Nuggets of Wisdom

Monday, December 24, 2012

Fav Xmas Songs: Believe

First things first: Polar Express is an awesome Christmas movie! Sure, the story is fairly simple, and the characters are relatively bland, but it more than makes up for it all with the visuals and music.


As you can probably tell, some of my favorite Christmas songs deal with reclaiming the child-like wonder of Christmas. As with “Where Are You Christmas?” the message of this song is fairly straight forward: Christmas only has as much power as you give it. If it feels that Christmas no longer has the magic it used to, it’s not because Christmas has changed, it’s because you have changed. Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to keep the Christmas spirit alive within your own heart.

Also, I feel that this song and movie manages to touch upon a virtue that has since been overlooked and even reviled in our modern world: Faith. Yes, with the entire debate between religion and atheism, faith has simply become defined as believing in something without evidence, and thus is often associated with ignorance. But this simply isn’t the case. When you get right down to it, faith ultimately means placing your trust in something that is larger than yourself, whether it’s Santa Claus or God or even your family, your friends, or humanity as a whole. Either you have trust in something or you have trust in nothing, and when you have trust in nothing, you’re left all alone without anything; and in order to get through this life, you need to have faith in something.

And this is what Christmas is all about: hoping for a better life and world through faith in something larger than yourself, bet that in the religious sense though Jesus Christ or in the secular sense with love for your fellow man. That is truly the spirit of Christmas, and it only has as much power as you give it…if you just believe that is.

Fav Xmas Songs: Where Are You Christmas?

Let’s face it: as we grow up, little by little, the magic of Christmas that once existed during childhood begins to fade. What was once a time of joy and wonder quickly becomes mundane and arbitrary. Christmas decorations become a distraction, Christmas music becomes a nuisance, and Christmas shopping becomes a huge hassle. (And don’t get us started on the “War on Xmas!”) What was once a holiday that filled us with joy simply becomes just another day that ceases to do anything for us.


And this is where this song comes in. Yes, we can argue about whether or not “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” really needed a live-action remake (Personally, I love the movie!), but if there’s one thing that most people remember about this film, it’s this song by Faith Hill.

This song poses the question that most everyone has asked themselves during the Christmas season: has Christmas changed, or have we changed? Did the magic of Christmas simply fade away, or did we simply grow out of it. It’s then that you realize that nothing about Christmas has changed, it’s just that we’ve grown up and changed. Ultimately, the theme of this song is that the Christmas spirit only has as much power as you allow it to have. If you’re not feeling in the Christmas mood, then it’s a fault on your part, not Christmas.

Bottom line: if you want Christmas to have the same magic it has when you were a kid, then by all means, start getting into the Christmas spirit. The holidays are only as magical as you make them to be.

Fav Xmas Songs: Grown-Up Christmas List

Very few songs encapsulate the child-like joy of Christmas than this song. (Well, to be honest, there are two others, but I’ll get to those shortly.)

The idea of writing a Christmas list to Santa Claus as an adult seems pretty silly at first, but considering the hassles of adulthood, especially in today’s world, the temptation to slip back into such a childhood tradition seem very alluring, and I’m sure that was the intention of this song.

As a child, it was comforting to know that there was an omnipotent altruistic figure who had the power to reward good, judge evil, and essentially change the world at his whim; but as we grow old, we grow out of such childhood fantasies. But is it for the better? What eventually happens is that we find ourselves in a cold, dark world void of any joy or hope. We feel small. We feel we have no control. So it’s very tempting to want to retreat into such a childlike state where we can appeal to an all-powerful figure who has control over the world in his hand.

And this seems to me what the song is about: it’s about reliving the joy of writing letters to Santa and asking him for favors during the Christmas season, only instead of asking for toys for yourself, it’s about asking for a better world for everyone else to live in. And as with “Someday at Christmas,” it offers a glimmer of hope that, if we do hold the spirit of Christmas with us, we could very much end up with a much better world than we have now.

(Um, did I unintentionally compare Santa Claus to God?)

Fav Xmas Songs: Someday At Christmas

I know I’ve been slacking on these “Favorite Christmas songs” posts, but life has been keeping me busy for the holidays. So this Christmas Eve, I’m sharing my last four favorite Christmas songs.

And let’s start with this one: “Someday at Christmas” by Stevie Wonder.

Fun Fact: I did not know Stevie Wonder sung this until I recently looked it up. I always thought it was a woman singing it. (I don’t know if that’s a fault on my part or Stevie’s.)

Again, this may not be a “traditional” Christmas song, but it’s one that perfectly encapsulates the Christmas spirit. It’s pretty sad to think that, during a time that’s supposed to be about peace on earth and good will to men, we still have to suffer through war. And to give this song context, it was written during the Vietnam War, an especially dark time in our history. And considering we’re still going through two wars today, things still look bleak now.

But songs like this give us hope (especially to us who are anti-war libertarians) that if we can manage to keep the spirit of Christmas in our hearts throughout the year, maybe, just maybe, there just will be peace on earth.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Daily Pony: December 21, 2012

Well, to no one's surprise, the world did not end yesterday, but it seems that Shining Armor managed to receive a happy ending. (But it's not what you think!)


december 21, 2012 by *CSImadmax on deviantART

Friday, December 21, 2012

Fav Xmas Songs: O Holy Night!

What better way to sing such an angelic song that with the voice of an angel? I mean it. Josh Groban's voice is that of an angel, and I would not doubt that the voices of the angelic choir singing praises to the newborn king paled in comparison to his own.

I love his rendition of O Holy Night. I love any song by him. His voice is by far the sexiest one out there...well, for a man.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fav Xmas Songs: Christmas Time is Here Song

A classic song from a Christmas classic. What more do I need to say?



Oh, and ironically enough, this special was considered by Reason Magazine as being the worst special for libertarians to watch because it bashes consumerism. (Um, guys, I love your articles, but I think you're stretching this a bit too far to match your libertarian agenda! Attacking the commercialization of Christmas is not the same as attacking capitalism. Don't overanalyze these things and just enjoy the special, why don't you?)

Eat The Rich!

Personally, I feel that Michael Moore would have been a more sutiable figure in this comic than Liberal College Girl, but either way, the hypocrisy is the same!


imgur

Daily Pony: Just a Thought in the Morning

It's true, some days are dark and lonely
And maybe you feel sad
But Pinkie will be there to show you that it isn't that bad
There's one thing that makes me happy
And makes my whole life worthwhile
And that's when I talk to my friends and get them to smile



Just a Thought in the Morning by ~Ruffu on deviantART

Pinkie Pie: Placing the feelings of her friends before her own!

I Don't Have Time For This!

I seriously don't! I'm on the verge of freelancing two articles this weekend and preparing to leave on Christmas vacation. So the last thing I feel like doing right now is replying to idiots on the Internet.

Remember my last post where I discussed a blogger who blamed the Connecticut school shooting on hunting? Well, he replied to me--sort of. I had left a comment to him on his site, and he replied to it, claiming that he didn't blame the shooting on hunting culture, even though he explicitly does! I'm not sure if he's being disingenuous or just dishonest.

And then there's this guy! I had argued with him about the nature of the shooting and of gun control, and now he's accusing me of not caring about the children. Seriously! "What about the children?!" Listen, pal: like everyone else with a heart, I too am torn up that innocent children were gunned down by a gun-toting maniac. But unlike you and every other bleeding heart liberal exploiting this tragedy to promote gun control, I am not allowing my emotions to overtake my reasoning in order to push for bad policy. No amount of gun control would prevent a tragedy like that, especially considering it happened in a "gun-free zone" in a state with the strictest gun laws in the nation!

I really am getting sick of the media circus surrounding this tragic event, and I am especially sick of it being used by libtarded moonbats as a jumping off point for the gun control debate. There is no correlation between gun control and gun violence. None. Zip. Nada. These people need to stop opening their hearts and start opening their minds, assuming they have minds. (Which they probably don't!)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fav Xmas Songs: Mary's Boy

And now to spice up my list with a little Caribbean flavor. I know this isn’t exactly the most traditional Christmas song, but I guess that’s why I love it even more. Not many people associate Caribbean music with Christmas (unless you happen to be on a Christmas cruise to the Bahamas). So a song like this is especially unique and memorable, and thus one of my favorites. I’m not sure which is my favorite part: the steel drums, or the “Oh my Lord!” chorus. There’s another rendition by Harry Bellefonte, but this one by Boney M is my favorite.

"Wonderbolts Academy" Recap


This is truly a monumental episode, for in this one, we get to see Rainbow Dash move ever closer to her dream of becoming a Wonderbolt.

This episode managed to exceed my expectations. Since The Hub promos showed Rainbow Dash racing Lighting Dust, I expected this episode to introduce a rivalry between the two with an episode emphasizing competition. Instead, the two become teammates with the episode focusing on the risks of reckless behavior. So kudos to the creators for not going down the predictable route.

Next to Magic Duel, this is one of the better episodes of the season. It really developed Rainbow Dash as a character, especially with the tough choice she had to make at the end. I hear there was going to be an alternative ending where things didn't turn out for the best, but thankfully, we received the ending where things did go well, and I find that a good thing. Overall, this episode made Dash twenty-percent cooler.

Anyway, here is the episode and recap:

Wonderbolts Academy


Thoughts

• Pinkie Pie is reaaallllyyy happy that Rainbow Dash was accepted—perhaps a little bit too happy. (The RDxPP shippers are going to have a hay day with the hugging scene!)
• The Wonderbolts Academy is built upon a plateau, as opposed to other Pegasi buildings and communities which are built in the clouds.
• Most of the other Pegasi in the Wonderbolts Academy are the same ones from “Hurricane Fluttershy,” including Horse Power (the overly-muscled pegasus that screams “Yeah!”) and Cloud Chaser (though her twin Cloud Flitter is absent. I guess she doesn’t want to be a Wonderbolt.)
• As Spitfire inspects Horse Power, it’s almost as if she recognizes the implausibility of an overtly-muscled Pegasi with tiny wings. (Steroids, perhaps?)
• Spitfire tells Rainbow Dash that she probably wouldn’t make it past the first day. These words will prove to be rather prophetic later on.
• For the Dizzitron, Spitfire chooses the pink pegasus rather than Rainbow Dash or Lightning Dust, despite both eagerly volunteering.
• The reflection of the Dizzitron in Spitfire’s sunglasses make her look dizzy—or like Dr. Insano! Either/or.
• LOL! at the icon for the Maximum Speed setting for the Dizzitron.
• Spitfire sits in her office signing autographs on pictures. Seems like important business!
• Spitfire folds her glasses addressing Rainbow Dash. Looks like we’re in for a serious talk.
• The Rainbow waterfall changes from a rainbow into regular water. (You can’t explain that!)
• It’s kind of hard to describe “Capture the Flag” as anything other than fun.
• Maybe it’s just me, but Rainbow Dash’s clipped wing doesn’t seem all that bad. Something that you truly can walk off. Again, it’s just me.
• I don’t really care for the Pinkie Pie cutaway scenes. I know it’s to set up for the end, but to me, they seem like a needless distraction.
• For the obstacle course, either they changed to a different location, or the creators were extremely inconsistent with the background designs.
• Give the ponies balancing the buckets on their heads credit: balancing them like that takes real skill!
• Horse Power saves the box! :D
• Rarity cuddles the pegasus who saves her. (Countdown to shipping in 3…2…1…)
• Cloud Chaser catches Fluttershy, who is embarrassed by it. (You are a pegasus, Fluttershy! Did you forget?)
• Pinkie Pie’s expression after Rainbow Dash addressed her.
• Most people overlook Rainbow Dash’s quitting the Wonderbolts, as we all know she’s going to be accepted at the end anyway, but that moment by itself is very powerful. We all know that Dash’s dream has been to join the Wonderbolts, so seeing her make such a bold and painful decision is moving to say the least.
• Spitfire makes RD do 20 laps, when earlier, she had them all do 500.

Questions

• Anyone else disappointed that the mail pony wasn’t Derpy Hooves?
• Does it seem like Spitfire is out of character in this episode? In previous episodes, she’s a fairly laid-back pony, but here, she acts really gritty and tough. It seems as though the role of the drill sergeant was meant for another pony, but the creators placed Spitfire in as fanservice. I don’t know. She just seems off as a drill seargent.
• Is it just me, or does Lightning Dust look like a recolor of Rainbow Dash?
• Was anyone else expecting Horse Power to upchuck as he was hunched over after riding the Dizzitron?
• Why does Rainbow Dash and Lightning Bolt have to wait behind the other two pegasi? Why can’t they fly around them?
• If Spitfire is watching the race (which she is supposed to do to monitor and grade their performance), how come she didn’t realize that it was Dash and Dust that caused the ponies to stumble?
• Why are the other pegasi weakly beating the clouds? Shouldn’t they be able to break them easily?
• How was the cloud able to catch them? It has been stated before that only pegasi can walk on clouds, and that other ponies require spells in order to do so. So did Twilight cast the spell before they got to the Academy? If not, they should have fallen through the cloud.
• Why is Rainbow Dash angry at Lightining Dust? If I recall, she’s the one who agreed to creating the tornado, so she’s equally to blame. And yes, I do understand that she’s angry because of Lightning Dust’s flippant attitude towards the disaster. Which leads me to my next question:
• WHY IS LIGHTNING DUST SO FLIPPANT ABOUT THE ACCIDENT? Seriously, five ponies could have been killed because of that tornado, and she treats it like it’s no big deal. At least she should feel some remorse about nearly killing them. But no. She doesn’t! Which leads me to my next question:
• Why didn’t the Wonderbolts address Lightning Dust’s reckless behavior earlier? If they don’t condone the behavior, why did they not address it until the end? Yes, they do end up demoting her, but not after she clearly harmed her own classmates in the obstacle course and destroyed property (or at least a chalkboard) during the cloud clearing challenge. Either the instructors didn’t notice this (which would make them poor instructors), or they didn’t address it until Rainbow Dash brought it up. Either way, it seems like the Wonderbolts were more than complacent with LD’s reckless behavior, which would make RD’s anger justifiable.
• How are the others going to get home? The balloon was clearly damaged, so unless the other pegasi are busy gathering it up and repairing it, they’re pretty much stuck there.

Quotes

• Pinkie Pie: And it will be all. My. Fault! (Rarity: “This is the. Worst. Possible. Thing!”)
• Pink pegasus: “You make it look so easy.” Rainbow Dash: “I make everything look easy.”
• Pretty much every mindless rambling from Pinkie Pie! I’m not bothering to write it all down, as in the words of Apple Jack, “Is any pony else following this?” Nope!
• Apple Jack: “It’s a Twister!” (“Auntie Em, Auntie Em!”)
• Pinkie Pie: “You remembered me!”

Gags

• Rainbow Dash molding the cloud into a slide and sliding down it.
• Rainbow Dash pretending that she didn’t get in. “Gotcha!” (RD is best troll!)
• Pinkie Pie calling to Rainbow Dash with her megaphone! (“Don’t forget to write!”)
• Rainbow Dash and Lightning Dust slapping wing.
• Pinkie Pie opening and closing the mailbox in anticipation of Dash’s letter.
• Twilight faceplaming—or rather, facehoofing!
• Horse Power crunching cloud and screaming, “Yeah!”
• Dash and Dust bouncing off clouds with pinball sound effects.
• Ranbow Dash going “omigosh!” at being promoted leader.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fav Xmas Songs: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

I really love how this rendition starts out simple with Amy Grant singing, then becomes increasing more complex as more vocals and instruments join in, ultimately leading into the grand finale.

(Not So) Big Think Pins School Shooting On Hunting

One would assume that a site called “Big Think" would contain articles by writers who, well, think big. Unfortunately, most of its articles tend to be emotionally-driven, intellectually-bankrupt drivel that is all too common among Ivory Tower elitists.

This is especially true following the recent Sandy Hook school shooting where most articles regurgitated the same trite “guns are the problem; gun control is the solution” talking points. But a recent article by “spiritual writer” Derek Beres is especially egregious, as it blames the shooting on hunting culture. (No, I’m not making that up.)

But first, as can be expected, the article starts off by blaming lack of gun control.

The recurring sentiment that ‘people kill people, not guns’ is one of the most treacherous and plainly false arguments being pushed by the NRA and its devoted legion.
As I mentioned before on this blog, on the same day as the Sandy Hook school shooting, there was a similar incident in China (which has strict gun control) involving a knife-wielding maniac slashing 22 kids. Granted, no one was killed, but it does prove that you don’t need a gun to instigate a school massacre. In fact, the deadliest school massacre in history involved a bomb, not a gun.

The connection between stricter gun control policies and low murder rates has been shown again and again.
Wrong! Most cities with the highest violent crime rates (Chicago, Washington D.C., London) have the strictest gun laws, and most mass shootings have occurred in “gun-free zones” (Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Sandy Hook). In fact, at the time of the shooting, Connecticut had the strictest gun laws in the country. And do I even have to mention the Oslo shootings, which occurred in a country with strict gun laws?

