Daily Archives: February 23, 2015

Magic Monday ~ The Sphinx, February 1905


I like Mondays. On Monday, I am refreshed from the weekend and exhilarated by the possibilities of the week ahead. I also like magic. I like its history, its intersection with technology, and its crafty use of human nature.  I figured I’d combine the two and make a Monday feature that is truly me: a little bit of magic and a look at the week ahead.

William Ellsworth RobinsonThe English Notes column by Harry Whitley in the February 1905 edition of The Sphinx covered one of the seminal wizard wars of the 20th century: the squabble between Ching Ling Foo and Chung Ling Soo. Ching Ling Foo, a magician actually from China, wanted to expose Chung Ling Soo (William Robinson) to be a fraud. The press was less interested in that story and more interested in a head-to-head talent battle between the “Oriental” magicians. Though Ching Ling Foo had previously suggested such a contest, he failed to appear for the showdown.

Two notes:

I’m not the only one to often scramble these names. The event is retold twice in this issue of The Sphinx, but the first time the feud is between Ching Ling Foo and Chung Ling Loo though all the other details are the same. I don’t find any info on Chung Ling Loo, though Englishman Stanley Collins does take the performing name of Loo Sing in 1905.

Second, Wikipedia notes that Ching Ling Foo’s engagement at the Empire Theater lasts only four weeks and Chung Ling Soo remains at the Hippodrome for three months [1]. The implication that the stunt hurt Ching Ling Foo. Whitley notes:

The great Chinaman, Ching Ling Foo, also opened at the Empire, but his show contains nothing new or original, and his company of artists have a better reception than he has. [2]

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chung_Ling_Soo
  2. Whitley, Harry. “English Notes.” The Sphinx, Vol. 3 No. 12, February 1905, pg. 154


What Am I Reading?

I did a silly thing last week and picked up Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. I probably wouldn’t have if she wouldn’t have started it in Pound Hall. I lived in Pound Hall! I’ve also promised Eric that I’d read PHYSICa this week. Dead Wake is on the back burner.

What Am I Writing?

I didn’t get to my Writerly Writing update yesterday. Last week went well-ish. I wrote 3600 words. Didn’t do any rewrites, and started about half dozen scenes. I suppose I’ll have to finish one or two of those this week. The current plan is still going well. Starting in March, I might add a monthly goal in addition to my daily and weekly goals (300 words & 3000 words).

On the Blog

  • Review of The Writing Dead
  • Review-a-thon? Maybe.

So, what are you reading? Any magic to share?