Deep in flavor. Deep in your mind.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Ten Things You Mightn't Have Knoe About Moe

Despite Ted Healy giving birth to the act, and big brother Shemp being a Stooge first, Moe is undeniably the first name in The Three Stooges litany.
Moe, Larry, and Shemp
Moe, Larry, and Curly
Moe, Larry, and Shemp
Moe, Larry and Joey Besser (a pox on him.)
Moe, Larry, and Curly Joe
We'll leave previous Stooges acts faded into history along with the six pre- George Washington presidents. Too, we'll not count later incarnations of Joe DeRita, Mousie Garner, and Frank Mitchell. Plus Emil Sitka never really performed as a Stooge ... is there such a thing as too much Three Stooges knowledge? Yes, apparently, for the coherency of this post. Let's just say Moe's name is generally numero uno, amigo. Who the heck is Fred Sanborn? Never mind, that's who.
But how much do you really know about the fella? Let's start with the basics which I shall pilfer from stooges.wikia.com in order that I might link back to there so that you might follow and check that joint out.

"Moses Horwitz [June 19, 1897 – May 4, 1975] was born in Brooklyn, New York, neighborhood of Brownsville, to Solomon Horwitz and Jennie Gorovitz. He was the fourth of the five Horwitz brothers and of Levite and Lithuanian Jewish ancestry. In his younger years, he got the nickname Moe and later adopted the name Harry. Although his parents were not involved in show business, Moe, his older brother Samuel and younger brother Jerome all eventually became world-famous as members of the Three Stooges"

Now lettuce go deeper...
1. Moe was married to Harry Houdini's cousin.
On June 7th 1925, he lawfully wed Helen Schonberger. Together, they had two children. A year into their marriage and just one kid in, Mrs. Moe attempted to remove Mr. Moe from the field of entertainment -- but after a coupe of failed non-Hollywood attempts, he was right back at it via Ted Healy.

2. Moe's daughter wrote the book on him.
Well, one of the books on him. Well, five total books on The Three Stooges were written by Moe's daughter, Joan Howard Maurer.

  • The Three Stooges Scrapbook (with Jeff & Greg Lenburg (1982)
  • The Three Stooges Book of Scripts (1984)
  • Curly: An Illustrated Biography of the Super Stooge (1985)
  • Moe Howard and the Three Stooges (Written by Moe Howard & compiled by Joan Howard Maurer after Moe's death (1977)
  • The Three Stooges Book of Scripts, Volume II  (with Norman Maurer (1987)

Got that?
Good.

Now, at 88 years of age, Mrs. Howard-Maurer still actively attends yearly Three Stooges conventions in PA.

3. Moe's trademarked bowl cut was a very early invention all his own.
This is a tired old bit o' trivia, but one I'd be somewhat remiss to not regurgitate. 

It would seem his mom loved his long curls and kept them down to his shoulders. One day, young Moe had finally grown tired of his Brooklyn, New York PS 163 classmates giving him grief re: his pretty locks -- and too manners into his young hands.

"He was so afraid that his mother would be upset (she enjoyed curling his hair) that he hid under the house for several hours, causing a panic. He finally came out and his mother was so glad to see him that she didn't even mention the hair." (Moe Howard and the Three Stooges, 1977)
4. Moe was a high school drop-out.
High School had nothing on the theater for young man Moe, "I used to stand outside the theater knowing the truant officer was looking for me. I would stand there 'til someone came along, and then ask them to buy my ticket. It was necessary for an adult to accompany a juvenile into the theater. When I succeeded I'd give him my ten cents — that's all it cost — and I'd go up to the top of the balcony where I'd put my chin on the rail and watch, spellbound, from the first act to the last. I would usually select the actor I liked the most and follow his performance throughout the play.

Despite his waning attendance, Horwitz graduated from P.S. 163 in Brooklyn but dropped out of Erasmus Hall High School after only two months, ending his formal education. To please his parents, he took an electric shop course, but quit after a few months to pursue a career in show business." (Moe Howard and the Three Stooges 1977)

He was sadly and tragically denied today's dream of being tens of thousands of dollars in debt on account of a MFA, while working in the mall.

5. Moe led the Three Stooges off-set, as well as on.
Especially in the case of Curly, whose affairs were handled almost entirely by Moe -- before the Super Stooge could blow all his moolah on women, booze, cars, and dogs. Yes, dogs. Curly loved pooches. Moe went so far as yearly filing Curly's taxes.

Across-the-board, however, it was Moe who brokered deals and represented the boys on business matters. Shrewd, he was.

6. Moe was also a Real Estate Salesman.
Gentlepersons, all H-wood careers wind down eventually. Plus, it beats selling insurance. He did continue to make appearances on both large and small screens, a whole bunch on The Mike Douglas Show.

7. Moe: Charity Maven.
"Moe worked for many charity organizations. He was a member and three-time president of the Spastic Children's Guild, starting in 1944. Just as with his own family, he derived great pleasure out of giving gifts to the children and loved to watch their faces as they opened their presents. Moe Loved playing Santa Claus for the Guild's palsied children at Christmas. He committed Curly and Larry to hundreds of benefit performances whenever and wherever asked." (neatorama.com)
8. Moe was quite the polymath.
"Moe's large range of interests included gardening, hooking rugs, and ceramics. He collected coins, stamps, and even tried his hand at wine making. An excellent amateur chef, he cooked a mean lasagna and cioppino, neither of which he ate himself; he just cooked them for his beloved wife to enjoy.
For exercise, Moe liked to golf and took a brisk two-mile walk early every morning. Moe also liked to attend football games, the fights, and midget auto racing. He enjoyed listening to barbershop quartet music and his favorite song was "How Deep is the Ocean." (neatorama.com)

As far as musical inclinations, Moe is known to have possessed a brilliant baritone voice.

9. Although a drop-out, Moe was a bright kid. 
Lots of bright boys drop-out, myself included. I dropped back in, too. And out again. But this ain't about me, gentlepersons -- pre-order your KAPLOWITZ Schmatta/Handkerchief by clicking HERE. This is instead about copying and pasting:

"Moe was an extremely bright child and at a very young age displayed an ability to quickly memorize anything. This ability carried over into later life, making him a quick study during his acting career. Brother Jack reminisced about his youth and his love for books: 'I had many Horatio Alger books and it was Moe's greatest pleasure to read them. They started his imaginative mind working and gave him ideas by the dozen. I think they were instrumental in putting thoughts into his head-to become a person of good character and to become successful.'" www.3-stooges.com
10. Moe, a Jewish sir, was the first American actor to portray Adolf Hitler.
To parody, natch.

Take it way, take it home, and break it down, Forward.com:
"In addition to their success in the early days of television and film comedy, the Three Stooges were unafraid to confront political issues. Their 1940 short “You Nazty Spy,” was the first Hollywood film to spoof Hitler (it was released nine months before Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator”), and Moe was the first American actor to portray him. The film, directed and produced by Jules White and written by Felix Adler, featured Moe as Dictator Moe Hailstone, Curly as Field Marshall Gallstone, and Larry as Minister of Propaganda Pebble. The trio, who ruled Moronica, resembled Hitler, Göring and a mix of Göebbels and Joachim von Ribbentrop in a period when the United States was still officially neutral. The spoof was made possible because although the Hays Code restricted political content in films, shorts were not as tightly regulated."
Moe cited You Natzy Spy and I'll Never Heil Again (1941) as his favorite shorts.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Kap's Lock Picks 10.31.15

KEENELAND
1-3
2-7
3-8
4-1
5-8
6-11
7-5
8-10
9-13
10-1
11-4
12-8
Victory cigars can be purchased at Cigars City.
DEL MAR
1-3
2-1
3-2
4-3
5-6
6-5
7-4
8-2
9-8
Why not light those victory cigars with Cedar Spills by Cigar Reserve?

It's all about the Breeders' Cup, gentleperson, but I threw in Del Mar, too. Please note this is gambling. Please note to that you may inquire withing re: pre-ordering KAPLOWITZ schmatta /handkerchiefs -- Gentlepersons, they're great for crying into -- best of luck at the track.

#FoodieFriday for 10.30.15 - Egg in a Basket

"Hey, bring me back a piece of burnt toast and a rotten egg."
- Curly Howard in Three Sappy People (1939)
[Bud Jamison is in that Three Stooges short!]

Seeing as I have to report for Jury Duty "prior to 8:30am," tomorrow morning -- I figured we'd keep it short with a simple recipe. Thanks for reading and have a great week, gentlepersons! Wish me luck in hangin' 'em high!

Oh, the recipe.

Eye poke Curly and take his:
1 Large egg (not rotten)
1 slice (Unburnt) Texas, thick-sliced bread, or 1/2 bagel

& add in yer own:
PAM cooking spray
Kosher salt to taste
Hot sauce (optional)

You'll also require:
Fry pan
Spatula
Modus Operandi

  1. Curl, not fold (you'll crack it) the slice of un-toasted bread in half, take a bite out of its center.
  2. Uncurl slice of bread to see you've gnawed a circular-like hole in its center.
  3. Spray PAM into fry pan and heat to medium on your stove.
  4. Place bread in center of fry pan.
  5. Crack egg into the whole you've gnawed, ya filthy animal.

Here's the deal, gentlepersons, you are now basically fry-poaching an egg.

That said, go on to cook the thing to your jiggly-or-not favored consistency. I prefer a totally not runny egg, and to get the effect, I squish with the spatula. If you like it runny -- don't do that. Flip, flip again, and yer done. All points in-between are dandy. If you want a really runny egg, toast bread on one side, flip, then add egg. Gross.

PRO TIP: Try this underneath my Milk Toast 'sauce.'

A Note on Eggs
Despite my Jewy surname, I am not a healthcare professional. However, I do know eggs to be a cheap form of good protein and low-coloric offerings.

While I can't say with any soitenty what Curly had in mind, I can say that a good ol' Egg in a Basket is nothing new to Hollywood.

They are AKA Guy Kibbee Eggs, as they made an on-screen appearance in 1935's Mary Jane's Pa, as prepared by -- you guessed it -- one Guy Kibbee.

Betty Grable has too lent her name and fame to this dish upon cooking it up in Moon Over Miami (1941). The script refers to them as Gashouse Eggs, perhaps my favorite of their many monikers.

They also appear in a Friends episode, but I can't stomach that show.

For you political radicals out there, you may recognize them by "Eggy in the Basket" as labeled by Stephen Fry's character in 2005's V for Vendetta. A film I found nearly as unsettling as the lack of ethnicity in the New York City which Friends occupied.

To fancy up this tasty dish, carefully create a hole by means of an up-turned glass, toast the round bit of dough in the frypan, then serve the Egg in a Basket with its 'hat' on, gentleperson.

I ate mine with a can of navy beans drizzled liberally with hot sauce. I also used my usual too much kosher salt over top.

Now if you'll be so kind as to allow me my leave, I need to go find my tie for tomorrow's "prior to 8:30am" festivities.
Good.
NOW, have yerselves a fine week!
Boney appetite!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

From the Desk of

KAPLOWITZ

Dear Gentlepersons,

How the heck are ya? Halloween is just around the corner (here, have a Three Stooges ghost story) and we'll all be bloated sick on candy corn in no time, as we usher in November and the in-law laden Thanksgiving. And then Christmas hams, fruit cakes, and commercialisms. And and and and -- next next next next -- mile posts along the way on a tumbling into eternity. 

Here's a couple of Kaplowitz-centric mile posts to look for on the very near horizon:

#KapMerch in the form of PERSONALISED HANDKERCHIEFS/SCHMATTAS loom nigh. These most likely 100% cotton offerings of impressively large size, shall be hand-stamped via artisan handmade stamp using only the finest of indelible inks. The pattern is currently being decided upon, so look out! 

If you have read my work, my cigar reviews in particular, you know my heavy and earnest appreciation and employment of handkerchiefs/schmattas, you'll know that I mean business here, gentlepersons.

In fact, we shall go no farther here until you are up to snuff with proper handkerchief/schmatta by reading my article pertaining to such HERE. There, now I know my offerings will garner good homes. 

I shall write more on the importance of hankies within the premium tobacco sphere in the very near future. And these beauts should be ready for showin', blowin', and selllin' by around the New Year. If you'd like to for some odd reason nail one down now, @ or DM me @iamkap on Twitter for payment deets. NOTE: for the sake of clarity, they still won't ship 'til around the New Years.
Another thing, a thing out on the nearer horizon, is the introduction of a Kaplowitz email newsletter. In it will be some of writings of mine NOT available to read at my/this blog, and money-saving opportunities/special offers to purchase fine tobacco offerings. 

I'm working on and out the logistics of starting this project up as ya read this, so feel free to contact me in the above way to be in on the ground floor of this potentially exciting endeavor! Maybe you early birds will even get an extra worm or two.

As always, thanks all for reading. I am appreciative you all to the very limit of words and beyond.

Best,
Kap
@iamkap

PS: Please check out my swell chums at Cigars City.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Ghost of Bud Jamison - A Halloween Story

Bud Jamison, the Spectre in question.
"When Curly falls off the stretcher, some say they hear Bud Jamison's voice in the background. Although he was not in this short -- oh and dead by the time of its filming." Me, in my write-up of 1946's Monkey Businessmen.

Happy HELLoween, gentlepersons.

I'm here to tell you, boys and ghouls, that these folks are correct in their hearings. Spooky, eh? To further instill ghostly and ghastly spine-tingling night terrors, the same occurs a tad bit later on in 1946's Rhythm in Weep. This time when Curly's plops a hammer upside some one's off-screen head -- a dead man screams.

What, though, is the reason for this spirit's Stoogery based after-life languishings? Let's attempt at an answer through a delving into the man in a mainly Moe, Larry, Curly/Shemp contextual understanding.

[Flourish]
[Professorial clearing of throat]

Born February 15, 1894 in California USA,Vallejo to be geographically painstaking; Bud Jamison joined the populous ranks of both stage and vaudeville performers plying their wares in that area. Jamison quickly secured work in silent comedies on the back of his husky build and his not shying away from pie-in-the-face slapstick and rowdy near bawdy action. By 1915 he was a member of Charlie Chaplin's stock company at the Essanay studio.

The hefty Mr. Jamison suffered from diabetes during his later years. In an odd sort of suicide by religion -- he eschewed the whole 'no gluttony thing' which may well have aided in protecting him against said diabetes. He did however flex his devout Christian Scientist lifestyle muscle when he died on September 30, 1944 at the youngish age 50 -- after refusing medical treatment for kidney cancer.

The dash in sir's birth-death dates of 1894-1944 professionally includes, beyond what was already mentioned, being a veteran of 37 Three Stooges shorts from 1937's Back to the Woods to 1952's Three Dark Horses -- eight years after his death via stock photo ... oh.

Stock footage. Zoinks.
"And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids." Every single villain upon capture, in every single Scooby Doo episode -- always in the context of debunking spookery.

"Stock footage, and similarly, archive footage, library pictures and file footage is film or video footage that can be used in other films. Stock footage is beneficial to filmmakers as it saves shooting new material." (Wikipedia)

"Let's do more quotes!" - Me

"The shot of the Stooges leaving in their high speed canoe was recycled from Whoops, I'm an Indian! (1936), the first Stooge film to employ stock footage. This practice would become more common in future productions."  (Solomon, Jon (2002). The Complete Three Stooges: The Official Filmography and Three Stooges Companion) 

Interestingly, the short which Dr. Solomon alludes to there is none other than Back to the Woods -- Again, Bud Jamison's first go-'round with Stoogery. He can then be seen as on-hand for the ushering in of this particular film making procedure -- and come full circle, his ghostly post mortem cameos can be seen as lovely homage, whether intended as so, or not. Ah, poetry.

