Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #9!!

Thirteen Things about Prestidigitation


(see if you can say that fast a couple of times)

1. You receive a grandiose slap on the back of congrats if you know what that is. Sorry, no prizes. Just a big smile from yours truly.

2. Prestidigitation is a set of techniques used by a magician or card shark to manipulate objects in his hands such as coins and playing cards, pretty little silk scarves and small, wacky colored, little squishy nerf balls.

3. Prestidigitation is also known as “Sleight of hand”, mistakenly referred to as “slight of hand”. But that’s wrong. So don’t use it, especially if you are ghost writing to Houdini.

4. The word “sleight” comes from the Old Norse language and means dexterity and deceptiveness.

5. Prestidigitation is also called “l├ęger de main” which is French for “lightness of hand” and sounds really nice if you can pronounce it properly.

6. This is more complicated that you could ever imagine – and not just the act of doing the trick. There are hundreds of different sleights, but they are generally classified into groups: switches; changes; the pass; the false deal; the double lift; the false shuffle to name a few.

7. David Copperfield pulled this off, but don’t you try: When a mugger approached him for his wallet (and what the mugger presumed was a more than likely hefty bounty), ol’ Dave sleighted him by making the mugger think he had no wallet. Not quite on a scale as making an airplane disappear, but noteworthy none-the-less.

8. Not only do you need to develop nimble fingers and hands to manage prestidigitation, but one must use psychology, misdirection and an organized choregraphy of moves to produce the end result. This, my friends, takes mountains of time, effort and practice, which is probably why “sleight” of hand doesn’t functionally interest me in the least.

9. There are 2 types of misdirection: Time and Movement. By allowing time to pass during a sleight, the viewer’s perception may be altered. So while you are telling an audience about your Aunt Bessie’s golf ball sized tumor, you can move those coins/cards/scarves around most anywhere as your viewers take a long snooze or run to the restroom.

10. Movement is more complicated. Magicians use this theorem: “A larger action covers a smaller action” to misdirect the viewers attention. In other words, while you are actually putting the pretty silk scarf in your pocket with one hand, your other hand is perhaps recreating Whistler’s Mother in Paint By Number.

11. Some famous prestidigitators besides David Copperfield are: Criss Angel, David Blane, Paul Brashier, Dean Dill. Some of them have websites, but I guarantee you, they don’t give away their secrets.

12. While you may be amused at your fave magician at the local pizza place hiding quarters behind your ears, sleight of hand has, yes, been used for “dark” purposes. Con artists are frequently amazing prestidigitators – using their gift to cheat at gambling. Remember Moe Howard putting cards between his toes in that “3 Stooges” short? Huh?

13. Those who read Henry Hay’s Cyclopedia of Magic will tell you that there are vast differences between “tricks” and “magic”. Tricks (sleights) can be done by “apparatus conjurers” but magic is an art perfected and performed by “illusionists”. And please remember from me: ALL pursuits have their very sensitive, fully engaged affectionados, whose toes should never be stepped on, but gazed at with appreciation, preferably from a safe distance.


Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



40 comments:

No Nonsense girl said...

Great TT!!!

Joely Sue Burkhart said...

What a fun list! Makes me want to drool over Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale (I think that's who was in the Prestige).

Lori said...

Neat list! Happy TT

Nap Warden said...

Smart list...Happy TT!

colleen said...

I'm not good at doing tricks or telling jokes! But am impressed by those who can.

I'll be posting my 90th or so 13 tomorrow! How did I pull that off?

This Eclectic Life said...

You know so much about so many things. So, are YOU a magician? I take it that you might be. If so, what's your favorite "trick"?

Wolfbernz said...

I like watching a magician at work it's so much fun!

Happy TT

Lori said...

My ex boyfriend was in to magic. I have actually heard the term before:) Great list.

FRIGGA said...

That was interesting. When I was little I used to be amazed at my dad's card tricks. But after watching him all those years I finally caught on to most of them.

Happy TT13! :-)

Nicholas said...

