Monthly Archives: September 2011

BofA’s New Debit Card Fees:

Bank of America
From today’s Los Angeles Times, from a column by David Lazarus:

“I asked BofA’s Pace how much it really costs the bank to process a debit card transaction. She declined to answer.

“I asked how much it costs the bank to provide fraud and overdraft protection. She declined to answer.

“I simply asked how many debit card users the bank has. She declined to answer.”Nevertheless, Pace said that BofA is trying to be “clear and transparent with customers” about the fees.”

Canine Support


My campaign for president is humming along with the support of so many wonderful people, and here, representing the non-voting canine population is an Australian Shepherd named Cash, who is my faithful dog. He is wearing a Pop Haydn campaign button, and looks very proud about it.

You can still get a free campaign kit–as long as they last–with free shipping. It features a large campaign button, a membership card in the Greater American Confidence Party, and a Vote Pop! campaign poster postcard. Just go to ACP Headquarters and register for the party as directed. This is a totally virtual party, and anyone from any country is welcome to join. We have only virtual truths to support and only virtual goals to implement, and only virtual votes to cast–our party is too honest to participate in reality.

Campaign Kit

The Horn Nut Scam

In the course of a tour de force round of stories and virtuoso performances of a number of entertaining pitches and ballys, Bobby Reynolds explains the Horn Nut Scam, a ruse he used as a child to sell worthless Chinese horn nuts as Chinese Water Lily bulbs.

The scam is evidently very old and has some interesting associated stories.

The nut looks like a water buffalo head, and the horns will float upwards when the nut is placed in water. A hole is drilled between the horns, and a gladiola flower is glued in place. Three or four of these are floated in a bowl of water.

Horn NutHorn Nut

Nancy Magill and I were delighted to participate in both of the Senior Pitchmen Reunions in Las Vegas. This is a gathering of pitchmen over sixty years old, people who sold medicine in the medicine shows, svengali decks in the carnival, puppets on the street corner, and kitchen gadgets, miracle cleaners, dusters and a million other items on television and now on the internet.

We videod four hours of interviews at the convention in 2009, and that became our DVD, “The Senior Pitchman’s Reunion, 2009” from School for Scoundrels (available at

This video is from volume II, “The Senior Pitchman’s Reunion, 2010.” We should be releasing this volume in the next month or so.

— Pop Haydn

New Senior Pitchmen DVD

Here are Bobby Reynolds, S. David Walker and Wally Nash talking about the Medicine Show pitch at the 2nd annual Senior Pitchmen Reunion in Las Vegas in 2010.

Nancy Magill and I video-taped four hours of interviews at the first convention in 2009, and that became the Senior Pitchmen Reunion DVD available from

This clip is from the second annual convention DVD, the Senior Pitchmen Reunion 2010. We will be releasing this DVD in the next month or two.

Magill did all the camera work, and I did the editing and titles.

We want to thank Gene Haaheim for letting us be a part of both of these wonderful get-togethers and record them for posterity.

This is a convention of pitchmen–the guys who sell watches, puppets, svengali decks, flower bulbs, kitchen gadgets, miracle cleaners, knives and dusters on the street, in carnivals, in stores, on television and on the internet–all of them over 60 years old.

These are guys who spent a lifetime hustling, drawing a crowd, and pitching the product.

Pitchmen are not only a fascinating, unique and attractive life-style and sub-culture, they are a fountain of information on how to survive and prosper in this most basic of entreprenurial fields. But their knowledge is also helpful to magicians, salesmen, emcees and others who need to know how to draw and hold a crowd, how to control their thinking, and how to sell them a product.

Birds of a feather talk together

The Australian Museum’s Search and Discover desk, which offers a free service to identify species, has received numerous reports of encounters with talkative birds in the wild from mystified citizens who thought they were hearing voices. Martyn Robinson, a naturalist who works at the desk, explains that occasionally a pet cockatoo escapes or is let loose, and “if it manages to survive long enough to join a wild flock, [other birds] will learn from it.”Birds mimic each otherAs well as learning from humans directly, “the birds will mimic each other,” says Jaynia Sladek, from the Museum’s ornithology department. “There’s no reason why, if one comes into the flock with words, [then] another member of the flock wouldn’t pick it up as well.” ‘Hello cockie’ is the most common phrase, though there have been a few cases of foul-mouthed feathered friends using expletives which we can’t repeat here. The evolution of language could well be passed on through the generations, says Martyn. “If the parents are talkers and they produce chicks, their chicks are likely to pick up some of that,” he says. This phenomenon is not unique; some lyrebirds in southern Australia still reproduce the sounds of axes and old shutter-box cameras their ancestors once learnt.

via Birds of a feather talk together – Australian Geographic#.ToDqYhpDQsM.facebook#.ToDqYhpDQsM.facebook#.ToDqYhpDQsM.facebook.

Henry David Thoreau:

“All voting is a sort of gaming, like chequers or backgammon, with a slight moral twinge to it, a playing with right and wrong, with moral questions, and betting naturally accompanies it.”

Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience, 1849

Fundraiser at Historic Lummis House

El Alisal is the home built by Charles Fletcher Lummis between 1896 and 1910 on the west bank of the Arroyo Seco in northeast Los Angeles. It takes its name from local sycamore trees, one of which is featured in the home’s interior courtyard. The house is built using stones from the arroyo bed, concrete, and wood. The design of the home is influenced by mission architecture and the dwellings of the Pueblo Indians. Though not directly influenced by the English Arts and Crafts movement, the house shares many of its design principles; it is furnished with hand-crafted wooden furniture, and features exposed wooden cross-beams and concrete floors.

Fundraiser for the Historical Society of Southern California

Join us Saturday, October 1st, from 6:00–9:00 pm for a special fundraiser celebrating money and magic in the West. This will be at the historic Lummis house in Los Angeles.

Buy in and participate in demonstrations of classic games like the shell game and three-card monte.

The dealers will be Magic Castle magicians Pop Haydn and Phil Van Tee. All proceeds go to HSSC. There will be a silent auction as well as music, food and beverages. Western outfits and period costumes welcomed. Hats, yes. Guns, no.

Members $60, Nonmembers $70.

Special price for reservations received and paid before Sept. 10: Members $50, Non-Members $60

For Non-Members, you can get tickets HERE.

Happy Birthday to Irene Larsen!

Happy Birthday to Irene Larsen, one of the co-founders of The Magic Castle. Irene is a lovely, vibrant lady, one of our real treasures at the club. She is always a lot of fun to be around. Her husband Bill Larsen, and she, along with Milt Larsen (Bill’s brother) originally put together the Academy of Magical Arts and its world famous clubhouse in Hollywood, The Magic Castle.

Irene is a past-president of the Magic Castle, and affectionately known by everyone as “Princess Irene,” a stage name she was given by her first husband, magician John Daniel.

Irene is Honorary President for Life and Ambassador-At-Large for the Academy of Magical Arts and a current member of the Board of Trustees.

Happy Birthday, Irene!

We Can Do It!

Pop for President

I want to thank all of you for the wonderful support you have shown for me, for our party and for this important campaign.

We intend to wage a virtual fight for virtual truths, and for completely virtual goals. This election is too important to focus on the things of real importance to the American people and to our children and grandchildren–apparently.

Therefore, we intend to offer ridiculous ideas and many contradictory airy promises and have no intention to deliver on any of them.

The Greater American Confidence Party, or the “Con-Partiers” as we like to call ourselves, represent that thin and eccentric “sanity fringe” of American politics. A vote for us is a vote–not for better government–but for cheaper government.

I believe that in voting for me for president in 2012, you will be getting the kind of government you both expect and deserve.

