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Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994
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Archive for October, 2012

Russell Hoban insists

October 27, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Art, Books, Music 2 Comments →

This morning we were walking past a bookshelf when a book fell out and landed on our foot.

It was an uncorrected book proof we had salvaged from our publisher’s stockroom many years ago. We knew nothing about this book, but friends had spoken glowingly of Russell Hoban and we made a mental note to read his work. Last year we read Mr. Hoban’s obituary and resolved once again to look up his work. Finally the book took a flying leap onto our foot and we could no longer put it off.

After the first ten pages we couldn’t stop. It has one of the most arresting opening chapters we’ve read lately: The narrator Jonathan, having taken to drink after being dumped by Serafina, is sitting on the stairs inside a London tube station when he meets the impressive Mr. Rinyo-Clacton, who invites him to the opera. Before long Jonathan gets an offer that he should refuse, but in his state of mind cannot, which is fortunate for the reader who is already gnawing on her cuticles and wondering what will happen. Hoban takes the old Faustian bargain for a spin into fresh and wicked territory, making us forget that that plot has been around for a few millennia.

The story involves, among other books, pieces of music and works of art,

Pelleas and Melisande, the opera by Debussy,

A Peepshow with Views of the Interior of a Dutch House by Samuel van Hoogstraten,

Melencolia by Albrecht Durer,

The statue on the tomb of Victor Noir at Pere Lachaise cemetery (It’s become a fertility symbol, hence the shiny crotch),

and Roger and Angelica by Odilon Redon, based on characters from Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso, which also figures in the novel. (Angelica and Roger also turn up in Hoban’s final novel, Angelica Lost and Found.)

Now we have to find our copy of Hoban’s Medusa Frequency, which is somewhere in the house. Maybe if we keep walking around it will fly out of a shelf.

* * * * *
Found it. It was sitting there, right at eye level, next to a stack of foreign language pocket dictionaries we’ve never consulted.

Diagnosis: Zombie

October 26, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Science No Comments →

Dr. Cuanang says: Choreoathetosis hemiballismus.

Inspector Cat

October 25, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Cats No Comments →


This shelf makes no sense. Stalin should be under a pile of books by writers he banned.

Henry Miller would piss him off though.

The Sartre-orialist

October 25, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Clothing No Comments →

Photos by The Sartorialist, text from Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre

So I was in the park just now. The roots of the chestnut tree were sunk in the ground just under my bench. I couldn’t remember it was a root any more. The words had vanished and with them the significance of things, their methods of use, and the feeble points of reference which men have traced on their surface.



Then I had this vision. It left me breathless. Never, until these last few days, had I understood the meaning of “existence.” I was like the others, like the ones walking along the seashore, all dressed in their spring finery. I said, like them, “The ocean is green; that white speck up there is a seagull,” but I didn’t feel that it existed or that the seagull was an “existing seagull”; usually existence hides itself. It is there, around us, in us, it is us, you can’t say two words without mentioning it, but you can never touch it.

Le Blog de Jean-Paul Sartre


The Sartorialist: Closer by Scott Schuman, Penguin Books 2012. National Bookstore, Php1089.

Stories that slay us: Flowers for Algernon

October 24, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Books 10 Comments →

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
(later expanded into a novel; also filmed as Charly)

Read the story.

* * * * *

My philosophy is simple: Certain things are perfect the way they are. The sky, the Pacific Ocean, procreation and the Goldberg Variations all fit this bill, and so do books. Books are sublimely visceral, emotionally evocative objects that constitute a perfect delivery system.

Electronic books are ideal for people who value the information contained in them, or who have vision problems, or who have clutter issues, or who don’t want other people to see that they are reading books about parallel universes where nine-eyed sea serpents and blind marsupials join forces with deaf Valkyries to rescue high-strung albino virgins from the clutches of hermaphrodite centaurs, but they are useless for people engaged in an intense, lifelong love affair with books. Books that we can touch; books that we can smell; books that we can depend on. Books that make us believe, for however short a time, that we shall all live happily ever after.

Joe Queenan, My 6,128 Favorite Books

Project: EDSA anti-pollution campaign wins global prize

October 23, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Announcements, In Traffic 1 Comment →


The Boysen KNOxOUT Project: EDSA campaign has won the 2012 TBWA Disruption Award Grand Prix.


The urban renewal initiative was undertaken to lessen air pollution on the highway using large-scale artworks created with air-cleaning paint.

The Boysen KNOxOUT campaign beat 80 submissions from all over the world for the top prize. Congratulations to Jackie Ongking and the entire Project: EDSA team for bringing a great idea to life.