I got the call that my friend had died on Wednesday evening. I was in a theater, writing lighting cues for Les MisĂ©rables. Of course that’s when I’d hear. Richard and I met in a theater, and over the years we attended or worked on hundreds of productions together.

Paul Osterman, a great accompanist and humanist, holds the distinction of being the top commenter on this web site by a huge margin. What I appreciate about Paul’s comments is that he clearly read and understood what had been written, then contributed to the conversation. That’s the kind of person I tried to be on social media, before I decided I wasn’t up to the task.

On the palate, CĂ irdeas 2019 explodes instantly – it’s intensely sweet at first but immediately expands with smoke and then peat. The malt is oily thick on the tongue and provides a good backbone for the variety of complementary flavors. The finish is extremely long and very dry, dominated by woody notes and reminiscent of good cigar smoke.

For my 50th birthday, I bought a bottle of Balvenie Portwood 21 year-old Scotch and sought out the people who’ve been important in my life to offer a toast of thanks. Some weren’t close enough to clink a glass, so I started writing virtual toasts. That’s where this piece came from – the easiest, most pleasurable writing I’ve ever done.