Wasting time

Discuss general aspects of Genii.

Postby Guest » 11/29/06 09:23 PM

IF YOU LEARN ABOUT FOUR OR FIVE SLEIGHTS YOU CAN FOOL ABOUT NINETY FIVE PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE. Those who go beyond that point do so only to impress other msgicians. I have no problem with that. My own father spent his entire life in congress with other master magicians. He had no interest in anyone whom he did not feel was a master magician. He hated to perform for a lay public. He joyed in consorting with his perceived peers.
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Postby Guest » 11/29/06 10:25 PM

Originally posted by Vernon's son:
Those who go beyond that point do so only to impress other msgicians.
I have to take issue with that statement. By that logic any musician who can play more than one style of music, or in more than one key, is doing so only to impress other musicians.

Isn't it possible some people learn more than a few sleights because they like to have the right tool for the job?
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Postby Mark Collier » 11/29/06 10:39 PM

If your only goal is to fool 95 percent of the people, you don't need any sleights at all. That is not why most of us are here.
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Postby Guest » 11/29/06 11:02 PM

It is certainly true that a couple basics would be the minimal-level of competence one might need to fool people (if you've practiced), but that is no argument to stop learning, is it?. I hate willful, defiant closed-minded-ness.

--A couple lines CAN draw a picture, and you could probably write a song with the first arrangement of a couple notes that came to mind but uh...I think you see where I am going with this--there's more to it, isn't there?

A sketch you did in a minute may very well be an excellent sketch, but it will be way different from a drawing on which you worked 100 hours.

If you are happy with 2-line drawings, more power to you (you should see some of the famous drawings Picasso did with only one line--amazing!). Believe me--I am as cynical a jerk as there is. But even I know there are further vistas to be explored.

I got to see your dad (The Professor) do a french drop at the Castle in 1978 and it SLAYED me. I remember it to this day.
If I would have been limited to only the french drop since then, I would be much more "nutty" than I am already, which is admittedly, quite a bit.


--Happy Holidays from S.F. :)
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 11/29/06 11:19 PM

Many of the magical entertainers I know who publicly claim to know only a few things are being very coy. They are, in fact, students of their craft and know quite a bit. They might only do a few moves in their working repertoire, but they know (and are capable of doing) much more.

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Postby Guest » 12/05/06 07:44 AM

What do you do if a spectator exposes a sleight which you need to use repeatedly in a routine? If you only know 4 or 5 sleights, you probably say something witty (hopefully) and move on to your next trick. If you know numerous sleights that accomplish the same thing you still have option of doing the routine which you've started.
Tonight a spectator said, "you just flipped two cards over" early in my Ambitious Card routine. What did I do? I asked her to add her signature to the card for being so clever and then proceeded to bring the card to the top of the deck using top-changes and passes and such then finishing off with a card-to-mouth where the clever lady was the last person to figure out where the card was (probably because she was the so determined to catch me out again). I don't perform any routines that use a top change, but I still practice the sleight because it can come in handy in just such a situation.
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Postby Guest » 12/05/06 09:14 AM

Please don't blame a spectator for exposing a sleight. That honor is yours YOU exposed the sleight not the other way around.

I think it sad that the person who started this thread cannot answer the subsequent posts.

I think all threads begun by Derek should have been deleted along with his being banned.

Bryan
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Postby Jon Allen » 12/05/06 10:36 AM

The other 5% are the ones who pay the BIG money.
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Postby Guest » 12/05/06 10:56 AM

Since Derek can no longer post on this forum, can anybody back up his claim that his father HATED performing for a lay audience? If that truly is the case, what a shame.
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Postby Guest » 12/05/06 11:16 AM

Originally posted by Randy Gastreich:
Since Derek can no longer post on this forum, can anybody back up his claim that his father HATED performing for a lay audience? If that truly is the case, what a shame.
David Bens biography makes it clear that Vernon didnt care much for being a performer he often would get nerves and went out of his way to avoid engagements, once even blowing the opportunity to perform for the Prince of Wales. A big part of the problem was that he hated doing the same tricks over and over, as with the Harlequin act. When he could improvise, drawing on his amazing knowledge and mastery of techniques to create tricks on the fly, he fared much better.

