The Richest Caveman Chapter 6

The Drinking Game (So Far):

1.I agree with something Doug says

2. Doug tells an outrageous story that sounds incredibly unrealistic

3. When the timeline jumps around in ways that don’t make sense

4. Doug runs away from home

5. Doug gets dragged back or comes back of his own accord

6. Doug (thinks he’s) messing with the occult.

7. Doug shoehorns in paragraphs of theological stuff

 

Chapter 6

Crime Doesn’t Pay

The summer after going to the Free School, Doug tries to live with his dad. This doesn’t work out so well because he is used to unrestrained freedom. At least, that’s his story. I wonder if it’s the entire truth? I’m not going to speculate too much on Doug’s father, because he’s not alive to defend himself, but I wonder how easy his dad was to get along with?

In any case, Doug runs away (drink!) and hitchhikes with a friend. He and his friend get jobs, and Doug says they are doing pretty well. He and his friends are working as security guards, and he has a fake ID that allows him to buy alcohol. He tells us the drinking age is 18, and I am jealous.

Doug finds out that his friend is also into Burglary, so he gets into it to. He stole cars, TVs, and “anything we could convert into cash.” This is in the big bad city of Boston.

One day, someone decides to teach Doug about Karma. Doug laughs, and steals a TV. A little bit later, someone breaks into his “flophouse” apartment and steals his TV. Doug began to notice that whenever he stole something, someone else would steal something similar from him. Eventually he found out it was his good buddy Scott, who’d gotten him into burglary in the first place.

Doug is freaked out by the coincidence and decides Karma is a Thing after all.

What really convinced him was a coincidence wherein Doug stole a box of whole wheat pancake mix for $1.19

I drank, smoked, and did pot, but I insisted on eating whole wheat because that was healthful!

I… don’t actually find this as inconsistent as it sounds? Moderate drinking and smoking pot have been shown to have health benefits. I’m not sure about cigarettes though. My guess is that those things have no health benefits whatsoever.

In any case, I find myself agreeing with Doug on the whole wheat pancakes, though I disagree that marijuana is, in and of itself, a bad thing.

When Doug gets home, he finds that someone has stolen a jar of Tang that cost, gasp, $1.19!

Today, Krusteaz whole wheat pancake mix costs $7.84. A jar of tang costs $7.68. That’s pretty close, so I totally think it’s reasonable that they cost the exact same amount back in 1960/70ish. It all sounds like a complete coincidence to me.

I can’t help but feel jealous of those prices. $1.19 for whole wheat pancakes!

Well, that was an interesting diversion.

For the first time in my life, I really believed in my heart that there was a god!

In other words, Doug is saying that he believes atheists exist, because apparently he used to be one of them. I mean, if this is his first time believing “in his heart that there was a god,” surely there must have been a time when he didn’t believe? Remember that the next time Dougles says that atheists don’t really exist.

Also, If Doug wanted to seriously experiment, he’d set up a set of thefts and then note carefully what happened after each one. “Let’s see, I stole a gift card worth $0.47. I will leave 80 pennies out on my desk and see how many disappear.”

Or something similarly creative. I wouldn’t just take the random coincidences as proof. Like Gideon, I’d be testing the sheep’s wool, the ground around the sheep’s wool, and the sheep’s wool again.

His friend, Brad, starts inviting him to meetings. Doug doesn’t say what kind of meetings these  are, just

I didn’t understand most of what I heard, but I usually came home with more books and less money (emphasis mine).

So, in other words, he was going to revelation seminars held by the local Adventist church.

One day, Doug sees “a black* pimp” beating up one of his girls. Doug closes the door, returns to his newspaper, and thinks, “I hope he doesn’t kill her.”

….

….

…..

 

We were just told a few chapters back how Doug had a military background and was good at fighting. We were also told he never lost a match.  Why is he not trying to help the poor girl? I’d cut him some slack if there was some reason his interference would just make things worse (it might) and if he told us that he sat by feeling powerless to help her, wishing he could do something. We’ve all felt powerless to help someone in our lives at some point. At the very least, Doug could have called the cops and told them it was a domestic violence dispute. Or he could’ve given us a reason why that would’ve been a terribly bad idea.

Instead, the way he reacts to this is:

What am I doing living in this dump and sharing a bathroom with these creeps? I can’t even sleep at night with all the partying and carrying on. I’m sick of this room, and I’m sick of this kind of life!

I’m sorry, but if this is your main reaction to a pimp beating up a woman, you’re a sick fucking sociopath. Fucking cunt! I’ve avoided saying it so far but…. fuck you Doug, fuck you!

He picks up the phone–

Good, good job Doug!

–And calls his father.

Sigh.

Doug and his father get together for dinner, during which Doug pretends to be doing better than he actually is.

At the conclusion of the visit, Doug’s father says:

Doug, I feel like I have failed you and I’m sorry. Will you give me one more chance?

Whether or not Doug’s father has actually failed him is up for debate. I don’t know the full story here, so I won’t comment much. However, if Doug wants to get his life together, he basically has no choice but to take his father up on his offer. He knows it, but tries to play it cool, asking his dad what he wants.

His father says he wants to see Doug complete his education. Doug is only 16, after all, which is (was, apparently they’ve changed it recently) the age at which you can legally drop out. But Doug’s father and mine both agree that 16 year olds should be in school (I am seriously grateful mine didn’t let me drop out like I wanted to.)

Doug protests, partly for show and partly because he (and I) really hate school. Doug’s dad tells him that he’s found a school that’s on a fancy boat. Extracurricular activities include water skiing, scuba diving, and other water sports. The students are the crew, and there are plenty of girls. Doug’s father knows how important it is that Doug get laid.

Doug agrees to go to the boat school, and his father is relieved. Doug is relieved too, but tries not to show it, and I honestly wonder how fooled his father was with Doug’s performance. Sometimes (not always) parents just know when their kid is trying to hide something from them.

 

*Exact quotation. For some reason, Doug thought the man’s skin color was important to the story.

 

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The Richest Caveman, Chapter 5

The Drinking Game (So Far):

1.I agree with something Doug says

2. Doug tells an outrageous story that sounds incredibly unrealistic

3. When the timeline jumps around in ways that don’t make sense

4. Doug runs away from home

5. Doug gets dragged back or comes back of his own accord

6. Doug (thinks he’s) messing with the occult.

 

Chapter 5

The Secret Cave

This chapter is, mercifully, short. We open the chapter with Doug deciding he wants to live off the land and not have to answer to anybody, so he and one of his friends go out to the wilderness.

If the end times ever happen SDA style, Doug, allegedly, will be well adapted to mountain living and probably survive better than the rest of us.

In any case, Doug and his friend meet up with some people who go out to the canyons to party and smoke and drink. Along comes a man and a woman who tell Doug they live in a cave. Doug thinks that sounds pretty cool, so he asks to see it. They take him on a long ass hike, which Doug whines about. Even though he was in the military academy, he let himself go after he left. He also has just smoked cigarettes and pot, which makes mountain climbing rather difficult.  They hike for a while, and then:

“How much farther?” I asked.

“Oh, just a little farther,” Said Jim.

In New York, “just a little farther,” means, “a block or two.” to Jim, however, it was more like a mile or 2, and uphill at that! Finally we reached the top of a ridge about 4K feet above palm springs. What an incredible sight!….they smoked a little pot while we rested. I had barely caught my breath when they picked up their packs and set out again.

There’s like, 2 pages of this hike, but they finally reach the cave, give Doug a sleeping bag, and tell him he can stay there while they go on up to their “summer cave.” Doug falls asleep, despite the fact that he is alone and a little nervous. When he wakes up, the man, woman, and baby are there, in their birthday suits.

I hardly knew how to act in the presence of naked people. I never did completely get used to it at that time…. I found their way of life much to my liking. For the most part they lived on the land…. they even grew their own pot…. when they wanted meat, Jim would simply go out with his gun and bring home a sheep or a deer.

 

Yup. If Doug was still like this, he’d be excellent at “fleeing to the mountains” when the Sunday Laws come. Alas, he’s probably grown soft with city living and would probably die along with the rest of us.

