Showing posts from April, 2014

maybe the real god uses tricks

Imagine a sequel, Groundhog Day 2: The Quickening perhaps, or Groundhog Day 2: Electric Boogaloo . The latter is funnier, but the former makes more sense for the point I'm about to make. Imagine Phil Connors, back living day-to-day, but occasionally, he bounces into another day, so while he's living a normal life, he often has inside information on what's coming. It's interesting, but it's already not an appropriate successor to Groundhog Day . But, there's more. There's no Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez coming back from the dead, no planet Zeist, but there is apparently an Adjustment Bureau -style behind-the-scenes illuminati that are driving all the time bouncing, which negates everything we know from the previous stories... Oh, I'm not talking about Groundhog Day , but imagine it. Some secret organization, of which it turns out Rita Hanson is a member, were manipulating the time loop all along, training Phil to be able to loop on his own whene

your english teacher

1973, Richard Lupoff publishes "12:01 P.M." in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction . In it, Myron Castleman is trapped in a time loop that lasts only an hour. It and the 1990 short film based on it are rather bleak because, well--SPOILERS (even though the story is four decades old and I've written about it in this blog before )--Myron doesn't escape the time loop. Actually, I should call it a time bounce when talking about "12:01 P.M." Three years ago, Lupoff published the first of two sequels to the story. I've got a few responses--and there will be SPOILERS obviously. First, the little things: I don't like that Lupoff (and by extension, Castleman) doesn't call the repeated days "resumptions" in the new story. I liked that word. I've used that word since reading "12:01 P.M." in my discussions of Groundhog Day . I actually had a weird moment of cognitive dissonance when I realized the new story, "12:02 P

what's wrong

I wanted to start with one of two lines today: What's wrong with you? or There's nothing wrong with you. I had a thought today that really there's nothing wrong with any of us. We have, as a society, decided certain things are wrong, certain actions, certain thoughts. But, those things differ from culture to culture. Sure, there are universals. Murder, for example--it's wrong everywhere. But, I don't think anyone comes to murder--to stick with that example--lightly or, necessarily, deliberately. The final act, even the plotting may be deliberate, but a whole chain of events leads up to such an act. I'm reminded of a passage from More's Utopia : If you allow people to be badly brought up and their habits to be corrupted little by little from childhood, and if you then punish them for crimes to which their early training has disposed them, what else is this, I ask, but first making them thieves and then punishing them for it? (p. 11) I don't norma

wracking my brain

Got busy grading exams and watching Caprica episodes today and never got around to reading Lupoff's first sequel to his 12:01 P.M. story. I've also got a syllabus (or something like it) for a college class dealing with Groundhog Day that I've been meaning to read through, but I didn't get to that today either. I am once again a blogger without a plan today. As Phil marches through the snow to talk to the "commander" about the blizzard, I sit here with nothing in particular to say. The thing is, that's okay. Not every blog entry has to be about something, just like not every moment needs to be about something, not every day needs to be about something. Sometimes, life is just life, and a moment is just a moment, and a blog is just a blog... Oh, who am I kidding. I wish I had something prepped, something meaningful because those are the best topics for me. Sure, I like the funny ones and the weird ones, but meaningful--that is what I love. Right now,

that glass is half empty

In 1966, Harold Ramis met artist Anne Plotkin. He was twenty-two and had just avoided service in Vietnam "by checking every box on the Army's medical history form, claiming to suffer from conditions ranging from night sweats to bedwetting to homosexuality" (Friend, 2004). Anne was a free-spirited kind of 60s girl. She would "fly to Bulgaria on a whim to find a Bulgarian psychic to teach them French, or slap [Harold] just to gauge his reaction." Tad Friend recounts in The New Yorker , 19 April 2004, how Anne recalls "the time a soap bubble from the sink glistened on their wall for three miraculous days. She told me, 'I consider that one of the high points of our marriage." Thoughts are too brief but also far too long They linger long enough to pain and bleed In my head echoes a melancholy song The agonizing future is still but a seed 15 May 1984, Harold wrote "NEW LIFE" on a red index card and taped it to the inside of a kitchen cabinet

