🛣️ Headlines About California Highways – February 2019

Another month has passed; we’re now one-sixth into the year. Out in California, it has been a month of snow — not only in the Sierras or the ski areas, but even in the low-lands. The snow level dropped as low as 1000′, and there was snow in Malibu, Calabasas, Granada Hills, Porter Ranch, Pasadena, and even in Orange County. Needless to say, combined with one of the rainiest months of February in a while, the roads have taken a beating. Here are your headlines for February:

  • I-5 to go to six lanes Anderson to Redding.Caltrans District 2 announced Thursday the construction of the Redding to Anderson Six Lane Project on Interstate 5 in Shasta County.The project will add an additional northbound lane and southbound lane on I-5 for 7.5 miles from the Route 273 and I-5 separation just south of the outlet mall in Anderson to just south of the Bonnyview and Churn Creek Road interchange near Redding, making it a continuous six-lane facility, according to a press release issued Thursday by Caltrans.
  • Romero and Toro Canyon Bridges Now Open Following Debris Flow. Caltrans has re-opened the Romero Canyon Creek Bridge (PM 10.92) and the Toro Canyon Creek Bridge (PM 12.49) on State Route 192 as of today, Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 3 pm.  These bridges were rebuilt following damage caused by the debris flows and flooding in January 2018.  Motorists will encounter protective barrier on these bridges until the bridge rails have been installed.  Motorists should drive safely in these areas.Caltrans is working with the contractor, Security Paving of Sylmar on this $20 million project to restore full access to all five bridges within this corridor and is striving to complete most of these projects in early 2019, weather permitting.
  • February 1: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History. 1936:  A new 400-foot tunnel under Colorado and Ocean Avenues in Santa Monica is dedicated and opened.
  • Part of Highway 154 washed away in storm; roadway closed indefinitely. A portion of Highway 154 near Cachuma Lake was destroyed during the weekend storm, closing off the roadway from Santa Barbara to the junction with Highway 246 for the foreseeable future. Highway 154 east of Cachuma Lake will be closed indefinitely because of damage created by this weekend’s storm. Water and debris from the Whittier fire have created another lake, and officials worry about stability of the roadway.

Read More …


🎭 Oh, You Can’t Chop Your Momma Up in Massachusetts | “Lizzie – The Musical” @ Chance

Lizzie - The Musical (Chance Theatre)Our society has a fascination with horrific, grisly murders, especially if there is seemingly an element of revenge or retribution involved. They become part of the popular culture. Just think about the case of Evelyn Nesbit and the murder of Harry Thaw, which figures in the musical Ragtime; the case of accused murders Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner who were the models for the characters in the musical Chicago; or the fascination around the accused murderer Lizzie Andrew Borden. What’s next? A musical about O. J. Simpson? They tried a movie, but it failed.  Perhaps it is too soon.

But let’s go back to Lizzie Border. There is a morbid fascination with this young woman, perhaps inspired by the well-known rhyme, “Lizzie Borden took an axe / and gave her mother forty whacks / and when she saw what she had done / she gave her father forty-one”. The story inspired a song in New Faces of 1952; it led to a popular song by the Chad Mitchell Trio (used in the title of this post, although the same phrase is in the New Faces song). There have been ballets, operas, plays, movies, and short stories. I’m old enough to even remember the 1975 movie. There have also been musicals, notably Lizzie Borden, with music by Christopher McGovern and book and lyrics by Christopher McGovern and Amy Powers, which premiered in New Jersey in 1998, and had a 2014 cast album. There was also Spindle City: The Lizzie Borden Musical by Katrina Wood, which had its premiere at the Secret Rose Theatre in 2016. Then there is the most recent take on the show, Lizzie: The Musical, which also has a studio cast album.

According to the show’s webpage, this version of the telling began life a four-song experimental theater/rock show hybrid created by writer/director Tim Maner and songwriter Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer for tiny mythic theater company’s American Living Room festival in 1990. After some early productions, it sat for a number of years until 2007, when the rights were purchased and a new production started. This culminated in a production that ran for six weeks in fall 2009 at The Living Theatre on New York’s Lower East Side. This resulted in more productions and more development, resulting in a 2013 studio album. Albums help sell shows. Many more productions followed; I learned about the show from an Amazon recommendation. There was also some additional music and additional lyrics from Alan Stevens Hewitt. Most recently, there was a well-received production in downtown Los Angeles starting in September 2018 running intermittently into January 2019. Alas, due to the venue and timing, I was unable to work this production into my schedule. Luckily (for me), the Chance Theatre (FB) opted to produce the show for the opening of their 21st season, thus providing the occasion for our annual trip to the Anaheim Hills (and an always delightful dinner at True Seasons across the street).

Back to Lizzie Borden: the person. If you are only familiar with the story of Lizzie Borden from the nursery rhyme, the Chad Mitchell Trio song, or New Faces, you don’t know the real story. There are some good summations of the story on both the Wikipedia Page on Lizzie Borden and the Famous Trials page. Both make it clear that the authors of Lizzie: The Musical did their homework with respect to the facts. I recall numerous factoids mentioned in the musical that are detailed in the articles I linked. One would think, given the nursery rhyme, that Lizzie clearly did the crime and was convicted. However, there was never enough information to convince a jury. There were holes in the story, and plausible other suspects and holes in the timeline. In the end, Lizzie was found innocent, and there were no subsequent retrials. Did Lizzie do it? History can only guess.

The version of the story presented in Lizzie: The Musical focuses on the four primary women involved in the aftermath of the story: Lizzie Andrew Borden and her older sister Emma; Lizzie’s neighbor and friend Alice Russell; and their maid Bridget Sullivan. The parental generation for the girls (their father, their step-mother, and their mother) are only referenced; John Morse, their uncle, who was visiting the house at the time of the murder, is not mentioned at all. Neither is their other neighbor, Mrs. Churchill, who helped investigate afterwards. The focus of the story is more the relationships between the girls and their parents. There is an (implied) relationship between Lizzie and Alice (this was mentioned in some versions of the story, as well as implied relationships between Lizzie and Bridget). There is the hint of sexual abuse from Lizzie’s father toward’s Lizzie. It is also made clear that both girls hated their step-mother, and that they saw her as only going after their father’s money (which they considered theirs as well). There was also clear resentment from Bridget towards the girls and her employer. Lastly, the story made clear the fact that Lizzie was somewhat strange in her behavior and attachments.

The music in the story had a strong rock tinge — whether punk or not I cannot say, only that it wasn’t as loud as I expected. The show is essentially sung through, and the dialogue captures quite a few of the nuances from the story, such as their eating food until it became rotten and made them sick, the heat wave, the cheapness of the senior Bordens. The rock music allowed for a strong impression of the anger of the situation, and the raw emotion that was certainly there. I think it also is the reason why this version of the story — as opposed to a more traditional musical approach — is growing in popularity. In a number of ways, it reminded me of the raw emotion of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.

Lizzie - The Musical (Chance): Production PhotosOverall, story-wise and music-wise, what is my outgoing impression? That’s hard to say. This wasn’t my favorite musical, but it was quite interesting. It presented an interesting take on the story, and used the medium of music to capture the strength of the anger and emotion quite well. It was a reasonably accurate retelling of the story, and I could easily see the music of this show growing on me. Although there is violence in the story, it isn’t pictured in a strongly graphic or gratuitous nature. There is strong language. It’s not a subject you would think would work well, but it does.

This is a musical that touches on some very strong subject matter — sexual abuse, incest, lesbian relationships, murder, and anger. It captures the rawness of the resulting emotions through the emotional release of hard punkish rock musical. If you can deal with that, I think you’ll enjoy this show. The performances are strong, and the story is interesting and compelling. It also has a resonance to today, with the echos of early empowerment of women choosing to take back their lives. If you are unsure, I suggest you sample the concept album available for the show — it provides a good taste of what you will be seeing. As I think about it more and more, I’m really liking it.

Under the direction of Jocelyn A. Brown (FB), with choreography by Hazel Clarke (FB) and musical direction by Robyn Manion (FB), the show, well, rocks with a strong energy and rock vibe. The set itself is very abstractionist, so the creation of the characters comes from the performances, costumes, and properties. Brown did a good job of establishing the four women as very different personals: Emma is hard, Lizzie is strange and oddly withdrawn, Alice is emotional, and Bridget is an observer and sardonic. It is harder to judge the dance as I am not an aficionado of the punk scene, but there are moves that feel punkish. In fact, in many ways they seem a bit overdone punkish, with a lot of head swinging and hair flinging during the harder rock scenes. Whether that was an accurate expression of the inner rage, or a caricature of punk movement, I cannot say. The music was strong and hard and loud … but not too loud.

The actors were all strong. In the lead position was Monika Peña (FB) as Lizzie Andrew Borden, who we had last seen in Claudio Quest, but who is a Chance regular. Peña again brought an inner strength to the character: one felt there was something behind her anger and attitude, and she conveyed that not only through what she said but through her motion and attitude. Peña had a strong rock voice, and handled her numbers well.

As Lizzie’s friend Alice Russell, Jisel Soleil Ayon (FB) was also extremely strong in her performance. This is no surprise; she blew us away when we saw her in Edges at CSUN. She was great in her vocals; she also brought loads of emotion of her role and provided just the right nuances of the relationship with Lizzie.

Nicole Gentile (FB) was fun to watch as Bridget Sullivan (Maggie to Lizzie and Emma). Perhaps it is because I’m a sucker for an Irish accent. In any case, she was essentially the narrator and outside observer, having the burden of providing the necessary exposition and sardonic commentary and implications of the story. This she did well, as well as rocking her numbers with a clear attitude that shone through her performance.

Lastly, Alli Rose Schynert (FB) played Lizzie’s sister, Emma Borden. She has a smaller role, as in real life Emma left before the murders occurred and returned just afterwards. Schynert’s portrayal captures Emma as a angry older young woman (she was likely in her mid-20s at the time) with a very short fuse. Initially, I thought her portrayal might have been a bit over the top; thinking more, it seemed to fit what I read about the character. She had a strong rock singing voice and attitude.

Providing the music was an on-stage band under the direction of the aforementioned Robyn Manion (FB) who was on the keyboard. Working with her was Jimmy Beall (FB) [Bass]; Lorianne Frelly (FB) [Cello]; Jorge Zuniga (FB) [Drums], and Jacob Gonzalez (FB) [Guitar]. Notable here were Manion and Gonzalez. Manion was notable for her conducting attitude and the way she got into the music — watching her lead the other musicians was a clear testament to the enjoyment of this music. Gonzalez had some notable solos during the show during which he just rocked out.

Turning to the production and creative side: Note that the current version of the show credits music to Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer (FB) and Alan Stevens Hewitt (FB); lyrics to Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer (FB) and Tim Maner (FB); and book to Tim Maner (FB). Additional music by Tim Maner (FB); additional lyrics by Alan Stevens Hewitt (FB) (so everyone does everything). Orchestrations by Alan Stevens Hewitt (FB). Based on an original concept by Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer (FB) and Tim Maner (FB).

Back to this production: Kristin Campbell (FB)’s scenic design was dark and abstract, almost scaffold like, but with sufficient arches and spaces to hide various devices. It was not realistic. As such it was augmented by the lighting and projection design of KC Wilkerson (FB), which worked well to establish the mood — especially the lights out into the audience space and the projections. This can be seen in the production photos to the right. Rachael Lorenzetti‘s costume design was an interesting mix of the clothing of the era and a sexy-punk vibe, and worked well. Ryan Brodkin (FB)’s sound design did not overpower (as I feared it might). Additional production credits: Jessica Johnson (FB) [Dramaturg]; Kelsey Somerville (FB) [Stage Manager]; Casey Long (FB) [Managing Director]; Erika C. Miller (FB) [Development Director]; Masako Tobaru (FB) [Technical Director]; Bebe Herrera (FB) [Production Manager], and many more Chance staff and production team members. Oanh Nguyen (FB) is the Executive Artistic Director of the Chance Theatre (FB).

Lizzie: The Musical continues at the Chance Theatre (FB) through March 3, 2019. It is well worth the drive down to the Anaheim Hills to see the show, especially if you wanted to see it in Los Angeles but couldn’t work it into your schedule. I’ll note that running parallel to Lizzie at the Chance is their youth production of James and the Giant Peach. We saw this last year, and it was a joy. It features music by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the team behind DogfightDear Evan Hansen, La La Land, and The Greatest Showman. That is also a production worth seeing. Tickets for Lizzie and James are available through the Chance website; discount tickets for both may be available on Goldstar.


