On Groundhogs and Marmots


According to the folks who brave the snow in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania at this time of the year, Punxsutawney Phil, the world’s most famous groundhog, did NOT see his shadow this year, so spring should come early.  I hope this year’s prediction is correct; last year the groundhog saw his shadow, but in both my permanent home of Kentucky and my temporary home of Connecticut, we did not have to deal with six more weeks of winter. (As I write this, a new layer of snow is falling, to replace what melted yesterday.) In Kentucky we have groundhogs, but they’re not a big deal; I see one quite often where Old Todds Rd passes the Linkbelt factory, watching the cars go by.

I also just learned that in Alaska they don’t have groundhogs, but a very similar rodent, the marmot.  Consequently, while she was governor, Sarah Palin signed a bill declaring February 2 “Marmot Day” in Alaska, and it goes into effect today.  I didn’t know marmots lived anywhere in America; I thought they were strictly critters of northern Eurasia.  Did they cross the Bering Strait during the Ice Age?  Here’s an article explaining the business:

Marmot Day Sarah Palin

And three years back, a blog called The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs had this to say:

Happy Marmot Day, Sarah Palin!

I voted for McCain/Palin, gotta’ problem wit dat?

We can thank Sarah Palin for subverting a silly tradition such as Groundhog Day. Enjoy it in good health people!

Finally, a week or two ago a friend of mine got the idea that this year, the president would give his State of the Union speech on Groundhog Day.  Actually, the speech is scheduled for February 12.  Still, he sent an e-mail to me comparing the two events:

“One involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to an insignificant creature of little intelligence for guidance.

The other involves a groundhog . . .”

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