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

Maratabat, Memory and Maguindanao

December 16, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, History, Movies No Comments →

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Photo from InterAksyon.com

In Maratabat, the first film by journalist Arlyn de la Cruz, one family—Abubakar—rules a fictional yet familiar province in Muslim Mindanao. The father is Governor, the eldest son Congressman, the younger son Mayor. Their power appears to be absolute; they don’t so much govern the province as hold it hostage. Early on the Governor (Julio Diaz, switching between charm and malevolence so fast it makes your head spin) has breakfast with a young relative. All is friendly until the younger man confirms that he intends to run for mayor against the Governor’s son. The Governor casually shoots him in the head and leaves. No witnesses come forward—“It happened so fast.”

Motherhood, Money and Medicine

How many movies have we seen in which a bitchy, overbearing woman is revealed in the end to be a tender-hearted softie hiding behind a veneer of toughness? Thankfully, Zig Dulay’s M (Mother’s Maiden Name) is not one of those movies.

Zsa Zsa Padilla is terrific as Bella, a successful lawyer and single mother who discovers that she has late-stage cancer. “How did that happen?” she asks her doctor. “I eat expensive food. I seldom drink, and only expensive liquor.” Thus she sums up her upper middle-class notion that her lifestyle will protect her from anything really terrible. That’s what she thinks. In M, everyone is vulnerable to illness regardless of socio-economic class; however, money will determine the quality of medical treatment.

Read our column at InterAksyon.com.

Today’s reviews are brought to you by the letter M.

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M (Mother’s Maiden Name) and Maratabat will screen at the New Wave (in other words, indie) section of the Metro Manila Film Festival, December 17-24, 2014 at Glorietta in Ayala Center, Makati and Megamall in Mandaluyong.

Helping the Hackers: Media should stop doing the Sony hackers’ work for them. Update: Sony, theatres fold completely. Cyberterrorists win.

December 15, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Art, Books, Current Events, Movies No Comments →

Update: Sony Pictures cancels holiday release of The Interview after threats.

That’s great, chicken out after weeks of free front-page and viral publicity, when people now want to see The Interview.

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While we enjoyed the confirmation that Hollywood is run by horrible people, the confidential reports of forthcoming projects, and the appreciation of Michael’s Fassbender, that information came from a crime perpetrated by a group that wants to stop the showing of a movie. They want to gag free speech.

The news organizations who used the stolen data claim that they selected only the “newsworthy” stuff–we need a new definition of what is news. They’re invoking free speech to make revelations made possible by people who are against free speech.

Never mind the reputation and income of the corporation, but sensitive personal data of its employees has been made public.

And if we only watch movies made by nice people (and read books, listen to music, look at art, eat food, live in buildings, wear clothes, use gadgets, ride cars by nice people), there would be no culture.

Read about it at the NYT.

Hmm, Haircuts for the Homeless, Helping the Hackers—today’s headlines are brought to you by the letter H.

Haircuts for the Homeless: A haircut does make a difference

December 15, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Places No Comments →

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Mark Bustos. Credit: Ramsay de Give for The New York Times

Every Sunday, Mark Bustos, 30, a hairstylist at Three Squares Studios, an elite salon in Chelsea that charges $150 to clients like Norah Jones, Marc Jacobs and Phillip Lim, hits the sidewalk and provides free cuts to the homeless.

Mr. Bustos often wanders around Union Square, the Lower East Side and Midtown, where he has gotten to know some of the homeless by name. “See that guy over there,” he said, walking down the Bowery. “That’s Cowboy Ritchie,” whose wife, Mr. Bustos added, “wants him to shave his beard off because it looks too good and the other women flirt with him.”

Other times, Mr. Bustos meets his unsuspecting new clients through friends and paying clients, who tell him about people in their neighborhoods. He does up to 10 haircuts a day.

Read A Hairstylist Provides Free Cuts to the Homeless in the NYT.

How do the corrupt sleep at night?

October 20, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Crime, Current Events No Comments →

The British manufacturer of bespoke beds Savoir Beds, has recently come up with a limited edition series of exquisite Royal beds, each of them costing a mind-boggling $175,000
The world’s most expensive bed. “Php7.7M lang??”

Very soundly, secure in the knowledge that they have way more than they need, and that their children never have to work a day in their lives—unless it is to continue the family business.

Or if they can’t sleep, they can console themselves that in their antique sleigh beds with king-size mattresses, 1,200-thread count sheets and pillows stuffed with the feathers of virgin geese, their insomnia is more comfortable than most people’s sleep.

And they can always take sleeping pills. Yes, research suggests that anti-anxiety medications prescribed to help people sleep cause Alzheimer’s disease, but this might even be to their advantage. When they get hauled in front of a Senate panel to explain how they can buy entire towns on their declared incomes, they can reply that they don’t remember.

Perhaps the investigations into corruption are going about it the wrong way. They assume that the corrupt know the difference between right and wrong.

Read our column at InterAksyon.com.

The original vampire, the height of charm, and the emotional support animal con

October 17, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Cats, Clothing, Current Events 3 Comments →

Links we like:

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Lord Byron: Not just Byronic, vampiric

John Polidori was the personal physician to George Gordon, Lord Byron. Byron was often horrible to him. Polidori felt his famous client was sucking the life out of him, so he wrote The Vampyre in 1819 (Dracula by Bram Stoker was published in 1897). Read The Poet, The Physician, and The Birth of the Modern Vampire.

In Italy, people who wear glasses are called quattr’occhi (four eyes). Angelo Flaccavento finds glass-wearing individuals to be the height of elegance and charm. We don’t know how true that is, but we like to think so. Thanks to Lali for the link.

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In America, people can take their pets everywhere by flashing a card claiming that they are “emotional support animals”. This is an insult to our cats, who regard us as their emotional support animal. Read the hilarious investigative report by Patricia Marx. In the photo above, she tests the emotional support card by taking an alpaca to the drugstore.

Metro Manila is trying to kill us

June 27, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events No Comments →

Thursday morning, it was fine.

1045 Taxi ride from Rockwell, Makati to Timog Avenue, Quezon City: 25 minutes

1115 Drive from Timog, QC to UERMMC to visit friend who had just given birth (Since our task force of Mentats has determined that we are not contagious): 15 minutes

Then it rains and everything goes to hell.

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Photo from Interaksyon: Baha pero walang bagyo.

1430 Taxi ride from Tomas Morato QC to Rockwell, Makati: 1 hour 15 minutes in rising floodwater. The driver avoided heavy traffic on EDSA by taking New Manila-San Juan-Mandaluyong route, which may have been worse. Flash floods in Mandaluyong, particularly in Barangka on the way to the bridge leading to Rockwell. For one moment we thought the cab’s engine would die and we would have to walk in the flood.

Arrive at Rockwell and find that floodwaters have entered the first basement level at Power Plant, the row of restaurants. The staff are bailing out water from McDonald’s to the fruit stand. The pianist plays on.

1625 Waiting in taxi queue: 1 hour 30 minutes. We use the time to make notes for a column, email work confirmations, campaign to assure people that our brain is working (Anyone not convinced can attend joint lecture on Russian literature with Teddy-Wan Kenobi).

1850 Home. If we had walked we would’ve been home at 1635 but we were afraid to run into a flash flood.