Now Who’s Been Cavemanned?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader may not post too much over the next two days. He has lots of stuff to do, and lots of people to meet. And he hasn’t been getting much sleep at the Villainschloss. (The wee Villain appears to be getting 4 teeth in at once.)

Well, Sadie has passed along a meme which your Maximum Leader feels oddly compelled to complete. Here goes:

Random Ten
Cowboy Junkies - Lay It Down
Shooglenifty - Whisky Kiss
Beatles - White Album
Tom Jones - Reloaded
Handel - Royal Fireworks Music

Elvis Presley - Memories
Elvis Costello - Very Best of Elvis Costello
The King - Gravelands
Wagner - Tristan und Isolde
Kim Possible Soundtrack

What is the total amount of the music files on your computer?
Question worded poorly, regardless of that - Last time your Maximum Leader checked, it was around 300 MB 3.25GB. (Verified last night.)

The last CD you bought [was]:
Not sure. He knows he bought the Princess Diaries II CD for Villainette Number One recently. So that is it.

What was the song you last listened to before this message?
Her Majesty - the Beatles

Five songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.
Cowboy Junkies - If you were the woman, and I was the man.
Elvis Presley - If I can dream.
REM - Me in honey
Tom Jones - Sexbomb
Richard Wagner - Liebestod

Who are you going to pass this stick to (five persons & why)?

Damn. Your Maximum Leader has no idea. If five of you read this and haven’t already answered, and want to. Let me know. You’ll get some linkage. (For what that is worth.)

Carry on.

Deep Thoughts on Truth

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was trying to peruse the various blogs he enjoys reading. He hasn’t had much time for reading of late. But for those of you more inclined towards abstract thought and philosophical questions you would do well to scoot over to Armavirumque for Roger Kimball’s entry, A few thoughts about truth.

What makes this entry very timely for your Maximum Leader is that just this weekend Villainette Number 2 (the tomboy Villainette) asked him, “What’s time?” To which your Maximum Leader, misunderstanding what she was asking replied something like, “Two thirty-five in the afternoon.” (Your Maximum Leader always likes to add “in the afternoon” or “in the morning” or “at night” when addressing the time to his progeny. He’s not sure why, but he does.) She responded, “No. What is time? Not what time is it.” Your Maximum Leader thought for a moment and responded that time was “the hours and minutes we used to measure the day.” While in the broadest philosphical sense that answer wasn’t a good one; it was satisfactory for a five year old.

But it did get your Maximum Leader to think about abstractions like time, truth, and mathematical proofs.

Then your Maximum Leader poured himself a scotch and ceased to think deep thoughts. Instead allowing himself to ruminate on the smokey-ness of an undiluted glass of Ardbeg.

Carry on.

Robbie Burns Day

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader always likes to celebrate Robert Burns’ Birthday. It is a time for feasting and good cheer. Robert Burns was born this day, January 25th, in 1759. He is the greatest poet of Scotland - their Bard.

Tonight, your Maximum Leader plans a Villainette friendly Burns Supper. We’ll start with the Selkirk Grace. Then move into Chicken, Vegetable & Leek soup, Meatloaf (replacing the Haggis) and finish off with trifle. We’ll likely read some Burns poems and talk about our Scottish heritage.

Excursus: In case anyone cares your Maximum Leader’s ancestry - as best he can figure it out (not being a geneology nt) is: maternal grandmother was Scottish, English, and German; maternal grandfather was Scottish and Welsh; paternal grandmother was Scottish and more Scottish; and paternal grandfather was Scottish and English. What always struck your Maximum Leader as interesting was that there didn’t appear to be any Irish in there. Scotch-Irish being a particularly common mix.

Your Maximum Leader will, most likely, be the only one drinking whisky. He will also, most likely, be the only one wearing a kilt. (We do have one that the Wee Villain might fit in. He’ll have to check.)

Your Maximum Leader will now present for your reading pleasure two Burns poems. The first is one that made him think of a good man of the soil. Although the Smallholder doesn’t have a stil on his property - he could… Here is the first:

John Barleycorn: A Ballad

There was three kings into the east,
Three kings both great and high,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn should die.

They took a plough and plough’d him down,
Put clods upon his head,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn was dead.

But the cheerful Spring came kindly on,
And show’rs began to fall;
John Barleycorn got up again,
And sore surpris’d them all.

The sultry suns of Summer came,
And he grew thick and strong;
His head weel arm’d wi’ pointed spears,
That no one should him wrong.

