Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pipe Smoker: H. Beam Piper

Henry Beam Piper (1904 - 1964)

Apparently, on New Texas, killing a politician was not malum in se, and was mallum prohibitorum only to the extent that what happened to the politician was in excess of what he deserved.
--from Lone Star Planet (1958)
I don't know where to start.  H. Beam Piper was a mostly self-educated writer of science fiction short stories and novels.  His first publication was the short story "Time and Time Again" in 1947.  Common themes in his stories are that history always repeats itself; and the idea of the self-reliant man who does what needs to be done without first consulting with his "betters."

Piper committed suicide in 1964.  Although he left a note behind, he didn't make it clear as to why he killed himself.  Various theories have been postulated, of course.  At the time of his death, his writing career was blossoming greatly and in hindsight it seems that he would have eventually joined the ranks of other extremely famous and influential sci-fi writers such as Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Heinlein.

Many of his stories have become public domain and are available for reading at Project Gutenberg.

The H. Beam Piper Memorial Website
Books by Piper, H. Beam at Project Gutenberg
"Time and Time Again" (mp3 file) from X Minus One (Old Time Radio Researchers Group at

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What Mark Twain may have sounded like

I have sometimes wondered how our perception of history would be different if the technology to record sounds had come about before the technology to record images. Because if that had happened, we would likely know how people from history sounded.

I have covered both William Gillette and Samuel Clemens as pipe smokers on this blog before. Here is a very interesting link between them.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Pipe Smoker (fictional): Professor Utonium

"Once again, I have no idea what I did!"

Professor Utonium is a fictional character from the Cartoon Network animated series The Powerpuff Girls.  He is a brilliant scientist and inventor who was attempting to create his own perfect daughters by combining sugar, spice and everything nice, but accidentally spilled a mystery ingredient known only as Chemical X into the mix and created three little girls with incredible super powers.

He is always working on new inventions, but most of them are either complete failures or have some great flaw.  The only inventions he has made that worked were created by accident.

He is a very affectionate and supportive father to his three girls.  He also is an excellent golfer.  He likes science, inventing things (or attempting to) and watching silent movies.  He dislikes liver and onions, profanity and spiders.  He also has a bad habit of lying but his lies always backfire on him, and he seems to be quite unlucky in romantic matters.

The Powerpuff Girls ran on Cartoon Network from 1998 through 2005.  The first season is currently available for streaming on Netflix.

Powerpuff Girls Wiki

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pipe Smoker: Frank "Rocky" Fiegel

Frank "Rocky" Fiegel (1868 - 1947)

Frank Fiegel was a man from Chester, Illinois who was known for his great physical strength, his handiness in a fight, and his pipe smoking.

Chester, Illinois was also the hometown of Elzie Crisler Segar, the creator of Popeye.

Popeye Wiki
Popeye Picnic

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Pipe Smoker: Andrew Jacobs Sr.

Andrew Jacobs (1906 - 1992)

Andrew Jacobs was a lawyer and judge from Indiana, who also served one term in the United States House of Representatives, being elected to the position in 1948.  This photo is from that year.

Getty Images 1
Getty Images 2

The accidental invention of matches

At Brain Candy.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

When men smoked pipes and wore hats: Pat Garrett and friends

Pat Garrett (the tall one standing) and friends pause for a photo on their way to George Curry’s inauguration as governor of New Mexico in 1907.  The man kneeling, second from right, has a pipe.  I haven't been able to identify him.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Vintage button card, date unknown

I remember my grandmother having some button cards similar to this when I was a kid.  I guess no one makes them anymore.

Pipe Smoker (fictional): Reed Richards

Reed Richards is a fictional character from the Marvel Comics universe, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and first appeared in The Fantastic Four #1 in 1961.

Richards was the only son of physicist Nathaniel Richards and his wife, Evelyn.  Reed was a child prodigy, excelling in mathmatics, physics and mechanics, taking college-level courses when he was only 14.  While attending State University at Hegeman, NY, he became the room-mate of football star Benjamin Grimm.  Richards' dream was to someday build an interstellar spaceship, and Grimm joked that if Richards ever did, he would pilot it.  Later he and Grimm served in the military together.

While attending Columbia University, he rented a room in a boardinghouse owned by the aunt of Susan Storm, then only 12 years old.

Nathaniel Richards eventually mysteriously disappeared (but that's another story), but had made arrangements to bequeath Reed with two billion dollars, which Reed used to fund his spaceship project, in addition to getting funding from the government.  By the time he had finished it, Grimm had become an astronaut and test pilot, so Richards did indeed recruit him to pilot his new spaceship.  Richards decided to launch the ship on a test flight before government funding was withdrawn.  Susan Storm, now an adult, had joined him and was dating him at the time.  She insisted that she and her younger brother Johnny accompany them as passengers.  Benjamin Grimm was against the test flight, because he believed the the ship had inadequate shielding to protect them from cosmic radiation.

After the launch, an unexpected solar flare caused the Van Allen radiation belt to fill with intensely high levels of radiation, so they returned to Earth, but not before they had been exposed to the radiation.

And of course, that meant that they soon discovered they had super-powers.

Ben Grimm was the worst off, being essentially turned into a human rock and called himself the Thing.  Susan Storm gained the ability to become invisible and manipulate force fields and became the Invisible Woman.  Her brother Johnny was able to turn himself into a human torch and called himself the Human Torch.

Reed Richards became Mister Fantastic, with a body that now had super-stretch powers.  He called his new team of superheroes the Fantastic Four.  So there you go.

See also:  Professor Richard Impossible

Marvel Wiki

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Pipe Smoker: Amou Haji

I'll just let you read it for yourself.

Update:  more.

Vintage Ad (1942): Bond Street

Readers of this blog should well be familiar with creepy vintage Bond Street ads.  We have seen bears, bulls, stalkers, werewolves, weird uncles, man-goats and goat-men, and the father of them all, the evil mastermind (a.k.a. The Creepy Bond Street Guy).  I think we can safely say that this is the least creepy of them all. with Lucy about to bring the glowing hammer of doom down on Ricky Ricardo's smelly pipe.


Vintage Ad (date unknown): Dr. Grabow

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pipe Smoker: Frank Belknap Long

 Frank Belknap Long (1901 - 1994)

Born in New York City, as a boy Long was interested in natural history and "weird" fiction by the likes of Edgar Allen Poe, Ambrose Bierce, Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.  As a teenager, he was active in the United Amateur Press Association as an amateur journalist.  He was pursuing the study of journalism in college but suffered a severe bout of appendicitis which rendered him hospitalized for a month and health complications resulting from a burst appendix brought him near death.  After recovering, he gave up on college to pursue a freelance writing career.

Long came to be a successful author of weird fiction, poetry, gothic romance, science fiction and other fiction genres as well as non-fiction.  He came to be one of the "Lovecraft Circle":  a friend and collaborator of Howard Phillips Lovecraft.

Frank Belknap Long goofing around with his friend, H.P. Lovecraft, above.

And a slightly more staid photo of Lovecraft and Long.  Unlike Lovecraft, Long lived a long (no wordplay intended) and productive life, with a bibliography that would be the envy of anyone.  He was awarded the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 1978, the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1987, and the First Fandom Hall of Fame Award in 1977.  However, like Lovecraft, he died impoverished and was at first buried in a cemetery for indigents, until friends and colleagues put together enough money to have him reinterred in a family plot not far from where Lovecraft's grandparents were buried.

Players of the role-playing game Call of Cthulhu may know him best as the creator of the monstrous Hounds of Tindalos.

The Hounds of Tindalos at Too Much Horror Fiction
Summary Bibliography at isfdb

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Vintage Ad (1950s): Budweiser beer

"The Window Cleaner" by John Walter.  From Roger Wilkerson.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A pipe built for two

Just a photo I came across.  I think I'll just stick with pipes built for one, thanks.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Pipe, not pipe #3

Oh, this photo brings back memories.  I have misplaced the original, and thought I had lost the scan.  I had stored it in a folder with some famous pipe smokers (such as Faulkner from the previous post), for some reason, and didn't know it was there.  I couldn't remember what I had named the file, so I couldn't just do a file search for it.  I'm glad I found it again.

It was what at first glance may appear to be a beautiful meerschaum pipe, partially and elegantly colored, with what is possibly--and is in fact, actually--an amber stem.  This is a post card that was sent to me by Tom Dunn of The Pipe Smoker's Ephemeris many years ago, and which I painstakingly scanned with my first scanner--a hand scanner!--all those years ago.  The inscription on the reverse is as follows:

Zigarrenspitze aus Meerschaum mit Bernsteinmundst├╝ck.
 Reichgeschm├╝ckte junge Dame (H. 10 cm). 
Ende 19. Jahrh.

