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Topic: Multiplying Billiard Balls
Message: Posted by: ftlum (Jul 31, 2011 09:08PM)
Hi All.

I was thinking about trying to learn how to do this (especially after seeing Rune Klan's take on the routine), but don't want to spend a lot of money on Fakinis until I'm sure it's for me. What set would be a good starter one to get?

Also, what videos would you recommend for someone starting out? The McBride videos look good, but it looks like I'd need all 3 videos, given the way its broken up.

thanks in advance,

Frank
Message: Posted by: Noel M (Jul 31, 2011 09:31PM)
I think many here would agree that it would be harder to find a better billiard ball DVD than the one produced by Levent.

http://www.leventmagic.com/
Message: Posted by: Rainboguy (Jul 31, 2011 09:33PM)
Frank L.

I would START with Vernet multiplying balls before going to anything else, because they are readily available from many dealers, are inexpensive, and their "sure-grip" textured surface makes it easier for learning standard billiard ball "rolling" moves that you will want to have down pat before you move on to Fakinis.

As for videos, Tim Wright is all you need for starters.
Message: Posted by: Mark Ross (Aug 1, 2011 08:55AM)
The Tim Wright DVD is good, but when you are ready for a more thorough treatment, you MUST get the Levent set. Nothing else I have seen comes close to it for his look at all of the moves, etc, as well as a number of historic recreations of routines. It is a joy to watch. My personal opinion here...stay away from the Brad Burt video...or buy mine for next to nothing.

Mark
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Aug 1, 2011 09:11AM)
Guys, the OP is looking for a cheap way out, I think if he purchase any beginner DVD instrution, tha it will cover the Rune Klun moves so the OP can recreate the video moves. They are all very basic moves that any Billiard Ball instuctions will cover for him.

As he stated money is an issue with the OP and buying an encyclopedia for the information he needs is not necessary.

I would suggest the Frank Garcia Booklet for $8.95 will give him the basics as well.
http://www.magicinc.net/garciasbilliardballs.aspx
Message: Posted by: Mark Ross (Aug 1, 2011 09:30AM)
I agree with Bill, the Frank Garcia booklet is quite good. Sorry if I over-reached in my last post. When I start into something new in magic, I tend to accumulate everything I can find. That isn't what Frank asked for.

Mark
Message: Posted by: Rainboguy (Aug 1, 2011 09:55AM)
I wond if the Geoff Buckingham booklet is still out there?
Message: Posted by: Darkwing (Aug 1, 2011 10:04AM)
It is still available. I recommend getting the DVD also. I would have loved to have met Mr. Buckingham. He seems to have been a delightful gentleman.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Aug 1, 2011 10:19AM)
I looked up Rune Klan video, he does nothing more then the regular sh**l move for billiard balls. He also does the put and take as well, but I don't think this is on any BB DVD that I know of. That is it, 2 moves.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Aug 1, 2011 12:35PM)
I say make everyone learn with wood balls and when they don't completely suck at it, then let them buy Fakini's... AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!! Earn your privileges!!! AAARRRGGGHHH!!!!!

;)
Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Aug 1, 2011 12:50PM)
Well, I actually liked Brad Burt's DVD on the subject. It also includes some good basics on thimbles. Worth my money and time, actually. I'm not looking to learn everything there is to know about this effect. I want a solid working routine and that's it. Billiard balls are magical, but they don't have the wonderful hook I get from cups and balls or C&R rope. You start with one, you end up with 4. Cool. What's next?

I also upgraded from a Vernet set to a wood set. I like the wood balls a lot better, though I admit they are a lot harder to hang onto. I'll get some Fakinis when I don't suck. But I make no guarantees on that being soon! Michael, I promise to earn that privilege before I shell out the cash for a fancy set.

-Patrick
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Aug 1, 2011 01:07PM)
Yeah, I hope everyone understood I was kidding. Working with wood balls is hard to do, but not impossible. For years, that was all that was available. Some of the greatest manipulators of all time used them. I would only encourage (strongly) anyone who wants to learn the multiplying balls to at least buy a set of wood balls and put some honest work into them. When you develop a touch for them, you'll have something good. Fakini's will take a slight adjustment after that, but the touch will still be there. The texture and feel of Fakini's will be the slight edge of security, not the basis of the action. Hard to explain.
Message: Posted by: Oliver Ross (Aug 1, 2011 08:54PM)
It's not that hard to understand Michael.

