Friday, February 28, 2020

Terry Brennan’s new series is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats

International Intrigue and
End-Times Prophecy Collide
Terry Brennan’s new series is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats

What if three ancient empires were poised to rise again and begin an epic battle for the land they once occupied in the Middle East? What if this battle was the fulfillment of a prophecy that would set into motion the end of the world as we know it? Those questions were the launching point for award-winning author Terry Brennan as he began writing his new series, Empires of Armageddon. The series begins with Ishmael Covenant (Kregel Publications/February 18, 2020/ISBN: 9780825445309/$15.99), a fast-paced, modern-day international thriller.

At the center of the action is Diplomatic Security Service Special Agent Brian Mullaney, who is assigned to protect Joseph Atticus Cleveland, the newly appointed US ambassador to Israel. Mullaney is at the end of his rope as not only is his marriage in trouble, so is his career. Now he’s been banished to Israel as punishment by his agency where he is supposed to be guarding the ambassador and what he considers to be an insignificant box. Little does he know that his new job will propel him straight into a crisis of global proportions.

Inside the box is a messianic prophecy about the fate of the world. A dark enemy known as the Turk and the forces of evil at his command are determined to destroy the box, the prophecy inside, and the Middle East as we know it. When Ambassador Cleveland gets in the way, his daughter’s life and Mullaney’s life are threatened.

The agents of three ancient empires have launched covert operations to secure nuclear weapons, in direct defiance of the startling peace treaty Israel and its Arab neighbors have signed—the Ishmael Covenant. Not only that, a traitor in the US State Department is leaking critical information to a foreign power. It’s up to Mullaney to protect the embassy staff, thwart the clandestine conspiracies, and unmask a traitor—all before the desert is turned into a radioactive wasteland.

The inspiration behind Ishmael Covenant started with one idea: that three ancient empires of the East—Persian, Ottoman, and Islamic—appeared to be on the cusp of rising again. The idea caught fire when he was introduced to the Vilna Gaon, Rabbi Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman, who was the most revered Talmudic scholar of the late eighteenth century. In 2014, his great-great-grandson revealed a prophecy the Vilna Gaon wrote two hundred and twenty years before: “When you hear that the Russians have captured the city of Crimea, you should know that the times of the Messiah have started, that his steps are being heard.” Only months before that, Russian troops had invaded Ukraine and swept through the Crimean Peninsula. Brennan took the idea of the rising empires and the premise of an unexpected treaty between Israel and all its Arab neighbors, wrapped it up in the Vilna Gaon’s messianic prophecy, speculated about a second prophecy that was yet to be revealed, and started writing.

Not only does Empires of Armageddon borrow from numerous threads of actual history, Brennan did an extensive amount of research into the US State Department, NATO policy, and the Diplomatic Security Service to make sure all aspects of the story were as accurate as possible. However, Brennan hopes readers will find even more within the pages of Ishmael Covenant.

“I hope that readers of Ishmael Covenant understand that Christians are in a real, tangible war. Believers in Jesus Christ are engaged in what the notes in my NIV Study Bible for Ephesians 1:3 call a ‘titanic conflict.’ The notes go on to say that ‘as a result, the spiritual struggles of the saints here and now are not so much against ‘flesh and blood’ as against the great spiritual forces that war against God in heaven,’” Brennan shares. “I was struck by the idea that there are great spiritual forces that war against God in heaven. More sobering is the idea that my spiritual struggles here on earth have, in some way, an impact on that war in heaven. Not all of us will come face-to-face with evil incarnate, as Brian Mullaney and the other characters do in Ishmael Covenant, but agents of evil are at work in the world today, just as they have been since Lucifer’s rebellion was crushed and banished to earth.”

Brennan continues, “Through digging deeper into the concept of spiritual warfare for this book, I’ve learned that I need to reach beyond the personal conflict of good and evil in my life and be more conscious of the vastness of this titanic conflict around me. I need to be an example, a reflection, of Jesus and his love for all souls. And I need to stand up for light—to be a warrior-ambassador for light—in a dark world that often seems to be getting darker. But the bottom line is inevitable. Good triumphs. The end of the Book will never change.”

Fans of Joel C. Rosenberg, Steven James, and Ted Dekker will relish the deadly whirlpool of international intrigue and end-times prophecy in Ishmael Covenant and eagerly await the rest of this new trilogy. Readers won’t have to wait long for the second installment of Brian Mullaney’s story. Persian Betrayal will be released July 28, 2020.

Advance Praise

“Terry Brennan’s new release is an engrossing ride into the dark world of political corruption that feels too close to home. In the epic unfolding of bib­lical prophecy, Ishmael Covenant catapults you across a landscape you’ve only imagined—on both a global and personal scale.”
~ Cher Gatto, award-winning author of Something I Am Not
“James Rollins meets Joel Rosenberg in Terry Brennan’s Ishmael Covenant, first of his new trilogy, the Empires of Armageddon. An only-too-plausible, high-octane plotline, superb research, and a powerful spiritual message make this a must-read for any fan of end-times thrillers—or student of current-day global politics. My only complaint is that it ended too soon. When do we get the sequel?”
~ Jeanette Windle, award-winning author of CrossFire, Veiled Freedom, and Freedom’s Stand

About the Author

Terry Brennan is the award-winning author of The Sacred CipherThe Brotherhood Conspiracy, and The Aleppo Code, the three books in The Jerusalem Prophecies series. His latest release, Ishmael Covenant, is the first in his new Empires of Armageddon series.

A Pulitzer Prize is one of the many awards Brennan accumulated during his twenty-two-year newspaper career. The
Pottstown (PA) Mercury won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for a two-year series published while he led the team as the newspaper’s editor.

Starting out as a sportswriter in Philadelphia, Brennan became an editor and publisher for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and New York and later moved to the corporate staff of Ingersoll Publications (four hundred newspapers in the United States, Ireland, and England) as executive editor of all US newspapers.

In 1996, Brennan transitioned into the nonprofit sector, spending twelve years as vice president of operations for The Bowery Mission and six years as chief administrative officer for Care for the Homeless,  both in New York City.

Terry and his wife, Andrea, now live in Danbury, Connecticut.

More on Brennan can be found at He is also on Facebook (Terry Brennan) and Twitter (@terrbrennan1).

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Survivor: Winners at War: Way Too Much Talking

It's actually late Friday night when I am typing this up. After work, I went to see Frozen Jr. since one of the girls on my church puppet team played Middle Anna. When I got home, I got distracted by finishing something I was watching and updating this week's post from The Bachelor with GIFs that  now I don't know if I can keep my eyes open to get through Survivor, but I'm going to try.

