Wednesday, July 20, 2005
You canna change the laws of physics ...
There are three film/TV characters that, to me, embody the ethos of the engineer ... a drive to "work the problem" and solve it, regardless of its magnitude.
- Chance Buckman ... the rough-hewn (and smart) oil-well firefighter played by John Wayne in the 1960's movie Hellfighters ... a character based upon the real-life guru of wild-well control, "Red" Adair, whose innovations are still being used today in places from Texas to Iraq.
- Gene Kranz ... the no-nonsense flight director played by Ed Harris in Apollo 13 (my favorite quote: "Let's work the problem, people ... Let's not make things worse by guessing."). The role was based on the real-life Gene Kranz, who, IIRC, oversaw every one of the Apollo missions from the flight director's chair at Mission Control ... and it is one of my two favorite Ed Harris roles (the other being General F. X. Hummel in The Rock).
- Commander Montgomery Scott, aka "Scotty", who saved Captain Kirk's behind (and beamed up the rest of him) multiple times in the various incarnations of Star Trek. He was played by versatile character actor James Doohan, who, like Lenoard Nimoy, became inseparable in the public eye from his character in this franchise. The most famous phrase directed at him ... "Beam me up, Scotty" ... even became part of the political landscape (sans the name), thanks to Jim Trafficant.
Unfortunately, even engineers with hero status are also subject to the laws of physics ... James Doohan passed away today, at age 85, from pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease.
Farewell, Scotty ... I hope your journey to man's "final frontier" is as satisfyingly exciting as you made our future appear to be, for me ... may it be, as you once said, "no tribble at all".
(My apologies for the sparse posts -- hey, I'm moving this week!)