Saturday, April 6, 2013

“G” is for Groundhogs


courtesy of D. Gordon E. Robertson, Wikimedia

Lately, groundhogs have been mentioned a lot in the US news. For centuries, folklore has attributed these fat, furry little animals with the ability to predict the duration of winter and the arrival of spring. Theoretically, if the groundhog sees his shadow when he comes out of his burrow on February, winter will last for another 6 weeks; if he DOESN’T see his shadow, it should mean that spring is just around the corner.

There are 2 famous groundhogs that have the job of predicting the end of winter and the arrival of spring in the United States of America. One, Punxsutawney Phil, has his headquarters in Pennsylvania, and the other, Staten Island Chuck, is from, obviously, New York. These two, along with their Canadian cohort, Wiarton Willie, didn’t see their shadow, thereby indicating that we would definitely have an early spring. On the other hand, another lesser known Canadian groundhog, Shubenacadie Sam, from Nova Scotia, DID see his shadow. However, most people, already fed up with the overabundance of snow, were more than happy to accept the prediction of the first three. Shouts of glee rose from all parts of the North American continent.

Oops! We should have listened to Shubenacadie Sam. Far from an early spring, it was a very extended winter. HPIM0920The last snowstorm was just a few days ago, in New York State; even here in Brooklyn we had snow that stuck on March 23. And so now, Phil, Chuck and Willie are in deep, deep trouble. There have been cries for their heads. Headlines all over the country decry deception and fraud, and Ohio authorities even filed a criminal indictment against Phil.

I would like to say that although I tend to agree that the winter was somewhat longer than I could wish for (we had temperatures in the low 30s this week) we can’t really blame those poor groundhogs. I mean really, not even the weather knows what it wants to do and so, it’s not fair to accuse these poor innocent rodents for not being able to read the inconstant weather’s mind.

In closing, Metro US news informs us that, since Phil’s handler took the fall for the indicted groundhog, the accusation has been removed and Punxsutawney Phil no longer faces the death penalty. Thank goodness for the hapless rodent. However, next time it might be better to be prepared for a prolonged or shortened winter, just in case the trio should mess up again. Run! Phil, Run!

“F” is for Flinging Computers Frisbee-like from the Window

flying computer   I live in a residential area in Brooklyn, New York. The area is quite unlike anything I expected to find when I decided to move to New York: instead of the expected skyscrapers I found myself facing mainly 2-story buildings; there are a few 3-story buildings and one 4-story building on my street, but they are apartments. Most buildings are one or two family homes. The best part of the area is…

This is the way my article on feral felines began. It was much further along than this, but my laptop, Cedric, decided to eliminate almost everything I had already written, hence, the desire to use him as a Frisbee. It is not the first time he has done this to me; it’s his favorite pastime and he does it very well. He has another little trick that he loves to do: Cedric LOVES to jump backward and forward and even off the screen. Sometimes the results can be hilarious, even though it means having to write everything at least three times before I finish. Geez!

Too well, in fact. The only reason I haven’t given in to my instincts to use him as a Frisbee is that he knows too much about me: who my friends are, what I like to write about, what books I like to read, what plans I have for the future. He contains my photographs, my music, my thoughts.He also knows who my clients are, how much they owe me, how much has and hasn’t been paid and my high scores in solitaire.

He also knows that I happen to have another laptop; I’ve mentioned it to him a number of times and he was there when I bought the other computer: my sister and I bought them together. But, he also knows that I need a monitor to be able to use Bud (my other computer) because Bud’s graphics went kaput after 4 years of steady use, including traveling from Italy to New York via England and Ireland, and then cross-country by bus to California and back to New York, and then to Washington State and back by bus. He worked hard, but there were times I felt like using him as a Frisbee, too.

I guess I’ll have to wait until I get another computer before I fling Cedric Frisbee-like from the window, but the lovely thought of being able to do it IS cathartic and relieves a lot of stress. I yearn for the day…

In the meantime, my feral felines will just have to wait for another blog entry for their 15 minutes in the sun. Open-mouthed smile