August 1, 2012
Hello Faithful Followers! We are getting closer to the day when Phil receives a few sips of "The Elixir". The second Saturday in September has historically been the day that Phil receives the elixir of life that, with every sip, extends his life another seven years. This year will be no different with the exception of the event within the event. In years past we incorporated this ritual as part of our Annual Groundhog Picnic. This year we are attempting something different by holding it in conjunction with the first annual "Phil Phest" a mixture of live music, food, games, and general all around merriment for everyone to attend. I can honestly say that the drinking of the elixir is Phil's second favorite time of the year. For him it's a chance to reinvigorate his 126+ year old bones. While the taste of it is not unpleasant to humans, to Phil it is like nectar of the gods. He would drink the whole cask if allowed so we cut him off after but a few swallows to make sure some remains for scientists to duplicate in case the heavily fortified (think gold) vault with which the formula is kept is breached. Ron and I have noticed there is about a three day adjustment period for Phil after imbibing the elixir. He becomes a little more active in a time when he should be starting to slow down for his hibernation. Thankfully, Phyllis is with him to keep him in check. One last item to cover.....the elixir does not work on humans. I am asked this question every year and while I wish I could say it does, but sadly it does not. As a matter of fact, we used a member of the club as a test subject to thoroughly explore that possibility. We gave him the equivalent to his body weight the same amount that Phil would drink for his body weight. It did not work, and as a matter of fact there was an adverse effect. Gentle readers, I refer you to our web page and the picture of Inner Circle member Tom Uberti - The Big Windmaker. Look carefully at his picture. Believe it or not that man is only 23 years old. Until next time John Griffiths, Handler
When I heard of Harold Ramis’s death on Monday I could not help but think of his unintentional fertilization of the legend and celebration of Punxsutawney Phil, Groundhog Day and consequently Punxsutawney. I feel that his contribution to our community and its national holiday’s popularity deserves a nod if not a hearty salute.
Harold Ramis was born in 1945, the son of a Chicago grocer, distinctly modest origins. He attended college at Washington University in Missouri and after graduating worked briefly as an orderly in a psychiatric ward stating, “…it was very good training, not just with actors; it was good training for living in the world.”
Ramis also had a stint at Playboy magazine editing jokes frequently written by inmates for Playboy’s Party Jokes section. While an associate editor at Playboy Harold started performing at Second City, Chicago’s improvisational theater troupe, where he met the inimitable John Belushi. It was Belushi’s talent that convinced Ramis he would not make it as a top comedian, saying, “When I saw how far he was willing to go get a laugh or to make a point on stage … I knew I’m never going to be this big.”
He contented himself with playing the quiet, understanding straight man to Bill Murray in movies including “Stripes” and “Ghostbusters”. After the “Ghostbusters” sequel Ramis collaborated with writer Danny Rubins and Murray in the classic “Groundhog Day” in 1993 for which he and Rubins won a “Best Screenplay” Bafta and the undying gratitude of at least 15 residents of Punxsutawney. Despite his incredible commercial and critical success Harold was substantially unchanged from 30 years ago. Second City founder, Bernie Sahlins told the Chicago Tribune, “He’s had enormous success relatively, but none of it has gone to his head in any way. He’s the least changed by success of anyone I know in terms of sense of humor, of humility, sense of self.
While Ramis was a comedic genius he also used his films as a vehicle for communicating larger themes. Groundhog Day is often recognized as a metaphor for the possibility of self-improvement and redemption. He told NPR’s Terry Gross in 2005 that Groundhog Day expressed one man’s desperate search for meaning. Asked by the New York Times about the existential questions raised by “Groundhog Day” he mentioned he didn’t practice any religion himself. “Although I am wearing meditation beads on my wrist that is because I am on a Buddhist diet. They are supposed to remind me not to eat meat, but actually they just get in the way when I’m cutting my steak.
Ramis commented years after the film’s release that he was now “welcome in churches, synagogues, mosques and psychiatrists offices all around the country.” I don’t know where you are going Harold but thank you, a dank, shukran and “Don’t drive angry.”
By Ron Ploucha- Co handler
September 1, 2012
As of this writing the back-to-school sales are in full swing so that means that the days are growing shorter, football season is just around the corner, the fields will soon be bursting forth with another harvest, and last (and most importantly), Punxsutawney Phil will be getting his annual dose of "The Elixir of Life"!! (The formal ceremony will take place during "PhilFest 2012" on Saturday, September 8). In case you didn't know, Phil gets another 7 years of life for each sip of the "Elixir" that he takes. Griff and I, as Phil's Handlers, are constantly being asked exactly what is in the "Elixir" to give it such magical powers. Obviously, we have been held to secrecy about its contents...that is until now. You wanted to know so we have finally decided to uncover the mystery. You will find below the formula and recipe for making your own "homebrew" elixir. Not sure what you will do with it since it only works on groundhogs that are at least 50 years old. Well, here it is anyway...
You will need a 50-gallon cast iron kettle and a cord of firewood from the Giant Sequoia trees of California. The fire must be lit by rubbing together 2 dried limbs from a Gingko tree. (Any attempt at lighting the fire with conventional methods such as matches, lighters, etc. will void the mixture and make it worthless and powerless). When the sequoia wood has burned into flaming embers, place a 100-pound chunk of ice from Antarctica into the kettle. Hopefully you'll be able to figure out that the fire should be under the kettle at this point. Let the ice melt down and come to a rolling boil. Add 10 pounds of apples, 7 large carrots, 3 stalks of celery, 5 pounds of alfalfa sprouts, a bucket of acorns, a bushel of dandelion roots, 3 cloves of garlic, and 20 packages of strawberry Kool-Aid. Allow to simmer for 4 days at precisely 215 degrees. After the 4-day simmer is complete, add 2 cups of pasteurized, homogenized, distilled Lochness Monster urine (yes, I know - this is the really tough part). Allow to cool then strain liquid through an old pair of underwear that has been certified to have been worn at Gobbler's Knob on February 2nd by a member of the Inner Circle (of course the underwear should have been laundered first!). Salt and pepper to taste. Serves 1 groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil. So there you have it.