British-American actress Emily Blunt — she was born in London, but took US citizenship last year — turns 33 next week, and she’s been working almost constantly for over a decade, though I didn’t catch her until 2006, in The Devil Wears Prada. (Stanley Tucci, also in Devil, is in Real Life™ married to Emily’s sister Felicia.)
In 2010, she married John Krasinski; they have a daughter and are expecting a second child this year.
And this family stuff may have suggested to her a side career as a voice actress: she voiced Juliet in Gnomeo & Juliet (2010), she’ll be heard this year in something called Animal Crackers, no relation to the Marx brothers’ original, and next year we (at least I) will hear her as an as-yet-unidentified character, presumably equine, in an actual My Little Pony movie.
Found by Fillyjonk on Polyvore, and contemplated by yours truly for entirely too long:
Headed to Equestria, dames? A darling pair of My Little Pony platform pumps, these vegan heels are fashioned in a charming cosmic celestial motif, boasting a peep toe, sleek 4.75 inch heel, 1 inch hidden platform and PU rubber outsole. Let your imagination run wild!
Typefaces in the news! (And how often do you see that?)
Font Brothers America has a perfectly dreadful set called Generation B, which has been used on almost everything Hasbro has issued from this generation of My Little Pony. Font Brothers is now suing Hasbro for, according to the legal filing [pdf], not less than $150,000 per infringement. This is a hell of a lot of money, especially considering that Font Brothers apparently was bragging about Hasbro’s use of the typeface before this legal farrago.
Meanwhile, the US Federal Highway Administration, which approved the use of the Clearview font on highway signs in place of the traditional Highway Gothic, has now rescinded that approval, pointing out that much of the improved legibility attributed to Clearview was actually due simply to having new signs made. Worse, on hazard signs, Clearview offers no improvement and may make matters worse. Fortunately, no one’s going to have to go back and retrofit the signs they’ve already replaced once.
How do parents ponies pre-know the talent of their newborns? In many cases, the name seems to be very reflective of the talent, or of their eventual mark. I think if I were making up the universe I’d have the ponies be given one name at birth, and then take on another — kind of like how some Christian groups do baptismal names or confirmation names — when they do figure out their talent.
I, for one, would like to know Mrs Cake’s maiden name.
Also referred to as “aptronyms”, New Scientist journalist John Hoyland coined the term “nominative determinism” for these strange cases of people who seem inexorably drawn to their profession by virtue of their name.
He was led to the subject after a being alerted to a scientific paper by authors JW Splatt and D Weedon on the subject of incontinence, on the same day as seeing a book on the Arctic by a Mr Snowman.
The idea has something of a history, with psychologist Karl Jung suggesting in his 1952 book, Synchronicity, that there was a “sometimes quite grotesque coincidence between a man’s name and his peculiarities”.
Daniel Ingram, who writes all those daffily infectious (or infectiously daffy) songs for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, has opened many career doors, and maybe blocked one:
I’ve been approached by some really unexpected clients as a result of MLP’s wide-reaching success. From large companies like Cirque du Soleil and Netflix to just unexpected people like Frank Zappa’s son, Ahmet, reaching out to congratulate me. I just finished a song for a hotel chain in Brazil because their marketing guy is a brony. MLP has opened up doors to write for some pretty cool celebrities too including “Weird Al” Yankovic and 2014 Tony Award winner Lena Hall. But the marketability is both a blessing and a curse. I’ve had a lot of success getting work writing music for children’s television, but I’ve struggled to find an agent that will take me seriously. I believe that will change in the next year or two. Anyone know a good songwriting agent?
By then, of course, he should have finished the MLP feature film, due fall 2017, which I suspect will mean the end of the TV series as well. In the meantime, though, he’s put some utterly fab stuff on his CV, including this Season Two delight that’s clearly not kid stuff:
Nonpareil, as the pony says. (Sam Vincent, who voiced either Flim or Flam — who can tell?¹ — was thinking of another animal: the song, he said, was an absolute bear to learn.)
¹ Just kidding. He was Flim. In some of the foreign versions, though, the same VA sang both Flim and Flam.
I don’t know anyone who’s signed up for YouTube’s Red service, which allows consumption of, one assumes, mass quantities of media for a monthly subscription fee. And up to this point, YouTube’s actual revenues from yours truly equaled the proverbial goose egg. Still, some things are worth paying for, and as an experiment — and in my capacity as a longtime non-subscriber to Discovery Family, which the cable company has pushed out to some far-distant Nosebleed Tier — I put up some coin of the realm yesterday to watch the newest episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, a show-business fable titled “The Mane Attraction,” ever-so-slightly based on George du Maurier’s Trilby. (The manipulative manager is named “Svengallop,” fercryingoutloud.) We’re talking $1.99, or $2.99 for actual HD. Mostly, I was curious to see how convoluted paying for an episode would be.
As it happens, the answer to that was “Not very,” since I already had a Google Wallet specified: two buttons, and the deed was done. (Your mileage may vary.) They are offering a season ticket — 26 episodes for approximately the price of ten — so I may do that for Season Six. After all, one must support the content creators at some level, and paying the cable company an extra $200 a year is not a level I’d consider useful.
The Brony Thank You Fund is now raising funds to start a permanent animation scholarship to Calarts, the school where such people as Lauren Faust, Craig McCracken, and Tim Burton got their start, among many, many others.
As folks may recall, the Brony Thank You Fund endowed a permanent scholarship at the California Institute of the Arts a year ago, the Derpy Hooves Scholarship in Character Animation. We have just been informed by CalArts that the first recipient is Thirla Alagala, a third-year student. She took the time to give a shout out in her Tumblr, complete with her own version of Derpy. She says that she’d love to hear from the brony community, and we look forward to seeing her in the credits of some great animation once she graduates!
Chilean anti-trust regulators have charged two of the country’s biggest toilet paper manufacturers with taking part in a price-fixing scheme to corner the market for sanitary tissue and other products between 2000 and 2011, officials said Thursday.
The alleged scheme has outraged Chileans, who in the past have also been victims of price-fixing scandals involving chicken and prescription drugs.
According to economic investigators, CMPC Tissue and SCA Chile colluded to share out the market and fix the price of toilet paper rolls and other paper products.
For a limited time, Harujuku, Japan will have its very own My Little Pony-themed cafe. The restaurant will be serving up colorful dishes with pictures of ponies emblazoned right on the food. Diners can enjoy ponies both new and old, with characters from generations one and four.
Besides themed food and menus, there’s also a giant mural on the back wall and cut-outs to pose with, and pony dolls and stuffed animals are scattered around the establishment. Before you leave, you can also buy themed merchandise like notebooks and keychains.
The most expensive item on the menu is around $11; T-shirts and such run $20ish. (Yen exchange rate may vary.)
Assuming there were no logistical problems, would you take a date to this place? (There is, of course, no point in asking me this.)
We know that Celestia and Luna are over a thousand years old: Luna spent a thousand years in exile, and she’s the younger sibling. What canon doesn’t say is how long they can live; fanfic writers generally work from the premise that there is no upper limit, but tend to shy away from the word “immortal.” Then again, some try to subvert the trope:
“Well, I was wondering. Just how immortal, if that’s the word, are you and your sister anyway?”
Celestia shook her mane, and he imagined he saw a map of the sky just beyond her head. “Having reached physical maturity, Luna and I do not age in the usual sense. But we know that there are forces in the Universe capable of taking us down.”
He nodded, remembering an incident at a previous Canterlot wedding.
“Which is why we shy away from the word ‘immortal’; it implies that we can survive anything, an implication that has some basis in reality, but one I would not like to put to the test.”
At the end of the third season, Twilight Sparkle ascended to alicornhood: she may not have the sheer size of the sisters, but she is presumed to have the same physical attributes, to include, though canon doesn’t say so, that indefinite lease on life.
Which creates a problem: what happens when she inevitably outlives all her friends?
I tucked a link to this in an earlier post, but inasmuch as this scenario is still haunting me, I’m going full Captain Obvious here:
I wept for rather a long time.
Eventually I did regain my composure. I sought out, and purchased, the two musical selections, both composed by Thomas J. Bergersen, before I realized that owning copies of these tracks meant I get to remind myself of this story, to relive my sorrow, that much more often.
In some ways, this is the most “me” thing I’ve ever done.
There’s plenty of disagreement among fanfic writers in the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic universe as to how much a bit “really” is. Better we should ask the basis for those bits, inasmuch as our own humanoid currency is sort of questionable these days:
[W]hen you hold cash, it’s supposed to lead back into something tangible. Whatever someone has assigned value to and can’t readily be carried, portable money substitutes for. Precious metals, for whatever reason someone decided they were worth something. Jewels, perhaps. (Humans have a certain weakness for shiny objects. Ravens with slightly improved grasping digits and lower impulse control.) You can’t ask the government for that backing material any more, at least locally. There are still silver certificate bills in circulation — they were supposed to be pulled, but collectors and dusty rainy-day stashes occasionally release a bill or two — but unless they’re crisp enough to resell as that collectible, they can only be used for their face value. The value we’re all basically lying to each other about because as long as we all lie, the system remains more or less intact.
Once upon a time, the United States ran on silver. Then gold. (Today, possibly debt.) The currency must lead back to something, even if that thing doesn’t exist.
And what might that thing be in Equestria? Think power. Herewith, a possible basis:
If the name “bits” hadn’t been assigned to us, I would count Equestrian currency in sols (or lunes). Because there are times when currency leads back to labor. You clear my fields for eight hours and I’ll give you four chickens. However, I really don’t feel like keeping those clucking menaces around, so here’s a piece of paper which you can present to a man in town, and he’ll give you the chickens for me … on such small things do economies grow.
And the ultimate labor is that which makes Sun and Moon keep working.
What’s Equestria’s ultimate promise to the world? We will keep the cycle going. And that’s about as strong a backing for a monetary system as you can ask for.
So if I was working on this, I would have the money powered by pony labor, with the sisters at the top of that scale. Ultimately, money is traded out to the other nations with the understanding that the palace will maintain the orbits. Oh, there are other forms of ponyhours being traded out: send us these goods and we’ll dispatch pegasi to adjust your weather system. Access to magic — especially that which the other species don’t have — gives a nation some powerful leverage in the world economy, although some of that is countered by what said other species can bring to the table. But at the far end of the chain … there is a simple promise. What backs Equestria’s economy is the most fundamental labor to exist in that world, performed four times per cycle — or there is no cycle at all.
If this doesn’t make sense, imagine trying to explain currencies in this world, most of which have value only because large institutions with stores of arms say they do.
Hasbro, having learned that it can easily sell stuff with double-digit price tags to pony fans, is now upping the ante:
The newest line of My Little Pony toys is definitely not for kids.
Hasbro Inc. and Integrity Toys, Inc. are collaborating on a “high end collectible” series called <3 My Little Pony, exclusively designed (and priced) for adult fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. These fans are colloquially called Bronies, a mostly adult, male Internet-spawned fandom with an unusual cultural position which is nearly as mainstream as My Little Pony itself.
And I suppose it’s nice to be acknowledged:
“There’s a tremendous adult market,” Integrity Toys spokesperson Carol Roth said in an interview… “The reality is most My Little Pony collectors are in their 20s to 60s and possibly even older than that.”
Well, we do have more disposable income than do the grade-school girls in the putative target audience.
With My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic just beyond halfway through Season Five, with the sixth season already graven in stone and probably already storyboarded, this is about the point where you start to wonder: do they start going through the motions, or are they going to try to keep cranking up the brilliance?
“Rarity Investigates!” pretty well answered that question, for now anyway, in favor of that second alternative: I continue to be delighted by the show’s sheer audacity. This isn’t the first time MLP:FiM has tried to solve a mystery, but I wouldn’t have expected it to go almost totally noir — though Rarity, Celestia knows, is as fatale a femme as you’ll find in Equestria. William Anderson’s background music, as always, was on point, and while I had turned to take a sip of a minor libation, I heard the subtle strains of a muted trumpet. Perfect, I thought, and turned back to the screen to see this:
Of course they did. (Anderson played it himself, I’m told.) And they even replaced the outro theme with more of the same. The subtween girls at whom the show is officially pitched are getting all sorts of unexpected cultural familiarization beyond merely “buy these toys”; the rest of us simply smile a lot.