Saturday, March 30, 2013

You just love sinning, you dirty, dirty sinner, you

Well, for those who didn't cheat and browse Wikipedia to find out the answer to last week's cliffhanger, it turns out Nada was the one that was shot and she promptly dies after saying a few words to Judd. Frankly, I have to commend whoever wrote this passage: the stuff dealing with the aftermath of her death is actually quite moving, mostly because the writer eases off the narrative gas and lets Judd actually feel something. I can't help but note that it's far better written than Ryan's death scene mostly because again, the writer lets the character feel something rather than hustling them onto the next disaster. I'm going to assume that this is all the ghostwriter's doing because I can't picture either Jerry Jenkins or Tim LaHaye showing this much compassion towards a character's feelings.

Also, Daddy Goldberg is dead and of course, there's no mention about how he's roasting on a spit at the hands of a merciful god. The YTF carry both him and Nada out of the jail and bury them outside.

But before you guys get the idea that I've sipped the flavor-aid and become a fan of this series, there is still a part where the characters demonstrate the trademark Ellanjay inhumanity that characterizes all the characters in this series.

They walked through streets littered with the dead. Some buildings were on fire, but there was no one to put them out. The massacre got worse as they neared Yitzhak’s home. Those who hadn’t been killed ran into the streets, wailing and crying over the dead.

That's all that's devoted to the aftermath of the lion-headed snake-tailed flying people killers. Once again, you shake your head sadly and wonder what a gifted writer like Cormac McCarthy would do with this.

Can't help but be disappointed that Nada's dead; she demonstrated more personality than Judd's eventual love interest, Vicki.

Second chapter, Vicki's driving. They stop in Iowa City and for those of you who were missing the bad writing and inhumanity that comes standard with Ellanjay's works, don't worry: it's back. :rolls up sleeves: We've got some work to do.

VICKI listened closely to the reports about the deadly horses as they drove east. Through Nebraska they saw the effects of the latest judgment. Houses in Lincoln were charred. The kids drove through billowing yellow and black smoke that floated through the area. They spotted herds of horses and riders in Omaha.
“I hope I never see those horses again,” Shelly said.
Conrad turned the news down. “I don’t get it. Those beasts are evil. They must want to hurt believers.”
“God’s using those killing machines for his own purpose. Somehow he’s put a hedge around those who are his, and those beings know it.”

I feel a need to reiterate: God is the one doing all this. According to Ellanjay, God is the Good Guy in all this and the Anti-Christ is the evil one. Yet remember, God is the one slaying millions via horrific disasters. :headdesk: I would say Zod's like something out of Lovecraft, except Lovecraft had the brains to know that the eldritch horrors in his works, while fearsome, were also not loving and kind and certainly not good. There's a reason I keep using my "Strawman always has a point" tag and that's because so far, the Strawman are the only ones making any logical sense.

Vicki and Shelly decide to stock up on junk food and watch the news. Naturally they snigger the entire time.

“Scientists are still speculating on the cause of this worldwide death plague,” one news anchor said. “Hundreds of thousands are reported dead; millions have been sickened by the mysterious smoke that seemingly came out of nowhere.”
“They can’t see the horses,” Shelly said.
Vicki shook her head. “Somehow God made them visible to us but blinded unbelievers.”

I highlighted this passage mostly for the clumsiness of the dialogue. Worldwide death plague? Oh and you need not specify that it seemingly came out of nowhere; you already said it was mysterious. But is there any reason why Zod would choose to blind unbelievers to the horses? He didn't with the demonic locusts. Needless to say I'm confused and am hoping aunursa can shed some light on this.

After watching the news for a bit, they change channels and we see more of the horrors of the NWO.

Those that weren’t showing the news were disgusting. One program featured a man in a desperate search for a family member who had been buried alive. A ticking clock was positioned at the bottom of the screen. At first, Vicki thought it was a movie.
“This is real,” Shelly said in disbelief.
“Turn to something else.”
Shelly switched to the next channel. A man in black robes and a mask stood inside a five-pointed star. It looked like he was praying.

