Friday, August 5, 2011

Tobacco and the Soul

Greetings My Fellow Pipe Constituents!

Here is an article I came across entitled: Tobacco and the Soul
Enjoy your Pipe while reading!

First Things
Tobacco and the Soul
Michael P. Foley


The current brouhaha over smoking has made everyone painfully aware of tobacco's effects on the body, but it has also obscured a more profound reason for smoking's popularity: its relation to the soul. As the heyday of smoking passes into the ash heap of history, it is meet that we reflect on this connection.

The soul, of course, is a complex thing. Long ago Plato suggested that we consider it as divided into three parts-the appetitive, spirited, and rational-that correspond to the three basic kinds of human desires: the desire to satisfy physical appetites, the desire for recognition, and the desire for truth. Once this tripartite division is recalled, tobacco's relation to the soul becomes clear: the three prevalent types of smoking tobacco-cigarettes, cigars, and pipes-correspond to the three parts of the soul.

Cigarettes correspond to the appetitive part of the soul, a fact that explains their association with both food and sex. The connection with the latter is particularly obvious: think of the proverbial postcoital cigarette, or of the ubiquity of cigarettes at singles bars. People with strong physical desires demand instant gratification, and they try to make what they desire as much a part of their own bodies as possible: hunger demands eating, thirst drinking, and lust making the body of one's lover a part of one's own. So too with cigarettes. A cigarette is inhaled: it must be fully and internally consumed in order to give pleasure. And a cigarette, with its quick buzz, is also instant gratification. Even the cigarette's notorious connection to death ties it into appetites: both are indifferent to health in their quest for satisfaction, and both, when they reach addictive levels, become hostile to it.

Cigars, on the other hand, correspond to the spirited part of the soul. This explains their traditional popularity among men seeking honor or reputation-politicians, executives, etc. The reason for this correspondence can be found in the similarity between cigars and ambition. A cigar is visually impressive: with its large size and great billows of smoke, it often leaves a greater impact on the spectator than on the smoker. Further, a cigar is phallic-not with regard to male lust, but to male power. "Testis" in Latin means "witness": the phallic status of the cigar is meant to bear public witness to the smoker's prominence, his virility. The fact that a cigar is not inhaled reflects this external focus.

Ambition also has these traits: it too is more external than internal. Unlike physical desires, which are satisfied simply by consumption, ambition requires the consensus of others. The honor-seeker, for example, has to be honored by as many people as possible in order to be satisfied.

Finally, the pipe corresponds to the rational part of the soul, which explains why we tend to picture wise figures smoking pipes: the Oxford don surrounded by his great books, or Sherlock Holmes, who, in Doyle's original stories, actually smoked other sorts of tobacco as well, yet is almost always portrayed with a pipe. Unlike cigars and cigarettes, a pipe endures. Similarly, the questions of the philosopher far outlast the passing concerns of physical desires on the one hand and human ambitions on the other. Further, while the cigar is entirely masculine, the pipe has both masculine and feminine elements (the stem and the bowl). This corresponds to the philosopher's activity, which is both masculine and feminine: masculine in its pursuit of Lady Truth, feminine in its reception of anything that she discloses. Finally, the effect that the pipe has on others is analogous to the effect of philosophizing: the sweet fragrance of a pipe, like good philosophy, is a blessing to all who are near.

It is fitting that all three kinds of smoking tobacco involve the use of fire, for each relates to the soul's responsiveness to reason, and fire, at least from the days of Prometheus, is especially emblematic of reason. But there are also nonhuman parts to the human soul. The growth of our hair and fingernails, for example, is due to the soul's activity, yet is not responsive to rational instruction.

The use of tobacco that does not involve fire, therefore, somehow corresponds to these nonhuman-or more accurately, subhuman-parts of the soul. Chewing tobacco, for example, is a quintessentially subhuman activity. It is the rumination of bovine men. Or perhaps we should say it is camel-like, for camels not only chew, but spit as well. In either case, the point is clear: chewing tobacco is a sub-rational activity, which is why we usually associate it with men of limited acumen.

Snuff, too, would fall into this category, but with some minor differences. First, because it is not so disgusting, it would not have the same negative connotations as "chew." (Activities can be sub- rational without being bad.) Second, snuff taken through the nose would fall under a different category. Everything else we have seen involves the mouth, and this is only natural, for the mouth was made to receive things into itself. But to sniff something up one's nose . . . this is unnatural.

A question remains, however, about smoking non-tobacco. One candidate immediately comes to mind because it, like tobacco, is a natural leaf. Marijuana is also noteworthy because it is used in the same ways as smoking tobacco.

The key to the difference between the two is how each one affects the smoker. Tobacco-whether in a cigarette, cigar, or a pipe-leads to conversation, loosening the tongue just enough to incline it towards speaking, but not enough to disconnect it from the brain. Marijuana, on the other hand, does not keep this balance, loosening the tongue only to have it reel away from rational thought. It does not truly facilitate conversation, drawing the smoker into himself (not outwards, as does all good conversation) and dumbing-down any speech that is uttered. Thus the appearance of conversation can be created, but it is usually only that-an appearance. Marijuana is therefore a charlatan-weed, an impostor that apes its distant relative tobacco in a shallow and perverse way.

The uses of marijuana are twisted imitations of the uses of tobacco. Joints perversely imitate cigarettes in both their appearance and in their users' claim to be erotic. But while the claim is one thing, the reality is another. Eros requires both a healthy tension and a sense of discrimination in order to be truly human. Marijuana, however, eliminates both. Think of the counterculture of the 1960s, which, in preaching sexual liberation, actually destroyed the human part of our sexuality by robbing sex of any sense of mystery, standards, or fidelity. Where once sex was a magical moment between eternally committed lovers, it was now purely animalistic, something that had no more meaning than any other bodily function. The pot-smoker fancies himself an erotic man, but ends up being an unerotic animal.

Similarly, the hash pipe is a perverse imitation of the tobacco pipe. The pot-smoker often fancies himself an intellectual: he gets high and thinks "deep thoughts" (again bringing the 1960s to mind). But the appearance is one thing, the reality another. Just as the wisdom of the 1960s student turns out to be sophomoric, so too do the deep thoughts of the pot-smoker end up being moronic.

And yes, there is even a marijuana counterpart to the cigar. In the early 1990s the inner cities gave birth to a new practice called "blunting," in which cheap cigars are gutted and stuffed with marijuana. It is fitting that this practice originated in the same place where gangs come from. An inner-city gang seems supremely concerned with honor and courage: its elaborate codes would suggest as much. But seeming is one thing, being another. The gang-member fancies himself honorable, but is in reality a thug. Just as the cigar is the counterpart to the real virtues of honor and courage, the marijuana-blunt is the counterpart to the fake virtues of gang-honor and gang-courage.

As every student of Plato knows, if something has a relation to the soul it has a relation to the city. Thus if our theory is anything more than the smoke it purports to explain, it can be used to analyze political phenomena. For example, in recent years we have witnessed a concerted effort to sterilize our erotic attachments, to sap them of their danger but also of their vigor. The flat, unerotic words we now use for these attachments confirm this. Instead of "lover" and "beloved," we now have "significant other" and, even worse, "partner" (a term which lends to the affairs of the heart all the excitement of filling out a tax form). Given this environment, it is no wonder that our most vigorous moral war waged today is against cigarette-smoking. Nor is it any wonder that this war's only rival in intensity is the one in favor of "safe sex," for condoms sterilize sex not only literally but figuratively as well.

Further, the relation between cigars and spiritedness may explain why cigars are now for the first time gaining a significant number of female disciples. For as women continue to enter the traditionally male world of competition, many are beating men at their own game by using the same tactics of gaining power. And with the tactics have come the symbols.

Most significantly, however, the relative rarity of pipe-smoking in America is a telling sign of its current intellectual crisis. If the pipe epitomizes the intellectual way of life, then is it any surprise that it cannot be found where schools substitute politically correct ideology for real philosophy, or where the intelligentsia, instead of engaging in serious thought, pander to the latest activist fads? Is it any surprise that America's most famous pipe-smoker in the last thirty years has been Hugh Hefner, pajama prophet of the trite philosophy of hedonism? No, the age of the pipe-smoker is as far from us as the day when philosophers will be kings and kings will philosophize, a sad reality to which the thick blue haze of non-pipe smoke is only too ready to attest.

It should also be no surprise in this pipeless age that the ferocious battle over tobacco has missed the real point about its addictive power. Tobacco holds sway over the soul as much as it does the body. The qualities it takes in its various forms make it a near irresistible complement to the particular desire dominant in an individual's soul. How we react to these forms says as much about our attitude toward those desires as it does toward the weed itself.

Copyright (c) 1997 First Things 72 (April 1997): 14-16.

Michael P. Foley is a Ph.D. candidate in theology at Boston College. He is currently completing his dissertation on St. Augustine.

copyright © 1995-2011 Leadership U. All rights reserved.
Updated: 13 July 2002

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Order of Collegiate Pipe Smokers

I recently came across an article entitled, "CMU RSO Order of Collegiate Pipe Smokers looks to promote passion" posted in the Central Michigan Life campus paper from November 18, 2009.
The article discusses how smoking a pipe is a way to experience the relaxation and collegiate fellowship with other students. Currently I am a Ph.D. student at Capella University and I invite other college students within the Northern Virginia area to contact me in order to start our own Order of Collegiate Pipe Smokers. Below is the article in its entirety:

CMU RSO Order of Collegiate Pipe Smokers looks to promote passion
By Luke Dimick || November 18, 2009

Smoking tobacco from a pipe is not just a way to get a nicotine fix for Andrew Miller and 13 other students.
It is a way to experience the relaxation and fellowship associated with pipe smoking.
The Order of Collegiate Pipe Smokers is a registered student organization that enjoys the activity and culture of pipe smoking and tobacco. Its purpose is to educate people about pipe smoking and pipe culture and provide a place for pipe smokers to come together and socialize.

Miller, a Utica junior, formed the RSO in mid-September aiming to meet other college students that share his passion for pipe smoking.
“One of our goals written out in our constitution is that we want to give people a positive view of smoking and show that there are good people who choose to smoke,” he said. “There are a lot of people that already have a negative view on smoking.”
One of the greatest challenges that pipe smokers face as a group are the misconceptions that surround the art of pipe smoking, he said.
“For many people, if they were to see someone smoking a pipe, it is very common to assume that it’s (marijuana) or something of that nature,” Miller said. “It’s really tough to have a good first impression on people when they are willing to automatically assume something negative of you.”
Other than just enjoying the fellowship of smoking pipe tobacco, the group also partakes in community services and events.
“Right now, we’re looking at doing some dog walking for the Humane Society,” Miller said.
The group recently competed at a pipe smoking competition at the Shepherd Bar and Grill in Shepherd, where Redford senior Andrew Petrevics placed eight.
“Everyone got 3.3 grams of pre-weighed standard pipe tobacco and a total of two matches,” Petrevics said. “We had to light our pipes within one minute and we weren’t allowed to relight after that. Whoever could produce smoke for the longest time was the winner.”
Cedar junior Fred Lawerence has been pipe smoking for three years and could not pass up the opportunity to join the RSO. He said he enjoys all aspects of smoking pipe tobacco.
“For one, it tastes and smells really good,” Lawerence said. “I think the pipes are really cool, and it’s just nice to sit around and smoke pipes with your friends. It invokes conversation and it’s just really nice and relaxing.”
Source: CMU RSO Order of Collegiate Pipe Smokers looks to promote passion

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day

This weekend, Americans across the world will be celebrating Memorial Day. It has various meanings to many fellow Red, White, & Blue constituents. Previously known as Decoration Day, this American holiday falls on May 30, 2011 (last Monday in May). This day signifies the ultimate sacrifices that men and women across the various United States military services have endowed. As I believe death is not the end, honoring those before us that have perished in all wars is a necessity.

Because I am a disabled veteran, this United States federal holiday has a meaning that I hold near and true to my heart. From my prior service in the United States Army as an Expert Infantryman (E.I.B., 1997) under the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, from my father's time being in the Army during the Vietnam era, and previous to that with my grandfather being a veteran of World War II, I exercise my own ritual of remembrance. As I listen to Bob Dylan's signature song entitled Blowin' in the Wind (1963) and puff away on my pipe in deep contemplative thought, I am truly thankful that my heart still beats and my blood still runs deep in my veins. "Yes, how many times must the cannon balls fly, Before they're forever banned?" A question raised in 1963 in which still has no apparent answer.

So I urge you as you smoke a bowl of your finest tobacco within your most trusted pipe, contemplate this question and discover your own answer. Whether you have served this great country known around the world as the Land of Freedom, or if your father, brothers, or relatives have before you, never forget their sacrifice. The United States of America is still a great country and stands for strength, honor, and improving the quality of life. As an intellectual and civilized society, we have developed the path of conversations leading to understanding, compromise, and negotiations, regardless of what language is our primary communication tool.

Being an American means we all come from a variety of backgrounds, whether Italian, German, Irish, or Asian. Being an American means we have different religions such as Roman Catholic, Christian, Pagan, or Buddhist. But, the most important part of all, is to remember we are all Americans. Remember this during your Memorial Day ritual, light your pipe, and let this moment shed some light on thee, instead of letting it blow in the wind. With this being said, if we all strived to understand what makes us similar as human beings instead of what makes us different, we would have less violence and possibly no need for war.

America: United We Stand, Divided We Fall.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Royal Tobacco

Tomorrow is not only Friday, April 29th 2011, it is also the day in which the world will be watching Britain's Prince William and his girlfriend Kate Middleton engage vows in an elaborate ceremony of wedlock. As I catch a glimpse of this attractive couple on the Telly (T.V.), I contemplate the rich history within Britain's Royal Family and the various periods of English history involving tobacco. Here is a snapshot of the last 100 years focused on the Royal family and the Royal Tobacco plant:

• 1901 - ENGLAND: End of an Age: Queen Victoria dies. Edward VII, the tobacco-hating queen's son and successor, gathers friends together in a large drawing room at Buckingham Palace. He enters the room with a lit cigar in his hand and announces, "Gentlemen, you may smoke."
• 1901 - By royal warrant, Philip Morris & Co., Ltd., is appointed tobacconist for King Edward VII.
• 1902 - British American Tobacco (BAT) company formed headquartered in London, United Kingdom.
• 1908 - ENGLAND LEGISLATION: 1908 Children Act prohibits the sales of tobacco to under 16 -- based on the belief that smoking stunts children's growth.
• 1910 - King George V ascends the throne.
• 1911 - Tobacco growing is allowed in England for the first time in more than 250 years.
• 1911 - The American Tobacco Company sold its share of the BAT company.
• 1913 - Prince Albert tobacco uses Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Indians in its ads.
• 1917 - World War I, the House of Windsor comes into being, when the name is adopted as the British Royal Family's official name by a proclamation of King George V.
• 1930 - Cigar prices fall so low most hand-rolling cigar businesses fail.
• 1933 - Philip Morris resuscitates and revitalizes its Philip Morris as a tony, but only premium-priced ("Now only 15 cents") "English Blend" brand.
• 1936 - George V dies and is succeeded by his son Edward VIII.
• 1936 - Edward VIII is in love with a divorced American woman, Wallis Simpson (divorced twice) would not be acceptable as Queen.
• 1940 - General Douglas McArthur makes the corncob pipe his trademark by posing with it on dramatic occasions such as his wading ashore during the invasion and reconquest of the Philippines.
• 1942 - British researcher L.M. Johnston successfully substituted nicotine injections for smoking Johnston discusses aspects of addiction including tolerance, craving and withdrawal symptoms. He concludes: Clearly the essence of tobacco smoking is the tobacco and not the smoking. Satisfaction can be obtained from chewing it, from snuff taking, and from the administration of nicotine. The experiment is reported in the British medical journal Lancet.
• 1946 - Newsweek runs a story by Dr Wm D Stroud, professor of cardiology at the UPenn Graduate School of Medicine, "Smoke, Drink, and Get Well."
• 1947 - George VI's first-born Princess Elizabeth marries Philip Mountbatten, who becomes Duke of Edinburgh.
• 1952 - Princess Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip, set out on a tour of Africa and Asia in place of her ailing father King George VI (who dies before spring).
• 1953 - Queen Elizabeth is crowned at Westminster Abbey in the first televised coronation service.
• 1960 - The queen gives birth to her third child, Andrew. Her eldest son, Charles, was born in 1948 and Anne in 1950. The queen has her last child, Edward in 1964.
• 1973 - The queen's only daughter, Princess Anne, marries Captain Mark Phillips. They divorce in 1992.
• 1976 - The British Tobacco Company and American Tobacco Company were reorganized under a new holding company, B.A.T. Industries.
• 1977 - The queen marks her Silver Jubilee with a tour of Commonwealth countries and lavish celebrations in Britain.
• 1981 - Prince Charles marries Lady Diana Spencer in a glittering ceremony. They divorce in 1996.
• 1982 - Prince William, is born to Charles and Diana. Prince Harry is born two years later.
• 1986 - Andrew marries publishing executive Sarah Ferguson, dubbed "Fergie" by the tabloid press.
• 1992 - Queen Elizabeth's 40th year on the throne, which is marked by marital upsets, a fire and public dissent. Andrew and Sarah separate. Anne divorces Mark Phillips. Windsor Castle is badly damaged by fire. The queen agrees to pay income tax.
• 1996 - Charles and Diana are divorced.
• 1997 - Diana and her millionaire companion Dodi Al Fayed are killed when their car crashes while being chased through Paris by photographers on motorcycles.
• 1999 - BAT merged with Rothman's International, with a factory in Burma.
• 2002 - The queen marks the 50th anniversary of her accession. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother dies at Windsor Castle aged 101.
• 2003 - The British Government made an "exceptional request" for Rothman's to sell its share after being criticized from Human Rights Groups.
• 2005 - Charles announces he will marry his long-time lover Camilla Parker Bowles in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.
• 2007 - The queen arrives in the U.S. to mark the 400th anniversary, on May 14, 1607, of Virginia Company explorers landing on Jamestown Island to establish the Virginia English colony on the banks of the James River. In 1614, the first shipment of Virginia tobacco was sold in London.
• 2010 - The queen cancels a planned Christmas party at Buckingham Palace after deciding it would be inappropriate to celebrate as Britons feel the pinch from the economic crisis.
• 2011 - Britain and Ireland announce that the queen is to travel to Ireland in 2011, the first official visit by a British monarch since before the Irish state gained independence from Britain in 1921.
• April 29, 2011 - Prince William, the queen's grandson and Kate Middleton are to marry in Westminster Abbey.

As you watch the Royal Wedding tomorrow, do so smoking a bowl of your favorite English Tobacco Blend and admire the rich history that has gone and went, and the rich history occurring at that very moment.

Timeline - 100 years of Britain's Royal Family written by David Cutler (

Tobacco Timeline - The Twentieth Century 1900-1949 (

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Earth Hour & Pipe Smokers

Greetings my fellow Pipe Smoking Noblemen!

