Cigar aficionados pay attention.


So I learned two things that I didn’t know before.  Who the model is and a new line of eyewear.  What’s does this have to do with cigars?  Everything to the man or woman who smokes them.

Cybill Shepherd, that’s who I thought of right away when I saw the model on page 63 of the Holiday edition of W Magazine 2017 who is also the face of the eyewear.  Her striking resemblance was indeed accentuated by the frames.  

Yes, I noticed the frames (Fashion Marketing 101).  But what really drew me to the ad were the prominent lines of the model’s lips, particularly her soft, but defined “cupid’s bow,”  and the right side at the top of the filigreed temple.  And then I began to take in the entire photograph.* 

Look how she has placed her hand on her neck as if her persona has a slight edge.  Her eyes are dreamily concentrating not at all on the photographer but expressively on me.  I am indeed paying as close attention to her as she is to me.

At the top by her little finger and with only a slight tilt of my eyes downward, I can see her pierced ear.  There is no adornment.  In this case, wearing an earring would have been a distraction.   Instead, my eyes are drawn to her swept-back, blonde locks, slightly out of focus. The length of her hair would be a guess.  It could be tied into a loose ponytail or combed back, coiffed in a short style that erotically engages me.

Her chin is slightly dimpled allowing my eyes to pan her lovely, smooth and dare I say perfectly smooth skin.  The stark contrast between the frame is striking and no doubt the intention of the shot.

Her dreamy-eyed stare arrests my attention to the point of murmuring to myself,” I’ll be there my love, please understand it takes me a moment to reach you.”

The face is that of “Amber Valletta . . . a fashion icon, actress, and humanitarian. As a supermodel, she graced the covers of hundreds of magazines and been featured in major advertising campaigns.

In addition to her fashion career, Amber is an accomplished actress. She has been seen on the hit TV show Revenge, and has co-starred in films such as What Lies Beneath, Hitch, Spy Next Door and Transporter 2.

Amber is known for her humanitarian and environmental efforts and remains invested in contributing her time and energy to the causes she cares about.”

The frame is the Oliver Peoples OP 505.  “Oliver Peoples is an American luxury eyewear brand established in 1987 and owned by Luxottica.  The brand is sold in Oliver Peoples boutiques, online, and at fashion boutiques and department stores throughout the world.

Oliver Peoples Eyewear is designed on LA’s Sunset Boulevard and handcrafted in Italy and Japan.”  (Wiki)

I’m always looking for something different to satisfy my palate.  How about you?

*( Photograph by Peter Lindbergh).

Just thinking , that is all. Just thinking.

irv in depth

It’s when I stare off into the distance and see nothing but “shades of pale” that I know I’m zoning into another dimension and my mind empties out all its percolating ideas, colors, tastes, tinsels of humor, and any real reasons to keep this charade going on.  

Oh, sure – I see the computer tower, my pipe, wires, papers, receipts, ink cartridges, and earbuds.  And badges!  But it’s as if all the life has been exorcised from them to leave nothing more than empty images, that if touched, would disintegrate into powdery browns, plasticine, blacks, shredded wire, and maroon dust.  It’s there, but, like a hologram – it isn’t.  

The idea of smoking a cigar skips across my mind and I find a dozen different reasons to avoid the leaf.  One, of course, being the bitchen cold that we here in the Midwest have to put up with during the first few months of the year.  Chariots of chocolate don’t help.  It’s a void, a feeling that even sound can’t penetrate.  It’s total darkness like when the guide at one of the caves in southern Indiana flips off the lights and there is nothing to confront you but the deepest black imaginable, scuffles disturb the startling silence, and anxiety-laden breathing starts.  You can hear it.  Short spurts of breathing.   

You want the light to reappear but you have no control over when or if it will depending on the mood of the seemingly bored senior volunteer adventurer who, I’m sure, has high expectations of someone freaking out and he has to come to his or her rescue.

It’s the lack of sound, light, sensation and thought that is missing and when they return they are all met with a sigh of relief followed by the cursed prose of Dante’s hell that reality is indeed tangible when in this state of mind.  But I still sit there, motionless, “The Audacity of Hope,” perverted by the function of the soul.  

This I’m not sure will last for a long time or a short period.  I can feed it.  Or I can starve this bloodsucker until it screams for penitence to save its hoary soul from the damage it has already done.

It’s just like before an endoscopy procedure.  Anxiety-ridden.  Five milligrams of Valium. “Increase that dosage to 10mm.  Give it 15 minutes.  What’s he made out of sinew, gristle, and bone?”

“No, he’s a cigar broker.”


“Drop him another 5mm.”

“How are his pupils?”


“He’s all wound up – somewhere.”

These voices are all around me.  But I know I’m at my desk alone.  Jersey Boys.  “If you continue to do what you’ve always done, you’ll continue to get what you’ve gotten. Guaranteed”  Nothing.  Just like being punch drunk.  No rye.  No nuthin’  Just errant thoughts that bring me back to consciousness.  Is that what this is?  This is f*#king being alive.  The siren stops.  The boulder crunches shut with a loud earthly muffled thump.

Battered but not beaten.  Skin heals.  Thoughts flow.  A slight shake of my head.  And the echo of sounds become louder and clearer.

Who’s calling now?


There is no R&R.  It comes and goes when it pleases.  Maybe my body is trying to cleanse itself – to keep life pumping through it.  Breathe deep.

Everything seems so close.  On the left.  The wall plaque.  The Possibility Thinkers Creed. Creed.  Faith.  Any pick.  Any pick at all.  I’m up for it.

Contemplative Cuban Cigar Chatter.


Listen.  I’m smoking a Cuban cigar in the PRESTO Cigar Lounge  (Open 24/7).  Listen. Toastycaramelwithatingeoflicoracemmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmcardamonmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmredflakepeppermmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmroughgroundexplosionofspicemmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmtanninmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Eyes closed.


Aged Oliveros Gold Series Bourbon

irv and olivaros


5 3/4 x 50 Box of 10

Strength: Mild Bodied

Origin: Dominican Republic

Wrapper: Colorado Claro

Shape: Straight

Flavor: Bourbon

Found.  In my desk drawer.  The office was to be painted and I had to clear the place out.  During the excavation, I find this cigar relic at the back of the center drawer and since it had been sealed in a glass tube, I figured it would be fine to smoke. 

I could not find reliable resources when it was released.  Regardless, it’s been hidden away under no special conditions.   No humidification.  Nothing.  Zero.  Taken care of like an old pencil.

So today after I cleaned out the drawer, I decided to give it up to the gods of fire and exorcise its spirit of who knows how many years and see what it had to offer.   Being of the bourbon-flavored species, this was obviously given to me and I simply stashed it in my drawer – and forgot about it.

But when I did release it from its “cigarphagus” believe it or not, the cigar was delicious. I will give it full marks for flavor, subtleness, and draw.  It was a perfect smoke from what I could tell never having one before.

I was with my son when I smoked it and I was so surprised that it still had some kick to it despite the conditions it had been stored.  I heard myself saying to him, “Damn, this is a good cigar.”  Now it could be my taste buds are shot, but I won’t go to that extreme.  I’m taking into consideration the entire history of the cigar and while it may have been stressed it still had a lot to offer.  My son and I headed for lunch.

I parked the car and I secured the cigar between my windshield blades and the windshield so I could continue to smoke it when I got out. When I did relight it – adding to its already stressed condition, the cigar held up and continued to give me an enjoyable, almost whimsical experience.

So maybe it was curious luck, being in the glass tube, whatever, but this is proof positive that all the cigar aficionados out there that are so quirky about having their cigars in perfect conditions should take note – chill.


This time cigar choices are secondary.


