Sunday, May 21, 2017

By Your Powers Combined, Rayford is Captain Bullshit!

Hello and happy Sunday! We're in the penultimate chapter of this book. Maybe we'll get lucky and I'll throw on the next chapter, but it seems unlikely. In all likelihood, I will be done with Kingdom Come next week. As to what happens next, well first, like I said, I want to do some laurel-resting. As for afterwards, I have no idea. I am open to suggestions.

As for the post title, I couldn't think of anything, so I went with 90s cheese because I have a weakness for it. :shakes head: That show...how many other shows would have the protagonists literally meet Hitler?

I have said many times that Rayford and Buck are the most powerful forces in the LB-verse, at the tippity-top of the hierarchy that governs this world. Because Ellanjay can't possibly envision a world without a hierarchy and since they assume they'll be at the top of it, so must their Mary Sues. I've also said that the only reason there isn't a scene where Zod or TurboJesus sobs and talks about how they wish they could be as manly as Rayford and Buck, is because Ellanjay were too chicken to write it.

As you can probably guess, I stand by all those remarks and will do so until the end of time. In fact, I might find a way to do so beyond time, because Rayford is the Worst. It's a bad sign when a fan theory--about this whole series existing as a dream Rayford's having on his lunch break--makes so much more sense than what is actually there. Worst of all, said fan theory is the "It was all a dream" fan theory, aka a trope that's more often than not, one of the biggest cop-outs ever.

“REHEMA, I need you to call my wife and assure her and the others that I am well. And, of course, I need to know the same is true of them.”

“And why would you think I would do that for you?”

“Because I would do the same for you. You are a mother. You have family. You may see yourself as an operative of the rebellion, but I know better. I can see in your eyes that you know the truth. I have told you everything I know about God and Christ and faith and prophecy, about the world as it once was and now is, and about my family. You know God is real, and you know He will somehow get me out of here in time to get back to my people and my assignment.”

If I was lazy, I would just make my entire response to this chapter just be Linkara's hate laugh.

We all know how much concern Rayford has demonstrated when it comes to the needs and feelings of others. Though to be fair, zero is a percent, as The Simpsons have pointed out.

Okay, how much does anyone want to be that if called upon, Rayford would not be able to say anything about his family, like what is their favorite color or what is their favorite hobby (besides praising TurboJesus and being obsessed with sex)? Heck, I'm willing to bet that Rayford probably wouldn't even recognize his own family. It's not that he suffers from Prosopagnosia because face-blind people are capable of demonstrating genuine concern for the lives/needs of others. It's more like he suffers from Rayfordagnosia, where he's completely incapable of seeing anyone who isn't him or, in the very least, doesn't have anything he needs at that given moment. You can come up with a better name for Rayford's, ahem, unique condition. I just assume that in this conversation with Rehema, all Rayford can perceive, are a bunch of shapes and sounds in a vaguely woman-like silhouette. We all know that if asked to say anything about Rehema, he'd just say, "She's female, brown-skinned...I think she's a carbon-based lifeform that can't survive without oxygen."

I suppose I could make a crack about how Zod ignores starving kids in Africa, so Rayford won't know a moment of discomfort, but to be fair, this is the MK, so there's no poverty, war, disease, and famine. But I will point out that Token Jew, Chaim, Saintly Irene, Mac, Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Barnes, are all going to this talk, so is there a reason why it will be a total wash without Rayford there?


I know--Rayford is one of the most powerful beings in the LB-verse--but because I'm that person, I'll assume they need him to form the head. Also, because I'm that kind of person, I'll post a gratuitous Power Rangers clip mostly because I was way more into Power Rangers than Voltron as a kid. I'll let you all make the call as to which part of the Megazord Rayford is. Though at least, both shows are at least bad in a way that's entertaining. Though that Power Rangers theme song is like the ultimate earworm in that you only need to hear one part of it once to have it lodged in your brain until you die.

Rehema calls Saintly Irene and they talk for a bit.

Irene Steele was, of course, puzzled by and suspicious of the call from the young woman who identified herself as Rayford’s guard. “He’s wondering where we’re hiding?” Irene said slowly, carefully considering whether she should reveal anything.

She decided she could do Rayford no harm. “Tell him that he will find us where he left us. We will wait in plain sight.”

“You are crafty people, Mrs. Steele,” Rehema said.

“If you wish to think so. But it strikes me that God has blinded your compatriots, as we have not moved since my husband left us. And would you remind him that we must be on the road to Siwa by no later than one in the morning if we wish to fulfill our obligations there?”

Okay in a sense Saintly Irene is right in that telling Rehema all this wouldn't do Rayford any harm since IT'S THE MK AND HE'S SAID THE GODDANGED PRAYER SO THERE'S NOTHING BAD THAT CAN HAPPEN TO HIM!

Though at the same time, given how badly Saintly Irene just failed a basic level of OPSEC, it makes me wonder if the RTCs could be brought down via politeness. Look all clean-shaven, be all nice, and polite, and be like, "Would you please tell me in exhausting detail all the plans you have in place?" then sit back and collect the information. Or you can be like, "Hi, I'm a wallet inspector. I'm going to need your wallet and your pin." Offer, of course, is void to anyone who can't pass a paper bag test. No matter how good you look in a suit and tie, how polite you are, you will still be seen as a dangerous threat. They've probably called security on you already.

Though a more sensible reason as to why they haven't moved, would be that because they're in an RV and those, under the best of circumstances, have the same steering/fuel efficiency as the Lincoln memorial. So they would be an incredibly dumb vehicle of choice to go through the desert in.

Then there's this bit, which is just really, really sad.

Irene chuckled. “He has convinced you of the error of your ways, has he?”

“Very nearly.”

“We will welcome you warmly into the family of God, dear.”

“What?” Irene could tell Rehema was overcome. “Did you not hear me?”

“I heard you, Mrs. Steele. It’s . .  . it’s . .  . it’s just that no one has ever said that to me before.”

Seriously, is there anything sadder than the just quoted passage? Only drowning puppies and there'd have to be a lot of them.

Though for my readers who believe that Jerry Jenkins is a Poe, I'm sure you're leaping all over this quote, because it seems to imply that RTCs are a bunch of intolerant stone-cold hypocrites, unwilling to associate or show basic courtesy to anyone outside their subculture.

Back to Rayford and Rehema. Rehema is all "Rayford Steele TurboJesus is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life." and "Okay, if I get you out of here, can we stop to pick up my son?"

But Rayford is all "I could not allow you to release me and go get your son while other believers remain here."

Meta-Rehema is like, "Okay, so how about I go get my own son, seeing as he's, y'know, my kid, then I come back here, release you and all the other RTCs." At least that's what my version of her says.

Of course, given that these people are all RTCs and none of them can die and TurboJesus will eventually punt all his enemies into Hell, anyway, THERE'S REALLY NO GODDANGED REASON WHY A PRISON BREAK HAS TO TAKE PLACE! NO ONE IS IN ANY ACTUAL DANGER!

Though we do have to admire the courage and steadfast will of Rayford Steele.

“What kind of a zealot would I be to escape and leave others to whatever fate awaits? If we do this, we take everyone.”

And the fate that awaits them, is mild discomfort until TurboJesus shows up and kills everyone! Because so far, all they've done to Rayford is take away his shirt and shoes, made him miss a few meals (though that was quickly null and void, because Rehema gave him her sandwich), and forcing him to sleep in less than ideal conditions. Pretty much every torture victim in the history of the world, is laughing and laughing bitterly.

Given that this is what an RTC considers to be torture, well, should the US end up in some kind of dystopian hellscape (a very real possibility these days, given whose in charge right now), how quickly do you think they would fold in the wake of actual oppression?

Of course, the sad truth is that the Christian Right and pretty much everyone on the Right, sold their souls for money and power decades ago and don't care. Whatever horrible stuff that comes to pass, won't affect them or anyone they care about, so why should they care? As I tell people, if Donald Trump screws up, he'll be able to GTFO without any trouble. Money buys a lot of things, including escape hatches. He'll GTFO to some other country and start over, while everyone else is left behind to clean up the mess he's made; it's what he's spent his entire career doing.

Stuff like that makes me wonder if we should encourage the Right to Go Galt. Maybe once all the self-centered, arrogant, rich a-holes are gone, we can actually get to work and have a government that does something besides Fellate the Rich and Kill Brown People. Plus, we all know this would be likely outcome if they Go Galt.

:sighs: Like I tell people, it's not the conservatives kneejerk opposition to change that irritates me; it's how inconsistent they are with said opposition. Since the Founding Fathers were saints among men, if they're really so opposed to change, they should live like them. Travel via horse and buggy and when they get sick, have their humors balanced. It'd work for the some of the same reasons as the Go Galt scheme. While the Right is busy dying of easily preventable illnesses while in their forties, everyone else could get stuff done.

Or we could, like I've suggested before, give RTCs one-way tickets to Saudi Arabia or North Korea or China. If they manage to escape, maybe once they've experienced actual persecution for their faith, they won't through hissies over being told "Happy Holidays." And since they had been refugees, maybe they would be more sensitive to their plight. And if they don't get out, they'll be trapped in third-world hellholes with atrocious human rights records, so, again, Liberals can take advantage of their absence to get stuff done.

Ishmael and co. finally get all pissy about how nice Rehema is being to the prisoner.

Stripped of her weapons and ammunition belt as well as her boots, Rehema was shoved into Rayford’s cell and shackled both to him and to a steel ring embedded in the wall. She was shuddering, but he drew her close and whispered, “The better for us to be able to pray.”

And with the withdrawal of TOL troops, they did pray, and Rehema became a child of God.

“My son is in a TOL day care center six miles from here,” she said.

“God knows,” Rayford said.

Yes, I did have all kinds of pervy remarks regarding this situation. Though it does feel kind of wrong to make them. Rehema is 90, which is underage by the MK standards. Though she also has a four-year-old son, so...you know what, I'm just going to bail out. There are more productive things I could do with my time, than try to figure out what Rehema would (physically) resemble at age 90. Like Heroin. I've always been meaning to take up a Heroin addiction. I should do that instead. It's probably psychologically healthier.

It's ten. Rehema is getting all upset and female, instead of being all resolute and male like Rayford.

The old man and the young girl turned carefully and sat next to each other, backs against the wall, manacled arms raised. “This is the best part of being on the right side,” Rayford said. “Waiting and watching to see what God will do when there seems no possible solution.”

And that sound you hear is pretty much every Christian martyr pointing and laughing. Again, how quickly would the RTCs fold when faced with actual suffering for their faith? You guys can bloviate all you like, but you're not the heirs to Dietrich Bonhoeffer. You guys aren't even worthy to clean the skidmarks off of Bonhoeffer's underwear.

Anyway, for those of you wondering when the deus ex machina will show up, Anis the Angel shows up, busts everyone out without any difficulty, even giving them cars, so they don't have to use those wiggly things located on either side of their sin zone to get around. It wouldn't even be that rough on them, going on foot, because they have super special awesome super speed.

Anyway, Rehema picks up her son and the RTCs are a big hit at Siwa.

Then we get a time jump. But first, a listing of the people who have died.

Qasim Marid was, of course, fired from the Children of the Tribulation ministry, and he died at one hundred.

He was replaced by Abdullah Ababneh’s friend Sarsour, who endeared himself to the staff and Cameron Williams’s extended family over the next nine centuries.

Ignace and Lothair also died at one hundred— as did Mudawar— and became the Other Light martyrs, still revered by billions of adherents more than nine hundred years later.

It's probably safe to assume that Sarsour managed to endear himself to the COT daycare and Cameron WIlliams's family, by being aware of his place and displaying a suitable amount of submission. Because Qasim really is the worst, going out with a girl Kenny Williams was interested in, even though Kenny never gave any sign that he was, and Kat did accept his invitation. How dare he react in an immature manner after being dumped for no real reason? Qasim should have done a better job of kissing up to the bullies and born their emotional abuse with pride, dammit!

As you probably guessed, when it comes to my headcanon, as far as I'm concerned, Qasim, Ignace, Lothair all faked their own deaths and they're hanging out with Cendrillion.

Kenny and Ekaterina Williams’s wedding was performed by Bruce Barnes, and the couple produced eight sons, six daughters, and more than eighty grandchildren over the next two hundred years.

Why am I not the least bit surprised that Kenny and Kat basically became the Duggars? Personal Headcanon: Just as the Duggars pretty much strip-mine the alphabet for J-names, Kenny and Kat do the same with K-names. I'll let my readers list the names of the K-slaves. Just call me paranoid or whatever, but I have a general mistrust of families where every member has the same initials. Maybe there are some families out there where everyone's name begins with, let's just say, the letter A, and they're normal, but experience has taught me that the kind of people who insist the kids all having names beginning with the same letter, see their kids less as freethinking individuals who will eventually move out and form an identity apart from them, and more as boxsets.

Though if Kenny and Kat manage to avoid naming a kid, Jinger, they're still better than the Duggars, much as I hate to admit it. Seriously, you couldn't name her Julie or Jeannette or something? Though Kenny and Kat are better than the Duggars primarily because they're fictional, so no real people are being harmed by all this, whereas the Duggars...I'm not going to say anymore. It's just too sad. Here's to hoping someone manages to bust out of the compound and write one helluva tell-all memoir.

Everyone is all old now. For those of you wanting some specs regarding aging in the MK, here's a bit for you.

By the end, the ministry was maintained by the glorifieds, as the naturals finally saw the ravages of time catch up with their bodies. When the naturals reached ages higher than about seven hundred, they began to slow and notice the diminution of their senses, particularly hearing and sight.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: you guys ever heard of Tithonus? Then this will all be new to you.

Though Wikipedia's quote about what happened with Tithonus does seem to accurately reflect what happens to the RTCs.

but when loathsome old age pressed full upon him, and he could not move nor lift his limbs, this seemed to her in her heart the best counsel: she laid him in a room and put to the shining doors. There he babbles endlessly, and no more has strength at all, such as once he had in his supple limbs.

Though even before old age sat in, the RTCs lied around and babbled endlessly, so maybe this isn't entirely accurate.

Anyway, all the characters from other books who have died, show up and the Original Tribbles have a group photo, but I'm bored to tears.

Sorry, but we're not going to get the next chapter until next week. Kind of figured that was how it was going to go. So have fun until then.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Man from R.T.C.

Happy Sunday, everybody! Though also Happy Mothers' Day! Hope y'all did something nice for your Mom, because she's probably put up with a lot from you. Though I apologize if some of you have shaky relationships with your moms. I thought about posting the infamous wire hangers scene from Mommie Dearest for those of you whose Moms were terrible, but I worried about whether that would seem insensitive. But ah well, happy mothers' day to good moms, boo to bad ones, and don't forget to celebrate same-sex couples because they deserve some love too.

