Sunday, September 27, 2015

What the Hell's the Point of this Story?!

Sorry, sorry. I wish I could say I'm late because I was busy receiving a Congressional Medal of Honor, after which I slept with the cast of The Avengers*, but really, I was just lazy and not looking forward to going another round with The Heroes Who Don't Do Anything Especially If It's Remotely Heroic Because Doing Good Deeds Offends God Apparently.

After so many chapters with him seldom mentioned, let alone seen, Lionel is finally onstage again. Woo... I freely admit that I hate his character (only characters I like are in the League of Awesome), but I just like any excuse to rag on Ellanjay's shitty writing. Because losing track of a character for countless chapters at a time, has to qualify as shitty writing. Here's a hint: if you can't think of something for a character to do, if you have a hard time remembering that said character exists and in doing so, has an effect on the lives of the other characters, maybe you should either rewrite said character or remove him from the story entirely. But apparently Editing ran over their dog when they were kids or something.

Not much really happens, but then again you're used to that by now. Lionel contemplates his navel. It's notable only for the part where Ellanjay decide to clumsily address racism for reasons I am not sure. I assumed Ellanjay, like so many on the Right, their thoughts on racism go in three steps. 1) Racists go to cross-burnings. 2) I have never been to a cross-burning. 3) Therefore, I am not racist. Because the people who point out that racism didn't cease to exist when Martin Luther King delivered his "I have a dream" speech are the real racists.

Anyway, here it is.

Lionel folded the page and smiled. Charlie’s line about Jesus not being black reminded him how much he had been through since the disappearances. At first, Lionel felt uneasy being the only black teenager in the group, but with the earthquake and all the plagues and death around them, his skin color wasn’t an issue. They were all believers in Christ. Period.

It was what Lionel imagined an army went through. He had read stories about soldiers who disliked others because of their differences. But once the bullets started to fly, it didn’t matter where the people came from or how they talked or what they looked like—they were fellow soldiers.

Okay, it's not as tooth-grindingly bad as that bit in Lionel's introduction way, way back in the first book, where he talked about how his cousins accused him of not really being Black. I often kick myself for not giving that passage the proper tear-down it deserves, but cut me some slack! I was just starting out and as I recall, just reading that passage made my brains crash gears. Because it's just so much Whitesplaining that you find yourself wondering how can anyone be that lacking in self-awareness. Yeah, I was so naïve back then...


I'll even let Ellanjay off the hook, by saying they don't have to listen to the eeeevil rap music, even though it doesn't take much for anyone to say, "This song is still sadly relevant despite being nearly thirty years old." Because seriously all you have to do, is change out a few of the accessories mentioned (don't think teenagers are so into gold chains and pagers anymore) in N.W.A.'s "Fuck tha Police" and it is still a damn blistering critique of cops harassing Black people for no damn reason.

But yeah, if you did make them sit down and read Ta-Nehisi Coates's heart-wrenching book Between the World and Me, they'd probably respond in a manner akin to David Brooks, who actually got paid by the New York Times for writing a column-length #notallwhitepeople post.

:sighs: I honestly didn't expect to spend so much time on this one part. I like to think I did okay with my takedown and didn't accidentally make some of the same mistakes that suburban White girls make when they talk about race. If I did screw up and say something horribly insensitive/offensive, I apologize. But I freely admit to being one of those weirdos who believes that centuries of institutionalized racism probably wasn't ended by a few half-heartedly endorsed reforms, so what do I know. :eyeroll:

After this, there's talks about ten kings and this weird paragraph where I'm like, "WTF?!" But I suppose I still have the foolish notion that protagonists are supposed to actually do stuff and have actual arcs and be different at the end of the story than they were at the beginning, so what do I know?

Mac stretched his arms. “If Otto succeeds in New Babylon, we find out where the big shindig is gonna be before it happens, and we get in there and bug the place. We’re not going to try to stop prophesied events, of course, but it’ll be good to know exactly what’s happening.”

Okay, so why exactly are you going to go to this thing IF YOU'RE NOT GOING TO ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING?! Don't get me wrong: I know that's what Ellanjay believe--that this must all happen and therefore our heroes can't do something silly like BEHAVE LIKE HEROES AND RESCUE PEOPLE! But even so...they have a detailed layout of everything that's going to happen in the coming year. It doesn't matter if they go to Nicky's get-together or not; THEY SHOULD KNOW!

Then someone asks, "What about Carpathia's secretary?" And I wonder why the hell this is being brought up. I guess this is a throwback to the adult series, put in as a treat for those who've read it, but why do they think that this is what kids these days are into,office politics? Let me guess, next someone's going to ask about Nicky's janitor's dentist's dog.

Nicky's secretary is named Krystall and there's some mention of St. Rayford befriending her. I'm going to assume that Krystall was basically a milder Hattie Durham and served much as the same purpose as Hattie: a source of temptation to cause a stirring in our manly heroes manly loins (Because St. Rayford and Our Buck are totally heterosexual, despite having more chemistry with each other than any of the women they're involved with) in a futile attempt for Ellanjay to demonstrate that "their characters are not Sues; they totally have flaws!" Either way, said manly hero eventually comes to his senses and shoves away that weak whore woman as an assertion of their virtue. Because as Fred would say, women fall into three categories in this series: Madonnas, Whores, and Ingénues.

I'm sure aunursa will correct me if I'm wrong, but once you know a few broad strokes about a character's background in this story, you can easily plot the trajectory of their story.

“Krystall?” Mac said. “If I had a vote, I’d say we convince her we know what’s going to happen to New Babylon and get her out of there.”

“To Petra?”

Mac shook his head. “Much as we might like to do that, God has set that city aside as a city of refuge for his people only. Sad as it is, she made her decision, took her stand, and accepted the mark. Getting her out of New Babylon just keeps her from dying in that mess when God finally judges the city. She’s going to die anyway, sometime between then and the Glorious Appearing, and when she does, she’s not going to like what eternal life looks like.”


Lionel has a sad about all those poor people who will be forced to spend eternity living inside a Hieronymus Bosch painting. He closes his eyes and prays. Realizing that while he is a Main Character, he is still much lower on the RTC hierarchy and therefore, should subsume his needs to the great higher-ups, he asks for aid for Our Buck, little Kenny, the rest of the Tribbles, and to a lesser extent, Chloe, aka the one member of the list who is in actual danger right now. Again, I'm exaggerating, but not by much.

After this, Ellanjay cut to Judd. I admit I fast-forward through quite a bit of his part in this chapter, because all he does is watch the news and be all "Oh Noes!" about Chloe.

Judd and Otto are creeping around Nicky's place in New Babylon and come across Krystall. Krystall is on the phone and right out of the gate, she proves that she is indeed, a hardened heathen whore, in that she actually shows compassion for other peoples' sufferings rather than just shrugging your shoulders and saying, "Oh well, whatcha going to do?" like Zod intended.

“No, it’s still painful, Mom,” Krystall said. “I guess we’re adjusting, but I can’t do anything here except answer the phone. … No, they can evidently see fine in Al Hillah and don’t have to follow his glow around anymore.”

Otto pushed the door open slightly and it creaked.

Krystall sat up, her eyes wide. “I’m sorry, Mom. I need to go. Someone’s here. Mmm-hmm. Bye.”

