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SENTINEL TRIBUNE Wednesday, August 21, 2013 Page 4 BETWEEN THE LINES By Tom Merchant - Sentinel Tribune -- tmerchant@ncppub.com Going to the movies or not ... But then when you figure average Last night (Thursday) I got a ticket prices these day are in the phone call from Neilson surveys neighborhood of eight to ten about movie attendance. I told bucks it is not all that much. That the gentleman I had not been to a 50 million translates to just 5 to movie theater for a number of 10 million in viewers. A small years. He asked me even though amount when you consider our I had not been to the movies late- population is just over 300 mil- ly he would still like to ask me a lion. few questions anyway. So I said Then of course you have to OK. He asked how often I had consider the availability of mov- been to the movie theater in the ies on DVD or on network televi- past week, month, and year. My sion as well as numerous pay for reply was none. He then asked if view cable channels. One has to there were any persons in our wonder how can they all survive. household from age 18 to 30 I heard that internet televi- something, again the answer was sion is the next big thing coming. none. He then asked if there How will that affect the main- was anyone living there between stream television networks, or a different set of ages, again my will they just switch their produc- answer was none. He then polite- tion to include it. Either way it ly thanked me for taking the time presents a dilemma for advertis- to answer the questions, ing executives. I often wonder Basically I am not a real how the major networks can justi- movie fan especially not in a fy continuously higher advertis- movie theater. I think the last ing rates in a shrinking market time Best Friend and I attended a with declining viewership. movie in a movie theater was At least in newspapers, some time in the nineties, I think despite the premature death notic- the movie was either Driving es, major newspapers and even Miss Daisy or Fried Green smaller newspapers to some Tomatoes,both were excellent extent, are enjoying higher read- films, ership compared to their electron- I guess we just don't like ic competitors, going to a theater to watch a The fact of the matter is that movie that may or may not be no other media does as thorough very good and paying a lot of a job of covering the news than money to do it, not to mention the newspapers. Another fact is you obscene prices of concessions• generally get what you pay for, so I just don't understand the those mediums that are free gen- mentality of people that stand in erally do not give a lot of non line to pay those exorbitant prices revenue content• because they just have to be the I have noticed when check- first to see new movies, ing news web sites, the best For what it costs a couple to organized and best written news attend just one movie with snacks sites come from E editions of would pay about four months print newspapers. worth of Netflix or some other Well I sort of got side tracked movie service, but I can't resist giving a pitch for people argue that it is not the our medium of choice. same as watching iton the big At any rate if you are one of Screen -- really! Then why are so those theater movie going junk- many watching streaming movies ies, enjoy, and bring a lot of on their cell phones or tablets? money for family size pop, candy Duh[ and popcorn. I have read that is I always think when theywhere the local theaters actually announce the gate receipts for make their money. newly released movies, often exceeding 50 million for the first weekend, that sounds like a lot. By Lee H. Hamilton Wall Street Journal's Janet Hook think it's too partisan. Yet members wrote as Congress left town, "but aren't very concemed. They've Deeply unpopular and flagrantly the budgeting process now seems become quite skilled at running unproductive, Congress is on its so adrift that even congressional against Washington, even though August recess right now. It won't veterans fred it hard to see a resolu- they are Washington. And they return until Sept. 9, after a five- tion." Passing a budget is the most count on the fact that few voters week recess, leaving itself just a basic function of government, and hold their own member of Congress few days to settle issues like raising Congress can't manage it. responsible for its shortcomings, the debt ceiling and passing a fed- * Members of Congress do not however unpopular Congress as a eral budget. Here are some things like to compromise. The parties whole has become. you should know about where it are more divided ideologically than * As lobbyists descend in stands at this stage of the game: they've been for many decades, swarms on Capitol Hill, they hold • Few, if any, Congresses can with one side fiercely hostile to more power than ever. They rain match this one for futility. It man- government and the other con- cash, twist arms, and even