29 September 2014

Rainbow Rocks Review

My review of Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks. Also up at my My Little Pony page.

I saw Rainbow Rocks at the first showing and I must say it was worth every pfennig (though I only have ten and they're not accepted as legal tender anywhere on Earth). I've written six pages of let's call it running commentary on the movie from memory, twelve hours after I saw it (so there might be a couple of mistakes). It's much more detailed than my normal reviews that I've just noticed I haven't been posting here very often. Well, here it is. Since the whole thing is outlined on MLP wiki and it's already up on Youtube I'm not too worried about spoilers. Just in case I'll put some arrow things, if y'all don't want to read it.
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Those short videos that have been released, the ones where Rarity and Fluttershy deal with the hamsters and Vinyl dances in the street, they appear nowhere in the movie. That was a surprise. The movie was short enough, only 75 minutes. They could have added the shorts to make it longer.

We begin as we have seen in the spoilers that have been officially released (I've done probably 80% of my best to avoid the unofficial spoilers) in the human world where Adagio Dazzle, Sonata Dusk (she's the adorable one), and Aria Blaze are in the shop feeding off of human misery when they spot the magic rainbow from the end of the first movie and Adagio conceives a plan to take over the world using the magic brought into this world with Twilight's crown (left over, after the crown was taken back).

For Realsies?

Cue the first song during the opening credits: "Rainbow Rocks". It's cool.

Sunset Shimmer is uncomfortable in the auditorium, being ostracized by the other students, and finds a little relief with the mane five, who are always, unintentionally, bringing up what she did in the past, leading to frequent repetition of "no offense," "none taken." Tia and Lulu arrive and mention the Fall Formal, making things worse.

One very nice thing about this movie is the directionality of the sound. They shift the channels depending on where the character is, so you can tell if someone is to the right or left, and when they move the sound moves with them.

We then see the mane five practice, under the name The Rainbooms. Cue second song: "Better than Ever". A tear nearly snuck out of my eye when they sang "we're the Wondercolts forever." The girls get pony features when they sing, and not just from friendship, but also from excellence, as we see RD start to develop features alone when she's acting like a total jerk. Flutters wants to sing the song she wrote, but RD is being an even bigger narcissistic, egotistical jerk than usual (and that's saying something) and is actually mean to Flutters. Rarity wants to pick out costumes for the band and AJ is also mean and dismissive, in an odd way. She had little problem with Rarity picking out the dresses for the Fall Formal, and she has to know that bands don't just wear anything, but the writers need to add the seed of conflict. Pinkie Pie doesn't like the arguing, but not because it's not productive or is totally unnecessary or is not what friendship is about, but because she's bored of it. Herein lies three of the main problems that will turn up again and again throughout the movie. They are a significant plot point, so pay attention.

Flash, aka Brad, aka waifu thief, bursts in looking for waifus to steal (he wants to know if Twi will be there). AJ says no and Flash leaves in dejection.

Brad Stealer of Waifus

Sunny is called by the principal to introduce the new students, who are the villains, to the school. More Sonatabetes.

Jump to the cafeteria, and the next song: "Battle of the Bands". We see that the mane five, plus Sunny, are the only ones immune to the villains' powers. It is a very sensual song, with a lot of curvy ladies moving about enticingly, from interesting angles, caressing people, and uncrossing their legs. The camera does seem to linger on certain things more than I expected. Hot damn, they're taking risks with this movie.

And all of this was spoiled. Officially. Almost the first fifteen minutes were revealed by Hasbro on the Internet. Nearly one fifth the whole movie was given away for free. This is simultaneously my biggest gripe and the very thing that led me to spend actual money on the movie. Had I not seen those clips, going off just the shorts that serve as a sort of prequel, I would have thought this would be terrible and never have gone. The official spoilers made me realise how awesome this was going to be.

Tia and Lulu are under the villain's hypno magic spell, so they turn to the last bit of magic they know: Sunny's book. She uses it to write letters to Celestia, like Twi, only without the need for a dragon. Of course we never learned of this before, but that's okay. They don't know if it will work, but it does, or the movie would end right there.