Meanwhile, in Switzerland, not only are private citizens permitted to own guns, but men of military age are required to own guns and receive military training to use them. And despite this, the country has the lowest gun-homicide rates in the civilized world.

But this is hardly the worst part of the article. As I mentioned before, this whole article is on hunting organizations and how their culture fostered the atmosphere that led to the recent school shooting. (Again, I’m not making this up.)

Christian hunting organizations—there are many, including Christian Deer Hunters, Christian Bowhunters and Christian Hunters and Anglers—use select biblical quotes to justify their hobby, often claiming that it is part of man’s earthly duty to fell any creature that cannot withstand the puncture of a Bushmaster. The divine dominion man has been granted here is, of course, arrogant: only a man would write that man is the creature whom god has chosen as his favorite. Yet when the fatal consequences of such a mindset result in mass shootings and domestic violence, the Christian Right throws up a smokescreen of invented liberal moral failings and supposed attacks on our ‘freedom.’
You read that correctly, folks: this author just blamed mass shootings and domestic violence on hunting. (I’ll wait for you to wipe up your brains that leaked out your ears onto the floor reading that before I continue.)

Ultimately, this author is insinuating that, because we allow people to hunt animals for sport, this has allowed people to view no difference between killing animals and killing human beings. (In other words, the same flawed logic that blames violent crime on violent video games--which clearly is not the case!)

Funny how vegetarians and “animal rights” activists can’t seem to tell the difference between killing animals and killing human beings, yet hunters and meat eaters can. And no, it’s not because of “divine dominion.” It’s because of neuroscience. Human beings are capable of mental cognition that animals are not capable of (i.e.: self-reflection). Because of this, animals are not equivalent to human beings, and killing animals is not morally equivalent to killing human beings.

The author goes on to complain about high murder rates in America, even though statistics have shown time and again that, the occasional mass shooting aside, violent crime is actually on the decline and has been since the 90s. We are currently living in the safest period in human history. The fact that people are worried about violent crime is due to the sensationalist 24/7 mainstream media that like to exacerbate events like the recent shooting for ratings. The fact still remains that violent crime is the exception, not the norm.

And yet the author continues his screed by blaming the murder of human beings to the “murder” of animals.

The idea that animals would be venerated is impossible in a culture that cheers the idea of blowing up entire Middle Eastern countries.... In a country where meat is subsidized to be sold as cheaply as possible, an ethical culture that understands value in the totality of life is unfeasible. The religious hunting mindset will continue to translate as human sacrifice, whatever the neurochemical imbalance.
Sheesh! Why not just say that allowing people to eat animals will eventually lead them to eating human beings? Blaming war and violent crime on hunting and eating animals is just silly. Yet this logic passes on a site called “Big Think.” With such shallow thinking among “intellectuals,” it’s no wonder that most Americans don’t have a high opinion of them.

Daily Pony: Forward Progress

Wow, is this a depressing comic! I feel sorry even posting it.


Forward Progress by ~Couch-Crusader on deviantART

Monday, December 17, 2012

Fav Xmas Songs: Angels We Have Heard On High

I really love how this rendition fluctuates between simple and complex, opening with a grandiose orchestra, but continuing with piano and choir as Marina Prior sings, and then finishing with a grand finale. I especially love the brass that punctuates the end of the chorus.

Daily Pony: Forgiveness

Use of Luna's dream-intercepting powers + Backstory for the princesses = Epic Win!


Forgiveness (Fanthrose comish) by *Tprinces on deviantART

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Fav Xmas Songs: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings

“Hey, you got God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen in my We Three Kings!”

“You got your We Three Kings in my God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen!”

In all seriousness, this is a magnificent duet by the Barenaked Ladies that combines two Christmas classics into one. I love the contrast between the male and female vocals, especially the round at the very end, which manages to wrap up this double feature perfectly.

Daily Pony: The Dizzy World of Derpy Hooves

You know, I always wondered why Derpy Hooves was always wonky-eyed.


The Dizzy World of Derpy Hooves by *JoeyWaggoner on deviantART

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Fav Xmas Songs: Carol of the Bells

I love pretty much every rendition of this classic song, but my favorite by far is by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, the only band more epic than Mannheim Steamroller.

Daily Pony: Alicorn Korra

Korra is best alicorn!


Alicorn Korra by ~EhhErinn on deviantART

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Other School Massacre Today

I'm sure most of you already know about the Connecticut school shooting earlier today where 26 people were killed, 20 which were children.

But you probably haven't heard about the school massacre in China (which strictly restricts private gun ownership) where a knife-wielding maniac slashed 23 people.

So yeah, if someone you know tries to use the recent shooting as an argument for stricter gun control, feel free to mention the China massacre as a counterargument.

Oh, and it also helps mentioning that Connecticut has the toughest gun laws in the nation. Funny how strict gun laws have zero effect on violent crime.

To quote Penn Jillette: "You can't stop insane people from doing insane things by passing insane laws. That's insane!"

Fav Xmas Songs: Deck The Halls

Since Christmas is just around the corner, I've decided to do something holiday-related with my blog and share my favorite Christmas music. From now until Christmas, I will be sharing 12 of my my favorite Christmas songs (in no particular order). And since most songs have various renditions, I will be sharing the specific ones I enjoy the most.

Let's start things off with my favorite Christmas artist: Mannheim Steamroller. I know most people associate Christmas with the likes of Bing Crosby or Nate King Cole or the Vienna Boys Choir, but for me, Christmas is about Mannheim Steamroller. Hard to believe that electronica could ever be associated with such a blessed holiday, but somehow, Christmas music really sounds great when performed by synthesizer. It gives the songs a very whimsical and upbeat vibe to them.

And this is especially true with my favorite song rendition by them: Deck the Halls. I can't explain why it works, but somehow, it just does. I guess it's because we've heard such traditional songs performed traditionally so many times before that hearing them performed in such a non-conventional manner makes it sound new. Besides. It makes for fantastic Christmas light shows!

r/politics = Pure Scum

If you ever decide to visit Reddit, and you're masochistic enough to venture into r/politics, it's best to treat the subreddit like a comedy: the premise is that the redditors there consider themselves to be the living epitome of equality, social justice, and open-mindedness, and they assume that everyone else should look to them for guidance on all the world's plights and issues; and the joke is that they're actually a reprehensible bunch of scumbags composed of the lowest form of scum on earth.

One would assume that a subreddit called r/politics would consist of a wide and diverse spectrum of political viewpoints; instead, it's heavy-handed towards the far left with any viewpoint leaning slightly to the right of Fidel Castro being downvoted into oblivion. This wouldn't be so bad if the subreddit were called r/liberal, r/progressive, or even r/liberalhippiedouche, but it's not. It's called r/politics. And as such, it ought to be a marketplace of political ideas, not an ideological monopoly. The redditors on there know this and they don't care because they're right and everyone else is wrong (or so they assume).

Recently, another subreddit called r/conservative went private, which means that only members of that subreddit are allowed to post threads and leave comments. The decision was made because redditors from r/politics would often spill over into the subreddit and troll it and the redditors there relentlessly. Of course, the folks on r/politics claim it's because conservatives (or in their case, sane people) cannot handle constructive criticism. (And by "constructive criticism," they really mean calling people racists.)

Over on r/politics, a self-post was made about r/conservative going private, and the comments are what you would expect from libtarded moonbats: that conservatives are nothing but a bunch of misinformed, uneducated simpletons who cannot handle differing opinions from their own and choose to live in their own ideological bubble. (The sheer projection is so ironic it's painful!)

I'm not going to list every comment made on there (as I don't want you all to lose your lunch), but I do want to highlight one comment which I feel sums up the character of r/politics to a tee:
r/conservative is like the short bus and special classroom on reddit. We don't like to acknowledge it exists, but it does. We feel bad for the parents of the people there because they have to/had to deal with it. We put up with them because everyone has a right to have their opinion heard, but, and this is important, just like the special class room, we should have the right to laugh at their opinions if those opinions are as absurd as theirs can be at times.
Wow! I'm not sure what's worse: that they consider conservatives "mentally-retarded" or that they feel it's okay to laugh and ridicule mentally-retarded people.

These people are scum. Pure scum.

Daily Pony: Wrong Dream

It was inevitable that someone would make this reference to the recent episode.


Wrong Dream by *DocWario on deviantART

Thursday, December 13, 2012

France Fails "War On Poverty" Too!

Remember in my last post where I shared the NYT column by the libtarded columnist who bravely defied libtarded dogma by admitting that anti-poverty measures have done more to facilitate poverty rather than alleviate it (and how this upset the libtarded blogosphere)?

