Monday, May 30, 2005

Jeremiah Movies

In my Spring 2005 Prophets and Prophecy class, I had students in four groups make a Quicktime movie about a chapter or two in Jeremiah. You can see these four movies (and ones from previous semesters) by going to this page. I think perhaps my favorite one this semester was Jeremiah 27-28. It involved the famous showdown with Hananiah, and also some boring diet coke drinking fat loser teacher in a sweater vest who may or not be Dr Homan. I think these are a great teaching tool, especially towards the end of the semester. Students really get into it, and unlike class presentations, these digital movies are online records documenting student learning. Plus they can show their friends and families.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Gilgamesh & Me at the Zoo

Today Gilgamesh didn't have any daycare so I took the day off from work and we went down to the Audubon Zoo (and they all aksed for you[song by the Meters...I think]).
You can see more pics at my Flickr Page.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Kalypso's Broken Arm

Here is a picture of the Xray of Kalypsos broken arm. Notice the metal rod alongside the radius.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

What I did Saturday Morning

Saturday I went for a hike with my friend Bart and one of his friends Dave. I'm trying to lend a hand in a project Bart has spearheaded to convert a large section of abandoned railroad lines through New Orleans into an awesome bike path. You can read more about it in Bart's Blog.

Something That Disturbs Me But Not Most of My Relatives

I read some statistics that really troubled me this morning. According to Derrick Jackson, a columnist for the Boston Globe, who wrote citing recent articles from the Wall Street Journal and the NY Times:
In 1973, the ratio of CEO pay to worker pay was 43 to 1. By 1992, it was 145 to 1. By 1997, it was 326 to 1. By 2000, it hit a sky-high 531 to 1. The post 9/11 shakeouts and corporate scandals of recent years on the surface narrowed the gap back to 301 to 1 in 2003. But a much worse parallel global gap is emerging in the era of outsourcing. United for a Fair Economy published a report last summer that found CEOs of the top US outsourcing companies made 1,300 times more than their computer programmers in India and 3,300 more than Indian call-center employees. Such groups say if the minimum wage kept up with the rise in CEO pay, it would be $15.76 an hour instead of its current $5.15. Looking at it another way, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, another often written-off liberal think tank, published a report last month that in the last three years, the share of US national income that goes toward corporate profits is at its highest levels since World War II, while the share of national income that goes to wages and salaries is at a record low.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Theology 1120:Intro to Biblical Studies Course Portfolio

For part of CAT's Course Portfolio Working Group I completed an electronic course portfolio for Theology 1120: Intro to Biblical Studies. You can see the main page with links here.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Some Old Songs Resurrected

In the 1980's I was in a few bands in Omaha. It was an excellent artistic outlet and helped me through some tough late-teen years. I very much enjoyed meeting people on tour and writing songs. I played bass, my brother Jim Homan played guitar, Seth Kirchman our friend from Sioux City sang, and Mark Blackman played drums (except in the Circus Circus recordings, where Eric Ebers played). I dug out our old recordings last night and converted a few songs to mp3 format.

From our band CIRCUS CIRCUS:
Blonde Iguana
Hunk Of Merry Christmas,
From our band APATHY:
Know I in Friend
Circus Circus
After You
Out the Window
My World
Six Feet Under.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Memories of a Former Psych Tech

I used to work as a psychiatric technician at St. Joseph’s Center for Mental Health in Omaha Nebraska. It was a very difficult job for me emotionally. At that time I wanted to be a brain surgeon and work with Alzheimer’s patients, so I thought the experience of working at a mental health facility while I was in college would increase my chances and help me gain an awareness of the profession. But over the years I grew disheartened by the business side of the mental health profession. Patients would get drugged up and on the day their insurance ran out, they would be “cured.” The psychiatrists/physicians would seldom spend any time with the patients, and thus it was mostly the nurses and psych techs who did the real work. Plus, most of the patients I worked with were children who were either not getting along with their parents or perhaps they were caught with a joint or something. These patients would be housed with some real sociopaths and serious bipolar patients, and they would be scared out of their minds, apologize, and go back home with their parents now aware that mom and dad were playing hardball. They even ran commercials asking parents if their teenagers seemed distant and weren't communicating, and if so they should try the center for mental health. Heck, that seems to define about every teenager I know. I found that people who worked at these places abused drugs pretty bad, and they had some other serious emotional issues. They did great work taking care of others, but not so great with themselves. I met some of my best friends there though. I started remembering all this last Friday when my friend Keith had a birthday party. He works at a similar place here in New Orleans, and many of his friends who met us worked there also. They spoke at great lengths about the patients, and fights they had when patients either tried to escape or get combative. I started remembering how I used to work out all the time with weights while I worked there. Plus whenever I would meet a new patient I would size them up thinking about who would win in a fight. Some psych techs would provoke patients into fighting. I never personally did this, but I saw it happen frequently. In any case, I am much happier teaching. If I still worked at the psych hospital I would be a buff muscled drug abuser dependant on others for happiness. Instead, I am a fat beer addicted glasses wearing grader of crappy papers. But I don’t have to tackle people or listen to stories about parents molesting their kids and I get to talk about things I love like critical thinking and Amos.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Broken Arms and Living Life

