Thank you for joining us for The Pipes Magazine Radio Show—the only radio talk show for pipe smokers and collectors. We broadcast weekly, every Thursday at 8 pm eastern USA time and are available on nearly all podcast sites and apps. Listen on your computer, tablet, phone and even in the car! Our Featured Interview tonight is with Jeff Knoll. Jeff is the Secretary/Treasurer of The North American Society of Pipe Collectors (NASPC), which currently has over 1,000 members throughout the U.S. and internationally. They put on the Columbus Pipe Show and publish the quarterly newsletter, The Pipe Collector. In the "Pipe Parts" segment, Brian takes one for the team by conducting an experiment smoking the same pipe all day long over and over. Sit back, relax with your pipe, and enjoy The Pipes Magazine Radio Show!
G. L. Pease
Over the years or decades that some of us have been pipe smokers, we’ve seen blends come, and more often go. For a variety of reasons, many great, and many more not-so-great blends have disappeared from the market. Some of these, the best, or best known, have been subsequently replaced by a parade of mass-produced caricatures of their namesakes. Or, they’ve served as inspiration for newer, craft-blended products that endeavor to stimulate reminiscences of days past by capturing some of their ancient alchemy. The rest, the more obscure majority, have quietly fallen into a dark pit of oblivion, leaving only their names remaining in the collective history of pipedom.
Spring is nearly sprung, or at least I sincerely hope so. With a couple of warmish days in a row (if you can consider temps in the mid-forties warmish), a little bit more sunshine each day, and geese timidly returning north to make goslings, it seems high time to stir myself out of hibernation and get back into the swing of things. Cracking open a tin of Mac Baren’s HH Old Dark Fired, dusting off a few burley-dedicated pipes and letting the needle drop on some Frank Sinatra records serves to complete the scene.
Is there more art or science to the pipe smoking pastime? At least from one perspective, I’m sure that it’s leaning towards art. In my mind, one of the best ways to delineate between the two is the terminology. A chemical compound, for example, isn’t open to interpretation. To borrow an overused and somewhat fatalistic modern phrase- it is what it is. But art, as a category, is awash in blurred lines; one man’s jazz is another man’s rock. Two different restaurants may serve a similar, or even identical dish, but categorize them differently. Styles of painting can sometimes fall between two disparate schools. Of the industries I’ve been involved in, pipe smoking terms are open to interpretation more than in any of the rest.
G. L. Pease
As I sit down with this month's questions, I'm enjoying a wonderful bowl in little sandblasted apple made by one of my favorite makers. While this normally shouldn't be worthy of mention, really, in this case it is. When I got this pipe in trade from another collector, it hadn't been smoked more than a few times, and the first bowl gave me a profound sense of why he'd chosen to part with it so quickly. Its smoke was harsh, acrid, in a word, dreadful, and very much unlike other pipes I've had from this maker. No wonder it hadn't made the cut for my friend; when there are so many truly great pipes to be enjoyed, why suffer a bad one? But, charmed by its shape, its size, its balance, its nicely detailed blast, I wasn't going to be so quick to part with it, resolving, instead, to give it a sporting chance. Choosing a forgiving blend, I vowed to give it a full tin before passing final judgment. I'm glad I did.
Kermit the Frog may seem the unlikeliest of inspirations for an article about the pipe-smoking hobby, but bear with me here. Though Kermit is more of a cigar aficionado than a pipeman...err, pipefrog...he is just the sort of sentimental, soft-spoken character that illustrates the best qualities of our ilk. He's also very much the sensitive, heart-on-his-sleeve type, not wholly unlike myself, and as I ponder the problems we pipemen, pipewomen and pipefrogs face in these troubled times, I take my inspiration from Kermit's seminal Top 40 hit, It's Not Easy Bein' Green:
This column is about Gentleman's Style and it's various forms of expression as they intersect the experiences of pipe smokers and all lovers of fine tobaccos.
Why a style column?
There is currently a resurgence of interest in men's fashion.
You can find variations of this statement more and more frequently these days across the media spectrum. You may have also noticed the increasing attention the media is focusing on the apparent growing popularity of the pipe hobby among young adults. Though possibly coincidental, I believe there is a subtle, if tenuous, relationship between the two.
How cold is it outside? So cold that lawyers have their hands in their own pockets. So cold that NJ Governor Chris Christie was able to single-handedly use the weather to coerce North Korea into changing its party alignment to Republican. So cold that I've had to resort to bad jokes for a lede-line. So cold that...well, you get the idea. It's that unpleasant time of year when the shine of holiday anticipation has come and gone, and we're left to trudge along on the tarnished side of the season, muddling through the slush and counting the days until the spring thaw.
To quote an old military theory, wars fought on several fronts are not won on any.
Now take the battle lines for tobacco. It is not news that there is a war afoot against the use of tobacco in any form.
Just recently, CVS, one of the largest retail pharmaceutical outlets in the nation, decided to rid its shelves of tobacco products. In the announcement, directors of the company said they realized removing tobacco products would cost the company billions in sales. That's a B as in billions.
Thus, one of the last bastions of "over-the-counter" or OTC "codger" tobacco products and pipes is disappearing into thin air, signaling the end of an era.
Kevin GodbeeThank you for joining us for The Pipes Magazine Radio Show—the only radio talk show for pipe smokers and collectors. We broadcast weekly, every Thursday at 8 pm eastern USA time and are available on nearly all podcast sites and apps. Listen on your computer, tablet, phone and even in the car! Our Featured [...]