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Works like a charm? 非常有效

中国日报网 2024-01-19 14:04


Reader question:

Please explain “works like a charm”, as in this: This moisturizer is basically a mixture of water and palm oil, but it works like a charm.

My comments:

Moisturizers are what people put on their skin to keep it moisturized, i.e. wet and soft.

This moisturizer is made from water and palm oil. It’s simple but effective.

In fact, it works like a charm, as the idiom goes.

A charm is something that is believed to have certain magical powers. It can be anything, like a piece of silver or rock, or a saying or just a word. Charms are believed to have magical powers, such as the ability to bring good luck.

Exactly how a charm works is something we can’t say exactly. It kind of works like a magician performing a trick. You know, the magician shows us his empty palm and places it on the table palm down. Then he turns the palm and there is a card in it.

How does he do it?

Actually, he has pulled a card from up his sleeve without us ever noticing.

But we don’t see him doing it and are thus mesmerized.

Charms work in the same way, I guess.

Fewer and fewer people believe in charms and spells, by the way, and not as much as they did in the past.

To those who do believe in them, however, it may work or, I mean, seem to work. For example, a basketball player believes in changing into a new pair of socks after halftime. He believes a new pair of socks brings him and his team good luck.

And whenever he wins, he attributes the win to the socks.

It’s not the socks, right?

Well, maybe it is, so long as he believes it. Believing is seeing, right?

No, I hear you say. Should be the other way around. Seeing is believing.

Okay, if you believe so. What I’m saying is, as for the basketball player, so long as he believes in the magic of his socks, every time he wins, he’ll continue to attribute it to the socks.

And he’d probably use this idiom and say that the socks “work like a charm”.

All right, here are media examples of things that work like a charm:

1. Sorry haters – the artificial intelligence you fear might be taking over our lives is the surprise hero of “The Creator,” the sci-fi epic now only in theaters, where AI is presented as way preferable to our human propensity toward empathy-destroying cruelty and warfare.

That’s a bold premise. Sadly, director Gareth Edwards (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”), who wrote the mixed-bag of a script with Chris Weitz (“About a Boy”), buries a potent provocation in a mountain of sentimental platitudes and borrowed inspiration that muffles its impact.

The time is the near future. We’re told that AI has unleashed a nuke that destroyed most of Los Angeles, killing millions. Human error is really to blame. But five years later, AI is outlawed as robots – they’re called simulants – take refuge in the so-called New Asia, where the movie starts looking like “Apocalypse Now,” a classic Vietnam reference it can’t sustain, not to mention the cringe-worthy racial optics.

The heavy plotting stymies the performance of John David Washington as Joshua, an undercover Army operative who’s literally lost an arm and leg in the attack, a loss that requires (irony alert) robotics to make him whole again. He’s also lost his pregnant wife Maya (Gemma Chan), a tragedy intensified by (cliche alert) flashbacks to the sexy couple beach dancing.

In the five years of LA rebuilding, an embittered Joshua has returned to duty to destroy the “Nirmata,” the god-like creator of advanced AI who can end the war but only by destroying all of mankind.

Instead, Joshua finds a robot weapon disguised as a 6-year-old girl. He calls her Alphie, and as played by the insanely adorable Madeleine Yuna Voyles, there is no way for Joshua to do anything but take her side. Besides, his own child would have been her age. You can see where this is going, and that’s not a good thing.

The real villain is the U.S. military, represented by the always electric Oscar and Emmy winner Allison Janney as Colonel Howell. She tells Joshua that Maya is still alive and that he needs to obliterate Alphie before she can destroy their hovering HQ – a death star called the U.S.S. Nomad – that locates and bombs New Asian targets.

Washington and the luminous Voyles invest genuine emotional gravity into the relationship between Joshua and this robot girl child. But even they can't escape the traps set by a contrived script of deadends. What to make of robot leader Harun (Ken Watanabe) when he claims simulants are not programmed to harm humans? The film frustratingly dodges answers.

