Friday, September 28, 2012

The Angry Man of Magic - Kids magic sets

Most magic is a rip-off. Either it's a one trick DVD that covers a routine from Tarbell that 'the kids' are too lazy to read, or a gimmick from some five and dime store they still want to charge $25 for, even as replacement when they've muttered some trite about 'charging for the secret'. But surely the biggest rip-off has to be kids magic sets. (Chad Valley - I'm looking at you!) Although the box proudly claims "100 tricks included" the reality is that only 55 tricks are included.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot

I can't even believe I went through every trick in the instruction book taking notes - 9 require invisible thread (not supplied), 13 need a silk (not supplied), 5 need rope (supplied in too small a quantity) and so on. Whereas they thought it worthwhile making a set of half-and-half cards to do a single transformation effect, whereas the money could have been spent on a nicely printed hanky.

And then there's tricks like the vanishing coin. What you need are a hanky (not supplied), some soap (not supplied) and a coin (not supplied.) Now granted these are usually available around the house, but there are better things that could have been included - especially since the makers thought it sensible to include multiplying billiard balls!

That's not to mentioned the 'vanishing wand trick'. The introduction to the trick reads "first make a wand." Seriously. Most kids are bought this stuff so the parents can avoid their care responsibilities for a few hours. Instead they're having to help build a simple prop that should have been included as standard.

Also included are the instructions for 'the fakir' where you cover your thumb with a hanky (not included), put a needle (not included) through it and your thumb is unharmed. Naturally, there's a piece of potato required (also not included). But if they're too scared of health and safety rules to include the needle in the package, why do they feel happy about including instructions telling you to use a needle in the first place? Or telling you to hide rope in your mouth in another trick?

Have I mentioned 'professors nightmare'? I'll leave you in peace to discuss the relative merits of using the 'professional' names in junior material, but the fact remains you need three pieces of rope to perform this. If you cut the included rope into three you have incredible short pieces of rope, which are unusable for the routine. If not, you have to buy more rope. (I say 'buy' since only magicians are the only people who might have white rope as one of the 'common materials just lying around the house.'

I'm going to stop, without mentioned the 3 tricks requiring a secret assistant, the 6 that use no props, the 7 thimble moves masquerading as individual tricks, the effects requiring absent dice, keys, rule, purse, cards, and envelopes. Or the pull they supply (without elastic or safety pin),

But maybe when I see a promotion claiming '100 tricks included' on the box, I expect them to be included in the box.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mentalism made easy!

I always wonders when this sort of PSA would come up. I like it though. Sparks off many new ideas.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Tale

"What a shitty day! Can't wait for it to be over" said Charlie. It was a typical Tuesday. Typical fall. Leaves blowing in the wind, a storm front passing slowly through the suburbs. The sun has not been seen for days, hiding behind clouds, as if being ashamed of the world, refusing to shine.

Charlie looked away from the window. "Where are you goin'?" his wife asked. "Cigarettes," he replied "we're all out!" As he pulled the door shut he heard her saying something. Pretended not to hear anything.

The hallway to the elevator seemed longer than usual. The elevator doors opened just as he arrived. Standing inside was a small man in a fine black suit that was way too large for him. "Good Day Sir!" Charlie nodded and stood silently next to the little man. "I'm a magician!" the little man said as the elevator doors closed.

The hallway was as short as ever. Through the door of the apartment crying could be heard, if there had been someone to listen.

The elevator doors opened. Charlie had never worn a better fitting suit in his life. Whistling he walked out on the street. The small man pushed the button. In his hand a pack of cigarettes. The doors closed and the elevator went up again.

The hallway was a short as ever.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Back to the future!

Never, ever, ever watch your young self doing magic that you put on video years ago. It will be a mixture of: "I sucked!", "I was skinnier!", "How the hell did I do that?" Weird!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Quote of the Week

"If Erdnase was a deck of cards, he’d be the Artifice deck."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Name Change Anyone?

Sometimes I think that maybe people take my blog a little too serious. For heaven's sake. It's called WEEKLY Magic Failure. It was supposed to be a little mention on what went wrong in magic this week. Nothing more. But some of the winners carry the virtual award that I hand out a little too long. Just note that you won. Disagree with me and go on with your life. Some people don't get it.

Maybe the term failure is a little too much. So I'm seriously considering a name change of my blog. How about: "Flavor of the Week" or "Aftertaste of Magic" What do you guys think?

So vivid

I had this dream this night, that Roy Walton sent me an email asking me to stop doing his card magic. Boy, what does that mean?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I never posted stats. Never saw the reasons to post keywords and all of that. But in the light of recent events here are a few.

