IJA eNewsletter – September 2020


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   IJA eNewsletter   

September 2020

Editors: Don Lewis & Martin Frost


  • Make some clubs!
  • Todd Smith 1958-2020
  • Support the IJA
  • Is it safe to come out yet?
  • Latest articles in eJuggle (find a few that interest you and check them out!)
  • Upcoming juggling festivals



Make some clubs!  by Don Lewis

North America seems to be jumping right in to the second wave of Covid.

  If you can’t go out and socialize, then you can do things at home.  One of those things is to stock up on environmentally friendly juggling equipment.

Let’s hope that thousands of people who are stuck at home, bored out of their trees, have stumbled across some juggling instruction and can now juggle three balls, more or less. The next thing they are going to want to learn is how to juggle three clubs.  When it is safe to come out again, they are going to want to try clubs.  They are not going to want to buy their own until they have some confidence that they can actually learn clubs.  You aren’t going to want them breathing all over your clubs while they drool through the learning process.

The solution is to hand them a set of Green Clubs that they can keep.  The Green Club Project is a great way to make well balanced clubs with comfortable handles from recycled materials, at a very reasonable cost.  You can easily make a set of three for ten dollars or less.

The free plans are available on the IJA website in English, French and Spanish.

They really are very easy to make.  Here are a few tips that I use to make the process easier.

Sometimes it can be difficult to find the smooth sided bottles that form the handle wrap.  Automatic recycling machines crunch them into useless clumps, or shred them.  I sometimes get a large sheet of acrylic plastic from an art supply store that makes up to 14 handle wraps for about $10.00.  Or you can go to a store that sells posters and see if they have any old plastic display sheets to give away.  They get scratched easily and are often replaced.

I find that attaching the handle wrap is easier with a band of double sided tape around the neck of the bottle rather than using a staple.  It seems to require one less hand.

The plans call for duct tape around the bottle for balance.  I use a steel washer under the tennis ball end.  There are wide washers called fender washers that are ideal.

I’ve seen Green Clubs where the bottle end has been filled with glitter, and others that have been filled with LED lights from the dollar store.  That can be very effective.

Keep a few sets in stock so that you can help new jugglers keep their momentum going!


Todd Smith 1958-2020

Popular prop maker Todd Smith passed away in August at age 62. He made and sold clubs and

other juggling props for close to 40 years and was well known in the juggling community.

His good friend Arthur Lewbel has written an obituary for Todd in eJuggle.

Todd Smith

  Todd Smith








Support the IJA

Covid is making a mess of most things, including budgets.  Some people are barely hanging on, and others are still doing quite well.  Like every other organization out there, the IJA has expenses that don’t go away when the people do.

If you are one of those people who have been financially lucky so far, please consider the IJA.  We have 501(c)(3) status from the IRS, so donations are tax deductible in the United States.  Every donation is certainly welcome.

An indirect way to donate to the IJA is to select the IJA as a charity when ordering from Amazon.  You only have to do it once and it won’t cost you anything.  Go to smile.amazon.com and choose the International Jugglers Association Inc.  Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase amounts to the IJA.  It’s a small fraction, but when lots of jugglers choose the IJA, it can add up over time.

If you feel mortality creeping up on you, consider making a bequest to the IJA in your will.  It does not have to be a lot, but it is a nice way to say thanks and ensure that the IJA can continue to be there for others who are coming along.

You do have a will don’t you?  Everyone should, if only to avoid officialdom from stepping in to help themselves before anything goes where you might have wanted  it to.  It makes things immensely simpler and cheaper for everyone if you state your intentions clearly in a will.  It does not have to be an expensive process.  A handwritten will that has been witnessed is sufficient in many places.  All that costs is a pen and paper plus a bit of thought.

A lot of people don’t make a will because it is too upsetting to think that they might eventually die.  Consider that if you can look back from the afterlife and see things done badly, you’ll be upset too.  A will isn’t cast in stone forever; you can change it at any time.  In fact, it is a good idea to at least look at it once a year, perhaps on your birthday, to be reassured that what you want to happen will happen.

Another reason that people do not make wills is because they think that they have nothing so why make a will?  Make it anyway because you may have more than you think, or your circumstances may improve.  It is too late when you’re gone, and easy and quick while you are still here.  With Covid slowing everything down, you probably have lots of time, right?



Is it safe to come out yet?  by Don Lewis

The short answer is NO.  The longer answer is, it depends.  Sometimes it depends on where you are.

Covid-19 is still with us.  It is not going away.  In North America the second wave is enthusiastically getting started.  People are getting sick in larger numbers.  This time it is the 2040 year old crowd that seems to be driving the case numbers up.  But anyone can get Covid, it seems.  Once you’ve got it, it mostly cures itself unless you wind up in the hospital. The worry though, is longer term secondary effects that might not show up right away.  Better not to get it at all.

Public health authorities tell us that the main way to get infected is droplet infection.  Typically from a affected person who is sneezing, coughing, singing, talking, or shouting.  There are no conclusive studies yet about aerosol infection, but it seems likely to me.  Virus particles are microscopic and nearly weightless, so they can probably hitch a ride on vapor, dust, or smoke particles, blown by the wind.

The precautions remain the same.  Wash your hands.  Keep your hands away from your face unless you’re washing it.  Avoid crowds, especially indoors.  Wear a mask in public. Stay away from people who aren’t wearing a mask.  Practice social distancing by staying six feet or more away from everyone.  Why six feet?  That is judged to be about as far as a droplet can normally go before gravity drags it to the floor.  But further than six feet away is even better.

People who won’t wear a mask usually say that it doesn’t protect you.  In a very limited sense, that’s right.  But it can protect the people around you.  Unless you are wearing a well fitted bio-hazard mask, some virus may still get through to you.  However, the mask will greatly limit the propagation of the virus by an asymptomatic carrier.  Since most people are asymptomatic, at least initially, that could be you, so wear the mask.

Wearing a mask is a gesture of respect to the people around you.  Those who insist on their right to not wear a mask apparently don’t have much respect for those around them.

Stay within your bubble of close contacts, and even then be socially distant.  This is going to take a while to get under control.  Safe vaccines take a while to develop and they don’t always get it right the first time.  Even when we get a vaccine, it will probably take a year or more to vaccinate everyone.

In Quebec we all have to wear masks in public spaces.  All stores insist on hand sanitizer or washing at a sink as you enter.  Now that the price of hand sanitizer has started to drop back to reasonable levels, it is a good idea to carry some with you and use it after purchases or other interactions.  As I write this, the case numbers are climbing in Montreal and new restrictions have been introduced.  Contact tracing has shown that a lot of cases have been centered around young adults gathering in bars and ignoring the public health guidelines. Now social gathering is severely restricted until November, and maybe beyond that.

Stay safe!


Latest articles in eJuggle



Upcoming juggling festivals

Note: Virtually all juggling festivals planned for the coming months have been canceled or rescheduled because of the worldwide pandemic, though some will be held online. 

To find a juggling fest near you or online, check the fest list at The Juggling Edge.  Eventually festivals will return.

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