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Out of the Humidor

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The U.S. government, somewhere along the way, decided the length of life is far more important than the quality of life. Our government considers average Americans unable to make our own decisions or take responsibility for our own actions. It must look after our best interest.
We have become so weak that the government continually succeeds in imposing foolish regulations upon activities deemed dangerous to our health. But where will it stop? A person doesn't smoke, so why worry about liberties being removed from a smoker? A person doesn't like wine, so why worry about laws regulating the consumption of wine? It won't affect me, will it? Perhaps not, but who will stand with you when it does?
Soon the fragrance of perfume or aromas wafting through a dining room might be considered, by some, a form of secondary air pollution. I can just imagine the "Government Warning" signs in restaurants. Can you picture our media-hungry politicians setting up public hearings as they rake Oscar de la Renta over the coals? Perhaps a special independent council to investigate Julia Child.
Alexander Hamilton said, "Real liberty is neither found in despotism or in the extremes of democracy but in moderate government."
The country has spent the last 219 years on a pendulum that has swung from "despotism" to "the extremes of democracy." We all should fight, not only for moderate government, but also for a moderate understanding that, for some, "the superfluous is a very necessary thing."
Timothy J. McCormick
Naples, Florida

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Dear Marvin,
In the Spring 1993 issue of Cigar Aficionado, you featured an article written by my employer, an ear, nose and throat surgeon. At that time, I was a nonsmoker, but since then, I too have come to enjoy a good cigar. As his nurse, I find it interesting to share ideas with him about different cigars that we have tried. My favorites, so far, have been Punch and Arturo Fuente. My husband has also become a cigar smoker. It's quite nice after our evening meal, to relax together, smoke a cigar and discuss the day's events. While others may prefer a glass of Cognac or brandy, I personally enjoy my cigar with a piece of fine chocolate. I am also the proud owner of a Cigar Aficionado T-shirt, given to me by my boss. Whenever I wear it, it draws attention and some unique conversation from other smokers. Cigars have become a very interesting "hobby" and added a relaxation and pleasure to my life that even up until very recently, I never thought I would have considered. We enjoy your magazine very much and anxiously await each issue.
Karen Jezierski
Carbondale, Illinois

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Dear Marvin,
The first time I saw a cover of Cigar Aficionado, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. My first thought was that some fool had taken leave of his senses and must be trying to commit financial suicide.
I mean, how many guys are there like me who wait until they are halfway down the first hole before they dig a cigar out of their golf bag? It is a way of making sure that only the guys playing with them will know their dirty little secret. And how many guys are there like me who fly-fish all over the world in remote places, so we can smoke cigars in solitude, and maybe get lucky by snagging a box of Montecristos in a duty-free zone on the way home?
Well, I bought the issue with Cosby on the front, and as I moved through the pages, I felt the weight of a 100-pound gorilla come off my back. I know now what it must feel like for a gay man to come out of the closet and admit his sexual preference. I felt the same way when I learned how many people share my passion for fine cigars. And now, each time I read another edition, I feel completely uplifted and welcomed as a man.
I know your magazine is a huge and rightful factor in the explosive renaissance of cigar smoking, but I often wonder if part of the fun of smoking a big fat cigar is the feeling of giving a big fat finger to the increasingly strident voice of feminism in this overly sensitive and humorless time we are living in.
I doff my cap and raise my glass to you for the brass balls it took to step up to the plate and produce Cigar Aficionado. Only Amadeus comes to mind in the least likely to succeed category--an awesome achievement.
William S. Bishop
La Quinta, California

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Dear Marvin,
My cigar memory goes back to two days in 1972. Mike and I had just graduated from high school in Concord, California. Thanks to Jack Kerouac, we knew that we had to get on the road. We hitchhiked up to my aunt and uncle's house in Bellevue, Washington, and after a day layover, we headed for Canada via Port Angeles and the ferries.
Everything was fresh and new to us: the ferry ride across beautiful Puget Sound, the arrival at Bainbridge Island with the greenest grass and the golden Scotch broom. We hiked along with our packs, catching frequent, short rides from the islanders. A couple of college kids passed us three times; each time, they wouldn't give us a ride, but instead gave us a beer. Walking along, we came upon a roadside stand selling fresh raspberries, and we thought we were in heaven. Finally we made it to Port Angeles and walked on to the ferry just as it finished loading for the trip to Victoria.
I don't remember a lot more about that day except that we ended up at a youth hostel in Victoria. The next day started a lifetime love affair with Victoria. We walked through downtown to the waterfront. The city was remarkably clean and the natives friendly. With graceful old buildings and flowers hanging from lampposts, here was an urban setting as splendid as the country we had just come through.
That afternoon, with instructions from a knowledgeable local, we picked up some Silver Springs beer from the government liquor store and then found a tobacco shop. We bought Cuban cigars that the clerk recommended. I wish I could remember what brand they were, but they were BIG. We took the beer, cigars and some postcards, and climbed into an empty freight car sitting in a siding. We sat, drinking, smoking the mild flavorful cigars and writing our letters home. There is a sort of golden haze around these memories, and I can still taste the cigar and beer. That trip had a lot more ups and downs in store for us, but those two days alone would have made it all worthwhile.
Keep up the good work, and remember: Life's too short for bad cigars.
Jeff Pugh
Boonville, California

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Dear Marvin,
I enjoyed reading about Mike Johnson's cigar experience ["Out of the Humidor," Cigar Aficionado, Summer 1995] on one of our flights to London.
Our flight attendants are required to follow rules of the Federal Aviation Administration, various international regulatory authorities and the regulations and rules as written by my own airline. One of those rules is that only cigarette smoking is allowed on designated smoking flights. Sorry Mike, we don't make all the rules, but as flight crew members we sure do have to enforce them! In fact, there are pressures mounting to eliminate smoking on all flights, including long international trips.
I am sorry if Mike Johnson had an unpleasant experience on one of our flights. I hope he will do what I am going to do this evening: retrieve one of his cigars (in my case a properly humidified Te-Amo No. 7), light up and reflect on how great life is when you still have the opportunity to relax and enjoy a favorite smoke.
Guy Goodboe
Captain American Airlines
Barrington, Illinois

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Dear Marvin,
From my journal of 4/23/95, San José del Cabo, Mexico, our first day there:
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