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.

New Pipe Repair Guy in Town

29th October, 2007: Posted by glpease in General News

A few weeks ago, I was chatting with George Dibos, who was putting the final touches on his new shop in Bowman, ND. He’d just gotten all his machinery set up, and was excitedly doing what he called the “shake down cruise,” ensuring everything worked as expected. George might be called a little obsessive about his work, and it was important to him that all the details were handled before hanging his shingle. He sent me some detailed photos of things he’d just finished, and to say I was impressed by what I saw would be an understatement.

More conversations followed, and we talked about logos, websites, stuff like that. I offered some ideas, and ultimately ended up putting it all together for him. He’s doing the usual stuff - stem and tenon replacements, ream-and-clean service, shank banding, &c - and a few more unusual services, like his “Rejuvenation Package.” He’s also making “smoking stems” for people who want to preserve the original stems from their collectible pieces, and doing airway modifications. Reports from those who have used his services are overwhelmingly positive. Check out Precision Smoking Pipe Repair & Rejuvenation. He’s a relentless perfectionist, and, at least for the time being, you won’t have to wait months to get your pipes back.

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?

October is Here - and so is the 2008 Calendar

1st October, 2007: Posted by glpease in Product News

October has always been my favorite month. The air is charged with fall’s arrival, and I turn to fuller, deeper blends for my pipe. Fall and winter are when Latakia blends seem to work their best magic for me, their smoky, leathery perfume conjuring exotic images and filling my head with dreams of wondrous places. I love October.

It’s also seems to be a good time to do a little promotion of my 2008 Calendar, “In Celebration of Briar.” (Last year, I didn’t get it out until late November…) There’s more information on the Calendar page of the site, or you can go directly to my Lulu Press page to find out how to get one. I’ve looked at other Print-on-Demand publishers, but Lulu’s quality is fantastic, and the format of this large calendar is the best I’ve found. This Print-on-Demand strategy is the only way a low volume, specialty item like this is feasible.

Those who ordered last year’s have been thrilled with the quality, and many have already placed their 2008 orders. More than one person has told me they’ve framed some of the images for the walls of their smoking dens. How cool is that?

If the response to this is high enough, I may be able to attract the interest of a larger publishing house for next year’s, which would increase the distribution of the calendar, raising the public’s awareness of the beautiful artistry of these briar objects we love so well. So, buying one of these is a great way to adorn your walls and know what day it is, while ultimately helping to promote our hobby!