I am exactly the kind of person and politician anyone with the sense God gave a grape would assume me to be; I don’t make any pretenses. I am not greedy, and I am not an elitist–I will split 50/50 with anyone, great or small.

Don’t be disappointed again! This time, for once, you can vote for a sure-thing!

Put confidence back in the American government!

We will give you the same kind of government you have grown to expect, but at a much cheaper price.

I think that we can find a way to outsource the Congress and the Senate, by getting much cheaper politicians from undeveloped nations.

They may not be any better, but they could work for much lower benefits and pay, and are used to a much smaller scale of graft.

I think that it is only fair that our politicians play on a level playing field with politicians from impoverished nations, and I am convinced they can still compete in the political marketplace if they give it that old American “We can do it!” attitude.

But the easy-flying days are over!

Our politicians need to regain their edge by competing for their jobs with the tough and hungry politicians of the third world.

This could really be better for everyone. There are a lot of experienced, avaricious and ruthless politicians out of jobs right now because of the disruptions in the Middle East and Africa.

I think they could quickly adapt to the Washington environment, and would have every bit the concern for the welfare of the American working people as those who are there now.

There is more to honesty than merely telling the truth; and true truth-telling is much more nuanced and circumscribed by both discretion and concern for others in real life, and it is more lively and more honest in intent than it is earthbound and moribund with fact, and therefore, you could say that I am a thoroughly honest politician, one with unfeigned sincerity, earnestness and a degree of humility that clearly puts me a cut above others seeking this high office.

I promise you I will never lie to the American people without a really, really good reason.

Together we can accomplish great things.

I plan to work really hard to achieve things I couldn’t have considered possible without your encouragement, your unalloyed trust, and without your jaded, sarcastic and obviously perverse sense of humor.

We intend to have some fun, poke some balloons, and generally question authority and raise a rumpus.

Thank you for your kind attention.

–Pop Haydn
Certifiable Genius

About the rumors in the press…

Whitehorse Ranch

Facing the 21st Century

There have been some nasty rumors and innuendoes in the media, and especially here on the world wide internet web, about me and about my sincerity in running for what has become the most important office in the land–the presidency of the United States.

I will not dissemble.

I am, in fact, developing a reality television series. That part is true.

It is the true story of 19th Century expatriates trying to get by in the 21st Century any way they can–the struggles of common hard-working people who are basically undocumented aliens in their own country. These are people who–by no fault of their own–were translated into a world 100 years in the future.

The True Story of these brave and resourceful transplants is available at Pop Haydn’s True Story. The working title is either “Desperate Townfolk” or “Househusbands of the California Desert” but that may change until we get a final working title.

In this little reality series about our village in the California desert there will be sex, violence, nudity, drama, and whatever else it takes to get ratings.

But this is a reality series meant to confront real issues and raise real questions.

We have serious and artistic goals to accomplish that are much more important than the quick infusion of cash this might supply our other projects.

And most importantly, it reflects nothing on my current campaign for the presidency of the United States.

My campaign is much more than just a publicity stunt for a reality television show!

I am surprised that the magazines and talk shows would suggest as much.

Surprised and disappointed!

Why, this is the type of yellow journalism that has soiled news gathering for so long now, and is beneath the contempt of right-thinking individuals who know what to believe when they see it.

Those who have tried to minimize and ridicule my candidacy as such are just desperate and unhappy people…people who may have something to fear from my entrance into the fray.

I don’t know why these media bullies need to pick on a small group of unfortunate maroons from another era who are just trying to get by in the 21st Century like anybody else, but let me just say that whether the show gets picked up or not, my campaign will continue just as seriously.

I will sit here puzzled and saddened by these charges, but undaunted.

My faithful dog Cash is beside me, and he seems to have a higher opinion of me than many of those whose opinions I value less.

Thank you for your attention, and for your continued support in this important cause.

–Pop Haydn

%d bloggers like this: