Tuesday, November 24, 2020


A long walk with a pipe, a glowering look, and a stick for hitting people who might have gotten too close in pandemic times. Although smoking tobacco is a perfect tool for ensuring social distance. If you are close enough to find it objectionable, the chances very much are that you are far too close. and I may have to whack at you with my stick.
I have about half a good dozen whacking sticks.
I'm like a boy scout in some ways.
Be prepared.
Then home again to argue with customer service and have a late lunch. The only problem with customer service was the accent (Filipino) and the bloody script he had been given, which probably warned him that middle aged white people are ornery and cannot comprehend simple instructions. "Be humble, Ury, be humble! And supportive, caring, and gently encouraging! Stroke their egos and guide them gently through tying their shoes! First the left foot, if they're amenable to that, then the right foot. When they're done tell them what a wonderful praestation that was! A stellar achievement! Superior intelligence, damned well genius!" When it was all over and extra service had been added to my cell-phone, I thanked him. Which may have surprised him immeasurably, as his 'you're welcomes' were effusive.
It could have been the script he used.

The pipe shown above by Peterson of Dublin is a classic version of a shape which is hard to find nowadays because making it requires a keen eye as well as attention to angle. They have not made many good examples of it in years, and most new bulldogs, by any manufacturer, are lopsided. Something which back in the day (before my day) would not have been tolerated. There are a lot of things that back in the day before my day were just not acceptable.

It's one of my favourite shapes.

This exemplar performs very well with English flakes.

After which, of course, one should have tea.

Squat bulldogs are very sporting.

Yet also feminine.

Everyone's first pipe is usually mediocre. But with proper care and handling it will give many years of service. I usually tell people buying their first pipe to choose something comfortable to the eye and easy to run a pipe cleaner through, so that two years later they won't wonder "what the hell was I thinking?!?", but instead "I'm glad I bought that, it pleases me". So avoid the pipe with camouflage lacquer, or eccentric and badly done freehands. Getting a rotation going is a bit of an outlay at first, but with patience and intelligence it will be done fairly naturally. Then start thinking of "nice" pieces, the ones that cost a bit more. By that time your tastes will have sharpened. My first pipe was crap. But I do still have one pipe from that period.
A no-name Liverpool (long shank short tapered stem billiard shape bowl) which has been a companion for many years. Which is also good with flake tobaccos.

There's just something so nice about a well-made pipe with the right proportions, pleasing to the eye, a comfortable fit in the hand, and easy on the jaw. With a shape that, as much as the fragrance from the bowl, evokes days gone by, wonderful times, and good people.

As important is the tobacco one smokes. Whether flake (Virginia) or Balkan, it should be well-composed, made with good leaf, and few or no additives. Not one of those stinky berry vanilla products which cretins in the interior smoke while hunting varmints or abusing relatives.

The three most popular pipe tobaccos in America are BCA (an overload of vanilla), 1-Q (vanilla and caramel), and RLP-6 (molasses, honey, vanilla). Well-made products, but quite dubious.

Great for hunting shooting fishing types, hobbits, and wife beaters.
Thoughtful people smoke more civilized products.


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