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Magician.NYC & MarkPhilipLichtenstein.com | New York's Uncanniest | Director | Screenwriter | Satirist | All Around Nice Guy

The GOP’s favorite new plea “Let’s move on” is buzzwordy AF

Conan The Barbarian, as imagined by Frank Frazetta

I’m still shocked: most Republicans “don’t think Joe Biden was elected legitimately.” In other words, they think he’s a criminal who used vast corruption throughout every level of government and both political parties to fix the election outcome and to cover up the fix; the most successful conspiracy in history.

This belief was, as everyone is aware, nurtured and spread by former President Trump, his family, and his political enablers. This belief became dangerous when teamed with the elements of The Trump Show:


Do you really wish we still spoke like it was the 1200s?

For those of us who earn our crust of bread through our mastery of English, the last four years were like a bad LSD trip. The world lived in the shadow of a US President who used language for the opposite of its intended purpose; obfuscation, not illumination. He’d say something that didn’t really mean anything and decide what it meant later, once everyone had done their interpretations of his words. Thus he could pick the reaction he liked best. Did he say he believed the Russians? He misspoke. Did he say someone should hack his opponent? He was just…


Superman with a mask and a flag, in space, by yours truly. Not bad for a drawing done with a mouse, huh?

In the very early 20th Century, New York learned what it meant to have a disease acting like a serial killer. Mary Mallon, an Irish immigrant and cook, worked for a family in Oyster Bay, New York. Mary was a carrier of Typhus, an often lethal disease. As a carrier, Mary didn’t experience the disease’s symptoms meaning that, as far as she was concerned, the disease wasn’t a problem.

But it was a problem. The problem was that she could pass the disease to others by, among other activities, cooking for them. In the first seven years of the 20th…


The Elephant In The Senate

The Party of ????

Thanks to the Democrats and only the Democrats, the federal rescue package was passed. Dayenu. They really really had to work the rules of the Congress to hustle the bill past an intransigent GOP. Despite professing to be a mind reader, I can’t say why the Republicans voted against it, but that doesn’t stop me from turning that choice over and over again.

The Republicans passed the Trump tax cuts in 2017, increasing the federal deficit by about $2 Trillion. Biden’s bill costs about the same. Why vote for one and not the other? How are they different?

Instead of…


I’m wearing a digital watch more than anything else these days. Here’s why.

Those who know me may be familiar with my watchmaking hobby. I got into it before the pandemic and it keeps me occupied when I’ve nothing else to do. I love analog, mechanical watches. I taught myself how to build them and I spend my free time designing and fabricating dials most weekends.

That said, as I write this, a digital watch adorns my wrist. How I came to own it is as odd as my enjoyment of it.


Why Artificial Intelligence will augment existing problems

Photo illustration by yours truly, source credits: Photo by Aleksey Popov on Scopio, Photo by Yousaf Ayub on Scopio

I used to work in a big office building. There were a few people I really did not like who worked in the building. If I was in the elevator and saw one of these jerks hurrying to catch it, I would pretend not to notice them while I let the doors close. If the jerks called me on it later in the day, I’d apologize, blaming the elevator doors for closing, and cursing my lack of awareness.

That’s what’s happening right now with AI systems. To understand why, think of how we teach children.

Imagine if you had a…


Why The Old Paradigm Doesn’t Fit The New Economy

Gotta love visual metaphor. Photo and Photoshop by yours truly.

It’s difficult for me to say what I do for a living. This isn’t because I don’t have a job. It is because I have several, in a manner of speaking. The way modern people describe their careers is flawed.It is flawed because those of us who live by a “portfolio career” do not neatly fit into boxes, and isn’t that the whole point of a résumé?

According to Forbes:

A portfolio career is a working style where you combine multiple streams of income — often creating a mix of full or part-time employment, freelancing or working as a consultant…


I can’t believe I have to write this.

As with all the images in this story, this is from Giphy.

Growing up, I read a lot about the history of Americans doing dumb things. In our way, we do it better than anyone. The Millerites, for example, believed their charismatic leader knew when Jesus would return to Earth. They planned around this in 1844, sold everything they owned, put on their wacky cult costumes and waited for Jesus atop mountains. When he didn’t show up, they kicked themselves and went back to their old churches. If I’d read about millions of Americans protesting the government’s efforts to stem the Spanish Flu a hundred years ago, I’d have laughed just like…


What can ancient philosophy teach us about 2021?

Seated Cupid, Étienne-Maurice Falconet, 1757, modified by yours truly, courtesy of the Rijksmuseum

What is philosophy? It is a framework for organizing facts so that they form a pattern in order for that pattern to be understood in context, so it can be acted upon. A philosophy doesn’t even need to be a good philosophy to be called a philosophy. One example of not-very-good philosophers is the Mutakallimūn, who worked by first deciding on a conclusion dictated by already extant beliefs unencumbered by philosophical underpinnings, only then working backward from the answer to the question that provides the answer they already decided on. …


In a world where everyone wants to own your identity, why give it away for free?

One of my favorite watches. It has a reliable movement, sapphire crystal, screw-down crown, and no logo. Photo taken in front of my CNC machine.

I remember going to a party back in 1998. It was in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. I was dating a Russian girl at the time and the party was at the house of a friend of hers. A lot of folks spoke Russian to each other, which made getting involved in their conversations awkward for me, but I had a good time.

The thing I remember the most from the party was the entrance of several of the guests. Three boys, probably about 19 years old, entered together. They wore matching black trousers held in place by huge DG belt buckles…

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