Monday, February 04, 2013

This weekend in the US

Groundhog Day - February, 2nd (Sat)
Today is the day that Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his hibernation to predict via his shadow (or lack thereof) whether spring is here or we’re due for another six weeks of grey, cold, dreary New England winter weather. Today is Groundhog Day 2013, Saturday February 2, 2013, the day when thousands of people flock to Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to watch a bunch of guys in tuxedos and top hats predict the weather for us. It’s a national holiday dating back to the 1800s and the first settlers of Pennsylvania, Germans who brought with them the holiday of Candlemas Day and its familiar phrase: 'For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day / So far will the snow swirl until the May.'
Groundhog Day 2013 continues an annual tradition now in its 127th year. As the folklore goes, if Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his hole and sees his shadow, we can all expect six more weeks of winter. If he does not see his shadow, however, we’re said to be in store for an early spring. According to the Inner Circle -the gussied up gentlemen who care for Phil year round- their lovable groundhog has predicted the weather correctly 100 percent of the time and drinks a special special elixir that’s kept him alive and kicking all these years by adding seven years to his life after taking a sip every summer at the Groundhog Picnic. (abridged)

Well, apparently, we are lucky as this year Punxsutawney Phil didn't see its shadow, which means we are allowed to expected cooler winter days: 'And so ye faithful, there is no shadow to see, An early Spring for you and me.' (Source:

A MUTTS cartoon
Super Bowl XLVII - February, 3rd (Sun)
A memorable Ravens Victory
In one of the strangest Super Bowls in memory, the Ravens dominated the first half, were badly outplayed in the second half, and yet managed to survive for a 34-31 victory, the second championship in franchise history. Everything was going Baltimore’s way when a power outage delayed the game for 35 minutes, leaving players, fans and the news media confused. When play resumed, the 49ers seemed like an entirely different team and pushed the Ravens to the brink of a collapse. But Joe Flacco and the Ravens’ offense settled down and maintained control. Coach John Harbaugh of the Ravens proved to be a brilliant strategist, with an intentional safety on the team’s final possession all but guaranteeing the team’s victory. He made bold calls all game, making his younger brother Jim seem meek by comparison. Source: The NewYorkTimes (abridged)

Alicia Keys sings the national anthem
Alicia Keys is up to any challenge. She proved that in December during the star-studded '12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief' benefit show, which featured such all-time great rockers as Bruce Springsteen, The Who, Roger Waters and Paul McCartney, and she illustrated that point once again as she sang the national anthem at the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans on Sunday. The 14-time Grammy winner, who is scheduled to perform March 10 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, delivered a dramatically different version of 'The Star-Spangled Banner.' It was the polar opposite of some of the high-flying vocal affairs of past Super Bowls, such as Whitney Houston's memorable tutorial in vocal gymnastics before the 1991 game in Tampa. Instead, Keys sat at the piano and crooned slowly at the start of the difficult number, handling the words with deliberate care. The rendition was sweet, soft and breathy, exuding a relaxed vibe that seemed nearly impossible for the occasion. Keys showed uncommon restraint at the start, eventually moving to a greater degree of passion as the song steadily built toward a powerful climax. It was, without a doubt, one of the more memorable national anthems of recent years. The pregame festivities also included a touching rendition of 'America the Beautiful,' performed by Sandy Hook Elementary School students, with substantial help from Jennifer Hudson. Source: (abridged)

Alicia Keys singing the national anthem / Getty Images
The halftime show
Beyoncé took to the Superdome stage Sunday night, performing in the 2013 Super Bowl halftime show. The pop star got fans of the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers looking so 'Crazy in Love,' opening the most-watched musical event of the year with her 2003 hit. She later brought Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland up to the stage for a Destiny’s Child reunion. Source: (abridged)
According to Topsy, a social media analytics site, there were more than 749,000 tweets about Beyonce during the hour she preformed at the Super Bowl halftime show. ABC News is still awaiting Twitter’s official numbers, but Twitter confirmed to ABC News there have been more than 6 million mentions about the pop star on the service tonight. To say Twitter and Facebook users went wild during her performance is an understatement. Many typed away particularly furiously when she was joined on stage by Destiny’s Child members Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland. Source: (abridged)

Beyoncé at Super Bowl XLVII halftime show / Getty Images
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