Lindenhurst High School Graduation 1963

Didn’t have time to get to this yesterday … which was the 50th Anniversary of my graduation from Lindenhurst High School, Lindenhurst (Long Island), New York.

Some pictures from Lindy — the school itself:

Lindenhurst High School

Lindenhurst High School

Our class was the last to graduate from this venerable old building (circa 1920’s).  A new high school opened the year after we graduated and this school became entirely a junior high school.

The cover of our 1963 yearbook “Bulldog” (which was also the school mascot):

Lindenhurst High School Bulldog 1963 Yearbook cover

Lindenhurst High School 1963 Yearbook

I was boys sports editor of the yearbook and wrote the boys sports reports …

… ran on the cross-country team … which finished second in the Suffolk County Class A championship meet … and I qualified for the New York state championship meet, along with teammates Ed Quigley and Ed Hertel …

Lindenhurst High School Bulldog 1963 Yearbook Cross Country

… was co-captain of the indoor track team …

Lindenhurst High School Bulldog 1963 Yearbook Indoor Track

… and ran outdoor track (though I missed most of the 1963 track season after injuring my left ankle playing pickup basketball) …

Lindenhurst High School Bulldog 1963 Yearbook Track & Field

… I was also a member of the  Varsity Club …

Lindenhurst High School Bulldog 1963 Yearbook Varsity Club

… having won 8 varsity letters (3 in cross-country, 3 in indoor track and 2 in outdoor track) …

… was on the school’s Math team …

Lindenhurst High School Bulldog 1963 Yearbook Math Team

… that’s me in the plaid jacket …

… and ran for “Mayor” in our Youth Week elections at the head of the “Rei-bel” party ticket …

Lindenhurst High School Bulldog 1963 Yearbook Youth Week

… losing to my friend Bob Schroeder (who was the captain of our county championship football team).

I have fond memories of my four years at Lindy High … and the two of my teachers who were most influential in my life … Coach Carl Greenhut, who was both my PE teacher and my track coach … and Angela Hughes, my English teacher who taught me many of the language and creative writing skills on which I have relied ever since.

Lindenhurst High School Bulldogs

Cal Bears 2013 …

… you heard it first here …

… Cal’s football team will upset Northwestern in the season opener …

… if he doesn’t reinjure himself, running back Brendan Bigelow will be the Pac-12‘s leading rusher and will get Heisman Trophy consideration …

… Zach Kline will win and hold onto the starting QB job …

… Cal’s defense will rebound from last year’s difficulties and will help the Bears be competitive in most games, if not all, this year …

… contrary to the expectations of most “experts”, the Bears will win at least six games and will go bowling …

… the new Bears logo will be a hit …

Cal Bears 2013 Logo

Cal Bears 2013 Logo

… new head coach Sonny Dykes

Cal Bears Head Coach Sonny Dykes

Cal Bears Head Coach Sonny Dykes

… will win the Pac-12 Coach of the Year award …

… and will make us forget the disaster of 2012 …

… and Doug …

The Pessimist

The Pessimist

… The Pessimist … will disagree with most of what I’ve said here!

Go Bears Blue & Gold on Black

Plants are Glowing … the Sky is Falling …

… Tom Philpott of Mother Jones is … once again … doing his best “Chicken Little” imitation:

Unlike Mr. Philpott, I am neither slack-jawed over nor having trouble getting my head around the idea of synthesizing new life forms.  Nature does it all the time and I don’t see any particular reason why the smart people of the world can’t do the same.

Philpott asks the question, “What if these new life forms behave in ways we can’t predict—or mutate in ways we can’t predict—altering food chains or larger biosystems?”  To which I respond with a question of my own — when was the last time a naturally occurring new life form altered the “food chain” or “larger biosystems” in such a way as to endanger humanity?

Does he foresee mobs of glowing plants, detached from the earth and marching on their roots, coming to get him & his family?  Okay, being a little facetious there … but just a little.

Philpott also quotes “the eminent physicist — and climate change skeptic” Freeman Dyson for the proposition that “rules and regulations will be needed to make sure that our kids do not endanger themselves and others.”

Poppycock and balderdash.  What we need is for government, with its “rules and regulations” to stay the hell out of such research.  Nothing kills scientific innovation and advancement faster than governmental “oversight”.

It’s also not clear to me why we should accept the judgment of a physicist about something biotechnical scientists are doing … or what being a “climate change skeptic” adds to Mr. Dyson’s credentials to opine on this particular subject.

Philpott also pulled out his crystal ball, saying:

“In the spirit of Professor Dyson, let me offer a prediction for the future. I imagine that synbio’s current reputation as a democratic technology dominated by well-meaning amateurs will last just long enough to convince people that it requires little or no regulation. While this laissez-faire regime congeals into a settled fact, big agrichemical, pharmaceutical, and life-sciences firms will quietly take it over, eventually dominating the research and deployment of Dyson’s wondrous toys.”

In the spirit of Dan Gardner, author of the fascinating book “Future Babble”, let me observe that the predictions of self-styled “experts” about what is going to happen in the future are notoriously unreliable (often less accurate than simply flipping a coin).  This is particularly true of those experts Gardner characterizes as “hedgehogs” — the ones who are overly confident that their “one big idea” is correct, no matter how circumstances change or how often their predictions are wrong.

Philpott’s ongoing pronouncements clearly identify him as a “hedgehog”, so call me a “Mother Jones skeptic”.

Mr. Little … er, Philpott … concludes his column with this pronouncement of liberal-socialistic dogma:

“Unless we have a serious national reckoning on synbio, what we risk leaving our children and grandchildren is the knotty problem of trying to convince an entrenched, little-regulated industry that the power of generating life forms should be used for the broad interests of society, not the narrow ones of shareholders.”

To which I offer this Libertarian riposte:  if what these “synbio” scientists are developing is not useful “for the broad interests of society”, they won’t be able to sell it to promote the “narrow ones of shareholders”.  It was the “entrenched, little-regulated” industries of American history, not governmental regulation, that made the U.S. the most powerful economic country in the world.  The only “knotty problem” here is trying to figure out how to keep government — and the proponents, like Mr. Philpott, of governmental control of everything — to butt out of what is none of their business to begin with.

Risa’s Birth Announcement …

… revisiting the subject of my daughter’s birthday … while looking through some old file folders last night, I ran across the birth announcement which I prepared and distributed when she was born.

Unfortunately, no computer in those days … so I had to settle for typed text and rubdown letters for the headers.  Today, of course, it would be possible to match the paper’s own type and headers styles and make a more convincing “tearsheet”!

Reilly Larisa Birth Announcement redacted

Happy Birthday ……………….. Sean … Risa … & Matt

Okay, I am really bad.  Because I was in the middle of my trial when my son Sean & daughter Risa had their birthdays, I just didn’t have time to do their birthday power points.  When the trial ended, I was already way late, so decided to wait until son Matt’s birthday to do all three at once!  So, here they are.

Sean & Risa … happy belated birthdays!  Matt … happy birthday today!

The links are to animated power point versions of the birthday greetings.  Be sure to play them if you can.

Sean 34th Birthday 2013

Risa 36th Birthday 2013

Matt 39th Birthday 2013

Below are jpeg versions:

Sean Birthday 2013

Sean 34th Birthday 2013

Risa 36th Birthday 2013

Risa 36th Birthday 2013

Matt 39th Birthday 2013 -1-

Matt 39th Birthday 2013 -1-

Matt 39th Birthday 2013 -2-

Matt 39th Birthday 2013 -2-

“Lest We Forget” — USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754)


June 3rd is a sad day in our family history, as it was June 3, 1969, when my younger brother, US Navy BT3 Lawrence John Reilly Jr., was killed in the collision between his ship, the USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754) and the Australian aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne.

I was stationed at the 6th Naval District Headquarters at the time and learned of the collision late in the evening of June 2nd (it was early morning on June 3rd off the coast of Vietnam).  I had played softball that evening and the phone was ringing when my wife Sandy & I arrived home after the game.  That call was from my father-in-law, Joe Douglas, but we had barely started talking when the operator broke in with an emergency call.  Joe said, “I know what that is” and said I should take the call.  It was my Mom, telling me that the Evans, on which both my Dad and brother were serving, had been involved in a collision and half the ship had sunk, with a number of sailors unaccounted for.

I spent most of that night on the phone, trying to get information about the collision.  Finally, after I got to my office early the next morning, I spoke on the phone with a friend who was at the Navy public affairs office in Washington.  He had a list of the missing men, but said it was not yet authorized for public release.  I imposed on our friendship and he relented, saying that there was a Lawrence J. Reilly on the list.  I asked, “Sr. or Jr.?”  He told me that it didn’t say, so I asked what rate and he replied “BT3”.  My brother was missing and I knew that after that long there was no chance he was going to be found alive.  I then called home and Mom answered the phone.  There was no easy way to break the news, so I just said, “Dad’s okay, but Larry is missing.”  She said, “Oh, my poor Booper” and started crying.  “Booper” was her nickname for Larry when he was a baby.

Within a few hours, I had made arrangements to fly to California and got home in time to then fly up to Travis Air Force Base with my brother Jerry to meet Dad when the Navy flew him home ahead of the rest of the crew.  Dad had also been on the forward half of the ship, asleep in his quarters, at the time of the collision.  He managed to find his way off the ship, despite the fact that it was heeled over on one side and sinking rapidly.  He was one of a small number of crewmen who escaped from the half of the ship that sank.

Altogether, 74 men were lost in the collision.  Because it occurred just outside the designated Vietnam war combat zone, and despite the fact that the SEATO training exercise “Sea Spirt” during which the collision occurred was directly related to Vietnam duty, their names are not included on the Vietnam wall.  Over the years, a number of efforts have been made to have them added, all to no avail.

