Gardyloo #85

I’m getting a number of emails, “How do I buy the second book?” Well, you get in a time machine and go back to any time in the 11 months between January and November of this year and buy it.

Alternatively, when the books come in (which at this time is scheduled for January 8th) I will determine if the publisher printed any extras. If they did I will make an announcement here and it will be first come, first serve.

Still looking for that perfect holiday gift for that special person in your life? Well, I’ve added a new design to the Dumb Houdini store. It’s an image from Scarne’s Magic Tricks that was first brought to my attention by friend of the site, CC.


Now you can display this thrilling magical image on a shirt or coffee mug. The shirt comes in white or bean green. Order yours today.

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From the email bag, regarding yesterday’s post…

“Today’s post kept me from cancelling my Timeless preorder. So… thanks?” B.O.

“I just ordered [Timeless] specifically to do your ‘jail’ presentation. I think that saves it from just being a ‘weird watch’ trick.” S.E.

“So help me, you’ve actually got me considering buying that thing [Timeless].” J.P.

“You managed to take a prop that is so weird and fit it into a routine that almost makes me want to buy this ridiculous contraption. Kudos to you, well done!” J.T.

How about cutting me in on those profits, Joao?

An Open Letter to the Homeless Man I Casually Gave 71 Cents to While On a Date Last Week

Dear Sir,

Last Friday I gave you 71 cents as I passed you on the street with my date.

I know that doesn’t seem very generous, but the truth is, I probably wouldn’t have given you any money at all if she wasn’t with me. It’s not that I don’t appreciate your plight, it’s just that I spent the past 15 years in New York City and you can’t give money to every homeless person you see. It’s just not sustainable. And I’m not convinced that it’s even a good use of my money as far as helping people goes.

But it was a first date and I wanted to look like a charitable sort, and I didn’t really want you to follow us for a block telling some horse-shit story, so I pulled the change out of my pocket and handed it to you when you approached.

It’s probably a long shot that you’ll read this, or that you held onto the coins I gave you, but I mention it in case you’re sitting around playing with some change and at one point two quarters come together and one of them splits in two and folds open like the wings of a butterfly. I don’t want you to rub your eyes, shake your head, and pour out your booze as you vow to never drink again. You’re not hallucinating. It wasn’t “spooks” or “haints” that caused that to happen. It was just me absentmindedly dropping $110 worth of magic gimmicks in your cold, crusty hand and not realizing it until the next morning, because I’m a moron.

Thats a true story. And one with many valuable lessons. The most important one being, I guess: Don’t give money to the less fortunate.

So this is my new solution for carrying around coin gimmicks. I wrap them in a rubber band before I put them in my pocket. It takes up no more space. I can get them out of the rubber band without looking. And a rubber band is something else I can do a trick with if I so desire.


Apparently I can’t trust myself to remember I’ve got coin gimmicks on me. This will hopefully prevent me from using them to buy stuff, dropping them in a Salvation Army bucket, economically tipping strippers, or just mixing them in with the rest of my loose change in a coffee can never to be found again.

I used to just keep coin gimmicks in my pocket, then I moved them to the watch pocket on my jeans to remind myself there’s something special about the coins, but apparently that wasn’t enough. Hopefully the rubber band will do the trick.

But probably not… I fully expect you’ll read a post here in a year telling the story of how I inattentively removed some rubber-banded coins from my pocket, unwound the rubber band, then put a $75 gimmicked quarter in a gumball machine to get a Nerds filled gumball. (My gumball of choice.)


Reader, D.L, brought something interesting to my attention, which I think points to the fact that we sometimes underestimate how difficult it is to learn magic from a physical copy of a book.

You know how it is with a real book. You try to lay it flat, but it keeps closing up on itself while, at the same time, you have your cards in hand trying to master some move and reference some illustrations. It’s all too difficult. That’s why learning magic from ebooks is just so much better and easier. Your laptop or tablet simply sits there and you can reference what you need, cards in hand.

To prove my point, look at the subtitle for The Expert at the Card Table print version on Amazon.

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Classic Treatise on Card Manipulation? Uhm, no thanks. That sounds challenging.

But take that same material and put it into an easy-to-read ebook form and now look at the subtitle.

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Hey, now that sounds more my speed. Thanks, ebooks!