Um, yay

Fluttershy sports bra by Hot TopicGiven my fondness for three-word combinations, I am surprised to find myself flabbergasted by this one, which I must admit I never expected: “Fluttershy sports bra.” This can actually be had from Hot Topic, at a price that doesn’t exactly soar, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. At the very least, it’s an acknowledgement, perhaps long overdue, that not all the MLP:FiM adult audience is guys with neckbeards, or guys trying desperately to grow neckbeards, who live in Mom’s basement.

There is, of course, only one way to top that: “Also: Derpy version.”

(Via Equestria Daily.)

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It’s all a plot

What’s missing from this press release?

When Screenvision teamed up with Hasbro Studios and Shout! Factory to bring the full-length feature, My Little Pony Equestria Girls to cinemas across the U.S. and Canada beginning June 16 they had great expectations. Those expectations have been exceeded, with packed houses and numerous sell outs by exhibitors in major markets, leading partners to add more showings in both the morning as well as evening times, giving fans more opportunities to experience the film in theatres.

The distributor treated this state like the wrong side of the Everfree Forest: the film played in exactly one theater. In Stillwater, for Celestia’s sake.

And how much actual box office did EqG scare up? Nopony is saying. I’ve been checking Box Office Mojo for a couple of weeks, and I’ve come up empty. I have to assume that this is what Hasbro wanted all along.

(Via Derpy Hooves News.)

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Dash svidaniya

A Russian community was not amused when local pony fans took it upon themselves to give a local statue some Rainbow colors:

This is not the first time this stallion has been vandalized; two years ago, he was uprooted and left on his side.

(Via EqD; title gleefully supplied by ABronyAccount.)

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Unexpected convergence

A rare opportunity here: pony stuff and girly stuff in the same post.

Alessandra Ambrosio is a Victoria’s Secret Angel and, says Forbes, number six in earnings among all models for the 13 months ending May 2012 — and she was pregnant for nine of those months. (Son Noah was born on 7 May 2012.) She turned out Saturday for the modest Hollywood premiere of the My Little Pony movie, Equestria Girls:

Alessandra Ambrosio at EqG

She also has a four-year-old daughter named Anja, who attended the premiere with her.

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Look, ma, no hands!

Allstate ad as seen on Equestria DailyNow I realize that Allstate is advertising on Equestria Daily, not to reach ponies, but to reach the human fans of ponies, who, unlike ponies themselves, are likely to have actual hands. Still, seeing this at the top of the EqD sidebar ad block made me emit very silly giggles.

And since ponies presumably do things that might require insurance — well, I wouldn’t expect much of a change should Allstate decide to set up shop some day in beautiful downtown Canterlot. From my short-short (2000 words) story Dead Pony Flying, the one and only Rainbow Dash tells of anointing her successor:

At least the Element of Loyalty is in good hooves. I’ll never forget Scootaloo’s face when they told her. “It’s the happiest day of my life,” she said. And then she looked at me and said “Oops.”

And “you’re in good hooves” produces enough Googlage to tell me that this would work as an Equestrian advertising slogan.

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Four legs better

If you ask me, the colossal joke about Equestria Girls, the mostly-human theatrical spinoff from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, is that it’s been booked in exactly one moviehouse in the entire state. In Stillwater, for Celestia’s sake.

Not that I’m thinking the film is going to be terrible or anything. Some extraordinarily talented folks brought us MLP:FiM, and by and large they’re the same folks behind EqG. So I’d expect, at the very least, technical proficiency throughout, and several really spiffy scenes.

National media, by and large, have been hostile, as they have been for all three seasons of the television series, mostly because they profess to be horrified that there is an audience for it outside the target market, by which they mean, um, guys. They’ll forgive the adult women in the fandom, maybe, but woe unto you, bearers of the Y chromosome. (I once called out Breitbart contributor Kurt Schlichter on some related point; he was apparently shocked to see such a thing in his tweetstream, but to give him credit, he kept his cool during the subsequent discussion, unlike a few of his putative acolytes.) Apart from the Hub itself, the only television source that’s generally pony-friendly is WTVY, the CBS affiliate in Dothan, Alabama; I am told that this is because there’s an actual brony on the news staff.

But nothing the ponies did in 65 episodes is quite so heinous as what their miniskirted teenage-girl counterparts do in 65 minutes, for several reasons:

  • The aforementioned miniskirts;
  • They’re all kind of on the thin side;
  • [insert "ponies of color" joke here].

