2005-09-30

Is trial-and-error needed to solve Sudoku puzzles ...

... or are you just dumb?

The truth is, most of the time, the latter is true. The vast majority of Sudoku puzzles can be solved by logic, and logic only. When someone claims that a certain Sudoku puzzle cannot be solved unless trial-and-error is used, you can almost be certain that he/she has not tried hard enough (or he/she is just plain dumb).

But there are indeed a small number of existing Soduku puzzles which do require trial-and-error. Read Michael Mepham's Farewell to Ariadne's thread?.

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"Ariadne's thread" comes from a Greek mythology in which Ariadne gives a thread to her lover to help him find his way out of a labyrinth.

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I only write about Sudoku as a phenomenon. Personally I don't like this game since I hate spending so much time and enduring so much frustration trying to solve the puzzle. I am just too dumb to play this game of logic.

2005-09-29

Favourite travel photos

(25/9 original entry)

I have hand-picked 61 of my favourite travel photos. No photo title nor description. All randomly arranged.

Enjoy!

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(29/9 additional information)

Just learnt how to add a Flickr slideshow directly to a blog entry:

2005-09-28

Big laptop for a small lap

Remember the Mini-Me/Yao Ming commerical for Apple's 17"/12" Powerbooks?



Cindy's 15.4" screen Dell laptop arrived yesterday. That commerical immediately came to mind when I put it side by side with my Sony, which has a 10" screen.

2005-09-27

鬱金香出土

據聯合報報導,張愛玲散佚小說《鬱金香》出土

小說故事主要圍繞一個大家庭中的女傭金香和富家少爺寶初、寶餘之間的情感糾葛,並貫穿著家族中正房、側室的明爭暗鬥,充滿張愛玲式的「蒼涼」。金香這個名字令人聯想到《秧歌》中在大都市幫傭的月香。參與這篇小說鑒定的上海學者陳子善表示寶初雖然著墨不多,卻有著張愛玲一九五一年離開上海前發表的《十八春》(張愛玲後來改寫為《半生緣》)中主人公沈世鈞的雛形;而《鬱金香》悲劇性的結尾,同樣令人聯想到《十八春》。

《鬱金香》連載於一九四七年五月十六日至三十一日。之前張愛玲才完成電影《不了情》劇本並改寫為小說《不了情》,接著在四月發表短篇小說〈華麗緣〉。當時張愛玲人在上海,如果是冒名之作,張愛玲豈會不抗議。但《小日報》的影響力小,銷量小,這也是大家對這篇作品沒有印象的主要原因之一。但較讓人不解的是,《鬱金香》在一九四八年十一月三日復刊的文藝周刊第一期《海光》上連載重刊,拿《鬱金香》到《海光》重刊的不是別人,即《小日報》的編者黃轉陶。遺憾的是《鬱金香》十一月十日第二期續刊,還未及刊完,《海光》便再度停刊。但《海光》上的作者不乏名人,豐子愷便曾在《海光》發表作品,仍未引起注意,只能說是陰錯陽差,所幸在五十八年後,這篇小說在張愛玲逝世十周年的月份,重見天日。

Flickr Toys

fd has developed a number of applications (Flickr Toys) to make the most of your Flickr photos.

For instance, you can easily add interesting frames to your photos. Below is an example using Holga 35mm:




Another example, this time using stamp border:


FlickRandom of my photos

View 6 randomly-picked photos from my entire collection at Flickr, using the FlickRandom application developed by GustavoG.

2005-09-26

今時今日的李敖很「芙蓉」

李敖返大陸,並在北大清華復旦發偉論。

有人戲稱,李敖是台灣來的芙蓉姐姐。

你或者會說,怎能將李敖與芙蓉姐姐這類自戀狂的小丑人物相提並論?

不錯,將從前的李敖與今日的芙蓉姐姐相提並論是一種侮辱。從前的李敖毫不「芙蓉」,正如從前的芙蓉妹妹估計也不怎麼「芙蓉」一樣。

但若將今時今日的李教和今時今日的芙蓉姐姐放在一起看,又曾有點像樣!