draft aged to help out some commu- vinced that government can accom- bills -- all the things that powerful nities in the wake of Hurricane plish good things. Neither side can congressional leaders used to do. Sandy and to reach a deal on presi- get things done on its own. That's The NRA's defeat of legislation dential nominations, but mostly it pretty much the definition of when strengthening background checks can't get things done -- what- responsible lawmakers step for- for gun purchases, in the face of ever your politics. The repeal of ward to build a consensus. Yet in overwhelming public sentiment Obamacare, action on climate this Congress, either they don't after Newtown, was nothing less change, a "grand bargain" on our know how or they're not inter- than an impressive displayofpoliti- fiscal problems, education and tax ested. A glimmer of hope does cal clout and an example of how reform, creating jobs, strengthen- exist, as more members respond to influential lobbyists and special ing gun laws.., the list of dropped polls showing Americans believe interests have become. Perhaps this balls is long, although there is still it's more important for the parties is why a good number of my former hope for immigration reform, if just to compromise than to stick to their colleagues have made a tidy living barely. A few weeks ago Speaker positions. They may not be able to for themselves by becoming lobby- John Boehner told Americans not come to agreement, but some of ists. to judge Congress by how many them are talking about how willing * Finally, all of this contrib- laws it passes, but by how many they are to reach across the aisle, utes to the emerging themes for it repeals. It hasn't succeeded on * Even so, it's worth noticing the 2014 congressional campaign. either count, that one of the congressional parties Candidates will clearly run against • The budget process is a mess. is extraordinarily difficult to lead the mess in Washington, and a good It's been years since Congress put at the moment. The Republicans number of them, though not all, together a budget according to its are fractured and squabbling over will talk regularly about the need to regular order, but even by its recent their future direction. This makes be bipartisan. The big question for low standards this year has been me sympathize with the formidable 2015 will be whether the successful chaotic. None of the appropriations task the Republican leadership con- ones can translate their talk into bills needed for the government fronts, legislation to help move the country to continue running after Sept. 30 * Hardly anyone out there thinks forward. has been enacted. "It is common Congress is doing a good job -- Lee Hamilton is Director of the Center for Congress to leave big budget it's consistently below 20 percent on Congress at Indiana University. He fights until the last minute," the approval ratings-- and most people was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years. His nickname was Nick "Stories from the Batt Cave" My neighbor Nick (it's his nick- name) bought a raffle ticket at the Have a great week and do good! fair and won a snazzy fishing boat with a motor big enough to climb the tallest water. Nick grew up so poor that his family read by lightning and he'd never owned a boat before. He couldn't wait to get it on the water, so he ran it out into a field in which he'd been unable to plant corn America founded up new businesses and become self-supporting. They have also byi m mi gra nts been encouraged to become active in community and church activi- Since retiring from teaching for ties. The articles written by indi- 24 years in Worthington in 1983, viduals, of their accomplishments, the Worthington Daily Globe their thankfulness and apprecia- has kept me in touch with the tion for the chance to make a bet- events there. One thing that has ter life for them and their families drawn my attention is the constant are inspiring to read. inflow of immigrants to the city. I think Worthington has found I decided there must be a large a good answer to what could be WELCOME sign over the city! a difficult problem and is set- The July 8 edition contained a ting an example for all of us to very heart-warming article by Bill follow. When we remember that Keitel in which he points out the America is made up of immigrants advantages of having these new of all races, colors, religions, and neighbors. He spoke of walking cultures, it has indeed become a past houses and being able to say, great "melting pot." And when we "Good morning" in several differ- think - how many books could and ent languages, for example, and are filled with stories of sacrifice, giving the impression that he felt lives lost or left behind, in the richer for having them in his town. effort to get here, how awesome I called him and thanked him for that we are here! And in spite of sharing his experiences and told all its failures and shortcomings, him that I had enclosed a copy of God