Feb 2, 2022

Today We Get Our Phil of Punxsutawney!

Groundhog Day (the holiday and movie) burrow their ways back

By Ed Goldman
If you saw the wonderful 1993 comedy “Groundhog Day” and recall its plot, don’t worry: You won’t have to read this column over and over until you fall in love with Andie MacDowell.

To recap: In the film, a magical curse is visited upon the character played by Bill Murray as an egotistical TV reporter. He’s condescendingly covering the annual Groundhog Day emergence of the eponymous Punxsutawney Phil, whose arrival is supposed to indicate how much longer winter will last— and is forced to relive the day until he finally becomes a decent guy. MacDowell plays his sweet-natured field producer who’s at first the object of Murray’s lust but ultimately, his sincere love.

Edgy Cartoon

Statue of Limitations?

While it may sound as cornily predictable as a Hallmark Holiday special, it’s in fact a deftly delivered romance that’s funny and human enough to prevent your regretting the emotion it elicits from you. I feel the same way about “Casablanca” though I have no intention of watching “Groundhog Day” every few months, as I do “Casablanca.”

To summarize, today’s Groundhog Day. And I kind of doubt that even a lovable rodent like Punxsutawney Phil can out-guess climate change to let us know just how much longer winter will be with us.

The entire field of weather prognosticating has always been a challenging one—not only for the “licensed” meteorologists every local TV station hires (many of whom get their daily reports from the same source) but also for the seasoned professionals who create computer climate models and still sometimes get caught unprepared in a downpour. I imagine this is as embarrassing for the pros as it is for sponsors of outdoor Psychic Faires, as they’re billed, when they have to be canceled at the last minute, owing to spontaneous cyclones.

Curious about how accurate weather forecasts can be in this new era of peekaboo predicting, I looked online and found this initially encouraging report:

“In the latest and most comprehensive statistical analysis of forecast accuracy ever undertaken, independent forecast tracker ForecastWatch reconfirmed the Superior Accuracy of AccuWeather forecasts by a significant margin over the next five sources of weather forecasts in all categories examined. The study analyzed 120 million forecasts from over 1,000 locations globally over a four-year period … and AccuWeather was found to be the clear winner as the most accurate provider of weather forecasts in temperature, precipitation and wind speed—a clean sweep of all categories—for a 1-5 days-out forecast period.”

Bedazzled by the data, I scrolled up to see who’d written the piece. It was bylined “Staff at AccuWeather.” The capitalizing of “Superior Accuracy” should have been my first clue.

Now, this might not seem as suspicious as Dick Cheney’s offering, some years back, to conduct a search to find a vice-presidential candidate for George W. Bush—and, for Heaven’s sake, finding out it was none other than… Dick Cheney!

Or, much worse, O.J. Simpson’s organizing and heading up an exhaustive search to find the coldblooded murderer of his ex-wife and her friend Ron Goldman—but, go figure, not finding anyone.

As a sidenote, and to provide a perhaps unfair glimpse into local TV news, when those killings occurred, a local TV reporter, noticing that one of the victims and I had the same surname, phoned to ask if I was related to Ron Goldman. I said no. “Oh, too bad,” she said, “I’d have loved to interview you.” 

Let’s look at that for a brief, shining moment: the reporter was sorry one of my relatives hadn’t just been slaughtered. And a little disappointed that, consequently, she wouldn’t be dropping by my home to put me on camera, no doubt answering such penetrating questions as, “How do you feel?”, “Were you and Ron Close?” and “So what’s O.J. really like?”

To be fair, which my contract doesn’t require to be, predicting the weather has become much more reliable since Mark Twain (or his pal and onetime collaborator, newspaper editor Charles Dudley Warner) famously lamented, “Everyone talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.”

Well, in the past 100+ years, we’ve done plenty, fellas. We’ve wrecked the climate, perhaps irrevocably. And we now have satellite imagery, doppler radar and other high-tech tools to confirm what we guess when drops of water start dotting our windshields: It’s raining.

Where’s Punxsutawney Phil when we need him?

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).

Yes, Virginia

A Weekly Blog by Virginia Varela

President and CEO, Golden Pacific Bank

photo by Phoebe Verkouw


Today’s the day Golden Pacific Bank closes its deal with SoFi and we officially become “Golden Pacific Bank, a division of SoFi Bank, N.A.” I’m very grateful and extremely excited for the professional turn of events.

We’ve wanted to ensure our customers and the community that our services will be even better and our commitment to where we live and bank only stronger. Golden Pacific will continue to operate as a division of SoFi Bank. I’ll stay on as the division President alongside the very same staff you know and love at our three branches.

With this partnership, customers will immediately have access to some additional free benefits, as well as a host of additional financial products. Free benefits include automated financial planning and money management tools, as well as access to certified financial planners at no cost. Customers can also access new products such as personal loans, mortgages, student loans, student loan refinance loans, and investment products.

That’s the Hello, Hello portion of today’s blog.

What’s the Goodbye?

Golden Pacific Bank as it currently exists will go away and a door closes as a new adventure begins. I want to thank the GPB Board of Directors and shareholders, because without their encouragement and support none of this would have been possible. You have contributed so much to the greater Sacramento and Yuba City communities.

A heartfelt thank you to all of you that supported Golden Pacific Bank over the years, and congratulations to all of you as we move to successful days ahead as SoFi Bank!

I close with a reposted quote (from @vaness_living) that I find simple and truthful:

“Many speak of opportunities—’When one door closes, another one opens.’ But rarely about the hallway. The transition. The in-between where you are and where you are headed. The hallway doesn’t have to be a scary dark, endless confusion—it can be a space of massive transformation, great memories, and peace.”

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