800 views per day. That's nothing! About 600 of them are looking at the post about Sathya Sai Baba. That means that only 200 are looking at something else. That's even less then nothing. So whenever you feel I destroyed your life, please note that I did not destroy it, unless of course all the 200 views would lead to 200 individual users, who would care about that particular post or worse agree with me. I'm sort of cynical here.

This is a magic blog. Do you actually know how much of a small role we play in the whole blogosphere? Or how many of all the people actually care about magic?

The keywords (of yesterday) in order are: "weekly magic failure", "sai baba", "magic fail", "piff the magic dragon", "pig face", "val valentino", "modesty", "Snap Illusions" and my personal favorite "stripper costumes for men".

Please note that certain words are NOT in there.

So whoever feels like I destroyed his life... man you had a small life to begin with.

Monday, September 17, 2012

And then there was this!

If you don't like long posts, here is the summary: "I think Steven Youell is a dick!"

Hi Steven, I'm sure you are reading this. So this is directed towards you. I'm sure you will read every last word of it. I think you are a dick. A bad person and an overall despicable human being. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

When it was obvious to me that you had to be Jerry Lukins, I knew that a shit storm would start once this surfaced. I knew that Andrew would get all mad. So I decided to do something civil. I decided to talk to you. I could have shut up and Andrew would have provided all the technical proof and you would have been in a more than awkward situation. You would have felt secure under your awesome "screen of anonymity" and it would have gone bad for you. But I decided to talk to you. Oh boy what a mistake that was.

Not only did I underestimate your malice, no I did something far worse. I abused Andrew's trust by sending you one of Andrews emails.

I don't know how to make it up to Andrew, I don't know if there is anything I can do to save the valued friendship that considered to have with Andrew. Only because I was dumb enough to decide to talk to you.

I thought you were a civil man, I honestly thought you overreacted. I honestly thought you were such an impulsive character that was lead by strong emotions that the creation of Jerry Lukins was a mistake. Nothing more than a simple mistake.

In that email I sent you I asked you not tell anybody of my attempt to mend the situation that YOU had created.

In your apology, that you would release later on, you claimed "I just didn't care if people eventually found out". I think otherwise. My little email suddenly made you aware that you are not secure under your "screen of anonymity". The Mule pointed it out very early on. And in my email I wrote: "I won't bore you with the technical details". And suddenly there was the sudden hint of ways to prove your identity by technical means. That must have ultimately led to the apology you released just a few hours later.

I pretty sure you decided to do that, because it was the ONLY way for your to get out of this with just some scratches. You are smart after all.

Here is another way you could have solved this: You could have just answered my email and not assume it was a ploy to get you to admit your are Jerry Lukins. You could have indeed trusted me, being a negotiator. I could have mended the situation. I'm actually good at that sort of shit. I've done it many time before. You don't hear of this of course. But no, your mistrust led your assumption that it was all a ploy. Then you wrote in my comments: "Roland: I never would have beaten been able to do that if you hadn't have forwarded me the email that you claim was from Andrew."

To which I replied: "Wtf is wrong with you? I asked you to not tell anybody. Now you did. I have tons of explaining to do, just because you saw it as a ploy? Great, your paranoia has led to the worst of all possible conclusions."

And then you had the balls to write me this: "I already forwarded a copy to Andrew and the Smiling Fool. Enjoy the situation you have created. This is for telling “Jerry Lukins” that I’m a dangerous psychotic. You didn’t even know who you were talking to and you told him that. SEY"


EDIT: I removed a part of the text here. I did that because someone requested it. And he had a good point.

Now let's talk about your apology. You claim that the blogs are "badmouthing" Well, I will not defend the other blogs, but I will defend mine. I'm not out to badmouth people. I'm badmouthing certain actions that I consider a failure as those actions either hurt magic or people by doing magic. Usually those actions are connected to people. That's normal. So I mention those people and what they did. It's about what they did, about the action, not about the person.

That is why a magician arrested for owning child pornography did not end up on my blog. That is why a magician arrested for killing another person did not end up on my blog. Their actions did not hurt magic, and did not hurt other people by doing magic. It's unfathomable what they did and to what dark side of being a human they go. But this is not what my blog is about. It's about magic. Bad magic.

And instead of apologizing you instead whine about my blog post ending up higher on Google leading to you lose "a few prospective clients". Oh come one. I know that you are butthurt about this, but this is not my fault. And it seems to be a unique problem of yours. I wrote far more and far worse stuff about Shawn, yet my blog does not show up. Somehow he knows how to deal with it. That is to ignore it. That is to go on. That is to not be butthurt. Not engaging in combat, thereby feeding the algorithm that Google's search engine is based off. You created this situation. And you know what. How come, that I have to tell you these things. You're a grown man for fucks sake. But you behave like a child.

