Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Cats’

Do you feel like the world is going to hell in a hand basket? Here is some relief.

July 26, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats No Comments →

It won’t de-assholify the world, but it should temporarily cleanse your optic nerves of the sight of Trump’s hair and other grotesqueries.

Poem to read while waiting for the page to finish loading with your “fast” connection

July 07, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Cats 1 Comment →

Buddha is the Bookstore Cat of the Month.

by Czeslaw Milosz
translated by Czeslaw Milosz

The history of my stupidity would fill many volumes.
Some would be devoted to acting against consciousness, Like the flight of a moth which, had it known,
Would have tended nevertheless toward the candle’s flame.
Others would deal with ways to silence anxiety,
The little whisper which, though it is a warning, is ignored.
I would deal separately with satisfaction and pride, The time when I was among their adherents
Who strut victoriously, unsuspecting.
But all of them would have one subject, desire,
If only my own—but no, not at all; alas,
I was driven because I wanted to be like others.
I was afraid of what was wild and indecent in me.
The history of my stupidity will not be written. For one thing, it’s late. And the truth is laborious.

How to catcall

June 07, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats 1 Comment →


To call a cat:

– Here, kitty, kitty, kitty. Here, kitty.

– Ming ming ming muning. Sssswssswssssw.

– Ao raqagon mirri klios? (If the cat speaks Old Valyrian.)

– Dracarys!

– So. Cleganebowl, what do you think?

– Lady Stoneheart? Won’t that be too many resurrected Starks?

If Drogon makes the catcalls:

– You remind me of Natasha at the ball in War and Peace. The Louise and Aylmer Maude translation.

– Is that vintage? The pattern is very interesting in an Escher kind of way.

– Kessa, nyke va moriot merbugon.

– Valar morghulis. By the way you’re much prettier than Daenerys, almost as pretty as Jon Snow.

– San-dor! San-dor! Woof woof!

– Bring back Lady, Shaggydog and Summer!

Writing a novel vs tickling a cat

May 29, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, The Workplace 4 Comments →

work cats

I have to finish writing a novel in three months so I’ve been in lockdown for two and a half weeks. I only allow myself out of the house twice a week for appointments and chores. So far it’s been working: I’ve written down half of it, and expect to complete the first draft well before my August 31 deadline. Also, I’ve made a detailed outline so I know where it’s going. More importantly I can stand it, so it’s safe from the shredder.

Technically this is my second novel. The first one, I never published. I didn’t like it. However, it wasn’t total garbage so I took the parts that worked and published them as short stories. They’re in The Stories So Far, the ones where the protagonist is named Jude.

So I’m living inside my head these days, and the only witnesses are the cats. They are not the most cooperative creatures. They want attention. Saffy challenges me to staring contests.


Drogon invades my workspace in stages.

What are you doing? What are you doing? What are you doing?
Would you like to rub my tummy? It’s very soft.
I’m sure you won’t mind if I park my butt on top of your notebook.
Fur! Soft!
I’m sleepy. This is a good place for a nap.

Kitty, a short story for people who think they’re cats

May 24, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Cats No Comments →


Drogon says: Why, Chloe Sevigny, why didn’t you cast me in your film adaptation of Kitty?

by Paul Bowles

KITTY LIVED IN a medium-sized house with a big garden around it. She loved some things, like picnics and going to the circus, and she hated other things, like school and going to the dentist’s.

One day she asked her mother: “Why is my name Kitty?”

“Your name is really Catherine,” her mother said. “We just call you Kitty.”

This reply did not satisfy Kitty, and she decided that her mother did not want to tell her the truth. This made her think even more about her name. Finally she thought she had the answer. Her name was Kitty because some day she was going to grow up into a cat. She felt proud of herself for having found this out, and she began to look into the mirror to see if perhaps she was beginning to look like a cat, or at least like a kitten.

For a long time she could see nothing at all but her own pink face. But one day when she went up to the glass she could hardly believe what she saw, for around her mouth tiny gray whiskers were beginning to sprout. She jumped up and down with delight, and waited for her mother to say something about them. Her mother, however, had no time for such things, and so she noticed nothing.

Each day when Kitty looked at her reflection she saw more wonderful changes. Slowly the whiskers grew longer and stood out farther from her face, and a soft gray fur started to cover her skin. Her ears grew pointed and she had soft pads on the palms of her hands and the soles of her feet. All this seemed too good to be true, and Kitty was sad to find that nobody had said a word about the marvelous change in her. One day as she was playing she turned to her mother and said: “Meow. I’m Kitty. Do you like the color of my fur?”

Continue reading Kitty.

Kitty convict posters at The Oatmeal

and huggable bookstore cats.

bookstore cat

P.S. Do you know a cleaning lady who likes cats? Steph is looking for one. Our cleaning lady is great but has a full schedule.

Captain America: Civil War and our turbulent election season

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

civil war

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

The White Panther