What did I just do???

Have you ever done something to yourself and later wondered, “what in the world was I thinking?”  I’m primarily referring to things that we put in our body.

I remember reading about how Drew Carey “rewarded” himself for substantial weight loss with… an entire pizza.  He reflected correctly that it wasn’t really a reward as much as a punch in his own face.

I’m convinced this same principle applies to anyone who eats a McRib.  As you pop in the last sticky bite, one inevitably wonders why they’ve just done this to themselves.  By the way, how is it that the good people at McDonalds can make the most proper of adults look like a 7 year old who just ate a rack of ribs after eating one of those things.  If I wanted to get BBQ sauce all over myself, I’ll get real ribs.  If I want to enjoy a faux-meat, BBQ sandwich I’ll get a McRib.

I’m not sure what I was thinking, but I recently smoked this new cigar from Macanudo.  I know, I know.  I realize what it looks like.  My dad likes to give me a hard time and tell me that I smoke “dog turds.”  Well this little beauty moves his exaggerated mockery straight into the fact column.

This was actually a really nice smoke.  It wasn’t nearly as strong as you would think being as dark as it is.  The initial flavor was really nice and even, chocolate, and as it burned toward the middle, stayed very balanced and enjoyable.

But I could never quite get past what it looked like.  Some would call it rugged, natural, earthy.  Most others would say it could clear out a public swimming pool in less than 10 seconds.

I can’t picture the high-society men at Cigar Aficionado rating this cigar (or even wanting to be seen in public).  I can’t even imagine Zman wanting to grab a handful of these to enjoy at home.  I certainly don’t think the Keepers of the Flame would endorse this cigar.

A good portion of the intrigue and enjoyment of smoking a premium, hand-rolled cigar is enjoying the look of the cigar.  I’m not sure the folks at Macanudo paid much attention to this aspect.  No guy wants to smoke a cigar that is going to draw negative comments and snide remarks from everyone.  Hence, while I enjoyed the Macanudo, it will be my last.  No more dog turds for this guy.

Now… off to get a McRib before they disappear for another three years.

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Weekend Cigar Reading

photo credit to Z-Man

Here are some blogs/articles I found humorous and interesting over the week, specific to my love of the leaf:

The Keepers of the Flame impressions of a new cigar from an old friend.

Z-Man– going off about finding just the right Christmas tree.  Rated PG-13.

And, as I mentioned earlier this week, a cigar (or seven) is a great Christmas gift.  Here are some great deals!

Have a great weekend.

Smoke ’em if you got ’em.

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Cyber Monday Cigar Shopping

Thanksgiving is in the books.  Another day of family, food, and football has come and gone.  Quite frankly, this was my best Thanksgiving day ever!  Thanksgiving night, however, a different story as my 5 year old decided his Thanksgiving dinner should come back up again, and again, and again, and…

But I digress.  I managed to avoid any “Black Friday” outings (being the good dad that I am I volunteered to stay home with the sickly lad), and did my best to participate in Small Business Saturday.  I had a bowl of chili worth going into battle for from the Cafe on Broadway here in our little downtown.

Which brings me to today… Cyber Monday.

Side note: when I was a kid we didn’t have “black Friday” and cyber Monday.  Although we didn’t have cell phones or the internet either, so maybe I just need to get over it.

Cyber Monday, I am told, is like the first two rounds of March Madness for the ladies.  More productivity is lost at work than any other day of the year.  This got me to thinking… as we get older, gifts get so much more expensive.  When I was a kid, a $9.99 GI Joe or a $12.00 lego set and I was happy as a pig in slop.  These days most of us have to either save all year (yea, right) or go in with 5 siblings and 3 aunts to buy someone the gift they want.

Kindle?  Yea right.

I would like to remind all you gift givers out there that a premium, hand-rolled cigar makes a fantastic Christmas gift.  They are incredibly affordable, extremely appreciated and enjoyed, and create an experience for the recipient that goes beyond any other regular gift.  Your praises will be sung the entire duration of the smoke.  And your gift recipient will be the envy of all those around him.

I realize many gift givers aren’t confident when buying a cigar for that special “lover-of-the-leaf” in their life.  So here are some can’t-miss options:

Alec Bradley:  These have really gained in popularity in the past year or two.  They’ve become mainstream and, thus, have risen in price a couple of dollars.  Rest assured, if you spring the $15-$20 for one of these you will be loved forever.

