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A Magician's Magician

Tony Slydini (1901-1991), better known by the mononym Slydini, was a legendary magician still widely hailed as one of the greatest masters of sleight of the hand and close-up magic. Slydini combined a light-hearted, conversational, almost impromptu style of patter with sleights of astonishing sophistication and quality. He was also a master of misdirection and the human psyche. Most of his tricks were deceptively simple in design, but highly complex in execution. He entirely eschewed fancy props, gimmicks, or gaffs, performing his tricks with just the everyday objects he was manipulating - typically real, ordinary coins or playing cards - and his own two hands. Two of his most famous tricks - Paper Balls in the Hat and Paper Balls over the Head - were designed to be performed using crumpled up paper restaurant napkins.

Slydini was born Quintino Marucci in Foggia, Italy on September 1, 1901. His father was an amateur magician who…

Part of the trouble with all the rhetoric about American Exceptionalism is, whether praiseworthy or critical, it usually ignores the rest of the Western Hemisphere. People who claim that the U.S. isn't exceptional tend to compare this country to the forms and functions of the Eastern hemisphere. People who claim that the United States IS exceptional...compare local forms and functions to the eastern hemisphere.

But there's a country north of the U.S. that complains about being…

Too Perfect is a theory in the world of performance magic that if a magic trick is too perfect and flawless, it will paradoxically become less impressive to the audience. In some cases, this is because the trick seems easier than it actually was, and the magician is not given credit by the audience for their skill and trick design. In other cases, this is because the gimmick behind the trick becomes glaringly obvious.

For example, if you pass a cigarette slowly and clearly…

News for Noders

November 1 - The IRON NODER CHALLENGE starts today and runs through December 1. It's never too late to sign up, and all writeups get rewards. /msg mauler if you'd like to participate!

November 1 - Happy Birthday Zephronias!

November 5 - Bonfire Night in the UK.

November 11 - Veterans Day in the US.

November 26 - Thanksgiving in the US.

November 27 - Happy Birthday Estelore!

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October 1: This is the month of We All Float Down Here: The 2017 Halloween Horrorquest.

October 12: Rest in Peace, sarabandegreen.

October 17: Happy Birthday gnarl!

October 31: Something spooky will probably happen today. It usually does.

Get ready for IRON NODER X: XTREME XCELLENCE, coming November 1st!

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September 16 Feliz cumpleaños Ancientsnow!

September 18 Happy birthday Stuart!

September 18 Stanislav Petrov has died.

September 19 Talk like a pirate day. Arrh!

September 27 Happy birthday Uberbanana!

Get ready for the Halloween Horrorquest, coming next month!

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August 4 Happy birthday avalyn!

August 6 広島

August 27 Happy birthday Bitriot

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July 1: Brevity Quest 2017 begins!

July 4: Alice’s Day (AKA Alice in Wonderland Day); also Independence day in the US.

July 19-24: Hemingway Days; party central is Key West, Florida.

July 31: Harry Potter's Birthday.

If you have anything to add to this calendar, let Tem42 know.