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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Day Before Groundhog Day

Tomorrow marks the 125th anniversary of Groundhog Day. Since my mother's side of the family came from western Pennsylvania, less than an hour's drive from Punxsutawney, I grew up with pictures of the Groundhog Day ceremony in my house. I knew all about Punxsutawney Phil before Bill Murray made the movie. Before Murray's "Groundhog Day" movie, February 2 was simply a holiday based on an old legend about a rodent's weather-forecasting ability. The movie changed the meaning of the holiday in our popular culture. The phrase "Groundhog Day" has come to represent the act of going through a phenomenon over and over and over until one spiritually transcends it.

Here in Chicago, we get that "Groundhog Day" feeling about this time of year. Starting sometime in December, the skies turn grey and often stay that color for weeks on end. We get blasted with snow and cold. The days are short and so are the tempers of our fellow citizens. It does sometimes feel like we are living the same winter day, over and over and over. Save us, Punxsutawney Phil!!

But tomorrow, my friends, will be different.

According to the U.S. Weather Service and the chattering herd of media hypesters, Chicago is to be hit with a great-grandmother of a blizzard, starting this afternoon and extending into the wee hours of Groundhog Day. Breathless disaster junkies are claiming that this could be "the big one" with snowfall exceeding the infamous "Blizzard of '67." Winds will howl, leading to white-out conditions. THE CITY COULD SHUT DOWN!!!! PANIC AND CHAOS COULD ENSUE!!!!! RUN AWAY RUN AWAY TO ARUBA!!!!! (Except O'Hare will be closed).

Excuse me, but a big snowstorm in Chicago in early February simply isn't a newsworthy event. We are Chicagoans. We have four-wheel drive vehicles, several hundred thousand tons of road salt in storage, and drink antifreeze in the winter. Snowstorm? Feh!

In the immortal (immoral?) words of the 43rd POTUS, "Bring it on!"'

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