January 30, 2010

Replace Punxsutawney Phil with a ROBOT?




Cochran Cornell the Cantankerous Cockroach

     OK, so you haven’t heard from me for a while. Writer’s block. That’s what I suffer from. Just when I thought it was hopeless, I was injected with a jolt of verbal energy…just as you would be if someone suggested replacing all humans with robots.

     I’m so shocked!

     I had pulled myself out of my doldrums just enough to scoot over the local newspaper that my creator Carolyn was reading. And what did I spot? Why, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is campaigning to replace Punxsutawney Phil with a robot

     (Carolyn has this illustration for Punxsutawney Phil— . He is so cute as a Beany Baby that someone adopted him.)

     Who do those folks think they are? Personally, I think it’s just a publicity stunt. But if the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals manages to succeed in their quest to robotize my friend…well, fat chance of that…

     PETA claim that humans should treat Phil with compassion. That drew the ire of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, and drew battle lines with the thousands of people, perhaps millions worldwide, who rise early each February 2nd to find out what the near-future weather will be.

     When I heard PETA was campaigning for humans to be compassionate to Phil, I thought to myself, “Rubbish!” But to get the real scoop, I scooted off Carolyn’s newspaper onto the road. Fortunately, I was able to hitch a ride to Punxsutawney, not too far from Carolyn’s Pennsylvania home, in the warm covering of a moving van. I ran into 2500 of my relatives and friends on that van. We partied as we traveled.

     I found 124-year-old Phil in his human-designed abode—a spacious pen in the town library, rooming with his three roommates.

     After I crawled about his paws and ears, finally waking him from his winter siesta,he rubbed his eyes, and gradually became more alert, welcoming me with a “Great to see ya’, Cochran. Haven’t seen you for ages.”I told him I’d been real busy in Laurel Mountain Borough, keeping company with my creator. I shared with him my writing problems before asking him what he thought about PETA’s letter that was sent to his handlers, members of the groundhog club.

     “Letter? What letter?”

     That’s right. I couldn’t have expected him to know about the letter. He’d been sleeping. So I explained that PETA had written to the club, asking them to replace him with a robot.

     “A robot? What are they thinking? Who do they think they are, anyway?”

     “Are you being treated cruelly, keeping you in this cage.”

     “Huh? I have life easy. It’s the life or Riley! I have all the food I can eat. It’s warm. Look out that window? The trees are bending from the weight of the snow. Their limbs are weaving all over the place. Brrr. It’s cold out there. It’s toasty warm in here. I can sleep well. And in the summer it’s air conditioned.”

     “I agree that it’s nice having temperature control, and not having to worry about food and shelter. The PETA members also claim you are shy, and that people bother you.”

     “Pshaw! After the first twenty years they weren’t even noticeable…

    “And that taking you out in front of the massive crowds on February 2 is stressfully cruel, an offense to your shyness, and an affront to your wanting to be left alone.”

     “Heck, the only discomfort is being taken from this warm place into the cold, and being expected to look for my shadow. But it’s over so quickly, and I come back to the warm library. Truth be known, I actually adore the loving and petting the men give me.”

     “What about tourists visiting you constantly? Doesn’t that bother you?”

     “It did once. I felt like I was always on display. But I sleep through much of the winter, and ignore it most of the summer time. Sometimes I turn my back and make sure my roommates get the attention. That riles Stinky—he can’t stand it!”

     “The PETA group thinks you’d be better off in a sanctuary…”

     “THIS is my sanctuary. How dare they decide for me what’s good for me! And being Punxsutawney Phil gives me a purpose in life. I look forward to the annual early morning party at Gobbler’s Knob. It’s a tradition.”

     “Hmmm, PETA said tradition is no excuse for cruelty.”

     “What gall…

     “Fortunately for you, the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club president, Bill Deeley, considers it blasphemous to replace you with a robot. And people are up in arms at the suggestion. I don’t think you’ll be out of a job too soon.”

     It’s the slippery slope thing. The paper used the word animatronic. Fortunately, I’m enough of a scholar to know that’s a term for robot. Will cockroach robots be next? A Pittsburgh University actually made cockroach robots several years ago. I was there, hiding in a crack in the wall, observing their efforts. What odd-looking weird contraptions they were. However, they weren’t making them to replace my ilk, the German cockroach. That would have been soooo wrong.

     With that, I scooted home, to share the Phil’s news with Carolyn. I’m sure she will be happy with the results of my traveling to Punxsutawney.

     I just hope she didn’t miss me! 

          Doodleoot for now,

                 Cochran Cornell the Cantankerous Cockroach




Groundhogs and Punxsutawney Phil




Mosquito Nets Fight Malaria in Africa

Battling squirrels at bird feeders I: to fight or join them





  1. The outrage of it all!! How dare humans think we creatures can be replaced by Robots!! It just confirmed what I’ve always believed, we creatures are much more advanced and compassionate than the humans we allow to occupy our world. Perhaps we need to gather together and form a group to put humans back in their place!!

    Comment by Surefoot the Squirrel — January 31, 2010 @ 1:53 pm | Reply

  2. Completely outrageous; the groundhog union will be all over them.

    Comment by Will Patterson — February 3, 2010 @ 12:31 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

What is your opinion?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: