THE NEXT informal gathering of the U Club Cigar Society will take place
in the Tower Club Bar on Thursday, February 16, 5-7pm. BYO cigars and
each member signs his own chit. All U Club members are invited, and
guests interested in a smoke and a cocktail in good company are always
welcome. On February 16, 1959, Fidel Castro was sworn in as prime min-
ister of Cuba after leading a guerrilla campaign that forced right-wing
dictator Fulgencio Batista into exile. For this evening's event, we
recommend either Castro's favorite, a Cohiba Corona Especial, or JFK's
favorite, a Petit Upmann. Both are contraband.

Coming up...

A Beer Tasting and Cigar Dinner will take place on Thursday, March 2,
at the Tower Club. Expert brewer and AHA-certified beer judge Edward
C. Bronson
will be the cigar club's guest on Thursday, March 2, where
he'll discuss the flavor components of cigars and beers, and guide us
through intricate beer-cigar pairings. Can you imagine a lightfooted
Macanudo Jamaican with a Two Brothers Bitter End ale? A Don Tomas
International Line Honduran with a Bell's Two Hearted IPA? A Sancho
Panza Extra Fuerte with a Flossmoor Station bourbon-barrel stout?
We'll find out what works and what doesn't. Cigar smoking and tasting
of lighter beers at 5:30, followed by prime beef tenderloin, medium-
bodied beers, and cigars at 6:30, followed by heavier beers and more
cigars. A menu of recommended cigars will be circulated in advance;
BYO cigars. $60 includes beer tasting and dinner; chit bar for non-
beer drinks. Jacket and tie. RSVP to Kate Newton.

In our last meeting...

GROUND HOG'S DAY saw a perpetual low overcast, auguring a low-slung
fug at the University Club's Winter Cigar Dinner as well as an early
spring. Our guest speaker was Chicago author Billy Lombardo, who
entertained the table with selections from his award-winning collec-
tion of semi-fictionalized memoirs of growing up in the Italian part
of Bridgeport in the 1970s. Stephen CONDREN provided a different
perspective, telling of mansion-hopping through South Shore, Hyde
Park, and Kenwood, where he grew up, and Greg O'LEARY told unlikely
stories about being bullied as a weak, skinny adolescent. Jason
and William CRAIG talked about squash and elite colleges, and
Lombardo explained what it is like to teach at the Chicago Latin
School. Doug JOHNSON recommended additional coming-of-age stories,
and Marshall ABBEY pontificated while his son-in-law grumbled. Chef
amused our palates with fresh green onions in aspic, followed
by sharply flavored duck ravioli and squash gnocchi. The main course
was an oversized rare beef tenderloin with chanterelle mushrooms.
Alexander SHERMAN helped clear our literary palates with a short poem
about eating iced plums, and Lombardo read another story. Later, in
the billards room, O'LEARY and TUCKEY bought redundant and seriously
unnecessary extra rounds, and were shortly seen slumped chins to
chests at the poker table. Evidently concerned that our manly bastion
had not experienced sufficient testosterone-induced violence and harsh
language, a cue-stick wielding Michaeline GORDON, fresh from a long
evening in the President's Bar, made mincemeat of the competition and
inadvertantly caused Tom O'BRIEN to break two wine glasses and a high-
ball glass. What remained of the party dispersed after a brief shout-
ing match, promising to do it all over again next month.