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Popcorn: Cats, lesbians and the pope

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 4, 2013 - To the list of scientific studies that prove the perfectly obvious, we nominate the University of Japan’s researchers who found that cats can distinguish their owners’ voice, but simply do not care.

The article for the Animal Cognition journal tells us that cats moved into close proximity with people as they developed agricultural communities. People stored grain, which attracted rodents, which attracted cats. Since the people were useful, the cats “domesticated themselves.” Whereas people worked with dogs to teach them to hunt and obey commands, “Cats, it seems, never needed to learn.”

(The Independent )

--Donna Korando, features and commentary editor

Lesbian, schlesbian

Maybe you've seen her on "Law and Order: SVU" or in movies "The Jane Austen Book Club" or "Coyote Ugly." But after this past Sunday's "Modern Love" feature, Maria Bello's better known as "that actress who came out in the New York Times."

The funny thing is, coming-out stories are almost passe. So why did this one get so much attention? Could it be because we didn't see it coming? Bello's reluctant to label herself just because she loves a woman. And why should she? Referencing a comment by her 12-year-old son, Bello writes, " ... I would like to consider myself a “whatever ... .” Maybe "whatever" will soon serve as both the label and the typical reaction

--Nancy Fowler, arts writer

Out at night in a clerical collar

Reports that Pope Francis sneaks out of the Vatican at night dressed as a simple priest to minister to the homeless have resulted in him being called, of course, super pope (Los Angeles Times). 

But his recent writing on the joy of the Gospel has people talking about defining his message: "…in light of the obsessive shopping on Cyber Monday and Black Friday, here is a pope who paints consumerism in the darkest of hues. 'We are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase,' he (Pope Francis) writes. 'In the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us'.” (E.J. Dionne in Commonweal)

--Donna Korando