Out & In

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has a draft of a lengthy post about the events in our country that have unraveled over the past 2 weeks. But every time he thinks about publishing it, something new and strange seems to happen. So on this January 20th, 2021, Inauguration Day, your Maximum Leader will keep his comments short.

In March 1797, newly-minted former President George Washington said to newly-minted President John Adams, “I am fairly out, and you are fairly in. See which of us will be the happiest.” This quotation has come into your Maximum Leader’s mind many times in the past few weeks. In a few hours, Donald Trump will be fairly out of office and Joe Biden will be fairly in. It is important to state that very clearly. This election was not stolen. There was no great conspiracy. Joe Biden won a closely contested election. Trump’s team had chances all over the country and in state and federal courts to prove otherwise. They cannot. This part of the story has ended.

So with Trump fairly out and Biden fairly in, your Maximum Leader has reflected and has come to his conclusion that for what may be the first time in the history of the Republic, the incoming President may be happier than the outgoing President. Trump will continue to be a bitter, nasty, egomaniac brooding over his lies in his post-presidential years. Biden will be overwhelmed with his job and may not have much time for reflection. Your Maximum Leader hopes not to hear much from or about Trump starting tomorrow. But that will not come to pass. There is a trial in the Senate that will take center stage for a time. Then there will be the inevitable blaming of Trump (rightfully and wrongly) for everything that Biden and the Democrats can or cannot do that will go on for about 18 months. But after that trial your Maximum Leader hopes that it will be easier to ignore anything involving Donald Trump.

Though he doesn’t have high hopes, or great expectations, or even moderate expectations; he hopes that Joe Biden can start to move the United States towards a more normal, or at least settled, style of government. Good luck to him, and to all of us.

Carry on.

Happy Christmas.

Greetings, loyal minions. Happy Yuletide greetings to you all from your Maximum Leader ensconced in the Villainschloss. He hopes that you all have a wonderful Christmas, no matter how you choose to celebrate (or not celebrate) it. Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure if he will make it to Mass. His church is still operating at greatly reduced capacity and your Maximum Leader sometimes feels strange by going alone and potentially keeping out a family that needs to occupy more space than he does. His church actually puts 6.5 foot long pool noodles between groups in a pew (and only uses every other pew in the church). Since the pandemic began, and the churches reopened, your Maximum Leader has often be seated in a small corner with other “singles” so as to maximize space for others. If one doesn’t get to Mass early one doesn’t always get a seat. (Even at the 1st Mass of the day at 7am.) Since the Bishop has made Mass attendance optional during the pandemic, your Maximum Leader hasn’t gone often. If he’s being honest with you all here, he’s only been to Mass 4-6 times since March. (For what it is worth, Mrs. Villain - who is not Catholic and doesn’t attend Mass with your Maximum Leader - hasn’t been to church since March!) Your Maximum Leader will confess to you all that not going to Mass regularly is not good for his soul or his general well-being. It is something he needs to work on in this new liturgical year.

Anyhoo…

Here is the Adoration by El Greco for your viewing pleasure.
adorationbyelgrecolg1.jpg

May your holiday be merry and bright.

And by merry he means drenched in alcohol. The drinking type, not the disinfecting type - in case you needed clarification.

Carry on.

My Gallant Hero

Greetings, loyal minions. Many years ago, your Maximum Leader bought a book with audio tapes that purported to help one Learn Scots Gaelic.

Now, if you knew your Maximum Leader you would know that he has no talent for languages at all. And if you know anything about Scots Gaelic, or Irish Gaelic, or any of the Gaelic tongues is that they don’t just come easy. So the prospect of him learning any Gaelic at all was laughable to say the least.

All that being said, there is something about the language that rings in your Maximum Leader’s ear. He particularly loves listening to it being sung. The Irish seem to be doing more to preserve this tradition of sung Gaelic than do the Scots. Your Maximum Leader discovered many moons ago the Choral Scholars of University College Dublin. He loves listening to them. He particularly loves their version of one of his favorite songs of all time, Mo Ghille Mear.

Here it is for your viewing and listening pleasure:

In case you are curious as to what they might be singing here is another video with the lyrics in Gaelic and English.

Your Maximum Leader included this one in hopes that his best buddy Kevin, might look at the lyrics and smile. At some point your Maximum Leader and Kevin had a conversation whereby Kevin was bemused by how Gaelic words are written versus how they are pronounced.

