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After a whirlwind period of preparation, unexpectedly last minute (but still most welcome) submissions and a bit of faith in the overnight service of the US Post Office, at last "The 2004 McBirthday Bash" is history -- and I can't possibly offer sufficient thanks to all of you who participated.  And, of course, I'm thrilled to at last be able to unveil what precisely we collectively created for Michael to open upon its arrival (at 1:10PM, August 24th).

As you've probably noticed there's a title at the top of this web page, and indeed that is the title of this year's "bash".  And, given the very Ashes centered focus of the whole endeavor, I'm sure it's not hard to guess that the theme of the project is Michael's quote explaining very briefly the overall work:  "Sometimes in order to rebuild, you have to destroy...I guess that would be my statement about Ashes."

But, before we get to the photos of the finished product, it should be noted as well that a book was assembled to accompany the gift, and explain its meaning and origins to Michael.  As partially illustrated below, it included the e-mail announcements and web page that kicked the whole thing off, instructions on just what to do with this geometrical oddity once it arrived, and of course, last but not least, who exactly made it happen...






So, rather than explain it all anew, printed below you'll find the exact words that appear on the most relevant pages of this book, starting with...


Submissions arrived from all over the country (and from Europe as well!) and together as the pauper community we created this year’s gift.  While the meaning of the gift will be explained in a moment, for now here’s what you need to know to open and unveil it…

First, carefully remove the entire object from the box, as its exterior is quite fragile.  That exterior, as you will see, is a (slightly modified!) piñata…hence this event being called a birthday “bash”! 

And as you will also see, the piñata is, in effect, an “urn of Ashes”…i.e. an urn-shaped object covered in lyrics from the album of that title.  And, since a piñata is constructed with the primary purpose of being destroyed, that’s the next step in unmasking the “real” gift.

Rather than hitting the piñata to break it open, however, it is advised that you simply remove the lid and tear off the entire paper mache “urn”.  Needless to say, the weight of what’s inside would make hanging it and swinging away in the traditional manner not merely difficult, but also more than a little hazardous to one’s health!!!

After you’ve torn away the outer piñata and had a quick look at what it contained, go to the next page of this book to read at last precisely what this whole thing is about.


 ...(and here are a couple photos of the pinata portion of the gift):




But, after tearing the pinata apart, what did Michael find?  Take a look!


And, of course, he also found a host of cards, notes -- greetings in all forms brimming over the top...a large gift overall to say the very least (35 lbs. shipping weight!).  But, as I noted to Michael's dad in an e-mail "warning" about both its last minute arrival and its size... given the fact Michael's meaning-filled lyrics serve as its core, I suppose it's to be expected the finished product must be quite "weighty"!  

Be that as it may, wouldn't you know I'd forget to photograph one (very important) step?!&*^*!  As a result, I don't have any photos of the finished product with the cards, etc. included to show you here.  However, rest assured, all of your well wishes indeed made their way into the gift, which would not have been even close to complete without them!  (Also, it should be noted that if you sent your card/greeting in a sealed envelope, it remained sealed.  And, if you didn't include an envelope I found one among the many paper samples and such I've collected for my writing projects.  So, everyone's greeting was placed in the urn as a sealed card, note, etc.)


Next in the book came arguably the most important page of all -- the explanation at last of the project in its entirety...


Statement of Purpose

So, what does all this mean?  Simple.

Because “sometimes in order to rebuild, you have to destroy”, we’ve created an “urn of Ashes slated for “destruction” in order to reach the “rebuilt” (and much sturdier) “urn of Ashes” within  (which, of course, explains this project’s title since we’re going from Ashes to Ashes).

And, while a traditional urn containing ashes  -- an arguably far from celebratory object, needless to say – holds these inside, we’ve followed the tradition of your music by turning things inside out…converting darkness to light (just as you do in so many of your songs) and shining this light forth “on” rather than “in” this rebuilt urn (an object, incidentally, that started out an unsuspecting very ordinary piece in a local antique shop…

...again very much like the ordinary stuff of life from which you build – and re-build – life within your work.)

So, what’s on the inside?  Celebrations of life, of course…and not just any life, but that of an extraordinary person – you.

So, from all of your fellow “construction workers”, hope you enjoy what we’ve created, and please accept our warmest wishes for a very…


  Happy Birthday!!!


Well, there you have it!  Thanks once again to everyone who made "The 2004 McBirthday Bash" an incredible "bash" indeed!  And, of course, please feel free to contact me ( with any questions or comments you may have about the matter.  I hope you enjoyed being a part of this as much as I enjoyed putting it all together, and of course, I hope Michael enjoyed this new "interpretation" of his amazing work!

And, on that note, we collectively "close the" Ashes to Ashes "book"...

...adding only that already I look forward to next year.  Of course, for the moment, what that might be remains a surprise even to me!!!  

Til next time...





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