Monday, January 25, 2010

Emergency meeting

For anyone in the northwest Arkansas area, The Ozark Pipe Smokers will be meeting at noon Saturday, Jan. 30, at Romeo's Downtown Pipe & Tobacco Co., 111 S. Second St. in Rogers.
The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the possible tax increase on pipe tobacco. Come with any ideas how we, as a club, can affect the tax on a local level, any special talents you would be willing to donate to the cause, and a desire to join as a group to maintain our current tax levels. Our discussions will hopefully influence discussions with our representatives to the U.S. House and Senate.
Attendance is not limited club members. Anyone is welcomed to join us for the meeting, where we will smoke our pipes and wrack our brains.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The other shoe

Anyone paying attention to recent tobacco tax decisions knew this day was coming. Roll-your-own tobacco companies avoided last year's taxes by relabeling their product as pipe tobacco. I laughed when I noticed pipe tobacco popping up that was flavored with "mint," which I, when I was a cigarette smoker, called menthol. I'm not laughing anymore.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What I'm Doing Wrong

(Author's note: "What I'm Doing Wrong" will be an ongoing series, as there appears no immediate danger that I will run out of things to chronicle.)

Today's word is "tongue bite." Yes, that's two words. If you're experiencing it, what does it matter how many words it has? And I've had it almost steady for a week.

Friday, January 15, 2010

In case you missed it ...

The discussion of pipe cleaning techniques planned for last night's meeting of The Ozark Pipe Smokers was better than expected, thanks to Vice President Jeff, who prepared a demonstration.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What I'm Doing Wrong

(Author's note: "What I'm Doing Wrong" will be an ongoing series, as there appears no immediate danger that I will run out of things to chronicle.)

There are flavors in tobacco beyond the obvious one. Sure, there's this single overarching taste and aroma, but tobaccos (good ones, anyway) also have subtle undertones. At least, that's what I'm told.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ladies and gentlemen, step right up to marvel at the cure for the ages!

Have you ever wondered why you can't be smarter? Of course, if you're not already smart, you won't find an answer. It's nature's Catch 22. That's some catch, that catch 22. It's the best there is. But I digress, which, if you are still wondering why you aren't smarter, is a word you probably won't be able to look up in the dictionary. The symptoms of this disorder are an inability to spell your own name, anxiety trying to figure out how to dial a phone number, and complete bewilderment about why, even in your adult life, you still don't understand what people mean when they keep talking about "birds and bees." Ladies and gentlemen, I have your answer. But first ...
Have you ever wondered why you aren't more manly? Of course, if you're not already manly, then you don't have the guts to ever man up. It's nature's Catch 22. That's some catch, that catch 22. It's the best there is. But even though I'm making fun of you, you won't have the fortitude to do anything but flinch at my literary assault. The symptoms of this disorder are an inability to raise your voice, even if you are speaking under a jet turbine, anxiety in making a fist, even if you have no intention of swinging it, and complete bewilderment about why John Wayne, even in his death, is still the manliest man in the world, followed closely by Chuck Norris. Ladies and gentlemen, I have your answer.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Smoking and sharing

The table in the middle of the small smoking room seems to fill faster than the seats around it, full of tins and bags and pipes and lighters. Invariably on the second and fifth Thursday of each month, I occupy one of the seats around the table. When the other seats fill up, the pipe club meeting begins.
Experiences may vary from club to club, and I can speak only to mine (The Ozark Pipe Smokers), but the spirit of camaraderie quickly takes over as tobaccos get passed around, some brought specifically by request or with a particular taster in mind, others simply because the group will enjoy them. Thanks to such meetings, I had my first taste of too many tobaccos to count, but I'll try to name a few: Peter Stokkebye's Luxury Navy Flake, Frog Morton on the Town, McClelland Christmas Cheer (I think it was 2006), home-blended aromatics, Gawith's Brown No. 4.
Such gatherings are a social setting designed to allow members and guests to share their own pipe smoking experience with others. They are essentially an expansion of the front porch days of long ago, where men sat and smoked and shot the breeze. It is a healthy interaction that has become increasingly rare in modern society, and what are pipe smokers if not nostalgic to some degree for those things disappearing from the past.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

So you've picked a pipe ...

In your hands is a pipe that feels like it belongs there, looks more beautiful than you thought you could imagine, and can't wait to hold burning leaves so you can inhale the smoke from its stem. It's a good first step. Step 2, well, here's the thing ...

Friday, January 1, 2010


This being this blog's first post on this first day of the first year of the second decade of the second millennium (so it's not a perfect analogy), I thought it fitting to discuss the very important step of buying a first pipe.
There are as many factors that go into selecting a first pipe as there are pipes, and there are as many correct responses as there are pipe smokers. And while all of those factors can come into play during the selection of a pipe, first or otherwise, there are a few generalities we can address that will apply to everyone.