Category: Literature & performing arts

writing, film, TV, radio, theatre

Magic, science and politics

Teller, of Penn & Teller:

I’m all for helping science. But after I share what I know, my neuroscientist friends thank me by showing me eye-tracking and MRI equipment, and promising that someday such machinery will help make me a better magician.

I have my doubts. Neuroscientists are novices at deception. Magicians have done controlled testing in human perception for thousands of years.

I think you’ll see what I mean if I teach you a few principles magicians employ when they want to alter your perceptions.

1. Exploit pattern recognition.
2. Make the secret a lot more trouble than the trick seems worth.
3. It’s hard to think critically if you’re laughing.
4. Keep the trickery outside the frame.
5. To fool the mind, combine at least two tricks.
6. Nothing fools you better than the lie you tell yourself.
7. If you are given a choice, you believe you have acted freely.

More here ...

Films perhaps not to avoid

The Z Man looks back at Casablanca, an interesting take.  Yours would also be appreciated.

I was watching this episode of the Mark Steyn Show on Sunday and they made mention of Casablanca. It occurred to me that it had been so long since I watched these old movies, I no longer remember much about them. My generation was probably the last to grow up seeing these old films on television.

He now mentions two key issues:

1. The acting is the part that does not work as well today, as the old films were acted like stage plays, which required the audience to use their imaginations. Modern technology lets the audience drop into a coma while watching a film.

And:… More here ...

A Very Descript Man

I am such a dolent man,
I eptly work each day;
My acts are all becilic,
I’ve just ane things to say.

My nerves are strung, my hair is kempt,
I’m gusting and I’m span:
I look with dain on everyone
And am a pudent man.

I travel cognito and make
A delible impression:
I overcome a slight chalance,
With gruntled self-possesion.

My dignation would be great
If I should digent be:
I trust my vagance will bring
An astrous life for me.”

[Here, h/t to the Futility Closet]… More here ...

Films to avoid

Via Chuckles who writes: “One born every minute:”

In 2008, Jimmy bought 500 acres of tropical rain forest and was going to build a traditional city in paradise. Then the market crashed. Realizing the old model of “if we build it, they will come” was broken, he flipped it to “if they come, they will build it” and has since attracted hundreds of young people through social media who, in the face of potential climate disaster …

And so on and so on, yada. yada.  As if on cue, a sane review:

It appears a young man who is desperate to make a success of his failed real estate investment has chosen to victimize the young and vulnerable with his flawed ideals. By creating a youthful mono-generation environment, it is far easier for this fellow to extract monetary resources from his victims, all while using the common media induced paranoia to sell his false bill of goods.

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Poet’s corner

The wind was rough
And cold and blough.
She kept her hands within her mough.
It chilled her through,
Her nose turned blough,

And still the squal the faster flough –
And yet, although There was no snough,
The weather was a cruel fough.
It made her cough,
Please do not scough,
She coughed until her hat blough ough.

A fellow they call Aloysius
Of his wife and a gent grew suspysius
And as quick as a wink
Found the two by the sink
But they only were doing the dysies

A merchant addressing a debtor
Remarked in the course of his lebtor
That he chose to suppose
A man knose what he ose;
And the sooner he pays it the bebtor

There once was a man who for hiccough
Tried all of the cures he could piccough,
And the best without doubt,
As at last he found ouht,
Is warm water and salt in a ticcough… More here ...