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.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

They totally think this song is about them

Sorry, sorry guys. Combination of general laziness and well...let's just say I increasingly question the "Humans are social animals" meme. Because I was ready to slam my head in a car door to make it all stop and really, I wonder if anyone in the family enjoys these get-togethers. Maybe it's one of those things where we do it because culture says you need to do it and everyone assumes that everyone else enjoys it, so they feel they have to suck it up and do so as well. Keep hoping that at some point, we'll break the ice and everyone will be like, "I thought I was the only one," and filled with our newfound wisdom, we'll decide to show how much we really love each other, by get together separately in the privacy of our own homes.

That and well, we must never forget that 2016 was the equivalent of a year-long dumpster fire. Even if we ignore the celebrity deaths, Donald Trump alone makes this year the worst in recent memory. I would forgive the Founding Fathers for so much if they put a loophole in the Constitution that made it so Trump couldn't be president. I wouldn't let them slide on slavery--that's too big--but I'd stop ranting about the Electoral College. In fact, why don't we add an amendment saying that "Everyone can run for president, so long as they are over eighteen and they're not Donald Trump." Though we'd code it to his DNA specifically, so he can't cheat by changing his name and we don't screw over some other guy with the same name who actually would be a decent president. In the unlikely event that one of his descendants runs, like I said it's just for Donald's DNA specifically. Because it's conceivably possible that he could have a grandchild or somebody who actually is a decent human being.

Though given that none of Trump's kids bear any resemblance to their father, I've long suspected there's some Game of Thrones-level shit going on with his wives. Yeah, I know he marries supermodels, which would cancel out a lot of his bad genes, but would it really cancel out all of it?

All right, I'll shut up and get to it.

I've ranted many times about how disturbingly unimaginative Ellanjay are. I will probably rant many more times before this book is finished. I apologize for the repetitiveness, but stand by the general message.

Because again, when asked to write about Heaven, a world where there is no pain or sorrow, where you have nothing but time on your hands to pursue whatever activity interests you, and all earthly quarrels cease, they can't imagine anything except a slightly more amped up version of our current existence. Hence why you have characters talking about how they should take some time off from work to do X and such. Given that everyone is immortal, wouldn't time cease to have any meaning in Heaven? Again, like I said, you have nothing but time. And since there's no need to worry about stuff like how you're going to pay the rent or pay for food or insurance, why couldn't you just take off time whenever you want? Is there some kind of a holy landlord who goes around knocking on doors and saying, "Come up with the money you owe me or I'm throwing you out?" If there is, where are they throwing them out to? Hell? If they're over one hundred and have said The Prayer, wouldn't that be yet another reason why their convoluted theology makes no damn sense?

Of course, all this could have been avoided if Ellanjay had followed the example of other writers who were sensible enough to bow out. Get your characters to the undying lands and fade out from there. But like I said, hubris and avarice did them in.

CAMERON WILLIAMS was up two hours before anyone was expected on his property, which now covered eighty acres and was threatening to have to expand yet again. Daily he and Chloe and Kenny and a couple hundred other staffers hosted the children at what had become known as the biggest day care center in the world.

Have to admit that when I read that bit about how his property was "threatening to have to expand yet again" I pictured Cam-Cam's property as being made up of Audrey IIs. Admit it, it would actually make so much sense, explain how Chloe and Cam-Cam are managing to raise two hundred freakin' kids. The answer is obvious; they feed the bad ones to one of the Audreys. So yeah, I'm starting to wonder if I should regret all the smart-alecky remarks about how I'd use my knowledge of the Bible to corrupt the other kids and get kicked out of that daycare so fast.

I've talked about how incredibly poorly run the MK Daycare center is, so I won't do it again. Plus Ellanjay are being too vague with numbers for me to rant about the child-adult ratio. Just yeah, Ellanjay clearly haven't been around kids, like ever. Probably farmed out the kids to nannies and such, because if this was anywhere near realistic, with actual kids and not pod-bots, the daycare would be like Kurtz's setup in Apocalypse Now. No points for guessing who the severed heads and corpses would be. I'll let you decide who will play the part of Kurtz and who plays Dennis Hopper's character. I'm leaning towards Qasim being Kurtz myself, because again, even though he hasn't done anything deserving of it, they just keep shitting on him. Then again, Kurtz ends up dead, so now I'm conflicted. Someone want to help me out here?

It is kind of weird to think that in Heaven they would need a daycare. You need them in the real world, because parents often have to work for a living and kids are small, noisy, and stupid so you can't just leave them alone, but again, this is a place with no pain and sorrow, where the child can stick his hand in the adder's nest and everything will be okay.

Though yeah, even Ellanjay, in the next paragraph, admit that the most important tenet of the RTC faith is "Thou shalt show reverence unto Rayford and Buck Cameron."

But of course it was more than that. Besides that the kids all seemed to revere and, yes, love him and Chloe— which he accepted gratefully from Jesus as recompense for their giving up their small family in service to Him during the Tribulation— COT had become the most effective salvation ministry anyone was aware of.

Okay, judging by the use of the word "revere," apparently Cam-Cam is Kurtz. Though that part about how they all love him, I'm fighting the urge to make jokes, seeing as they're, y'know, kids. I know, I know, I'm reading too much into it, but given how all the creepy sex stuff keeps showing up in this book, I can't help myself. Though we all know in actuality, Ellanjay view love and revere as synonyms. You know their view: There must be a leader with all power over his followers and that Leader must possess a penis and everyone must obey and never criticize, regardless of how badly the Leader's decisions turn out. Unlike my digression about wolves last week, Ellanjay feel good leadership is about whether people kowtow to you, not about taking care of the people under your command.

Cameron sang and prayed as he strolled the grounds, checking on everything from parking areas and gates to buildings and open areas. Everything seemed in order for their special visitor. Predicting within a few thousand how many might show up was another thing. Only one staffer had informed him and Chloe that he wouldn’t be there, giving no reason, just asking for the day off. Who knew? Maybe he wanted to be there as a spectator. Why else would a person not want to be working today?

Again, they keep proving how disturbingly unimaginative they are, over and over. Because of course, they would still have to worry about parking spaces and gates. I mean, we all know if given a choice between paradise and a parking lot, they would choose a parking lot every time. Even though, since again, this is supposed to be paradise, it seems strange that Ellanjay would want to recreate one of the most irritating aspects of going to a major event: trying to find a legal parking spot. And even though it's paradise and no one wants for anything, they would still have gates to protect against thieves or just the hoi polloi in general.

And we all know the daycare/church/Christian madrassa would look like a Protestant Megachurch rather than say, Notre Dame, or anything actually beautiful to look at. Like I keep saying, this is supposed to be Heaven, where you have nothing but time and resources. So wouldn't you really go all out on aesthetics, since you no longer had to worry about money?

Sometimes I find myself longing for the days in which the Church was the only game in town for artists/musicians/artisans. I know there was a whole lot of bad stuff went on when the Church ran the show and I'm glad to live in a democracy, but again, all the really good Christian art seems to have come from that era. Back then you couldn't just slap a Jesus Fish on a piece of crap and call it a day. If whoever commissioned you, didn't find your work to their liking, they would be like, "Tough," and move on to the next starving artist in line. Competition only strengthens the craft and modern day Christian Art™ suffers from a serious lack of it.

