Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Close, But No Cigar

Cigar Aficionado has this to say to the U.S. Treasury Department regarding fans of Cubans (cigars, that is):

"Stop wasting our time and money chasing cigar smokers"

Now, I can see the interest Cigar Aficionado might have in Cuban cigars. Without them, there's no gold standard for smokable finery. It would be like banning French wine (which some hissy-fitters have tried to do since the whole War on Terror thing) or Russian vodka or American Snickers bars. As an occasional cigar-smoker, I'd love to try a Cuban before I die, so long as occasional doesn't turn into "chain" and I get puffed out in a cloud of irony-flavored smoke.

Could Cigar Aficionado really come out and say, "Hell yes on the embargo with Cuba! We're fine smoking every other cigar in the world, even if it means ignoring the avowed and acclaimed center of what we love! To hell with cigars, up with politics!" I submit that they could not.

In other related news, I stumbled upon the origin of the phrase, "Close, but no cigar." whilst perusing a Dictionary of English Idioms that I just happened to check out at the library by accident.* There is some dispute. Some claim that the phrase originated in the practice of gentleman buying a cigar for good luck on a bet with the intention of smoking it after the bet was won. A lost bet would be close, but no cigar. Others, however, claim that the phrase comes from early 20th century fairground stalls which would award the stogies as prizes. Also, tobacco isn't good for you.