Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for October, 2009

Where to get the rules, the shirt, the paté, the book etc

October 31, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Announcements 6 Comments →

La Cuisine
Vitrine at La Cuisine

This week’s LitWit Challenge: Revolting Scenarios is now closed. Winners will be announced tomorrow, along with the rules for the next LitWit Challenge.

About the Gatsby in Filipino challenge: Our judge neglected to mention that he will be on Mount Fuji until Sunday. Apologies for the delay.

If you were asking about the tattoo shirts, they’re designed by Bob Feleo. The contact information has been added to the original post.

If you were asking about La Cuisine Francaise, here’s the exact location: G/F Paseo Parkview, Sedeno corner San Agustin, Salcedo Village, Makati. Telephone numbers (632)501.5202 and (632)752.0335. They’re open from 10 am to midnight.

To order signed copies of The Flip Reader, drop me a line in Comments.

The Tourettic funk of the artist known as Prince

October 31, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Music 1 Comment →

Thank you for reminding me of the bit about Prince (who, being The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, is technically The Artist Formerly Known As The Artist Formerly Known As Prince) in Jonathan Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn. I think that to some extent it accounts for our own fascination with the funky little genius troll. In this excerpt, the narrator Lionel Essrog, an orphan and minor mobster with Tourette’s Syndrome, explains why Prince’s music is the nearest thing in art to his affliction.

I don’t know whether The Artist Formerly Known as Prince is Tourettic or obsessive-compulsive in his human life, but I know for certain he is deeply so in the life of his work. Music had never made much of an impression on me until the day in 1986 when, sitting in the passenger seat of Minna’s Cadillac, I first heard the single “Kiss” squirting its manic way out of the car radio. To that point in my life I might have once or twice heard music that toyed with feelings of claustrophobic discomfort and expulsive release, and which in so doing passingly charmed my Tourette’s, gulled it with a sense of recognition, like Art Carney or Daffy Duck—but here was a song that lived entirely in that territory, guitar and voice twitching and throbbing within obsessively delineated bounds, alternately silent and plosive. It so pulsed with Tourettic energies that I could surrender to its tormented, squeaky beat and let my syndrome live outside my brain for once, live in the air instead…

Prince’s music calmed me as much as masturbation or a cheeseburger. When I listened to him I was exempt from my symptoms. So I began collecting his records, especially those elaborate and frenetic remixes tucked away on the CD singles. The way he worried forty-five minutes of variations out of a lone musical or verbal phrase is, as far as I know, the nearest thing in art to my condition.

“How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore” is a ballad, piano strolling beneath an aching falsetto vocal. Slow and melancholy, it still featured the Tourettic abruptness and compulsive precision, the sudden shrieks and silences, that made Prince’s music my brain’s balm.

In the 80s Prince’s “Controversy” was the theme of an Inday Badiday showbiz chismis show. Probably without his knowledge. I don’t suppose German Moreno’s That’s Entertainment paid for all the songs that were covered, either. Those were less rigorous times.

You. . .illegal coup plotters, you

October 30, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events 2 Comments →

From the NYT: Estrada Begins Unlikely Comeback in the Philippines

Photo from Philstar

It was an improbable sight: a slightly hunched man, with a gait that suggested either his age (72) or infirmity (a bad back and knees that required replacement surgery), beating up a taller opponent no older than 30.

The older man ducked as the younger one tried to bang him with a piece of wood. He cut him down with a right to the abdomen and a left hook to the face, sending his adversary stumbling to the ground. Then another opponent got smacked in the face and kicked in the midsection with one of those bad knees. Yet another came along, and he, too, went down, crashing into a table. . .

Hello, copy editor: “Tried to bang him with a piece of wood?”

The news of Erap’s comeback is:
A. Hilarious/Nakakatawa
B. Horrendous/Nakakatakot
C. Making me cry/Nakakaiyak
D. Driving me insane/Nakakabaliw
E. Hilarious and horrendous/Nakakatawa na nakakatakot
F. Hilarious, horrendous, and making me cry/Nakakatawa na nakakatakot na nakakaiyak
G. Hilarious, horrendous, making me cry, and driving me insane/Nakakatawa na nakakatakot na nakakaiyak na nakakabaliw
H. I can’t look/Deadma na


October 30, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Tennis No Comments →

Marat&Saffy Safin

After 48 hours of token resistance I bought the November-December issue of Tennis with Marat Safin on the cover. My excuse: It’s probably the last Marat tennis cover ever. Nothing in his demeanor, his statements (“I need to get out of my brain and start from a new page”) or his history suggests that he will come back from retirement. Plus I can have the cover framed for our daughter Saffy.

Verdict: I’ve been gypped, starting with the cover. He’s beautiful, yes, but he’s always beautiful, even more so when he’s berserk. (Then again I’ve been babbling about Safin for years but my non-tennis fan friends only noticed him because of this cover. Hmm.) There’s a sealed flap bisecting Marat’s face—ooh, there must be a second cover when you lift the overlay. . .Nope. Same cover. Why the overlay then? For a half-page ad. Urgh. Unless the point is to illustrate how symmetrical his face is.

The cover story by Tom Perrotta (not the author of Election and Little Children) is entertaining, but it doesn’t say anything we fans don’t already know. It repeats tales of his tantrums, his quotables, and gossip from Russian player Dmitri Tursunov (e.g. Marat came down from climbing in the Himalayas after ten days because there’s no way he would go a month without sex).

My favorite piece on Marat is still the GQ profile from 2005. You can’t profile him without mentioning Dostoevski. Marat is always described as an underachiever, but as he pointed out in an interview, Roger Federer should have 20 slams by now so who’s an underachiever? (I still think wearing The One Ring on a chain did not help him stay calm.)

The two best matches of Marat’s career: the 2000 US Open final demolition of Pete Sampras, and his amazing 2005 Australian Open semifinal victory over Federer, 5-7, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (6), 9-7. At the 2007 US Open a reporter asked: “When you won here in 2000, Sampras said you would be number one in the world for as long as you want. Do you think you can still go to the top?” Marat said, “See, even the geniuses make the mistakes. He was wrong.”

Yay, Huh, or Ngek? (updated)

October 29, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Places 28 Comments →

If you take the pedestrian underpasses on Ayala Avenue you’ve probably noticed the posters for Things To Love About Makati. The citizens can always use some cheer, but many of the reasons cited in the posters elicit not a “Yes!” but a “Huh?” or a “Ngek”.

For instance, the statue of Ninoy Aquino on the corner of Ayala and Paseo de Roxas. It commemorates a heroic moment, but the pose is awkward and the proportions are off: it looks like Ninoy tripped on the stairs because a bird pooped on him.

Then there’s Jaime C. Velasquez Park. This boggled us, and we live in Makati. Then we realized that they mean Salcedo Park where the weekend food market is held. Legaspi Park is counted as two parks, when the whole area is more a parklet, really. There’s a Centro Escolar University in Makati? And electric jeepneys—environment-friendly, maybe, but would you use the verb “love”?

There was only one thing left for us to do: Make our own list!

1. The updraft in Greenbelt park near the Greenbelt 5 entrance. If you stand on the grate your clothes get blown upwards for that Marilyn Monroe in the Seven-Year Itch effect. We once spent a whole hour (walang magawa) watching from a restaurant upstairs as people posed for photos on top of the grate.

2. Ugarte field, which my friends are nostalgic for. I noticed a path being built, so maybe it’ll be opened to the public. I hope it remains a park because we need trees.

View from Tower One

3. Fernando Zobel walking in the pedestrian underpass. If it’s both brothers, sandwich.

4. The weekend bazaars on Evangelista Street. Over the years our friend Guy Smiley has amassed a complete dinner service for 60 from his expeditions to Evangelista. So if the court of the King of Albania ever comes to dinner on short notice, he’s ready.

5. Old Swiss Inn. Open forever.

6. Shampoo and scalp massage by Roger at the Jing Monis Propaganda Salon on the third floor of Greenbelt 1. Stimulates nerves on your head that you didn’t think you had.

7. This building on Makati Avenue.

Narrow building on Makati Avenue

I always stare at it from the Coffee Bean in A. Venue, but I don’t know what it is. Must go in and snoop.

8. This one no longer exists, but is remembered fondly: Blanco Center on Alfaro Street (now Leviste) where I had my first apartment. Long after I moved out, I discovered that two of my friends also lived in Blanco—we occupied Apartments 914, 915, and 916, but at different times. Many other friends lived on other floors until last year, when the building was renovated and renamed.

It was Chus who accidentally discovered that one key could open all the doors in that building (the locks have been changed since then). My own shocking discovery was that my rent was higher than my neighbors’. I’d written an article describing Blanco’s architecture as “Soviet insane asylum”—it was meant fondly, but the landlord was not amused. When I found out about the rent, I asked for an appointment and got a lecture. The one that goes, “Oh you young people, as you get older you will find that you can’t just say whatever you want.”

“But I like this building,” I pointed out. “I didn’t even identify it in the article.”

“Oh you young people blah blah blah.”

“And this building is so much more attractive than that ugly one nearby.”

“I own that, too.”

Not surprisingly my rent increase stayed.

9. Help us complete the list by posting your own Things To Love About Makati in Comments. If we add your suggestions to this list, we’ll give you two tickets each to the Ayala Museum.

Andre Agassi admits drug use

October 29, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Tennis 6 Comments →

In local tabloid terms: Agassi, Nag-shabu!

Andre Agassi honored at US Open

From The Times (London), October 28, 2009
Andre Agassi reveals his drugs shame
by Neil Harman

Andre Agassi makes the sensational confession today that he lied to the tennis authorities to escape a ban for taking hard drugs.

The American, one of the finest players to grace the game, tested positive for the highly addictive drug, crystal methamphetamine, and then duped the Association of Tennis Professionals into believing he had taken it by accident.

The admissions come in a soul-searching autobiography that is being serialised exclusively today and tomorrow in The Times.

The 1992 Wimbledon champion, the winner of eight grand-slam titles, also says that he has always secretly hated playing tennis and lived in fear of his bad-tempered and violent father…

Did the gack give him an unfair advantage? Does this erase all he achieved? What’s worse, his drug-taking or his lying to avoid a ban? (Don’t doping and lying usually go together?) Why is he revealing this now? (Mike: Kasi may libro siyang ibinebenta./Because he has a book to sell.) Discuss.