Cut to the only pony part of the whole movie. Ponyville is as it was after Tirek destroyed it, so weeks, maybe months have passed since the previous movie. The other copy of the book is now in Twi's possession. She reads that her human friends (and Sunny) are in trouble and has to think of a way to help. She reads up on the villains, who turn out to be sirens. Starswirl banished them to Earth (thanks a lot) a really long time ago, which means that even though they look like high school students they're really hundreds of years old, which means they're not jailbait, they're sexy grannies. It also means they are immortal.

Twi hooks the book up to the mirror, says some science-y bullshit, and then bypasses the thirty moons restriction. She tells her friends to stay behind, because it's not like we've had a ton of episodes where telling your friends to stay behind turned out to be a really bad idea. She goes through the portal with Spike and that's the last we ever see of ponies.

She enters human world and is met with a group hug that leaves poor Sunny high and dry. It's so sad how people treat her until the very end. That's a plot point, pay attention.

They figure they have to stop the villains quickly, so they barge into the auditorium and try to do their friendship beam but it doesn't work, because without the crown music is the only thing that can activate magic, for some reason. Now they have to enter the battle of the bands and use a musical "counter spell" to activate the friendship beam. The entire onus of the task is foisted upon Twi, who tries to tell everyone she can't do it alone, but they don't listen because they are preoccupied with previous plot points. These are all plot points, pay attention.

Lyra and Bon Bon are there, together.

Twi goes to sleep in the library, but Pinkie Pie insists she and everyone else, and Sunny, stay at her house. We get to see them all looking cute in their pyjamas (AJ's got feet!). AJ and RD are playing a Mane-iac video game, and just before AJ wins RD turns off the power, then taunts AJ. Dear Lord, RD has become a total jerkass by this point. Why would anyone EVER want to spend time with her?

When everyone is asleep Twi sneaks into the kitchen to write her song, when Sunny comes in and asks if she can help. She opens the refrigerizor to discover it is entirely full of whipped cream, which she eats off her fingers (it's getting hot in here?). They are interrupted by Maud (who is stunning in human form), who seems to have gone full retard, pouring crackers on a "hungry" Boulder, making a mess throughout the house as she walks away. Twi and Sunny almost get to the point where Twi asks for help, but she backs down at the last second.

Autism

The next day the song isn't working. They practice in AJ's barn. One of them says "at least we're better than the last time" and Big Mac walks past the window for the sole purpose of saying "nope." People cracked up over that one. Daft Punk reference. Well, without the spell they have to win the battle of the bands the old fashioned way, by being good singers. Those designated arguments start up again. Remember them? You were paying attention, weren't you?

At school Snips and Snails try to rap, badly, and lose right away though they think they're so cool. The mane six sing next, cue next song: "Shake Your Tail" (a different version than the one that was released months ago). Rarity is wearing a coat with metal dangly bits. For some reason Photo Finish uses magnets to sabotage her. AJ doesn't seem to care that it wasn't Rarity's fault. Snips and Snails chase Flutters with a spotlight, Pinkie's party cannon almost chokes Twi to death and something else happens that I don't remember. They argue some more, but they're good enough to move on.

Derpy has a band of what I can only assume are background ponies, and they all play strange quasi instruments: a cow bell and a triangle, and Derpy plays a saw. It's cool.

Cue montage. We're gonna' need a montage! Ooo it takes a montage! Show lots of things happening at once; remind everyone what's going on! To show it all would take too long. Even Rocky had a montage. While The Dazzlings sing "Under Our Spell" we see the progression of the contest. We see the CMC in their Show Stoppers outfits and flashing lights, Snowflake beats Lyra and Bon Bon (who are playing piano together, rubbing cheeks, almost adopting fannon completely) with a violin that is four sizes too small, the mane six beat Octy (who speaks one line, for the first time ever), and Brad's band beats someone, before themselves getting beaten (Brad, under the siren spell, hates Twi, and he made her cry).

LyraBon

The mane six play the Jerk's song about how she's the best person in the universe and everyone else sucks (seriously, what is magic again? I think I know why the friendship beam didn't work the first time). It rots, but RD is so in love with herself that she almost transforms. Sunny can't let the villains see her transform, so she tackles her and everyone gets pissed off. More pissed off.

Trixie plays a song "Tricks up My Sleeve". It is... interesting. And kind of long, and kind of like a filler song. Trixie plays the role of minor villain. This is a plot point, pay attention. Trixie is better, but the villains hypnotise Tia, who lets the mane six win. Trixie gets pissed and the next day, when the mane six are about to perform, she opens a trap door and traps them beneath the stage. Since the mane six can't be found Trixie takes their spot and performs again.

Beneath the stage everyone is fighting even more. This allows the villains to suck up their magic and they use it to transform themselves into anthros (pony ears, tails, and bat wings) with glowing red eyes. It's a very cool transformation. Sunny jumps in and saves the day. She points out the obvious, that all those plot points I told you to remember are the reason they can't make the magic work. Everyone atones. AJ accepts Rarity's outfits, and RD accepts Flutters' song. That door RD had been banging on for hours opens up. Turns out it opens in, not out. Spike brought Vinyl to help. Her headphones cancel out the siren spell. She also has a car that transforms into an amp.

The villains are singing their song and are just about ready to take over when the heroes sing back. The villains release their siren forms (which look like sea ponies) to physically do battle with the mane six, who have transformed into their anthro forms as well, and they almost win, but Twi finally asks Sunny for help and she picks up the mic and starts to sing. She takes her coat off, so you know this shit's just got real, revealing a nice backless top she never wore before. She transforms too, into good mode this time. Together their singing creates a giant alicorn of light which destroys the villains' pendants and busts them down to normal. They try to sing, to regain control of the crowd, but now their singing sucks and they run away in shame.

Shit Just Got Real

Brad hugs Twi, and Sunny reveals she's a totally awesome guitar player and she's now a permanent part of the band. Twi leaves. Sometime in the future Sunny is writing to Twi through the magic book, which allows the portal to be opened at any time. It's really sweet.

There is no pony bit at the end like last time. We go straight to the credits, and they are lovely. Last time there were just scrolling words, with Derpy at the very end, but this time there are a series of very lovely drawings of many of the characters. The song "Shine Like Rainbows" plays.

Credits

At the very end, after the credits, we see someone looking over a wall of pictures and charts centered around Canterlot High. It is human Twilight with her real dog Spike (first alluded to by Pinkie Pie in the previous movie). She is certain that something profoundly unusual is going on there.

Human Twilight

They took a lot more risks with this movie than the last one, which was mostly bronybait. Sunny actually says she transformed into a demon and in the final song battle the word soul is used. In this fundamaterialistic naytheist progressive age anything that even remotely resembles religion is strictly forbidden, no matter how non-specific, so that was something to see. Adagio calls her comrades idiots, and in this progressive age where words don't mean things anymore anything that sounds like shaming people who are not "neurotypical" (a bullshit, made up word for normal people) is strictly forbidden. Lyrabon shipping. This one actually has nothing to do with progressivism, it has to do with how fandoms work. Shippers will go down with their ships, and anytime one particular ship is even hinted at officially it is going to piss a lot of people off. Lastly, there is a whole lot of sexy movement and camera angles. That is what surprised me most. It was nothing compared to actual high school (which would have to have a lot of stuff cut just to get an R rating), but for My Little Pony, I never expected that.

But none of that bothered me. They were the good kind of surprises (not the bad kind, like IRS surprises). There were three things I didn't like: 1. the movie was really short, 2. Maud, who is writing her PhD dissertation on geology, can't be so retarded that she would dump crackers on Boulder expecting him to really eat them, and 3. RD has turned into a total jerkass for no evident reason. I can't imagine how RD could have gone from where she was at the end of the first movie, at most a couple months earlier, to being a complete jerk, who is so unbelievably mean to all her friends that she makes the rumors Sunny spread in the first movie look small in comparison. Seriousry? She's Gilda bad. Her jerkness was the only thing that turned me off, and the only thing that deducted points from an otherwise perfect movie.

My final rating is 94/100. I can't possibly recommend seeing this in person enough (or at least buying the Blu-ray when it comes out 28 October).