This week we pick up with the morning after the last tribal. We hear Adam talking about how the old schoolers have been in control. He thinks Boston Rob needs to adapt and play like he is. I'm not sure what Adam's game has been up until now.

Adam talks to Denise about getting rid of Parvati next and teaming up with Rob and Ethan. He says that Rob trusts him. I don't know where he gets that either.

Ben says he can't work with Rob anymore (and can't stand him because he's an alpha male). Michele thinks Parvati is out for blood. This is a whole lot of voting off talk when there's not an immediate tribal council coming up.

Ethan thinks Adam blew it by telling him the Parvati plan.

Now, Day 7 on the other tribe... 

Sandra talking about retiring after being here for the fifth time.

Tyson is ready to topple the queen since she's the weakest physically there. Yul doesn't like how Sandra stirs things up based on fear. Yul doesn't really trust Tyson, but could be on board with getting rid of Sandra.

Sandra put out a net that caught a shark. She didn't catch it herself, but she'll sure talk about how great she is for providing shark steaks for everyone.

Tony is nuts and thinks he's going to get shark bit.

Day 8 on Extinction Island...

Danni tries her hand at spear fishing since they have to fend for themselves out there. After getting a small fish, they get tree mail. Each player gets a picture clue. Amber, Natalie and Danni find a combination lock. Natalie and Danni try, but have no luck. Amber goes back to camp, remembering some numbers on crates.

When she gets back to the lock, that didn't work.

Natalie uses some strand of beads to figure out the sequence of numbers while the others are looking for something else. It works for her. She gets an advantage to sell off for another fire token. Will all the tokens she is collecting get her back in the game?

Back to Sandra's tribe, Sarah finds a note in her bag. It says there is a "Steal a Vote" hidden at the other tribe's camp inside one of the player's torches. This advantage allows her to sneak into the camp to try to find it and then return, hopefully without getting caught. The advantage costs a fire token. So, Sarah is conflicted. She used a "Steal a Vote" her season, so knows how it works when done right. However, she has to sneak away without getting caught on either side. And it's going to cost her a fire token.

That night, Sarah asks fellow cop Tony to be her top secret partner. He tries to cover her face in dirt or ash, but does a crappy job. She makes her way to the other camp via a boat. Ethan is awake when she first gets there and settles back down to sleep. It's very dark and Sarah has no clue what she's doing. She crawls around and finds the torches. She has to stand up and move the torches around to feel in the top of them. She wakes Ben up, but doesn't get caught. She finds it and crawls off.

Day 9 brings about a challenge.

Let's just say the challenge involves a ramp obstacle course, a ladder and puzzle pieces.

Along with winning immunity, the winning tribe also gets chicken kabobs. When it's time to sit someone out, Sandra sits out again. I thought she sat out last challenge. Must have been challenge before last because you can't sit two in a row. Last time they would have been even on numbers. Anyway, she just sits there looking all smug. She should volunteer to fight for her team, but she's queen.

Boston Rob gets held up trying to toss the rope they need to climb into the thing they have to throw it in, so his team is falling behind. They may be in trouble catching up on the puzzle.

Will Rob redeem himself on this puzzle after losing dismally last time?

Sandra's team seems to be moving slow on it though they got a head start. Rob's team is catching up.

Rob and Michele are keeping pace with Sophie and Sarah while Sandra is pacing on her perch.

Sarah finds where her last piece goes, but knocks two pieces off. Rob and Michele were one piece away when Sarah gets hers back where it needs to go.

Once back at camp, there's a whole lot less talking than a couple of days before. As Rob narrates, these players know what they are doing and know not to be the first to walk off.

When Jeremy leaves, Ben and Denise follow. They think Parvati is the most powerful of the old school trio.

Rob talks to Adam about knocking off Ben. He says, "No." He's not open to Jeremy or Michele either. Adam asks Rob if he will go for Parvati. Rob asks if Adam will protect him later IF he has the numbers. Adam supposedly wants to work with Rob later.

Rob plays along for Adam's sake, but Rob isn't going to turn on Parvati. Rob tells Jeremy and Michele he knows what's up. Rob wants to go Adam, but Michele is worried Adam has an idol.

Parvati says Adam broke the "Cardinal Rule" of Survivor by telling the closest ally of person they want to blindside what is going on. For that reason, he must go down.

So, everyone talks to everyone else about the plans. Michele thinks she and Jeremy have power... take one of the Power Trio out or take out the one playing both sides (Adam). I think they all talk too much to everyone.

And now for tribal...

Jeff starts by asking Ben about their string of losing. They talk about the strategy of how to bond and how loyalties go when a tribe keeps losing members.

Ben doesn't know how to deal with the alliance thing. I'm trying to remember how this guy won.

Ethan is trying to figure out what Ben and Adam are talking about.

It's time to vote.. Then tally the votes... If anyone has an immunity idol...


Well, crap.

Rob may hurt someone.

As he leaves, Ethan bequeaths his fire token to Parvati.

Monday, February 24, 2020

The Bachelor: Week 8: Peter and his fantasy suites

You know, I hem-hawed over blogging about Survivor, but it goes by a lot faster than The Bachelor, and it's not just because the show is usually half as long. Peter's women are a beating.

Jumping into tonight's episode, Madison wants to talk to Peter after the rose ceremony, before it's time to go to the fantasy suite week. She needs to reveal just how much her faith means to her and that she is waiting for a husband.

Madison's really nervous. She is scaring Peter. She tells him that if he were to sleep with someone else next week, it would be really hard for her to move forward.

He asks her what she's saying. "Does that mean if I spent the night with someone else you couldn't..."

Her answer is, "That would be really hard for me, but..."

They aren't finishing sentences. She's not spitting it out. He doesn't get what she wants from him. He doesn't think something (?) would be fair to his other relationships.

He asks, "Are you saying you wouldn't be able to go any further with me if I was with someone else?"

That's not such a hard ask, you know. Who would want to move forward with a guy that was just sleeping around with everyone?

She doesn't say what she needed to say.

Peter tells her that he's crazy about her.

And now on to Australia!

Ahh, Poor Peter (not). Madison has made it hard for him. He may not get to test drive all the relationships. He's just gross anyway.

All the women enter the place they are staying individually. I guess they usually don't stay together during this week, but they are this time. I hate to use the same word as Victoria, but #AWKWARD.

Someone brings up hometowns to try to have a conversation, but it dies fast. Peter arrives to talk to them all.

Peter tells them that this week may be a little awkward and weird, but hopefully they can look past everything else. Dates start today.

Hannah Ann will go first.

