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About TheGipper

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    Leftist Coast USA
  1. Great work, gents. And someone needs to state the obvious, before any one freaks out about some of those alarming descriptions.... Mold is everywhere. Not just on your aged cigars. If you are freaked out about smoking a cigar that has even the smallest hint of mold spores, well then, you probably have to give up the hobby altogether. Not to mention, you will also have to give up eating pretty much all food! Besides, I can think of no better way to destroy mold spores than setting them on fire.
  2. So much misinformation in this thread, so little time... 1. All...I'll say it again, *ALL* TARP funds that went to financial institutions were repaid 100%-plus-interest. TARP/TARPII bailouts made money for the US taxpayer (except for bailout funds that went to the automotive industry. While the automotive industry technically repaid their TARP loans, they received the benefit of bypass of senior debt holders that was not repaid; no banks received similar debt bypass.) If you're upset about your tax dollars going to big Wall Streeters; well then, be relieved the Wall Street folks paid all that back and more. 2. The Lehman / Merrill / AIG liquidity crises arose almost entirely from well-intentioned mark to market accounting rules (put in place after Enron asset pricing fraud). The companies with large subprime portfolios normally would have been able to hold the performing loans until things improved; instead, regulatory capital requirements and a seized up bond market forced those companies to sell that debt at fire-sale valuations which were way below their actual performance (many MBS securities were sold at prices assuming 90%+ percent default rates, which we never got anywhere close to in the subprime range, let alone the entire mortgage market in aggregate). 3. Glass-Steagall was never repealed. No really. Go look it up. It still is in place today. Gramm-Leach-Bliley made a change to Glass-Steagall to allow banks to affiliate with securities firms. It never allowed banks to invest insured money in MBS. Couldn't happen before Gramm-Leach-Bliley; couldn't happen after it; couldn't happen in 2008; and still can't happen today. 4. Glass-Steagall has nothing to do with non-bank mortgage trading. It does not regulate non-banks. It does not regulate mortgage backed securities. You'll notice all the big failures, like Lehman, and AIG are not banks. In fact, if the pre-Gramm-Leach-Bliley laws had still been in place in 2008, then the rescue of Merrill Lynch by B of A would have been impossible (illegal). It would have resulted in another massive bankruptcy. Because Gramm-Leach-Bliley allowed B of A to buy them, Merrill was saved and is doing very well today under B of A. And remember, even today, when you deposit into a B of A bank account, current regulations don't allow B of A to then give that money to their Merrill Lynch division to invest in "risky" assets. So all the imagined "risky" dabbling by post-Gramm-Leach-Bliley banks into exotic securities isn't happening. Didn't happen before Gramm-Leach-Bliley, didn't happen in 2008, and still not happening today.
  3. Just for clarity, these are all 25 count boxes. So $3550 a box translates to $142 a stick. These have been volatile on the secondary market in the last few years. A partial (23/25) box just sold in February at the London auction for $3325. It was a previously full box from the November 2015 auction when it sold for $1900. Whoever bought it got to smoke 2 of them and received a $1400+ return on holding the other 23 for about a year!
  4. This tactic is not officially sanctioned by US CBP. You only get this when you happen to get an agent in a foul mood who doesn't want to do the paperwork. I have personally only seen this once, about 15 years ago on a full 25 count box.
  5. This is a key point I have been thinking about. I have been using Carbonite service also, thinking I am covered. But, hmm... But are there ransomware programs out there sophisticated to introduce a delay between their surreptitious encrypting of your files and the point it announces itself and demands payment? And if there are no ransomware variants that currently do that, how long until they do? Any ransomware that encrypts the files, then spends the next week/month or so silently acting as a decrypting pass-through for those files as you use them normally will end up over-writing your instant/periodic backups with encrypted files. Meaning the ransomware has you over a barrel, as you have no unencrypted backup. Unless your online backup service provides multiple versions of the file going back weeks or months. I may check to see if Carbonite offers some elevated service level that keeps multiple versions of all files available. And I would think locally attached backup disks are pretty much worthless as a defense against this. Any ransomware will easily find attached drives and encrypt those backup files also.
  6. Just checked the CBP site below. The duty free limit is 1L per person, not 2L like I said. Hmm, was it always 1L and I mis-remembered, or was is lowered at some point? If you bring more than the duty free limit, just be sure to state it up front. Most of the time when I do this, the border agent doesn't even lift an eyebrow. On the rare occasion when they look up at me after I say "6 bottles", I just say, "I'll happily pay the duty on the extra bottles." They usually just wave me on. I think they know the administrative cost of having someone at the desk look up the duty on those bottles and booking my payment probably exceeds the duty they collect anyway. The one time I did have to pay it, it took the agent inside the building about 10 minutes of looking through printed tables to figure out how much to charge me.
  7. Tell the duty free you are traveling to the USA. They have special bags they put the purchase into that are approved by the TSA. The bag is clear and is sealed by the duty free shop, so that it can't be tampered with. You should be able to then keep it in carry on luggage. Keep the receipt to show TSA if they ask. See the bottom paragraph on the following page: As to the limit, I believe it's still 2 liters duty free. But there is actually no limit to how many you bottles can bring in. It's just that you are supposed to pay the duty on any amount more than 2 liters. I often bring more than 2L driving in from Canada. I just declare how much, and only once in 20 years have I had the customs agent tell me to pull into the station to pay the duty. I had 6 total bottles and the duty ended up being something insignificant, $11 if I remember right. Was more annoyed by the time it took to go into the office and pay the duty than I was by the dollar amount.
  8. Bar code authenticity check is utterly meaningless. It's easy to duplicate numbers or simply look them up. They're sequentially applied anyway, so one valid number for a box will give counterfeiters many valid numbers to apply. The bar code isn't really intended for our benefit anyway. I can say with a lot of confidence you did not get the BAM MAR 16 box on the right from our hosts. Or any other reliable shop.
  9. Always love a Vegas trip report! Your next trip to Vegas, be sure to hit the Rhumbar at The Mirage. It's a great place to sit outside and soak up the atmosphere of the Strip, and have a great Mojito with a cigar!
  10. Funny, the Google translate apps thinks this says, "Bushings be kills. Tobacco Smoke your environment."
  11. The language is Serbian. A health warning sticker. It says "Smoking kills, something something, blah blah."
  12. Good microcosm of modern American journalism. A guy who had never seen a torch lighter before is the Washington Post's idea of an expert on cigars.
  13. Got news for the "OMG don't risk inhaling a single mold spore!" crowd... Mold spores are everywhere in small quantities. Almost everyone will inhale small quantities of mold spores throughout their life, both indoors and outdoors. It's just exceptionally high levels combined with long-term exposure that can lead to problems. And I suspect there are few better ways to eliminate a mold spore than setting fire to it.
  14. PSD4 box arrived here today from our host. Looks exactly like the new one presented here. Dark, sharply defined markings. But definitely branded, not ink printed. Run your finger along the marks, you'll just barely feel the indentation. My guess it they probably recently promoted the 300 pound dude with gorilla arms who used to run the box branding machine to a different job. His replacement is a 90 pound young woman who can only open the door to her house by getting her shoulder into it.
  15. How have you come to the conclusion they are printed? I have seen many boxes where the brand was applied with an extremely light touch, making virtually no indentation in the wood.

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