Arturo Fuente:  Again, you can’t miss if you get a Fuente.  You can spring big for an Opus Opus X ($30 and higher) all the way down to a Short Story from the Hemingway series for around $7.

Kristoff:  The Kristoff is a personal favorite of mine.  This cigar is harder to find, but oh so good if you can get your hands on one.  You can get these for less than $10 and it’s a lot of cigar for the price.

Rocky Patel:  Really anything from RP will be good.  Standards are the 1992 and 1990, but the Connecticut is great as well!  You’ll look to spend around $10 for a cigar.

Cigar Aficionado has a great online resource for finding a local tabacaria where you can pick up good cigars.  These are also the places where the cigars are going to be the most affordable.  Obviously you can also look around online, since it IS cyber-Monday.  JR’s and Cigar International are two good resources.  You’ll get a good price and your cigars will assuredly arrive unmolested.

Okay… time for you to jump online, click some of the links provided above, and be the best Santa you can be this Christmas.  Ho, ho, ho.

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Black Friday Comes Early

Tomorrow is a great day on the American calendar.  For me, it really starts the “holiday season.”  Thanksgiving is a great time to stop, reflect, and express thanks and love for all the blessings in life.  In addition, once we celebrate Thanksgiving it is acceptable (and not deemed “weird”) to play Christmas music, put up the tree, and string the lights.  Thanksgiving is a great day of giving thanks (as the name implies) but for many it has become only a gluttonous afternoon of Friends, Food, and Football that stands in the way of the biggest shopping day of the year, affectionately dubbed “black Friday.”

Ah yes… black Friday.  That blessed day that brings out the big sales and big shoppers.  Nothing says deck the halls and merry Christmas like fighting a complete stranger for sesame street dolls and video game consoles.  Mark my words… check the news headlines on Saturday and, for sure, on Monday.  There will be violence.

A very good friend of mine took it upon himself to bring all the good and love of the holiday season to my door a bit early.  “When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but the UPS man and box full of stogies.”  You know you have a friend worth keeping when he sends you a box of “man roses”… in this case a sampler of Nub cigars.

Why Nub?  Well…

Eddie Murphy does a fantastic impression of Buckwheat from the Little Rascals.  One of my favorite songs that he sings is Kenny Rogers and Dolly Partons’ “Lookin’ for Love” or, as Buckwheat sings it:

Wookin’ Pa Nub.

So Nub became a nickname in high school.

Thank you, dear friend, for the “care package.”  Rest assured, these delectable beauties will not live to see the calendar flip to December.

Thank you!

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The Jungle of Sizes, Shapes, Blends, Etc.

I really do enjoy smoking cigars.  It’s a great way to fellowship with friends, celebrate life, and relax.  But I will say that, sometimes, I feel like cigar-makers use less than “above board” tactics to keep their brands in the news and sell cigars.

Brand new shapes, sizes, blends, flavors, etc. all contribute to make the world of cigars a vast jungle of options.  Pretty daunting for a newcomer.  In an effort to look like they know what they are doing, new/young cigar smokers will often buy an expensive cigar or a brand that they see often or hear others talk about.

One recent example of the cigar industry’s efforts to put out new product… two-toned wrapper (not talking about Kid ‘N Play).

I recently smoked an offering from Joya De Nicaragua that, in my opinion, was a bit hokey.  Yes, there it is.  I said it. Hokey.  They aren’t the only offenders.  I saw the same kind of cigar offered by one of my favorites… La Gloria Cubana.  It hurts me to have to call them out on such a weak cigar.

I have to admit that the idea is intriguing, but it isn’t anything that I would buy or smoke on a regular basis.  It’s an anomaly, something a little different that was fun to try once, but not anything I would keep on hand.  For a more detailed analysis of the cigar the guys at Keepers of the Flame give their 2-cents.  And while their verdict is that this feature is NOT a gimmick, it still falls firmly in the hokey camp for me.

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Misogyny and Hundreds of Chicken Wings

I love women.  I think they are beautiful, interesting, and I am particularly fond of the woman who agreed to walk through life with me.

