I have two distinct lives. One in the trenches of low-budget film and television, the other in professional gambling. Because of the feast-or-famine nature of show business I need a reliable income... gambling. So here you will read about both worlds. Enjoy!

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Eyes Have It

When I was about 7 my father bought a tachistoscope. "Why?" you may ask. He was learning to speed read. Illinois had banned Henry Miller's The Tropic of Cancer as obscene. My father was hired as an expert witness on pornography, and had to read 200 pornographic novels before testifying. But I had this amazing toy to play with. You could set the interval from 1 second to 1/1000 of a second, and a word would flash across the screen. About every year or two the subject pops up on the blackjack message boards. "Should I get a tachistoscope to train my eyes?"

I was reminded of this recently when visiting a friends apartment in Las Vegas. I noticed what looked like a toy. It looked like an airplane with a two-foot wingspan, and across the front of the wings were red and blue LED lights. It came with a pair of glasses with one red lens and one blue lens. It was a different type of eye trainer called Eye Port. You wear the glasses and turn this thing on. The red and blue lights flash randomly, but you only see them out of one eye because of the glasses. You basically dart your eyes around looking at the lights and it is supposed to help your vision. Before you rush out to buy one of these contraptions I will tell you that my friend did not find it helpful.

Back in the early 80s there was a device called BJ Quick-Eye.

I believe this device was invented by Mark Billings who wrote The Ultimate Edge. You look down the box, and slide cards down the chute. You can adjust the angle of the chute to increase the speed of the cards. This item is no longer being sold, but as you can see from the drawing it would be fairly easy to make.

If you're interested in a tachistoscope let me save you a lot of money. Here is an app that does the same thing for $2. It's called Quicki. It flashes numbers on your phone screen. You can adjust the speed, and the number of digits.

Does it all work? I'll leave that to you to decide. My eyes are shot so I don't think any amount of training will help me.


badjuju said...

I also suggest the site Mathopolis - 'Memory' under 'Games'. It's fun and free. It flashes numbers/letters.

The Moment said...

Great app. Thanks

Doug said...

Did you know Elmer Gertz, who was Henry Miller's attorney? He was a good friend of my grandparents. American hero or not, I remember him for calling me fat when I was a kid.

Richard Munchkin said...

I remember my parents talking about Elmer, but don't know that I ever met him.