Okay so being buried alive would be pretty horrifying and in the evil satanic NWO, it would make sense that it would take delight in that kind of suffering (even though Zod buried who-knows-how many in the Great Earthquake) but how is a guy in robes praying? Also, I thought the only faith allowed was the EBOWF or is this another case of "all other religions are satanic!" And here I thought that Ellanjay just considered all other religions to be a case of "La-la-la Can't hear you!" denial of Christ.

“Exactly what Tsion Ben-Judah predicted. People love themselves and their sin too much. Tsion said we’d see more drug use, murder, gross sexual stuff, and…”
“And what?”
“I think that guy was leading people in a prayer, but it wasn’t to God. I think he was praying to demons.”

I really don't need to say much about this quote except that it's nice to know that apparently drug addicts just love to sin and there's no such thing as being chemically addicted to something.

Next section is another Judd section and again, it's actually well-written with Judd talking with Nada's mother (whose finally given a name, Lina, if you're wondering) about Nada. It's enough to make me wonder what it is about Judd that's attracting the good writing right now. Maybe it's because writing about some characters mourning the loss of a friend, naturally lends itself to good, introspective prose or at least competent prose.

But quickly we're back at the next section...Nothing much happens except that Vicki finally returns to the schoolhouse. Oh and Token Jew has released yet another epistle. :massages temples: Oh what joys we have to look forward to...But it'll have to wait until next week. I just read that chapter and oh boy, do we have a lot to snark and I don't wanna stretch these posts out too long. So happy Easter and I'll see you then!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Lion-headed Snake-Tailed Flying People-Killers

Hello and happy Saturday!

So as said before by both me and Fred, Ellanjay like to simultaneously argue that their interpretation is the most simple, straightforward way of interpreting the Bible, yet at the same time, they argue that you need the careful guidance of prophecy "experts" such as themselves along with countless supplemental materials in order to interpret it properly. Or as I put in last week's post, the Bible should be taken literally except when it shouldn't and we should rely on them to tell us when to take it literally and when not to take it literally.

Vicki asks Shelly "Are you sure you saw what you saw?" Shelly, of course, says yes, but we don't dwell on that question for too long as apparently those people who were following them, the man in the truck and the woman in the car, are back on their tail. The woman manages to shoot out one of their tires, sending the van into a ditch. It goes without saying that none of them are seriously hurt and this has all the dramatic tension of me stubbing my toe because the YTF have already been through who-knows-how many arrests and disasters without so much as a bruise to show for it. I know I say that a lot but it bears repeating.

In Israel, Mr. Stein is walking towards the Jerusalem GC headquarters preaching. Now in a sensible novel, the snipers on the roof would just spray him full of lead, but in this novel, when faced with a man openly preaching doctrine against the world-wide dictatorship, they just bluster. I would say the GC is about as intimidating as wet cardboard painted lime-green and neon-pink, but wet cardboard could conceivably cut you which is more than what the GC does.

The GC goes to tackle Mr. Stein to the ground, when suddenly the air fills with the smell of sulfur and the horses with the lion-heads appear. Oh and apparently these lion-headed horses have snakes for tails. I point this out simply to remind you that this is what they mean by taking the Bible literally.

The Israel section ends with a passage that's horrifying but for all the wrong reasons.

Woodruff gasped and tried to speak. Before he could utter a word, a horse moved toward them and turned, its tail crashing into Woodruff’s back. The man flew into the air like a child’s toy and crashed into the building. His limp body fell to the sidewalk.
Judd shuddered. How could the horses strike with such force when they weren’t physical beings? He and the others had walked directly through them!
Lionel reached the deputy commander’s body and checked his pulse.
He shook his head. “Let’s go,” Mr. Stein said.

