Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for December, 2015

A Story for New Year’s Eve: The Dead by James Joyce

December 31, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books No Comments →

Two poems on Bruegel’s Icarus

December 30, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Art, Books No Comments →

XIR3675 Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, c.1555 (oil on canvas) by Bruegel, Pieter the Elder (c.1525-69); 73.5x112 cm; Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels, Belgium; ( Icarus seen with his legs thrashing in the sea;); Giraudon; Flemish,  out of copyright
Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, c.1555 (oil on canvas) by Bruegel, Pieter the Elder (c.1525-69); 73.5×112 cm; Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels, Belgium. From Wikimedia Commons

Musée des Beaux Arts (1940)
by W.H. Auden

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just
walking dully along;

Remembering Benedict Anderson

December 28, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books No Comments →


The renowned scholar exemplified intellectual passion and political engagement.
by Eric Alterman

Young academics are often advised to prioritize scholarship over citizenship, meaning political involvement. But as the careers of some of our most influential scholars repeatedly demonstrate, especially in the humanities and social sciences, this is often a false and foolish distinction. It’s hard to imagine a more impressive “citizen scholar” than Benedict Richard O’Gorman Anderson, the Anglo/Irish, China-born, California- and Ireland-raised, Cambridge- and Cornell-educated specialist in Indonesian, Philippine, and Thai politics and culture. An endowed professor at Cornell and a frequent contributor to New Left Review, Anderson died in his sleep of apparent heart failure on December 13, three days after giving a lecture on “Nationalism and Anarchism” at the University of Indonesia. He was 79.

Read it in The Nation.

Monday Morning Vent: Bitch bank better have our money.

December 28, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Money 8 Comments →


We never wanted to be rejected by a taxi driver again. Life has enough indignity, disappointment, and misery for us to endure flagging down a taxi, telling the driver where we’re going, and watching him drive away without a word. Screw that.

Yes, we would miss the bizarre stories and the interesting cabbies, but we’ve written enough mad taxi stories in the last two decades to fill two books. So we got the Uber app. This required abandoning our beloved ancient BlackBerry and getting an iPhone so we could navigate the app. Then we got a debit card (we don’t like credit cards, we’ve been burned on those) to use specifically for Uber.

Our favourite books of 2015

December 27, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books 1 Comment →

In alphabetical order. Explanations to follow.


Family Happiness by Laurie Colwin. Bought at an online store.


The Complete Stories of Clarice Lispector. Confiscated from Jedi Master.


Slade House by David Mitchell. Bought at National Bookstore.


The Love Object, Selected Stories by Edna O’Brien. Bought at National Bookstore.


(Photograph to follow because we can’t find our copy: On The Move by Oliver Sacks. Bought at National Bookstore.)


How to be both by Ali Smith. Bought at National Bookstore.


The Door by Magda Szabo. Bought from online bookstore.


Oliver VII by Antal Szerb. Bought at bookstore in Hungary.


Fantastic Night by Stefan Zweig. Bought at Fully Booked.

The absolute last-minute gift guide

December 23, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Notebooks, Shopping, Sponsored No Comments →

You have just realized that it’s less than 48 hours before Xmas and even if you’re an atheist you like giving and getting presents (or at least not being the buzzkill). Go to the nearest National Bookstore and get these.

Black sketchbook, Php599. Give with gold and silver Sharpies or Dong-A metallic gel pens.

Pierre the Maze Detective by Hiro Kamigaki and IC4 Design, Php879.

Children will find it entertaining; overgrown children will love the design.

Gold Leuchtturm1917 journal, Php949. Obviously we’re keeping this. Shiny!

Daycraft A6 sketchbooks, PU leatherish covers, wide range of colors, Php389 each.

This season’s “I’m tired of thinking, I’ll just take two dozen of those” gift: colouring books for grownups. It’s supposed to relieve stress. In our observation, people who are already stressed will get more stressed if you give them coloring books because it’s more work they will feel compelled to do. This one comes with 8 colouring pencils in a nice tin box so you don’t even have to wrap it, because you’re stressed, too. Php395 only.

The exception in the colouring books category is The Official A Game of Thrones colouring book, and you know it’s for the real fans because the “A” is in the title. Php665.

Leuchtturm page-a-day 2016 datebook, Php1221. You can have the recipient’s name engraved for free. (Every year we get a Moleskine diary but the new designs haven’t arrived so we’re trying something different. Moleskine, where’s the new stuff? We want the Blue Note editions.)

The new Stephen King story collection, hardcover Php1199. The man’s a story factory with consistently good quality control.