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Monday, November 9, 2009

Stalk Priming

American Photo Services. Tobacco leaves drying, Havana Province, ca. 1920. From the Ramiro Fernandez Collection: I Was Cuba, Kevin Kwan.

For the better part of 2009 we have been researching and studying a very unique dark tobacco harvesting method known as Stalk Priming.  This is an exclusive presentation of an agricultural and processing method which has been hidden or lost to the contemporary world of cigar smokers.   We are calling this content “in development” because we would like to re-create these harvesting and processing conditions and ultimately taste the final product; that will take money, time, and more effort.  In addition, this is considered CMT Curriculum, or ‘advanced’ content which will eventually go into the testing process for Certified Master Tobacconists.

Regardless of all these details, none of the research and writing we do has any value if we do not share it, so here it is…  Please feel free to comment and share.

Thanks to Jose “Don Pepin” Garcia for sharing his time, experience, and wisdom during the development of this content.  The astute observer may have noticed that we included a definition of Stalk Priming in The Tobacconist Handbook and TU Glossary, but this is the first preview of the academic curriculum.

Friday, November 6, 2009

We Are Better Than "Them" Bigotry

“We are better than them” is a notion that anti-smokers and the anti-smoking movement hold close to their hearts and minds.  But they do not have a monopoly on that sentiment, as I just heard a cigar salesman tell me that “we are better than them” when referring to cigarette smokers.
We know that cigars and pipe smokers enjoy tobacco very differently from cigarette smokers and the products themselves are very different.  But, dependency and patterns of use does not make anyone better than another.
Are you better than me because you work out four days a week and I only work out three?  Are you better because you eat more vegetables?  Are you better because you are thinner?  better looking? have more hair? etc…..  The notion that one person is better than another for the pleasures they choose, their tastes, and/or preferences is absurd, divisive, and it is the reason all smokers are losing their rights.  The anti-smoking/nanny-state/pleasure-police movement capitalizes on the notion that ‘they know better’ and that ‘they are better’.  But, this is a fraud and it is the essence of their bigotry.  The only qualitative measure of a person should derive from how they treat other people.
Ultimately, we must all respect each others’ rights and freedoms in order preserve our own.  Tobacco users are not “dirty”, “filthy”, or “disgusting” people any more than non-smokers, fat, or ugly people are.  In fact, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and taste is subjective, so who are we to judge?
Tobacconists and tobacco lovers are clearly the besmirched underdog in this society and we are going to have to change the way we view the world in order to make significant progress.  We must change our perspective, become less divisive, build more coalitions, and teach others to respect our freedoms and choices as much as we respect theirs.  If every cigar lover, as 5% of the population, convinced 12 people to respect our freedoms, then we could have a chance at surviving the tyranny of the majority.

“We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
- Benjamin Franklin