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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
Antonio Banderas, Nov/Dec 2005

(continued from page 1)

I will be returning overseas next week, but this time we "fill fly" in Iraq. I will take a flag and fly it on your behalf during one of our missions. When I return, I will send it to you, as part of my thanks.

Eric K. Fancher
Little Rock, Arkansas

Dear Marvin,
A New Jersey politician, Loretta Weinberg, is calling for a bill that would make smoking while driving in our state a secondary offense. Her pretext is that smoking can be a "distraction." And pretext it is, for, statistically speaking, smoking while driving is among the least of road distractions. (Even the AAA opposes such a bill.)

Insightful citizens know that Weinberg's proposal is merely another attempt to curtail smoking everywhere. To my libertarian mind, it is undemocratic and violates the right to privacy. Her words are not only authoritarian in concept, but clearly show an un-American, socialist-collectivist mentality: "We want to do the best for people." Recollect that! Weinberg and her supporters want to legislate against a citizen's natural right to decide what is best for himself. No thanks, Ms. Weinberg, I'll continue to do my own thinking, pursue my own lifestyle, and smoke a cigar while driving, much of the time, alone.

Realistic or not, the words of Ronald Reagan echo vibrantly: "Get government off the backs of people."

Carl Shapiro
Ridgefield, New Jersey

Dear Marvin,
Wow! As I sit here enjoying a Montecristo Platinum Habano No. 3, I think back to just a little over three weeks ago. I was enjoying myself at the C.A.O. and Rocky Patel/Drew Estate parties during RTDA in New Orleans not having a care in the world. Just enjoying being amongst fellow smokers. Now, there may not be a New Orleans. I normally don't write to magazines, but I seized this moment to do so. I am an original New Orleanian, who enjoyed a great career in the Air Force, traveling the world over and then returning after retiring in 1999. I've lived through Hurricane Betsy and Hurricane Camille, losing everything, only to start over again and continue loving my hometown with all its faults and drawbacks and, of course, the potential of another catastrophic disaster.

Needless to say, when the order was issued to evacuate, my better half (Michele) and I packed a few things and headed north. As normal when we take a trip, I gathered a few smokes (in this case a box of the No. 3s, a box of Camacho Legends series and a box of the brand new Camacho Candela Monarcas) I purchased on Saturday at my favorite smoke shop, making sure I had enough just in case I ran into a fellow aficionado who I could share with. I fully understood the potential threat of Hurricane Katrina, but figured we'd suffer some damage and would return in a few days—five tops, to be exact.

We headed up Interstate 59, stopping in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on Sunday, the day before the storm made landfall. Upon waking Monday morning knowing the storm was converging on the city, I prayed that it wouldn't be total destruction.

It's now Tuesday evening and according to accounts by various news outlets, it's a lot worse than I expected. Will there ever be another New Orleans? Only the good Lord and time will tell. My reason for writing is that life is truly a blessing and we each should stop, think and be thankful for what we have. As we watch the news broadcasts, we are viewing our area of town, and to this point from what we can tell, we've lost everything, including my collection of almost 1,100 fine cigars, cigar accessories, my poster from the Big Smoke held in New Orleans in 2000 and my prized copy of your magazine's first edition. Those things can be replaced, but life can't.

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