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September 11, 2016

Sunday Morning Book Thread 09-11-2016: Milestones [OregonMuse]

Library - nuker 525.jpgLibrary of 'nuker' - AsoHQ Compliant

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, all the 'ettes are gorgeous, safe spaces are underneath your house and are used as protection against actual dangers, like tornados, hurricanes, and the election of Hillary Clinton, and special snowflakes do not last. And unlike other AoSHQ comment threads, the Sunday Morning Book Thread is so hoity-toity, pants are required. Even if it's these.

This Week's Moron Library

Thanks to moron lurker 'nuker' for today's library pic. What caught my eye about it is the shelf just to the left of the picture in the center. Let's look a bit closer at it:

Library - nuker (detail).jpg

This is why I said that this library was AoSHQ compliant. Not only is having a skull in your library appropriate given the masthead of this blog, but placing a skull amidst books seems very fitting. Books represent the collected wisdom of the ages and the skull reminds us of our own ephemeral mortality. This is an appropriately conservative message for this appropriately conservative blog.

The Path To 9/11

There once was an Egyptian professor of education named Sayyid Qutb. He visited America in 1948 and stayed here for two years in order to study. Approximately 60 years later, a group of Muslim terrorists commandeered several passenger jet airlines and crashed them into buildings. Many people were killed.

These two things are related.

Qutb was a devout Muslim. He didn't like America very much:

He was critical of things he had observed in the United States: its materialism, individual freedoms, economic system, racism, brutal boxing matches, "poor" haircuts,[5] superficiality in conversations and friendships,[24] restrictions on divorce, enthusiasm for sports, lack of artistic feeling,[24] "animal-like" mixing of the sexes (which "went on even in churches"),[25] and strong support for the new Israeli state.[26]

Didn't like American women much, either:

[T]he American girl is well acquainted with her body's seductive capacity. She knows it lies in the face, and in expressive eyes, and thirsty lips. She knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs and she shows all this and does not hide it.

Oh, and we're all a bunch of uncultured louts:

The American is primitive in his artistic taste, both in what he enjoys as art and in his own artistic works. "Jazz" music is his music of choice. This is that music that the Negroes invented to satisfy their primitive inclinations, as well as their desire to be noisy on the one hand and to excite bestial tendencies on the other. The American's intoxication in "jazz" music does not reach its full completion until the music is accompanied by singing that is just as coarse and obnoxious as the music itself.

On his return to Egypt, Qutb published "The America that I Have Seen", wherein he detailed his litany of complaints. His experience in the U.S. is believed to have formed in part the impetus for his rejection of Western values and his move towards Islamism. He went on to write a number of books, among them works on the social and political implementation of Islam.

Probably Qutb's most well-known book is Milestones, wherein he discusses "the unique Quranic generation, the nature of the Quranic method, the characteristics of Islamic society, jihad in the cause of God, and a Muslim's nationality and his belief."

Also available is Basic Principles of the Islamic Worldview:

Sayyid Qutb addresses himself to the task of retrieving what he regards as the authentic mode of thought that is distinctive of Islam or even unique to it. This he does through the concise presentation of seven characteristics of Islamic thought, abundantly illustrated with the citation of relevant Qur'anic verses.

Qutb is the foremost modern Islamic theoretician for the latest version of militant Muslim fanaticism and terrorism. He greatly influenced Bin Laden and Zawahiri. He eventually became the "go-to guy" for Islamic terrorists.

In 1966, Qutb was convicted of conspiring to assassinate Egyptian president Gamal Nasser, and was subsequently executed.

But it was too late; the damage had already been done.

Library Cake.jpg
Library Cake

(Because everyone likes cake. H/t to 'HTL')

A Peek Inside Hillary's Library

It's probably full of these:

Kara Witham uses a scroll saw to expertly cut-out books so they can secretly hold a flask...They sell for about $50 - $60, and the flask is included, making them a great gift.

I think her site looks pretty good. Of note to morons is that she makes flask safes and also gun safes ("The perfect way to keep your handgun hidden and handy.").

From the very beginning Secret Safe Books was a huge success. Kara's day job was history in less than a year and after the plot was clear that crafting book safes would balance the books, John wrote off his day job to work full time at Secret Safe Books.

Who knew there would be such demand for this type of product?

Interesting collection of books to hide your flask in, including Teddy Kennedy's memoir and Hard Choices by Hillary "Hic!" Clinton.

Hers would certainly be a well-stocked library. Maybe she could hide some of this stuff in one of the books.

(h/t to whichever moron it is who mentioned this on an ONT earlier this week. I'm too lazy to hit the back button in my browser to find out who it is.)


not a squirrel.jpg

(h/t to NDH)

Is This A Thing?

I'm not paying $12.99 for the Kindle edition of the autobiography of guitar god Eric Clapton. This is not a book that greattly interests me greatly, even if the price were lower. But I did notice this:

Born illegitimate in 1945 and raised by his grandparents, Eric never knew his father and, until the age of nine, believed his actual mother to be his sister.

