The Phoenix

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Fat Rat Sees His Shadow

At 7:25 AM EST., Punxsutawny Phil, the Prognosticator of Prognosticators saw his shadow ...which means 6 more weeks of winter. Here's the groundhog's own words:

It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Around the country there are many imitators of me.
In Harrisburg there is Gus who appears on TV working for the lottery.
Then all around town, cute groundhog statues abound. They all look like me, I found.
Today on the Knob as I'm doing my job, I don't like this likeness of me.
It's my shadow I see. Six more weeks of mild winter there will be.


No one said the fat rat was a poet.

So how did this silly celebration start? Why are 20,000 drunk Pennsylvanians clammoring for a groundhog to come out of his burrow anyway?

Groundhog Day comes from the European Christian tradition of Candlemas...the 40th day after Christmas. There's a Scottish saying, " "If Candlesmas Day is bright and clear, There'll be two winters in the year." Germans used a badger in their celebrations, and they brought their tradition to America when they settled in Punxsutawny, PA. The first official American Groundhog Day was February 2, 1887 at Gobbler's Knob. Interestingly, the celebration was closed to the public until 1966.

Those old gents that host the event are known as The Inner Circle. They're charged with taking care of the Phil the groundhog, and carry out the tradition of holding the fat rat up in the air as one of them reads Phil's poetic prediction.

Phil has predicted 6 more weeks of winter an astonishing 94% of the time since 1887. The last time Phil said there would be an early Spring was back in 1999. So is the fat rat accurate?

That depends on whom you ask. Those that believe in the groundhog say he's 100% accurate. Of course, they've downed their tenth beer by the time you get around to interviewing them after the fireworks, the music, the dancing, and finally, Phil's prediction. According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, they couldn't identify any sort of predictive skill in Phil's predictions. They compared the nation's average temperatures in February and March with Phil's announcement, and couldn't find any real link between the two. The NOAA's final conclusion, Phil is no more accurate that the average weatherman.

I'm sure all those meteorologists are happy to hear that some fat rat is just about as skillful as them when it comes to predicting the weather.

Phil is so popular, he has his copycats:

General Beauregard Lee - Atlanta, Georgia
Wiarton Willie - Warton, Ontario,Canada
Sir Walter Wally - Raleigh, North Carolina
Pee Wee - Vermont
To see all the groundhogs, go HERE...it's a map showing all the different prognosticators.

But there is only ONE Punxsutawny Phil. To see the goofy 2006 celebration held this morning at Gobbler's Knob...click HERE.

Maybe Phil could predict the winner of Superbowl XL, but I think he'd be a little biased.

16 Comments:

Blogger Ben Heller said...

If he predicts the Eagles for next season he's forgetting Donovan McNabb.

As for The Steelers, they've got 2 chances.....little....and zilch.

2/02/2006 9:03 AM  
Blogger Bruce said...

Gobbler's Knob...sounds like an adult toy store, doesn't it? And if Phil is correct, it'll be the first hint of winter my area has seen since early December. I hope he's wrong..

2/02/2006 9:27 AM  
Blogger KC said...

Bill Murray is what comes to my mind every Groundhog Day. I love that movie, even though I am not a fan of Andi MacDowell.

2/02/2006 10:01 AM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

You missed one impersonater. Here in West Texas we have 'Prairie Dog Pete'.

2/02/2006 10:01 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

The movie Groundhog Day is a classic. Fuzz, that link to all the groundhogs has him mapped. Like I said, it's amazing how many other rats are making predictions.

2/02/2006 10:28 AM  
Blogger Dirk the Feeble said...

Gobbler's Knob is the second most profane name for a place ever, behind Iwannafuckyouintheass, KY.

You should have seen the CNN broadcast of Phil this morning . . . "The Inner Circle" just went on and on and on and on . . . I thought it would never end. You can tell those guys only get to do one thing all year long that doesn't involve sitting at home in their bathrobes and eating Wheat Thins.

2/02/2006 11:13 AM  
Blogger Mojotek said...

Hey! I live in Iwannafuckyouintheass, KY... it's a sweet little town with a rich history. Of FUDGE PACKING that is!!!! Hardee-har-har-har... Thank you, I'll be here all week.

2/02/2006 11:23 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

I really have no desire to see "The Inner Circle" do their Gobbler's Knob dance. That's just simply profane.

Send me a postcard Mojo.

2/02/2006 11:28 AM  
Blogger Laura:) said...

I am with kc, I love the movie dispite my distaste for Andi Macdowell. There is just something about her.

2/02/2006 12:19 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I'm here in Super Bowl land, pretty exciting!

Have to be honest... I'm pullin' for Seattle because their state is bluer than PA; but on the other hand, Jerome Bettis is from Detroit & attended last night's Pistons game... decisions, decisions, hmmmmmmmmmmmm

2/02/2006 2:20 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

With regard to Andie McDowell...don't hate her because she's beautiful.

Most St. Louisans are rooting for Pittsburgh because Jerome Bettis played for the L.A. and St. Louis Rams.

2/02/2006 3:57 PM  
Blogger angel, jr. said...

You weren't taken off my blogroll. In fact my next post has a request from you. I wonder why it isn't appearing. I'll check it out.

2/02/2006 4:35 PM  
Blogger angel, jr. said...

Can he predict how much up-chuck the town will be cleaning off it's streets tomorrow?

Okay, I saw what the problem was...in an attempt to link the Beauty and the Beast, I used the same jayrey address. I guess it got confused and then just kept both at standstill.

2/02/2006 4:37 PM  
Blogger Denny Shane said...

When I lived in Pa. I made sure I watch Phil every year, but since moving to Texas where it's pretty much 2 seasons... summer and spring, Phily has become an oddity. lol Hey, thanks for stropping by my blog!

2/02/2006 4:58 PM  
Blogger Fated said...

Poor suckers, our groundhog did not see it's shadow. We are having an early spring. Actually we haven't even seen snow since November. So we haven't seen winter yet. Throw somewinter up our way ;)

2/02/2006 9:04 PM  
Blogger LostInTX said...

It was almost 80 degrees here today in Austin. Winter? what winter? 6 more weeks of this weather is something I can surely handle. It will be much appreciated before we hit the 100's in a couple of months.

2/02/2006 9:23 PM  

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Welcome to the blog that aims to examine the lighter side of science. From the paranormal to wacky inventions, to strange mysteries and goofy experiments, I cover it all. Thanks for stoping by blazingtalons.com...where science is always stranger than fiction







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