Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Knowledgeable Mike

Michael K. Ball was marketing VP for SER Solutions, Inc., where he wrote a couple of knowledge-management pieces. He's now director of product marketing at EMC's LEGATO software. His more recent article is on business process management.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

High/Low Brow

One of us wrote a scholarly work targeted at research libraries. Professional Wrestling As Ritual Drama in American Pop Culture by Michael R. Ball is, according to the publisher, the definitive text that "analyzes the phenomenon of American professional wrestling in light of the critical dramaturgy of Erving Goffman, Victor Turner, and the recent works of Mary Jo Deegan, (and) stands alone in offering scholarly explanation and sociological insight..." for the subject.

It is available through the major online bookstores or the publisher. Key IDs are ISBN: 0-88946-112-0, 200 pages, printed in 1990, list $99.95. Edwin Mellen Press has offices in Lewiston, New York and Ceredigion, Wales.

The single reviewer on Amazon was somewhat unkind, calling it "unintentionally funny." He does admire this Michael Ball's scholarship, just claiming the book is outdated.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Organ Organ All the Time

The Torbay Police Choir Director of Music is also the organist at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Torquay. This is in Southwest England, in Devon.

We had a very pleasant exchange about church organs today, he as a professional and I just as an appreciator. His church's is over a century old and has quite a history. My church's is recently restored and is in top form.

Lackaday, my musical ability, beyond choosing and enjoying all manner, was playing nose flute and blowing across the necks of bottles in a jug band. I did sing to my kids before they were old enough to know bad from tuneful. I am in the moaning and mumbling masses during church services.

This Michael Ball though has a history of musical ability and accomplishment back to puberty. I suppose we need many more in the audience than on stage, eh?

Sunday, December 12, 2004


There's broadband in the breakfast room at the B&B run by Mr. and Mrs. Michael Ball in the West Midlands, England. Guests can use it free. So this is a B&B&B now.

This Michael sent a nice email. In addition to updating his features, he noted that he had a brief contact with the singer by our name. A decade ago, he wrote asking whether that was his real name. The singer's agent sent a signed photo with the inscription "To Michael and Carolyn. The name is my real name. Love and best wishes Michael Ball" to them. The singer has never visited the inn that bears the name.

Our B&B&B host added that due to the singer's popularity, folk regularly ask him whether he sings. He'd like a pound for every time he's heard that one.

Lab Geeks

In Victoria, British Columbia, Michael Ball is the relatively new (September 2004) CEO of Genologics. The company is a scientific/medical laboratory information management system vendor, which specializes in proteomics. The company partners with IBM and the Genome British Columbia Proteomics Centre, which is 20 years old. Privately held Genologics' main product is ProteusLIMS, which aims to streamline drug development and marketing.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Singing to the Cops

In Torbay, England, Mike Ball is musical director of the Torbay Police Choir. They perform about 10 concerts a year and give the money to charities.

He started playing organ at 10, performed for a full church service at 12, and continued with his music while he earned his living as marine electronics and mechanical engineer. He played in pubs and at parties. Nearly 20 years ago, he turned to directing church choir and music professionally. He has been president of the Torbay and District Organists’ Association.

He looks like a classic Mike Ball.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Heartland Humor

Just west of Detroit, Mike Ball writes humor books and articles in Whitmore Lake, Michigan, an undistinguished, unincorporated town.

He posts samples on his site, including suggestions for the downsized, such as join the bowling league or grow a mullet (I guess those aren't mutually exclusive).

Friday, November 26, 2004

Real Arrr-state

In Sarasota Florida, Michael Ball is a realtor. He is a graduate of the Klopfer School of Real Estate and among his credentials is being general manager of Blackbeard's Castle (Ahoy, ye swarthy dog!) on St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. He also has been an U.S. Coast Guard Captain and claims to speak English, German, and Spanish fluently.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Up in the Sky...It's a Camera

Mike Ball in La Mirada, California, near Los Angeles, is in the airborne robotic photography business. (No link here. I can't find a Website. What is here is from cached Google searches and a article from October 26, 2004. That and related newspapers require a subscription to search the archives. Boo.)

A gray-bearded MB flies remotely controlled baguette-sized airplanes -- unmanned of course -- equipped with 4-megapixel cameras. He stands close and steers his robo-photo machines 100 feet above targets. He fires off dozens of shots for a few good ones.

Unfortunately there is no titillating angle, like tracking errant spouses. Typical customers are businesses that want a picture of a building or real estate for advertising. Mike's $100 to $200 fee is much cheaper than the same job from an regular plane or helicopter.

Apparently there are about a dozen U.S. companies doing this.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Canadian! Outsourcing

Neither India nor Russia, but Ontario, Canada is the home of software development outsourcing by Flyweight Solutions. There, Mike Ball heads sales and professional services. He is one of the founders. He is a native of Thunder Bay and a certified engineering technologist.

Taciturn Horseman

In Ithaca, New York, there is a vet, Dr. Michael A. Ball. His site says virtually nothing of him, but has a nice picture of him and his partner, Dr. Christina Cable, on each side of a horse. All three look wholesome.

Their Early Winter Equine Medicine & Surgery is in the business of:
    "Providing all levels of care for the 

performance horse including: internal medicine,
surgery, lameness, pre-purchase examination,
ophthalmology, foal care, special
pharmaceutical formulation, continuing
education lectures & publication, and

I found out from other sources that he is the author of Understanding Basic Horse Care (ISBN 1581500041) and Understanding the Equine Eye: Your Guide to Horse Health Care and Management (ISBN 1581500327). Both are 1999 books from Eclipse Press and available from Amazon and Wal-Mart.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Oh, No, Banjo

Well, one of us is a banjo player of modest reknown. In Ohio, Mike Ball is the banjo player with the Copus Hill Bluegrass band.

A review on the site includes:
Mike Ball needs the next mention.  His banjo picking

skills are right on, and he holds the band together
with amazing picking prowess. It's often been said
that any bluegrass band is only as good as their banjo
player. Copus Hill is a great band.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Likely Candidate

I hope that we soon can see the trailer of Michael Ball, the Gen-X film maker. His site promises several clips and a trailer for a satire of the United States with legalized drugs.

He got his bachelors in screenwriting at the University of Miami and his MFA in film production from Boston University. You can read about him and the film on the site, but the links to the clips seem dead. I'll check from time to time, and update this entry when you can see the trailer. I've sent him email about it.

The 25-minute Legalized America won the "Short Film Award" at the 2002 Telluride IndiFest.

Monday, November 08, 2004

And How About..?

  • A popular teacher at Benson Polytechnic High School in Portland, Oregon. You can view the ratings for Michael Ball.
  • The CV of Michael F. Ball, professional liability practice lawyer is available on the site of Fresno, California, McCormick Barstow.
  • Perhaps no relation, Michael F. Ball III is a management consultant in Reston, Virginia, You can view his résumé.
  • You can see the 2002 retirement program for the retirment ("defrocking") of the former minister Revd. Dr. Michael Ball, a two-day affair including a barn dance, and see his happy holiness on the Website of St. David's Uniting Church, Pontypridd, Wales.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Even More Michaels

Why stop now?

Monday, September 20, 2004

And yet more...

