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Morning Spew

This Poor, Dumb Rodent Doesn’t Know a Thing

There may not be six more weeks of winter, but how many more years will we entertain this farce? Plus: A year of Flaco, and more links.

9:36 AM EST on February 2, 2024

A groundhog in Allegany State Park, NY, left mercifully to its own stupid devices. (Alex Ranaldi, Flickr)

Another February, another farce. It's "Groundhog Day," meaning it's time to lie to children (and credulous adults) and tell them that a giant wild rat knows whether we're going to have an "early spring" or six more weeks of winter. Turns out that "Staten Island Chuck," the unfortunate designee of our primitive superstition this year, did not see his shadow (it's a cloudy morning), so we're supposed to believe that any of this means anything, much less an accurate meteorological prediction that spring will arrive early this year.

What the fuck does any of this even mean? What does it mean for a groundhog to "see its shadow"? How could we possibly know whether it does or it doesn't? It turns out that there isn't some discrete groundhog behavior that can be attributed to the rodent apprehending the sight of its shadow at all, and this is all based on some Celtic myth about a divine hag.

Isn't it time to put away these childish things? Setting aside the obvious, which is that our meteorological apparatuses are much more capable of predicting the fluctuations in the weather, this video clip below is just so insulting and sad. I mean, just look at this miserable rodent trying to figure out why the this crowd of people is screaming at him, and then watch as the announcers inexplicably and deceptively try to intuit some notion of what he's sensing, thinking, or feeling, and then, when you and I can see that literally nothing of significance has happened, announcing a predetermined lie about the future of our weather.

Being dropped by a giant bird-shaped man would be a merciful end to that torment. It's time to drop the act. We must focus on more important things. Like an owl. 

What does "six more weeks of winter" even mean, meteorologically? Anyway, links:

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