I Know A Little Bit About A Lot Of Things

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Monday Morning, Peggy Lee seeks to expand her knowledge of a few subjects.

The guitar player is David Barbour, Peggy Lee’s husband at the time, who also composed the song.

The witty lyrics are by Ms. Lee.

More at Peggy Lee

A Thumbnail Sketch

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close up of human hand

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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This one is for the magic nerds. For the rest of you, nothing to see here, move along.

The close-up magician, Dai Vernon, was perhaps the most influential magic teacher of the twentieth century. His impact was so great that he was known simply as “The Professor.” In his later life, still sharp as a tack in his 80s and beyond, he would hold court at The Magic Castle and other such venues, where conjurers from around the country would come to get The Professor’s critique of their magic. Vernon was a pretty mischievous fellow by most accounts, and his lessons could sometimes be quite pointed. My favorite story about him is one that magician Bill Palmer has told on The Magic Cafe internet forum, which I’ll repeat here.

Palmer was attending a magic convention in Texas where Vernon was one of the headliners. Now one of the nice and maybe unique things about magic conventions is that the performers often mingle with the attendees in their off time. So Palmer is wandering around the lobby of the hotel where the convention was held, and who does he see sitting on a sofa, but The Professor himself, Dai Vernon.  He’s startled to see that Vernon is all alone on the couch, so he decides to take this opportunity. He gathers up his courage, goes over to Vernon and introduces himself, gushes a bit, and then Palmer decides he’s going to make his impression on The Professor by showing Vernon a feat of mentalism. After all, though Vernon was expert with cards and coins, mentalism is a whole different branch of conjuring.

Palmer says to Vernon. “Please think of any three-digit number. Concentrate, please. Visualize that number in your imagination.” Palmer then takes out his business card, cogitates furiously, writes something on the back of the business card, then puts the pencil down, and says to Vernon, “I have committed my answer in writing. Would you now, for the first time, name your number, please?”

Vernon replies, “4-5-8.”

Palmer continues in the canned patter of the day, “Aha! Does that number have any special significance to you?”

“Yes,” replies the elderly Vernon, with narrowing eyes,  “those are the three most difficult numbers to write with a nail writer.”

Rock ‘N’ Roll School

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Wow. Monday morning, Mr. Perkins, Mr. Harrison, Mr. Clapton, and a bunch of other great musicians, show how it’s done.

Carl Perkins (guitar, vocals)
Geraint Watkins (piano)
Dave Edmunds (guitar, vocals)
George Harrison (guitar, vocals)
Eric Clapton (guitar, vocals)
Rosanne Cash (vocals, maracas)
Ringo Starr (drums, tambourine, vocals)
Slim Jim Phantom (drums)
Greg Perkins (bass guitar)
Lee Rocker (double bass)
Earl Slick (guitar)
David Charles (drums)
John David (bass guitar)
Mickey Gee (guitar)

Thanks to YouTuber Carl Perkins on MV

Fifth Annual Contest Results!

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standing man figurine

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

And drumroll, please. Here are the names of the winners of the Fifth Annual Shalom Blog Magic Contest. The contest this time was a repeat of the very first one: describe three actions or ideas that have most improved your magic.

The first-place winner was Dennis Mayne. Dennis’s entertaining entry described a trio of intriguing, uncommonly referenced mindsets and preparations that help him get ready  as a working street performer. Dennis chose The Vernon Touch as his prize.

David Kaplan was the second-place winner. David spoke of the wisdom he acquired along the way to becoming a part-time professional, and what it took him to get to the next level. He chose Blomberg Laboratories as his prize.

Third place went to John Allen. John talked about some of the realizations he came to when trying to integrate his magic interests with the rest of his life, and what helped to make that transition less bumpy. He chose Maximum Entertainment as his prize.

And finally Honorable Mention to Rick Benstock for his iconoclastic advice for amateurs.

Thanks again to all who entered. It’s always a treat for me to read what you have to say.  Sometime next week, everyone who participated will receive a pdf compilation of all the entries that were sent in.

 

 

All Or Nothing At All: Frank Sinatra

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Two Brooklyn guys, Arthur Altman and Jack Lawrence, wrote the music and lyrics.

It was Sinatra’s first hit, and he recorded at least three different versions of it over the years.

