (a great cast including Alex Baldwin, Kevin Spacey and Winona Ryder) were trying to “figure out” the play. Those scenes were hit or miss (and mostly miss) with your Maximum Leader. All in all it isn’t interesting, and can be downright annoying, to see the behind the scenes with actors figuring out their roles. Your Maximum Leader is looking for finished product. The process of getting to finished product isn’t all that exciting.

So, your Maximum Leader’s Monday night wasn’t quite as pleasing as it could have been…

Then again… He is blogging from his sofa… So he’s got that going for him…

Carry on.

Nice

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is writing this blog post on his new laptop. The laptop is perched on his stomach as he is lounging on the sofa watching his Washington Capitals play the hated Pittsburgh Penguins.

He could get used to this.

Carry on.

Bullet points - Dec 1

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader pronounced the word “rabbit” to you all as it is the first of the month.

He also wonders if Herman Cain will be out of the running for the GOP Presidential nod by tomorrow. Truth be told, he is already out. Your Maximum Leader wonders if Cain will officially announce he is out by tomorrow.

Your Maximum Leader is still waiting for Newt to fade. It is going to happen at some point, just when? Your Maximum Leader thinks Gingrich could coast in first place until about the middle of December. At that point he’ll start to fade. Your Maximum Leader is thinking that Rick Santorum is still waiting for his turn as the frontrunner…

Your Maximum Leader took a gentleman’s bet ($1 American) that President Obama will win reelection next year. Your Maximum Leader bet that Obama will be reelected. All things being equal, the math is in his favor. Your Maximum Leader knows it will be a very close run thing. But he thinks that the electoral math will break for Obama. It is conceivable that Obama will lose the popular vote and still win. In the states where Obama lost in 2008, he will lose by bigger margins. In states where he won big he will win by slimmer margins. It is in those handful of close states (Virginia included for a change) is where the battle will be fought. Your Maximum Leader thinks he’ll pull it out. But look for it to get nasty.

In other news…

Your Maximum Leader is worried about his beloved Washington Capitals. He expects the Caps to get plastered by the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight. New coach, Dale Hunter, will need a few weeks to get the team into whatever system he wants. All in all the Caps need to get performance from the big stars. By big stars he means Alexander Ovechkin. Your Maximum Leader wonders if Ovechkin is satisfied with himself right now? Really… Does Ovechkin believe in his own mind that he is doing all he can to play hard and win? If he really believes that, then there is nothing any coach or mentor will be able to do to help him. We’ll have to see how this plays out… We’ll have a better feeling about the team’s trajectory by January…

Carry on.

What’s goin’ on?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader thought he’d give you all a quick update on the blog.

Let us see how the past few weeks have gone…

They started with your Maximum Leader being in a car accident that totaled the Villainmobile. He should now remark that it is the late Villainmobile. Sadly his 2003 Mercury Marauder is no more. It was shattered on the Falmouth Bridge in icy conditions Halloween weekend. Your Maximum Leader is fine; but he is a little sad to see that great American made behemouth with its 400 horsepower engine leave his garage. Your Maximum Leader has a new Villainmobile. It is a 2012 Volkswagen Passat. Better mileage, sufficent space, 4 doors, German engineering. It is a wonderful change. So, there is that.

Also… The computer situation at the Villainschloss as improved - somewhat. Mrs Villain has a netbook computer she is using now (Thanks Kevin! I still owe you for this.) She is pleased with it. Villainette #2 saved up money from odd jobs and such and bought herself an HP laptop. So she is set with computing. Now Villainette #1 has also saved up money and decided to get a very nice HP laptop as well. It is a refurb from Woot in fact. Your Maximum Leader was a little weary about getting a refurb computer, but his experience (through his daughter) has been a positive one. So your Maximum Leader has been left to deal with his aging desktop. The desktop he built (with the help of a friend) back in 2003… It has served a long and distinguished life, but it is slow and beginning to be persnickedy. (The most aggrevating thing is the boot time - which has now topped 9 minutes.)

Your Maximum Leader contemplated buying new guts for the desktop and having it solider on, but in the end he’s decided to go with a laptop. So, he broke down and went the way of his elder daughter and bought a refurb off of Woot yesterday. It is a Samsung with an i7 processor, LED display, blu-ray, 750GB storage, a very high end NVIDIA graphics card and 6GB of RAM. And it was only $600. (He configured a similar laptop at Dell, Samsung, Sony, HP and Alienware and found the prices ranged from $1200-$1500 for new.) Your Maximum Leader figures he got a deal. He’ll find out when it gets to him.

Of course, all this laptop computing around the house leads your Maximum Leader to think that he needs to upgrade his 5 yrs old wireless router to something with a higher capacity…

Anyhoo…

Your Maximum Leader has been following teh politics recently. He was pleased to see Rick Perry falter. Your Maximum Leader will vote for a no-chance 3rd party odd-ball before he votes for Rick Perry for anything. If you need to know why… 3 words. Cameron Todd Willingham. As far as your Maximum Leader is concerned, Governor Perry cannot retreat to Texas fast enough and from there proceed to obscurity.

Your Maximum Leader was a little disappointed to learn of Herman Cain’s troubles. Cain was entertaining and engaging, even if your Maximum Leader had no intention of ever voting for him. Your Maximum Leader was disappointed because of Cain’s handling of the sexual harassment situation. He’d hoped that Cain might just put everything out there and move ahead. You see, your Maximum Leader had a pet theory that in the post-Bill Clinton age old sex scandals weren’t going to derail a candidate. It appears as though Cain will not be the test case for this theory. To test the theory the candidate would have to fess up to everything and then say it was “all in the past” and that he’s learned and grown since then and then see if the mess blows over.

Of course it is possible that this theory might only be true for Democrats - who don’t seem to have problems with sex scandals by other Democrats any more.

Your Maximum Leader was taken aback by the sudden surge of Newt Gingrich in the polling. Great jeezy chreezy! Is every one of the candidates going to get a moment in the sun? Is Rick Santorum next? (By your Maximum Leader’s count the leaders have been: Romney, Bachmann, Paul, Romney, Perry, Cain, Gingrich. It would seem to be Santorum’s turn.)

The most crazy thing about all these changes in the polls is that they just reinforce the weakness of the field. One of the weaknesses of the field to your Maximum Leader (but he doubts it is a weakness to the great majority of poll-ees in the Republican party) is that none of the candidates seems to be terribly serious about anything except beating Obama. All in all they are not particuarly innovative thinkers in any sort of policy way. They don’t seem to have clear messages on any particular subject. And they don’t seem particularly presidential.

Of course the primaries don’t engender a “presidential atmosphere.” They do promote the articulation of a plan and sound positions. They do promote the hectic and harried pace at which someone might have to actually be President. So, in a way, they simulate the job - without really giving you the trappings of the job. (The trappings of office which give you some respectability and decorum - two elements lacking in primaries.)

Your Maximum Leader believes that the Republicans will likely default to Romney (it is his turn afterall) and that it will be a close election. If the economy does not improve by next fall - it will be perilously close for Obama. All things being equal, it is hard to unseat a sitting president - and that is the only thing one can be certain of for next year.

Your Maximum Leader never did sum up his thoughts on the baseball season past… Since it is already well into hockey season he will give the short version. Congrats to the Cardinals! There is a lot to like about the Washington Nationals for next year and the upcoming years. Your Maximum Leader was worried that Davey Johnson’s day had past - but it apparently has not. Your Maximum Leader thinks the Nats could be a .500 team next year (or even a little better than .500).

Also, thank goodness that Wilson Ramos was rescued from his kidnappers.

That is about it for now… Your Maximum Leader is ruminating over a few other posts… So you might see more in this space in a little bit.

Carry on.

Winning ticket

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been meaning to blog for about a week now. He was asked some political questions by his best buddy Kevin. Your Maximum Leader has thought about many of the questions and has formulated an answer in his brain… Sadly, his brain and his PC are two different media. Your Maximum Leader thought this weekend would provide some good blogging time… It did not. When your Maximum Leader sat down to blog, he was preempted at the computer by Villainette #1 or by Mrs Villain (who somehow now needs 2 computers running simultaneously in order to complete her work).

So sadly you will all have to live with this modest update…

First off, your Maximum Leader’s beloved Washington Nationals have already won more than the 76 games he predicted they would wind. This is a great milestone. With yesterday’s win over the slumping Braves, the Nationals have now won 78 games. It is theoretically possible that the Nationals could post a winning record (or even .500 record) with a good showing this week in Florida against the Marlins. Your Maximum Leader will be watching closely and rooting for his team.

