As is annual tradition on February 2 at Gobbler's Knob, in Pennsylvania, Punxsutawney Phil, king of all the weather prognosticating groundhogs, emerged from his burrow at 7:28 this morning and failed to spot his shadow. At least that's what Bill Deeley, president of the vaguely sinister-sounding Inner Circle (and apparently fluent in Groundhogese), says happened. This is great news and means spring flowers and chirping birds are just around the corner. Alternatively, had little Phil seen his shadow, we'd have to slog through another six weeks of gloomy winter.
Closer to home, New York City's own groundhog weather savant, Staten Island Chuck, popped out of his little solar-powered house at the Staten Island Zoo and was similarly oblivious to his shadow. Notably absent from the ceremony was Mayor Michael Bloomberg — who's probably still smarting from that time Chuck bit him — though City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (and very possibly Madam Mayor in a year's time) was on hand, proving that she's ready to take on such vital mayoral duties.
And so, in the comforting knowledge that two unimpeachable rodents from the marmot family, roused from their respective slumbers some 300 miles apart, have agreed that all this horrible, freakish, bitter winter weather will soon be over, it's time for the courageous (and slovenly) among us to start wearing shorts even though it's clearly 20 degrees too cold outside.