Independently Wealthy?

20th November, 2007: Posted by glpease in Amusements

Rumors sometimes find their way home, and I’ve learned, recently, of one that’s circulating about me. Can you believe that? It’s probably not the first, but I can be a bit oblivious. This one reports that I’m independently wealthy, that the only reason I am involved in pipe tobacco is to “keep my hands busy.” Brilliant! This explains, doubtless, why I drive a shiny red, 8 year old Volkswagen, rather than the silver Aston Martin of my dreams. (Nothing wrong with this, really; I quite like my little VW.)

I can certainly understand how some might conjure this imaginative folly, being the erudite and refined fellow that I am, not to mention my exquisite taste and steadily, but unhurriedly receding hairline, which bald friends tell me is the tell-tale mark of great success, as well as superior intellect. But, c’mon…

Rather than attempt to quell the rumour, which would be futile at best, and would more likely end up only with a more egregious canard rising to flight, I’ve decided to have a go at living up to it, to make it real, and am hereby recruiting into service my loyal readers for some small assistance. I’ve got the name; I may as well have the game.

Here’s what you do: Tell everyone you know to buy a tin or two of my blends. That’s it. They don’t smoke pipes? No problem. Tell them which of my blends you want, and they can drop them in your Christmas stockings, which you will have supersized in preparation for the bounty you will, inevitably, receive. We both win, and it beats lumps of coal, unless, of course, you need those to fire your backyard powerplant.

What about those friends and acquaintances who despise the wicked weed in all its forms? Simple. Have them place a crisp $1 bill, or a fiver if they can spare it, I’m not picky (I’ll even take rumbled ones) in an envelope, affix a stamp, and drop it in the post. They can mark the envelope, if they wish, in care of the Counterblaste to Tobacco Campaign.

If this works out, I won’t have to put my 5 year old to work in a sweat shop to pay for my VW’s replacement when it finally gasps its last. (If it doesn’t work out, and you’re looking to hire, he’s quite bright, a good worker, and has excellent attention for detail, though I caution that he likely has inherited my sense of humour…)

Here’s looking toward a prosperous 2008! I’m off to the post office.

He is well paid that is well satisfied.
-William Shakespeare

15 Minute Lunch Gets Stylin’ with J. C. P.

15th November, 2007: Posted by glpease in Amusements

Warm up the valves of the Wayback Machine, Mr. Peabody, and let’s take a trip to 1977. Okay, I don’t usually use this space to send people in the pursuit of randomness, but this is so damned funny, I had to share it. Apparently, Johnny Virgil, author of the blog, 15 Minute Lunch, found a groovy 1977 J. C. Penney catalogue in his wife’s grandfather’s ceiling [I hate multiple possessives…] whilst installing a fan, and brought it back to produce this. It’s hysterical.

Read it, and remember; some of us were there.

I recall a matching set of psychedelic turtlenecks mum made for us for a trip to Disneyland. We looked a fright, I’m sure, but couldn’t get very far apart without some good samaritan herding us back together, no matter how hard dad and I tried to escape the relentless tyranny of mum’s fluorescent paisley polyester…

A friend’s grandfather still wears double-knit leisure suits. He can’t order them from the catalogue anymore, so he has them made for him. Too real.

Happy Halloween!

31st October, 2007: Posted by glpease in Amusements

It’s my favorite season of the year, and my favorite holiday. The other night, we had the annual Jack-o-Lantern carving ritual, accompanied by Pumpkin Ale from the Kinnebunkport Brewing Company. Each year, I look for the most skull-like pumpkin I can find, and this year’s was loaded with character. I set out to do a Jolly Roger, with crossed bones clenched between gnarled teeth, but my patience ran out before I could figure out the mouth parts, so I turned him into a shrunken head. The poor, ugly chap is pictured ^ up there, to the left. The hacking and slashing of innocent pumpkins was followed with hearty bowls of Minestrone, some wonderful, locally baked potato rosemary bread, and a fun southern Italian red, the 2004 Epicuro Aglianico Beneventano. (If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, give this one a go. It’s hard to imagine a more fun and fruity bang for a fiver.) Anglianico is a very old, seldom used varietal that originated in ancient Greece, weaving a thread through the fabric of antiquity that seems appropriate for Halloween, and la dia de los muertos, and the strong connection to the ancestral currents.

Tonight, the little guy, dressed as Spiderman, will extort goodies from the neighbors by threat of webs, and then we’ll go to the party at his judo school. Then, a late supper of pumpkin soup, and some scary stories. Happy Halloween, everyone, and if you encounter a five year old Spiderman, you’d better have some treats for him. Those webs are sticky.

Confessions of a Pipe Seller

10th October, 2007: Posted by glpease in Amusements

I suppose this isn’t really news, but it’s a fun and interesting read about the value of keeping your pipes clean, and of being mindful of what you clean them with. Personally, I’ve always found that a little preventative care goes a long way toward avoiding such heroic measures. Three bundles of pipe cleaners for eight pipes! I’m in the wrong business! Mike, can I get your pipe cleaner contract?

Smoke Bombs

19th September, 2007: Posted by glpease in Amusements

I usually keep a tissue or a rag or something else at hand on which to wipe the ash from my tamper after use. Not this morning. A few minutes ago, out of desperation - I don’t like ash on my desk, but was too engrossed in what I was doing to get up and get a rag - I did a slovenly, almost barbaric thing instead, wiping the business end of the tamper on the carpet. What the hell? I’d be vacuuming later anyway, and, besides, a little ash never hurt a rug, right? It keeps the moths away.

Naturally, in addition to transferring some ash to the rug, this procedure also transferred some rug to the tamper. When I subsequently tamped the bowl, thus completing the cycle, a bit of rug was then transferred to ember. The ensuing reek emanating from the smouldering carpet thread was foul and vicious, tainting my delightful smoke in a most egregious manner.

I think I know what was in that Peruvian meteorite. If the investigators call me, I’ll be happy to tell them for a mere fraction of what they’d spend on laboratory analysis.

Finding the Flaws

17th September, 2007: Posted by glpease in Amusements

In this little video, Rolf discusses the benefits and varied uses of the P-lip stem, or, as he calls them, the “lip-bit,” and, for those who stay up nights worrying about such things, he demonstrates a unique, and possibly foolproof method of ascertaining the presence or absence of flaws and fills in your high grade pipes. It’s a must watch for all pipe lovers.

Remember. Rolf is a trained professional, with years of experience under his belt. Please, don’t try this at home!


8th September, 2007: Posted by glpease in Amusements

The web really is a web, and becomes more web-like as more people publish their own thoughts via their sites and blogs. Why am I pointing this out? Simple. Both the Briar & Leaf Chronicles and Robusto were recently mentioned in Eric Lauritzen’s blog, Self Composed. (Great title, by the way!) I know this because the WordPress engine that drives the Chronicles informs me via a trackback when someone links to one of the pages. How cool is that? (Of course, Mr. Lauritzen will now know that I’ve linked to him here. I hope it doesn’t end up like pointing a video camera at its monitor, or Xeroxing a mirror. Yes, I know the last thing doesn’t really work, but it sounds almost as amusing as dropping Mentos into Diet Coke. Okay, no it doesn’t…)