Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Letter About Kalypso
Kalypso's teacher for AP European History and Anthropology, Mr. Steven Pape, asked parents to write a brief letter introducing their children to him. Here is what I wrote.
Dear Mr. Steven Pape,
As you asked for a brief letter introducing you to my daughter Kalypso Homan as an individual and as a learner, here is my response:
Kalypso has always been exceptionally bright. I remember when she was five-years-old, and she heard the story of Icarus’s flight that ultimately failed due to his hubris and the sun’s heat melting the wax that attached the feathers to his wings. Kalypso wisely pointed out that Icarus should have flown at night.
Kalypso as a child was very outgoing and she fought to make the world a better place. This was especially true after the levee failure and the devastation of our house and most of New Orleans. After attending a school in Nebraska for several months, many people were surprised to hear that we were moving back to New Orleans to rebuild. The “Bourbon Street” inspired stereotype of New Orleans led many to believe that New Orleans was an ill-suited environment for children. In response, Kalypso made a short video entitled “Kalypso’s New Orleans”. The video is charming, and it represents New Orleans well, and it currently has 65,000 views on Youtube.
As a teenager, Kalypso’s personality dramatically changed, as she entered a phase in which she decided she was “introverted,” to use her apt description. The film character Margot Tenenbaum became her behavioral model. Kalypso presented herself as an apathetic emotionless wall. It was hard for me to get a handle on how she was doing and I worried about her. But now, slowly, I am seeing signs that her confidence and her ability to communicate are returning. I hear from friends of mine associated with Lusher that Kalypso is excelling. I was very proud of her leadership role on the robotics team. I know that she worked very hard on her grades in order to become a National Merit Scholar. More recently, she conducted field research at Tulane to study the effects of the BP oil spill, and she successfully completed three Tulane courses (Painting, Hebrew Bible, and The Trojan War). My biggest concern for her at the moment is that, at times, Kalypso seems to be fearful of greatness.
This senior year will be challenging for Kalypso. In addition to her many difficult courses at Lusher, she is currently enrolled at Tulane in GenChem and GenChem Lab, of which a Tulane official advised her: “Chem is a graveyard for many students. She really needs to consider if this course is for her.” Also, this academic year Kalypso will choose a college to attend.
I am very proud of Kalypso, and though I fear that I put undue pressure on her by saying so, I honestly expect great things from her. I hope and expect that you will enjoy getting to know her in your AP European History and Anthropology course.
Signed Michael Homan
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
RIP Oot the Sugar Glider
I found Oot the Sugar Glider lying dead in his food tray this morning. Kalypso got Oot as a pet in August of 2004. She wrote about that in her blog. She named him "Oot" because it rhymed with "cute." When I left our New Orleans house due to the 2005 flood, Bart and I returned two weeks later in September with my primary objective of rescuing Oot. Bart captures the recapturing of Oot in his Episode 93 of his Rox show. I wrote about it here. Kalypso was very happy to see him when I brought Oot to Omaha where we lived for several months after the flood. At one point Oot seemed dead in Omaha, but it turned out he was hibernating or having some sort of reaction to the cold weather. Oot, like me, preferred to live in New Orleans. There were times when Gil, Kalypso, and Therese advocating selling Oot because nobody played with him. But I could never agree to that. I have a profound and perhaps inexplicable attachment to pets that experienced Hurricane Katrina with me, such as Oot, as well as my dogs Mosey and Kochise. So rest in peace Oot. You perhaps bit people a bit too often, and peed in their hair on occasion, but all of that is to be expected. You were a good sugar glider. I will miss you.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
The Theologians, Drs. Michael Homan (Alpha) and Mark Gstohl (Omega), drive around New Orleans in a white Catalina verifying miracles. In this premiere episode (entitled Gumbo Madonna), the Cherub sells out some Babylonian Tiamat-worshipping Satanists for a trinity of indulgences. The Theologians then discover that something extraordinary has happened to Chef Who Dat's gumbo. Is it an apparition of the Virgin Mary herself, or perhaps it's just Rita Benson-LeBlanc on a bad day? The brave but pragmatic Theologians must decipher God's latest culinary message for nothing less than the spiritual well-being of all of humanity.