Ferris Wheel

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Source:By MIKE WINTER | The Tampa Tribune

We all know what Feb. 14 means. Yes, it’s National Ferris Wheel Day.

That special date was set aside in order to celebrate all things large and rotating every year. Is there any occasion more opportune for couples to reaffirm their passion for and commitment to each other? Nothing gets a woman’s heart beating faster than being stuck 200 feet in the air during a windstorm while a grease-covered carny scratches his head over the housing of a smoking motor. That’s what lifelong memories are made of.

If there were any justice, National Ferris Wheel Day would have Feb. 14 all to itself instead of having to share the spotlight with the memory of a nefarious Depression-era gun battle between warring gangsters. The powers that be should have called the bloodbath The National Ferris Wheel Day Massacre, which would have been logical. Instead, we have to live with The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, as if a holiday dedicated to love and romance could ever end in ruin.

I’m not suggesting there aren’t challenges in keeping Valentine’s Day a bloodless occasion, but by following a few simple rules, most men can keep most women from chasing them through the streets with tommy guns.

First and foremost, remember on what day the holiday falls. This should be easy since, as mentioned above, it shares the same spot on the calendar as its more famous cousin, and who would ever forget National Ferris Wheel Day?

Second, it’s all about making her feel special. You may want to spend the day drinking beer and watching the Winter Olympics on the high-definition Jumbotron at your favorite sports pub, but it’s unlikely dragging your significant other with you will qualify as a date, even if you do arrange the buffalo wings into the shape of a heart and tenderly explain to her why curling is a real sport and not just a bunch of janitors goofing off.

It’s important to start the day off right. Consider making your love breakfast in bed. But a few words of warning: The simpler the better. Most women would rather have cereal, a glass of orange juice and a clean kitchen than eggs Benedict, a homemade fruit smoothie and a splatter of atomized banana drying across the ceiling.

Or you could write your love a poem expressing your feelings. Don’t, however, confuse “poem” with “limerick.” Comparing any part of her with Nantucket is a sure way to get all your clothes thrown out on the front lawn.

Avoid buying her cheap chocolates, supermarket flowers or lingerie. Nothing says “I really don’t know you at all” better than receiving a French maid’s getup from Frederick’s of Hollywood when what she was expecting was a nightie from Victoria’s Secret.

Finally, if you happen to read this column late in the day and are only now realizing what day it is, you can always fall back on the defense of last resort: Sweep her off her feet and give her a foot massage. For reasons that will forever remain a mystery, women love having their feet rubbed. An hour should suffice, but it may take longer depending on how angry she is. You can even watch the Olympics while you’re massaging, provided the sound is turned down and you’re reciting Shakespearean love sonnets.

It may seem like a strange way to celebrate National Ferris Wheel Day, but at least we can avoid getting massacred.

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Finding Dulcinea – By Christopher Coats

Threatening to displace the skyscraper as the ultimate symbol of civic and skyline authority, the Ferris wheel has returned, with efforts across the globe underway to create the highest and most impressive wheels around.

Matt Dunham/AP - Youngsters play in a park adjacent to the London Eye wheel in London.

Matt Dunham/AP - Youngsters play in a park adjacent to the London Eye wheel in London.

The Wheels in the Sky

Adding an element of seriousness, developers have dropped the original title, eliciting images of theme parks and carnivals, and have begun to call these massive revolving circles, “observational wheels.”

Following the basic structural approach as they did when George Washington Gale Ferris first unveiled his creation at Chicago’s World’s Fair in 1893, these new wheels differ structurally only in their sheer size and the addition of tensioned cables as spokes, instead of traditional bars held in place.

Further, the new wheels host sealed capsules, allowing larger groups of passengers and more impressive heights.

Inside, however, the wheels are worlds away from the original carnival rides, offering a slow-moving luxury ride, complete with bars and comfortable seating.

The century began with the unveiling of the U.K.’s contribution to the great wheel race in March 2000: the 443 ft. London Eye, able to carry more than 800 passengers over and above the Thames River.

Originally intended to only hold a temporary place on the Thames, the enormous success of the Eye not only earned it a permanent place on the London skyline, but also spurred scores of imitators hoping to repeat the wheel’s financial success.

According to a 2007 New York Times report, the wheels were thought to be all but lost, representing a time long past before the success of the Eye brought the Ferris wheel back into fashion.

Shortly holding the title of the world’s tallest, the Eye was surpassed by the Singapore Flyer, measuring 541 ft in the air, and offering views of landmarks up to 30 miles away.

The Flyer’s title will soon shift with the opening of the Great Beijing Wheel, topping the list at 682 ft, and with space enough for 1,920 passengers in 48 capsules.

Hoping to tap into the financial and tourism perks of a towering observational wheel, the Brisbane Times reported in August that Baghdad is hoping to build a wheel of its own to attract visitors to the war-torn capital.

However, not everyone is as excited about the prospect of observational wheels in the community. Earlier this year, NorthJersey.com columnist Mike Kelly expressed his displeasure at the announcement of a possible 30-story wheel to be built near the busy Little Teterboro Airport.

Such massive endeavors are not without their own unique set of challenges and dangers. Just this month, the 42-story Singapore Flyer stranded more than 172 people for hours as a fire caused the wheel’s electrical system to fail. Currently the world’s tallest, the Flyer contains 28 capsules, each able to hold 28 passengers.

Background: Little confidence

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By ALEX KENNEDY, Associated Press Writer – Yahoo News

SINGAPORE – Fire broke out in the control room of the world’s tallest observation wheel Tuesday, trapping 173 people hundreds of feet above the ground for hours and forcing rescuers to lower 10 passengers to safety by rope.

Two passengers were hospitalized with minor ailments.

During the six hour ordeal, passengers were able to talk with officials via intercom and rescuers tethered to harnesses brought them sandwiches and soft drinks, said general manager Steven Yeo.

“It took a while,” Yeo said. “Some of them were a bit disturbed.”

The 165-meter (541-foot) Flyer, which has carried 2 million passengers so far, is about 100 feet (30 meters) taller than the London Eye, formerly the world’s tallest observation wheel. It was built by Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Technicians were able to get the wheel moving again a little more than six hours after it ground to a halt and most of the passengers exited normally, Yeo said.

The wheel, known as the Singapore Flyer, has stalled twice before for about an hour each time since it began operating in February.

“This is the first time that something of this nature has happened, where people were hospitalized,” Yeo said.

A 70-year-old woman complaining of dizziness and a 10-year-old boy who vomited were taken by ambulance to a hospital, Civil Defense Colonel N Subhas said.

The 10 passengers closest to the ground were evacuated by harnesses attached to ropes, and civil defense rescuers were planning to bring the rest of the passengers to safety the same way when the wheel’s power was restored, Subhas said.

The Flyer was to shut down for at least one day to allow for repairs and an investigation, Yeo said.

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