on human cryopreservation and giant foam puppet heads.

01 May

You ever have one of those days where you go online to read about something, and before you know it, you’ve found yourself reading something completely different?  Today, to kill some time, I decided it would be pretty cool to learn about cryonics

(Wow.  That’s actually a pretty awesome pun. Cryonics?  Cool? Kill some time?  Get it?  No?  Aw, come on, man… why the cold sholder?  Haw haw…  no?  Okay.  Moving on. )

See, on This American Life last week, they did a whole episode about “the Chatsworth Incident,” which is totally gross and would make a great movie.  I recommend you go find a copy and listen to it – it’s probably one of the most strange and gripping stories I’ve ever heard, and it’s entirely true.  To sum up, it involves a string of good intentions and bad luck and bad decisions made by Bob Nelson, former President of the Cryonics Association of California, that led to a gruesome and tragic end.  Seriously, you’ll love it.

Point is, though, reading up on this reminded me of the whole Ted Williams’ head-being-frozen thing again.  Which reminded me of Ted Williams himself.  Which reminded me that he used to manage the Washington Senators back in the 1970s.  Which reminded me that, omg, Washington DC totally has a baseball team right now!  Which led me to this:

Yep, that’s Tom, George, Abe, and Teddy.  As giant foam puppets.

See, just because the Washington Nationals are barely a major league baseball team doesn’t mean there’s no reason to go to the game.  Traditionally, (and by traditionally I mean “since the Year of our Lord Two Thousand and Ought-Five,”) during the fourth inning, they hold what is known as the Presidents Race, where four people dressed as the four presidents on Mt. Rushmore suddenly pop out of the wall and start running around the field.  Each section of the stadium is instructed to root for a different President, which is nice because otherwise there wouldn’t even be a one-in-four chance of rooting for someone who’d actually win at Nationals Stadium.

Ryan Zimmerman, ladies and gentlemen – Washington’s great white hope.

Having said that…. they have freaking Giant Foam Presidents running around!   How bloody awesome do you have to be in order to be more bloody awesome than that?  And, oh, it gets better.  Because, for some reason unbeknonwst to all, Teddy Roosevelt never wins.  And ohlordy knows he tries.  One time, he lost because a panther attacked him.  It looked like this:

Sometimes he gets fed up with losing and he cheats by riding a zipline down to the field, or stealing a motorcycle.  These things, of course, disqualify Poor ol’ Teddy.  There’s even a blog dedicated to the many ways Teddy R. has lost this prestigious competition, called Let Teddy Win

Now, as we all know, the real Teddy Roosevelt was quite the athlete, and could probably have spanked gouty old George Washington, lanky old Abe Lincoln, and bookish Tommy Jefferson, at any athletic competition they attempted.  Which is why it’s strange that he’s the perpetual underdog here – certainly the man behind the “speak softly and carry a big stick” doctrine should be a natural on a baseball diamond.  And I know the Nationals seem to be going with a Mt. Rushmore motif here, but seriously, how much more satisfying would it be if the perpetual loser was a less-successful President?  Maybe they want to avoid controversy – no one’s going to get too upset if you beat up on Teddy Roosevelt, considering he’s been dead for almost 100 years and was/is probably tough enough to handle it – but I wonder if they’ll ever start using more recent Presidents?  In short, will we live to see the day where we can go to the ballpark and watch some poor schmuck in a Nixon costume get pwned by a guy in a gorilla suit?  I sure hope so.

Of course, the question you’re asking is “what would ol’ Teddy think of all this?”  And my answer would be “well, why don’t you go unthaw him and we’ll see.”  And then you’d say “Very funny, but I meant Teddy Roosevelt!”  And my answer would be “Follow me.”  And you’d say “Where are we going?”  And I’d reply, “The basement.  Watch your step.”  And you’d say “Okay, but I-OHMYGODWHATISTHAT?”

I know.  Awesome, right? 

By the way, if you’re looking for a job, you too can audition to be a Giant Foam Head of State.  Check out this keen video here:

(photos courtesy of and Scott Ableman, via Commons)


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3 responses to “on human cryopreservation and giant foam puppet heads.

  1. Presidents Race

    May 1, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Great post, very funny and may I say I love your blog!

    I just have to ask one thing, which is that you pull the photo down that you copied from flickr and hosted at wordpress. You may use this photo but you may not copy and host it yourself. It is located at and may be used under a creative commons license if you link to it at flickr (with attribution).

  2. beth

    May 7, 2008 at 9:04 am

    I heard that TAL episode also. Amazing stuff. And you have uncovered a gem here in the Presidents’ Race. I love that there’s an entire site called ‘Let Teddy Win’. I also love that you felt the need to go all “well aaactualllayyyy” on a race between giant foam puppet heads at a baseball stadium.

  3. Presidents Race

    May 7, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    Thank you again, and BTW I did listen to that whole This American Life podcast (which I’d been carrying around on my ipod for 2 weeks) . Sad to think it made you think of our baseball team, but wow! That was awesome radio…

    I hope you’ll get a chance some day to visit our sterile new stadium and root for Teddy!


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