That's what I did. Using wooden balls, before the Fakini came out and using rubber or silicon balls now. It was hard to learn, but the moves are all secured with the rubber balls. I'm waiting to get the money together to get a set of Fakini balls.

I'm looking aswell forward to get the Levent's DVD set, since I own already the McBride videos.

Oliver.
Message: Posted by: Anatole (Aug 1, 2011 09:21PM)
I think a popular hand treatment among manipulators is applying rosewater and glycerin just before a performance. It helps to make the hands tacky enough to handle wooden balls. This is one of the recommendations Lewis Ganson gives in the chapter "Modern Billiard Ball Manipulation" in _Routined Manipulation, Part II_. (page 96). I found that running cold water over the hands just before a performance was sufficient for my needs.

You might also try the hand lotion from Camirand Academy described on Denny Haney's website at
http://www.dennymagic.com/products/trick/hand-lotion-carmirand-academy/

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Aug 1, 2011 11:17PM)
The Buckingham and Garcia books would be excellent! An absolute classic and must have is Routined Manipulation by Lewis Ganson, as mentioned above by Sr. Narvaez. As far as DVDs go, I say that Levent probably has the most in-depth material available on the subject, and he teaches well. I learned the skills from watching the available footage of Cardini and from books like Greater Magic and the Tarbell course - long before I knew of the Levent video. I ended up getting it to see if I could get any more useable things for my routine and although I did get some, there are a lot of great pointers and insights on there that you will find nowhere else.

I personally started with wooden balls and never stopped using them. I still use them in my parlor shows to this day - sometimes with gloves, a la Cardini, and sometimes without. Any performer that has used wooden balls and gotten good with them will tell you - nothing else handles or feels quite the same. I do have a set of Fakinis for other purposes, and I also use them occasionally to warm my fingers up. On the few occasions where I had the opportunity to perform a routine under black lights, I broke out the Fakinis - a lot of fun in those situations!

Another great lotion for magicians is called Chamberlain Golden Touch Lotion, which is also glycerin-based. It works extremely well and does not leave any sort of residue on your hands. I know for a fact that Stevens Magic Emporium carries a little spray bottle, but you can also look up the company website and search for retailers (which is what I did) and I bought a big bottle of it at a local drug store.

I hope this information is useful to you.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Aug 2, 2011 12:12AM)
Hand lotions,etc. are very subjective. Some people have the problem of sweaty hands. Such lotions do little to help. Drying agents work better. Even the cold water treatment can help as it closes the pores and prevents some of the sweating.

When I was younger, I made a mixture of rubbing alcohol and Merhon colorset powder. It worked extremely well for me. Now that I've passed age 50 my hands tend to be drier, even more so if I end up using solvents while building props, or even from just doing the dishes. Added moisture is what is needed.

I've tried many things over the years from rosin bags to that tacky stuff that secretaries use to thumb through pages. The only way to know is for each individual to experiment with many different things and find the one that works best for them.
Message: Posted by: ftlum (Aug 2, 2011 04:54AM)
Thanks Everyone!

Interestingly, I came across an old Genii forum post by Richard Kaufman, who prefers wood ones with the right varnish over Fakinis.
http://www.geniimagazine.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showthreaded&Number=193422

- Frank
Message: Posted by: andrewdodds (Aug 2, 2011 09:07AM)
Levent. NO contest
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Aug 2, 2011 09:12AM)
Well then, which member will be so kind as to purchase a set of BB DVDs from Levent and sent them to Frank L. the OP as a gift. He cannot or it does not fit in his budget financially to spend that amount of money at this time.
Message: Posted by: Magnus Eisengrim (Aug 2, 2011 09:25AM)
Hi Frank.