A few more of us have appeared on screen:
  • Mike Ball, 10th district, Alabama State Representative and a retired state trooper. Legislative bio.
  • Michael Ball, Sun Microsystems Distinguished Engineer in the Developer Environments and Tools department. Sun lists him as "principal author of the first non-AT&T C++ compiler."
  • Dr. Michael A. Ball, mathematical biologist and researcher in superplayer coalitions in game theory. He on the University of Liverpool (England) Applied Mathematics Staff. His interests include Buddhism, Quakerism and country dancing and calling. His Liverpool CV.
  • Mike Ball, British writer, who humbly reports to the BBC, "Rarely do I see a penny but cherish high hopes for my first novel." Sample writings.
  • Michael Ball, still in England, another Liverpuddlian is a defender on the Glasgow Rangers soccer team. Picture and stats.
  • Michael Ball, the TV and movie actor, with a palisade of hair and long credits list (Beverly Hills 90210, Odd Couple II and Chat Room, for example. He reports that he is two-time national (Belgium) judo champ. Résumé and picture.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

More Mikes

Neither the singer nor the SCUBA guy responded to the emails to them or their Webmasters. This calls for paper mail...

Meanwhile, I noticed a few more:

  • Michael J. Ball, president, Ball Service Group,Inc., metal fabricators in Ontario. Ball Service Group
  • Mike Ball, 20-year-old Calgary-Alberta-based glider pilot and owner of a microcomputer robotics business. Mike's R&D Lab
  • Apparently retired Australian magnate, Michael Ball, former Executive Director International with worldwide operations control of Ogilvy & Mather, and then founder of The Ball Partnership.
  • Mike Ball, Iberia-Missouri-based secretary/treasurer of the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association.
  • Michael D. Ball, the Lancaster-England-based facilities manager. Michael Ball CV site
  • Mr. & Mrs. Michael N. Ball (Mike and Carolyn), bed and breakfast owners in Coseley, Bilston, West Midlands, England. No evening meals, but tea and coffee at all times and cereal, toast, jams and continental breakfast 7:00 to 7:45 a.m. Michael Ball Bed and Breakfast

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Greetings, Michael

Years ago when I edited a major business handbook for McGraw-Hill and wrote hundreds of articles for the trade press, I appeared in all the periodical and book indices. Sometimes a Canadian travel writer would get his citations lumped in with mine in LexisNexis or the Reader's Guide to Periodic Literature. I've never met that Michael Ball and think he's retired or dead.

Now with the Web and tediously detailed cross-references, it is easy to find other Michael Balls, to contact some of them, and to get their email by accident. However, only the sculptor has tracked me down.

He and I have had some pleasant exchanges, touching on the Web sites, his art, my career, and our home towns. It has made me wonder whether other Michael and Mike Balls identify with the name or whether they think they are sui generis, as we pretentious sorts say after the second bourbon.

At the risk (albeit very low risk) of being a Michael Moore, I sent email to the Webmasters of and, and to the contact addresses on the Web pages for the Mikes themselves. I notified the Webmasters out of courtesy that I was linking to their home pages and directing any mis-sent email to their domains. I was a bit more personal with the bearers of the name, introducing myself and making them aware of the blog for us.

This was last week and I have seen nothing in response. I didn't expect the singer to respond nor his minions to pass along the message. I did think that a skin diver would be a bit more real and field the message. For the Webmasters, it seems good manners would have required a THX or better.

I won't stalk the celebrities, but if they respond, I'll mention it here. I don't believe I'll wait by the phone.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

One Sharp Michael

A couple of months ago when my company included me in a layoff, I finally began populating the public side of my eponymous Website instead of just using it for messages and ftp. Shortly after, the German sculptor with our fabulous name contacted me. I had links on the home page to the singer, to the diver, and to the sculptor. I have the stereotypical writer's disease of poor self-promotion and figured that most folk would be seeking those Michael Balls.

The sculptor and I have exchanged emails several times. I learned that summer in Munich requires an umbrella at all times. I also learned with a clever artist he is. I strongly recommend his site to get a sense of his metals, his ceramics, and his drawings. He clearly has great fun with his art.

As a reward to linking to him, he sent me a miniature of one of his bronzes. I snapped a so-so quality image of it. It deserves better. I'll scrounge in the basement and find my studio lighting, which I have somewhere down there. When I make a better image, I'll post that. Meanwhile, get a feel for the fun of it all.

