Was This Groundhog Bribed By Holiday Resort Industries?

Published 2:13 pm Thursday, February 10, 2011

Everybody's doing social media these days so I really should have been prepared.

But I am agog to learn that a groundhog I believe to be Punxatawney Phil has his own Twitter account.

I called to arrange an interview as Groundhog's Day approached in hopes of soliciting the animal's views on the weather, nuclear proliferation, and Sarah Palin versus Tina Fey.

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No-can-do says Punxatawney Phil's press agent. Not an interview for anyone.

But I could follow the groundhog via his postings on Twitter or, should I prefer the alternative, befriend the groundhog via Facebook.

Like John Paul Jones, I have not yet begun to twitter so I did the next best thing-Googled “groundhog.” What I found were several stew recipes but also a blogger who believes the groundhog might actually sell his weather forecasts to the highest bidder.

“I have dug up the dirt on Groundhog's Day,” wrote shovelman@mudbathbloggers.

Say you didn't shill, Phil. (Though I, too, have wondered about the possibility of bribes from two competing industries-ski lodges and beach resorts. Either one could make additional billions with six more weeks of the weather that brings them the cash).

Still, I was holding out hope in the sanctity of animal forthrightness, having been an avid fan of Deputy Dawg and Huckleberry Hound as a child and, less so, Scooby-Doo, who could be bribed with snacks.

My second internet find was a collection of alleged posted tweets by the groundhog, as many as I wanted, without having to sign up on a Twitter account. They were just a few hours behind being “live.”

How live, you wonder, can a groundhog's posted tweets really be?

Good question, and one I pondered myself, reflecting that in high school I worked at a hamburger place that made me watch a film about “the life expectancy” of their signature burger. For those interested in such things, the life expectancy was 20 minutes. Officially speaking. We never threw any of them away and once sold one that was three hours old, to the obvious relish of the customer.

If a hamburger can experience life after death then a groundhog's live tweets are an open question for spiritual debate. Perhaps it's an ecumenical matter.

Here, then, are a selection of the postings on Twitter and I believe you'll agree that there are no grounds to believe the forecasts of Punxatawney Phil are anything other than the gospel truth.

“Snow or sun. RU rdy for account number in Swiss. What bid?”

“Am thinking 2B shadow or not back in hole. Show me the benjamins.”
<br />Nothing remotely sinister with any of those. Standard meteorological terminology that you'll find on weather websites everywhere.

“Swimming or skiing. Pin number. Waiting. I live in hole. Not like. Want vault.”

“Received skis. Would like snorkel and briefcase of cash and apples.”

“Global Sun Limited, LLC. Three blocks left. Under boardwalk. Midnight. No carrots.”

“Downhill Dreams, Inc. Beginners slope by large turnip mogul. Bring gold and diamonds. Serial number lacking. Or break leg.”

Again, straightforward tweets about nothing more than the weather.

“Who U kidding with 2 million? Got 3 million last year. Sending the Big Russian. Beets 2U2.”

“Two if by land. One if by ski. Deposit final. Blonde bikini good idea. Enjoy early spring.”

Clearly, these are nothing more than admittedly obscure references to an occluded front turned suddenly north for reasons that defy description.

Wonder what the Farmer's Almanac has to say?