If you're wondering Krystall's next action isn't to immediately whip out her canister of pepper spray and start spraying in any random direction. Because even though she has accepted Nicky's Mark and she works for Nicky, for some reason, she still wants to help out Our Heroes. I'd wonder if Rayford is that amazing in the sack, but the idea of Our Manly Heterosexual Hero Sleeping with a Woman he hasn't married is unpossible?! That and I have a difficult time believing that St. Rayford isn't basically as anatomically correct as a Ken doll. Yeah, I know, I'm a horrible person for making you think about Rayford's genitals, but you just know his idea of sexy talk consists of him turning to Irene or Amanda and going, "Let us have missionary sex with the lights off, Dearest Wife, and then only for the purpose of procreation so we can have additional help harvesting come fall." I freely admit to having stolen Rayford's sexy talk line from this review. I apologize.

And you know Rayford closed his eyes the entire time, lest he let anyone think he enjoyed the carnal act of making love.

Krystall lets them listen in on a conversation between her and the chief of security for some reason. Don't ask me why. Maybe aunursa, aka the possessor of insanely encyclopedic knowledge of the adult books, knows something, but I spend this entire chapter going, "The hell?!" Part of me wonders if Ellanjay's justification for why she's so damn flaky is " because she's a woman and everyone knows that the ladies can't resist a manly man like Rayford, am I right?" Because once again, I have a feeling I'm not really exaggerating by much, like at all.

Anyway, they talk about plans for a celebration to be held in Baghdad six months from now. The only reason I'm mentioning it is because Z-Van is mentioned which made me go, "Huh?" Because I thought he had died in the Burnination Plague. But I wouldn't mind if he showed up again. Always had a certain affection for him, given how well he demonstrates just how out of touch Ellanjay are. Which is why whenever Z-Van is onscreen, I totally picture him as looking like Madonna Dahmer.

The phone conversation ends with the security chief talking about a final solution to the Jewish problem, a line I suspect was thrown in there, once again, as Ellanjay frantically try to convince everyone that, "Liberals are the real anti-Semites, not us!"

The chapter ends with Judd asking Krystall for more information about Chloe. Krystall responds by saying something along the lines of, "Oh yeah, she's to be executed at 1000 hours, central time." And because I am that pedantic/pathetic, I did actually look up the time zone for Iraq (because New Babylon is located there). Apparently when it's 4:00 Sunday afternoon where I live, it's midnight at Monday in Iraq. So I find myself wondering how exactly are they going to make it so Chloe dies at 10:00 a.m. according to the Central Time Zone. What time would they hold the execution in Iraq? I'd let this piddling detail go if the series had given me something else to think about, but since they haven't...yeah, another thing Ellanjay can't grasp: the Earth is big and round and revolves around the sun. As a result, there are different times in different places as the Earth revolves around the sun. So while it's the afternoon in America, it's nighttime in Europe.

But I realize I haven't really answered the question "What time is the execution going to be held at in Iraq?" I suppose I should, but as an English major, I am absolutely shitty at math. If you care, do the math, yourself. Just know that I'd let this detail go if Ellanjay had said something along the lines of "the execution will be recorded and broadcast for the Central Time Zone at 10:00" or if they had given me something to care about.

And I thought about throwing on a second chapter, but I think I'm going to throw up my hands and say, "That's it for this week." If you're wondering, I'm going to sit somewhere and wonder, "What the Hell was the point with this whole thing with Krystall?" for a while. If you were to ask me which trope I'd classify this part with Krystall under, I'd have to say this whole thing is basically a Shaggy Dog Story. I'd actually prefer a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment because at least there's some enjoyment in pointless WTFery.

*Including Black Widow. Because I am secure enough in my sexuality to admit that ScarJo looks damn good as a redhead and pulls off the skintight catsuit nicely.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

I'm Long Passed the Point of Not-Caring

Thought I'd warn you in advance: this week's snark is going to suck. Because it's nothing but phone conversations and people talking! I don't think even the Monty Python crew could make this stuff interesting or worth reading. :whimpers:

First half of the chapter is Judd talking to Chang and the other half is Vicki talking to Zeke. We do get a mention of Lionel, though he's not seen, but I'm still wondering if we should start putting out milk cartoons with his picture on it. That and I wonder if I should change my Lionel tag to "Where's Lionel?" but I might overuse it. I am still kicking myself for not starting a count on how many times Ryan is mentioned after his death, but live and learn. If anyone has any suggestions for tags or whatever, let me know.

Anyway first we get exciting!telephone!conversation!action between Judd and Chang. And I spend the entire time, fast-forwarding, beating my head against my desk, and crying. That and wondering why in the name of all that's holy, DIDN'T ELLANJAY JUST GET JUDD TO PETRA SO CHANG CAN TELL HIM ALL THIS SHIT WHILE SHOWING HIM AROUND?! IT WOULD KILL TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE: JUDD WOULD FINALLY BE IN PETRA AND YOU CAN REVEAL ABOUT HOW ZOD TOOK AWAY HIS MARK! HOW MUCH GOLD LEAF DO YOU REALLY NEED ON YOUR WALLS, ELLANJAY?! HOW MANY JACUZZIS DO TWO MEN NEED ANYWAY?!

:deep breath:

I know, I'm overreacting, but really I am just in despair, because this entire chapter is basically white noise. Not even having John Oliver or some other Brit narrate this passage would make it worth reading? :sighs: I often wonder what it is about a British accent that makes everything sound so awesome and classy. My theory is after the war of 1812, the Brits got together and decided, "Well if we can't beat the Americans in battle, we shall beat them in style by cultivating an accent that makes everyone swoon." To which I say, well played, Britain.



A few questions: one, does anybody know what kind of stuff is in those tranquilizer darts and whether it's safe to mainline the stuff, and two, how many more instances can I use caplocks before I violate some kind of Internet ordinance and get dragged away to a place where all I'll have to read, until I get out, are comments on online news articles. :shudders: Given a choice between that and a Siberian Gulag, hell yeah, I'd go with the Siberian Gulag. Less torturous to the psyche.

Anyway, back to business.

But I suppose I was foolish to expect them to cut to Chang in Petra or do anything that would force them to :gasp: show the bond he's developing with Naomi as opposed to just having him insist to Judd that one's there. Yeah, no matter how hard Ellanjay try for cute and romantic young love, they always end up making me think of Norman Bates or some creeper in the bushes.

“Is something going on between you and Naomi?”

Chang paused. “We have a good relationship. I knew we would have to work together closely since she has become the technical leader here, but I didn’t want to complicate things with …”

“You’re falling for her, aren’t you?”

“Judd, she is stunning—”

“I know. I’ve met her. Friendly, beautiful, and smarter than both of us.”

“I’ve never even had a girlfriend. There were girls in high school I was interested in, but I never dared let them know.”

“Do you think she feels anything for you?”

Chang chuckled. “I think so. We were drinking at the spring of water when the sun set and the skies opened and seemed to snow bits of soft bread.”

Definitely too many examples of Brenda Starr dialogue to list. I'll be charitable and say that maybe Ellanjay are trying to avoid using said, but you could have put some action in there, so I didn't have to strain to figure out who the hell was talking? It wouldn't be that hard: just put in something like "Judd idly scratched an itch as he waited for Chang to continue."

Though, I am raising an eyebrow and going "Really?!" at Judd's insistence that he'd met Naomi. When? I will be charitable and say that maybe they have met and I've forgotten (because no one in this series has any distinguishing characteristics whatsoever) but I wouldn't be surprised if this wasn't yet another major continuity screw-up. You can churn out best-selling novels pretty quickly when you don't give a shit.

