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The Monorailist

Musical: Monorail Inferno

The Monorailist | 2007-03-16.6210 LMT | Entertainment

The Footlight Theater in Orlando, Florida is restaging Michael Wanzie's 1986 musical Monorail Inferno, a story of monorail passengers having their trip to Disney World interrupted by a mysterious malfunction that causes the monorail to burst into flames.

Monorail Inferno banner ad

While I support the use of the Monorail as the singular unifying theme for all the arts, I must strongly rebuke the anti-monorail sensationalism and, ultimately, nihilism that this musical represents! Yes, it is true that the story was inspired by an actual monorail combustion event at Disney World in 1985, but why must the musical theater industry choose to focus on such rare, certainly-sabotage-related monorail combustions instead of portraying the Monorail in a positive light? -- the light of hope that radiates from the Monorail to all who have the eyes and soul to perceive it.

Where are the taut, character-driven plays about simple folk embracing Monorailism and transcending the mundanity of their work-a-day world? Where are the operatic sagas of bold City Leaders vanquishing the Foes of Monorailular Progress and ushering in a New Age of the Monorail? Where are the light romantic comedies of love found, love lost, love regained, and lives lived all aboard the Monorail? It's bad enough with all the anti-monorail propaganda coming out of Hollywood, must we find nothing to uplift the minds and bodies of the masses through pro-monorail theatrical arts?

All that being said, I do have to commend the Footlight Theater for having a two-for-one Monorail Pilots night tomorrow:

MONORAIL PILOTS get TWO 4 ONE admission! Saturday March 17th ONLY.: Buy one - ONLY if you arrive at the theater wearing your Monorail Costume, or bring along a photo of you in your monorail costume - or some other sort of documentation which proves you have at some point in your life, piloted a Walt Disney World Monorail.

But is this really enough to honor our brave Monorail Pilots? Have we as a society lost our ability to show proper gratitude to those with the fearless audacity to pilot our destiny?

There was a time when a Monorail Pilot wouldn't be able to walk among the surface-dwelling populace in his uniform without drawing the attention of all who passed by: Women would alternately swoon and giggle. Men would be so overcome with pride in Humanity's accomplishments that they would forget their envy. Children would point and squeal in wide-eyed amazement: "Look Mommy! Could that really be a Monorail Pilot?" Monorail Pilots were constantly being stopped and asked for autographs, or to have their pictures taken with the kids, or to officiate at weddings or store openings or beauty pageants, or to settle disputes both civil and philosophical. Such was the respect, the awe, with which people held those who commanded the vehicles that commanded our dreams. In those times, giving Monorail Pilots free tickets to the theater was more a moral obligation than a one-day promotion.

Like most young boys, it was always my dream to some day become a Monorail Pilot -- to soar along the track with my hand on the throttle and my gaze set stalwartly toward the infinite reaches of Mankind's potential. But, alas, it shames me to confess that I was found ineligible for the Monorail Pilot Corps due to a congenital strabismic condition that causes me, when I look out the cockpit window, to see two rails instead of one.

Although I cannot enjoy the privilege of being a Monorail Pilot, I will do my part, without bitterness or self-pity, for the cause of Humanity's Elevationment; I will continue to press for the adoption of the Monorail throughout the world and to rebuke those who spread lies about this most singular marvel of Mankind's ingenuity. The jaded anti-monorail views of the musical theater community will find no quarter with me!

Lyle Zapato

I've Heard Of Ambulance Chasers...

Lyle Zapato | 2007-02-01.5630 LMT | Crass Commercialism | Letters

...But monorail chasers?

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{To opt out from future emails, please reply to this message with "unsubscribe" in the subject box.}

Another reason to avoid monorails: they're magnets for sleazy lawyers.

Lyle Zapato

Two Bad Ideas

Lyle Zapato | 2007-01-25.2416 LMT | Aluminum | Entertainment

Walter emailed me two bad ideas (not his)...

