Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania is the home of Punxsutawney Phil, the world’s best known groundhog. Today is his day. Groundhog Day. In four hours or so after I post this blob, Phil will step out of a burrow, see or not see his shadow, return or not return to the burrow, and thus make his prediction as to whether or not we’ll be having 6 more weeks of winter or whether we’ll have an early spring.
Unfortunately, Phil is a fraud.
1. First of all, groundhog Punxsutawney Phil isn’t a hog. He’s a woodchuck – a rodent. If you don’t mind his buck teeth, he’s cute all right, but when the wood chips are down – let’s face it – Phil is a rat.
2. Phil is not very accurate. Over the past 120 years or so, he’s only been accurate 39 percent of the time. I’m sure Octo-woman can do better than that. Read her predictions further on.
3. Phil operates under false pretenses. He doesn’t live in a hole in the ground that he dug himself like any self-respecting groundhog would do. He lives in a library. He gets plenty of star attention each February 2 but the other 364 days of the year, America’s most famous furry forecaster spends his time not in the ground but in a climate-controlled enclosure next to the children’s section of the Punxsutawney Memorial Library. He shares his pad with his “wife” Phyllis and a couple of other groundhogs. So much for a groundhog’s natural habitat. No wonder he can’t get his weather predictions spot-on.
4. The citizens of Punxsutawney claim that Phil is 124 years old. He must have had some work done. He doesn’t look a day older than 6. Living in a library may make Phil feel ancient though, especially if he’s frustrated by not being able to read very well. His less educated counterparts out in more “rural” areas only live for 6 or 8 years, perhaps due to lack of a good health care plan or membership in popular literary book clubs.
As far as “seeing his shadow” is concerned, it must be a challenge. At 7:25 this morning, a group of corny looking gentlemen in their top hats and long coats, will transfer Phil into a simulated tree stump on a stage. Then following lengthy corny speeches and urged on by a bundled-up shivering crowd of many thousands, Phil will step out of the corny fake tree stump. Blinded by banks of high octane TV lights and with flashbulbs popping, Phil probably wouldn’t recognize his shadow if it jumped up and ate him. So whatever he predicts this morning — I wouldn’t bet the house on it.
But here’s one weather forecast you CAN bet on, because this is from Octo-woman. For the next six weeks, Octo-woman is forecasting that:
(1) the weather nationwide will be very cold except on days when the temperature rises above 50 degrees,
(2) there will be heavy snow on the North and South Poles.
(3) The Superbowl game on Sunday will be either rained out, snowed in, or oversold due to warm sunny weather and plenty of free parking.
This weather prediction has been brought to you free of charge in case the one Punxsutawney Phil serves up later this morning leaves something to be desired. But come sun, rain, snow, ice, sleet, or what-have-you, please enjoy the day. It’s the only one we have available.