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 Meanwhile, the suddenly out-of-date info is: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

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Ball on the Boards: Followup

Another Canadian actor, Bill Talbot, has great praise for fellow thespian Michael Ball. In his blog he includes:
Saturday, September 04, 2004

I went into the Crew room at the theatre, it use to be the green room before the renovations, to post a notice about a draw for G-Mail invites I am holding. Michael Ball one of our senior members of the Acting Ensemble was sitting on one of the sofas by the door. It was lunch time and the room was almost empty. He and I have both been working at the Shaw for over 25 seasons, we know and like each other well. I walk in the door.

Oh Hello Michael, How are you?
”Good Thanks I hope you don’t mind… “
Mind What?
”Me being in here”
Good God, Of course not, your perfectly welcome in here it was not us (the crew) who put that new Crew Room sign on the door.
”Thanks, I have a fitting and the new green room is just to far to walk to, and back.”
Yeah It is isn’t it….

He is right if he had come in the Stage Door walked down to the green room and, back upstairs to wardrobe he would have literally walked 2 full city blocks inside the buildings. However what struck me most was that this man who is part of Canadian theatre royalty felt it necessary to apologise and make excuses to a stage hand, for being in the crew room. It is a sad sorry state of affairs when 2 people who have known and worked together for 25 years, apologise and feel uncomfortable for been in the same room together.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Ball on the Boards

North of the border, in Canada, Michael Ball is quite the famous actor. Online, the Encyclopedia of Canadian Theatre, runs a bio and a photo.

Parts of his CV include:
Sturdy, reliable actor born in 1943 and enjoying a wide and varied career in theatre and television. He has played several leads at the country's most important theatres including Crichton in The Admirable Crichton, Cauchon in Saint Joan, Pickering in Pygmalion, and Schon in Lulu all at the Shaw Festival (where he is a favourite), Brutus in Julius Caesar at Vancouver Playhouse and Petruchio in Taming if the Shrew at Manitoba Theatre Centre....He is a generous actor, well-liked by colleagues, critics and audiences.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Mike Takes the Initiative

Representative Mike Ball (10th District) in Alabama had a piece in the Birmingham News last Christmas Eve on voter initiatives. He'’s for `em.

His whole commentary on permitting voters to generate ballot questions is available here. He was inspired by Roosevelt -- Theodore, not Franklin.

He concludes:
Whether candidates will admit it or not, debate during a campaign for political office revolves around personalities and general political party philosophy; however, when an initiative is on the ballot, debate revolves around issues. An open, reasonable initiative process does not undermine the ability of the legislature to represent the people, but it empowers the legislative process by encouraging the discussion and debate of meaningful issues. By trusting the people of Alabama with access to the initiative process, the legislature would be moving a long way toward gaining the credibility needed to effectively address the problems facing our state.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Our Man in Birmingham

Mike Ball, the Alabama State Representative, District 10, knows how to pick his fights. The state director of American Atheists, Robert Blair Scott, tried to get Mike to vote his organization’s way on two issues – opposing permitting the posting of the ten commandments in every state building and school, and opposing letting teachers include creationism in science classes. His letters sent to Mike last year are on the Alabama Atheist site.

Those positions would be perfectly acceptable here in Yankeeland. However, that Mike responded to this Mike that he didn’t answer the letters. There’s a reason they call his area the Bible Belt, he added.

On the other hand, his voter-initiative effort is pending. A post on that follows.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Auto Showoff

I confess that I stopped any serious car rework when I was a teen. I ran across another of us who still takes his customization work seriously.

In Eleanor, West Virginia, (a little northwest of Charleston), Mike has a lot of images of his 2000 Honda Civic hatchback.

Monday, April 18, 2005

A Rock Michael Ball

Sparky, as this Michael Ball calls himself, is a founder and lead guitarist of Boss Tweeter.

According to the band profile, the name is because “"(t)he other names we thought of were taken.”"

They have a Website with links to numerous sites that have their MP3s for free (some require registration). To me, the music is guitar heavy, with pretty good singing and emphasis on volume.

You can see lots of Mike on their site on his page.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Money Mikes

We seem to have a faint pattern here, with several of us being financial planners. Previous citations are here and here.

We can check back to discover when the Ball Financial Group Website in Royal Oak, Michigan, activates. It claims to be in the works.

Meanwhile, it offers this:
At Ball Financial Group we realize that financial planning is a process not a product. It is a process that involves discovering your goals and developing a plan to meet those goals.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Nice on Ice

Perhaps living in the desert makes one appreciate ice. In Phoenix, Arizona, Michael and Cecilia Ball proclaim that they are: "Arctic and Antarctic Specialists...Stamps, Postal History, Expeditions, Town Cancels, Local Posts, Cinderellas, Coins, Postcards, Ephemera, Books & More from the Polar & Sub-Polar Regions."

Their Webstite doesn't have a catalog up yet. It reads like a mom-and-pop restaurant. Send a list of what you want and they'll see what they can do.

They look like nice folk.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Open Mic Mike

In Red Bank, New Jersey, on the shore, a poet Mike Ball performed at the Internet Cafe. It was open mic night, Sunday, September 12, 1999. at 7 p.m.

His photo is here. Does anyone know whether he's still writing, published, performing?

Monday, April 11, 2005

Former Folkies

In Syndey, Australia, Derrick Chetwyn's site speaks of that Mike Ball musician in the local folk scene in the 1960s.
The club to which I developed a great affinity was the Sydney Folksong Club, which was, at that time, run by Mike and Carol Wilkinson, Mike Ball and Colin Dryden, all of whom became great influences on my development as a singer of traditional folk music. On Mike Ball's departure back to the Old Dart, (England) I was very flattered to be invited to join the remaining crew as a resident singer at the club! Over the next few years I started playing a banjo-mandolin to accompany the other guys singing and not a few people were sucked in by the F-holes I had drawn on the skin!
Having never heard that slang for England, I looked and found on a local radio station's site:
The “Old Dart” means “the old country”, that is Great Britain (especially England). This is a piece of Australian slang that can quite confuse visitors who come from the Old Dart, and have never heard it before. The earliest citation is from 1908 (from a book called “Quinton’s Rouseabout”). As to where it comes from the Oxford English Dictionary says only “origin uncertain” – so a bit of detective work is called for here. There is an earlier Australian slang word “dart” which could mean “a plan, an aim, a scheme” but which could also mean “a favourite or fancy”. This slang term “dart” appears to have died out before the Second World War. It’s first recorded in a book called “The Sydney Slang Dictionary” published in 1883, which says that a “dart” is “an object of attraction, or an enticing thing or event, or a set purpose”. Rolf Boldrewood used the word in that sense in his classic novel “Robbery Under Arms”. But we can, I think, go back one step further, because during the gold rushes “dart” was used to mean, “a scheme or dodge” or “a favoured location or object” or “a course of action”. A book about the gold diggings published in Victoria in 1859 says that “dart” was used by diggers as “the designation of stuff worth washing, as contradistinguished from that considered worthless”. In other words “dart” was “pay dirt” – a mixture of soil and rock from the diggings that was worth washing for its gold content. And from this the lexicographers suggest that “dart” is a corruption (or regional pronunciation) of “dirt”. And that looks like the story: the Old Dart meant “the Old Dirt” meaning “the Old Pay Dirt” – the good stuff, something desirable as a goal.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Head Boy and Beyond

At Preston College International, Lancashire, England, Michael James Ball aims for a career in pharmacy.

He says he was Head Boy at his previous school, and describes himself as "honest, determined, helpful, motivated and kind." But aren't those epithets for all with our name?

Friday, April 08, 2005

Orienteering Deadline!

Tomorrow, April 9th, the orienteering event at King's Gap will be led by Marilee and Mike Ball. All compass heads in South central Pennsylvania need to contact the Susquehanna Valley Orienteering Club (SVO) immediately. The couple are the meet directors.