Kalypso, my nine year old daughter, broke her arm Sunday evening. She had been playing with some friends at Jesuit High School on some football tackling dummies. I don't know the full details, but it seems three kids jumped off of it and it catapulted Kalypso into the air and she landed on the arm to brace her fall. Anyway, Therese came screaming into the house saying that Kalypso had broken her arm and was down the street. We jumped in the car and raced over there to see Kalypso on the sidewalk with a compound fracture. Both her radius and ulna were broken, and it was very painful for me to look at her arm bent in so many wrong directions. It was like a wet spagetti noodle. We put a piece of cardboard under the arm and rushed her to Children's Hospital, which is quite a ways away. The xray made me ill, as seeing those smashed bones so far out of place brought me so much pain. Anyway, they set her arm and put in a titanium rod to hold the ulna together. They were worried about infection in the bone, as it pierced the skin and was in dirt, but so far so good. She has been at the hospital ever since, though we are hoping to check out today and go home. I had huge plans for Monday and Tuesday in the library and writing categories, especially now that school is out for the summer. Sometimes it is the things you don't expect and don't want which make you slow down and learn to appreciate what you have. So get well Kalypso, that was some Mother's Day present you delivered, and I hope you recover soon.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

6 Months Walking, Still at War, Still Fat

I decided the day after the US election last November to stop driving to work. I feel that this country, which consumes a full 1/4 of the world's oil consumed on a daily basis, is addicted to oil and this addiction drives many of the foreign policies which in my opinion are immoral. So today marks the six month anniversary of walking to work. It is about a 25 minute walk. What has it accomplished? Honestly, not much. This country is still killing innocent people in oil rich countries, plus I never lost any weight (I weight a supersized 200 pounds). Sure my calves are ripped, but was it worth it? On the positive side, I feel I have a much better sense of the neighborhood in which I live. I meet people while I'm walking all the time. I don't really get to know them that well, but we wish each other good morning or hey, and that I suppose is nice. I see many homeless people and that saddens me. New Orleans has a very high crime rate, and it would seem likely that if I keep walking that I will one day be robbed at gunpoint. But for now, I'm committed to keep on walking to work. I got an ipod and I listed to music as I walk, which is a nice meditative exercise before beginning and after ending a hectic day. We are leasing our second car right now. The lease will end about a year from now, and then we could go back to being a one car family. Then, my walking will really pay off, as with insurance and everything, we'll save over $500 a month. You see Therese, the ipod already has paid for itself... Therese is my lovely wife who did not approve of me buying the ipod.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

To Censor or To Promote Intolerance?

All semester long I have been in a moral pickle. Early on the semester I had students blog about the biggest problem facing the world and then through the semester they would leave the ivory tower and work on fixing this problem and write about it in a blog. Most projects were fantastic, and this is a favorite part of my course. Students helped educate children, fought HIV and malaria, increased awareness about poverty and homelessness, and they wrote 1000 words per week over 15 weeks, which I hope improved their writing.

However, one student decided that the biggest problem facing the world is tolerance of homosexuality. I tried repeatedly to get him/her to think about Jesus' message of love, and about how Christians follow less than 1 percent of the laws in the Torah, and so it was not appropriate for him to pick a few verses and ignore the others as well as the context in which it was written. He/she stuck to his/her guns, and so now among all the great projects is a student who wrote 1000 words per week focused on how and why homosexuality is a sin that God can't tolerate. Most students kindly let the student know they disagreed, but one student in a comment said horrible things even encouraging physical harm to gay people. It is certainly a controversial issue. I am also aware that there is a perception that homophobia is more rampant among African American community in the US. I know that if a student had said that the biggest problem was interracial marriage, I would have stepped in and made them pick another topic. So in retrospect I probably should have stopped this early, but I very much like the idea of the course blog being a place free from censorship where students can be honest. Also I should add that I really like this individual student, and I think they have a great deal to offer the world. I also hope that the student becomes more tolerant as he/she matures.

You can see the course blog here, but I do not want to release the name of the student.