Most of his pieces are large and heavy, and so he hasn't had a U.S. show yet. His site has images of many of his best though.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Touching Mikes

I really didn't want at first. After all, I'm a Mike. My eponymous site should be the diver's.

However, a few days after setting up the domain, I started getting mail for the singer and then for various folk in his company. This or that interview was in the works, for example. These quick, intimate peaks into his professional life were funny, like the flash into the living room when the train passes by the windows.

He has fan clubs and fan Web sites in England, Scandinavia, Japan and probably elsewhere. It's no more surprising that a tingling teen would send mail to without bothering to visit the site, than that some second grader would write to Santa at the North Pole. Either is as effective communication as the other.

On the other hand, I do notify the fan or flack or whomever to try him or the minion at One would think that the PR and scheduling types in England would think, but not all of them do.

It's probably time to send him some email and let him know that I link to his site, among other Michael and Mike Balls. I wonder whether he has identity with the name or would have a lackey screen out such notes.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Boy Named Ball

Like Sue, my surname is a tough one to carry, particularly for a kid, compounded for those of us who moved. Years ago at a party, a Harvard linguist and I mused over it. He was pretty sure that Ball is the most risible, easily ridiculed last name in the language.

I've heard whines from Shoemakers and Fuchs and so forth, but they are small beer. My name brings with it body parts, countless sports, far too many clichés (get on the ball, behind the eight ball...), sexually explicit verbs, dancing allusions, and even fairy tale citations of Cinderella.

As a kid, I'd go to a new school only to have a new group of classmates run through the same set of jokes I'd just left behind in the last town. There'd always be the clown or two who'd gawk after an insult or bad pun and wait for me to appreciate his brilliance. In the end, it's an intelligence and etiquette test to see who says what, how innovative or clever, and if they pick up on the cues to cool it. All that written, I must add that every couple of years, someone comes up with a new one and I marvel at and enjoy it. There must still be good Ball jokes unverbalized.

By the time someone named Ball is a teenager, he's earned the name.

He Has My Name!

While family and friends have nicknames for me, to virtually everyone I've known I'm Mike Ball. Because I met Tom, John, Steve, Mike, Bob and Bill Balls, I figured five years ago that I might grab before someone else.

Well, down by the Great Barrier Reef, another Michael Ball was ahead of me. When Network Solutions reported the domain was not available, I did a whois to find out the owner and then checked the site to see what sort.

It's pretty impressive.

He runs diving expeditions and SCUBA certification down under from Queensland and Papua. The site with OUR name has exotic diving pix, Australian and New Guinea weather, interactive maps and reef reports as well as promos for his business.

There are some super coral and fish photos in colors that never appear in New England waters unless someone has tossed their postprandial lobster shells overboard. Check out the view at:

Get Common

One would suppose that a very common first name and a pretty ordinary surname would coincide very frequently. Yet, I moved every couple of years as a kid and didn't even hear of another Michael Ball until I was an adult. Everybody knew people with the last name, but not the combo. I met hundreds of males with last name, but no Mikes.

Ironically, the first time I knew of another one, it helped me. I was a Boston stringer for a computer weekly. I called up Lotus when CEO Mitch Kapor was thinking of leaving. I identified myself by name only and asked for him. The operator put me though. To his credit, when he found out that I wasn't the big shot U.K. advertising executive that he did know, he did continue to speak with me and gave me some news (although not of the resignation that soon followed).

By the bye, in the last U.S. census, Michael was the fourth most common first name. Ball was the 320th most common surname, less common than Barker and Bush but more frequent than Keller and Chandler. For the politically curious, Kerry ties with a long list and comes in as 14,023rd most common surname.

A Mike Among Many

The Michael Ball sites on the Net are many and diverse.

The most visted surely must be of the British singer:

Perhaps the most fun is that of the SCUBA and snorkelling expedition leader:

I'm very fond of the work of the German sculptor:

Mine is mundane, as befits a tech writer and erstwhile journalist, and I'm just populating it: