Cigar Aficionado June 2009

Just got my new issue of Cigar Aficionado today and on the cover is Jay-Z. As a younger guy I’m somewhat aware of who this guy is. Rapper, music mogul, with Beyonce, and an all-around cool dude. Basically, I just know what his image is – so the part about him probably won’t be all that interesting of a read. Oh well.

The top cigar of this issue is the Padron 1964 Anniversary Series “A” with a score of 95 points. That’s an impressive score indeed and one that I would most likely agree with. My New Year’s Day cigar was a Padron 1964 Anniversary Monarca and I gave it 95 points. Since then I have had a couple of cigars I would rank higher and I will be putting those reviews up in the future.

Then I come to the Editors’ Note. It’s always one of the more enjoyable parts of the magazine for me because it’s not just an advertisement for the rest of the magazine like so many other Editors’ Notes tend to be. It starts out with a nod to the current economic problems and how the fear of today is analogous to the fear from the Depression even if the current circumstances do not arguably warrant as much trepidation. Then they talk about S-CHIP and how the increase in taxes doesn’t seem like it’s going to put a damper on premium cigar sales anytime soon (that’s just what the tax-happy Senators and Congressmen wanted to hear).

And then, oddly, they say that more taxes usually leads to a drop-off in sales for the taxed items. This I completely agree with and, ironically, may explain why premium cigar sales didn’t slack off during the first quarter. When the government tells the people that they are going to raise taxes on a product on a certain date the people will act rationally and start stockpiling those products up to the date when the tax increases. Here’s an example of that and here’s another example.

Go to page four of this report and see the affect that stockpiling could be having on premium cigars. This report is mainly about a tax on cigarettes but I think that we’ll see a lot of the same things happening with cigars during the next couple of months. Maybe the taxes on cigars will have less of an impact due to its premium status but once you couple the new taxes with a soft economy I don’t know how we will see cigar sales increase for the next few months.

Alright, that’s it. I’m going to go and read the magazine and find a better cigar to enjoy (Hoyo de Monterreys are not my favorites by any stretch of the imagination). Have a great day!!!

24 and Battlestar Galactica Premieres

Jack is back! Not only that but 24 is back on track, which, based off of last season, I wasn’t sure was going to happen. No longer is there some apocalyptic threat that Jack has to single-handedly stop but rather a more manageable African coup with a side of domestic evilness.

However, bringing Tony back does seem like a stretch and their explanation (the bad guys pumped him full of drugs to make him look dead, which is actually what happened to Jack – minus the bad guys – at the end of a season a while back) seems a little far-fetched. But, oh well, there has to be at least a modicum of unbelievability with every episode of 24 and I like Tony so I’m glad he’s back. (Think they’ll bring Curtis back? No, probably not.)

What I especially like about this season is that it’s finally getting into a situation I’m really liking. No longer is it “Jack fighting authority” but rather we have a patriotic/rogue Jack doing things the government should be doing; like working with an ex-bad guy (Tony) to bring down an evil organization. The world we live in is filled with nefarious people and the sooner we realize that you have to get in the mud to deal with them the better.

In many ways Battlestar Galactica (BG) also came at the perfect time for America. BG is basically a metaphor for our post-9/11 world. In BG a terrorist strike wipes out most of humanity and whats left of humanity flees in search of a mythical place called “Earth.” To increase the intensity up to 11 the terrorists (robots created by people to make things easier) can look like humans, which means anyone can be a terrorist (sound familiar?), and the robots endlessly hunt down the remnants of mankind in an attempt to wipe every last one of us away.

Boston Legal… Over

It all ended last night. Another show I liked, not as much as The Sopranos or The Shield, is off the air. Here’s how it ended:

The action ended on the porch with cigars and whiskey as usual, where Shore and Crane were bickering like an old married couple before they had a dance together. Earlier it seemed they wouldn’t have that chance, since the Chinese had already taken over the chairs and the cigars in a previous scene. But how could the series end otherwise?

‘Boston Legal’s Unsentimental Farewell – Roger Catlin

Even though my own politics were often at odds with the politics argued for on the show it was a very witty and funny show. If it were a cigar it would have gotten 92 points from me.

The Shield – End of an Era

The whole final season was like watching a train-wreck in progress. Vic giving up Ronnie to save his double-crossing wife, Dutch hunting a serial killer kid, Claudette dying while chasing her white wale, ICE fumbling their investigation into the Mexican cartel only to be saved by the duty-bound Vic, Aceveda being as dirty as possible while winning the mayoral election. It was not a perfect ending but it does seem to be a fitting ending for this series.

This show is the definition of a tragedy. Every character was fundamentally flawed and they were all working in a system that is extremely corrupt but, after all, is probably not too far-fetched a portrait of the system we live with.

Vic is a cop-killer. So was Shane. Everyone on the Strike Team was dirty because they were playing all sides against each other and trying to skim as much as they could for themselves. But did they really have a choice?

Yes, they did. But amidst all of this chaos and corruption it did seem like they were getting the job done. Well, that’s not really right though, is it? They were managing the situation as best they saw fit.