She is wearing a cropped top with some high rise jean shorts. She has a really bad/weird dark tan line on her torso. She made some bad tanning choices.

She thinks it is excited to be on the gold coast, but I bet she doesn't even know what that means.

They head out on jet skis. They talk along the beach. Hannah Ann she understands it's hard to compartmentalize all his relationships, but no matter what, she will be here for him this week.

She gets teary eyed. Right now, Peter just wants to think about them.

Back at the house, Victoria says she doesn't mean to pry (yeah, right), but how did it go talking to Peter after the roses? Madison doesn't say much, but Victoria brings up that their boyfriend will be staying with each of them overnight. 

Now, for the dinner and evening potion of Hannah Ann's date. Every one of his dates is a snooze.

Hannah Ann told her mom that she would rather walk away with potentially having her heart broken than to walk away with regrets.

When she gets her fantasy suite card, she says, "It's clear I'm in love with you. Of course, I am going to spend more time with you."

At the "house," Victoria talks with Madison about the fact that it's weird knowing that Peter and Hannah Ann are together. 

They forgo the hot tub if you can believe that. When does anyone every pass up the hot tub?

The soundtrack is horrible. Simply horrible.

The next morning Madison tells Victoria she is almost at her breaking point. 

We are spared the morning conversation with Hannah Ann and Peter and get Hannah Ann coming in to talk to her roommates. Really awkward time. Hannah Ann has a really odd expression.

Victoria gets up to go get ready for her date. 

I still don't know why this witch is on here. I'd left her in the dust a while ago, especially after her meltdown last week and not meeting her family.

He wants to clear the air to start the day and leave everything behind them.

Peter likes the fire that Victoria brings. Life would never be boring with her. Ok, Peter, if you like drama all day every day, more power to you.

After a helicopter ride that involved more tongue than taking in the sites, they sit down for a talk. A talk like all his other talks. Nothing is said.

At the house, Hannah Ann and Madison talk. Madison tells Hannah Ann he told Peter a lot about her standards. They must not have showed all that because she didn't say all that much. She tells Hannah Ann more about how if Peter slept with someone she wouldn't be able to continue.

Hannah Ann doesn't say it to Madison in the moment, but that turned her off. For her, it's what they all signed up for. It makes her mad for Madison to say that how far her or Victoria's relationship goes will determine if she (Madison) continues. 

Over dinner, Victoria says they need to continue their conversation from earlier. She knows communication is necessary. She wants him to know why she is the way she is. She had a relationship that was three and a half years and he never asked her how she felt. Since she never had that before, she gets defensive when asked, even if nothing bad is meant by it. Peter wants her to talk, to tell him when he says something wrong, not just walk away. Oh, poor Victoria (not), "I doooonnnnnn'tttttt knoooooowwwww. I'mmmmm tryyyyyyying. I don't knooooooowwwwww what you want."

After some mindless babble, he hands over the fantasy suite. He wants to have more "meaningful conversations" with her through the night. He thinks their dinner conversation has been a turning point. So little means so much for him. Either that or a lot of editing.

I can't stand how she does her hands when she cries (this time in a producer interview where she lifts the hem of her dress as a Kleenex.

Madison is pacing back at the hotel. They saved her until the last to fret the week away. I 100% agree with her morals, but she should have never signed up for the show. 

We do see Peter and Victoria the next morning. He thinks they are finally in such a good spot. He's on a high hearing that she's in love with him.

Hannah Ann and Madison are talking -- Hannah Ann saying that if Victoria came back, obviously things went well. Cue Victoria coming in. She tells more about her date than Hannah Ann did.

Madison asks Victoria if she got the clarity she needed. Victoria said she did. Madison leaves the room.

Victoria just comments to Hannah Ann that it's so weird. 

It's finally Madison's turn. She's going to have a good last date before giving her ultimate ultimatum in all her words.

He asks how she likes the view of the beach. However, he has another view to show her... from the top of the building over there. Up 77 floors. From there, they climb a ladder up to the roof.

I'd just have to head home now. I'm not going to climb anything or go outside of the building. I'll view all there is to see from the inside of tall buildings, thank you very much.

"Everything worthwhile is uphill," says Madison in her voice over.

Victoria and Hannah Ann sit around talking about how Madison is struggling. Hannah Ann talks about her conversation with Madison. Hannah Ann said the conversation Madison and Peter had were about expectations, but she didn't get around to talking about saving herself for marriage.

Victoria doesn't think it's fair for Madison to give him an ultimatum about other, private relationships. Hannah Ann wonders what Peter is going to think being put on the spot.

Later that evening, they meet for "dinner." She says there is lots to talk about.

When they sit down, he wants to be honest about what was said the last time that was talked. He's been torn as he does have two other relationships.

She walked away from the last conversation feeling discouraged. She didn't exactly mean to give an ultimatum. Now, Madison wants to be as honest as she can be. She finally tells him she's been saving herself for marriage. She is aware that both people in a relationship may not have made the same decision. At this point, though, she wants them to be honest about it.

Peter states the obvious: That's not been his plan. He asks what his expectations of him are. Peter asks if she can give up the possibility of a future for them if he has been with someone else he's in a relationship with.

Madison says she cannot say yes to an engagement if she knew he slept with someone else six days before. He says he won't give details. She says she doesn't need details, and she can't actually ask, but... She goes on a bit and says she's still fighting and that he's worth it.

Peter says he doesn't want her to think it's all about sex right now, but this is a big deal for them right now. He won't give details, but he has been intimate (how he actually words it), and that he won't lie about it.

Peter can 100% see the two of them together at the end, but he has to be honest. He can see himself with others too.

Awkward moment of silence. Madison asks if he'll excuse her for a second.

The kangaroos are listening to Madison cry. Like literally. There is a shot of kangaroos.

Inside, Peter has some of his own tears.

Madison in her producer interview admits disappointment. To an extent, I get disappointment, but I don't see where she can get mad, and she is mad at him. Unless you were clueless to last season, you know about the windmill last season. He's the bachelor... what exactly do you REALISTICALLY expect?

Peter finally goes out to her. He hugs her. He says he's so sorry. He hates the situation (which situation exactly, I'm unsure).

Peter doesn't want her to walk away from this. Then, he asks her what she needs to do.

And that's where the evening ends. #cliffhanger.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

I Will Call Upon the Lord

I Will Call Upon the Lord
By Michael O’Shields

I will call upon the Lord, (women echo)
Who is worthy to be praised (echo)
So shall I be saved from my enemies (echo)

The Lord liveth, and blessed be the Rock,
And let the God of our salvation be exalted.

Jesus Christ who died for me, (echo)
And He took away my sins (echo)
I will live with Him for eternity (echo)


I will call upon the Lord… (end in unison)

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Survivor: Winners at War: Pay attention to who you are talking to

This week it only took me until Saturday night to watch and write up a post. I was going to do it last night, but I got to dozing while trying to finish off part two of last week.

I told everyone last week that I was behind on everything these days and that it would be random each week with when I got to post.

So we ended last week with Amber getting voted off, bequeathing her fire token to Rob and heading off to Edge of Extinction.

Amber says she would be super depressed if it weren't for EoE because she didn't come all the way out here to go home this early on. She's not done. The game is still going for her.

It looks like she and Natalie might freeze to death on EoE though. They look really cold. (And now I need to go turn up my heat.)

The morning after tribal, Rob finds a fire token in his bag. He knows this isn't good. It was hard for the two of them to leave their four kids at home, so he knows that is weighing on her. He doesn't know for sure that Amber was taken out first, but he doesn't know who else he would have gotten a token from. The other option in his mind was Sandra. They just spent 36 days together as mentors.

He has nooooooo clue that Sandra is out for blood. His blood.

Ben decides he needs to up his social game by teaching people how to find idols. It works. Denise finds the immunity idol. The idol they find is a double idol. She has to give the other half to someone by sundown, and it only works when used together. Instead of Ben trying to get her to share it with him, they try to draw someone in with them. Denise goes to Adam and tells him. She doesn't plan to give it to him either. She asks him about giving half to Parvati. Like Adam, I ask, "WHY?"

Adam does convince Denise (for the moment) to give him half, but she says something about him giving it back when asked.

Meanwhile on the other beach, Yule is trying to figure out how to get fruit out of trees with Kim. Kim wanders off to go idol hunting since she is on the bottom.

She finds the same kind of immunity idol that Denise did. She barely covers her tracks when Nick and Tony wander up on her. She plays it off as looking for firewood. She recruits Sophie to gather wood with her, and tells her about the idols. They hide idol and head back to camp with the wood.

Sophie thinks Kim just made a huge mistake telling her. They haven't worked together before, and evidently, even with this gift, doesn't plan to. Sophie thinks Kim should have invited Tyson to go gather wood. Of course, Kim doesn't know she's sought after an enemy.

Out on Edge of Extinction, Amber and Natalie read a new clue they have to figure. Natalie knows that there's going to be bartering involved. They basically scour the entire island. They don't think they've found anything and kind of give up for the day. That's until Natalie looks down in the well. It's an advantage she has to sell to someone for a fire token.

She sends the message to Jeremy. The advantage is that the person can leave tribal without voting, yet at the same time, they can't be voted out either. He's going to send the fire token back to Natalie. He's realized that using fire tokens to buy tarps isn't what it's really all about.

Tony and the red team build a ladder to try to get up in a tree. Everyone, especially Tyson, thinks he's nuts and going to fall to his death. As the ladder starts to fall apart with the first step, everyone laughs at him. Tony swears he designed it loosey goosey on purpose. He gets the fruit, so maybe he does know what he's doing.

Sarah is trying to keep her distance from Tony so everyone doesn't think they are in kahoots. Tony promises the "Cops R Us" alliance is going to actually be an alliance this time.

When everyone gathers on Day 6 for a reward and immunity challenge, Rob's fears about Amber are confirmed. Everyone on his team looks to Rob. Jeff asks Rob if that was a move towards him since they are a couple. Steam almost comes out of Rob's nose and ears.

Today's challenge involves a cart, and a chest of puzzle pieces. They have to move the cart and chest through a series of obstacles before building the puzzle. The winner gets a Survivor Spice Kit.

The teams get three sets of keys and chests at an even pace. Each team has seven participating and two watching to do the puzzle at the end. The red team has Sandra and Sophie watching. The blue team has Rob and Denise waiting in the wings. It takes the blue team longer to get their card back together and back on the course, so they are behind by the time they get to the puzzle.

Sandra and Sophie have a head start and have almost a fourth of the puzzle done. Rob and Denise make up quite a bit of time though and even things back up. S&S go after the next set of pieces while Rob and Denise are intentional about dividing out and organizing pieces. Rob may have led them astray. S&S pull way ahead.

Rob screwed up, and he knows it. Ethan at one points sits down, defeated. Parvati knows that the old school people are outnumbered by the new, so one of the newer players has to go. It's time to go back to camp and decide who.

Ethan tells Rob to his face he sucked today. He laughed after. Rob feels secure in his relationships. Jeremy and Ben are on his hit list. He talks to Parvati and Ethan in view of Danni and others. Danni thinks she may be targeted since she's being left out. She shares this concern with Ethan and Ben. Danni tells Ethan she is isn't sure what's going on with Parvati and her conversation with Rob was short. Ethan asks Danni if she realizes that she's talking in front of Ben because that kind of ruins thing.

Ben tries to bring Ethan, Jeremy and Adam together. Danni tries to get Rob to team up against Parvati. Rob agrees, but you know that's a lie.

Adam is psyched because the old school are turning on each other. He's all about Rob's new idea of voting Danni out.

Are you following? Parvati hears about Danni's plan and is on board to get Danni out.

Everyone starts scrambling. Adam, Michelle and Jeremy decide they can blindside Parvati.

When they arrive at Tribal, Adam can't even get his torch in the rack. Ben has to help him.

Off the bat, when discussion starts, Rob talks about his wife being sent to Extinction. Jeff asks Ethan about the challenges of an old school player. Michelle says that reading people is hard now matter how long ago you played.

The whole old school vs. new school discussion comes up, and Ben tries to explain all things going on. Ben says Ethan, Rob and Parvati have been running around all day talking to everyone. They pointed out so has Ben. So has everyone. Discussions between everyone have taken place.

Rob leans over to start talking to Jeremy. Parvati and Rob talk, Parvati and Danni, Rob and Ethan, conversations between all sorts of pairs come up.

Ben is still talking and yammering on. Ben brings up the word idols. He says he isn't looking for idols, but can help people look for idols.

Rob asks who has idols. "Let's find out who has idols." Rob reaches for his bag and goes through it. Everyone pulls open their bags and empty them out. Denise is very careful to hide hers. Cameras pan to her trying to be discreet.

I'm really not sure how this is going to shake out.

Jeff gets the votes, says his line about if anyone has an idol and wants to play it, this is the time to do so. No one pulls out an idol.


That's enough. Three votes were unread.

Jeremy and Adam look confused.

Danni takes out her fire token and puts it in Denise's box. Off to Extinction she goes.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Win a copy of Ishmael Covenant

Over the next couple of weeks, my blog team is touring Ishmael Covenant, the first in the Empires of Armageddon series by award-winning author Terry Brennan (now available from Kregel Publications). 

Learn more about the book and author below. Then, scroll down and enter the giveaway to get a copy of your own!

 About the book:

His marriage in tatters and his career ruined by lies, Diplomatic Security Service agent Brian Mullaney is at the end of his rope. Banished to Israel as punishment by his agency, he's assigned to guard a US ambassador and an insignificant box. Little does he know that this new job will propel him straight into a crisis of global proportions.

Inside the box is a messianic prophecy about the fate of the world. And a dark enemy known as The Turk and the forces of evil at his command are determined to destroy the box, the prophecy, and the Middle East as we know it. When Ambassador Cleveland gets in the way, his life and his daughter's life are threatened--and Mullaney must act fast.

Now agents of three ancient empires have launched covert operations to secure nuclear weapons, in direct defiance of the startling peace treaty Israel and its Arab neighbors have signed. And a traitor in the US State Department is leaking critical information to a foreign power. It's up to Mullaney--still struggling with his own broken future--to protect the embassy staff, thwart the clandestine conspiracies, and unmask a traitor--before the desert is turned into a radioactive wasteland.

Fans of Joel C. Rosenberg, Steven James, and Ted Dekker will relish the deadly whirlpool of international intrigue and end-times prophecy in Ishmael Covenant--and will eagerly await the rest of this new trilogy.

Read an excerpt!

About the author:

Terry Brennan is the award-winning author of The Sacred Cipher, The Brotherhood Conspiracy, and The Aleppo Code, the three books in The Jerusalem Prophecies series. His latest release, Ishmael Covenant is the first in his new series, Empires of Armageddon.

A Pulitzer Prize is one of the many awards Brennan accumulated during his 22-year newspaper career. The Pottstown (PA) Mercury won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for a two-year series published while he led the team as the newspaper’s Editor.

Starting out as a sportswriter in Philadelphia, Brennan became an editor and publisher for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and New York and later moved to the corporate staff of Ingersoll Publications (400 newspapers in the U.S., Ireland and England) as Executive Editor of all U.S. newspaper titles.

In 1996, Brennan transitioned into the nonprofit sector, spending 12 years as VP Operations for The Bowery Mission and six years as Chief Administrative Officer for Care for the Homeless,  both in New York City.

Terry and his wife, Andrea, now live in Danbury, CT.

More on Brennan can be found at He is also on Facebook (Terry Brennan) and Twitter (@terrbrennan1).

Monday, February 17, 2020

The Bachelor: Peter: Week 7: The hometowns

Here we are again. Another Monday rushing our way through to get to The Bachelor. Let's just jump in, shall we.

Peter has selected his final four, and he's bound to screw all this up in fast order. If the previews of the episode are remotely accurate, there is going to be a lot of tears.

It's time to leave Lima and head off to small town America to meet the families.

First up is Hannah Ann in Knoxville, TN.

Hannah Ann believes Peter is right for her because, oh heck, she went on about forgetting something or being in the moment. I don't even want to back it up to tell you what inane thing she said. Her dad is a forester, so one of the things to get on his good side is for Peter to prove he is a strong man. Ranger Rick thinks Hannah Ann needs a tough man. That means axe throwing, evidently. With a large audience, both embarrass themselves by bouncing axes off of the target.

Because Hannah Ann wrote him a letter, it inspired him to write her a letter about what he loves about her. It seems every dress she has worn has a name. He sees a future for the two of them, the clumsy two.

Let me just throw in there was just a commercial for The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart, and I promise you right now that I will not be recapping it.

Hannah Ann's family thinks Ranger Rick would have enjoyed the axe throwing. Ranger Rick is not convincing when he says it is exciting for Hannah Ann to bring Peter home. It's going to be hard to convince him that Peter is not just a "flash in the pan."

They skip dinner. At least there is no conversation over dinner unless I missed something. Hannah Ann's sister takes her off to talk first. They cry over happiness and how happy sister is that Hannah Ann is happy because she's never seen Hannah this happy before. Follow?

Mom asks Peter where they are right now. She's going to be a supportive mom as long as Hannah Ann is happy. However, Ranger Rick is another story. Hannah Ann is the oldest daughter, and he's going to be especially protective.

Ranger Rick tells Peter that he presents himself well, but there are still other ladies involve. With that fact, how is he with HA compared to the others? He's mumbling vague, but says he hopes to tell HA tonight that he is falling in love with her. RR wasn't expecting Pilot Pete to say that. RR warns PP not to say those words unless he means it.

He does tell her. Hannah Ann reciprocates that she is in love with him. He gets in the car to leave and HA stands outside in the rain.

Next up is a visit to Des Moines, IA to meet Kelsey's family.

Kelsey is excited to express more of his feelings to him. She isn't going to tell him what they are going to do, but they may get a little messy.

They go grape stomping to make their own bottle of wine. They try dancing in the vat. I wouldn't want to drink that.

They head inside to sample various wines. Blah, blah, blah Peter talking about Kelsey. They addressed big things early on, blah, blah, blah. She's sweet (ugh).

I don't care for Kelsey back to the champagne drama.

Before heading to the family, she tells Peter she's in love with him. Way too much loud smoochiness going on.

They get to the house where mom, stepdad, two sisters and a brother-in-law (?) are. At dinner, mom serves some of Kelsey's favorites. Soon, her sisters take her off to talk.

Kelsey's mom is the spokesperson for the family. They talk about how Kelsey is straightforward. Mom about threatens Peter.

Kelsey tearfully talks to Mike, the step-dad about fears of having her heart broken.

Kelsey tells mom she is a crier, but has cried even more through this whole process. Mom does know that Kelsey is in love and is worried about her heart.

Nothing is said that isn't normally said in every house with every family on every season.

Peter's smile every time a woman says they love him is sappy as can be.

We are speeding right through.

We have now moved on to Auburn, AL where Madison lives.

They start their date with a tour of the Auburn campus. She teaches him the war eagle yell and they had to the basketball court where her dad is an assistant coach. Charles Barkely has recorded a message for them.

They put on jerseys and Peter claims to be a good shooter from half-court. His claims are not accurate.


The head basketball coach comes out to meet them and muses how Madison is fortunate to be part of two final fours in one year. Coach talks about how great Hannah's dad and family are. He puts them through some basketball drills. Peter has absolutely no skills whatsoever.

After Coach leaves, it's one-on-one time. Madison wins because have basketball skills.

They chat a little bit about what to expect with her family. Peter told her last week she was starting to fall in love with her, but Madison didn't say it back. Peter said he felt it though today.

Mom, dad and two sisters are awaiting. They have a family tradition of having a special plate. Whoever gets the special plate means that everyone says something special about that person. After everyone says their something nice about Madison, Dad prays over dinner. They toast over sweet tea.

Before they even eat, Mom takes Madison off to talk. Mom asks her why she thinks she is still in the running. Mom doesn't know what to think, but knows Madison normally needs time which she has not had. Mom asks if she has told Peter about, you know, decisions she has made for herself. They have not discussed how she is saying herself for marriage.

Dad talks to Peter about Madison's high moral standards. I thought he was going to tell her secret. Dad knows what he was alluding to, but it went over Peter's head. His questions do make Peter squirm.

Dad and Madison have a conversation before Peter leaves.

Madison and Peter talk a little before he leaves, but she does not tell him that she loves him. She wants to make sure she's the one before she says it.

Last, but certainly not least in the drama department is Victoria's date in Virginia Beach, VA. There's been no drama so far, so you know it's going to get real now.

Victoria has been walking her dog on the beach, but once she turns her attention to Peter when he arrives, the dog goes running after a guy in the ocean.

The tourist locale that the town is, they head to Old Towne Photos for some dress up and photos. After some time hanging near the beach, Victoria takes them over to where they have their own little Hunter Hayes concert. This makes up for the last time when her ex was staring at them the whole time.

Peter thinks they are on track because they have so much fun together. He wants to marry his best friend and it seems to be going that direction.

Peter is walking away when he is stopped by someone he knows from once upon a time. They catch up a little bit, and Marissa warns that she doesn't think Victoria would be a good choice for him. She used to be friends with Victoria, but something happened a couple of months ago. The mystery lady who's face is blurred doesn't say what. She's very vague, but gives him a definite warning.

They don't arrive at Victoria's family's house together which is kind of unusual. For some reason they parted ways before the mystery woman showed up. They warning is on his mind when he arrives. They sit on the front steps to talk before going in where the family has been talking about if it is possible to fall in love in a short period of time.

Peter starts off by saying he had an ex at the concert today. He shares that Marissa said that Victoria has caused a lot of relationships to break up. She is kind of calm at first. Peter says she can see how that would put him in a bad head space. She starts crying and turns it on him that it was so wrong of him to accuse her of something. Not completely what happened. He asked her about it.

Peter asks if she's ever fought for something she wanted because Victoria is ready to give it up now. She's done with the conversation and the whole thing. She gets up and yells at the cameras.

She finally lets Peter talk to her. They start arguing again. She's mad that he is supposed to meet her family, but what this other girl said is more important to him. He asks her, "Have you not seen how much I care for you?... This is the second time you have gotten up and walked off on me." She won't have a real conversation.

He leaves without meeting her family. Victoria is crying on the curb when her family comes out to see her. Victoria's answer is, "He left." Well, yeah.

Makes me wonder how her family is since she's always been a little off.

The next morning, Peter is confused. Victoria told him how she felt about him, but... CUE KNOCK ON THE DOOR.

Victoria arrives and apologizes for the night before. She's falling in love with him, and... Peter says that he doesn't think she wants him to love her the way he wants to love her. There are moments he can totally see it, then it implodes. For the 99% that is amazing, the 1% terrifies him.

She says she's trying really hard. She can't walk away from him (but she does). After a little more conversation that goes nowhere, Peter says he's not ready to make a decision yet.

Peter heads back to wherever the next rose ceremony is going to take place. It's an airplane hangar at some airport. 

The women arrive. Madison. Hannah Ann. Kelsey. Victoria.

Peter arrives. He gives a speech about meeting their families. He doesn't reveal that he didn't meet one of them. It breaks his heart that he has to send one home now.

  1. Hannah Ann
  2. Madison

  3. Victoria

This defies all logic. I don't like Kelsey, but Victoria is a mental case.

Before she leaves, Kelsey and Peter talk on a bench. He apologizes as he is sure she didn't see it coming. Peter talks about her honesty from the beginning. She deserves the same of him. He wasn't there at the same place when she said that she was falling in love with him. With that, he walks her to the limo.

Peter goes back in and says he knows his wife is in the hangar with him. It's time to head back out over international waters. They are headed to Australia. 

Madison doesn't think Peter knows how much she is struggling. As Peter walks away, Madison calls out to him asking to talk. 


The closing credits show Victoria's family talking about Pilot Pete and Nana kisses. They were kind of more interesting than all the other families. 

Sunday, February 16, 2020

It's a Small World

We tried it on a whim... Until I went to post, I forgot this group had tried this one before.

It’s A Small World

It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears,
It’s a world of hope and a world of fears.
There’s so much that we share, that it’s time we’re aware,
It’s a small world after all.

It’s a small world after all. 
It’s a small world after all,
It’s a small world after all. 
It’s a small, small world.

He’s the Lord of the sky, He’s the Lord of the sea,
He’s the Lord of you, He’s the Lord of me.
Jesus died on the cross.  And he gives us liberty.
He’s the Lord of all.

Jesus is Lord of us all,
Jesus is Lord of us all,
Jesus is Lord of us all,
He’s the Lord of all.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Survivor: Winners at War: You knew that one was coming ASAP

I'm picking up here where I left off last week with the second half of the Winners at War premiere.

When Natalie is voted off first, she gifts her fire token to Jeremy and heads off to the Edge of Extinction. It's a windy night as she reads the welcome note. She learns she'll be able to earn extra fire tokens, but if loneliness overtakes her, she can raise the flag and go home.

The next day (Day 3), The red tribe talks around the well. Sandra is personally offended because on Island of the Idols last season, Boston Rob said he'd never come out here... that he would not play. Now, I don't know why Sandra would believe that. Everyone knows would play again. He may have said it seeing if she would believe the lie, but I don't think he was serious.

Because Sandra is so hurt over this, she is determined to get Amber out at the first chance she has.

Yul tries to collect the one-time players together for an alliance -- Adam, Sophie, Wendell and Yul. They plan to control the game.

On the other tribe, Michele feels on the outs because she didn't know that Natalie was going to be voted out. Ben fills her in that Rob and Parvati have something going on. Rob is trying to act like he isn't in control, but he is.

Jeremy finds the fire token in his bag, making him the possessor of the most for the moment.

Natalie, on Extinction, finds the menu of items purchasable with fire tokens. She digs and finds a bottle with a clue to find a fire token. It tells her to journey to the last place she can see the sunset. She hikes up to the top of the island, and it is quite a trek. She finally finds an immunity idol. It's not going to do her a lot of good on EoE, so she can pick one person on the losing team that she can sell the idol to for a token.

