You may be thinking: Who are these yahoos, and why the hell are they nattering on about cigars and casino games and fine Scotches and whatnot?
Good question. Allow us to explain.
For the first 442 episodes and nine years of VLO, Jason Gillikin and Tony Snyder served as co-hosts and co-producers of this weekly program. Starting with episode 443 in January 2020, Jason took the reins individually, on an every-other-week schedule. But the Jason-and-Tony dyad proved the core heart-and-soul of the show for most of its extraordinarily long run length.
Jason Gillikin is a jack-of-all-trades from Grand Rapids, Michigan. An accomplished bullshitter thanks in large part to his degree in moral philosophy, Jason currently works double-duty—by day, as an independent healthcare-quality consultant and as an executive in the publishing industry. In his free time, he enjoys scuba diving, backcountry hiking, writing and editing … and as serving as the chief butler to his two feline overlords. As an experienced healthcare quality professional with a national reputation for quality analytics expertise, he’s acutely aware of the blatant hypocrisy of promoting cigars and spirits, but his solution to this vexing problem is to pour another dram and to light up another stogie. Visit his website, A Mild Voice of Reason, for more info.
Tony Snyder is an attorney with a passion for gaming law. He is married with no children, travels to Vegas more that he probably should, and completely believes in word-of-mouth marketing as the primary way to build your business. Tony was a solo practice attorney for six years before joining the rarified ranks of public service. He has served as a legislative director for a state senator, he was a blackjack dealer for a NW Indiana casino during his college years. Tony was the VLO co-host for its first 442 episodes, from its start until the end of 2019. He now hosts, with Jason’s support, the Michigan Constitution podcast.
Here’s our story:
In the late summer of 2010, Jason and Tony sat down for a couple of hours in a cigar lounge in Brighton, Michigan. Settling down into the alligator-leather couches with an Avo No. 5 in one hand and a neat Johnnie Walker Black in the other, the pair reminisced about more than 13 years of friendship that stretches back to their undergraduate days at Western Michigan University and about Tony’s forthcoming wedding in Las Vegas.
In that moment of quiet manly bonding, the two had an epiphany: This is worth something. The simple luxury of a good smoke and a good Scotch, talking about life and love and The Happiest Place on Earth, is an intrinsic good, and it’s something that we want to share with a wider world.
Your humble correspondents may occasionally pretend to be all-wise, all-knowing sages about the manly vices, but — like you — we are active learners. We will make mistakes, but we do so in a spirit of exploration.
Thanks for walking the vice-filled path with us.