Friday, November 02, 2007

Mike as Edna

Our namesake the U.K. singing star is on stage in London again. This time, he's in a fat suit.

Michael plays the mom, Edna Turnblad, in Hairspray at the Shaftesbury Theatre.

The Financial Times review includes:
Michael Ball as her mother Edna is grotesque because s/he is basically a pantomime dame in a fat suit (all those costume changes!), and moreover is filling the shoes of the late Divine, whose entire career was founded on bad taste...However, in every other respect, this is one of those pesky shows that absolutely refuses to be disliked. Ball is terrific as Edna Turnblad; he relishes the "draggier" moments (the extravagant frocks, the sudden drop to basso for a word or two), but also knows how and when to - well, I hesitate to use the word "underplay" of a show like this.
This Michael is trim and must be pretty comfortable with himself to take the role. Good on him.
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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

'Bama Mike Fighting Poverty

Wow, talk about empathy, the Alabama Rep with our name knows from poverty and is leading a front on it at home. A poignant recounting in the Decatur Daily News reveals how he earned his understanding.

Mike (shown here in part of a family picture was born in 1954 in a California charity hospital. His early childhood in Stockton was poor. He knows that this puts him in a position to understand and help others. As the article puts it:
"Poverty is a complex thing; every family has a different story. There is no one-size-fits-all solution," Ball said. "My perspective is not from reading research papers and looking at surveys. I have a different take on poverty." Ball said it is important to teach people how to make good choices and how to discourage bad choices. He speaks with the authority of someone who lived both ways as a child.
He had a tough life in many ways, including seeing his father killed in a sawmill accident. He made his way through school and earned a spot at the table.

He now co-chairs the new House Task Force on Poverty. He doesn't believe in, and doesn't believe it is necessary, to throw money at the problem of poverty. Instead, the article continues,"Ball said it is important to teach people how to make good choices and how to discourage bad choices. He speaks with the authority of someone who lived both ways as a child."

Blog note:
You can search above for "Alabama" in this blog to find numerous other small posts on this Mike Ball.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Mike and Moe -- Two Days Only!

The talk radio Mike Ball is back with his old co-host buddy Maureen Egan (Moe to fans) tomorrow and Friday only. [The regular fans of Mike and Moe in the Morning who check in here will surely hope this leads to more of the team, maybe a full-time show again.]

Catch them April 26th and 27th from 10 a.m. to noon. If you're near Nashua, New Hampshire, tune to 1590 AM, WSMN. You can listen over the web too, from anywhere. Navigate to, and then click Listen Live! at the top of the home page.

The word from Mike is:
For those who missed Mike and Moe in the Morning, here's your chance to hear us again (for a limited time only) while we fill in for Jennifer Horn. We would love to talk to you tomorrow or Friday so please make plans to join us -we'll be featuring "Open Lines" so any subject you want is up for discussion.
His promo for the previous morning show was:

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!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Live at a Station Near You (Maybe)

Mike Ball fans -- and which of you reading this isn't a fan or a Mike Ball? -- get several shots this week to hear the broadcaster again.

He's filling in all this week from 10 to noon on the On the Air With Jennifer Horn show. That's out of Nashua, New Hampshire, at 1590 AM.

If you are out of area, you can listen live from At the top of the site, click (cleverly enough) Listen Live! to hear the stream.

This is talk radio and he is famous for his call-in segments. You can join in during the show by using the station's number, 603-883-9900.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Who's Calling My Name?

I listened to Mike Ball on New Hampshire AM radio this morning. I'm not close enough for the signal, but the stream worked fine on the WSMN's site. In a week or so, the podcasts of the two hours should be up for listening.

Several of his fans called in. Of course, it was talk radio, so they had comments and questions. However, they also greeted him personally. Typical was Bob saying, "Nice to hear you on the radio again."

When they asked him if it was true that he would sign on to a local radio station soon, he replied, "You never know. You gotta keep your options open."

We also learned that while he was in Florida, he got a realty license.

Personally, I found it disconcerting to hear callers say his name repeatedly. I involuntarily looked up. Aren't I Mike Ball?

By the bye, while our politics are divergent, I find him enjoyable to hear. He has a nice tone and delivery. He's calm and not at all strident or catty like so many conservative talk show hosts. He doesn't say things just to get a rise out of people.

Good on him.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Return of the Radio King

Here's hoping that the pending visit by Mike Ball to New England radio is just the teaser.

Fans of the long-time New Hampshire talk radio host get a chance to hear him again Friday, March 2nd from 7 a.m. through 9 a.m. He's on WSMN, 1590 AM, out of Nashua, hosting the Woody Woodland show.

Many of his loyal listeners were very disappointed when he got caught in broadcast politics a couple of years ago and forced off the air. We'd get regular emails asking if we knew his whereabouts.

If you won't be in the signal area tomorrow, you can listen on the Net or catch the podcast later. To stream the show live, go to WSMN's site and then click Listen Live! at the top right.

Of course, this is talk radio. You can call in to participate at 603-883-9900.

They archive the podcasts too. The most recent ones are on the main podcast page. You can search for Mike later at the top of this page.

