I think what made it so easy to start was that I used brown paper grocery bags to light the coals. They seem to burn a little slower than newspaper so they really got the coals going before the paper was all burnt up. I've seen friends and family trying to get their charcoal going and they have to add more newspaper and mess with it a lot which results in a waste of time and even more of the afore mentioned smoke saturation. I simply tore up 1 1/2 brown paper bags, crumpled the pieces into little balls and shoved the bottom of the chimney full of them. I only had to light it once and then stand back a good distance from the smoke and watch the coals take light. If you can't tell, I was quite proud!
12 hours ago