Virgin Mary Pareidolia

From AsiaOne.com: 

Malaysia – Hundreds of Catholics have gathered in prayer and worship outside a Malaysian hospital after seeing an image said to resemble the Virgin Mary on one of the windows.

Those assembled Sunday maintained they can now also see an image of an adult Jesus Christ just two windows away from His mother.

Nearly 100 Catholics were still at the hospital Sunday, lighting candles, singing hymns and saying prayers. Several tourist buses added to the congestion.

Some have come from as far as Singapore, over 300 kilometers (187 miles) away, to see the image on a seventh-floor window, which they describe as a miracle.

“We believe Mary, mother of God, has a message for us, as she is looking down on us and then at a Malaysian flag. We can also see Jesus and He is also moving, they are not static,” Eunice Fernandez, who lives nearby, told AFP.

The 54-year-old housewife dismissed claims the image could be a hoax.

Ellen brought this phenomenon to our attention and we’d both like to say a few words.

Me first:

So…people in Malaysia are seeing the Virgin Mary. Even though we all know this is a water stain or something similar, I thought you might want to have a look at the miraculous revelation for yourselves. I can’t find any photos that aren’t copyright-protected so I drew one for you. If you think my version isn’t awesome enough, you can click on the image below to be taken to an original source.

Watermark...errr...Virgin Mary

My rendition of the water stain…errr…Virgin Mary apparition in Malaysia.

I don’t have too much to say about this. The Virgin Mary doesn’t show up on walls. This is a case of pareidolia, plain and simple. Since I don’t tend to think of Mother Mary very much, she wasn’t even the first thing I saw when I laid eyes on the image. My first thought was vulva. But then that’s me.

From Ellen: 

This is just it, isn’t it, what I was talking about regarding Mary being gagged? The poor woman is reduced to communicating in code, in mildew and condensation. It’s like one of those coma victims in a horror movie who manifests a dire warnings spelled out in sans serif prickly heat on their torsos.

I guess I can squint and sort of see a figure and even a halo kind of thing. It isn’t exactly in proportion, but then neither is a lot of religious art. I fear I also see nipples and, what’s worse, it looks like the unhappy soul has bladder control issues. Perhaps she’s angling to become the spokes-apparition for a line of incontinence products. It may be the only way she gets a voice.

It’s easy to laugh. It is ridiculous to see magic in a stain. But think how desperate you have to be to find this wonderful. Certainly some of these people are desperate. They want something uplifting. They really want that miracle. You don’t convince folks to drop absurd belief systems by sneering, you do it by offering a better option. I’m thinking if they thought somebody gave a damn, they’d be more interested in looking through the glass to see what is really there, than looking at the grime on it.

Marketing Mute Mommies

This is a post by guest blogger Ellen Bulger.

I’ve never been a big Disney fan. Growing up, my exposure was minimal. The cartoons weren’t broadcast on TV and my parents took me to maybe two movies in my entire childhood. The only one I remember was Mary Poppins. And when I was in junior high, for some reason my dad took me to see the French Connection, which I remember being a pretty great film.

But the cartoons on TV were Fleischer (wonderful) and Warner Brothers (a mixed bag ranging from wonderful to meh) and Hanna Barbera (utter crap, all of it) with hardly a Disney cartoon in sight. But still I constantly heard about how Mickey Mouse was the most beloved cartoon character of all time and how everyone loved him. Most of this fawning press, I later came to realize, was generated by Disney’s own publicity machine. However masturbatory it was, it was effective. People will believe most anything if you simply say it loud enough and often enough. I don’t like to think about that during election season, but there you go…

I saw maybe half a dozen Mickey Mouse cartoons and they all utterly disappointed me. They were never nearly as inventive the Popeye and Betty Boop cartoons I adored. And while Disney animation was more meticulous than Warner Brothers, the cartoons were flat because the personalities of the characters were boring, really boring. And more than that, Disney never challenged the status quo, more like the studio enforced every bit of tedious and toxic middle American midcentury thinking. And while the other studios were likewise part of this culture, they were, at least, iconoclastic thinkers. No matter, I didn’t like Disney, I didn’t see much Disney, I didn’t think about Disney.

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Nunc Id Vides, Nunc Ne Vides

This is a post by guest blogger Ellen Bulger.

Nunc Id Vides, Nunc Ne Vides, the Way Things REALLY Work

First thought: Nanny Ogg at a frat party. Scumble Jell-O shots. Nuff said.

There have always been feminists on the Discworld; they call themselves witches. The entrenched academic establishment is male and less-than-admirable, if highly entertaining. Pratchett takes a dim view of faculty, but has a lot of respect for his witches. Pragmatic, hardworking and socially-responsible, these gals are decidedly M+ (Magic Plus).

If you’ve ever wondered what kind of impact they’d have on the premier institution of higher learning in Ankh-Morpork, you are not alone. The staff and students of Trinity College in Dublin have scheduled a debate:

That This House Would See Unseen University Run by Witches

Terry Pratchett’s fans know that science-based technology is problematic in the Discworld universe. There’s no sense teaching STEM subjects at Unseen University. AHEM subjects are more to the point:Alchemy, Headology, Eating (the cheese cart!) and Magic. And if you are going to really teach headology, you need its foremost practitioner, you need the inimitable Granny Weatherwax.

