Discuss the latest feature articles in Genii.

Postby Matthew Field » 09/04/02 07:15 AM

I'm somewhat surprised by the lack of chatter here about the latest K.L. adventure.

It reads like fiction, is presented as fact, is written by a man as mysterious as Erdnase.

Who is he? Is he making this stuff up?

I like the concept and the writing.

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Postby Bill Mullins » 09/04/02 08:23 AM

I'm a little surprised that Richard though it appropriate to publish a "how to" guide for carrying contraband through airport security. I travel a dozen or more times a year, and don't want it any easier for people to get weapons into airplanes (not that I think that it would be that hard for a motivated terrorist . . .)
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Postby Steve Hook » 09/04/02 08:58 AM


After recent flights to Florida, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii, and with upcoming flights through La Guardia, Boston Logan, Vegas, and back to Orlando, I'm forced to agree, even though the magazine's audience is relatively small.

The recent Orlando Sentinel series on airline cargo terrorism and today's story fr AP don't help much either:

<Reporters Able To Smuggle Knives Onto Flights

POSTED: 8:00 a.m. EDT September 4, 2002

NEW YORK -- In a troubling investigation, reporters for a New York newspaper were able to smuggle several small knives and pepper spray through security checkpoints to board 14 flights over Labor Day weekend at 11 U.S. airports.

Reporters for the Daily News were able to bring the banned items -- utility knives, rubber-handled razor knives, a pocket knife, a corkscrew, razor blades and pepper spray -- through every airport security checkpoint they attempted to pass, the newspaper said.

When asked for a comment, Chris Nardella, a spokeswoman for United Airlines, delivered a warning to the newspaper: "That is a violation of federal law that you guys knowingly took those items on an airline. You can be arrested." >

Hey, ya gotta love that last quote! :rolleyes: Way to go, Chris!

What say you, Emperor Richard? :genii: Are we nitpicking? Or is it possible everyone should be more careful?

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Postby Bob Coyne » 09/04/02 09:50 AM

Back to Matt's question about who is writing this and if he's making it up. I doubt the guy is what he claims to be...but it makes good reading nonetheless. If I had to guess, I'd say he is a magician pretending to be a spy pretending to be a magician. :)
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Postby Guest » 09/04/02 04:11 PM

It did occur to me that, now that we've read this "How I Snuck a Small Metal Object Through Airport Security" story, we may all need to turn ourselves in to Operation TIPS. We might even earn a handshake from John Ashcroft for keeping so sharp an eye out for ourselves.

In fact, I do share a touch of Bill Mullins's concern about the wisdom of publishing this particular article, given the tenor of the times. But then, crime fiction writers dream up and publish the details of "perfect crimes" all the time. And this may very well be just another piece of fiction.

Matt, what makes you think K.L. is a "he"?

Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/04/02 07:40 PM

Anyone who wants to try K.L.'s "method" of sneaking something past airport security can be my guest ... just make sure to drop me a line from your prison cell afterward, where John Ashcroft will be toasting your testes.
You can look at the current state of airport security in various ways, but most experts think the extra measures are mostly for show, and if anyone still wants to cause trouble they'll be able to since security is so lax in so many other areas. Forget the passengers: remember that it was the co-pilot of the Egyptian jumbo jet who crashed his own plane while crying out the glory of Allah.
So, while some may be curious about whether K.L.'s method will work, only a fool or a terrorist would try it ... oh, and possibly also a reporter for The Daily News. I think that part of K.L.'s point is that it MIGHT not be too difficult for anyone to sneak stuff past the current security setup.
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Postby Guest » 09/04/02 07:46 PM

On a related note, I recently read on another magic forum of a couple who went through a security checkpoint and had the wife's nail clipper/file confiscated. Once through the checkpoint, they stopped in the terminal gift shop. What did they buy in said gift shop, located after the security checkpoint? How's a nail clipper/file sound?


Postby Larry Horowitz » 09/04/02 11:28 PM

Last week I flew, carrying my close-up gear on the plane. A dozen decks of cards, a dozen half dollars, some dice and a close-up pad. After passing thru x-ray and security I was ready to board the plane when I was pulled aside for a more personal inspection. They went thru my carry-on bag by hand, one pocket at a time.

So, my big question is why didn't the finding of half a thumb cause any reaction?! Are thumb tips an everyday item?

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Postby Matthew Field » 09/05/02 08:38 AM

Originally posted by Ralph Bonheim:
Matt, what makes you think K.L. is a "he"?
As you probably surmised, Ralph, I was using the gender-neutral form of the pronoun.

But your point is a good one. I think someone once suggested that Erdnase might have been a woman, as well.

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Postby Guest » 09/05/02 09:53 AM

My briefcase often carries a jumbo silver dollar. Or course, it makes x-ray technicians immensely curious. On one trip, when I demonstrated the usefulness of said item, the clearly-bored security supervisor calls his entire team over for a repeat performance. At that point, a camel could have walked through the checkpoint unhindered.

True story; airport withheld to protect the guilty.

Postby Bill Goldman » 09/10/02 07:59 AM

I fly quite a bit, and I think that the machines are only as good as the people that use them. In the end, you really only have to fool the people. I've seen security guards talk about lunch breaks or other important issues and divert their attention elsewhere when they should have been doing their jobs.
While I'm not sure that KL is a man, woman, magician or spy, I DO think it is possible to move contraband through our airport security systems.
Think of it as a magician... it's a lot easier to fool one person than an audience of a hundred. And a magic audience is looking for trickery- they actually think it is their job- but a security guard is not.
Now hold on, I know what you are thinking... the security people ARE looking for trickery. I don't think so. I think they are looking for contraband, weapons, illegal farm products. Our tools are subtle, a turn of the head, a hand gesture, a spider vanish (smile).
Perhaps that is KL's point. Then again, maybe not. Either way, it brings up an interesting converation. I am enjoying his/her stories.
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 09/10/02 10:53 AM

I'm checked almost every time (even prior to 9/11) by airport security, especially at larger cities. This may be due to fitting the various profiles or because I seldom talk or make eye-contact. Besides, I dress in black, have a beard, and grit my teeth a lot. I also stay clear of crowds and people. I also rarely carry on anything, never wear a watch, or have anything remotely resembling metal on my person.

However, I recently was "flagged" (in Las Vegas)and set off the bells and whistles. The sullen checker asked: "Whatcha carrying?"

I said: "Only cash, my passport, and some business cards."

He waved his "wand" again and it beeped.

"What's in your top pocket?"

"Business cards."

Then it dawned on me. Silvan (from Italy) had given me his elegant, expensive business card which is made from titanium. It is razor-thin and his named is stenciled out.

I removed the card and explained that it belonged to a magician. The "wand" waver asked, "Are you a magician?" I reluctantly nodded and said, "Sorta..." He held the blade-like card to the light and handed it back to me. "Cool" he said.

I replaced it in my card-holder and walked to the gate, thinking: "Silvan's card is larger and sharper than a nail-cutter or box-cutter. One could easily take out an eye or slash a throat with it...yet...Hmmmmmm..."

Since then I've stopped carrying Silvan's card.
I also never carry shush powder in a ziplock bag.

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Postby Matthew Field » 09/11/02 06:26 AM

Originally posted by Jon Racherbaumer:
I also never carry shush powder
Too bad. Shush powder could really come in handy sometimes.

Let me know where to get some.

I am familiar with the powder that makes people overly loquacious, though. (Ah, youth.)

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Postby John Pezzullo » 09/12/02 03:35 AM

At the risk of taking this topic completely off track.....

What would have happened to Tony Montana in the film "Scarface", if he'd snorted slush powder instead of cocaine?
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Postby Terry » 09/12/02 04:49 AM

What would have happened to Tony Montana in the film "Scarface", if he'd snorted slush powder instead of cocaine?
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Postby Sean Piper » 09/12/02 03:44 PM

Slightly back towards topic, yet not completely...

One of my all time favourite scenes from 'Penn & Teller Get Killed' is when Teller is dropping the ball bearing in Penn's jacket as he walks through the airport security. As he comes out, it is stolen, and then loaded again to once again set of the sirens.

Finally Penn strips down and walks through, as Teller rolls the ball bearing along the ground.

Funny, funny stuff!!!!! :D
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Postby Bob Coyne » 01/17/03 08:52 PM

What ever happened to those K.L. columns? They seemed to have disappeared as mysteriously and suddenly as they appeared. I think there were only a couple, and they whet my appetite for more.
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/23/03 01:16 PM

I took The Amazing Randi to the airport striaght from a TV Studio where he had been doing an anti-Geller gig...

As we got the security area all the bells and buzzers went off!!! Big time...

Randi, in his rush, had forgotten that he had several magnets taped to his thighs.


I once had them make me take out all my props, unstack the multiplying bottles, do the linking rings... and on and on...

Fun eh?

Oh, a magician phoned us at the Desert Seminar and asked Joe Stevens how to bring his pistol to the show. He had to have it for a trick.

Joe told him "Do not carry on, put it in your checked baggage."

Few hours later we got a call from him. He was in police custody. He forgot to pack the gun and stuck it in his briefcase.

DUH :eek: :D :eek:
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/23/03 03:14 PM

K.L. is a busy guy and I rarely hear from him. He has, however, managed to find time to send me another column and it will appear in the April issue.
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