Dallas death march

After four days of travel, Joan and I are back at home. And thus this vignette.

Our stay in Australia was wonderful. We had a blast. Merely seeing and holding the new little girls Indigo and Zora was worth all the time and trouble getting there and returning.

 

At the beach with the "see through" scissor-like device that allowed the children to pick up all manner of stuff. Each of the older children had one, and tried to better the others by finding the strangest treasure to be examined by Dr. Joan.

At the beach with the “see through” scissor-like device that allowed the children to pick up all manner of stuff without having to touch the creepy kind. Each of the older children had one, and tried to better the others by finding the strangest treasure to be examined by Dr. Joan.

 

Gramma does her favorite thing in the whole  world, that is, read to grand children. Fletcher, Milan and Petra look on.

Gramma does her favorite thing in the whole world, that is, read to grand children. Fletcher, Milan and Petra look on.

I have previously reported “on getting there.” I should add this: Qantas knows how to deal with irate and exhausted passengers and does everything possible to help the customer who has been delayed by Qantas. Not true for the airline that begins with “A” and should end with “sshole.”

After leaving Australia on time on Thursday US time and arriving on time Friday US time at DFW 16 hours or so later, we learned that our connecting flight  had been nixed because of “bad” weather. That meant a stay overnight in Dallas. Apparently “A” cancelled flights right and left with little or no notice. (“American Airlines, which uses Dallas-Fort Worth airport as its main hub, had cancelled 600 flights, system-wide, on Saturday, after cancelling 700 on Friday, said airline spokesman Matt Miller. One American flight from the airport to Oklahoma City that typically takes less than an hour ended up being a nine-hour journey for some passengers.” Here.)

Sigh.

We were given a voucher for a hotel. Of course, the hotel refused to honor the voucher claiming that it was not a reservation and the hotel was all booked. We then wandered around paying $150 in cab fees trying to find another hotel. No luck. Back to airport. Guess we will sleep in the airport.

Not so fast, you bald-headed bastard from Nebraska. WE care about your security.

We won’t allow you to check your bags because more than 24 hours showed on the clock before your connecting flight left. Because we couldn’t check our bags, we couldn’t get a boarding pass that allowed us to enter the airport.

Joseph Heller once wrote a really good book about planes and idiocy. See Catch-22. If you haven’t read it, read it.

It was cold. Joan and I had left with heavy sweaters but nothing sufficient to deal with the Dallas temperature. Since we were freezing, we took a shuttle to the rental car place. We rented a car, drove it up one ramp to the top where the cars were returned and “slept” for 5 hours with heater running full blast.

At 5:30 AM Saturday morning, we arrived back at the airport to find that only one person was trying to rebook hundreds of cancelled flights. To our amazement, they took our bags and gave us a boarding pass for that evening. We were flying to Grand Island, Nebraska, about 90 miles west of Lincoln because that made the most sense (at the time) to connect with Qantas and clear customs and immigration.

We were both exhausted. While we waited, I salvaged two cots from other “walking dead” who had no use for them. Fitfully, we fell asleep.

In the afternoon, and I got itchy because I learned the Grand Island flight that left early afternoon had been cancelled. The evening flight was apparently still scheduled to fly–but I thought I should make sure. I finally found two competent “A” airlines employees who reported that not only was our evening flight cancelled, but we had been bumped all the way back until Tuesday evening. When I asked why full price tickets had been cancelled, and we had been bumped, both agents shrugged. They had no idea.

Rather than go postal, I sat on the cots with Joan and suggested that we drive to Lincoln in a rental car. For $900 bucks, that we did. We drove to Norman, Oklahoma Saturday evening US time and then on to Lincoln on Sunday arriving home at 6:00 PM.

By the way, our car we drove to Grand Island is presumably still there. Where is our baggage? That is known only by the Gods, and I presume only the snarky ones have that inside information.

Blogging will be slow. I will return the rental car today. Figure out when Joan should drive me to Grand Island to pick up our car and hopefully the luggage.

While I was gone, my “kiddie porn” case scheduled for trial today settled. I just can’t catch a break.

RGK

Two observations from down under that may be unrelated but I’m not so sure

There seem to be to be at least two things that captivate Australians these days.

First, Australians are focused on whether Indonesia will execute two Australians for dealing in 10 kilos or so of heroin. Death by firing squad is the method of execution. If the firing squad doesn’t do the job, the captain of the squad dispatches the inmate with a pistol shot to the head. See here.

Death row ... Australian drug smugglers Andrew Chan (L) and Myuran Sukumaran (R) in a court holding cell during their trial in Denpasar in February 2006. Picture: AFP/Jewel Samad Source: AFP

Death row … Australian drug smugglers Andrew Chan (L) and Myuran Sukumaran (R) in a court holding cell during their trial in Denpasar in February 2006. Picture: AFP/Jewel Samad Source: AFP

The second compulsion relates to paper airplanes. This is true in the movies and otherwise. See here and here.

41SAEzE-1DL._SL500_BO1,204,203,200_

RGK

Second report from down under

We are in the south-eastern part of Australia at Lake Hume, about three hours north of Melbourne. Melbourne is at the “bottom” or south of the continent. The lake is large and provides irrigation water all the way to the sea.