Turns out America is not an isolated incident, as a recent Forbes article reveals how anti-poverty measures have also done little to alleviate poverty in France.
In 2009, 11.2 million French persons received welfare payments, out a total population of 65.3 million. This amounted to $78 billion in payments. Moreover, these 11 million beneficiaries have families (parents, spouses, children); thus, more than 35 million people are actually benefiting directly or indirectly from welfare payments, which is more than 50 percent of the French population. If this rate were applied to America, about 157 million Americans would be relying on welfare.

Owing to the amount of money poured into welfare, should it be expected that there is a “social return on investment” and that the living conditions of French citizens are improving? In other words, does this welfareship work?

Let’s consider three indicators: the poverty rate; the “Active Solidarity Income,” which is France’s most important welfare payment; and a private nationwide charity called “Restos du Coeur,” i.e., “Restaurants of the Heart.”

First, the poverty rate: In 1990, 13.8 percent of the French population was poor; in 2009, the percentage was almost unchanged at 13.5 percent. In 20 years, poverty did not decrease, despite all the welfare payments.

Second, the “Active Solidarity Income,” which symbolizes France’s welfare system: It has replaced a previous payment called the “Minimum Income for Insertion.” These two are the same thing; only the name has changed. The latter was implemented in 1989, when 370,000 people benefited. In 2009, this “income” was given to 1,697,357 people. That is a huge increase. Failure must be acknowledged.

The third indicator is a nationwide philanthropic organization called the “Restos du Coeur.” It was created in 1985 to fight poverty. It provides meals during the winter to the very-low-income population. During the winter of 1985-86, 8.5 million meals were given. Since then, it has never stopped increasing. During the winter of 2010-11, about 109 million meals were given—a 1,282-percent jump in 25 years.

In practice, France’s welfare system is a failure, and there is an economic explanation for this. Welfareship does not create wealth; there are no incentives to create wealth. Despite its good intentions, welfareship has created a “poverty trap.”
France is no stranger to economic woes. Just last month, its Moody's credit rating dropped from AAA to Aa1. Among the reasons cited for the downgrade were France's "inflexible labour market and low levels of innovation eroding its competitiveness and industrial base."

This economic climate has been known as the "French Disease." It's where French bureaucrats and union leaders have made it so costly to hire an employee that it's practically impossible for businesses to hire anyone there, hence France's gargantuan unemployment rate.

And it doesn't seem like the French Disease will be cured anytime soon, especially with the election of ultra-socialist president Francois Hollande, whose tax increases on the rich has sent 400 to 500 millionaires packing.

How ironic that libtarded moonbats want us to be more socialistic like Europe, and scoff at anyone who doesn't buy into socialism, claiming that they don't understand what it is, and that if they did, they would accept it. Well, with articles like this, we do know what it is, and we want no part of it!

Why must "social justice" trump reason so?

Moonbat-to-Libertarian Deconversion Story

Mark Twain once said that "a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes." Nowhere is this saying more true than the Internet, where the information superhighway allows for the easy flow of both information and misinformation, but sadly, in most cases, misinformation.

This is especially true for social media sites like reddit. The entire site, especially r/politics and r/atheism, is the epitome of willful ignorance--a testament to how internet users can have quick and easy access to information, and yet choose not to utilize it, choosing rather to remain isolated within their own ideological bubble.

This is not to say that the entire site is without merit. I find that r/politicaldiscussion allows for more thoughtful and civil political discussion that r/politics, and I appreciate how r/circlejerk and r/circlebroke both highlight the absurdities rampant within the site. And I especially love subreddits such as r/libertarian, r/anarcho_capitalism, r/austrian_economics, and of course, r/mylittlepony!

But the rest of the site is yet to be desired. Whenever I visit it, what little faith I have in humanity takes a sharp nosedive. It makes me lose hope that knowledge will ultimately triumph over ignorance, as the site proves the exact opposite to be true.

But today, I managed to regain just a smidgen of my faith in humanity when I ran across this gem in r/libertarian. It's a self post by a former libtarded moonbat who managed to see the light and become a libertarian.

I know that "conversion" stories are a dime a dozen, and that people change their minds all the time on any given subject, but this story gives me hope that the libertarian side still manages to have weight to it, and that, no matter how close-minded some moonbats may seem to be, there is still a chance that we can reach them and convince them to join our side.

Hopefully more will realize the failure that is Barack Obama, Keynesian economics, and progressivism as a whole and side with logic, reason, and evidence. But we can only hope and pray.

Anyway, here is the self-post:
I used to be a hardcore, class warfare, top-down, centralized managed economy Progressive (Though as a Progressive I was still for civil liberties and ending the Drug War. As many Progressives are. Personal freedom, but economic regulation. Think more Occupy Wall Street). I think I was first attracted to Progressism due to big name Progressives like Teddy Roosevelt and FDR and Progressism's visionary forward thinking message. The power of government to remake society, to change the course of rivers, to tear apart cities and put them back together again. [Or maybe I was an authoritarian that believed there was such a thing as a benevolent dictatorship.]

And I thought Libertarians were all misguided people used by corporations to free themselves from government regulations so that corporations could oppress people more. I was one of those "Who will build the roads?" Progressives. Yeah I was one of those type of people.

As you guys would know after Obama became President. He was a huge corporatist, he didn't put Wall Street bankers in jail, he expanded Bush's War On Terror, secret wars, etc.

And Progressives and Liberals wouldn't criticize him even when Obama was doing the exact same things they would have hated a Republican for. You wouldn't believe the hate I got from so-called "Liberals" for criticizing Obama.

I started to read the few Progressive blogs that criticized Obama to soothe my disappointment in Obama. But that wasn't enough so I started to read conservative sites that criticized Obama. And that got me exposed to free-market economics and then Libertarianism which also shared my social views. After reading about all the waste, fraud, inefficiencies, corruption, cronyism, bribery, and favoritism as well as the broken promises of people promising that government can fix our problems I finally reject Utopian notions of government.

So there is my story. I guess I'm sharing my story because I wanted people to read a story where a Progressive person changed his mind. And I credit r/Libertarian a lot with it as I couldn't stand the Obama followers in r/Politics so I came over here to read about legitimate criticism of Obama on civil liberties, foreign policy and the Drug War and got exposed to other Libertarian ideas.

Daily Pony: Mistletoe

Funny how it's almost Christmas and I've yet to create a Christmas-related Daily Pony post up until now.

Anyway, there's nothing more Super Kawaii that a little Sparity under the mistletoe (aided by matchmaker Pinkie)!


COMIC: .:Sparity:. Mistletoe... by *ss2sonic on deviantART

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

War On Poverty = War On Poor People

You might want to check out your window to see if pigs are flying. Libtarded columnist Nicholas Kristof from the libtarded New York Times has admitted that government programs may actually be facilitating poverty rather than alleviating it.
This is painful for a liberal to admit, but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America’s safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing dependency. Our poverty programs do rescue many people, but other times they backfire.


Some young people here don’t join the military (a traditional escape route for poor, rural Americans) because it’s easier to rely on food stamps and disability payments.

Antipoverty programs also discourage marriage: In a means-tested program like S.S.I., a woman raising a child may receive a bigger check if she refrains from marrying that hard-working guy she likes. Yet marriage is one of the best forces to blunt poverty. In married couple households only one child in 10 grows up in poverty, while almost half do in single-mother households.

Most wrenching of all are the parents who think it’s best if a child stays illiterate, because then the family may be able to claim a disability check each month.

“One of the ways you get on this program is having problems in school,” notes Richard V. Burkhauser, a Cornell University economist who co-wrote a book last year about these disability programs. “If you do better in school, you threaten the income of the parents. It’s a terrible incentive.”

About four decades ago, most of the children S.S.I. covered had severe physical handicaps or mental retardation that made it difficult for parents to hold jobs — about 1 percent of all poor children. But now 55 percent of the disabilities it covers are fuzzier intellectual disabilities short of mental retardation, where the diagnosis is less clear-cut. More than 1.2 million children across America — a full 8 percent of all low-income children — are now enrolled in S.S.I. as disabled, at an annual cost of more than $9 billion.

That is a burden on taxpayers, of course, but it can be even worse for children whose families have a huge stake in their failing in school. Those kids may never recover: a 2009 study found that nearly two-thirds of these children make the transition at age 18 into S.S.I. for the adult disabled. They may never hold a job in their entire lives and are condemned to a life of poverty on the dole — and that’s the outcome of a program intended to fight poverty.
And of course, as can be expected, the moonbat blogosphere is raging over his column, accusing him of being a heartless Ebenezer Scrooge who hopes that the poor die off quickly and decrease the surplus population.