Here's my $0.02. To learn billiard balls on a budget you'll have to make a choice. Either put whatever resources you have into the balls, or put them into materials to learn from. If you already have a basic routine available (for example, the Mark Wilson Complete Course in Magic has an excellent first routine in it) then don't buy another book or DVD yet, and drop the $88 or so for a set of Fakinis. You will have professional balls and a basic but professional routine. The Levent DVD set (I don't own it, but I have other Levent products and I have no hesitation in recommending his quality) is on sale at $59.95 right now. If cost is an issue, you have a choice to make.

The Buckingham booklets are excellent, but if you want to do one of his routines, you need either 8 or 10 balls. This is a further expense.

In my case, I bought a cheat plastic set to see if I liked it. Within 2 minutes I knew I wanted to do a ball routine. So when the cheap set broke (in a couple of days) I bought Fakinis and learned the Mark Wilson routine. Within a couple of months I developed my own, supplementing the basic routine with ideas from a Jeff McBride video and bits I picked up here and there from magic books I already own.

I hope some of this is helpful.

John
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Aug 2, 2011 09:38AM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-02 05:54, Frank L. wrote:
Thanks Everyone!

Interestingly, I came across an old Genii forum post by Richard Kaufman, who prefers wood ones with the right varnish over Fakinis.
http://www.geniimagazine.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showthreaded&Number=193422

- Frank
[/quote]

Even a wood set from Germany will set you back $22.00 plus postage, alas, no instructions provided with them, from Daytona Magic if you can purchase over the Internet. You might find the Goshman Sponge Multiplying Balls less expensive and easier to work with and these come with basic instructions.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Aug 2, 2011 12:15PM)
I'd take exception to the multiplying sponges balls. Good idea on paper, but I like to FEEL the balls between my fingers. Extra weight is actually added security... at least to me.

Also... all this talk about what can and cannot be afforded is a topic that I soon tire of hearing. Whatever happened to saving up to reach a goal?? It is not prudent to count the coins in one's pocket and then look for what they can buy. That's putting the cart before the horse, and begins a habit of living with empty pockets and lower quality gains. This time I'm not kidding.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Aug 2, 2011 12:38PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-02 13:15, Michael Baker wrote:
I'd take exception to the multiplying sponges balls. Good idea on paper, but I like to FEEL the balls between my fingers. Extra weight is actually added security... at least to me.

Also... all this talk about what can and cannot be afforded is a topic that I soon tire of hearing. Whatever happened to saving up to reach a goal?? It is not prudent to count the coins in one's pocket and then look for what they can buy. That's putting the cart before the horse, and begins a habit of living with empty pockets and lower quality gains. This time I'm not kidding.
[/quote]

Michael, this is not about you, but the OP Frank L., his wife is already on him for just being on the Café. What do you think she would do if she found out he spent over $100.00 on some balls.

A good salesman finds out the customers needs and fulfills those needs.
Message: Posted by: Magnus Eisengrim (Aug 2, 2011 01:03PM)
Again, I'd like to point out that 3 videos will cost almost as much as a set of 1-3/4" Fakinis.

John
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Aug 2, 2011 01:46PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-02 13:38, wmhegbli wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-08-02 13:15, Michael Baker wrote:
I'd take exception to the multiplying sponges balls. Good idea on paper, but I like to FEEL the balls between my fingers. Extra weight is actually added security... at least to me.

Also... all this talk about what can and cannot be afforded is a topic that I soon tire of hearing. Whatever happened to saving up to reach a goal?? It is not prudent to count the coins in one's pocket and then look for what they can buy. That's putting the cart before the horse, and begins a habit of living with empty pockets and lower quality gains. This time I'm not kidding.
[/quote]

Michael, this is not about you, but the OP Frank L., his wife is already on him for just being on the Café. What do you think she would do if she found out he spent over $100.00 on some balls.

A good salesman finds out the customers needs and fulfills those needs.
[/quote]

No, it's not about me, but you seem to take exception to my point, which is about you, not the OP. He can speak for himself.

To mention my counterpoint thoughts on a particular item (i.e. mult. sponge balls) is no different than you having done the same, but with a differing opinion. I gave a reason why I don't like them. Your mileage may vary. That's all.

Regarding the OP's wife, I think that is assuming a lot based on his tag line below the avatar.

Regarding spending the least amount of money possible to see if the entire subject is for him (as mentioned by the OP), I agree. But, I am not sure the CHEAPEST way out is ultimately the cheapest route. Inferior products end up costing more through replacements and upgrades, and don't offer a fair insight to the subject. Buying too cheap a product could very easily become the reason why someone becomes discouraged from further pursuit. If the first time you bought a Chevy, it was a lemon, you might come to the unfair conclusion that all Chevys are crap.
Message: Posted by: Noel M (Aug 2, 2011 02:15PM)
I learned Billiard Balls from Henry Hay's, Amature Magicians Handbook. Its a resource that's still available for little cost. Even though quite old it teaches many of the classics of magic.
Message: Posted by: ftlum (Aug 2, 2011 03:40PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-02 14:46, Michael Baker wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-08-02 13:38, wmhegbli wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-08-02 13:15, Michael Baker wrote:
I'd take exception to the multiplying sponges balls. Good idea on paper, but I like to FEEL the balls between my fingers. Extra weight is actually added security... at least to me.

Also... all this talk about what can and cannot be afforded is a topic that I soon tire of hearing. Whatever happened to saving up to reach a goal?? It is not prudent to count the coins in one's pocket and then look for what they can buy. That's putting the cart before the horse, and begins a habit of living with empty pockets and lower quality gains. This time I'm not kidding.
[/quote]

Michael, this is not about you, but the OP Frank L., his wife is already on him for just being on the Café. What do you think she would do if she found out he spent over $100.00 on some balls.

A good salesman finds out the customers needs and fulfills those needs.
[/quote]

No, it's not about me, but you seem to take exception to my point, which is about you, not the OP. He can speak for himself.

To mention my counterpoint thoughts on a particular item (i.e. mult. sponge balls) is no different than you having done the same, but with a differing opinion. I gave a reason why I don't like them. Your mileage may vary. That's all.

Regarding the OP's wife, I think that is assuming a lot based on his tag line below the avatar.

Regarding spending the least amount of money possible to see if the entire subject is for him (as mentioned by the OP), I agree. But, I am not sure the CHEAPEST way out is ultimately the cheapest route. Inferior products end up costing more through replacements and upgrades, and don't offer a fair insight to the subject. Buying too cheap a product could very easily become the reason why someone becomes discouraged from further pursuit. If the first time you bought a Chevy, it was a lemon, you might come to the unfair conclusion that all Chevys are crap.
[/quote]

LOL! My wife is definitely on my case for spending too much $$ on magic :)! I went over my "budget" last month according to her, but I'll probably end up buying the Levent DVDs (the trailer was pretty impressive) and a set of Vernets sometime soon. Fakinis can come later if I get good at this.

thanks guys!

- Frank

(PS: It sounds like the Levent DVDs are preferred over the McBride ones. Is that right? (I was thinking I might benefit from the coin material even if I end up not doing a lot of ball work, but I don't think I'd be using the thimble material.))
Message: Posted by: Magnus Eisengrim (Aug 2, 2011 05:42PM)
Just to lean on you a bit more, Frank, do you have any books or videos with billiard balls already? As I said before, the Mark Wilson routine is basic, but certainly fit for a professional gig. Tarbell has an excellent routine (Adam and Eve) with badly outdated patter. But the patter can be fixed easily enough.

Do you really need the DVDs to get going?

John
Message: Posted by: ftlum (Aug 2, 2011 07:46PM)
Although I've got a pretty good magic book collection, I don't have any stage / parlor books yet. Nothing that's been mentioned anyway. Sadly, the Rune Klan book didn't include the moves he used. Must have been too simple to bother publishing.

Frank
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Aug 2, 2011 08:33PM)
As long as you understand a basic routine, that is a great place to begin. In fact, it's probably the best place to start. Please don't feel this would be beneath you. Simplicity does not equal inferior. Billiard balls routines and moves can get fairly complex quickly. I only warn against trying to accomplish too much, so as to avoid unnecessary frustration.

Stick with something very basic at first, master it, and then give your energies into presenting it with some panache. Once you become comfortable with that, of course feel free to branch out, buy all the DVD's, books, etc.

