Monday, December 15, 2008

Ball and Chain Still Stomping

What they lack in subtlety they have in enthusiasm. The leads of Ball and Chain, Michael Ball and Jody Benjamin (shown from a 2003 CD release) have Cajun-ized their Ottawa community and beyond.

After not getting around to writing up a promised review of their live at the bayou CD, I rechecked them. Their main website has been static for two years, including tour dates. I figured I had totally missed my chance.

No so.

They seem to have left that old site in favor of the trendier MySpace version. That has four full tunes to hear, but not download.

The CD Baby sales site for live at the bayou and for Trouble All The Time have multiple short, incomplete clips.

Like Cajun and zydeco or not, you have to admit that these are folk who have terrific fun with their music. They've made a living of it up where there are no bayous and where Cajuns were a forced export from the Atlantic end of the country a long time ago.

As most reviewers already note, there's a lot of Hank Williams in Benjamin's twangy renditions. Ball comes on mostly with the hyperactive fiddle. This is much more my wife's style of music than mine, but I could do an evening at a club with them on stage quite happily. Moreover, Williams was hard to look at and I rather doubt he ever wore a skirt with flounces, much less twirled it while he sang.

By the bye, Ball and Chain has four shows coming up in Ottawa in the early part of 2009.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saddle to Jeans

Jeans god Michael Ball made the Financial Times this weekend. The Pedal Power piece on bicycles as the new fashion accessory reports that he's gone beyond serge de Nîmes.

The CEO of Rock and Republic is a cycling freak. As his company's site puts it:
Recognizing that Michael needed structure, his mother got him involved in sports. It proved to be the perfect place for him to channel his rebellious. Cycling became his sport of choice, and the key to adding structure, focus and direction to his life.

Cycling taught Michael team skills and the rewards of competition. But it was the bright colors and bold graphics of the team's uniforms that inspired his sense of design...
The FT notes that this Michael Ball, "...began his professional life on a bike. A track cyclist for years prior to starting his jeans line, Ball has also launched a racing team, Rock Racing. It includes two Olympic gold medalists, three Tour de France stage winners, and Oscar Sevilla Rivera, possibly the best young rider in the current Tour. Cyclists' clothing is also available via its website. 'The Rock Racing line is designed with a fashion eye, so that you're grabbed by the cyclist when he goes by,' says Ball of the range. 'It's a bit flamboyant, but also aerodynamic.'"

Friday, May 09, 2008

Another Blogging Mike Ball

Uh oh, this occasionally updated blog could become PR for the Alabama state representative with our name. I've run a good-sized bag of posts on him.

Now, I've found out that he is a regular blogger on Daily Dixie. That blog is run by a young political junkie, Dan Roberts.

Our Mike in Birmingham seems to be posting every week or two. He writes on legislative action...and inaction. To see samples of his posts, go here.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

How Many Mikes

A chum, who is not one of us, sent me a link to a site alleging to use U.S. Census bureau to calculate how many of a first/last name combination were in the country at the 2000 count. lets you type in your names and search.

Note: There's no provision for middle names.

At the high end is the predictable John Smith, with 50,192.

I think if you want to feel special, you can use a nickname or a custom spelling. However, to get real on this, I found:
1,365 people named Michael Ball (and only 98 named Mike Ball).

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Mitt's Transient Honor

On the eve of Super Tuesday, 2008, our guy in Alabama joined the Leadership Team for Willard Mitt Romney. According to the Maritime Sentry blog, Mike led the state leadership group.

The blog reported:

Boston, MA – Today Governor Mitt Romney announced that several new Republican leaders in Alabama have joined his state Leadership Team. With Alabama's primary tomorrow, these Republican leaders will help mobilize Governor Romney's grassroots support in the state.

Announcing that these new Alabama leaders will be joining Romney for President, Romney Alabama Chairman Kay Ivey said, "Throughout this past year, our campaign in Alabama has grown steadily and is ready to mobilize Governor Romney's grassroots organization for tomorrow's primary. Today's announcement is yet another indication of the support Governor Romney enjoys in the state. We are all proud to be campaigning for his message of conservative change in a Washington that is fundamentally broken."

The Alabama Leadership Team Members:

- State Rep. Mike Ball
- State Rep. Chad Fincher
- State Rep. Barry Mask
- State Rep. Pat Moore
- State Rep. Elwyn Thomas
- State Board of Education Member David Byers
- Judge Kelli Wise
- Montgomery City Councilwoman Martha Roby
- Vestavia Hills Mayor Scottie McCollum
- Randy and Kelly Owens
- Bob and June Russell
Of course, a few days after the massive set of primaries and caucuses, Romney abandoned his race. Mike remains high profile in Alabama Republican politics.

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