Request for Chop Cup input

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Jim Riser
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Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Jim Riser » July 30th, 2004, 5:05 pm

I am almost finished with the development and testing phase of my new large load version of the Chop Cup. I can spin the cups so that the magnet will work both on inside and outside of the cup's bottom. There are several routines which utilize the cup's ability to help conceal a ball on the outside of the cup. Many routines do not include this capability. Some performers do not want the outside bottom to attract anything. It is also possible to spin in a steel insert which will be attracted by the magnetic ball but not attract anything itself (drawback here is strongly magnetic balls).

What I am seeking is opinions as to what working magicians would prefer as relates to the magnetic cup bottom. Obviously, I'd prefer to make items which are the most useful to real performers. Such input helps me in producing quality products which will be used.

Any preferences?

Thanks.
Jim

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Glenn Farrington
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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Glenn Farrington » July 30th, 2004, 7:24 pm

I prefer that the outside of the cup not attract anything. Also, having stronger magnetized balls makes that handling of the cup a lot harder.

My vote goes for the standard cup and just give us your great craftmanship.
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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Ray Eden » July 31st, 2004, 1:08 am

And I prefer that the ball does adhere from the outside: my routine depends on it. I also prefer a flat base instead of a concaved. I've found when the base is concaved it is harder to dislodge the ball when striking the cup with a fisted hand from above. It always brings pain when enough force is used to dislodge the ball.

Ray Eden

P.S. I've been waiting for your Chop Cup!

cataquet
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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby cataquet » July 31st, 2004, 6:10 am

I have a vanDokum chop cup, which has a magnet (and attracts on the outside). The balls have no magnets whatsoever. There are also a few subtle design features that I had Auke put into the cup, but these were necessary only for my routine (which at one point uses two different colored balls).

As to whether you want the outside attraction, there are two questions you have to ask yourself:
(1) Do you ever place the ball on top of the cup? If the answer is no, then it doesn't matter. In most routines that I have seen, the ball never sits on top of the cup. If you do place the ball on top of the cup, then the attraction between the cup and the ball will probably cause the ball to spin a bit as it is placed on top of the cup. This could signal a magnet to those that are looking closely; so those guys will not want a magnetised outside. However, for these guys, there will probably be very little lost by having to place the ball on the performance surface instead of the cup. However, if the ball is steel cored (as opposed to using screws, nails or pins), no spin in the ball will occur. So this inconvenience disappears.
(2) Do you do the Charlie Miller move? If the answer is yes, then you might want a magnetised outside. This feature would allow the penetration to be followed by a display of empty hands.

Looking at the answers above, my conclusion is that if you don't use/want a magnet on the outside, its presence will be a mild inconvenience. However, if you want a magnet on the outside, you probably can't do without it.

So, I guess my conclusion would be that (unless you are going to manufacture both) you should probably have the magnet on the outside as well.

However, as I said at the start of this note, I have a chop cup that I love (and balls that work perfectly with it).

Bye for now

Harold

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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Ray Eden » July 31st, 2004, 6:50 am

Harold,

I 'adhere' the ball to the outside of the cup to hide it from the audience. I use it at the opening as well as during the routine. There is never a moment when the audience sees the ball adhered to the outside surface.

Ray Eden

Jim Riser
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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Jim Riser » August 2nd, 2004, 1:43 pm

Thanks for the input on desired features.

Here's what the final cup will most likely look like (this is the final prototype):

http://www.jamesriser.com/Magic/Ultimat ... /RUCC.html

Jim

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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby BlueEyed Videot » August 2nd, 2004, 2:43 pm

Oh my! Oh my! Oh my!

Chop Cup orgasm.

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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 2nd, 2004, 4:14 pm

There are no orgasms allowed on this website!!!!
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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Erik Hemming » August 2nd, 2004, 4:35 pm

Spoil sport... :D

How about: "Wooo Hooo! Way to go Mr. Riser!"

(It seems somehow insufficient to the level of achievement. What Riser says it will do, is what it does. And what he says it does, is delicious to the Nth degree. Ergo, C.C.O.)

So...SWEEEEEEET!
(Let this be translated as a joyous, but sub-orgasmic level of appreciation. I'll keep my true feelings to myself to preserve the desired degree of decorum.)

Gordo

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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Pete Biro » August 2nd, 2004, 10:47 pm

Looks great, but, I'd make it less tall by a bit. Why not offer two choices?

