Mr. Gadfly

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Postby John Pezzullo » 05/26/02 03:48 AM

I recently purchased the two most recent issues of "Mr. Gadfly" (Volume One, Issue Four & Volume Two, Issue One) in digital format. This 'little periodical' is described as 'great value for the buck' in List #25 issued by H&R Magic Books and I think that this comment is right on the mark.

Volume One, Issue Four contains two articles about Brother John Hamman, giving some insight into the man and his magic. Having read these articles, I'll openly state that I'm a fool for not yet having purchased a copy of "The Secrets of Brother John Hamman". This issue also features an interview with Father Cyprian. A book featuring his 'stuff' is scheduled for publication sometime in the not too distant future. Something to look forward to.

The 'big fella', Frank Garcia, graces the cover of Volume Two, Issue One which includes articles about him by several of his friends. Interesting reading.

The editor of "Mr. Gadfly", Aaron Smith, conveys his respect for our craft in his writing. He obviously cares about what he's doing.

If you're interested, here's the URL:

www.mrgadfly.com
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Postby Matthew Field » 05/26/02 09:24 AM

Mr. Gadfly's Aaron Smith has my dough and has reneged on all his sunscribers and supporters. I've read correspondence between Aaron and Randy Wakeman and Aaron is pathetic. He, and anything he has a hand in, will never see another dime from me.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/26/02 11:47 AM

Matt,
What are you referring to? Has he taken money for subscriptions and then decided to switch to an electronic only format? Please explain for the rest of us.
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Postby Matthew Field » 05/26/02 01:00 PM

I paid money for a one year, six issue subscription, and had to send numerous e-mails to Aaron Smith to get the first two issues. I received the third issue -- then nothing.

Randy Wakeman contacted me and asked if he could reprint some reviews I had written about Randy, for GeMiNi and the EG, for an issue Aaron was doing on Randy's magic. I agreed, and re-edited the reviews. Then nothing.

A couple of weeks ago, Randy sent me a copy of an e-mail he had sent to Aaron, stating that all the work Randy had done on his (Wakeman's) issue seemed to be for nothing, since no Gadflys were appearing. Aaron sent a pathetic note in response, saying he was broke, out of work and on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I e-mailed Aaron telling him I was sorry about his personal circumstances, but they had nothing to do with the obligation he had taken on by starting a magazine and collecting funds up front.

There you have it, for what it's worth. Coming on the heels of the demise of Ken Simmons' ONYX (another pathetic tale), it was especially bad.

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Postby David Penn » 05/26/02 02:40 PM

Matt:
Thanks for the update. While I never subscribed to Mr. Gadfly, I did subscribe to Oynx. Can you give me the brief story of what happend to my money? Thanks!!
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/26/02 04:27 PM

After hearing stuff like that I'm extremely relieved that I made the effort to complete the run of Richard's Almanac and The Looking Glass and was able to fulfill everyone's subscription.
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Postby Sean Piper » 05/26/02 04:30 PM

What little dealings I've had with Aaron Smith have made me glad I didn't fork out any money!!!

I submitted a routine for the first issue, and received an email the next day from Aaron saying it would be in the next issue, and as payment I'd receive a copy of the mag for free.

Three issues and six months later.... nothing!

If anyone happens to see 'Spotless Collectors' popping up anywhere with a name on it that isn't mine, let me know.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/26/02 08:30 PM

I guess it's "Mr. Sad Fly" now.
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Postby Guest » 05/27/02 12:50 AM

______________
...Aaron is pathetic. He, and anything he has a hand in, will never see another dime from me.
...Aaron sent a pathetic note in response, saying he was broke, out of work and on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
______________

Twenty bucks for a years subscription. What exactly makes Aaron pathetic? Is he completely refusing to reimburse his subscribers?
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Postby John Pezzullo » 05/27/02 02:23 AM

Matt,

When I purchased the two issues of "Mr. Gadfly" there was an initial delay in receiving my digital copies of the magazine. After sending two e-mails inquiring about my order, and receiving no response, I decided to telephone Aaron in Oklahoma and find out what was going on. He apologised about the delay and rectified the situation in a timely and satisfactory manner. I must admit that initially I was p**sed off about having to call overseas to chase up my order, but in the end everything turned out well.

