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October 09, 2016

Sunday Morning Book Thread 10-09-2016: Applauding Mediocrity [OregonMuse]

JTB Library 1_525.jpg
Library of Moron JTB


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, IRS audits, and getting caught in the path between Hillary! and giant bags of cash, and special snowflakes can't stand the heat. And unlike other AoSHQ comment threads, the Sunday Morning Book Thread is so hoity-toity, pants are required. Even if it's these gawdawful things.


H/T to JTB for today's library pic. He tells me that "the photos show, at most, about half of the books in there. Some of the shelves are stacked two and three deep. And then there are several hundred books in the house as well as hundreds more on the Kindle and Nook. If I never bought another book (yeah, right!) I cold read for a few decades with what I have now."

You can click on the pic for better snooping.

World's Oldest Library

Has just been rennovated:

Located in Fez, Morocco, the al-Qarawiyyin library is part of the world's oldest continually operating university, al-Qarawiyyin University, which opened in 859. The library got several small additions and renovations over its millennium-long existence, but it wasn't until 2012 that Canadian-Moroccan architect Aziza Chaouni decided to give it a total face lift.

Great. What does it have?

Al-Qarawiyyin is home to approximately 4,000 manuscripts, NPR reports.

Is it just me, or does that not sound like much?

There are 9th-century Qurans written in Kufic calligraphy and the oldest known accounts of the life of the prophet Muhammed. One such book is the original "Muqadimmah," a famous 14th-century text from the North African historian Ibn Khaldun.

That's a misleading or poorly written sentence. The Muqadimmah is not really a life of Mo. As will be discussed later, it is a work of history and sociology and many other things.

Naturally, the old-school marxists at The Guardian have managed to work in some vintage 'class struggle' rhetoric to the restoration effort. You can easily imagine hearing a rousing chorus of "The Internationale" resounding through the cubicles at the Guardian offices:

“The people who work here jealously guard the books,” says one of the caretakers. “You can hurt us, but you cannot hurt the books.”

Who wants to hurt them? The West? ISIS? An evil djinn? The article doesn't say. But it does mention, almost as an aside:

The library's restoration comes at a time when extremists are rampaging the region's heritage. Across Syria and Iraq, the militants of the Islamic State have carried out cultural atrocities that include ransacking the great library of Mosul, burning thousands of manuscripts, bulldozing ancient Assyrian cities like Nimrud and Hatra in Iraq, blowing up the Temple of Bel in Palmyra and sacking the oasis city's museum, in addition to destroying tombs and mausoleums of Shia and Christian saints.

In other words, what Muslims have to fear most these days is the depredations of other Muslims. And what did that guy mean when he said "you cannot hurt the books?" Really? Seems to me a rampaging ISIS mob with Molotov cocktails and a few RPGs could hurt the books real bad.

And incidentally, the marxist social theorists really need to up their game here. After all, it's not angry hordes of berzerk Lutherans that are threatening the Muslim library, it's the library caretakers' own co-religionists. The commie class-warfare narrative simply has no room for the green-on-green 'struggle' that's been the unremarked sideshow of the ascent of Wahabism over the past half century. Guardian editors and staff, please take note.

“Throughout the years, the library underwent many rehabilitations, but it still suffered from major structural problems, a lack of insulation, and infrastructural deficiencies like a blocked drainage system, broken tiles, cracked wood beams, exposed electric wires, and so on,” she said..”

Well, isn't this, as they say, the story of Islam?


Yes, this is just me being churlish. Everyone wants to portray Islamic culture in the best possible light, and give it every benefit of the doubt, and I'm just tired of it (it's like we all have to stand there and pretend that some guy who calls himself "Caitlyn" is perfectly normal). Sometimes these efforts sound a bit touchy:

[The library] was founded by a Muslim woman named Fatima al-Fihiri in the year 859, debunking the myth that muslim women were subjugated.

And that defensive and petulant declaration just comes out of nowhere. It has nothing to do with the subject at hand, which is the hows and the whys of the library restoration, not the history of women's rights in Islam. But since it's been brought up, no, it actually doesn't "debunk" anything. All it does is show that maybe there were exceptions to what might have been a general condition. After all, it's not particularly surprising that a woman in the 1% (Fatima was the daughter of a wealthy merchant) would make out OK. One has to wonder, though, about all the other women back then who didn't have her pot of money.

I've read a number of articles about this restoration, and none of them say what this library contains and what is worth studying, other than a few historic old manuscripts. Not that there's no scholarship in the Islamic world. I've heard that there's actually quite a lot, but most of it is what we might call "Qur'anic studies", which I'd guess would be of little interest to non-Muslims.

They're letting western tourists in to see the restoration, but it's not clear whether, in the long run, non-Muslims will be allowed. It used to be that the only way you could get to this library was through the mosque it was part of, which means that only Muslims had access. The French added an external door when they did their restoration work in 1940, but again, it's not clear whether this door will be allowed to be used.

A new months ago, the library pic for one Sunday book thread was one I found of the Qatar National Library. The reason I thought it noteworthy was how kind of unimpressive it looked. You've all seen the jaw-dropping magnificence of the various national and academic libraries of other countries in photos I've used, but this? It looks kind of like a state college library, and not a particularly prestigious one at that. I just used the pic without comment because I wanted to see what kind of reaction I'd get. The best was by naturalfake who commented: "Wow, look at all those Qur'ans."

So my guess is that this library, once completely restored and functional, will be an Islamic library of interest to no one else except Qur'anic scholars, and maybe some historians. And we're all supposed to stand around and applaud and say "Bravo."

One last thing:

One such book is the original "Muqadimmah," a famous 14th-century text from the North African historian Ibn Khaldun.

This being the book thread, I had to look this up. The Muqadimmah actually sounds kind of interesting. It was written by Ibn Khaldun in 1377 and the way I would describe it is that it's Khaldun's attempt to explain how the world works. It's mostly history, but also topics relating to sociology, economics, political theory, demography, and other other fields are also explored.

I grabbed a pdf version of an English translation, which you can get here. There's also a Kindle version you can get for $2.99, which might be good except that there's no text formatting so it looks like one big run-on sentence. In other words, a wall of text. Who can read such a book?


One Last Thing and This Time I Mean It

More on Ibn Khaldun's 'Muqaddimah', I was flipping through the pdf version and discovered that he has some things to say about nomadic Arab culture that are extremely critical. In fact, the chapter where I pulled the following quote is titled 'Places that succumb to the Arabs are quickly ruined.' No, I did not make that up. Here is a bit of what he had to say:

The reason for this is that (the Arabs) are a savage nation, fully accustomed to savagery and the things that cause it. Savagery has become their character and nature. They enjoy it, because it means freedom from authority and no subservience to leadership. Such a natural disposition is the negation and antithesis of civilization. All the customary activities of the Arabs lead to travel and movement. This is the antithesis and negation of stationariness, which produces civilization. For instance, the Arabs need stones to set them up as supports for their cooking pots. So, they take them from buildings which they tear down to get the stones, and use them for that purpose. Wood, too, is needed by them for props for their tents and for use as tent poles for their dwellings. So, they tear down roofs to get the wood for that purpose. The very nature of their existence is the negation of building, which is the basis of civilization. This is the case with them quite generally.

I have to stop here, otherwise I'd have to quote the whole chapter. Ordinarily this would be more than enough to elicit cries of 'raaaaaysizzem' from the guardians of the public narrative, except that Ibn Khaldun is of Arab-Berber extraction and I don't think they'd be able to get away with calling him a 'white Arab'. Again I say it is incumbent upon the cultural marxists to put on their big boy pants and explain how and why something like this, which clearly doesn't fit into their "evil white imperialists vs. saintly brown people" template, can exist.

And I just think it's worth reading someone not bound by the current regime of pinch-faced fascists.


Lying Together


destroying america together.jpg


Normally, I don't like linking to WND (formerly Worldnet Daily), whom I consider to be the Weekly World News of conservative journalism, but they appear to be the only outlet covering this story.

First, they reported that Hillary's new book was getting royally schlonged in the Amazon reviews. Actually, come to think of it, another conservative commentator to mention Hillary's epic schtupping was, not to put too fine a point on it, me:

3. As I'm typing this on Friday afternoon, 84% of the Amazon reviews are of the 1-star variety, and it's rare that you see something on Amazon with reviews so lopsidedly bad. Not to mention hilarious.

