More Is Better, Maybe!

More Is Better, Maybe!

Ah, the dog days of summer. Just think of your poor family dog who must endure the heat and humidity in a fur coat.

The Pundit’s beautiful Golden Retriever just plops down on the floor exhausted and sleeps. A lot.

And speaking of heat and humidity, a frightful thought on the global front, it is time to think of good summer tobaccos.

Nothing too heavy, just a light little tap on the shoulder, so to speak.

Maybe a Virginia-burley blend with a touch of Perique. I like the ribbon cuts for summertime smoking when the “livin’ is easy and the fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high,” with thanks to George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess opera.

And, yes, back in the day, Pundit was quite the fly-tying, pipe-smoking, chest-wading, trout-hunting, crazy rod-toting, fly-fisherman.

Corn cob pipes were for smoking when fat, high-flying trout were jumpin.’ Never one of those beautifully designed and lovingly hand-crafted pieces of old wood briar.

No sir. No risks are taken when excited and shouting for joy with a large trout on the other end of the fly line.

Only to note in the splashy chaos the magnificent briar leaped from mouth to the fast-moving stream and sped off downstream.

But now back to dog days and pipe tobacco. Virginia-burley flakes are also a fav in the blistering days of summer.

And let’s not bypass our light English blends. Or the noticeably light aromatics. Nothing drenched in dressing. A wee dram of topping will do.

A few of the heavier Virginia-Burley blends, say from Cornell & Diehl, require patient puffing. Nothing rolling down the tracks at full steam sort of thing. Slow and easy with some of the heavier VaBurs.

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Especially if you are a nicotine wimp like the Pundit. A moderate nic hit is fine. But I have occasionally gone so far over the dark nic abyss with strong tobaccos loaded with nicotine so as to experience the onset of that most disconcerting sensation of falling, spiraling into the dark unknown, with cold sweats, hazy thinking, and hallucinations.

“Quoth the Raven ‘Nevermore.’

Poe’s “The Raven!” would then be the exquisitely apt verbal utterance we squeak out involuntarily when suffering the turbid depths of that awful green gills feeling.

Okay, light up the Virginias with perhaps a little touch of perique and a dab of burley. Slow and easy on puffing, like hot evenings in the South.

This next thought from the Pundit might be too much of an existential question, but here goes.

Is it possible to own too many pipes? Have you successfully reached the end of pipe collecting and stuffing the cellar with more tobacco than you will ever consume?

And do you then find this quiet realization quickly subsumed by a sudden and viral case of PAD, compelling one to add even more to the seemingly ever-expanding herd?

Which then sends PAD sub-variants of TAD into whirls of ignition. Thus adding more pipes and tobacco to a sagging pipe shelf and a bloated tobacco cellar.

How does one curtail the lifelong pleasure of collecting beautiful handmade pipes and artfully created tobacco blends?

Cull and sell much of the overgrown collection, did I hear someone say!

Nay, nay, replies Pundit. This is just not going to happen on Pundit’s watch.

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So, what to do?

That’s a reasonable question. With perplexing problems that arise in every life, I fill a briar bowl with an aged blend of Virginia and puff away until a light goes on somewhere within the deep folds of the mind.

No lights yet, but I’m working on it. Maybe a museum! Mayhaps my daughters will decide to keep them instead of tossing them (oh, the horror, the horror!).

All suggestions toward a possible solution to this nagging problem will be greatly appreciated.

No need to mention sales talk. It won’t compute.

And now for a notable major cigar smoker and pipe personality from the past—Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

And commander of the “Birds” and other scary movies such as “Psycho,” both of which should not be viewed alone in the dark.

Sir Alfred was born in Leytonstone, England, near London, on Aug. 13, 1899, and died in Los Angeles, Calif., on April 29, 1980.

His legendary films collected 46 Academy Award nominations, including six wins, although he never achieved the award for Best Director despite five nominations.

But he did earn two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!

He was once referred to as a “young man with a mastermind.”

And Sir Alfred was indeed the master of melodrama, suspense, and thrillers. Just the memory of “Psycho” gives Pundit the heebie-jeebies after all these years.

A quote or two from the master of suspense:

There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it

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A glimpse into the world proves that horror is nothing other than reality.

And yes, boys and girls, Sir Alfred did indeed smoke pipes, despite his fearsome film noir.

No less authority than guru tobacco reviewer Jiminks says the wizard of the thriller smoked Dunhill pipe blends.

Amen to that.

And one more notable consummate pipe smoker, former President Gerald R. Ford, who served our great nation from August 1974 to January 1977.

The 38th President stepped up his vice presidential duties and guided the nation through its “long nightmare,” after Watergate took down his predecessor, President Richard M. Nixon.

Again, Jiminks, says Ford reportedly smoked Field & Stream, Walnut, and also noted in a book publication he also puffed Edgeworth Ready Rubbed.

The Pundit leaves you with one of his gems of thought: Pipe smokers are the mind workers of the world, an oft-repeated pipe proverb by the Pundit.

We are an eclectic group that enjoys each other’s company and conversation. Those qualities seem to be in scarcity today.

We need more pipe smokers, Quoth the Pundit.

L-R: Missouri Meerschaum Southport Ferryman from Cornell & Diehl to honor the company’s Carolina history; Northern Briars Countryman, group five, handmade by Ian Walker in his Northern England shop. (Photo: Fred Brown)
L-R: Missouri Meerschaum Southport Ferryman from Cornell & Diehl to honor the company’s Carolina history; Northern Briars Countryman, group five, handmade by Ian Walker in his Northern England shop. (Photo: Fred Brown)

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