His disregard for performing, or otherwise earning money with his magic, caused his wife and friends a lot of consternation, understandably. He certainly had the ability to be a top performer, but it was always about the next move, uncovering some obscure gamblers ruse. He was a true artist.
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Postby Pete Biro » 12/05/06 11:18 AM

The few times I worked on the same shows with The Professor he wasn't too thrilled about doing it... he seemed like he'd ratner not, but did so as a favor to the person that asked him to work. He did seem nervous about it as well.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/05/06 12:37 PM

I wouldn't romanticize Dai Vernon's refusal to work for much of his life. He was lucky that there were other people around to support him because he didn't feel like working.
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Postby Guest » 12/05/06 12:53 PM

Im not trying to romanticize or excuse his faults by saying he was a true artist. I do believe, however, that he was an artist who devoted himself completely to his passion, to the exclusion of just about everything else, even common sense responsibilities like earning a living. Youre right that he was fortunate to have friends who kept him afloat. On the other hand, maybe that wasnt such a good thing as they enabled him to live as he did.
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Postby Guest » 12/05/06 02:26 PM

What is apparent in the new "The Vernon Touch" book is that without his move to the west coast, and specifically to the Magic Castle he would have had a much different life than he did.
The Castle was essentially like his retirement home and daycare rolled into one.
I supose we'll need to wait for David Ben's second book of the series, but it certainly seems likely that Vernon essentially lived as well as he did only because he had the Larson's as his benefactors.

Although I consider Vernon a brilliant magician and enjoy studying everything there is to be read about him, I also agree with others here that you have to look at his work ethic (or lack of one) as well as his brilliant magic mind.

That "I don't like work" lifestyle could be, and often is called by many names.......but it's The Professor we're talking about here so I'm not going to use any of them.
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Postby Pete Biro » 12/05/06 02:33 PM

One such helper to Vernon was Bill Bauer.
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Postby Guest » 12/05/06 02:44 PM

The Magic World: "You are spoiled! You had everything handed to you!" :mad:

Dai Vernon: "Well, YOU handed it to me!" :p

The Magic World: "You could have refused and tried to get ahead without taking advantage of our generosity." :mad:

Dai Vernon: "Now what the Hell kind of sense would that have made?" ;)
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Postby Guest » 12/05/06 02:47 PM

Note: the above exchange is purely hypothetical... :eek:
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Postby Guest » 12/05/06 03:43 PM

The Professor was taking advantage of the generosity of others?! Please!!

Every soul who ever knew him and was interested in magic benefited from HIS generosity. The pleasure of his company was a gift to be cherished.

How dare you suggest that he was in some way leeching off the Larsens, or anyone else for that matter. Vernons presence made the Magic Castle what it was. No amount of money would have been sufficient to compensate him for his contribution. He brought something that money just can`t buy.

Some of you people need to take a long, hard look at the history of 20th century magic and discover where you really came from.

Vernon's contribution was so much more profound than "making a coin vanish look convincing" or "being good with a deck of cards."

If you can`t understand that then I hear Ellusionist have some new releases that might interest you...

This place is Magic Cafe #2.

Goodbye.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/05/06 04:58 PM

How dare I suggest it? Vernon not only did it in California at the Magic Castle. Jacob Daley used to pay his rent in New York. Just because you're smart and have a lot to offer doesn't mean you don't have to get off your ass and work every day like most people in the world.
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Postby Guest » 12/05/06 05:15 PM

Originally posted by Jim Coles:
David Bens biography makes it clear that Vernon didnt care much for being a performer he often would get nerves and went out of his way to avoid engagements, once even blowing the opportunity to perform for the Prince of Whales.
How did he get on with the King of the Dolphins? :)
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Postby Guest » 12/05/06 05:26 PM

Originally posted by jnhofzinser:
This place is Magic Cafe #2.
Public snobbery is often private insecurity.

I've never understood the need to slam the Cafe. Neither board is perfect and both have their share of juvenile exchanges. Be happy that both boards are seemingly thriving. It's good for magic.

Clay
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Postby Guest » 12/05/06 05:43 PM

Obviously, the people who supported him thought that he was valuable enough to do it for.

I don't think he twisted any arms.

So, when you buy something the onus is on you not the product you are buying.

Bryan
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Postby Guest » 12/05/06 06:02 PM

I did not intend to offend anyone, nor diparage the memory of the Professor.
The above was a ham-handed stab at ironically portraying what some seem to be saying. Unfortunately, they can't all be comedy gems. I appologize if it doesn't come across.

Just off-hand though, a sit happens, I have taken a long look at the history of 20th century magic. While I freely (and often) admit I don't know everything, I HAVE learned at least a little after 30 years.

I have had a life-long respect for Dai Vernon. I learned long ago that magically, I will never be worthy of even carrying his jock (as the old saying goes). His magical insights will always stagger my mind. He is already going down in history as a legendary genius.

