Friday, February 20, 2009
"Ceci n’est pas une pipe"? Non! C'est une pipe extraordinaire!
I've been smoking a pipe since ... well, let's just say that I've been smoking a pipe for over ten years. The first pipe I ever smoked was a cheapie I bought at a tobacco shop on the Murfreesboro town square. It took me weeks to learn how to pack the bowl properly, and it took me months to learn how to keep my pipe lit. But I learned.
I smoked that cheapie pipe for about four years, maybe five. I then started smoking an Aldo Velani which I bought for five bucks at a garage sale. It'd never been smoked when I bought it, and let's just say that said pipe is worth considerably more than $5.
I bought my current favorite pipe - a very nice Stanwell - at Belle Meade Premium Cigars two years ago (with Christmas bonus money). You'd never know it to be my favorite pipe; indeed, I smoke it so gingerly you'd need a microscope to find the teeth marks.
One of these days, I'll post some pics of my pipes. Maybe I'll post some pics o' me smokin' 'em, too! Stay tuned.
That said, I want you to check out this pipes-are-makin'-a-comeback article from today's Wall Street Journal. 'Tis very interesting, indeed. A sample:
Friday is International Pipe-Smoking Day, when a number of puffers will unite to protest tobacco taxes and smoking bans. They will also engage in slow-smoking competitions to see who can keep a pipe going the longest. Each contestant is given just two matches. Events, which will go on all weekend, are promoted by the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association. ...
Health advocates may warn of oral cancer, mouth lesions and rotting teeth, but Mr. Nemets and his online brethren are in the vanguard of an unlikely set of smokers taking to the brier -- people in their 20s.
"They're eager to learn," says 71-year-old Vernon E. Vig, president of the New York Pipe Club and the United Pipe Clubs of America. Mr. Vig started smoking a pipe as an undergrad at Carleton College 53 years ago. "Back then, everyone smoked a pipe," Mr. Vig says. His group, which meets monthly in Manhattan, has seen a definite increase in college students and young professionals, he says.
No one tracks how many young men and women are pipe smokers. But sales of pipe tobacco are rising again after years of decline, and many think young smokers are the reason. U.S. sales of pipe tobacco plummeted to 4.9 million pounds in 2006, from 52 million pounds in 1970, says Norman Sharp, president of the Cigar Association of America. Sales climbed to 5.3 million pounds in 2008. Pipe tobacco and smokeless tobacco sales are on the rise, offsetting over a decade of decreases in cigarette sales.
Pipe-smoking groups on social-networking sites like Facebook and MySpace have attracted thousands of members. Questions in the forums include: A bent or straight pipe? Does anyone have a favorite perique Louisiana tobacco blend? What is the consensus on corncob pipes?