It's obvious that there's room for improvement in Aaron's administrative procedures. I can understand the way that you feel about the messy way in which your subscription has been handled and gone unfulfilled. With your permission, I'd be happy to contact Aaron on your behalf and attempt to sort things out. It would be my small contribution to bringing peace and harmony into the world for this week.

Regards,

John
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Postby Matthew Field » 05/27/02 07:22 AM

Originally posted by John Pezzullo:
With your permission, I'd be happy to contact Aaron on your behalf and attempt to sort things out.
John -- thank you for your offer, but no thanks. Aaron knows how to contact me and also how to contact all his other former supporters. It's not just me, or even the money. It's Aaron's flagrant disregard and lack of respect for his subscribers and contributors.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/27/02 08:49 AM

Will someone please explain to me and the other forum readers exactly what is going on here with "Mr. Gadfly" ?
Thanks!
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Postby Guest » 05/27/02 11:29 AM

Mr. Gadfly isnt defunct. Late, extremely late (2 months), but it is alive. I only use the money that comes in from subscriptions to fulfill the orders, so any concern that the magazine might be broke is foolish. I do not profit a dime.

Previously, several people were helping with Mr. Gadfly. I even had a buddy assisting shipping out the orders. Now, its just me, and over 1000 subscribers. Im still sending the packages first class or UPS, though from now on, a service will ship them, and take that massive load off me so I can design the next issues.

Mr. Gadfly was going to be an average of 68 pages in the new contract with the printers. However, we are going to try to up that to 82 pages. Also, it is no secret that Gadfly is going to be color as well. The contract is for two years.

If you havent received your issues, rest assured you will. I had 3500 back orders to fill, and I think there are about 200 left. I simply printed out a list, started at the beginning, and am working my way down.

If you have submitted material, and I havent used it, there are a number of possibilities. Maybe after doing some research it wasnt original or didnt fit the scope of Mr. Gadfly. Usually if I say I will use it, and then dont, I send a free copy anyway. Those people may be at the end of the list, as subscribers and contributors are the highest priority in the database.

My respect for the individuals that have helped me with Mr. Gadfly has not faded or dissolved. My passion is still in this magazine. Those that have subscribed and received issues since day one, have seen the evolution of a great little card magazine. I hope that I havent burned any bridges with it being late.

I appreciate everyones concern and understand a few peoples angst. Certainly, when it gets back on track, I will have a chance to sincerely apologize to those that are patiently awaiting the next issues. As always, Mr. Gadfly wont die until I do No death threats please!

-Aaron Smith
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Postby Guest » 05/27/02 11:43 AM

I'm still another one who paid for a year's subscription, got two copies, then finally a 3rd after all sorts of excuses and runarounds, then nothing more, not even the 4th that everyone was bragging about.

But I'm not too upset because as opposed to most everyone who fell all over themselves praising the quality of the mag, I thought it was atrocious. The writing and especially editorial writing was pathetic. A couple of good tricks, especially a version of Jazz 1-2-3-4 by Mark Aspiazu and that was about it.

I still remember Aaron's description of a Br. Hamman trick, which he praised himself to high heavens for publishing, as the most confusing trick I've ever seen in a magazine. And I hardly believe Br. Hamman was the problem.

Roibn
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Postby Guest » 05/28/02 08:12 AM

I too fell victim to the "Gadfly" ruse. After
waiting for ages to receive an issue, I finally
wrote Aaron and told him to delete my name from
his list and do as he wished with any remaining issues. Since its inception, Gadfly has truly
been a SadFly as mentioned in another post.
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Postby Jeremy Medows » 05/28/02 08:40 AM

Aaron Smith is a pathetic. Hes full of excuses. I had to send numerous e-mails to him for over a month to receive the first issue of my subscription to Mr. Gadfly (and the issue was out for a while). I complained and whined more and still have not received issues that I paid for as part of a 6 issue subscription: Vol.1, Number 3 (Sept. 2001 according to his website), Vol.1, Number 4 (November 2001), and Vol.2, Number 1 (January 2002).

When I asked for a refund, Mr. Smith told me that he doesn't give refunds. Well, he doesn't deliver a magazine either.

Is it too much to ask for a magazine that I paid for? I'm not even asking for quality, I've given up on that. However, my budgies would love to crap all over another handling of twisting the aces.

Smith called me during March and promised that the issues would be in the mail as soon as possible and apologized for his lateness. The apology seemed sincere, much like his post in this thread. He is extremely talented at faking sincerity. I still haven't received my issues.

I recommend to any potential advertisers to not do business with him. He may claim to have x number of subscribers, but how many are actually receiving the magazine? Your advertising dollars are being wasted if people aren't receiving their magazines, or receiving them in a timely manner (Is your ad for your latest DVD worth the same one month after the release as during the first month of release?)

Avoid doing business with Smith.

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Postby Matthew Field » 05/28/02 09:37 AM

Originally posted by Josh L.:
Twenty bucks for a years subscription.
Make that $40 for a hard copy subscription, which is what I signed up for.

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Postby Guest » 05/28/02 12:30 PM

Originally posted by Matt:
Make that $40 for a hard copy subscription, which is what I signed up for.
Mr. Gadfly hard-copy subscriptions are 22 bucks now, and were $20 when you subscribed, Matt. Thats roughly $3 per issue, after you receive all of them. Of the first three, they were at least twice as many pages than promised. And three times as many for the last two. I might add, they were all twice as late as promised but Im working on that!

I dont know how many of issue five were printed, exactly. But I do know that over 3000 shipped on time, and only a few hundred are late. This is a petty circulation problem that will be fixed. The anguish it real, I can understand that. Theres nothing like waiting for magic to arrive in your mailbox.

Mr. Gadfly is supposed to live through this, because it has some things that are very powerful going for it. Curiosity and respect. Putting together Mr. Garcias issue was tear jerking. Watching how his friends came together to create the edition, in Franks memory, was beautiful. That guy meant so much to those people. He was a generous presence from all accounts.

I spent two weeks working on a completed issue. It had to be perfect. I probably read every word a hundred times. I made notes, then judged the corrections, rather than just changing them directly on the computer.

That issue being late to ship, was awful. For a number of reasons. The worst part about it was not getting it out to those that helped on the issue. The e-mail that Matt Field referred to was copied to most of those involved. I didnt just list excuses, but I showed a lot of pain that I had to work through. Im not broke, but was [nearly] broken. The last thing I wanted to do was spout off a bunch of stories, similar to the Ken Simmons ordeal, and disregard my subscribers. Instead, I worked through all of my problems (which temporarily became Gadflys problems) in secret.

To some folks, loosing the respect of the authors in issue five might not be that big of a deal. But I had grown a love for those guys. It was because of them, that I was ever in a position to create this magazine in the first place. My respect for them is bigger than refunds, larger than a late issue, and almost as consumed as my passion for Mr. Gadfly.

Thats why I am busy designing the future of this little rag. Late or not, I will do the right thing. Perhaps, later on, the complete story will show up in an editorial. Its been an adventure. If nothing else, I was welcomed into the world of some great card guys. The issues are shipping once again

If anyone is missing issues one through three, then there is a problem. All of those were shipped via first class mail last year. Some of the UK folks werent receiving theirs, so I have had to send them Global Priority.

Also, if you are a subscriber before November, and have not received issue four, please send an e-mail to subscribe@mrgadfly.com, as those have also shipped. Only back copies of that issue are going out now, unless you report you havent received it. Confirming your address also helps, especially if you paid by check.

