The Mud Show ™
        Mud Guy

The Mud Show
 that damn Muddy Rag #8
Groundhog Day 1997  
The Officious Newsletter of the Sturdy Beggar™ Appreciation Society

Hello, Hello, HELLO!!!
I want to wish you all the warmest and fuzziest of Groundhog Days, the closest thing we beggars have to a National Holiday! Of course I must commence this communalistic correspondence by extending a muddy paw towards all of our filthy first-year fledglings. To all you newcomers who are curious as to what this Sturdy Beggar™ Appreciation Society is all about, let me just state that after four years we are still proud to say: we're not sure. Nullus Cerebrum, Nullus Capitis Dolor.
Of course, in the undeviating and physical sense, we here at the home office are periodically spewing out these pieces of parchment which you are now gazing upon. (I mean, at least I think that you're gazing upon it.... geez, I wonder if you are gazing at this piece of paper, the same piece of paper on which I have yet to print any of what I am now writing, but you can be darn sure that I will be hand-stamping and labeling each and every one of them? Do you know what I'm talking about?....hello?... [Ew, here's a fun thought: If a tree gets chopped down in the woods, and made into paper, then gets recycled and made into paper again, and then some folks print things on it and distribute them throughout the world by a postal system to these other folks, who have mailed in these little postcards which they filled out after watching grown men eat mud, do they make a sound? Hmmmm...let's open that up to discussion. Could we hear from you on that? ....hello?...] but my digression digresses) Hey, one thing we are sure about is that our freshman class make up a third of you SBASers this year. Yup, we are expanding at a tribbilbolic rate. Wheeeee.
Even the title of our show has grown. Mud Show®. Like it? That's right. We got ourselves officially branded by the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office. We are formally "United States Certificate of Registration Number 1,985,845." We are awful proud of this®. Proud because we have worked hard over these past 18 years to achieve it, and proud because it looks so darn silly. We Sturdy Beggars™ would sure appreciate it if you would all fawn over this ® for us. Oh, and if you happen to see any pretenders to the throne screaming our name, let us know. 'Cause then we can take them to Federal Court. And, next year you just all might all be invited to a great big Sturdy Beggar™ Appreciation Society Hallelujah Hoedown, what say, somewhere tropical, where the groundhog cares more about his sunscreen than his shadow. In the words of my good pal Wakka Ding Hoy, Aloha, Oy!
love, Billy Billy vonBilly

Often we beggars have been referred to as "Mudheads," which is really quite a compliment. You see, long before we beggars celebrated the elements of earth and water with our particular brand of entertainment, the Hopi Indians of northeastern Arizona celebrated life with the aid of Spirits known as Kachinas. There are hundreds of different Kachina Spirits. They are properly not deities, but as their name denotes, (ka: respect, and china: spirit), they are spirits of the dead, spirits of minerals, plants, birds, water, humans, clouds, planets and stars, and stars that have not yet appeared in the sky.
Kachina DollWhen the Kachinas come down from the mountains every year to dwell with the human beings, masked men act as their intermediaries for the tribal ceremonies. Perhaps you have heard of the Kachina Dolls, which are carved representations of these beings given to the children as reminders of all they represent.
Anyway, one of the most powerful and dangerous of these Spirits is known as the Koyemsi, or Mudhead. He is in reality, though, a clown, a comic character who enlivens serious ceremonies. On the eve of these festivities, the Mudheads come down early to scare and delight the children in their homes. During the ceremonies the Mudheads portray many different types of personalities, from leader to buffoon. They may engage in wild games with the boys and girls in the audience, or at other times they may dance with, or against, the dance ritual, or they may go off and just play the drums.
So, remember, kids, being called a Mudhead, Koyemsi, is really quite a tribute. In fact, call your close friends, your parents and your teachers Mudheads. I'm sure once you explain, they will be honored.

Okay, friends, here's the pitch: We have never intended to turn this silly ol' Appreciation Society into some sort of tawdry marketing venture, and we won't be inundating your mailboxes with junk mail, trust us, but nonetheless we have some DYNAMIC, QUALITY MERCHANDISE to offer you: The two acclaimed Sturdy Beggar™ T-shirts along with ever-enlightening back issues of that damn Muddy Rag and the holiday Finger Puppet cards. If you'd be considering a unique and jolly gift item for a pal or loved one, or even better for your sterling self, then PLEASE consider this cool stuff! Bottom line: we set up this whole Sturdy Dry Goods, LLC endeavor to sell some Sturdy Beggar™ items principally to finance the running of the Sturdy Beggar Appreciation Society. We began the SBAS just for a lark four years back, to give something fun back to our fans and friends, to reach across the continent & even the ocean and hopefully tickle your funny bones in our patented peculiar way, and it's been an absolute blast...but danged if it didn't grow bigger than we'd ever thunk and at such a steady, admirable pace. There's a BUNCH of you out there now, and the cost of producing and mailing our bi-yearly issues of that damn Muddy Rag and occasional postcard hijinks is getting a tad tremendous. This is not to clumsily play the Guilt Card or twist any arms, but please keep in mind: sales of any of our modest merchandise power our production of SBAS fun. We wanna keep this muddy merriment going for a while yet. So keep in mind, your hard-earned checks to Sturdy Dry Goods, LLC aren't padding some bloated fat cat's stock portfolio or getting sucked into the unfathomable bureaucratic administrative bowels of some merciless mega-conglomerate's comin' back to you and hopefully brightening your day a tad in our inimitable style. Thank you for your time, and remember: Nullus Cerebrum, Nullus Capitis Dolor.

Be ready to hit the ground running, compadres! The Sturdy Beggar™ season begins soon after the much-awaited thaw. Look for us at the following venues this spring. Stride on up and announce that you're a proud member of the SBAS and just watch our muddy eyes glaze and twitch! (our compleat schedule will be printed in the summer edition of that damn Muddy Rag, this June. Specific rosters subject to change. Your mileage may vary.)
The Virginia Renaissance Faire (Fredericksburg) 1175 King's Hwy/Fredericksburg, VA 22405 (540) 371-3999 4/26 - 6/8 (incl. Memorial Day) Spiney Nodules, Figgy Pudding, Ceasar!
The Southern California Renaissance Faire (San Bernadino, CA) Glen Hellen Regional Park 1-800-52-FAIRE 4/26 - 6/15 (incl. Memorial Day) Billy Billy vonBilly, Legs Akimbo
(If you have any questions concerning this season's schedule, write us at SBAS / P.O. Box 581884 / Mpls, MN 55458)

...Is Ours not to Reason why....?
With all these new members joining up this past year, we also had a plethora of "Reasons For Joining" scrawled in the appropriate space on them adorable little sign-up cards. Aside from the much-repeated standard classics "Awesome" and "Nothin' better to do," there were a few we found kinda interesting if not downright inspiring. Any of these ring a bell or strike a chord?
"My Great, Great, Great Grandfather invented and held the patent on mud" Rutt, 39, Alvin, TX.
"See the need for a nationwide conspiracy of mud." Give Me A Name - (all right, how about 'Oswald'?) - 34, Marathon, FL
"You guys send my sister stuff all the time and I get nothin'! Play fair! She's not even worth it!!" Jealous Joan, 40, Milwaukee, WI
"I luv you, man!!!" - (no, you can't have our Mud Lite) - Tute, 14, Yorkville, IL
"Dropped on head at a young age." Pighooey, 34, Foxboro, MA
"My mom hated your show, I thought it was funny as hell!" Dora the Dimpled, 17, Nevada, MO
"We saw your show 15 years ago when you were just a little mud puddle." Mud Turtle, 48, Lockport, IL
"Why not?" Gert, 82, Downers Grove, IL
"I like getting mail." Sam, 11, North Kingston, RI
"I laughed so hard I spit my beer - and that doesn't happen very often" - (uh, whose beer do you usually spit?) - Wayne of Nittany, 25, Alexandria, VA
"A desperate need to belong to a group of my peers." Princess Provolone, 33, San Luis
Obispo, CA
"Me like mud, mud good!!!" Nail, 26, Austin, TX
"It only costs 20¢" Roberto, 18, Monee, IL
"'Cause I'd like to keep you in mud & off the street." Haven't Got The Foggiest, 13, Rochester, MN
"I liked your show. Other mud shows (sic) don't come close." Commasuetra, 19, Reston, VA
(remember, legally there aren't others; they're just mud acts. Look for the ® at the end of Mud Show® to be sure you're getting only the very best!)

The Future Grows in the Margins of Today
"If All the Other Kids Were Jumping Off the Space Needle..."

Here's a comforting thought for all you "oddball," "different," "just don't fit in" types in the SBAS. It comes from the world of paleoanthropology, as related by Ian Tattersall in his book, The Fossil Trail (Oxford University Press, 1995/pp. 160-163). It's called Allopatric Speciation or Punctuated Equilibria, first asserting itself out of Niles Eldrege's trilobite fossil studies.
In 1971, Eldrege (and later Ernsr Mayr and Stephen Jay Gould) began to realize that species do not change slowly and inevitably, guided elegantly by the hand of natural selection, as the theories of Darwin and New Evolutionary Synthesis had always held. Rather, the fossil record indicated that "speciation occurs in small peripheral isolates," that in fact, evolutionary change occurs in the edges of an expanding species, develops in isolation, and later replaces a static core population.allopatric speciation only takes an instant!
So next time you feel shoved aside into the margins because you just won't fit in, I hope you'll remember that in geological terms, allopatric speciation only takes an instant!

Yours from way out there, Spiney Nodules
"HUGE TRACTS OF LAND" OR "Better Get A Bucket"

Anybody else out there catch the esteemed John Cleese on the Late Show with Tom Snyder last month? He spoke at one point about Monty Python & the Holy Grail, indicating that it was one of his favorites, remembering it with fond delight. He then told an anecdote of keen interest to us mud daubers, referring to "one huge blowup, a great tantrum" thrown by Michael Palin. (If you are somehow not familiar with this movie, go rent it now, no, really, NOW! This'll wait)
In the classic scene where King Arthur and his entourage "gallop" past some filthy, ragged peasants in a muddy field, (Peasant 1: "Look, there goes the king." Peasant 2: "How do you know he's the king?" Peasant 1: "'Cause he's the only one doesn't have sh*t all over 'im." [paraphrased]) Michael Palin was squatting in the muck, "eating actual mud" (!) according to Cleese, as the budget was "pretty small and we couldn't afford good fake mud..." so Palin was there looking wretched and shoving handfuls of actual mud into his mouth, munching away...spitting out what little he could each time director Terry Gilliam yelled "Cut!"...for FIFTEEN takes, eating more mud each time, until, as Cleese put it, everything stopped when he just "lay belly-down on the ground pounding his fists and kicking his feet and wailing,
"I don't want to eat any more mu-u-u-ud!!!"
Makes a mudman feel right proud. As always, Do Not Try This At Home (or low-budget movie set)...We Are Professionals.

that damn Muddy Rag #8 designed & executed by Hack Ptui 1/97 / editorz: Ptui & vonBilly
scribes du jour: B. B. VonBilly, S. Nodules, H. Ptui
The Mud Show
The Mud Show