A note that Mike broadcast by email started:
Hi Everyone,
It has been a while since I last mass e-mailed all of you. I would first like to thank you all for the continued interest in my whereabouts and your hopes for me getting back on the air.
Maybe he'll tell us his plans and the likelihood he'll be a regular on New England air again. He does conclude his note with "Once again, I am humbled by the support and good wishes you have extended to me and my family. I believe this could be the beginning of much bigger radio things to come in the near future."

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Avaricious Poetry

Warning: Off-topic babbling and musing follows.

The unpraised -- and perhaps kudos unworthy -- spammers may reflect this era's stream of consciousness poetic artisanship. A scan of the titles in my spam buckets is often amusing and even thought-provoking.

Any given weekend, the spammers off from their jobs or studies try pathetically to entice us to open their offerings. I have seen estimates that they can profit even if they get one out of one hundred of us to look at their spam and one of a thousand of those to give them money.

Perhaps, but let's consider the literary and theatrical aspects.

On a few accounts and a mail reader with several others, my spam filters catch almost everything. I have these set to hold messages for a week. A couple of times a month, something I want -- generally with a link or two embedded -- ends up in one of these bit buckets.

I am paranoid about email. I never open anything that is clearly spam. Also, even for my sister and other angel-loving types, I don't open inspirational videos, PowerPoint presentations or even JPEG images -- nothing that can hide an executable.

For my slightly twisted amusement, before deleting these, I can scan down the amusing fictive senders and subjects.

Try as they might, spammers can't seem to rise to the level of refrigerator magnetic poetry or even to Dave Berry's standard of that's a good name for a rock band.

A couple of years ago, the subjects seemed to make a (dis)honest effort to trick you. The sender had a common WASPy name (Susan or Charley) and the subject was something like they were expecting you for dinner or such.

Recently though, there are a lot of single-word subjects, apparently generated from an English-language dictionary, or a random, nonsensical phrase or text captured off the Net. Consider:
  • irrefutable
  • petal
  • harpoon agitate
  • stealth packer (actually a candidate for Dave Berry)
  • truth acute angle
  • brandenburg unary
  • engineering inconsistent
Gertrude Stein might have been inspired by some of this.

Petal. Petal. sleepwalk we talk and walk Irrefutable latch. Heigh ho, Oakland. talk and walk

In the main though, rhymers would have to collect many weeks of such gems to assemble even a short poem. The blank verse folk would have an easier time, but verbs are hard to come by.

Instead, the free-association sorts can revel in the subjects just for the stimulation. Consider:
  • Be sanhedrin of salty
  • bed logo
  • by proscribe the marjorie
I consider these small gifts, offerings left by the demented, scattered freely about in the off-chance they will find a home.

It was like a moment last weekend when the family left the Chestnut Hill multiplex (I recommend Pan's Labyrinth) and I noticed a folded sheet of stationery on the pavement with visible writing showing through. I felt the compulsion of my youth to pick it up and voyeuristically enjoy that offering. I can control myself now, most times, but did note it to a son to see his response. He was indifferent to that personal artifact and strode on.

He also can ignore the subjects of spams.
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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Post-Storm Visitors

Flocking, fluttering wrens, the bully jays, cuneiform-tailed magpies and a few plump tits showed no fear of me this morning.

The crusty, frigid and just nasty residue of yesterday's storm -- glory be that NStar didn't fail us again -- filled the rhododendrons below, the beech above and the forsythia beyond with eager patrons of the feeder. Proof of their hunger to get energy to heat themselves came when I pounded on the window.

Many stayed put while I loosened the storm window to get to the feeder. The sleet had coated the outside and made a gelid epoxy. I ended up with a huge screwdriver as a wedge and a rubber mallet to operate the slides on the window.

As you might suppose, the roundest patrons were first to the feeder and were hovering within reach as I closed the window.

Other regular visitors did not risk life, limb or lemon to gather deposit bottles. These modern gleaners are extras on the urban stage. The old man who arrives after dark, driving what my grandfather would have called a flivver, is part of the night shift. He is considerate and quiet at his task. If I am putting recycling at the curb when he comes, I greet him and he responds, but nothing more.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but that is a small kindness we can do, one that costs us very little. As with Ruth and Naomi, such gleaning can be significant to those who must do it.

Woe to those who tell me they resent the bottle gatherers. We place our deposit bottles in separate bags for the ease of our evening visitor. If he passes with $1 from us, a quarter elsewhere and another $1 down the block, it is the preponderance of the small -- negligible to us and together meaningful to him.

On this nasty morning, it doesn't hurt anything to hold back the deposit-bottle bags for a week.

The best side-effect of this is that when we take the little care required for our visitors, we often think of other small favors to do.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Good Hands

After a two-day visit to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, we noticed a Mike Ball Insurance sign on the way out of town. Had it not been pouring and pelting, we would have stopped in to amaze each other by the (slight) coincidence.

It's been awhile since I posted any other MBs here. I'll try to be more regular.

Other than his online affiliation, State Farm, I can't find much about him. He looks like a very pleasant sort.

He has long hours on Wednesday -- until 7 p.m. Otherwise, it's 9 to 5.

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