Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Language’

Sleeping cat in Venetian store window

May 08, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, Language, Places, Traveling No Comments →


This is one of exactly two cats we’ve seen on the whole trip. One was inside a carrier at the Market Hall in Budapest. This one was in a store window in Venice, around Castello. The sleeping cat looks like Saffy. (Saffy: That was me. I bilocated.)


Next to the cat, a sign telling people not to tap the glass. Some linguistic confusion here. “E io mi irrito!!!!”— The cat gets irritated by the tapping, the storekeeper gets irritated, or is the cat in the window because she annoyed the storekeeper?

How to spend your summer vacation (if you’re a student)

March 25, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Contest, Current Events, Language, Movies, Tennis No Comments →

1. Watch German crime thrillers for free.

Every Wednesday 6pm at the 4th Floor, Room 3 of Goethe-Institut Philippinen, Adamson Center, Leviste St., Salcedo Village, Makati.

April 8: Dreileben – Etwas Besseres als den Tod (Beats being dead). Directed by Christian Petzold (who made Nina).

A sexual offender escapes from a hospital. His escape and the police’s hectic search serve as a background to the love story between Johannes, a boy from a rich home undertaking his civilian service, and Ana, a pretty girl from Bosnia.

April 15: Dreileben – Komm mir nicht nach (Don’t Follow Me Around). Directed by Dominik Graf

A sexual offender is loitering somewhere in the Thuringian forest. Police psychologist Johanna is sent to Dreileben to assist in the case.

April 22: Dreileben – Eine Minute Dunkel (One minute of darkness). Directed by Christoph Hochhäusler

Frank Molesch, convicted of murder, uses an opportunity to escape. He takes refuge in the forest. The awareness that he has become fair game changes him. The police combine all their technology and manpower to capture the fugitive.

For more information, visit their website.

2. Get a free trip to France (if you speak French).

Filipinos aged 18 to 25 are invited to participate in LabCitoyen, an annual program launched by Institut Français that selects French-speaking youth from all over the world to participate in a series of conferences, debates, and workshops on citizenship over the course of a ten-day, all expenses paid visit to France.

Each year, Institut Français opens this contest to Francophone youths to raise discussion and awareness on various issues concerning human rights and citizenship.

This year, interested participants are to create a 5-minute video documentary in the French language on the theme “Human rights in the face of environmental challenges,” in view of the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21) to be hosted by France in December 2015.

COP 21 is vital as 195 governments will endeavor to sign an ambitious, universal and legally binding agreement to limit global warming to 2°C,
before the effects of climate change become irreversible.

One Filipino shall be chosen by the cultural section of the Embassy of France to the Philippines to participate in the 10-day program in France from July 15 to 25, 2015.

The deadline for submission of videos is on April 20, 2015. For the complete mechanics, visit their website.

3. Tennis lessons

Since our eldest niece was two we have been bugging her mother to let her take tennis lessons. After all Martina Hingis was only two when she picked up the racquet. True, her mom was playing in tournaments during pregnancy, but the point is that we can make like the Djokovic family at tennis matches and jeer at the enemy. Or the Federers and invite fashion editors to sit courtside wearing large sunglasses.

We volunteered to take the kid to her lessons, and then our sister pointed out that her classes are at 10am. Yuccch, sunshine. So we won’t be trundling out our horrible tennis relative impression (Mary Pierce’s dad, Jennifer Capriati’s dad, Steffi Graf’s dad, etc), but who knows.

The niece is expected to balk at physical activity since she’d rather dress as various Disney princesses, so we have recommended a regimen of Maria Sharapova videos (free earplugs for the whole family).

Postscript to the demise of grammar…

January 26, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Language 1 Comment →

Dragonsnake Bog in Dagobah

Last Thursday we were writing a review of Blackhat for our column at InterAksyon when we went off course as we often do, and by following the detour, ended up with a column about the enforcement of the rules of grammar at our old and much-missed newspaper, TODAY. The second paragraph started like this:

This grammatical challenge reminded me that when I was writing for TODAY, I witnessed a smackdown between two eminent editors of advanced age. They differed on whether Yakuza was capitalized or not, like Mafia or mafia. To buttress their positions they consulted the many dictionaries and manuals of style in the office library.

The column went online on Friday. Today our editor Chuchay informed us that on Friday night, one of those two grammar enforcers, Manny Benitez, died. We had not been in touch for many years.

Our condolences to Mr Benitez’s family.

We still haven’t figured out whether we’re clairvoyant or do long-range psychokinetic strikes. Time for a trip to the Dagobah system.

Is krungkrung hyphenated?

January 23, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: History, Language, The Workplace 4 Comments →

Our friend Noel sent us a video report that could very well be the definition of krungkrung. Then he asked something that, in our universe, is a vital question: Is krungkrung hyphenated? Krungkrung or krung-krung?

Read our column at


December 27, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Language No Comments →


“Just use a viler cheeriness.”

November 24, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Contest, Language No Comments →

medieval flying cat
Medieval rocket cat via io9.

The title of this post is not just an anagram of “Jessica Rules the Universe”, it also sums up our world-view. Anagrams, we love them, they point out hidden meanings. We thought of doing an anagram LitWit Challenge, then we remembered how many free anagram generators there are on the net. While wasting time on the Internet Anagram Server, we discovered these anagrams for the name of our site:

A recessive sleuth injures
Eviscerates slushier June
Injures shirtless evacuee
Ace heresies sliver unjust
Jet uses sushi irrelevance
Eeriest slur shuns jive ace
Ace juvenile hires trusses

You can come up with band names this way. We found over 50,000 anagrams for our cat’s name, Matthias Urban, including Maharani Butts and Trauma Absinth.

We’ll have to think of another LitWit Challenge so we can give away this fresh new hardcover of The Bone Clocks.

We’ve also updated our official bio.