Yeah, but then something weird happened. One fine day earlier last week, a bunch of reviews simply disappeared:

WND previously reported there were more than 1,200 reviews, and the number grew to than 2,000.

But Thursday afternoon, there were only 255, with many of the most critical reviews removed by Amazon, whose CEO, Jeff Bezos, owns the Washington Post, which created an army of 20 reporters and researchers to investigate the life of Donald Trump.

So I've been watching this for a week, and the number of reviews of Stronger Together go up and up and up and then there is some sort of reduction. I am not sure why this is happening. It's unlikely that Amazon is doing this to make Hillary's book look better, as the WND article implies, because the ratio of negative vs. positive reviews isn't being changed for the better. In fact, it's actually gotten worse (for Hillary) in the time I've been watching it. The percentage of one-star reviews has gone up from 84% to 89% despite the removing of hundreds of reviews, so if Amazon really is trying to puff up Hillary, they're doing a really bad job.

But here is something interesting, guess which Clinton crony I discovered is on the Amazon Board of Directors? I mean, besides Jeff Bezos?

Go on, take a guess.

Give up? OK, it's none other than AoSHQ's old gal pal, the Master of Disaster, the Lady of Fail, the Queen of Incompetence, The Countess of Crap, The Duchess of Derp, Jamie Gorelick.

After she almost singlehandedly caused 9/11, she jumped over to Fannie Mae and helped ruin the economy. Having screwed up and destroyed everything in reach, she then left government for the private sector where she's evidently done very well for herself. Doesn't matter that she's effed up everything she's been a part of, she's managed to ensconce herself on a a couple of corporate governing boards in addition to Amazon:

Ms. Gorelick has served as a director of VeriSign, Inc. since January 2015, a director of United Technologies Corporation from February 2000 to December 2014, and a director of Schlumberger Limited from April 2002 to June 2010.

Yes, being part of the incestuous nest of rat spiders infesting Washington DC does have its benefits. I doubt she's working for free.

Sudden thought: If WND is the conservative Weekly World News, then is Glenn Beck kind of like Bat Boy?


Hidden Meanings In Anagrams

Moron author Mark Huffman obviously has way more spare time on his hands than is good for him, because he sent me a bunch of clever anagrams last week. I'll just post a few of them here. I always marvel at people who can play with words like this. For example, you can rearrange the letters in the phrase PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, AGE SIXTY-SEVEN to read any of the following:

Cynics maintain addled sexagenarian is pretty old, over the hill.
Next, she noticed mild heart pain. I’ll say it: advanced years, no girl!
"Edict: no votes! I shall INHERIT a dynasty!" explained relic grandma.
An elderly lady’s extensive medical chart: hip distortion, angina.
"Sanders, ill health vex poor ancient granny," aides icily admitted.
Alarmed analysts candidly predict her exit soon, invite healing.

Also VOTE FOR HILLARY CLINTON FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is actually "Convict liar of felony; after this, send her to time-out at federal prison."

Likewise CANDIDATE HILLARY CLINTON BLAMES A "TRUMP ALLERGY" FOR INTERRUPTIONS DURING HER CAMPAIGN SPEECH is: "In alarm, frail grandma can’t stop coughing! Horrid, unethical cripple may be pretty ill - needs nurse!"

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE HILLARY CLINTON SAYS MANY DONALD TRUMP VOTERS ARE "BASKET OF DEPLORABLES" really means "'Slay and kill every one of those tainted Republican bastards dead!' rants nasty, immoral old cripple."

The hidden meaning of HILLARY CLINTON’S DOCTOR CLAIMED THAT SHE IS IN VERY GOOD HEALTH is, believe it or not, "Lady isn’t a teetotaler - overdid chronic alcoholism nightly. (Shh!)"