Oh and I'll spoil it for you. The hold-out staffer is Qasim. I know it's supposed to be proof that he's a hardened reprobate, deserving of nothing but our scorn, but I've already made my views on him clear many times. Just GTFO, Qasim. Don't try to kiss up and earn the favor of bullies; it's not worth it.

Then we cut to Kenny-boy.

Things were different between Kenny and Ekaterina by the time he arrived at her place that morning. He was struck that they seemed to look at each other differently. She looked him full in the face, her eyes not wavering from his.

I'm wondering if they put in that last sentence in anticipation of dirty perverts like me. I'll assume that Kat proceeds to fall down an open manhole, because you should really really focus when walking down the street. Though maybe Kat is secretly hoping in Heaven, she finally got her seventh birthday wish and is now one of those kids from Village of the Damned. That would be nice, if she proceeded to make Kenny's head explode.

They talk for a bit, Kat's parents give them their blessing and we cut to the Steele family. Ray-Ray, Chloe, Cam-Cam, and Saintly Irene are hanging out, talking about Kenny's fixation with crush on Kat. It is really quite dull, except for the part where Saintly Irene (or one of them, it's hard to tell with the lack of dialogue tags) is like "And Kenny's got designs on her?" Who wants to tell them that when people say "They have designs on someone," it's rarely a good thing. It's usually the kind of thing said by Villain's in thigh-high stiletto boots.

Those of you who think I am reading too much into it, well, here's the first paragraph of the next section with Kenny-boy.

When Kenny and Ekaterina walked in, everyone’s response was Kenny’s worst nightmare. It was painfully plain that they had been talking about whom he was bringing to breakfast. Everyone had gone mute and studied Kat, reading way more into this than it was worth— at least yet.

Given that the blood of Rayford Steele and Cameron Williams flow in his veins, it's not too surprising that everyone is obsessed with him. And of course, no one would just assume that Kat and Kenny are friends and decided they wanted to hang out and see Noah together. Or that they could merely be exchanging long protein strings. It's probably a case since Ellanjay can't imagine hanging out without a woman and being friendly to her without wanting sex from her, of course, their characters would feel the same.

And we get a cameo from Bruce "Dead and Useless" Barnes.

“Kenny,” Bruce said, “I haven’t seen you in forever. You know you’re named after me, don’t you?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And that I performed your parents’ wedding?”

“I know that too, sir. Good to see you.”

“You don’t need to blush, Kenny Bruce,” Bruce said. “I’m not suggesting anything.”

"I'm just curious as to whether you like films with gladiators."

:shudders: Yeah, I'm wondering if they will ever stop with the creepy sex stuff. Though I thought that since Bruce died before Kenny was born, he hadn't seen Kenny at all. Though maybe it's more, "Hey I haven't seen you in a few days," kind of thing, which would make some sense.

Bruce's Nameless Wife scolds him. I still remain appalled at the sheer laziness in that they can't even bother to give her a name. C'mon just give her the first woman's name that comes to mind. You don't even have to do a Google search. I thought about naming her Selina Kyle out of spite, but that would mean Bruce Barnes is Batman and there's no way he is Batman; he's the absolute negative of everything about Batman.

Kenny's all "We're just friends," and Bruce Barnes fills the all-important part of loudly proclaiming how perfect they are for each other, because the Right believes loudly saying something makes it true:

“Yeah,” Bruce said, chuckling. “That’s some radiant friend. You two couldn’t look more enamored with each other if you were posing for wedding pictures.”

Uh, no one uses the phrase "radiant friend" unless said friend is Marie Curie or...I'd make a radium girls joke, but given what happened to them, it just feels too sad. At least, Marie Curie had two Nobels to show for it.

Kenny talks for a bit and finally Noah shows up. Sadly, the description doesn't enable me to make Ho Yay jokes like that time with Rayford and David.

Where there had been a loud hum of activity throughout the Williams acreage, now silence pervaded. No one spoke; no one moved. Everybody turned as one and stared toward the main entrance, where a lone figure strode purposefully onto the grounds.

He wore a colorful robe with a wide blue sash, and his white hair and beard contrasted with his robust appearance.

For my own benefit and because I'm a huge Simpsons geek, I'll picture Noah as The Sea Captain. Your call to which character he'd say, "Y'arr that'll replace that whale in me nightmares."

And that's it for this week. I know wussy snark, but cut me some slack here. I'm still suffering from Holiday-related trauma. Why can't we have a holiday where we give each other gifts and just leave each other the hell alone? No religious or family-based guilt, just all the fun of getting presents.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Not much of a Man, by the Light of Day, but By Night I'm One Hell of a Lover

Hey guys. Sorry for the lateness of this post, but stuff was going on and everything kept stacking on top of each other. But I'm here now and let's see what I can do with the next chapter of Kingdom Come. I don't know what you've heard, but it seems we're in the middle of a major holiday and often in said holiday, there's a lot going on as people go to visit relatives and such. Plus, the general stress that may make someone less likely to be up to talking about what a Nice Guy™ Kenny-boy is. So there probably won't be a post this weekend and since the weekend after, I'll be visiting relatives, there won't be a post that weekend either. Might try to get something out next week, but I make no guarantees.

As you can tell by the Rocky Horror reference in the post title, I will eventually degenerate into making juvenile "That's what she said" kind of innuendos. Sorry about it. It's out of my hands and in Ellanjay's, unfortunately. :laugh: Though before we get to that bit of fun, we have to go through some other stuff first. And yes, you may interpret my previous line in whatever manner you deem fit, interpret it all night long!

Let's just start by stating the obvious: Kenny is such a Nice Guy™. I really mean it, what with using emotional manipulation, pretending to care about Kat's feelings in hopes of getting close to her, tearing down any guy she has the nerve to like more than him, making her emotionally dependent on him, in hopes of having sex with her. Few guys can claim to be as Nice™ as Kenny Bruce Williams.

On an entirely unrelated note, if I keep communicating solely in brutal sarcasm, will I eventually lose the ability to communicate in any other way? Oh and if I keep rolling my eyes, will they eventually get stuck in that position? Because I wouldn't mind too much, but I keep getting dragged out of the house to associate with other people and they might find it off-putting. Though maybe this is one of those problems that will soon resolve itself. I can only hope.

I FOUND Qasim hilarious,” Ekaterina reported, plopping herself on Kenny’s couch and declining his offer of grapes. “I’m stuffed. He took me to the Valley Bistro, where you had your meeting.”

“Our meeting?”

“Your Millennium Force meeting. Anyway, it was great. Did you just love it? I did. And Qasim was chivalrous, full of stories, talked a mile a minute— in fact, I feel like I’ve just now caught that from him. Have I? Am I just talking incessantly? Stop me if I am. I don’t mean to be. He wants to see me again. I probably will let him, but I didn’t promise.”

Kenny’s mind was whirling. He liked the quiet and shy Kat better, and he hated that she seemed so intrigued by Qasim. But her knowing about the Millennium Force troubled him most.

