Sunday, January 29, 2017

Tomorrow Belongs To Me!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Screw It, I'm Bored...

Hey everybody!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The section ends with this passage.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, January 15, 2017

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

Hello and happy Sunday everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, January 8, 2017

They totally think this song is about them

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then we cut to Kenny-boy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes, sir.”

“And that I performed your parents’ wedding?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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