Here lies Phil

I wasn’t aware, but Punxsutawney Phil rode in the Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s day parade, and I’m told that he is not in fact dead in this picture, and was roused by his handler who knocked on the glass when parade-goers were all, “OMG. HE DIED!”

Three thoughts:

1. Is that how groundhogs sleep? Because that is some creepy ass shit.

2. Do you think he’s playing dead because he didn’t want to be booed for his blown early spring prediction this year?

3. Somewhere, a possum is looking at this all, “Dude be stealing my schtick. [awkward possum kung fu moves].”

(photo from Mr. Jonathan DeBor and sent by reader Alexis)


  1. PG Wodehouse
    March 18, 2011 12:51 pm

    Shouldn’t that be Awesome Possum kung fu moves?

  2. SpudMom
    March 18, 2011 12:51 pm

    I really hope that bullet proof glass because me and my varmint rifle should have been down there hunting his furry behind down. ;)

  3. Legallypgh(Kathy)
    March 18, 2011 12:58 pm

    That is an awesome picture

  4. Michelle Smiles
    March 18, 2011 1:11 pm

    That photo is creepy – he looks not just dead but recently cooked.

  5. Cassie
    March 18, 2011 1:11 pm

    I seriously sometimes wish there was a ‘like’ button on this site. I’d like the shit out of half the comments posted. Especially by bucdaddy, butcher’s dog and bluzdude.

  6. Christina
    March 18, 2011 1:28 pm

    OMG – this picture is HILARIOUS!

    I am pretty sure he thought something like “I better play dead before these snow beaten people SHOOT ME!”

  7. bluzdude
    March 18, 2011 1:29 pm

    {rapidly drawing “Like” button on my monitor…}

  8. Andrea
    March 18, 2011 1:33 pm

    Punxsutawney Phil kicking the bucket during the Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day parade sounds like a sequel to Groundhog’s Day. If Bill Murray will do those Garfield movies, I’m sure he’ll be on board for this.

  9. Lisa
    March 18, 2011 1:50 pm

    Where are the vents in that thing? Maybe he passed out from suffocating.

  10. Marcy
    March 18, 2011 1:52 pm

    I can’t stop giggling. Thank you so much for this.

  11. KGC
    March 18, 2011 1:58 pm

    This rodent was carried across Carson Street right in front of me. Didn’t have en

  12. Rachel
    March 18, 2011 2:00 pm

    Lisa I was thinking the same thing…. the glass looks pretty fogged up!

    Cassie – the facebook addict in me is constantly looking for the “like” button

  13. KGC
    March 18, 2011 2:02 pm

    This rodent was carried across Carson Street right in front of me. Didn’t have enough room to gain speed and mow him down. Darn.

  14. KGC
    March 18, 2011 2:04 pm

    Blackberry burp.

  15. cheryl
    March 18, 2011 2:40 pm

    omg he looks dead. Did they forget to put air in the jar he is in??? That is HORRID!!!!!! I NEED EYE BLEACH!!!!!!

  16. Karen S.
    March 18, 2011 2:45 pm

    What do you know? A rodent looks creepy and gross. Amazing. ::shudder::

  17. Cassie
    March 18, 2011 3:04 pm

    See?!? So many comments I could ‘like’. This is almost torture. I’m cracking up here.

  18. Monty
    March 18, 2011 3:27 pm

    Weekend at Bernie’s II: Woodchuck Boogalo

  19. bluzdude
    March 18, 2011 3:36 pm

    Last time I saw something laid out like that, he had just been clocked by James Harrison.

  20. JRL2481
    March 18, 2011 3:45 pm

    Judging from the cable that is coming out of the hood of that truck I would think Phil is either on life support, or it is a robot Phil that runs on battery power.

  21. JRL2481
    March 18, 2011 3:49 pm

    Ohhhh, I know what it is. It’s Phil’s version of a hyperbaric chamber, like Hines uses after every game.

  22. Butcher's Dog
    March 18, 2011 4:33 pm

    @Cassie: you sure know how to turn an old man’s head! Bucdaddy can either agree or not; bluzdude has already weighed in.

    If that’s how Phil looked at the St. Pat’s Day parade, it should serve as a notice to other woodchucks; lay off the green beer! Humans, too, for that matter. I’ll bet Phil wasn’t the only one in that position before the day ended. As usual, just sayin’.

  23. Rachel
    March 18, 2011 5:35 pm

    @ Lisa… I was thinking the same thing – the case looks pretty foggy!

    @ Cassie… the Facebook addict in me is constantly looking for the “like” button

  24. Cassie
    March 18, 2011 7:19 pm

    @Rachel: I know!!! That’s what I’m saying! Plus, then I don’t have to sit here and @ people to tell them that they’re effing hilarious.

  25. JJ
    March 18, 2011 8:35 pm

    That picture is really creepy. My parents’ dog sleeps on her back almost all the time though, so maybe groundhogs do too?

  26. LeeInIrwin
    March 18, 2011 10:48 pm

    That’s not Punxsutawney Phil! That’s his cousin Rotisserie Rick. Pennsylvania’s 27th most famous groundhog…..

  27. HorseShoeBend
    March 18, 2011 11:40 pm

    Where’s the guy who does mouth to mouth on possible road kill when you need him?

    My guess – passed out from too much irish ale. Happens all the time I hear…

  28. bucdaddy
    March 19, 2011 2:13 am

    French Creek Freddie kicked his ass.

    And I don’t know anything else about her but “Cassie” is a hot chick’s name.

  29. Scott
    March 19, 2011 10:10 am

    I’m not sure why, but that picture made me LOL a little bit. I’ll tell you what, Phil may have blown the call, but when I was walking down Penn Ave. yesterday evening to meet a buddy of mine at the excellent Sharp Edge Bistro on Penn, it sure was nice outside.

    As a Pittsburgher who has lived all around the country, I find it strange and amusing that people everywhere celebrate Groundhog Day and take Punxsutawney Phil so seriously. Pittsburgh has a lot of famous elements that are justifiably so, but let’s face it, Groundhog Day and Phil are absolutely absurd when you think about it. I’ve never understood the fascination.

    But hey, if a bunch of yahoos want to dress up in period costumes and pull a groundhog out of the ground at the crack of dawn, let ’em have at it. Every year when they do so, I’m warm in bed.

  30. bucdaddy
    March 19, 2011 10:35 am

    I believe they got confused and put Punxsutawney Possum in there.

  31. bucdaddy
    March 19, 2011 10:41 am


    Years ago Groundhog Day became an excuse (like they needed one; any day ending in “day” is usually excuse enough) for busloads of students from IUP and Pitt and anywhere else hardy/stupid enough to gather the night before at Gobbler’s Knob, drink on the hillside all night and give Phil a cheer first thing in the morning. IIRC there would be upwards of 15,000 people there to greet the rodent, until it got to be a little too much for the Punxy authorities to contain and they had to start banning booze or something to try to cut down on the crowds.

    This is what I remember from like 800 years ago. Can anyone confirm?

    Anyway, “absurd” is in the eye of the beerholder.

    And YES! to the Sharp Edge Bistro.

  32. lauren
    March 19, 2011 4:09 pm

    this totally made my day. I’m a Pittsburgher who relocated to central PA, and I miss Pgh stuff like this! Your blog rocks ;)

  33. Xena
    March 19, 2011 5:29 pm

    Clearly the groundhog got an early start on St. Patrick’s day.

  34. Heather
    March 19, 2011 11:54 pm

    @Cassie, thanks for posting that, so I don’t think that I’m a complete loon every time I try to click a “like” button and realize it doesn’t exist…

    But here’s another question…Does it look like some heavily bolted down steel on the top of his cage? How strong are groundhogs? Isn’t it scary that they need that many bolts to keep him in?!!

  35. Butcher's Dog
    March 20, 2011 12:17 pm

    @Heather: I actually think those look like clips that either turn sideways or snap open to take the top off. As far as I know groundhogs aren’t any stronger than anything else. They can dig some bitchin’ holes, though.

    I’ll second Ginny’s husband being pissed at the Pitt game. They had some holes in their game, foul shooting prime among them, all year. But this was their best chance in a while to get over the Sweet Sixteen hump and couldn’t get it done. At least now we can focus all the attention on the Pens getting into and (hopefully) through the playoffs.

    If I were in a better mood, Sweet Sixteen Hump might seem like a good band name. Just not today.

  36. Cassie
    March 20, 2011 8:11 pm

    @bucdaddy not sure if I’m hot, but I’m a chick so I’m 1 for 2!

  37. bucdaddy
    March 21, 2011 10:35 am

    Chicks who frequent “That’s Church” are hot by default. Being cool and smart and funny is 90% of what hot chickin’ should be about.

  38. Beth
    March 22, 2011 9:09 pm

    @bucdaddy…I can confirm that description of Groundhog Day history. I grew up around there and went once when I was a senior in high school. It’s always been ball-shrinkingly cold. Now it’s ball-shrinkingly cold and lame.

    Also, I’ve never been to the Sharp Edge Bistro, but I friggin’ LOVE the original in East Liberty. Beer…mmmmmm.

  39. Butcher's Dog
    March 23, 2011 9:48 am

    @bucdaddy #37: that IS church! When you can add the physical attributes of, say, Our Virginia, you go from hot chickin’ to smokin’. Just sayin’.

    And Cassie, your name with its mythological connections gives you even more vibe. Although Cassandra in mythology was fated never to be believed (every teenager I ever taught that story to just KNEW they were like that as well!), I absorb everything you post here. Especially when it praises me!

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  41. Chief Healthman
    January 24, 2012 9:02 am

    Punxsy Phil and the Inner Circle always enjoy the St. Paddy’s Day parade in Pittsburgh. Don’t forget he had been working hard and he was not that far out of hibernation. I think he was just taking a well deserved nap. The carrier has abundant airholes in the top and those aren’t bolts, just clips to keep the top on. The sides look cloudy because he spends a lot of time scratching them. He recently got a new carrier so he’s traveling in real style now. It’s almost Groundhog Day so join the thousands and come for the celebration, a schedule is on the website.

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