Fifty years of romance writing didn't awaken Giong Yao (瓊瑤)from the illusion of love. From the turbulent era of WW2 (幾度夕陽紅) to today's technological world, (花非花霧非霧) her kingdom of Love remains perfect, passionate, and eternal. The medium of Love may change from letter writing to email, smartphone and skype, but the essence of Love remains the same. It's violent tempests or burning flames to consume lovers away. Say "I love you" a thousand times and her fictional lovers don't feel exhausted by the soothing words, but the audience do! Love, once expressed verbally, loses its mysterious luster and becomes jejune. Oscar Wilde perceived this well: "The essence of love is uncertainty." The most unbearable part of romance is when lovers confess their love and are accepted by their beloved. The beginning of marriage is the end of romance. No wonder, Giong Yao's kingdom of Love is populated by unmarried lovers suffering from either unrequited love or temporary misunderstanding. And her lovers are always willing to die for Love, as if they had nothing else to do in life except to love. [sigh]  Aye, one should always remember the friar's warning in Romeo and Juliet:    

These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume: the sweetest honey
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite:
Therefore love moderately; long love doth so----

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Though much is taken, much abides; and though / We are not now that strength which in old days / Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are; / One equal temper of heroic hearts, / Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will / To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

What made Skyfall the highest-grossing film in the UK in 2002, and win several accolades, including Outstanding British Film, Best Sound Editing and Best Original Song?

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It's a story about a quiet, queenly woman who never looked away, a tale to tear the heart of a mother, daughter and  the Blacks with slave ancestors.

Here are the fragments of the sad song by Tony Morrison:

 A man was nothing but a man. They encouraged you to put some of your weight in their hands and soon as you felt how light and lovely that was, they studied your scars and tribulations, after which they did what he had done: ran her children out and tore up the house.

 

The best thing was to love just a little bit; everything, just a little bit, so when they broke its back, or shoved it in a croaker sack, maybe you’d have a little love left over for the next one.

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On Failure 

失敗是人生中不可避免的經驗。如何從失敗中汲取教訓,重新出發進而轉敗為勝,是大家共同的生命課題。以下三位不同領域的名人,分別在美國名校的畢業典禮上,分享自己的人生故事,談到如何從失敗中學習而後扭轉逆境,值得借鏡深思。

第一位是電視界名人歐普拉。她縱橫脫口秀節目二十餘年,收視長紅,另闢一個新節目觀眾卻不捧場。她在失敗後對哈佛大學畢業生講了以下這段話:

不管你多成功,如果你不斷鞭策自己要往上爬,到某個點你勢必跌倒。中庸法則早已預告會如此,希臘神話也如此明示。(伊卡魯斯(Icarus), 不聽父親戴德勒斯(Daedalus)的叮嚀,逃離迷宮後飛行要盡量緊貼海面。他越飛越高,翅膀無法承受太陽的高溫而融化,最後跌落大海淹死。)但記住這點: 沒有失敗這回事,失敗只是意味生命必須轉換方向而已。你可以給自己一點時間哀嘆因失敗而失去的東西,但重要的是,要從每一次錯誤中學習,它會教導你、逼迫你成為真正的自己,然後再去思索下一步該怎麼走。生命中要緊的是建立自我內在的道德及情緒定位系統,指引著自己該何去何從。畢業自名校哈佛的高材生,頂著榮耀的光環,未來在社會上勢必是舉足輕重的人物,不乏律師、參議員、執行長、物理學家、諾貝爾獎、普立茲獎得主之人才。但生命真正的挑戰不在於你的履歷有多風光,不在於你的頭銜地位是甚麼,而在於你想要成為甚麼樣的人,你的人生目的是甚麼。你的生命履歷表內,不僅是記載你成就了哪些豐功偉業,而是你為何而做?將來你失敗跌倒時,問問自己初衷何在?你當初的目的和使命是甚麼? 靠這個使命感你就能再站起來,走出困境。

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 moneyball-poster  

電影「魔球」(Moneyball)改編自Micahel Lewis於2003出版的小說,主要探討資金有限的棒球隊,如何借助計量經濟學(econometrics),有效率的達到贏球的目標。此片顛覆傳統的棒球經驗,例如由球探針對個人的打擊率(batting rate)、防守率(defense rate)及人格特質(personality)來發掘球星,還有犧牲短打(bunt)、盜壘(steal base) 等常用策略,都遭到否定。本片強調棒球致勝關鍵在於在壘率(on-base rate)。一支球隊中,上壘率高的球員越多,就越容易贏球。根據這個原則,一位耶魯大學經濟系的非專業棒球小子,替奧克蘭運動家隊的總經理Billy Beane選了三位棒球專業人士眼中的爛貨,不是手肘受傷不能傳球,就是球技退化或私生活不檢點的球員。他們能雀屏中選,因為上壘率很高,又因為大型球隊都不想要,所以只需花很少的錢就能買到。只要能上壘,就有機會得分,管他是安打或四壞保送上壘的。所以只要有耐心及判斷力,不要隨意揮棒,慢慢等待保送上壘,贏球機會就變大。這樣的作戰策略,為小成本的運動家隊帶來20場連勝的輝煌戰績,也等於宣揚此經濟學理論的成功。

