Much like Gallia, this post est divisa in partes tres.
I recently picked up a solitary Hoyo de Montoya Dark Sumatra Media Noche, 5.7" x 54, from Honduras. Ecuadorian wrapper, Connecticut binder, and a blend of Dominican and Honduran filler. While being nearly black in color, this is a mild and smooth cigar with wonderful spice aromas and a rich, savory flavor. The construction is impeccable and I don't think I've ever had a cigar that burned this evenly. Plus, I'm a sucker for cedar-wrapped cigars. It looks classy and I like the flavor/aroma that comes from such contact.
Ever since Sam turned me on to Madeira, I try to keep a bottle in the house. In the current rotation is the Sandeman Fine Rich Madeira. Retailing for around $15, this is an excellent introductory Madeira that has the complex spices, raisin qualities, and slight sweetness indicative of the style. It is a bit more tart and harsh than the more well-aged varieties, but it hits the spot when an after-dinner splash of fortified wine is required.
One little treasure of my eclectic home library... The Schwa World Operations Manual. It's been out of print for years and pristine copies can fetch upwards of $150*. What is it? The Schwa Corporation was a graphic design project by Bill Barker. This book, which came out in 1997, details an alien takeover of the earth and how the human population will be controlled through dummy companies, advertising, and propaganda. The entire book is designed in stark black and white--no gradients or shades of gray. On top of that the only font used is Gill Sans, though often manipulated in interesting ways.
The book was an underground hit at the time, and a source of confusion for many others as there's no plot or apparent logical organization. It was also repeatedly vandalized at bookstores; if you're buying a copy make sure that it has the membership card, postcards, and stickers in the back. I've been carrying around my Schwa Planet Operator ID for over a decade now.
Barker fell off the radar for a while, but was recently the subject of a search at BoingBoing during which he was successfully located and appears to be working on a new project.
*I bought my untouched first edition for $1 at a Friends of the Library sale in 1998.