Today, on Saturday March 26, 2011, lights will go out across the world for the climate change campaign called "Earth Hour." During this one-hour time period, I invite you to join Northern Virginia Pipe Smoker's Society (NVPSS) in a virtual campaign to reflect on times and lives that have perished. Although the Earth Hour movement is focused on raising awareness about climate change and the influx of carbon pollution, others will take a moment of silence to reflect on the recent earthquake and tsunami events. NVPSS will all light their pipes and pay homage to those that have had great loss and others that are no longer with us on this extraordinary planet. Whether standing by the Empire State building in New York or the Eiffel Tower in Paris, when the lights go out, light up your pipe and take part in this world wide effort. NVPSS extends the invite to pipe smokers around the world!

Earth Hour Aims For Hope In Darkened World

Lights will go out around the world on March 26, 2011 as hundreds of millions of people are expected to take part in the Earth Hour climate change campaign, which will also mark Japan's tragic quake and tsunami.

From across the Pacific, to Australia, Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas, iconic landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, New York's Empire State building and the Eiffel Tower in Paris will go dark.

"Earth Hour is like a New Year's Eve," Earth Hour co-founder and executive director Andy Ridley told AFP from the group's Sydney office.

"It's meant to be a celebration -- it's a bit different this year because of the Japan stuff -- but it's meant to be about hope and the future."

Ridley said in Sydney and other cities, some Earth Hour events would hold a minute's silence to mark the devastating 9.0-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami in Japan this month that left more than 25,000 people dead or missing.

The disaster followed a deadly earthquake in New Zealand's Christchurch and massive floods in Australia in January, which devastated thousands of homes and ruined crops and infrastructure.

"It's been a bad start to the year, and I guess it's an opportunity to take a moment and think about that," Ridley said, adding that the campaign had a different focus in every location and not all events would mention Japan's catastrophe.

The Earth Hour movement, which aims to raise awareness about climate change by switching off lights for 60 minutes, hopes to bring people together to think about what they can do to reduce harmful carbon pollution blamed for rising temperatures.

Environmental group WWF International helped initiate Earth Hour in Sydney in 2007, and by 2010 the energy-saving event had grown to engage hundreds of millions of people in 4,616 cities and 128 countries and territories.

"We didn't imagine right at the beginning... it would be on the scale that it is now," said Ridley.

"And the fact that it is so cross-cultural, beyond borders and race and religion," he added, saying the event would never have grown so successfully without social networking sites such as Facebook.

This year organisers are focussing on connecting people online so they can inspire each other to go beyond the hour and make commitments to help the environment in their daily lives.

To do this they have created an online platform connected to the 14 top social media sites around the world, including Facebook and Twitter, which people will be easily able to access from mobile phones.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard this week backed Earth Hour.

"Earth Hour has become a special symbol of the determination of so many people to make a difference," said Gillard, who is facing stiff opposition to her plan to introduce a tax on carbon pollution in Australia.

Ridley said that despite the growth of the event, which organisers said was the largest voluntary action ever witnessed in 2010, the ideals of the global movement had not changed.

"When we first started this we were trying to effectively take the temperature, we were trying to prove or see whether, contrary to some commentators, whether or nor people cared (about climate change)," he said.

"I think there is a massive consensus for action, not just on climate change.

"The idea of this is not to engage in the 'why we can't do anything' debate but absolutely talk about what can be done."

The first lights going off Saturday will be in Fiji and New Zealand's Chatham Islands, before cities and landmarks around the world follow suit.

Other iconic structures due to go dark include the Sydney Opera House, Indonesia's National Monument, London's Eye and Brazil's Christ the Redeemer statue.

Earth Hour aims for hope in darkened world
Earth Photograph: Blue Line Pictures/Getty Images

Monday, March 7, 2011

Maryland Tobacco Tax Increase is Anti-Business

On May 1st, Maryland state residents will no longer be able to order their favorite pipe tobaccos from their favorite online retailers. They must buy from a licensed physical store, and be sure to pay the taxes, which, by the way are being proposed for a 500% increase!

A proposed 500 percent excise tax increase on ‘other tobacco products’ could decimate Maryland’s cigar and pipe tobacco businesses, according to the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association.

Maryland House Bill 853 and Senate Bill 654 both propose to increase the excise tax rate on tobacco products other than cigarettes from 15 percent to 90 percent with a $3 cap on cigars.

"When will legislators realize that tax increases like this never produce the revenues predicted and always result in negative consequences like lost jobs and businesses?" asked Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR. "In a small state like Maryland, tobacco customers can easily cross to another state or make their purchases online and pay little to no state or local taxes."

According to the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan educational organization founded in 1937, Maryland was the only state to raise every major tax in 2008 in order to fund new spending programs including doubling of its cigarette tax from $1 to $2 per pack. The Foundation said the tax increase served to introduce record levels of bootlegged product into the state, hurt local businesses by sending thousands of the state’s smokers to surrounding states to purchase their tobacco products, and generated only half the revenue increase predicted by tax supporters.

In addition, the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 is funded solely by excise taxes on tobacco products. CHIP raised federal taxes on cigarettes to more than $10 per carton and on roll-your-own tobacco from about $1.10 per pound to $24.78 per pound – a 2,253 percent increase.

"Now the Maryland legislature is considering raising excise taxes yet again on other tobacco products from the current 15 percent of the wholesale price to 90 percent," McCalla said.

McCalla believes the only result that would be sure to take place from such an action is the further destruction of Maryland small businesses, which includes the loss of jobs and state, federal and local tax revenues.

"Premium tobacco products like pipes and cigars are highly sensitive to price increases because they are more a choice than a habit. They are adult products that make ordinary moments special and special moments extraordinary, like a fine wine," he said.

McCalla urged Maryland smokers and nonsmokers alike to tell their state senators and delegates to vote no on tax increases such as these.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mount Vernon Tobacco Plantation

"If you can't send money, send tobacco."
~ George Washington to the Continental Congress, 1776

If you are visiting the Washington, D.C. area, all fellow Pipe Smokers should make it a point to take a day trip to Mount Vernon. Mount Vernon is located near Alexandria, Virginia and was the plantation home of the first President of the United States, George Washington. The mansion is built of wood in neoclassical Georgian architectural style, and the estate is located on the banks of the Potomac River. Mount Vernon was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is owned and maintained in trust by The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association and is open every day of the year, including holidays and Christmas.

