Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Upcoming hiatus

We are moving out by Friday. We expect to be out by Thursday night, actually. So the blog is on hiatus until we get moved into the new house. I expect to be gone for at least one month, perhaps longer.

Have fun, everyone.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Featured Pipe Smoker: José Bové

José Bové (b. 1953)

José Bové is a French farmer and political activist who ran for President of France in 2007.

He was born in France but grew up in many places, including spending some time in the United States as a child. He attended a Jesuit school in France but was expelled because of his opinions regarding drugs. He fled France to avoid serving in the French army (and what can I possibly add to that?).

He is an opponent of globalization except when he's not. That is, he is not opposed to the existence of the World Trade Organization, he just doesn't like their current rules. (Yes, I'm editorializing here). He is also a prominent opponent of genetically engineered crops. In 2003 he spent seven months in prison for his part in destroying some transgenic crops.

After the European Union restricted the importation of hormone-treated beef from the United States, the U.S. retaliated by imposing tariffs on imported Roquefort cheese (that'll learn 'em). Bové subsequently, and successfully, smuggled 30 kilos of Roquefort into the U.S. in his luggage.

Bové is the kind of guy some people love to love, and a lot of other people love to hate. For example, he publicly stated that he believed a series of attacks on French synagogues was being arranged by the Israeli secret service to create sympathy for Jews. He also took part in "dismantling" (that is, tearing down) a McDonald's in France, for which he also served prison time. He is also a syndicalist, or a socialist who denies being a socialist (more editorializing).

In 2006, he attempted to enter the United States and was turned back because of his spotty legal record elsewhere in the world.

Do an image search for Bové and you will see that his pipe has become an integral part of his image and personality, as in the images above and below.

A note for all my European readers: Bové is not even a blip on the radar of American mainstream media, so everything I know about him I learned from the internet. Feel free to clarify any of the above statements in comments.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Vintage Ad (1943): Dr. Grabow

"Serving Everywhere On America's Fighting Fronts..."

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tobacco update

The Perique is starting to assert itself.

Having had a good 24 hours for the various leafs to meld and get to know each other a little, yesterday's batch of blended-on-the-fly tobacco has smoothed out a lot. The sweetness of the Virginia has become more rounded by the Perique, and overall the blend has become a little more robust and balanced than yesterday. I've also noticed a couple of brief whiffs of latakia, which I know is in there because I watched him mix it, but which seemed completely absent yesterday.

In comments, Zach said, "I've never figured out what that scoop thing is to be used for." I suppose it's meant to be used for working with cake, although I prefer a more blade-like tool with a more rounded end for cake working, myself.

Picture above shamelessly stolen from Pipe Lore. Corneel has written a two-part series on this remarkable tool: The Leatherman of the Pipe World part 1 and part 2. Although written somewhat tongue-in-cheek, I must say that the very first thing I did with this tool was use the pick to open my container of lighter fluid. In fact, I've always used some part of a pipe tool for that.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Tobacco adventures

I'm running low on smokeable leaf and I don't want to make another big order until we get settled into the new house--and that could be a while, at least a month, probably more. So today I thought I'd take a chance of The Humidor, which is San Antonio's only real tobacconist. If someone knows of another one, please let me know.

Anyway, I got lucky and the guy working today was a pipe smoker, so he actually asked some intelligent questions. On several previous forays into that store I was accosted by cigar floggers who don't know anything about pipe tobacco. I already knew that all of their official house blends are aromatics. I told him the kind of thing I was looking for and he whipped me up a blend on the fly, said he'd write it down so he could make it again.

It's mostly Virginia, with some burley, a hint of latakia, and 15% Perique. It's not bad at all. I expect it to get better as the different tobaccos have a chance to meld, but right now it is quite sweet from all the VA. We'll see how this one goes, but I think next time I'll tell him less Virginia and more Perique.

I had him mix me up 4 ounces. He only charged me for 2 since "this is just an experiment." So that was a pretty good deal. I was impressed with him and I'll try to go back there more often in the future.

I also picked up one of those Czech pipe tools with the spoon-shaped scoop on it. Never had one of these tools before, and I like it. I'll have to get a few more so I can strew them about in strategic places.

I think tomorrow I might light up a bowl in the morning and then let it DGT for several hours. I think that will add some robustness.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Featured Pipe Smoker: Glenn Ford

Glenn Ford (1916-2006)

Glenn Ford, whose real name was Gwyllyn Samuel Newton Ford, was born in Quebec. When he was still a small child, his family moved to Santa Monica, California, where he grew up. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1939.

His first movie role was in 1937 in the movie Night in Manhattan. He had parts in several more movies between then and 1942, when he interrupted his career to volunteer for duty in the U.S. Marines during World War II.

After his military service, he went back to acting, starring along with Rita Hayworth in Gilda in 1946. This launched him into "leading man" status, and he went on the play many memorable characters, often portraying cowboys and "the ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances." He had parts in, and often starred in, more than 100 movies and TV shows.

The photo above comes with this information:
Handsome Glenn Ford pipes up--with his fabulous assortment of pipes. The actor had more than 50 in his collection, the first of which he bought when he was in the Army [according to Wikipedia and Glenn Ford - Performer and Patriot, it was the Marines.--ed.] during World War II. That first pipe helped Ford get his big Hollywood break.

"When I returned from the war, nobody would hire me," he recalls. "Then one day I met Bette Davis. She was looking for someone to star with her in A Stolen Life. She asked me: 'Do you have a pipe and a decent jacket?' I was wearing my captain's uniform at the time."

When he returned for a screen test, Ford made sure he had a jacket--and his lucky pipe. Davis loved his audition, "and I got the role," says an ever-thankful Ford, 81. The movie made him a star.
Glenn Ford retired from acting in 1991 due to health problems. During his remaining years he lived a quiet life with his son and his son's family in Beverly Hills. In his later years, he had suffered a series of minor strokes which left him in increasingly frail health, and he passed away on August 30, 2006.

When once asked how he wanted to be remembered, Ford said, "he did his best and he believed in God."

UPDATE: LawDog has details on Mr. Ford's military service.

UPDATE 2: Castle Argghhh! also remembers Mr. Ford.

NOTE: This post was originally published on one of my other blogs not long after Ford's death in September 2006.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Pipes & accessories in the 1964 Sears catalog

This week's vintage ads are actually two pages from the 1964 Sears catalog, featuring Kaywoodie and other pipes, and lots of accessories. Click the pictures to enlarge.

Found at Wishbook Web. Thanks to Power of Babel for the tip.