Saturday, April 22, 2006

Confidential To Those From The SFTP.com Domain

We see you in the stats. Just curious: What are you coming to see?

- the Separated at Birth feature?

- this FlashPass piece?

- or perhaps this one?

- or our exclusive coverage of Mark Shapiro visiting Fiesta Texas or La Ronde, or his urine-reduction program?

We'd love to know. Drop us a line or post in the forum. No registration required!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Marineland Revisits Dragon Mountain Theming

Dragon Mountain, an Arrow four-inversion steel coaster located at Marineland, is one of the more unusual rides in existence. Part of the reason for its uniqueness is its sprawling layout, part is for some intriguing elements such as the dark tunnels and bowtie double inversion, and part is because of the bizarre unfinished theming that has permeated the area around the track since the coaster was first erected in 1983.

Some of the theming has always been in place, including the ominous carved entryway leading to a cavern containing the coaster's loading area. But other areas, primarily a massive volcano and a large recreation of nearby Niagara Falls, were never completed. Strangely enough, the decision to abandon these theming elements was made well into the ride's actual construction, so both large structures were partially built, but never brought close to fruition. Instead, passengers on Dragon Mountain have for years been treated to the gorgeous and inspiring sight of two huge piles of filthy, rusting steel that form the barely-begun volcano and waterfall.

ARN&R is pleased to report that Marineland has listened to the thousands of complaints it has received over the years, and has finally begun the long-awaited task of finishing the elaborate theming for this coaster. Soon visitors will not be faced with hideous, completely oxidized steel frameworks but with incredible scenery.

Of course, that scenery won't be exactly what people are expecting. Indeed, the park's managers felt that the original ideas had become overplayed and cliched in today's market, so they wanted to go for something more distinctive and original. With that in mind, the plans for a fiery volcano and roaring set of falls have been replaced with a fresh, creative, avant-garde interpretation, where the ugly metal supports are merely covered with a giant Hefty bag.

The new garbage-bag-enshrouded, corroded, collapsing metal is anticipated to be ready to entertain throngs of smiling visitors as soon as this weekend.

--JCK

Monday, April 17, 2006

Park Patron Educated by Pencil-Necked Geek

According to Midland-Odessa cow semen milker Billy Ron Hunt, he recently learned some interesting facts about Six Flags Texas during a visit to the theme park with some friends. Unexpectedly, the informative tidbits were gleaned not from park brochures or ride operators, but from a pencil-necked geek standing nearby in the massive queue for Titan.

"I was telling my buddies about how Titan was the tallest coaster in the world and this little nerd a few people away leaned over and said that I was wrong, and that the world's tallest coaster was actually at another Six Flags in New Jersey. Who woulda thunk it?"

But that was not all the education the group received from the dork. At various points during their wait for a ride on Titan, they were fortunate enough to have the geek lean in and correct their errant views about roller coasters. For instance, they were told in no uncertain terms that the Texas Giant was not the first roller coaster ever made, that the Flashback did not feature the most loops of any ride in the country, and that Mr. Freeze was not a ride worthy of consideration for top ten steel lists. The last bit of news was the most interesting to the group, as all four of them had Freeze ranked in their top three until learning from the nerd how stupid their coaster opinions were.

"It was real great having someone tell us all that stuff," said Hunt. "We never woulda known. It was so interesting that I still remembered most of what that guy said even after I kicked his ass."

--JCK

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Yale Library Gets Surprisingly Low Marks

In a recent review by the Coalition of American Libraries, the libraries of Yale University were given a surprising thumbs down, as COAL derided the collection as "underwhelming" and "deficient in scholarly works in some important areas of modern research." The review came as more than a mild shock to the departmental heads at Yale's libraries, considering that the overall university collection ranks as the fourth largest in the United States (after only the Library of Congress, Harvard, and the Boston Public Library) and for decades has been acclaimed as one of the top scholarly research institutions in the world. So what led to the poor scores?

"Roller coasters," said COAL's Vice President of Academic Library Review P. Piers Woodhouse IV. "Or, should I say, the near complete lack thereof."

