June 5, 2007

Tuesday, June 5
University Series
Speaker: Ted Foss

Tuesday, June 19
Fumada Informal
Augustus Higginson

Tuesday, July 10
Cigar Society
Informal Smoker

Tuesday, July 31
Cigar Society Garden Party
Host: John H. Nelson

Tuesday, August 14
Cigar Society
Location and Topic TBA

Tuesday, August 28
University Series
George Thiruvathukal

Tuesday, September 11
University Series
Charles Middleton

Tuesday, September 25
Lyric Opera Overview
ower Club

Thursday, October 11
Cigar Society Fall Dinner
Tower Club

Tuesday, October 23
Cigar Society
Topic to be Announced

November 1 and 2
Fight Nights
Cathedral Hall

Tuesday, November 13
Cigar Society
Topic to be Announced

Tuesday,November 27
Cigar Society
Topic to be Announced

Tuesday, December 11
Cigar Society
Location and Topic TBA

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 l 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.


A neophyte?

University Series, Tuesday, June 5, Tower Club, 5:15 pm
Ted Foss, club member and associate director of the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago, will be addressing the Cigar Society on current scholarship in the field of Jesuits in China.  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.

Between 1585 and the end of the eighteenth century a total of some 600 European men traveled to China as Jesuit priests and brothers.  Debating religion and philosophy, investigating and describing Chinese culture and society, carrying out scientific inquiry, translating Chinese texts and translating European works into Chinese, and ingratiating themselves into elite society, the Jesuits left a lasting record.  Among other topics, Professor Foss will touch on the introduction by Europeans of tobacco into China, and display a snuff box given by the Jesuits to the Emperor of China. Recommended reading: Journey to the East: The Jesuit Mission to China, by Liam Brockey (Harvard Press, 2007), a new book in the Club library.

Theodore N. Foss (AB Pomona '72, PhD Chicago '79, University Club '81) is Associate Director of the Center for East Asian Studies at The University of Chicago.  He previously held positions as Assistant Director of the Center for East Asian Studies and Lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies at Stanford University, Co-founder and Associate Director of the Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History at University of San Francisco, and Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Informal Smoker, June 19, OFFSITE in Lake View

In partial preparation for the dark days beginning next January, when by State Law members of the Cigar Society will be forced to smoke in the presence of our spouses, children, and household staff rather than in private, well-ventilated club rooms reserved expressly for this purpose, club member Augustus V. M. Higginson (California '81) has graciously invited the Cigar Society to meet at his home on Stratford Place for our next meeting, on June 19, 5-7pm.  Mr. Higginson will provide snacks and copious amounts of gin; for other spirits and drinks please BYO.  There is no charge for this event, but please RSVP to Curtis Tuckey so that we may prepare properly.

In our Last Meeting

J. Douglas Johnson, the Chicago Croquet Club's Liaison to the Cigar Society, is leading lessons and group play for beginners and intermediates on the immaculate lawns of the CCC on Sundays this summer at 4:00pm. 

At our first lesson of the year, two Sundays ago, we met among high winds, rain, and unseasonably low temperatures, and were forced immediately into the club house for cigars and servings of Pimm's Cup.  As commodious as this may sound, it was not without its difficulties.  Of course we are all used to having to substitute cucumber for borage leaves in modern versions of the classic Pimm's Cup, but in a rather shocking turn, we were furthermore obliged, by an unforeseen supermarket shortage, to make do with a combination of fresh basil smeared with oil of peppermint in place of actual mint leaves.  Mr. Bauman saved the day by suggesting that while we might keep the cucumber. we should require a further substitution of vodka for the Pimm's, tomato juice for the lemonade, and tabasco sauce for the mint.  The final result was a nontraditional version of Pimm's cup that everyone enjoyed immensely.

In brilliant contrast to the weather of our first lesson, the warm sun and dramatic clouds that attended our second lesson, this last Sunday, conspired to create a glittering wash of Maxfield Parrish-esque light that streamed almost palpably through the surrounding trees and across the magnificent lawns.  One could hardly imagine a finer day for hitting ball toward wicket.  As beginners to the game, however, this was where our troubles began.  The chief difficulty I found at first was in managing my flamingo.  I succeeded in getting its body tucked away, comfortably enough, under my arm, with its legs hanging down, but generally, just as I had gotten its neck nicely straightened out, and was going to give the hedgehog a blow with its head, it would twist itself round and look up in my face, with such a puzzled expression that I could not help pausing for a puff on my cigar.  And when I had gotten its head down, and was going to begin again, it was very provoking to find that the hedgehog had unrolled itself, and was in the act of crawling away.  Besides all this, there was generally a ridge or furrow in the way of wherever I wanted to send the hedgehog.  I soon came to the conclusion that it was a very difficult game, indeed, and were it not for the ever-present drinks carts, no one could be compelled to play it.  On that note, our next lesson will be Sunday, June 10th, 4-7pm.

Mr. Johnson writes: "Chicago is blessed with two tournament six-wicket croquet courts and an adjoining clubhouse, which are bordered by the 59th Street Beach on one side and Jackson Park on the other. It is a resort-like setting that cries out for Panama hats, pewter flasks, and fine cigars.

"The facility was originally built by the city for lawn bowling in the late 1920s. The Lakeside Lawn Bowling Club thrived for decades with a membership in the hundreds until it was all but shut down by Mayor Harold Washington, who regarded the club as elitist. Mayor Daley later reinstalled the fencing that surrounds the club, and in 2001, yours truly somehow convinced the city to make the courts dual use with six-wicket croquet. While the lawns and clubhouse are park property, the lawn bowling and croquet clubs control the access to the lawns in order to preserve the playing surface and secure the clubhouse.

"Club members don traditional croquet whites most weekends, although a bit of color is acceptable during weeknight play."

If you are care to join other members of the University Club Cigar Society  some Sunday on the lawns of the Chicago Croquet Club, send email to Douglas Johnson.

Recommended reading:

See you on the lawn!

Respectfully submitted by
Curtis Tuckey, Secretary


My cigar in hand and mallet ready,
Shoulders swinging, forearms steady;
A cocktail at the close of day

The perfect way to play croquet!

University Club Cigar Society Officers for 2007. David O'Connor, Chair.  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.