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Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994
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Archive for March, 2009

Adama, Roslin address the United Nations

March 31, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Science, Television 3 Comments →

Battlestar Galactica: Worth taking seriously.

The other night, a few days before the show’s four-year run as a cult hit ended, the United Nations opened its Economic and Social Council Chamber for a panel discussion on how “Battlestar Galactica” might inform the international body’s approach to some problems of the day: terrorism, torture, religious conflict. (The evening was part of the U.N.’s new “creative community outreach” program.) Placards at the seats, which earlier had identified delegates from France and Venezuela, now read “Caprica” and “Aquarion.” The panel included William Adama (played by Edward James Olmos), the admiral of the spaceship Galactica, and Laura Roslin (played by Mary McDonnell), the president of the Twelve Colonies, along with two producers from “B.S.G.” and a handful of earthbound U.N. dignitaries. Whoopi Goldberg, a big fan of the show, had been enlisted to moderate. The line of sci-fi buffs snaked out the door. A sign on the wall reading “Smoking Discouraged” (the U.N. is not subject to New York City regulations) enhanced the feeling that the event was taking place in another dimension. What the frak?

“Battlestar Galactica” depicts a race of robots called Cylons, who morph into sentient beings in order to nuke the humans, a.k.a. Colonials, who created them, and thus addresses issues of wartime justice and moral relativism. In one episode, a Cylon is treated to the deep-space version of waterboarding. In another, President Roslin channels George W. Bush: “My job is and always will be to keep the people safe”. . .

Shuttle Diplomacy in the New Yorker.

Speaking of interstellar transportation, here’s more on Phaeton the car from Sir Peter Stothard.

The Hansel and Gretel method

March 31, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Contest No Comments →

Pets Make Us Human: Lucky, sent in by Joyce.

The white dog caught my attention because I knew the name and face of every dog that lived on my street (there were many), and this was not one of them. I observed the dog lying in the shade. It stood up and approached each person who walked by, and seemed to be begging to be fed or taken home. I thought this was probably a dog that had lost its way but would eventually get itself home. It looked healthy and had no visible injuries. A couple of days later I noticed the same dog and started to get worried. It had taken to eating the leftovers of my neighbor’s dogs every night and sleeping under cars during the day. Another dog-loving neighbor baptized the dog Lucky, for it had an incredibly large head (“laki-ulo eh!”). My neighbors had tried to catch the stray dog, but it always gave them the slip. Still it lingered nearby, taking whatever food was offered and not behaving aggressively towards any human or dog. I was concerned that living on the street posed too many dangers.

I decided that I would try rescuing this dog. I started by offering it morsels of food during the day. After a few days Lucky, who turned out to be a girl, would approach every time she saw me. One day, instead of offering her the food, I made a trail of it—Hansel and Gretel style—leading into my garage. She took the bait and walked into my garage where I then snapped a leash and collar on her, with the assistance yet another neighbor whom I involved in my mission. It has been 7 years since I plucked Lucky off the street and washed what seemed like layers upon layers of car grease off her. She is alive and well today, living in a house with a sprawling garden and her very own mini-lake in the middle of it. She is extremely loving, alert, intelligent and responsive to human instruction. With a Labrador named Elcid and a cat named Muning to play with, she is currently living happily ever after.

Note: If a stray dog doesn’t voluntarily go with you do not try capturing it unless you have dog-handling experience. Best to get help from someone who’s around dogs a lot.

Keep sending your stray cat and dog adoption stories and photos to saffron.safin@gmail.com. All the pets whose stories we post will get Alpo or Friskies gift bags.

Get in the closet

March 30, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Announcements No Comments →


Flea market, Bastille, 2006

Robin Tomas is clearing his closets. You’re all invited to a garage sale—clothes, accessories, houseware, paintings—on Wednesday, April 1 (this is not an April Fools’ joke) from 9am to 7pm at Apt 7A, Legaspi Parkview, 134 Legaspi Street, Legaspi Village, Makati. If you like dressing up as Imelda Marcos, maybe you can find the costumes from Tessie’s one-woman shows in the 80s.

The Wailer

March 29, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Contest No Comments →

Pets Make Us Human: Pepper, by Zna.


It was an insistent meow. Over and over, the same tone, pleading. We have 3 toms in the household, all seasoned males, not used to having a midget wailing in their territory. They stared transfixed at the little, helpless heap just outside our gate and we humans were wondering how long we could stand ignoring the little pleas. It was staring to drizzle.

My 8-year-old daughter stood up and resolutely marched out the gate. Then the cooing started. Then we heard the food canister filled with kitty treats open, jiggle, then close. Silence. We knew what was happening. So we adults gave up and marched downstairs. After reassuring our boys that everything was ok, we dared a look outside. The kitten was eating. Once satisfied, our daughter cradled the white bundle and looked at me. “He’s sleeping.” And he was, snuggly-wuggly cute as any abandoned kitten would be in the arms of a human child. We adults looked at each other, looked at our toms and sighed. Back to toilet-training. It was then we welcomed Pepper into our home.

Pepper will receive a gift from Purina, PAWS, and the Homeless Not Worthless campaign. Keep sending your stray cat and dog adoption stories and photos to saffron.safin@gmail.com. More dogs, please.

Whatever and ever amen

March 29, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies 5 Comments →


Ancient of Days by William Blake

Nicolas Cage finds
Apocalypse is coming.
And we still don’t care.

Okay, figure out this simple cipher.

aaaay groom crap gorilla

Bonus question:

The United Nations decides to take apocalyptic cataclysm movies like Armageddon, Knowing, and Deep Impact seriously. You are assigned to figure out a way to defend the earth from collisions with comets, the impact of an asteroid, the sun going supernova, and solar flares destroying all life on earth You are limited to available technologies. What would you do?


Update. Nobody likes decoding stuff? It’s very simple.

Why you have hypnagogic myoclonus

March 28, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Contest, Science 1 Comment →

My cats twitch when they’re falling asleep. I thought they were dreaming of hunting mice. But I sometimes twitch just before falling asleep, and I don’t dream of hunting mice. This led me to a Straight Dope classic from 1981.

Dear Cecil:

Occasionally, just prior to falling asleep, I have experienced a jerk or twitch, as if my body is trying to reverse its inevitable slide into unconscious slumber. How do you account for this peculiar behavior? It’s also been known to happen to me when drowsiness overcomes me while listening to a particularly dry lecture.

— H.G., Chicago

Cecil replies:

Twitches while falling asleep are called hypnagogic myoclonus, myoclonus being any sort of involuntary muscle spasm and hypnagogic referring to sleep. The twitches occur during very light sleep as the conscious brain gradually relinquishes control of the motor functions. Often they’re accompanied by a sense of falling, or the feeling that something is flowing through the body, and sometimes people will experience vivid dreams or hallucinations.

It’s not known exactly what causes the twitches, but they appear to be associated (although by no means invariably) with (a) anxiety and (b) some faint stimulus, such as a noise. The twitches have been induced in test subjects who were instructed to push a button whenever they heard a low tone. When, as usually happened, the subjects nodded off after a while–you know how exciting psychology experiments are–the tone would often cause a subject to twitch after a lag of a few seconds…

Read The Straight Dope by Cecil Adams.

We’re still accepting entries to our Pets Make Us Human Series. If you’ve adopted a stray dog or cat, send your adoption story with a photo of your pet to saffron.safin@gmail.com. All entries posted here will receive a gift (cat food or dog food) from Purina and PAWS.