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MIT student blogger Sam M. '07

Tribute by Sam M. '07

This is not the best joke in the world... actually, maybe it is.

Rather than working on the 12-page paper on green fluorescent protein that I need to have written by tomorrow, I spent the afternoon in the student center enjoying a matinee of the Musical Theatre Guild’s production of Star Wars Trilogy: Musical Edition. Of course, since the production was covered in the Boston Globe and slashdotted, MTG had quite a larger turnout than they expected. Luckily, I reserved my 12 tickets early… here’s what the poor unfortunate souls on the waiting list looked like:


The entire production was glorious, but beyond the “Amadeus,” “Top Gun” and “Jetsons” references, the tap-dancing stormtroopers, the running “ew, I kissed my sister” joke, the random operatic soprano belting “Phantom of the Empire”, beyond the working Jabba the Hutt puppet, X-wing costumes, lightsabers, trap doors, and moving AT-AT legs, beyond “Don’t Cry For Me Princess Leia” and “When You’re Good to Jabba” and “City on a Cloud” and “One Night in Bespin”, and beyond the amazing blue / white / red lighting at the end of “One Play More” and the perfect recreation of Jerome Robbins‘s “America” choreography by Jawas, one moment in “Act V: The Empire Strikes Back” stood above the rest of the four-hour production. Though I’m going to see The Aristocrats at LSC next weekend, I’m afraid that this may have already claimed the title of “best joke in the world.”

It’s was so good that I’m actually, for the first time, going to include spoiler space in a Turkey vs. Spam entry, just in case you were planning to go see the show next weekend and don’t want it ruined for you.

You’ve been warned.

LUKE: I admit it, you are better than I am.
DARTH VADER: Then why are you smiling?
LUKE: Because I know something that you don’t know.
DARTH VADER: And what is that?
LUKE: I… am not left-handed! [switches lightsaber to right hand]
DARTH VADER: [immediately cuts off LUKE’S right hand]You are now.

Despite this utterly brilliant scene, which recieved at least 10 seconds of spontaneous audience ovation, like it was Happy Days and Fonzie just walked in or something, my GRT Chris noted that they actually missed the opportunity to incorporate this gem earlier in the scene:

LUKE: Hello. My name is Luke Skywalker. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

If anybody from MTG is reading this… you’ve got three more shows to put it in! And “splendid job” to everyone involved in this semester’s production–it was truly an excellent afternoon/evening.

12 responses to “Tribute”

  1. Timur Sahin says:

    It may just be my machine, but your pictures aren’t loading. As for Green Fluorescent Protein, I just got done making a Flash video about that for AP Bio. Fun stuffs! smile.

    And if only they did SW on video so we could all be entertained by it. smile

  2. Julie B says:

    Hey Sam- I’ll confess to blogstalking you for a bit now, but I just thought that I would admit that the thought of a 12-page paper on GFP made me smile, seeing as how I use it on an hourly basis in the lab with all my EWS-Fli research. I don’t see how Star Wars could beat out working on a GFP paper.. but then again, I don’t think oncology PhD students are permitted to have any interest/lives outside of the lab, ever. :oP

    Hope all is going well for you and uh, good luck with the trumpet in MIT band, you french horn traitor!

  3. Kallie says:

    Oh My GOSH!!!!!!!! That is the most awesome thing ever in the history of… ever!! Gah, something combining 3 of my major passions: musicals, singing, and Star Wars… and I missed it! I’m so glad you included some of the song titles. However, although I initially laughed crazily to myself, then ran around the house telling my family about it, something happy has now died inside me due to the knowledge that I was not able to participate in or even witness such a magnificent event. XP

    So. Awesome.

  4. Sam says:

    Hey Eric, my paper is the “communication-intensive” component of 10.28: Biological Engineering Laboratory. Every major at MIT has some sort of “communication-intensive” class where you have to compose a major technical report. Since mine just involves reviewing 10-15 papers and Mitra’s involves regressing a couple thousand pieces of data and writing a thirty-page paper about it, I’m feeling pretty good about my choice of major right now.

    Green fluorescent protein (GFP) is found in bioluminescent jellyfish. It makes them glow green. In 1992, its gene was sequenced and thus it became possible to a) induce expression of GFP in other organisms* and b) attach other proteins to GFP and thereby visually determine protein localization within a living cell.

    Recently, a group has created a new variant of GFP that can be purified very selectively via chromatography. This would let you set up a large-scale bioreactor with cells that produce a valuable commercial protein that is fused to GFP. You could then determine the concentration of the protein in the reactor by measuring the fluorescence and then, when you were done with the cell culture, purify out all the commercial protein/GFP complexes. If you can then cleave GFP and separate it from the commercial protein, you’ve got yourself a nice pure batch of commercial protein.

    Theoretically, you could do this with virtually any protein you wanted… and having one “magic bullet” method to purify any valuable protein you wanted from a bioreactor would be really great. However, I’m arguing that a) the process isn’t really practical for a large, industrial scale and b) the initial paper kind of dances around the fact that there are some problems in the separating GFP from the valuable protein–they use a particularly harsh protease at 2.5x its typical concentration to cleave it, which could damage the valuable protein.

    I just wrote 12 pages on this last night… I don’t know why I’m recounting it all to you again here.

    *you can do some really cool (or really inhumane) stuff with GFP on the organism level… check out this fluorescent green bunny:

  5. Robb Carr says:

    Ha! that is great…that would have been neat to see…I /my family were/was thinking of visiting this weekend…but eh it did not work out…it would be neat to visit when there is a class to sit on in anyway

  6. Sam, what’s the protein all about? And you guys do these papers for your assignments? Or is it your UROP?

  7. Anonymous says:



    <3 <3 <3 MIT

  8. Ruth says:

    The videorecording part is tricky. Lucas is very generous when people use the Star Wars universe for fun, but gets wrathful and angry when they sell it for profit. Granted, these people are making a killing off ticket sales, but Lucas gave that a personal go-ahead, on the strict condition that DVDs not be released.


  9. Anonymous says:

    hahahahahaha, that line is genius.

    i dont think enough people have seen the princess bride, btw. go rent it or something guys.

  10. Dave says:

    I love the idea of spoofs, but this might have been the most wonderful production of all time, and I mimssed it. Anybody who deosn’t get the Princess Bride references should be ashamed of themselves. I hope someone made a video recording of this for posterity, for i desperately want to see it.

  11. S.R. says:

    Question: Where is the last line (“you killed my father…”) from? Zorro?

  12. Robb Carr says:

    The Princess Bride:

    The specific usage is:


    I was eleven years old. When I was strong enough, I dedicated my life to the study of fencing. So the next time we meet, I will not fail. I will go up to the six-fingered man and say, “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”


    (to Rugen, evenly and soft)

    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.


    (all but audible)

    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father; prepare to die.


    (a little louder)

    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die.


    (a little louder still)

    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.


    (all he’s got)


    So as you can see its a bit of an…err…well known phrase from the movie