Out of the Humidor

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I've had two issues to become acclimated with the new look and sequence of your magazine. Thus, I have the following to report: One, I love words. Thus, I appreciate your emphasizing the word "aficionado" at the expense of "cigar." Further, the content of the articles is the major reason that I buy and read your publication. Two, I love cigars as well. I smoked my first in October 1993 at a famous Manhattan steak house. My second was at a popular Miami steak house in December 1995.
Since that time I've become a regular consumer. However, I do not consider myself a consummate expert nor do I care to be. I simply enjoy one of the great pleasures of life. The articles and ratings about cigars are secondary to the enjoyment I receive by reading the numerous informative articles. Thus, the fact that you've decided to position the cigar material near the back of each issue makes no difference to me.
Three, given the fact that the cigar craze went bust several years ago, I fault you not at all for seeking to broaden your readership. Finally, like a good cigar, your publication starts well, ends well, and is to be savored.
Tim Culbertson
Englewood, Colorado
Dear Marvin,
Wow! The article "Manhunter" really shows the heroic efforts of John Walsh! John's ordeal with the murder of his six-year-old son, Adam, was a great loss and tragedy. John came out of this tragedy triumphantly by becoming the host of "America's Most Wanted" and placing his full heart into this show that has attracted millions of viewers who enthusiastically assist in apprehending some of the country's most wanted criminals! When John saw the power that this show produces with the apprehension of the FBI's Top 10 fugitive, David James Roberts, he knew he had to strive on with a vengeance!
One of the show's greatest accomplishments was the apprehension of the family murderer John List, a fugitive on the run for many years. Your issue really hit the nail on the head with this enlightening article. We need more John Walshes in this world!
Paul Dale Roberts
Elk Grove, California
Dear Marvin,
I see in the letters in your June 2000 issue that you are still receiving fallout from your controversial June 1999 special issue on Cuba (which happens to be my favorite issue of Cigar Aficionado). In "Out of the Humidor," the writer, John Pluta, finds the article about the Honorable Mr. Ricardo Alarcon, president of Cuba's National Assembly of the People's Power, to be "obnoxious." That is a normal reaction to those who do not like to be confused with the facts.
That writer also suggested that Mr. Alarcon "should consider himself lucky that we allow him and his band of cutthroats to exist at all in our hemisphere (yes, I did say our hemisphere)" and that "if Alarcon wants anything from us, then let him yield, not us." It is the above combination of arrogance and naiveté that leaves a bad taste for Americans with people in other parts of the world. I find this unfortunate because some of the most wonderful people I have met and know are Americans. I side with Mr. Pluta when he says he "doesn't like dealing with terrorists."
In that case he may wish to consider organizing a tax revolt to force the U.S. government to disband the government-owned terrorist organization, the Central Intelligence Agency, which has been responsible for many terrorist acts, including both failed and successful assassinations in "our hemisphere." And bring to justice all past and present CIA personnel that took part in terrorist acts. Further, as I am sure he knows, the U.S. still harbors Cuban-exile terrorist organizations in Miami that were originally trained by the CIA. For the United States to expect that Cuba conform to its system of government is no less ludicrous than China telling the U.S. to conform to their system.
Cuba would be foolish to adopt the system of government of the States. A true democracy--by the people, of the people, for the people--may be a good system of government for Cuba. However, the U.S. system--by the people, of the people, for whomever has the most money--would be disastrous for Cuba. Cuba provides free education--including university--medical and dental care, and there are no homeless or starving people in Cuba, something that cannot be said about the U.S.
I believe that if the U.S. wants Cuba to change politically, it will first have to stop the harassment, end the embargo, pay Cuba damages caused by the embargo, get out of Guantánamo, and most importantly don't offer Cuba any political advice. (The overly expensive multiparty system that stonewalls congressional legislation, coupled with the internal social mess in the U.S., is one of the main reasons Cuba is not in favor of the U.S.'s multiparty system.) I sincerely hope that the U.S. government will soon allow its people to travel to Cuba to see for themselves what Cuba is really like. Unlike the "the land of the free," my government allows me to travel to Cuba.
The first time my wife and I traveled to Cuba we were apprehensive about going, as we both had grown up being indoctrinated that Castro and communism were bad. We were surprised to find the opposite. Since our first of many trips, my wife and I studied everything we could about Cuba from all sources. We fast came to the conclusion that our indoctrination about Cuba was disinformation and poppycock.
Stuart Reed
Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
Dear Marvin,
I was reading the "Out of the Humidor" section in your August 2000 issue when something reader Oren Adelson wrote struck a bad chord with me. He wrote, "Anybody who needs an explanation about the difference between shaped and non-shaped cigars probably is not going to be reading your magazine in the first place." That really shocked me!
I consider myself to be a novice smoker at best. I have been smoking cigars for about three years. The last two years I have been getting more and more serious about this wonderful pastime, but as I said, I am a novice at best, and I look to your magazine for guidance and to gain knowledge about the cigar world. I first picked up your magazine as a curiosity and I am now a subscriber and read it religiously.
I also applaud you for taking a giant and scary step towards a format change. I am sure all of your loyal readers, including myself, will stick with you through the new growing pains. Some readers may cancel, but as always with a publication as insightful as yours, there will be 10 more people to take their place.
The point I am trying to make is to please keep telling us the difference between shapes, sizes, colors, etc., in the cigar world. I will always look to Cigar Aficionado for new information about cigars and as a bonus I get to enjoy all of the other wonderful articles that you offer as well. Keep up the good work and keep on smoking!
Sean M. McGrath
Las Vegas, Nevada
Dear Marvin,
I have never written a letter to the editor before, but after reading Erica Jong's "Man's Best Friend" article in the June 2000 issue, I felt compelled to write. I found it very peculiar how dog lovers feel about their pets. The way they talk about their animals, you'd think they were talking about their children. I thought it was pretty sad, but my wife and I are not dog owners so I can't speak from experience.
If it makes them happy, more power to them. I must admit that my wife and I even discussed buying a dog, but felt it would be unfair to the dog to be left alone all day while we were at work. It's not that we don't like dogs, but I have a major problem that was not mentioned to any great extent in the article. When my wife and I come home from work or are relaxing in our yard on the weekend, the last thing we want to hear is our neighbors' dogs barking (yes, plural, we are surrounded by the four-legged creatures).
One of our neighbors is very considerate of their dogs barking, but a few of the others feel it is our privilege to listen to their animals bark for considerable lengths of time. I blame myself for not speaking to the neighbors about it sooner, but being new in the neighborhood I did not want to start out sounding like a jerk. I also had more faith in my neighbors that they would respect my privacy. So to all the dog owners out there, try to remember that not everyone loves your animal, especially when it is barking. Respect your neighbors or muzzle your mutt.
Peter Melas
Loudonville, New York

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