Sunday, May 29, 2011

Normal Steak 'n Shake

Not surprisingly, Steak 'n Shake has a website. They do mention that the restaurant was founded in Normal in 1934.  The posters that they sell show old Steak 'n Shake locations (at least, they look old) but there are no dates or locations given for the pictures. It'd be great if one was the original, Normal location!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Normal Photographer

Did you know that a famous photographer with an unusual name was born in Normal? His name was Ralph Eugene Meatyard. He was born here in 1925. He moved to Lexington, Kentucky, and worked for a company that sold photographic equipment. He bought a camera to take pictures of his son and seemed to really get into photography, eventually exhibiting his photographs. There are quite a few internet links to information about his work, if you are interested in learning more about him and viewing some of his photographs.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Normal Urban Chickens (NUCS): Phase I and Beyond

The Normal Town Council has passed the proposal for an urban chicken ordinance to the Planning Commission for a public hearing and discussion. If the proposal is recommended and approved, I wonder what effects this will have on Normal in the future. . .
1 year
The town of Normal welcomed hens. EIEIO
Across the town they live in pens. EIEIO
With a cluck, cluck here and a squawk, squawk there.
Here a cluck, there a squawk, everywhere a cluck squawk!
Urban chickens are our friends. EIEIO

7 years
"Redbirds" now replaced by "NUCS." EIEIO
But "NUCS" rhymes really well with "sucks." EIEIO
With a "NUCS sucks!" here and a "NUCS sucks!" there.
Here a "NUCS," there a "sucks" everywhere a "NUCS sucks!"
Mascot name is now in flux. EIEIO

12 years
Feral chickens roam the town. EIEIO
In Normal parks across the ground. EIEIO
With a rotten egg here and a rotten egg there.
Here an egg, there an egg, everywhere a rotten egg.
Watch your step, there's quite a mound! EIEIO

15 years
NUCS and Normal pigeons met. EIEIO
Soon little pigkens they beget. EIEIO
With a cloo cuck here and a cloo cuck there.
Here a cloo, there a cuck, everywhere a cloo cuck.
Designer pests -- the latest yet! EIEIO

20 years
"Foxy Normal" now it's known. EIEIO
Fox population overgrown. EIEIO
With a red fox here and a grey fox there.
Here a fox, there a fox, everywhere a foxy fox.
Normal fowl the coop have flown. EIEIO

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Normal Chickens: Ruling the Roost or Dumb Clucks?

Normal is considering a proposal to allow residents to raise chickens. This seems to be a popular topic in other parts of the U.S. -- Washington, California, and Missouri, for example. Headlines take advantage of the humorous poultry-related expressions, such as "one cluck closer," and "opponents squawk."

I have to say I am in favor of allowing residents to have one or two chickens (let's not go crazy and have dozens of them running around). They do create somewhat of a mess and can be temperamental, so I doubt that everyone will want to have them. They're a lot quieter than dogs, though, and they don't require walking! We raised a couple of chickens (one pictured above) when I was a kid. I remember Tweety (not pictured) proudly "crowing" after laying an egg in the barn every morning and how she would come running to me when I swatted flies for her. She held her own against the barn cats, too. I was surprised at how much fun a chicken could be as a pet.

If anyone is interested in furthering the cause, here is a pro-chicken petition from the fine folks of Brunswick, Maryland:

To: The Mayor & City Council of Brunswick, MD

Whereas, cities across America are realizing the many benefits of urban chicken ownership and changing their ordinances accordingly;

Whereas, during a time of severe economic crisis and world-wide oil shortages, backyard urban chicken rearing provides an economical source of healthy protein for citizens;

Whereas, the keeping of backyard chickens makes a highly positive impact on the solid waste stream, county-wide recycling efforts, and the unnecessary use of chemical fertilizers in urban gardens;

Whereas, a well-kept coop regulated by ordinances poses no threat to city sanitation or the health of our citizens;

Whereas, a well-crafted town ordinance can adequately address all concerns such as noise, number, setbacks and registration; banning roosters and ensuring that specific guidelines are in place to protect all;

We, the undersigned citizens of Brunswick, MD hereby request that the city council amend the current ordinance, Section 3-1202, to allow for the ownership of 4-6 laying hens within Brunswick limits.