Steve Pellegrino, the author of one of the few good magic weblogs, links to a Steve Martin cartoon called “Morto the Magician.” Though it’s a bit gory and predictable at times, it’s a fun parody of the untalented illustionists who give magic a bad name. Incidentally, I’ve seen a live magician accidentally perform Morto’s signature effect, the magical production of a not-so-live dove. The real magician recovered with the same unperturned panache as Morto. The cartoon is available here.
The second item is Steve Martin’s 2003 novella The Pleasure of my Company. I read this over the holidays as a light break from my usual academic fare and enjoyed it immensely. It’s the story of Daniel Pecan Cambridge, a man whose bizarre obsessions keep him isolated from the world around him. (Asperger’s Syndrome? The book never says, but that’s my armchair diagnosis.) I went into it expecting only comedy, and it is often laugh out loud funny, but Martin also pulls off a delightful combination of skilled writing and compassionate insight. I recommend it.