Still here. But mostly in 140 characters.
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Saturday, November 23, 2002
 
National Nightmare Ends; ARN&R Shop Back Up

After eight hours of anguish, Ye Olde Absolutely Reliable News & Rumors Shoppe has reopened for the teeming masses. Click on "Ye Olde Shoppe" over there to the left.

Posted at 12:38 PM | Link | 0 comment(s)

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S&S Power Launches New Assorted Meat Products Division

Continuing his pattern of acquisitions and expansions, S&S Power founder Stan Checketts announced yesterday the establishment of S&S Meat Parts, a wholly-owned subsidiary. S&S Meat Parts "will focus on the needs of amusement parks as it relates to meat and meat-related products," said Checketts, standing atop his new "Absolutely Insane Hot Dog Heater," rising four feet above the folding table at S&S's Logan, Utah, headquarters. "I don't know much about meat, but I know a good hot dog, and I know a guy with a lot of extra hog parts, so I think we're in good shape there. Plus, I can build these hot dog heaters using our patented launch air technology, and you should see those weiners fly through the air."

The first customer for S&S Meat Parts's products is reported to be Paramount's Kings Island, where the machine is expected to operate for four days and stand nonfunctional for the balance of the season.

Posted at 10:35 AM | Link | 0 comment(s)

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Massive ARN&R Traffic Brings CafeShops Server to its Knees

In a rush of traffic not seen since the online Victoria's Secret fashion show, tens of millions of loyal ARN&R readers rushed to Ye Olde Absolutely Reliable News & Rumors Shoppe and promptly brought the entire CafeShops system to a screeching halt. We apologize for the inconvenience; clearly, the hundreds of thousands of dollars we spent on the store will come back through protracted and vicious litigation.

Or maybe CafeShops is just having problems and it'll be back up soon (hopefully). In any event, we know it's broken. Your opportunity to give us money will come back soon.

Posted at 10:04 AM | Link | 0 comment(s)

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Friday, November 22, 2002
 
ARN&R Store Opens; Looting Occurs Almost Immediately

After weeks of anticipation, Ye Olde Absolutely Reliable News & Rumors Shoppe opened simultaneously earlier today with locations in London's prestigious Glaxonbury Shopping District, Park Avenue in New York, the Oevurue Malloiux in Paris, and Fargo, North Dakota (which demanded a location to avoid litigation over ARN&R's claim that it had been purchased to serve as a parking lot for Six Flags Over the Upper Midwest).

For shoppers not in one of those locations, there's also an online store with painstakingly-designed t-shirts and boxer shorts, with more to come. A better selection cannot be had in all the thirteen colonies, and there's nothing better to wear to an enthuiast event than something that will likely incur the ire of 95% of those around you. So, um, enjoy!

All proceeds will go to benefit ARN&R.

Posted at 3:29 PM | Link | 0 comment(s)

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Superman: Tower of Power To Premiere

Ending months of speculation, Six Flags Over Texas announced its new thrill ride for the upcoming 2003 park season last Friday. Beginning in the spring, Superman: Tower of Power will rise into the skyline.

The new attraction will consist of a trio of massive S&S Combo Towers, each of which will launch riders into the air, then blast them back down, using the company’s patented air-compression technology. At 315 feet tall, the ride will be a signature attraction at the original Six Flags-branded amusement venue.

Industry insiders are surprised at the choice of theming. Said a competing park’s general manager, who spoke on condition of anonymity, “The superhero theming was getting tiresome, but it was at least a proven marketing tie-in. I’m not too sure about this Tower of Power thing, but best of luck to them.”

In keeping with that Tower of Power theme, the area around the ride will be transformed to look like a moderately sized arena, and funk and soul hits will blare from loudspeakers. The crowning glory will be the extensive participation of the actual Tower of Power band. Legendary baritone sax man Stephen “Doc” Kupka will provide an ominous backstory over monitors in the preshow area, while actual members of the band will perform on the ride while it is in progress.

Said SFOT manager Elliot Bergman, “We know some people may wonder about the strategy of theming a ride to a long-time brass soul band. It will work out just great. Some folks at the home office have been worried about reduced capacity, since 6 of the ride’s total of 36 seats will be taken up by a rotating cast of band members at all times, and the band itself has some unfounded concerns about keeping time and pitch while being separated on the different towers and getting blasted up and down at 60 miles per hour, but we think the difficulties are more than compensated for by the unique immersive experience.”

Bergman refused to confirm rumors that sometime Tower of Power collaborators Huey Lewis and the News would be performing on top of the giant ride on weekends, but did add cryptically that he “could imagine nothing more thrilling than blasting up and down hundreds of feet in the air while listening to ‘Stuck With You’ and ‘Hip To Be Square.’”

--JCK

Posted at 10:13 AM | Link | 0 comment(s)

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Thursday, November 21, 2002
 
Crusading Legislator Takes On New Target

Massachusetts Congressman Edward “Biz” Markey (D-MA), most famous in recent years for his tireless efforts to rid the world of pleasurable amusement park experiences, is making waves in the nation’s Capitol again this week. Although he has campaigned extensively to pass legislation restricting roller coaster gravitational forces (also known as G-forces) and require amusement parks to answer to federal examinations and standards, Markey announced a new expansion of his personal war on dangerous pastimes during a speech this afternoon on Capitol Hill.

“While my colleagues and I will fight unceasingly to rid the nation of enjoyable amusement attractions, and will continue to attempt to foist ignorant federal regulators upon a uniformly safe sector of the economy, we have only just begun our battle against American outdoor recreation,” said Markey. “Our new crusade will be to bring the dangerous shuffleboarding industry to its knees.”

Shuffleboard, a demure outdoor game played primarily by South Florida octogenarians, involves the use of a long stick (the “cue”) which players use to push the small puck-like objects (the “disks”) onto a marked-off target to score points.

Markey cited numerous statistics in his speech, chiefly the 1998 United States Consumer Products Safety Commission Report, which states, “injuries from less active sports, such as…shuffleboard…increased moderately or not at all from 1990 to 1996.”

“Clearly this indicates a warning trend that shuffleboard honchos want the American Public to ignore,” sneered Markey, pounding his fist, Krushchev-like, upon his podium. “With all of their supposed ‘advancements’ in gear and playing techniques, they still maintain nearly the same horrific rate of injuries after six years. This scourge on our people must be stopped.”

Aside from the apparently damning government report, Markey provided additional support for his claims. “I have certified sources who attest that 37 people have suffered fatal injuries during the course of these barbaric matches over the past 3 years. Of course, I’m not going to tell you the names of these sources or produce any documents proving any of this is remotely true, but I will relentlessly quote these figures anyway. 37 fatalities! 37!” Markey further noted a “stunning” number of shuffleboard players who have developed arthritis, osteoporosis, erectile dysfunction, incontinence, hearing loss, and even senility “solely and entirely from playing this deadly game.” Markey has indicated a desire to require all players to either wear ski boots welded to the floor or to be suspended by steel cables throughout all game play to avoid any risk of falling. He may also push for requiring that pucks be made of foam.

Calls by ARN&R to the National Shuffleboard Association offices were not returned.

--JCK

Posted at 8:49 AM | Link | 0 comment(s)

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Wednesday, November 20, 2002
 
ARN&R Gets Own Domain, Plans World Domination

Hey. We moved out of that rinkydink town over to our very own domain: AbsolutelyReliable.com. One of these days, we'll get redirection pages up there.

Oh, and we're going to dominate the world through a devious secret plan involving getting people to read made-up coaster rumors. So thanks for helping with that. There will be t-shirts also.

And, for the ACErs among you: gravy. And cake. Sometimes both combined.

Posted at 10:08 AM | Link | 0 comment(s)

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Vekoma Unveils New Ride at IAAPA

Amusement ride manufacturer Vekoma unveiled its latest offerings this week at the convention for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). Running from November 20-23, this annual showcase of amusement parks and concessions takes place at Orlando’s Orange County Civic Center. IAAPA’s yearly convention is generally the largest of its type each year, and visitors are treated to a large array of new rides and offerings from all the major companies.

As always, the most scrutinized booth at the convention is the one for Dutch manufacturer Vekoma. Due to the company’s production of a long line of successful products, such as SLC’s, Boomerangs, Invertigos, and Flying Coasters, attendees are always eager to meet with Vekoma’s crack team of cruel, twisted scientists to view their new offerings to the world.

“We feared that we could never top the headbanging of the SLC, the nausea of the Flying Coaster, or the all-around…how shall we put it?…evil of the Boomerang,” said Vekoma mad scientist Dr. Herbert von Blauvelt. “But we sadistic denizens of Vekoma’s dark, underground, hidden lair have brought the citizens of Earth a new, more glorious, roller coaster that will make them weep with pain. Our time has come!”

Dramatically whipping aside a large pelt, von Blauvelt uncovered the latest Vekoma coaster, a prototype named “Der Überleistepfünder." “Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!” screamed the scientist to the cheering crowds. “Notice the granite head restraints situated less than three inches to each side of the average rider’s head. There will be three feet of track shimmy to emphasize the cranial dislodgement…that’s our most fiendish amount of rattle yet! Then…get this…riders will be suspended below the track by a hard iron bar secured only around their stomachs. Oh, we’re so wicked, so wicked, so very wicked!”

Von Blauvelt also pointed out the unique special feature of the new coaster, a ball-peen hammer that sharply whacks the groinal area of passengers at 16 randomly determined times during the ride. “The agony will be exquisite,” said von Blauvelt, before dissolving into high-pitched giggling.

Reliable convention spies report to ARN&R that Six Flags has already purchased 5 of the new Vekoma devices, for distribution to Six Flags New England, Six Flags Marine World, Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, and Wyandot Lake. Reputedly, the new coasters will all have the same name: “Groin Eraser.”

--JCK

Posted at 8:43 AM | Link | 0 comment(s)

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Tuesday, November 19, 2002
 
Dollywood Offers New Menu in Honor of Enthusiasts

In preparation for its upcoming new fall coaster event, Dollywood Amusement Park has revamped its food service, incorporating a distinctive and unique array of snazzy menu items to please the discerning gourmands of the American Coaster Enthusiasts.

“When amusement park guests think Dollywood, we want them to say ‘Golly shucks darn, that’s some good eatin'!’” quipped park owner Dolly Parton, speaking from a Nashville recording studio. “It was important to us, what with havin’ these ACE members comin’ to visit our little park for Dolly’s Coasterfestabration, that we do their meals up right nice. We had to come up with some new vittles that would satisfy such a large group!” Parton then returned to eating a small dish of lobster ravioli with a chardonnay.

“We’re proud of this one,” stated park food service supervisor Gena May Swinson, holding up a dripping concoction called "Deep-Fried Big Macs On A Stick With Ranch Dressing." Swinson elaborated: “We whupped up a batch special-like for the last group of ACE people, and they liked it so much we’re makin’ it a regular concession.”

A tour of the Dollywood kitchens revealed a number of additional culinary delights for the upcoming ACE gathering, including "Frozen Mayonnaise Pops," "Deep-Fried Crisco With Caramel," "Chicago-Style 10-Meat Pizza With Hollandaise Sauce," "Massive Hog Chunks Pan-Basted in Fat Netting," and "A Big Ol’ Tub of Popcorn Butter-Flavored Squirt Sauce Without Any Popcorn." But Dollywood saved the best for last.

“ACE will come back every year after they get a load of our secret weapon,” Swinson boldly proclaimed. “Just check out the All U Can Eat Suet Buffet and tell me that don’t look good.”

--JCK

Posted at 11:58 AM | Link | 0 comment(s)

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Monday, November 18, 2002
 
South Dakota to be Rebranded as Six Flags Upper Midwest

In a breathtaking display of aggressive branding, the government of South Dakota and corporate executives from Six Flags Inc. announced today that the entire state of South Dakota will be renamed Six Flags Upper Midwest. Along with the rebranding, the state will receive a Vekoma Rollerskater coaster, a used Huss Frisbee, and a Zipper last used at the Washington County Fair in northeastern Oklahoma.

The state, which was launched in 1889 with a combination of private and public funding, had fallen on hard times of late. "Back then, the feasibility studies indicated that, with minimal promotion, the state would receive seventy-five million visitors per year. Based on that, the state readily agreed to fund the project," said Tim Jones, spokesman for the state. "Now that I think about it, the people doing the feasibility study were the same people who wanted the money...hmm. That can't be right."

"In any event, attendance has fallen far short," continued Jones. Not even the huge capital expenditures going towards Wall Drug billboards have turned it around. So we were thrilled when Six Flags stepped in and offered to take over the state."

Six Flags has reportedly paid $18 million for the state, compared to $1.3 billion spent in public funds over the past twenty years. When Jones is confronted with the contrast, he emphasizes Six Flags's other investments: "Those rides they're installing -- those aren't free! And the rebranding of the state will have enormous benefits for the whole state and both of our restaurants."

Six Flags has also reportedly purchased North Dakota for parking, which will cost $8, and estimates put the gate price at $34.99, with a special season pass for Six Flags Upper Midwest citizens (now called "Customer Satisfaction Representatives") costing $399 per year, with an additional ten percent tax added onto all non-Six Flags income.

Posted at 9:00 AM | Link | 0 comment(s)

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Sunday, November 17, 2002
 
Busch Sues Pharmaceutical Company

A law suit was filed today against McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals by Anheuser-Busch over an Imodium A-D advertisement featuring a young man being strapped into Alpengeist and, just before the moment where the train would crest the summit, an announcer asks, "Where will you be when your diarrhea kicks in?"

"We were appalled," claims Busch Garden's Williamsburg spokesperson Janet Chechelle. "Yes, we knew McNeil Pharmaceuticals was filming an ad, but we assumed it would be for a product equivalent to Dramamine."

The ad which aired November 4 featured an actor portraying "Mat" and was followed with his comment, "Imodium saved my vacation. You can't go anywhere without Imodium A-D in your pocket!"

Chechelle feels the advertisement will create adverse reactions next season with park patrons. "They will be checking the seats for cleanliness if they get on at all. We'll have to hand out towels and wet wipes to every guest. It's going to kill ride capacity. It's bad enough when a guest vomits...but, now this."

McNeil Pharmaceuticals defends their position claiming, "Last year, over 1.1 billion trips were taken within the US alone. Any one of these vacations could have easily been derailed by minor illness, such as an attack of diarrhea, motion sickness, or the flu."

"Yuck," exclaims season pass holder Josh Finklestein after viewing the ad. "I will never ride Alpengeist again."

The ride, Alpengeist, was number one among a national poll of coaster enthusiasts in the highest, most twisted, invertedness category, but has been recently downgraded to number 2.

--RAS

Posted at 2:49 PM | Link | 0 comment(s)

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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."

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