Friday, December 30, 2005

I Want a Yard Sign

Michael Ball campaign yard signThe Virginia politician with our name barely lost his legislative race. For a Republican, he has pretty smart and pretty humane politics. In fact, his real problem in the contest may have been that he and the Democrat had platforms that were too similar.

At least for the present, his site is still available.

Is is complete with pictures. He's a good-looking guy, but then again, he is a Michael Ball.

There's a bio and four position papers and an endorsement in PDF.

While he is more conservative than some of us, he does seem in tune with his state. In his campaign, he promised to:
  • Roll back the real estate tax rate and cap property taxes
  • Ensure quality teachers by requiring them to pass competency tests in the subjects they teach our children
  • Pass a law requiring all future tax increases to be approved by the people in a voter referendum
  • Require an independent audit of the state budget to make sure tax dollars are spent efficiently and to cut waste wherever it is found

Friday, December 16, 2005

Bang, Mike

This Michael Ball is never likely to have fans like the singer. I ran across Ballpoint, replete with links to where you can buy his CDs, photo galleries, and a page to record your memories of the day you met HIM (squeal).

As a sample, consider this review of an experience at Chitty Chitty Bang Bang:
A review by Clive

Well, I thought I had seen it all over the years reporting on the escapades of the folks of London Town, but today I really did have to ask myself the question, Was I Barking?!! Had all these years taken their toll?, or was I really reporting on a 'tail' of a very different kind?!

I could have been forgiven for thinking I'd had one Alco Pup too many the night before, as I found myself confronted with the mysterious sight of those making up the queue at The London Palladium. I admit I arrived a little late, but the view from the rear was still a fascinating 'tail'!

Now I'm used to seeing the ardent fans who queue for their favourite show, and in a few weeks the Ballettes will be queuing outside this very spot eager for any returns, and we all know they flock from afar to hear Michael Ball, but was I really seeing a large group of assorted Dogs (yes Dogs!!) queuing to buy a ticket for the musical that's taking off with a Bang and a Bark in just a few short weeks time! Could this really be the new generation of Michael Ball fans?! They say it takes all sorts, and this was a wonderful assortment, young, old, long haired, short haired, and like a few Michael Ball fans I've seen in my time, they had some of the tell tale signs, tongues hanging out, even a bit of drooling going on but then came a bark, now not since I heard someone once call Michael Ball, Bolton, had I heard a bark like it!!

But just a minute, just who was barking here I asked myself, as I gave the necessary pinch to check I was not in the middle of some strange dream where Dogs had taken over the world. Why did I spot the word 'audition' on the lead sheet I had been handed from my paper, and suddenly have visions of the Bull Terrier stood behind me standing on the stage of The London Palladium dressed in a dinner jacket, cigar in hand, a newspaper under his paw acting out the scene of a lifetime to win his part?!!!

It probably is me who is barking, but they do say never work with animals, or children, and Michael Ball is about to do both, a braver man than me!! I only hope as Michael is in the middle of one his renditions during his nights on the stage of The London Palladium that he doesn't suddenly find himself looking at one of the musicians down in the orchestra pit to see a Bearded Collie looking up at him playing a trumpet, that's when he will ask the question I was asking too!!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Granite Mike?

Where is Mike Ball, the New Hampshire radio talker?

Several emails have asked what happened to him. After he disappeared from WGIR, no one locally seems to know where he went, but many seem to miss him.

Over at Wizbang! we find, in part, the lament:
I wrote before about Charlie Sherman, the failed TV sportscaster who now fancies himself a talk-show host. In order to accomodate Sherm, the local radio show dumped an excellent guy named Mike Ball and let Sherm in to stink up the place.

Sherm knows he stinks. That's probably why they don't take phone calls from listeners. When a talk show doesn't take callers, they're either too egotistical to think that anyone else could contribute anything of value or too frightened that the callers will show them for the chumps they are. In Sherm's case, it's probably both.

If you know where this MB went, pass it along.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Health Care Mike

Out in Irvine, California, Allergan, Inc. has F. Michael Ball as executive vice president and president, pharmaceuticals. His bio on the company site includes:
Born in Canada, Mr. Ball was educated in the U.K. and U.S. before receiving his BSc and M.B.A. from Queen’s University in Canada. He is the former President of Syntex Inc. Canada and Senior Vice President of Syntex Laboratories USA, where he served on Syntex Corporation’s Management Committee. Mr. Ball has over 20 years of international health care experience in the marketing and sales of pharmaceutical products. He joined Allergan in 1995.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Two Too Similar

Michael Ball's last stand seems to have been in Uncle Louie's Restaurant in Norfolk, Virginia. In the race for the Virginia House of Delegates, our guy just barely lost to Paula MIller.

According to the report of the restaurant battle, their debate showed too much similarity. We may never know whether his adversary's recognition as a TV talking head swung the voters.

At Uncle Louie's, he stressed the huge increase in state spending and taxing in the previous decade. His big pitch would be that he would oppose such profligacies. That apparently wasn't enough.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Midget Landing

In Chippenham, U.K. Garston Farm has a tiny airstrip in a farm field. Call Mike Ball "at some stage prior to departure" for permission to land.

The town and Garston Farm are in Wiltshire.

The airstrip is very bucolic, enough to note that the landing is by "Rwy 09 approach through the gap between trees."

When you are ready, call Mike at 01225-891284 or 0790-1755312.

The greeting includes, "All visitors to our airstrip are extended a warm welcome, (provided prior permission received), and the kettle is always on in the caravan!"

Monday, October 31, 2005

Call for Ball...and Pierce

Who knows where radio talker Mike Ball is now?

A comment on the profile of him when he was still on WGIR with Dan Pierce in New Hampshire wonders too.

Our latest search turned up this:
In NEW HAMPSHIRE, there's still no replacement announced for Dan Pierce, who resigned as program director and afternoon host at WGIR (610 Manchester) and its network of simulcasts (WTSL 1400 Lebanon, WGIP 1540 Exeter, WGIN 930 Rochester) on August 27. We're hearing some buzz that Pierce's departure may clear the way for Mike Ball, who was ousted as the morning host last month (a slot fulled by Charlie Sherman.)
That's not much info. It was from September 2004.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Beyond the Repository

Get your PDF here. Mike Ball presents 35 pages of PowerPoint on the future of content management.

He is director and general manager of EMC Documentum. So, there is a bit of beef amongst the high-toned words and high-color graphics. (If nothing else, you can enjoy the information-overloaded executive with his head in his hands.

This one was a presentation at the Enterprise Information Management Conference in Boston, July 2004. He is frequent speaker at such conferences worldwide.

Of course, we assume Documentum may have a solution or two to vend. The teaser for the presentation includes:
Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) is a strategy of pro-active management of information that is business-centric. It needs a unified approach, and is policy-based. ILM aligns service levels with business requirements. Mike considered data protection, which in his world involves backup and replication. In his world, these two are becoming closely enjoined. We have already mentioned that compliance management is a major requirement. Email is becoming a big business risk, so needs to have a business strategy for managing it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

New Twists to London

Our man in economics, Michael Ball, is lead author with David Sutherland of An Economic History of London: 1800-1914. The Business History Review at Harvard Business School starts its comments by saying the authors "set out to move London history in new directions, departing from previous narrative and explanatory accounts and explicitly deploying modern economic theories."

They claim that much of previous views of London development suffers from earlier, misleading views. They find, among other conclusions, that "London was not industrially backward in the nineteenth century, but was growing and diversifying according to the predictions of competitive market theory."

The book is 470 pages. Published by Routledge i 2001, it retailed then for $110. It is available now from Amazon (free shipping) for $115, or as an ebook for $110 from the eBookMall.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Content Management Optimism

At EMC's Legato Software, Director of Product Marketing Mike Ball commented:
aving been in this industry for more than 15 years, I can say that 2004 has the promise of being one of the most exciting years in the content/document management industry. The recent surge of interest in regulatory compliance, corporate governance and legal risk initiatives has legitimized content management as another mandatory infrastructure application required to operate a business-just like ERP, payroll or similar business systems.

The traditional benefits of improved productivity, secure archival and reduced operating costs deliver added multifaceted ROI and business value.

The recent consolidation of vendors and solutions will undoubtedly continue in 2004, giving customers the benefit of selecting from financially strong and secure companies that can deliver mature technology solutions combined with long-term viability and industry commitment.
KM World. Camden, March 2004.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Our Man in Man

Mike Ball in middle
The Channel Islands off England rotate their version of Olympic games. The most recent one to be held on the Isle of Man was in 2001.

Our man in the center of those was Mike Ball, the island's Director of Leisure. In the picture, our man is in the middle flanked by chairman Brian Partington and Gary Jakeman.

The games include competitors from all the islands. They vie in a dozen sports.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Another Ball on the Boards

Mike Ball in Butterflies Are FreeAnother actor Mike Ball is not to be confused with the famous Canadian Michael Ball. This one is from Philadelphia. He is a major star of the Stagecrafters. He has numerous credits with them, some of which you can see here.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Our Man of the Poppies

Mike Ball mug shot

In Bristol, England, Mike Ball is the treasurer of the branch and club of the Dundry British Royal Legion. The service organization (and bar) has been open since 1949.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Buy a Used House from This Mike?

In Queensland, Australia, Mike Ball sells luxury realty on Bribie Island. The profile for our sales consultant includes:
Mike and his family have lived on Bribie Island for nearly 10 years and would be well known to many Bribie residents. Mike and Lyn have been married 30 years and have twin daughters who are studying Veterinary Science at Queensland University.

A Boilermaker/Welder by trade, Mike has worked his way up from the workshop floor to become State Manager for one of Australia's largest steel companies. He was also empowered with setting up and commissioning a purpose built production centre for this company and his people skills when negotiating and overseeing all aspects of this venture were regularly called upon to smooth many a ruffled feather over the course of time.

Following this, Mike spent 5 years in Sales & Marketing mangement for a Company involved in a specialised engineering field, before setting up his own business, 'Passage Pool Supplies' 5 years ago.

The rest, as they say, is history. This business grew from strength to strength winning two Excellence In Business awards. This success can only be attributed to Mike's hard work, dedication and commitment to his customers, and these traits are carried through to his clients in Real Estate. Mike will always give you 110% and with his honest and straight-forward approach you can be assured your best interests are always paramount.

Mikes integrity, enthusiasm and valuable local knowledge will help ensure his clients receive the best possible outcome with their Real Estate needs.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Ball on Bouncing: 2

Our man Mike Ball in Australia has shown his face.

Mike Ball mug shotHe is the Umpiring Development Manager Umpiring WA, which is conducted under the auspices of the West Australian Football Commission. It is "at the home of Football, Subiaco Oval.

"There are four full time employees, an Umpiring Development Manager, two Umpiring Administators and a Development Officer.

"Umpiring WA exists to provide clear direction to all affiliates and to further develop the role of the umpire within the game of Australian Football."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Great Plains Aeronaut

Mike Ball mug shotWe have one us in South Dakota. A commissioner on the South Dakota Department of Trasnsportation Commission is Mike Ball.

His term is for 2005-2006. He is from Huron. You can see him with all the commissioners here.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


We can find no other mention of Michael C. Ball, actor. He is credited was Male Hooker #3 in The Click: Balls of Thunder.

This 2002 made-for-TV movie features Robert Donovan as Rod Steele. The plot summary is mercifully short:
Armed with a remote control device that causes people to become extremely horny, he must battle super-villain Tangerina, who wants to capture the sperm of the world's most powerful men and create an army of sex slaves.
The love interest is apparently the villain, De'Ann Power (right) as Tangerina.

We can't see any images of our man, the hooker. Also, this is the only movie credit he has.

As a hint of why this movie did not have a theatrical release, consider a dialog sample from Rod:"I'd like a vodka martini, shaken not stirred, with a touch of lemon and one green olive on a wooden toothpick, preferably imported from somewhere in the Orient."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Back to the Futurliner

In Michigan, Mike Ball has been an active volunteer in the six-year project to restore and exhibit an automotive anomaly.

Before most of us were around or can remember, General Motors had Parade of Progress shows. Their 12 Futureliners were integral to the traveling expos.

Futurliner #10 came into the hands of Don Mayton and his crew of a couple dozen volunteers. They have restored it from a rusty heap to a shiny hulk. You can see the project from the beginning.

Dig into the photo/caption archives or drill right down to your specialty (like bumpers). You can also click on the work reports by year to see the painstaking operations (and what parts Mike played).

Monday, October 03, 2005

Back to Bama

Our man in Alabama has augmented his published bio on the state legislature site. Representative Mike Ball is also a musician, it turns out.

From vocations to avocations, he now includes:
Mike served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1973 to 1977 and was honorably discharged as a Sergeant. In 1978, he became an Alabama State Trooper, and served 8 years in the Highway Patrol Division. In 1986, he was assigned to serve in the Major Crimes Unit of the Alabama Bureau of Investigation. In addition to his investigative duties, Mike also served as a Hostage Negotiator. He retired from the Alabama Department of Public Safety on January 1, 2003.

A student of several musical instruments, Mike enjoys improvisation with other "shade tree" musicians. He is a member of Asbury Methodist United Methodist Church, the American Legion, the Alabama State Trooper Association, and the Huntsville Traditional Music Association.
Note: Shade-tree musicians tend to be those who play on weekends for their enjoyment. That can include more regular practices and even vanity pressings of their own CDs. I have no evidence the his group has done so, yet.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Honoring Comrades

A poignant piece on a family honoring buddies they saw killed in the Middle East – and never had time to mourn – appeared in the Denver Rocky Mountain News. Lance Cpl. Mike Ball was one of those who travelled to Colorado at the call from the parents of the late Lance Cp. Kyle Burns. Jo and Bob Burns asked those who last saw their son alive.

Kyle died in Fallujah on Veteran's Day, 2004, hit by a rocket-protelled grenade. At the cemetery, his comrades said they had not been able to assimilate it until now. Dustin Barker, Kyle's best friend in the platoon, said, "When you're over there, there's no time to grieve. You worry that if you do, you'll get someone killed.

Ball added, "I strted to let the tears come, but we had patrol in 10 minutes. You have to shut it off. We just got in the vehicles and started driving."

Note: I recommend reading the whole article, which is by Jim Sheeler. Be warned that it is moving.

The article concludes with:
When it was all over, the two tallest, toughest-looking Marines at the Burns' table stood and hugged Jo Burns, then each other.

Suddenly, Lance Cpl. Ball's face turned red, then exploded into tears. As he pressed his head into Barker's shoulder, the sobbing spread. Other Marines from the company grabbed hold of each other. They held tight for nearly a minute, holding nothing back.

Eventually, someone started to laugh, and they all laughed for a few seconds, then began to cry again, the tears darkening their deep blue uniforms. After regaining his breath several minutes later, Ball thumped Barker on the back.

"That stuff has been bottled up for so long," Ball said.

"It feels so good to get it out," he said, patting his buddy on the back. "Now we can mourn too."

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Converting Yobs in Wales

Punkish behavior has been responding to a program in Flintshire, North Wales, U.K. It has a name that doesn't really fit on a t-shirt, but the Flintshire Anti-Social Behaviour Review Group works because it involves the kids.

Mike Ball is coordinator of the Holway Estate Neighbourhood Watch. In the first year of operation at the housing project, juvenile incidents went from 80 to 22 and overall anti-social incidents from 256 to 155. That includes everything from littering to domestic violence.

The program started under a grant of about $2.5 million for the 410 homes in the area.

Ball said, "It's the result of partnership between youth groups, residents and tenants, neighbourhood watch, police and council." In addition, cause and effect seem important. He added that "(w)hen you reported a crime, a police officer came and then if there is a followup visit it might have been another police officer who attended." Now a dedicated officer is available for continuity.

The program is seen as a model for other neighborhoods.

Note: The original source was the Liverpool Daily Post, September 3, 2006, page 16, which is not online.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Diploma Mills Watchdogs in Washington

It seems that Washington State is a hot spot for down and dirty, quick and easy (and inexpensive) college degrees by the Net or mail. An article in the Spokane Spokesman details the diploma-mill problem.

University of Illinois Professor Geoge Gollin has a Website that records and publicizes the problem and various actions against them. While Gollin got his real doctorate from Princeton, he notes that a non-accredited Parkwood Univeristy offered him a bachelor's, master's and doctorate in "systems engineering" for $4,400.

Mike Ball, Washington's Associate Director, Degree Authorization and Veterans Programs, for the Higher Education Coordinating Board points to legal loopholes that make his state a breeding ground for such tripe. As the article notes, "A school must have an actual building in the state to give the HEC Board jurisdiction, Ball said. State laws, written before the rapid advance of the Internet, don't consider if an online school's registrant lives in Washington."

His counterpart in Oregon says his state is different. Alan Contreras of the Oregon Office of Degree Authorization said, "In Washington, you can buy a degree for $500 in the morning and put it on your resume that same afternoon."

Friday, September 23, 2005

Volvo Revolves in London

Volvo has been sellling over 600 of its double-decker B7Tl buses a year in London since 2002. CEO of Volvo Bus Ltd. Mike Ball said the success in understandable.

"When the roads are congested, the double decker has one unbeatable advantage with its length of only 10.5 metres and a capacity for 85-90 passengers."

This has become even more important since the congestion inspired the city to charge high fees for driver. The effort is to get even more to take public transit.

Volvo Bus has also gotten orders for the model from Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Dublin and Sheffield, Mike added.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Freedom of Blog

The PATRIOT Act has not gone quite so far yet, but in some of the world, blogging, email and other Net activities can mean jail or worse. The French Reporters sans frontières (Reporters without borders) aims to keep blogging fun and safe.

The new Handbook for Bloggers and Cyberdissidents is online in PDF for free or for €10 on the RSF site. The English download is here. Languages are Arabic, Chinese, English, French and Persian.

There's plain good sense and procedures about how to blog. Of particular interest are chapters on:
  • How to blog anonymously
  • Technical ways to get around censorship
  • Ensuring your email is truly private

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

NIMBY in Maine

Less illustrious than some with our name, Mike Ball of South Thomaston, Maine, still acted civically when it came to the methadone clinic. Last December, Rockland in the midcoast held a city council meeting centered on whether to allow a clinic downtown. After testimony, including Mike's, they blocked it.

Interestingly enough, they changed the zoning law and redefined a methadone clinic as a sole source pharmacy. The effect will be to let it open up outside of town on Rte. 90, an industrial area.

When it was his turn, Mike said that as a recovering drug addict, he opposed it downtown.
He remembered that while using drugs he secured methadone illegally, and suggested other drug users would be drawn to the area if a clinic opened. "I'm saying there's going to be a lot of problems," he said.
His remarks were applauded.

Monday, September 19, 2005


According to the German computer game site, The Legacy, the nostalgic game museum, Mike Ball made his mark.

He was a programmer for both Mr. Blobby and for Defcon 5.

These were early games for the Amiga 500/600 (OCS/ECS), Mr. Blobby and for the IBM PC (DOS). The latter had bad reviews though.

Does anyone know where this Mike Ball is?

Friday, September 16, 2005

Pass-Along Career

Our umpiring Mike Ball modified the father-to-son sports tradition this season. His daughter became the first father-to-daughter WAFL umpire.

Kendell Ball is also only the second female to officiate league football in Australia.

According to the WAFL news story, she never consider it a problem.

“People have talked about it from the moment I started umpiring and I never saw it as an issue,” she said. “Obviously dad umpired a lot of footy and is still involved now, but I haven’t felt any pressure to do anything differently. He was a field umpire, I’m a goal umpire and I’ve just focused on doing my job well.”

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Singer Does G&S

I try not to cover the British singer with our name, but I just ran across today's New York Times review of him at the City Opera in New York. (The review should be free online for a week.)

The City Opera site bills him as "(m)usical theater superstar" and quotes the London Mail as calling him "the best musical theater tenor of his generation."

The Times reviewer, Bernard Holland, doesn't care much for the female lead. Of the two tenors, he write:
The City Opera is fortunate in its two competing suitors: Michael Ball as Bunthorne and Kevin Burdette as Grosvenor. Both sing beautifully, both are comic athletes, and both are capable of evoking real people out of egregious exaggeration...And so the evening goes. The costumes by Merrily Murray-Walsh have a psychedelic splendor that carries us cheerfully past any recognizable world. We keep thinking, "Too much, too much," and then Mr. Ball and Mr. Burdette appear and charm the pants off us.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Ball on Bouncing

As a report from Perth, Australia, so predictably put it, "(t)he appropriately named WAFL Umpire Coach Mike Ball gave our reporter Sinead Mangan a lesson...and he says 'bouncing the football is just a technique that some people have and some people don't have."

He's with the Western Australia Football League, rugby to us. The ruckmen (forwards) need to be able to maneuver when the umpire bounces the ball on the turf to start play.

To do this, Mike explained, the ball needs to go straight down, then straight up. "You don't have to bounce it too hard."

The technique is to take the ball in front of you with one hand on each end. Then, "(t)ake one or two steps up and as you go walking in, you lift it up above your bring it out, bring the ball back to head height, perpendicularly up, and then with one foot, bend over and bounce it down."

Sunday, September 11, 2005

9/11 Then and Now

I am old enough to know what duck and cover means. I also get a tight chest whenever I hear a fire-station alarm or anything that sounds like an air-raid warning. That's a real legacy of the Baby Boomers –– terrify your children to make them feel safe.

For those of us in Boston after September 11, 2001, another sound recalled those anxieties. Night after night, the only sounds from above were the guttural and threatening growls of fighter jets. While our part of town is far from Logan, the white noise of the occasional, high evening jet headed to fun and sun in Europe or elsewhere is part of the city. When it is replaced with the sounds of warships patrolling the skies, the September attacks are always flying with them.

Our town was where the uber-bad guys left to destroy the Twin Towers. They weren't interested in terrorizing Boston, just using it as their launching pad.

Right after that day of horror, I wrote We build `em, but they don't come (28K PDF). Editors seemed to think it wasn't funny and would never be funny. See if you agree.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Other Business in Wal-Mart Country

Michael Ball is president of the Conway Networking Advantage, the local chapter of the Business Network International in Arkansas.

The organization is a clearing house for business professionals in a wide variety of fields from accountants to women's fashions. As the organization's FAQ notes:
  1. WHAT is BNI?
    A business marketing program that allows one person from each profession to join a chapter. The sole purpose of the chapter is to increase business through a structured system of giving referrals.
  2. WHERE does BNI meet?
    There are several chapters throughout Arkansas. See the "Find a chapter near you" feature. Contact Us for information on more chapters that are in development!
  3. WHEN does BNI meet?
    Every week, so that members maintain contact and exchange regular referrals. Take a look at the different times the chapters meet in our Chapter directory.
This Michael heads Conway Mail Service.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Tug on the Memory 2

It didn't take long to locate my tugboat hero. An email to the Bar Harbor Historical Society brought the quick reply that it surely was Dr. George Ledyard Stebbins, Jr.

He was quite illustrious (one of the shorter CVs on the Net is here). I prefer to think of him as the charming character on his porch overlooking Seal Harbor rather than the eminent biologist and botanist.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Author, Author, Author, Author...

Quite a few of us with this name have published one or more books. We just discovered another Michael Ball author.

This one self-published his novel, The Brothers Seven, Outskirts Press, 328 pp.

It is available from the publisher or the usual suspects such as Amazon. It lists for $15. Outskirts also sells it as an ebook for $4.

The blurb includes:
Seven "‘brothers" decide to take on the crooked CEO'’s who are stealing from the American worker, shareholder, and communities and become popular Robin Hood figures in the eyes of the American people...There is greed, sex, violence, murder, stealing, heartbreak, mystery, technology, and finally retribution for the American people. The Brothers Seven throw fear into the hearts of every dishonest CEO in America. It is thrilling to know someone can finally stand up to these corporate fat cats...
This Michael was born in 1945, is a Nam vet ahas hs a management-sciences degree from Oakland University. He worked in the auto industry for 40 years. This is his first novel, after a career including white papers, speeches, newsletters and articles.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Quebec Engineering Honors

At Transport Canada, the engineer with our name received highest distinction as an engineer on April 14, 2000. The Order of Honor at the Companion Level went to Michael A. Ball, chief, research and policy coordination, safety and security for the agency.

The article
on his award described his professional activities. Then it added:
He has also demonstrated leadership in promoting engineering in a variety of community venues from local science fairs to national events. In 1992, he proposed and championed the first National Festival of Engineering, the predecessor of the current National Engineering Week.

It has been said that no amount of personal time seemed to be too much when it came to Michael's work to advance the profession of engineering.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Big Reef, Big Teeth

The skindiving overlord with our name has quite a Net presence. I'll pick a few citations for posts.

You can get a sense from his great-white-shark dives (in combo with Rodney Fox). Pix and descriptions here.

Not surprisingly, you get free wine, beer, or sodas when you decide to swim amongst the vicious fishes. However, they could use more comforting details; they claim a 100% last-season success rate photographing sharks between 10 and 17 feet. They also state "Expeditions led by Rodney Fox have had a 94% success rate over 30 years." I choose to assume that means that six of 100 folk do not see sharks and not something more nefarious.

Mike himself looks like a jolly enough guy (and is likely to have all his limbs). You can see him and click through to various dive summaries here.

Note: There was no copyright claim on the image.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Tug on the Memory

After a week Downeast, blogging renews.

We were above Acadia in Maine and now I am stuck with trying to recall the name of a fascinating fellow I met there nearly 40 years ago, one with a Ball family connection. If anyone knows of him, please relay the information.

A friend had spent the summer as nanny to a family in snooty Seal Harbor. Well, my fellow was not snooty, as I discovered when I drove from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to bring her back to town. She did not care much for most townspeople. Not only were they wealthy, but they had the New England arrogance of demanding deference.

However, she had run into and was befriended by a retired physician with many jokes and quirks. He was a genealogist and historian, but his most memorable trait had to do with his tugboat. He had built his own tiny steam tug, which he used to right sailboats of the clumsy rich kids after they (frequently) capsized them. It amused him greatly to be the savior of the spoiled boys and girls.

He invited us to his porch on the harbor for drinks and we had a jolly afternoon, just the pinkos and the old doc. Eventually, he asked my last name again. Hearing Ball, he asked where the family came to America and when. It turned out that one of his greatgrandmothers was also a Ball, descended from the same John Ball who landed in Virginia in the early 17th century.

He and I were both pleased to find out that we were direct cousins.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Worshipping Mike

I am understandably prejudiced for anyone named Michael Ball. However, for a real fan memoir head over to My Michael Ball Year.

This very pleasant Dutch fellow followed the singer about on and off during 1999. The site even has pictures with and without his idol.

As a bit of insight into a true fan's mind, you can see that even an initial non-meeting is cause for joy:
I saw that they were selling Michael Ball Merchandise so I bought every item.

The concert was just great. I am not going into detail, but for my first Michael Ball concert it was stunning. After the show we all waited for Michael to show up. Everyone came out the Stagedoor, (Tom Jones included), but there was no Michael. It started to rain and after 90 minutes only a few people were left to see Michael come out. I took some photos and after that I left for my hotel. I was very tired but I couldn’t sleep because my head was full of wonderful memories.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Black and White Ball

The Drama Store offers a series of zines and art on paper by Mike Ball.

The store is an online one, based in Richmond, Virginia. It represents many artists. Purchases take a PayPal account.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Marriage of Mikes

Like the proverbial complementary couple, Mike Ball and Mike D'Epagnier swap and share as brokers with Mutual Asset Advisors in Denver, Colorado. A 2001 Registered Rep article covers their interaction.

Mike Ball is the big-picture guy and his partner is the small-details one, they say. As the article puts it:
D'Epagnier says. "He wants to know what the completed picture - the finished product - is going to look like in five years."

"I don't want to be bothered by details," Ball says. "I learned early in this business that if you're not good at something, find someone who is."

D'Epagnier is good at details.

"If we were the movie, `Pirates of Silicon Valley,' I'd be Paul Allen and Mike [Ball] would be Steve Jobs," D'Epagnier says.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Holding Husker Record

They must have been prodigies. The 1983 North Platte, Nebraska, high school 400-meter relay team still holds the school record.

The team was:
  • Darin Hill
  • Mike Ball
  • Ty Johansen
  • Rob Zarkowski
The still-standing record is 43.1 seconds.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


Much to my surprise, there is a Mike Ball who rides to the hounds. In North Carolina, at Yadkin Valley Hounds, you can wear a red jacket without anyone snickering.

Mike must be pretty good. He and Sunni McKnight placed first in the recent (July 24th) Division 1 — Fast time rides.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Gen-Y Free Association

Emily quotes Mike Ball fairly extensively on her site. We learn a bit about her, but little about Mike other than his memorable comments, including:
  • "is that an umbrella?" pointing to chrissy's drink, "is that to keep the sun out?"
  • "oops! can't step on the ming rug. wait! we don't have one of those. those don't even exist do they? ming vase! we don't have one of those either."
  • "i want to suck on your leg" (i don't even know the context of this)
There's also a picture of much of Mike here.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Jag-ged Repairs

If you are in the U.K., you can turn to Mike Ball to restore your Jaguar or Austin Healey. His Beacon Garage is in Gringley on the Hill, Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

It's family up and down. His dad had the garage. Now Mike runs it with a daughter, son and six staff.

It started as just a petrol stop. Dad grew it into restoration and sales businesses. Mike's son gets dirty. His daughter runs the business office.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Brassy Meathead

I can't figure out why, but Donald Adamek has - among many other pages - info on the University of Michigan tuba players. One is Michael Ball, a.k.a. Meathead.

You can see him in uniform here.

He was a senior. So he can assume he's taken his mouthpiece elsewhere.

His hometown was Tecumseh, Michigan.

Monday, August 01, 2005

We're In Kansas, Toto

In Topeka, M.Ball Construction, Inc. has been building homes for the past decade. Check out Mike's credentials here.

He also does trim carpentry and makes furniture. As a former framing carpenter in the summers, I appreciate his being able to do the fine work as well as the heavy lifting.

Friday, July 29, 2005

25-Year-Old Not Washed Up

The U.K. soccer player with our name may have a few more kicks left. He is 25 and has been at the Scottish Premier League Rangers for three years without a championship cup.

As the article in the Glasgow Evening Times put it:
Since arriving at Ibrox just over three and a half years ago, he had been forced to look in from the outside as four Hampden final victories passed him by.

So, if ever there was a moment in the 25-year-old's career that he was going to enjoy to the full, it was yesterday as the Gers players gave boss Alex McLeish glory in this competition for the third time in four seasons.

Ball smiled: "It was great to earn my first medal at Rangers. Being a part of that yesterday was very special for me.

"There had been four finals I had missed out on because of my injury problems, and that was obviously tough.

"We won the Scottish Cup and the CIS Cup twice but I was just up there in the stand.

"You don't really feel a part of it when you are injured.
He has a good fan base.You can buy his poster here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


In East Sussex, U.K., Michael Ball will design your Website. He has a full range of services, through promotion.

His own minimalist site is Beyond the North Wind. It includes a page on the company name.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Australian Actors and Antiquities

In Australia, you don't have to be a mansion or battle site to be recognized as a monument. The National Trust of Australia recognizes and preserves the best of the nation, including humans.

It recently added 15 folk to its list of living treasures. The chairman of the committee that made it happen is Michael Ball.

The first such list of 100 Living Treasures appeared in 1997. Since then, 15 of them no longer fit the living requirement.

Our MB announced the replacement process last year. It prepared a slate of candidates and accepted fax, letter or email votes nationwide. MB noted the broad cross-section of society among candidates. There was a do-gooder priest Father Chris Riley, two wealthy citizens who devoted their lives to philanthropy, opera conductor Simone Young, human-rights campaigner Elizabeth Evatt, artist Peter Booth, and swimmer Ian Thorpe, among many others.

When the resulting list of 15 appeared, MB said,"Some of them I'd never heard of and obviously some are very famous, but no, some of the scientists and academics and those involved in social service, some of those were very unfamiliar to me and to others. So it proves the good sense of the Australian people."

Among the new treasures were:
  • 2003 Australian of the Year Professor Fiona Stanley
  • Refugee advocate Julian Burnside
  • Australian Breastfeeding Association founder Mary Paton
  • Actors Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman
  • Sportsmen Pat Rafter and Steve Waugh
You can see the whole list, old and new, here.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

RPG Confession

Role-playing game author Michael Ball provides his professional bio here for his games. You can download his main game with docs here.

This MB started with a basic Dungeons and Dragons set when he was in high school. He admits early blunders (elves get one spell, forever) and `fesses up that over 20 years later, his friends are those from way back in D&D and AD&D days.

Four years after starting, he was bored. He wanted a set with "modern combat rules for spy/espionage gaming." The short of it is that TGTA (The Guide to Adventure) was born from his efforts.

In tree game-geek fashion, the bio includes a detailed timeline.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Hot Foot Mike

Out of Smithfield, Virginia, home of hams and hotrods, Mike Ball is on the Charlie Daniels Racing Team.

Along with his pic (near the bottom), it describes him as:
Hometown: Newport News , VA
Team Responsibility: General Technician
Racing Experience:
Nascar Late Model Stock Car Team general mechanic 1990-1994.
Mike has been working at Charlie Daniels Racing since 2002.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Mike: Waiting for Dave

Prolonged liner notes as literature as Web-page band bio...catch it at Snow Blind Records on the Waiting for Dave? pages.

Mike Ball is the lead guitar for the Canadian band. The group is actually pretty good. You can listen to clips and read the lyrics from their Rock Show album.

You have to read the whole page to grok the process, but a flavor is:
Meanwhile, across town…

Mike Ball was playing Pong. Also from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Mike and his band, Cold Fusion recorded an album in Vancouver in 1992. The band toured in Western Canada, and like most bands with success just around the corner, they promptly broke up. While drinking tea at a local club, lamenting the break up of his band, Mike saw another local act with an awesome drummer. Needing a drummer for his next musical adventure, Mike thought, "Hey, we should get this guy!" The next night Mike came back and immediately asked the drummer to join up with him. The drummer: Arek. The band: Indecision. The story: A different kind of band than what Mike had seen the previous night. Good thing Arek could drum.
They may have morphed into another band this year. If I re-find this Mike, I'll post his whereabouts.

A capsule on a festival site includes:
Waiting For Dave is an Ottawa, Ontario, Canada four-piece rock band with lead singer Bart Marcoux, Kevin McParland on bass, drums by Arek Wojciechowski and guitarist Mike Ball. Think rock. Okay ... got it? That's about it. Rock. The band formed a few years ago. They like rock. It's a rock band. So they made the album.... ...ROCK SHOW. Recorded over a few very long and hot days in September 2003 in Ottawa in the Laundry Room Studio. It's a rock studio. The album was mixed and engineered by the drummer - that's why the drums are so loud! Waiting For Dave released their debut CD, ROCK SHOW, on November 20th, 2003. The album contains 10 songs. The first single is One Time (track 5). The album is released on the band's own record label, Snow Blind Records. It's a real record label - honest. The CD graphics, artwork, design and promotion are also done by the band. It's a rock album. The band is currently performing and touring.

Friday, July 15, 2005

The Few, The Sharp

Corporal Michael Ball is assigned to the Marine Corps Security Forces Battalion Shooting Team that won this year's Wirgman small Unite Rifle Team Trophy at the Eastern Division Matches help at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina in April. You can see a photo of some of his teammates and the trophy here.

For two days, nine four-man team competed individually. The final day was a series of teams matches.

To prepare:
The team trained for 19 days at Dam Neck, Va., prior to the matches. Members underwent instruction in marksmanship fundamentals, shooting positions, data book procedures, competition shooting and courses of fire, as well as match range procedures. They were also issued weapons and match equipment, and were given instruction in the proper use of each during competition firing. Finally, the team underwent live-fire training in preparation for the division match course of fire.
According to the team captain, Chief Warrant Officer 2 James B. Woodfin, "What is unique about this situation is that we had the most junior Marines in the matches, but they did not get intimidated by the competition."

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Hand on the Throttle

In England, Mike Ball writes a FAQ about being a train driver, what we call an engineer. On a site devoted to the Network Southeast lines, he and a couple of commenters kick around what you need to be and do.

He discusses initial tests, such as:

These tests include things such as looking at lines of dots on a page, and only checking those that have, say, patterns of four dots. You would have a whole A4 page, and the dots are small, and you only get a short time, so you are unlikely to reach the bottom of he page. The point is to work as quickly and accurately as possible.

In another test you are played, via headphones, a short story, and you then have to answer questions about it from memory.

Then there are the reaction tests. For example, a green light you push a white button, a red light you push a black button, a high buzz you use your left foot, a low buzz your right foot. The sounds start off slowly, and get faster and faster.

If you pass these tests, and the interviews, and medical, and you get the job, there are several months training to do, plus route learning, before you get to drive a train on your own.

For those of us who like trains, it's a nice peek. My maternal grandfather was a yard foreman for the B&O, who let me run a little coal-fired jitney around the tracks, from his lap. I got my first striped railroad cap at four.

With Mike's comments and those of others who have been through the process, you can get a good sense of what it takes in the U.K. and Ireland.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Mike Ball is a practitioner of BEAM robotics. As the site describes them:
BEAM is an acronym standing for Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics, Mechanics:

Biology -- It's tough to beat 4 billion years of evolution; the world around us is a wonderful source of inspiration and education. Bear in mind, of course, that unlike Mother Nature, you also have the advantage of gears, motors, bearings, and good glues!

Electronics -- It kind of goes without saying, but this is what we'll use to drive our creations. BEAM robotics, though, strives for rich behaviors from simple circuits. Here's the key: simple and understandable circuits, surprisingly complex in behavior.

Aesthetics -- This just means your creations should look good. I'm an engineer, but even I appreciate a good-looking design. Besides, if a design looks "clean," it's more likely to work (and easier to test / debug) than a design that's tangled and unruly.

Mechanics -- This is the less-than-obvious secret of many successful BEAMbots -- with a clever mechanical design, you can reduce the complexity of the rest of your robot (reducing the number of motors and sensors, for example).
Quite a few of his little mechanical devils are on display here. Check the November 2002, listings.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Red Bird Font Office

In St. Louis, Missouri, the Cardinals have a Mike Ball. In Stadium Operations of the Front Office, he has the title, Director of Quality Assurance and Guest Services.

I don't know all that entails, but an article on the baseball team's charitable works quotes him. The game-day employees have raised $21,500 for local causes over the past six seasons (for such as two children's hospitals and the American Cancer Society).

Mike said, "As you can see, not only do we have very dedicated employees who provide our fans with the best service in baseball, we also have some very generous people working as ushers and event attendants at the ballpark."

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Manly Fishermen

Field & Stream `fesses up that 51 years ago, their Mike Ball who ran their bass content was actually Mary Ball. The figured that even for fame and bucks, guys who wave their skinny poles above the water couldn't handle a woman running the show.

Check out this sordid vignette of the Big Bass Contest here.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Another Squamous Mike

Michael Ball seems to be a heretologist or at least a herpetophile. You can catch is pix of hypo-melanistic boas here.

Such snakes are apparently also called orange tails because of their blotchy coloring at some stages of development. The site explains their various coloring phases and breeding results.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Desirably Round Butts

According to Cameron Diaz "“Usually pockets are squared off and it makes your butt look like it's sagging and a little flat, the cut-out (on the pocket) gives you that little roundness, which is nice."

Michael Ball founded his Rock & Republic jeans company in Los Angeles. While working at another job, the 37-year-old designed jeans in his spare time. A pair he made for his honey got her lots of compliments. Then a chum bought 300 pairs to sell in Japan.

He names his pants after musicians. He came from a musical family, but the butt seems to be what he is about. "When I design, [my] drive is to make a woman's [behind] look even better. I want it to frame her," He told Entrepreneur magazine.

His $150 to $300 jeans are in high-end, if you pardon, department stores and boutiques. He says he an outsider, not a garmento. So he has to struggle to get international distribution.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Contact Mike Ball if you want to bring your family to Southeast France to say in an Alpine farmhouse.

The Web page for it starts:
Les Places is a traditional alpine farmhouse which was constructed in 1828 and extensively restored to a high standard in 1995.

The house is situated on the edge of the village of Bonnevaux in a quiet location served by a private road leading off the main village through road before it climbs up the Col de Corbier. Bonnevaux is situated just off the main Thonon (Lake Geneva) to Chatel road. It is 22 km from Thonon (30 minutes).

The house has extensive mountain views and a large front garden (fenced to gate and driveway) and large pasture at the rear of the house. There is ample off road parking.

The garden at the house is ideal for sunbathing and for children, barbeque equipment is provided in the cave.

The property can be entered from two levels via the front gate to the lower house or the side road to the upper apartment. Because the house is built on a hillside both entrances are on a road level.

The accommodation is spacious and flexible and can be rented in a range of combinations including two large self contained apartments.
He'll rent you the big apartment, the small one or both.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Two Wheels, Many Times

In British Columbia, Canada, serious cycling (300, 400 and 600 kilometers) is the norm at the BC Randonneurs Cycling Club. They describe their macho spinning here.

Michael Ball reveals the good, bad and terrible in his rookie trips. He did some, failed miserably elsewhere, and tells all in a long, chatty report. For example, the bitter end of his first attempt at a 400KM includes:
Then the heartburn started, saddle sores and numb feet. My paced slowed slightly, but I was still making good time. I arrived in Duncan at 7:30 pm. Just over 50 km's to go, but I was done, I'd hit the wall. I had been unable to eat anything since 2 pm. The previous 50 km I struggled to keep water down. My vision became blurry and I felt very unstable on my bike. I phoned my wife to pick me up. She encouraged me to rest and then continue, but I felt so sick, cold and tired. About an hour later I loaded my bike onto the van and we drove home. The next day I felt much better, with my stomach accepting food again. I was mad at myself for not being tougher and sticking it out. I now know what it is like to suffer. Next time I vowed that I would be mentally tougher.
Whether or not you're a jock in general or a cyclist specifically, it's a fascinating profile.

Friday, June 24, 2005

One Blind(s) Mike

Down in Rockledge, Florida, near Cocoa Beach, Mike Ball is a certified professional installer for Blinds of All Kinds.

His CV is:
Mike has already attended the Certified Installer seminar from Hunter Douglas in Miami and he also attended the Heritance shutter seminar in Tampa. He is a fast learner and totally committed to doing the job right. Mike has a great attitude, is well liked among his peers and his customers praise his installations. We are proud to have Mike on our installation team.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Drill Field Drill

Just because you're on the battlefield, you don't have to skip that tooth extraction. That was the message from Staff Sgt. Michael Ball at the Tipler Army Medical Center, Hawaii. He was a featured source for the article in the August 2000,Medical Minute newsletter.

The equipment is fairly different from that in a dentist's office, and there's less of it. Yet, during field exercises, the Army dentists (scary phrase to civilians) got to practice on the obedient soldiers.

Mike was operations NCO for the Pacific Regional Dental Command. The patients probably didn't need to know that, as he said, "Some of our assistants have never seen this equipment before. It’s important that they be able to work with it because they may end up going to division next.”

The field equipment is lighter and made for mobility. Mike said it didn't take much time for his staff to get the hang of it. “Everything you do (in the clinic), you can do out here and vice versa."

The newsletter reported that to make sure there were enough "emergencies":
With the field site just feet from the clinic, patients regularly scheduled for treatment were escorted out to the treatment tent for their appointments. During the exercise, the dentists and their assistants performed numerous treatments in the field environment including tooth extractions, fillings and routine examinations.

“This shows (the patients) that they would get the same treatment out in the field as in the clinic,” Ball said.
That could be interpreted several ways. I trust the joke that military justice is to justice as military music is to music doesn't carry over to his field.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Genologics Update

Late last year, we cited President Michael Ball at Genologics Inc. in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. He is still shy. His company is thriving, but the press material on it makes scant mention of him and there is no image or profile of him to be found. From time to time there is a quote from him.

Meanwhile though:
  • In March, the company introduced its ProteusLIMS™ Version 2.0 into Europe. This was at the big pharmaceutical show (InfoTech Pharma/Pharma Solutions Expo) in London.
  • Last month, Genologics and the Institute for Systems Biology formed a strategic partnership for open-source software tools distribution to the life-sciences community.
Does anyone have a pic of this Michael?

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Same or Different?

Is there a guitar gene for Michael Ball? Either from some other band already cited or a new one plays for Ambassador Now!.

You can check out the band members, with their seriously AV club look, here.

They are D.C. based, started in 2002, may still be playing (or not), and you can grab three loud, fast tunes from their site.

By the bye, I have no idea which one of the five is our guy.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Pipe News

Down in D.C., the Plastics Pipe Institute, Inc. (PPI) lists Michael Ball as the editor of its The Insider. That's the newsletter of the Municipal & Industrial Division of the PPI.

You an see a sample here. Note that this is a PDF file and you need an Adobe Acrobat compatible reader to view or print it.

This particular issue leads with the headline "HDPE Pipe Reviews Drought Crisis in Texas: Town Receives State Aid for Water Pipeline."

Monday, June 13, 2005

Political Ignominy

One once noted Michael Ball has literally disappeared off the face of the earth. According to the Political Graveyard site, this one was from Manhattan, New York. He was a noted Republican. Among his credentials was being alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention from New York, 1908, 1916, 1924.

Unlike many politicians of the era, his circumstances of demise and burial location remain unknown.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Wire Bending Mike

Craftsman specializing in variety of media, this British Michael Ball started on jewelry. On his site, you can find basic bio info:
Date of Birth: 20 Nov 1967

Michael is a crafts designer living and working in East Sussex, England. He set up his first business as a self-employed craftsman in 1989 making simple cast and constructed silver jewellery. Since then he has produced work in a range of media including carved wooden designs, painted glass window hangings, and traditional wooden hand tools. At present Michael designs craft projects for magazines in Britain and the US, and produces websites for clients in the South of England.
He also runs a crafts-idea and project site here.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Alabama Tech Zones?

In Madison, Alabama, the planning commission hopes to establish the first technology zones in the state. Rep. Mike Ball is helping the Technology Ad Hoc Committee make this happen. The zones would foster business growth and innovation.

The committee includes:
  • Tracy Lamm of the Planning and Zoning Commission
  • Mayor Jan Wells
  • Councilman Marc Jacobson and representatives of the Community Development Department, Information Technology, Madison Water and Wastewater Board
  • City Attorney Anne Marie Lacy
  • Richard Knox and Don Palmer of the Industrial Development Board

Lamm said
, "Other members of this committee will be added as needed. These efforts are being coordinated with Sen. Tom Butler and Representatives Ray Garner and Mike Ball. Our initial research has resulted in finding no other city in Alabama with a designated technology zone."

Monday, June 06, 2005

Risible Surnames

There is a masochist's pride in a funny last name, specifically Ball. Several other with our name have noted in emails that they too belong to the club. It may be like a dueling scar having had to suffer thousands of jibes.

I confess I have only a little sympathy with the Shoemaker or Fuchs who decry what they endured. It is small beer to have a name with such a limited set of puns and insults.

A linguist told me that Ball is likely the worst in the English language. The humor set includes:
  • any sport with a ball
  • coitus
  • dances
  • clichés, such as on the ball, have a ball, and behind the eight ball
  • testicles
  • hair balls
  • sour balls
  • wrecking balls
  • tea balls
  • and even bullets.
Ball is a noun and a verb in far too many formats and contexts.

I honestly had a slim hope that my linguist chum knew or could think of another funnier name. Not yet.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Risky Mike

In Cardiff, Wales, Mike Ball is the manager of the Corporate & Major Incident section of CMIT, a wholly owned subsidiary of Crawford & Company.

The firm defines itself as, "...the world's largest independent provider of diversified services to insurance companies, self-insured corporations, and governmental entities. Among the many services provided are claims management, loss adjustment, healthcare management, risk management services, class action administration, and risk information services."

Friday, June 03, 2005

Have a Hive

In Cherokee country, Georgia, Mike Ball has been vice president or secretary of the Cherokee Beekeepers for several years. See him here (second from left).

The next meeting will be Thursday, June 16th at 7:00 PM in the Jury Assembly Room of the Cherokee County Justice Center in Canton. Bill Posy will demonstrate removing, extracting and handling honey.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Another Mike Ball Star

This Mike Ball apparently knows not only his stars, but his scopes. At the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club Star Gaze 2003, he brought his handmade Dobsonian telescope.

He also demonstrated how to make one.

The topic was new to me. There are many Net sites with the how-to, including this one.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Bowling Mike Ball

From the July 31rd, 2003, Mahoning Valley (Ohio) Tribute Chronicle Ohio comes a nice tale of a Mike Ball with determination. The story is no longer available, except is cached form. The whole article follows.

Let's cheer this one.

Teenage bowler hopes to go pro

By BURTON COLE Tribune Chronicle

NILES - Aspiring pro bowler Mike Ball approached the lane in well-practiced paces. The 16-year-old rolled to a stop just in front of the left gutter, chipped-paint forest green wheelchair angled a touch to the right, and snapped the brakes in place.

Never taking intent eyes off the 10 wooden pins standing in a triangle 60 feet away, Mike plucked from his lap a 14-pound ball swirled in blue and gold. With an arcing swing barely clearing the right tire of wheelchair, he launched the ball down the third arrow on the lane.

The bowling ball slid dangerously close to the right gutter. It hung on precariously, stubbornly. When it seemed impossibly too late, the ball took a sharp hook to the left, slicing right between the 1 and 3 pins with the satisfying clatter of hard rock maple wood tumbling over wood.


Longtime bowling league teammate Ben Teets, 16, of Girard, said he once perched in a regular chair with a bowling ball to get the feel of throwing from a stationary, seated position. It raised his appreciation for Mike's ability. "I wouldn't be able to do as good as he can,'' Ben said.

Mike was born with spina bifida, a neural tube defect of the spinal column. He walked with leg braces and canes early on. The canes doubled as extension rods for smacking things that were supposed to be out of his reach.

Mike started using a chair when he was in kindergarten. Shortly after, he began a quest for sports he could do the "real'' way while seated. His competitive fires weren't satisfied with adaptive leagues and "everybody wins'' rules or special equipment. He found it eight years ago during a birthday party at a bowling alley.

