Friday, February 27, 2009

Antoinette K-Doe's Wake

This afternoon I went to the wake of Antoinette K-Doe. I was looking forward to eating some gumbo with her at St Louis Cemetery #2 next All Saint's Day. The funeral for Snooks Eaglin' is this weekend also. The passing of both of these unique individuals reminds me how unusually special this city is. Rest in peace Antoinette and Snooks, and thanks.

photo by Howie Luvzus

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Shutting Down Carnival

We had a great Mardi Gras, but as always on Ash Wednesday, we're tired. This year my sister Chris came to see Mardi Gras for the first time, and my friends Marc and Jackie returned for the fĂȘte. Gilgamesh and Kalypso each got a Zulu coconut, which is one way to measure the success of the season. Here's a pic of Kalypso and me at Muses:
And here is my sister, whom the kids call Aunt Poncho, waiting for Zulu:
Today we took down our Mardi Gras decorations, including our Mardi Gras tree, and it's all up in attic now. Too early to get the Easter stuff down. We have a nearly intact King Cake that nobody is willing to finish off. I'm thinking about giving up all corn products for lent. More on that later. Hope your Carnival was as good as ours.
Here's Gilgamesh with a coconut:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Why Charter Schools & Rex Widen the Education Gap Between Haves and Have Nots

Today there are 86 public schools in New Orleans, and more than half of them are charter schools. They are "loosely" supervised by 3 governing bodies: the Recovery School District, the Orleans Parish School Board, and the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. But the point of charters is to do away with broad oversight and make the schools independent and autonomous. The Superintendant of the Recovery School District, Paul Vallas, is retiring after a couple of years at the post, continuing the revolving door of administrators. Strangely Charter School advocate Leslie Jacobs brags that Vallas is a hero, because he did away with the need to have a powerful centralized superintendent. It's the modern model of make government ineffective, then argue that we need a smaller government, and it sounds an awful lot like what happened to the financial system over the past 8 years.

Today I read an alarming statistic. Total expenditures in 2006-2007 at New Orleans public schools ranged from $3,700 to $12,500 per pupil (source). That's an $8,800 gap if my math is correct, and it is, because I didn't go to the $3,700 per pupil school. One reason, explains Greg Richmond from the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, is that "some schools are much more skillful at raising money than others." That might be accurate, but it makes me sick to my stomach, and reeks of injustice. My kids go to Lusher, a public charter school, though it is very hard to get your kid into the school, and the parents of children there tend to be wealthy, so you can imagine fundraising is quite a bit easier there.

And now the King of Mardi Gras, Rex, is getting involved with helping charter schools. Aside from having school bands march during Carnival, Rex wouldn't help schools before Katrina because "if I tried to get involved, it would be a drop in the ocean" said one Rex spokesperson. With Katrina and the charter school movement, Rex says it saw an opportunity. Great. But the kids at all of our schools, especially the ones who don't have parents with the resources to get them into the wealthier/better performing charter schools, they are the ones that need the most help. Anyway, I'm sure Rex if feeling pretty great about finally being able to help out those sorts of people, the kind that attend, (gasp), public schools.

As the T-P wrote: "the notion of Rex members getting involved with the city's public schools seemed as attractive to them as chowing down on Big Macs at the Rex queen's post-ball supper." So now will Rex ride to the ball in Laidlaw school buses and serve food from Sodexo, two of the many corporations making a fortune off of the New Orleans charter movement? In fact, I'd wager there are quite a few Rex members making a fortune because of the school takeover. Anyway, send me a commemorative Rex doubloon and I'll shut up, Mr. King of Carnival Sir. Pro Bono Publico and all that.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bad Mardi Gras Gris Gris

Some strange things are taking place, but perhaps I'm being paranoid. First I think I'm the victim of espionage. My office is on the third floor of the administration building at Xavier, and for the past 3 days this guy has been working on a scaffolding outside my window. Also note that he has a suspicious looking mustache.
Second, Therese isn't wearing her wedding ring. She said it's being "cleaned," but with Mardi Gras a week away, I suspect she had so much fun as "Major Assets" with Krewe du Vieux that she's steppin' out.

Things could certainly be worse I guess. It's not like the Saints cut Deuce McAllister, or like a major science organization is boycotting New Orleans and Louisiana for a convention because we're not evolution theory friendly. That would be really bad.

Oh shit, Deeeeuuuuuucccceeee and Booooobbbbbbyyyyyyy. Can't the governor exorcise these demons?

Monday, February 16, 2009

The AP/Dog Photo Bump Fuels Narcissism

Today, before teaching Freshman Seminar today, in the USA, my friend downstairs in the boss's office told me that today she had seen a picture of me and my dog at Barkus yesterday in USA Today today. The picture was taken by Patrick Semansky and distributed by the AP, and here it is with caption:
Kochise and Michael Homan
Michael Homan marches with his dog Kochise, a west highland terrier, at the Mystic Krewe of Barkus Mardi Gras parade in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Sunday, Feb. 15, 2009.

Every now and then even I am taken aback by my good looks. After seeing such a good looking man and his talented dog, no doubt the world will soon be heading this way to learn more about Michael Homan. . . or maybe they'll be more interested in Kochise. Either way, the narcissism that is the blog continues to grow, or more accurately:

[(narcissism + internets) x (good looks ÷ smelly dog) + circumference of nemesis' head] x (AP/USA Today)=blogger

Barkus 2009 Pics

Barkus is over, and I'm always glad about that when nobody is hurt and we don't step in dog poop. I don't think the dogs like it very much. The biggest incident this year was a firetruck came by and we had to go to the crowded side, and then Catwoman's whip got stuck in a wheel. The number of people attending seemed larger than ever. Here are some pics
Mosey went as Batman of course:
Kochise was the faithful sidekick Robin:
Gilgamesh had the best costume as the Riddler:
Kalypso was Catwoman:'P2154535.JPG
Therese was Poisen Ivy:
Keith and Jeffrey were King Tut and the Joker:
I was Oswald Chesterfied Cobblepot, or the Penguin:
Here's the float:
Howie went as "Big" Robin (would you let this man teach your kids Theology?):
Bailey went as the Joker:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Neil Young at Jazzfest

Would I trade hearing Aretha Franklin at Jazzfest for Neil Young? Hell yes! Sadly though, the Imagination Movers on back on the Acura stage. Can't they just play the Kid's Tent? Anyway, the final 3 acts on Sunday, May 3rd I believe are Allen Toussaint, Neil Young, and then the Neville Brothers.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"Archie, I've Got This"

This is my most memorable Carnival experience thus far. But hey, it's early.

Last Friday we showed up to Lakeview just when the Krewe of Brid was finishing their parade. We went to Chez Chef Who Dat for some Abita beer and the Chef's famous culinary confections. They all smelled like spirit gum by the way. But what was so amazing had to do with this guy named F.J.

F. J. had been drinking that night. When I first saw him he was using his arm like an elephant trunk, making elephant noises, and then explaining how the Republican Party was the only political organization with sense. I said "Good luck with that." About 1/2 an hour later the Chef got F. J. to tell the following story.

Back in high school F.J. saved his money and to spite his dad, he bought Saints season tickets where they played at the newly constructed Superdome. Well at this one important game against the Eagles the refs kept making bad calls and throwing flags against the Saints on big plays. After two bad calls in a row. F.J. (who had been drinking of course) hopped the barricade and ran on the field. He grabbed the head official and explained that his calls were killing the Saints. Saints QB Archie Manning walked up, and asked what was going on. F.J. said "It's OK Archie, I've got this." F.J. was escorted off the field and put back into the stands. I can't remember the rest of the details, but I'm sure the Saints won due in no small part to the heroics of F.J. Did I mention he was drinking? God I love this town.

