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25 entries from November 2009

Like a Merlin Award?

If you've always wanted a Merlin Award but haven't figured out how to get one yet, here's your chance!

You won't need to be nominated as 'Most Original Close Up Magician of the Year' or 'Family Magic Show of the Year', you simply go to Latvia and 'The Baltic International Festival of Wonder and Magic' where a Merlin Award will be given away as a competition award. (Maybe more... the poster says three will be presented!) To make it even more prestigious, there is no jury, the audience will vote on who gets the award!

So head on over to their site and sign up for Miraculous Amber.


How Google AdWords lets your competitors steal your customers

and unless your company name is trademarked, you can't do a thing about it...

Here's a loophole that dishonest AdWords users can use to beat the competition. This quote is from the Google Australia & New Zealand AdWords Team. 

Why am I publishing it here? As I can't get Google to fix this loophole, maybe someone else out there can:

"Thank you for your email. I understand you wish to know whether it is possible for any company to run an ad on behalf of someone else using their company name which is not trademarked.

Yes. If the company name is not trademarked and a complaint has not been filed with us we cannot disallow an advertiser to run such ads."

She was born, lived and died in a cage

I was in Coles today, picking up some eggs for tomorrow's show, and while I was standing in front of the vast display of a variety of eggs it was fascinating to watch people actively seek out free range eggs instead of cage eggs.

Everyone wanted to do the right thing despite the manufacturer's various attempts to deceive them with clever packaging.

On many of the egg cartons the words 'Cage Eggs' was in a color just slightly darker or lighter than the background, so it was very difficult to notice.

In one brand of eggs there is a huge block of text declaring how environmentally friendly they are. On closer investigation you discover it's the package that's biodegradable, the eggs are cage eggs, though the words are very hard to see on the carton because of the font colour.

I'll give Coles full credit because they write the words 'Cage Eggs' in big, bold font on their cartons. The only thing is, as one shopper told me, they keep putting the price of the free range eggs up every week.

There's also a brand which advertises as cage free. Confusing term and I assume it's somewhere between free range and caged, maybe barn laid? Maybe someone can clear this up for me.

Anyway, it is very encouraging that people are becoming more and more aware of the cruel conditions under which their food is often produced, and trying to do the right thing, but there is still a long way to go. 

According to the Australian Hen Welfare Advisory Group, 80% of the eggs purchased in Australia are cage eggs and only 15% are free range. Price wise, 700g cage eggs = $2.59/carton, and 660g free range eggs = $5.59/carton.

It's very important that everyone takes a moment to click on this link before they next go shopping.

And if you'd like to take action, go here.

Doing it "Old School"

This Saturday morning it's like 'Tim Ellis: Origins' as I go back to my roots and perform at the Arden Crescent Church Fete in Rosanna.

Kidtim I'll be dusting off the Die Box and gathering all my Sponge Balls in preparation for a good old fashioned family magic show! 

Feel free to come along and sit up the back and grin at me

Two shows: 10.45 and 12.30. 

The letter that started the Merlin Awards controversy

Here is the letter allegedly sent from Tony Hassini to Kirby & Bambi Van Burch on October 21 this year.

According to iTricks, the letter was posted on Bambi Van Burch's website by a disgruntled Kirby Van Burch staff member, and though Kirby asked him to remove it, it remained up until Bambi took control of her website from Kirby's server.

In the letter, Mr Hassini states he contacted Kirby Van Burch in June this year when he received complaints from several magicians that Bambi was using plagiarised material in her new solo show.

The letter implies that Kirby reassured Mr Hassini that Bambi was not using other people's material in her show. (A show put together by Bambi, or Kirby?) Yet in iTricks Kirby says: "The IMS contacted Bambi with concerns she was using other people's material. She was aware, she continued using them.This is the result of her action." 

Mr Hassini goes on to say that he recently got proof that she had copied others and has decided to revoke Bambi's 2007 and 2008 'Female Magician of the Year' Merlin Awards.

(This sets an interesting precedent. Will Tony now revoke the awards of other Merlin winners who are using other people's material?)

Mr Hassini goes on to say that Bambi cannot claim to have received the Merlin Award for 'Female Magician of the Decade' as he never presented it to her. (An April post on this forum says Mr Hassini was scheduled to do so on June 1 in Branson)

Yet here is a picture of the Award he says he never gave Bambi, and here is an article where Bambi's ex-husband Kirby says the Award must be doctored. 

Strangely enough, in this article it states that on June 8 the award was presented to her (not by Tony Hassini but by the mayor of Branson) and Kirby was present that night and witnessed her receiving the award. (From June to August she was doing a solo afternoon show, 'Bambi - Princess of Magic', while they were both doing their duo show together in the evenings. When her afternoon show ended in August, they filed for divorce).

Mr Hassini's letter goes on to say that she cannot claim to be 2009 'Female Magician of the Year' as he gave that title to Arian Black. Indeed her website confirms she holds that title, along with 2004 and 2008 'Female Magician of the Year'.

However, Mr Hassini agrees that Bambi was 2008 'Female Magician of the Year' in the letter. Did he accidentally give the award out twice?

And iTricks reported Mr Hassini presented 'Scarlett - Princess of Magic' with a Merlin Award in 2008 as well...

It's all very confusing but all of these problems could be avoided if The International Magicians Society would simply spend 20 minutes putting up a page listing, year by year, all of the Merlin Award winners.

What to do, what to do...

Here's a difficult choice for magicians looking to buy a 

This effect was brought out by Mikame Craft some time ago and retails for $99:

"A Switching Mechanism Beyond Your Imagination! 

A Masterpiece from the late Eric Lewis with limited production by Mentalist Al Koran, under the name 'Savoy'. Mikame Craft improved the handling and mechanism for a straight forward magic effect. Show a beautiful wooden stand with a large opening similar to a Pagoda House. 

In FULL view is a heart shaped locket on a chain hanging down. In the locket is a written prediction. 

Ask three random audience members to call out a single digit number, giving you a three digit number.Write this 3 digit number down in the note pad, have another audience member hold the pad. 

You lift the chain on the locket NEVER touching the locket itself. Have ANY audience member open the locket and read your prediction inside, which MATCHES the random number called out! 

Mr. Mikame's routine is a mentalism prediction. However, you can use a vanished Ring or even a marked coin as well. This is extremely impressive magic!" 

And now Daytona Magic have brought out something that does the same thing, looks remarkably similar, and costs $150.


Merlin Awards being revoked?! has this odd story about Bambi VanBurch having her 2007 and 2008 Merlin Awards revoked.

The article states:

"The letter claims the organization never awarded Bambi the Merlin for either Female Magician of the Decade or Female Magician of the Year for 2009." 

Bambi was interviewed by iTricks here in June when she won the awards.

But then... DID she get the 2009 Awards for 'Female Magician of the Year' and 'Female Magician of the Decade'?

She definitely has the 2007 and 2008 awards for 'Female Magician of the Year', but in our round up of the latest batch of awards here, there is no 'Female Magician of the Year' award mentioned. The only woman to get a prize was Magic Babe Ning with 'Female Illusionist of the Year'

Seems very odd. A lot of people have said that it seems very easy to get a Merlin Award, but what do you have to do to have one revoked???