I wish I’d seen La La Land a year ago. It would have made that moment at the end of the Academy Awards ceremony, when Faye Dunaway accidentally announced it had won Best Picture and the production team got up on stage and started making speeches and then it turned out Moonlight had actually won, so much sweeter.

I expect better movies will be made about the Obama years, but as one chapter in a first draft of history, The Final Year isn’t bad. If for no other reason, it silences the talking heads and lets us think for ourselves.

On December 14, 2017, I sat in the second row mezzanine at Walter Kerr Theatre, about 60 feet from Bruce Springsteen. It was the closest I’d ever been, and the clearest I’d heard him over ten concerts I’ve attended. Unfortunately, it was my least favorite of his shows.

My favorite moments in theater are when I’ve been caught off guard by a performance, or was surprised to love a piece I hadn’t expected to. Director Nick Abounader and company pulled off something close to theatrical alchemy with their recent production at Players of Utica, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee: the ensemble was so in sync with the material and each other that the whole thing became gloriously more than its parts.

Laphroaig 15 doesn’t disappoint. Medium gold in the glass, the nose is amazing, intensely satisfying on its own. Seaweed and ocean air predominate, with a gentle sweetness underneath. Not too heavy on the palate, it slides down and around the tongue, expanding with a quick burst of heat. The sweetness is chased with an immediate woody aftertaste, like puffs of smoke.