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Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notebook: Any meaning to groundhog predictions?

If the groundhog didn't see his shadow last week, does this mean I have more time to get something for someone for Valentine's Day?

If not, I may have to swipe one of the cards that grandson Ike has been making at the kitchen table. He asked me how to spell his grandmother's name for a card the other night, so I'm figuring this might work. Except, his handwriting is better than mine.

Not that Ike is the top genius in the family. That would be middle boy, Mike. The kid is cutting edge.

A few weeks ago, he started watching, over and over and over, a new TV show called Paw Patrol. ("No job too big, no pup too small." I now hear this in my sleep.)

Lo and behold, the financial section of the New York Times comes out the other day with a report on the quarterly earnings of Viacom, a huge entertainment company. Its Paramount group was struggling, as were some other units, the story said. But overall the quarter was up and the head of Viacom attributes it to — the envelope, please — Paw Patrol.

Got to remember to consult with Mike about my 401k.

Regarding the groundhog, I have always been suspicious of just what his prediction means. The claim is that we get six more weeks of winter if he sees his shadow. If not, spring will come earlier.

Hmmmm. My calendar says spring officially begins six weeks from the g-hog's day anyway. So what exactly constitutes an early spring? Mud season and frost heaves? My father used to say New Hampshire has but two seasons — February and August. I think he was right.

This week has not just Valentine's Day; it also has Abe Lincoln's birthday. But don't try finding much acknowledgment of it. Lincoln and George Washington have long since been replaced in our popular culture by one holiday that lumps them in with every other President and the 2014 automobiles and trucks.

I half expect to be told that the grandsons' favorite two Presidents are Mr. Fast and Mr. Furious.

Write to Joe McQuaid at or via Twitter at @deucecrew.


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