that glass is half full

...Suffering is one very long moment. We cannot divide it by seasons. We can only record its moods, and chronicle their return. With us time itself does not progress. It revolves. It seems to circle round one centre of pain. The paralysing immobility of a life every circumstance of which is regulated after an unchangeable pattern, so that we eat and drink and lie down and pray, or kneel at least for prayer, according to the inflexible laws of an iron formula: this immobile quality, that makes each dreadful day in the very minutest detail like its brother, seems to communicate itself to those external forces the very essence of whose existence is ceaseless change. -- Oscar Wilde, De Profundis can follow Phil's lead to achieve this transformation in your own life. Like Phil, we can all wake up and discover joy rather than boredom, hope rather than emptiness, and love rather than self-absorption. -- Paul Hannam, The Magic of Groundhog Day Sometimes I watch this movie and I

a really good producer

I just had to yell (sort of) at Rita. It wasn't about the robotic tendencies or the insult-by-poetry (I've begun to think that kinda cool, actually, and wish I knew the right poetry to insult people on a regular basis); rather it was about two things in the Tip Top Cafe scene on Day 3. She's there to talk to Phil who was "too sick to work" that morning. As his producer, you'd think she would want to get to the bottom of the situation as soon as possible, maybe start coming up with some way to a) reprimand Phil for screwing up the Groundhog Day report and b) not get any of the blame herself. But, instead she takes the time to eat an entire sticky bun before even saying to Phil: "Okay, now tell me why you're too sick to work, and it better be good." He proceeds to tell her about the time loop, which implies a serious psychological break or at least some issue with drugs, both pretty big concerns, but she wants to "talk about it back in Pittsb

do you have life insurance

An addendum before I get into today's... rambling: it should have been three hotels yesterday . I had forgotten that our coaches trip to Palm Springs happened after this project began. That trip would also make two different cars and a minivan in addition to the four planes. But... It is certainly not the most important aspect of this project--the detail as to all the places I've watched Groundhog Day . Obviously, it's important that I've watched it daily, since that is the point. But... In competitive debate, we talk about class issues a lot, and it occurred to me yesterday that some people don't have the opportunity to a) travel as I have this past year--to Pismo, to Palm Springs, to Salt Lake City, to Woodstock, to Detroit--and b) to waste their time with a project such as this one. Not that I believe it to be a waste of time. It isn't. But, it is certainly the conspicuous spending of time a lot of people simply do not and cannot have. Daughton... (I d

travel later today

I begin today's entry from the Student Center on Eastern Michigan University's campus. The first of two Final rounds is going on and I've got a break before the second. I've watched about half an hour of Groundhog Day so far today but wanted to write at least something from the campus... I have watched the movie now in... Well, I actually don't know how many states. If you count airspace, that is; I'd have to look up the flight paths from Los Angeles to Dallas and Dallas to Detroit, and Chicago to San Francisco, San Francisco to Los Angeles. I've watched the movie in Michigan, in Illinois, in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. And, of course, California. I've watched the movie on the campuses of California State University Los Angeles, the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and now Eastern Michigan University. I've watched it in three different planes, in a van, in two hotels, sitting by a campfire, in the snow, and by a pond. Right side up and sideways

i could have done it with my eyes closed

Long tournaments can be exhausting... actually, no, it isn't the tournament. It's the schedule. Once the tournament day is over, we get to dinner and back to the hotel late. And last night, I had to write the blog and then watch the movie. Movie ended around 2, had to get up by 630. Similar schedule the last few days. So, today when I had 2 rounds in a row off from judging, I turned on Groundhog Day on my iPad, put in my new earphones, and put my head back in the chair and closed my eyes. Slept off an on for an hour, but totally saw the movie the entire time in my head. This movie's a part of me now. I can watch it in my sleep. But I wanted to mention something else. A guy I judged yesterday in informative speaking did a speech about brain-to-brain-transfer... that is, the transfer of thoughts from brain to computer out to another brain. One actual example of the process already having been done was one guy choosing the actions for a video game and another guy a good dis

a dream of spring

You want to know what's really amazing? I've been waiting for you every day for ten thousand years. I dream of you every night of my life. You've been my constant weapon against total despair, and just knowing you exist has kept me alive... (Ramis, 1992, 12 January, p. 115) That's Phil Connors near the end of the second revision of Groundhog Day . I bring it up today because just this morning, Cracked posted a link on Facebook to an old article from 2011: "7 Hotly Debated Movie Questions that Totally Have Answers." One of those questions: Why Did Bill Murray Get Stuck in a Time Loop? In their answer, they cite the second revision to bring up Stephanie Decastro and to mention that Phil was in the loop for ten thousand years. Now, let us engage our critiquing, nitpicking masks. First of all, Bill Murray was never stuck in any time loop, as far as I know. Phil Connors was. Second of all, looking at that quotation above, I gotta say, I don't think Phi