Funny thing is, way back in high school I knew a guy like this. No, he wasn't a guitar god, but he had a really, old mom. He would invite me and his other friends over to his house and I noticed that his "mother" appeared to be quite old. In fact, her white hair made me think, "wow, she looks old enough to be William's grandmother", but I just thought she was one of those unfortunate women who(m) age is not kind to. Years later, I heard from a mutual friend that the reason she looked like a grandmother was because she, in fact, was William's grandmother, and his "sister" (whom I never met) was actually his mother. Exactly like EC.

And then I read somewhere that the actor Jack Nicholson came from the same "your mother is actually your grandmother" situation.

So my question is, how common is this? How many of you morons know somebody who came out of a family situation like this? I can't imagine what this does to a person who is told this.

William didn't find out about about this until he was an adult. He's kind of flaky in some ways, but basically, he's turned out OK. He's always had a steady job, and did not turn into a boozer/stoner/tweaker/etc. Clapton's life, on the other hand, has been characterized by poor decisions and self-destructive behavior as a counterpoint to his prodigious musical talent. Not sure we can draw any conclusions from these two data points other than: bad things happen when intact, 2-parent families fail, and what replaces them are never as good. So hadn't we ought to be encouraging and supporting them?

Moron Recommendations

Earlier this week, ace commented on Obama's support for the 'right' of Colin Kaepernick to make his stupidity public:

What we're permitted to do and what we should do are two entirely different concepts. Deceitful politicians -- on the left and on the right, but mostly on the left, where this evasion was perfected and then elevated to low art -- speak of the one when plainly the real question is about the other.

Moron commenter Stephen Price Blair responded with a book recommendation:

I recently read Allan Drury's 1962 A Shade of Difference; both it and the first book in the series, Advise and Consent, from 1959, had characters in it who pulled this rhetorical trick.

If you enjoy war-and-peace-sized thrillers about senatorial procedure and united nations procedure, I recommend them. It sounds boring, but it isn't.

I guess that's actually two recommendations.


Moron commenter mindful webworker pointed me toward this review by the inestimable conservative blogger known as 'bookworm' of the works of author Dennis Koller, the reviewer has come to like. Koller's first novel, The Oath, a political thriller which bookworm says is "a book that seems to predict the Obama administration (if you dont like Obama)".

Koller's third novel, "The Custer Conspiracy", hasn't been published yet, so we have to wait. But bookworm's review of The Oath intrigued me enough that I plunked down $4.99 for the Kindle edition.


Moron lurker (and author) George Milonas tells me he has been reading the Bill the Vampire series by Rick Gaultieri, which he finds hilarious. I first mentioned Bill the Vampire a couple of years ago, and the book could have been written by a Moron.

The main character of this series is Bill Ryder,

...a dateless geek, but then he met a girl to die for. So he did. Unfortunately for him, that was just the beginning of his troubles. He awoke as a vampire, one of the legendary predators of the night. Sadly, fangs or not, he was still at the bottom of the food chain. Now he finds himself surrounded by creatures stronger, deadlier, and a lot cooler than he is ... and they all want to kick his teeth in.

This Kindle compilation of the 4 book series can be purchased for $6.99, or Prime members can read it for free.

What I'm Reading

World War II bequeathed us two advances much used by science fiction writers: atomic power and functional rocketry. It was only natural to combine the two, to imagine an atomic-powered rocket. That sounds pretty sexy, but atomic power really doesn't lend itself to jet/rocket propulsion. All it really does it heat stuff up. Atomic reactors are basically giant steam engines: the atomic pile is used to heat water which is used to drive a turbine that generates electricity (Faraday's Law FTW!). Huge amounts of electricity. Enough to power entire cities.

I've been thinking about this since I've started on the Heinlein juvey classic Rocket Ship Galileo. This book features an atomic powered rocket, and I was curious to see if a Heinlein was going to describe a mechanism or just do a bit of hand-waving. He did not disappoint. I'm not convinced, but he deserves props for trying. The atomic engine that the scientist uncle of one of the main characters constructed used radioactive thorium (not uranium) to heat zinc(!) to the evaporation point and then shoots the steam out the back of the ship as a jet and that's how he managed to get atomic propulsion that worked in the vacuum of space.

Don't know if that could ever work, but it at least sounds half-way plausible, at least to an untutored guy like me. Rocket Ship Galileo is a fun book (which, oddly enough, I've never read in my life until this month), as are pretty much all of Heinlein's juveys. Although I do have to chuckle at the quaint notion that Heinlein evidently had back in those days that the United Nations was a benign organization and not a viper's nest full of America-hating Euroweenie socialists, rat bastard commies, and corrupt, third-world kleptocrats.

Another way atomics could be used in space ships would be with that new proposed EM Drive (where microwaves are bounced off the the walls of a metal chamber and this somehow generates thrust - don't ask me how, I absolute do not understand how it works). You could have an atomic pile on board which can produce electricity which can be used to generate the necessary microwaves. Or, it might be easier just to use solar.


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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