02 December 2011

Ooooh Look - Something Shiny

Well it's happened to me again.  I begin a search for information for an article I am trying to write and 25 hours later I am full of all kinds of useless information and no closer to finishing the article.  Don't laugh - I KNOW it has happened to you too!

IT ALL STARTED when I happened upon the NARA blog called "Prologue: Pieces of History" and the post by Hillary - What's Cooking Wednesday:  Truman and the no-turkey Thursday.  President Harry S. Truman delivered the first televised presidential speech on October 5, 1947.  Speaking from the White House, Truman appealed to Americans to conserve food for starving people in Europe - no meat on Tuesdays, no poultry on Thursdays.

Ooh - I need to learn how this affected my rural SouthEast Kansas ancestors who were farmers.   Clickity- clack goes my keyboard and I do a search for "Americans no poultry on Thursday."  I scan down the list of results and this pops out at me-

Mike the Headless Chicken

No way can I move on without checking that out first.  In 1945 a man attempts to behead a chicken for dinner and botches the execution.  With the brain stem and one ear left intact, the damn bird lived.  The owner named it Mike and took the chicken on the road.  Don't believe me?  Check out the Life Magazine photo shoot of Mike the Headless Chicken.  There is even a festival celebrating Mike's will to live in Fruita, Colorado every year in May.

So now I am thinking I need to find out about sideshows and carnivals back then.  Maybe my ancestors lived in areas where they frequented and maybe had the opportunity to attend one. Clickity clack type type type and now I find "Rural Kansas Tourism" that has such gems as "Bicycle Mystery" and  "The Biggest Ball of Twine."    But the best find of all?  My ancestors were living in the thick of the carnies and Freak Shows.  Kinsley, Kansas is where you will find the National Foundation for Carnival Heritage Center.  Boy, I never saw that coming. They even have a Facebook page!   Kinsley is also called Midway, USA because it is exactly 1561 miles to San Francisco and exactly 1561 miles to New York City.

By this time I can't even remember what the hell I was searching for in the first place.  Figuring my brain needs  some R & R from the information overload, I spent the next two hours playing "Angry Birds."  After dinner and some T.V. viewing, I am back at the computer going through my email.  It's now 1:00 am and I am just about to shut the computer off and all the sudden remember about the article that I need to have finished by the next morning.  

And so clickity clack,  I begin again with the searching. So let's hear about the last time you saw "Something Shiny", where did it take you?


  1. Sheri I LOVE LOVE LOVE your posts. I have felt like that "something shiny" the last couple of weeks. But mostly I'm tracing gangster era Chicago Italians for a client. Then I find something interesting in a news article and have to chase that down cause it is "kind of related" to what I was already doing. Then I see something else. What fun!

    I'll have to go look up Mike the Headless Chicken. :) Have a great day!

  2. Great post! I too find that I get sidetracked with all the fascinating things there are on the internet. I have actually heard of the headless chicken, but didn't know about the no poultry on Thursdays effort. I'll be interested to hear if you find it had any impact on your ancestors.

  3. Welcome to my world. Ritalin works, or copious amounts of coffee. OR one simply enjoys the journey (and ignores the snickers from the sidelines).

    I am crushed that after living in Kansas for years I never heard of Mike. He is a bird worth remembering. Off to learn more.

  4. I only signed on to FB for a "quick peek" and then The Educated Genealogist caught my beady little eye. Minutes tick past and now I am definitely more educated about carnival sideshows and botched chicken executions, but my article, too, is sidelined.

    Thanks a bunch! :>)

  5. Awesome!!! I love random knowledge. Think how great this will be for the holiday parties, where you meet people and have no idea what to talk to them about!

  6. Too funny, Sheri! I can so totally relate...but I didn't have to wait until Life gave me "My Grownup Something Shiny Story." That's why I always hated those homework assignments in grade school where you had to look up vocabulary words. Inevitably, I got lost in the dictionary...

  7. Ahhh, Sheri, thank you for the great laugh of my day. I'm sure the neighbors heard me guffawing!
    Your tales of wandering down lanes of headless chickens and carnie extraordinaires is absolutely a hoot!
    I do the same thing -- daily!
    Loved it!

  8. You mean this isn't normal?

    Love this. It reminds me of the words we once heard from our younger daughter's then 9-year-old mouth: "It's-shiny-I-want-it-I-saw-it-first-What-is-it?"

  9. I can so relate! Thank you for the conversation starter for all those work related holiday functions we have to attend this time of year. I can hardly wait to start a conversation with, "Did you hear about Mike the headless chicken? No really, he was in Life Magazine!"

    And now thanks to this "something shiny" I've forgotten what I originally logged into Google Reader to find....

  10. Sheri - great post!

    Here's my response:

  11. Ah Sheri, I love this! By reading the comments, many of us can identify as well!

    You, too, are that "something shiny" because just following the links in your post, I thought, "there goes my morning!" That's a good thing!

    I wonder, does Mike's fame also include his stint as the originator of the phrase "like a chicken with its head cut off?"

    Thanks for today's best laugh!