-Aaron Smith
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Postby Richard Morrell » 05/28/02 04:06 PM

If anyone is missing issues one through three, then there is a problem. All of those were shipped via first class mail last year. Some of the UK folks werent receiving theirs, so I have had to send them Global Priority.
Yes me! Despite numerous e-mails to you Aaron and your promises to ship I still have not received ANY issues passed issue 1!

The only thing keeping me sane was the fact I could download the PDF's if I hadn't been able to do that I would have kicked up a lot more fuss, as such I have payed for a print subscription but only received an online subscription...

Therefore I am asking on a public forum could you please send me issues 2-5 global priority mail as per my subscription.

Richard Morrell.
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Postby Yves Tourigny » 05/28/02 06:32 PM

I am in the gang too. So far I have only received issues 2 and 3. I never received issue 1.

So if you could send me my missing issues i will be pleased.

Yves Tourigny :mad:
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Postby Guest » 05/28/02 06:49 PM

What the hell, Aaron...As long as your records are all messed up, I'll take a set as well!
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Postby Jamie Badman » 05/29/02 05:04 AM

I'm in the UK and I only ever received Issue One. I emailed you MANY times, Aaron, and you said you'd sent me the rest of the issues on each occasion. But still, I only have one copy. You know that, because you finally sent me an email a couple of months back (March) saying you'd still not sent the remaining issues to me yet but you'd sort it out 'soon'.

I'd really like to receive the rest; I contributed to the first four issues and didn't get copies of three of them myself - I feel pretty down about that.

Aaron, instead of working on getting another issue out, why not concentrate on fulfilling your obligations with the issues that have already been printed ? There's no point churning out more issues until you do, really. Do that, then concentrate on the future of the magazine - you can't really move forward until you clean up the mess behind you.

Regards,

Jamie.
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Postby Guest » 05/29/02 01:17 PM

Aaron, instead of working on getting another issue out, why not concentrate on fulfilling your obligations with the issues that have already been printed ? There's no point churning out more issues until you do, really. Do that, then concentrate on the future of the magazine - you can't really move forward until you clean up the mess behind you.
Amen, Jamie! But I wouldn't hold my breath if I was you. I'm certainly not expecting to ever receive another issue.

Robin
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Postby Matthew Field » 05/29/02 01:32 PM

Originally posted by AaronSmith:
Mr. Gadfly hard-copy subscriptions are 22 bucks now, and were $20 when you subscribed, Matt.
You're probably right, Aaron, and I apologize for the error.

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Postby Guest » 05/30/02 02:28 PM

I just learned that thanx to this thread Mr. Gadfly recieved to NEW subscriptions!
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Postby Andy Hurst » 05/30/02 06:19 PM

Originally posted by David Eldridge:
I just learned that thanx to this thread Mr. Gadfly recieved to NEW subscriptions!
Well that proves one of two things.

1) It's true that there's no such thing as 'bad publicity'

or

2) There are 2 (or to) magicians who are insane.

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Postby Guest » 05/30/02 06:25 PM

P.T. Barnum said that there is a sucker born every minute. Someone else (I think) added: after World War II there were TWO born every minute. :D
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Postby EdAndres » 05/31/02 12:52 AM

and only a few hundred are late. This is a petty circulation problem
The shop I work at had 12 mis-printed Genii mags. 3 days later we had 12 new perfect :genii: magazines. It seemed like magic... but was just good work.
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Postby Guest » 05/31/02 01:23 PM

Celebrity Death Match:
ONYX v. Gadfly


Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. --George Santayana

I think the above quote applies to me.

The similarities between ONYX and Mr. Gadfly, in terms of content and management, are striking. Both run by accomplished magicians with a sincere love of card magic. Both prone to hyperbolic claims and unfulfilled promise and promises. Erratic publishing schedules. Wacky writing and poor editing. Alleged health complications leading to non delivery of publications. Excuses. Contradictory public statements and mealy-mouthed apologies. Reorganization and promises of 'Bigger, better than ever.' Finally, nothing.