Speaking of his team… Your Maximum Leader was at the Villainschloss doing some housework and watching the Nationals/Braves game on the TV when his cell phone rang. The caller ID showed an unfamiliar “202″ area code number. Your Maximum Leader let it go to voicemail. Then about 20 minutes later the same number called back. He picked up this time. It was a young man named Carl. He identified himself as an employee of the Washington Nationals. He asked if your Maximum Leader was at the park watching the game. Your Maximum Leader said he was at home watching the game. Carl then announced that your Maximum Leader was one of 30 “Jersey off their backs” winners. You see, a few weeks (months?) ago your Maximum Leader bought some raffle tickets from the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation. The prize being offered was the jersey off a Nationals player’s back at the end of the last home game. Well, it was the last home game, and Carl was trying to find out if your Maximum Leader was at the Park so that he could escort your Maximum Leader to the President’s Club seats with the other winners and determine who was getting which player’s jersey. Since your Maximum Leader wasn’t in attendance (and couldn’t make it to the park in time) he will get whomever’s jersey he won in the lottery… Apparently all the winners in attendance were polled as to which player they wanted. If a player had multiple winners - names were chosen by lot. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t know who’s jersey will be delivered to the Villainschloss, but he was assured it would be here by the end of the week.

Your Maximum Leader will post photos when the jersey arrives. He is giddy with excitement.

In other news…

Rick Perry seems to be melting down. He can’t speak clearly at debates and seems to not be doing well in a useless straw poll. This is a minor speed bump for him. If one is going to stumble while seeking the highest office in the land, it is best to do it early. Perry will regroup and rise back up to the top eschalon of contenders.

Your Maximum Leader mentioned earlier that Kevin had asked some political questions in the comments to another post… Your Maximum Leader will quickly address some of them here. The first one was asking if President Obama’s base is really threatening to abandon him. Well… Your Maximum Leader knows a number of strong liberal democrats and they are all upset to varying degrees with the President. The President is in some trouble with his base, in your Maximum Leader’s opinion. These highly motivated and dedicated supporters are upset that the President isn’t being an effective leader. In that they pretty much agree with just about anyone of any political persuasion. Of course, is this a problem for the President? Without a primary challenge it is not a serious long-term problem. And no one is going to challenge the President in the Democratic primaries. Certainly not Hillary Clinton. As Clinton said herself recently, the further away from the mudslinging you are the better you look. She is far from the political battles that are in the forefront of our national discussion, so she is the least affected by them. She wouldn’t look nearly as good if she were, say, Secretary of the Treasury…

Lookit, President Obama will have to start talking a good game and making some changes in his administration to show he is “serious” about winning a second term. Then, eventually, the base will come back. Mainly because they have three choices come next November. Those choices are support the President, support someone else (an unrealistic choice to make), or stay home. In the end the base (all in all) turns out (that is what makes them “the base”).

The President’s political problems are going to be with himself. If “independent” voters and “marginal” Democrats feel he’s not “doing enough” to solve our economic problems; then the Republican challenger (provided the Republican isn’t insane) will have a fighting chance of winning. There is still a long time between now and November…. So anything is possible…

Carry on.

Mostly baseball

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is not a superstitous person. With one noteworthy exception, he isn’t aware of a single supersition that he buys into.

That one exception is mojo in sports. The last time your Maximum Leader blogged about his beloved Washington Nationals, they started a big losing streak. That streak appears to be broken. But your Maximum Leader fears that by noting publically that the Nats seem to be doing well… You know… It could mess with their mojo…

Anyhoo…

The Nats western road trip started off well. Your Maximum Leader is hoping to more success. He particularly hopes for some Nationals wins against the Giants.

It is funny… Your Maximum Leader, for many many years, never felt anything towards the Giants. But one of your Maximum Leader’s good buddies is a big Los Angeles Dodgers fan. This friend - being a true Dodgers fan - has deep baseball animosity towards the Giants. Some of that feeling must have rubbed off on your Maximum Leader who now harbors some dislike for the Giants.

