Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Blame it on Cain, crappy coffee and interactive fun

Writing comedy for Herman Cain

I wish I had been a speech writing consultant for Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain at last night's West Coast, Las Vegas Republican Debate. When they asked each of the candidates to briefly explain their differences from President Obama I would have advised him to say, "Frankly, it's black and white. No wait, not exactly..." and then go on with his point.

Coffee dilemmas

I'm working in an office building in downtown Detroit. The coffee is provided by the employer. It's not great coffee. It's brewed in one of those giant, three-burner, industrial Bunsen-like coffee machines. The machine has been there (without any internal cleaning that I know of) for at least five years. This makes it hard to determine whether the coffee tastes like it does because of the ground coffee or the maker. I think both.

Then to make matters worse, the plastic/aluminim, welded-shut, single-pot envelope which contains the coffee is supposed to have a little slit on the side for easy tearing and dumping into the filter basket. About 80% of the little envelopes have no little slit, forcing you to pursue alternative methods of openage. The simplest and most obvious would be to walk back to my desk, get a pair of scissors and return to cut the bag. Or better yet, just bring the bag with me to my desk (it's not that heavy), cut it and return to the coffee making area. But that would be wasting 70 steps that I can use later to move toward a location I'd rather be heading toward.

The only other option is to attempt to pull each side open, separating the sides which have been very carefully crazy-glued together so that when you do finally get them to snap apart the coffee grounds go flying everywhere.

This is a lot of work for a bad cup of coffee.

Looking for stupid fun?

Of course you are. Take a look at this clever, funny lunatic who created an interactive, online fortune telling video.

Peace on you all.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Creepy and/or cool? QR codes on tombstones and funny, fatty Homer pic

Is this creepy or cool?

Is this creepy or cool? In Japan, they are putting QR codes on tombstones at cemeteries. That way, visitors to the grave can scan the code with their Smartphone and see a picture of the deceased, read a eulogy or even watch a video. I'd make a video before I died of me inside of a coffin, still alive, pounding to get out. And I'd make sure there was a shovel nearby.

Homer in the flesh. Is this disgusting or hilarious?

I'm thinking both.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cigar smoking bits of advice I've learned over the years - are they all true? Who knows?

I've been smoking cigars for many years and have visited hundreds of humidors across the continent. In my travels I have met many other cigar smokers and we often share little tips (some of which are probably total B.S.). Here are a few of the things I've learned:

  • Don't lick or moisten your entire cigar. If it needs more moisture it probably isn't humidified properly.

  • As you light your cigar, slowly rotate it over the very top of the flame without drawing. Then when the outer edge is darkened and slightly singed, begin drawing as you continue rotating.

  • Never flick your ash off (hee hee, he said "flick your ash off"). If you must remove the ash, gently rub the ash on the rim of your ashtray or elsewhere.

  • Don't use Zippo or Bic lighters to light a cigar. The flame gets crazy and flickers all over the place giving you an uneven light and burn.

  • Don't buy expensive Colibri lighters. They are way too sensitive and a pain in the ass to mail back for repair/replacement. I currently have about $250 worth of useless Colibris.

  • Do buy the much cheaper Firebird lighters (distributed by Colibri, but I don't think they make them). The also have SST torches (or something similar) for precise lighting and seem to last MUCH longer than more expensive lighters.

  • Do not put cigars in the freezer. Seems like a no-brainer but I have run across many who have done this.

  • As much as you may love cigars, never eat one.

Okay, I'm obviously running out of actual tips. If you have others, please send them for me to share here and on Twitter.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Grass cutting cigar competition - La Finca vs. Tambor Dominicano review

I don't know about you, but if I'm not going to be able to sit and fondle, admire and enjoy a cigar, with a nice glass of scotch and very little risk of anyone interrupting my almost zen-like smoking experience, then I'd rather not smoke a really good cigar. Okay, if I could afford it I'd probably always smoke a more expensive stick, but that ain't the case.

So, last weekend, when I was going to be out working in the yard and cutting the grass, I chose two inexpensive cigars to stick in my mouth and puff away as I tackle my chores. So I'm clear, I didn't stick them both in my mouth at the same time. I smoked one. Then the other. Let's get ready to mumble!

As I often mention, I like a cigar that will take a biting and keep on lighting. But, ideally, with a minute or two break between puffs, a reasonably decent cigar should remain lit and take only a little coaxing to deliver a full smoke-filled kick.

I started my lawn cutting chores last weekend with a La Finca Cazadore (45 ring x 6.5 inches). I recently purchased a bundle of these cigars when I re-posted my review of them. This time, I was rather disappointed in the unravellability (yes, I make up my own words) of the outer wrapper. This was especially true if you didn't smoke the cigar in one session and put it in a cigar-saver to re-light later. They get quite dry and the wrapper becomes brittle and peels off. A real pain and it greatly increases your risk for burning a shirt.

However, when lit and smoked end to end, it held up quite well. Although the ash isn't smooth and pretty, it burned evenly and didn't require any re-lighting. Smooth it ain't. Spicy? A bit. Full bodied. Decent grass cutting smoke.

Upon completing the lawn and the La Finca, I took a short break and started faze two: weed whacking, edging, blowing and smoking a Tambor Dominicano Churchill Maduro (50 ring x 7 inches). These cigars have a nicer visual first impression than the La Fincas, but they're actually a bit less expensive. You can find them for less than 25 bucks for a bundle of 25. Yay! A buck a stick.

But.....they kinda suck. I bought a bundle about six months ago, and only smoke them when all of my other options are gone. I probably hadn't smoked one in the past three or four months, so I'm thinking that the fact that the smoking experience wasn't all that bad this time may be a result of keeping them properly humidified for that period of time.

As I recall, my biggest complaint with these cigars is that they do not burn evenly. And I hate when a cigar burns down the middle, which they do all to often. I'm thinking it's poorly rolled filler with no long leaf running the length of the cigar.

This particular stick started as they always seem to...rough. Once the ash reached about an inch, it was only half an inch on the other side. But, somehow, without coaxing it recovered and burned evenly the rest of the way. Not bad. Good draw. Decent outdoor nose burn. Medium strength. Kinda spicy I think, but I have a real difficult time identifying spicy unless it involves habaneros.

So, which was better? I'd have to give my vote to the La Finca. But, weather permitting, there may be a re-match this weekend.

Monday, September 27, 2010

JM's Dominican handmade corona earns everyday cigar vote

In my continuing search for great inexpensive cigars, I ran across the JM brand in my most frequently visited party store. I know, I know, I always say to NEVER buy a cigar from someplace that also sells porn and Tiparillos, but I mentored the store owners and at least knew that they were attempting to properly humidify their stock.

They had a small humidor (perhaps 100 cigars) and had a small quantity of about four or five brands. One day, a couple of years back, I overpaid them for a Don Tomas out of desperation. It almost fell apart as soon as I removed it from the wrapper.

I immediately went back into the store and voiced my concern. One of the owners apologized profusely and said I could just take another cigar. No way. What would be the point of that? Unless you give me your entire stock and let me try to revive them to smokability, then I don't want another cigar out of this humidor in the condition that it and its contents are in.

So, I took a pint of vodka instead.

In the course of our conversation, I recommended some specific cigars that they might carry and suggested that they actually use the dried out humidification system they had in the in the humidor. I think they thought that you put a little water in it once and you're good for, say, two or three decades.

Over the course of the next couple of months we had many discussions and I even recommended where they might purchase some decent cigars that they could sell for a reasonable price and make a decent profit.

Last week, I stopped in the store and noticed that their humidor was decently stocked and the humidification system looked recently attended to.

One of the cigars they were offering was JM's Dominican Corona. Through the wrapper it looked like a decently constructed stick. The corona measures 5 1/2 by 42 and boasts a Sumatra shade wrapper with Cuban seed, long filler tobacco. Handmade in the Dominican Republic.

The party store was selling them for $2.99. Through intense interrogation, he told me how much he actually paid for them and I haggled him down to two bucks in return for all of my free consulting work.

Upon removing the cigar from its cellophane wrapper, I discovered that the cigar was already punched. Odd. Did someone lick it (like I do) before using a cigar punch on it? I'm going to look into to how and why they do this. I'll let you know if I find anything out.

Anyway, back to the smoke. I was slightly surprised by the smoothness of not only the cigar (medium bodied), but also the smoothness of the ash.

Unfortunately, because of the locations where I most often smoke cigars (car, garage, yard in mild wind), I don't get to test the ash to any recordable length. On this occasion however, I did have the get to let it grow to nearly an inch and was pleasantly surprised by its texture.

The strength maintained throughout without getting too bitter at the end and it has a bit of a creamy taste. Not pasty creamy, but pretty tasty creamy. The nostril sensation, when you allow your face to be enveloped in a cloud of smoke, was nicely stimulating.

These cigars can be found online for as little as $1.25 each in boxes of 50 making them a very suitable candidate for an everyday cigar.

My rating is 87. What does that mean? I dunno. But it sounded about right. :)