One of the downsides of being a well-respected news organization is the requirement that articles have some hook to current events. Fortunately, Inside Magic has never been confused with a well-respected news organization and, therefore, these rules do not apply. This is not the primary reason we are not well-respected or even considered a news organization, but it is a benefit.
Consequently, if The New York Times desired to publish an article gushing about the outstanding writing skills and style of Charles Dickens, it would need to find some way to associate the effusive tribute to the news of the day. Even then, The Times would feel obliged to find parallels to some event or person familiar to both readers of Dickens and today's newspapers. It could not just be a gush piece [1. Ironically, Gush Piece is also the name of our hard-boiled detective with an eye for the ladies, a finger for the trigger and salivary glands for a spit take. Gush Piece is not related or connected in any manner to the iconic Belgian comic strip of the same name featuring the beloved character Gush Piece (“Le Garçon Avec la Bouche Très Mouillé” – “The Boy with the Very Wet Mouth”). ] or homage to the incredibly relevant author for today's modern society.
But as we noted, we have no reputation to squander and we are not convinced we would worry about squandering even if we did. Irregardless and nonetheless [2. Please see our law review article, “Useless and Pedantic, a New Lawyer Guide to Language and Artificial Profundity”, Cosmopolitan Styling Academy Quarterly, June 1999. The original article was 25,000 words but the editor slashed it to 250 words before adding an irrelevant, although very helpful, paragraph about the need to avoid “generic acetone” as a nail polish remover.] we wanted to talk about Ian Rowland and how much we like his work today. We worried for hours how to work it into the current news from magic or non-magic sources. Yes, there was the big news that Folger's Instant Coffee intends to bring back its "Magic Morning Mud" contest awarding $1,000.00 to the worst cup of coffee available to commuters. That really had little or nothing to do with magic in its proper sense. It just used the word "magic" and that was good enough to trigger a Google News Alert.
Unfortunately, we don't know if Mr. Rowland even drinks coffee and we worried about stretching too far to make a story relevant.
Mr. Rowland is an Inside Magic Favorite from way back. His brain is a fertile medium for the weed-like growth of leafy, green magic. [3. See, “Up an Analogy without a Clue: Modern Statistical Study of Poor Analogies and the Devastation Wrought Upon Innocent Sentences,” Timothy Quinlan, Car Wash Attendant Journal, Winter 2009.]
We have purchased his writings with the drive of a man (although with a slightly effeminate laugh) possessed. His Real Work on Cold Reading is one of the most comprehensive and accessible books on this very arcane subject. We have stolen his spoon bending routine without shame to great success before US audiences. Plus, his writing style is gooder than almost anyone we know. He is pithy, funny and substantive. We shoot for any one of the three and often miss or clip one our own essential arteries.
Today, Mr. Rowland is offering two very unique and free items for visitors. The first is an instant download about persuasion entitled Mind Twists. It asks, "How can you persuade anyone to do anything? How can you be happy? And what very strange thing did I do in 1997?" The download is free in the most basic sense of the word. You are not required to give up your email address, join a mailing list, post a badge on your site, or even foreswear some habit others claim could harm you and your offspring. You simply go to the page and download the PDF.
A second freebie does come with a string attached but it is a nice string or at least not a string that one would mind. [4. Speaking of which, look for our premier episode on Mystic Hollow, Michigan Comcast Community Access Channel 81, “The Magic and Deviant Behavior Hour.” Our first show will feature a psychologist from the University of Michigan, a Gaucho (an Argentinian Cowboy), an alpaca and a magician working together as a team to place an effective classified ad to meet the group members’ divergent needs.]
Mr. Rowland will give you access to a stunning group of effects in exchange for proof that you have helped a charity.
From the great one's website:
Five simple steps.
1. You have to be a magician or mentalist. Amateur or pro, doesn't matter, but you must have a serious interest.
2. Make a donation to some recognised charity or good cause.
3. Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject = 'Free Lecture Notes'.
4. Put your full 'normal' name (e.g. John Smith) at the top of the email, whatever else you write.
5. Tell me in a few words about your chosen charity and what they do. Don't cut and paste from official blurb. Don't tell me how much you donated.
Mr. Rowland promises he will not put you on a mailing list or give your details to anyone else. Like all good things, the offer ends soon. You need to get your submission to him by March 31, 2012.
We thought about this for a very long time but cannot figure his angle unless it is just his way of encouraging charity. If it was our offer, you know we'd have some way of making it pay but not so for Mr. Rowland. His interest is sincere and his goals noble.
True, we don't have a timely hook for this story but then again, relevance and professionalism are merely words here at Inside Magic. What Mr. Rowland offers is substance and good tidings – and that has to be sufficient for ample news coverage, right?