Sunday, September 30, 2012

At the Convention

If any y'all are in Las Pegasus, I mean, the Los Angeles area, be sure to check out the 'Equestria LA' convention on November 3-4. There are still some badges available. From the news section of the web site, I hear that the voice actors for Fluttershy/Pinkie Pie and Zecora will appear, along with one of the show writers, M. Larson, who penned the script for the episode "Luna Eclipsed." I really wish I could make it to the event, but unfortunately, I already have plans for those two days...

Speaking of plans, if any of my philosophy and theology friends are reading this, don't forget to register for the American Catholic Philosophical Association (ACPA) conference on November 2-4. All your favorites from the Catholic philosophical world will be there, like Ariaga and Ariaga II, Bariaga, Aruglia, and Pizzoza.

Be there!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The RPG Catholic Presidential Voting Guide

Now, this isn't normally a political blog, but I can't quite pass up the opportunity to offer some guidance to my readers with the important presidential election coming up in less than two months.

Of course, there are already good guides in the Catholic blogosphere. advises Catholics to vote for Mitt Romney over Barack Obama via a flyer comparing policy stances and Brandon considers an oft-overlooked but crucial criterion for assessing party platforms, namely which party has the coolest looking webpage.

However, since, as Mark Shea and Thomas McDonald both reminds us, neither candidate (nor their respective Republican and Democratic party platform) is palatable for the Catholic voter, I hereby present two third-party/write-in candidates to consider instead.

First up, Stubbs the cat, current "mayor" of Talkeetna, Alaska:

Shea lists his qualifications:

For Republicans: He’s got the whole Palinesque charting our own course on the frontier, small government vibe.

For Dems: He’s got the whole back to nature, Obama cool vibe.

For the Religious  Right:  He is literally without sin.

Plus he has a solid track record of 15 years of government service!

In short, Stubbs appeals to all voters, except maybe for dogs.

If you don't like the idea of a cat president, another good choice, in fact, my preferred option, is the alicorn Princess Luna:

As co-ruler of the Pony Kingdom of Equestria, Luna ensured the moon followed its natural cycle with her magic. She possesses many admirable qualities that make her a good candidate: she has deafening oratorical skill that commands attention, she's fun loving, and she's good with kids. Let's check out excerpts from her New Lunar Republic platform:

Citizens of Ponyville! We have graced your tiny village with our presence, so that you might behold the real princess of the night! A creature of nightmare no longer, but instead a pony who desires your love and admiration! Together we shall change this dreadful celebration into a bright and glorious feast!

Remember this day, little ponies, for it was your last. From this moment forth, the night will last forever!

Citizens of Ponyville, you have been wise to bring this candy to me! I am pleased with your offering! So pleased, I may eat it instead of eating you!

Well, the prospect of facing eternal darkness and possibly having your backside gobbled still beats the outrageous Democratic platform that supports the HHS mandate, abortion, and same-sex marriage and the Republican platform, which errs in its libertarian economic policy.

Before I go, I should note that my buddy Nate Winchester supports the pegasus pony Fluttershy, the element of kindness, who is very persuasive:

So, my friends, this November make the right choice...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Some Advice on Chivalry

Jordan, Josh, and Kelli of Blimey Cow offer another "Messy Monday" video worth a peek, this time on 5 tips for living a more chivalrous life (HT: Aggie Catholics):

Jordan, I appreciate the advice you give at the end about a chivalrous man needing armor and a pony to save damsels in distress, but I'm already way ahead of ya, buddy:

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

Of Union and Discord

Union/Harmony vs. Discord
This post by Brandon, part of his interesting "Poem a Day" series, is worth reading, especially for Bronies like me who are familiar with the magic of friendship and the dangers of Discord.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Aquinas: Music Video Super Star!

Are you just a beginning, peeping Thomist? Bought Ed Feser's book but haven't yet found the time to sit down and read it? Well, never fear, the singing trio of Bambi, Vicki, and Angelica will teach you the basics of St. Thomas Aquinas's thought (HT: Angelicum Newsletter):

Alvin Plantinga: One Cool Cat

One of the most prominent living Christian philosophers, Alvin Plantinga, appeared in an interview last year on local television news, talking about his broken air conditioner (HT: Amtheomusings):

I wish I was as cool as Dr. Plantinga is, as I don't own an AC unit at all and it's gotten over 100 degrees here in Southern California the past week.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Philosophy: Perhaps Not So Impractical After All

No longer will philosophy majors be the butt of jokes...

Of course, it's another story whether we philosophy majors will be able to translate these results into a paying job. (HT: Martin Cothran)

Philosophers are still a long way, however, from receiving the kind of just rewards and benefits that Socrates half-jokingly demands in Plato's Apology:

What would be a reward suitable to a poor man who is your benefactor, who desires leisure that he may instruct you? There can be no more fitting reward than maintenance in the Prytaneum, O men of Athens, a reward which he deserves far more than the citizen who has won the prize at Olympia in the horse or chariot race, whether the chariots were drawn by two horses or by many. For I am in want, and he has enough; and he only gives you the appearance of happiness, and I give you the reality. And if I am to estimate the penalty justly, I say that maintenance in the Prytaneum is the just return (36a-38c).

