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

Tell us your own yaya stories.

May 19, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events 7 Comments →

While commenters wage war in the social media over Alex Tizon’s last article—even in the antisocial media we can hear the gnashing of teeth—let’s talk about our own histories with domestic helpers, maids, yayas.

We had a succession of maids and yayas in our house when I was growing up, but none of them lasted very long. They usually up and left over non-payment of their salaries (an option Tizon’s “Lola” never had). My family had the middle class accoutrements without the middle class income (I was on scholarships, which is how I can use accoutrements in a sentence). Had we been in the same situation as Tizon’s family, the same thing might have happened to our maid. So I’m not in a position to pass judgement on his choices. I’m glad Alex Tizon was able to write this story and send it to his editor before his sudden death. Also I hope that the laws protecting kasambahay are enforced and that the feudal arrangements that continue to exist in our country are ending.

Read some of the responses to the piece here.
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Vive la France

May 08, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Movies No Comments →

Fine, you are superior.

I was going to post the scene from Casablanca again (must be plenty of people doing that today) but remembered a similar scene from perhaps a greater film, Renoir’s Grand Illusion. In a German camp, the French prisoners of war are putting on a show when they get news of a French victory.

It’s a beautiful anthem, the model for the Philippine, never mind the stuff about bathing in the blood of enemies.

We still have Paris.
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Houellebecq’s Submission is distressing, essential reading for these apocalyptic times

April 21, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Current Events 3 Comments →


English translation by Lorin Stein. Available at National Bookstores, Php715.

While reading this insightful, disturbing piece about the French election on Sunday, I remembered that I had a copy of Michel Houellebecq’s novel Submission gathering dust on a shelf.

You’ve heard of Submission—the book and its author were on the cover of Charlie Hebdo the day gunmen entered the office of the magazine and killed eight people.

I find Houellebecq’s work repulsive, full of characters who have no convictions and pornographically-detailed sex scenes. And yet I’ve read Elementary Particles, Platform, The Map and the Territory, and now Submission all the way to the end. Man writes compelling prose, even if it causes queasiness. It’s supposed to be satire; I wish it were funny. In this case I wish it were funny and so far-out it could be dismissed as mere provocation.
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Which is the real killer: fat, sugar, or both?

March 31, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Health 6 Comments →

Read Is Fat Killing You, or is Sugar?

Recently a friend of mine was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Usually I do not care about blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, or whatnot, and will eat whatever I want, but this news freaked me out. I’m old, so this shit now affects me. I’ve given up white rice, soda (sob) and those bottled iced teas, which are just sugared water anyway. And I try to eat sensibly, which turns out to be a challenge for people who live on delivery and take-out.

My prescription for everything is still 8-9 hours of sleep a day, and avoiding stress. I quit writing columns because wringing 800 words out of every thought was becoming stressful. (After 20 years of column-writing, I’ve said everything I have to say at least thrice.) Freedom! Being able to watch a movie without reviewing it in my head! Just being!

Also, I’ve edited my newsfeeds because I do not need to hear of developments as they happen. The pronouncements of idiots get enough attention without having mine as well. There’s a difference between staying informed and drowning in breaking news. And a difference between news and stuff that gets spewed for the sake of spewing. Silence creates space for deep thought, and that freaks people out.

Are you drowning? Let me know if you need help editing your life.

Classic Sesame Street: Ronald Grump cons Oscar the Grouch into moving to Grump Tower

March 25, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Television No Comments →

via BoingBoing

Against Amnesia

February 26, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Current Events No Comments →

Thirty-one years ago we were part of something so extraordinary that it ignited movements for freedom in the rest of the world. We didn’t do it for any families or personalities; we did it for ourselves, to reclaim the dignity and the rights that had been denied us for so long. It was the right thing to do. No one can take that away from us.

At the rally I ran into one of my teachers, and we remarked on the renewed relevance of Yeats.

The Second Coming
by William Butler Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Democracy is a work in progress.