It's all a vast left-wing conspiracy. Well, it might be a vast right-wing conspiracy since I'm not really up to speed on rodent politics these days, but I think it's all just a ploy by the groundhogs. As with most conspiracy theorists, I am not really sure what advantage THEY will achieve, but I'm sure they're up to something. Somehow, it's important that they try to convince us that it's spring when it's really not, but I don't really understand what benefits are gained by announcing that there will be six more weeks of winter. Especially since, according to my calendar, the first day of spring will be March 20th whether "Phil" [if that's his real name] sees his shadow or not.
I have selected Punxsutawney Phil and the whole groundhog phenom as the subject of my derision today for three reasons:
1. The Weather Charletans are predicting record high temps today.
2. I am not outside in the aforementioned record high temps today.
3. The next time I AM able to be outside [which will be Saturday, February 2nd] it will NOT be record high temps, and at that point Phil will emerge from his little groundhog love shack, see his shadow, and predict the obvious.
OK, so that's not a good enough reason to deride a poor defenseless creature that is probably more embarrassed about the whole thing than anyone. But there's something that is even more intriguing to me about this whole thing. Phil is supporting an entire tourism industry on his furry little shoulders. There are websites galore, including the "official" site of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is a three day event. I kid you not. Three days of Phil-fest that includes such highlights as:
* Phil's Ice Carving Exhibition
* 4th Annual Woodchuck Whittle Carving Show
* Groundhog Jam Fest (located on Findley Street across from Ragley's True Value Hardware)
* Annual Groundhog Banquet (sponsored by the Inner Circle of the Groundhog Club)
* Punxsy Phil's Chili Cook-off [I'd be a little nervous about that one, Phil]
* Community Center Crash Pad (bring your sleeping bag and crash here before your trek to Gobbler's Knob)
Oh, and every day of the festivites, Phil's Wedding Chapel is open for business. "Groundhog Day Marriage Ceremonies officially performed by our Mayor and witnessed by a member of the Groundhog Club. 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m."
[The bride wore a lovely ecru gown of satin and lace. The groom wore, well, FUR.]
Of course there is the Main Event:
"116th Annual Trek to Gobbler's Knob for Phil's Official Prognostication. At Sportsman's Park. Live entertainment, music, fireworks (brought to you by Jefferson Machine Company, Inc., and the Groundhog Club) and fun with the Groundhog Club Inner Circle. Phil's official prediction at daybreak (approximately 7:25 a.m.). Dress warmly! Coffee Shop opens at 3:00 a.m. Handicapped accessible. No alcoholic beverages or illegal substances allowed on premises. Gates open at 3:00 a.m. NOTE: There will be increased security measures at Gobbler's Knob. Back packs and other bags are prohibited."
Heh. Increased security measures? What like blowing away a groundhog in the middle of the Keystone State is really one of the top ideas in Osama's suggestion box?
I know. Way too cynical about it. After all, without Phil, the entire economy of middle PA would be destroyed and we would be deprived of such necessities as Phil's Blend Coffee, Punxsutawney Bag Clips, Phil On A Stick Chocolates, and Punxsutawney neckties emblazoned with our favorite groundhog's visage.
[And a black velvet painting of Phil.]
~ ~ ~
Quote du jour:
"No one has the right to destroy
another person's belief by demanding
-- Ann Landers
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