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The Catholic Guilt Issue

The Corpse

Of the many rumors surrounding Bredo Morstoel, here is the most endearing: He arranged his deathbed pillows into a secret signal for his grandson.

Tron

Ghostbusters

Mountain-Ear

Grandpa’s in the Tuff Shed

Mothermelters: The Inside Story of Cryonics and the Dora Kent Homicide

Mothermelters

Sports Illustrated

Frozen: My Journey Into the World of Cryonics, Deception, and Death

Mothermelters

Frozen

Frozen

Arguing With Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government

Mothermelters

Sports Illustrated

Frozen

Frozen

Crossfire

Bullshit

Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine

Annoncering

This point, too, has been addressed to death by Alcor and every other cryonics organization, being the cornerstone of the industry. The basic idea is that nanotechnology will eventually reach a point where cells can be repaired on an individual basis. Ice crystals, the thinking goes, will be no match for the millions or billions of tiny, cilia-propelled nanobots that will chug through ripped cells, mending cracks and repairing damage. It’s a fantastical idea, but no more so than the heart-lung machine would have been in 1910. Some perspective: When I was born, in 1969, the guidance computer on the Apollo 11 Lunar Module could store 50 kilobytes of data and weighed 50 pounds. My iPhone stores 16 gigabytes and weighs 4.8 ounces, a 150-fold weight reduction and a 320,000-fold increase in capacity. By this math, in 2049—my own statistical endpoint—5.1 petabytes will fit inside something weighing 0.21 milligrams. That’s 100 million filing cabinets packed into something less than a quarter the weight of a honeybee’s brain. Barring catastrophe (or limits on Moore’s law), such advances are inevitable. To deny this on Common Sense grounds seems, somehow, anti-American.

Not far past Nederland’s town border and its large vinyl banner announcing the ninth annual FROZEN DEAD GUY DAYS, I approached St. Rita’s Catholic Church and its more staid announcement for MASS 9:30 SUNDAY. I realized it was 9:30 and it was Sunday, so I pulled into the church’s lot. Rita is the patron saint of lost or impossible causes, and I thought the service might somehow tie the namesake’s link to the weekend’s goings-on. After some hymns and pleasantries, a man who identified himself as Deacon David delivered the homily. He spoke nicely of the Pharisees and the parable of the fruitless fig tree, but there was no mention of Lazarus, or the Resurrection, or eternal life, or any of the other half-dozen topics he could have woven from Bredo’s predicament. Later, I asked the deacon whether he had intentionally ignored any themes related to the festival. He told me he had and almost launched into a rant on Catholic policy on the dignity and care of the deceased before he carefully stopped himself. The subject matter of any given service is “not a matter of church policy, it’s the choice of homilist,” he finally said, testily. Avoiding disagreeable topics in church services didn’t quite make sense to me—clerics of all faiths have never really shied away from subjects with which they disagreed. But I didn’t want to push it. “The novelty has worn out,” he added in a weary, displeased voice. “Even for the people in Nederland.” As I headed into town, I wondered whether this could actually be true. Even at midmorning, the streets were vacant. Spray-painted plywood signs for EVENT PARKING led me to a deserted parking lot. I worried I’d come on the wrong day and then, since I knew this wasn’t true, that some sort of Twilight Zone scenario might be going down. I parked and walked toward the collection of shops in the heart of downtown. Eventually I found a young woman at the otherwise vacant Frozen Dead Guy HQ. She told me Saturday’s gorgeous weather had brought as many as 10,000 visitors—a record—and that the tiny town had been transformed into “a parking lot.” Saturday was “a doozy” and people were “still recovering.” Over the course of the day I would hear this refrain echoed many times by groaning merchants. Nederland is only 17 miles southwest of Boulder, but it is 3,000 feet higher and has the mood of someplace far more remote. The town’s name means “nether lands,” or “low lands”—a nickname left by 19th-century miners working in the yet higher elevations of nearby Caribou—and is pronounced with a soft “e,” making the town “Ned” to Boulder County locals. After a century of silver- and tungsten-mining booms and busts, Ned evolved into a mountainous refuge for hippies and libertarians and people too weird for Boulder. At the 1910 carousel in the heart of downtown, a sign told me the site was being renovated by Positive Energy Electrical. Not far away, locals can shop at the Mountain People Co-op, Grateful Meds, or Nedicate (Nederland is probably the only American town of 1,300 with four medicinal-pot dispensaries and an “indoor gardening supplies” store). I saw many NEDITATE bumper stickers on otherwise solidly middle-American pickup trucks.

Annoncering

Road Warrior

z

Daily Camera

sic

New York Times

Daily Camera

Rocky Horror Picture Show

Tuff Shed

Crossfire

Frozen

Tuff Shed

Young Frankenstein.

The Prospect of Immortality