Last week, we finally made it through Chapter 30. Hopefully Chapter 31 won't take as long. :crosses fingers:

Rayford is still being held in the KK...well, I thought about calling it the Keystone Kidnappers Kompound, but that felt more than just a wee bit wrong. So we'll shuffle away from that joke.

As you can probably guess, Rayford is working with Rehema to chalk up another Saved on his fuselage. And for some reason, she's just going along with this instead of punching him in the throat or tasering him in the dick, either of which I would do. If I couldn't do either or both of those things, well, you know The Simpsons episode with the parody of The Amityville Horror? I would totally be like that house, destroy myself rather than have to spend another minute in the presence of Rayford Steele.

But he may have more of a hope of converting Rehema than any of the other KK, because while she is dark and swarthy, she's not as dark and swarthy as her compadres.

She was fairer-complexioned than most in the compound, despite her dark brown eyes and hair so black it could have been dyed but clearly wasn’t.

I would love to see how Ellanjay would defend this as, y'know, not being racist, but I should really stop indulging that masochistic tendency I have. It never ends well and I should accept that. Plus, given that Tim LaHaye is dead, if he were to show up again, I think we'd have bigger problems to worry about and my question would probably seem kind of piddling and insignificant.

Out of curiosity, in the event of a Zombie Uprising, what would you all use as your weapons? Obviously, the smartest thing to do, would be to hunker down and let the National Guard take care of this via tanks and machine guns. Be nice if that bloated military budget was finally put to good use. But okay, suppose for some reason, hunkering down isn't an option. What are your weapons?

For close quarters, I'll go with a baseball bat with nails hammered into it. As cool-looking as katanas are, they require specialized training to use properly and at the End of the World, I'm a firm believer in Keep It Simple, Stupid. As for ranged weapons, obviously, guns are the best, but they need reloading (which can only be done with bullets) and they make a helluva lot of noise. So while I'm okay with having them around in the Zombie Apocalypse, I do feel that we should have some quieter ranged weapons. I'm leaning towards a crossbow, myself. You don't get the range and force of a bow and arrow, but crossbows require little, if any, training to shoot and use. Plus, they do look cool. I may be about Keeping It Simple, but even I'm willing to acknowledge the Rule of Cool, just so long as it isn't ridiculously impractical.

Anyway, regarding Rehema, well, I'm trying to envision some kind of Character Morality Spectrum and where each character would fall. I thought about trying to draw one as part of the post, but couldn't figure out how. Sorry, guys. Y'all will either have to make one yourselves or use your imaginations.

Anyway, it would be a spectrum with the left side of it (natch) representing the evil of the LB-verse; the closer you get to the right, the less evil a character is. Of course, Nicky/Satan are at the very end of the evil spectrum, because they're supposed to be the greatest evil in the LB-verse. We can and will quibble about it, but let's just go with Ellanjay's interpretation for now. Characters placed in the middle at 0 are basically NPCs: they appear in one or two scenes, maybe even say a line, but overall, hang in the background. Though furthest right, I'm wondering if I should place Zod or TurboJesus or since St. Rayford and Cam-Cam are the greatest forces within the universe, does that mean even on a morality spectrum they outrank Zod and TurboJesus.

My long, rambling point is, based on this spectrum idea, I keep trying to figure out where Rehema would fall. She is female, which makes her somewhat suspect in the LB-verse. But women in the LB-verse tend to be more Ineffectual Irritating Evil, rather than of the pure, cold-hearted variety. She is brown which further pushes her towards the Evil end of the spectrum, but that mention of her being lighter-skinned than her compatriots makes me wonder how an LB character determines the Brown factor. Do they keep paint samples with them and compare them against a character's skin? Though a slightly lower melanin count does put Rehema closer to the right.

I suppose I could quibble some more with my calculations, but I don't think I will. Like I've said before, math scares the crap out of me. Though if everyone is considered a child until they reach the age of 100 in the LB-verse and Rehema is 90, I find myself wondering what she would look like. I imagine it as being like Tolkien's elves where they age very slowly until they reach adulthood, after which they just stop all together. In fact, Tolkien's elves do sound very similar to citizens of the MK, minus the long tragic history, the pointed ears, and the cheekbones that are to die for.

Anyway, for Tolkien's elves, puberty is over when they reach the age of fifty. Before that they look like and resemble children; in their twenties, they physically resemble seven-year-olds. Like the MK citizens, Tolkien's elves are considered full-fledged adults at the age of 100.

But all that speculating, doesn't help me get much of a picture as to what Rehema looks like. I harp on this point so much, because later in the conversation, she mentions having a four-year-old son, even though she isn't :gasp: married, so I find myself wondering if she had a kid when she was barely out of puberty or was the conception the product of statutory rape or what? Though I suppose it could have been a consensual affair. Rehema, after all isn't an RTC, and thus would view sex as an act of love, rather than a grim necessity needed to produce more believers. Though having a child out of wedlock does put her further to the left on the spectrum.

Anyway, poor Rehema is stuck with Rayford until midnight and I sympathize. In a just world, she would have a taser or something to use on him, but this is the LB-verse, so no go. Just that I would totally sympathize with her tasering Rayford in the balls after this line:

“Poor girl. You’re going to know more about me than I know about myself, because I plan to talk until I cannot go on.”

She chuckled. “That will keep me awake. Keep me out of trouble. But I am supposed to be talking to you, propagandizing you, selling you on the inevitability of our cause and the certainty of our victory in the end as evidenced by all the work you see being accomplished on the screens. This will continue for centuries until we are invincible.”

“Oh, dear one,” Rayford said, “you have already lost. Victory is ours. You have so little time, really. Follow your heart and mind, change your course, join the forces of the one true and living God before it is too late.”

I'd ask if there was a way Rayford could sound like anymore of a patronizing jackass, but experience has taught me that every time in the LB-verse where you're like, "Okay, that was bad, but it'd be hard for things to get any worse," Ellanjay rises (or falls) to the occasion and produces something that makes you fondly long for moments like Rayford smirking about an unsaved coworker who committed suicide in the wake of losing his family.

Okay, I'll assume that Rayford probably can't be killed. He said The Prayer by the time TurboJesus showed up to burninate the heathens, but does that mean there still aren't ways to take him out? Like could we encase him in concrete and bury him underground? He'd still be alive, but the weight of concrete and earth would leave him unable to walk around and be a patronizing ass towards everyone. It'd take some work, but frankly, the benefits would far outweigh the costs.

Of course, what keeps me from having too much sympathy for Rehema (though I do have some)is again, the KK's scheme is even more poorly thought-out than the Underpants Gnomes' path to riches.

Rehema turned and faced Rayford. “You are a nice and well-intentioned man. But it is you who are out of time.” She looked at her watch. “In fewer than seventeen hours, your God will have been shown incapable of delivering you from our hands in time for your meeting. Then we will know whose god is worthy.”

Uh, guys, you do realize that even if Rayford isn't there, Saintly Irene, Token Jew, Chaim, Mac, Mr. and Mrs. Barnes will be, so I'm fairly certain they will still be able to rack up converts and do damage to the cause. Though wait, that would be going against the rule of the LB-verse: Our Buck and Rayford are the single, greatest forces in the LB-verse. So much so that when either character isn't onscreen, I have a hard time believing that anything goes on. Probably everybody just hangs in the wings, waiting for them to show up so the play can continue. Or maybe when they're not in the scene, the LB-verse resembles the world before the creation, as told in Genesis chapter 1, which describes the world as being formless and void. But then again, even when they're onscreen, it's formless and void.

The section ends with Rehema being all "Tell me about your family," and I'm shouting "NO! Please don't give him an opening to recite any more non-specific generalizations about the people he's supposed to love above all others!"

Anyway, after all this, we're back with Abdullah who is still working on his Sooper Sekrit Mission to Be an Asshole towards convert Mudawar and Sarsour. Based on the dialogue at the beginning, I feel like maybe I've missed something, but not enough to want to go back and reread everything.

Abdullah sat across from Mudawar in his office, leaning toward him earnestly. “So you feel, as you have expressed it, that you ‘owe me one.’  ”

“Yes. You earned it. You deserve it. One for your side. What will it be?”

“I have no idea what you have in mind. You know my heart’s desire: that you and Sarsour come to faith.”

And my heart's desire is that the TOL Panthers or the TOLstapo show up and tear gas the living hell out of you, but we're not likely to get that, are we?

For the record, of the two names, I prefer TOL Panthers. It seems to better fit with the TOL motif of fighting for their right to exist and express themselves in whatever manner they see fit, so long as it harms no one else in the process. The Gestapo weren't known for their sterling beliefs in the rights of others, I'm just sayin'.

Though I suppose I will have to console myself with fantasies about the TOL Panthers coming in and dragging Abdullah off. Because like I've said before, Mudawar and Sarsour have been ridiculously tolerant of Abdullah, allowing him to hang around and use their facilities to loudly proclaim that they are horrible people deserving of nothing but hellfire and damnation. This building is their property and as the owners/operators, they have the right to say, "I don't want you around. Get out before I call the authorities!"

If nothing else, if the TOL Panthers did show up in full tactical gear and go to town on Abdullah, he would at last have experienced some actual suffering for his faith, which would give him all kinds of street cred and boost him further to the right on the Good-Evil spectrum. Of course, being beaten with a nightstick probably pales in comparison to the very real anguish and suffering experienced by White Christian Males when the over-worked, under-paid cashier :gasp: :choke: :pearlclutch: wishes them a "Happy Holidays," but still.

Mudawar offers Abdullah a chance to be able to preach in front of a large gathering of TOL. And I'm like, "Finally!" Because I thought this whole scheme of Abdullah's was that he would go to the TOL and hang around and preach at them in an office or on a street corner, if needed. Yet all he's done so far is hang around an office, sit on his fat ass, and harass Mudawar and Sarsour.

Once again, the Satanic-Worshipping Godless Heathens are way more respectful of the rights of others. Because can you imagine one of the RTCs allowing a member of the TOL to hang out on their property and try to win converts. :Insert So Much Bitter Laughter Here:

Though at the same time, you do feel like shouting at the TOL, "Oh come on! Stop being such pushovers!"

Much of the conversation is taken up with, well, I suppose this is supposed to read as high-tension sly spy manipulations, but lordy... There is so much stupid that I may just do a linkstorm, dump a whole lot of spy-related clips/songs, starting with Secret Agent Man, seguing into Austin Powers, Inspector Gadget, and Maxwell Smart.

And I really wish I could just keep going at this for all time, bringing in The Pink Panther, The Avengers, and just about any other spy/espionage show theme I can think of, but I should probably show some work ethic and get back to the review. I'll let you pick your spy music of choice to read these scenes to. Just know that any fictional spy, even Inspector Gadget, is way more competent than any character in the LB-verse.

Though of the themes I've just linked to, have to say The Avengers is my personal favorite for its grandeur. Then again, it was composed during an era when people gave a shit about TV show theme songs.

I have to admit that the overwhelming amount of stupid kept me from getting much of the conversation between Abdullah, Mudawar, and Sarsour, but from what I can tell, he's still all "Kenny might be an infiltrator!" and Mudawar and Sarsour are vaguely blackmailing, threatening to make it look like Abdullah is working for them via editing and such. Given what we've seen with Kenny proves that RTCs have no problem immediately believing the worst about someone they've known and cared about for a long time, they might actually be able to set up Abdullah and have it work.

Anyway, we might need to have a candlelit vigil for Abdullah, because just think of the immense amount of suffering and pain he's going through.

Abdullah’s mind was too jumbled to even think about crafting a message. Soon it would be time to make his daily run for Mudawar’s coffee and Sarsour’s snack. Should he continue to do that, to serve his enemies out of love while they stabbed him in the back?

Poor Abdullah...Jesus was only repeatedly whipped and scourged, before being nailed onto a cross to die a painful, excruciating death for the sins of humanity. Whereas you may find yourself enduring something far worse: buy coffee and snacks for people who don't like you. I mean, sure, crucifixion was the kind of death where, if the Romans felt like being merciful, they'd send someone out to break your legs with a club, so you die from asphyxiation, rather than linger for days on end, but you face being mildly inconvenienced and having spend an amount of money that probably doesn't add up to $20.

:hums "We Shall Overcome" for Abdullah while playing the world's smallest violin:

On an unrelated note, if I keep communicating in brutal sarcasm, how soon until I won't be able to communicate in any other form?

There's an interlude with Cam-Cam and Chloe. Chloe is all weepy and female, but believes that Kenny-boy isn't a traitor. Cam-Cam is all steadfast and manly, but still unsure about whether Kenny-boy is a traitor. Like I said, given how quickly everyone's willing to accept the worst about Kenny, I feel like telling him to give everyone the finger, meet up with your boyfriend, and attend a Black Sabbath concert. Kenny is such a moral prig, but the nature of all the stupid, forces me to have a quark-sized amount of sympathy for him.

After the interlude, Sarsour shows up. He and Abdullah talk and surprise surprise, Abdullah's steadfast assholishness has earned him another convert. He also tells Abdullah that the eeeevil TOL infiltrator is Qasim. :dramatic prairie dog:

Again, since the RTCs have been just such absolute shitstains towards Qasim, I totally have no objections to him working for the other side. In fact, I'm looking for my pom-poms so I can do a proper cheerleading routine on his behalf.

Mouse's Life Lesson to Anyone, Young or Old, Reading This Post: Don't reshape or completely change yourself, just so shitstains will stop bullying you and let you live your life with some peace and dignity. One, it never works, and two, bullying is always wrong, regardless of the victims age/sex/race/orientation, regardless of how terrible their fashion sense is, regardless of how weird and socially awkward the victim is. Don't waste time and energy trying to make shitty people like you. They never will like you and it's never worth it.

There's a brief interlude with Kenny-boy that I'm quoting because, well, if I'm going to be doing Beavis and Butthead laughter until I die, so should the rest of you! I'm a firm believer in Misery Loves Company.

Kenny had sketched out some handicraft projects for the kids that would help drive home the current lessons from the life of David. It hadn’t been easy to concentrate. There had been times when he slid off his chair to the floor, moaning in frustration and crying out to God for relief. A knock at the door made him wipe his face and straighten up. He peeked out to see Ekaterina. Thank You, Lord.

...

Like I said, if perverted thoughts could ever be converted into a viable fuel source, a Utopia may ensue.

Based on the contents of this paragraph, I'm assuming the handicraft projects for the kids involve making a diorama of when David saw Bathsheba on the roof. :wicked grin:

The rest of the paragraph...I want to say it reads like a letter to Penthouse, but given that there are kids in the room with him, I'm like, "Oh for the love of God, Kenny! Either think about baseball or grab a box of Kleenex and duck into the men's room for a bit!" Do something before the kids starting going, "Why are Kenny's pants bulging like that?"

