Monthly Archives: December 2013

New Year’s Magic

Many years ago, “The Professor”, Dai Vernon, one of magic’s greatest legends and teachers, was asked by a student to help him with his magic. The student wanted to know the really big secret(s) that made The Professor so skilled with his technique and performances. Vernon recounted the story, and told that what his students wanted to hear were things like “Always use hand lotion before handling a deck of cards” or “only practice magic before bed” or “only use bicycle cards” or some other big secret.

The truth, he went on, is that there is no big secret, but rather a collection of thousands of little secrets that taken together create the perfect illusion, like a work of pointillist art.

All these details come over time with the right systems and habits in place. When I have cards and coins laying out on my desk, I practice.  When my guitar is out on a stand, I play.  When my exercise ball is out in the open, I exercise.  Conversely, when the cards are in a drawer, the guitar is in a case, or the exercise ball is in the closet, I do nothing. Positive change really is not about will power; it’s about habits and systems.  We don’t need will power or to change our minds–because the mind is actually physical. Changing our physical habits and routines makes the change for us and our minds follow suit automatically. Honesty, attention to detail, self reflection and awareness are key components to improving at anything by allowing us to implement the necessary systems.

To that point, for all of us hoping to make improvements in our lives in 2014, this is a great video that was recently forwarded to me. Make improvement easy on yourself by setting up routines, habits, and environments that foster the change you’re trying to make.

Good luck to you, and have a magical 2014!

Burt Wonderstone

Just came back from seeing The Incredible Burt Wonderstone with my wife. I had no idea what to expect, and certainly didn’t expect much.

First the bad: i could have lived without the (rare) magic jargon and method divulsions. As I’ve previously written about, it’s not my favorite when secrets of magicians are divulged to the public, especially when belittled.  That said, there’s not much of it, and whatever.

The good: almost everything else, especially Jim Carrey. Every time he is on the screen, be prepared to laugh incredibly hard–don’t put any food in your mouth, and certainly no liquids, as you will surely spit up  or choke trying to stop yourself.  The guy is simply unreal. I love him. I always have, and in this film he’s just as electric as ever.  You can count on his delivering pure hilariousness every time he’s on screen.

Carrey plays a character that is a blend of David Blaine, Chris Angel, & Ace Ventura.  He attempts over the top stunts, each one more gruesome and absurd than the next.  For one of his spectacles, he gathers an audience around a large area of flaming red coals.  The expected trick is for him to walk across the coals unscathed. Classic.  Nearly every adult male in India can do that no problem (uh…kidding….just in case). Instead, Carrey’s stunt: he spends the night sleeping on the flaming hot embers bare chested. I don’t want to give away, well, anything, but it’s too late for that. So I won’t give away anything else.  Just go see it. If you love Jim Carrey, you’re in for a treat.

Oh yeah, Steve Carrell is also in it and he’s good too.

Tough to share a stage with JC.