Some New Roller Coasters for 08

Michigan's Adventure introduced the first suspended looping roller coaster in the state this season. Called Thunderhawk, a name that should probably be only said in a booming voice, the ride features an 86 foot drop and speeds of 50 mph. (If you translate that into kilometers per hour you sound more like a scientist and the ride sounds faster, clocking in at 80 km/h. Win/win.) There are five inversions on this ride and you sit in a sort of harness/chair thingy with your feet dangling into space. I don't know about you but these kinds of coasters always frighten my feet, which become convinced they're going to catch on something and suffer a terrible fate. With the addition of Thunderhawk, Michigan's Adventure now has seven different coasters, including Shivering Timbers, a wooden coaster. If you've never ridden a wooden coaster you should make a point of doing so as they are loads of fun. The park also offers a variety of water slides including the Funnel of Fear, or as we say as we're actually sliding down the thing, the Funnel of Feeeeeeeaaaaaarrrrrr.

Canada's Wonderland in Ontario is the home of the brand new Behemoth, billed as the largest, fastest and tallest roller coaster in Canada. This thing is quite terrifying and weirdly attractive with its symmetrical peaks and valleys. The trains carry 32 passengers with four seats in each car. The tallest peak is 230 feet, or 70 meters, with a drop angle of 75 degrees and the top speed is 77 mph or 125 km/h. This brings Canada's Wonderland roller coaster total up to fifteen, including the Back Lot Stunt Coaster and Dragon Fire, a looping twisting, steel thing that doesn't seem to have any actual dragons or fire. You can watch videos of the Behemoth at the park website.

Hershey Park in Pennsylvania has a new coaster, mysteriously called Fahrenheit (why choose an outdated scientific measurement? Might as well call it seven leagues or full fathoms five and be done with it.) that features a 97 degree drop, which means that you curve back the way you came, in a kind of s shape. You can see pictures here. When you hit the bottom you're subjected to four G's of force, which is more than astronauts experience during the launch of a space shuttle. I'm not sure this even matters because when you climb this insane hill you're climbing at a 90 degree angle, in other words straight up, so you're bound to have a heart attack while you're ascending. Who could live through that sort of tension? But let's say you do, what have you got to look forward to? A 107 foot inverted loop, two inverted corkscrew rolls, an airborne inverted S roll and a cobra await. I'm not entirely clear on the cobra thing or what it means but a quick call to the park dashed any hopes for protection. No mongooses allowed, so it's just you and the cobra I'm afraid. This is Hershey Park's eleventh coaster, including Storm Runner, which takes you from zero to 72 mph or 116 km/h in two seconds before dropping you 18 stories then flinging you into a cobra roll and then a flying snake dive. Do snakes and storms mix? If you take a ride on this coaster I would love to hear the answer.

Six Flags Magic Mountain in Southern California has revamped an older ride called X and renamed it X2, saying it used to be a fourth dimensional thrill ride and is now a fifth. Because I find this quite confusing I'm going to quote from their description, which says, "Unlike traditional coasters where trains only parallel the track, X2 sends riders screaming around its 3,600-foot maze of steel track aboard massive wing-shaped trains where the seats extend off of the track to the sides of the vehicle, allowing them to independently rotate you head over heels, forward and backward creating a one-of-a-kind "don't know what to expect next" sensation." Apparently the fifth dimension comes from a light show, which changes with every ride. Now that doesn't match what I know about physics and dimensions but who am I to argue with the engineers who designed this thing? The web site also states there be will heat and wind which makes me think that someone came up with this whole concept while baking. You play the part of an ingredient and get mixed and dumped on your head, stirred and heated and voila, you're finished.

Evel Knievel
This weekend marks the debut of Six Flags St. Louis' latest roller coaster, the wooden Evel Knievel, named of course after the famous daredevil. The ride has a maximum height of 82 feet, or eight stories, and gets up to 50 mph or 80 km/h. There are sixteen hills, a 40 foot fan curve and a 55 foot double down drop. The ride crosses itself 14 times and makes a variety of "frequent and tight directional changes." Riders sit in one of two 24 passenger seat trains and the ride is supposed to be ultra smooth, which is a little weird to me because I've always thought the shakiness of a wooden coaster adds to their appeal/fear factor. Six Flags St. Louis has recently dropped their price in response to the flagging economy and as we went to press you could purchase adult tickets for the price of children's fares when you made your purchase online. I'm not sure how long that offer will last so you may want to check out their website now.

One-Paragraph Review
This week's one-paragraph review is from the Silver Internet Surfer, who is excited about an update for a popular application. He says, "As a long time user of Firefox, I was very excited to hear about the release of the new version. I quickly pledged to download 3.0 on the day of the release. However, I was very disappointed after realizing that I couldn't access the site after waiting for nearly a month to get my hands on this software. I checked back every 20 to 25 minutes to see if I could access the site but was let down over and over again. I gave it another try while waiting for a movie to stream. To my amazement, it worked! I quickly closed all the Firefox windows to install the new version. After completing it, I started to stream the same movie, however this time I didn't have to wait every 30 seconds or so to let the video buffer. This made me want to scream with excitement, but of course I pretended to be an adult and slightly smiled instead. Soon enough I started to poke around the new features. One of my favorites would have to be the convenient button next to the address bar that quickly displays privacy information, letting you easily check to see if your personal information is at risk. The next day while at work my boss attempts to check his e-mail using Internet explorer, but to his amazement the browser crashes after the window is open for only 2 seconds. He reopens the browser while I giggle a little knowing that if he had been using Firefox, the crash probably wouldn't have happened. In the end, Firefox makes for a more enjoyable browsing experience. Firefox is the only browser that I know of that lets me customize it with add-ons that really make my browsing experience unique and hassle free." Do you have a one-paragraph (or smaller) review you'd like to share? Send it in to me for consideration. You can reach me at