Doug vows that someday he will be a caveman. For now, though, he and his friend, J, are going to Hitch Hike to Santa Monica. They ask around for places to eat, and are told:

…there’s a mission…where you can get a free meal. all you have t’do(sic) is listen to their preachin’, and they feed you. Just be there at 8am. That’s when they close the doors and lock them. If you’re not there on time, you’ll get left out.

So, not only do they have to put up with being easy targets for Christian missionaries, they have to make sure they’re on time for the privilege.

Doug describes the mission thusly:

the people at the mission gave a nice program and treated us with utmost courtesy and patience, regardless of how we behaved, which was awful. A smiling bald man stood up and gave his testimony, while people were talking and making jokes. One slob burped loudly and everyone laughed. But through it all the bald man continued his testimony, radiating a smile of genuine happiness. Someone in the front row ahead of us thew up all over the floor, and one of the mission staff rushed over and cleaned it up, while another helped the poor soul to the bathroom. The bald man sang us a song. Through it all people were passing out, some dead drunk, others from fatigue or hunger. God’s angels must have beheld us with pity.

 

First off, I want to state that I do believe that there are a lot of sincere people working at such missions. Perhaps Doug is telling the absolute unexaggerated truth when he says that the staff treated them with kindness and human dignity.

But it doesn’t ring true for me with my experience. In my experience, church people are some of the most judgemental people ever. Oh sure you get your sincere person here or there that genuinely wants to help people, but if anyone ever showed up at an SDA church and threw up all over because they were drunk? I expect they would be tossed unceremoniously out on their ass.

Anyway, next a big muscular guy stands up and makes an altar call. No one responds. (It’s not clear if the person who made this call is a worker at the mission, or another homeless person.)

I have been to churches and sat through sermons where nobody responded to the pastor’s altar call. I always used to feel embarrassed for him, but I never felt bad enough to up there myself.

Here, I think, is a good place to talk about homeless shelters that make you sit through preaching for food.

These people are in a vulnerable position, and these shelters and missions are taking advantage of that. You want food? Listen to our preaching. We can’t just help you for free, you know. Oh and we’re going to make a public appeal every time, and then look all crestfallen when nobody takes us up on it. You should really take us up on it. But you don’t have to.

It’s… kind of manipulative and taking advantage of your audience, who is going to put up with a lot of bullshit just to be able to get the aid you’re offering.

Just… just fucking offer aid. If offering aid is your goal, then you don’t need the preaching. No, the goals at these missions are to witness. And they pick vulnerable populations because they’re less likely to walk out.

In any case, Doug is impressed that they are given more than bread and water for a meal. I honestly don’t know of any shelter that gives their local homeless people only bread and water.

I couldn’t understand it at all. Here we were, dirty…and rude, and yet they treated us with respect and human dignity….somehow it didn’t track with what I had been told about Christianity.

Well, there are good Christians, and there are bad Christians… Yanno, just like every other group of people on the planet.

Anyway, Doug then talks about his experience with the Hare Krishna. He went to their service because he heard that they, too, offered free food.

I have heard that the Hare Krishna’s of Doug’s time period, (1960s/1970s) are very different from the Hare Krishna of today. That may be, but they annoy me, so I don’t care. I like peace and quiet in the afternoons, not tambourine music in the middle of a supposedly secular campus. They can keep their religious singing in the Krishna house, as far as I’m concerned.

Doug’s description of the Hare Krishna service is way less charitable than of the Christian Mission:

While the bass guitar and drums play a monotonous beat, the people sway and jump and shake their tambourines, wave their arms, and leap through the air. As they are doing this, everyone chants, a monotonous chant. “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna… I could see immediately that the people were being hypnotized. I had been around show business enough to recognize that.

 

After all that jumping around, all Doug was given to eat was some yogurt. He tells this story on a regular basis, I’ve heard him mention it in his preaching once or twice. “All that jumping around,” he said. “And they only gave us yogurt. We, uh, heh, we didn’t think too much of that.”

I can see Doug’s point, since the only reason he went there was to get free food. I mean, at least with Christianity you can kinda sit there and zone out during the mandatory pre-meal service.

But back to the actual book version… hypnotized? Really? First off, what kind of hypnosis is popular in show business? Yes I know about the SDA conspiracy theories regarding TV and hypnosis, but what kind of hypnosis would Doug have experienced hanging out on the set of The Three Stooges? Was Elvis a hypnotist?

If I cared to, there is a Krishna house I could go to around the corner from me that I could go to for research purposes. Unfortunately for you, I don’t actually care.

Much as I dislike the Hare Krishna and their singing, I do not find it monotonous.

I wasn’t sure what the Hare Krishna chant meant, so I looked it up. This is what Krishna.com has to say about it*

 

The words “Hare” (pronounced ha-ray), “Krishna” (pronounced krish-na), and “Rama” (rhymes with “drama”), are Sanskrit words. “Hare” is an address to God’s energy, known as Radha, and “Krishna” is name of God meaning “He who is attractive to everyone.” “Rama” means “one who gives pleasure and enjoys life.”

When chanted the maha-mantra is a petition to God: “O Krishna, O energy of Krishna, please engage me in Your service.”

I would hardly, then, call this a “nonsensical phrase.”

 

*http://www.krishna.com/maha-mantra

 

McGee and Me Episode 7: Do The Bright Thing

Today’s Scripture reading is brought to you by–

Nope, that’s not how this episode starts. Unusually, The episode opens on McGee cutting the film of the intro credits with scissors, saying:

Ok ok, that’s enough of that. We’re about to go on an adventure you’ll never forget. The Glamor boys from Hollweird are just holding things up.

Hollyweird? Really? Sigh.

First, McGee tells us, he has to change into a costume.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go into one of the most mysterious and exciting places anyone has ever known?

Why, yes, actually, I’ve spent hours daydreaming about what it would be like to go to Hogwarts.

After a costume change, a monkey appears. Oops, McGee says. Wrong outfit. He puts this one on, stating that this is “much better.”

 

In any case, we’re not going to Hogwarts today (I’m not even 100% sure the first Harry Potter book had been written at this point anyway), but rather, the mind of an 11 year old boy, Nicholas. We’re going to see how he makes little decisions.

Which would be pretty interesting. I find child psychology fascinating. Unfortunately, this show is produced by Focus on the Family, and I’m pretty sure they don’t even believe in child psychology. At least, not any form of it that would be recognized by actual experts in the field.

McGee tells us to remember to keep the owner’s manual handy, by the which he means the bible. He reads today’s scripture reading: Psalm 119:66

Now teach me good judgement, as well as knowledge, for your laws are my guide.

McGee is tolerable in this sequence, but his accent is godawful. He sounds like… I don’t know… like a New York taxi driver on helium. Or at least, what someone thinks a New York taxi driver on helium sounds like.

We get more credits, set to rodeo music. Nicholas and Louis come out of nick’s house, and the godawful noise music stops playing. Louis says he can’t believe that Nicholas is going to use the $150 he’s saved up (a large sum for a kid today, but back then that was even more huge) on a drawing table. Louis thinks a new bike would be a better idea.

Much as I support Nicholas buying quality supplies for his art hobby, I’m inclined to agree with Louis. That bike looks like Nick’s going to outgrow it at any minute. That’s not Louis’ point though. Louis thinks it’s just not cool enough. He bets Nick can’t do a wheelie.

McGee voices over to tell us that this is an example of how little decisions can impact us. He says we’re going to take a look at what’s going on inside Nick’s head. instead of showing us a bunch of synapses firing, we get this:

 

I guess we’re not doing anything too horribly scientific.

Props to the show, I guess, for trying something new, but, spoiler alert, this doesn’t work.

Anyway, McGee approaches the computer and says the question is:

“Bet you can’t do a wheely.”

That’s not a question, that’s a dare!

Nick’s voice-over goes over his options.

Option A: Can I do it?

Option B: Will I break my neck?

Oh my god. It’s a fucking wheelie. *I* can do a small one, and I’m like, terrible at biking. Nick is a pussy.

Option C: What will Louis say if I don’t try?

Option D: I thought McGee made all the crummy suggestions?

And I’m just picturing Nick standing there thinking all this, blank eyed, while Louis looks on like, “dude, you ok? Hello? Nicholas? Nicholas?”

Nicholas tries to do a wheelie, and falls backward off his bike into the leaves. He lands on his back, with the bike on top of him.

