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Out of the Humidor

By CA Readers | From Hugh Grant, November/December 2009

Dear Marvin,
I hung on to every word from Marshall Fine's interview of the stunning Catherine Zeta-Jones. Oddly enough I noticed she wasn't holding a cigar in the cover shot and then learned she's never experienced a cigar!!! Tsk! Tsk! Another lady and I have a cigar show on the Internet we call "Fluff n Puff" where we teach women how to smoke cigars. I believe if Catherine was properly encouraged, she would take that first brave puff and quickly become hooked like the rest of us.

I'd love your help in reaching out to ladies about the joys of cigar smoking with an article dedicated to that topic.

Angye S. Fox
Tampa, Florida

Dear Marvin,
Thank you for your insight concerning the "dehumani-zation of tobacco." I always enjoy reading your comments and logical input into the issue. This is still a free country and each individual should have a choice. We are already being told what to eat, how to conserve and how to vote.

Lauretta Johnson
San Diego, California

Dear Marvin,
I know you're going to get lots of feedback concerning who was and was not selected in your "100 year" athlete story.

I agree with every selection for each sport with the exception of "The Great One"—Wayne Gretzky's selection for hockey. It is true, Mr. Gretzky's career and numbers are exceptional. Furthermore, he would be on the short list of all time NHL all-stars.

But with regard to a single player revolutionizing a sport, for hockey it would be none other than Bobby Orr, star defenseman for the Boston Bruins during the late '60s and early '70s. Mr. Gretzky raised the bar that Bobby Orr made almost unreachable. During a time that defensemen were primarily known for roughing up players in the crease, fighting and protecting their goaltenders Bobby Orr redefined the job description for a defenseman to additionally include rushing the puck, scoring and playing defense.

For three years starting as a sixth grader I got to go to the old Boston Garden and sit in the second balcony with the "gallery gods" twice a year with my good friend whose father was a cab driver in East Boston, but nevertheless had season tickets to the Bruins. I got to see the crew-cut kid with the explosive speed, hard shot and incredible moves outmaneuver everyone on the ice. And these were the early years '66-'68 before the "Big Bad Bruins" won the Stanley Cup.

Bobby Orr never gave anything less than all he had, sacrificing his body for a game he loved. I will consider it an oversight on the part of your selection committee, especially when you consider that Bobby Orr's career ended at 26, a time when many athletes are entering their prime! I wonder how effective the "great one" would have been if he had to defend himself and his team from the glove droppers rather than be protected by them?

Frank Laiacona
Mt. Shasta, California

Dear Marvin:
In the October 2009 issue, Joe Namath was picked as a "Sports Legend—Greatest of all Time." I disagree totally in this assessment.

Joe has a career completion record of 50.1% and a year's best of 52.9% in 1974 and was a subpar if not average QB. The only reason the Jets won Super Bowl 3 was the Colts started Earl Morrall, the backup, as Unitas had thrown only 32 passes all year due to an elbow injury, and then replaced Morrall in the game. Joe had only 206 yards in the game and completed 17 of 28 passes—very average. Had Unitas been healthy, I am sure he would have walked over the Jets easily. I guess the unlisted author of this article was reliving a great day in his New Jersey childhood as Broadway Joe's stats show.

Kent Kampo
Madison, Wisconsin

Dear Marvin,
I would like to share the relaxing and celebratory effects of cigar smoking in my life in light of a traumatic experience I had last year while traveling as a U.S. diplomat, waiting on the runway in a 747 cargo plane at the airport in Brussels, Belgium. With a crew of four, we went speeding down the runway at 158 mph, ready to take off, when an engine blew up and the captain immediately tried to stop the plane. It careened off the runway, busted through the airport perimeter fence, and broke apart, finally stopping about 10 meters away from high-voltage power lines and railroad tracks.

The smell of leaking jet fuel immediately filled the cabin. I was thrown out of my seat, but as soon as I got my bearings, I jumped up and attempted to open two escape doors, neither of which would budge. The dazed and shaken-up crew finally roused and we got the upper right side hatch open. Although the inflatable emergency slide deployed, it fell short of the ground and was hanging in the air, almost completely vertical. None of the crew would attempt the steep descent, but I literally took a leap of faith, jumped on, and plummeted down 15 meters to the ground, breaking my fall by pressing feet and arms, spread-eagled against the sides of the slide. One by one, the remaining crew followed. After assisting with minor injuries, we gradually made our way across the railroad tracks to a safe distance from the plane that, miraculously, did not explode.

In this moment of respite, with a wonderful view of the entire crash scene before me—broken pieces of the jumbo jet, power lines, railroad tracks, and fire engines— I felt around my pockets and realized in horror that I had left my cigar case on board and was ready to climb back up the slide for my smokes. But sanity prevailed, and I proceeded to deal with the logistics of the aftermath. After contacting the D.C. office by cell phone, I remained at the crash site until relieved three hours later by embassy staff in Brussels. I was later humbled and honored to receive the Department of State Medal of Heroism. I was very lucky to have survived. My first instinct after the crash was to relax and give thanks to a higher power by offering a cigar. If there is a moral to the story it is this: every day of life should be a celebration enjoyed with a hand-rolled double corona.

Tomas A. Perez
Austin, Texas

Dear Marvin,
We all know the answer to the question "When there's something strange in your neighborhood, who you gonna call?" Ghostbusters, of course.

I am constantly amazed and saddened by a few zealot's agenda to ban smoking in movies (lest they be rated R) and otherwise govern our lives to the most miniscule levels. Smoking is part of our culture and remains a legal product, yet our rights are being trampled on by a loud few. Recently, my wife and I watched Ghostbusters. Rated PG, Ghostbusters features smoking prominently from beginning to end. The best scene is the one early in the movie in which Stantz (Dan Akroyd) sees Slimer for the first time and the cigarette just falls right out of his mouth as his jaw drops; simply classic artistry. My wife (30) and I (31) couldn't believe how much smoking was in this movie. We also noted that as children at the time of release, neither of us today are addicted to cigarettes. I smoke cigars, my wife doesn't. I smoke cigars because I enjoy them; not because of addiction. (I can go for weeks without one; I have, but choose not to!) But neither of us care for cigarettes. Thank you for your constant campaign and struggle for smokers' rights. Now, if only we could use a proton pack in real life to zap these anti-smoking zealots and keep them locked in the containment unit.

Steve Steinbruegge
St. Charles, MO