Today’s topics are: On terminology: Expert on “Expert; Advice on writing; Shuffling the aces; News on orimotos
These are The Magic Memories 128, gone online Sunday, June 11th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.
All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.
If you follow my publications, you know I’m fond of terminology, and with the Card College series I have contributed to the subject, too. Taxonomy and terminology are the first steps to a scientific study of magic, but are also very helpful for creative processes.
The following glossary might be more for beginners, although I have myself learned a few terms I didn’t know or wasn’t sure about, so, I assume that this could be helpful for those among us who have English as a foreign language (as I do!), and I know that this is the case with quite a few who are reading these The Magic Memories.
My good friend by correspondence EndersGame has created a very useful glossary of technical terms used in conjunction with playing cards (card terms, handling terms, card playing terms etc.). To read and maybe transfer them to your electronic notebook CLICK HERE.
BTW: By the same author, EndersGame, comes a collection of quotes and one-liners on playing cards, here is one:
“Everyone should be able to do one card trick, tell two jokes, and recite three poems, in case they are ever trapped in an elevator.” – Daniel Handler
If you liked that one, you’ll find a few more HERE. (I find it easier to have THREE card tricks, and ONE poem… less to learn… for me…)
And if you have one (or all three!) of my Agendas (if you’re wondering: the third is Secret Twitter), you will find several entries dealing with amusing, instructive, and inspirational quotes.
Practical Advice: Take an Agenda (Secret or Hidden), search “Quote” in the index, or better leaf through the book quickly, as not all quotes are listed in the index… ask my publishers why…), find the pages with the quotes, and using a scan app (e.g., “Scanner Pro” by Readdle) make a PDF of the pages. Attention: Do NOT – I repeat DO NOT – make photos of each individual photos, but using the scan app make ONE SINGLE PDF, which will then contain all the pages; this is much more practical than making photos, the latter being a procedure I see many adopt, and it is useless. A PDF takes less memory space, you have everything in one single PDF-file, AND you can edit it (I use PDF Expert, also by Readdle) by underlining, highlighting and commenting passages.
Last Word: If you are reading this an don’t have any of the Agendas, get one right now, and you’ll find it to be one of your very best investments. Secret Agenda (book and Secret Twitter (PDF) are both available from me, Hidden Agenda is unfortunately out of print, and Vanishing Inc. refuses to reprint, or even to let me have it as an e-book…
Expert on “Expert”
In The Magic Memories 126 I commented on Chris Wasshuber’s new book about Erdnase and who he might be. Shortly afterwards the news reaches me that there is a new candidate for “Who’s Erdnase” in the already long line-up, one Emory Cobb Andrews, of whom I have never heard before.
The research comes from Professor Richard H. Evans (who, I’m deeply ashamed to admit, I’ve never heard of before either), who according to Marco Pusterla (finally one I know, since he’s been a friend for years ) is: “… a noted magic historian with a long list of credits in our field, and whose research – particularly on Isaac Fawkes – have always been at the top level.”
Pusterla is the editor of a possibly little-known magazine titled Ye Olde Magic Mag, a magazine dedicated to. In vol. 9 #3 you can find a lengthy article about the Erdnase matter. The issue in its PDF-form is a mere £ 5 (British Pounds, that is), and you can get it HERE.
Advice on Writing
If anyone reading this is considering writing a book, or a set of lecture notes, or simply an article for a magazine, please first consider the following rules for the proper use of English – I found these in a in my notebook Sudelbuch II (started AUG 2007, ended JUNE 2008):
Verbs has to agree with their subjects.Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.Avoid clichés like the plague. (They’re old hat).Always avoid annoying alliteration.Be more or less specific.Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.Also, too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.No sentence fragments. No comma splices, run-ons are bad too.Contractions aren’t helpful and shouldn’t be used.Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.One should never generalize.Comparisons are as bad as clichés.Don’t use no double negatives.Avoid ampersands & abbreviations, etc.One -word sentences? Eliminate.Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.The passive voice is to be ignored.Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.Kill all exclamation points!!!!Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.Understatement is probably not the best way to propose earth shattering ideas.Use the apostrophe in it’s proper place and omit it when its not needed.As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.Who needs rhetorical questions?Exaggeration is a million times worse than understatement.Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
I told you, it’s not easy…
Seriously, if you want to do any writing in magic, there is nothing better than Stephen Minch’s Stylebook. I had put this up with Stephen’s permission in my Advent Calendar, but HERE it is again, for your convenience.
