Tuesday, August 25, 2020

The Saint - Sir Roger Moore

filmloversareverysickpeople:“Roger Moore by Larry Barbier”
Larry Barbier. Roger Moore, playing Simon Templar in The Saint, goes shopping, 1961.


Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Charles Nelson Reilly - Notable Pipe Smoker

If the truth be known, I still watch Match Game on many afternoons after work. It's better than most of the modern junk currently airing. It is on from 5-7PM and I try to catch at least one episode. I watched this game show back in the 1970-80s with my family when it was the hottest show on TV - I watch now for the nostalgia: for a look back at the language and mannerisms of my childhood and youth, for the vintage clothing styles, the pretty girls, for all the women that kiss Richard Dawson...and to see Charles Nelson Reilly smoke his pipes! What a treat to see the coolest cat in town smoke a pipe on live television! Reilly smoked Iwan Ries Three Star Blue and Sir Walter Raleigh pipe tobacco. It's also been said that he mixed these with other over-the-counter blends. I've smoked Three Star Blue and still smoke Sir Walter Raleigh, they were both truly good old fashioned American made blends, but no longer. They are now owned by Mac Baren Tobacco Company & Scandinavian Tobacco Group respectively.
Until next time ~

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

A Whale Of A Tale

I'm embarrassed to admit that at 55 years old I've just finished reading the classic novel Moby Dick by Herman Melville for the very first time. The 135 chapter manuscript was a bit intimidating at first, but very early on I was smitten by Melville's prose and expertise of maritime matters. I too confess that I became so engrossed in this sea adventure that on several occasions I smoked an entire bowl down to the ash, haphazardly packed another, and finished it off without even remembering I'd done it. For that reason alone I deem this novel a success!

I'll leave an excerpt for your reading pleasure, but be may just scream NO!!!

Until next time~

Monday, May 4, 2020

Half And Half - A Timeless Mix

The flavor and aroma of Half-and-Half pipe tobacco
This illustration is from a 1962 advertisement in Popular Mechanics magazine. This ad of course suggests the fairer sex finds this timeless mixture of loose cut Burley and Virginia along with the flavorful undertones of Cardamon, Coriander, and Maze to be irresistibly attractive. It's funny, I can't seem to recall a single woman ever looking like this while I smoked my pipe. Perhaps she was just so intimidated by my meerschaum magnetism that her sultry glance occurred only when my back was turned. That simply MUST be the case! 

Monday, April 20, 2020

Grousemoor - Birds Of A Feather

I'm not one of those men who hangs on every word from someone else's tobacco review. In fact, I find all reviews of pipe tobacco to be entirely subjective and prone to nothing more than eloquent babbling - mine included, minus the eloquent part of course, so take this post with a grain of salt. There's a poem by William Wordsworth written in 1804. It's inspired in part by the picturesque landscapes of the Lakeland; the district located in Northwestern England, and once frequented by the so-called Lake Poets. Incidentally, the tobacco brand depicted in this post is manufactured in this very region. I'll only post the first stanza of the poem, you can read the rest here should you have a mind to.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Photo taken April 8, 2020

I purchased this single tin of Grousemoor back in 2015 when my local tobacconist was going out of business. I wanted to help him out and I'd never smoked anything from Samuel Gawith, plus the tin art had alluring hunting dogs and shotguns. I recently found the well aged tin in the top of my closet. It had apparently fallen out of the little tub I keep my few tobaccos in. Now I'm not one who suffers from tobacco acquisition disorder or pipe acquisition disorder. I only have maybe fourteen pipes at best. I'm what one might call a utility pipe smoker, I usually smoke the same few brands of tobacco without much interest in trying all of the new-fangled or yuppie boutique blends. I smoke the same pipes over and over, and if one breaks, I buy another...or I don't. For the record, Burley tobaccos suit me best.