This is why, as much as I often disagree with wingnuts, I loath moonbats even more: they much rather attack their political opponents rather than debate them. Wants to curb illegal immigration? You hate immigrants! You wants to curb abortion? You hate women! You wants to curb welfare fraud? You hate poor people!

Any sane person would tell you that no one hates the poor. Nobody thinks that poor people choose to be poor or deserve to be poor. What people do argue is that some poor people choose to remain in poverty, rather than attempt to escape it, in order to abuse the welfare system. This is not the fault of poor people, but rather, a broken welfare system built upon good intentions, but prone to producing unintended consequences.

As Kristoff's column highlights, the federal government's "War on Poverty" has been just as successful at fighting poverty as its "War on Terror" has been successful at fighting terrorism or its "War on Drugs" has been at fighting drug abuse, which is to say not very successful at all. This is not opinion. This is fact!

The old saying goes that if you give a man a fish, he eats for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime. We ought to provide aid to those who are less fortunate than us, but we also need to encourage and empower them to lift themselves out of their situation. We ought to have an economic system that promotes upward social mobility through hard work and education; instead, we have a welfare system that promotes indolence, minimum wage laws that promote joblessness, and an education system that promotes ignorance.

Nobody blames the poor for being poor. Unless their poverty is the direct result of bad decision-making (which is sometimes, but not always, the case), nobody chooses to be poor. However, people do have a choice to remain poor, and if they choose to do so just so they can rely upon government assistance rather than their own labor, then they are to blame for their own poverty. And if they choose to stunt their children's education in order to continue to rely on said government assistance, then there is no reason to have empathy for them.

Anyone who ignores the unintended consequences of our current welfare system are the real ones who have contempt for the poor!

Shane's Epic Rant on Corporations



In his recent Bogosity Podcast, Shane Killian reprimands the misplaced anger against Citizens United and corporations, and points to where the anger ought to be placed: the federal government.

Daily Pony: Suprise Gift


Surprise Gift by =Veggie55 on deviantART

Teenage girl, much too young
Unprepared for what's to come
A baby changes everything

Not a ring on her hand
All her dreams and all her plans
A baby changes everything
A baby changes everything

The man she loves she's never touched
How will she keep his trust?
A baby changes everything
A baby changes everything

And she cries!
Ooh, she cries
Ooh, oh

Not a big fan of the song, but it was the first thing I thought of after seeing this comic.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"Sleepless in Ponyville" Review


I wouldn’t say this episode was bad, but overall, it was rather "meh!" I don’t exactly care for camping episodes as, having been done before in other media, they tend to be predictable. And boy was this episode predictable!

“Gee, I wonder if they will bring along the character who hates the outdoors? What do you know! They do!”

“I wonder if she will pack an insane load of luggage. What do you know! She does! And look: she’s having someone else carry it for her!”

“Now I wonder if she will have an elaborate tent. Of course she does!”

On the other hand, I love how Scootaloo finally has her own episode, and how her relationship with Rainbow Dash managed to develop in it. Reminds me of how Spike confessed his crush on Rarity in “The Secret of my Excess.” It really shows that the creators are invested in giving their characters dimension.

Anyway, here is the episode and my thoughts on it.

Sleepless In Ponyville



Thoughts

• Looks like Rainbow Dash just finished her job at the windmill. (Kudos to anyone who gets that reference.)
• Watching the opening the first time around, I thought they were actually re-running “The Cutie Mark Chronicles.” The Scootaloo scooter scene is that similar. Don’t know if it’s a callback to the original episode, or just lazy animation.
• Oh look: Rarity packed a lot of luggage for a camping trip! And Sweetie Belle is carrying it all! (On the other hand: her camping outfit is cute.)
• Oh look: Rarity has an elaborate tent. And it has two stories!
• Rarity’s couch returns!
• The Olden Pony story is reminiscent of “Clinkity Clink” and “Just Delicious” from the “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark” series. (Especially with the “You Do!” part at the end.)
• Rainbow Dash sleeps like she did in “Read it and Weep!”
• The nightmare world looks a lot like the forest from the second part of “Mare in the Moon” during Pinkie Pie’s “Giggle at the Ghosties” song.
• Seriously, look at the river of sweat Sweetie Belle is leaving behind pulling the cart. I can understand Spike accepting to do something like this. But Sweetie Belle? Her own sister? Seriously?!
• The cave looks exactly like the Ursa Minor’s cave in “Boast Busters.” (Good thing there was no Ursa Minor in there.)
• The Headless Horse story is an obvious reference to the “Headless Horseman” (Though as Apple Jack points out, this adaptation doesn’t exactly work.)
• The lanterns they use have fireflies in them.
• I love how Scootaloo realizes the illogic of the Headless Horse “whinnying”
• And of course, it’s Rainbow Dash that saves her!
• As I said before, I really love how Scootaloo opens up to Rainbow Dash, and how Dash comforts her. I really build upon their relationship.
• Looks like the falls are directly beneath Cloudsdale. (Hope that isn’t sewage from the Rainbow Factory!)
• It also warmed my heart seeing the trios racing at the end, especially with Rainbow Dash carrying Scootaloo!

Questions

• Anyone else noticing that Scootaloo is fluttering her wings more often this season? She seems to be prepping to fly.
• Anyone else realize that Rainbow Dashed needlessly killed three trees in this episode? The effect was awesome, but still, did she have to do that?
• Did anyone else think that The Olden Pony was going to be Granny Smith in disguise as a prank?
• How the heck is Scootaloo flapping her wings and driving while she is asleep?
• And how did the others catch up to her?
• Does Princess Luna really have the ability to enter into other ponies’ dream, or is Scootaloo simply dreaming her?
• How does Scootaloo manage to retrieve her scooter? She loses it twice in this episode, once falling into a river!

Gags and Moments

• Granny Smith managing to move out of Scootaloo’s way (and winking about it).
• Scootaloo crashing into the hay.
• Sweetie Belle’s sad face. (Ultra cute!)
• Rainbow Dash kicking away three logs from three trees.
• And her rainbow tornado!
• Scootaloo epically tripping. (I mean, wow, that’s unlucky!)
• Scootaloo’s expression after Dash ruffles her mane.
• Rarity’s tent.
• Rarity blushing at her story.
• Apple Bloom clinging to Apple Jack.
• Scootaloo rushing into her tent (And the cartoon sound effect that goes with it! Reminds me of Scooby-Doo!)
• Luna in the woods. (Reminds me of the Slender Man.)
• Scootaloo’s sleepless expression.
• Scootaloo jumping up real high, clinging to the cloud, and then landing in a crater (and then digging a trench at the hoot of an owl).
• Sweetie Belle falling asleep after her song, and Rarity carrying her away with magic.
• Rainbow Dash’s oversized earplugs.
• Rainbow Dash’s echoing snore.
• Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo hugging. (Kawaii!)
• Rainbow Dash flying and carrying Scootaloo (Super Kawaii!)

Quotes

• Sweetie Belle: “Rarity loves camping!” Rarity: “I despise camping! All that..bleh…nature.” (Callback to "Sisterhooves Social”)
• Rarity: “Are we there yet?” Apple Jack: “The last thousand times you asked that, no. This time, it’s actually is.”
• Rainbow Dash: “Looks like you’ll be sharing a tent with me.” Scootaloo: “Sure, if that’s okay with you?” Rainbow Dash: “Sure, as long as you don’t snore. You don’t snore, do you?”
• Rainbow Dash: “Everybody get comfortable, because I’m about to tell you the best story you ever heard.” Scootaloo: “Is it about the time that Rarity had wings, and then they got ruined, and then you saved her from plummeting to her doom?” Rainbow Dash: “Okay. Maybe it’s the second best story you ever heard.”
• Rarity: “Don’t worry: Rarity is here to keep you safe and sound.” (Ultra cute!)
• Rarity: “Am I sweating? Gasp! I think I’m sweating!”
• Apple Jack: “You’re more nervous than a worm in an apple on cider-making day.”
• Apple Jack: “Brr! It’s colder than a Timberwolf’s toenail!”
• Scootlaoo: “It was hard to find because there aren’t that many trees around here.”
• Scootaloo: “There was once a really, really nice pony in a bright and sunny land where there was rainbows everyday and lots and lots of happy friends and…”
• Apple Jack: “If it doesn’t have a head, then how in tarnation does this pony know where it’s going?” Rainbow Dash: “It’s headless, not brainless.” Apple Jack: “So where is it’s brain?”
• Scootaloo: “If the headless horse catches me, I’ll never be heard from again. And I want to be heard from!”
• Rainbow Dash: “I’m going to tell you something, but if you tell anypony else, I’m going to deny it.”
• Sweetie Belle: “I call sister teams: Last herd to make it to the end of the falls is a moldy carrot!”
• Olden Pony: “Where’s my rusty horseshoe?” Rainbow Dash: “Here it is! Now take it and stop your moaning!”

