It's Groundhog Day! Loved the movie. Have serious questions about the tradition. My first question is, when did this nonsense get started? The answer is that in this country it all began around 1887 somewhere in Pennsylvania Dutch country. So the actual famous weather rodent, Punxsutany Phil, is in the correct neck of the woods for sure.
But I was also wondering, how is it that an animal that is essentially rat cousin is seen to be imbued with powers of prognostication? Well, the actual tradition originates somewhere in ancient Europe where a badger or sacred bear predicts the weather. As we have no sacred bears laying around but the Pennsylvannia part of the country seems to be lousy with groundhogs, Phils gets the nod.
I was curious if old Punxsatuny Phil is supposedly predicting the weather for the entire country? His state? or maybe just his neighborhood? Well it turns out that it's just the local weather. Texas has it's own weather guru and it's an armadillo. Which makes sense. Loads of unemployed armadillos in Texas. May as well put one of them to work. I have no idea what other parts of the country do because Phil is strictly a local kinda guy.
Then I wondered, how many different Punxasatuny Phil's there have been. According to their website, Phil is eternal and magical. Turns out, not so much. The average groundhog lives about six years which means that there have been at least 21 different weather predicting groundhogs in PA and unless the knowledge is passed along groundhog generation to groundhog generation of how to predict the weather accurately, I have doubts about it's veracity.
And then there is that......the accuracy. Regardless of Phil's website where they claim his accuracy to be 100%, it's actually only 39%. Come to think of it, that's probably pretty much on par with human weather guys. And unless Phil has a teeny tiny meterologic computer in his burrow, I guess I'm a little bit impressed.
Meanwhile, I still have no idea how it is that this one tiny community in Pennsylvania and one fairly obscure ancient European tradition involving a psychic rodent have become such a big deal. It doesn't bother me, I don't object to it, I'm just curious. I'm sure there were a lot of ancient European tradition that we no longer practice. How is it that this one has carried forward? I am not a dissenter, I am just a naturally curious person. Apparently just like Phil is a natural weather forecaster.
Still, I live in Florida. Groundhog day doesn't mean much here. I peek out the window and it's sunny and gorgeous, just as it usually is. I don't think we have ground hogs. We have lizards and alligators. If either one of them can predict the weather, they aren't talking about it.
Meanwhile, I still like the movie better than the day. I'm reasonably sure most people would agree it has a more predictably happy ending ;)
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.