Time For Si Stebbins Edward Marlo

After Hours Magic: A Book of Al Thatcher Card Magic

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Because you are now familiar with Marlo's "The Predetermined Hour," you appreciate this application. Since the force-card is usually positioned thirteenth from the top, this makes the distribution found in the Si Stebbins set-up advantageous. Likewise, in the light of recent effects using the Si Stebbins stack, all conducive to creating longer routines, this application is another possibility.

Method: After performing some other effects such as those in "Si Stebbins Sorcery" and while maintaining the Si Stebbins stack, table the deck and go into a short patter spiel about the clock effect and time. After explaining the usual business of choosing an hour, removing an equal number of cards off the top and so on, turn your back to the spectator.

Ask the spectator to cut the cards several times, using straight cuts prior to your instructions. Once he has his removed cards safely pocketed, ask him to deal twelve cards onto the table, forming a small packet.

Turn around and pick up the packet. Form the clock dial configuration on the table, starting at one o'clock. Tell the spectator to peek at the card of his chosen hour as soon as you turn your back again.

When you are certain that he has peeked at his card, have him gather up the clock-dial cards. Instruct him to add them to those cards from his pocket and shuffle them together. Finally, instruct him to place these cards on top of the deck.

As an afterthought, turn around and pick up the deck. Glimpse the bottom card in your most deceptive manner. This card keys the spectator's selection. For example, assume that the bottom card is the Three of Hearts. This indicates that the spectator's chosen card is the Three of Spades. Always go to the next suit in the Stebbins suit sequence of C-H-S-D.

Immediately hand the deck to the spectator and say, "Shuffle all the cards." With your back turned again and after suitable deliberation, name his selection.

August 24, 1971

This same set-up can obviously be applied to an Ace to King-type set-up, giving the operator the same results. What is interesting about using this kind of set-up is that it lends itself to doing Marlo's "Predetermined Hour," despite permitting free cuts. In other words, glimpse the bottom card as in the method just described, which keys the subsequent force-card. This card also tells you how many cards to lose off of the top to get a card with a value matching the number of cards cut off by the spectator.

For example, suppose you glimpse the Ten of Hearts on the bottom of the deck. The spectator will select the Ten of Spades. This also tells you that you must lose three cards off of the top. How do you compute the number of cards to be lost? It is easy. Subtract the value of the bottom key from 13. If the value of the bottom card is 8, you must lose 7 cards. These excess cards can be sloughed off during a shuffle or can be dealt with openly.

A French writer of the 11th Century wrote: "The choice of ideas is invention." Sometimes what we discard is more indicative of our creativity than what we save and eventually publish. Too much is published these days and much of it is derivative, coming out of combinatorial activity. Harvard psychologist, Jerome S. Bruner, wrote:

"One could design a computer to do that, but it would be with some embarrassment, for this is stupid even for a computer, and an ingenious computer programmer can show us much more interesting computer models than that. To create consists precisely in not making useless combinations and in making those which are useful and which are only a small minority. Invention is discernment, choice. If it is not brute algorithm, then it must be a heuristic that guides one to fruitful combinations.''

Here is another relevant anecdote from John Cage's book, Silence:

''During a counterpoint class at U.C.L.A., Schoenberg sent everybody to the blackboard. We were to solve a particular problem he had given and to turn around when finished so that he could check on the correctness of the solution. I did as directed. He said, 'That's good. Now find another solution. I did. He said. 'Another.' Again, I found one. Again, he said, 'Another.' And so on. Finally, I said, 'There are no more solutions.' He said, 'What is the principle underlying all the solutions?'"

Perhaps it's time to ask ourselves, "What is the principle of all these solutions? What is the underlying notion behind the other notions?"

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