Aronson's "Try the Impossible"

Discuss products and their reviews in Genii.

Postby Matthew Field » 07/25/01 10:37 AM

This is a jump on the Genii reviewers, but I'm reading Simon Aronson's new book, "Try the Impossible" and I have conflicting thoughts about the book.

It has a new principle which allows for an unbelievable spelling effect and a trick using the Queens as locator cards, plus several other applications. I saw a magician perform these at Tannen's yesterday and they look great.

But many of Simon's other tricks involve lots of counting through the deck and I don't know how these would play in the real world. Simon has lots of material based on his stack, but not involving memorization, although many of his tricks DO involve at least some mental calculation, and Simon gives advice aboiut patter and pacing designed to allow for the mental gymnastics. But I'm not a fan of stacks and I'll wait for the Tamariz Memo Deck book before trying to make my 57 year old mind try to remember where I left my car keys.

It's a good book with some really great stuff in it, but I felt (at least 2/3 of the way through) somewhat let down.

Any of you read the book? Agree/disagree? Why? Would you recommend it?

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Postby Steve Bryant » 07/25/01 11:49 AM

Re Aronson, I've been doing the 18/43 joker variation of the UnDo Influence section repeatedly for folks in a bar as well as for engineers at the day job and it blows away both groups. It looks impossible. I also expect good things with the gaffed aces when they arrive. Two "workers" from a book plus lots of interesting thinking make it a hit with me.
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Postby Guest » 07/25/01 03:35 PM

I haven't got it yet, but look forward to reading Aronson's book. His stuff, even if
a little non-commercial (am I using this word correctly?), is almost always "different" (in terms of method, technique, etc) than so much of what is published. There was a recent book from the UK full of card tricks based on mathematical principles (and I'm sitting here at work and can't think of the title), and I was surprised that Aronson's stuff wasn't represented more (or maybe it was; the book in question (unforgivably) had no index).

At any rate, when I read one of Simon's books, I learn something. Not always the case with other authors.
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Postby Matthew Field » 07/25/01 04:20 PM

Originally posted by bill mullins:
There was a recent book from the UK full of card tricks based on mathematical principles (and I'm sitting here at work and can't think of the title)


That's "Card Concepts" by Arthur MacTier.

And I quite agree that Simon Aronson's thinking always impresses me. Don't get me wrong -- the UnDo Influence idea is "worth the price of the book."

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Postby Guest » 07/25/01 07:10 PM

I have only recently bought "Try the Impossible" and as a long time fan and user of Aronson's material, I don't feel "let down" at all.
The first trick in the book is worth the price of admission.
Anyone that says his material is none commercial has never truly used a memorized stack.
Using the Aronson stack within the standard diary effect (See "Birthday Card Trick" from Simply Simon) is one of the most commercial, anywhere, anytime tricks you can do.
Please read Michael Close's essay on the memorized stack in Vol 5 of the Workers series. If this does not convince you, nothing will.
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Postby Guest » 07/25/01 11:06 PM

Simon's book has some great effects, even for those of us who don't memorize stacks. My favorites so far: Decipher and 2 Deck Canasta...both easy, inexplicable, and worth the price of the book! I enjoy his writing and in depth explanations because you really see how his ingenius mind works. And the added insights of his sessioning with Bannon and Solomon doesn't hurt either
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Postby Guest » 07/26/01 12:45 AM

Ian -- You are absolutely right -- some of Simon's stuff is as commercial as card magic gets, and I shouldn't have implied otherwise. But some of his impossible locations read like they require greater presentational skills than I have to make them entertaining -- at least compared to sponge bunnies.

Bill Mullins
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Postby Guest » 07/26/01 12:51 AM

Matt -- Do you (or anyone else) share my frustrations with MacTier's book?? I bought it primarily as a reference book, but it is pretty difficult to look stuff up in -- no indexes by author, for example, and if you want to find references to a concept like "Shuffle Bored" (which is mentioned), you pretty much have to read each page looking for them, since that concept isn't called out in chapter headings.

But, there isn't much else like this book (it does remind me a little of Steve Beam's Semi-automatic books).

Bill
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Postby Matthew Field » 07/26/01 09:17 AM

Originally posted by bill mullins:
Matt -- Do you (or anyone else) share my frustrations with MacTier's book?
Bill


You betcha. The production of the book, from the lack of an index to the editing (or lack of same) is frustrating. The most frustrating thing is MacTier's decision to change the name of each and every trick he prints in the book, even if his "contribution" is only to add some mindreading-related patter. He does, however, give credit to the originators.

