Thursday, November 28, 2002

International Spirits Distributor Renames Product

Evidencing a futile desire to break into the highly profitable bogus theme park rumor category, the Absolut company released a new product called "Absolut Reliable Booze & Vodka."

"We taght dis waz gonna bee a goot ting," says Absolut spokesperson Gunta Hildawater. "We shape bottle to look like Drop Zone, Tower of Terror and many
otter Amercan trill park attractions."

When contacted about the new product at the Absolutely Reliable Towers in midtown Manhattan, ARN&R's unnamed CEO exclaimed, while throwing his pen across the room, pushing papers on the floor and jumping clear over his desk, "They stole my flippin' idea! I was the one who came up with mixing alcohol with bogus theme park rumors!"

"We hat ideea since Andy Warhol design first bottle," Gunter counter claims. "You, Mr. ARN&R Dude, were still in baby clothes."

"I was not! I was not! I was not!"

While enthusiasts worldwide praised ARN&R for obtaining a domain licensed solely in its name, an official investigation has been ordered to ensure all writers and
contributors to ARN&R are of legal drinking age even if they do not touch the stuff themselves.

--RAS

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

B&M to Add Kicking, Screaming Children to Flying Coaster Design

In an effort to make the experience of its “flying coaster” closer to actual flight, famed Swiss coaster designers Bollinger & Mabillard announced yesterday that, for a small additional fee to parks, every new flying coaster would come with screaming and kicking children permanently installed behind each seat.

“We were flying over to the U.S. to meet with a potential customer and there was a four-year-old with the most piercing voice we’ve ever heard sitting behind us,” said Walter Bollinger. “And the kid apparently was physically incapable of sitting still, so every two seconds – thwack – right in the back of our seats. And we had it! That’s what our flying coasters needed to complete the experience!” The children are reported to be imported from developing countries in exchange for "humanitarian aid" to the countries' governments.

If the experiment is well-received, B&M has indicated that it may introduce other add-ons, including one-ounce bags of pretzels and demands for government assistance.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Disney Buys 5,000 Acres for Farm-Themed Park

The Disney company yesterday purchased 5,000 acres in south-central Los Angeles for a brand-new amusement park. But it won't be just another park themed after California or a magical kingdom. Instead, in an innovative partnership with Tyson Chicken and Archer Daniels Midland, the new park -- tentatively called Rural Disney -- will be themed after today's agribusiness.

"The main section will be the soybean farm," said Michael Eisner in a conference call with analysts. "Based on advice we got from ADM, roughly 3,500 acres will be nothing but soybeans, with one ride heavily themed to the area for every 500 acres. My favorite ride is Farm Accident, but we won't tell you a lot of details about that except that it involves one big thresher and a lot of special effects."

The balance of the park will be the Tyson-sponsored part, with building after building of chickens with waste lagoons -- ponds half-filled with chicken feces -- spotting the area. "About half of the chickens have been specially genetically modified to create enormous meat-heavy birds unable to fly, walk, or do anything besides sit in their own waste. The other half are layers, forced to sit in a cage just millimeters larger than the birds themselves, laying eggs galore while, again, sitting in their own waste. The kids are gonna love it!" concluded Eisner.

If the park is successful, Disney is said to be considering adding cattle factory farming and hog feedlots.

Monday, November 25, 2002

Opportunity to Give ARN&R Cash Returns Triumphantly

Federal economists were relieved to hear the news that Ye Olde Absolutely Reliable News & Rumors Shoppe returned to service, permitting hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts an outlet for their hard-earned KFC paychecks. "Shoddily-made t-shirts and other products with obscure smartass jokes are a huge growth sector of the economy," said Alan Greenspan of the Federal Reserve. "This is good news indeed."
In First, Enthusiast Mangles English Language

Readers of a coaster message board were shocked last night by a young coaster enthusiast’s lack of grammatical capability, sources told ARN&R today. The message in question, posted at 9:33 PM on ThemeParkCritic.com’s roller coaster forums, was authored by No1BoomerangBeeyatch3. His post, titled “BIG KNEW COASTERS READ THIS,” was described by both linguistic and amusement park experts as “an assault on the English language.”

