Thursday, March 31, 2005

ARN&R Tours Announced

Absolutely Reliable News & Rumors, inspired by the always-balanced Jim Hill and his recently-ended Disney tours, is pleased to announce The Unknown Enthusiast’s 2005 Amusement Park Tour schedule. These in-depth, no-holds-barred tours of your favorite attractions are chock full of details that could only be known to one man. Or woman. You know, the Unknown Enthusiast is all unknown.

During each two-hour walking* tour, the Unknown Enthusiast will lead you on a journey like no other you’ve experienced in your local park. See for yourself the sights that you may have only heard about in coaster enthusiast lore:

- Six Flags New England: See for yourself the exact spot in the S:ROS queue where people leave tampons as an offering to the gods and/or to Sandor Kernacs. Also see the secret pole showing the 100-year flood-of-feces record.

- Six Flags Great America: The U.E. explains all the messy details of the famed “Rumble in Mardi Gras Land” when ACE and CoasterBuzz collided over bragging rights to first rides on the wild mouse.

- Six Flags St. Louis/Paramount Kings Island: Find out why parks that host Scooby Doo shooting rides also seem to attract the ugliest people in the country!

- Knott’s Berry Farm: Follow in the steps of the famed “Mantis Man” and get the Unknown Enthusiast’s inside look into his world of Xcelerator Madness.

- Islands of Adventure: Witness the precise location of the "Guy Near Hulk" sighting.

- Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom: See the spot where, twenty years ago this year, SFKK officially became the White Trash Super-Park.

- In a very special side trip, tour participants will visit Six Flags headquarters in Oklahoma to see the very first dollar bill ever lost by management, as well as a framed and engraved copy of the first SEC filing to blame massive losses on bad weather.

ARN&R expect these tours to sell out very quickly, please reserve your spot today! More stops on the tours will be announced soon, if we remember.

--MMS/GP

*As this is a walking tour, please understand that you should be in general good health to participate. While efforts have been made to chart each tour’s course in a downhill slope, ACE members are warned that some uphill walking without a food destination may be required.

[Ed. Note: Several ARN&R contributors will in fact be visiting Coney Island next month on May 15. Drop a line (contact link over there to the left) if you might be there for what will henceforth be known as AbsolutelyReliableConeyCon! For reasons that we don't even fully understand ourselves, the event will be themed after Def Leppard's "Photograph," in particular the line, "You're all I want, my fantasy." How this theme will be implemented is still under discussion and negotiation with the original stars of the 1983 video.]

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Man Gleans Important Update on Starliner Status From Screamscape, Sort Of

According to coaster enthusiast Rolf Gleba, 43, he has learned from the website Screamscape that the endangered wood coaster Starliner, of the now-defunct Miracle Strip Amusement Park, may be saved and moved to a new location. As it looked nearly certain until recently that the underrated and entertaining John Allen ride would be torn down to make way for condominiums or shopping plazas, this news was met with great surprise and pleasure from Gleba. However, the enthusiast was unable to access any further details about the possible relocation.

"Well, I went to the front page to see what was new at Screamscape," said Gleba, "and after a half hour or so of my CPU dealing with the giant Shoot the Ninja animation, and a couple more ads, and a pop-up asking if I had spyware, I clicked on the Rumors page. Then I had another half-hour wait so my computer could process a giant animated Shoot and Get a Free Ipod ad, a giant blinking Who is This Celebrity ad, a tire commercial, and a Starbucks ad with a huge thing that bounced up and down. When I clicked on the link that said it would tell me about Starliner, my computer froze up after another pop-up and three blinky advertisements hit it at once. I think one of them had Paris Hilton in it, but I don't remember the rest. Anyway, I figured I could reboot and try it again, but then I thought, 'ah, screw it, I don't have time for this,' so I never found out anything more extensive about what was going to happen to Starliner."

"But someone bought it and wants to move it somewhere," he added. "You can quote me on it."

--JCK

[Editor's Note: When asked for comment on the possible impending move of the Starliner, or on Gleba's inability to learn much about it, a representative of rec.roller-coaster said that its members didn't care one way or another about "some dumb coaster," and further added that Olive Garden and Red Lobster rule and family-owned restaurants suck.]

Monday, March 28, 2005

ARN&R: Minor Local Celebrity Gossip Clearing House

We recently received the following message at ARN&R's contact email from someone named Kaye Hard. We swear we have reprinted it verbatim below:

While watching the news tonight, John Tracy was teasing Meghan about being at the station 24 hours and she commented something about not much of a wife. Has she remarried? Thank you, a faithful listener.

Naturally, ARN&R makes it a point of pride to know all about the personal lives of obscure Alaskan news reporters. Of course we know whether or not Meghan has remarried. We just don't feel like telling you. Frankly, your deep interest in the subject is a little stalkerrific for our taste. So sorry. Thank you for playing, and please pick up your consolation surprises backstage.

--JCK

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Six Flags Elitch Gardens Clarifies Name of New Ride

Excited patrons of Six Flags Elitch Gardens learned earlier this week that there would be the addition of a thrilling new "extreme water ride" to the park this year. Unfortunately, the actual name of the new attraction was released improperly by SFEG, according to the park. Although the waterslide was announced as "EDGE," apparently that is only part of its full moniker.

"It's the darndest thing," said Elitch Gardens spokesman Chase Figgins. "We thought we had everything ready to go, but someone must have accidentally cut off half of the press release when they made photocopies. The announcement therefore said we were calling our new ride 'EDGE,' but it was supposed to be 'EDGE of Seventeen.' And the press release mentioned all the thrills of the ride itself, but due to the photocopying mistake, the thrilling discussion of the attraction's elaborate theming was also left out."

According to Figgins, the entire ride will be themed to resemble a massive white winged dove, while the "hard-pumping rock hits" of Stevie Nicks will blast from loudspeakers installed in the ride's rafts themselves. Ride operators will be clad entirely in leather and lace.

"This ride is going to be a landslide of thrills," said the park rep. "When people ride it, I guarantee they're going to be yelling 'ooh, baby, ooh, said ooh.'"

-JCK

Friday, March 25, 2005

Paramount Parks Announce New Height Limits

Earlier today, a statement was issued by Paramount Parks outlining new height restrictions on many of its rides beginning with the 2005 season. Most wood coasters in the chain, whether junior models or adult rides, will see a substantial increase in these restrictions over the norm of the past several years, meaning that some parents may be surprised to find that their children will not be permitted on rides they experienced last year.

The chain-wide height restriction for all junior wood coasters, such as the Beastie and the Happy Scrappy Hero Pup (formerly the Scooby Doo Coaster), will now be 72 inches, while adult coasters such as Rebel Yell, the Hurlers, and Son of Beast will be 82 inches.

According to a representative of the chain, "it will undoubtedly be disappointing to youngsters who are suddenly unable to ride some of the favorite classic coasters in our parks. However, we review our safety protocol each year, and it seemed wisest in light of the forces generated by roller coasters only to let grownups and larger children board these high-speed attractions in the future. Children too small for these rides can certainly look forward to the day they become big enough boys and girls to get on the rides, a fact that may actually increase anticipation and excitement for our attractions."

--JCK

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Brittany Lynn Has Competition

Our girl Brit really made a name for herself with her incomprehensible AOL-speak and bizarre grammar, but apparently she's developed some competition, in the form of a new poster at Rec.Roller-Coaster. With comments like "I just joined here. Ne1 wanna have a carnival ride chat?" RRC member kilbourne_kisses is making a real run at destroying the English language. We're pretty sure this is just a troll's prank, but, hey, we think it's hilarious whether it's fake or real, so we'll make it the Site O' the Weak.

--JCK

[Editor's Note: Further posts from kilbourne_kisses include one where she purrs, one where she can't glean basic facts from an article, and one where she decides the conversation at RRC is a little beneath her intellectual level and leaves. Or maybe she stops trolling. Whichever. We don't care.]

Monday, March 21, 2005

Quassy Bolts Toilet Tank Lids Down

At amusement parks around the country, employees are arriving to begin the process of refurbishing and freshening up parks in preparation for the hordes of guests that will begin arriving in a few short weeks. Flowers are being planted, walkways repaired, fresh coats of paint applied, dirty areas hosed down. But the workers at Connecticut's little Quassy Amusement Park have an extra task to attend to: bolting down the upper tank lids in the restrooms.

The reason for this unusual step? It's to avoid a repeat of a terrifying series of upper decking incidents that befell the small park at the end of last season.

"It was horrible," says Quassy employee Michael Hirsch. "One day in late August I smelled this horrible smell coming from the bathroom. It reeked like a slaughterhouse, man. So I went in to check it out. Guess what? Some jerkoffs had upper decked every sit-down toilet in both the women's and men's rooms!"

"Bunch of savages in this town," he added, frustrated.

Also known as "upper-tanking," "top loading," or "going top shelf," upper decking is a nefarious practice where a person defecates into the top water tank of a toilet, turning the clean water supply of the toilet into what one expert labels "an endless river of shit."

The upper deckers returned to Quassy at least six more times during the remainder of the season. According to employees, each incident caused them to waste up to seventeen hours cleaning the restrooms, though the unholy stench itself generally hovered over the entire town of Middlebury for up to an additional six days following each decking occurrence. For that reason, the park invested substantial funds this season in giant padlocks and chains for each toilet. The chains will be bolted to massive steel pipes drilled two hundred feet into the bedrock to better thwart young hooligans from breaking their way into the water tanks.

"We had a bunch of money we were going to use to build a 300-foot tall launched B&M with twelve inversions," said one distressed park employee who asked not to be named. "But every cent of it had to go into this new upper deck deterrent system. Let that be a lesson to anyone else out there who feels like plopping one upstairs...we all suffer when we upper deck."

--JCK

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Beg To Differ

Do they really have to make it so easy?



Fun! Interesting! Exciting! Cool! Inexplicably into pictures with over-the-shoulder restraints!
Why Do All The Wackos Come Here?

To those who came across our site while searching for "hairy boys," we're sorry we couldn't help you with your bizarre and more-than-slightly-creepy fetish. May we direct you to the Coaster Bears instead?

To those who found us while looking for a "76 Chevy Vega," please stop. Trust us from personal experiences when we were youngsters, you don't want this. Really.

And finally, to whoever visited our site hoping to find "metric assloads in imperial assloads," we extend our thanks for making us laugh harder than we have in probably five or six weeks.

--JCK

Thursday, March 17, 2005

But Is It Available With A Huge "L" Superimposed?

We generally think we've seen just about the stupidest possible coaster-themed merchandise. After all, we've been to events -- we've seen the patches, the incredibly cheesy joke t-shirts (including our own tasteful ones!), the posters, the magnets, and, yes, the bumperstickers.

And then along comes this. A thrillseeker's diploma, available for the low price of $9.95 (plus a mere $2.50 shipping and handling), which is probably only $9.75 more than it would cost you to create it on any consumer-level computer with a marginally-functional color printer.

(Oh, and there's a fancy gold seal. Add another quarter spent at Hobby Lobby. We're guessing the handwritten signatures don't cost any extra, since it's presumably whoever the seller is toking up with that day.)

We certainly are pleased to read that "The scanned image does not do the diploma justice, it is nice," since from the scan it surely looks like a cheap inkjet printout created by a marginally literate person hoping to somehow make a living selling massively marked-up fake diplomas (his other diplomas include a hilarious array, from hedgehogs to AMC Gremlin Hornets!).

But hey, it's a revenue source, so we'll join the competition: For just $20, we'll send you a guaranteed-authentic color printout of any ARN&R entry you desire, with a genuine signature by whoever is around. Hell, we'll throw in a gold seal for $5 extra, and coffee stains for free. For $100, we'll even write a whole piece just about you and your wacky hijinks.

But until that business begins, we'll have to live with naming this auction the Site O' The Weak.
Dick Holzer Ford Announces Free Park Tickets Promotion

Dick Holzer Ford in Marshfield, Missouri announced yesterday an exciting new promotion for 2005. The leader in new car sales in all of Marshfield is giving away free tickets to area theme parks Silver Dollar City and Celebration City.

"I've been a coaster nut for well over fifty years now," said Mr Holzer, owner and operator of Dick Holzer Ford, in an exclusive ARN&R interview. "I've been lucky enough to have gotten to ride some the old classics like the Aeroplane, Cyclone Racer, and my personal favorite the Euclid Beach Flying Turns. I thought it would be a real pip to tie my love of coasters to my business, so that is how I came up with the idea of giving away free tickets!"

