Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Clark: ‘Red Dawn’ shows truth is stranger than fiction

Whoever came up with the supermarket “impulse buy” had a sucker like me in mind.

I can’t stand in a checkout line without grabbing a candy bar or a tube of lip balm or another box of mints from the goodies that have been put there to tempt the weak and simple-minded.

That’s how I wound up owning a copy of “Red Dawn,” the documentary about Spokane being invaded by North Korea.

It was in a box of “previously viewed” DVDs that was located suspiciously close to my checkout line.

A few minutes later, I was $7.99 poorer and cursing my lack of willpower.

See, I made a point of boycotting “Red Dawn” when it hit the theaters late last fall, and here’s why:

While the movie is supposed to take place in Spokane, “Red Dawn” was actually filmed somewhere in Michigan.

I take civic insults like that to heart.

Then the other day I gave in. I decided that since I already own it, I might as well watch the damn thing.

And I’m glad I did. Whoever made this even-worse remake of a bad ’80s movie (the original was set in Colorado) has completely misrepresented our Spokane way of doing things.

Here are some observations I made while watching “Red Dawn” so that you can see just how screwed up this movie is.

MOVIE – It opens with kids playing football for a local team whose mascot is the Wolverines.

REALITY – It should’ve been the Cougars, but too many WSU players have been arrested to field a team.

MOVIE – A massive blackout occurs when saboteurs cut the power.

REALITY – An Avista spokesman promises to restore power just as soon as customers agree to the company’s latest outrageous rate hike.

MOVIE – Spokane citizens wake up to the sight of thousands of North Korean paratroopers floating gently down from the sky.

REALITY – The invasion turns out to be flying carpenter ants that have matured all at once due to unseasonably warm weather.

MOVIE – Enemy aircraft meet almost no resistance.

REALITY – Fairchild Air Force Base would surely mop up any invading aircraft. As long as that new casino doesn’t get built, that is. If that happens, we’re pretty much hosed.

MOVIE – The young heroes try to find out what is happening by turning on a radio.

REALITY – No matter what emergency it is, KXLY radio talk host Rick Rydell will blame liberals who are trying to grab our guns.

MOVIE – North Korean military leaders turn the football field into a prison camp.

REALITY – County Commissioner Todd Mielke quickly offers the Spokane County Raceway Park since it has more space and is rarely used.

MOVIE – “North Korea?” says one of the actors in a confused tone. “It doesn’t make any sense.”

REALITY – Actually, it makes more sense than going to Michigan to make a movie about Spokane.

MOVIE – The freedom fighters set up camp in a dark dirty cave.

REALITY – The Ridpath Hotel would be the perfect hideout since it looks like it’s already lost a war.

MOVIE – The “Wolverine” heroes steal weapons and ammo off dead enemy soldiers.

REALITY – In the event of war, I’m raiding Domini Sandwiches for pastrami and cheese.

MOVIE – The middle section of “Red Dawn” is so slow that I actually doze off for 15 minutes.

REALITY – I did the same thing once during a Council meeting.

MOVIE – The Wolverines engage in rooftop gunbattles.

REALITY – Any war in Spokane will be waged in the skywalks.

MOVIE – Soundtrack features Creedence Clearwater Revival.

REALITY – A Spokane movie without Bing Crosby is like “Celebrity Apprentice” without Donald Trump.

MOVIE – Enemy forces take over the Spokane police station.

REALITY – The Police Guild already owns the Spokane police station.

MOVIE – With North Koreans finally on the run, the Wolverines vow to keep fighting for family, freedom and the American Way.

REALITY – I say let the North Koreans take over if they’ll promise to get all the potholes filled.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Rebellion on the rank over taxi split

THERE’S tension in the air among Warrnambool taxi operators after at least seven of them broke ranks to sign with an alternative Melbourne-based despatch system.

As of Sunday there will be two separate booking numbers — the first major split among operators since 1985 when two former companies merged to form Warrnambool Radio Taxis.

However, the breakaway group already promoting its new 13CAB number is yet to formally notify the longstanding parent company, which still has them on the membership list.

