Maybe Just One Voice | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

There is a national Stanley Steemer TV commercial airing at this time that is just blanketing the airwaves. It celebrates the holidays and shows portraits of families enjoying Christmas and Hanukkah.

Since I am stuck at home, like a lot of folks, I watch too much TV. And this ad has offended me to the point that I had to speak out.

Here’s the problem…The Christmas shot is just fine. But the Hanukkah spot shows a menorah full of candles and a man lighting them with a match. Now if you aren’t Jewish, you probably haven’t noticed anything odd.

For over 2000 years, Jews have been celebrating the Festival of Lights by lighting 8 candles for every day signifying a supply of oil for illumination during a fierce battle with the reigning Greek Empire in 200 B.C. The Greeks outlawed Judaism and persecuted the Jews. A small army, called the Maccabees, rebelled and fought the Greeks after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.

The Maccabees set up a temporary altar and placed a menorah with only enough oil for one day. It lasted 8 days and was considered a miracle.

During the Hanukkah (the english translation is “Rededicated) celebration, Jews from all over the world light their own menorah candles…starting with one candle for the first day and adding another each day til the 8 days of the commemoration concludes. The middle, or 9th candle, is called the ‘helper candle’ and is used to light each candle for the 8 days. This is how it has been done for two millenia. This is tradition.

Stanley Steemer put out this national campaign and shows a man’s hand using a match to light the candles instead of the traditional Shamash, or helper candle. I know a lot of non-Jews are thinking so what? But if you use a religious tradition to market your wares, the least you can do is spend 5 minutes on Wikipedia to see how it’s done.

Now if the scene with the family enjoying their Christmas meal had a decorated tree in the background upside down, I bet you’d notice and wonder what the hell are they doing?

I reached out to Stanley Steemer and told them how I felt that they were disrespecting the Jewish people in a national ad campaign. I got a form email back…blah, blah, blah. And they never got back to me with a sincere phone call or a non-computer generated email.

I contacted the NBC affiliate in Milwaukee, who shows the ad regularly, and explained my issues with this ad. Half an hour after submitting the email to the general manager of the station, he called me.

We discussed the issue and he agreed this was not acceptable. I then asked that they must have Jews working at the station and no one noticed this? He said yeah, plenty of Jews but no one had said a thing.

We talked for a while and I was satisfied that Mr. Poss was a good man and truly understood the slight by Stanley Steemer. So, I called off my two buddies that are ex-Mossad.

Mr. Poss called me this morning to tell me that he and the sales manager and his team met. They notified the Stanley Steemer PR firm about the problem. He told me that he didn’t really hear any type of serious reflection in their response but he also told them they would alter the ad themselves for this market.

Now I don’t know how many Jews have seen this ad and just blew it off as more indifference from advertisers to the sensitivity of the holiday. It appears that no one had said a damn thing, from anywhere in the country, except me about this indiscretion. I really don’t get that; but it is what it is.

Mr. Poss said he expects Stanley Steemer to either pull the ad entirely…or do it correctly. He told me he would call me as soon as he knew which direction they had planned to take.

Of course, there may have been others that complained to Stanley Steemer…and got nowhere. I was lucky to have a real mensch in the NBC GM to have my back on this.

I am shocked. One person speaking up. And things can change. Imagine if we all did this in our everyday lives. Normally, we all feel small and insignificant in how things are presented to us in the media. We don’t feel we have a voice that will be listened to. 330 million people residing in the U.S.A and one old Jew in Milwaukee may have had an impact on something important. This floors me. Of course, if the general manager of the NBC station had not taken my criticism to heart, the change would probably have never occurred.

What country can you think of that one person can make a difference? In all this turmoil of Covid and the presidential election, one voice mattered. I’ve never been so proud to be an American citizen. This is outstanding.


20 replies

  1. Hey bud. Thanks for that great historical lesson. You’re one of a kind for sure. A story teller supreme. You should have been a screen writer.

    You ‘n I are both 70, and that’s the first time I’ve ever heard the story in the way you told it. So that made me wonder – since this is about oil, why is it most common to use candles instead of oil?

    I looked on the internet and I see that some menorahs do use oil pots instead of candles.


  2. Hi Rod,
    It is just a safety issue. Imagine a house with children and burning oil. And the mess it may make.
    Candle wax is a lot easier to clean…and provides a better opportunity to keep your eyebrows where they belong.
    Thank you for the kind words.

  3. On cigars…I am sick as a dog.
    I thought it was a cold but in conferencing with healthcare nurses, they believe I have influenza B.
    But to be safe, Charlotte and I are going to get tested for Covid tomorrow to make sure.
    My daughter’s mother in law has covid.
    And my daughter has covid.
    I’m dying for a cigar but my head won’t cooperate,

  4. Good catch, Katman! I appreciate your eye for detail!
    Thank you for the history lesson and analysis! I looked “funny to me” with the match because I always picture a candle. I love the Traditions!!!
    It is important to be accurate and true to the actual celebrations! Not just push a service or product!
    Hope you feel better soon!!!!

