Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Here’s a picture of Manny Pacquiao reading a book

May 30, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books

©Uro de la Cruz

3 readers have been accepted into our Young Nerd Program

May 29, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books

koosi ynp

We are pleased to report that three applicants have been accepted into our Young Nerd Program. The Young Nerd Program provides free books to serious readers between the ages of 6 and 16. Essentially we’re looking for young persons who read well above their age level and have excellent grammar and spelling. Studies have shown that people who get the habit of reading at a very early age develop more efficient brains.

Applicants email us, telling us what books they’ve already read, and on the basis of their email we make our decision. If accepted, they get a free book every month. Homer, Dickens, Austen, Bronte, Hardy, Tolstoy, De Maupassant, P.G. Wodehouse, Bradbury, LeGuin, stuff like that.

We do not personally meet the participants, and we inform their parents upon acceptance so they can claim the books.

People above the age of 16: Buy your own books.

Kids who are just starting to get into books: That’s nice, apply when you’ve read Tolkien.

People who don’t enjoy having their grammar and spelling corrected: Don’t even bother.


Do not buy this notebook which advises kids to plagiarize their schoolwork.

May 28, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Shopping

This is an actual notebook that we spotted at the bookstore. It tells kids to copy their homework from Wikipedia. Not only does it promote plagiarism, dishonesty, laziness and disrespect, it also insults the schoolchildren’s intelligence. (It’s also guilty of copyright infringement.) Any parent who buys this for their children is a dumbass.

The 20th French Film Festival will be held on June 3-9 at Greenbelt and Bonifacio High Street cinemas

May 27, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies

Full schedule to follow.

For 20 years the annual French Film Festival has given Manila’s moviegoers a break from their constant diet of blockbuster blandness (Tomorrowland: well-intentioned, preachy, Is George Clooney running for office?) with entertaining but intellectually-stimulating films in the French language. We saw our first Eric Rohmer (The Baker Girl of Monceau), Jean Renoir’s Grand Illusion, Claude Chabrol’s La Ceremonie and dozens of other great movies at the French Filmfest.

This year’s edition will be held at the Greenbelt Cinemas and at the Bonifacio High Street Central Cinemas. This morning we attended a media preview of one of the films: Thomas Lilti’s Hippocrate. The title is especially apt. The filmmaker, a doctor, asks how medical practitioners can serve their patients properly when hospitals are under pressure to turn a profit. There are constant budget cuts, doctors are overworked, facilities are poorly-maintained, but revenue targets must be met and it’s the patients who suffer. In one case, an old woman with late stage cancer is deprived of morphine because the hospital is less concerned with making her last days comfortable than with getting her on her feet so her room will be vacated.

Hippocrate stars Vincent Lacoste, who looks like a less nervous Jesse Eisenberg, as Benjamin, who starts his internship in a hospital run by his father. There he meets Abdel, an Algerian doctor who must undergo the internship all over again in order to practice in France. Abdel is played by Reda Kateb from Un Prophete and Zero Dark Thirty and he takes over the movie. If you’re a doctor, working in the medical industry, or have ever been a patient, we recommend you see this.

We are especially looking forward to Abderrahmane Sissako’s Timbuktu

and Aki Kaurismaaki’s Le Havre.

Tickets at Php100, available at the box-office or at assuming it’s working because we haven’t been able to book anything there for months.

The Paul Feig-Melissa McCarthy movie Spy is hilarious and lovable

May 26, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies


Melissa McCarthy is the CIA agent who’s been “sniped”—held back for 10 years as assistant to Jude Law’s Bond-like spy because she makes him look good. Jason Statham is the bimbo, a parody of all his film roles. Rose Byrne is the Bulgarian arms dealer who dresses like a slutty dolphin trainer. Allison Janney is the humorless deputy director of the CIA who provides McCarthy’s spy with sad cover stories and even sadder weapons (like poison antidotes disguised as laxatives). Paul Feig directed Bridesmaids and Heat. Go!

Drinking too much water can also kill you.

May 25, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Health

weather forecast

The conventional wisdom for surviving extreme heat is to drink plenty of water. Of course we need to stay hydrated whatever the temperature outside, but too much of anything is bad for you. This I learned in dramatic fashion exactly one year ago.

In your fear of dehydration, do not overreact and give yourself water intoxication. If you drink a lot of water (and that includes sports drinks) but you don’t eat, you risk an electrolyte imbalance. Electrolytes are chemicals such as sodium and potassium that power your cells and run the electricity in your brain. The human body is a finely-balanced system: ingest too much of anything and it takes corrective measures.

Read our column at

P.S. Always carry a card with the name and number of a person to call in case of emergency. Your phone should have an “In case of emergency” entry.