Louis runs over.

“Dude, are you ok? Oh no, I’m sorry. I wouldn’t have said that if I’d known you’d hurt yourself!”

Just kidding. He doesn’t say that. He doesn’t even act concerned.

What Louis really says is:

“Look, forget the drawing table. Let’s go shopping for a pair of crutches.”

Nick finds this about as funny as I do (I don’t), and gets up.

McGee’s conclusion is that showing off can be hazardous to your health. Yawn. I’m bored. How long is this episode?

We next see Nick and Louis at the art store, where Nick wants to look at drawing tables. Unlike Louis, I actually think investing in quality equipment for one’s hobby is a wise way to spend one’s money.

The salesman makes a few unfunny jokes. Louis rolls his eyes. The Salesman asks Nick what his parents think about him spending all this money on a drawing table. He tells nick that this is the last drawing table of that kind in stock, so he should probably go talk to his parents soon.

As they leave the store, Louis tells Nick that he should blow off some steam by playing video games. Which, to be fair, is not going to solve Nick’s problem but might be an adequate way of dealing with his frustration.

McGee punches some buttons on his computer, and Nick goes over his options.

Nick wonders if playing video games is good for him. I roll my eyes. Nick remembers that his mom wants him home by noon, and this is a truly creepy picture:

Cool watch though.

I can’t tell, as it’s kind of blurry… does that clock read 9:30? Either way, it’s definitely nowhere near noon. He’s got at least 2 hours.

Nick decides that after an hour in the arcade, he wouldn’t even have the money to buy a pencil. He decides to go home.

I get that drawing pencils are expensive, but you are seriously going to spend $150 in quarters in an arcade in an hour? That would take some true talent.

More annoying music, another McGee voiceover. This is boring. What am I supposed to be learning from all this? There’s no science here, just some whiny pre-teen angst that most of us are way too familiar with.

We cut to a scene where Nick asks his mom when he can talk to her and dad about the drawing table, as he has to make his decision by Monday. His mom asks about his book report. Nick tells her he’ll finish it on Sunday after the Science Fiction show, but Nick’s mom says he probably won’t have time because of church. She thinks he should skip the movies and do his book report. Nick races upstairs to finish his book report right now, and Nick’s mom grins. We can tell she was manipulating for him to do just that.

Nicholas picks up the book, then groans when he finds he still has 2 more chapters to read. Depending on the size of the print, that is not that much. There aren’t that many pages after the bookmark. If he speed reads, he can get it read in an hour.

Nick wonders if he could get away with reading the last couple of pages. Yes, yes he can, depending on how thorough of an analysis his teacher wants. I’ve BSed my way through college papers on a book I couldn’t afford to buy, but that I found the the first three chapters of online. I got an A on my paper.

Looking back, I do wish I’d have just bought and read the book, as it was a very good one and I would have learned a lot. College finances, however… in any case, a little alarm goes off in McGee’s computer room, because apparently, reading all but the last 2 chapters plus some pages at the end is somehow cheating. I don’t see why, he’s not likely to miss anything important, and he did read 97% or so of the book ,so he still read it. It’s not like he just watched the movie and thought he could get away with that.

As Nick ponders his decision, he thinks about the Sunday matinee. We see Nick sitting in front of the TV as the set announces that they are playing, “Lawanda, Queen of Venus. Starring Snooks Wheelor.” And at this point I am wishing Youtube had reliable subtitles because I am not sure I’m hearing this right at all. In any case, Nick gives us this weird look, and I can’t help but wonder why. It sounds like a show I’d watch. How would a society on Venus work? What kind of beings could live in an atmosphere like that? Would they be like us, having to live in bubbles, or would they have evolved to adapt would God have created them to live and thrive in those poison gasses?

Clearly I am thinking about this way more than the writers have.

Anyway, Nicholas gives us this look: Clearly he doesn’t think much of my musings on Venutians and Venutian society.

Nick has no taste. But then, this is the same child who wanted to watch Night of the Blood Freaks back in episode 3, so, what was I expecting.

McGee and Nick ask the wise guy, and we cut to a shot of Derek, who is as confused as I am. McGee says,

No no, not the wise guy, the wise man.

We cut to an image of a guy in an obviously fake beard with a very big book that is supposed to be an old fashioned looking copy of the bible, who spouts off a bible verse about honoring your parents and being honest.

Yanno, this whole religion thing is seeming more and more like a mind trick tool adults use to get children to listen to them. I mean I knew that before, but I tried not to think about it. Now I do.

Nick decides he wanted to read the whole book anyway, and the bibliophile in me wants to know what book it is he’s reading. There’s no title on the cover.

We cut to a scene where Nick talks to his parents, who want to know what’s wrong with his old art table. Nick says his old art table is old, and he’s had it since he was a kid. Great argument there, Nick. You know, he could make the argument that the new art table has many features his old one doesn’t that would be super helpful, and that he could give his old art table to his little sister, Jamie, who is also absent from this episode.

You get the feeling the writers regret giving Nick a little sister at all, at this point. She’s not in many episodes, because she’s not really necessary. We don’t really have enough time in these episodes for the character development of her and Sarah and their parents and Nick and their grandma, who is also absent from this episode. We’ve had exactly one episode so far where she was relevant to the plot, and we’re almost done with the series.

Nick’s parents come to the wise conclusion that if Nick saved his money, and wants it, he’s earned it, and he should spend the money. Nick confesses that he still isn’t sure if he should get it or not, and I’m banging my head against the wall because I don’t get why this is a big deal? Yes, it’s a lot of money, but it’s an investment.

Nick’s parents tell him he’s obviously thought about it very hard, and the only thing left to do is pray about it. (Mercifully the writers do not show us Nick praying. Thank diety for small favors.) His mom says that this is Nick’s decision, and it’s like, the first time in this series I’ve agreed with his parents. They’re there to offer helpful advice, but in the end, Nick has to make his own choices.

We cut to a scene in school Where Derek is hard at work on homework, and Renee tries to show him something. Derek snaps at her to leave him alone, which, duh, he’s clearly working on something important. Renee is looking at Nick’s drawing of McGee, and I don’t blame Derek for not wanting to see it. Renee asks Nick why he isn’t as funny as McGee.

Because McGee’s not funny, that’s why.

Anyway, Nick gets a dismayed look on his face, and wonders if he’d be more popular if he acted like McGee.

Answer: Yes. He’d be the laughingstock of the school.

Oh God….

This must have been incredibly embarrassing to film. Anyway, all the students laugh at him.

He gives his book report McGee style, with the class staring at him with mouths open so wide they’re going to catch flies. Nick states that one of the characters in the book is Long John Silver and, after filtering out all the restaurant results, Google tells me that the book he read was Treasure Island. I’ve been wanting to read that book myself, actually. I started reading it when I was 11, but I never finished it. No idea why. I should pick it up again.

In any case, Derek rolls his eyes and goes back to writing. Oh, 1980s. The days when book reports weren’t required to be typed up and you could finish your report in the middle of class when you thought the teacher wasn’t looking! I wanna hear Derek’s book report. He’d be way more interesting.

Anyway, it turns out that all of this was, mercifully, in Nicholas’ imagination. Nicholas says,

“Boy McGee, I don’t know how you get away with it.”

Uh, by not being real?

Oh wonderful. Here comes the musical montage. Nick, his mother, and Louis all drive to the art store in the car. I put the computer on silent and listen to Stronger Woman by Jewel instead. It doesn’t fit the scene, but it’s at least a decent song. Then we get footage of Nick longingly stroking the art table, then playing hide and seek with it.

Then we see the register drawer open and shut, shut and open, open and shut. We see the scene of Nick and his mother and Louis driving to the store in reverse, played backwards. Somebody obviously thought they were doing something cool. They weren’t. This is annoying, and so is the music.

This is probably supposed to create suspense: It doesn’t.

Nick gets a new sketchpad instead. When Sarah asks, he tells her he’s not ready for something so “fancy” and “it’s just not me.”

Having quality art supplies isn’t for him! Wow, what a humble guy! Not!

Nick goes on to say that it doesn’t seem right for him to spend all that money on himself. He’s going to use some of the money to help someone else and the rest to buy a new bike.

Headdesk, headdesk, headdesk.

