The Quick 10: The mental_floss Groundhog Round UP
In case you haven't already heard, Punxsutawney Phil predicted another six weeks of winter this morning. Stupid groundhog. But there's good news "“ if you don't like what he had to say, there are plenty of other groundhogs you can consult instead. Here they are, complete with what they predicted today:
1. Punxsutawney Phil. We'll start with the most famous. Phil has been inspecting his shadow every year on February 2 since 1887. In all of that time, he has only predicted an early spring 15 times. Take heart, though "“ one study found that Phil is accurate less than half of the time (39 percent). Phil's Inner Circle claims that he has never been wrong, though.
2. Buckeye Chuck. In the "˜70s, the state of Ohio decided they were through with waiting a groundhog from across state lines to call the shots on winter. Buckeye Chuck says spring is nigh!
3. General Beauregard Lee. GBL may be the only groundhog with not one but two honorary doctorates. His degree from the University of Georgia declares that he is a "Doctor of Weather Prognostication" and George State is proud to bestow a "Doctor of Southern Groundology" title upon him. His owners say he's 94 percent accurate. Hopefully this year's spring prediction contributes to his accuracy rate.
4. Balzac Billy of Alberta, Canada. "The Prairie Prognosticator" of Balzac, Canada, didn't spot his shadow this morning. That means spring!
5. Staten Island Chuck jumped on the spring bandwagon as well. This little guy, whose formal name is Charles G. Hogg, is notorious for biting Mayor Michael Bloomberg during last year's prediction ceremony at the Staten Island Zoo.
6. Wiarton Willie. Ah, finally, someone who sides with Punxsutawney Phil. Willie is an albino groundhog who has been predicting the weather since the "˜50s, even though he was nothing but a fur hat back then. Confused? Well, here's the story they tell up in Wiarton, which is in Ontario. Back in 1955, a fellow named Mac McKenzie decided to use Groundhog Day as an excuse to throw a boozy bash and sent out some pretty fancy invitations advertising such. One of these invites somehow ended up in the hands of a reporter, who headed to Wiarton to report on it. When he got there, he found that it was just a guy and a few of his friends partying it up with no Groundhog in sight and complained to McKenzie that he was going to be in trouble with his editor for having nothing to report. McKenzie grabbed the white fur hat that had been occupying the head of a female partygoer, half-buried it in the snow outside and declared that an albino groundhog had failed to spot his shadow, meaning an early spring was on the way. The legend has grown, and now an albino groundhog really does pop out once a year to do his thing.
7. Shubenacadie Sam. In Nova Scotia, a groundhog named Sam at Shubenacadie Wildlife Park caused a bit of a stir when he refused to cooperate with our silly annual tradition, instead opting to run under some shrubbery and hide from his handlers. When he was finally coaxed out, it was decided that he corroborated Phil's "six more weeks of winter" story. Meh.
8. Bambio. Well, here's the thing "“ Bambio isn't a groundhog at all. He's a gorilla. I guess you can see where the two might be easily confused. Bambio is the resident weather predictor at the famed Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha. When he woke up this morning, Bambio was given a green box and a white box, each containing the exact same treat. Sadly, Bambio went straight for the white box, meaning more frigid weather for another month and a half.
9. Jimmy the Groundhog gave Wisconsin residents a bit of hope when he predicted spring this morning.
10. Polk County Paula. We've got our own predictor here in Des Moines "“ Polk County Paula. And the best part is that she gets up at the crack of dawn and encourages us to drink while she investigates her shadow situation. I guess if she predicts more winter, everyone is too tanked to care. But that wasn't the case this morning, when she bet against Phil and called for winter to end shortly.
That's six for spring and four for winter, so I'll hope that the majority rules. Do you have a local groundhog (or "groundhog," in Omaha's case)? What did he or she predict this morning?