Thursday, September 28, 2006

Mascot Sneaks Softly, Carries a Big Schtick

· Poor Teddy Roosevelt. Politically, he was a winner, both as governor of New York and president of the United States. But as a larger-than-life, foam-headed mascot for the Washington Nationals, he is a total loser.

Going into last night's home game, Teddy was winless in 32 footraces against three other presidential giants. The 10-foot mascots run/trot/stumble from the outfield to near home plate in the middle of the fourth inning while fans cheer their favorites.

Abraham Lincoln leads the pack, with 13 wins before last night's contest. Thomas Jefferson had 12, and George Washington had seven.

Teddy has come close to winning a few times. He had an early lead in one August race "before stopping and twirling around" for no reason, Nats' spokesman Mark Rogoff told KidsPost. Perhaps Teddy thought he was strolling in Rock Creek Park (see Corner item below).

Another time, he "missed the course completely" and showed up in the upper deck. And once he was disqualified for cheating -- what a bully!

The Nats' season ends Sunday. So if you attend one of their final four games, root for Teddy!

Loopy Surgery

· In a three-hour flight over France yesterday, a team of French doctors operated on a man while the plane looped in the air like a roller coaster.

The flight simulated the near-zero-gravity conditions of space so scientists could study the effects of weightlessness.

The surgery -- the first time a person has been operated on in this manner -- was not medically difficult. Rather, it was part of a project to develop Earth-guided robots for space surgeries that might be needed in the future.

The five-person medical team was strapped to the walls of the plane as it made 25 roller-coaster-like dives. Each dip created 22 seconds of near-weightlessness, during which the doctors operated.

The surgery, to remove a growth from the patient's arm, took about 10 minutes.

Wanted: Hot Wheels

· Jack Neal is 3 and can't read, but that didn't stop the English toddler from buying an expensive car on the Internet.

Jack's mom had been on the auction site eBay. She forgot to log off and didn't notice when Jack took over the keyboard. The boy apparently clicked on the Buy It Now option and "bought" a pink Nissan Figaro for nearly $16,000.

The car's owner was amused and agreed to cancel the sale.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company