The sober Autumn enter’d mild,
When he grew wan and pale;
His bending joints and drooping head
Show’d he began to fail.

His colour sicken’d more and more,
He faded into age;
And then his enemies began
To show their deadly rage.

They’ve taen a weapon, long and sharp,
And cut him by the knee;
Then tied him fast upon a cart,
Like a rogue for forgerie.

They laid him down upon his back,
And cudgell’d him full sore;
They hung him up before the storm,
And turned him o’er and o’er.

They filled up a darksome pit
With water to the brim;
They heaved in John Barleycorn,
There let him sink or swim.

They laid him out upon the floor,
To work him farther woe;
And still, as signs of life appear’d,
They toss’d him to and fro.

They wasted, o’er a scorching flame,
The marrow of his bones;
But a miller us’d him worst of all,
For he crush’d him between two stones.

And they hae taen his very heart’s blood,
And drank it round and round;
And still the more and more they drank,
Their joy did more abound.

John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
Of noble enterprise;
For if you do but taste his blood,
‘Twill make your courage rise.

‘Twill make a man forget his woe;
‘Twill heighten all his joy;
‘Twill make the widow’s heart to sing,
Tho’ the tear were in her eye.

Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
Each man a glass in hand;
And may his great posterity
Ne’er fail in old Scotland!

And here is the second. The second is a eulogy written by Burns on the occasion of the death of a family friend, William Muir. Your Maximum Leader read it at his maternal grandfather’s funeral two years ago. It was, as much as these things can be, a bit hit. Indeed, your Maximum Leader’s sainted father and beloved father-in-law both said that they wouldn’t mind if it were read at their own funerals. Your Maximum Leader agrees with that sentiment as well.

An honest man here lies at rest,
As e’er God with his image blest:
The friend of man, the friend of truth,
The friend of age, and guide of youth:
Few hearts like his with virtue warm’d,
Few heads with knowledge so inform’d:
If there’s another world, he lives in bliss;
If there is none, he made the best of this.

Your Maximum Leader bids that you take a moment and read a Rabbie Burns poem today. And if you are so inclined, have a little dram of whisky to toast him too.

Carry on.

Abortion Primer for Democrats

This was on NPR this morning.

Until Democrats set aside their hoary old canards that abortion foes want to subjugate women and realize that the pro-life movement is a principled resistance to what some Christians believe to be murder, they do not have much chance of winning the White House. According to the commentator, if it were not for abortion, many Evangelicals would actually vote Democrat on the basis of their faith. But Evangelicals, like many of us, realize that they have to prioritize their values*. Ending the annual slaughter of innocents in our own country trumps just about every other consideration.

Go. Listen to Mathewes-Green.

* Recall that your very own Smallholder, advocate of gay rights, separation of church and state, progressive taxation, and (efficacious) government intervention in society, considered voting for Bush on the Iraq issue until I had the epiphany that Bush, Rumsfeld, et al. were refusing to learn from the lessons of history and blind to current reality, dooming the Iraqi effort more surely than Kerry’s shiftlessness.

Conservatives and Gay Marriage

The Analphilosopher claims:

“No conservative can support homosexual marriage.”

He further elaborates:

This morning I received a letter from a man who challenged my claim (here)
that “No conservative can support homosexual ‘marriage.’” He said I shouldn’t make such absolute statements. Why not? Compare the following:

No liberal can support slavery.
No libertarian can support progressive taxation.
No Christian can support (or condone) adultery.
No feminist can support exclusion of women from the professions.
No Marxist can support private property.

Conservatives can disagree about many things.

The nature of marriage is not one of them.

Methinks the Analphilosopher is mistaken.

The term “conservative” has become rather loose today. The general guideline that conservatives desire less government intervention and liberals more has become blurred. In KBJ’s defense, he generally uses a narrowed, more precise definition of conservative than the one in common use. In KBJ’s taxonomy, a conservative tends to give presumptive value to tradition.

I assume this is what he means when he states that “no conservative can support homosexual marriage.” Since there has been no tradition of gy unions, the argument goes, one ought not to tamper lightly with the venerable institution.

But perhaps other conservatives would place more weight on other traditions. Perhaps some conservatives might favor individual liberty when said liberty does not harm others. Other conservatives might value the tradition of small government, and wish to avoid government intervention in our private lives.

Analphilosopher obviously gives greater weight to the tradition of marriage as a child-rearing institution. Leaving aside the concept that gays perhaps ought to be allowed to rear children (children who will be universally wanted children since special arrangements for adoption or insemination will be required), his statement that anyone who varies from this orthodoxy cannot be considered a conservative smacks of hypocrisy.

