Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for December, 2008

Resolution: Eat these.

December 31, 2008 By: jessicazafra Category: Food, Science 3 Comments →

I like New Year’s Day so much, I celebrate it three times a year: on the first day of the Gregorian calendar, on the lunar new year, and on the vernal equinox. This leaves room for more resolutions, which should be viewed not as iron-clad restrictions, but recommendations and minor edits. There’s no point in imposing rules that you know won’t be followed, i.e. “Stop eating meat”, or in stating resolutions in such general terms that they can be stretched, i.e. “Eat only foods that are good for you.” Having just champagne and chocolate for dinner is also good for you, in a way.

So here’s a very specific and more importantly, painless New Year’s resolution: Add the following antioxidant-rich items to your diet. The Ten Best Foods You Aren’t Eating.

1. Beets. Contain folate and betaine, which “work together to lower your blood levels of homocysteine, an inflammatory compound that can damage your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease.”
2. Cabbage. I was always told that cabbage has no nutritional value. Apparently my parents were wrong. Cabbage contains “sulforaphane, a chemical that increases your body’s production of enzymes that disarm cell-damaging free radicals and reduce your risk of cancer.” Easy: just have a side of kimchi with every meal.
3. Guava. “Guava has a higher concentration of lycopene—an antioxidant that fights prostate cancer—than any other plant food, including tomatoes and watermelon.” A cup also contains 688 mg of potassium, more than a medium banana, which means tennis players should be eating guava between sets.
4. Cinnamon! Contains methylhydroxychalcone polymers which boost your cells’ ability to metabolize sugar. Controls blood sugar, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Just sprinkle it liberally on your coffee the next time you go to Coffee Bean or Starbucks.
5. Pomegranate juice. With daily consumption, decreases systolic blood pressure and improves bloodflow to the heart. Lots of vitamin C.
6. Dried plums, a.k.a. prunes. Contain “high amounts of neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids, antioxidants that are particularly effective at combating the “superoxide anion radical.” This nasty free radical causes structural damage to your cells, and such damage is thought to be one of the primary causes of cancer.”
7. Pumpkin seeds. Magnesium, magnesium, magnesium.
8. Goji berries. High in antioxidants, reduce diabetes risk factors.
9. Swiss chard. A Mediterranean leafy green—anyone know where we can get this? Contains carotenoids which protect your retinas from the damage of aging.
10. Purslane. Contains “the highest amount of heart-healthy omega-3 fats of any edible plant…has 10 to 20 times more melatonin—an antioxidant that may inhibit cancer growth— than any other fruit or vegetable tested.” It’s a popular vegetable in China, anyone know the local name?

Non-diet health suggestion: Hang out with people of good cheer who regard difficulties as temporary. Limit exposure to people who depress you. Don’t go looking for suffering, it finds everyone anyway. Screw the old cliches: Suffering doesn’t make you an artist. Your ability to process torment into something beautiful, that’s the art part.

Projects for the Craft-challenged #2

December 30, 2008 By: jessicazafra Category: Projects No Comments →

How To Make A Bigger Earring Box

Materials: One obsessive-compulsive personality; one large Royce Collection tin; lots of earrings, including hoops


1. Cheer the fact that Royce the chocolate company has opened a store in Manila.

2. Get worried that you will spend a fortune on Royce chocolates and put on weight.

3. Head off the problem through aversion therapy. Buy the big sampler box with all the chocolates and finish it by yourself as quickly as possible. There, you feel woozy from having ingested so much chocolate and sugar. Naughty, naughty. You now associate chocolate with wooziness and guilt.

Congratulations, you have taken positive, drastic action. If you still have the overwhelming urge to consume Royce chocolates, you obviously need a stronger dose of aversion therapy. Repeat step 3.

4. Give the empty tins to your friend who has lots of earrings. Remember not to throw away the plastic dividers! See, the compartments are big enough for giant hoop earrings.

Marx on Art

December 30, 2008 By: jessicazafra Category: Art No Comments →

We’ve been talking about art. What the hell is it?

Let’s hear what Marx has to say on the issue. Not that one. Groucho.

The Lost Nativity

December 29, 2008 By: jessicazafra Category: Art 1 Comment →

On the night of October 18, 1969, thieves entered the Oratory of San Lorenzo in Palermo and cut Caravaggio’s last Sicilian painting, the Nativity, out of its frame. The painting was never seen again. It is considered one of the most notorious art crimes in history, second only to the theft of the Mona Lisa in 1911. The Sicilian mafia is believed to be behind the theft.

Caravaggio’s nativity is a vision of the first Christmas – but it is no Christmas card scene. It lacks cuteness, cosiness, even beauty. It is – or should we say was? – one of the most eerily lifelike and grimly imagined of all artistic attempts to conceive the birth of Christ in a stable. This is no picturesque, rustic building. We see it from the inside, as a dank, dark hovel whose rafters can be made out in the shadowy upper regions of the canvas. The people taking refuge in this place fit only for animals – the ox seems less a witness to Christ’s coming than dumb evidence of the lowness and poverty of the setting – are truly outcast. Mary is a proletarian woman whose ragged clothes and sad face have nothing divine about them. Her baby lies on a thin mattress of straw on the hard earth. The painting’s dominant colour is an earthen, worn-out brown. If there is the hope here of a new life, a redeemed world, it is a desperate hope only half-believed in by the poor who gather in a stable to see one more child born into a cruel world.

Jonathan Jones on the lost Caravaggio.

Obits: Eartha, Pinter

December 27, 2008 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Music 4 Comments →

Eartha Kitt, who purred and pounced her way across Broadway stages, recording studios and movie and television screens in a show-business career that lasted more than six decades, died on Thursday. She was 81 and lived in Connecticut.

In Manila she is best remembered for her version of the song Waray-Waray and for appearing as Catwoman on the Batman TV series starring Adam West.

Harold Pinter, the British playwright whose gifts for finding the ominous in the everyday and the noise within silence made him the most influential and imitated dramatist of his generation, died on Wednesday. He was 78 and lived in London.

Source of the adjective, “Pinteresque”.

Study shows romantic comedies ruin your love life. Duh.

December 27, 2008 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies, Re-lay-shun-ships No Comments →

In the rom coms of the 30s and 40s, everyone was constantly imbibing alcohol and nicotine. This sent a clear message to the audience that these characters were drunk ergo their judgment was impaired, and that they perceived their romantic partners through a thick haze of cigarette smoke. Even if their romances had apparently happy endings, the protagonists would soon expire from cirrhosis of the liver or emphysema. If they stopped drinking and smoking when they got married, the scales would fall from their eyes and they would see each other for what they really were. End of romance.

Thus they could make a romantic comedy like Bringing Up Baby (Howard Hawks, 1938), in which Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant are brought together by a leopard.

It’s Only A Movie in Emotional Weather Report, Fridays in the Star.