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:

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.

This week at the movies: Actual choices!

January 26, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies 9 Comments →

Contraband, a remake of the Icelandic film Reykjavik-Rotterdam, directed by Baltasar Kormakur (who starred in the original) and starring Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Giovanni Ribisi, Diego Luna, Kate Beckinsale.

A smuggler turned legit businessman (Wahlberg, mwah) is forced to do another run after his idiot brother-in-law (the guy who played Banshee in X-Men: First Class) gets into trouble with a nasty gangster. The gangster is played by Giovanni Ribisi (Where have you been?) who makes up for his relative puniness by being insane-scary. Diego Luna as a Panamanian gangster also gets to do insane-scary, but Ben Foster who could out-insane-scary them all has to play subdued-complex (We prefer scary mode). Kate Beckinsale is in two movies this week: you can see her killing werewolves in the latest Underground Underworld, or worrying about her husband in Contraband, and in both films she wears the same expression (Buti lang maganda siya). As always Mark Wahlberg is the calm center of the storm, the guy who makes the improbable believable.

Contraband is low-key and efficient, with some gripping moments and an interesting blues-rock soundtrack. We learned a whole lot about how to smuggle contraband by getting a job on an ocean liner. You don’t suppose the Costa accident in Tuscany…

Haywire, directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Gina Carano, Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor in a bad haircut, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas, Bill Paxton.

A high-powered action flick in which a private contractor doing black ops for some shadowy government agency exacts revenge on the people who framed her. Essentially it’s about an attractive woman (Gina Carano of American Gladiators) beating the crap out of hot guys. No suspension of disbelief required: she looks like she could break them in half. Entertaining, yes, but why all the A-listers in a movie that, with the exception of Carano, could’ve starred practically anyone?

J. Edgar, directed by Clint Eastwood, written by Dustin Lance Black, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts, Judi Dench.

Clint Eastwood is a very cool cat. Early on he was the silent gunslinger in spaghetti westerns, then he was the vigilante urging punks to make his day. But since Unforgiven he has been engaged in taking American myths apart, and now he takes on J. Edgar Hoover.

Why should we even watch a movie about J. Edgar Hoover, an odious man who ruined many lives? Clint Eastwood, working with Dustin Lance Black who wrote Milk and an in-form Leonardo DiCaprio, digs up the villain and unearths a human being. He doesn’t make us like the man, but he lets us see how he could’ve turned out that way: a man so intent on policing his country from enemies real and imaginary, he polices himself into a lifetime of denial and unhappiness. (We love the Psycho reference.)

The movie is particularly good at portraying the relationship between Hoover and his protege Clyde Tolson (the beautiful Armie Hammer doing discreet-campy). J. Edgar is very matter-of-fact about its protagonist’s gayness, and it does not take the easy route of blaming his actions on his being in the closet. The action shifts seamlessly between decades and manages to encompass half a century of American history.

Screenwriter Black allows Hoover to spin his own myth, complete with Hollywood public relations campaigns, and then calls him out on his lies. If you want to see a complex think movie, this is the one; for escapism you have the options above.

When we get back from Oz we’ll see My Cactus Heart.