Monday, December 30, 2002

Huge Traffic Increases at ARN&R

Absolutely Reliable News & Rumors reported today that its traffic has increased by a staggering amount in the last half of December. Typically visited by approximately 11 people with no lives on an average day, ARN&R has recently seen its web hits rise in logarithmic fashion, culminating yesterday in a total of 213,456 single visits to the website, resulting in computer gridlock and pandemonium rivalling the direst Y2K predictions.

"Obviously, we are elated by this turn of events," stated ARN&R's editor. "While we still have yet to sell a single Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom Wonderbra at our online store, it certainly is great to know that thousands of hardworking Americans and, more particularly, the Dutch, have been enjoying our fairly amusing park satire."

Representatives from all of the major web search engines dispute worldwide excitement in roller coaster satire, and have stated their belief that the exponential growth of the site's popularity comes almost entirely from a December 19th ARN&R article entitled "Maxim Announces 'Babes of the Amusement Industry' Issue."

Says Ben Noguchi, a representative of WebGalivanter, "Every single one of the more than 150,000 WebGalivanter searches leading to ARN&R yesterday involved some combination of the words 'Jessica Alba,' 'naked,' 'Maxim,' 'pork,' and 'frollicking,' each of which appeared in unrelated context in the December 19 article. ARN&R needs to wake up and realize that these hundreds of thousands of hits are from horny teens looking for sexy photos of Jessica Alba, not from coaster enthusiasts looking for wry banter and sassy put-downs of Six Flags America."

Noguchi added that ARN&R staff should be wary. "There are going to be lots of pissed off young men hoping to locate hot pictures of Jessica Alba frollicking in pork gravy, and instead they will find articles about Ratt wanting their own ride and coaster enthusiasts whoring themselves for the Discovery Channel. I really doubt ARN&R is prepared to deal with this great an onslaught of frustrated masturbators, especially since their audience is presumably made up almost entirely of a slightly different population of frustrated masturbators already."

Through a publicist, Jessica Alba declined repeated and insistent requests for a date or an interview.

-JCK
How Meta Is This?

We haven't the slightest idea what to make of it, but it's sort of funny:

Absolutely Crap News & Rumors

In the disclaimer, we think they mean that it's "just a joke" rather than "just a job," but if someone can tell us how to get a job making fun of coaster sites that make fun of coaster sites, we'd love to hear it. Actually, if they can tell us how to get a job doing this, that'd be cool, too.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

Alton Towers Not Fooling Anyone

According to American theme parks, Alton Towers is not fooling anyone. "Sure, it's got its crazy British spellings and its '.co.uk' domain ending and its accent, but it's not really British. It's just pretending it's British to pick up chicks," said Paramount Parks.

"That is so true," concurred Six Flags Theme Parks. "One time, I was at a bar with Alton Towers, and after a few drinks, it was totally obvious that it was from North Carolina. And what's with that hair? What, does it think it's Ian Astbury [of British band the Cult]?"

Weighing in last and with a slight slur, Cedar Fair added, "Oh, that hair is hilarious! And those claims about height restrictions, about being so 'civilised' -- come on. You just know that park really would love to kick back with a Bud Light and a huge cloned B&M floorless coaster, but it restrains itself to get all the alt-rock girls."

Alton Towers responded angrily. "Colour me shocked. I am recognisably British. Bloody idiots."

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Very Special Christmas Rerun

Too full on Christmas dinner to create a new piece, but if you're lame enough to be on the web on Christmas day, we thought we'd provide one of our favorites from the last few months...

Members of Ratt Don't Understand Why Disney Hasn't Themed a Coaster After Them

After the success of Aerosmith's "Rock 'n' Roller Coaster" at Disneyworld, the members of '80s metal band Ratt are furiously lobbying for a themed coaster of their own. Jizzy Pearl, lead singer, declared that "Round and Round" is just as important to the development of rock music as Aerosmith's dozens of major hits. "We make music good. Coaster fun up and down. Where beer?" said Pearl when reached for comment.

Ratt, which has recently been touring venues with capacities upwards of fifteen people, has released four albums, news that surprised every member of the ARN&R staff. To date, no interest has been forthcoming from Disney. However, ARN&R has learned that The Holy Land Experience theme park in Orlando inquired about the possibility of hiring Ratt to represent the wages of sin in a dark ride under development.

Saturday, December 21, 2002

Welcome to Our Wacky Dutch Friends

In looking at our stats, we observed that we were getting a ton of hits from this Dutch theme park bulletin board. We tried translating it with one of those free translating tools, and, well, it's not the clearest translation ever ("Who is indeed too well-being ranch jah," "Very good well-being lark this!").

We think we're glad to be a good well-being lark. So:

Wij welkomstgroet u voor onze wel eens - spannend wereld van namaak nieuwtje zowat vertier warande. Wij veronderstellen u zal lach uw gezamenlijk reet vandoor.

Or, after being translated back into English:

We welcome you until ours ever thrilling worldwide with forgery novelty around amusement pleasure grounds. We suppose you will smile your total rear end run away.

Friday, December 20, 2002

ARN&R On Vacation? Um, Maybe.

We will be traveling the world, seeking out a new headquarters for the AbsolutelyReliableTowers.

Or maybe we'll just be with family.

Either way, we probably won't update the site quite as often as we have been.

Don't let that stop you from coming to visit, and certainly don't let that stop you from buying lots of stuff.

There's virtually no chance it'll be there in time for Christmas, but there's virtually no chance anyone actually wants to receive it for Christmas anyway, right?

Have a good holiday. Leave some gravy for everyone else.
Fansites of Third-Tier Parks Mix It Up

In a battle so intense that it evokes the debates over the relative merits of Magnum P.I. versus Simon & Simon, dedicated fans of The Great Escape in Lake George, New York, and Quassy Amusement Park in nearby Middlebury, Connecticut, have entered full-blown war on the web.

It all started when the operators of QuassyParkInfo.com started posting on TheGreatEscaperooni.com's forums, criticizing The Great Escape, a Six Flags property, for having derivative and boring coasters and being "under the thumb of the corporate pigs at Six Flags." They also started a thread on their own bulletin board mocking The Great Escape's new coaster, reported to be a mine train moved from a now-closed Indiana park, as "being so lame it wasn't even good enough for Old Indiana!"

TheGreatEscaperooni.com's tens of readers were not to take such an insult sitting down, however, except insofar as they were, in fact, sitting down, drinking a Big Gulp and finishing off a bag of Cheetos. In addition to noting that Quassy has only two "totally sucky" coasters of its own, the site's operators blocked access to their boards to all but four people, two of whom were the site's owners. "This site is for positive discussions of The Great Escape, and if we allow libelous statements like those made by the Quassy-heads to stand, we might not get all the inside news about the park," said the owners in a statement.

At press time, the dispute had consumed roughly forty hours of human time that will never be recovered.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Maxim Announces “Babes of the Amusement Industry” Issue

Maxim magazine, famous throughout the world for its incisive articles, hip reviews, and, mostly, really hot pictures of Jessica Alba, has in recent months caused controversies with its features. Chief among these was a poll where readers ranked who they felt the sexiest female sports reporters were; CBS Sports’s intellectual giant Jill Arrington won the vote and appeared in a scantily-clad magazine spread.

Maxim was unswayed by feminist backlash, and has continued articles in the same vein. Next month will see its list of the “Top Babes of the Amusement Industry.” ARN&R’s staff has obtained a preview copy of the issue, and is happy to report that the winners of the online vote, conducted primarily at Thrillnetwork and at Maxim's website, included Six Flags Great America Staff Member Michelle Hoffman, Six Flags Great Adventure Staff Member Kristen Kocher, and That Funny Ride Op Chick Who Doesn't Wear a Bra at Funtown.

Early word has it that all the contest winners were severely insulted by the magazine’s contest and refused to be photographed or interviewed. For this reason, Maxim will only list the winning “Babes of the Amusement Industry,” and the photo spread will instead feature last year’s ACE Con participants frolicking naked in pork gravy.

--JCK

[Editor's Note: Are you preparing pork gravy for frolicking? Avoid the mess like last year, where you got it stuck in your chest hair. Wear an apron!]