“I’m stunned,” said Ohio enthusiast Andy Pongracz, 32. “I’ve been reading and posting to these forums for two years, and every other entry I’ve ever witnessed has been a model of correct punctuation and comprehensible, thoughtful prose. I can’t even read this post.”

Added CoasterHombre364, a regular forum participant, “I am deeply offended to see this sort of slipshod writing. All these punctuation errors, the horrible spelling, the run-on sentences…this is the first and only time in the history of coaster enthusiasm that I’ve seen writing this crappy.”

ARN&R has obtained a copy of the offending writing sample, which is reproduced below:

i herd six flags got some knew rides for it’s parks, thats good, i like knew coasters THAT ARE BIG so gte some of those who we can ride. my favorite ride’s are one’s that makes me loose my self in them and i forget wear i was, isn’t this the best don’t you think so two? Superman ultimate ascape will be grate because their wont be any breaks for it, its going to be so cool for my girlfriend and i when we ride it and get LOOPED!!!!! And who know’s that other one their doing for enchanted forrest the woody? YOUR GOING TO MAKE IT MORE BIGGER THEN SON OF BEAST RIGHT OR I WONT RIDE IT!!!!!!! do I havemy facilities in tact here or what do u think?

Dr. Carol Lampley, noted professor of English at the University of Georgia, was disconsolate when presented with the post. “This writer consistently makes punctuation errors and misspellings so gruesome that I am uncertain whether the sample is really and truly composed in our native language at all. I would be remiss not to insist on a remedial English course for No1Boomerang3, since he is lagging far behind all the other enthusiasts, each and every one of whom uses proper grammar in his or her online posts.”

--JCK
Sheer Terror Sets In As ARN&R Store Down Again

Millions of shoppers were brought to tears today as Ye Olde Absolutely Reliable News & Rumors Shoppe went down again. "It's almost like they're too cheap to host the store themselves and are instead using some freebie place," said Bob Jones, ARN&R devotee.

Be patient. Your opportunity to give us money will return. We hope.
Enthusiast Whores Self For Discovery Channel

Scandal erupted among the ranks of the American Coaster Enthusiasts this week when member Hugo Monro confessed to making lies and exaggerations in order to be filmed by the Discovery Channel.

The network’s new fall roller coaster special, Top Ten 2002 Thrills, features five steel and five wood coasters judged to be the absolute best the world has to offer. Descriptions of the rides, including the universally beloved classics Hercules, Chiller, Flashback, Son of Beast, Paramount’s Great America’s Grizzly, and various Mind Eraser SLCs, are combined with point-of-view (POP) footage, as well as onboard enthusiast commentaries and interviews.

Said Columbus, Ohio native Munro, 25, “I’ve been racked with guilt ever since doing the special. I have always dreamed of giving my incisive coaster opinions to an enthralled television audience. Unfortunately, Discovery needed someone to do another damn Beast commentary, but I figured, what the hey, anything for my fifteen minutes. I didn’t realize my bald-faced lies would weigh so heavily upon my soul.”

While viewing the special, Munro became visibly distraught as he heard himself cheerfully uttering such preposterous statements as: “Beast is an airtime monster,” “no coaster on the planet Earth has better pacing,” and even “this ride has a good, fun roughness.”

Ultimately sobbing in regret, the enthusiast placed his head in his hands. “What was I thinking? I am such a whore.”

Munro’s self-described “completely absurd” on-board sequence followed, causing him to turn his eyes heavenward, as if asking forgiveness from a higher power. A particularly galling segment of Munro’s narration featured him screaming the following: “Yeah! There are no brakes…oof…(unintelligible)…anywhere. We’re about to…ugh…hit 90 fat miles per hour! Yeah! (unintelligible) Air! More air! Whoo-hoo! Right (unintelligible) best…oof…(obscenity) camelback on this (unintelligible)! Yaaaaah! Yaaaaaaaaah! (unintelligible) number one coaster ever!”

“Boy, that coaster sucked something fierce. I actually got battered so badly during that one ride that I couldn’t walk right for a week, but I just had to be on TV,” confessed Munro. “I have brought shame to my people.” Methodically banging his head against the top of his television set, he added in a barely-audible whisper: “The horror! The horror!”