Ob. Disclaimer: I am not a trained theatre (or music) critic; I am, however, a regular theatre and music audience member. I’ve been attending live theatre and concerts in Los Angeles since 1972; I’ve been writing up my thoughts on theatre (and the shows I see) since 2004. I do not have theatre training (I’m a computer security specialist), but have learned a lot about theatre over my many years of attending theatre and talking to talented professionals. I pay for all my tickets unless otherwise noted (or I’ll make a donation to the theatre, in lieu of payment). I am not compensated by anyone for doing these writeups in any way, shape, or form. I currently subscribe at 5 Star Theatricals (FB), the Hollywood Pantages (FB), Actors Co-op (FB), and the Ahmanson Theatre (FB). Through my theatre attendance I have made friends with cast, crew, and producers, but I do strive to not let those relationships color my writing (with one exception: when writing up children’s production, I focus on the positive — one gains nothing except bad karma by raking a child over the coals). I believe in telling you about the shows I see to help you form your opinion; it is up to you to determine the weight you give my writeups.

Upcoming Shows:

March starts with Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella at the Ahmanson Theatre (FB), followed by the annual MRJ Regional Man of the Year dinner at Temple Beth Hillel. The next weekend brings “Disney’s Silly Symphony” at the Saroya [nee the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC)] (FB). The third weekend of March brings Cats at the Hollywood Pantages (FB). The following weekend is Matilda at  5 Star Theatricals (FB) on Saturday, followed by Ada and the Engine at Theatre Unleashed (FB) (studio/stage) on Sunday. March concludes with us back at the Hollywood Pantages (FB) for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

April starts with Steel Magnolias at Actors Co-op (FB) and the MoTAS Men’s Seder. The next weekend has a hold for OERM.  April will also bring Fiddler on the Roof at the Hollywood Pantages (FB) and the annual visit to the Renaissance Pleasure Faire. Looking to May, only four shows are currently programmed: Falsettos at the Ahmanson Theatre (FB), Les Miserables at the Hollywood Pantages (FB); The Christians at Actors Co-op (FB); and Lea Salonga at the Saroya [nee the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC)] (FB). Because some of those shows are mid-week, two weekends are currently open (but will likely be programmed as press announcements are received). June, as always, is reserved for the Hollywood Fringe Festival (FB).

As always, I’m keeping my eyes open for interesting productions mentioned on sites such as Better-LemonsMusicals in LA@ This StageFootlights, as well as productions I see on GoldstarLA Stage TixPlays411 or that are sent to me by publicists or the venues themselves. Note: Lastly, want to know how to attend lots of live stuff affordably? Take a look at my post on How to attend Live Theatre on a Budget.



💸 Follow the Money

In today’s NY Times, there was an article titled “Health Care and Insurance Industries Mobilize to Kill ‘Medicare for All’“, addressing how “Doctors, hospitals, drug companies and insurers are intent on strangling Medicare for all before it advances from an aspirational slogan to a legislative agenda item.”

I see articles like this, and that old mantra “follow the money” comes back to me. Remember: It was pressure from insurers that gave us the Affordable Care Act, as a compromise to protect their interests. They are doing so again, and ask yourself why: is it in the interests of you, the patient, or in the interests of the businesses and their stockholders? “Follow the money” (and its corallary, “If you get something for free, they you are the product, not the customer”) are so true, whether we are talking this, the pro-gun lobby, election advertising, and other lobbying efforts.

When you see things like this, ask yourself: Why doth they protest so much? In whose interest are they working, and remember that they wouldn’t be spending what they are spending unless they had an expecting of exponential gain in return.


👓 Rose Colored Retrospect Glasses

There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t see a post from a friend on Facebook touting how much better things were in the past. These posts come from friends on all sides of the political spectrum; what they have in common is that they are old farts like me. The implication was that we had it better back in the days when our parents disciplined us if we were wrong, when we were free to wander where we wanted, when there were limited selections on TV, where you where held accountable for your actions, where you weren’t coddled and given “participation awards”, where you weren’t tethered to your electronic masters, where … I’m sure you have the idea.

Guess what? This particular “old fart” thinks you are wrong. This particular “old fart” thinks you are looking at the past through rose colored retrospect glasses. As Tom Paxton oft says, it’s OK to look back, as long as you don’t stare. These folks are staring.

Often these “it was better back then” posts have an implicit message of “it was better back when we had our privilege intact”. These posts are primarily being made by those who were white “back in the day” (well, to be true, they are still white now), and they neglect the fact that if you weren’t part of the “privileged” group than life was pretty bad. There was segregation in the South, minorities were targets of abuse, and those with different sexual orientations were ostracized and bullied. Most folks just didn’t see it and weren’t aware of it, and so they were “good times”. This “old fart”: I’d rather live in a time where we are all accepted and valued, irrespective of skin color or sexual orientation. Although not perfect, things are much better these days.

What about discipline? Often these posts wistfully recall the days where you’re parents would smack you if you were bad, where school administrators used paddles to keep kids in line, where society, in general, accepted violence against kids. But this “old fart” disagrees: violence against children is never acceptable, whether the intent is to hurt or to discipline. Such violence creates mental scars that impact children into adulthood.

Some reminisce about what was on TV or in the market. TV was perceived to be better simply because there were less choices, and so everyone agreed on things more. But when you look back, you’ll see that the families presented were monochromatic. You’ll see that what you were laughing at was often stereotypic humor, making fun of people or groups. You’ll find sexism. You’ll find products that were unregulated and unsafe. You’ll find media manipulating relationships to sell sell sell. Today’s media landscape is much much better.

When we constantly say the past was better, we’re selectively remembering what the past was. We’re forgetting the intolerance of the world then, the hatred of groups, and how that impacted what we did and what we watched. We’re forgetting what we didn’t have.

For some, there is also the implicit attitude of: I went through this hardship — you should have to live through it to. It builds character and makes you a better person. Guess what? Our kids turn out to be pretty good people without the hardships, the beatings, the sexism, the tauntings, and the trauma. Our great grandparents lived without running water. Does that mean we have to live that way to build character? I had relatives that lived through pogrums. Does that mean I have to in order to have a better character? I have relatives that had all sorts of medical problems that couldn’t be cured. Does that mean I shouldn’t see the doctor, or take advantage of modern medicine? We work hard to make this a better world for our children. So why should then say it was better in the past before all the good stuff we created?