Coincidentally, I had a long lunch meeting today (June 8) with journalist Louise Esola, who is writing a book about the Evans.  Part of the impetus for and one of the themes of the book is the issue of getting the 74 names on the Vietnam Wall.  Louise showed me Navy records which specify that the service of the Evans on June 2, 1969, during which the ship was participating in “Sea Spirit”, qualified everyone on the ship for the Vietnam Service Medal.  It seems to me that this alone is reason enough to rectify the wrong that has been done to the memory of these men and to have their sacrifice recognized on the Wall.

Larry Jr Evans Collision 01

Larry Jr Evans Collision 02

Larry Jr Evans Collision 03

Larry Jr Evans Collision 04

Larry Jr Evans Collision 05

Larry Jr Evans Collision 06

Larry Jr Evans Collision 07

Larry Jr Evans Collision 08

Larry Jr Evans Collision 09

Larry Jr Evans Collision 10

Larry Jr Evans Collision 11

President Nixon Letter to Larry's wife, Joyce Reilly

President Nixon Letter to Larry’s wife, Joyce Reilly

4 Larry in Uniform

BT3 Lawrence John Reilly Jr

Larry Jr cropped

USS Frank E Evans June 3 1969 3

USS Frank E. Evans DD754 aerial view

During the previous deployment of the Evans to Vietnam in 1968, I was working at the headquarters of the Seventh Fleet detachment in Saigon and was able to arrange a visit to the Evans while she was on the gunline.  Buck Lanier, a friend and military reporter for the Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram, visited with us as well, writing the following article:

Dad, Larry & I onboard USS Frank E. Evans cropped


The USS Frank E. Evans Association website is here:

The USS Frank E. Evans Facebook page is here:

The USS Frank E. Evans Association history of the ship is here:

“In the Meets” — Lindenhurst High School Track & Field


Early June is a busy time of the year for personal remembrances and I’m a tad behind here, so going to catch up with a few of them today.

June 2nd was a time for reliving high school glory days … lol … it was the 51st anniversary of the day on which I ran a Lindenhurst High School record 2:05.7 for the 880 yard run. I was a junior at the time and missed most of my senior track season due to an ankle injury, so it was the highlight of my high school outdoor track career. My record lasted just one year, as my friend and teammate Dan Meehan broke it during the 1963 track season. Unfortunately, I have no photos of myself running track in high school, but do have a picture of the track record board that was published in the 1963 Bulldog, our yearbook. And one of myself and two of my teammates, Dave Polland and Jim Clark, who was my best friend in high school, also from the yearbook (check out the skinny tie!).

Lindenhurst Track Records 1963

Lindenhurst High School Bulldog 1963 Yearbook with Dave Polland

Actually, as I think about it now, it may have been Dave Polland’s record that I broke.  As I recall, the record was broken at least three times that season — once by Dave and once by Paul Busick, who was a senior that year.  Since I did it in the last meet of the season (the State Qualifiers meet), my name and time went on the record board.

My high school track and cross country coach, Carl Greenhut, was one of the most influential people in my life. Two of the primary lessons I learned from him: “Never Give Up” and “In the Meets”, his way of saying do your best when it counts the most. “The Hut”, as we called him, was also largely responsible for my going to West Point. I had given that possibility no thought whatsoever until after we ran in an invitational cross-country meet my senior year at which the then West Point plebe track and cross-county coach was the honorary starter. While we were running, Coach Greenhut spoke with him about me and set in motion the process by which I ultimately received my appointment to the academy.

Lindenhurst High School Track & Field and Cross Country Coach Carl Greenhut (early 1960's)

Lindenhurst High School Track & Field and Cross Country Coach Carl Greenhut (early 1960’s)

In 2011, Coach Greenhut was inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame of Northern California.  His entry on their website reads:

Carl Greenhut – 2011 — Our most senior inductee to date, Carl Greenhut is 88 years young. His life in sports reads like a how to make a contribution text. From Stanford and Navy baseball in the 1940’s to migrating to the east coast, where he coached high school teams in football, basketball, track and field, cross country to local and state championships. Carl served as head coach at State University at Farmingdale before returning to the west coast to begin a coaching career at Northern California’s Foothill, De Anza, Diablo Valley and Granada Colleges where his instruction to over 3,000 adult students earned him the title of Bay Area’s best golf instructor. Carl is author of numerous articles on fitness and golf. Carl received the Johnny Walker International Hole in One Award on the 175 yard 18th hole.

There is also a video of an interview with him on the Hall of Fame site here:

The World’s Top 10 Most Awesome Staircases

Russell Deasley’s blog “The Top 10 of Anything and Everything” is my favorite of all of the blogs I follow. I look forward to every post, particularly his “Caturday” blog, which always provides an interesting take on our furry feline friends. Today’s post, however, really grabbed me (for reasons which family and friends who know of my fear of heights will readily understand!). So, check it out … and if you like, “follow” Russell’s blog. You will be entertained, and often amazed, by what you’ll see.