OW! Okay, that's as far as I was going to take it, thank you.

After that brief bit, we're back with Sarsour, Mudawar, and Abdullah. Sarsour announces to Mudawar that he's converted. Mudawar is all angry and pissy.

Then we cut to Kenny-boy and Kat. Apparently Kat has finally rubbed together her two braincells and realized that the email is :gasp: fake. Granted this decision took place entirely off-screen as we were given no indication that Kat had found something that might convince her to stop automatically believing the worst about Kenny, but hey. I'll just stop ranting and raving and make more sex jokes. That's what you guys are here for, right.

She rose and approached him, but before he could stand, she sat on his lap and buried her head in his chest. “I just want the truth to come out so everyone will know. You know the others are suffering too.”

"So is that a Bible in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"

The chapter ends with Kenny-boy getting a call on his skull phone. I'm assuming it's Abdullah telling him that Qasim is the mole, but I'm more focused on how Kenny called Kat, hon. Which is totally something one twentysomething says to another. As if he wasn't enough of a patronizing jackass.

And that's it for this week. Take care until I see you all again. For those of you wondering we've got two more chapters until this is all over, though there is an afterword from Tim LaHaye. I don't really have much planned after this book. I think I'll finally go through with my threat to do some copy and paste, cut out the mothereffin' front matter and the passages with the Biblical figures reciting copy and paste from the Bible, just to see if this book's wordcount would even qualify it as a novella, never mind a novel. Maybe I'd make my Kingdom Come Abridged available to everyone else, but I'm not sure if I should. Sounds like a good recipe for a lawsuit.

Afterwards, I'm not sure what I'll do, though I do want to rest on my laurels for a bit. If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to let me know.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Rayford Endures the Mildly Uncomfortable TOL Inquisition (Chapter 30, Part III)

Well, I celebrated a birthday a few days ago. :grumbles: They made being an adult sound like a step below being a superhero and I fell for it. That and people always talk about growing up as a conscious choice, that one day you decide, "It is time for me to become a responsible adult and do adult things like-" okay, I'm not entirely sure what adults do, besides hold jobs and have kids. Thing is, what they don't tell you is that you don't conscientiously decide to put aside childish things. Just that as you get older, all the toys and stuff start to interest you less and less, until one day, you realize you haven't played with or done X in ages. Growing up just seems to be a background thing, where it mostly goes on without you realizing it and when you do, you realize at some point you crossed a line and there's no way of going back.

It's one of the many many reasons Inside Out may be the best damn Pixar film ever. Yeah, in growing up, you gain things, but at the same time, you're also losing stuff you'll never get back and it always hurts to lose things, even if you know it has to happen.

As long as we're talking about Pixar, while I haven't decided whether or not to have kids (still have mixed feelings about it), I have decided that they will not see the Toy Story films until they are in college, because if they see them before, I won't ever be able to throw out any of their toys because they'll be like, "But then they'll think I don't love them anymore!" The same goes for that insidious Velveteen Rabbit book.

Oh, all right, I'll try to see if I can finally finish chapter 30 this week.

Last week, I was grudgingly forced to somewhat be on Rayford's side, something that I still feel disgusted and dirty about. Well, this week, I don't have to worry, because with every single line...I'm trying to picture what Rayford looks like. I've already decided he has terrible fashion choices, but he must also have the smuggest, most punchable face ever. Were it not for the fact that he is more powerful than God in the LB-verse, people would be punching him in the face constantly. Even his own mother wouldn't be able to stop punching him.

Our dear Fred Clark has this bit of delightful fanart and while I totes picture Chloe looking like that, being all Lindsay Weir from Freaks and Geeks, I'm not sure if I can approve of comparing any LB-verse character to Zapp Brannigan from Futurama. Zapp may be an overconfident buffoon, a description that fits most of the characters in the LB-verse, but he had kind of an oily charm and some good words of wisdom. Pro Tip: the way to a girl's heart really is through her parents. Have sex with them and you're in.

Rayford, on the other hand, is as charming as Herpes. At least when you open Pandora's box, you get some hope to go with all the misery; with Rayford, you only get misery and a never-ending burning sensation.

Rayford has been picked up by the Keystone Kidnappers. They call themselves, The Only Light, but trust me, when I say they deserve to be called the Keystone Kidnappers. Henceforth that shall be their name from here on out. Anyone who disagrees shall be punished by catapult.

Rayford is like, "You guys have been born in the MK and have actually seen TurboJesus and Zod walking around plain as day."

And we get this exchange between him and the Keystone Kidnappers (KK). I'm with Firedrake. These guys are the chaff, used by the TOL resistance to keep the Millies distracted while the competent people get shit done.

“We don’t, and we will prove it, as we also are advertising. We have publicized that our god will keep you from appearing in Siwa, proving once and for all that you claim to represent a God who is capricious, unjust, and nonexistent.”

“He does not exist and yet He is capricious and unjust? Detaining me will prove nothing. God will do what He chooses.”

This is something we've seen again and again with Ellanjay. They operate like the LB-verse is like ours, where God and the like are mostly taken on faith or as Paul would define it, "the assurance of things hoped for, evidence of things not yet seen." The problem is the LB-verse has numerous, incontrovertible proof of God, the kind of proof that would make even Richard Dawkins pause. God is a full-fledged character in this series, so again, the problem the heathens would have isn't that there isn't proof of his existence; it's the nature of the deity in question. Most people would consider the guy who sends people to a place of eternal misery and torture, without taking into account any extenuating circumstances or allowing such legal niceties such as a trial where the defendant can either represent themselves or :gasp: have legal representation provided for them, to be a bad guy.

Yeah, I know even if they had trials and such, the very concept of Hell is nothing but problematic. No matter what horrible tortures Hitler or some other genocidal a-hole puts a person through, there is a natural end to it. Even they can only do so much to a person for so long, before the poor schmoe finally dies. The idea of someone torturing a person without end, is so monstrous as to be beyond thought whatsoever.

So yeah, the problem here isn't that the TOL doesn't believe in God; the problem is, according to Rayford and co., is that they refuse to worship someone who tortures their family and friends in Hell for all eternity and will eventually punt them into Hell for refusing to worship him. And we also must not forget, that God in the MK has a loyal army of Brownshirts who arrest and harass people who haven't committed any crime. Because, and we must never forget this about the Right, Christian or otherwise, they have no problem with oppression, so long as it's done by the right people for the right reasons. Nicky Appalachians was eeeevil, but that was because he tortured people and stamped out dissent in the name of EBOWF or Carpathianism. It would be perfectly all right if Nicky had done his monstrous deeds in the name of the RTC subculture, but he didn't, which makes his actions wrong.

Anyway, the KK talk about how keeping Rayford from the meeting will help them sway people towards who they worship, who is (Reader with Heart Conditions should have their medication close by so they can handle the shocking reveal) Lucifer.

The KK talk about how Lucifer will release himself from the pit and lead them to victory against Zod.

“He will lead us to overcome all who oppose him. Even now, centuries before he is released, massive preparations are under way.”

“Released by whom?”

“We believe he will release himself.”

“From confinement by whom?”

“He incarcerated himself to prove a point.”

Rayford laughed aloud. “If he did that, he’s proved my point!”

“Your point?”

“That you’re idiots. Now who’s capricious? You really believe your all-powerful leader locked himself away for a thousand years and will eventually emerge to prove he’s in charge?”