And I thought so before I saw your signature.

Look at that. Does this look like the signature of a grown man? Hardly. First grade at best.

Okay, this wasn't very adult of me to make fun of such a small little detail. Nevermind. Pretend this didn't happen.

You know what... Steven, when you abused the trust I put in you, you thereby nullified any effort to mend the situation. That fact that you took down the apology means you don't stand behind it. The fact that your apology is just whining, the fact that you are in my humble opinion a psychopath means you are a dick.

Just a dick. And if this is our new status quo, then I'm fine with this. And if by any chance I ever write about you again, it will be about what you did. Not about you. If it would have been another person doing it, I would write about them.

No, wait, better. I'm gonna help you. Seriously. I will not mention your name from now on. That way it will not crawl up the Google rankings ruining your business with "a few prospective clients". I will only refer to you, if I have to, as "the dick".

PS. You actually are in a club, that you pay money for, so you can tell the world that you are smart? Man, that's not so smart. Smartness obviously doesn't lead to wisdom!

PPS. First post of this blog is online again. With all the comments.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hello Magic Makers

If you gonna put out miniature cups, at least make them so they stack. This is just pathetic. Seems like the guy stealing designing those didn't do a good job.

Don't they have quality control? Someone who checks the basic function of the magic product. And what the hell is this children's version of the C&B doing in the video?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Some of you may have noticed that Andrews blog is missing. Well he has taken it off. I asked him why and I got this email. (making sure he has no problem with me publishing this). It will explain why he is suddenly gone from the magic community. Please read the whole thing.

------------------------- R.I.P. Ye Olde Magick Blogge, 2005-2012 -------------------------

With regards to what you asked for, Roland, here it is.

Midway through August of this year I received an email from a guy calling himself "Jerry Lukins" who basically said he was starting a blog dedicated to magicians he considered blowhards who needed to be gotten rid of. On the list were four: myself, you, the Smiling Mule (the guy who runs the excellent Phantom Notebooks blog), and Steven Youell. To hear Lukins talk about it, he was sick of all the debates over at the Magic Cafe and on the blogs, and was basically going to come after us until it stopped. His first post directed my way was a wedding invitation for myself and Tyler, and it it was funny enough for what it was. Obviously, though, that sort of union could never happen, because of all the times I visited Minnesota, Tyler never put out, and I'll be damned if I'm getting involved in a loveless marriage.

Anyways, I basically told Lukins that he was out of luck, because a week prior to his idea to come after me, I'd already publicly sworn off all future debates with Steven Youell. I had my last words, Youell had his, and that was pretty much it as far as I was concerned, and I assume as far as Youell was concerned as well. Lukins, however, decided that wasn't enough, and in follow-up entries on the blog, he soon posted the following (I've included it as an attachment to the email, so people can refer to it if necessary).

Let's make something clear from the get-go. I work both as a magician doing kids shows and as a teacher for children. Tossing around jokes that I might have something to hide in a background check is not only disgusting and offensive to me personally, but it poses a very real threat to my livelihood, both aspects of which require an untarnished reputation when it comes to working in close proximity to an at-risk group. Being in a foreign country doesn't help much either, as one cannot rely on their ability to understand when a joke is a joke, when this sort of thing is concerned.

So anyhow, it was clear at this point that "Jerry Lukins" wasn't interested in trying to clean up discussion at all. He was going into full-blown character attacks because he wanted to, the sort that could have a very real and detrimental effect on the future of two different career paths, not to mention my current job which has one foot planted in each of those paths. Each and every time I've gotten involved in hardcore debates or colorful remarks or unflattering observations, it was meant to stay within the magic community. This is a whole other level I can't even begin to fathom, in a realm so indecent that it frightens me to think who'd seriously want to go there.

After a couple of weeks of inactivity, a more recent development saw "Jerry Lukins" write me a personal message over at the Cafe informing me that he'd started up a new website dedicated to us. Yesterday, I sent off an email asking him why he was continuing with this even though I'm out, and there's been no response.

So it comes to this. Are you reading, Lukins? Because I don't know how Roland or the Mule or Steven Youell feel about it, but insofar as I'm concerned, I'm out. Since only pretentious and annoying magicians say "I'm going underground" in order to bolster their mystique and street cred, I'd like to say that I'm going underground. There's always email and skype, and I'm lucky enough to be a member of the fantastic Magic Pebble, so if I need to get my magic discussion ya-yas off, I can do it one of those ways. And to everybody else, sorry, but if you want access to my brilliant and groundbreaking work on the 2 Card Brainwave, good luck, because we undergrounders are a tight-lipped bunch.