When it comes time for the next immunity challenge, Sandra sits out since her team has one extra person. She ought to compete since she's such a big shot.

For the challenge, each team paddles out to a platform to retrieve number tiles. They have to do an obstacle course to use the tiles to figure out a combination lock to get rings to throw at paddles and whoever raises that flag first wins.

Rob's team hits an obstacle and falls behind. The other team gets their bag un-knotted before Rob's team can get to the platform. He takes control, gets the boat up to the platform and gets the pieces. They almost catch back up, until they get to the barrel roll. The red team seems to have better luck. While the red team does help each other, Rob pretty much has to throw his team over the barrel. He launches one after another while a couple of the other men hold it. The trouble comes when it's just Rob and Jeremy are left. Rob has to get Jeremy on his shoulders to get him over. Then, Rob gets someone to pull him over over.

Dad bod with a beer gut or not, Rob is a beast.

Rob's team is way behind, but Wendell isn't having a whole lot of luck with the rings after getting the first one.

Jeremy is able to pull it off for the blue team.

Since Rob's team wins, it doesn't take much to guess that the Red team led by that witch Sandra is going to target Amber. Amber knows it.

Rob knows it too. And he knows there's nothing he can do to stop it.

The red team gathers back at camp. Everyone wants to know what everyone else wants to do.

Kim, Wendell, Amber and Tyson want Sandra or Nick to go. Maybe Tony?

Wendell goes to the other group. He says he wants to work with them. Wendell tells Sandra he wants it to be Tyson or Amber.

Sophie talks to Wendell and Kim, then Amber.

Then everyone scrambles with everyone else.

Sandra decides to spread "truth, lies and rumors."

I don't know what Natalie was smoking, but we learn at this point that she has sent the immunity idol to Sandra. Nothing says for sure, but she guesses it was Natalie who sent it to her. Sandra has no problem paying her token for it.

Tony gathers a group to yammer on, and he says Tyson goes home.  He wants to break up the poker alliance of Kim, Tyson and Amber (by connection of Rob).

When all gets silent, Kim knows something is going on, but she doesn't know what. She has to dig in to find out. She's pretty sure that it will be her, Tyson or Amber going home.

It's time for Tribal Council...  Jeff leads them in a conversation, starting with Amber and how different she feels since it's been 16 years since she's played. She's not used to this pace.

Sandra pipes up about how Amber is going to have to pick up the pace.

Kim talks about how she knows her name was on the block because of the poker player allaince that was never a thing to begin with.

After more and more round and round talk, it's finally time vote.

Jeff reads the votes:

(and one vote that remains unread since that was enough)

Amber drops her token in Robs's box, of course.

With that, Amber joins Natalie on the Edge of Extinction.

Anyone not see that coming?

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Survivor: Winners at War - FINE! I'm going to blog on this ONE season

A day or two before the premiere of the 40th season of Survivor, I commented on someone's post about it. It was actually an author that was talking about watching it and the previews. A mutual friend, another author I have worked with, asked if I was going to blog about it.

The thought has crossed my mind, but only this one season of all winners. This one special season. Not taking it on as a new thing to blog about every season. The big snag: Survivor is a Wednesday night show. I'm never home on Wednesday nights. After church, a friend and I have a standing dinner date. Sometimes, I don't get around to watching for days. That makes it a bigger challenge to blog about weekly.

I am so absolutely behind on blogging--I have so much I want to go back and back post. Stuff I still want to post from back in the fall (for what reason, I don't know other than OCD) that I will promote through my PR page on Facebook for one thing to get a little more attention for some books that need some love. (I need to give up on some things. Let it go.) So much to do. While I am watching, I need to be crafting. I need to work on my expenses for my taxes. If all else fails, I need to be doing some work (like right now as I type this).

A couple of people said they would read it when I posed the question on Facebook if anyone would indeed read it. After all, my readership on my Bachelor blogs has tanked. Why should I believe in the power of two readers?

This week, I put off watching the episode until I made up my mind if I was going to blog it or if I had time to get my laptop out while I watched. I put it off Thursday. Nope on Friday. Saturday, I told myself. Nope. Sunday night. Going to watch it, but no, I won't blog about it. I didn't need one more thing on my list.

Then, I started watching. There was commentary I wanted to make. Things I wanted to point out.

So here we go.

I didn't get up and go get my laptop, so here I am actually on Monday night after blogging on The Bachelor, watching part of the show again to remember all I wanted to say. I'll actually schedule it show up on the blog the night it aired to make the weekly post consistent. As I type this, I'm not sure I'll get the post finished before I sign off for the night or my laptop battery runs out of juice. If it comes to that, I'll just have to finish it later.

I'm going to try my hardest not to give a blow by blow recap, but instead share some highlights. It's way too hard to blow-by-blow with Survivor. I will, however, get a little detailed this first episode. Maybe, maybe not.

As the two boats full of players arrive on the island, there's some reminiscing to be done there on the beach and lots of clips of contestant interviews.

A few highlights of note:

Ethan (from way back in season 3 in Africa) has been through a lot since his time on Survivor. Any fan knows he battle cancer.

Sandra feels betrayed by Boston Rob not telling her that he was going to be on this season. After all, they just spent 39 days together as mentors last season. As I recall, she didn't exactly tell him. What's good for her doesn't work for anyone else. As if we didn't already know who Sandra was going after, we do now.

There's a little bit of memory sharing between Jeff and some of the winners on the beach. It's a really big deal, of course, for Boston Rob and Amber to both be on the season. It has been twenty years since Amber's first season on the show, way back in season 2 in Australia. Then, iPhones didn't exist. iTunes weren't even a thing yet, Jeff points out. Amber was 20 when her season was recorded. She's 41 now.

After a toast to the season, Jeff hands out the buffs. They may have arrived on one boat of men and one boat of women, but that's not how they will play. Teams have been decided. They have to pick up the buff with their name on it.

I have to admit right here, I don't remember some of these people. This isn't because I haven't watched the show for twenty years. The first season it came on was in 2000. The summer after I graduated college in May. The radio station I listened to was always recapping on Thursday mornings. I didn't catch it that first season because I was at church on Wednesday nights when it came on. I didn't set my VCR back then. I may not have watched as Richard Hatch won that season, but I sure heard about it. Eventually, the season would air on some cable network, and I watched it then. (For a while I had numerous seasons saved on VHS. Tons of tapes I tossed when I moved seven years ago and didn't take them with me.)

No, I started watching in season two where all the women fell in love with Colby Donaldson. It makes me sad he didn't win any of his three seasons so we could be watching him now.