Which, to the best of my knowledge, translates as:

Cigar holder made out of meerschaum with amber stem.
A richly adorned young lady (height 10 cm).
End of the 19th century.

It seems odd to me that a cigar holder would be made so that the cigar had to stick straight up in front of your face, but then maybe it was meant to be used with short cigars.  At a height of 10 cm, it would be quite tall for a pipe.

In any case...there it is!

Pipe Smoker: William Faulkner

William Cuthbert Faulkner (1897 - 1962)
It is my ambition to be, as a private individual, abolished and voided from history, leaving it markless, no refuse save the printed books; I wish I had enough sense to see ahead thirty years ago, and like some of the Elizabethans, not signed them. It is my aim, and every effort bent, that the sum and history of my life, which in the same sentence is my obit and epitaph too, shall be them both: He made the books and he died.

William Faulkner is, of course, an extremely famous author whom I am sure you've heard of.  He was the author of the novels The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, and Absalom, Absalom! among many others and wrote many short stories as well.  He was born, died, and lived in Mississippi most of his life.

Faulkner was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949.  Before he became an author, he held several other jobs and positions: railroad financier, politician, soldier, farmer, businessman, and lawyer.

I read somewhere once that he liked to spread various blends of tobacco out on newspapers spread out on his kitchen table and remix them.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Pipe smoker quick fix: Burl Ives

Burl Ives smoking an Oom Paul and playing the Northumbrian Pipes, accompanied by James Dean on the tenor recorder.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Pipe Smoker: Edward Atkinson

Edward Atkinson (1881 - 1929)

Edward Leicester Atkinson was a surgeon and parasitologist who served as the physician of Robert Scott's ill-fated Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole.  He was not part of the final push to reach the pole, remaining at a base camp, and therefore survived the expedition.

Afterwards, at the outbreak of World War I, he reported for active service and served on the Western Front.  In 1918 he was badly injured from an explosion aboard the HMS Glatton but helped to rescue several others in spite of his injuries.

He died suddenly aboard ship in 1929 on his way back to England and was buried at sea.

Haslar Heritage Group

Friday, January 3, 2014

Vintage Ad (1968): Flying Dutchman pipe tobacco

A somewhat sexist tobacco ad from a 1968 Playboy magazine.  From Found in Mom's Basement.

Pipe Smoker: E. Howard Hunt

Everette Howard Hunt (1918 - 2007)

"No one is entitled to the truth."

Oh, E. Howard Hunt.  Spy (make that "intelligence officer"), author, burglar, professional bastard.  A long-time CIA spook who retired from the CIA to become head of security for Richard Nixon's administration, he was indicted for his involvement in the infamous Watergate scandal.  He did a bunch of other shady things that most honorable men would be loathe to do.

He also wrote a few non-fiction books and a great many novels in the spy and hard-boiled genres.  He allegedly confessed, on his deathbed, to a great deal of knowledge about and involvement in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, but who knows if any of it is true?

Anyway, here's a photo of him supposedly smoking a pipe.

Washington Post

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Vintage Ad (1940s): Coffee by J.C. Leyendecker

Pipe Smoker: Charlie Ruggles

Charles Sherman "Charlie" Ruggles (1886 - 1970)

From Turner Classic Movies (click the link to read the full biography):
A much-loved comic talent in film and on television for over five decades, Charles Ruggles sputtered, stumbled and clucked his way through a series of popular turns as meek, easily overwhelmed men in such classic films as ""Trouble in Paradise" (1932), "Ruggles of Red Gap" (1935) and "Bringing Up Baby" (1938). Blessed with an expressive face and a voice that rose in register when his characters felt under duress, Ruggles became a scene-stealer of the first order in the late 1930s and early 1940s before stepping away from the cinema to work extensively on stage and in the early days of television. In the latter capacity, he starred on the popular sitcom "The Ruggles" (ABC, 1949-1952) and brought effortless humor as a sage, if still flappable father figure in numerous guest appearances. A welcome presence for film and television audiences for a half-century, Ruggles' comic gifts made him a favorite among classic movie fans and always one of the best elements of any stage or screen production. Born Charles Sherman Ruggles in Los Angeles on Feb. 6, 1886, he was the eldest of two sons by pharmaceutical salesman Charles Herman Ruggles and his wife, Maria.


P.S.  I am going to try to post more of these this year than I did last year.  I'm getting rather an unwieldy backlog of stuff that I can post.