Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Saints, Katrina, Jets, Twin Towers & A Question

I had mixed emotions last Sunday when Fox Sports, during the Saints vs Buffalo football game, showed video of New Orleans under water four years ago. I believe it is important to let people across the country know that we still need help rebuilding. But at what point will we be able to watch a football game and not have to hear about Katrina? At the same time, my passion for the Saints is inextricably tied to my experiences during the flood and afterwards.

We play the NY Jets this Sunday. Why is it appropriate to show our city under water after the federally maintained levees gave way, but not appropriate to show the twin towers collapsing?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

An Update On My Life For A Friend In San Diego

A very good friend of mine just asked me how me and my family are doing, and here is a slightly edited version of my response. Please note this is only for those very interested in me and my family, and will be a waste of time for the casual reader:

Great to hear from you J. I'm busy this semester teaching with 4 preps for the first time in my life. I hate it. It's too much. I love teaching, love my students, but 4 preps is more than I can handle. I think I might apply for a sabbatical next year. But I work less hard at publishing these days, and spend more time with the family when I can. I used to work on Saturdays and Sundays, about 20 hours. Now I find myself just working for about 4 hours over the weekend. At one time I thought I could "publish my way out" of my university, but it never happened. I had always thought of myself as working at a division I research institution. I do like living in New Orleans overall, and overall I would say that me and my school are a very good fit. I have great colleagues in my department and elsewhere, and I love that our university's mission involves social justice. I guess that has become my new focus, trying to make the world a better place. But it is hard and perhaps foolish at times. Living in New Orleans is too far from my family in Nebraska though. Kalypso is a teenager. She's 14. It's good and bad. I'm just trying my best to keep her safe as she tries to distance herself from me, or get independent. She is interested and very gifted at piano and violin. Her ability to speak French is amazing. She went to an all French program grades K-4. You should see this video we made in Paris. Gil is great and at such a fun age. I'm his soccer coach, and I'm finding it challenging to communicate to 8 year old boys. He is very much into skateboarding and handstands. I wish that both of my children had more focus, but I'm very proud of them. Therese, as a school teacher, is overworked and doesn't have as much time for me and the kids as I would like, but she is doing very noble work in my opinion. Marriage isn't easy, we have to work at it, but I love her very much. Our dogs are getting older. I see them walking slower up the steps, much like me. We have a parrot who only mimics Therese's yelling at the kids. So as far as animals, we have two dogs, a sugar glider, a guinea pig, and I think that is it for now, but I'm never sure. I still think of my dad every day, even though he passed away 2 1/2 years ago. I wish my dad could see my children grow up. My mom is doing well, but I know it would be a much better world if she could see her grandkids more. We're going back for Christmas, but as usual, we spend about 5 days there is all. My mom unfortunately doesn't like to travel much, so she rarely comes to see us, which would be easier and cheaper. I don't see my brother and sister very often, but with email I keep in touch with them. This blog also keeps them up to date with our activities. I think you know I met my birth parents and my birth brother. I'm very thankful for that. I keep in very regular contact with my birth mother via email. I'm hoping to take Gilgamesh on an archaeological excavation next summer, just like I've done with Kalypso three times. Then after this summer I think I might want to take some time off from excavating and spend summers with the family. This summer I'll be digging a Midianite structure, Iron I, in Edom. I'm VERY much looking forward to that. I believe that this year is the Saints' year. I can feel it. I bought season tickets the day they signed Drew Brees. Now it's several years later. Reggie Bush has not lived up to potential, but we have such an amazing offense. It's quite a bit of fun, and a great distraction. The flood/levee failure, or as others call it, Hurricane Katrina, sadly still dominates my life. But not as much as it used to. And in many ways, it's for a positive return. I know my neighbors much better now, having all struggled to rebuild. My house is much nicer, but the mortgage and insurance are much higher. I feel older, much older than I did four years ago. I'm tired, but can't think of living anywhere else.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lions & Tigers & Loup Garous, O My!

