Show Notes for Thursday, February 02, 2023


Dear John,

My 18-year-old daughter has earned a scholarship to study in Europe for a year. I'm so proud of her. But I have a problem. I'm about to have another baby. Yes, 18 years younger. And I want her to bond with her little sister. Plus, I could really use the help and she promised to be there for me just like I was for her. It's not that I don't want her to go. I DO want this for her. But there will be other opportunities for her. She's smart and I'm sure she should be able to just delay this for a year and go later. This is the one chance she has to bond with her little sister and I don't want her to miss out on it. Also, I need help. I'm 38, and not a young mom! I gave up everything for her and am only asking a little for her to be there for me. She's angry at me and says I'm selfish. She says the child was my decision and is my problem, not hers. What should I do?

Thank you,

Am I Selfish?

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TODAY IS A SPECIAL DAY! (A special thanks to

February 2

National Groundhog Day

National Heavenly Hash Day

National Tater Tot Day

Optimist Day

SURVEYS, STUDIES & SUCH: Brought to you by

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Pamela Anderson will receive $10 million from the Jon Peters’ will. The Hollywood producer and Anderson were married for 12 days in 2020, though he says he’ll “always love Pamela.” The 77-year-old told Variety that even though she is unaware of it, he has stipulated that the millions go to Anderson “whether she needs it or not.” After their relationship ended, Pamela clarified on social media that they were never legally married, adding that were “no hard feelings.”

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Groundhog Day

While modern meteorologists may put more faith in weather satellites and statistical data than whether or not a big rodent saw its shadow, Groundhog Day wasn’t always a silly tradition: it's actually rooted in the movements of the sun and dates back thousands of years.

Most ancient civilizations relied on the sun and stars to tell them when to start planting crops, harvesting or prepping for the cold winter ahead. This reliance on celestial cues evolved into traditions captured by holidays that have survived to this day.

Over the centuries, people began to look for signs of the weather in all kinds of animals, from snakes to groundhogs. Ancient Germanic people, for example, would watch to see if a badger was spooked by its shadow, according to When British and German immigrants first came to the United States, they brought their traditions with them, including the celebrations that evolved into Groundhog Day.

Groundhog Day isn’t the only cross-quarter holiday that has stuck to the modern calendar: many people now celebrate May Day in honor of workers around the world, and Halloween also has roots in Samhain, the Celtic day of the dead, Joyce writes.

These days, most people know better than to trust a skittish groundhog with predicting the weather. Experts say that groundhogs like Punxsutawney Phil and Staten Island Chuck are only right about 30 percent of the time. But when you’re in the midst of a long, cold winter, sometimes a little levity is in order.

Punxatawney Phil

Every year, Punxsutawney Phil makes his Groundhog Day prediction about how much winter we've got left. Here's a closer look at the rodent we trust for weather prognostication.

1. Punxsutawney Phil has been in charge of telling us how long winter will wear on (and, conversely, when spring will finally bloom) since 1887, all based on whether or not he sees his shadow on the morning of February 2 (if he sees his shadow, we're in for six more weeks of winter; if he doesn't, spring will come early). There are no other Phils. There's just the one. No, really.

2. Phil stays so young by way of a magical "Groundhog Punch" that he's fed every summer at the annual Groundhog Picnic (just a sip) that apparently extends his life for another seven years. So even if Phil misses out on six annual sips, he's still good to go with his weather reporting and newsmaking for the time being. That's some magical punch—the kind that foresees potential snags for nearly a full decade.

3. Phil obviously can't get his elixir without a little help, which is where the so-called "Inner Circle" comes into play. The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club's Inner Circle doesn't just hold fast to Phil's meds and administer them to their beloved groundhog; they also take care of Phil for the entire year, plan each year's big ceremony in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, and sport some truly styling top hats and tuxedos at each ceremony.

4. The Inner Circle currently has 15 members (16 if you count Phil himself), including President Jeff Lundy, who has been in the circle since 1990. The members all have individual nicknames that vaguely tie into their careers (Tom Dunkel, the so-called "Shingle Shaker," is a roofing contractor) or weather phenomena (there's an "Iceman," a "Big Chill," and even a "Thunder Conductor").

5. When Phil is not busy predicting the weather at Gobbler's Knob, a rural area about two miles outside of Punxsutawney proper, he lives in the town library.

6. Phil lives in that library with his wife, Phyllis. Yes, Punxsutawney Phil has his own little groundhog wife, and her name is Phyllis. It's almost too adorable to be believed.

7. Despite enjoying life in the library and doing other groundhog-appropriate things, Phil has done his fair share of traveling over the course of his career. He has also met big celebrities and public figures like Oprah and President Ronald Reagan.

8. For many years, the groundhog from Punxsutawney was called "Br'er Groundhog," which doesn't quite have the same ring to it. The official Groundhog Club site says that he was named after "King Phillip," but odds are that the actual namesake was the UK's Prince Philip. In 1953, Punxsutawney buried a pair of groundhogs they'd named Elizabeth and Philip, after the newly crowned English queen and her husband. Punxsutawney's famed groundhog was first officially named Phil a few years later in 1961, and records suggest it was a holdover name from the earlier Philip.

9. Phil speaks a special language—it's called Groundhogese—which is what he uses to communicate his shadow-finding to the Inner Circle President, who then announces it to the world.

10. Phil apparently likes more than just his Groundhog Punch: The groundhog quite memorably announced during Prohibition that, if he were kept from drinking the hard stuff, there would be 60 weeks of winter. (But not even Punxsutawney Phil can plunge the world into over a year of winter, desire for booze aside.)

11. Phil's batting average for weather predictions isn't exactly the greatest: A record of his findings shows that his shadow-based predictions have only been right about 64.4 percent of the time. But don't blame Phil!

"Unfortunately, there have been years where the president has misinterpreted what Phil said," retired handler Ron Ploucha told PennLive. "Because Phil's never wrong. Phil's prediction is 100 percent correct, and we blame the variants on the president's interpretation of Phil's prediction."

How Accurate Is Phil?

Turns out, not very. Phil the Groundhog has been forecasting the weather on Groundhog Day for more than 120 years, but just how good is he at his job?

Punxsutawney Phil was first tasked with predicting the upcoming spring weather in 1887, and the process hasn't changed much since. The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, takes care of Phil year-round, and on each Feb. 2, members of the club's Inner Circle rouse Phil at sunrise (this morning, they awakened him at 7:25 a.m.) to see if he casts a shadow. (Contrary to popular belief, Phil doesn't actually have to see his shadow; he just has to cast one to make his wintery prophecy.)

According to the Groundhog Club's records, the various incarnations of Punxsutawney Phil have predicted about five times as many forecasts of more winter than early spring. There are nine years without any records, and even the Punxsutawney Area Chamber of Commerce, which keeps track of these things, doesn't know what happened to Phil during those years. Data from the Stormfax Almanac's data shows that Phil's six-week prognostications have been correct about 39% of the time.

Phil does a shade poorer when you check his performance against actual weather outcomes since 1969, when the accuracy of weather records is less in question, said Tim Roche, a meteorologist at Weather Underground. From 1969 on, Phil's overall accuracy rate drops to about 36%.

The groundhog's powers of prognostication are slightly better when he doesn't see his shadow, though. "When Phil predicted a short winter, he was much more likely to be right," Roche previously told Live Science. "Out of the 15 times that he didn't see his shadow and predicted an early spring, he got it right seven times. That's a 47% accuracy rate," he said at the time.

This year, it seems, Phil may not have meteorology completely on his side, according to Accuweather meteorologists who said this morning, "While there is still plenty of winter weather in the pipeline, the light is starting to appear at the end of the tunnel with the arrival of spring right around the corner." For instance, Accuweather forecasters say the Arctic storms pummeling the Northeast and Midwest could come to a halt by March 1 (the beginning of meteorological spring), though in late March and April those regions could see some cold spells and snowstorms.

So how does Phil stack up against human forecasters? "If Punxsutawney Phil is right 39% of the time, that's much, much worse than a climatological prediction," Roche said. "Even if you flip a coin, you'll still be right close to half of the time. That's a 50 percent accuracy rate. So you'll be better off flipping a coin than going by the groundhog's predictions."

Ouch. To rule out the possibility that Roche just has a thing against groundhogs, we checked Phil's performance with David Unger, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service. It looks like Phil probably won't be getting a job at the NWS any time soon, either.

"It's extremely difficult to give an estimate of how accurate climate predictions are," Unger told Live Science in 2011. "But compared to the terms with which Groundhog Day predictions are made, which are if the weather will be mild or not mild, then if our forecasts are about 60 percent accurate or higher, then we consider that to be a good estimate."

So there you go. The statistics suggest that you probably shouldn't delay that spring cleaning based on Punxsutawney Phil's forecast. Then again, what do you expect? Phil is a groundhog, after all.

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