Tuesday, September 27, 2011



Once upon a time, I used to smoke a pipe.  I enjoyed all aspects of the Fine Art of Tobacciana.  Even read books on the subject, studied the history of tobacco smoking, very much enjoyed it.  The web site above is quite a resource for those who enjoy pipe smoking, whether you still actively smoke, want to, or used to. Check it out!

Another great web site, but local to Kansas City is Diebel's Sportsmens Gallery.
Mr. Fred Diebel sold me my first pipe at his long gone Crown Center location in Kansas City.  He was so knowledgeable and patient with a first time pipe buyer.  I was 18 and on my lunch hour I would haunt his store. He recommended a cherry wood pipe as my first, smoked cool, not too expensive, big bowl, rustic.  He told me the difference between pipe tobacco's, how they're made, what toppings were, how to load a pipe, how to light it properly, form the cake, how to tamp, how to relight, how to draw and keep it going for almost an hour and how not to burn your mouth or generate too much moisture.  How to clean the pipe, how to store it and the tobacco, what the tools were such as a "nail", a pouch, a rest, a pouch or rollup wallet, a humidor, the different woods and styles and makers, how each smoked, etc.  All in one visit!  That started me on sixteen years of pipe smoking before I quit.  I'd still smoke now, but can't have it around while caring for my mom.  I went on to learn so much more, thanks to Fred instilling in me a desire to know as much as I could.

I bought briar pipes in different styles, ceramic, meerschaum carved in fancy shapes, long church warden pipes, exotic shapes, big Dunhills bought while in Harrods in London, I started collecting old pipe racks, humidors, books.  I learned how Columbus men watched the natives on Hispaniola form a mounded up pit of dirt in the jungle floor, shove long hollow bamboo like tubes thru the pit wall along the ground so one end was inside the pit, the others radiating out like spokes, and then tobacco green leaves would be piled in the pit and lit and the natives would lie on the ground on their stomachs and suck the smoke into their lungs through the tubes until they passed out delirious under the trees.  I learned how a strong dose of nicotine lowers the blood supply to your brain by seven percent.  How the quickest way to absorb nicotine directly into your blood is via smoking a powerful cigar, the lining of your mouth is most efficient at absorbing, and the amount of nicotine cigarette smokers get is as nothing compared to cigars.  This caused me to dub cigarettes "sissy sticks" or "little puffs of nothing."  I learned that if you bought a really good cigar, one that cost a dollar or more each, grown from cuban seed in Nicaragua or Honduras etc, wrapped in a green wrapper, if you smoked such a cigar, your bones would turn to jelly and you'd slide under the table.  Pipes and cigars make you "get low" not high.  Cigarettes give a "lift" through oxygen narcosis, starving the lungs of oxygen because you inhale.  Big dose of nicotine suppresses you.  I started buying long cigarette holders and Turkish cigarettes.  Joya de Nicaragua cigars, virgin latakia tobacco slices that hand to be finger rolled before smoking, thats rubbing the leaf slices till they looked more like pipe tobacco.  I started blending my own pipe tobacco.  I was so addicted to nicotine I once combed the carpet under my car seat where I'd spilled some tobacco just so I could smoke when desperate.

There is alot more to tell... but who is interested any more?  Pipe smoking has all but disappeared.  People no longer recognize the famous quote "a woman is just a woman, but a good cigar is a Smoke!"  The age of the fine art of tobacciana is fading, as the last Wizards prepare to light their final bowls and puff away into the fabled land of legend.

In honor of Fred Diebel, I dreamt up a little story in my head, maybe someone could turn it into a comic book? 
What if Fred Diebel were actually TOBACCO MAN, Super Hero?
Fred would use his Tabac Attack! Shooting cigar projectiles thru a smokescreen.
Fred would "smoke" the Bad Guys.
Fred could have a teenage sidekick, Nick 'o Teen
Tobacco Man's nemesis would be the evil Dr. Grabow!
Tobacco Man could call on his trusty friend, Captain Black!
His HQ would be WhiteHall.
The only way to enter the invisible dimension that contains WhiteHall is to puff out a huge cloud of pipe smoke and step thru it, ala Hogwart's Train.

Copyright 2011 VROUK

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