“It’s a legally grey area,” Warrnambool Radio Taxis spokesman Andrew Watson told The Standard yesterday.

“We are acutely aware many of our clients have been led to believe that recent developments could mean Warrnambool Radio Taxis and our contact number 131008 will cease operation.

“I can categorically assure everyone in south-west Victoria that this is absolutely not the case.

“We have a long and proud tradition in this region of providing people with a friendly, efficient transportation service for almost four decades and this will continue along with our number.”

He said he was confident the company would retain a fleet of 12 vehicles, including three which were wheelchair accessible, plus about 40 drivers.

“We will retain our operational base in Warrnambool and we are taking steps to ensure our service is not only maintained, but improved for our many clients,” Mr Watson said.

It is understood some Warrnambool operators had been unhappy over glitches in their 131008 despatch system and sought out 13CAB which is part of the huge Black Cab Combined group.

Last week 13CAB told The Standard eight Warrnambool taxi operators had signed up to its high-tech booking system and more were expected to follow.

However, Mr Watson disputed that figure and said he anticipated only seven would defect.

He predicted passengers could have to wait longer for cabs because the overall pool of vehicles had been split into two.

“And there will have to be more driver shifts to cover the busy times,” he said.

“There will be no price advantage for passengers because it’s a tightly regulated industry.

“The only difference will be two phone numbers.”

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Health care tips to be shared

A presenter at the Aberdeen Area Senior Center Friday will share tips on how to improve clinic visits.

 A student from the University of Mary will share information on health care. The public is invited to attend.

 The program is called "Access to Healthcare, Health Communication and Health Information Technology." The presentation is at 10 a.m. in the Helen Schultz Activity Room at the Aberdeen Area Senior Center, 1303 Seventh Ave. S.E.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring Health Tips From Dr. Marty Becker

Although some sections of the country still are experiencing below-average frigid temperatures, I find it hard to believe that spring arrives in only four days.

To help pet parents gear up for springtime, Dr. Marty Becker, “America’s Veterinarian” shared some of his timely tips and tricks for the upcoming seasonal transition.

With spring shedding upon us,you might be already seeing an abundance of pet hair settling on furniture, carpets and floors. To deal with this spring shedding, brush your pet thoroughly to help get rid of the loose hair and finish by giving your pet a bath.

Since animals have a different skin pH than humans, only use a shampoo made specifically for pets. Dr. Marty highly recommends the Furminator as an excellent grooming tool for cats. This easy to use accessory not only reduces up to 90 percent of pet shedding, it also helps kitties from producing those nasty and potentially dangerous trichobezoars (aka hairballs). Be sure to check out the included directions so your kitty’s experience with the Furminator is purrfect. Our own cats love it!

During the winter months, pets tend to get less exercise and gain those extra pounds. Now that the weather is getting warmer, while pets don’t worry much about the upcoming “bikini season”, maintaining our pet’s optimum weight is essential to keep them healthy.

Did you know that 52.5 percent of dogs, and 58.3 percent of cats in the United States are overweight? Since obesity in pets is the cause of many serious medical conditions, it’s a no brainer that Dr Marty encourages getting that excess weight off.  Please consult with your veterinarian prior to putting your pet on exercise and weight reductions programs.  And since pets age at a much faster rate than humans, Dr. Marty stresses the importance of pets having semi-annual veterinary wellness exams in order to nip in the bud any underlying medical problems.

Providing your pet with excellent nutrition is the cornerstone of robust health. At the same time, to prevent weight gain and keeping it off, Dr. Marty recommends feeding pets smaller portions several times a day. Using food puzzles is an excellent way to give pets some exercise pets and to keep them from getting bored.  However, most food puzzles for cats are configured to dispense dry food only, so for guardians who feed moist food, Dr. Marty suggests putting small amounts of their food on plastic container lids, hidden in different locations throughout the house.

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is crucial to keep pets in great condition. While many owners brush their pet’s teeth regularly, Dr. Marty also recommends the C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews for dogs and cats, which are available online.

