December 18, 2014

Hoping for clouds on Tuesday

By Eric Young
Managing Editor | editor@ogemawherald.com
Posted 1/27/10

Well, it’s that time of the year again. That’s right, next Tuesday the entire country will collectively put all of its faith in an over-sized rodent.

Feb. 2 is, of course, Groundhog Day. Sometime early Tuesday morning, someone in Pennsylvania will reach into a cage and pull out Punxsutawney Phil, who will likely be so surprised that he will immediately pee all over everyone.

Then, if Phil sees his shadow, the world will come to an end in 2012.

Wait, wrong prophesy.

Supposedly if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, it will mean six more weeks of winter. If he does not see his shadow, it means that winter will soon come to an end.

Trust me, I’m cheering for the groundhog. If it were up to me, this particular ceremony would be held in a very dark location this year, in hopes of tipping the odds in the favor of no shadow.

When I was a kid I used to gladly run outside to grab the mail in my shorts during the winter. I remember hours of playing in the snow, not even wearing gloves, and not even getting the least bit cold.

I’m not sure when this changed, but now I can let my car warm up for an hour and still be freezing when I get inside. I can have the heater cranked in the house and still need long pants and a sweatshirt. Not only do I always have gloves with me anymore, I recently purchased a scarf and ear warmers — two items I am not particularly proud of.

So as ridiculous as it might seem to hope that a stupid groundhog doesn’t see his shadow, I’ll be watching just as closely as I will during next Sunday’s Super Bowl.

It’s a little-known fact that, this year, the groundhog was not only responsible for predicting the weather. He was also responsible for choosing our late night television lineup. It’s the only thing that could possibly explain the ridiculous decisions that NBC has made recently in regard to Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien.

If you haven’t had any connection to the outside world for the last several weeks, you probably don’t realize that O’Brien is no longer the host of the Tonight Show. Friday was his last show. O’Brien inherited the position as host of the show when Jay Leno was unwillingly moved to the 10 p.m. timeslot. Both received terrible ratings, and local affiliates were upset that Leno’s poor ratings were not bringing enough people to the 11 p.m. newscasts.

Hey local TV news stations, maybe Leno isn’t the reason nobody is watching your show. Maybe it’s because rather than actually covering things that are happening locally, you’re reporting on crime investigations in Florida and snowstorms five states away. It’s hard to call it “local” news when only a quarter of your coverage is actually local.

But anyway, NBC decided to cave in and move Leno back to 11:35. The plan was to have him do a half-hour show, followed by the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien at 12:05 a.m.

So O’Brien had two options. He could: 1) Remain at NBC and start his show a half hour later on the network that no one actually watches anymore, or 2) He could leave NBC, causing them to pay him an insane amount of money, and switch to a different network and completely kill the Tonight Show in the ratings.

Which option would you choose?

I’d be with Conan, enjoying my $33 million, sitting in a lawn chair on a beach in Southern California, sipping Piña Coladas.

And that’s what Conan did. Leno will likely return as the host of the Tonight Show, and Conan will probably move to Fox to run against him.

I predict Leno is off the air in a year.

And Punxsutawney Phil agrees with me.

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