There's not much to this, really. I'd just finished making some Icehouse pieces and a few 5-pointers and I was trying to figure out what to do with some of the extras and factory seconds.
There's this toy that my grandparents had that always fascinated me as a child. It's a brass cobra with a spike at the top of its head. Balaced on the spike is a curved wire, and little brass bears sit at the ends of the wire. The way it teeters and spins was enough to keep me occupied for minutes at a time. (Being a rambunctious youngster, that was quite an accomplishment.)
Anyway, I decided to make something like that toy, using the materials at hand. If you're unafamiliar with this type of thing, just let me say that it's a little harder to accomplish than it looks. Not very much harder, but a little.