Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Political Correctness by Nathanael Cates

Political Correctness kills.
 I am bit of a Neanderthal.  I do not understand to logic of PC. Being non-PC does not mean you do not respect others and being  PC does not equal being polite and respectful to others. I find PC to be more offensive, insulting and sometimes, deadly.
  In 2003 as my Battalion  were getting ready to return to the States from Iraq, we were on a airfield (Blair Field on the outskirts of the city of Al-Kut. About 70 miles south of Baghdad) that we had bombed out in the first Iraq War and we had turned in most of our gear getting ready to fly back down to Kuwait and then back to the States.  We had already been relived of by a Ukrainian Infantry Brigade ( I know, the USA "went it alone" and there were never any WMD's found and years later people also believed that some government mandated health insurance would lower their premiums $1200 per year). 
 We still kept a radio in operation so we could get messages from the Battalion Headquarters about what ever needed done. As we were only days away from getting on the "Freedom Bird" to fly out we got a call from Battalion HQ saying that to Company Commander (CO) was to report to the Battalion Headquarters to receive an Op Order, which caused quite a stir because much of our gear had already been packed and if we were going on a mission we would be traveling extremely light. The CO went and received the Op Order and when he returned we immediately begin planning the mission. 
  There as a Muslim Cleric from Baghdad who was wanted for murder and he had a villa not far from Al-Kut. Our mission was going to be a Smash and Grab. We were going to put a truck through the wall surrounding the villa in the middle of the night, grab the Cleric and get the heck out and deliver the Cleric over to be tried for murder. 
  We were all set to go, if I remember correctly we were no more than 12 hours our from the execution of the operation when it was called off.  It was not called of by us or our Commanders, rather it came down from the State Department side, forbidding us to capture the murderer.
  Why? Political Correctness. It was not that there was some question about the evidence against this Cleric or concern over wether or not he would receive a fair trial. They were concerned about how it would like if a bunch of Marines snatched a Muslim Cleric in the middle of the night.  They chose to do what they thought was politically correct instead of following the rule of law.
  This has haunted me ever since because if we had been allowed to carry out our mission and captured this Cleric, tens if not hundreds of US Service Members would still be alive and also hundreds of Iraq Civilians  who would also die because of this Cleric.
  This Clerics name is Muqtada al-Sadr (Sadr City, Sadr militia), who in the last few days proclaimed that the Sadr Militia and the Iraqi people are thirsty for American blood. 
 I know if we had taken him down back in 2003 that someone would have taken over his organization, but I do not think they would have had his prominence and following.
Maybe I am just rambling now, but from time to time my heart fills with sadness and rage to know that many young Americans died because we were not allowed to carry out our mission.
  Long Ashes and Semper Fi!!!

Nathanael Cates

Cajuns, Life, Relatives and Cigars by Victor Crane

My name is Chip Crane and I am 48 years of age. I have been with my beautiful wife of 16 years Catherine and together for 18 years. We have 2 beauࢢful children at home named Kyle (16) and Sheridan (14) , classic cars- As a ma‚er of fact I own a 1970 Ford Mustang Coverࢢble that I am currently working on. I had a 1968 Mustang Coupe that I actually traded for my 1970. Both me and my wife play APA 8Ball Pool league. I have been a cigar and pipe smoker for around 30 years. I have actually go‚en my wife into cigars as well. I love a large variety of cigars as in Fuente, Tats, most all Drew Estate Blends- theres just so many out there to try and pin down a favorite. My cousin is GC Puffs and he has asked me to help him with the blog/site Gator Down South. Which the explosion of the site will be August 15th. GC and I met through a cigar group Hoochly and discovered we were family through the group. He found me and we started talking, researched and found out we were family. Its very interesting how just in group you find kin folk. He wanted me to come up with writings etc. on things in general like smoking cigars, cars, pipes, cooking, life, and just general thing in the world thats happening. GC is at a shop in Jackson, Mississippi and I live in Pa‚erson, Louisiana so we are a lil ways apart from each other. I met G.C. through a mutual Cigar Group ( HoOchly), he was actually the one who contacted/mssg me 1st. Told me that his last name was Crane also. At first I just figured oh well… a coincidence, but then we stared chatng more and more and the pieces just fell into place! We even both had pictures of our mutual Family. It’s amazing sometimes how you can find Friends, Family or even that certain “special”someone in your Life out of ‘nowhere’!! Isn’t that what wecall the Internet?? It’s just ‘Empty’ space filled with ALL ofOur “STUFF”…….. pictures, stories, advertising…you NEVER know what you’re gonna find until you open that door or page, turn that corner, bookmark that site, talk to that person or read that blog. You just might miss out on something that could change your forever.

