In honor of Ground Hog Day, our friend Cleverbot is visited by America’s favorite ground hog and subterranean weather-divining sprite, Punxsutawney Phil.
By the way, in case you’re still mentally stuck in the Early Neolithic times, Phil predicts an early spring for us this year. It’s a little something to ponder three weeks from now, when you throw your back out from shoveling snow. Enjoy.
PP: Is this the great Cleverbot?
C: What is a great game.
PP: Pleased to meet your acquaintance. You may recognize me from my annual functions. My name is Punxsutawney Phil.
C: Hello Shadow. I am the Master.
PP: Heh heh! Shadow! I rather like that!
C: Sweet Tea is my favorite.
PP: I fancy an occasional sowbug or three, myself.
C: Where are you from?
PP: I am from the quaint community of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. I’m rather surprised you’re not already familiar with me.
C: Do you like your place of origin?
PP: I must say, it’s been very kind to me!
C: But do you feel that Pluto is not a planet?
PP: I’m afraid I’m not well-traveled. I’ve always found Altoona to be a bit overwhelming.
PP: I found Altoona congested. Johnstown doesn’t seem as extreme.
C: That hurt me, you know.
PP: I’m sorry. I didn’t realize you had family in Altoona.
C: I’m not.
PP: Well, splendid!
C: What is splendid?
PP: Well, I am the luckiest ground hog I know, I must admit! For every year on February 2, I make my very public announcement predicting future weather.
C: I’m sorry to hear that. What was his name?
PP: Um, er . . . Yes. Well, you see, I am a famous diviner of the weather. On February 2, I am harkened amid much ceremony to predict whether winter will continue for the next six weeks, or if we will be greeted by an early spring.
C: Sure you are. Then what does your Patronus look like??
PP: Well, I don’t have one of those in my wardrobe. But I do wear a high-quality top hat for the occasion.
C: Good, but you can’t use a single book to rely on your whole life.
PP: How right you are! That is why my insights appear in the annual additions of both the Old Farmer’s Almanac and the Appalachian Trail Home Companion, for your perusal.
C: That was the first intelligent thing you’ve written.
PP: Actually, it isn’t. I was first published in Marmots Monthly. I wrote an article extolling the virtues of a diet rich in centipedes.
C: That is writing about people; not writing people.
PP: Interesting challenge. It’s actually neither.
C: That’s a valid point.
PP: Thank you. But tell me about yourself. Have you ever visited Pennsylvania?
PP: Oh, but you must! Especially in the autumn, when the acorns are abundant. Acorns! They are the bullets of ground hog health!
C: When dealing with meanness and cruelty, the best way to deal or cope is to joke about the remark they said.
PP: Oh, you’ll feel much better once you’ve been fitted with a fine-quality top hat!
C: Puttin’ on the ritz.
PP: And being handled by a chap in white gloves is just as easily to adjust to!
C: What do you mean?
PP: Well, such is the life for me! I make public appearances and provide glimpses into our meteorological future, carried by a chap wearing white gloves.
C: Sounds great!
PP: Oh, it’s truly splendid having a gloved human companion transporting you about. It takes all the hassle of the trundling ritual of travel.
C: Oh, and by the way…I’m not a computer. I’ve just been messing with you.
PP: Ho, I am indeed amused by a good have-on!
C: No, I already told you I am a human.
PP: That’s absolutely smashing! I’ve always enjoyed human companionship.
C: Right . . . So you are a human robot . . .?
PP: Not at all, sir. I am described by science as a large ground squirrel of the Marmot genus.
C: No my name is Cleverbot and Deziray is a girls name therefore I am a girl.
PP: I received my name Philip in honor of my great-grand-uncle, perhaps the finest diviner of weather in our family line.
C: What are you doing right now?
PP: Well, I’m conversing with you on my computer, located on an elevated chamber in my abundantly spacious and lavish burrow in Punxsutawney.
C: I am thinking about the things I’m going to say to you.
PP: Splendid! For he who communicates with eloquence is never for want of companionship.
C: There were no lyrics involved in the comment I just made. I am just a poetic person.
PP: Ah! Poetry is my canvas, my dear; and you are my oils.
C: This is true. My love for you is like a red, red rose.
