Happy Groundhog(s) Day

As the world waited breathlessly on Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction this morning, the Wall Street Journal entertainingly chronicled other, lesser-known groundhogs who predict the weather in other areas.  Apparently, the rivalries get pretty intense:

Bob Will has been trotting out Dunkirk Dave for up to 100 people since the 1960s, and he has a number of pet peeves about Phil… “I just think that maybe Punxsutawney Phil should predict the weather the way Dunkirk Dave does, standing on his own on the ground, instead of being yanked up in the air and held,” says Mr. Will. “We don’t fake it here.” He suspects the Punxsutawney Inner Circle consults the long-range weather forecast to make sure Phil doesn’t look foolish.

Don’t drive angry, Mr. Will.  The folks behind New York City’s Groundhog, Staten Island Chuck, have theories about Groundhog Day Central as well:

Peter Laline, general curator of the Staten Island Zoo, says Chuck has been right 22 of the past 29 years…  He thinks Punxsutawney’s celebration is “more storybook and fairy tale,” noting that the town claims that Phil has lived for 100 years by sipping magical punch.

The article did not mention Laline’s ruminations on whether the Rock is the real Tooth Fairy.

The folks at PETA have a different idea altogether: last week they called on the Inner Circle of Punxsutawney to abandon the tradition of parading a groundhog about.  Their solution?  Robot groundhogs.

Maybe the robots or the myriad less-famous groundhogs would be more likely to predict early springs.  But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn’t imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter.

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