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

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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:


Why Artificial Intelligence will augment existing problems

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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

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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.

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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?

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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?

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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…


When new tech doesn’t do much after all

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No, this isn’t my computer. | Photo by Maksim Chernyshev on Scopio

Among other things, I am a filmmaker. That means my computers get put through the wringer. My last editing workstation was an HP Z800 that I kept for about ten years. Among other reasons I replaced it was that it took forever to process video files.

When I would try to ingest video or render video or export video, it would just take an age. Hours. Now I have a brand new Z4 with the most powerful 18 core processor available. It has the most powerful AMD video card rated for Avid Media Composer. …


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When my dad died in 2018, I had to sort through piles of physical stuff. Most of it was his magic collection; books, props, etc. There were, however, a few fountain pens. I tossed out two of them that were both totally bunged up with crap and weren’t expensive to begin with, but I kept a few, slotting them into my own collection.

I was organizing my collection when I came across these pens and suddenly a story came together. Looking at the pens felt like looking at a story outline in acts.

Montblanc 320P — The 1970s


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Background by Grooveland Designs, illustration by yours truly.

I cannot express in words how happy I am that Donald J. Trump is no longer the President of The United States of America. I don’t think I could even express it in dance. As I have confessed, I liked Trump a lot when I was a six-year-old when he said he would build the world’s tallest building not far from my home. Then I turned seven and realized what a clown and scumbag he is.

We’re now safely past him having the nuclear codes. We’re into a restoration of norms. The country is out of the ambulance and in…


Why I’m losing the war on clutter

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One of the storage solutions to which I’ve turned in my war on crap.

A few years ago, I received several pairs of socks for Christmas. I usually like that sort of thing, but I wear a size 14 shoe, so most socks I get as gifts don’t actually fit me at all. Since they were gifts, I felt compelled to keep them. I would even try wearing them. I didn’t buy new socks when the good ones died because I had these, which looked fine — only they didn’t fit me.

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