That will be at the King's Gap Environment Education and Training Center. The center's entrance is on Pine Road, one mile east of the Huntsdale Fish Hatchery. From Interstate 81, take Exit 37. At the exit, travel south on Route 233 about 2.5 miles. Turn left onto Pine Road and continue 2.5 miles. The entrance to the center is on the right.

Mike are Marilee jointly fill the club's treasurer and membership roles. I can't find Mike'’s résumé, but Marilee'’s credentials and avocations are impressive.

Other scheduled SVO events this year are:
  • Saturday, April 23 -- Lancaster County Central Park
  • Sunday, May 15 -- Mont Alto
  • Saturday, October 29 -- King's Gap Educational program and beginners' instruction at 11 a.m., followed by W.Y.O permanent courses

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Steam Concertina

I can't quite grasp the concept of steam concertina, unless it is a metaphor. Nonetheless, in Australia in the 1960, Mike Ball was billed as "the last of the steam concertina players."

He appears on an album, FOLKSINGERS OF AUSTRALIA SERIES, VOLUME TWO, whose players are:
  • SHAYNA KARLIN - from Brisbane "A Brisbane Lady"
  • GORDON McINTYRE - from Glasgow "Highly thought-of Scottish Round Singer"
  • DANNY SPOONER - from London "Singer and teller of Naughtical Yarns"
  • MIKE BALL - from Bath "The last of the steam-concertina players"
He was originally from Bath, England, and returned to Britain after his stint Down Under.

Folk singer Warren Fahey cites him too:
When I left school I started to go to the Elizabeth Hotel, Elizabeth Street, Sydney, where Mike and Carol Wilkinson ran one of the first pub folk clubs. I became a firm friend of the Wilkinson's and their associate 'door man' Harvey Green. The four of us, and Mike Ball, would usually have a meal every week followed by a night of stilton, pickled eggs and song. The Wilkinson's were terrific singers and especially English harmony songs. Mike Ball, well, I always thought him a genius. He was an extraordinary English concertina player, singer and songwriter. He put many Robert Graves poems to music and I can still remember his setting for 'Timothy Winters'. It was the nearest I ever came to crying over a song. Eric Bogle's songs have the same effect.
There is no mention of any steam.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Garage Rock Masterpiece

The LP (yes, vinyl) is out of print, but customers on sites like Amazon still rave about The Beguiled's Blue Dirge album. You can listen to snippets on sites like Amazon, but the record is out of stock and hard to find. There's often one on

Michael Ball was lead guitarist and apparently the heart of the punk band. The recap of his and the band's demise is on Subterranean Records:
The group's 2nd LP (and, unfortunately their last, as lead guitarist and majorly great cat Mike Ball was killed by a drunk driving asshole in Sept 1994). This ain't no happy-lala-retro garage, baby! Hot-wire a few used stooge riffs thru a massive reverb tank, mash & distill in a swamp, toss in the charred remains of the Scientists & Cheater Slicks, whip & blend in 200 litres of mescal, and top it off with the brains of Henry Lee Lucas. The result: one evil garage headache!
and at Djangos:
Spawned by the '77 generation of New York City gutter punks -and even farther back to Michigan's MC5 and Stooges, members of The Beguiled wanted to keep the spirit of sleazy rock and roll alive upon the 1988 release of their first LP Gone Away. After a two year hiatus of each member traveling around the world separately, they returned in 1990 and released a 7" on Estrus Records three years later. Tragically, after their second album Blue Dirge came out in 1994, guitarist Mike Ball was killed by a drunk driver and unfortunately ending The Beguiled prematurely. ~ Mike DaRonco, All Music Guide

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Cricketer of Many Faces

The Hartfield Cricket Club site includes a snap of Mike Ball, captioned:
Club poet, raconteur, musician, and reporter. Has a cricket bag large enough to carry round everything, including the kitchen sink. Can usually be found at gully, muttering that the Captain won't give him a 7/2 leg side field.
He looks like he enjoys the pitch, and everything else.

Hartfield is in East Sussex, at the very Southeastern tip of Britain. Its county Website promises some of the best off-road trails in England.