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April 17, 2016

Sunday Morning Book Thread 04-17-2016: Imbalances [OregonMuse]

Aeppol - A Book Purchase List.jpg
A Book Purchase List

(Pic stolen from Aeppol: http://www.boredpanda.com/illustrations-the-blossom-of-youth-aeppol/)

Good morning to all of you morons and moronettes and bartenders everywhere and all the ships at sea. Welcome to AoSHQ's stately, prestigious, internationally acclaimed and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread, where men are men, space isn't safe, and snowflakes will melt. The Sunday Morning Book Thread is the only AoSHQ thread that is so hoity-toity, pants are required. Except if you feel like you're going to shart.

Also, dig up the old children's books, the ones that said something and addressed morals.
They are out there still, just not in the new bookstores.

Posted by: Kindltot at October 29, 2015 09:34 AM (3pRHP)

Chess News

Before we get into books, I have an announcement for you chess-playing morons: I started a chess group on chess.com called, appropriately enough, 'Moron Horde'. Here's the link to join:


Guys Read

Feminists like to scream and yell. Specifically, feminists like to scream and yell about being oppressed, and the more feminists have moved into positions of power and dominance on the cultural landscape, the louder and more shrill their screaming and yelling about being oppressed has become. Like how they're screaming and yelling about women being short-changed in academia as the ratio of female-to-male college students is approaching 60%. And despite their predominance in the publishing industry, they're spent the last couple of years yelling about not reading male authors for a year, as if women authors are somehow being forcibly prevented from writing and publishing books.

The feminists are right in that there is a huge, gender-based imbalance, but it's not the one they think:

The facts are stark: in every state and in every grade, boys are trailing behind girls in reading, according to a 2010 report by the Center on Education Policy, which called this lag, “the most pressing gender-gap issue facing our schools.”

There are a number of reasons for this, but probably the most glaringly obvious one is:

At the same time, boys and girls approach reading in fundamentally different ways.

Hsssss! Even mentioning this idea to a feminist will cause her to produce a handful of garlic and a silver crucifix to wave around at you. And I would say that this is the reason the 'reading gap' persists, namely, the feminists who run the schools in this country simply DO NOT WANT to admit that there could be any real difference between the genders. To aid them in their denial, they then claim that gender is a "social construct" followed by inventing a whole new bunch of bogus "genders" which adds so much confusion that no solution is possible, and their minds remain unruffled.

But the facts are simply not accounted for in feminist ideology:

Girls are more likely to enjoy relating to characters in books and often equate fiction with reading for pleasure. Boys, on the other hand, “want an immediate function for what they read and learn,” says Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, a professor of English education at Boise State University in Idaho...Boys need to feel a sense of competence or developing competence, and if reading doesn’t contribute to that then they won’t see much point in it. This is part of “staking their identity,” according to Wilhelm.

Wilhelm has a number of books on this subject, including Reading Don't Fix No Chevys: Literacy in the Lives of Young Men:

Through a variety of creative research methods and an extended series of interviews with 49 young men in middle and high school who differ in class, race, academic achievement, kind of school, and geography, the authors identified the factors that motivated these young men to become accomplished in the activities they most enjoyed-factors that marked the boys' literate activities outside of school, but were largely absent from their literate lives in school. Their study questions the way reading and literature are typically taught and suggests powerful alternatives to traditional instruction.

And also along the same lines, Teaching Literacy for Love and Wisdom: Being the Book and Being the Change.

Another man who's trying to address this issue is YA/children's author Jon Scieszka. His Guys Read web site is dedicated to the proposition that if you want boys to read, you need to give them books they will want to read. This includes a page full of recommendations for boys, which includes Scieszka's books as well as many others. These should help with the request on last week's book thread for books for boys.

Among other things, Scieszka says:

Research shows that boys are having trouble reading, and that boys are getting worse at reading. No one is quite sure why. Some of the reasons are biological. Some of the reasons are sociological. The good news is that research also shows that boys will read — if they are given reading that interests them.

This is carefully restrained, neutral language. I think he's pulling a number of punches. I think we need to start pointing fingers at where this gender twaddle is coming from, but it's perhaps for the best to avoid all of that. The goal here is to interest boys in reading, not get into time-wasting slap fights with snarling, hate-fueled feminists.