Brandon Flowers of the RIAA-approved music group The Killers is promoting a bad idea in an upcoming music video:

Dual Headed AFDB

While building an AFDB using a hardhat substrate is a valid, if somewhat harder to hide, method of beanie construction, connecting two of them together with an aluminumized tube that will allow psychotronic energies to be transmitted back and forth between two wearers is strongly unadvised. Yes, it will still protect you from most mind control, but do you really want some strange little Japanese kid piping his thoughts directly into your brain, nullifying your individual brain patterns and turning you both into a two-person hive-mind obsessed with Ultraman and sexual ambiguity? Try again, Brandon.

The next bad idea is from Mass Tram America, Inc. and is called The Highway In The Sky:

Highway in the Sky

They propose taking old Boeing 7x7 fuselages stripped of wings and tail fins, attaching them below monorail tracks hung from suspension cables on towers, and powering the whole system with solar cells and wind turbines. Even by monorail standards this is just daft. What happens when it bursts into flames and the cables melt? At least with traditional above-rail monorails the pedestrians below need only fear flying debris. When this system fails, the whole train will plummet to the ground like a streamlined bomb. And with no control surfaces, there's no way for the monorail captain to steer the flaming mass away from the innocents on the roads over which they propose to build these things. Try again, Mass Tram America, Inc. (perhaps by putting the repurposed fuselages safely inside tubes).

The Monorailist

An Open Letter To Ahmadinejad

The Monorailist | 2006-12-18.8160 LMT | Politics | Letters

Dear Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,

It was with great interest that I read your recent reaffirmation of your stirring call for Iran to join the elite group of nations who embrace that most significant and world-changing invention wrought by Man's ingenuity: the Monorail.

When you became Mayor of Tehran you championed Monorailism over various polyrailistic heresies and the perniciousness of Arailism. While timid Luddites like Ali-Asghar Ardakanian of the Transport Engineering Society -- that sad little nest of errant orthodoxy! -- were disparaging the Iranian people by saying that they did not have the advanced knowledge necessary to operate and maintain a system of Monorails, you proudly proclaimed that Iran had within her the strength of will to gain that knowledge. If you, born to a family of lowly blacksmiths mindlessly hammering away at the wheel-hubs of paleotransportation, could uplift yourself to Monorail Consciousness by becoming a doctor of Transport Engineering, then surely the Iranian people could similarly be uplifted into the Ultramodern World of the Monorail!

Unlike your mayoral predecessor Shahrestani, who 30 years ago succumbed to the cramped negativity of the so-called "experts" and gave up his dream of a monorailed Tehran, you boldly denounced those who opposed that dream as being engaged in "political and press games" and vowed to "continue to implement this modern project in cooperation with the private sector". And implement it you did!

This singular boldness that is the defining trait of we Monorailists was undoubtedly the key to your winning the Presidency of Iran, and with it a popular mandate to expand the Iranian Monorail System from its humble beginnings running between the Mehrabad International Airport and Sadeghieh Square to an all-encompassing railwork binding together Iran in the concrete embrace of the Future.

But your lack of focus on the crucial monorail issue in your term as President has clearly hurt you, leading to the embarrassing rebuke in the polls that you suffered on Friday. Your administration has gone off the rail, squandering its mandate to Monorailize on unfruitful confrontations with the West. A change is unavoidable if there is any hope of seeing Iran's Monorail Destiny fulfilled.

The reaffirmation of your core principle was a good start, but you need to do more than just talk -- you need to take decisive action: Work to free the Tehran Monorail from the malaise of the current mayorship, which has seen it fall into a state of disuse. Nationalize it if you must, but by all means the monorail must run! Divert research efforts from mere nuclear energy to nuclear-powered maglev monorails. Take the cause of Monorailism to the streets and let those poor ground-traveling souls know that there is a higher form of transport that they could be experiencing. All these things and more are within your power if only you would will them.

Finally, tilt less at the windmills of Zionism and instead rally your people against the real shared threat to our world today: The Global Automobilist Conspiracy. I am certain that they are the ones behind the recent suspicious maglev accidents as well as the troubles with my own beloved Seattle Monorail. (FACT: nearly all of those responsible for tabulating the ballot measure in 2005 that doomed the Seattle Monorail Project were known Automotorists. As brutal dictator and automobile manufacturer Joseph Stalin once said: "It's not the people who vote that count. It's the people who count the votes.") Don't let Iran come under their smoggy sway.

