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.

The traditional argument for subsidizing churches has been that they provide a public good. I expect many citizens today can provide examples of churches working against their good, and can make a reasonable objection to being forced to contribute to those churches.