Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I used to be very punctual about turning articles and book manuscripts in on time. Now, not so much. I need to have a very productive week now that all my grades have been turned in. Tomorrow I will be at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary's library writing about Ezra, Nehemiah, and the return of exiles in the 6th century BCE. Sounds like fun? No, it won't be fun.

Thursday, December 02, 2010


Being a 44-year-old football fan from Nebraska, there is no sports rivalry that has been bigger in my life than the college football pairing of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Oklahoma Sooners. They have played each other in 85 games and the winner almost always won their conference. Since 1950, these two programs have earned 53 conference titles in the Big 8 and now the Big 12. All other teams in these conferences combined have earned 15. I grew up hating Billy Sims and the wishbone and Boomer Sooners. And Barry Switzer's swagger was polar opposite to Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne's class. I never liked the Big 12, and lately, they and their officials clearly don't like Nebraska. But what a perfect way to end Nebraska's tenure in the conference, with a final staging of the greatest rivalry in college athletics. I can't wait for Saturday night. I hope someone throws an orange on the field for old time's sake.

The Bumble

Yesterday the 1966 Pontiac Catalina that we bought from a lady in Omaha arrived. Therese and I were both born in 1966 in Omaha, so that is very cool. It's white on the outside, light blue on the inside, and thus we call it "Bumble" after the Abominable Snow Monster in Rudolph. Here are some pictures:

Notice the Saints World Champions license plate? Sweet.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Smoked Turkey

For Thanksgiving we smoked a turkey on the Big Green Egg. By we, I mean me, and by smoked, I mean I used pecan wood chunks. The turkey was very good. The pecan wood turned the turkey a darker color than I would have desired, but it was delicious. The past few years we've fried turkeys, and this was a nice change.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Teaching My Son The Game of Football (Testicle Squeeze Edition)

My son Gilgamesh just finished his first season playing youth football. His team went undefeated and he learned some of the basics including blocking and tackling. Yesterday we spent his 10th birthday biking to the Superdome to see the Saints beat the Seahawks. So being that he has the fundamentals down, I thought I'd step up the lessons and show him how to how to get 30 yards of penalties against his opponent. Thanks to Tony Jerod-Eddie of Texas A&M, I had access to this pedagogical video:
The conversation that followed went like this:
Me: "You see son, Ben Cotton just recovered a fumble for Nebraska. The other team can't let him get away with that. So in the ensuing pile up, Tony Jerod-Eddie grabs and squeezes the testicles of Ben Cotton."
Gil (horrified): "Oh my God! Why did he do that? Let me see it again!"
Me: "Ben Cotton kicks his leg in a reaction and get's two 15-yard penalties. That's why. The referees always penalize the retaliation."
Gil: "That's wrong. I can't believe that guy actually grabbed his nuts. I would never do that. It's terrible."
Me: "You're being naive. He just got his team 30 yards of real estate."
Gil: "So you would actually be willing to grab somebody's private parts like that if the coach asked?"
Me: "Sure. It's a brilliant career move. Tony Jerod-Eddie has ensured a position with the TSA patting down tight-trousered men in airports."
Gil: "Let me see the video again. My God! I can't believe the Texas A&M player did that. Why didn't he get a penalty?"

Sunday, November 07, 2010

A Movie for Katrina Dogs and the People Who Love Them

I thought the documentary Mine 2009 was very well made and highly recommend it for people interested in the plight of animals and humans after Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans area. I watched it with my dogs, who as Katrina survivors, they are interested in the topic too. We all cried a little I have to admit. It's a happy story for some of the participants, especially the families of Bandit and Murphy Brown. But for others, the situation is never resolved. Race and social class play a big role in the movie also. There' some real heros, and some villains, but most of the time the movie makers do a good job of presenting just how complicated this whole situation is, and what the ramifications would be for rescue dogs in the future if policies were changed. I have a neighbor who was forced to leave his house with his dog in it after the flood, was put on a plane to Utah against his will, fought really hard to get back to his house a week later to get his dog, only to find a note on his door stating the dog was no longer his but now resides in a happy home in California. He never saw his dog again. You can watch the trailer at the end of this post. By the way, our 2006 Barkus float and our bowling shirts made by Carol are visible towards the end.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Awesom-O Robot Predicted Saints' Superbowl Victory

While the Southpark Awesom-O episode, in which Cartman dresses up like a robot to prank Butters, originally aired in 2004, I hadn't seen it until this summer. I find this clip, in which Awesom-O predicts that the Saints will win the superbowl to be amazing. The people laughing afterwards shows just how unlikely it was. The authors had to pick a team that had no chance of winning to make the joke work. Then enter Peyton, Brees, and an unlikely cast of characters that most of the other teams passed on. The Saints almost did it in 2006, and then won the Superbowl after the 2009 season. Thanks Awesom-O!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Who Dat Say They Gonna Eat Some Brains?


Some more Halloween pics on Flickr.

Why I Reward Phone Losers

Kalypso lost her phone at Voodoo Fest. So this afternoon I went to the AT&T store on St. Charles Ave. There, after two hours, I left with a new phone for Kalypso, one that cost $109 (allegedly $59 after rebate) and has many fancy features including internet access, and now we have a new data plan that will cost an extra $10 per month. I didn't plan on this, essentially rewarding her for losing her phone. Instead I thought I would tell them she lost it and then because we've been paying for phone insurance, we'd get the phone replaced for a minor cost. Instead, there was such a large deductible and other fees, the cheapest option was for me to upgrade her phone and include the data plan. I was not shocked to learn new levels about how these phone companies and their plans are a modern day version of indentured servitude. If I quit using all of my AT&T phones I would still be paying bills for two years. If that is not incentive to live I don't know what is.

And by the way, while I waited to sort all of this out, there is a hotel across the street from the AT&T on St Charles, and on a 2nd floor balcony, a hotel guest with an inordinate amount of hair covering all of his body except his head, well, he was doing to a girl on the balcony what AT&T was doing to me. I'll bet he was a Steeler's fan.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

2 Questions for Senator David Vitter

Hey Senator David Vitter, watched you in the debate tonight, and I'm left with 2 questions:

First, I keep hearing you talk about the U.S. government giving out more than 1 billion dollars to dead farmers. My father is a dead farmer. Could you give me more information so my siblings and I can tap in to this program? It sounds fantastic.

Second, you claim that your wife and your God have forgiven you. I know my marriage wouldn't survive if I had a history of committing adultery with prostitutes so I won't even ask you about that. But about your God, my God is less forgiving. How did you get your God to forgive you? Did you kill an Amalakite or an evil goat or something? Do tell.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


As a teacher and a parent I was intrigued by the message and animation in this video making its rounds on the net:

Saturday, October 16, 2010


As much as I hate to admit it, Texas owned Nebraska during the Big 12 Tenure. It wasn't even close to a rivalry, as it was dominance. I still hate Texas, now more than ever.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I Hate Texas

I can't stand Texas. I've been there many times, to awful places like Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. My hatred of Texas might stem from an early encounter. The first time I entered Texas was to transfer buses at the Dallas Greyhound station. It was after an awful trip to Arizona, and Therese and I had to spend about 8 hours in this hell. This bus station was full of men wearing boots, giant cowboy hats, belts with giant buckles with snake rattles, and tight boot-cut jeans with chewing tobacco circles marking the back pockets. I don't remember seeing any women. Later in life I've spent many hours at the Houston and Dallas airports, and it's the same story. A few suits, but still the tobacco tins. Everyone in Texas owns a truck with a gun rack. They live in dry counties within driving distance to a neighboring "sinful" county full of liquor stores and strip clubs selling pornography. Then there is the whole Alamo myth, about the freedom fighters/tea baggers Davy Crockett and Sam Houston. I wish I could go back in time and fight with Santa Anna.

But perhaps the main reason I hate Texas stems from recent football events. Sure, there were jerky Cowboy fans last year at the Dome when the Saints had their first loss. But hey, Saints won the Superbowl, so I'm over that. But I grew up with Nebraska being dominant in Big 8 football. Nebraska was part of the Big 8 for 100 years. Then in 1996 the Big 8 bailed out the SW conference and formed the Big 12. This conference has greatly benefited Oklahoma and Texas, but has not been very good to Nebraska. In fact, the Huskers have lost 8 games and won only 1 since the formation of the Big 12, and many of the games have been very close. A few times it has been Texas who in the Big 12 championship game knocked Nebraska off so we couldn't play for the National Championship. Last year's Big 12 Championship, in which Nebraska stopped the Texas offense only to have the officials put one second on the clock enabling them to kick a field goal, well, that symbolized the whole Big 12 series. The Big 12, great for Texas, awful for Nebraska. According to the scoreboard, Nebraska has been owned by Texas. But the reality is much more complicated, as Nebraska has dominated most of the games statistically. At last, Nebraska plays Texas tomorrow. In Memorial Stadium.

Thankfully and sadly, this is Nebraska's last year in the Big 12. How great would it be to hand Texas their third loss in a row, and then play Nebraska's biggest rival, Oklahoma, in the Big 8 I mean 12 Championship game. Go Big Red!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Off the Market

We bought this house at 224-226 South Hennessey a few years ago for $207,000. We lived in the downstairs unit for a couple of years while our house, 1 block away, was being rebuilt. When we finally moved back home we rented out both units.
Being a landlord is at times a hassle. One of our tenants became very late in payments and eventually left owing us quite a bit of money. Over the summer we tried to sell it. We first listed it at $225,000, and lately reduced it to $210,000. We came very close to selling it once but the buyer's financing fell through. It's been on the market for 3 months, and I think we're going to have to get back into the landlord business. Thus I listed the apartments on Craigslist today. The rent is $1000 per unit, and I've already gotten several people who want to check it out. I sure wish we could have sold it though, and at times I'm afraid we owe more on this house than it is currently worth.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Three Years Waiting for Home Elevation Grants

We elevated our home in October of 2007. You can actually see it go up up up in this video:

My government, as part of a Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), claimed they would reimburse us for the costs. It cost a lot, about $90K. But the thinking is that it wouldn't flood again and thus would potentially save the tax payers hard-earned money in the long run.

That was three years ago. We got reimbursed about half of the costs in May of 2009. We're still waiting for the rest.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

2 Tattoos 2 Days 2 Sports

My sister Chris, or Poncho as we call her, was in town over the weekend. Like a good brother, last Christmas I paid for us both to get tattoos. She got a Cubs logo on her ankle, I got a Saints fleur-de-lis on my calf. We ambitiously sought out to see our two favorite professional teams play over the course of two days. So we all drove to Houston to see the Cubs play the Astros. Our first stop in Houston was the Beer Can House. It was truly awesome. And that's not the beer talking. Here are a few photos of my newest favorite place on earth:
Then we went to see an art display called St. Boniface's Last Days at the Art Palace Gallery featuring the work of Peat Duggins, who is Therese's cousin. Then some more museums and then we saw the Cubs beat the Astros. It was Gilgamesh's first major league baseball game. Here is Chris, a true Cubs fan, at Minute Maid Field:
It finished at 9ish, and then I drove 5 1/2 hours back to New Orleans, slept, and with Poncho, headed to the Dome.
There we engaged in the pregame ritual of reading from the Book of Breesus and the Who Dat Prayer Book under the leadership of Chef Who Dat? Video of this sacred event from an iphone courtesy of Mark C. is here:
Then the Saints barely beat the Panthers and then we slept well, knowing both of our teams won.

Monday, October 04, 2010

When the Anti-Government Fringe Runs Government

When I lived in Israel I was amazed to learn that their parliament (the Knesset) included religious Jews who always voted against legislation that would favor Israel. This was because these elected officials believed that the nation of Israel had no right to exist until the Messiah returned, and thus they were bent on destroying it. This of course seemed to me to be a bad way to run a country.

More recently I'm troubled by the anti-government Tea Baggers. They are angry, and they keep saying they want their country back from an imaginary big government socialist plutocracy. Sure, there are many Republicans who for years performed poorly on purpose to argue that government is never the answer. This is best exemplified for us in the Gulf Coast with FEMA, the apex of government incompetence. Clearly the Tea Baggers don't want to destroy the United States, and with unemployment being so high and foreign policy so unethical I'm angry as well. But I'm a big fan of roads, the post office, and public education, and these things need taxes. I also would only vote for a candidate who has a clear plan of how to better govern, not one bent on doing away with government. That would be anarchy, which sounds appealing at first to my punk rock roots, but I tasted anarchy in the days after the levees failed, and it sucked.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Jefferson Parish and Vial Lemmons

When we moved to New Orleans 10 years ago, we quickly learned to dislike Jefferson Parish. This mostly came from the fact that whenever we went there to shop, older Caucasian people would approach us wanting to comment on our cute young children. They would shudder when we told them we just moved to New Orleans, and they told us to leave the city quickly. We'd ask why, and they'd tell us they used to live in New Orleans until the neighborhoods "went black," and "Blacks took over the schools" and so they moved to safer places like Metairie. To be fair, I have many friends who live in Jefferson Parish, but when I hear these racist things from so many strangers, well, Ick.