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Disneyland Fans Protest Replacement Of Tomorrowland Trash Receptacles

Disney theme park fans are a picky bunch, and that has never been proven more than during the past week, when Disneyland in Anaheim, California quietly began the task replacing Tomorrowland’s trash receptacles after the park closes to the public each night. Naturally, readers of the Disneyland fan site, MouseFetish.com, are in an uproar, and are pulling no punches when it comes to making their displeasure known

“This is ludicrous. Absolutely ludicrous,” said Mark Delhorn, webmaster of the site, which is one of the most visited unofficial Disneyland sites on the internet. “This is just typical, modern-day Disney thinking to remove pieces of a park’s history with no warning and replace them without apparent reason.” Delhorn knows his Disney historical facts -- the Tomorrowland receptacles, with their lids with hinged doors, thick steel construction and hand painted Disney logos -- date back to the mid-seventies, but are even more historically significant due to the fact that they are based upon a design from the early fifties, which was when the Magic Kingdom first opened its gates. “These artifacts are one of the last connections we have in the new millennium to Disneyland’s early years,” Delhorn added.

The receptacles are being replaced with units that seem to be quite similar to the outgoing models, but are quite different when inspected more closely. “The steel is thinner and more susceptible to dents and dings from out-of-control strollers, the logos are cheap adhesive labels, and worst of all, there are no hinged doors on the lids,” Delhorn elaborated. I’m not comfortable putting my trash in those things. Would you?”

Longtime Disney enthusiast “PoohBear”, whose weekly editorial can be found each Friday in the website’s “Disney Chat” section, offered a little insight to the whole trash can replacement fiasco. “For the past year, many of us fans have been on [resigned Theme Parks president Paul] Pressler’s case to repaint those old bins, since those things tend to rust out if not given a fresh coat every few years. Well, he didn’t heed our advice, and they rusted away and became too far gone, so they had no choice but to replace them. It was a shame, because it could have turned out differently.”

As the days go on and the last few are replaced, Delhorn’s aggravation has become more and more severe. “I still can’t believe this is happening, it’s like a terrible dream. I haven’t been this upset since Disney changed the colors inside the shops on Main Street. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve sat in Tomorrowland, admiring the way the light reflects off of those old cans with the splendor of Space Mountain in the background,” Delhorn continued as his eyes got watery and his voice just a little higher.

A group of MouseFetish.com readers, calling themselves the TTCC (short for Tomorrowland Trash Can Coalition) are warning of a protest of Disneyland to begin this Friday. If the old receptacles are not reinstalled, the group will boycott the Magic Kingdom for three consecutive days as they hand out flyers to guests about Disney’s misdeeds.

--RMA

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Busch Doll Hugely Popular

A Busch Garden doll that says "We're working hard to put thrills into your family's heart," and "Make no mistake, this park will be fun," has turned into a huge hit for a small company. The 12.5-inch-tall likeness, which features clips from Busch Garden's speeches, sold out a first shipment of 1,200,000 this week. A second shipment of the $29.99 thrill doll won't arrive until after Christmas.

``We anticipated it being a very popular item but we just didn't think it was going to take off that quick,'' said James Westinghouseling, co-founder of Irving-based TalkingThemeParks.com Inc.

Most of the 17 sound clips are straightforward quotes about the Theme Park attractions and other theme park industry topics - such as "Thrill regulations against our nation will not stand" - although the doll does utter some of Busch's malapropisms. "There's nothing derogatory, everything is complimentary, there's nothing to make fun of it ... (but) the doll is a good representation of the Theme Park giant, there are two or three of their Buschisms,'' Westinghouseling said.

It's unclear what Busch the Theme Park giant thinks of Busch the doll - the company's press office did not immediately return a call for comment.

A picture of the Busch Gardens doll appeared on the Drudge Report Web site last week, and the company got 6,000,000 web hits in a single day and media calls from around the world. It took its phone number off the Web site and posted a message cautioning that no more dolls were immediately available.

The next group of 1,200,000 should ship from Hong Kong on Dec. 30 with a third shipment on its heels, but that won't satisfy disappointed Christmas shoppers.

The Paramount Entertainment Library & Birthplace ordered two cases but sold them out within days, said spokesperson Adrian Barr. ``It's so out of control,'' she said.

The fledgling company isn't planning to stop with Busch. A talking King's Dominion Doll is in the works for the spring, with "Hypersonic will be open soon!" expected to be the biggest hit of the quotes. After that, Westinghouseling plans to manufacture talking Walt Disneys, Six Flagsers, Cedar Fairs and Busch's Sea Worlds.

--RAS

Monday, December 16, 2002

Did you know?

You can buy cheaply-made stuff from us. Click here.

Be the life of the next event you attend! Easily escape as multitudes of lumbering offended enthusiasts chase you angrily, panting from lack of exercise, to lamely slap you with park brochures, because you intimated that they might either (a) overstate their importance, (b) enjoy the all-you-can-eat buffets a bit much, or (c) be a bit too much into amusement park-themed patches.

Never realized you needed a coaster news satire website license plate frame, did you? Well, now you know.

You're welcome.
2003 to Bring Variety of New Rules at Six Flags Parks

Although few park patrons are aware of it, one of the amusement industry’s most important events took place this past weekend, when Six Flags corporate held its annual winter meetings. Aside from discussing corporate policy and logistics, and engaging in much rolling about in piles of filthy lucre, the executives of the park chain and its member parks held a series of meetings designed to create a new set of rules and regulations for park guests this coming season. ARN&R has obtained transcripts of the meetings, and is pleased to break the exclusive new rules and regulations to our readers.

- Six Flags Over Georgia will ban single riders on all its coasters, except for each Tuesday two weeks after a lunar eclipse during non-Leap Years from 1PM until 2:29PM, when single riders will be allowed only in the very back seat of the Georgia Cyclone, facing backward.

- Six Flags Astroworld will reinstate the coffinlike shrouds on the Texas Cyclone’s Morgan trains, and will additionally require all passengers on the ride to wear straitjackets filled with furious hornets, while simultaneously undergoing a non-Novocained cavity drilling.

- Six Flags Magic Mountain will allow one rider per train on X, which will be open for 20 minutes weekly, in order to maintain the record-setting lines for publicity purposes.

- Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom will require all visitors to “squeal like a pig” before boarding each coaster. Any visitor who refuses to perform the requirement, or who does not perform the requirement adequately, will be taken into the woods by security and “done up Deliverance style.”

- Six Flags America will require Superman passengers to negotiate a narrow path between fully armed Crips and Bloods engaged in a bloody gang war. Additionally, all visitors to the park will be required to spend 6 hours in line for Batwing without actually riding it even once.

- Six Flags Worlds of Adventure will allow passengers on a randomly rotating total of 8 seats on each train of each coaster all day. Passengers who choose the correct seats will be permitted to ride. Passengers who choose incorrect seats will be ejected from the park without refund.

- Six Flags Saint Louis will enforce its “no complaining” policy by having personnel hawk massive loogies right in the faces of anyone approaching the customer service window.

- Six Flags New England will continue to run single trains on every ride, close rides for long periods without cause, assign seats on three coasters, and close off 90% of the seats on Poison Ivy, and will also institute a new policy of having park employees use fire hoses to blast pressurized raw human waste at patrons in line for the coasters. Ride managers will be given discretion as to how many times per minute the hosings should occur for their individual rides.

The transcript also notes that none of the rules will be posted or advertised, as per standard Six Flags policy. “It’s more fun for people to find out by surprise, when a ride op screams at them in front of everyone, or perhaps hoses them down with excrement,” stated one park vice president. Cedar Fair is expected to follow suit within days.

--JCK

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Six Flags New Orleans to be New Flagship of Chain, Reports Say

The near-bankrupt Jazzland, now to be dubbed "Six Flags New Orleans," never able to come close to even the modest attendance goals used to justify millions of public dollars in investment, will be Six Flags Theme Parks' next mega-park, according to Internet sources. This year's addition of two "previously-owned" coasters "is just the beginning," according to JazzLandRulez.com's webmaster. "Next year, it's an enormous GCI wooden coaster and a record-breaking coaster so big it's designed by both B&M and Intamin!"

"We're going to pretty much abandon Magic Mountain and Six Flags Great Adventure and focus on this park scenically located on a swamp," said chain head Gary Story, according to the same sources. "Sure, the main population centers in the region are hours away and are already well-served by other major parks, and sure, New Orleans has like a million people at most, and, yes, sure, most people go to New Orleans for the hookers and booze, but, um, er...why the hell are we doing this again?" queried Story.

Upon a reminder from the rest of his management team that nobody doesn't like a town with hookers and booze -- including those people in charge of theme park companies who are forced to travel to the parks all the time -- Story got back on track. "After a late night of debauchery on Bourbon Street, who wouldn't like a ride on an Arrow coaster too lame even for Fiesta Texas?" he concluded, referring to the former Joker's Revenge, on its way to the park. After an assistant leaned over and whispered to him, sources indicate that he added, "It's a Vekoma? Even better!"

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Disney's California Adventure to Create Beach, Ocean Simulator

In what is being termed a "revolutionary effort" to revitalize Disney's ailing California Adventure theme park, the company announced plans to create a totally immersive beach and ocean simulator. The nearly five-minute attraction will feature the newest technology to make patrons feel that they are actually at the beach, including the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations they expect from a visit to the beach.

The park, located approximately forty miles from the Pacific Ocean and its hundreds of miles of largely pristine beaches, is expected to market the experience aggressively to native Californians as a "one-of-a-kind chance to walk on the beach." Target markets are primarily those living in communities such as Santa Monica -- a beachfront city where the average temperature is 77 year round -- and similar communities. "We don't think there's anything Santa Monicans will want to do more than drive through congested L.A. traffic for two hours to enjoy a relaxing day -- er, 278 seconds, give or take -- at the beach," said Disney spokeswoman Martha King.

If the attraction proves as popular as expected, Disney is expected to explore a "French Bakery" simulator for Disneyland Paris and a "Semi-Locked Down Retirement Community" for Disney World.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Applause Award Scandal: Busch Gardens Stripped of Title

In a shocking development that rocked the amusement park industry tonight, Busch Gardens Williamsburg was stripped of its honor as the 2002 Applause Award winner. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) made the decision to strip an Applause Award winner of its crown for the first time in history because of the park’s “conduct unbecoming a worldwide representation of fun and wholesomeness.”

Although IAAPA did not officially list the particular reasons for Busch Gardens’s exit from the organization’s acclaim, ARN&R can exclusively report that the Williamsburg-based themer will be appearing in a sexy centerfold for the next issue of Amusement Business. An IAAPA source who demanded anonymity stated that “The rule guide for parks seeking this award clearly states what is acceptable and what is not acceptable for contestants. And explicit centerfolds involving Applause Award winners are certainly not acceptable.” The spokesman also added that the “hot park-on-park action,” featuring shots of coasters at both Busch Gardens Williamsburg and sister park Busch Gardens Tampa, was considered "incredibly tasteless” by the organization.

According to a statement by IAAPA, the Applause Award lauds an amusement park "whose management, operations, and creative accomplishments have inspired the industry with its foresight, originality and sound business development."

IAAPA announced that it will acknowledge a different park as the Applause Award winner for 2002: Maine’s Palace Playland. IAAPA officials claimed Palace Playland is the most logical choice to receive the highest and most respected honor bestowed upon amusement venues, as “[its] superior image, infrastructure, rides, theming, customer service, and entertainment package will distance IAAPA from such riffraff as Busch Gardens.” An organizational spokewoman added, “It was a really close vote anyway, so we feel Playland’s victory is an untainted one.”

In making its decision, IAAPA representatives stressed the small Maine seaside resort’s “only sort-of rusted and overbraked” production-model Galaxi coaster, “at least 37%-operable” fun house, “kind-of-nearby vagrant parking operations,” food that “verges on being fit for consumption by farm animals,” and “merely occasional open fistfights” as primary factors in the park’s being chosen.

When queried about the honor by ARN&R, an undisclosed Palace Playland employee stated, “I guess with all this extra attention, we’ll have to hire someone to hose down the bathrooms three or four times next season, huh?”

--JCK

Sunday, December 08, 2002

Teenage Enthusiasts Sue Six Flags: Too Frightening

A lawsuit filed against Six Flags on behalf of eight frightened Georgian children is threatening to unleash a wave of class actions similar to those that have won huge pay-outs from the tobacco industry.

The suit brought by lawyer Sameole Hush is being heard in an Atlanta federal court -- the first time such a case has appeared before a US judge. The suit charges Six Flags with responsibility for the frightening of the eight plaintiffs, saying the thrill ride giant did not provide the necessary warnings regarding scariness associated with its attractions.

Lawyers acting for the coaster chain filed a motion for dismissal, arguing that the issue was one of individual choice and, therefore, there was no case to answer. "Every responsible person understands what is involved with thrill rides such as spinners and coasters, as well as the consequences to one's airtime," the motion said.

Hush, however, argued that aggressive advertising campaigns encouraged teenagers and compromised individual choice. Hush has already made it clear that if his suit goes to trial, he would seek to turn it into a class action on behalf of all Georgian children under the age of 18 who claim they got frightened from riding thrill rides at Six Flags.

George (Go Jo) Johnson, 13, 48", one of the eight children involved in the lawsuit claims, "Yeah, they have warnings all over the place: No Heart Problems; No Back Problems; No Outwardly Visible Psychological Problems; and, shoot, you can't even have a bun in the oven! Nowhere on the sign does it say, 'This ride may be considered frightening.'" Go Jo paused to take a deep breath. "The only other warning I noticed was the height restriction of 48 inches. And, boy, ... once I reached that height, ... slam! I was the first in line." Another deep, painful breath. "Who would have thought rides like '˜The Great American Scream Machine', 'Serial Thriller', 'Mind Eraser', or 'Acrophobia' would be scary!" After being shaken back into consciousness, Go Jo finished, "I can't count how many rides I've been on or how many times I've been frightened on any one of them."

The IAAPA has dismissed such lawsuits as frivolous and a blatant attempt to capitalize on the recent publicity given to the growing rates of popular thrill rides in the United States. However, the progress of the lawsuit will be closely watched by the amusement industry, which fears it could follow the tobacco sector in becoming the target of huge compensation claims from thrill-related lawsuits.

--RAS

Saturday, December 07, 2002

SFKK Reps Announce New Coaster, Keep Straight Faces

At a press conference Friday, Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom management announced the park’s new coaster. "Greezed Lightnin' will amaze and thrill guests with its ability to blast riders out of the coaster station at a lightnin'-fast rate of speed", said Lee Graham, vice-president and general manager of Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. Managing to retain his composure despite nearly being reduced to fits of giggling, he added, "This powerful coaster is sure to generate excitement among coaster fans from all around the world."

Graham failed to mention that the “incredible new coaster thrill attraction” was actually a well-beaten, decades-old shuttle loop coaster that had run as the Tidal Wave at Six Flags Great America (1978-1991) and as Viper at Six Flags Over Georgia (1995-2001). He also neglected to inform his audience that the “innovative catapult mechanism that propels the coaster from zero to 60 miles per hour” was a mid-1970s innovation, and that it was attached to a ride that barely qualifies as a coaster, merely going through a loop once forward and once backward. He did, however, successfully stifle several potentially embarrassing guffaws with well-placed coughing fits.

Following the press conference, Lee Graham was seen collapsing with gales of laughter against SFKK Media Rep Amy Ballard-Riley, who was slapping her knee and visibly weeping tears of joy.

“How the hell did you keep from cracking up when you made that announcement?” reporters heard Graham shriek, mere instants before she crumpled to the ground in hysterical amusement.

--JCK

Thursday, December 05, 2002

Supreme Court: Superman "Totally Not a Coaster"

In a sharply divided opinion, the United States Supreme Court declared last Wednesday that the Constitution mandates a finding that the launched ride Superman: The Escape at Six Flags Magic Mountain is in fact not a roller coaster.

The opinion stunned legal experts, most of whom had anticipated that the Court would conclude that the ride was, in fact, a roller coaster. Prior cases, including In re Dragon Coaster, in which the Court found that the popular children's ride -- fully powered throughout its circuit -- was a coaster, despite its lack of gravity power had strongly suggested that a similar result would be reached here.

However, Justice Breyer, writing for the Court, rejected that case and others like it as "wrongheaded, and wussy too." He argued for decisiveness and for the value of drawing bright lines in the Court's decisions of such critical cases.

Breyer pointed to the outrage and confusion following In re That Toboggan Ride Thing, in which the Court found the task of identifying a portable ride with certain coaster-like attributes too difficult and called it "sorta coaster-like": "Though these decisions may be difficult, and, indeed, though my discomfort in making these decisions is palpable, we just have to do so."

The vote was extremely close, with four justices dissenting vigorously from the majority opinion. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, joined by Chief Justice Rehnquist, agreed with Justice Breyer's desire for decisiveness but found the conclusion that Superman was not a coaster to be "laughable if it were not so sad a comment on the current Court and its stupid poopy-headed mind."

Justice O'Connor relied on evidence of the Founding Fathers' beliefs about coasters. She quoted letters from Alexander Hamilton and James Madison discussing the First Amendment, both using the phrase "Congress shall call anything that involves gravity, wheels, and seats a coaster."