After that, we cut to Vicki. She has a sad about Chloe being captured, thinking about how since Chloe runs the magical Co-Op, it'll really affect the believers. I continue to wonder why Ellanjay, given their low opinion of women in general, would put Chloe in charge of such an important position in the first place? Because that Co-Op...People kind of need food and water to live, so it's pretty much the lifeblood of the Tribbles' organization. And in order to get food and water, they also need tools in order to plant/harvest this stuff and spoiler alert, that stuff doesn't grow on trees. Chloe either has to track it down or have it made. Either way, that requires fuel to be moved around for that purpose.

In other words, Chloe has her finger in a lot of pots, has a lot of hats she must wear, and a lot of people to juggle. It would actually be kind of cool if Ellanjay delved into this, Chloe's struggles to keep everyone fed and supplied, but I have a feeling that if I were to bring up any of this stuff with them, they'd look at me blankly. The idea that you just can't go to Walmart for everything, that even the stuff at Walmart, required money and fuel to get there, would never occur to them.

Anyway, Zeke calls. He's flying out to get Vicki and take her and Lionel to Petra. Woo...

Okay, in service to my dear readers, I'm throwing on a second chapter. For those whose hearts were about to break from the non-stop action that was the previous chapter, fear not: it's just more talking. I know I've made this joke before, but that part in The Princess Bride where Westley has a year sucked off of his life and all he can do is whimper afterwards? Yeah, I have whole new insight into how he must have felt. Because the only way this could be more unpleasant is if while I'm reading this, Ellanjay punch me in the gut while having Rayford mansplain about the wrongness of Abortion. And now that I've basically challenged them, I'm probably going to pay for this at some point down the road.

Judd's hanging out with the Germans, having finally met that Otto Weser guy whose been mentioned but not seen until now. But I mostly assume that there's little if any reason to remember anything about these characters, especially since Ellanjay never met an ethnic/national stereotype they weren't willing to copy and paste. Because diamond-studded swimming pools don't grow on trees, y'know.

And of course, what ensues is more talking, this time between Judd and Otto. But since Ellanjay are careful and put a lot of work into giving all their characters distinctive voices, so you can tell one from another, this is not at all a pain in the ass to read.

“After the darkness plague hit, I knew what I had to do. For a long time I’ve wanted to see the palace with my own two eyes. So, when I couldn’t convince anyone else to go with me, I went by myself to the compound, the courtyard, the palace—and I especially wanted to see Nicolae Carpathia’s office.”

“You actually went inside?” Judd said.

“Yes, and imagine my shock when I saw believers there. Four of them.”

Judd quickly figured out that Otto had met Chang Wong, Rayford Steele, Abdullah Smith, and Naomi Tiberius.

Don't ask me how Judd knew that it had to be those specific believers that Otto met; I don't know or care either. Rayford, I understand, because like I've said many times, he and Buck are the suns around which all the characters in the LB-verse revolve. Where it not for the fact that Ellanjay were too chickenshit to have TurboJesus or Zod speak in anything but Bible quotes, I wouldn't be surprised if when all this is done and Ray-Ray is praising TurboJesus, that TurboJesus doesn't turn around and start bowing and scraping before Ray-Ray, kissing his feet and talking about he wishes he was as tall or manly as St. Rayford. Because even massive eldritch horrors capable of crossing the boundaries of space and time and doing whatever they want, aspire to someday be as awesome as Rayford and Buck. Once again, I have a feeling I'm exaggerating, but ask yourselves: is it really by much?

And of course, no one dare says anything along the lines of, "So you guys had him cornered in his office and outnumbered and STILL NO ONE DID ANYTHING?!" Okay, maybe I'm being harsh; the Tribbles probably switched around a couple of files in his file drawers and action that will cause Nicky five minutes of consternation as he is forced to switch them back. And of course, while switching said files, the Tribbles wouldn't dare do something as gauche as read said files.

Oh and yes, I am aware that Nicky having actual physical file drawers instead of backing them up to a hard drive or something, is incredibly anachronistic, but would you really put it past Ellanjay to give him filing cabinets even though they haven't been relevant for a long time? It's kind of what they do: fail to predict the advancement of technology, like what they did with cell phones and Internet porn.

Though okay, maybe the Tribbles can't kill Nicky. They haven't explained why they can't just drive something in his head, leave it in, and put guards around him so that no one can pull it out, but whatever, I'll go with it. But you know what they still can do? USE SOME ROPE OR HANDCUFFS OR SOMETHING TO TIE HIM UP AND CAPTURE HIM!

But enough with the ranting, we've got to update Nicky's power count, which, like Mr. T's, continually grows. Here's Otto's account attesting to Nicky's superhuman strength.

“Nicolae and his goons, as you call them, have left. Rayford Steele and I found out about a meeting in the palace and we went there. We actually saw Nicolae kill one of his top people. An Indian man, I think. Awful. Grabbed him with both hands and snapped his neck like a chicken bone. Then kept going with the meeting. Shows you what kind of man he is.

I know you're getting tired of me relating to everything in pop culture references, but really, this was my response: "Now that's what I call Break-Neck Speed!"

Because seriously, it's not as easy to break someone's neck as the movies make it out to be. Maybe if you're a Kryptonian* it is, but not if you're human.

And of course, no reason is given as to why Nicky just flat-out kills a guy. I'm assuming Ellanjay think that "Because I'm evil!" is explanation enough, but I'm going to assume that Nicky is following the advice of The Evil Overlord List, specifically, #46:

If an advisor says to me "My liege, he is but one man. What can one man possibly do?", I will reply "This." and kill the advisor.

There's more talk about Al Hillah and Nicky's ten kings, but I honestly don't care. Judd gives Otto a letter from Rainer, aka that German guy who faced down the GC and died, as opposed to hiding in a hole like Zod intended. Otto cries but since we don't know the contents and I'd forgotten about Rainer and said letter, it means nothing. I'm honestly a little grateful that Ellanjay don't show us the contents of said letter, even though it would allow them to pad out the books further. Because even though Mrs. LaHaye lives thousands of miles in Washington D.C. and therefore Tim LaHaye doesn't have to worry that the knowledge of his wife using the same Jacuzzi tub as him might fill his head with carnal thoughts, Tim LaHaye can't bear the idea of having just one Jacuzzi tub.

Anyway, Judd talks on the phone to Sam. Sam is all mopey in Petra because everyone loves Chang even though he hasn't been in Petra very long. I suppose I could put forth some effort and try to figure out if this means Ellanjay consider Chang ahead of Sam, but behind Ray-Ray and Bucky in the great hierarchy of RTCianity, but I am lazy. I did think that one of the rules of said hierarchy was that Americans trump wacky foreigners, thus giving Sam the edge (because Chang is Chinese in case their subtle approach to writing his character fooled you), just as men trump women. Chloe is only so high up because of her connections with Ray-Ray and Bucky. Just know that Ray-Ray and Bucky are ahead of everybody, even God. I've said before that Ray-Ray and Bucky are the sun in the RTC Solar System, but even that feels piddling and inadequate, now that I think about it.

Sam is also mopey because Naomi likes Chang, not him. I vaguely recall Sam trying to hit on her a while back only for Naomi to give a "Let's be friends" speech. You can't blame me for not holding onto this information, seeing as it's been WHO KNOWS HOW LONG! But I will admit that the passage where he talks about his crush with Judd, is actually fairly decent. Basic workmanship writing, but it almost works. It would have been better if they had actually delved into Sam's feelings instead of shunting him off-stage for books at a time, but that may be too much to ask.

“I know. And I can see why Naomi is attracted to him, but I’m still having …” Sam’s voice trailed off. Then Judd heard him say hello to someone. “You won’t believe who just walked by with a basket of manna for her sweetheart.” Sam sighed. “With all the problems in the world, this one is so small.”

