Cup and Ball, Particle Physics, the Peterborough Municipal Election, the Beaver Hat, etc.

By Dave

Remember how boring voting was before Cup and Ball? Self-portrait by Ducreux, 1783.

While I was standing in line at the polling station, I Cup and Balled to pass the time. The line was inching forward, giving me some time to practice my Flow and the other quiet moves. A man a few rows of people a head of me whispered loudly to the unresponsive stranger, “Small things amuse small minds.” Immediately I realised that I must be at least a little annoying; its easy to forget that most people aren’t immersed in Cup and Ball culture, of which the click of a flawless Jerk Pump is central. Were I not in the wrong and if the toadish, track pant clad, philistine had addressed his remark to me, I’d explain that particle physics, the study of the very small, is an example of the smallest things amusing some of the greatest minds…

Just as human ingenuity solved the problem of killing people from far away, your Cup and Ball could be Quieter! A better use for felt than nineteenth century hats!?

Want to learn more? Stay tuned to the blog and you won’t regretsy it.

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Holy Crap – a New Video!!!!

Well it has been a few months since we were in Halifax… the footage just keeps rolling out of our studio at an alarming rate! Number three in as many months!

This one features perhaps the first choreographed Cup and Ball routine ever put to film!

Also, making his shaky debut is our good friend Burnsy, in the CBC shirt. Since this was filmed his Cup and Ball skills have improved immensely so don’t judge his misses too harshly.


expect more content imminently…

Dave and Russell out!

“Cup and Ball Toy is so Suitable”

This is an article on Cup and Ball originally published by 

“One of the earliest and favorite games played by children is the cup and ball toy. This toy was popular in Europe with adults and children alike. While parents whittle wooden cup and ball toys for the tourists, their children can often be found alongside them, making their own cup and ball. While not as elaborate as their parents’ version of the toy, this cup and ball is just as much fun to play with. The initial action is whilst parents whittle wood cup and ball toys for the vacationers, their children can typically be found alongside them, producing their individual cup and golf ball. Even though not as elaborate as their parents??

It is connected to the handle of the cup by a string of 35 to 40 centimeters. The cup is shaped to fit the Cup and ball toy. The Cup and ball toy is connected to the stick by a roughly 40-centimeter (16-inch) piece of string. At the end of the stick is a point with which the player can attempt to spear the Cup and ball toy. Cup and ball toys, which are 6 centimeters in diameter, can be as light as 55 grams or heavier than 75 grams, and overall weight varies between 115 grams and 140 grams. In addition, the gloss and slipperiness of the Cup and ball toy varies by the type of paint and varnish, and there are at least a couple of JKA kendama models where the Cup and ball toy is unpainted or only painted with a thin translucent whitewash.

I sure do not, but nothing beats a little Cup and ball toy viewing to keep my hopes alive. Their latest on “The Top 10 Toys of Summer” gather together some of the very best products to spend your slush fund on. A folk toy that could have been easily made with materials at hand, one can imagine this toy amusing children from colonial times right through the westward migCup and ball toyns, and continuing to fascinate children today. Slide the stick in and out a bit so that there is also glue inside the penetCup and ball toyn to help sealing. If you have patience, set the assembly aside until the glue hardens.

The best online search engine for stock photography, photos, digital Cup and ball toy, picture clip art and royalty-free photograph images. Fotosearch helps you find the perfect stock image, royalty free photo, stock photograph, picture or graphic. These games help develop children’s physical agility and strength, foster perseverance and concentCup and ball toyn, and develop balance without them even knowing it. For example, kendama appears to require the use of just the fingertips, but in fact, one must bend and stretch the knees, and maintain balance using the entire body. He enjoyed showing this toy to visitors because it demonstrated a key idea of general relativity, the equivalence principle—the equivalence of gravity and acceleCup and ball toyn. Here’s how to build a version of that toy.”

Cup and Ball and You: It’s Magic!

The following article is  the first contribution to our blog from my lovely cousin Lauren.  Lauren along with her boyfriend Alex are leaders in Cup and Ball in the Kingston area. Thanks Lauren… please send us more anytime! Russell Out…


Cup and Ball beats gravity!


I try never to take any one thing too seriously. For me, that is what cup and ball is all about. For beginners it’s all about getting that first one in, having the skill to sink that ball in its cup. Saying: “Fuck you cup and ball! I’ve mastered you at last!” After the initial victory you might say having a good record is what you want. From three in a row, to five, to ten, to twenty, it could go on indefinitely, but for me it has become something different. Cup and ball is my relaxation.

You might say “But Lauren, how can something so clicky and annoying be relaxing?”

Well sure, it is frustrating at first, all those misses and your friends thinking you’re weird and anti-social. After a while though, you calm down and realize that no one cares what your record is except you, and it’s your attitude that counts.

My record was fifteen for ages, and I thought it would never change. I would get to thirteen or fourteen, get all nervous, and without fail the ball would hit the rim and I would throw the stupid thing across the room (yeah, I’m like five years old). Then one day I was in a bad mood, and I had some time to kill, so I sat down on the couch and played some cup and ball. As I played I felt better, and since I was distracted with angry visions of killing all humans, I managed fifty-one old schools before missing. It’s practically Zen (not the killing, but the other thing) like meditation, or listening to music, or drinking tea on a cold day. Relaxing.

I like to play at the bus stop. It provides a good cement-coloured background. I like to play while the water is boiling to make tea (it’s a good distraction, lest you watch the pot). I like to play outside of classrooms (my record changed from fifty-one to fifty-six right before a big presentation while I was out in the hall). I like to play in the Alphabase kitchen. I would like it in a boat, I would like it with a goat. I like to play with cup and ball, it does not bug me, not at all.


Cup and Ball gets Greecey


I went to Greece, and being cool about cup and ball helped me again. I made friends. People thought to themselves, “No one who is lame would play cup and ball alone under a tree. It looks like fun! Clearly I should get to know this poet of manual dexterity.” And they did. Cup and ball became the hit of the trip. All three dozen people played at least a minute of cup and ball and others stayed with it for hours, asking me to get them one once the trip was over. Sadly, two weeks into the trip I left my own cup and ball on the beach in the middle of the night and it was gone by morning…but somewhere in Macedonia there is a person having a great time.

I’ve sold/given cup and balls to a lot of people. Sometimes it’s a gift. A “Thanks for being my friend even though I’m a weirdo” gift, or a “Sorry your boyfriend was a big douche and broke your heart” gift, or even a “Keep your marriage exciting with THIS!”gift. Other times I am poor and can’t pay Russell myself, so I accept the money that desperate cup and ball fans stuff into my underpants.

Anyway, I’ve written a bunch, and I haven’t said a lot, but hey…that’s cup and ball.



Too much of a good thing


Alpha Base Update

A summary of recent events at Alpha Base.

By Dave

Lauren, one of Kingston’s rising stars, proves that foxyness and Cup and Ball go hand in hand.


I haven’t spent very much time updating the blog over the last few weeks because my energies have been focussed on production. If you want to read an article about what exactly that means, see The Factory. One of the bi-products of Cup and Ball building discovered after that piece was penned is the Top. When you get tired of obsessively playing Cup and Ball, giving a Top a spin is a good way to relax.

We’ve developed two games that come to mind. The first game two each player spins his Top and lets it drop onto a plate; last Top standing wins. The other game, dominated by Russell and his mighty spin, is race-based. Players spin a Top and see how many cups they can score before gravity and friction topple the Top.

Wendel Lives!

Russell has taken hundreds of Cup and Ball pictures. Its time to show some of them off.

Wendel shirt, Stock Ale, this is a man of discriminating tastes. I'm sure there is a Cup and Ball in his hidden hand. Courtesy of Cox Bloc.


From the Helena Collection



Dave in triumph after an egg-cup unicorn, wearing a Wendel Clark T-Shirt


Who else remembers the Passion Returns,  a documentary about the greatest Hockey team in history, the 1992-3 Toronto Maple Leafs?

Cup and Ball and Wikipedia

By Dave


You may have noticed that the Cup and Ball Wikipedia page is – how shall I say this?- incomplete. There is no mention of the greatest Cup and Ball league in the world! This is changing. Here is an excerpt from the article on the topic of construction before and after my edit:

A cup-and-ball consists of a small ball (usually made of wood) connected to the handle of the cup by a string of 35 to 40 centimeters. The cup is shaped to fit the ball.

And after I got my hands on it:

The construction of all Cup-and-Balls is tripartite, composed of ball, string and cup. However, there is no uniformity in cup size, ball size, or string length. Not even the construction materials are standardized, some cup-and-balls are made from softwood, others hardwood and some are composed of plastic.

The relationship between the ball and cup size, in part, determines the difficulty level of the toy. Imagine a golf course with a hole thirty centimeters in diameter, it would be quite simple to sink the ball. Conversely, imagine the hole was only two centimeters larger than the ball. The cup to ball ratio is a crucial element not only of golf course design but also cup-and-ball construction.

Though string length is less important for the overall difficulty level than the cup to ball ratio, it still has an important impact on game play. Jupiter takes 4332.59 earth days to make one orbit of the sun while the earth takes only 365.256 days.[2] The main reason for this difference is because Jupiter’s orbit is a great deal larger than our planet’s. Speedracer competitions are common among cup-and-ballists and a short string means less wasted travel time between cups. For this reason many players prefer cup-and-balls with strings about 17 centimeters long rather than the more traditional 35-40 centimeter string.

The weight ratio between the ball and the cup is another crucial element of design. For most players the cup never leaves the hand and for them this relationship is moot. However, when the cup becomes airborne an even ratio will ensure that the string remains taught resulting in an elegant, predictable and smooth flight.[3]

As I edit the entire article I will keep the blog updated. This wiki article could be the beacon to other the world’s other Cup and Ball players. Will this call be answered with silence?