Wednesday, 26 July, 2006
Yeah. That’s what I’m talking about! Happiness is finding a fun trail 2.2 miles from home. Joy is when that trail is a cool almost-single track that has apparently not seen another bike in forever. I’m not quite sure if it’s a fire-trail, or just left over grading from some past construction, but it’s there, it’s accessible, and it’s mine to ride. Read the rest of this entry »
Tuesday, 25 July, 2006
More and more often, I read about someone buying a few tins of a new blend, only to put them aside for “at least a year” before trying them. Certainly, I’ve always been an outspoken proponent of cellaring and aging tobaccos, of laying in a store of our favorite blends to enjoy for years to come, but the idea of buying something and not spending some quality time with it in its youth robs us of one of the great joys of aging tobaccos; we lose the opportunity to celebrate and enjoy its youth. Read the rest of this entry »
Wednesday, 19 July, 2006
Sometimes, I’m amazed by what is considered newsworthy by the pandering press. The president says a naughty word, and it’s all over the wires. I heard about it on the radio, read about it in the papers, and would probably see it on the tele, if I could bring myself too rot my few remaining brain cells by switching it on. What’s the big deal? He thought he was off mic, and he expressed his frustration in a rather human way. Is this really news? Read the rest of this entry »
Tuesday, 18 July, 2006
It’s really quite simple. Get out on the bike, and ride. No distance is too long or too short, just be sure to work a little, get good and sweaty and breathe hard. Get that heart pumping and clear those lungs out. Ten miles is a good start. Go into the hills, or stay on flat surfaces. On roads, on trails, or gonzo single-tracking in serious dirt – it makes no difference. Have fun.
When you return home, while you’re cooling off, brew a small French press of strong coffee. Today, it’s a wonderful Nicaraguan medium dark roast that I picked up at Trader Joe’s, of all places. (It’s surprisingly good. At least, this batch is. I have no idea how consistent their coffees are.) Put two or three scoops of vanilla ice cream in a pint glass (a proper Imperial pint glass if you have one, though the stingy 16-oz colonial version will do in a pinch), and add some ice. Pour the coffee over the top, and stir until it’s cold, cold, cold. Add more ice if necessary, and milk if desired.
Grab a great small cigar – this one is a Hoyo de Monterrey Margarita, a little 5.3″ x 28 beauty that’s been gracefully aging in my humidor for several years – I bought a couple hundred on some ridiculously cheap price when they were changing packaging. Light up, sit back, sip iced coffee and enjoy.
See? I told you it was simple.
I love a good cigar, especially in the warmer months. If I had Franklins to burn, my walk-in humidors would always be well stocked with Lonsdales, my preferred shape, from Davidoff, H. Upmann (Cuban and Dominican – I love them both, though I have a special fondness for the old Canarian version that was replaced in the early 1980s by the Dominican), Raphael Gonzalez, and, of course, the venerable Partagas 8-9-8 – Habanos, of course. I like the occasional Corona, too, but in fantasy land, I can always just light a Lonsdale, and toss it away when I’ve smoked a Corona’s worth, or have my most trusted assistant simply cut the longer cigar down to the smaller vitola before bringing it to me on a silver tray with my after-dinner Armangac. Read the rest of this entry »
Thursday, 13 July, 2006
The Classic Collection has been around for a little over three years, now. Last week, I pulled one of the first production tins of Kensington out of the cellar to see how it was doing. The tin I grabbed was just a little puffy on the bottom, brining greater enthusiasm to the prospect of exploring its contents.
Kensington has continued to be quite popular, though I must confess, it’s never been my first choice from the collection. I’ve always tended to gravitate more toward Piccadilly for a lighter, sweeter blend, or toward Blackpoint for something richer, fuller, more complex. So, after I’d introduced it, I’ve all but ignored it until now, having only smoked from a few tins to ensure consistent quality. That’s not to say it isn’t a great blend, or that I’m not happy with it. It is, and I am, but the others have always seemed to call to me a little louder.
What the hell was I thinking?
Senator Ted Stevens (R – Alaska) Turns Techno
“The internet is not something you just dump something on, it’s not a big truck, it’s, it’s a series of TUBES [...] tangled up TUBES.”
In his speech arguing against, or for net-neutrality – it’s really hard to figure out which from his remarkably confused diatribe, though he does appear to be against the Net Neutrality Ammendment, bless his apparently addled little mind – Stevens demnonstrates an almost frightening ignorance of what the internet is and how it works.
Wednesday, 12 July, 2006
I’ll never forget the first time I heard “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.” I was at my girlfriend’s house, and her brother put the record on. (Remember records?) Suddenly, I was aware that everything I thought I understood about music, being still rather musically conservative, immersed almost to the point of a drowning death in my classical training at this point, had been stuffed into a box, shaken, not stirred, into tiny little bits, tossed out onto the floor, and reassembled by a cackling madman. The combination of child-like simplicity and sheer genius was remarkable. At once, I was a Pink Floyd fan, and this album, and many others, accompanied me on more than a few of my own adventures.
Roger Keith “Syd” Barrett, architect of this musical madness, co-founder of Pink Floyd, is dead. Read the rest of this entry »
I had something in mind to write about, but was stopped short by the receipt of some very sad news.
Tonight, I received word that Bo Nordh, considered by many to be the world’s greatest living pipe maker, lhas eft this earth. He’d been in hospital, gravely ill, but it is nevertheless disquieting to know that the inevitable has come to pass.
I first met Bo in 2001 while visiting with the Svenska Pipklubben at their annual BBQ at Bo’s house. He was a wonderful host, a great cook, and an avid lover of jazz and blues music, of which he spoke with encyclopedic knowledge. I cherish the memory of that evening, now more than ever. Read the rest of this entry »
Monday, 10 July, 2006
I just finished puffing on a bowl of my latest prototype blend, Westminster, in an estate Castello Trademark 55 that arrived last week. The first 2/3 of the smoke was sublime – it’s a great pipe – then, that familiar taste of virgin briar emerged, lingering throughout the rest of the bowl. I’ve often noticed this with estate pipes, and am led to think there are quite a few people who never smoke to the bottom of the bowl.