Monday, February 09, 2009

A Prayer to a Once Powerful Deity

Please Mr. Yahweh, please please please don't let Benjamin Netanyahu win the election in Israel tomorrow. I am very afraid he'll bomb Iran and start a major world war. The world needs political leaders who listen and negotiate and make gains through complicated diplomacy instead of bombs. I was amazed by Obama's first press conference this evening. We need more of that sort of leadership, less "kick their butts" hardliner garbage that Bibi brings to the table. Please Yahweh? I didn't eat catfish all day.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

After Krewe du Vieux

Therese and I had a great time at Krewe du Vieux last night. We marched with Seeds of Decline, and we had a monopoly related theme. I dressed as Mr Monopoly, Therese dressed as a buxom girl named "Major Assets."
And here is our float, it's got Fannie Mae going down... on a happy Mr Monopoly:
And here is Therese's "Major Asset"... It's Mardi Gras enhanced with Hubig's Pies, and that's her on the right, with Liprap's on the left. Can't put a pricetag on that.
Here's me, Liprap, and Wet Bank Guy
I thought these two had the best costumes, they made their suits out of monopoly money.
Finally, we saw the Shirley and Howie Luvzus wearing Aretha hats.
Our Krewe du Vieux Flickr set is here. Happy Mardi Gras!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Monopoly Related Throws for Krewe Du Vieux

After getting bitch slapped by my talking dogs and Morgus the parrot, AdrasticallyBigHeadToast jealously throws a hissy fit about the Homan empire, animals included. If it wasn't for anti-Homan posts, would anyone read that blog?

In a totally unrelated matter, here is the coolest Mardi Gras throws for Krewe du Vieux tomorrow night. To get this collectable card with the Seeds of Decline Monopoly theme, just scream out "Adrastos has Macrocephalus!" when Seeds passes by.


Thursday, February 05, 2009

A Mardi Gras Dream Fulfilled: We Join Krewe du Vieux

Thanks to Wet Bank Guy, his wife Rebecca, and sister Pamela, Therese and I will be marching with Krewe du Vieux this year in the sub-krewe Seeds of Decline. Liprap also just joined Seeds, so should be tons of blogger fun and debauchery. The theme this year: Stimulus Package, and Seeds of Decline's theme: Fannie Mae Goes Down. Pics to follow after the parade Saturday. I've wanted to be a part of this awesome event ever since I first saw it back when we moved to New Orleans in 2001. Just being in the den and working on the float for the past few weekends was fascinating and made me so happy to live in New Orleans.

Lux Interior RIP

Just read that Lux Interior, the frontman for the Cramps passed away. He was a zombie werewolf version of Elvis, and I grew up being a huge fan.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Holy Land Looks Like a Vagina

Warning, this post is for a mature audience and will likely offend anyone with refined tastes. You could have guessed that from the title I suppose, but in any event, you've been warned.

Today in Prophets and Prophecy we were talking about Amos and physical geography, as in Tekoa, Bethel, and the border between Judah and Israel. I showed this satellite image:
A student remarked that it looked like a vagina. She was correct. I hadn't noticed this before. This all led to an interesting tangent about vaginas and ancient Near Eastern history/archaeology/iconography. I said that scholars never say "vagina," but they say "pubic triangle" all the time because the topic comes up frequently. Why does the topic come up? Well, because there are vaginas all over the place in ancient literature and art. The original cuneiform sign for "woman" and "female" was a pictograph of a vagina, sort of like Eve getting her name because Adam sees her as "the mother of all living," sort of a baby making machine. Then there are all the fertility goddesses and amulets that are shaped like vaginas, and stories about goddesses and their great vaginas. For example, the beer goddess Ninkasi has a vagina that is described as tasting like sweet beer. The late scholar Tikva Frymer-Kensky described Inanna as the "cosmic cunt." At the very least, this all gives a very different nuance to the phrase "a land flowing with milk and honey." OK, that last sentence was a bit much. I'd better put an end to this vagina monoblog.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Pooching Big Headed Bloggers

Yesterday AdrasticallyGianHeados bit the Homan dogs. Today, they bite back. It's sad really, the more we learn about macrocephalus.