Have you researched the Thomas Wayne system? His magnetic attraction is totally different and you don't need to slam the cup down to dislodge the ball.
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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Jim Riser » August 2nd, 2004, 11:13 pm

Hi Pete;
The extra height and special taper allows a baseball (or large orange) to be held inside the upper section of the cup until gently dislodged as the cup is set down - working like a Johnny Paul Cup. I believe that you are familiar with the Johnny Paul Cups ;-) Notice the baseball up in the taper of the cup in the pictures.

The idea was to make the cup as versatile as possible - using the magnetic feature or not (or combining both methods). The extra height allows this. It will actually hold an object larger than a baseball.

To the rest of you, thanks for the kind comments.
Jim

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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Glenn Farrington » August 3rd, 2004, 1:17 am

oooh....ooooh.....OOOOOH YEAH....phew.

Since I dont have the cup already. That must have been a premature chop cupulation.

Mr. Riser...it is pretty! It reminds me of the exacto except with a flat bottom.

Whenever its ready...let me know. I'll take one! My goodness Jim...Soon I'm going to need a shelf just dedicated to your work.
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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Ray Eden » August 3rd, 2004, 4:49 am

Okay . . . I'm happy, happy and I want, want, want! Can't wait to get mine!!!!

Ray Eden

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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Pete Biro » August 3rd, 2004, 9:01 am

Jim: I now see why your shape. At first I didn't recognize it, but... it is very similar to the one that Paul Daniels uses... and THAT is the Ken Brooke cup. I will dig mine out and email you the dimensions.

Nobody... NO... BUDEEE... gets more out of the trick than Paul.

Sidebar: When he was booked to the Tropicana in Las Vegas, he showed up to meet the stage manager, who said, "Where's all your equipment? If you need us to open the back door to the loading dock, let me know."

Paul said, "I have it all here," pointing to his little brief case.

What was his act?

The Chop Cup.
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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Frank Starsinic » August 3rd, 2004, 8:47 pm

Hi Jim.
Nice work as always. I like that it looks like a cocktail shaker to some degree.

Looks like you've got another winner.

The only input I would have is that if the baseball is inside the cup in "chopped formation" closer to the mouth would be better so it doesn't clunk when it becomes "unchopped".

Although, you'd also want to have a "chopped" baseball and a regular crocheted ball in there at the same time, frollicking about.
Perhaps this is your thinking.

If the ball is 1.125 inches in dia. the baseball would best be chopped at 1.25 inches from the mouth or so.

Of course all this changes if a different final load is used but I think you see what I'm after.

Just a thought.....

Very nice!

Frank

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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Jim Riser » August 3rd, 2004, 9:21 pm

Hi Frank;
Yes, the idea is to be able to load the baseball (which lightly wedges into position in the upper portion of the cup) and still be able to do an all sleight segment with the 1 1/8" balls. A chopped baseball is not required due to the special taper of top portion of the cup. Duing the laughter/applause at the end of this segment, the baseball would be dislodged - with no indication of loading. The baseball sound can be cushioned by the little finger inserted into the cup mouth, if thought necessary. The cup is designed for platform/stage performances, as well as, select close-up work.
Jim

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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Todd Lassen » August 3rd, 2004, 9:45 pm

Wow Mr. Riser!! Man, your stuff just oozes, just reeks of beauty and quality. I think all of us feel the same. We are all getting little chubbies. That's no kidding. When I look at that cup I see a work of art, stark perfection in every sense of the word. I can see how much thought and work and skill went into it. I can sense exactly what this cup will feel like without ever touching it. There is no way to value the amount of joy and satisfaction you get from owning, handling, and performing with a fine magic prop like this. It changes your whole attitude, enhances your creativity and eagerness to practice, and builds your confidence level. I really want one of these, I am ready to pay now. Please sign me up. Cheers.
Todd

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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Frank Starsinic » August 4th, 2004, 1:48 am

Originally posted by Jim Riser:
Hi Frank;
A chopped baseball is not required due to the...
Jim
Yes. Understood.

Are we going to see one of these at the Magic Castle Swapmeet in November?

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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Guest » August 4th, 2004, 8:51 am

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
[...]
Have you researched the Thomas Wayne system? His magnetic attraction is totally different and you don't need to slam the cup down to dislodge the ball.
Sorry Pete, my system is in the process of being patented and only a select few manufacturers will be allowed to legally use it in their products.

Regards,
Thomas Wayne

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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Pete Biro » August 4th, 2004, 9:01 am

While on Holiday in San Francisco, a shop called Sur la Table... had a mini cocktail shaker that looked almost exactly like your cup, Jim... I almost bought it, because... the lid offered a lot of possibilities.

Think about adding a lid... w/gaff?

A mini chop cup as the top part of the lid?

A liquid load inside the top?

