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Sunday, February 29, 2004
We're quite positive that tonight's Oscar ceremony will be filled with horrid things we can make fun of later tonight or tommorrow. However, just to whet your appetite until that point, we present a classic Oscar-themed ARN&R mockfest from last season:
Parks and Enthusiasts Dissed By Academy
Excitement reigned in Hollywood today as nominations for the 75th Oscars were announced. The picks by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences created their usual share of controversy, however. Reginald B. Eubanks III, for one, was appalled by the Academy’s decisions. "It was, like, I was personally dissed. Those [arts and science] people don't know anything about good entertainment when they see it. I can't believe they didn’t nominate one theme park or theme park attraction!"
Enthusiasts worldwide seemed misled in their beliefs that somehow this year's 75th annual Academy picks would include theme parks and theme park rides and attractions. "I can't believe Cedar Point was not at the top of their list!" bellowed Thomas Hogwell of Grand Forks, Michigan. "Millennium Force should've been a shoe-in for Best Dramatic Leading Performer."
“Some of these picks are indeed a surprise,” stated E! News’s Jules Asner. Chicago was expected to gather many nods, but who would have thought The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Swept Away, and Eight Crazy Nights wouldn’t have gotten Best Picture consideration? Natalie Portman and Hayden Christenson not getting Best Supporting nominations for their superb rendering of dialogue in Attack of the Clones is deeply puzzling. And how could The Raven be overlooked for Best Coaster, Wood? Catherine Zeta-Jones and Queen Latifah were both excellent, but Julianne Moore frankly doesn’t deliver the speed, airtime, and out of control thrill that the Raven does.”
Other amusement park lovers confessed shock and outrage. Said Dan Gordo, “I can’t believe Islands of Adventure was almost totally shut out of the nominations. Road to Perdition had a great score, but everything else nominated in that category was vastly inferior to the IOA soundtrack, particularly the part you hear in the Lost Continent area. And Cat in the Hat has Best Live Action Short written all over it. Well, at least Spiderman got the one nom for Visual Effects.” Upon learning that the Best Visual Effects nomination had gone to the movie of Spiderman rather than the ride, Gordo reportedly screamed and bashed his head through a wall.
"Jeepers," exclaimed 14-year-old Porter Everton, "this is the first year ever I will be allowed to stay up that late even to watch the event, but now I don't care. Those [Academy] people suck." Paramount parkgoer Jeremy Mac noted, "XLC could've at least gotten the shoe-in with Best Supporting Buttress." [Editor’s note: It is interesting that Mr. Everton would phrase his dismay in such fashion, as Jeepers Parks failed to receive any nominations, either, most surprising considering the fact that they built a Faces of Death-themed kiddie coaster this season.]
Sources close to ARN&R report that many amusement industry bigwigs have concluded the Academy of Arts and Sciences has no idea what it is doing. Walter Bolliger is alleged to have said, "Anyone who has ever ridden Alpengeist knows what Best Design is all about. Those [Academy] people know nothing."
Corporate reaction to the news was mixed. Six Flags President and CEO Roger Finterspoon furiously attacked the Academy in verbal repartee, "Damn you [Academy] guys! Damn you all to heck! I've got thirty-five parks worldwide and not one of them was nominated for a single thing! Not even a nod for Best Foreign Theme Park!" However, Disney, which has won numerous Academy Awards in the past, had no comment, except to express disappointment that Christopher Walken’s nomination was for Catch Me If You Can rather than The Country Bears.”
Thursday, February 26, 2004
"Letters to Rollercoaster!" Returns
Following the impressive debut of "Letters to Rollercoaster!," a new section of Rollercoaster! Magazine that features the “real life” experiences of enthusiasts who write in to tell of their most outrageous coaster experiences, the magazine has announced that the feature will indeed be a regular part of future issues of the world's leading magazine for coaster enthusiast self-love. ARN&R has obtained an advance copy of one of the letters set to appear in the upcoming issue:
It was a dark and stormy night. I knew something amazing was about to happen to me, but I did not know what it was yet. I was experiencing the wonders of Islands of Adventure. Naturally I was alone, because it's best to visit amusement parks without the burden of stupid friends who slow you down and prevent you from getting on Hulk and Doom the maximum number of times.
Because of the rain, I was unable to continue riding the roller coaters. Initially this was a catastrophe. Not riding coasters all day is like the end of the world, as you all know. But then I made the fateful decision to go ride Cat in the Hat instead of sulking, like a weaker man would have done when faced with as much as 20 minutes of time not spent riding coasters or jacking off.
I went through the queue. The ride op asked how many, and I told her "just one." She looked at me funny, and I thought maybe she would make fun of me for being at an amusement park alone, like all the other girls. But then she smiled and said, "Hang on, there's another single rider I can put with you."
Then I sat in the front seat of Cat in the Hat, and the most gorgeous creature sat down beside me. She was a striking brunette with dark blue eyes and full breasts, and she immediately asked me what my favorite Immelman was in the whole world. As out eyes locked, I could tell this meeting was a special time.
The lapbar came down, but I noticed that it left plenty of room. We were all alone on the ride. I knew what I was thinking, and I was pretty sure I knew what she was thinking. Soon our clothes were off, and we were totally doing it on Cat in the Hat, while still, of course, safely secured by the lapbar, so don't print letters from people saying we weren't being safe. It was great fun, but of course the spinning parts were kind of difficult on the lovemaking. Then we got our clothes on and the ride finished. She kissed me and then wandered off into the Port of Entry. I never even knew her name, so I just call her My Angel.
Several friends of mine have laughed that I never joined the Mile-High Club like they had. But now I have something on them. I'm the only one among anyone I know who is a member of the Dr. Seuss club! Thanks, My angel, and thanks, IOA for a great time!
I hope you print my letter.
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.
--MMS & CSB
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.
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
ACE Hires New Remedial Spelling Consultant
The American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) recently faced another of their myriad of public relations gaffes when it was revealed that large numbers of its executive committee and publications writers and editors were severely deficient in basic spelling. The shocking news came to light with the most recent issue of ACE News, which featured an article covering this past November's International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Trade Show.
In the article, the ACE booth at the show was described as having a "prime location," clear proof that the organization was in attendance as an exhibitor. Yet, a mere paragraph before, the article claimed the following: "Exhibitors ran the alphabetical gamut, from Amusement Today to Zierer." Puzzlingly, ACE either entirely forgot it was at the trade show, or failed to realize that the alphabetical gamut actually went, at the very least, from ACE to Zierer.
Fortunately, ACE has realized its problem, and has just announced the hiring of an expert who can assist prominent ACE leaders and editors with their ABC difficulties: Barney.
"Whoa, heidi-hoodily-doodily!" screamed the giant purple dinosaur, twirling and jumping in the air for emphasis. "The Alphabet is fun, fun, fun!" He then reached down and suggestively massaged Baby Bop's groin.
"Barney is so awesome!" said one ACE editor. "I always thought 'Amusement Today' came before 'American Coaster Enthusiasts' or 'ACE' when you arrange things alphabetically! But now I know that, when one wants things to be done according to alphabetical gamut, then either 'ACE' or 'American Coaster Enthusiasts' would actually come before 'Amusement Today.' Score!"
A spokesman for Barney indicated that the Purple One hoped to have all major ACE personalities knowing their alphabet within a week or two, but he felt that "working on the 'its-it's problem' was a "bit too advanced" and not "fun-de-dun-ton-fun" at this time.
Bow to Your New Master
It's pretty audacious to call yourself The Roller Coaster God. Even if one were spectacularly knowledgeable about roller coasters, or had written major dissertations on them, or had ridden more of them than any other human, the title is more than a little presumptuous. For instance, Robert Cartmell, Bob Coker, and Scott Rutherford have all written excellent books about coasters, yet all have had the good taste not to refer to themselves as "gods," "high exalted poobahs," or even "minor assistant Ancient Scandinavian deities." For crying out loud, even Paul Ruben doesn't call himself "The Roller Coaster God." Well, not in public, anyway.
Of course, some enthusiasts are bolder. However, when one of them develops a website that has approximately 437 links, and only about three of them actually work, then his claim to be "The Roller Coaster God" is unlikely to be seen as credible. His claim to the title of Roller Coaster God is also substantially hindered by his decision to note when his hopeless disaster of a website was "last Perfected" instead of "updated," and by offering these words of wisdom, which we reprint exactly as they appear on the front page of Roller Coaster God's site:
Welcome to God's Play Toy's. Designed by "The Future of Roller Coasters". It's that time of year again where all the theme parks are in FULL SWING for all us coaster enthusiast to enjoy the parks! Enjoy all of the information, pics, and tons of other things I have to offer!! -RollerCoasterGod
Please pick up your consolation surprises backstage, Roller Coaster God.
Oh, and, by the way, you just became the ARN&R Site O' the Weak.
Monday, February 23, 2004
Magic Springs Gets Alcohol Permit, Now Hoping for Gun and Chaw Permits
Magic Springs Amusement Park, located outside Hot Springs, Arkansas, recently announced that it had received a permit to sell beer and wine at its restaurants. The permit approval was considered a significant win for the park, especially as previous efforts had been rejected.
Less well-known are the park's future permitting plans. Park associate manager Ray Abney told ARN&R of the plans in an exclusive interview. "We's plannin' t'apply fer permits t'sell an' carry guns, 'specially six-shooters, an' to gets a permit allerin' us t'require ev'ry employee t'have a cheek full of chaw at all moments. We reckon this hyar will he'p help our park's sophisticated image even more, y'all!"
Researchers indicate that the park's efforts to allow widespread carrying of "six-shooters," both among guests and employees, and to require chewing tobacco usage among all employees are unprecedented in the modern era of amusement parks. "You have to go back to [defunct Arkansas park] Dogpatch USA to find a park that's embracing its heritage this enthusiastically," said amusement park historian Andy Sanders. "Even if it is a hick moron heritage that's only allowed for the state to be 49th-best at just about anything you can think of."
