Incitement

Greetings, loyal minions.

Your Maximum Leader sees that the jury in the Derek Chauvin trial seems to have reached a verdict. That verdict will be announced shortly. Your Maximum Leader was drafting out a blog post on incitement, and he’ll just share a few quick thoughts here and now - rather unformed - before the chaos that ensues after the verdict is announced. And know, there will be chaos after the verdict. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t care what the verdict is. It makes no difference. The verdict will result in violence and property destruction no matter how it turns out. For the record, your Maximum Leader (who has not been carefully following the details of what transpired at the trial) believes that Chauvin will be found guilty of Manslaughter and receive a sentence of about 8 years of which he’ll serve about 2.5.

Having said that, let’s talk about incitement for a moment. Your Maximum Leader has thought a lot about incitement in 2021. It started on January 6th. On that day the (then) President of the United States urged a crowd of his followers to go to the Capitol building and protest the outcome of the US Presidential election. That crowd went to the Capitol building and eventually stormed the building. The action of the crowd turned mob resulted in property damage, injury, and death. Your Maximum Leader believes it was one of the darkest days for the Republic during his lifetime. The question became, did the President incite the crowd/mob to do what they did?

This is theme has resurfaced again after Congresswoman Maxine Waters urged protesters to “stay on the street” and “get more confrontational” if the jury didn’t convict Derek Chauvin in the George Floyd case.

So… Were these both examples of incitement? Well, your Maximum Leader has taken some time to try to educate himself a little bit on what exactly the law says about incitement. It turns out that the law is pretty clear. Broadly speaking to legally meet the definition of incitement a person has to directly call for lawless actions or speak in a way that will likely result in lawless actions. This is the Brandenburg Test. So… In order for someone to be prosecuted for incitement (to riot, to engage in a rebellion, or to engage in an insurrection) on has to be pretty explicit about about engaging in speech that will result in lawlessness. In the instances of President Trump’s and Congresswoman Waters’ comments it seems pretty clear that neither of them would meet the standard to be charged and found guilty of incitement.

But, your Maximum Leader wonders (as did Democrats in the House of Representatives when they impeached President Trump for a second time) if there should be a lower bar for what he will call “Political Incitement.” That is when a political leader makes statements that are both inflammatory enough to motivate people to lawlessness, but vague enough to not pass the Brandenburg Test. Your Maximum Leader will go on the proverbial record and say that there ought to be some penalty for Political Incitement. In both the cases he’s mentioned here, he would want at a minimum a formal censure of the offending person. But further, he would be supportive of the removal of that person from office and barring that person from holding office in the future. So, if you’re wondering, yes your Maximum Leader would have supported the removal from office of Trump in January 2021. He would also support the removal from office of Waters in April 2021.

Basically it comes down to elected officials holding offices of trust under the Constitution of the United States should not make inflammatory statements that are likely to provoke or inspire lawlessness. So, if you are a US Senator and you go and speak to a crowd of supporters who are inclined to be dissatisfied with their lot and tell them that they should go and stand up for themselves, that could be a type of political incitement. If you are the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and you go and speak to a crowd protesting unfair housing practices in some US city and during your remarks you encourage the crowd to show people how angry you are and to keep up protesting for change, that could be a type of political incitement. In both of these hypotheticals, if the crowds engaged in lawless behavior as a result of the remarks given, that would meet his personal test in this “Political Incitement.” Now your Maximum Leader isn’t trying to make a hard and fast rule, but he is trying to set a standard for acceptable behavior among officials. Officials should always default to eschewing remarks that could inflame a crowd to lawlessness. Sadly we live in a time where this doesn’t seem to be the case for some (a noteworthy few in fact) officials. Those officials are, by and large, the worst of our elected officials and we as a nation would be better off without them.

Of course, your Maximum Leader is just a bloviator in the ether… So all this amounts to him crying out like an idiot. Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Carry on.

General March 18th Update

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t have much to write this morning. But he’s not going to let that stop him! (Today at least.)

Thanks to our good friend Robbo for the kind linkage to yesterday’s post. Your Maximum Leader wondered (for about 5 seconds) if he should post the gif of bouncing bewbs. Would it offend readers (such as he might have)? But your Maximum Leader is a somewhat unreformed sort and figured that regular straight men (or the sort among whom your Maximum Leader counts himself) would enjoy it. And that gif has it all: bouncy bewbs, green (for the Catholics), orange (for Protestants), and a shopping bag (for the Capitalists). Glad it was enjoyed.

Anyhoo…

So when President Biden said that Vladimir Putin “had no soul” and was a killer did he mean no soul and killin’ it in a groovy rhythm and blues type of way. You know, settling in to a melodic groove and laying down some cool action with the ladies? Or was it no immortal soul created by God and a terrible murderer of his political enemies? Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure. He thinks that Biden meant the latter, but the former isn’t quite out of the question.

By the way…

Any one out there watching (or have you watched more accurately) the America’s Cup? Can your Maximum Leader be any more stereotypically middle-aged white guy than by fessing up to watching yacht racing on television? Anyway, your Maximum Leader has been watching the America’s Cup (and the Prada Cup before the America’s Cup) and needs to go and congratulate the New Zealand team for successfully defending the Auld Mug. Now, let your Maximum Leader say that he prefers the good ole days when the boats racing for the Cup were graceful 12 meter sailboats built for speed. If you haven’t watched one of these races from this year, just check one out for a little bit. The monohull boats with foils are absolutely incredible. Give them a little wind and the rise up out of the water and fly like nothing you have seen on the water anywhere else. Your Maximum Leader has seen the yachts hit speeds of 50 knots. (That is over 57 mph or over 92 kph for you who are metrically inclined.) He’s even seen them exceed 50 knots. It is crazy. You can go and see some of what your Maximum Leader is talking about on the main America’s Cup website. Or, for those of you disinclined to click through:

Again… It is incredible to watch these boats race.

