Tag Archives: sphinx

Magic Monday ~ The Sphinx, February 1905

MagicMonday

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

SmallAce

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?

Magic Monday ~ The Sphinx, January 1905

MagicMonday

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.

I decided sometime during the first week of January to read through some back issues of The Sphinx, the magazine that served as the news and method-sharing publication for the Society of American Magicians from 1902 to 1953. It wasn’t always unanimously accepted. Houdini himself started a rival publication in 1906, but it didn’t last long. I was going to do a monthly summary, but decided it would probably be too long of a post and only really interesting to me. Instead, I’ll share a tid-bit or two.

File:Golddin.jpgOn the /r/magic sub-reddit, someone asked about tricks that involve guns. Other than in the bullet catch, guns don’t get used much anymore, for obvious reasons. This didn’t used to be the case. The gun was a common prop for a good long while and used for trivial reasons. In a write-up about Horace Goldin’s program, Henry Whiteley describes when Goldin “takes silk handkerchief, vanishes it and produces from behind leg; places it on end of gun, fires, handkerchief vanished and reproduced from coat collar.” Shooting handkerchiefs, common everyday occurrence. Goldin goes on to innovate the sawing-in-halves illusion in the 1920s.

SmallAce

What Am I Reading?

I started reading The Magician’s Daughter by Judith Janeway last week, but I couldn’t get into it. After waffling, I picked up The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma. I think I’m going to be working on it for a while. I should finish my current non-fiction read, The Writing Dead, this week. I drew “The Greatcoat” by Nikolay Gogol for Deal Me In, and maybe I’ll be a schooly and read ahead for the Coursera class that starts next week. I’m setting my sights on officially learning my first programming language, Python.

What Am I Writing?

Spent a good portion of last week getting Eric’s latest project formatted and into circulation. This week, I need to get back to what I said I was going to be doing last week. I also realized that I know nothing about prisoner transport, was making things up, and I need to rewrite an earlier scene.

On the Blog

  • Review of The Hound of the Baskervilles – Changed my mind. Review of Sleights of Mind since it needs to go back to the library.
  • Deal Me In
  • And “What Else in January” that will include a few of my favorite non-DMI short stories of the month.

I also need to remember that I’m going to be mostly AFK on for the weekend and should write those last two posts before Saturday.