“Seven Days in the Art World,” by Sarah Thornton was a delight.  As quoted by Vogue, “An indelible portrait of a peculiar society.”   How true.  Briefly, “Sarah Thornton’s vivid ethnography – an international hit, now translated into ten languages – reveals the inner workings of the sophisticated subcultures that make up the contemporary art world. In a series of day-in-the-life narratives set in New York, Los Angeles, London, Basel, Venice, and Tokyo, “Seven Days in the Art World” explores the dynamics of creativity, taste, status, money, and the search for the meaning of life.” (Back cover)

A delightful book that I looked forward to reading every night before I retired.  But I’m finished now.  And I feel that there is a void, a very loud, pronounced emptiness that has permeated the bedroom.  The question has been on my mind, “What do I read next,” for the last few days and now that day has arrived and I need to find another book that I can approach with the same anticipation as I did “Seven Days in the Art World.”

Then it dawns on me.  This scenario is eerily familiar

Of course, it’s how I feel when I decide to change the cigar brand that I’ve been smoking for the last few days or sometimes weeks.  It’s finished.  I want to move on to a new adventure.  What do I pick?  I do have a dandy selection to choose from.  Question is, which one do I choose?  I will say this, selecting a book is more of a challenge than picking out a cigar.  Reading a book can go on for weeks, the cigar is for an hour or so. The commitment is so much greater when pulling a certain tome off my library shelf than lifting a cigar out of the humidor.

But then I decide to go in between insouciance and total commitment and I chose what I call a bridge book.  That’s one that has fewer pages and is considered to be light reading, “Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, The Flesh, and L.A.” by Eve Babitz. “Babitz achieved that American ideal: art that stays loose, maintains its cool, is purely enjoyable enough to be mistaken for simple entertainment.  It’s a tradition that includes Duke Ellington, Fred Astaire, Preston Sturges, Ed Ruscha, and, it goes without saying, Marilyn Monroe.”  (Lili Anolik – Vanity Fair)

The Cigar?  Eh, maybe the Bolivar, an Isabela Churchill, or perhaps just one that’s been hanging around.  I really don’t know or quite frankly care how many or which cigars I’ll smoke before I choose the next book.   But I will eventually pick a publishers’ plume and plunge right in.  Can’t wait.

“these are fragments” podcast to air.

these are fragments“these are fragments,” will be on the air in a few weeks.  It’s my second attempt at launching a vocal outlet, i.e. – a Podcast, for my musings.  You see, I don’t see my blog posts as mere words concatenated to create prose, but rather swatches of organic paint gently being applied by brush on canvas to produce shards of art that reveal my thoughts to share in whatever form they take – be they abstract, realistic, or just splatters of colors.  And now I am giving my readers what I see as my next natural expansion of expression.

My readers?  I love them all.  I really do.  They come in all shapes and sizes and frames of mind.  Some like sports, others firearms, hunting, or automobile racing.  But there is a niche that also enjoys the nature of cigars and how they interact with, well for lack of better words, the more subtle notions of our culture such as art, music, literature, film, and theater.

I find it very challenging to pen essays that provide the latter smoker with intellectually challenging and stimulating subjects and how they relate and interconnect with each other such as a nimble puzzle freak might look forward to solving the fiendishly difficult Rubik’s Cube in record time. 

So my first podcast was to vicariously recreate the actual smoking experience – such as a quiet summer’s eve on the stately bricks of the Patio Cigar Lounge (Open 24/7).  Just a laid back moment of time puffing away on a cigar and absorbing the serenity of God’s handiwork (yes, a cliché).  Over many recordings I realized that I could not produce the same feeling I was experiencing and so I decided to add some spontaneous comments. And while smoking the cigar, I asked my son to point the microphone in the direction of nature’s symphonic sounds of a restful and reverent evening such as a rabbit rustling through the leaves, crickets scratching and cicadas chirping, or wind chimes building to the cotton candy crescendo of Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, Op.4 sleepily taking in the night’s snug solitude, and serenity. (Click below to listen to this masterpiece of music.) 

It didn’t scan.

So.  Now.  Each week I will attempt to have my podcast twang the intellect as did the words of Louis Studs” Terkel (May 16, 1912 – October 31, 2008) the American author, historian, actor, broadcaster and monologist did on radio.  He received the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1985 for “The Good War”, and is best remembered for his oral histories of common Americans, and for hosting a long-running radio show in Chicago.”

My podcasts will be interpretative fragments of my life as seen through my eyes as a cigar broker and essayist – in a culture that has morphed into Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy.   If you’ve read any one of my posts you are already well acquainted with the contrapuntal variety of subjects that I twist, tousle, and tangle together into the traditional world of cigars.  

This podcast will not be unprepared collisions of vapid verbiage strewn about in a makeshift studio by cigar smokers who would have scored at the nadir on Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour, “the American radio and television program that showcased undiscovered talent.  The show was a continuation of Major Bowes Amateur Hour which had been a radio staple from 1934 to 1945.  Major Edward Bowes, the originator of the program and its master of ceremonies, left the show in 1945 and died the following year. He was ultimately succeeded by Ted Mack when the show was brought into television in 1948.  The (Amateur Hour) is a progenitor of later, similar programs such as Star Search, American Idol, and America’s Got Talent.” (Wiki)

My plan is to professionally narrate coherent cultural cigar content (but not always) and will perhaps add whipping cream, jimmies and a cherry on top to complete the on-air entertainment.  And, “these are fragments,”  is meant to be just that.

My hope?  My hope is that you’ll like “these are fragments,” and will anxiously look forward to listening to each weekly episode by visiting my website:

Now.  In the meantime, please tell a friend, light up your favorite cigar and enjoy the music.  Click below.

Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, Op.4


Cigars Need To Stay On It.


I just became aware of Julius Eastman, “ . . . the kind of American genius not enough people know about.”  (The New Yorker, January 22, 2018)  He is on the periphery of the famous avant-garde composers, such as Philip Glass, Harold Budd, Charles Ives, John Cage, Steve Reich, Lydia Lunch and David Tudor.

His music, though somewhat controversial, (John Cage once said “that the younger writer had few ideas,” has been around since the 70s and had been almost forgotten save for those who are deeply embedded in this genre of composition.

His pedigree is impressive, “ As a student, Eastman earned his degree in piano and composition at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Musics, in Philadelphia.”  And his talents were not limited to composition, “he had a remarkable voice – deep, soulful, nuanced – that attracted attention.”  

What brought about this renaissance of notoriety surfaced about a year ago when news about the author, Renée Levine Packer, and composer, Mary Jane Leach, edited an anthology of essays about him, entitled “Gay Guerrilla,” published in the January 23rd, 2017 issue of The New Yorker.

Known more for his vocal process, “Identity politics has probably played a role in the Eastman renaissance: programming a black, gay composer quells questions about diversity. But it’s the music that commands attention: wild, grand, delirious, demonic, an uncontainable personality surging into sound. (Alex Ross)

He called what he composed “organic music,” each phrase of a piece contained a bit from the previous phrase – but then he might erase some phrases.”  After listening to a number of his pieces, I can say with certainty that Mr. Eastman has a permanent place within the famed composers of greater recognition.

Unfortunately, being ensconced at this late date may have been to his short time on this earth as well.  “Eastman, it seems, was a man filled with longing, and with dashed hopes that he helped dash.  He wanted an academic position in order to keep going, but it didn’t come through; he didn’t go along to get along, which is part of his genius, and his tragedy.  When he died, in 1990 (b. 1940), he was homeless.  Many of his compositions had been thrown out when he failed to pay the rent for his East Village apartment.”

All the arts have their forgotten souls who contributed so very much or tried and were revived only by the interest of others.  So it is with brand names of cigars that surface for such a short time, but then are totally forgotten or never gain traction due to the hapless fate and the unwillingness of the scoured, dreaded marketplace that has so little time for those who can’t instantly pay the rent.