My interaction with the publishers of both journals also is sadly the same: after experiencing a long interruption in service, I emailed many times and received both silence and finally empty promises in reply. I went public on The Second Deal with my complaints, months before subscribers generally gave up the ghost, and got little support (in general I was fricasseed by publisher's friends), and a lot of lip from both publishers.

Of my friends in magic from all around the country who happen to subscribe to Gadfly, I've asked if they have received all of their copies. Of the dozen who subscribe, no one has received every issue, seven have received two or less of the five published issues. This random sample would be very alarming to me if I were publisher, but according to Aaron Smith:
I dont know how many of issue five were printed, exactly. But I do know that over 3000 shipped on time, and only a few hundred are late. This is a petty circulation problem that will be fixed.
...a comment revealing in both its arrogance and ignorance. When you consider the majority of the alleged 3000 copies are bulk drop subscribers (read: magic stores) by Aaron Smith's own admission he's got a problem with at least 6% of his distribution and Id wager these are individual subscribers. The little poll done somewhere in this thread shows numbers closer to my random sampling.

In spite of Aaron Smiths personal email to me February 27 of this year, Im still waiting for Issue Five.

Randy Campbell
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Postby Guest » 05/31/02 01:53 PM

Getting a magazine published is NOT any easy task (unless your name is Richard Kaufman ;) ). I am not making an excuse for Gadfly. All I am saying is that you should not take on a task like publishing a magazine unless you are willing to devote your FULL attention to the project!
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/31/02 08:45 PM

Every little magazine/newsletter I ever did, from Apocalypse, through Richard's Almanac, and finally The Looking Glass, was nothing but a nightmare. There were always long-term projects I was working on, and having to stop dead on those and produce another issue of these little newsletters just killed me. I could do it for a year at first, and then it would always end up being late. My only saving grace in these exercises is that the product was good, and I EVENTUALLY (sometimes it took a few years) finished up the promised volumes and delivered all the issues paid for. It was not easy, and how could I ever ask anyone to send money again if I had not fulfilled their subscriptions?
The difference between all of those periodicals and Genii is simple: I don't do anything but Genii, all day and all night. Occasionally I sneak in a week or two to work on a book, but that is the exception. That's why Genii is always out EARLY every single month.
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Postby Terry » 06/01/02 06:13 AM

I was a subscriber to Looking Glass and enjoyed every issue. If memory serves, I think the last issue was the only late one.

Richard, the difference between you and the 2 publishers mentioned is confidence. People know you will make good on things without ignoring their inquiries or outright misleading them.

Re Genii - your dedication is displayed every month in the improved quality and early delivery.
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Postby John LeBlanc » 06/09/02 08:30 AM

Originally posted by Randy Campbell:
[b]The similarities between ONYX and Mr. Gadfly, in terms of content and management, are striking. Both run by accomplished magicians with a sincere love of card magic. Both prone to hyperbolic claims and unfulfilled promise and promises. Erratic publishing schedules. Wacky writing and poor editing. Alleged health complications leading to non delivery of publications. Excuses. Contradictory public statements and mealy-mouthed apologies. Reorganization and promises of 'Bigger, better than ever.' Finally, nothing.
Hello, Randy.

I remember all of that. I also remember Aaron Smith absolutely skewering Ken Simmons more than once about broken promises, etc., while pimping the new "Mr. Gadfly" magazine.

I reminded Aaron of this in an email to him at the beginning of this year. His response was...well, not significantly different from the responses mentioned here.

I recently sent Aaron another email, reminding him of his note to me earlier this year. Nothing. Deafening silence.

This is a bizarre repetition of what I went through with Ken Simmons -- who, to this day, has not returned any of my emails offering assistance if it would help him complete the magazine subscriptions. I hope he's making a killing in his real estate sales business; he's sure killed his publishing business.

I'll have to check to be sure, but the last issue of Gadfly I received was either issue two or three. I can deal with late issues, but what we have here (heeyuh) is a failure to communicate. And that's an egregious error on Smith's part.

Aaron Smith's name is mud in my book, and I will never suggest to anyone to waste their money on a publication by him.

