Tuesday, December 20, 2005

More "Ballin' The Jack" Trivia
Thanks to Jim Polaski

2. A railroad signal indicating full speed ahead.
In railroad terms, there was a time when signals were done with "Balls" on a tall stand. When the track was clear, the ball was hoisted to the top indicating a "high ball" or the train could move at high, or track speed. A derivation was "balling."

"The Highball Signals ... " were thirty (30) feet high and located about three miles apart. The first signal used black and white flags but they did not unfurl properly all the time. Bell-shaped peach baskets were suspended from masts thirty (30) feet high, located about three (3) miles apart. They were later replaced with large metal spheres. They were known as ball signals."


Anonymous said...

Hi guys, Rick Hutt here. Nice explanations for "ballin' the jack" but what about the song "Never Gonna Stop My Wanderin'"? Its lyrics include:

My father was an engineer
My brother drives a hack
My sister takes in washing
And baby ball's the jack"

Just thought I'd muddy the clear waters.

Happy Holiday all!!!


Miguel said...

Well Rick ... funny thing you should mention that song. In fact, I had just finished singing that very tune when Mike brought the whole thing up.

I been wanderin' early and late
New York City to the Golden Gate
And it looks like I'm never going to cease my wanderin'

There's snakes in the mountains
And eels in the sea
Twas a red-headed woman
Made a wreck out of me
And it looks like I'm never going to cease my wanderin'

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust
If the whiskey don't get you
Then the women must
And it looks like I'm never going to cease my wanderin'

- Miguel