Thursday, February 28, 2008

Congo vs. Congo for a Red Dot on ClustrMaps

When I'm feeling particularly narcissistic and want to celebrate the great michaelhoman, I like to click on ClustrMaps to see the global distribution of readers of my blog. Turns out I've never been that popular in Africa. I don't understand why, maybe Africans don't share my interest in biblical studies and rebuilding New Orleans after Katrina. Anyway, this post is meant to change that.
My goal is to get red dots on two countries: The Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as The Republic of Congo.

Here's hoping the following sentence gets googled by someone in The Democratic Republic of Congo:

President Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga, suffering from le mal Zairois, blamed the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo on the bonobo chimpanzees who live near the Congo River, I mean the Zaire River, no wait the Congo River, oh hell I can't keep track of what's going on in the DRC formerly known as Zaire, formerly known as Congo Free State, formerly Belgian Congo, formerly Congo-Leopoldville, formerly The Congo.

And this one I'm sure will be attract googlers from The Republic of Congo:

A Pygmy and a Bantu walk into a bar in Brazzaville. The bartender asks, "You two vote for Denis Sassou Nguesso?" The Bantu replied, "Aller au diable!" Then he killed the Pygmy and ate him for the magical powers.

The first country to show up on ClustrMaps wins a dinner for two with none other than michaelhoman, formerly known as Michael Homan, formerly Abu, formerly Mike, formerly Chopper, formerly The Chopper, oh hell I can't keep up with that either. I will soon be the most popular New Orleans blog in sub-Saharan Africa.

Later: It's now March 3rd, and while I have no doubt that many lucky citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo and its neighbors from the Republic of Congo have been reading this, they don't show up on ClustrMaps because the damn thing hasn't been updated since February 15th for my blog. Come on ClustrMaps! We need to know!

1% National Incarceration Rate

Back in 2005 my friend Bart lamented that the U.S. was approaching a day when 1% of our population was in jail. Well, sadly that day is today, or sort of, if you count only adults. Today I read that 1 out of every 99.1 American adults is incarcerated, and for African Americans the statistic is one out of every 15. Moreover, I live in Louisiana, the place with the highest incarceration rate in the world, a rate 62% above the national average. We seem to favor bombing countries over diplomacy, and locking people up instead of investing in education and rehab.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Unnatural Disasters and Supreme Courts: Throw Xavier a Bone

Water damaged every building on Xavier's Campus in August of 2005 after the levees broke

My employer, Xavier University of Louisiana, last week learned that the U.S. Supreme Court would not hear its appeal. Earlier a federal appeals court ruled that Xavier and other institutions and homeowners could not sue their insurance companies for repairs if the insurance policies excluded flood coverage. Xavier and others argued that since the flooding of its campus was caused by human error and not a natural disaster, that the "all risk" insurance policy ought to kick in and cover damages. A federal judge in Louisiana agreed with Xavier in 2006, but it was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Since the Supreme Court opted to not way in, the decision against Xavier seemed like a done deal. But not so fast...

Today two cases are being argued before the State Supreme Court. These are the first Katrina and Rita related cases to be brought to the LA Supreme Court, and whatever decision is reached in these cases, the federal courts will have to follow these rulings. The first case is the one that effects Xavier. New Orleans resident, and amazingly enough a Holocaust survivor, Joseph Sher sued Lafayette Insurance Co., arguing that his homeowner's policy should have covered the water damage because the failure of the levees was the result of human error and not a natural disaster. Sher won in lower courts and in this case Lafayette Insurance is arguing to have the ruling overturned. The other case involves a couple named Landry who claim that the "valued policy" law means that insurance companies need to pay the full value of the policy if their property is destroyed by a combination of forces, some of which were covered like wind, and some of which were not, like storm surge.

Of course the insurance industry is claiming the apocalypse will come immediately if either Sher or Landry succeeds. They argue that the insurance industry will pull out of the region. But screw them. They already are out of the region. I can only get homeowner's and flood insurance through Citizens, the state insurer of last resort. Nobody else will write me a policy for many years I imagine, and the rates are through the roof. We need to start demanding that companies who want to write auto policies in the state need to also offer homeowner's. I was happy to see that our Insurance lobbyist, I mean Insurance Chief Donelon finally fined Allstate $250,000 the maximum allowed in our insurance friendly state.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Good Day to Be Born

When I woke up this morning I learned that my friends B and Xy are at the hospital for the birth of their daughter. I don't know the details though. B's phone is broken and his website is down.

Update: her name is Persephone and Maitri has a picture.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skulls

He looks old, and the plot looks crappy, but you know where I'll be May 22nd.

We Don't Live in a Democracy

On February 9th Louisiana held it's party primary elections. Mike Huckabee narrowly defeated John McCain. However, at least 43 of our 47 GOP national convention delegates from Louisiana will be casting their votes with McCain. Similarly, there's talk about how these primary votes on the Democratic side won't matter either, and it will come down to "Super" delegates like Jason Rae. Rock on America!

I Still Miss My Father

My father William Homan passed away a year ago today. I sure do miss him, and I think about him several times a day. People have told me that this will pass in time. But for now he's often on my mind.

There is so much I wish I could tell him. He was very worried about me and my family after Katrina, and I know that our not being treated fairly by our insurance company troubled him greatly. I wish I could let him know that we are fine now, and that at last our house is being rebuilt. It will be such a great house when it will be done, and we hope to move back into it sometime this summer. I wish he could see the construction process. He was always a person who liked to build things. I know that he would also be very proud of his grandkids Gilgamesh and Kalypso. If my dad were still around we would also talk about the farm in Cedar Rapids that belonged to my Grandfather, than my father, and now to me and my siblings. We would also discuss Nebraska football, and after last year's abysmal season, I guess it's a blessing that he didn't have to live through that. Next year has to be better though, and I'm sure sad I can't share that with my father.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Steel Beams

Our house is now rigidly supported by three sections of steel beams welded together and fastened to the foundation. Thus the likelihood of our house racking again is virtually nil. We have a new roof and the next step is to finish the framing and then put in the windows and doors. Our contractor thought we'd be ready for drywall in a month and a half. Hard to imagine, but we're flying and can't wait to get back in our house.

Cousin Joe

My cousin Joe Homan, his wife Jackie, and their son Daniel just left for a cruise. They drove here from Waverly Nebraska, and spent the night last night. We went out to eat for po boys at the Parkway Bakery. I had the pleasure of spending a lot of time with Joe when I was growing up. It was nice to reminisce with him. We talked a lot about my dad and Joe's dad, who was my dad's younger brother. Our bird pooped on Joe's jeans though. In any case, bon voyage Joe, Jackie, and Daniel.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

To Therese: A Valentine's Day Post

I married Therese Marie Fitzpatrick back on June 1, 1991. That's her cleaning out my ears with her tongue just after the ceremony. That was 6,102 days ago, and even if I subtract the time I spend looking for my shoes that she hid under the bed, replacing batteries when she doesn't turn off the car lights, and being subjected to noise pollution when she simultaneously vacuums the tile and talks loudly to her mom on the phone, that still leaves approximately 2,800 days of marital bliss. Love you darling, even if you're still as squirrelly as ever.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Takes the Edge Off

I find this Menudo video makes the pain from by clavicle and ribs a bit more bearable:

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Jealous Blogger and Elvis Tattoo Spoil My Political Ambitions

I just got back from my ASOR meeting at Duke, and let me tell you, flying coach with a broken clavicle and cracked ribs is no picnic. Moreover, as you remember from Therese's comment in the emergency room, I'm too fat, so that made it more difficult. Basically two things happened while I was in the land of the Blue Devils. First Therese and I appeared on the front page of Saturday's Inside-Out section in the Times-Picayune. Ultimately this caused me to lose an election. That's the second thing.
Photo by Rusty Costanza, Times-Picayune

About a week ago we found out that Editor B and his lovely wife Xy were having an Endymion party, and we knew there would be cameras involved, so I donned my best hat, green coat, and alligator shoes and hurried over there to get my picture taken and to further my sinister plot to steal B's identity. With this beyond-the-blog publicity, Adrastos, knowing full well that his negative "Swift Boat" attacks might influence my efforts to get elected to the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee, unleashed the hounds. This was more than his usual "girly drink" allegations. But was it a coincidence you might ask that he published pictures of someone who looked like me with an Elvis tattoo just days before the election? Doubtful. But back to the picture of me suavely dancing with Therese, Adrastos wrote "Speaking of Media Ho Man, there's a picture of him and his charming wife Therese on the cover of the dead tree version of the Picayune's Inside Out Section. Therese looks as lovely as ever. How she ended up with Homan is one of the enduring mysteries of the galaxy." Ouch. That vitriol caused me the election.