The car dealership calls the promotion "Buy a Car Today and Drive to the Park and Play Summer Days." Mr Holzer explained how the deal works. "Every time a person buys a new 2005 Ford 5.0L Mustang, with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $30,559, I will give them a free ticket to Celebration City, and for every 2005 Ford GT which has an suggested price of $139,995, they will get two free tickets to Silver Dollar City!"


Dick Holzer Shows a Customer Celebration City's Map

The dealership joins a growing trend in business of niche marketing where a very specific demographic audience is targeted. "I think tailoring a promotion to the affluent coaster enthusiast group is a sure-fire hit," said Holzer, known in Marshfield as a marketing genius. "So much so that we ordered 600% more Mustangs then we usually do for the spring and summer months and took a loan out on the dealership in order to get twelve of the hard to get GTs on the lot in time for the promotion, which we around here think is going to be a hit!" Holzer said with his head held high.

The promotion runs April 12th to September 27th or until all free park tickets are gone. Choosing to take the free park tickets voids any other offer from Ford such as $2,500 cash back rebate or a free Dell computer. All sales final.

--DH

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Mercy Mission Blocks ARN&R From Nomination

It made headlines around the globe last week: Absolutely Reliable News & Rumors, the legendary amusement park satire site, failed to secure a nomination in the annual CoasterBuzz Coasters' Choice Awards for the first time since 2002. The snub, considered by some industry experts to be almost as absurd as Paul Giamatti not being nominated for an Oscar for his performance in Sideways this year, caused great dismay among the writers and editors of ARN&R, as well as perhaps as many as 0-3 other people.

But why would the site not be nominated for the third straight year? Could the CB webmaster be tired of ARN&R mocking the idiot posts of his members? Could it be that ARN&R was unable to maintain the same frantic level of updates as in years past? Or- no, surely this was impossible- had ARN&R even jumped the shark?

As it turns out, it was for none of these reasons. It was a mission of mercy led by CB webmaster Jeff Putz.

"Ever year, I nominate ARN&R," said Putz. "And every year they get their asses handed to them on a silver platter, with a nice sprig of parsley as garnish, once the votes are counted. They got smoked in 2003 and again in 2004, even after promising to stop making fun of CB members if they won. Their bawling and wailing ever year was giving me nightmares. In the name of all that is decent, I had to put their suffering to an end once and for all. So no nomination in 2005."

Putz added that his experience closing a thread in a desperate, though futile, attempt to save a CB member's dignity, after the member asked for advice on what to do after ingesting a large amount of laxatives, has opened his eyes to suffering in the world. "If I can prevent a handful of obnoxious writers from being humiliated again, then prevent it I will," he stated.

In a year where ARN&R had already lost its coveted Michelin Third Star, taking a demotion to Two Stars (worth a detour), this lack of a CB nomination may signify a further downturn in the website's fortunes in the upcoming months, according to some industry experts.

--JCK

Monday, March 14, 2005

Travel Advisory Sent to ECC, RCCGB

A representative of the American Coaster Enthusiasts has recently sent an urgent travel advisory to members of the European Coaster Club and the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain, urging them to exercise great caution during their travels this August. The notice was sent immediately upon word reaching the ACE Executive Committee that a regular ARN&R writer would be visiting British theme parks for the first time.

"This is bloody awful news," sniveled British coaster enthusiast Chauncy Butterworth, 15. "Whilst I expected nothing but a bit of a lark at Chessington with my lads this summertime, now we must remain vigilant that we do nothing which would cause this writer to take the piss out of us if he spies us." Butterworth then unselfconsciously rooted around in his left nasal cavity with his thumbnail for several minutes.

The ACE message reads as follows:

Dear Coaster Enthusiast Brethren:

We are writing to alert you to a distressing matter that requires prompt attention. European coaster enthusiasts should be aware that ACE has issued an Urgent Travel Advisory for the entirety of Great Britain for the month of August, 2005. The reason for this advisory is that we of ACE have learned that a writer for the abominable amusement park satire website known as Absolutely Reliable News & Rumors is planning to visit parks in England sometime in August. While ECC and RCCGB have only occasionally been targets of the cruel satire performed by this website, and ACE has taken the brunt of the damage, we feel this is merely because the writers have seen so many more ACErs up close and personal. For this reason, we recommend that coaster enthusiasts based in Europe do not leave their homes for the entire month of August. If you must visit a park, please shower beforehand, use deodorant, wipe the gravy and spotted dick globs off your Megaphobia T-shirt, and avoid speaking in public. Additionally, if you spot this writer, do not approach him or attempt to communicate your rolling stock preferences to him in any way. You have been warned.

Sincerely,
The Executive Junta of the American Coaster Enthusiasts


According to sources who wished to remain anonymous, the ARN&R writer will be in the country primarily to visit the family of his British girlfriend, not to ride coasters, and thus the danger to RCCGB and ECC members may be lessened from ACE's original estimates. At the current time, according to the source, only Blackpool will definitely be visited this trip, along with perhaps Alton Towers or Thorpe Park, depending entirely on the time available. Allegedly, the girlfriend also has described Blackpool as "the Alabama of England" and "a complete hellhole," meaning that the time budgeted for viewing and mercilessly taunting coaster enthusiasts may be more limited than the writer might have hoped.

Finally, enthusiasts planning on venturing to Blackpool in August would do well to spend the entire day on Valhalla, as the writer's girlfriend was allegedly overheard telling him, "I'm not getting wet at fucking Blackpool."

--JCK
To Hell With Their Dignity

Following a busy tour schedule in 2004 Stryper recently sat back and reflected with ARN&R on their illustrious career. Their datebook was packed full in 2004 with one Disney booking. With a concert scheduled at Rye Playland for the Jews for Jesus "Oy-Fest 2005" they have already equaled the number of events from last year.

After we prayed together (I prayed for that Bambi chick to be working a double shift at the Snatch Trap tonight while they mumbled something about salvation through Christ) brothers Michael and Robert Sweet rapped with me about Jesus, life and keeping it real. Michael said that although they are a washed up act with only one well-known song, he loves the roar of the crowd when Stryper (which stands for Salvation Through Redemption Yielding Peace, Encouragement and Righteousness, which in this reporter's eyes makes them pussies) takes the stage.

"It is such an awesome feeling," said Sweet. "You just get up there and you can feel the love of everyone in that room. I know God is rocking out with us. How could he not love a song called "To Hell With the Devil?!?" After I noted that God tends to not like ball-less vapid pop metal Sweet just smiled and told me to keep the faith.

For 2006 the group is hoping to book Six Flags over St. Louis' Old Glory Amphitheater, but doesn't know if they will be able to get the spot. "That venue is difficult to nail down sometimes," said guitarist Oz Fox. "We were hoping to tag it for '05, but Men Without Hats is having a reunion tour and it was just too hard for the park to juggle us both." We only hope that Stryper does get that job because everyone at ARN&R loves rocking with Jesus.

God Bless,
FMB

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Six Flags New England to Hire Restroom Attendant

Six Flags New England will hire its first ever restroom attendant in 2005, according to official park sources. The move, which many industry insiders consider long overdue, is part of the park's new "Focus on Customers and Stuff" Campaign.

"Really, we thought we'd been doing fine for the past decade or so without anyone sanitizing the bathrooms," said park spokesman Thad O'Baily. "It's pretty much a self-cleaning mechanism. If a toilet erupts in a giant brown geyser every now and then because it's clogged up, then that provides a natural cleansing action to any built-up grime that has accumulated throughout the day. And everything certainly has always smelled fresh enough, since we had a security guard dump fifteen or twenty urinal cakes in each urinal once in a while."

However, O'Baily noted that industry pressure had forced the park to spend "precious resources" on hiring someone to maintain its toilets. "Surveys have shown that people now want prettier parks that have a minimum of raw human excrement coursing through them," he said. "It used to be they wanted big roller coasters and awesome musical revues with dancing and jazz hands. But I guess times change. And sure, we can adjust to that. We can get someone to mop up your urine, semen, and ass juice once in a while. That's cool."

