Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, December 23, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page B:3

B3 Mountain Views News Saturday, December 23, 2017 OPINION B3 Mountain Views News Saturday, December 23, 2017 OPINION 
Mountain Views 
Dean Lee 
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It’s the Monday be-that my daughter recites now.
fore Christmas, and 

She’s excited about the presents, of 

my daughter, her 

course. And the fact that our new house

hair tied up snugly 

has a chimney that Santa can actually

in a bun, plops her-

come down this year, instead of engaging

self down in the 

in the creative acts of B&E that allowed 

front seat of my car. And as I aim my 

him to drop off presents at the old place.

trusty German import in the direction

of her ballet school, she turns to me, her In the middle of it all, I’ll try to swim up-
face aglow in the gray afternoon light, a stream, fighting the tides of commerce,
plea in her eyes. to tell my skeptical, science-mindedchild the biblical Christmas story that I

“Can you turn on your Christmas playl

grew up with.

ist, Daddy?” she asks. 
I’ll grab a quiet hour, too, for midnight 

“Of course,” I tell her. 

At a stop sign, I fiddle with my phone, 

There are latkes and Christmas dinner.

tap the Spotify app, and a in a couple of 

It’s the Italian-style meal of my youth:

seconds my 12-year-old and I are singing 

Soup, pasta, some kind of roast meat and

along at the top of our lungs to an abso

vegetable. Salad at the end, because my

lute holiday classic: 

Nonna didn’t raise a savage. Then dessert“Fiiiiivvveeeee .... golden ... toookkssss and coffee. 
...” we bellow. 

At night, we’ll go for a drive through 
I’m talking about, of course, the Bob and the darkness and gawk at the lights, thatDoug McKenzie version of “The 12 Days Christmas playlist playing softly in the 
of Christmas.” car, because those were the songs that

soundtracked a million Christmases of 

This cheeseball piece of 1980s holiday 

my youth, when my nose was pressed

brilliance foisted on the world by comics 

against cold window glass as the lights

Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas never 

whizzed by.

fails to reduce my child to a molten pileof giggles. My wife, I think, indulges me a bit. Andthat’s a gift by itself.

That cracked chestnut of a carol comes 
after Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s We’re forging new traditions in the midstChristmas,” but before the Bing Crosby/of the old ones, just like we all do when 
David Bowie version of “Peace on Earth/we grow up, and Christmas becomesThe Little Drummer Boy.” about way more than just toys and racing 

downstairs to see what’s under the tree.

We sing along - unapologetically - to allof them. She knows all the words. So I’ve It’s an appreciation tempered by age, anddone my job as a father, I think, as we sometimes loss. Because we want to hon-
drive along, our New Wave carol sing in or the rituals and traditions passed onto 
full force. us by people who are no longer with us,

like my Italian immigrant grandparents,

And it occurs to me that it’s those little 

but who are ever-present nonetheless.

moments, the rituals we observe at this 
time of year, that are the glue that are Memory is a powerful thing. And it’s thethe glue that binds us together. They’re memories that my daughter is forgingthe north stars that help us find our way now, at this time of year, that will keepback to each other, no matter how frac-her warm in the years to come, that willtious our times. provide a through line from the little girl

she is now to the woman she has yet to 

We have plenty of holiday traditions in 


my house. There’s the elf that magicallyappears after Thanksgiving, migrating And that makes me hope that someday,
from room to room every morning, pop-when she’s older, and her own child 
ping up in the most unlikely of places. plops into the front seat beside her, that 
We go together for our tree, decorating my daughter will smile cryptically, hit ait as Vince Guaraldi’s soundtrack to “A button, and that the strains of Bob and 
Charlie Brown Christmas” plays in the Doug McKenzie’s “12 Days of Christ-
background. mas” will blast out of the speakers. 

Because my wife and I are a mixed-faith At first, her child will look at her like 
couple, we’ve been lighting Hanukkah she’s insane, like my daughter did, andcandles every night, reciting the prayers then, she (or he) will just give in and singthat my wife recited as a little girl, and along. At the top of his or her little lungs. 




I dream of “White Christmas” this year.
I speak of the Irving Berlin classic made famous by Bing Crosby

- a sweet, wistful song that holds more power over me with eachpassing year.
According to CBS News, many speculate that Berlin was 
inspired to write the song in the late 1930s, while working on a movie in Beverly Hillsand feeling homesick for his family in New York.

The holiday season was especially challenging for him. His three-week-old son haddied on Christmas 1928. Berlin visited his grave every Christmas, and the sadness of hisson’s death also influenced the song.

Berlin had set the half-finished song aside for a few years before finishing it duringthe Christmas season of 1940 or 1941. 

Only 54 words, it would become a quintessentially American song - one that, to me,
celebrates the American civility, prosperity and opportunity that Berlin was blessed toexperience.

According to , Berlin’s family fled to America from Russia when he was 5 toescape persecution of Jews.

His family “arrived in New York in 1893, settling in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
Compelled by poverty to work rather than attending school, Berlin made money bysinging on streetcorners and later secured a job as a singing waiter at the Pelham Cafe.
During this time, he also began writing songs of his own … .” 

Berlin would go on to produce “an outpouring of ballads, dance numbers, noveltytunes and love songs that defined American popular song for much of the (20th)
century,” says the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

“Irving Berlin has no place in American music - he is American music,” said composer 
Jerome Kern. 

In any event, “White Christmas” offers a blend of melancholy and hopefulness,
expressing a longing for snow-blanketed Christmases when “treetops glisten andchildren listen to hear sleigh bells in the snow” and hope that our days will be “merryand bright.” 

The song premiered on Crosby’s radio show in December 1941, just 18 days afterthe attack on Pearl Harbor, a highly emotional time for America. Eight months later,
Crosby was featured singing the song in the movie “Holiday Inn.” 

However, critics “didn’t take much notice” of the song at first, according to JodyRosen, author of “White Christmas: the Story of an American Song.” 

She told CBS News that it wasn’t until Armed Forces Radio began to play the songthat it struck a chord. 

“It was 1942, the first winter that American troops had spent overseas,” she said. 
“So, these images of ... snowy American, New Englandy Christmas really spoke tothe longing, nostalgia and homesickness of the troops for their homeland and for thesweethearts and wives and mothers and fathers they’d left behind.” 

And it spoke to a common longing for the civility, unity, sacrifice and hopefulnessthat all Americans were experiencing at that time.

Well, “White Christmas” is just as relevant now as it ever was - maybe more so.

Its sweet, wistful melody and lyrics make me long for renewed civility, unity, sacrificeand hopefulness - the same things, I believe, all Americans are longing for.

“We are not enemies, but friends,” said President Abraham Lincoln in his first 
inaugural address, whose message still resonates in 2017.

“We must not be enemies,” Lincoln said. “Though passion may have strained it mustnot break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from everybattlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broadland, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be,
by the better angels of our nature.” 
` Civility, unity, sacrifice and hopefulness - a great coming together.

That’s what I dream of for Christmas this year. 
2017 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, author of “Misadventures of a 1970’sChildhood” and “Wicked Is the Whiskey,” a Sean McClanahan mystery novel, bothavailable at, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist and isnationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. For info on using this columnin your publication or website, contact or call (805) 969-2829. Sendcomments to Tom at 



What a difference a historic Republican tax bill makes.

The liberal media and Democrats, of course, hate what 
Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress have done 
without a single Democrat vote.

They are trying their best to degrade, dismiss or deliberately 
misrepresent the broad benefits that the bill will bring to the 
half of American households that pay federal income taxes and 
to the economy in general.

But even some in the Trump-Hate Media have had to admit that the president 
ended his first busy and rocky year in office with a major political victory.

Unlike all Democrats and a few cranky Republicans, I’m totally happy with the tax 

It’s not perfect and it’s not everything President Trump promised, thanks to 
lobbyists and the usual backstage Congressional deals and political maneuverings.

I have little doubt that in the near term and long term it will be good for the country, 
businesses, the Republican Party and middle-class taxpayers.

The tax bill is already paying huge dividends.

AT&T, Boeing, Wells Fargo and other companies, seeing how much they will save 
because their corporate tax rate has been slashed from 35 percent to 21 percent, are 
already raising their minimum wages to $15 an hour and handing out $1,000 bonuses 
to hundreds of thousands of their employees.

hThere’s no question the GOP tax bill is a lousy deal for high-tax-bracket people 
like me who live in a high-tax blue state like California or New York.
I pay a California state income tax of 13 percent and a sales tax of about 7 percent, 
both of which I used to be able to deduct when I itemized my federal taxes.
Under the new laws that take effect in 2018, my deductible for state and local taxes 
will be capped at $10,000.
That will make me one of the tax bill’s net losers and almost make it not worth 
itemizing my taxes.
As I told my son, I’ll be able to do my 2018 taxes on a postcard – mainly because I’ve 
lost my biggest write-off.

I’ll just tell my accountant to send in a check for my 37 percent.
Actually, at this point there’s probably no reason to have an accountant. I’ll just fire 
him and buy a bunch of postcards.

I’m OK with having to pay more in income taxes under the new rules.

What ticks me off are the Steven Moores and others in the Republican establishment 
who tell people who don’t like paying high state taxes that “You can move. You chose 
to live there.” 

No actually, I was born here. My parents chose to live here.

In any case, for me, the mountains, oceans and deserts overshadow the high taxes 
and the lousy progressive state government that has made sure California has more 
takers than makers. 

As I told my son and daughter-in-law, who live in California, they should be 
happier than heck with the new tax set-up and its higher standard deductions.

They don’t own a house, they’re both working and they’ll be able to claim two 
children in 2018. They’ll be partaking of every benefit of the GOP tax bill.

So I have a suggestion for all you California 1-percenters who might be whining 
about the new tax bill today.

If you are lucky enough to have kids who are married with children, hit them up for 
a loan because they are the ones who are really going to be helped by this new tax bill.
Donald Trump and the Republicans were right - Merry Christmas, Middle America. 

Copyright 2017 Michael Reagan. Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald 
Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. 
Martin’s Press). He is the founder of the email service and president of 
The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at and www. Send comments to Follow @
reaganworld on Twitter. 

Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. For 
info on using columns contact Sales at 

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