Mount Vernon has a rich history, but more importantly, I want to emphasis George Washington's tobacco plantation. For more than 40 years, George Washington had embraced the life of a Virginia tobacco planter, producing a significant cash crop for export to England. Although tobacco production was labor intensive, it also required alot of people to cultivate and process the crop. Tobacco needs rich fertile soil, as it is a nutrient dense plant. Unfortunately, Mount Vernon's soil was not rich at all and they were incapable of growing high quality tobacco plants. In the mid-1760's, Washington did not receive sufficient revenue for his tobacco and this caused him to turn towards other crops, such as wheat.

In a letter dated September 20, 1765, Washington writes about receiving poor returns for his tobacco production:

"Can it be otherwise than a little mortifying then to find, that we, who raise none but Sweet scented Tobacco, an endeavor I may venture to add, to be careful in the management of it, however we fail in the execution, and who by a close and fixed correspondence with you, contribute so largely to the dispatch of your Ships in this Country should meet with such unprofitable returns?"

During the 45 years Washington owned Mount Vernon and he expanded the property from 2000 to 8000 acres comprised of five farms. Washington tirelessly sought out new ideas to improve the efficiency and profitability of his plantation. In his late twenties, Washington made a pivotal decision to turn away from the cultivation of tobacco in favor of wheat. Tobacco threatened to waste his lands and left him vulnerable to the British tobacco trade. Wheat enabled him to exercise total control over its distribution and to sell his wheat in markets as far away as the West Indies.

George Washington is often credited within history books as the most innovative, tobacco farmer. So next time you fill your bowl with Virginia's finest tobacco, contemplate on the trials and tribulations of this great man, the first President of the United States, George Washington.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Three Stooges & Pipe Smoking

Every Sunday morning from 5 A.M. until 9 A.M. on the AMC channel, The Three Stooges is broadcasted. I can recall watching them when I was younger and I seem to contemplate what it would have been like to live during those times. Every New Year's Eve, TV-38 would have their Annual Three Stooges Marathon and I would try to stay up all night to watch them.

As the years passed, I recorded every episode so that if I didn't stay up all night, I could watch their episodes at a later time. Even today, I have a box full of VCR tapes labeled with the years of The Three Stooges episodes and I believe I have seen them all. I still wake up every Sunday morning to watch them on AMC, in hopes of seeing an episode I have not seen before or possibly one that I may not remember.

With The Three Stooges having a long span from 1922 until 1975, I admire the early episodes the best with Moe, Larry, and Curly. I don't particularly care for Shemp or Joe but still, credit should be given where credit is due. Besides watching The Three Stooges and reflecting on what it would be like to live during the 1920's - 1940's, I find myself trying to notice any of The Stooges smoking a pipe. Although I have seen countless episodes of them smoking cigars, recently I found a few episodes featuring pipe smoking:

The 1941 Three Stooges short titled "I'll Never Heil Again," Moe has a pipe in his mouth while Curly smokes a water pipe with the Bay of Rum:

In another episode, in which I have not been able to find on YouTube yet, Curley smokes a gourd of calabash.

If there are more episodes featuring pipe smoking, contact the Northern Virginia Pipe Smokers Society (NVPSS) as we would be enthralled to let others be entertained. Until next time, Happy Pipe Smoking!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Put That in Your Pipe

Pipe smoking is a fun hobby. It is relaxing. It tastes good. It feels good. It helps us unwind. It helps us cope with stress. It enhances objectivity. It facilitates contemplation. People like Waxman and Kessler never mention these intangible benefits. They just want to know if the activity in question is "good for you" in a strict biological sense. If not, or if they think it is bad for you, they will attempt to outlaw it. This sort of reasoning would also support a ban on obesity, a requirement that all Americans exercise, the prohibition of junk food, limits on alcohol and caffeine consumption, and so on. The irony is that Waxman is, frankly, a little chubby, while Kessler used to be fat (and yo-yo dieting is quite unhealthy).

From Northern Virginia Pipe Smokers Society (NVPSS)

Compare these two with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is as healthy as a horse and a dedicated cigar and occasional pipe smoker. I work out regularly myself. I have even trained with Arnold. In fact, I am something of a health nut. I go for a five-mile run at least once a week as part of my exercise program, which includes a minimum of four hours of strenuous workouts each week. I am in terrific physical condition. Yet I'm put on the defensive and treated as a pariah because I enjoy a pipe.

When it comes to pipes, I'm strictly a beginning student. Christopher Morley wrote in 1916 that "pipe smoking is properly an intellectual exercise." I have read 17 books on the subject and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of articles, and I still learn something new every time I visit a knowledgeable tobacconist. The best overview of the subject I've seen is The Ultimate Pipe Book by Richard Carleton Hacker, a fact-filled volume written in an interesting and fun style. Pipe collecting as a hobby has become such a passion for me that I own nearly 200 pipes, some dating back to the 1920s and '30s. I know the history of nearly all of them and the biography of the pipe carver. There may be only a few pipe smokers left, but we are intelligent and dedicated.

If smoking has any future at all, it lies in moderate pipe smoking. I realize excessive pipe and cigar smoking can contribute to some forms of mouth, throat, or lip cancer, but it is the excess that is the problem. It is relatively easy, with time and practice, to be a moderate pipe smoker.

As a statement of rebellion against political correctness, it's hard to beat pipe smoking. It's not nearly as risky as smoking cigarettes, and it offers unique pleasures. A whole new world of enjoyment will open up for you once you start discovering the various types of briar, the thousands of blends of exquisite tobaccos from all over the world, the hundreds of traditional and unusual shapes, sizes, and finishes for a pipe, and the possibilities for beautiful artwork carved into meerschaum and briar pipes. Remember the advice of this century's greatest scientist: Pipe smoking facilitates relaxation and objectivity. Also keep in mind that Einstein did not worry about defying convention. And to be a pipe smoker in America in the 1990s, you really must be an individualist.

From Northern Virginia Pipe Smokers Society (NVPSS)

Excerpts retrieved from: Put That in Your Pipe
As an act of rebellion against political correctness, pipe smoking is hard to beat.

by Rick Newcombe from the July 1994 issue


Manly Smells

Manly Smells

Smells can conjure up some powerful memories. The smell of pine needles can take you back to childhood Christmases or the smell of a laundry detergent can remind you of home. For me, there are certain smells that I’ve come to associate with manliness. Whenever I smell them I think of my dad or grandpa or some aspect of my boyhood and my initiation into the rites of manhood.

And apparently, I’m not alone. For fun last week, I asked Art of Manliness Facebook Fans and Twitter followers what smells they thought were manly. The response was overwhelming. I decided to pick a few of my favorite responses and make a post out of it. So without further ado, I present 15 manly smells.