The routine that I perform mostly these days is quite simple, even though in the past I've been able to master some pretty cool stuff. But, my goal is to entertain a lay audience. The simplicity of the routine allows me to focus on character portrayal. The moves themselves are almost by muscle memory. If the desire was to impress magicians then other thoughts might apply. These days for me, they don't. ;)

I don't know what kind of magic you do now, but mastering the billiard balls is a dedicated effort and quite a bit different than most anything else in magic. But, mastering them can be extremely fulfilling, too.

:)
Message: Posted by: mtpascoe (Aug 2, 2011 09:28PM)
If you have Mark Wilson's book and Tarbell, then all you need to to do is buy the balls and you are ready. Buy the DVD's another time. They are good to learn from, especially Levent's as you can learn practically everything from it. I have suggested this before but if you are on a tight budget, do what I do. Save your money and buy the best.

Vernet is good and that's what I have used in the past. But, I am saving up for the Fakini's. I would have them by now, but they are difficult to get these days. The only thing you need to figure out next is what size you want to work with. And that's a topic that has been cover else where, so I'll leave it at that.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Aug 2, 2011 09:44PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-02 22:28, mtpascoe wrote:
If you have Mark Wilson's book and Tarbell, then all you need to to do is buy the balls and you are ready. Buy the DVD's another time. They are good to learn from, especially Levent's as you can learn practically everything from it. I have suggested this before but if you are on a tight budget, do what I do. Save your money and buy the best.

Vernet is good and that's what I have used in the past. But, I am saving up for the Fakini's. I would have them by now, but they are difficult to get these days. The only thing you need to figure out next is what size you want to work with. And that's a topic that has been cover else where, so I'll leave it at that.
[/quote]

Very succinct and exactly the point I hoped to make! :) Thanks!

Regarding ball size, go out and buy a couple balls, golf balls, wood balls from Michael's, cat toys, whatever. Try to find a couple different sizes. Practice rolling one between the fingers, back and forth. Then add a second ball and roll them in sequence (you have to roll one out of the way for the next to occupy it's space). See how it feels to hold 4 balls between all the fingers of one hand. Practice just basic palms... finger palm, and classic palm.

Doing this will give you a reasonable idea of the size you are comfortable with, and you will hardly have spent more than a few bucks. ;)

In fact, you can make yourself a set (sans shell) by painting some wood balls. If you make a set of say 5 balls, 2 the same color, and the rest each a different color, you can muster up a pretty cool rainbow ball routine that uses no shell and just some basic productions, vanishes and color changes.

You can also work up a pretty cool perpetual ball routine with just a couple balls, and a box or a hat, or even your pocket. You can also put together a nice little routine with just one ball and a silk.

Balls are one of the most aesthetic and ergonomic props a magician can use, a lot of things they can represent aside from just red or white balls, and a lot of ways they can be used.

There's more than one way to skin a cat! :)
Message: Posted by: mtpascoe (Aug 2, 2011 09:49PM)
Ouch! I would hate to be that cat!
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Aug 2, 2011 09:52PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-02 22:49, mtpascoe wrote:
Ouch! I would hate to be that cat!
[/quote]

Ha-ha!! Yeah, sorry! Old time expression being used quite metaphorically! :)
Message: Posted by: mtpascoe (Aug 2, 2011 10:03PM)
Funny, years ago I bought the Joy Of Cooking and they actually show you more than one to skin a squirrel. "Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat..."
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Aug 3, 2011 12:29AM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-02 23:03, mtpascoe wrote:
Funny, years ago I bought the Joy Of Cooking and they actually show you more than one to skin a squirrel. "Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat..."
[/quote]

