My mind and heart is in Australia

It is early in the morning on Sunday.

Last night, I spoke to Keller. In this economy, it is tough being a young postdoctoral researcher even when your novel idea has been accepted by BioScience, an Oxford Journal, with a high impact factor.

A photo of our grandson Fletcher, who lives down under, helped me worry a little less:

El Tigre

El Tigre

RGK

Meet Indigo Agnes Kopf

Indigo Agnes weighed 7.25 pounds and “stood” almost 20 inches tall.  She was born at 3:15 PM on Friday, October 17, 2014, Australian time.

After Stacey went through 12 hours of very painful labor, and at the last moment, the Aussie doctor had to “turn” Indi from the posterior position to the “right way around.” She was delivered naturally, but with forceps.  Mother and baby are doing well.  Joan and I are over the moon.

Two granddaughters in the space of about one month (Zora–in China– and Indigo–in Australia) is just about the best thing since sliced bread. We can’t wait to see them both. We are trying to figure out how to accomplish that feat given the long distances, but we may have a solution.

Indigo Agnes with her big brother Fletcher

Indigo Agnes with her big brother Fletcher

RGK (Stinky feet Grampa)

 

 

 

The “down under” Cowboy

You may recall the post entitled Fun of Flying. Keller returning to Australia with a cowboy outfit purchased for Fletcher by Aunt Marne in ABQ ran into the Aussie dislike for toys that vaguely look like real guns. Anyway, that made me mad. It seems that Toys-R-Us is ubiquitous. In any event, it has an operation in Australia. For $9.99 (AUS) plus $11.00 for shipping I was able to obtain the “Peacemaker” for Fletcher. With his hat and boots, it was a hit.

The odd thing is that the “Peacemaker” looks very much like the Single Action Army, SAA, Model P, Peacemaker, M1873, circa 1872. Why you can buy this replica in Australia but get it (or something like it) confiscated at the Sydney airport is a mystery. I guess that’s just the “land down under.” Anyway, that was my excuse for adding the video of “Men At Work – Down Under”  (“Did you hear the thunder? You better run for cover!”) at the end of this post. I absolutely love that song and the video is quirky just like the marvelous country.

May Fletcher always contribute to that thunder! Australia wouldn’t be the same without it.

Fletcher in his cowboy outfit with a mystified Ruben in the background.

Fletcher in his cowboy outfit with a mystified Ruben in the background.

photo 3

 

Fletcher with the "Peacemaker." Ruben looking out for bandits.

Fletcher with the “Peacemaker.” Ruben looking out for bandits.

And now, the Pièce de résistance,

RGK

 

 

Sleep comes late when it is fall down under

Second infusion of the third cycle today. Given steroids by mouth for 14 days and oral infusion of more steroids today. Supposed to serve as an antidote for allergic reactions to one of the chemo drugs.  Cancer also doesn’t like these steroids. Moreover, they are also prescribed to keep your weight up.  Downside:  it is hard to sleep, and tonight at a little past 3:00 AM I am blogging.  And that reminded me . . .

It is fall in Australia. We received photos of our Australian crew today. I don’t know why but I worry incessantly about our kids and their kids. I guess that is what parents and grandparents are supposed do. Anyway, and, right now, late at night, I feel so far away from them. I ought to go to bed, but I won’t sleep.

A "selfie" of Fletcher, Stacey and Keller

A “selfie” of Fletcher, Stacey and Keller

 

A boy and his dad

A boy and his dad

 

Beechworth in

Park in the Australian Alps near Beechworth

RGK

 

 

 

Dancing down under and other Sunday musings

Got up early this morning (the pain in the left thigh and groin is a bitch) and thought about the day and the week to follow.

*  Joan and I will attend a memorial service for Janice Cook Ross today in Omaha.  Janice was married to Judge Donald R. Ross, my mentor, for over 70 years. Ed Cook, my former law partner, and my other mentor, was her brother. She died recently. A wryly funny, and brilliant person, it is a shame that she will not be there when the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Nebraska Federal District Court honor Judge Ross’ memory tomorrow.

*  Speaking of the memorial proceeding tomorrow, Judge William H. Webster will be there and speak about his good friend, Judge Donald R. Ross. Judge Webster was a United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri from 1960 to 1961. In 1970, Webster was appointed a judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, and in 1973 he was elevated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Five years later, President Jimmy Carter appointed him as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Then in 1987, President Ronald Reagan chose the judge to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He led the CIA until his retirement from public office in 1991. Judge Webster served in the Navy during WWII and the Korean War.

*  Tuesday, I start chemo. I get my first infusion plus “patient education.”  Ought to be interesting.

*  Fletcher, one of our beloved grandsons, lives in Australia.  In fact, he is an Australian citizen and is developing a distinct Aussie accent.  His dad, our son, Keller, takes Fletcher on Saturday morning outings to give mother Stacey a break.  Recently, the bushy, blond-haired boy busted a dance move during one those outings. As a dancer, the kid is better than his father, but that’s not saying much.  Too funny!

*  The river of life and all that . . . .

RGK

The beastie boys

Earlier this week, I wrote about Billfish and boys. I continue in that same vein in this post.

Like their punk rock forefathers, our two grandsons are shown below contemplating the fun they will have tormenting Petra, Fletcher’s cousin and Milan’s sister, when Fletcher blows into Shenzhen and joins up with Milan in the next several days. There is nothing more fun than twisting the heads off Princess dolls. If you do it just right, they seem to squeal.

Fletcher (from Australia)

Fletcher (from Australia)

Milan (from China)

Milan (from China)

Grampa warns: Hide your Princess dolls and take shelter P. The boys are back in town!

Petra seeking solace from the impending horror.

Petra contemplating the impending horror.

RGK

Billfish and boys

programBoyo (R. Keller Kopf, PhD) is in Taiwan speaking about Billfish. He doesn’t get paid much in his gig as a post-doctoral research fellow at Charles Sturt University in Australia, but he does get to travel to neat places.

Among other things, he will give a talk in Taipei on “Latitudinal Life-History Gradients in a Highly Migratory Species.”  I am sure it’ll be great, but I am also positive that you can’t dance to it.

After that, Keller and his family will fly to Hong Kong and then enter the mainland to visit with Lisa and her family. Fletcher–Keller and Stacey’s yellow-haired boy–and Milan–Lisa and Karel’s “baby Buddha”–will have a great time together pestering Petra, Milan’s older sister, by pulling the heads off her Princess dolls. (I taught them how to do that!) They will race around expending never-ending energy. Just thinking about those two makes me tired.

Some things are more important than others.

RGK

On being a dummkopf

As my name implies (assuming you know a bit of German), I can be thick-headed. Dumb, if you will. My terminal stupidity broke out again last Spring, and this post is about my mistake. As I have said earlier, this blog allows me to own up to big blunders. Hopefully, such public admissions by a senior district judge serve an educational purpose for less experienced judges and others.  Or maybe I’m just a narcissist and a masochist. Anyway, here is the background.

A law student was terminated from the University of Nebraska College of Law. He sued claiming, among other things, that he was discharged because he subscribed to the Muslim faith and because he was an Arab. There was a fair amount of publicity surrounding the case. The defendants were the College of Law, various individuals at the law college, the Board of Regents, and the University of Nebraska.

I held a hearing on a request for a temporary restraining order. The parties adduced evidence and argument. I then denied the motion, and referred the case to Magistrate Judge Zwart for further progression. With that, I forgot about it as the excellent lawyers for both sides prepared to get the case ready for a jury trial.  In the interim, my son, Keller, and I were talking about the end of his post-doctoral fellowship in Australia and the possibility that he might come back the States. It is then that I made a bone-headed mistake by contacting a senior University administrator (who was not a named defendant) about my son’s job search.

Here is I how I described my error, and the subsequent recusal decision, in an order I issued soon after I awoke from my brain-dead slumber:

Following the institution of this lawsuit, a personal matter arose last week involving one of
my adult children and that matter causes me to recuse myself from this case. My son, a graduate
of the University of Nebraska, is completing his post-doctoral studies in Australia in the field of
biology. He is seeking positions with American universities. In that connection, last week, I wrote
an official of the University of Nebraska requesting help in my son’s job search.  Although my
motivation was innocent, I realized over the weekend that my contact with a party, while I was the judge assigned to this case, was improper. I apologize to the parties for my mistake.

IT IS ORDERED that I recuse myself from this case and the Clerk shall refer this matter to
the Chief Judge for reassignment.

AL-TURK v, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA COLLEGE OF LAW, et. al, No. 8:13CV74 (D. Neb., April 8, 2013) (Filing no. 36.)

So, what is the lessons learned from this fiasco. While the life of a federal trial judge is chaotic, the judge must constantly be aware of what is on his or her plate. A good heart but an empty head is no excuse. Trial judges screw up all the time. Admit your mistakes and do so in honest terms. Move on. Old dogs must constantly relearn old tricks. Kopf is a dummkopf.

By the way, Keller stayed in Australia. His university got additional funding, the powers that be hired him to continue his research, and I pine over the continued inability to see my first grandson, Fletcher, more often. Oh, well.

RGK

%d bloggers like this: