BJ'S BLOG 02/01/16 "Red Monk Day"

February 1, 2016

Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders: 

So here we are in February, the last month of meteorological winter. February 2 is Groundhog Day, the day we take a little creature, known as Chuck, Wood-shock, Groundpig, Whistler, Thickwood Badger, Canada Marmot, Monax, Moonack, Weenusk, and my favorite, the Red Monk, out of its burrow, hold it up in the air, and plan our next six weeks on whether or not it sees its shadow. How do we know it actually sees its shadow when the sun is out? No one has ever explained that to me. On Groundhog Day, we use TV and radio time as well as print to pay attention to something that has no actual basis in fact. Even a number of songs have been written about Groundhog Day, including one by the great blues singer John Lee Hooker (“Ground Hog Blues”) and country singer-songwriter Tom T. Hall (“Happy Groundhog Day”). 

Now don’t get me wrong. I love groundhogs, and I think I have a lot in common with the burrowing little critters. I too find myself burrowing away in the cold of winter, or as Swamp Woman puts it, trolling myself away in my cabin in Rambling Harbor. I like doing that. When I am forced by one perceived necessity or another to go into the larger world, I crave my cave all the more.

I think the best thing that ever happened to Groundhog Day was the 1993 comedy starring Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, and Chris Elliott. Murray plays Phil Connors, an arrogant Pittsburgh TV weatherman who, while covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, finds himself repeating the same day over and over, including indulging in hedonism and committing suicide several times. Finally, he begins to re-examine his life and priorities. Hell, I do the same thing on the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, New Year’s, Christmas, and for that matter, Sadie Hawkins Day. Sadie Hawkins Day is November 15 (though there is a whole story behind whether its creator, Al Capp, meant it to be the 15th of November), and I get especially reflective on that day because it can be a little nerve-wracking. On Sadie Hawkins Day, women and girls take the initiative in inviting the man or boy of their choice out on a date, typically to a dance attended by other eligible males and their dates.

By now, you are no doubt asking yourself at least two questions: Why is Dan writing about Groundhog Day and Sadie Hawkins Day, and why am I reading this? I have one answer for both questions. It’s more fun than writing about politics and a lot more fun than reading about politics.  If I had gone into a tirade about my least favorite cartoon character Donald “The Fool” Trump,” would you have read this?

In the podcast there will be a few more odd things I’ve thought about this past week and of course the ever-popular rock-and-roll timeline. Join me on the shores of Rambling Harbor.