John LeBlanc
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Postby Matthew Field » 07/10/02 07:43 AM

I've deleted the mr.e ("mystery") post about Aaron Smith because it is ad hominem and unrelated to the Mr. Gadfly discussion.

Let's keep the discussions to the point, please.

If mr.e wants to discuss this privately with me, my e-mail address is available on my profile.
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Postby Guest » 07/10/02 12:21 PM

Matthew, while you may have a point about my post, I felt that discussing my experience with Aaron Smith would give insight to his character, or lack thereof, into the person behind Mr.Gadfly. I just felt when I met him that he was not qualified to publish a card magazine.
I would have e-mail you directly, but wasn't sure how to access your profile to get your e-mail address.
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Postby Brian Morton » 07/10/02 02:21 PM

"Mr. E" --

This is in no way meant to be personal to you, but the fact remains, you are standing behind an online name, a pseudonym, and making injurious statements about an individual on this board.

I wouldn't know Aaron Smith if he handed me my mail -- I've seen his magazine on the rack at Denny's but never bought it. But he is here, and he posts under his own name. You don't.

You'll note most of the heavy hitters on the Genii forum (of which I don't consider myself to be in the least), post under their real names. Richard Kaufman, Darwin Ortiz, Peter Duffie, Jon Racherbaumer, Bob Farmer, Max Maven -- I could go on and on. This is called the courage of their convictions. They are people who stand behind their opinions.

Not long ago, Richard Kaufman and Darwin Ortiz had a very public disagreement on this forum. Nobody hid behind online names, and the charges made and responded to were as vociferous as any made over the Mr. Gadfly. But they remain there, able to be read. Because they are from known entities who have no need to hide.

No disrespect meant, "Mr. E," but nobody knows who you are. And until you stop posting under a name that could be anybody (witness the old "New Yorker" cartoon -- "On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog"), the moderator has the full right to delete your posts.

You may not be a coward, but insulting someone or their work from the confines of anonymity is certainly a cowardly act. It is the mark of why much of the Internet is flames, name-calling and incivility.

Matt Field was right to delete the posts, and if necessary, he should do it again. Borderline slander from unnamed posters has no business on the GENII forum.

brian :mad:
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Postby Brad Jeffers » 07/10/02 03:23 PM

Brian, I understand your position. I too, hate the use of pseudonyms on these forums, but I would have to disagree with you when you say "until you stop posting under a name that could be anybody, the moderator has the full right to delete your posts." The moderator does have the right to delete anything that he wishes, but the fact that a person is posting under a fictious name, should really not factor into it. After all Brad Jeffers or Brian Wendell Morton could very well be pseudonyms as well. Who knows!? Conversely, there may even be people who are really named Hugh Jarce and Jack Mehoff! :) And I've certainly met quite a few Mr. E's in my time (which must be their right name, as they invariably have it printed on their business cards). Other than foul language, I would rather the moderators would not delete anything (at least not until after I've had the chance to read it) ;) But when they do choose to delete something, I would hope that it would be based solely on the offensive content of the post, and not on the fact that the poster's identity may be unknown to them ... or worse yet, because it is!
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Postby Brian Morton » 07/10/02 04:47 PM

Brad wrote:

The moderator does have the right to delete anything that he wishes, but the fact that a person is posting under a fictious name, should really not factor into it. After all Brad Jeffers or Brian Wendell Morton could very well be pseudonyms as well. Who knows!?
Brad, I wasn't (hopefully) advocating the right for moderators to delete willy-nilly the posts of people just because they list themselves as Amanda Hugankiss.

I am against people slamming others from behind pseudonyms, though. And I like the fact that most of the serious magicians on this board write under their real names.

And for the record, Brian Wendell Morton is a pseudonym. My real name is Joseph Pujol.

brian :D
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/10/02 07:06 PM

Brian,
Does this sound familiar?
FFFFFFFFffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffftttttttttt!
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Postby Brian Morton » 07/10/02 07:55 PM

Hey!

Quit stealing my act!

brian :p
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