Monthly Archives: July 2021

Pic of the Day


Moment of Zen: Cooking


Pic of the Day


Chicago Job Update

I received an email from the museum in Chicago saying the team wanted to continue to pursue me as a job candidate and would like to set up a time for a Zoom interview sometime between Friday and Tuesday. I wrote back I was most available on Friday. The interview is scheduled for 2 pm today. It will be an interview with the museum’s Executive Director and the COO of the foundation that funds the museum.

There is not much I can do to prepare except refresh myself with the job’s description. The interview I had with HR was pretty thorough so I know what to expect. The team will have my resume, cover letter, and the HR person’s initial interview notes. I assume they will want to get a feel for how dynamic I am, and how well I could represent the museum in the community while also expanding on some of the questions already asked by HR.

I hope this interview will be an easy conversation about the position, and I will be able to address any issues they throw at me. This museum has a mission similar to my current museum except they are more focused on all veterans whereas my university-based museum is more focused on alumni veterans. Also, this Chicago museum has more funds and prestige in the wider veteran community. I have worked with this museum and its foundation in multiple ways. The foundation funded the position which originally brought me to Vermont. 

They know I interviewed for a different position at their museum several years ago. Ultimately, they hired someone with more qualifications. In the current available job, I meet all the required and preferred qualifications much like when I applied for the previous position I held at my current museum. I am confident I am what they are looking for. 

However, there is a lot for me to consider. Primary considerations are: 

  1. Will they offer a salary that will make the move to Chicago worthwhile? Rent and cost of living are higher there.
  2. Will the pros outweigh the cons regarding vacation time and benefits?
  3. Chicago does have a more active LGBTQ+ scene than Vermont as do most places, but that is a consideration.
  4. I will lose my current faculty status as an Assistant Professor. This is a personal consideration that may not mean as much to others.
  5. Before I could say yes, I would need to discuss the healthcare situation in Chicago with my current medical providers. While I realize Chicago is a larger city and the opportunity for world-class healthcare should be available, my medical team at the University of Vermont and Dartmouth have been life-changing.

It’s a lot to consider if they offer me the job. I’ll just have to wait and see.

UPDATE: The interview seemed to go pretty well. I think I answered their questions and was able to show them I would be a good fit. Now, I have to wait for them to finish the other interviews and get back to me. It seems like this was the final interview in the process, and they will not be bringing people to Chicago because of COVID.


Pic of the Day


Nudity and the Ancient Olympics

If the modern Olympic Games ran true to the strict customs of ancient Greece, they might well today have been called the “Naked Games”. From the early 8th century BC, Olympic athletes competed in the nude. There are indisputable records going back to Athenian philosopher Plato in the 5th century BC and even Homer’s Iliad, as well as many explicit drawings that confirm it was common practice for all male track and field athletes to take part naked. This included the often-dangerous sports of discus throwing, wrestling, boxing, and horse racing without protective clothing. 

There was a version of protection used by the Ancient Greeks, but one that would be odd to us today to be considered much protection. To protect the penis during wrestling matches and other contact sports, the men would tie a string known as a kynodesme around the tip of their foreskin enclosing their glans, thus keeping the glans safe. The kynodesme could then either be attached to a waist band to expose the scrotum or tied to the base of the penis so that the penis appeared to curl upwards.

The only exception to the nudity rule seems to have been for charioteers, who wore long white tunics. The words gymnastics and gymnasium are based on the Greek adjective gymnos, which means lightly-clad or naked. For non-charioteers, the only adornment on the athletes’ bronzed, muscular torsos would have been the gleam of olive oil with which they ritually anointed themselves.

Some historians have believed that the reason for competing nude was to make sure that women did not compete. According to one legend, it was discovered that a woman had competed and won, so it was decreed that athletes would compete nude from that point on to make sure that only men competed in the Olympics. It was also said that this was done to make sure that non-Greeks, particularly Jews or others who practiced circumcision, could not compete. Only a man who was uncircumcised was allowed to compete.

