Montel Williams and Miracle Mike, The Headless Chicken

Mike the headless chicken 4Montel Williams was spot-on for publicly and vehemently scolding the Veterans Administration for their unconscionable and disgraceful treatment (or lack of treatment) for America’s sick and wounded veterans. Mike the headless chicken

Williams likened the VA to a once famous chicken which was given the mystical moniker of “Miracle Mike.” “Miracle Mike” was a Wyandotte chicken from Fruita, Colorado who lost the most important part of his body when his owner set out to behead him and utilize him as a menu item at supper time.

The owner’s ax was off center when he tried to separate Mike from his head. The ax took off Mike’s head but missed his jugular vein, leaving one ear and most of his brain stem intact. Now don’t go and ask me dumb questions about chicken ears. I didn’t know they had ears either. Many years ago an old uncle told me about chicken teeth but he never mentioned a chicken’s ears.

Even without a head Mike could still balance on a perch, walk to some degree (very clumsily) and attempt to preen and crow. His crowing sounded more like gurgles. I can identify with the gurgles because that’s how I sound after I try to preen and crow and Katie Mae smacks me in the back of the head with a broom.

As you can see in the pictures, Mike could be fed small grains of corn and a mixture of milk and water with an eyedropper.

Mike eventually met up with a two-headed calf and they toured sideshows across the country together. He was featured in “Time” and “Life” magazines and at the height of his popularity he was earning almost $50,000.00 a month in today’s dollars.

In March of 1947, Mike got all choked up at a motel in Phoenix in the middle of the night. His owners had left his feeding and cleaning syringes at the sideshow the day before and his inability to breathe killed him.

So this is the “Miracle Mike” Montel Williams was referring to in his comparison of a chicken running around with his head cut off and the VA continuing to operate without a head.

I certainly appreciate and applaud Montel Williams for speaking out so passionately in his concern for the healthcare of our American Veterans. They need all the help we can give them.

I only disagree with Mr. Williams in one small way. If I understood him correctly I think he should have given “Miracle Mike” a greater vote of confidence. Mike did very well for eighteen months with no head. The VA has had a number of heads over a period of many years and they do not seem to function nearly as good as Mike did without his.

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1901 – Wine of Cardui – For Most All That Ails Women.

Chattanooga Medicine CompanyAdvertisement for Cardui






From Mary Braswell’s “Looking Back” column in the Albany (Georgia) Herald dated April 27, 2014: The Chattanooga Medicine Company encouraged mothers  to give their daughters, beginning at age 12, one dose of Wine of Cardui each morning to head off female problems. Such care was needed to help a girl “develop into attractive womanhood and equip her for the duties of a wife and mother.” The medicine was available at local drug stores for $1 per bottle. This was May, 1901.

Why couldn’t we have left well enough alone. Women once had the perfect prescription for menstrual relief in Wine of Cardui. Now good Baptist women, and other fine Christian ladies all over the world have to hide in a closet and hit on a couple of snorts of wine straight from the neck of the bottle to ward off the miseries.

Back then men had bouts of melancholy and women had the vapors. The vapors were defined as attacks of hysteria, mania, clinical depression, bipolar disorder, withdrawal syndrome, fainting, mood swings or PMS, all brought on by internal emanations. The Wine of Cardui was good for all.

Main ingredients of the wine were potassium (51.9%), salt (16 %) and alcohol (20.3%).

If you don’t think 23.3% alcohol will cure most that ails you, your drinking skills and knowledge are sadly lacking. That much alcohol in a mixture will cure you, make you rich and pretty (or handsome) and it will turn you into the smartest person in the room. All these wondrous things will occur to you right before you take a face-down, nose-dive to the floor. Pray the carpets are thick.

Wine of Cardui was introduced by the company because their old solid money maker in a bottle, Black Draught Laxative Product fell upon hard times in the Civil War years. They lost all their northern customers during that time. Wine of Cardui saved them. It also helped them strongly compete with a product made in the north called “Female Complaints.” I was born fifty years too late. I could have been a great customer service representative for “Female Complaints.” I’ve heard a million of ’em.

I like their advertising keenness and depth of perception. Their testimonials from happy customers are uplifting. One ad proclaimed, “Woman’s modesty and ignorance of danger often cause her to endure pains and suffer torture rather than consult a physician about important subjects. Pains in the head, neck, back, hips, limbs and lower bowels at monthly intervals indicate alarming derangements.

I can just imagine if you told today’s woman she was ignorant and deranged you would need a case of the larger size bottles of Wine of Cardui to help you recuperate from your bodily derangements.

