Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

.370 Is a Hall of Fame Percentage

In the world of Major League Baseball, if a player were to hit .370 for a career, he could almost be assured of entry into the Hall of Fame. Likewise, a volleyball player who could hit at that clip at the net would have all sorts of teams lining up for her services. Of course, that kind of percentage on successful first serves in tennis or with regard to hitting the fairways off the tee would qualify more for a Hall of Shame, should such a thing exist. However, I prefer to be a glass-half-full kind of guy, and I'm saying that percentage is rather good; excepting the ability of the now-defunct octopus to pick World Cup soccer winners, I'm giving Phil the thumb-and-index finger OK sign.
Punxsatawny Phil claimed today that the country would see an early spring...or at least western Pennsylvania (Gobbler's Knob, to be precise) where he winters. Yes, the groundhog emerged today, did not see his shadow, and predicted blooming jonquils afore long; this despite the fact that 30 states are recovering from the biggest snowfall of the season, complete with howling winds, thundersnow (yes, there IS such a thing), and the requisite four-foot drifts in my driveway. Adding something of an insult to the whole affair was the fact that western PA was today treated to a melange of snow, sleet, and rain on this the 125th anniversary of a groundhog prognosticating the weather in this country.
Blame it on the German immigrants who started the tradition that long ago and seemed to believe wholeheartedly (just before Valentine's Day, too) in the accuracy of the Pfirst Phil. But how accurate has this method actually proven to be? Details are sketchy.
Supposedly, the groundhog in Pennsylvania gets the forecast right, on average, 37 percent of the time...and most of the time, it predicts a longer winter, not a shorter one. In fact, an early spring prediction only comes along every ten years or so, though the last one was in 2007.
All in all, I look at this year's prediction with a bit of skepticism, despite the fact that I could not even come close to predicting correctly 37% of the time.
But then, I'm not a trained meteorologist OR a groundhog.
And I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express, either.
Gotta go shovel.


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