As for the post title, let's just say it will become more apparent as you read my post. And yes, I have heard of Bill Hicks. Hence the title of this week's post. Though honestly you wonder what it would have been like, if Hicks had stayed around to see the conservatism of Bush II and the modern GOP, both of which has us fondly nostalgic for the conservatism of Bush I.
Again, we begin with the arrival of a priest. Here's how he's (of course, it's a he) described:
THE SHORT and stocky priest wore a linen garment and trousers. When he bowed and introduced himself as Yerik from the line of Zadok, neatly trimmed hair showed from beneath his turban.
Like I said, given Ellanjay's views, I don't think there are any more rabbis, so all of you dusting off your "A priest, a pastor, and a rabbi" jokes, I'm sorry.
I was going to make some crack about the name "Yerik" because I thought it was proof of Ellanjay's laziness, that they just made up a Biblical-sounding name because of, y'know, laziness, but according to Google, it is an actual name. So I'll be respectful and stay away. Because there are probably people who find names like Steve and Joe to be hilarious.
But I have to admit that I raise an eyebrow at the description of the priest's attire given that in the real world, Ellanjay and those of their ilk seem to be in favor of profiling the hell out of people who wear turbans. But maybe they would stop if real-world turban-wearers would pin a G on their turbans, G for Good, thus indicating that they are one of the good ones, not one of the scary brown people.
Ray-Ray offers the priest some fried vegetables and fresh fruit. I have to admit, because I'm the kind of anal-retentive type seldom scene outside questionably-run state asylums, that I do wonder what the vegetables were fried in. I suppose it could be vegetable oil or canola oil, but fryer oil can be made up from animal fats. I know, I know, I'm thinking too much, but again, the whole "No Meat" thing continues to baffle me.
Yerik says that King David wants to talk with them, because of course, the central tenet of the LB-verse is "Everyone, good or evil, recognizes the inherent greatness of Rayford Steele and Buck Williams." Like I said, were it not for the fact that Ellanjay were too chicken to have God and Jesus speak in anything but Bible quotes, there probably would have been a seen where one of them would break down sobbing and blubber about how they wish they could be as tall or manly as Buck or Rayford. And like I keep saying, yes, I'm exaggerating, but can you really say I'm exaggerating by much.
But Yerik says David also wants to meet with Mac and Chaim.
And now we cut to Raymie, who is meeting with Qasim, aka the guy mentioned in the previous chapter.
Qasim had a long, pointy face with a scraggly black beard, and while he was thin and of only average height, his robe was too short. It hung just above his knees, and the sleeves barely reached his elbows. He spoke quickly and explained that he liked it that way because it allowed him to move easier. “Especially when I have to run, which is often.” This was followed by a rollicking laugh. “So, how can I help you fellas?”
Yeah, I should be grateful Ellanjay didn't try to turn this into a graphic novel, because right now Qasim sounds like one of the racist caricatures of Muslims created by shitty political cartoonists, which are basically darkened versions of caricatures Anti-Semites did of Jewish people. Yeah, I don't need to go any further with the unfortunate implications, do I?
Though is that a thing now, in addition to being vegetarians, everyone wears robes. I suppose I could ask what Ellanjay think these robes look like, but given how disturbingly unimaginative they are, I can't think of any answer that wouldn't be as depressing as hell. Just I feel a need to point out that if you use Google, you can easily find Islamic attire and Jewish attire that manages to be both modest and stylish, but if you look up "modest Christian clothing," call it an unfair generalization if you must, but so many of the results are of attire so dowdy that even a character from Little House on the Prairie would be disgusted by it.
So Raymie and Qasim talk, and just as before, I can read so many unpleasant innuedos into their conversation. I know, some of it can be chalked up to Me being a drooling pervert, but at the same time...like I keep saying, writers of Christian Fiction could benefit from spending a few pennies to have a smart aleck read over their stuff and point out other ways certain phrases can be interpreted. I could post some examples, interspaced with Beavis and Butthead-type laughter, but given that the children being talked about, are too young for it to qualify as statutory, I can't in good conscience do so. Sorry guys, I may have only a few principles, but I stick by them, dammit!
Zaki already trusts his buddy, Qasim, but Raymie has his doubts and starts grilling him. I'll just post a gratuitous Monty Python link because it's my blog and I can do what I want.
