Friday, June 29, 2007


Brendan, Kerry and I flew to Baltimore on Tuesday afternoon. We had a nice dinner at The Ram's Head Tavern in Annapolis, and then headed back to our hotel for a good night's sleep. Brendan had to be there by 9:00 Wednesday morning. We had to park our rental car at the Navy football stadium and catch a shuttle to take us into the Naval Academy grounds. We actually got into the academy at about 8:15. The world as Brendan knows it then quickly changed.

When we arrived, it was amid a great mass of people. There were just under 1,200 new midshipmen being admitted, and parents and siblings were everywhere. The new plebes (as they call first-year students) were quickly separated from their parents. They were taken into Alumni Hall, where they were processed. They had their heads buzzed and were measured for their uniforms, which they received immediately. They were given some shots. They were later given their room assignments and additional equipment. This included "Reef Points," a book about Navy protocol which they must commit to memory. Throughout the day, they were forced to stand at attention, with the book poised in their left hand, and left arm extended at a 90-degree angle, to study the book.

After dropping him off, we did not see Brendan again until much later in the day. They had a very impressive swearing-in ceremony at 6:00, complete with a fly-by from Navy fighter jets. We got to hang out with Brendan when that was over--from 6:45 until 7:30, when the plebes were all ordered to be back in formation. It was very difficult to leave him there, alone in such a strange new world. It was unfortunate that it was also a brutally hot and humid day in Annapolis. All the while, Brendan was wearing his new spiffy but long-sleeved and rather heavy uniform.

It was, I believe, a kind of culture shock for Brendan. Plebe summer is actually run by the seniors at the Academy, all of whom will be naval officers next year. They are very, very tough on the plebes, and they strive to instill discipline in them right away. Basically, they humiliate them. During the day, we were able to watch a number of plebes being indoctrinated around the campus. Although we never caught sight of Brendan again until the swearing-in ceremony, we saw many others being chewed up and down in the most vocal and aggressive manner. I think that it will take Brendan a bit to get used to receiving such treatment. He knew to expect it, but I think that it may have been a shock for him to actually experience it.

I'm sure that, beginning the following day, they got on with the physical endurance aspect of the summer. He's been told that he'll have to run 4-5 miles a day, with many push-ups, sit-ups, etc.

It was definitely a strange and new experience. I trust that he'll get used to the routine, and that he'll be just fine. He knew that Plebe summer is not supposed to be any fun. We cannot speak with him again until July 8th. He supposed to be allowed a 5-minute telephone call sometime that day. I cannot wait for that call.

I find myself feeling extremely proud and concerned at the same time. Does this make sense?

Monday, June 04, 2007


The Louisville Cardinal baseball team advanced to the NCAA "super regional" by defeating number one seeded Missouri yesterday, 16-6. I listened to most of the game, while at my office, on WAVG-1450. It was a thoroughly impressive win, and it elevates the Cardinal baseball program to unprecedented heights. They will now face Oklahoma State in the next round. What a great accomplishment!

I made it over to four games to watch the Cards at Jim Patterson Stadium this season. If you like baseball, you really should check it out. Admission is free, and it is an excellent venue for watching a baseball game. Coach Dan McDonnell has, quite obviously, established a competetive and entertaining team there.

Next season, New Albany's Drew Haynes will be a freshman player for the 'Ville baseball team. I've known Drew since he played T-ball with my son. He comes from a great family. I'm looking forward to seeing Drew suited up in the Cardinal red and black next season.

Go Cards!

Sunday, June 03, 2007


As an alumnus of the University of Louisville Brandeis School of law, I was proud of the performance of Senator Christopher Dodd, a fellow U of L law alum, in tonight's presidential debate. I thought that Senator Dodd performed very well. Although he was not allowed to speak much, he articulated his progressive views clearly and cogently in the little time afforded him. Although the odds are greatly stacked against him, I think that Senator Dodd could be a capable and inspiring president.

By the way, I was also impressed, surprisingly, by the performance of Senator Joseph Biden. In the past, Senator Biden has seemed to me like a bit of a blustering buffoon. Tonight, however, he was very stately and impressive. I also thought that the front runners--Hillary, John and Barack--all did well, although Obama did seem to stumble a bit more than I would have expected.

As an alumnus of IU Southeast, I was also proud to see the scientific faculty there publicly rebuke the claims being made by by the recently-opened Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. While I greatly respect faith and belief, I cannot support any endeavor that attempts to teach our children to ignore established scientific truths. Unfortunately, the Creation Museum promises to be an embarrassment to our region of the country. I'm proud of the IU Southeast faculty for trying to show that there are, in fact, some educated folks in these parts.

Ask yourself, can I give more? The answer is usually yes.

--Paul Tergat, legendary Kenyan distance runner