Sunday, February 12, 2017

History's Greatest Monster

Hey everybody! Hope life is treating you well.

Never say that Ellanjay don't know what makes for an exciting story. Other lesser writers have conflicts where characters disagree over major issues, which leads to a lot of emotional fallout, like Steve and Tony in Captain America 3: Civil War*, or where there is a massive fight between the forces of good and evil, like in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, which has the potential to cause permanent physical and psychological maiming or even :gasp: death, which is permanent. But Ellanjay are far superior to those hacks and know what makes for a really interesting story, is page after page of gnawing endlessly over office politics, which we all know is way more interesting than the Battle at Helm's Deep.

CHLOE STRUCK out in her efforts to determine who had put the phony employee document in her box. She had begun to interview Ekaterina’s coworkers, but after a half dozen painful conversations, she realized her investigation was doing more harm than good. In nearly a century, she had not had to deal with any problem more serious than hurt feelings between employees. With Jesus on the world’s throne and King David, the Lord’s prince, ruling Israel from the temple, all matters of law and judgment seemed to go smoothly and quickly.

Chloe immediately decides to stop investigating or asking questions about an unpleasant issue, because it will make people uncomfortable. Chloe really is an true RTC.

Yes, I am fighting the urge to dig up so many links about clergy abuse. You may thank me in whatever manner you deem fit.

Though really, whenever a sex scandal comes up and the higher-ups say they didn't report it to the police, because they wanted to do their own investigation, before getting law enforcement involved...I'm like "Uh, investigation is their job! It's what they do! Your job is to counsel and protect your congregation or to coach the Penn State football team! You report things to law enforcement, let them do their job, while you do yours! That's how this works, you abuser-protecting jackass!"

Goddangit, will there ever be a week where I can't work in or find something about Creepy Sex Stuff**? I'm wondering if the problem is that I'm a pervert or they are.

I'll right. I'll get back to the story. I'll try to hold back on Creepy Sex Stuff, but I make no promises. I generally try not to make promises I can't keep and if I've learned anything from life, it's that God loves nothing more than upsetting Never statements. Say something like "I will never do X" and God points and laughs and makes it happen.

She called in Mattie Cleveland and suggested they just chalk up the crisis, such as it was, to an ill-conceived prank and let it die. “It hasn’t caused too much controversy within your staff, has it?”

Mattie shrugged. “Actually, it has. Everyone is talking about it, pointing fingers, the whole bit. I would have loved to have been able to say we found the culprit, dealt with him or her, got an apology, and moved on. But this is all right too.”

In an attempt to pry a gold ring out of a pig's snout, I will say that Ellanjay do resolve this much quicker than the exciting "Who sent Chloe flowers?" plotline of Tribulation Force. Because the Anti-Christ coming into power, outlawing any religions, save for the poorly defined EBOWF, and persecuting the Christians, is boring stuff that nobody could ever find interesting. Instead, let's wonder who sent Chloe flowers, while she sulks about Buck over something that could be resolved in FIVE MINUTES IF SHE WOULD JUST TALK TO HIM LIKE A NORMAL PERSON WOULD!

The beginning with Chloe and Mattie ends with a conversation where they discuss someone who is the Adolf Q. Stalin-Pot of the MK, someone whose ambitions and brutality are so great, they make Genghis Khan look like a mewling toddler in comparison. I am speaking, of course, of Qasim.

“Whatever you say, Chloe. I agree we need to get on with what we’re here for. I will say this: Qasim has been particularly solicitous ever since this started getting around.”

“The one who’s been so annoying to Ekaterina?”

“He’s really cleaned up his act. He leaves her alone, and he has been much more helpful to me lately. Qasim has even commiserated with me over this mess.”

“But I didn’t even interview him. What does he know about it?”

“Just what everyone else is saying, I guess. He made the effort to set an appointment with me, counseled me not to take it personally, and reminded me how much esteem he and the rest of the staff had for me. It was really sweet.”

Chloe nodded. “A little out of character?”

Mattie cocked her head. “But still sweet. I’d give him the benefit of the doubt.”

Let us never forget the depths of evil Qasim is capable of. Not only did he ask and go out with a girl another Millie was interested in, sulk and react in an immature manner when she dumped him for little, if any, discernible reason, he :gasp: was kind and supportive to the people around him.

Only one piece of music can truly depict Qasim's malice and complete disregard for human life: Qasim's theme.

Given how thuddeningly obvious Ellanjay are about, well, everything, I'm sure it's going to be revealed that :gasp: Qasim wrote the fake report, but again, my sympathies are still with him. I don't know when they'll stop being with him. Because yeah, getting Kat in trouble with a phony complaint report is wrong, I see it more as a stroke of immaturity rather than him being History's Greatest Monster.

But then again, he did dare ask out a girl that Kenny was interested in, though Kenny never gave any indication in words, body language, or Morse Code, that he was interested in Kat. Kat, being the wanton slut that she is, :gasp: accepted his offer and they went on one date, where Kat's sin-o-meter kicked in and told her she was going against the will of Ellanjay God, by going out with Qasim. Since Kat isn't Hattie, the Great Whore of Babylon, she immediately realizes she's fallen astray, asks forgiveness for going out with a guy she was interested in, even though he wasn't Kenny, and dumps him.

And Qasim is really a horrible person for having hurt feelings over being dumped and lashing out in an immature matter, because he's young, stupid, and again, he was just dumped. The Millies really need to build a memorial around the reports box, maybe put up a plaque, so generations from now, people will never forget the true depravities Qasim was capable of and how they mildly inconvenienced someone. Let us never forget...Report Box Theme

Good God, so much brutal sarcasm back to back. I wonder if there's a set limit for this kind of thing and if I go too far, I will lose the ability to express any other emotion. Which wouldn't be too bad, if I could live out in the middle of nowhere, support myself, and be my natural hermit self, but right now, I can't afford to alienate everyone in my life yet.

There are a few lines with Abdullah, but nothing substantial, so we'll move onto the next section where Kenny and Creepy Raymie have a conversation. :reads ahead: DAMMIT! WHY DID I MAKE THAT PROMISE EARLY ON?! EVEN I ADMITTED THAT I WAS BASICALLY ASKING FOR IT!

Or in other words, there will be a whole lotta Creepy Sex Stuff. So everybody get ready and have your poison of choice well within arm's reach, because you're going to need it. :sighs: Since I've only read the For Kids! version and not any of the other adult books, I have to ask: was there this much Creepy Sex Stuff in the adults' books or is it really just this one in particular?

Like I said, I will never stop envisioning Creepy Raymie as David Koresh. I'll let my readers make the call as to whether he also has the early nineties' hairstyle and birth control glasses.

“Just a few items,” Kenny said. “I want to know where things stand with Qasim. I want to know what you think I should do about the persistence of the Jospins. And we need to talk about Ekaterina.”

I freely admit that I often fast-forward through parts of this book, especially because nothing ever pays off in a satisfying manner--you're lucky if you get a payoff at all--but I'm like, "What wait about the Jospins?" I thought they'd meekly accepted that their daughter was roasting on a spit and were all, "It's real good that you did that, God. Real good," about it. Of course, as I was typing this, I realized that they were probably talking about the whole thing with Luthair and Ignace. Sonuva!

So I'll not go too much further with that line of thought. Just chalk it up to a screw-up born out of boredom. Though am I the only thinking that the phrase, "the persistence of the Jospins," sounds like a title for a poem written by one of the great Romantic poets, like Wordsworth or Keats or something? Life would be so much better if we could just enjoy Jeremy Irons reading Wordsworth's poem about daffodils and not go any further, but I'm afraid we've got work to do.

Creepy Raymie addresses the issue involving Qasim first.

Raymie, whom Kenny had always found both wise and decisive, did not disappoint. “I don’t know what Qasim is telling anyone else, but I have totally distanced myself and the Millennium Force from him. I told him he has no standing with us, and that regardless what he chooses to do in relation to the Other Light, we don’t want so much as a report from him, not even a secondhand report through Zaki.”

Though you probably can't blame Creepy Raymie and co. for their emotional cruelty towards Qasim. When Kenny's like, "And he's okay with it?" Creepy Raymie tells us how Qasim reacted. I pray that none of my readers have delicate heart conditions for hearing the depravity Qasim is capable of, would make anyone's blood run cold.

“Of course not. He was angry, which showed me his true colors. And Zaki is not happy either. I had to tell him that he would be next if he couldn’t see the wisdom of our totally parting ways with Qasim. I feared offending Bahira if I did that, but she has never trusted Qasim, and I suppose you know we have a sort of mutual admiration society.”

Qasim got angry over being treated like shit and dumped? Truly even Josef Stalin's crimes pale in comparison!

I know, I'm probably harping too much on the whole thing with Qasim. First of all, this is my soapbox and I plan on using it. Second of all, well, I was bullied pretty much relentlessly from age eleven to age eighteen, when I finally graduated high school and could escape those shitstains I went to school with. So bullying is an issue I'm very damn sensitive about and I am well aware of the toxic beliefs our culture has about them and how they're BS. I'm going to see if I can get all this out in one go. For those of you who may have issues, I'll put bold headlines at the beginning and end of this rant, so you may feel free to scroll past it, if you don't feel ready to handle it. That said, let's do this thing. I'll let you decide whether my theme song should be "Bitch" by Meredith Brooks or "Bad Reputation" by Joan Jett.

Beginning of Bullying Rant

First of all, fuck anyone who says, "If you would stop doing X, they would leave you alone." Not only are you basically saying "Reshape and completely change who you are, so Shitstain abusers will leave you alone," it won't work. Not only will the victim have the scars that come from compromising who they are, just so people won't be emotionally cruel towards them, it never works. Once a bully settles on a victim, they will find some reason to go after them. And for the record, yeah, a fat kid could probably stand to get some more exercise and eat fewer donuts, just as another kid could stand to have a little more confidant, they should want to do this for their own benefit, not just so they can survive a day of school with some dignity intact. Bullying is always wrong, even if you're fairly certain this kid is the reincarnation of Hitler or they're a 95 lb. asthmatic who could be taken down by a stiff breeze.

And yes, I did post that clip just to indulge in my rampant Captain America fangirlism! I thought you guys were used to that kind of thing by now.***

Also all you idiots who are like, "Durr...just stand up to them like in Back to the Future!" Let me give you some shocking information: it's not the 50s anymore and many schools have Zero Tolerance Policies**** against fighting. When I was in school, the zero tolerance fighting policy meant that even if you were defending yourself, you still got punished, along with the asshole who assaulted you in the first place. Granted my bullies were girls who mostly favor the psychological approach, rather than the physical one, but even as a kid, I thought that was fucked up, the idea that if someone starts kicking the crap out of me, I'm supposed to just stand there and get beaten up. Say what you will about police abuses, but even they recognize the basic right of self-defense that if Bill comes at you, you have the right to defend yourself.

And there's the obvious flaw in that bullies tend to be in way better physical shape, bigger than their victims, which generally gives them the upper-hand in a fight. I know being big doesn't always guarantee a victory, if the other guy has skills and knows how to utilize them, but very few bullied kids have much by way of martial arts training, so let's ignore that.

But the biggest flaw is that even if the bullied kid won and the bully never bothers him/her again, you are still promoting the Bully's mindset of "Might Makes Right." Since you won, that clearly indicates you were mightier and therefore, the bully was in the wrong for picking on you and the only reason the Bully is in the wrong, is because you could take them in a fight, not because bullying is inherently wrong. So it would be perfectly okay for the Bully to pick on the skinny, mousy kid who dresses weird, if said kid gets overpowered and loses the fight.

And Ignoring Them Doesn't Fucking Work! The words will still land and hurt, even if you don't respond to them or if you say a witty one-liner afterwards. As xkcd wisely put it, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can make someone else feel happy or sad, which is literally the only thing that matters in this stupid world."

In fact, Ignoring them only further normalizes bullying. To use the words from a link in the previous paragraph:

Ah, yes, the well-worn refrain to bullied kids everywhere. Ignore the bully and he’ll use your silence to believe he’s untouchable and torment you for months while you internalize your own worthlessness and believe you can’t even speak out about the abuse because it’ll just be “encouraging” the bully to beat you more.

No wait, I’m sorry, I got reality mixed up with platitude again. I meant to say, ignore the bully and he’ll go away and leave you alone, because you showed you were the bigger person and there’s nothing a bully loves more than someone they look down on for their identities or existence also acting smug that they are morally superior to them.

Ah damn, just keep accidentally kicking the switch for the reality/platitude inverter.

But yeah, any bullied kid learned the hard way that this advice is garbage. Once a bully is on you, they tend to stick around and turning your back and trying to ignore just makes them more likely to escalate and feel invincible because they know that everyone likes a bully victim to suffer nobly and so the systems of power are behind them and will protect their actions.

I could quote more of this article, but I'll hold back. Just remember that Abuse-enabling assholes feel that Staying Quiet is the only option. A bullying victim must be so saintly as to make Jesus jealous and suffer in silence, because if they don't, if they stubbornly insist on being who they are and demanding that others do something to stop the abuse, they would upset the status quo and :gasp: they might force them to do stuff, which is the worst thing you can possibly do. No one has to care about the bullied's feelings, but heaven forbid, you inconvenience or upset a Bully in any way.

tl;dr, Bullying is always wrong. It doesn't matter who you do it to or why, it's still wrong. And if these actions were being done out in the real world between adults, instead of in a school between children, they would call it harassment or assault and I'm fairly certain the police tend to take a dim view of that sort of thing.

End of Long Bullying Rant

Okay, I'm done now. I'm only sorry about all the profanity, not the length of the rant.

As you can tell by that last line about "mutual admiration society," we're about to get into Creepy Sex stuff.

Kenny smiled. “Kat and I have speculated on what might have become of you two— as a couple, I mean— if you were naturals.”

Raymie shook his head and looked away. “I have wondered the same. As has she. We can talk about it openly because it is so far from the realm of possibility. It’s strange that we admire and respect and truly love each other so deeply, and yet the idea of romance never enters the picture. We’re simply not wired that way anymore. That allows us to spend a lot of time together, really as brother and sister, worshiping, praying, studying, planning. I can’t tell you how rewarding it is.”

"And by brother and sister, I, of course, mean like something out of a V.C. Andrews novel."

I'll assume when Creepy Raymie is talking about Romance, he is referring to S-E-X, which again, makes me shake my head and go "Poor Beverly LaHaye and poor Dianna Jenkins." Because in addition to removing sexual desire, Zod also took away the little things that couples enjoy doing together, like hanging out and talking, going to a nice restaurant because you both enjoy the cuisine, or just cuddling together on the couch while watching a favorite movie or TV show.

Ellanjay probably consider me a creepy pervert, because I reference sex as an enjoyable activity, a way for both parties to express the love they feel for each other, but they're even more creepy than I am, because they steadfastly refuse to admit either of those things, view sex as a grim necessity needed to produce more believers, and can't imagine people being romantic or doing something nice for another person just to be nice, without wanting anything, sex or otherwise, out of it. Ellanjay really are such Nice Guys™. I don't know how many times I'm going to keep saying variations on that phrase.

In another attempt to point out something good in a sea of turds, when Kenny says, “And I can’t tell you how much fun it is to have someone like that in my life,” Kenny said, “plus adding the romance to it," Creepy Raymie actually says, "I'm happy for you," rather than castigating his nephew for :gasp: wanting to be around and enjoy a girl's company and do nice things for her. It is a piddling, insignificant good thing, but hey, I try to occasionally stop being relentlessly negative and give them some credit.

Kenny talks about how he really cares about Kat and though they aren't married or even engaged yet, they probably will be at some point. Kenny also says that he seeks wisdom and counsel from her and talks to her about the Millies.

Again, to his credit, Creepy Raymie doesn't lay into Kenny for :gasp: seeking the counsel of a weak womanly woman. Though if Kenny actually were to do something more than just correspond with the TOL, it would be kind of hard for him to keep this secret from Kat anyway. You don't think she'd wouldn't be like, "Huh, I wonder where Kenny goes off too," and get curious? What am I saying? Of course, Kat wouldn't because she's a good RTC woman and a good RTC woman knows to never question anything their owner man says or does.

Creepy Raymie is like, "Be careful. Relationships don't always go the way you hope. What if you're just friends or acquaintances a year from now?" And I'm like, "Uh, unless Kat and Kenny's breakup winds up being a 'Jane, you ignorant slut!' kind of breakup, there probably won't be a problem." Because people can date each other, decide they work better as friends than as a couple, break up, and :gasp: still remain friends afterwards.

That was one of the things I enjoyed about the 90s show on Nick, "Clarissa Explains It All." The titular character and her friend Sam, who is male, actually just remain friends throughout the series without it turning into romance. They did try being a couple in one episode, but the experience felt weird and unnerving, so they mutually decided to go back to being friends and :gasp: stayed friends for the rest of the series. I'm not opposed to a male and female friend deciding to date each other, but I still find stuff like the bit with Clarissa and Sam to be refreshing. It's nice for something to acknowledge that a dude and a lady can just like each other, without wanting sex out of it.

:sighs: I adored Clarissa Explains It All as a kid. Used to dream about having Clarissa's wardrobe and bedroom. Heck, I still kind of dream of having her wardrobe/bedroom, though minus the nineties' beige box computer, of course. Those pink pajamas with the ants all over them, look hella cute and hella comfy.

All right, I'll stop with the nostalgia and get back to work.

After that, Kenny starts talking about Lothair and Ignace's Insidious Emails and how he should respond to them.

“Kat thinks I should pursue it, do it right, and— unlike Qasim— act under the authority of the Force. In other words, make sure everybody knows what I’m doing so they can pray for me, keep track of me, and give advice.”

Raymie sat back and folded his arms. “I like this girl more all the time. Maybe she will make a good Force member someday.”

Okay, I'm sorry to keep harping on this issue, but how was what Qasim was doing, bad? I know what the Millies experience does, in no way, compare to a battlefield, but I'll use the military analogy, because it's a handy one and because Ellanjay love to express that air of hypermasculinity; hence their worship of the military*V.

Basic knowledge of military strategy is that the soldiers are briefed on what they are supposed to do and where they are supposed to be, before they are sent into battle. And as a general rule, soldiers are cautioned against deviating from the plan. A snarker I follow, Kippurbird, talked about this, in her delightfully scathing takedown of the Eragon series. She said her grandfather served as a captain and trained soldiers during WWII (aka the war Ellanjay love the most, due to aforementioned hypermasculinity). She said that much of Grandad's time was spent training the soldiers to listen to him, before being sent to the front. To use her words, after a while, Grandad said,

He said that after a while he could tell who would live and who wouldn't come back after seeing how well they listened to him. The rules were there to save lives and the soldiers weren't supposed to think, they were just supposed to follow. Creativity and invention in combat is a dangerous thing. If you deviate from the plan then who knows what can happen and who can get hurt because they're expecting you in one place and you aren't there.

So from that standpoint, Qasim disobeying orders would be a bad thing. [slight tangent] Though Ellanjay's disapproval does feel particularly rich, given that they, like so many on the Right, have fanboyish love for Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, who stubbornly refuse to let anything so gauche as laws or basic human decency, stop them from steam-rolling over the rights and lives of anyone they want. Like I keep saying, it's not that the Right is opposed to tyranny. So long as it is done by the right people for the right reasons, they have no problems with it. Soviet dictators brutally oppressed their citizens, but that was wrong because they did it in the name of communism. Whereas Vladimir Putin does the same, but he does it in the name of unfettered free market capitalism and cronyism, so the Right can't stop swooning over him. [/slight tangent]

But also at the same time, war tends to be unpredictable. A soldier may get out into the field and it turns out that something's happened which makes it so that the plan cannot work as intended. So under those circumstances, the soldiers would try to stick to the plan, but if that proves impossible, they will jettison isn't working. Basic common sense.

And they will decide this on their own, because during the heat of battle, it may be difficult, if not impossible, to get word back from the higher-ups in time, forcing them to have to wing it. Another basic rule of the military: if the commander gets killed during a battle, the next highest-ranked takes over and does what he/she has to in order to complete the mission and save their squad. During a battle, there's not time to idle around and wait, while the generals send in another commander to help you out. Idling tends to get you killed in war.

Though yeah, I know the Millies are basically brownshirts and what they're doing in no way compares to war, but again, felt the analogy might serve its purpose. I also know that their real objection to Qasim is similar to Our Buck's objections to Verna Zee. It's perfectly okay for Buck to be just absolutely condescending and awful to Verna, because he outranks her by being a White Dude, but Verna is the Worst Person Ever! for :gasp: asking Buck to do something so gauche as DO THE FREAKING JOB HE'S GETTING PAID TO DO!

Unfortunately, things have become so warped that modern journalism is pretty much in line with the LB-verse version. I'd rant, but I've done so many frothing rants in one post, so maybe another time, guys.

So Kenny-boy and Creepy Raymie start talking about the Millies' goals. Oh nice to finally know what the heck is going on. Again, if you are going to do a classic "Forces of Good vs. Forces of Evil" plot, we should know which side is which, what both sides want, and what will happen if the Forces of Evil succeed. It's basic plotting 101.

“Do we need a meeting?”

“Of the Force? Sure, if you plan to respond to these guys. What’re you thinking, that you would visit them in France?”

“That or start feeding them bogus information. Just enough to keep them on the string.”

“I don’t know,” Raymie said, sighing. “If our goal is not to win them over, what is it?”

“To keep undecideds from being swayed by them.”

Feeding them bogus information...what exactly would you be feeding them bogus information about?! Even with the Tribbles, it made some sense in that a character could :gasp: lie about the locations of bases or give false information about who their members are. They never did it, but it made sense, because in that scenario, they were the minority being persecuted by a mighty foe. But in this scenario, the RTCs are the ones in charge, laying down the law and all that. So what would you feed them false information about? Say that "Oh yeah, the church's bake sale has been canceled," when it totally hasn't? :gasp: :choke:

Plus, I thought they had demonstrated time and time again that Ellanjay, as believers in absolute morality, believe that lying is always wrong, even if it's a "Lie to the Nazis to protect the Jews you're smuggling to safety." So why is an RTC character now saying, "Maybe we should lie to them?"

And of course, the best way to keep Undecideds from being swayed by them, is to censor the crap out of the TOL and make a huge fuss about how eeeevil and degenerate they are, because that will never blow up in their faces? The Streisand Effect? What the heck is that?

Though of course, the TOL is based in France, the most effete and European of all effete European countries. Though this does give me an opportunity to point out that despite his name, Captain America actually hates America.

Creepy Raymie is like "How does misleading the TOL accomplish that?" And I'm just going to post Kenny's response.

They rose to start heading back to work. Kenny said, “All I know is that if I don’t start playing their game soon, they’re going to know I’m not on their side. Maybe that’s not all bad. I can stick to what I know and what I believe I’m supposed to be doing— reaching the children right here.”

I'm not going to say the obvious jokes, because I've already made so many Creepy Sex Jokes in this post. I just thought I should post it for my readers' perusal. :whistles innocently:

We cut back to Abdullah, who is getting ready to embark on his poorly-defined mission to the TOL.

Abdullah knew he needn’t be, but he was nervous. He had allowed his beard to grow out, then trimmed it neatly before luxuriating in a long shower. Now he slowly dressed, eschewing the white robe he had worn for years in Israel and opting for more traditional Jordanian civilian wear. He pulled a blousy white top over billowing beige pants, slipped into open sandals, and carefully wrapped a pure white turban around his head.

That sound you hear is the people behind the sixties Jonny Quest or the writers for "Amos and Andy" going, "Now that's just a wee bit culturally insensitive. You mind toning it down a little."

For the record, while I did search, I couldn't really pull up any satisfying pictures of male Jordanian attire, so y'all will have to settle for this description instead:

The men never wear scruffy-looking and messy attire, and are very strict in their grooming. Their trousers are usually plain in color, never flashy or provocative. T-shirts or upper clothing that don't cover the shoulders or the upper arms are considered underwear. Jordanian men opt to wear long-sleeved and high-necked shirts and never walk around shirtless.

So it is different from what 'Muricans wear, but it's not that different.

Fun Fact: Not all Muslim men wear turbans. The turban thing is probably due more to the Middle East being predominantly desert. Its citizens need protection from the elements and the turbans and hijabs, as well as the loose, flowing clothing, work better than jeans and tee shirt.

Another Fun Fact: Another religious faith where the adherents wear turbans, is Sikhism. Sikhism originated in India, not the Middle East, and doesn't have much in common with the Abrahamic faiths of which Islam is one of them.

Even More Fun Fact: Even if it turns out that group of dudes in turbans are, in fact, Muslims, it's still wrong for you to barge in and shoot up the place and kill people for being Muslim.

Even More Funner Fact: Muslim is a religious label, indicating that someone is a practitioner of the Islamic faith, whereas Arab is a racial term, indicating that someone displays the physical features of someone who originates from a particular part of the world. Or in other words, you can be Muslim, without being an Arab, and you can be an Arab, but not be a Muslim.

Abdullah's segment is interrupted with a Cam-Cam one. Yerik shows up, while Cam-Cam putts around his property on a golf cart, and is like, "Joshua and Caleb send their greetings and will be end tomorrow." The only noteworthy response is at the end where Cam-Cam thinks, "Never a dull moment," and I have to fight the urge to point and laugh derisively until I injure myself.

Those of you who felt that I was reading too much into the bit with Abdullah earlier, I'm going to post his next selection in its entirety, while I point and laugh at your naïveté.

Abdullah felt strangely conspicuous, striding about Amman under the blazing sun in gleaming clothes. Almost everyone he saw was wearing the customary white robe, and his getup elicited double takes and stares but, probably because he was carrying his Bible, always followed by smiles— which he returned. The closer he got to the address in question, the more excited he grew.

Abdullah peeked at the tiny slip of paper to be sure he was in the right neighborhood, and soon he arrived at a square, three-story building topped by towering antennas and satellite dishes. Inside he found a list of offices that included agricultural consultants, hydrologists, computer specialists, and communications experts. Ah, there it was. A downstairs suite was labeled Theological Training Institute. He took the steps.

I'd ask how Ellanjay would explain that them freaking out about Abdullah wearing a turban, until they see his bible, isn't racist, but I really shouldn't. It's depressing enough dealing with Trumpettes going on and on about how Trump's views that certain ethnic and religious groups are subhuman mongrels, undeserving of the basic rights given to them as American citizens or as human beings in general, is in no way racist or any kind of -ist whatsoever.

And there really isn't anything more after that. Daycare prepares for Caleb and Joshua. Kenny and Qasim talk and I suppose Ellanjay would consider Kenny to be Good, because he magnanimously holds off on talking shit about Qasim while in his presence, preferring instead to talk behind his back.

And that's it. Sorry for all the frothing rants and the Bullying MegaRant, but buttons were pushed. Just be grateful that I didn't find a thinly-veiled excuse to rant about that one movie I hate so much, so much so that if something were to happen to Zack Snyder, law enforcement would knock on my door and ask me some questions, given all the frothing, "DAMN YOU, ZACK SNYDER! I WILL HAVE YOUR HEAD ON A PLATTER OF GOLD!" rants I've done.

Anyway, now for all the asterisked stuff.

*Whether you were on Team Cap or Team Iron Man in this movie, at least with the film version, which was better than the comic book version by a mile, you understood where Steve and Tony were coming from and why they would make the choices they did, even if you disagreed with them. Plus, Tony didn't turn into Nazi-Tron, even if I am looking side-eyed at all his friends and being like, "No one suggested he go into therapy after Age of Ultron? You guys are kind of terrible friends. Dude's been turning into a quivering mess of PTSD for a while and no one has talked to him about or suggested that something be done to address the issue."

**And by Creepy Sex Stuff, I'm assuming you guys understand that I'm referring to the loathing for the desires of the flesh and how they can't view anything without thinking in terms of power and domination, rather than fetishes like Furries or BDSM. My view regarding those fetishes, along with just about every other fetish, is that I think it's weird as hell and I'm not into it, but so long as it's all between consenting adults in the privacy of their own home, I don't really care. Though on the BDSM front, it was satisfying hearing from various practitioners talking about how E.L. James is full of it and Christian Grey would be persona non grata among their subculture, if not imprisoned, if they knew about what he was doing.

***Props to the movie and the Agent Carter TV show for demonstrating that she was already into Steve, even before he came out of Mr. Stark's machine as a slice of roast beefcake. Because of course, anyone would be attracted to him after that, so it's nice that they went the extra mile, so she wouldn't look completely shallow. I won't rant about that one scene in that movie, because Peggy redeemed herself so much in her sadly short-lived TV series. Though I do find it interesting that in said series, when she's seen looking at pictures of Steve, it's usually the before pictures rather than the after. Again, liked him even when he was a 95 lb. asthmatic.

****As someone who came of age when Zero Tolerance Policies were becoming widespread, I can tell you how much they don't work and how little sense they make. Given that there are numerous studies backing me up and no one likes these policies, not the students, teachers, parents, or administrators, yet said policies remain, you find yourself wondering what purpose they really are meant to serve. Because they certainly aren't protecting students and personnel.

*V Said worship does not lead to them taking care of the soldiers when they come home physically disabled or riddled with PTSD. In fact, they tend to make massive cuts to services designed to help wounded veterans/soldiers and when said conditions deteriorate to a truly appalling state, they point to it as "proof that government-run health care doesn't work." To the extent they care about the soldiers, it's as human meat shields or something they can use to score political points, and probably can't be bothered to make sure they can find work and support when they get home, so the vet doesn't wind up eating his/her pistol or something.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

It's Always About Sex

Hey everybody! Hope life's treating you well. As for me...I am seriously praying for a "Rocks fall; everyone dies" ending. I know it's not going to happen, but let me hope for a little while longer, dammit! Because as always, it's not enough that Ellanjay are boring, but they're punishingly boring. Does having a conflict or stuff happening in a story, go against the sacred tenets of RTCianity?

I will warn you that this snark will briefly force me to defend the Tribbles. Please put down your torches and pitchforks; it will make more sense once we get there.

Chloe asks to see Kenny and Kat in her office. For some reason, though, Bahira is in this scene. And if you're wondering, we get right to the skin-crawling creepy sex stuff.

Bahira, Abdullah’s daughter, was with them. “I’ve just met Kenny’s Kat,” she said. “And I approve.”

Ekaterina looked shocked, and Kenny said, “Bahira! First off, she’s not mine. And second, there’s nothing to approve.”

"Until I get her father's approval, she belongs to him. Once I do, then and only then, will she be mine."

To borrow from South Park, that's actually what RTCs believe. According to the rules of courtship, girls are their father's property until a man that meets their father's approval, marries them. After that, they become their husband's property. Feel free to let your skin crawl all it likes.

Don't worry, I'm not going to post links talking about sexual abuse in the RTC subculture, even though the nature of that subculture gives it a perfect place to thrive. Like I keep saying, it's always about sex with that bunch.

Anyway, Chloe gets everybody seated and starts talking. I will warn you that her dialogue consists of so much corporate buzz talk that I'm still not entirely sure what the hell she's saying. Just that it's so dense and incomprehensible know how editors have red pens that they use when going over works? This will make an editor long desperately for a red machete. No points for guessing who'd they use it on.

“You know, Bahira,” Chloe said, “it’s actually good that you’re here for this, because this is an awkward meeting. Back before the millennial kingdom, had Kenny’s father and I not gone to heaven, I can imagine having a meeting like this, probably when Kenny reached junior high school or so. I hear all sorts of gossip and talk and who said what about whose boyfriend or girlfriend, and it strikes me that it’s so juvenile for such a time as this. Scripture says that you all are to be considered children until you reach age one hundred, but because you’re twice as old now as my parents were when I died . .  . I don’t know; I guess I expect you to be more mature.”

"Teenagers gossiping and expressing an interest in the opposite sex?! In my head, I hear Chloe swooning and fainting. Though for some reason, she'd get even madder if Kenny expressed an interest in the same sex, so my RTC hand-holding gloves would be too far off the mark. Though that probably wouldn't be enough to satisfy Chloe and ensure that her son never feels a stirring in his loins. We probably ought to come up with and market RTC burqas. Because the only part of those that the RTCs object to, is the Muslim part. So we stitch Jesus Fish and Crucifixes on them and we're in the clear. Your call as to whether both genders should have to wear them or if, as always, only the girls should, while the boys can get by with the RTC hand-holding gloves.

Though given that many believe that the Jesus Fish was originally a representation of that sinful hole where babies slide out and crucifixes are suspiciously phallic-looking, I don't know if those designs will work. Maybe I should think on this, just as I'm still wondering if we could make a good chunk of change, doing up posters with the Angel's words from Mark Twain's "The War Prayer." I'm still disappointed we can't make leather-bound books that look and feel like the Bible, but have Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged inside instead of, y'know, the actual Bible.