The song has been covered by many, including Ella, Betty Carter, Sarah Vaughn, and John Coltrane. Sometimes I like to look for the non-obvious version, but this is one time I have to admit Sinatra has them all beat.

Thanks to YouTuber  finetunes Easy Listening

 

A Parent’s Confession

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Your honor, I am guilty, but consider:

At some point in every enlightened young human’s development, the following two truths become crystal clear:

1) Due to the extraordinary violence of the few, the majority are subjected to murder, torture, and unending exploitation for the benefit of those few.

2) If we are to survive as a species, humans must love their neighbors as they love themselves

For young people with a natural predisposition towards action, and an intelligence that forces them to follow premises to their logical, inevitable conclusions, the above truths can put them in the way of physical harm or worse.

For a parent, the truth must bow to the safety of the child.

Thus, I must throw sand in the face of my son’s arguments, place obstacles in the way of truth to slow him down:

“But all revolutions eventually betray the people.”
“Surely, elections make some difference.”
“How can you be sure there’s no God?”
“You realize that socialism can end up as authoritarianism.”
“Ridiculous, how many pronouns can one person have?”
“Isn’t all violence equally bad?”

My hope was that such efforts would slow him down enough to get him safely through an impulsive adolescence. To his credit, he reacted to each such suggestion with external scorn. Nevertheless, his mother and I would play our parts as parents, he his as an adolescent. Now in his mid-20s, he is less impulsive, but no less committed to the above two propositions. Fortunately, he now manages to pursue his political goals while being careful of the implications for his physical being. We are very proud of him.

Thank goodness. Sigh. Guilty, your honor.

Fifth Anniversary: Favorite Posts Of The Last Year

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black and brown long coated dog birthday

Photo by Natasha Fernandez on Pexels.com

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Yesterday, I put a wrap on the fifth year of this blog (put your favorite emoji here), and in keeping with my annual tradition, here are 25 of my favorite posts of the past year created by the Shalblog Industries® team. In no particular order:

A Child’s Garden of Denial

Three Secrets

Letter To A Principal

I Dream of Genii…

Permanent Record: Edward Snowden

Three Poems

Where Eagles Dare

Coriolanus: The Nihilism of War

“…Followed By The Pound Sign…”

Online Ordering

“I Would . . . Prefer . . . Not To . . .”

Woman At War

Two Schools of Magic

Federico Garcia Lorca And The Duende

You Don’t Look A Day Over 450

How To Produce Interviews For Radio And Podcast

Whoa, Nellie!

Kids These Days: The Making of Millennials, Part One

“Hard Luck”: Sholom Aleichem

The Road Not Taken

The Five Boons of Life

A Hole In The Fabric Of Time And Space

“They All Want To Play Hamlet”

Gerald Deutsch’s Perverse Magic: The First Sixteen Years

“We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Badges”

Thanks for an enjoyable year and all your comments and support so far!

Simple Twist of Fate

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A younger Carson McKee with a laid-backed version of the Dylan song. Carson sings the story and lyrics of the song so simply and straightforwardly that he makes it sound like an American Songbook standard.

More at Carson McKee

“The Horror! The Horror!”

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HOD

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Artist and comic illustrator Peter Kuper has come out with a new graphic novel adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s sinister novella, Heart of Darkness. I had the pleasure of talking with Peter about that adaptation, as well as  a chance to talk with him about his 25 years of writing and drawing the “Spy vs. Spy” cartoon for Mad Magazine. As a bonus, we also got to talk about his work as the co-founder of the classic underground comic book series, World War 3 Illustrated.

You can listen to the interview as broadcast today on Pacifica Affiliates across the nation by clicking on the triangle above.

The Ballad of Rocky Raccoon

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Monday morning, Carson McKee, Reina del Cid, Josh Turner and Toni Lindgren make the most of their hotel room with their performance of the Beatles’ “Rocky Raccoon.”  Make sure to stay for the blooper outtake at the end.

More at Reina del Cid

“That’s A Monkey Joke!”

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One of the highlights of the 2019 Genii Convention was the hilarious ventriloquist, Jay Johnson. In the clip above is his wonderfully funny routine with his monkey, Darwin, who has a few original ideas about evolution.

Thanks to YouTuber ron spears