In Other News: Groundhog Day

A look at a current news item through the lens of different titles available on GVRL.

By Michelle Eickmeyer

This week, I heard recount of trying to explain to someone in Mexico, who was off Monday for a federal holiday, that our “holiday” on Monday was not quite the same thing. Yeah. No. From the outside looking in, this must seem one of the most ridiculous things we Americans have done yet. (I’ll let you in on something, as an American, I wouldn’t have much to argue with you about that.) On the first Monday of February, a rodent predicts the weather. It’s covered by the news. Punxsutawney [punk-suhtaw-nee] Phil, the most major of the rodent forecasters, rules from a rather comfy perch in Pennsylvania. There are other groundhogs, including this one in Wisconsin who bit the mayor (who is fine, so it’s ok to laugh at it). The principle is simple: if the ground hog does not see its shadow, spring will come early. If it does, winter continues for six more weeks. Practically, its a lot more ‘show’ than that. I also find it interesting that you never hear reports of a groundhog forecast in the south or west — is Groundhog Day a northern/eastern observance only? (Any comments on that welcome!)

The truth of the matter is …. winter is long and boring. While February is the shortest month, this is when winter really starts to take its toll and drag on. One more blizzard warning. One more cancelled school day. One more sub-zero forecast. The random, surprising, warm spring day you will see in March still seem years away. In the cross-country road trip analogy, we’ve reached Nebraska and we’re restless (I’m sorry, Nebraska, but you are in the middle). The first Monday of February is, more or less, six weeks before the first day of Spring. Technically, we will always have six more weeks of winter regardless of what the groundhog says. The hope, however, is palpable. We HOPE for an early spring. Please, please, please, come early! Signed, Miserable in Michigan.

Here are five titles that look at Groundhog Day from different perspectives:

VideoHound’s Golden Movie Retriever, 2015 Edition. Gale, 2015.

The 1993 movie with Bill Murray will (most likely) immediately spring to mind when you think of Groundhog’s Day. A weatherman, doomed to repeat the day over and over until he ‘gets it right,’ the move takes its name from the day, naturally, and the colloquialism relating Groundhog Day to a feeling of déjà vu. The latter idea is also part of eight other films. Learn more about each of them in this fun reference title.

Pop Culture Places: An Encyclopedia of Places in American Popular Culture, 1st Edition. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2014.

 What do Gobbler’s Knob, the Inner Circle and the Prognosticators Ball all have in common? Take a few minutes to learn more about the Pennsylvania town at the heart of Groundhog Day since 1886 with this title.

Gale Encyclopedia of Science, 5th Edition. Gale, 2014.

What, exactly is a groundhog? Is it different than a woodchuck or marmot? What do they do when they aren’t predicting the weather? Learn the facts about these furry guys in this title.

Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare, 1st Edition. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2010.

Harmless or harmful? Is transplanting a wild animal into captivity, no matter how “nice,” appropriate? Learn a bit about the factors and arguments of the animal rights movement and its supporters.

Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, 4th Edition. Omnigraphics, Inc, 2010.

What other wacky things do people around the world celebrate? From the Canadian Acadian Day to Polish Wiglia, learn more about all the reasons to have a party around the world.


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