The rest is history. OK, maybe people decided they couldn't vote for someone wearing green alligator shoes, or maybe the fact that I know so little people here except for 19 year old Xavier students who don't vote anyway, maybe these had something to do with my loss as well. But crap, I thought I could at least make it into this position, as you only needed to be in the top 14. I received 1,686 votes, but I needed about 400 more. I lacked "Homentum" as Adrastos gloated, and I should have gone negative. Or as Jeffrey put it: "Seems the Elvis-hugging old-school kicker vote just didn't materialize this time around." Indeed.

Here are the vote totals LINK

Congratulations to Dangerblond and Karen Gadbois, both of whom got elected. I take some selfish solace from the fact that Mark Moseley was defeated as well, as I think he would have been the most qualified out of all the candidates. And oh yeah, way to go Obama! And Barack, stay away from the green alligator shoes...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

"A" Reform Ticket

You live in New Orleans, in Council District A (Shelley Midura's district), and you're a registered democrat, I'd like to ask you to vote for me and 13 other like-minded reform candidates this Saturday, February 9th. We're community leaders who were involved in the rebuilding of our neighborhoods and now we want to bring that same enthusiasm to building the local Democratic Party. You get to vote for 14 for the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee, and I'd like to recommend the following list of candidates:
Phil Costa
Lisa Gagliano Dawson
Karen Gadbois (Squandered Heritage)
Danny Hammers
Michael Homan
Alan Langhoff
Deborah Langhoff
Megan Langhoff
Kimberly Marshall (Dangerblond)
Andrew Pilant
Jack Sullivan
John Thibodeaux
Janis van Meerveld
Evan Wolf

The New Orleans Citizen's Prayer

This was just forwarded to me from Jennifer. I didn't write it, don't know who did, but wish I did.

Our mayor, who art in Dallas
Hollow be thy fame...
Thy flyer miles, thy quips and smiles
In the Ninth, as it is in Lakeview.

Give us this day our faces red
And forgive us our embarrassment, as we forgive
those who embarrass us.
Lead us not into demolition
But deliver us from developers.

For thine is the Superdome, and the Market Force
and the RSD
Forever and never,

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

At Least These Elvii Got My Back

I have an Elvis tattoo, and now and then my inked Elvis demands some love. So I let him out of his mini-Graceland-on-my-arm Friday night for the Muses parade so he could hang with the many Elvii on scooters. It's a nice treat for inked Elvis. Then without permission Howie Luvzus took this photograph:
And then the nutria serving host Adrastos held a caption contest. My favorite was from Jeffrey who wrote "Symptoms begin with a distinctive discoloration on the upper right arm and quickly progress to systemic Elvic infection."

And then when the NOLA blogosphere had turned on me, I'm saddened to report the following conversation my wife, Therese "Florence Nightingale" Fitzpatrick had with me at the emergency room Monday morning when they were X-raying and poking said broken clavicle:

Me: AAAAGGGHHHHHH! It hurts! It hurts so bad!

Therese: You know, the doctor is going to tell you that you're too fat.

Me: Thanks honey for the compassion....OOOOOWWWWWWWW! The PAIN!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Broke Clavicle Impedes Bead Catching

Broke my clavicle in a bizarre Mardi Gras accident after Endymion Saturday night. Without going into too many details, the break involved king cake, big beads, a pothole, and perhaps some Southern Comfort. Mostly I blame the federal government.
Note: typing with one hand sucks. Now we're off to more parades. I can still catch with my right hand and my mouth when need be.