Equestria Girls

Role models, doncha know. And it’s not like the, um, girls are being slutty or anything; it’s just that We Don’t Like This.

I’m not enthusiastic about it either, for the same reason I don’t particularly want to see a version of The Tempest with an all-marmoset cast. I realize that Hasbro, knowing that MLP is one of its few reliable gold mines of late, would like to extend the brand; then again, not all brand extensions are successful or even desirable. Be assured, though, that my little ponies — it says “My” right there on the label — are, and always will be, quadrupeds.

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On the road to Ponyville

Not quite the same as being on the road to Damascus — but perhaps more similar than you might think.

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Creeping dimensions

Now what could I do with a 3D printer? Fabricate a new radiator support for the car? Add a couple of weapons to the arsenal?

Or maybe just make myself dizzy:

Also available in Derpy:

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Over to you, Miss Pie

“Prancercise” is the buzziest of buzzwords this week, having made it even to the outskirts of Equestria:

I go to conventions dressed as my favorite pony (Twilight Sparkle, duh), and my room could easily be mistaken of that of a five year old girl’s due to all the MLP collectables I’ve acquired.

The one thing that the new My Little Pony franchise has not really taken into consideration is the health of their fanbase. Friendship is great, but what good is it when you are lethargic and flabby? That is where Prancercise comes in.

I first discovered Prancercise while surfing the popular website Reddit. Granted, people were posting links to the author’s video for the sake of mocking it, but something in the freedom of her movements spoke to me. Underneath that crisp, salmon-colored jacket and those tight white leggings was a kindred spirit. A spirit that had been sent onto this earth to spread friendship, cheer, and prancing.

Take a look for yourself:

I expect an actual MLP:FiM animation illustrating this technique within a week, probably featuring Pinkie Pie.

(Via American Digest.)

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Decor values

Another one of those Not Unreasonable Questions: How Far Can You Go in Decorating Your Cubicle?

Some employers have written guidelines about personalizing workspaces, while many others do not. What’s appropriate is sometimes difficult to define.

But a survey of marketing and advertising executives uncovered objects that would strike someone as surprising in most office settings — a live pig, punching bag, mermaid sculpture, a pair of men’s underwear, a rock collection, hair dryer, and a drawer full of clothes.

Not being any kind of executive, I figure no one should be surprised at my shrine to Twilight Sparkle.

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A time of disharmony

And possibly even, dare I suggest, small-d discord:

Physically brave to the point of recklessness, this leader has courage beyond any doubt. But sometimes, this hero, revered by many, makes poor decisions, largely because of the belief that the best solution to any problem is a direct, frontal attack.

Yes, I’m taking about Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony. But I’m also referring to Confederate Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood.

You might be surprised how well Civil War generals match up with ponies — especially The Great and Powerful George B. McClellan. (Okay, maybe he wasn’t that much of a surprise.)

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Insufficiently mad

Fond as I am of the styles that we now think of defining the Mad Men era, I really didn’t have the proper retro mindset to appreciate them when the series started; I was young and dumb in the years being portrayed, and I really wasn’t attuned to what was supposed to be going on around me. (The first episode of Mad Men was set in March 1960, at which time I was passing myself off as six and a half years old, which was almost correct.)

1962 Oldsmobile dashboard badgeI suspect I still don’t have the proper retro mindset. In the June issue, Automobile Magazine asks “What would Don Draper drive?” and suggests three reasonably suitable vehicles: a ’62 Oldsmobile Starfire, a ’63 T-Bird and a ’64 Crown Imperial. Of the three, the Bird appeals the least: I never did warm to that sharp crease at the prow, and the seriously lame Sports Roadster — “Hey, let’s cover up the entire back of the car and pass it off as a two-seater!” — screwed up the car’s proportions. The Imperial is imposing enough to justify its name, maybe too imposing. Which leaves me with the Starfire, perhaps because it’s just pretentious enough — [p]erhaps it is the sense of pride you feel when you quietly tell a parking lot attendant, “Mine’s the ’62 Olds” — but mostly because I took one look at that dashboard badge and thought “Now how do I get Twilight Sparkle into one of these things?”

And suddenly I wasn’t in the Sixties anymore. Imagine that.