It's been a sports-filled weekend at the Homan house. Kalypso ran in her first cross-country event for the Lusher Lions at City Park. She ran two miles in 18:13, coming in 16th in a field of about 100.
Then we had our first soccer game for the Loup Garous, with Gilgamesh playing and Therese and me coaching. I'm finding it is challenging to communicate to a group of 8 and 9-year-old boys, but fascinating at the same time. We were down 4-0 in the first two quarters, came back to tie it going into the final quarter, but we wound up losing 7-4. Luckily it was a practice game, and we learned quite a bit about positions.
Then I watched the Huskers give away a game to Virginia Tech, the LSU Tigers struggle to beat an 2nd-rate team, and now I'm getting ready to watch the Saints play the Eagles. It's only the second game, but many are saying this game could well have playoff implications, as these two NFC predicted powerhouses might meet in the playoffs, and God knows we'd rather play at the Sacredome. One more picture:
The Loup Garous Soccer Team 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Homan's Saints Living a Fantasy

For the first time in my life I'm in a fantasy football league at yahoo called "The Khanate of Football." My team consists of all Saints players, plus Bret Favre on the bench. So my fantasy football team isn't really much of a fantasy but rather, more of a fantastic reality. We're currently in second place. Here's the roster:
QB-Drew Brees
WR-Marques Colston
WR-Lance Moore
WR-Devery Henderson
RB-Reggie Bush
RB-Pierre Thomas
TE-Jeremy Shockey
BN-Robert Meachem
BN-Billy Miller
BN-Mark Brunell
BN-Joey Harrington
BN-Brett Favre

K-John Carney
BN-Garrett Hartley
DEF-New Orleans

Last Sunday Therese and I biked in the rain to join Dillyberto and Oyster for pregame rituals involving quail eggs in bloody marys. At the dome we got a very cool Lions voodoo doll from Howie's wife Shirley. The voodoo doll worked, as the Saints won 45-27. The next home game against the Jets we'll be hanging out with Chef Who Dat and the moustached cyclers. Who Dat!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Holt Cemetery To Be Invaded by Archaeologists

The American Schools of Oriental Research are holding their 2009 annual meeting in New Orleans at the Astor-Crowne hotel. On Wednesday, November 18th, 9AM-2PM, several of us will be working with Save Our Cemeteries at Holt Cemetery. We'll be surveying the grave markers and taking pictures to establish a database which will later be compared to pictures taken prior to the levee failures of 2005.

Thus far 14 people have signed up, including moi, Howie Luvzus & Yo & Mo. If you are interested in hanging out with archaeologists at a cemetery, and hey, who isn't???, well then you should join us. More information on volunteering can be found on ASOR's blog. You don't need to be a member of ASOR to participate.

Holt Cemetery Sepia
Picture of Holt Cemetery taken today after rainstorm.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Cars and Beer

Therese was in a car wreck today. Luckily nobody was hurt. The car suffered some damage though:
All of this reminds me that I need to keep drinking beer. By the way, I've been making progress on my Katrina Anniversary ESB. Here is the wort from last week:
Here are the ingredients I used:
3 lb liquid amber malt
3 lb Mutons Light dried malt extract
.5 lbs Crystal 80, .25 CaraPils, .25 lbs CaraRed, .1 lbs Chocolate (steeped 20 minutes)
Kent Goldings Hops 1 0z 4.5% average alpha (last 15 minutes)
Nugget Hops 1 Oz AA 13.7% Full boil 60 minutes
Nottingham Brewing Yeast

Today I transferred it from the primary fermentation glass carboy to the secondary one.
In one week it will be ready for bottling.

Friday, September 04, 2009

America: The Greatest Show On Earth

Bill Moyers has some very erudite comments on the current health care debate: (link).

A First Amendment Weekend

This weekend in Louisiana, while we still pay 9% tax on items such as food and school clothes for our kids, there will be no sales tax collected for guns (including assault rifles), ammunition, and even ATVs if you can show that you'll use it for hunting. What is even worse, the legislation is called "Second Amendment Weekend." We have State Senator Rob Marionneaux to thank for this remarkable legislation, and Governor Bobby Jindal, who signed it into law in July.

The second amendment reads "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." It says nothing about Jindal's right to recruit political support from northern Louisiana, or how to be the National Rifle Association's bitch.

Perhaps they would consider a "First Amendment Weekend," where Jindal refused to use tax dollars to pay for his helicopter trips to distant Lousiana churches on Sundays. James Gil brilliantly sums up this breach of the separation of church and state.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

80% Recovered at Xavier

This story reports that enrollment at Xavier University of Louisiana is at a post-Katrina high. We now have 3,330 students. Before Katrina we had 4,190. That's just under 80%, but seems like a healthy number. Next Spring we'll have the smallest graduating class I've seen in my 9 years here.