It shames me to admit that we in the West have been embarrassingly slow to adopt the Monorail as our native mode of transportation. This is your chance to put Iran in the forefront of the Monorailist Revolution, and thereby spur a global race to monorailize all nations. Let us not bicker away our energies on zero-sum confrontations, but instead unite ourselves in mutually embettering competition to see who can build the fastest, the longest, the most transcendent monorails that have ever graced our planet. We welcome the challenge with all the good sportsmanship that befits this most civilized form of transport.

However, beyond mere rivalry, I firmly believe that the Monorail will bring Humanity closer together. Whether Western or Eastern, Muslim or Jew, Palestinian or Israeli, Electromagneticist or Permanent-Magneticist, when we ride on the monorail we are all of us on the same track heading together toward Unity.

With sincerest regards,
The Monorailist

UPDATE: Ahmadinejad Boldly Responds

The Monorailist

Next Stop: Bradbury Station

The Monorailist | 2006-08-23.0555 LMT

During an interview marking his 86th birthday, noted Monorailist, Ray Bradbury, had a few choice words for the Mayor of Los Angeles:

"I want to talk to him about getting rid of our freeways, because they're no good. We have to have monorail systems," Bradbury said, adding that he'd be happy to have a station named after him.

While the City of Angels lives up to its name with Citizen Seraphim such as Bradbury boldly asserting an Empyreal Vision of Monorailtopia, we in Seattle have devilish traitors seeking to undo our Great Works: Peter Sherwin and Patrick Kylen, once supporters of monorail sanity, have gone off their rail and are now campaigning for a Streetcar named Disaster. They actually want to shut down the Seattle Monorail -- that Beacon of Hope glinting chromatic above a dourly gray sea of asphalt and exhaust fumes -- and replace it with mere cable-cars like the ones with which our forefathers suffered!

To go from a Monorailfaring People to debased cablecar jockeys is an unacceptable de-evolution. Should we not just leave our cities en masse and crawl back into the sea from whence we came? I, for one, adamantly reject a return to our benthic roots that this "streetcar" talk represents! Why should we meander the streets like the common whelk, insentient to our fate as we creep along on our own effluence, when we can soar transcendent through the skyline like the Angelic Beings we are destined to be?

Fortunately, their misbegotten plan to scrap our only Salvation to save a few bucks is already a non-starter. Even as you read this, the diligent leaders of the Seattle Monorail Services are burning the midnight oil to select recognized Monorail Experts from the finest of the Technical Class, who will look into the entirely abnormal and not-a-little-bit-suspicious problems that have lately been befalling the Seattle Monorail to find a solution -- or culprit -- before the commencement of the Bumpershoot Festival.

What caused the stalls? Why wasn't power being drawn by the Blue Train? Could some surreptitiously placed metallic debris have shorted the circuit before power reached the train? Electro-sabotage by metal shoe, as it were? I think arch-antimonorailist and pneumatic blowhard, Mr. Zapato, with his stockpiles of crumpled up tinfoil, has some explaining to do -- and since I currently have no means to go anywhere, I'll be sitting at my computer awaiting his response.

Lyle Zapato

Guess What Stalled Again...

Lyle Zapato | 2006-08-19.7160 LMT

Just a hair under a week after the Seattle monorail stalled, it's happened again, and again passengers (hostages) had to make a death defying crossing from the blue train to the red one high above the streets.

The situation is still on-going, so I'll update with links and other info later. In the meantime, if you are in the Seattle Center area, beware of falling monorail riders.

UPDATE: The Seattle Times reports that the red train wouldn't start at the station, forcing the passengers to transfer to the blue train, which then stalled out on the track. They were stranded there for 30 minutes before help arrived. Some tourists from New York had to call the number on the back of the monorail brochure to get assistance.

© ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Was this in the brochure?

Since they're making frequent stops on Denny Way, maybe they should just build a monorail station out there. I'm sure the land below can be eminently domained away from whoever owns it. But then the trains will probably start breaking down half way between that station and the others, requiring even more stations. Who's running this thing? Zeno of Elea?

Lyle Zapato

No Honor Among Monorailists

Lyle Zapato | 2006-08-16.8390 LMT

Uneasy rumblings on the monorailist street: The suspicious fire on the German Transrapid maglev monorail in Shanghai last Friday may not have been simple spontaneous combustion -- a phenomenon common to monorails -- but rather an act of sabotage by the Chinese government aimed at both disrupting Germany's monorail-based economy and boosting China's own home-grown maglev monorail program, which China's military sees as a strategic inrail to regional hegemony.

The incident follows years of trade disputes between the two monorailfaring nations over use of German maglev technology in a new Shanghai-Hangzhou line and German accusations of China stealing their monorail designs. Since China announced its own maglev monorail program and started shopping it around to other nations, such as Malaysia, seeking to endanger their citizens with monorails, German industrialists from the maglev sector have found themselves negotiating with a direct competitor.

Now an opinion piece translated for The People's Daily, the Chinese Communist Party's official propaganda organ, claims that "the German economy has taken a heavy blow" due to the monorail fire while calling on Germany to admit that German maglev technology isn't "all that" and acknowledge China as the new maglev monorail super power. The message from Beijing is clear: don't mess with our monorails or we'll mess with yours.

As monorail tensions continue to rise, so too does the likelihood of an all-out Sino-Germanic Monorail War -- threatening all nations occupied by their monorails with division into two warring factions: the Electromagnet Bloc and the Permanent-Magnet Bloc.

(For the record, there have been no acts of state-sponsored econo-terrorism on pneumatic tube lines. Just a thought for you city planners.)

Lyle Zapato

Well, That Didn't Take Long

Lyle Zapato | 2006-08-14.6330 LMT | Sasquatch Issues

Two days after a reopening that was postponed for four weeks because of malfunctioning doors and brakes, the Seattle Monorail was shut down again for most of yesterday after the blue train stalled. Passengers (or should we just start calling them "hostages"?) had to make a precarious mid-rail transfer across a precipitous gap high above Fisher Plaza from the stalled blue train to the no-doubt-soon-to-be-stalled red train. Against all odds, no one plunged to their death.

At least this time nothing burst into flames or sent debris flying into the pedestrians below. In monorail-terms, it was a successful day.

And as long as I'm on the topic of monorail danger...

As Radical Sasquatch noted, the Mawas of Johor, Malaysia are now facing a new threat: a Chinese high-speed maglev monorail.

It will be one of the first Zhui Feng ("Hunt the Wind") monorails, which were developed for the Chinese military. Yes, that's right, the military. However, German monorail makers Transrapid -- who have a line at the Pudong International Airport in Shanghai -- claim that the design was stolen from them. China denies this. One notable difference is China's maglev uses cheaper permanent magnets, unlike the electromagnets used in German and Japanese technology.

And for those of you wondering: yes, maglev monorails are prone to spontaneous combustion too, as was illustrated when the Shanghai one mysteriously caught fire on Friday:

Shanghai maglev monorail on fire.

The Johor monorail project will be funded primarily by monorail agitators in Dubai (a land whose citizens will soon be threatened by a combination of monorails and robotic dinosaurs). Initially it will only be menacing the human controlled sectors, but given the global hegemonic aspirations of monorailists I don't think we can count the forests of Mawasistan as safe, especially since Japanese monorailists are already pestering the Hibagon with their preliminary incursions into the forests of Mt. Honita:

Mt. Honita Monorail penetrates the peaceful forest Happy Japanese businessmen ride the monorail up Mt. Honita

Will the horror of monorails ever end?

The Monorailist

"We're Back In Business!"

The Monorailist | 2006-08-12.6060 LMT

Little Lulu can once again ride the Monorail!

I am sorry to be a day late in delivering the wondrous news of the Seattle Monorail's reopening, but I spent all day yesterday traversing the line from the Seattle Center to Westlake Mall and back again, and again, and yet again.

