Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cigar Week

Welcome to Cigar Week here at OPOD. Last week, Tea Parties were tailored to the interests of the ladies, so this week we pick a topic possibly more interesting to the men.

As an added bonus, today will be a mystery person contest. Can you name who is in the picture?

OK, a few comments on cigars. Everyone knows that the best cigars come from Cuba, and Cuban cigars are not legal in the US. There are many black market Cuban cigars one can buy in the US, but most all of them are fake. Fakes are a huge industry, and there are probably more fake Cuban cigars in the world than real ones. If you go to a place where Cuban cigars are legal, a good Cuban will cost you between $20 and $50. The best Cuban cigars are the Montechristo Churchill and the Cohiba Piramides. Some may ask if Cuban cigars are really better, or if it is just the mystique of a cigar not legal in the US. I can report that they really are much better. Sort of like the difference between a can of soda pop and a real one made up at a soda fountain. They are very strong, and have wonderful flavors not available in any other cigars. Some cigars claim that they are made with Cuban seeds grown in a nearby country, but they never taste anything like an authentic Cuban. I hope one day that they lift the embargo, and Cuban cigars become legal again.


I apologize that I have not had a domestic update in the last few weeks, but I have been very busy. Between teaching school, running the greenhouse, and staying on top of all the WEB sites, I have been pretty overwhelmed.

Things continue to go well in the greenhouse. I am in the process of moving out the "test" hydroponic systems, and moving in the full scale systems. I am trying to do this in a manner such that I do not interrupt vegetable production. So far, everything we have tried to grow has worked well. I am eager to get the new systems fully installed to increase production. Mrs. PJM takes vegetables in to work each day, and they immediately sell out. People want to buy fresh, pesticide free vegetables. Plus, we grow all the vegetables that we eat, so no longer have to buy them at the grocery store.

One limitation to our set up is that the water quality is not suitable for hydroponics. It is extremely hard water, and has way to much calcium. So, before using the water in the greenhouse, I have to run it through an RO system to purify it. This creates high quality water, but the RO system dumps about 6 gallons of water for every gallon of RO water it produces. If you have one of those under the counter RO systems, notice the little hose that runs from the filters to the drain line on the sink. That little hose is where all the waste water goes out. So, for the greenhouse, I end up wasting a lot of water. Since I don't want to waste water, yesterday I started building raised beds outside the greenhouse. I will use the waste water from the RO system to water vegetables in the raised beds. I planted garlic in the first one, and will try and build another one today, and will plant onions in it.

I will try to have to pictures for you next week.


  1. This is Speaker of the House Joseph Gurney Cannon.

  2. Yes Nate, you are correct. Joseph Cannon, speaker of the house.

    BTW, I do not care for the hat.

  3. Good morning!

    Congrats, ENM.

    Mr. PJM, thank you for the domestic update. I don't like the hat either, oddly fuzzy looking.

  4. Tanks for the domistic update.

    You should get yourslef a tank to and collect the rain water from your building. That would be about as soft and chemical free water as you can get.

    WOW, I didn't realize that RO systems wasted that much water. But then maybe it is the quality of the water that causes so much loss.

  5. BTW, I agree with your hat assessment. I do not care for his hat or his flagrant disregard for the Constitution.

  6. Could Mr. Cannon have possibly invented a rude hand gesture, minus cigar, that is still in use today?

  7. Nate,

    You mean "Uncle Joe" Cannon who said of Theodore Roosevelt,

    "He has no more use for the Constitution than a tomcat has for a marriage license?"

  8. Jon, no, I meant Cannon in particular for his early support of the unconstitutional Republican agenda through his support of the 16th Amendment.

  9. I agree with the previous posters concerning the hat. I wonder what type of “fuzzy” material it was made from, or whether it has something to do with the photograph.

    Re the cigars, it is definitely true that Cuban cigars are better - and cigars in general are coming back into vogue as “sophisticated.” My husband is now at an age when he and his buddies find it “cool” to smoke cigars at the bar at our beach club; and several upscale “cigar lounges” have opened in and around Providence.

    Although it is still illegal to import Cuban cigars (as it is considered “trading with the enemy”), they are still available in the US - it’s sort of like bootlegging during prohibition. You can purchase Cuban cigars everywhere else in the world, including Canada, Mexico, and the Carribean. Personally, I don’t see what the big deal is - people buy them in other places and then smuggle them back in their luggage. I’m not admitting to anything, but I’ve seen it done.

    And, this brings me to another sore point - I, and many others, think it is a ridiculous waste of time for the United States to continue to impose a travel embargo on Cuba - it’s pointless and hypocritical. When I was younger (before Castro), Cuba was one of the most beautiful vacation destinations in the world, and members of my family went there all the time.

    Technically, it isn’t even illegal to travel to Cuba, but it is illegal to spend money there (again, the “trading with the enemy” thing). You are supposed to get permission from the Treasury Department and it has to be for work, journalism, or humanitarian aid. I don’t see what the point is - we are allowed to travel to countries like Russia (where they hate us), China (which is communist), the Middle East, and even Vietnam, where they slaughtered our servicemen. I’ve even been to Venezuela on vacation. And . . . .every other country in the world allows travel to Cuba,.which has some of the most beautiful resorts in the world -so what’s the point?

    Each year, almost 83,000 Americans visit Cuba - with about 20,000 to 30,000 doing so illegally, mostly by going from Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean. There are ways to get there without getting caught - by going through a third country - people do it all the time. And the Cubans welcome the Americans and their money and don’t stamp your passport.

    I intend to make it to Cuba one way or another in my lifetime. If they don’t lift the embargo, I’ll eventually take my chances - the worst they can do is fine you.

  10. I have patients who left Cuba many years ago to remain free. They speak of Cuba's former beauty. They also agree they would like to go back one day... but not until it is a free nation. There's no way around it. If a country won't let you leave something's wrong.

    I would guess the embargo will end when the present form of government in Cuba has ended.

    I agree with others, the hat is a dog (or made from one).