Thursday, February 5, 2015

Weird Science and Biting the Hand That Feeds You

On Monday, the Pennsylvania groundhog known as Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, thereby forecasting six more weeks of winter. New York’s Staten Island Chuck didn’t see his shadow, thus predicting an early spring. What’s a person to do when groundhogs can’t agree on the weather? Turn, turn, turn to science.

Sure, meteorologists’ predictions of snowfall may miss the mark by inches or miles, but big picture’s usually right.  In New York City, recent winter storm Juno didn’t live up to its hype as “potentially historic,” but Massachusetts got hit hard.

Does this post sound like a snow-obscured criticism of the anti-vaccination folks? I admit anti-vaxxers’ distrust of science is on my mind, but I don’t expect New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul to defend the historical accuracy of groundhogs’ weather predictions or champion Americans’ right to choose their sources of weather news.

Did you know Punxsutawney Phil bit the gloved hand of one of his handlers Monday? I don’t blame the rodent. Would you like to be roused from a warm burrow and exhibited before flashing lights in near-freezing temperatures?

Phil’s got a better excuse for peevishness than I do, but when has lack of good reason ever stopped me? Ready for another rant?

It’s good science to consume vitamin- and mineral-rich fruits like citrus, but you won’t catch me buying Halo mandarins.

I find the Halo commercials disturbing. Why? Pouty, apparently non-verbal kids threaten parents who allowed the family’s larder to run bare of mandarins. One child points a laser at his father. Another slips the decapitated head of a toy horse into her parents’ bed. In both cases, cowed parents rush to the grocery store to stock up on Halos. Wait! What happened to time-out for kids who threaten bodily harm and destroy things?

“It’s just a commercial,” Hubs says. “The kids are demanding fresh fruit instead of candy. You should be happy.”

I’m not. Those kids are creepy. Next thing you know, they’ll want groundhogs as pets. As adults, they’ll take their parents to court for having had them vaccinated.

Your turn: Punxsutawney Phil, science, or both? Love or hate those Halo mandarin commercials?


Jennette Marie Powell said...

I haven't seen the commercial, but I hate the ones with overly smart/smug/cute kids, so no thanks to this. As for groundhogs, NYC's Chuck supposedly has an 82% rate of being correct. But I'll go with the calendar on this one--Spring begins on March 20!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Jennette!

An 82 percent accuracy rate is impressive when it comes to weather predictions. And here I thought Chuck couldn't find his shadow if it were clipped to his tail!

Patricia Rickrode w/a Jansen Schmidt said...

I agree with you on so many levels, especially that commercial. Those kids would not get Halos; they would get nothing but a wallop on their backside and an empty tummy at bedtime. I'm sure in the morning they'll be wanting something - anything - to eat and won't hold out for a Halo.

As far as the weather? I'll take anything but if I could have my choice, I'd love about 4 weeks of nice steady rain. We are so parched out here in Cali that we're already rationing water - again. No snow in the mountains either. Time to get out of Dodge.

Have a nice weekend, Pat.

Patricia Rickrode
w/a Jansen Schmidt

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Patricia,
Earlier in the week, I drove from Austin to Houston in pouring rain, and I was grateful for every minute of it. If I could wave a wand and grant you those four weeks of nice steady rain, I would.

Ugh to those creepy Halo kids. No treats for them! And I'm serious when I say I won't buy Halos. Why reward bad behavior?

Hope you have a nice weekend, too. May it include rain!

Karen McFarland said...

Pat, I have not seen the commercial that you talk about. What is the old saying? Don't bite the hand? Although apparently Phil couldn't resist. As for me, I would call for a time out. Or time in the corner. For six more weeks. Sugar or not. Rant on my friend! ((Hugs))

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Karen!
You've never seen the Halo commercials, but you support my right to rant about them. You're the best!

Coleen Patrick said...

I wouldn't want to be roused from a warm burrow either!! And I don't think I've seen that commercial, but I'm with Jennette on the smug kid thing.
Hope you're having good weather where you are, Pat. :)