Friday, December 29, 2006

A weighty issue

Once upon a time there was an online magic group. This group was supposedly composed of Magic Utopians who were convinced they could rise above the pettiness, sameness and bitterness that infuses so much of magic.

I wish.

In a recent post to said group, one James Hamilton ("Compars"), in responding to a thread on straitjacket escapes, threw in this paragraph:
The other problem I have is so many of the people doing straight jacket escapes are middle age guys who are a tad bit overweight. Nothing more disgusting or should I say pathetic watching a fat man rolling around on a stage. In my lifetime, I have probably seen only 2-3 entertaining S/J escapes.

To which I responded:
So if one is middle aged and/or overweight one should refrain from doing escapes? Or should one just make sure you aren't in the audience?

No one else in the group seemed offended by his statement. Perhaps I'm the only ugly one in the group.

I'd be curious to hear Mr. Hamilton's cutoff age and body mass index for doing escapes. In fact, I asked these very questions, but the moderator vetoed my post. Odd that he OKed Mr. Hamilton's original post, but not mine. Apparently it's perfectly fine to be prejudiced against older fat people but not fine to question said prejudices.

I'd also like to know if other standards of attractiveness come into play, and if they just exclude one from escapes. I have scars, I'm balding, and I walk with a limp that is fairly pronounced at times. Hell, maybe I shouldn't even get on stage at all.

Given that I'm the only one who complained about Mr. Hamilton's statement (the moderator complimented him on his post) I question just how Utopian this group really is.


Addendum: Magic Utopia blog has removed this blog from its blogrolls. I will keep the Magic Utopia blog in mine.

A question: if the adjective in the offending post had been "black," or "gay," or "female," would the moderators have let Mr. Hamilton's post stand without comment? I think not. Why, then, was "fat" allowed to stand? I postulate that it is a shared prejudice. I wait to be proved wrong.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

It's my birthday

Happy birthday to me

Sunday, December 17, 2006

New blog in my blogroll

I added a new blog to my Sites of Interest: John Hill's Out Of My Hat. John is a Christian and a magician (I thinks it's fairly safe to put them in that order...) and he has a wicked sense of humor. His ideas on magic, if not on religion, seem fairly close to mine.

In keeping with my perverse sense of order, I put the link for his site right next to one for Kazim's Korner, Russell Glasser's site devoted to atheism.

May the two links always rest side by side in heavenly peace.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Done deal

Signed the papers, handed over the check, took possession of the keys.

I am now a homeowner.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Le Tourniquet

A MySpace magician wannabe posted a message in a magic group dissing the French Drop. I kinda liked my reply. So without further ado (and who needs more ado?) here is his unedited post and my unedited reply:
seems lame to me. if you just cup it behind your fingers like that people will
instantly think you just left it in ur hand, how do i go about switchin hands to
make it look like the coins totally vanished? should i use a quarter or half
dollar to practice with? vansihing is way fun.


Like most sleights, getting away with the French Drop is as much a matter of attitude and audience management as it is technique. It isn't just a matter of, "hold the coin in the left hand, take it with the right hand, make a magical gesture, show it gone." You have to manage the moments before, during and after the sleight.

There are several things you can do, depending on what you're going to do following the vanish. One of the things I do if I'm using it as a one-off trick (a rarity - there are stronger single tricks) is to extend the hand that supposedly contains the coin and ask the spectator to tap it. I stand fairly close to them as I ask them to do this. They are forced to look at my hand as they tap it.

In the meantime, my other hand has already naturally dropped to my side,coin in fingertip rest position, arm and shoulder relaxed. (Tension in the hand/arm that really holds the coin is a dead giveaway.) As they reach to tap my hand that supposedly holds the coin, I ditch the coin in my pocket with as little motion as possible.

I then reveal the vanish.


I then followed up with another post:

Oh, and the management continues...I forgot to mention that before revealing the
vanish, the hand that just ditched the coin moves away from the pocket - I make
a gesture or pick something up - depends on the choreography. If you stay near
your pocket it puts heat on the pocket.

I don't think our would-be conjurer had seen such examples of management before. He thanked me profusely and, in an email, asked for more advice.

There may yet be hope.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Happy Birthday

Today is my lovely wife's birthday, and we are soon to celebrate our 25th anniversary.
I sometimes wonder how she has spent so much time with a schmuck like me.

I'm just glad she has.