EditorialYesterday was Groundhog Day, and -- alas!! -- bad news.  Good ol' Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, which means winter weather will continue for another six weeks.  This tradition starring Phil started 131 years ago in Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania in 1887.  According to some sources Phil has been right 65% of the time, with a 12 year streak of accurate predictions.  The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club says he has only predicted an early spring 17 times in all those years.  The Stormfax Almanac disagrees, saying the groundhog has only been right 39% of the time.

Why are we paying attention to a weather forecasting groundhog?  he's a rodent, for heaven's sake!  Yet it isn't much different from listening to your local TV weatherman.  Or it doesn't seem to be -- one meteorologist estimated weathermen get the forecasts right as much as 80% of the time.  Another says they are right 85% of the time for 24 hour forecasts, with the percentage declining as the forecast period grows longer.  I suppose it is comforting to know that meteorologists are more accurate than rodents.

Still, believing in Groundhog Day doesn't seem as crazy these days as the things that are going on in Washington, D.C. and around the country and the world.  I read a post not long ago in which a young voter was asked why he voted for President Trump.  he said something to the effect that Washington was so broken that the remedy was a wrecking ball.

I have to admit I am stunned by that, in part because we have all said so at one time or another.  But now that it has happened is this a 'be careful what you wish for' moment in American history?  Washington has certainly declined in public regard.  According to a 2012 Gallop poll being a member of Congress was the second least respected profession, second worst after car salespeople.  They get no respect.  Senators didn't fare much better, ranking below insurance salespeople and lawyers, but above HMO managers, stockbrokers, and advertising practitioners.  So elected officials have pretty much become the Rodney Dangerfields of professional life.  Except they're not funny.

The question is, will the wrecking ball level the field so something good can be built there?  Or will it just destroy what we have, as little respected as it is?  Nobody knows the answer to that, and the uncertainty has created a lot of fear.  Everyone, as a result, has become just a bit (or a lot) nastier, and so far the gap between ideologies seems to have widened, not healed.  Just like Phil, who predicted more winter, some people are predicting nuclear winter.  Just about everyone can agree on is that whatever it is that is happening in our country right now is nuts.

Which brings me back to Phil.  Nuts are part of a groundhog's diet, and that is certainly appropriate.  You've got to be nuts to think a rodent can actually predict the weather.  Yet in the middle of the cold and the snow and the depressing grey days we can all use a bit of whimsy.

So here are some groundhog facts to cheer you up: groundhogs are also known as woodchucks, even though they don't actually chuck wood.  So the answer to the proverbial question, 'how much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?' is zero, because a woodchuck can't chuck wood.  Does anyone know, exactly what chucking wood actually is?

Some people, evidently not aware of that chucking wood limitation, call them 'land beavers'.  Their burrows are between 8 feet long and 66 feet long.  Of course those big burrows cost a lot more in property taxes.  They hibernate for three months, but when they wake up they are ready for love.  I don't even want to speculate on what they dream about, but when the males wake up mating season begins!

The problem with Groundhog Day is that so far that Pennsylvania rodent predicted more winter 114 times.  Seriously, if he's going to be more inaccurate than weather reporters, can't he at least be optimistic?