And lest we go before he mentions it, your Maximum Leader’s personal favorite version of the song might be this one by The Chieftains and Sting:

When the Villainettes were little, we would sing this version of the song together in the car. The girls could never remember (or pronounce) Mo Ghille Mear so they called the song “The Scottish King Who Went Away.” As the Chieftains/Sting version is closer to an 18th Century version lamenting the fleeing of Bonnie Prince Charlie across the sea.

Good memories…

Carry on.

One Million Wouldn’t Have Been Enough

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader mused that if he had a million dollars he might have tried to acquire a painting by Winston Churchill.

Well… It seems the piece sold for $1.3 million.

So a million wouldn’t have been enough.

Carry on.

Move Forward

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader isn’t an expert. He doesn’t play one on TV. He is just a lowly blogger with a moribund web site. All that said… It is time for the transition to begin.

President Trump has lost the 2020 election. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t see a way for him to make up enough ground in enough places to change the outcome. He should do the right thing and instruct the GSA to start opening the government to President-Elect Biden’s transition team.

In case some of my conservative, or Republican, friends are scandalized by this position please consider these things your Maximum Leader has been considering. Was there widespread voter fraud across the country? No. There simply isn’t solid evidence of that. Claims are based on hearsay and mostly wild speculation on social media platforms. Was there voter fraud generally speaking? Oh yes. Your Maximum Leader is sure that there are fraudulently and illegally counted ballots all around the county. But even if these were all discovered, and recounted accurately and legally, it wouldn’t affect anything except on the margins. He doesn’t think any outcomes would be different than what we have today.

Does you Maximum Leader expect that President Trump will start the transition process on his side? No. He really doesn’t. Sadly, that is part of the petulant child portion of Trump’s personality that damages the country. One would hope that someone in the Administration would have the balls to get the ball rolling, and damn the consequences. That doesn’t seem likely either. Those who might have been inclined to do that have departed already.

So what about holding off until lawsuits and such are concluded? This is a valid point. Your Maximum Leader believes that President Trump is within his legal rights to sue and to contest what he thinks he should contest. Not only is he within his rights to do so, but he should do so considering how close (broadly speaking) the election is. The courts, for their part, should swiftly move to adjudicate these cases and should allow states to certify their results and remove any legal hurdle to the transition to the new administration.

Will all this happen quickly? Who knows? Your Maximum Leader is generally tired of trying to guess.

You can all be assured of one thing… Transition or not, on January 20, 2021, former Vice-President Joe Biden will become President of the United States.

Carry on.

If I Had a Million Dollars

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wishes he had a boatload of cash so that he could spend some of it on this painting.WSC painting of Johnny Walker

Yes. He would surely bid on this little piece by none other than Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill. It apparently goes on the block tomorrow.

Here is the article: Churchill’s painting of favourite whisky goes on sale.

Carry on.

Nile Dam

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is pretty confident that he, and the rest of you, may have missed the little tidbit from last week about how President Trump weighed in on the delicate Nile dam problem involving Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt. Here is a piece about it: Three-way Ethiopia dam talks to resume after Trump warning. Basically, President Trump said, when asked about the dam, “”It’s a very dangerous situation because Egypt is not going to be able to live that way… They’ll end up blowing up the dam.” Way to de-escalate there! Woo-hoo.

Of course, if you’ve been reading about the crisis you know that Egypt may very well blow up the dam. Or the three nations involved may come to some agreement on how much water will be let through the dam… We’ll continue to watch and see.

Carry on.

Introspection

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is going to withhold much of what is is thinking about the election right now. But he will put this out there. Many Democratic pundits, Democratic voters, and regular people are looking at the results, such as they are now, and saying to themselves, “having seen what has gone on for 4 years, how can people vote for more of this?” The unasked question that they would be well-served to also ask “is what are we offering going to push people away from voting for us?” Now, your Maximum Leader has a few close friends who are quick to point out that Biden is not a real leftist like many other faces of the Democratic Party. They would say that Biden isn’t going to push some of those “far left” policies. To this your Maximum Leader rejoins that Biden may not be that liberal, but the party seems to be that liberal.

Another question for Democrats to ask themselves is this: “How is calling people who disagree with us stupid racists working out for us?”

Carry on.

UPDATE: For what it is worth (and in this case that is most likely absolutely nothing), today your Maximum Leader has spoken to (a statistically insignificant sample size of) 3 women who did not vote for Trump in 2016, but said they did vote for him this year. Your Maximum Leader asked them why they voted for him. All three of them said pretty much variations on the same theme. That theme is: 1) the Democrats tacitly approved of (or actively supported) the protests (riots/violence) in the streets of the US over the summer and they feared for more, 2) none of them want single-payer health care and believe the Democrats will enact such policies, and 3) all the talk of adding DC and Puerto Rico as states (to increase the number of Democrats in the Senate) and packing the Supreme Court disturbed them greatly. One of them said about the last point that “they are sore losers who want to change the rules so they can win.”

