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

Albert Einstein on our mightiest weapon

June 19, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, History, Science No Comments →

In a long life I have devoted all my faculties to reach a somewhat deeper insight into the structure of physical reality. Never have I made any systematic effort to ameliorate the lot of men, to fight injustice and suppression, and to improve the traditional forms of human relations. The only thing I did was this: in long intervals I have expressed an opinion on public issues whenever they appeared to me so bad and unfortunate that silence would have made me feel guilty of complicity.

Read about Einstein and the duties of the individual in Brain Pickings.

Reasons David Sedaris has been depressed lately (We know exactly how he feels)

June 12, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Current Events 1 Comment →

Chus and I went to David Sedaris’s reading at Powerbooks Greenbelt some years ago. He was hilarious and shockingly nice. He got to the venue early and went around asking people if they wanted their books signed. We chatted about Chickenjoy. He did an impression of his sister Amy going shopping (“Buy it!”).*

David, I hope you’re feeling more cheerful. We know exactly how you feel. And you live in England now. You could go back to France…Would you like us to Fedex you some Chickenjoy?

One. It’s early September of 2015 and I’m on the island of Santorini for a literary festival. After the short reading, which takes place outdoors on a patio, the Greek audience asks questions, the first of which is, “What do you think of Donald Trump?”
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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.