Song

• I know it doesn’t count, but Sweetie Belle singing “99 Buckets of Oats” was super ultra cute. Funny how Sweetie Belle has many cute moments this season.

Open Thread Tuesday: Gender And Toys


Hasbro


From MSN News:
Four-year-old Gavyn Boscio loves to cook and asked for an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas. But when his big sister went to buy one, she discovered to her disappointment that it comes only in girly pink and purple, with girls — and only girls — on the box and in the commercials.

So McKenna Pope, an eighth-grader from Garfield, N.J., started an online petition asking Pawtucket, R.I.-based Hasbro to make the toy ovens in gender-neutral colors and feature boys on the package.

By Friday, the 13-year-old's petition had garnered more than 30,000 signatures in a little more than a week.

And celebrity chef Bobby Flay, who owned an Easy-Bake Oven as a boy, is among those weighing in on her side.

In a video McKenna made to accompany her petition on Change.org, Gavyn whips up a batch of cookies and tells his sister he wants a dinosaur and an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas. When she asks him why there are no boys in the commercial for Easy-Bake Ovens, he explains, "Because only girls play with it."

"Obviously, the way they're marketing this product is influencing what he thinks and the way that he acts," McKenna said in an interview. She said her little brother would probably be OK playing with a purple-and-pink oven by himself but would be too embarrassed to use it in front of his friends.
I empathize with this young girl's frustration. As a guy who loves to cook, I never understood why cooking toys were always marketed towards girls. In fact, I never understood why cooking was always considered a "girl's thing," especially since most top chefs tend to be dudes (Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Alton Brown, Guy Fieri).

So why the girly stigma towards cooking? Why not market Easy Bake ovens to both boys and girls? Why not sell blue and red ovens alongside pink and purple ones?

And of course, these questions invoke the debate about gender-segregated toys. Most people accept without question that some toys are for boys (action figures, cars, guns) while others are for girls (dolls, ponies, cooking). Barely anyone blinks twice at the stark contrast between the boys' aisle, with toys of a wide spectrum of color, and the girls' aisle, with mostly pink toys.

But why is this the case? Why can't girls enjoy toys with colors other than pink? Again, most of us accept without question that pink is the color for girls while blue is the color for boys. But over a hundred years ago, the exact opposite was true: pink was for boys and blue was for girls. So why are girls stuck with pink while boys are denied it? In fact, why have toys gender-segregated at all?

The argument usually barrels down to nature-vs-nurture. Many argue that toys like Easy Bake ovens are marketed towards girls because they are naturally-inclined to play with them, and the same goes with boys and their toys. But many dismiss this argument as bologna.

Even young kids realize that gender-segregated toys are bologna. Most girls have no problem playing with boys' toys and vice-versa, but it's social stigma that prevents them from openly admitting it, and it's not until they grow up that they open up about it. It's not considered weird for young women to like Transformers or Star Wars, and with the recent popularity of Bronies, the same can be said of young men who like My Little Pony. So why is it weird for young kids to like toys of the opposite gender? Why can't these toys be marketed to all genders?

Personally, as a libertarian, I feel that segregating toys by gender only enforces sexism, which is collectivism, and thus the enemy of individualism and liberty. I believe that children should be free to play with the toys that they want to play with, and that no one should dictate what they can and cannot play with.

But that's my opinion. I want to know what you all think? Should toys be gender-segregated? Or should they be maketed to all genders? Why or why not? Share your opinion in the comment section below.

Monday, December 10, 2012

I Think I Found Some Areas To Cut...

How can we avoid the fiscal cliff without cutting spending or raising taxes? By slashing politician salaries, of course!



While Democrats complain about how CEOs earn too much, and Republicans complain about how welfare recipients earn too much, I think both sides can agree that our politicians earn too much, and that the best thing for them to do during these desperate times is to cut their own salaries.

Of course, don't expect Washington politicians to agree to any salary cuts anytime soon. They'd much rather have you make sacrifices by having your taxes raised or your public services cut rather than accept any sacrifices themselves.

So exactly why do we call these people public servants when they only serve themselves and their special interest donors?

Daily Pony: Diamond Tiara B

Speaking of similarities, does anyone else see a similarity between Filthy Rich and Mitt Romney? Or is that just me?


Diamond Tiara B by *SubjectNumber2394 on deviantART

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Daily Pony: Stephen King's Sleepless in Ponyville

Recently saw the new episode. Forget Olden Ponies and Headless Horses: Clown Mayor Mare is clearly scarier and more traumatizing.


Stephen King's Sleepless in Ponyville by *PixelKitties on deviantART

Friday, December 7, 2012

Obama: 53 Percent Approval Rating

Renews Patriot act three times in a row. Maintains kill list of American citizens. Prosecuted more whistleblowers under Espionage Act than any other president combined. Ordered two American citizens assassinated without due process. Approved indefinite detention of American citizens without due process. And he has a 53 percent approval rating!

Only in America can a known war criminal maintain such a high approval rating. It was true for Bush, and it’s true for Obama.

Daily Pony: Neighgotiations

If only Middle East negotiations were this easy. Darn it, why can’t we have Celestia instead of Clinton?


Neighgotiations by ~RBIG on deviantART

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Open Thread Thursday: Doc Brown vs. Doctor Who



I know this video is old, and I know this isn’t exactly a serious thread topic, but 1) This is my favorite Epic Rap Battles of History video, and 2) I’m currently bogged down with work, so I don’t have time to post anything lengthy and serious.

So obvious question to you all: Who won? And who would you like to see in a future Epic Rap Battle?

I know a lot of people want to see Homer vs. Peter Griffin, and I would like to see that too, but personally, I’d like to see Cloud vs. Link. (Though how would that work if Link doesn’t talk? Maybe have Navi rap on his behalf? Ugh! Maybe not!) Or maybe Princess Peach vs. Laura Croft. (I would say vs. Zelda, but somehow, I think this would be far more hilarious.)

Anyway, leave you reply in the comment section below.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Magic Duel Review


This is the best episode in the series thus far. I know it’s kind of early to make that call, and we still have eight more episodes to go, but until something better comes along, this episode is officially my favorite.

This was clearly a brony episode. Not only did it feature a favorite character in the brony community, but it also featured callbacks to earlier episodes ("Swarm of the Century"), memes popular within the fandom (socks, hoodies, bunny ears), and references from other popular media (Gremlins, Star Wars). This is clearly a shout out to the older fans, and we’ve heard it loud and clear!

Here is the episode and my thoughts on it. As with last time, I’m going with my new review format.

Magic Duel



Thoughts

• The backgrounds in the opening were previewed about a year ago.
• The store owner is clearly a parody of the shop owner in Gremlins.
• The term “Alicorn” is officially canon now with the “Alicorn Amulet.”
• The reflection of Trixie’s grin in the amulet’s case = Priceless!
• It’s a shame that I knew ahead of time that Trixie was going to reappear in this episode; otherwise, I would have been genuinely shocked.
• I would take Fluttershy’s “threat” as a joke, but considering what she’s capable of doing to a bear…
• Twilight’s blush = Priceless
• There is more than one white bunny in the group of animals. Wonder which one is Angel?
• Fluttershy is so cute when she’s overtly nervous.
• Saddle Arabia? Of course! Every place has a horse pun.
• The dress Rarity gets stuck in looks like Photo Finish’s dress with the colors inverted.
• Rainbow Dash has one wing larger than the other. Something tells me there’s an inappropriate joke in there somewhere.
• Snips and snails get stuck at the horns. Now there’s definitely an inappropriate joke in there!
• You saw this joke coming: “For-EH-ver!”
• Unicorns can cast projections of past events from their horns. (Convenient for flashbacks!)
• Trixie worked on the rock farm of Pinkie Pie’s family.
• Owlicious appears when Trixie magically turns over the library.
• Apple Jack is comforting Rarity. (Adding fodder for the AJxRarity shippers!)
• Pinkie suffers a fate worse than death: she can no longer enjoy her own cooking!
• Everyone is returned back to normal except Pinkie!
• The duel wasn’t exactly as I expected. I always imagined unicorn duels along the line of DBZ Budokai. But hey, it’s a kids show, so of course it’s more like Merlin’s magical duel in Sword of the Stone.
• Ponies are capable of the Wilhelm scream.
• Twilight the snowmare!
• Look at Snails’ cutie mark after he ages: it’s just as old and wrinkly as he is!
• Age spells are for high level unicorns.
• Zecora stars in this episode. Yet another reason why it’s my favorite!
• Gee, Twilight is such a klutz! She spills Zecora’s tea—twice!
• Trixie’s silhouette looks like the Mysterious Mare Do-Well’s.
• Apple sauce facial? Really? Something tells me this would be a real thing. But even then, why not have the Sauna twins handle it?
• Trixie has her own statue. Of course!
• I know Fluttershy is supposed to be meek and timid, but somehow, I feel that this far into the series, she should be a bit more assertive, what with her past episodes developing her character. Here, it seems as though she’s more timid and cowardly than ever. Or is that just me?
• No Rarity, Trixie does not have a magical force field. Twilight makes magial force fields. Shining armor makes magical force fields. Princess Cadence makes magical force fields. Trixie makes giant glass domes. (And how are they getting any air?)
• Of course, Rainbow Dash, oh bravest pony in Ponyville: just volunteer Fluttershy for the most dangerous missions. How very brave of you!
• Trixie’s chariot seems like that of the White Witch’s from Narnia.
• Fluttershy’s outfit: Socks, hoodies, bunny ears, goggles. A combo of pretty much every brony fandom possible!
• A black cloud gathers within the glass jar over Ponyville. Possible side effect of the amulet?
• Twilight chooses Apple Jack and Rarity (Yet more fodder for the AJxRarity shippers!)
• No sign of Derpy, but Lyra and BonBon are in the background, and apparently unamused by the magic duel.
• Trixie’s magic glow changes from red to pink once she switches amulets.
• Trixie’s magic tickles Rainbow Dash. Does that mean…Trixie has a giggle ray?!
• Trixie wanted Rainbow Dash to writhe in agony. Does that mean the Cruciatus Curse exists in Equestria?
• I really love how the Apple Family and Sweetie Belle helped to save the day. It shows that they are useful and not just background characters.
• How ironic that Trixie, a show pony who specializes in magic tricks, is bested by magic tricks!
• Something tells me that the Saddle Arabia delegates are a nod to the “Arabian Nights” horse show. (Living in Florida, I’ve actually seen it!)

Questions

• Why am I now curious about Twilight almost crushing Spike and Apple Jack with a snow ball? I would like to know how such a situation would come about.
• How did Trixie know Snips and Snails’ names? Furthermore, why do these two still worship her, considering she was revealed to be a phony last time?
• Why does Trixie create a glass dome over Ponyville? We’ve seen before that unicorns are capable of creating force fields, so why not create that? I can only assume that force fields deplete unicorns of energy (as has been shown before), so rather than waste her energy, Trixie just creates a giant glass jar to encase Ponyville. (Though one has to wonder what they do for air. Does the jar have holes?)
• We know that Twilight can’t contact Princess Celestia, but Spike still can. So why didn’t he? He had no problem asking help from the princess in “Lesson Zero.” So why not here?
• How is Trixie able to take over the entire town so easily? In a world where an entire race is capable of magic, surely there would be legal checks and balances in place to make sure one unicorn doesn’t abuse their power and overpower everyone else into submission. For example, the Harry Potter universe has the Ministry of Magic. What does Equestria have? Apparently magical anarchy!
• Why is the Cake family making Trixie’s throne? I guess Trixie wanted an edible throne. Why not? Rarity has emergency edible boots!
• “It’s like Trixie has gone from high and mighty to mean and nasty!” Um, Twilight, when wasn’t this the case with Trixie?
• Why did the other mane six and Spike put their hands together? They’re not the ones going on the “dangerous mission.” Fluttershy is.
• Seriously, why is Fluttershy such a pussy in this episode? She’s clearly capable of being much braver than this. Has her character regressed after the last season?
• How is Pinkie capable of playing the tuba if she doesn’t have a mouth?

Quotes

• Shop owner: (Upon Trixie requesting the amulet) I’m afraid that’s this is far too dangerous. (Upon Trixie tossing him the bag of money) Would you like that gift-wrapped?
• Fluttershy: (To animals) Don’t worry, little friends, Twlight is wonderful with magic. (To Twilight) Anything happens to them, Twilight, so help me…
• Trixie: And now it is time for you to leave Ponyville…FOR-EH-VER!
• Apple Jack: She wants me to grow apples with no peels. Now how in the hay am I supposed to do that?
• Snips: Wouldn’t it be faster if we had wheels?
Trixie: The great and powerful Trixie doesn’t trust wheels.
• Fluttershy: Oh this is me being brave. I want to be brave at home, in my closet, with my teddy bear!
• Zecora: If Trixie’s ticks has you in a fix, you must nix your magic and use the six.
• Twilight: By the way, Trixie, that amulet around your neck? One of Zecora’s doorstops!
• Trixie: But the pony with the ten instruments?
Twilight: That wasn’t magic, that was just Pinkie Pie!

Gags

• Fluttershy biting her nails (or rather, hooves).
• Trixie’s glowing red eyes.
• Spike getting bounced around like a basketball.
• The magic arrow dragging and dropping Pinkie’s mouth into the recycle bin.
• Parasprites!
• Twilight’s wet mane.
• Trixie growing a mustache. (Callback to original Trixie episode!)
• Twilight’s “GRR!” face.
• Apple Jack getting magically tickled.
• Pinkie Pie dancing.
• Rarity getting her hoof pricked.
•Twilight balancing on the water with bubbles while Zecora balances nearby. (Star War reference! Another reason this is my favorite episode.)
• More wet mane Twilight!
• Fluttershy’s clenched nervous expression.
• Twilight’s age “spell”
• Double Rainbow Dash!
• Pinkie Pie’s one-man band.
• Applejack turns into a stallion. ("My Little Colt" is cannon now!)
• The lightning flash behind Trixie.
• The Apple Family and Sweetie Belle (Rari-Belle) dressing up.
• Spike comforting Fluttershy
• Trixie leaving like she did in her first episode, only stumbling!
• Pinkie Pie showing up at the end in the black screen and getting her mouth back, only to be cut off before she could say anything!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

Daily Pony: Derpy Princess

So if Celestia is the princess of the sun, and Luna is the princess of the moon, and Cadence is the princess of love, what does that make Derpy the princess of? Muffins!


MLP FIM: Derpy Princess - Rejected Design by =hinoraito on deviantART

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Open Thread Thursday: Ayn Rand Was NOT a Libertarian

Before I begin, I must clarify that I am not a Randian. I have not read any of Ayn Rand’s books or her writings. I have watched videos of her, and from what I have seen, she was a very intelligent thinker. I don’t agree with all of her ideas or beliefs, mostly because she was an atheist, and I am a Christian. (I especially take umbrage with her thoughts on Christian charity.) But for the most part, I somewhat admire her.

What I find most intriguing is how many of the people who admire Rand and her philosophy tend to be people she hated. For example, many Republicans (especially Paul Ryan) laud her for her economics, even though she despised the Republican Party and urged her followers not to vote for Ronald Reagan.

Also, many libertarians claim her as their own, even though she not only disagreed with libertarians, but outright hated them. Washington’s Blog elucidates with the following quotes:

All kinds of people today call themselves “libertarians,” especially something calling itself the New Right, which consists of hippies, except that they’re anarchists instead of collectivists. But of course, anarchists are collectivists. Capitalism is the one system that requires absolute objective law, yet they want to combine capitalism and anarchism. That is worse than anything the New Left has proposed. It’s a mockery of philosophy and ideology. They sling slogans and try to ride on two bandwagons. They want to be hippies, but don’t want to preach collectivism, because those jobs are already taken. But anarchism is a logical outgrowth of the anti-intellectual side of collectivism. I could deal with a Marxist with a greater chance of reaching some kind of understanding, and with much greater respect. The anarchist is the scum of the intellectual world of the left, which has given them up. So the right picks up another leftist discard. That’s the Libertarian movement.

***

I’d rather vote for Bob Hope, the Marx Brothers, or Jerry Lewis [than a candidate from the Libertarian Party].

***

[Libertarians] are not defenders of capitalism. They’re a group of publicity seekers who rush into politics prematurely, because they allegedly want to educate people through a political campaign, which can’t be done. Further, their leadership consists of men of every of persuasion, from religious conservatives to anarchists. Moreover, most of them are my enemies: they spend their time denouncing me, while plagiarizing my ideas. Now, I think it’s a bad beginning for an allegedly pro-capitalist party to start by stealing ideas.