Our attitude should be, and must be, that we lived through this hardship, and we’re going to do our best to make sure that no one else has to go through that shit. We need to elect leaders that feel that way, but that’s the subject of another post.

Seriously, folks, modulo the current leadership in the White House, we live in pretty damn good times. Things aren’t perfect, but we shouldn’t expect them to be. Our job is to keep making things better, not live in the past. Our job must also be to make sure we don’t move backwards.

ETA: My friend Ric Wayman (from high school days) took the post above and made it even better in an opinion piece in South Utah Now. I have only one disagreement: I prefer “old fart” to “person of age” 🙂


☕ Tea Time 2019

As I’m down to my last tin of tea, other than my large tin of Iranian Ceylon, it is time to do another tea order. My previous order was in May 2017, and before that in July 2015, in November 2013, and in April 2012,  so it is just about a 2 year cycle. Again, the bulk of the order is from Upton Tea (who has great varietals), except for teas that they are out of. Here’s what I’m ordering this time (as before, teas shown with ✨ are new this year (the addition of ⑰ indicates new due to updates at Upton); ☕⑰ indicates teas first ordered in 2017; ☕⑮ teas first ordered in 2015; ☕⑬ indicates teas first ordered in 2013; and ☕⑫ teas first ordered in 2012; further ☕ indicates black teas, and 🍵 indicates green teas; and (2017 Price)):

  1. TD50: No.1 Tippy Orthodox GFOP Darjeeling. ☕⑬. An exceptional golden tip Darjeeling blend. We first introduced this tea in 1990 and it continues to be our most popular Darjeeling. $10.25 ($9.75) / 125g.
  2. TA20: Tippy Orthodox FBOP Assam. ☕⑰ A uniform, broken-leaf tea with bold character and strong, malty flavor. This tea is a great choice for breakfast and throughout the day. $7.00 ($6.50) / 100g.
  3. TA27: Halmari CTC BOP. ☕⑰ A bold CTC style tea with rich flavor. The dark liquor will readily take milk. Especially suited as a bracing morning tea. $6.75 ($6.25) / 125g.
  4. TN10: Nilgiri Broken Orange Pekoe.  ☕⑬. Located in southern India, Nilgiri produces teas similar to those of Ceylon, yet with a distinctive character. This British style Nilgiri produces a flavorful cup that is excellent with milk. ($4.00 ($6.402013/ 100g (125g2013))
  5. TP12: Premium China Keemun. ☕⑮ Often called the burgundy of China teas, this North China Congou is rich, flavorful and appropriate for any time of day. We offer this as our basic Keemun, although it is in the middle range of the standard series. $7.00 ($6.50) / 125g.
  6. ZG20: First Grade Gunpowder Green. 🍵⑫ Superior grade of green tea in the style of gunpowder teas (tightly rolled tea leaves resembling gunpowder pellets). $5.75/125g.
  7. ZG14: Young Hyson Imperial Organic. 🍵⑮ This organic tea has the bold flavor of a high-fired tea, yet it has a pleasing smoothness with delicate sweetness. The thin, well-twisted leaves produce a liquor with a pale green color. This is a very popular style of China green tea with a bolder leaf. $6.50 ($6.00) / 100g.
  8. ZO20: Roasted Oolong. ✨☕. This tea begins as a classic, medium-oxidized Tie-Guan-Yin Oolong, processed in the traditional style. It is finished and cured with a slow firing in bamboo baskets over a charcoal fire. The result is a tea with smooth, rich and inviting character. $6.25 / 125g.
  9. TB49: Darjeeling-Ceylon Iced Tea Blend. ☕⑫ Half whole-leaf Darjeeling and half OP Ceylon. A great hot tea as well! The brewing information provided is for making an iced tea concentrate. $7.50 ($7.00) / 125g.
  10. TB15: Java Blend. ☕⑬ A rich breakfast blend especially suited for those who enjoy a powerful cup in the morning. This also is a great choice for iced tea. Java teas are never expensive, so you get the best produced for a few cents a cup. $6.25 ($5.75) / 125g.
  11. TK12: Rukeri Estate Rwanda BOP Organic. ☕⑰  The cup has a full flavor and aroma, with a medium body. May be enjoyed plain, but it is strong enough to accommodate a touch of milk. Longer steepings yield a robust cup with notes of rose and peppery hints. At briefer steepings, the liquor is sweeter and more delicate. $7.00 ($6.50) / 125g.
  12. TC32: Kandy OP. ✨☕⑬. A whole-leaf Ceylon tea of excellent flavor and good color. Highly recommended for the Ceylon enthusiast. This is a new bolder leaf version of this popular selection. $7.75 / 100g. ($5.70 in 2013)
  13. TC52: Somerset Estate BOP Breakfast Blend. ✨☕ A perfect choice for breakfast tea, this broken-leaf selection wakes you up with its brisk, refreshing aroma. Notes of honey and a light floral hint blend harmoniously with a rich, toasty character. $5.00 / 100g.
  14. TC05: Ceylon BOP (Broken Orange Pekoe). ☕⑮  A choice blend of regional Ceylons. $6.50 ($6.00) / 125g.
  15. TB02: Leadenhall Street Breakfast Blend. ☕⑮  A tribute to the famous London tea auctions, our Leadenhall Street Breakfast Blend is a blend of two classic British teas: a brisk Ceylon and a thick, malty Assam. The result is a flavorful mixture which lends itself to the addition of milk. $7.00 ($6.50) / 125g.
  16. TB05: Mincing Lane Breakfast Blend. ☕⑫ For this blend, we paired a hearty Assam with a smooth and flavorful Yunnan, for a cup that is highly enjoyable. The invigorating liquor has a full mouth feel, subtle spicy notes, and a lingering aftertaste. While milk is recommended, it is enjoyable plain. $9.25 ($8.75) / 125g.
  17. TB14: Scottish Breakfast Blend. ☕⑮  Blended to appeal to those who favor an eye-opening experience in the morning, this tea yields a cup with a round, full flavor, malty notes, and brisk character. A perfect choice to start the day. $6.75 ($6.25) / 125g.
  18. TB30: Kensington Breakfast Blend. ☕⑰  A bit lighter than our River Shannon Blend, this English Breakfast style tea is a rich blend of Assam, Ceylon, and Keemun. Best with milk. $7.50 ($7.00) / 125g
  19. TB75: Baker Street Afternoon Blend. ☕⑮  A bit of Lapsang Souchong is blended with Keemun and Darjeeling, yielding a mildly smoky tea. Perfect for an afternoon uplift. Another special (whole-leaf) blend from our London source of fine teas. $8.75 ($8.25) / 125g.
  20. TB86: Richmond Park Blend. ☕⑮  A mellow, whole-leaf blend of Keemun, Ceylon, and Darjeeling. An exceptional tea which is smooth enough for drinking plain, and sturdy enough to take milk or lemon. From our London blender. $8.75 ($8.25) /125g.
  21. NT01 Naturally Flavored Earl Grey Creme Vanilla. ✨☕  This naturally flavored black tea selection provides a wonderful balance of a classic Earl Grey with creamy vanilla notes. The rich cup is smooth and satisfying. $9.00 / 100g. This is the replacement for the Monk’s Blend I used to order.
  22. TE92 Naturally Flavored Almond Vanilla Delight. ✨☕ This naturally flavored black tea produces a dark copper liquor fragrant with notes of vanilla and a hint of marzipan. A lovely sweetness envelops the almond vanilla notes, finishing with a hint of spice. Add your choice of milk to create a delicious latte, hot or iced. $5.50 / 125g.
  23. TF92 Naturally Flavored Tropical Black Tea. ✨☕  A melange of dried papaya, passion fruit and pineapple, blended with a rich black tea, creates a decadent tropical fruit experience. Fragrant and sweet, this tea is wonderful hot or iced. $7.25 / 125g. This is my fruit-blend selection for this order.
  24. NF90 Naturally Flavored Vanilla Tea. ✨☕⑰ This naturally flavored, whole-leaf black tea is smooth and rich with creamy vanilla flavor. The aroma is fragrant with notes of sweet vanilla bean. Enjoy this decadent treat any time of day. $10.50 / 100g. This replaces the previously non-artificially flavored version.
  25. NT85 Naturally Flavored Creme Caramel Tea. ✨☕⑰  Small caramel pieces are added to a black tea base, giving this naturally flavored selection a sweet creamy fragrance and rich caramel flavor. Enjoyable hot or iced, savor this delicious blend any time of day. This product contains dairy. $9.50 / 100g. This replaces the previously non-artificially flavored version.
  26.  TD06: Darjeeling BOP Blend. ☕⑰ The best value in Darjeeling tea. Broken leaf Darjeeling is often overlooked, either because the price is so reasonable or because too much value is placed on a more stylish leaf. This flavorful BOP blend offers a great cup at a very attractive price. $12.75 ($8.25) / 125g.