Speaking of nipping medical conditions in the bud, Dr. Marty strongly recommends year-round pet parasite control--no matter in what part of the country you reside. Indoor pets are at just as high a risk of becoming infested as those who live outdoors.  Fleas, ticks and other “heinous hitchhikers” can enter homes on the pant legs or shoes of an unsuspecting human. They can gain access through an open screened in window, and hop right onto an unwary cat or dog. In fact, just one tiny mosquito carrying heartworm larvae can transmit this extremely dangerous parasite to your beloved furry companion.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Top 4 Health Tips: Keep your fruits and veggies safe

An apple a day will keep the doctor away … but only if you clean it first. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say 23 percent of all food-borne illnesses are caused by contaminated vegetables. That's 2.2 million out of 9.6 million reported cases. And produce foods — which include vegetables, fruits and nuts — sicken 4.4 million people a year.

Scary stuff. Here are ways from Women's Health magazine, published by Rodale, to help you take precautions to lower the number of harmful microbes that could be present.


1 Fruits and vegetables with bruises, cuts and nicks have a greater risk of being contaminated with a food-borne illness. Make sure you inspect every surface of produce you intend to buy beforehand so that you don't contaminate other foods in your shopping cart.


2 It's tempting to sneak a few grapes between shopping aisles, but hold off until you're home. Most of the harmful bacteria are on the outer skins of produce. For bananas and oranges, peeling the outer layers will leave you with safe food on the inside — just make sure your hands are clean. For other foods, a minute of thorough rinsing will reduce potentially dangerous bacteria.


3 You may prefer your veggies raw, but washing them is only half the battle. Cook vegetables at 160 degrees Fahrenheit will kill most of the harmful microbes. Boiling and steaming will get the job done, but if you're grilling, heat the outer surfaces well.


4 Don't let your food sit in your fridge uncovered. Store food in closed plastic containers or cover with plastic wrap and cool them in a temperature of at least 38 degrees. Vegetables last three or four days, so be sure to eat them in that time frame. Keep these closed foods away from raw meat on a separate shelf or compartment so juices won't drip on them.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Rebellion a topical shifting idea: Jeet Thayil

 Booker-nominated author Jeet Thayil, who was caught up in a controversy for reading out portions of Salman Rushdie's banned book during last year's Jaipur Literature Festival, today said there are people in every gathering who are quick to take offence.

"It seems (that especially here) there is a contingent of people at every gathering looking at a sentence or a gesture to get offended. It is cheapening of the idea of rebellion," said Thayil addressing a session titled "A rebel state", at the the Lit Fest here.

In the spirit of the theme of the session, when invited to read out from his debut book "Nacropolis", the Delhi-based poet and author chose to read out a section filled with a very common Hindi swear word.

Issuing a disclaimer before he began to read, Thayil said, "My apologies to anyone who might feel offended. But this is being said by a character in my book."

"It contains a word that is very commonly heard in Mumbai but is not very often employed in English literature," he said.

As the audience applauded at the end of his reading, Thayil expressed his gratitude to the small gathering at the first session of the last day of the five-day festival.

"Thanks for being a sport," he said.

Thayil was in conversation with Marathi writer Bhalchandra Nemade who extended his support to the author, and said "there is ample scope for rebels like Jeet to exist".

The discussion that centred around rebellion in literature.

Nemade also argued that every rebellion is necessary in some way. "Every rebellion has a constructive value," he said.

Thayil also pointed out the idea of rebellion changes over time.

"The writers or poets who were once considered rebels are now thought of as part of the cannon. So rebellion is a topical shifting idea," he added.

What remains to be seen, according to him, is how any writing considered rebellious now is perceived in the future.

"We need to see how these books are read in the 30 to 50 years," Thayil said.

At the the end of the session, Nemade had a message for the young generation to go much ahead of just rebellion in books. "A bit of revolution will clear the country forever. So, this would be my message to the younger generation."

At the JLF 2012, Thayil was at the center of a row after he read passages from Salman Rushdie's banned book "Satanic Verses". The aftereffects were seen even this year when some groups voiced opposition to his inclusion in this year's festival and also when he bagged this year's DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.