As you say, though, it's a valuable book.

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Postby Brian Marks » 07/26/01 05:48 PM

Does anyone here do memorized deck work?

I would like to know if this book would properly introduce me to Simon's stack and if not which one is the proper one.
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Postby Guest » 07/26/01 10:48 PM

Bound to Please by Simon Aronson is probably the best place to understand and learn the use of the memorized deck IMHO. His system of neumonics is the only way that I could have learned such a stack.
And yes, the Birthday Card trick from Simply Simon is a fantastic trick. I've only been using it a couple of weeks and the responce has been overwhelming.
Ian, how do you introduce the the Birthday Card into the deck during the course of a performance?
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Postby Guest » 07/27/01 09:53 AM

I love the book. The UnDo principle is stunning. I do both the first effect in the book and also the effect 'Twice as Hard' and both get superb reactions; these ARE commercial effects.

Nosmura Aces is great but, in reference to the recent Genii articles, is maybe 'too perfect' so you need to make it look less clean!

The Head over Heels move I'm using an awful lot; especially with the invisible card presentation. It's a very economic move in the right situation.

I didn't like the large section on the Aronson Stack simply because I don't use that particular stack myself - and I saw nothing in that section that could persuade me to switch over to using it.

I also have to confess I don't understand the description of the ring on band effect at the end of the book; I've spent hours trying to work it out, to no avail - basically I can't get to figure-10 - so if anyone out there has managed to follow this I'd really appreciate some more info on it! A video clip would be even better ;-)

What I really enjoy about Simon's writings are the way he discusses variations at the end of each effect, along with further thoughts and ideas. Very inspiring style of writing.

Have to say, though, for the Undo + Head Over Heels it's excellent value. By ordering direct from Simon I got a set of gaffed cards for the Assemblies thrown in, so I have absolutely no complaints.

Jamie.
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Postby Guest » 08/07/01 04:44 PM

Ed

Sorry for not replying sooner, I've been away on holiday!

I no longer use a Birthday card.

I have now written the stack into a normal diary i.e. first of every month Jack of Spades, second of every month King of Clubs etc.

I thus hand the diary out at the start of the effect. Request a date from the spectator. Translate that date into the corresponding card. Control it to the top of the deck. Force the card and have it left unseen on the table / in the hand. Ask the spectator to look up the date. They reveal the card written on the date. You reveal the selected card to match.

I hope this makes sense? I have only given the bare bones of the method. It must be embellished with patter etc.

I have been using this for several years, and I guarantee that it always receives a fantastic reaction. :)
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Postby Guest » 08/10/01 05:20 AM

Does "Try the impossible" introduce to Simon's stack?
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Postby Matthew Field » 08/10/01 09:14 AM

Originally posted by Fabio:
Does "Try the impossible" introduce to Simon's stack?



It does have the stack spelled out in the book, but only about 1/3 of the book is devoted to the stack ("Unpacking the Aronson Stack"). The first third (my favorite) is devoted to the "UnDo Principle" and the middle is assorted tricks, including a new sleight by Simon (!!). There's more on the Aronson stack in his "A Stack to Remember" booklet reprinted, as I recall, in "Bound to Please."

Matt Field

[ August 10, 2001: Message edited by: Matthew Field ]
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Postby Michael Edwards » 08/10/01 09:23 AM

Now if Simon would only share his code act, but I'm afraid that's not to be... :(
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Postby Guest » 08/10/01 12:39 PM

Simon is a detailist, logician, and entailist (neologism) who writes books that are detaining, entertaining, challenging, interesting, and philosophical. What more can you ask? Also, his books must be reread several times to absorb their depth and breadth.

"Un-Due Influence," based on a wonderful displacement-placement idea by Alex Elmsley, is what I call a contemplative trick. It demands a captive, discerning audience. I've been performing it for weeks on various types of spectators. I recently showed it around at the PCAM Convention, recommending enthusiasts to check out Simon's book.

For the Dubious Record, I've added some verbal spin. Briefly: After I perform the whimsical bit about the Jokers whispering in my ear, I say: "I'm disappointed...I thought they were going to tell me the names of your cards. Instead they whispered something just as astonishing. It turns out that they were peeking during the 'cuts' and told me that the first spectator cut off exactly eighteen cards and the second spectator exactly cut off forty-three cards. If this is so, then the selections will be at those positions."

I then deal down to these numbered positions and reveal the two selections. My claim about the "cuts" of course is bogus, but spectators "buy the lie," forgetting about the displacements or not recognizing them as being displacements in the first place.

For the blow-off I add, "You know what...I'm mistaken. The whispering Jokers are really clairvoyants...THEY KNEW AHEAD OF TIME that you guys would cut off eighteen and forty-three cards!"

I then reveal the printed numbers on the backs of the Jokers to cap the effect.

In this case, the patter creates a different impression (interpretation) and strengthens an already strong climax. You get a lot of mileage out of a semi-automatic trick, proving that interpretative patter often counts.

Onward...
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Postby Guest » 10/08/01 08:08 PM

Simon has recently updated his website to include a video clip of his Ringleader effect at the end of his book. Check it out on his "new book" page at http://www.simonaronson.com

I found this clip to be extremely helpful with understanding the timing and presentation. By the way, I do not intend to start a book vs. video discussion! (laugh)

Racherbaumer's additional presentation :eek: is a great addition to an already incredible effect. Interpretative patter *definitely* counts.

Burt
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Postby Guest » 10/10/01 02:07 AM

I haven't purchased the book, but Tomas Blomberg performed some of its contents during a session a couple of weeks ago. The material was great. I particularly enjoyed the Un-Due Influence principle.

Amongst others, we discussed if the final revelation in The whispering Jokers maybe somewhat diminishes the first climax. As Jon Racherbaumer put it:

Originally posted by Jon Racherbaumer:
For the blow-off I add, "You know what...I'm mistaken. The whispering Jokers are really clairvoyants...THEY KNEW AHEAD OF TIME that you guys would cut off eighteen and forty-three cards!"
I then reveal the printed numbers on the backs of the Jokers to cap the effect.


As the printed numbers are revealed, it is apparent to the audience that the performer, somehow, knew the outcome of the routine from the outset. This would be fine in many cases, such as in predictions. But since The whispering Jokers seems primarily to be a very fair location-effect with fair selections and returns of the selections etc, doesn't the printed numbers suggest foul play? The audience isn't any longer concerned how the magician succeeded to find the two hopelessly lost selections, but rather how he knew where they would end up.

Just a thought.

Peter Grning

[ October 10, 2001: Message edited by: PGroning ]
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Postby Guest » 10/10/01 09:36 AM

The idea of cards whispering to me is something I'm unable to pull off, and so I do essentially the same effect, Queenspell. I also pass out three packets and have them shuffled prior to the effect, adding the Queens as the packets are reassembled.

Randy Campbell

[ October 10, 2001: Message edited by: Randy Campbell ]
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Postby pduffie » 10/10/01 10:36 AM

Hi

Peter Groning said:

"As the printed numbers are revealed, it is apparent to the audience that the performer, somehow, knew the outcome of the routine from the outset."

I would agree completely with that, for a lay audience.

But for magicians it's the final fooler because they think you are getting the information from a stack and glimpse - then naming the numbers (positions) accordingly.

I would only do this trick for magicians anyway because there are so many better "effects" for lay people.

Best Wishes

Peter
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Postby Matthew Field » 10/10/01 11:20 AM

Originally posted by Peter Duffie:
I would only do this trick for magicians anyway because there are so many better "effects" for lay people.


My point exactly. But is is damned clever and begs for variatons, which I'm sure we'll see.

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Postby Steve Bryant » 10/10/01 02:46 PM

Re the following,

"As the printed numbers are revealed, it is apparent to the audience that the performer,
somehow, knew the outcome of the routine from the outset."


that is precisely the miracle. How could you know in advance where they would cut? I continue to do this in bars, for a drinking crowd, and it plays well both for the very sharp and those not quite so sharp. It's quite commercial, to use that old accolade.
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Postby Guest » 10/11/01 04:22 AM

Hi,

Originally posted by Peter Duffie:
I would agree completely with that, for a lay audience.
But for magicians it's the final fooler because they think you are getting the information from a stack and glimpse - then naming the numbers (positions) accordingly.
I would only do this trick for magicians anyway because there are so many better "effects" for lay people.


I agree with you on your last statement. But then again, what we choose to perform is only a matter of personal preferences, taste and style. However, the principle involved is, as Matt Field put it, “damned clever”.

I don't agree with you when you say that it is better as a magicians fooler then for lay people.

