Deep in flavor. Deep in your mind.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Montecristo Crafted by AJ Fernandez - Cigar Review

I'm surprised by this Montecristo Crafted by AJ Fernandez, and it happens prior to lighting the thing. No, I'm not surprised to see another legacy brand flashing the AJF insignia -- that's the norm these days. My surprise is on account'a how the thing looks. Its uneven tautness of seams, some stretching of top-leaf, a short cap set flimsily atop, and last but not least: a sloppy divot at the 1/2-way mark. One that looks to hath occurred at the rolling table and not via shipping/handling. Upon light, I am thankful that there's no leak in smoke there.

I do not recall leaving trick to be an option. I'm far too neurotic for that. I assumed, as always, treat. Lettuce see. There is about the biggest bouquet of cold-nose I recall schnozzing as of late, coming off the thing -- a sweet leather brown sugar cinnamon. It's very autumnal. Verily fitting. I should really consider raking my yard. There, I considered it.

Fresh outta the gate, a Bic-flick re-touch is necessitated and no small-one at that. One long-side of the press saw its top-leaf pull away from burn. Seems corrected, now. Flavors on the draw are that sweet leather brown sugar cinnamon melange jockeying with a mulling spice featuring a rather forward citrus tick. Cranberries? Maybe I'm letting Fall get the best'a me. A bit of dark chocolate comes in, fleetingly. Underbelly is pumpkin and maize. Just kidding. It's earth, rather simply-so. Less simple is a honey-malt on-board at the opening stanza's close. Retro-hale adds a nicely-offered piquant up-swing and drops smoothly to a sweet palate. Finish is a nigh long extension of draw featuring a neat tongue-tingle.

We seem to have hit a decent stride at a decent pacing, performance-wise. Line is even. Draw is smoothly medium-tension'd. Box-press doth hold and seams seem tighter now. The burnt-offerings cling in a firm inch of silvery sheath with a vein-or-two of charcoal marblings. Pack density is sans hard/soft spots and ain't budged much 'gainst progression. I am reminded of myself, there.

& that is how we gallivant on toward and to the mid-point. Not much ado which hasn't already been addressed. Bupkis booming transitions tho not linear. A slowing of pace is the only difference. Balance is excellent, although it ain't a huge menu or myriad of nuances to align. Strength is medium, flavors medium-full, and body... body is of note... so's I shall. It's rather liquidy and a bit less oomph-y than would seem preferable. Therein, I 'spose balance doth wobble. Mayhaps it's that lack of sticking-to-ribs that precipitates the legs of the finish to pull back, shorten. It does end quite cleanly, and that's nice.

Mixed nuts, lightly candied are into the profile now, as the second-third comes to an end. (That divot smoked cleanly-through.) Some sweet bread cooked in a wood-stove and really, it's getting rather good now. Still not very 'filling,' humsoever. Flavors, whilst added to, dial back to a medium. Dried pineapple? Papaya? Interesting. It's all yellow and brown and orange hue'd.

I sit back and smoke on-through till Snack Tray, 7, asks me when he should get dressed in his Darth Vader costume. It's noon-thirty. Later, I say. We're both excited. This year we decided to go full-sized bar hunting in a nicer neighborhood than our own. Montecristo is a nicer neighborhood than my own. I didn't quite get my full-sized bar. You always want better for the next generation... the spoiled entitled snowflakes.

WRAPPER: Ecuadorian Sumatra
BINDER: San Andres
FILLER: Nicaraguan

FORMAT: Robusto (552) Box-press
ORIGIN: Nicaragua
STRENGTH: Medium-Full

FINAL GRADE: B+
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

Get yer own Montecristo Crafted by AJ Fernandez at Cigars City today. Treat, don't trick yerself, this HELLoween.

Seriously though, be safe out there. I hope yous all get king-sized.

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

"THE MONK REPLIED"

October 2017 Pound for Pound Boxing Rankings

1. Terence Crawford
Courtesy: SEEN Sport Magazine
2. Gennady Golovkin
Courtesy: The Fight City
3. Saul Alvarez
Courtesy: SI
4. Mikey Garcia
Courtesy: Boxing Scene
5. Keith Thurman
Courtesy: Boricua Boxing
6. Errol Spence, Jr
Courtesy: Boxing Scene
7. Guillermo Rigondeaux
Courtesy: The Fight City
8. Gilberto Ramirez
Courtesy: El Universal
9. Wisaksil Wangek
Courtesy: Pound4Pound
10. Shawn Porter
Courtesy: Premier Boxing Champions
"THE MONK REPLIED"

Monday, October 30, 2017

Anthony Joshua Survives Carlos Takam in Bloody 10RD Stoppage to Retain World Heavyweight Title

This past Saturday in Cardiff, IBF and WBA Heavyweight Champion of the World Anthony Joshua stopped the late fill-in challenger Carlos Takam (35-4-1, 27KO) in ten-stanzas via technical knock-out. Thus, his record moves to a career-wise perfectly unblemished 20-0 with none going the distance. Many in the Principality Stadium attendance felt that the third-man in the ring, Ref. Phil Edwards issued a poor stoppage and one that let A.Joshua off the hook of his obvious fatigue and busted schnoz. Many of that many, humsoever, ne'er stepped foot in the ring.

Humsoever once more, lettuce allow more weight to fellow pugilists and their weighing-in: whenst Joseph Parker doth touts yer performance as 'average,' and it's tough to find-fault in the point, yikes. Deontay Wilder chimed-in as well, with calling for the head-on-a-platter of whomever it is whom Anthony Joshua employs as his 'stamina coach.' I don't get these specialty coaches that are en vougue for a couple ticks-worth'a time now. Strikes me as too many chiefs for a lone Indian* to answer to. *Native American (apologies). That said, the thickly muscled A.Joshua came in at 254-pounds and fatigued for an in-the-spotlight second time in as many'a them spotlights. Too, he shredded the mug of C.Takam, but a very good place to start is from the beginning...

'Twas the first defense of the title AJ lifted from Wladimir Klitschko on April 29th. As alluded to above, Takam, a Parisian via Cameroon and adoption, was a late-replacement for the scheduled Kubrat Pulev, whom pul(ev)led out due to an injured shoulder. And that there sets the stage for this prize-fight: a new champ defending 'gainst a foe whom he vastly did not train for. A foe, at that, whom was supposedly training all-along as an under-study of sorts of Pulev.

Each fighter opened cautiously. Joshua perchance hesitant of falling prey to an under-dog replacement of renown tenacity; Takam perchance over-come by the moment although already having been-in with Joseph Parker and Alexander Povetkin (failingly-each). The opening-round, whatever the reasons, was particularly void of much anything from each participant. Then in the second-frame, a pair of head-butts from the much shorter challenger freed blood to flow freely from the champ's nose. The response was watered eyes and an awakening of AJ offense -- all told, he answered well with an opening-up of atack.

Skipping to the fourth, Takam pulled the short-stick in an exchange which left him cut rather badly by his right-eye. Following this up admirably in the next stanza, Joshua let loose more blood to the extent that the referee called in the ring-side physician for a looksie. At 'round this point, Takam's left-eye was too cut. Whilst the Parisian showed much courage, Joshua was well in control, even as he did eat some blows. Speaking of eating blows, Anthony Joshua worked his man's body quite-well through-out these rounds.

Takam's ninth round was begun with another trip to the doc, and then a heightened sense of urgency at its on-set. This tact, whilst well-advised, was less-than fruitful and by the tenth, Joshua began assailing him with head-shots as the challenger showed less and less of any ability to stop the barrage. Then P.Edwards saw 'nuff and rightly stepped in to call an end to the affair. Saving the very tough pug from his own-self. Again, when the competitiveness is at its end, so should be the competition. I have no qualms whatsoever with the call.

That said, Anthony Joshua was far from fresh as a daisy. It's simply that Carlos Takam was much-more a black-eyed susan. Just because AJ may've been fresh for someone's picking, doesn't mean it was Takam's place to be the picker. The challenger showed up well and to a goodly accounting, but that don't mean that the champ surely did. Neither does it mean Joshua was 'exposed' as so many like to say about so much; as nothing here was shown that already wasn't seen. Pundits now ask themselves if they thought too much of one, or not 'nuff of the other. Yes, I say.

Anthony Joshua is not built for an action-filled twelve. He errs towards being mechanical, also. So there are flaws. There is a mandatory challenge soon to come the Brit's way, as well as a much balley-hooed show-down with Deontay "Windmill" Wilder. With most eyes feverishly set-upon the latter, how would an Anthony Joshua versus Deontay Wilder match un-furl? Quite simply and cliche'd, the longer it goes the better chance Wilder got. It's just he'll be susceptible to AJ counters, as he cannot seem to skillfully throw a punch. It very well may become a feces-show instead of the blockbuster affair many believe it will be. Remember those old Toughman competitions? That. With Joshua's class, I feel, garnering him the ugliest of late stoppages. Maybe even a first trip to the score-cards.

What if, then, this burgeoning glorious era of the Heavyweight division winds up not being all that, let alone a bag of chips? Remain calm and wait for Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller and Daniel "Dynamite" Dubois to be a pair a' Jesuses to this current crop's John the Baptists... mayhaps a terrible analogy for this Jew to make, and I expect my Rabbi worries reading this -- but you gentlepersons get the gist of it all.

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

"THE MONK REPLIED"

Sunday, October 29, 2017

La Gran Llave - Cigar Review

Part of the 'Jewish experience,' near as I can tell, is oft feeling removed from the 'Jewish experience.' I don't know what exactly it is that I mean by that. How's that for an intro into this, the La Gran Llave? A cigar which has nada to do with that thought, and is quite reminiscent of other AJ Fernandez blends which do not tote his name on the band.

With a year under its belt in the market-place, the company was begun and previously headed by Michael Argenti and Angel Aguayo, who employed AJF in production/distribution. M.Argenti left the company rather quickly, placing A.Aguayo in control till 'round December whenst Fernandez doth acquired the brand. That's the gist of it-all, pretty much.

Now to smoke it.

A darkly handsome stick with moderate veins and tooth. Rather light in the mitt. No hard/soft spots. Well-affixed cap. Remains neatly pressed down-to tepid nub. Once lit, there are some nigh immediate tunnelling concerns which never come to full-fruition, but doth nag and require some thought. I hate thought. A handful a' light re-touches are needed through-out. A wispy draw in spots is medium tension'd throughout, but lends to mandating care 'gainst over-smoking. Varying out-puts into both room and smoke-hole are experienced, as are some loosening of seams around burn-line in the second-half. Pacing is uneven but within a slowish-range.
  • Black pepper, coarsely ground
  • Top-soil
  • Cedar, seasoned
  • Baking cocoa
  • Espresso beans
  • Leather, dryly
  • Cherry
  • Potpourri
  • Mulch
Straight-forward and front-loaded with simple black pepper which exhibits some harshness before quieting. For some-what heighty notes, the body and strength fairly lack in weighty. A lack of balance isn't helped by further imbalances in flavors, wherein sweetness and savoriness are a-lackin'. The sole transition is that quieting, but no real complexities are unveiled thereafter. Some bit of nuances in floral fruity whispers or perchance whimpers. I advise against a retro-haling, as the pepper never smoovs though the nose. Finish is a short extension of primary peppery earth. 

WRAPPER: Mexican San Andres
BINDER: Ecuadorian Habano
FILLER: Nicaraguan Habano

STRENGTH: Medium-Full
FORMAT: Robusto (554) Box-press
ORIGIN: Tabacalera Fernandez, Nicaragua
BLENDER: AJ Fernandez

FINAL GRADE: B
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

"THE MONK REPLIED"

Sports Week 9th Edition

DUSTIN PEDROIA HAS KNEE-MONIA?
This Wednesday Boston's injury-prone D.Pedroia under-went 'cartilage restoration' up-on his left knee. It's expected to sideline the second-baseman seven-months -- meaning he'll miss 2018's start. Pedroia dealt with knee injury all 2017, starting 97 games at second-base; even after last-October's arthroscopic surgery on a torn meniscus. 

Pedroia's '17 production lagged, batting a lower than expected .293, managing only 19 doubles, seven homers. BoSox prez Dave Dombrowski hath thunk aloud the injury might be chronic. On the plus side, I also feel he's rather cancerous in the club-house. Halfway through an eight-year, $110M contract -- utility-infielder Brock Holt is the prevailing replacement option.

MICKEY CALLAWAY NAMED METS SKIPPER
Within a month of the New York Mets bitterly disappointing/frustrating 2017 campaign mercifully-ending, Terry Collins was canned and their new skipper, Mickey Callaway, announced. M.Callaway, now-former Cleveland Indians pitching coach, will serve as the Metropolitans 21st manager.

Given Callaway's lack-of managerial experience, the hiring was somewhat a' surprise, particularly since the Mets had the similarly lacking Kevin Long already in their fold. Sandy Alderson, Mets GM, said at Monday's presser that what began as a list 35-names deep, 'twas whittled down-to six. Then, so impressed with Callaway, he hired him after a lone meeting -- cancelling a second-round of interviews.

CRAWFORD IS HORN'S WBO MANDATORY
The WBO hath named undefeated Terence Crawford as the mandatory challenger for Jeff Horn's 147-pound title. J.Horn will now have to face T.Crawford within 90 days of his upcoming defense 'gainst Gary Corcoran.

Crawford collected all four major 140lb titles in August via knocking-out Julius Indongo in three rounds. A step-up to Welterweight was an immediate thought, and one we can now rest-assured a'. Horn is still rather freshly-off of upsetting Manny Pacquiao in July and even though the champion, he is expected to be a heavy underdog against "Bud" Crawford, whom ranked as my number-two pound-for-pound pugilist last month.

KOVALEV NAMES NEW TRAINER
Sergey Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KO) is training for his November 25 MSG Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KO) bout. We now know whom is training him: Abror Tursunpulatov. You mightn't know him as trainer of F.Gaibnazarov, Uzbek 2016 Olympic gold-medalist. Tursunpulatov hath trained a slew of Eastern European amateurs and believes he can sharpen Kovalev. Krusher agrees. He's also stated greater comfort-levels with a white... ... E.European task-master.

Bandied-about were R.Garcia, V.Hunter, and F.Roach. The latter making least sense outside a' complexion -- offense ain't needing addressed. "Krusher" must impress against Shabranskyy, after two losses in-a-row to A.Ward; and falling-out with former-trainer J.Jackson.

THE PLAYER SCORES UPSET AT FAYETTE STAKES
The Player, a 4 year-old son of Street Hero, scored his first graded stakes victory Saturday, and his fourth win overall in 10 career starts.

Going-off at 8-1 under Calvin Borel, The Player stalked Neolithic, who's battled with the likes-of Arrogate and Gun Runner -- as the two separated from the others with C.Borel taking him wide. He then went by Neolithic mid-stretch to finish ahead a' the grade-two $200K Hagyard Fayette Stakes field. McCraken finished a well-back third whilst the 7-5 favorite Honorable Duty didn't hit the board. The 1 1/8 miles sloppy track was run in 1:48.16

WINX DIGS-DEEP, EXTENDS STREAK IN COX PLATE
Winx, the bay mare champion from Street Cry, was challenged by Humidor as ne'er before in last Saturday's $3M Cox Plate at Moonee Valley Race-course. Before 32,000-plus in attendance, Winx equaled Kingston Town's three Plates, whilst moving her streak to 22 victories.

The six year-old Aussie super-star looked almost vulnerable if not nigh-normal and then went on to show a depth a' reserves not before fathomed. Eased back by H.Bowman to sit three-wide mid-pack -- then winning from six-lengths off. A classic race for the ages in which she beat her own track record and tied Black Caviar's 15 Group-One wins.

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

"THE MONK REPLIED"

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Florida Sun Grown (FSG) by Drew Estate - Cigar Review

Smoky, even whenst held-up 'gainst other Drew Estate offerings. Excellent draw. Burns a bit wobbled -- self-corrects all but once. There is some crackling of final-third top-leaf, but I am smoking out-side in a damp fog, yer mileage very-well may vary. Ash grows in a dense silver-heather sheath. Seams hold well as doth cap/shoulder on-down to cool nub.

Front-loaded with peppercorn and cayenne through the first-inch. Espresso bean. Black walnut and cherry. Prunes and a wood array which picks up char in final-third. A fleeting 2/3 citrus addition to on-board cream. Leathery mouth, stiff at first then of fatty-meatinesses.

WRAPPER: Brazilian
BINDER: Honduran Habano
FILLER: Florida Sun Grown & Nicaragua

STRENGTH: Medium-Full
FORMAT: Belicoso 6 1/2 x 52
ORIGIN: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaragua
BLENDER: Willy Herrera

FINAL GRADE: B+
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

Buy: Drew Estate Florida Sun Grown Belicoso at: Cigars City

Drew Estate is a sponsor of mine. That fact hath no bearing on this review.

"THE MONK REPLIED"

Weekly Recapitulation Volume XXI


BLOG POSTS
[sports]
***paid advertisement***
[cigars]

PODCAST
"The Monk Replied"

Friday, October 27, 2017

Herrera Esteli by Drew Estate Miami Edition - Cigar Review

Well-rolled insofar as tight, even seams and being sans hard/soft spots and/or overly softening of density via progression; the draw though is a bit hesitant hither and thither. That-said, my smoke-hole is well satiated/saturated, so calls me a picker a' nits. I will continue down that road, humsoever, to include that this Herrera Esteli Miami prefers double-triple puffings which seem to lead to occasional and small threats of over-smoking. Burn-line is not perfect, but even 'nuff to not warrant just a Bic-flick redirection. Heats-up a tick at band-point. Verily a smoky thing with big cumulus plumes leaving behind a warm spiced wood room-note.

Woods are verily on the draw, as well. Sweet cedar and seasoned oak with a ride-along along thick meaty leather. Peppercorn with a cayenne lilt and chili powder with baking spice nethers form a noticeable yet gentlepersonly piquancy. Salty snack bowl vibings of pretzels and beer nuts. Leathery oils and toasted sweet cream flesh the body out well. Semi-sweet chocolate drives them high sodium middlings. The under-belly is a complex and rather heighty eathiness -- darkly featuring molasses, Cuban coffee, and potpourri with dried fruits. Finish is a rather lengthy looksie at said under-things.

Well-balanced with a sweetly spiced fore-front offering a nice tongue-tingle cushioned in creaminess. Quite-nice depth of nuance and whilst not transitional, of satisfying complexities. The sweet/salty delivery is a really interesting back-drop. Bupkis bite nor sour bittering, a niceity in such heavy notes. Them heavy notes also let through a goodly amount of subtleties.


WRAPPER: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
BINDER: Ecuadorian Sumatra
FILLER: Dominican & Nicaraguan

STRENGTH: Medium-Full
FORMAT: Corona Extra

ORIGIN: El Titan de Bronze, Miami USA
BLENDER: Willy Herrera

FINAL GRADE: A-
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

Whilst Drew Estate is a supporter of this blog, that has no bearing on this review.
Sample courtesy Fumare, Reno's most exclusive cigar boutique.

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

"The Monk Replied"

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Joe Girardi Out as Damn Yankee Skipper

The Damn Yankees announced to-day that their skipper Joe Girardi, ain't any longer. Having just wrapped-up the final year of a four-year contract worth $16M, the 53 year-old will not be returning for the 2018 campaign. This at the apparent recommendation of GM Brian Cashman towards owner Hal Steinbrenner, as per Buster Olney of politico whale ESPN.

This news comes on the heels of J.Girardi helming the Bronx Bomber Babies to within a singular victory of the World Serious -- in a year slated as a re-building varietal. The Damn Yankees went deep-into the post-season, yes, but too therein Girardi had the roughest go in his head-honcho career. After missing his cue to request a replay be looked at regarding a strike-out ruled incorrectly as a hit bats-man, he was blamed and accepted said blame whole-heartily and humbly, for losing game-two of the ALDS 'gainst the Tribe. The pin-stripers rallied back, in no small part to his defense, to take the series. still, one could not help but perchance see clearly-into the crystal ball. He seemed resigned 'nuff to go out with the rally, mentioning spending time with his family. He seemed, yeah... resigned. Softly, quietly, and not without an aura of impending relief via release.

After the Yanks exited at the hands of the 'Stros in the full slate of ALCS games, Girardi spoke openly of his love for managing. Lo, still seeming to mine eyes as done. This came with words once more stating an impending discussion with his wife and three children -- with an eye on the query of what would be best for their family. Humsover, it should and shall be noted, that these romanticized familial sentiments are not foreign to Girardi's lips, as whenst last his contract was up we heard much the same.

This behavior is par for the course in the character of the newly-former Yankee skipper. Perhaps so much so that it is amongst the very reasons the Bronx Zoo brung him in. He isn't and wasn't the bad-boy Billy Martin, the man invited to come in from the storm only to show his guest it is he whom's the storm. Neither is he the caricature reporter-favorite quote-machine of Joe Torre. He was just Joe. Any ol' Joe. Solid family man with Middle-America stoicism which belied his ethnic surname.

He managed like he played, vastly-so. A dependable catcher of 15-years of utmost serviceable bat and glove; either of which just might rise up but whenst needed only, and only just then and only just for that. Lettuce recall his big triple-bagger the night the Damn Yankees won their first championship in three sets a' half-dozen seasons. He would eventually tally a total of three World Series titles in four Bronx-based playing campaigns.

Hired in 2008 to fill the shoes a' J.Torre after managing the Marlins for only a single year, J.Girardi orchestrated a World title the very next year on 103 victories. In his decade on-the-job, he never won another Fall Classic, but made the play-offs half-a-dozen times. He never suffered a losing season. His NY stint hath reached its end with a 910-710 record, over-all. Over this half-score a' years, he managed the biggest stars in the form of A-rod and Jeter. Too, he navigated the rookie waters of Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, and Aaron Judge... each with far greater results than at-times, and within less time-span than expected.

In short, Joe Girardi is the player's manager all claim to wish in their employment. Now, with a decade added to his resume under the harshest of spot-lights, will the Philadelphia Phillies or Washington Nationals offer a nibble a' bait his way? Will he be biting, would seem more the pertinent question. Joe hath made known his baseball operations commissioner's office leanings. A return to broadcasting has not been thrown-out, as far as I know. Whilst lingering on what I know, I do-know he will be a credit to the game in whatever capacity he chooses. If he doth choose to at all. Maybe after some time of growing recharged and bored at the homestead.

Girardi has shown to still have desires. One was apparent on his back each-time he suited-up. He took the number 27 whenst hired. Having won the 27th Yankee title that number suggested, he then moved onto wearing 28. I'd love to see him sporting a Nats 1. I mean if anyone reading this can make that happen.

As to the Damn Yankees future, it's rather unclear. There lacks an obvious replacement warming in the pen. Mayhaps their bench-coach Rob Thomson? Perchance first-base coach Tony Pena. The latter hath MLB-managed prior. No doubt Cashman will seek a fella good in the club-house as well as good being under now growingly extreme expectations from vicious-booing fans and relentless media scrutinies. Though didn't they already have that? I cannot help but think and may-be hope, that the front-office saw the writing on the wall and pre-emptively struck here. An infantile "No-one quits us, yer fired." Sure, I like to think that to be the case. Joe deserves that much.

Whomever the next fella is, he'll have the proverbial best and worst job in all baseball to look forward to. If it's Dusty Baker, I'll eat my hat and yours, gentlepersons.

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

"The Monk Replied"

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Macanudo Maduro - Cigar Review

A lowly-played white-noise delivery of soft oh-so soft notes. Old lady perfumed powder, floral. Cocoa butter fleetingly, then semi-sweet chocolate hangs ‘bout. Lemon pepper with a growing-smooth black pepper retro-hale. Suede/earthen under-belly. Sharpens slightly with a citrusy Americano addition at nigh half-point. Well-rolled with tight seams and excellent draw. Burns a tick moistly-so and top-leaf threatens a lag. No re-touchings are mandated. Nicely and roundly-balanced, nice ‘nuff of nuance. Complex, particularly in such a mild context. Final-third exhibits a chicken-broth herbal addition. Finish is rather long floral legs with a sweet tongue-tingle. Smoke stays cool to the somewhat softened nub.

WRAPPER: Connecticut Broadleaf
BINDER: Mexican San Andres
FILLER: Dominican, Mexican

SIZE: Corona "Duke of Devon"
STRENGTH: Mild-Medium
ORIGIN: Dominican

FINAL GRADE: B+
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

Buy: this Macanudo Cafe & Maduro - Duke of Devon from Cigars City.

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

"The Monk Replied" 

"The Monk Replied" Kaplowitz Radio: October 25, 2017

A Review of Recent Grade A Cigar Offerings

"And find I'm a number one,
Top of the list.
King of the hill --
A number one."
- Frank Sinatra
THE A NUMBER ONE LIST
{Names are links to full review.}
***Paid Advertisement***
"The Monk Replied"

Monday, October 23, 2017

Gilberto Oliva Reserva - Cigar Review Redux

A quite-bright Corona with zesty forwards via mulling spices and reinforced piquancy a' red pepper and cayenne. Burns imperfectly on a tick of wobble, mandating a Bic-flick at the final-third. Draws verily well, satiating/saturating fully but not to a burdensome or unclean end. Leather and wood play into nice complexities and are well-balanced by light molasses and rich-red fruit syrups. Straight-forward, but nuances stave off tediums. Sweetly-spiced dirt under-belly and long-ish legged finish of that plus citrus. Savory due-to grains, not meatiness. Still a hair shy on tally of notes, but far superior to its much flatter Toro cousin.

WRAPPER: Indonesian Sumatra Maduro
BINDER: Ecuadorian
FILLER: Nicaraguan

STRENGTH: Medium-Full
ORIGIN: Nicaragua

FINAL GRADE: A-
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

IN ADDITION:
Read: Gilberto Oliva Reserva - Cigar Review (Toro)
Read: Gilberto Oliva Reserva Blanc - Cigar Review (my number-five cigar of 2016-17)
Buy: from Cigars City, natch! Gilberto Oliva Corona -- my great & good chums.

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

"Too Wet to Burn"

World Series Preview & Prediction, Game-by-Game Retrospective, Recapitulation (Dodgers-Astros 2017)

WORLD SERIES PREVIEW & PREDICTION (10/23)
The Dodgers led all baseball with their 104 wins during the 2017 regular-campaign. Simply-put, aside from a late-season schneid for perchance all-them ages, Dem Bums were bandied-'bout as an all-time squad. How'd they respond to said drought? With a new-found intensity seeing 'em here in the World Serious having lost only one play-off game.

The Houston Astros ain't nothing to sneeze at, however and 'natch. The club finished with 101 victories and picked up Justin Verlander via a bit a' last-minute negotiation heroics. That signing aside, wherest these two teams find themselves akin, is in their roads taken to getting to 100+ win-seasons and this-here Fall Classic. They are both home-grown. Organic. Perchance, gluten-free. The Astros developed, down on the farm: Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, and George Springer -- all drafted as amateurs. Not to be out-did, LA can boast in the same fashion: Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager, and Clayton Kershaw. Heavy factors them-all.

Before I forget, the 'Stros road to the Series was less easy in comparison to their foes' hop-skip-jump walk-through-park. It featured turning a 2-0 ALCS lead over the Damn Yankees into having to over-come a 3-2 deficit. Believe you me, the Dodgers are much-more than a Yankee puncher's chance.

I believe that Verlander and Dallas Keuchel be gosh-darned and too winning one-apiece, the road to victory here goes through pitching and don't end in Houston. The Trolley-Dodgers have it here with the sum of Rich Hill, Yu Darvish, and Alex Wood being more than their total-parts and lettuce not forget Clayton Kershaw. He of now less but still-some to prove. We've seen the Astros staff already run on fumes, however bravely-so. Oh, and 'close-out' the topic with Kenley Jansen, will ya?

Simply and likely overly-so, Los Angeles is the more complete of the two. That, I can and somewhat-did quantify. Also I've a less-quantifiable hunch. Houston bats shall slumber. My prediction, then? Dodgers in six. "Hello, Corey Seagar." - America.

GAME ONE RECAPITULATION (10/24)
The Los Angeles Dodgers took game-one from the Houston Astros via 3-1 final-tally; this before a home-crowd all bleeding blue.

Clayton Kershaw was hot 'nuff to make the 103 degree confines seem tepid, as he fanned 11 surrendering just three knocks and walking none over seven-stanzas. A single gotcha was given by Alex Bregman in the form of long-ball. Brandon Morrow, then Kenley Jansen finished.

Offensively, things started quicker than a hic-cup via Chris Taylor dinger on Dallas Keuchel's opening offering. Then came Justin Turner's two-run homer once-more off Keuchel in the sixth-frame. Again, youth was served the lime-light in Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and the returning to LA line-up Corey Seagar.

Back to Kershaw, he came into game-one with a 6-7 career playoff record and 4.40 ERA. He improved to 3-0 this campaign's post-season, and his 11K were the most earned against Houston this year. Game-two is on the morrow and will see Justin Verlander, the ALCS MVP, take-on Rich Hill.

GAME TWO RECAPITULATION (10/25)
I stood to face my television, made it louder. I-and-it stayed put even after Fernando Valenzuela was introduced by Vin Scully -- and not Sandy Koufax. The ne'er-say-die Houston Astros would go on-to win a wild-and-woolly 7-6 affair, evening-up the World Serious at one-per.

Verily punch/counter-punch, after a two-run sixth-stanza put Dem Bums up by a 3-1 tally. That's wherest we deviated from following game-one's script, gentlepersons. K.Jansen tried the second big-league six-out save of his career -- M.Gonzalez tied it with a ninth-frame dinger. Then the 'Stros first lead a' the Serious happened in the tenth whenst back-to-back J.Altuve-C.Correa hum-dingers had 'em up by two. THEN Y.Puig solo'd and E.Hernandez's response-ribbied to force another frame.

G.Springer drilled a two-run home run off B.McCarthy in the top of the 11th, putting Houston up 7-5. C.Culberson pulled the Dodgers to within one during last-licks, rounding the bases 'gainst C.Devenski like 'twas a walk-off. 'Tweren't. Houston had 14 hits to LA's five.

That's-that in 162-words.

GAME THREE RECAPITULATION (10/27)
With a 5-3 victory, the Houston Astros go-up 2-1 in the World Serious over the LA Dodgers. They mayn't lose another home-game, these 'Stros. The Dodgers may-be beaten to a Minute Maid pulp! I'm sorry you had to read that.

Dem Bums third-slot hurler, Yu Darvish, had a start too disastrous to over-come, allowing four-runs in under two-frames. This marked the shortest start of his caeer, and in its biggest spot. Lance McCullers Jr., the Astros starter, allowed three earned runs in 5 1/3 innings, 'nuff to keep 'em in the lead and allow Brad Peacock to slam the door on LA's game-three hopes and dreams. He fanned four and walked one in a gritty and eerily calm outing. A note back to L.McCullers whom had three K, all 'gainst Cody Bellinger.

People whom just wanna be upset about something are now-so at Yuli Gurriel for stupidly gesturing slanty-eyes toward-but-not-at Y.Darvish post hitting a homer of 'im. *TRIGGER WARNING* *INSENSITIVE MATERIAL*

GAME FOUR RECAPITULATION (10/28)
The World Serious is now tied at two-games apiece with the Los Angeles Dodgers defeating the Houston Astros by a 6-2 game-four tally.

Game-five coulda been either Clayton Kershaw staving off elimination, or looking to send his squad to the brink of a championship. Gentlepersons, we shall have the latter. In what amounted to a pitching-duel twixt fourth-slot starters Alex Wood (LA) and Charlie Morton (HOU), A.Wood surrendered just one-hit in 5 2/3 whilst C.Morton yielded three in 6 1/3. More shaky were the respective closers, Kenley Jansen surrendered a dinger and Ken Giles can't seem to fix what's busted -- surrendering three runs and getting no one out.

Cody Bellinger, humsoever doth fixed what were busted -- to the tune a' smacking a pair of doubles. As for the 'Stros bats-men, only George Springer and Alex Bregman managed hits, one each... of the long-ball varietal.

Kershaw tomorrow'll hurl for the highest stakes. Not 'just' a Fall Classic go, but for legacy.

GAME FIVE RECAPITULATION (10/29)
Bill Miller's strike-zone barely fits in the state a' Texas. I just wanted to get that outta the way. Bring-on robot umps. And lettuce speed-up the game also lettuce hype this five-hour-plus game as the best-ever. I'm getting ahead'a me. The Houston Astros are now-up 3-2 in the World Serious over the Los Angeles Dodgers, winning to-night's game-five 13-12.

Mayhaps it's 'cause I spent to-day in jeans instead'a sweatpants, but I'm in no-mood. No mood to see all nuances and subtleties: gone. But lots of long-balls and noise and bright colors shown via myriads a' camera-angles. Yowzah!

Clayton Kershaw's tuchus hung by a thread in the fourth-stanza, fell-off in the fifth. Visibly -- with no facade as to other-wise.

Pitchers are all complaining of slick balls/flat seams; no one's throwing a slider. Home-runs are leaving at clips unseen since 2002 [Barry Bonds.] It's all-so heroic/epic, baseball mainly not-withstanding. Are all the heroes now bats-men? If none are hurlers, what's that worth?

GAME SIX RECAPITULATION (10/31)
The 2017 World Series shall push into November in an unabridged fashion, with the Los Angeles Dodgers defeating the Houston Astros by a 3-1 game-six tally. This is almost as good as sliding into a new pair of white tube-socks. Guess what I just bought.

Thus, tomorrow shall mark the first game-seven in Dodger Stadium history made possible by handing Justin Verlander his first loss as an Astro. J.Verlander went six, giving-up two-runs on three-hits. Rich Hill, LA's starter went 4.2 surrendering four-hits and a single-run. Tony Watson pitched the win, Kenley Jansen the save. 

G.Springer hit a fourth-stanza hum-dinger off Hill for all H-Town's runs. For Dem Bums, it was Chris Taylor and Corey Seager with a ribbie a-piece, whilst Joc Pederson homered off Musgrove in the seventh. The 'Stros left eight-stranded.

Tomorrow's starters are Lance McCullers and Yu Darish, and perchance Clayton Kershaw's final shot at redemption? A 3-1 game -- just what the doctor ordered. Man my tootsies feel great.

GAME SEVEN RECAPITULATION (11/1)
Fifty-six years into existence, the Houston Astros are our 2017 World Champions. The final-tally of game-seven was 5-1. Truly, 'twas final in the first-frame thanks to Yu Darvish's incapabilities. (Proved-out was Clayton Kershaw shoulda started.) Or a weird case of the over-managing Dave Roberts under-managing. Or perchance simply being out-managed by AJ Hinch. Or... or... and weirder still, what if Houston was the better team? Nary a pundit posited that -- myself included.

Whatever the reason, we saw a stellar World Serious which could be held akin to a Shakespearean production made better by eliminating the fifth-act. It was anti-climactic, see? Also, Dem Bums stranded double-digit runners.

George Springer went yard for the fifth-time in the series, this a two-run varietal. Charlie Morton went four, giving up just-one for the win. The fans silenced immediately upon the first-drawn blood, stayed thatta-way. Their team exited via whimper. Yuri Gurriel tipped his hat to the ill-fated Y.Darvish, a much nicer gesture than the previous 'un.

WORLD SERIES RETROSPECTIVE (11/2)
Funny but not "haha" how a dud of an ending can wet-blanket even the greatest of theater baseball has to offer. And it was great theater. I'd argue it wasn't great baseball, though. Not great one-dimensional baseball, of mixed messages. We need to shorten the games but we loved the long-ones. We're still coming to grips with juiced-player ramifications on the fabric of our game, but juiced-balls are A-OK as eyes once sharpened by being fooled now return to willful blindness. Lots to digest, gentlepersons. We'll all do-so in time and really, it seems many already have and mayhaps I think too much. Or am a curmudgeon.

The biggest test of my burgeoning curmudeoning is change. Change is what this World Serious was all about. A new generation of ball-players playing a new generation of game with a new ball and new tacts taken. Tacts strategized by new analytics spoken in new lingo. Logistics, too -- swinging from the heels on two-strikes to get to point B from A quicker. Every count is a swinging count. A SWINGING count. You're supposed to swing up-wards now, by the way. I used to get reprimanded for doing that in my Little League days. Oh, and starting pitchers... even aces... are out in five-stanzas. They get to see the opposing batting order, and they them, twice. 'Tis all 'bout the spin-rate. I 'spose.

All that said, I'm old. Also, I'll be back next year with bells on, though I'd rather wear belles. Because I'm not from San Francisco. Oh well, Keith Hernandez had a good run. All that said and now all said, the right team won. I had no horse in this race but did err toward LA and their history at the end. Right up till I felt I wanted it more than Dave Roberts. Actually, I lasted a tick-longer. Till LA fans left early in droves. Baseball's greatest-prize belongs in a baseball town like H-town.

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

"The Monk Replied"

Sunday, October 22, 2017

2017 Astros-Yankees ALCS Baseball Retrospective Recapitulation

GAME ONE
The Houston Astros took the ALCS opening game by a score of 2-1 over the visiting Damn Yankees.

In a rematch of 2015's wild-card game versus Masahiro Tanaka, Dallas Keuchel tonight joined Mike Scott and Nolan Ryan as 'Stros to have hurled post-season games of double-digit strike-outs. All told, he continued to have the Bronx Bombers' number and needed only a two-run bit of rally-ball fueled by Jose Altuve, natch. The spark-plug Venezuelan legged-out a single in the fourth-stanza for Houston's first hit. He then stole second and scored on Correa’s base-knock to left. In turn, Correa made second on a ground-out, then was sent home by Yuli Gurriel.

The Damn Yankees lone tally came in the ninth when Greg Bird hit the fair-pole in a towering manner. Home-run baseball is stupid baseball. Stupid baseball is dangerous baseball. The Damn Yankees are as stupid/dangerous as it gets. They are, actually, stupid dangerous. Game two tomorrow will start Justin Verlander and Luis Severino.

GAME TWO
With back-to-back 2-1 wins, the Houston Astros now lead the ALCS 2-0 over the Damn Yankees. The series now relocates to New York.

Justin Verlander threw a complete game beaut, a thing as rare as a political centrist in 2017, expanding the strike-zone upward with fast-balls. The Yankee bats had no Plan B, and stuck to fail-pulling the fastball they couldn't catch-up with. Dumb baseball. Luis Severino was 'yanked' in the fourth. Tommy Kahnle, David Robertson, and Aroldis Chapman again showed the true squad strength to be its bull-pen.

Brett Gardner! You never make the third-out at third-base. That's a metaphor for life, for Moses-sake! Yanks third-base coach Joe Espada got too big for Gardner's britches -- sending him to get gunned down at home. Then later, in the 'Stros ninth, Judge over-threw the cut-off, making the pivot-man have to work 'round Correa at second (walk off double), but too -- "Dirty" Sanchez couldn't corral the ball that beat Altuve to the plate, anyways.

GAME THREE
The Damn Yankees are back in the ALCS after an 8-1 home-cookin' victory over the Houston Astros. The series is now 2-1 'Stros, but the Yanks have a knack for coming back, seemingly finding loosey-goosey and focused comfort in doing-so.

Aaron "Dave Kingman" Judge thawed his iced play-off bat, swatting a three-run hum-dinger and too, flashing some leather. Precisely insofar as instance, a running-jumping grab of a Yuli Gurriel’s fourth-stanza fly-ball. In front of a PlayStation sign reading "GREATNESS AWAITS," because why not?

Bronx Bomber hurler CC Sabbathia silenced the oft-loud Astros lineup, holding 'em scoreless for six-frames and surrendering a meekly mere three hits. CC too fanned five, walking four. The squad anchor, he is now a gaudy 10-0 with 1.69 ERA in games started after a squad loss, and is now 5-1 all-time at Ruth's Casa in the play-offs.

Jose Altuve made the final-out in double-play fashion. I'm still waiting for him to hit a double grand-slam for the win.

GAME FOUR
The Damn Yankees came from four-down 'gainst Houston to win by a 6-4 final tally; scoring two-runs in the seventh and four-more in the eighth. My stomach hurts. My wife says there's something going 'round her office. Thus, the ALCS is knotted at two-games apiece. some high-up cramping and tick of nausea.

The AL West champion Houston Astros were up as they should be on the wild-card New York Yankees with Lance McCullers Jr. cruising. Till Aaron "Dave Kingman" Judge led-off the seventh-frame with an igniting dinger. Turning up like a bad-penny in the next-stanza: his liner tied the game. Then he scored on a "Dirty" Sanchez double off 'Stros closer Ken Giles. Aroldis Chapman nailed down the evener-upper with a perfect final-inning. New York improves, then, to 5-0 at home this post-season. I'm a traditional sort. A Dodgers-Cubbies winner vs the Damn Yankees in the 2017 World Serious edition would be... okay. Lo, Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander loom ever-so nigh...

GAME FIVE
These Damn Yankees, supposedly in re-build mode, can't stop won't stop. To-day beating the Houston Astros 5-zilch to move one win away from this year's edition of the World Serious.

Game-five saw Masahiro Tanaka out-Keucheling Dallas Keuchel en-route to hurling seven-stanzas of softly-hit grounders. In scoreless fashion. Offensively, it was all about the unprecedented speed of said re-build, with pin-striped youngsters Greg Bird, "Dirty" Sanchez, and Aaron "Dave Kingman" Judge leading the way. Meanwhiles and as-to Keuchel, he failed to get through a full five-frames. This on the heels a' having held 'em bomber-less for 13 innings.

If the wild-card Damn Yankees are to attend their first Series since 2009, they'll have to next beat Justin Verlander in Houston -- away from a raucously-rocking home-field wherest they are six-for-six this post-season. Lest we go the full seven games -- and man, covering this is tiring me out. Who's gonna lay cash, though, on this squad dropping two in-a-row? Yankees hater I am, Dodgers-Yankees: Please?

GAME SIX
The Houston Astros and Damn Yankees are headed to Game 7 to-morrow night, with all thems ALCS marbles at stake. Winner gets to vie Dem Bums for Kings of the World. The final here was of a 7-1 Houston-win varietal.

Justin Verlander was amazing through seven shut-out stanzas, more-so amazing in the final hard-scrapple'd pair. Following this on its heels 'twas a season-saving late-game batting-breakout of hyphenated-string proportions. Also great was the Hostess Cupcake Ice-cream I ate at round the fourth. What a time to be in the whirled. With the Astros swinging, the Damn Yankees doing nothing-but, and CC Sabbathia versus ??? come the deciding game. I am hash-tag stoked.

Jose Altuve shone with a hum-dinger and two-run knock. Aaron "Dave Kingman" Judge hit a ball that broke Sabermetrics' Big-O-Meter. All-told though, the Astros shakey bull-pen stilled to-night. Still and forever, Verlander is the story: his mastery of the stupid scary Bronx Zoo bats-men -- employing as much steel-trap brain a golden-armed brawn.

GAME SEVEN
It's the Houston Astros versus Los Angeles Dodgers in this year's World Serious edition AND WHO NEEDS the Damn Yankees and Trolley-Dodgers? Well, me. But I'll make do. Oh, and tonight's final-score was 4-0.

The now AL Champion 'Stros clinched the pennant in three-hit shout-out fashion with Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers, Jr. dealing. Morton struck-out five, walked one, and surrendered a mere pair a' knocks through five-stanzas. McCullers went the final-four, fanning six whilst giving-up a walk and hit. Offensively, Altuve went yard becoming the first ball-player in MLB history to have a three HR game and game-seven dinger in the same series.

Meanwhiles, CC Sabathia didn't get outta the fourth-frame. The starter surrendered five hits and one homer, along with three base-on-balls. Kahnle, Warren, Robertson yielded three, zilch, and nada runs respectively.

Houston's bats came a-live. Minute Made came a-live. Houston came a-live. Justin Verlander is named Series MVP. He'll be seeing Clayton Kershaw this Tuesday. Sorry... Damn Yankees, who?

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

"Too Wet to Burn"

My Father La Opulencia - Cigar Review

Herein lettuce gleefully gander a bit a' gratuitous gaudiness: The My Father La Opulencia. Oh, how I hath waited, gentlepersons. Since way back in long-ago July whenst I writ My Father Cigars La Opulencia Shown at IPCPR - Cigar News -- oh I hath waited for this moment. And now I sit in my carport/cigar-lounge. And now the time is up-on us. I hope I'm not setting myself up for disappointment, but I'd better hear angels singing come mid-point. Named angels.

The blend features a double-binder of Nicaraguan-grown Criollo and Corojo leaves placed twixt Nicaraguan guts and top-leaf a' Mexican Rosado Oscuro. If you want to make yer own at home, now that you've the necessary recipe -- try aisle-six at yer local Albertsons.

As to the ones you don't roll your-self (lazy-bones!): those are made, of course, at My Father Cigars S.A. in fab-u-lous Nicaragua. This sample right here is in the blend's Robusto format, and like all the line, 'tis nicely box-pressed.

The firmly-packed cigar is sans hard/soft spots and draws dare-I-say impeccably-so. Smoky-smoke off foot is active, but not bombarding and ye olde smoke-hole is saturated/satiated. A rather fresh tingle is on the mouth-feel. Seams hold fast and well, as doth cap and shoulder assemblage. Burnt-offerings make a solid inch of heather-grey marblings. Burn-line shows and occasional tick of self-correcting ribboning.

Tasting notes include a primary a' mucho chocolatito and darkly-sweet 'baccy. A refrained and rehearsed piquancy exhibits smoothly-ground black and red flake'd peppers sauteed in buttah. Baking spices with a nutmeg and cinnamon lead. Middlings are pumpernickel, marzipan, and cedar wrapped in supple oozing leathers. Cream. Under-belly is a composted thing with its own cocoa attachment. Hither and thither there is a certain minty-herbal lilt and more-so than that, dried fruits. Papaya and raisins. Finish is long-legg'd cocoa and grains, then longer tobacco grabs the stage. Ends more than cleanly -- refreshingly.

The pace of smoke is verily well-set. Balance is sublime. Nuances roundly build into complexities. A back-loaded pepper-spice influences the on-coming smoking progressions. Quite rich and weightily-so, but not in a burdensome manner. Full like a meal at a restaurant with tablecloths, not like a restaurant where you speak yer order into a clown's mouth. Decadent, but the diners are all so svelte and pretty. I regret my business-casual dark-grey sweatpants to a certain extent; my formal black hoodie saves face.

I did not expect one a' these mal’akh to whip out an accordion. The clarinet celestially voices a rousing Shalom Alechem rendition. Man, the strength she picks-up. My upper-lip schvitzes and I'm not even dancing. My bad, it seems I am. What a morning!

Later, I need to go to Home Depot. Weather-stripping for my side-door.

FINAL GRADE: A+
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

"Too Wet to Burn"

Sports Week 8th Edition

DUSTY BAKER OUT AS NATS SKIPPER
Last Friday, Dusty Baker was ousted as Washington Nationals manager. Even-tho President Mike Rizzo wished him retained. 'Twas ownership that flew in the face of said Prez, whom's contract's up next-year. Yes, I do sense a second shoe-drop.

As to Baker: two seasons, two NL East Division pennants. Still, it's my feeling that another skipper may-be better-luck'd in getting them over the hump wherest they stalled a tick. It was a matter of refusing to accept any culture deemed less than desire-some. As for pennants, the players won 'em. Players vastly locked-in through '18. Baker's playoff decidings were oft ill-conceived.

RON GARDENHIRE IN AS TIGERS SKIPPER
The established 1901 Detroit Tigers, Friday named Ron Gardenhire their franchise's 38th manager. This agreement replete with three-year contract.

Gardenhire spent his 2017 campaign as Arizona Diamondbacks bench-coach. Priorly, managing the Minnesota Twins for 13-years to six post-seasons. He was let-go from that position after 2014, but rejoined Minnesota as GM Terry Ryan's assistant in 2016. He went a-board the Dbacks before the start of 2017.

The 64-98 Tigers will be in post fire-sale mode, hopefully then onto re-building; trading J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton and Justin Verlander this year. Gardenhire's a players' manager and mentored first-year Arizona skipper Torey Lovullo.

SAUNDERS-LEMIUEX SET FOR DECEMBER
Billy Joe Saunders (25-0, 12KO) versus David Lemieux (38-3, 33KO) hath been made official Wednesday for mid-Chanukah (12/16). Sanders shall be defending his WBO Middleweight crown 'gainst the former IBF Middleweight champ in the challenger's Montreal backyard-tundra.

Saunders is fresh-off two WBO belt defences, which he lifted off Andy Lee in 2015. He's also tallied victories over Chris Eubank Jr., Gary O’Sullivan, and Willie Monroe Jr. Lemieux is an infamously thunderous puncher. This year alone, putting to sleep Curtis Stevens in a knock-out of the year candidate. Then came a unanimous-decision win over Marcos Reyes. HBO shall air these festivities.

ROSADO BEATS UP ON TAPIA
The same night Dem Bums toppled the Cubbies, Lost Wages hosted middleweights vying contenderships. Gabriel Rosado (24-11, 14 KO) walloped Glen Tapia (23-5, 15 KOs), marking Tapia's fourth in-a row loss.

Cautious beginnings, with Tapia jabbing, became combos post-haste. Many landed up-on Rosado, culminating in some attention at second-stanza's end. Then, the war of range went Rosado's way, working his man's head-and-gut. Third: Tapia's nose bled, followed his man 'round looking for glove'd Lady-Luck. Both still landing, Heavy-swelling grew on Tapia's noggin. Fifth: Tapia in survival-mode. Sixth: Tapia's tuchus met canvass. He regained vertical-alignment, but Ref. Robert Byrd deemed 'nuff.

PULMONARY ANEURYSM TAKES EFFINEX
Daily Racing Form reported that Grade 1 winner Effinex, runner-up to American Pharoah's 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic -- died Wednesday night. This news coming via Dr. Russell Cohen, veterinarian/breeder. The good doctor relayed that a fellow veternarian whom lives above the barn apparently heard a noise akin to a horse plotzing. He ran downstairs to find the six year-old dead.

Effinex stood at Questroyal North. The late-bloomer son of Mineshaft zenith'd in 2015, earning an eventual $3.3M with nine wins in 28 starts. He was trained by Jimmy Jerkens, a surname which 'couples' hilariously with an ode to an ex.

IRAP EUTHANIZED
Son of Tiznow and Graded Stakes multiple-winner hisself, Irap -- was Euthanized Friday. This weeks after an operation to attempt-fix at a fracture suffered during September's Pennsylvania Derby saw laminitis set-into the colt's front-left leg. Though an early prognosis was positive re: his fused ankle and meta-plated supports, owner Paul Reddam said the horse began taking a turn for the nurse days later.

Trained by Doug O'Neill, the three year-old went from upstart to consistent runner this campaign. Irap recorded three wins in 13 starts, and earnings of $1,672,600. His only outside a' show-finish came in the Kentucky Derby, finishing fourth.

TWISTED TOM TRIUMPHS IN EMPIRE CLASSIC
The 1 1/8-mile $300K Empire Classic Handicap crown-jewel'd Saturday's Belmont's Empire Showcase Day. Therein, Twisted Tom, a three year-old from Creative Cause tried his hand 'gainst the older fellas to much success.

Amongst them more mature beasts were last-year's winner Royal Posse and runner-up Governer Malibu. Ah, but success: Twisted Tom, the even-money favorite, ran-down the pace-setting Control Group and finished three-lengths ahead a' him. The clock stopped at 1:49.38. The gelding has an overall record of seven wins from 10 starts, and six of his last seven, for life-time earnings of $680,131. Can You Diggit finished third.

BONUS POINTS TAKES MARYLAND MILLION CLASSIC
Nik Juarez notched three stakes victories on Saturday's Maryland Million Day. Most notably a-top Bonus Points in the MM Classic Stakes.

The 11 Maryland-sired/bred ponies were led outta the gate by three in-side: Admirals War Chest, John Jones, Jerandson. JJ was eased off on the first-turn. Jerandson was pulled up top a' back-stretch*. Thusly, Admirals War Chest sat in the lead. Through this all, Bonus Points coaxed time under hot-handed Nik Juarez. Southside Warrior moved up, as AWC fell away. Then Bonus Points rallied from five-wide -- passing Southside Warrior in mid-stretch, culminating in a 2 3/4 length victory.

*fractured rear-right ankle.

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

"Too Wet to Burn"

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Houston Astros: World Series Bound! An ALCS Game 7 Retrospective

It's the Houston Astros versus Los Angeles Dodgers in this year's World Serious edition AND WHO NEEDS the Damn Yankees and Trolley-Dodgers? Well, me. But I'll make do. Oh, and tonight's final-score was 4-0.

The now AL Champion 'Stros clinched the pennant in three-hit shout-out fashion with Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers, Jr. dealing. Morton struck-out five, walked one, and surrendered a mere pair a' knocks through five-stanzas. McCullers went the final-four, fanning six whilst giving-up a walk and hit. Offensively, Altuve went yard becoming the first ball-player in MLB history to have a three HR game and game-seven dinger in the same series.

Meanwhiles, CC Sabathia didn't get outta the fourth-frame. The starter surrendered five hits and one homer, along with three base-on-balls. Kahnle, Warren, Robertson yielded three, zilch, and nada runs respectively.

Houston's bats came a-live. Minute Made came a-live. Houston came a-live. Justin Verlander is named Series MVP. He'll be seeing Clayton Kershaw this Tuesday. Sorry... Damn Yankees, who?

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

"Too Wet to Burn"

Arturo Fuente Chateau Fuente Pyramid - Cigar Review

NOTES:
Burns even on-down but shy a' razor and a light re-direct is required at end of opening stanza. Draws smoothly and evenly, dialed into a medium+ tension. Body is light, not wimpy. Strength is kindly. Flavors are -medium with notes of: allspice, citrus, white pepper, cedar, caramel, dirt, and hay.

The cedar sleeve, the foot-ribbon, the softly attainable niceties of smoke. Why the heck not, gentlepersons? They don't all have to be hard. Supremely balanced. There is nuance here, though shy of gob-smacking complexities. Relax! Sports a neat-o Tang finish for all yous who always wanted to be astronauts. Dream!

WRAPPER: US Connecticut Shade
BINDER: Dominican
FILLER: Dominican

ORIGIN: Tabacalera Fuente, Dominican
FORMAT: 652 Pyramid
STRENGTH: Mild-Medium

FINAL GRADE: B+
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

"Too Wet to Burn"

Friday, October 20, 2017

Astros Force Yanks to Game 7: An ALCS Game 6 Retrospective

The Houston Astros and Damn Yankees are headed to Game 7 to-morrow night, with all thems ALCS marbles at stake. Winner gets to vie Dem Bums for Kings of the World. The final here was of a 7-1 Houston-win varietal.

Justin Verlander was amazing through seven shut-out stanzas, more-so amazing in the final hard-scrapple'd pair. Following this on its heels 'twas a season-saving late-game batting-breakout of hyphenated-string proportions. Also great was the Hostess Cupcake Ice-cream I ate at round the fourth. What a time to be in the whirled. With the Astros swinging, the Damn Yankees doing nothing-but, and CC Sabbathia versus ??? come the deciding game. I am hash-tag stoked.

Jose Altuve shone with a hum-dinger and two-run knock. Aaron "Dave Kingman" Judge hit a ball that broke Sabermetrics' Big-O-Meter. All-told though, the Astros shakey bull-pen stilled to-night. Still and forever, Verlander is the story: his mastery of the stupid scary Bronx Zoo bats-men -- employing as much steel-trap brain a golden-armed brawn.

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

"Too Wet to Burn" Kaplowitz Radio: October 18, 2017

2017 Dodgers-Cubs NLCS Baseball Retrospective Recapitulation

GAME ONE
The home-team Los Angeles Dodgers took game-one of the NLCS from the Chicago Cubs by a final tally of 5-2. Of note: Cubbies skipper Joe Maddon was ejected for positing via yell towards ump Mike Winters that the new-fangled (2014) rule where catchers can no longer block the plate is pure silliness.

Trolley-Dodger Charlie Culberson was called out at home in real-time on a Justin Turner single. Then that ridiculous rule was enforced to its soulless and timid letter in a nigh three-minute review -- because we must speed-up these games. Culberson was ruled safe. For Contreras failed to allow the runner a path to score. In short, he made what was a great play from 1890ish till three years-ago. Also, Yasiel Puig hit a homer and took a curtain-call... which no one asked for. He's triumphant to finally not be a bust as big as Dolly Parton's.

This is yer game-one write-up. I'm sorry. My head hurts and it's past my bed-time.

GAME TWO
With a 4-1 victory involving no small portion of heroical theatricals, the LA Dodgers now travel to Wrigley two-games up on the North-siders in the NLCS. In a highly contested series thus far, the Cubbies still find themselves tenuously clutching to hope.

What was the deciding factor in this nail-biter ball-game? Having either Kenley Jansen (a closer) or John Lackey (a starter on no rest) toe respective rubbers in the ninth. Bull-pen, to one-word answer my own query. Jansen bupkis'd the Cubs in the ninth. Then Lackey came on in hopes of doing the same. He got 2/3 of the 1-1 ninth through -- till Justin Turner hit a three-run round-tripper. This coming 29 years to the day of Kirk Gibson fist-pumping 'round the bags. Twixt the two iconic occurrences, no other LA walk-offs exist. 1988 was a long time ago, gentlepersons.

The gut-punched second-city representatives are now two-losses from allowing Dem Bums to dethrone them and advance to the World Serious.

GAME THREE
No one puts baby in a corner. But with a 6-1 victory, the Los Angeles Dodgers put the Chicago Cubs in a 3-0 NLCS ninety-degree angle of compromised positioning. Truth be told bluntly-so, the Cubbies look to be hibernating.

With that, Dem Bums, thems Trolley-Dodgers, find 'emselves a singular win away from their first World Series trip since 1988. Yu Darvish was walked. With the bases loaded. In the sixth-stanza. Did I say hibernating? Ya might wanna hold a mirror up-to-under their snoots.

Darvish surrendered a solo dinger to Kyle Schwarber, the second Second-City'er he faced. Then did not allow another to make third base. It's like dating in high-school all over-again, gentlepersons! He finished his outing with seven strike-outs; most importantly lasting 'nuff to avoid having to over-use the bull-pen. Quite contraire, Chicago's Kyle Hendricks forked-over a pair of solo home-runs, culminating in four runs tallied over five-plus innings. The final two runs came courtesy of Joe Maddon’s rickety eighth-stanza bull-pen.

GAME FOUR
With to-night's 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers, the defending World Serious champion Chicago Cubs live to fight another day in the NLCS. Humsoever, a life-support analogy may-be apt, as they are still down three games to one.

Javier Baez hit a matched set pair of long-balls, and Wilson Contreras hit a third, as all Chicago offense came on solo-shots. Jake Arrieta yielded one earned-run via three-hits, five base-on-balls. He also fanned nine in 6 2/3 stanzas worked. 110 pitches after his first-one, a standing ovation showed him off the field -- perchance for the final time.

As far as fleshing out the offense of game-four: Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner each homered for LA -- giving the match-up the feel of a long-play Home Run Derby. Not exactly the Senior Circuit ball I was raised on. Cubbies skipper Joe Maddon was tossed for the second-time this post-season in the eighth-frame, positing Curtis Granderson had whiffed -- he struck-out on the next pitch.

GAME FIVE
By an 11-1 score, the Chicago Cubs season hath-been ended by new National League Champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Dem Bums now await Tuesday's game-one of the World Series -- as well as finding out who they'll face. Please Jew Santa and/or Baseball G-ds, make it the Damned Yankees?

Enrique Hernandez hit a homer not once, not twice, but thrice. Including a third-stanza grand-salami. Dodgers ace-hurler Clayton Kershaw didn't lose the lead he was spotted, surrendering only three hits culminating in one earned-run with five strike-outs over six-frames. He joins Burt Hooton with three post-season wins -- tops in the club's history. Hooton was drafted by the Cubbies in 1971. Last year, it was the Chicagoans whom celebrated this series win twixt same squads. This is LA's first Series trip since 1988. I like history.

The Cubs John Lackey, dealing in what may-be his swan-song outing, was touched-up for a pair of tallies in the fourth. He finished stronger, with a 1-2-3 fifth.

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

"Too Wet to Burn" Kaplowitz Radio: October 18, 2017

Weekly Recapitulation Volume XX

BLOG POSTS
[baseball]
Astros Out-duel Damned Yankees: An ALCS Game 1 Retrospective
Houston Nips New York: An ALCS Game 2 Retrospective
Dodgers Take Opener from Cubs: An NLCS Game 1 Retrospective
Dodgers Nose-out Cubs: An NLCS Game 2 Retrospective

Thursday, October 19, 2017

LA Dodgers: World Series Bound! An NLCS Game 5 Retrospective

By an 11-1 score, the Chicago Cubs season hath-been ended by new National League Champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Dem Bums now await Tuesday's game-one of the World Series -- as well as finding out who they'll face. Please Jew Santa and/or Baseball G-ds, make it the Damned Yankees?
Enrique Hernandez hit a homer not once, not twice, but thrice. Including a third-stanza grand-salami. Dodgers ace-hurler Clayton Kershaw didn't lose the lead he was spotted, surrendering only three hits culminating in one earned-run with five strike-outs over six-frames. He joins Burt Hooton with three post-season wins -- tops in the club's history. Hooton was drafted by the Cubbies in 1971. Last year, it was the Chicagoans whom celebrated this series win twixt same squads. This is LA's first Series trip since 1988. I like history.

The Cubs John Lackey, dealing in what may-be his swan-song outing, was touched-up for a pair of tallies in the fourth. He finished stronger, with a 1-2-3 fifth.

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

"Too Wet to Burn" Kaplowitz Radio: October 18, 2017

Macanudo Inspirado Black (Original Blend) - Cigar Review

Lettuce lookit the Macanudo Black Inspirado in its ORIGINAL BLEND.  

revamp:
WRAPPER: Broadleaf
BINDER: Ecuadorian Sumatra
FILLER: Nicaraguan
original blend:
WRAPPER: Habano Connecticut
BINDER: Dominican
FILLER: Honduran, Nicaraguan, Dominican

SIZE: Robusto
STRENGTH: Medium-Full
ORIGIN: Dominican

NOTES:
Rolled nicely with tight seams and even draw giving satiating/saturating helpings a' smoky-smoke. Some slight softening a' pack, sans hard/soft spots, per se. Veins are minimal, tooth scant. Burns on a half-tick wobble of a fully sheen'd top-leaf, mandating no re-direct. Ash makes an inch growth in a loose stack a' heather-grey dimes. Pace begins moderately-set, then slows via progression, but ne'er becoming tedious.

  • Black pepper
  • Chili seasoning
  • Chocolate, semi-sweet & dark
  • Cedar, sweetly
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Molasses
  • Cream, toasted
  • Orange zest
  • Butterscotch (finish)
  • Leather, oils 
  • Compost

Texture is quite oily-rich. Verily well-rounded. Smooth, somewhat moistly-so, with a non-confrontational piquancy. Immediate draws are fusty a la the typical Macanudo profile -- yet more dark in nature. Cleans into bitter-sweet well-legg'd finish. Aroma sees the fusty bits linger longer. Superbly balanced notes delivered in a rather non-transitional manner, but pleasantly-so. Deep notes of excellently nuanced nethers.

FINAL GRADE: A-
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59
Get the original Macanudo Inspirado Black from my pals at Cigars City whilst ya still can. I'll thumb-wrestle ya for 'em.

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

"Too Wet to Burn" Kaplowitz Radio: October 18, 2017

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Cubs Stave off Sweep by Dodgers: An NLCS Game 4 Retrospective

With to-night's 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers, the defending World Serious champion Chicago Cubs live to fight another day in the NLCS. Humsoever, a life-support analogy may-be apt, as they are still down three games to one.
Javier Baez hit a matched set pair of long-balls, and Willson Contreras hit a third, as all Chicago offense came on solo-shots. Jake Arrieta yielded one earned-run via three-hits, five base-on-balls. He also fanned nine in 6 2/3 stanzas worked. 110 pitches after his first-one, a standing ovation showed him off the field -- perchance for the final time.

As far as fleshing out the offense of game-four: Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner each homered for LA -- giving the match-up the feel of a long-play Home Run Derby. Not exactly the Senior Circuit ball I was raised on. Cubbies skipper Joe Maddon was tossed for the second-time this post-season in the eighth-frame, positing Curtis Granderson had whiffed -- he struck-out on the next pitch.


"Too Wet to Burn" Kaplowitz Radio: October 18, 2017

Re-Building Bombers One Win Over Houston from World Series: An ALCS Game 5 Retrospective

These Damn Yankees, supposedly in re-build mode, can't stop won't stop. To-day beating the Houston Astros 5-zilch to move one win away from this year's edition of the World Serious.
Game-five saw Masahiro Tanaka out-Keucheling Dallas Keuchel en-route to hurling seven-stanzas of softly-hit grounders. In scoreless fashion. Offensively, it was all about the unprecedented speed of said re-build, with pin-striped youngsters Greg Bird, "Dirty" Sanchez, and Aaron "Dave Kingman" Judge leading the way. Meanwhiles and as-to Keuchel, he failed to get through a full five-frames. This on the heels a' having held 'em bomber-less for 13 innings.

If the wild-card Damn Yankees are to attend their first Series since 2009, they'll have to next beat Justin Verlander in Houston -- away from a raucously-rocking home-field wherest they are six-for-six this post-season. Lest we go the full seven games -- and man, covering this is tiring me out. Who's gonna lay cash, though, on this squad dropping two in-a-row? Yankees hater I am, Dodgers-Yankees: Please?

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

"Too Wet to Burn" Kaplowitz Radio: October 18, 2017