Many ideas spring to mind.
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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Jonathan Townsend » August 4th, 2004, 9:19 am

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
...Think about adding a lid... w/gaff?...
And yet again, Pete hits the nail on the head and finds a context for the chop cup... it's a drink shaker!

I like my martoonies disturbed but not shaken ;)

With enough shaking in the routine... and an olive or cherry as the ball, the thing could end with a glass of liquid production and be organic to a bar setting.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Pete Biro » August 4th, 2004, 10:00 am

tanks... and the shakers was only $10 and I didn't buy one...

Also, whilst at it... those nice metal ice cream dishes are great for magic...
Stay tooned.

Guest

Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Guest » August 4th, 2004, 10:10 am

The late Jerry Camaro made and sold Cocktail Shaker Chop Cups, in stainless steel, for years. He included the small rare earth magnets and suggested dollar bills as the balls. You could adjust the strength of attraction by putting a magnet in the bill, or a piece of steel wool. Obviously the steel wool was the less "attractive" of the two.

In addition, Jerry had a couple of Giant Olives for final loads, and a real "groaner" of a line for them - something like, "I love this trick - No, really "Oil love" this trick!" then produced the Olive - horrible pun, but Jerry always got a laugh - you had to be there...

To finish, Jerry, who worked as a bartender, reached under the bar and "produced" a giant Martini glass, "martini shaken, not stirred", and plopped one of the giant olives in it and toasted the crowd. The IMPRESSION they were left with was that he had produced EVERYTHING, though he just pulled the martini from under the bar. More than once I heard spectators arguing over "where the hell that giant martini came from!" This is the kind of routine that re-enforces the strength of certain psychological ploys, well applied.

I think Jerry wrote this up for "The Magic Menu", though I remember that it didn't "read" nearly as well as it "played". And, he made the cocktail shakers in two sizes, the smaller of the two being my preference, for the same reason that Don Alan shortened the first aluminium Chop Cup, by sawing off about two inches - the loads look more impossible from the smaller the cup. By the way, Jerry usually borrowed a five, and rarely returned it!

Best, PSC

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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Jim Riser » August 4th, 2004, 10:42 pm

Todd Lassen! It's always nice to receive a compliment from the BEST! You touched on to a point that some people do not understand nor appreciate - the feel of a prop. To me the way a prop feels in the hand is extremely important. A good handling prop actually makes performing much easier and more pleasurable. The tactile nature of this cup was considered at all times in its development. Thanks for mentioning "the feel". BTW - If you want one, you may pay for it with some of your great "funny money". We can work a swap sometime this fall ;-)

Pete, yes I could spin a top to fit and even "chop" this top. Or a top could be spun with a micro chop cup for the lid. But why? Just to look like a cocktail shaker? To overly complicate the routine? Because something CAN be done does not mean that it SHOULD be done. The great Paul Daniels routine you mentioned is simple enough for spectators to understand and appreciate. With the current attention spans of many audience members, I'm not certain gimmicked lids or any lid would necessarily improve things in performance; but I'm willing to listen to your logic on this matter ;-) It would add to the price, though!

Jonathan, why does a cocktail shaker look better in your mind than an innocent goblet? I try to create innocent looking props; but do not feel that everything needs to look like something from the kitchen or fast food joint - and I have gone out of my way to make this cup look "ordinary". What is the reasoning behind your line of thinking? Why does everything have to be in a context? Can a performer not merely introduce the effect by saying "I'd like to show you something interesting" - then go ahead and entertain?

An example that comes to mind is a vanishing alarm clock. It looks like a real clock, everyone knows what an alarm clock is, and yet the trick is what I term a "who cares" trick.

I'd rather watch a good egg bag routine and not have to worry about whether that bag is a potato sack or a bean bag. It makes no difference to the effect nor the entertainment value. The bag just needs to look like an innocent cloth bag - that's all. It does not need to look like something seen every day and easily identifiable.

Jonathan, why??? I just do not understand this type of reasoning. Please explain, enlighten. Inquiring minds want to know 8-0
Jim

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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Pete McCabe » August 4th, 2004, 11:10 pm

Jim Riser's comment about the feel of a prop is dead on. Even an amateur like myself can appreciate the difference in the feel of a prop. And it's not just a matter of pleasure (although I wouldn't underestimate the importance of that.) I know that when I finally went to a coin dealer and bought real silver half dollars -- even though I bought junk coins -- I found that they were noticably easier to manipulate.

Perhaps some of the effect was psychological, but I don't think that accounts for everything. I'm by no means a hard-core coin guy, but I can generally tell a silver half from a clad half with my eyes closed.

