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I wish to thank you and your wonderful publication for bringing my father and me closer together. How, you ask? Please let me explain.
I have been a closet cigar lover since high school. I say closet because my father is a vehement anti-smoker. The kind of antismoker many of your readers tell horror stories about. My mother always knew, and it was kind of a blackmail issue between us (I say this in jest).
After graduating from college, I agreed to become a self-employed manufacturer's representative for the same two clothing companies my father represents. I married soon afterward, and began enjoying my Arturo Fuente at home. This finally let the cat out of the bag, and I got an earful from my father. He gradually accepted my vice as long as he was nowhere close. This line of work requires the attendance of three weeklong conventions per year. Lately, they have been in Las Vegas, which is close enough for us to drive.
As we were leaving on our last trip, the mailman arrived with a new issue of Cigar Aficionado. I brought it along with a previous issue, much to the chagrin of my father. It was my turn to drive and I urged him to read the magazine, not so much for the cigar information, but for the other interesting articles. He did! Not only did he read it cover to cover, but he pestered me the whole way with questions. Have you smoked this brand, or this size; how does that one taste, was it really a 91? Have you had a Cuban yet, are they really better? And on and on and on. He read the other issue on the way home.
Two weeks later, it was his 50th birthday, and my wife and I invited them over for dinner. Afterward, I poured my father his favorite Irish whiskey and offered him one of my favorite Arturo Fuentes. He declined and told me I was crazy for even offering. But after prompting from my mother and the curiosity deposited by your publication, he lit up. He smoked the entire cigar!
So you see, Cigar Aficionado has converted a foe to a friend. He has since smoked two others and constantly bugs me about Cubans. Thank you for not only bringing my father and me closer, but for a truly excellent magazine.
Geoff M. Stiles
Anaheim Hills, California
Editor's Response: Aren't dads great! If all he does is smoke one cigar each year on his birthday, it will be a beautiful bonding experience. I hope the tradition continues.

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Dear Marvin:
I own a 33-year-old bookstore in San Diego. We specialize in literary books and periodicals.
As a cigar and pipe smoker, I have been delighted in both reading and hand-selling Cigar Aficionado. But the Spring 1994 issue will probably go back to the distributor before it goes on the rack. Rush Limbaugh is the most execrable, even dangerous, person in the country. There are many cigar smokers, past and present, whom you could have chosen to be on the cover. I'm sorry that you had to join the commercial bandwagon; I'm very offended.
Tom Stoup
San Diego, California
Editor's Response: I would only ask that you have the same compassion for freedom of speech as we smokers ask of nonsmokers. While I have received other letters like yours with negative comments about Rush, I have received many more saying how much they enjoyed reading about him. Many were from people who admit they don't like his politics. That's what makes America a great country.

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Dear Marvin:
The "Rush" issue was the third in my subscription. The liberals are indeed taking over this country. (Our president doesn't even have the conviction to openly enjoy his ci-gars.) It is truly wonderful to read Cigar Aficionado, a magazine that inspires one of life's great pleasures.
One marvelous result of reading your magazine is that I now seem to frequent only restaurants that permit cigar smoking. The one big downside, however, is that I devour the magazine within hours of receiving it. The intervals between issues feel like a lifetime.
Tarun Kataria
New York, New York

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Dear Marvin:
Last year I happened on a copy of Cigar Aficionado by chance and was pleasantly surprised. At last, a magazine for cigar smokers. Subsequently, I subscribed to the magazine, and I have looked forward to each issue, which I read and reread with great pleasure.
That is until yesterday, when the Spring 1994 issue arrived with the leering face of the notorious Rush Limbaugh on the cover. I cannot adequately convey my distress. This man is a right-wing, race-baiting demagogue who is disdainful of everything liberal and democratic in this country. I wonder, would you use a picture of Louis Farrakhan on the cover of your magazine? Probably not, and rightly so. For a score of reasons, I protest in the strongest terms the use of Rush Limbaugh's picture in this manner. It is an affront to all persons who try to think and deal carefully with the massive issues facing the American people. Surely there must be cigar-loving persons of stature who are not so opinionated who might grace the cover of Cigar Aficionado.
Joseph H. Evans
Sarasota, Florida
Editor's Response: You obviously disapprove of Rush being profiled. But there are 24 million listeners to his radio program every week, making him a media megastar. The magazine did not endorse his political views, only his love for fine cigars. I think that tolerance and understanding are needed in a situation like this. I am sorry if the cover story offended you.

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Dear Marvin:
As a new reader, it is very comforting to know that there are other gentlemen out there who enjoy the same vices that I have been enjoying since I was suspended from high school as a freshman for enjoying a Macanudo on school premises. I am currently a student at the University of Southern California Graduate School of Business Administration. I have finally found a crowd who can also enjoy the finer aspects of life--the professors.
Your editorial in the Spring 1994 issue mentioned a gentleman by the name of Sam Crocket at the Doral Arrowwood Resort. I am sorry to say that, I, like you, received a rather rude response from Mr. Crocket when I canceled a $5,000 dinner. I made the necessary arrangements to have a dinner that would compose of a waiter's wet dream. After all of the arrangements were made, totaling 30 minutes on the phone and two faxes, I happened to ask if it would be appropriate if all of the 15 gentlemen smoked cigars throughout the dinner. He stated that the restaurant does not normally allow cigar smoking.
At that point, I stated that we would not be doing business with him. We would rather drive to New York City and dine at the '21' Club than dine in an establishment which does not appreciate our business. You should have heard him grovel. "No, no, we want your business, however...." At which time I stated, "I would rather go to the '21' Club where my business is appreciated and I can be treated like a human being." I then thanked him and hung up. A few minutes later I got a call from the catering manager who stated that they could accommodate my party. Once again, I stated that, "I would rather go to the '21' Club where I can eat in the dining room like a civilized human being, have the wines which I require and smoke what I wish."
One by one we shall conquer all of the restaurants which do not allow cigar smoking.
David B. Nybo
Pasadena, California
Editor's Response: You have no idea how happy your letter has made me feel. People like Crocket deserve the enmity of all cigar smokers, and shame on establishments that hire them. Great work!

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