The Great Stone Face

The finest physical comedian, bar none, in the history of the cinema. No CGI. He broke his neck doing the water tower stunt, but he didn’t discover it until decades later when he complained of severe headaches, and X-rays revealed broken neck vertebrae. Buster Keaton.

My favorite is the newspaper gag. What’s yours?

USPCC NDO to Si Stebbins


If the title seems cryptic, that’s because this post is another one for the magic geeks. So if you’re not a magic fan, this post may not be that interesting to you.

One of the many pleasant contributions to magic of the esteemed card magician Darwin Ortiz  is his way of opening up a new deck of US Playing Card Company cards (Bicycles, Tallys) and rapidly shuffling them into Si Stebbins order. He described his method in a book that is long out of print and expensive to find, even on eBay.

So, some time ago, I tried to reverse engineer the Ortiz method. In so doing, I didn’t discover his method, but I did come up with my own. After finally finding out what the Ortiz method actually was, I realized just how inferior my own attempt was. But here it is, my own (clunky) method for free, just for fun. Perhaps someone can make use of it.

For USPCC NDO to Si Stebbins
1) Run 10 cards, throw deck on top.
2) Run 3 cards, throw deck on top.
3) Say “Oh I forgot about the jokers,” and turn deck face up. Cut the hearts to the top of the deck.
4) Take out the jokers. Say, “I don’t know if there are any more.” Spread the spades, cut at the 7 (that is, the 7 is now the card closest to your palm in the right hand), put the rest of the spades on top of these (without reversing them), then cut all the spades to the top of the deck.
5) Spread the diamonds, cut at the 4, put the rest of the diamonds on top of these, then cut all the diamonds to the top of the deck.
6) Reverse count the clubs into your right hand, stop at the 2 in your right hand, put the Ace under those cards, then cut all the clubs to the top of the deck.
7) Two out faros –keys are 5D and then 8S. You are now in Si Stebbins with the AC on top, JH on the bottom, in CoDfiSH order.

So now for the real value in this post. Last year I was at a magic convention where Gene Anderson slayed a large roomful of magicians with his Si Stebbins routine. He sells the manuscript describing the routine for a laughably small amount on his website.

Make it Real on Monday

Mondays: too real, compared to what?

Les McCann on piano and vocals, Eddie Harris on saxophone performing Eugene McDaniel’s classic.

I love to lie and lie to love
I’m hangin’ on they push and shove
Possession is the motivation
That is hangin’ up the goddamn nation
Looks like we always end up in a rut
Everybody now
Tryin’ to make it real compared to what

Slaughterhouse is killin’ hogs
Twisted children killin’ frogs
Poor dumb rednecks rollin’ logs
Tired old ladies kissin’ dogs
I hate the human love of that stinking mutt
I can’t use it
Tryin’ to make it real compared to what

President he’s got his war
Folks don’t know just what it’s for
Nobody gives us rhyme or reason
Have one doubt they call it treason
We’re chicken feathers
All without one nut goddamn it
Tryin’ to make it real compared to what

Church on Sunday sleep and nod
Tryin’ to duck the wrath of God
Preachers fillin’ us with fright
They all tryin’ to teach us what they think is right
They really got to be some kind of nut
I can’t use it
Tryin’ to make it real compared to what

Where’s that bee and where’s that honey
Where’s my God and where’s my money
Unreal values a crass distortion
Unwed mothers need abortion
Kind of brings to mind old young King Tut
He did it now
Tried to make it real compared to what

Tryin’ to make it real compared to what