Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ricky Jay

via kottke

Ricky Jay: "

Can you resist reading an article that starts off with an anecdote this interesting? I couldn't.

The playwright David Mamet and the theatre director Gregory Mosher affirm that some years ago, late one night in the bar of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Chicago, this happened:

Ricky Jay, who is perhaps the most gifted sleight-of-hand artist alive, was performing magic with a deck of cards. Also present was a friend of Mamet and Mosher's named Christ Nogulich, the director of food and beverage at the hotel. After twenty minutes of disbelief-suspending manipulations, Jay spread the deck face up on the bar counter and asked Nogulich to concentrate on a specific card but not to reveal it. Jay then assembled the deck face down, shuffled, cut it into two piles, and asked Nogulich to point to one of the piles and name his card.

'Three of clubs,' Nogulich said, and he was then instructed to turn over the top card.

He turned over the three of clubs.

Mosher, in what could be interpreted as a passive-aggressive act, quietly announced, 'Ricky, you know, I also concentrated on a card.'

After an interval of silence, Jay said, 'That's interesting, Gregory, but I only do this for one person at a time.'

Mosher persisted: 'Well, Ricky, I really was thinking of a card.'

Jay paused, frowned, stared at Mosher, and said, 'This is a distinct change of procedure.' A longer pause. 'All right-what was the card?'

'Two of spades.'

Jay nodded, and gestured toward the other pile, and Mosher turned over its top card.

The deuce of spades.

A small riot ensued.

That's from a 1993 profile of Ricky Jay, who is probably more well known now for his acting (Magnolia, Boogie Nights, Deadwood, The Spanish Prisoner, The Prestige) than his magic scholarship. Check out a couple of Jay's tricks on YouTube: Four Queens and Sword of Vengence. (via df)

Tags: magic movies Ricky Jay"

Monday, August 17, 2009

Losing Weight

Ok folks. Life or death thing to talk about. I've been trying to lose some weight and the pressure on my health has kicked it up a notch on the urgency scale. I'm going to try public humiliation as a strategy and see how that works. At the top of the blog you'll see a weight tracker. It's a bit coarse, but if you click through you'll see my daily data in all of it's graph-o-licious detail.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Death

Pictured here is the stump of the Former State Champion Cottonwood tree, just south and west of Ozawkie, KS. The two girls in the picture below are standing on a picnic table and are around 11 years old. It was about 30ft in diameter and well over 100ft tall. Nothing I can type can impress upon you the silent presence of something like this tree. Majestic is a close adjective.

Apparently it was struck by lightning sometime in the 5 years since this was taken, and all that is left there now is a stump. The park was simply abandoned and lays in ruins. Park benches tossed in the woods, historic marker absent.

It makes me heartsick.
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