Ishmael shook his head. “When you see what is happening in his name, you will not be so cavalier.”

Within the next paragraph, you will see the horrors being committed in Lucifer's name. Once again, if any of my readers have heart conditions or something that would make swoon like a 19th century Southern Belle if they read or hear anything shocking, I ask that they brace themselves. I don't want to be responsible for any hospital stays.

Ishmael finally slowed about a half mile from a lonely intersection, then turned right onto a road lined on either side by black-uniformed, armed soldiers. They stood at attention and saluted as the sedan passed. Ishmael waved and waved. The route led to an underground entrance wide enough for the car, and Rayford was intrigued by the quick plunge into utter darkness and a coolness he had not experienced for years.

When even the RTC characters are like, "Y'know I miss darkness," only one word can summon up this Utopia: FAIL!

Gotta commend the TOL for managing to get organized so quickly, enough that everyone has uniforms and arms, despite Zod constantly zapping their soldiers when they reach 100. Granted as a rebel group, they would work much better without uniforms. Rebel groups usually lack in funds, weapons, and numbers. What binds them together isn't a look, it's an ideology. Because as the Evil Overlord List points out, having your mooks wear distinctive uniforms or have a specific tattoo, makes it hard to do covert operations. Rebels are therefore better off wearing whatever clothes a mission dictates. So long as they have an ideology that each member is willing to fight and die for, they can keep going indefinitely.

[Long historical Lecture about Strategy that Only Tangentially Ties Into the Book]
Or in other words, think of Vietnam, where technically the US won every battle fought there, but ultimately failed to win the war. They failed because the Vietnamese, while lacking in tech, they had an ideology that united them, that they would bleed and die for. This was their home, their lands, and their people they were fighting for, whereas for the US, this is some muddy backwater thousand of miles away from the people and places they care about. As such, all the Vietnamese had to do, was keep the fight going until the US lost the will. The war was never winnable, because for every soldier we killed, we wound up making more, because it turns out the way to winning someone's heart and mind, isn't through dropping bombs on their village and killing just about everyone they care about.

Apologists for the Vietnam War will do things like point out how the infamous Tet offensive was quickly routed and the North didn't hold onto the bases for very long, but like I've said before, the Vietnamese strategy wasn't to conquer territories, but to wear their opponents down. The Tet Offensive wasn't meant to be a lasting victory; it was meant to prove something to the civilians back in the states. For weeks, average Joe Blow American was being told by military and government officials that the enemy was losing its will to fight and the war was drawing to a close, but the Tet Offensive proved that all to be a lie. The enemy still had plenty of will to keep going and most Joe Blows realized what the military stubbornly refused to: that while the Tet Offensive had been quickly routed, all the Vietnamese had to do, was lay low for a while then try again, then repeat.

Though for those of you wanting an example that doesn't involve Southeast Asia, let's talk about the good ol' American Civil War. First of all, it was about Slavery. Every state that seceded published a document announcing their reasons for doing so and they all cited their belief in slavery and the North's encroachment on it, along with their failure to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act*. To use the wise words of Jon Stewart, saying the Civil War was about slavery isn't politically correct history; it's correct correct history.

It is true that the North wasn't entirely united in the fight against the South. They did have border states who did practice slavery and had to deal with uprisings in Missouri and the NY Draft Riots of 1863. But those divisions were fairly isolated and eventually resolved.

But the South suffered from deep-rooted divisions from the very beginning, ones that only continued to grow and grow as the war went on. First of all, the South's combined population was 9 million people, 4 million of which were slaves. Since their ideology couldn't dare let the slaves fight alongside the Confederates, that meant so many of the troops had to be used to keep a major chunk of the population under control, keep them from taking advantage of the chaos to GTFO. As a result, this didn't endear the cause to many of the poor Southern Whites who (correctly) were like, "You're sending us to die for some rich a-hole's slaves." The South was an aristocracy where the one percent made all the decisions, while the majority had little, if any, say in how things were run.

As a result, it may have ultimately been ideology that did the South in. Yeah, the South had a lot of disadvantages when it came to men and arms, but they did have some advantages. If they had had a consistent ideology to unite them, they might have been able to pull off what the Vietnamese did, draw out the fight until their opponents lost the will to keep going. But there were deep fissures in their ideology from the get-go. The Civil War wasn't a United North against a United South; it was a mostly United North against a bitterly divided South. General Sherman's army, on his infamous March to the Sea, actually grew in numbers with not only many escaped slaves running off to join in the fight, but plenty of poor southerners and Confederate soldiers deserting to join in as well. [/Long Historical Lecture]

Again, were it not for the fact that Ellanjay have stacked the deck, the TOL probably could win, if they have an ideology that unites them. Because as spiritplumber points out, when the Big-Ass Totally Final Battle for All Time comes, the TOL vastly outnumber the Millies. Because I am a pervert, my theory as to why, is pretty much Sex, lots and lots of headboard-banging, mind-blowing Sex. Because while Naturals like Kenny and Kat still seem to have the desires of the flesh, the vast majority of RTCs brag about how they know longer desire anything, content to have mutual admiration societies. So by default, the RTC population is going to have a precipitous drop.

Okay, back to the book. Rayford is taken underground and oh Lordy...I have posted this link many times to make fun of the "torture" Chloe endures at the hands of the GC. Again, though he runs a Satanic NWO and wants to crush all who dissent against him, Nicky is awfully respectful of the rights of others, going so far as to allow a group advocating his overthrow, to have a big massive, televised meeting so they can acquire more fighters for the cause. Granted they don't do any actual fighting, but still.

The point is, for all the wargle-bargle, the enemy really sucks at torture and oppression. Just look at the horrors Rayford has to deal with.

“When did you last eat?” Ishmael said.

“About six hours ago.”

“Good. Let him wait another eighteen for just enough food to keep him functioning. And take his shirt, shoes, and socks. Chilly, Mr. Steele?”

“Of course.”

“Your slacks and undershirt should be enough. A little chill will keep you alert.”

Rayford was led to a cavernous opening that proved incongruous, as it sported walls bearing huge flat-screen TV monitors and high-tech desks and workstations but was ringed by dirt-floored cells enclosed by prison bars. Each cell bore a prisoner— a man, a woman, or a young person, all sitting on steel mesh beds. Each wore an expression of fear and resignation. And each had one armed guard posted outside his or her cell.

Anyone whose heard of Abu Ghraib, never mind was imprisoned or worked there, is laughing and laughing bitterly. Because these are the horrors Rayford Steele is enduring: missing a few meals, being forced to stay in conditions that are sparse, rather than the luxuries of the Ritz-Carlton, and not being able to wear a shirt, shoes, and socks in a place that while a little chilly, is not likely to be so uncomfortable that he's risking frostbite. Me, I like being barefoot and mostly wear shoes because society says I have to. Though maybe I'm underestimating the KK; maybe they've scattered Legos all over the floor of their dimly-lit underground prison. That would truly be horrible!

Though if the imprisoned RTCs have expressions of fear and resignation, I have to wonder how strong their beliefs are. Again, they have incontrovertible proof as to the rightness of their beliefs. Shouldn't they be all joyous and confidant, singing hymns because they know that nothing the TOL does will hurt them ESPECIALLY SINCE THIS IS HEAVEN AKA A WORLD WITH NO PAIN AND DEATH IF YOU SAY THE PRAYER BEFORE AGE 100!

Well, okay, the no pain part is somewhat debatable. Since Ellanjay suck at World-building, I still haven't worked out whether pain and death still happens before age 100. Sometimes I think, "Okay, it does," but because consistency is for godless heathens, then they'll have something that contradicts it. But I still stand by the previous ragedump because like I said, they have incontrovertible proof as to the rightness of their beliefs. They know without a single doubt that God and Jesus exist and will free them from bondage and punish their captors. So again, FAIL!

Rayford decides to put the moves on Rehema. For those of you curious, she's all weak and female and was the one who undid his cuffs in the previous chapter, because she was concerned about him being in pain. I suppose I should apologize for using the phrasing "put the moves on Rehema" but were it not for Ellanjay's deep-rooted and creepy disgust towards the desires of the flesh, I would totally assume a porno was about to take place, based on the dialogue.

Rayford found himself grateful beyond measure that his guard was Rehema. “You know what your name means, do you not?” he said as she gently guided him inside, removed his handcuffs, and pulled the cell door shut.

“Do tell,” she whispered, her face a mask of boredom but her eyes dancing.

“ ’ Compassionate.’ And you have already proven to be that.”

She shrugged and sat with her back to the bars, her weapon tucked between her knees. Rayford sat on his metal frame, already beginning to shiver, and talked loudly enough so only she could hear. He asked her to tell him about herself, but she demurred.

I can't be the only one starting to hear bow-chicka-wow-wow music playing. Please tell me I'm not. Though I know, no sex in the MK, unless you're a godless heathen (hence their greater numbers). Sex with Rayford or any Millie would probably be unpleasant and leave you feeling dirty afterwards anyways, because every interaction in the RTC subculture is always about power. Therefore, a couple doesn't decide to have sex, because they love each other enough to surrender themselves completely to another person; they grudgingly have sex because pastor says they have to in order to produce babies.

It may be one of the reasons why they're so opposed to Gay sex. Not only can no babies result from it, but when two guys or two girls get it on with each other, it's two people roughly of the same standing in the hierarchy making love to another of the same standing, rather than a higher-up (aka a big, strong manly man) dominating having sex with someone further down the hierarchy (aka a lesser, weaker female.)

I keep saying, "It's always about Sex," when it comes to the RTCs, because whenever there's a scandal in that subculture, so long as Sex isn't involved, RTC celeb might have a shot at surviving it, so long as they play their hand carefully. They won't have the same cachet as before, but they'll be able to survive. But really it could probably more accurately be called, "It's always about Power," rather than "It's always about Sex." Because their creepy obsession with power and hierarchy invariably gives birth to their creepy views of sex which leads to said scandals. Maybe they don't wear the fancy robes and funny hats like Catholics, but the RTCs do invariably believe in an elaborate hierarchy, the same as they do. They may talk about how we're all equal before God, but it's always with the silent Orwellian corollary, "But some are more equal than others."

Though some props to Rayford. While I know most Baby Name websites cannot be trusted when it comes to the meaning and history of names, according Behind The Name.com, Rehema is of East African origin and means "mercy" in Swahili. So he is kind of right there, though I'm still going to call BS. I will accept Rayford knowing the meanings behind common, white snowy white names like John or Anne, but Rehema is fairly uncommon and do you really think Rayford has the intellectual curiosity needed to read through an issue of TV Guide, never mind a book listing Baby Names.

Anyway Rayford tries to put the moves on convert Rehema. I fight the urge to go, "Convert her all night long," and laugh like Statler and Waldorf from The Muppets.

Apparently the RV has some kind of cloaking device because Rehema talks about how even though she saw Rayford leave it, neither she nor the other KK-ers could ever find it.

Rehema talks about how monitoring and tracking are done at this underground base and they have munitions plants all over the world, manufacturing stuff in anticipation of the Big-Ass Totally Final Battle for All-Time. :sighs: I should really think of a new name for this battle, because I sure as heck am going to get tired of typing all that out, yet I don't know if using the acronym BATFBAT would be memorable enough. I made up the name to mock how Ellanjay have so many crucial final battles and TurboJesus coming back so many times, all the while asserting that this will be the final one. They're worse than the Rolling Stones when it comes to these things.

Again, I'll assume that Rehema and the KK are chaff like Firedrake and spiritplumber proposed because really you kidnap and imprison an enemy and your first move is to show them all your secret tech and the locations of your munitions factories? At least Bond Villains have style to go with all the stupidity, thus making it so we get some awesome stunts.

For the next material I'm about to post, well, I must provide a warning, not just to readers with heart conditions, but really just readers in general, because this is likely to make you laugh until you injure yourself. So you might as well come up with a good story to tell the ER ahead of time, before reading onwards.

Rehema hunched her shoulders as she seemed to throttle a laugh again. “I know how it sounds,” she said. “But the battle is against the believers in the God who is not there.”

“But we believe so deeply that we have obeyed His edict against weapons of war. You and yours would attack an unarmed people?”

...

So far, I have been remarkably restrained in my use of YouTube links for this post. But in the wake of all this, I think I'll break down and provide a few.

We'll start with Roger Rabbit than dip our toe into some Monty Python.

Because we all know how committed Rayford and the other RTCs have been to the cause of peace. They believe so strongly in that they do what they can to help work towards a more peaceful world and lend their support to the politicians who work for peace, rather than a perpetual, never-ending war with [Insert Whatever Country We've Always Been At War With]. So strongly do they believe in peace that they resisted Nicky's violent oppression by...well, not by nonviolent resistance because that would be wrong, but by doing nothing, which in no way, lends tacit support to Nicky's regime.

RTCs have always been on the side of peace and justice. Hence why they were some of Martin Luther King's strongest supporters, why they were the most horrified by Vietnam War-era atrocities such as My Lai and Kent State.

Okay, I think I've been brutally sarcastic long enough. It's again, an example of how the Right isn't opposed to oppression so long as it's done by the right people for the right reasons. In the scenario proposed, the TOL would be massacring innocent people in the name of their poorly-defined ideology; if they were doing it in the name of RTC-ianity, it would be okay, but they're not.

Of course, this is all beside the point as in the final battle...you want to know what happens? Lucifer gets let out of Hell, the TOL assembles, and with a wave of his hand and no effort on the Millies or God's part, they get punted into hell to burninate forever. It's really said when even Breaking Dawn aka a novel from the Twilight series, has a better final battle and their final battle is a cocktease as well.

Rayford asks her age and Rehema talks about how she is 90 and I fight the urge to have Rayford breathe a sigh of relief, because at least, she's not statutory. OW! Okay, I'll stop.

Anyway, he points out that you've seen people older than you get punted.

“It does tell you something, doesn’t it? How do your fearless leaders explain that one? The God you claim does not exist— and yet whom you oppose— somehow curses those who reject Him for a hundred years, and no one gets the picture?”

She shook her head slowly. “No wonder you call us idiots.”

Not only can Rayford not be punched enough, he can not have the words, "Fuck you, Rayford!" yelled in his direction enough. But don't worry: Rayford is suffering from some terrible, mild discomfort at the hands of his captors.

Again she was quiet for several minutes. Rayford knew he shouldn’t be hungry until morning, but just knowing he would not be given any food until dinnertime the next night gave him pangs. And he was shuddering. He rubbed his arms and brought his knees up to his chest, wrapping them in his forearms.

Never has anyone experienced so much mild suffering. We must hold a candlelit vigil and pray on Rayford's behalf.

Then we face discussion.

“We’re not all atheists, you know,” Rehema said.