Flawrence of Arabia

Flawrence of Abrabia.JPG

This pic is from the MAD Magazine parody of "Lawrence of Arabia" mentioned here two three weeks ago. Apparently, Peter O'Toole's poofy Arab garb struck the MAD writers as being a wee bit effeminate. The dialog accompanying this drawing goes like this:

"Hoo-boy! Again with the dancing!"

"Who does he think he is, Fred Astaire?"

"No, Ginger Rogers!"

A Taxing Problem

Thanks to votermom who made me aware of this book, The Income Tax: Root of All Evil by Frank Chodorov. First published in 1954, this book argues that the income tax, more than any other legislated change, made it possible for the government to violate individual rights.

A more appropriate book for the April tax season would be hard to find.

It's a short book, less than 100 pages, and less than $3 on Kindle.

In my younger days, when I was quite naive, I thought that the problem of out-of-control government spending could be solved if we simply eliminated automatic withholding. In other words, every person in America would have to, once a quarter, sit down at the kitchen table, calculate the amount of income tax owed to the federal government based on earnings, write out a check for that amount, and mail it in. I thought that if Americans were confronted with really having to pay real taxes, more of us would ask "whoa, what are they spending all of this money on?" And then overnight, we'd get huge budget cuts and the elimination of entire federal agencies, and the conservative dream of a substantially smaller government would finally come to pass. But now I realize that even that wouldn't help. We have become so addicted to the federal teat (as well as various state and local teats), that if by some miracle we ever did succeed in stopping automatic withholding, it would last maybe a year. And then everybody would be clamoring, not for the reduction of government expenditures, but rather to bring back withholding.

Chodorov is an old-school conservative, who are known nowadays as "paleo-cons". They despise the so-called "new right", whom they refer to as "statists and warmongers". Which, actually, is mostly correct. That's why whenever I hear pig ignorant lefties call George W. Bush "far right" or "ultra right", I just have to laugh. They have no idea.

Chodorov has got another book available, The Rise and Fall of Society, also for less $3 on Kindle, which looks interesting.

Moron Recommendations

Moron commenters Stringer Davis and votermom recommend a book I had never heard of before, Don Quixote USA, a political satire by Richard Powell. Stringer says the Kindle version is missing the fun illustrations that were in the now out-of-print print version.

An idealistic young American, who finds botany more compelling than his family's desires for status and wealth, goes to a Caribbean island to teach the locals how to grow Dwarf Cavendish bananas. He get kidnapped by the local revolution...Disturbed by the inefficiency of his captors, he uses his Boy Scout training to teach them woodcraft and organizational skills. As his beard grows out, he starts looking more and more like the leader of the revolution, who is not at all pleased by this.

If this is starting to sound familiar, if you're asking yourself, wait a minute, I think I've already seen this movie, you're most likely recalling the Woody Allen film Bananas, which, according to one of the Amazon reviews, borrowed huge sections of the DQ USA plot without attribution.

Stringer doesn't like the movie, but says the book is a real hoot, also, "[the] best part was the Sears Credit Card. Remember that when you read it."

The Kindle edition is $4.99, but the print version was in one of those Readers' Digest "condensed book" books that you can find.

What I'm Reading

I'm on the third book of the Seafort Saga by David Feintuch. This is a military sci-fi adventure series that starts out with midshipman Nicholas Seafort getting thrust into command due to a freak accident on a starship far from home. He obviously has leadership skills that come out during the ordeal, but there's another side of him where his hair-trigger temper combined with an overwhelming pettiness make him a complete jerk. Human civilization is in the hands of a future version of the United Nations on steroids, and, in an interesting twist, most of the major historic rifts in the Christian church have been resolved, and the one true church, the Reunified Church, has become the official state religion as promulgated by the U.N.

Recommended for fans of military sci-fi.


Mrs. Muse and I have been watching the FX series The People vs. OJ Simpson. I remember seeing that slow-speed "chase" on the L.A. freeways as it was happening live and I remember hearing people express their fears that if a guilty verdict came down, it would be the Rodney King riots all over again. Then I saw that this series is based on Jeffrey Toobin's book, The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson.