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It’s so much easier to choose to love the things that you have. And you have so much, instead of always yearning for what you’re missing - - - or what it is that you’re imagining you are missing.

(Meryle Streep in One True Thing)

One True Thing, a 1988 American film, explores the subtlety of family relationship. The one true thing refers to the devoted mother who lights up her family’s life at the cost of her health. It’s touching because the three major roles reflect part of us, as a father, mother or kids. This article will examine three aspects of family relationship: father/daughter, mother/daughter, and husband/wife

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民視專訪陳樹菊,不少人受到激勵與感動。在熱血沸騰之餘,我不禁沉思,她怎麼做到的?所有勵志的故事,總能撩撥我們的情緒,但一時的慷慨激昂總敵不過長久養成的怠惰習氣,我們無法如故事主角般的精進不懈。陳樹菊的慷慨義行是布施的最佳典範,這篇專訪讓我們學習到布施的真諦和方法。

很多人行過布施,捐贈物資是最普遍的做法。有愛心似乎就做得到布施,但問題是能持續多久? 質有多純?量有多大?有閒錢,心血來潮,為響應某個救災活動,或是企業為節稅的捐贈,這些都是布施的表相。它真正的內涵,是要在任何時、處都能生起才算。每天的心念緣著它,為利益一切眾生廣行布施,不論是有形的物資或無形的精神。陳樹菊做到了這些。她為何能做到?因為她的見解正確。布施不能光靠一時的情緒,它能長久的關鍵在於念死無常的觀念深植於心。所以說「知難行易」一點也不錯。所謂知難,指的是正確觀念的建立並不容易。對於某個信念深信不疑,不再動搖後,照著它去做其實並不困難。問題是信念要達到不動搖的程度,必須親自去實證體會後才可得。

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Introduction

Black Swan, a 2010 psychological thriller, explores the binary conflicts in human life---reason/unreason, love/hatred, repression/passion, hetero/homosexuality. The warring of the two turns out tragic in the film, for the latter overwhelms the former and leads to the death of the female protagonist.

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James Thurber, (1894-1961), was an American writer best known for his humorous stories. As a celebrated wit, Thurber highlighted the comic frustrations and eccentricities of ordinary people in his works.

The following essay is about the ways to sustain a happy marriage. Although its tone is hilarious, it reveals the naked truth of marriage characterized by the twists and turns of confrontation and conciliation. The ten rules, nothing less than the manifesto of Thurber’s idiosyncrasies, are intended to amuse rather than preach.

First of all, he mentions the motive for this writing is the fight between a couple in his neighborhood:

The idea just came to me one day, when I watched a couple in an apartment across the court from mine, gesturing and banging tables and throwing objects d’art at each other. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but it was obvious, as the shot-put followed the hammer throw, that he and/or she (as the lawyers would put it) had deeply offended her and/or him.

Witnessing the exciting battle, Thurber began brooding on the subject of marriage. Here come the ten unique rules for the maintenance of a happy marriage:

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Introduction:

Life of Pi「少年P的奇幻漂流」是李安導演的最新3D作品,預定11月在台灣上映。本文要探討的是原著小說中的主題,如封面所寫:一位擁有三種信仰的印度男孩,一隻450磅重的孟加拉虎,一場船難,一艘救生艇,以及太平洋。乍看之下,它是海上版的魯賓遜漂流記,或浩劫重生之類的電影,一個人獨自存活於災難之後,靠著毅力、智慧及信仰,度過重重難關重回人世。相較於魯賓遜在荒島耕種,自力謀生並對抗野人,少年Pi在太平洋上只靠救生艇維生,再加一隻老虎的威脅,情勢更是艱難。兩者在孤立的環境中都有一個主要同伴,不管是人是虎,這充分說明人無法完全孤立而存活。馴服者與被馴服者的關係是主與僕,兩者間尊卑之意識型態在魯賓遜中被合理化,但在Pi中卻另有深刻的反省。儘管劇情的發展結構一致------船難發生,主角存活,勇敢對抗惡劣環境,最終得救,但我試著以佛家的思想角度來讀少年Pi, 卻有另外一番體悟。

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