Like I said, I like it because it's one of the few things that ring true. Even in the face of the End of the World, teenagers are going to get horny and fall in love and it always hurts when the person you love doesn't feel the same. That last line is also kind of nice, because we've all been through a situation like this, where in the face of a crisis, you find yourself whining about some minor inconvenience before part of you is like, "Holy hell, what is wrong with me?!"

We cut to Vicki and if you guessed her section is basically more talking as she packs and says goodbye to people, congratulations, you win a No-Prize.

There is a mention of Ryan Victor and how he's thriving in the Fogartys' care. If you expect there to be any mention of, y'know, his birth mother, Cheryl, keep dreaming! That little slut failed to properly obey the wishes of Main Characters, which is akin to failing to obey God. Therefore, she has been put on a bus and shunted off-screen. Maybe they'll let her see her kid again, if she displays the proper, submissive, contrite attitude for daring to be so foolish as to think that as Ryan Victor's birth-mother, she is entitled to be able to see and be with her kid. NO, I will never stop being pissed about the Cheryl subplot and how it was resolved! It's one of the many subplots that will always piss me off! Deal with it!

Marshall and everybody pray over Vicki, reciting the last verse of the Book of Jude. Then Vicki, Lionel, and Zeke (who is apparently tagging along) get aboard the plane.

Lot of talking and "Oh noes!" about Chloe. Again, really not much to snark, but I'll pick a few bits off of the last page of this chapter, then I am done for the week. Because even watching paint dry is better than this; at least with paint-drying, you can possibly get high off of the fumes.

Mac explained that he would drop them off at Petra, then head to Al Basrah and clear his and Albie’s apartment of any clues. “I’ll be taking a bigger plane from Petra ’cause I got to bring back this Otto Weser guy and his people.”

“Captain Steele told me about him,” Zeke said. “So you’re bringing them back to Petra because of that Scripture about God’s people getting out of Babylon before God destroys it?”


No matter how many times I hear this whole explanation for why the Germans are in New Babylon, my reaction remains the same: the stupid, it burns! Seriously, that's how they interpret "coming out of Babylon" to mean? But I suppose if they took the interpretation where it means walking away from a brutal empire and system that enslaves the majority and forces them to toil endlessly on behalf of a privileged elite...yeah, problems would arise.

[TANGENT] It's times like this, I really wish I could implement a get-rich quick scheme that's been kicking around. My idea is Bibles, leather-covered ones that look and feel like the actual thing, only the pages contain Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged rather than the words of a bunch of commie peaceniks who kept talking about loving your enemies and taking care of those on the bottom rung of society. Because if they were smart, they would have had the sense to be born into the upper class, where they could receive the best of everything, rather than being born to a bunch of welfare queens. :eyeroll:

But since I'm fairly certain Atlas Shrugged isn't in the public domain and I really don't need a massive copyright lawsuit in my life, I'll go with my other idea: producing what looks like a glurgy poster about supporting our troops, but instead contains the red text from Mark Twain's War Prayer. Since Mark Twain is in the public domain, I might be able to get away with that. Though I run the risk of my target audience not getting the joke and that would be bad. [/TANGENT]

Zeke's stares at the ocean and is like, "Remember when it was all blood?" So apparently that plague is over, again. Won't do anyone much good, given that all sea life, plant and animal, likely died, but since when does Ellanjay explore the consequences of their Wrath-of-God events anyway?

And towards the end, we get a little mention of Lionel. His story is told entirely in summary, but hey.

Mac turned to Lionel and said he couldn’t believe how Lionel had survived his ordeal in Indiana. “And it sounds like your time in South Carolina was no cakewalk.”

Lionel told them what had happened to him during his travels and said he wondered if all those believers who had helped him on his way north were still alive.

I am somewhat grateful to be spared Lionel rehashing what we already know, though I am surprised as well. Since when has Ellanjay ever walked away from any transparent excuse to pad out the series? But maybe it's because in that great RTC hierarchy, Lionel is ahead of many by virtue of being American and Male, but he is also Black, which lowers his score somewhat. Y'know how sensitive Ellanjay tend to be in their portrayal of minorities, after all.


File the subplot with Doctor Rose under the long list of stuff about this series that pisses me off. Because it really does. Like I said, I will continue to cling to the comfort discontinuity provides. Dr. Rose faked his death to get away from Judd and is off on adventures with the League of Awesome.

As always, nominations are still open if you want to suggest membership into the league. I am wondering if we should let Verna Zee into the League. On one hand, she deserves the nomination just for being able to be around Bucky without snapping and beating him to death with his own cell phone, but on the other hand, while she does make more cogent points in the debate with Loretta, Verna does lose points in that even she feels the need to fall all over herself in praise to Bucky.

Verna stood and leaned against the wall. "It'll tell you the truth," she said. "I've been a little bit jealous of Buck's assignments. Buck is everything I wanted to be, and the more I look at his copy, the more it steams me. Compared to him, I feel like a college kid trying to put sentences together."

I'll let you hash out League membership amongst yourselves. Just know that League membership can be bestowed upon any of the minor characters, named or unnamed, who consistently outshine the Tribbles in their brief appearances onscreen. If you do nominate an unnamed character, I ask that you have the common courtesy to give them a name, one that perfectly illuminates their inner nature/awesomeness.

Also remember that anyone who joins the League...they're not really dead. It's like I keep saying: they knew the Tribbles wouldn't leave them alone and that having said Tribbles hang around, would just slow them down. So they faked their deaths, knowing that once the Tribbles thought they were safely damned for all eternity, they can get shit done.

*Just thought I'd warn you: never mention Man of Steel around me. It's one of those movies that cause me to go into frothing rants at the mere mention of it, rants that usually degenerate into "DAMN YOU, ZACK SYNDER! I WILL HAVE YOUR HEAD ON A PLATTER OF GOLD! DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!" over and over again, after awhile. Given that I am enough of an isolated weirdo as is and don't need to alienate any more people, I'm wishing there was some kind of amnesia ray so I can wipe that movie from my memory. Because I've seen bad movies before, but Man of Steel...all I can say is that Superman is a character I care about, a lot. And that's the extent I'm going to talk about it.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Heavy on the Red Dawn, Light on the Che Guevera

Hello and happy Saturday everyone!

I was somewhat surprised by all the people who pointed out the overwhelming amount of eighties cheese in last week's post. I thought by now, you guys would have figured out my weakness for that sort of thing. It was stupid, it was cheesy, and most of the eighties cartoons we remember fondly, existed primarily as twenty-two minute long toy commercials, but dammit, if there isn't something lovable about it. Though given that the eighties also gave us Reagan aka the guy who gave us most of the rightwing BS we're still trying to climb out from under, maybe I shouldn't remember that decade too fondly. Yeah, I much prefer the Zombie Reagan from Shortpacked! to the actual one. Anyway, let's put on our eighties montage music and get to this, shall we?

Those of you wanting epic ragedumps, hate to break it to you, but this week consists of padding, so much padding. Granted Vicki finally makes an onscreen appearance worthy of me finally tagging her in a post, but given that all she does is watch the news, is that really worth bragging about.