Additionally, I ordered the following for my wife:

  1. ZG30: Special Grade Temple of Heaven Gunpowder Green. ✨🍵.  This high-grade Gunpowder tea is rich and full-bodied with a pronounced sweetness. A hint of tobacco complements the herbaceous flavor and lingers into the finish. $6.00/125g.
  2. ZJ41: Chung-Hao Special Grade Jasmine. ✨☕. Chung-Hao Jasmine belongs to the same series of China Jasmine tea as Yin-Hao, but is less expensive. Delicate silver tips adorn the well-made leaves, producing a light, refreshing cup redolent with the heady fragrance of jasmine blossoms. A rich sweetness blooms and lingers into the finish. [May be out of stock – if so, substitute TP70 China Jasmine, $6.50/125g]
  3. NT90: Naturally Flavored Christmas Tea.  ✨☕⑰. This naturally flavored black tea is decorated with orange peels, almonds, cloves, cardamom, vanilla and rose petals. A sweet cinnamon aroma with a light floral hint introduces a flavorful cup with notes of citrus and spice. The finish is smooth and lingering. The perfect treat for those festive occasions. This product contains tree nuts (almonds). $9.50 / 125g. This replaces the previously non-artificially flavored version.
  4. NT94D Naturally Flavored Melange de Chamonix.  ✨☕⑰. Fine black tea is blended with cocoa, cardamom and cinnamon to produce a balanced and warming cup. This naturally flavored selection offers a decadent treat for any chocolate or tea lover. This replaces the previously non-artificially flavored version. $20.00 / 250g.
  5. TG11D Green Tea Blueberry. ✨🍵. Dried blueberries and natural flavoring complement the smooth China green tea base, yielding a pale gold liquor with refreshing blueberry notes and a crisp, clean finish. This well-balanced blend tastes delicious hot or iced! $9.50 / 200g.
  6. TX30D Decaffinated Masala Chai. ✨☕ A wonderful blend of warming spices – ginger, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper – complements the rich flavor of this CO2 decaffeinated black tea selection. Great hot or iced. $24.75 / 250g.
  7. BH45D Organic Spearmint. ✨☕  A select lot of our organic, coarse cut spearmint (formerly BH43). Great for blending with green tea or steeping alone as a refreshing, caffeine-free beverage. $9.75 / 100g.

Note: This order was equivalent to 37 100g or 125g bags, meaning our average price overall as $7.62 per bag.

For reference, here are some links to even older tea orders: 2012 (Franklin Tea (which, alas, closed in 2015), Stash Tea, Upton Tea), 2011 (Franklin Tea, Stash Tea), 2010 (Special Teas (which was owned by, and later merged into, Teavana, and of course Teavana was later purchased by Starbucks), Stash Tea, Franklin Tea), 2009 (Stash Tea), 2008 (Franklin Tea, Stash Tea, Surfas, Lupicia, Teavana), 2007 (Stash Tea), 2006 #2 (Stash Tea), 2006 #1 (Stash Tea, Adagio Tea), and 2004 (Stash Tea).