The handling of the routine seems very disarming and fair. The idea of letting the audience believe that the selections are hopelessly lost, out of the magicians control, but yet found in an impressive manner, seems to me to be wasted if the magician only seconds later reveal that he knew from the very beginning where the cards would finally end up. It suggests to the onlookers that it didn't matter which cards they selected, or where they put them back, since the magician already had decided the outcome. I think it renders the trick a smell of mathematics or of being self-working. Although this wouldn't be entirely true, it does sort of put them on the right track.

I think it would play much stronger if the magician acts as if he doesn't know the end result. As if he really obtained the necessary information by some unseen force or method. This, I believe, would impress magicians, and laymen, much more. If they suspect that a stack and/or a glimpse is involved, so much the better. If they try to back-track the method they will prove to themselves that these assumptions where wrong.

Originally posted by Steve Bryant:
that is precisely the miracle. How could you know in advance where they would cut?


You can't, but in my opinion, the final revelation blurs the effect. To me it seems to be a location effect that suddenly turns into a prediction. (Not a very fair one either, since you didn't tell about it from the beginning. Who knows, maybe you, for instance via a card-index, switched in the Jokers with the appropriate numbers written on their backs after finding out the correct figures. ;) )
Steve, you say that you've gotten good reactions performing this for lay audiences. I think that's great. Maybe it's just that the routine suits you much better then it does me.

Regards,

Peter Grning
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Postby Guest » 10/11/01 06:18 AM

It seems we have (inadventently) started a "Too Perfect" discussion: several members claim that the "prediction" facet of Un-Due Influence renders the effect "Too Perfect", while others feel it plays well. Both positions are valid.

Let me suggest that "Too Perfect" material can be quite entertaining. In fact, if the performer has already brought the audience to an "entertained" state, a "Too Perfect" climax plays wonderfully. On the other hand, if the audience remains in a "skeptical" or "puzzled" state, the magic is lost by a "Too Perfect" climax.

As has been noted previously, this is not altogether a reflection on the performer: every audience comes to a magician's performance with its own prejudices.

Capable magicians instinctively steer toward the delicate balance between the "entertainment-at-all-costs" and "impossible-but-boring" extremes. For those audiences predisposed to skepticism, the best approach is often to soften the magic and turn up the charm. On the other hand, if an audience is already "believing", the potential for the miraculous is virtually unlimited.

regards, Doug
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Postby Guest » 10/11/01 09:59 AM

Yes, yes.
Some of the thoughtful responses regarding Simon's "Un-Do Influence" effect has shown that such effects (as it sparks discussion) shove us into tantalizing Too-Perfect Territory. Some even argue that ALL prediction effects suggest (to analytical, theorizing spectators) that the magician not only knows the outcome beforehand but the action-procedure itself is or must be DETERMINISTIC.

It's been my happy experience with LAY PEOPLE that the surprise of seeing the printed numbers on the backs of the Jokers, because it arrives out of the blue, creates an enormous and satisfying surprise. Granted: It demolishes the notion of "location," if that's the patter approach being taken. However, my approach (which is very carefully established by patter)is that the initial OSTENSIBLE effect is that the Jokers "whispered" pertinent info. THey apparently told me HOW MANY cards were initially cut off by each spectator. The selections are not later located after being "lost" by shuffles and cuts (as in most location-type tricks). The selections APPARENTLY never move, having been left at their original positions. This of course is NOT the actual case, but the incidental handling that creates the necessary displacements are not clearly perceived, if at all, by the spectators.

Contrary to what others may argue, I do NOT think that this is a magician's trick. I have done it for a few magicians to demonstrate Simon's unique approaches and to boost his book, but I prefer to perform it for lay people and I've done it dozens of times. Each time the response has been wholly satisfying. The challenge, as in many effects of this type, is to figure out the correct and perhaps delicate kind of presentation.

I even get away with the silly, whimsical "whispering" bit...which sophisticated audiences think it a tad silly and should be instantly discounted. However, they momentarily forgive my sophmoric indulgence. The moment the selections are revealed to be at the positions cited by the "whisperers," there is a delicious expression that registers on faces...it's like the sun is suddenly covered by a gliding cloud...a shadow of incomprehension scuds across their eyes.

When I finally reveal the printed numbers on the back of the Jokers, the points-of-view of the spectators explode in different directions--just enough to deflect or retard analysis.

