People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, in the person of Animals in Entertainment specialist Gemma Vaughan, has released an open letter to the Punxsutawney, PA Groundhog Club asking them to replace their signature marmot with an animatronic replica.
According to Vaughn, Punxsutawney Phil (who Groundhog Club tradition would have it is over 120 years old) is heavily stressed by the un-groundhoglike conditions of his life. Club President Bill Deeley, on the other hand, says Phil gets climate control and yearly inspections by the Department of Agriculture, which means he’s “being treated better than the average child in Pennsylvania.”
I’m guessing that wasn’t intended as a dickensian observation on the lives of children in Pennsylvania, but it’s a little disturbing.
Closer to home, our own Staten Island Chuck is preparing for a Groundhog Day rematch with Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Chuck, who is clearly not a morning person, took matters into his own jaws and bit a chunk out of the Mayor’s hand last year. Bloomberg told a news conference at the time that Chuck is a “terrorist rodent [sic] that might very well have been trained by Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.”
If you’re intrigued by the idea of a more technological Groundhog Day experience, you can text “Groundhog” to 247365 between now and Tuesday and Phil will deliver his prediction to your mobile device.