Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturday at the Hut - 3/19/11

Bob on the Left, Joe on the Right
(in more ways than one).
Click to enlarge.
As many of you know, Joe K and I are on opposite sides of the political spectrum. In point of fact, I think I'm on the opposite side of the spectrum from most of the regulars at The Tobacco Hut. But Joe and I have the most fun with our rivalry. It all started several months ago when I purchased an National Public Radio shirt and wore it proudly to the shop one Saturday. Joe countered with a shirt of his own several weeks later that said "Pipe Down You Silly Liberal". Actually, he wore a homemade shirt a little earlier, one that sported a circle with a line drawn through it over the initials "NPR". Well, I finally came up with a counter to his counter, and I wore it today. I forewarned Joe, so he made sure to wear his "Silly Liberal" shirt. Thanks to Adrian for taking this picture (with Joe's camera, and thanks to Joe for actually sending me the picture!) of the two of us. Your turn Joe!

Peter G was at the store when I arrived. It was great to see him, as it's been a few weeks. He spent a week sailing around the Caribbean on a Norwegian cruise a week ago. He confirmed what my wife and I suspected after our last cruise, that a balcony room is well worth the price. We had a window only and kind of wish we had sprung for the balcony. 

Barry C and his son Chris came in. I had never met Chris before and, other than some pretty towering height, he looks a lot like Barry (poor guy!). Apparently Barry's work schedule has changed, so hopefully we'll see more of him on Saturdays now. Barry didn't have a lot of time so he got a new cigar that Lou started carrying, the Ashton Half Corona. It smelled good and Barry reported that it was a nice smoke, so by the end of the day I bought a 5-pack of them. Looking forward to trying it.

Today I enjoyed a bowlful of Dunhill 965, a rich English blend characterized by Macedonian tobacco, Latakia, and Brown Cavendish. It was my go-to blend when I first began smoking an English and I actually found this tin this past week, shoved to the back of a closet. I had feared that it had been opened and was now completely dry, but it was still vacuum sealed and tasted wonderful in the Ascorti Peppino sandblast. 

Ed B pulled up in his uncovered Jeep, obviously enjoying the beautiful weather. Besides discussing the announced retirement of Ed's boss, Sheriff Bob White, a lot of the talk was about the NCAA March Madness tournament that was on TV. Fortunately Lou kept it tuned to that instead of the golf tournament that was being held down the street at Innisbrook. 

Adrian came in and I have to say I was looking forward to his arrival as much as I had been anxious to show Joe my new shirt. See, Adrian and I had a chess game to finish from last week. We had adjourned it and Lou graciously allowed us to - rent free - keep the chessboard set up in one of his display cases. Pleasantries were exchanged and we quickly set up the table and resumed the game. I was a little concerned at first because I had a gaping hole in my king's defenses, but I found that I was able to go a piece up and finally whittled my way down to a victory.

In that game, I was playing the white pieces and Adrian the black. And it just so happened that our respective pieces matched our own, ahem, skin color. As Adrian congratulated me on my victory, Joe commented that perhaps he should change his color to white for the next game. Adrian responded quickly by rubbing his arm and saying, "I don't think it's going to come off!" We all burst out laughing and I think "race relations" are just fine at the Hut!

That next game was a bit of a nail biter, but I eventually prevailed. And so we played another game. And again I prevailed. It was now 4:30 and Adrian was eager for a final rematch. I begged off at first, not wanting to have to adjourn a game like we did last week. He insisted, saying we could get in a quick match. I finally agreed and the game was afoot.

Adrian was playing white and opened with 1.e4 (advancing the king's pawn two squares). I responded with 1... e6, the French Defense. I made an early positional misstep, but thought I was doing pretty well because I was soon up by two pawns. We were moving along at a pretty good pace and I was soon bearing down on his castled king. What I neglected were his two rooks that he had along the e-file. I went in for the kill, aiming for a back rank mate, but out of seemingly nowhere, he advanced the first rook, checking my king. I had only one move available and with no hesitation Adrian advanced the second rook, bringing the sword of checkmate upon me. I was speechless and I'm sure my jaw dropped two inches. Adrian, having suffered through a number of straight losses, jumped up and let out a victorious howl. 

Slowly shaking my head, I extended my hand to congratulate my most formidable opponent. Well played, my friend, well played.

I can't wait 'til next week!

 - Bob

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