Again, that is not a statistically significant sample, but it was interesting. In fact the only argument that could have convinced your Maximum Leader to vote for Trump was the “he will be a bulwark against Democratic excess” argument.

Avoiding Election News

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is taking a quick look right now at some non-election related news stories. (16:47 US Eastern Standard Time.) When he is done, it will be off the interwebs and social media and anything news related until at least tomorrow morning. At that point he will turn on the news to get the weather forecast. Sadly, he will likely get election news as well.

If all goes according to plan, he will have a few cocktails tonight whilst watching movies. Then he will drift off into dreamless slumber…

If all goes according to plan…

Carry on.

Voting

Greetings, loyal minions.

Your Maximum Leader voted two days ago.

He will neither encourage nor discourage you from doing so yourself.

Frankly, he doesn’t care if you vote.

And when he thinks more broadly about voting, he starts thinking about shrinking the franchise.

Of course, when your Maximum Leader’s World Order comes, everyone will vote. Everyone will be encouraged to vote. But your votes will be meaningless.

Happy Halloween.

Carry on.

Speaking the Unspeakable.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been watching the news from Europe and Asia a little more carefully over the past few weeks than he has before. You see, he figured that since the Covid outbreaks in Europe and Asia for the most part preceded those of the US and Canada they would likely lead any “second wave” that might be happening. Additionally, since Europe and Asia seem to have better prevention and mitigation protocols than the US, it would stand to reason that seeing how bad a second wave of infections might be could illustrate how it could go in the US.

Well… The news isn’t good. This article from The Daily Beast might be one of the first of many that we will see in American outlets: Italy Did Everything Right to Stop a Second Wave of the Coronavirus. So What Went Wrong? The picture is not promising. Here are some salient points:

If you turn on the news in Italy right now, you might be forgiven for thinking you are getting reruns from March. Pictures of COVID-only units, field hospitals being erected, exhausted medics and coffins are again dominating headlines as Italy comes to grips with a deadly second wave of COVID-19. On Wednesday, the death toll topped 125 in a 24-hour period for the first time since May when this country was still under a Draconian lockdown and seen as a harbinger of what was to come.

[…]

On Wednesday, Italy logged 15,199 new infections–nearly three times as many as the worst day of the pandemic last March and a per capita rate that would be the equivalent of 90,000 new cases in a single day in the U.S., which has not yet been reached.

And it is only getting worse. “Certain metropolitan areas like Milan, Naples and Rome are already out of control in terms of containing the pandemic,” Walter Ricciardi, an infectious disease specialist advising the Italian government who holds the same position in Italy as Fauci does in the U.S. said at a conference Wednesday. “Their numbers are too high to be contained by the traditional method of tracing and testing. And as previous epidemics teach us, when you can’t contain you have to mitigate, namely you have to block movement.”

[…]

But authorities are very concerned still that despite all the best efforts to contain the spread, it simply cannot be stopped. The government’s experts insist that the rate of contagion among school children is not the driving factor, but young people who feel confident they won’t get very sick and insist on gathering socially may be. Now major cities like Milan, Rome and Naples have evening curfews to try to stop young people from gathering socially, which seems to be contributing to the spread. Riccardi said that most of the contagion that happens within multigenerational homes comes from young people bringing it in.

But Italy is by no means alone in its battle against the European second wave of the pandemic. France, Spain and the Czech Republic have all broken records in new cases and introduced measures to mitigate the spread. The United Kingdom has also recorded record numbers of new infections in a single day, and Ireland has completely locked down.

Germany—which largely avoided problems during the first European wave— has reported shocking numbers of new infections, which topped 10,000 in a single day on Wednesday. Authorities there have also blamed young people going out or groups meeting privately for the spread. Dr. Lothar Wieler, told the DW network that people going to work is not the problem. “We don’t see so many outbreaks at workplaces or in public transportation, but it’s mostly coming together in privacy, in parties and also in services and weddings,” he said. “We shouldn’t have too many of these events.”

[…]

But for many, the sacrifices that helped during the first round seem lost now, as though they had been made in vain.

