17 April 2007

Tuesday, April 17
Informal Smoker
Tower Club Bar

Tuesday, May 8
University Series
Speaker: Charles Wheelan

Tuesday, May 22
Informal Smoker
Tower Club Bar

Tuesday, June 4
University Series
Speaker: Ted Foss

About the Cigar Society

ONE OF THE OLDEST AND greatest traditions of the University Club is the discussion of intellectual, social, legal, artistic, historical, scientific, musical, theatrical, and philosophical issues in the company of educated, bright, and appropriately provocative individuals, all under the beneficent influence of substantial amounts of tobacco and spirits. 

The University Club Cigar Society embraces this tradition and extends it with its fortnightly Informal Smokers, monthly University Series lectures, and quarterly Cigar Society Dinners, in which cigars, and from time to time pipes and cigarettes, appear as an important component of our version of the classical symposium.

The Informal Smokers meet at the round table in the Tower Club bar.  There are no reservations or cover charges, and each member signs his own chit for drinks a lá carte.  Sometimes a theme is published in advance, but the table talk always strays. 

The format of the Cigar Society University Series includes cocktails at 5:15pm, a lecture or reading starting at 5:30 sharp for about thirty minutes, and discussion and more cocktails to follow.  Premium open bar and light snacks are included in University Series events; members sign a chit for $30 and guests may pay $40 (inclusive) in cash.

All University Club and Tower Club members and their guests are invited to all Cigar Society events.

To be included in the Cigar Society's mailing list, write to the Secretary, Curtis Tuckey, at tuckey@post.com.


Is smoking allowed here?
Informal Smoker, Tuesday, April 17, Tower Club, 5:00

APRIL 17th is the 610th anniversary of Geoffrey Chaucer's first reading of the Canterbury Tales, at the court of Richard II.  Some Chaucer specialists have also identified this date (in 1387, when the yonge sonne / Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne) as when the book's (fictional) pilgrimage to Canterbury starts. (See a and b for a confusing discussion.)

We will observe the date by relating stories of pilgrimages of all sorts, at the round table in the Tower Club bar.  Among others, David O'Connor will recount his recent pilgrimage, with nyne and twenty in a compaignye, to Dublin for St. Patrick's day, Curtis Tuckey will tell stories about a pilgrimage (taken in March and April with Cigar Society regulars Edward Bronson and Victor Tutiven) to Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas, and Clifford Yuknis will describe his spring-break pilgrimage to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to oversee his substantial investment in a Gone Wild  franchise.   Drinks are a lá carte; no need to RSVP.  Bring your own cigars.

April 17th has also been associated with the first day of creation, and additionally with the onset of Noah's flood.  Fewer calculations are required to show that on this date Martin Luther addressed the assembly at the Diet of Worms, refusing to recant. Cigar Society regular and Lutheran scholar Douglas Johnson will be on hand to discuss the significance of these dates.

April 17th is also the birthday of Cigar Society irregular Steve Dickman, who might be on hand with a few cigars to celebrate the birth of his second son (last week).

A lively topic for discussion might also be the Smoke Free Illinois Act (see below).  John Walbaum, who has written an article about the effects of second-hand smoke, and Mark Warden, ardent defender of personal liberties in this regard, are invited to hold forth.

Tobacco, some say, is a potent narcotic,
That rules half the world in a way quite despotic;
So, to punish him well for his wicked and merry tricks,
We'll burn him forthwith, as they used to do heretics.

ANONYMOUS 19th C        

Reading for April


Chapter 1: Lines 1-15 of 860
Middle English

Here bygynneth the Book of the tales of Caunterbury.

1  Whan that Aprille, with hise shoures soote,
2   The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
3   And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
4   Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
5   Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth

6   Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
7   The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
8   Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne,
9   And smale foweles maken melodye,
10   That slepen al the nyght with open eye-

11   So priketh hem Nature in hir corages-
12   Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages
13   And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes
14   To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
15   And specially, from every shires ende

16   Of Engelond, to Caunturbury they wende,
17   The hooly blisful martir for the seke
18   That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seeke.
19  Bifil that in that seson, on a day,
20   In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay,

21   Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage
22   To Caunterbury, with ful devout corage,
23   At nyght were come into that hostelrye
24   Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye
25   Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle

26   In felaweshipe, and pilgrimes were they alle,
27   That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde.

[ continued ]

In our last meeting
In our last meeting Chicago author Jack Zimmerman read from his novel, Gods of the Andes, set in baseball-crazy southside Chicago in the late nineteen-fifties.  Several members had to miss out, being on their own pilgrimage to the (Peruvian) Andes.

David O'Connor (foreground, left) celebrated his birthday (April 3) by getting the best of the open bar (or was it the other way around?).  "All I can say is that I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me," Mr. O'Connor said later.

(Photos by Dale I. Lenig.)

Smoking in the News
Last month the Illinois Senate approved SB0500 "The Smoke Free Illinois Act" (full text), by a vote of 34-23.  The Illinois House is still considering the identical HB0246.  This bill is very broadly worded and prohibits smoking almost everywhere.  The prohibitions are based on the Surgeon General's conclusions that "there is no risk-free level of exposure to second-hand smoke."

Private clubs are clearly defined and explicitly included in the ban. The only exceptions are: private residences, retail tobacco stores, and some sleeping rooms in nursing homes and hotels.  Governor Blagojevich has not said whether he will sign the bill, but it is overwhelmingly likely that he will sign some form of it.  There is still time for these bills to be amended.

Further reading:

As I puff this mild Havana, and its ashes slowly lengthen,
I feel my courage gather and my resolution strengthen:
I will smoke, and I will praise you, my cigar, and I will light you
With tobacco-phobic pamphlets by the learnéd prigs who fight you!

ARTHUR GUNDRY (1895)        

Our next meeting: University Series, Tuesday, May 8, Tower Club, 5:15 pm
Charles Wheelan, club member and lecturer in public policy at the University of Chicago, will talk about his forthcoming book, An Introduction to Public Policy.  Cocktails at 5:15, lecture at 5:30, discussion to follow at 6:00.  $30 includes open bar and light hors d'oeuvres.  Bring your own cigars.  RSVP to Laura Herold, Tower Club Manager.

Professor Wheelan has a PhD in public policy from the U of C's Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies and a Master of Public Affairs from Princeton.  He is the author of Naked Economics, a book that the Chicago Tribune described as "clear, concise, informative, and (gasp) witty."   He also wrote a series of essays to accompany Terry Evans's photographs for their recent book, Revealing Chicago.  He is currently the author of a regular Yahoo! column, The Naked Economist, and is a regular contributor to 848 on WBEZ. 


Respectfully submitted by

 Curtis Tuckey, Secretary

University Club Cigar Society Officers for 2007. David O'Connor, King.  Gerald I. Bauman, Treasurer.  Curtis Tuckey, Secretary.  J. Douglas Johnson, Liaison to Chicago Croquet Club (Honorary). Jeffrey Dean, Chair of the Subcommittee concerning Pipe Smoking. Alexander Sherman, Metropolitan Philosopher. Thomas S. O'Brien, Stentorian. John H. Nelson, Herald.