Free food and housing for philosophers for life? Socrates for president!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Just another Lazy Saturday: 80's Cartoon Nostalgia Edition

What content does a blogger offer while trying to finish his more substantive posts? Well, if you're a nerd like me, one good way to provide amusement is to look back at the intros of some of my favorite cartoons from the 80's:


Before Michael Bay and Shia Labeouf, the animated Autobots and Decepticons conspired together in the mid-80s to make us buy toys with their sheer awesomeness. What young boy, after all, can say 'no' to transformable robots that kick ass?

                                                                 G.I. Joe

Only in a kid's cartoon can two sides wage total war with zero causalities.

I heard that Michael Bay planned to give TMNT the "Transformers treatment" until Paramount mercifully shut down the reboot.

Even more than 20 years later, He-Man still has the power.

In honor of my friends Brandon and DGD, I include these two intros:

Besides the friendly ponies of Equestria, what other virtue ethicists do you know of that can drive cloud cars and shoot rainbows from their tummies? Alasdair MacIntyre? Speaking of ponies...

My Little Pony G1 (aka My Little Pony n' Friends)

I wonder why there weren't many Bronies back in the 80s...

MLP: Friendship is Xenium

Brandon suggests we use the words "xenodochial" (friendliness towards strangers) and xenium (a gift for a guest) more often. So, today I thought I'd rewrite the description for the MLP: FiM episode "A Friend in Deed":

The Xenodochial Pinkie Pie tries to become friends with new Ponyville resident Cranky Doodle Donkey. However, the donkey absolutely refuses to become friends with her, no matter how hard Pinkie Pie tries by giving him xenium.

Xenodochial Pinkamena gives Cranky Doodle Donkey a xenium wig

If that's not enough over-the-top super-hyper antics for you, as a token of my xenodochial disposition I give you the "Welcome Song," the perfect xenium for all new visitors to your blog:


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Good Question

If you were brought to trial on the charge of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? -- Peter Kreeft, You Can Understand the Bible, 216

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Star Trek Film by Any Other Name....

Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before... except maybe 11 times (the 6 films with the original series cast, the 4 Next Generation films, and the reboot).

According to Jeffrey Overstreet, the next Star Trek film will go by the name Star Trek Into Darkness, making it the first Trek film without a subtitle or Roman numeral.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

MLP: FiM Season One DVD on Sale!

I only recently became aware of this news from one of the many Brony Facebook groups I'm in, but put up preorders for a season one DVD of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The episodes were previously only available in the U.S. on ITunes (all episodes) or in a 5-episode sample bit on DVD. As you probably suspect, the S1 DVD comes with my highest recommendation.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Another Reason I Watch MLP: Friendship is Magic

For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline: think on these things (Phil 4:8)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Julie Davies on Catholic Bloggers

Unfortunately, I couldn't make it to Texas last week for the Catholic Writers Guild conference and the Catholic New Media conference. I did hear, however, that Julie Davies of Happy Catholic blog gave an excellent address at CNMC recommending certain guidelines for Catholic bloggers to follow. Considering that we bloggers are part of the public face of the Church, as Davies reminds us, we should heed her advice and always keep in mind the Lord's commandment: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). If our blogging doesn't point to Christ, in what sense are our Catholic blogs different from other blogs?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

What is Friendship? Some Criteria from Aristotle

Obviously after two seasons, the Mane Six had plenty of time to bond after their rather rushed friendship-making in the first two episodes

According to Joshua W. Schulz's article "Kierkegaard's Tragic and Comic Lovers" in the Spring 2012 ACPQ, Aristotle considers a relationship to be a friendship only if it meets the following five conditions:

1. Each person recognizes some excellence in the other person.

2. Each person wishes well (some good) to the other person, for the other's sake, in respect of the excellence recognized in (1).

3. Both (1) and (2) are reciprocally known.

4. The relationship has developed over a sufficient period of time.

5. The friends have become familiar with each other, i.e., have been found lovable and trustworthy.

As I've written before, friendship requires a mutuality of love, of wishing and doing well by another, in addition to an equality of virtue (a common recognition and pursuit of the good), as can be seen in conditions 1-3. However, friendship requires some time for potential friends to get to know each other, for familiarity. As Aristotle says, a friend "lives with another and has the same tastes, or shares the same sorrows and joys with his friend" (NE, IX, 4). To know another person's character, whether their tastes match yours, is not usually something you can do with mere acquaintances you run into at school, work, or Facebook (where physical proximity usually doesn't enter the picture). Potential friends are in it for the long haul in order to build loyalty and trust.

Update: Of course, as Kevin Rossiter of the Facebook Thomistic Discussion Group reminds me, friendships of virtue contain elements from the other two kinds of friendship, utility and pleasure. Therefore, in the "perfect" friendship of virtue, friends are good (virtuous), useful and pleasant to be around.         

Friendship and Discord

States, it seems, are maintained by friendship; and legislators are more zealous about it than about justice. This is evident from the similarity between friendship and concord; but legislators most of all wish to encourage concord and to expel discord as an enemy of the state. If people are friends there is no need of justice, but just men do need friendship. Likewise what is just seems to be especially favorable to friendship. -- Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, 1155

If you want harmony in your state, it's a good idea to get rid of this guy...