Groundhog predicts nuclear winter
Punxsutawney Phil, the famed Pennsylvania groundhog
who in popular lore is credited with being able to predict
the coming of spring, popped out today and predicted the onset
of an apocalyptic nuclear winter. The animal then scurried
back into its heavily fortified underground bunker.
President Bush responded by pledging to smoke
the animal out of its burrow, if necessary summoning assistance
from noted groundhog control expert Bill Murray.
But with all the commotion over Groundhog Day,
the liberal, pro-groundhog news media has once again neglected
other equally deserving members of the animal kingdom and
their ability to forecast everything from optimum agricultural
conditions to fluctuations in the stock market.
For example: We all know that, in most cultures,
if the livestock is acting jittery it means that a devastating
earthquake or tornado is coming soon. But few humans are aware
that people in some parts of South America look to the agile
spider monkey to help them determine when the rainy season
If the spider monkey is seen hanging by its
tail from a tree limb while munching a fistful of berries,
the rainy season will come at the normal time. However, if
the monkey is seen reading a copy of "Curious George
Defoliates a Rain Forest" and chain-smoking a pack of
Marlboro 100s, it is taken to mean that the rainy season will
be delayed by 17 days.
In Portsmouth, N.H., city officials have been
known to use the ordinary household canine to influence civic
policy. If a dog is seen "doing its business" near
the swingset in a park frequented by children, this invariably
means six more months of City Council debate on whether stringent
leash laws or designated dog parks are needed.
And in many coastal communities, the great white
shark has long been used to predict whether the coming tourist
season will be economically bountiful or lean. If a shark's
fin is spotted in the shallow water near the beach, it is
believed that the tourist season will either be slow or marred
by gruesome tragedy.
confirms that utilizing animals in this fashion is by no means
a recent phenomenon. As far back as 1807, Napoleon Bonaparte
is said to have entrusted a praying mantis named "Admiral
Green" to advise him on when to launch military strikes.
Insects like the common housefly have demonstrated an uncanny
knack for predicting the unexpected arrival of one's mother-in-law,
and the cuddly koala has been known to give profitable insider
tips to stock brokers dabbling in the volatile eucalyptus
In some segments of the scientific community,
it is believed that if a single-call protozoan life form being
examined under an electron microscope sees its shadow and
begins to undergo meiotic division of its nuclei, then there
will be six more weeks of accelerated binary fission.
Millions of these "Punxsutawney Paramecium"
can be found in a single drop of pond water. Ah, the wonders
of nature. And we haven't even mentioned the amazing powers
of the Shetland pony, the pygmy sperm whale or the mud dauber
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