"This," she concluded, "compels the conclusion that Superman: The Escape is absolutely a coaster, and anyone who says differently is just a coaster tool." Chief Justice Rehnquist filed a short opinion concurring with Justice O'Connor's, calling her opinion "awesome" and noting that he would be posting a link to it on Thrillnetwork.com's forums under his user name "Riding4Justice4Ever."

Justice Scalia also filed a dissenting opinion. His conclusion reads as follows: "My rodent-brained brethren fail to recognize the complete absurdity, stupidity, and irrelevance of their efforts. This Court must not waste its time attempting to resolve such petty issues. Our time could have been better spent in deciding a truly important question: Should all executives of Six Flags Parks be executed for their parking fees, or just enough to make an example of them? I grumpily dissent."

Legal experts expect the parking fees issue to reach the high court by late this year, but also anticipate a potential delay if Justice Thomas is allowed to talk to the cute parking attendant at Six Flags America while on a "factfinding visit."
Celebrity Theme Park Ejection Notices

In an odd confluence of ejections of well-known entertainment personalities, three celebrities have been ejected from amusement parks in the last week. In an ARN&R exclusive, we bring you the details.

Winona Ryder was ejected from Six Flags Magic Mountain on Monday and has had her season pass revoked for line jumping. Miss Ryder claims she was rehearsing for the roll of a disobedient theme park guest in the upcoming film, Rollercoaster II. Video footage has caught the 31-year-old actress dipping under guard rails in queues for Viper, Colossus and Revolution, while she climbed over the rails on the rides Superman: The Escape, Goliath and Ninja, along with a rumor she may have even had a place "saved" for her in the queue of X.

To the shock of many of his fans, The King of Pop was video taped on Tuesday, virtually proving he may be off the wall, bad, or even dangerous while holding his 9-month-old infant by the feet from the chariot portion of a carousel­, normally reserved for people with hand held infants--and out over the edge of the 15mile-per-hour spinning attraction at Spreepark Berlin GmbH in Germany. The 44-year-old music legend told ARN&R that he was attempting a demonstration of the ride's weakness in safety restraint systems.

R&B Diva Brandy was accused on Wednesday of stealing Hip-Hop recording artist Pepper's outfit and wearing it to Paramount's Great Adventure. The outfit in question, conceived by Pepper himself, was called "get naked." A spokesperson for Brandy told ARN&R, "While the hat, the dark glasses and the jacket were all purchased at the same time and from the same location, the outfits were not exactly the same." The main difference is a given that Brandy is female while Pepper is male. They were both, coincidentally, ejected from the park.

--­RAS

[Editor's note: Don't make the same mistake as Brandy and Pepper! Wear clothes next season! Wear clothes with jokes only one-tenth of one percent of the theme park population will get! Buy stuff now!

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Bush Takes Tough Stance on Inspections

Tensions escalated today as United Nations inspectors were initially turned away by armed guards posted at the gates of Funtown Pier, a small amusement area located in Seaside Park, New Jersey. Observers fear this latest confrontation is yet one more step leading to an armed showdown between the United States and the shoreline entertainment zone.

President George W. Bush declared that he was “not encouraged” that Funtown Pier would acknowledge its high coaster G-forces and avert war. Bush delivered his assessment at a Pentagon press conference after U.N. inspectors reported continued difficulties in their search of suspected violators of New Jersey’s G-force limitations.

“The inspectors are in New Jersey to examine possible amusement violations, not to play Red Rover and Duck Duck Goose with the owners of this park,” the president said, apparently maintaining his hard line against Funtown Pier. He added: "These gravityational, er, gravitronitional . . . these forces of mass destruction must not stand. Make no mistake."

The U.S. government has long maintained that Funtown Pier’s Roller Coast Loop, a production-model Pinfari Zyklon with a single inversion, has gravitational forces in excess of New Jersey’s legal limitations. After much posturing and threats of exclusion from the park’s owners, U.N. inspectors were finally allowed their first tests on the ride late in the afternoon.

Although Canada, France, and Britain have all expressed desire for a peaceful resolution to the current crisis, United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld stated this evening at the White House that “a full regime change at Funtown Pier may be the only option the United States can now consider viable.”

--JCK
Great Escape's New Coaster Ties Into Roots

(Queensbury, NY) Six Flags today announced a major new coaster to be constructed at The Great Escape theme park in the Adirondack hamlet of Queensbury. The coaster, to be named "StoryTown - The Awakening," takes its theme and location from the remaining original artifacts of the park's first incarnation as "StoryTown USA."

