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(continued from page 23)
I am reading my first copy of Cigar Aficionado. My mentor, Bill Cosby, is featured on the cover. Like Cosby, I'm a comedian, and like most of America, I admire him very much. In fact, when I'm onstage, people say I remind them of Cosby. We're both distinguished black comedians, but my cigar is bigger.
I must thank you for providing me with new material for my act. Your letters to the editor provide a wealth of creative information. Two letters in particular give me cause to celebrate.
The man who gave up smoking cigars because his wife objected is a hoot and a ninny. The real kicker is that he's so happy now that his wife allows him to smoke again. Her reason for letting him smoke? Rush Limbaugh smokes. I would divorce her. To him, it's a reason to celebrate. Is he a mouse? Cigars are too good for him. Cigars are for people with convictions. Instead of smoking cigars like real men do, he should be dipping snuff like the old women in my neighborhood.
Then there is the letter from a woman who nagged her husband until they reached a compromise on his cigars. She changed her tune when she saw Rush enjoying a cigar. That, in her mind, made it OK for her husband to smoke ci-gars. I love my wife, and I love my cigars, but if my wife suggested she would tolerate my cigars only because Bill Cosby or Rush Limbaugh smokes ci-gars, I would be outraged. I would stop smoking them just because she suggested that I conform my standards to others.'
I can't believe men would allow their wives to control their personal habits, and I would like to write more on the need for these gentlemen to assert themselves, but my wife says I have to go to bed now. At least before I do, she'll let me go to the garage and light up an Onyx No. 852.
Albert N. Linton
Houston, Texas

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Dear Marvin,
I'm a Chicago cop of 27 years. I've spent 20 years on the mounted unit. I'm a family man, a cigar smoker, a Scotch drinker, a wine drinker, and I love the horses, and I love to hunt. I can't make the Washington, D.C., Big Smoke on March 1 in Lafayette Park--but I'll be there in my heart. Kick ass.
Joe Thibault
Chicago, Illinois

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Dear Marvin,
As was my Friday-evening custom, I found myself smoking a cigar and sipping a fine Scotch at a respectable bar in downtown San Francisco. At a certain point, I was interrupted by a well-dressed and ostensibly well-mannered gentleman who objected to my cigar smoke. I politely informed him that it was the bar's policy to allow cigar smoking and that if he was displeased, he could move to the other end of the bar or speak to the management.
A most pleasurable half hour passed. But I was then confronted again by this now irate man, who apprised me of the fact that he was a Green Beret and would rip my heart out if I did not extinguish my cigar immediately. Maintaining a calm demeanor, I pointed out that my cigar was nearly at its climax and within approximately 10 minutes his wish would be granted. Showing no appreciation for the sublime, he began to utter an ethnic slur, to which I took offense. Needless to say, having now twice been slandered, I did the only thing an honorable man could do under the circumstances and laid him out cold.
No doubt our Green Beret friend will think twice before trying to snuff out the pleasure of another cigar smoker.
D. L.
Seattle, Washington

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Dear Marvin,
Let me introduce myself. My name is Brother E. Barry Bartkowiak, F.S.C. As you can see from my title, I am a member of a religious order of men known internationally as De La Salle Christian Brothers. In the United States we are known simply as Christian Brothers or the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Our institute was founded in 1781 by John Baptist De La Salle, and our mission in the Church is one of education, primarily the education of the poor.
As a Christian Brother, I live in a community with a group of men who dedicate their entire lives to the Christian education of youth. An integral part of the life of a Christian Brother is the profession of canonical vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. By these vows, I promise to live a simple life in the service of others.
As a Christian Brother, all of my basic needs are met by the community. However, anything out of the ordinary must be taken care of by the individual brother. To accomplish this task, I am given a monthly stipend of $100. As you can imagine, this does not go far in the present economy.
Marvin, I do enjoy smoking cigars. I usually smoke two or three cigars a day. Generally, I smoke a cigar after a long day in the classroom, another after dinner, and I usually enjoy a third in the evening while preparing lessons. Smoking a cigar is one of the most relaxing things I can do for myself.
While on vacation at home with my family (I was raised in Baltimore), I purchased Cigar Aficionado at a local tobacco shop. I found it to be very interesting reading and have purchased every issue to date. I often think of how wonder-ful it would be to be able to smoke some of the premium cigars you rate and advertise in your wonderful magazine. Unfortunately, because of my limited stipend, I can only afford inexpensive cigars.
I have been amazed by the enthusiasm of cigar smokers for the Big Smokes that have been conducted in various cities across the United States. I have thought to myself how great it would be to participate in one of these special events.
Currently I am assigned to our high school in Washington, D.C. At last, a Big Smoke is coming to the nation's capital. I would so very much like to attend, but personal finances do not allow me the luxury of spending $125 for one evening.
Mr. Shanken, to be able to join you and other "cigar aficionados" at the Big Smoke in Washington would truly be an unforgettable experience for me. Would it be possible for you to send me a complimentary ticket to this wonderful event? Needless to say, I would be most appreciative of your generosity.
Looking forward to hearing from you. Looking forward to meeting you on March 1. Looking forward to sharing a cigar with a real gentleman.
Bro. E. Barry Bartkowiak
Washington, D.C.
Editor's Note: By the time you read this, you will be enjoying the cigars that I sent to you and planning your attendance at the Big Smoke. And I look forward to meeting you there.

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Dear Marvin,
My wife and I just came back from our annual Caribbean cruise. As is my habit, we went above deck at 10 p.m. every night, enjoying the warm Caribbean night as I lit up my Partagas No. 1. One night a young lady pulled up a lounge chair after I had lit up. A few minutes went by and the stranger announced, "I think it is so rude to smoke cigars in a public place." This in the midst of several trillion cubic feet of air to dissipate my offending smoke. I calmly replied that one of the greatest things about being an American was the right to express one's opinion, no matter how stupid. She calmly explained she was not American. I noted that this was a bitter blow for our country. The cigar remained lit, and she left.
Marvin, normally I try to take into account the feelings and rights of others. But on the high seas, in international waters, in, literally, international airspace? Enough, already.
Marc M. Jarkow
Seattle, Washington

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