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.”