Anyhoo…

So your Maximum Leader sees on ESPN that apparently 9 of MLB’s 30 teams are out of compliance with MLB’s debt to earnings rules. Your Maximum Leader’s beloved Washington Nationals are on that list of 9 teams. According to the report:

The violations in question concern debt-service rules intended to limit a club’s debt to 10 times its annual revenue, according to the [Los Angeles] Times. Other teams named in the owners’ briefing were the Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers, Florida Marlins and Washington Nationals. [ML: The first teams listed were the LA Dodgers and the New York Mets. Others mentioned in the report are the Phillies, Cubs, and Rangers.]Selig’s predecessor, Fay Vincent, called the prospect of so many teams in violation of the debt rules “troublesome,” the Times reported. Selig declined comment to the newspaper.

On the one hand your Maximum Leader can see how the Nationals would make this list. The Lerners are still “young” owners, which is to say that they have purchased the team within the past 10 years. There was, your Maximum Leader was sure, quite a bit of leveraging to get the money to buy the team. (Also, your Maximum Leader is casually acquainted with people who were offered shares of the ownership group within the first year or two of the Lerners buying the team. He hears that those shares remain available to anyone who wants to pony up a cool million bucks to be a part minority owner of the team.)

Even armed with that rationalization, it is disturbing to see the Nationals on the list. Especially when you look at some of the other teams on the list. The two teams that shocked your Maximum Leader by appearing on the list were the Chicago Cubs and the Philadelphia Phillies. Your Maximum Leader knows that the Cubs have been for sale for a while now. But he didn’t know that the Phillies were so highly leveraged. That is a bit disturbing.

Well… Your Maximum Leader will anxiously await the first pitch of tonight’s game twixt the Nationals and the Arizona Diamondbacks. And he’ll hope for a good outcome…

The Nat’s curly “W”

Carry on.

UPDATE FROM YOUR MAXIMUM LEADER: Mrs Villain reminded your Maximum Leader of one silly superstitous thing he does persist in doing. If he leaves the Villainschloss and drives away, but then remembers something and returns within a few minutes of leaving to retreive something he forgot; he sits down in a chair and counts to ten before heading back out. It is something that his late beloved paternal grandmother made him do for years. The habit must have stuck.

Carry on.

June 1, 2011

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader apologizes for his dearth of posting. Sadly, he’s been caught up in life. He determined this afternoon to jot down a few thoughts to see if anyone out there is still reading…

Your Maximum Leader did book hotels for his trip to Tennessee later this month. On the agenda for family sight-seeing are: The Hermitage, the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Grand Ole Opry, and Graceland. Yes, your Maximum Leader is going to make sure to take the whole family on the pilgrimage to the home of Elvis. (NB to all readers: If you don’t know already… When the Mike World Order comes, your Maximum Leader will “lean” on the Pope to have Elvis Presley made a Saint. It will happen…) So he is looking forward to that. (Both the vacation and making Elvis a Saint.)

Oh yes… It is the first of the month… Rabbit!

Your Maximum Leader has found himself completely engrossed in HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” Although many people have commended the books to him over the years, your Maximum Leader has never read them. Now thanks to the magic of television, he’s been prompted to go to the devil’s own website (term tm’ed by Robbo) and bought the first 4 books of George R.R. Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire.” (NB: Your Maximum Leader wonders - but is too lazy to google it to get some closure on the issue - if the “R.R.” in George R.R. Martin stand for “Robert” and “Reuhl.” Mmmmmm….) Anyhoo… Your Maximum Leader is particularly partial to the characters of Tyrion Lannister, the dwarf son of the powerful Lannister family, and Daenerys Targaryen, the last princess of her line and the wife of the Horse Lord Khal Drogo. He has invested himself in the story and now feels the need to learn the whole story. So when the books arrive he’ll get started on learning all there is about this world that Martin has created.

There is an element of “Game of Thrones” that reminds your Maximum Leader of Stephen R. Donaldson’s books called “Mordant’s Need.” The similarity is likely superficial. But the similarities have prompted your Maximum Leader to find his copies of the Mordant’s Need books and re-read them.

BTW, with this purchase from Amazon, your Maximum Leader has broken his promise to himself to not purchase a new book in all of 2011 and only re-read books he owns… He doesn’t think he’d mentioned this promise to himself before on the blog. But he was very good in keeping it - until now of course…

Your Maximum Leader is going through baseball DT’s. This is not to say that he’s not been watching baseball on TV. In fact he’s watched quite a bit of it. He has missed going to a game. It is now June and in all past seasons he would have been to at least one and normally two Nationals games by now. He has been to precisely zero. He has time to go this weekend. But the Nationals are going on an 11 day road trip tomorrow. Your Maximum Leader’s Nats were able to steal two away from the dreaded Phillies, and now they sit in the cellar of the NL East and only 7 games under .500.

