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About Philc2001

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  • Birthday December 29

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  • Location
    Cone of Death
  • Interests
    Family, Investing, Stock Picking, Fine Cigars, Scotch, Computers, Blogging, Travel, Cars... too many vises!

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  1. A few 14 and 15 production cigars have impressed. Nothing yet with 16 codes that are close to 14/15 flavor wise, they're all uni-dimensional and basic tobacco core. I've put all my 16s down for a long nap and I probably won't touch them for another year.
  2. Overgrown water spot?
  3. Siena is an absolute must if your schedule permits. I got lucky, the last time I was there I caught the running of the Palio - a huge local extravaganza culminating in a bareback horse race in the big square called Piazza del Campo. The entire day is filled with parades throughout the streets, with locals in full period military garb, flag bearers doing tricks with their flags, and all sorts of signing. It's a real treat and the surroundings, the food and the festivities are all world class. The buildup to the race in the Piazza takes a couple of hours, and then the riders enter in a ceremonial procession and parade along the track. When the race finally goes off, it lasts about 2 minutes, and then crowd pours out into the streets and parties all night. There is heavy gambling and lots of local pride in the winning village on display. One of the most memorable features of my trip to Italy. Unfortunately, it runs in July and August, so you won't be able to catch it on this trip. However, Siena is one of the nicest medieval towns in Tuscany, very well restored, with all sorts of beautiful buildings. Their Duomo is one of the nicest in all of Italy, with extensive history. Another nearby town worth a visit, if you can fit it in, is San Gimignano - straight out of the medieval movie sets. It's a walled hill town, preserved as it was 1,000 years ago. Absolutely stunning to see, with their high lookout tower standing at the high point in the city. Picturesque as can be.
  4. If you want Swiss automatic movement, it's hard to beat Steinhart and Hamilton. Good value for what you get. I've had 3 Steinharts, and currently have two in my possession, and I really love them, they are excellent time pieces. I also have Ball, Seikos, Deep Blue, and a few others. Used to have Omegas, but got away from them. Personally I don't like the look of any Rolex watches, especially the submariner and GMT. There are too many knockoffs in the world. But Rolex makes excellent watches, so it has nothing to do with quality or value, it's just a personal taste thing. There are far too many other unique and distinct watches that I like. This is the Steinhart Aviation GMT. In my opinion this is a truly beautiful watch with a terrific ETA Swiss automatic movement. It's a very distinctive piece, and I really enjoy wearing this on casual days with a pair of jeans and rolled sleeves. My other Steinhart is the Ocean-II in white, with white bezel, on shark mesh, also with Swiss automatic movement - this one also has a sapphire bezel insert that glows nicely in the dark. This is my Hamilton Khaki Navy Regatta; And my Hamilton X-Wind
  5. Oh brother, you are in for a treat. I LOVE ITALY! And specifically Rome and Florence, wow, what fond memories I have from there. Forget about the cigars, just bring your own. I don't know how good you are with research and planning, but try to download as many of the podcasts and free tour guides online as you can. There are many really good ones, and free, including a number by Rick Steeves. Do it before you go so you can have them on your phone and won't be relying on spotty WiFi and cell service. In Italy use a money belt or travel pouch under your clothing where you can keep your passport and your money. It's quite safe, but pick-pocketers abound. Check with your bank beforehand for affiliated banks in Italy - and use their ATMs to avoid huge fees. Get a Visa Venture card or similar that does not charge conversion fees. Forget about using American Express, nobody accepts it over there. In Rome, get yourself the Roma Pass, and use the subway and public transit, they are excellent. The pass also includes discounts on multiple attractions, well worth it. Also suggest you get yourself a pre-paid SIM for your phone in any of the tobacco shops. They have a similar pass in Florence. In Rome and Florence, avoid the street vendors, just walk right by, and I suggest you go to local grocery or convenience shops to buy water bottles, beer, snacks as the tourist traps are expensive. Vatican - Get there early just before it opens to avoid the lines. Skip the tours, and rent the audio tour at the ticket office - it is excellent. You can also download some really great podcasts from Rick Steves and others that do a great job of walking you through all seven museums in the Vatican. Colosseum - You can spend a day touring the Colosseum and surrounding area. There is lots to see in the area, including the Forum and multiple piazzas and fountains. Take your time and walk around, it is quite safe, and you will also find a plethora of cafes, restaurants and shops that may interest you. Other Rome Attractions: I highly recommend the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, and of course - St. Peter's square. Buy tickets to get to the top of the St. Peter's cathedral and look out over the square, but be forewarned there are about 300 steps to climb and some vary narrow channels you need to get through, but very much worth it. Ufizzi Gallery - in Florence is fantastic. Go get tickets early in the morning for a specific time slot you want to tour the gallery. Enjoy the huge statue of David with his oversized hands. The Duomo, Palazzo Vecchio and a number of other museums and galleries in Florence are all fantastic. If time permits, go to the Ponte Vecchio, it is lined with goldsmiths and vendors, but worth seeing. Enjoy your trip!
  6. Zane, Get some pectin from your local grocery store. Then find a donor cigar to get a piece of wrapper from, and cut it into shape to cover the crack. Use a very small dab on the back of the patch. The pectin is odorless and tasteless, and you don't need much, just enough to smudge the entire surface of the patch. Then affix the patch to the cigar over the crack. I've done this before, it works pretty well. It will be a bit wrinkled when first applied. Just smooth it out as best as you can and then let it dry for a couple of days. Enjoy!
  7. It's great when you find the cigars that hit your sweet spot. Keep loading up on those, and cut back on the others. It's wonderful to know what you like and to find good match for what you taste buds crave. Enjoy them for as long as you possibly can. I've had a love hate relationship with Bolivar. I love the vitolas from the late 90s and early 2000s, but the Bolivars of the last 3 or 4 years have been far less satisfying. I'm not quite sure if it is just me, or whether the cigars have changed.
  8. These would be my mag-7 from current production, based on my own personal tastes. Montecristo No. 1 Partagas 8-9-8 Varnished PL Montecarlos LGC MdO #4 Montecristo No. 3 Montecristo No. 5 RyJ Cazadores My backups would be RA Club Allones, H. Upmann Mag 46 and Cuaba Divinos. My tendency towards Lonsdales, and my preference for Montecristo is obvious and perhaps a tad overstated, but these are the best I have tasted from current production over the past year.
  9. Hopefully this all comes together in the next month or two. I have to get up to UF next week for my daughter's graduation, and then the paper chase begins. Ironically, although my daughter is double majoring at UF, and she's on the dean's list with a 3.8GPA, the dicks at UF turned her down for a Masters degree because she could not find a professor to fund her Masters program. They're making it impossible for kids to get an education here. I can't confirm if I will be able to spend any time in London, if we even stop there at all. We will have a busy schedule getting my daughter moved into an apartment and settled before her classes start in September. If we stop in London it would probably only be to change planes as I don't think we will drive to Leeds. But if I can get some additional time off and keep the budget manageable I would love to visit London too. A lot depends on whether our EU paperwork is done in time and whether U Leeds cooperates on accepting her status as an EU citizen. If they don't accept my daughter's EU credentials then it will cost me 3 times as much for her tuition, and I'll be broke, so I won't have any cigar spending money, much less money to spend a few days in London.
  10. As a stroke of luck, my daughter will be attending the University of Leeds starting in the fall, so I will be making a trek across the pond in a few months. I don't know if I'll be stopping long enough in London to shop around, but hopefully I can find some local cigar shops around Leeds where I can find some decent stock. I haven't been to the UK before, so I don't know what to expect in terms of supply and pricing, but would love to have some feedback from you all on the places to visit, shop and eat in and around Leeds. On the off chance I can spend a couple of days in London, I would appreciate some pointers relative to London also. Thanks.
  11. Precisely. This is not about winning, or about a show of might, it is about innocent lives at stake that would be killed because of big egos.
  12. A fair amount of intel about NK's arsenal and capabilities has been verified by defectors and spies within NK and in SK. Also, NK puts a lot of their hardware on display in various showy parades, much like the USSR used to do, so we at least know what sort of toys they play with. A significant amount of ordinance is also visible from the south side of the DMZ - meant to be a visible deterrent. Though our estimates of their capacity may be inflated, it is verifiably lethal enough to put millions of S. Koreans at risk. The comparison to Iraq is not useful in this case. Ritter had overseen and verified the destruction of Iraq's WMDS after Dessert Storm, but the US wanted regime change in the wake of 9/11, so they created a smoke screen. Similarly, the USSR's arsenal was overestimated, and then decades later we found out the arsenal didn't quite live up to the hype, though it was still lethal enough to kill all life on earth many times over. The US has had thousands of troops stationed in SK since 1953, and carrier based nuclear strike capabilities in the region for several decades, and I'm sure there is a couple of nuclear subs just offshore, so we don't need to put bombs in SK, we can bring overwhelming firepower to any square mile in NK within minutes. But to strike first would be reckless, to put it mildly, in the viewpoint of SK and Japan who would be the immediate victims of the North's retaliation. Even if we managed to shut them down, any first strike on NK would necessarily kill tens of thousands, and possibly 100s of thousands. The escalation from there would likely be WW3.
  13. Ken, I am quite certain that both China and Russia would resist with all their might. They have kept NK from collapsing for 64 years, they're not about to give it up any time soon. The Russians have been very aggressive in keeping Georgia and Ukraine from entering Nato for the same reason. Strategically, it would be unthinkable to let the US get a beachhead on the Korean peninsula and establish a strike or even a defensive capability there. They won't allow it any more than we would allow Russia or China to put nukes in Cuba.
  14. It's a bit odd that the media tries to scare us with this angle. First of all, N. Korea already has nukes, we know that because they've already had multiple tests. But the west downplays the fact that N. Korea borders both China and Russia. Both China and Russia are super powers, they both have nuclear ICBM capabilities, and they can easily reach both S. Korea and Japan, and for that matter, they can easily reach any of the fifty states. N. Korea is a strategic buffer from the US, and frankly I would not be surprised if Chinese and/or Russian nuclear missiles have been hidden in N. Korea for decades.
  15. There is an interesting dynamic in play here. With N. Korea bordering both China and Russia, neither China nor Russia would ever want North and South Korea to be unified ever again. Neither one would ever want a western, non-communist government in N. Korea either. Even with North Korea as a buffer, putting any kind of US missile defense system, or worse - putting any US nukes in South Korea, cannot possibly be tolerated by either China or Russia - they will do everything in their power to prevent that from happening. And right now, the chubby little man in Pyongyang is the ensuring that it doesn't end up that way. China may have some leverage, but they have no vested interest in deposing the guy, or allowing the South and the North to get cozy with one another. Think of this dangerous showdown as the reverse of the showdown the US had with the USSR in the Cuban missile crisis. This time it's the US who is trying to put strike capability right on the border of China and Russia. I hope that makes it obvious why neither China or Russia will ever allow the N.K. regime to fall.

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