Cigar of the Week

The Cigar of the Week is the San Lotano Oval.

I picked up one of these sticks in a sampler pack from En Fuego Cigars and Lounge here in Las Vegas.1 These are strong tasting maduros, featuring Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos. They enjoy a 5-star rating on Cigars International, where you can pick up a box of 20 for anywhere between $160 and ~$190 (around $8-$9 a stick). Pricy, but worth it if you’re looking for a full-bodied cigar to celebrate a special occasion.

Here is a review from Stogies on the Rocks.

They’ll never replace my beloved Toranos, but they are damned fine cigars.

1 If you are in the Vegas area, I highly recommend that you stop in at the En Fuego Lounge on Sahara Avenue. They have a nice selection, the staff is really friendly, and it is one of the better cigar lounges I’ve visited.

“Vigilante: Rise of the Demon” now available! (*Updated*)

At long last, Vigilante: Rise of the Demon is now available from!

From the description:

Victim, vigilante, or villain? Depending on who you ask, Robert E. Lee “Bob” Campbell is all three.

His troubles begin after he returns from a tour of duty as an Airborne Ranger in Iraq and is struck by a drunk driver while defending himself against muggers. Bob falls into a four-year-long coma. When he awakes, the world is different. But Bob pushes back his bitterness and regret to start a new life with a beautiful girlfriend. Then she is tragically killed in a spree shooting, and Bob concludes the universe is officially messing with him.

Bob is sick of the crime that saturates society. He decides to take matters into his own hands and becomes the Demon, a violent vigilante capable of keeping up with the criminals. To the police and the FBI, he’s nothing but a villain. To drug dealers, child molesters, and other evil men, he’s a force to be feared.

In this dark superhero drama, follow Bob as he dodges drug cartels, police officers, and government agents. Everyone wants the Demon dead, and Bob will have to decide how much he is willing to sacrifice for his new cause.

Currently only the paperback is available ($14.99), but the Kindle version should be available next week. This is a dark, reality-based superhero tale (more DCEU than MCU in sensibility). I enjoyed writing it and am planning a sequel for next year.

Of course, I have to get Voyage Beyond Fear edited and published first, and the sequel to Blood Debt is in its early stages (but coming along)…

Anyway, check it out. The Kindle version will be available for loan by those that have Amazon Prime, so folks on a budget will be able to read it for free (and reviews are always appreciated!).

I’ll get back to editing shortly (I’m on an Elementary marathon right now) and am planning to enroll Voyage in the Kindle Scout Program in a few months. I’ll update you on how that goes.

*UPDATE* Now available on Kindle for $3.99!


Cigar of the Week

The Cigar of the Week is the Acid Blondie Belicosco.

The Acid Blondie Belicoso Connecticut is a mild body with the Blondie shape finished in a pigtail head. These cigars are sweet and mellow and feature an absolutely fantastic aroma.

These sticks are ring size 54 and measure 5″.

Here is a review from JR Cigar.

This stick enjoys a 4 1/2 star average rating on Thompson (several of the ratings are 5 star), where you can pick up a box of 24 for ~$130. I confess that I have never been much of a fan of acids, but these sticks are turning me around.


Whiskey of the Week

The Whiskey of the Week is Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire.

I confess that I put off sampling this offering for quite a while. A little honey in my whiskey? Sure! But cinnamon? That gave me pause. However, of late I have been trying a number of flavored whiskeys for review here and I finally got around to this one.

I was honestly surprised at how much I liked it. There is a real nose of cinnamon, but the flavor is just slightly sweet (you can definitely taste the brown sugar). Because of its sweetness, I was hesitant to experiment with any mixers (and it stands just fine when served neat), but I was already planning a batch of bourbon slushees,1 so…

I have to warn you that this is a weak drink, measuring a mere 70 proof (35% ABV)–practically soda pop! And you’ll need to rally be in the mood for something sweet to properly enjoy it.2 That said, I have the remains of a fifth chilling now so I can sip it this afternoon while I float in the pool.

You can pick up a fifth for around $20 (a bit more for my friends in the UK).

Here is a review from The Whiskey Exchange.

1 Technically I made sour mash slushees and they were a big hit (I used apple juice concentrate, black tea, and JD’s Tennessee Fire in my recipe). It goes well with hot cider, too.