If the permits are granted, Magic Springs has reportedly looked into pursuing an exemption from the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution to allow for short-term slavery, in addition to a possible effort to permit in-park weddings among relatives, including siblings.
Friday, February 20, 2004
Disney Promises to Remake Muppets
Disney announced this week that it would acquire the rights to the Muppets characters, developed by Jim Henson, and it promised big changes.
"All that irony and humor that was so great in The Muppet Show, aiming above the four-year-old set? Gone," said spokesman Chad Munsinger. "We'll give those puppets some big creepy-ass eyes, put all the girls in princess dresses, and take out anything that might be considered remotely appealing to adults. We'll add in some hideous songs -- roughly half sung by Phil Collins to auto-generated ballad music, the other half sung in a piercing falsetto -- and blast the songs at approximately 110 decibels at every possible opportunity. It'll be great!"
Recalling the days when The Muppet Show and Muppets Tonight would feature quirky guest stars such as Prince, Phyllis Diller, Vincent Price, and Arlo Guthrie, Munsinger indicated that those days were long gone. "We're all about synergy now. If we have a Muppet television show, you'll be seeing other Disney characters and ABC personalities -- like maybe Barbara Walters. That'd be a hoot!"
Reports indicate that the Swedish Chef will be barred from all Disney properties ("too scary and insensitive to our Swedish guests") and that Bert and Ernie will only be seen during Gay Days. Gonzo will appear but will no longer have a romantic interest in chickens. And Animal will be replaced by a slightly rough-looking "but hot" twenty-something drummer "aimed at the tweener set."
[Ed. Note: Yes, we know Bert & Ernie aren't part of the deal since they were sold to CTW a ways back, so settle down and send us bizarre e-mails about something else.]
Thursday, February 19, 2004
ACE Election Season Gears Up
With the elections for ACE leadership positions coming up this year, candidates have begun to make themselves known, walking the campaign trail, making speeches, and developing important policies related to how ACE members should express their quite important coaster-loving hobby.
Two potential ACE officers made their pitch to the public recently on rec.roller-coaster. Sam Marks presented his qualifications for being ACE Treasurer with his highly unorthodox system for the computation of why this year's CoasterCon is an exceptional value. Essentially, Marks' method favorably compares the actual cost of the aptly-named Con with a computation that calculates what the cost of the equivalent number of days visiting the parks would be, assuming the visit to the parks was made by a complete and utter moron who was unaware that "season passes" exist. Most of the population has been swayed by Marks to agree that they were wrong, and in reality the Con fee is quite affordable for normal people who do not possess a substantial inheritance.
In the same forum thread, Rastus O' Ginga restates his intent to run for president of ACE, admitting that, while Carole Sanderson has done a good job of taking all his alleged advice, he will still run for her office under the platforms of claiming sole credit for any good idea ever concocted by ACE and convincing everyone that "homophobia is so cool."
Although current ACE Secretary Jeff Siefert failed to contribute any profound thoughts to the rec.roller-coaster thread, he assured ARN&R in a private interview that he will seek re-election to the same office on a campaign pledge to "defend racially insensitive jokes in our publications, trash any filthy garbage ACE members for voicing their opinions anywhere if they disagree with mine, and generally continue fighting against the common scum ACE members who aren't on the ACE Executive Committee, since their pathetic opinions don't matter at all."
Posted at 7:16 PM | Link |
Holy Land to Add Hardcore Thrills
Thrilling news has come forth from The Holy Land Experience, Orlando's newest theme park. According to park representatives, a truly exciting expansion will occur in the next two years: the addition of thrill rides.
In order to compete with area theme parks, the management team at THLE will start out with two coasters. First to open will be a family coaster called "The Holy Roller," a heavily-braked spinning mouse from Maurer-Sohne. But this ride will pale in comparison to the massive, bulging monster that will soon be erected nearby.
A representative from The Holy Land Experience had the following to say:
The biggest, baddest and scariest coaster on the planet will be from S&S/Arrow and will incorporate virtually every "trick in the book." It will be like Six Flags Magic Mountain's X, but will be launched to 123 miles per hour via compressed air to shoot up a vertical tower 666 feet, into the top-hat element. Then it penetrates violently down into a tunnel, making the first drop actually 700 feet, thereby negating the devilish height of the initial climb. Emerging from the tunnel, the train will negotiate 13 loops including the newest inversion, the "soixante-neuf" element. The only possible name for this coaster, seeing as it will surely be the scariest coaster ever: "The B'Jesus."
An extremely reliable source claims indisputable evidence, namely his overhearing two park employees talking, that B'Jesus will open just in time for The Holy Land Experience's infamous and popular Gay Days in early summer, 2005.
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
New Ride Problematic for Designers
Universal Studios Florida's design team is having great difficulties with how to handle their upcoming thrill ride, League of Extraordinary Gentleman: The Experience, say sources. The gigantic thrill ride, reported to cost over 200 million dollars, is based on the film that proved to be a massive hit both with critics and audiences around the globe, and is set to begin construction soon after the substantial Mummy ride opens. However, the designers have reached an impasse.
"It's just too daunting," said designer Doug Malkey. "How can we contain a movie of such magnificence, such acting prowess, and such technical brilliance within a mere amusement park ride? I'm particularly flabbergasted by the whole Venice sequence, which would obviously have to be a part of any great movie ride involving LXG! How, in a single ride, are we to tackle such fabulous and realistic material as a car chase in Venice, or graveyard fights in Venice, or a giant submarine navigating the canals of Venice, and not make it seem retarded compared to the magnificent movie upon which it is based?"
Malkey also noted that "the attention the writers of the movie paid to the original graphic novel and the Victorian-era classics upon which the characters were based is simply astonishing. The writers clearly studied all these books and characters for as much as three minutes before beginning principal photography. They especially knew every detail about Dorian Gray, like how he is immortal, even to bullets, unless he sees his painting. It's amazing how close that is to the actual Oscar Wilde book, which means we'll have to peruse the text even more, say, five minutes, in order to delve further and present more in-depth material that fans will crave!"
Added Malkey, "how can we ever hope to have characters this well-written? How can we write dialogue that won't seem stupid compared to the sheer poetry being spoken in the movie? How can we perfrom special effects that come anywhere near those spectacular shots created for the movie? You know, the explosions and the Hyde effects shots that they farmed out for eight dollars to this six-year-old kid Davey who lives down the street from me? And, most importantly, can we come up with clever ideas like a vampire who walks around in the daylight or a character like Tom Sawyer who is from the wrong era compared to the rest of the characters? It's daunting, I tell you, daunting."
Malkey concluded by noting that "all those old books are really boring since you have to, like, read words or something," so the design team would primarily focus on the brilliant script, well-thought-out plot, and Sean Connery's whoring of his good name for ideas on how to construct a ride that "will do justice to one of the great works of culture ever created by mankind."
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
New Photo Controversy Surrounds Alveys
Robb Alvey, whose photographic exploits have garnered much debate and furor on both coaster forums and newsgroups in the past year, has once again found trouble with the publishing of new photos which document the first night of his honeymoon.
The controversial photos, published last night at themeparkreview.com, provide all viewers with extensive documentation of his own personal "exclusive ERT" with his new wife Elissa the night of his wedding at Walt Disney World.
The exclusive ride time, which, based on the camera's timestamp, appears to have lasted over an hour, drew many criticisms in reference to actions performed in the photographs. Among the complaints so far posted have been "use of a camera during the ERT without permission," "Elissa, at one point, totally standing up," and perhaps the most common complaint: "Robb and Elissa's improper use of restraints."
Alvey, reached just before press time, claims he had the full permission of the Orlando hotel in question for all actions performed in the photographs.
Monday, February 16, 2004
Celebrate the Love With ACN
We've already got a couple of really good Sites O' the Weak lined up and ready to go, but we figured everyone would be really upset if we didn't celebrate Valentine's Day in some fashion. So, this week, join us in bathing and splashing around in the love with America Coasters Network, as they discuss their experiences, or lack thereof, during the holiday.
You might well gag as one poster brags about how "the smooch smooch was totally awesome," and puzzle over the incomprehensibility of the post directly below it, but at least this thread does not feature any weepy, tacky, amateuristic poetry. Yet. Nonetheless, this thread is our Site O' the Weak. Happy Late Valentine's Day!
ARN&R willingly corrects factual errors made on this website. If you feel we have posted something that is incorrect, and sincerely believe we care about your feelings, please feel free to send us an email.
-A recent headline accused ACE Secretary Jeff Seifert of riding an adorable, precious little tricycle. This was partially incorrect; sources tell us this was technically a Big Wheel he was riding. We regret the error.
-We recently claimed in an article that a new Sea World Texas ride called the Shamu Express was not a roller coaster, but was actually a conveyance specifically designed just to cart ACE members around the park. This was a typo.
-Last week, an ARN&R article referred to Clementon Lake Park as "nimrods" for removing Jack Rabbit, one of the world's oldest wood coasters. The actual phrase that should have been used was "dimwitted buffoons." We apologize for this error.
-Within the past few days, an ARN&R staff member claimed in an article that he was "really looking forward to the upcoming season at Quassy Amusement Park." This, of course, is completely untrue. Under the assumption that this staff member is either a compulsive liar or bats**t crazy, he was been temporarily suspended and placed under observation. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Sunday, February 15, 2004
Nine Billion Wild Adventures Signs All Fail to Mention Park's Coasters Shut Down During Slightest Drizzle
Coaster enthusiast Kirk James, 31, was "unbelievably pissed" and "full of boiling hatred for" Wild Adventures Theme Park this weekend.
"I can't believe this f**king place," snarled James, spittle flying out of his mouth. "I drove hours out of my way to go to this stupid park, since they added about four coasters since my last visit, and subjected myself to the univiting landscape of Southern Georgia and Northern Florida, not to mention at least eight gatrillion insipid South-of-the-Border-like billboard ads for the park. And then I pull up to the gates, and what do I see? Not coasters running, I'll tell you that much!"
James noted that, while the park advertises itself as an amazing thrill park, they shut down every single coaster in the park due to weather conditions, which consisted of a terrifying light sprinkle and a horrifying cool breeze.
James went on: "None of the fifty trillion stupid Wild Adventures billboards mentioned that the park would close down at the slightest hint of a relative humidity over 20%. And their imbecilic radio station also failed to mention that they're big, fat p**sies who are terrified of a light mist. Don't they know it's safe to run coasters in a slight drizzle? They were running all the stupid flat rides, which, for some reason, must be safe. Of course, they sure didn't mind charging full parking and admission so dumbass people could go inside and sit on the Ferris Wheel and watch whatever idiotic shows are indoors."
James further noted that "also, the woman at Guest Services I politely called from the parking lot to see if any coasters might actually run under any circumstance that day was a rude bitch. I certainly did not pay for parking or admission, and instead drove the f**k home. Hope they don't expect to see my ass at their dumb park again."
James concluded by stating a moderately strong desire for Wild Adventures to "cram Cheetah up its ass." Officials for the amusement park, located outside of gorgeous, scenic, cultural, and not-at-all-filled-with-Deliverance-extras Valdosta, Georgia, refused to comment.
Friday, February 13, 2004
Design Poorly Like a Hurricane
If you're designing a professional website for an amusement attraction of some sort, it really helps to do two things: 1) Present important information such as operating hours and prices in concise language in an easily-accessible location of the site and 2) Make the website easy to load and navigate. If your information can be readily gleaned by people who aren't full of rage over the fact that your site took two hours to load and then failed to provide them with useful facts, they might actually come and give you money. Maybe lots of it.
The website for the Hurricane roller coaster in Dania Beach, Florida, offers an interesting contrast in its effectiveness at tackling both of these points. As far as presenting important information, we're all set. Visitors can locate prices, special deals, and operating hours right there on the front page. Now, as for the "easy to load and navigate" part...uh......
Can we suggest that amusement parks stop hiring web designers who like to put every single trick on the front page, making it all sparkly and bright and wacky at the expense of legibility and functionality? Why does the front page of this website need all those pictures, animated files, rotating letters, and even a random sound clip? It's full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
All the excess party tricks and trinkets on this website make it our Site O' the Weak, but since one can actually find useful information amongst all this mess (unlike, say, that atrocious Six Flags website), it's only going to end up having the dubious honor for a few days.
Posted at 12:30 AM | Link |
Thursday, February 12, 2004
Comcast Makes Unsolicited Bid for NASA, Kazakhstan
Declaring that this would be the week that an incompetent cable company with a strong hatred for its customers would make an effort to greatly expand the scope of its business drastically outside its all-too-limited capabilities, Comcast Cable today announced that it would make unsolicited bids to purchase NASA and the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan. The announcement came on the heels of Comcast's $66 billion offer for Disney.
"We've been not satisfying our customers in the relatively straightforward business of connecting televisions to wires for years now, and we've decided it's time to not satisfy customers in other business areas where we have absolutely no relevant experience!" declared Brian L. Roberts, Comcast's CEO. "If you think you've been insulted and ignored by Comcast's customer service representatives, wait until we get that same can't-do attitude instilled in Disneyland employees! I look forward to a day where not only will Mickey Mouse refuse to pose for a picture with your kids, but will send you bills for the picture for months afterwards. Mickey might take a leak on your pants-leg, too."
On today's bids for NASA and Kazakhstan, Roberts was similarly enthusiastic. "All NASA really needs is to learn from the efficiency of our cable installers. If we just told Congress that we would launch a mission to Mars sometime between 10 a.m. on January 1, 2009, and 3:00 p.m. on December 31, 2056, I'd say the pressure would be off and the funding would keep on coming!"
"And what can I say about Kazakhstan? Actually, you know, I can't say anything about Kazakhstan. We just had some more money and thought it'd be fun to own a country. I don't even know where it is."
Sources indicate that Comcast may also seek to purchase the University of Texas and most of the national park system.
Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Hello to That Guy Who Recognized Our Shirt
A special hello goes out today to that guy at Islands of Adventure who noticed one of our writers wearing an ARN&R t-shirt and said "Love the shirt!" as the two passed at Hulk Monday afternoon. The writer was unfortunately so dumbfounded by the fact that someone recognized what the heck the shirt meant that he failed to engage the guy in an enthusiastic chat about why on earth he had bothered to read our website. Instead, he mumbled out something like, and we quote, "Huh? Really?" This unwittingly thwarted the chance for the writer to be offered praise for articles, or perhaps slugged in the gut, if it turned out he had dissed a favorite park or the guy who passed by near Hulk. Sorry.
Anyway, Guy Near Hulk, we appreciate your kind words. Although we are amused by the enthusiastic and incomprehensible hate mail we receive, we also are quite fond of people knowing and enjoying our product. And don't forget, you too can have one of those lovely and seductive t-shirts at our online store!
Tuesday, February 10, 2004
Enthusiast Reads Book
In an event that experts call unprecedented, coaster enthusiast Jon Danky read a book earlier this month. Moreover, the book's title contained neither "thrill" nor "coaster" nor "ride" nor "amusement."
