Deep in flavor. Deep in your mind.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Illusione Ultra op. no. 9 - Cigar Review

Right here, under an Illusione banner ad, I dare no DARE no  D A R E  review an Illusione Ultra no ~ULTRA~ offering. I don't even know what to say. Not bad weather to-day, warm 'nuff and the rain is holding off for the most part. A hoodie gets it done, and my sweatpants are aided by long-johns underneath. Nice. Nice 'nuff, anyways. Metal folding chair. Porch. Sure -- nice. How's 'bout them Damn Yankees firing the beyond expectations Joe Girardi, seemingly sans greater plan? Lesser-so nice. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

"I Got Married" Kaplowitz Radio: November 29, 2017



Baseball and boxing sports chat. Curivari, Partagas no. 10, La Palina, and Diesel Grind cigar reviews. Thanks for listening, gentlepersons!

Curivari Achilles Legendario Heroicos - Cigar Review

Not all posts require a lead-in, right? Right.

NOTES:
Woe, woe! is the combustion to-wit I saith "Whoa." A quarter-horse rate of speed, yes. Too, a pin-point burn-hole of a visible tunneling opens up there-'bouts an inch-up the shaft from char-line. When the line gets closer, a connective runner develops. Then some canoe threat and finally a mere curvature of burn. The good news? No re-touches are employed... maybe 'cause it happens so fast. I do have in my possession a box-press version which I will perform a redux review on at a later-date*. Pulling the proverbial bad-one might be at play here.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

La Palina Lp01 - Cigar Review

Twitter.
Instagram.

NOTES:
A well-rolled cigar which draws smooth, burns on a straight-line -- gate-to-wire. Solid. Mayhaps could-be richer. Delivers via zesty-smooth manner. Stays cool. Sweet-bright spices, berry and citrus additions. Red-flake/produce-fresh peppers, thin cream. Salted fudge as peppery front-load settles. Cocoa butter. Wine cask/Spiced cedar. Crisp earthen under-belly, sweet/sour/spiced complex finish.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Curivari Buenaventura Crema - Cigar Review

Curivari is a brand that would appear rather well-known for its strange business behaviors. It employs odd shipping and order-filling practices, remains incredibly hard to successfully contact, and touts a website which looks a few-years worth of abandoned.

Kovalev Krushes Shabranskyy, Proves Nothing: A Boxing Retrospective

Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KO) won his first of last-three bouts and collected both the vacant International Boxing Association Light-Heavyweight belt as well as the equally vacant WBO World Light-Heavyweight bigger-deal, for them vaulted recent efforts. This Saturday's win coming against the utterly under-whelming Ukraine Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (19-2, 16 KO). There were 3,307 in attendance at Madison Square Garden to bear witness to this. Short witness, those numbers. Short fight too. The affair failed to make it outta its second-stanza before S.Kovalev closed it out. Which was nice, because whilst I watch the fights on mute, just knowing that the HBO crew is commentating doth irk me-so.

How under-whelming was V.Shabransky? People were throwing croutons out their windows -- wait. That's the answer to "How foggy is it?" (Pea soup.) So under-whelming was he that he failed as a decent barometer for the purported new and improved Kovalev, a role I hoped he'd fill. To borrow via paraphrase from Blazing Saddles, pardon me whilst I stick this in:
"So how's he [Shab.] stack up against Kovalev? Poorly, but for one thing: he's shown toughness. He won't be beaten before entering the ring and maybe not even after being knocked-down a time or two or three (I call three). There is a 2% chance of Kov gassing. So will it simply be Kovalev pummeling the tough outta the poor lad? Maybe, but I hope not. For Krusher's sake.
What Krusher needs to show is another dimension. A Plan B. Maybe the new coach will be listened to -- or perchance he was hired to be ignored. We don't know, but we will. If Kov does come out to Krush, he wins. Ultimately though, he's finished and is un-coachable. His inability to learn and develop will be his one-dimensional un-doing. He'll have an alphabet-soup strap but won't win another big fight. If he listens, though -- he wins with a jab. He puts in a full night's work sans losing a round nor running outta gas. Voila! New Sergey Kovalev. It'll look a lot like he laid off the hoochsky.
Plan A Kovalev wins in three. Plan B Kovalev wins either by late-round stoppage or unanimous-decision. Believe me, Shab. wants Plan A.*"
Here's what happened Saturday, not that the amounts to report are even nigh copious...
Kov. started strong (as the fight was all start) sans any viewable hesitancies or hiccups, coming off two losses to the now-retired Andre Ward. Seeing as Shabranskyy had no answer for his right, and lacked the good-sense to at least respect Kovalev's power -- he found himself canvass'd twice in the bout's opening round. The first off a glancing blow, the second rather flush. Shab. spent the final-third of the first-frame on over-cooked spaghetti legs. After the first knock-down, they were still merely al dente. The take-away here is that he never recovered from a glancing blow. Take that as ya may.

The second-verse was same as the firs', with Kov showing good body-work at an intelligent head to blini-basket ratio at all the correct times. Although he really and truly had nothing to work through whatsoever. I however, successfully worked through an Italian cuisine reference in an all Soviet Bloc affair... saving it from the brink with "blini." Yer welcome. I digress. Then, with a minute to go in the round, the former champ belted his fellow La-La-Landian with a right up-side his funny haircut, tuchusing him for the third-time. Shab. recovered his vertical alignment but not in any sort of convincing manner. Then more rights. I'll tell ya what -- Kovalev got more rights than a white politician! Nevertheless, Shab. was begging for a left that never came, as he splayed toward and into the ropes. The prayers were answered by a left to the head and G-d has a wicked sense of humor. Ref. Harvey Dock dropped anchor on the ship that sailed which were this fight at 2:36 of round-two. That was a nautical play on words, sea? 

Thusly referring back unto my previous quoted thoughts: we weren't shown nothing here. Except for one very important thing. That being that the state of affairs in Alphabet Soup "championship" land is drek. This bout broke Shabranskyy's two-fight win-streak, and broke the new crown-wearer's two-fight losing-streak. This was a championship prizefight twixt two men that are a combined 2-3 in their last five coming-in. If my math serves. Here's more math: the 34 year-old Kov. was fresh off a pair of losses, fighting for a pair of titles. These should only be acceptable things in lay-and-pray MMA land. It's almost as if Dana White already added that UFC boxing extension**. To think, there are those among-us whom feel as though Sergey Kovalev is all back and are still now on social media rejoicing his regaining of "his" belt(s). Other people's children, tsk-tsk.

Maybe next-time we'll get the proof of New Kov. (which tastes just like Pepsi if memory serves). By the way, anyone else unnerved by Kovalev's admitted drinking and his subsequent life-changing car crash? I hope all walked away as he did. But next-time in the ring... what about it and whom? According to Kathy Duva we're looking at a March 3rd date set once again in the MSG locale. One possible option is, of course, a biggie by the name of IBF champion the 12-0, 12 Artur Beterbiev. Although if K.Duva was wanting to push that, she'd have at least mentioned it by now. Mayhaps a second-go at a complete first-go under new trainer Abror Tursunpulatov is in order.

Why do all these guys live in LA and fight back East? Shouldn't they all just live in Brighton Beach?

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sports Week 11th Edition

JUDGE SENTENCED TO SURGERY
Damn Yankees slugger Aaron "Dave Kingman" Judge had an arthroscopic procedure involving "loose-body removal and cartilage clean-up" performed on his left shoulder last Monday. Remember ice-packs on said shoulder and denied rumors of cortisone shots amid .185 batting-average August? That after an up to All-Star Game Home-Run Derby .329. Whatever potential Derby-show damage done-did, had to have been exasperated by slamming into right-field wall to rob Y.Gurriel in Game-Three of the ALCS. Most likely.

In the end, A.Judge is slated to be 100-percent by early January. Excellent news for Judge, Yankees and any opposing hurler looking to bolster his K-tally.

BRAVES CHOPPED, SCALPED, ETC.
The Atlanta Braves were stripped of 13-prospects, former GM John Coppolella banned for life, former Special-Assistant G.Blakely for a year Tuesday by Major League Baseball. Sanctions were placed by Comm. R.Manfred to leave Atlanta weak in chasing top Latin American prospects till 2021. This for circumventing international signing rules from 2015-17.

MLB's nosing-'round showed the Braves cooked-the-books in ways too boring to fully relay. The 13-players lost to ruled free agency were them whom were involved in the funny-money finaglings of laundering bonus monies through one-player and on-to another. Essentially. Note I haven't balanced by check-book in a decade.

SPENCE-PETERSON SET FOR JAN. 20 IN BKLYN
Barclays Center will officially play-host to IBF Welterweight Champ Errol Spence (22-0, 19 KO) and challenger Lamont Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KO). This shall be Spence's first defense of the belt he lifted in May from fine-China face'd Kell Brook 'cross the bloody pond, guv. This will be his only fight this year and at the time of bell-tolling, he'll be 28-years-old. Peterson too is looking at his two, the other a February win 'gainst D.Avanesyan. In that match, Avanesyan picked up some Alphabet Soup crown he forfeited to secure this bout. Could be a quick KO for the sleepy-eyed Spence.

FANCY A FLURRY OF FURY?
Perchance most important of these Fury flurries first. After two-years away from activity since beating W.Klitschko and becoming Heavyweight champ, Tyson Fury was recently told that his anti-doping hearing will resume in December. Also, E.Hearn voiced he'd like to manage the Gypsy King for an easy set-up of UK mega-fight versus A.Joshua. I say even Fat Fury gives Joshua fatal fits. Then finally, it seems I was more on-the-nose than even I thought in calling him part of the WWE wing of boxing. On a recent "The White Rhino" podcast, he expressed interest in working with the Sports Entertainment group.

SEEKING THE SOUL FINDS THE WIN
Seeking The Soul a Fipke-owned four-year-old garnered his first stakes victory in a verily fine fashion as the 7-1 under-dog in the Grade 1 $500K Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs yester-day. He did-so by coming off-the-pace with HOF'er John Velazquez atop to seal the deal by a half-length at the wire. Good Samaritan came in first-loser and Hoppertunity second-one. The 7-5 pre-race favorite Diversify moseyed in 4th.

A claim of deep stretch interference against the winning colt was alleged by Florent Geroux, Hoppertunity's jock -- 'twas disallowed. The final-time for the 1 1/8 mile outing read 1:48.88.

SCUBA SCORES SWIMMINGLY
Scuba, the six-year-old gelding and multiple graded-stakes winner returned to form Saturday to win the G3 Hawthorne Gold Cup. This as a 2-1 second-choice behind Eagle. It had been since Nov. 2016 and the Marathon Stakes that he'd graced any winner's circle. Scuba under Alonso Quinonez came up three-wide in the turn to track the jockeying pair'a Side Pocket and Futile. Mid-stretch he moved within three of the two, then quick-foot'd it ahead in the last 70yds. to hit the wire half-length ahead.

Futile finished second. Side Pocket third. The final time for the Hawthorne Gold Cup was 2:03.12.

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

"In His Gravy"
 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Diesel Grind - Cigar Review

Real quick, gentlepersons. Snack Tray and I are expected at a Lego Party...

NOTES:
A smallish Robusto that looks tidier than it performs. Rolled well, but suffers-some in combustion (jagged-line with tunnel-threats). Pepper-spice front with close-behind bitter notes. Umami and sour bits balance one-another well and further-back. Flirts with bite, but that's averted via purging. Dryly rich and simply balanced, with notes strung out on a line. There are some nuanced depths, humsoever. Whilst the feel is surprisingly smooth, the bumps come by-way-of a lurching strength that hither and thither comes-on helter-skelter.
  • Black Pepper
  • Black Walnut
  • Baking Spice
  • Molasses
  • Anise
  • Sarsparilla
  • Grapes (white)
  • Leather
  • Manure
WRAPPER: Habano
BINDER: Nicaraguan
FILLER: Nicaraguan

STRENGTH: Full
FORMAT: Robusto
ORIGIN: Tabacalera Fernandez, Nicaragua

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

IN ADDITION
The Diesel Grind line which was previously peddled by Cigars International (CI), distributed by Meier & Dutch (MD), now operates within the General Cigar portfolio. The offering was hi-lit at this year's IPCPR trade-show. The Diesel brand itself is crafted by one Mr. AJ Fernandez (mayhaps ya heard a' him). It's been under the CI/MD banner for a number of years, and since both are owned by Scandinavian Tobacco Group, General Cigar’s parent company... this is vastly meaningless to you and I. Tho the Grind is now a brick & mortar exclusive.

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

"In His Gravy"

A Review of Recent Grade A Cigar Offerings

"Sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit, these men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem - If no one else can help - and if you can find them - maybe you can hire the A-Team."

Gentlepersons, below is a list as shallow and pedantic as Lois Griffin's meatloaf. It is a list of recent (November 2017) cigar offerings I humbly found to be worthy of A (A- to A+) review ratings.
Not an advertisement.
THE A-TEAM
(names = links to full reviews)

"In His Gravy" 


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Weekly Recapitulation Volume XXV

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Top 10 Baseball Free Agents: Ranked - A Black Friday Shopping List

With Turkey-Day in the rear-view, I sit here at my Chromebook needing elastic-waisted sweatpants and a belch. 'Twas a good 'un of frozen pizzas, fries, ice cream. Yet it wasn't without its... confusion. For instance, when did Alice's Kitchen become a long-standing tradition on Thanksgiving? I never once heard that-one till yester-day. Terrible song, just terrible. Punishingly bad, really. Twenty-plus minutes worth a' it. And Michael Vick on a football pre-game show which becomes de facto morning-show here on the left coast? That was a surprise. I'm not really familiar with the NFL product. It seems out-of-step with itself. Unsure of both its identity and its fans' identity, as well. Drek, one might rightly say.

Alas 'tis now Black Friday. Big BIG sale day. Why not get yerself an Official Kaplowitz Tshirt? Greatest stocking stuffer since the candy cane. Or at least the toothbrush. Nevertheless, ya got a couple days with-which to thrill the gentlepersons on yer nice list and to SHOP HERE NOW. And if yer in the market for a professional baseball fella, I can help ya there, too.

Lettuce delve, rank...

1. J.D. MARTINEZ, 30, OF
J.D.Martinez is the best right-handed power bat of the crop if not simply its best bat period. He's too shown four-seasons worth of that. He knows how to Walk Like A Man and earn the Silver Star. Four Seasons, get it? It was 2017 though, that he went next-level. Might be a risk to sign him long-term off the strength of those numbers. But really, you won't be tragically disappointed; depending on yer wallet's depth. Defensively, he'll work in either OF corner -- in a Swiss Cheese sorta manner. You're buying a bat, and one with excellent control given its power.

2. LORENZO CAIN, 32, OF
L.Cain is perchance the best all-'rounder herein. Stellar CF glove, speed on the basepaths, goodly skilled in the batter's box. His 2017 campaign was the second in his last-three wherein he topped 15 homers and swiped 25+ bases. He's too hit the .300 mark every-year since 2014. in short, he does everything quite well. My caveat in signing him is that I don't see him getting a lot better, so upswing is somewhat lacking -- and he's not quite marquis. Humsoever, he's clearly the most employable of the soon-to-be drained Royals, and would fit well somewheres twixt your spark-plug and plate-cleaner.

3. WADE DAVIS, 32, RHP
W.Davis is wherest ya start if you need to buy a closer. And many do, so many will. His 32 saves and 2.30 ERA last year was very nice, but his walk-rate was the highest he's yet tallied. However, he was healthy all-campaign, a correction of 2016's double-DL stint. Bottom-line: you'll over-pay if you sign a check that covers a hurler whom can go more than an inning per-outing. Too, you may have to use him even more sparingly if your season goes long. A superb closer, nonetheless, supreme if not asked to much of. Very much a throw-back positioneer.

4. ERIC HOSMER, 28, 1B
E.Hosmer has some very nice tools he brings to the table. Good glove, avoids the DL, is patient at the plate. Also, he's a young gun-for-hire at 28. He won't fill the rock-star slot, but will furnish yer team a driving heart-beat. He's fresh-off recording a career year in the batter's box, and dinged 25 dingers for the second in as many years. For all his youth, he can lead both by show and by go and too, has post-season experience galore. Sign him long-term and he could be the driving-force of yer team for many a campaign to come.

5. SHOHEI OHTANI, 23, RHP/DH/OF
S.Ohtani appears lower on my list than about any other you'll see. In fact, he almost didn't appear at all, since every list which includes him is in err since he's not been posted yet. I include him here, as a warning. Japan's level is twixt AAA and MLB. Think the 2017 SanFran Giants. He hits and pitches, but all scouts say he's a pitcher. I say he's a long reliever or 5th-starter, ultimately. Japanese imports really have a crummy resume state-side. Buy him to put a curious tuchus in each stadium seat... not in a meaningful effort to win.

[I'll break from my 100-words for each player format here to go-on: Many applaud his leaving money on the table by coming here at 23 instead of waiting till 25. Just two years. He's had injuries, ya know. He's recouping from surgery now. I call endorsements money-grab whilst the grabbing's good. With the NPB complicit. Am I the only one? Read my: Shohei Otani: Is the Japanese Star Destined to Don Pin-Stripes in 2018? for more.]

6. MIKE MOUSTAKAS, 29, 3B
M.Moustakas blasted a Royals-record 38 homers in 2017. Whilst 'nuff to surpass Steve Balboni's mark -- it ain't really that much. Remember: juiced balls. Plus, his .305 career OBP is far from wow. Although youth doth serve him, his only mainly serviceable hot-corner mitt lesser-so doth. Plus, I don't see his path to becoming N.Arenado. Avoid him unless you are in pedal-to-the-metal win-now mode. Also if you're pockets are deep 'nuff to brush off a loss. Or, see if the market is on yer side and unwilling to over-pay for a solid guy whose best weapon may be as fan-fodder presence.

7. YU DARVISH, 31, RHP
On paper, Y.Darvish is your best option if in need of a starting pitcher. He's not just another pretty arm, tho. He's showed an ability to adapt via tweaking his delivery mid-summer. Just ignore his World Serious collapse. Hey, we all have bad days. Twice. In-a-row. Also, whilst that adaptation showed IQ, he did need to adapt in the first-place. Perchance slick Fall Classic balls take the blame for 1/2 them slumps. He's a strong second-starter, methinks. Unless he can't rebuild after the debacle of being named the 'Stros MVP. Insure yerself by getting a better skipper than Roberts.

8. CARLOS SANTANA, 32, 1B/DH
The dark-horse of my list is C.Santana. We could either look brilliant or 'special' here. Lettuce hold hands and drive-off together in oblivion. Shall we, Louise? I'll start with his great strides in defensive improvements at 1st-base. We'll add that to his proved presence at the plate. Did I mention he's a switch-hitter sporting a .365 OBP? The knock? He's 32. But if ya don't need all of what Hosmer offers in intangibles, this guy is yer guy right now -- for much cheaper. You could also extend his sell-by-date by plugging him into a DH role, if you're so able'd. 

9. JAKE ARRIETA, 32, RHP
J.Arrieta shows that durability is more than just showing-up. Whilst he doth show, what also shows is a 2mph drop-off on his number-one since 2015. That's a mile-a-year, and also matches my running-log to perfection. Too, he did recently miss time last campaign via bum September hammie. Hey, he's no spring chicken. But he does tout a nice 2.90ERA with 92K in his last 105 2/3 stanzas. In short, he's a righty with good 'nuff stuff to be an important win-now addition to anyone's rotation. Unfortunately, the asking price of that service projects to be of quite a height.

10. ADDISON REED, 29, RHP
Bummed you can't swing Ohtani? Why not skip ahead to whenst Japan's Babe Ruth becomes a long-reliever and nail-down the 29 year-young A.Reed now? For a couple campaigns, the righty hath been perchance the most effective set-up man in all MLB. Plus, he has closer experience and could become a new-fangled two-stanza stopper. Interestingly/tantalizingly, his numbers indicate he handles right and left-handed batters equally-well. A load-off for any skipper. The knock here is he gave up 11 homers in 2017. An uncomfortable amount for the roles indicated. But he gets the job done and maybe they'll re-replace the ball.

IN ADDITION:
Greg Holland is a straight no-buy and steer-clear of. Coming back from Tommy John with his first-half/second-half splits, raise every red flag ever there were in that surgery's recovery. Todd Frazier is a nigh expiration-date Moustakas, with a Damn Yankee fetish. Leave him be. Sign Jay Bruce only if you need an old lefty power-bat whose story is worth more than his services.

But really -- do make sure you buy an Official Kaplowitz Tshirt or two HERE.

Partagas No. 10 - Cigar Review

Happy Black Friday. Go get an Official Kaplowitz Tshirt. The perfect stocking stuffer for the gentlepersons on yer nice list, as long as there are no follow-up questions. Available for the next couple-days HERE.

That bit of capitalism run amok aside, lettuce looksie this Partagas No. 10.

NOTES:
A typically fugly Cameroon top-leaf. Veiny, lumpy, and once lit, a pair of hair-line cracks happen along the way -- smoke clean-thru. Rolled well 'nuff all-said, but not by a bunch. A tick of loosening-seams at char. Some softening of pack density, but no hard/soft spots. There is an occasional dampening of draw which shifts the tension up but stays in the medium+ spectrum. Burn-line requires some Bic-flick'd guidances, but not an abundance thereof. Ash dumps freely and grey. Burns verily cool on an even languid pace. Nice amount of smoke off each end which ebbs and flows insofar as volume. Leaves a very pleasant room-note of delicately sweet fusty 'baccy earthiness.

Cushiony mouth-feel with a slight tingle. Rich but in a light manner. Smoothly-cool delivery. Balanced well up-top but some helter-skelter activities be-low. No bite. Finish is a lengthier thing than a mild-medium offering might foretell. Settles into some nicely attainable complexities whenst primaries work down-ward through the profile.

Overall a sweet stick (which was the name I performed under during my late 1990s hip-hop career). This is balanced well by some sour notes which attract fusty leanings. Them sour bits doth rise in the 3/3. DOTH RISE. Somewhat of a salty offering, but kindly-so dealt into the sweetness and then warmly unto finish. No real bitter additions on draw, some subtly relegated to finish. Savoriness in a pale non-meaty, oft vegetal manner. Spices are 'nuff for the aforementioned slight-tingle, delivered sans kick.

WRAPPER: Cameroon
BINDER: Mexican San Andres
FILLER: Dominican, Mexican

STRENGTH: Mild-Medium
FORMAT:  Double Corona
ORIGIN: Dominican Republic

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

Sample courtesy of Fumare.
Reno's most exclusive Cigar Boutique.
Specializing in rare and hard to find cigars.

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

"In His Gravy"
 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!!!


No new posts here today, gentlepersons.
My best of wishes to you and yours.

"In His Gravy"

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

"In His Gravy" Kaplowitz Radio: November 22, 2017

Joe Morgan's Letter to Baseball Hall of Fame Voters & My Thoughts on the Matter

Yesterday morning, Baseball Writers Association of America Hall of Fame voters awoke to Joe Morgan's inbox'd beseechings that they not support candidates linked to steroid-use. The full text of that email can be found HERE. Gentlepersons, if I may be so bold as to butt and to butt once-again in rebuttal to Mr. Morgan; if I may offer-up my two-cents and patiently await my change...

I shall begin with "integrity, sportsmanship, character." Ya see, back in 1999 whenst Pete Rose was widely and wildly applauded for being named part of the All-Century team, Morgan met with Bud Selig in an effort to lift Rose's life-time ban for gambling on baseball. Morgan too sent along video congratulations to his Big Red Machine co-hort whenst Charlie Hustle gained induction into the Reds HOF in 2016. The next year, he played a role in the ceremonial unveiling of a Pete Rose statue at the Great American Ballpark. With this evidence in mind, we can see that whilst named in the fakakta Mitchell Report is the greatest of all moral sin -- admitting to gambling on the game whilst being part of it, not-so much. Them's odd rules. Oh, and Pete Rose needs to be in the Hall of Fame.

Further-more, how about guys who took amphetamines during Joe's own playing days? I mean I've read Ball Four. Most of it. Some of it. Look, I tried. How about racists? Misogynists? (We'll get to a couple'a those in a tick.) How's 'bout players whom bolstered their careers whilst and by never having to face blacks? Again -- where's this line drawn? Who draws it? Joe tried but used a blunt pencil and lightly-so.

Too, this tardy communique is signed with the title "Vice Chairman." This title is true. Also true is that Morgan has been on the Hall’s board of directors since 1994. Why I point this out is because for many years now, voters have been seeking guidance from the Hall regarding just this topic. Ya see, as their heads ain't been buried in the sand, they've long been as ginger as Canelo in their electing of proved and alleged PED users. To the extent that even players who never tested positive nor were mentioned in the Mitchell Report -- think Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell -- one and a half shoo-ins, instead faced voted-upon delayings of their inductions. This begs the question of whom's head then, hath been to the sandy beach most and why did he finally fold up his chair, deflate his floaties, and head on home all this time later. Who knows? I'm sure there are reasons, even if it's just an old guy keeping kids off his lawn.

So too little too late, coming from a far from pristine source? This oughtta help loads! Helping even more than loads is "Now, I recognize there are players identified as users on the Mitchell Report who deny they were users. That’s why this is a tricky issue. Not everything is black and white -- there are shades of gray here." With that then, we are really just back to our murky square-one. Roused for no good reason. "Wake up, it's time to take your sleeping pill." Particularly when Morgan than leaves it all to the voters' discretions, trusting them to navigate the perils on their lonesome after pestering them with his finagling. Handling it, they are though. In recent years and according to their vote, they're coming around to even the most tightly-tied to 'roids ballotees. According to an article by Joel Sherman, "Barry Bonds was named on only 36.2% of ballots in 2013, his first year of eligibility, but received 53.8% support last year. Roger Clemens (37.6% support in 2013, 54.1% in 2017) has similarly improved his standing." For the record, 75% gets ya inducted.

There is this, though from Joe: "Players who failed drug tests, admitted using steroids, or were identified as users in Major League Baseball’s investigation into steroid abuse, known as the Mitchell Report, should not get in. Those are the three criteria that many of the players and I think are right." As that compass reads, Sammy Sosa is in like Flynn, gentlepersons. There goes his new-found Clorox'd white privilege again! My feeling is they'll all get in eventually. I'm more than OK with that, it's just the waiting is killing me.

But hey, Till then Craig Biggio is enshrined and whom wouldn't make a lengthy pilgrimage to garner looksie at that uni? Me. I wanna see, hear, touch, taste the fame. It's in the name. "If this is the house of pancakes, then how come I can't eat the walls?" - Homer Simpson as Max Power (The Simpsons, "Homer to the Max". Season 10 / Episode 13.) I wanna wide-eyed bear witness to the relics of said fame, gentlepersons. Not morality -- that hall wouldn't have Babe Ruth nor Ty Cobb exhibits. Taken thatta-way, with me on the opposite end of the spectrum -- one can see this letter from Morgan is just another bit of polarization in an already polarized whirled. So where to find the balance? There's no need to look for it if yer a voter. It ain't yer job. Your job is to simply vote in the greats. No need to choose CNN or Fox News. No need to pick yer protest. My word, though. The letter is even replete with thinly-veiled threats of protest. The mention that other Hall of Famers might take a knee and not attend the induction ceremonies of steroid users. Lettuce all calm verily-well down and be far-less heroic. Where do I sign-up to protest protests?

At the end of the day, this is all-about Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens and their aforementioned closing-in on inductions. Again I ask ya to conjure up images of a Ruth and Cobb free Hall. Or perchance that is next as people seem to love toppling historic statues these days. But that's mainly another topic, right? Soitenly. Of all this email, much of which can be dismissed a la a timely Thanksgiving table interjection of yer great uncle's loud thoughts on whatever -- as one-man's opining to no good-end as Morgan admits to not speaking for every member and offers no true guidance -- what sticks in my craw most is:

"P.S. Families come to Cooperstown because they know it’s special. To parents, it’s a place they can take their kids for an uplifting, feel-good visit. It’s a place where kids can see what true greatness is all about. It’s a place where youngsters can dream that one day they too might get in. This place is special. I hope it stays that way."

"Little Johnny, this is Craig Biggio's glove. You probably never heard'a him. He was nice, I s'pose"

Don't raise my kids, Joe. I got it covered. What do I tell Snack Tray? Well, since he's only seven now, I tell him that Mom and me are wrestling. Wait -- that's another-thing. I tell him that baseball's growth and saving-grace has always been the long-ball. First, the Babe yanking the sport from its Dead Ball era with newly-furnished live-ones, then some very big chemically-enhanced fellas rescuing it from a strike-shortened year sans Fall Classic. The powers-that-be were complicit in both. I wasn't around for them Ruthian antics, but do recall MLB hyping their brand with the use of cartoon comic-book renditions of their big-name bangers. Bulging muscles and veins and all. So larger than life and heroic and did I say chemically induced? But just men. One day you'll be a man, I tell Snack Tray. Would you rather be a TV hero or sell appliances at Sears? Same amount of practice, just a few seconds needle-in-tuchus difference. How important are others' rules in how you judge yer actions (I lost him there). Rambled on anyways. What if you were the boss? Would you glorify these your saviors, then precipitate and participate in throwing them that helped under the bus? Which is more disgusting? By the by, Bud Selig is in the Hall of Fame.

I can hear the gob-smacked kids now. "Daddy, daddy! It's Mr. Selig's office chair!"

Dominion Flor de Claro - Cigar Review

There is a sign I oft look at, as it sits across the street from my kitchen window and I oft hand-wash sinkfuls of dirty dishes. It belongs to the city park/community center and boasts updates of events therein. It is updated none-too regularly. Until two days ago, it bore news of "Boo Barn," a Halloween thing. It is, of course, now mid-November.

The day before yesterday was a tough day for me. They swapped out the old-school vinyl lettered signage for a new digital monstrosity from the next-century. Its frame lights up. However, its LED lights which should bring news of... something... anything... have yet to be lit. In the face of this vulgar and unnecessary "progress," I've decided to hand-write my notes pertaining to the Dominion Flor de Claro I reviewed this very morn. I'm no hero, gentlepersons, I am just one man.

One man bringing balance to the world.

NOTES:
Click or tap to enlarge.
WRAPPER: Honduran Connecticut
BINDER: Nicaraguan
FILLER: Nicaraguan

STRENGTH: Medium
FORMAT: Toro
ORIGIN: Plasencia Cigar, Nicaragua

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

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"In His Gravy" 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Top 5 List of 2018 First-Year of Eligibility Baseball Hall of Fame Candidates

A couple-few days back, we learnt the nominees for 2018's Hall of Fame inductions. 'Tis a bulky crop but with a thin cream atop it. As Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and even Sammy Sosa of new-found white privilege are kept out, as Joe Morgan pleads they remain thata-way, I cobble together this. This list of the top-five for me first-time ballotees. A weighty 14 of such did not make my nigh meaningless cut. Let the bickering begin and please to note that comments are, as ever, closed.

1. JIM THOME
J.Thome is one-fifth the club of MLB players with at least 500 home runs, 1,500 runs scored, 1,600 RBI and 1,700 walks. Barry Bonds, Mel Ott, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams flesh-out that grande list.

A five-time All-Star in 22-campaigns with the Indigenous Peoples, Phils, Sox, Dodgers, Twins and O's. Did spend time as a DH, but that is an actual position on the team, gentlepersons. One I despise, but one nonetheless. Did at third-base procure an AL Silver Slugger Award which shows he could hit whilst fielding, in 1996, anyhow. Hit 20+ homers 16-seasons; 40-or-more six times. Tallied 100-or-more ribbies nine-times (26th on history's list with 1,699) and crossed the plate 100-or-more times in eight seasons. Led his league once in each slugging-percentage (His tally is 23rd all-time) and four-baggers (his 612 sits eighth-best in history). Bested .300 in three-years. Ranks 41st all-told in total-bases.

Thome naturally stood country-strong, mountain-big during an era whenst others stuck needles in tuchuses to be-so. All them should be in the Hall, as should he -- particularly if you feel cheaters shall never win. If in fact 'roids are cheating and not in-sync with baseball's eternal gamesmanship. His cleanliness makes him even a greater shoo-in.

2. CHIPPER JONES
C.Jones is one of only nine players and the only switch-hitter in history with at least a .300 batting average, .400 on-base percentage, .500 slugging average and 400 home runs. The others are: Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Mel Ott, Stan Musial, Manny Ramirez, Babe Ruth, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams. He is also the lone player to hath played the hot-corner in a minimum 50-percent of his games whilst recording at least 1,600 RBI and scoring 1,600-plus runs.

Played 19 seasons, all with the Braves and eight as an All-Star. Was named the 1999 NL Most Valuable Player. Garnered twice, the Silver Slugger Award winner at third base. In 2008 his .470 on-base percentage and .364 AVG each topped his league. All-told hit over .300 in ten-campaigns. Drove-in 100+ ribbies in nine-seasons and scored the same in eight. Too, tallied 14 in-a-row years with at-least 20 round-trippers. His plate discipline ranks him 16th all-time in walks with 1,512.

Jones compares favorably to Mickey Mantle, whom many designate as the greatest switch-hitter ever. This in terms of batting-average, hits, RBI. With fewer strike-outs in more plate appearances. His 85.0 WAR ranks amongst the greatest third-basemen of all-time, ahead of Brooks Robinson.

3. ANDRUW JONES
A.Jones and his 10 center-field Gold Glove Awards make him one of-only six out-fielders ever to earn at least that many. Among players with 10-or-more such Awards only Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., and Mike Schmidt have more home-runs than his 434, which ranks 47th all-time.

He played 17 years with the Braves, Dodgers, Rangers, White Sox, Yankees. Finishing only 5th in 1997's NL Rookie race, he debuted the year-prior, helping Atlanta get to the World Serious wherein he swatted two big-flies, batted an even .400. A five-time All-Star all-'round player whom on two-occasions landed in the top-ten of NL MVP votings. Whilst fielding he garnered them Gold Gloves and too, topped NL center-fielders in putouts six times and three times in assists. At bat, he ten-times banged 20+ home-runs and in 2005 led the way with 51. Also in that year, he led the league in ribbies and all-told drove-in 100+ runs five-times. Unfortunately, he only hit .300 once. On the base-paths he four-times scored 100-or-more runs, stole 20+ bases four times.

Off all listed here, Jones is for me the greatest athlete -- to the extent it may penalize him. His loping gracefulness oft looked like anything but hustle.

4. SCOTT ROLEN
S.Rolen, famously one-third of the early-2000s “MV3” Cardinals along-side Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds. Now, perchance the intrigue-iest of this candidate lot. As to J.Edmonds, an example of a player excluded from the Hall of Fame because of loaded ballot and 10-player vote-limit. In short -- Edmonds did not get a fair shake. But lettuce shift focus back-to Rolen -- no more of a second-fiddle than Andruw played to Chipper.

Played 17 seasons for Philadelphia, St. Louis, Toronto, Cincinnati. Won National League 1997 Rookie of the Year honors, went-on to seven All-Star appearances. Gold Glove third-baseman eight-times. Topped the NL in put-outs and assists by third-basemen twice each. NL Silver Slugger hot-corner honoree. Bashed to the 20-home run mark in 10 seasons. Two campaigns of .300+. Five-times passed the 100-RBI threshold. Twice scored 100+ runs. Topped the NL in put-outs and assists by third-basemen twice each.

He won't get in now and inherits Edmond's bum luck (whom should get-in first) far-and-further-out there on the fringe. If stuffs stays back-logged as steroid-era-denizens keep stealing votes but not 'nuff to gain election -- Rolen shall find his way into the Very Good wing of the Hall of Fame -- via early Eras Committee.

5. JOHAN SANTANA
J.Santana hurled the first Mets no-hitter in franchise history versus the Cards on June 1, 2012. His zenith was a short but rather brilliant one, which I shall attest to in his segment's closing.

He pitched 12 seasons in total for Minnesota and New Yawk, going to four All-Star games. Twice in three years won the American League Cy Young Award and twice too, finished in the top-10 in MVP voting. Humsoever, only accrued a single 20-win season but did have a 19-win campaign thrown-in. Once-bestowed the AL Gold Glove Award and four-times led in WHIP. Thricely in ERA, strike-outs, hits and strike-outs per-nine innings. Too, he twice sat atop all in starts and stanzas-pitched. Once beat-out the league in wins.

Will all this be 'nuff to get him in? Probably not -- very definitely not on the first ballot -- but he's a pitcher whom deserves more attentions than many will give him. So I done my sorta due diligence. I'll leave ya with these ESPN figures pertaining to a pair of short-lived and filthy for the ages southpaws:

Santana: 139-78, 3.20 ERA, 136 ERA+, 50.7 WAR, 2 Cy Youngs
Koufax: 165-87, 2.76 ERA, 131 ERA+, 53.2 WAR, 3 Cy Youngs

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

OMAR VIZQUEL
A good glove, no hit guy. But less of each whenst held-up to, say, Ozzie Smith. Fantastic baseball brain whom may find his road to The Hall going through the dug-out.

JOHNNY DAMON
A or perchance thEE pioneer of to-day's caveman look. Bushy beard, long hair -- notably and at the time newsily sans his Damn Yankees stint. Good ball-player.

Now if you'll be-so kind as to excuse me gentlepersons, The Simpsons Movie is on in a tick.

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"The Burrito Trap" 

Monday, November 20, 2017

David Haye is Out & Tyson Fury Wants in Versus Tony Bellew

Former unified Cruiserweight and WBA Heavyweight champ, 37-year-old David Haye (28-3, 26 KO) hath succumbed yet again to injury, thus is withdrawn from his December 17th scheduled re-match 'gainst Tony Bellew (29-2-1, 19 KO). This news of left bicep tsuris breaking to-day via Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. The two bitterly-yapping rival British Heavy-weight Heavy-mouths were set to go in a non-title rematch at the same locale as their first affair, the O2 Arena in London, chip-chip tally-ho cheerio and all that sort of rubbish, England.

D.Haye's bicep tear was reportedly suffered in training for the up-coming fisticuffs and too reportedly, he had surgery on it to-day. The guy's opened up more than my wife's purse in a shoe store... ZING!!! Hearn recommended that the horrible imbeciles whom actually purchased tickets to this debacle from cash they presumably worked hard to procure, do visit their point of purchase for a refund or exchange. All involved shall now work toward a new presumably early 2018 date for a rematch which for the life of me I can't figure why anyone needs to see. The first bout twixt the sad pair Haye-Bellew I, occurred on March 4th a' this year. Lettuce take a peek at that in the next paragraph.

T.Bellew, a reigning Cruiserweight titleholder, past his prime and blown-up to Heavyweight pulled a major upset out of his tuchus by stopping Haye in the 11th-stanza in a rather cringe-worthy display of limp lameness of both the literal and figurative sense. Spun positively as if I were selling tix to schmucks, David Haye showed epic guts and copious heart whilst fighting from the sixth round till 11th on one-foot on account'a ruptured right Achilles. Bellew, himself not above injury, busted his hand around the second-or-third round. If you didn't see the bout, and are imagining how it looked to witness a one-footed man pursued by a one-fisted man -- yer probably laughing just as the gentlpersons who've seen it were. The laugh is that of the old America's Funniest Home Video Wiffle-Ball bat to dad's crotch footage. Oh, and Bellew downed Haye twice, once in the sixth, again in the 11th. At the latter-point, Shane McGuigan threw in the towel. Bellew was ahead on the cards at the time of stoppage.

Post glorious battle, Haye had surgery to repair his Achilles so as to prepare for this now non-go. I s'pose now may've been a better place to insert the wife-purse-shoe store bit. Oh, well. This latest injury hath been rumored-about for almost two-weeks and was fed credibility by an understanding of all I've said thus far as to the delicate nature of all of Haye lest his mighty-mouth. This is far from Haye's first foray into cancellation/postponement due to disability.. and please note I did not limit that to 'physical' disability. Here's a brief looksie which starts even prior to his going pro, for he fore-went the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games from his perch of gold-medal favorite. Three years later as a then-professional, he cited a bum hammie in canceling with Mark Hobson.

Next, he called off a bout with 17-days to go until a June 2009 date against Klitschko the Younger. That time was a back injury. Haye then infamously blamed his loss on a hurt toe whenst the two did finally square off in 2011. Next is a hand-injury interruption of the Manuel Charr May 2013 match. Then, came a postponed 2013 one 'gainst Tyson Fury after getting gash'd in sparring. He again called off a later that same year Fury show-down because of surgery on his right shoulder after-which the surgeon advised he retire. That there's a neat-O segue into the Gypsy King...

T.Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) linear yet inactive since beating Wladimir Klitschko nearly two years ago and unlicensed Heavyweight champion hath now called out Tony Bellew in light of the David Haye departure. That's right, gentlepersons, Fury called out there-'bouts 10 pugilists in total earlier in the day as he continues to eye a return to the ring for what I think to be the second/third time since leaving to eat cheeseburgers and to par-tay. For the purposes of the here and now, we won't delve into that list. Suffice to say we shall instead focus on Bellew. On second-thought, I refuse. My wife got me a brand new "Nostalgia Edition" of Scrabble and I'm 'bout to go on the hunt for word-game prey...

David Haye is ultimately more interesting, anyways -- to a certain extent and for what that's worth. Plus, Fury is set to re-announce his re-retirement at any time now. Also, Bellew was done before Haye I and was chosen for that very reason. Except Haye was more-done and the fight gave a last set of legs for which Bellew to use in walking to one last-last pay-day.

Haye is a man of unquestionable talents and undeniable charisma. It's hard to say which is the greater annoyance of those. Firstly, the talents doth ran-dry and his body broke-down... quickly... akin to Mickey Mantle minus his 1956 and '57 seasons. A shame, that. Oh, what may've been. Then there's the ability via charisma to stay emptily relevant by talking himself into fight after fight he cannot box into, let alone outta. Really though, what I get the sense of is that Haye is a man in purgatory even though the Catholics done-away with that years ago. He has one foot in a sport which hath passed him-by and the other ain't got a spot in which to land. A man with-out a knowledge of his own next chapter. He's smart, though. He'll figure it all out and that other foot shall land -- and hopefully not result in a rolled ankle. For his is the kinda smarts that cuts both ways.

Seriously, people bought tickets???

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"The Burrito Trap" 

Espinosa Murcielago (2017, AJ Fernandez) - Cigar Review

It's easy to predict the third-time as being the charm whenst ya got AJ Fernandez involved. This is, to be clear, the third iteration of the Murcielago name. The line debuted in 2009 as part of the United Tobacco/EO Brands’ parcel in a portfolio under the ownership of Erik Espinosa and Eddie Ortega. Whenst the partnership dissolved, a college-try of a crack was taken at mimicking the blend for a 2015 release -- since the Garcia family, manufacturers of the original at their My Father factory -- retained the blend information. Now, this. According to Director of Operations for Espinosa Premium Cigars, one Hector Alfonso Sr., the success herein is within well-aged tobaccos. Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle dipped in buttermilk.

To be succinct in review, this is the Murcielago with the shiny, not anything reminiscent of Batman logo, silver/black band. (Its name means bat, by the by.) The name was also employed as a model of Lamborghini from 2001 to 2010. Also, some folks don't know exactly what's in the cigars they take credit in creating. But hey! Let's light this bad-boy up and get me some blog hits. 'Tis a cynical Monday morning 'round these parts to be sure.

NOTES:
Well-built and verily-so. Even draw, tight seams, no hard/soft spots, and the box-press holds perfectly. Combusts in a cruise-control manner on a slight curvature. Pacing is moderate and temperature of smoke is cool 'nuff all the way through. Voluminous smoky-smoke off each end both active and resting. Ash is a medium-to-dark grey marbled and somewhat aerated stack a' dimes.
  • Black Pepper
  • Chocolate (semi-sweet, fudge)
  • Cayenne
  • Baking Spices
  • Cuban Coffee
  • Molasses
  • Leather (Boot)
  • Grains
  • Marshmallow (Toasted)
  • Meat (Smoked)
  • Sarsaparilla
  • Manure
  • Compost
Well-balanced 'nuff sans sour appearances. Full, rich, well-rounded notes. Heighty sans bite/bittering. Front-loaded piquantly with warmly sweet bracings. Salt and bitter notes play well. Savory all the live-long. Retro-hale is sharp and adds no complexities, so is deemed unnecessary but it doth trim the schnoz hairs well. Complexity all told is a bit lacking as the Bat flies straight from gate-to-wire. Finish is a lengthy extension of the primary draw.

All-told a muscular straight-forward thing that is ultimately perchance not pleasant per se, but verily satiating. A hearty entree that don't need an appetizer and leaves bupkis room for dessert. All-told, Part II, verily an AJF offering of the high upper-middling shelf.

WRAPPER: Mexican
BINDER: Nicaraguan
FILLER: Nicaraguan

STRENGTH: Full
FORMAT: Robusto Box-Press
ORIGIN: AJ Fernandez San Lotano factory, Nicaragua.

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

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"The Burrito Trap" 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sports Week 10th Edition

LEGENDARY CUTMAN RAFAEL GARCIA PASSES AWAY
Rafael Garcia, boxing-lifer of nigh-seven-decades and 35 champions, died Tuesday at 88. A recent swarm of Africanized bees, heart attack, and finally, leukemia all conspired to this end.

A colorful presence in an oft-dreary sport, R.Garcia was as well-known for his pin-adorned ever-present hat, as the impact he had on the career of F.Mayweather. His work there spanned a decade from the "Pretty Boy" to "Money" days, protectively-wrapping Floyd's famously fragile fists. 'Twas also a noted cut-man and trusted advisor whom shone too in the services of A.Arguello, R.Duran, W.Gomez. He was inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall-of-Fame in August.

TETE TAKES 11-SECONDS TO DO IN GONYA
'Twas predicted and predictable but not in a manner quite-so prompt, whenst southpaw champ Zolani Tete made easier-than-easy work of Siboniso Gonya. The stoppage coming off his first and only punch in their WBO Bantamweight bout in an official time of 0:11. This on the undercard of Frampton Reborn.

Tete, whom's the number-one rated 118-pounder according to The Ring behind their champion Shinsuke Yamanaka, put his adversary's light's out before hitting canvass with a big (natch) right-hand answering-jab. A man whom's had issue garnering big fights, ain't gonna find that coming with ease after a showing such as this.

WILLIAMS BEATS SMITH BY UD
In the main event of Premier Boxing Champions' fight-card at the Cosmopolitan in Lost Wages, aired on something called BounceTV -- Julian Williams defeated former-champion Ishe Smith via unanimous-decision. J. Williams had a rougher night of it than the 97-93, 98-92, and 99-91 scores read as I.Smith gave some concern and too, body blows.

Williams, 27, is still recovering career-wise from a big-fight knock-out loss almost a year ago against Jermall Charlo in a failed title bid. This second-win since then gives him some traction if-not momentum going forth into 2018. Smith is now 39 and 4-4 in his last eight.

DREAM TREE AGAIN HOLDS-OFF MIDNIGHT BISOU
Saturday's Del Mar feature-race, the $100K Desi Arnaz Stakes saw a re-match twixt even-money-favorite Dream Tree and Midnight Bisou -- wherein again Midnight Bisou was barely held-off by the Bob Baffert trained Dream Tree.

With Drayden Van Dyke atop the Baffert charge, a clear-advantage was opened at the top of the stretch. Still, each was all-out nearing the wire and Midnight almost struck at the end. Their rivalry is all they know, as their first meeting in October at Santa Anita was each's maiden romp. The race was run in 1:23.69. If only Arnaz's I love Lucy nightclub-act was that quick.

EDWARDS GOING LEFT PAYS 6.60 IN GRANT STAKES WIN
Edwards Going Left was victorious to-day in the 7-furlong Grant Stakes sprint at Del Mar. A 3-year-old gelding whom was claimed for $50K last February denied the charge of Solid Wager in the $100K feature by a half-length. His victory was the sixth in his last eight starts and too denied Solid Wager his third-straight win.

Breaking from the seventh-post in a 10-horse field, Edwards Going Left sat sixth after a half-mile then lead at the top of the stretch. Solid Wager nigh done-did steal his three-peat in the Grant after a slow break and trailing by some 15 lengths.

ADDENDUM:
DOUGLIN DRUBS DIRRELL IN DEFEAT
WBC numero-dos Super-Middleweight Anthony Dirrell looked a shot 33-year-old post-fourth-frame but sputtered/petered-on to unimpressive sixth-stanza technical-decision victory over Denis Douglin Friday in Flint's Dort Federal Event Center.

Action stopped on account'a gash o'er left-eye due to head-butt during final-round. Score-cards read in favor-of Dirrell 49-46, 48-47, 48-47. Dirrell immediately related post-cut to Ref. that his vision was blurried and didn't attempt to get-through the round to his cut-man. Douglin concurrently-begun to drub him-some. The numero-dos found his way-out. The bout hinged on a point-deduction wrongly-leveled at Douglin whenst Dirrell slipped/fell via alleged push no-one else seemed to see.

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"The Burrito Trap"

Graycliff Silver - Cigar Review

I understand that each box of these Graycliff Silver cigars comes with a certificate of authenticity. PayPal me 'nuff moolah and I'll write you up my own certificate of authenticity. For one shant be careless whenst perusing blogs, ya see. There is the Dark Web and too there are Russian hackers 'round every corner purveying fake news. Foward gelt HERE. What price to pay for the safety and security of you and yer loved ones? Soitenly we can think of a monetary figure which suits each of our budgets. 

Ah, but on-to the cigar at frozen autumn-morning hand, the aforementioned Graycliff Siver...

NOTES:
Burns coolly even with occasional self-correcting and oh-so-slight wobbles as to nowt mention a thing, lo I just-did. Languidly paced. Rolled verily-well with tight seams and well-assembled cap and shoulder; sans hard/soft spots and nary a softening through progression. Excellent smooth draw set to an even-keeled medium+ tension. Smoke hits the palate cool as a cuke which allows for a look at some sparkling complexities. Texture is quite velvety with a slight but lively tingle.

Citrus-intwined creamy cedar along-side a complex array of subtle exotic spices. Grains, blonde vanilla latte, and a caramelized sugar'd suede flesh-out the softly bulging middlings. Under-belly is clay dirt sweetened by traces of golden hay and honey malt. The finish exhibits a sashaying extension of draw and out-stretched toasting of the grains, roasting of the woods. Oak plays hither and thither as does a salted fusty influence.

WRAPPER: Ecuadorian
BINDER: Ecuadorian
FILLER: Costa Rica, Honduras, Philippines, Nicaragua

STRENGTH: Medium
FORMAT: Toro
ORIGIN: Bahamas

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

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Specializing in rare and hard to find cigars.

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"The Burrito Trap"

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Carl Frampton Ekes-Out UD Win In Horacio Garcia Tune-Up: A Boxing Retrospective

Carl "The Jackal" Frampton (24-1, 14 KO) fought for the first-time in two years on his home-turf SSE Arena in Belfast, Ireland to-day. He nosed-out a hard-scrapple yet unanimous ten-round decision over gate-keeper Horacio Garcia (33-4-1, 24 KO) in which the judges' scores read a wider than the fight appeared 98-93, 97-93 and 96-93.

This was C.Frampton's first flight-of-fisticuffs back from ten-months off wound-licking and rust-collecting after being dealt his initial career defeat at the educated hands of Leo Santa Cruz via close distance-loss in Lost Wages, Nevada. Too, it was "The Jackal" in his first go with new trainer Jamie Moore, new promoter Frank Warren, and new handlers at MTK. The former two-weight division champion made a verily newsy split from Barry McGuigan's Cyclone Promotions this past summer.

As to the pugilistic particulars: the opening stanza showed a smoothly operating Frampton fresh outta the gate. He out-paced and nigh lapped H.Garcia here. His jab was dictating the space and the pace and his angles as much as speed, seemed to be catching Garcia in much flat-footed surprise. The second-stanza saw a continuation and perchance escalation of the opener. Here, Garcia began coming under siege from greater angles and now levels, as well -- as "The Jackal" began peppering his burrito-basket quite oft. In short Garcia was at the wrong-end of a working-over. To make matters worse, his counters were finding the Irishman in a frequency of close-to nowt. With his fellow countryman Saul "Canelo" Alvarez ring-side to root him on -- the Mexican wasn't getting hurt, but sure looked out-matched and over-wrought. Round-three and Garcia just is unable to get off his shots fast 'nuff to out-fast Frampton. Sans a nice zetz of a hook to the pint-basket of the former champ, not much landed flush.

Then the fourth-frame came and with it a frenetic if not frantic letting-go of leather by Garcia. The ring began to look a bit smaller. Frampton was being backed-into brawling. He wasn't without his own landed blows, but he was out-worked for the entire round and was looking more the smaller man than ever. That said, the fifth saw Frampton tally some good shots at its onset. For the remainder, the two were blow-for-blow going at it in the proverbial phone-booth. For ya youngsters, that's an out-door stand-alone glass paned closet housing a shared cellphone connected by wire to I'm not sure where. They were, nevertheless, fighting Garcia's fight. A bissell cut happened and opened over the right-eye of The Jackal. Garcia pursued and pressed through the sixth as they traded punches in bunches. At this point and methinks ere, it was obvious that Carl Frampton was in a row much more serious than planned and predicted.

Seventh round. A biggie, gentlepersons. The ring was looking by this time a lot smaller. In it, Garcia worked Frampton into its ropes and corners. Whilst doing-such, a hook half-hit not blasted the Belfastian whom lost his footing and was canvassed. It was ruled an official knock-down. Frampton cried slip. He then proceeded to continue fighting Garcia's fight, again in-close and trading. Through to the eighth, 'twas a microcosm of the night's events and unfurled with these notes I jotted-down during: Frampton is the greater-skilled and better-honed pugilist. Garcia is stronger and appears naturally bigger but loses effectiveness whent loading up shots. In those spots, Frampton ducks-away -- controls excellently the space twixt. Awesome angles are continuously employed 'gainst the surprised-cum-surprising Garcia. More surprising is the continued bait-biting of Frampton at the hook of his foe's game. My feeling is it's fatigue of body and brain playing culprit there.

All told, as the ninth-round bell tolls, it's fairly close to being anyone's night with six-minutes to toil. On top a' that, Frampton began to look nigh gassed, and Garcia pressed to facilitate that end with a rallying of mitts. He set his man along the ropes, cried havoc and let slip the mitts of war. It was pure ability alone which kept the by-then winded Jackal howling. The pace was now fully belonging to Garcia and Frampton supporters were relegated to white-knuckling it home to an assuredly comfy card. Sensing the shift in pace as well as the comfy card, Frampton started the final frame by slowing the action. Meanwhiles, Garcia looked panicky in his pursuing, in an effort to end it inside of its prescribed distance for a victory which would shake the boxing world quite far-down if not to its very foundation. It ended at a resounding ding, humsoever -- with the two trading punches and Frampton's being the flashier.

So now Carl Frampton is on to bigger and better things, after having been "Reborn" as to this bout's billing. I shall tell thou this -- he should be wonderfully glad tonight wasn't scheduled for 12. Ring-rust shows-up funny at times. Not always at the trip's departure. It shows at times after the initial adrenaline of stepping foot back into the ring wears off and wanderlust finds ya down the road. Perchance that was at play here. Or maybe it was what I say a lot of, and is of conventional wisdom, that the little guys age like fruit-flies. Bigger and better things? Perhaps that's more-then, what Horacio Garcia can look forward to. A step away from his post at the gate for a bigger fight next then he coulda expected prior. What then, hath The Jackal been reborn as? Time will tell, but I predict no return to past form. Somewhere McGuigan very-well may be smiling. Or crying. Or scrawling notes unto pub napkins.

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Weekly Recapitulation Volume XXIV

BLOG
[sports]
UFC's Dana White to Try His Hand as Boxing Promoter

IN ADDITION:
Whom did @WeGentlepersons on the Twitter? I've nowt to do with it, soitenly.

*www.IllusioneCigars.com
**www.GroovyGuyGifts.com

Friday, November 17, 2017

Macanudo Inspirado White - Cigar Review

Looking out the window whilst washing the dishes this morning, I saw a neighbor walk past with a new dog, a black and white fluffy medium-sized thing. The dog, not the neighbor. It was nice to see. Nicer was my feeling of somewhat belonging or at least familiarity to or with the area I've lived in for the better part of a decade now.

Mind you, I have no idea where exactly this fella lives, nor have I ever spoken a single word to him. I have no intention of changing that, either. The idea of it truthfully makes me cringe. It's 'nuff connection as it is to make my morning a lil more okay than it may've otherwise been. Just a peek outta a window into the life of some vaguely familiar fellow human-being. Distances. Comfortable distances.

Please now read this review of a Macanudo Inspirado White offering. No need to tell me ya did, I'll know someone has, just by looking at the ol' blog stats and maybe even think fondly of that over the next sink of crusted-over plates and flatware.

NOTES:
Burns evenly and offers a smooth medium+ tensioned draw which satiates and saturates well particularly given the profile's mildness. Well-rolled sans soft/hard spots with nada softening via heating. Smoke stays cool to ye olde nub. Burnt-offerings grow-well lo, delicately-so in a nigh whiteness. Verily a smoky-smoke with delicate sweet room-note of pale floral spices. Lively yet gentle pepper-spice tingle. Subtly complex from draw to finish via them spices mingling-well with sweetnesses. Draw is spice then sweet, finish flips the script on longer legs than ya'd guess. Well-rounded with a zesty richness.
  • White pepper
  • Allspice
  • Cream
  • Wasabi
  • Lemonade
  • Chamomile
  • Vanilla bean
  • Caramel
  • Grass
  • Hay
  • Earth
WRAPPER: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
BINDER: Indonesian
FILLER: Nicaraguan, Mexican

STRENGTH: Mild-Medium
FORMAT: Robusto
ORIGIN: Dominican Republic

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

IN ADDITION:
Macanudo Inspirado Goes Black & White - Cigar News
Macanudo Inspirado Black (Original Blend) - Cigar Review
Macanudo Inspirado Black (Revamp) - Cigar Review

Sample courtesy of Fumare.
Reno's most exclusive Cigar Boutique.
Specializing in rare and hard to find cigars.

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"The Burrito Trap" 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Giancarlo Stanton & Jose Altuve Named 2017 MVP Recipients

The announcements were announced and how long is it again till pitchers and catchers report? I slunked back into my chair and took a deep breath, which is hard to do whilst slunked so I got a little light-headed but I pulled through OK. Ah, baseball's year-end let-down. The last of the awards biggies are in the bag.

Giancarlo Stanton, he of the Miami Marlins and super-bright retinae-searing toothy grin and Houston Astros spark-plug Jose Altuve (hey, have you heard he's on the short-side???) were tapped for the National and American League most Valuable Player awards, respectively. So spoketh the Baseball Writers' Association of America. As through-out the Big Four year-end trophy dole-outs, the production value of the MLB Network presentation was similar to that episode of Home Improvement where Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor let his oddest and youngest boy mock-up a video for Tool Time. The high-light of which was Jose Ramirez appearing live via satellite in what seemed to be hostage footage. Never have I doubted more the words of an interpreter; aside from every sign language translator ever.

Whilst Ramirez had the same crack at winning to-day as did yester-day's Cy Young Damn Yankees representative Luis Severino, Aaron "Dave Kingman" Judge was there to make things at least tighter than the space twixt his two front teefs. For this, it was opted not to lead with his post All-Star break slump and 200+ strike-outs. I adore stuff being stufft down my throat, don't you? Really though, it was rightly J.Altuve by a country-mile and deservedly-so. In the match-race of this ceremony, there was but only one pony whom put forth splendidly from the campaign's start to finish, and as mentioned nay it weren't A.Judge. Altuve, too a goodly-gloved second-baseman, racked up quite the MVP resume with a 346 batting average, 204 base-knocks, 81 ribbies and a tie for career-high 24 homers. He also led the league in the hustle-quotient of infield hits. He also-also set the league mark with his tally of three-hit games. He was second in runs with 112, third in stolen-bases with 32. He was nigh tops in many an other category, but I don't get paid by the word. So that's a succinct wrap on yer AL MVP. I might add that I still ain't used to the 'Stros being an AL squad, gentlepersons.

Onto the Senior Circuit, it was as mentioned, a big night for the also (if not equally) deservant Giancarlo Stanton. Now, on the strength of finally having a non-injury-plagued season, lettuce follow his chase for a long-term big-moolah contract. Speaking of chases, G.Stanton spent much of the '17 campaign chasing the home-run record of his choosing -- the 61 of Roger Maris. If only he'd called into target Babe Ruth's circa 1920 standard of 54, then doing away with all else. His 59 woulda been the best ever, in that case! Accompanying the prodigious HR total were 132 RBI and a batting-average of .281. The Marlins' right fielder too put in a top-five showing in runs and total bases. He also walked 85 times and legged-out 32 doubles. Ultimately, Stanton set personal-bests nigh across the offensive board. The Marlins finished their campaign with a losing record of 77-85, so one (me) must bend one's (mine) thoughts on what an MVP doth mean and do -- but in years as big as this was for Stanton -- that's practically doable. I'd come out and say Charlie Blackmon shoulda won, and Stanton was the best only of the three finalists from wherest C.Blackmon was somehow omitted... but Colorado as a whole seems to think well 'nuff of itself sans my help.

Of note is each honoree was a first-time honoree and that the National League's vote saw a record hair's breath separation twixt Stanton and the best hitter now hitting on G-d's green but really mostly blue earth: Joey Votto. Now if ya excuse me, there's a salty snack bowl waiting for me to turn it in into crumbs on the front of my sweatshirt.

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"The Burrito Trap"

Ferdie Pacheco "The Fight Doctor" Dead at 89

Ferdie Pacheco, world-renown as “The Fight Doctor” for his role in guiding Muhammad Ali as his once ringside and private physician, died to-day in his Miami home just weeks shy of his 90th birthday. This news coming via an announcement made by his daughter Tina Louise Pacheco.

The Ybor City born son of a pharmacist went on to earn a medical degree from the University of Miami after having his appetite for medicine whet whilst helping his father at work. Another of his interests came similarly-so when as a kid the two would go to the fights at Circulo Cubano de Tampa and other venues in the area. Upon graduation, he opened a practice in Overtown, a Miami neighborhood long and still steeped in poverty. He'd charge patients five bucks a visit, or nothing at all if that's what they had. Ever the fight fan, he spent his down-time frequenting cards put on by Chris Dundee. So much-so that he became a familiar face at these events.

One evening whilst chatting with Angelo, Chris's brother, whom at the time was a burgeoning trainer at the now-famed 5th Street Gym; Pacheco was offered an opportunity: stitching up fighters with free tickets as payment for service. He became in short-order a main-stay in Angelo Dundee’s corners which over-saw the careers and fights most famously of Muhammad Ali, but many other champions as well. The next chapter of his boxing life saw him move into broadcasting, as a boxing analyst for NBC and Showtime, among other networks.

His move from corner to ring-side came concurrently with Ali decisioning the all-time hard-hitting Earnie Shavers in 1977. Pacheco advised The Greatest to retire. He cited slowed reflexes and probable damage done to his brain and kidneys as the reasons for his prescription. When Ali refused, "The Fight Doctor" stayed on begrudgingly for four more bouts, of which Ali lost three. Afterwards, Pacheco finally retired from his corner in 1981. The two remained friendly and were together again for a final time in 2002. "You was right." Ali confided in him. He was then suffering the crippling effects of Parkinson's Disease.

The final chapter of Ferdie Pacheco's renaissance life saw him become an avid painter and author of several books some co-authored by his wife, including memoirs entitled Blood in My Coffee and Ybor City Chronicles. Too there were plays, screenplays, and short stories -- almost all set in the Ybor City of his youth. His artistry was influenced by Norman Rockwell's illustrative works and Diego Rivera's vibrant use of colors. The subjects of such were oft of the same ilk of his writings.

Fernando "Ferdie" Pacheco (December 8, 1927 - November 16, 2017) and that's one heckuva dash, gentlepersons. May his memory be for a blessing.

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"The Burrito Trap"

Dominion Black Lotus - Cigar Review

Snack Tray just read a story about Babe Ruth calling his shot. His review was: "I didn't like it but I didn't not like it." So, I'm looking to sell the kid-of-mine to the highest bidder. I'm out. Whilst waiting to field offers (please no men of the cloth or politicians) I figured I might as well sit down for a looksie at this Dominion Black Lotus offering.

NOTES:
Excellently constructed and performing cigar all-'round. Smooth medium+ tension'd draw delivering cool-smoke to smoke-hole, gate-to-wire. Seams and cap don't budge nor soften, and neither doth density of pack. There's a whole-lotta 'baccy in this Black Lotus. Verily slow and increasingly-so burn-rate with some slight puckerings at the even through-out char-line. Ash is a grower and a stubborn one at that, building in a medium-dark grey marbled stack a' dimes. There is some jagged dryness there-in the burnt-offerings on occasion.

A front of dusty spices fades through the opening stanza, as its black pepper tandem carries-on ahead. There's a growing sweet attachment all-along which stems from a viscous fruitiness of blood-red to purple hues, although remaining indistinguishable more-than that. Some gamey bits and soy sauce form the middling's majority alongside dark oily tobacco; gets a black walnut complexity warmly inserted at the half. Rich manure under-belly. Some alkaline tendencies on room-note and end-of finish. The finish itself is a quite-deep black pepper with sweet spice accompaniment. Does unfortunately bitter-some at final stanza. All-told well-balanced with 'nuff complexities to escape linear progressions.

WRAPPER: Honduran Habano Colorado
BINDER: Honduran Sumatra
FILLER: Nicaraguan, Honduran

STRENGTH: Medium-Full
FORMAT: Robusto
ORIGIN: Tabacos De Oriente, Honduras

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

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Corey Kluber & Max Scherzer Named 2017 Cy Young Award Recipients

Congratulations are due to the two hurlers deemed best of the best by the Baseball Writers Association of America to-day and thusly honored with this year's Cy Young Awards: Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians and Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals. Representing, natch, the Junior and Senior Circuits, respectively. For the second and third time each and again, respectively.

Humsoever, I must say: not just the best of the best were present and accounted for, at the oddly casual low-production announcements, as Chris Sale 'tweren't and for some reason Luis Severino 'twas. He answered the panel questions in such a way as I'd, well... answer the panel questions -- for we each knew we had the same shot at glory there. Poor kid. The Cy Young Award to me is what I feel the MVP is to many others. This is my personal biggest-deal of the Fantastic Four year-end accolades. If ya ask me -- but ya don't have to -- because I just told ya. My order of preference (are we still allowed preferences these days?) would be Cy Young, MVP, Manager of the Year, and Rookie of the Year. I won't get into why, nor promise to espouse or even recall that order later. But that all did get my word-count up and might just ping some keyword crawlers so's I look nice to Google searches. Baseball MLB Corey Kluber Max Scherzer Cy Young

In this the Year of the Home-run, the award becomes even a bigger deal and thankfully, found itself quite-well represented in and by this pair a' aces. How many years hath we now that could be called that? The Year of the Home-run. Babe Ruth revolutionizing the game and selling out stadiums as Ty Cob cussed and sharpened his cleats to razors. Barry Bonds going up a hat-size and saving the game from MLB and the strike and no World Serious. It's always the long-ball. And apple pie and blue jeans and beauty queens... Baseball MLB Corey Kluber Max Scherzer Cy Young Boy-O, I'm in a mood! I'd do bes' to digress.

Righty C.Kluber earned 28 of 30 first-place votes. This on the back of an American League-leading 18 wins and 2.25 ERA. All that in spite of spending a month on the shelf, licking wounds and collecting dust. All-told he finished with 203-stanzas of work and went a minimum a' six-frames in 25 of 29 starts. Only in this brave new whirled doth that work-rate speak to work-horse, gentlepersons. His five complete games tied him for tops in all the majors. 

The jury is still out on what I'm 'bout to impart, as to whether it's less or more impressive -- but Kluber truly won this award on the sweat a' only one of two brows. Or at least one of two halves. Of the season, to be clear. This award was awarded on the biggest mound turn-around I can recall (please don't ask me what I ate for breakfast). A day post-May Day his earned-run average was 5.06. He toe'd the rubber for just three-innings that day's-go. Then came the stretcher-stretch: a stint on the disabled-list. In his returning June till the 162nd game, he went 15-2 with that 15 being top of the top-class class, as was his 1.62 ERA. Kluber's other Cy Young came three-years ago, he is now the first Cleveland Indigenous People to win the honor twice. 

BoSox south-paw Chris Sale finished first-loser, followed to the line by Damn Yankees righty Luis Severino. It was not a photo-finish twixt place and show, gentlepersons. Interestingly, C.Sale's season was something like Kluber's in-reverse and part of me wondered if that'd lead to splitting the trophy -- but what-have ya done for me lately prevails and truly, what Kluber done lately was splendiferous.

M.Scherzer won the honors for the first-time as a member of the Detroit Tigers back in 2013. Most recently, he won last-year which is literally, most recently. Scherzer won going away over the innings-lacking trolley-Dodger Clayton Kershaw and his own Nats stable-mate Stephen "The Orchid" Strasburg. He done-so via securing 27 of 30 first-place votes, which makes either that or the AL's count, seem odd. Regardless, he's now the 10th hurler with at least three Cy Youngs under his belt. I wonder how them Mrs. Youngs feel about that. Baseball MLB Corey Kluber Max Scherzer Cy Young "Woooooo!!!" Ric Flair. 

Scherzer's 268 strike-outs led the NL and his 2.51 ERA ranked second. He too finished fourth in wins with 16. I mean really, does anyone else feel odd about this count? Ne'ertheless, he now hath one more Cy Young Award than eye hue. He has two differently-colored eyes.

Each winner had a rough-spot whenst it mattered most in the post-season, but that ain't incorporated into these votings. Lest S.Strasberg going from "Orchid" to "Succulent" therein may've won him the Cy-nod. Scherzer flung-up his arms at the news of his win and exalted an exclamation on the low-production MLB Network live presentation. Kluber's emotions could not be reached for comment and have not responded to phone-calls at the time of this writing.

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"The Burrito Trap" Kaplowitz Radio: November 15, 2017

Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andres - Cigar Review

I'm bleaching the little red house's kitchen counter-tops. Flu-Season, and all. Of course, I do it year-round, as I'm rather neurotic. To keep from bleaching my sweatpants and shirt, which should be seen as akin to ripped jeans in a fashion-sense -- but why trouble trouble -- I donned an old apron.

Back in my chef days of yore, I never wore the highfalutin jackets of the post's prescription. Instead, I wore a Tshirt with apron over-top. Why? Because no one asks the guy in the apron anything. He is left alone. Please don't leave me alone. Or at least first read this review of a Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andres in its Robusto format. Then, ya know, leave me alone. Or send gelt.

NOTES:
Performs via cruise-control burn with smoothly-medium draw tension. Brightly front-loaded of zesty baking-spice/red pepper -- subdues but hangs in to kindly-kick. Rising up of pecan, meat, grain, mocha, and marshmallow. Quite San Andres but greatly Broad-leaf influenced. Supremely-balanced, forward-driven. Complex bitter/sweet long clean leathery finish. Tingly viscous smoke-hole feel.

WRAPPER: Mexican San Andres
BINDER: Connecticut Broadleaf
FILLER: Nicaraguan

STRENGTH: Medium-Full
FORMAT: Robusto
ORIGIN: Tabacalera Villa Cuba S.A., Nicaragua

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