Saturday, November 12, 2005

Tom Cruise is insane

OMG I just saw the funniest site ever. I truly think Tom Cruise has lost his mind, and there are a few sites out there that are tearing him to shreds. Check out this site http://passionofthecruise.info/

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Hypnosis Chicago

If you're looking for a hypnotherapist in chicago, I recommend highly that you talk to Discover Self Hypnosis. Totally effective for things like losing weight, quitting smoking, anxiety, public speaking, etc. Check them out at Hypnosis Chicago

Good luck!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

How many cigars do you need?

OK, so I'm debating with myself. I am trying to plan next week's cigar inventory, and I'm at an impasse. I think, when you're looking at balancing health with vice, you need to focus on moderation, but not too much....does that make any sense? Of course not. For example, I like to have 1 or 2 drinks a night. Healthy drinks. LOL. Anything from a beer or 2, or a glass of wine or 2, or a martini or 2 as we get later into the week. With cigars it's the same thing, except a bit less. 0-1 cigars a night is fine with me. Of course, it's all a matter of preference and tolerance. I'm a tobacco moderate. I love a good cigar, but if I have a particularly strong one some evening, I maybe don't need one for a while. Here's the deal, I found a site that actually agrees with me, 7cigars.com, they think 1 cigar everyday is perfect. I happen to agree. So I'm sending you there. enjoy! BTW- I vote for Arturo Fuente later in the week, kind of like a martini, eh?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Cigar Tips

The first thing anyone should do when buying a cigar is make sure it's fresh. In order for this to happen you need to order from a reliable online store. I always shop with these guys for my cigar . Cigars dry up in less than 24 hours after their removal from the humidor. To determine if it's fresh, pinch it with two fingers, like you're pinching a girls ass;)

Wrappers should be tender. If it's hard and the wrapper cracks, it's dry, donate it to charity. Also look at the whole box. If you see any discoloration is another sign of a bad cigar.
Next I want you to cut the head of the cigar. Cutting the head will give you a healthy draw; cutting too little makes the cigar hard to smoke, and cutting too much makes the wrapper unwind. By now you should have a good cutter. A single blade will do, but it needs to be halfway decent. I'd recommend spending $40.

More to come later on the next steps...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

COUNTERFEITS, FAKES, & INFRINGERS

Article From: http://www.investigation.com/articles/library/2002articles/articles13.htm

The fight to keep illegal merchandise off the market is a constant battle for prominent cigar manufacturers. It remains a big Internet problem, but even traditional retailers become inadvertently, or intentionally, entangled. Following a panel discussion earlier this year on counterfeit cigars sponsored by the Tobacconist Association of America (TAA) in New Orleans, David Danziger, vice president of sales, marketing and corporate development for General Cigar Co., decided to take a walk around the city. Entering a smoke shop he declines to identify, Danziger was startled to see a Dominican Republic-made knockoff of the Cuban Cohiba, a brand that General owns in the United States and manufactures in the Dominican Republic. "Right there in front of me was a whole load of yellow-band Cohibas exactly what I had just been talking about," Danziger said. "The owner wasn�t there, but the clerk put me on the phone with him. I explained who I was and that the cigars he was selling infringed on our Cohiba trademark. "He was extremely unwilling to take the product off his shelves. He called me a couple of days later to apologize. He said he didn�t believe I was who I said I was, and that he would take the cigars out of his store. I don�t think he ever did though." The closely related crimes of counterfeiting and trademark infringement continue to plague manufacturers of some of the most popular cigars sold in the United States- Fuente Fuente Opus X, Padron 1964 Anniversary Series, Cohiba, Montecristo, and Romeo y Julieta, to name just a few of the most prominent. The TAA seminar, attended by about 100 retailers, hosted a panel of prominent cigar industry executives who emphasized retailers� responsibilities to thwart counterfeiters. The general message was that retailers should know who they are buying product from, because reputable distributors won�t stock questionable cigars. More specifically, the panel said that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. "If someone is solicited by a counterfeiter, we would like to be told," Danziger said. "Our goal is to get at the source." Finding Counterfeit Sources Although in recent years Dominican authorities have seized millions of counterfeit cigars before they could be shipped, often cigars that end up being counterfeits are brought into the United States legally. "We see people bringing bulk quantities of cheap cigars into the United States, finding a print shop and getting a label for whatever they want to call them," said Zachary Mann, a spokesman for the U.S Custom�s Service in Miami. "At that point, it becomes a local economic crime-counterfeiting-instead of, potentially, a smuggling crime." In a relatively perverse twist, consumers sometimes know that they are buying less than authentic cigars. � I had one bad guy who was selling counterfeit Cubans- and that�s what he told his customers. He said they knew what they were buying, but the wanted to take them home to the Midwest somewhere and show their friends that they had Cuban cigars,� Mann said. �Normally, counterfeiting operations are a way to generate funds for other types of criminal activities,� said Michael G. Kessler, president of Michael G. Kessler & Associates, a New York based investigative consultant specializing in counterfeiting and trademark crimes. �They all are involved in crimes other than smuggling � tax fraud, money laundering and the like. Today, they might be smuggling tobacco products and tomorrow they might be doing fragrances. And there are companies in the U.S � legitimate companies- that act as distribution networks. They buy cheap and sell high. Smoke shops become the pawns because they think they are buying from a legitimate source. � If we see cigars coming from a port where they shouldn�t be coming from, we look for the distributor and try to determine if he is legitimate. The problems come in spurts, and we don�t find solid channels coming into the United States, unlike some other countries, like China, where counterfeiting is a way of life.� While the Fuente Fuente Opus X is among the most counterfeited cigars, Arturo Fuente Cigars also has trouble with the counterfeiting of its Arturo Fuente brand in the Dominican Republic, although the counterfeits don�t frequently show up in the United States in large quantities. � They sell to tourists, who bring back a few cigars or a box,� said Wayne Suarez an executive with distributor Fuente & Newman Premium Cigars. � Usually it happens to somebody who doesn�t know much about cigars. People buying them figure they were made in the Dominican Republic and Arturo Fuentes are made in the Dominican Republic so they must be authentic. As soon as they show the counterfeits to someone who smokes cigars regularly, they know immediately that they are not authentic. They are not going to fool anyone who smokes Arturo Puente.� While counterfeiting may appear to be an economic crime, Suarez said the loss of revenue is insignificant. � We are not concerned about the money we are losing,� Suarez said. � We are concerned much more about our reputation. Our cigars have the family name on them. That�s very important to us. If someone pays $ 40 for a Fuente Fuente Opus X and basically ends up with something that is unsmokable, that reflects on the Family-even if we didn�t make the cigar. � I get calls from consumers who tell me that they bought a bad Opus X. I have them send me the band, and ten out of ten times, it�s a counterfeit. We very infrequently get complaints about legitimate Fuente Fuente Opus X." Fuente also is ripped off frequently by less than reputable distributors who claim to have Arturo Fuente factory seconds. � There absolutely are no Fuente seconds,� Suarez said. � If they don�t measure up to Arturo Fuente standards, they are destroyed at the factory or given to employees to smoke.� Jim Colucci, senior vice president of sales ad marketing for Altadis U.S.A., Inc., said counterfeiting affects the whole industry, not just the brand being counterfeited. � If you are a new cigar smoker and end up smoking substandard counterfeit cigars- pieces of garbage that you paid a lot of money for � you are going to say, �why should I smoke cigars and get ripped off?� Colucci said. �It could ruin the whole industry.� Even as efforts have been mounted to ferret out counterfeit cigars, counterfeiters have become more sophisticated. Fuente has found some fake Opus X bands embossed and even stamped with metallic inks, just like the original, although they fail to stand up in side-by-side comparisons. Unwary consumers, particularly first-time buyers, could be readily fooled. Piloto Cigars Inc., manufacturer of the Padron brands, has attempted to deal with counterfeiters� growing sophistication by adding serial numbers to a second band on the Padron 1964 Anniversary Series. Defining Illegal Cigars There is general confusion among retailers about what constitutes counterfeiting and trademark infringement, which to cigar companies are merely different versions of the same crime. � We don�t really see a distinction,� Danziger said � Whoever is doing either one is stealing from us.� Blatant Knockoffs � Cuban-dressed Cohibas and Montecristos produced by Monte Cristi de Tabacos in the Dominican Republic, for example � are often easy to spot. The Monte Cristi Cohiba clearly states that it is manufactured in the Dominican Republic. The packaging and label of the Monte Cristi Montecristo, however, can be easily confused for the Montecristo manufactured in the Dominican Republican by Altadis�s USA. General Cigar Co. obtained a permanent injunction against a U.S distributor of Monte Cristi�s Dominican Cohiba, and Altadis received a $ 2 million judgment against the manufacturer for shipping counterfeit Montecristos into the United States. Altadis also received a $1 million judgment and permanent injunction against two Canadian companies � J.J Habanos Importers and the House of Salgado � for advertising the sale of Cuban Montecristo and H. Upmann, infringed on Altadis�s U.S trademark. Altadis has gone so far as to train its sales representatives on the procedure they are to follow if they find suspected counterfeit cigars in a retail shop. �We�ve been very tough with our retailers,� Colucci said. � We let them know that if we find them selling a Monte Cristi cigar, we will stop selling to them as a direct customer.� That threat notwithstanding, Colucci said, Altadis has canceled the accounts of fewer than a half dozen smoke shops. � We haven�t seen very many counterfeit Montecristos since we got the judgment,� Colucci said. Aiding counterfeiters is the relative anonymity of the Internet, where fraud can easily occur. Two years ago, after police seized 3,000 counterfeit Padron 1964 Anniversary Series cigars and an additional 5,000 bands in a raid on a Los Angeles warehouse, Padron sent a letter to his customers, urging that they be wary about purchases they make on the Internet � particularly from unfamiliar websites or through auctions. �Unfortunately, consumers will not be in a position to know if the product they purchase over the Internet are genuine or counterfeit until they are already paid for and received,� Padron said.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Hypnosis - Losing Weight

I'm dying to lose some weight before my class reunion. It's coming up in November, so I have some time to get ready. A friend was telling try hypnosis. I actually did that to quit smoking. I think I might try to do a weight loss hypnosis class. Self hypnosis is really cool actually, it gives you a lot of mental tools to break out of bad habits. I'll let you know how it goes.