The shocking event occurred when Danky found himself bored on a Thursday afternoon after checking CoasterBuzz, Thrillride, Thrillnetwork, Westcoaster, Rec.Roller-Coaster, Screamscape, and Ultimate Rollercoaster four times each consecutively for updates. Finding none, his eyes wandered his room and settled on something he hadn't thought of in over a month -- a book, The Price of Loyalty, written by Ron Suskind based on extensive interviews with former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill. The book, a gift from Danky's aunt and uncle, provides O'Neill's recollections of his time in the Bush White House.
Danky, having exhausted his amusement park-related options, read the book over the next three days. "It was okay, I guess," said Danky. "But it's no The Haunted Park (RollerCoaster Tycoon, No. 5)," he added, referring to the fifth in a lenghty series of novelizations based on the popular RollerCoaster Tycoon videogame. "Jake, Carlos, and Hanna -- now those are some great characters, and the way they hung out in the haunted amusement park was so exciting."
Sunday, February 08, 2004
HersheyPark to Offer Head Injuries, Lobotomies as Part of Storm Runner Theme
HersheyPark announced yesterday that in addition to the extensive Wild West theming that has pervaded its promotion of the new Intamin rocket coaster "Storm Runner," it's going to do all it can to help its guests get into the spirit of the ride.
Along with props and theme-appropriate music throughout the area surrounding Storm Runner, park officials plan to provide serious head injuries and/or partial lobotomies so that patrons will be able to fully appreciate the wacky stylings of "that Western dude with the huge moustache," as the character is thus far known. "We may also forcibly place chaw in the mouths of our guests and urge them to drink a lot of Lone Star, but we're still working on the legalities of that."
ACErs getting a tour of the construction site were among the first to undergo the head injury/lobotomy features. Among the relatively few members who showed any change in behavior, the effort was considered a success. "Hee haw, that was a rollickin' good time, pardner!" exclaimed James Kierkly, a formerly suave and sophisticated resident of Connecticut. "It was better 'n' a barn full of fresh-cut hay. Or somethin' like that -- I'm not up on the Wild West metaphors."
HersheyPark is presently hiring both former bouncers and neurosurgeons to provide the head injuries and lobotomies. A decision about which approach will be used is expected before the start of the season.
Thursday, February 05, 2004
Dean Promises Billions in Aid for Little A-Merrick-A
Former Vermont governor Howard Dean today visited the closed-for-the-season Little A-Merrick-A amusement park outside Madison, Wisconsin, promising billions of dollars of federal aid for the park if he is elected.
"This fine park is employing upwards of eight or nine people at a time, and it's got this wonderful...uh, what the hell is that thing?" inquired Dean, pointing at a structure surrounding the park. After leaning over to listen to an aide's whispers, Dean continued, "A wonderful monorail, providing clean and efficient transportation from here at the park...back around to the place you got on. Huh. Anyway, the park's made vague noises about installing a bigger coaster, and that's enough for me to promise $2 billion in federal aid."
"Look, vote for me. I need to win Wisconsin."
Dean is reportedly planning on promising national guard troop assistance to control the punks at Big Chief Karts and Coasters who keep ramming into other patrons' cars, and to make a vacation at Tommy Bartlett's Water Show mandatory for all U.S. citizens. He is also considering proposing tactical nuclear strikes on Six Flags Great America to increase Wisconsin tourist dollars.
War for Coaster-Themed Thong Domination Escalates
Tensions were renewed today, as news leaked out that the Coasterbuzz website is not only offering a Coasterbuzz thong for sale, but has actually sold one.
As members of Coasterbuzz proudly trumpeted their achievement in coaster thong sales, other webmasters vowed to strike back and sell more thongs than Coasterbuzz, no matter the cost. Also, several noted that the Coasterbuzz thong discussion was "pretty gross."
"We can't understand why a mere fansite such as Coasterbuzz would be able to rise to the top of the world's coaster thong business with this one sale," noted Wonder Zone administrator Sangsook Pak through an interpreter. "Our thongs feature characters stolen from other parks and make wacky boinging sounds when you tug them out of your crotch."
"We'll be needing to divert a lot more funds into development and advertising for our things," said ACE Secretary and Chief Member Berater Jeff Seifert. "We've done great with our muumuus, but we simply can't let a site like Coasterbuzz outsell us in the key market demographic of coaster thong wearers. Maybe we'll add super-small thongs for our members, or just sell some stained, used ones. After all, coaster lovers are often in the habit of buying stained and filthy coaster shirts on Ebay and at swap meets. Why not pee-soaked ACE thongs?"
ARN&R itself was shaken to its very foundations by news of another website successfully selling a thong. "We've been offering a lovely Beast thong at our store for months," said an exasperated Editor in Chief. "Since ours come from Cafe Press, they are clearly of superior quality. I can't wait until this CB thong purchaser has their product dissolve in the midst of a chilly, moist Phoenix Phall Phunfest next year!"
