Saturday, February 1, 2014

Gobbler's Knob

Had I been raised in the town of Godforsaken Minnesota, or some other icicle on the map of the US, I would not be irate when the weather spokes-model/meteorologist on local TV flubs another prediction.

After all, when winter arrives do we really need to know it will be cold and snowy in Montana, Idaho, Minnesota or parts of the world where kids take dog sleds to school? We expect it!

In this part of Pennsylvania weather prognosticators try their bestest to read all the latest data, consult the experts in their field, view satellite feeds while chewing their nails and still have a less than stellar track record.
I have better success asking my magic 8 ball if I will need to shovel and salt my driveway tomorrow.

In recent weeks, the whine-of-the-day overheard everywhere is about weather folks being compensated big bucks for doing their job incorrectly.  “After all, how come they get to keep their jobs when if I made the same mistake over and over I would be fired Blah Blah Blah Blah etc.” is the cry of the masses.
Frankly, I am almost as tired of hearing that, as I too am guilty of saying it!

We here are obsessed with weather, in particular snow and ice. Even the slightest mention of a small accumulation has us clearing store shelves of milk, bread and eggs then we French-Toast connoisseurs stay glued to our flat screens watching newscasters stationed on every street corner holding rulers and yardsticks giving us minute-to-minute snowflake counts.

Where did this madness originate?

I remember in the early 1980’s when the Weather Channel was launched.  I recall one of my brothers-in-laws stayed glued to that network, 24/7, watching satellite maps over and over again. He had a paving business and needed to know how to schedule his work day.  I could certainly understand his obsession but never believed that anyone else would have an interest to the degree it would warrant a whole network and actually make a profit.
I was the same guy who never believed people would pay for television, radio or buy bottled water when you can get it right from the tap. I put all of my investments where I knew it would make me a fortune; 8 track disco tapes.

Tomorrow, February 2nd, is the biggest weather day of the year in Pennsylvania, “Groundhog Day”!
There will always be those state cheerleaders who tout the benefits of living or visiting the Keystone state but honestly it boils down to really only two attractions, Punxsutawney Phil and the Liberty Bell.

Now before I get to the rodent, let me sidetrack to the bell.

First understand the Liberty Bell just ain’t what it once was.  If you are making travel and hotel plans to fly across the continent to see a piece of Americana in the here and now, stay home and watch something on Netflix.  When I was a kid, you saw the Liberty Bell in person, at Independence Hall.  You could actually touch it, put your fingers in the crack and take a picture postcard home with a little patriotic pride in tow.
I am uncertain just where the real bell is currently housed but I believe it is kept in a secure enclosure, protected by armed guards from a special government agency, and miles away from the viewing area. Actually you are only looking at a hologram.
This must be true as I believe I heard about it on Conspiracy Radio. 
You are permitted a quick glance, then you are whisked away out of the viewing area.  If you attempt an over-the-shoulder second look you may find yourself in front of a judge and then in orange overalls picking up trash along the Schuylkill expressway.

Now onto the sleeping rat.
If you watched the Bill Murray movie ‘Groundhog Day” you most certainly were not exposed to the true Gobbler’s Knob festival that is Phil and the townsfolk of Punxsutawney, including the deep dark secrets of the flea-infested marmot and the festivities.
Some lesser-known tidbits that may or may not be factual:

  • Phil is a cross-dresser.
  • Phil does not actually see a shadow and scamper back into a hole.  He reads a proclamation then whispers his prediction to the chief Mucky-Muck of the “Inner-Circle” the protectors and servants to the fur ball.  Yes, Phil does speak in High German.
  • Members of the Inner-Circle have all been secretly selected by his highest himself, hand plucked from the finest of the Masons and Illuminati that Pennsyltuckey has to offer.  The “IC” as the boys call it are really just fun loving varmint guards who let Phil do just what his whim wants. Think Elvis or Justin Bieber.
  • Catholics are prohibited from joining as it is a secret society, with a special handshake, and they may actually be Occultists.
  • There is no parking at the Knob, you can either take a bus from the local Mc D’s in town or hike the 1 ½ mile UPHILL walk.  Check your magic 8-ball for the weather.
  • No alcohol is permitted in Gobblers Knob and if found will be confiscated and consumed by the local police and the Inner-Circle.
  • Yuengling is the official beer sponsor of the event. (If you are passing through Pottsville Pennsylvania, take a tour of the plant)
  • Phil is 45 years sober.
  • Phil’s success rate is only 40% about the same as the weather spokes model with satellite feed.

Happy Groundhog’s Day.  
Spring will eventually arrive.

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