--JCK

Saturday, November 23, 2002

National Nightmare Ends; ARN&R Shop Back Up

After eight hours of anguish, Ye Olde Absolutely Reliable News & Rumors Shoppe has reopened for the teeming masses. Click on "Ye Olde Shoppe" over there to the left.
S&S Power Launches New Assorted Meat Products Division

Continuing his pattern of acquisitions and expansions, S&S Power founder Stan Checketts announced yesterday the establishment of S&S Meat Parts, a wholly-owned subsidiary. S&S Meat Parts "will focus on the needs of amusement parks as it relates to meat and meat-related products," said Checketts, standing atop his new "Absolutely Insane Hot Dog Heater," rising four feet above the folding table at S&S's Logan, Utah, headquarters. "I don't know much about meat, but I know a good hot dog, and I know a guy with a lot of extra hog parts, so I think we're in good shape there. Plus, I can build these hot dog heaters using our patented launch air technology, and you should see those weiners fly through the air."

The first customer for S&S Meat Parts's products is reported to be Paramount's Kings Island, where the machine is expected to operate for four days and stand nonfunctional for the balance of the season.
Massive ARN&R Traffic Brings CafeShops Server to its Knees

In a rush of traffic not seen since the online Victoria's Secret fashion show, tens of millions of loyal ARN&R readers rushed to Ye Olde Absolutely Reliable News & Rumors Shoppe and promptly brought the entire CafeShops system to a screeching halt. We apologize for the inconvenience; clearly, the hundreds of thousands of dollars we spent on the store will come back through protracted and vicious litigation.

Or maybe CafeShops is just having problems and it'll be back up soon (hopefully). In any event, we know it's broken. Your opportunity to give us money will come back soon.

Friday, November 22, 2002

ARN&R Store Opens; Looting Occurs Almost Immediately

After weeks of anticipation, Ye Olde Absolutely Reliable News & Rumors Shoppe opened simultaneously earlier today with locations in London's prestigious Glaxonbury Shopping District, Park Avenue in New York, the Oevurue Malloiux in Paris, and Fargo, North Dakota (which demanded a location to avoid litigation over ARN&R's claim that it had been purchased to serve as a parking lot for Six Flags Over the Upper Midwest).

For shoppers not in one of those locations, there's also an online store with painstakingly-designed t-shirts and boxer shorts, with more to come. A better selection cannot be had in all the thirteen colonies, and there's nothing better to wear to an enthuiast event than something that will likely incur the ire of 95% of those around you. So, um, enjoy!

All proceeds will go to benefit ARN&R.
Superman: Tower of Power To Premiere

Ending months of speculation, Six Flags Over Texas announced its new thrill ride for the upcoming 2003 park season last Friday. Beginning in the spring, Superman: Tower of Power will rise into the skyline.

The new attraction will consist of a trio of massive S&S Combo Towers, each of which will launch riders into the air, then blast them back down, using the company’s patented air-compression technology. At 315 feet tall, the ride will be a signature attraction at the original Six Flags-branded amusement venue.

Industry insiders are surprised at the choice of theming. Said a competing park’s general manager, who spoke on condition of anonymity, “The superhero theming was getting tiresome, but it was at least a proven marketing tie-in. I’m not too sure about this Tower of Power thing, but best of luck to them.”

In keeping with that Tower of Power theme, the area around the ride will be transformed to look like a moderately sized arena, and funk and soul hits will blare from loudspeakers. The crowning glory will be the extensive participation of the actual Tower of Power band. Legendary baritone sax man Stephen “Doc” Kupka will provide an ominous backstory over monitors in the preshow area, while actual members of the band will perform on the ride while it is in progress.

Said SFOT manager Elliot Bergman, “We know some people may wonder about the strategy of theming a ride to a long-time brass soul band. It will work out just great. Some folks at the home office have been worried about reduced capacity, since 6 of the ride’s total of 36 seats will be taken up by a rotating cast of band members at all times, and the band itself has some unfounded concerns about keeping time and pitch while being separated on the different towers and getting blasted up and down at 60 miles per hour, but we think the difficulties are more than compensated for by the unique immersive experience.”

