From the emails and voice mails:
WEATHER WOODCHUCK – Once again, folks in the eastern United States looked to Punxsutawney Phil, the Pennsylvania-based furball, for their long-term weather forecast. Amid the great fanfare and tradition that is Groundhog Day, Phil reportedly saw his shadow Monday, thus predicting six more weeks of winter. That’s rough for the East Coast, which has been pounded by storms all winter long.
But it’s arguably worse for us here in the West. Why? Since winter began officially Dec. 21, we’ve had 0.09 inch of precipitation, most of it from the fog. That, for the mathematically challenged (I had to ask somebody), is less than a 10th of an inch.
So for drought-plagued Northern California, six more weeks of this winter is not good. We need six more weeks similar to the last six weeks of the fall, when we got 9.56 inches. We might get some rain this weekend, the forecasters, well, forecast.
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That stated, just the mention of Groundhog Day reminds me of the Bill Murray flick about the TV weatherman who lives the same day over and over again until he finally gets it right. That, combined with the Super Bowl being played Sunday, brought back memories of covering Super Bowl XXIX, which San Francisco won 49-26 in Miami in 1995.
Each morning that week, the clock radio told me to get up. The station broadcast in Spanish in the mornings, English in the afternoons. The only words I could decipher during the mornings were “Super Bowl.”
Tuesday morning of Super Bowl Week, I caught the MetroMover elevated transport from my hotel to Super Bowl headquarters downtown, climbed aboard the bus and rode to the Joe Robbie Stadium for Media Day. Then I returned to the hotel to write.
Wednesday, I caught the MetroMover elevated transport from my hotel to Super Bowl headquarters downtown and climbed aboard the bus driven by the same driver as on Tuesday. We rode first to the 49ers’ team hotel, then to the Chargers’ hotel for interviews. Then I returned to the hotel to write.
Thursday, I caught the MetroMover elevated transport from my hotel to Super Bowl headquarters downtown and climbed aboard the bus driven by the same driver as on Tuesday and Wednesday. We rode first to the 49ers’ team hotel, then to the Chargers’ hotel for interviews. Then I returned to the hotel to write.
That afternoon, I filed my column and notes. I turned on the TV. “Groundhog Day” was playing on HBO. I am not kidding.
I watched it – again. Why not? I could relate.
DRY CREEK CLEANUP – Dry Creek Trails, a volunteer organization, is holding a cleanup of Dry Creek Regional Park on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. Volunteers will meet at 7:30 a.m. at Kewin Park to sign in and be assigned to a crew leader. Organizers will provide supplies. Wear work boots and bring gloves. Participants then will return to Kewin Park for a barbecue at 12:30 p.m. in Kewin Park.
IN MEMORIAM – An obituary in the La Jolla Light, a community newspaper in the San Diego suburb, reported the Jan. 16 death of Andrew A. Benson, the man who discovered how plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air, enabling them to grow and hence, his obit read, “the foundation of the food chain.”
Benson was born in 1917 in Modesto, was Modesto High’s valedictorian in his senior year was inducted into the school’s hall of fame in 1943. He went on to graduate from UC Berkeley in 1939, getting his doctorate in organic chemistry and neurophysiology from the California Institute of Technology in 1942.
For the complete obituary, Google the La Jolla Light for Jan. 29, 2015, and click on obituaries.
SECOND SATURDAY – The McHenry Museum will host a series on writing, calling it Second Saturday. It will commence the second Saturday of each month from 2 to 3 p.m., with local authors and writers conducting sessions. The inaugural session will be Feb. 14 – Valentine’s Day – the topic being romance in 1912. Future sessions will feature Modesto baseball, the criminal Black Bart, Modesto’s cruising history and other topics of historical interest. Contact the McHenry Museum at (209) 577-5366 for more information.
AUTHOR! AUTHOR! – Modestan Dan Galt offers his second book, “The World’s Greatest Cockroach Massacre: Beating Swords Into Plowshares,” through Modesto’s One More Chapter Publishing. It is the sequel to his first book, “Peach Fuzz,” which was based on the eight years Galt and wife, Trish, spent in the Peace Corps in Brazil.
The Galts will sign books Sunday from 2:30 to 5 p.m. at their home, 907 Chateau Drive. Call them at (209) 527-1844 for more information. The books are also available through Amazon.com.