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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Frank Starsinic » August 5th, 2004, 2:04 am

I certainly think that a better prop is more interesting and entertaining for the magician. You're excited about using it so you practice more. And the feel is a part of that, for sure.

Just like the bicyle I'm trying to talk my wife into letting me get. My thinking is that if I buy a real expensive one I'll want to use it more often than a cheapo. That's my plan!


I do agree with JonTown though. I like things to look pretty ordinary. If it looks like "it" came from a magic store, I will not consider buying it.

Here's a real-world example. I went to the David Copperfield show and he did the Duck Trick where the duck vanished from one box and was found inside a bunny bucket or whatever they're called.

The vanish used a stainless-steel take-apart-box.

The vanish was completely uninteresting to me and I had never seen this type of apparatus before.

The production was amazing to me and I had also never seen one of those before either.

I feel that the difference was that the box for the vanish looked like it came straight from the magic store. The bucket looked like something that held ice in a kitchen (or fast-food joint).

Sor for me, the ordinary looking bucket was superior because it looked so innocent. The stainless-steel box looked prepared; like something meant for an illusion.

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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Jonathan Townsend » August 5th, 2004, 5:19 am

Originally posted by Jim Riser:
...1)A good handling prop actually makes performing much easier and more pleasurable. The tactile nature of this cup was considered at all times in its development...2) why does a cocktail shaker look better in your mind than an innocent goblet? I try to create innocent looking props; but do not feel that everything needs to look like something from the kitchen or fast food joint - and I have gone out of my way to make this cup look "ordinary". What is the reasoning behind your line of thinking? Why does everything have to be in a context? ...3) Can a performer not merely introduce the effect by saying "I'd like to show you something interesting" - then go ahead and entertain?
Thanks for asking. Here is my working hypothesis: The routine registers as more magical when the props are congruent to the setting presented.

Here is the idea set that forms the background for testing this hypothesis;

a) The magic happens in the mind of the audience.
a')The audience is not ordinarily concerned with how the props feel or look to the performer.
b) The props are there to suggest or represent a context.
c) The audience cares about how the performer and the performance affect them.
d) The magnitude of the magic perceived by the audience depends on the difference between their convictions about the props and the effect involving the props. <- to be tested

Regardless of how the props look/feel to the performer, what matters is how the props register to the audience. What matters to the audience is what the props mean to THEM. This is the foundation of my argument for setting/context and magic that is organic to the setting. This can be the physical setting of the show or the stage setting suggested by the character/context of the performer. For example, at a Starbucks, you might want to use one of their mugs for in 'impromptu' look, or if you present yourself as an archaeologist you could use some ancient looking thing.

2) If you would like to investigate the magical component of a chop cup routine from the audience perspective, try varying the props and see when the effect registers strongest in context. If working a restaurant, alternate between using a coffee cup and balled up napkin with the metal cup and knit ball. At a bar, perhaps using a shaker and an olive or cherry for the basic routine.

3) The performer can introduce anything. My question is about HOW the AUDIENCE will relate to the props. I suspect the character and the implied performance setting will affect the perception of the props and that greatly affects the impact of the routines presented. Out of context props may get a 'clever' response. Props given context are more likely to get a 'magical' response.

Okay, that's my working hypothesis these days. I'm curious to hear what others have found when they vary the props and try organic/congruent versus magician/special props.

* note bene: This has nothing to do with the quality of prop construction, and working from Hofzinser's advice I suggest using the finest available props to ensure the most reliable performance.
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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Jim Riser » August 5th, 2004, 8:32 am

Originally posted by Jonathan Townsend:
Originally posted by Jim Riser:

<snip>

Okay, that's my working hypothesis these days. I'm curious to hear what others have found when they vary the props and try organic/congruent versus magician/special props.

* note bene: This has nothing to do with the quality of prop construction, and working from Hofzinser's advice I suggest using the finest available props to ensure the most reliable performance.
Jonathan;
Thanks for explaining your thinking. Yes, we are not talking about quality here - that's a side topic. I believe we are talking more about appropriateness of a prop within the performance.

How do you explain why/how many performers experience such good audience reactions to effects while using "out of context" props? There is a difference between ordinary looking and innocent looking. I do not know how a cocktail skaker would appear to be more ordinary looking than a cup. A cup is seen every day by people and a cocktail shaker is not. (There are many people who have never seen or used a cocktail shaker.) It seems to me that any setting in which a cocktail shaker is "in context" would also be the same context in which a cup might also be found. I still feel that virtually anything (strange looking or not) might be introduced into a magic act, if prefaced with the right comments or the correct situation created. (But perhaps this is what you are saying?) A chop cup could be introduced with the toothbrush still in it. It could be introduced with "Look what I found in my hotel room". The toothbrush could become the wand. The old wind up teeth gag could be part of a final load. I've even got a large foam tooth that was given out by a dental insurance company - a good final load. As an example, the introduction of the cup with the toothbrush, I feel, would make the prop acceptable. Does this, in your opinion, bring the prop into context?

