Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Cats’

Conversations with Cats: Saffy

March 05, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Art, Cats 3 Comments →

- Saffy, why are you so soft and cuddly?
- I am naturally adorable.
- True, you spend eight hours a day grooming yourself.
- That is the normal amount of time for cats.
- And you’ve been spoiled from birth. You’re like those wagyu beef cows.

- Why do you mention beef? Are you going to eat me?
- Of course not.
- You’d better not have plans or I will shred your books.
- Yeah? What about those reports about people who drop dead and get eaten by their cats?
- I would not eat you. Gross. You are not nutritious. Go fetch my paté.
- Get it yourself.
- But I am so cuddly and adorable. Look, I am snuggling up to you.
- We’ll get your paté. (Manipulative cat.)
- (Gullible human.)

Living Room by Balthus, whom Saffy approves of

Drogon really loves the Philippine Eagle

February 23, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats 1 Comment →

Help save the endangered Philippine Eagle by getting your eagle toy at the Library of Babel.

The difficulties of writing at home

February 18, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, Notebooks, The Workplace 8 Comments →

We’re writing a short story when a shadow falls upon the paper, followed by furry feet.

Saffy, get off our notebook, we’re writing.

Please get off our notebook.

You can’t be hungry, you just ate. And we just cleaned the litter box so you can’t complain. It’s our writing time, go away.

- I am inspiring you.
- Thanks, but what’s the point when we can’t see the page.
- That is not my problem.

Reading year 2014: Two British women writers who should be way more famous

February 14, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Cats 2 Comments →


We enjoy political incorrectness, but when we compiled our 100 Favorite Books last year, we did find it strange that less than a fifth were by women. Recently we got acquainted with the work of two women writers we wouldn’t have heard of if their novels had not been reissued by NYRB Classics. So we looked up the literary reputations of Elizabeth Taylor and Olivia Manning, and learned that they had been well-regarded in their lifetimes (they were contemporaries) but have fallen out of fashion. What would you prefer: living obscurity, or posthumous obscurity?

Elizabeth Taylor would probably have more readers today if she didn’t happen to share a name with the movie star. We knew of her novel Angel (1957)—the film adaptation by Francois Ozon costarred Michael Fassbender—but didn’t know she’d written it. As for Olivia Manning, our former publisher had recommended her Balkan Trilogy enthusiastically, but it took us a while to connect those books with Fortunes of War, the BBC series from the 80s starring Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh.

In the end we picked up their books because they were published by NYRB Classics, and because their covers feature cats. In Manning’s novel, the Siamese cat Faro is the young hero’s only ally. In Taylor’s, the spoiled Persian cats living in the anti-heroine’s ruined mansion reflect her state of mind.

Do you hate-watch certain TV shows so you can mock them and rejoice in their failings? We envy Elizabeth Taylor’s sharp, elegant prose so we can’t hate-read Angel, but we were rooting for the protagonist to fall flat on her face. Angelica Deverell is a shopkeeper’s daughter who lives in a fantasy world. She’s a monster—selfish, narcissistic, shameless, ilusyonada, qualities which help her become a wildly popular romance novelist. Critics rip her books to shreds, but the public laps them up. She becomes very rich, indulges her every whim (a grand estate, peacocks, expensive tacky furniture), and lands the man of her dreams.

Even as we loathe the woman, we have to admire her guts. Unlike her aunt and her mother, Angel doesn’t “know her place” or quietly “accept her lot in life”. She’s uppity, but she has the strength of her convictions.

Just when we think this horrible creature will get everything she wants, she encounters her true nemesis. Go self-sabotage!

The hero of Olivia Manning’s School for Love is Felix, an extremely naive English teenager who is shipped off to Jerusalem after the death of his parents in Iraq. It’s 1945, war is raging in Europe, and the city is crammed with refugees. Felix is taken in by his father’s foster sister, Miss Bohun, who runs the world’s most awful boarding house. Miss Bohun is the pastor of the Ever-Readies, one of the many religious groups that have hied off to Jerusalem to await the second coming. She keeps Felix in a state of malnutrition and actually overcharges for the privilege. Faro, the Siamese cat whom she keeps to control the rat population, becomes Felix’s confidant—cat and boy snuggle together to keep from freezing in that awful place.

Every time the hypocritical, miserly, self-righteous crone shows up we grit our teeth and wait for justice. Will it come? Will it be in the person of Mrs. Ellis, the charming young widow whom Miss Bohun regrets having invited to stay in the boarding house? Most importantly, will Faro be all right?


Manning’s prose is keenly observed and psychologically acute. We want more, so we’re finally going to take on Manning’s Balkan Trilogy. After the Balzac stories. And a Nancy Mitford novel or two.

A pride of kitties taking their afternoon nap

February 14, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats No Comments →

sleepy nappy time
Photo by Ren

Things to get yourself for Valentine’s Day, part 2

February 12, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, Notebooks, Shopping, Television 4 Comments →

Our Philippine Eagle toy arrived yesterday in its own drawstring bag. It’s a good-looking bird.


- Hello, I am Jeffrey, short for Pithecophaga jefferyi.


- I’m Drogon! You’re a funny-looking creature. What are you?
- I’m a Philippine Eagle!


- What’s a Philippine Eagle?
- A giant forest raptor endemic to the Philippines.


- A raptor? Like in Jurassic Park?
- Well we are descended from dinosaurs.
- But you look like a bird.
- I am a bird. Did you know some dinosaurs had feathers?


- Do you taste like chicken? I love chicken! Can I eat you?
- No. You may not eat me. I am rare and critically endangered.
- Oh. Wanna play?
- Okay!


- When I grow up I’ll kick your ass.
- When I grow up I’ll have dragonfire.
- Eagles eat small mammals in the wild.
- We’re not in the wild.

Get your adorable Philippine Eagle stuffed toy at The Library of Babel today. Retail price: Php699 plus shipping to the known world. Your purchase helps fund the Philippine Eagle Foundation, which is dedicated to saving this endangered species and its rainforest habitat.

* * * * *

8. Dove yourself. Good skin and hair care doesn’t require huge expense; the trusted brand is available in supermarkets everywhere. We especially recommend it to people who get headaches or break out from strong (masangsang) scents. Go buy yourself a whole lot of Dove products—they’ll still fall under Basic Necessities.

9. Cheap date with yourself! Note: Cheap is bad only if your date is paying. If you’re paying, it’s great.

Oishi products in the giant pack
First, buy your favorite Oishi snacks.

Then curl up with Season 3 of BBC’s Sherlock. It’s not just a show, it’s leverage in negotiations with China. (Read Chinese Sherlock Fans Asked David Cameron to Make Producers Hurry Up.)

Baked Porky Popps, Holmes and Watson. Happy.

10. Write.

You can never have too many beautiful notebooks. To justify acquiring them, you’ll just have to write more. The Pantone Artist and Writer’s Notebook from Chronicle Books features a Pantone color chip on every page. Thick cardboard covers, perfect binding, smooth white paper. The notebook measures 7 x 9 inches and retails at Php897 at National Bookstores. (We have a book moratorium; we didn’t say anything about stationery hahahaha.)