Punxsutawney Phil is correct about the prediction of a long winter or an early spring 39% of the time, according to Stormfax.com, a website that's compiled the many rodents' predictions from the late 1800s to today.
"What if there is no tomorrow? There wasn't one today."
There are two ways to read this information. The first and most obvious is that a small Pennsylvania town has turned a century-old superstition into an annual million-dollar swindle, propagated by local news stations that need a cheeky on-location story to fill some time in the slow days of early February.
And then there's the other way to read the statistic. Listen, I'm not saying this is the right way, but what if Punxsutawney Phil actually can predict the changing seasons, and its keepers are to blame for misunderstanding said predictions? Today, if Phil sees its shadow and returns to its burrow, then we're due for six more weeks of winter. But what if the opposite is the case? If so, then Phil has a commendable 61% record of correctly predicting the change in weather. That would place him along such neo-prophets as Paul the Octopus and Madden NFL simulations.
What I'm saying is Punxsutawney Phil is hogwash. But if you're determined to make a mountain out of a groundhog hill, then maybe it's not the critter that's daft, but its handlers.