Saturday, February 02, 2008

Mangey Rodent

As you can tell, I'm not very happy with Punxsutawney Phil, our national groundhog. He just declared that there will be six more weeks of winter. Who let some over-sized rat in hickville Pennsylvania decide to predict the weather anyway?

The official website of Groundhog day,, to find out more about this strange tradition. The website claims: Phil is right 100% of the time, that there has only been one Phil in 120 years (he drinks a secret exlihir of life every summer to keep him alive for seven more years), and he whispers his prediction in "groundhogese" to to the president of the Inner Circle.
But did you know?:
  • Woodchucks, marmots, and ground squirrels are the same thing as a groundhog.
  • The earliest American reference to Groundhog day was made in 1841.
  • Groundhog day may have somehow grown out of Candlemas.
  • Punxsatawney Phil is not the only weather predicting groundhog. We also have Balzac Billy of Balzac, Alberta, Canada; Staten Island Chuck of NYC; Malverne Mel and Malverne Melissa of Malverne, New York; and General Beauregard Lee, PhD of Atlanta, Georgia (that PhD is real. He's been given honorary doctorates by two universities).
  • Groundhog predictions are 75-90% accurate.
  • Punxsutawney Phil's underground home at Gobbler's Knob is only temporary. For most of the year he lives in the town library with his wife Phyllis.
6 more weeks of winter, though? Still a bummer.

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