Again, if you thought I was kidding or exaggerating about all this "Kenny is a Nice Guy™" remarks, I hope this passage was enough to sway you otherwise. I know it's very unlikely that an editor looked at this book, never mind gave it the Red Pen treatment, but sometimes you wonder if there was some material cut, if some brave soul was able to stand up and say, "Y'know Kenny is coming across as kind of insensitive here, you might want to soften it a little?"

Because it barely takes any reading between the lines to discern what Kenny "Nice Guy™" Williams is thinking.

He's clearly thinking "How dare she go out with a guy who asked her out and enjoy his company, even though he isn't me. Because even though I've never actually flat-out asked her out, apparently she's supposed to see through my mind games and realize I want to go out with her. I mean, I've been all nice to her, pretending to be interested in her as a person, rather than a girl with girl parts, so clearly she should reward me by giving me sex."

Again, can anyone honestly say that my exaggeration is really much of an exaggeration at all?

Pro Tip: Nice Guys™ who use the fa├žade of friendship in order to get close to a girl in order to score, aren't really Nice Guys™. They're manipulative leeches and after being around a few, you honestly prefer the "jerks" because at least they are honest. If you're going to be anything, good or bad, at least be honest about what you do and what you are. Because as awful as Neo-Nazis are, you almost appreciate that they are open and honest about the reprehensible things they believe, rather than using the traditional dogwhistles about "welfare queens" and "thugs." Though I will admit, were it not for the fact that the guy is actually going to serve in the highest office in the land, watching all the logical gymnastics as Trump supporters try to explain how his belief that certain religious/ethnic groups are less than human and therefore, don't deserve to have the same rights as everyone else, how that isn't racist, would actually be kind of impressive. You find yourself wondering if there isn't any turd out there that someone isn't willing to try to polish.

Yeah, I'll give you some words from Revelation 3, more specifically verses 14-16:

‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

Because here's a basic rule, Nice Guys™: people have lives, have thoughts and feelings, apart from you. They do not exist solely for your purpose. So therefore, they :gasp: not have the same feelings as you do and :gasp: :pearlclutch: have every right to say, "No," if they're not interested. Like I keep saying to people in various places online, only an asshole would object to being friendzoned, as in having a friend, aka someone who likes and cares about you and enjoys hanging out with you, but doesn't necessarily want to have sex with you. And of course, stop acting like you deserve a goddanged medal for managing to occasionally display basic human decency.

Okay, that rant went on longer than I thought. Though I am trying to figure out why Kenny so objects to her knowing about the Millies. I didn't really think it was that much of a secret, but that's to be expected, given that Ellanjay have repeatedly proven they have no idea how a resistance group is supposed to work.

Kat is all, “He doesn’t even know we know each other!” And I'm whimpering like Wesley after he was put through the Life suctioner. Because given that everything seems to take place within a few square miles, how exactly does Qasim not know that Kenny and Kat know each other? That and I thought Qasim worked out at the daycare, helping with recreation, and since Kenny and Kat also work at the incredibly poorly-run daycare...:whimpers: Though maybe it's one of the characteristics of someone in the LB-verse: they are incapable of noticing anyone that doesn't have anything they want. So using that logic, you can understand how Kenny, Kat, and Qasim can work together, while somehow being unaware of each others' existence.

Kat also talks about how she wants to join the Millies and be a TOL infiltrator. Kenny is all shocked and appalled by this:

Kenny strode to the window and pulled the drapes apart, letting in the bright moonlight. “I think you’re most valuable and productive right where you are. I mean, I’d rather you were working directly with me, but don’t you feel as if you’re where God wants you?”

Given that Bahira, aka a weak girl with girl parts, is involved with the TOL infiltration, it's abundantly clear that Kenny is objecting not out of fear for Kat's safety, like a decent person would, but because her working with the TOL would pull her away from him and Kenny can't abide anything that pulls Kat away from him. She might :gasp: develop an interest in something besides him.

Oh and sign that Kenny is a true RTC: he brings in God on air support to back him up and give Kat a nice dose of religious guilt to go with all the other guilt she's received at his hands. Like that friend of Anne Lamott said, “You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”

Yeah, in my headcanon, after all this, Kat proceeds to curbstomp (or dick-stomp) Kenny then give him the finger and walk off to go hang with Qasim, maybe try some positions she saw in the Karma Sutra or something.

But unfortunately, I'm not writing the LB-verse, so the hate-cringefest only continues.

Kat is all, "Hey I was just thinking about it. I haven't decided on anything yet," she and Kenny talk about saving kids from the TOL, and we get this delightful little bit from Kenny:

Kenny sighed. This was Qasim’s fault. He had put everything on the table, proving again that he was a loose cannon, impossible to trust, the quintessentially wrong person for the job. Kenny sat again, picking a handful of grapes from the bunch and swirling them in his palm. “I need to tell you about Qasim, but I don’t want you to take it the wrong way.”

Yes, how dare Qasim be all nice and try to curry to other peoples' feelings, so they'll stop with the emotional cruelty.

Though at the same time, this attitude is somewhat realistic: everyone, including Bullies, hate Toadies. Hence why I keep saying to Qasim, just give those mothereffers the finger and tell them where they can stick their Millie Membership. Because again, telling bullying victims to reshape themselves, so that the Bully will show the most basic of human decency and leave them alone, is really fucking sick. And it's really taken me a lot of willpower to resist using the F-bomb until now.

Because how dare Qasim try to help out the Millies by recruiting someone who might be interested in joining? But then again, Kenny is probably only objecting because Qasim made the offer, thus failing to respect his Authoritah! It's the old Alpha Male mindset that governs the LB-verse.

Hence why I feel the need to steer Ellanjay and other horrible people, towards this article from Reader's Digest: How to be an Alpha Male.

Because despite the stereotypes people have of the Alpha Male wolf, as the posturing, strutting bully, real studies of, y'know, actual wolves out in the wild, have shown that actual Alpha Males, well, I'll just quote from the article because they say it better than me:

“The main characteristic of an alpha male wolf,” the veteran wolf researcher Rick McIntyre told me as we were watching gray wolves, “is a quiet confidence, quiet self-assurance. You know what you need to do; you know what’s best for your pack. You lead by example. You’re very comfortable with that. You have a calming effect.”

The point is, alpha males are not aggressive. They don’t need to be. “Think of an emotionally secure man or a great champion. Whatever he needed to prove is already proven,” he said.

That's the basic gist of the article. The Alpha Male may fiercely defend his pack from outside threats and may play a key role in bringing down game, but when it comes to his own pack, he leads by example and sometimes, he'll let the rest of the pack feast before him, because part of being a good leader isn't making sure everyone kowtows to you: it's taking care of the people around you. The Alpha Male feels no need to constantly assert that he is strong and powerful; he knows he is and goes from there. Though studies of wolf packs have indicated that it might be the matriarch who has the real power in the pack, making decisions regarding where to travel and when to hunt.

I could go on happily talking about wolves, but probably ought to get back to the book. I haven't even made it through the first section, that's how wordy and ranty I'm being. So once more unto the breach, as Shakespeare would say.

Kenny-boy displays the smallest sliver of decency by admitting to Kat that all his "brotherly" warnings about Qasim, may in fact be born out of jealousy and he wanted her "attention," which I take to mean, "He wants to get laid and since he's devoted all this time to her and she's a girl with girl parts, he's like 'Let's do it already.'" Because no one in the LB-verse can just have premarital sex and pray for forgiveness afterwards.

But then again, like I've said before, whenever a scandal dethrones someone on the Christian Right, it's always about sex. The Christian Right is willing to forgive a lot, but not if sex is involved. Even if one of their own was a modern-day Jack the Ripper, they would probably be willing to let that slide, so long as he wasn't :gasp: having sex with the prostitutes he brutally murdered.

There's a bit with Kenny and some grapes that I guess is supposed to be cute, but given all the creepiness that came before, it has no hope of changing the dim view I have of Kenny.

Once they were both seated again and Kenny felt the color receding from his face, Ekaterina reached for his hand. He wiped it on his pants to be sure it wasn’t sticky with grape juice and extended it. No one but his parents had ever held his hand.

“Now, you’re going to tell me about Qasim. And then I’m going to tell you how innocently I view him regardless. And then we’re going to tell each other why we’re so interested in each other’s attention.”

Minor quibble first: it took me a while to figure out who was saying the last line. You don't have to provide a tag to every line of dialogue (pro tip: generally "said" works just fine most of the time.), but every now and then, even if said conversation is just between two people, provide us with some kind of tag. Doesn't have to necessarily be "Kenny said" or anything like that. It could be an action like "Kenny masturbated furvitely (but not fervently because that would be sick and wrong)" or something like that.

It's especially needed with the last bit of dialogue, because given that the previous paragraph and the chapter in general, has been told from Kenny's POV, I thought that maybe the dialogue was Kenny's. But then I remembered Ellanjay's rampant sexism combined with their tin ear for dialogue, I'm wondering if the last line was meant to be Kat's. I'm still suffering hemorrhages trying to work out who's speaking there.

Though yeah, Kenny I really believe that your hands would be sticky from grape juice and not...OW! Okay, I'll try to cut back on the creepy sex stuff. I can't stop entirely, because Ellanjay won't let me, but I'll try, just so I won't be irritating as hell.

For those of you wondering, the conversation about Qasim occurs later in the chapter and it really is as tooth-grindingly awful as you think it's going to be, maybe even more. So though I know nobody about me cares about my League of Awesome head-canon, I'm just going to call it and say that Qasim is in. Maybe later I'll change my mind, but right now, I really feel for the guy. Everyone just keeps treating him like shit for no real reason. He's been nothing but a basic decent person and they just dump on him for it.

Conversation between Rayford and Chloe about how Noah is coming to give a talk. Nothing really happens. What does it say about me that I almost look forward to the stuff with Rayford because right now, I find it less creepy and awful than the stuff with Kenny-boy and Creepy Raymie. Speaking of, now we cut to the part where Kat and Kenny talk shit about Qasim.

Kenny searched himself for any ill motive in telling Ekaterina his misgivings about Qasim. She fell silent and seemed to cloud over as he spoke.

Yeah, I bet you really spent a ton of time in thought about this. Kenny, you know how people use the expression, "Lying makes the Baby Jesus cry?" This is the type of lying that makes the Baby Jesus go for his shotgun.

Kat asks how Kenny feels about Qasim's spiritual state. And here's Kenny's response:

“I don’t know what to think. Raymie is dubious because Qasim’s conversion story is so cut-and-dried. And he doesn’t seem to have been successful in ministering to kids at COT— actually leading them to Jesus, I mean— despite all the years he’s worked there.”

Ah, that old trend in the RTC subculture where you can't have your conversion story be, "Well, I was raised in a specific church/faith and never really knew anything else and due in large part to societal/family-related pressure, I walked up to the altar and accepted Jesus into my heart because that's what was expected of me and from there, my religious life has mostly been a series of crests and troughs where there are times in which I am really devoted to my faith and times in which I'm distracted by other concerns."

No, to have a proper RTC conversion story, it must go something along the lines of, "I expressed an interest and dabbled in faiths outside the Judeo-Christian tradition, displayed a basic level of rebellion by going to parties or worse, looking at pictures of girls without their clothes on and drinking alcohol." Though bonus points if you really rev it up, talk about how you used to chop up prostitutes and feed them to dogs, all in worship of the great lord, Satan, and hope that even though you are basically flat-out confessing to murder, a crime that has no statute of limitations, no one notices how the police don't bother taking a look at you.

And apparently Qasim slips away when there's real work to be done, outside of playing with the kids. This slur against him feels really rich, given the continual laziness displayed by the authors. It always seems to be Projection on the Right. Maybe it's comforting for them, assuming that everyone is just as awful as they are, but it sucks for everyone else. And again, if I was Qasim, I'd look for any opportunity to get away from them for a few hours, until I can find a way to make a more permanent escape.

We cut back to Rayford briefly. Apparently Zod feels the Egyptians have done the requisite amount of "We deserve this and we're sorry for making you so angry in the first place," prayers and have brought back the water. Woo-hoo. :sarcastic clapping:

And now we cut back to Kenny and Kat. In an addition to try to pry a truffle from a pig's snout, I will say that this next section is less dumping on a guy who has done nothing to warrant it and more the kind of stuff that makes a drooling pervert like me go nuts. I know, I swore I would cut back, but again, I'm not made of stone!

“All right,” Ekaterina said slowly, “I have lost my enthusiasm for the unique personality of Qasim Marid. I suppose I know what to say when he asks to take me out again. But whatever will I do with my spare time now?”

“I have some ideas,” Kenny said, smiling.

"I don't know," Kat said. "I'm getting really tired of doing it doggie-style. Can we try wheelbarrow style, just to liven things up a bit?"

OW! Well if any of my readers object to the cheap and obvious joke, just take comfort I have yet another thing in Internet search history that I hope to never be called upon to explain. I keep praying desperately that the "I'm a writer. I swear to God, I'm not a terrorist or a pervert or both," defense still counts as a valid one, given how paranoid everyone is and how draconian our justice system has become. Because I have yet to meet a writer worth his/her salt, who didn't have a search history that would not only cause a blue-haired schoolmarm to swoon, it would put her in a permanent swoon-induced coma.

I am really sorry for the juvenile jokes that will make up the ending of this snark, but it is really damn difficult to avoid making The Todd-style comments to this dialogue between Kat and Kenny. Again, writers of Christian Fiction™ could really stand to shell out a few bucks to have a drooling pervert, such as myself, go over their manuscript for anything that could make for all kinds of unintentional humor, just as if I'm going to keep using the trademark symbol, I could stand to learn how to do it with my keyboard so I don't have just keep copying and pasting it over and over.

Kenny took her elbow as they walked. “I was struck from the first by your obvious passion for the Lord,” he said.

“Me too,” she said. “I mean about you.”

Yeah, that's what you were really struck by. You certainly didn't notice her Huge Tracts of Land or how limber she is.

“It’s something I have to work on,” he said. “How bad is that? I’m living in the millennial kingdom with Jesus right here on the throne and ever-present, and still I struggle with the flesh.”

“We’re not in heaven yet. The glorified-mind-and-body people seem to have no distractions to their devotion.”

"Since we're not Glorified, how about we go to your apartment where we can spend a good evening, struggling with each other's flesh."

“Ignore you? If you were infatuated, I don’t know what to call what I was. What I am. I just know I want to spend a lot more time with you, Kat. I want to really get to know you.”

“Well,” she said, gazing at him, “it seems we have plenty of time for that. For one thing, I am going to be putting in for a transfer to a more direct-ministry-oriented department. I mean, I like rec and I’ve had my ministry opportunities. But I’d feel more comfortable now in an area that doesn’t have Qasim in it.”

“It’s unlikely my parents would put you in my area. My mother was on to us from the first day.”

“Oh, how embarrassing! It showed?”

“According to her.”

"Maybe my wardrobe shouldn't be just skintight jeans and leather."

OW! I'm sorry, but I am really having a difficult time restraining my perverted self. Because even in context, it's hard to interpret "Oh, how embarrassing! It showed?" without going to all kinds of...well let's just say it involves Kenny's area and stop there.

Though Kat's next line makes me feel a eensy-weensy bit guilty for all the innuendo.

“Mothers know these things. But I want to learn from you how to make reaching these kids an everyday thing.”

Since in this case, she's talking about kids, it would be kind of wrong for me to infer anything about that. But for the few of you who haven't tired of me making dirty jokes and cackling about afterwards, I'll give you the last few lines of this chapter.

“Well,” Kenny said, “if our relationship is going to be educational, we ought to start on the way to work tomorrow, wouldn’t you say?”

“Just tell me when to be ready, Professor Williams.”

Yeah, the question isn't whether or not my face is red and I'm making Beavis and Butthead-style laughter; the question is, "Will I ever stop?" This may make the upcoming family get-together awkward especially since, well, my cousins have had a few kids. The eldest is about eight, the youngest is three. Any advice? Because little pitchers have big ears and I heard cold showers don't actually work and...fine, I'll mace myself on my way out.

Merry Christmas everybody and just in case I don't post next week, Happy New Year! Hope everyone gets what they want and stays out of trouble. Me, I may find myself on some kind of watchlist.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

I've Seen the Movie and It's Surprisingly Decent

Hey guys!

I have finally seen Vanished: Left Behind--The Next Generation. I had planned on putting a short little review at the beginning, then leaping back into Kingdom Come, but I wound up having more to say. So this week, we're going to take a break from talking about what a Nice Guy™ Kenny-boy is and talk about the movie. Spoilers ahead for anyone who cares about this sort of thing.

First of all, a thank you to Firedrake for making it so I could watch Vanished: Left Behind-the Next Generation. I don't know how you gained access to it, but I'm not judging in the slightest. I'll assume you know a guy who knows a guy and leave it at that.

But now, I find myself at a loss. Y'see I had planned on reviewing said movie at some point on this blog, planned on being all snarky and tearing it a new one like I normally do, but the movie...It was actually kind of decent.

Oh, will you people put down your torches and pitchforks and listen for a bit! Why do you even have those? Maglites are way more practical and given that few, if any of us, work with hay, I can't figure out why you would need a pitchfork in the first place!

Don't get me wrong: I still think the Left Behind series is a repugnant series guided by a repugnant philosophy and written by repugnant people. But I had repeatedly said that no matter what, however bad the movie may be, it will still be better than the books. And it was. Sometimes even if you don't agree with the philosophy of a film, you can still get drawn into the power and resonance of the story. I cite as example, the eighties Red Dawn. Yeah, it's cheesy and the people involved were paranoid and legally insane by any definition of the word, but at the same time, there is some emotional power to be drawn from it. You really do believe the teens are cold, hungry, and afraid, even if you can point out about a million flaws in their military strategy and in the communists. The people involved were insane, but at the same time, they did really believe in their story, put forth all their effort into creating a compelling film. Which makes it so much better than the remake with Chris Hemsworth, which was a soulless "Let's cash in on Eighties nostalgia" project from beginning to end. Plus, in the original, the Soviet Union invading had a degree of plausibility. It wasn't a lot, but it was a degree, unlike the remake which has freakin' North Korea as the bad guys. Maybe if Chris Hemsworth had been shirtless from beginning to end, I would view the remake a lot more positively, but since he wasn't...

Anyway, I had planned on making some crack about how Vanished had some actual money behind it, which enabled them to actually produce a better, more aesthetically pleasing film than the Kirk Cameron Left Behind, but then I looked it up. Vanished was made on an estimated budget of $2 million dollars, while Kirk Cameron's was made on a budget of $4 million, which boggles my mind, because Vanished actually looks much more polished and sleeker than Left Behind. It is still low-budget, but it doesn't scream it the way Left Behind does. Of course, now I wonder how much of Left Behind's $4 millions went towards paying Kirk Cameron's salary.

And of course, another reason Vanished is actually kind of decent: the main cast actually has some acting chops, unlike Left Behind, where only Brad Johnson and Clarence Gilyard were putting forth any effort. Yeah, it was basic acting 101, but in trying as best as they can to flesh out the limited characters they were given, it makes Rayford's scenes and Bruce's scenes easier to watch. Because Kirk Cameron couldn't act like he was falling off a cliff if you physically shoved him off of one. He would just smug his way down until he hit the ground, leaving a smug-shaped impression in the earth.

But again, the cast is surprisingly decent. Mason Dye and Dylan Sprayberry had worked together on Teen Wolf, so they play nicely off one another. The actress who plays the protagonist, Amber Frank, her most notable role was on a Nickelodeon teen sitcom, but she handle herself quite well. And I was kind of impressed with the actress, Keely Wilson, playing her younger sister. Because few things are worse than bad child stars and Christian films usually have the worst, but Keely Wilson actually did a decent job, didn't fall into the "mugging for the camera" trap that befalls so many child actors, like the kid who played Raymie Steele in the version with Kirk Cameron.

No matter what happens, the main cast keep their reactions grounded in reality and well, their reactions feel genuine. They actually react like kids would in the situation and don't just do things so the plot will move along. Plus again, the characters did show more sense than anyone in the Adult books or the For Kids! books. When the shit has hit the fan in that spectacular a fashion, GTFO. Get the hell out of Dodge and try to track down someone who might be able to help you.

Of course, a large reason the movie works is because for the most part, it strays away from the rigid template of the books. It focuses its attentions primarily on the Rapture and the effect it would have. The books were in such a hurry to lay out the rise of Nicolae, that they fast-forwarded through the whole, y'know, Every Child on Earth is Missing! bit. The movie does make some nods towards the books. On their way out of the city, they stop by a church run by Bruce Barnes, who gives them a USB key with Vernon Billings's "In Case of Rapture video," and clips from said video are shown, and Nicolae Carpathia makes his appearance in the last few minutes, but for the most part, it does its own thing, focuses on the protagonist and how she and her friends are confused and scared.

I'm not saying the movie doesn't have its faults. Obviously to really capture what would happen in the wake of the Rapture, it should be a lot closer in tone to Children of Men, which constantly drives home the misery and suffering inherent in a world that has no hope. I also would have liked some more development with the Doomsday Prepper-guy. The actor playing him, Tom Everett Scott, did a good job playing him, managing to convey some twitchy, off-kilter aspects even before he was revealed to be crazy, but I still think there should have been more build-up, before the guy revealed himself to be all Ax Crazy. Felt like more could have been done with it, with Gaby and her friends noticing the strained "Everything's Okay" atmosphere and how people keep "running off" and maybe those guys with guns aren't there to just protect them from outside marauders. I was also a bit confused by the whole "He was keeping Gaby's father hostage" twist. Where exactly was Doomsday Prepper keeping him, before Gaby spied on his guys? It looked to be an adjourning property, but we never really saw Doomsday Prepper doing anything over there. It seemed like his security was doing most of the villainy, while he was unaware, so I was a bit confused by the revelation.

Though as something of a Doomsday Preppers buff, I was kind of impressed with his set-up. Too many of the people on NatGeo's show, you're like, "Boys and their toys." Because yeah, you've got plenty of canned goods and bullets, but all that doesn't mean much of anything, if you don't have a resupply plan and you can only get so far with the "Shoot up your neighbors and take their stuff" resupply plan. If any of the whole Doomsday, End-of-Civilization scenarios come to pass, the people who will survive, are the ones with skills, the ones who know how to garden and build things with a minimal need for power-tools or other stuff tied to the grid. And of course, what would happen, is people banding together in collective tribes. Occasionally, said tribes might for some kind of loose Iroquois Confederation, where they let each other do their own thing, live how they see fit, unless it intrudes upon the lives of others, but still work together against shared enemies.

So that in mind, I was a little impressed with the guy's setup. He does have guns, but they aren't just Assault Weapons that serve no real purpose except to take as many human lives as possible; they are more the kind of weapons to be used to hunt wild game, aka the kind you that would be most useful at the End of the World. Because in addition to serving no real purpose except to kill as many people within a short interval as possible, assault weapons are also fussy weapons with quite a few specialized moving parts that make it more prone to jamming and harder to find replacements for.

Also the dude had a hydroponic set-up, which was kind of nice. Though while hydroponics is cool, me, I always thought that aquaponics is an even cooler idea, though I suppose only a geek like me would care about that sort of thing, and it was probably too much to expect the movie to go into details on permaculture. Though again, even though the guy turned out to be crazy as heck, characters still demonstrated a lot more sense than anyone in the books. In a crisis situation, you'd understand why the characters would flock desperately to this guy; when everything's gone to hell, yeah, it'd probably make sense to hook up with a Doomsday Prepper. And of course, they are kids; however much teenagers may consider themselves adults, when a crisis happens, they become kids again, desperately hoping that someone older and wiser knows what's going on and will set everything right again.

Heck, even the "Accept Jesus" parts feel a lot less obnoxious. In the books, it's totally spell-casting where it doesn't matter if you believe in God; what matters is if you say The Prayer with the precise amount of sincerity demanded. And again, another one of its strengths is that the characters don't immediately leap to "God did it!" but consider some scenarios like bioterrorism or alien abductions, both of which would be pretty out there, but when every kid on Earth below a certain age is gone, yeah, you're going to start considering those kinds of scenarios. So the fact they didn't act like they had read the book jacket and knew exactly what was going on, also gave the film some strength.

Though again, given the strengths of the main story, you actually do find yourself going, "Dang it!" when they pause to put something in from the actual books. Though I will say even though we got only one scene with Bruce Barnes, I did like him so much more than his book counterpart. The people involved were smart enough to realize that in the wake of such a catastrophe, people aren't going to wait until Sunday rolls around to start flocking into church. Major event happens and everyone seeks comfort. Though we don't hear Bruce's tale of woe or see much of him at all, what little we do see, already makes him a more appealing character than his book counterpart. In the wake of the Rapture, he's gotten out food, bottled water, and other supplies, and gotten the people gathered to get to work distributing it. He's also got a basket full of USB keys to hand out to people explaining what had happened. Which again, proves he has more compassion and better leadership skills than his book counterpart.

If you're wondering about how Randy LaHaye, Tim's grandson, did as Nicolae Carpathia, well, he doesn't appear or do anything until the last few minutes, when he gives a speech seen via electronic billboard, so I can't really make any judgments on how he did. But he does do a decent job with what he's given, though a large reason is that the writers knew that having Nicolae recite a bunch of facts isn't stirring oratory. It is standard politician "We will rebuild" speech, but it's more believable that the characters would follow that. And according to IMDB, Randy LaHaye has acted before, mostly in bit parts, so he may not have solely gotten the part based on nepotism.

Reading the trivia section on Vanished, Randy LaHaye does seem to genuinely believe the message of his film and actually cared about creating a decent product. No matter how much Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins may claim otherwise, we all know that the Left Behind books and by extension, the movies were created to serve as revenge porn for RTCs, rather than as tools for evangelizing. The trivia lends credence to the idea that this project was a labor of love for him and again, while you may not support the dumb-assed convoluted PMD beliefs, again, there's something to be said for the people involved putting forth actual effort and passion into their work.

Though one of the trivia bits has this:

His grandfather, Tim LaHaye was able to see a screening of Vanished before his death where he responded positively: "One of the proudest moments of my life was when my grandfather saw the movie and told me afterwards, "Finally, there's a movie about Left Behind that captured what made the books so successful."" Randy also revealed that the working titles of the next two movies were "Rise of the Deceiver" and "The Rebellion Awakens". He stated that the first sequel was planned to begin filming in 2017.

It's touching, but I am wondering if Tim LaHaye had gone a little senile towards the end. Because a large reason why Vanished works is because, like I said, they follow the books very loosely. And I have to say, the trivia does provide a handy out as to why Nicolae doesn't have a Romanian accent.

When asked why his portrayal of Nicolae doesn't have a Romanian accent, Randy explained that they have given the Antichrist the supernatural ability to cause those who listen to hear him in their own native language. This is the reason why Nicolae sounds American to the American characters in the film. This power is not directly brought up in Vanished, but will be an element explored in future sequels.

It's an out, but it's one that actually make sense. Because sometimes laziness, if done properly, pays off. The whole concept behind X-Men came about out of sheer laziness. Stan Lee was tired of inventing reasons for why his characters have powers, so he just threw up his arms and said, "They're mutants, that's why!" Again, lazy, but it had unexpected metaphorical payoffs and basically gave the writers the ability to create infinite numbers of characters without having to explain their backstories too much, because it was interwoven into the universe.

And I must admit, however shallow it may be, Randy LaHaye is actually quite easy on the eyes. Not Chris Hemsworth-level, but still.

Regarding those sequels mentioned, if they ever came to pass, unlike the sequels John Travolta promised to Battlefield Earth, I might actually be willing to watch them. Though I'm not sure how long they can keep up the "It's a surprisingly decent, resonating film despite being adapted from terrible books" bit up. Future sequels may force them to follow the events of the books more carefully and like I said, one of the strengths of the movie was that it barely touched on book stuff: just had the rapture happened and went from there.

I do hope they don't draw out the love triangle between Gaby and the two dudes, Josh and Flynn. It is a trope I'm getting tired of in YA fiction: the love triangle. I won't bring up the Twilight series, because that series was just a mess, but I thought it somewhat worked in The Hunger Games trilogy. I saw the triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale, more because however much Katniss may like Peeta, she didn't like the idea of being forced to marry him, having the choice forever taken from her, in order to keep her family alive. So she rebels, drawing closer to Gale, as means of asserting her will. The series had its flaws, especially in the last book, but for the most part, The Hunger Games series is a decent read.

But it's a danger with love triangles: draw them out too long and the heroine (it's usually a heroine at the center of these) comes across as a flaky mean-spirited idiot who enjoys toying with the feelings of others, and the guys come across as complete dopes for continuing to crush on her. Vanished mostly kept the Love Triangle thing on the wayside, realized that Gaby has more important stuff to worry about than her sex life.

Anyway, tl;dr, while Vanished is hardly Casablanca level in greatness, it is a decent film that does manage to have some kind of emotional resonance. Don't know if I would pay theatre-level prices for it, but if you want to rent it on Amazon, it might be worth your time.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Nice Guys™ Should Finish Last

All right, I'm here.

This may come as a shock to the people who read my blog, but I have a passionate, obsessive enthusiasm for movies and TV shows. I know, it's really hard to believe.

Anyway, I see something I really enjoy, well, I'm one of those insane types who has to fight the urge to dress up and go door to door being all, "Have you heard of Heavenly Creatures? It was Kate Winslet's first film role and it convinced the studios that maybe Peter Jackson could do a damn good job directing the Lord of the Rings trilogy." Though for the record, most of the time when I want to evangelize, it's when said product is good, but few outside a small following, have heard of it. So you'll be happy to know I don't do that for the Marvel Cinematic Universe; it's clearly doing fine and doesn't need my evangelizing. The DCAU on the other hand...yeah, it is kind of sad how unless I'm in the presence of animation buffs, I can't talk about how Kevin Conroy is the best Batman and Heath Ledger may be a great Joker, but Mark Hamill blows him out of the water every time.

But anyway, my faithful blog readers have noticed how I have made repeated references to the Swing Kids rebellion of Nazi Germany. Well, I finally got around to seeing the movie about it called Swing Kids. It came out in 1993 and received generally negative reviews, but I thought it was pretty danged cool. It starts out as being almost like Footloose, what with those crazy kids and their love of dancing and that crazy new music, going up against the crusty old adults who just don't understand, but given that in this story, the crusty adults are freaking Nazis, things escalate fairly quickly from there.

As Wikipedia and I keep telling you, the Swing Kids experienced actual suffering for liking that crazy music; many wound up in concentration camps or were forcibly drafted into the military. I suppose what the Swing Kids experienced in no way compares to the sufferings of other rebellious movements like the Free France or the White Rose and it certainly doesn't come close to what the Jews experienced at the hands of the Nazis, but again, there are times in which you've got to cross your arms and say, "No." Regardless of how much societal pressure, it is always better to die on your feet, rather than live on your knees. And of course, when the Nazis are doing everything they can to stamp out degenerate art and music, it becomes even more important to hold onto said music.

Though again, like I keep saying, while we can point to plenty of examples of tyrannical governments based on a religious ideology, I can't really think of any based on hedonism. Can't think of any government that took over, then was immediately like, "You will have and enjoy sexual intercourse for purposes other than reproduction!" or "You will burn your collection of Pat Boone CDs and Christian Rock CDs, or be sent to a concentration camp!" As said before, hedonists don't really mind if you're not into the same things they are. Hedonists would be like, "Yeah, you can spend your days singing praises to Jesus, but I'm going out to have some real fun." They don't like the same things as fundamentalists or RTCs, but they don't try to outlaw, ban, or do anything to keep said fundamentalists from enjoying what they like.

The same cannot be said about fundamentalists or RTCs, who, like I've said before and will say again, for them, it's not enough to practice their faith in whatever manner they see fit and shut up about it. Their poisonous egos cause them to feel that they can't be properly holy, wear their ankle-length skirts and enjoy whatever entertainment their pastor deems worthy, so long as there are other people in the world flashing their sinful ankles and enjoying music that :gasp: actually acknowledges the reality of human emotions and isn't just, "Na-Na, Jesus is great."

Of course, there is hazards to a life of excessive pleasure, but there are hazards to any form of excess, including being so obsessed with being holy and following the rules that you lose sight of what said rules were meant to do in the first place and instead, spend your days scowling about all those heathens, how they're having fun now, but they'll eventually pay for it. I'm fairly certain Jesus spent a lot of time talking about the dangers of that form of excess; the gospels have him constantly laying into the Pharisees about the sin I've pointed out. I'm with Fred, who in one of my favorite LB posts said: "Sin boldly. Better to be a crack addict chasing a counterfeit of the pearl of great price than to be chasing nothing at all."

It's like me and my affection for Coulda Been Contenders. Even though they may have fallen short and failed to accomplish what they set out to do, I have more respect and affection for them, because they did actually try. They may have failed, but there's some nobility in how they tried.

Sorry, sorry. I swear I didn't plan to talk so damn much, but really there isn't a lot this week. There's usually not a lot every week, but this week...however much I criticize A Separate Peace for trying to stretch out a short story's worth of material into a novel, at least there I could entertain myself by shouting at the protagonists, "Will you two just fuck already?!"

The chapter begins with a few paragraphs with Yasmine and Abdullah talking to each other about Abdullah's plans to try to infiltrate the TOL. It gets revisited later on in the chapter when he visits Zeke and Zeke basically says, "I can't make you look like you're under one hundred." Yeah, it is really that dull. I could talk about how the TOL, with the exception of that one rapist dude, isn't really interfering at all with the day-to-day lives of RTCs and really, the RTCs are acting more tyrannical, trying to do everything they can to keep them from living their lives as they see fit, arresting them for have nightclubs where they dance and enjoy alcohol. I know I've already ranted about this, but I haven't really heard anything about the TOL sending spies to bring down the RTC movement from within.

Next part is a discussion between Kenny-boy and Kat. This thread in the chapter is admittedly more interesting, because I can dust off all my rants and links about Nice Guys™. Because Kenny is such a Nice Guy™. Just look at this conversation between him and Kat after she tells him that she's going on a date with Qasim.

“See you? As in go out with you?”

She nodded. “And I agreed.”

“What? Tell me you didn’t!”

“Kenny! What’s the matter? I didn’t want to be rude. He just wants to take me to dinner Friday night. What can be the harm? You know him better than I. Is there some reason I should not accept an invitation from a brother?”

A brother? Kenny wasn’t so sure. Raymie was suspicious of Qasim, and his personality grated on Kenny. But that wasn’t enough to make him bad-mouth the guy to Ekaterina. Kenny knew full well why he had a problem with Qasim’s interest in Kat. He had merely beaten Kenny to the punch.

“Well?” she said. “No warnings? No dire stories?”

Kenny shook his head. He wanted to blurt out that he cared for her and would rather date her himself, but it was too late. He had missed his window of opportunity. He would look jealous and desperate. Would he have to compete with Qasim to see her at all now?