Mussel with ginger, shallot and chilli



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Cheap and cheerful DVD player

Just bought a cheap and cheerful DVD player for the bedroom TV, costing under 60 bucks. It seems to be able to read whatever kind of discs I feed into, even including my burnt discs of travel jpeg photos.

2005-09-25

Wholegrain bread with walnut



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有病唔駛怕

The "tipping" point

A British TV programme "Great Food Live" recently asked its audience to give opinion on the practice of tipping in restaurants. Supporters argue that tipping is a direct monetary reward for good service and acts as an incentive for waiters/waitresses to keep up the good effort.

I find the whole idea of tipping those who serve me well rather unacceptable. In fact, the idea of being "served" is rather unacceptable to me.

There are so many service industries out there. Most of the time, we are being "served" in one way or another. But we don't tip doctors or nurses for good service. We also don't tip the sales in a boutique, or the clerks in a government office. We have an implicit understanding that by paying for a service, the consumers are entitled to expect a satisfactory level of service deliverance. Otherwise, the consumers can complain to the service provider or a governing authority. If the service is outstanding, the consumers may reward the provider by more frequent purchases or spreading good words about them.

In Australia, you are not expected to tip anywhere except in high-class restaurants.

2005-09-22

Uncool cities

If a city is cool, it will be hot. Simple.

Joel Kotkin (Uncool cities, Prospect, 10/05) observes that "rather than address serious issues like housing, schools, transport, jobs and security, mayors and policy gurus from Berlin and London to Sydney and San Francisco have adopted what can be best be described as the "cool city strategy." If you can somehow make your city the rage of the hipster set, they insist, all will be well."

He argues that they have been blinded by the false promises made by Richard Florida, the guru on "creative class".

To Kotkin, the "uncool" middle class is more important than the creative class in city development. "Without a permanent middle class, cities through history—from ancient Rome and 17th-century Venice to 19th-century Amsterdam—have lost their balast, become ever more divided by class, and ceded their central role."

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Creative Class - Home of the Richard Florida Creativity Group

Cool Cities Initiatives of Michigan

joetsang.net: Research Notes on the Creative Industries

2005-09-21

張愛玲有幾句話不再同讀者說

陳子善登在聯副的小考(失蹤的自辯,21/9/05),全文如下:

台灣皇冠出版社出版的《張愛玲典藏全集》(二○○一年四月初版)煌煌十四卷,卻有一個重要的遺漏,張愛玲一九四六年十月為《傳奇》增訂本寫的代序〈有幾句話同讀者說〉,典藏全集失收了。這倒不能全怪全集編者的疏忽,是張愛玲自己先刪去這篇不得不寫的自辯的。

一九五二年夏,張愛玲告別她的發祥地上海,到香港大學繼續學業,不料因獎學金事與校方發生爭執,於是由宋淇引介,為香港美領館新聞處翻譯美國文學名著以謀生。二年之後的一九五四年七月,香港天風出版社推出《張愛玲短篇小說集》,此書其實是《傳奇》增訂本的翻版,卻保留了《傳奇》再版本序作為「自序之二」,張愛玲又新寫了「自序之一」,唯獨刪去了〈有幾句話同讀者說〉。大概張愛玲以為時過境遷,遠在香港的讀者已不清楚她抗戰勝利以後在上海的尷尬處境,這篇自辯大可不必再保留了。

《張愛玲短篇小說集》一九六八年七月由皇冠出版社「引進」台灣,從此以後,台灣皇冠各種版本的張愛玲短篇小說集,都以港版《張愛玲短篇小說集》為準,〈有幾句話同讀者說〉也就永遠不見了蹤影。可是,這一段不堪回首的歷史不是這麼輕易就可以翻過去的。迫使張愛玲在這篇自辯中大動肝火,不得不為自己洗刷的,是因為「近一年來常被人議論到,似乎被列為文化漢奸之一」,「還有許多無稽的謾罵,甚至涉及我的私生活」。有關名譽,有關生計,當然非同小可。不過,張愛玲到底是大手筆,行文之間還是說得輕巧了些,何止是「似乎被列為文化漢奸」,張愛玲當時就是被社會輿論判定為「女漢奸」之流,這是有文為證的。

