An L & L Bombshell?

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erdnasephile
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An L & L Bombshell?

Postby erdnasephile » November 10th, 2016, 3:35 pm

BOOM! http://www.llpub.com/zenshop/index.php? ... ts_id=3153

Wow--that's quite a collection for 3 Benjamins!

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby erdnasephile » November 10th, 2016, 6:00 pm

I know nothing about producing books, but one thing puzzles me: these books were all produced during the computer age, so why would they need to be scanned? Couldn't the original computer proofs be directly converted into pdfs?

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 10th, 2016, 6:53 pm

Plenty of them were not produced on computer, or were produced on old programs that no longer function. It's simpler to scan the books.
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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby erdnasephile » November 10th, 2016, 8:54 pm

Got it, thanks! Scanning all that sure seems work-intensive--do you chop off the bindings and then feed the pages through a machine or does it have to be done by hand a page at a time?

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby lybrary » November 10th, 2016, 9:04 pm

I am scanning books for almost two decades. I have built my own scanning machines and also used automatic book scanners that cost a quarter million dollars. Currently I use three different machines. Chopping off spines is something we almost never do, because scanning technology has advanced to a point where this is unnecessary. One of my scanners can scan books which are only opened by 90 degrees. This usually is the best way to scan bound books because it keeps the page flat, even if the book is thick and tightly bound.
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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby jason156 » November 10th, 2016, 9:16 pm

"Wow--that's quite a collection for 3 Benjamins"

indeed, glad they chose to include Sleight Of Mouth, it would have been a shame to let that great tome of magical comedy be lost.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Terry » November 11th, 2016, 9:17 am

lybrary wrote:I am scanning books for almost two decades. I have built my own scanning machines and also used automatic book scanners that cost a quarter million dollars. Currently I use three different machines. Chopping off spines is something we almost never do, because scanning technology has advanced to a point where this is unnecessary. One of my scanners can scan books which are only opened by 90 degrees. This usually is the best way to scan bound books because it keeps the page flat, even if the book is thick and tightly bound.


I was wondering how the scanning was accomplished. Thanks for sharing.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Ian Kendall » November 11th, 2016, 10:19 am

Hmm. I wonder why the Jim Swain books are the only ones not on the flash drive...

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby erdnasephile » November 11th, 2016, 10:50 am

I thought the Swain books were self-published, right?

I just reread through the list. It is amazing that a young teen could instantly have a huge library of books that would keep her busy for years and years. (My vote for underappreciated book(s) on the list are the JC Wagner books--tons of good stuff there.)

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Brad Henderson » November 11th, 2016, 11:32 am

is it better to have access to tons of great material all at once, or a single book which you devour and truly come to understand ?

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Bill Mullins » November 11th, 2016, 11:39 am

Erdnasephile -- This how a high-end scanner works.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Ian Kendall » November 11th, 2016, 11:41 am

The llepub site (which handles the download side of things) lists 55 items in the books section. Of those, two are Swain books, and three are combination deals. So basically, this flash drive has everything on llepub less the Swains.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 11th, 2016, 11:43 am

erdnasephile wrote:.. It is amazing that a young teen could instantly have a huge library of books ...


properly linked in hypertext via their facebook page? Click here to see the item in action... with pages of commentary?

Meanwhile in the world of comic books - which have similarly lost some market cache as literature... http://www.tor.com/2016/11/11/this-morn ... r-11-2016/
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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby erdnasephile » November 11th, 2016, 2:22 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:is it better to have access to tons of great material all at once, or a single book which you devour and truly come to understand ?


It's a good point, Brad.

However, I would have given my right arm to have access to some of these as a kid. The ability to carry around the Wagner book on my phone and study it throughout the day would have been great. It's true that the glut might tempt some purchasers to race through them like a bag of chips; however, I have hope that it might help some wise students advance faster than they might have otherwise.

One possible constructive way to use this item would be for a parent/mentor to purchase this collection and give the child/student only what they can properly digest at the right time.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby erdnasephile » November 11th, 2016, 2:55 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:Erdnasephile -- This how a high-end scanner works.


Cool! Thanks, Bill-- very interesting.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 11th, 2016, 3:34 pm

I would respond to Brad's comment thusly: if I had bought a zip drive with 55 books on it at the counter of Tannen's Magic when I was a kid instead of Cliff Green's Professional Card Magic, then my life would have turned out very differently.
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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby lybrary » November 11th, 2016, 4:00 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:is it better to have access to tons of great material all at once, or a single book which you devour and truly come to understand ?

Both have merit.

As most of us here I have started buying one book and reading it cover to cover, learning some of the tricks and moves from it, and then buying the next one and doing the same. A few hundred magic books later one knows quite a bit, and it was an amazing and fulfilling exploration in the world of magic.

However, when I started to digitized magic books and magazines, and when I started to have more contents available in digital form than I could possibly read, a new and equally exciting way to study became possible. Rather than reading books cover to cover, which by the way I still do, I could search a huge library and pick out the articles, routines, and techniques I wanted to study. This allows a much more in depth study. For example, it is very educational to see how a plot or routine transformed over time, how different magicians interpreted it and came up with methods and presentations. Searching a vast library makes this possible. Essentially one can read much more targeted from pretty much everything that has ever been published in magic. (Yes I know, we are not yet there were everything is available digitally, but give it another decade or two and we will be pretty much at that point.)
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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby erdnasephile » November 11th, 2016, 4:20 pm

lybrary wrote:
Brad Henderson wrote:is it better to have access to tons of great material all at once, or a single book which you devour and truly come to understand ?

Both have merit.

As most of us here I have started buying one book and reading it cover to cover, learning some of the tricks and moves from it, and then buying the next one and doing the same. A few hundred magic books later one knows quite a bit, and it was an amazing and fulfilling exploration in the world of magic.

However, when I started to digitized magic books and magazines, and when I started to have more contents available in digital form than I could possibly read, a new and equally exciting way to study became possible. Rather than reading books cover to cover, which by the way I still do, I could search a huge library and pick out the articles, routines, and techniques I wanted to study. This allows a much more in depth study. For example, it is very educational to see how a plot or routine transformed over time, how different magicians interpreted it and came up with methods and presentations. Searching a vast library makes this possible. Essentially one can read much more targeted from pretty much everything that has ever been published in magic. (Yes I know, we are not yet there were everything is available digitally, but give it another decade or two and we will be pretty much at that point.)


Good point. I own the books, but I'm considering buying the collection for the reason you suggest--but only if the scans turn out to be fully searchable.

I also think that by offering these books at a price point that is spendy enough to keep out the curious, but affordable enough to be possible with a summer of lawn mowing (going rate around here is about $25 a mow), it also helps put this information in the hands of those who may not have tons of disposable income. It's not cheap by any means, but I probably could have managed it back in the day if I saved up the money from my high school job (Disney: $3.25/hour before union dues and taxes).

On another topic: I wonder why the deal is limited since the contents are digital. Does the limited supply only apply to the flash drive?

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Ian Kendall » November 11th, 2016, 5:15 pm

The scans are good (I have several of the individual ebooks). If you want to check for yourself, llepub has one of its sales running now, so everything is at 50%. You can grab a book for ten bucks, see if you enjoy reading it in that format, and then buy the flash collection.

Edit: As for searching, I just tried a few books at random, and they are searchable.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Brad Henderson » November 11th, 2016, 6:15 pm

perhaps we should restrict our viewpoint to a young person, as per the post that inspired the discussion. As someone who has a background in magic, access to research materials is great. but when it comes to learning magic it seems that too much information encourages at best a superficial understanding of the material at hand. I have worked with lots of magicians who came of age during the Information Age. based on what I have seen I don't think I would trade having access to a handful of great books over access to tons of material of varying quality.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Q. Kumber » November 11th, 2016, 6:50 pm

Something I've noticed over the past four years is that if you show a young magician (under 25) something that isn't a card trick, 4 times out of 5 you will fool them even more thoroughly than you would a lay person with the same trick.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 11th, 2016, 6:56 pm

Because you subvert their assumptions.


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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby lybrary » November 11th, 2016, 7:10 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:perhaps we should restrict our viewpoint to a young person, as per the post that inspired the discussion. As someone who has a background in magic, access to research materials is great. but when it comes to learning magic it seems that too much information encourages at best a superficial understanding of the material at hand. I have worked with lots of magicians who came of age during the Information Age. based on what I have seen I don't think I would trade having access to a handful of great books over access to tons of material of varying quality.

I think it depends on the person and not on age. Everybody is different. My experience teaching at University and tutoring individuals privately has taught me that what works for one does not need to work for somebody else. Yes, too much information is bad for some. Some benefit from a step by step introduction that doesn't overload them. But others thrive in a 'drink from the fire hose' scenario and holding them back with limited information would be just as misguided. In education I believe that any pronouncement of 'what is best' is fundamentally wrong and short sighted. I think self-exploration and discovery what works best for oneself is the best way forward.

The same type of discussion we had with book versus video. There is no general right or wrong. Some learn better one or the other way, and each way has some inherent benefits and shortcomings, but one has to find out for oneself what works best in what circumstances.
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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby magicam » November 11th, 2016, 7:48 pm

^^^ Chris, as a general matter your points have solid merit. On the other hand, Brad's observations on the younger generations mirror what I've heard based on conversations with a few (but not many) experienced and perceptive magicians.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby lybrary » November 11th, 2016, 7:57 pm

As I wrote, that approach certainly has merit, but there is no need to be dogmatic about it.
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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Pete McCabe » November 12th, 2016, 2:38 am

Seems to me the best way is to have access to tons of great material all at once, so you can find the single book which you devour and truly come to understand.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Brad Henderson » November 12th, 2016, 3:12 am

which means you spend all your time glancing at books hoping to find 'the One'

I've worked with a lot of magicians, invariably those who have early access to lots of material know less about magic, even knowing fewer tricks, and not in the good david devant kind of way. They can tell you lots of trick names and how they work, but they can't do any of them.

no one is suggesting dogma. Only observation and conclusions.

the best magicians, the deepest thinkers I have encountered all began with few resources which they consumed deeply. Today the Forest is so large not only can you often miss the trees, you can't even see the forest. I can't say magic has really benefited just from having more information. What good is more information if you lack the tools or resources to determine what is the good information?

something like the l and l offering presents a similar problem to the beginner - where to start?

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Dave Le Fevre » November 12th, 2016, 7:03 am

Brad Henderson wrote:is it better to have access to tons of great material all at once, or a single book which you devour and truly come to understand ?

When I started in magic, I bought one or two books. I read them from beginning to end. Later, I was often surprised when others who owned those same books were ignorant of some of their contents.

Nowadays I have many magic books. Some that I've read completely, some that I've dipped into, some that I've owned for several years but still haven't found the time to open them even once.

While the prospect of having a huge resource available is really tempting to me, I know that most of those PDFs would never be read by me. But maybe that's just me. I suspect that many would read them thoroughly.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Joe Mckay » November 12th, 2016, 7:17 am

This reminds me of the culture among young magicians to have hundreds of illegally torrented files.

They have a ton of information on their computer but make very little use of it.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Leonard Hevia » November 12th, 2016, 11:04 am

Brad and Joe's observations sum it up. The magic information explosion of the last 20 years and the arrival of the Internet has become a mixed blessing, if it was even a blessing. Beginners were no longer limited to a selected few books for the neophyte to focus on. The availability of secrets became easy like apples falling off a tree.

Every year I'm always 5 books behind on the newly published pipeline. It's a fight to stay ahead of the clock before they go out of print and are no longer available. Henry Hay was right when he mentioned in The Amateur Magicians Handbook that magic books have a short print life. The book that I began with.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby lybrary » November 12th, 2016, 11:17 am

Dave Le Fevre wrote:While the prospect of having a huge resource available is really tempting to me, I know that most of those PDFs would never be read by me. But maybe that's just me. I suspect that many would read them thoroughly.