"One of the parents asked if I wanted to try it. I did," Mike said. "I thought I could do it.''
He stunk. He knew he could do better. Wanted to do better. "I think I found my sport," he said.

Mike kept going back to the lanes and caught the attention of bowling coach Lou Laneve.
"He was real determined," Laneve said. "I have mechanical knowledge (of throwing a bowling ball). I knew he could do it out of the chair."

The biggest problem was learning to counterbalance himself. Leaning over with a weight in one's hand has a tendency to topple a chair. Mike said he never tipped over his chair, "but I came close!"

Now he bowls in league games Mondays and Saturdays at Niles McKinley Lanes, and is a freshman on the high school bowling team. His average is up to 95. Earlier this month, he rolled his high game so far, a 221.

Niles McKinley bowling coach Jim Kennedy said, "If I could only have all the other kids pay as much attention as he does, I would have no problems on this team."

Mike knows he needs to keep working, keep improving to reach his ultimate goal of turning pro sometime after his 18th birthday. "That's always been my goal, to be a pro bowler,'' Mike said.

Pro would be wonderful, but mom Lisa Bell couldn't be prouder of her son now. "This is one thing we found that he can do with everybody else and we don't have to make too much adaptation," Ball said. "That's been our main thing is to get everybody to see beyond the wheelchair."

Mike sees beyond the wheelchair - 60 feet beyond, where 10 hard rock maple pins sit in a triangle, a tantalizing target for the swirl of his blue and gold ball.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Heavy Metal Mike

I confess that I haven't coughed up $10 for a heavy-metal music video. If you are interested, you can get one from Mike Ball, a.k.a. Iron Mike.

For example, on concert video #10, you get footage and likely powerful sound of:
  • Snot -Stupid
  • Korn - Clown
  • Nin - Wish - Perfect Drug
  • Fear Factory - Resurrection
  • Megadeth - Almost Honest
  • Anthrax - Inside Out
  • Unsane - Sick
  • Second Coming - Soft
  • Iron Maiden - The Trooper
  • Bruce Dickinson - The Tower
  • Drain STH - I Don't Mind
  • Metallica - One
In his About me section, we learn that 39-year-old Iron Mike describes himself as:
Workin my ass off all the time and having fun on the weekends. Playing pool and drinking Capt. Morgans at the Osprey. I'm a single father with a career and a house. I like sharing music and entertaining people. I like a crowd and being part of a group. When I make someone's day that really makes me happy. Of course besides that I like a live thrashing band and watching the pit.

Concours Competitor

In Essex, England, Mike Ball was the Masters Winner of the Sunbeam Alpine Owners Club National Concours Comptition 2004. It's coming up on time for this year's go.

Basically, the contest rewards the best looking, best maintained, best decked out little Alpine sports cars. In Mike's case, it is a nifty red number.

The event was held at the Leatherhead Leisure Centre, August 6th through 8th.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Another SCUBA Mike

Working for a company out of Cheney, Washington, Mike Ball is a sale type, but also a skin diver. He seems to be no relation to the famous diving dude.

This Mike is Eastern U.S. account manager for AutoPatch, a division of XN Technologies Inc., which makes networking hardware and systems. Mike's territory is Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey (except for the 609 area code), New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

His profile include:
After completing his Air Force career where he was responsible for computer maintenance and training at several sights including missile silos, Michael and his family sought out a place to settle down. They found the Northwest, and AutoPatch found Michael. He first brought his abundant technical knowledge into AutoPatch's Support Division in 1997, but soon moved into sales where he continues to help his customers with everything from system design to troubleshooting. During his travels around the world Michael fell in love with diving. Exotic Australia, Italy, Guam, Tyland and California are just a few places on his diving resume. When asked what his favorite dive spot is Michael responds: “anyplace very warm with clear water”.
We have to wonder whether the U.S. Mike Ball met Mike Ball in Australia.

Monday, May 23, 2005

A Mike Upcountry

I ran across a photo of a Mike Ball from the Viet Nam War era. The image shows Mike with 11 days left on his tour.

The remarkable John Olson took the snap. You can see more of his work published in Stars & Stripes here.

Does anyone know 1) whether this Mike Ball made it home safely and 2) what happened to this him?

There'’s RealVideo and RealAudio of the photographer discussing his work during this period here. Of course, you need the utilities to see or listen.

This stuff has been on my mind recently and it is ironic that it appeared in a search now. I have been watching the DVD series of Band of Brothers. A former boss, Les Hashey, was one of the WWII 101st Screaming Eagles. He appears on the DVDs as a character and as himself in the interviews with the men from the story.

Les was a great guy, a tremendous amount of fun. He was the water-safety coordinator for the Red Cross for Southern New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania, and a friend of the family because my mother ran Red Cross chapters and taught swimming. In fact, my sister and I were also water-safety instructors.

I worked for Les for two summers when he ran the Candlewood Swim and Field Club in Lakewood, New Jersey. After the war, he was one of the top Army divers, doubly interesting because he had a polio-shriveled leg, which he didn't let bother him.

Friday evening's at Candlewood was when the adult members gathered for cookouts in the club, really an excuse to drink together. Les would wait until it was dark and the seated folk were pretty sloshed. I poured kerosene into the diving-tank end of the z-shaped pool. Les would climb up the five-meter tower. On his signal, I'd light the surface of the pool and he'd do a full twisting three and one half into the flames.

It wasn't exactly Jesus at Capernaum walking on the sea. Yet, to a bunch of drunks, it made the evening.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Great Grappler

For full-disclosure, I note that I spent one season on the wrestling team at Plainfield (New Jersey) High school. I lettered but was only so-so.

In a defining coincidence, the wrestling room shared a wall with the swimming pool, a wall with windows. I decided I'd rather do the latter than roll around in various folks' sweat. I was a better swimmer in high school and college than I was a wrestler.

All that written, one of us was hot stuff 19 years ago. The 1986 West Virginia AAA High School Wrestling Champions were:


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Paint the Town

For Oregon and Washington states, the business manager of the AFL-CIO/CLC's International Union of Painters and Allied trades is Mike Ball. That is District Council No. 5.

Killa Killola

If you can believe the band's site, "Los Angeles’ newest and most buzz-worthy rock band, Killola, was born in 2003 when a circle of friends came together and decided to create something special. Since that time, this group of talented youngsters has developed into what is the most appealing, attractive and talented original act to hit L.A. stages in some time."

Mike Ball is lead guitar and vocal.

The site describes their music as, "built from a solid mixture of core ingredients that blend into a just-right cocktail of energetic rock and great entertainment. Rieffel’s dramatic and captivating vocal style mix sensationally well with her explosive energy and onstage sass. The highly co-operative guitar work of Mike Ball and Timm Sharp lend tasty, catchy guitar licks and solos. Dunn’s stylish, pounding basslines add flesh to the backbone of Grody’s intensely technical and stomping rhythms. The music involves deep and emotional vocal content layered on a musical canvas of ear-catching choruses, wide vocal ranges, and variations of intensity, pace, and dynamics. The Killola engine is fueled by it's own creative fire, as well as the influences of many different styles and genres of music, from Queen to Ween, Zeppelin to Fugazi, Brian Eno to Debbie Harry, E.L.O. to Sparks, and so much more."

Mike is on the left.

Hear their music here. Hear them live Wednesdays in June at the Cat Club.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Right Radio in Rochester

Up in Rochester, the one in New Hampshire, Mike Ball is on the morning news on the Clear Channel Communications station. He's on WGIN, 930 on the AM dial, weekdays from 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. with Maureen Eagan.

You can get a flavor of WGIN from the rest of the day's schedule:
  • 9a.m. - noon, Glen Beck
  • Noon - 3 p.m., Rush Limbaugh
  • 3 p.m. - 6 p.m. Laura Schlessinger
`Nuff said.