All told still, nothing to see here, ghost hunters. Other than the thrifty assemblage of Golden Age slash Depression Era comedic shorts. It's fun to be spooky, though, ain't it gentleboosons? I hope your fright brings delight and your candy corn treats ya right. 
Boo.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Asylum 13 Authentic Corojo - Cigar Review for Cigars City

Prologue:
6:05ishpm
I am intrigued by the prospect of

The Cigar:
Asylum 13 Authentic Corojo
Honduran Corojo seed wrapper
(Grown only on Christian Eiroa farm)
Honduran binder/filler
6 x 60

Hot dang, we got an Honduran puro, gentlepersons.
Courtesy of, and available at, Cigars City
Pre-light:
I address the wrapper, "Hell-ooo, wrapper!" No. I will not quit that bit.

Eyeing up the big fella, I see an uneven complexion of creamed to black coffee hues with an orange sort of glow. Some bumps are visible in the wrapper and the veins, quite present, as well. Seams are well constructed as is the cap. A peak at the foot shows a rather loose pack. A squeezin' of the Charmin seconds that motion.

Before I continue, a word on the burgundy brown band and how it looks like an argyle sweater which Satan might wear, replete with a skull at each intersecting line. Not my normal flavor, but I do not find I particularly mind.

Some barnyard, light manure to the schnoz. Some waxy chocolate. Moving from shaft to foot, we get the additions of sweet almost floral spices and red pepper. Some lil bit o' citrus that is more sunshine than flavor.

I received a nice gift in the mail today via Hong Kong from Jensen Corner. Why I mention that here is that said gift will be up for review shortly and consists of a humidor, ashtray, and cigar cutter. The cigar cutter did a nice job of this Asylum 13 60 gauge affair. A cold pull is sweetly spiced orange or red peppered molasses and either way, rather sparingly. Notes of cinnamon and brown sugar linger. All is a tad dusty. Draw is somewhat loose.

Light:
Rustic bread fresh pulled from a wood oven and roasting orange zest notes escape off the foot as it toasts. BIG smoke on the first hot pull. Red pepper and chocolate boom. Finish of sweet toasted cream and more milk chocolate. All carried on that rustic bread. Some baking spices weave in and out from draw to finish. Did I mention there's a lot of smoke? The second draw is retro-haled and is of red pepper flake and rich molasses. Chocolate, rich and creamy, drops thick to my palate with a citrus under-note. There are some blood red flowers at the end of the finish. A third pull is full on everything with a huge amount of smoke and I'm all like "whoa."

Burn is un-dead even with a slight ripple or two and burn-line is medium. Ash is light to dark grey and a bit clumpy, building on in ladder rungs. Medium+ profile is my knee-jerk reaction this early on. Very thick mouth-feel of a hot cocoa vibe but spiced a la hecho en Mexico. Room-note is of Brylcreem. Wait -- I'm just trapping its smoke in my hat while reviewing on my porch. Ahem. Room-note is spiced chocolate and deep tobacco. Very late night desert. There's a citrus tang there too, as with the flavor its not acidic but is sweet.
Act I:
BIG bursts on each pull. Notes on my palate stretch up into my nasal cavities and march toward my brain. They carry chocolate. Lotsa chocolate. Baking to Milk and all points in-between. Baking spices with a cinnamon emphasis. The thick sugar of a Cuban coffee. There's remains a sweet citrus that is oft straight on orange which leads the profile from behind, as the foreground flavors beat the drums. Finish is very sweet chocolate and heavy to the point of chewy. Han Solo smokes one of these when he misses his sidekick. This Asylum 13 Corojo, gentlepersons, is the Chewbacca of cigars.

All nods toward construction hold. Burn evens to near perfection. ash continues to ladder-rung on. Helluva smoker, this. Medium strength thus far but I expect it to ramp upward. Flavors and body: full. This is kinda fun.

I wave the thick white foot-smoke from my eyes in order to type. It is kind but very thick and voluminous. The thing feels good in my hand and smoke-hole for a 60rg. I imagine the soft packing has to do with that. And too the loose draw flavorful pulls.

Speaking of, all notes to flavor hold, other than the red pepper which has subdued since its onset and now is mainly memory but on the retro-hale. Actually, there's a red purple fruit on the end of the extremely long finish. I can send up smoke signals with this thing! I can only hope their message is as sweet as the aroma.

I roll off an inch of ash as to not be showy and [is it dizzy in here, or is it just me?] it is somewhat powdery but mostly solid with a trace of oils. For as strongly flavored as this Asylum 13 is, it's quite kind and the finish is lovely in a powerful way -- like a wild horse. Or a Wookiee. I sit back and blow smoke rings on my porch in a slight wind. To give you a further idea of the smoke's density, I punch a ring and bruise a knuckle. No foolin', gentlepersons.

Act II:
I lay out a schmatta handkerchief across my lap for feces and facial gestures, and schtick. Very fun smoke. Jovial but complex. Some nuances add on now, as well: a deepening of the red purple syrupy fruits and the sweet earthy mulch they spring forth from. The orange becomes a more regular visitor. I notice I occasionally cringe before the draw, but in a playful way -- as when a lady tickles you while you're both half dressed. Full profile now, almost lustfully so. Does Chewbacca have a sexy sister?

Pack loosens a bit burn is dead on even to slightly rippled, to back again -- with a razor thin burn-line. Flavors char a bit, but in a welcoming and savory fashion, fat burger grease dripping onto charcoal briquettes. Fantastic midway transition, gentlepersons.

A touch of black pepper now but the chocolate continues to be the star and also to evolve in that role. Very dark now. Citrusy orange notes continue to steer from the backseat. Brown sugar muscles in and with its emergence, baker's spices turn sweet.

Another roll of the ash is unchanged from the first. I received two of these beauts from my pals at Cigars City. I already cannot wait to smoke the second. I should say that this isn't even my typical dainty profile, but wow. I likey, I does. The red pepper stays on the retro-hale, but is roasted and accompanied by sweeter spices and brown sugar.

Since the transition, the strength has subdued some to a medium+. Flavors and body remain quite full. The overt savoriness abates some and there is a mellowing, but only by comparison. I will say again -- late night desert. As if Denny's employed a three star pastry chef.

Act III:
Back up to full across-the-board profile. Rich dark chocolate now. The fat on charcoal returns. Bursts of 'range. Sweet red purple fruits and spices; artisan toasted bread backing. A mulchy earthiness permeates throughout.

If my hair wasn't under a half inch of grandpa's oil, it would be standing at attention, I do believe.

Construction is completely unchanged. The foot-smoke mellows a noticeable amount but remains quite present, it's aroma is a bit darker. Don't they put chocolate on their chili in Cincinnati? That. With a twisted orange slice garnish. Peppers ebb now. There's a bit of a sharper mouthfeel but still nice. I sip from my coffee for the very first time.

The bread turns to a whole wheat. Cedar comes on. Some sweetness subdues; but the sweet orange holds well as the heavy tobacco comes on. Chocolate goes darker. Barry White comes on the radio. Chewy's little sister don't look half bad in a darkened room. I place a Do Not Disturb sign on the exterior handle of our inter-galactic cruiser and pour liberally from my space vaccumed bottle of Blackberry Manischewitz...

Full profile. Both the Asylum 13 and Chewbacca's sis. Each handle their voluptuousness quite well.
Notes:
Very interesting in two ways, this Asylum 13. Firstly in the amount of citrus on hand. Secondly in that this is the leading note, but is not out-front. Also, maybe not interesting but worthy of note, is how well the thing burned for such a large ring gauge.

All told, this is an interesting deviation from the normal smoke, but for a normal + experience level smoker. There is strength, there is a loose draw which requires restraint, and there is somewhat of a reverse profile (the way in which the citrus leads).

I should too note that this is a complete departure from the rest of the Asylum line.

Pairings:
Full City roasted java, black. Blackberry Manischewbaccaslittlesisteritz.

Final Grade: A
(B+ for the smoke and another bump up for the ballsy way Mr. Eiroa chose to blend this Nicaraguan departure via Honduras. You need a certain jovial bent to do this, and it shows in the offering.)

Epilogue:
7:30orsopm

I'm awful proud of me.

Sure, I'll tells ya why. It's because from band to gauge to blend, this is not my usual fare. I can honestly say if not given this for review purposes, I'd not have given a thought to smoking it. Times like these I feel I've really grown.

Good evening and thanks for reading, gentlepoopons.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Padron 1964 Anniverary Maduro - Cigar Review for Cigars City

Prologue:
7:17pm
Thanks to the guys at Cigars City, of whom I am loosely one, for this fine offering.

I actually had not planned on smoking tonight, but then I heard "Hey!" Then I heard "Hey, Kap!" Then I heard it again and again, and went looking for the source.
It was not in the kitchen.
It was not in the bathroom.
It was not under the stairs.
"Kap!" I kept hearing, and looking...then lo' and behold,
I realized it was, in fact,

The Cigar:
Padron 1964 Anniversary Maduro
Nicaraguan Wrapper
Nicaraguan binder/filler (puro)
6 x 54 Imperial box-pressed
Courtesy Cigars City
Pre-light:
Light of weight in the hand with no shortage of sheen and oily specks on a richly complected chocolate coffee bean hue. The box-press sits a bit wide in the hand but feels quite nice insofar as being smoothly textured. Slight veins, invisible seams. A peek at the foot shows a looser than medium packing. Speaking of packing, it is on the soft-side throughout, but perfectly even.

To the nose: on the shaft I get a subdued but mature tobacco with far away notes of chocolate and hazelnut. A bit of a sweet spice, perhaps. At the foot, there is too a sweet influence that is of spice, but not spicy per se. More chocolate and more hazelnut. Very distinct hazelnut notes.

I carefully nibble the cap and notice first that the draw is very loose. Lots of flavors here on the cold draw the aforementioned varieties and now also of a coffee bean that borders on bitter but stays nice. Very loose draw, again, maybe this won't be the long affair of many Padrons.

I make mention of carefully dealing with the cap as it is unraveling a tad so I shall, against my own rules of etiquette, leave the band on as I smoke. Look at me: RULE BREAKER. Breaking the law. A bad boy. Trouble. A real no-goodnik.

Light:
Roasted red pepper comes off the toasting foot. Along with a maturely deep tobacco. During the light, I notice the stick feels better in my smoke-hole than in my hand. First hot draw is very very mellow. Deep tobacco, very rich. Chewy. A very loose draw bears repeating. Mainly chocolate and coffee notes. A hint of red pepper. Finish is of hazelnut and it does last long and it does grow and there is now coffee there, too. Second hot one is retro-haled and is a red pepper shot. It warms my chest like booze, good booze. Third hot pull is same as first.

Medium profiled thus far, but I'd say + as far as body as the desert-like flavors of chocolate and hazelnut coffee are strong, but do not abrade. Chewy, as I said before. Thick mouth-feel, weighty but not an albatross.

Foot-smoke and room-note are lavish, really. Rich deep mature tobaccos with dark and equally rich chocolates and coffee. Lots of smoke, but it quickly dies to a patient smolder between pulls. It will wait there for you; as I walked off a couple/few minutes and returned to it still lit. Burn is even, burn-line near razor-thin. Ash is white to pale grey and stacks on in ladder rungs of a near oily variety. A hint of near charcoal in small traces.

I feel wealthy, gentlepersons. English muffin pizzas are on me! No really, I have their sauce on my slacks. I pull out my schmatta and lay it across my lap, not expecting to need it, but I am nothing if not a rigorous practitioner of schtick.
Act I:
The red pepper is roasted and mainly kind and stays on the very back of my tongue. Desert is being served on my palate and in the air all around me. Do me a favor and pull meaningfully gentlemanly from the Padron offering -- as it's draw is quite loose and I can see a fella over-smoking fairly easily. I shall try to not linger on this, as I've mentioned it more than a good bit, already.

Burn is even but not perfectly so. Far, far from an issue. The burn-line is razor on one half, thin/medium, the other. Construction has softened a bit. It is smoking quite quickly. Still, it settles rapidly between draws. Flavors are unchanged as of yet, I am getting a small hint of a reddish fruit, but it is fleeting at best and ever off in the horizon.

A very decadent and ripe affair. I feel as though I am watching an older older couple gently fornicate. They are well preserved and seeing their bare bodies does not make me want to iron my clothing and all the other fabrics in my house. A sweetness enters softly and is like dolloping steamed milk atop an espresso. Sweet by comparison and not overly so. Hazelnut is mainly on the retro-hale now and therein the red pepper subdues. Very chocolate draw with almost as much coffee, but not in a ham-fisted manner. Mouth-feel is heavy but nice. Finish is a flip-flop of the draw where coffee stars and chocolate supports. L o n g finish.

Profile is full body (notes as mentioned), -full flavors, and -medium strength. Look ma, no buzz! I roll the ash off at an inch plus and it is loosely dense and oily. Cosmetically, unchanged from prior description. I wish to play poker. No. Baccarat.

An earthiness emerges as the curtain falls on the first act.

Act II:
I lost all the money I did not have at the Baccarat table. Apparently this is a more contemplative cigar than I thought, and I simply was not paying attention to the cards. Very solitary smoke. What if Bigfoot is an alien, I ask myself and gaze at the coffee ring on my desk/folding table. Where do the Reptilian overlords fit in and why is there no duck in Duck Sauce?

Cedar fully replaces the peppers which left awhile back. It's a nice cedar that fits well with the ripened tobacco. Mature, not sharp. The ash is a bit of schlock and aesthetically, I feel this blend deserves better. Tastes are all on par, but un-mottled. Very Maduro, natch. Heavy, and ripe, but not as lusty nor as busty as I'd hoped.  Chocolate, coffee, cedar, hazelnut -- all at once. Creamy mouth-feel. Long finish of frothed milk and mocha. The earthiness is toasting more and adding a nice shot of complexity and a bit of that toasting hits on the cedar at the draw. Very smooth, this Padron. Very Padron-esque, this padron.

The burn gets a little squirelly and a bit of the wrapper comes undone. Burn-line widens to medium in most spots. Ash turns flakier and just this side of fercockt and construction suffers as it softens again. A little char sneaks into the flavor.

Strength is -medium. Body and flavors now medium+. I suppose the deepening earthiness was something, but a proper transition, it was not. I am aware that Padrons are somewhat famous for their transitions, but their transitions always strike me more as a shuffling of the deck, not of any new playing cards. Not a one-note offering, but not very interesting all told, and as of yet. The aesthetics (ash) and a cap which is less than it should be, bother me -- in the context of an ultra-premium affair.

It is very smooth, though. This cannot be over-stated. And very much enjoyable. The burn evens, but the char grows and bites at my throat some. The chocolate is less richly sweet, the coffee remains very nice. The smoke cloud lessens in density and grows in volume. It stays the same as far as room-note. Quite pleasant.The cigar succeeds where it tries, but perhaps should try in more areas. All told, however, it is impressive in its decadence, if not in its complexity.

Act III:
Very cedar now, as much as if not more than, chocolate. Some of the decadence fades. As we hit the clubhouse turn, Coffee notes are a close second to both and then neck-&-neck -- and Bubblegum is sticking to the rail! But forget about Potato, he's getting mashed! Kidding. The burn slows and rights itself. I removed the band a minute ago to no occurrence. Burn-line thins.

Tobacco, ripe and mature takes hold and I do believe it will pull away from the pack and lead by a full length down the stretch. I tear up my losing ticket, but admire the horse's gtreat form.
Notes:
Not boring, but relaxing. If I didn't fully enjoy the affair, perhaps it's for the same reason I get fidgety in a bubble bath instead of luxuriating. Fans of Maduro will love this, as will fans who want fuller tastes and body with lighter strength.

A very pleasing cigar, but struck me as a politician unwilling to alienate any part of their voting public. Even the separate elements of its flavor profile seemed unwilling to risk offending, as none completely emerged from the others.

Pairings:
Technically, or more apt mechanically, as the moisture level is perfect, it doesn't need a drink accompaniment. However, to aid the flavors here and there, a Merlot would be nice. I'd go for Mogen David, as Manischewitz would be to clingy. An espresso or Cuban Coffee would be good. A thick fancy root beer, interesting.

Final Grade: B+
(More intricacies and better construction = A)
(+ is on the back of simply an excellent tobacco.)

Epilogue:
8:40ishpm
I'm doing some wonderful things with the greys and browns of my wardrobe.
I just felt you should all be aware.

Thanks for reading, gentlepersons.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mailbag Monday for 10.26.15

It's a lazy Sunday morning of Pancakes and thermal long johns. I'd better get cracking. Someone grab me my robe and coffee. I need a secretary. Inquire within.

A note before we delve -- I've noticed no small amount of repeated questions. Don't forget that to yer left, there's a (Ir)regular Features header, which you might uses to peruse previous queries and their answers.
- Management
"What's your favorite cigar smoking setting?"

This is somewhat of a thought provoking question. Lemme sip my coffee. I still do not have coffee. This is unforgivable. I am far too widely read to have to brew my own joe. I digress with a pffft.

It never is lost on me that I've come quite far in my short time as 'leafwriter.' I spend much of my tobacco time with cigars given to me which I cannot otherwise afford and notations in my lap and/or screen in front of me. It smacks, at times, of the vast differences between review and enjoyment. Please, please, please do NOT take this as a complaint. As I am pleased as both Punch and Judy for these unforeseen blessings.

To answer your question, though: alone but for Ruby Vondella and the brief and pleasant nods of passersby -- I am sitting on a park bench, listening to baseball on the radio. It's a tad overcast and might rain later. There's a chill in the air that can't penetrate my cardigan. I am smoking a cheap stogie I have smoked a million times before.

Thanks for that question.
"I get green on medium+ cigars and above. What can I do?"

Smoke only medium and lower strength cigars, is advice which readily springs to mind. There's plenty of offerings which fit that bill well, and in complex, nuanced fashions. I'm a dainty dandy meself, as far as tolerance is concerned (as well as fashion and every other possible meaning of the fine word 'dandy') -- so I won't harass ya sir, by asking if your hubby is even OK with you smoking. 

If you do get in over yer head and go green, a half teaspoon of sugar will set ya right. A pip of a Hershey's bar will, too. I use a sip of milk, or a small scoop of peanut butter. If you find yourself testing waters, and speaking of gurgitation, eat first. I almost always smoke post-meal. Hope this helps, ma'am.
"How many cigars do most people smoke in a day?"

This strikes me as less of a question per se, and more of a wellness self-check. Do you really care how many cigars Joe Schmoe smokes any given day? If so, why? I'm sure you're more concerned with rationalising your new hobby's effect on yer health. I think a better question would be "How many cigars can I smoke in a day without getting cancer?" Now there's a question I'll take on...

Seeing as life, like cancer, is a terminal disease -- our tickets are all pre-punched. That said, we can with the help of our big brains, weigh what to lesser creations seem like odd notions. Notions such as pros and further notions such as cons. We can also ease off as needed and back on as cleared -- in regards to us listening to our bodies.

As for myself, I smoke 10-15 a day and take mega doses of Vitamin C and Cod Liver Oil in order to offset. It's also nice to not have to worry about Scurvy and Rickets. 

Have fun, sir. 
"I'm looking for a cigar to give my boyfriend as a birthday gift. Any recommendations."

Impossible question to answer. The only way I could possibly tell you to go, is a box of what he smokes daily. That might or might not work from your end. I'd redirect you to the knick-knack bric-brac section for some cigar related advertising of the vintage or antique kind. If you are secure in your knowledge of the guy's style, I'd think of a cutter or ashtray you KNOW will catch his fancy. Don't buy him a humidor unless he's brand new to cigars, does not already have one, and has mentioned the one he would like. All while nudging you and winking. Even then, humis are too big of an aesthetic deal to safely gift. Stay small tools and/or related etc. 

I suppose if you're heckbent on sticks, a sampler might be of interest. Dicey proposition, though. Stay medium-profiled. Ask yer local tobacconist, as they adore dealing with inquiries of that ilk.
"I've been dabbling in nasal snuff. I understand it's a healthier alternative. Thoughts?

Thought as to the "healthier alternative?" I imagine there is some truth to it since the tobacco is unheated, thus releasing less of the bad stuffs. I have seen the studies, or lack thereof, and I imagine them to be limited in findings due to a lack of regular snuff takers. I would say that a healthier alternative to all forms of tobacco would be a brisk walk. All that stated, I should admit to not being a health-care professional, regardless of my quite Jewish surname.

As to the stuff itself, I happen to now have a sampling of it coming my way from the U.K., and will share my findings here when they are found. I must say that the romantic in me finds no small appeal in its Victorian gentlemanly heyday and ragamuffin charm. But I've always been drawn bad, to paraphrase Jessica Rabbit. 
Well, gentlepersons, another Mailbag Monday is in the -- well -- bag. Thanks for reading, and have a great week. Questions which pop up along the way can be sent to: LINK.

Might I too direct ya to Cigars City? I'm not only not a client, but I'm also a commission-based only representative. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Crowned Heads La Imperiosa - Cigar Review

Prologue:
5:45orsopm
Kippers and peanuts on a bed of lettuce.
Take that to the gastronomical bank, gentlepersons.
Trust me, I'm a #foodie.

& now onto the task at hand.

From the Crowned Heads website:
"La Imperiosa is the second Crowned Heads regular production brand (following-up ‘Jericho Hill’) released from the My Father Cigars, S.A. factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, for worldwide distribution.

Originally a Cuban brand from the early 1900’s, La Imperiosa translates to ‘the imperative,’ or, “..that which is absolutely necessary or required.” The La Imperiosa artwork and band were inspired by the original Cuban vista and band of years gone by.

The blend of 100% Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos, finished with a dark and imposing Ecuador Habano Oscuro wrapper, is identical to the Las Calaveras EL 2014 blend. Released in May 2014, the Las Calaveras EL 2014 brand went on to become one of the year’s most sought-after new releases, and was praised by cigar enthusiasts around the world. Despite selling-out in a matter of weeks, the demand for Las Calaveras EL 2014 remained high and constant. As a result, it became ‘imperative‘ and ‘absolutely necessary‘ to respond to that demand."

We shall see, just as soon as the kippers leave my palate.
[Four hours later...]

The Cigar:
La Imperiosa
by Crowned Heads
Ecuador Habano Oscuro wrapper
Nicaraguan binder/filler
5 1/2 x 54 "Dukes"
Courtesy Cigars City

I later reviewed the Magicos format HERE.
Pre-light:
Inky dark but not an abysmal on account of quite a vibrant sheen. The complexion has a chocolate tone to it and is even throughout. Rustic but refined to the eye, with the aforementioned classically designed band. Seams are seemly and veins not overt. The tobacco visible from the foot echoes the wrapper's complexion and vibrancy and too shows a dirty blond fleck or two. Leaves are nicely herded together sans gapping or clumping; I'd say to a medium density.

It feels good in the hand, touting a nice peach fuzz/brushed suede feel. Giving it the Charmin treatment, it proves itself to be evenly packed to a medium firmness. Cap is well-affixed and I do believe I shall sniff the thing.

Wrapper brings notes of rich clean floral tobacco, some cocoa, fresh ground coffee beans, and a hint of wood. At the foot is a deepening of the tobacco and a red pepper spiced dark chocolate. What strikes me is how clean the aroma is, as if I'm smelling the notes off the tail-end of a gentle breeze.

Sweetly autumn spiced peaches and cream on the cold draw, with shaved chocolate over-top. An earthy, hearty tobacco with red pepper and cedar influences carries this all. Very nice, indeed.

Light:
Toasting the foot is akin to standing over a campfire of seasoned cedar. Too, there is a warm, rich tobacco that is quite intense and spiced. First hot draw is inherently sweet dark chocolate on rich toasted tobacco. Very savory already, and drool inspiring in quite a good way. A toasted cream joins in and lasts into a very nice finish with traces of syrupy fruits. A retro-hale offers a sharp red peppery cedar which while not entirely comfortable in and of itself does leave quickly and serve as a nice cleanser and way-paver for a growing and delicious finish with good legs to it. Mouth-feel is spot on as far as moisture, and creamy sans weight. A third hot one notches up the fruitiness and adds some floral notes and a light honey goes toward the toasted cream and stays on the finish.

Very fragrant and kind foot-smoke of flowers, honey, and a complex tobacco that is at one dark but not burdensome. As far as volume, I'd say medium. Burn is a tad jagged toward one end, but we'll just keep an eye on that. Burn-line is razor thin. Ash is just a tad flaky on the jagged side of the stick, but dense enough and not oily nor dry. It's white with medium grey low-lights that are rather infrequent. The burn is very cool and the foot-smoke dies back quickly in the event you stop puffing in order to prattle on in pedantic and descriptive terms re: ash.

This soon in the game, I'd say it's a medium profile.
Act I:
Some more roasted red pepper enters here and does so minus bite or dryness, but is forceful, indeed. The burn is evening, but the ash lilts on account of its earlier wonky ways. I lay my schmatta handkerchief out across my lap. The ash grows flakier. CLUMP. It just misses my left shoe and is complete powder on the concrete of my porch.

Coffee amps up and begins to put me in mind of a frou-frou Starbucks thing but sweeter. My mother's Cafe International cups of excursions from my dad and I's near constant tom-foolery. It's crisped up by cedar and red pepper (especially on the retro-hale) and a touch of milder white pepper which weaves in and out and is seemingly attached to the cream notes. There's also a graham cracker addition to that toasted cream, but both are to far distinguished from the chocolate draw notes to accurately say "S'mores." A touch of light honey remains but the floral notes therein subdue. The tobacco stays complexly deep and rich, while light on the palate.

The burn wonks a bit again and the line widens to a medium. Smoke output mellows off the foot and on the draw, but is nice and far, far from wispy. There are now a couple of soft spots in the shaft but the form holds. As I type, the burn attempts to even.

Touted as a full profile by some, I would say meduim+ myself as of now. And I am a dainty man. There remains some aggression on the burn when I pull. I notice the red pepper easing up considerably.

The mouth-feel and finish are near divine and a creaminess mounts. A savoriness remains but in a crispy and full potato chip fashion, not in a beefy manner.

Act II:
The strength now approaches fullness and does the body on still rising notes of creamery butter and toasted cream. Flavors of chocolate sweeten to a good Dove caliber. There is a fruitiness, and a syrupy one, but it's of light fruits. The perfect compliment to breezy dark tobacco. Very graham on the finish, as that jockeys with the cream for the lead there. There is drama but no melodrama. If'n ya wait out the long finish, a floral honey awaits.

Construction evens to catch the softer spots and holds there. Burn is a constant wonk then evening -- no touch-ups. Line widens a hair. Smoke remains cool. It continues to feel great in the hand and dangling from the ol' smoke-hole. I'd give it a very gentlemanly kind sort of full- profile all around. Well-bred, this offering. The ash even offers its flakiness in a rakish sort of way.

The midpoint transition is of a darkening cedar and a big injection of darker fruits. Purple and red and syrupy. A molasses emerges with some brown sugar. There's an earthiness and leather, too. A malted caramel. Oh, baby.

The once complex finish is now even more so as most of the draw notes linger there and dance around my palate. Cleanliness remains and is reminiscent of a very nice amber wine. My head swoons. I have recently contemplated re-growing my pencil-thin moustache. This La Imperiosa offering begs that pairing. There is a rapscallion nature at play here.

This is a smoke, sure. A heckuva smoke. But too it is a story-teller, there alone on a stage. I have sipped from nothing and will not. It does not need an accompaniment. Its flavors too nuanced and complex, and its mouth-feel too perfect. In short, I am riveted.

Act III:
Nothing to see here. Just me dipped in honey, frolicking in a field of flowers, and drunk on wine. Uhm...I mean those are the flavor notes, of course. Creamy chocolate and graham crackers are on the finish. Where is my dress? I mean where are my pants?

Flavors are back to pre-transition but elements of said transition remain on-board. It's all there, and wonderfully so, gentlepersons. Construction softens again, still holds. Burn is as always. Burn-line is medium thick. Ash is consistent throughout.

At the mid 3/3 I do begrudgingly need to re-touch the light. The amber wine turns white. Profile rides off into the sunset on a full- stagecoach and I wave my schmatta hankie as it drives on out of sight. Nine months later, I shall name the baby for the father and see his rakish ways in its newborn eyes, regretting nothing. Nothing, I say.
Notes:
La Imperiosa, as discussed, means 'the imperative.' I can only concur. A restrained and refined smoke with a definite twinkle in its eyes. Very flavorful though not in an over-bearing manner. The kindest full-profile offering I've enjoyed in some time.

Pairings:
Don't need a thing, it got plenny a' swing.

Final Grade: A
(I wanted to + it, but the burn is imperfect, and required a touch-up.)

Epilogue:
7:00pm
Hush, I finally got the baby to sleep.
Now hop the next stagecoach and I'll meet ya at Cigars City. Ya'hear?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Camacho Triple Maduro - Cigar Review

Prologue:
8:20pm
I picked up this Camacho stick as I headed along my way to the barbershop. It was spa day, apparently. Minus the wet shave because my back wasn't hearing any drivel about me sitting that long.

Look for a link HERE, just as soon as I post the barbershop write-up. In the by and by, here's a photograph of Camacho Triple Maduro and me. (Photo courtesy of my barber.)
Apologies for the hair-clippings.
The Cigar:
Camacho Triple Maduro
San Andres Maduro wrapper
Original Corojo Maduro binder
Maduro fillers via Brazil, Honduras, & Dominican Republic
5 x 50 Robusto

[Advertised as the world's only full Maduro cigar. Maduro puro?]
Pre-light:
Nicely oiled, but a thin, dry oil which doesn't feel messy. Water soluble pomade, in keeping with my spa day. This shows as a very nice sheen which translates, too, into a very nice feel. A visible seam or two, but nothing ugly, ditto on the veins. Very dark brown near Obscuro, but still with a glow about it, a warmth -- not inky dull. Very even complected. Very even-packed too. Stiffly so. The foot tobacco shows surprising flashes of pale tobacco which almost sparkle on the background of the darker, richer browns. Or better yet as dirt blond hair on the dark stained hardwood floor of the Royal Ave Barbershop.

I am not a paid spokesperson. Although the free haircut was quite nice.

Chocolate barnyard mulch notes on the nose from the wrapper, a ripened and deep tobacco (natch). At the foot I detect notes of a spicier variety. Roasted cinnamon,some cumin, maybe a faint whiff of marshmallow and graham. I love San Andres, mi amigos.

Nibbling off the well-appointed double cap feels a tricky proposition, so I punch through with my Old Timer. That's a tad tricky, too, as the head of the stick is surprisingly dense -- as is the rest of it. A cold draw is a tad on the tight side and of red pepper, chocolate smorgasbord, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, graham, cream/marshmallow. In that order of strength. There's already a pleasant finish by way of the cinnamon/chocolate riding on a graham backing. Very flavorful. Very delineated. Very nice thus far. Although I do hope the draw loosens.

Last licks are coming up for the Cubbies in game 3. As soon as my Metropolitans win, I'll

Light:
[LET'S GO METS GO]

Toasting the foot lets loose into the air notes of roasted nuttiness and warm hearty bread. The first hot draw is red pepper, dark rye and black licorice. A nice finish is already developing of the licorice sweetness and the joining off the back of the draw of a very deep tobacco with notes of sweet and hot spices. A second hot draw is retro-haled and of hotter spices -- foremost a cumin, nice red pepper, some black. There is also an buttery leather. The butter is clarified, and very smooth and lays super lovely and gently on the palate from draw to finish. Third pull is a combo platter of the first two, with the addition of a red pepper on the tip of my tongue, and a joining of graham to the finish. Very nice all told, but somewhat and strangely -- unexciting.

Burn is even but a bit ribbon'd, ash is pale grey with rare charcoal low-lights. Very dense and not overly oily, but bound tight. Draw has loosened a smidgen, but could stand to loosen another.
Act I:
The burn evens here foot-smoke is an earthy leather almost simple tobacco, but quite ripe (natch again). The licorice subdues even more, and it was only ever a hint -- more of an essence now that contributes less in terms of flavor, than along with the clarified butter mouth-feel.

I lay my hankie/schmata out across my lap for purely schtick purposes, because I cannot imagine this ash simply falling off. It's on like Donkey Kong, gentlepersons. Very thick and well-stacked. All around packing firmness holds, draw is now almost medium, but a hair tight. Profile at this point is a medium. Flavors are mainly leather earthiness on a black bread back. Some dark chocolate. A hint at a dried red fruit. Finish is cocoa to baking chocolate with a touch of indistinguishable sweet spices and that black licorice vibe. You know after you eat the stuff and the taste fades, but you still 'feel' it? That. It mottles with a dried red fruit/fig.

All told, it's a tad dry and I sip my French Roast. Flavors are nice and nicely balanced, but not as of yet fully delineated as they were on the cold draws. Deep, but not lively enough as to be rich. The java pulls a sweetened espresso note on the draw, but it fades quickly into something like a syrupy cola.

Ash just builds and builds in an unchanged manner of a nice slow and cool burn. Firmness holds. Burn is dead on. Burn-line is medium thin.

Dark chocolate now emerges and goes nicely with the espresso and on into the cola. I'm almost put in mid of a malted milkshake, as a toasted cream comes in now. It's surprisingly mellow, but you can kick it up with a retro-hale which establishes a very deep, savory tobacco with a crema touch.

I roll off the ash and toss it into my rose food bucket and it doesn't budge one iota. Profile remains medium. Maybe medium plus in terms of body since the crema has set in along with the clarified butter -- and the dark chocolate continues to enhance. I can't stress the need to retro-hale enough, as a cumin amps up there along with a host of bakers spices. Only occasional red peppers. Funny note here (peculiar, not LOL), is that some folks call this a red pepper bomb -- others speak to a distinct lack of the stuff. I've seemingly hit the one in the middle.

I open up the cap a bit more, as the draw seems to tighten. A little nibble really opens it up. That's what she said.

Act II:
Dryness abates, and I haven't sipped my coffee in a good while. Still, there is not a lot of 'life' in the smoke. Mellow, quite mellow. The retro-hale looses some complexity and a toasted marshmallow enters the draw. Peppers too, black but kind and very roasted in now creamery butter. That butter is in the deep tobacco room-note as well, along with a brushed leather. Very nice, there. Although I fear a lack of delineation.

Not a kick-in-the-door full flavor Camacho smoke, but it does have somewhat of a cop-knock. Very nice buttery mouth-feel. Finish is nice, sweet but not sickly, but also mottled a bit. It lasts into the next pull easily bu vaguely, and if you wait long enough, the brushed leather is there with a certain pumpernickel taste.

At the halfway point, a bit of a sharpening occurs and I sip my now cold coffee.  This offering is very well-built and all nods to construction hold with an emphasis on firm. The burn heats a bit and hastens. Very nice offering thus far, but nowhere near the complexities or robust nature I'd envisioned.

Profile is surprisingly medium, although the strength has joined the body at medium+. The transition I was looking forward to, is seemingly somewhat of a further devolving in regards to a lack of delineation. All very nice, but as uncomplicated as Velcro clasp footwear. Spices have mainly left. Baking to dark chocolate remain with toasted cream and occasional laces of peppers and dark brewed coffee. The bread goes from wheat to black, and when black, is very good. A certain savoriness remains, but is vastly subdued.

Not a solitary, hat brim over eyes smoke. Instead, it's one which would go well with conversation. I'd have liked to watch the game with it, but the game was in my living room -- where my wife lives. I'd have loved to smoke this thing in the barber's chair. The mouth-feel is the high-point here. Creamy and deep sans being burdensome. Flavors are well-meaning and kind, but lacking in nuance, let alone complexity.

At the end of the second act, there's a touch of a catch in my throat as the only real 'change.' Maybe there's a bit of a ripening of flavors (again, again natch and I speak of course to the Maduro), but those flavors are now perfectly inter-mingled and it's hard to pull one out from the crowd. Same goes for the finish. It's a darn good cigar, but doesn't stand up to a pedantic dissection -- which some folks and some instances, might see as a selling point. But I don't believe fans of anything other than dull and pedantic peruse this particular blog.

I'd (let ya) buy (me) a box for a ballgame or card game or a trip to a 1930s barbershop -- and to never be let down. I'd also take a couple to the track or to the fights, But I wouldn't plop moolah for a single to fawn over.

Act III:
The pack loosens as expected, but holds well enough to be considered firm. A dark chocolate is all I can honestly point to. That should take nada away from a nicely toasted and deep offering. A good smoke, not a wow smoke. I like it. I like it like I like a trip to a diner. Simple fare that sticks to your ribs like Paula Deen's cooking, but there ain't a proper chef to be seen. This cigar slings hash, though, like no body's business. I bet it cooked in the Navy.

At the end, it tickles and teases at a full profile. This cigar is Mel's diner, if Flo never got hired on.
Notes:
Not worth the price point. That might sound harsh, given it's a notably long smoker, but I'll stick to my knee-jerking guns. A beautifully constructed offering but sans complexities and with a tendency to be somewhat dry and lifeless.

I do take note that hardcore Maduro fans very well might take a fondness to this offering. Too, hardcore chocolate cake fans often eat 3 cakes in one sitting. Waitaminute -- they do not.

Pairings:
Coke is it. Coffee, too, with cream and sugar. Manischewiz anything -- wine that is. A dry Manischewitz matzo mixed with this offering very well might kills ya.

Final Grade: B-

Epilogue:
10:05-:10ish

I wanna go back to the spa barbershop. Calgon! Take me
awaaayyyyyy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Three Stooges "Monkey Businessmen" 1946

Cast:
Moe Howard
Larry Fine
Curly Howard

Directed by Edward Bernds
Written by Edward Bernds
Produced by Hugh McCollum

Kenneth MacDonald as Dr. Mallard
Cy Schindell as Clarence (nurse)
Fred Kelsey as Smiling Sam McGann
Snub Pollard as Mr. Grimble
Jean Wiles as Nurse Shapely
Wade Crosby as George
Rocky Woods as Roland (nurse)
Moe's "Keep smilin', McGann!" is worth the price of admission alone, here. Too, it is tweet-worthy, as I did so upon my most recent viewing of this '46 short originally titled (or begun work under) Sanitarium Stooge.

But I do get ahead of myself, let us first dissect as I, myself, digress. But even before that, I place my handkerchief/schmata across my lap and light up a Casa de Garcia Red...

&

Nyuk-by-Nyuk Commentary:
We open with none other than the aforementioned McGann (Kelsey) reaming one Mr. Jordon (the uncredited voice of Richard Lane), a phone-answerer at the electric company, a new every-hole and being cut short by the clamour of a ruckus of lead-pipe fallings and, well, Stoogery. Seems our boys landed gigs...

We follow an investigating McMann (who is in great form throughout) over to see Moe and Larry flanking a laid out and tangled in ladder Curly, with pipes upside his head.

Moe: Why aren't you more careful when you climb up a ladder?!
Curly: I only climbed up 7 steps!
Moe: The ladder had 6!

The Tale of the Disappearing/Reappearing Pipe: when McGann walks into the room, Moe and Larry drop two (2) pipes atop Curly's head -- both pipes fall on the floor. You with me? Good. Then, the camera cuts and lo' and behol', one of the pipes is resting on Curly's head. You with me? Me either. To make matters worse, the pipe keeps disappearing and reappearing in different shots. My guess here is that we're seeing breaks in the action in order to facilitate a sick Curly's performance.

Some consider this the high/low-light of Curly's 'obvious' illness, and therefore a sad display. We'll get to more instances in this short as it develops, as well as tackle the subject later on. Suffice to say, this initial production of 1946, coming out of the Stooges yearly seven month hiatus, was the provider of a staunch realization of what lay ahead. Like I said though --

Meanwhiles, it's time for everyone to get electrocuted! (Not you somewhat-above-the-fray Larry.) McGann gets the zap first and then after a couple of pipes upside the head, Moe shows him off with, wait for it, "Keep smilin', McGann!" What Larry does is lead to the dismantling of Smilin' McGann's phone service. Although the phone works well enough for Mr. Jordan to fire his Stooge electricians. LOUDLY.

Moe: Well, partners -- looks like we resigned.
The boys decide they need a rest, and what better a place than Mallard's Rest Home and Clinic: "High altitude , low prices -- no matter what you got, you'll lose it at Mallard's." Reads the brochure that just happens to have been right there. But what will they do for money? Seems Curly has "Something put away for a rainy day," and grabs an umbrella... No really. He keeps a wad of cash in there. Ease up on the fella, fellas.

And we're at the Clinic. It takes no time flat for Dr. Mallard (MacDonald, in his debut and not best Stooges performance) to prove himself a shyster. Saying of a patient: "It's mostly in his mind, but if the patients like to pay us for the privilege of being sick, it's there business." When the boys do enter, we know exactly what they're in for -- but they don't. Until they get a hint of the lowdown by way of their daily schedule which consists of back-breaking work, working out, and road work -- with a breakfast and lunch of a "nice big bowl of milk." And for dinner? 

"I know, a nice big bowl of milk?" tries Curly. "No, you drank it all for lunch." Says Mallard. You see it's the good Doctor's idea to "run them ragged and take them for every nickel they got."

It's cited here by mournful and learn'ed Stooge fans, how pained Curly's performance in the office scene was, and how often Moe nudged him cues. I can honestly say -- it ain't so bad, gentlepersons. Even while looking hard for it, nothing egregious occurred to my eyes. Although I could be wrong, because Larry takes his temp and the Super Stooge has a fever of "90 proof."

The nurses aren't the hot numbers the boys had hoped for, and are big burly crooks, instead. "Gentlemen," the crook orderlies address the Stooges; "Who came in?" comes the classic response, as the boys look behind themselves for the answer. This bit is used in the shorts (courtesy of ThreeStooges.net) "We Want our Mummy, You Natzy Spy! Malice in the Palace, Spooks! Rumpus in the Harem, Space Ship Sappy." -- what they fail to mention is that this bit is also and with fantastic frequency, used by me.
"5 o'clock, that's a time to get up if you're getting shot at sunrise." Larry gripes and we say g'mornin' to day number one at the clinic. Another good 'gag' happens here, when Moe instructs the boys to take a good bit of fresh air in, and they all cough. If "Gentlemen..." is mine, coughing at a lung-full of fresh air was my dad's.

Anyways, it's time to hit the gym and Stoogery there leads to the murses getting cold-cocked and one of them spilling the beans while semi-conscious re: Dr Mallard's con. The boys are now alerted and the chase is on. mallard and the murses (decent band name) chase the boys through the facility. Moe, Larry, and Curly need to get gone, but how? Wait! I get it -- Mallard is a quack "That means DUCK."

There's a third murse guarding the door (asleep). Curly has an idea...

Curly: We'll get some grease...
Moe and Larry: Yeah...
Curly: Spill it on the floor...
Moe and Larry: Yeah...
Curly: And slip by.

That's nixed, but before another plan can be fully hatched, Curly sneezes, knocking a vase off a shelf and onto his head. The guard murse awakens and suddenly their only out is for Moe and Larry to become doctors and the pained Curly, their patient. 

Moe: Dr. Windbag, I presume.
Larry: Well blow me down. (Once again, nobody delivers a line like Larry.)
It's time to scrub up and get a-operatin'! The boys do their trademarked gibberish concoction routine, and the murse somehow understands it as doctor-speak, handing them one tool after another. They do away with him, only to be troubled by Doc Mallard hisself. As the scene hits a crescendo, Look for two (2) things:
  1. Curly never gets out of the somersault he attempts off the stretcher*.
  2. When Curly falls off the stretcher, some say they hear Bud Jamison's voice in the background. Although he was not in this short -- oh and dead by the time of its filming.

A pretty decent foot-chase scene ensues through the halls, into an exploding steam room, and beyond. And remember the patient Dr. Mallard was referencing in "but if the patients like to pay us for the privilege of being sick, it's there business?" Well, somewheres along the way the boys fix his all-in-his-head foot and at the end here, he tracks them down and bestows upon them a thousand bucks in payment of their cure.

"Nearly a million!" Says Larry. Curly offers up the idea of a nice long rest & 
Moe: This rest almost killed me!

Notes:
"...it was strange the way he (Curly) went up and down. In the order I shot the pictures, not in the order they were released, he was down for A Bird in the Head and The Three Troubledoers, he was up for Micro-Phonies, way down for Monkey Businessmen, and then up again, for the last time, in Three Little Pirates. In Monkey Businessmen, he (Curly) was at his worst. Moe coached him the way one would a child, getting him to repeat each line after him. We had to shoot Curly repeating one line at a time." -- Bernds, director ( Maurer, Joan Howard; Jeff Lenburg; Greg Lenburg (1982). The Three Stooges Scrapbook)

There, gentlepersons, is an account beyond reproach. Now allow me to clarify my earlier downplaying of this subject. Watch this short (you can find many options on YouTube, none of which I'll post here since they tend to be deleted.) To an unknowing eye, he don't look that bad. Or at least to my own knowing-eye attempt at unknowing.

My point here is this: Kayfabe. Wrestling's secret carny-based language which was somewhat cracked by fans thanks in part to internet things I won't go into. Smarks are -- well -- wrestlers see fans as "marks." (S)marks see themselves as SmartMARKS. Breakers of Kayfabe and insiders. Most are neither, for the record. They get a little info beyond casual fandom and they run, run, run with it. Sure Curly was sick. Sure it affected his performance. Was it so terrible as to be sad? I say nope. But the more it gets lingered on, and by the more smarks who doth linger -- it takes on a place in history it either doesn't deserve, or is spun wrongly.

Wrongly? Yes. Learn about the history of the Horwitz brothers and get a lil bit happy at how they turned Jewface performing on its ear and gained power from it. How they turned being 'othered' into a franchise they controlled (I've cited before their Stranger in Strange Land success**.) Learn about how Moe truly led and the complexities and, yes, shortcomings of his brothers -- how he cared for them. See then, it's all quite happier of an affair. Or at least palatable enough as to not hate Shemp for coming back on-board after Curly's departure. 

Better than all that -- mark out, gentlepersons, at the slapstick and wordplay hilarity.

Final Grade: B- 
(The story is simply not smooth here and there.
Too, I feel the wordplay suffers on par with the slapstick when Curly isn't 100%)
*The sir was 42 at the time of that filming. I am 40 at the time of this writing. Today I needed a cane to hobble around because I threw my back out. Fighting off four thugs who threatened an old lady? Nah, accommodating my sleeping dachshund by laying in a funny position around her two (2) nights ago.

** There is very good reason that the two shorts which pitted the Stooges against one another, were failures. Read more of what I (& Jon Solomon) have to say about that HERE, under Divisiveness in Stoogery.

I feel we all learned a lot here. Now get steppin' gentlepersons. Imma slip into my long johns.