Your Maximum Leader is frequently accused of being a pessimist by Mrs. Villain. He counters that he tries to be a realist. (NB: in any context this is an argument for the ages and will never be resolved.) But your Maximum Leader has privately, and is now publicly, wondered if some mitigation is just the best we can do against this virus until there is a vaccine and approved treatment regimen. The data seems to be adding up in the direction of we can try to limit the number of Covid related deaths, but we aren’t going to stop it. Your Maximum Leader remembers back at the beginning of the Covid outbreak in the US it was quarantine to slow the spread and not overwhelm the health care system. If one carefully read the charts and listened to the experts, the number of dead were not going to change just the period over which people died would be spread out. Your Maximum Leader thinks that this is what we are in for as fall turns to winter. All the precautions and steps we may (or may not) take as a nation (or collection of states - more accurately in this situation) are likely only to change the death toll in the margins. The numbers are going to happen and there isn’t much that can be done to stop them from happening.

Carry on.

The Lost Lincoln

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader watched the Discovery Channel program “Undiscovered: The Lost Lincoln” last night. In the program one follows Dr. Whitny Braun (a professional authenticator, bioethics expert, and professor at Loma Linda University in California) attempt to authenticate an image of Abraham Lincoln. This image was alleged to have been taken in the brief window of time between Lincoln’s death and the removal of his body from the Petersen House to the White House.

Your Maximum Leader, upon seeing the photo for the first time on the reveal at beginning of the show, was doubtful that it was an image of Lincoln. Something about it seemed off. By the end of the program your Maximum Leader believed that was plausible that it could be an image of Lincoln on his deathbed. Your Maximum Leader isn’t enough of an expert in Lincoln’s final hours to determine some things that have been pointed out in news articles. (Like the fact that the figure in the photo has a shirt on, but Lincoln was likely shirtless as his shirt was cut away to look for other wounds.) Your Maximum Leader’s biggest gripes with the show are these. They have a firearms expert show how modern weapons affect ballistic gelatin. That is pretty useless gun porn. (NB: Your Maximum Leader is saying this as a lover of gun porn.) The another gripe is that no one who believes the image to be fake was interviewed. There are doubters out there, and getting some of them on camera to explain their position would have been interesting to see. The doubters might not have made for very good TV, but your Maximum Leader would have liked it. Also, there is passing mentioning of the image being “retouched.” (Specifically some very faint color added to the cheek.) That was glossed over. If the image was retouched in any way wouldn’t that increase the chances of it being a fake? Lastly, and this was spelled out early on, the image they are examining is a high-quality digital image of the original image. The original is in a safe deposit box under court supervision (as the ownership of the image is in dispute). So there may be information to be gleaned from the original that can’t be ascertained from the digital copy.

Anyhoo… Your Maximum Leader has wasted 2 hours of his time in worse ways than this program. If you are so inclined, you might try to watch it.

Carry on.

Happy Birthday - R3

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wishes a very happy birthday to King Richard III of England. After Henry II, Richard is your Maximum Leader’s favorite Plantagenet king.

One day, your Maximum Leader would like to travel to Leicester and visit the grave of Richard III. (He’s thought of making a trip to visit the royal burials at Winchester Cathedral and Worcester Cathedral as well.) He wonders if he could sneak into Frogmore to see some more recent ones as well…

Well, a happy 568th birthday to Richard III.

Carry on.

Primetime Arguments

Greetings, loyal minions.

Your Maximum Leader started on the bourbon at about 7pm last night, knowing that the Presidential “debate” started at 9pm. He’s a little embarrassed to admit it, but he was about 6 oz of 100 proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon in by 9pm.

What a shitshow. It was terrible. Absolutely terrible. It was probably the worst “debate” your Maximum Leader has seen in his lifetime. (And your Maximum Leader remembers the Carter/Reagan debates of 1980. So that is a while now…)

He turned it off after about 45 minutes. He really isn’t sure when he turned it off because time had lost all meaning after a few minutes of whatever that was on his television.

So your Maximum Leader put on this gem and cozied up to Mrs. Villain hoping it would put her in the mood.

Sadly, this didn’t do the trick… Mrs. Villain wasn’t impressed. Not even by the guy at 2:30 in the video.

Sadness.

Carry on.

Comments

Greetings, loyal minions. This blog is old and in need of updates. Both your Maximum Leader writing updates, and the software that runs it. He’s been getting piles of spam comments. He’s sure some of the code somewhere has been manipulated. Sadly, this is beyond his ability to fix. He is looking into finding someone who can do an update and help him out. Until then, he’s had to disable comments. If you are interested in reaching out to him about something you see (or don’t see) here, you most likely have my email. Drop me a line.

Carry on.

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