I have also learned quite a bit more about him this past year than I had known in my 20s and 30s. Mainly I believe that he (like every one of us) was fallable. He was by many accounts at least a neglectful father and husband, inveterate womanizer, and an abuser of alcohol. His move to the west coast definitely smacks to me of putting his old life and responsibilities in the rear-view mirror once and for all.

There are innumerable stories of all kinds of people having "patrons" or living for long periods "at the Manor": dude doesn't have much money, people who love him pay for whatever he needs. It's not the end of the world. I have no knowledge of what arrangements he had in his life, and wouldn't hold such things against him. He lived past 90--more power to ya, pal. The ends seem to have justified the means.

--We all know he was the straw that stirred the drink. There's no doubt that people flocked to him, and that his contribution to the atmosphere, the prestige, and the revenue at the Castle was beyond that which could be measured in mere dollars.
That so many were humble, generous, and grateful says much about those people as well.

I have nothing against the Professor but he wasn't perfect. Of course, that is certainly no reason to disrespectfully slam his memory.

I can't wait for Part 2 of Mr. Ben's Biography. I DO want to hear some of stories about the good old times that were had in L.A.--and find out what the real, big-picture story actually was.

P.S. Ellusionist is just across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Rafael. Don't disparage the local boys--it's not Oakland, but they might mess you up--even in Austria.

P.P.S. I don't like the magic cafe.
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Postby Guest » 12/05/06 06:39 PM

Originally posted by Daniel Lander:
Originally posted by Jim Coles:
[b] David Bens biography makes it clear that Vernon didnt care much for being a performer he often would get nerves and went out of his way to avoid engagements, once even blowing the opportunity to perform for the Prince of Whales.
How did he get on with the King of the Dolphins? :) [/b]
Damn, foiled by a lowly hand the strangely pervasive image of Shamu in a Tux.

To the fellow who has taken such offense, I'm not trying to knock Vernon -- he was a great magician, no doubt about it, whose contributions will probably forever continue to impact magic. But he was not a perfect man -- none of us are -- and I see no reason to pretend otherwise. I think it's possible to be a student of his magic and to study his life and appreciate all he gave us, while being honest about his faults.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/05/06 08:49 PM

Dai Vernon was one of the most influential people who's ever lived in the field of magic. He was a singular and important individual. He was fun to be with and shared his knowledge.

That has nothing to do with the fact that he was an alcoholic, didn't like to perform for laymen and much preferred performing for magicians, did everything possible to avoid having a regular job and taking responsibility for his wife and family, etc.
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Postby Guest » 12/05/06 09:15 PM

Perhaps my post was ended before I had a chance to throughly explore my point.

I'll end that post here a few posts later by saying simply that if I was Dai Vernon, and I could do what The Professor did with a deck of cards, cups and balls, and a few other bits of apparatus, and if I posessed his charm, good looks, and easy way about life...........I'd do exactly what he did.

If I could get a gig at the Magic Castle that involved me sitting there drinking scotch and talking to other magicians, and if I could make that gig last a couple of decades, that isn't something I'd have to think more than about 10 seconds about before saying "yes".

And if I could do all of that without ever really working a real job, I'd do that in a New York minute as well.

But alas I'm not Dai Vernon, and I'm not him in almost every way possible. I'm not even close in terms of my skills or my overall view of life or dedication to ones family.

The Professor WAS the wandering magician of old. Brillilant beyond words and focused only on magic.

.....Mr. Hofzinser sir, you are completely missing the point of this conversation!!
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Postby Guest » 12/06/06 06:28 AM

As you know, I am working on Volume Two of the Vernon biography. I am interested in the comments by people who say that Vernon was a womanizer and that he had his rent paid for by Dr. Daley. Do you have specific evidence of this? Actual names of women, for example, or is it all hearsay? Same with Dr. Daley? I have come across no information that indicates Daley paid for the apartment in New York but would be interested in any evidence to the contrary. As for Vernon being an alcoholic, that may have developed during the Castle years but I'm not there yet in my timeline. I haven't come across his friends expressing any concerns about his drinking in their letters during Vernon's time in New York. Lots of notes about others such as Carlyle and Jean Verner, but not about Vernon. So, for now, any information about Daley paying the rent or Vernon being a womanizer would be greatly appreciated.
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Postby Guest » 12/06/06 08:31 AM

For a long time now there has been a lot of things flying over the web in blogs and in forums about Dai Vernon.

Dai Vernon was a good friend of my Dad and my Dad booked him at the Portland SAM when my Dad was president of the club back in the 50's.

My dad respected Dai Vernon because he did great magic and he performed it with class and made it an art.

