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Friday, February 2

Groundhog crisis

Phoenix Faces 13 More Years of Summer!

Phoenix, Arizona 1-Feb-2006 [JP]:

Phoenix Phil, Arizona's official groundhog, was buried alive beneath a recently constructed Wal-Mart parking lot. Therefore, he will not appear on Groundhog Day and forecast the weather by looking for his shadow. "That groundhog, he was a goner," explained Governor Janet Napolitaneo.

"There is no precedent for the groundhog not showing up," said Arizona State Senator Jack Dubmreak, "so we don't know what this means for sure." Dubmreak introduced legislation to designate Randy the Rattlesnake as the official February 2nd weather prognosticator for Arizona. The legislation was passed in emergency session.

"Problem is, rattlesnakes don't have a shadow," noted the Governor, "but irrationality and misinformation has never stopped the state legislature from passing stupid laws."

Anti-groundhogites were thrilled at the news that Phoenix's groundhog ended up beneath six inches of asphalt. "Maybe, in retribution, God will punish their progress-mad leaders and bury Phoenix under 3 feet of snow," commented Ned Budlight, local anti-groundhogite leader.

"More likely they'll end up with 13 more years of summer," quipped Joe King, our foreign correspondent and statutory agent. Frightened Phoenix Chamber of Commerce officials frantically dug in the parking lot until well after dawn on the 1st, hoping that the groundhog could be found in time for the ceremony. Wal-Mart officials were not amused at having their parking lot torn up.

"Using a rattlesnake as our February 2nd weather critter doesn't send the right message out about Arizona," explained Sonya Sellem, with the Phoenix Chamber.

Follow-up, Phoenix, Arizona 2-Feb-2006 [JP]:

The rattlesnake appeared at dawn, and bit a television news anchor on the ankle. Film at 10. Memorial services for Phil were held in the parking lot.

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