KBJ has taken a rather extreme stance on animal rights, casting the universal tradition of omnivorism lightly aside. His position on the moral claims of animals places him well outside tradition and the American mainstream.

One might state:

No conservative can support the moral claims of animals.

In KBJ’s defense, I don’t recall him ever advocating the advancement of his animal rights agenda through federal legislation, which would be an undeniably liberal proposition. My take is that he hopes to convince the vast majority of Americans that our moral reasoning about animal rights is flawed, leading to the recognition of animal rights through persuasion.

Buckley A Liberal?

I must have missed the memo.

Heeeeere’s Johnny! RIP

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader reads that TV Legend Johnny Carson Dead.

Rest in peace Johnny Carson. Your Maximum Leader always enjoyed your show, and never really thought Leno was as good.

Carry on.

100 Below, Part the Third.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader decided that if the Poet Laureate could do it, and the Smallholder could do it; then he could too. Here is his 100 Below contribution:

Hamish scratched himself.

Across the field the herd was grazing. The morning sun warmed them.

It was going to be one of those days.

He smiled broadly, and then lifted his kilt to relieve himself. He noticed a few of the long-haired cows turned to watch him.

In the corner of his eye he saw something. The sun silhouetted a husky man.

It was Bruce.

Bruce bounced something angrily in his hands.

Was it a walking stick?

Was it a broadsword?

Did Bruce know?

It was going to be one of those days.

With 7 words to spare.

Carry on.

One Bitter, Bitter Man.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader had the following article forwarded to him by a loyal minion. Alas, there is no link attached, but according to the by-line attached it comes from the AP News Wire. Here goes:

Scientist’s Saturn Experiment Forgotten During Landing
Wind Measurement Device, 18 Years in the Making, Never Turned On

SPOKANE, Wash. (Jan. 21) - David Atkinson spent 18 years designing an experiment for the unmanned space mission to Saturn. Now some pieces of it are lost in space. Someone forgot to turn on the instrument Atkinson needed to measure the winds on Saturn’s largest moon.

“The story is actually fairly gruesome,” the University of Idaho scientist said in an e-mail from Germany, the headquarters of the European Space Agency. “It was human error - the command to turn the instrument on was forgotten.”

The mission to study Saturn and its moons was launched in 1997 from Cape Canaveral, Fla., a joint effort by NASA, the European agency and the Italian space agency. Last Friday, Huygens, the European space probe sent to the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan, transmitted the first detailed pictures of the frozen surface.

Atkinson and his team were at European space headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany, waiting for their wind measurements to arrive.

The probe was to transmit data on two channels, A and B, Atkinson said. His Doppler wind experiment was to use Channel A, a very stable frequency.

But the order to activate the receiver, or oscillator, for Channel A was never sent, so the entire mission operated through Channel B, which is less stable, Atkinson said.

“I (and the rest of my team) waited and waited and waited,” he wrote, as the probe descended. “We watched the probe enter and start transmitting data, but our instrument never turned on.”

Officials for the European Space Agency said last week they would investigate to learn what happened. They were not available for comment on Thursday, nor did NASA officials immediately respond to telephone messages.

Atkinson wrote in his e-mail that fellow scientists rushed to comfort him and his team.

Most of his team has returned home, but Atkinson has remained in Germany because he still has a task to perform - reconstructing the entry and descent trajectory of the probe.

There is hope that some of his data survived.

“We do have Channel B data and although driven by a very poor and unstable oscillator, we may be able to get a little bit of data,” he wrote.

Also, he said some of the Channel A signal reached Earth and was picked up by radio telescopes. “We now have some of this data and lots of work to do to try to catch up,” he wrote.

Even so, he said the overall space mission was a huge success, and the Europeans in particular were thrilled with the success of their Huygens probe.

“In total, the core of our team has invested something like 80 man years on this experiment, 18 of which are mine,” Atkinson wrote. “I think right now the key lesson is this - if you’re looking for a job with instant and guaranteed success, this isn’t it.”

Your Maximum Leader wouldn’t want to be near Dr. Atkinson for a little while. And if you happen to be a friend of Dr. Atkinson, do yourself a favour and remove any firearms, knives, or other household tools from his immediate reach.

Carry on.