Pipe Smoke

From Northern Virginia Pipe Smokers Society (NVPSS)

Not many men smoke pipes these days, which is a shame because people are missing out on the sweet manly smell of pipe tobacco. Cigarette and cigar smoke can be acrid and obnoxious, but pipe smoke is, well, just pleasant. A whiff of a nice clove or cherry wood blend summons images of kindly older men in tweed jackets sitting in a chair next to a warm cozy fire with an old dog nearby.

Other Manly Smells worth pondering over:
Gun Cleaning Solvent
Your Grandpa’s Chair
Original Old Spice
Hardware Store
Bowling Alley
Shoe Polish
Cut Grass

Retrieved from:

Monday, January 31, 2011

Missing the Aroma of Pipes

When was the last time you saw someone smoking a pipe?

There was a time when pipe smoking was an acceptable practice in America. It even provided a pleasant aroma that many found familial and fascinating.

And some of our great icons were pipe smokers, including Santa Claus, Albert Einstein, Douglas MacArthur, Mark Twain, Hugh Hefner, Bing Crosby and, of course, Popeye.

Alas, the pipe has been banned along with cigarettes and cigars to that nether region where people retreat to enjoy unpopular pleasures.

But it hasn't disappeared completely.

"You don't see people out smoking pipes any more because of the smoking laws," said Lola Marley, owner of The Smoking Lamp, a King Street tobacco shop. "But many people who object to cigarette smoke do not object to pipe smoke because it smells wonderful."

Southern Magic

Indeed, some people still have olfactory memories of pipe smoke that reminds them of their fathers or grandfathers.

We all remember those commercial cherry-flavored tobaccos that floated around in the old days. But today Marley makes her own special blends that are in great demand.

"We have a strong mail-order business for our custom blends," she said. "Some of those include Charleston Choice, Watson's Blend and Southern Magic."

And her customers range in age from college students to people in their 70s, said Marley, who herself is a cigar smoker.

But there's just something special and separate about pipe smoking, even if it has been driven underground by society's effort to create a smoke-free world.

"Pipe smoking is very relaxing," Marley said. "The ritual is very relaxing. And, of course, you don't inhale pipe smoke. I'm not going to make any health claims for tobacco, but pipe tobacco is extremely pure. It doesn't have any chemicals or additives. It's all natural."

Different culture

There's also the creation of the instruments themselves, a subject that can be discussed at great length while lighting, relighting and puffing away on a pipe.

Marley said all pipes are made out of briar, a burl of the root of the heath tree that only grows in the Mediterranean.

"It has to be harvested by hand in such a way that it doesn't kill the plant," she said. "It's really an art form. The briar has to age and dry for many years. Then, of course, the better pipes are hand carved.

"Some are like sculpture. The aesthetics of it is all part of how it looks and how it feels in your hand. That's all part of it."

After 24 years in the tobacco business, Marley says pipe smoking is different in many ways.

"It's a whole culture," she said. "Pipe smokers are not like other people. They are very interesting, very thoughtful and tend to be opinionated."

If, of course, you can find one.

Reach Ken Burger at or 937-5598 or follow him on Twitter at

To read previous columns go to

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Shelley's Back Room, Washington, D.C.

Join Us Tonight (Saturday, 29 JAN 2011) at Shelly's Back Room for Pipe/Cigar Night @ 7 P.M.

Shelly's Back Room Washington, D.C.

If Sheldon Jacobs has his way, the "civilized cigar parlor" he created will soon undergo a metamorphosis. Jacobs, a world-renowned cigar connoisseur, will reposition Shelly's Back Room as "the American tavern." This nominal change seems aimed mostly at communicating that the restaurant is not just a cigar bar.

At lunch, the idea of catering to nonsmokers is working. Several of the tables consistently accommodate people who "don't do cigars." The $140,000 Kleen-Aire Fresh Indoor Purification System, which is based on a principle called "thermal displacement ventilation" (ask Britt Meyer, the manager, to explain it to you), is replacing the air in the room every two minutes.

"We wanted to create a club feeling for the common man," says Jacobs, the chairman and chief executive officer of Minneapolis-based Woodroast Systems Inc., parent to the Back Room concept, which began as an adjunct to its full-size restaurant in suburban Maryland. Jacobs sees a further difference between his cigar-friendly establishment and the image of many cigar bars. "Some of these places are pretentious," Jacobs says. "They're uppity. So, I wanted to have an upscale feeling for people who hadn't experienced a club before. A place where a guy who owns a gas station can meet the elite of Washington."

Shelly's Back Room succeeds. A former chairman of a presidential commission on physical fitness shares a table with lobbyists from U.S. Tobacco. The former press secretary of a former president enjoys a cigar after work. Others are just there to have a light dinner before attending a show at the nearby Warner or National theaters.

The menu is ample and reasonably varied for a kitchen run by two people. Start with one of the three sausages--preferably the one called Fire--if you have been smoking a cigar before you eat. It goes well with Shelly's own Birch Bay microbrewed beer. The smoked oysters are perfection and the campfire chicken wings are prepared in the restaurant's patented slow-roaster--not fried like most--which locks in the chicken flavor under a deceptively spicy jerk seasoning. The double chicken breast sandwich can be garnished with swaths of sweetly smoked bacon worthy of its own EKG and topped with a roasted red pepper mayo.

In general, the food is accessible. Nothing fancy. Very comforting. Yeah, yeah, they have salads and steaks, too. And lots of cigars. Thirty different makes, starting at $4.50. Standouts among the list are four sizes of La Gloria Cubana, Ashton, 8-9-8, enough Arturo Fuente Hemingways to merit a second drink, and five from Paul Garmirian, who lives in nearby McLean, Virginia. Shelly's also carries 10 cigars from Punch, including the Vintage No. 40 Natural, a selection made exclusively for Philadelphia's Holt's Cigars.

As impressive as anything else about Shelly's Back Room is that at 9:30 on a school night--Washington is an early burg--the place is hopping. People are smoking and drinking and eating in an area of downtown that used to empty out hours earlier and from which some of the less knowledgeable commuters flee for fear of their safety. But now with Shelly's Back Room, there's a better place than the long ride home to enjoy a cigar. --Alejandro Benes

Alejandro Benes is a writer and business executive in Washington, D.C.

