COVID-19 18Mar20

Okay, now I’m pissed. We need to finish this, and COVID-19 needs to go be dealt with permanently. Not quite the movie quote, but close enough. Honduras has shut down all cigar factories. If you thought that the U.S. was the only country shutting things down, well, you must be watching the major networks or reading the paper with a record. Stop it. The best thing you can do for yourself, outside of washing your hands, is to cut off or cut out the mainstream media.

Yes, the number of cases and number of deaths have gone up. Woo. You’ve been told this would happen no matter what, at least by responsible outlets. What matters now is the rate of increase and if we can flatten it out. We will not know that for several weeks, as Dr. Fauci has repeatedly said.

Meantime, an incident here prompts me to remind you that if you think you have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it, please don’t go to the ER or anywhere else unannounced, and if you have to call first responders — TELL THEM YOU MAY HAVE IT/HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO IT! Call your state COVID-19 line, call your provider, but for the love of Pete don’t be stupid and just go without calling to warn them you are coming. We don’t need any more first responders having to be quarantined because they didn’t know they needed full protocols.

Also, don’t give a false name, address, and phone number to the ER if you get tested. If you do that, and go back out in public, you are not just a jackass, but should face charges for willful spread and manslaughter charges if someone you cause to be infected dies. Also, if there is violence inflicted on you by those around you, you deserve it.

Facebook did some good shutting down factual articles on COVID-19 as spam (what do you expect from FB?), as the article I read on it led me to this interesting site courtesy of this article. Plan to add that link to the resources section below.

For all the brainless twits out there, while the worst hit are 60+, you are not immune and it can be bad for you too. For example, in France there are some 300 people in ICU, and more than half of them are under 60. Another doctor is reporting patients in ICU as young as 40, and that none of them had underlying health conditions. There are reports of others in the U.S. and elsewhere that are showing up in ICU without underlying health conditions. In Texas, new patients are showing a spread from 20s to 70s, with around half being 40 or below. In short, you too can be hit and hit hard, so if you are not willing to consider others, here’s a selfish reason to follow the precautions.

As for precautions, washing your hands frequently seems an even better idea based on the data in this paper in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) on how long COVID-19 lasts in the air and on surfaces. Short take: on surfaces it can last more than 72 hours, and remains viable as an aerosol for more than 3 hours. Remember what I said about hitting most used surfaces in bathrooms every hour or two? There was and is a reason… Another resource for those collecting them is this NEJM section on COVID-19

Another reason to take part in quarantine/social distancing/whateveryoucallit is that according to this paper, up to 80 percent of the spread is from people who are either asymptomatic or otherwise not aware they have COVID-19. This article puts it closer to American. Hat tip to Instapundit for this one. Also, got these two links on quarantine and the law from Insty, so go read this and then go read this to learn more about the legality and precedents for what is going on. Would that more of the chest thumpers would read it, as a good solid debate on the Constitutionality and legality is needed and timely. That would take a degree of rationality that is all too rare in this pandemic.

There is more, much more, but I’m out of time this morning.

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As always:

If you suspect you have COVID-19 or have been exposed: call your state health department and work with them so that you can be dealt with in a way that minimizes the chance of spreading the virus to those helping you and to the general public. Can’t get them? Call your local department or see if your health service has online/telemedicine screening set up; or see if one who has will let you use it even if you are not in their network. Do not go out in public, and don’t go to an ER or other facility without calling ahead. Be smart.

Use the interactive graphic to keep track of things. Is COVID19 an epidemic? Yes. Is it a Pandemic? Yes. Is there need for panic? NOHELL NO. Should you be paying attention? Yes. Hell yes. Should you be preparing? Yes, better late than never. And good luck finding/getting stuff.

Want to avoid catching COVID19 here in the U.S.? Wash your flippin hands frequently, wash them thoroughly every time you use the bathroom, then follow with hand sanitizer after every washing, use hand sanitizer liberally when you can’t wash on a regular basis. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, and stay away from those who don’t. Also, keep your bugger hooks out of/away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. Do NOT shake hands with anyone, and avoid touching or being touched by strangers. Or your strange friends.

Avoid travel if at all possible. Right now, there is no way I’m going to a trade show, major convention, etc. If you can telecommute, get that set up now. If you have to travel, use lots of hand sanitizer and go to full flu protocols. If you have to use a public restroom, take full precautions including using paper towels and such to handle faucets, doors,etc.  Believe it or not, this was highly recommended before now, and major grocery chains have long told employees to use those practices to avoid getting or spreading colds, flu, etc.  Not many actually do it, but…  

If you own a business, make sure your employees know the above protocols. Have someone who refuses to wash their hands or otherwise follow the protocols? Talk to them, write them up, and if necessary fire them as they now pose a risk of infection to you and your customers. Extreme? Yes, but while the CDC and others are working to slow it down, odds are it is already here and could hit hard and fast. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

I want to reiterate that there is no need for panic, but there is a strong need to be alert, be informed, and be prepared.

Other COVID19/COVID-19/2019-nCoV articles:

COVID-19 17Mar20

COVID-19 16Mar20

COVID-19 15Mar20

COVID-19 14Mar20

COVID-19 13Mar20 The Game Of Loads And Vectors Gets Real For America

COVID-19 12Mar20

COVID-19 11Mar20

COVID-19 10Mar20

COVID-19 9Mar20 The Game Of Loads And Vectors

COVID-19 8Mar20


COVID-19 7Mar20 How To Do It Right If You Have/Have Been Exposed To COVID-19

COVID-19 6Mar20

COVID-19 5Mar20

COVID-19 4Mar20

COVID-19 3Mar20

COVID-19 What Am I Doing?

COVID-19 2Mar20

COVID-19 1Mar20

COVID-19 29Feb20

Quick Additional Thoughts On The Bureaucracy

Panic Is Off And Running

COVID-19 28Feb20 Reasons To Hope, Reasons To Fear

COVID-19 A Plea To The Politicians (And Media)

COVID-19 27Feb20

COVID-19 Breaking A Chain?

COVID-19 26Feb20

COVID19 The Situation In China Gets Even Weirder

COVID19 25Feb20

COVID19 24Feb20 Raising DEFCON

COVID19 23Feb20

COVID19 22Feb20

COVID19 21Feb20: Just Look At The Blooms Dear

COVID19 Update 20Feb20

COVID19 Update

Update & Quick Thoughts On Preparedness

Expansion On A Theme

Well Maybe I Was Wrong

Some Quick Thoughts On Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

Why Should You Be Prepared?

Keeping Alert

Coronavirus And Practical Preparedness

Cigar Sunday

Today, I smoked an old favorite, the Fuente Double Chateau Maduro. It is a medium-light/light-medium body cigar, that gives good flavor.

Since O’Banion’s is closed because of COVID-19, I smoked it in my car and while the wind made it a bit interesting, it worked. Really looking forward to better weather where I can smoke on the back deck as smoking is not allowed in the house.

The cigar I smoked today had a good sheen to the wrapper, which is a sign to look for. If you get a cigar and it is dry, the wrapper flaking, etc. it has not been stored properly and is one you should return. You will notice the sheen more on Maduro and other dark wrappers, but even light wrappers should have that bit of oily sheen that tells you it’s done right.

It got off to a fairly solid start, with a woody center (cedar) and notes of dark chocolate and leather to the sides. On the finish, there is a sweetness high in the mouth. There was some pepper in it, and as I smoked some additional notes of nutmeg and clove came out for a bit. I punched this one (intensifies the flavors) rather than cut, and was glad I did so.

It paired well with some bourbon, though the bourbon cut into the notes a bit. As it progressed, the second third seemed to solidify a bit with a solid mouthfeel. More pepper came out, and dipping the cigar into the bourbon really brought out the sweetness on the finish.

The bottom third was strong, and had a strong finish. For me, the dark chocolate came out more, perhaps with some dark coffee notes as well.

For a medium/light body cigar, it is solid. An old favorite, I’m glad it still held up well given how I like fuller-bodied these days.


Sunday Cigar: Fuente Royal Salute MD

It’s been far too long since I’ve been posting cigar reviews. Time for that to change. And, to kick off getting back to writing about the things I love, there is an excellent smoke to share.

This maduro was appealing for several reasons. For one, it is from Fuente who make a number of excelent (and a number of good) cigars. They are one of my go-to brands. Second, I love the size as I prefer cigars that are a 55 or less ring gauge. This had a length and diameter that appealed to me.

It is very well constructed and burned fairly evenly. The ash in the photo is because I goofed and let it go over into the ash tray.

It had a nice start with good flavor of wood (cedar, oak), spice (mostly pepper but with hints of more aromatic on the sides), and a bit of leather on the undertone. The pepper really came out at the end of the first third, and it paired nicely with the glass of champagne I was offered. Very different from my usual bourbon or scotch, but it worked well with the cigar.

The second third mellowed with more wood than spice, and made an enjoyable interlude before the spice built back in the last third for a solid finish.

Recommendation: High

Sunday Cigar

And pipe, of course. Today, I want to introduce you to my new favorite pipeweed: Spark Plug.

I’m told that this has been a while in the making, and G. L. Pease states that he’s been experimenting on it for more than a year. On the tin you will find:

“Deep and dark. Powerful yet refined. The smoky, leathery backdrop of Latakia is layered with an almost incense-like spice of rich orientals, with fine Virginias added for depth and a subtle sweetness. Like the classic roadsters that inspired its creation, Spark Plug has an alluring charm that invites you to rev it up and take it out for long drives in the country. Sliced thick or thin, it will never leave you stranded.”

While I have a fairly decent palate, I truly can’t begin to describe how rich and deep are the flavors in this tobacco. The depth of flavor is absolutely amazing, and three tins in I’m still not able to wrap my tongue around all the flavors. Yes, you get the smoke from the Latakia, the sweet from the Virginia, and spice from the oriental.

However, unlike most pipe tobacco and even cigars, what you are getting is not individual notes but a symphony of flavors that are blended from the individual notes. I hope this won’t offend Mr. Pease, but one of the closest things I can find to describe it is having real south India/Ceylon curries as done by natives: the flavor is amazing but it is almost impossible to guess all the ingredients that went in as different notes swim to the top at different times.

I may have a better grasp on all the notes and flavors by the time I am 20 or so tins into it. Will I hit that? Barring some disaster, yes. In fact, I’m liking it so much that I’m smoking my pipe more frequently than ever.

Plugs are a bit different, and if you’ve never smoked a plug tobacco before, don’t worry. Take it out of the can, use a sharp (good) knife, and cut off slices. Thick or thin really doesn’t matter as each will work on this one. Let the slices dry out for a few minutes, check with your fingers to see when it hits a more “normal” feel. Then load and enjoy.

If you have more than one pipe, try it in different size bowls. Each brings out a different range of amazing flavor and it has been quite fun doing so.

Recommendaton: Highest