Seductive Magic–Presto! [Single White Nerd]

I’m sitting across from a girl on a couch. I whip out a deck of cards. “Want to see a magic trick,” I say. She smiles broadly. “Yes.”  Awesome. For the past couple weeks, I have been taking magic classes at the (world renowned) Magic Castle. The class is mostly dudes.  I’m guessing that most of these dudes joined the class hoping they could use magic as a mysterious tool of seduction.  And here I am, on the couch, showing magic to a girl.  Livin’ the dream! The class itself has been pretty great.  The teacher is a spry ‘n sprightly 84 year old who has been with the Castle since its founding.  “Magic,” he told us  at the top of the first class, “has kept me young.  And I hope that it will do the same for you.”  Then he pulled a bean bag out of thin air with a wave of his magic wand.  He actually had a magic wand.  I could easily see a woman falling for a man with such power.  And a wand. We newbies don’t get wands.  We get decks of cards, a quick lesson in shuffling, and repeated exhortations to practice our shuffling.  We spend 20 minutes or so of each class shuffling.  No trick shuffle; just a normal shuffle. The teacher walks among us, correcting hand positions.  “Keep shuffling,” he says with a twinkle.  “Always keep shuffling.”  Some of the others keep dropping their cards.  Not me.  I shuffle smoothly, the cards falling into place, rising and falling with relative precision.  The teacher looks at me and nods.  “Nice shuffle,” he says. My pride rises out of all proportion to the actual accomplishment. Along with the class itself, the fee grants you access to the Magic Castle anytime...

Hey Kids, Let’s All Get Depressed About Turning 40! [California Seething]...

The weekend between the NFL Conference Championship games and the Superbowl is a bad one for football but a great one for soul searching. I love football and I fucking hate soul searching. As far as I’m concerned, soul searching is like cleaning out the produce drawer in the fridge; I know that something is creating a god-awful stench in there, but the last thing I want to do is reach into the murky depths and pull out the putrefying bag of brown liquid that used to be bean sprouts which were purchased for a salad that would never get made (I hate salad more than soul searching.) I’d much rather just hold my nose while I grab another beer and close the fridge door as fast as I can so the smell stays inside and I don’t have to wallow in stinky salad failure while I try and watch the game. Sadly, the only game on this past weekend was the Pro-Bowl, the NFL’s annual Make-A-Wish Foundation trip to Hawaii for really good players on terminally bad teams. As football games go, it’s only slightly less exciting than Joe Paterno’s Memorial Service, but still more fun than watching the Jets this past year. DAMN YOU SANCHEZZZZZZ! STOP SUCKING!!!!!! PLEEAAAASE!!! YOU’RE KILLING ME!!!!!!! Anyhoodles, with the Pro-Bowl as my only option for sporting distraction, I decided the time had come to face my stinky demons. So I rolled up my sleeves and got ready to clean out the festering vegetable drawer in my soul. Let’s be clear though, I know that I’m very lucky. I have a wife that I love, a job I enjoy, a dog who puts up with me and a house which I own. In many parts of the world,...