And Deputy Commander Woodruff is now burning in the fires of Hell for all eternity even though all these disasters are supposed to be Zod's attempt to reach people before, well, some indeterminate time in which he can't reach people anymore.

I feel like the MST3K crew watching Space Mutiny. I tried to track down the clip that sprang immediately to mind: "Our Hero bravely roasts the disabled man." But I'm afraid I couldn't find it on YouTube, so settle for some clips from the Space Mutiny episode and marvel at how even the stuff on MST3K is more involving than this.

Anyway, the chapter ends with Vicki and her crew facing down the man and the woman but honestly I'm so bored, I'm just going to fast-forward through the entire confrontation. Trust me, you'll thank me for this because once again, nothing happens to our heroes. The Lion-headed snake-tailed horsemen kill the people confronting them.

Next chapter, the kids at the Schoolhouse are watching and sniggering as the GC try desperately to deal with/explain what the hell is happening. Naturally are sympathies are once again with the GC as they seemed genuinely shocked by the loss of life/freakiness of the events happening unlike the moralistic prigs that make up the YTF. Melinda, aka one of the godless heathens who stubbornly refuses to convert, comes in during the newscast. Naturally they try to convert her but she says she doesn't want to convert just because she's scared of dying and I can't help but once again, say that she probably has a healthier attitude towards God than the YTF who see him as their personal strongman, but unfortunately, the authors aren't on her side. It's the murderous Zod that runs this universe.

Nicky Bendeleben comes on and makes his speech. For once, Nicky's demonstrating some villain credentials as he pins the cause of this disaster on a hated minority and uses it as an excuse to stir up more people against said minority.

“You have the right to live healthy, peaceful, and free. While I remain against war, I pledge to rid the world of this cult, beginning with the Jerusalem Twosome, who even now express no remorse about the widespread loss of life that has resulted from this attack.”

Gotta give Nicky credit: he's got the RTCs' number here. Not only do the Gruesome Twosome (my nickname of choice for the prophets) not express remorse; they're openly gleeful about the attack.

“Woe to the enemies of the most high God!” they said. “Woe to the cowards who shake their fist at their creator and are now forced to flee his wrath! We beseech you, snakes and vipers, to see even this plague as more than judgment! Yea, it is yet another attempt to reach you by a loving God who has run out of patience. There is no more time to woo you. You must hearken to his call, see that it is he who loves you. Turn to the God of your fathers while there is still time. For the day will come when time shall be no more!”

I could go into a long rant about how the villains are much more sympathetic because they at least show some concern for the loss of human life and I could also rant about how the Gruesome Twosome are horrible preachers who make the bum ranting on a street corner sound like Martin Luther King, Jr. but my real problem is that Nicky is only now taking care of some possible threats to his rule? Why didn't he demand the worldwide media under his control stop broadcasting his message? I know supposedly according to the convoluted prophecy that Ellanjay follow that the Gruesome Twosome can't die before a specific time (four months from now according to Ellanjay), but why does Nicky not simply make the news stations cut their mikes and go to commercials?

Carpathia continued. “We shall live in a utopia of peace and harmony with no more war, no more bloodshed, no more death. In the meantime, please accept my deepest personal condolences over the loss of your loved ones. They shall not have died in vain. Continue to trust in the ideals of the Global Community, in the tenets of peace, and in the genius of an all-inclusive universal faith that welcomes the devout of any religion.

“Just four months from now we shall celebrate in the very city where the preachers now taunt and warn us. We shall applaud their demise and revel in a future without plague and disease and suffering and death. Keep the faith, and look forward to that day. And until I address you again, thank you for your loyal support of the Global Community.”