Shelly's Back Room
1331 F Street, NW
Phone (202) 737-3003

Monday, January 24, 2011

Healthy Pipe Smoking Diet

Pipe smoking has becoming a popular past time, with not just the older generations but the younger ones too. Men my age (thirty-something's), are stepping up to the plate and realizing that life has gotten way too complex. We need something to help us settle down after a hard day's work. Although my father's days were labor intensive with physical exertion, the only manual labor I get today is in the gym or going for a trail run. Due to my desk job, I am not exposed to the elements that my father was - plowing in the treacherous blizzards in Massachusetts, fixing a water main in the hottest day of a New England summer, or working two and sometimes three jobs to put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads! But, we did alright and I'm thankful for his sacrifices.

Once I became a man, I realized the importance of good nutrition, to keep the body strong. Being an advocate for sound nutrition and taking pleasures in pipe smoking, it is imperative to get enough vitamins and minerals to keep the body going strong like the Savoy Express! The following is my dinner last night (pictured below), which consisted of grilled salmon and a pound of spinach with a glass of red wine.

Salmon is rich in vitamin B12, niacin, omega-3 fats, tryptophan, vitamin D, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B6, not to mention a great source of protein. Popeye ate loads of spinach and smoked a pipe! Popeye was strong to the finish 'cause he ate his spinach - so follow his advice. Spinach is extremely rich in antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, lutein, folate, iron, vitamin B12, potassium, vitamin B6, protein, and niacin. To wash it all down, a nice glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. Red wine has health benefits that the Italians and French have known about for centuries. Red wine can raise HDL cholesterol (the good) and lower LDL cholesterol (the bad). Red wine prevents blood clots, heart attacks, and reduces blood vessel damage caused by fat deposits. Rich in antioxidants, many studies have concluded that a glass of red wine a day will lead to good health. To finish off dinner, my desert was a bowl of Boswell's Premium Burley ( Remember to remain healthy, that way you can live as long as Jack LaLanne (September 26, 1914 - January 23, 2011), 96 years young - you will be missed!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Pipe Smokers Guild

The Pipe Smoker's Guild is a fraternity of scholars dedicated to maintaining and advancing the Ancient and most Noble art of Pipe smoking. The primary ambitions of this organization will be to:
Preserve and advance the art and tradition of Pipe smoking, and to foster the noble spirit which pervades the Brotherhood of the Briar,

Celebrate the rich heritage of pipes, tobacco, pipe smoking, and the related art, literature and associated tobacciana which has greatly influenced the social and commercial development of the United States through its history,

Educate interested University students and faculty members as to this magnificent legacy,

Bring together people of differing backgrounds in the spirit of friendship, benevolence, and tranquility.

Group's principal activities, events, or programs:

The Pipe Smoker's Guild is a fraternity of scholars dedicated to maintaining and advancing the Ancient and most Noble art of Pipe smoking.

How this group's activities benefit the University community:

We hope to advance the university community by fostering intellectual conversation, inviting diversity and policies of inclusion, and by providing an outlet for scholarly reflection. We also hope to provide advice "gratis" on stress management and relaxation techniques.

How this group fits into its categories:

Cultural and Diversity: By celebrating the rich cultural heritage of pipes, tobacco, pipe smoking, and the related art, literature and associated tobacciana which has greatly influenced the social and commercial development of the United States through its history.
Political and Social Action: By inspiring profound reflection on the most relevant of todays issues or the pasts.
Special interest or Hobby: We hope to foster and grow the most Noble art of Pipe smoking, pipe enthusiasm, etc. etc.

Retrieved from:

Friday, January 21, 2011

King of Pipes: The Meerschaum

The Song of the Pipe

When the night air is shading ’round you,
And the lake is lying still;
When you hear the evening tuning,
Of the lonely whippoorwill;
When the woods are big and silent,
And the world seems all at rest;
And the cheerful fire is blazing,
Then your good old pipe is best.

When you are tired out from tramping,
Through the winding forest ways;
And you’ve had your trout and coffee,
And you dream of future days;
When you sit close to the fire,
Then the time is surely ripe;
With the owl’s bark resounding,
To fill up the good old pipe.

When the dreary rain is falling,
And the world is wet and gray;
When the loon’s long, dismal holler,
Rolls out clear and dies away;
When the woods are all adripping,
From the alder to the oak;
Then just lay back in your chair,
And hit good old pipe, and smoke.

-Earle P. Stafford

Retrieved from:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tobaccos of Hawaii

Tobacco Shop
Editors’ Pick

Don’t look for Kools and Camels at Tobaccos of Hawaii — this quality tobacconist carries the good stuff. “We serve a niche market,” says owner Christopher Maxwell. Cigarette smokers can pick up premium brands such as Shepherd’s Hotel and Nat Sherman, as well as eight blends of Peter Stokkebye loose tobacco. Pipe smokers will want to check out the Mac Baren tobacco, and any smoking enthusiast will enjoy browsing through all the shop’s specialized tools and accessories, including cigarette-rolling machines, pipes and hookahs. If the store name sounds familiar, yes, Tobaccos of Hawaii was the one busted in 1999 (under a previous owner) for selling Cuban cigars. “We don’t sell them anymore; we learned his lesson,” says Maxwell. “But we got hundreds of thousands of dollars in free advertising and business skyrocketed,” he laughs. 512 Atkinson Drive, Suite 101, 942-7833.

Retrieved from:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pipe Smoking and Health

Pipe Smoking and Health: "Risky business or casual pleasure?"
by Mark Beale, MD

In making the decision to smoke or not, we must educate ourselves about the risks and benefits. Unfortunately, the scientific data which attempts to quantify the risks of pipe smoking remain sparse. In 1964, the Surgeon General of the United States issued a landmark report on tobacco usage. This report, which described the dangers of cigarette smoking, including heart disease, lung damage, and an increased cancer risk, raised the public's awareness regarding the health consequences of certain behaviors.

Specifically, this report confirmed what had been suspected for quite some time, that cigarette smoking could be dangerous. However, the conclusion drawn from several studies about pipe smokers was that they tended to live longer than the general population!

A subsequent revision of this report, which appeared in 1979, concluded that pipe smoking increased the mortality ratio slightly, when compared with non-smokers, but the effect was minimal when compared to cigarette smokers. Pipe smokers using four or fewer bowls of tobacco per day had a lower mortality ratio than non-smokers - meaning the death rate was less for occasional pipe smokers than for the general population.