Having said that, Frank I could not agree more with you about the fancy box David Copperfield used. This is incongruent. This is another case of "because it can be done (built) does not mean it should be done". Such a box would better fit in with Rudy Coby's act - but high tech the bucket too. That's as bad as all of the magicians' boxes with the dragons or oriental characters on them. There is nothing more sad than a so-called magician who has obviously never been out of his county introducing a prop with "on my last trip to China". But, would this remark (where it might be believable) bring the prop "into context"?

Jonathan, do you feel props might be brought "into context" with a few introductory remarks or do you feel that they always need to look like they belong in the performance environment? If so, how do you explain the success of classics like the cups and balls, linking rings, egg bag, etc.? I'm not certain that they are ever "in context" - based upon what you seem to have written above.

These are things which, I feel, ought to be considered by performers when routining an act. This is getting interesting.
Jim

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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Pete McCabe » August 5th, 2004, 2:51 pm

Jonathan's insightful comment on "congruence" is very closely related to the idea of naturalness.

Many performers mistake "natural" with "familiar" -- if the audience hasn't seen it, it will seem unnatural, and vice versa. But I think naturalness depends on whether the audience can understand why the performer is doing something (or using a specific prop, etc.)

So, for example, let's say I pick up a card by carefully touching just the pads of my middle finger and thumb to the very edge of the card, lifting it slowly into the air. Chances are pretty good the audience has never seen anyone handle a playing card like this. But it is immediately obvious that I am doing this to emphasize that I am doing everything fairly, and showing the entire face of the card, without my fingers blocking any part of it. So the action will appear natural, i.e. not suspicious.

Props are the same. If you bring in a prop that, as Jonathan suggests, is in context with either your character or the routine you are performing, the audience will know why you are using it and hence it will not be suspected. (Unless you foolishly do something to make it suspicious).

This effect is so powerful that I think you'll get a better response from a congruent prop than one that looks incongruent but has been examined by the audience.

This is also consistent with the frequently made observation that it is better for the audience to handle the object in the course of the routine than to be given the object to examine. The goal isn't to establish that the object is ungaffed, it's to prevent the notion of a gaffed object from even occuring to the audience.

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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Guest » August 13th, 2004, 6:36 pm

I've been experimenting with taping a very small, but powerful, magnet to the inside of my middle finger using a small piece of flesh colored surgical tape. The end of a band-aid will do. This allows any cup to become a chop cup. I use Johnson cups and the force of the magnet is transmitted through that heavy brass without any problem. It really makes for some great variations to any cups and balls routine. And it allows you to palm a ball - the magnetic one - with your hands wide open.

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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 13th, 2004, 8:47 pm

The idea of putting the magnet outside the cup, so it can be removed and any cup can be used, belongs to Bill Zavis and was published in 1969 in Divers Deceipts. He put the magnet into a small magic wand. Others have put it into a finger ring.
I think a finger ring is a better method than a Band-Aid!
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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Guest » August 14th, 2004, 12:55 pm

Finger rings are OK, but they call attention to themselves. A small half inch square of flesh colored surgical tape on the inside of a finger is virtually invisible, especially from a few feet away. And the tape over the magnet makes things very quiet.

And, I'm glad to hear that I wasn't the first one to come up with the idea. It seems like a natural.

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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 14th, 2004, 1:12 pm

Why would a finger ring call attention to itself? So many people wear rings, I would imagine that would be the last thing anyone would question. Having a piece of tape stuck on your finger is more likely to be noticed by an observant spectator.
Besides, performers (actors, magicians, etc.) tend not to wear things like Band-Aids while they're performing. These types of things distract attention.
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Re: Request for Chop Cup input

Postby Guest » August 14th, 2004, 2:25 pm

Well, I don't wear a band-aid, I wear a half-inch square of surgical tape on the inside of my ring or middle finger. It covers the very small magnet without any trouble and is certainly less visible than a thumb tip. In the ordinary handling of the cups, no one sees it. It works. And it is a lot less expensive, and less garish, than one of those magnetic rings. The magnet is 3/8" x 1/8" x 1/16". It comes from an old electric toothbrush. They are probably available elsewhere.


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