I knew my site would draw out a few dementors (see Harry Potter Book #3) but I am pleased that so far there have been so few of them. I haven't heard from all of the visitors who actually went to my site and READ The Wizard's Journal, but the ones who responded afterwards seemed to be looking forward to the next issue.
Mr. jiggyjer, besides not actually reading The Journal, makes a few errors of judgement with the parts of the site that he does attempt to read. The targeted age of the site is NOT children, as he implies. What so many fail to realize is the great number of ADULTS caught up in the Harry Potter enthusiasm, and the links to sites I provide are mostly inhabited by adults ROLE-PLAYING the parts of child and adult characters from the novels.
It is true, however, that the site is open to any child who wishes to seek it out... but how far will a child get without a CREDIT CARD or a PAYPAL account? He will get to read the stories and look at the photos of magic props, and window-shop on the outside of the magic store the same way I did when I was a kid.
If a child convinces an adult to sign him up for First Years' Magic Lessons, what will he see? Again, Mr. jiggyjer didn't check out the contents of those lessons. Lesson ONE is about the DIFFERENCE between Magik and Conjuring. Any child, or adult, who gets through lesson one will have no doubt where we stand on the subject. He will learn the basic rules of magic that we all should have learned when we started out and if he objects that he is learning "dime store tricks" instead of some imagined "real magik," he won't go any further than lesson one and the point of that lesson is that "Magic is in the Mind of the Beholder."
Speaking of dime store tricks, the very first effect in this month's Journal is the old penny to dime, but without the magical "red block" gimmick or penny gimmick and using nothing but sleight of hand to accomplish what costs about a dollar in most "dime stores." But the point of all the articles is to demonstrate how to make "Magik in the Mind of the Beholder." So, our effect, if you used a dime and penny and picked up a rock from the ground, would cost you no more than eleven cents. It's not what you pay for the props, it's knowing what to do with them that creates either magik or magic or a trick.
Nowhere on the site do we offer to teach children how to "genuinely" divine the future. But I remember as a child, looking in my first magic store window at a mysterious "Zombie" that was advertised as being able to fly under the magician's control. That thought kept me going in magic... that if I persisted, eventually I would learn how to make that Zombie fly. It was years before I could afford one, but when I eventually saved up the price of a Zombie, I was so disappointed to find out how it actually worked that I put it on a shelf and let it collect dust for a few more years. Then I saw a magician actually DO the Zombie (I'm sorry, I don't remember who he was, but he knew how to make MAGIK happen in my mind). I SAW the Zombie of my imagination, flying around the stage. I couldn't believe it! I went home with a new respect for the Zombie, dusted it off, and really learned how to present it correctly. I knew I had learned the lesson when I presented it at a magic club meeting and a young kid came backstage with his cheapo styrofoam zombie and asked me what the difference was between my Zombie that actually flew, and his that just sort of stuck out there. I took his Zombie and made it fly for him and he caught on right away. He had been just doing a trick. I was an actor playing the role of a magician. Magik is in the Mind of the beholder.
The "breach of ethics" that Mr. jiggyjer claims, has not happened except in his mind. He sees me swindling children out of $50 to buy flying brooms, when no child can even attempt to buy a "Flying Broom" without a credit card or a PayPal account, and that means going to a parent and that means answering lots of questions and steering the child away from the broom and towards some beginner tricks he can hope to master on his way towards the broom a few years from now. He won't be as disappointed as I was at buying my first Zombie. The reason for the $50 price tag is that it comes with DVD lessons showing how to do it properly, how to do variations, and how to create that Magic in the Minds of all who behold it. I don't want the broom to end up sweeping out a kid's bedroom instead of having a chance to fly.
Regarding the "Flash Paper" remarks, every effect that CAN use flash paper, is also given an alternate presentation so the flash paper is always OPTIONAL for adults OR children. And, yes, even if you tried to buy flash paper in a magic store, it is only available to adults. I don't know any magic store that sells gunpowder and blasting caps, and we don't either, so relax, Mr. jiggyjer.
As for the remarks of Mr. Jeff Haas, I don't think Pete Biro, whom I have long respected for his insight and wisdom, would say anything at all without first inquiring what effects the props were being used for. These are NOT Potter-esque supplies, as you suggest, but magic props. Our Potter-esque supplies are costumes and wands, the same as at any Harry Potter oriented sites.
You may not think of yourselves as Potter bashers, but to judge books or magazines without reading them puts you into the same camp, since most Potter bashers have neither read the Harry Potter books, nor are they likely to. Any child who happens on my site will be a literate child who enjoys reading and learning from reading.
The invitation to actually READ The Wizards' Journal free of charge this month still stands for ALL Genii forum participants who merely have to ask: firstname.lastname@example.org