***

Now here is a party that plagiarizes some of my ideas, mixes it with the exact opposite—with religionists, anarchists, and just about every intellectual misfit and scum they can find—and they call themselves Libertarians, and run for office. I dislike Reagan and Carter; I’m not too enthusiastic about the other candidates. But the worst of them are giants compared to anybody who would attempt something as un-philosophical, low, and pragmatic as the Libertarian Party. It is the last insult to ideas and philosophical consistency.

***

[Question] Why don’t you approve of the Libertarians, thousands of whom are loyal readers of your works?

[Rand] Because Libertarians are a monstrous, disgusting bunch of people: they plagiarize my ideas when that fits their purpose, and they denounce me in a more vicious manner than any communist publication, when that fits their purpose. They are lower than any pragmatists, and what they hold against Objectivism is morality. They’d like to have an amoral political program.

***

The Libertarians aren’t worthy of being the means to any end, let alone the end of spreading Objectivism.
You would think that, as a libertarian, I would be disappointed but this, but personally, I’m not. If anything, this only proves how much Ayn Rand was a champion of independent thought.

Too often, we libertarians pride ourselves as being “individuals,” but when it comes to political philosophy, we tend to be highly collectivist, if not cultish. By criticizing libertarians, Rand proved that she was a true independent thinker who refused to succumb to group think, and for that, she truly is admirable.

But I want to know what you think: What are your thoughts on Ayn Rand? How do you feel about her opinions on libertarians and libertarianism? Does it change your perception of her at all? Do you agree with her assessment or not? Feel free to post your response in the comments below.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Daily Pony: Bad Seed

A take on Babs Seed and her life in Manehatten:


Bad Seed by *atryl on deviantART

Libtalker Calls For Beheading Of Conservatives

Yet more violent rhetoric from the "tolerant" left:

“…these Tea Bag bastards who by the way, I just wish they would all just go away – or, like in Passover, I just wish there was an angel of the Lord that would pass over – instead of killing the first born in all the households of Egypt just wipe out all the Tea Baggers,” Malloy said. “Just, you know, the terrible swift sword, just [makes simulated sword "swishing" sounds] – lob their heads off!”
Hey, remember when Beck or Limbaugh called for the beheading of Democrats on their radio shows? Yeah, me neither!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"One Bad Apple" Review


Starting with this episode, I decided to revise how I write my reviews. Normally, I just list all my thoughts in bullet form; but from this point on, I will be organizing them in a more coherent order, dividing them topic-by-topic.

With that said, here is the episode and my thoughts on it:

One Bad Apple



Thoughts

• One of Apple Bloom’s outfits is a pair of lederhosen. I wonder if it’s from her Uncle Apple Strudel introduced in “Family Appreciation Day.”
• Another outfit of her’s looks like what Fluttershy used to disguise herself in public in “Green Isn’t Your Color.”
• As we see in this episode, Apple Jack has a bad habit of unintentionally forgetting to mention important information.
• Scootaloo flies, Sweetie Belle uses a little bit of magic, and Apple Bloom...um…builds a float I guess. So all the Cutie Mark Crusaders are maturing, sort of.
• Apple Bloom, of course a male conductor and cow is not your cousin!
• At the start, Babs seems kind of shy, which only makes her transformation all the more startling, if not confusing and contrived.
• “Lame-kin”? How lame!
• Scootaloo: “I can’t believe she destroyed our float.” Apple Bloom: “I can’t believe I’m related to a big, stinky bully.” I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S NOT BUTTER! (Sorry! Had to make the joke!)
• The Cutie Mark Crusaders bobbing their heads in the song = EXTREMLEY CUTE!
• Doctor Whooves is watching the movie with a female friend. Sadly, it's not Derpy! :(
• Is it just me, or does the animated soda cup remind anyone else of Bloo from Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends? They both have the same shade of blue.
• Sweetie Belle and her family live near the lake next to a windmill.
• It seems as though Sweetie Belle’s father either eats her cooking as a snack, or he uses it as bait for his fishing.
• Apple Bloom wasn’t kicked out of her own bed. Apple Jack said she was going to sleep there in the beginning.
• Something tells me the cow doesn’t take too kindly to someone mimicking her species’ call.
• Apparently, Rarity has luster dust on her emergency edible boots. And she has emergency edible boots! What?
• The A-Team theme plays while the CMC build their float.
• Three school-aged foals are able to build a motorized float with a timed booby trap. How many kindergartens do you know are able to build something like that?
• The tomato vendor from “Putting Your Hoof Down” is selling hot carrot cakes.
• And we see the other Mane Six and Spike—for five seconds—without any lines. I love these CMC episodes!
• Roseluck appears in the parade dressed as a rose bush.
• BonBon appears twice in the crowd while the CMC chase the float.
• Apparently, the town is on a cliff before a lake.
• Doctor Whooves wears a pear costume. (But, he hates pears!)
• Apple Bloom states my thoughts on Pinkie’s attempt at a joke exactly: “Seriously?”
• Sweetie Belle: “Oh why does life have to be so ironic?!” Because the writers made it that way.
• Scootaloo plays one mean drum!
• And Scootaloo should also revise her list. Way too long!

Questions

• So did Scootaloo keep Babs’ eyes covered all the way from the train station to the treehouse? If so, that’s kind of dangerous.
• Do the CMC really need a list for a roll call? There are only three members.
• How did three young fillies manage to make such a large and complicated float?
• So do Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon just go onto other people’s property uninvited just to mock them? I can only assume that Filthy Rich is visiting Granny Smith again and brought his daughter and her friend along.
• This YouTube comment sums up my feelings about this episode: "I know she's young and s*** but how can you be so heartless to choose a bunch of bitchy strangers over your own family?"
• I can sort of understand Babs Seed joining with Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, but flat-out destroying the CMC’s float? That’s going a bit far, isn’t it?
• How is Apple Bloom going to avoid talking to Apple Jack about Babs? Considering Babs is staying with them, wouldn’t AJ notice the tension between the two?
• This is the part that bugs me the most: I never understood why DT and SS would want to hang out with Babs, considering she doesn’t have a Cutie Mark, and they hate ponies without Cutie Marks.
• How is Babs and the others going to get down from the treehouse if she knocked down the ladder?
• Why did Scootaloo blow luster dust on Sweetie Belle? What was the point of that?
• If Pinkie Pie was participating in the parade, why was she in the crowd earlier?
• Why did Pinkie leave the float unmanned while the CMC entered it? Did she assume they were going to drive it?
• Does Pinkie Pie seem too desperate for a pun?
• Why wasn’t it Feather Weight taking pictures at the crash? He’s the school photographer.

Quotes

• Apple Bloom: “This is really a good spot for thinking up great ideas.”
• Apple Bloom: “What just happened?”
Sweetie Belle: “I think Babs just went to the Dark Side.”
• Sweetie Belle: “Isn’t it smashing. No! I mean, isn’t it a hit? No! No! No hitting!”
• Diamond Tiara: “Too cool for mule!”
• Pinkie Pie: “Veggie Salad! Veggie Salad!”
• Apple Bloom: “Perhaps we’ll get our cutie marks in stupidest idea of all times.”
• Sweetie Belle: “Oh why does life have to be so ironic?!”

Gags

• Sweetie Belle: I’m so excited, I think I can burst!” (Fireworks from horn)
• Apple Bloom “And sometimes we stand right here and think of great ideas.” (Light turns on over Sweetie Belle’s head)
• The animated food in the movie theater and Babs seed breaking the Fourth Wall.
• The CMC dressed as pigs, and Babs as a wolf!
• Sweetie Belle crying and Apple Bloom shielding herself with an umbrella.
• Scootaloo with an ink stain on her rump she mistakes as a wrench cutie mark.
• Apple Bloom positioning the mattress in the exact spot that Babs was going to shove them.
• The balloons deflating when Apple Jack congratulates the CMC.
• The CMC emblem falls off when DT and SS make fun of them.

Song



“Babs Seed” is the best song in the season thus far. Sure, it’s the third song, and we still have nine episodes to go, but on its own, this is a good song. The entire song is upbeat and reminiscent of the 50s and 60s, especially with the opening scene in the malt shop. The chorus is the most memorable part, as it remains in your head even hours or days after you listen to it. And of course, the animation that goes with it is cute. Overall, this was an awesome song, and I can see why the composer David Ingram said it was his favorite song to produce. This was certainly my favorite song to listen to. (Oh, and apparently, it has a hard rock version. That’s 20 percent cooler!)