I read the news to­day, oh boy

Penticton Herald - - CANADA - MILLER

Dec. 8, 1980 was my own JFK mo­ment. As I wasn’t alive at the time of Jack Kennedy’s as­sas­si­na­tion, my first vivid mem­ory of where I was at the time I learned of a his­toric event was when John Len­non was shot and mur­dered.

Howard Cosell an­nounced it to the world on “Mon­day Night Foot­ball” (un­heard of at the time to an­nounce a news bul­letin dur­ing a sport­ing event), which I wasn’t watch­ing be­cause it was past my bed time. I first learned the news in English class at 8:45 a.m. with my ini­tial re­ac­tion be­ing shock and then dis­ap­point­ment that the four Bea­tles would never play to­gether again.

One of the ear­li­est songs I re­mem­ber as a child was “Yel­low Sub­ma­rine” and later “Let It Be.” I be­came a fan of the Fabs when I en­tered my pre­teens be­cause there was al­ways a Bea­tles’ vinyl al­bum wrapped up un­der the tree, which in those days was a real treat be­cause an al­bum cost around $10. Slowly, as I worked my way through their cat­a­logue, I branched out to their solo ma­te­rial.

I don’t think I would have liked John Len­non if I knew him per­son­ally. Like many artists, he was bril­liant, but com­pli­cated.

But, where would pop­u­lar mu­sic be with­out “In My Life,” “Straw­berry Fields For­ever,” “A Day in the Life,” “Imag­ine, ” “Rev­o­lu­tion” and “Jeal­ous Guy?” The fact teenagers are buy­ing Bea­tles’ mu­sic, 50 years af­ter it was re­leased, is a true tes­ta­ment to the qual­ity of their work.

Be­tween then and now, very lit­tle has changed. Celebri­ties are more cau­tious about their own safety (Len­non was fool­ish in many ways be­cause he trusted peo­ple and would travel with­out body­guards), but gun deaths and mass shoot­ings in the United States are more preva­lent than ever.

If a group of well-spo­ken, in­tel­li­gent and pas­sion­ate teenagers from Florida can’t change the sys­tem, no­body can.

Jim Tay­lor, whose col­umn usu­ally runs in this spot or be­low, has the week off. He will re­turn Dec. 15.

If you watched the high­lights of the Ge­orge H.W. Bush fu­neral, talk about awk­ward.

When the 45th pres­i­dent and his wife ar­rived, they were seated in a row of past pres­i­dents and across the aisle from Ge­orge W. Bush and Jeb Bush and their wives. So what is Trump’s track record? He at var­i­ous times in­sulted two gen­er­a­tions of Bushes (Ge­orge Sr., Jr. and Jeb), was con­vinced Barack Obama wasn’t born in the States, and called out both Bill and Hil­lary Clin­ton so many times, we’ve all lost count.

Us­ing hockey as a com­par­i­son, have you ever no­ticed that the cheap-shot artists in men’s recre­ational hockey are al­ways the first ones to whine to the ref­er­ees when they get cheap shot­ted by an­other player?

The 45th pres­i­dent can dish out wrath on just about ev­ery­body (John McCain, Gold star par­ents, dis­abled jour­nal­ists), but then doesn’t like it when any­body crit­i­cizes him.

Also in at­ten­dance were Jimmy and Ros­alynn Carter. I love them! For­tu­nately, Trump has never — as far as I know — spewed venom on the Carters.

Ah, an oldie but a goodie. “Ru­dolph the Red Nosed Rein­deer” scored a very re­spectable 18th place in last week’s Nielsen rat­ings — not bad for a TV spe­cial that’s more than 50 years old.

How can they say “Danc­ing With the Stars” is a rat­ings fail­ure when they have an av­er­age of 8.5 mil­lion view­ers? Yes, it has dropped out of the top 10 and might not be as pop­u­lar as it once was, but tons of peo­ple still watch it. My sug­ges­tion to the pro­duc­ers for im­prov­ing rat­ings is get bet­ter stars. Many are lame.

The City of Pen­tic­ton was able to pur­chase the old Grey­hound bus sta­tion and for a very rea­son­able price. Although it has yet to be de­cided what the city plans on do­ing with the prop­erty, the guess is it will even­tu­ally be­come a park­ing lot. I’m hop­ing that they re­open the res­tau­rant. For those who are un­aware, the bus sta­tion’s cafe had one of the best break­fasts in Pen­tic­ton.

I’m go­ing to have a cameo in Sound­stage Pro­duc­tions forth­com­ing pre­sen­ta­tion of “Newsies,” the Tony-nom­i­nated mu­si­cal based on the New York City news­boys strike of 1899.

I haven’t been on stage for a cou­ple of years, but with “Newsies” cel­e­brat­ing print me­dia, I wanted in. The show plays for four nights and one mati­nee in Jan­uary at the Pen­tic­ton Lake­side Re­sort and tick­ets are now avail­able from the re­sort. I’ve pre­vi­ously ap­peared with Sound­stage in “Hair” (and no, I wasn’t in the nude scene ... they cut it from the script), “Chess,” “Evita,” and “Whis­tle Down the Wind.” For a sneak pre­view of “Newsies,” a taped per­for­mance of the Broad­way show is now play­ing on Net­flix.

As much as I ad­mire Colin Bas­ran and most of Kelowna city coun­cil, taxes have gone up more than 20 per cent since Bas­ran first took of­fice in 2014, in­clud­ing an an­tic­i­pated jump of 4.4 per cent for next year.

Some­body needs to slam the brakes on tax in­creases. Food is ex­pected to go up in the New Year by al­most four per cent. Gas is ris­ing, rents are ris­ing.

Not ev­ery­body can af­ford tax in­creases. Trust me, I’m a jour­nal­ist.

Thank you to Heather and John Ray­bould from West Kelowna for their kind words ex­tended to me in a Christ­mas card. I don’t get a lot of fan mail these days so words of en­cour­age­ment are al­ways ap­pre­ci­ated.

James Miller is man­ag­ing ed­i­tor of The Kelowna Daily Courier and val­ley ed­i­tor for Okana­gan News­pa­per Group. To con­tact the writer: [email protected]

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