[Note: <B>Spoiler warning: Some of Houdini's methods will be revealed below in this column. If you don't want to lose the wonder of "how did he do that?" stop reading this column now</B>.]
Recently, when this columnist saw a used copy of Jim Steinmeyer's 2003 copyrighted book, "Hiding the Elephant," for sale, we had a dual motivation for glomming on to it; we've always been interested in how to saw a woman in half and there was a chance that, perhaps, if the author explained how Houdini made an elephant disappear, there would be the basis for a column explaining how Generalisimo Bush was able to perform the magic needed to get a gentle and peace loving nation to invading Iraq.
By page 13, Steinmeyer is extolling the qualities that made Howard Thurston a much more superior magician than Houdini. He notes the irony of Thurston telling his audience "I wouldn't deceive you for the world" knowing that they had paid good hard earned dollars just to be there when he did exactly that.
On page 17, all tricks are explained: "The audience is taken by the hand and led to deceive themselves." Ahhhh, now we see how Bush did it. America had regressed to the days of the Roman gladiators and given Dubya the signal that is copyrighted by Roger Ebert to designate approval for a bloodbath. (Does Ebert get royalties from the Caesar Agustus family estate?)
When the "Shock and Awe" TV special was being broadcast live; this columnist went to the home of a friend and found him cheering wildly while watching the carnage being delivered. My buddy has long been a big Ed Gein fan.
Obviously some of the Liberals have been a bit slower than others in accepting the "Immaculate Deception" lesson in their hearts. President Obama seems to have become hip to the message: America wanted the war with Iraq.
Now, as the slow on the uptake Liberals try to object to the use of depleted uranium, because of the allegations of a perceptible increase in birth defects in areas where that substance has been used, they are still trying to use facts and logic to persuade the Conservatives that such material should be banned from the battlefield.
The Liberals petition the media with requests to delineate the effects that depleted uranium causes. "Oh, please tell us how Houdini made the Elephant disappear!" Boys and girls: "You cannot petition the media with prayers!" The New York Times public editor will only read letters pertaining to stories that publication has run. Trying to bring stories that need to be covered to their attention is a "Myth of Sisyphus" task. Don't waste your time or his.
This year as the world celebrates another Valentine's Day, note the complete lack of enthusiasm the media has for the topic of using depleted uranium in the war zones. Think of it as America's Valentine's Day gift to the world.
Steinmeyer notes that Houdini's appeal was derived from his skill as a master escape artist.
Walter Gibson wrote books about magic and one in particular explains some of the secrets to Houdini's escapes. If you are of a mind to learn all about how magicians work their magic, you can acquire much of that esoteric knowledge, if you read enough books.
If you do go to the trouble of learning the secrets of magic, you will then watch magicians from a completely different viewpoint. You will pay attention to the way they distract an audience's attention. Magician assistants (usually very attractive women in scanty costumes) are called "box jumpers." You will appreciate them as showmen and not people who can perform impossible feats.
Sometimes when Houdini was about to perform a dangerous escape, his wife would give him a passionate kiss as a show of support and encouragement. She would (sometimes) also pass a key from her mouth to his during the steamy public display of affection.
In an effort to show that "there's nothing hidden up my sleeves," Houdini would sometimes perform his escapes clad only in shorts which preserved his modesty. If, for instance, his hands were tied spread eagle fashion to the floor, the audience wouldn't get to see that he was agile and flexible and could untie knots with his bare feet. Many people who don't have hands develop a similar level of agility for using their feet.
Ohhhhh Kay! So people want to be fooled and join with my buddy in making a festival setting for watching "Shock and Awe."
In other words: no body gave a fig about the possibility that there were no WMD's in Iraq. America wanted to see a tyrant get spanked and the WMD excuse was good enough for them. The crybaby liberals who fretted about a long and costly war were just trying to run interference for their pet social programs which (obviously) are destined to become metaphorical casualties in a long, expensive war. Boo-hoo!