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附錄:有幾句話同讀者說

我自己從來沒想到需要辯白,但最近一年來常常被人議論到,似乎被列為文化漢奸之一,自己也弄得莫名其妙。我所寫的文章從來沒有涉及政治,也沒有拿過任何津貼。想想看我惟一的嫌疑要末就是所謂"大東亞文學者大會"第三屆曾經叫我參加,報上登出的名單內有我;雖然我寫了辭函去,(那封信我還記得,因為很短,僅只是:"承聘為第三屆大東亞文學者大會代表,謹辭。張愛玲謹上。")報上仍舊沒有把名字去掉。

至於還有許多無稽的謾罵,甚而涉及我的私生活,可以辯駁之點本來非常多。而且即使有這種事實,也還牽涉不到我是否有漢奸嫌疑的問題;何況私人的事本來用不著向大眾剖白,除了對自己家的家長之外仿佛我沒有解釋的義務。所以一直緘默著。同時我也實在不願意耗費時間與精神去打筆墨官司,徒然攪亂心思,耽誤了正當的工作。但一直這樣沉默著,始終沒有闡明我的地位,給社會上一個錯誤的印象,我也覺得是對不起關心我的前途的人,所以在小說集重印的時候寫了這樣一段作為序。反正只要讀者知道了就是了。

     *     *     *

《傳奇》裡面新收進的五篇,《留情》、《鴻鸞禧》、《紅玫瑰與白玫瑰》、《等》、《桂花蒸 阿小悲秋》,初發表的時候有許多草率的地方,實在對讀者感到抱歉,這次付印之前大部分都經過增刪。還有兩篇改也無從改起的,只好不要了。

我不會做詩的,去年冬天卻做了兩首,自己很喜歡,又怕人家看了說:"不知所云";原想解釋一下,寫到後來也成了一篇獨立的散文。現在我把這篇《中國的日夜》放在這裡當作跋,雖然它也並不能夠代表這裡許多故事的共同的背景,但作為一個傳奇末了的"余韻",似乎還適當。

封面是請炎櫻設計的。借用了晚清的一張時裝仕女圖,畫著個女人幽幽地在那裡弄骨牌,旁邊坐著奶媽,抱著孩子,仿佛是晚飯後家常的一幕。可是欄桿外,很突兀地,有個比例不對的人形,像鬼魂出現似的,那是現代人,非常好奇地孜孜往裡窺視。如果這畫面有使人感到不安的地方,那也正是我希望造成的氣氛。

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人民文學出版社1986年出版的《傳奇》(「中國現代文學作品原本選印」系列之一),除包括初版全部內容外,也收入上述的經增刪的五篇小說、〈中國的日夜〉、〈再版的話〉和〈有幾句話同讀者說〉。

Sandy上海曼谷歎世界

上海金茂

曼谷香格里拉


更多上海照 | 更多曼谷照


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2005-09-20

Look who's here - a cockatoo at the bird bath!

Our new bird bath has been frequented by the noisy miner for days now though we are not sure whether it has always been the same visitor. It usually comes several times during the day, diving its head down from the rim of the water bowl for the drink. Today, for the first time, they come in a pair. The nosiy miners are very alert and never stay long, flying away immediately after their refreshment or if they detect any movement around.


The cockatoo, however, is a very different visitor although he and his family has been our neighbour (living in a treehole nearby) for quite some time. Today was the first time we saw him coming for the water and he came twice. Unlike the noisy miner, the cockatoo stood on the head of the "grape boy" and drank from the top. He took his time for the drink and didn't seem to mind people around, so I was able to take pictures from a short distance.