But what about Trump? It turns out that DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA has many hidden meanings, among them:

A foul temper - distressed! Don’t nominate pathetic fraud!
The loudest candidate. The fat, inept moron’s a dumpster fire!
Muttonheaded infant. A complete disaster! Fire P.O.S. turd!
Utter amateur’s dim chatter did offend peoples, nations.
See truth of fantastic man: determined, adored populist!
Tested, tried. Famous, talented star. Proud, fine champion!
Mideast? It suffered prompt nuclear detonation deaths.
He is "Dad" first. Melania touted potent stud performance!
I sat up, nodded. "Triumph of confident real estate master!"
Rich, self-funded, toupeed titan promotes, attains dream!
Utter amateur’s dim chatter did offend peoples, nations.

Lastly, there's this from another moron, who has found another hidden meaning:

Fun fact: the letters in "Miss Universe Alicia Machado" can be rearranged into "A vicious dame. She's a criminal."

Just saying.

Posted by: Doctor Cynic at September 30, 2016 12:15 PM (ZnEDc)


Books By Morons

Moron author T.S. O'Neil is back with the fourth book of his Blackfox Chronicles, Mexican Hat Trick, which

...reunites Retired Sheriff’s Department Detective turned Private Investigator, Eidetic Eddie Doyle with Former Force Recon Marine, Michael Blackfox, in a rollicking tale of murder, counterfeiting and kidnapping south of the border. A rogue’s gallery of new villains, including a pathological ex-French Foreign Legionnaire, a bloodthirsty drug kingpin, and a conniving corporate attorney, conspire to corner the counterfeit apparel market. Mexican Hat Trick is Florida Glare—south of the border.
This book will be available on Oct. 11th.

I had to look up "Florida Glare", a term I had never heard before. No, it's not a species of orange. It's a sub-genre of crime fiction:

In this genre, as Dave Barry, a late-arriving practitioner, puts it, a bunch of “South Florida wackos”—all heavily armed, all loquacious, all barely aware of one another’s existence—blunder through petty crime, discover themselves engaged in actual murder, and then move in unconscious unison toward the black comedy of a violent climax.

So it sounds like it's kind of like "L.A. noir", only with an extra helping of stupid.

Mr. O'Neil also has a proposition for you morons: "I'd love to get some reviews quickly and would buy a limited number of folks a book if they would be willing to do a review. I think that number would be about 25. Any potential reviewers can just send me an email at timoneil (at) brighthouse dot com, tell me that they want to be a reviewer, and I'll buy them the book."

A free book for a review. Not too bad of a deal.


What I'm Reading

The main character of Michel Faber's The Book of Strange New Things is a devout Christian, but this is not a Christian novel. The plot takes him trillions of miles away from Earth to the first interstellar settlement, but this is not a science-fiction novel:

It begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, as he is called to the mission of a lifetime, one that takes him galaxies away from his wife, Bea. Peter becomes immersed in the mysteries of an astonishing new environment, overseen by an enigmatic corporation known only as USIC. His work introduces him to a seemingly friendly native population struggling with a dangerous illness and hungry for Peter’s teachings—his Bible is their “book of strange new things.” But Peter is rattled when Bea’s letters from home become increasingly desperate: typhoons and earthquakes are devastating whole countries, and governments are crumbling. Bea’s faith, once the guiding light of their lives, begins to falter.

This is a novel of things falling apart and the center not holding: failing relationships, hapless governments, crumbling economies, dying societies. The planet Peter finds himself on is itself kind of dead; there are few animals, the vegetation is sparse, and the landscape is pretty much the same everywhere, flat and featureless. But the inhabitants have a hunger for Peter's Bible teaching and their numbers are growing, even as his relationship with his wife is deteriorating. Faber deftly reveals the inexorable marital decline in a series of heartbreaking text messages between husband and wife.

This is an emotionally affecting novel. I found myself caught up in the characters' conflicts and couldn't stop thinking of how unbearable it would be if I were trillions of miles away (literally) from my wife as everything around her is slowly sliding into chaos and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it except send her texts that can seemingly only be interpreted as empty platitudes.

All in all, I enjoyed it, even if it isn't a happy novel.

This was a $1.99 Bookbub special of a few weeks back that has, alas, ended. It's back up to $12.99 now.


___________

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

http://www.bookhorde.org/p/aoshq-authors.html

___________

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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