Winter 97/98
Volume III
Issue 1



C O V E R
186 Electra-fying!

Despite her lofty dreams, a young Carmen Electra, dancing at a Midwest amusement park, had no idea what good fortune the future would hold. But her life has proven charmed; she's recorded an album with the guy they once called Prince, hosted MTV's "Singled Out," and is currently starring on "Baywatch." SMOKE proudly singles out the lovely Ms. Electra. Photographs by Jeff Katz.

F E A T U R E S
88 Swimming With the Fishes
Ever since the immigration of Italians to America, the Mafia has wreaked ruthless havoc in this country. But now Sammy the Bull's in the witness protection program, Gotti's behind bars, and a procession of goodfellas are following the Teflon Don to the slammer. Reporter Jerry Capeci takes a look at 'La Cosa Nostra' today, and the future of organized crime in America.

102 Happy Campers
Blown-out arm prevent you from a glorious pitching career? Bum knee keep you from being drafted? From the last one picked in gym class to the near-miss hotshot, sports fantasy camps give one the opportunity to realize all sports fantasies while rubbing elbows and butting heads with the legends Of the diamond, court, rink, and gridiron. Jeff Weinstock suits up alongside the pros, the has-beens, and the never-weres.



114 Buggin'' Out
A box of 1995 Punch Punch Cubans, properly aged, is beset with Lasioderma serricorne - the dreaded tobacco beetle. Ron Maltin pulls no Punches as he takes on the enemy in an all-out war.

120 Today's Weather Forecast: Miserable. Again.
170 Winter weather got you down? Thank the good Lord you're not in Mount Washington, New Hampshire, home of the world's worst weather. Kevin McMurry straps on his mountain climbing gear, and fights the 100+ mph winds to battle this mountain.


130 SMOKE Pictorial: Long Love the King
Being a rock 'n' roll heartthrob, movie star, and cultural icon can be taxing, and Elvis enjoyed nothing more than sparking up a cigar to help him unwind, though he kept this habit hidden to protect his image. Some unique Presley pics.

140 Capital Gains
From congressional horse trading in smoky back rooms to Cohiba-smokin' diplomats to the stogie-chompin' guy in the White House, Washington, D.C.'s a cigar kinda town. Rob Frankel checks out where to buy the best that the District has to offer.

156 The SMOKE Also Rises
Alongside literary devices like symbolism, alliteration, and, of course, denouement, is the cigar. Stogies figure heavily in the standout literary works of our time, from masters Hemingway to Stephen Crane to Sinclair Lewis. Andrew Newman blows some dust off the classics.

164 Through the Grapevine
Chablis or Chardonnay? Bordeaux or Beaujolais? There are annoying people at dinner parties who claim to be wine experts, and then there are Master Sommeliers. Chris Rubin has a look at the laborious path to this elusive and elite title.

174 The Need for Speed
Known as cigars, these streamlined speed machines rocket across the Salt Flats at over 300 miles an hour, in pursuit of a land speed record. The father and son collective known as Big Sid gives us a look at the lightning fast world of high-speed motorcycles, and the intrepid men in these flying machines.

202 Know When to Hold 'em
Thursday night with the boys: Beers, cigars, funny hats, and a little poker. What could be better? Some new games, perhaps. Better strategies. Certainly, coming home with a little money in your pocket. Peter Steiner offers tips and tricks on how to take your poker night to new levels of excitement.

210 The Thrill o' Manila
Patience is indeed a virtue, as Dan Mickelson learned in a recent visit to the Philippines. He also discovered the warmth of the people he met there, and the booming cigar business that's starting to unfurl.

226 Freak Shows
What do you wanna see, a museum exhibit on native Byzantium folk dance, or museums dedicated to cockroaches, bordellos, questionable medical devices, vibrators, and voodoo? How 'bout an exhibit on SPAM? Yes! Barry Janoff explores some exhibits you won't find at your local Guggenheim.

236 SMOKE America: Top This
Based in Connecticut, Topper Cigar Company is one of the country's oldest cigar businesses, a family affair that recently celebrated its centennial. Annette Lockwood offers a profile.

Continued on next page...


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