Groundhogs, Hedgehogs & Cats? The Fierce 2021 Battle for Weather Predicting Dominance!

Road Schooled by Joe Trey: AKA Adventure Hermit

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Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay

National Hedgehog Day Overshadowed Once Again by the Dastardly Groundhog

Part of the Series Connections in History: Episode II

I am not much of a gamer. In fact, I am not a gamer at all. My last obsession with video games ended with the Atari 2600 - which I still break out from time to time. But even I am aware of the video game Sonic the Hedgehog. While I can not tell you anything about the game, Wikipedia can. In short, Sonic is a blue hedgehog with human features. He perpetually battles the evil mad scientist Doctor Eggman.

Sonic is more than a video game; it is an entire franchise. In 2020 it became a movie grossing nearly 330 Million Dollars! In the film, Sonic was voiced by Ben Schwartz. The film also starred James Marsden as Tom. He took a sabbatical from his full-time job as the Easter Bunny's assistant to play the role. In the movie, the evil bad guy was portrayed by a painter named Jim Carrey. Who incidentally is much larger than Sonic on the movie's poster. This blatant slight to Sonic is just one more affront to Hedgehogs everywhere.

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Screenshot from eBay of an Orignal Patining by Jim Carrey

The History of Hedgehogs

Many cultures lay claim to the history of Hedgehog's being able to predict the weather. To be clear, neither Hedgehog's nor Groundhog's can control the weather. They can only predict it. Albeit with pinpoint accuracy, that rarely falls below 50%. I am heavily in favor of giving February 2 over to Marvel's THOR and/or X-Men Member Storm. They are both capable of controlling the weather. We could forgo the mystery and have them tell us precisely when we could safely put our snow boots away.

February 2's sorted history seems to date back to the Roman Empire. Between the winter solstice and spring equinox, a hedgehog predicted the upcoming weather. I suspect they used non-sonic hedgehogs. Which may explain the Hedgehog's spotty forecasting abilities.

Celtic and Germanic traditions kept things simple. They used any available hibernating animal to predict their weather. This embracing of weather diversity when it comes to "hiberna latebra" is commendable. But I suspect it is less altruistic. Mostly likely predicated by them not having to contend with Yogi Bear.

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Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

This Pork Pie hat-wearing bear refused to hibernate. His year-long hunt for a-pic-a-nic basket could've thrown portions of Europe into an internal winter. One not seen since Queen Elsa belted out her desire to "Let It Go."

I am still trying to understand just what "It" is. But, I cannot deny that Idina Menzel makes me believe I am a mezzo-soprano, at least when I am alone in my car. She's a woman capable of defying gravity, jumping over the moon, and Letting Things Go. While at red lights with the windows down, I am reminded, thanks to odd looks from strangers, that I cannot sing.

It's Sometimes Sunny in Philadelphia

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Photo by Author Joe Trey: Gracie-Jones Demonstrates the Univeral Sign for an Impending Storm!

In 1887, the people of Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, PA, seem to have appropriated this tradition. Since the Hedgehog is not native to the United States, they chose to replace him with a groundhog! Without so much as a Dear Hedgehog letter, Punxsutawney Phil took over the tradition. If he is a scaredy-cat - and runs back into his hole, we get six more weeks of winter. If he makes himself a cocktail and begins singing IN SUMMER, then Spring comes early!

Speaking of cats. They are known to hold impeccable weather-predicting powers. According to Time Magazine, they are capable of half a dozen unique predictions, or more. For example, when a cats lie on it's back, with their head turned up and their mouth open, you can expect a storm!

My feline landlords Gracie-Jones and Tessa, seem exempt from such powers of prediction. As you can see below from their changeless positions, we'd be in a permanent post-apocalyptic Mad Max state of affairs if this were true.

Possibly they do not possess the powers of other cats. Perhaps weather-predicting felines need to be sonic for such forecasts to be accurate.

The Return of the Hedgehog!

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Photo via Pixy.org

In 1994 Sega attempted a marmot coup d'état when they released Sonic the Hedgehog 3 on February 2. US Groundhogs everywhere protested this move. They saw it as a blatant attempt to bring the internationally accepted Hedgehog Day into the US.

A move hailed by Hallmark as a boon to the less than lucrative hedgehog card market. It was criticized by groundhogs in forty-nine out of 48 states. Arizona and Hawaii abstained from the petition. They cited two significant concerns. The overreliance by other states on daylight savings time. As well as a lesser-known Washington state law prohibiting the killing of bigfoot. It is unclear why groundhogs are vehemently defending sasquatches. Some believe there may be a prehistoric link between the marmots and the muscular, bipedal ape-like creatures.

These headline dominating issues continue to plague the committee for World Wetlands Day which also takes place on February 2nd. They believe Punxsutawney Phil's unabashed domination of the holiday demands term limits. (This is a developing story and no more information is currently available).

The Dollars and Cents for Marmot Domination

The movie Ground Hog Day made 70.9 million dollars when released. It was the highest-grossing film in 1993. However, Sonic the Hedgehog seems to be getting the last laugh. The video game alone is estimated to be worth over $5 Billion — that's Billion with a "B." Adding in the franchises TV Shows, Movies, Comics, Toys, etc not hard to imagine it is worth much more.

This February 2, I won't need a hedgehog or a groundhog to tell me how the next 6 weeks will play out. I'll be in some form of quarantine. From the snore-fest emanating from both my cats, I will crawl out of my hole and declare foul weather ahead!

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Photo by Author Joe Trey: Tessa seen her mid-sneeze. Possibly signaling rain!

Note: This article Containts Satire. No actual Hedgehogs are known to have formed protests around daylight savings time.

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Joe Trey is known in certain circles as Adventure Hermit! A moniker fitting of his ambivert nature. Visions of rock stardom drove him to get a BFA in music from the University of Connecticut. Not long after, he abandoned his dreams of NYC and relocated to the Rocky Mountains! He has been known to "drink a toe." Don't ask. Or do! His work and love of travel have brought him nearly around the world. Writing, Hiking, Camping, Music, Motorcycles get him up and out each day. Hugging his wife and teenage daughters at night, bring him home! Not a tortoise, not a hare (but a bit hairy in all the wrong places), Joe only competes with himself. Through his writing and adventures, he encourages others to do the same!

Aurora, CO
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