Joy of Cooking has several unusual recipes for some interesting game meats that seem more like a list of road kill.
Message: Posted by: mtpascoe (Aug 3, 2011 02:21AM)
That's the "How to Cook Kentucky Style" section. Finger lickin' good!
Message: Posted by: Anatole (Aug 11, 2011 04:53PM)
I would also recommend a trip to libraries to find what is available on their shelves. As a teenager in the 60's, I found Henry Hay's _The Amateur Magician's Handbook_ in the public library, and Ottokar Fischer's _Illustrated Magic_ in my high school library. Between the two of them, I mastered enough of the hand magic material to make informed decisions of what to spend my money on before I ever set foot in a magic shop. When I finally did enter a magic shop, I found that the fundamentals I had learned from the library books went a long way toward establishing my credentials as a serious student of the art of magic. Fortunately, the owner of The Magic Shop--Earl Edwards--also believed in the value of learning from books. Eventually I became a demonstrator in his shop. (His was the classic "old style" magic shop that sold novelties in the front of the store, including the Adams and Royal magic lines. You had to establish your credentials as a serious student of magic to be admitted to "the back room" where the professional apparatus and books were displayed.)

Another big plus about the Henry Hay book was the appendix with a list of magic dealers. Thanks to that appendix, I had also discovered the Fleming Book Company (there's a name out of the past!) and had ordered the Goodlette Dodson _Exhiibition Card Fans_ monograph from them. That material had also been studied and mastered before I ever set foot in a magic shop. (Fortunately, that was in the days when talcum powder still had zinc stearate in it, so I was able to treat my Bicycle cards with talcum powder so that some of the magical effects from the Dodson book looked like magic and not just flourishes. Among my memorabilia I have a letter from Goodlette Dodson. Although I never met him, he had heard about my skills with "Exhibition Card Fans" from another Virginia magician who had given him my address. A seldom seen fan flourish from the Dodson book is "The Buzz Saw Fan." I don't think it has ever been shown on any of the card manipuation DVDs.)

Denny Haney is another magic shop proprietor who knows the value of learning from books and who has a terrific inventory of the classic magic titles as well as the newest print titles. Yes, he carries all the DVDs as well. But he is another magic shop owner who agrees that the REAL treasures are found between the covers of books.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Aug 11, 2011 05:32PM)
Our library's clean out there books every year. They have a big sale and get rid of books to make room for new publications. That includes magic books, even thought they don't really change over the years. Our library also will get magic DVDs, one local magician had them get the Slydini DVDs in for him. So maybe you can check on their DVD selection as well. A lot of libraries also have taken the route of scanning the books in PDF format. Things are changing rapidly, and we have to keep up. We all might just have to get use to the new reader tablets more quickly then we expect. There will always be books, but I think if you want to keep them more then a year, they will have to be in private collections only.

I heard they are attempting to scan every book in the world to make a huge data base of every book known to man. It is a huge project, I just hope there will be access for everybody for free.
Message: Posted by: Anatole (Aug 11, 2011 08:57PM)
I am a retired school librarian and I have lectured at many state, regional and national library/media conferences on many aspects of librarianship. There are two major criteria that librarians use in deciding whether an item (whether it is a book or a video) should be discarded: First is the number of times the item has been checked out. If the last date due stamped on the back of the item is a year or more in the past, then the librarian may decide that the item has served its usefulness and withdraw it from the collection, whereupon it is either put in a library's "Used Books for Sale" section or donated to a charity. The second major criterion for discarding an item is whether the information it presents is up-to-date. For instance, books about dinosaurs that show the animals as sluggish, dim-witted, cold-blooded reptiles dragging their tails are way out of date and deserve to be withdrawn. Books about the planets that present Saturn as the only planet with a ring system are way out of date. But many instructional books about the arts are timeless. And of course the "classics" remain on the shelves unless they start to fall apart. I would guess that a hundred years from now, Mark twain's books, Dr. Seuss's books and Chris Van Allsburg's books will still be on the shelves--circulating, and enchanting children of all ages.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: Anatole (Aug 11, 2011 09:16PM)
In answer to Bill's comment that "I heard they are attempting to scan every book in the world to make a huge data base of every book known to man. It is a huge project, I just hope there will be access for everybody for free." If you haven't discovered "Project Gutenberg," you should take a moment to explore it. The URL is:
http://www.gutenberg.org/
Their opening page announces that "Project Gutenberg offers over 36,000 free ebooks to download to your PC, Kindle, Android, iOS or other portable device. Choose between ePub, Kindle, HTML and simple text formats."