I think I am fairly open-minded about who my wife is, and who she could be;  about what she does, and could do.  But if I was completely honest, there are some things I don’t want to see my wife do.

I don’t ever want to see my wife become a power-lifter.

I don’t want my wife to become a marathoner or tri-athlete.

I don’t want my wife to start collecting clown figurines or vintage Cabbage Patch dolls.

And I don’t ever want to see my wife eat her weight in chicken wings in less than 15 minutes.

Check out the story of this woman who won a chicken wing eating contest, downing 181 wings in 12 minutes.  That’s almost 5 pounds of wingy goodness in less time than half the time it takes to watch 30 Rock or Modern Family.  I defy you to eat 5 pounds of food in an entire day, let alone in 12 minutes.

I don’t think it’s misogynistic of me to say that I don’t think women should participate in food eating contests.  Now, give it up for this chick… anytime you beat a guy named Joey Chestnut you know you have bested some serious competition.  But I like my ladies a bit more dainty than that.

This brings me to the “stogie” portion of my thought process.  I know most guys think it’s pretty rad when a woman can sit down and have a cigar.  I’ve even touted the idea that every woman should at least try a cigar (or part of one).  But I’m not really sure I want cigar smoking to be that activity that my wife and I enjoy together.

Golf- sure (but probably never)

Gardening- absolutely

Hiking- ummm… okay

But I don’t know how I feel about sitting down with my wife and sharing a cigar.  What are your thoughts about your wife smoking a stogie?

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PGA on a death march

The PGA Tour is in trouble.  It has hitched its wagon to a horse that, right now and for the foreseeable future, isn’t going anywhere.  With the tumultuous year Tiger Woods has had, T.V. viewing of PGA tour events is down as much as 60%.  That ringing sound you hear is the death bell for the PGA as a viable player in the American sports landscape.  Golf may be going the way of professional tennis, the buffalo, and my hair (going, going, gone).

This past week’s PGA Championship tournament ended in such controversy that the entire golf world (and some of those outside the golf world) are abuzz with opinion.  I’ll try to spare you the mind-numbing details, but basically a golfer touched his club to the ground in a section of the course that you are not supposed to touch your club to the ground.

Now– the devil is in the mind-numbing details, but suffice it to say this guy really got hosed.  To be fair to the “game of golf” it is a rule and it was communicated, albeit in a confusing and inefficient way.  Again, trying to spare you all the details, suffice it to say the neither the player, nor the caddie, nor the PGA rules official who was with them knew he was in a place where he should not have touched his club to the ground.

If golf wants to continue its slow slide into irrelevance it ought to keep all the rules the way they are and continue to enforce them to the letter of the law, rather than in the spirit in which they were written.  The PGA tour needs to do something (other than promote Tiger Woods) to bring people back to golf.  Below are a few suggestions:

* Re-write several rules that are archaic and/or just plain stupid: One example:  if you set your putter behind the ball, ready to putt, and the wind blows and moves your ball (typically only applies to the British Open wind conditions) you are deemed to have caused your ball to move and are assessed a penalty.  LAME!

* Market more players.  Tell their story during the tournament (a-la the Olympics, but a little less cheesy).  Push more players to be involved locally as tournaments move from city to city. At this point in time, the golfers have an obligation to play in the “pro-am” of each tournament which is a chance for wealthy businessmen to play with the golfers.  How about those guys spend some time at local courses, giving lessons to kids, or even playing with kids.  According to this research done by the Wall Street Journal, there are fewer and fewer kids picking up and playing golf.  The PGA needs to work with and partner with golf courses around the country to remedy this.  They have their “First Tee” program and that is great.  They need to do more.  Today’s 10 year old is the 25 year old who is going to be watching golf about the time Tiger Woods is transitioning to the Senior Tour.  They need to know more golfers than “Tiger and Phil.”

* Allow the top 10 players in the world to play the entire tournament, regardless of the cut-line: As evidenced by this report from the Wall Street Journal, just because a golfer is a world top-10 player does not mean he will do well and play the weekend, thus drawing eyeballs to the t.v.  The PGA should allow the top-10 players in the world to play all four rounds of golf and be exempt from the cut.

Do you have any ideas for the PGA tour?

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