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ORANGE COUNTY COMMENTARY

What California Needs Is a New Bemusement Park

July 29, 2001|FRANZ WISNER | Franz Wisner left the Irvine Co. last year to travel the world with his brother. Thirty countries later, he takes a fresh look at Orange County and California

Sure, Disneyland's new California Adventure has an old-fashioned beach boardwalk and a fruitful fake farm. But how can out-of-staters fully appreciate life in the Golden State without experiencing the thrill of rolling blackouts?

No, we need an alternative. With apologies to Disney, here are a few suggestions for a real California theme park.

As usual, there are no subways, light rail or other modes of public transportation. The carpool lanes and private toll roads are wide open, but no one uses them.

Money is another nonissue at the park. There are plenty of ATMs in every sector. The only snags are the long lines of out-of-state politicians extracting tons of cash.

It's on to the Internet Experience, a ride that jumbles your body, mind and wallet. See visions of your long-planned European vacation and spiffy new Jet Ski. Suddenly, your bandwagon is flipped upside-down over a seemingly endless pit. Dollars and change spill from your pocket into the black hole.

Next stop, Mr. Davis' Wild Ride. Here the object is to avoid conflict, controversies or conduits to negative poll ratings.

"Daddy, daddy. Somebody turned off the lights. I can't see anything."

"Relax, son. Remember, it's just our regular Saturday afternoon blackout. The only people who should be scared are the ones who have to pay the electric bills."

The public address system booms. "Hello, riders. This is Gov. Gray Davis reminding you that I had absolutely nothing to do with this energy crisis. Just rest assured I'm burning the midnight oil--and I said oil, not electricity--trying to solve this thing and return you safely to the park. Please bear with me and remember not to hit your head on the 'Blame Pete Wilson' sign on the way out. Thank you."

By now you must be famished. Time for some nourishment at the Where's the Food Court. Meat-free, wheat-free, big farm veggie-free, DDT-free, MSG-free, the Where's the Food Court has eliminated all foods objectionable to Californians, leaving diners with, well, um, parsley. But the parsley is attractively sliced, fluffed and displayed on trendy china and served by a quasi-attentive writer and aspiring actor. You might leave slightly hungry, but, hey, isn't that Julia Roberts sitting over there?

Let's go to the most attractive parts of the park and see mansions precariously perched on canyon overhangs and in flood plains. These sites are home to the popular Home Wrecker game.

Stand back in awe as floods, fires and earthquakes destroy the dream abodes. Your objective: Rush in with tools, labor and funding to rebuild the house before the next disaster strikes in the exact same location. Build it and they will come.

"Daddy, I visualize leaving the park. Where's the exit?"

"Eureka, son, I've found it."

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