Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for January, 2012

Kawawa naman ang bobo

January 31, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Science 5 Comments →

From the Coens’ Blood Simple, a smart movie about people doing stupid shit.

That title goes out to our friend The Bone. What’s our one movie of the year this year?

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There’s no gentle way to put it: People who give in to racism and prejudice may simply be dumb, according to a new study that is bound to stir public controversy.

The research finds that children with low intelligence are more likely to hold prejudiced attitudes as adults. These findings point to a vicious cycle, according to lead researcher Gordon Hodson, a psychologist at Brock University in Ontario. Low-intelligence adults tend to gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies, the study found. Those ideologies, in turn, stress hierarchy and resistance to change, attitudes that can contribute to prejudice, Hodson wrote in an email to LiveScience.

Low IQ and Conservative Beliefs Linked to Prejudice

We walked out on an epic

January 31, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Places, Tennis 5 Comments →

What kind of a dolt would leave in the middle of the epic Djokovic-Nadal match, the longest men’s final in slam history?

Raise hand.

There’s only one flight to Manila on Monday and it leaves at 0030. We had to retrieve our bags from the hotel and get to the airport by 2230. So shortly after the Djoker broke his racquet and changed shirts from white to black, we got out of our wonderful front row seats and lurched out of the stadium.

We weren’t alone. At the airport lounge, huddled around the TV, were people who had to abandon the live epic to catch the flight, including the president of PAL and Lance Gokongwei.

It looked like it was going to end in the fourth, and we heard ourselves thinking, “Finish him off Djoker, we’re boarding soon!” Yeah, we’re a Djokovic fan now, though in our vestigial heart, Forever Federer. But blasted Nadal (Mas OA pa siya sa personal, tatayo lang sa silya intense na) is a great clutch player and as we were boarding the plane it seemed momentum had swung to the matador.

Fortunately the Djoker is now an even better clutch player, despite the recurrence of the breathing problem. Remember when he would quit matches he was losing, citing various illnesses? Those days are over. As we were landing the pilot announced that Djokovic had won the Australian Open.

Seventh time in a row he’s beaten Nadal. So Djokovic is to Nadal as Nadal is to Federer.

Our full reports will appear in the Philippine Star, watch for them. We have to thank our editor for sending us to Oz, and the sponsors, Lacoste and Store Specialists Inc.

Meanwhile, here’s a summary of the women’s singles final in which Victoria Azarenka shackled Maria Sharapova.

Azarenka def Sharapova

Like Roger for Chocolate

January 30, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Places, Traveling 4 Comments →

We missed seeing Roger Federer at the Australian Open. Our Roger substitute: the Lindt Cafe. As you probably know, The Fed endorses Lindt’s Lindor Truffles (and Jura coffee makers, Rolex and whatnot). While walking up and down Collins Street in Melbourne yesterday, wondering what stores were open, we saw the Lindt sign. Chocolate! They also serve sandwiches and tea.

Couldn’t bring home Lindor Truffles though, fearing they’d melt in the checked baggage. They didn’t have those dry ice thingies they have for packaging at Royce and La Truffe.

Across the street is a big Dymocks bookstore carrying classic Penguins and Penguin merchandise. We also got P.G. Wodehouse and Christopher Isherwood books we’d been looking for in Manila.

Which reminds us: Where’s your homework?

At W.H. Smith at the airport we found this beauty:

What the Dickens? Ask Teddy Boy Locsin

January 29, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Books 2 Comments →

Phiz illustration for Dombey and Son

Q. What are your favorite Dickenses?

A. I do not like A Tale of Two Cities because it is the one Dickens novel, aside from A Christmas Carol, that everyone’s read, and I resolved as a young boy to sneer at the popular taste, haughtily confining myself to Nicholas Nickleby (boring) and all the Tarzan and John Carter of Mars books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. So I openly detested Oliver Twist (though I secretly enjoyed it). I openly liked Great Expectations (also A Tale of Two Cities, to be honest, but incognito) and David Copperfield, which is the model for anyone who has no life but feels compelled to write an autobiography. From “I am born…” it just pulls you along relentlessly. But of that genre, Moby Dick is unequalled.

I forced myself to like, nay, love Pickwick Papers because my father shouted at me that it is a comic masterpiece that only a dolt won’t be in stitches over. (God, I have led a very tense life.)

My favorites are Bleak House because it is unrelievedly bleak (It seemed like it was written by Wilkie Collins) and masterfully so. I remember the bleakness, which I was very much into. You had to read this novel, about the victim-clients of Jarndyce & Jarndyce, the solicitors in charge of an endlessly embattled estate, if you took law at Harvard because exam questions would be framed in the context of its plot (like The Spoils of Poynton by Henry James, whose plot details you should have mastered or you wouldn’t be able to tease out the Corporation Law question).

Then there is the greatest sad novel ever written, Dombey & Son, which is about Dombey whose entrepreneurial ambitions must be dashed ironically on the feeble rock of a too-sensitive and febrile son and heir, so endearing that… Well, I have forgotten the story, but this one I recall not in my mind but in my chest. The book felt from start to finish like my heart was being gently but relentlessly pulled, stretched out of my chest until it popped out at the end and I cried without achieving any sense of completion in my grief.

Twenty years later Alexander Solzhenitsyn just happened to mention that he thought Dombey & Son the greatest novel ever written, an opinion shared by no one else but me, lucky him. Dombey’s son, Paul I think, is somewhat like Hanno Buddenbrook, the sole feeble heir of the Hanseatic business house in Thomas Mann, but about Hanno you couldn’t care less. He was tiresomely tired and would eventually die, as did Dombey’s son.

Teddy Boy Locsin tells you what the Dickens to read, our column today in the Philippine Star.

Close enough to get hit by an ace

January 27, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Places, Tennis 3 Comments →

Novak Djokovic

Andy Murray

We were rooting for Djokovic but then Murray started making amazing shots so we switched camps and then Djoker raised his game and he’s in Nadal’s head so we’d prefer that he be in the final and then Murray totally disproved our assessment that he lacks nerve and then Djoker revealed more weapons in his arsenal, and it was over, 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 (4-7), 6-1, 7-5 to the defending champion and world number one.

Midnight in Melbourne, full house at Rod Laver Arena, and no one had any intention of leaving till the match was over.

Whenever the Djoker uses the sweatband on his wrist to mop his face he reminds us of our cats’ grooming routine.

Djoker’s relief was palpable, and we understand if Murray got sulky.

At one point we were giggling hysterically from the combination of the lack of sleep and wonderment at Murray’s pinpoint passing shots.

We were knackered, and all we did was sit in the audience. Yup, that’s us in the front row in the bright green shawl, with our hosts from Lacoste. (It turns out the French do say “Ooh-la-la” when they are surprised.) We refused to wave at the camera, but our companions did.

The full report in the Philippine Star next week.

Oh great we missed it.

January 27, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Places, Tennis, Traveling 6 Comments →

View from the 20th floor of the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne, 27 Jan 2012

Flew out of Manila at 9pm Thursday, landed in Oz at 7:50 am Friday (Melbourne is three hours ahead) to the news that The Fed lost to Nadal in 4 sets. Aaaaaaaaa we thought we were going to watch that semifinal, having (stupidly) assumed that the big match would be played last (Sorry, Djoker-Murray fans). On one hand we’re bummed that we didn’t get to see the Federer v Nadal; on the other hand we’re actually relieved not to see Roger beaten when he was looking so good in the earlier rounds.

Federites are all too familiar with the feeling of dread that descends as a Federer-Nadal match approaches. Well it’s lifted and now we can enjoy our trip.

Ryan, we owe you brunch in Paris, see you at Roland Garros. Congratulations to the winner of our Roger-Rafa crystal ball contest; please declare yourself as the wi-fi in our excellent hotel is expensive (charge per minute). Speaking of charges, looks like it’s safe to email us—we disconnected the auto email thingy in the BlackBerry so we won’t get hit with a P25 (!) fee for every single email we receive.

While we’re at it, could you readers vote on the winner for the Cruel Rejections LitWit Challenge? Our schedule is packed. Please post your votes in the Comments section of that contest, here.

So it’s the Djoker-Murray match we’re seeing tonight, then the women’s final tomorrow. Can’t complain, esp since we’re sitting in the sponsor’s box. Vive Lacoste! It’s so much easier to write up a match when you’re not having ten nervous breakdowns on your favorite’s behalf.

Going to boil ourselves in the shower (As Teddy-wan Kenobi likes to point out, an airplane’s atmosphere is made of recycled farts, even if you fly business class) then we’re off to the stadium.