Jefferson Parish is full of WalMarts, SamsClubs, Olive Gardens, Taco Bells, and resembles pretty much any place in America. It's where Steven Seagal used to fight crime to honor his racist buddy Harry Lee until Seagal's sex slave escaped. Its identity comes from being the anti-New Orleans. As such, instead of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Jefferson Parish celebrates a "safer" version called Family Gras, which of course means Fat Family. There's much more that's fat in Jefferson Parish, most notably Fat City, which has been in the news for being sleazy even by Jefferson Parish standards. Now that's some sleazy. Perhaps most symbolic, Jefferson Parish looks like a rifle.

Rifles bring to mind one of the disgraceful acts ever committed by Jefferson Parish. It was no surprise to me that in the days after New Orleans flooded some Jefferson Parish police and sheriffs took over the Crescent City Connection bridge which connects New Orleans to Jefferson Parish. Several trapped residents of New Orleans tried to cross on this public road from their flooded homes to dry ground, and these police wouldn't let them. The police shot at the pedestrians with rifles, and hurled racial epithets. Again, no surprise here.

What is a surprise is the decision yesterday by Federal Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon. She ruled that it is reasonable for police to restrict with force people evacuating a disaster from using public roads. She wrote "Because restricting pedestrian traffic on the Crescent City Connection was a reasonable restriction, it is not an unreasonable restraint of liberty in violation of the Fourth Amendment." She then went on to note that these people who were shot at by police and degraded with racial epithets were eventually taken to Baton Rouge. As someone who spent some time in government care after Katrina when I was dumped off at the Causeway Concentration Camp, and then escaped this chaos, I believe Judge Lemmon would have a different opinion is she or a family member had tried to cross the bridge. No matter, it's a great day to be a racist in Jefferson Parish, as their anti-New Orleans identity has been further confirmed.

I'm currently looking for a copy of her 14 page ruling.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

12th Man

The most frequent topic of conversation this past week has not directly involved Katrina or BP oil. It's whether or not tonight's Saints game in which the championship banner is revealed will be louder than the Return to the Dome game against Atlanta in 2006. It is hard to imagine it will be. Back in 2006 we were screaming with primal frustrations that a year since the flood had wrought. We were screaming at our insurance companies, FEMA reps, and corrupt politicians. Tonight against the Vikings instead will be joyful yelling, hugs, and high fives. It will be loud to be sure, perhaps loud enough for Minnesota again to have 12 men in their huddle. I think it will be a very physical game with a few cheap shots against Brees and fights to follow. I will be wearing my Reggie Bush jersey. I think this year will finally be the year that he becomes a marquis back, but then I think that every year.

Friday, September 03, 2010


The five year anniversary of Katrina was difficult for me to get through, but I did, and right now, I'm sort of surprised to find myself happy. At home my kids are doing well. Gilgamesh is starting his first year playing football, and Kalypso is doing well at cross-country, violin, and she is going to work for the school newspaper. So my kids are engaged. Not in the southern/Mormon marriage way, but engaged with their worlds. At work the past two years were tricky due to a revision in the core curriculum and the reaccreditation process. But now there is nothing tricky on the horizon. Plus, it is a Friday right before a three day weekend, with the weather looking great for the Dash 'Stache. I made an awesome beer hat to wear during the ride. There are no hurricanes heading into the Gulf and Earl turned out to be not as bad as some predicted. And then we finally have real football starting with the big game next Thursday. Life is good in New Orleans...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dash for the 'Stache

Do I have a bicycle? check
Do I like to drink beer? check
Am I a Saints fan? check
Do I sometimes wear a fake mustache? check

This Saturday, September 4th, I invite you and your bike to join us under the flavorful leadership of Chef Who Dat as we peddle from pub to pub in Mid-City and then arrive at the Superdome for the annual blessing and application of the sacred stache to the sacred fleur du lis. It's magic. And just because I can't get enough of it, here's that video again of some lady a year ago falling off her bicycle. As Gstohl says while courageously still filming, "Wwwwoooooooooooooo!"

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Katrina's Five Year Anniversary & Parenthood

This past week has been difficult. All the terrible memories have been stressful. I was lucky enough to be able attend President Obama's speech at Xavier University today. But all things considered, the main thing I worry about with all of the Katrina stuff is my children. Did Therese and I make the right decision in staying in New Orleans, or would we have been better parents by moving elsewhere. I encouraged my children to write about this today. Here is what they said, and I am very proud of both of them:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hate from California

Writes James from Sacramento:
Mr. Homan:
I read your column in the Sunday, August 22nd edition of the Sacramento Bee. First, let me say, I am sorry for your loss and the loss to everyone in New Orleans from the tragedy caused by Katrina, a hurricane, a natural disaster. Being from California, I find your column not only offensive, but more of the same, "I'm a victim, feel sorry for me" narrative that most of the country has grown tired of by this point.
The line in your writing that is the most offensive is where you write, "I forgive the politicians and the media for never quite understanding that this was a human-induced disaster." Really? What human caused a hurricane to start in the Caribbean and come in to New Orleans from the Gulf? I'm sure you will answer with "George W. Bush".
I have a question for you. Why is it that 5 years after Katrina people in New Orleans are still unable to cope with the aftermath of Katrina? After billions of dollars have been poured into New Orleans, why are we still hearing from the people of Louisiana, "We need more money?"
I am a native of Northern California. I am in my mid-40's I vividly remember the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. I remember not being able to get in touch with family in the San Francisco Bay Area for days after the 'quake, not knowing whether or not they were ok. I have seen more wild fires than I can remember. I remember the 1994 Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles. I live in Sacramento. I remember being within hours of being evacuated due to rising flood waters in 1986. I have seen several floods in the Sacramento area since 1986. I remember floods here in 1995 and 1997. Of course, we have also had dozens of cases of civil unrest and riots which really are man-made disasters (unlike Katrina, which was a natural disaster). My point is this: here in California, we have had 100 times the disasters than Hurricane Katrina and we have recovered from each and every one of them. Yes, we had some help from the federal government, but for the most part, we figured it out on our own. And before you go on your, "California is rich" narrative, many of the disasters struck very poor parts of our state. Even the needy people of our state know that everyone needs to pitch in.
Your article is nothing more than more liberal whining in an attempt to get people to remember the tragedy of Katrina. No one will forget. But now it is time for the citizens of New Orleans and Louisiana to quit whining, get to work and take care of themselves and quit asking for the rest of the country to send more aid. Generous Americans from all walks of life have donated millions to victims of Katrina.
Take some lessons from California. We have weathered a lot more than Katrina over the years and we have rebounded each time.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The New Phone Book's Here! The New Phone Book's Here!

Neither Therese nor I are listed in the new phone books. We never reinstalled our land phone after the flood.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ready to Forgive, but Never to Forget

My 7th guest column appears in the Times-Picayune tomorrow, though you can read it on nola.com now. It's about, you guessed it, Hurricane Katrina and five years. It's hard to write about Katrina reflections and not sound pedantic and smug. Thanks to A. Sisco of the T-P for her help with this.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Chickens

Therese turns 40-something tomorrow, and to show our love and appreciation, we got her four Rhode Island Red chickens. Here is one of them watching the inspiring video by Samwell, "What What in the Butt"

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Zoo in Cairo: A Photo Essay

For extra fun today, Gilgamesh and I headed towards Cairo University to take in the Giza Zoo. We knew to ignore the negative comments on Trip Advisor that said things like “Worst zoo ever,” "Don't take young kids," and “Shut it down-it is a disgrace.” Therese and I had been here a couple of times before and we know that for a fun day of watching kids throw rocks at monkeys and gorillas smoking cigarettes there isn’t a better place in the world.


It cost $3 for me to enter, Gil was free, and we headed first to the fascinating cat display. There were a lot of rules, and in five minutes Gil noticed that we’d seen every one of them violated. Kicking soccer balls against the cages was the most common rule infringement.


After stopping at what Gil called the second worst toilet he’d ever seen, we found the cats. The sign was labeled "Persian’s cat" but I think they were Tabbies. They were very ferocious.


Then it was off to the dog area. The sign said that these were Maltese dogs, and though they weren't Maltese, I do think the Cairo zooologists were accurate about the "dogs" part. We watched one of them chew on a bird carcass. He was so cute.


Speaking of playful chewing, this camel chewed on its infected second hump for about five minutes, and then we decided to head off to the monkey area.


Someone threw a bag of chips in the baboon cage and all hell broke loose. I swear their buttocks became a brighter shade of red, probably because the chips were spicy.


Gilgamesh had never seen the elusive shit-horned rhinoceros so we lucked out with this one.


There were supposed to be crocodiles and ducks in this lagoon but all we saw were pepsi cans, water bottles, plastic bags, and animal feces.


We didn’t get to see the chain smoking gorilla. He must have died from lung cancer. For a few extra dollars in baksheesh we could have had Gil’s picture taken holding this chimpanzee, but I declined, as the chimp looked suicidal.


The Giza Zoo seems to be the Angola of animal jails. What these critters need is an old time Christian rodeo.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


The internets was down the last time I had a day off from excavating in Jordan, so I'll do a weeks 3-4 post about Barqa later when it all comes into better focus as the sands of the Jordanian desert fall away, but for now, Gilgamesh and I are in freaky deaky Egypt! We're hanging out with my student Shavonda and her mom Eula. We got to know them very well during the dig, so they're sort of like family now. Today we went to the pyramids. It was great to hear Gilgamesh get so excited when he first saw the giant ones in Giza. But first we went to Saqqara to see the step pyramid. The highlight of the day for me was getting to take a few pictures inside the Tomb of Ti, as the pictures there show how the ancient Egyptians made beer. Here is me, Ti, and much beer:
Then we went to Saqqara to see Imhotep's Step Pyramid, and here is a pic of Gilgamesh and yours truly:
Finally it was off to Giza for the big three pancakes (note "pyramid" is Greek for pancake). Tomorrow we're off to the Egyptian Museum, but for now, here are a few panorama shots I took with my fancy new camera:

The Red Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid:
Ubiquitous camel and the Giza pyramids:
Sphinx and the Giza pyramids:

Monday, July 05, 2010

Barqa Week Two

The second week of excavations in the Barqa region are in the bag. My area is working on a large Iron Age II house and last week we started uncovering large amounts of ceramic vessels, some intact, and a few metallurgical pieces along with walls, floors, and a large layer of ash from the destruction. Shavonda, my student at Xavier, found many of the ceramic vessels one day last week. Currently we're unwinding at Petra and trying to get the dig dust off us and our electronics. Gilgamesh and I just got back from a fairly lengthy walk to the monastery. He's sleeping now, but in the meantime, here are three pictures of the mighty Gilgamesh.

Gilgamesh with some pottery that we excavated on an Iron II surface.

Gilgamesh with a kafilla and something hairy in his nose.

Gilgamesh at the Treasury building in Petra.

Monday, June 28, 2010

First Week At Barqa

We just completed our first week of excavations in the Barqa region of southern Jordan. My team of seven volunteers is working on an Iron Age structure that dates to the late 10th century/9th century BCE. Thus far the best find has been a shard of imported and painted Midianite pottery. It's a one period occupation site so the excavation has been pretty easy, except the floor is hard to find and in one area we blew through it and hit bedrock, which is only about 25 cm below the surface. Other teams are working on a Roman period farmhouse, and digging 1x1 m pits testing for metallurgical pollution over time. It's not an easy excavation. We live in tents, and several times the tents have been blown away due to the high winds. One day the visibility was very limited due to a sandstorm. But we're starting to get into a routine and things are going well. We wake up at 5 AM, eat breakfast, drive to the sites just before 6, and then work until 12:15. We eat lunch at 1:15, and then wash pottery and work on digital recording until dinner about 7 PM. Typically we are all asleep by 9:30. We work six days with two days off. This weekend we were in Aqaba where we went snorkeling in the Red Sea. Next Sunday on the 4th of July we're heading to Petra. Gilgamesh has been doing very well. There are some 19-20 year-old Canadians here that have been very good about taking Gilgamesh under their wings.

Here are two panoramic pictures. The first is of our camp, the second of our excavation site:



Here is a set of pictures on flickr.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Social Networking Freaks Gilgamesh Out in the Holy Land

Our five days in Israel are winding down, as we head to Jordan tomorrow morning. One interesting thing that I've noticed is that because of social networking, Gilgamesh has been freaked out more than a few times by strangers who know quite a bit about him. For example, while Gilgamesh was running at Kibbutz Galon, a large man he'd never seen before named Mike Hammerschlag shouted in a South African accent "Hey Little Homan!" Mike explained to Gil that he reads Gil's blog. Also, at the top of Tel Megiddo, the archaeologist Eric Cline told Gilgamesh that he knew about Gil's soccer accomplishments and that last season in one game he scored three goals. And at the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, where Gilgamesh spent the first year of his life, all sorts of people who are strangers to Gil talk to him like they've known him for years, which they have. It's like a giant Greek wedding for Gil, where all sorts of relatives who you have no idea who they are show up and act as if you've been best friends. Though Gil is usually speechless in these situations, he's been doing very well thus far in our travels. I haven't even lost him once.
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Eula White, Shavonda Wilson, Professor Eric Cline, and Gilgamesh Homan at Megiddo

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

One of My Favorite Places

Today I had the great privilege of taking Gilgamesh to one of my favorite places on earth. We went to al Haram al-Sharif, which translates literally as "the noble sanctuary" though most English speakers call it the Temple Mount. There we talked about Jebusites, King Solomon, Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac/Ishmael, threshing floors, the Holy of Holies, Herod, Jesus, sacrifice, Mohammad and his horse, the Umayyads, the Crusades, World War I, the wars in 1948 and 1967, the Ottomans, King Abdullah of Jordan's assassination, and Ariel Sharon and the Al Aqsa Intida, which began right before Gilgamesh was born.

I believe that if one can understand the history of Jerusalem, one can understand the history of Western civilization.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Barqa Bound

This summer Gilgamesh and I will be traveling to southern Jordan where we'll be excavating a large Iron Age structure in the Barqa/Feinan region of southern Jordan. This will be Gilgamesh's first excavation, and his first trip back to the Middle East since he was born in Jerusalem in 2000. Before the excavation we'll be visiting some friends in Israel and Palestine, and after the dig, we'll be spending a week in Egypt. We're also traveling with a Xavier student, Shavonda, and her mother, Eula. At the dig we'll be excavating with some very good friends and colleagues. The conditions will be harsh, as we'll be living in Eureka tents, and southern Jordan in the summer is very hot. One of my favorite parts of an archaeological excavation is interacting with people in very harsh conditions. People can pretend to be someone else for a few days, but under these conditions all of their cards are soon on the table. During the project I'll regret being there at times I'm sure, but at this point I'm looking forward to it. I hope we unearth some significant finds. Thanks to my friends Russ Adams and Jim Anderson who put this project together.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Another Katrina/BP Oil Spill Connection

It seems we only work on fixing disasters when the press is taking pictures.

On September 2, 2005, Senator Mary Landrieu accompanied President George Bush on a helicopter tour of the breach in the 17th Street Canal. Hundreds of people were feverishly working to stop the flooding. The next day, Landrieu was shocked to see that there was nobody there working. It had been a staged photo-op. Today I read that BP bused in 400 extra workers for Obama's visit last week. Jefferson Parish Council Chairperson John Young said "It appears to have been a PR stunt by BP, not to say we don't appreciate the extra participation. We certainly need them, but we don't need them for just one day that happens to coincide with a visit from the president."

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

19 Years of Marriage

Today is the first day of Hurricane Season. It is also my wedding anniversary. Therese and I got married on June 1, 1991 in Omaha Nebraska. It's been 6 years of marital bliss and 13 additional years. To mark the event, I spent the day today converting some old VHS into a short digital movie. So feel free to time travel and witness our wedding and reception. Be warned, there is a tornado warning and an Elvis impersonator not wearing underwear. Therese and I met the Elvis impersonator at an Elvis karaoke contest. Elvis won, I got second place, and Therese's version of Hound Dog came in third. I should add that there were only 3 people in the contest. I should also point out that nobody was entirely certain Therese was singing Hound Dog.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Legitimate Claims of Pessimism

They're calling this the "Summer of Oil." I'm confident about two very depressing things:
1. A hurricane is going to throw the oil in the Gulf onto the wetlands killing a large portion of it.
2. In 3 months BP America will go bankrupt. Few people with "legitimate claims" will get reimbursed. BP Global will prosper.

Sure hope I'm wrong, but being a super genius, I rarely am.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Your Logo Here: Barrier Islands for Sale

I've heard that the company hired in Dubai to create new islands shaped like palm trees is from Louisiana.
So let's bring them home and ask them to create barrier islands such as these. I'd even consider building a house on the bottom point of the question mark.

Sex and Oil and National Impotence

The first time I'd heard of the Minerals Management Service was two years ago. I read with interest that MMS employees engaged in sexual acts with oil company representatives. This intrigued me. As a Bible scholar who now and again dabbles in literary criticism, I'm well aware of the connection between water wells in literature and sexuality. Just about every time there is a well in the story, a wedding soon follows. Without going into too much detail, I'm willing here to focus on three words: round, wet, hole.

So with the MMS and oil industry added to the mix, we now could add words like oil, tap, and drill baby drill. In the past five weeks, ever since the rig exploded, I've included in my vocabulary blowout preventer, 21 inch pipe, spewing, gusher, and my favorite, the junk shot.

But it seems that while the United States can talk the talk, it can't walk the walk. Two articles in today's Times-Picayune caught my attention. The first was by John Tilove, and he argues that Americans are not only angry about the oil spill, but they also suffer from "wounded pride." We seem to believe that there is a really smart kid out there who can solve this problem but Obama and BP won't listen. As Professor Gstohl states in Geauxjira, "history shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man." The second is a column by Maureen Dowd who writes that the "plume of doom" is a "symbol of national impotence." We're told repeatedly that America is the best country on earth, but we can't plug a hole in the Gulf. This of course brings back memories of the flooding of New Orleans, another symbol of national impotence. I'm frankly tired of being involved with two monumental events in the past five years that are symbols of national impotence. So what will be this country's viagra? Probably a war as usual. Better get out my North Korea maps.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Ladies and Gentlemen, with the oil leak now a month old, here is Geauxjira. Geauxjira is a brief homage to some famous scenes in Ishiro Honda's movie Gojira (1954), better known in English as Godzilla. Whereas Godzilla was created from nuclear explosions, Geauxjira is a giant crawfish spawned by leaking crude oil. On April 21st, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded off the coast of Louisiana. Eleven people perished in the explosion. As we made our movie, thousands of barrels of oil leaked every day on the Gulf of Mexico's floor, causing the biggest environmental disaster in our lifetime. Moreover, we're terrified about the ramifications the oil will have on our economy and lives. In making a parody there is a danger of giving the impression that we find this calamity to be funny. In fact, the opposite is true. We're angry and frightened about the uncertain impact of this disaster. Here is the movie.