💻 Tech Refresh | The Saga of the Noise

hp userpicBack in July, I started the process of a tech refresh for the household computers. The last tech refresh was back in December 2010, so after almost 8 years, it was time.  [A discussion of some even older computers I’ve owned may be found here]

First up was my wife’s computer. She was using my daughter’s hand-me-down Toshiba E205, which had been repaired from a pineapple juice spill but had a wonky power connection.  This was a Windows 7 Home Professional machine with an i5 (i5 430M / 2.26 GHz) Processor, 14″ (1366 x 768) display, 4GB RAM, and a 500GB 5200 rpm hard disk. She wanted a machine that could run her cross-stitch design software, as well as supporting writing. We got her new machine from Costco: a Dell Inspiron 15 5000, with Windows 10 Home and the following key specs:

  • 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-8250U Processor + Intel Integrated UHD Graphics 620
  • 15.6″ Touchscreen LED-Backlit FHD (1920 x 1080) Display
  • 12GB DDR4 2400MHz RAM
  • 1TB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive
  • 802.11 Wireless-AC WLAN + Bluetooth 4.2

She’s been happy with the new machine, although it does seem to take a lot longer to boot. She was also happy not to have a hand-me-down for once; her last new machine was a Toshiba Netbook (something like the Toshiba NB205).

I also planned to update my machine, but I was waiting until the end of 2018 to do so (primarily, to let my wife have the newest machine in the house for a while). For me, I already had a 15″ machine: A Toshiba A665-S086 (Windows 7 Home Professional, 16″ (1366 x 768) display, i3 (i3-370M) processor, 4GB RAM, 500GB 7200 rpm hard disk).  My update was driven not by machine problems: My system was reasonably reliable, although increasingly slow with page swapping. The more significant driver was the end of life for Windows 7: I wanted to be on a Windows 10 machine by end of life, and to have time to adjust for any transition hiccups. For my system, I knew I wanted a larger screen, so I started looking at the 17″ laptops. I also wanted an i7 processor, and the experience with my wife’s machine led me to look for 7200rpm hard drives. I didn’t want an SSD only machine due to the price for the storage I would need. After debating a bit between a Dell roughly equivalent to what my wife got (but as a 17″) and an HP machine, I ended up using the Employee Purchase Plan at work and purchased an HP Envy 17t in mid-December, which I received New Years Eve. Costco also had an HP 17″ i7 machine, but there were no good details on it as it wasn’t identified as part of a line, and thus appeared to be a one-off for Costco. The key specs on the new HP Envy 17t machine were as follows:

  • Intel® Core™ i7-8550U (1.8 GHz, up to 4 GHz, 8 MB cache, 4 cores)+NVIDIA® GeForce® MX150 (2 GB GDDR5 dedicated)
  • 17.3″ diagonal FHD IPS WLED-backlit multitouch-enabled edge-to-edge glass (1920 x 1080)
  • 12 GB DDR4-2400 SDRAM (1 x 4 GB, 1 x 8 GB)
  • 1 TB 7200 rpm SATA; 256 GB M.2 SSD
  • Intel® 802.11b/g/n/ac (2×2) Gigabit Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth® 5 Combo

As you can see, the key differences between my machine and my wife’s machine were: i7 processor (vs i5), 17.3″ screen (vs. 15.6″), 256GB SSD (vs. no SSD), a 7200 rpm drive (vs. 5200 rpm), and a slightly newer network card.

After setting up the machine, all was good and I was mostly pleased. The major issues were software replacements: My old copy of HoTMetaL Pro would no longer install; I had to find a replacement HTML editor (After trying to use Pinegrow, I’ve settled on BlueGriffon; I also use Amaya, but it is no longer maintained). I couldn’t install my really old Acrobat 9.0 version and had to find new PDF creation software: I settled on PDF Complete (Office Edition). The internal sound card was crap for input, and so I had to use a USB Sound Card for recording, which meant using Audacity to record as Roxio Creator 2011 couldn’t record from the USB card. The new machine also forced some hardware purchases: notably, a cable to allow for both audio input and output connections to a single 3.5mm jack (as the HP has a combined audio jack), and a USB-C hub to support connection of USB-A devices to the one USB-C port.

Those were the solvable problems. More annoying was intermittent soft scrape or buzz from the front of the laptop, near the hard drive and the optical drive. Based on the advice from a friend, I obtained a copy of Hard Disk Sentinel, and it showed an increasing number of raw read and raw seek errors on the internal Seagate hard disk. The disk hadn’t failed yet, but we surmised this was the cause of the noise (or an electrical surge in the disk controller). So I bit the bullet, and contacted HP Support. They agreed to fix it under warranty repair. On Tuesday 2/12 I shipped it out; I got it back on Monday 2/18. Impressive turnaround. They clearly replaced the hard disk: I had a new Hitachi 7200 rpm 1 TB disk, and HD Sentinel was showing no errors. Note: Kudos to Acronis True Image for their backup solution — they made it easy to back up, to move back to the old machine, and to restore the drive on the new machine once returned.

But the noise was still there.

At this point, my conclusion was that the noise was coming from the optical disk drive (DVD-ROM), whenever it was polled by the operating system as part of doing hard drive actions. I mentioned this to a co-worker on my van: his suggestion was to leave something in the drive. Last night, I just put a blank DVD-R disk in the drive.

Guess what: no noise since. Easy as that, problem solved.

That, my friends, is the saga of the 2018-2019 Tech Refresh.


🎭 Finding Your Center | “The Joy Wheel” @ Ruskin Group Theatre

The Joy Wheel (Ruskin Group Theatre)I recently passed the 30 year milestone at my place of employ (what, you think I write up theatre for a living‽). Unsurprisingly, questions of retirement have started to cross my head, although I’ve still got a good 10 years to go). For many men, the sense of identity you get through your job is central to your life, and when you retire, that identity goes “poof”. What then? What do you hold on to? What anchors you?

I think that’s the question at the heart of the world premiere play, The Joy Wheel, by Ian McRae (FB), which just opened at the Ruskin Group Theatre (FB) in Santa Monica (and which we saw Sunday afternoon). The play explores the relationship between Stella and Frank Conlin. As the play opens, Frank is in the process of retiring from a 45 year career at some unnamed plant or factory, getting the retirement party, the de rigueur gold watch, and presumably the hearty handshake. This momentous occasion has unsettled Frank: he’s nervous about his future, and nervous about having to give the speech, and desperately needs his wife to hang on to. But Stella has been talked out of the house to participate in a community play — a mounting of a show very similar to The Vagina Monologuesand in doing so is getting in touch with parts of herself that she had long neglected or fogotten. Frank had been neglecting those parts as well, leaving the two of them to grow apart.

