Jamy Ian Swiss comment in latest GENII

Discuss general aspects of Genii.

Postby Joe Mckay » 05/21/12 03:15 PM

I wonder what Jamy meant by this? See page 82 of the MAY 2012 issue of GENII:

...albeit at a time when predictions are no longer as effective or appropriate in a pure mentalism program - a subject for another day...


Is this because most prediction effects are perceived as simple magic tricks? As in - the spectator goes away thinking the mentalist cleverly (and invisibly) switched the prediction for another one. As opposed to perceiving it as a proper piece of mentalism?

Or perhaps is this comment in reference to the inherent silliness of the effect? As in - if you can predict the future - why don't you win the lottery or try and prevent disasters?

And in reference to disasters. Is the post 9/11 world making that consideration more prevalent than in times past?

I take an interest in mentalism. But - I have missed out on the debates which may have been circulating around this issue.

Anyone else got a take on Jamy's comments?

Joe
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Postby Brad Henderson » 05/21/12 03:54 PM

Jamy lives in a world where "skepti-zealots' pat each other on the back for sticking to their prejudicated conclusions and hold anyone with a non-science-centric religion as worthy of disdain. They also, often, fail to realize that human beings are capable of fantasy and fiction, decrying those who approach the arbitrary line they, so kindly, have drawn in the sand for the rest of us.

While I have no doubt that many magicians fail to be able to present prediction effects for their audiences, to assume this to be true for all magicians, all presentations, and all audiences is to engage in the same fundmentalism masquerading as skepticism in which many engage. The kind of fundamentalism that coopts the name of science and skepticism to justify universal statements and the willingness to speak Someone's mind and motivations for them, their own alleged disbelief in 'mind reading aside.'

Having said that, I love Jamy. I listen when he talks and consider as thoughtfully as I can what he says.

But if Jesus Christ Materialized in the middle of one of his shows, did a truly invisible classic pass, healed him instantly of his allergies, said 'you're welcome for the 9 of diamonds-by the way next time he'll name the 4 of spades, and instantly added another 3 inches to his member - I believe Jamy would call him a fake and ridicule him behind his back for daring to insult his audiences intelligence and those who dared to consider the possibility it could have been real.

I do realize that I could be wrong.

Another difference between Jamy and I.

We all have our quirks. Jamy just seems to allow his 'skeptic' beliefs to blind him to anything but - the crosthwait reviews comes to mind. And didn't that also rear it's head in the fechner review.

I could be wrong.
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Postby Q. Kumber » 05/21/12 06:16 PM

Brad Henderson wrote: I could be wrong.


You're not.
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Postby Joe Mckay » 05/21/12 07:29 PM

Right - thinking about it some more - I think I understand a bit better now...

I am guessing predictions are difficult for those who do want to make supernatural claims during a show. The fashion now in alot of mentalism is for the effect to be explained along the lines of reading body language, suggestion and manipulating perceptions.

And it is difficult to frame a straight out prediction in that way. Particularly if it is a prediction which has being in the spectator's posession from before the show started.

I don't hold to any viewpoint in this area. But - I think I can see what Jamy was getting at in the quote given above.

But I might be wrong since I am reading quite alot into such a short quote.

Anybody else got a better suggestion?

Joe
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Postby Pete McCabe » 05/21/12 10:00 PM

Brad Henderson wrote:...the willingness to speak Someone's mind and motivations for them

...

...I believe Jamy would call him a fake and ridicule him behind his back...
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Postby Brad Henderson » 05/21/12 11:03 PM

I 'believe'. Meaning I cannot say with certainty. (Though I do have specific past incidents in mind that inform my 'belief'.) Nevertheless, I stated very clearly, and with great intention, that 'I could be wrong' - lest some accuse me of hypocrisy.

Perhaps you overlooked those details, Pete.

Both shut eyes and 'skepti-zealots' both fall prey to seeing only what they want to see.

Some recognize their foibles and make allowances.

Hope you are well,

Brad
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Postby Kent Gunn » 05/22/12 01:04 AM

Brad,

Three things.

It's often difficult to make sense of your posts. If you would give them a moment's review before you post, I think you'd easily see how to make your meaning clearer. This board will prompt you on spelling errors. When you invent words or use original spellings it can really cloud your otherwise readable text. I often enjoy your posts and think you contribute. Not spending the time to communicate as clearly as possible diminishes your posts, for me.