張愛玲無心描金鳳

陳子善登在聯副的小考(描金鳳注定胎死腹中),20/9/05),全文如下:

一九四五年,已經出版了《傳奇》和《流言》而名滿「海上文壇」的張愛玲,在幹些什麼呢?張愛玲文學生涯中的這個特殊時段,好像還沒有引起「張學」專家們的足夠重視。是年四月出版的上海《雜誌》第十五卷第一期的「文化報導」欄內有如下一則短訊:

張愛玲近頃甚少文章發表,現正埋頭寫作一中型長篇或長型中篇,約十萬字之小說:《描金鳳》,將收在其將於不日出版之小說集中。……它透露了兩個重要訊息:一是張愛玲正在撰寫新的長篇《描金鳳》,二是張愛玲計畫出版新的小說集。

《傳奇》初版本於一九四四年八月十五日問世,這個日子已經深深鐫刻在中國現代文學史上。初版本書脊上印有如下字樣:

傳奇 張愛玲小說集之一 雜誌社出版

九月二十五日《傳奇》再版本問世時,書脊上仍保留著這行字。《傳奇》既是「小說集之一」,按照常理,還會有「小說集之二」,說明當時張愛玲早有出版新小說集的打算。寫作《描金鳳》也就可能不是心血來潮,而是醞釀已久的。雖然那時的上海已是「山雨欲來風滿樓」,眾多「張迷」仍然翹首以待,期望早日讀到《描金鳳》,畢竟,這是張愛玲創作長篇的最新嘗試,先前她寫過《連環套》,卻因遭到批評而半途而廢了。直到次年年底,超級「張迷」唐大郎因《傳奇》增訂本出版喜賦打油詩一首,還特意提到「傳奇本是重增訂,金鳳君當著意描」,後半句的注釋為「張有《描金鳳》小說,至今尚未殺青」。

不妨作這樣的推測,如果《描金鳳》順產,張愛玲可能出版她繼《傳奇》之後的第二部小說集,內容應該包括《描金鳳》和後來補入《傳奇》增訂本的〈留情〉、〈鴻鸞禧〉、〈紅玫瑰與白玫瑰〉、〈等〉和〈桂花蒸阿小悲秋〉。後面這五篇短篇另出一本集子是太單薄了,加上「中型長篇或長型中篇」的《描金鳳》,才能成為「張愛玲小說集之二」,也許這本「張愛玲小說集之二」書名就叫《描金鳳》!

然而,《描金鳳》注定要胎死腹中。就像張愛玲晚年撰寫又反覆修改的《小團圓》,最終還是決意銷毀一樣。所不同的是,我們對《小團圓》至少知道它寫到了張胡戀情,而且已經寫出了初稿;對《描金鳳》,寫了些什麼,到底寫了多少,是否完成了初稿,我們一無所知。我們只知道,抗戰勝利,意味著張愛玲的傳奇人生必然要發生重大轉折,無論是她的情感史還是創作史,都走到了一個十字路口。《描金鳳》是不可能再寫下去了,因為張愛玲必須擱筆。

2005-09-18

中秋晚餐

主菜:糖醋香橙排骨、豆腐乾小棠菜
甜品:自家製麻蓉湯圓、雙黃白蓮蓉月餅、雙層果凍加愛玉

請注意,「Good Food 街」內所有傑作均為太座手勢,唯獨雙層果凍加愛玉是本人作品。請鼓掌!




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Net help for home theatre problem

Since moving to the new house, I have been having problem with my av receiver. Specifically, it gets very hot under a few hours of operation and is then switched off automatically. This had never happened before. I tried simple internet searching for possible reasons and hence a cure, unfortunately to no avail.

So I posted this problem to a forum devoted to home theatre. I have since recieved lots of helpful advice. While I still have not figured out what exactly went wrong, this experience again demonstrates the immense use of the internet as a problem solving tool.

2005-09-16

Carnival of flowers under severe water restrictions

Today I went to Toowoomba, an inland town 1.5 hours drive from Brisbane, to enjoy the annual Carnival of Flowers. What is most worthy of mentioning here is that this year's event takes place under severe water restrictions: residents are only allowed to use buckets to water the garden. No sprinklers. No hoses.





2005-09-15

一往而深,未必就是愛情

因為經朋友介紹看了「青春版」《牡丹亭》崑劇,所以也順帶看了一篇白先勇與符立中的對談,由《牡丹亭》談到《紅樓夢》談到張愛玲再談到白先勇自己,頗有啟發。

然而,白先勇在對談中講到《牡丹亭》中杜麗娘對愛情「一往而深」的執著,是寫盡了「情至、情深、情真」,我自己有很大的保留。

最初我想,自己連湯顯祖的原書都沒有讀過,那有資格「保留」?