Thank's for the big smile!

Thomma Lyn said...

Wow, what a cool TT! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it -- and I want to say, too, that your cats are precious. :)

Happy T13, and thanks for visiting mine!

Nicole Austin said...

Great list. I love it that Copperfield was able to fool the mugger. :D
Happy TT!

Damozel (Buck Naked Politics) said...

Very cool T13....thanks for something a little bit different (and very amusingly told)...

Gattina said...

I just changed Mr. Gattino into a nice black male cat and it worked ! I am better then David Copperfield, lol !

.. Dallas Meow >^^ said...

hence...
presto chango?

;)

grace_of_angels88 said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and for the greetings. :) Hope you have a great day!

Xakara said...

I could not have guessed that there were 13 things to learn about prestidigitation.

I did however know what it meant, so score for me. :)

Happy TT, glad I found you.

~X

Emmyrose said...

Great TT! :)

Mom not Mum said...

What a great list - and yes I knew what it meant and yes I would have thought slight. LOL Learn something everyday here at TT.

Robin said...

I can barely pronounce it, let alone do it! Great TT.

Shelby said...

it's a great word.

Jenny McB said...

Thanks for the link! Will reciprocate, love your detailed thirteens. They are like mini social history lessons.

I love to watch "tricks" but have to admit that it irritates me that I can't figure it out. But isn't that true with everyone?

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Where on Earth are you coming up with these? They are fantastic, Lara!!!

I read a book a year or so ago about this Charles Carter guy (I think that was his name) who was a magician around Houdini's time. It was fiction, of course, but it taught me an appreciation for the struggle to learn magic and to continue to push the envelope.

Although to be honest, I like Copperfield's push the wallet trick best.

Anonymous said...

Oh me, oh my! You struck a chord here. Everyone loves your unique TT style. Keep it up! Anne

samulli said...

I love watching magicians and sometimes it drives me mad that I can't see how it's done. But because of my monumental laziness (not to mention my clumsy fingers) I never wanted to learn to do tricks myself.
This is a great list. It'd be really interesting to hear how you came up with this topic. :)

busy91 said...

some of them are amazing. Happy TT!

Vixen said...

Great TT. I found #7 very fascinating.

Joyismygoal said...

Magical post :> can you do all that?

Cassandra said...

Hey! I actually knew what that meant! LOL. My hubby is an amateur magician/magic tricks collector.

Of course, my favorite trick he won't do in public or show anyone else. ::saucy wink::

Thanks, too for stopping by the Midnight Moon Cafe's blog!

http://midnightmooncafe.blogspot.com

L^2 said...

Wow, what an interesting list! And #7 - LOL - that's awesome.

impworks said...

I knew what Prestidigitation so I've got a bit of a smile. Knowing what it is doesn't help as I don't have to coordination to ever do anything other than fumble though...

Mama Pajama said...

I love it when I actually learn new things from blogs. Great list!

J. Lynne said...

Very...very interesting.

Thanks for stopping by my TT!

Nicole said...

(@ Joely: I prefer Edward Norton in 'The Illusionist,' myself.)

Nice TT! I love visiting yours; they are always so thoughtful and entertaining.

Southern Girl said...

Slap me on the back, I knew what that was! ;) Fascinating list -- I learned some things I didn't know.

My TT is up, too:
http://southern-born-and-bred.blogspot.com

captain lifecruiser said...

Oh, cool and unusual list!

We hired a magician at our wedding party and he was awesome!!!! I think it's soo cool, but it demands too much practice for my taste.

I just wish that I had a magic wand to swing sometimes... *giggles*

Natalie said...

Cool!

Tink said...

Fun and interesting. I had never heard that word before. If I speak slowly I can say it. :-)
Thanks for visiting my IJmuiden TT.

cajunvegan said...

One of my favorite words and a great TT -- I remember that Moe scene with the cards -- Ha! Check out my other uses for vodka TT this week.

Tempest Knight said...

I always have problems pronouncing that word. Total tongue twister. *LOL*