The ad goes on to say, “McElree’s Wine of Cardui is a harmless bitter wine without intoxicating qualities (apparently their drinking skills and knowledge were sadly lacking). Taken at the proper time it relieves pain, corrects derangements, quiets nervousness and cures Whites, Falling of the Womb and Suppressed or too Frequent Menses.

I’m not sure what “Whites” refers to. It could be white folks who need curing or it could mean white mouth patch ailments or milk leg which was a type of thrombosis. I also do not know why they capitalized certain words and not others.

One lady said her doctor described her back pain as being caused by, “Falling of the Womb.” He had to replace the womb a dozen times with instruments but Wine of Cardui completely cured her of the womb falling disorder.

Another woman testified, “My womb kept coming down. After I took Wine of Cardui I was well from it and I have never had falling of the womb since, even after childbirth.”

I’m glad the womb falling incidents have cleared up over the years. I’m pretty excitable and if I were in a room with a woman and her womb fell I would be a nervous wreck and totally useless.

I could, however manage to pour some wine down her throat and if that’s all it takes that makes me almost a doctor… 1900.

Medicine WagonMedicine Bottle




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Radium Springs – Albany Georgia – My Home Town – Luke Battles the Radium Slide

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This view as the same as the one below except this one shows the attraction the water at Radium was to local residents.

I grew up in Albany, Georgia not more than two miles through the woods from the largest natural spring in the state. Radium Springs or Radium as we called the springs is still the stuff that dreams are made of especially if you grew up there when I did. The kids who hung out there all those golden summers ago are still flush with the memories we made there and many of us have never stopped dreaming about Radium.

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Crystal clear 68° water (that’s bone-rattling cold) pumping at a rate of 70,000 gallons per minute.

But the memory I have to share with you does not include the gorgeous southern belles we longed for in sweet dreams. My memorable story comes from an earlier age before our fragile and crushed libidos emerged scathed, and scorched from the narrow halls of junior high school straight into the cavernous hallways of Albany High School.

This memory is from that long lost age of prepubescence when Luke and I were only about ten years old. This would have been in 1951 or ’52. My Mother dropped us off one beautiful Sunday morning and left us to swim and play to the point of exhaustion so we would be too tired to bother her when we came back home after the big swim.

Luke and I were built pretty much alike. We both looked exactly like spider monkeys. We were skinny and had the long limbs of the world’s most successful tree swingers. Our simian good looks destined us to pretty much play together because other normal looking kids usually were intimidated by our tree climbing and limb swinging abilities. Our faces even looked like those of long limbed monkeys.

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The front entrance to Radium Springs Casino during Christmas.

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The Casino and springs viewed from the rear of the building.

Once we arrived at the springs we hit the ground running. We went all out. We swam around the island about a dozen times. We ventured down the creek that emptied into the Flint River at least twice before life guards told us they would kick our butts if we didn’t cut it out. We had worked the place over petty good that morning and we were headed for more of the same that afternoon up until the moment Luke fell in love with a slide that was at least as high as a two story building. I lost sight of him for a few minutes and when I next caught sight of him he was climbing up that long slide the same way most people use to slide down it. He was all over that sliding board. The picture shown below has the slide located on the Casino side of the swimming area but back when Luke commandeered the slide it was mounted on the island.

He fell madly in love with the slide. I temporarily lost sight of him again and when I finally spotted him he was swinging just like one of those old spider monkeys from the supporting structure beneath the slide. I felt sure he was going to set up a rhythmic swinging of the slide that would result in its crashing into the water on top of a dozen swimmers.

Radium 6It was hard to keep up with loose limbed Luke. I next saw him going up the slide by walking it from the bottom to the top. Man could he move. There is a man in this old picture of one of the slides doing the same crazy backward slide walk.

His great downfall finally came when he tried sliding down backward on his hands and knees. It was more fun than watching acrobats at a circus. As he went down the thing on his hands and knees he hit that little dip in the board where two sections were joined. He commenced to do a back flip that would have worked perfectly except for the fact he didn’t know he was going to do a back flip. When he completed the flip he lost his grip and his face hit that same joint between the slide sections.

Hitting your face wouldn’t normally have been much of a problem for either of us because we were far less than handsome boys. To be honest we were fairly ugly boys. The trouble with hitting his face right at that spot at that moment was, like most human type people, Luke had a mouth full of teeth. That joint in the slide sections got a good grip on one of Luke’s upper incisors and drove it deep into the roof of his mouth where the Lord did not intend it to be. It was noticeable and it was not pretty.

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High water here has caused the water to be murky rather than crystal clear as is normal.

I don’t remember how I got in touch with my Daddy but it seems like it was no time at all before he had us in the car, still in our floppy swimsuits, and on the road to town.

