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TAXI!

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The average taxicab driver of Los Angeles must be out to prove something. Maybe they have a chip on their shoulder because they aren't the first thing that pops into someone's mind when they think of a typical "cabbie". That honor has to go to the New York taxicab driver. Those guys are usually pictured in one of two ways; either an overweight, older man, with a pull-down cap on his head, growling "Where to, pal?", or the foreign driver, speaking barely passable English, who has only just arrived in the city yesterday.

In fact, the image of a New York cabbie was so strong, that a whole show was built around it. Who could forget the haunting opening tune from the 1978-1983 series that gave us Judd Hirsch, Jeff Conaway, Marilu Henner, Carol Kane, Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd, and of course, Andy Kaufman? It only helped hammer home the New York cabbie dominance of the taxi scene into the collective heads of America.

However, LAist has noticed as of late that the taxicab drivers in Los Angeles seem intent on erasing this image from our heads. Have you been cut off in traffic by a taxi lately in Los Angeles? Or even, as hard as it is to imagine, Orange County or the Inland Empire? In the past three days alone we have seen countless near-misses involving speeding cabbies, and have also witnessed several uses of the one-finger salute from those same drivers. Even Michael Mann may be in on their scheme, as his film "Collateral" takes place mostly in Jamie Foxx's Los Angeles cab, in and around familiar streets of our fair city.

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Did they bribe this filmmaker in order to further their cause? New York tried to top them with Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon in 2004's "Taxi", but it is perhaps best not to think about that movie, at all. Once Oliver Stone has brushed the dust off of himself from his fall from "Alexander", perhaps he could look into this new and insidious conspiracy.

Hail to thee, cabbies.