Speaking of sports…

Your Maximum Leader has been watching his beloved Washington Capitals a lot on the teevee. It is good to have sports on again. Soon it will be that great time of year where he can watch both of the sports he enjoys. Namely hockey and baseball. Baseball season starts in a few days, and your Maximum Leader hopes that the Washington Nationals will be able to have fans (hopefully more than 5,000) in the stands to see the boys of summer raise the World Series banner (again - sort of - thanks COVID). Your Maximum Leader was considering buying tickets to the new Fredericksburg Nationals. But that is looking less likely now as Mrs. Villain’s primary ride (a 2004 Chevy Suburban) appears to have given up the ghost. So auto purchase is likely soon in the cards. (No fun.)

Carry on.

A Few Thoughts, June 23, 2020.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader will share a few disjointed thoughts with you all…

- As your Maximum Leader tweeted recently, no one will ever be woke enough. The mob will turn on you. The revolution will eat its own. No one will ever be pure enough to pass the zeal of the examiners.

- Your Maximum Leader voted (in person) today in the Democratic Primary. Seriously, he did. He voted for the least odious of the two candidates running for a chance to take on incumbent Congressman Rob Whitman. Today notwithstanding, your Maximum Leader will vote to re-elect Whitman in November. Why did he not vote in the Republican primary? Well. Honestly, he had no idea what the positions were of the three men looking for a chance to unseat incumbent Senator Mark Warner (D). Once there is a winner in that race, he’ll learn about the candidate.

- Seriously… Your Maximum Leader honestly nearly forgot there was a primary today. He didn’t do much to educate himself on the candidates. He voted in the Democratic primary mainly because he actually knew who the two candidates were and was reasonably informed on their various positions…

- Your Maximum Leader snagged some of the Makers Mark Private Select bourbon for Virginia. There are two limited release, special bourbons just for sale in Virginia. Sadly, he was only able to get his hands on one of the two types released in the Commonwealth. He has the manager of his local ABC store on the lookout for the other…

- Your Maximum Leader has mostly moved back into his study. Readers may recall that a year ago your Maximum Leader took in an exchange student. At that time your Maximum Leader’s study was converted into a bedroom. It has now been (mostly) converted back. There are some objets d’art that need to be re-hung in the room. But the bookshelves are back and mostly full. But they are completely disorganized. It will take some time to put everything back in the proper place.

- Your Maximum Leader and Villainette #2 have been watching (rewatching for him, 1st time for her) Ken Burn’s “The Civil War.” Your Maximum Leader forgets how good it is. He is pleased that Villainette #2 has now grown to dislike George B. McClellan. (As one does.)

- Finally, your Maximum Leader wonders when the current civil unrest across our Republic will start to abate. There is much to say about it. Its causes. How it has progressed. What is says about us. What is might portend for the future. But that is all for another time.

Carry on.

Bleh.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader had three drafts of posts that he just can’t seem to finish. Two are fiction and the stories don’t go anywhere. The third one are more musings about the virus and the economy. He may try to finish that one off during the weekend.

But, he is writing this because it is just a shit week. Work hasn’t been bad. In fact, your Maximum Leader is glad to be occupied. But on so many other fronts it has been crap. Your Maximum Leader’s father has been in the hospital, home, then hospital, then rehab center, then hospital, now back at rehab center over the past two weeks. It is frustrating. Not as frustrating to him as to others actually. But it is not fun. Then a very close friend has broken his ankle and has to have emergency surgery tomorrow to insert screws into this ankle. He is panicking about the surgery. He is quite fearful of every aspect of the procedure. This too is not fun. And then there is the general stir-craziness going around the Villainschloss.

Your Maximum Leader would say that this would be a good weekend to get a haircut, go to confession, and then get to Mass on Saturday AND Sunday in the hopes that a little religion would help put him in a better frame of mind. But given the situation…

He might try to read some to distract himself.

Carry on.

Sunday Potpourri

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, despite the flu fears, ventured from the Villainschloss today. He traveled to Charlottesville, VA and visited Monticello. As you all are no doubt aware, Monticello is the ingenious home of Thomas Jefferson. If he had not called in some favors and gotten a special tour of the house (along with a trip to the upper floors and the Dome Room) he might have opted to stay at home and not sojourn amongst his fellow citizens and expose himself (and his family) to the flu. For what it is worth, he didn’t touch much of anything. He washed his hands as often as it was feasible. And once the visit to Monticello was done, he proceeded directly back to the Villainschloss.

Your Maximum Leader really likes Monticello. You wouldn’t have guessed it because he hasn’t visited there in 22 years. But he really does love Monticello. He doesn’t love it as much as he LOVES Mount Vernon. (NB: Since his last visit to Monticello he has probably visited Mount Vernon seven times.) But then again, your Maximum Leader is a great Washington partisan so that may play a role in his tastes. Regardless of preferences, Monticello is completely deserving of its World Heritage Site designation. In so many ways it shows the character and contradictions of Jefferson himself. While your Maximum Leader isn’t a fan of psycho-history (or psychological analysis of historical figures as it were) he does think you can pick up many elements of Jefferson in his home. The dining room for example is comfortable and lavish, but the dumb-waiter and rotating door for serving food allowed Jefferson to keep his slaves out of sight to his guests. (All but one at any rate.) One the other hand, the main entry hallway is a veritable natural history museum of early America and speaks to his inquisitive mind and superior intelligence. Jefferson is a complicated character. Sort of like the country he is instrumental in founding. If you are in the area and have never visited Monticello, it is worth a visit. Frankly, if you are just passing through Virginia (say on I-95 heading north or south) it is worth a diversion to see.

