The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

February 8, 2014

Don’t fret Phil’s forecast. He’s wrong 61% of the time

By Lynn Saternow

- — Here are some thoughts from a guy who loves Punxsutawney Phil and his annual predictions:

This past Sunday, that furry rat supposedly crawled out of his lair and saw his shadow, meaning that there will be six more weeks of winter.

I was happy to hear that forecast.

Reason being: Phil is only right 39 percent of the time, according to statistics. In case you are weak at math – like pretty much every young person who works a cash register today – that means that there is a 61 percent chance that he’s wrong and we will have a winter shorter than six more weeks.

We can only hope. Already this season is like the winter that never ends.

• Then again, we can only hope this cold weather kills all those confounded stink bugs that made a sudden appearance last summer. Those things seemed to crop up everywhere.

I was sitting in the Butler VA Hospital recently waiting for my Navy veteran dad, who was getting a hearing test, when I saw a motion beside my neck. It was one of those darn stink bugs crawling on the collar of my coat.

Yikes! That was a surprise. But you can’t crush them or they really stink. So I ate it.

Just kidding.

• While we complain about the weather here, some areas of the country are really getting pounded. Millions of people this winter have lost power and heat at one time or another.

That is brutal when the temperatures dip to zero and below. A few years ago our furnace went out, but at least we still had electricity to hook up heaters. When the power is out, it’s worse. That option is gone.

And when even the water in your toilet bowl is frozen, you are in a world of (fill in the blank).

• With the weather we’ve had here, it’s almost painful to watch the Winter Olympics and focus on more snow and ice on TV.

While I am a huge fan of the Summer Olympics, the winter version doesn’t capture my attention as much. While things like skiing, ski jumping, luge and bobsled are fun to watch, there’s also stuff like figure skating and curling.

Now I realize that a lot of women (and maybe a few men) actually enjoy watching figure skating. But to me figure skating isn’t really a sport since it’s more like dancing on ice. And there is no way dancing is a sport, although some participants of dance and figure skating are good athletes.

Of course figure skating is better than curling, which ranks right up there with table tennis as an Olympic sport.

The funniest story I heard concerning figure skating was in a movie. A young man was being interviewed about the sport and the reporter asked: “How do you describe the sport of figure skating.”

The skater replied: “It’s something like hockey, but your dad is a lot less proud!”

The Herald’s Lynn Saternow writes this column each Saturday for The Opinion Page. He can be reached at