Ethics – Tim Ellis and the usual i/m drivel

I don’t know Tim Ellis, but from everything I read and in talking with people that do know him, he’s one of the genuine good guys. His recent post raises a huge number of ethical issues that magicians must resolve – if they care. He’s obviously given this a lot of thought. I’ll be posting some thoughts in the near future and strongly suggest that any readers here click over to Tim’s blog and give your input.

Anyway, this subject brought to mind a prior post:


<Originally Posted September 26, 2005>

I’m going to talk about ethics today. Not magic ethics, in particular, but human morality as we old timers call it.


Understand, the stuff people call marketing today had a simpler and more easily understood moniker in my day – lying As examples, I’m choosing a couple of magic related items, because I know them best.


The first is from the Genii Forum. Kaufman generally doesn’t allow comments on items for sale, but this one got through:;f=14;t=005153


In short someone is announcing an eBay sale of: Cards as Weapons Ricky Jay s/c FIRST PRINT


Richard Hatch, a knowledgeable man on these things calls the seller to task:


Just a quick note, the CARDS AS WEAPONS you list is the 1988 Warner reprint, not the Darien House first printing from 1977 (simultaneously published in both hardcover and softcover). The listing should be corrected. Good luck with your sale!


It was pointed out that the listing was technically correct as this was a First Printing of the Warner edition. Billary Clinton would be proud! Anyway, the response deserves a complete recitation:

Usually I don’t respond to people who respond to things I’ve posted. I’ve noticed that in other areas (alt.magic, magiccafe, etc.) it just becomes a meaningless dialogue that ends in someone bringing up Hitler’s name (forget what that’s called…it actually has a name). But I respect the Genii Forum and the people on it, so I’ll respond to this. I don’t feel I did anything illegal, immoral, unethical. I’m sure you’re all aware that the subject line of an eBay auction is two fold: for searches, and to pique interest. The character limit is, I think, 50 or so letters, so the subject line needs to be brief. You post only that which will be in people’s searches, and that which will get an interest in people. I’ve done both. I guess I could’ve put in the subject: “Warner Edition” but it wouldn’t have fit and also, that’s not something most people search for, not something that means too much to people. Maybe for collectors it does, but for the general population who just want this book for whatever reason (for investment, to learn card throwing, to have something by Ricky Jay, to see a naked woman) whatever the reason, *most* people don’t care about Warner. So I put First Edition in the subject line to get me in the searches, and to intrigue. It is now the buyers obligation to read further, WHERE I DID PUT THAT IT’S A WARNER EDITION 1988 (nothing illegal, immoral, unethical here). If someone buys this book (or any auction) just by looking at the subject line and going no further into the description, they’re fools. Anyway, I hope posting this does something positive (I never would’ve responded like this in any other forum (including KJ) and hope no one brings up Hitler’s name.


Let’s look at this response. Firstly the limit is more than 50 and Cards as Weapons Ricky Jay s/c FIRST PRINT – Warner Ed. would have fit just fine. The whole Caveat Emptor mentality makes me ill. No amount of rationalization can possibly obscure the fact that a non-misleading title was very possible and while I must agree that nothing illegal was done, I’ll pass on agreeing about the immoral and unethical. Personally, I would have no problem if the title merely stated the book and author. This would accomplish what he wished for searches and not mislead people. This is assuming he stated the year,etc. in the description.


I fear most people won’t understand what this is about and that’s a crying shame.




26 reasons why men have 2 dogs and not 2 wives:

1 The later you are, the more excited your dogs are to see you.

2. Dogs will forgive you for playing with other dogs.

3. If a dog is gorgeous, other dogs don’t hate it.

4. Dogs don’t notice if you call them by another dog’s name.

5. Dogs like it if you leave a lot of things on the floor.

6. A dog’s parents never visit.

7. Dogs do not hate their bodies.

8. Dogs agree that you have to raise your voice to get your point across.

9. Dogs like to do their snooping outside rather than in your wallet or desk.

10. Dogs seldom outlive you.

11. Dogs can’t talk.

12. You never have to wait for a dog; they’re ready to go 24 hours a day.

13. Dogs find you amusing when you’re drunk.

14. Dogs like to go hunting and fishing.

15. Another man will seldom steal your dog.

16. A dog will not wake you up at night to ask, “If I died, would you get another dog?”

17. If a dog has babies, you can put an ad in the paper and give them away.

18. A dog will let you put a studded collar on it without calling you a pervert.

19. A dog won’t hold out on you to get a new car.

20. If a dog smells another dog on you, they don’t get mad. They just think it’s interesting.

21. On a car trip, your dog never insists on running the heater.

22. Dogs don’t let magazine articles guide their lives.

23. When your dog gets old, you can have it put to sleep.

24. Dogs like to ride in the back of a pick-up truck.

25. Dogs are not allowed in Bloomingdale’s or Neiman-Marcus.

26. If a dog leaves, it won’t take half of your stuff.

Take care………

Drivel & Drool


Things That Really Bug Me
<i/m Reprint>

Companies that spend a jillion dollars on a web site, yet the programmers aren’t smart enough to strip spaces, periods, dashes etc. from phone and credit card numbers

George F. Bush

Piss ant Police departments that have so much time on their hands they do “safety” checks. Can I hear a big Bull Shit!

The Patriot Act – like its going to catch anything.

Names for employees, like “associates” and “partners” OR my new favorite From Sam’s Club – “coach”. What really bugs me most is the places that use these feel-good terms like Wal-Mart would sell their employees body parts to slave traders if it would add .01 to the quarterly income.

“Disrespected” athletes making 8 figure salaries.

Big Oil – I guess everyone saw that Exxon just made more money last quarter than ANY US company in history! I recently wrote about their blatant thievery and some douche bag commented that it was a supply issue – China- India and other palaver spewed out by the American Petroleum Institute. I said then – just wait for the quarterly report. If anyone thinks we got rid of all the fucking bandits and crooks when Enron and Worldcomm crashed you’re fooling yourself. American business is corruption on corruption. We can no longer entrust our well being to “free enterprise”. It doesn’t exist.

Wall Street – speaking of crooks. The Exxon quarter “disappointed” the MBAs, CPAs and CFUs and the stock went down. What a joke our financial system has become.

Alan Greenspan – he’s screwed up more times than George F. Bush II and no one seems to know.

Escalades – the ultimate prickmobile.

i/m Classics – The Internet To The Rescue


<Originally Posted September 12, 2005>

After doing a lot of research, it looks like all of my troubles will soon be over:

  • I’ve made contact with a Nigerian official and struck a deal to alleviate my financial problems.
  • I just got a bunch of pills that will have my talleywacker dragging the ground real soon.
  • I’ve found that certain magic tricks virtually guarantee I can bed a bunch of sexy women with really big yabos:



Add a few blue pills and life is good again………. Ain’t the Internet wonderful!!

Take care………


i/m Classics – Brain Dump


<Originally Posted February 16, 2007>

Whatever happened to Steve Pellegrino?

Has anyone heard from, his holiness, Stephen Youell?

I was wrong about Paul Chosse

I’m still right about Jabba and the Cafe’ crew.

Paul Kozak is a PUTZ!

The Internet is slowly, but surely, destroying the magic community as many of us have known it. We’re much, much poorer because of it.

Denny Haney declared the Egg Bag to be magic’s perfect trip. I tend to agree.

I need to take the time and energy to learn a stacked deck. I need to just do it!!!

Why is classic palming a coin so damn difficult?

Why does gospel magic attract so many goof balls and rotten magicians. This isn’t a religious comment – just the opposite actually. They do NO ONE any good.

Have you notice the Cafe’ blog section recently? Makes me seem downright regular.

Bob Kohler writes the best copy since Jeff Busby.

I miss the Magic Circle Jerk.

Take care………


i/m Classics?!?

Drivel & Drool

Saving the old stuff

Actually, I’m quite proud of some of my earlier posts on my old blog.

I worked long and hard on many of them – OK, everything wasn’t a gem, but some were – if I must say so myself.

I’ll be gradually bringing them across and classifying them as such.

I hope you enjoy them – either for the first time or seeing them again.

Take care…..