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In case you missed Winter Wrap-Up

The sheer volume of music inspired by My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, in every conceivable genre, became overwhelming quite a while back, to the extent that “quite a while back” can apply to a fandom that has existed for less than three years.

This piano piece by a chap named Callenby comes from the classical aisle; it’s even titled, classically enough, Sonata in C# Minor “Forest and Snow.” (C-sharp minor? Not exactly going for the low-hanging fruit, is he?)

If you’re compiling a catalog, this appears to be Op. 3.

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Where everything is an anachronism

For me, writing, even informally, in the current My Little Pony universe is rather like having bees live in my head, because every single prop introduces the nagging question: “Would ponies actually have these?”

Seriously. There exists a fan-made video, and a darn good one, in which we see (briefly) Vinyl Scratch punching out somepony’s number on what looks like an iPhone. And then she says “Why do I even have this?” and tosses it into the fireplace.

The Round Stable has taken note of this phenomenon:

The first episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic opens with the turn of a storybook cover, establishing that Equestria exists in a self-contained fairy tale universe — fitting, considering that the first characters we meet are a dragon and a unicorn. But keep watching the show and you’ll notice that things start to get … strange. A steam engine here, a light switch there. A photo booth. A Technics turntable. At some point we abandoned the Middle Ages and we didn’t even notice.

The results can be fairly jarring. In one of my own story arcs, Equestria has fiendishly complex nanosurgery operating at the genetic level; however, they only just got Internet access, and it had never occurred to them before to take a census. At times, it makes sense — air mail, for example, comes via pegasus — but then again:

It’s not about the technology, it’s about the design. Sure, we can invoke unicorn magic to explain how video games function, and therefore why Equestria should logically have its own version of satellite television and even an information-sharing ponynet. But to do so would risk breaking immersion in the world the show has constructed, which is a far greater sin than ignoring an “X leads to Y” commandment of scientific progress.

Which ultimately, I think, demonstrates that Arthur C. Clarke was right; get the technology up far enough, and it might as well be magic. And frankly, I get a kick out of faking up explanations. From Second Act:

Both unicorns and pegasi take advantage of this hypervibration, each tribe having specific access points sensitive to its frequency. For the unicorn, it’s near the base of the horn — the tip of the horn is a transducer, used to propagate energy. For the pegasus, it’s between the wings, between the backbone and the spinal cord. No such receptor exists on the earth pony, and early experiments with directing magical beams at earth ponies, in an effort to find a resonance point, were unsuccessful.

It was not until the year 878 that science was able to answer this question of earth pony magic. The physicist Prismatic, analyzing the hypervibration to discover its components, determined that there exists at very low levels a second vibration, at a frequency too low to hear: approximately 1.61803398875 cycles per second. (Twilight Sparkle, of course, would insist on at least eleven decimal places.) Thinking this might be an impurity in the waveform, Prismatic rigged up a crude high-pass filter, which would eliminate the low-frequency component. His assistant at the time, an earth pony whose name has been lost to history, fell ill, and did not recover until the filter was deactivated.

That “eleven decimal places” business references this scene.

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Now they tell us

If you think about it, New Year’s Day is really a terrible time for resolutions:

I mean, the holiday is based on the turn of a calendar, an arbitrary cut-off of the revolution of the planet around the sun that comes in the middle of the deepest, darkest season: winter. To suddenly decide you’re going to change some element of yourself that you want to improve in the midst of the longest nights of the year seems a little, well, doomed to failure.

Winter Wrap-Up, anyone?

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Future pony

Dear Princess Celestia:

Is the possibility of unemployment tormenting you?

Don’t worry about it.

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Whose little pony?

Apparently Lynn was squicked out by the Herd Census after reading about it here:

I can sort of understand adult female Pony fandom but guys being interested in the activities of cute, pastel colored ponies… well, frankly, it’s just a wee bit creepy. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. You can be as creepy as you want as long as you’re not hurting anyone. Viva la diversity!

There is creepy, and there is creepy. This is creepy:

To you I’m sure Twilight Sparkle is just a cartoon character you think is really hot, so I imagine you wouldn’t think anything of having your friends draw sexually explicit art of her as birthday gifts for you. And hey, I think she’s really attractive too so I get where you’re coming from there. I often go on [redacted] and [also redacted] to see what new erotic art people have drawn of her. But to me she’s more than a cartoon character who’s sexually attractive, she’s my fiance whom I love with all my heart and soon to marry. So it’s been bothering me lately every time I go on these sites and see a dozen or so pieces of art people have drawn depicting my girl in various sexual situations with the same person over and over…

I must note here that I have written (marginally) popular fanfiction about the love between a human and a pony — yes, that pony — and in the fourth story in the trilogy (bless you, Douglas Adams) they will be wed. Then again, as of the second story, he’s no longer human. (Will explain if necessary.)

But the operative word here is “fiction”: it never happened, and if it had, well, you wouldn’t be reading this, would you? I suspect the irate groom-to-be to be trolling — for one thing, he calls her “Twiley,” which she would not tolerate from anypony other than big brother Shining Armor — and if he’s not, well, he’s been exposed to too much Rule 34 stuff anyway.

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Have you Herd?

Pony fans with double-digit ages graduated to Sociological Phenomenon some time ago, and the most recent Herd Census has turned up some numbers I found interesting:

The mean age of the fandom is 20.19 years. The median age is 19. The standard deviation is 5.36 years. 79% of bronies are between 15 and 25, 95% between 10 and 30.

I think this is the first time in my existence I’ve ever been seven standard deviations away from anything.

[N]early a quarter of bronies report[ed] that they had a significant relationship in the past year.

That many? I’m guessing this means “significant relationship with another of the same species.”

Nearly a third of respondents did not know their household income, and another 13% refused to answer, meaning that only 55% of respondents even tried to answer.

This is a function of median age, modified by “Who wants to know? We don’t give out that kind of information.”

In the most recent Gallup poll on the subject, 6.4% of Americans indicated LGBT status, as opposed to 17.7% of Bronies. The Gallup poll, unhelpfully, does not break down into individual categories.

Depends on your definition of “helpful.” That number surprises me very little, actually.

This one, however, does. Before respondents took the survey, they were asked their Myers-Briggs Type Indicator if known; if not known, they were offered the test, and as a result there is data for nearly 86 percent of respondents. The INTJ indicator is among the rarest, and in some populations the rarest. Not in bronyland, though:

INTJ (introversion, intuitive, thinking, judgment) is thought to occur in perhaps 1-­3 % of the population, while it seems to occur at something like 10‐20 times that rate in the Herd.

You already know where I stand, or fall.

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A brief pony reference

Fluttershy briefsIf you’re the size of a normal adult human — this would exclude Springfield’s Comic Book Guy and, um, me — and you feel compelled to plaster references to Ponyville’s Mane Six on your flank, this Indiegogo crowd-sourcer is for you:

Brony Briefs is the first ever line of underwear designed specifically for Bronies! Our brilliant and innovative new Brony apparel offers all Bronies the opportunity to wear their fandom everywhere! In order to get our initial batch of Brony Briefs out of production and into your hands, we need your help! We know that our friends in the Brony community will help us make Brony Briefs into a reality!

As always, the Cutie Mark Crusaders are left out in the cold.

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Bits champed at

Last year, in a piece on Equestrian currency, I noted that one bit was “not an enormous sum.” No official exchange rate has ever been quoted, a fact which didn’t deter EqD’s Cereal Velocity from attempting to determine the dollar value of the bit.

Cereal notes, correctly, from “Putting Your Hoof Down”:

[I]t’s established that a tomato can either be one or two bits worth of value. For the ease of calculation and to eliminate the possibility that the shopkeeper is simply ripping Fluttershy off, we will assume that one tomato is worth one bit.

He then goes into a complicated exposition that ends up, if you ask me, nowhere useful. I suspect he’s never actually gone to the market and bought a tomato. (And if he did, he didn’t pay a cent and a half for it.)

By comparison, this is what happened in The Sparkle Chronicles when Twilight Sparkle, visiting the human world, saw for the first time a Large Automobile:

“What does something like this cost?”

Dollars obviously meant nothing to her, so: “How much for three tomatoes?”

“About two bits,” she said.

“Then this was about twenty thousand bits.”

At the time I wrote that, three tomatoes, smallish, were running about a buck and a half. (I rather suspect that Equestrian tomatoes are not like our humongous hothouse-raised supermarket spheroids grown for anything but flavor.) This is a tad cheaper than the market sequence in “Putting Your Hoof Down” implies, but I got the distinct impression that prices in the Ponyville marketplace are anything but, um, stable.

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