Anyway, the tobacco ingredients of this fabled blend is said to only be known to one employee of Gawith, and him/her alone holds the secret formula. You'll take notice that the poem I cite references daffodils. Well after smoking two bowls of this stuff, I can almost guarantee the secret formula was developed by a woman. I can further state that the secret formula is no doubt laced mostly with daffodils, or roses, or petunias or some other sweet smelling floral plant! I too am sure the other ingredient is Coco Chanel Bath Soap! I simply could not taste any tobacco worth noting, just flowers and soap. I did what any self-respecting man would do after encountering this foul Philistine infringement on manhood, I tossed the whole tin, flowers and all into the round file... no regrets!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Despite the inconvenience of the corona virus, it's such a lovely morning to celebrate all things Irish. I've not a tobacco more appropriate in my possession than Old Dublin, and will shortly seek its pleasure. There's no chance of snow here in the Sunshine State with temperatures predicted to reach 85 degrees Fahrenheit this afternoon, and yet I still find the following poem quite fitting and beautiful to start a new day.

Dust of Snow

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

Robert Frost, 1874 - 1963. 

Thursday, January 16, 2020

St Bruno, The Patron Saint Of Tobacco

As stated in my second post here, I enjoy old pipe and tobacco advertisements whether that be in print form or those wonderful old television commercials. I'll not beat a dead horse and bewail government over-reach, nor will I bemoan the myriad of stupid reasons for the removal of tobacco related advertisements from the various media outlets - I'll simply leave you with a commercial from a by-gone era for your enjoyment.

Until next time ~

Friday, December 20, 2019

Featured Pipe Smoker - Santa Claus

With Christmas fast approaching, the upcoming days will be busier than ever with parties, church services, The Nutcracker Ballet, and final shopping days. I at least wanted to get in one post for the month of December. Wow, where did the month go? Anyway, I've noticed a trend over the years concerning Jolly Old St. Nick. One used to see pictures and posters of the old gentleman everywhere. Not so any more, and the few images I do see are strangely different from those I remember as a kid. I suppose modernity and rampant political correctness have even taken over The North Pole. The nanny state with its snowflake citizenry have indeed revised history. Most of the renditions of Santa I've seen now fail to show him with a pipe. It doesn't surprise me really, I'm sure it's just a matter of time before some pro/anti-something-or-other author re-writes "The Night Before Christmas" to remove the stump of a pipe clenched tight in his teeth. I leave with you the full text of the poem, 'Twas The Night Before Christmas'.

Until next time - Merry Christmas!

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,


Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Turkey, Tobacco, and Tradition

It's late November here on the peninsula. Winter is ever so slowly creeping up on us in its inconstant manner. Tonight I had to put on a windbreaker as I felt a chilly breeze coming off the Gulf. The air possess an invigorating sparkle; crisp and magical. You can feel it, taste it, like the first bite into a cool juicy Florida orange, and it's delicious.

This time of year seems to bring greater pleasure to pipe smoking. The stifling heat gives way to cool dry air. I tend to smoke Latakia mixtures more freely, and each draw on my pipe elicits more flavor and aroma from the sun-cured Cyprian varietal.

Sitting here smoking and contemplating as we pipers are wont to do, I cannot help but recall a time when I regularly shared the company of other pipe-men. There were those I worked with, those at the tobacco shop, those at the barber shop, and those men in my own neighborhood. We'd talk about the 'Good Old' days, borrow each others tools, and languish over the price of gasoline. . . and we would smoke together. We merry band of pipe-men weren't necessarily all-the-rage or avant-garde, but neither were we debilitated, defenseless, and demonized. I am grateful and thankful for all of the blessings I'm bestowed, but still I wish I actually had another pipe smoking friend to share in this bounteous season, to smoke our pipes over some good conversation and pumpkin pie. The truth is, I don't know a single person that smokes a pipe anymore; heck, I very rarely even see another pipe smoker out and about. The nearest brick and mortar shop is an hour away, and they mostly cater to the yuppie cigar and hookah crowd. Oh sure, I can find fantastic brothers of the briar online, and I am indebted, but none here in the flesh. Time, taxes, texting, and the nanny state have all conspired to eradicate and crush a wonderful, time honored tradition. Often I feel like the black sheep or the Lone Ranger. My son actually referred to me the other night as an old-fashioned dinosaur, a term of endearment I'm sure! Happy Thanksgiving to all.

~ Until next time

Original Photo:  Quiet Comrade Pipe • Czech Tool • Old Dublin Tobacco