Camel: Only the Finest Blend of Turkish Airplane Glue

As my cigarette of choice, Camel is one of the most recognizable cigarettes to date. What with an icon like Joe Cool doling out free swag like backpacks, boomboxes, hats, and (Gonna go ahead and date myself here) Walkmans to people who smoke Camels often enough, it's no surprise. With Marlboro really being the only other household name for cigarettes (though Newport could probably be in the running as well), Camel has caked over the lungs of millions with their distinct blend of Turkish tobacco. The brand has a renown for being a very rough cigarette, and though there are certainly rougher cigarettes out there, I can't think of the last time I warned someone of American Spirit's Perique Blend, and didn't get the response, "I smoke Camels".

Leather Jacket, Sunglasses at Night, Motorcycle.. any cooler and David Bowie would need to have a talk about the stability of the universe with Joe Cool.

So let's talk about Camels. The cigarette itself is.. well.. good. There aren't many things wrong with it despite how rough it is. Camel's are normally moderately priced, rarely reaching over 5.50 a pack here in Georgia. And if their normal Camel Filters aren't quite your style, they have plenty of variations; Royals offer a smoother smoke with more flavor than their regular filters, No. 9s offer something different than your average cigarette (so of course their a go-to for hipsters everywhere), Wides give you the sense you're smoking more than you need to be, yet still finish quicker than a 99. Then you have shit like Crushes for those smokers that can't make up their fucking mind. Aside from their cigarettes, Camel seems to be trying to find more ways to get that sweet sweet nicotine into your system without smoke. A quick recon of their site teases at future products like Sticks and Orbs (Yeah, I have no fucking idea. Their being released in one city at a time in limited supply. Probably because it's a stupid idea because people want to smoke more than they want the nicotine. Otherwise, Nicoderm CQ would be the tit of the town).

Something you don't know about Camel? They seem to market to kids. Beat around the bush however you want, but they fucking do. Is this on purpose? I don't think so. Honestly, I believe their marketing to college kids. By no means am I going to sit here and cry conspiracy on Camel for marketing to 12-year-olds, because that's just bullshit. But back in the 90's when there was an uproar about Tobacco companies marketing to children, Camel was at the center of attention with their Joe Cool campaign leading the pack. Even now their website is bright colors and shiny knobs designed for those with short attention span. Though Camel most likely does not intend to appeal to those under the age of 18, it just seems to bleed out in everything they do.

Honestly, people? Blame the parents. Camel just wants to sell a product with the idea that their product is cool. Every other damn company does the same damn thing. This right here? Not the company's fault.

Now to emphasize, I do not believe Camel intentionally directs their advertising to kids, although many people seem to think that way. I simply think that their advertising campaign is targeted so close to the 18 and up cut-off, that people focus on Camel more often than something like Marlboro (who targets the 30-something cancer surviving cowboys). In fact, I respect Camel for never faltering on their standpoint. They did not give into the controversy, and despite all the flak, continued doing what they do. So good on you, Camel. If anyone were going to kill me slowly over 25 years, I'm happy that it's you.

So let's skim their history, shall we? I'm not going to get too deep into it, because I firmly believe that I could sit here and type pages upon pages on Camel, but I won't leave you on the whole 'marketing to minors' note.

Camel is R.J. Reynolds' foundation. In 1913, R.J. did something no one else had ever done; The pre-packaged cigarette. With careful pre-advertising under the teaser "The Camels are Coming", Camels built up a fervor before they were even introduced (kinda like how people wet their pants for Halo 3). Once introduced, Camel exploded, selling 425 million packs in their first year. Talk about successful. Because of such success, Camel has always had an edge in promotion, and they wave their clout around like a black man with far too much Viagra. With promotional events such as "Old Joe" (a circus camel that toted around a wagon a-la Oregon Trail and handed out free packs of cigarettes) and Joe Cool's famous "Camel Cash", the brand has set the bar for successful advertising campaigns. My favorite to date was the limited edition "Break Free" adventure, which featured 10 packs of city-specific blends that replaced the standard Camel Filters. Each City featured a distinctly different blend of tobacco that made Camel stand miles ahead of their competition. For me, it gave new meaning to the slogan "I'd walk a mile for a Camel!" Because if they did that again, I fucking would. By the way, Seattle was my favorite blend. Tasted like fucking rain-water. Seriously.

Genius. Fucking. Marketing.

So what's next for Camel? As mentioned before, they're teasing Sticks, Strips, and Orbs.. and aside from those callsigns, not much else has been heard on the products. So I guess we'll just have to wait and see what's in store for the brand. They might change the face of smoking forever.

Or not. Because like Joe Cool has shown us, it's fucking difficult out-cool smoking a cigarette with a leather jacket and sunglasses. Now if you excuse me, I've got a Royal with my name on it.


Maylay - The Secret's Out: Released 2003

So a while back, I had again visited Criminal Records and picked up another little dollar-gem called The Secret's Out by a band I've never heard of named Maylay. Neat name, I guess, but again I can't find any information on these guys. I'm scouring the internet, and the only thing that comes up is Jason Sandlin, the then Guitarist and Vocalist for the band (currently in a band called Whiskey Blind as of 2012). In fact, quite a few things came up before I could actually find this band... so they're buried. Considering this band is no longer in circulation, it's not too surprising. But hell.. their music isn't too bad, so let's see what once was, shall we?

Left to Right: Bobby Hartridge (Bass/Vocals), Jason Sandlin(Guitar/Vocals), Mike Schultz(Drums).. and then there's some chick in watercolor. I dunno, man. I dunno.

The dates are fuzzy, but Maylay seems to have come out of Athens, GA and had a good run from around '02-'05. The album, The Secret's Out, is more of a 4-Song EP including "Worries", "Mad As I Can Be", "Pedal Down", and "Perfect Situation".

Oh, and that's all I know. Yeah, really. To the music, mother fuckers!

This shit sounds like College Rock through and through. Vocals are good, yet generic; Their hooks are catchy, but not too unique. However, considering where they come from, that's to be expected. It's fuckin' Athens. A point in their column? As a power-trio, they do stand out quite well when compared to another particular three-piece that made it huge out of Athens. Although these guys didn't quite share that success, it doesn't seem like they care. The lyrics, while not amazing, are just smart enough to actually mean something more than your everyday band. So these guys? They're pretty average. I could listen to them, and personally I enjoy it, but I can see why they didn't take off.

There are a couple things that I simply don't like about the album, however. The first of which being that there's only four fucking songs. C'mon guys, that's all you had? I didn't pick up a particular message, so it's not really a statement that most people could pick up on. So why not put more songs? I sorta liked what they had going, but with these four songs probably being the only four songs the public will ever see.. it's leaves me caring less about the band. They should have just left a bigger footprint in my opinion. Secondly, the songs don't differ too much from one another. Like I said.. it's basically college rock. Especially if you're only going to put four songs on, make them different; Encompass everything you guys can do. With what's on there, I'm under the impression that this band was nothing more than a phasing college conversation piece.

I fucking love the album cover, however. With nothing more than their name and album title on a white canvas, it seems as though the band is fully aware of who and what they are, and portray that to you in their album cover. "We are Maylay. This is what we are, take from it what you will."

Maylay doesn't give a fuck. Buy it or don't, just hurry the fuck up, you're holding up the line.
So that's Maylay, folks. Ok, so maybe I was a bit harsh on the music, but the fact remains that I actually enjoyed what I was listening to. It comes back to my original point made oh-so-long ago. Give music a shot.. especially cheap music. Worst case scenario is that you're down a few dollars. You mother fuckers don't buy real music anyway, so support local musicians.

Unless you want Justin Fucking Bieber to be the future of music. Which you fucking don't.


Miller High Life: Broke? Wanna Party? Gotcha Covered

I'll be honest with you here, folks; I normally can't stand Miller anything. In fact, damn near every American mainstream-beer tastes like carbonated ass to me. Same goes for a good deal of mainstream imports. Heineken, Newcastle.. all that shit. Can't stand it. But, of course, there are exceptions. Usually when it's cheap.

And you're not going to get a better deal for your dollar when you go to Miller High Life. There isn't a whole lot of taste, but it's certainly not water. At something like $4.99 for a 6-pack of Tallboys.. it beats out PBR by at least a half-dollar, and when you don't care what your beer taste like, you might as well save the 50 cents. Now sure, things like Icehouse might be cheaper. But.. Icehouse? Really? You're that broke. I mean, shit, just buy some DW-40. It's the same shit and you can use some of it for your car.

But I'm getting off topic. Miller High Life is definitely the top-tier of cheap beers. But if you really don't care about taste, then let's just dissect the can of beer itself. It looks fucking sexy. Classy lettering, golden color finish, and a subtly to the whole ensemble that just looks right when you're holding it in your hand. Let's put it this way.. most other beers you feel prouder holding in those Red Solo cups. High Life is a can you can wear with pride. Yes, mother fucker, I am drinking High Life. Because I know what's up.

Oh, yeah. And pinup-girls. 

Who you foolin'? You know that looks good.

Still not convinced? Well then get PBR, what more do you want from me? I'm not saying make this your go-to beer, but it's not bad. Miller gets a bad rap for their other beers.. and personally, I believe for good reason, but High Life is something different. They definitely did something right with this one.

High Life is Miller's oldest running brand of beer. Though the company was established by Frederick Miller in 1855, none of their other formulas have lasted as long as Miller High Life. In fact, the reason it lasted so long could most likely be attributed to how cheap it is now. When Plank-Road brewery was purchased by Miller, it was in a location that was in the dead center of a network of farms that produced all the raw materials needed to make beer. With such easy access to these farms, it's not much of a reach to assume that High Life was a very affordable beer in it's time. All they needed to do was make it not taste like utter shit. 

High Life is indeed a landmark in the history of American Beers. The 'Girl on the Moon' logo is a depiction of Frederick Miller's granddaughter. You don't get more historical than that.
So in summation, High Life isn't exactly the best beer out there, but with PBR as it's only real competition for it's price range.. you might as well at least flip a coin on it. What's the worst that could happen? (Side-effects of consuming an entire 12-pack on your own excluded. Don't put that shit on me, bro. That's a you-problem.)

Coconut Monkey knows what's up. Do you?


Pall Malls: Because Adults Have Bills

Oh, the dreaded red box (Or blue, green, or yellow.. but if you're smoking Pall Malls, who the fuck doesn't smoke full flavor?). Pall Malls, at a glance, have a slightly different design from most cigarette boxes and, with their beveled edges, it seems as though it may stand out amidst the pack-and-pretty rectangles that sit behind the gas station counter. Well the good news is: They do.

The bad news? They taste like vinegar. Famous American Cigarettes.. for what? And why in crikey fuck is the logo labeled in Latin?

Per Aspera Ad Astra - In Hoc Signo Vinces
Translation: Through [the] Thorns to the Stars - By This Sign You Shall  Conquer

So realistically, they aren't horrible. After all, they go for about $3.98 a pack here in Georgia, with cartons as low as 37-38 bucks. But let's face it.. no one really chooses to smoke Pall Malls. They're a go-to when you have no money, but still prefer R.J. Reynolds particular brand of airplane glue. But, hey this is a blog, so let's have a history lesson, shall we?

Did you know that Pall Mall isn't even American? It's fucking British. Pall Mall is a well known street in London, pronounced pel-mel, and was introduced in 1899 by the Butler and Butler company in an attempt to cater to upper-class American citizens. So Famous American Cigarettes is bullshit. But apparently, they weren't too bad because they were wildly popular until around the late 60's, when Winston beat the snot out of them in advertising with "Tastes good, like a cigarette should". However, Pall Mall's slogan at the time?

"OUTSTANDING.. and they are MILD!" Wow. Great job, guys. your powers in advertising are unmatched. I cannot believe they didn't sell. Seriously. Good job.

Something Pall Mall did do right? Spearheaded the "long" cigarette. Before Pall Mall did the 100mm cigarette, not many company's did it. And any company who did couldn't sell them well enough. But when Pall Mall did it, it caught on.. rather quickly. Introduced in early 1960, the Pall Mall longs became the number 1 cigarette and stayed that way until 1966, thus creating a standard in long cigarettes. You like smoking longs? Buy a pack of Pall Malls to thank them. But don't get the Pall Mall longs.. it's just too much abuse, and no one should have to do that.

But a company can't be all bad, right? (COUGHnewportCOUGH) No.. they can't possibly. Pall Mall does have one cigarette that actually has a pretty good flavor, which is probably why they did so well way back when. Pall Mall Filterless are actually really damn tasty. They're no Lucky Strike, but they don't do a half bad job. However.. you cannot find these mother fuckers for the life of you. The only time I found them was at a BP's AM/PM for 2 bucks a pack. So they were obviously older than sin. But.. if you can find a pack of Pall Mall filterless, they're not bad. Now, obviously, they're filterless, so they're pretty damn rough. So use discretion. In fact, the lady behind the counter probably said it best. When I expressed surprise at Pall Mall making a filterless, she promptly told me, "Well, everyone who smoked them is dead".

So there you go. Now you know a bit more about that cheap cigarette just a step above the cardboard for 3.10 a pack. Maybe you'll respect it a bit more now.


So I'm going to start this back up, completely revamp the whole thing. Maybe make some money off of it. If you're paying attention (which you probably aren't) stay tuned.