Of course, there have been a crap ton of books written about this case. Everyone wanted to cash in, including the principal actors. Without A Doubt by lead prosecutor Marcia Clarke. She argues that the OJ trial equation was something like: "race + celebrity + hostile jury = I couldn't get a conviction even if OJ slashed their throats and then licked the knife clean on live TV". Co-prosecutor Christopher Darden has chimed in with his version of the events with his book In Contempt. "Dream Team" lead attorney Robert Shapiro explains how he can sleep at night in his book The Search for Justice: A Defense Attorney's Brief on the O.J. Simpson Case

I was looking for books written by other principals. Robert Kardashian doesn't seem to have any, Johnnie Cochran has a couple, A Lawyer's Life and Journey to Justice, but they appear to be more autobiographies than specifically about the Simpson case. I was disappointed that the man I personally hold most responsible for turning the Simpson trial into a three-ring circus of celebutard farce, Judge Lance Ito, hasn't written any books. I found out there's a reason for this. Ito's wiki page says:

Ito has considered writing a book about the Simpson trial, but doing so would require resigning from his judicial seat, and Judge Ito believed that resigning from his position would be a dishonor to his family.

Judge Ito retired in 2015, so he can now write his book. Of course, at this point, the Simpson case is well past its sell-by date, so there's no reason for yet another book that will do nothing more than rattle the rubble.

I watched the opening of the Simpson trial on TV, and I remember thinking that the best way to make sure that justice would be served would be for Judge Ito to simply ban any and all television cameras from his courtroom. But Ito seemed to want to encourage the spectacle it quickly turned into, and even exult in it, and I thought, oh great, here's yet another parasite trying to take advantage of the Simpson trial to leech out 15 minute of fame. It was like a rich man had died and then hordes of greedy relatives suddenly pop up out of nowhere to siphon off what they can from the estate. In a high-profile criminal case, I suppose you have to expect the celebutard leeches, but a sitting judge? I quickly grew disgusted and stopped watching or following the trial.

One more thing: I didn't find out until as I was writing up the book thread for this week that Ito's wife, Margaret York, was a police officer who held the rank of captain in the LAPD, and, coincidentally, she was at one time the immediate superior of the lead detective on the Simpson case, Mark Fuhrman. For that reason alone, Ito should have recused himself from the case.

Of course, Mark Fuhrman has written his own book on the case, Murder in Brentwood. Here's a review written by moronette commenter (and author) anonymous-9

Of course, some "interested bystanders" have weighed on on this trial, notably Vincent Bugliosi, who wrote Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O. J. Simpson Got Away with Murder. From the other side, there's O.J. Is Innocent and I Can Prove It: The Shocking Truth about the Murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman by William Dear who contends that O.J. is actually covering for his son Jason who did the actual slayings.

And then, to add a dollop of bizarre on a case that is already overloaded with nuts, there's If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer by the Juice himself wherein he lays out a "hypothetical" scenario of how he "would have" committed the murders, is itself the part of the wrongful death suit by the Goldman family, who acquired all rights to the book as a result of the legal proceedings.

So what's the Juice been up to lately? Well, he's in the slammer:

On October 3, 2008—exactly 13 years to the day after he was acquitted of the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and Ronald Goldman—Simpson was found guilty of all ten charges. On December 5, 2008, Simpson was sentenced to 33 years in prison with eligibility for parole in nine years (in October 2017). He is currently incarcerated at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nevada.

It's hard for me to understand how a man like that can have a wildly successful football career and then spend the rest of his life throwing it all away. It was like sometime around 1990 he'd been taken over by demons.

And incidentally, I think Cuba Gooding deserves an Emmy for his performance as O.J. Simpson in the FX series. I have no idea whether Simpson is really like how Gooding is playing him, but it's certainly believable.


Moronette 'votermom' is putting together a list of moron authors over on the Goodreads site which is intended to be acessible to non-members. Here is the list she has compiled so far. Let her know if there's an author she's missing.



Don't forget the AoSHQ reading group on Goodreads. It's meant to support horde writers and to talk about the great books that come up on the book thread. It's called AoSHQ Moron Horde and the link to it is here: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/175335-aoshq-moron-horde.


So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, bribes, rumors, threats, and insults may be sent to OregonMuse, Proprietor, AoSHQ Book Thread, at the book thread e-mail address: aoshqbookthread, followed by the 'at' sign, and then 'G' mail, and then dot cee oh emm.

What have you all been reading this week? Hopefully something good, because, as you all know, life is too short to be reading lousy books.

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