If you're interested, we'd invite you to do two simple things: first donate to the Friends of the Laffitte Corridor (http://folc-nola.org/), a non-profit organization designed to convert a rail line in the heart of New Orleans into a bike path. Second, try to reduce your oil consumption. We hope you enjoy our movie.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Making A Movie

I'm making a Godzilla movie. Want to be in it? We're shooting two crowd scenes near the Mardi Gras Fountain on Lakeshore Drive this Sunday, May 16th, at 2 PM.
Here's some background about the movie. It's called Geauxjira, and its a brief recreation of the famous Japanese Ishiro Honda movie Gojira (1954), better known as Godzilla in English. We're trying to copy a few key scenes. Godzilla was created from nuclear explosions. Our monster, Geauxjira, is a giant crawfish monster created by the BP oil disaster in the Gulf. He's very angry. In the end, Chef Who Dat concocts a special boom made from Hubig's pies, Drew Brees' hair, and crystal hot sauce, all encased in panty hose.

Scene One: people run in terror down the levee. This involves one scene with a close up of feet and a wider angle scene.

Scene Two: People in a line react in shock as the monster is destroyed. People remove their hats and put them over their hearts. Bring a hat if you have one. Disguises such as wigs and fake mustaches are good also. Camp is very good.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Using Cats to Save the Gulf

My friend Sue has a dilemma. She lives in Indiana with about 100 cats and she wants to stop the oil spill. She has heard that animal hair can be used to sop up the oil, but unlike dogs, cats don't like to get shaved. So I am asking all cat owners to send me their felines. I will attach them to my fishing poles and launch them into the oily water. After a few minutes I will reel in the cats, clean them off with soap, and then cast them back into the spill. My plan doesn't involve robotic submarines so there will not be government funding.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Mayday on May Day

Things are looking pretty grim in Louisiana. Our economy is based largely on oil and fishing. This time of year birds nest and fish spawn. Now oil has entered the fragile marshes and wetlands. The state has closed all commercial and recreational fishing east of the Mississippi River. The oil is a heavier and more damaging crude than was previously thought, and it's spewing out faster than earlier believed. A leaked classified document from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Emergency Ops starts off "The following is not public" and then goes on to speculate that if the pipe further deteriorates the current rate could multiply tenfold. At long last the government is losing patience with BP, who seemed to be flying solo for a week after the explosion. Sadly British Petroleum's exploration plan for the Deepwater Horizon well states that it was "unlikely that an accidental surface or subsurface oil spill would occur from the proposed activities." It also says that wildlife refuges and beaches were too far away to ever be effected by a spill. They were wrong.
Large numbers of people are now talking about the effects lasting years instead of months. Some, including me, fear it could be more like decades and generations. I hope I'm wrong. Plus it's May Day, a day celebrating workers. Fishermen are being economically forced to apply for clean up work from the same company, BP, who put them out of business and ruined their lives.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Robot Submarines & Oil-Sucking Domes

What an amazing world in which we live, at least according to the oil industry spokespeople. Here I was worried about the environmental impact of massive quantities of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico. Some sources said it's 1000 barrels a day, others say 7400 barrels. That's a difference of 268,800 gallons per day. Is that big? Frankly I'm surprised they don't have some sort of meter on the hole where the oil comes out. Maybe Home Depot can hook them up for the next time. But in any case, it doesn't even matter apparently. Technology will fix everything.

In this futuristic world in which we currently live, the first line of defense involves robot submarines that swim around deep in the gulf and try to flip a 450-ton valve at the wellhead to shut it off. Shockingly, that doesn't seem to be working, though there are reports of some whales swimming in the oil spill. Can't we train them to plug the leak? What about Shamu in Orlando? Can't we get freakin' Shamu to use an oil-plugging laser? Trained killer whales with lasers working in tandem with robot submarines. That will stop the leak for sure, if the giant Nazi squids don't sabotage the operation.

The second line of defense for the rare cases when robot subs don't work is a giant oil sucking underwater dome. Today I learned engineers are designing this very thing. True, such devices haven't been used in deep water before, and some estimate it will take a month to be built and arrive at the scene, but what a great idea. They could save some time by just using the roof of the Superdome to capture the oil. But please make sure to tell the whales and the robot submarines, as we wouldn't want them to get sucked up into the magic dome with all the oil.

Wednesday I predict we'll hear about rocket propelled fire sponges, followed by microscopic alloy space needles on Thursday. But then the message will change dramatically on Friday when the oil hits the Chandeleur Islands and pictures of pelicans covered in oil start making the internet rounds. But the best part of this futuristic tech world in which we live is that BP stocks will take a short-term hit but ultimately continue to grow dramatically in value. But for now, I'm praying for the robot subs.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Solar Panels in Sunny New Orleans (Part 2)

In January I posted that we had a 3.36 KW solar panel system installed. Though I've still not heard from the Feds or State of Louisiana about our 2009 tax rebates (we should get back about $20,ooo of our $26,225 investment), we have received two Entergy bills. I should point out early that this post is full of technical data and boring numbers so you should probably stop reading here unless you're thinking about installing panels. Here's the data:

Entergy Bill from February 17 to March 18, 2010
We used 785 kWh from Entergy (cf. 1063 kWh 2009 bill), and we sold back 219 kWh from electricity produced by the panels. Thus Entergy charged us for a net of 566 kWh which cost $16.78. Each kWh cost 2.96 cents.
Enphase, which I use to monitor my system, records that my panels produced 463.89 kWh of energy during this same period. So why is there such a discrepancy between the 463 that my system claims and Entergy's claim of only 219? Anthony Reis from Solar Works clarified that the difference comes from when we're at home in daylight hours and consuming electricity at the same time the panels are producing it. Thus the Entergy meter registers a much lower number.
Bottom line: Total Entergy bill (gas and electric) was $125.79, compared to $194.27 for same period in 2009. Savings = $68.48.
From March 18 to April 15, 2010
We used 770 kWh from Entergy (cf. 798 kWh 2009 bill), and we sold 259 kWh back, for a net of 511 kWh which cost $16.31. Each kWh cost 3.2 cents (notice the increase from last month, and thanks Entergy).
Enphase records that my panels produced 523.17 kWh.
Bottom line: Total Entergy bill was $90.69, compared to $124.23 for same period in 2009. Savings = $33.54
It's way too early to accurately predict overall performance with just two months of data. But thus far we've saved an average of $51 per month. That means it would take 10 years for the system to pay for itself, a bit longer than the six years we predicted. However, we're entering the summer months when the panels will produce more electricity, and as electricity charges go up, so does the value of my system. Plus, it's not so precise to calculate the benefit of the solar panels by just comparing the Entergy bills, as they also include charges for gas, base rate charges, and charges being added on to Entergy New Orleans customers for "Emergency Storm Reserve Fund." So at this point, I'm happy about the panels. This is mostly because I'm paying Entergy less money than I would be without the panels. But also, with a giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico with 11 dead, and a mining explosion in W. Virginia with 29 dead, I'm reminded that there needs to be an increased focus on renewable energy.

"Truth Will Rise above Falsehood as Oil above Water"

Or so said Cervantes many years ago.

More recently, or five days to be exact, the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig tragically exploded in the Gulf of Mexico about 40 miles south of the coast of Louisiana. Sadly, 11 people died. During the first 48 hours after the explosion, we were told that we need not worry about the environment. We were told that the deep-water hole was spewing an estimated 13,000 gallons of crude oil per hour but it was nearly all burning, and it was heading away from the shore, according to Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry.

Yesterday the Coast Guard changed their minds and said that now they were concerned with the oil spill. Now we're told that as much as 1000 barrels (42,000 gallons) of oil is leaking each day. However, another source says it is 7,400 barrels per day. That's quite a big difference. The Coast Guard said they've identified a 20 mile square oil sheen about 40 miles off the coast, and it seems to be heading northeast towards the Mississippi/Alabama/Florida coast. I believe that in about five to seven days, when the oil hits the coast and we see all the dead fish and oil soaked birds, there will be international outrage. Fat men in bermuda shorts will yell at the cameras. But I don't think these companies are touchable legally.

Transocean, a Swiss company with holdings all over the world, hired BP Exploration which then leased the Deepwater Horizon rig. Good luck with that, and of course, drill baby drill.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

So No Human Bones In Donner Hearth?

As a Bible scholar who seeks to better understand ancient texts through the disciplines of history and archaeology, I've been fascinated by a recent debate concerning the Donner Party.

Historians have little doubt that these people ate human flesh to survive the harsh winter of 1846-47. Survivors said they did, and historically speaking, it's well documented.

But enter the anthropologists... Gwen Robbins at Appalachian State University excavated one of the Donner Camps. In the hearth she found the bones of several animals but no human bones were discovered. Suddenly media outlets are running with the story that the Donner Party never ate people. I know pretty well how the media works, and how controversy and quotations out of context are common. But what troubles me here is that I fear the anthropologists might be overstepping their evidence, something I've often seen in the world of biblical studies.

The website from Robbins' university published this article. It falsely says the survivors "fiercely denied allegations of cannibalism." True, some did, but most admitted they ate people. The article states that the "legend of the Donner party was primarily created by print journalists... to sell more newspapers." Let me tell you, I have certainly heard a similar argument applied to biblical authors and biblical scholars. The article records that there are china shards in the hearth so they conclude these people attempted to maintain a "normal life" and their "refusal to accept the harsh reality of the moment." Interesting, but I'm reminded that Hannibal Lecter used fancy dishes. Anyway, I'll be anxious to read the full academic article in American Antiquity which comes out in July.

But for now my point is this: the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. The human bones, that survivors claimed they ate towards the end of their stay in the camp, would have been at the top of the hearth, making them less likely to be preserved for later excavation. The survivors talk about cooking the bones in very small pieces, so it's believable that they left no trace. So sorry media, but I think we're a long way away from separating the Donner Party from their alleged act of infamy. And in the end, as Indiana Jones tells us, archaeology is the search for fact, not truth, whatever the heck that means.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ezekiel and Resurrected Bones

My sixth opinion piece in the Times-Picayune appears in tomorrow's paper. It's about Ezekiel and the work Mark Gstohl and I have done with our Xavier students at St. Louis Cemetery No. 2 in collaboration with Save Our Cemeteries. Thanks to Annette Sisco of the T-P for her help with this.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Steven Seagal's Unique Reaction To Sexual Arousal?

Forget about HBO's Treme, the best thing about being in New Orleans right now is that Jefferson Parish lawman Steven Seagal is being sued for more than $1 million by Kayden Nguyen for allegedly recruiting her on Craigslist to be an assistant and then changing the job description to that of a full time sex slave. She claims Steven Seagal always seems to have two human sex toys on hand for special massages, and Seagal's wife is OK with it. All this time I thought it was the meditation that made Buddhists like Seagal and Tiger Woods so mellow, but perhaps the full body rub downs might contribute as well.

The lawsuit can be found here. Seagal's people claim, of course, the whole thing is false and that they fired Ms. Nguyen because she was a drug addict. Amazingly, the whole case might come down to some secret knowledge that only people who have been intimate with Mr. Seagal could know about. According to p. 11 of the lawsuit:

"As Ms. Nguyen began sobbing, Mr. Seagal became sexually aroused and had a unique physiological reaction to sexual arousal. Ms. Nguyen can and will describe in great detail Mr. Seagal's unique physical reaction to sexual arousal. Other females who have been present when Mr. Seagal has become sexually aroused will be able to verify the truthfulness of Ms. Nguyen's factual knowledge about the characteristics of Mr. Seagal's unique physiological reaction."

From watching Lawman, I know already that Steven Seagal can see things like the Predator. Now I learn that he has organs beyond his eyes that are exceptional.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Will The Treme Make Me Cry?

I am very much looking forward to seeing HBO's new series The Treme. I'm a huge fan of David Simon's previous shows, especially The Wire. Plus John Goodman's character is based on the late great man of letters and punk rock fan Ashley Morris. Most (but not all) predict that The Treme will be a great ambassador for the unique culture of New Orleans. It should also help in educating America that the disaster in New Orleans was caused not so much by a storm, but by the greatest engineering failure in the history of this country.