2 Yes, I am generally in such a mood. It goes with being a drunk.

Whiskey of the Week

The Whiskey of the Week is Jameson’s Irish Whiskey.1

Jameson’s Whiskey is one damned fine sipping whiskey, comes to us from the Irish Distillers of Pernod Ricard in Cork, Ireland, and is easily the world’s best-selling Irish whiskey. I myself have been enjoying the occasional bottle since…oh, around ’92 or ’93.2

Jameson’s was first distilled back in 1810 by a Scottish immigrant to Dublin named John Jameson, and had been continually making the world a better place ever since.3

This is one of those whiskeys that I simply refuse to pollute with a mixer. Best taken neat or on the rocks, Jameson’s is triple-distilled to remove impurities and offers a nice, clean flavor. Jameson’s has both a mild scent of honey and undertones of honey and citrus. At a mere 80 proof (40% ABV) Jameson’s packs a little less kick than my beloved Jack Daniels. You can usually pick up a bottle for ~$25 (as always, my UK friends’ price may vary).

Here’s a review from the good folks at The Whiskey Jug.

And, in celebration of my ancestry, here’s a little tune to drink by. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

1 Because of course it is. This is St. Patrick’s Day, one of America’s annual ethnic drinking holidays (together with Mardi Gras, Cinco de Mayo, and Oktoberfest; who says America doesn’t embrace diversity?4)

Do I need to remind you good folks that I’m a drunk, rather than an alcoholic?

3 You know me Irish ancestors invented whiskey (or uisce beatha in the original Gaelic and means “Water of Life”). Whether you believe that God invented whiskey to keep the Irish from conquering the world or to give us all a respite from the insanity of politics, any drinker whose ever tasted a glass must credit that it’s magic.

I have to admit it–I pretty well stole that line from @jimgeraghty.

The Week In Review

President Trump has been claiming that his communications were wiretapped by the Obama administration prior to the November election (an accusation that has some sympathy on the right). This is being denied on multiple fronts—including by FBI director Comey. While I do not believe President Trump to be a credible source of information for…well, anything…I have been lied to so often by Mr. Obama, Congresswoman Pelosi and the rest of the vile vipers in DC that their denials simply carry no weight with me. That said, until the Trump administration offers some kind of evidence, I’m going to go ahead and assume the Mr. Trump is lying.

Mr. Trump issued a new immigration EO on Monday. The new order is somewhat more carefully crafted than the last (full text here). Meanwhile, the government of Mexico continues to resist the administrations push to deport illegal immigrants. As the administration continues its efforts, the press is working to highlight every possible sob story. Regular readers of this post know that I lean toward open borders (while acknowledging the problems with that preference), but I calls ’em like I sees ’em, and the press is clearly trying to shape the narrative.

The IRS is experiencing budgeting difficulties. This is my sad face. Listen, I’ll grant that tax collectors are a necessary evil, but both the words “necessary” and “evil” apply—and the IRS has all-too-routinely abused its authority (quite famously during the Obama administration). Still, even if you were the most honest and upright employee of the agency, I wouldn’t want my daughter to date you.

There is a report that Senator Schumer intends to block Mr/ Trump’s “Great Wall” from receiving the necessary votes for appropriation. I oppose the wall, but I recognize that many of my fellow Americans do not. So I am more curious than involved in seeing how this plays out. Honestly…I think I’m good either way.

There is an interesting case going on locally in Vegas—a family that was convicted of running an illegal, off-shore gambling ring (after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor offense) claims they are listed as felons by the federal government. This is one of those cases where (had it gone to trial and I had been on the jury) I would have voted to acquit no matter what evidence the government presented. I think all citizens should educate themselves on the principle of jury nullification.

In their ongoing effort to make flying so unbearable people just stop, the TSA has introduced new pat down procedures that some folks on Twitter have called “legalized groping.” Evidently expecting a fresh font of complaints of sexual assault, the TSA has been alerting local police departments of the new procedures. For my part, between the TSA and shrinking leg room I’ve stopped flying.

We finally got a look at what the Republican party calls a “repeal” of Obamacare. It’s about as bad as you would expect from this collection of spineless cretins. Rather than simply repeal the PPACA (as I tweeted on Monday), this proposal tries to give something to everyone. Remember when the Republicans claimed to be the party of the Constitution? By replacing subsidies for health insurance with tax breaks for HSAs (and saving no real money), these idiots are trying to claim this is the conservative solution. President Trump—who is no more a conservative than I am a penguin—has been praising this monstrosity on Twitter and promising that the real reforms (e.g. eliminating prohibitions against selling policies across state lines) will come in phase 2 & 3.*

The US Supreme Court has punted on the issue of whether gender identity falls under federal aegis for discrimination cases. Even a year ago, I doubt I would have read the article. However, if you are one of the couple dozen folks your read my debut novel,** then you know this is something I follow these days. This entire case, Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., is a State issue. I’m not sure that I care who uses what bathroom, but I see where others might and I’m pretty sure no group of judges’ “one size fits all” solution will be…just. (Of course, regular readers will know that I am highly suspicious of any expansion of federal power anyway.)

Wikileaks is targeting the CIA now. The organization’s latest attack on the US includes more than 8,000 documents.

The proposed Las Vegas Raiders football stadium has secured a new backer: Bank of America. Which begs the question…why can’t the folks who want to build this thing find sufficient funding that no public monies are required? Right now, $750 million in bonds from Clark County are a key component of the stadium’s financing. I’m a property owner in Vegas and would vote against this in a heartbeat.*** Meanwhile, the governor is pushing for more tax increases so he can expand education spending (among other things).

The hunt is on for monies to pay for Mr. Trump’s promised border wall. Regular readers know that I’m not in favor of the project, but I cede that I’ve been outvoted. I have significantly less of a problem with this project than I do the Republicans’ revised health care bill.

As the Trump administration continues dismantling the Obama legacy, AG Sessions has asked for 46 US Attorneys’ resignations.

Finally, the Catholic church may be reconsidering its centuries-long practice of demanding all priests be celibate.

*I ask anyone who believes that to send me their contact information, SSAN, and complete bank account info. There are some investments I would like to make on your behalf, you kind, trusting soul you.

** Blood Debt: A Modern American Romance. Just $3.99 on Kindle!

*** Yes, I know that UNLV will use this stadium as well. I do not care.

Cigar of the Week

The Cigar of the Week is the Montecristo Desde 1935 Club Selection Robusto.

This Montecristo measures 5″ and has a ring size of 52. It is a full bodied cigar featuring Nicaraguan tobaccos and an Ecuadorean wrapper. I picked up a sampler pack a couple weeks ago and have been enjoying them immensely.

This stick burns cleanly and has both great taste an a nice aroma.

Here is a review from Cigar Aficionado.

This stick enjoys a 3 1/2 star average rating on Thompson (several of the ratings are 5 star–I’d lean toward 4 stars my self), where you can pick up a box of 24 for ~$170. That box includes a bonus pack of 10 Romeo y Julieta Bully Grande Corojo Robustos, which means $5/ stick.



Looking for Beta Readers

I’m looking for beta readers for my upcoming hard sci-fi novel Voyage Beyond Fear.1

In particular, I am looking for folks that have a background (or interest in) astronomy and/or astrophysics. I’m also looking for people that have served in the Navy (especially the US Navy, or the naval services of Great Britain, Canada, Australia, or other navies of the British Commonwealth).

Voyage Beyond Fear is the story about mankind’s first starship–a privately funded effort that follows on from the accidental discovery of a way to crack the FTL barrier–and is set in the near future. There is a description of the book here.

The novel’s rough draft is nearly complete (estimated completion date is early April), and I’ll be sending the book out in late April for initial input from any technical experts that I succeed in recruiting.

Because I am looking for technical expertise or naval experience, I am willing to pay a small fee to those readers. Readers that do not have such a background, but are interested in being beta readers on the second go ’round (likely sometime in May), will be entitled to receive a complimentary copy of the book when I publish it in late summer.

If you are interested, you can send me a DM @Circle_Bee, or reach me via the contact page on my website.

1 “Voyage Beyond Fear” is the working title. I’m still playing with ideas something better.

Book of the Week

The Book of the Week is actually the Series of the Week this go ’round: Colleen McCullough’s Masters of Rome.

Unfortunately, we lost Mrs. Robson (nee McCullough) in 2015. Fortunately, she left behind a considerable body of work, and her Masters of Rome series is my favorite.

The series charts the end of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire under Augustus Caesar, focusing on the major players: Marius, Sulla, Caesar, Octavius, Marc Anthony, Cicero, and Cleopatra. While the series is incredibly well researched (and will delight history buffs) it is far from a dry reveling of events. Mrs. Robson brings these men and women to life, rendering them as all-too-human, with all their vices and virtues intact.

Amazon offers the entire series in paperback or via Kindle, but you can by decent hardback copies for a relatively small price, and the series enjoys my highest recommendation.

Whether you are interested in the history, the historical persons, or just a great story, this is a series well worth your time.