So, what we have learned from this episode so far:

  1. It’s wrong to spend so much money on quality tools to support your hobbies
  2. It’s wrong to spend a lot of money on yourself
  3. Being able to do wheelies on a bike when I don’t particularly care to do them unless Louis is watching is more important than investing in a hobby which is clearly more important to me.

Jeez, no wonder I feel guilty any time I spend money on myself and my hobbies! What fucked up messages I received about this in childhood!

Anyway, Sarah tries to persuade Nick to use the money he’s saved up to help her buy a car, promising to share it once he gets his learners permit. Nick and Sarah’s parents laugh, and Nick’s dad wishes he could be a kid again.

We cut to a shot of McGee buried underneath computer printouts, He whines about how the credits are about to start, which is, of course, the cue for the credits to start.

 

Oh my god… this was the most boring episode of this show ever. It felt like it was a lot shorter than the other episodes, but I wonder if that’s just because I skimmed over the parts where nothing happened. And it contained a metric fuckton of McGee, which, alone, is going to make the episode worse.

We didn’t gain any insight into how an 11 year old boy makes decisions, either. This shit is the same stuff we’ve seen in other episodes, only in more interesting ways. It’s way more interesting watching  Nick talk stuff out with his friends or McGee than watching McGee sit in front of a computer “analyzing the data.”

The entire plot basically centered around one thing: Does Nick buy a new drawing table or not? Along the way he makes other minor decisions that are analyzed to death in the most boring way possible. These little decisions could have been cut, leaving room for something, anything that would have been more interesting. A side plot involving Jamie being jealous of Nick’s ability to draw? A side plot about Sarah saving up money to buy a car? A side plot wherein we watch paint dry?

Aside from being boring, having fucked up messages about how you should spend your money, and too much McGee, this episode is… nope, still terrible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Richest Caveman Chapter 4

1. Every time I agree with something Doug says

2. Every time Doug tells an outrageous story that sounds incredibly unrealistic

3. When the timeline jumps around in ways that don’t make sense

4. Doug runs away from home

5. Doug gets dragged back or comes back of his own accord

6. Doug (thinks he’s) messing with the occult.

 

Chapter 4

Free At Last

Our last post ended with Doug being sent to a “Free school” out in the country somewhere.

“Free school” apparently means you get to pick which subjects to study, and which ones you won’t bother with. Which sounds great to me, I’d have loved it. No more math, social studies, or gym class!

Yup, in no way shape or form is this school a terrible idea.

It’s an even more terrible idea, because it turns out that the school is more free than his mom suspected. There are 3 rules at the school, which are never enforced: No drugs, no sex, no fighting.

Students ranged from 8-18, and you didn’t have to go to class, get out of bed, or go to meals.

Students were told they could learn anything they wanted to. Doug says they learned how to sniff glue, make beer, and do LSD.

Actually, learning to make beer could be a very useful thing for a teacher to show them. If done properly (and in a country where drinking below the age of 21 was legal), it could teach your students chemistry and math. You could also work in lessons about botany, history, and other cultures. What kind of beers are popular in which countries/time periods and why? Why are beers of type X popular in country Y? How do you calculate the alcohol content of a beer, knowing its initial gravity? How do you measure the amount of sugar in a beer? What effect does the yeast have?  Beer making is a well-known and recognized hobby and learning about it could lead to a career*.

Well, we all know how Ellen White feels about people who make alcohol. For our non SDA audience, I’ll summarize: people who make alcohol are responsible for alcoholics and their actions. I’m not kidding**.

Doug meets a guy named Jay, from whom he learns burglary. One day there was a notice on the bulletin board about a class on mind control, that could teach you how to win lotteries and heal people, among other things.

Doug attends all 2 weeks of the class. He explains that the teacher taught them to use a type of self hypnosis, and that this was them working with God to do things. The teacher said that this was the same technique Jesus used to heal people and it all sounds very woo to me.

Doug butts in to reassure us readers that of course this was all the opposite of what God wanted them to do, lest we get any stupid ideas.

Silvia Mind Control, the class was called. One of his classmates, Laura, is skeptical. Doug tells her he will prove it by healing someone, anyone of her choice, and diagnosing them.

So Laura meets him after class, in the lounge in front of an audience. Doug tells her he must have the name and address of the person. Laura gives it to him, and Doug describes Laura’s mother.

I… reached the state of hypnosis called the alpha brain level. A picture of a woman flashed across my mental screen. “I see a woman who is about 45 years old. Medium build, wearing glasses, brunette.”

That’s…. kind vague. He’s just described like, a bajillion people. Anyway, Laura confirms that yes, this is her mother. I think Laura is too eager to believe, and or too easily fooled.

Then I began the journey down her organs, trying to locate the problem. “Your mother is sterile,” I announced. “She can’t have children.”

This turns out to be correct. Laura is adopted because her mother can’t have children. She says she’s never told anybody she’s adopted but I kind of find that hard to believe. In the 1970s, there wasn’t that much stigma surrounding adoption. She wouldn’t have ran around announcing it to everybody, but she might have told a best friend, perhaps.

Doug says he performed “psychic surgery,” but never did learn the results.

Hang on, how can he perform psychic surgery when he has no idea how to perform real surgery? Pretending all this stuff is real for 5 seconds, even if you were going to be able to perform some kind of mind healing, wouldn’t you have to know at least the very basics of how to do it in reality? Kind of like how, even if you had telekenisis (sp), you’d still need to know how to, say, knit a sock with your hands if you wanted to manipulate your knitting needles mentally. At the very least Doug would have to have some basic knowledge of common reproductive problems and how the woman’s body worked.

Whoops. There I go trying to bring logic and science into something that clearly shouldn’t have either one of those things. My bad.

Conveniently, Doug says he can not remember how he did the psychic surgery.

As crazy as this book has been sounding, I’ve been hesitating to outright call Doug a liar. It is true that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and it’s possible that in his mind he has built some of these things up to be more than they were, and thus he really does think all this stuff happened exactly the way it happened.

But I call bullshit on this story. This didn’t happen, or at the very least it didn’t happen the way Doug said it happened. No fucking way.

We then jump a story about Doug and his friend going into town to buy beer. (Why are they buying beer? Didn’t they learn to make it at the School?) They see a man who glares at them.

As Doug and his friend leave town, the man gets into his pickup and follows the two boys. Doug notices all the guns in his car, and thinks about how the man could just kill them and no one would care. Seriously? Doug is the son of a millionaire. When the lily ass white boy son of a lily ass white male millionaire goes missing or his body is found, people care. Doug wants us to see him as just another hippy, but he’s not. He’s a rich hippy. It might take people a while to notice Doug is even gone, and it might take even longer to figure out he hasn’t just run away again, but someone would figure it out, and shit would hit the fan when that happened.

But the man is probably ignorant of this, so as Doug and his friend run away and hide in the bushes, the man starts randomly shooting in their general direction. After a while, he leaves. So Doug’s friend does the only logical thing to do in such a situation: he opens one of the beers and starts drinking.

Yup, I’d say this is a situation that calls for a drink.

The man returns to his pickup to wait for the boys, who spot him before he spots them. They flag down a passing car, explain to the lady what’s going on, and the lady offers to help them.She drives them back to the school, saving their lives.

Doug says that since the students seldom went to meals, they all stole food. When the school put a lock on the kitchen doors, they tunneled in through the basement. They stole so much food that the school went bankrupt and had to close.

Which, if the food was there to feed the kids in the first place, how does this work?

Doug then tells us that he was happier in super strict military school with all its rules (and abusive teachers) than he was in the free school where he had no rules.

Makes sense. I mean, at least in military school he had someone who made sure he did stuff that could secure his future.

Did Doug ever graduate college? Scratch that, did he ever graduate high school? This may not have been as important back in the 1970s, but it would be important today. If Doug were to become an atheist now, he would have to do something besides be a pastor. What would he do? Where would he go? Doesn’t one have to have a degree from an SDA university in order to be an SDA pastor? Later on in the book, Doug will tell us he took some classes at an SDA university, but he uses that exact phrase: “took some classes.”

It’s odd. Usually pastors will give the name of the school(s) they graduated from and their degrees in the “About” section on their website. I am finding nothing for Doug Batchelor anywhere on the internet.

