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November 2005
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34 entries from December 2005

MAGIC Magazine

January06_cover The January issue of MAGIC Magazine is out now (with Kostya Kimlat on the cover). It features a 'Viewpoint' article written by Tim Ellis called 'Can You Keep A Secret?' Regular readers of this blog might recognise the body of this article as it originated here in October as 'Secrets, secrets, who's got the secrets?' It was reshaped and edited to be more suitable for MAGIC's format, but you can read the original blog version again here.

Breaking News from Tom Ogden

Bun With Likeness of Mother Teresa Stolen

Nun NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Dec. 26) - A cinnamon bun that bears a striking likeness to Mother Teresa has gone missing from the coffeehouse where it was displayed. The owner, Bob Bernstein, arrived to find an early Christmas morning break-in and the world-famous pastry gone. Bernstein said he believes that the culprit is someone angry over the shop displaying the Nun Bun, which has been preserved with shellac. A jar of money next to it was not stolen. "They went right for the bun," he said. "Unfortunately I think it's somebody who wanted to take it to destroy it."

The Nun Bun gained worldwide attention in 1996 when a Bongo Java customer nearly took a bite of it before recognizing the revered nun in the folds of flaky pastry. The bun was featured on world news programs, The Late Show with David Letterman and was even mentioned on episodes of "The Nanny" and "Mad About You."

"Good film, except for that creepy religious stuff!"

It's Boxing Day and today we're heading off to see the latest epic movie to hit our screens 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe'. It's a huge hit overseas, but "fantasy pulp" according to yesterday's review in The Melbourne Age. The Age film review gives it one and a half stars and describes it as an:

"Endless, tiresome, over-produced fantasy dirge based on the famous children's classic by C.S. Lewis. The film moves with bum-numbing slowness to a battle climax that looks like an off-cut from The Lord of the Rings"

A big article about the movie was in yesterday's weekend edition of The Age and featured a very cynical piece criticising the "overtly religious nature" of the movie.

"For most juvenile readers and, I should think, for the largely secular Australian audiences who go to see The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe this Christmas, the sacred story of resurrection slides by in the wash of centaurs, minotaurs and fauns and the essentially Homeric story of the children's attainment of heroic status."

Tilda Swinton, who plays the White Witch in the film says:

"I think it is almost anti-religious. What I mean by that is that it's about children learning to draw not on any kind of dogma or doctrine but on their own resources, outside of the box. Outside their family, outside parental guidance, outside anything. The thing about Narnia is that it takes you to the heart of yourself, your own conscience and your own experience, and so I think it is so much wider than any religion could be, actually. The incapacity to be compassionate, to be humane and changeable. I am very intrigued by the idea of the righteous. I am suspicious of it, being human. I think that human nature is so much more interesting than that; doubtlessness is not helpful to human beings."

She began this year playing the Angel Gabriel in Constantine, she says "and that is the film for the Christians, by the way, not this one."

Constantine, by the way, is an incredibly blasphemous movie and her character, the Angel Gabriel, turns out to be a traitor working for Satan... she sees this as a film for the Christians...?

The article goes on to refer to Christians as 'God botherers', 'Bible bashers', and C. S. Lewis as a 'pious don' while non-Christians are referred to as 'down-to-earth', 'thinking atheists' and 'netural agnostics' while telling fans of the book 'some of whom are religious' that 'nobody involved in the film was especially concerned with C.S. Lewis' allusion to the central story of Christianity'.

On Christmas Eve, on the web version of The Age, we were inundated with articles slagging the movie. Polly Toynbee wrote:

"Children won't get the Christian subtext, but unbelievers should keep a sickbag handy in Disney's new Narnia epic" here

You can read more anti-Christian rants here, here and here. Really, they should just come out of their wardrobe and rename the newspaper 'The Melbourne New Age'.

The class of '05

We had a great day today at 'Trick or Treat Magic Cafe's' Christmas party and graduation show today. Students of all ages performed for friends and family in the absolutely packed party room at 'Trick or Treat'. There were between 20 to 40 kids studying magic with Tammi and Tim this year, and the level of confidence and ability at their ages was incredible.

The show ran from 11.00am to 1.00pm and featured more experienced magicians performing "guest spots" along with the students. Nick Morton performed mind magic divining the correct key in order to open a padlock. Michael Sullivan presented his very funny 'MagicCo' infomercial routine. I did the Linking Rings and Runaround Sue.

