There is a nice piece in the Independent on self-help books, and talking about 59 Seconds, here.

So, the ‘magic broom’ craze seems to be sweeping the country again.  Here is a nice clip about the phenomenon….

Can you explain what is going on?  Ever tried it?

38 comments

  1. Easy, the answer is: morons. The broom is “magic” only if you factor in morons. Otherwise it’s a piece of matter with a low, well-balanced, center of gravity.

  2. This is a very good example of apostrophe abuse. The sentence as written expands to “STANDING ON IT IS OWN”.

    How stupid do you have to be to not see that that is completely and utterly wrong? It’s more or less the simplest usage of an apostrophe there is. What is wrong with people?

    So the point of the news story, for me anyway, is lost in my own private grammar apoplexy, well before reaching any further meaning.

    Or to put another way, I didn’t watch it because it was posted by a bunch of wanker’s.

    1. sigh. Confusing its and it’s is a simple spelling error, one that is actually kind of understandable given how arbitrarily apostrophes are used with pronouns. Since most possessive constructions take the apostrophe-s (Bob’s, the day’s, etc) I’m not really upset when someone accidentally analogize to “it’s”. In context, the error doesn’t introduce ambiguity, so grousing over it is silly.

      “Haha! I memorized more random, arbitrary, meaningless orthographic rules than them! Hahahah they are STUPID!”

      The sentence doesn’t “expands” to “standing on it is own” because that is obviously not what the writer meant. This is a spelling mistake, not a grammar mistake.

    2. @Abbie This is so not a spelling issue! And whilst it might not “introduce ambiguity”, it does, seeing as it is being broadcast by a TV station, perpetuate the idea to our impressionable children that grammar and/or spelling don’t matter, hence it is fundamentally Wrong. The TV should know better.

  3. This is all over Facebook. It’s a variation on the old hoax about how eggs can be balanced on end only during the spring and fall equinox. People are claiming the same about brooms only now it only has to be close to the equinox. I have been trying to tell people that there is nothing amazing about standing a broom on end, especially one with synthetic bristles that have all been trimmed to be the same length. People just want to believe woo.

  4. There’s a new magic prop on the market at the moment that can ‘assist’ you in performing effects such as this. Great fun to perform, especially when the subject you’re showing is absolutely trollied…

  5. When nobody was looking, I would balance classroom chairs on their back two legs. People would see them and get excited.

    You can balance things! Wow!

  6. Well if you need to fake it you can probably pour sand into the pole if it is a metal hollow pole

    It’ll then cause the center of gravity to get lower.and you can easily rest the weight on a few bristles.

    (What i can think if i want to fake it)

  7. Hmmm, must’ve been a slow news day. This is hardly newsworthy stuff though.
    Perhaps for future showings of this item, they should play “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”.

  8. It’s obvious. The store is tilted 90 degrees. (You can tell by the way the newscaster’s green tie is hanging a bit to the left.) The broom is actually resting on the floor.

  9. When I saw the phrase “broom standing on its own” I thought they meant with the handle end down and the bristles in the air, which would have been a lot more impressive. I still think it would be possible with a broom with a symmetrical bristle design and a flat end, but I would have been more impressed that someone actually took the time to do it. This way, with the bristles down, is really nothing special.

    Also, Richard, the link to the article doesn’t work.

    1. Whenever I try and chat up a broom, they usually just turn away and talk to their friends. This guy really nailed the courtship with a sweet dance. Maybe that broom was just the town bike?

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