Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Finally a Solution

After several days of emailing and posting - a solution was arrived at for the AfterGlow.

It was decided that we would rotate from a commercial venue, where smoking is permitted (albeit hard to find in the Nanny state we find ourselves in), to the home of a member (i.e. Matt's Garaj Mahal, Frank's Tent of Meeting or the Key Speakeasy).

So now we find ourselves at the end of the summer. Since this discussion was going on, we've alternated between Callahan's Pub, Tres' Hombres' and Frank's Tent. It seems to be going pretty well. Heck, we've even seen an increase in the "drop in" folks making it all the way over the Frank's.

The website is finally updated - check it out at http://www.thedepressedmen.org. Will try to update the meeting location(s) information weekly and post any other announcements. Keep the suggestions, photos, poetry, jokes, cigar reviews, etc. coming.

Thanks for watching.

Frank Chimes In

Not to be outdone, Frank decided to add his own rhyme to the mix - sent on the heels of Tony's message on May 4th, 2008.

Such wisdom Tony chose to impart
We eat, we drink, we smoke and we fart,
We tell our jokes on Thursday night,
You know, it really feels right.

Objections for our tent of meeting
Some ideas do seem fleeting
Now our colleague Dr. Clark.
Claims the backyard is too dark.

Other folks, they won't come
Makes him feel like a bum.
Now we cater to the crowd
Meet somewhere that does get loud

Let's not get mad and in a lather
What's the reason for us to gather
But to enjoy our fellowship.
What the heck happened to our Chip?

Tres Hombres, Melange or Callahan's
The State got us with their smoking bans
Or Frank's backyard with smoking tent.
'member BBQ'n where we went?

Where shall we go, what's our solution
Some consider cigars the big pollution
Smoke outside far from the table
Involved conversation, we're not able

Watch the waitress bring us beer
Frank says, "You don't get that here."
We eat good and it is free
Then out back we have to pee

What we do is anyone's guess
I don't mind to clean the mess
Go to the tavern pay the price
Think I've said that twice or thrice

Stay at home and smoke cigar
Spend my money at some bar
Have a talk or fight with Pepper
Hang with Terry be a stepper

What to do let me know
If I don't like it I will go.

Let's Let Ralph Speak for Himself

Here is the actual writing - entitled Smoking Spiritualized by Ralph Erskine (1685-1752).
Note - you will see no reference to "moo moo dog face banana patch"...

Part I
This Indian weed now wither'd quite,
'Tho' green at noon, cut down at night,
Shows thy decay; All flesh is hay.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.
The pipe so lily-like and weak,
Does thus thy mortal state bespeak.
Thou art ev'n such, Gone with a touch.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

And when the smoke ascends on high,
Then thou behold'st the vanity
Of worldly stuff, Gone with a puff.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

And when the pipe grows foul within,
Think on thy soul defil'd with sin;
For then the fire, It does require.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

And seest the ashes cast away;
Then to thyself thou mayest say
That to the dust Return thou must.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.
Part II
Was this small plant for thee cut down?
So was the plant of great renown;
Which mercy sends
For nobler ends.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

Doth juice medicinal proceed
From such a naughty foreign weed?
Then what's the pow'r
Of Jesse's flow'r?
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

The promise, like the pipe, inlays,
And by the mouth of faith conveys
What virtue flows
From Sharon's rose.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

In vain th' unlighted pipe you blow;
Your pains in inward means are so,
'Till heav'nly fire
Thy heart inspire.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

The smoke, like burning incense tow'rs
So should a praying heart of yours,
With ardent cries,
Surmount the skies.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

Prose for Pondering

Our resident Pastor, Tony, shared the following - a bit of prose from a 1600-1700's theologian, combined with some classic Steve Martin, and his own twist. This came during a long discussion thread as to where the Depressed Men should hold the AfterGlow portion of the meeting (i.e. the part where we drink beer, smoke cigars, and relax). Sent via email on May 4, 2008.

Here goes -

A few thoughts...
First, if we are going to call this thing an "after glow" shouldn't we be speaking in tongues?
Second, if we have it at Frank's, may I moo moo dog face banana patch?
Third, regarding smoking, consider the following:

This Indian weed now wither'd quite,
Though green at noon, cut down at night, Show's thy decay All flesh is hay.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

And when the smoke ascends with glee,
Then thou behold'st the vanity
Of worldly stuff,
Gone with a puff.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

And when my cigar grows foul within,
Think on thy soul defil'd with sin;
For then the fire,
It does require.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco

And seest the ashes cast away;
Then to thyself thou mayest say,
That to the dust
Return thou must.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco

My name is Tony and I'm full of baloney
but one thing I know
about our after glow
we must be free to think,
and smoke tobacco

Thanks to Tony for sharing of his writing talents, and er um creativity.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Weird winter weather and other puzzles

Tonight Southern Illinois is in the grips of a ice-storm, complete with thunder and lightning - how weird. We've got several inches of sleet - kind of like living in a world covered with Slushy. Since I was a little boy I've always heard the saying "Don't like the weather in Southern Illinois...just wait...it'll change." In the past month we've had two snow/ice storms and several severe thunderstorm systems complete with hail, winds and even tornadoes. On two consecutive Tuesdays we had Tornado warnings. Both times I rode them out with 5th/6th grade boys in locker rooms - once in the middle of practice, once 3 minutes into a game.

This weather is similar to the Depressed Men meeting locations for the last few months. One time here, another time there, 3 weeks somewhere else. If you don't pay attention to the emails you may not know where we're at on any given Thursday.

We have begun a dialogue regarding the possibility of finding a more permanent location where we can meet. While we have been able to keep meeting each week at a location (where smoking was allowed) all of the locations since the first of the year have been at members homes. While the hospitality is great, it naturally limits participation to those that know the host and/or at least feel comfortable going there. We desire to have a central place that we can meet regularly, where more folks will feel comfortable just stopping in to visit.

Through the kindness of a Christian bookstore owner in Tyler, TX (the Scroll) we are setting up a private online forum where we can discuss this issue. Watch for the link on the website as soon as it is available.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Depressed Men

Submitted by Terry Clark on 12/16/08 2:31am

In Carbondale town
A group of strange men,
From all callings and all walks of life,
Met every week
To pray and to speak
And after to drink and to smoke.

Now wives and girlfriends
Disapproved of their plans,
And worked conspiratorially to thwart ‘em.
The sisters laughed gaily
and conspired daily
To frustrate their boys’ intentions.

Yes, girls will be girls,
but boys will be boys
And boys are much smarter by far:
They can pee in a cup,
or pee standing up,
And will do what they want in the end.

So, this crazed group of brothers
Agreed wives are not mothers
and voted to meet when they pleased
So on Thursdays they prayed,
told jokes drank and smoked,
And staggered home next Friday morning.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Middle-age musings ... cigars and life

I was asked today if I liked cigars when one of my coworkers saw a catalog in my office. This question prompted me to reflect a little.

I grew up in a household where Mom and Dad both smoked, as did most of their friends. My grandfather smoked cigars (the King Edward variety) and later pipes. For most of my life, I was not tempted to even try it, but nor was I really bothered by it. In college I tried the occasional Swisher Sweet in my car, trying to stay awake on 100 mile trips home for weekends and back, but that was the extent of my smoking behavior.

Then a few years ago, after eating lunch with a friend of mine, it was suggested that we visit the local tobacconist and have a cigar. This was my first introduction to a quality hand-made cigar. If I remember correctly it was an H. Upmann. I remember it didn't burn my tongue like the cheap ones did, and it took alot longer to finish...but mostly I remember how enjoyable it was just sitting there with Tony, enjoying that cigar with my friend.

Skip ahead 3 years...in the spring of 2005, after enjoying a handful of good cigars since that lunch experience, I decided to take the plunge, invest in a small humidor and a bundle of mild Nicaraguan cigars - Don Kiki - Green label to be exact. I began sitting in my front yard under a shade tree most evenings enjoying a cigar. I noticed I began sleeping a little better. Being a bit more relaxed after a long day. As the summer came I didn't mind the humid So. Illinois evenings as much...I enjoyed sitting watching traffic go by as savored these mild cigars with their hints of cocoa and even - orange peel of all things.

Soon after that I began coming to the Depressed Men group once a week, and adding once again the comraderie I felt over that lunch time smoke - now with a new group of guys - which includes Tony. My tastes in cigars have changed (I'll write more on that later). I still only smoke a handful a week (show me how that makes me addicted). Cigars are something that captures my interest, and a few of my hard-earned dollars.

The odd thing for me is that for the majority of my life I really didn't have many things that most would consider vices - didn't drink (still don't enough to say I do), didn't smoke, never tried any drugs - pretty boring by most standards. Went to school, church, work, ballgames, got married, had a child, etc... don't get me wrong life was pretty good, but still not any vices to speak of. Then at 42 years old I decided to take up cigars. Now at 44 what did our state government decide to make all but illegal but the one vice that I chose to partake in at what many would call middle-age.

But I can't complain...I have a personal relationship with a God that loves me, a great wife and daughter, a job I love, coworkers that are a joy, good health, and great friends. It's gonna be alot harder for the govt to take those things away - though I'm sure they will try.

And I can even still enjoy a cigar, I just have to be a little more selective on where.