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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

 

Professor Pausch - Last Lecture

I may have mentioned WSJ Moving On columnist Jeffrey Zaslow before since I am a big fan, but his column of September 20 set a new standard. It was about Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor Randy Pausch, who gave a "Last Lecture" that was not hypothetical since he has pancreatic cancer and, at age 46, expects to live only a few more months. He is retiring to enjoy his last days with his young family. In his lecture, taped so that his kids will be able to see it when they are older, he lightened the mood with much good humor, and also delivered wonderful life lessons to an admiring and riveted audience of about 400 students and colleagues. "I've experienced a deathbed conversion,"he said, "I just bought a Macintosh...Brick walls are there for a reason. They let us prove how badly we want things...Wait long enough and people will surprise and impress you...If your kids want to paint their bedrooms, as a favor to me, let 'em do it."

Jeff's column, and the bloggers who got hold of the URL to the video of his lecture, which Prof. Pausch insists remain in the public domain, set off a whirlwind of adulation and publicity, temporarily delaying the private fun the Pausch's intended to have. He has been on Good Morning America among other TV shows. Zaslow received lots of mail from readers and wrote a follow up column for the 27th. Professor Pausch has enjoyed his time of fame. "There's a limit to how many times you can read how great you are and what an inspiration you are, but I'm not there yet." As for Jeff, his columns have been the most viewed and e-mailed since WSJ started monitoring its website.

Whether or not you saw Zaslow's columns, I urge you to visit WSJ.com, click on videos, then most popular, and find the two taped segments of the Last Lecture. They are short, but you will love them and be inspired.

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Ah, the Mets. What happened? I could make a top ten list, but here's the story. The older pitchers (Glavine, Hernandez, Wagner) had nothing left in September, and the younger ones were too erratic. Jose Reyes was worn out too. Beltran was beat up. Delgado was beat up (and lousy anyway). Lots of excuses, but after 162 games, every team is hurting, unless they are fresh, like Moises Alou who missed half the season with an injury.

Was it Willie Randolph? He's not a great in-game manager, but he's good at using his players, keeping them up and involved. No, I really can't blame him.

One thing, the Mets were real bad at Shea this year. They were only one game over 500 at home, not a contending performance. They were much better on the road, where Beltran's line drives reach the seats, and if they had won the division, it would have been because they played unusually well on the road. But losing 8 straight to the team chasing you is hardly a performance worthy of a title.

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I had a very nice time in D.C., enjoying several excellent restaurants and the beautiful early fall weather during the rare time outside the meeting room. Now it's on to Cooperstown for another Conference. The Otesaga Hotel in Cooperstown is where the Hall of Famers stay when they come in August and it is simply a beautiful lakeside setting. I always look forward to staying there, even if the cell service ain't too good.

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Today, I bought 100 shares of Lowes (LOW) at the bargain price of 28.70, a "zero buy." The price is depressed because of the down residential housing market. We're getting close to recouping all of the market losses in the credit crunch correction.

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