It’s hard to imagine Esme Weatherwax at Unseen University. She does not suffer fools gladly or at all, especially pompous ones. If she found herself at U.U., the only thing that would keep her there would be her powerful sense of social responsibility. Granny would not be popular at first, maybe never with the majority. She’d make the other faculty anxious and resentful because she’d make the slackers and the incompetents look really bad. And the students at U.U. who had never pushed themselves would hate her, at first. But some of them would come around, if only years later, when they realized that the most challenging professor they ever had was also the most generous. The luckiest students would be the ones who threw themselves into the work. And Granny being Granny, no one would work harder than she. Tenure committees would tremble in fear lest she decide that their university was not worthy of her time. And NO ONE would be harder on Esme than she would be on herself. Well, no one would dare.

I keep visualizing Tiffany Aching as a struggling graduate student, putting in the hard work and long hours towards her Witchorate. I suspect that whatever universe you are in, from Bas Lag to Middle Earth, being a grad student remains maddeningly sisyphean. Some things transcend time and space. On the Discworld, at least, we can assume that U.U. will be funded and that Tiffany won’t find her scant funding cut. Vetinari is no fool and he understands the importance of higher education. Granted, Ankh-Morpork is no paradise and there are plenty of Tea Party equivalents and no shortage of monsters. But should a Zomney appear with a bottomless appetite for brainz, I think we can count on Sam Vimes to pick up where his grandfather left off.

Ellen and Politics

The following is a post by guest blogger Ellen Bulger.

Reason #382 Why Ellen Will Never Have a Career in Politics

“Hello, may I speak with _______? My name is Ellen and I’m volunteering here at Democratic HQ in town. I’m calling to remind you to vote today. The polls are open until eight and your polling place is at ___________. We hope you’ll get out and vote and support President Obama and Chris Murphy for senate and Rosa DeLauro for congress. Thank you and have a great day!”

THREE HOURS LATER…

“Hello, may I speak with _______? My name is Ellen and I’m volunteering here at Democratic HQ in town. I’m calling to remind you to vote today. The polls are open until eight and your polling place is at ___________. We hope you’ll get out and vote and support President Obama and Chris Murphy for senate and Rosie O’Donnell for congress…. um…. wait…. NO….. I can’t BELIEVE I JUST SAID THAT. (here: hysterical laughter) Oh gawd, I’ve been on the phone too long, my brain has gone to mush. Rosa DeLauro, you want to vote for Rosa, she’s great. Rosie’s great too, but. Oh dear, never mind. Just get out and vote and have a great day, oh, um, evening!”

Ellen’s Squishy Pumpkin Halloween Extravaganza!

As you may know, Ellen Bulger – a regular guest blogger here at Biodork, was in the path of Hurricane Sandy. She asked that I let you all know that she is fine, and that Sandy for her city was no worse than being a beagle in Mitt Romney’s carpool.

Because of hurricane preparations, the reveal for PPA 9 will be a few days coming, but Ellen did pass along a collection of squishy, soggy pumpkin photos for Halloween.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Used and Abused Pumpkins © Ellen Bulger

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Song for Sandy

This is a post by guest blogger Ellen Bulger, who is located on the East Coast and preparing for Hurricane Sandy’s arrival. Stay safe, all of you who are in the line of God’s wrath the upcoming storms.

God must be punishing Connecticut. About twenty years ago, I was traveling down south, down in Georgia or somewhere and this guy, noticing I was not a local, told me I was in God’s Country. And I wanted to say, “Yeah? Well I’m from Martha Stewart Country and she could kick his ass!”

Surely God must be punishing us. What worse Yankee than a Connecticut Yankee? Seriously, we’re awash in lawyers and bankers and big pharma and insurance companies and stock brokers. By any reading of any holy book, that’s a lot more sinning than all the queers and atheists and evolutionary biologists in the world could get up to, no matter how hard they tried! But I don’t think Pat Robertson has called us out yet. Yet. Man, I could almost see how God would want to slap down Fairfield County. They don’t even have good pizza. But then again, we got broke folks here too.

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PPA 9: Halloweenscapes

Happy Halloween, dear readers! Brianne here, introducing a special Halloween Pareidolia Play Along by Ellen Bulger. I see a craggy, alien landscape, a breeding ground littered with the eggs of the land’s greatest predator. The time is ripe; this evening the hatchlings will emerge and a frantic stampede over the treacherous, uneven ground to nearby shelter will begin. Many will fall; only the toughest, the strongest, the meanest and most wily will succeed. Beware those who survive this first foray; they will grow to become great terrors to the human race.

Enjoy this Halloween offering – IF. YOU. DARE!!! Mwahahaha!

The following is a post by guest blogger Ellen Bulger.

Oh one can get up to all kinds of things this time of year. Where are we? What do you see?

Pareidolia 9

Pareidolia 9 © Ellen Bulger

PPA 8 Reveal: Jack Shellington?

This is a post by guest blogger Ellen Bulger.

In this installment, Ellen reveals the answer to Pareidolia Play Along 8.

Last Light and Shells

Last Light and Shells © Ellen Bulger

“Crassostrea virginica” while otherwise drab (and delicious) gets a little nuts when it makes a shell. This is a quiet beast, hiding under sediments so as to avoid the attention of carpenters and their tusked pinniped companions. It has the same dreary daily schedule filtering the water as the tide rises and falls. But while most other mollusks follow a set of blueprints very carefully when they grow their shells, the eastern oyster does some freestylin’ and expresses some personality. This bivalve tells you, “I would have been the belle of the ball, given the chance.” or “I am indeed a quiet sort.” or “I can’t possible have enough ruffles” or even “I don’t give a fuck all for your aesthetics, for your symmetry because I am a wild and crazy guy if only, only, only I had legs or fins or wings, damn it all!”

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