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May 11, 2001

A lot of people on the East and West Coasts are worked up over the possibility of a strike that would shut down the movie and TV industry. One of the unions involved represents writers and the other is the guild that speaks for actors. Yes, friends, those are some of the folks who conceive and execute the wonderful, wholesome fare that litters the TV and movie landscape. Apparently, the writers union has come to terms after winning a 1 percent pay increase. The actors' union is still negotiating.

I don't pretend to know all the issues and so I can't take sides here. But, they are telling us that if a strike happens, no more new material would be produced to entertain America's audiences and so all of us should be concerned. Lemme see. We are now virtually at the end of the regular TV season and reruns already have started. That usually goes on for the better part of five months, until late September, when the networks debut their "new" shows along with the "old" ones that made it back for another season. Then about Christmas-time, reruns are shown again until the "sweeps" months when everyone tries to trump the competition with specials, guest stars and other gimmicks.

So, what's the problem with shutting down the industry now? Perry doesn't even have a movie theatre, and as for TV, aren't we going to be fed a steady diet of reruns all summer anyway? What is it that should make us feel concerned? I for one think the reruns help us catch up on some of the shows we had to miss during the regular season. So tell me again: Why are we to worry? We might have to check out a book from the library or, heaven forbid, just turn off the TV set for the duration. That doesn't sound too bad, does it?

It's time for baseball all over the country, at every level, from little kids' leagues to the majors, and just the thought of it has to stimulate players, fans and grandparents as they scan the schedules to see when their favorites play. Softball season also is underway. We visited one of the diamonds at the Mike Chambers playing field complex the other day while some of the younger girls were going through batting practice. What a great place that is for kids to play. The facilities are being improved all the time and there are lots of seats for spectators. Many of the players' dads are coaching, donating their time, knowledge and love of the game all summer long. Some of them also coached soccer during that season. They are entitled to many pats on the back and a lot of "thank-you's" from the rest of us. Tell them that when you go out to watch some of the games this summer. It's a great time to get away from the house for a few hours on some of these balmy spring evenings. Cheer the players and their coaches and visit with some folks you haven't seen for a while.