Back to Mike, he used to co-host on another of the chain's New Hampshire stations. His profile for that one include:

Mike got an early start in broadcasting when, at the tender age of 9, he impersonated sportscaster Howard Cosell in an interview with a house full of kids. Sadly, the rest of Mike’s career has been a slow but steady decline from this pinnacle of broadcasting excellence. Even more troubling, tapes still exist of this interview. Born and raised in Orlando, Mike spent childhood summer vacations perfecting his accent with his cousins in Thomasville, Georgia. Mike graduated from William R. Boone High School in Orlando in 1984 and enrolled at the University of Florida to pursue a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After a couple of semesters, Mike and his high school sweetheart, Janine (A.K.A. She Who Must Be Obeyed), were married. First daughter Ashley was born in December of 1987. The arrival of the little bundle of joy caused Mike to switch majors to his other passion, History, in an effort to get on with his career and actually make some cash. After graduation in 1991, Mike got back into the family construction business, working first as a laborer and then as a project manager for his dad’s company. Mike stayed in the construction industry, accepting a project manager’s job in 1994 in Columbus, Ohio. The Ball family (now with new members Stephen, born in 1990, and Allyson, born in 1992) moved to New Hampshire in 1998 due to Janine’s career relocation for a major retailer. Mike continued in the construction industry for another year before hearing the siren call of broadcasting once again (O.K., in reality, Mike was listening to the Dan Pierce Show while on a construction site when he heard an ad for a board operator position - so maybe “siren call” is a bit over the top). Mike started out as the overnight board op on what was then “New Hampshire’s Action News Network”. In a classic case of being in the right place at the right time, Mike was promoted to weekend news producer and sportscaster when the previous producer left to join the U.S. Army. Shortly thereafter, Mike was promoted to producer of The Woody Woodland Show when the morning show producer retired after 20 years on the job. Mike was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be the “fill in” host whenever Woody was away and this led to the creation of The Big Show with Mike Ball which airs Saturdays from 6 – 9 AM. A major reshuffling of the morning news lineup gave Mike another opportunity. This time as Sports Director and co-producer of New Hampshire’s 1st News with Marga Lynn and Dan Pierce. Mike gained valuable experience working with these 2 news veterans and upon the next reshuffling, Mike took over as co-host of the morning drive program with Maureen “Moe” Egan on November 5, 2001. Mike and Moe then transformed New Hampshire’s 1st News into “Mike and Moe In The Morning”.

And now....The Big Show with Mike Ball will become the all new Weekday Morning Show as well!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Florida Phrase-Master

Down near Clearwater, Florida, Mike Ball was tending his bar when he U.S. 19 got loud. The WTSP news link may still be live.

He saw the fatal car accident. A GMC truck and Silverado collided, and the latter flew into a van. As Mike put it, "The cars went bam, bam, bam as they hit each other. It was scary, like something out of the movies."

Two dead and five to hospitals.

Our namesake owns the bar across the highway from the scene. There are several bars listed. I may never know which is Mike's.

Friday, May 13, 2005

One Way Band

Alas, another disappearing Mike Ball seems to have run afoul of the religious sorts. He was bass guitarist for teen Christian rockers The One Way Band.

While his picture recently vanished from their site, you can hear a cut with him here. His profile info is still floating around the site. To wit:
I've been involved in music since a young age. I started playing the bass nine years ago primarily with my family. I started playing on my church's youth band when I was 13 and continued to play at my church until I came up to school. I've played in a lot of other bands but I've always had great joy in glorifying God through the gift of music. Currently I'm attending Grace Fellowship church and a leader in Inter Varsity's work on my campus.
There is a detailed rap on site about the whole band, but hey, if Mike is gone, why bother? He must be in a higher place, eh?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Many-Fingered Midwesterner

Turns out that our columnist and waterskier Mike Ball has a whole other business life. He is head of The Advertising Group (TAG), from his home base of Whitmore Lake, Michigan.

It is a network of hotshots who coalesce as needed to create marketing, advertising and public relations campaigns. Clients vary in size, all the way up to such as Alka-Seltzer.

You can check out the work here and see this Mike yet again in a new context here.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Mike's Ingredients

More musical Mikes...ths one in a pun-heavy band, What's Cookin. They have the nerve to call themselves seasoned musicians. They are Doug Atherton, Steve Johnson and Mike Ball.
t a s t y

Doug's voice is expressive, warm, and engaging. The guitars -one acoustic, one electric- create the perfect balance of mellow tones and punchy accents. And Mike's tasty chops on congas chimes and shakers provide a rock solid foundation, without the crashing cymbals and pounding bass that can distress the digestion of the dinner patrons.

s e a s o n e d p r o f e s s o n a l s

Doug's band Harvest was a staple around Northwest nightclub scene for years, as was Steve's old group Nightingale. And Mike's been sweetening up latin jazz sounds of bands like Abraxas since James Taylor had hair.
You can get samples in MP3 here, and see Mike (in the middle) here.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Stick Figure

The big guy with the big stick -- La Crosse -- is Mike Ball in Massachusetts. You can see him and an indoor Topgun field here.

To commemorate his his MVP award in the league, they report:
This award need really needs no description - it describes the best player we have at any level in either of our two locations. In short, this award represents the best of our 3000+ participants throughout this past fall and winter. By all accounts, Mike Ball has been the most explosive and exciting player in our leagues for two years running. At this points, it's almost not fitting to compare him with other players in the league - for he is indeed playing division one level lacrosse in the high school setting.

Good thing Mike's just about done with our league's, as I've just about run out of things to say about him. In fact, after this write-up, Mike Ball commendation will officially no longer be my concern. But word of warning to Penn State, better get your pens and/or keypads ready, 'cause Mike Ball's gonna get a lot of press while wearing the blue and white.

Great run, Mike. You'll be missed.
Mike Ball
New Milton (Lawrence Academy)
Acton High School Silver Division

Friday, May 06, 2005

Aging Ungracefully But In Good Spirits

Mike and Doreen Ball are members of the Avon Wings (UK) motorcycle club in England.

This seems from the Website to be a group of gray-haired, beer-bellied, thong-wearing, sometimes mooning bikers who have a great time.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Construction Maven

In Santa Cruz, California, the project manager for Bogard Construction Inc. is Mike Ball. He was assistant accounting manager and project engineer first. He must have a good record there.

He manages the Long's Drug Store remodelling projects in multiple cities including
  • Santa Cruz
  • Aptos
  • Campbell
  • San Bruno and
  • San Mateo
Bogard and Long's have a 40-year history.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Ghastly Portland

In Oregon, a collector and teller of ghost sightings and related spooky events is, of course, H. Michael Ball. There is a link to his ethereal histories and those of others here. His main page has numerous links to ghost reports, each by location and each with a picture, so you'll know when you're close, too close.

For example, one is the Money Tree:
Ed Black was a loud mouth. He would stand up to anyone and speak his mind. It seems he was that way all his life. His mother said he would never live to see fifty. He lived to see his fiftieth birthday and celebrated with the few friends he had. They passed their bottles around and Ed kept boasting about how his mother was wrong. She was not too far off the mark..... Ed was still the wise aching loud mouth that he had always been and one day, shortly after his birthday celebration, he said the wrong thing to the wrong person. He was found dead in his van at the corner of N. Kerby and N. Alberta with a bullet through his head.

Ed had been living in that old van for as long as anyone in the neighborhood could remember. He didn't want his valuables stolen and had confided to a few people that he kept his money, jewelry and stash under or near the rocks by the big dead tree. He would sneak over to his money tree late at night to get what he needed or add to his treasure.

The 'Old Dead Money Tree' lot has been fenced. Some of the rocks are out of reach but many are right by the side walk. This is a pic of the rocks. Neighbors have never seen anyone digging for the treasure.... whatever Ed had buried at the site is probably still there.

It is said that in the early morning hours after it rains you can see Ed standing by the rocks at the money tree. Everybody has a home.... this is Ed's.
There's some fun reading there. The fact that he gives you the street addresses doubles the pleasure.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Rapping the Raptors

An online commentator for the NBA's Toronto Raptors, Michael Ball is a pretty colorful sports writer. One recent column starts:
As I head into the home stretch of my third season writing from the headquarters on the banks of Lake Ontario, sometimes I think my head’s going to explode.

Two seasons of watching a star player mope, deflect blame and quit on teammates was tough, but what’s going on lately is bordering on insanity.
Read the rest here and check archives here.

His mini-bio by his byline read:
Mike Ball is in his third season with and he knows what's going down on the court and in the locker room. You can read Mike after most home games, throughout the week, and as a monthly raptors.commentator.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

No Tat That

I missed my window. I found a Michael Ball, general manager of an Arkansas tattoo parlor, awaiting his formal licensing.

In the next few days, his face and sample tats disappeared from the Goodfellows Website, Little Rock. I'm guessing he left to start his own body modification joint.

If I run across him again, I'll post a new one for him. Meanwhile, the suddenly out-of-date info is:
Michael Ball is the General Manger of Goodfellows Tattoos. He is formally serving his apprenticeship before he is State Licensed due to the Arkansas Regulations. Michael has always had an interest in art. Michael joined the Goodfellows Crew in August 2004. Below are a few of his pieces, there will be more added soon.

You can find the shop at:
701 Collins Suite B
Little Rock, Arkansas