Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for May, 2015

3 readers have been accepted into our Young Nerd Program

May 29, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books No Comments →

koosi ynp

We are pleased to report that three applicants have been accepted into our Young Nerd Program. The Young Nerd Program provides free books to serious readers between the ages of 6 and 16. Essentially we’re looking for young persons who read well above their age level and have excellent grammar and spelling. Studies have shown that people who get the habit of reading at a very early age develop more efficient brains.

Applicants email us, telling us what books they’ve already read, and on the basis of their email we make our decision. If accepted, they get a free book every month. Homer, Dickens, Austen, Bronte, Hardy, Tolstoy, De Maupassant, P.G. Wodehouse, Bradbury, LeGuin, stuff like that.

We do not personally meet the participants, and we inform their parents upon acceptance so they can claim the books.

People above the age of 16: Buy your own books.

Kids who are just starting to get into books: That’s nice, apply when you’ve read Tolkien.

People who don’t enjoy having their grammar and spelling corrected: Don’t even bother.


Do not buy this notebook which advises kids to plagiarize their schoolwork.

May 28, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Shopping 1 Comment →

This is an actual notebook that we spotted at the bookstore. It tells kids to copy their homework from Wikipedia. Not only does it promote plagiarism, dishonesty, laziness and disrespect, it also insults the schoolchildren’s intelligence. (It’s also guilty of copyright infringement.) Any parent who buys this for their children is a dumbass.

The 20th French Film Festival will be held on June 3-9 at Greenbelt and Bonifacio High Street cinemas

May 27, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies No Comments →



For 20 years the annual French Film Festival has given Manila’s moviegoers a break from their constant diet of blockbuster blandness (Tomorrowland: well-intentioned, preachy, Is George Clooney running for office?) with entertaining but intellectually-stimulating films in the French language. We saw our first Eric Rohmer (The Baker Girl of Monceau), Jean Renoir’s Grand Illusion, Claude Chabrol’s La Ceremonie and dozens of other great movies at the French Filmfest.

This year’s edition will be held at the Greenbelt Cinemas and at the Bonifacio High Street Central Cinemas. This morning we attended a media preview of one of the films: Thomas Lilti’s Hippocrate. The title is especially apt. The filmmaker, a doctor, asks how medical practitioners can serve their patients properly when hospitals are under pressure to turn a profit. There are constant budget cuts, doctors are overworked, facilities are poorly-maintained, but revenue targets must be met and it’s the patients who suffer. In one case, an old woman with late stage cancer is deprived of morphine because the hospital is less concerned with making her last days comfortable than with getting her on her feet so her room will be vacated.

Hippocrate stars Vincent Lacoste, who looks like a less nervous Jesse Eisenberg, as Benjamin, who starts his internship in a hospital run by his father. There he meets Abdel, an Algerian doctor who must undergo the internship all over again in order to practice in France. Abdel is played by Reda Kateb from Un Prophete and Zero Dark Thirty and he takes over the movie. If you’re a doctor, working in the medical industry, or have ever been a patient, we recommend you see this.

We are especially looking forward to Abderrahmane Sissako’s Timbuktu

and Aki Kaurismaaki’s Le Havre.

Tickets at Php100, available at the box-office or at assuming it’s working because we haven’t been able to book anything there for months.

The Paul Feig-Melissa McCarthy movie Spy is hilarious and lovable

May 26, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies No Comments →


Melissa McCarthy is the CIA agent who’s been “sniped”—held back for 10 years as assistant to Jude Law’s Bond-like spy because she makes him look good. Jason Statham is the bimbo, a parody of all his film roles. Rose Byrne is the Bulgarian arms dealer who dresses like a slutty dolphin trainer. Allison Janney is the humorless deputy director of the CIA who provides McCarthy’s spy with sad cover stories and even sadder weapons (like poison antidotes disguised as laxatives). Paul Feig directed Bridesmaids and Heat. Go!

Drinking too much water can also kill you.

May 25, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Health No Comments →

weather forecast

The conventional wisdom for surviving extreme heat is to drink plenty of water. Of course we need to stay hydrated whatever the temperature outside, but too much of anything is bad for you. This I learned in dramatic fashion exactly one year ago.

In your fear of dehydration, do not overreact and give yourself water intoxication. If you drink a lot of water (and that includes sports drinks) but you don’t eat, you risk an electrolyte imbalance. Electrolytes are chemicals such as sodium and potassium that power your cells and run the electricity in your brain. The human body is a finely-balanced system: ingest too much of anything and it takes corrective measures.

Read our column at

P.S. Always carry a card with the name and number of a person to call in case of emergency. Your phone should have an “In case of emergency” entry.

The recent horror in Game of Thrones had better be for a reason.

May 25, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Television No Comments →


There’s been a lot of controversy over “Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken”, the 6th episode of the 5th season of Game of Thrones. Many viewers were upset because something horrible happened to one of the major characters that reminded them over previous instances when this horror occurred on the show. Can’t the writers think of something besides that, they demanded. The previous times, the horror unfolded pretty much as it had happened in the books. This time, since the series has started to differ from the books in a big way, the horror is a development cooked up by the showrunners. (Differing from the books is a good decision, because if you’ve read Book 5, it’s a slog. Too many minor characters who are not real characters but expository devices; too much of Daenerys moping over Daario. That book makes you wonder if GRRM made a mistake in killing off all the really interesting characters.)

Game of Thrones is a show that delights in upsetting its audience and throwing them for a loop. However, those unpleasant events served not just to upset the viewers, but to move the story along. In this case the story was going there anyway, did they have to throw in that horror?


Our problem with episode 5.6 is not just that horror, which is not a big surprise because the current season has been building up to it. Our problem is that the episode was strangely flat and badly-paced. Momentous things happened, but the way they occurred seemed too casual and throwaway. Example: Jorah Mormont learns that his father the Old Bear is dead, but then the moment is forgotten. Game of Thrones has been consistently first-rate, so it’s almost shocking to see lazy filmmaking.

Ramsay Snow-Bolton has been built up as a cut-rate Joffrey Baratheon, but he’s not nearly as compelling. If you just wanted another Joffrey, you should’ve kept the original Joffrey.

The encounter between Jaime Lannister and Bronn and the Sand Snakes, which had promised to be one of the (non-book-based) highlights of the season, was a particular non-event. They’re all supposed to be terrific fighters, even if one of them is missing a hand, but the action scenes were a snore. Someone in that fight may have gotten a lethal dose of poison, but the significance is lost on non-readers (So that person better not die of the poison).

The horror that transpires at the end of that episode had better be for a reason. (We mean storytelling-wise, not “But these things always happen in Westeros”-wise.) Theon Greyjoy had better wake up from his Reek stupor and flay Ramsay Bolton alive since that’s the Bolton sigil anyway. Sansa had better stab Roose Bolton in the heart, take Walda back to her father and kill all the Freys. The people of the North had better rise up and overthrow the Boltons. Stannis Baratheon’s army had better show up and name Sansa Queen in the North. And when Littlefinger returns with an army from King’s Landing and the Vale, Winterfell had better crush them and Sansa cut off Littlefinger’s head.

These things will probably not happen, but all storytelling decisions have consequences and this is the payment for the horror.