Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for May, 2008

Spy Vs Spy

May 27, 2008 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Current Events, Movies 2 Comments →

Saw The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, directed by Martin Ritt and starring Richard Burton. Man it’s bleak. Not a laugh in the whole movie. And yet it makes me want to read the entire Le Carre oeuvre. (Alright, the Smiley books. Constant Gardener, ewww.) There are no heroes. The spies are regular schlubs, they don’t carry cool gadgets or drive snazzy cars, and they don’t actually engage in hand-to-hand combat. They wage war with their brains: reading the enemy, predicting their moves, finding exploitable flaws. Double-crosses become triple-crosses become quadruple-crosses. “Intelligence” lives up to its name. One has to admire the cold, calculating bastards who run the agents. I wonder if the fact that the espionage genre has moved on from John Le Carre to the Tom Clancies reflects the decline in “intelligence”. Technology aids the clever, and it also enables the mediocre; it democratises.

I also realized that Russell Crowe wants to be Richard Burton. Same eyes.

Cute bat

May 27, 2008 By: jessicazafra Category: Science 1 Comment →

New species, originally uploaded by Koosama.


The Top Ten New Species compiled by the International Institute for Species Exploration includes the Mindoro fruit bat at number six.

Name: Styloctenium mindorensis
How it made the Top 10: This large and charismatic fruit bat species is known only from the Philippine island of Mindoro. It is only the second known species in the genus; the other species is known only from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi and nearby Togian Islands, and was originally discovered (and named after) Alfred Russell Wallace. Wallace was a colleague of Charles Darwin and coauthor of their famous paper
On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection. Among other important contributions, he noted the distinctive faunal break separating Asian and Australian biotas, which is now known as Wallace’s Line. Ironically, the new species occurs on the west side of Wallace’s Line whereas its sister species is on the east side. The new species is threatened by habitat loss and hunting. Its discovery highlights an increasing understanding of endemism on Mindoro, and the need for species exploration and conservation.

There must be hundreds of undiscovered species in the Philippines. Due to depredations on their natural habitats, many of them will die out before they are discovered.


The wapthcallion hath thpiwit.

May 26, 2008 By: jessicazafra Category: History, Movies 6 Comments →

I watched the six-part BBC series Ancient Rome in one sitting (It was the day I did not get a single text message). Unlike the HBO/BBC series Rome, this one was based on actual accounts by Roman writers (which assumes that writers don’t embellish or exaggerate, haha), and does not contain graphic sex and nudity (Blast). Like the fictional series it contains plenty of violence, cause that’s how the Romans achieved world domination.

Stuff I learned from Ancient Rome, the series:

1. According to the series advisers, Nero did not fiddle while Rome burned, he tried to save it. When Rome stopped burning he was advised to move the capital, but he insisted on rebuilding Rome. He envisioned it as a center of art. Unfortunately he was bonkers, and thought of himself as a great artist. He insisted on performing in public. In contemporary terms, that’s like “Queen Elizabeth as a pole dancer”. Try reviewing your emperor’s performance poetry. His reconstruction plans bankrupted Rome.

2. Tiberius Gracchus was the first populist tribune. He pushed for land reform, which angered the aristocrats. The Romans were deeply suspicious of anyone who might aspire to be king (as Julius Caesar would find out). He was clubbed to death with the leg of a stool.

3. Ed Stoppard (Cute!) who played Flavius Josephus, the Jewish revolutionary turned Roman historian, is the son of Tom Stoppard the playwright who wrote Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, the literary model for Rome with its fictional heroes Vorenus and Titus Pullo.

4. The Goths who sacked Rome were not really barbarians or savages. Their leader Alaric did not want to sack Rome, but after the Goths had served the empire in various campaigns, they were screwed over. Alaric’s brother-in-law Athawulf ended up marrying the emperor’s sister.

5. There were many squabbling Jewish factions during the rebellion against Rome, not unlike the Judaean People’s Front and the People’s Front of Judaea.

Spot your boss

May 25, 2008 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies, The Workplace 1 Comment →

Star Trek, originally uploaded by Koosama.

io9’s 7 Types of Bad Bosses According to Star Trek and How to Survive Them.

They forgot to add “Terrible ham sucking in gut in tight-fitting clothes as intergalactic hotties for some reason throw themselves at him.”

When I saw the teaser for the next Star Trek at the cinema I shrieked, “NCC-1701!” Karl Urban plays Dr Leonard “Bones” McCoy, and I love Karl Urban (We actually watched idiotic Pathfinder), but won’t everyone on the starship be hauling themselves to sickbay at the slightest sneeze?

Jabba the Hutt doing ballet

May 23, 2008 By: jessicazafra Category: Books 4 Comments →

Chris Farley, originally uploaded by Koosama.

Every time I see the trailer for Kung Fu Panda I think of Chris Farley. Why did I even watch Beverly Hills Ninja? It was singularly unfunny and embarrassing. In fact most of Farley’s work on Saturday Night Live was singularly unfunny and embarrassing. But I liked Chris Farley (and disliked David Spade, and no longer watch SNL). There was something touching about Farley’s performances–a desperate need to be liked, and a sense that he couldn’t help himself, he was out of control. Here was a guy who was ready to kill himself for a laugh. There’s a new biography of Farley by his brother and a biographer of Belushi. Why do comics have such unhappy lives? Or is it backwards: Why does unhappiness produce comedy?

Iron-on irony

May 22, 2008 By: jessicazafra Category: twisted by jessica zafra No Comments →

Irony-on T-shirts, originally uploaded by 160507.

Brilliant cartoon, makes coffee spurt out of nose.