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Tuesday, June 25
The Cyclone Turns 75 on Wednesday

[ from today's NY Times | New York Region ]

Scaring the Daylights Out of Riders for 75 Years

The wood-and-steel-frame Cyclone turns 75 tomorrow, and the Astroland Amusement Park will celebrate the occasion with a ceremony.

In 1927, the Cyclone's 1.6-mile coil was built where the first modern roller coaster, the Switchback Railway, had once stood.

Maintaining the aging attraction requires hundreds of hours each week from mechanics and carpenters like Irwin Joseph, who begins his day at 6 a.m., when the Boardwalk is so quiet that one can hear the ticking of the clock in the Cyclone's boarding area. He and several other men walk the track every morning to check that no screws fell from the track the day before.

"You have to make sure the screws are holding the joints tight," Mr. Joseph said, pointing to a screw he was about to replace. "If not, the tracks could fall out of alignment and you could have trouble."

Mr. Joseph has a favorite spot at the roller coaster. It is on a small bench tucked away on a triangle of grass that faces the coaster's 85-foot first drop. From there, he can see the faces of the riders as they crest the hill and head down, hitting the drop's nadir no more than eight feet away from the bench. "You can see right into what you call the `face of fear,' " Mr. Joseph said, smiling.

I've only ridden the Cyclone once when I was about ten. And it'll be my last ride! Let's just say it reminds me of the phrase: "Screaming like a b...." Thanks Aunt Dottie. grrr!

Bonus link: From Newsday, a regional newspaper, a gallery of Cyclone images.

[ from MJ Rose's Wired news ]

Self-publishing super nova: Stephen Wolfram's self-published 1,197-page A New Kind of Science landed as Amazon's top-selling title during its first week on sale and has been reviewed in Time, Newsweek and the New York Times Book Review. The book has also appeared on The New York Times bestseller list as well as both The Wall Street Journal's and Barnes & Noble's bestseller lists.

The 42-year-old British author is the youngest person ever to receive a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. Wolfram said that direct access to science readers by way of Amazon.com was one of the factors that helped him decide to take the self-publishing route.

George says he'd love to see more Political Compass ratings on people's personal sites. I am a bit skeptical (I'm so loving that word lately. It's a combination: audibly juvenile and rarity of use), but here are my test results:

Economic Left/Right: -2.12
Authoritarian/Libertarian: -7.08

I guess I should finally devour Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation, embrace Naom Chomsky's reasoned paranoia, and stop blaming myself and other Libertarian-Leftists/Leftist-Libertarians for Al Gore's electoral loss.

Monday, June 24
[ via Author Aldo Alvarez's blog ]

Blithe House Quarterly : a site for gay short fiction

** A GLAAD Media Award Nominee **

Blithe House Quarterly: a site for gay short fiction invites you to browse its Summer 2002 edition

Eric Karl Anderson
Jasmine Beach-Ferrara
Diane Cage
Robert Klein Engler
Richard Grayson
Clare Johnson
Ian McNeill
Emmet Carvello Quinn
Lana Gail Taylor
Roy Tester

Edited by Barry Matthews and Tisa Bryant
Illustrations and design by Steve MacIsaac
Series Editor: Aldo Alvarez

** Winner of the Encyclopaedia Britannica's Internet Guide Award **

"Internet-based fiction journals have become a significant force in publishing, especially for serious short fiction. In Web-only lit journals such as Blithe House Quarterly, the short-story form is alive and clicking."
--- Baltimore City Paper

"Setting the quality bar [for gay and lesbian writing] is the phenomenal site Blithe House Quarterly. It's awash in awards and rightly so. Of all gay and lesbian sites, Blithe House is the golden child, the one to be entered in the Literature Olympics. None of the stories needs special cosseting as our fiction. Be skeptical and go see the site!"
--- GAY & LESBIAN ON LINE, 3rd Edition

"The central publishing arm of new queer fiction."
--- OUT Magazine on Blithe House Quarterly

Blithe House Quarterly : a site for gay short fiction Summer 2002 Edition

[ VIA The Web Today ]

The Trouble With Frida Kahlo

"...[L]ike a game of telephone, the more Kahlo's story has been told, the more it has been distorted, omitting uncomfortable details that show her to be a far more complex and flawed figure than the movies and cookbooks suggest. This elevation of the artist over the art diminishes the public understanding of Kahlo's place in history and overshadows the deeper and more disturbing truths in her work..."

Washington Monthly

Additional Links:

Frida Kahlo on the Internet

Artist Profiles: Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo Images :: My favorite image is What the Water Gave Me