I think you've taken offense at Mr. Swiss' dislike of predictions and jumped magically into a personal rant against his stand on religion. I found your rant about Jesus appearing really offensive. I doubt he'd have increasing penis size on his list of favors to bestow. It sounded like wish-fulfillment to me. Your assumption a skeptic wouldn't be able to accept something in front of his own eyes shows your contempt of another's religious beliefs and no understanding.

Name-calling and accusing others of zealotry makes you appear very unreasonable. I've found accepting the beliefs of others to be as just as important to them as my own are to me, truly liberating. There's enough hate and rancor concerning religion in the world. I'd personally appreciate it if you'd keep your religious rants to yourself. Thank you.

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Postby Brad Henderson » 05/22/12 01:32 AM

Please feel free to pm me about anything you did not understand

More importantly:

This has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with skepticism taken to the degree of fundamentalism; a state of mind which i, and others, feel colors the entirety of jamy's work and writings (the subject of this thread.) I picked the appearance of Jesus merely as a clear example of the supernatural and the specific 'miracles' as examples of a series of experiences so overwhelming to be undeniably the work of non-natural causes.

A skeptic WOULD accept something before their own eyes. I, and others, believe that many of those in the tradition of randi (Jamy in particular) would not. Skeptic is not always an accurately applied term.

Understanding jamy's history in regard to these issues help place his words into context.

Perhaps I should have just said, "Jamy super duper hates anything that's sort of psychicy and gets real mad and makes a big deal about it even when it has nothing to do with the book he's reviewing.'

I merely wanted to covey a sense of how super dupery.

It had nothing to do with religion. In fact, Jamy and I find ourselves in agreement on that matter
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Postby Brad Henderson » 05/22/12 01:33 AM

And yes, I would love an extra 3 inches.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 05/22/12 01:55 AM

I just think that if your goal is to insult Jamy, you should do it on the basis of something he has actually done, rather than what you imagine he would do.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 05/22/12 02:19 AM

Are we refering to the person who condemned Beme work and predicted with certainty repudiation without himself having actually tested the hypothesis himself - or knowing anyone who had?

There are skeptics who keep an open mind and there are people who call themselves skeptics who have long ago made up their mind. I feel Jamy falls into that category. I don't mean it as an insult. That's his belief system. I accept that.

But that doesn't mean I should ignore what that means and not use that for context for his writings.

My example may have been loud, perhaps harsh.

I am confident Jamy has no problem with either. (he had no problem during lamont's talk at the history conference and my words lack any antagonism). Jamy is who he is. Just last week I was discussing the impact of his attitude on his reviews with someone much smarter and far more respected than I can hope to ever be. So, I know I am not alone in these opinions.

Again, no insults intended.

I wouldnt want Jamy to be any different than he is.
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Postby Joe Mckay » 05/22/12 03:20 AM

I made a mistake in my earlier post... The following quote:

I am guessing predictions are difficult for those who do want to make supernatural claims during a show.


should read...

I am guessing predictions are difficult for those who do NOT want to make supernatural claims during a show.


I wouldn't usually bother correcting small errors. Except here it totally corrupted what I was trying to say.

Joe
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Postby El Harvey Oswald » 05/22/12 09:15 AM

"I found your rant about Jesus appearing really offensive."

It made his point, whereas lazily resorting to calling things "offensive" really doesn't.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 05/22/12 10:16 AM

Getting closer, Brad. Can you give me a quote of what Jamy actually said, or point me to the source where he said it? I'd be interested to read it.
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Postby Kent Gunn » 05/22/12 11:12 AM

Pete, here's the line from the Genii issue referenced in the first post.

In "A Letter From Al Koran" from the Pentagram, Koran
explains how he began routining his initial stage mentalism
show, and offers a strong and direct mentalism opener,
including the opening speech for the act. All of this still
offers an effective lesson today (albeit at a time when predictions are no longer as effective or appropriate in a pure
mentalism programa subject for another day).

I don't see the level of rancor in this post that Brad's espousing in the defense of predictions. The line seemed innocuous in fact. I have neither the inclination nor the stage chops to pull off a mentalist act. So I've no dog in this fight. I suspect I'm like the little dog barking incessantly as two big dogs square off.

Harvey,

You've never seen me perform. If you had you'd realize I was being sarcastic when I talked about being offended. Here's a clip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... ZYHuhAqR0#!