Since then, other reports have emerged, including the 1982 Surgeon General's report which concluded that pipe smokers have a 2 - 4.3 times greater risk of lung cancer than non-smokers. However, the studies upon which this conclusion is based did not differentiate between inhalers and non-inhalers. Presumably, non-inhaling pipe smokers would have had a lower lung cancer risk than inhalers.

Other interesting findings include a Swedish twin study which found that pipe smoking twins lived longer than non-smoking twins. This same study found a much higher mortality rate in cigarette smoking twins compared to their non-smoking siblings.

Other Potential Risks

Importantly, there is more to health risks than death! In pipe smokers these risks include heart disease, chronic lung disease, and cancer of the lip, tongue and throat. In fact, the largest risk for pipe smokers may be in developing cancer of the lip. This type of cancer is more responsive to treatment than, for example, lung cancer and therefore is not reflected in studies examining mortality.

When a Feller Needs a Friend

The old advertising slogan for Briggs Pipe Tobacco "When a Feller Needs a Friend", I think emphasizes the psychological aspects of pipe smoking. This phenomenon of pipe smoking as mental comfort can be found in other advertising slogans as well, including the phrase, "Relax with a Marxman", used by the popular New York pipe firm. Indeed, when we examine the risks and potential benefits of pipe smoking, we must also consider the psychological aspects of the hobby.

Many pipe smokers will tell you that one of life's greatest pleasures is to enjoy a fine tobacco in a favorite pipe. The key word here is "enjoy".

The psychological benefits of pipe smoking have been described by many who have enjoyed the hobby, including Mark Twain, Albert Einstein and others. Einstein felt that pipe smoking facilitated his mental clarity when working on a difficult project. Many pictures of him at work show that he favored billard-shaped pipes. Pipe smokers often like to recite one of his most relevant quotes: "I believe that pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgment in all human affairs". Indeed, it is difficult to measure the calming qualities of pipe smoking and the possible beneficial effects on our work, productivity, relationships, and relaxation.

With further study we may find that enjoying a pipe in moderation can prolong life, in a way analogous to the recent finding that consuming alcohol in moderation may protect against the development of certain types of heart disease.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Women Pipe Smokers

Women and Pipes
By Beth Maxwell Boyle

Women Pipe smokers are rare today but female smoking was very popular in the 17th and 18th centuries. Respectable women were commonly seen smoking pipes in public. Many famous paintings exist of noble women of the period drinking in the smoke from a clay pipe. The middle classes were eager to enjoy this new pastime as well. In the Elizabethan times clays were quite delicate with graceful thin bowls and long stems. The Dutch redesigned these clays by enlarging the bowl and lengthened the stem.

Dutch, French and English women all enjoyed the "Indian Weed". For centuries the favorite way of enjoying tobacco was to smoke it in clay pipes. As early as about 1575 pipes were being made in England, but by the 17th century Holland had become the dominant center for the manufacture of clay pipes. Clays were made in many other European countries at this time, as well. Such pipes were usually white, with small bowls and long stems. They were extremely fragile and did not last long. However, by the 1850s, when pipe smoking in general became associated with the working class, female smoking began to decline, at least in public. The acceptance of female smokers seemed to vary between regions at this time. It is believed that many women kept their old habits. It is more than likely it was done in secret while they outwardly treated the act as a disgrace.

International Pipe Smoking Day 2011

International Pipe Smoking Day - February 20, 2011


of pipe-smokers that is bound together by a shared love for pipe-smoking, mutual respect, and goodwill • We envision a society that respects the informed choice and adult use of smoking tobacco • We envision a world where governments act in good faith and integrity, and have the political will and personal courage to express their values appropriately through legislative means • This means that as a group we are united and strong in our beliefs, have understanding, patience, wisdom, enjoy the philosophical aspect of pipe-smoking, and seek to promote pipe-smoking as part of a lifestyle that can be thoroughly enjoyable to adults through the responsible use of tobacco.

To foster links across the globe in honor of friendship, benevolence, and tranquility; and to celebrate the fraternity of pipe-smokers across all borders.

On this day we will take a breather and celebrate the noble art of pipe-smoking and the noble spirit which pervades the brother/sisterhood of the briar. We will put into practice the time-honored and ancestral traditions of raising our pipes in toast to each other in the evening in unison and, thus, share a bowl together.

Today’s hectic environment almost dictates that we run on full efficiency, have total involvement in our work, our families and in every aspect of what we do to survive and achieve in a world set at high speed.• With ever-changing values it is the intent that The International Pipe-Smoking Day will allow us, the Brothers and Sisters of the Briar to step back and appreciate our rich historical value. • For pipe-smokers and pipe-smoking everywhere the day will be emblematic of our shared values, history, traditions, and aspirations.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Pipe Smoking Primer

I can remember visiting my best friend when I was younger. It was fun to get together and have adventures like boys do, but one thing I really, really liked was his dad. His dad was an old farm man and looked like it from the weather-beaten lines on his face to his calloused hands. He was quiet spoken and loved smoking his pipe. Since my dad was a non-smoker, this fact really intrigued me as a young boy. I’d see him lighting up and smoking his pipe in complete happiness. He always smelled like pipe tobacco (Sir Walter Raleigh) and now, whenever I smell that brand, I always think of him.

Maybe you had a grandpa who was like my friend’s dad. Maybe you saw him smoking his pipe in quiet contentment and enjoyed that manly smell as I did. Maybe you’ve never known a man who smoked a pipe, so you don’t know what I’m talking about. Either way it doesn’t change the fact that pipe smoking is a manly art.

Guide to Pipe Smoking - Introduction

So you’ve decided to smoke a pipe? Wise decision! Pipe smoking is one of the most relaxing and pleasurable experiences that a person can enjoy. Smoking a pipe is a distinguished pleasure and you have chosen to join the elite few who call themselves pipe smokers.

As such, always smoke your pipe with respect for others and observe proper smoking etiquette.

There's an almost infinite variety of pipe tobacco available, some of which may offend people around you, so consider the people around you when choosing your tobaccos, especially if you will be indoors. Most of all enjoy the pleasure and peace that smoking a good tobacco pipe can bring.

When cared for properly, your pipes will become favorite friends who will provide you years of relaxing enjoyment.

Of course, pipe smoking requires a certain degree of skill and concentration to maximize your enjoyment of the briar. There are perhaps thousands of people who have imagined themselves as pipe smokers only to give it a try and suffer through it because they didn’t have anyone to teach them the proper methods of pipe smoking.

Avoid the pitfalls and frustrations of learning to smoke a pipe the hard way and allow us to help you to full smoking enjoyment.