Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for May, 2007

Too tall for basketball

May 30, 2007 By: jessicazafra Category: twisted by jessica zafra 1 Comment →

Six foot three and under basketball. In this field we lead the world!

“Basketball is a tall man’s game. But in the Philippines, where men are short and hoops is an obsession, something’s got to give. Several native “big men” are barely taller than 6 feet 3 inches, the standard height for NBA guards. Dunks are so rare in the PBA that the league has toyed with the idea of making slams worth three points. The league adds a dash of high-wire athleticism by allowing each team to hire one foreign-born star. But permitting American 7-footers to play would wreak havoc among the Lilliputian locals. As a result, the PBA bans imports taller than 6 feet 6 inches. . .” The Philippines’ Incredible Shrinking Basketball Players by Rafe Bartholomew in Slate.


May 30, 2007 By: jessicazafra Category: twisted by jessica zafra 5 Comments →

1. When I took my seat I decided that if the Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil was played at any time in Zodiac (it’s the right era after all), I would walk out. It wasn’t played.

2. Alien 3, Se7en, The Game, Fight Club, Panic Room, Zodiac. I wonder how David Fincher would fare at a movie set in broad daylight.

3. Zodiac is not like Se7en. It’s not a police mystery thriller. It’s not a crowd pleaser. It’s a procedural. It walks you through the stages of a criminal investigation, including the blind alleys and dead ends. If you’re into detail and deductive reasoning, this is for you.

4. One thing it has in common with Se7en, other than the fact that you wish someone would turn on the light sometimes, is the flagging of certain books, an interest in what the criminal may have read.

5. The film stars three excellent actors: Jake Gyllenhall, Robert Downey, Jr, and Mark Ruffalo. When two or all of them are onscreen, the one the eye is naturally drawn to is Robert Downey, Jr. It is not simply a matter of physical beauty. (It’s not just the lust factor either, or Ruff! Ruff! Ruffalo would be it.) Downey seems to have a lot going on inside his head, and you want to know what it is. True, maybe it’s just “I can’t remember my next line” or “I’m dying for some coke”, but that’s what increases the voltage.

6. How could Mark Ruffalo and Benicio del Toro have been classmates in acting school? Wouldn’t the school have melted from hotness?

7. Many fine actors casually turn up in small roles: Brian Cox (my favorite Hannibal), Chloe Sevigny, Philip Baker Hall, Dermot Mulroney, Elias Koteas, Donal Logue, Clea Duvall and others.

8. Zodiac is really about the nature of obsession: how it consumes your waking hours, assumes paramount importance in your life, and alienates you from the people around you. Outwardly your life may seem to be falling apart, but what other people don’t get is that in your own way, you’re happy. Your life has meaning and purpose. You’re on track; it’s the rest of the world that’s floundering.

Federer vs Sampras!

May 30, 2007 By: jessicazafra Category: twisted by jessica zafra 3 Comments →

Roger Federer will play Pete Sampras in three exhibition matches in three Asian cities in November! Kuala Lumpur, Macao, and a third city yet to be announced.

What could the other Asian city be? I can guess what you’re thinking, and the thought that comes after that, and we’re not going there because we’re going to end up maligning this country again, and this collective self-loathing has to end.

Meanwhile it’s just occurred to me that tennis players are the proof of Ted’s theory (He didn’t actually formulate it, but he popularized it) that shining a strong light on the backs of one’s knees cures jetlag. Tennis players are constantly flying and crossing time zones, but they seem unaffected by jetlag, or else they recover faster. It’s the shorts/tennis dresses! They play under the sun, so the light hits the backs of their knees, vaporizing jetlag! Therefore if Marat Safin wore shorter shorts…


May 29, 2007 By: jessicazafra Category: twisted by jessica zafra No Comments →

In the movie of The English Patient, some British soldiers in the Arabia Desert refer to ‘the Bell maps’ which point to a way through the mountains. “Let’s hope he was right,” a soldier says. “He” was a she: Gertrude Bell, who explored and charted Arabia from Syria to the Persian Gulf. Alone.

Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations
by Georgina Howell

The Woman Who Made Iraq
A review by Christopher Hitchens

On the cover of this book is an arresting photograph taken in front of the Sphinx in March 1921, on the last day of the Cairo conference on the Middle East. It shows Gertrude Bell astride a camel, flanked by Winston Churchill and T. E. Lawrence. She wears a look of some assurance and satisfaction, perhaps because—apart from having spent far more time on camelback than either man—she has just assisted at the birth of a new country, which is to be called Iraq. . .

The Month in Loot

May 27, 2007 By: jessicazafra Category: twisted by jessica zafra 3 Comments →

May 07 stash 5, originally uploaded by Koosama.

Mindful of my reading backlog, I only bought one book in May—an art book for kids called Seen Art? And a nice coloring book, because that’s how I ward off depression (it works for me). Then Ambeth said he was moving to a house with less shelf space so he was giving away a lot of books. Looting! To limit my avarice I only brought one tote bag, but got too many books anyway.

The jewels of this stash are The Master Letters of Emily Dickinson, including facsimiles of the handwritten letters; and Confessions of a Master Forger (original title: Drawn to Trouble), the updated autobiography of Eric Hebborn. Hebborn “discovered” drawings by Leonardo, Van Dyck, Rubens, and Rembrandt, among other Old Masters, and when he was outed as a forger, he denied nothing. He died in mysterious circumstances in Rome in 1996. For further reading on art forgery, I got Christopher Wright’s The Art of the Forger, in which Wright argues that some of the world’s most famous paintings are in fact forgeries.

My friends and I share an interest in weird Church histories, so I got Joan Carroll Cruz’s The Incorruptibles—accounts of saints’ bodies which have not decomposed over centuries; Popes Complete—265 brief biographies (I checked: Rodrigo Borgia is in it); and The Girdle of Chastity, a fascinating history of chastity belts by Dr. Eric John Dingwall.

I also got some Gogol, Garcia Marquez, Tanizaki, Barthes (hopefully its brevity will forestall the migraine), and several history books (inc—check out this title—The Foul and the Fragrant: Odor and the French Social Imagination). Which aggravates my own space problems, so I have to give away books to make room for the stuff. Every so often I put the books in boxes and donate them to a library, but I thought I’d let my blog readers have dibs.

Does anyone want a couple of dozen recent Filipino poetry and story collections? You’ll have to take the whole shebang. What about six Elmore Leonard paperbacks? Three novels by Philip Roth?

Update. Oneiros gets the books by Filipino authors, Connie the Philip Roths, and Sidewinder the Elmore Leonards. That takes care of the lot.

It’s not ours!

May 26, 2007 By: jessicazafra Category: twisted by jessica zafra 2 Comments →

According to this piece in Salon, the worst airport on earth is. . .not NAIA! Yay!

It’s the airport in Dakar, Senegal. And the Concorde used to stop there.

Our state of affairs is such that we’re happy just to NOT be named the worst at something.

Here’s a short story by David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas=genius) that happens on an aeroplane.