Feb. 2, 2000

Groundhog Day !

Yes I know it's a raccoon. It's the closest critter I could find in a background graphic, OK???

As I write this, it's 15 minutes to Groundhog Day. The day in which millions of otherwise sane people wait with breathless anticipation for a weather report from a sleepy rodent.

If it's a sunny day, the groundhog is supposed to see his shadow, be very afraid, and retire to his den. This means six more weeks of winter. If it's cloudy, the silly thing stays out (shows you what HE knows) and there is to be an early spring.

Of course, in Quebec only six more weeks of winter WOULD be an early spring, so it's a win-win situation.

Since I didn't have this journal last year, I'll catch you up now on the big Canadian groundhog scandal of 1999.

See, we Canadians don't rely on Punxsutawney Phil. We have our OWN groundhog, Wiarton Willie. (Wiarton is a town somewhere in Ontario. Ontario is a province somewhere north of Michigan, Ohio, and New York. "Province" is a Canadian word meaning "State".)

Anyway, Willy is extra-special, being an ALBINO groundhog. I don't know why this is, it just is. He even has his own bilingual website, complete with corporate sponsorship and available merchandise (tshirt, sweatshirt, and "limited Millennium Special Edition Willie beanie" baby.)

Oh the scandal? Well last February, when whoever had to do it tried to rouse sleeping Willie, he couldn't. Rouse him, that is. Willie was about twice the normal groundhog age (over 20!) and had gone to groundhog heaven. This would put a serious damper on the festivities (which go on for about a week in Wiarton) so the demise was hushed up... until the big day with crowds and media assembled. Then, instead of a groundhog event, they threw a funeral! (Imagine having to explain all that to your kid without warning!)

And if that wasn't bad enough.. several days later it was revealed that the little white varmint in the little casket wasn't even the actual deceased (who was apparently unfit for family consumption, as it were.) It was an ersatz-Willie, stuffed.

And just to show I'm not making any of this up (as if I could!) there's a small photo accompanying this news story on the CBC website.

Well, things are back to normal (?) this year, as TWO descendants of Willie have been found to carry the torch. I guess they're not taking any chances this time.

Linque Du Jour: The Brunching Shuttlecocks

Hysterical satire. Well-written and nicely laid out. But mostly, just HYSTERICAL. Daily features, interactive quizzes, other stuff. Hysterical.

OK probably not for everybody.. a little edgy for some tastes. If you like that sort of thing, though, this is IT!

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