不過,有資格也罷,沒資格也罷,我有我的地盤,而又不吐不快,我執意要貽笑大方,誰又管得著呢?

《牡丹亭》中的杜麗娘在湯顯祖筆下的確有一種「一往而深」的執著,而正如白先勇所言,「那股奮不顧身的赤精厲忱,本身就有一種淒豔的悲壯。」

但我認為,這種執著與悲壯,是與愛情無關的。湯顯祖只是借一個「愛情故事」的框架,表達他對追求人性解放的熱忱。《牡丹亭》其實是沒有愛情的。愛情在中國文學傳統中要到《紅樓夢》才真正出現。

此話怎講?

因為我對「愛情」有不同理解。白先勇自己開宗明義地說:「但世上的愛情故事雖多,那都只是寫實層面的「人間」情,真正作到不朽、永恆、eternal、一種人類最高的「情」上面的quest(追尋),惟有《牡丹亭》!」我認為,白先勇所說的不朽和永恆,是情而不是愛情。即使如何昇華,愛情必然要植根於「人間」情!

不錯,愛情往往受到時代、社會和家族等外力的制約和試練。然而,愛情的永恆魔力,歸根究底是源於兩個人如何在千萬人海中相遇,相識,產生好感,走在一起,經過無數猶疑猜度了解和衝突,最後或執手偕老,或分手緣滅。因此,愛情之為愛情,正是因為有這樣一種受「內力」考驗的「過程」。

在《牡丹亭》和其他大部分中國傳統「愛情」文學中,男女相愛都是無緣無故的【情不知所起】,而且是無發展過程的【一往而深】,兩人(譬如杜麗娘和柳夢梅)相遇,隨即產生至死不渝的「愛情」,雖受「外力」影響而以悲劇或喜劇收場,但內在因素甚少在「愛情」中起甚麼決定性作用。到了《紅樓夢》,這種愛情歷鍊才有所發揮。

我必須強調,以上所說的與文學作品的優劣無關。無「愛情」的《牡丹亭》可以是不朽之作,有「愛情」的言情小說可以是垃圾貨色。

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延伸閱讀:

跨世代的青春追尋:牡丹與紅樓 (白先勇、符立中)

姹紫嫣紅牡丹亭:四百年青春之夢

《牡丹亭》與《紅樓夢》--他們怎樣寫"情" (劉夢溪)

情本思想:《紅樓夢》的文化精神 (孫遜)

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寫完上文以後,思之再三,覺得廣而言之,「愛情」文學是要有待小說這種文體的成熟才會真正出現,原因是小說較其他文體在處理愛情的歷鍊過程有先天上的優勢。而且,「愛情」必然要建基於男女有一定「交往」機會的社會環境。這兩個條件在中國都出現得很晚。

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2005-09-14

Escalating water restrictions

As a result of a serious drought, Brisbane residents have been living with water restrictions since May. We are only allowed to water the garden with sprinklers on three days of a week, and only during 7pm-7am (i.e. not during daylight time). There are also restrictions on car washing and topping up swimming pools.

But with the dam level having fallen to 36% already, it is just a matter of time that the next threshold of 35% will be reached. When that happens, which is expected in early October, the next level of water restrictions will be introduced. Sprinklers will be banned. Gardens can only be watered with hand held hoses. Cars can only be washed with buckets.

Even more draconian restrictions will come in once dam level drops below 30%. I really hope it will never happen.

張愛玲五四遺事

楊佳嫻認為,在〈五四遺事--羅文濤三美團圓〉裡,張愛玲「吸收了複雜的世情小說傳統,承襲《金瓶梅》、《紅樓夢》打破傳統光整對稱宇宙觀的小說特質,而且並不提供出路或者救贖,表面上完整的生活,骨子裡都是妥協、失落。」

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淺論張愛玲小說中的怨婦形象 (馬永生,《二十一世紀》網絡版,6/05) - 張愛玲為我們展現了新一代怨女的形象:她們受過教育,曾經有著美好的理想,然而卻難以抵抗這個社會對女子的束縛和要求,最終她們心甘情願地融入社會,成為男性世界的玩物。女性的力量是有限的也是脆弱的。

2005-09-13

Firefox 1.5 beta 1

Just downloaded Firefox 1.5 beta 1. The only noticeable differences are the faster speed in opening web pages, and its incompatibility with a number of extensions.