I often presume people know me. It's really silly of me. Sorry I misled you. The sarcasm was pretty weak, in context.


Brad,

I'm packing up a copy of Strunk and White's, "The Elements of Style" for you. It's a little outdated and smarmy. I think the two of you will get along famously. Adding a soupcon of sentence structure to your posts will add mightily to your ability to rail against all insults, real and perceived. I'd include a copy of Webster's second, but I've only one left and the shipping would be outrageous.

I really did misundertand your stance on Deity from your initial rant. Thanks for clearing that up. I've found people that share similar yet mildly different views on matters of religion often rail against one each other the most vitrolically. It's like Sunnis and Shiites, except you get to eat pork.

I'd have sent a PM, as you suggested. That system's still broken though and this is more fun.

KG
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Postby Brad Henderson » 05/22/12 11:17 AM

Pete,

First, not all text is meant to be literal i would think you of all people would know that

Second, I appreciate you wanting to defend your friend, but one need only read any review of any book that does not fall strictly in line with jamy's worldview to see how his skepti-zealotism colors everything from that moment on. People took him to task for the crosthwaite review, Lamont took him to task for the Hume review, and it's obvious enough to many that I can't claim what i wrote to be original at all.

When in new York last week the randi acceptance speech came up in conversation on a few occasions. In each case Jamy's name followed.

I am not the only one who believes that he - and Penn and randi - fail to maintain the open mind the term 'skeptic' traditionally implies. Heck, Penn even announces from the stage that ANYONE who claims psychic power is a scam artist, running a con. While I agree that there is no evidence for psychic phenomena, I know for a fact not all who believe themselves to be psychics do so with deception in their heart; and i also know that universal statements such as 'always' and 'never' don't comprise a truly skeptical or scientific vocabulary. Even Dawkins hedges on the odds - it's gotten him heat - but it's the intellectually honest position.

Far different from ending a mind reading show and telling people that no one can read minds.

I've known Jamy for years, have bad many conversations and arguments with him. I respect his firmness of position, and I also often think he is wrong. That doesn't mean I love him any less. I also would LIKE to think that he would value honesty. I know too many who wear kid gloves around him for fear it might affect getting booked at Monday night magic, or earn a bad review.

Trust me, I have more to loose from having written what I did than I do to gain. But the op had a question and i provided 'an' answer.

based on all I have read, all I have heard, and every conversation I've had with anyone who has ever known Jamy or read him or spoken with him, I believe the scenario i offered would occur as I anticipate.

Do I know that with certainty.

Absolutely not

I'm not willing to make those randi-clan kind of claims

I could be wrong.

But I, and apparently others too, think I might be right.

And even if I'm not completely right, the gist conveys the meaning (poetics is not the skepti-zealots strong suit). Jamy's harsh stance on anything appearing to be remotely advocating the super natural informed the statement at the heart of the post, the basis of the op question i merely tried to convey How strong his stance is. The fact I believe he would act a certain way says something. About him AND me.

Allow me to be clear. I don't know with certainty he would respond that way, but based on everything I've experienced, it wouldn't surprise me and the imagined scenario accurately portrays the zeal of his position, if not the literal truth.

After all, it wasn't geller, or brown, or Edwards (people known to the public, people with their own tv shows and books and sold out shows) making the statement at the heart of this thread. They would have never made that statement (I don't think - they seem ok with phenomena of that type). It was made by a Jamy.

So, knowing someone's philosophical stance provides context. I would characterize Jamy as a rabid skepti-zealot or better yet, a debunker.

If you disagree, convince me I'm wrong. I WILL consider new evidence.

Or perhaps Jamy might want to clear up his stance in an article or essay.

But based on the information I've encountered, I feel what I wrote to be accurate, if not literally at least metaphorically.
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Postby Matthew Field » 05/22/12 11:50 AM

Hi, Brad. Two words: Occam's Razor.

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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/22/12 01:47 PM

Matthew Field wrote:Hi, Brad. Two words: Occam's Razor.

Matt Field


Matthew, Occam's Razor has no bearing on how people react to things or how they interpret things given what they have already learned to believe.
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Postby Matthew Field » 05/23/12 04:41 AM

Jonathan -- I strongly disagree.

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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/23/12 05:45 AM

Two words Matt, confirmation bias.

Reason alone does not easily win against the pull of sentiment anchored to vanity.
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Postby El Harvey Oswald » 05/23/12 09:43 AM

"This has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with skepticism taken to the degree of fundamentalism;"

Well put.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 05/23/12 10:17 AM

Thanks Brad. I am sure that Jamy has said many things that reflect his views on the subject(s). That was kind of my point -- I thought, and still think, that if you are going to specifically mention your distaste for putting words in people's mouths, that it should have been relatively easy to quote something Jamy actually said, rather than inventing his reaction to a hypothetical situation.

In my estimation it is quite an insult to say that someone who calls himself a skepticor anyone, reallywould refuse to accept direct evidence. I'm not aware of any time Jamy has gone that far, or anything he has done that warrants that specific insult. I think if you want to accuse him of that, you should be able to back that claim up.


Still, I would love to know what Jamy meant by the quote which started this whole thread. It seems to me unlikely to be related to Jamy's views on religion, since Jamy knows quite well that his views are not those of the typical magic audience.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 05/23/12 10:59 AM

Jonathan Townsend wrote: Occam's Razor has no bearing on how people react to things or how they interpret things given what they have already learned to believe.

I would rephrase that to say that the principle of Ockham's razor has little impact on those who have already made up their mindsat least in the popular definition of it. Ironically, Ockhams maxim is a tad more complex. I often wonder what the old boy would think in todays world.

As for the religious aspect of this thread (with respect to my job as moderator), I am cautiously comfortable.

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Postby Brad Henderson » 05/23/12 11:58 AM

Pete, as I said, religion has nothing to do with it. I just wanted a clear supernatural example. Religion is, by definition, the 'super' natural.I fear you are missing the Forrest for one tree.

I will never find a quote of jamy's where he says he would do what i claim. Thats the point. There are many self proclaimed skeptics in the world who have prejudged the evidence and 'know' it's fraud. They do not test with an open mind. They are debunkers.

Do you recall the incident with David p abbott and the strange case?

Abbott was a great skeptic. He refused to Condemn someone as a fraud because he didn't have concrete proof. The natural explanations he could fathom were not air tight (no pun intended).

His publishers wanted him debunk the medium. He wouldn't. He was a skeptic. His publishers werent.

I believe, based on history, writings, and my comprehensive array of experiences with Jamy and his work, as well as that of his peers such as randi, that the hypothetical situation would play out as suggested. And if not, it says something that many believe it a reasonable assumption.

I do not consider it an insult.

Debunking is not skepticism.

I believe Jamy has made up his mind a long time ago.

BUT - I could be wrong and, unlike some, will consider all evidence with a truly open mind.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/23/12 12:21 PM

Brad, I was hoping you'd be more interested in how to advance our craft. Inner and social ecology have not been of much interest where cobwebs are spun and "inner audiences" are pampered.
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Postby Ivanovich » 05/23/12 12:50 PM

All of this started with people wondering what Jamy meant about predictions not being as effective or appropriate in a modern mentalism program as they used to be.

Why not just ask Jamy?
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Postby Brad Henderson » 05/23/12 01:06 PM

Jon,

Magic is a house with Many rooms (Eugene burger). Magic is also a world filled with authorities and those looking for authorities.

Understanding that there is more than one path does advance the craft. Learning which path an authority stands on helps one better navigate the forrest, which can help one advance in their craft.

Jamy has his path. McBride has his. Malone has one. As did henning.

Right and wrong. Good and bad.

Depends on where you want to go.

Not all voices in the wilderness may be calling for YOU.

Realizing that, I feel, is always a step in the right direction.
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Postby Harry Lorayne » 05/23/12 01:07 PM

At the end of Jamy's review of one of my APOCALYPSE volumes, some years ago, he said, and I quote - it's a big book "but nowhere as big as Harry's ego." (I can't think of how to measure the misplaced ego of someone who would make a remark like that - which has nothing to do with the book being reviewed.) Anyway, since then, I pay little attention to his reviews and I request magazine owners NOT to let him review my books, because - his reviews make no sense - not to me, anyway. I want to know about the book in question, not the reviewer's personal opinions re: author's age, location, religion, sexuality, or EGO.
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Postby El Harvey Oswald » 05/23/12 02:43 PM

He used the made-up circumstance to illuminate the point. There was no possibility that it would be confused with reality. And as easy as it might have been to excerpt something he'd actually written, in the quick give-and-take of conversation that this board replicates, an illustrative metaphor/parable comes quicker.
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Postby Jeff Eline » 05/23/12 03:37 PM

Harry Lorayne wrote: At the end of Jamy's review of one of my APOCALYPSE volumes....


NEW MEME: Lorayne's Law - "An online magic thread has reached its ultimate usefulness when a Harry Lorayne publication get's mentioned."
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Postby erdnasephile » 05/23/12 03:58 PM

Ivanovich wrote:All of this started with people wondering what Jamy meant about predictions not being as effective or appropriate in a modern mentalism program as they used to be.

Why not just ask Jamy?


Exactly.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/23/12 04:57 PM

Ivanovich wrote:...Why not just ask Jamy?


How, specifically, would that help to spin cobwebs or coddle inner audiences?
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Postby Brad Jeffers » 05/23/12 05:19 PM

El Harvey Oswald wrote:... in the quick give-and-take of conversation that this board replicates ...

Really? These boards are to conversation, as correspondence play is to chess, where a single game might last two years. :(
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Postby Harry Lorayne » 05/23/12 05:43 PM

Jeff Eline posted above: "NEW MEME: Lorayne's Law - "An online magic thread has reached its ultimate usefulness when a Harry Lorayne publication get's mentioned."

I've written about 50 books - the assumption is that there is a semblance of intelligence, but - I sure don't understand what Mr. Jeff is intimating. Do you? Perhaps he'll explain. HL.
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Postby Harry Lorayne » 05/23/12 05:47 PM

Oh, he also put it between quotes, as if I said it. I didn't. Still don't understand it. I'm sure he'll explain.
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Postby Ted M » 05/23/12 05:56 PM

Harry Lorayne wrote: At the end of Jamy's review of one of my APOCALYPSE volumes, some years ago, he said, and I quote - it's a big book "but nowhere as big as Harry's ego."

For anyone now curious to read old Genii reviews of Apocalypse, here's where to find them:

Vols 1-5, reviewed by Swiss, Nov 2000, p 76
Vols 6-10, reviewed by Cummins, June 2001, p 77-8
Vols 11-15, reviewed by Swiss, May 2002, p 77

URLs don't work, so here are AskAlexander search terms to find each review:

1-5: apocalypse upstart kaufman
6-10: apocalypse chitchat
11-15: apocalypse noodler

As for the supposed quote above: While Jamy Swiss praises Book 1 and gives a lackluster review of Book 3, the word "ego" only appears in Paul Cummins' glowing review of Book 2. Swiss does close his Book 3 review by rather snarkily noting some namedropping in the book's foreword, but the claimed quote above does not appear to have come from Genii.

I did not find any Genii review of the 4th book, vols 16-20.

Now I need to go look for a couple of items mentioned by Swiss in his reviews...
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/23/12 05:57 PM

He's defining a term, Harry.

Lorayne's Law
An online magic thread has reached its ultimate usefulness when a Harry Lorayne publication get's mentioned.
- Jeff Eline on the Genii forum 2012
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Postby Harry Lorayne » 05/23/12 06:36 PM

I didn't say that Jamy's review I referred to was in Genii. I really have no idea where it appeared, but "appear" it did.

Jonathan, I love you, but you haven't explained it to me at all. So far, no-one has. He's "defining a term?" I still don't understand what he is saying - now I don't understand what YOU are saying!
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/23/12 06:47 PM

Thanks Harry. There's a term, Godwin's Law, that describes a particular way online discussions can go awry and become unproductive. Jeff was suggesting a term about magic discussions as a parallel. His term was humorously intended to describe how online magic forum discussions will take a turn and get tangled shortly after someone refers to one of your books.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 05/23/12 06:48 PM

Harry,

I believe that he was defining a law, such as Boyle's Law (fun with thermodynamics), Murphy's Law (anything that can go wrong, will) or Cole's Law (thinly sliced cabbage with mayo).

The definition of Lorayne's law is that once one of your books is mentioned in a thread, the thread cannot become more useful. The superfluous apostrophe can be deleted if desired.

Basically, once one of your books comes up in a conversation, it tends to kill the thread. That's how I interpret it, anyway. I'm sure you'll disagree.

I've got a thoroughly unpleasant day tomorrow, so I'll be off to bed...
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