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Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994
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Archive for the ‘Cats’

Captain America: Civil War and our turbulent election season

May 02, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Cats, Movies 2 Comments →

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Captain America: Civil War is set in a time very much like ours, when friends and family are torn apart by opposing views, when everyone thinks she’s doing what’s best for her country and everyone is prepared to fight for his beliefs.

These are scary times. We are fearful because are uncertain. We are fed up and dispirited. We disagree about the right course of action to take, so we fight. We are angry. We act not as a nation but as a collection of tribes with separate interests. What are we to do?

This is what literature and art are for. There is no evolutionary basis for literature and art. Our species can survive without them, but what kind of existence would it be? Unexamined, unmoored, floundering in the primordial soup. Books and art are our solace and defence against the only sure thing in life, which is that we are going to die.

So we turn to them in our hour of need. In this instance the classics are divisive because they remind us of the abyss between us. Not that the classics can ever be irrelevant—everything we read springs from them. There have been superheroes since the Epic of Gilgamesh. There have been ferocious battles since the Iliad. There has been mass destruction since the Book of Genesis. These stories are still with us, but now they are comic book movies.

Those who mock popular culture as commercial silliness disregard two truths. One, as Clive James pointed out there is no successful entertainment fueled by pure cynicism. Its creators are in business for the money, as we all are, but on some level they have to believe in their product. Two, these entertainments reach millions more people than profound intellectual ruminations ever will.

Captain America: Civil War is the latest reminder that Marvel has achieved world domination. It’s awesome: not just a terrific superhero movie, but a terrific movie. My only complaint is that there are so many characters in it so it is impossible to give everyone the screen time they deserve. They all get their moments: Paul Rudd may be Ant-Man, but his real power is the ability to charm our socks off. Anthony Mackie’s Falcon is the best friend you want to have. Of the new additions, Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther has ferocity and grace, and Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is the funny, klutzy, hyperverbal kid of Stan Lee’s comics. One could argue that this movie exists in order to introduce him to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (Note: There are two stingers, the first in the middle of the credits, the second at the end.)

Everyone has been given a specific hand-to-hand combat style, from the feline Black Panther (I’m going to nerd out and remind you that in the comics he was married to Storm of the X-Men) to Scarlet Witch’s (Elizabeth Olsen) hand gestures to Black Widow’s (Scarlett Johanssen) whirling kicks. Chris Evans has been growing in stature since the underrated first Captain America movie, and now he’s actually a match for Robert Downey, Jr.

Coming off Captain America: Winter Soldier, basically a retelling of the 1970s conspiracy thriller Three Days of the Condor (complete with Robert Redford), directors Anthony and Joe Russo have made a movie that draws its emotional wallop from real-world issues. To wit:

The world is a scary place.

There is danger everywhere.

Who will protect the people?

Do we look to our leaders as the saviors who will decide when and how to act? Can we count on them to defend us from threats within and without? Don’t they all have agendas? What happens if their agenda dictates that some groups can be sacrificed in the name of order?

Do we take responsibility for ourselves and for our fellow humans? Is this not vigilantism? Do we risk incurring collateral damage? Do we arrogate to ourselves the decision to act?

Captain America: Civil War is a comic book adaptation that acknowledges how difficult it is to do the right thing and to act for the greater good. Friendships are destroyed. Affection turns to distrust. All our assumptions about the people we know fly out the window. But respect must remain. Reason must rule. We must not be motivated by despair.

In one scene, Iron-Man/Tony Stark knocks Captain America/Steve Rogers to the floor and tells him to stay down. Steve Rogers, bruised and bloody, gets to his feet, puts up his fists and says, “I can do this all day.” It takes us back to the first movie, when Steve was a frail and wimpy kid standing up to bullies, and it reminds us that it’s not his enhanced abilities or fighting skills that make him a hero. It’s his spirit. He never quits. He never gives in to hopelessness.

We’re going to need that thought in the coming days.

Read my column at InterAksyon.com.

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The White Panther

Happy Birthday, Drogon! Today he is The Oracle.

April 12, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, Cosmic Things 19 Comments →

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We don’t know Drogon’s exact date of birth. He just showed up on our doorstep three years ago, when he was about a year old. Shortly afterwards our eldest cat Koosi died at age 14, and following the Roman Church’s practice of taking a date of significance to the pagans and assigning it to a Church holiday, we declared that Drogon would have the same birthday as Koosi, April 12. Happy Birthday to our white, blue and pink baby dragon! Yes, Drogon looks like those birth announcement cards.