2005-09-11

為慶祝小妹新居入伙,港迪決定明天開幕





欲訪小妹,敲門請進。裝修需時,簡慢難免。


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期待許秦豪的四月飄雪

連新片在內,許秦豪三部電影的英文片名都與季節有關:八月的聖誕、一個美好的春日、和四月飄雪。

愛有枯榮時節。但愛的枯榮,並不如季節般順序來去,有跡可尋,而是可以八月聖誕、四月飄雪。

許秦豪的電影,是關於愛情的電影。更確切地說,是關於愛情無端消逝的優秀電影。

他電影世界裡的愛情,平淡內斂,而且都是無疾而終,叫人不知所措。在《八月照相館》中,男女愛情剛剛萌芽,男的就因絕症去世,但女的不知就裡,只知遍訪不遇,一肚委屈,化作小石擊破男的照相館前的玻璃。在《春逝》中,男女相識、熱戀、然後女的心變,男的心傷、對情逝的不解和難受、化作鎖匙劃花女的汽車。

期待許秦豪的四月飄雪。

2005-09-10

讀思存,長智慧

思存 記憶回收筒是我經常溜覽的網誌,覺得他對生活、社會和政治的看法都很有意思。但原來通過窺看這個回收筒,也可以從中鍛鍊數學常識,挑戰常規思維。

從他的遊戲一文,才知道有所謂 Monty Hall Problem 這個數學謎題。而知道了正確答案後,還是半信半疑,經過半天思索後才弄清楚原先自己想法的錯誤。

讀思存,長智慧。

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補記:一個好的數學謎題,必須具有以下條件:

1. 有趣,吸引大家興緻勃勃地去猜
2. 謎題好像容易解答,但其實容易猜錯
3. 正確答案簡單易明,但又令人半信半疑

Monty Hall Problem 正具備了以上特點。不過,思存在文中提供的解答不算「週到」,還是參看 nr 在留言中提到的 Wikipedia 網頁吧。

2005-09-09

張愛玲作品典藏版及其他

新浪讀書陸續連載。雖然在網上讀她的中、長篇小說和《紅樓夢魘》太辛苦,但觀閱《對照記》也挺不錯。

另外,搜狐讀書也在記念張愛玲去世十周年專輯內連載張愛玲作品典藏版。如果大家對張愛玲傳記有特殊偏愛,好的爛的都讀的話,專輯內也有一本《張愛玲畫傳》。

2005-09-08

An armchair economist's view on why Katrina's victims should not receive government assistance

Using a fable of two cities, Steven Landsburg, author of Fair Play: What Your Child Can Teach You About Economics, Values, and the Meaning of Life and The Armchair Economist, offers two reasons why there should be a rethink on giving federal assistance to Katrina and similar natural disaster victims.

Reason number one: "It encourages people to live in dangerous places."

Reason number two: "It denies people the opportunity to accept higher risks in exchange for lower housing costs.

The analysis is surely logical, but the lack of compassion in the thinking process, I believe, is difficult for many readers to stomach. And it is analysis like this that gives a bad name to economists (as if it is not bad enough already).

He concludes the article by saying that "those abstract principles might be partly offset by any number of real world considerations. But if we want to build a better world, no truth should be ignored." What "better" world do you have in mind, and what "truth" can you claim to have discovered, Mr. Armchair Economist?

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What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.
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十年前的今天...

...張愛玲被發現離開人世。

喜愛張愛玲作品的,可用各種新聞及網頁搜尋器閱讀大量近日出現的相關資訊。

2005-09-07

Is there a reset button on my body?

Two days ago, wireless internet access suddenly refused to work. I used all my computer tricks to try to fix the problem, to no avail.

A self proclaimed computer guru friend of mine told me that when a computer is in trouble, switch it off and then switch on again. Very often, the problem will be gone.

