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Wednesday, November 13, 2002
Enthusiast-Turned-Employee Surprised At Attitudes
Christopher Karning, a nineteen-year-old coaster enthusiast, thought he had the perfect job for the summer after his first year at Southern Connecticut Community College: He would work at Rye's Playland and become acquainted with other employees -- all of whom he assumed would be knowledgeable enthusiasts. "Yeah, y'know, I figured everyone there would be as thrilled as I am about being around the coasters and flat rides and the rest, and I could learn about the history, and maybe be taken under the wing of an old but wise grizzled veteran ride operator who would choose me to be the next lead on the Dragon Coaster."
Karning says he was sorely disappointed from the outset. "First off, they wouldn't let me wear my ACE lapel pin or attach any of my dozens of iron-on patches onto my Playland employee uniform. And then, when I yelled out, 'I love my dragon woodie!' when walking past the Dragon Coaster on my first day, everyone looked at me like I was some sort of weirdo."
And as for his hopes to be mentored by an older ride operator, Karning has even less good news: "The only person here who's been here for more than three years is Bob the Sweeper, who gets dropped off from his group home every day and will only take direction if sung to the tune of 'Old McDonald.' He seems willing to teach me about the heritage of sweeping up garbage, but that's not really what I'm looking for. And as for the younger employees -- forget it! All they care about is getting paid and sneaking behind the Tilt-a-Whirl to get stoned, and . . ." Karning's voice then trailed off in disappointment.
"Though there is that one group of girls who always want me to talk about how much I love woodies. But they don't seem to be taking me seriously."
Tuesday, November 12, 2002
Six Flags New Jersey Cited for Human Rights Violations
Amusement park industry insiders were startled this morning by news that Amnesty International, the international human rights watchdog organization, has cited Six Flags New Jersey for “heinous violations of acceptable conduct toward its peoples.”
Although famous for its far-reaching and often successful efforts to fight against the imprisonment of citizens for political or religious beliefs, as well as efforts to end inhumane punishments such as torture and the death penalty, the organization has never before mounted a campaign against an American amusement park.
Said Amnesty representative Enrique de Conejo, “typically we focus our letter-writing and protest campaigns against major countries. In this case, however, we simply could not ignore this amusement park. We will set an example with Six Flags in the hope that other parks will end their own human rights violations.
Notable in Amnesty’s list of “unthinkable atrocities” is the staggeringly painful, poorly maintained, and ungreased wood racing coaster Rolling Thunder, which de Conejo referred to as a “barbaric insult to the free peoples of the planet Earth.” The Arrow looper known as Great American Scream Machine is labeled “a cruel and brutal assault on the dignity of park visitors, who only wish to think and speak freely, and not be subjected to violent cranial trauma.” However, the top target for Amnesty International’s focused mailing campaign will likely be the Viper, an insidious “torture rack” designed by a team of psychopathic Japanese scientists. Said de Conejo, “it is amazing that, in these enlightened times, an allegedly ‘free’ nation would openly practice the torture and degradation of its innocent civilians.” De Conejo then winced as he and reporters heard the pitiful wails of unspeakable agony wafting over from the latest trainload of Viper riders.
Six Flags Great Adventure remained defiant. “Give us a break here,” said park rep Lucifer Stallings. “We’re about to add our fourth B&M, for crying out loud. And we took those migraine-inducing torture devices off Chiller. Our park is making progress, and the radical group Amnesty International is just trying to impose its Eurocentric views on something that's important to our culture!”
If Amnesty International’s campaign proves successful, reports indicate the group may add other potential targets, such as King’s Island for its construction of The Beast, Vortex, and Son of Beast, Dorney Park for refusing to remove Hercules, and Vekoma for what sources describe "an unending series of attempts to inflict intense pain."
Sunday, November 10, 2002
ACE Members, Flaunting Policy, Discuss Something Besides Coasters
Word has been leaked to ARN&R that two American Coaster Enthusiasts were witnessed discussing topics that had nothing to do with roller coasters during the Funtown Fling event this past season. Enthusiasts are advised by authorities to be careful approaching these individuals, as they are presumed to be dangerous.
“I had my guard down, and they just nailed me when I wasn’t prepared,” said Pennsylvania coaster enthusiast Dan Bjerkin, 34. “I was waiting in line for a ride, and these two guys were talking about something besides roller coasters, which really should have been a huge red flag. I ignored the warning signs, though. Next minute, one leans over and asks if I knew the Canes-Noles score. What the hell are Canes and Noles?”
Vermont enthusiast Sue Spackley, 47, was also disturbed by the two non-coaster-discussing ACE members. “I don’t know what these guys were thinking. Everyone knows the acceptable topics for ACErs to talk about or have any knowledge of whatsoever: track lubrication methods, what seats are best, what gauge of track companies use, what the latest innovations for S&S/Arrow will be, whining about restraints and park policies, and how often each week your mother yells at you to go get a job and move out of her basement. I eavesdropped on these morons, and, within the space of 15 minutes, they talked about how their careers were going, an issue of The Onion, the fall foliage, several team sports, some guy they went to school with and couldn’t stand, filming techniques of Hitchcock, and even the dire financial state of symphony orchestras in America. One of them even apparently has a wife, and the other guy asked how she was. Obviously, their priorities are way off. I’m sending a letter to the ACE Disciplinary Committee.”
Located by ARN&R, the two enthusiasts, identified as Pennsylvanian Richard Neywitz, 28,and North Carolinian Kirk James, 30, were defiant toward ACE and its members. Said Neywitz, “Well, we love riding coasters and we talk about them more than our families would like, but it’s not like coasters are the only thing on the planet worth discussing.” James then chimed in, saying, “We made time to bitch about how much Vekoma sucks, and we were talking about some sections of various CCI rides we really enjoyed, but then I think we wandered off into discussions about politics and the Pulitzer Prize literature nominees. There IS more to life than reading coaster web sites all day long, after all.”
Authorities are considering serving warrants on the “two supposed enthusiasts” after an incident of possible assault at Funtown. After meeting Neywitz and James, ACE Member Jason Padilla, 27, suffered what was believed to be a mild heart attack, one he claimed was caused directly by James attempting to inquire if Padilla had seen the new DVD releases of any Kurosawa films. The guilt of James and Neywitz is in doubt, as some medical experts are convinced that the apparent heart attack was actually a gas reflux reaction caused when Padilla digested two entire roasted turkeys and a half-gallon of gravy at the ACE picnic immediately prior to the unprovoked attempt at conversation.
Bucking the trend, at least one ACE member had nothing but positive thoughts about the two non-coaster-discussing enthusiasts. Said Connecticut’s Tim Jolly, 46, “One of those guys told this really filthy joke to the other about someone named ‘Dubya.’ I had never heard of any ‘Dubya’ before, but I assume he must be one of the new engineers working for Intamin or B&M. I thought it was cool they let me in on the inside scoop like that.”
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