So where did Frank grab instead? His friend, Stew. Stew used to work with Frank at the factory but had been laid off for some unspecified reason (although there was an implication that he had gone at little batshit at work); he grew close to Frank after that, and after Stew’s wife left him. Stew is a prepper, a survivalist who believes that the government and society is out to get him, and who must establish elaborate bunkers and facilities in order to survive the coming apocalypse and repopulate the world. Stew has convinced Frank to drain his pool, and turn the space into an underground bunker, and to buy into his survivalist beliefs (which Frank does, a little half-heartedly).

Frank’s retirement brings everything to a head, however. Stella isn’t there for him, and he screws up his speech. Stella is drawn into the show, and the sphere of influence of her wisecracking liberal and liberated friend Margie, whose attitudes bring her into direct conflict to the toxic masculinity and attitudes of the prepper, Stew. It doesn’t help that Stella is upset about the pool conversion and the change in Frank.

With this setup, the play explores how Frank regains his anchor, and what happens to Stew when he loses his. The title of the play, The Joy Wheel, relates to an old-time spinning amusement park ride. If you’re at the edges, the centripetal force will spin you off. But if you can make it to that pole in the center and hold on, you’re stable. But if someone else grabs you along the way, you can lose your stability and go spinning off to the void.

The Joy Wheel (Ruskin Group) - Publicity PhotosThis is the second show we’ve seen at Ruskin (the first was Paradise), and they are two for two. This production was funny and touching and just a joy to watch. As usual, there are many factors that contributed towards this.

Ian McRae’s story, under the direction of Jason Alexander, hit a realistic nerve. Although I do not understand the prepper mentality, I can understand your identity being closely tied to a long-held job (as I’ve been doing cybersecurity for 33 years), and being adrift when that identity goes away. I can also understand the couple in the show, growing apart as different interests, friends, and hobbies pull and tug at you, and try to get you to the edge of that wheel. I recognize the struggle shown in the show of holding onto that center: of figuring out what really keeps you stable in your life.

The point the show makes by its conclusion is a strong one: what keeps us centered isn’t our work, and it isn’t our hobbies. It is our closest relationships: the family we are born with, or the family we choose to make. That’s a good point.

The journey the show makes to get to that point — the journey that allows the central characters to find that pole and hold on (to use the metaphor of the title) — is an interesting one. Each character has something trying to pull them out of the central relationship. Stew is trying to pull Frank into the prepper world: questioning and trusting no one, believing that the world is out to get him. Margie is similarly tugging at Stella to get out into the liberated world, to pull away from Frank and his craziness and to explore the wild side of herself. Each are strong pulls, but the central relationship is like a novelty finger toy, tugging back the harder one tries to escape it. It makes for good theatre.

This brings us to the second factor that makes the show so good: the performances. I recall reading somewhere that the essence of performance for an actor is listening: listening to the audience, and listening to the other actors. This is one of the first shows where I really noticed the listening going on, and it made a big difference. If you see the show (and I suggest you should), watch the actors in the background as they listen and react to the performers in the foreground — especially in the final scenes. These performers are communicating the story non-verbally through their attention. It is fascinating to watch.

Portraying the central characters are Dann Florek (FB) as Frank Conlin and Gina Hecht (FB) as Stella Conlin. My wife likes to refer to LA Theatre as an actor’s playground — it is where actors from TV and film go out to play and exercise their acting muscles — and where we the audience benefit from their having fun. This was a prime example of these: these are two name actors primarily from the film and TV side who give remarkable performances, having loads of fun inhabiting these characters and playing off the other actors, and amplifying the audience. Further, as any audience member will tell you, when the actors are having fun, the audience has fun, and a performance feedback loop is created making the show even better.

Florek and Hecht make these characters come alive, and turn the potential caricatures into real people you might enjoy knowing in real life. You feel they have been married for 45+ years, that they know each other’s foibles and truly care about each others. It was fun to watch.

Supporting the central characters are Lee Garlington (FB) as Margie and Maury Sterling (FB) as Stew.  Garlington’s Margie is a wise-cracking gem. As written by McRae, she has the words to fight back against the attitudes of Sterling’s Stew. What Garlington is able to add, however, is the perfect attitude to go with the lines. That attitude also shows is her interactions with Hecht’s Stella, subtly encouraging subversion through the wordless interaction on top of the written words. She is just a joy to watch. Sterling’s performance brings the appropriate level of paranoid and BSC to Stew (and what is it with folks named Stew being BSC — I know one from work as well). Yes, Stew is more of caricature, but the performance brings a nice depth to it.

Understudies (who we did not see) are: Christine Kaplan (FB) [Margie]; Jim Stapleton (FB) [Frank]; and Mercer Boffey (FB) [Stew].

This brings us to the third factor that makes the show work: creativity. The Ruskin is a tiny tiny space. Think of a rectangle with seating on two of the four sides. Around the rest they have to fit the set. Set designer John Iacovelli (FB) somehow figured out how to get both the inside of the house as well as the prepper’s pool into all of this. The figures to the right will give you an idea of the house set; for the prepper pool, they brought in rolling carts with all the prepper supplies, and arranged it so that the normal door in the back up a small flight of stairs was tilted at perhaps a 50° angle, increasing the perception you were going down into a pool. This necessitated complicated scenery changes, which the director, Jason Alexander, addressed by having a single character give their dialogue (essentially a brief monologue) with a single light on them, allowing the scene change to go on behind in the dark while the audience was distracted. It all worked well. This scenery was supported by the property design of Props Master David Saewert (FB). The lighting and sound design of Edward Salas worked well to establish time, place, and mood. Sarah Figoten‘s costumes seemed appropriate for the place and era, and worked to establish the characters well. Other production credits: Nicole Millar (FB) [Stage Manager]; Hamilton Matthews (FB) [Asst. Stage Manager]; Laura McRae (FB) [Asst. Director]Amelia Mulkey Anderson [Graphic Design]Paul Ruddy [Casting]Judith Borne [Publicity]; Nina Brissey [Videographer].  The Joy Wheel was produced by John Ruskin [Artistic Director, RGT] and Michael Myers (FB) [Managing Director, RGT].

The Joy Wheel continues at Ruskin Group Theatre (FB) through March 24, 2019. It is a fun and enjoyable show; well-worth seeing. Tickets are available online through Ruskin; they do not appear to be listed on Goldstar.


Ob. Disclaimer: I am not a trained theatre (or music) critic; I am, however, a regular theatre and music audience member. I’ve been attending live theatre and concerts in Los Angeles since 1972; I’ve been writing up my thoughts on theatre (and the shows I see) since 2004. I do not have theatre training (I’m a computer security specialist), but have learned a lot about theatre over my many years of attending theatre and talking to talented professionals. I pay for all my tickets unless otherwise noted (or I’ll make a donation to the theatre, in lieu of payment). I am not compensated by anyone for doing these writeups in any way, shape, or form. I currently subscribe at 5 Star Theatricals (FB), the Hollywood Pantages (FB), Actors Co-op (FB), and the Ahmanson Theatre (FB). Through my theatre attendance I have made friends with cast, crew, and producers, but I do strive to not let those relationships color my writing (with one exception: when writing up children’s production, I focus on the positive — one gains nothing except bad karma by raking a child over the coals). I believe in telling you about the shows I see to help you form your opinion; it is up to you to determine the weight you give my writeups.

Upcoming Shows:

Next weekend brings our annual trek to the Anaheim Hills for Lizzie at the Chance Theatre (FB).

March starts with Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella at the Ahmanson Theatre (FB), followed by the annual MRJ Regional Man of the Year dinner at Temple Beth Hillel. The next weekend brings “Disney’s Silly Symphony” at the Saroya [nee the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC)] (FB). The third weekend of March brings Cats at the Hollywood Pantages (FB). The following weekend is Matilda at  5 Star Theatricals (FB) on Saturday, followed by Ada and the Engine at Theatre Unleashed (FB) (studio/stage) on Sunday. March concludes with us back at the Hollywood Pantages (FB) for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Lastly, looking into April: The month starts with Steel Magnolias at Actors Co-op (FB) and the MoTAS Men’s Seder. The next weekend has a hold for OERM.  April will also bring Fiddler on the Roof at the Hollywood Pantages (FB) and the annual visit to the Renaissance Pleasure Faire.

As always, I’m keeping my eyes open for interesting productions mentioned on sites such as Better-LemonsMusicals in LA@ This StageFootlights, as well as productions I see on GoldstarLA Stage TixPlays411 or that are sent to me by publicists or the venues themselves. Note: Lastly, want to know how to attend lots of live stuff affordably? Take a look at my post on How to attend Live Theatre on a Budget.


🗯️ Antisemitism and the Eye of the Beholder … and what that says of the Beholder

Imagine (and it isn’t hard) that Donald Trump has tweeted something insensitive and stereotypical against black or brown people. A bunch of white folk respond, “He isn’t being racist, and here’s why…”. The black and brown folk, on the other hand, instantly go: “That’s a dogwhistle racist trope. That’s a racist tweet.” Who do you think has a better case for recognizing racism? What do you think about those white folk?

Imagine Trump tweets something making fun of Native Americans including a racist trope dogwhistle. Most Americans think he’s just making fun of a political opponent, but it is the Native Americans that pick up on the whistle, and call him out for it.

Now, think about the recent tweet by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and look at the reaction to it. Look at the folks who are saying it wasn’t antisemitic, that it was just “criticism of Israel”. Now ask yourself (a) what do they have in common, and (b) are they Jewish. Now look at the reaction of the Jewish community, which picked up on the dogwhistle racist trope immediately. Now look at the reaction of the non-Jewish community to the reaction of the Jewish community, where they are calling them overly sensitive. As John Adams sang in 1776, “Do you see what I see?”

It really teaches you something about your friends.

For those that don’t “get” it, here’s a good explanation from an article in Tablet Magazine about why the tweet was an antisemitic dogwhistle racist trope:

… [the tweet] evoked the image of moneyed Jews paying off gentiles to subvert the national interest and control American politics for their own ends. Sometimes the villain in this delusion is George Soros, sometimes the Rothschilds, and other times “the Israel lobby.” In this particular case, Omar suggested that the reason America supports the Jewish state is because (((powerful interests))) have taken control of our democracy, seemingly against the will of its people. In reality, as decades of polling shows, American politicians are pro-Israel because American voters are pro-Israel and elect leaders who reflect their views. There is no conspiracy at work, only democracy. Policy on Israel is set by the 98 percent of Americans who are not Jewish, not the 2 percent who are, which is probably why that policy is more hawkish than many American Jews would like.

For those unfamiliar, there is an ages-old canard (look up the Protocols of the Elders of Zion) about a Zionist World Order pulling the strings of every nation. It has been used as the excuse for Jewish slaughter for years. The notions in the original tweet — while criticizing the US policies towards Israel, yes — had the implication of this monied order behind it. It is that implication that was the antisemitic part.

And, to clear some things up, because they’ve come up in other discussions:

  • Disagreeing with the behavior of the government of Israel is not antisemitic. One can want the state of Israel to exist, and disagree with how her government and leaders behave. I want America to exist, and yet disagree with our current administration.)
  • I have no beef with Rep. Ilhan Omar: She’s entitled to her views, and more importantly, learned from this kerfuffle about the importance of perception of what you say being equally, if not more important, than the substance you intend. She has to answer to the people in her district for her behavior.
  • This has nothing to do with the religion of Rep. Omar: I’ve seen the same antisemitic attitude coming from white Christian Republicans. There is, however, one big difference: The Democratic party recognized it, condemned it, and the Rep. in question apologized. I haven’t seen equivalent reactions from Republican leadership when Republicans make antisemitic dogwhistle racist tropes.

That last point is an important one, given the President has been calling for Rep. Omar’s resignation over the tweets: Pot, meet Kettle. The President has been making similar tweets, not only antisemitic ones, but racist and misogynistic ones. So have other Republicans. So until they set the example by resigning over their own behavior, until they call out those in their own party for behaving this way, and until they demonstrably change their behavior (as Rep. Omar has indicated she will, although time will tell), then they have no standing to make such calls. The Republicans do not get to be sanctimonious and high minded when policing their opposition, while ignoring the misbehavior in their own party.

But back to the reason for this post:  We trust that people of color can recognize racism directed against them better than white folks who haven’t been subjected to racism can. We trust that women can recognize sexist behavior and “toxic masculinity” better than guys brought up in the male dominated culture. So why is it that non-Jews cannot take the word of the bulk of the Jewish community when we indicate that a statement is calling on traditional antisemitic tropes. What does it say about the person who doesn’t see it?

P.S.: A friend posted this, and it is apropos to this discussion:  How to Criticize Israel without being Antisemitic.