“A long time, right. I got that. Let’s let Qasim speak for himself, shall we? Have you led children to Christ?”
“Have I led them?”
“Surely you know what I mean. Often we debrief late in the afternoon, and workers tell of children who saw their need for the Lord.”
“Well, I’ve sure told them about Jesus. I mean, that’s what we do. Whether any have actually prayed with me or in front of me, I couldn’t say. Some people are better at that than others, you know.”
“But a lot of the kids I’ve worked with became believers, and a whole bunch of ’em are fellow workers now.”
That's not all he led them too! :eyebrow waggle:
I know, I know, I ought to be ashamed of myself. But there's a reason I named my Raymie tag "Creepy Raymie" and I stand by it. Though I keep wondering how much hate-laughing I'm going to do while reading this book. Hate-laughing being my term for when you laugh at something you really shouldn't, laugh then you're like, "Oh I am such a horrible person for laughing at this" but you can't help yourself. Somehow the pain adds extra flavor to the laughter.
Raymie Steel de Torquemada is all "Tell me about your faith." And brace yourself for all the cringing awkwardness.
Qasim shrugged and pursed his lips. “I hardly remember; it’s been so long. I mean, I don’t recall my life at all before I was a believer. You know, with Jesus being here and in charge and all that since I was a baby, that made it easy.”
“But at some point you had to have—”
“Seen my need, as my dad calls it? Sure. Born in sin. Separated from God. Needed a bridge. Prayed the prayer. Got saved.”
That sure seemed to Raymie a passionless recitation of the steps to reconciliation with almighty God. “I’m going to have to pray about this, Qasim,” he said. “And the rest of us will discuss it. We’ll get back to you.”
“Great! Because I’d love to become part of your little band and find out what those French guys are up to.”
Oh, Qasim, I know you're only fictional but I sympathy-cringe for you nonetheless. Because your reasoning is perfectly sound: I see and talk with Jesus on a daily basis; therefore, me believing in his existence is about as self-explanatory as believing in the existence of carbon-based lifeforms that can't survive without oxygen. But apparently you haven't sufficiently believed in the right way, failed to say The Prayer with the precise amount of sincerity demanded. Though I always wondered, regarding The Prayer, while we get numerous examples of how The Prayer doesn't work if you don't say it with enough sincerity, what happens if you pray it with too much sincerity? Though I suppose I should ask how Ellanjay would define an appropriate amount of sincerity in the first place.
Though yeah, I'm sure the kinds of messages interwoven into this passage won't in any way cause anxiety for withdrawn, introverted kids with piss-poor social skills. Because apparently if you have terrible social skills and have a difficult time communicating when put on the spot, especially when the subject of the conversation is something as emotionally-loaded as religion, congratulations, you're going to Hell!
I suppose this means as if all the stuff I've written on this blog hasn't already damned me, since I've been recently diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum, so I'm damned regardless of what I do, because apparently having piss-poor social skills damns you. Out of curiosity, guys, can I take the Highway? Because it sounds a lot more comfortable than the handbasket, I'm just saying. Though if I have to ride in a handbasket, is it okay if I put flame decals on the side or is that the kind of thing that's so on the nose, it'll make the demons poke me harder with pitchforks.
Though I have to agree with both Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal and Bart Simpson that all the fire and brimstone and pitchforks would suck, but wouldn't you eventually get used to it? The Dante-esque version of Hell is so unimaginative, especially to someone who spent years 11-18 being bullied relentlessly. Now if you said in Hell, I'd have to both go through puberty again AND sit in the High School Cafeteria, that would be a pants-wetter. But fire and brimstone? That's nothing...
We get a brief bit with Cam-Cam that I'm quoting in its entirety. It's short and like I said, serves as another reminder of how disturbingly unimaginative Ellanjay are.
At COT later in the morning, Chloe told Cameron what her mother had told her of the royal invitation. Cameron sought out his mother-in-law.
“So I guess there is sin in the kingdom,” he said, “even among us glorified ones. I have to confess, I’m feeling left out. Jealousy? Almost. I mean, I’m thrilled for Rayford and the others, especially Chaim and Tsion. But I’d give anything to be there.”
“Now I need to confess,” Irene said. “I just realized why the priest told Rayford not to tell anyone else. Clearly that had to go for me, too. But listen, Cam, this has to have something to do with the Lord putting some mission on your father-in-law’s heart the last several days. And you already have your calling. You’re not losing your enthusiasm for COT, are you?”
“Never. But one of these days I’m going to take a day off and talk to some of my Old Testament heroes.”
Again, even though this is supposed to be Heaven where all the laws of time and space that constrain people on Earth, have been done away with, Ellanjay can't envision any world where there isn't a hierarchy or a bureaucracy or a 9 to 5.
Even though given that all your physical needs are provided for and you don't have to worry about anything, wouldn't work in Heaven be more or less just an individual pursuing whatever craft or knowledge they wanted, with none of the limitations of Earth? So if you like to build things, then Heaven would be one of those Sim games where you can just build whatever you want, wherever you want, and you don't have to worry about funds or resources. Or you can finally chase down and study whatever topic, regardless of how obscure or esoteric it may be, and again, no worries about resources. Don't have to figure out how to pay the rent or pay for food or what you're going to do if you get sick, just pursue whatever interests you for the sake of the pursuit. And if one day, you feel like just chilling out and not accomplishing much, you can just rest and enjoy a day off with none of the consequences of our world.
Because while I realize this may be something of an oversimplification, even those who have had jobs they didn't hate (I'm told it's possible, but I have yet to see it), will admit that there are parts of it they don't much care for. And most of the stuff of a job that people don't care for, are the aspects put in to appease the bureaucratic elements of society.
Again, told to create paradise, and Ellanjay find themselves unable to envision anything except a more amped up version of now. As a result, of course, we have a bureaucracy, complete with the hierarchy that goes with it. So you have all this district managers (Old Testament characters) who have people below them, and they answer to King David, who is above them, and he, in turn, takes orders from TurboJesus.
Yeah, someone want to tell Ellanjay that people seldom if ever use the word "bureaucracy" in a positive sense? They probably subscribe to Thomas Hobbes's view of the life of primitive man: that it was brutish and short. But as said before, evidence uncovered by anthropologist doesn't bear that view out. From what they can tell, hunter-gatherer societies actually enjoyed a more comfortable way of life with more leisure and less warfare before the advent of agriculture and "civilization*." In fact, most of the ills associated with living with humans, didn't really emerge until agriculture.
This can be seen among the few remaining hunter-gatherer groups, like the !Kung. As said in a previous post, that even though the !Kung live in one of the harshest environments on Earth, they actually devote fewer hours to work than so-called "civilized" man.
Anyway, Ray-Ray, Mac, Yerik, Chaim, and Token Jew are all walking together, talking about how excited they are, in hopes of convincing the readers that if they say something enough, it will become true.
Ellanjay show their passionate love of the copy-paste function, but having Yerik pause and read Ezekiel 44.
It's boring as heck and of course, I had to copy and paste into Google to figure out where the passage originated in the first place. It's only notable for this part, which makes me cackle with delight.
“Now, whoever enters by way of this north gate shall go out by way of the south gate, just as whoever enters by way of the south gate shall go out by way of the north gate. No one shall return by way of the gate through which he came. ‘Thus says the Lord God: “No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart or uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter My sanctuary, including any foreigner who is among the children of Israel.”’ You brethren, of course, are either children of Israel or circumcised in heart.
I'm cackling because afterwards, I picture Yerik turning to all of them and being like, "So do your dicks still have their turtlenecks? Then sorry, can't go in until I go over you with a scalpel." I'd honestly want to see the reactions among the bunch. Because Chaim and Token Jew are safe, seeing as they were raised Jewish, but what about Ray-Ray and Mac? How do you think they're going to react to this? I'm picturing so many cries of "You want to do what to my what?!"
And for the record, until the Internet came along, I never knew that circumcision was an issue people were that passionate about. The two guaranteed thread-derailers in any online discussion seem to be abortion and circumcision. The abortion part I already knew about--see and hear about all the protestors on TV--but the circumcision part surprised me. Maybe it's because I'm a chick, but I didn't think someone would be that obsessed with a flap of skin on someone's dick. I know the stereotype is that guys think with their dicks, but I didn't think it was literally true. I imagine it must suck at the time--one moment, you're a happy baby boy lying in your bed, then snip, and you're introduced to the fact that powerful people can fill your life with pain for no real reason, a lesson life seems to repeatedly want to drive home--but again, I didn't believe people dwelled on it that much. I generally don't obsess over stuff that happened when I was too little to remember much of anything.
Okay, I think I've talked about circumcision enough. Like I said in the previous post, I'm wondering if I should start a counter for all this Creepy Sex Stuff. I'll just end this by quoting Galatians 5:12 from a passage where Paul chewed out people for being obsessed with circumcision. Because that's the kind of person I am. Can't remember chapter and verse numbers for anything but the weird verses in the Bible. Say something like John 3:16, and I'll be like, "Okay, that's the one that goes 'God so loved the world that he gave us his only begotten son, so we won't die and we'll have eternal life' or something like that. And I think there may have been some other good stuff in there as well." Say to me, "Okay, which verse does Paul tell his enemies to castrate themselves?" and I will, without hesitation, say "Galatians 5:12."
Yerik leads them in and we cut to Kenny.
Kenny, along with Zaki, Qasim, and Raymie, are working at a daycare for the COT. And as if we didn't have enough proof that Ellanjay haven't been around kids, outside of a photo op, here's more.
Kenny wondered whether COT had a capacity limit. Even now as additional buildings were being finished, more were in the works.
This day Kenny and six subordinates had charge of just under two hundred kids. They would play games, then hear a story, then sing before napping. He was making assignments and trying to keep the children corralled when an aide nudged him and pointed.
As a courtesy to my readers, I did some googling in hopes of finding out the regulations governing daycares, like how many aides you must have for each group of kids. Unfortunately it's one of those things that vary by state, so there isn't one answer. So we'll just use the facts at this website as our starting point.
Aide means an adult (18 years of age) who has not completed education or experience requirements for a teacher. An aide may be less than 18 if he/she is a high school graduate or is enrolled in an occupational education program at a high school or college (R.O.P.). An aide must be continuously supervised by a teacher and cannot supervise a group of children alone. (101216.3 a-e), except for supervision during nap time and for children going to the bathroom.
Teacher means an adult (over 18), who has completed at least 6 semester (9 quarter) units of Early Childhood Education and is enrolled in coursework as required by Regulation to complete the 6 additional units. Infant Center teachers also need 3 units in infant care. The holder of an R.O.P. certificate of completion may also be employed as a teacher according to conditions in statute, which include being 18 years of age and making satisfactory progress towards completing 12 semester units in E.C.E. as required. Teachers and Directors in School-Age Child Care Centers only may substitute 20 hours of specific kinds of approved training for each semester unit (New Section 1597.21, Health and Safety Code).
Fully Qualified Teacher means an adult who has completed at least 12 semester (18 quarter) units of Early Childhood Education in the areas specified in Title 22 at an accredited or approved institution and has 6 months experience. Holders of a Children’s Center Permit or Child Development Associate (CDA) credential are also fully qualified.
0-2 years: 1 Teacher to 4 infants. Aides may be substituted if supervised by a Fully Qualified Teacher so there is a 1:4 adult to child ratio and there is one Fully Qualified Teacher for every 12 infants. There may be one staff person supervising up to 12 sleeping infants ONLY if remaining staff to meet the 1:4 ratio are at the Infant Center.
18-30 months: Toddler Option for Pre-schools. Requires prior submission of license application for change. Other conditions apply. 1 Teacher to 6 toddlers, or one Fully Qualified Teacher and an Aide to 12 toddlers. (Maximum group size = 12) (101216.6)
2-Kindergarten: 1 Teacher to 12 children, or 1 Teacher and Aide to 15 children. Naptime: 1 Teacher directly supervising 24 children IF staff necessary to make up 1 to 12 ratio are immediately available at center.
1 Fully Qualified Teacher and Aide to 18 children (aide must enroll in or have 6 semester units in ECE).
School-Age: 1 Teacher to 14 children or 1 Teacher and Aide to 28 children.
So yeah, the COT daycare is probably in violation of all those regulations. I'll be charitable and say that maybe Kenny is working as an aide, rather than a teacher, because do you really think Ellanjay would be so gauche as have one of the "good" characters pursue higher learning?
I don't know the age range so I can't really be too solid on the numbers. I almost wanted to say something about how all the kids would be under seven and go from there, but then I remember the time-skip, so that may not be true.
So when they say 200 kids, I'm not sure whether the range is from baby to teenager or what. But in service to my readers, I'll run through the numbers given to me by the website and see how the COT daycare fares.