Regardless of whether or not he has a degree, a degree in theology from an Adventist university isn’t going to be of much use outside the Adventist cultural bubble. If Doug ever apostatized-and there are people out there praying he will-then he just might find himself and his family in a very precarious financial situation.

That man will never leave.

 

 

 

 

*Thanks Caphector, for taking the time to explain this to me. The last sentence in that paragraph is a direct quote from him.

**The rum-seller takes the same position as did Cain, and says, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” And God says to him, as He said to Cain, “The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto Me from the ground.” Genesis 4:9, 10. Liquor-dealers will be held accountable for the wretchedness and misery brought into the homes of those who are weak in moral power, and who fall through temptation to drink. They will be charged with the misery, the suffering, the hopelessness brought into the world through the liquor traffic. They will have to answer for the want and woe of the mothers and children who have suffered for food, and clothing, and shelter, who have buried all hope and joy. He who has a care for the sparrow, and notes its fall to the ground, who “clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven,” will not pass by those who have been formed in his own image, purchased with his own blood, and pay no heed to their suffering cries. God marks this wickedness that perpetuates misery and crime. He charges it all up to those whose influence helps to open the door of temptation to the soul. PH 132 2.1

Here’s another quote:

The liquor dealer is written in the records among those whose hands are full of blood. He is condemned for keeping on hand the poisonous draft by which his neighbor is tempted to ruin, and by which homes are filled with wretchedness and degradation. The Lord holds the liquor dealer responsible for every penny that comes to his till out of the earnings of the poor drunkard, who has lost all moral power, who has sunk his manhood in drink.– Review and Herald, May 8, 1894.

So remember, kids, if you’re an alcoholic, it’s not your fault: It’s the liquor store’s.

Project Sunlight Chapter 1

My computer is fixed my computer is fixed yay!

And on that happy note, here is chapter 1 of this terrible book I can’t believe you guys wanted me to read.

Mamma, I played your drinking game and I passed out.

Drinking Game (So far):

  1. The word “bitter” is used
  2. Every time I bang my head against the book in frustration
  3. Jenny and Carol behave in a way that is not age appropriate (99% of all SDA authors can not write believable children.)

So, wineglass in hand, for those of us who are still able to drink (everyone else gets to drink shots of espresso), let’s dive in.

 

Chapter 1

 

“I am Jared, Citizen of the Universe, member of the celestial penmen.”

 

Right away, you can tell that this book is geared to an SDA audience, rather than be meant as a “share your faith” book. Seventh Day Adventists grow up with the concept of Recording Angels. “Celestial Penmen” makes sense to us, but would someone outside the cultural bubble know what we were talking about?

In any case, the author hopes you’ve read the back of the book, because Jared doesn’t even bother to explain that he’s an angel.

I’ve already discussed how stupid “citizen of the Universe” is, so, let’s move on.

At the moment, my gaze is riveted upon a corner… in New York. While I am waiting, I will tell you why this particular spot, on a tiny faraway planet, is so important to me.

 

This is clunky. In practice, I don’t have an issue with explaining the backstory as Jared waits for a victim test subject, but the way it’s done is very clunky.

First, it breaks the 4th wall.

Second, “faraway planet?” Far away from what? You just said you were “a citizen of the Universe.” If someone said to me that they “were a citizen of the world,” I would assume they were a traveler with no particular home. Do you have a home? Where is it?

Of course, since we’ve read the back of the book, we know Jared’s an angel, and we know he’s from heaven. But wasn’t this the big Share your faith book of the *checks copyright date*1980s? If I was a non Adventist, I would be more than a little lost.

In any case, Jared next explains that:

It is the sober assignment of the Celestial Penmen to chronicle the activities of Planet Earth.

 

Ok, book. So we know what Celestial Penmen do. We still don’t know Jared’s an angel. We also have on idea why they would want to chronicle, specifically, the events on Earth. Why Earth? Why not one of the other inhabited planets in the Universe? (Yes, Adventists do believe there are other inhabited planets.)

An old man just rounded the corner. A shabby, soiled old man who long ago bruised the fragile, shimmering gift of life in grimy, careless hands. But the time is not yet. I am relieved.

 

Fuck you Jared. How do you know all this? Are you this man’s recording angel? No.

  1. He might not have done this to himself. Maybe he’s been abused all his life. Maybe he’s been in a fight recently. You don’t know his circumstances.
  2. Lots of humans make stupid mistakes with their lives. It doesn’t mean he’s a terrible, evil person.
  3. Yanno, maybe you could stand to learn something from this guy. I wish you had picked him. Really, if you wanted to study the effects of sin on human beings, someone who has wasted their life and made a mess of it would be a perfect specimen.
  4. Shabby, soiled, grimy old men are people too, dammit!
  5. He could possibly improve his life? You do not know. Maybe tomorrow he’ll take the first step toward… whatever it is he needs for his life to improve. Wouldn’t that be exciting for you to watch.

Jared goes from feeling relief that he won’t have to stalk the Grimy old person to thinking this:

We, the Celestial Penmen,  have been amazed at the shortsightedness of humans. They buzz about as if the Earth were the center of the universe instead of just a speck in the cosmic dust.

This, folks, is the truest thing in the entire book. I watched Cosmos with Neil Degrasse Tyson recently, and our Universe is big. And us? We’re like…. Not even specks. Seriously, go watch the first episode of Cosmos, then read Psalm 8:4.

We get another paragraph talking about how The King (God) has spelled it (the plan of salvation) out very clearly in his book(The Bible.). Jared says that at first he didn’t really like humans that much. We were ungrateful, arrogant, bla bla bla. But he’s slowly grown to love us over the last 2,000 years, especially since He (Jesus) came to live with us. Somehow watching Jesus act like one of us gave Jared empathy for us, which is confusing but nevermind.

Anyway, Jared tells us that he is going to get on with his explanation. Good, because my eyes were starting to glaze over.

Jared’s been getting tired of transcribing wars and general events.

I have found myself with a persistent desire to concentrate upon individuals, though that is the direct assignment of the Recording Angels, a completely separate segment of the Celestial Penmen.

So, why didn’t you ask to be reassigned to be a Recording Angel?

At least Jared has finally used the word “angel,” so we know what he is. We still aren’t given a clear idea of what a Recording Angel is and what they do. An SDA audience wouldn’t need this explanation, most everyone else would.

Jared went to the King (God the Father) and asked for permission.

I made it clear that I did not desire to record the individual’s every thought and motive with the precise accuracy required for the judgement, but simply to compile a more general observation of one human’s reaction to the sin environment.

Blink. Blink. Blink. Um…. ok? First of all, Seventh Day Adventists are not of the opinion that angels cannot read thoughts**. How then, is a recording angel supposed to know those? Second, wouldn’t the “general observation of one human’s reaction to the sin environment” be pretty easy to gauge from reading a variety of case studies? Or also from, I dunno, the Celestial Penmen doing their job? Is there a need for this experiment?

It’s my headcanon that God is being particularly indulgent with Jared as a human parent would with a toddler. “Ok little one, you can follow the cat around making observations about its behavior. Meanwhile, I’m going to go check with the vet to see why little Fluffy’s been pooping outside the litterbox.”

In any case, the King gives his permission, obviously, and everyone who knows Jared is excited about it. Because no one’s thought of trying this before!

Jared’s Penmen coworkers know about his little plan, and have made some suggestions. Some have suggested a newborn baby, but the world’s about to end***, so there wouldn’t really be time for a baby to grow up enough to be interesting.

Jared considered looking for a child, but decides he doesn’t want any controls on his “experiment.”

First off, in a proper experiment, you do  need control groups.  I can see where you’d want to select people at random, but there should be more than one.

Second, What is Jared hoping to discover here? It’s been known for centuries how humans of all shapes, sizes, and cultures “react to the sin environment.” In order to make a meaningful discovery, wouldn’t he have to have non sinful beings (yes, SDAs believe these exist) as a control group?

This is a very poor experiment indeed.

In fact, I decided yesterday (You will note I am already using the time terminology on earth)

DRINK!

No, I thought “yesterday” meant, “yesterday in heaven, where there are no days because Heaven doesn’t orbit a star, and there isn’t any night up there anyway so there can’t possibly be days!”

