Posts Tagged ‘Punxsutawney Phil’

The Shadow Knows

February 2, 2012

The report from Gobbler’s Knob, Pennsylvania, after Punxsutawney Phil was roused from his slumber with this proclamation, looking out among the crowd awaiting his decision: Many shadows do I see, Six more weeks of winter it must be.

You know what pisses me off the most about that? I don’t know if it’s recent, due to stupid political correctness or if it was this way all along, but the uppity news people on TV do their best to make a huge joke of it. Come on, people, it’s just a fun tradition. Get over it.

Show of hands…how many of you remember when I was chronicling my family history? If you don’t, why not check it out at my website, listed under McGinty Chronicles. It’s set up a little confusingly, but fear not, I’ll get you through it. Click on my website and find McGinty Chronicles in the slide out menu on the left. Click on the main button and that will open the welcome page. After that, on the slide out menu, you can choose the JL Bio Page. After that the story begins with The Chronicles, but you’ll have to start with the very last entry on that page, which is really the first entry of the entire Chronicle. The rest of the chapters (Chronicles 2009, Hot Off The Presses and Out On A Limb) follow the same routine, reading from the bottom. Along with a interesting assembled story, there is documentation and family artifacts that date back as far as The Civil War.

Why am I bringing this up, other than hoping new readers will enjoy it? Because I wanted to show off a recent asquisition. In a bittersweet moment, I came into possession of another family artifact. It was while we were in Illinois two weeks ago and my step-mother sent me home with what my father had always intended me to have. A chair. The chair. The chair that was made by Thomas Wyatt, my great-great grandfather, of the main players in McGinty Chronicles.


As you can see in the last picture, on the top rung is the date 1877 and on the second rung, the initials T. W. S. One thing I’m not quite sure about is whether the caning is original, although judging by the condition of it, I would dare say it has been redone. Plus, I also think at one point the chair was repainted and the wicker seems to cover the paint job. The seat, by the way, has a height of 14″. Evidence–the height of the chair and the size of his money belt, which seen in person is rather telltale–says he was a man of slight build.

The future of the Chronicles? My intention is to continue them but with the unfortunate passing of another source of information, Aunt Georgie, much of a segment of a certain period in time will have to be cleverly pieced together with what information is already known. I just have to get to it and get it going.

Super Bowl Wednesday

February 1, 2012


Can you feel the excitement in the air? And by the way, what was with the 61 degree temperature we had yesterday? Sixty-one degrees and sunny. I took a walk outside to my patio and looked over my barren garden beds, well, except for that infernal mint that just won’t go away and I started imagining the layout for the season’s plantings.

Alright, so where was I? Excitement in the air. Can you feel the excitement of the Super Bowl? Me neither. Actually, about the only thing I know about the Super Bowl….and by the way, is it okay to say Super Bowl now without having to downplay it with the vague “Big Game” allowable substitute? I’ve been hearing Super Bowl, Super Bowl, Super Bowl all over the radio and TV. Well, I know it’s on this Sunday and I know Kelly Clarkson is singing the National Anthem, which means there’s a good chance it’ll be at least harmoniously sung and Madonna is appearing during the half-time show and if I’m not mistaken, her British accent is gone.

What I’m not sure about is who is playing. I’m not a super duper football fan but we have made the Super Bowl a yearly tradition ever since Janet Jackson’s unfortunate turn with entertaining the masses. Who is playing? Let me look it up. Talk amongst yourselves a moment.

Oh, yes, the Giants and the  Patriots. Now that leaves the question of which team I should root for. Well, I haven’t spilled any coffee grounds that miraculously spelled out a P or a G. So that’s out. I don’t own an octopus or a camel who can predict the winner, but there is Commander Alexander The Salamander’s second cousin Penelope, but she’s keeping mum, although she does spend an awful lot of time under the big rock formation in her acquarium. If you want to stretch the connection, you might say rock formation/Plymouth Rock, I would pick the Pats. Being from the NY/NJ area, it would seem fitting I would choose the Giants even though they can’t decide whether they’re from New York or New Jersey. Maybe I’ll just base my choice on the general consensus…and then do the opposite.

Let me think a minute. Talk amongst yourselves.

While I’m deliberating, here’s a Chris Christie update. He appeared on our local radio station last night and made an apology, not for calling Reed Gusciora, an openly gay man (refered to as a Democrat in the news article. as if that matters) “numbnuts”, but for possibly offending certain New Jerseyans with his comment comparing the quest for gay marriage in the state with the civil rights movement. For  Heaven’s sake, people, his own mother used that term with him so he considered it a light slap in the face, sort of fun term of endearment. So, that makes it all better.

I’m going with the New England Patriots.

Oh my, I just realized, tomorrow is Groundhog Day and looking ahead on the weather dot com website, it looks like it’ll be cloudy tomorrow morning  and quite possibly Punxsutawney Phil won’t be seeing his shadow so according to tradition we could possibly be in for an early Spring, as if the recent abnormally high temperatures aren’t an indication that a change is a-comin’.

On The FRINGE Of A Breakdown!

