Category: Contributor’s Article

Have a Cigar This Christmas!

Is smoking a cigar really a genuine way of honoring the true and biblical meaning of Christmas? YES!

I admit that when most people think about Christmas celebrations they don’t think of cigar smoking first, or even at all. However, I would like to put forward an argument that having a cigar on Christmas is not only a great way to celebrate. It is in fact, an act that can point to the true biblical meaning of Christmas.

First here are a few of the lesser reasons:

Christmas really is, in part, about being thankful for your family and friends. Please understand, I don’t mean this is the cheesy Hallmark way. However, Christmas is a celebration of God’s great gift of his physical presence with his people in Jesus. Jesus came, intentionally into a family context and gives us a great understanding of community and how much God values both family and community. For most cigar smokers nothing exemplifies quality time with people we love more than slowing down, smoking a cigar, and enjoying the company of great people.

Christmas is also a reminder that God loves his creation so much he decided to physically enter into it. I think it is fitting to take time to appreciate Gods creation even in its broken state. Again, a cigar is a great way to do this. Not only can take time to slow down with a cigar and look around us, but a cigar itself is part of God’s glorious creation. Not an over processed product, but a simple part of nature. (And no that’s not an argument in favor of pot, mind altering substances are a completely different conversation).

The main reason for having a cigar on Christmas:

The true biblical reason for Christmas is to celebrate the coming of our savior Jesus Christ. We remember not only all that Christ has done for us, but also how he decided to come. He came as a baby, and so we remember and celebrate the greatest baby ever born. And what is the most famous traditional way we celebrate the birth of a baby throughout our cultures history?

That’s Right! Smoking a cigar!

The tradition of a child’s father celebrating the birth of his new born child with friends and family has dropped off somewhat in recent years. In part because smoking in hospitals is kinda frowned upon in world of modern medicine, for some reason. However, before hospitals were widely available, childbirth took place at home, with (hopefully) the help of a doctor on call. In the old days, men waited in another room while the messy business of having a baby was handled by his wife and a medical professional or midwife. Being in labor isn’t exactly a quick and easy process, and a cigar could really help pass the time. Celebrating dads would also often gather with friends in the parlor of the house and pass out cigars to light up once the baby was born.

Some claim it goes even further back, tracing the tradition to American Indians who exchanged gifts to celebrate the birth of a child during the “potlatch” ceremony, in which a primitive cigar was among the most prized of offerings.

So this Christmas why not celebrate the birth of God’s son with the time honored tradition of smoking a quality cigar with family and friends. Hey, maybe you even want to light up on of those “it’s a boy” sticks just to drive the point home.

(A quick side note here, if you think smoking an “it’s a girl” cigar is a clever artistic statement in opposition to the historical patriarchy and gender normativity. You are not cool and edgy, you are an annoying ass-hat. Also, more than likely you going to find a lot of stuff on this site challenging. That being said we are glad you are here, and hope this broadens your perspective.)

 

Seasons Greetings:

In conclusion, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! And that you had the opportunity to celebrate our glorious God with family and friends. I hope you consider new ways of enjoying reflecting on the true meaning of Christmas in the future, whether that is with a cigar or another tradition.

On behalf of the ChristianCigarSmoker guys, this is Pastor Smokey wishing you a very merry Christmas!

[Note: This article was originally compiled on in 2019 but I had so much fun doing it and we have grown so much that I wanted to take a moment to update and repost it in honor of this Christmas season.]

The Monday Review – 12/14/20 – The COVID Cigar

In Lieu of “The Monday Review”
One More Way COVID is Ruining Everything

It is Monday, and here at ChristianCigarSmoker.com that means it is time for “The Monday Review“. Each Monday we strive to provide you with a high quality, engaging cigar review. So why is there no review this week… COVID thats why!

I know, I know people want to blame COVID for every problem in the world today, but this time it really is the culprit. ChristianCigarSmoker is not yet a large robust organization with lots of reviews. While it is true that some of the other guys will at time write reviews, I [Pastor Smokey] do the bulk of the review work currently. This means at times if I can’t do a review than no one can, and right now I can’t review because of COVID.

So does that mean I have the COVID as I am writing this, no. In fact I came down with COVID over two weeks ago and have long since recovered. Well, recovered in all but one way. As I am sure most of you are aware COVID has this annoying symptom for many people, it causes you to lose you sense of taste and smell. What is more that symptom tends to linger even long after the virus is gone.

This is what happened to me, and as it turns out taste and smell are both kinda important when reviewing a cigar. My taste and smell are both coming back, and I can currently taste and enjoy a cigar again, but I would never want to create a sub-par review because my palate was being interfered with.

So why don’t I just write a review on a cigar I have smoked a lot in the past and I am already familiar with? It is true I have plenty to pick from and writing a review on a cigar like that is helpful and tends to make the best kind of review. However, you still want to smoke the cigar while actively writing the review. Memory is funny when it comes to things like taste and if you really want an accurate description you have to come up with that description while the taste is fresh.

For those kind souls out there who want to know how I am doing after COVID. Let me put it this way not being able to taste my cigar was far and away the worst part of the whole thing. No, I am not exaggerating for effect. Yes, I understand that is some few people it can be very serious and dangerous. No, I don’t think the fact that it can be dangerous means we shut down the world. And no, that is not cold hearted or political, just common sense, as there are other things just as serious and dangerous that a shut down causes.

Ok to conclude…

  • COVID Sucks!
  • But not so much we should all freak out.
  • Know COVID can cause you to lose the enjoyment of cigars for a while.
  • We will return to your regularly scheduled Monday Review as soon as possible.

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and Happy Festivus and enjoy a cigar, COVID free this year!

[article by: Pastor Smokey]

The Christian Gentleman’s Smoking Companion – A Review

The Christian Gentleman’s Smoking Companion

Yes! This book actually exists! Forgive me if you knew this already but I just found out recently, and immediately wondered how I had never heard about it and wondered how I could get a copy. The getting of a copy turns out to be easy thanks to Amazon, where you can get a nice paperback copy of this book for $11.95 at the time of my writing this.

As for having not heard of the book for so long, I still have no idea how I missed it. I can only surmise that the book just never got the publicity it deserved. But now, having obtained a copy I wanted to let you all know what I have learned about it. So here goes…

About the Book:

The Christian Gentleman’s Smoking Companion was published in 2013, and was written by two guys in Michigan. Quick shout out to the cigar culture in the mitten state. These two authors are Ted Kluck and Zach Bartels. Ted Kluck is the author of over 10 books ranging in subject-mater from the emergent church to Mike Tyson. Zach Bortels on the other hand, is a pastor of a Baptist Church in Lansing, Michigan.

The book that came out of a collaboration between these two men could best be described as a hilarious amalgamation of bits left behind when cigar culture and Christianity had a head on collision. The more serious spirit behind the book is captured beautifully by the subtitle printed on the front cover. Which reads: “A Celebration of Smoking Cigars & Pipes to the Glory of God”.

Whats Inside:

If you are looking for a book with a detailed narrative or a complete systematic history, this is not the book for you. However, if you want a lot of fast-paced, funny articles, loaded with fun facts, then you are in the right place. The Christian Gentleman’s Smoking companion has a lot of content that is only a page long and there are no parts of the book that are more than about 5 pages in length.

There is a lot in this small book and I will go through some of the things I liked best and worst below. However, here is some more notable bits of content:

  • Are Cigars and Pipes Sinful (A short essay)
  • What to Look for in a Cigar Lounge (7 points)
  • Examples of Cigars in Pop Culture
  • The Daily Telegraph Scandal (C.H. Spurgeon’s cigar controversy)
  • 20 Ways to Smoke Cigars to the Glory of God

Things I Liked:

  • Cigar Brands and What They Say About You (a funny profile of people who smoke cigars like Cohiba, Swisher Sweets, Davidoff, and Garcia y Vega)
  • Every Cigar Smokers Essential Guide to Living with His Wife.
  • Cigars in Ministry Timeline (A look at the evolution of smoking in the career of a typical vocational minister)
  • Smoking Spiritualized (this is a great classic poem that we have covered here in the past. For a look at our article click HERE.)
  • Suggested Hate Mail Templates (In the appendix the authors write their own stereotypical hate mail responses to the book)
  • Cigar and Pipe Hall of Fame (spaced throughout the book there are one page bios of famous men who made their hall of fame, often with great cigar or pipe quotes included. Here is the full list of those that appear: Steve Brown, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ralph Erskine, C.H. Spurgeon, C.S. Lewis, Pious X, J.R.R. Tolkien, Karl Barth, J. Gresham Machen, G.K. Chesterton, Charles Colson, Father Damien, Jared C. Wilson, and Johann Sebastian Bach.)

Thing’s I Didn’t Like:

  • Great Moments in Literature and Film if a Main Character Was Replaced by Cigar Aficionado’s James Suckling (This is a very creative bit where the guys rewrite famous lines with a cigar aficionado’s attitude and subject-mater. My problem with it is it just goes on too long, reappearing in the book multiple times.)
  • Basic cigar education on things like the construction and use of cutters (I did like that this was valued, but I think it was mis-calculated. I know they did not have the space to go into much detail, but for this books general audience I think the explanations were too basic, to the point where their value was lost.)

The Best Part:

In my humble opinion there are two parts worth their weight in gold.

The first is the quote from C.S. Lewis that appears on his Cigar and Pipe Hall of Fame page. Here is this utterly fantastic quote: “the pipe gives the wise man time to think and the fool something to stick in his mouth.” You can’t tell me C.S. Lewis was not a genius!

The second was written by the authors directly and it is just too perfectly in line with ChristianCigarSmoker.com to not mention. It appears in the “Cigar Brands and What They Say About You” article. One of the sections is for those that smoke Acid cigars. I can’t resist including that sections here:

Acid

Please take a moment to complete the following quiz.

Do you…
a.)  Own a pair of leather pants, unironically?
b.)  Own a purple shirt that is also shiny?
c.)  Zoom down the high-way on what is known in the motorcycle community as a “crotch-rocket”?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, you probably smoke Acid cigars. Acid is the brand that Bobby Brown and Keith Sweat would have smoked in 1988, were they (the cigars) around in 1988.

My Conclusion:

In short, I love this book for what it is, and what it is, is the best cigar bathroom reading in history! If you think that sounds insulting you are misunderstanding me. This book is intended to be picked up and put down in short snippets. It does an excellent job in being entertaining, educating, providing interesting facts, and being an all-around great conversation starter. I give a hearty endorsement to this one. I will also give it a ChristianCigarSmoker.com rating of a 4.0.

Article by: Pastor Smokey [aka. Doug Goodman]

A Conversation with Yanko Maceda: Why the Cigar Industry Needs to Stop Being Cut-Throat

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).

CIGARS

[article by: Pastor Smokey]

Biblical Cigars – The Complete List

Bring On the Biblical Cigars!

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
  • RoMa Craft – Intemperance EC XVIII Charity
  • RoMa Craft – Intemperance EC XVIII Faith
  • RoMa Craft – Intemperance EC XVIII Goodness
  • RoMa Craft – Intemperance EC XVIII Humility
  • RoMa Craft – Intemperance EC XVIII Virtue
  • San Cristobal – Revelation Legend
  • San Cristobal – Revelation Leviathan
  • San Cristobal – Revelation Prophet
  • Southern Draw – Jacob’s Ladder
  • Southern Draw – Jacob’s Ladder Brimstone
  • Southern Draw – Rose of Sharon
  • Tatiana Mocha – Eden
  • Viva Republica – Rapture
  • Viva Republica – Rapture Exodus

The above list is something that we are always updating so if you check back in the future you will likely find some new entries, and even perhaps some new entries in the top 5.

Do you have a cigar to add to this list? or maybe you want to weigh in on the top 5’s that were picked? Let us know by joining the discussion feed on this topic HERE.

[article by: Pastor Smokey]

Don’t Burn Down the Cigar Lounges!

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.

If you want a more complete look at the need for and importance of honest conversation around this topic tune into Smokey’s Corner next week. (Smokey’s Corner – Ep 5 – Real Conversations on Racism and Police)

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.

[article by: Pastor Smokey]

Protect Yourself Against Coronavirus by Smoking Cigars

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.  

And just how do you relax? I think you know. . .  

Smoking Spiritualized

I was sitting in a cigar lounge in Jeffersonville Indiana, just across the river from Louisville, this week when I had the chance to start a conversation with another guy sitting near me. We were both from out of town and there on business and we got to talking as so often happens in the cigar community about a wide variety of topics many of them deep or personal.

During the course of the conversation he told me about a poem written by an 18th century pastor about the joys and deep spiritual meaning behind smoking cigars and pipes. It got my attention to say the least. In fact, to be transparent, the fact there was something out there that combined history, pastors, poetry, and cigars that I had not heard of almost felt like a personal failing that I had missed it.

The poem is called Smoking Spiritualized and was written by Ralph Erskine. Ralph Erskine (1685-1752) was a Scottish churchman and pastor who saw some serious spiritual analogies in smoking tobacco.

This Poem is written in two parts, and in looking into the history of this piece a bit more I discovered that we are only sure that Erskine wrote the second part. In the history we have, he only claims the second part. It is  possible that he wrote the first part at an earlier date and was simply making mention that the second part was a new addition. Or, the first part may have been written by a second unknown author.

Either way, in looking up the poem I immediately loved it. To be fair, having the topic that it does, made it almost a foregone conclusion that I would like it. But it is more than that. There is a sense of deep introspection and contemplativeness that lives within this work.

So without further ado, here is the Poem…

Smoking Spiritualized

PART I

This Indian weed now wither’d quite,
‘Tho’ green at noon, cut down at night,
Shows thy decay;
All flesh is hay.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

The pipe so lily-like and weak,
Does thus thy mortal state bespeak.
Thou art ev’n such,
Gone with a touch.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

And when the smoke ascends on high,
Then thou behold’st the vanity
Of worldly stuff,
Gone with a puff.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

And when the pipe grows foul within,
Think on thy soul defil’d with sin;
For then the fire,
It does require.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

And seest the ashes cast away;
Then to thyself thou mayest say
That to the dust
Return thou must.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

PART II.

Was this small plant for thee cut down?
So was the plant of great renown;
Which mercy sends
For nobler ends.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

Doth juice medicinal proceed
From such a naughty foreign weed?
Then what’s the pow’r
Of Jesse’s flow’r?
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

The promise, like the pipe, inlays,
And by the mouth of faith conveys
What virtue flows
From Sharon’s rose.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.
In vain th’ unlighted pipe you blow;

Your pains in inward means are so,
‘Till heav’nly fire
Thy heart inspire.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.
The smoke, like burning incense tow’rs

So should a praying heart of yours,
With ardent cries,
Surmount the skies.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

Let us know what you think of this poem by visiting the Discussion Board and clicking on the thread about this post. This is Pastor Smokey, hoping that gave you something to think about as you smoke your next cigar.

 

Why You Just Might Like the XFL

Enough, already! Quit making fun of the XFL. This time, it is going to be a great success. There are several reasons for this. Just because it’s backed by billionaire Vince McMahon, the WWE icon, it does not mean that there’s a bunch of wrestlers-turned-football players, nor are there silly names like “He Hate Me” plastered on the back of jerseys. Also, from what I understand, it’s against the rules to hit players with a folding chair.  

I’m El Jefe, and I’m here to help you. You’re wondering how the XFL is different, specifically how it separates itself from the NFL. The differences I see, for the most part, are pleasing. Perhaps you will agree. Here’s what I see, and I like it:

The season starts in February, not September. Maybe you will remember when the mid-80s USFL tried to compete with the NFL by playing its games in the Fall. Now, when the NFL ceases its season, the XFL picks up where football left off. That’s right: we don’t have to quit football cold turkey! Instead, we get to see an additional 79 days of football, consisting of a ten-week regular season, a two-game postseason, then the championship.  

This shortens the football drought, allowing addicts like me to suffer only during the summer. Every February, I would sing The Happenings’ song, “See You in September,” while sadly echoing their sentiment, “I’ll be alone each and every night; While you’re away, don’t forget to write.”

Less drama, so far.  When I watch football, I’m not particularly interested in a player’s political or social views or even his interests off the field. I typically watch football because I like this thing called “football.” So far, I’ve seen, pretty much, football.  

It moves. The game has a faster pace. Two time-outs per half, a 25-second play clock, kickoffs are returned, and fewer commercial interruptions. Additionally, the clock keeps running even if there is an incomplete pass, except for the last two minutes of each half.

When they kickoff, the ball must land somewhere between the 20-yard line and the goal line, allowing for a return. Additionally, no one is allowed to run toward the runner until after he catches it. The coverage team lines u on the opponent’s 35-yard line, with the return team lining up on its 30. Believe me, it makes sense when you see it!  

It’s Easy as 1,2,3. After a touchdown is scored, no more watching a dull point-after kick right through the middle of the uprights. Instead, teams get a choice: a one, two, or three-point conversion. The ball is placed at the 2, 5, or ten-yard line. As many as nine points can be scored with a touchdown and conversion. Yes, it takes more of the foot out of football, but it will be interesting seeing the strategy involved in this approach.    

What We Don’t Have Here Is “A Failure to Communicate.”  Fans experience more communication during the game, as they get to hear the coaches communicating and players being interviewed on the sidelines during the game.  

The Eye in the Sky. He’s up there, watching every play you make. In the last five minutes of the fourth quarter and in overtime, if he sees something he doesn’t like, he corrects any egregious and apparent errors. This replay official is there to help correct issues that could adversely affect the outcome of the game. Additionally, there are no coach challenges.  

Other neato, miscellaneous XFL-isms:  

  • If the ball is passed forward, it can be thrown again if the player has not passed the line of scrimmage. This allows more creativity in play calling.  
  • Overtime consists of five possessions for each team, lining up on the opponent’s five-yard line and has one chance to score for each of the “rounds.”  
  • A player only has to have one foot in bounds to complete a catch.  

Now, light up a cigar and enjoy the game!

Cigar Ettiquette

Okay, I am now going to take some time to supply some cigar-smoking etiquette tips.

I’m El Jefe, and I’m here to help you. As everyone knows, I am the Emily Post of cigar smoking. Also, you’re my friend, so I don’t want you to embarrass yourself — or me.

As a side note, rules of etiquette do not necessarily make sense to everyone. They can be traditional rules developed through the ages. Other times, they are simply a question of manners. Moreover, you may not agree with all these rules of etiquette and therefore, may not practice all of them (I don’t). I’m just making you aware. As I said earlier, I’m here to help you.

You’re not a chimney, so take your time. Taking a puff on the cigar about once per minute is a good pace. Chances are, you paid a decent price for your cigar, so take time to enjoy it. Try to find the fine line between taking some time and not having to relight your cigar too many times. It’s not a “race to the finish,” nor have I ever heard of a cigar-smoking race where the winner is the one who smokes his double corona the fastest.

You’re not a jerk, so don’t use your middle finger. A novice holds his cigar between his index finger and middle finger; an aficionado holds it between his index finger and thumb.  I don’t know why this is a rule of etiquette, but it is. Bonus tip: don’t hold the cigar between your ring finger and middle finger, sticking it up at others, imitating a gigantic middle finger with your cigar and laughing like a junior high boy.

You’re not a show-off, so remove the band. This rule of etiquette is an old one and often not practiced anymore; it is considered “optional.” The traditional thought, though, is that you remove the cigar band so that you are not showing off the fact that you are smoking an expensive cigar. Some follow the lead of the host. If the host removes his band, others follow. Bonus tip: don’t remove the cigar band with pliers.

You’re not incompetent, so light the cigar yourself. You’re not smoking a cigarette, either, so don’t “ask someone for a light.” It’s acceptable to ask to borrow someone’s torch lighter, but light it yourself.

You’re not obsessive, so wait a while between smokes. Once you finish a cigar, with a few minutes before lighting up again. Some say that not taking some time between sticks is a sign of obsessive behavior. Bonus tip: don’t ask someone if you can take a drag on his cigar. That’s rude and unsanitary.

Related: there is etiquette to lighting cigars. Please read my post on cigar lighting tips. The article shows, among other things, that one should toast the foot of the cigar before lighting it.

You’re not a sadist, so don’t mutilate your cigar. When cutting your cigar, use the proper tool to cut it. Use a suitable sharp cutter, such as a guillotine, v-cut, or punch. Cutting your cigar with a penknife or biting it off with your teeth (then spitting it out) is unacceptable. Bonus tip: don’t cut your cigar with a bolt cutter.

Don’t put your foot in your mouth. This rule of etiquette says that the cigar is not to be smoked down to the foot. Some say that you should not smoke more than three-fourths of the cigar, while others want to get their money’s worth. The former contend that smoking it too close to the foot results in a harsher smoke. The latter doesn’t give a flip. A similar rule is that if your cigar is down to its last one-fourth and it goes out, don’t relight; instead, retire the cigar.

Related: Pastor Smokey has a foot fetish, as indicated in his post, Cigars by the Foot. You can tell that he is not just making a bunch of puns, but “puts his best foot forward” in this article.

You’re not Winston Churchill, so don’t dip your cigar in brandy. This was commonly practiced by the prime minister. However, today dipping cigars is considered by many to be taboo. While smoking cigars aged in bourbon or other whiskey barrels is perfectly acceptable, dipping them before smoking is not. Bonus tip: don’t dip your cigar in milk.

There you go. I hope I helped. Now you won’t look like a lunatic.

Discuss it! Agree with these rules? As I indicated earlier, I’m afraid I have to disagree with all of them. Seinfeld fans and others: air your grievances here, or scroll down and add your comments.