All right, I'll stop talking about potential business ventures, especially since it'll all likely result in a Misaimed Fandom anyway.

I suppose I could do the math or dig through a wiki to find out how old Chloe was when she died, but to heck with it. That level of nitpicking doesn't appeal even to me.

Though I do wonder how this whole slowed-down aging thing works. Because we just got a flat-out admission that the slowed aging means that until someone reaches the age of a hundred, they physically resemble children. Being the nitpicker that I am, I wonder the lengths of this. Does puberty only happen when they approach one hundred? If not, at what year would it start. Because I thought Ellanjay set the whole Age of Accountability thing at roughly around the age of twelve. Or to put it bluntly, as soon as you start to get hair around your naughty bits, God will try you as an adult.

But I'm still wondering, like I said, if you literally can't die until you're one hundred. I thought that was the case, that everyone would get to enact their Deadpool cosplays on a whole new level, but Buck had mentioned something about how if Cendrillion had died in an accident, it would be easier to talk with her parents. So accidental deaths still happen in the MK.

Of course from there, I wonder if one of the RTC parents knew that Junior hadn't said The Prayer with the precise amount of sincerity demanded, couldn't they kill their child before he or she turns one hundred? If they do, kid won't be struck dead on his/her hundredth birthday and will get to romp around Heaven for all eternity, whereas if the kid lived, he or she would be pitched into Hell. And we all know that Ellanjay believe that no sin, however egregious, permanently separates you from God, so long as you pray and ask for forgiveness afterwards. So RTC parents can kill their kids, the kids won't burn in hell, and the parents just have to ask for forgiveness afterwards and everyone's happy.

Given that numerous scientific studies prove that there is a marked difference in the functioning of a teenage brain as opposed to that of an adult's, I wonder if the Maturity at a Hundred thing, also has God deliberately stepping in to avoid the developments and changes that the teenage brain undergoes. Not too surprising, given the nature of the LB God, but given that science says that brain development goes on into a person's twenties, that only further muddies the waters on the nature of development in the MK.

All right, I'll shut up and get back to the chapter.

Chloe's next words only add to my confusion:

“It’s all of you,” Chloe said. “Ekaterina is the only one still living with her parents, but you’re all old enough to be on your own. It just doesn’t seem like you’re acting it. Shouldn’t we be above all this petty stuff now that we’re living in a time when Jesus is reigning over His millennial kingdom?”

Yes, Chloe, you really should be above all this petty stuff, just as this story, SHOULD ACTUALLY HAVE SOMETHING RESEMBLING A PLOT OR CONFLICT!

Though all this talk about how Kenny and Bahira are old enough to live on their own, but Kat isn' I said, it only muddies the waters even more. It makes you wonder at what age do they consider someone an adult, capable of consent. The youngest range it dips down into in the US is sixteen, with eighteen being the more common denominator across the board. In Japan, the age of consent is at thirteen. I could pull up depressing links that demonstrate that apparently RTCs believe that the age of consent should be much lower than thirteen, but I won't. You may think me in whatever manner you deem fit. Just remember, it is entirely too much to ask for grown-assed men, even if they're in their twenties or older, to control themselves around those very seductive twelve-year-olds.

Though it's probably more a case of because Kat and Kenny haven't formally tied the knot, Kat still belongs to her father and must live in his house, until a guy he approves of, puts a ring on her finger. Even if she is, like Jana Duggar, several years over the age of twenty and probably more than capable of taking care of herself, given that she's been raising dozens of siblings for God-knows-how-long. But my only problem with this theory is, as I recall, Bahira isn't married to anyone, yet she is :gasp: :choke: living outside her parents' home, despite being an unmarried adult female.

I don't know when I'll stop talking about Quiverfulls and Creepy Sex Stuff. Sorry guys...

Bahira is all "Maybe my brother should be here because it was his idea to enlist Qasim in the first place." She says something about how Creepy Raymie wasn't happy with the idea at all. Given that I've taken to envisioning Raymie as David Koresh, creating an insular cult centered around himself, I don't need to tell you why he wasn't happy with Qasim joining. I've got one word for you: Competition.

Like with the burqas thing I mentioned earlier, the only objections they'd have to the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints, what with their viewing women strictly as broodmare and marrying them off to old goats who are older than their fathers, while kicking out teenage boys because there aren't enough girls around for everybody to have dozens of wives, is the Mormon part. And dammit, will this snark ever stop making me want to scour my flesh with steel wool and battery acid.

Chloe talks about how she got all this information from Creepy Raymie in the first place and that he thinks the world of Bahira. So okay, maybe that's why Bahira is allowed to live outside her father's house; the transfer from her father's ownership to Creepy Raymie's has taken place, thus putting her under his jurisdiction. Bahira talks about how she loves Creepy Raymie in the way everyone who met in Heaven loves each other, without complications.

And I shudder some more. Because I believe in spreading pain around, I'll provide a link to another thing all this is making me think about, a short story called "The Screwfly Solution." We all know the RTCs would be enthusiastic Sons of Adam if the plague in that story came to pass. They pretty much only keep women around, because if they didn't, there would be a precipitous drop in the number of bodies in the pews and fewer bodies means less money.

And here's the part where I'm somewhat forced to defend the Tribbles:

“And that’s the way it should be. Our lives now should be filled with praising and worshiping Jesus and carrying out His mission on this earth. There are still millions of young people who will not live past their hundredth birthdays unless we stay at the task. That’s what COT is all about. And if you’re going to have a Millennium Force that mirrors the old Tribulation Force, it needs to be single-minded too. We had one goal, one mission, and that was to thwart Antichrist as best we could by what?”

"Occasionally thinking disdainful, but not too disdainful, thoughts in the Anti-Christ's direction?!"

Though much as it pains me to admit it, but the Tribbles are closer to a resistance group than the Millies. Nicky was actually killing and persecuting the RTCs for what they believed. But what has the TOL done to the Millies, aside from try to live their lives in peace? As I keep saying, the TOL aren't arresting RTCs for exercising their right to assemble nor are they sending in infiltrators to bring down the Millies from within.

All right, I'm done defending the Tribbles. I still feel kind of dirty about it, though.

For those of you wondering, here's how the Tribbles thwarted the Anti-Christ.

“By adding as many people to the family of God as you could.”

“Exactly. That’s what the Millennium Force ought to be about, and in talking to Raymie, I know that’s his passion. It sounds to me like it has deteriorated into a he-said-she-said free-for-all. And with Satan out of the picture for nine hundred or so more years, this all has to be self-motivated. I can’t see what part of the world makes this kind of thing attractive, so that leaves the flesh. Just something to think about. Will you think about it? I’m sorry to come off like the mom here, but you’re all coming off like juveniles.”

Given how many times the Tribbles zealously guarded the truth from everyone, even though it could possibly save people from an eternity of horrific suffering, FAIL! If that had really been the Tribbles' mission, they would have lined up outside buildings where the Mark was being given out, stood on street corners, or outside barbed-wire fences and preached until the GC dragged them away. But they didn't. Instead, they hide in a hole in the ground and smirked about how they have it all figured out, just like all the great Christian martyrs throughout history.

Though a few more things, before we get to the part with Abdullah: one, Kenny is your son, so it's okay for you to come off like the mom here. And two, by your own admission, since they are under one hundred, they are still physically and mentally juveniles, so what the hell?

Okay nothing really happens in Abdullah's section. Qasim shows up and they talk about the mission and blah-blah-blah. Like I said in comments for last week's post, I know this mission is all about Abdullah, so he can pat himself on the back and feel like such a big man. Though I will never stop praying that Qasim escapes somehow. Like I keep saying, stop trying to bend over backwards to win the favor of a bunch of shitstains, Qasim. It just isn't worth it.

We cut to Kenny, who continues to feel a stirring in his undercarriage from Kat.

Kenny found himself confiding more and more in Ekaterina. She had taken well his mother’s admonitions and proved more than spiritually mature in her response. Nightly now they spent hours together, talking until it was time to go to their respective homes. They told each other every detail of their lives they could remember. Kenny wasn’t entirely sure where Ekaterina’s heart was, but she had stolen his. He prayed his love for her would not interfere with his devotion to Christ, and that was the subject of his nearly constant prayer.

I suppose I should be grateful they told this in passing. Yeah, it's lazy, but I feel unclean enough about all the creepy sex jokes I've been making. Just that the more RTCs insist that their love for one another is purer than that of heathens who :gasp: make their own decisions as to whether to have sex, the more I'm like "Methinks the lady doth protest too much." Again, refusing to acknowledge sex as a basic desire, as an enjoyable activity and an expression of love, and spending all your time hating yourself for having these innate desires, only leads to a whole lot of misery and abuse. Yeah, sexual abuse happens outside the RTC subculture, but not at the disturbing rate it does in the RTC subculture. Plus, the heathen outsiders acknowledge the existence of abuse, carefully define it and address it, punishing offenders, whereas RTCs...

Yeah, I'll just wrap this up. Kenny got an email from the TOL. Now I'm going to bath in battery acid for a while.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Tomorrow Belongs To Me!

Well I'm here. I'll try to stay out of politics even though I'm fairly certain we are under a Trumpularity where every topic, regardless of content, will eventually turn to Donald Trump. :whimpers: But let's get to this.

I've said before that if Ellanjay had any sense, they would have faded to white, let the characters go to Heaven and not even try to take on the task of describing it. Greater writers than them have tried and failed and most writers wisely decide not to take it on. Because the concept of Heaven, a place of eternal bliss and joy, where there's no pain or suffering, is so far beyond the human experience that it's pretty much impossible to say anymore about it than "it's a place of eternal bliss and joy and there's no pain or suffering." Though I always think of it as being a place where you could spend eternity doing whatever you want without the limitations of Earth. So for readers, you get a neverending library on anything you want and you can read in any language you like, even ones that current anthropologists haven't yet deciphered. Though I also see it as like Dream's library from The Sandman comics where you can also read books that exist only in the creator's heads.

Regardless of how you find my depiction of Heaven (and there probably are faults in it), I know better than to try to tell a story about it. I'll state my theories, but however much fun I may have in, reading books in Heaven, it wouldn't have much value as a story. Can't really tell a story that goes "She read books and it was good." The whole concept of Heaven makes it impossible for story-telling; all stories have to have some form of conflict, internal or external, and in a place where it's nothing but bliss and joy and none of the pain or deprivations of Earth, there is no conflict.

So yeah, another part of my rant is that they've basically managed to stretch two pages of story into a novel. Ellanjay are coming across as the kid who, realizing they can't reach the teacher's required essay length, starts playing around with font size and margins, abuses the heck out of the thesaurus to find new vocabulary to misuse, and sees how many times they can say the same thing, only with slightly different wording via Thesaurus Abuse. Though however much that may be irritating to a teacher*, at least in that scenario, they are not paying the student just to read their crappy essay.