  5. Hi Chris,
    Thanks. I had a one day break in the middle of this Moses’s plague…wait, that’s Passover…where I felt good and thought it was behind me. I enjoyed a cigar like it was manna from the gods. Next day, blecch. I’m jonesing hard.
    Hope you are well,

  6. Thank you, Phil. From the bottom of my Christian heart, thank you. And thank the decent fellow at the affiliate on behalf of a crusty, skeptical, but foreve US-loving Vermonter. Imagine how Muslim people must feel about their faith’s depictions in our media. I love that one guy made a difference, scored one for decency against indifference. Thanks for the good thing you did.

    Now, toast up a Calico and spin some Zep!


  7. And… to any who were put off by my comment, please don’t write on Phil’s site if you disagree. I don’t take anything back, but I’d be bummed if I started an argument in this space. Thank you!

  8. Hi Tom,
    I’ve been around a while and lived through the days when it was OK to say Merry Christmas. Never bothered me. Didn’t think twice about it. Then in the last 20 years, the PC Police had to turn it into Happy Holidays. I laugh when I see people get upset about this.
    I grew up as a kid seeing school rooms only decorated in Xmas paraphernalia. Again, didn’t bother me.
    Exclusion of one type or another is experienced by everyone at some point in their lives. You either let it eat at you or you brush it off.
    I’m pretty sure I’ll be dead by the time we see a TV commercial wishing Happy Ramadan.

    The worst day of my life…
    Hanukkah goes by the Jewish calendar so it floats around differently each year in December.
    I was maybe 10 years old and Hanukkah was the day after Christmas.
    I stood outside my house on that day watching kids running up and down the block with their new toys.
    I had to wait another day. I pleaded with my parents to let me open just one present. Nope.
    I am psychologically scarred to this day because of that.

    It truly suprised me, having to watch this commercial on all the time, that it would get to me. Probably cabin fever.
    There are roughly over 200 million Christians in this country.
    There is roughly 6 million Jews.
    And roughly 4.5 million Muslims.
    But there is also Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sikhism.
    And they all need their carpets cleaned in December.
    The Stanley Steemer folks never got back to me after the form letter.
    Probably born again Pagans…

  9. You always make me laugh. Great line about a distant future commercial. Wish I could sit on a porch someday to enjoy a smoke with you. Happy 70 to Charlotte and may your tests tomorrow be the best sort of negative.


  10. Thanks Tom,
    I’ll tell Charlotte…but on her birthday night, she conked out on me while I was trying to get a boner. Thank God the cat was nearby when I did.
    I’m sure by 2027, we shall be able to travel again and maybe we can have that smoke.

  11. It’s OK. I’ve become very accustomed to death threats.
    I will assign those ‘buddies’ of mine to your house for a couple nights.
    You live at 2409 Ostrom Ave. Santiago, Chile…right?

  12. The national ad was pulled yesterday.
    David 2, Goliath 00

  13. Good job, Phil! And, I hope you get to feeling better soon.


  14. Thanks Phil…
    Started antibiotics yesterday…should be up and smoking soon.

  15. Good to hear, Phil!

  16. Over 3 weeks without a single cigar…feels like I’m a prisoner at Abu Ghraib; minus the testicles hooked up to a car battery while being hanged by my schmekel. Why isn’t Dr. Fauci talking about this?

  17. Adsales, Schmadsales. Way to go, slayer of fools!

    Can’t sleep, so…

    – Phil’s groupies? In the Shammash-lit Mosh-pit.
    – Burnalism
    – Steemer Reamer
    – Tora, Toro, Torah!
    – Milwaukee-Old-Geezer, Serapi-No-Steemer
    – Menorah Boner—Gomorrah Stoner
    – Fabreeze the Tabriz
    – Wooden Match Kohnhed Catch
    – Katmandid!

  18. I’m not sure where to start. Wait. I know…send me some of that stuff you were blowing your mind with when you wrote your comment. I would be such a better writer.
    Thanks for the tip of your hat, Tom.
    Only doing what a Jew is supposed to do…besides going undercover in white supremacy groups…and going to hazing events for the Proud Boys and handing out chocolate looking, LSD laced Ex-Lax.
    You da man,

  19. Mr. Kohn, I discovered you and your website just a month ago. I ordered about 15 of your top 25 cigars from your 2019 list. They came in this week. If I got the correct message from your reviews, you wait 4 months to smoke cigars before you review them. I am not sure I can hold off that long on these beauties.

    Sorry that you have been ill. I am 58 and certainly already know that when you do not feel well, life mostly sucks. Here’s to you being well soon. I will drink a single malt to your health after I complete this comment. Well, I am drinking it now, truth be told.

    Lastly, I love your writing style. You should write a book. In the last two years of high school my English teacher, Father George Tribou, tasked us with writing a 3 page theme due every Monday. He would enjoy your writing style too if still with us…the great man moved on to eternal life in early 2001. In the last decade of Fr T’s life he developed a friendship with Pat Conroy. He worked on Conroy to minimize the coarse language and references, and I think Conroy made an honest effort at it but probably was too far along with the way he wrote. Your reviews include some of this type of language, but it is so humorous I would say do not change a thing. Btw, Conroy wrote a beautiful eulogy for Fr. T in 2001. If you can find it via Google, you would appreciate it. Thanks for this website and reviews and thanks be to God for cigars.

    Cheers and happy Thanksgiving.

    Mark Massey

  20. Thank you so much, Mark…
    At least I don’t speak of beastiality…er, wait…sometimes I do. My bad.
    Have a wonderful holiday and thanks for your support.

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