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Thursday, July 16, 1998

First, the New Stuff:

Well, the summer isn't quite over yet, but the Summer of Lori is drawing to a close. Now that Origins is over and with our plans changing and evolving, Lori is preparing to go back to Florida. She was, however, of enormous help to us these past couple of months, and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank her for everything she did to help get Aquarius off to a great start. Thank you, Lori! Watch this space in coming weeks, as I still have a lot of photos of her to add to the E-book.

We went to Knoebel's for the Fourth Annual Kristin's Birthday Coaster Festival, and we had a blast. What a great park that is! It's this wonderful little amusement park nestled in a wooded valley in Middle Of Nowhere, Pennsylvania. It's not even near an interstate, you have to drive down single lane country roads (always being stuck behind someone who drives slower than you) to get there. But it's worth the trip.

The key thing that makes Knoebel's different from the large theme parks I'm used to it that there's no gate, nor is there even a fence around the place. Usually, going to a theme park is like visiting another country. When you go through that main gate and hand over your 30 bucks, it's like showing your passport to the guys at the border patrol. Once inside, different laws are enforce, and if you don't follow them you can be deported.

Not so at Knoebel's. As you walk in from the parking lot, you suddenly realize that you're surrounded by rides without having had your papers checked. It's just a park, with millions of trees, and dozens of rides, which anyone can stroll into. The rides are pay as you go, average cost a buck each, or you can buy a wristband that lets you ride anything except the Haunted House.

They only have 2 coasters, but the wooden one (the Phoenix), gives an exceptional ride. Even the food prices were good, often being half of what I'd expect to spend in a more well known (and more crowded!) amusement park. It was a great day.

I have seen Armageddon and pronounce it to be the least bad giant rock movie of the summer. Actually, it was pretty good, if you can ignore all the fictional technology.

I see that the Drug Czar is in Europe trying to get a clue but instead offending the Dutch government by making erroneous and even totally false statements about them. But how can you go to Amsterdam to learn about their more enlightened approaches and not visit the coffeeshop scene to see for yourself how it really works? He said it wouldn't make for a good photo-op. How can someone who claims to be taking an objective look at the issues (clearly an impossibility when that person's job depends on maintaining the status quo) go on a fact-finding mission to a country with a different (and much more successful) approach to the problem he's supposed to be fixing, and refuse to personally tour the coffeeshops, the very embodiment of their alternative strategy?

No problem can be solved without looking at all possible solutions with an open mind; refusing to genuinely look at different approaches is the sure indication of a closed one. And a closed mind can never learn anything new.

The Milk Carton works! I got email from David Knabel and we had dinner this week. Hooray for the internet!

That's all for now.

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