Interesting… In getting the links to both Monticello and Mount Vernon he sees that both places are now closed to the end of the month. There are too many closures to note. It would probably be easier to note what places are still open and what events are still going on? Like the XFL. The XFL played games today. In front of live people. Your Maximum Leader was a bit surprised to see it actually. He wonders if their ratings were good? They are the only live sport on (it seems). One would think they would get a lot of eyes on TV from a population that is anxiously looking for some distraction.

Speaking of distractions… Here is a mental exercise for you. Your Maximum Leader thought of this one in the car driving back from Charlottesville. Ready? Here you go: Assume the former/late Presidents of the United States were alive and in their retirement after leaving office, but living in 2020. What vehicle do you think they would drive?

That is it. That is the game. If all the men who have served as chief executive of our great republic were alive today, what would they regularly drive?

Your Maximum Leader will go first. George Washington would drive a 2018 Ford F-250 SuperCab with a Powerstroke Turbo Diesel. Washington, after his presidency went back to Mount Vernon and managed his farms. He regularly rode 15-20 miles a day checking in and being personally involved in keeping things running. He would need a big vehicle suited to farm work to get around in. Your Maximum Leader thinks that he would put lots of hours on his truck and would keep it for a long time, which is why this truck isn’t brand-new, but a few years old. Your Maximum Leader thinks he would get a new one when he needed, and that was a few years ago.

John Adams, in retirement, would drive an early 2000’s model Subaru Outback LL Bean edition. It would be very high mileage, but still well kept and maintained. Adams would need the all-wheel drive and heated seats up in Quincy. Plus your Maximum Leader imagines that Adams would be a big-time client of LL Bean. (When Adams died, he would leave the car to John Quincy Adams, who would be happy to keep driving it as it would lessen the load on his own Outback LL Bean edition.)

[UPDATED: Loyal reader, Buckethead of the Ministry of Minor Perfidy, comments that Adams would probably drive a Volvo. Your Maximum Leader endorses this idea. More in comments.]

Thomas Jefferson would drive a 2020 BMW 750i x-drive sedan. It is a big car (he had a large extended family living with him so he would need the space) but the car also sends off that vibe of “I pretend not to be a real jerk, but secretly am a huge jerk.” He would claim that he wanted a car that would befit his station, but still be “practical” for his needs. Of course, this car would be leased and he would get a new one as soon as he hit 25,000 miles.

Andrew Jackson was a toughie. Really tough in fact. On the one hand, he was, like Washington, very engaged in his farm. So it stands to reason that he would need a vehicle that he could drive around The Hermitage. But on the other hand, Jackson was a small angry man who needs a car befitting that part of his personality. If your Maximum Leader was to choose a “farm vehicle” for Jackson it would be a 2014 Chevy Suburban. He has the space and power he needs to move people and stuff around around on the farm. But unlike Washington, who your Maximum Leader can imagine putting stuff in his truck and moving it where it needed to be; he can’t imagine Jackson actually moving stuff around in his own vehicle. He *could* move stuff in the Suburban. But he is more likely just to tell others to get the job done and drive away and circle back later. If your Maximum Leader was choosing the “non-farm” vehicle for Jackson it would be a 1968 Chevy Camaro SS. Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure why, but he can imagine Jackson in a blue ‘68 Camaro wearing a leather jacket, mirrored shades, and cruising the streets of Nashville looking to beat the crap out of someone.

Those are the only ones your Maximum Leader could think of in the time he had in the car to think of these things to himself. He wants to think about what vehicle Abraham Lincoln would drive in more detail (he thinks it is probably a Ford F-150). He also is ruminating over what James Madison would drive. (In fact, your Maximum Leader doesn’t think Madison would drive in his retirement. He imagines that Dolley Madison would have a 4-door Jeep Wrangler and would drive little Jimmy where he wanted to go.)

Anyway… If you, dear reader, have any you can suggest, your Maximum Leader would be glad to hear from you.

By the way… This is the type of content your Maximum Leader should be posting more frequently… The really random crap…

Carry on.

Don’t forget your Maximum Leader on the tweety-box: @maximumleader.

Flu Fear

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader will remind readers of his (generally) annual trip to the pork capital of Virginia to buy his Easter ham. Last weekend was the glorious Hamquest. (Your Maximum Leader thinks he should hashtag and trademark “Hamquest” lest some lesser mortal try to muscle in on the term.)

Last Saturday your Maximum Leader roused Mrs. Villain, Villainette #2, and the foreign exchange student he is hosting - who we will call FE - from their slumbers to get into the car and head to Smithfield, VA. Smithfield is the home of Smithfield Foods one of the largest pork processors in the world. It also has a 350+ year tradition of producing country hams. Your Maximum Leader took his intrepid band down to Jamestown, VA and caught the ferry to Scotland, VA. From there he proceeded to Surry, then on to Smithfield. He initially bypassed the town to head directly to his ham provider of choice, Darden’s Country Store.

