Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
The Sopranos, Mar/Apr 01
(continued from page 3)
I've enjoyed your magazine ever since I picked up the August 1999 issue covering the centennial birth of Ernest Hemingway. Neil Grauer's writing was skillful, his reporting absolutely thorough, and the analysis didn't hold any punches. However, I find exception to the "Wild Wild Web" column by James Cramer [cofounder of TheStreet.com] in your February 2001 issue. Mr. Cramer's snobbery is atrocious. According to the story, the geeks Mr. Cramer is referring to are software programmers and other Web professionals. Just so you are aware, I know many programmers who enjoy a good smoke. If Mr. Cramer is trying to make a point that sophisticates -- your readers, I presume? -- shouldn't be afraid of the Internet, I'm sure he can build a better case than belittling others. It's very "high school" and an embarrassment to your otherwise fine publication. I also find it amusing that Cigar Aficionado decided to uphold Mr. Cramer as an expert, of sorts, on the new economy. Mr. Cramer rode to financial heights on the Internet wave that he talks so simply about. Now that the wave has crashed, those of us in the industry know that TheStreet is crumbling beneath him.
San Francisco, California
Every now and then, while passing through the pages of Cigar Aficionado, I happen across a photograph of George Hamilton and I can't help but smile. As an actor, Mr. Hamilton may have received some mixed reviews at various points in his career, but as a "spokesmodel" for cigar lovers everywhere, he is unsurpassed. In my opinion, he embodies the epitome of elegance and refinement. So, please allow me to tell you my own personal story about George Hamilton.
At the time, I was living in Palm Beach, Florida, and the winter social season was in full swing. My wife and I were returning home from a black-tie charity ball, at which George Hamilton had been an attendee. As we were driving along Ocean Boulevard, we happened to see Mr. Hamilton pulled over at the side of the road where he was receiving a traffic citation from a local police officer. My wife, who could sell Hanukkah dreidels in Vatican City, insisted that we stop to assist. To Mr. Hamilton's amazement, she talked the officer out of giving him the ticket. Graciously, he asked us how he could repay us for this assistance. Cleverly, she insisted that he drop by our house for a glass of Port wine and a cigar.
Well, as often happens in Palm Beach, an odd assortment of characters in formal attire were soon assembled in my living room, including George and his brother David, Roxanne Pulitzer, and Deborah Couples (then recently divorced from golfer Fred).
I was honored to present my guests with a very nice Taylor-Fladgate Port (whose vintage now escapes me) and a box of Cuban Romeo y Julieta cigars (the "Prince of Wales" variety, as I recall).
George was absolutely charming, as you would expect; intelligent, witty, and possessed with a personal style that set everyone at ease. Needless to say, a marvelous time was had by all, and I -- in one of my better bargains -- was able to exchange some truly superb cigars and an equally memorable Port for treasured memories of a wonderful evening.