Wednesday, February 04, 2004
BORG Attraction to be Highly Interactive
According to Ty Granoroli, director of the forthcoming BORG Invasion 4D attraction set to open in Las Vegas, hints that visitors will receive an unprecedented level of interactive involvement.
In an interview with startrek.com, Granoroli states that "[g]uests will literally experience what it's like to be assimilated by the Borg, the most menacing enemies in the Star Trek Universe."
"We had no idea the ride would be quite this immersive," stated enthusiast Jen Giskahn, 29. "We figured there would be a film and some actors and neat effects, but this is well beyond that. Since 'literal' means 'within the strict meaning of' and 'to be interpreted verbatim,' this must mean that we will actually be assimilated by BORG!
"I can't wait to have parts of my body literally ripped off so that I can literally have metal replace them. And I eagerly anticipate literally being probed in all sorts of uncomfortable bodily openings, and literally having large portions of my brain scooped out without anesthesia so computer processors can be literally rammed in there in place. And, of course, it will be fun to literally be made a part of a hive mind, where I will have no choice but to literally destroy entire civilizations and literally incorporate other sentient beings into the collective!"
She concluded by noting, "the only bad thing is that we will only be able to experience this attraction once, because we will be literally be turned into evil cyborgs and all. But I'm sure that one ride will literally blow me apart!"
Tuesday, February 03, 2004
British Lodging Problematic for ACE Member
Peter Wolf, 35, a member of the American Coaster Enthusiasts, is planning an extended trip to England to ride roller coasters at parks such as Alton Towers, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, and Lightwater Valley. Unfortunately, he has been having trouble locating housing with fellow enthusiasts across the pond.
“I don’t get it,” says Wolf. “I figured I’d just open up my ACE Membership Directory and call a bunch of British members. Surely our shared love of coasters and shovel-loads of greasy buffet foods would bridge any cultural gaps, and we’d get along great. I was surprised that, every time I called to see if anyone could house me, they burst into laughter and called me names.”
“For instance,” he continues, “I called this one guy who lives in North London. We were having a nice chat, and then I asked if Alton Towers sells any fanny packs, or whether, because I’m tall, I would be in danger of getting my face bonked by anything there. This guy howled with laughter, called me a ‘poofter’ and a ‘Yankee git,’ and hung up. What the hell?”
Sources close to ARN&R inform us that, to Brits, “fanny” is a very filthy term for the female anatomy, while “bonk” is a moderately rude word for the human sexual act.
“Then there was this other enthusiast I called over there,” says Wolf. “All I did was ask if he had a shag carpet, and he cackled and called me a ponsey hairdresser. I don’t see what the deal is.”
Wolf tells ARN&R that he may put off his trip to England. “If everyone there is going to laugh at things I say, then I don’t know if I’ll enjoy being over there,” he says. “Plus, I dunno, they seem a little more open than I’m used to. Like, the last guy I tried to call, he wasn’t home, and I got his wife. She told me she’d be happy to have him call me back in a few minutes, but right then he’d ‘stepped outside for a fag.’ That’s kind of TMI. I think I’ll try a trip to Canada or something.”
Sources close to ARN&R inform us that “fag” is merely a slang term for “cigarette.”
Monday, February 02, 2004
We Wonder What Moron Designed the Wonder Zone Website
Although it bereaves us greatly to leave the awesome weirdness of the ARN&R Fanfic Pleasure Village 2000 behind as our Site O' the Weak, we must not tarry in our mission to present, for your edification, as many awful amusement park-related websites as humanly possible. With that in mind, bear witness to the supreme god-awfulness that is the official site for Wonder Zone Amusement Park, a Site O' the Weak for the ages.
Yes, this is an actual "professional" webpage created for an actual theme park in Korea.
Assuming your computer doesn't explode in a shower of sparks attempting to handle loading the massively active front page, enjoy (if that is the appropriate term) the day-glo colors, nauseatingly adorable characters, and the dizzying array of useless graphics. Be sure to have your volume turned well up on your speaker when you run your mouse over the menu items, or else you'll miss out on all those things that bounce around and go "Booooiiiinnnnnggggg!" And then you'd be denying yourself the full spectrum of terror this website can provide.
The park map is also quite fun. First of all, there are all sorts of things that make loud sounds and burst into view if you scroll around a little with your mouse, and that's pretty damn irritating. But, more importantly, does anyone notice any ride names, logos, or mascots anywhere on the page that seem not to be the property of Wonder Zone Amusement Park? Note to Wonder Zone: sometimes a better and more famous amusement park creates a logo for itself or its rides or other properties. It is generally considered "in poor taste," "copyright infringement," and "stealing" if you use those same logos and names for rides in your crappy park. Just thought we'd let you know.
And finally, we'd be remiss if we didn't direct you to the page for a particular hilariously-named ride at the Wonder Zone website. First problem: if you have a park in a nation where the language is not English, it's probably best not to concoct a name for a ride using random English words if you don't know what they mean together. Second problem: if you steal the logo used to represent another park, change one word in the logo, and use it for a ride at your park, it's still stealing. Sorry to be a killjoy.
PS to Wonder Land: it is also really unwise to have ride names featuring the word "tang" anywhere in them.
Six Flags, Recognizing Huge Success of Houston SuperBowl, Announces Upgrades for Astroworld PR Department
SuperBowl XXXVIII, held at Houston's Reliant Stadium, turned the attention of the world to Houston, Texas, and Six Flags Inc. noticed.
"We recognize that Houston is becoming an increasingly major tourist attraction, with world-class sports, arts, and commerce," declared the company in a press release. "In recognition of this, we'd like to announce that AstroWorld is a high priority for us and will continue to receive rides that we will describe in our press releases as excellent, exciting, and thrilling. Our announcements will continue to trumpet used and/or cloned rides from Vekoma, Arrow, S&S, and other occasionally competent companies as new, high-speed, and beloved. We will be certain to find at least two enthusiasts for each press day that will be eager to say the same. We believe this focus on continuing to describe our rides in thrilling terms is a way to show the level of respect and love we feel for the people of Houston."
AstroWorld is expected to receive PR staff from Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, which mastered the art of the press release in its description of a decades-old shuttle loop as its "newest megacoaster."
Sunday, February 01, 2004
Time for the Big Game
We know literally thousands of people will be looking to ARN&R to help celebrate their Super Bowl Sunday in style. Unfortunately, we have lots of other stuff to do. For instance, the Assistant Editor will be far too busy watching the Queer Eye marathon and then switching to the Super Bowl at the absolute last second so as to hopefully avoid viewing the insightful pre-game commentary of Phil Simms and Deion Sanders entirely. Also there will be beer.
However, we feel bad about leaving you in the lurch, so we're presenting a Very Special Rerun of not one, but two exciting football-related articles from last season. Of course, we're way too lazy to update the names, so you'll need to be creative. For instance, the Bengals made the stunning leap from "bad high school practice squad" to "pretty mediocre" this year, so maybe the second article will be more topical if you substitute a rancid team from this year, such as the Arizona Cardinals, San Diego Chargers, or New York Giants. And, of course, Warren Sapp will still probably talk some trash, even though he's sitting on his ass watching the game because of the fact that his team was a bunch of chokers this season. So you can actually leave him in the first article, but then substitute various Panther and Patriot names where applicable. Have fun!
Super Bowl Trash Talk Hits Bulletin Board
As Super Bowl festivities get underway today, the Raiders have extra incentive for victory, in the form of taunts made by Buccaneers noseguard Warren Sapp. Sapp’s inflammatory comments immediately appeared on the Raiders bulletin board.
A selection of Sapp’s inflammatory comments are reprinted below:
“Yo, Charlie Garner sucks worse than Raging Wolf Bobs.”
“Lincoln Kennedy is so fat people yell 'Free Willy' when he sits on the beach. I bet he’s a card-carrying member of the American Coaster Enthusiasts.”
“Rich Gannon’s gonna be spending more time on his ass than the Rolling Thunder paint crew.”
“I heard Bill Romanowski’s momma is so stupid, she likes it when the lap bar ratchets her down in the seat so she can’t get no airtime.”
“Warren is doing his best with his antics to get under our skin, but it won’t work,” stated Raiders receiver Jerry Rice. “All he’s doing is giving us more incentive to win this game.”
Rice added that Sapp has lots of really stupid coasters in his top ten list, and that “he can only fit his big ass in Row 5 of a B&M inverted coaster.”
Cincinnati Bengals: "We're Going to Boardwalk and Baseball!"
The refrain has been repeated for years: after the Super Bowl, the winners yell with delight, "We're going to Disneyland!"
But the worst-in-league Bengals (2-14 this season) like to do things differently. So, instead of visiting the magical world of Disney, the players all decided they'd visit Boardwalk and Baseball, the long-defunct Haines Park, Florida amusement park. But the Bengals didn't know the park (formerly known as Circus World) had closed over a decade earlier.
After getting to the park's former site, Bengals' almost-quarterback Jon Kitna shared his thoughts in an exclusive ARN&R interview. "I just remember thinking it was the greatest place in the world when I visited back in the early '80s with my family. I had no idea it had closed down, and I guess nobody thought to ask before we flew down there."
The park now consists of the decrepit ruins of a baseball stadium, vast expanses of cracking concrete, and a stunning array of garbage left by nearby residents. During the ten-minute visit, three Bengals were bitten by rabid dogs, and at least a dozen were visibly crying.
"Next year, it'll be different," said Kitna. "We'll win the Super Bowl, and then -- we're so totally gonna ride Thunderbolt at Coney Island!"
By the way, in case you're really not too sharp, this is satire.
Our favorite review: "as a joke it [ARN&R] wasn't that funny. all of my family take parks very seriuslyand all thow we laffed after time we were apoled by the joke."
Anything you e-mail us is fair game to go on the site or to be used in any other way, including printing it up real big and posting it outside AbsolutelyReliableTowers.
Sorry, your IQ must be this high and your age at least 18 to be among the intended readers of ARN&R. Please enjoy some of our other attractions.
We like gravy and the occasional buffet. The greatest thing ever, however, would be a gravy buffet.