So in the space of a paragraph, Nicky has gone from being "Let's hold hands and sing Kumbaya" to "And you will know that I am the Supreme Potentate when I lay my vengence upon thee!" And once again, the underlying assumption is that all pacifists secretly yearn for bloodshed. Again, Ellanjay must have nightmares about being caught in an alleyway with Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

The chapter ends with Judd and the others freeing Nada and her family but just as the jailer comes in and fires his gun. I read ahead and part of me wants to spoil what little suspense their is by pointing out who got shot, but you guys can go ahead and browse wikipedia if you're that curious. Me, I've had enough for this week.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Taken Literally. Except when you shouldn't

First of all, thank you, thank you to Magpie for giving me a copy of the next book in the series. You are awesome!

So like I said, last week left off with Buck's brother, Jeff introducing himself. Jeff talks about how things have been tough and he and dad have been struggling to keep the trucking business going and I could do a long rant about how with all the disasters, they shouldn't still have a business, but I think I'll spare you. I'm trying to be a little less redundant but I can make no guarantees; it's not like Ellanjay aren't known for their redundancies.

Jeff tells his story about how Sharon and his kids were slaughtered disappeared and naturally, Vicki tries to convert him, but Jeff refuses to bite, giving me a chance to dust off my "Strawman always has a point" tag.

In Israel, Judd and the others discuss what to do about Jamal and his family. According to Sam, last time he saw Kasim, he had a bloody lip. I only point that out to further show Ellanjay's rule that bad things only happen to minor characters. He figures that the GC found them because of Kasim's phone call to Kweesa. Sam says that they have to pray that his dad accepts the truth, but Judd says there might be another way and the section ends there.

Next section, Mark calls and apparently the GC are restarting schools. :groans: Why exactly are they doing schools given that the Earth only has a few years left to live and therefore there isn't going to be a future? But then again, they are repeatedly unclear as to whether Nicky Tuxtla is aware of the prophecies and is intentionally following them or if he is, like all the characters in the story, a puppet of the almighty Zod.

Basically they're requiring everyone under twenty to go through continuing education complete with Morale Monitors. Y'all have already pointed out the numerous problems with the Morale Monitors in a previous post so no need to rehash that. It goes without saying that the press anouncement mentions that the schools will teach the most eeevil of all virtues, tolerance, and that young people refusing to attend said schools will be rounded up. I find myself wondering if this isn't Ellanjay projecting that this is what the eeevil NWO will someday do to brave RTCs who homeschool their children.

Based on this announcement, Vicki decides to curtail their travels and return to the school and she and Mark start to wonder what to do in case the GC checks into their unorthodox living arrangements.

The newly converted RTCs start to worry that if the GC force them to attend one of their schools, they could be brainwashed and lose the Zod-mark. But Vicki has this to say:

“You don’t have to worry about losing the mark.” Vicki explained that the kids who believe in Jesus are held not by their own power, but by God’s. “Each of you has to make up your own mind. By going you might be able to reach some people who don’t know about God. But it might be too much for you to listen to the GC’s blather.”

This is consistent with earlier how Lionel didn't lose his Saved status even when he had laser-guided amnesia, but it does raise some questions. Like if you can't lose your salvation, then why so much hatred against those who convert then change their minds later? Or is this another case of "the Word of Zod is sooo amazing that you either instantly accept its truth or you're willfully disingenuous?"

Vicki tries once again to get Jeff to convert but he says he needs more time. The chapter ends with Vicki finding out that Omer has been killed. Honestly, I mourn because he was the only character showing any kind of initiative, but you know that Ellanjay don't like characters who do things besides lie back and think of Zod.

The chapter ends with this headslapper of a statement:

“The worst part is that the GC were getting ready to release Omer’s mom. Carl said if they had waited a few more days, everything would have been all right.”

Once again, let me just say: Worst Dictatorship ever! They have a group of traitors to the cause and they don't torture the hell out of them or kill them?! Like I've said before, a shorter list would be of villains who were less effective than Nicky.