When I got into magic and started to take it seriously my Dad let me read his copy of "stars of magic" and said, "study Dai Vernon."

Dai Vernon's magic is respected in magic and I don't have to talk about things in this forum that most magicians already know and agree upon.

One of the odd things is how others measure success and many say that Dai Vernon was not a big money maker in magic. As appose to who? Dai Vernon and my Dad and most of the performers of his time came out of the performance time of the night clubs. Going out night clubbing was the norm for entertainment before TV became popular.

As far as a performer Dai Vernon was a "top" professional magician. He performed on the Radio city music hall stage in the "rainbow room" a very professional booking that was a top night spot. As well as the Kit Kat club and even worked doing close up in one of the night clubs owned by "Billy Rose."

In fact "Cardini" was on the stage doing magic at that time. Carl Ballentine, Jay Marshall, Billy Bishop and many other magicians performed on the stage for "Billy Rose."

Billy Rose booked top professional acts and Vernon was a top professional magician to get that kind of a booking. And to be booked by the other mentioned night clubs and booked by Hardeen - Houdini's brother who booked acts in Vaudeville and in other venues.

To close I would like to say the life of a professional magician is filled with ups and downs of having work and not having work. It is feast or famine.

Dai Vernon did it "his way" and he left the magic world a large amount of great magic that still inspires magicians today.

In my book - Dai Vernon - "STANDING OVATION."
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Postby Guest » 12/06/06 08:54 AM

I think that folks are presuming that when somebody mentions a potential shortcoming in somebody else that it comes along with some sort of "judgement".

It doesn't.

Giants of history by the very nature of their stature will undergo through examination for the history books. This appears to be Vernon's time for authors and historians to examine him and his work in detail.

Between David Ben and Richard Kaufman, I haven't stopped reading about Vernon for over two months now. In the time I'm putting into understanding Vernon and his work I for one appreciate the COMPLETE truth about the man.

It's only now that we have David Ben producing the definitive biographical work on Vernon.

I tend to believe what I read when the author is as skilled as Ben, so his Book #2 will continue to influence my knowledge and thoughts about Vernon as did his Book #1 and RK/Genii's "The Vernon Touch".

I look forward to reading the truth about the second half of his life.

Of everything I read about him, I judge Vernon not for one single second........but I do want to know.

I'm standing with you giving that ovation Glenn, no hesitation in getting up out of my seat.
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Postby Guest » 12/06/06 08:57 AM

Originally posted by Bryan Dreyfus:
Please don't blame a spectator for exposing a sleight. That honor is yours YOU exposed the sleight not the other way around.


Bryan
Bryan, our secrets are not as well kept as they may have once been. It is impossible to prove, but I assure you that the double lift I got caught doing was perfect - the spectator in question knew the secrets of magic. I've run into the same situation with the crazy-man's hand cuffs; before I even did the trick, this guy says, "Oh, I know this one - you just switch your fingers around when you stretch it". It happens, you'll find yourself performing for people who know the secret behind the trick you're doing. If you mean to tell me this isn't true, you're obviously not performing as much as I am. You're right about the outcome of the performance being the responsibility of the performer - when someone exposes a secret, whether its because I screwed up or because they knew about it from a book or a tv show or a friend, its up to me to make sure that they still get WOWed. This is where knowing lots of moves that accomplish the same thing comes in handy.
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Postby Guest » 12/06/06 09:49 AM

Originally posted by Slavatron:
Originally posted by Bryan Dreyfus:
[b] Please don't blame a spectator for exposing a sleight. That honor is yours YOU exposed the sleight not the other way around.


Bryan
Bryan, our secrets are not as well kept as they may have once been. It is impossible to prove, but I assure you that the double lift I got caught doing was perfect - the spectator in question knew the secrets of magic. I've run into the same situation with the crazy-man's hand cuffs; before I even did the trick, this guy says, "Oh, I know this one - you just switch your fingers around when you stretch it". It happens, you'll find yourself performing for people who know the secret behind the trick you're doing. If you mean to tell me this isn't true, you're obviously not performing as much as I am. You're right about the outcome of the performance being the responsibility of the performer - when someone exposes a secret, whether its because I screwed up or because they knew about it from a book or a tv show or a friend, its up to me to make sure that they still get WOWed. This is where knowing lots of moves that accomplish the same thing comes in handy. [/b]
From Ford
I have maintained, for years, the greatest exposers , outside of incompetent performners are magic dealers
In order to survive I guess , they will sell secrets to any one
A number of years ago I did one of my few trade show gigs, for the shopping center industry
My employer approached me after the gig And asked how I accomplished one feat as an important prospect wanted to know I declined to tell him
He trotted off to Tannen's Described the effect They sold him a version which he proudly presented to his prospective client
In lieu of that I strongly suspect that your double probably wasn't as flawless as you thought
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Postby Guest » 12/06/06 01:44 PM

Mr. Ben,
I was one who made a comment about Dai Vernon's womanizing. I admittedly have no documentation of trysts, but over the years numerous "old timers" have made cracks in my presence (regarding his relish of the conquest) that were greeted all-around with knowing chuckles, glances, nods, and winks.
The over-all impression conveyed was that everyone knew he was slick and loved the ladies. They thought he was a regular wolf.

Now, in the cold light of publicly explaining myself...I do realize some of those old timers could have been jealously-projecting onto him--assuming that if THEY were him, why no woman would be able to resist THEM! So surely he must be scoring right and left (they'd perhaps reason). Or the idea that they had all seen him with a drink at one time or another, therefore he always had a drink. It ain't necessarily so.

I wish I had tapes or transcripts of some of those long ago sessions with the guys that started "bringing me up" in magic. There were many laughs I would have liked recorded. People (many of whom have since died) would regale you with stories of the masters--Lloyd Jones, Vik Kirk, Ormond McGill are a few chaps that were around in those days (mid-70s through mid-80s) who seemed to know everyone and had been around more than somewhat. The picture they painted was that The Professor was a magical genius and a raconteur who liked to have some drinks and who had the power over women.

So, sorry, without tapes or letters to back up those stories all I've heard has to be called here-say.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/06/06 01:57 PM

Perhaps womanizer is the wrong word. A womanizer is a cad who uses women and treats them like crap. The Professor I chatted with during his later years certainly admired beautiful women and was not above talking about their attributes as if we were in a barbecause thats where we were; in a bar. But when I observed him around women, he was a gentleman.

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Postby Guest » 12/06/06 02:17 PM

Was he an alcoholic? I think its clear he liked to party, but that doesnt mean he was afflicted with the disease of alcoholism. Is it possible that because of his reputation for avoiding responsibility and his taste for the night life people are assuming his taste for liquor was more than it was?

As for being a womanizer, in The Magician And The CardSharp the author says that even into his nineties friends would sometimes set him up with women of negotiable affections, which was Vernons term.
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Postby Guest » 12/06/06 02:18 PM

Of course you are right Dustin. I did not meant to imply he used or abused women.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/06/06 02:51 PM

And I didn't think that you did, Dave. That's why I piped in.

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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/06/06 02:53 PM

Originally posted by Jim Coles:
As for being a womanizer, in The Magician And The CardSharp the author says that even into his nineties friends would sometimes set him up with women of negotiable affections, which was Vernons term.
That's not a womanizer either. That's a customer.

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Postby Guest » 12/06/06 03:17 PM

I believe that Ricky Jay has said that Vernon gave Jay this piece of advice in the context of either becoming a better magician or living longer (and I'm paraphrasing here): "F*** women, f*** lots of women."

If memory serves, this bit may be found in the Singer article on Jay in The New Yorker, ca. 1993.
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Postby Guest » 12/06/06 03:43 PM

Originally posted by DustinStinett:
Originally posted by Jim Coles:
[b]As for being a womanizer, in The Magician And The CardSharp the author says that even into his nineties friends would sometimes set him up with women of negotiable affections, which was Vernons term.
That's not a womanizer either. That's a customer.

Dustin [/b]
I won't argue that point.

I wasn't aware that womanizer carried particularly negative connotations -- I just used it to mean a guy who likes the company of ladies. Nothing wrong with that. :)
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Postby Guest » 12/06/06 03:51 PM

Often the best source is......the source itself.

If you were to read "The Vernon Touch" from cover to cover you'll find dozens of references as to how much the Professor (in his own words) enjoys the company of beautiful women, and how he'll drink pretty much anything.

Nobody here is stupid, nor are they unwise as to what does and doesn't constitute a good looking man. Vernon was handsome, some would say that he was the definition of what both men and women consider to be good looking.
In a club every night of the week, or on the road, I would suggest that if Vernon WASN'T "living it up" as suggested he might have been he would in fact be the exception compared to most others living a comperable lifestyle.

As I read through this thread, I realize that none of this has anything to do with magic itself, but simply Vernon as a human being.
What got me on this track was our old friend Ed Marlo, who was every bit Vernon's peer but stayed in Chicago and raised his family while living a simple life and holding down a normal job.

Different strokes for different folks.....same as always.
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