Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for October, 2006

William Blake’s advice to young writers

October 31, 2006 By: jessicazafra Category: twisted by jessica zafra 1 Comment →

Drive a horse and plough over the bones of the dead.


October 31, 2006 By: jessicazafra Category: twisted by jessica zafra 2 Comments →

Proverbs according to Dennis Miller by Johnny Carson

1. A rolling stone. . .if not acted upon by any force will keep rolling in a straight line at the same speed.
2. Every cloud has. . .water vapor that has the potential of producing ice crystals or raindrops, depending on the Bergeron or coalescence process.
3. The grass is always greener. . .if it receives an adequate supply of C55H70MgN4O6.
4. A penny saved. . .if doubled every day for two months would be worth more than the combined GNP of the industrialized nations of the world.
5. A bird in the hand. . .is dead or alive, depending on one’s will.
6. What goes up. . .will stay up if it has an escape velocity of 11.3 kilometers per second.
7. When the cat’s away. . .the mice will play cautiously if it’s Schrodinger’s cat.
8. People who live in glass houses. . .are surrounded by a strange hybrid of solid liquids or liquid solids.
9. Nothing is certain but death and. . .Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.
10. There’s a time and place. . .but not before the Big Bang.

More information about James Hamilton Paterson than we could possibly need

October 30, 2006 By: jessicazafra Category: twisted by jessica zafra No Comments →

‘Not the son my father wanted’

When Lynn Barber first met the eccentric, reclusive English writer in Tuscany 12 years ago, she was already one of a handful of devoted fans. They became friends, but even when he accidentally wrote a comic bestseller, he still preferred his remote hilltop to the literary circuit. Now he’s come down from the mountain and tells her why

Lyn Barber
Sunday October 29, 2006
The Observer

There is a looming danger that James Hamilton Paterson, just as he reaches retirement age, is about to become popular. This will certainly upset those devoted fans, including me, who have admired his writing for decades but hugged it as an exquisite secret to our chests. We were a tiny cult, but we liked our exclusivity. James H-P seemed to like it too – he never made the slightest eff ort to publicise his books by going on chat shows or submitting to interviews. Consequently they seldom sold more than 4,000 copies and the book he considers his best, Playing with Water, sold just 150 when it was fi rst published in 1987. He was never seen at London literary parties because he lived on a mountain top in Tuscany for two-thirds of the year and on a beach in the Philippines for the other third. The Guardian described him as ‘among the most reclusive and mysterious of British literary exiles’; he described himself as a ‘rat-poor literary drifter’ and ‘a professional absentee’.

Hey Presto!

October 30, 2006 By: jessicazafra Category: twisted by jessica zafra 1 Comment →

The clever Mr. Nolan first boggled us with his amnesiac thriller Memento, in which Guy Pearce hunts down his wife’s killers with the aid of Polaroids and Post-Its. (Ever watch the DVD backwards? I mean chapter 20, then 19, then 18…Everything fits.) His fourth, The Prestige, asks similar questions: What do you know? What do you think you know? What do you know they know you know? Who the hell are you anyway? The protagonists are dueling 19th century illusionists: Hugh Jackman, very dapper, and my darling Christian Bale, who must maintain several wardrobes because his body mass changes with each role (From skeletal in The Machinist to unbelievably buff in Batman Begins. Here he’s tubby. I like the Equilibrium version). With Michael Caine, the fabulous Scarlett Johansson, the real magician Ricky Jay, and David Bowie as that tragically under-recognized genius Nikola Tesla. I’ll watch any movie that involves Tesla. Andy Serkis (Precioussss!) appears as Tesla’s assistant. Pay very close attention because you could easily lose the thread of the story, and if I hear you discussing it in the cinema and getting it wrong, I’m going to hit you with a rolled-up magazine. (Wait that would only make you happy you masochistic freaks. I should start charging for pain.) Obsession and revenge,  feints within feints within feints, doppelgangers and a bit of mad science—an excellent diversion.

I want my Herodotus.

October 27, 2006 By: jessicazafra Category: twisted by jessica zafra 3 Comments →

I’m in the cinema when this trailer comes on—heavy on the CGI, stylized visuals, a red, gray, and copper palette. Ancient Greek warriors, mountains, the sea, are those Persians?, long lances, hoplites…


If you were in Greenhills yesterday, that was me with the piercing shriek of “It’s the 300 Spartans!” Haven’t been keeping up with movie news so it’s the first I heard of this production. Frank Miller (Eeeeeeee!) is the visual consultant, and the images look like the paintings on vases. The lovely Scottish actor Gerald Butler plays Leonidas, I think. The director is not Ridley Scott, but I can’t wait. The movie, 300, opens in March 2007. I should watch it with Ted and Manolo—they can take it apart for historical authenticity while I relish the carnage. I wanted to run home and polish my sword (that sounds vaguely obscene), which reminds me that I have to get a thinner, lighter sword because mine is only good for whacking and for ceremonial purposes (being pulled out of stone, being passed on by hands sticking out of a lake…). Here’s the classic account of the Battle of Thermopylae by Herodotus, not the most accurate of sources but a hell of a storyteller. It’s essential reading for World Domination.

The Accidental Eavesdropper

October 26, 2006 By: jessicazafra Category: twisted by jessica zafra 3 Comments →

I can’t help it if their conversations are conducted at broadcast level. Is it because there’s a mobile phone blaring in their ears, making them temporarily deaf so they talk louder (the way you sing louder when you’re wearing headphones)? Do they want to impress other people with the nonstop excitement of their lives? Or is it some weird sense of community: people broadcasting private conversations because it would be rude to leave total strangers out of the loop?

Overheard at Fiumicino airport, Rome, May 2006. A Filipino man in matching denim jacket and jeans. (Why must they match? And why is maong the uniform of Pinoy OFWs? Is it from watching FPJ movies?)

“Hello? Hello? Ako ito. Asan ka? Nasa palengke ka ba? Ah, nasa palengke ka. Hello? Sa palengke kamo?”

It’s like Waiting for Godot.

His phone bills must be astronomical.