and Happy Groundhog Day,
day set aside to celebrate the ground and the hogs it
holds. The same ground we beggars moisten to manifest
our merriment, and the same hogs which we moisten to,
well, to complete this sentence. So to old and new members,
nosey postmen, and unhousebroken puppies alike, I give
you Groundhog Greetings.
of all let me say that 1995 was a year chock full of firsts
for me; from the inauguration of our beautiful new muditorium
at the Bristol Renaissance Faire in WI, to the fun I had
tag-teaming in for a few weeks at King Richard's Faire
in MA, to the record-breaking attendances at the Texas
Renaissance Festival, I was constantly breaking new ground
in this, the 17th year of my Mud Show career...17
years? SEVENTEEN YEARS!?!? Man. XVII years. Thats 17 years
of swan dives in the mud, 17 years of head stands in the
mud, and 38 years of eating mud. You know, it's kinda
amazing I'm still alive. That
regimen would've killed a man of twice my status. So how
is it I survived? Certainly not due to my athleticism,
or my intellect, or my being born on a planet with a red
sun. The answer is simply: you guys, you magnanimous members
of the Sturdy Beggars Appreciation Society. It's
you who have kept me alive and flicking, and for that
you have my eternal thanks, and the authorities' warrant
for your arrest.
may ask yourselves, "How did I keep this guy alive,
I didn't give him any CPR." No, you didn't. You people
kept me alive with your effervescent energy. The energy
you generously bestow upon us at the Mud Show keeps
us doing what we're doing, year after year. We can't thank
you enough, we don't know how you do it.
fact, this here newsletter is a product of the excess
of your powerful energy. I don't think any of your realize
what kind of herculean feat it is for us beggars to execute
this jarbled journalism. These Muddy Rags may not look
like much to you, but the fact that we beggars do all
the work to execute these indicative inkstains is a phenomenon.
see, the beauty of the Mud Show vacillates in the
verity that we beggars are spontaneous creatures of custom
with a marked propensity toward the patter which produces
the required pre-requisite raucous responses of our audiences.
Our spontaneity and creativity is a direct result of our
unique and non-conformist dance on world and social issues.
A devout ideology of the here and now leaves us no latitude
to languish in latter laments or idealize any index of
industry. In short, we are lazy bums.
who are lazy bums must certainly realize that the organization,
dedication and self-dictation involved in issuing this
tabloid goes completely against our inate instincts of
inertia. The mere fact that we have the wherewithal to
meet a deadline is due to your fantastic force of infatuation.
As much as we do savor sending out your newsletters, and
as much as we appreciate your astonishing abundance of
adoration, please,...no more. I don't think we could handle
it. If you loved us any more than you do now, there's
no way we could possibly control how our gratitude would
manifest itself. But if I know us, when the dust settled,
somebody would be flushed and twitching.
I wish you all a Happy Groundhog Day, and remind you to
celebrate wisely. Whatever you do, don't make the mistake
I made as a reckless youth. One fateful February 2nd morning,
I carelessly sat atop a groundhog's abode. All I can say
is that it hurt and the following spring we had an eclipse
that lasted three months.
A Child's Groundhog Day in Oahu Part III: The
Dudes! Dudettes!! What's shaking? Wakka Ding Hoy, your
expert on all things winter (in Hawaii, winter-time temperatures
in the low 60's are not unheard of) here with another
tale of Groundhog Days past yore. Ahh, Groundhog Day in
Oahu; the surf, the sand, the abundance of poi, the lack
of groundhogs...kinda makes you wonder how this wonderful
holiday ever got going in the first place. Well, it made
minutes of exhausting research later, I was one wised-up
Wakka on this goundhog thing. The whole gizmo is based
on a centuries-old European tradition of figuring the
start of spring from when hibernating animals wake up
(don't that seem like a no-brainer!) In Europe they used
badgers and bears, but when some fun-loving Germans settled
in Pennsylvania, they found no bears (I'm sure they looked).
They did find lots of groundhogs, and thought, hey, let's
use these little fellers, I'm sure they're less irritable
than bears and they can't rip our spleens out if they
ain't. A shame they didn't stick with the bear scene...it
would put a bit of an edge to the whole Puxatawny Yogi
level with you, dude, my penetrating inquiries turned
up a bit of attitude towards this happiest of days - one
source said, "convincing statistical evidence does
not support this tradition," while another claimed,
"Today it is largely treated as a joke." What's
up with that? Why are they dissing this day? Could it
be because of its pagan roots and ties to the English
holiday of Candlemas? Or because it dares to deny the
need for high technology in weather forecasting? Whatever,
dude, I assure you, this day is no joke. Some joke, I
don't even hear anyone laughing and it's a good thing
'cause I was alone in my room when I wrote this.
the clincher on this event, bro; if the weather is nice
on Groundhog Day, the little guy sees his shadow and we
have more bad weather. If it's a miserable,cloudy day,
he can't see his shadow and good weather is on the way.
ponder that: bad weather will mean good, good will mean
bad. WOW! That is, like, so deep! Way deep. Deep enough
for days, dude.
Hey, surf's up! Gotta run, bro! Later.
Wakka Ding Hoy, Hawaiian Poi Boy du jour
Who the Heck Are You?
may know us, but what's your story?. A few years ago we
printed this little quiz that you can't fail. We found
the replies to be not only informative & instructive,
but quite hysterical as well. As S.B.A.S. membership has
more than doubled of late, we again submit this quintessential
questionairre. Please don't feel ashamed about mailing
this in twice. Just answer these easy to read questions
and mail it on back to us at: (ed. note - for archive
purposes only.) You could be the driving force in this
fan club's brave new direction.
you need more room to answer feel free to add scads of
your own stationery until you feel purged of any and all
sentiment you may have towards us, our relationship, or
towards the world in general.
Have you heard any good jokes lately?
2. If so, what are they?
3. How may times have you seen the Mud Show?
4. What's your favorite craft at the Faire?
5. How do you describe the Mud Show to the uninitiated?
6. Do you have a video of the Mud Show?____
would you like to own one?___
7. Would you be interested in collecting Sturdy Beggar
Trading Cards? T-shirt?____ Button?____ Bumper sticker?____
Poster?____ Action Figures?____Cap?____ Autographed
8x10 B&W glossy?____ anything else you can think
8. Do you ever wonder about how much it costs for
us to produce and mail these newsletters?
9. Do you wonder where the money comes from?
10. Would you like to be awarded the distinguished
honor of penning your very own Pulitzer Prize winning
column in this, our highly acclaimed Rag?
11. If so, go right ahead.
12. Is there any burning question you would like to
ask any or all of us beggars? Any thing at all?
RAVES in MUD MUSIC
we have already mentioned, we are lazy bums. We're sorry
we don't get around to answering much of our mail, but
that doesn't mean we don't love hearing from you. Mud
Muffin (Lake Marian, IL), we dug the pictures of your
Mud Show-inspired artwork; we'd love to see it in
person...Earthwatcher (Brighton, MA), we felt right at
home between the covers of your loamy mag....Muddy Walters
(Wheeling, IL), Billy Billy vonBilly's eye is fine, a
slight inflammation was all, he says, "thanks for
asking"...Bruce Black (Houston, TX), thank you for
your correspondence with that informative newspaper clipping;
our lawyers got on it like ugly on gorilla...You know,
space is limited, so everyone else who wrote us, please
just take this big THANK YOU and rub it all over your
body. There, feel that gratitude? Careful, paper cuts.
hibernation time, and if you're like us, you dig having
groovy tunes playing continuously as you snooze and await
the thaw. Here's some music we'd take to that proverbial
desert island, plus a choice cut that epitomizes the mudman
milieu for each particular reprobate represented.
von Mudt: Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Nitty Gritty Dirt
Band / Cool Water, Sons of the Pioneers / Here Come the
Warm Jets, Brian Eno / Fave Beggarly Tune: Tumblin' Tumbleweeds,
Sons of the Pioneers
Ding Hoy: Anything by Elvis Costello / Abbey Road, The Beatles
/ Live Through This, Hole / FBT: Beggar's Life For Me, Pearson
Nodules: Nonsuch, XTC / Brutal Youth, Elvis Costello / Lincoln,
They Might Be Giants / FBT: Simon Smith & The Amazing
Dancing Bear, Randy Newman
Fair Dinkum: Louis Prima: The Collectors Series, Louis Prima
/ Unplugged, Eric Clapton / Simple Pleasures, Bobby McFerrin
/ FBT: Woolly Bully, Sam the Sham & the Pharoahs
Ptui: Armed Forces, Elvis Costello / The Isle of View, Pretenders
/ Another Green World, Brian Eno / FBT: Diamonds On My Windshield/Heart
of Saturday Night, Tom Waits
Billy vonBilly: Live at Yankee Stadium, NRBQ / Small Change,
Tom Waits / Carny, Leon Russell / FBT: If You Dig It, Don't
Do It, Littlle Charlie & the Nightcats
Akimbo: Back In Your Life, Jonathan Richman / Get Happy,
Elvis Costello / Countdown to Ecstasy, Steely Dan / FBT:
Calendar Girl, Neil Sedaka
Various verse received from fans JUST LIKE YOU!
The Middle Ages
by Peculiar Peasant, Portsmith, RI
for a Sturdy Beggar
the time when dragons roamed around
And daring knights could always be found
To rescue poor maidens who have been caught,
Waiting for brave knights to find what they have sought,
With lazy kings who basked in wealth
And the thieves whose practice made them stealth
For all their work, peasants and townspeople got very
And this fine time was known as the Middle Ages!!!!!
Y'know, Peculiar, other than the dragons, the knights,
and the maidens, life really hasn't changed that much.
by Ramblin' Rose
Sturdy Beggar in a pit of mud,
Thy tannèd skin a lovely sight to see,
Thou makest me to think on Elmer Fudd
When thou dost make those google-eyes at me.
A simple clod of earth I long to be
A'hoping in the mud so dank and black
That thou shouldst turn thy dirt-dimm'd eyes on me
And have me for a tasty midnight snack.
My love for thee is oh-so-very thick
I'd do it if I could to be with you.
Upon thy innards I would gladly stick:
A mess of Sturdy Beggar stomach goo.
If thou art Spartan, Trojan or a judge
My love for thee cannot be made to budge.
Mucho impressed with your iambic wielding...thanks, Ramblin'.
From now on eating mud will be a whole new experience for
us. Heck, we might even swallow.
From The Darkness at the Edge of Hog Department
A SHADE OF THE PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE SPEAKS:
again, weatherniks, the Big Day looms and the Big Question
arises. To wit: Who knows what evil lurketh in the heart
of Ol' Man Winter, or at the least, Ol' Man Groundhog? The
Shadow knows, my friends. And the Shadow is none other than...me,
mi dolce amigi! ME...over HERE!!! (And who am I, well may
you ask? Lemme tell you that I wish I knew the punchline
to that jolly jest myself...muchachos loco de mio). I walk
that shady line behind one of your most important rodent-like
personalities going; I'm talkin' Mr. Numero Uno U.S. Groundhog
himself, Puxatawny Phil. Not just your garden variety shadow,
you illuminated mugs. The Groundhog's Shadow is speaking
out. (And now well you might say, with an ironic tilt of
the eyebrow, "...the Groundhog's Shadow speaks? How
very Albert Camus.")
beyond a shadow of a doubt, then, you'd know - by definition
- that I'm (1) "a dark figure cast on a surface by
a (groundhog) body intercepting light" and ooh, that
alone would be a heck of a way to go through life. But then
add to that I'm entrusted with the task of (2) "following
(a groundhog) about secretly to keep watch over his movements",
and at the same time must remain, incidentally and sequentially
according to Random House dictionary, (3) "a (groundhog's)
constant companion." Yeah, hey, that's a lot to live
up to, but it's all true, baby: I'm The Existential Groundhog
Iago. Follow me: (1) I am his darker and unwilling second
banana. (2) I'm also watching his back. Capable of, if not
too excited about, double-agenting, yea, e'en informing
on him if he slips too far from the Righteous Path (why,
the Buddha's "Middle Path" - between Suffering
and cessation of Same, of course)...and yes, chiefly, (3)
I'm his bud. You got that right; we're tight. And so HE
knows that I'm there even if it doesn't APPEAR that I'm
there at all times, even and including February 2nd...and
that's an important thing. As well as the hardest part.
Because it hurts me year after year to witness the superficial
angst displayed nationwide that's related to my (supposed)
P-tawny Phil has full knowledge that I'm there, and guess
what? That goes whether or NOT you people are gonna be shovelling
snow for the rest of your ozone-depleted lives. So read
it and weep, and once and for all, GET OFF MY SHADOWY BACK!
Thank you very much. (And Happy Slipping for another fortnight
while you're at it).
firstname.lastname@example.org (Legs Akimbo)
"HOW MANY OF US Do You Think There Are" Contest
results are in from the little contest advertised last issue
(wherein you entered on a colored index card how hany members
you think there are in the SBAS) and we must report that
of all the many contestants who entered, neither one of
you came the closest. Remember, folks, if at first you don't
succeed; try, try again, and if you never at firsted; well,
try, try, won't you?