Friday, March 22, 2013

Death to Punxsutawney Phil?

Should a groundhog living in Pennsylvania receive the death penalty for failing to predict correctly if winter would end early?

Back on February 2, I blogged about the quaint custom in the United States of Groundhog Day. This custom involves having a groundhog come out of its burrow (or being dragged out) on February 2, with live TV coverage, and seeing or not seeing its shadow. Seeing the shadow means six more weeks of winter.  Not seeing the shadow means a early spring.

Guess what happened this February 2?  The chief groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, didn't see his shadow.  Early spring.  Everyone cheered.

But now, we in the Northeast United States are undergoing a different kind of Groundhog Day - one like the famous 1993 comedy with Bill Murray, where a weatherman lives the same day - Groundhog Day- over and over.

February 2 should be cold and snowy.  March 22 should be spring.  But winter dies hard here in the Northeast U.S., after day....we are having dreary weather with snow or snow showers.

Finally, someone in Ohio - which isn't technically in the Northeast but we can't get too technical - had enough.  He is calling for the death penalty for Punxsutawney Phil.  And now, this has gone viral.

Pictures of Punxsutawney Phil are also appearing on Facebook, "Wanted for Fraud".

Yes, we are frustrated.  But seriously - how many of us take this groundhog seriously?  Well, even websites such as EarthSky, which gets into astronomy and weather, does:  and their studies show that Phil is right only 39% of the time.

Yup.  A respected science website did a study on Phil.

So, this blogger living in upstate New York says:  Yes, I want to see the sun.  Yes, I don't want to see any more snow. Yes, I want to see the first spring bulbs blooming.  Yes, I have a sense of humor, but there seems to be a mean streak underlying this.  It's left the realm of "cute".  We have so many other things going on that should be dominating our news.  Not this.  Yet, I must ask:

Do you think Punxsutawney Phil should be executed?


  1. Why do we give so much power over the weather to the predicitions of a large rodent? The groundhog usually comes out in early February to check out if the females are out yet, in estrus and to urinate on a tree so that the females know that the male is available. This gives the female 6 weeks for gestation after they have a "date". Why does anybody think that his has anything to do with the weather?

  2. Human's like to apply the silliest superstitions to the most unrelated events.

  3. No. I have heard that groundhogs are not good to eat. Besides, we don't execute local weather people, do we? Besides, he is cute...


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