Groundhog’s Day was this week. This year the world’s most well-known groundhog, furry rodent Punxutawney Phil, was dragged from his burrow and thrust in front of “news” cameras to make his famous prediction.
As suspected, the furry little gopher predicted another six weeks of winter. That’s not so surprising, given the fact that the first day of spring officially begins on March 20 anyway. At least he can count.
While we’re on the subject of prognostications, I foretell that many clergy will emerge from their parishes sometime next week and declare another six weeks of Lent. How’s that for a prediction? Now if we could only get the weather forecasters to accurately predict the next six hours of weather, I’d be thrilled.
The groundhog legend got its start in the 19th century in this country by a group of German immigrants (probably illegal) who had recently migrated from the fatherland in an effort to flee the grumpiness of their fellow Germans. Ever heard of a grouchy German being a sour kraut?
Anyway, some of these Germans decided it was time to inject some real science into the foretelling of early springs or prolonged winters. So they gathered some of the most learned people of their time and decided to hammer out once and for all how to accurately predict this.
Of course, being German they naturally decided to meet in a tavern. And there was probably a lot of drinking going on. And that’s where they came up with the twisted idea of relying on a groundhog to be their weather forecaster. According to the legend, if the groundhog emerges from his burrow on a sunny day, he will see his shadow, become frightened, experience a panic attack and retreat into the burrow and not come out for another six weeks. Sounds like groundhogs have serious anxiety issues. I wonder if the opossum and the groundhog are related.
If the groundhog emerges from his burrow on a cloudy day, he will not see his shadow, not get frightened and remain outside of his burrow. He will then probably be quickly gobbled up by a nearby lurking starving wolf, which had been biding his time waiting to pick up a quick meal all winter.
So there you have it, more or less, the origins of Groundhog’s Day. In case you’re just a bit skeptical, I wouldn’t give it another thought and just accept it. In other words, you might as well do as the groundhog did and gopher it.
Congratulations to this week’s winner, Diane Estes. She correctly guessed that “P. + R. + N. + D. + L. = G. in an A. T.” was “Park + Reverse + Neutral + Drive + Low = Gears in an Automatic Transmission.” The word “park” was listed in last week’s column.
Here is next week’s puzzle: “G. D. = the S. D. of F.” As usual, at least one of the words is included somewhere in the column. If you think you know the answer, submit your answer at AdVantageNews.com, under the Contests tab, click “Off the Top of My Head Answer” or call the AdVantage News answer line at (888) 532-4441 before noon on Tuesday.
Winners may choose a free lube and oil change from Drake Tire, a $26 value, or a $20 gift certificate to Tony’s Restaurant in downtown Alton, Gentelin’s or Jimmy the Greek’s on Broadway in Alton.
Winners will be notified by telephone on Tuesday and must pick up their prize at AdVantage News before 4 p.m.
Also don’t forget that I am available for public speaking engagements!
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