Tuesday, October 30, 2012

MLP: FiM Season 3 Extended Preview (Spoilers! Luna Sighting! Ponies!)

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fans are really spoiled. You know why? A new 8-minute preview with more Season 3 revelations (Luna!) just popped up on YouTube. I'm a bit hesitant to watch the video myself or to recommend it to other fans. But, hey, I post, you decide...

The Season 3 premiere (consisting of the two-part episode "Crystal Empire") airs November 10 (7am PT/10am ET) on the HUB. For those without cable or satellite, you can catch new episodes on the HUB MLP page or on iTunes/Netflix.


Now that I've brought myself to watch the preview, I can share a few thoughts, mostly dealing with Princess Luna.

I'm glad to see Luna actually appears on-screen for more than a few seconds, but not so much to hear the excuse that her big sister Princess Celestia gives for why the moon princess can't go to the Crystal Empire to help Princess Cadence and the Mane Six. Actually, given that the sisters are "co-rulers," I wonder why Luna even has to follow Celestia's orders in the first place. I mean, it can't be that Luna's needed in Equestria to move the moon, since Celestia already demonstrated the ability to take on her little sister's role.

Luna herself didn't seem to take her big sister's orders well:

But Hasbro hasn't shown all their cards yet, perhaps our favorite princess of the night will have some role to play in the premiere or in future episodes. One can only hope...

The Wonderful World of Star Wars

I'm a little late to the news about Disney buying Lucasfilm and planning to make more Star Wars sequels (HT: Jeffrey Overstreet). Many thoughts flood my mind, some good, some bad, and others downright horrifying. Questions pop out at me. I wonder where exactly the screenwriters will draw their stories for Episodes 7, 8, and 9. Will Luke, Leia, and Han return with new actors? Will the new movies supersede the expanded universe stuff (Leia and Han marrying and having kids, Luke opening a Jedi academy, the Thrawn Trilogy)? As the B-Movie Cathechist mentions, movie canon always takes precedence. But hey, maybe Chewie won't have to meet such a lame end (a moon crushes him in the comics). I wouldn’t mind that bit of jossing.

Of course, I'd preferred a reboot of the prequels with better writers, but what can you do?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Another Kind of Strong Female Character...

While reading Rebecca Bratten Weiss and Regina Doman's "Catholic Philosopher Chick Makes her Debut," I can't fail to notice that Catelyn constantly walks around Dominican University with her old, beaten single volume (!) copy of the Summa Theologiae. Unless this is some kind of fantasy story, I suspect she has an abridged version, since a modern-day complete Summa comprises 5 large volumes and 3000 pages!

Anyhow, I highly recommend the book (especially the $5 Kindle version), since you don't exactly get many chances to read the exciting exploits of female Thomist philosophers (or She-Thomists). Here's a review by First Things. I might post more as I make it further in, so stay tuned...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fluttershy and the Virtue of Gentleness

Fluttershy the gentle pony

I'm not sure how I overlooked this post on the virtue of gentleness by Brandon. But the descriptions from Aquinas (ST 2.2.157) of gentleness as "the moderation of the passion of anger in accordance with right reason" and from Hugh Blair that it "makes us unwilling to give pain to any of our brethren" dovetail nicely with my own posts (Part 1 and 2) on Fluttershy and the virtue of friendliness (amiability).

When it comes to not wanting to cause pain to anypony, Fluttershy is a very good exemplar (her character description on Hasbro.com mentions her as the "gentle" member of the Mane Six). Of course, her tendency towards agreeability can sometimes become a vice; witness how she normally responds to disagreement:

I have to admit, my natural temperament isn't too dissimilar, especially when I consider how philosophical debate can sometimes become "blood sport." I wouldn't want to become an angry, disagreeable Nastyshy either, especially to my friends:

Perhaps someday I will let go of my timidity and find the mean.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tolkien on the Presence of God in the Lord of the Rings

You... create a world in which some sort of faith seems to be everywhere without a visible source, like light from an invisible lamp. -- J.R.R. Tolkien quoting an "unbelieving" reader in letter no. 328, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Ed. Humphrey Carpenter. (HT: The Flame Imperishable)

Monday, October 22, 2012

MLP: Horses and Bayonets

If you seek a thorough analysis of today's Romney/Obama debate from a Catholic perspective, you should probably look elsewhere (like Catholicvote.org), but if you're looking for MLP memes inspired by the debate, you came to the right place:

According to my friend Drew, the horn of a unicorn is a kind of bayonet, so you can see that the "Horses and Bayonets" line applies to MLP.

RPG Catholic Presidential Voting Guide II

On the eve of the third debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, I'd like to point out two more alternative write-in candidates for president. Don't forget my previous endorsement of Stubbs the cat and Princess Luna.