In a bold move, SFNE posted its want ad at Thrillnetwork, hoping to lure eager young coaster enthusiasts into sponging up gallons of bodily wastes for minimal pay.

Although the hiring of its first-ever restroom attendant is believed by the park to be a strong statement about its new focus on customer satisfaction, others are unsure. Among the doubters is season pass holder Fred Rittenhouse, 36, who says, "I don't know. There's gotta be ten bathrooms or more in the park. How can one guy keep all that clean? I guess that's better than not having any restroom attendants, since maybe, once in a while, I'll luck into visiting a bathroom that he just got to and avoid skidding through someone else's diarrhea puddle like normal, but it still seems like a token hire to me."

Those interested in serving as Six Flags New England's historic first restroom attendant are urged to apply promptly. Effluvia experience is highly recommended.

--JCK

Monday, March 07, 2005

ACE News Staff Diagnosed With Rare Disorder

In announcement that rocked that coaster enthusiast world today, it was revealed that the staff of ACE News, a publication of the American Coaster Enthusiasts, has been diagnosed with Alles Ist Essen Syndrome, a rare and potentially deadly condition. Alarmed by the continued focus on the amount of food ACE members enjoy ramming into their faces, as opposed to the coverage of roller coasters the group professes to love, an independent research team studied the ACE News staff for the past month before making its pronouncement.

Alles Ist Essen Syndrome is an "extremely uncommon disease that causes its helpless victims to think almost everything they see is an actual food item," said clinician Dr. Javier Rodriguez. He added that "there were many warning signs that the staff of this magazine was suffering from this disorder," but the clearest example that there was a major problem was when a breaking news article in the latest edition of the newsletter stated that a new Dollywood teacup ride had been "customized to represent icy cool tumblers dancing around a big ol' pitcher of lemonade- how sweet and refreshing."

According to Rodriguez, "while it seems fairly harmless to think that a mechanical ride is actually literally sweet and refreshing, this could be a tremendous problem in the long term. What if this magazine's staff were to actually go to this park? Would they merely tell their friends that the ride is tasty? Would they salivate on themselves? Or, I shudder to think, might they try to actually eat this new ride? The consequences could be tremendous both for them and for the ride itself. I've seen those buffets."

"A new puke ride themed like a pitcher of lemonade is unique and mildly interesting," Rodriguez concluded. "It is not, however, sweet and refreshing. Sorry."

--JCK

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Letter from the Editor’s Lackey

Faithful Readers,

It was recently brought to our attention that a reporter known as James Guckert, who often used the alias Jeff Gannon, has provided ARN&R certain stories that weren’t quite true. We had been amazed with his output and access to highly-placed sources at the top of IAAPA and ACE, but apparently he has been living a lie. The Gucker/Gannon stories that we cannot independently confirm, and therefore retract, are the following:

- Six Flags Prepares For Another Debt-Free Year

- Enthusiasts Slim and Trim in ‘05

- Cedar Point’s Magnum Coaster Sinking

- NoGodForMe Not, In Point of Fact, Batshit Crazy

- URC, Thrillride! Constantly Updated

- B&M, Intamin IAAPA Booth Staffers "Thrilled" By Enthusiast Inquiries

While we appreciated Guckert’s zeal for the job we had to let him go from ARN&R. It was a hard decision to make, but we feel that to maintain the high standards set by our reporting staff that termination was in order. This difficult decision was confirmed by the fact that he no longer has White House press credentials, even after asking phenomenally hard-hitting questions, placing him at the pinnacle of American journalism.

We trust that Mr. Guckert will continue to have a successful career as a male prostitute and that this officer in the “Male Corps” will be the best “aggressive, verbal, dominant top” that he can be. We hope your career at MilitaryStud.com is a great one.

Sincerely,

FMB on behalf of the entire ARN&R Staff

Thursday, March 03, 2005

S&S Dissed by Rock

Powder Keg, Silver Dollar City's newest roller coaster, was officially unveiled today in a press conference hosted by comedian Chris Rock.

Rock began with some playful jabs at fellow funnyman Yakov Smirnov (who has his own theater nearby), threw out some obligatory goat molestation jokes for the benefit of the locals, and made the bold declaration that he would have preferred to host a coaster opening in the Black Mountains instead of the "Cracker-Ass Mountains."

Barely-toothed Ozarkians then stood gape-mouthed with puzzlement as Rock proclaimed "If you are Silver Dollar City and you want an Intamin launch coaster and all you can get is an S&S... THEN WAIT!!"

Humorless prig Sean Penn later issued a written statement to Rock that indicated, among other things, that S&S was a major United States coaster and thrill ride manufacturing firm, its air-compression technology was exquisite, and that the company was one of our greatest planetary treasures. Reports that Penn referred to Rock as a "mean poopy-head" in the letter could not be verified at press time.

--DH/JCK
Site O' the Weak: Return of the Bleeding Eyes

There are plenty of ways to screw up a major corporate website. One is assaulting potential customers' eyes with ultra-vibrant color schemes and too much animation. Another is to provide useless or misleading information.

Welcome to the website for Mt. Olympus Theme Park.

For the latter problem, look no further than the Park Info section. Although we are assured that this contains "all the info you will need," it actually contains...well, very little info. On one side there are a bunch of topics that look for all the world like they would hyperlink to something useful, but all they do is show little arrows pointing to the location of said topic in the park itself. If you're clicking on "Ticket Centers," you probably want to buy tickets, and don't really care all that much where in the park you go to get some (probably the frickin' front gate) right? In defense of the park, the page does actually list contact phone number and email, and elsewhere on the site one can indeed purchase tickets and get directions...you know, useful stuff. It just seems like this page was pointless.

As for the former, it should be readily evident upon first viewing what the problems are: garish colors and loads of flashy animation screeching out of the computer screen toward you (those of us with DSL are thanking our lucky stars that this loaded with only modest delay...we're pretty sure anyone on dial-up would give up and spend their time elsewhere rather than wait for all this junk to get out of the way, which is not ideal for a website that is selling something). The way the screen boings out in a bouncing little rectangle every time you switch pages is also pretty annoying.

The most annoying thing about this site? The thing that makes this site maybe the most irritating offical amusement park site we've ever seen that doesn't belong to Six Flags? When you view the front page, you then can't use your "Back" button on your browser to return to whatever you were previously reading. What is this, a porn site? Naturally, you can retype whatever you want and navigate the hell away from this gaudy bauble of a website, but it's obnoxious and a waste of time to force visitors to do so. If you want people to buy stuff from you, it's a good idea not to be obnoxious and a waste of time. Unless you are Ann Coulter. It seems to work for her.

If you are a theme park webmaster and don't feel like being the ARN&R Site O' the Week, you have approximately one week to fix it in order to avoid the fate of Mt. Olympus. Sadly, it's already too late for them.

--JCK

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Corrections

ARN&R willingly posts corrections to any incorrect facts or erroneous statements made in its articles. If you believe you have discovered a mistake, and truly believe we give a rat's ass, please send us a letter that contains as few misspellings or inane threats as you can muster, and let us know about it. Write to us at Uselessopinionswewontbotherreading@absolutelyreliable.com

In a recent article bemoaning how incomprehensibly crappy Vekoma Boomerangs are, we mentioned that we felt that doing an impersonation of someone was not the same as doing a good job of acting. Naturally we were chagrined to note that Cate Blanchett and Jamie Foxx won Oscars for their impersonations of other people almost immediately after we published that article, which must mean that we were wrong and also quite stupid. We do stand by our assessment that Josh Groban and Beyonce suck raw marmot balls, though.

A recent article on our website strongly implied that Six Flags Great Adventure's Viper was constructed entirely out of steaming fresh hippo shit. This was a typo.

Finally, an article last Thursday stated that employees at several Six Flags parks would be herding park guests with live cattle prods next season. We regret to acknowledge that we've been had on this one. Apparently Six Flags workers thought it would be fun to pull a little joke on ARN&R, and we fell for it hook, line, and sinker. In actuality, there will be no cattle prods in use next season; instead, the shock that guests will receive will be none other than "The Shocker" itself, where each person entering the gates will in turn be "entered" by a park employee in a rather surprising way. A knowledgeable source tells ARN&R that The Shocker will be performed on both men and women, but refused to comment on how it would be possible to do it to male guests, except that it would be "exquisitely painful."

--JCK