PIC Varia “”Not you! The other ‘varia, a literary term meaning a miscellany or collection!””

1.  This may not be as funny as I think it is, but I am this year’s Runner Up Smartest Blog in the Sheenazing Awards! I have been so swamped, I completely forgot to tell you to vote for me, but it’s hard to imagine a better result. I think “runner up smartest” is stretching things a bit, but I’m grateful for the award.  Lots of good blogs recognized there, maybe some you’re not familiar with.  Thanks, Bonnie, and anyone who voted for me!


2.  Most bizarre thing I’ve read all year:  Pregnancy No Proof of Motherhood:  Woman Was Her Own Twin, and the Twin Was the Mother of Her Children.  That headline is a little wobbly, of course.  A woman accidentally discovered that her biological children do not have her DNA — instead, they have the DNA of a twin she absorbed while she was still in the womb herself.  But she is her children’s mother, of course.

This story is yet another reminder that DNA is not the be all and end all of what we can know about ourselves.  Something to keep in mind when DNA evidence is what sends someone to death row.  Sometimes DNA lies.

Also, how messed up is it that people in Washington state are required to be DNA tested before getting assistance? Requiring applicants to show ID is one thing; assuming they’re child kidnappers until proven otherwise is revolting.  Poor people ought to be able to keep their own damn blood.


3.  In balanced and articulate terms, Scott Eric Alt spells out why people like me get so aggravated with people like Taylor Marshall, when they go all fundamentalist, culturally.  (If you missed the fun, I had myself a little rant about the Beatles and art in general yesterday.) Check out Alt’s Seven Reasons to Reject Catholic Fundamentalism About the Arts.  (If you find the double column format hard to read, click on “print” at the end; it will convert the formatting to a single column.)  Favorite reasons:


[A fundamentlist approach] is anti-art. What it likes in art is not its com­plex­ity, or its orig­i­nal­ity, or it genius, or its abil­ity to incite thought and reflec­tion, or its aes­thetic value, but solely what pro­motes ideas already believed. It treats art as noth­ing more than an exer­cise in bland self-validation. But Kafka was right: The point of a work of art is to be an ice pick to dis­turb and unsettle.


It gives us no stan­dard by which to tell the dif­fer­ence between Michelangelo’s David and a porn photo. It can­not tell us whyThe Chron­i­cles of Nar­nia is not a pro­mo­tion of witch­craft. (Some have argued that it is. They are the same folks who say that one should read noth­ing but the King James Bible.) It can­not tell us why Flan­nery O’Connor was not on the Misfit’s side. But the fact that John Paul II had to rebuke the prud­ish souls who cov­ered up Michaelangelo’s David is a strong indi­ca­tion that Catholic crit­ics must do a bet­ter job at explain­ing the dif­fer­ence between the artis­tic explo­ration of a topic, and pro­mo­tion of sin or idol­a­try of the body. The fun­da­men­tal­ist approach does not per­mit us to do that.


4.  Eve Tushnet, leading purveyer of Gay Catholic Whatnot, maps out some of the fascinating changes we’re seeing as Gay Christians become more vocal about their struggles and insights.  Sheesh, that sounds bland and vague. But it’s Eve Tushnet, so it’s neither.  Check out Coming Out Christian:  How faithful homosexuals are transforming our churches.


This is step two of our dog’s patented system for getting off the couch.  Step one is he turns into a boneless dog avalanche until the cushion tips forward and spills him onto the floor.  Step two (pictured) is where he is dead for several minutes.  In step three, he gathers his strength, clambers to his feet, and shambles off to find someone he hasn’t sniffed in a while.

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