Lawrence Summers/Your Maximum Leader - Role Reversal.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader would like to do a little role reversal here. Let us assume, for the sake of a blog post, that your Maximum Leader could take control of Harvard President Lawrence Summers’ body and mind. (Ewww! But this is just a hypothetical.) Right now Summers is going to any possible news outlet and saying that his recent comments about woment were wrong. If your Maximum Leader could speak for Summers, this is what he would say in an apology letter:

Dear offended womyn.

I am deeply sorry for having offended your tender sensibilities by suggesting in an open discussion among scholars that there may be inate differences between males and females of our species. I mean really! What the hell was I thinking? I should know better than to base my off-the-wall opinions on data mined from sources like the SAT, ACT or the ASVAB. Those silly tests aren’t worth a damn. (And I’ll check to make sure we don’t look at any of those test scores in our admissions process. Who knows what asinine mistakes we would make if we started doing that?)

Perhaps you should find a like-minded member of the Women’s Studies program at Princeton to nurture your fragile ego back to strength.

Damn! I did it again. Going on about that horrible stereotype of women being more nurturing than men. When we all know that women and men are equally able, and predisposed, to nurturing behaviour.

Now just so I don’t repeat this sort of outburst again. Would one of you be kind enough to give me a list of subjects which should not be brought up in discussions among tenured faculty, in an accredited university which has a long history of open discussion of contraversial ideas? (NB: I don’t need you to add to the list criticism of professors in the African-Aerican Studied department. I’ve already learned that one.)

And you know while you’re at it, please shut the pie hole of that Camille Pagila person. She just doesn’t know when to quit; and it confuses me.

Yours sincerely,

Lawrence Summers
(Contrite) President of Harvard University

Of course, your Maximum Leader doesn’t expect Larry to grow a pair and stand up for what he said.


Carry on.

Hook ‘Em Satan!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t know why, but he burst out laughing when he read the following article off the news wire: Norewegians Confused by Bush Salute.

It appears that the infamous hand-signal salute to the University of Texas Longhorns in the US is the same hand-signal used by Norwegian Satanists to praise their evil master.

Doesn’t this seem like just the proof so many people around the world have been looking for? George W. Bush (and Jenna Bush too) is really just Satan returning the salute of his minions. Why wasn’t this reported sooner?

Your Maximum Leader, for one, is glad that we have Norway in the world to point things like this out to those among us who are unknowing.

And what is up with Norwegian Satanists? Aren’t Norwegians good Lutherans? Or did all the Norwegian Lutherans move to Minnesota? Your Maximum Leader can’t recall.

Carry on.

Hey? Where Is Everybody?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader ralizes that some of you may be wondering what the hell is up today. Why no posting?

Frankly, it is because your Maximum Leader has been fixated on SondraK’s arse all day and unable to type.

Damnation! With such a fine booty as that one your Maximum Leader should hope she could get two digital cameras and a flat screen monitor too.

Carry on.

100 Below

A Meme from the non-angst ridden, perpetually euphoric and never dyspeptic Big Hominid.

Here’s my one hundred word story:

We drank beers on the porch, as men do.

Uncle John talked of the Pacific. Dad talked of Korea. I talked about the farm.

“Uncle John, it’s hard to explain how wonderful it felt to ride on the tractor next to Roger, the wind at our backs, the city boy spreading manure with his cousin. I didn’t even mind getting covered by spray.”

Uncle John put down his beer, strong hands clutching his sides, chortling gleefully. He rubbed his bald pate, his grin framed by ruddy cheeks, “Hell, boy! Roger knew better than to drive downwind trailing a spreader!”

The Ring

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, as many of you know, is a big Wagner fan. So, in his never ending quest to keep the work of Richard Wagner in front of his minions he commends to you this site from the Goethe Institute. It was drawn to your Maximum Leader’s attention by JohnL of TexasBestGrok. Many thanks to JohnL.

If you are unfamiliar with the Ring Cycle, it wouldn’t kill you to go and look over this site. Which as John mentioned, is geared towards introducing the Ring to school-kids.

Carry on.

Bad Poetry to Welcome the Wee Foreign Minister

Hark! The Naked Villains Sing
Welcome to the wee little thing

Born to conservative gun nut vile
A promising lad, a wee new child

A boy who will surely be
Terror to his daddy

Like his dad, true not fake
Bottle-rocket guns will make

From his Dad the wee boy learns
Napalm in the front yard burns

Boys will be boys, that’s not far wrong
But before I cease to sing this song

If I don’t warn, remiss I’ll be
Keep him away from Emilie!

Or there will be a sad end to this tale
Smallholder doesn’t mind going back to jail

Congratulations, Greg. We are so happy for you!

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