Anyway, we start with Abdullah. Apparently after much thought and prayer, he's figured out what Zod wants him to do, regarding the TOL. Meanwhile I wonder how many times I can headdesk before it starts to have egregious effects on the functioning of my brain.

Abdullah has decided that Zod wants him to be a chaplain to the TOL.

Even Yasmine is like "Uh, hello, we see and talk with the Lord on a daily basis? How exactly is this supposed to work?"

There's some back and forth stuff about how Zod promised to give him the wisdom needed and then Abdullah explains what Zod wants him to do with the TOL and proves that he has no idea what a chaplain does.

“I am to find out where TOL meets here in Amman. Frankly, I am not even sure they actually meet here yet. Perhaps the Lord led me here in advance of them simply because He knew they were coming. But once they are here, I am to find them and confront them, but not in a negative way.”

Guys? A chaplain's job is more to minister to followers of a particular faith and counsel them. They are associated with the military, but they also work in other capacities. For example, Fr. Mychal Judge, chaplain to the New York Fire Department, died in the September 11th attacks. After administering the last rites to a wounded firefighter, he went back into the south tower to help, only to be killed by falling debris from the north tower.

That's basically what a chaplain does: provides counsel and conducts services for members of a particular faith, giving them the comfort needed to keep going.

What Abdullah is talking about, where he goes to the TOL's hangout area and confronts them, that sounds more like being a missionary. A missionary is someone sent by a church to work in a particular area, preaching and carrying on evangelistic activities, while also performing educational and medical work. Though wait, that's not entirely accurate: a missionary does do more than just yell at people and y'know how Ellanjay are opposed to good works, because they believe they distract from saving your own ass. Abdullah probably intends to be an evangelist, but Crazy Man Ranting on a Street Corner is probably the most accurate descriptor of Abdullah's intended job.

Though how exactly do you confront someone in an non-negative way? Even if you don't use the F-bomb or punch them in the face or anything like that, confrontation is still a form of aggression, which is inherently negative. Sometimes it is needed, but even the most gentle confrontation isn't a lot of fun for someone on the receiving end. Though may be when they say "not in a negative way," they mean like the how the Conservatives see Martin Luther King, Jr. and how he apparently only said that one quote. Apparently the Civil Rights Marchers were in no way confrontational. They didn't take to the streets to :gasp: disrupt the lives of White People and they said, "If it's not too much trouble, could you see to it that we get the rights due to us as citizens," rather than loudly demand those rights. And MLK** wasn't shot and killed by a racist a-hole, despite practicing nonviolent resistance and wearing a suit and tie to all his marches.

I'll quote Frederick Douglass and move on: "Power concedes nothing without demand. It never has and it never will."

I've joked about all the headdesking I'm doing in this chapter, but for this quote, a desk feels too mild. So if you hear a loud headwalling coming somewhere from the middle of flyover country in the US, that's me. Sorry guys.

“The Lord has assured me that He holds their destiny in His hands. They know whom they are opposing, and any criticism or warning will be no surprise to them; neither will it have any impact on their thinking. His new plan is at once both revolutionary and as old as the New Testament. I am to love them and treat them the way I would want to be treated.”

Okay, so you freely admit that none of your evangelizing will have any impact on the TOL. SO WHY THE HELL ARE YOU EVEN BOTHERING! JUST STAY HOME, SING HYMNS, AND LAUGH YOUR HEAD OFF BECAUSE THEY'LL BE BURNING IN HELL!

Though it's probably safe to assume that by "loving them and treating them in the way I would want to be treated," Abdullah doesn't mean, "I'll recognize and respect their right to walk away and live their lives as they see fit, so long as it damages neither persons nor property." Because like I keep saying, for all the argle-bargle about the TOL and how eeeevil they are, the TOL aren't interfering with the Millies' lives in any way. The TOL aren't sending infiltrators to collect information and bring them down from the inside. The TOL doesn't sic the cops on them whenever they try to exercise their right to free assembly when they have talks with Biblical figures or sing hymns. In fact, from the looks of it, the TOL only recently started to become more radicalized because a certain group :cough: the Millies :cough: refuses to recognize their rights and allow them to live their lives as they see fit.

Though given that the most eeeevil thing the TOL has done, is distribute a a manifesto dripping with Strawman Has A Point, "radicalized" feels entirely too strong a word. But then again, the Right, both Christian and non, do seem to believe that while the first amendment of the US constitution grants citizens freedom of speech, the Founding Fathers only intended for some people to use it and you should only say nice things, not means ones. And apparently loudly proclaiming LGBT people to be an abomination unto the Lord, deserving of hellfire for all eternity, and saying that certain ethnic/religious groups are inherently evil and undeserving of basic human rights, isn't being mean, but if you say to them "You're being horrible," than you're the one being mean.

If you bothered to click on that link and read the TOL manifesto, well, the actions of the Zod and the Millies kind of wind up proving their point. Zod is unwilling to tolerate an alternate point of view, so he stamps out all who dissent against him. That's what the manifesto says and that's actually what Zod does. It is always about Projection with the Right, isn't it? Memo to the Right: while it may be comforting to believe that everyone else is just as awful as you are, it sucks for everyone else who has to share a planet with you.

Though to harken back to the MLK example I used earlier, ever hear of COINTELPRO? I'll give you a hint: those in power didn't immediately go "Okay, MLK, the politeness of your arguments and your suit-wearing has convinced us of your cause. We'll give you voting rights, which will most definitely not be overturned and lead to Blacks being disenfranchised in droves." And of course, don't forget the Frederick Douglass quote, because it's damn true.

Anyway after that quote, for some reason, they cut to Chloe talking to Kat. I don't know why they couldn't put the two Chloe parts together and the two Abdullah parts together, because the interruptions make no damn sense. My theory: Ellanjay so worship their self-inserts that they were afraid the readers would shrivel up and die if they didn't cut to Rayford or Buck. Maybe they felt they had to compromise and settle on Chloe. Granted, she is of Rayford's bloodline and has a connection to Buck's via marriage, but you know this was a hard decision for them to make.

Anyway, Chloe is talking to Kat. Apparently Mattie Cleveland, her supervisor at the daycare, sent a bad report about Kat. Here's the horrors contained in that report. I pray that none of my readers have heart conditions that wouldn't be able to handle this information.

“Now, Ekaterina. These are summaries of your discussions. About your being tardy, taking too long of breaks, leaving early, being hard to find when team chores are scheduled, sitting with Kenny at the Noah appearance without permission, disagreeing with her in front of the staff.”

All this stuff about being lazy or having a half-assed approach to the job, feels really rich, given Ellanjay's continual laziness and how they can't be bothered with the most basic aspects of storytelling. It will never stop being about Projection with them, will it?

Though regarding Kat's list of crimes, apparently sitting by someone of the opposite sex at a crowded gathering is an offense even though...Okay, supposedly in the MK, you become an adult when you turn one hundred. Until then, you are considered a child and I'll assume that physically and mentally, you are one. A previous chapter said that Kat talked about how her mother was pregnant when TurboJesus showed up, so Kat is only in her nineties, but looks like she's sixteen. Kenny is probably only a bit older, so...Okay, to be fair, this is kind of within the RTCs' line of thinking that you simply can't ask two people of the opposite sex to be together, without immediately jumping each others bones. But even still, we are talking about two nearly grown adults at a crowded event where they are surrounded by people on all sides. Even the most shameless exhibitionist would find it hard to perform under circumstances like that. And the MK cops would probably show up and arrest them both on the spot, so in short, WTF?!

Though this trope is often seen in bad fanfiction. Apparently when Person A proclaims their love for Person B, they have to have sex right there on the spot and they can't just check into a hotel room or something. Even if they are on the bridge of the USS Enterprise and they're struggling to survive a surprise ambush by the Romulans.

Kat asks to speak to Mattie and we cut back to Abdullah who continues to not understand what a chaplain does.

Abdullah is all "I'm to speak to them on Jesus's behalf." Yasmine is all "Uh, Bible says that TurboJesus will throw people into hellfire after a thousand years, so why exactly do you need to do this?"

Though a bigger question is, why would TurboJesus need Abdullah to speak on his behalf, given that this is Heaven and everyone sees and hears TurboJesus on a daily basis? Couldn't TurboJesus just say something like, "I created the world, I rose from the dead, and if you don't believe as the Bible Tim LaHaye says, you'll go to Hell?" Even divine beings are such slackers in the LB-verse. Is good work ethic a sin against the Lord? I thought it was just good works, period.

Abdullah opened his hands. “All I know is what He is telling me. I go to them, tell them that I am a chaplain available to them on behalf of the Ruler of this world. I am to tell them not to fear me, that I mean them no harm. I am to speak on behalf of Jesus, and I am to make myself available to them for their spiritual needs— any questions, counseling, teaching, or whatever else they want.”

Credit where credit is due: the description in the quote is closer to what a chaplain does. I'm going to assume that if a TOL goes to Abdullah and he converts them, said TOL probably couldn't continue to party, enjoy music and wine, afterwards. Because when God gave us the ability to dance and listen to and enjoy music, He didn't mean for us to use them. Also, even though fruit naturally ferments on its own, He didn't mean for us to enjoy it, either. Even though as previous chapters have established, there are literal rivers of wine flowing in the MK, so how exactly is it wrong for the TOL to drink alcohol? Maybe it's like sex, where it's wrong because the TOL enjoy it, rather than grit their teeth and do what has to be done.

Though before you start giving Abdullah too much credit, here's what he says just a few lines down:

“Oh, that is another thing. I am free to warn them about that. I am to say that because I come under the authority of the Son of God, woe to those who would oppose me.”

So many YouTube clips I could post in response to that line, but since we don't have until the end of time, I'll go with "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" from Caberet because given that the TOL enjoys :gasp: music with actual rhythm, it feels apropos.

I wonder if I'll ever stop referencing the Swing Kids rebellion of Nazi Germany? Probably never, because as I keep pointing out, I can't think of any examples of hedonistic dictatorships, where Dear Leader was like, "You will burn all your Pat Boone CDs and enjoy sex or die!" There seems to be a lot more religiously inspired dictatorships than hedonistic ones. And while there are plenty of examples of dictatorships where Dear Leader and the elite lived quite comfortably while the masses starved, again, their activities were done or justified in the name of a religious or political ideology, not just hedonistic pleasure.

For the record, though Epicurus, the philosopher most associated with hedonism, from whom the adjective "Epicurean" comes from, told people to seek a life of pleasure, Epicurus did divide and rank various pleasures, with some being considered higher and others lower. Epicurus said that you should strive for higher pleasures such as justice and virtue, rather than lower ones, like sex or intoxicants. Higher pleasures last longer and are more fulfilling, whereas lower ones are only good for a couple of hours.

I suppose all this talk about Epicurus is only tangentially related to the material, but I thought it added more fodder to my point that for all the constant disdain towards people who enjoy life and its pleasures, Epicureans or Hedonists don't have as bad a track record as people think. They're content to live their lives as they see fit and leave everyone else alone, whereas RTCs feel like they can't be holy, as long as there are other people out there, showing off their ankles and dirty pillows.

Abdullah talks about how he plans on asking them for an office. And if they don't grant him one, he'll set up a table and some chairs outside their entrance and work from there. So yeah, Crazy Man Ranting on a Street Corner really is the most accurate way to describe his job.

I haven't done pictures for a long time, but in this case, I feel I should give y'all a visual representation of Abdullah:

Anyway, now we cut back to Chloe. Mattie has shown up and well it turns out she didn't write said report. Someone forged it, but who? :Cue Dramatic Prairie Dog:

Though for those of you who are like, "Yeah, we've heard from someone of Rayford's bloodline, but not Rayford himself," fear not, the last section is told from his perspective. Basically Egypt Osaze now love Big Brother like they should and there's been a spiritual harvest like there has never been in eons. Given that Coptic Christians make up a good percentage of the population, like I've said in previous posts, I wonder if the RTCs count them as part of their flock.

In true Ellanjay fashion, Token Jew and the other preachers volley between emotional blackmail and love-bombing. Okay, technically the book says,"They warned that God would again strike their land if they chose to ignore him. But they also thrilled the masses with the promises of the Lord," but I am anal retentive as heck and totally a believer in Mark Twain's aphorism "The difference between the right word and the almost right word, is like the difference between lightning and a lighting bug." Always strive for accuracy and clarity in your writing, people.

Token Jew quotes a lot of Bible verses, which I'm not going to look up because I'm lazy and this snark's hella long as is, but I'm going to call attention to only one. Because Token Jew, like so many others, decides to quote Jeremiah 29:11-13. That verse is so often misused on merchandise meant to be given to someone going through a life change like a graduation or the loss of a job, but the larger context of Jeremiah 29 shows the lunacy of using that verse as a casual "Hey, hang in there, bro," aphorism.

At the time Jeremiah was composing this, the Jews were being sent into exile aka the Babylonian Captivity. They had been brutally and mercilessly defeated in war and now, they were being driven from their homes, having to face the fact that they may never go back ever again. So it was a lot less "Sorry you didn't get that promotion at work, but it will all work for the best," and more like the Hebrew version of the Trail of Tears. The Babylonian Captivity was a massive event in the history of the Jewish people and much of the Old Testament is dedicated to people trying to explain why it happened, how were they supposed to cope and stay Jewish when everyone is doing their damnedest to make them stop. Which of course, I'm assuming is something the Jews only experienced once, people doing everything to force them to either convert or die, and they never had to go through it again.

Yeah, I think I've just got another bout of hate-laughing to do.

Token Jew talks about his amazing escape through the desert as depicted in Nicolae: Rise of the Anti-Christ. Not even going to bother to snark, because it's just in there to pad out the word count. Though I will cross my fingers and pray that some day, Fred gets back to doing snarks of Nicolae. I understand if he's not feeling up to it; it'd be hard to think of anything worse than Rayford mansplaining about abortion, but we know Ellanjay are up to the task. It'd just be nice is all.

And that's it for this week. Feel free to comment and tell me what I've overlooked and how I am way off-base or whatever.

*Aside from crippling anxiety and piss-poor social skills, a major reason why I would be a terrible teacher is that all those examples where smart-alecky students either make stuff up or just give smart-alecky answers in general, I would just laugh my head off and be inclined to give them more points, than the kids who just rewrote what they read on Wikipedia. Yeah, the smart-aleck's answer is wrong, but they are showing more creativity and ingenuity than the Wikipedia rewriters. I know, I'm a terrible influence on the next generation. Hence why I didn't go into teaching.

**I often wonder what they'd think if I told them about Bayard Rustin. For those who don't know, Rustin is the guy who basically schooled King on nonviolent resistence and taught him what it meant. He also organized the March on Washington where King said that one quote that Conservatives have heard of. If you're wondering why Bayard Rustin is only starting to be known to the culture at large, it's because in addition to being Black and a Quaker, Rustin was also Gay. He knew, as well as everyone else involved with King's movement, that White People would look for any excuse to dismiss and attack their movement and having a Gay man front and center at said movement would provide the perfect excuse. So though he didn't like it, Rustin had to work behind the scenes and couldn't receive the credit due to him. He later did advocate for Gay Rights, but again, only recently is Bayard Rustin being acknowledged for his work in the Civil Rights movement.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Screw It, I'm Bored...

Hey everybody!

I will try to keep from getting into rants about the events of January 20th. Though it is irritating that even the quality of our bloviating demagogues has gone downhill. Evil is supposed to be disturbingly seductive, a reminder that the line between good and evil runs through all our hearts, not just disturbing. Richard Nixon may be the closest thing we ever had to having a Bond Villain as president, but I find myself longing for his brand of villainy, because as glad you are that he was stopped, you have grudging admiration for the level of planning and effort he put into his schemes. Though that time you plotted (though he never carried it out) to kill a journalist by coating his steering wheel with seriously didn't get the hippies, like, at all, did you, Nixon?

I want to say the GOP of old is Tywin Lannister as opposed to the GOP of today which is Joffrey Baratheon, though I'm not sure how accurate that is. Just that Tywin has intelligence and planning to his cold-hearted villainy and isn't just a bratty sadist who would destroy his kingdom through sheer spite alone.

:sighs: I don't know what poem was read at the inauguration, but I will be very disappointed that some haxxor didn't do something to the teleprompter and replace the poem with "The Second Coming" by William Butler Yeats.

Though that poem, just like Sinclair Lewis's book, It can't Happen Here...I often want to invent time travel just to punch those guys for being so damn right.

Good news, well they're not just copying and pasting from Genesis to pad out the word count. Bad news, well I did a read through and I haven't seen any places where I can turn my inner pervert loose and liven things up that way. Worse news? As always, Ellanjay's ability to turn two pages of dialogue into a chapter. :whimpers:

First section, well apparently the kids are so keyed up from hearing Noah's copy and paste from Genesis, the Book of Enoch, and Kent Hovind, that they can't focus on anything else.

Kenny tried to get them to fashion model arks and line up toy animals, but these activities deteriorated into more fun and games. He was as excited as they were and had to wonder when things would get back to normal. And to think that other heroes of the faith were scheduled! Fortunately, no one knew when.

Children being exuberant and high-spirited? Such a marvel has never been seen before in the history of this planet.

Though shame Kenny doesn't list any of the other scheduled heroes of the faith. Guess I'll just have to wait and save my knowledge of the weird parts of the Bible for another day. Sorry, guys.

Though Smart!Aleck Me would be like, "Okay, you're just reciting passages from the Old Testament. If that's all you're going to do, then why don't we stay home and read our Bibles for ourselves, since that's all there is to your stories, apparently."

Though I know the answer to those kind of objections and probably nearly every kind of objection in this series is, A) the Bible is in the Public Domain, so we can use it all we like, and B)Filthy Filthy Lucre.

But I have to warn you, the next paragraph, well if any of you are blue-haired schoolmarms with heart conditions, well, I'm not sure how you found this blog, but you might want to look away. However much I like to swear, I don't want to have any deaths on my conscience.

Ekaterina was no less wired as they walked home, unabashedly holding hands now, even in front of others. Kenny knew the news of their being an item would soon get around. When they reached her house, her parents clearly noticed but did not raise a brow or say a word. He would have to ask Kat the next day if anything was said after he left.

"Two people of the opposite sex, unrelated to each other by blood and marriage, doing something as gauche as holding hands?! The level of Orthodox is most definitely Un!"

Though given that the RTCs have managed to sexualize hugging and kissing, you know at some point, they will speak out against hand holding, say something about how even if you are pulling someone from a house fire or something, you should never have skin-to-skin contact with someone unrelated to you via blood or marriage. From there are start to envision some enterprising individual creating special RTC Hand Holding Gloves, blessed by Jesus himself and covered in Jesus Fish.

Short interlude with Abdullah who is still all bummed out, because he wants to be an infiltrator, but he has a Glorified Body, and honestly, I'd been mostly ignoring his little subplot because I just assumed it would Go Nowhere and Do Nothing and, in all likelihood, that's what I still think would happen. But in the unlikely chance that it might go somewhere, I typed this. You're welcome.

Meanwhile, Kenny-boy and Creepy Raymie have a talk. There's all this talk about how Kat knows about the Millies and Kenny wants to nominate her for membership (probably as part of his ongoing quest to get in her pants). Raymie is all shocked about Kat knowing about the Millies and asks how she knew. Kenny tells her that Qasim spilled the beans. Raymie is not happy.

“Kenny, please. I’ve got half a mind to disband the whole thing. It’s getting out of control. Qasim is not even part of us, and I couldn’t have made that any clearer, yet here he is telling the Jospins that you’re some double agent, then telling a virtual stranger— at least to him— all about us and not even getting it right.”

The vibe I'm getting...I'll assume that Raymie is basically David Koresh. The Millies is his enclave of devoted followers who hang on his every word and see him as a prophet, fawning over him like he parted the Red Sea for Israel and in return...I'd make more jokes, but this is starting to feel just a little too tasteless. Just know that there's a reason I will keep calling Raymie, Creepy Raymie. The people who feel a need for that kind of rigid control over everything, tend to not be good people.

Creepy Raymie continues to earn his nickname as Kenny talks about how Kat went on :gasp: one date with Qasim, decided he wasn't her cup of tea, and is now going out with him.

For added amusement, I'll give you a quote:

“Hold on. I thought you said you and she were going together.”

“Right, well, their date sort of brought things to a head.”

"So Qasim is that lousy in the sack. Dammit! I told him to think about baseball!"

I know, cheap shot, but I need to amuse myself somehow.

Creepy Raymie is all "I'm kicking Qasim out." I've already made it clear that my sympathies are totally with him. Because again, he's being bullied by a bunch of sanctimonious turds who will find something to dislike about him no matter how hard he tries to curry their favor.

The section ends with this passage.

“If Qasim can be believed, they think I’m with them and working covertly at COT. Should I try to string them along?”

Raymie shook his head. “I don’t know. I don’t like it. How hard would it be for them to learn how tight you are with your parents, who run the place? And what are you going to say if they ask about Qasim?”

No matter how hard they keep trying to use words like infiltrate and covert, nothing will change the fact that the Millies are, to use spiritplumber's words:

Also... Dear Millennium Force, you're not a resistance group. You are unofficial-but-permitted, volunteer additional enforcers for the regime. You are literally blackshirts/brownshirts. Sorry to break it to you.

That's basically the size of it. The Millies are just taking the cart-blanche endorsement they received from God and using it to go after the TOL for daring to believe slightly different things from them. For all their wargle-bargle about how eeeevil the TOL is, you don't hear about them sending in double agents to bring down the Millies from within or siccing the police on them for exercising their right to free assembly. The TOL seems content to live their lives in whatever manner they deem fit, while the Millies cannot tolerate another group's point of view. I wonder if I'll ever stop making references to the Swing Kids rebellion of Nazi Germany, any time soon.

However terrible the Tribbles were at being a resistance group (and they were terrible), they have more of a claim at being a resistance group than the Millies do. Nicky Rockies had outlawed all religions except for the poorly defined EBOWF or Carpathianism, and he was beheading and imprisoning RTCs. We can talk about all the things wrong with the Tribbles until the sun turns into a red giant and consumes the Earth, but again, they come closer to matching the definition of a resistance group.

:shudders: I just defended the Tribbles. What has this world come to? Next you'll be telling me that a bigoted, half-melted Oompa-Loompa is actually our president and...I has a sad now.

:reads further: Good God, this chapter is just pure white noise. Though that seems unfair: some people find the sound of White Noise to be soothing. This I'm like, "Someone was actually paid money for this," and then I start beating my head against a wall and crying. At least with Noah, I got to dredge up my knowledge of the weird parts of the Bible, because that's the kind of person I am: I can only seem to hold onto the weird stuff. Ask me to quote John 3:16? I'll be like, "For God so loved the world, that he gave us his only begotten self and in him we won't die and we'll have ever-lasting life and there's some other stuff in there." Ask me to cite the chapter and verse where Paul tells his enemies to go castrate themselves? Galatians 5:12. Though I can't judge Paul too harshly; we've all felt that way towards someone at some point in our lives. No need to reveal names and places, guys.

Anyway, the next day at daycare, Kenny notices Kat has a sad and asks what's up. My kneejerk cynicism just naturally assumes that any time Kenny shows concern or any interest in Kat at all, the first and foremost thought at the front of his brain is, "Will this affect my ability to get laid?"

Basically Kat had a fight with Qasim. Qasim was all upset about Kat dumping him.

“I told him about us, of course. He couldn’t believe that could have happened so fast. He accused you of moving in on him, undercutting him as soon as you heard about our date. I assured him I had been friends with you before him and that we hadn’t even realized how we felt about each other until later.”

"How dare Qasim be upset over having his heart broken? He really is the worst!"

Kenny is such a Nice Guy™. But then again, he probably would define "She gives me many erections," as being friends with Kat.

Qasim, now that the Millies have started their No Qasims Club, like I keep saying, just ditch these a-holes. Kat can't be the only attractive girl in the MK. Given that this is supposed to be Heaven, probably everyone is a dish. No stretch marks or cellulite or scars and you're like perpetually twenty-five. All you have to do is find an interested partner. If Kenny-boy has a shot at getting laid, you will do great, because right now, Kenny sounds about as sexy as Christian Grey. I would have so much respect for E.L. James if she just flat-out admitted that she wrote the entire series to promote their virtues of abstinence. Christian Grey makes you want to cross your legs and keep them crossed until you die. Christian Grey is a crotch kick. Having boiling hot gravy poured onto your genitals, is more enjoyable that sex with Christian Grey. Looking at photos taken of people in the latter stages of Syphilis will get you more hot and bothered than the words of Christian Grey.

All right, I'll stop with the ranting, though I stand by the general sentiment. I am wondering if I should have put a NSFW warning or something. Oh well, as a service to my readers, I'll give you guys a clip to serve as a breather before continuing. I'm honestly curious about that cartoon, even if it's probably nowhere near as epic and cool as Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes*, but it might be fun.

Kenny and Kat talk some more and it's so dull, I honestly can't remember much of it. Just lots of talk about Qasim and how Kenny and Kat still want to do each other and that's bad and I start considering reposting all those links I've done in the past about Sexual Abuse in the RTC subculture. Like I will keep saying until I die or the sun becomes a red giant and consumes the Earth, whenever a scandal dethrones someone on the Religious Right, it's always about Sex. RTCs are willing to forgive anything, so long as sex isn't involved.

Kenny goes home and cheeks his email. Ignace Jospin, one of the eeeevil leaders of the eeeevil TOL, has sent a message asking to meet up with him. But Kenny very "cleverly" responds with "Give me a couple of days and I'll get back to you." The excitement never stops.

Bahira, aka the only other girl member of the Millies due to their No Girls Allowed policy (which only allows for one), calls Kenny and they talk some more about Qasim.

“Well,” she said, “frankly I think dealing with Qasim is overdue. Not that Raymie didn’t try to stifle Qasim long ago. This is Zaki’s creation, a fiasco he could have fixed early. So do you get the impression that Qasim finally understands he’s not associated with us in any way?”

Yeah, how they defend this as not being bullying or emotional cruelty...I shouldn't ask questions I don't want to hear depressing, infuriating answers to.

I'll just assume that Qasim is going off to start his own group with blackjack and Hookers. Because really, fuck you, every last member of the Millies. As said before, the TOL is just living their lives in a manner they deem fit. They aren't interfering with your lives in the slightest. They're just like, "Yeah, you guys sit around and praise Jesus. I'm going to go out and actually enjoy Heaven."

The end of the chapter has Kat and Chloe talking. Kat wants to transfer away from recreation, so she can work with Kenny. I suppose I could make some joke about handjobs, but I don't think I will. It just seems a common trend with RTCs: they're so prudish about sex that even the Amish are like, "Seriously?" and so obsessed with it that even porn stars are like, "Dude, you need nothing but cold showers," and those two conflicting attitudes end up forming a toxic mess of a belief system and people get hurt.

That's it for this week. Maybe I should have thrown on another chapter, but next week's looks to have much more juicy content, stuff that deserves my full attention when I give it a teardown. Sorry, guys. You'll just have to amuse yourselves with dick jokes for a bit.

*Yes, I am cheesed about that series' cancellation. It had nothing but promise, dammit!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

God Said to Noah, "There's going to be a Floody-Floody."

Hello and happy Sunday everyone!

I've mentioned before how Ellanjay are so lazy they can't be bothered to give Bruce's wife a name, even though it would take five seconds of work, tops. Melvina, one of our dear commenters, had this to say:

Well, going by Jenkins' naming conventions, may I suggest the name Nadia for Bruce's wife? It's an anagram of Diana which is the name of Jenkins' wife and Bruce feels like a self-insert for the author, albeit on a much smaller scale than our glorious protagonists...

What? I at least gave it more thought than Jenkins did! Also I'm going to pretend that she's an artist who over the decades created a large collection of private paintings depicting roast beef and ham and seafood and other meats all in their most succulent, juicy, and delicious glory in homage to a bygone era.

Have to admit, I do really like the stuff about painting pictures of meat, but increasingly I wonder if Bruce's wife actually exists. Back when Fred was doing new snarks of Nicolae: Rise of the Antichrist, I was the commenter who posed the theory that all the audience members ending Bruce's funeral and listening to Rayford's never-ending eulogy, were actually cardboard stand-ins and the crying sounds were from tape recorders that were taped to their bodies. The whole ruse was something cooked up by Loretta because there's work to be done and the Tribbles would just get in the way. So she set all this up because A) Rayford loves nothing more than an audience, B) Rayford is hopelessly in love with the sound of his voice, and C) Do you honestly think that any of the Tribbles are observant enough to notice that their audience is suspiciously flat and cardboard-like?

Before you're all like, "But Mouse, Loretta was in that scene and she said some lines," I already thought of that and came up with my own head canon. Loretta slapped together a crudely made Loretta-bot with a mannequin head that spits out crude southernisms, because again, the Tribbles are the most inobservant people ever and wouldn't notice. She took advantage of the Wrath of the Lamb quake to fake her own death and escape because like I keep saying, the Tribbles would only slow her down.

Anyway, given that so far Bruce's wife has said a grand total of maybe, okay, I was about to say she's said a grand total of three words, but according to the search of the book, she hasn't said one. They say things like, "Bruce's wife scolded him" but never put in any actual dialogue, which actually serves to strengthen another fan theory I have: Bruce's wife doesn't actually exist. She's actually a blow-up doll that Bruce carries with her, because a blow-up doll would come close to fitting the RTCs' idea of the perfect woman: silent and exists solely to serve her husband's pleasure. The only problem they'd have, is that blow-up dolls can't have children, but other than that, they're perfect.

I also pitch this theory because, while I don't claim to possess aunursa's encyclopedic knowledge of the LB-verse, as I recall, Bruce had a wife and two children before the Rapture. While we've seen Rayford being reunited with Raymie and all the Steeles hanging out, there has been no mention whatsoever of Bruce's kids, not by Bruce or anyone else in the series. So I'm wondering if they, like their mother, don't exist. Bruce was so terrible with women that he couldn't even find one in the RTC subculture willing to suck it up and marry him. The stress of this caused a mental collapse and ever since, he's believed that his blow-up doll is an actual woman and has this whole fantasized married life for them, complete with kids.

Oh, okay, I'll stop. For those of you wondering, there is little to no creepy sex stuff in this chapter. In fact, it's pretty much just Noah talking and once again, I wonder if you cut out all the copy-and-paste from the Bible, would this novel be long enough to even qualify as a novella.

Though it turns out my head canon about Noah basically looking and sounding like the Sea Captain from The Simpsons, is actually spot-on, as the opening paragraph shows.

RAYFORD DIDN’T know if the man’s natural voice was so powerful he didn’t need amplification or if the Lord merely allowed everyone to hear Noah as if he were standing next to them. But Rayford assumed the latter. Noah didn’t even seem to raise his voice, and yet every throaty, raspy syllable was crystal clear.

I find myself trying to picture what Noah is supposed to sound like. Maybe they're trying to go for a Leonard Cohen or Tom Waits thing, but I am somewhat puzzled because generally when it comes to people with great voices, the words throaty and raspy are seldom used. Most people when they hear those words, think of Patty and Selma. Maybe you guys should have used the word "gravelly" or something like that.

Oh and for those wondering, I'm resorting to this kind of nit-picking because there really is nothing to this chapter, just Noah telling his story. Granted, he does leave out some of the details which I will bring up, because I'm a smart aleck who has actually read the Bible, but mostly this chapter is the Millard Fillmore of chapters: not only is it bad, but it's unbelievably boring in its badness.

Because for those of you who aren't American History buffs, the only interesting stuff about Millard Fillmore is A) his name and B) he was President. He is on many historians "Worst Presidents List" but at least the other bad presidents were bad in a way that's memorable or interesting. At least with Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan, you can amuse yourself by trying to figure out, if you forced those two to go head and head in a drinking contest with each other, who would win? They are both known for putting away an incredibly impressive amount of alcohol, enough that when they died, neither of them probably started to rot for decades, but for those of you wondering, James Buchanan was more the wild frat-boy drunk like John Belushi in Animal House, whereas Franklin Pierce was like a Lifetime Movie Villain when he was drunk. Though while they were great at drinking, they were both terrible at president-ing.

All right, as much fun as it is to go on these bizarre tangents, I'll get back to the story.

Okay, Noah greets everybody. Apparently Hebrew is now the language of the MK, even though we've been given no indication of it. He says something like "To those of you who have not spoken Hebrew all your lives, it may interest you to know that my name in the now universal language is Noach."

Though if Hebrew is now the universal language, wouldn't they already be calling him "Noach" instead of "Noah?"