26 September 2014

Dr Peter Fenwick on Near Death Experience

Dr Peter Fenwick, renowned neuro-psychiatrist, will discuss his research on the near-death experience.Dr Peter Fenwick is an internationally renowned neuropsychiatrist and a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. He is Britain's leading clinical authority on near-death experiences and is president of the British branch of The International Association for Near-Death Studies.
Runs 17 Minutes

24 September 2014

Becoming a Man

Norah Vincent, a lesbian writer, goes undercover as Ned, a working class man, to discover the inner workings of male behaviour. Her 18 month experiment, written about in the 2006 book Self-Made Man, ended with mental distress and depression. She discovered that male privilege is a myth, that women have all the power and are cold, distant, and cruel, and that being a man is a whole lot more difficult than anyone in modern politically correct society is allowed to think.

Here is a 19 minute television feature.

23 September 2014

The Daily Revolver

For the 100th episode of The Daily Evolver with Jeff Salzman and Ken Wilber here's more of the same crap!

Wow! Thomas Jefferson was a serial rapist hypocrite for writing the Declaration of Independence and owning slaves. Carefully ignore the fact that the South was needed to win independence from Britain and the Constitution was designed to be a ticking time bomb to kill slavery after Britain was defeated. Ignore Jefferson's work at abolishing slavery while in office, and even began to free his own slaves until he was burdened with immanent bankruptcy, keeping him from freeing the remainder before his death. He wanted to end slavery gradually because he thought flooding the country with a million people who have nowhere to go, no education, and no skills outside serving whites was a disaster waiting to happen. Jefferson had a mutual affair with one slave. Rapists don't spend nearly as much money on their victims, and don't show preferential treatment to their mutual children either. Nope. It's just easier to paint him as a racialist old white guy patriarch.

"Slavery was outlawed in industrial societies because industrial societies have morals that say slavery is wrong."
Yeah. The abolitionists weren't outspoken Christian groups - mostly Methodists, it was cold, atheistic industrialists. You could have fooled me. It also had nothing to do with economics, like how child labour laws were invented because the men of the labour unions were tired of losing their jobs to disposable children who could be paid next to nothing. Nope. Morality took a quantum leap when steam engines were created and people became citizens of the world. Why does public education exist? Because kids need their learnding? No, because they can't vote, and the voters decided they were tired of children taking their jobs so they made school mandatory! Genius, no? They removed their main competition and made it look like compassion when it was really greedy self-interest!

Children are born as "little Nazis." And that's the reason terrorists and Republicans still exist and we're not living in Star Trek. Extremely poor attempt at humour from two old childless men.

Speaking of terrorism again, mention Hamas and ISIS in passing, but spend a whole minute talking about "Christians bombing abortion clinics" (seriously, when the fuck was the last time that happened?), "Buddhists releasing sarin gas in the Tokyo subway" (Aum Shinrikyo are not Buddhists, they're crazy people who worship a man who says he is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ as foretold by Nostradamus and the Free Masons), and "Buddhists killing Hindus in Sri Lanka" (conducted by racial supremacists).

"You can only do so much damage with bows and arrows, but once modernity invented gas chambers then people with tribal mentality could kill 20,000 people a day."
Tell that to the people of Rwanda. One million dead in 100 days is 10,000 a day, and they were mostly killed with farm tools. The Aztecs easily killed more than 20,000 a day with stone knives when they consecrated their temples. The Islamic conquest of India is replete with massacres in the tens of thousands killed daily under monsters like Mahmoud of Ghazni and Timur.

Don't say global warming, don't say global warming, don't say global warming.
SHIT! He said global warming.

Here's a real funny statement. I almost fell out of my chair:
The vanishingly small population of truly integral people are clustered "at the highest levels of achievement: government, NGOs, business, etc. The people pulling the levels of power have to be, almost. You could almost make the argument that you can't be a successful global leader of an organisation and not be at least functionally teal (holistic, seeks maximum freedom for maximum number of people, rewards competence over anything else (meritocratic), able to hold big picture views, can see the value in different points of view, open to the possibility of being wrong)."

That's got to be the biggest crock of bullshit since global warming! Is Warren Buffet integral? The man who sabotaged the Keystone pipeline because he's making a fortune shipping oil into the US on his rail cars? The man who lobbies for higher income tax yet religiously seeks every single loophole in existence while simultaneously creating new ones? Is Obola integral? Forget I asked, you had two or three videos creaming your pants over him as the messiah, the product of the all-knowing quantum field, the most highly developed human of this or any generation, past, present, or future, the best president who has ever lived or will ever live.

