31 December 2008

EXTRA!  Infamous "U-Club Four" SUSPENDED for Sixty Days
  by Sebastian Melmoth, special to Cigar News (melmoth@logicophilosophicus.org)
David "King" O'Connor, Mark "The Shark" Warden, "Doctor" Tuckey, and "Baby Face" Nelson were reported to have been smoking in the Presidents Bar around midnight on October 9 after a lengthy "Bring Your Own Wine" dinner, in Cathedral Hall, to which much wine had been brought.  The House Committee sequestered and interrogated the subjects, then deliberated the fate of the infamous four for two months before handing down its sentence.  In a certified letter sent to each miscreant, the Secretary of the Board wrote, "Based upon its investigation, the House Committee reported to the Board that the group in question was smoking on Club premises without regard to the Club's House Rules."  And that "The Board has determined that a sixty-day suspension is appropriate."

Asked his opinion of the terms of the sentence, Mark "the Shark" (PhD '66 U of C and past president of Daley College) said, "Given that no one in the history of the University Club of Chicago had ever before been punished for smoking, and given that there was no published recommendation for punishment, and given that we were all first-time offenders on good terms with the club, yes, I think sixty-days' suspension is entirely appropriate."

Asked about whether the events of October 9 were meant as a protest, or to make some kind of point to the Board of Directors, "Doctor" Tuckey (PhD '91 UW) replied that "Although it might be amusing to imagine that Mark 'The Shark'  intended to draw attention to the current plight of cigar smokers by (in the words of a former board member) 'lobbing a few Cohiba bombs into the President's Bar', in reality it was merely an impulsive midnight act in a moment of bad judgment.  We're all very sorry that it happened."

"Doctor" Tuckey was quoted one year ago by Rick Kogan in the Sunday Tribune Magazine (December 31, 2007)

“Although the law is going to drive us a bit underground, we will continue to meet twice a month (I cannot say where),” declares the Society’s secretary, Curtis Tuckey. He adds, echoing the days of speakeasies, “I will provide you with the knock and the password later.”  If you have never smoked you cannot imagine the anxiety and nostalgia that have clouded the final days of smoke-filled rooms.  —Rick Kogan

—and the Cigar Society has in fact been meeting privately in the lounge in the Iwan Ries Building and in other private places since January.  [See the report below.]

"King" O'Connor (Holy Cross '68), when asked whether the Cigar Society would continue to meet at the Lounge at Iwan Ries during the interdict, replied, "We've had many meetings in private homes and in outdoor restaurants independently of the University Club of Chicago, and our meetings at Iwan Ries are already off-site.  Furthermore, about a third of our regulars are not members of the University Club of Chicago. Woops! Now that I think of it, I guess more than a third!  But we shall certainly miss the careful attention of the delightful Ms. Lewis."

"King" O'Connor
Mark "The Shark"
"Doctor" Tuckey
"Baby Face" Nelson

A report from the Secretary on the History of the University Club Cigar Society in Exile
by Curtis Tuckey

After the state-wide ban on smoking in almost all indoor spaces, including private clubs, went into effect in Illinois on January 1, 2008, the University Club Cigar Society was forced to find an alternative venue for its meetings.  For the previous few years the Society had met regularly at the Tower Club, with the support of Tower Club managers Sarah Lewis and later Laura Herold, and before that the Society's quarterly Cigar Dinners were very ably organized by Mary Holloway in the main clubhouse.

Over the course of this past year in exile, the Cigar Society was very hospitably welcomed into several private residences, and we were also very fortunate that Chuck and Kevin Levi, of Iwan Ries and Company, were just completing a new cigar lounge on the second floor of their Adler and Sullivan building at 19 South Wabash, just around the corner from the clubhouse.  (Tobacco shops are exempt from the ban.)  Late in 2007, John Spidalette, the General Manager of the University Club of Chicago, along with the secretary of the Cigar Society, met with Mr. Levi about the possibility of the Cigar Society's convening meetings there, privately.  Mr. Levi was agreeable. 

Mr. Spidalette and the University Club of Chicago generously agreed to cover the rental expense for the lounge at Iwan Ries for the times that the Cigar Society would meet there in its first year outside of the clubhouse.  This amounted to a total of nine meetings in that location in 2008, at a cost to the UCC of a total of $2700, which, for comparison, is less than the amount that one regular resident UCC member pays in dues each year.  (Also note that, in general, affiliated societies are not assessed room charges for meetings within the main clubhouse.)  Club catering provided the snacks and soft drinks, at regular prices, and, it must be said, at some inconvenience to themselves, we being outside of the clubhouse and across a block of heavy construction.  Ms. Lewis, and over the summer, Ms. Lazaro, managed the billing and made sure that everything ran delightfully smoothly.  This last fall, the leadership of the University Club of Chicago decided (independently of the antics of the "U-Club 4") that in 2009 it would discontinue its underwriting of the cost of the space any further, and that the Cigar Society members would be directly responsible henceforth.

While the support of the University Club of Chicago did indeed make for an orderly transition of the Cigar Society out of the clubhouse (for which we imagine the entire membership must be grateful) there remain some inadequacies today with respect to the privileges that used to be enjoyed by the Cigar Society before the state-wide ban.  Before January 1, 2008, all club members were allowed to smoke in the Presidents Bar at most times of the day, and the Cigar Society was able to meet as a group every Tuesday (three of them informally, one with a speaker) at the Tower Club or the main clubhouse.  In 2008, Cigar Society members lamented that they missed the old days of casual meetings in the Presidents Bar, and the "Informal Smokers" on Tuesdays at the Tower Club.  I am happy to report that the leadership of the Cigar Society has negotiated a broad agreement with Iwan Ries and Company that will greatly expand the number of nights that Cigar Society members will be able to use the Lounge at Iwan Ries for its private meetings, as well as have privileges at any time during regular business hours.  Separate dues will be required.  Look for more information on this in the coming issues of Cigar News.           

About the Cigar Society

ONE OF THE OLDEST AND greatest traditions of the University Club of Chicago was 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 in Exile 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.  To be included in the Cigar Society's mailing list, write to the Secretary at CigarSociety@logicophilosophicus.org.

Visit the Cigar Society archive at logicophilosophicus.org.

Coming up...

Don Hermann, Professor of Law and Philosophy at DePaul University, will talk about the ethics of torture, in late January.   

Samuel C. Dudley, Jr., MD, PhD, Professor and Chief of Cardiology, UIC, will talk about the history of the heart, near Valentine's Day.   

Bill Daley, Wine and Food Critic for the Chicago Tribune, will lead a wine tasting, and talk about wine and smoke.

Sam Sisodia, Director of the Center for Molecular Neurobiology at the University of Chicago, will talk about the brain.