Sunday, November 24, 2013

Of Hoops and Hooves

Stevenson's men basketball team came through the Hoopsville Classic in far better shape than I could have anticipated.  Nicky and I were in the stands on Friday as the Mustangs recorded their first-ever win over a Top 20 team, beating #18 Middlebury 80-69.  And, folks, it wasn't that close, as SU missed half of its 28 free throws.  Unfortunately, I was in the bathroom when a Mustang alley-oop dunk in the first half brought the house down. 

Nicky can be seen just to the left of the arm of Middlebury #43, in the top row.  I'm to her right.

 The dunk I missed.

In Saturday's game, the Mustangs lost 70-69 to Birmingham Southern on a buzzer-beater.  I'll gladly take the split.  For the second straight year, SU has brought in a strong group of transfers and several good freshmen, and their athleticism, especially on defense, is immediately apparent.  If the Mustangs can maintain this level of play and become more consistent at the line, then this could be the school's strongest team since the 2004-05 and 2005-06 squads that played in the NCAA Division III Tournament.




At present, I'm not certain how in-depth I'm going to get with reviews of the new fourth-season episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.  I'm well aware that (1) a number of my regular readers do not follow the show and (2) those who do might not appreciate the spoilers.  Plus, working on the DUCKTALES RETROSPECTIVE and doing the book and comics reviews still take precedence for me.  So you'll forgive me if my comments on the new MLP:FIM eps here seem a little... well, gauzily generic.  If you want to see more of my thoughts, go to Equestria Daily and look for kimba_1962, then click on the "Intense Debate profile" link.  If you have specific suggestions regarding how I should handle things here, they'd be very much appreciated.


"Princess Twilight Sparkle, Parts 1 and 2" does a fine job of both getting newcomers to the series up to speed and launching what would appear to be a new, continuing story arc.  The major question leading up to the season 4 premiere -- how would Twilight's accession to the status of an alicorn princess affect the relationship between her and the rest of the Mane 6 -- was met and answered head-on: It will take some adjustment on the part of both Twilight and her friends, but the underlying "friendship dynamic" of the series will be unaffected.  Indeed, the climax of the storyline suggests that the girls will have to rely upon friendship more than magic in order to solve the task laid out for them.

The series' animation quality has taken a definite uptick, which is reflected in "PTS"' action scenes, most of which are flashbacks retelling the stories of how Princess Luna/Nightmare Moon was banished to the Moon and how Luna and Princess Celestia previously defeated Discord.  Speaking of the chaotic one, he's back in "full farce," and I'm glad to report that his "reform" is being handled in the manner that I had hoped.  Namely, he's "helpful," but only on his terms.

The episodes get a little talky at times and the humor is somewhat lacking -- only Discord raised any chuckles from me -- but all those concerns over the show "jumping the shark" appear to have been wildly inaccurate.

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