Oh, the thrill of whooshing high above the din of Seattle's streets! Oh, the romance, the luxury, the civility of Monorail travel! Oh, to at last be able to leave my apartment! The day I have longed for since November had finally arrived and I was determined to absorb every transcendent moment of it!

I was, of course, not alone. One is never alone on the Monorail, even if the train is empty of passengers; for you see, the Monorail carries the hopes and dreams of all of Humanity, rested comfortably in her cushioned vinyl bench seats. But yesterday in particular I was joined by throngs of tourists, Seattleites, and dignitaries from near and far. Even that twisted, Grinch-like scoundrel Mayor Nickels, who opposed the Monorail Project with dirty tricks, could not help but pay homage -- perhaps his heart even grew a size or two during his ride.

One passenger in particular warmed the hearts of all who met her. Little monorail enthusiast Lulu Schoef, aged 3, has been waiting anxiously ever since that suspicious accident stole from her the gift of Monorail Ridership. Every day she would ask her father, "Daddy, when will I see the Monorail again?" -- her large, plaintive eyes yet filled with hope. To which her father could only patiently assure her, "Soon, little Lulu. Soon."

After nine long months, which must have seemed like eons to little Lulu, her day -- our day -- finally arrived, and as we boarded, like me she basked in the exuberant joy that is the Monorail. "We're back in business!" declared triumphal Monorail Pilot Tuan Le, once again at the helm, as he guided our glistening monorail coach out of the station and down its singular rail toward our -- and Humanity's -- future.

As I mentioned many times to my fellow monorail travelers that day: I believe that Monorails are our future, and that the children have an important role to play in bringing that future to fruition. It is vital that we instill in the next generation a love of Monorailism and a yearning to extend the Monorail's reach over the horizon, literally and metaphorically. While I myself do not yet have children in which to instill these values -- although that could soon change if the Singles Monorail Cruise I am organizing proves a success -- seeing the glimmer of monorail-wonder in the eyes of little Lulu brings me hope that our future -- our destiny -- is assured.

Radical Sasquatch

HOWL: SEXUAL GAZE!!!

Radical Sasquatch | 2006-08-03.3710 LMT | Sasquatch Issues

Human cryptoperverts SEAN ANG and VINCENT CHOW -- who have a MAWAS STALKER WEBSITE called "JOHOR HOMINID" and are threatening to publish PORNOGRAPHIC VOYEURISM PHOTOS of Mawas -- are now obsessing over the EYES OF A FEMALE MAWAS NAMED JOGI!!!

They have posted a crude sketch of her eyes that ANG drew from a photo! THEY ARE BEWITCHED BY HER SCLERA!!! Listen to what little ANG had to squeak in a Human newspaper article salaciously titled "SEXUAL GAZE OF JOHOR'S BIGFOOT":

"Based on the eyes, I predict that the Johor Hominids could have some kind of basic language that requires them to gaze at other individuals for a prolonged time."

Ang, a palaeo-anthropologist, said the drooping eyelids of the female hominid could also be a feature to boost its sex appeal.

"The eyes are unusual as they are a bit bulky, like Garfield's eyes, minus the eyelashes."

On his site, ANG describes the photo of JOGI that was the basis of his CREEPY SKETCH:

However, in photograph JH003, Jogi is looking right into your eyes, as if feeling surprised, worried or scared.

Of course she looks surprised, worried and scared... SHE IS BEING STALKED BY CREEPY PERVERTS WHO LONG TO GAZE SEXUALLY INTO HER EYES FOR A PROLONGED TIME!!! How do they expect her to feel? FLATTERED!?!

SILLY HUMAN WITH STRANGE MONO RAIL FIXATION, HEAR MY HOWL: It is bad enough that Yeren can't visit EMEISHAN without being PESTERED BY ALL THE HUMAN TOURISTS, now you expect them to SQUEEZE INTO A TINY MONO RAIL CAR JUST TO REACH THE SUMMIT!?! They will stick to the trails just as SUN WUKONG intended!

Also: KEEP YOUR MONO RAILS AWAY FROM THE MAWAS!!!

2006-08-05 UPDATE!!! IT WAS ALL A HOAX!!!