Project Gutenberg is a step in the right direction. Librarians and information specialists are dedicated to making information almost free to anyone with a library card. Not everyone can afford to buy the latest best seller or a book on how to cook, but a library card is like a magic wand that provides access to a true world of wonder and unlimited horizons. If you're visiting a library in an out-of-town part of the country/world, you are usually welcome to come in to the library, select a book from the shelves (or in the case of the Library of Congress, fill out a request to have the book brought to you), and sit down at a table and read it, take notes, and photocopy some of the pages.

A lot of other books are available on the web in pdf format if you know how to search for them. If you or someone you know is interested in learning how to draw or paint, I recommend they go to this URL:
http://alexhays.com/loomis/
where you will find the art instruction books by Andrew Loomis that I am sure contributed to the success of many artists since the books' publication. My only formal art instruction was in junior high school, but the Loomis books were what really contributed to my education as an artist, and apparently what I learned was very practical, since it was largely due to the Loomis books that I became good enough as an artist to illustrate two of John Bannon's books, two books of Ed Marlo's magic from _The New TOPS, and the two volumes of _The Collected Works of Alex Elmsley_.

I think most public libraries now have computers with Internet access for their patrons. You'll likely have to have a library card (usually free if you're a resident of the city the library is based in) and pay to print out anything you view on the computers or photocopy from the physical book. But you're welcome to take notes and possibly even download pdf files to a flash drive.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: Anatole (Aug 11, 2011 09:50PM)
One more thing about the effort to make books available to everyone. Take a look at the International Children's Digital Library at:
http://en.childrenslibrary.org/

There are children's books in English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Vietnamese, Yiddish, Tagalog, Hebrew, Hindi... and many other languages. There are also a few bilingual books, such as English/Spanish; English/Tagalog...

Libraries are, I think, one of the all-time greatest developments in the history of civilization. Many of them have storytime sessions for kids, and some will even hire magicians (e.g. Ken Scott) as entertainers to promote the library's summer reading programs and other events.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: Anatole (Aug 11, 2011 10:17PM)
I mentioned the International Children's Library in a previous post. The book _Hocus Pocus--Be a Magician_ by Dušan Radović (author) and Dobrosav Bob Živković (illustrator) is available at the International Children's Library--written in Serbian!

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Aug 12, 2011 07:28AM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-11 22:50, Anatole wrote:
Libraries are, I think, one of the all-time greatest developments in the history of civilization.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
[/quote]

I agree! In my opinion, books and libraries are two of the best things ever developed. After all, without the book, there would be no need for those wonderful libraries in which to offer them!
Message: Posted by: Intrepid (Aug 17, 2011 09:19PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-01 13:35, Michael Baker wrote:
I say make everyone learn with wood balls and when they don't completely suck at it, then let them buy Fakini's... AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!! Earn your privileges!!! AAARRRGGGHHH!!!!!
[/quote]
Michael, you'd be proud of me. Not because of the Fakini's I picked up at Denny's last week. But because I also picked up a set of 50mm wood balls at the same time. And all because of your suggestion here. With each new move I learn I practice with each set, alternation between the two. First with the Fakini's, then with the wood. The advantage I'm see in learning this way is that the wood is less forgiving and has forced me to improve my technique as I practice. Thanks for making that suggestion.

Bob
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Aug 18, 2011 05:24PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-17 22:19, Intrepid wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-08-01 13:35, Michael Baker wrote:
I say make everyone learn with wood balls and when they don't completely suck at it, then let them buy Fakini's... AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!! Earn your privileges!!! AAARRRGGGHHH!!!!!
[/quote]
Michael, you'd be proud of me. Not because of the Fakini's I picked up at Denny's last week. But because I also picked up a set of 50mm wood balls at the same time. And all because of your suggestion here. With each new move I learn I practice with each set, alternation between the two. First with the Fakini's, then with the wood. The advantage I'm see in learning this way is that the wood is less forgiving and has forced me to improve my technique as I practice. Thanks for making that suggestion.

Bob
[/quote]

I salute you, sir!
Message: Posted by: Juniper587 (Aug 29, 2011 01:19AM)
I like Michaels idea.

You can often pick up inexpensive sets of both wooden balls and Fakinis on ebay and that way your not paying top dollar for both sets.