I wonder, actually, if the editor is responsible for this.  When writing for SDA websites, my work was edited to the point where it looked like I thought my audience was downright stupid. I still haven’t forgiven James for that one.

In any case, Jared has decided that he will be stalking observing the first person to round this particular corner at 6pm.

Why this particular corner? I was hoping you wouldn’t ask, because we don’t get told.

Jared sees some dead leaves blowing in the wind and thinks about how scary it would be to live on a planet where everything dies eventually. It’s scary for me because I’m an Ex SDA who thought she’d never die. It’s not scary to the majority of the people who live here, because they’ve all accepted it.

….A small figure rounds the corner, her belted coat whipping in the wind. A young woman. Or maybe not so young. Thirtyish I’d say. Funny, I’d never thought of studying a woman. They seem rather complex creatures.

 

Bang! Bang! Bang! That was me banging my head against the book in frustration. (Drink!) This book is even written by a woman for Pete’s sake! Also, aren’t angels supposed to be sexless, neither male nor female? Jared is using male pronouns, so we’re going to assume he identifies as male, but I highly doubt all the angels identify that way. Does the author think that calling women “complex creatures” is a compliment? This author is a complex creature.

Figure out whether that is a compliment or not.

In any case, Jared decides to call her Sunlight, because….? I could see using a placeholder name until he figures out her real one, but she has a name. But that doesn’t matter because her stalker Recording Angel Weird-not-really recording-angel-but-recording-anyway-angel isn’t using it.

I mean, let’s think about it for a moment. Imagine you get to heaven, finally, at the end of a long hard life. You’re meeting your grandpa for the very first time since they died a long time ago. Then an angel comes up to you and says, “Hi, I am neither your guardian angel nor your recording angel, but I’ve been following you for years. I named you “Sunlight,” and I’m so glad I actually get to meet you.

Am I seriously the only one who would be creeped out by this?

In any case, Jared follows Sunlight home, where she enters an apartment with the name “Meg Adams.”

So, her name is Meg, then.

She greets her two daughters, Jenny(age 10 “in two weeks”) and Carol(age 6),

Hang on, Meg left a 10 year old home alone, in charge of her younger sister, a 6 year old? Was this normal for 1980? By the time I got to be 12, in 2001, it was legal for me to be home alone for a few hours, but not if I was babysitting my brother. Were laws different then, or were they there, just largely ignored?

Meg calls the 10 year old, “Jennifer,” so Jared stars using the name “Jenny,” in his notes. If her mom called her Jennifer, that’s probably the name she prefers to be called by. Jared is not very good at this whole name thing. I’ll be using Jenny because I hate the name Jennifer and this is a fictional character anyway so who cares.****

 

Anyway, Jenny is making burgers for dinner. Meg tells her to be careful using the electric frying pan. Jenny tells Meg not let Carol eat Twinkies before supper. Meg says Jenny’s right, and Carol pouts about having to be bossed around by her older sister when their mother isn’t around.

Carol has a point. Whether or not this was normal for 1980, I still think this is negligent parenting.

Meg snaps at the kids to stop arguing:

That’s enough, you two. After hassling customers all day at the store, I can’t take your squabbling when I get home.

It’s not clear, from this sentence, whether the customers are hassling Meg, or if Meg is the one hassling the customers. It’s my headcanon that Meg is the one doing the hassling. Or at least, she will be once she converts to SDAism. (That’s not a spoiler. You all knew that was coming.)

They eat dinner, which Meg doesn’t finish. She goes to watch TV. Carol tells her that their father called to say he wouldn’t be visiting them on Saturday because he will be “out of town.”

Sunlight: don’t talk to me about your father. He hasn’t been here for weeks. Why does he bother to call with those phony excuses? Hey, Baby, don’t look like that. He’s not worth a single, tiny tear.

Wow, what a bitch.  Look, this man may be an asshole, but he’s still their dad.

Eventually Meg sends the kids off to bed, then sits there alone smoking a cigarette.

I feel an anger as I watch her.

Yes Jared, me too

An anger at the Rebel, and what Earthlings have endured at his hands. I long to write across the sky the simple solution to their predicament.

(Drink!)

Simple? Simple solution?

Do you have problems in your home? Do you sometimes feel “bitter, angry, and hurt?” Call 1-800-JESUS and he will solve all your problems for free and with no hassle. Don’t delay, call TODAY!

Look, Meg clearly has a lot of issues. These issues are not simple, and they do not have simple fixes.

Jesus isn’t gonna do shit.

How do I know this? From experience.

I also don’t like that Jared is blaming Satan here. Meg alone is responsible for Meg’s actions. Yes, Satan is the one who caused her to be in these circumstances. Does that give her an excuse to be a bitch to her child? No. Jared’s anger at “the rebel” here makes me very uncomfortable. It’s too close to “the devil made me do it.”

Here’s what Jared would write on the sky if he could:

(Which begs the question: why can’t he? What’s stopping him? Why doesn’t he try it anyway?)

Jesus Christ, Prince of the Universe, is yours, Planet Earth. Yours to heal your sickness, comfort your loneliness, and make you whole again. Lift up your heads. Laugh and dance and sing. Take the gift He’s(sic) bought for you at such cost, and give Him(sic) your love in return.

WHAT GOOD IS THAT GOING TO DO THEM?

But I know, even as I compose my celestial bulletin (i’s all dotted with stars) that men would barely lift their eyes to read, nor would they believe.

I’s dotted with stars? What are you, 5?

Also, I saw this written in the sky, I’d think, “Wonder how much that cost the church to write up there. Insert long list of all the good uses that money could have been put to here that I would complain about.”

Jared goes on to whine about humans having seen too many movies, mentioning specifically Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind,  and Black Hole.

Show of hands, former Adventists, how many of us have seen any of these movies? Put your hands down if you’ve seen Star Wars. How many hands are still up? Spoiler alert: mine isn’t.

I’m not sure how popular sky writing was in the late 1970s when this was being written, but I’m sure it existed. It’s not Star Wars that would cause me to disbelieve Jared’s “celestial bulletin.” It’s airplanes. Therefore, airplanes are an argument against the existence of god, and we should all stop using them. Logic!

Jared watches Meg stub out her cigarette and doze in her chair, then he looks out toward the Holy City to the throne, where he has a clear view of–

Hang on. Jared is watching Meg, and The Holy City is visible from her apartment window? Jared just said said this planet was a “faraway place.” How… what…. I….

You know what, nevermind.

Jared goes on for another 2 paragraphs about Jesus’ love and how much we need him, and we are his…. I don’t care.

So. By now I’m sure we’re all looking forward to watching Jared get to know Meg as he follows her around and we get to see what she is like. After a section break.

One week has passed

Sigh.

….She (Meg)works in cosmetics at Sibley’s downtown store, looking very chic and professional as do most of her fellow coworkers there…she gives each customer courteous attention, yet anger festers within. Her conversation with her fellow workers is witty and intelligent but often cynical.

Meg hassles the customers, but she gives them courteous attention in the process.

Anyway, “courteous, but with a festering anger” kind of sounds like the attitude of everyone I’ve ever known who works in retail, food service, or customer service. Sometimes, customers are just assholes, and you still have to be polite to them. Jared shouldn’t be surprised by this.

This is also terribly written because there is a whole lot of telling going on rather than showing. Why not have Jared observe a scene that shows Meg hassling the customers while giving courteous attention to them and being cynical and witty? Granted I have no idea how you’d write a scene where you hassled the customers while giving them “courteous attention,” but that’s the writer’s job, not mine.

She is shattered…as are many Earthlings, but she functions on the residues of that magnificent resiliency with which the Prince endowed man at the beginning.

What the fuck does this mean? No seriously I’ve read this sentence 5 times and have no idea what this means. Seriously, who talks like this?!

I’m adding another thing to the drinking game. Drink every time the dialog is unrealistic.

No, don’t do this. You would all die.

Sometimes irritation tinges her love for her children, because she has to be both mother and father to them. She envies what she interprets as their carefree existence. They aren’t, of course, carefree. The bitterness (drink!) between their parents has washed over them until already [they]…. Have succumbed to a puzzled, painful existence of life.

 

Why does Meg have to be both mother and father to them? I get that their father isn’t around half the time, but they still have a father. It’s not like he died, and it’s not like he’s never there.