The Murray–Darling basin is a large geographical area in the interior of southeastern Australia. Its name is derived from its two major rivers, the Murray River and the Darling River. The basin, which drains around one-seventh of the Australian land mass, is one of the most significant agricultural areas in Australia. It spans most of the states of New South Wales, Victoria, and the Australian Capital Territory, and parts of the states of Queensland (lower third) and South Australia (southeastern corner). The the Murray River is 1,570 miles long.

We are staying at a car/van camp with cabins. Very popular in Australia. Lots of things for the kids to do. While Joan and I prefer little chocolates on our pillows each evening, this place has been great for the young families. The new little girls are cute and easy-going. The parents are numb, but that’s what they get for having children of their own.

In no particular order, photos follows:

Milan, Petra and Fletcher celebrate the Chinese year of the goat in Australia.

Milan, Petra and Fletcher celebrate the Chinese year of the goat in Australia.

 

Keller, Lisa, Petra, Milan and Fletcher. Old guy on right is not an aboriginal.

Keller, Lisa, Petra, Milan and Fletcher. Old guy on right is not an aboriginal.

Big damn bird about ten feet from our cabin

Big damn bird about ten feet from our cabin

Sunset over Lake Hume

Sunset over Lake Hume

RGK

First report from down under

lake-hume-36452After two overnight but unplanned stays in Dallas and Sydney, finally made it to Lake Hume in NSW Australia. Remote. No cell connection. Internet connection spotty via Verizon.

Great place for the kids. Lot to do including petting Ostriches that walk the through the resort and into the wid. Cabins are fine, if a bit rustic.

New grand children–Zora and Indy– fill us with joy as we hold them for the first time. The family from Australia and the family from China are fun to watch. Marne and Pat in ABQ, NM cannot be here. Sigh. As grandparents, you take what you can get.

Odd thing: We have begun to like our children. They are funny, self-deprecating and well versed. I also remind myself that cheap wine gives false impressions.

That’s all now.

Oh, don’t forget: Some things are more important that others

RGK

 

Take that kangaroo

Qantas with no notice on-line or otherwise just cancelled our flight. The only way I found out is that the computer would not give me a boarding pass. Got a nice Aussie person on the phone who mumbled something about the crew needing to rest (after, I imagine, a night of drunken debauchery at the strip clubs in Dallas).  Best laid plans and all.

It is very early in the morning, but the good thing about gin is that everyone tells me that they can’t smell it on my breath even though they walk quickly away with horrified looks. Anyway, since Qantas is an inanimate object, the company’s high-handed behavior makes me want to smack the crap out of a kangaroo!

Oh, good.  There is a place where that actually happens:

Photo credit: Getty Image.  An kangaroo take a hard right that serves as a blow to the animal team claim of boxing dominance.  Team human is represented by man in a clown suit at the annual Animal Olympics in China.

Photo credit: Getty Image. A kangaroo take a hard right that serves as a blow to the animal team’s claim of boxing dominance. Team human is represented by man in a clown suit at the annual Animal/Human Olympics in China.

RGK

The rain falls on the just and unjust

RainMy trial in Omaha went fine. That is except for the fact that I got smacked in the face with the flu or something like it. Long story short, it was all I could do to drag myself to court and back to the hotel. After the trial was over Thursday afternoon, returned home and went straight to bed. Friday, early in the morning, I had my port flushed, drove to work and spent the day sending people to prison while stuffing tissue up my nose to stop the bleeding from the blood thinner that I will take until the oncologist says stop. Slept from Friday evening at 7:00 PM until Saturday at about the same time. Chicken with rice consumed and then back to bed. Totally spaced off Valentine’s Day. Nine hours later, I am now awake again.

Must prepare today for trip to Australia tomorrow. Have no idea where I will get the energy. Poor me. Taint fair.

In the back of my mind, Matthew 5:45 of the King James Version of the Bible clucks back at me. “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” The bible always brings me such comfort.

RGK

The Alabama Attorney General fails in his most important duty

Chief Justice Roy Moore of Alabama may be forgiven for his order to the probate judges of his state directing them to disregard the SSM order of an Alabama federal judge. I say this because a less decorous person might rightfully label him nuts. I am far more bothered by the behavior of Alabama’s Attorney General.

2According to the Washington Post, the Alabama Attorney General, Mr. Luther Strange, told his state’s probate judges that he cannot advise them what to do regarding the issuance of marriage licenses to same sex couples and suggested they seek help elsewhere. That was an abdication of his most essential duty–to insure that Alabama follows the rule of law.

That the Attorney General does not like the ruling of the federal judge or that the Alabama Attorney General must deal with Chief Justice Moore is no excuse. A federal judge has said that Alabama must allow SSM and that declaration in our federal system is binding. That’s it–game over, at least for now. It is not debatable.

The Alabama Attorney General should tell the people of Alabama, and especially the probate judges, that they have an obligation to follow the rule of law. After all, the rule of law only matters when you don’t like the results.

RGK

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