Bill Brainstorms

I’ve only had time for two cigars all week and now I’m grumpy. It seems like no matter how much time you have set aside to do something you end up needing more.

For me getting started is most of the battle. If I could only get going on something I’d be fine. No matter what I’m supposed to be doing, I’d rather be doing something else. The things I’d really like to be doing are usually either something that is not important and a “waste” of my time or something I shouldn’t be doing in the first place.

I thought writing this column would end up with me at the cigar store with an expense account picking out all kinds of cool cigars to try. Then spending the week smoking them all. Ending up with a great idea to write about. Who has the best wrappers? Who makes the most consistent cigar? What are my Top 5 Favorite Robustos? Things like that. Let me tell you right now, and to warn any young guys out there that think writing a weekly column about pipes and cigars is the dream job. It isn’t.


First, I don’t have an expense account. Why not is beyond me. I get some smokes to try at our Staff Meetings and every once in awhile get a few freebies, but for the most part, if I want a cigar I have to go buy it myself. The same as a column-less plebe does. I can’t even write it off on my taxes because I don’t even make any money.

Not Bill

The second thing is even worse. Shouldn’t I be seeing some cake coming my way? Right now all the advertising money is being spent on web site upgrades, some give away items that will come out later in the year (which I’m not allowed to talk about) and some other things that nobody cares about. At least I don’t.

All of my suggestions get shot down, as usual. For example I wanted Briar Report to buy a locker at the local cigar store. It would be stuffed full of great cigars and anyone on the staff could go in there at any time and take what ever they wanted. Believe it or not, that idea didn’t even get off the ground.

My next idea was for them to get me a subscription to all of the cigar of the month services. You know the kind I’m talking about, where you get a package in the mail every month full of goodies. I could evaluate the services and let people know which ones are worth it and which ones are duds. Again, nobody except me liked the idea. Too bad, I could have done a lot with that one.

Here’s The Ticket

The best idea I ever had was where everyone would give me free cigars to try. What they would do is take the band off and tape it to a 3 x 5 card. They would then write down on the card what that cigar cost. They would then put the card in an envelope and seal it. Not the cigar, that would be left out for me. I would then smoke the cigar noting all of the characteristics, keeping track of all the good and bad points, then evaluate the stick. When I was all done I would write down on the outside of the envelope how much I would pay for the cigar if I were to buy it for myself. We would take a picture or make a movie of the envelope for the weekly column and there would be a big reveal when the envelope is opened and we see what the cigar is and what someone (not me) actually paid for it. The movie would end, or the second picture would show, the card laying next to the envelope.

For example, you would see a photo of a cigar butt in an ashtray, next to it a card with a Cohiba band taped to it and it says $29.56. Next to that would be a ripped open envelope with $2.95 on it. It would be like my own version of the Price Is Right, only instead of guessing the retail price I would be saying what it’s really worth.

A column like that can’t miss, or so I thought. Again, I’m the only one who liked the idea, which really surprised me since I thought I had a real winner there.

I was told that if we did that every cigar company in the world would hate us. I don’t see why, it sounds like a load of fun to me.

You know what I get instead? Bill is your column done yet? Bill what are you writing about this week? How the [expletive deleted] should I know? I still have a whole day before it’s due. My favorite is, Bill you swear too much. It gets edited out so why bother putting it in to begin with? Well you know what? I don’t know what I’m going to write about. There are no free cigars, let alone an expense account and I’ll say whatever the [expletive deleted] I want to.

More Unsolicited Advice

You know what the problem around here is? The website has gotten too big. I think if you were to put it on a graph, when it’s small it’s fun. when it’s really big it’s probably fun too. Maybe not as much, but if it’s paying for itself and you can hire people to do things right, it must feel nice. but there’s an area in the middle where you’re not small but you’re not huge either and that place sucks.

You should hear the Staff Meetings. Always trying to find new ways to make it better. How to read those stupid charts to see how many new people visit and how many don’t come back. Everybody is always trying to think of new ways to grow. Ahhhh, who cares?

All getting bigger means is more work. I’ve got enough things to do. Why would I want it any bigger? People probably read my column only three or four times before they get tired of it. There’s no way I’m writing any articles or taking on any more jobs. The only way I would even consider something like that is if I got an assistant. Then I could just make them do all of my work including this column.

Well, let them work all that junk out among themselves, I’m not going to worry about it. Especially when they don’t like any of my ideas in the first place. Wouldn’t it be the greatest thing ever if I actually got to do my Price Is Right idea and it ended up getting a million people reading it? It wouldn’t surprise me one bit. You know who would be getting their own locker!


Bill is the acting Briar Report Chief of Staff,

he is also the Managing Editor of

He can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter @StogieReport