Today, Drogon is The Oracle. You can ask him anything. Post your questions in Comments.

For instance: Drogon, is Jon Snow truly dead?

Drogon: Nope. R+L=J.

Saturday in Cubao: Cat cafe and Pop-up bazaar

April 05, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, Clothing, Places, Shopping No Comments →

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We like visiting Cubao because our parents used to take us there when we were children. During the holidays we would stand on the street outside COD Department Store (gone) to gawk at the animatronic Xmas display, and in the weeks before school opened in June we would go to Marikina Shoe Expo in search of school shoes.

In high school when I learned to cut class, my friends and I would watch movies at those standalone cinemas on Aurora Boulevard (Coronet, Remar, Diamond, gone) or at Ali Mall (which is still there).

Last Saturday we visited a cat cafe in Cubao called Bengal Brew. All the cats there are Bengals, which have beautiful coats like ocelots, leopards and other felines in the wild. Admission is Php400, which includes your choice of pastry (the sans rival and chocolate dome are okay) and coffee.

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Afterwards we had lunch at Bellini’s (broccoli soup, osso buco, orange cake) and checked out the stores. The last time we were at Cubao X it seemed a little dispirited: so many shops boarded up, not much to look at besides the vintage store that is so crammed with stuff you can barely walk in. I am pleased to report that Cubao X looks spiffy again, with newish cafes and interesting stores selling all manner of stuff.

There was a pop-up bazaar featuring handmade toys and accessories.

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At one shop we found this vintage flamingo brooch. We love this stuff.

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Feline Food Critics: a food blog we can believe in

March 14, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, Food No Comments →

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We don’t believe most food blogs because 80 percent of the time we disagree violently with their recommendations. Also, some of them sound like they just ate food for the first time. Too enthusiastic.

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We don’t believe Instagrams of food because they just mean “I’m having a fabulous meal and you’re not.”

But if cats do food reviews and hand out Meowchelin stars, we believe them. Cats do not lie. If they hate something, they hate it.

Japanese Couple Captures Every Moment Of Cat Bros Watching Them Eat

Art, Bozanians, and the Secret History of the Edsa Revolution

March 10, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Art, Cats, History No Comments →

On view till March 26 at Tin-Aw Art Gallery: Transmission, an exhibition of the work of artist-mentors and their mentees. The anniversary show features pieces by Elmer Borlongan and Mike Adrao, Renato Habulan and Alfred Esquillo, Eduardo Orozco and Mark Justiniani, Don Salubayba and Henrielle Pagkaliwangan, Santiago Bose and Alwin Reamillo, Jose Santos III and Ioannis Sicuya, and Leo Abaya and Lee Paje.

The minute we stepped into the gallery we knew which piece was by Leo Abaya.

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Panginoong Alipin

Next to Leo’s painting was an arresting copper etching by his student Lee Paje.

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The panels on the right tell the story of alien spacecraft who arrive on Earth and abduct gay couples, including pairs of Disney princes. The spacecraft look like the Bozanian ships on Voltes V, which reminded us of a piece we wrote many years ago.

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It was Roby Alampay, now the editor of InterAksyon and BusinessWorld, who first saw a link between Japanese robots and People Power.

Leo’s painting also reminds us of Steph’s cat Twister.

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Tin-Aw is on the Upper Ground Floor of Somerset Olympia, Makati Avenue, Makati City, across from Old Swiss Inn. Somerset Olympia is next to the Peninsula. For more information, call (02)892 7522 or visit www.tin-aw.com.

The no-scoop perpetual sifting litterbox

February 09, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, Childhood No Comments →

Consisting of three identical stacked trays, this aesthetically pleasing litter box just needs you to lift the top tray to separate the waste from the clean, useable litter, which would fall into the tray beneath and be ready to use again. After throwing the waste away, simply turn the top tray around and place it at the bottom of the stack and you are done.

Not only is this an incredibly easy and quick way to clean out a litter box, it is also a method that ensures zero wastage as you would never have to throw away clean cat litter again.

Read about it at DesignTaxi.

Thanks to Noel for the alert. At dinner the other night he reminded us of that soap ad where the model takes a leaf and slathers half of it with lotion. Then she crushes the dry half and says, “See how it crumbles?” The slathered half doesn’t, ergo buy the soap. (Somebody send us that ad.)

That commercial used to drive our Physics teacher nuts. “What kind of experiment is that! It has no control group!”

In our section freshman year there was this guy who used to move his head from side to side constantly, like an Indian dancer, and our Physics teacher said, “What’s wrong with you? You look like the dog at the back of the car!”