Forgive Us Our Press Passes: Groundhog Day All Over Again


groundhog day

The groundhog saw his shadow. Six more weeks of a Westchester winter.

That groundhog shadow thing. I have never understood it. If the groundhog sees his shadow, meaning the sun is out, why then do we get more winter–instead of less?

My daughter reminds me that shadows are longer in winter. But Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t measure his shadow. It’s either there, or it’s not.

Actually, doesn’t have to do much at all; being the celebrity he is, Punx apparently lives on dog food and ice cream in his climate-controlled home at the Punxsutawney Library, and on the big day, he is pulled first thing in the morning from a heated burrow underneath a fake tree stump to make his prediction.

Maybe he just wants six more weeks of ice cream.

In the 1993 movie, Bill Murray may have been stuck on Groundhog Day everyday, but at least he woke up to Sonny and Cher.

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According to Stormfax, since 1886, when they started keeping track, he’s seen his shadow 103 times and not seen it 18. (9 years he apparently skipped the proceedings altogether.)  And? A slightly more scientific prognosticator, Accuweather, says the groundhog actually has an 80 percent accuracy rate.

The tradition stems from the calendar: Groundhog Day is near the mid-point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.

Either way, we’re halfway there.

Forgive Us Our Press Passes is a column by Polly Kreisman, editor of theLoop

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