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Simple plan

Entertainment doesn’t have to be expensive

Last summer’s box office pulled in a record $4.16 billion. Hollywood power brokers are hoping for similar numbers this summer by offering sequels (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), superheroes (Iron Man) and animation (WALL•E). According to Publishers Weekly, book sales brought in nearly $40 billion last year. Analysts predict video game software sales this year will be in the neighborhood of $10 billion. In April, it was widely reported that Apple surpassed Wal-Mart to become America’s No. 1 music store.

The amount of money spent on entertainment in this country is mind-boggling. Entertainment-hungry consumers bent on trading their hard-earned cash to satisfy that hunger is nothing new. But with gasoline topping $4 a gallon in some places and food prices soaring, people’s discretionary incomes are shrinking precipitously.

Maybe that’s a good thing.

Instead of escaping to the offerings of Cineplexes, televisions or iPods, families might be better off enjoying the simple things in life: baseball practices, swimming at a local pool, basketball games on the driveway at sunset, bike rides through the neighborhood and trips to the library.

Besides the obvious benefits — quality time together as a family, good exercise and being outdoors — the aforementioned entertainment is a lot easier on the budget.

And maybe that’s exactly the way God intended it.

Kirk Noonan

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