Monday, December 09, 2013


Yesterday a local sports team did something fantastic. No, I did not watch the game, and have no actual idea what it was, or even how stupendous. The knowledge that it was mega-fantastic earthshattering super wonderful and just about the biggest thing since cheesedoodles was imparted by the noise in the nursery. That being a collection of cigar smokers in the lounge at The Last Man Standing.

Judging by their behaviour, watching sports is very much like drunken frat-boy sex; there's an awful lot of screaming and cussing.

I am not a sports-fan. Perhaps it's a character-flaw.
Nor do I feel any urge to support my team.
Whose names I do not know.

Unlike many people, I get most of my stimulation from caffeine.

So asking why I was anywhere near the cigar-smokers is a valid question; why the devil would I subject myself to that?

Well, I did not know that so important a game was scheduled.

In all honesty, I thought that right around this time nothing, absolutely nothing, would come between America and the popular must-have retailers. So I envisioned a nice quiet afternoon with the buffing wheels, polishing compounds, various waxes, poke-poke tools, and fluids, and an array of briar coming alive again in my hands.
Charatan, Comoy, Dunhill, Savinelli, and a few altogether interesting brands that I had seldom or never seen before. It was mostly Savinelli, but they were very nice pieces. Not filthy inside, slightly perfumed by Dunhill London Mixture, and the only thing that really required a focused neurosis was the tar embedded in the rims of the sandblasts.

Often when I fiddle with pipes I can imagine the type of rodent, raccoon, badger, or stoat-like creature that might love the object between my fingers.

This selection was part of a larger batch that had recently come in, all from the same owner. He liked English mixtures, and his tastes were twixt classic collegiate and sporty modern. But very balanced.
Possibly a very charming salamander or lizard of a man, with a tendency to wear overly colourful sweaters. Bright orb-eyes, and a subtle wit. A little pink flickety tongue snagging flies.

He may have liked curried grubs and beetles.

Followed by a spot of sourmash.

Once in a while, a cheroot.

A zesty Nicaraguan.

Or a Fuente.


Sometimes I wonder what my own pipe collection says about me. Could someone tell from my shape-preferences and prize-examples that I spent time in Europe and on planet Berkeley, before settling into digs in San Francisco? Do the pipes betray that I like noodles with grilled pork? Very fond of bittermelon? Vietnamese drip coffee, Hongkong-style milk-tea?

I think it's a stable and classic selection of briar, with a few notes of wildness. Only one or two queer lapses of judgment, which represent a chipper and upbeat streak of adventurism.

All in all, not an unlikable goobus.

Albeit rather offish.

Some pipes suggest a life in the sunlight, with the brightness of a California Spring or Summer coming in through the windows in mid-morning. Soft breezes, and the green of wooded areas, with alternating blots of brilliance and shadow. Late afternoons. Others hint at metal instruments and wooden surfaces, the distant echoes of machines, though not too loud for dreams.

Concrete, asphalt, iron bars. Abandoned tracks, loading docks.

A host of weasels, with a preference for VaPer flake.

A bright-eyed meerkat smoking a Zulu.

An otter, with a Rhodesian.

Rat and a Dublin.

Tangy leaf.

I'm certain that none of my pieces in any way says anything what so ever about football, or yelling at a television screen for several hours while chomping stogies and bloviating.

Because I can't imagine ever doing that myself.
I do not watch sports.
At all.


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