The town of Fruita, Colorado is putting up its own candidate for U.S. president: Mike, the headless chicken. When I saw the press blurb, I smiled and prepared to move on, suspecting it was another lame ploy by a tiny town to get some press coverage.
Well, it is, but I was intrigued by Mike's story. After all, freakish animal tales are bright lights to reporter moths. Apparently Mike lived for 18 months after having his head chopped off.Here's his story.
According to Fruita lore, back in 1945, farmer Lloyd Olsen tried to make dinner out of Mike (I don't believe the chicken had a name at the time). After the fateful fall of the ax, Mike ran around like a chicken with his head cut off. Except he didn't die. He continued trying to peck for food. So farmer Olsen fed his...neck...with a dropper and eventually took him to be checked out at the University of Utah. "It was determined that the ax blade had missed the jugular vein and a clot had prevented Mike from bleeding to death.
Although most of his head was in a jar, most of his brain stem and one ear was left on his body." I guess ol' Farmer Olsen wasn't so hot with the ax. There was enough of Mike's brain stem left to keep him functioning, and he continued to be fed from a dropper, growing to eight pounds. He became a celebrity, valued at $10,000--in 1945 dollars--and insured.
Fruita is celebrating Mike's candidacy this weekend at the 8th Annual Mike the Headless Chicken Festival. According to spokesman Ture Nycum (I re-read that name five times), the long-dead chicken's will to survive makes him a natural "Head of State." Entering him into the Presidential race is "a no-brainer."
HIGH GAS PRICES MEAN BOOMING BUSINESS FOR TOW TRUCKS
Today I'm reporting on people facing foreclosure who are torching their homes to try to get insurance money. But insurance companies say a far more common problem is people torching their cars or reporting them "stolen," so they can get out of car payments they can no longer afford on gas-guzzling SUVs they can't fill up.
An even bigger trend: people are delaying trips to the filling station until the last minute. This is leading to more drivers running out of gas and a boom in business for tow trucks. One California towing operation says calls are up 25 percent. But he suspects the problem is even worse than that. People who can't afford to fill their tanks probably can't afford a tow truck. They'll just walk to a gas station and buy a couple gallons in a can and walk back.
It's gonna be a long, hot summer.