The point of a huge digital library is NOT to read everything. The point is to be able to find and pick out the parts most interesting to you from the largest possible pool of information. It also tremendously helps with looking up references.

I have now a good million pages of magic information in digital form. Will I ever be able to read all of it? No way. And I don't intend to. But regardless of the subject or topic I am currently interested in, I will find a lot more and be able to read a lot more in depth about it, than if for example I only read 200 magic books cover to cover.

It goes back to the old insight that it is not the tool but how one uses it. If a big collection distracts you and you can't focus and zoom in on the most relevant information then yes, it is perhaps better you get one book and study it. But it would be even better to teach that person how to use a large pool of information and how to find and zoom in to the most relevant and interesting pieces. That is why we have libraries even if they are not digital. Libraries create catalogs and indexes for the very same reason - so that you can search and find. A digital library is the same idea, just with a much more powerful search and find function. Just because one has access to a large library doesn't mean one has to be unfocused. It is part of the teaching to guide a student how to make use of such resources. So rather than say it is bad to have too much information it is much wiser to help students deal with a large pool of information and help them how to find and zoom in to the relevant pieces.

The fact that anybody today can assemble a personal digital magic library for a fairly modest amount is remarkable, powerful, and to the benefit of all who are willing to make use of it.
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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby erdnasephile » November 12th, 2016, 11:22 am

The central issue to me isn't so much access to such a trove, but rather the potential absence of a guide to help point the learner in the right direction.

I'd bet most of you early on walked into a magic store (stocked to the gills with an astonishing array of items). There's no way a novice could sort the wheat from the chaff. However, you had the good fortune of encountering someone who steered you away from the mass quantities of stuff you weren't ready for and got you into just what you needed at the time.

That was me as well. When I was a kid, I could probably count on one (at most 2) books a year (birthday and Christmas). However, what if Mom gave me the wrong book? (Imagine a year of studying nothing but "Fingertip Control"--that'd kill most any child!) That's where the magic shop guys came in--they knew pretty much what I needed at the time and told my Mom what to buy, which kept me enthralled and growing in magic.

However, with the slow death of the B & M magic shop, those folks are few and far between. If they depend on internet boards and ads for their teaching, they might never crack a book. Therefore, to Mr. McCabe's point: perhaps some of them will have a chance to get a pile of books (most of which are excellent to outstanding, IMHO). I suspect that many purchasers will eventually find a quality book in there (several, actually) that they can savor. As they grow, they'll then have access to new challenging material to study as they advance.

That said, libraries function best with librarians.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Joe Mckay » November 12th, 2016, 12:39 pm

It took me a long time to enjoy ebooks. But I do now.

Nothing will ever beat a nice paper bound magic book for me. There is nothing more fun than to curl up and read a real book.

That said - ebooks have a lot of useful features. I like the fact they are delivered instantly and a lot more magicians can share their ideas. Sure some of it may not be worth sharing but part of the fun for me is tracking down those magicians with useful material to share. And often - those same magicians would not be able to find a magic publisher to put out their material under the old model of magic publishing.

Also - I enjoy being able to scan through thousands of pages of old magic magazines and then narrow down the contents to the 20 or so items that most appeal to me. It is cheap and efficient. And means I don't have tons of bound magazines around taking up space. It is economical to republish old books and old magazines thanks to ebooks in a way that it usually wouldn't be if they were in a paper format.

And with search technology - it makes it much easier to research a trick or principle.

Overall - there are a lot of benefits. And as my interests in magic become more refined - I can usually grab all I want from a book with a cursory read since 99% of magic does not appeal to me. As such - I am quite happy to scan through ebooks looking for that small amount of information that is of real value to me.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby lybrary » November 12th, 2016, 1:41 pm

erdnasephile wrote:The central issue to me isn't so much access to such a trove, but rather the potential absence of a guide to help point the learner in the right direction.

