Groundhog's 2014 Super Bowl Appearance
Groundhog Day 2014
State Trooper: "Pal, you got that moisture on your
head. Now you can go back to Punxsutawney, or you
can go ahead and freeze to death. It's your choice.
So what's it gonna be?"
- Bill Murray: [pauses] "I'm thinking."
- Groundhog Day
* * * *
The January 14, 2014 issue of the Journal of
Biotechnology reports a Groundhog experiment
in which hellish conditions were created by
Chinese scientists at the microbiology lab of
Heilongjiang University in Harbin, China. Scientists
combined portions of the woodchuck hepatitis
virus with green fluorescence proteins and
created groundhogs that could forever see their
own ghoulish shadows. Hopefully, that is not
what spectators witness today in Punxsutawney,
As today's column is being composed, people standing in
Gobblers Knob awaiting the appearance of a groundhog
named Phil are trying to stay warm in 18 degree
temperatures with real-feel temperatures around zero.
There will be light snow and Phil might not see his shadow,
but that would mean winter is finally over. New Jersey
temperatures will soar into the 50s, for a nice Spring-like
Super Bowl Day. Twelve hours of pre-game coverage will
begin at 6AM by the FOX television network. There
is an option for television viewers.
Millions of people unable to attend today's ceremony
can watch the best romantic comedy ever made. From
Staten Island to Saddle Brook, from Oshkosh to Savannah,
folks will be treated to the Groundhog day film every 2.5
hours on the AMC channel beginning at 10 AM, EST. The
movie is brilliantly entertaining. I may watch it more
It has not been a peaceful hibernation for north
of the Border groundhogs. Canadian scientists at
the Molecular Virology and Hepatology Research
Group, Division of Biomedical Sciences, Memorial
University, St. John's, Newfoundland have been
injecting these gentle creatures with multiple
doses of hepatitis virus, just for the heck of it.
Their research was published in the January, 2013
issue of The Journal of Virology. The groundhogs
were healthy before being exposed to scientists
with evil intent. In their scientific abstract,
the researchers refer to their experimental
subjects and method this way:
"Virus-naïve animals were intravenously injected
with 6 weekly doses..."
There will be no more winters or springs for these
It has also been a brutal winter for Punxsutawney Phil.
The weather has been wonderful, but little snow means
that Phil's been awake, and his handlers delight in
feeding Phil ice cream, a not-so natural rodent food.
Two hours from now at approximately 7:20 AM, a
groundhog will trek to Gobbler's Notch to make his
official weather forecast. Today's celebration will
mark the 128th consecutive year that Groundhog Day
has been celebrated in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
Come sunshine, rain, or snow, the groundhog's keeper
has assured us that their little rodent will see some
sort of shadow due to his enormously fattened bulk,
even though it's cloudy and snowing lightly in
Punxsutawney as this message is being posted at about
The fix is in. They've been feeding him ice cream
during the "off season". Phil skipped his usual
hibernation this year due to the mildest winter in
This past year, American consumers have been presented
with the dairy industry argument that consuming dairy
products helps people to lose weight, which makes
absolutely no sense, but makes for great press by
those whose job it is to deceive America into
On average, groundhogs weigh a little over five pounds
when they emerge from hibernation in the spring. After
a summer of eating, September weights can soar to ten
pounds. The largest wild (free and un-caged) groundhog
weighed in at fourteen pounds!
The bigger news has nothing to do with the weather. It's
why Punxsutawney Phil has become the Holstein cow of
groundhogs. He's the pig of little furry hibernators. What
has Phil been munching on all winter while observing his
dairy-based weight loss program? Ice cream! The root of
our groundhog's obesity ain't roots. It's dairy!
Bill Deeley, the local funeral home director who emcees
Punxsutawney's much-publicized Groundhog Day Festival and
sees to Phil's needs 365 days out of the year, had this to
say about Phil's diet:
"He's naturally a vegetarian. But he loves ice cream and
Phil, the ground-cow, weighs in at 15 pounds and measures
22 inches in length.
Could an overweight Phil be due to the powerful growth factors
in milk and dairy products? Groundhogs should not be eating a
diet of bovine growth hormones and high calorie-containing
saturated animal fat. Neither should humans, for that matter.
So...eyewitnesses will see Phil spring from his burrow and
report that he saw his own shadow. Winter continues for
everybody. Easy on the ice cream, or you and Phil might
look lousy in bathing suits next summer.
* * * *
"When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and
dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just
another step in the cycle of life. But standing here among
the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the warmth of their
hearths and hearts, I couldn't imagine a better fate than a
long and lustrous winter."
- Weatherman Phil Connors, Groundhog Day