Bergman refused to confirm rumors that sometime Tower of Power collaborators Huey Lewis and the News would be performing on top of the giant ride on weekends, but did add cryptically that he “could imagine nothing more thrilling than blasting up and down hundreds of feet in the air while listening to ‘Stuck With You’ and ‘Hip To Be Square.’”

--JCK

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Crusading Legislator Takes On New Target

Massachusetts Congressman Edward “Biz” Markey (D-MA), most famous in recent years for his tireless efforts to rid the world of pleasurable amusement park experiences, is making waves in the nation’s Capitol again this week. Although he has campaigned extensively to pass legislation restricting roller coaster gravitational forces (also known as G-forces) and require amusement parks to answer to federal examinations and standards, Markey announced a new expansion of his personal war on dangerous pastimes during a speech this afternoon on Capitol Hill.

“While my colleagues and I will fight unceasingly to rid the nation of enjoyable amusement attractions, and will continue to attempt to foist ignorant federal regulators upon a uniformly safe sector of the economy, we have only just begun our battle against American outdoor recreation,” said Markey. “Our new crusade will be to bring the dangerous shuffleboarding industry to its knees.”

Shuffleboard, a demure outdoor game played primarily by South Florida octogenarians, involves the use of a long stick (the “cue”) which players use to push the small puck-like objects (the “disks”) onto a marked-off target to score points.

Markey cited numerous statistics in his speech, chiefly the 1998 United States Consumer Products Safety Commission Report, which states, “injuries from less active sports, such as…shuffleboard…increased moderately or not at all from 1990 to 1996.”

“Clearly this indicates a warning trend that shuffleboard honchos want the American Public to ignore,” sneered Markey, pounding his fist, Krushchev-like, upon his podium. “With all of their supposed ‘advancements’ in gear and playing techniques, they still maintain nearly the same horrific rate of injuries after six years. This scourge on our people must be stopped.”

Aside from the apparently damning government report, Markey provided additional support for his claims. “I have certified sources who attest that 37 people have suffered fatal injuries during the course of these barbaric matches over the past 3 years. Of course, I’m not going to tell you the names of these sources or produce any documents proving any of this is remotely true, but I will relentlessly quote these figures anyway. 37 fatalities! 37!” Markey further noted a “stunning” number of shuffleboard players who have developed arthritis, osteoporosis, erectile dysfunction, incontinence, hearing loss, and even senility “solely and entirely from playing this deadly game.” Markey has indicated a desire to require all players to either wear ski boots welded to the floor or to be suspended by steel cables throughout all game play to avoid any risk of falling. He may also push for requiring that pucks be made of foam.

Calls by ARN&R to the National Shuffleboard Association offices were not returned.

--JCK

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

ARN&R Gets Own Domain, Plans World Domination

Hey. We moved out of that rinkydink town over to our very own domain: AbsolutelyReliable.com. One of these days, we'll get redirection pages up there.

Oh, and we're going to dominate the world through a devious secret plan involving getting people to read made-up coaster rumors. So thanks for helping with that. There will be t-shirts also.

And, for the ACErs among you: gravy. And cake. Sometimes both combined.
Vekoma Unveils New Ride at IAAPA

Amusement ride manufacturer Vekoma unveiled its latest offerings this week at the convention for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). Running from November 20-23, this annual showcase of amusement parks and concessions takes place at Orlando’s Orange County Civic Center. IAAPA’s yearly convention is generally the largest of its type each year, and visitors are treated to a large array of new rides and offerings from all the major companies.

As always, the most scrutinized booth at the convention is the one for Dutch manufacturer Vekoma. Due to the company’s production of a long line of successful products, such as SLC’s, Boomerangs, Invertigos, and Flying Coasters, attendees are always eager to meet with Vekoma’s crack team of cruel, twisted scientists to view their new offerings to the world.

