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.


spiritplumber said...

Hmm, Loretta is someone else who doesn't show in Kingdom Come again (except a moment at the end which is actually pretty satisfying if you dislike RAYFORD STEELE). Since she died in the Tribulation, she'd be a Glorified. Wonder what she'd be up to. She never got a last name either.

Past this, the Left Beyond game is continuing and has reached the year 966. Not much to add there.

spiritplumber said...

Quick note: When LB was written, the preeminent "creation scientist" was Kent Hovind. Now it's arguably Ken Ham, who has different figures for the Ark (and built what he calls a replica, and most everyone else calls a theme park, the Ark Encounter).

So, L&J's figures for things like the ark and the sky canopy are "outdated" as far as most creationists are concerned.

The sky canopy however has the advantage of making space launches a lot easier, so in 1000 years, it's quite possible that people have buggered off to other planets or star systems.

Obligatory minific (contains spoilers):

Anonymous said...

Let's save poor Mouse from the maths! Here are some numbers I found:

- Earth's surface area is about 500 million square km
- Everest is 8848 metres high (call it 9km)

To cover that area to that height would require 4500 million cubic km, or 1200 million cubic miles, of water.

Earth's *yearly* rainfall is a mere 320 thousand cubic miles. 1800 mm of rain can fall in a day in an exceptionally strong storm; I think this means that to cover Everest at that rate would need 5000 days, or 13.7 years.

Of course, we don't know how much water would come "from below", but I don't think it would make much of a difference.

Taking the simplest point of view, if this "canopy of water" contains enough to drown the entire Earth's surface, it would need to be 5 1/2 miles thick.

Oh, and perhaps there were fewer species around then, thanks to evolution? Are L&J allowed that saving throw?

Firedrake said...

Bruce's wife is in Canada? ("She doesn't visit very often, but when she does they just spend all day in bed. No, you can't see a picture.")

The Loretta-Bot is Loretta's home-grown ripoff of the Isis-Bot from the South Carolina Jones, I mean Michael Murphy, series. All it has to do is focus on the oldest man present and say "gosh, you are wonderful"; their egos fill in the rest.

Andrew Jackson would drink both Pierce and Buchanan under the table, then invade somewhere because it looked at him funny.

The "water canopy" is even less respectable than hydroplate theory, and that's tough going. I recommend for a guide to this stuff written by people trying to keep a straight face.

(Note that sodomy is clear enough but nobody ever talks about what they got up to in Gomorrah.)

Cubits: Egyptian Royal, Egyptian Short, Irish, Roman, Greek, Homeric, Short Greek, Olympic, Northern, Sumerian, Assyrian, Persian Royal, Hashimi, Black, Biblical or Hebrew?

Melvina said...

My first time being mentioned in the blog! *blushes*

...I don't really have anything else to say.

Well, no, I do have one question: Is this the first time they've mentioned that there's a canopy of water above everyone? ...Okay, I have more questions than that - like how is this canopy of water different from clouds? Can things float in this canopy? how does it affect air/space travel? - but as I'm sure my questions will never get answered because the authors were too lazy to even give some of their characters names, the only question I'll try to concern myself with is the first one.

Firedrake said...

This canopy thing isn't even their own bad idea. I'm not sure who originated it, but the basic idea is to take Gen1:6 mentioning "the waters above the firmament [raqiya]" to say that there's extra-atmospheric water at this point.

(Birds fly in the raqiya. But the sun and moon are also there. Anybody'd think this thing was written by a bunch of desert-dwellers with little time or instrumentation for astronomy!)

The people who believe in this rubbish can't decide whether they're talking about liquid water or vapour (though they agree it's not ice, because that would actually be plausible). But in either case, Anonymous's 1200 million cubic miles of water (5e21 kg), being deorbited from about 7.8km/s, will produce 1.5e29 J of waste heat as it hits the atmosphere. That's enough to heat the atmosphere (5e18 kg) to about 30 million degrees (Celsius or absolute).

Or if you say "God made that not happen", why should God go to all this trouble rather than just magicking up water out of nowhere?

Mouse said...

Though of course, the problem with the "Goddidit" answer is that it renders any kind of study moot, because why should we study anything, like say, physics, if there are no real rules and structure to the universe, if God, like a petulant child, can just kick over the game board whenever He feels like it? Why should anyone try to study gravity or the movement of planets if, again, there are no real rules to anything?

That was one of the many things that bothers me about the LB-verse: the complete lack of any scientific curiosity. I can easily accept why after the latest disaster, they wouldn't immediately start going "Jesus is Lord!"--I've explained my reasons for that many times--but you mean to tell me that no one is studying the bloody water, trying to figure out its properties, why anything and anyone who drinks it, dies, in hopes of figuring out how to reverse or mitigate the effects?

Also, I imagine during the disaster where there are locusts with people faces, despite the fact they sting like a mothereffer and it really hurts, you know a few scientists would try to catch them, be like, "Hey, a new species. I should study it and make a note of its behaviors and properties." I suppose I could say they'd try to figure out the nature of its evolutionary background, but we all now how Ellanjay feel about Evolution.

tl;dr, humans have abundant curiosity and if any of these disasters happened, they would sure as heck want to study them and work out all the hows and whys. Humans see something, we try to figure out how it works; it's what we do.

Oh and thanks to everyone who helped me with the math.

spiritplumber said...

One of the interesting things about Kingdom Come is that the "new world", since it's flat and covered by a water canopy that only the sun and the moon's lights can pierce, conveniently hides from the population all the paleontology and astrophysics that can be used to disprove YEC.

Enter some of the Children of the Goats, a few years later, who want to see what's going on.

(Mouse, if you want me to stop spamming mini-fix-fics at you say so and I will, otherwise I will assume that someone is enjoying them and post them when they are topical)

Firedrake said...

RTCs aren't known for their scientific curiosity. Why bother with all that actual hard knowledge-work when you can fake it with passionate sincerity?

And if the answer is "God's whim", there really is nothing more to learn.

spiritplumber said...

In Kingdom Come, it seems that The Other Light aren't known for their scientific curiosity either: in 1000 years they manage to build an enormous army, accumulated over centuries... and made entirely of WW1-to-WW2-era military equipment, minus any hint of an air force. Guess that the Warhammer 40k conservation of military aesthetic law is in effect? (L&J wrote this 10 years ago, so drones were already a thing)

As far as the ice in the canopy, it's actually something Kent Hovind proposes in his writings, to the extent that he suspects that it's what caused the ice age right after the flood (what's a few quadrillion joules of reentry heat among friends, as Firedrake correctly states). In my fics I have the canopy be water on the underneath and ice on the top layer, giving the Earth a "snowball" appearance; the "supercharged" Sun and Moon are basically projections.

In the Omega story, the players JUST miss the 1000th anniversary of spaceflight, and start building a canopy-top "space station" in +958. They have to sacrifice this station a few years later to cause some rain to fall on Egypt, but are currently building a new one.