Friday, August 1, 2014

Welcome To August

More than any other month, August is the one that TigerBlog has the toughest time figuring out.

Yes, it's still summer, the dog days actually.

Where does that expression come from anyway? Wikipedia offers this:
The Romans referred to the dog days as diēs caniculārēs and associated the hot weather with the star Sirius. They considered Sirius to be the "Dog Star" because it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog). Sirius is also the brightest star in the night sky. The term "Dog Days" was used earlier by the Greeks (see, e.g., Aristotle's Physics, 199a2).
The Dog Days originally were the days when Sirius rose just before or at the same time as the sun (heliacal rising), which is no longer true, owing to precession of the equinoxes. The Romans sacrificed a red dog in April to appease the rage of Sirius, believing that the star was the cause of the hot, sultry weather.
Dog Days were popularly believed to be an evil time "the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies." according to Brady’s Clavis Calendaria, 1813.[1]

What in the world did people do before Wikipedia? And phrensies? Sounds bad. And they didn't have hand sanitizer back then.

Actually, an interesting social trend that has emerged is the endless instant fact-checking that now is possible. A conversation will reach a point of uncertainty, and that uncertainty is immediately checkable on a smart phone.

Was so-and-so in that movie? Who was the 14th President (TigerBlog already knew that one)? Who was the National League MVP last year (TB has no idea)? Is it going to rain this weekend?

In an instant, the interpersonal face-to-face communication is disrupted in the name of looking it up. Is this rude? Or helpful? Is this socially acceptable? What's the etiquette say?

Or were all etiquette books written decades ago and therefore completely out-of-date for modern social times?

Oh, and the MVP of the National League last year was Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates. And Buster Posey won it two years ago. TB looked it up on his phone while writing this.

Anyway, today is the first day of August.

TigerBlog have never been able to figure out if August flies by or crawls by or both. One day in August can seem like three or four days in February, with the heat and humidity and all.

It's still summer obviously. But football preseason starts this weekend, and as the exhibition games drag by, it points out that the coming of fall is right around the corner. That means a new school year, new athletic year, new NFL season, cooler weather.

Everyone loves the fall. Everyone loves June and July. August? Is it enough already, let's move on, or is it the last vestiges of the best time of the year, to be savored for all 31 days?

TB has never been able to figure it out.

In addition to being August 1, it's also another Friday in the summer.

Each of the last three Fridays, TigerBlog has remarked about how quickly the previous week has flown by and how much closer to the start of the new athletic year Princeton is. The number is now five, as in five weeks from today will be opening day for field hockey, both soccers and women's volleyball. Men's water polo plays a day later; football starts in seven weeks.

The field hockey team isn't exactly easing into things. The Tigers start the season with Duke and Virginia the first weekend.

Friday in the summer is supposed to be a bit slower than any other day of the work year. TB can make the case that business around here slows even more in the last few weeks of December, but Friday in the summer is fairly universal in its tepid pace.

It's 43 miles from TigerBlog's desk to the Atlantic Ocean. Perhaps everyone here should leave work at noon and go there, if for no other reason than to just breathe it in. Wouldn't that be great?

Okay, it's not exactly practical. But hey, it's a good idea in theory anyway.

Besides, today isn't just another Friday in the summer. It's the last work day before Mollie Marcoux officially starts as the Ford Family Director of Athletics.

Mollie has been doing a considerable amount in terms of transitioning and preparing, and she has already started to lay out what her short- and long-term vision is.

It's just that she actually takes over Monday.

Her office is Gary Walters' old one, and it has been completely remodeled in the last few weeks, with new carpet, furniture and layout - a literal and figurative new beginning. And now, starting Monday, she will be a full-time inhabitant of that office.

It's an exciting time for Princeton University. Mollie will be just the fifth person in Princeton history to hold the title of "Director of Athletics." She is also the first woman who will do so.

But again, that's for Monday.

Today is a summer Friday, another summer week come and gone. In a flash. And with this week, July has come and gone, also in a flash.

It's time for August, a month that TB has never really understood.

And for a new Director of Athletics.

Today is quiet around here.

Monday will be exciting.

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