I wouldn't trust the average politician with my mechanical pencil, I certainly wouldn't trust the average politician around any children, and I'd be damned if I said I trusted the average politician running a lemonade stand, let alone a government. Either I'm a fucking moron or the absolute worst human garbage ascends to the top of the political (and corporate) ladder. The most dishonest, self-serving, pieces of shit are in the positions of power, not the most enlightened.

They then go off saying that pre-modern people are the cause of all the trouble in the world, and if we just stop treating them like modern people and trying to dump democracy onto them then we could think of real solutions, then they say "well, China is mostly pre-modern, but they're civilised, and Africa is mostly pre-modern, but most of them are civilised, it's just that damn Middle East that seems to be puzzling for some reason we can't put our finger on...."
I'll give you three guesses. Take your time. I'm just going to be over here eating a banana, playing with a boomerang, and looking through my telescope at the nearest celestial body.

Ooo, they said Islamic! They said "well, China is run by rational communists and India is full of people who practice yoga and are nonviolent, but the Islamic fundamentalists could use their oil money to bypass modernity."

Then they keep droning on and it's not helping that my head has hurt for the past 30 hours.

shrug

Anyway, here's a video of a chick with three tits. You've suffered enough.

18 September 2014

The Not So Secret Swami

There's a "documentary" film produced in 2004 called "The Secret Swami" on Sathya Sai Baba. It is nothing but a hit piece. The woman, Tanya Datta, "investigating" claims of sexual abuse is not conducting an investigation at all, she is a die hard true believer that Sai Baba is guilty and doesn't even listen to any counter arguments. The one man who she speaks with for most of the film, Alaya Rahm, a former devotee who claims to have been molested, is a heroin addict who retracted his lawsuit against Sai Baba. He has sued several people for completely spurious claims to get money to buy more drugs. And this man is the BEST she can do. One case against Sai Baba was thrown out of court when the supposed "victims" took the stand and said they had never met the prosecutor before in their lives and that they never made any claims against Sai Baba.

Here is a wonderful piece written by Ranbir Singh that excoriates the BBC for making such a blatantly untruthful film.

14 September 2014

On The Herero Genocide

From 1905 to 1907 the German empire fought a guerrilla war against the Herero, Nama, and other tribes of Namibia. Tens of thousands of people got pushed into the desert where many of them died. While officially recognised as a genocide by the German government in 2004, could this not have been the result of poor military planning and a miscalculation of what the native peoples would do when pushed to extremes? The deaths of so many people could have been an unfortunate effect of war and not a deliberate attempt at extermination. Here is a thought provoking video that runs 41 minutes.

13 September 2014

Area 51 Insider Testimony

Ufologist Richard Dolan talks to a retired operative with the CIA, "Anonymous", who reveals what he saw at Area 51 during the Eisenhower administration. Is this deathbed confession genuine or is it fake? I can't say, but it is interesting. Runs 17 minutes.

Richard Dolan on Disclosure

UFOlogist Richard Dolan explaining how ET disclosure would reveal the true structure of global government. Who really runs the world? Who would have authority to tell the public? Would the want to? Runs 10 minutes.

12 September 2014

The Lost Island


Many islands appear on old maps that correspond to nothing at all. This leads modern "scholars" to dismiss everything that appears on antique maps. However some of these islands fit too neatly with existing landmasses to dismiss as myth. One of them is Antillia.

Antillia is a large, mostly rectangular island with a peninsula at the one end, with its long axis oriented North-South. It has seven prominent bays along its coast. Here is an old map of Antillia compared to a modern CIA map of Puerto Rico. It can be seen that the two islands are very similar in shape.

Antillia

The Portugese were early explorers who rediscovered many islands, including the Azores in the early 15th century. Their navagation methods were not very sophisticated at the time, and they miscalculated the size of the Earth (it IS a myth that people in the Early Modern Period thought the Earth was flat. It had been known since Hellenistic times that the Earth was a sphere.). The distance from the Azores to Antillia was estimated at 1,400 kilometers, whereas the actual distance between the Azores and Puerto Rico is 4,500 kilometers, putting them off by a factor of three.