Ah, I shouldn't put too much thought into this. The whole Hebrew thing was probably another attempted Authors Saving Throw as Ellanjay try to convince us of their love for the Jewish people and how they are totally not Anti-Semitic. They may believe that the Jews can either hold onto the faith that has sustained them and burn in hell or let go of their faith, cease to be Jewish, and go to Heaven, but they most definitely aren't Anti-Semitic.

Judging by the next paragraph, Ellanjay learned about science through the videos of Kent Hovind.

“I have been called a hero, but as you will see, I was but a man, frail and weak if, I pray, faithful. Now, children, I may not look like I lived 950 years. That is because, when God granted me my glorified body, he set me back to midlife and the relatively spry age of just five hundred, when I was married and the father of three sons. Why did we live so long back then? For the same reason you will live long. The world actually exists now, as it did then, under a canopy of water that blocks the most harmful effects of the sun. When that condition no longer existed, life spans were greatly reduced, as history shows.

I could try to take apart the science in all this, but science is a subject I'm not well-versed in, so I'll let a commenter take it on. Just follow the rule of "Explain it Like I'm Five."

Of course, I'm one of those weirdos who believes that in all likelihood when the Bible is giving a time-frame, saying something like "X number of years," they don't mean that literal number, that they're just using a bit of literary shorthand in order to say, "A really long time," so what do I know.

To my shock, they do actually mention the part where Noah got drunk and passed out naked in the vineyard. I'm honestly shocked, too. Though they totally botch it and don't mention any of the horrible things it was used to justify, but I'm somewhat shocked that they mentioned it. I thought it was one of those parts of the Bible they prefer to pretend doesn't exist, like all that stuff about taking care of the poor and peace being a good thing.

The old man laughed. “Yes, the ark and the animals and the flood. But did you know that many revere me for something else? No? No one? I was the first to appreciate the juice of the grape as much as the meat, the fruit, of it, and devised a way to pull the liquid from it and make a drink of it. You are too young for wine just yet, and one of my great regrets is that I embarrassed myself because of it as well. Worse, I sinned against God and humiliated myself, and this was after proving my faithfulness through obedience. Guard your hearts that you do not stumble the same way.

"I drank so much I passed out naked. My son, Ham, stumbled onto me and when I woke up, I cursed him and damned all his descendants to work as hard labor as servants. Oh what a day that was."

"But isn't it more your fault for drinking so much that you passed-out naked, rather than Ham's for stumbling onto you. Ham sees his daddy's pecker and his kids have to pay the price for it for all eternity?" says Smart!Aleck Me.

“Well, let me get to the real story, what actually happened behind all the tales you may have heard about me and my wife and my sons and their wives and all those pairs of animals.

“Like me, men began to have many children, especially because we were all living so long. The earth was growing with more and more people. This may be hard for some of you to understand, but during that time disobedient, fallen angels were banished from heaven and lived among men on the earth. They married human women against the will and law of God. God saw that most of the world was filled with wicked men and women, and He decided to give them only 120 years to see their need for Him, or He would wipe them off the face of the earth. The Lord said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh.’

"And by get to the real story, I mean, just tell the copy-and-paste version from the Bible. I suppose you could just pick up a Bible and read it for yourself, but then there'd be no way for Ellanjay to make money."

Though reading some of the details in the next paragraph, I'm raising an eyebrow and being like, "Really?" Because this mythos about fallen angels descending to Earth to mate with human women, sounds suspiciously like the Book of Enoch. Beta Israel, aka Ethiopian Jews, recognize it as canonical, but most other Jewish sects do not. The only Christian sects that consider Enoch to be canon, are the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

So I'm really wondering why Ellanjay would even bring this up, given that none of the churches they or their readers attend, likely don't count Enoch as part of the canon. Though I could point out another Christian sect that considers the Book of Enoch to be canon and uses it to justify their beliefs, but I have a feeling that if I tried that, I'd get the No True Scotsman Fallacy.

Noah talks some more, the usual bit about how man was full of evil and God was pissed.

“You must understand— I did not see myself as an extraordinary man. I was like anyone else. I toiled. I worried. I raised my family and kept them close to me— all three sons, even after they married. We were not perfect. We sometimes argued and squabbled, wanted our own ways. But for the most part we respected and honored each other and our wives. They deferred to me as their senior and as their father. And as much as was within me, I sought to serve the Lord.

Based on this paragraph and the bit about Ham seeing his daddy passed out naked, I'll assume that Noah's family life was like something out of a V.C. Andrews novel, which of course, makes me wonder what the rest of the Earth was like. Maybe God was so pissed because everyone else was marrying outside the family, rather than having an incestual gangbang.

I'm thinking of the aftermath of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, where I'm like, "If Lot was the most righteous man in Sodom, I'd hate to see what the rest of the city was like." Because how drunk to you have to be to sleep with and impregnate both your daughters.

He starts talking about how God told him to use this kind of wood and that it must be three hundred cubits in length, fifty cubits in width, and thirty cubits in height. Even the book admits that a cubit is the length of a grown man's arm from the tip of his middle finger to the elbow, or about eighteen inches. For the sake of making it easier, I'll just use 18 inches as the measurement. Keep in mind as I do this, that math was my all-time worst subject in school, so if someone more knowledgeable spots something wrong, feel free to correct it in the comments.

And for the record, we'll just use the Imperial System of measurements, because as an American, I have only the vaguest of notions about the metric system. Yeah, I know there's a reason everyone else uses the Metric System and the US, Liberia, and Bangladesh are the only holdouts, but still. We'll debate that later. Though why did the metric system catch on, but other metric ideas, like metric clocks or calendars didn't?

Anyway 300 cubits is equal to 5400 inches or about 432 feet in length. Fifty cubits gives us 900 inches which amounts to 72 feet. Thirty cubits gives us 540 inches, which comes to 43.2 feet. I know in all likelihood that I got the math wrong, but I thought these numbers would be a decent enough starting point. Try to hold onto them if you can.

And of course, he starts talking about how God told him to bring two of every kind, male and female, onto the ark. :grins wickedly: If smart-aleck me was in that classroom right now, I'd be going, "Okay so you've decided to use Genesis 6:19-21's version of the story. But does that mean you consider the flood story depicted in Genesis 7 to be wrong? Didn't you say that the Bible was inerrant and composed by God himself? So why are there two creation stories and two flood stories, which both contradict each other, and why can't the four gospels agree on Christ's last words or even who came to the tomb to check on him afterwards?"

RTCs have traditionally dealt with these contradictions by mushing all the stories together and it works somewhat for them, so long as Junior doesn't decide to take the Pastor's word literally and actually read his Bible.

For the record, these are the verses Ellanjay have Noah use for his story, the ones from the tail end of Genesis 6:

And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.”

And here's the version from the beginning of Genesis 7:

Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth.

I know I'm talking too much, but I posted these verses so my readers could see the contradiction for themselves. These are clearly two completely different lists, so though the RTCs believe that the Bible is inherent, they clearly don't. In fact, they can't, because trying to mush these passages together, only creates an even more incoherent belief system, which leads to laughable screw-ups.

“Think of it, children. My sons and I herded more than seventy thousand animals onto that boat! Not to mention millions of insects and enough food for us and for all of those creatures! As you’ll see, we needed enough food for a whole year. Well, it took decades just to accomplish this, but I did according to all that God commanded me.

Smart-Aleck Me waves her hand in the air. When no one acknowledges her, she starts speaking: "But no one is entirely sure of how many animals there are in the world. Numbers range from 2 to 50 million and those may be way off, because even in the 21st Century, we're still discovering new species. How exactly did you managed to fit all these millions, many of whom are a lot bigger than a cat or a dog, into a space of 432ft X 43.2ft X 72ft, along with food and provisions to last not only the animals, but you, your wife, your three sons and their wives and kids, for forty days and forty night?

That and given that you likely didn't know about the existence of the Western hemisphere and of Australia does that mean the fauna of that country drowned? If they didn't, how exactly did animals like Mountain Lions, Grizzly Bears, and Koalas swim across entire oceans to walk into your ark? What would they eat and drink during these trips? The Ocean is mostly salt-water which wouldn't help with their thirst.

And what were you doing with all the animal and human shit?

Also given that the human race consisted of you, your wife, your three sons, and their wives, does that mean there was a whole lot of incest going on, with cousins marrying cousins and siblings marrying siblings after the waters subsided?"

Though we also get another half-assed justification that I would love for one of my readers better versed in science and math to try to take on:

“And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth. You see, God tarried that one more week, I believe, hoping that more would repent of their sins, but none did. Many have retold this story over the generations, leaving the impression that forty days and forty nights of solid rain was enough to cover the entire the earth. But the truth is that all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, besides the windows of heaven being opened. The water came from above and below!

Noah doesn't given us some exact numbers, but he does mention that the waters were so high, that he didn't have to worry about hitting any mountains while in his ark. So once again, even though it's not my specialty, I'm going to try to do some math. I'm not sure what I hate most about this chapter that it's just copy and paste or Ellanjay keep making me do math, despite all the traumatic flashbacks the subject gives me.

According to Wikipedia, Mount Everest, aka the tallest mountain on Earth, is 29,029 feet tall. Using that number, plus the measurement for cubits and the measurements of the boat, maybe we can try to figure out how high the waters were if they didn't have to worry about scraping the top of Mount Everest. Okay, converting the Mount Everest measurements into cubits got me 1612.2 feet and...okay, I'm going to level with you. I can't figure out the rest of the problem. It's sounding suspiciously like Algebra, aka the worst math in the world. One day, you're a happy kid working with numbers that actually exist, then they start throwing in Xs and Ys and you're never the same again. Maybe the math and science geniuses find a practical use for the subject, but for the rest of us, it just leaves us going, "The horror, the horror..." until the day we die.

Okay, because I'm reeling from Math-Induced Trauma, I'll speed things up. Noah tells the whole part about the birds and rainbow and whatnot:

“He also told me that ‘whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in My image I made man. And as for you, be fruitful and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth and multiply in it.’

Smart Aleck Me is like, "Does that mean all those scary Arab terrorists are totally justified in coming after us, since the US military has killed many of their innocent friends and family, with their bombings and drone attacks? Or does this 'by man shall his blood be shed,' rule only apply to those who can pass a paper bag test?

Also didn't Jesus say something about in his Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 about how you should not resist evil and if someone strikes you on the cheek, turn the other cheek?"

Probably at this point, if they've managed to resist as long as they have, they would fed me to one of Cam-Cam's Audrey IIs. Or send me to Room 101, whichever seems more likely. Though it'll probably be a closet knowing my luck.

The end of the chapter is fairly easy to sum up. Noah finishes his story, the kids are overjoyed and happy, and I'm basically Westley right now. Even though there was little to no actual content, there was a lot of math and more creepy sex stuff than I thought there'd be. Still don't know if I should use my "Creepy Sex Stuff" tag, even if Noah and his family probably had a big incestual gangbang after all this stuff with the ark. So I'm going to respectfully bow out and muster my strength for next week.