“Time flies Over us, but leaves its shadow behind." - NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE
With the close of 1998 and the beginning Of a new year, we find ourselves embarking upon the new millennium. The year 1999 is upon us, resting on the cusp of an anticipated, yet unknown future. What can we expect from the year ahead?
One time-honored way to discern the future is to examine the past. There are some things that are inevitable, regardless of the year. For example, taxes are due April 15, summer somehow seems to get shorter each year, that New Year's Eve soiree will end up costing more than expected; and, no matter how hard you try, getting out of bed on Sunday morning is always a struggle. Then, there is the unpredictable, the events and occurrences that shape each year in our memories. The year just ended marked many such milestones - including the all-too-present President Clinton imbroglio, the Bronx Bombers' World Series sweep over the San Diego Padres, and the severe devastation of the Caribbean caused by the rage of Hurricane Georges, which hit especially hard in the Dominican Republic. (Dominican cigar companies have organized the Dominican Aid and Relief Effort, D.A.R.E. For information on making donations, please visit www.cigarfamily.com.)
How has the cigar industry changed during 1998 and what can we expect from the year ahead? The supply shortage ended and the lines between supply and demand have crossed. The numerous fly-by-night players who launched inferior brands to make a quick buck have been forced out by the quality cigar manufacturers whose roots in tobacco are deep. The real players are stronger than ever, as evidenced by our interview with General Cigar's Edgar M. Cullman and Edgar Cullman Jr. (page 172).
With this Third Anniversary Issue, you will notice some subtle changes. For starters, we changed our tag line from "SMOKE, Cigars, Pipes and Life’s Other Burning Desires," to simply, "SMOKE, Life's Burning Desires. " Although we will continue our coverage of the cigar and pipe industries, we want to stress our commitment to all of life's pleasures. We retired Cigarman, the comic that ended each issue, and replaced it with a sports column by the legendary Bert Randolph Sugar. In this issue, we convinced well-known sportswriter Jay Greenberg of the New York Post to provide his picks for the Best and Worst of the Sporting World (page 86), and, for all you men out there who are afraid to step foot inside a lingerie store, we have some handy tips for selecting the perfect gift for her that will heat up those cold winter nights (page 180). And James Caan, none other than Sonny Corleone himself, graces this special Anniversary cover. Let's just say we made him an offer he couldn't refuse ...
Alyson R. Boxman