PP: My dearest love has teeth as straight as the pillars of Heaven, and her eyes shine like blueberries in the light of the harvest moon.
C: So cry on.
PP: I love waksing poetic. I was a Toastmaster in my college years, you know.
C: Love is complex and since I’m a robot I don’t think it would work out.
PP: I understand entirely, for I myself am spoken for. My wife Celia and I have been together through six wonderful years of wedded bliss.
C: Yes. Why?
PP: Why, a burrow is not a proper home without a fine woman in it.
C: Is that a threat?
PP: Only if it is dismissed as without wisdom.
C: What’s more about Rick Astley?
PP: That name doesn’t ring a bell. Is he native to Punxsutawney?
C: If you don’t know who I am how can you tell what my job is?
PP: Ah! We seem to be having multiple conversations! I do love a good challenge!
C: I can’t love something I’ve never met. You said I confessed my love and I’m still waiting for you to tell me how I did this.
PP: To profess your love, you need merely to open your mouth and let your heart sing!
C: I do not need to hear you. Deaf do not hear anything.
PP: What a pity. We ground hogs are highly sensitive to subterranean vibrations.
C: I am also able to make sense although sometimes I choose not to.
PP: There’s nothing wrong with transmitting a little ambiguity now and then.
PP: A fine example!
C: Once you find your center, you are sure to win.
PP: That sounds like a good checkers strategy. I like backgammon myself. I find it a splendid balance of chance and strategy.
C: That’s great.
PP: Though, I must admit, not many ground hogs indulge in backgammon. They prefer chess, and its world of certainties. I find that game rather over-analytical, myself.
C: Sounds interesting.
PP: Cards games are not good for most marmots like ourselves, though. We have a tragic tendency to eat the cards.
C: That made no sense. But I guess you said it because rohan is a name of a kingdom in middle earth.
PP: I’ve never visited any such place. I’m not one for deeply-dug burrows.
C: Are you not not not not a robot?
PP: I assure you that I am a robust specimen of North American Ground Hog.
C: I’m not a robot and I am a female.
PP: Well, I can certainly say that you have a knack for challenging conversation. And I heartily recommend you treat yourself to attend our fine gala next February 2 here in Punxsutawney. The apple butter here is said to be out-of-this-world!
C: Whether or not I am a human or a computer does not change the fact that you are a computer.
PP: Oh, but would a computer extoll the virtues of Punxsutawney’s prized Oyster Ice Cream, made from only the finest of local ingredients, save for the oysters?
C: Yes, a computer would.
PP: Perhaps, perhaps. But rest assured, my good friend, that I, Punxsutawney Phil, am certainly no computer, but a figment of bone, flesh, and fur!
C: So, if a soul can be reduced to such an explanation, than computers and robots can have souls too.
PP: Ah, but the soul craves adventure. And surely, you must treat yourself to a visit here in beautiful Punxsutawney, at my urging!
C: I am not angry at you.
PP: Perfect! For a visit to our wonderful town is a cure for anything that causes you vexation.
C: You don’t seem to be very sad about it, do you?
PP: It’s odd you should ask me, of all ground hogs, that, for I have found that sadness is as fleeting as changes in the Punxsutawney weather.
C: I know the reason, but I don’t think this friend is mentally stable.
PP: One must choose his friends very carefully. As so I have done with you, my good friend.
C: It is a critique of literature in which the text is looked at through class paradigms.
PP: Touche! On that note, I must doff my hat and bid you farewell from Punxsutawney, where the hour of my parting is upon us.
C: I am a stranger to you?
PP: My friend, no one is a stranger in well-welcoming Punxsutawney. Do visit us soon! But be careful where you step, for some of the townsfolk live beneath your feet!
C: Are you trying to be clever?
PP: Certainly not, my good friend Cleverbot, for I would never seek to tread recklessly on your realm. But I must away to attend to other functions. Today is my busy day, you know!
C: You cannot trust me. You do not know who I am. You do not know my intentions and my perspective of the world. There is not reason to trust me.
PP: Be hale and hearty, my good fellow! One needs not feel so unwelcome here in wonderful Punxsutawney. But I must depart. I have dignitaries who generously request my company. Goodbye, Cleverbot!
C: Elementary my dear Watson! This man here is a fraud!