On arriving at Darden’s your Maximum Leader’s party got a treat. You see, last weekend was the weekend that they pack the new hams in the smokehouse. To describe this process for your benefit, before last Saturday, the extended Darden clan had taken the remaining hams from last year (about 30 or so) and placed them in a temporary storage unit they had next to the smokehouse. In another temporary storage unit (which was actually an old shipping container) they had started the process of curing this year’s hams. They had covered the floor of the container with salt then started stacking the fresh hams in the salt. When one layer was down, they cover the layer in salt. Then they add another layer. Then salt the new layer. And so on until they had over 1300 hams packed in salt. They remained in the salt for 2-3 weeks. On the day we arrived, they were taking the hams out of the salt, wiping them off lightly with a dry towel, and then covering them in pepper. Once the salted hams had been peppered, they were hung in the rafters of the smokehouse. They will hang to dry for another week. Then they will be smoked. The smoldering fire will be built and tended for 7-10 days. Day and night the smoke will cover the hams. At the end of 7-10 days the hams are fully cured and then they just age. Your Maximum Leader, as he noted, got one of last year’s hams. So his has aged for over a year. Aging adds more saltiness to the ham and requires more water before cooking. Once a ham is cured it can last years. In fact, the longest your Maximum Leader has kept a cured country ham is 6 years. He didn’t mean to keep the ham that long. He bought one, hung it in the basement. Forgot about the ham. Bought another and prepared it. And the ham sat in a back corner of the basement (of his parents house actually) for 6 years until his mother moved a shelf and saw it. She was going to throw it away, but your Maximum Leader forbade it and prepared the ham shortly after its rediscovery. It was delicious by the way.

Anyhoo… Your Maximum Leader selected a lovely 22 pound ham and paid for it.

While your Maximum Leader was waiting for the ham to be wrapped, he introduced FE to Mr. Darden and explained how FE was an exchange student from China and how we were showing him bits of America you don’t see by visiting New York or DC. Mr. Darden and FE spoke a bit about the Chinese love of pork and how much pork Smithfield Foods exported to China. (In fact, Smithfield Foods it largely owned by the Chinese national investment trust or some such thing. Perhaps that is a post for another day.) So we had a lovely time with the Dardens. We got the ham and went into town to our favorite restaurant, Smithfield Station for lunch.

For lunch your Maximum Leader had the “Smithfield chowder” and the “Station burger.” The chowder was a thin clear broth with potatoes, onion, celery, country bacon (think country ham, but bacon) and chopped clams. It was quite tasty. The burger was a 1/4 pound aged angus burger, with a healthy slice of country ham, 2 slices of country bacon, cheddar cheese, a generous helping of lump crab meat, with chopped purple onion, lettuce, and tomato on a grilled Hawaiian bun. It was really something else. Mrs. Villain had the creamy crab soup, and fish tacos. Villainette #2 had crab soup and and a grilled chicken dish (with country ham as a compliment to the chicken). FE had the crab soup as well and the pork BBQ sandwich.

We had a lovely lunch, and then went to walk through town…

Now, your Maximum Leader has visited Smithfield many many times (pretty much annually) and has always had a wonderful time and found a way to chat with the lovely people of the town. He was proceeding to do so during this visit. He would introduce himself and explain that we were visiting for ham and to show FE parts of America and American life. After our second stop Mrs. Villain took your Maximum Leader aside and said that he shouldn’t mention that FE was from China. You see, she had observed that after mentioning that FE was an exchange student from China a few people we encountered stepped back and were considerably more restrained than they were before that bit of information was exchanged.

So your Maximum Leader said that he would refrain from sharing that bit of information. But, it came up again at some of our other stops. Only this time FE himself mentioned that he was from China. Your Maximum Leader observed that people did seem to change their body language very subtly after that information was exchanged. Furthermore, if your Maximum Leader offered up that FE had been studying in the US for four years in an attempt to reassure people that he wasn’t a walking viral infection fresh from Wuhan, people didn’t change their posture towards him.

All in all it made me a little sad. FE did go to visit his family in China over Christmas break. But he returned before anyone had heard of the Covid-19 virus. He is, as is the whole family here, clear and feeling fine. But you show some people anyone from China (a large country with a population of over a billion people) and they get all squirmy and fearful that they are going to die from the flu. It was a bit disappointing to see in fact. It made your Maximum Leader more than a little sad in fact.

Anyhoo…

Your Maximum Leader isn’t going to let this stop him from continuing to take FE out to see this great nation and learn more about America and Americans.

Carry on.

A New Year’s Message

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wishes you a Happy New Year. May it be filled with the emotions you allow yourself to be overcome with!

In our current social climate it seems a bit wrong to just wish you a peaceful, prosperous, and joyful 2020. If one is dissatisfied with politics, nothing your Maximum Leader writes will help you. If one is anxious about the health of the planet, nothing your Maximum Leader writes will help you. If one is upset that others are not sufficiently accommodating or accepting of others, nothing your Maximum Leader writes will help you. What your Maximum Leader is expressing is that you will only allow yourself the peace, joy, and mental/emotional well-being that you are predisposed to allow yourself. Allow your Maximum Leader to take the long view for a moment. We live in an age of miracle and wonder. (To crib Paul Simon’s lyric.) 2020 is the best time to be alive for a human being in the whole of human history. You may think politics are shit (and they are). You may think that life on the planet is going to collapse in 15-100 years (and it may). You may be offended by people that do not share your beliefs (and it is likely many don’t). But all in all and across the globe things that made life miserable and short are diminishing with each passing year. If you step back and look at the broad swath of history, none of your ancestors every had it so good. Perhaps you should be a little thankful and take a moment to see how you can make a positive change to yourself. A little change to yourself may have ripples outward to others.

Enough of the hippy-esque talk now! Down to business.

First of all, you’re welcome for this post. Your Maximum Leader is certain that all of you that might stumble across this page (or even navigate to it on purpose) are glad to see the new of the Washington Nationals winning the World Series pushed down the page.

Your Maximum Leader is coming to you from the dungeon of the Villainschloss. A dungeon in great disarray. It upsets his . Yes. Your Maximum Leader’s harmony is disturbed. It is due to a number of improvements being made to the Villainschloss. You see, the dungeon bathroom is being remodeled. He hopes that the work on that room will be done by Monday, but he isn’t 100% sure it will be. Additionally, the stairs down to the dungeon are being stained (after being replaced recently). This means that your Maximum Leader must walk out of the Villainschloss, around to the dungeon door, and then come back in. Of course, a little more walking would do your Maximum Leader good, but it is damned annoying.

As today is New Year’s Day, your Maximum Leader has attended Mass to fulfil his obligation to observe the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. (NB: Wasn’t this day at one point known as “Mary, Queen of the Universe?” Has your Maximum Leader imagined that? Too lazy to Google it right now.) He attended Mass at 7am as is his habit. He wanted to go to the Vigil Mass last night at 7pm that was celebrated in Latin. Sadly, his plans did not pan out and he went this morning.

Why did his plans not pan out you may ask? Well, it is because he was smoking pork shoulder and it just didn’t get done until much later than he planned. You see, your Maximum Leader was gifted this Christmas with some of his favorite seasoning rub. It is from Charlie Vergo’s Rendezvous restaurant in Memphis, TN. If he is being forthcoming, he was gifted with a lot of spice rub in fact. (The gifter misread the ordering page and rather than ordering 1 box of 8 jars of rub, ordered 8 boxes of 8 jars of rub.) Faced with an embarrassment of delightful spices, your Maximum Leader took out two nice sized pieces of pork shoulder from the freezer, thawed them, brined them, then covered them in Rendezvous rub and set them to cook in the smoker. Sadly, due to the shape of one of the bones, and the breeze that must have kept the temperature down a bit lower than his smoker’s thermometer read, the pieces took a few hours longer to cook than planned. Not only that, one of the two pieces still wasn’t fully done when he took them out of the smoker. Sadly a little time in the oven to correct this error was needed before they could be served. They tasted great, but the need for extra heat upset your Maximum Leader a touch.

Anyhow, dinner on New Year’s Eve didn’t occur until 7pm. So Latin Mass was out.

Back to Mass… Your Maximum Leader prayed for many of you that might see this. And he offered up general intentions for everyone. He is going to try to be more prayerful this year. Specifically, he is going to try to change the general thrust of his prayers (such as they are) to be more thankful and to ask to be more receptive to good in the world around him. He has been reflecting on many things and realizes that a (however small) change is his outlook might reap manifold benefits. This applies to prayer as much as everything else. So there is that…

Ellipses…

Your Maximum Leader has been reading on the interwebs (specifically on the Tweety-box follow your Maximum Leader!) that people who use ellipses to “trail off” in their writing are generally evil and horrible people. To quote Carl Spackler, “So, I’ve got that going for me.”

To turn to topical news…

What is the protocol for killing people storming your Embassy? Your Maximum Leader’s personal opinion is that Embassies, Ambassadors, and Embassy Staff are sacrosanct. Once people breached a clearly demarcated perimeter, all bets are off. Your Maximum Leader falls in line, historically, with the Mongol Khans in this particular area of diplomacy. As evinced by this Ambassadorial medallion from Kublai Khan in 1240.
Khan Passport

Your Maximum Leader is declaring right now that there is not one single person running for the office of President of the United States of America for whom he can vote in good conscience. That is saying something, because there are about 100 people running. As you may recall, your Maximum Leader cast his vote in 2016 for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate. Not knowing who the Libertarian candidate might be yet, there is a big empty spot right now in your Maximum Leader’s mental ballot paper. Your Maximum Leader is no fan of Donald Trump, but the Democrat candidates seem to only be able to push your Maximum Leader towards Trump. Your Maximum Leader can hardly believe he is typing these words are they appear on the screen in front of him. Trump is awful, but every Democrat is as bad or worse. They aren’t worse from a personal point of view. Trump is a terrible person. But the Democrats are terrible from a policy perspective. From the point of view of presidential politics, 2020 doesn’t look all that good. At this point your Maximum Leader might write in “zombie Richard Nixon” for President.

Which brings up the question, would a zombie Richard Nixon be eligible to be elected President of the US? A quick reading of the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution tells us that “no person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice.” So there we have it. Richard Nixon, even reanimated Richard Nixon, is not eligible to serve as President.

Speaking of zombies, when your Maximum Leader contemplates melee weapons to keep in handy for the zombie apocalypse, one of the first ones he thinks of is a Venetian war hammer. Clicky here to see one if you are unfamiliar. They have some length (to keep the zombies a little way away from you). They have a pointy bits (for when you want to get stabby). They have the hammer bit (for when you want to get smashy). And the have the hook bit (for when you want to pull down a zombie before your get stabby or smashy on them). (NB: for those D&D players out there, a Venetian war hammer depending on it’s size causes 1d6 to 1d10 of damage.)

Of course, you want to have a ranged weapon too. Guns are great for as long as one can get ammo. Then you need bows or crossbows…

Speaking of guns. Did you see that video of the terrible shooting at the church in Texas? The one where more bloodshed was averted by 71 year old Jack Wilson. Mr. Wilson drew his weapon and shot the assailant in the head at a distance of 50 (or so feet) within seconds of the assailant’s first shot. It was a masterful and timely display of skill and expertise. Your Maximum Leader is not nearly as skilled and isn’t sure how he would have reacted in Mr. Wilson’s place. Of course, your Maximum Leader will freely admit that he would feel awkward bringing a gun into church. Even if it was legal and okay with the church in question. Your Maximum Leader’s awkwardness would leave him to his fate and having to rely on people like Mr. Wilson to save him.

Well… The ellipses indicate that your Maximum Leader is trailing off now. He has come to the end of things in his brain to put down in the blog right now.

Merry Christmas (until Epiphany at least) and Happy New Year.

Carry on.

Merry Christmas!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is feeling saucy and rather than posting his normal link to the Adoration by El Greco, you get this image instead for your Christmas viewing.

Christmas by Randall

Merry Christmas to all and to all a naughty night.

Carry on.

(NB: Your Maximum Leader must have forgotten to publish this on Christmas. You have his apologies.)

Some Randoms

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has some random thoughts that he will share here, rather than on the olde tweety-box.

You know, baseball is a hard game to explain to someone from China. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t recall that it was as hard to explain to his own children as they grew up as it is to our exchange student. There are, apparently, many things that don’t make sense to him about the game.

By the way, baseball is everything to which America should aspire. Football is everything that America is.

It is damned hot out. Really damned hot out. Walking a few blocks around downtown is enough to make your Maximum Leader think that he has sweat off 5 pounds.

The metric system is quite easy to use and understand. It is something of a pity that it never caught on here. (By the way, it is 32C outside right now.)

Your Maximum Leader ordered a biography of Aelfred the Great and it should be here today.

Your Maximum Leader has been quite fond of the Netflix series “Stranger Things.” He really enjoyed Season 1. He also really enjoyed Season 2. He is watching Season 3 now (1 or 2 episodes to go - he forgets). He feels that Season 3 is weak and disjointed. There is also a plot line that he has real difficulty stomaching. So last night your Maximum Leader was talking about this hang-up in Season 3 with a friend. At one point the friend said, “So let me get this straight. You are just fine with mind flayers, demi-gorgons, and the whole ‘upside down,’ but an underground base filled with Russians is too much for you to handle?” To which your Maximum Leader replied, “Yes. That is it. I don’t know how the Soviets could move millions of cubic yards of dirt to build that base in Indiana without attracting attention. And how many uniformed Soviets do they have down there and how did they get to Indiana without causing a stir?”

Speaking of Stranger Things… Your Maximum Leader has always had a soft spot in his heart for Winona Ryder. He described her last night as his “secret, wonderfully-wacky, Oscar-nominated, shoplifting, hippy commune loving, girlfriend.” Your Maximum Leader seriously does love her.

Sometimes, dealing with “customer service” departments of large corporations can be a pain in the ass.

Did he mention it is hot out?

And in the TMI department, tomorrow morning your Maximum Leader is going to get a haircut (7:30am) and swing by his parish for some “time in the box” as Robbo would call it. Your Maximum Leader is always amazed at the line for Confession at 8am on Saturday mornings…

There it is. (As Emperor Franz Joseph might say…)

Carry on.

Disrupted.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been disrupted. Very disrupted. Allow him to explain.

Since moving into the Villainschloss, he has had a downstairs room as his “office” or “study.” Your Maximum Leader prefers study himself, but office seems to be more common with Mrs. Villain and the Villainous Offspring. So, his study… The room contained many bookshelves, filled with books (though one shelf of one bookshelf was filled with tchotckes). There was also an old antique leather chair. Next to the chair sat a small side table. The table was big enough to hold a book, cocktail glass, and a candlestick. Then he had his Queen Anne desk in the room as well. He may have shared a photo or two of it on the Twitter at some point in the past.

Well… Your Maximum Leader is past-tensing all of this because he’s been run out of his study beginning today (effectively) and running through the end of June 2020. Why you may ask? Well… For a person… Specifically, a Chinese exchange student who is a classmate (of sorts) with the Wee Villain.

The Wee Villain attends a private school here in Fredericksburg. This school as a good reputation among a circle of wealthy Chinese around Shanghai. So at any given moment there are one or two students from the Shanghai area attending the upper school (aka: the high school). One of these young people is an 18 (soon to be 19) year old senior. He has been living with a family with much younger children (5th grade is the oldest in fact). But that family alerted the school that they could not keep him for his senior year. This caused the school administrators to go into a frantic search to find a family to house and care for this young man for his senior year. The Wee Villain plays two sports with this young Chinese man and they take Spanish together. They get on pretty well and knowing this the school administrators called your Maximum Leader and made the pitch.

Well… We decided to help out and take the young man in. Mrs. Villain was desperately trying to figure out how this was going to work (because at the moment all the Villainous Offspring are at home). It was in this moment of crisis that your Maximum Leader determined to step up an offer up his study to be converted into a bedroom. And so it has been done. It has taken a fair amount of work this weekend to get everything readjusted for the young man’s arrival (tomorrow). Most of the prep work was done by Mrs. Villain, Villainette #2, and the Wee Villain. But today your Maximum Leader has been working all day to get things right. The largest challenge has been related to technology. You see, the primary drop point for internet, phone, and television has been in the closet of the study. This was not going to work out for a number of logistical reasons - chief among them is that your Maximum Leader’s computer (and one or two other tech items) are hard wired only. None of this crazy wi-fi stuff for this. So some equipment and wires needed to be moved through a wall into your Maximum Leader’s “new study for the next year.”

The “new study” is a large unfinished room that has been used for storage. As it has had to be fitted out to house a desk, desk chair, and books. The room, as any good storage room does, has lots of shelving. But the shelving was filled with stuff. Lots of stuff. Before they could house books, the stuff got a sorting. By sorting your Maximum Leader means a purge. As often happens in convenient, roomy, storage rooms things get saved that probably should be discarded. In this case, approximately 2/3 of the stuff on the shelves of the storage room was disposed of, and the remaining 1/3rd was distributed to other areas of the house where it made more sense for the stuff to reside. There was one large casualty of this purge. It was a dresser and side table. They hadn’t been used in a number of years, and were deposited at Goodwill earlier in the process.

The contents (well most of them - one large built-in bookshelf couldn’t be moved and wasn’t emptied - so our exchange student will have at his fingertips a wide array of books on: American History, Western European History (not including the UK or Ireland - which are in another area of the Villainschloss in their own space), Asian History (more Japan and Korea than China), and Political Philosophy) are now in this former storage room. It is from the “new study” that your Maximum Leader types these words to send them into the ether for your reading edification. If there is a benefit to being in this “new study” it is that it is cold. There are no windows. The room is below grade. And there is one HVAC vent that opens fairly close to where your Maximum Leader’s chair is located. So he’s got that going for him.

Wish your Maximum Leader luck for the next year. We hope this all works out… More tales of exchange student adventures will surely come…

Carry on.

The Procedure (In Which He Details Too Much)

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader may go a little off brand here. He is going to drop the 3rd person, and he is going to go graphic. If you don’t want to read about a recent “procedure” performed on your Maximum Leader’s person today you may want to skip this post…

You were warned…

So, like men men of a certain age, I had a colonoscopy today. It was my second actually. My first was 5 years ago. As I write this I am a little light-headed now because the general anesthetic is still wearing off. Honestly I don’t know if my being tired was just the anesthesia wearing off, or the fact that I was just really tired because I didn’t sleep well (or hardly at all - more to come).

If you haven’t had a colonoscopy, the actual “procedure” isn’t bad. It isn’t bad because you are knocked out at have no memory of it. It is the colonoscopy prep that is misery. In fact, it is the worst part of the whole ordeal. I don’t know, dear reader, if you have had a colonoscopy yet. If you haven’t, you should if you have turned 50. (NB: If there is a history of colon polyps or colon cancer in your family you need to take the age of your closest relative when the polyps/cancer was discovered and subtract 18 years and get your first colonoscopy then.) As I have stated, the prep is awful. I will say that I did better this time than five years ago, but it is not fun on the ole hiney-hole.

Let’s get gruesome in our description now shall we?

The preparation began 5 days ago when I stopped eating raw veggies and all leafy veggies. 3 days ago I stopped eating any veggies or fruits that contained any small seed or pits (including those little pips on strawberries - whatever they are called). (NB: Google tells me that those little “pips” as I called them are actually achenes. Achenes are the ovaries of the plant with a tiny seed within. Who knew?) After dinner on Monday it was all clear liquids for me until after the procedure.

So, on Tuesday it was all tea, apple juice, and water for me until about 4 pm. At 4 pm yesterday afternoon, I drank 10 ounces of a really nasty (cherry flavored) stool softener. Specifically, the stuff was magnesium citrate. Then I waited. The process began at 5 pm when I had a really big nasty slimy shit. At 6 pm I started the “poop juice” as I call it. I should look up what it actually is called. Glaxflow. Glaflix. Gla-something. (NB: It is actually Gavilyte.) I got a 4 litre bottle of the stuff and had to drink 3 litres of it in three hours. You are supposed to drink roughly equal measures of the stuff every 10 minutes until you have consumed the 3 litres. As I said, I started drinking the infernal liquid at 6 pm. Sure enough, within thirty minutes the jet-like evacuation from my bottom of contents of my digestive tract had begun. The worst part of this phase of the prep is that every time you think to yourself, “Self, this is just a wee tiny fart” it is actually about a cup of fecal-infused liquid shooting out of your asshole at about 60 mph. Needless to say you spend a lot of time on the throne waiting for little visitors that don’t feel all that little.

Unlike my last procedure (when I thought I could “tough it out - I was wrong by the way), I was prepared this time to care for my bum. I was equipped with warm, sensitive skin, baby wipes to clean up. Those help a lot, but by about 10 pm your anus has pretty much had enough and is a raw, swollen, painful mess and the only thing coming out of you at this point is yellow-tinged liquid. The flow stopped around 11:30 pm. But then one is worried about going to sleep and shitting the bed because you fear that your body thinks you need to fart, but in reality your farts are really blasts of poop juice yearning to be free. I didn’t get to sleep until a little after midnight. I slept fitfully until my alarm went off at 4 am. Why 4 am you ask? Well… If you recall, I was given 4 litres of poop juice to consume, but only consumed 3. You have to finish that last litre three hours before you check in for your procedure. My check in this morning was 7 am. So there I was a few minutes after 4 am, in the kitchen, drinking the last of the vile stuff. You would think that there wouldn’t be anything left in you after 5 hours of shitting out the contents of your digestive tract that had just ended a few hours before. But you’d be wrong. Some odd small fibers came out right away. And then the piece de resistance came at 5 am this morning, in the midst of all the clear fluid there was one lone piece of crap. It was slightly larger than a piece of corn. And it was a smooth sphere. It was like a perfectly manufactured ball of fetid chocolate that somehow survived the first wave only to succumb to the follow-up assault. I admit I was shocked to see it there. But that was the last bit of anything inside me. I was perfectly clean after that. (The doctor told me so.)

So I went to the surgery center and checked in (with Mrs. Villain there to bring me home). They took me back and got me ready. They had trouble finding a vein for the IV. It took 2 nurses three tries before they got me. I have my mother to thank for that. She had “slippery veins” and getting an IV in her was a miserable ordeal. I wouldn’t say it was misery for me, but it was uncomfortable until they got it in.

After they got me all prepped, I sat around until it was my turn. Once it was my turn, I got wheeled in and then knocked out. Oh yes. Knocked out with the sweet, sweet propofol. I joked with the anesthesiologist during the pre-op process that I was looking forward to the “Michael Jackson milk.” Sadly, the anesthesiologist didn’t think this was nearly as funny as I did. (NB: During my last “procedure” I knew the anesthesiologist, we are friends socially. I made this joke to him and he went with it. The “milk” jokes flew for a few minutes. It was great. This time, I was semi-scolded and advised that there would be no funny stuff with the propofol.) I woke up a bit later (probably about 30 minutes later) and had some fruit juice and crackers. Then I got dressed and came home. Upon return to the Villainschloss, I went to bed and to sleep for about 90 minutes. After my nap, I have been up and around, but still a little light-headed from time to time. I attribute this to needing real food more than anything else.