The people I remember are all the old school people. The classic players. The ones from recent years haven't stuck all that well. I normally couldn't tell you who won the last season by the time the new one starts if I am 100% honest about it. 

These days while I'm watching it, I'm multi-tasking or scrolling on my phone, and I just don't get in as deep as I once did. 

At any rate, it's crazy to think the show has been on for FORTY seasons over TWENTY years.

Now, back to the tribes. I don't know how to spell the tribe names, so I'll just give you the team colors.

Red Team:

  1. Amber
  2. Sandra
  3. Sarah
  4. Tony
  5. Wendell
  6. Tyson
  7. Yul
  8. Sophie
  9. Adam
  10. Kim

Blue Team:

  1. Rob
  2. Parvati
  3. Jeremy
  4. Natalie
  5. Ethan
  6. Danni
  7. Nick
  8. Ben
  9. Denise
  10. Michele

This season, each contestants will start with a currency knows as fire tokens. When they are voted off, they have to will their fire tokens to another player before they head off to the Edge of Extinction  for a chance to get back in the game. Tokens can be used to by food and comfort items but we'll find out other things that can be purchased as well.

This season, the cash prize is also $2 million. I don't know if any of them are truly interested in the money. This is for bragging rights.

And there's no time for dilly dallying around. It's time for a reward (flint)/immunity challenge right off the bat.

In pairs for each team, the players swim out to a pole to get a ring. Then, the teams pull everyone along in an effort to get to their team flag pole first. The first team to three wins.

The red team will win three to one.

Now, observations, now that these players are older and wiser, they thankfully knew to pack swimsuits that were going to be a little more practical for the challenges than the first time around.

Some of these people are looking old, much like scrolling through my friends on Facebook. I know I have to be looking that way these days. I did pull out one of the going crazy gray hairs atop my own head yesterday, so I admit my age.

All of this has nothing to do with the moment during this challenge that hit me and made me decide I would go ahead and blog some this season. No, what I noticed was the absolute looks of pain and concern as Rob and Amber's teams competed against each other. They wanted to cheer one another one. They cringed as the other got beat up in play. You could tell the real emotion there you don't get out of the other stupid reality show I blog about. Where Boston Rob would normally play for blood, it's going to be harder for him this time. When they make their way to their camps, Yul realizes how long it has been since he played. He's going to swiftly see the difference between old school and new school play. There's a whole lot more twists and turns in later years in order to keep the show fresh. It's going to be a struggle for the players of old who played a more pure, traditional game.

The red team gets to work on building their shelter. Wendell didn't want to be responsible and build shelter again (as the master furniture builder). He wants to go idol hunting.

Sarah and Amber get water where Sarah says she is surprised Amber is here with four little ones at home. Amber said it was an easy decision to be there, but hard to leave the girls at home. Tyson gets really emotional talking about making Daisy Chains for his daughters as they would countdown the days he was gone.

Never a Tyson fan before, it was nice to see the nicer, kinder side of him. Bonding over their children and how their lives have changed is a nice change to all this reality competition.

Though I obviously have no children, I could identify better with the late 30- and 40-something players who have seen some life and understand what life in the real world is like instead of being jaded 20-somethings.

Meanwhile, Sandra is just as much Sandra as she ever has been. She brags on about being the Queen of Survivor. Everyone wants to be like her. She's the only one to win twice. She's the best. If people were wise, they would try to get her out first.

On the other beach, Rob knows he's at a disadvantage losing the first challenge. He's a target. He was just on a season where there was a giant idol of him. As best I recall, I didn't like Rob the first time he played back in Marquesas. He has grown on me over the seasons, and I adore Boston Rob now. He's never going to make it to the end, but I really want him to.

Parvati hasn't played in 10 years. As a wife and mom now, she's not going to be able to use her flirting game. She left her 10-month-old baby back home. Think about it. She may not be home for her baby's first birthday. Maybe I will like her more this time around because I've always disliked her.

Ethan hasn't one since 2004 when he played at 27. He's happy to be alive and there. His seasons were definitely no frills.

On both teams, payers are hesitant to go off on their own for too long. People are going to think you are idol hunting. It's a struggle that Amber faces. She feels she needs to idol hunt because people are going to want her and Rob out.

Yul points out to Sophie that Kim played poker with Rob, Tyson and Jeremy. Tyson commented on this televised poker game that if they ever ended up on an island together, they would be the poker alliance. This is assumed to be an alliance whether they actually agreed to it or not. It's going to be brought up time and time again.

A somewhat unlikely alliance, Rob tries to team up with Parvati.

Ethan, Danni, Ben and Nick talk about how it would be best to get Rob off early. Ben can't keep his mouth shut and spills the beans during a walk along the beach with Wendell and Rob. Michele and Nick come up on this too. Rob tells Ben he's not so sure about him since he's stumbling over telling him the truth. Rob confronts Danni, and then she even agrees to work with him after bringing up his name. Maybe Rob can charm everyone. I still don't think he has a chance.

However, there are other names on the tribe being tossed around. Denise and Adam are being thrown out as possibilities because those two were out looking for idols. They claim they got lost looking for the water well, but no one believes them. Jeremy and Natalie were tight going into the game. They may need to be broken up.

Adam turns attention to splitting votes on Jeremy and Natalie. He goes to Ethan. Ethan goes to Parvati and Rob. Parvati goes back to like everyone else saying Rob doesn't have a preference. Parvati with Ben, Natalie, Jeremy and Danni are talking about Adam.

Parvati and Rob are trying to decide if everyone is dumb or scared. Those two are trying to figure out if they are getting punked.

Rob is already showing signs of his tank top sunburn. He's showing off his dad bod now.

So... tribal council #1:

Jeff tries to chat it up with everyone. Ethan and Rob talk about how fast the game moves now. Jeremy tries to play the "I don't remember" card when it comes to talking about who went off idol hunting first. Denise admits her stupidity of wandering off. Adam says they don't need to worry about he and Denise who met yesterday when there is so much past relationship there.

Natalie doesn't want to be voted off first like her sister did once upon a time. (They were also on Amazing Race - I remember more of them from there.)

Every person is scared to say something and is afraid of becoming a target. As Ethan talks, Jeremy leans in to ask Ben if Rob and Parvati started something. Ben is beginning to think so. Somebody is slow.

It's time to vote.

(That's enough - two votes aren't read.)

Jeremy and Michele seem clueless. Ben tells Jeremy they'll talk later.

Natalie bequeaths her fire token to Jeremy before heading off to Edge of Extinction.

That's where I'm going to call it a night. That's the first of two hours, I need to get to bed early and I'm about to start getting battery warnings.

I'll post about the second hour as soon as I get a chance.