Woodhouse derided Yale for maintaining a roller coaster literature collection that consists of a mere two books, Robert Cartmell's Incredible Scream Machine and Todd Throgmorton's Roller Coasters. "The Cartmell book is a classic, and they do get some positive points for at least having that one," he said. "But to have such a woefully inadequate set of texts on coasters, and not a single Discovery Channel special or Robb Alvey onboard video in their media holdings, is truly pathetic."

"It amazes me how this university has squandered its ample library funds," Woodhouse added. "They have this utterly huge main library, Sterling Memorial, with fifteen floors of books, and entire massive branches devoted to the Divinity School, music, arts and architecture, science, and many other disciplines. There should be a completely separate branch to house a massive and world-renowned coaster-related collection, and they don't even devote a single shelf to one. Bah!"

Woodhouse also complained about the Beinecke Rare Book Library at Yale, a translucent marble facility that houses valuable and fragile books, in particular two original Gutenberg bibles. "This just shows how little interest Yale is taking in a field as important and relevant as roller coaster research," he said. "To think that a special display would be made for anything created by the insipid star of Police Academy and Can't Stop the Music, while the works of David Bennett and Mark Wyatt lay ignored, is a travesty."

He also pointed out that although Yale is in "excellent shape" in "relatively obscure and unimportant areas" of its holdings, such as British literature, math, history, and political systems, it was unfortunately also "criminally deficient" in a number of other disciplines, including Star Trek novels, classic Dungeons & Dragons dungeon master guidebooks, Steven Seagal movies, and hardcore Japanese stroke mags.

COAL stated in its official criticism of Yale that the university would be given six months to substantially improve its insufficient collections or risk losing accreditation from the Coalition.

--JCK

Friday, April 14, 2006

Next, They'll Call Stonehenge A Popular Tourist Trap

We know, we know, the we-assume-nice folks at Amusement Business aren't supposed to know about things besides, well, amusement. And the business thereof.

But this story struck us as rather impressive, containing as it does a rather obvious error that just about any seven-year-old who's visited D.C., or even really read about it, or perhaps seen a Discovery Channel special about it, could point out was wrong. Consider:
The Smithsonian Museum in Washington has announced plans to close its doors Sept. 5 to allow an $85 million renovation to go forward. The attraction will reopen in summer 2008 with a new flag room.
"The Smithsonian Museum"? Huh? Let's do a little activity together. Go to Smithsonian.org. Look over on the right-hand side. You'll see this:



Count 'em up. We see thirteen museums plus a couple of other things (like the zoo). There is no Smithsonian Museum. It's an institution with a whole bunch of 'em. One of those museums will be closing, not the whole thing.

But the other thing we're rather astounded by in the story is the reference to the Smithsonian as an "attraction." Okay, sure, technically speaking it is, since it does attract people. But it seems a bit odd to lump in a top-notch scholarly institution, doing rather important research, with Ripley's Believe it or Not.

So: Congratulations, Amusement Business! You're our Site O' the Weak!

--GP

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Goliath Event Conquers Davids

Earlier this month, Six Flags Over Georgia hosted a dramatic event to promote the park's new signature attraction, the B&M hypercoaster Goliath. During the event, a public contest was held to locate people who looked like "Famous Davids;" those entrants who were determined to be the best look-alike for a well-known David would receive first rides on the coaster as part of the Media Day festivities. By all accounts, the event was a great success.

That was until scandal struck today, when a group of disgruntled contest entrants made major allegations that Six Flags Over Georgia grossly mishandled the "Famous Davids" promotion.

"I entered the contest as David Hasselhoff," said the group's spokesman, David Hasselhoff. "Obviously, anyone can see that I am the most striking look-alike for any major celebrity named David, and I should have not only won, but been granted the front seat as well. But those pricks said that David Hasselhoff isn't a famous enough celebrity and that he sucks anyway, so I was disqualified despite my excellent costume."

Hasselhoff stated that he had beautifully sung his renowned song line "talking 'bout freedom" to remind the contest promoters of how he had helped bring down the Berlin Wall, given away some free tickets to the next Knight Rider convention, oiled his naked body and posed seductively with some puppies, but none of these actions had convinced the organizers that David Hasselhoff was famous enough to be worth having his look-alike get an inaugural ride on a new coaster. Hasselhoff was also denied the opportunity to punch some women in order to show how well-known he is.

Others were equally as unfortunate. The failure of actor David Arquette to win a place on the Media Day coaster rides was particularly galling, as he had been the guest of honor for opening rides on a previous Goliath coaster at another Six Flags park. Despite Arquette's plaintive wails, the contest organizers flatly refused to consider his entry, stating that David Arquette wasn't nearly a famous enough David to imitate, and that Arquette didn't look that much like him anyway. One also added that if Six Flags Over Georgia had a retarded chimpanzee look-alike competition in the future, Arquette would be the first to know.

"I can understand why David and David wouldn't win the contest," said singer David Cassidy. "After all, maybe there was some technicality like a famous David can't go as himself. That wouldn't be fair, after all. I mean, no matter how much a guy drools on himself, scratches his scrotum in public, and flings his poo against the wall, he can't do it in quite the same way as David Arquette himself. But me, I have no idea why I was disqualified. I entered as David Beckham, so that certainly should have been acceptable. I think it was rigged."

Six Flags Over Georgia officials told ARN&R that they stand by their contest results, and that they have no further comment.

--JCK

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Can't Let This Boo-Boo Go

Okay, we try to realize that reporters aren't always going to know a bunch of geeky coaster terminology, so we give them some leeway when they write about our hobby. Frankly, if we busted the media for not recognizing the difference between a suspended and inverted coaster, or got pouty because someone failed to report who did the trackwork on our favorite ride, it would just be silly. That's the enthusiast's job to worry about that stuff, and ARN&R's job to make fun of those enthusiasts. As long as reporters get somewhere in the correct ballpark, that's cool. After all, we don't tell the photojournalists what F-stop to use if cloudy but backlit conditions (though, now that we think about it, we actually could if we really felt like it and saw them doing it wrong), so why would we care if they make a distinction between a new ride's ejector versus floaty air and crap like that?

However, we've got to draw the line somewhere when it comes to media ignorance of our hobby, and that line is here, where a reprinted Washington Times article refers to Six Flags America's removed Iron Eagle flat ride/torture device as a "roller coaster." Please.

There's also the usual local media's fawning over Mark Shapiro as he grandstands at yet another Six Flags property, something of which we've grown extremely weary after the fortieth time. The combo is sufficiently grating enough to make this our Site O' the Weak.

--JCK

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Roman Soiko: Poet, Not Lunatic

One of the best perks of running a website that specializes in absolutely reliable news and rumors about the amusement park industry is the substantial number of deranged and moronic emails we receive. It appeared such was the case late last year, when we received this prize, from someone who claimed to be named Roman Soiko. Our entire Foreign Customer Translation Service Happy Fun Enabling Technical Pleasuring Squad Team was unable to discern even the language in which Mr. Soiko's letter was composed, let alone any of its content. So we printed it up and had a laugh at it.

Who's laughing now? Who's laughing now? (This should be conjuring up visions of Evil Dead II or you are required to give up your nerd pass immediately).

Anyway, yes, it seems we were the stupid ones. It turns out that Mr. Soiko's missive was a groundbreaking example of Neo-Brutalist Beat Poetry, and his challenging work of literature, taken by the uncultured rubes of ARN&R as a pile of gibberish, was actually an influential and deeply respected artistic opus; indeed it later won the Nobel Prize in Literature. We were deeply humbled and more than a little embarrassed. It reminded us of when we said Catwoman was the worst movie ever made and then it won all those Oscars.

In light of our blunder and to set the record straight, it is our intent to further the career of this engaging young artist in any way we can. Our first act in this direction will be the presentation of a new work, Roman Soiko: Poetics, which has been praised by leading critics as a "powerful, lyrical work, comparing favorably to the mature output of Dante and Milton, yet with a Terry Pratchett-like gift for humor lacking in the writings of these slightly lesser authors."

Roman Soiko: Poetics

Verso I: GOOG THE SHIZ!

THIS IS THE REASON THE DISASTER OCCURRED. THE REASON WE ALL WANTED TO KNOW. THE ANSWER LIES WITH SIX FLAGS's new marketing strategy. I have been able to understand it fully, and I know their plot is ignorance involved. Currently Dan Snyder is the process of making sure all babies' diapers are cleaned, increasing ticket prices to $300 per person, and making people pay $50 to park. The next coaster will be in Six Flags Great America and feature a 300 foot drop and 12 inversions. Yes, the note was correct. However, it will not be opening this season, but in 2009. This coaster will be designed by our beloved American Coaster Company with heavy grants from its parent, ACE. I reached Carole Sanderson the other day about this new coaster "This coaster will make SFGrAm finally give unlimited ERT till their death!" Carole Sanderson also wanted to shut down ARNR due to a lot of negative press on ACE there. "ARNR has defined us for the last time. They print articles on us saying we all weigh 500 pounds, eat gravy and mashed potatoes, sleep at our parent's house, tell us random people inside their head such as Mzai Onzimonga, Jade Killerson, Hendrik Van Wonderboot, Bunny Bumpkins, and John Wringley McWackey.It is time to shut down ARNR and propagate around the world the great airtime of our new coaster at SFGrAm!" In other news. Mr. Six was given 750 calories of sugar from Cokes.

Verso II: Mr. Six Get's Employed at Holiday World!

http://www.holidayworld.com/holiblog/holiblog.html
(LAST PICTURE IS EVIDENcE)

Verso III: SHIZ THE NIZ

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0738532347/
ref=pd__b_2/103-5940726-8397418?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance&n=283155

According to this, if you want to love a women,show them pictures of Cedar Point.

--JCK

[Editor's Note: Roman Soiko: Poetics is composed entirely of verbatim cutting and pasting of emails sent without prompting to the ARN&R staff by Mr. Soiko. The only additions made to the original text were the separating "Verso" markers, which the editors felt would best convey the related but slightly different viewpoints undertaken by the myriad conflicting voices brought to fore by Mr. Soiko in his penetrating and lush literary opus.]
Thanks For Your Patience

To anyone who is actually still bothering to check for updates on a regular basis (we're thinking of you, Peter and Darryl, and probably no one else...), we thank you for your support. And even if you aren't bothering to check very often, we still appreciate your understanding and patience. It's been pretty insane at the ARN&R Towers of late, as we try to supplement our massive and lucrative ARN&R holdings with a bunch of other jobs (you know, for hot tub repairs and aggressive corporate takeovers and such). As certain of the editorial staff have been growing more accustomed to their new schedule of working over 24 hours a day, every day, rest assured (not "be rest assured," which is incorrect, is a pet peeve of ours, and makes you sound like a cretin if you say it that way) that article updates will soon begin flowing in, if not quite at the same frantic level of old, then at least with far better regularity than the past couple weeks.

Thanks again.

--JCK

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Kieran Burke Back in the News

Ousted Six Flags CEO Kieran Burke may be out of a job running the world's largest regional theme park company, but that certainly does not keep a good man down.

In a recent exclusive ARN&R interview Burke explained, "My severance package when I was ousted as part of Red Zone LLC's proxy battle strictly prohibits me from owning a park or consulting in the industry for the next several years. If I were to break that pledge, I would have to return my almost $10 million dollar severance pay, with interest."

Burke continued, "However, I am pleased to inform my fans that I will be bringing my customer service know-how to others. I have been offered several jobs to help maintain the terrific customer service levels at several large corporations including Verizon Wireless, Comcast, and Merck. Verizon and Comcast care deeply about their valued customers, and Merck never intentionally killed any of their customers, two values at the core of my tenure at Six Flags."

"I turned them all down when I was offered a once-in-a-lifetime oppurtunity to appear in the upcoming Summer 2007 Blockbuster film Ghostbusters III. Bill Murray turned the role down and I was approached by Sony Pictures to be his fill in.


Burke and Murray

"Not to be left out, my counterpart who helped create Premier Parks, Jim Dannhauser, has been retained to play a part in the film when Don Knotts passed away after Rick Moranas refused to be the new KeyMaster."


Dannhauser and Knotts

"Both Jim and I are proud to be even a greater part of the entertainment world. We feel unfortunate that our former COO, Gary Story, is only the spokesperson for Just For Men Hair Color for Beards and Moustaches."


Story and his moustache

When contacted, Debbie Fishpaw, Six Flags's new Supreme Being of Public Relations commented, "I am sure that Mr. Burke is happy with his severance agreement and his legacy is left on Six Flags forever."

--EJB