🙃 Today is Groundhog Day. Today is Groundhog Day.
Plus, a Carnegie Museums sea shanty.
Hello! It's Tuesday and the second day of Black History Month.
Mayor Bill Peduto marked the occasion by introducing a bill that would make Juneteenth — June 19th — an official city holiday. It's already a paid holiday for county employees. Peduto's measure is up for discussion at city council’s Feb. 10 meeting.
Gov. Tom Wolf made Juneteenth a state holiday in 2019, but the 150-year-old celebration of the abolition of slavery in the United States still isn't a national holiday. (That's a highly simplified take on Juneteenth's origins. Find a more detailed take here.)
Today is also Groundhog Day. Today is also Groundhog Day. 🙃
Keep scrolling for your guide to the strangest holiday ever produced by western Pennsylvania.
But first, some news of our own: The Incline is hiring a new director! I’m heading to a new job (I'll fill you in on all the details here tomorrow), but first I want to find the next voice of The Incline. Interested? Apply here — or forward this newsletter to someone who would be.
What Pittsburgh is talking about
To the dome. | Tag #theinclinepgh to be featured in our Instagram of the Day. (📸: @fort_frick_412)
4 things to know today
🗳 Pennsylvania’s top election official is stepping down. The reason? The bungled rollout of a ballot question that, if approved by voters, would open a two-year window for litigation by survivors of child sexual abuse who have aged out of the statute of limitations. The result? Longer delays for victims who've spent years waiting and lobbying for this opportunity. Spotlight PA has more on Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar's sudden resignation here.
🏚 Scores of city-owned properties in Homewood are decaying, and a municipal effort to clean up blight in one of the city's poorest and most distressed neighborhoods is having the opposite effect, the Post-Gazette found. Find their special report here.
🔢 Have questions about getting the COVID-19 vaccine in Allegheny County? Want to know when you're eligible and where to find it? Want a better idea of the timetable? 90.5 WESA has answers.
🔎 It's been 65 years since a military plane crash landed in the Mon River and we're seemingly no closer to finding it. We did a PittsburghPedia entry on the so-called "Ghost Bomber" and the long-running search for it a few years back. Read our report here.
4 things to make you smile
💭 A TikTok user's virtual return to the Squirrel Cage in Squirrel Hill is a joy to behold. See for yourself.
🎵 Speaking of TikTok … The Carnegie Museum of Natural History joined the sea shanty craze with its own earworm all about why the museum is great. Step right up and hear the tale.
☘️ You know about St. Patrick, but what about St. Brigid? The Pittsburgh Irish Festival is hosting a concert honoring St. Patrick's lesser-known female counterpart. City Paper has more.
🎷 Feralcat is one of our favorite local artists and he's profiled in one of our favorite local media outlets, PRESENTE magazine. Read it here.
The Groundhog has spoken
"Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary." (📸: Flickr/ Anthony Qunitano)
There will be no throngs on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney this year.
The annual tradition and rite of passage for boozy western Pennsylvania college students has gone virtual this year.
But the story behind the holiday remains the same … and it's a doozy.
A few years back, we dug into the subject and produced a truly wild writeup with facts like these:
- Punxsutawney Phil is either a zombie or a witch
- Phil’s entourage speaks Groundhogese
- Phil can text
- Phil is married
- Phil famously opposed prohibition
- Phil is infallible, much like the pope
- The first Groundhog Day celebration in 1887 involved actually eating groundhogs (now this is awkward, no one tell Phil)
Click here for more on each of these absolutely verifiable facts.
As for whether Phil is more likely to predict an early spring or longer winter, we're fine either way — as long as it's not six more weeks of 2020.
Things to do
Submit your events to our calendar.
💌 Hand make your Valentine's Day cards with inspiration from this virtual Somerset County Library workshop (Online)
🎩 Watch this year's virtual Groundhog Day celebration live (Online)
✍️ Polish that poem you're writing with help from the Pittsburgh Poetry Collective (Online)
🗞 Celebrate the 130th anniversary of the Women’s Press Club of Pittsburgh and the accomplishments of pioneering journalist Nellie Bly (Online)
🤖 Learn about 3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, and other digital fabrication tools with this Carnegie Science Center workshop for kids — multiple dates (Online)
🖼 Tour The Louvre Museum in Paris without leaving home (Online)
🎭 Get a closer look at “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” with things you may have missed and insider information (Online)
One more thing ....
"OK, campers, rise and shine, and don't forget your booties cause it's cold out there today. It's cold out there every day."
I've watched the movie Groundhog Day so many times that these two sentences immediately make me picture an alarm clock. But I only recently found out that the movie is filled with Buddhist themes — or at least that's one interpretation. There are many others. Here's a thought-provoking roundup from Mental Floss.
Thanks for reading to the bottom. We'll see you back here tomorrow.