“We feared that we could never top the headbanging of the SLC, the nausea of the Flying Coaster, or the all-around…how shall we put it?…evil of the Boomerang,” said Vekoma mad scientist Dr. Herbert von Blauvelt. “But we sadistic denizens of Vekoma’s dark, underground, hidden lair have brought the citizens of Earth a new, more glorious, roller coaster that will make them weep with pain. Our time has come!”

Dramatically whipping aside a large pelt, von Blauvelt uncovered the latest Vekoma coaster, a prototype named “Der Überleistepfünder." “Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!” screamed the scientist to the cheering crowds. “Notice the granite head restraints situated less than three inches to each side of the average rider’s head. There will be three feet of track shimmy to emphasize the cranial dislodgement…that’s our most fiendish amount of rattle yet! Then…get this…riders will be suspended below the track by a hard iron bar secured only around their stomachs. Oh, we’re so wicked, so wicked, so very wicked!”

Von Blauvelt also pointed out the unique special feature of the new coaster, a ball-peen hammer that sharply whacks the groinal area of passengers at 16 randomly determined times during the ride. “The agony will be exquisite,” said von Blauvelt, before dissolving into high-pitched giggling.

Reliable convention spies report to ARN&R that Six Flags has already purchased 5 of the new Vekoma devices, for distribution to Six Flags New England, Six Flags Marine World, Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, and Wyandot Lake. Reputedly, the new coasters will all have the same name: “Groin Eraser.”

--JCK

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Dollywood Offers New Menu in Honor of Enthusiasts

In preparation for its upcoming new fall coaster event, Dollywood Amusement Park has revamped its food service, incorporating a distinctive and unique array of snazzy menu items to please the discerning gourmands of the American Coaster Enthusiasts.

“When amusement park guests think Dollywood, we want them to say ‘Golly shucks darn, that’s some good eatin'!’” quipped park owner Dolly Parton, speaking from a Nashville recording studio. “It was important to us, what with havin’ these ACE members comin’ to visit our little park for Dolly’s Coasterfestabration, that we do their meals up right nice. We had to come up with some new vittles that would satisfy such a large group!” Parton then returned to eating a small dish of lobster ravioli with a chardonnay.

“We’re proud of this one,” stated park food service supervisor Gena May Swinson, holding up a dripping concoction called "Deep-Fried Big Macs On A Stick With Ranch Dressing." Swinson elaborated: “We whupped up a batch special-like for the last group of ACE people, and they liked it so much we’re makin’ it a regular concession.”

A tour of the Dollywood kitchens revealed a number of additional culinary delights for the upcoming ACE gathering, including "Frozen Mayonnaise Pops," "Deep-Fried Crisco With Caramel," "Chicago-Style 10-Meat Pizza With Hollandaise Sauce," "Massive Hog Chunks Pan-Basted in Fat Netting," and "A Big Ol’ Tub of Popcorn Butter-Flavored Squirt Sauce Without Any Popcorn." But Dollywood saved the best for last.

“ACE will come back every year after they get a load of our secret weapon,” Swinson boldly proclaimed. “Just check out the All U Can Eat Suet Buffet and tell me that don’t look good.”

--JCK

Monday, November 18, 2002

South Dakota to be Rebranded as Six Flags Upper Midwest

In a breathtaking display of aggressive branding, the government of South Dakota and corporate executives from Six Flags Inc. announced today that the entire state of South Dakota will be renamed Six Flags Upper Midwest. Along with the rebranding, the state will receive a Vekoma Rollerskater coaster, a used Huss Frisbee, and a Zipper last used at the Washington County Fair in northeastern Oklahoma.

The state, which was launched in 1889 with a combination of private and public funding, had fallen on hard times of late. "Back then, the feasibility studies indicated that, with minimal promotion, the state would receive seventy-five million visitors per year. Based on that, the state readily agreed to fund the project," said Tim Jones, spokesman for the state. "Now that I think about it, the people doing the feasibility study were the same people who wanted the money...hmm. That can't be right."

"In any event, attendance has fallen far short," continued Jones. Not even the huge capital expenditures going towards Wall Drug billboards have turned it around. So we were thrilled when Six Flags stepped in and offered to take over the state."

Six Flags has reportedly paid $18 million for the state, compared to $1.3 billion spent in public funds over the past twenty years. When Jones is confronted with the contrast, he emphasizes Six Flags's other investments: "Those rides they're installing -- those aren't free! And the rebranding of the state will have enormous benefits for the whole state and both of our restaurants."

Six Flags has also reportedly purchased North Dakota for parking, which will cost $8, and estimates put the gate price at $34.99, with a special season pass for Six Flags Upper Midwest citizens (now called "Customer Satisfaction Representatives") costing $399 per year, with an additional ten percent tax added onto all non-Six Flags income.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Busch Sues Pharmaceutical Company

A law suit was filed today against McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals by Anheuser-Busch over an Imodium A-D advertisement featuring a young man being strapped into Alpengeist and, just before the moment where the train would crest the summit, an announcer asks, "Where will you be when your diarrhea kicks in?"

"We were appalled," claims Busch Garden's Williamsburg spokesperson Janet Chechelle. "Yes, we knew McNeil Pharmaceuticals was filming an ad, but we assumed it would be for a product equivalent to Dramamine."

The ad which aired November 4 featured an actor portraying "Mat" and was followed with his comment, "Imodium saved my vacation. You can't go anywhere without Imodium A-D in your pocket!"

Chechelle feels the advertisement will create adverse reactions next season with park patrons. "They will be checking the seats for cleanliness if they get on at all. We'll have to hand out towels and wet wipes to every guest. It's going to kill ride capacity. It's bad enough when a guest vomits...but, now this."

McNeil Pharmaceuticals defends their position claiming, "Last year, over 1.1 billion trips were taken within the US alone. Any one of these vacations could have easily been derailed by minor illness, such as an attack of diarrhea, motion sickness, or the flu."

"Yuck," exclaims season pass holder Josh Finklestein after viewing the ad. "I will never ride Alpengeist again."

The ride, Alpengeist, was number one among a national poll of coaster enthusiasts in the highest, most twisted, invertedness category, but has been recently downgraded to number 2.

--RAS

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Enthusiast-Turned-Employee Surprised At Attitudes

Christopher Karning, a nineteen-year-old coaster enthusiast, thought he had the perfect job for the summer after his first year at Southern Connecticut Community College: He would work at Rye's Playland and become acquainted with other employees -- all of whom he assumed would be knowledgeable enthusiasts. "Yeah, y'know, I figured everyone there would be as thrilled as I am about being around the coasters and flat rides and the rest, and I could learn about the history, and maybe be taken under the wing of an old but wise grizzled veteran ride operator who would choose me to be the next lead on the Dragon Coaster."

Karning says he was sorely disappointed from the outset. "First off, they wouldn't let me wear my ACE lapel pin or attach any of my dozens of iron-on patches onto my Playland employee uniform. And then, when I yelled out, 'I love my dragon woodie!' when walking past the Dragon Coaster on my first day, everyone looked at me like I was some sort of weirdo."

And as for his hopes to be mentored by an older ride operator, Karning has even less good news: "The only person here who's been here for more than three years is Bob the Sweeper, who gets dropped off from his group home every day and will only take direction if sung to the tune of 'Old McDonald.' He seems willing to teach me about the heritage of sweeping up garbage, but that's not really what I'm looking for. And as for the younger employees -- forget it! All they care about is getting paid and sneaking behind the Tilt-a-Whirl to get stoned, and . . ." Karning's voice then trailed off in disappointment.

"Though there is that one group of girls who always want me to talk about how much I love woodies. But they don't seem to be taking me seriously."

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Six Flags New Jersey Cited for Human Rights Violations

Amusement park industry insiders were startled this morning by news that Amnesty International, the international human rights watchdog organization, has cited Six Flags New Jersey for “heinous violations of acceptable conduct toward its peoples.”

Although famous for its far-reaching and often successful efforts to fight against the imprisonment of citizens for political or religious beliefs, as well as efforts to end inhumane punishments such as torture and the death penalty, the organization has never before mounted a campaign against an American amusement park.

Said Amnesty representative Enrique de Conejo, “typically we focus our letter-writing and protest campaigns against major countries. In this case, however, we simply could not ignore this amusement park. We will set an example with Six Flags in the hope that other parks will end their own human rights violations.