If the 200 kids are all babies, then someone shut this daycare down, because when I divided 200 by 7 (Kenny said he had six people helping him, so I'm using seven as my divisor), I wound up with a number (ignoring the remainder) that suggests that we have 7 adults looking after 28 infants each.
For the record, Romania tried that approach with their orphanages. To say it didn't end well, would be the understatement of the year. Because it turns out that babies do have needs being the physical ones of having their bellies full and their butts wiped. So many of these babies withered away and died, due to not being held and cuddled and given the attention they deserve. People who adopted infants from Romania would talk about how the babies don't cry: not when they're hungry, not when they're wet, or when they get stuck with a pin. That's because after so much time and energy spent crying, only for no one to come, the babies simply stopped. They didn't cry and they never properly bonded with a caregiver, leaving them emotionally-stunted. And emotionally-stunted babies tend to become emotionally-stunted toddlers, and eventually, emotionally-stunted adults.
Though regarding that link I mentioned about Romania...again, who would have thought the Christian Right would so admire Nicolae Ceaușescu? Spoiler alert, Nicolae Ceaușescu was an asshole whose policies wound up causing a massive amount of suffering to his people, who thanked him by overthrowing and eventually killing him.
I have a feeling if I were to run the numbers for toddlers and school-age kids, it wouldn't be much better. Again, my head canon is that the situation at the daycare has turned into a mixture of Lord of the Flies, Thunderdome, and that episode of the Simpsons where Ned Flanders was running Springfield Elementary. Because children may be the future, but they're also small, hyperactive, loud as hell, and incredibly stupid. Most of the time I'm around them, I'm like, "How did humans get to the top of the food chain?"
Because childbirth for a giraffe involves having to survive a six-foot drop, yet they're walking around within hours. And while a giraffe isn't full-grown until it is four-years-old, I'm fairly certain at one year of age, they have some survival skills, know to be careful around the waterhole and stay away from lions.
Whereas it takes a human, on average, a year to master walking, and once we do, we're still stupid and helpless, displaying the survival skills of a drunk sheep in a trash compactor. Though, a drunk sheep would probably still be smarter than a human baby who would probably stick their head right in a lion's mouth if given half the chance.
:deepbreath: Yep, I think I've made it so no one will ever ask me to babysit. Life is good.
Saintly Irene shows up, bringing a Greek girl named Ekaterina Risto with her. I suppose I could do a Google search and check on that name, but given what we've seen with Ellanjay's tin ear for foreign names, Ekaterina Risto is pretty tame. I could quibble and point out that I thought Ekaterina was more of a Russian name than a Greek one, but I'm too busy celebrating the fact that they didn't name her Athena Acropolis. It's a small victory, but I'll take what I can get.
This made Ekaterina smile and wink at Kenny, and for the first time in his life, something fluttered inside. Perhaps it was that he had never been winked at by anyone but his parents. And he had to face it: like most young people, he hadn’t yet become interested in the opposite sex. Well, this one seemed interesting, and he didn’t know the first thing about her.
Yeah, Kenny, that "something fluttering inside you?" We call that an erection.
I know, I should apologize for making you think about the genitals of a Left Behind character, but I'm a firm believer in "Misery Loves Company." Besides, try to explain that passage in a way that doesn't convey Kenny is a perv who has a stiffie at the thought of seeing what's underneath Ekaterina's clothes, I dare you.
And that's it for this week. While I plead guilty to being a drooling pervert (because lying makes the Baby Jesus cry), I swear when I set out to write this snark, I didn't plan on making so many dick jokes. It's just one of those things that's out of my hands and in Ellanjay's apparently...:laughs than cringes for a bit: Keep wondering if the problem is that I'm a smart-alecky pervert or is this more a case of Ellanjay stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the needs and desires of the flesh and, in fact, hate said needs and desires, but they're still there, but they refuse to acknowledge it, leading to them manifesting themselves in disturbing ways.
*Civilization is in quotes because definition of it, seems to be slippery, depending on the speaker's bias. If we're defining civilization as having massive cities with huge buildings and a hierarchy between classes, leading to massive inequalities of wealth, then the !Kung and many others don't qualify. If we mean Civilization as in a group of people with shared beliefs regarding religion and the raising of children, and have an agreed-upon code of conduct, then just about every group qualifies, a fact that scares the crap out of those of the Authoritarian mindset that governs the Right.