As you probably guessed, while Vicki appears, there is no sight or mention of the third member of the YTF. You may have heard of him, he's Black (remember, being Black totally counts as a personality trait in Ellanjayland), recently hacked off his left arm to escape a trap, answers to the name of Lionel Washington. Again, I open the floor to my fellow readers to create stories as to what has happened to him. What has Lionel been doing while everyone's been focused on the love lives of Judd and Vicki? I've theorized that Lionel is one of the ads from the Simpsons Halloween Special in that he disappears when no one is paying any attention to him, but I also haven't ruled out the possibility of him being Judy Winslow or Chuck Cunningham. But I open the floor to all my creative readers out there. Just know that whatever you come up with, it'll still make more sense and be more interesting than anything Ellanjay have written.

Sorry, I should stop stalling and get to this, but like I said, nothing really happens. Just so much talking...

Anyway, we begin with Judd. Apparently Gunther still hasn't accepted the Tribbles' ethos of Doing Nothing, because he :gasp: wants to take advantage of the Blindness Plague and actually do something against the GC!

Westin agrees, but Judd doesn't. Since Judd is a Main Character, whose judgment cannot be questioned, we all know that he'll be ruled in the right.

Westin and Gunther knelt together by the front of the transport truck. Judd walked up as Gunther patted Westin on the shoulder. “It’s decided then.”

“What’s decided?” Judd said.

“We’re going to take advantage of this new manpower and put the Global Community on its heels,” Gunther said.

“What are you talking about?” Judd said. “We have to get back to the airport and get to Petra.”

Gunther stood and put an arm on Judd’s shoulder. “I understand, but we have pressing matters here.”

Westin stood. “There are a lot more guillotines to destroy, and if we can get in Nicolae’s palace before this darkness lifts—”

“But you can’t do that,” Judd said. “You might destroy valuable stuff the Trib Force needs.”

To be fair, I am going like "Really?!" because their brave acts of Resistance in the face of Tyranny sound like petty vandalism. Given how well Nicky's infrastructure/supply network has withstood countless Acts of God, I'm fairly certain he could cope if the Tribbles destroyed a few guillotines here and there. Ellanjay really could stand to do some research on guerilla warfare, but then again, the Right in general could stand to do some research on the subject.

Because even though the Father of Our Country defeated the British and won our independence primarily through guerilla warfare, every time our enemies uses said tactics against us, we are always shocked and appalled and caught completely off-guard. Because in war, everybody is supposed to operate on the honor system and never use underhanded tactics or do anything that tips the battle more in their favor. It's like a previous commenter (in an post on the older books that I'm too lazy to dig around and find)said, modern militia movements are heavy on the Red Dawn, but light on the Che Guevera.

I am curious as to what they are talking about when they refer to Nicky's palace. Our dear Fred has already talked about how for all their chest-thumping, the Tribbles' brave acts of resistance against worldwide tyranny, amount to little more than putting a whoopee cushion on Hitler's chair. So I'm going to assume they'd probably do something like short-sheet Nicky's bed or stick his hand in a bucket of warm water and run away giggling, if they got inside his palace.

But part of me wonders if they are considering something bigger, like say, another assassination attempt. Nicky has already been killed before, which led to him becoming Satan. Is it ever explained whether he could be killed again? Because I'm wondering if Nicky's resurrection mojo, if it works like Claire's healing powers on Heroes where if there's something lodged in her brain, her body won't be able to reboot and heal itself, so to speak. So what if the Tribbles drive the sword through Nicky's skull but leave it in, hiding his body and placing guards around it so it can't reboot? But yeah, the possibility will never occur to any of the characters because it'll never occur to the writers.

Judd's like "We've got someone on the inside and if you destroy GC computers, you'll hurt the GC for maybe a week, but you'll cripple the Tribbles' efforts to figure out what's going on."

I'm assuming he is referring to Chinese Plot Device, aka Chang Wong, though really why do the Tribbles need to know what's going on? They have the prophecy list as well as absolute confirmation that it's all true. They know what freakish disaster is going to happen next. What information can Chang give them besides maybe the GC's Cafeteria lunch menu? If the Tribbles were actually a resistance group (here's a hint: if you're going to call yourself a resistance group, you actually have to do acts of resistance), I'd understand. But since their idea of resistance involves, like Fred said, placing a whoopee cushion on Hitler's chair and making disdainful remarks while watching the news...I don't really need to say any more, now do I?

But Westin and Gunther, not recognizing how desperate Judd is to get laid before God takes away sex for everyone, thinks they shouldn't immediately get to Petra, that they should hang around New Babylon and do as much damage as they could to Nicky's regime.

I suppose everyone's tired of me making cracks about how desperate Judd wants to get laid and that he's marrying Vicki not so much because he loves her, but because since she has boobs and is of age, and once he's gotten married, he and her can get it on all they like, so long as they claim they are only doing it for the purpose of reproduction and they don't enjoy it one bit. But seriously, read the paragraph posted below and tell me that Judd doesn't desperately want to get laid.

Judd rubbed his eyes and sighed. This trip to New Babylon was supposed to have been quick, in and out, but here he was, days after he had first arrived. He had helped men escape the clutches of the GC, and some had become believers, but he couldn’t help thinking about the safety of Petra.

In all honesty, it probably would do Judd some good to get laid or do something to break him out of this inflated sense of self he has. But it's probably not going to happen. Even though if he did commit the sin of :gasp: premarital sex, he could just ask for forgiveness afterwards and be free and clear in God's eyes. Because I'm fairly certain that's something the RTCs believe: all sins, ranging from consensual premarital intercourse to preying on underaged girls, are of equal weight in God's eyes, unless you confess them with the precise amount of passion and sincerity required. After which, the slate is wiped clean and only a truly horrible person would :gasp: demand some kind of punishment or act of restitution beyond saying, "I'm really sorry, gosh darn it."

Judd and Chang talk on the phone and I'm fast-forwarding through much of it, because it's just so boring! I'm not made of stone, people! Basically St. Rayford is flying in and Nicky still has a healthy glow. The whole mention of Nicky's times like this that I wish I had any talent for crafting song parodies. Because we really need a song parody about this, set to the tune of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

Something along the lines of: Nicky the evil Anti-Christ
Something Something
Had a very shiny something
And if you ever saw him
You would even say he glows.

But in all honesty I can never get very far with said parody. Because I, unlike Ellanjay, recognize my weaknesses and know that I suck at scansion, so I'll stop and not inflict any more pain on my hapless readers. Just if anybody has any talent at song parodies, feel free to go nuts. Use my idea or if you've got something better, use it. Anything to save me from dying from boredom.

St. Rayford makes an appearance and talks more about travel logistics and I continue to whimper. I know I should pay attention but given that nothing that happens ever has any consequences, plus I have enough useless information crammed in my head, I'm not going to. You guys want to know about this stuff?! Get your own copy of the book! I have my limits, dammit!

Seriously does Ellanjay honestly believe that that's what the youth of today love, travel logistics? That apparently Suzanne Collins and Libba Bray and Scott Westerfeld went wrong in assuming that kids what to read about characters they can relate to and universes where actions have consequences, forcing said characters to grow and develop?

Anyway, Judd's section ends with this conversation between Judd and St. Rayford:

“Plenty,” Rayford said. “I made a contact inside the palace, met this Otto character, and we crashed a meeting of Carpathia’s.”

“You were actually in the room with Nicolae?”

“He didn’t know we were there, but yes. We overheard him telling his people he’s going to put an end to the ‘Jew- ish problem’ and he’s calling a meeting of all ten heads of the global regions. They’re going to meet in Baghdad to map out their strategy. And we found out Nicolae’s storehouse of nuclear weapons is hidden at Al Hillah.”

“The nukes the world gave up and he was supposed to destroy?”

“Right. He’s moving his operation there, though the palace will still hold his staff.” Rayford’s phone chirped. “I’ve got a call from San Diego. I’d better take this. Take care, Judd. Hope to see you in Petra soon.”

“Me too,” Judd said.

I'm assuming this conversation exists as yet another part of Ellanjay's attempt at a "They're the real Anti-Semites, not us!" defense. I suppose I could dig out my boilerplate rant about how they totally are, but doesn't seem worth the effort.

I could point out that the idea of Nicky keeping all his nukes stored in one place, is pretty damn stupid. I could also point out that if St. Rayford is suggesting that the Brave Tribbles are about to attack, thus destroying Nicky's weapons and making a bold stand against tyranny...first of all, who are you and what have you done with the actual Tribbles? Because everyone knows that the RTC Gospel can be summed up as "Love God with all your strength and all your might and whatever you do, don't actually do anything that would alleviate the massive amount of suffering going on in the world." So yeah, why would the Tribbles suddenly want to do shit and violate that sacred ethos?

I also could say that Nicky's stash of nukes is probably carefully guarded and security would shoot the RTCs out of the sky before they could make a single run, but given all the articles I've read about the disturbing laxness regarding the security of the US's arsenal and how the computers involved in dealing with them are pretty much relics dating back to the eighties...this may be the one moment where I can honestly say that Ellanjay was right about something. I know, I'm scared too, kids.

There's a brief section where Judd and Vicki talk, again with Vicki being all girly and worried about Judd. I often wonder if Judd ever worries about her or sees her as anything other than a vagina to penetrate.

The next part begins with "Two days later" as Ellanjay continue to show how hip and down with people they are, by having the bulk of the chapter consist of Vicki watching the news and making disdainful comments.

For those of you who don't know, we've reached the part where Chloe is captured and undergoes such tortures as being deprived of a few meals. From what I can tell, the website posted in the previous link, the person running it is probably just a little tetched in the head, nowhere near as awesome and clear-headed in his/her takedowns of the series the way Fred is, but I felt the scathing comments on the "horrific" torture of Chloe Steele warranted the link being posted. Because it is exhibit God-only-Knows-How-Many that proves that Ellanjay have no imagination whatsoever.

So basically like I said, this chapter is entirely just Vicki and her friends being shocked and appalled at the fact that a Satanic NWO would go so far as to lie about a member of a terrorist organization!

“Thank you, Chief Akbar. We have further learned that Mrs. Williams is the daughter of Rayford Steele, who once served as pilot for Global Community Supreme Potentate Nicolae Carpathia. He was fired some years ago for insubordination and drinking while on duty, and GC intelligence believes his resentment led to his current role as an international terrorist.”

“I don’t believe this,” Mark said. “Those are such lies!”

How dare they call St. Rayford and anyone associated him a terrorist! I mean he's only a member of an organization that has made a vow to do everything in its power to undermine and bring down the government and he did make an unsuccessful attempt on Nicky's life! How can anyone construe that as St. Rayford being involved in terrorist activities?!

Yeah, another thing someone should tell Ellanjay: one group's freedom fighters is another group's terrorists. We remember General Washington's troops as Patriots, who fought bravely against British tyranny. Whereas the British troops saw them as threats to the British Crown.

It's an old rule: one’s definition of terrorist depends entirely on which ‘side’ one is on.

But given how much Ellanjay hate acknowledging that issues frequently come in shades of grey, rather than black and white, you can understand why this series is so damn incoherent. They want to write a series about a group of plucky rebels standing up to a tyrannical government, but at the same time, they believe that their heroes must be entirely on the straight and narrow and can never do anything evil, not even :gasp: lie in order to protect innocents from an even worse fate. They also can't face the fact that to a GC officer, they'd see the plucky rebels as a threat to the peace and order that Nicky is trying to create. So like I said, no matter what they do, their story comes across as pretty damn incoherent.

But then again, given that their knowledge of resistance groups seems to come solely from Red Dawn, again, can't really blame them. Though as bad as Red Dawn was, it did make some effort at showing the suffering the Wolverines and the townspeople were undergoing at the hands of the evil invaders. It may have been a piece of chest-beating "America, Fuck Yeah!" propaganda, but at least it did show the rebels being hungry, cold, and scared, which is more than Ellanjay ever do.

I'm going to provide a link to a trailer for a movie about a resistance group that they really need to see.

“Williams, his wife, and her father are international fugitives in exile, wanted for more than three dozen murders around the world. Mrs. Williams herself heads a black-market operation suspected of hijacking billions of Nicks’ worth of goods around the world and selling them for obscene profits to others who cannot legally buy and sell due to their refusal to pledge loyalty to the potentate.

“The Williamses, who have amassed a fortune on the black market, have one child remaining after Mrs. Williams apparently aborted two fetuses and an older daughter died under questionable circumstances. The son, whom they have named Jesus Savior Williams, pictured here, is two years old. Acquaintances report that the Williamses believe he is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, who will one day conquer Nicolae Carpathia and return the globe to Christianity.” The screen filled with a picture of a toddler wearing a T-shirt that read “Kill Carpathia!”

Like I keep saying, they want to tell a story about a group of plucky rebels yet they don't want to admit that the tyrannical government they're fighting against, would have good reason to have a dim view of said plucky rebels. Because said government should know that of all the religions in the world, the RTCs are the correct one. Therefore, you should give them whatever they want and let them set up their theocracy without a whimper of protest.

Though that story about Chloe naming her kid, Jesus Savior Williams...yes, I know she named him Kenny Bruce, but it does amuse me a little, wondering if he grows up to be the LB-verse equivalent of GG Allin.

Anyway, the YTF are shocked, shocked that the GC wouldn't hesitate to lie in order to get their supporters fired up and ready to take action against a terrorist group. They are much relieved when they read Token Jew's website, which basically says that it's a lies.

I'm not going to snark said message since like I said, there isn't really much to snark. I'll just quote a small part of it.

The Judah-ites are anything but “the last holdouts in opposition to the New World Order.” Many Jewish and Muslim factions, as well as former militia groups primarily in the United North American States, still have refused to accept the mark of loyalty to the Supreme Potentate and must hide in fear for their lives.

I'm going to assume that this is yet another Author's Savings Throw put in as an attempt to refute their critics who say that Ellanjay's views of non-Christian religions is patronizing at best. Like all their attempts at savings throws, it fails, mostly because previous books demonstrated that apparently the Muslims had no problem with Israel absorbing most of their territories or destroying their sacred religious sight in order to build the temple.

Plus, in case they've forgotten, there are more faiths than just the Abrahamic ones they've acknowledged. I'm sure they have only the vaguest of ideas regarding Eastern religions, but I sincerely doubt that all the Buddhists and Hindus would meekly abandon the faith that has sustained them for centuries in favor of the poorly-defined EBOWF or Carpathianism. Ever heard of Thich Quang Duc? Here's a hint: being a Buddhist isn't synonymous with being a wuss.

Vicki's section ends with her and the others with her (don't ask for specific names. Because I don't know and I don't care) praying that Chloe makes it to the Glorious Appearing. Spoiler alert: Chloe's neck will soon be enjoying a pleasant breeze.

The section cuts back to Judd. Chang's in Petra now and his Mark is gone. Wooo....

I thought I'd throw on a second chapter because so little happened this week and so little will happen next week :whimpers: , but it's taken me long enough to get this post out. So I'm afraid this will have to tide y'all over for now.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

It's Hard to Be Jewish in RTCLand, Yo!

Hello and happy Saturday everybody!

I suppose now that I am on the last volume of this entirely too long series, I need to start thinking as to what to do once TurboJesus has slaughtered everyone and all the Tribbles get to spend their lives romping around in the golden bliss of heaven, where there's no sex and all you get to eat, are steaming piles of produce.

I was intrigued by one of the links Spiritplumber put in his or her comments last week. Apparently there will be a movie adaptation of the For Kids! version of Left Behind. I looked and it is listed on IMDB, so that entry wasn't just some punk with a juvenile mindset screwing around. Though the fact that said film is referred to as "this penis adaptation" in the wiki shows that the Left Behind wiki does have a few people with the mindsets of third-graders. But I can't judge, because I have the mindset of a third-grader, too. :giggles incessantly over the phrase "penis adaptation" for a bit:

I'm wondering if this is going to be a theatrical release or a Direct-to-DVD one. Because part of me is considering, after TurboJesus slaughters everyone, taking a break and resting on my laurels for a bit, then tearing the movie a new one. Because the movie probably will suck; it's guaranteed. I'm sure some of my fellow obsessive geeks could point to mediums where someone took shitty source material and made a decent story out of it, but that seldom happens. Shitty source material usually leads to a shitty movie. Usually in those rare instances where it didn't lead to crap, it was because someone involved recognized how much the material sucked and jettisoned much of it and did their own thing. But that's probably not going to happen here.

Trailer actually looks better than the Nicolas Cage version. I was so disappointed when I heard that Nicolas Cage pretty much sleep-walks through Left Behind. C'mon, Nick! If you're going to commit to so many shitty movies because of all the expensive hobbies you have (buying big-ass houses, collecting comic book memorabilia, getting married, and not paying your taxes)at least, commit and be the awesomely insane Nicholas Cage we've all come to love from Wicker Man. Those of you who have just seen clips from Wicker Man, let me assure you: those clips are just as hilarious in context as they are out of it.

But it looks like a modicum of effort has been put forth. Trailer does look a lot like so many other Young Adult adaptations coming out, though right until the car crash, it's similar in tone to those other teen movies where the cute and quirky girl meets a cute and quirky boy who changes her life. Thing is, while the movie probably will still suck, it will still be better than the books. Because as many will point out, books and films are different mediums with different requirements, which will force them to change some of the plot points to make the source material work. I'm thinking of the Left Behind movie with Kirk Cameron*. Yeah, the movie sucked (because Kirk Cameron couldn't act like he was falling off a cliff if you physically shoved him off of a cliff) but the fact that movies are mediums of sight and sound, which forces them to have to show us instead of just telling us what was happening, made it much more bearable than the book.

Plus, much as I hate to admit it, the trailer does actually manage to tell a decent micro-story. Some good visuals of the chaos and from the looks of things, the titular kids, rather than spending God-only-knows-how-many hours dicking around making a "subversive newspaper," do the sensible thing in the wake of the massive disaster: GTFO to the country,set up a homestead, and start gathering whatever supplies you can before God poisons all the water, killing all plants and animals. So bonus points to the film there.

It might actually be like the original version of Red Dawn. Yeah, that movie was pretty damn stupid and was made by the same kind of people who don't realize that the Team America theme is supposed to be satirical, but the rawness and crudity of that movie did give it some emotional power. You did believe that the kids were cold and hungry and scared, which is how kids would be in that kind of situation. It's stupid, but at the same time, it blows the remake out of the water. Because the people involved with the first Red Dawn, they may have been insane paranoid nutjobs, but they did genuinely believe in the message of their film. Whereas the remake is a soulless, by-the-numbers, "Hey let's cash in on 80s nostalgia" product that I'm sorry to say that not even Chris Hemsworth could save. :sigh: Maybe if he'd been shirtless the entire time, it would have worked. But he wasn't, so it didn't.**

My only objection to subjecting myself to the upcoming For Kids! version of Left Behind is...well, do I really want to put more money into Ellanjay's pockets? Normally as a writer I am totally opposed to piracy (except when it comes to the RIAA***, whom you can feel free to screw all you like), but in this case, do I really want to put more money into the pockets of sociopathic charlatans like Ellanjay? I wonder if I should start a poll discussing this.

Oh all right, I'll get to the damn book. It's just that I really felt I should share that stuff about the movie with y'all, plus this week's selection is really boring. Like I said, it's mostly just Judd RTCsplanning to some Jewishy Jews about how they've misinterpreted their own scriptures for god-only-knows-how-many millennia. Thank goodness, they have a good RTC like Judd around to explain everything so those Cute but Wrong Jews don't have suffer the physical and psychological equivalent of Dachau everyday for all eternity after they die. Because the GC are the real anti-Semites, not RTCs.

Given how patronizing Ellanjay's view of Judaism and the Jewish people is, I've often wondered if they learned what they know about the Jewish faith by watching a few minutes of Fiddler on the Roof late at night while half-asleep. Then again, they would probably have a more nuanced view if they had. This forces me to conclude the extent of their knowledge can be summed up by this clip. I know, there was no real reason to post that clip. I did it because I wanted to and because I like throwing a bone to my suffering readers every now and then.

Anyway, the chapter begins with Judd and the YTF leaving to go help those poor silly Jews on The Island. They do strike a terrible blow to the GC before they leave: the YTF rip out all their phone wires! Even though the GC could easily go next door and use their phones or borrow someone's cell or something. I know the YTF took their cell phones, but still...

Chang calls and tells Judd to wrap this up because Captain Steele is on his way. Because of course, everyone refers to Ray-Ray as Captain Steele. In fact, part of me wonders if he was this insistent on titles even as a kid. Like when he was in Boy Scouts, did he make everyone refer to him as [Boy Scout Rank] Steele, even if he was just a Cub Scout, not an Eagle? Though I'd have a hard time believing that Rayford could make it all the way to Eagle Scout. Because part of earning that rank involves a community project and can you really picture St. Rayford doing something that could benefit everyone in the community as a whole? Though I'll amuse myself by picturing Child!Rayford forcing everyone to refer to him as Mouseketeer Steele for my own amusement.

Anyway, they drive to the camp and basically get in the same way as before: by just telling the blind guards that we're totally GC, guys, we're just wearing special goggles that enable us to see! Because a Satanic NWO has never heard of lying, just as Nicky apparently hasn't heard of picking up whatever working communications' devices you have and sending out a message to all GC personnel saying, "Stay where you are and don't let anyone in or out until said plague lifts!" Because as I recall, Nicky knows exactly what's going to happen, so chances are he knows said plague will eventually lift. So you think he'd have some kind of contingency plan to work around it. But then again, Nicky also believes that he will somehow win by following a plan exactly to the letter, EVEN THOUGH SAID PLAN ENDS WITH HIM GETTING PUNTED INTO HELLFIRE FOR ALL ETERNITY!

Ellanjay, again reminding us that the GC are the real anti-Semites, give us a description of the camp.

Through thick Plexiglas, Judd spotted the common area. There were no chairs or benches, basketball hoops, or anything he would have normally thought of as being in a prison yard. It was simply an area filled with dirt. Men stood leaning against the building, some lying down. He noticed some scratching and moaning in pain.

An area filled with dirt? Truly there can be no greater form of suffering! Some lesser prison camps worked prisoners to death or sent them to gas chambers and crematoriums, some prisons keep people in solitary confinement until their minds snap, but the GC's version is so much worse!

But Ellanjay probably consider staying at a place without air-conditioning to be roughing it. And of course, the obvious, if the showed how truly awful it would be to be Left Behind, their readers might start asking uncomfortable questions and we can't have that!

