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Old 04-18-10, 09:28 PM   #1
Butterfly Man
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Love The Great Work

I looked everywhere, to no avail.

Then I looked back at myself.

And there it was, waiting.

It's all about the shoes.

Jim's shoes.

I'll try to explain. Excuse me, if I spell something improperly or use some sort of grammatical error but I have to tell you quickly, what some of you already know. This is the story of Jim Cellini and his shoes.

Here we go. Ok, Jim was "old school". Yeah, Jeff Sheridan, NYC, early seventies. The guys who started it all (for street magicians anyway). It was Jim and Jeff and later McBride & Johnny Fox, then Gazzo & Nick etc. OK,ok, follow me. This is what really went down with Jim.

Ok, late seventies, I am already making more money than god in San Francisco, ‘cause I book the best pitch in the world at the time. Pier39 is all mine (but I share). Ok, so I go to Zurich in 1979 and work the pedestrian mall in late April (just pre-season). Working across from me is a young Jim Cellini with a cigarette sticking out the side of his mouth. Jim and I have seen each other from afar for three days. We see each other both making big dosh. We haven’t met.

The teeny Swiss franc was the sweetest thing to a busker, ever. It looks small but is worth a lot. So, I estimate we are both pulling in about a grand a day. I saunter over to the dude at the end of day 3. He knows who I am (we both at the same hotel, same pitch) and gives me a grin, while offering a cig. I ask him (as a joke) what's your secret for making all that $”, and Jim answers, “The answer is in the soul of my shoe."

Well, I think it's a goof of a statement and the shoe thing means jack and eventually we wave goodbye for the night. Ok, here's where it gets a little weird. Some kid, who had been watching Jim for weeks, breaks into Jims hotel room that night WHILE HE WAS IN BED (kid turn the light on as he was leaving???? don't ask me why) Jim wakes as the kid starts running down the hall with, I swear, no wallet and no cash (a shitload of it left behind). The punk was stealing Jim's shoes!!!!

I'm getting back late after a female encounter, and I see Jim at the end of the hall in his underwear watching this kid run towards me. I sense trouble ‘cause it's 2am!!! What’s this dude running from??? Now, I aint no hero but the kid had nowhere else to go but through me. I’m wearing my black beret and leather jacket and at least look bad. The kid runs right by me and I snag his jacket and he trips over his own feet and falls flat on his face.

Jim has caught up. Never touches the kid, never yells at the kid, just picks the shoes and walks back to his room, offers no explanation to me, just like he was saying goodnight, (without saying it) he leaves. I don’t know anything, kid gets up leaves, I go to bed.

Back to work for three more days then off I go to Lucerne. I never saw Jim again till 1986 Vancouver public library. We see each other, immediate friends, remembering Zurich. I've forgotten completely about the shoe incident (7 years).

Ok, Expo 86 is going on. Neither Jim or I had a gig there, so we did the library in the midafternoon and Granville later. Ok, I'm up 1st and am about 2/3 finished and a young checkerboard guy pulls up on MY PITCH in his brand new who gives a fuck checkered cab. Young punk stops my act and takes over. Skateboard flames my stomach and makes status mistakes, whatever, it just wasn’t good.

Somehow, we get a decent hat and he gives it all to me and drives away. What I didn't know was that Jim had switched to his performing shoes and place his others safely on the back seat floorboard of Checker’s cab. Checker didn't see them.

Pre-cell phone, no database, no clue as to the little pucks name. I head over to expo to see if any of the acts know where checker kid lives. Only one heard of him is a middle aged balloon making magician named Stan who says he knows checker.

We go find him and get the shoes back bit Jims not around at the library so we try Granville. Nothing. I tell a dog act that if he sees Jim, the shoes are at the Expo. green room.

I go back and drop off the shoes and Stan. Everyone is gone, so I stash the shoes in Garbo's rigged garbage can.

You should know, I hate Garbo. I want the shoes to stink his can up. Some stuff went down with me and Fred in Vermont once, over this woman, anyway, I wanna play him, so I, and I’m not proud of this.

It’s the last day of expo. As a hoot, I duct tape Garbo inside his can during the end of his last set. I’m wearing a pair of coveralls Mark Segal had given me, so the audience thinks its just part of the act. Then Fred Anderson, me and Stan carry Garbo, inside the can to my van. Ok, this was nasty, but Garbo never knew who did it. So anyway, the shoes.

Stan left. A kid runs up to me as Fred and I are about to pullout. Kid had Cellini’s shoes! Apparently, Garbo had thrown them out into the crowd from inside the can. I say nothing because I don’t want Garbo to hear my voice. Fred neither. We leave with the shoes and Garbo in the can. No one spoke, not even the can.

We cross the border easy, ‘cause I let Fred drive. He has all the proper work visa’s, so we sail through, they never even look inside the van. Every time I know we have to stop where people are, gas stations, restaurants, border crossing, I take some of Fred’s helium he had for balloons and gas the can for about 30 seconds. Garbo’s inside cries for help sounded too clowny to believe and then we moved on quickly anyway. No one ever heard him yelp.

As Fred drove, I thought about what a prick Garbo was, as I occasionally whacked his can with my boffer. It’s sturdy styrofoam packed an air punch and sounded great on the outside, I could only imagine what that prick heard on the inside.

We had along drive and since Fred was driving, all I had to do was pay for the gas and whack the can every 20 minutes or so. Occasionally, we’d have to gas Garbo too, but not very often. Fred didn’t want to waste the helium.

My mind wandered back to the early days of San Francisco. Only a select few buskers ruled the streets in the early ‘70’s. On the east coast it was Loco, Fantasy and The Shakespeare Bros. On the west cost it was Ray Jason, Rosie Radiator and the Flying K’s. The K’s, however had just moved up to the city from the Cruz, having made their mark on the mall and establishing themselves as the top act.

Ray Jason, was the man. Hell, I had heard the name “Ray Jason” 6 years earlier in NOLA from Henry the Fiddler. He had just seen me juggle and asked, “Do you know Ray Jason?”. I lied and told him “Yes”, I still don’t know why.

Last edited by Butterfly Man; 04-29-10 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 04-28-10, 10:02 PM   #2
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Once upon a time, there were no universities or colleges.

Men mostly had to gather all kinds of information (old texts/books/journals) and study on their own. These men wanted to know the same thing everyone else wanted to know... how everything worked.

In fact, that’s what they called their work: The Great Work.

They all looked for the same thing, “the secret of life”.

Along their path, these self-educated men saw some of their brethren excel while others failed. They all asked, “WHY”? And they learned a lot.

Now, here’s where it gets sticky. Science wasn’t neatly divided into subcategories of Physics and Chemistry in those days. Mathematics and Philosophy were still joined at the hip. Everybody knew only a piece of the puzzle, so they looked around and this is what they found.

Some experiments with the same conditions give the same results.

Others did not. No matter the same conditions. The results differed.

Here’s the split.

Those who wanted to always have the same conditions yield the same results, invented Chemistry.

Those who wanted to know “Why” the same conditions did not yield the same results, invented Alchemy.

Ok, broken down again, just to be simple. Chemistry is: certain conditions applied=same results. Alchemy the study of why things work or don’t. Beyond the science, that’s it, “How to make things work”.

Unlike chemistry, alchemy focused on the chemist (INDIVIDUAL) himself to provide the missing piece of the equation. They looked inwards while others looked outwards.

This is what happened.

Two groups of alchemy emerged. 1) Those who hid "the answer" beneath symbolism and said no individual was capable of attaining it on their own so “the answer” was unattainable. The second group also hid the answer under symbolism but said, while feasible, "the answer" was different for everyone and therefore unattainable as well.

This made alchemy almost disappear. Only a few studied on their own.

I am going to 1st tell anyone familiar with chemistry very simply what is going on during transmutation of base metals into gold: 3 things are added, mixed, heated, evaporated and finally purified (doesn’t get simpler than that). I’ll go into details later.

What is really going on here is not the ferrous (Au/gold) mineral added to the “another metal” and adding a "salt" liquid allows you to merge metals when you melt them with fire………

……….IT IS THE PROCESS THAT ONE MUST PUT HIMSELF THROUGH to accomplish this task successfully that is more important than accomplishing the task itself. This is a difficult concept, I know, but think of alchemy to be more like agriculture than chemistry.