Also, Meg should know her children aren’t carefree. Earlier in the chapter, we basically saw Jenny step into the role of Carol’s 3rd parent.

Jared tells us that Carol is strong willed and stands her ground. Poor poor child. Once Meg converts, Carol is going to have the hardest time ever. Strong willed children in conservative christian families are the ones that suffer the most. Ask me how I know.

In any case, why aren’t we shown Carol standing her ground? Standing her ground in what context, exactly? Standing her ground against who or what? We don’t get to know, so I hope you weren’t curious.

Moving on, Jared wishes he could help Meg, and I wonder why he can’t. Like no, really, God has like, a bajillion angels, why aren’t they all helping us? Because that’s Earth Friend’s job, apparently. It took me an entire 5 minutes to puzzle out that “Earth Friend” is the Holy Spirit.

Worst name for him ever. Doesn’t the Bible call him Comforter? That word reminds me more of blankets than Holy things, and I never really found him all that comforting anyway, but it’s still miles and miles better than Earth Friend.

Earth Friend just conjures up image of an Earth Fairy who does special Earth flavored fairy magic. I think that’s going to be my headcanon: the Holy Spirit is actually an Earth Fairy.

Jared’s not too worried, because, in a city full of Christians, surely one of them would seek out Meg Adams.

Or, in that day and age, Meg Adams could get ahold of a bible and find out for herself. She could go to the religious section of her local library. She could find the encyclopedia, she could visit a church… even before the internet, it was very easy, in the USA, to find God.

Next thing we know, it’s Saturday night. Jared muses that we Earthlings have a thing about doing things on Saturday… hang on, isn’t the stereotype to do something Friday night? These characters are supposed to be heathens, why aren’t they all going out on Friday night? Saturday night traditions are for Adventists. We all count down the minutes till sundown, making sure to compare all the clocks in the house to find the fastest one, and then we do fun stuff.The rest of the world, or so I was told, does these things on Friday night.

Also, all Earthlings do things on Saturday night? I’m pretty every single culture on Earth does not do something special on Saturday night. Jared makes the mistake, here, of assuming all cultures are the same.

Meg and her friend, Michael, are “disco dancing.” This book is sooooo dated. Michael is Meg’s best friend, someone she has known since she was a kid. Jared refers to their dance as “almost hypnotic,” which makes me snort/giggle. Jared whines about how no one will ever find “The Prince” in this environment, then whines some more about the earth being “ablaze with its own destruction.”

Michael has taken Meg home early, which she objects to. She really likes dancing, because:

Because it’s fun, Michael.

No, sorry, that was a better book from a parallel universe.

Because when I’m dancing… I can forget. I don’t worry about the girls. I don’t think about Jim…I forget how afraid I am of all the years ahead. What if I get sick and can’t pay the rent? What if the girls become wild teenagers and I can’t handle them? What if…no one ever loves me? See why I like to dance, Michael?

Of course. She can’t just enjoy dancing because it’s fun. Dancing is of the devil, so of course she only does it as a coping mechanism. Why else would anyone dance, amiright?

Michael promises Meg he won’t let anything happen to her, and Meg sarcastically quips that he’s going to stay single all his life in case she stubs her toe.

I have no idea how she got from “Michael will help me if I ever need it” to “This requires Michael staying single.”

Michael says he’s here for now, and isn’t that enough?

No, Michael, it’s not. Because shit happens, and it doesn’t always happen when people who are willing to help us are around. But, since Michael doesn’t need to be single in order to help Meg, I have no idea where this conversation is coming from.

Michael tells Meg she needs her rest, and that that is he brought her home early. He tells her she’ll feel better in the morning.

There’s a section break, and Jared talks about Jim, Meg’s ex husband. This is just so painfully terrible, because all this could be shown so easily. Jared tells us that the children ran into his arms, and he made small talk with them. He tries to talk to Meg too, who is having absolutely none of it.

Afterwards, Meg cleans the house, crying the entire time.

Why? Why is she not happy that Jim has come for the kids? This not only gives her a break to clean the apartment uninterrupted (or take some me time, which she clearly needs) plus him spending time with them is, barring any abuse, a very good thing.

We jump forward in time to Jim bringing the kids back, after a canoe trip up the river. Jim’s new wife is waiting in the car, so, this was clearly a family outing.

Jim: Can’t we be friends, Meg, at least for the sake of the girls?

Sunlight: Your concern amazes me. You haven’t seen them in a month.

Jim: It’s not always easy. Marie often makes weekend plans into which the girls don’t fit

Sunlight: I’ll be she does

Jim: Other people get divorces and go on being friends, why are you being so difficult? I know the alimony’s not a lot, but it’s the best I can do at the moment. I didn’t set out to fall in love with someone else, it just happened. I’m sorry, Meg, I really am, I’ve told you that a hundred times

Sunlight: Please go, Jim. You can come for the kids at any time, but don’t ask me to listen to your theatrics afterward. And don’t keep Cinderella waiting. She might turn into a pumpkin, or whatever.

Jim(grinning:) I still like your wit, even when it’s sticking me in the back. Goodnight, Meg.

  1. Being friendly for the sake of the kids is not the same thing as being friends. I do not know any divorced couples who are still friends, but I could conceive of a couple being friendly towards each other for the sake of their children.
  2. Jim clearly needs to talk to Marie about the amount of romantic getaways they are having. He needs to spend more time with the children.
  3. Notice how Jim goes from talking about his relationship with the children to Meg and her relationship to him? Yeah, major deflecting going on.
  4. I didn’t mean to fall in love with her. It wasn’t my fault! My little head controlled me! I’m soooo sorry Meg!!111!!!!!11!!!1!!!!

Meg may have her faults, but she has every right to be angry with Jim. His “apology” here rings false. It is what I call a “nonpology.” He is “apologizing” for something he believes isn’t his fault. He is not accepting the responsibility for his actions, and he does not care one whit that Meg is deeply hurt by all this.

Good on Meg for not putting up with Jim’s bullshit. But that joke was seriously lame. If we’re meant to take this as an example of Meg’s wit, maybe it’s a good thing Jared didn’t show us earlier how “witty” she is.

The Prince came by just now, and asked me how I was getting along with my special project. When I told him, he…. said, “so, you call her Sunlight. That is good. Write your story well, Jared, and in the writing you will learn much.” Now what did He mean by that?

DRINK!

First off, Jesus did not just come down to Earth with no trumpets or fanfare. Is Jared watching through a portal in Heaven? But that can’t be right, because earlier we saw him on the street corner. Is Jared bouncing back and forth between Heaven and Earth?

Second, why is it good that  Jared calls her “Sunlight?” CALL HER BY HER REAL NAME GODDAMMIT.

Third… how is Jared confused by anything Jesus said? That was not confusing, that was the most straightforward sentence I have ever heard a Jesus figure say.

This would’ve been the perfect place to end the chapter, but Jared talks for a bit about how much Jesus knows all the Earthlings intimately…. I don’t care. It’s boring, we’re skipping it.

 

 

 

*No, the angels don’t know that. The author does, which is the only reason I can think of for having Jared rule it out.

 

**SDA theology generally holds that Satan, who used to be an angel, cannot read minds, but God can.However, Satan has been studying us for roughly 6K years, so he can make pretty good guesses based on any little thing we do. I’m probably not the only Adventist child who desperately tried not to show what was inside me, for fear Satan would figure it out and use it against me. What if Satan figures out I took a second look at Rachel this morning in that tight skirt? Thought little Brutus more than once.  I’d better pray about it, but not out loud, and I’d better not make any facial expression, or Satan will figure it out that way!

 

***It was my legal one for a long time, shut up.

Technical Difficulties

I’m having issues with my computer, so until I can get an appointment at the Genius Bar (which used to be so easy to get and are now a pain) enjoy these pictures of my cat.

I apologize for any typos. I’m writing this on my phone, and it’s a bit more difficult to edit on this dinky little screen with the fairy sized keyboard. 
Thursday or Friday there will be a project sunlight post. It’s just that everything else is already written, (I often have at least 5 posts worth of rough drafts written at any given time) and I can’t get to it. 

Today we’re going to talk about taking your car for a drag. Not all cats can be leash trained, and all will need a very slow introduction to the Leash and harness. My cat, who shall be known here as Karma, because I blog under a fake name and so does she, went at a glacial pace. We started with just the harness, then slowly moved to dragging the leash around the apartment. 

