Monday, February 02, 2009

Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather Prophet Extraordinary

This year, the Super Bowl is somewhat “overshadowing” Groundhog Day in a few ways. First, Phil lives in Punxsutawney - which if you are a fan of the movie “Groundhog Day” you know is close to Pittsburgh (80 miles northeast). Secondly, speaking for the residents of Chicago, I think we feel that whatever happens, we are still going to be stuff with winter until like April. Ugh.

Regardless of Steelers’ “Six-pack” win, Phil did still grab a bit of the spotlight this morning when he saw his shadow.

For those of you mid-westerners not familiar with the “holiday,” Groundhog Day is simple – if the hog doesn’t see his shadow, winter will soon end. If good ole Phil emerges his borrow and sees his shadow, then the misery of winter will continue for six more weeks.

From what I hear, the party in Punxsutawney used to be a big kegger. That’s probably because history shows that the first hog day started in a city called Morgantown (Berks Co., PA) on Feb. 4, 1841. A storekeeper’s diary said, “Last Tuesday, the 2nd was Candlemas Day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate" (wikipedia).

Sir Phil loves a good PR stunt. While researching this blog posting, I found a number of good Phil Facts:
• Stats say that Phil is right 70-90% of the time.
• Phil’s a boozer. During Prohibition, Phil threatened to impose 60 weeks of winter on the United States if he wasn’t allowed to drink.
• An All-American Hog, Phil met President Reagan in Washington D.C.
• Considered the mecca of coolness, Phil appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey” show in 1995.
• The dudes with the top hats are the “Inner Circle.” It’s a group of local dignitaries who carry on the hog tradition. They also care and feed Phil year round.
• Phil’s home is called “Gobbler’s Knob.” On Groundhog Day, the gate to the Knob opens at 3:00 a.m. and Phil’s Prognostication begins at 7:25 a.m.
• Phil’s full name is “Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather Prophet Extraordinary."
• A trip to Punxsutawney should be on your must do list. In preparation for Groundhog Day, there are a number of can’t miss events like the Prognosticators Ball, weddings, sleigh rides, scavenger hunts and music.

Here is Phil’s official 2009 forecast courtesy of PunxsutawneyPhil.com:

Phil Says Six More Weeks!


Hear Ye Hear Ye

On Gobbler's Knob this glorious Groundhog Day, February 2nd, 2009

Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of all Prognosticators

Awoke to the call of President Bill Cooper

And greeted his handlers, Ben Hughes and John Griffiths

After casting a joyful eye towards thousands of his faithful followers,

Phil proclaimed that his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers were World Champions one more time

And a bright sky above me

Showed my shadow beside me.

So 6 more weeks of winter it will be.


(Sources: groundhog.org, wikipedia.com, and about.com; Photo from Pam Panchak/Post-Gazette)

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