Also, note how information about Omer's death is given secondhand, robbing it of any impact. I officially take back my remarks about how they handled the deaths of the Power Couple of Awesomeness; at least that had some wrenching potential as we got to hear Hasina and Taylor profess their love for one another before being killed.

Next chapter, Ellanjay, or more likely the ghostwriter, ease off the narrative gas as we admit that these constant deaths have had an impact on Vicki.

With each day, Vicki grew numb. She didn’t want to. She wanted to feel alive. With each person who prayed and asked God for forgiveness, she felt a spark in her soul. Then something else would happen, like the news of Omer, and she would become preoccupied again.

This numbness makes sense as they are experiencing constant casualties but if you were expecting to really delve into what that does to a psyche, you're reading the wrong books. This isn't George RR Martin we're dealing with here.

Vicki looks over Our Buck's paper The Truth which basically says that the schools are indoctrinating kids into GC propaganda, then decides to read Token Jew's latest missive. And I must wonder how is it that there's no mention that the GC are monitoring and jailing everyone who visits Token Jew's website? You'd think that'd be worth a mention, how the YTF work around that but shows what I know.

My text is from Revelation 9:15-21. “And the four angels who had been prepared for this hour and day and month and year were turned loose to kill one-third of all the people on earth. They led an army of 200 million mounted troops—I heard an announcement of how many there were.
“And in my vision, I saw the horses and the riders sitting on them. The riders wore armor that was fiery red and sky blue and yellow. The horses’ heads were like the heads of lions, and fire and smoke and burning sulfur billowed from their mouths. One-third of all the people on earth were killed by these three plagues—by the fire and the smoke and burning sulfur that came from the mouths of the horses. Their power was in their mouths, but also in their tails. For their tails had heads like snakes, with the power to injure people. “But the people who did not die in these plagues still refused to turn from their evil deeds. They continued to worship demons and idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood—idols that neither see nor hear nor walk! And they did not repent of their murders or their witchcraft or their immorality or their thefts.”

Okay, given that we've seen meteors in place of stars falling to earth and Wormwood was a comet made of rotting wood, I'm sure you are all waiting with bated breath to see how Token Jew interprets horses with heads like lions.

So here comes his analysis.

This passage has puzzled me for some time. For centuries scholars have looked at prophecy as symbolic. These symbols have been explained in different ways by different people. But why would God make it so difficult? I believe when the Scriptures say the writer saw something in a vision, it is symbolic of something else. But when the writer simply says that certain things happen, I take those literally.

Did you understand what the hell that meant? Neither did I. All I can parse from that passage is that the Bible can and should be taken literally except when it shouldn't, but don't you worry your pretty little head about if and when and just listen to me.

So far I have been proven right. This passage says John sees 200 million horsemen in a vision. I doubt these men and animals will be flesh and bone since John mentions a vision, but they will have a terrible impact on the world. They will indeed kill a third of the population. Friends, I don’t know how this will happen or even how long it will take. God could make it occur in an instant. It appears to me that it will take several weeks. I ask you to read the account in Revelation and ask God to make it clear to you.

Yeah, if I rolled my eyes any further back, I'm afraid they'd fall out of my head. Again, how is it that Ellanjay manage to argue that the Bible is both simultaneously easy enough that even the most uneducated can understand its mysteries, yet also so convoluted you need a flowchart and the help of prophecy "experts" in order to get it?

There's a brief chase scene as Vicki notices some cars tailing them, but they shake them pretty quickly and I'm bored to death with the whole thing. The chapter ends with Shelly saying she saw horses with lion-heads which means yet another disaster is about to happen.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Stop Standing in Front of the Screen

Our Saturday Snark begins with a travelogue, as Vicki travels to Minnesota. No real snarkable material here since Ellanjay stubbornly refuse to describe stuff, so think of it less as one of those boring 19th century literary travelogues where so-and-so goes on endlessly about natural features and more like one of those travelogues where so-and-so stands in front of the film projector the entire time, stubbornly refusing to let you see anything. There is a brief mention that the earthquake has damaged Pikes Peak and Mount Rushmore but that's the extent of it.

The narrative briefly has some dialogue in Minnesota but all of a sudden, there's a jump and they're on the road again. I flipped through the pages thinking I must have missed something, but I didn't and I must ask whether an Editor ran over Ellanjay's dogs when they were kids, because seriously...

They go up towards Olympia, Washington, where they notice the locusts are gone. Finally they go south to Chula Vista, California, which is near where the Mexican border used to be. Now I know in my snark, I frequently leave out stuff, because it's unsnarkable or there's a point I want to make, but I feel a need to point out in this case, I'm not leaving anything out. Seriously all that's there is just "They went to [Blank] and preached." It's almost enough to make me wish for one of those 19th century overly long travelogues because at least those require a little effort on both the writer's part and the reader's part.

In Chula Vista, they ease off the narrative gas briefly. Vicki goes there, they preach, some listen and receive the Zod-mark, some don't, and just when I think they're going to hit the road again, she decides to delay their rondeveau in Arizona because she feels Zod is about to do great things here.

In Israel, nothing's really going on except that they're gathering materials and praying for Sam to come home. Apparently now that the locusts are gone, everything's back to normal. I could go into a rant about how even after the demonic locusts left, scientists should still be trying to study them and everyone should be questioning just how the hell all this stuff happens, but that's a feature of the Ellanjay-verse: freakish stuff happens and no one cares.

Judd tries to contact Nada, but gets no answer. He checks only to discover that she and her family have been arrested, leaving him to assume that Kasim's call to Kweesa was intercepted. The selection ends with Sam showing up again, and wouldn't it be a great twist if it turned out that the GC managed to torture a confession out of him, which was why Nada and her family were arrested. That would be a novel twist but it's not going to happen. Remember, torture is ineffective against Brave RTCs, just as torture is good and holy when done by RTCs.

Well, I was expecting to hear more about what's going on in Chula Vista but it turns out Vicki decided to ignore her own words because now they're on their way to Arizona with no explanation whatsoever. Seriously, the editing for this book is abysmal.

Mark calls. Apparently, Chloe is due to give birth any day now, but Our Buck is still stuck in Israel. Also they're afraid there might be something wrong with the baby. And I must commend this series for one thing: when I set out to snark it, I thought it'd just be the kids shadowing the adults and constantly talking about the brilliance that is St. Rayford and Our Buck, and while there's been a little of that, for the most part, the kids have been doing their own thing, something I didn't expect to see in a cheaply written series meant to get a few bucks from RTC parents.

So basically they released Sam in hopes of following him, but rather than implanting the transmitter beneath his skin, they put it in his wallet, so naturally it didn't work. Once again, the eeevil One-World-Government hell-bent on destroying all rivals and wiping out RTC-ianity, did nothing to a traitor. Again, I'm fighting the urge to kidnap Ellanjay and tattoo the Evil Overlord list onto their skin.

So Vicki's in Tuscon and Chloe's had the baby, which Our Buck was able to witness, so I guess we can cancel that candlelight vigil we had planned. Again, there's a lot of summarizing about how inspiring Vicki's message is and the chapter ends with Jeff Williams introducing himself as Buck's brother. I think I recall hearing he had a brother from the adult books, but I couldn't remember if he made any onscreen appearances.

And I'm afraid that's the end of the book and seeing as I'm still broke and unemployed, the end of my snarks for a while. The next book is called Shaken, but honestly, I'm pretty depressed that I'm still unemployed and still have to ask people to buy stuff for me. :sigh:

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Ones that Got Away

Our selection for this Saturday begins with Vicki. For once the YTF do face some difficulties in their travels.

In places, concrete slabs rose straight up and Shelly had to drive off the road, but mostly the driving was slow, watching out for potholes or separated roadways.

