Friday, February 2, 2007

Happy Groundhog's (marmota monax) Day

The common groundhog (marmota monax, other wise known as the woodchuck or whistlepig) is a small furry woodland creature that is the largest rodent in the squirrel family. According to popular culture (popular in a small town in Pennsylvania who's name I can't spell) if the woodpig comes out of his burrow and sees his shadow on the first cross-quarter day of the new year, then he gets scared and the whislechuck's rapid withdrawal back into his burrow creates a butterfly effect that determines the weather for the next 6 weeks. If the groundchuck does not see his shadow then he stays out of his burrow altering the very sensitive initial conditions of the complex, chaotic system of weather on this planet, there by altering the course of the weather and PROMOTING GLOBAL WARMING!!!!!

As a side note: In Spanish the word for groundhog is marmota (similar to the latin), but in Argentina they also use "marmota" as a slang term for "stupid" or "idiot". I have two friends who's birthdays fall on Feb. 2 and I told them about the holiday in the US (I didn't know that "marmota" was slang for "idiot" yet) so when I told them, the translation came across as "Idiot's Day". They then explained the slang to me and we all laughed that their birthdays were on "Idiot's Day" ("El dia de la marmota" -- "Groundhog's day").

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