Friday, May 11, 2007

The plot thickens...Geller & Co. still insist copyright infringement

The EFF's claims that only 3 seconds of the 14 minute video technically belong to Uri Geller and Explorologist Ltd are not going over well... in fact, in a press release from Explorologist's Lawyer, Richard Winelander, he says:

"The bottom line is Sapient did not ask for permission to use the copyrighted video--he does not own the portion of the video that deals with Dr. Hughes, it is important to note this was not the first YouTube complaint against Sapient."

It's also important to note, that this is not the first (and probably not the last) time Geller has tried to sue for damages based on dubious reasoning- Geller has sued for a number of things, not limited to suing Nintendo for creating a Pokemon with his name/symbols, and suing Ikea for a furniture line (with bent and twisted legs) called the "Uri Line" (both suits unsuccessful, by the way).

But the real kicker is, back in 1997-98, he complained to the Broadcasting Standards Commission in the UK that the episode of NOVA, "Secrets of the Psychics", treated him 'unfairly'. His claim was wholeheartedly rejected on the basis that they saw nothing wrong with Magicians duplicating his feats using plain, old fashioned trickery. In light of this fact, and the fact that Geller seems to enjoy making ridiculous legal claims, it's not hard to see why nobody is really taking his copyright claim seriously.

Meanwhile, I'm still wondering about whether NOVA originally had to get permission to use the clip, or if it fell comfortably within the boundaries of 'fair use'. If it's the former, then that is why Sapient has a problem. If it's the latter, then Geller has no right to complain. The easiest way would be to check the end credits of the episode itself, but alas, I have no copy. I'm also not an expert in copyright law.

Check out what James Randi has to say on the subject.

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

I got mentioned in a Go Magic Go podcast- yay!

The suggestion I made for a product review for the Go Magic Go Podcast (which was also, almost simultaneously, suggested by someone on the forum) has been featured in 'Hype of the Week' on Episode 84.

Here's the original link to the product.

I initially read about this product on the Magic and Conjuring blog.

I won't explain it here- just check out the product, and then hear Keith and Andrew's hilarious review.

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

More Houdini like Escapes - straitjacket, milk can- flattery to the master


Just when I thought it was safe to turn around without running into another inventive Houdini fan, I stumble across two rather fascinating cases. One successful, the other not quite so much.

(Via Yorkshire Today)

One stunt that Harry Houdini failed to pull off apparently was escaping from a milk can filled with Tetley's bitter (a type of ale)- he was overcome by CO2 fumes, and his assistants had to drag him out before he completed the stunt. However, 37 year old Paul Cheesbrough from Todmorden, England claims to have trumped Houdini with his own escape from a Milk can filled with cold water. Much like Houdini, the milk churn was padlocked from the outside, and his hands and feet were bound on the inside. But wait a tick, despite the fact that this article runs under the headline "Great Escape Act Outdoes Houdini", I do believe I've missed something here- didn't Houdini routinely escape from a padlocked Milk can filled with water? Now, Cheesbrough is undoubtedly a larger man than Houdini (who was quite small), which could make things more difficult. But in this case, the temperature of the water doesn't even matter because he was wearing a wet suit. The point, in this case, (despite the headline) is that Houdini was challenged by Joshua Tetley and Son in the Empire Theatre in Brigate, Leeds. Cheesbrough was challenged to do his stunt by the Leeds Magical Association, for their 10th annual day of Magic. The stunt itself was a difficult one, as the displacement of the water inside the can eliminated his air supply. He did, however, manage to escape within 90 seconds, which is impressive. Not many people can match the master, even if they're not outdoing him.

Which leads me to my next tidbit- this guy. (Via Cincinnati Enquirer)

Illusionist Phil Dalton, while doing a show for an elementary school in Cincinnati, didn't have such good luck. He tried Houdini's famous straitjacket stunt- he was suspended 90ft in the air, with his legs shackled, but with one major exception. The ropes had been soaked in Diesel fuel and set on fire.

Despite the fact that he had gone to great lengths to test the burning time of the ropes beforehand, a slight pick up in wind sped up the incineration as he was attempting to escape. He still managed to escape within 2 minutes and 44 seconds, but not before one of the three ropes had burned all of the way through, and a second most of the way through, leaving him dangling precariously on a single rope. Dalton, who does a variety of other types of stunts such as sawing himself in half or pulling snakes out of hats, doesn't intend to do this particular stunt again any time soon.

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, May 7, 2007

British man misdiagnosed, now broke from pre-death spending

(Via Reuters)

Live like you were dying...just make sure you're actually dying

A British man diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer was given a only two years to live...and then was told that he merely had a non-life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas.

Problem is, he went on a wild spending spree and vacation. He even quit his job and sold or gave away most of his possessions, except for the suit he wanted to be buried in.

He is now attempting to sue the hospital for mis diagnosis.

Prognosis? Not good.

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Janet Jackson, eat your heart out- Richard Gere's lips get arrested in India

(Via Reuters)

In a moment that would make women across the world melt, Richard Gere repeatedly (and I guess, kind of erotically) kissed Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty at an AIDS campaign event while he was in India recently.

The kissing violates local obscenity laws, and he was afterwards arrested and could be sent to jail or fined if he visits the country again.

Some people are calling it an "outrage against her modesty", but to be fair he DID do a rather gentlemanly bow afterward.

I mean, come on, Richard Gere is still pretty attractive for his age.

Without further adieu, here's the deed:

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, April 23, 2007

Now THAT is what I call romance

(Via The American Chronicle)

I found an article that gives several suggestions on creative ways to make a wedding proposal, including this:
It's a kind of magic. Hire a magician to help you think of creative ways to pop the question. Arrange the time and place where it will be and go out on a usual date with your loved one. Make sure to explain everything the magician has to know – what he needs to do, when and where exactly. When you pass by, tell your girlfriend or boyfriend that you want to watch the magic performance.

The magician then takes your beloved to participate in a magic trick. The magician can then 'magically' produce flowers and a note. When your girl or man reads the note, it's your cue to pop the question.


As a hopeless romantic myself, I fully endorse this method of proposal...not that I'm biased or anything. ;)

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Close French election? No problem! Get a psychic!

(Via CNN/Reuters)

I wonder what Harry Houdini would say about this... (no doubt he'd be laughing)

Apparently the looming election in France is so close, that several psychics and fortune tellers are throwing in their own opinions about what the outcome will be. Since around 40% of the electorate is undecided, the polls are of no help, so why not?

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, April 16, 2007

Superstition can be Contagious

(Via Reuters)

Cellphone subscribers in Pakistan are freaking out over a prank spam message telling them they could die from a virus transmitted via their cellphone. Warid Telecom has been jammed with calls from concerned subscribers- quite frankly they're stunned that people would even believe such a thing.

This somehow reminds me of Superman 3, where the villain was affecting the world's weather via satellites, which were being hacked by Richard Pryor. The bottom line here is that while an idea like that might seem silly to people who are familiar with a given technology, it might not seem so silly to those who have no idea.

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button