continues to shower us with his article in a birthday card sent blessings, and more so as we obey to President Obama, knowing his His commands as we read in John passion for helping those looking 13:34-35: "A new commandment for a better life. I give you, that you love one Other articles tell about how another, even as I have loved the town has made available you....by this all men will know classes and teachers for learning that you are my disciples if you the English language and help- have love for one another." ing them adjust to a new culture Lila Anderson and their new surrounds. Many of Balaton, MN 56115 them have been encouraged to start borhood. I think it might be the water. I called Nick later and asked him how the fishing had been. "Good," he replied, lying like an experienced angler. "The curly dock and giant ragweed were bit- ing. You should join me in the boat." I told him that I'd love to, but I couldn't swim. Nick's wife claims he has "selec- tive hearing" and hears only what pleases him. She might say that in retaliation for his favorite joke, which he tells frequently, Nick young golfer found himself with a tough shot. There was a tall pine tree directly in front of his ball, right between his ball and the green. After several minutes of debating how to best hit the shot, his uncle said, "When I was your age I'd hit the ball over that tree without even trying." With that challenge placed before him, the nephew swung hard with a loud grunt included, hitting the ball high into the tree trunk, and it rebounded back onto the ground not a foot from where it had been. Nick offered one more comment, due to 18 inches of snow falling in May. That snowfall caused him to mumble to himself, hoping for both pity and tolerance, "Why am I always the one who has to eat mis- take cake?" Nick had been nurturing a bad attitude since he'd bought a horse. The guy who sold it to him present- ed the horse as the next Secretariat, but after owning the haybumer for a bit, Nick found it to be lethargic. He had a veterinarian give the horse a once-over. The vet com- pleted the examination and found nothing wrong with the horse. This delighted Nick, who asked, "Will I be able to race him?" The veterinarian looked at Nick, and then at the horse, before say- ing, "Sure, and you'll probably win!" Winning the boat had changed his tune. Nick sat in that boat sur- rounded by bare ground and weeds. It felt good. He brought along a rod and reel and began practicing his casting. I came home from work and saw Nick fishing in the field. Odd things occur in my neigh- was president of the Two Bits' Toastmasters Club when he got his false teeth. At the first meeting after he got the dentures, Nick talk- ed for eight minutes. At the second meeting, he talked for 10 minutes. The next gathering, he talked for over two hours. The membership had to use force to get him to shut up. When their anger had subsided, they asked him what had hap- pened. Nick explained that at the first meeting, his gums hurt, but he wanted to give the teeth a true test. At the second meeting, his gums hurt even more, so he'd hoped talk- ing longer would ease the pain. One of the other Toastmasters asked, "Then what happened at the third meeting?" Nick said, "Well, I put my wife's false teeth in by mistake and I couldn't stop talking." Nick is an avid golfer. He went golfing with his nephew recently. Nick no longer hits the ball very far, but he plods along consistently. His nephew, who hits a ball a mile, maintained his patience by repeat- edly saying, "Serenity now." They reached the ninth fairway and the "Of course, when I was your age, that tree was only four foot tall." Nick is a good man who has taught me many things. Things such as, there isn't anything that can be sliced so thin that it has only one side. One day, years ago, we walked a bean field together. As we pulled stubborn weeds, I noticed Nick was limping. "What's the matter?" I asked. "Do you have a hitch in your get- along?" "Nope," he responded. "I have a rock in my shoe." I asked him why he didn't remove it, he replied that he would when he got to the end of the row. I chuckled and said, "If I had a rock in my shoe, I'd take it out right away." Nick laughed back at me and said, "Then what would you have to look forward to?" ©AI Batt 2013 71622 325 St. 1-1, MN 56042 http://albatt.net/ 0" e q II (ISSN 8750-3905) Thomas Merchant Managing Editor Junette Merchant Office & Production Joan Spielman Ad Representative & Office Published every Wednesday at Westbrook, Minnesota 56183 Periodicals Postage Paid at Westbrook, Minnesota 56183 SUBSCRIPTION PRICE FOR THE SENTINEL TRIBUNE WILL BE: In the following counties: Cottonwood, Redwood, and Murray $42.00 per year. Elsewhere in Minnesota $46.00 per year. Out of the state $52.00 per year. Canada and foreign countries inquire at the Sentinel Tribune Office. If wrong amount is submitted subscrip- tion will be pro rated accordingly. 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