A couple of years ago, I was captivated (along with millions of others) with Professor Randy Pausch and his battle with pancreatic cancer. He’s known to a lot of people as “The Last Lecture” guy. Sadly, Professor Pausch passed away, but not with leaving an indelible mark on everyone who heard him speak. Proving that the apple does not fall far from the tree, his eight-year-old son has taken up the fight against pancreatic cancer.
How good is the new Star Trek movie? So good that they should let this one be the final one in the franchise. No more movies. Stop with all the different series. Don’t let William Shatner write another Star Trek book. Just back away from the space geek money making machine, and let this be the movie that is a lasting tribute to the original creator of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry.
I realize it is sacrilege for me to say as a Star Trek fan (I’m not quite cool and knowledgeable enough to qualify as a Trekker), but there is no possible way to top this movie. I also realize that Hollywood will never kill this golden egg laying goose. And I am a hypocrite because I will be in line to buy a ticket for the next movie’s opening weekend. But the virtuous thing to do here is to walk away from the franchise while it is on top of the scifi world.
This movie gives us our cocky Captain Kirk who can charm the pants off any female in the universe while deftly making decisions that saves the universe from utter destruction with just seconds to spare. It gives us a stony faced Spock struggling to suppress his emotional human side, and unaffectedly calculating everyone’s chances of survival, and managing to be an infinitely interesting character to watch on the big screen at the same time. The rest of the crew (Scotty, Sulu, Uhura, Bones, Chekov) is along for the ride. Beyond adding comedic elements to the movie, they are also a perfect balance to the diametrically opposed characters of Kirk and Spock. As a side note, being a huge Simon Pegg fan, I may be biased when I say he was the perfect choice to play Scotty. He’s totally believable as a geeky rogue engineer with equal parts brains and slovenly machismo.
The movie is so good I actually missed one of the scenes I went in specifically to see. Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon professor who became an internet phenomenon last year with his video “The Last Lecture,” made a cameo in the movie. He was an inspirational man who helped a lot of people face death with dignity and grace by doing so himself. He was a big Star Trek fan and talked about it in his lecture which led to J.J. Abrams inviting him to the set and shooting a scene. I totally spaced the second the film started and zeroed in on the story instead of the actors, a testament to the filmmakers’ skills. The good professor is in the film. He is in the opening scene. He even has a line, “Captain, we have visual.” Obviously, he pulled it off because I didn’t realize it was him.
But no bother, my wife, who is not a scifi fan or adamant Star Trek fan, has insisted that we buy the DVD when it comes out. This is a huge endorsement for the movie because she is not really in favor of owning DVDs. Run to the theaters and see this movie.
I don’t want to get too maudlin about Professor’s Pausch’s passing. I don’t know the man so it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to do a tribute to him. I was simply inspired by his courage like the rest of the world. So the best thing to do is to present him in his own words. Here he is answering 10 questions from readers of Time Magazine.
The Carnegie Mellon professor who inspired the world with his tremendous attitude and will to celebrate life despite having terminal pancreatic cancer has passed away. Randy Pausch entered the public arena when his “Last Lecture” was recorded in front a packed theater on the campus of Carnegie Mellon and later released on Youtube and other video sharing sites. The lecture was later turned into a bestselling book. He is survived by his wife and three children.
The family requests that donations on his behalf be directed to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, 2141 Rosecrans Ave., Suite 7000, El Segundo, Calif. 90245, or to Carnegie Mellon’s Randy Pausch Memorial Fund, which primarily supports the university’s continued work on the Alice project.
You can find more information here: Randy Pausch, noted CMU prof, succumbs to cancer
The stats show you love Randy Pausch (Well all but one of you. Still can’t wrap my head around that, but to each his own). No updates on his health, but here he is at Carnegie Mellon’s graduation.
For those of you who are tracking Randy Pausch’s treatment for pancreatic cancer. There is nothing new to report since May 13, but I did find this interesting item online. You may remember from Professor Pausch’s Last Lecture that he is a Captain Kirk and Star Trek Fan. Well, the director of the new Star Trek movie, J.J. Abrams, contacted the professor and offered him a part in the movie. Here’s the email Abrams sent Pausch:
Dear Randy –
Hi there — I’m JJ Abrams, director of the new Star Trek movie. I read about you and your condition, and ALSO your affinity for things Trek.
So, I just wanted to put the invitation out there — that if you had any desire to be in the film (can’t promise you role as CAPTAIN, but… we could do SOMETHING!), it would be my honor and pleasure.
The last thing I want to do is intrude, so feel free not to reply — but I wanted to make sure you knew that, if you are willing and able, the door is wide open.
I hope that your treatments are going well and that we get to meet one day.
Very cool. The good professor accepted the invitation and will indeed appear in the movie. Here’s what he had to say about the experience:
Jai & I hopped a plane to LA, where I got a custom-made Star Trek uniform and my own station on the bridge, where I had lots of buttons and controls. I even got a LINE!!!!
Very cool. You can visit Randy’s website for more interesting Pausch facts.
According to the WordPress stats a lot of you are still interested in Randy Pausch’s battle with cancer. I somehow have become somewhat of a clearing house of Pausch information so I feel obligated to track his progress and treatment. It’s not too much of a bother really because I was inspired by his courage as I’m sure many of you were.
The latest news is not good. He is reporting on his website the cancer has spread, and that he is currently recovering from kidney and heart failure.
You can read his latest update here in his own words: May 2nd, 2008: Cancer spreads
Well, the stats show you love stories and news on Professor Randy Pausch, and at least one of the visitors to this blog believes Pausch is lying about having terminal pancreatic cancer. That really blows me away. I know the world was duped by James Frey and there’s a certain sect of our society that has taken the stance that since he so successfully lied, everyone with a tragic story must be lying, but sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Unfortunately, Professor Pausch is dying. To believe otherwise is to believe in a conspiracy so ridiculously complicated, it makes the Kennedy assissination look like it was drawn up on a cocktail napkin and executed by three blind monkeys with severe learning disabilities.
This is Pausch’s testimony to Congress. If this man’s lying, he’s the greatest actor on the planet.
Hyperion Publishing gave Professor Randy Pausch a $6.7 million advance for a book based on his now famous “Last Lecture” given at Carnegie Mellon (if you don’t know who Pausch is, you can see the lecture by clicking here: Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch Gives Inspirational “Last” Lecture). Many pointed out that this is an example of what is wrong with the publishing industry. I have to disagree. I think this is what’s right with the publishing industry. Randy became an Internet phenomenon. Millions watched his lecture online. It’s heartfelt and inspirational. I have no doubt that this investment will pay off for Hyperion (consider the money they will make off of selling International rights, film rights, etc.) Giving Paris Hilton a multi-million dollar advance is what’s wrong with the publishing industry.
I’m happy to report that Randy Pausch’s book is number one on Amazon and it has been for quite some time now. Good on you Professor Pausch.
BTW – Some people have actually given it a one star review and attacked Pausch. These same reviewers no doubt have a closet full of coats made out of puppies.
I found another video of Randy Pausch. This one is given after his “Last Lecture” at Carnegie Mellon. It takes place at University of Virginia. The subject is Time Management. Even he points out the irony of a dying man giving a speech on time management. Who better to give it? Again, it’s a long run time, but it is worth the time. If you’re reading this on my Amazon blog, I don’t think you’ll be able to see the video because it’s a Google feed. You can click here if there’s no video window below: R.W. Ridley.