Out Of The Humidor

| From Chris Pratt And James Gunn, May/June 2017
Out Of The Humidor

Dear Marvin,

It is with great pleasure and happiness that I received my first edition of Cigar Aficionado here in Qatar. The information mentioned in this valuable magazine is of great importance, keeping us updated despite being on the other side of the world. We had a big cigar-puffing event around the pool reading the news in February's edition and sharing our knowledge.

Hady Sam Peter Aouad
Doha, Qatar

Dear Marvin,

The story about James Donovan ["The Negotiator," April 2017] was downright fascinating until the last section. Here President Obama's surrender to Cuba was extolled as something positive, the result of expert negotiation and somehow a great step forward in something or other. The U.S. got nothing out of this: the path to freedom for Cuban refugees was cut off, the communists got trade, food, money, everything their own failure of an economy can't produce, and we got nothing.

Charles Knapp
Traverse City, Michigan

Dear Marvin,

As always, I enjoyed your journal, and was impressed by Steve Harvey's philanthropic bent ["Man on the Move," April 2017]. He's doing two things absolutely right to ensure success—having a clear sense of what he wants to do and acting from strong, compelling values. As someone who's spent the past 35 years advising people of wealth on wise giving, I have a few observations.

The first is to pass along the knowledge of Dr. Buster Alvord, the late, admired Seattle philanthropist and nationally known pathologist. When he received a regional award for his giving, he said, "I've done more than 3,000 autopsies, and I think I can say with assuredness that you can't take it with you." The second is that extensive research shows that people who give generously are happier and live longer than others.

Some specific advice for Mr. Harvey:

Develop a clear vision of what his giving can do—the actual outcome of his giving. For example, "If I succeed, every young man will have the resources to make good decisions ensuring a successful and productive life." Think big, but within reality.

Figure out the most cost-effective way to structure his giving—what is the most good he can do with the money he gives?
Stop equating suits passed up with the good he does. Think of what is needed to achieve the goals he has set for himself, without regard for the sacrifices he makes.

Enlist others to help. He can't do it alone. He has friends and contacts to amass a substantial fund. And ask big—to
become part of his ‘team,' the entry level should be high—like $1 million.

Get advice from great mentors-the Bill Gateses and Warren Buffetts of the world.

Stuart R. Grover
Tacoma, Washington

Dear Marvin,

I am a longtime subscriber and love your magazine. The articles are generally well written and informative (full disclosure: my brother is a frequent contributor) and I also enjoy the artwork contained in the advertisements.

As for some of the politics: not so much. A case-in-point is the decision to publish the letter from a certain Mr. Oakes in the April edition where said individual insulted the prior president and typed the words "socialist" three times, and "communist" twice, all in a diatribe against efforts by the federal government to regulate the cigar industry.

When someone abuses a political term, he or she cheapens oneself.

Just as President Trump is not a fascist, Obama is not a communist/socialist.

One also insults the memories of the countless and faceless and nameless souls who perished under the yoke of totalitarianism when words are carelessly and thoughtlessly used.

As I believe Freud once said: Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Kevin J. Rothstein
Oceanside, New York

Dear Marvin,

As a fan of this magazine and an appreciator of fine cigars, I was surprised to read the fact-challenged broadside
attack on President Obama in the April 2017 letters section from J. Bradley Oakes of California.

I read Cigar Aficionado for the thoughtful interviews, insightful cigar reviews and informative new product features. I don't read it for hyper-partisan takes on politics. While I also enjoyed your Editors' Note on government meddling, I found it gratuitous to print Oakes' letter. But since you opened the door, I thought I would provide a reasonable response.

If readers of this magazine have one common denominator it is the love of a good cigar. And for American cigar aficionados, the last frontier of cigar nirvana is Cuba. The "outgoing administration" has done more to open this market to American cigar enthusiasts than any other administration. For that alone, readers of this magazine should be respectful, if not thankful.

On the domestic economic front, the "abusive communist platform" Oakes rails against provided years of steady economic growth including the creation of 11.3 million jobs, a bull market where the Dow increased 140 percent and a revitalization of the American auto industry and the financial system.

To claim "socialist overreach" you'd have to ignore this reality.

David Di Martino
Silver Spring, Maryland