Tuesday, February 2, 2010

More winter

So says Punxsutawney Phil - it's Groundhog Day, and according to the latest news report, Phil is predicting 6 more weeks of winter. Thankfully the sun is shining on my little house, as is almost usual here in Southern Arizona. Worst winter since I've been here, but waaaaaaaaaay better than most of the continent!

Punxsutawney Phil is held by Inner Circle member John Griffiths (C) as Inner Circle president Bill Deeley (L) speaks during the Groundhog Day celebration at Gobblers Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, USA, 02 February 2010. Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow after appearing from his burrow to forecast six more weeks of winter.

Cute little fella!!

some fun facts about the little varmint -

Punxsutawney Phil is immortal. Well, practically. According to folklore, the furry oracle was born in 1887, making him 123 years old. The average groundhog lives less than 10 years, making Phil a statistical anomaly … or not Phil (remember when Daddy came home from the vet with Harry the hamster, only Harry looked different?). Fans of Punxsutawney Phil insist a magical “elixir of life” keep Phil looking youthful.

Phil’s about as accurate as your average meteorologist. That is to say, not very. The US National Climatic Data Center estimates Phil’s forecast is correct only about 40 percent of the time. (Perhaps he could find a job at the Weather Channel.)

Phil’s got competition. Watch out, Phil: prognostication is popular among the rodent set. New York’s got Staten Island Chuck, Ohio’s got Buckeye Chuck, and Georgia’s got good ol' General Beauregard Lee. There’s more. Wiarton Willie, Dunkirk Dave, Shubenacadie Sam, French Creek Freddie, Balzac Billy, the list goes on.

Phil’s gone high-tech. He may hail from the 19th century, but Phil’s getting word out in a decidedly 21st century way: he’s texting. And YouTubing. Phil text messaged fans his forecast Tuesday morning (followers signed up in advance by texting ‘Groundhog’ to 247365), and he has his own YouTube channel. And like everyone else and their mother, he’s on Facebook.

There’s no Groundhog Day in Alaska. For which we can thank Sarah Palin. There aren’t many groundhogs in Alaska, so then-Gov. Sarah Palin signed a bill last year officially designating February 2 as Marmot Day. The marmot can't forecast the weather, but he may be the only rodent that can see Russia from his burrow.

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