A few years ago, I was teaching a writing class when the students had to use the news in their writing assignments. There was always something going on so I was never short of material.
One day I saw a news story that I knew the students would have a great time with. Apparently I had long been misinformed about the fact that there are actually two ground hogs that predict the weather. I always thought there was just the famous Punxsutawney Phil but there is another weather predicting rodent named Staten Island Chuck. They make their weather predictions on the same day every year and frequently disagree with each other.
Well the story of Charles G. Hogg doesn’t end there. Mr. Hogg had a very contentious relationship with former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who he bit in 2009. In 2013, his daughter Charlotte wriggled out of the grip of Mayor Bill de Blasio and hit the ground. Unfortunately, the critter ultimately died of her injuries. My students had to write about the perished ground hog. One of my students wrote a piece from the point of Charles G. Hogg that was inspired and one of the best pieces of writing I’ve ever seen from a student.
Ever since then, I’ve laughed at the fact that a ground hog has a name like that. Charles G. Hogg — does that not sound like the name of a nefarious British aristocrat? Does this animal sat by a roaring fire with a glass of some fine port with a copy of Burke’s Peerage open, plotting marriages, intrigues or something perhaps more nefarious??? Of course Charles G. Hogg has engraved stationery that says “From the Desk of Charles G. Hogg” that he sends out his various notes and nonsuch on. He would deign to send such a thing as an email!!!!!
Recently I was watching the Daily Show and Trevor Noah laughed at people in the United States pulling an animal out of the ground to ask it to predict the weather. He pointed out (rightfully) that we would be very judgmental if we knew that his fellow Africans were doing the same thing!!!! It was quite humorous. Trevor, not only do we pull a rodent from the ground to ask it about the weather, but we also give those rodents first, middle initials and last names.
Well anyway today we had our first real winter storm in Boston since 2015. Snow day, the mayor and the governor on the TV warning everyone to stay home, the works. Its not really winter without one of these. For me it was a chance to sleep in, read a bit, clean up my place and of course take photos.
From the desk of Charles G. Hogg, winter 2017: