Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for July, 2012

Taxi Tale of the Week (TTOW)

July 31, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: In Traffic No Comments →

This time the taxi driver wasn’t interested in chatting with us. He was listening to Relasyon, the very useful legal advice show on Radyo Singko hosted by Luchie Cruz Valdes and Mel Sta. Maria.

The first caller identified himself as a taxi driver. He was on the “boundary” system, he said, and he wanted to know how he could pay his taxes without documentation. “P****g ina mo!” the cabbie screamed at the radio. From the violence of his reaction we’re guessing he doesn’t pay taxes.

Next up was an old lady who was crying because she’d been swindled of her retirement money. This time the cabbie shook his head and chuckled. “Ang tanda-tanda mo na, nagpapaloko ka pa!” he chortled.

We paid him the exact amount on the meter, marveling at how lucky we were that our acquaintance with him lasted only ten minutes.

Gothic, classic, science-fic, fantastic

July 31, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Books 4 Comments →

The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Hardcover, Php555.

Why we got it: We raced through Ruiz Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind, a gothic novel about a forbidden library. Has someone made a movie of it yet?

Incidentally, we saw the 5-minute trailer for the film adaptation of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Big-budget production by the Wachowski Siblings and Tom Tykwer starring Tom Hanks and Hallie Berry. Eye-popping visuals but our friend Bored noted that the more filmmakers try to create “something you’ve never seen before” the more cliché the result. We loved Cloud Atlas while we were reading it but we couldn’t summarize it for you if we tried. That’s the problem their marketing people have to address: how to explain a story with so many characters from so many eras who seem to have only a tenuous connection to each other. Hence the extra-long trailer.

We’ve also seen the trailer for the Life of Pi adaptation by Ang Lee. Never cared for Yann Martel’s work. Give us The Jungle Book, even the Disney cartoon.

Why Read The Classics? by Italo Calvino, Php549
Why we got it: Ammunition.

“4. A classic is a book which with each rereading offers as much of a sense of discovery as the first reading.
“5. A classic is a book which even when we read it for the first time gives the sense of rereading something we have read before.
“6. A classic is a book which has never exhausted all it has to say to its readers.”

Sorry Please Thank You by Charles Yu, hardcover, Php995

Why we got it: Because we like the cover design, we’re not sure what the title is, and we have a copy of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe that we will get around to reading.

We’re on a streak! In the last two weeks we read four excellent novels in a row: Waiting for Sunrise, Beautiful Ruins, The Age of Miracles, and Where’d You Go, Bernadette, plus some great comics and many dumb ones (New 52 Justice League, we mean you). Everything will be reviewed in time.

Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil, hardcover, Php995

Why we got it: Because we sneer at the concept of awards but read the Booker Prize longlist anyway. Life is full of conflict. Also, it’s been compared to Jesus’s Son by Denis Johnson.

All books available at National Bookstores.

Chris Marker, 1921-2012

July 31, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies 2 Comments →

The filmmaker Chris Marker has died at age 91. He made La Jetee and Sans Soleil, he loved cats, and he wrote our favorite film essay (on Vertigo).

A free replay (notes on Vertigo) by Chris Marker

As we were saying: Let’s buy Spain.

July 30, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: History, Money, Places 12 Comments →

Attention: Director of Museo del Pradao. Send this painting to our house immediately.

A couple of weeks ago I heard two random pieces of information that stuck in my head.

The first was that Spain, like Greece and some other European nations, is in the grip of a recession and its unemployment rate is a shocking 25 percent.

The second was that the Philippines is now a creditor nation. We’ve lent a billion dollars to the International Monetary Fund. The international media has noted that while many economies are struggling, ours is doing pretty well. Pundits say the Philippines is one of the breakout economies of the next decade, and “Asia’s perennial underachiever is outperforming.”

Then it occurred to me that these two random bits may be connected. They need money, we have money, their real estate prices are plummeting…

Let’s buy Spain.

1. We can afford it.

1.1. Thanks to our Army of World Domination—the overseas Filipino workers who send money home every month—we’ve got funds.

1.1.1. They laughed at us because we were willing to take the jobs they didn’t want to do in their own countries. Some of them even used “Filipina” as a synonym for maid/domestic helper.

Our column at

A spy in the mind’s eye

July 29, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Books No Comments →

Our column Emotional Weather Report today in the Philippine Star.

The title of William Boyd’s new book is Waiting for Sunrise and its hero does spend a lot of time huddled in the dark, anticipating but half-dreading the light. This is a novel of shadows: unconscious desires, concealment, disguise, deception.

We meet Lysander Rief in Vienna in 1913 as he hurries to his appointment with his psychiatrist, and immediately we are alerted to his alienness. “He is in his late twenties, almost handsome in a conventional way, but your eye is drawn to him because he is hatless, an anomaly in this busy crowd…” He has come to consult the English Dr. Bensimon, a disciple of Freud’s, on a problem of a sexual nature (not impotence, possibly worse). Vienna of course is the psychoanalytical capital of the world, and capital of the doomed Austro-Hungarian Empire. Beneath the city’s civilized façade, the author tells us, flows “the river of sex”.

Club des Chefs des Chefs

July 29, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Food No Comments →

Photo by Laurent Blevennec/Présidence de la République. Gilles Bragard introduces France’s President François Hollande to Obama’s chef Cristeta Comerford, with Prince Albert of Monaco’s chef at right.

It’s good to be a chef, particularly if your boss is a president, a prime minister or a prince. So when the “Club des Chefs des Chefs,” a group of chefs to world leaders, visited Paris this week, they were welcomed as if they were chefs d’état — heads of state…

Read the NYT Magazine.

Update, 24 hours later: CONGRATULATIONS, you have avoided the trap! We were just waiting for some bright little creature to bring up the obvious so we could flame him/her nyahaa.