Then we went for walks around the inside of the building before finally venturing outdoors. 
Walking a car isn’t like walking a dog. With dogs, you choose the direction you go and the dog follows. A cat, on the other hand, picks the direction you go and refuses to go anywhere else. Remember, you are her Slave, not her owner.

Here is a picture of Karma trying to stalk a bird. She has been in this position for at least 2 minutes.,

   
Sometimes, your cat will have to take a rest from eating grass and stalking birds and the ducks that love next door. (yes, actual real live ducks. No, I don’t let her chase them.) 

 You have to introduce new places sloooowly. Karma is comfortable in her own backyard, and then she got to be ok with the front yard. I thought she might like exploring the park. She loved it–for about 5 minutes. Then she realized she didn’t know how to get back home if she needed to. I think I’ll build up slowly to the park, making sure to give her plenty of time to explore the street.  
But Abby, why do you need the leash? Can’t she just run free?
No. This is a terrible idea. I live in a neighborhood with skunks, raccoons, possums, and college students. Also, this way I can make sure she doesn’t eat anything she’s not supposed to that I think would make her sick. This is, I think, a good from promose between those in the “indoor cats only!” Camp and the “cars need to be out in nature” camp.
Also, the owners of the aforementioned Ducks would be a tiny bit pissed off of we let our cats run free. 

It’s good for kitty and it’s good for me, because slow walks around the yard are still excercise, right? Right. Or at least, that’s what I’m going to tell my doctor when he (she?) asks me if I’ve been exercising. 

Number The Stars Chapter 4

Chapter 4

It Will Be A Long Night

Annemarie and Ellen are playing paper dolls when Kirsti storms into the apartment in tears.

Kirsti is upset because her mother has bought her new shoes. Unfortunately, since leather is in short supply at the moment, Kirsti’s shoes are made of fish skin. They’re green and you can still see the scales on them in places.

I did some googling, and it turns out that this was very common in Denmark at the time. I was unable to find a decent picture of what this might look like. I did find a picture that claimed to be fish skin shoes dyed black, but Pinterest doesn’t let me look at pictures unless I create an account with them and that is so not happening because like I need another social media account to keep track of.

Fish skin shoes are still made today, however, and they look really pretty. I’m guessing they didn’t look like this in 1943.

Ellen tells Kirsti that really, it’s only the color that’s ugly. Kirsti makes a huge fuss about not wanting to wear green shoes. As an 20th century American (at Kirsti’s age) this doesn’t make sense to me. When I was growing up, our shoes were all kinds of colors. Were green shoes such an awful thing in 1940s Denmark? Were shoes back then only black, brown, or white? Would colorful shoes be thought of as uncool?

In any case, Ellen tells Kirsti that her father has a big jar of black ink. If Kirsti would like the shoes better if they were black, Ellen tells her, she’ll ask her father to dye them for her. Kirsti asks if Mr. Rosen can make them shiny, because she wants shiny black shoes. Ellen says she thinks it’s possible, so Kirsti brightens up.

Kirsti, feeling much more cheerful, decides to play paperdolls with her sister. Annemarie isn’t too fond of this idea but there’s not much she can do about it without starting a huge argument.

Kirsti says they should make their doll characters go to Tivoli Gardens. “They can watch fireworks!” She says excitedly.

Silly,” Annemarie scoffed, “you never saw the fireworks.”

.

I did too,” [Kirsti] said belligerently. “It was my birthday. I woke up in the night and I could hear the booms, and there were lights in the sky. Mamma said it was fireworks for my birthday.”

This wasn’t actually the fireworks at Tivoli Gardens (which was destroyed) but the destruction of the Danish navy, which they sank rather than allow the Nazis to take.

Thinking about all this makes Annemarie sad. She tells Ellen she doesn’t want to play anymore. Ellen says she has to go home and prepare for the Jewish New Year, and invites Annemarie and Kirsti over to celebrate it. Annemarie and Kirsti have been to Ellen’s apartment many Friday nights to open the Sabbath.

Annemarie and Kirsti had often been invited to watch Mrs. Rosen light the Sabbath candles on Friday evenings. She covered her head with a cloth and said a special prayer in Hebrew as she did so. Annemarie always stood very quietly, awed, to watch; even Kirsti, usually such a chatterbox , was always still at that time. They didn’t understand the words or the meaning, but they could feel what a special time it was for the Rosens.

That’s a very short paragraph, It is a good description of a religious ceremony, and how it can make a person feel. I’ve seen Christian novels spend paragraphs upon paragraphs trying to do the same thing and coming up short.

Kirsti gets excited about the New Year, but unfortunately, no one’s going to be doing any celebrating tonight. Sophy Rosen comes to the Johansens’ apartment after Synagogue/school and talks hurriedly to Mrs. Johansen, who comes back in and informs Annemarie that Ellen will be staying with her family for a while.

But Mama,” Annemarie says, “it’s their New Year! They managed to get a chicken somewhere. A whole roast chicken!”

Mama tells the girls that Mr. and Mrs. Rosen have been “called away to visit some relatives” so Ellen is going to stay with their family. She and Annemarie can share a bed, while Kirsti bunks in with Mr and Mrs. Johansen. Kirsti is about to make a fuss, so her mother promises to tell her an extra long story that night to make up for it.

The Rosens give the Johansens, the chicken, but even so, nobody except blissfully ignorant Kirsti is enjoying themselves. After dinner, Mama takes Kirsti to bed early, leaving the two older girls alone with Annemarie’s father. Annemarie demands to know what’s going on, because she’s not stupid and she knows something’s wrong. Her father gives up and tells her:

This morning, at the synagogue, the Rabbi told his congregation that the Nazis have taken the synagogue lists of all the Jews. Where they live, what their names are. Of course, the Rosens are on that list, along with many others…. they want to arrest them…we have told they may come tonight.

Annemarie is shocked. Why would the Nazis want that information? Where would they take the Jews?

We don’t know where [said Annemarie’s father] and we don’t really know why. They call it ‘relocation.’ We don’t even know what that means. We only know that it is wrong, that it is dangerous, and that we must help.”

I have to wonder, at this point, how much Annemarie’s father really didn’t know? I mean, I get that a lot of people really didn’t know what “relocation” meant, but these people read the underground newsletter. Surely they must have some idea? Or is Annemarie’s father just saying that because hey, 10 year old Annemarie doesn’t need to know everything.

Annemarie asks where Mr and Mrs. Rosen are, and her father explains, as gently as he can, that their tiny apartment can’t hide 3 people, so the Rosens have gone elsewhere. Which, to me, begs the question, why didn’t they take Ellen with them? Do the people who took in Sophy and Mr. Rosen not have room for 3? Are they splitting up because that way if the Nazis catch the parents, they won’t also catch the daughter? Are Sophy and her husband also separated from each other?

At this point Ellen starts crying. Annemarie’s father gives Ellen a hug and reassures her that her parents are safe.

Annemarie asks where the fuck they’re going to hide Ellen in their teeny apartment. Papa says that this part is easy. Ellen is going to hide in plain sight. He’s had 3 daughters before. He doesn’t think the Nazis will show up, but if they do, Annemarie and Ellen can pretend to be sisters. They’re together so much this won’t be that hard to pull off.

Hang on, if Ellen is basically pretending to be Lise, shouldn’t Mr. Johansen tell her that? “Oh, and by the way, we’re going to call you Lise, and you’re going to pretend to be my daughter.” In the next chapter Ellen figures this out on her own, but nobody actually tells her anything. And shouldn’t they be telling Kirsti this? What if the Nazis wake her up in the middle of the night? Yeah, 5 year olds in general aren’t always great at keeping secrets, but I mean, at this point, it would be better to tell her something because if the Nazis wake her up, they’re screwed. If they really don’t think telling Kirsti is a good idea, knockout drops are an ethical choice in this situation. They will be used later on someone much younger.

Mr. Johansen tells the girls he doesn’t think the Nazis will put in an appearance, and I wonder how naive he can be. If the Rosens are such close friends with the Johansens, the Nazis probably already know.

We are told it is the last night of September, and, as Mr. Johansen says, “It will be a long night.”