Penn Jillette’s TSA-grabbed crotch

Amid airplane passenger concerns about the new, naked body scanners you apparently have to go through or else get patted down, the media is revisiting a 2002 blog post from Penn Jillette about an experience going through airport security, in which an agent grabbed in the area of his crotch without asking.

Penn called police and told airport officials he was considering filing charges as a test case, to see whether charges against the TSA agent would actually stand.

Then, he lets the official know he’s serious: “Freedom is kind of a hobby with me, and I have disposable income that I’ll spend to find out how to get people more of it.”

Matt Drudge is linking to it, and he apparently did a CBS appearance on the matter. Now, he’s fielding questions on Twitter: http://twitter.com/PENNJILLETTE

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Review: Penn & Teller at Harrah’s

I saw Penn & Teller Friday night in the Concert Venue at Harrah’s in Atlantic City, N.J. I have been a fan of these guys for years — from Bullshit! to “Penn & Teller’s Magic and Mystery Tour” to “Invisible Thread,” “Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends,” etc. — but this was my first opportunity to see them live. It was great seeing the masters at work.

I was hoping to see at least one of the pieces I’ve seen or heard of, such as Cups and Balls or vanishing a U.S. flag in the Constitution in a burst of flames. Or maybe Teller’s Needles, Shadows or Miser’s Dream. They did all of them.

There were still plenty of routines I hadn’t seen. Oh, man. These guys are something else.

(Beware – plot spoilers ahead. Also, this is geared toward people who might be somewhat familiar with the routines.)

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What became of Cheater’s Cheater?

Around the time I started card tricking like crazy there was an awesome website called cheater’s cheater, cheaterscheater.com.

I never really heard the story behind the site — how it started and what eventually happened to it. If anyone knows, I’d be interested in hearing.

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Penn & Teller at Harrah’s

I have tickets to see Penn & Teller at Harrah’s this weekend. I am extremely excited.

penn and teller

Source: Penn and Teller at TAM6 by Napolean_70

Reporter Chris Jordan interviewed Teller to preview their upcoming shows in New Jersey. Teller, born Raymond Teller in Philadelphia, lived in Trenton and Lambertville, and taught at Lawrence High School from ’69 to ’75 before teaming up with Penn Jillette, the story says.

“I think there are some magicians who would like you to sit back and put your intelligence on the back burner and sit there with sort of a childlike expression — “Oh, look at that, isn’t that pretty,’ ” Teller, 62, says. “We’ve never been much for that. We’re both East Coast guys, and we’re both skeptical. When we watch a magician, we try to bring our sharpest intelligence to it, and we hope that the performer is shrewd enough to fool us anyway. That’s always been our attitude. We’re there in service of the audience.”

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Magic tricks vs. effects

I’ve heard some magicians say you shouldn’t call magic tricks “tricks,” but rather “effects.”

I get that. But I like tricks.

I might say, for instance, “Can I card trick you?” A lot of people think card tricks are fun. And just because you open with a phrase they recognize, by the end of your performance, if you’ve done it right, they’ve probably experienced something new.

Maybe magicians can reclaim “magic tricks” as a phrase that means something cool.

But it’s not like I’m overly attached to the word “trick.”

I’ll also lead into a card trick by saying, “Can I show you something weird with cards?”

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Welcome to MagicTrickster!

Hey, cool, I can’t believe you’re actually reading this, my magic blog, MagicTrickster. Thank you for stopping by.

I like performing, watching, inventing and being fooled by magic tricks. I also like following the work of magicians today, and studying magic in an academic sort of way. But if I see one more magician say they got “bit by the magic bug” I’m going to unleash a plague of locusts on them.

Or dream up methods of accomplishing that.

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