General03 Feb 2011 11:34 am

Many years ago I adopted Groundhog Day as my favorite holiday. Most of the others either celebrated something potentially divisive such as a religious holiday or had become extremely commercialized. Though I’m a person who enjoys all four seasons, I prefer a long spring and fall, and a shorter summer and winter. While I do enjoy a dose of brittle cold and the bareness of the trees, I do so look forward to the bud of spring. Therefore, a holiday during the depths of hibernation which celebrates the eventual return of spring is something I can really get behind.

My wife, likewise, adopted Groundhog Day as our main holiday to send letters out to friends. Though we appreciated the slew of Christmas cards and letters we got from friends we decided to break up the winter doldrums with a Groundhog Day family newsletter to all our friends. Like most holiday letters we included life updates of ourselves, but we also added games, humor sections, and stories. Most of the stories were political or social parodies of current events somehow involving the Groundhog. The following are excerpts from previous letters.

To Flee or Not To Flee (that is the question)

“Just what is this fascination with the Groundhog?”, Dr. Blarney asked me rhetorically while we sat (ironically) in his cozy wooden den. This is a topic for which Dr. Tumuch Blarney is famous for wanting to sink his teeth into. In this interview, a shameless promo for his new book, “Looking Beyond the Shadow”, Dr. Blarney outlined the basic premise of his attack on what he refers to as, “the cult of the Groundhog”.

According to the good doctor the “myth” of the Groundhog has deep psychological roots, unhealthy ones to hear him describe it. He claims that the spring ritual myth represents a “deep seated fear” of knowing oneself. The “shadow” of the Groundhog represents on one level, one’s real self and the unconscious on the other.

He claims this is obvious considering how it is logical the Groundhog seeing his shadow would usually be a sign of good weather and, therefore, an indication of an early spring. The fact that the Groundhog seeing his shadow is a sign of six more weeks of winter shows that a deeper interpretation is needed.

“The Groundhog’s fleeing back to his winter hideaway is a fleeing from the self”, Dr. Blarney pronounced while puffing on an over sized cigar. “Without the benefit of a mirror the Groundhog’s shadow is the only available view of himself. His running from his shadow demonstrates a fleeing from himself, don’t you see?”

Though this may be the case i couldn’t help wondering how Dr. Blarney was able to see anything through glasses the thickness of skyscraper windows. I mean hasn’t he even heard of laser surgery.

Dr. Blarney became increasingly animated as he talked for hours (the prospect of six more weeks of winter started to seem comparatively short) on his interpretation of both the Groundhog “myth” and its burgeoning “cult”.

The Dr.’s conclusion is that the underlying meaning of the story is very unhealthy. He feels that one should rejoice in seeing one’s shadow and embrace the quest to know oneself. “Fleeing solves nothing”, Dr. Blarney pointed out, “finding oneself is consistent with the true nature of spring.”

The Dr.’s book is a challenging read, and the debate rages on. Dr. Smarmy says that Dr. Blarney’s conclusions reflect a significant ignorance of the thought process of the average rodent. “Rodents are very patient and reflective creatures,” he claims. The Groundhog’s retreat after seeing his shadow makes sense to Dr. Smarmy who states that winter is the time for retreat and reflection and that the seeing of the shadow encourages the Groundhog to continue his quest for self-enlightenment. Dr. Smarmy claims the Groundhog rather than fleeing from himself is actually retreating from society to better focus on, and learn about himself.

I guess the debate can be best summed up by the tagline for the old radio show, “Who know where evil lurks…….only the shadow knows.”

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In an election year I decided to make the Groundhog a secondary character and used Chilly Willy (the cartoon penguin) as way to parody the dot com bubble burst.

Chilly Adds to Winter Woes

It was just last year that our newsletter featured the meteoric presidential campaign for the honorable Chilly Willy. Last week a tearful Willy, with his trademark ice cubes falling from his eyes, gave the political world the cold shoulder when he announced the end of his presidential run.

Willy’s downfall was not due to any scandal, but rather the desperate economic conditions that have ravaged “celluloid valley” and the other animation hubs. Well over 70% of the high tech animators at Warner Bros. and Disney have been laid off since the peak of the bubble in 2001. Chilly’s campaign manager had to cancel a series of speaking engagements due to Chilly being insufficiently drawn.

Many supporters of Chilly have been despondent over his decision to pull out of the race. One young lady summed it up when she said, “When you can’t trust the word of a beloved fictional character it seems to undermine our entire political system”.

The Groundhog added his feelings of remorse in a recent interview from his winter burrow. “Though Chilly was from the far north, he forged a strong bond with us Woodland creatures. He wasn’t just concerned about issues of his district like drilling for oil in Alaska, but also was willing to lend a fin in support of the anti-logging campaigns in the eastern and western forests”.

While the Fed’s excessive printing of money has caused the US dollar to depreciate by some 30% in a little over a year, it pales in comparison to the devastation caused to the fictional dollar by the reckless printing of cash in animated cartoons. Willy’s presidential campaign was a notable casualty of the animator’s splurge to print $$$$. In the last few weeks Willy couldn’t even rent a hotel room with van fulls of animated cash and gold bars.

In a related story reported by the Olympian on January 4, workers at Northland Furniture owned by Roy P. Disney (grand nephew of Walt Disney) were fired and paid with checks with more rubber than Goodyear tires. The workers were called into a meeting shortly before Christmas and instead of receiving bonuses, they were fired and paid in checks which bounced. Neither Mr. Disney nor his accountant have answered reporter’s calls.

With the shortage of funds it was only natural for the animation industry to look for cheap labor. In primary classrooms across the northwest, teachers were assigning students to draw Chilly. Since animation takes hundreds of drawings to execute the simplest task, entire classrooms would have to be mobilized to get Chilly to a podium to deliver a speech. Ms. Grey, a first grade teacher, pointed out that even when children were handed color by number pages, “it’s almost impossible to get the children to all draw Chilly the same way. And even when that’s done, it’s hard to get them to stay in the lines”.

Soon the US student’s nap time made the workload unmanageable. In the end the animation industry turned off shore and outsourced their labor to the far east. Since these children had never seen Chilly, he began to morph into something unrecognizable.

In the last weeks of the campaign, Chilly began to appear in public wearing sunglasses and an overcoat. Chilly, a shadow of his former self, decided to call it quits since he could no longer live up to his former image.

So there you have it. The economy turned Chilly from a national hero into a national tragedy.

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In Jim’s Corner, the section picturing me sitting in a corner wearing a dunce cap I wrote the following:

Through trial and error I’ve learned there are certain descriptive terms one should not use with one’s spouse (wife). Here are some mistakes and their replacements.

Think/ Say

nosy/ Inquisitive
gossipy/ informative
bitchy/ hormonally challenged
insincere/ tactful
controlling/ nurturing
vain/ self-assured
irritating/ playful
bizarre/ creative

Now, you can see why I’m sitting in the corner.

Jim Guido

One Response to “Happy Groundhog Day!!!”

  1. on 02 Feb 2012 at 7:41 pm Keturah Maren

    I visited various websites and the audio feature for audio songs existing at this website is actually wonderful.

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