According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus, a writer in the 1st century BCE, Greek athletes did not compete in the nude until the 15th Olympiad in 720 BCE, more than 2700 years ago. That was more than half a century after the birth of the first Olympic Games, which originated in Olympia, in southern Greece, in 776 BCE. A Spartan runner named Acanthus was said to have set the fashion by appearing without the customary loincloth. Two hundred years later, the origin of this practice of nudity was attributed to another sprinter, Osippus, who won the one-stade footrace (about 200 yards) at the Olympics of 720 BCE. It was said he realized that a naked man could run faster than one impeded by a loincloth.

In the 7th century CE, more than 1300 years later, writer Isidore of Seville suggested that during a race in Athens, one of the runners had the bad luck to trip over his own loincloth when it slipped down. A magistrate in charge of the games ordered a new ruling that athletes should compete in the nude. The historian Thucydides, who lived at the end of the 5th century BCE, wrote that it was the “Spartans who were the first to play games naked, to take off their clothes openly and to rub themselves down with olive oil after their exercise. In ancient times even at the Olympic Games the athletes used to wear coverings for their loins and indeed this practice was still in existence not very many years ago.”

Women were not completely excluded from the Olympics. While married women were not allowed to participate in, or to watch, the ancient Olympic Games, unmarried women could attend the competition, and the priestess of Demeter, goddess of fertility, was given a privileged position next to the Stadium altar. During the classic period in Greece (500–323 BCE), women were allowed to participate in sporting events in Sparta, and there were two other events for sportswomen from other parts of Greece, Athens and Delos.

The closest thing to a women’s version of the Ancient Olympics were the Heraean Games, a separate festival honoring the Greek goddess Hera, which was held to demonstrate the athleticism of young, unmarried women. The athletes, with their hair hanging freely and dressed in special tunics that cut just above the knee and bared their right shoulder and breast, competed in footraces. The track shortened to about one-sixth the length of the men’s track in the Olympic Stadium. It’s uncertain if men were barred from these all-female races. Little is known about this festival other than what was written by Pausanias, a 2nd century CE Greek traveler. He mentions it in his description of the Temple of Hera in the Sanctuary of Zeus and says that it was organized and supervised by a committee of sixteen women from the cities of Elis. The festival took place every four years, when a new peplos, a body-length garment established as typical attire for women in ancient Greece, was woven and presented to Hera inside her temple.

It wasn’t that women were discouraged from sports in general; physical fitness was highly valued by women in Greece. A few women have been documented driving chariots, owning horses that won Olympic competitions, swimming, juggling, performing acrobatics, and potentially even wrestling. Spartan women were well-known for promoting physical education, believing good fitness assisted in healthy childbirth. By the first century CE, female athletic competitions were common under the Roman Empire. The first woman recorded to have won an event in the Olympics was Kyniska (or Cynisca) of Sparta, the daughter of Eurypontid king, Archidamus II, and the full sister of King Agesilaus (399–360 BCE). She won the four-horse chariot race in 396 and again in 392.


Pic of the Day


Migraines

I have been out sick from work for the past two days because of a major migraine. The new medicine for the trigeminal neuralgia (TN) has been helping with that pain. My neurologist doubled the dosage because the smaller dose was helping, but I was still having some nerve pain. The higher dose seems to be working but is also making me very drowsy. I felt a little drowsy with the smaller dose, but nothing like this. I’ll see how it goes at work today when I will be more active.

While the TN seems to have gotten better, I do still get migraines occasionally, and when I do, they are doozies. This one actually started on Sunday. I hope today is headache free, or at least mostly so. I have to be at work today because I have two important meetings. One has been rescheduled twice, and another has been rescheduled once. I can’t reschedule again. So, we’ll see how today goes.


Pic of the Day


The World’s Wanderers

The World’s Wanderers
By Percy Bysshe Shelley – 1792-1822

I
Tell me, thou star, whose wings of light
Speed thee in thy fiery flight,
In what cavern of the night
  Will thy pinions close now?

II
Tell me, moon, thou pale and grey
Pilgrim of heaven’s homeless way,
In what depth of night or day
  Seekest thou repose now?

III
Weary wind, who wanderest
Like the world’s rejected guest,
Hast thou still some secret nest
  On the tree or billow?