"We have been wanting to do something to both increase the visibility of our historic sections and offer an exciting new thrill ride to our patrons, especially since that Alpine Bobsled ride is down 90% of the time," said park spokesperson Jack Horner. "The new coaster, by Intamin, features three inversions, a high speed helix, and runs smack
through the middle of both the Wild West Village and the Story Town section -- you know, that part of the park that looks like Candy Land come to life? We've taken many of the Story Town houses and figures and used them as ride supports and elements."

Riders will board the coaster at The Crooked Man's crooked house, which is designed to disorient the rider. The coaster cars were formerly used as the Storytown train, guaranteeing the riders a "rickety wood coaster feel from a steel coaster track." says Horner. The cars proceed up the lift hill and descend 87 feet through the Old Woman in a Shoe's doorway ("better duck!") at a maximum speed of 55 miles per hour before entering a high-speed helix around the antique carousel. "We were hoping to have
a brass ring for the riders to grab, but when one of technicians tried it out we thought better of it," said Horner, who added that the technician was expected to make a full recovery from arm reattachment surgery.

The coaster then rambles through StoryTown proper, with various storybook characters on either side of the track that you can reach out and clop in the head, then on into the Wild West Shootout section of the park. Here, riders will thrill to an Immelman over the Dry Gulch Saloon, where former Marine spud-peeler and U.S. Congressman Jerry
Solomon's widow fires ("Don't worry, they're only blanks!" said Horner with a wink) at the coaster car with an Uzi while a taped voice of the Congressman bellows "because she has a right to defend herself and don't you forget it!" Survivors then will go through a double loop before cruising back into Storytown, where the train passes around Cinderella's horse-drawn carriage ride ("We're still working on the horses getting spooked," chuckles Horner) and into the brake run.

The coaster is scheduled to open on July 4th, unless the lawsuit settlements fall through. The park's former target audience of small children will be welcomed at a 100-square-foot section called "KidArea," featuring a trampoline and a three-hole miniature golf course.

--BRB

Monday, December 02, 2002

Enthusiast Has Wretched Holiday

According to self-described “coasterholic” Pete Brody, 28, his Thanksgiving holiday with his family was “a complete waste.” The jobless member of ACE, Coaster Zombies, and nearly a dozen online coaster clubs, failed “miserably” in his efforts to direct the Thanksgiving conversation to amusement parks and roller coasters.

“You’d think we might talk about something interesting when the whole fam gets together,” whined Brody. “I even did some things to stimulate conversation about my interests, like leaving the computer’s browser on Thrillnetwork, wearing my European Coaster Odyssey t-shirt to dinner, and leaving 20 or 30 onboard coaster photos lying around, but it didn’t work.”

Brody was most upset that his family seemed more interested in the “stupid crap” that his siblings had been involved in. His older brother Michael is an advertising executive who recently became engaged to an Olympic gymnast, his sister Cynthia placed second in the Van Cliburn Piano Competition, and his other sister Marcia just returned from a two-year Peace Corps mission helping to provide medical care for disease-ravaged Ugandans.

“I do important things, too,” declared Brody. “I mean, I rode my 242nd coaster on the Coaster Odyssey…a really good SLC. I make lots of important posts to ThemeParkCritic.com that everyone says are really good. I send off a job application a couple times a year, mostly to S&S and Intamin for design positions. And I came all the way here just to be with my family, so you’d think they could notice me,” the exasperated enthusiast stated, waving his hand toward the basement steps in his parents’ house, which he had successfully negotiated all the way from his well-worn mattress up to the first floor.

“Did anyone care what I think about CCI shutting down? Did anyone ask about my top ten suspended coasters? Did a single family member inquire whether I’d enjoy modeling my newly monogrammed ACE jacket for them? No, no, and no. We have to go on for hours about piano recitals and wedding arrangements. And especially Marcia’s dumb thing in Africa. There aren’t even any coasters in Africa! But Marcia’s always been their favorite, the little goody two shoes. It’s not fair.”

“Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” Brody added in a hysterical wail.

--JCK

[Editor's Note: Save yourself from a wretched Christmas. Go buy some crap. No family member can ignore you if you come to dinner wearing nothing but boxer shorts inscribed with the ARN&R logo and "No underwear for me. Just a strategically-placed Beast patch." You will get attention. Even more if you wear the thong version. Just, um, don't send us any pictures.]