First D.J.: "Rise and shine, campers and don't forget your booties 'cause it's cooooold out there today." Second D.J.: "It's cold out there every day. What is this, Miami Beach?" First D.J.: "Not hardly. So the big question on everybody's lips..." Second D.J.: "On their chapped lips..." First D.J.: "...their chapped lips is, 'Does Phil feel lucky?' Punxsatawney Phil! That's right, woodchuck chuckers it's...
(IN UNISON): GROUNDHOG DAY!!!"
Today, Punxsutawney Phil --- the Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary will predict whether we will have six more weeks of winter. According to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, Phil has seen his shadow 97 times, and hasn't seen it (predicting an early spring) only 14 times. Phil's track record is hotly disputed, though he's has had a pretty good run recently. Nevertheless, thousands will await the sunrise and the groundhog at Gobbler's Knob in the tiny Pennsylvania hamlet that has become known as the "Weather Capital of the World," due in no small part to the movie that makes every day Groundhog Day.
This is one time where the Internet really fails to capture the true excitement of a movie about a large squirrel predicting the weather. However, you can see the trailer as a refresher.
In 2005, Roger Ebert revisited Groundhog Day, declaring that the film "finds its note and purpose so precisely that its genius may not be immediately noticeable. It unfolds so inevitably, is so entertaining, so apparently effortless, that you have to stand back and slap yourself before you see how good it really is."
At the other end of the political spectrum, Jonah Goldberg's equally effusive movie meditation grabbed the cover of National Review: "When I set out to write this article, I thought it'd be fun to do a quirky homage to an offbeat flick, one I think is brilliant as both comedy and moral philosophy. But while doing what I intended to be cursory research -- how much reporting do you need for a review of a twelve-year-old movie that plays constantly on cable? -- I discovered that I wasn't alone in my interest. In the years since its release the film has been taken up by Jews, Catholics, Evangelicals, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, and followers of the oppressed Chinese Falun Gong movement."
Indeed, a 2004 article mentioned by Ebert (but not linked) from London's Independent observes that the Harold Ramis comedy has been hailed by some religious leaders as the most spiritual film of all time. More examples can be found at the NYT and the Christian Science Monitor.
As Phil Connors ultimately observed: "When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn't imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter."
ACCORDINGLY, we start off a new day:
...with Sonny & Cher on Hullabaloo and famously on Letterman years later, plus UB40 with Chrissie Hynde, not to mention The Cynics (from the Bonograph tribute CD), and David Bowie & Marianne Faithfull. A bit more for Fivefer Thursday.
UPDATE: Punxsutawney Phil, the Pennsylvania groundhog famous for making midwinter weather forecasts, had his moment in the spotlight early Thursday and declared that winter is far from over. But the competition begs to differ.
DON CORNELIUS, creator of Soul Train, was found dead at his Sherman Oaks on home Wednesday morning of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 75. The Chicago Reader did a meaty feature on Cornelius and Soul Train in 1979. The list of guests who appeared on the show remains impressive. Some of the notables are featured in this video, while Whitney Matheson provides clips of the Jackson 5, Beastie Boys, James Brown, Mary Wilson and the Fresh Prince. Idolator has the 10 best Soul Train line dances.
A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS are advance streaming Onwards To The Wall.
LOS CAMPESINOS! stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set.
THE SUICIDE COMMANDOS stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set.
TAPES 'N TAPES played a seventh birthday twofer at The Current.
CURSIVE drops "Wowowow" ahead of I Am Gemini.
M WARD drops a video for the new track "The First Time I Ran Away."
SHARON VAN ETTEN talks to The Line of Best Fit about putting her new band together and more...
OF MONTREAL: Kevin Barnes talks to The Stool Pigeon about tripping out - at reviewers and on record - and why he's not Frosted Flakes. (Thx, Chromewaves.)
NADA SURF: Life After The One-Hit Wonder.
JOE HENRY talks to Dolly Varden's Steve Dawson about songwriting, producing, Mose Allison and Ornette Coleman and more...
DEMI MOORE is embarrassed by the public nature of her breakdown. After her split from Ashton Kutcher, it's was young people, pills and Red Bulls. She was a woman in need of reassurance.
LINDSAY LOHAN appeared to be under the influence when she was at the Chateau Marmont on Sunday night, according to RadarOnline. Also, her creepy run-in with an alleged trespasser and constantly having looky-loos on her property are enough for her to finally pack up and leave Venice Beach.
SCARLETT JOHANSSON is dating an New York City-based advertising exec named Nate Naylor, a pal of the pair confirms.
ZOOEY DESCHANEL is the most desirable woman in the UK, according to an oh-so-scientific online poll.
NICK & AARON CARTER's sister Leslie died at 25, without details on the cause of death.
SIMON COWELL says he's still close with Paula Abdul - even though he just fired her - and plans to work with her again in the very near future.
TERROR in the UK: Four UK nationals of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origins admitted to involvement in an al Qaeda-inspired plot to bomb UK targets around Christmastime in 2010.
LIBYA: Freed from Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year dictatorship, Sufi Muslims find themselves under renewed pressure from violent Islamists who have been attacking them and their beliefs as heretical.
EGYPT: Concerned over its deteriorating public image, Egypt's military sacked the general in charge of media affairs.
AFGHANISTAN: The Taliban denied planning direct talks with the Afghan government to end the 10-year-old war, while a leaked NATO report suggested the insurgents are confident they will regain power after international troops leave.
IRAQ: Discounted Iranian rials and Syrian pounds are pouring into money-changing shops as Western economic sanctions against those two countries make it harder for them to conduct trade with much of the rest of the world, arrange international bank transactions and obtain hard currency.
THE DOG STRIKES BACK: VW's SuperBowl ad.
CARDINALS' RALLY SQUIRREL turns up on a baseball card. (Thanks, Dad.)
ZOO LIONS eat an owl in front of shocked visitors.
A BABY ELEPHANT was pulled out of a deep moat surrounding a palm oil plantation on Borneo island.