Notable in Amnesty’s list of “unthinkable atrocities” is the staggeringly painful, poorly maintained, and ungreased wood racing coaster Rolling Thunder, which de Conejo referred to as a “barbaric insult to the free peoples of the planet Earth.” The Arrow looper known as Great American Scream Machine is labeled “a cruel and brutal assault on the dignity of park visitors, who only wish to think and speak freely, and not be subjected to violent cranial trauma.” However, the top target for Amnesty International’s focused mailing campaign will likely be the Viper, an insidious “torture rack” designed by a team of psychopathic Japanese scientists. Said de Conejo, “it is amazing that, in these enlightened times, an allegedly ‘free’ nation would openly practice the torture and degradation of its innocent civilians.” De Conejo then winced as he and reporters heard the pitiful wails of unspeakable agony wafting over from the latest trainload of Viper riders.

Six Flags Great Adventure remained defiant. “Give us a break here,” said park rep Lucifer Stallings. “We’re about to add our fourth B&M, for crying out loud. And we took those migraine-inducing torture devices off Chiller. Our park is making progress, and the radical group Amnesty International is just trying to impose its Eurocentric views on something that's important to our culture!”

If Amnesty International’s campaign proves successful, reports indicate the group may add other potential targets, such as King’s Island for its construction of The Beast, Vortex, and Son of Beast, Dorney Park for refusing to remove Hercules, and Vekoma for what sources describe "an unending series of attempts to inflict intense pain."

--JCK

Sunday, November 10, 2002

ACE Members, Flaunting Policy, Discuss Something Besides Coasters

Word has been leaked to ARN&R that two American Coaster Enthusiasts were witnessed discussing topics that had nothing to do with roller coasters during the Funtown Fling event this past season. Enthusiasts are advised by authorities to be careful approaching these individuals, as they are presumed to be dangerous.

“I had my guard down, and they just nailed me when I wasn’t prepared,” said Pennsylvania coaster enthusiast Dan Bjerkin, 34. “I was waiting in line for a ride, and these two guys were talking about something besides roller coasters, which really should have been a huge red flag. I ignored the warning signs, though. Next minute, one leans over and asks if I knew the Canes-Noles score. What the hell are Canes and Noles?”

Vermont enthusiast Sue Spackley, 47, was also disturbed by the two non-coaster-discussing ACE members. “I don’t know what these guys were thinking. Everyone knows the acceptable topics for ACErs to talk about or have any knowledge of whatsoever: track lubrication methods, what seats are best, what gauge of track companies use, what the latest innovations for S&S/Arrow will be, whining about restraints and park policies, and how often each week your mother yells at you to go get a job and move out of her basement. I eavesdropped on these morons, and, within the space of 15 minutes, they talked about how their careers were going, an issue of The Onion, the fall foliage, several team sports, some guy they went to school with and couldn’t stand, filming techniques of Hitchcock, and even the dire financial state of symphony orchestras in America. One of them even apparently has a wife, and the other guy asked how she was. Obviously, their priorities are way off. I’m sending a letter to the ACE Disciplinary Committee.”

Located by ARN&R, the two enthusiasts, identified as Pennsylvanian Richard Neywitz, 28,and North Carolinian Kirk James, 30, were defiant toward ACE and its members. Said Neywitz, “Well, we love riding coasters and we talk about them more than our families would like, but it’s not like coasters are the only thing on the planet worth discussing.” James then chimed in, saying, “We made time to bitch about how much Vekoma sucks, and we were talking about some sections of various CCI rides we really enjoyed, but then I think we wandered off into discussions about politics and the Pulitzer Prize literature nominees. There IS more to life than reading coaster web sites all day long, after all.”

Authorities are considering serving warrants on the “two supposed enthusiasts” after an incident of possible assault at Funtown. After meeting Neywitz and James, ACE Member Jason Padilla, 27, suffered what was believed to be a mild heart attack, one he claimed was caused directly by James attempting to inquire if Padilla had seen the new DVD releases of any Kurosawa films. The guilt of James and Neywitz is in doubt, as some medical experts are convinced that the apparent heart attack was actually a gas reflux reaction caused when Padilla digested two entire roasted turkeys and a half-gallon of gravy at the ACE picnic immediately prior to the unprovoked attempt at conversation.

