On Wednesday, I posted a photo of a cardboard box filled with guavas. So I'll bet you hookah folks are wondering what the heck I'm doing, right? After all, it's not a box of guava shisha and this is, after all, a hookah blog! Rest assured, I haven't lost my mind -- at least not today. As you'll soon see, there is a method to my madness.

The guavas in the box came from one of the two trees that grow in our yards. I actually cultivated these two trees from seeds -- yes, from seeds! Several years ago, a friend of ours who had just returned from Egypt, told us that she had brought a couple of guavas with her to eat on the plane and had forgotten about them during the trip. When we saw her, she had just eaten one and was ready to toss out the seeds. Ali, who happens to love guavas, asked for the seeds and told her how I had grown a couple of avocado trees from seeds. He was convinced that I could do the same thing with the guava seeds.

Not knowing how successful the venture would be, I planted the seeds into a couple of empty laundry detergent buckets and set them on the patio. I watered and checked on them regularly. It didn't take long before the seeds sprouted and full-fledged trees were in the making. When we bought our home, Ali carefully transplanted the saplings -- one in the front yard and one in the side yard. I continued to water and look after them, wondering if they would ever bear fruit. Not being a guava fan myself, I really hoped for Ali's sake that the trees would blossom. It took about eleven years of care and now, for the past five years, those trees have borne fruit!

When it's guava season, our house is the place on the block to be. Even though the front yard is not fenced in, our neighbors don't just help themselves to the fruit; they will knock on the door and ask permission to take some! Ali, of course, harvests them by the bags full to share with his Egyptian pals because, I suppose, to the guava experts of the world, Egyptian guavas are different than the type that can be found easily in Southern California.

The photo that I posted on Wednesday is a reminder that with care and attention, a small idea can blossom into an incredible harvest. Don't give up too easily on dreams; cultivate and care for them like I did for those guava seeds and you just might get an equally amazing result!

To see what others said about their Wordless Wednesday photos, click here.

Wordless Wednesday

More Wordless Wednesday photos can be seen here.

HOOKAHS: Super Anniversary Discounts

Carleen here. Ali and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary on April 9 and in honor of our having shared a quarter century in wedded bliss (most of the time, LOL!), we've put several 32" and taller hookahs on sale at 25% off! Actually, the discount goes much deeper:
  • 25% off the cost of the hookah
  • 5% cash back through My Store Rewards
  • FREE UPS Ground shipping

Included in the sale that ends in 6 days, is single and multi-hose pipes, hookahs with elaborate brass shafts, and the ever popular KM ice chamber hookahs. If you happen to be looking to add another hookah to your collection, this is a sale you don't want to miss!

House Passes Tobacco Bill, 298-112

Congressman Henry Waxman, of California's 30th District (Los Angeles), can now play Yankee Doodle and add a feather to his hat with the House passage of HR1256, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Regulation Act. The bill, which seeks to assign the authority of tobacco regulation to the FDA, passed a House vote yesterday with 298 representatives saying AYE and only 112 saying NAY. The New York Times has provided a roll call of the voting here. How did your representative vote?

The bill is now set for a Senate vote, but it will likely face stronger opposition there than it received in the House. Representing the largest tobacco producing state in the nation, Republican Senator Richard M. Burr, of North Carolina, has threatened a filibuster. But with Senator Edward Kennedy and Philip Morris USA backing HR 1256, and our new President on board, Senator Burr will more than likely have the proverbial uphill battle to wage. Interestingly enough, the Supreme Court denied an appeal to Philip Morris USA on March 31, 2009, in a landmark fraud case that awarded $79.5 million to a Portland, Oregon widow whose husband, a long-time smoker, died of lung cancer (see Philip Morris USA v Williams, 07-1216). The appeal has been bounced around the court system for 10 years and has racked up enough interest to make the award worth $155 million today. I can't help but wonder if Philip Morris USA will change its mind about supporting HR 1256 in light of this. After all, they will need smokers to buy their products in order to recoup their losses, right?

Remember, folks, HR 1256 has a direct impact on your right and ability to smoke hookah! Should the bill pass the Senate and become law, adding flavoring to tobacco will become illegal. Flavoring is the very heart of hookah tobacco!

What can you do?

Contact your senators and voice your opinion. Stand up and be heard!

Waxman's Tobacco Bill & Hookah Tobacco

Today, the House voted to put Rep. Henry Waxman's (D-Calif.) tobacco bill up for a vote. Waxman's bill seeks to give regulatory control over tobacco to the FDA and has specific stipulations that will have a tremendous impact on hookah tobacco:

"His bill wouldn't let the FDA ban nicotine or tobacco outright, but the agency would be able to regulate the contents of tobacco products, make public their ingredients, prohibit flavoring, require much larger warning labels and strictly control or prohibit marketing campaigns, especially those geared toward children." (Source)

The prohibition on flavoring tobacco means no menthol cigarettes and no flavored pipe or hookah tobacco! What is hookah without flavored tobacco?

The Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the FDA does not have the authority to regulate tobacco, but Waxman and Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass) have worked tirelessly to change that. Considering the FDA's recent track record of failures in monitoring food safety, I can't imagine what they'll do with tobacco.

So, hookah smokers, now is the time to step up to the plate and let our voices be heard. Get on the phone and call your state's senators, both of them, and your district's Congressional representative before the opportunity passes by. Your voice counts!