Saturday, February 27, 2010

Did we do it? Looks like somebody did.

So despite our strong misgivings, our deep doubts, our unshakeable belief that the government will never listen to we few pipe smokers, we put our signatures on petitions and sent letters and called our elected officials, knowing deep in our hearts that nothing was going to change and that a 775 percent pipe tobacco tax hike was inevitable. We were right ... and wrong. Right in the action we took, right in the stand we made, right in coming together in brotherhood to fight against what we saw as unjust. We were just wrong about one thing.
We were wrong that it wouldn't work.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Some good news

During Saturday's St. Louis pipe show, I spoke with the gentlemen from Cornell & Diehl. I have no way to verify this, but they told me that HR 4439, the bill that threatens a 775% pipe tobacco tax increase, has come up twice before the Ways and Means Committee and both times was quickly dismissed as a waste of effort in light of more pressing matters. It looks like we have the glimmer of a hope. Everyone who is fighting this, keep up the good work. We might make it through to the other side.

Thoughts of St. Louis

I'm just back from the St. Louis pipe show. I have less money and more friends, which seems like a fair tradeoff. I'm also coming back with a lot of tobacco, some old favorites to stash away, some new blends to try, and an old favorite that has become a rarity.
Rather than tell you in great detail how great a time I had, because it seems only natural that a piper immersed in pipes and tobaccos would have a good time, I'd like to tell you about the people I met.
Pipe people, as a rule, are generous, friendly and welcoming. It is their distinct honor and pleasure to speak with you, not because of who you are or aren't, but really just for the conversation. They are there for the good time, which is also a time of relaxing, mental renewal and camaraderie. Of course, you're reading this because you're one of them, so you already know this.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The pipe cleaner conspiracy

You know it's coming. It doesn't matter how good your pipe is or the quality of your tobacco. Sooner or later, you will get a gurgle. They say a good pipe will never gurgle, but they do. Properly drilled draft holes, properly aged briar, a solid cake around the bowl, these all help. But if you smoke your pipe, it will eventually gurgle. And if you're lucky enough to avoid that, you still need to clean the pipes, give them a quick swab after you smoke.
And then, one day, you find yourself with plenty of pipes, plenty of tobacco, lighters full and matches aplenty, and you think you're ready to light up. Until you reach for your pipe cleaners. Where those long, fuzzy swabs once were, you find only air. The pipe shop is still open, so you figure you'll run in real quick.
And then they have you.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Others joining in

I'm posting a link here to The Eager Beaver's Briar, where Justin Bain has posted an interview with Jeff Steinbock from Uhle's Tobacco Company in Wisconsin about the proposed pipe tobacco tax in H.R. 4439.
It does look like The Ozark Pipe Smokers and Steinbock are on the same page when he says:
Local groups, shops, etc. need to band together and fight, putting aside economic competition.
It's a good interview, one that doesn't pull any punches or make believe that a simple petition is going to change the voting outcome. Yes, I know TOPS is sending out a form letter, but that is only the start to help us present our position our representative.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

In case you thought you missed it ...

We had a terrific meeting of The Ozark Pipe Smokers, but it was only a small meeting. For whatever reason, it was a light turnout. We still had fun and enjoyed each other's company, but there were only a few of us. So we decided to hold off on all the goodies we had planned, including our discussion of cellaring techniques and the raffle of an unopened tin of Dunhill Early Morning Pipe to those who signed the Pipes Magazine petition against HR 4439. We'll pick those up during our March 11 meeting.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pipe Club Preview

The Ozark Pipe Smokers will be meeting again Thursday, Feb. 11. All who bring donuts will be welcomed. All who don't bring donuts will also be welcomed, but do you really want to take the chance?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Symbolic Gesture of the Week

Murry rubs out some Samuel Gawith's Best Brown Flake onto a printed copy of H.R. 4439.

The business at hand

After a productive meeting of The Ozark Pipe Smokers (as productive as a pipe club meeting can be), the club is ready to move forward with its opposition to H.R. 4439. This is posted here both as an informational tool for our members and as inspiration for clubs and other individuals with the same goal elsewhere in the United States.

Man check

Before we get to the important business covered at today's meeting, we have one bit of little business to get to: Who manned up and smoked Mixture No. 79?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Time to man up

I received a pouch of tobacco in the mail today. This is one I always wondered if I'd try. Frankly, I kind of wondered if I was man enough to smoke it. Well, the time has come to find out. Let's face it: This ain't just any tobacco. This is Mixture No. 79.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pipe Ponderings: Waxing pathetic

(Author's note: The following has nothing to do with tobacco, save that it was written with a lit pipe within reach.)

As I'm writing, I'm lighting my first bowl ever of Carter Hall. It is, of course, packed in my trusty Kaywoodie Gold. It was billed to me as an over-the-counter burley with a nice Virginia backing. Opening the bag a friend sent me, which arrived just today, I smell plenty of Virginia.
But that's not why I'm writing today. Today I'm writing because of the other package that arrived in the mail today, the one I don't want anyone to tell my wife about.

Rescheduled emergency meeting

The best laid schemes o' mice an' men fell short last Saturday, but we're going to try it again.
The weather forecast looks much more promising. A high of 39 degrees, partly cloudy, with only a 10 percent chance of precipitation. Let's hope it stays that way.
For anyone in the northwest Arkansas area, The Ozark Pipe Smokers will be meeting at noon Saturday, Feb. 6, 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.