This is a welcome change of pace, but it's still not enough suffering. They sound like they're driving down an old country road, not the freeway post-apocalypse.

The kids were aware of news reports of roving bandits. Before the locusts had come, groups of bandits had taken over lonely stretches of roads. They stopped cars, robbed the occupants, and stole vehicles. Sometimes the people inside the cars were even killed. But now reports of these bandits had dwindled.

Between this and the previous quote, I wonder if Ellanjay or the ghostwriter is attempting an Author's Saving Throw by saying, "See the roads are bad!" in response to my continuous complaints that the entire world should look worse than Haiti post-earthquake. But you'll note that these bandits do not appear. Apparently they're a great threat to all the off-screen characters, but the YTF, with their titanium steel plot armor, don't suffer so much as a bruise. You ever read The Road by Cormac McCarthy? It should be more like that.

So they arrive at a town outside Des Moines called Darby and am I the only one still wondering the point in why they're traveling and witnessing to believers? They already believe; it's called preaching to the choir. Why not continue doing what they were doing at the schoolhouse: rounding up non-believers, treating their locust stings with a steady dose of Vitamin Church?

So Vicki begins her talk. She mentions that they are in the middle of something called a great Soul Harvest and that at the end of it, there will be more believers than at the time of the Rapture?

My Response: How is that possible? After all the disasters back to back, we should count ourselves lucky that the Earth still has a population, let alone one that large.

Mark, who's at the schoolhouse, decides to call Vicki and read her Lionel's email. Basically Lionel's still bitching and moaning about Judd's crush on Nada. Vicki's like "What kind of name is Nada?" and I headdesk because really?! Vicki, could you sound just a little more culturally insensitive? But I suppose we could chalk this up to her being jealous.

They discuss what could happen to the Tennessee believers (death or imprisonment) but I don't really care because it's not like I knew much about them. Though if anything does happen, it'll illustrate that bad things only happen to off-screen characters. Vicki does worry that Omer might do something stupd to try to rescue the believers. Me, I'm hoping someone does something, anything in this book. Again, I still mourn for Taylor and Hasina aka Power Couple of Awesomeness. I know I'm not supposed to like them as much as I do, but they did stuff.

Vicki goes for a walk in the cornfield and turns out I was right about that jealousy thing. Woo...

Finally after a long uninterrupted part set in America, we're back in Israel with Judd. Sam hasn't returned, so he, Lionel, and Mr. Stein decide to go after him. But when they get to Sam's home, they find Daddy Goldberg who tells them that he's gone. Turns out Daddy Goldberg turned his son in but is now having second thoughts.

Next chapter, Daddy Goldberg is tormented by bad dreams. Mr. Stein decides to play Daniel and try to interpret said dream. Naturally Mr. Stein interprets the dream as a call for Daddy Goldberg to convert or roast in hell for all eternity be lost forever. But the YTF hear sirens and take off running so we don't see if Mr. Stein's attempted conversion takes. The YTF bravely beat a brave retreat and that's the end of the Israel section.

Next stop, for the traveling YTF, is a town called Mankato, Minnesota. Shelly's excited about it because it's near one of the towns in the Little House on the Prairie books and I have to admit, I rather like this bizarre little mention. It's nice to see the characters have interests beyond being little automatons to move the plot along.

Nothing else really happens in this section except Vicki does her little speech, awes the audience, and that's it. Now back to Israel.

Nothing really happens there either except that they pray about Sam, but Judd does receive a phone call from Nada. Apparently her brother, Kasim, wants to tell his old flame, Kweesa, about Zod, but their father won't hear of it, even though even if it doesn't work, Kasim will, not only go to heaven, but get the bonus points that come with martyrdom. But apparently Kasim did go behind their backs and tell Kweesa, but still no word on if it worked or not.

And that's where I'm going to leave you for next week. As always, comments are welcome and if you see something I overlooked, let me know.