That is a completely different issue. That would be mixing up the textbook with the teacher. It depends on the student. Some are perfectly able to self-study and find their way through a library. Some need a librarian to point them to the correct shelf or book. Some enjoy an unstructured exploratory way of learning, others need structure and guidance. But that has nothing to do with the amount of information readily and cheaply available. For some students a single textbook is too much information. They need it broken down to individual lessens and exercises. It all depends on the student.
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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 12th, 2016, 1:54 pm

Kudos to L&L for taking that step to offer a portable library product.

at some point it would be useful to include:
Search - hypertext links - illustrations (here is the item described in action)- theory presented in context across the presented data
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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Leonard Hevia » November 12th, 2016, 2:09 pm

Wouldn't it be nice if all the Karl Fulves manuscripts go into an ebook digital format? The last Fulves manuscript I acquired cost me $50.00 for a small stapled booklet.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Brad Henderson » November 12th, 2016, 4:20 pm

Chris, the point you keep missing, and as a purveyor of Ebooks perhaps willfully, is that access to all the information in the world is useless unless you have the ability to know what you need to search for.

so It ISN'T a really tool - it's a collection of every tool imaginable. Which is great IF you know how to use the basic tools in the first place. But if you can't saw in a straight line or drive a nail, having a million hammers isn't going to get you anywhere.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby lybrary » November 12th, 2016, 4:37 pm

Brad, you are putting the cart before the horse. I started to retail magic ebooks BECAUSE I digitized them for my own use and found out how useful all that information is. I realized that all my friends and colleagues also wanted this information but nobody was willing to spend the time to digitize books. I decided to start a business so that I could digitize even more. After 16 years digitizing magic books I can claim it was the right decision. So I am not advocating building your own digital library because I am a retailer, I became a retailer knowing how powerful and useful all that digital information is.

But besides that, I will agree that if somebody has no clue whatsoever about magic that it is not particularly helpful to just give him access to a library and say: "Here you go." Obviously putting him on one of many possible starting points will be helpful. But these starting points are very well known and anybody with a bit of time searching online or asking around will find these starting points. Once these introductory books have been read a library will be very helpful, because by that time the student will certainly know the basic vocabulary to start searching in an unstructured library. I would assume that the vast majority of folks we are talking about here do have that basic vocabulary to start searching.
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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Roger M. » November 12th, 2016, 6:01 pm

Buying and owning 40 or 50 magic books on a RAM stick simply because the publisher has made the price attractive doesn't interest me in the least.

I buy books after I do the research required to further that knowledge I'm seeking to further.
Putting such thought into a book purchase leaves me in possession of written material that is directly relevant to my interests, and to my future research.

Conceptually, buying a bunch of books simply because a publisher decides to try yet another new marketing angle makes no sense to me.

I suppose if you'd DONE all your research, and this RAM stick offered 75% of the books you were looking for, then perhaps it might be seen as a "good deal" ... but having somebody else (especially a single publisher) pick those books for you makes it very unlikely that they'll have anything at all to do with things Im directly interested in ... and being interested in "magic" in general simply isn't enough of a reason to drop $300.00 on an assemblage of books that have absolutely no relevance to each other whatsoever beyond the fact that they share the same publisher!

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Ian Kendall » November 13th, 2016, 7:07 am

I would disagree with Brad that a large digital library is not an effective tool. Like all tools, one has to know how to use it, but it's still a tool.

If you want to consider how efficient digital access is, a scenario; let's say you are writing a post on Facebook about the Argentinian currency crash. Do you a) stand up, walk over to your volumes of Encyclopedia Britannica, pull down the volume with Argentina in it, read through the article until you find the information about the financial crash and study it, or do you b) open up a new tab and Google 'Argentinian currency crash' and read the Wikipedia article?

Now, there is a very well known joy in perusing a large book (there was a set of Britannica in my boarding house at school, and I spent a lot of my isolated time reading it). However, there is a reason Encarta, and then Wikipedia took over for research purposes.

A tangent; I had a university room mate from Germany. One summer I spent a week with him on his family farm, and ended up helping out in the vineyards. I was surprised that they had a specific tool just for digging planting holes. He told me that if there was a tool that made their life easier, they got it.


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