Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for November, 2006

The One Director

November 30, 2006 By: jessicazafra Category: twisted by jessica zafra 2 Comments →

Peter Jackson will not be directing the film adaptation of The Hobbit. Here is PJ’s letter to the Ringers.

The short explanation is that New Line Cinema is run by money-grubbing Uruk-hai.

PJ made a magnificent screen adaptation of The Lord Of The Rings. He got Tolkien right. His movie trilogy won a truckload of Oscars and earned US$2.9 Billion. He IS a Hobbit. For crying out loud, pay him what you owe him so he can get to work on the damn movie.

A Jillion Light Bulbs

November 30, 2006 By: jessicazafra Category: twisted by jessica zafra 2 Comments →

Lately I’ve noticed that my friends, who were already much busier than I am to begin with, have been doing Things for the Benefit of Humanity. Apart from their own jobs they’re devoting time and energy to cleaning up the environment, or raising money for public education, or mentoring young people in their professions. So I’ve been thinking of something I can personally do for mankind, something specific, none of that vague, general “I wish for world peace” stuff. (Face it, there’s never really going to be peace in every corner of the world, because humans are a troublesome lot. At best we can only hope not to wipe each other off the planet. There’s an entire school of dystopian literature about societies that achieve order by tranquilizing the citizens, but I’m getting ahead of myself.) For the record, I love humanity, it’s people I can’t stand.

Now what can I do. What abilities do I have. Well, I can kill cockroaches. Hand me a tsinelas and put me in a room full of the repulsive little creatures. I can even take down a flying ipis by throwing a tsinelas at it. But there are way too many cockroaches in this city (I estimate billions) for me and my tsinelas to make a dent on their population. What else? I supposed I could mentor young people in my profession, once I figure out exactly what my profession is. Seriously, I’m from the school of Digression and Parentheses, and really shouldn’t pass on my bad habits to the next generation. Plus I’m almost certain there would be a body count.

I could do counseling. I already get email from total strangers telling me about their personal crises. Occasionally I am accosted by people I’ve never seen before and will likely never see again, who proceed, unbidden, to tell me the stories of their lives. Some of them even know what I do for a living. They actually want to be written about. On second thought, this is a lousy idea, and the body count would be even higher. I’m a little sympathy-challenged. Like I said to a girl who had attempted suicide in the past: “If you were serious, you would’ve sliced the other way.” And what kind of advice am I equipped to dish out? “If you cut your nails too short, you won’t be able to unlock that thingy on top of your i-Pod.” Or, “According to special relativity, everything that happens has already happened, so don’t make too big a deal about it”—advice I don’t even follow myself. Still, if it weren’t for the fact that I find much of human behavior mind-boggling, I would make an interesting counselor. Just the other week I told my friend’s eight-month-old son, whose middle name is Roger (after Federer): “Serve and volley, kid. Live and die at the net.” He must’ve understood me because he nodded. Then he drooled.

This weekend while prowling the shelves at my neighborhood bookstore, I was struck by an idea. (It occurs to me just now that ‘struck’ is the perfect word to describe how an idea arrives in my brain: from seemingly out of nowhere, like a swift blow to the head, but without the pain, and with a split-second supernova effect, like a jillion light bulbs. You know how on Sesame Street a sudden idea was represented by a light bulb? Ever think about how you think? Philosophers do it professionally, but I prefer to hear from neurologists. I remember the thrill of reading Oliver Sacks for the first time. The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat. And How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker. Again, I’m getting ahead of myself.)

This is the idea: I’m going to campaign for Reading. I’m going to devote time and energy to persuading (and if necessary, forcing) people to read books. In my personal observation, there just isn’t enough reading going on in this city. Ever sit alone in a restaurant reading a book? Before long, someone’s going to come up to you and ask who’s with you. Are you waiting for your friends? Can they sit with you until company arrives? Because surely you can’t be sitting alone, reading a book by choice. How do you explain that the book IS the company?

