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Peo Olsson
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Stockholm, Sweden
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Michael, knowing that The Professor - Dai Vernon was a great source of inspiraton for you, and that you met him many times, perhaps you can tell us someting about him, how he was, and maybe tell us a andecdote or two about him.

All the Best
Pictured to the left my hero and me during FISM 2006 in Stockholm.
Michael Ammar
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Hi Peo,

Something I just read as I was logging on made me think of the Professor and something he once told me. I was fortunate enough to be his cabin mate on a cruise once, and as we were going to bed we'd talk a bit as we laid there. One time I got up my nerve to ask him a big question. I asked him how it was that he managed to live so long, with such a vibrant lifestyle, while actually seeming to break all the rules for healthy living. He smoked, drank, stayed up late every night, so I wondered if he knew how he managed to pull that off.

There was such a long pause, that I worried that I should've asked that question yesterday, while he was still alive! But really, I just suspected he'd fallen asleep, so I turned to go to sleep myself. Just as I turned over, he said, "Well, I'll tell ya'...." It kinda' startled me, but at the same time I realized that he had been thinking about his answer. He said, "First of all, I never did anything that I didn't want to do. I always did the things that interested me."

"Second, I didn't live to eat, I just ate to live. So I never ate until I was stuffed. I think those two things are what did it -- no stress and I didn't revolve my life around food..."

Pretty good advice -- up to a point. The article I just read quoted a Doctor as saying that stress plays a major role in heart problems, and caloric reduction is the one proven means of life extension! So I think his answers were really good, considering it was a pop quiz.

Now, when I say "...up to a point.", what I'm thinking about is how the Professor dropped the ball as a Father. It's one thing to say 'I never did anything I didn't want to do...', but if that includes ignoring the kids so you can work on your shuffles, then your priorities are mixed up.
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Eternal Order
Look mom! I've got
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Even the greatest of heroes have feet of clay...
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
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Olive Branch, Mississippi
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Mr. Ammar, last year I saw you at SamCon and we discussed the Professor. While I was there you took the time to look at my little leather chop cup. I couldn't believe it, you seemed genuinely interested and maybe flattered that you inspired my routine, "Would You Be Impressed".

I was trying hard not to tip my hat and show you that I was so nervous that I could barely breathe. When you told me that after spending a week with the Professor you felt that you could go ahead and pass away, you 'had arrived'. I couldn't say it then, I was too amazed but at that moment I knew just how you felt. I'll always count standing there in that crowded room as one of the many highlights of my life.

I was talking with a young magician not too long ago and he was lamenting that he'd never get to meet the Professor. I told him that Mr. Vernon hadn't gone far, his work is being carried on quite well.

Thank you, Mr. Ammar. I hope some day to meet you again and this time be less nervous so I can look you in the face and tell you that you've had an impact in my life. You have brought smiles to thousands of faces through what I've learned from you. I wonder how many lives you've brightened through the magicians that have learned from you?

Seems we can count the seeds in an apple but not the apples in a seed.
Matt Graves
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Huntsville, Alabama (USA)
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That's a very interesting quote from Dai Vernon. It's very well-known now that stress is one of the big killers in the world, because it leads to so many other ailments. Just being happy and content goes a long way toward health. I don't say that lightly. It's something I've given a lot of thought to lately. I've drifted through several miserable, dead-end jobs and am again wondering if I should be trying the magic as a way to make money. After all, even if doing something fulfilling didn't prolong one's life, at least the quality of life would be better.

That's sad, to hear that the Professor wasn't around for his children. What a shame. It would be cool to have a Dad who was a magician. I bet they would have helped him in his shows and all . . .

Just a funny question - did the Professor really confine himself to only sleight of hand as a rule, or did he do other things too? I remember him talking about doing some kids' shows. It seems like it would be hard to get kids to sit still for a show of sleight of hand with no flashy props. Then agian, he was very talented. But just curious.
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Independence, KY USA
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Profile of RonCalhoun
On 2006-04-25 14:56, Michael Ammar wrote:
Hi Peo,
There was such a long pause, that I worried that I should've asked that question yesterday, while he was still alive! But really, I just suspected he'd fallen asleep, so I turned to go to sleep myself.

This is why its so cool to be a member of the Café and be able to just share things.

First what a wonder story, second I about laughed my fanny off at the while he was still alive! comment.
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