Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Mantis Man: Enthusiast, or Super Villain?

Buena Park, CA: Ride operators on Knott's Berry Farm's popular Xcelerator thrill coaster got a lesson in loading Tuesday by an enthusiast only known as "Mantis Man." "He’s been here all day," said one of the park employees, clearly not sure whether to be amused or frightened by Mantis Man’s actions. "We can’t get him off of the platform."

Mantis Man's M.O., it appeared, was to linger on the exit platform and spring, insect-like, into any available seat. When the open seat was on the loading side of the platform, this bold enthusiast did not hesitate to tell people to move.

While the crowd marveled at what riding Xcelerator with no interruptions might do to one’s internal organs, the Mantis Man made sucking noises against his fingertips and then tapped his wristwatch compulsively, only adding to his insect-like appearance. "Sometimes, when the train is pulling into the station, he taps the Mantis logo on his t-shirt with his fingertips," said another ride operator. "It frightens me."

Above: Mantis Man springs into action

Push came to shove when, in a bold move to force the Mantis Man off the platform and back around into the nearly empty queue, a ride operator attempted to lock down an empty seat before Mantis Man could occupy it. "Pay attention!" the evil insect barked. Finally, after his 48th ride, security was called to remove him physically from the platform. "Oh, that’s OK, I’ll just come back tomorrow!" he said with an evil glare in his eye.

Little is known about Mantis Man or the nature of his powers. When asked in a brief ARN&R interview if the evil creature had a family or job, the Enthusi-insect hissed, "No, I have a season pass." He tapped his upper lip, growled "48 times," and vowed to "get [his] revenge tomorrow."

Mantis Man is just one of the new breed of Super Villain Enthusiasts who have been spotted around the globe. So far, there has been no link to the Unknown Enthusiast, but here at ARN&R we are ever vigilant to spot these evildoers!

Coaster enthusiasts, consider this your notice: ARN&R is everywhere. Oh, yes, we see you. The funny thing is, you shouldn’t be surprised to be written up. We’re wearing our uniforms proudly and in plain sight. Be more like Hulk Guy and we’ll be nice.

Perform Your Civic Duty

As it was in 2003, ARN&R has been nominated this year for Site of the Year in the Coasterbuzz Coasters' Choice Awards. In celebration of this achievement, we lazily present to you the exact same message we printed last year upon hearing of that nomination. It all still applies. The links even still work and everything. And remember, Coasterbuzzers, if you fail to vote for ARN&R, and we feel obligated to make fun of CB forum topics instead of converting to our "happy fluffy warm fuzzy fun" format as punishment, you have only yourselves to blame.

ARN&R Nominated for Site of the Year, Promises to Stop Making Fun of CoasterBuzz Members

ARN&R was nominated for Site of the Year at CoasterBuzz. And you are wholeheartedly encouraged to go vote for us, but we expressly do not encourage you to, for example, clear your browser's cache and cookies after visiting so as to circumvent the voting mechanism's anti-ballot-box-stuffing provisions and be able to vote for us twice, or, worse, several dozen times, because that would be wrong. Don't do that. We certainly wouldn't suggest that we would buy a round of drinks for our entire readership if such an event occurred and we were to win the actual award.

In completely unrelated news, ARN&R has promised to stop making fun of the semiliterate participants in CoasterBuzz's forums. "Why, even if someone there -- like, say, XFan -- falls for one of our stories and declares that the site is run by a couple of drunks, we're still not going to make fun," said ARN&R's Chief Insult Policy Officer. "Why, even if someone -- again, say, someone like XFan -- sends us an e-mail suggesting something along the same lines, we won't do anything like post it on the site, opening him up to repeated mockery."

The policy change has nothing to do with the nomination, according to ARN&R's Public Relations Department. Rather, said the CIPO, "We just think it's time to start being more positive. Warm fuzzies work better than cold pricklies."

Starting soon, ARN&R is expected to switch formats to nothing but amusement park employees' favorite recipes and reviews of the best amusement park souvenirs.