After the students received their Certificates of Completion, Tim and Tammii treated them to an "after party" where they sessioned with each other, quizzed the experienced magicians (and got autographs!) and then got crazy with visits from Father Christmas, a gorilla, and "little Igor".

It was a fun day and we predict that next year they're going to need two performances to cope with the ever-growing number of magic students.

Hopefully Tim or Tam can fill us in with some more details in the comments section below this post, or even send us a few pics!

Happy whatever!

I read in the Herald-Sun this morning the annual complaint from a reader about the overly religious nature of the Christmas celebration and how the Christians have "no idea" that they simply "hijacked" a pagan festival in 350AD. Factually yes, December 25 was not the true date of the birth of Jesus Christ, but it is the date that has been chosen to celebrate it. (In Australia we also know that the Queen was born on April 21, but we celebrate her birthday on June 13 anyway).

There is Chanukah, the Jewish holiday known as 'The Festival of Lights'. This has been adopted as 'The Jewish Christmas' simply because of it's proximity to Dec 25. In an effort to be inclusive of people of all religious beliefs at Christmas time, governments, social leaders, and card manufacturers started marketing Chanukah and it has become even more well known in the Gentile world than the more important festivals like Passover.

Another alternative to Christmas is Kwanzaa, created in 1966 as a "reaffirmation of African American family values". It's not considered a subsitute for Christmas, however like Chanukah, it has achieved equal billing with Christmas as far a card manufacturers and the politically-correct are concerned.

In an effort to be all inclusive, I've seen some people wishing others "Happy Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy Ramadan". Ramadan is the Muslim month of fasting. At the end of Ramadan they celebrate by sharing their good fortune with others. Because this happeans near the end of the year some see this as the Muslim equivalent of Christmas. I'm not so sure Muslims would agree.

In America, many people are now celebrating 'Festivus'. The idea being that they are protesting that Christmas is now too commercialised. I agree. However, they don't simply strip it back to the Christian meaning of the holiday, they take out all meaning and make it... well... visit the website and read about it yourself. (If the founder's name, Frank Kostanza, seems familiar to you... you're right. This holiday was created in 1997 on an episode of 'Seinfeld'). If you truly wish to ignore the commercialisation of Christmas, but would like to retain the meaning of the holiday, try this website from the buynothingchristmas people.

Then there are still more people who don't like the Christian meaning of Christmas, but LOVE getting the presents! They call the season Giftmas. And of course there are the extremely politically correct people who try not of offend anyone by wishing us all 'Happy Holidays'.

The important truth about how you celebrate Christmas is not found in the way you celebrate it, but instead in what you believe in your heart. If you truly love God and believe that Jesus Christ is his son incarnate, and you spend Christmas remembering this and thanking God for the gift of his son, then you are celebrating Christmas the way that God wants you too. In this case, there's only one person's opinion that matters here, and it's not a disgruntled reader of the Herald-Sun.

Merry Christmas everyone!


The other night we did a show at the new RACV Club in the city and one guest swore that he saw me in the paper earlier this week. I tried to explain it was Cosentino, but he insisted it was me in the shots holding the rabbit.

I guess I can't blame him for getting the two of us confused though. When you really compare, there are some similarities:



The other good thing that happened that night (apart from being mistaken for Cos) was the discovery of what has to be the world's BEST ice-cream! If you are not a member of the RACV Club it's worth joining just to taste this delicious hand-made dessert! The head chef (who's name sounded something like Mossimo.. I'm not sure, he's Belgian) has come up with the most melt-in-your-mouth gourmet ice-cream (which one guest said was healthy too.. *g*). After the show I tried EVERY flavour and, despite my reputation as a sugar-freak, I have gone off ice-cream from the last year or so but this was sooooooo good I'm back on board. Not any old frozen cream though, I'll only indulge at the RACV Club from now on. (I hope they serve it in their bistro!) Take a tip from one of the guests, she told me the best combination was pistachio with vanilla sauce, she was right!

Best. Review. Ever.

Last night I did a customised presentation where I was introduced as a family friend at a 40th birthday party and I delivered a speech to the birthday girl as though I'd known her, and her whole family, all my life. Naturally, the speech was peppered with incidental magic as it progresssed, climaxing with the instant "blowing up" of a mini champagne bottle into a full size one.

I guess the audience must have been pretty impressed because I just got an email from a guest and, I must admit, this is probably the highest praise I'll ever get!

"I was at the party and your act is the best thing that I have ever seen. Ever!

If it was a toss up between getting Cameron Diaz as a hooker for an hour or your show - I am not sure what I would go for!"