If you sail in a straight line from Portugal to Puerto Rico you would approach the island from the North East. The island, as viewed directly from Portugal, would appear to be oriented with the long axis vertical (North-South), as it appears on early maps identified as Antillia. Portugese explorers are said to have discovered (or rediscovered even, as many stories attribute the original discovery to Arab sailers 700 years prior) Antillia in the 1420s, more than 70 years before Columbus in 1493.

Columbus planned his voyages based on maps from earlier Portugese sailers. It is no coincidence he landed where he did, in the West Indies. He was headed in the direction of Antillia on those maps. Antillia was what Columbus was looking for, not India, not China, not Indonesia. It is no coincidence that Columbus arrived at Puerto Rico during his second voyage, it was intentional.

In some maps a chain of islands appear in an arc along the long axis of Antillia, to the "South". When we reorient the map these islands correspond very closely to the chain of islands known today as the Lesser Antilles. These too are real islands.

Antillia

If we look at a polar projection of the Earth we can see the Caribbean as it would appear from Portugal if the Earth was flat like a map. The islands are now situated vertically. Similarly Antillia is depicted on maps as being a large, rectangular island oriented with its long axis running slightly off from vertical at roughly the same latitude as Portugal. On the polar projection we can see Puerto Rico is a largely rectangular island, with its long axis situated nearly vertically, at roughly the same latitude as Portugal.

Early maps depicting Antillia were navigational charts. They did not attempt to accurately depict the shape of the Earth as a sphere, but provided an estimate of distances and directions for ships' pilots. Early maps were far from accurate. Florida and California were both depicted as islands at first, and Ceylon was placed to the West of India, instead of the East where it really is. Accuracy of distances decreased the farther from the mainland a ship traveled. This can be seen with the position of the Azores islands, with the error in distance increasing with the farther islands. The distance to the Azores are often underestimated. The same is true with Antillia, which is placed three times closer to Europe than the Caribbean is in reality.

On some maps directly above Antillia (to the West on our reoriented polar projection) is another large island called Satanazes. Sometimes there are four islands depicted. There are four larger islands in the Caribbean (Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico), along with numerous smaller ones.

The identification with Antillia and the islands surrounding it with the islands of the Caribbean is nothing new. It has been a stubborn hypothesis from the very beginning of the age of exploration. On his 1492 globe German mariner and geographer Martin Behaim placed Antilia along the Tropic of Cancer, just slightly to the north of Cuba. Peter Martyr d'Anghiera, a Spanish historian writing in 1511, explicitly states that Columbus reached Antillia on his voyages.

Early 19th century German geographer Johann Georg Heinrich Hassel posited the same hypothesis in 1822 and late 19th early 20th century American lawyer, writer, and historian William H. Babcock was published in the peer reviewed Geographical Review detailing the Antillia in the Caribbean hypothesis. He also wrote a book about the subject, that was published the year he died.

Cuba appears to be the most popular candidate for historians and geographers. Personally, with its location and very blocky shape, I identify Antillia with Puerto Rico. It just fits. It fits a lot better than old maps of Scandinavia or China or maps that left out the Arabian peninsula entirely. The shape, position, and location of the islands of Antillia on old maps fits well with the four large islands of the Caribbean. And it is by no means impossible to suggest that the Portuguese discovered these islands 70 years prior to Columbus. The New World had already been visited by the Vikings in the year AD 1000. Hanno the Navigator explored the coast of Africa up to Cameroon in 500 BC. Pre-Columbian Atlantic travel was not only possible, it is historical fact.

Another "lost" island, seen in the picture, is Brasil, also known as Hy-Brasil. You can read more about it in the picture, and here.

08 September 2014

The Sage of Arunachula

Lovely 72 minute film on the life of Ramana Maharshi.

Abide as the Self

A lovely hour long film on Ramana Maharshi, narrated by Ram Dass. Presented here are rare photos and bits of film to go along with the story of Ramana's life and his essential teachings on self enquiry.

01 September 2014

Michael Savage at Ellis Island

Dr. Michael Savage gave a six minute impromptu speech on his son's boat off Ellis Island about how the son of an immigrant made it big in America, and how the tyranny his family escaped in Europe has transplanted itself here a century later.