Your Maximum Leader is likely going to end this little missive now, as the heavens are about to open with water and electricity in a few minutes. He’ll hope the passing storms does something to minimize the heat that has been affecting his area over the past few days. Odds are rain will only add to the humidity… Mother Nature must like saunas…

Carry on.

18-18 and other sporting thoughts

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader feels it is time for him to do a sports post. He’ll start off with the best news in his sporting fandom. Namely that his beloved Washington Nationals are playing better than he expected.

The Nats, with an impressive win last night in Atlanta, are now sitting on a .500 record. Your Maximum Leader was not exactly expecting the Nats to be at .500 at this point in the season. Why were his expectations low? Mainly due to the fact that Ryan Zimmerman is out, and will continue to be out for a while while he recovers from abdominal surgery. Jim Riggleman, the Nats skipper, has been moving utility men in and out of different positions and messing with the lineup regularly. In years past that type of movement would not have the intended result, namely of keeping the Nats on a good and upward path. This year all appears to be working better.

Your Maximum Leader doesn’t believe that getting Zimmerman back later in the season will result in a sudden win streak and make the Nats contenders. It should enable the Nats to keep playing well and not be an embarassment to their fans and the game. Your Maximum Leader isn’t quite ready to revise is earlier prediction of the Nats winning 76 or more games this year, but right now - very early in a very long season - it is looking good for the Nats.

So, your Maximum Leader is pleased with his baseball team. He is not as pleased with his Washington Capitals. The Caps were eliminated from the playoffs and your Maximum Leader is only now able to write about it. Your Maximum Leader, now that the Caps are out, will inattentively follow the playoffs until the Stanley Cup finals at which time he will half-heartedly root for the Western Conference champion to defeat the Eastern Conference champion. If your Maximum Leader were pushed he’d declare himself for the Vancouver Canucks. He would like a Canadian team to win it. But we’ll see how it plays out.

And what of the Capitals? Well… This playoff loss was hair-wrenchingly bad. It was made worse because your Maximum Leader really isn’t sure what could have been done to improve the Caps chances of going the distance. Player moves during the regular season worked out. The defensive scheme that Coach Bruce Boudreau implemented was one that worked. Basically, the Caps were outplayed by the Tampa Bay Lightning (a division rival - ack!) in the series. Your Maximum Leader thinks that the only thing that could have been done differently would have been to keep Braden Holtby (a rookie goalie in our farm system) playing for the team into the playoffs. But even that path is fraught with danger as rookie goalies rarely win it all.

Your Maximum Leader doesn’t know what could be done to make the Caps winners. They are already contenders. They will continue to be contenders… But they aren’t getting over the hump and your Maximum Leader doesn’t see a clear path to improvement.

And then there is football…

Your Maximum Leader is nearly gleeful at all the issues surrounding football right now. He hopes that it goes badly all around and both the owners and players are taken down a notch for hubris. All in all, if you forced your Maximum Leader to take a side, he’d come down on the side of the players. He is all for lower rookie salaries, keeping the 16 game schedule and providing more retirement money for players. But all the same he feels like both sides are being petulent and childish in risking their status as the premier sport in America by fighting the way they are. Frankly, your Maximum Leader would be pleased if football were supplanted by baseball as the premier sport in America, but it isn’t likely to happen - sort of a major regular season work stoppage. (A stoppage your Maximum Leader doesn’t see happening.)

It is particularly funny to live in the DC area during all this turmoil in football. DC is, afterall, a football down. It is the Redskins all the time. Redskins fans are on sports radio breaking down the draft. They are speculating on the QB situation. They are talking in a way that completely ignores the real (if remote) fact that there might not be a 2011-2012 season. If there are missed games (or a missed season) your Maximum Leader doesn’t know what Redskins fan would do. He wonders how they would make it through the winter…

Anyhoo…

The long summer is still all ahead of us and we’ve got more baseball coming than we imagine. Your Maximum Leader hopes the Nats continue to play strong and stay near .500. If they are able to it will be a turning point for the organization and a cause for rejoycing among fans.

Carry on.

    About Naked Villainy

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