Where Edwards triumphs is in his cinematic world building. “The Creator” is a visual miracle, shot with a poet’s eye by camera master Greig Fraser (“Zero Dark Thirty,” both parts of “Dune”) in league with newbie Oren Soffer. Along with production designer James Clyne, they make this $80 million production look like it cost four times as much.

Edwards explains that instead of building budget-busting sets, his crew traveled to 80 countries, using light cameras to shoot footage that visual effects could be layered onto later. And what do you know, it works like a charm and a way forward to generate blockbusters on a reasonable budget, thereby making its own valid case for AI.

- Review: 'The Creator' is a visual miracle, shot with a poet’s eye, ABCNews.com, September 29, 2023.

2. As fun as New Year’s Eve can be, it's all too easy to overdo it on the prosecco come midnight, resulting in a raging hangover the following morning, plus plenty of regrets.

Fortunately, you won’t have to enter 2024 feeling as though you've already lived through the year ahead ten times over, with a bartender-approved tipple said to work like a charm. This science-backed concoction, which can easily be made in the comfort of your own kitchen, should have you feeling strong enough to have you tackling all your 2024 resolutions at once – or at least pull you away from the sofa for a bit.

Security, tech, and public speaking professional James Bore told the Mirror that boozy afterparties at conferences are ‘almost mandatory’ in his line of work, meaning he has to get used to recovering quickly the following morning. Fortunately, James picked up a very handy recipe from a bartender at a conference in Slovenia some years back, which he now ‘swears by’ at times when he needs ‘perking up’.

The beverage in question is a Prairie Oyster – a spicy drink that is said to date right back to the days of the Wild West. Indeed, Eater reports that the tonic was first whipped up by a plainsman to help a sick friend, who believed his fever could only be cured by eating an oyster. Now, despite the name, there isn’t actually any oyster in this particular drink, which many online swear tastes quite delicious.

Recalling his own memorable first sip, James said: “It was the last day of the event and drinks had been flowing, so the next day I asked for one to be sent up to my room and it really helped clear my head and set me up for the day. Found out afterwards that it’s a reasonably well-known recipe, and there’s a version with brandy if someone wants to boost it with a bit of hair of the dog to take the edge off, but I tend to stick with the non-alcoholic version as a morning drink.”

James has shared his go-to recipe with us, but there are plenty of variants online – including one with horseradish – if you want to explore a few different takes. You’ll also most likely have the majority of ingredients knocking about in your cupboard, meaning you won’t have to brave the corner shop in the cold light of day.

- Bartender approved hangover cure tipple that works like a charm, Mirror.co.uk, December 31, 2023.

3. Mohamed Salah’s second-half brace made up for a missed penalty as Liverpool kicked off 2024 three points clear atop the Premier League standings with a 4-2 victory over Newcastle United at a rain-drenched Anfield on Monday.

Jurgen Klopp’s team, who began the day level with Aston Villa on points, now have 45 from 20 games. Villa have 42 points, while Manchester City, who have played one fewer game, are third on 40. Newcastle are ninth on 29.

“It was a sensational game from my team,” Klopp told BBC. “We started extremely lively. Super game. I loved so many aspects of the game bar the goals we conceded.

“Unbelievable atmosphere. Counter-pressing wise it was for football schools. They have to watch that, take it and keep it. It was everything good.”

The 31-year-old Salah, who has 151 Premier League goals for Liverpool, changed his boots at half-time and it worked like a charm. His two goals moved him even with City’s Erling Haaland as joint top scorers with 14 goals. He is the joint top on assists, level with Villa’s Ollie Watkins on eight.

- Salah scores twice as league-leading Liverpool beat Newcastle, ESPN.com, January 2, 2024.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣  编辑:丹妮)


Word salad? 言语混乱


Binge watch? 刷剧


Running around in circles? 兜圈子


Knock-on effect? 连锁反应


Second fiddle? 副手

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