Funny things, most people don't know what this word means. Most times it is used to describe the best or final version of something. Funny thing is it means the NEXT to last. In a way, magic is very much like this. The best of the best version of an effect comes out and then something better crests the hill and previous effect then becomes the penultimate version.
Why do I bring this up? Well because sometimes a previous version of something is the better one. Improving upon something does not always mean better *koff*WiNdOwSvIsTa*koff*. Personally I feel that in most respects, (in regards to audience impact, not magician preference), there are some versions of an effect that will never be topped or needs be modified.
I thought about this while watching some of the Total Astonishment DVD set. (Which I will reserve opinion for until I am done seeing all of it, but so far... I'm not impressed) On some of the disc's there have been "upgrades" of effects from Harris' AoA books. Some of them were not necessary or really that good. On one of the discs there is a version of Reset. Quite frankly I think the best version of reset EVER is R. Paul Wilson's Ricochet. Sure being able to do some sort of reset effect thru sleight of hand is cool and all, but when you want a slap in the face with yer nether-regions to yer audience, then there is nothing better.
Magic is full of stuff like this. It always will be. Don't believe the hype that some new so-and-so in bottle is any better than yer tried and true quarter in bottle that you got for 10$ at the local brick and mortar, non-corporate magic shop. So here are my thoughts and a word for the day. I hope you learned something.
Next time, we will study coitus interruptus.