Some people have a "green thumb" and do better... why? ... Here’s the answer.

Those of you out there, and you all know exactly who you are. You look around you and are amazed. You have money and love and people are just blown away when you do a show. Others love what you are doing and applaud and offer you gigs. Most of you really appreciate this success, I know.

You have (and you don't have to be a magician or juggler, any profession will do) a "KNACK" for what you do.

You are the ones I'm talking to here. The others are not ready. You, the reader, are ready for the last step. This is the "YOU" side of the equation. Yes, “the philosopher's stone” is what I am here to help you find.

Any practicing alchemist will be horrified to know I am about to reveal the secret. In the Mutus Liber, Canseliet quotes Pierre Dujols warning, “don’t gave way to the temptation to reveal the secret.” Well, too bad, those guys are dead and I will be soon and no one else knows this crap, so fuck ‘em.

All I ask is you too give it freely once you come into the knowledge. We are all amateurs here, so everyone needs our help.

The answer lies in laughter.

First thing, what is laughter?

Laughter is surprise… that’s the catalyst, if you will…. Surprise!

Then, one of two things happens… you think it matters or it doesn’t.

If “it doesn’t matter” …you laugh.

If “it matters”… you feel anxiety.

That’s it.

Ok, now let’s look at WHY people laugh.

Two things are immediately clear. First, laughter is not instinctive… you don’t come out of the womb laughing.

Laughter is CONDITIONAL … you learn what to laugh at from those around you.

Second, and here is the secret: Laughter makes us feel SAFE with those we laugh with.

You see it all the time. A girl meets a guy for the first time … she laughs to make him feel safe. He laughs to make her feel safe. They feel safe together.

Now look at your audience. One person laughing alongside the next. What happens?

Say, two people that don’t even know each other laugh at the same thing that one show they saw of yours and later on that day they meet again somewhere else and recognize each other… they will look at that other person completely different than a stranger.

Think about it… they still don’t know anything about each other yet they shared laughter earlier that day.

What happens?

That’s right … they trust each other.

And guess what else?

That’s right… they give each other respect.

Last edited by Butterfly Man; 04-29-10 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 04-29-10, 10:54 AM   #3
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The process of discovery of the philosopher’s stone is not an easy path to follow. It is dangerous and one must be careful even today with hoods and shields to protect you from fumes and explosions.

First step. You have to decide on which raw materials you will need.
You must be careful here on your choices.

But first, let’s discuss the stone itself. It is and it is not a stone at the same time. Like a stone it can be broken up and pulverized but it also, after removing impurities, cannot be broken but is easily melted like wax. So, it’s a stone, but it’s not.

First pick a metal, any metal, as your prime matter. Trust me on this.

Then look all around and pick the purist one… that's (Au) gold.

Ok, say you also knew that this other stuff you knew about was called (Sb) antimony and this antimony contained this stuff called “quicksilver” which only bonded to gold, no other metal.

Hmmm, you wonder? Maybe I can do something with this knowledge.

Maybe you also have a Mexican friend that told you every time he dug around in red dirt he found gold.

Say you knew that kind of dirt was found virtually everywhere on earth abundantly. That dirt contained iron and you knew more about it than any other of the classified ores. You knew your dirt. This dirt has iron pyrites and we got a lot of it, everywhere. The redder the better.

Things are starting to gel.

So you look at the dirt where the gold is located you see (Fe) iron, maybe you see (Sb) Antimony also found in “kermesite” a cherry red metal in the dirt too.

You remember you have a sword of steel and a magnet in your possession and you are amazed at what this stuff called (Mg) magnesium can do when used with iron so you scoop up a handful of that dirt and you bring it home.

At home you have a small furnace to heat up things and if you wanted to you could make the fire hotter and hotter. So you are ready to add this these things together in a pot but you know you want them to melt so you need to add something maybe a liquid, so they dissolve. So you throw in some (Hg) mercury and there is an explosion and you die.

You can now start your path or journey to discover the philosopher’s stone. Go back try again. That’s it. Keep trying.

So your son or a neighbor picks up your notebook wipes off your blood and does the same thing but instead of dirt he uses copper pyrites. He dies too.

Then your grandson tries it with Tin and his name is Roger Bacon and no one else tries tin except him. And you all die anyway.

A friend of a friend of a friend tries zinc and dies.

Many in the neighborhood try sulphides for the sweet aroma of their arsenic and, of course, they die too.

Finally, someone so long in the future he doesn’t remember you, works on making the fireplace a little nicer because so many relatives have died right there at the cooking pot.

It’s always such a mess to clean up after too.

Here’s where it gets tricky. This is fire but not fire. In other words, dry water that will not wet ones hands and a substance that burns without fire.

This is the “secret fire”, they all talk about. As a chemist, you say to yourself, “this must either be an acid, a strong dilutent, or maybe even one of several salts. And you look and try all kinds of stuff and you die too.

Then you stare at the words “doubly fiery” that only Basil Valentine mentions and you see what he was talking about. The “salt” had to exhibit two-fold properties, be metallic in substance and contain the prime matter in the form of an impurity. There is no other way.

You must know one fact above all else and there has never been any disagreement on this.

The most essential element, which the prime matter exhibits, is: it MUST join the MALE substance to the FEMALE substance and nothing can be added or subtracted in the process.

The deeper meaning embedded in the above paragraph will show the willing, the way.

Ok, let’s get back to blowing up shit and people dying.

Let’s say we are still alive and have at least one eye and ear and a finger with a thumb. We then put the goop into some sort of CLOSED container because, heck, the open one nearly killed everybody.

We make a small glass oval shaped crucible to put everything in and cook it. This is called the philosophic egg and it is hermetically sealed and placed in a bowl of ash and tended to by you (if you choose to) for a long ass time. More later on when and how long you cook.

This takes a lot of patience, humility and faith to get here. The mercury, stimulated by the heat of it’s intrinsic sulphur, gently dissolves the gold and reduces it to its prime constituents.

Here is where most people stop. This is enough for them. They “get it” and usually get rich. They don’t always stay rich but they know the path to wealth. These guys sometimes fail. They fail because the answer is almost within their grasp but they don’t get it because they go the “Me” way, instead of the “You” way. More on that later.
This is the “liberation of the spirit” phase and while many great men have gotten here, few continue. If you abuse the privilege at this stage, then you just become an audience member to your own show. But it’s easy to stay here and most do. Jim and I were both already here in 1979; I kept going thanks to him.
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Old 04-29-10, 10:55 AM   #4
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So, where are we now?

First, we have our agate mortar made up of our 3 constituents blended and stored for months now heated in a crucible the temperature raised incrementally for 10 days and we are not dead.
We have figured out to avoid breathing the mercury vapor and especially the arsenious hydrogen that killed so many of us off earlier.

Then we must dissolve the crucible with an acid. This part in the procedure led the way to the discovery of citric acid, nitric acid and sulphuric acid. But there’s a hitch here.

This “dissolution” phase must be done under polarized light. (Light coming in one plane)… if not … won’t work. Well, back in the old days they didn’t know how to do this, today we do and easily. Spectrophotometry. Guess what I did all day in the lab? Yep, that’s me.

So I kept going.

After this I evaporated the liquid and recalescined the solids. I did and redid this to purify what I had. I did this until I met Jim 7 years later in Vancouver.

I have to jump back for a second to address this issue of antimony vs. iron. You notice I favor a mixture of the two. Not just one nor the other. Why?

My reason is when looking way back to what the old philosophers said. They always mentioned the “universality” of the prime matter.

If it had to be a constituent of the plant, animal, vegetable, mineral world then iron would most certainly fit the bill. Antimony, however, would not.

But listen up, this is my theory and I’m sticking to it.

Like Love 22, I did some calculations with numbers. I replaced the Word ALCHIMIA with each letter representing a number according to its position in the alphabet.

Do the math and they add up to 56… the atomic weight of iron. I dunno really, this is just my idea. It might just be bullshit.

One more thing, that ash I told you to stick your little egg into before you heat it. Use Oak. This ash is potassium carbonate and what is an ancient name for that? Yes, sweetmeat, tartaric salt. Hmmmmm?(think Jacques Bergier)

This is where I think most of us find difficulty, if we continue on with our search for the stone.

This salt had many misleading names, the worst being saltpeter.
IMHO this word was used a lot to throw people off.
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