The ChristianCigarSmoker Guys go to Ybor City
Welcome everyone to the long over due first episode of the ChristianCigarSmoker podcast. To start off, without any further ado here is the full episode…
About this episode:
This episode is a chronicle of our ChristianCigarSmoker field trip to Ybor City near Tampa Florida. Most of our episodes will be easy to listen to in an audio only format but due to the nature of this episode and it’s content this episode is one that is designed to be watched in a video format. We hope you enjoy this look at Ybor City which has long been held by many as the cigar capital of the world.
This episode stars Pastor Smokey (Doug Goodman), El Jefe (Paul Redwine), and CigarBenjy (Ben Bolser), and we hope you enjoy it a fraction as much as the three of us did.
What is in this episode:
A Tour of the Cigar Spots in and Around Ybor: Join us as we take a quick look at all the cigar spots on the Ybor strip as well as two great lounges elsewhere in the Tampa area. For a more detailed look at some of these great lounges check out the ChristianCigarSmoker lounge reviews.
A Brief History of Ybor City: This section of the episode features a wonderful interview with our friend Steve who has been working in the cigar industry in Ybor for many years and is the current Lounge Manager at Tabanero Cigars.
El Jefe and CigarBenjy’s Tour of the Lesser Known Sites in Ybor: Join El Jefe and CigarBenjy as they check out some great spots like the famous rooster mural and Seven Eleven.
The Great Rooster Hunt: Watch as El Jefe tries to win unending cigar luck by catching and plucking a tail feather from a wild rooster on the streets of Ybor. (Disclaimer: no roosters were harmed in the filming of this episode, El Jefe is way too slow for that).
El Jefe’s Spanish Lessons: If you failed Spanish in high school this won’t help you improve on your language skills but the lessons are fun none-the-less.
Eric’s Story: Pastor Smokey recounts our time with a brand new cigar smoker in the lounges of Ybor, and how the mission of ChristianCigarSmoker (faith, fellowship, and cigars) can be a truly life-giving experience.
And Much, Much More…
Coming to the next episode:
On our next episode we are excited to sit down with Mark Hall for an exclusive interview. Mark is the author of the book The Cigar Blue Print, manager of the Wright Puff cigar lounge, licensed tobacconist, and former pastor.
Thank you for watching we hope to see you again soon!
A Conversation with Yanko Maceda: Why the Cigar Industry Needs to Stop Being Cut-Throat
A couple of weeks ago I had the wonderful opportunity to go to Ybor City with a couple other ChristianCigarSmoker guys. For a full look at our adventures in Ybor check out the ChristianCigarSmoker Podcast Episode 1 (coming soon). One thing that is not captured on this episode was a thought provoking conversation we got to have with Yanko Maceda the owner and operator of Tabanero Cigars in Ybor City.
Tabanero is a boutique lounge that produces and sells their own cigar brand in addition to running one of the best lounges on the historic Ybor strip. With a lifetime of cigar industry experience and the opportunity to be a key part of the culture in the city that is the capital of cigar culture in America, Yanko provided a perspective that I had previously not considered.
The main message that I took away from the conversation was the cigar industry is causing itself suffering by holding onto an out of date cut-throat mentality!
When we first starting talking with Yanko we didn’t realize who he was, but we quickly picked up on the connection as his stylized picture appears on the Tabanero cigar collar. As we started to talk he quickly became eager to find out more about us. In addition to being a great host, he was drawn to the fact that we were there simply to connect cigar smokers in community and not to make a profit.
He expressed the opinion that cigar smokers are stronger, better off, and more profitable when they are unified. They will see far greater success when they advance the industry together instead of fighting over their small part of the existing pie. Capitalism in the industry is one thing, but a failure to see mutual benefit is all together different.
He gave us a great example of this right there in Ybor. He said he often hears people remark they would love to open a lounge or boutique like his. He told us when he hears this he always replies, “great, you should look at doing so right here in Ybor.” He told us that the response to this is almost always, “no, I wouldn’t want to fight the competition of all the other lounges that are already in the area.”
At first glance this seems to make sense, but Yanko explained that Ybor is great, not because it has one lounge but because it has many lounges. People come to Ybor to experience the variety and the multiple cigar spots. The more spots and lounges that are there the more people are drawn to Ybor as a destination. In this case a rising tide really does raise all ships.
This argument rang true for us as that is exactly why we had come to Ybor. Now Ybor is a great spot that every great cigar lover should visit (again, take a look at our Ybor episode for more info). At the same time, the history of Ybor is far more grand than it’s current offerings. Ybor is the best there is, and what is there shines brightly, but it is only a shadow of what it could be. Most importantly I think that this same statement could be applied to cigar culture in our time in general.
Cigar culture has some amazing things happening in it in our time, and yet it finds itself on the margins of society. It has been pushed there by a fast paced, anti-thinking culture and the war on cigarettes. It has stayed there because those in the industry see each other as mere competitors rather than allies. The industry relies on a few select groups like the CRA (Cigar Rights of America) to fight their battles, while national lounge networks and social groups for cigar smokers are almost nonexistent. You may have noticed this is one of the things that ChristianCigarSmoker is trying to change.
Again, Yanko Maceda gave us a great example in Ybor of this played out on a smaller level. He told us how he encouraged the other boutique cigar makers in town to add some branding or collars to their cigars, but they could not be bothered. We saw this to be true of all the boutique rollers on the Ybor strip only Tabanero Cigars sported a collar or logo of any kind.
When this suggestion failed, Yanko tried to get the other producers to ship their cigars in custom marked boxes. However the other sellers prefer to continue to ship any products sold in unmarked bundles. Yanko even tried to sweeten the offer. He has a box maker that does a burn etching on his wood boxes at a good rate, but that rate could be reduced for everyone if the other lounges in the area decided to go in together on the same box producer. Again, no one was interested.
Yanko showed his wisdom by remarking that the better the branding for every lounge and boutique in Ybor the bigger the draw would be for cigar smokers to come to the town. After all, these boxes would be used to ship the very product that the cigar sellers are trying to promote, and good branding is critical to increase interest and excitement, not to mention conveying a professional image.
Seemingly the other owners and rollers in the area can’t see that success of their business depends far more on the success of the cigar culture in general than on being the best lounge or boutique in town. 50% of a 1,000 smokers is far better business than 100% of 100 smokers. I think this is a lesson that a lot of people in the cigar industry would do well to learn.
One of our big hopes here at ChristianCigarSmoker is that you join us in fighting back against the “fighting over the scraps” mentality and instead fight for a revival in the culture. A cigar culture that has proven to be one of the last bastions of diverse, civil, and deep conversation and fellowship in our nation.
One way you can do this is by joining or starting a cigar group and joining the ChristianCigarSmoker groups network (coming soon).
Here at ChristianCigarSmoker we think cigars and the Bible are a great pairing. In light of this, we think it is only natural for a good cigar to sport a name that derives from, or is a reference to a biblical concept. So for some time now we have been collecting the names of cigars that have biblical themes to them and this article is the result.
If you are looking for a cigar that will create a good biblical image the ChristianCigarSmoker guys have worked together to compile the list later in this article. But, before we get to the full list let’s have a little fun.
First, lets start with my top 5 biblical cigar names. These are listed in order based on how good the name is, not on how good the cigar is.
Top 5 Biblical Names:
1. Drew Estate – Smoking Monk
2. Southern Draw – Rose of Sharon
3. Gurkha – Evil Goliath
4. Southern Draw – Jacob’s Ladder/Jacob’s Ladder Brimstone
5. Viva Republica – Rapture Exodus
A great name is good, but a great cigar is better. So here are the top 5 cigars that happen to have a biblical theme to their name. These are taken from the full list and are in order of their overall rating. (A quick disclaimer on this particular list – I have had most of the cigars on the full biblical name list but not all so this top 5 could have a miss if I haven’t had a good one).
Top 5 Cigars with Biblical Names:
1. My Father – The Judge
2. San Cristobal – Revelation Legend (CCS 4.0)
3. Southern Draw – Jacob’s Ladder
4. Foundation Cigars – The Wise Man Maduro
5. Alec Bradley – Blind Faith
So, without further ado, let’s get to the complete list. The following is the full list of cigar that have biblically themed names, at lease what we have compiled so far.
The Full list (alphabetical by company):
5 Vegas – Apocalypse
5 Vegas – Apostle
AJ Fernandez – Fallen Angel
Alec Bradley – Blind Faith
Alec Bradley – King David
Atlantic – Gran Habano Persian King
Atabey – Spiritus
Ave Maria – Holy Grail
Black Label Trading Company – Salvation
Carlos Toraño – Exodus
Corona Cigars – Cielo Cigars (line)
Crowned Heads – Angel’s Anvil
Curivari Achilles – Eternos
Drew Estate – Smoking Monk
Foundation Cigars – The Tabernacle
Foundation Cigars – The Wise Man Cigars (line)
Gurkha – Beast
Gurkha – Evil
Gurkha – Evil Goliath
Gurkha – Rogue Armageddon
Heaven Cigars (flavored) – (company name)
JR Cigars – Casa Blanca Jeroboam
JR Cigars – Padilla Doctrine
My Father – The Judge
Oliva – Hellion
PIO – Resurrection
Punch – Diablo
Ramon Bueso – Genesis
RoMa Craft – Intemperance EC XVIII Brotherly Kindness
Join Pastor Smokey (Doug Goodman) as he explores the serious problem at the heart of racial and policing issues today. The problem of no conversation. He looks at the dangers of yelling, fake news, tweets, and cancel culture taking over a space that once belonged to to long form conversation. He then looks at a more nuanced and productive way to look at the issue of racism in the police force. A perspective that moves more towards solutions and less towards hate on either side.
Join the conversation:
Do you think there is room in the modern american culture for real long form conversation or has the cancel culture, virtue signaling, social media completely over taken us? Do you think Pastor Smokey’s 4 categories of racism manifesting in law enforcement is accurate or do you think there is another way to look at it? And, do you think that the kind of academic system that Pastor Smokey talks about could fix the problems that exist, or is even possible? Jump on over to the blog and join the conversation by clicking HERE.
Cigar Lounges are One of the Last Great Places of Peace and Unity – So Please Don’t Destroy Them!
We are all aware of the civil unrest, protesting, and riots that have ensued from the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer several weeks ago. No matter where you fall personally on the issues at hand in the debate that surrounds these events, we should all be able to agree that the situation could only benefit from more honest and civil conversation and less yelling and insults.
One problem is that there are so few places left in our culture where people can just sit down and talk calmly with others of different backgrounds and upbringings. In my experience the best place left in our culture to do just that is a cigar lounge. I think some of those protesting, particularly the rioters would be better served sitting down in a lounge and simply talking with others in a way that might make a difference and where both sides can learn something.
This is why I was so dismayed to see a Facebook post from my friend Al in Lansing, MI. Al runs a great smoking lounge in downtown lansing, called The Downtown Smoking Club. In fact when you walk out the front door of the lounge and look to your left you can see the front of the Michigan capital building.
During the riots in Lansing last week that were held in response to the death of George Floyd, Al’s lounge was damaged and looted (pictured), and has had to close for an undetermined period of time. These rioters not only damaged a small business struggling in the wake of the Corona virus shutdowns, but it also destroys one of the few places where people can have real conversations about issues and what change might be needed in a troubled time.
In looking around I found that Al’s lounge is not the only lounge in the country to be damaged by rioters in the last week. A lounge that was destroyed in California was featured in an article put out by Cigar Aficionado.
This is part of what Cigar Aficionado had to say, “totaled. Devastated. Ravaged. These were the words used by David Weiss to describe what happened to The Lone Wolf Cigar Co. (pictured) in Santa Monica, California. His store windows were shattered and his retail space was ransacked two nights ago during one of the nation’s many simultaneous riots. The Lone Wolf Cigar Co. has been serving Santa Monica since 1996.”
Ok, it is time for a short side story in the middle of our main story, because this is just to crazy not to mention. The man listed above who runs The Lone Wolf Cigar Co. is named David Weiss. For those who know ChristianCigarSmoker well you will recognize that name because our own Rabbi David’s name is David Weiss. Heres the thing they are not the same person, at least as far as I know they aren’t. If they are, I have some serious questions for my good friend. Mainly, how he dare hide cigars from me!
Alright back to our main story line. Why are we destroying some of the few remaining bastions of open honest conversations between diverse groups in public. This topic seems to epitomize the problem that is plaguing our nation at present, the fact that we cannot have a productive discussion on an important issue without “triggering” someone into an apoplectic rage.
You cannot even start by uttering basic self-evident truths that people on both sides should never have reason to disagree with. If you say there are people of color in our country who are genuinely hurting and in need of help, you are kowtowing to media propaganda and undermining American freedoms. But, if you say that most cops aren’t racist bigots, you yourself are an insensitive racist bigot whose primary actions are supporting oppression.
In the end, if the combination of George Floyd’s death, Black Lives Matter, protests, riots, racial tensions, honoring police and first responders, and political-cultural implications, has your head spinning. Try sitting down at your local cigar lounge, relaxing with a good cigar, and maybe talking to other people who might have something wise to say. Whatever you do, PLEASE STOP DESTROYING OUR CIGAR LOUNGES! They are one of our last links to the sanity we find in real conversation.
Join Pastor Smokey as he explores the idea that the modern western world lacks a coherent vision of what the future should look like. This is combined with the fact of corruption and misdirection from the academic establishment to create a volatile culture that is susceptible to extremism, in-fighting, and greater and greater stupidity.
This episode was inspired by a Socrates in the City interview between Eric Metaxas and Peter Thiel, that can be found HERE.
Join the conversation:
Do you think the modern western world lacks a coherent vision of the future? Do you think the academic establishment in the United States is Corrupt? And, do you think that the kind of academic system that Pastor Smokey talks about could fix the problems that exist, or is even possible? Jump on over to the blog and join the conversation by clicking HERE.
How the Modern Church is Bungling the Issue of Abortion
Join Pastor Smokey as he explores the real questions that lie at the root of the abortion issue, and how in light of what the real questions are how we as Christians should talk about the issue. This is a look at how we are hurting our own efforts to have a dialogue and make progress on this issue by the words we choose to use and the inability to honestly understand why others might disagree with our views.
Join the conversation:
How do you think that Christians and the Church today can better respond to the issue of abortion? Jump on over to the blog and join the conversation by clicking HERE.
Join Pastor Smokey as he explores the truth of just how corrupted the New Testament Scriptures really are. Are there errors? Who is responsible for them? Can we trust we know what the Bible originally said? And, how do we get these answers. Pastor Smokey walks us through all of these questions in the second episode of Smokey’s Corner.
Correction to the Message:
I have one quick correction and clarification to make about something I said in this episode. At one point I reference a particular ancient manuscript, I first state that it is P66 and then correct myself as P66 is a different manuscript referred to later on. However, when I correct myself I state that the correct manuscript is P51, the actually manuscript I was fumbling to recall is P52, a part of John’s Gospel dated to between 125 and 175 AD. For a full look at the list of ancient manuscripts on papyrus please look here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_New_Testament_papyri
Join the conversation:
Do you think the modern Bible is reliable and accurate? And, what do you think about the nature of the corruptions that exist in the text? Jump on over to the blog and join the conversation by clicking HERE.
In the last 20 years the parallel universe or multi-verse theory has moved from a fun sci-fi idea, usually employed most by fiction authors, to a theory that is widely espoused by top atheistic thinkers and material reductionists. But, why? Has there been a break through in the science, some new evidence that supports or even proves the idea?
Turns out there has been little to nothing of the kind. Begging the question why the jump in popularity and credibility?
Join Pastor Smokey, by watching the video above, to see how this theories rise in notoriety is really linked to evidence that supports a theistic worldview and the theory of intelligent design. See how this topic answers part of the old question of which view really takes more faith. And, see how the degree of faith needed may not be the real factor that actually drives people to pick their side.
Join the conversation:
Do you have an opinion on the number of monkeys needed to create the universe in which we live? If so, jump over to the discussion board and post your thoughts HERE.
The coronavirus is causing mass panic around the world. Health professionals are professing that panicking is not the solution. Instead of panicking, we need to heed the health advice we have been given.
I’m El Jefe, and I am here to help you. Specifically, I am going to show you why smoking cigars will help you avoid catching the coronavirus. I don’t want you to catch the virus. Nor do I want you to share it with me, either.
First, health officials advise “do not touch your face,” since the virus can be introduced especially through the eyes, nose and mouth areas. Many professionals add that it is a good idea to place something in your hands that will distract or prevent you from touching your face. Some say to have a stress ball nearby for you to grab. By doing so, you will touch the ball more than you will touch your face.
So you’re probably thinking that El Jefe is going to tell you to put a cigar in your hand. Nope, I am not. Here’s my advice: get two cigars and place one in each hand. Lighting both cigars is optional. Light and smoke at least one; the other one can remain unlit. Regardless, it will help distract you from touching your face.
I’ve found that the more I smoke cigars, the less I pick my nose, stick my pinky in my ear, and lick the palms of my hands. Sometimes when I go to adjust my glasses, I poke myself in the eye. However, when I have a cigar in my hand, it helps me to not poke myself in the eye with my finger, but the unlit end of the cigar instead. The other reason I poke myself in the eye is that I don’t actually wear glasses, so there is no lense between my fingers and my eyeball.
Second, we are told to practice social distancing. In other words, we keep our distance from others in order to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus. Since there are people out there who don’t appreciate cigars (yes, those people actually exist), you can keep them away with a stogie. Light it up and puff away. Watch the others flee your presence while enjoying your cigar!
If you practice my first suggestion of placing a cigar in each hand, you may want to light both of them when you are around a larger crowd of people. Picture yourself as Yosemite Sam, but instead of having a gun in each hand, your weapons are two double coronas. Puff on both cigars incessantly, reciting the Yosemite Sam mantra: “I’m the meanest, roughest, toughest hombre that’s ever crossed the Rio Grande – and I ain’t o namby-bamby. I’m the hootin’est, tootin’est, shootin’est, bob-tail wildcat, in the west!” That will keep people away.
Third, employ the Ketteler Effect. This method of social distancing was developed by my friend Herb Ketteler. The Ketteler Effect goes far beyond just smoking cigars in order to keep others away while you’re smoking. You simply smoke enough cigars — all the time — in order to develop an aroma (“stink” by anti-cigar-smokers) that stays with you until you take a shower.
As a result, Ketteler contends, he is a very healthy person. He never gets sick because no one comes near him. He rarely gets the cold or flu and has never contracted H1N1, rabies or even cooties.
Fourth, don’t panic. Health professionals want to reassure us that the coronavirus can be prevented. Practice the common-sense principles that have been given to us and don’t panic. Relax.