However, I'm a bit nervous about watching The Treme. This morning while I was getting ready for work, I was listening to an NPR interview with David Simon and Clarke Peters. Clarke Peters was talking about a clip in which his Indian Chief character was looking for a friend in a desolate neighborhood just after the flood waters receded. I started thinking about those days after flood, about all the milestones such as discarding refrigerators, gutting moldy drywall, restaurants slowly reopening, visiting friends who moved to other cities, and all that garbage that is seared so deeply into my memory. I got a bit teary eyed remembering those difficult days. Through all those hardships we laughed and joked, but it wasn't at all funny. Like many (if not all of us) in New Orleans, I have so much baggage that I've repressed during these past 5 years.

But of course I'll watch the show religiously. I loved K-Ville, so you know I'm really going to fall for this one. Everyone's invited to our house to watch it Sunday at 9PM, especially those who don't have HBO.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Cameras & War

This morning I watched a disturbing video from Wikileaks that shows two U.S. Apache helicopters use 30 mm canons to kill 12 people and injure two children back in 2007. The military claimed the dead were armed insurgents, though they later learned that two of the dead worked for Reuters. The pilots mistakenly thought a camera stretched over a shoulder was a gun. Listening to the two pilots is the most troubling aspect of this for me. I can imagine combat is stressful and there is a psychological need to demonize the enemy. But unlike these pilots, I would imagine that I would never laugh after a tank rolls over a corpse or say "Nice!" after someone states "Look at those dead bastards!" Here's the video. It's about 17 minutes long and be warned that it is pretty graphic.

Monday, April 05, 2010

An Archaeology Dream

Last night I dreamt that I was excavating a Late Bronze building in southern Jordan, and against a wall I discovered a golden cultic vessel from Egypt. As I was showing this very important find to the dig directors, one of them noticed some writing on the object. As I looked carefully, it said in English "Radio Shack copyright 1982." I was very upset because the stratigraphical sequencing for the entire season was now worthless.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

The Crossroads

We went to the Crossroads, the place on Highway 61 where legend has it that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil. The plan was that Kalypso would bring her violin and Gilgamesh would bring his drumsticks and they would exchange their souls to the Prince of Darkness for musical mastery. It didn't work out that way, as the devil never showed up. Perhaps it was because we went on Good Friday? We did see a guy who looked like Ralph Macchio though at the Delta Blues Museum. I asked him "Hey Eugene Martone, where's Willie Brown?" He said his name was Bob not Eugene. As I look back on our brief exchange, I think he might have actually been the devil. Another missed opportunity, as now I will have to continue to listen to my kids practice their instruments.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Mardi Gras Indians

Kalypso and I went to see the Mardi Gras Indians parade yesterday near Washington and Claiborne. It's truly one of the most visually beautiful and uniquely New Orleans events. Thanks to all the Indians who worked so hard on their wonderful costumes. Here is one picture:
You can see Kalypso's other 42 pictures in this Flickr set.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Steep Price of Success in the Dome

This might seem like whining especially after 1200 season ticket holders lost their seats due to the moving of the press box, but still the increase in ticket prices is worth telling:

In 2006, the day the Saints signed Drew Brees, I bought season tickets in section 327. The price for two tickets: $800, or $50 per seat per game. That year Tom Benson said ticket prices would not go up. However the next year my bill was for $1000. The reason they gave was that we had to now buy tickets to the two preseason games, so still $50 per game but now two of the games were essentially practices. In 2008 and 2009 the price increased about $300 per year for the two seats. Now for the 2010 season, the same seats will cost $2000. That's $100 per seat per game. I am very much looking forward to seeing the championship banner hung in the Superdome, but I think this will probably have to be my last season as a ticket holder, because with the income of two teachers, we really can't afford these prices.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mark Gstohl Gets Excited On the News

Last night on WWL TV Bill Capo talked about our project with Save Our Cemeteries. Over the past two years, about 200 Xavier students have worked at St. Louis Cemetery No. 2 recording names on tombstones, hoping to preserve the record as the tombs are rapidly deteriorating. My student Jarred Honora did a great job representing Xavier. I was very proud of him, and yes, he'll get some extra credit. In contrast to Jarred, however, my friend and colleague Mark Gstohl needs to take some acting classes, because I found his on-camera excitement to be forced. The best parts are when he uses words like "Shocking!" and "Wow!" and I believe he has invented a new sign language for words like name and book. I think he picked up on this over-the-top methodology when he played "Big Robin" in a Batman video we shot last summer. I'm not going to link to the Batman video to save what reputation he has left, but here's the shocking news clip of the cemetery...WoW!

Healthcare and Moore's "Cottage Cheese Ass"

I am happy that the House passed the health care reform bill last night. It is not the bill I would have written, but it's a step in the right direction. I believe it does make the world a better place, and it promotes social justice. I don't think it will be as bad politically as Republicans claim. Oyster points out that Newt Gingrich claims this will be as bad for the Democrats as when Johnson passed Civil Rights in the 1960's. I find that to be revealing. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) just declared the reform unconstitutional, as the federal government can't tell states what to do. Are water canons and dogs on their way in the future to implement this radical agenda? I am also put off by protesters calling civil rights hero John Lewis a N-word and all the other vitriol being flung. Also, and I shouldn't admit this, but I find myself being entertained by the rantings of right wing "media" blowhards. I actually googled Glen Beck to see what he had to say, and he didn't disappoint:
I mean, what happened? I will tell you what happened. Exactly what I told you would happen when you put Michael Moore and his cottage cheese ass right next to Jimmy Carter. You think, I said, you think you are using these radical socialist, communist progressives, but they are using you, and they will eat you. You think he got that big by eating Cheetos? He's eating the party. The Democratic Party is dead. As my grandparents and as you knew it and as many Democrats knew, it is dead. There is no place in the Democratic Party. You want to talk about a big tent: Unless you went along with Nancy Pelosi, you are out and you will be destroyed. That was the message. There is no ‑‑ there's not even a, there's not one chair in the tent. The Democratic Party is the progressive Socialist Party, period.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Japanese Magnolias

Today in the front of our house we planted three Japanese magnolias. Part of the decision to plant these particular trees comes from the fact that our china has a pattern depicting Japanese magnolias. Our china comes from my father, who purchased it in Japan when he was in the Far East in the army just after the Korean Conflict. On the back of the China it reads "Noritake China Japan 5473."
Note: digging holes in Mid-City New Orleans is very difficult, with the oyster shells and clay.