Tuesday, November 26, 2019


Perhaps as a result of my posting images of various pipes on my facebook page, I have seen the famous painting by Magritte of a pipe more often recently than before, as well as the comment "this is not a pipe".

The painting shows a pipe. Below it, Magritte wrote: "Ceci n'est pas une pipe", "This is not a pipe" in French.

Magritte's "La Trahison des Images" ("The Treachery of Images") (1928-9) or "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" ("This is not a pipe"). Sometimes translated as "The Betrayal of Images" By René Magritte, 1898-1967. The work is now owned by and exhibited at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art).

A.Y.W. posted the painting above, commenting: "I'm gonna tell my kids this was a pipe".
To which G.C.R. answered "I forget how this one works."
A.Y.W.: "you put tobacco in it and light it on fire, I think."

Indeed. That is the basic principle.

Advice for first-time pipe smokers: Pack lightly on the bottom, a bit tighter on top, creating a relatively smooth surface for the first light. Tamp down, relight. As you progress down the bowl, tamp occasionally to compress the burning area; this helps keep it lit, and will ensure a smooth burn. Do try to smoke it all the way to the bottom, but if it causes discomfort, put it down; you don't get Brownie Points for making yourself suffer. Pipe smoking is the perfect "hobby" for OCD's, and if you weren't neurotic before, if you stick with it you soon will be.

[Note: this is the condensed version, it can be a lot more wordy, and usually is. Exactly like Lord of the Rings.]

This would be a good moment for a review of Cornell & Diehl's Red Stag smoking mixture, a medium strength English blend (Latakia, red and blonde Virginias, Turkish) which is good, but better a few weeks after opening the tin, and rather perfect for crisp Autumn mornings such as today (54°). Note that I am enjoying a bowl of it right now -- very much enjoying -- but that might bore some readers .....
Yes, this is quite exceptional Like many such products, where the Latakia and Turkish balance each other nicely, providing a resinous old fashioned perfume, it reminds me of my well-spent youth, which was altogether a soggy period; what I remember best is rain. It rained (a lot) in Holland, when I bicycled to school, when I left in the afternoon, in between, and afterwards. The joy of finding a shelter somewhere to light up and have a cup of coffee was indescribable. When I finally returned to the United States, I remember Berkeley as being rain-drenched and soggy, wet with a fecund almost rotten reek. Moldy, moist, mildewy, and woodsmokey from people using their fireplaces a lot. I learned to drive a car in torrential downpours.
At that time I smoked several Latakia and Turkish compounds, not only from Drucquer's, but also by Sobranie, Dunhill, McConnell, and Rattray.
In homage to which this delightful tobacco mixture was composed.

Warning: According to the State of California, this
product does "things" to you. Which are also
known to the State of California.

Slightly tangy, slightly tarry. Velvety on the tongue. If you have nought to distract you overmuch, the Red Virginia becomes quite noticeable.
My apartment mate would disapprove.

But I must resist the urge.
This is not a review.

It looks like the first rain of the season will be blowing in this afternoon, with the possibility of a downpour right around lunch time. As presaged by the windy conditions yesterday evening. I am not fond of inclement weather, what with a tropic sort who much prefers high sixties to low seventies and sunny or only mildly overcast skies. At tea time today it may be really coming down, and lamentably there are fewer places to find succour from the weather in Chinatown than there used to be. So very likely under the awning of an abandoned storefront, where I shall fumble with my pipe and tobacco, and curse the modern age, which is intolerant of matured men.
And especially their habits.

You know, bubble tea places are not a suitable environment for adults.

Statler and Waldorf. Copyright: Disney. 
From USA Today.

Too cold, too young, too filled with giddy people hepped on sugar.

The one good thing is that rain will chase away the tourists. So there will be less of the sneering staring crowd and their odious little kids, and far fewer people doing that disgusted wave whenever they see someone smoking.

Finished the tin of Red Stag. That was the last bowl. I shall have to acquire more. It's perfect for an hour in pleasant company, with a warm beverage and a blanket. A wintry kind of smoke.


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