And so I switched off then switch on the computer. Didn't work. Then I unplugged and replugged the router. Didn't work either. Frustrated, I rebooted it from within the setting page of the router. Didn't work. Worse still, I lost access to the setting page.

Today, I admitted defeat and pressed a button on the router to return it to the factory setting. And voila, access to the setting page was restored and after keying in a few parameters, wireless internet worked as well.

I guess I will never have any idea what actually went wrong in the first place. But the point is, everything is fine now. What more can I ask for?

How I wish I had a similar reset button on my body. When in trouble (physical or psychological), just press it, and everything is fine again. Wouldn't it be great?

不讀《紅樓夢》的理由

如果說,只有不足百分之五的中國人讀過《紅樓夢》,那麼相信其他名著的閱讀率也相差不遠。所以,不讀《紅樓夢》,實是「人之常情」,並不需要甚麼理由的。

就以我自已為例,《紅樓夢》我讀過多遍,也勉強算是愛讀書之人,但中國的其他古典文學名著,除了半本《金瓶梅》外,其他的都沒有讀過,也沒有打算去讀。理由?其實真的沒有。書有千萬種,拿起手的,永遠都不是三國水滸西遊,如此而已。

當然,在網上也可以找到很多提出不讀《紅樓夢》的理由的文章。以下是一些「可讀性」較高的例子:

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曾萬紫小時想讀《紅樓夢》,但老爸不准,因為「容易學壞」。長大後,無論怎樣努力都看不完:「我總覺得這部作品所描寫的時代背景距離今天很遙遠,而且部頭巨大,大而無當,情節冗長,節奏緩慢,描寫渙散,一會有燈會,一會又有宴席,大量的詩詞歌賦、曲子燈謎,我看了後邊總想不起前邊,特別是對其中復雜的人物關系頭痛不已──你嫁我,我娶她,你愛我,我卻愛他,誰是二姨,誰是舅媽……我花了不少時間去琢磨,最要命的是睡過一覺後又忘了。重新拿起書,再次與各種人物相遇,我總要思索很久:這個人是幹什麼的?性別?年齡?脾氣?有幾個老婆?哎,我是個崇尚簡約的女子,這麼繁復的東西我怎麼受得了呀!」

「可是無論怎麼說,《紅樓夢》畢竟是被權威指定的中國"最優秀"的小說 ... 把"博覽群書"當座右銘的我,不讀它說不過去。沒讀過《紅樓夢》確實是一件很丟人的事情,所以我一直保守這個秘密。每當文友相聚,大家談起《紅樓夢》的時候,我由於心虛都盡量閉嘴 ... 在一次座談會上,我曾聽到一位比較有身份的大姐調侃,她說自己讀《紅樓夢》"越讀越有味,隨著年齡的增長,每次多讀一遍都有新的體會,常讀常新" ... 我曾私下裡纏著她如何才能達那種境界。她看著我一臉的誠懇就幹脆甩給我一句實話:"其實我一遍都沒讀過,所謂'常讀常新',只不過是附庸風雅的說法而已,很多人不是都這麼說嗎?"」

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同樣地,007的老爸也以「容易學壞」為理由,禁止他讀《紅樓夢》。

也同樣地,他長大後不少次試讀紅樓卻是欲行又止:「止的原因,首先是基於個人愛好,我不大喜歡讀小說,因為記性不好,看了後邊想不起前邊,要命的是睡一覺後就不知道主人公誰是誰了,他是幹嘛的,性別,脾氣,幾個老婆,我為什麼要看這本書,統統想不起來。況且《紅樓夢》裡人物關系復雜,你嫁我我娶她,誰是舅媽誰是二姨,要花去不少時光琢磨。我可不愛動腦子,有時間還不如給自己炒幾個雞蛋來補補身體。」跟曾萬紫的情況何其相似!