February 1, 2011

I gotta hand it to that TV show Fringe. Not only is it one of the very few sci-fi shows I genuinely find entertaining (plus who can help but just love Walter?) but it also got me out a potentially embarrassing pickle. It was this past Friday, the house was duly prepped for our latest painting jag (which was hysterically involved and I’ll get to that in a few) and we sat with our take-out Chinese watching some television and it was time for Fringe. The opening scene was of a traffic checkpoint and I lurched forward in a panic. “OH MY GOD” I exclaimed, “….this is 2011, isn’t it? My car is due for inspection…this month!!!” I rushed into the kitchen to find my wallet to make sure I had my current updated documents (my registration and insurance card specifically) and then checked online to see what hours the inspection station was open. So, before 8am yesterday morning, the last day of the month, I was on my way and I really should have known better and left the house earlier. In a perfect world, which, sometimes if I hit it lucky, some days are kinda perfect, the trip to where I had to go would take about 7 minutes. 40 minutes later I arrived, got inspected and returned home in time to start work by 10.

On the way home, I stopped at Dunkin Donuts for a celebratory cup of coffee (I passed and don’t have to go back until 2013–I hope Fringe is still on TV in two years) and I tried their new reverse Boston Creme donuts. Mmm, mmmmmmmm!

So, the painting. We really never figured it would take as long as it did but the hallway and the stairwell literally took us over 10 hours. Granted, we put on two coats and that stairwell wasn’t the easiest area to tackle, but it seemed like it took so long. If you ask my back, legs, feet, hair…you name it, it felt like it took longer. Oh, wait, plus we did the two front window walls as well that day, in the library and the den. Okay, so 10 hours isn’t so much.

Then, Sunday, we got an earlier start because we had the rest of the library, the office and the bathroom. All smaller spaces, but we wanted an early start because we wanted to go buy switch and outlet covers, put up the new mailbox and go out somewhere for dinner. I’ll admit, we cheated a little behind the ceiling high bookcases in the library and did just around where the wall behind them could be seen and the other two walls which are only partial; that was the library and for the office, two walls would be the same color. Oh, did I mention they’re red? And red is notorious for being a bitch to work with and after my second coat and everything was bleeding through and making streaks and dark spots and you name it I remember thinking making my red velvet cake from scratch is less of a hassle and was prepared to go to a third and fourth coat if necessary. We’ve been wanting a red in the library since forever and I wasn’t going to let paint get the better of me but that line of rationale was beginning to erode.

The red has to be mixed with a thinner base but thankfully we were able to get a paint/primer it could be mixed with so while I finished painting the peanut butter on the other two walls in the office while waiting for the first coat in the bathroom to dry, Ariel went to get the thicker cherry cobbler red paint. Thankfully that covered. It’s funny, the paint we used in the bathroom that we thought would be a sort of dusty miller turned out to be just a tad darker than the color in the addition and the kitchen.

We began cleaning up, delirious from two days worth of paint fumes and up and down ladders and getting into positions the normal human body should not get into and we investigated the smell of something electric burning in the basement. That was exciting and the best we could come up with was a flourescent tube went bad. I didn’t now they smelled, but the best way to describe it was an overdone toasted marshmallow. It was past 9 when we finally called for food, a pizza and by 10 we were eating dinner.

So, disregarding the few spots that need touching up, we are essentially FINISHED with the painting and I will get some pictures posted, possibly tomorrow. And speaking of tomorrow, that danged Punxsutwaney Phil damn well better not see his shadow!

One of these days I’m going to post a really short blog! Man, can I go on, or what?

News out of Gobbler’s Knob

February 2, 2010

Animal rights activists want the organizers of the Pennsylvania’s Groundhog Day festivities to replace Punxsutawney Phil with a robotic stand-in because the poor critter is being mistreated in that he is “forced” to rise from his hibernation period, which could last into March, simply to uphold the folksy tradition of predicting the status of the coming Spring. “If a groundhog is awakened from hibernation too early, it might not have the energy to find food and survive in the cold winter temperatures,” says Forest Preserve District animal ecologist Dan Thompson, while insisting he’s not a killjoy. While we’re at it, Dan, let’s have a robotic stand-in for the American Flag on Independence Day so the ones we use, made of easily battered fabric, won’t flap in the breeze. Jerk! And to substantiate their argument, they cite how this method of prediction is not always accurate anyway, so why disturb the little critter. Really? How many forecasts made with state of the art technology is 100% of the time accurate? Case in point: a radio and television predicted snow storm this coming weekend; on the weatherchannel .com, clear sunny skies. So, who’s right? Who’s wrong? So, dear activists, shut up and let people enjoy their traditions.

I keep hearing, all of a sudden, that if the groundhog sees his shadow, it’s an early spring. I’m hearing that on television and on the radio. Hasn’t it always been if he sees his shadow it means six more weeks of winter? And didn’t the Best Actress category come either at the end or just before the Best Picture award during The Oscars? I always thought Best Actress, besides best picture, was the most coveted prize.

And finally, the result of Punxsutawney Phil is… “As the sky shines bright above me, my shadow I see beside me… 6 more weeks of winter it will be.” So, I guess that snow storm this weekend is a 50-50 chance. My advice, look out the window and see if it’s snowing.

PS: Here’s a link to the article I wrote last year (from that old blog that lost its pictures…remember that mess?) on the history of Groundhog Day as we know it today. Click here.