“Of course I know. How could you be?”

“I couldn’t. You’re right. I’ve seen friends and relatives die, right on schedule. Only a fool denies that.”

“So you believe in God.”

“I believe He exists. I just don’t like Him much.”

And if you guessed that Rayford will never at any point address Rehema's valid points, congratulations, you've won a No-Prize, redeemable for either No-Money or No-Points that you may use however you see fit.

But first we get what can only be described as Sandwich porn. Someone comes by and drops off Rehema's lunch. But Rehema, feeling that Rayford has suffered enough mild discomfort, gives her sandwich to him.

But Rayford had underestimated the power of her simple sandwich. He smelled it as if it lay under his nose, and he imagined every bite. He looked away, tried to think of something else, and concentrated on his recitation of history— especially his own. He talked of his life, his family, the Rapture, being left behind. And while Rehema appeared interested and even at times enthralled, she furtively passed the last few bites of her sandwich through the bars to him.

...

So many jokes...so very many jokes.

Every joke I think of, branches off and spawns even more jokes, thus making it so that if somehow you can convert my perverted thoughts into something that can be used as fuel...well, congratulations, we've just discovered a never-ending renewable resource that leaves us no longer hopeless dependent upon Middle Eastern oil and may usher in a new era of peace and prosperity. If it was possible, thanks to me, the Indians would no longer have to protest pipelines cutting through land they consider sacred.


But since there's not enough time to type all these jokes, I'll just make one: Rehema's sandwich must go really well with Kelis's Milkshake.

Rayford expresses some concern that Rehema might get into trouble for giving him her sandwich :snickers:. It's kind of sad how I feel like throwing a parade whenever an RTC expresses concern about the welfare of others, though it is dampened by the fact that if Rehema gets in trouble, there won't be anyone to bring him sandwiches so Rayford would :gasp: have to go a few hours without food, and again, he's only doing this to rack up another convert.

Rehema is like "Whatevs. They won't mind. They still need me and hey, I'll be dead in ten years anyway."

The chapter ends with this conversation where Brave Sir Rayford bravely avoids addressing any of the points Rehema was actually making, like any true RTC.

When Rayford began telling her of his own salvation and all his experiences during the Tribulation, Rehema finally turned to face him. He surprised himself by how much Scripture he had committed to memory over the years, and as he held forth, he quoted passage after passage of prophecy that had come true just as the foretellers had predicted.

Finally Rehema said, “How could anyone doubt God after all that?”

“They couldn’t,” Rayford said. “To oppose Him they had to acknowledge that He existed but that they simply wanted to go their own way. Like you.”

With that Rehema stood and turned her back, pacing before his cell.

If Ellanjay really intended to use this series to rack up converts, you think they would show the actual conversation between Rayford and Rehema, citing the actual scriptures. Granted, an atheist probably wouldn't read this far into the series, period, but as if we didn't have enough proof that Ellanjay are doing the RTC equivalent of The Requirement, there's this.

Though oy vey, the old "Atheists Hate God!" canard. Because we all know that someone who doesn't even believe in the existence of a thing, spends all their time sitting around and hating that thing. Hence why RTCs spend all their time hating leprechauns, unicorns, fairies, dragons, and any other mythical creature. I thought about listing Hindu deities or the Norse and Greek Pantheon, but from what I can tell, they devote an awful lot of time, trying to prove non-Christian faiths wrong. You'd think if they were that certain the Christian God existed, they wouldn't feel the need to repeatedly proclaim that God's Not Dead and they're not ashamed, but it's the old repeat of the Alpha wolf thing I talked about in another post.

Despite the reputation/image has people have on an alpha wolf as the strutting bully, actual studies of actual wolves in the wild, have proven...well, I'm just going to quote from an article because they say it better:

“The main characteristic of an alpha male wolf,” the veteran wolf researcher Rick McIntyre told me as we were watching gray wolves, “is a quiet confidence, quiet self-assurance. You know what you need to do; you know what’s best for your pack. You lead by example. You’re very comfortable with that. You have a calming effect.”

The point is, alpha males are not aggressive. They don’t need to be. “Think of an emotionally secure man or a great champion. Whatever he needed to prove is already proven,” he said.

The obvious parallel is that if the RTCs were really certain that they were right, that their God is the realest, most manliest, awesomest around, they wouldn't need to loudly proclaim it and constantly us the worst vitriol to assert their beliefs. If they were really secure in their beliefs, again, they would be like Paul who, as a Roman citizen and a Jew, he knew the beliefs of said cultures and wasn't afraid to face and address them. He was secure in his knowledge of those cultures and secure in his belief that not only was Jesus the long-proclaimed Messiah, he also believed that Jesus died to save everyone, not just the Jews. That belief was the foundation of Paul's ministry, which helped him endure all kinds of horrible punishments which culminated in him literally losing his head over the Christian Faith. Paul has his faults and I, as a liberal Christian, do feel they need to be pointed out and addressed, but at the same time, he had his virtues as well and his beliefs, while not completely in line with 21st Century Values, were much more nuanced than RTCs would have you believe.

A part of that article about wolves that I really liked, was how it talked about 21, an alpha wolf they came to refer to as "super wolf" by the researchers who observed his life. 21 never lost a fight with a rival pack and was fierce in his defense of family, but his favorite activity, according to a researcher, was to wrestle and act goofy with the little pups.

Real alpha wolves lead by example and know that the most important part of being a leader, is taking care of your people. Hence why even though they may play a key role in bringing down game, often, afterwards, they'll step back and let the rest of the pack eat first before having his share. In fact, the researcher in the article says that in his twenty years of study, he has very rarely seen an alpha male act aggressively towards his fellow pack members. Packs tend to be family groups, made up of the Alpha, his mate, their offspring, and a sibling or two, and generally, families that tear each other apart don't do to well.

In fact, while nature at times is rough, usually altruism wins out. A species that spends all their time fighting each other, generally doesn't last too long. Hence why while animals may fight each other for mating/territorial battles, they mostly focus their aggression on other animals and when they focus their aggression on other animals, even the fiercest predator has a natural limit. You can parade the juiciest, most succulent sheep right in front of a tiger, but if he's eaten recently and is all nice and full, tiger would be like, "Nah, I'm good."

Well, we're done. Finally made it through Chapter 30, though I probably lectured everyone into submission with all my talk about the value of ideologies in War and all this talk about wolves. Take care until next week.

*The Fugitive Slave Act is one of the best examples as to something I've come to believe, that States' Rights are the last refuge of the legal scoundrel. It's the argument resorted to when bigots have no other leg to stand on. The Antebellum South had no problem overriding the States' Rights of abolitionist states like Pennsylvania by using the federal government to pass the Fugitive Slave Act making them have to return escaped slaves to their owners. Only when the tide was irrevocably turning against them, did the South suddenly be in favor of limited government power, meekly crying, "States' Rights."

Also went through this with the Civil Rights movements. They had no problem using the federal government to enforce segregation via decisions like Plessy v. Fergusson but as soon as the tide turns against them and the government says they have to let Black kids go to school with their kids, then they cry, "States' Rights."

Though a non-related race issue is when it came to Gay Marriage, for a while, the bigots were all "We don't need a law from the federal government. Let the states decide and work this out for themselves." But as soon as states like Massachusetts and Vermont vote in favor of letting Gay people get married, then they start championing for a ban on Gay Marriage at the federal level, even though doing so would override the popular will of states like Massachusetts and others who voted in favor of Gay Marriage.