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Derren Brown – Mentalist September 8, 2007

Posted by truthspew in Derren Brown, hypnotism, politics, Romney.
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I don’t know if anyone of you readers have stumbled across Derren Brown but he’s a fascinating mentalist.

Right now I’m watching his “Inside Your Mind” on Google Video which I cannot embed here at WordPress damn it, so I linked it. It’s sort of on the long side at 1:18:43 but well worth a watch.

I know what he does since I dabbled with hypnotism when I was a young adult. It’s all about trust. The principles Brown uses are the same as those used by con men. And if I wished, I know I could do these things I just choose not to else I’d be an asshole though I’m tempted to use it on a few people in my life.

And it explains why I’m completely resistant to it. I don’t trust people easily. There was one guy that Brown tried to confuse who couldn’t be. That guy doesn’t trust strangers and is more than likely taken by his friends and family as very judgmental which is precisely what I go through.

As for Brown’s card tricks, it’s all just mental prestidigitation, nothing more. He can count the cards easily because he’s practiced, and his object mnemonic method is a way of doing statistical weighting on cards. This explains why he’s banned from most casinos. You can win in casinos but the trick is not to get greedy. Win a bit, then lose a little bit and nobody will be the wiser. But always come out ahead of the game.

Actually I’d consider it fair game since the casinos have most of the odds stacked in their favor so taking back a little isn’t a bad thing.

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Now playing: DJ Jazzy Jeff featuring Raheem DeVaughn – My Soul’s Not 4 Sale
via FoxyTunes

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Things you learn from Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me June 30, 2007

Posted by truthspew in Boston Tea Party, Burning of the Gaspee, Grover Norquist, history, hypnotism, Lee Arnold, Nathaniel Greene, npr, Project Management, reading list, telephone, Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me.
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I get the podcast for Wait Wait… Don’t Tell me and listen to it on my way to work, or walking around, or just assuming horizontal position and laughing out loud at the funny bits, which is most of the show.

When listening to it on the way to work or walking around I’m prone to sudden bits of laughter. But today I actually learned something. Apparently in certain parts of Britain it is customary to kiss people full on the lips as greetings.

I didn’t know that but then it got me to thinking. Many parts of what is now the UK were once Roman outposts. And the kiss on the lips thing is definitely Roman in origin.

As I study the Italian language and more about the culture I’m constantly reminded of one common theme. Living life to the fullest is what it’s all about for most Italians. I see a strong streak of that in myself and I’m only half Italian. I love life, I love life, good food, good wine, good beer. I love the sunshine, I love absorbing all I can about a subject.

Speaking of that – I like to walk. I do so pretty much everywhere in the city and notice things that I hadn’t seen before. Today I was up where North Main St merges with Benefit St right near Olney St. Sitting on the corner of the University Heights complex is a fairly large tree and I’d never before noticed the plaque at the base of the tree.

That is the Liberty Tree, planted on July 25th, 1768. Yes, RI was out there on the liberty and independence thing a little less than eight years before the Declaration of Independence was signed by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.

Of course it isn’t the original tree – this one was planted to commemorate it in 1968. But still, it’s pretty cool to live in the birthplace of the modern Democratic movement. Sure, Massachusetts may have been the bigger star, but some pretty damned important stuff happened in Rhode Island too. For example, there was the Burning of the Gaspee which predated the Boston Tea Party. We also gave Nathaniel Greene to the country.

Sheesh – here I was thinking about the little history lesson Wait Wait had given me, and here I am giving one.