For anybody who read the olde blogge over the years, I just wanted to say thanks. For anybody who actually commented over there or got in touch with me about it, the thanks is multiplied, because your feedback kept me going. At Blackpool, R. Paul Wilson mentioned that he and Juan Tamariz spoke briefly about something I'd written, and while the very idea of that sort of thing is more awesome than a band of ninjas, I'll never know for sure exactly what they said about it. You guys who read and commented on what I wrote, however, were truly awesome. Like, more awesome than an army of ninjas. Riding Grizzly Bears. Dancing Gangnam-style.

You get the picture.

For those who've messaged or emailed me asking me why I've gone off the grid, this is the whole story, and my last public word on it. Both the old ye olde and the newer "sleightly" ye olde are dead. The last thing I plan on posting over at the Cafe is to see if anybody wants to buy the domain name.

That's really all I have to say about this specific situation. If Lukins wants to keep trying to poison my reputation, I guess maybe I'll take a closer look at the data I've accumulated on the guy and see about what actions can be pursued. Participating in the internet leads to a lot of footprints -- I already know what timezone the guy lives in and who he does business with for webhosting, and that he was active on the Magic Cafe a couple of years ago during a short time when a video of mine was only briefly made public. His diatribes haven't exactly betrayed him to be an intelligent man, so he was likely sloppy in other regards as well. If he's still around and active a few months from now I may decide to pursue that and see how much further the guy can be narrowed down. My final comment for Jerry Lukins: if somebody were to start digging through whatever clues you've left as to your real identity, if it ever gets out who you are, if you really are in the magic community, and if by some chance we ever end up at the same convention or whatever... I'd advise you not to cross my path. After the above joke, being anywhere around me would be foolish.

Otherwise, I'm out. Not only in terms of the online magic scene, but all this stress has made me rethink wanting to be a known quantity in the greater magic community at all. Back when I was "erlandish", some people would publicly denounce what I had to say because I was apparently posting anonymously. After hearing that enough times, I gave it some thought and asked what I might have to lose by posting under my real name. After all, knowledge of one's real name is a requirement over at the Magic Pebble, where the quality of conversation and level of etiquette is quite high. Turns out that sharing my real name was the dumbest decision I could have made, because letting a sociopath have access to that sort of information is tantamount to career and professional suicide. Not worth it. I'd rather just perform for regular folks.

Additionally, I'd like to wish the best of luck to you, the Smiling Mule and Steven Youell in dealing with Jerry Lukins guy. I don't know much about the Mule except for the fact that I enjoy reading his blog, and while my views on Steven Youell both as a magician and a person are well-known, well-documented and unchanged, I wouldn't wish this sort of thing on anybody, even him. And while it might seem superfluous to offer you my support, Roland, I wanted this included so that those amongst your readership would know the whole story and would be willing to chime in with their support for you as well.

And with that... Bye!

Monday, September 10, 2012

x - 1

The one behind principle is in my humble opinion a totally underestimated principle. Most magicians don't seem to understand the benefits the principle offers.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

What the hell is wrong with Tora Magic?

Their demo videos are a riot. How come they cannot do a decent video demonstrating an effect?

It so weird watching them. Every single demonstrator they have.

Am I missing something about how magic is presented in Thailand?

Quote of the Week

"FISM 2012 was the worst magic congress I have ever attended. Now that statement is going to get me banned from ever going back to Blackpool...oh wait I was already banned. It was poorly planned and executed. This is not a personal attack on any one individual. Many of the workers of the congress were delightful. It was the entire event that was lacking. I would never have uttered a word if it had not been for the disgusting display of the fat suited lady who ripped off the costume to display their breasts and hairy genitalia in front of my eleven year old daughter. The gala shows were less than stellar and below the level I have come to expect from FISM. I am unable to find a listing of the committee members but I will say that whomever was in charge of the talent choices was not in touch with the magic world. To use some acts on multiple nights was a poor choice and several of the acts that appeared on both the stage and close up would not have been booked by me for anything more than a children's birthday party."

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

And within there lies hope!

I wondered, if Marlo and crew have had access to today's modern networking technology. What would they have done with it. Would the crew have spent that much time together in Marlo's kitchen, or would they have been doing stuff endlessly via Skype sessions. Would Vernon have traveled across the world just to meet a gambler who was in the know of some "moves". Or would he just study Youtube for that stuff.

As much as I see the disadvantages I also see the advantages of modern technology and magic. And that gives me hope somewhat. As long as the myth is still out there, that true magic secrets, the "real works" are still kept secret and are surely not found online for free. Did I say myth? That's not what I meant. Forget I said anything.