Consider all the time you spend in traffic, fuming and fidgeting, staring at billboards (Which are being taken down, so you now have an unobstructed view of—omigod, is that the sky?! Instead of billboards, we should just project ads onto the sides of buildings. Like in the Ridley Scott classic Blade Runner, an adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, one of literally hundreds of books by Philip K. Dick), losing your mind. If you’d been reading a book, you would’ve spared yourself that aggravation. If you’d been reading a book, your body would be stuck in traffic, but your mind would’ve been somewhere else entirely: hunting orcs in the Misty Mountains, investigating a murder in Delfzijl, or surviving a Brooklyn public school in the 1970s by believing you have superpowers.

READ ONE BOOK A WEEK. It can be done. Let me make a plan and I’ll get back to you.

Extortion update

November 29, 2006 By: jessicazafra Category: twisted by jessica zafra No Comments →

I got the Tom Waits album! Orphans (Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards). See what you can get by asking for it. Tom is sober now but he’s brilliant anyway, so we know it was always him and not the drink. If you want to borrow the CDs, you’ll have to cough up a fabulous present. Additional suggestions: a portable crossbow, a hat that actually fits my head (no baseball caps), Jon Stewart (the actual Jon Stewart; I already have his books), very large hoop earrings or rings with very big flat stones (but nothing too Pacquiao), Daniel Craig, Viridiana by Luis Bunuel, Senso by Luchino Visconti, a self-cleaning kitty litter box, Amazing Disgrace by James Hamilton Paterson, and New Balance cross-trainers (I like that the “N” looks like a “Z”), girls’ size 6 or 7. I’m serious, people, gimme.

Lives of the Saints

November 29, 2006 By: jessicazafra Category: twisted by jessica zafra 1 Comment →

Abdon—July 30
Patron of Barrel Makers
He was a Persian barrel maker who, together with his friend Saint Sennen, testified in the year 250 or so his faith in Christ by spitting publicly on pagan idols. They were thrown to the lions and tigers and bears, but the savage creatures declined to harm them. Whereupon gladiators hacked them to death.

Andrew Bobola—May 21
A young Polish Jesuit, Andrew Bobola was tortured to death by savage Cossacks near Pinsk in 1657. When he continued to cry out the names of Jesus and Mary, they extracted his tongue through the back of his head.

Justus and Pastor—August 6
When word reached these two schoolboys, aged 13 and 9, that their fellow Christians were being executed, they threw down their textbooks and rushed to the site to profess their faith, whereupon they joined the ranks of the Glorious Martyrs of Spain, at Alcala, in 304.

Agapitus—August 18
Patron invoked against colic
This 15-year-old Christian lad was martyred at the Palestrina in 275. He was beaten, jailed, starved, had hot coals dropped on his head, was hung upside down over smoke, and then had boiling water poured over his abdomen (which accounts for the colic connection). When he continued not only to live, but to praise the Lord, the governor, Antiochus, fell off his throne in a fit and died. Emperor Aurelian himself then ordered the faithful and courageous boy decapitated. No fewer than 5 complete skeletons of this Saint are venerated throughout Italy.

– From Saints Preserve Us! (Everything You Need To Know About Every Saint You’ll Ever Need) by Sean Kelly and Rosemary Rogers

Gimme! part 2

November 28, 2006 By: jessicazafra Category: twisted by jessica zafra 1 Comment →

Or one of those huge art books about Caravaggio. Or an actual painting by Caravaggio (No postcards, I already have them).

Biographical factoids

November 27, 2006 By: jessicazafra Category: twisted by jessica zafra No Comments →

1. I always mean what I say, especially when I’m being ironic.

2. No one believes me, but I am one of the happiest people I know, and now I have quantitative evidence. Take this Authentic Happiness Inventory, a test developed at the University of Pennsylvania. On a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the happiest, I scored 3.54.

3. Having read the Old Testament, the Iliad, T.H. White, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Dune early in life, I tend to view human existence as a battlefield (I also picked up the notion of “the chosen”). It is a harsh realm, and we must be strong. Terrible things happen, but we do not give in to despair. I expect people to be warriors. I expect them to be brave, truthful, and just. I know they are generally none of the above (and this makes me angry, which is why I am regularly mistaken for an unhappy person), but it’s a little late to adjust my standards. Stooping is bad for the posture.