We get a brief interlude with Vicki. Basically her built-in Prayer Sense (that all RTCs have) starts tingling, compelling her to pray for Chloe. Spoiler alert: the bulk of the next chapter's content involves Vicki watching a newscast that announces Chloe's arrest.

I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised that the Prayer Sense apparently works in relation to Chloe, but I am a little. Given that it doesn't seem to work for Bruce "Dead and Useless" Barnes or Loretta, who was squished in an earthquake, I'm surprised, given Ellanjay's regressive views of women, that it would work for Chloe. After all, Chloe is one of those girly girls with a set of X chromosomes. Granted she also runs a massive trading network that keeps the RTCs fed and supplied, but Our Buck publishes a blog with slightly disdainful comments regarding Nicky, which is so much more important!

But given the RTC love of hierarchy, I suppose it still works. Vicki, while a Main Character, still qualifies as lower on the chain of being than Chloe. As Firedrake has pointed out, the Prayer Sense only seems to work in reference to hierarchy. Characters only pray for those higher on the chain, not lower. You never see Our Buck or St. Rayford pray for any of the other tribbles, whereas the other tribbles recognize that they are pathetic worms in the eyes of Our Buck and St. Rayford, and spend their time praying for them.

Vicki ends her prayer by praying for Judd and that's the extent of her involvement in this chapter. That interlude was completely pointless and could have been copied and pasted onto the next chapter and it would have interrupted the narrative flow in this one less. I'd call it a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment except that it lacks the WTFery inherent in Big-Lipped Alligator Moments, plus it does have bearing on the plot later on.

Anyway, we cut back to Judd, who is filled with sorrow for all those poor unfortunate souls.

The men hobbled forward, some tripping over those on the ground. A few fell to the ground and crawled. Judd wondered how these men had kept from being burned during the heat wave. Most looked like walking skeletons, with hair falling out, and wearing ragged clothes.


:deep breath:

Yeah, compared with some of the other stuff I've been through, this chapter isn't too bad, but I'm a big believer in ragedumping. Because if I were to go to Ellanjay's houses and tap out lengthy Morse Code messages on their skulls with a tire iron, for some reason, I'd be the one who goes to prison!

So Judd launches into the RTCsplanning. I'm afraid there's not as much to snark as there was in the chapter where ZZ Top bowed before Zod. Frankly, I feel like commending Ellanjay for managing to resist the urge to have all his Jewish characters begin sentences with "You want..." I'm honestly wanting to applaud when they have a character say, "Haven't you tortured us enough?" rather than having him say "You want to torture us some more? Oy vey, again, with the torturing!"

Now I'll let you get a taste of Judd's wisdom and insight.

“The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has caused this blackout,” Judd continued. “He foretold this day in his holy Word, warning people about the leader who would rise and come against his people, the Jews. That leader is Nicolae Carpathia, and he’s persecuting you because of your Jewish blood.

“God caused everything from the disappearances, to the earthquake, to the stinging locusts, and all the rest, including this plague. It’s one of his final acts to get you to repent of your sins and come to him through his Son, the Messiah.”

"So wait are you saying God is causing all this but we're supposed to worship him, why?!"

Yeah, keep holding your breath. You'll never hear honest criticism in these books. Because Ellanjay have shut themselves in a nice criticism-proof bubble for years, the extent of the criticism is those Christ-killing poor deluded fools just start going, "La-la-la! Can't hear you!"

But Judd's delicate sensibilities won't stop him from RTCsplanning.

“Listen to me,” Judd screamed. The men calmed as the hum of the electric fence shut off. “This may be your last chance. We are trying to get people to safety, but we won’t force you. If you want to hear more about the God who loves you and gave his life for you, please stay. We’ll provide you with food and shelter and safe passage to Petra when we can.”

He lives out the part where while he won't force them at gunpoint to renounce the beliefs that have sustained them through centuries of persecution, in a year from now, Judd and all the other RTCs will bring in TurboJesus on air support to slaughter every last one of them and pitch them into a Hell WHERE THEY'LL SUFFER FOREVER!

I'd call this a Hobson's Choice that Judd is proposing, given that it looks like a choice on the surface, but isn't really a choice, but Hobson's Choice feels entirely too mild, given the circumstances.

After Judd says this, a few of those bagel-munchers (because all Jews eat Bagels. It's the law handed down from their Pope on high) are like, "And what if we don't want to listen?" Judd shows admirable restraint in that he doesn't immediately start gloating. He begs them to reconsider, but a hundred or so of those money-grubbers are like "STFU!" shove him aside and make a break for it. I'd ask whether they deserve promotion to the League of Awesome, but I kind of like members of said league to have names.

My personal canon, regarding those hundred, is that immediately after escaping, they go to a bar and start drinking, while talking about of all the patronizing RTC lectures, that had to be the worst. Because when a five-year-old can poke holes in your logic, you need to hang your head in shame. So that's what they're doing, drinking until they can no longer distinguish between "Cursed be Haman" and "Blessed be Mordecai." Yeah, I know it's not Purim, but after being around Judd, I'd say "Screw it, I'm celebrating early" and get to drinking.

Forty or fifty of those sidelock-sporters hang around and here's the extent of Judd's evangelism. I suppose I should rag on the author's for being lazy and not showing any of this stuff, just summarizing, but given what I went through during ZZ Top's conversion chapter, I'm actually a little grateful. Because a kick in the gut is always better than a kick in the teeth.

Judd gave the same message he had heard from Tsion Ben-Judah and Bruce Barnes. It was the same one he had seen transform old and young alike. He spoke of the prophecies that foretold the coming of the Messiah and how Jesus had fulfilled these verses. His heart welled up as he looked at the gaunt faces of the men.

Ah, lazy you can't be bothered to use either "Cut and paste" or "Find and replace." Because that new yacht isn't going to launch itself.

The chapter ends with the no-longer Jewishy Jews forming a love chain with the YTF and leaving the prison. I had planned on throwing on another chapter because said snark felt skimpy, but it took me longer than I thought to talk about the movie. I'm sure you can live with that though.

*When both Nicolas Cage and Kirk Cameron were up for Worst Actor Razzies, I was hoping that they'd decide to settle this in some kind of no-holds barred steel-cage death match, so we could figure out, once and for all, who'd win. Would Kirk Cameron's Impenetrable Smugness withstand Nicolas Cage's ability to chew the scenery like no one else? The world needs to know the answer to that question. Though if we were in some kind of "Pick Your Poison" scenario and the choices were "Left Behind" with Nicolas Cage or "Saving Christmas" with Kirk Cameron, I sure as hell pick Nicholas Cage over Kirk. Because Kirk's big claim to fame was being on a shitty eighties' sitcom. Whereas, I'm told that Nicolas Cage was at some point a respected actor.

**Yeah, I know I should object to the cave scene in Avengers 2 because from a storytelling moment, it is a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment because it has nothing to do with anything that happens and is never mentioned again. But from a drooling pervert perspective, I can't call any scene that has Chris Hemsworth shirtless, pointless. Not at all...:drools: I have no idea how I enjoyed any form of entertainment before my hormones kicked in, either.

***Everything I've heard about the RIAA...I honestly wonder if their meetings don't go like this: "Okay it's clear that the public regards us as the moral equivalent to people who steal crutches from crippled war heroes and take candy from babies, but we are still being out-evilled by Neo-Nazis and Pedophiles. We can't let this stand!" Then they brainstorm for a bit, after which they devour a newborn baby before retiring into their crypts to escape the first rays of the morning sun. Because being that cartoonishly evil is exhausting.