Yeah, Kenny may not be using the exact same lingo as Nice Guys™, but he definitely shares the same mindset and aggrieved tone of one. Because apparently Kat is supposed to instinctively recognize that he wants to get in her pants without him saying so, and give him what he wants, because he's spent all this time pretending to listen to her and care about her thoughts and feelings. Because everyone knows that women are machines and if you put enough niceness coins in them, sex is supposed to come out.

Kenny is shocked, shocked that for all the time he devoted to emotional manipulation, Kat has the nerve to go out with someone who actually asked her out and displayed open, honest interest in her. All right, I'll post one last webcomic link and move on. No points for guessing which character Kenny is in the comic.

Chloe and Cam-Cam are about to sit down to a dinner of fresh fruit. Once again, I roll my eyes, because good lord, they didn't even try to make the all vegetarian diet sound attractive, at all. Even though, I'm fairly certain that while meat is off the table, there are still such things as spices around. Heck, even the Raw Foodists can slap together some appetizing-sounding recipes. I have no intention of starting an all Raw Food diet, but still, I think I've made my point and again, Ellanjay keep undermining their own case.

Because I'm going to provide you with side-by-side lists in order to compare the RTCs and TOL.

The RTCs' Activities in Heaven

Eating steaming piles of fresh produce

Spending their days working a slightly different version of the 9-5 rat race of our world.

No sex whatsoever.

As for leisure activities, they consist of singing hymns (and you know they're the banal praise choruses of modern Christian music, rather than Handel or Bach or anybody good) and dourly looking down on anyone different from them. That and of course, smiling with glee when Zod chooses to Exterminate All the Brutes.

TOL's Activities in Heaven

Rocking out to music with an actual beat

Enjoying alcohol and other intoxicating substances without any of the hazards of our world.

Going to nightclubs to dance to said music and partake of said intoxicants

Having all kinds of sex because they do not have to worry about STDs in Heaven

Leisure activities include generally enjoying Heaven, leaving the RTCs alone, and :gasp: saying things like a tyrannical deity who tortures people horribly for believing slightly different things and a Christian Taliban-like organization, may actually be horrible.

So yeah, it's not too surprising whose side is making a better case.

Anyway, Yerik, that priest guy from before, shows up to talk to Cam-Cam and Chloe. And he says that Noah has expressed his willingness to talk to the kids at their poorly-run daycare. I think it's safe to assume that the Noah in question is the flood guy, not the one mentioned in Numbers 27. Like I keep saying, it pays to know some of the more obscure parts of the Bible. .

Yerik tells Cam-Cam and Chloe, Noah's stipulations for this appearance:

“Just so you’re aware, he’ll be here alone. He will require nothing. No food, no drink, no introduction. And while there may be no way to preclude this, neither is he comfortable with praise. No doubt the children will want to cheer him, but there’s no need to encourage it. And as for drawing a large crowd, allow me to ask you, sir: have you already thought of whom you might inform as soon as I leave?”

:grins wickedly: If Noah isn't comfortable with praise, would he be comfortable with bringing up Genesis, chapter nine, verses twenty to the end? I could also bring up how that passage was used to justify Slavery and Jim Crow, even though isn't it really more Noah's fault for getting drunk and passing out naked? But because one of his kids saw his daddy's pecker, that means millions of people who never met or knew him, have to suffer horribly for his offense. Because that was how they justified it: Black people were the descendants of Ham, so they must forever serve White People.

Yeah, like I keep saying, I would get kicked out of that daycare so fast. Again, it pays to know some of the more obscure passages of the Bible.

Next section is about Rayford and his merry band doing stuff in Egypt. I'm going to post the entire passage, because I believe in spreading the pain around.

News of the new name of Egypt spread quickly through that nation, and as Rayford, Irene, Chaim, Tsion, Mac, Bruce, and his wife visited the various cities, the people would cry out, “Long live Osaze, ‘loved by God,’ and long live our King, the Lord Christ!”

But after one of the team preached and young people under one hundred streamed forward to commit their lives to Christ, someone was always bound to demand to know when God would lift His curse.

“That is up to you!” Bruce or Tsion would boom. “We believe the Lord is waiting to bless repentant hearts and minds and spirits.”

“But we have seen our sin and confessed!” the people would yell. “And ours was a sin of omission! We allowed others to sway us, but we did not choose to oppose the Lord!”

Rayford’s team never left an area without constructing, developing, advising, counseling, and even initiating technological advances. But even Rayford himself wondered how long it would be before God lifted His hand of discipline from the land.

Oy...I'm actually grateful that they told this in mostly summary. Yeah, it's lazy as heck, but just think of how much worse this passage would have been like, if they had put in more. Because you can just hear Rayford, in a whiny, aggrieved tone, being like, "Ugh...what is with these people, what with their constant demands for water? They just won't shut up about it. It's like they think it's one of the basic necessities of life that people won't survive long without. Why can't they spend a few more hours praising Jesus, instead of such frivolities as doing whatever you can to collect and treat whatever water there is to be found, running their urine through various filters to purify it, and dying horribly? And would it hurt for them to bathe or take a shower? They smell terrible. These people are so damn insensitive to the suffering of others."

Like I keep saying, I freely admit to exaggerating for comedic effect, but can you really say I'm too over-the-top here?

Though I will say again: why haven't the Egyptians just gotten the hell out? Because the borders of country are determined politics or natural features; it's not like those lines on maps represent alligator-filled moats. It would majorly suck, being a refugee, but when your options are A) stay where you are and die a horrible death or B) Undertake a dangerous journey and possibly survive, can you blame most people for choosing Option B?

Given that the Christian faith centers around a child raised by a couple of Palestinian Jews who traveled ninety miles from their homeland at the behest of their government, with one of them nine months pregnant while on this journey (artwork depicts Mary as riding a donkey, but in all likelihood, she would have walked like Joseph)*, and later, had to flee again to Egypt to escape a genocide, you'd think Ellanjay would be a bit more sensitive to the plight of refugees.

Anyway, there really isn't much more to this chapter. Creepy Raymie tells Kenny about how Noah is going to visit, Zeke tells Abdullah that he can't make him look younger, Cam-Cam and Chloe talk about nothing, and Kenny continues to give off Nice Guy™ vibes. Yeah, I think the most irritating aspect of that phenomenon is the aggrieved tone and the sense of entitlement. Apparently they feel they deserve a god-danged medal for doing the bare minimum needed to qualify as a decent human being.

For the record, I read the next chapter and yeah, no matter how they try to polish that turd, make Kenny's interactions with Kat seem all cute and emblematic of young love, it never stops being creepy or reeking of the Nice Guy™ phenomenon. Seriously, Qasim, just give these guys the middle finger and take off. Stop trying to kowtow to a bunch of bullies and make them like you. I've said it before and I'll keep saying it: the message that bullied kids should just completely reshape themselves, so as to get bullies to leave them alone and stop the emotional cruelty, is really sick. There is never a reason to bully someone, even if you wouldn't be surprised if that kid didn't have 666 tattooed on their scalp. You don't like someone, just leave them the hell alone, go out and live your life.

*And again, the journey...even if one of them wasn't pregnant, it would still be rough. Very few of the roads would be paved, forcing them to travel over some very rough terrain, and it wasn't like today where there's a gas station at every exit, so travelers would have to figure out how they are going to eat and sleep on this journey.