Bucking the trend, at least one ACE member had nothing but positive thoughts about the two non-coaster-discussing enthusiasts. Said Connecticut’s Tim Jolly, 46, “One of those guys told this really filthy joke to the other about someone named ‘Dubya.’ I had never heard of any ‘Dubya’ before, but I assume he must be one of the new engineers working for Intamin or B&M. I thought it was cool they let me in on the inside scoop like that.”

--JCK

Friday, November 08, 2002

Breaking News: Coaster Track Seen

Coaster enthusiasts were rocked late last night by news of an exciting coaster track spotting in northern Florida. Alert American Coaster Enthusiast and Florida Coaster Club member Alton Thompson, 14-year-old described by his dermatologist as "a great challenge," noticed the new track while being driven by his mother to his weekly Dungeons and Dragons game with best friends Marshall Fine, 14, and Marty Warshaw, 13.

"We passed this big flatbed truck on I-10," gushed Thompson. "There was, like, all this blue coaster track on there. I think it was B&M, but it might've been Intamin. It was really wide gauge, though, so I bet it's a new 4th dimension ride that B&M hasn't advertised yet!"

Thompson, whom experts have identified as staggeringly unlikely to get laid before his 40th birthday, proceeded to post his illustrious and insightful opinions to numerous coaster sites, including CoasterBuzz, Thrillnetwork, Screamscape, Coasterglobe, and even the long-dormant Thrillride. As there was not a single other coaster enthusiast aware of a giant new blue B&M or Intamin ride being erected in northern Florida, speculation ran rampant as to whether this ride would be merely an independently owned Jacksonville Beach concession, or perhaps was a sign that the long-awaited opening of Six Flags Live Oak might be nigh.

When located by ARN&R staff for an exclusive interview this morning, the driver of the flatbed sighted by Thompson proved surprisingly ready to speak about his cargo of brand-new coaster track sections. Said Billy-Ray Helms, 45, "What the hell are you talking about? I'm carting a load of new sewer piping to the Wal-Mart opening north of Jacksonville. Now get out of my way before I run you over. Moron."

--JCK

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Proposal: Strong Federal Regulation of Amusement Park Shows

In a last-minute push for votes, Congressional candidate Robert Urlacher (R-OK) made a bold proposal today, urging the creation of a new federal agency to heavily regulate the dozens or hundreds of musical, magic, and other shows at amusement parks nationwide.

"The time has come to say 'Enough' to mediocre high school student actors performing scenes from The Music Man to a poorly-recorded soundtrack. It is really, really, really time to say 'Enough' to stunt shows with acting worthy only of second-grade plays. And we must stop the movie tie-ins that make Keanu Reeves look like freakin' Richard Harris. I propose a new agency to preview all proposed shows with full power to veto their production and, if necessary, jail or execute the participants."

Urlacher's opponent, Janet Franklin, seeking to avoid looking soft on bad shows, said she'd go further: "We should summarily execute all people who have been in, or attended, one of these shows."

Friday, November 01, 2002

Intamin Sales Rep Makes Fun of B&M

Robert "Bobby Man" Linnell, new salesman for Intamin, says he's figured out a great way to get parks to buy Intamin rides rather than those manufactured by renowned firm Bollinger & Mabillard.

"I tell them, 'Look, just take out the ampersand in their abbreviation and you'll know what kind of coasters they make.' You know, 'cause then you've got 'BM,' know what I mean?" said Linnell, nudging ARN&R's reporter repeatedly. After observing the responsive puzzled look, Linnell sighed, "BM -- bowel movement. Like poop? Ringing a bell here?" After shaking his head, Linnell mutterred, "Stupid media don't know a great sales line when they hear it."

Linnell, who came to the amusement industry from a three-year career selling siding door-to-door, has previously referred to Arrow Dynamics' coasters as "pointing nowhere but down" and called S&S Power "Stupid & Stupider."