What started out as a group of friends getting together to play pool and having fun became a challenge of hitings goals. Goals to achieve and accomplish as in 8 on the break, break and run, 100 perent top dog, beating a 6 and 7,getting shuts/rackless games, tricup, finishing 1st place in playoffs, going to tricup, going to june distributor and the ultimate goal going to the Word Championships in Las Vegas. We achieved the majority of our goals over years but this year was the biggest. We made the playoffs, won in playoffs and won a chance at tricup. We took 1st place in Tricup which we have never done. We always made to the
Saturday night last match and 1 ball would prevent us from moving on to the qualifying round for June. Not this time! We had done it took 1st, won 1600.00 , received trophies and off to June Distributor we go. We played in June distributor along with 5-6 other teams from our area which was awesome. It was the most teams to go to June at one time from our area. We were the only team that made it through. We went undefeated and took 1st place in June distributor. The only way to get to Vegas is by taking 1st! in each game we never had to play 5th round. our team has came together and we played hard. So now we are Heading to Vegas August 14th to play in the World Championships against the best in the world for 25,000.00!
With winning June the league pays for our flight, rooms, and we get jackets! Now, the jackets itself is a trophy all on its own! The only way to get one is to place 1st in June! We also received trophies and patches! Now with the way our economy is going alot of people losing jobs, pays cut, etc. we decided to do a benefit to help raise money to defray the cost APA doesnt pay for. We sࢢll cover cost of food, transportation, and liquid beverages/nonalcohol. We held the benefit on July 30th at our Home based lounge that sponsers us The Inࢢmid8torz - Friends Tavern in Morgan City, Louisiana! For the benefit we decided to BBQ, have raffles, a small pool tournament, and music! For our BBQ we have two different plates- 1 was BBQ leg quarters with corn,baked beans,bread and dessert. The other was BBQ hamburgers with chips and dessert! Now the best part of all that is the SAUCE! In our home the sauce is a food group! It becomes a sparring match to see who gets to lick the spoon and pot after its done! Our daughter usually wins! So hear we are the night before the benefit and its ࢢme to get things marinated and cooked for the early morning coming! We kick off selling dinners at 12 noon so I have to start cooking early! I don't boil my chicken ahead of time i just marinate it over night then slap it on the grill! Now I have the sauce mixed up with a mixture of sweet baby rays,chili powder, paprika, garlic, cayenne, crushed red pepper, beer, and few other ingredients! If i told you all my ingredients I'd have to kill ya! lol Now I have a very large pot going for the huge benefit tomorrow and drinking on a Coors Light! It will now need to simmer for several hours . So in the mean time I'll go have me a cigar and a li‚le libation along with it. I'm going to smoke a GH2 (Grand Habano 2) and come back to check my sauce once in awhile and give a li‚le taste to see how its coming along. We got all the chicken seasoned up and put in cooler to marinate. Burgers will be simple so no marinating needed. The cigar I'm gonna smoke is on the lower part of market by that I mean its not a very expensive cigar but if you let them age a bit and dry box them - they are not a bad lil smoke. I call them a bit of a shop smoke . The day of the benefit we had a few guys and gals from our Hoochly group there. We had alot of fun happening between the food, cigars, pool tournaments , music, dancing, drinking and more. Vincent Slack is one of our players on the team and is also someone I call (my brother from another mother) hand grenaded me and my wife. I was handed 2 cigars that he new I liked which the 1st one was Tatuaje Conjure that i will be bringing with me to Vegas and the other one is a Nicarustica Elbruto that I am firing up today. We have some raffle items that were hand made from where i work at was a cigar pool table ashtray that was welded together by Devin Parvino and another was a stainless steel cigar ashtray that my cousin Coty Fontenot and won the pool table ashtray. It was funny when he did win it because he stood up and made like an emmy award speech. The other ashtray that me and my cousin worked on my wife actually won that one from a ticket that another bar patron bought and gave to her. We made a good bit off both of these ashtrays for a bar room auction. Other raffle items we had that were donated were 3 buckets of car detailing items and tool from Autozone, humming bird feeder, weenie roller and bun storage machine, LSU sign from Tiger Island Hardware, 8 Ball cake and a Ice cream cake made by Tasty Freeze, Large candle, a bucket of beer and a crawfish salt and pepper shaker set. Some items were donated back to raffle off a second time. Patrons bought plates of food unࢢl 1:55 in the morning. The more you drank the hungrier you seem to be. All in All it was a great night with full bellys, music and dancing, pool playing etc. We totaled out $746.00 in all that we collected between all the things we did. Now Vegas here we come!

Victor Crane

Smoking Brothers

One of the benefits of being a man who regularly smokes cigars at a local cigar shop and lounge is the ability to cultivate friendships with a broad range of people that I may have never met otherwise. You may know this first hand for yourself. I have friends that are in their 70’s as well as in their 20’s. I have friends that are doctors, lawyers, police officers, accountants, salesmen, building contractors, white collar, blue collar, and retirees. They are black, white, male, female, straight, gay, religious, non-religious, atheist, Republican, Democrat, Independent, and all of them are brothers or sisters of the leaf.

            One of the benefits of being a Christian man who regularly smokes cigars at a local cigar shop and lounge is that it has allowed me to share my faith and compassion for these friends. A few years ago one of the regulars was in a terrible motorcycle accident where he lost his leg at the scene. He was rushed to a shock trauma care facility and everyone in the cigar shop was worried because we had heard, he wasn’t going to live.  Almost a week went by and we had not gotten any news about our friend. Those who had called the hospital found out that only immediate family was being given access to him and the staff couldn’t tell us anything about his condition. Being a pastor, I was able to gain entrance into his room to see him. I held his hand, prayed for him, told him I loved him, was pulling for him, and then I told him I would continue praying for him and his family. Afterwards, I was able to go back to the cigar shop and tell people about his condition. Recently, while enjoying a cigar, a friend quietly asked, “What does it take to get into Heaven?” and I was able to tell him what the Bible says about that issue. I have had the opportunity to pray with people while at the cigar shop. I have also had people share specific concerns and ask me to keep them in my prayers. I have had the chance to give comfort during times of loss and encouragement at other times.  All this to say, I have been able to enjoy premium cigars with a variety of friends and live the Christian life at the same time.

            If you can identify with this, a Christian who enjoys premium cigars, I would encourage you to look for those times when you can share your faith. When people are enjoying cigars together, walls tend to come down, and maybe, just maybe, the Lord has you there for just such a time.

David Black

Charter Oak Review

First a little introduction. My name is Peter Dapas and I’ve been smoking cigars 19 years. I am a native of NY and as such I am sarcastic and acerbic. If you don’t agree with me then say so and stand by your convictions when challenged. If not, then shut up and go away. I tend to be pretty picky about what cigars I like and have yet to find a reviewer whose pallet is similar to my own. As such I don’t really read a reviews tasting notes. I go by the overall score. Keep that in mind when reading my thoughts on cigars. I might hate it but I’m not you. Try it for yourself. 

Now here is a little of my approach to judging cigars. The nature of a handmade product is that there will be deviation from the standard. With a single cigar you don’t know if you’re smoking the deviation or the standard. So in order to have an informed opinion at least three samples need to be smoked. That said first impression are important. The cost of cigars is ever increasing and the consumer has a wide array of choices. If that first smoke isn’t any good I’m probably not going to give it another try. 
For that reason, I try to take care to properly store my cigars before smoking and forming an opinion. This doesn’t just mean keeping them properly humidified and at the right temperature. It also means letting cigars I have had shipped to me sit in my humidor for a week prior to smoking. As well if I pick up something at my local shop that is a few days off of the truck I’m going to let it rest for a week. Now I do cheat from time to time on those releases I’ve been dying to try. In these cases, I smoke the first one as soon as I can get it onto my grubby little hands but don’t formulate a solid opinion. I wait until after resting and then smoking the others I’ve bought to do that.

In part one of my FIRST IMPRESSIONS I’ll be giving you my thoughts on three new releases from Nick Melillo’s Foundation Cigar Company. The Charter Oak Connecticut Broadleaf, the Charter Oak U.S. Connecticut Shade and the Tabernacle.

First up is the Charter Oak Connecticut Broadleaf in the 4 ½ x 50 Rothschild vitola. 

Blend information
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Undisclosed
Filler: Undisclosed
Factory: Undisclosed

Now for my first impressions
The cigar starts gritty and earthy.  
At less than an inch in notes of cedar 
and unrefined sugar developed. 
It’s smoking quickly but staying cool
The retrohale is very peppery and 
jalapeno like
Ending of the 1/3 and the strength & 
body are dialing back back from 
Medium+ to 
Medium -
The retrohale has deeply mellowed to 
 gentle earth and oakiness
At the halfway point and there are notes of oak, earth, and a slightly bitterness
The burn rate slowed significantly at the halfway point
Entering the 2/3 with lots of gentle bitterness
The whole of the 2/3 is oak and bitterness. It needs a sweet component to balance it  
The retrohale has a generic woodiness and the spice has all but gone away
The 3/3 is much of the same but less distinct. very boring
This is a solid value prices smoke that is worth a revisit for a full review

Next I smoked the Charter Oak Connecticut Shade in the 4 ½ x 50 Rothschild vitola. 

Blend information
Wrapper: U.S. Connecticut Shade Grown
Binder: Undisclosed
Filler: Undisclosed
Factory: Undisclosed
It starts with notes of hay, coffee and 
cream, lots of cream
The retrohale has the same hay with 
some sweetness, cream and pepper 
Bottom of the first inch, very nice 
cinnamon finish on the pallet
Bottom of the 1/3 generic wood, 
retrohale is nice and sweet
Surprisingly this US CT is smoking 
slower than the Broadleaf.
At the halfway point and it’s all about the retrohale, crème brulée baby
Entering 3/3 and the flavors have mellowed out to light sweet cream with a touch of 
bitterness on finish
The retrohale is short and sweet and oak notes
This is a very impressive little smoke. I am very surprised at how creamy it was 
considering it US CT wrapper and not the sweeter Ecuadorian variety
This as a cigar to smoke again

Finally, I smoked the Tabernacle in the 7 x 40 Lancero vitola. 

Blend Information
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Mexican San Andres
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan
Factory: Tabacalera Fernandez, Nicaragua

Start out rich and with notes of raisin, 
chili spice and that broadleaf tobacco 
Early on I got a weird but not 
unpleasant French fries note. 
The retrohale is tons of cocoa
Bottom of 1/3 with lots of sweetness and earth. 
The retrohale tastes of cinnamon graham cracker 
The hallway point and it pretty much the same as the start and it is so good
Entering final third and still the same. But damn it is good
Last inch and there are earthy touches of sweetness.
This Tabernacle Lancero really surprised me. I am not Lancero goy. But I really 
enjoyed this one.

Al in all a very strong sampling from Foundation Cigars 2016 IPCPR offerings