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哈利波特vs.紅樓夢的討論區中,NightHawk說:「不知道為什麼,國小六年級那年看完了文言文的西遊記,封神演義,三國演義,還有濟公傳 ... 可是就是沒想到要去碰過紅樓夢...升國二的時候拿起家裡的那本翻了翻,讀了一半就提不起興趣了...或許是因為書的內容跟我的個性不合吧 ... 紅樓夢是一本文學鉅作吧...但是對我這種不了解他的重要性的工科學生,他,只是另一本很厚的書...」

A書雞肚說:「紅樓夢讓人難以閱讀的原因...還有一個,那就是十分的瑣碎,一些日常生活芝麻綠豆的小事,那兒送來幾匹緞子拿給大姑娘二姑娘寶姑娘史姑娘哎唷還忘了林姑娘...待會兒到到帳房領N兩N錢...它也不厭其煩細細述說,雖說終有其用意,但是缺乏耐性的人看起來可就辛苦了。」

複雜繁瑣,應該是令很多人讀不下去的主要原因。

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小園花香

春天到了,家中小園裡的植物都在「緊抓」時機,長葉開花。有的花顏色誘人,有的花香氣飄飄。香花中,尤以茉莉最為放肆,雖仍在幼年期,但已有上千的花蕾,開了的也已過百。除此以外,還有檸檬花,橙花,和譯作含笑的Port Wine Magnolia (Michelia Figo)。

提到橙花,不能不提西班牙的塞維爾(Seville)市。塞維爾是橙樹之城,隨處可見。去年三月旅遊時,正值橙樹開花時節,小巷中空氣流動較慢,花香四逸,而建築物的中庭,更是十數或上百橙樹整齊排列,可觀可嗅。我家的兩棵,屬Mock Orange一類,有花無果,而且樹身較矮。

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2005-09-06

為讀者讀紅樓!

怎樣才算讀過《紅樓夢》?中,曾提到吳淡如的《紅樓夢》。其後在網中搜尋有關的資料,有些頗有趣味:

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博客來是這樣介紹吳淡如《紅樓夢》的:「真正把紅樓夢看完的人可能並不多,能一氣呵成看完的人恐怕更少了。本書可說是吳淡如為讀者讀紅樓,再用她個人的語言重新講述紅樓夢。不但使讀者易讀也同時保留了曹雪芹原著的精神。」吳淡如為讀者讀紅樓!功德無量。

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吳淡如近年又出版了《吳淡如新說紅樓夢》,不知和吳淡如《紅樓夢》有無相近之處?據圓神邀閱館介紹:「現在經由淡如重新詮釋,不改舊時意,留住精采處,為讀者們精心打造一座淺顯易讀又不失原味的紅樓世界,大夥終於可以暢快淋漓讀完紅樓夢了!」大夥終於可以暢快淋漓讀完紅樓夢了!功德無量。(網站上有該書的自序

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在蔡康永的週二不讀書中節目中,吳淡如強調要看原典:

蔡:所以妳今天打算要提醒我們說不能只看「哈利波特」的電影,跟只看金庸的小說改編的電視連續劇,要看原典,是這樣嗎?

吳:我希望大家能夠看一看原典,每個人都知道「哈利波特」的原典比它的電影精采得多,事實上金庸小說也比他的電視劇來得精采、複雜、有深度,然後人物沒有那樣子地被窄淺化...


建議在吳版《紅樓夢》書內,加上一句:「看完我的《紅樓夢》,記緊要看原典啊!」

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一位叫月半的網客,就是既看吳版《紅樓夢》,又讀原典的。她說:「有人說過,唸中文系的都不一定唸過“紅樓夢”,而我不是中文系的,我還是給它看了幾遍,很愛這本書,白話跟原文各看過幾次 ... 偶所謂的白話版是吳淡如翻的,那原文就是曹姑姑寫的囉??如果要入門..偶非常推薦吳淡如版的!吳姐姐也翻的很讚喔??」

當有人留言問何解以曹姑姑稱呼原典作者時,她說:「叫雪芹的不述女的喔??看來偶金述不用功耶^+++^那叫淡如的述女的了吧!!好吧!那偶就不能叫他曹姑姑耶...(感覺叫姑姑比較有親和力^^)」

是的,雖說曹雪芹是個男的,但如吳淡如所言:「《紅樓夢》是歷代小說中唯一留心描繪女性內心世界的小說,也是最能細緻刻劃女性性格多面向的一本書。」

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