I also have no idea how Daddy had arranged for a dentist to meet us downtown but the dentist was there in full regalia and with a huge assortment of stainless steel tools of torture waiting for Luke to show up. I do not remember the name of the dentist but I remember his office was on the second floor of a building on Front Street and it was across the street from Keenan’s Auto Parts Company.

Luke was quickly ushered into the dentist’s chair and as the dentist picked up a syringe with a pretty good sized needle attached I saw Luke’s spider monkey eyes accelerate to saucer size in a split second. Now I don’t really know how needles are measured in diameter but I understand that the smaller the number, the bigger the needle. A size seven is probably the largest they make but this dentist had somehow scraped up a number one needle and old Luke had not missed a beat when the dentist picked it up from his tray.

I have never seen an Olympic speedster move as fast as Luke did. He came out of that chair like it had a built in catapult. He went out the door and down the stairs. I could see him running past Keenan’s Auto Parts and heading for the river before the dentist could say, “What the hell happened?”

We chased Luke. Correction: I chased Luke for more than an hour all along Front Street to Broad Avenue up to Jackson Street and back down Pine Street. At times we passed the same businesses more than once. It had to be a Sunday because the streets were empty of cars and people and it was a good thing that few people saw us because I don’t think my Daddy could have taken the embarrassment of having Tift Park zoo keepers join the chase for a couple of spider monkeys running loose on the Flint River Bridge. Luke could run even faster than he could swing from limbs. Daddy tried to keep up in his car. Finally he told me, “Just yell to him that we won’t take him back to the dentist. We’ll take him home to his Mother and Daddy.”  And that’s what we did.

I understand Luke’s folks got him to settle down so the family dentist could get his tooth back in shape. I used to see him from time to time. I would look for signs of the tooth being false but I never could tell if they saved his tooth or if he had a new one stuck on a retainer. I was always afraid to ask. I didn’t want to take an ass whipping from a spider monkey.

Luke never went back to Radium springs with me and maybe it was best that way. I eventually became acceptable to a few local girls who apparently decided it was okay to have to put up with just one spider monkey.

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Luke – Taking a rare rest.

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Spider monkey 2

Luke at Work.

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Dream a Little Dream of Me.

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You can dream you are on the beach.

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You can dream you are playing golf at the beach.

There are some strange guys out there working on a headband that will allow you to control your dreams. They have already raised almost $200,000 on Kickstarter.

This magical headband is supposed to measure your brain waves and eye movements to catch you when you enter the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep.

That’s when you generate all those marvelous dreams you have now. Then the amazing headband will emit lights that are not supposed to wake you but they will make you aware you are dreaming. You then can control your dreams by going into a lucid dream state. They didn’t say exactly how you make that part work.

I did not make any of this up out of whole cloth or even tattered old tee shirts. I read it. I do not believe it but who knows?

Dr. Rachel Salas who is the assistant medical director at Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep does not believe it either. She says all the quack devices that are now on the market cannot detect the various stages of sleep. She is a board-certified neurologist and she has to use several different devices in order to measure all your different stages of sleep.


You can dream of climbing mountains.

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Dream of playing golf at St. Andrews Old course.

She believes the Aurora Sleep Band may actually create insomnia because we are already exposed to so many light sources every day. Increasing light may create sleep disorders.

The Aurora headband co-founder Daniel Schoonover actually believes lucid dreaming will relieve stress and if you dream of practicing your piano lessons while lucid dreaming it will increase your ability to play the piano in real life. Mr. Schoonover apparently does not understand that normal sleep and dreaming are already  parts of real life.

So dream your life away. Dream of all the things you always wanted to do. I feel absolutely sure that all these wonderful things you always dreamed of are almost in your grasp. Mr Schoonover just needs a few more hundreds of thousands dollars to make your dreams come true.


Dream of skydiving in a coat and tie.

And if you’re a woman of the world, who wants to see everything in the world, maybe one day you can reach that marvelous dream state that allows you to effortlessly encircle the globe in a single day while watching the sun rise in a hundred exotic lands as you slowly emerge from breath-taking starry evenings you leave behind you.

And if you are just a good old boy who wants to dream of being surrounded by a bevy of beautiful women who wait on you hand and foot you might as well forget about it.

I can tell you all that time passes quickly and your best bet is to dream of getting a good night’s rest without being aroused from a sound sleep just to stumble into the bathroom because your bladder doesn’t care if you’re lucid dreaming or not. Your bladder does not have the same dreams you have.

Opt for restful, blissful sleep. Besides your heart might not be able to take the strain of too much lucid dreaming. You know lots of folks go to sleep and never wake up. Who knows what scared them to death while they were asleep?

Stay away from lucid-dreaming Aurora headbands. Lucid dreaming is not for weak hearts…… or weak bladders.


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