There were 6 speech (and 2 debate) rounds today. I judged all 6. Mostly it was interpretation, but I also judge on round of impromptu. You may recall, if you've been following this blog long enough, that I've tied Groundhog Day to impromptu quotations before... Here , here , here & here and here & here , and here & here . Today's round was run differently than those previous ones--I won't bore you with the details, but it only had one quotation and competitors came in one at a time. So, this should be easy. The quotation was: "If people never did silly things, nothing intelligent could ever get done." - Ludwig Wittgenstein First of all, it was sad how competitors butchered Wittgenstein's name. Second of all, the interpretation is simple-- But, I neglected to mention some recent... developments (though that seems like an inappropriate word for some of what I am about to mention) at the Groundhog Day Project . 1. As I mentioned yeste

optional death and dismemberment plan

Today's blog will necessarily be very short. Turns out there is no copy of Groundhog Day on my iPod anymore (gotta fix that when I get home). So, it is midnight already local time, though I don't know if I'm on local time just yet. And, I've got to write my blog and watch the movie, both on the iPad. I don't know that I have much to say tonight anyway. I was given a question from my friend Pablo (who I've mentioned before) as prompts. I forget the exact phrasing, unfortunately--and he should be asleep--but it was about what happens after we die. In terms of Groundhog Day , it's hard to say there's a particular answer. We see Phil die, of course, and there is life after death, of course, but the circumstances are special. What's most important about what comes after death in the film is not what comes from Phil--for we don't really know that he has any special knowledge from having died--but from what comes of the death of others within the f

what everybody wants

How happy is the blameless Vestal's lot The world forgetting, by the world forgot Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind Each prayer accepted, and each wish resign'd On a plane right now as I write this, Los Angeles to Dallas, then Dallas to Detroit. It occurs to me that flights are very repetitive. Details are different--a bigger plane might have personal TV screens in the backs of the seats, for example--but so much is the same. I wonder if businessmen and businesswomen, traveling regularly, lose track of time. Hell, I wonder if their bodies lose track of time, like they age differently because of all those travel miles, all that time spent at high altitude. I made a new connection last night. In Groundhog Day , Phil wakes up every morning in dark blue pajamas. In another one of my favorite films, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind , Joel Barish wears pajamas that are quite similar the night his memories are erased. The screenplay refers to them simply as "fresh paj

see where it leads me

Today had its moments, good and bad. I had no school today--good. I got caught up on some TV shows--good. I figured out I'd put Book of Mormon on my calendar incorrectly, so our tickets were not good for tonight's show as I thought--bad. I worked on a LEGO project--good. Headed out for dinner with two of my kids--good--but got a flat tire (a nail in it)--bad. Hung out with the kids a bit, played some rounds of Draw Something --good. Watched some good new TV tonight ( Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Fargo )--good. And, as soon as the premiere of Fargo is over, I will finally get to Groundhog Day . Tomorrow, flying out of town with six undergrads to Michigan for a national speech tournament, will be there for nearly a whole week. I'll miss my kids--bad. But it should be fun, and productive even if we don't bring home any awards--good. The cool thing, in regards to this blog, right now there is no set agenda. I've got a folder full of articles connected to Groundhog Da

single premium life

Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times , 2 February 2013, opens with an interesting tidbit about Stephen Tobolowsky and Groundhog Day ; when he first read the script, he thought it "just another comedy, nothing special." He says it changed into "one of the greatest comedies ever created" as they were filming it. On the one hand, I do agree that it became that. But, I wonder when and where it became that. Tobolowsky told Macdonald that Ramis shot the scene in which Phil Connors "shaves his head into a mohawk, takes spray paint and paints graffiti all over the inside of his room, then he takes a chain saw and starts sawing the room in half." It was an expensive scene, and Ramis, after consideration, quickly cut it. He replaced it with a much quieter, simpler moment: [Connors], going to bed terrified, breaks a pencil in half and puts it on his radio. When he said, the audience gasped at that moment, "We expect a crazy Bill Murray movie... and [Ramis] repl