In short, I'm a happy man.
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Postby Steve Bryant » 10/11/01 12:18 PM

Yes! Jon has described the experience exactly. Re:
The moment the selections are revealed to be at the positions
cited by the "whisperers," there is a delicious expression that registers on faces
,

there is also a delicious expression on my face. I'm always thrilled to know that everything has, once again, worked as planned. Everyone is happy.
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Postby Guest » 10/11/01 12:20 PM

It may be unpopular to state this, but after my initial reading of Aronson's latest book "Try the Impossible", I was somewhat disapointed. Maybe I'm getting jaded, or the type of material I like to perform has changed over the past few years, but I don't know why there is so much hype over the first trick in the book aside from the fact that it is sleightless. I don't think it fools magicians. Magicians may not know how it exactly works (even when they can do it), but when asked, they'd probably say that it's a math trick. I guess we can argue about the definition of fooling.

As for non-magicians, you probably would fool them, but would they care? The effect looks like you're estimating the cuts of the spectators (until you show the numbers written down). Is this such a miracle?(perhaps the second part). What trick will you omit from your repitoire to do this? I have come up with a fun presentation for the trick, but it's not yet worthwhile to perform yet. However, I'm sure a magician like Tamariz or Mike Close can take this trick and make it interesting and make it magicial. Or, maybe one of you can do this. If Tamariz and Close can make even less interesting Annemann and Stewart James tricks interesting, I'm sure someone out there will make this trick a finished piece. But, right now, this trick in it's current form doesn't knock the sponge balls out of my pocket (a rule of thumb that I use when selecting material).

I am a fan of Aronson's books, with "Simply Simon" being my favorite, but I was let down a bit with "Try the Impossible."

Jeremy
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Postby Guest » 10/12/01 02:18 AM

Originally posted by Doug Peters
It seems we have (inadventently) started a "Too Perfect" discussion: several members claim that the "prediction" facet of Un-Due Influence renders the effect "Too Perfect", while others feel it plays well. Both positions are valid.

And here I thought I would be inciting a discussion on books vs. video!

Both positions are valid.

Perfectly stated.

On a personal note, it is extremely refreshing to see people with different opinions having a civilized and constructive dialogue on the Internet. I think it's illegal. :p

Burt

[ October 12, 2001: Message edited by: urusai ]
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Postby Guest » 10/13/01 07:19 PM

I am enjoying this discussion.

I would only do this trick for magicians anyway because there are so many better "effects" for lay people.


Can anyone suggest actual effects/routines that you think are better? That will help frame the discussion. I assume you are talking similar effects.

I have done this effect several times for lay people and it does get a good
reaction. Also, I am experimenting with doing it with a deck shuffled by
the spectator (FASDIU). It is obviously hard to load the cards face up
in the right position immediately after someone shuffles the deck.

Here's what I do:
* Start with two jokers face up on the bottom of the pack. You can easily
load these from your left pocket after a spectator shuffle.
* I say "let's try a small experiment with a small number of cards and to make
it fair, let us not use the top few cards". Here I count nine cards and place
them aside in a discard pile.
* Next I do Jim Steinmeyer's "Nine card problem" effect with a lie detector theme.
In order to do this I lay down 3 packets of 3 cards each (another nine cards).
* As they pick up the pile they chose and note the bottom card, I turn away. This
is part of Steinmeyer's effect.. Here I quickly count another
nine cards and load the first joker face up from the bottom
- mechanics are like a side steal, easy because you have turned away from audience.
* I turn around place my pack dowm and place the discard pile (9 cards) on this and
set this aside (FU joker is now 19th from top).
* After I finish my "lie detector" trick, I put those 9 cards on the top, hold
a break and load the second joker with a side steal. This is between effects while
I say something like "let us try one more experiment - a harder one".

Your jokers are now loaded and you can proceed with Aronson's excellent effect.

Ideas/comments welcome,

Vijay
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Postby pduffie » 10/14/01 01:42 AM

Reply to Vijay

I was referring to effects in general - not just this genre. The discussion was performing "Undo Influence" for lay people.

I think Simon's "Undo Influence" is a brilliant concept. Like Gilbreath and Free-cut, it's beyond fathom to the uninitiated. And it's open to much variation, and possible further advancement. I love it.

However, for lay-people - if I have a choice between a signed card magically appearing inside a sealed envelope that's inside my wallet, and a math-based location, I know which I would choose.

Best Wishes

Peter
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Postby Guest » 10/15/01 09:07 AM

Something that I just started to play with is using a patter that implies fate is predetermined & even if we know the outcome it can't be changed, so I repeat the effect a second time with the same outcome. Just something that I have began working with but the response seems to be good so far
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