- St. Thomas Aquinas (along with running mate, Aristotle):

- Mr. Darwin and his friend Matthew Grady are also in the running.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mind and Cosmos

Taking a short break from pony-related matters, I briefly note, for my more philosophically-inclined readers, that Thomas Nagel, prominent atheist philosopher and critic of mind-body materialism (physicalism), recently came out with a new book where he purports to forge a middle road between a materialistic reduction/elimination of the mind and theism. Ed Feser, Bill Vallicella, and James Chastek all give their thoughts.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Another MLP: FiM Season 3 Sneak Preview!

From New York Comic-Con:

We get our first glimpses of the Crystal Ponies, who all seem to be feeling down for some reason, and that reason might just be the mysterious King Somber...

Remember, season 3 of MLP:FiM is only a month away!

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Year of Faith

Since the Annus Fidei or Year of Faith just kicked off, I thought I'd share a few helpful links for some of my Catholic readers.

As the USCCB notice tells us (HT: Cari Donaldson and David Ives):

With his Apostolic Letter of October 11, 2011,Porta Fidei. . . , Pope Benedict XVI declared that a "Year of Faith" will begin on October 11, 2012 and conclude on November 24, 2013. October 11, 2012, the first day of the Year of Faith, is the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. . . (Vatican II) and also the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. During the Year of Faith, Catholics are asked to study and reflect on the documents of Vatican II and the catechism so that they may deepen their knowledge of the faith.

The upcoming Year of Faith is a “summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Savior of the world” (Porta Fidei 6). In other words, the Year of Faith is an opportunity for Catholics to experience a conversion – to turn back to Jesus and enter into a deeper relationship with him. The “door of faith” is opened at one’s baptism, but during this year Catholics are called to open it again, walk through it and rediscover and renew their relationship with Christ and his Church.

- Jeffrey Miller of "The Curt Jester" collected all 16 documents from Vatican II into epub and Kindle format.

- Matthew Warner of Fallible Blogma started the "Read the Catechism in a Year" project. Everyday you'll receive an email with a small snippet of the Catechism to read. You can also follow along online or with the various book versions (here, here, and here).

- Don't forget the daily mass readings! Regarding Bibles, I recommend the Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition. Ignatius Press also makes an excellent New Testament Study Bible.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

IL Triello (The Trio) Adrian, Alfredo, and Eric at UCLA

After stopping by the Richard Dawkins UCLA lecture, we head off for the bus stop. I make a few jokes at Alfredo's expense, Adrian shows off his new Dawkins swag, and I give a shout-out to the guys from the Facebook Thomism Discussion Group, the Christian Bronies page, and Octavia the pony cellist.

Get your Octavia shirts today!

Some pictures:

The RPG Catholic with Richard Dawkins in the background
The Analytic Scholastic (aka "The Alfredo") with RD

Adrian with RD

Adrian and Alfredo finally meet Richard Dawkins face-to-face. Dawkins looks very pleased...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Are there Unicorns in the Bible?

Taylor Marshall and Jimmy Akin both chime in.

This is Pretty Cool

The Ohio State University marching band plays a medley of video game music from Super Mario, Zelda, Halo, Tetris, and other games during the halftime show of last Saturday's OSU-Nebraska football game.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Feast of St. Francis

Today is the feast of St. Francis, founder of the order of the Friars Minor (Franciscans).

Some helpful material:

- Br. Athanasius Murphy, OP, "Poor Francis," Dominicana 

- Fr. George Rutler, "Saint Francis of Assisi was not a garden gnome," Sancte Pater 

- Marcel, "St. Francis, Animals, Suffering, Grace, and Redemption," Aggie Catholics 

The Little Flowers of St. Francis (St. Francis Preaches to the Birds and St. Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio)

St. Francis taming the wolf of Gubbio

- G.K. Chesterton's St. Francis of Assisi

The Canticle of the Sun:

Most high, all-powerful, all good, Lord! All praise is yours, all glory, all honour And all blessing.

To you alone, Most High, do they belong. No mortal lips are worthy To pronounce your name.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through all that you have made, And first my lord Brother Sun, Who brings the day; and light you give to us through him.

How beautiful is he, how radiant in all his splendour! Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

All praise be yours my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, And fair and stormy, all the weather's moods, By which you cherish all that you have made.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Water, So useful, lowly, precious and pure.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brother Fire, Through whom you brighten up the night. How beautiful is he, how gay! Full of power and strength.

All praise be yours my Lord, through Sister Earth, our mother Who feeds us in her sovereignty and produces Various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through those who grant pardon. For love of you; through those who endure Sickness and trial.

Happy those who endure in peace, By you, Most High, they will be crowned.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Death, From whose embrace no mortal can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Happy those She finds doing your will! The second death can do no harm to them.

Praise and bless my Lord, and give him thanks, And serve him with great humility.

Saint Francis of Assisi, Ora Pro Nobis!