Look what came in the mail today.
It’s the Jerx Deck #2. What does it look like? All will be revealed eventually.
The first Jerx Deck was produced by The Expert Playing Card Company, and that was a great experience. This year’s deck, however, is a blatant rip-off of a design that’s owned by Bicycle and I didn’t want to cause any issues for the EPCC by asking them to take part in this nonsense.
Just to be safe I did print the fair use/parody section of U.S. Code on the side of the case. So don’t get up my ass, Bicycle.
So this deck is self-produced. The quality is probably not as high as it would be with EPCC, but the good news is that no one is getting a Jerx deck to do cardistry or intense sleight of hand with, so it’s not that huge of an issue.
Each deck comes with this phony rank of poker hands cards prop for one of the tricks in the book. If you got the book you’ll get an additional one of these cards (so you don’t have to open the deck if you’re one of those nerds). If you didn’t order the book but are a supporter at the deck level, I’ll send you a pdf with that trick from the book so you can use the card too.
So now we’re just waiting on the book. The most recent date we’ve gotten from the publisher is that we should be receiving them on January 8th. And then they’ll go out over the course of a couple weeks. Meaning right about one year exactly from when Season 3 was announced. I’m on top of my shit.
Poor Justin Flom. I have it on good authority from his wife that he spends 50 minutes every morning getting his hair just right, meanwhile his young daughter is so effortlessly charming and steals the show every time she’s in one of his videos.
AAAAHHHHH what a little ball of sweetness. I can feel my ovaries fluttering. Justin, please tell me this was severely edited and that she’s a total pain in the ass 95% of the time.
Is there some sort of service where I can be a dad for like, 40 minutes a week? I think that would be my speed. Meet up once a week. Toss the Nerf around. Go to a ballet recital. Something like that? Hmmm…. I think I’m describing a shitty divorced dad.
By the way, if you ever want a reminder of how stupid humans can be, remember that some people got upset at Justin for “sawing his baby in half.” Others felt the need to “debunk” it.
This is a good way of determining if someone is a person you want to let into your life.
If they watch that video and say, “Oh, that was cute and fun,” they’re a normal human who might make a good friend or lover.
If they say, “That’s abuse!” Or, “He’s exploiting his child for youtube views!” Then you know they’re someone who takes great joy in being offended by things. Soon that will turn on you.
If they say, “That’s not real. Here’s how it’s done…,” then you know they’re practically braindead and not someone you want to spend time with. “You’re saying the youtube video of the guy sawing his baby in half with Dr. Seuss books isn’t real? Hold on. My head is spinning. I need to get some fresh air.” Walk out and never come back.
This is an interesting trick. A freely named celebrity (or anything else) is predicted on the bottom of a coffee cup.
As someone who finds himself performing in coffee shops multiple times a week, this definitely calls to me. It’s essentially a Koran’s Medallion type of effect, but with a coffee cup. You say you used to work in a cafe and you would always try to guess people’s drinks before they ordered. You tell the person to think of any drink and you claim you’re going to guess what it is. You ask them where they would drink this and to name a famous person they might drink it with. You write something down on a napkin and put it face down in front of them. “Would you be amazed if it said your drink on the other side of the napkin?” They admit they would be and when they turn the napkin over it literally says, “Your Drink.” Ha? You then reveal that it wasn’t about the drink, it was actually about the name of the person they would enjoy this drink with and you lift up your coffee cup to show that person’s name written on the bottom.
As I said, I like the idea, but I don’t like the corny joke in the middle of it. The “Your Drink,” joke is both hokey and hack-y. You can get away with it in a “show” because shows are filled with that sort of pretense. But your life shouldn’t be. It’s sort of like what I mentioned Monday, about “borrowing” a dollar bill and then putting it in your pocket. If that doesn’t stand out to the person you’re performing for, they must think you regularly make lame jokes.
I have some alternate uses for this technique that I’m going to try out over the next few weeks. If any of them pan out then I’ll write them up in the final X-Communication newsletter for Season 3.
If you want to do the original version of the effect, here would be my recommendation: Ditch the joke, just make a guess on the drink. Maybe you’ll be right. And if not you can just be like, “Yeah, they fired me from that cafe after two days. I was not good at that job. I always got people’s drinks wrong. I wasted a lot of product.”
Or I would just get the drink spectacularly wrong. That, to me, is funnier and more in line with my personality than making some played-out joke. So I would look at them. “Imagine yourself drinking this drink. This is something you’ve had a lot yes? You really enjoy the taste of this? You maybe even crave it sometimes, don’t you? I think you like this hot… but maybe not always. Yes… I’m getting it…,” I write something down and put it in front of them. “Name your drink,” I say.
“A chai latte,” she says.
“I was a little off,” I say. They turn over the napkin and it says, “Half a gallon of horse ejaculate.”
There’s nothing I can add to all the chorus of praise and remembrances that have followed the passing of Ricky Jay a couple weeks ago. I was a huge fan of his work as a magician and an actor. In the pre-internet days of my youth, I would go to the library and they had these reference books where you could look up any topic and they would tell you what magazine articles were written about that topic. Then you would have to get a bound collection of that magazine and track down the article (that seems like a wildly inefficient way to do things to my modern mind). I would look up “magic” and read the occasional article on the subject that appeared in a major magazine. In that way I found the New Yorker article on Ricky Jay and I probably read it 20 times over the years. I got to know him that way before reading his books or seeing any of his performances.
But, as I said, there’s nothing I can add to what’s been said about what he meant to magic. I didn’t know the man and he undoubtedly would have found this site idiotic, so it’s not my place to eulogize him.
Instead, let me turn your attention this video that I was sent by JH. It’s Ricky Jay on the Sally Jessy Raphael show.
Obviously there are 100 other videos that would be better at exhibiting Ricky’s talent, but this one is a pretty fascinating time capsule. In fact, it’s not really Ricky I want to draw your attention to here. It’s actually something else we’ve lost. Something that’s faded from our lives in a way so subtle that perhaps we didn’t even notice it. Something we probably didn’t appreciate enough when we had it.
I’m speaking, of course, about the black-booted, puka-shelled, shirt-undone-to-the-navel look of Jeff Mcbride in the back there. He’s got to bring that look back. I don’t care if he’s 60. Go to the five minute mark in that video and see a young fan melt over Jeff’s dreaminess. It’s adorable. That girl's poor panties. They didn’t stand a chance with Jeff in the room.