Shuffling the Aces
The title is, of course, an allusion to the classic plot of “Cutting the Aces”.
Although I’m an orderly person and keep my notes as precise as possible, occasionally I miss to do so. Therefore, I can’t remember if I ever published the following simple but effective little Ace Opener. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that someone else has though of it before, after, or at the same time as I have, as it is not very high on the “Monkey Scale” (see Sharing Secrets, p. 78).
Anyway, here it is:
The four Aces are on top of the deck. Start an Overhand Shuffle by running three cards, the first three Aces, lifting them behind the balance (Lift Shuffle), and then continue the shuffle, running the next card – an Ace – as you ask a spectator to call ›stop‹. Explain that you want him to do this four times, so convey to have ›stop‹ called after about a quarter of the cards has been shuffled off.
Place the cards just shuffled off face down on the table – the bottom card will be an Ace. Finish the shuffle, dropping the three lifted Aces back on top.
Repeat the procedure explained twice more, the second time running and lifting two Aces, the third time one Ace. You will be left with about a quarter of the deck, which has the fourth Ace on the bottom; place this face down next to the other three packets on the table.
To reveal the first Ace the right hand seizes the first packet in End Grip, turns it face up à la Stuart Gordon Double Lift, displaying the Ace on the face of the packet for a few seconds. The right thumb then slides the face card to the right, as the remaining fingers flip the balance of the packet face down into left hand Dealing Position. Place the face up Ace diagonally offset on top of the face down packet, and then put everything on the table. Repeat with the other three packets.
Another way of arriving at exactly the same effect is to start our with the four Aces on the bottom of the deck, and when you start an Overhand Shuffle, the left fingers slip the bottom card along in the first shuffle action. Repeat another three times. This is more efficient, but your technique must be very good.
Note on “Comedy Card Opener”
My friend Guillaume Cerati, who is also my partner in the production of the Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction videos, visited for two days. In one of our long conversations he commented on “Comedy Card Opener” I published in last week’s The Magic Memories 127.
Guillaume, besides being an excellent close-up performer, also performs for children, and remarked he has started using the item in his children’s shows to excellent effect: He takes out the card case and holds it in his right hand, then looks away at the children, saying he needs a deck of cards. At this very moment the deck rises out of the card case, and of course the kids start yelling. But when he looks back at the card case, the deck has of course dropped back into the case. This goes back and forth a few times, in the usual form children’s entertainers know very well.
When I started doing magic I did do a few children’s shows, and even as a professional, from 1988, tried my hand at it a few times, with fairly good success, until I realized that doing magic for children is a “profession within the profession”, obviously, as any specialty in magic is (“close-up”, “television”, trade shows”, etc.).
Also, I have to admit, that I enjoy the intellectual recognition I get from performing from adults, something you don’t get from children; and those bright eyes, spontaneous laughs, and open mouths you get from children, all very beautiful things, well, it’s not enough for me… I’m an intellectual, and I need an intellectual response. I’m not saying this is good or bad, but it’s just the way it is, for me, and I won’t change it.
News on Orimotos
To end these The Magic Memories a brief update on Barbara’s Orimotos for those of you who asked about it: In the photo below you can see a selection of non-magical subjects she did, from simple to complex. If you are interested to have a personalized Orimoto (text, illustration, or a combination of both) write to me; the price is between € 200 and € 350, depending on complexity and technique.
Wish you all an excellent week!