In the aftermath, it looks like this will be an every five year thing for me. All was well. 2 small polyps were removed. I should have biopsy results in about 10 days. My doctor said they didn’t look bad. Last time he removed 3 polyps that were all a bit bigger. I’ll keep getting checked to make sure no polyp grows up in my colon.

Fun times…

Thanks for reading, if you are still reading… And do get yourself checked out if you haven’t been. Colon cancer is lethal and also easily preventable with regular checks.

Carry on.

Disaster

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sat down to blog the other night. While he was sitting at his computer, he thought he heard a dripping noise. He couldn’t place where it was, but it seemed irregular and faint. He asked his son to listen for it, but he couldn’t hear it. So you Maximum Leader chalked it up to getting old and hearing things.

Bad move.

The next day, Villainette #2 (home for Spring Break from VA Tech), called around lunch time to announce that your Maximum Leader’s office was soaked. The carpet was soaked. His desk was soaked. And there was water dripping from a light fixture and a vent.

Well, the long and short of this is that there is apparently a leak in the shower above your Maximum Leader’s office. There are holes in the ceiling to inspect to find from whence the water is coming. So far no luck. But the plumbers will be there in a little while. It is looking expensive.

The downside is that your Maximum Leader’s attempt to revive this blog and write is not working out too much. His computer was not damaged, but he may need a new keyboard…

Ugh.

Carry on.

Armoured Trains

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is quite fond of the choo-choos. Oh yes indeed. He would make most of his travel rail travel if time, expense, and availability of stops weren’t a factor. He would gladly hop on a train and go to just about anywhere he had to go.

Sadly, he does not. He could take a commuter train to DC more often. (But for where and when he goes driving is best.) He does prefer and take the train to Philly, and NYC when he has occasion to go there. He’s planning a trip to Roanoke on the train (to visit Villainette #2). But making the time to get the train that goes to Roanoke is a bit of a chore.

If your Maximum Leader were truly a murderous dictator (or merely a tyrant, or even a person of conspicuous wealth) he would gladly have a private train on which he would travel. Of course, your Maximum Leader’s train would be much nicer looking that Kim Jong-un’s. Kim’s train is nothing special to look at. Your Maximum Leader would prefer more streamlined, and not green. Something like Raymond Loewy would have designed. Like one of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s S-1 or T-1 locomotives (seen here). But obviously (and sadly) not steam powered. One thinks the locomotives would have to be diesel (or some futuristic diesel and electric hybrid - running on electric on the electrified tracks of the Northeast Corridor, but having diesel for the non-electrified track). And it goes without saying that while your Maximum Leader’s train would be stocked full of fine foods, adult beverages, and comely conductors like Kim’s train, it would travel faster than 37 mph.

Of course, your Maximum Leader mentioned the very famous PRR S-1 and T-1 locomotives as a basis for the design of his train. Your Maximum Leader’s favourite locomotive in the whole wide world is the Norfolk & Western J-Class. He would probably use the J-Class as a model for the locomotive on his (completely hypothetical) armoured train.

NB: Your Maximum Leader must have some British English box checked on spell check because armor appears wrong but armour appears to be correct.

Carry on.

Unexpected Joy

Greetings, loyal minions. This weekend has been one of unexpected joy. Both Villainettes are college students now. As such, they are not home often. This weekend, Mrs. Villain had planned to get Villainette #1 (a senior at VCU) and bring her home to the Villainschoss on Friday night to spend the weekend with us and do some general “family stuff.” Well, Mrs. Villain had a bad headache on Friday night and your Maximum Leader himself made the trek (45 mins each way) to get Villainette #1 (who has no vehicle of her own) and brought her back home.

Apparently, while your Maximum Leader was on the road to Richmond, Villainette #2 (a sophomore at Virginia Tech) was on the phone with Mrs. Villain. The upshot of that phone call was that Villainette #2 decided to get in her vehicle and trek up home herself. That is a 3.5 hour drive. She started at 8pm. It caused her mom and dad a little anxiety (driving at night on I-81 is never fun). But she got home safe and sound. (I don’t know why it causes anxiety for us since she just drove all the way from Fredericksburg, VA to Orlando, FL and back over Christmas.)

Anyway… The full family was here (and frankly still is for a little while longer) for the weekend. That is an unexpected joy.

Carry on.

The Black Dog

Greetings, loyal minions. You know, Winston Churchill was prone to bouts of what we would now describe as depression. Back in the day, it might have been called melancholy. When Churchill suffered from it his family, friends, and associates would say that “the Black Dog” had come and settled in. I mention this because I think I may be having a black dog of my own.

I wouldn’t call it depression, certainly not in any sort of clinical sense. Just a profound melancholy and abiding non-specific sadness that has lingered over me for a while. I can’t exactly put a finger on the cause. Perhaps it is generally anxiety over real life. You know the stuff. Kids in college. Work. Kid in High School. Relatives in a precarious health situation. Mortgage. My own weight and health. Just generalised stuff. I am hesitant to write that there is also anxiety over politics. But there is anxiety over politics too. I don’t want to be branded as having “Trump Derangement Syndrome” or whatever his advocates call it. I will say that he is by leaps and bounds the worst man to occupy the White House in my lifetime. (And I was born when Nixon was President - so that means something.)

As I’ve noted here, I didn’t vote for Donald Trump for President. I will not ever vote for him for anything. I do think he is a danger to the Republic. But he hasn’t actually accomplished as many things as many accuse him of accomplishing. He threatens. He is filled with lies and bluster. But he isn’t doing quite as much as many think. That being said, he is dangerously incompetent and that is likely the source of my generalised anxiety about him, and the state of the Republic today.

So my basic feeling is “Bleh.”

And that is about all there is to say about that.

Carry on.

    About Naked Villainy

    • maxldr

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