Archive for the 'Tobacciana' Category

06
Aug
08

More Photo Fun

Still learning the ins and outs of my camera and how the lights do different things. Placement, diffusion, aperature, shutter speed, ISO… It’s bewildering, but fun. This is an interesting pipe that was made by my good friend and gifted artisan Rolando Negoita. I was trying to use the shadows to accentuate the scalloped effect of the shank shaping. It worked, but i’m not thrilled with the light reflections. The grain did come out rather nicely on the bowl.

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20
May
08

A Confluence of Aroma

“You smell that? Do you smell that? Napalm, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” Wav file.

Mmmm… Latakia.

So I was watching Apocalypse Now last night on the new TV thing. I was going for the full on effect. I finally was able to display the movie in a widescreen format that was big enough to view with comfort, I had the surround sound thing engaged (sub-woofers on stun…), the comfy chair centered, a double Caol Ila poured, a pipe stoked and ready, and the rest of the family banished to other parts of the house while Daddy watched his “war movie”. The pipe was by Jody Davis and the tobacco was something that would only invite jealousy, so I’ll not paint with that much detail.

So, I’m settled in and it sounds like the helicopters are buzzing me and I can hear rocket fire and small arms going off, and I’m sipping and puffing. There’s a thin blue haze that you can see through the light thrown off by the TV in the darkened room. Lt. Colonel Kilgore is squatting on the beach in Vietnam, chaos surrounding him. His cavalry stetson is pristine and perfect and he is establishing his love for the smell of burnt gasoline. At that point, my fragrant pipe sours just a bit. The Latakia and Virginias that have been marrying for several decades turn sour and I could have sworn that *I* smelled and tasted gasoline. In a flash, it was over. HD is really good…

08
May
08

Freedom of Association

According to Wikipedia, freedom of association is a human right and concept in constitutional law based on the premise that it is the right of adults to freely choose their associates for whatever purpose they see fit. This concept has been included in several national constitutions and other human rights instruments, including the United States Constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights, and Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Apparently, that is no longer the case if you retain least favored minority status. At least in the state of Illinois. But as more and more states pass nanny-ish laws that regulate behavior, and do so based upon faulty science and thinly veiled agendas, our rights as humans in the US, and elsewhere, will slowly erode.

Suppose you are a member of a hobby association. You form a group with similar interests and the passion that this group swells. The group decides to get together for regular meetings… and then a big convention. The convention grows to the point where it is truly international in scope: 60+ countries send participants to the annual soirée. In order to maintain privacy, intimacy, and especially, the ability to shield the group from folks who don’t want to be exposed to it or impacted by it, the group rents out space for the private event, asks for volunteers to staff the event, makes it a members’ only event, etc., etc. etc.. Now, if you are not a member of the group, have no desire to be with the group, and everyone there actually wants to be there, why on Earth would their be a problem? Religions aren’t pestered, as such. But woe be unto you if you are a smoker.

The Chicago Pipe Club is in a pickle. For one solid year, they have been working to be in compliance with the new Illinois state-wide smoking ban in public spaces. They rented out an entire exhibition center for the event and made it private. You had to want to be around smoke (pipe smoke!) to get in. They also rented a large (4000 square feet!) tent, stocked it with food and drink and air conditioning, so that folks could go and smoke together. The resort that leased the area complied with the law and reduced the number of smoking rooms to a tiny percentage. There was no smoking allowed, as per the law, in the public spaces. No smoking in the restaurant, the bars, the lobbies, the hallways, etc. All the folks that helped out with logistics of the fraternity were volunteers. Everyone wanted to be there. Everyone. But that wasn’t good enough for the DuPage County Health Department and the Illinois State Health Department.

Remember how I mentioned that the Illinois ban is a public smoking ban? Even a private club function falls under this purview, at least according to a few activist groups. Because those groups believed that there would be dangerous substances lingering in the convention spaces long after the club meeting was over, they mounted a campaign of agitation that was aimed at local and state government. And in the end a group of folks that would never have attended the meeting were able to get the Health Departments to enjoin smoking at the meeting exhibition area. The club had worked with officials at all levels to comply with the law, but the Health Departments threw their curve ball late on Friday afternoon. After folks had spent their money, flown around the world to be in DuPage county, to be with people they had chosen to be with, to do what they had chosen to do, with other folks who wanted to be there. The Health Departments left no time for a solution to be worked through.

Now, forget for a moment that the effects of second are still in dispute. The relationships between cause and effect are not statistically valid. And even if they are shown to have some correlation, there has been no causal link definitively exposed. But it makes no difference because smokers are simply a hated minority. If the nanny state was so concerned about public health and welfare, everything that was suspect would be condemned with equal vigor. Your cars and trucks would be banned, coal plants would be gone, no fertilizer for your yard, no perfume or cologne, no airplane travel… You get the idea? It’s because tobacco use, though through taxation providing a significant revenue source for government, brands the user as a hated minority worthy of special discrimination. It’s okay to attack a smoker because we like our cars and SUVs, our green lawns and our medium-rare fillet mignon’s (rubbed with olive oil and brown sugar)… we don’t like smokers. For example, look at health care costs.

A look at actuarial and usage tables would show that, statistically, single moms use more health care services than any other identifiable grouping of health-cape insurance users. Everyone is trying to contain health care costs, but it is patently illegal for an employer to discriminate against that single mom by citing increased costs to supply coverage. But it is perfectly legal to do that to a smoker. By specific legislation, employers can deny a job to a smoker, even one who smokes exclusively on their own time, and use increased costs of providing health care as the deciding factor. Sauce for the goose and all…

At some point, more groups will garner this least favored status. And one by one our freedoms will erode. Until their is a tipping point. Then the governed will realize that the governors are not governing… they are ruling.

06
Apr
08

Abuse of Law and Smoke

This is a picture of Jonathan P. Selber. He’s a Harvard educated lawyer that resides in New York City and is billed as a super lawyer. He’s also a self-righteous bully who abuses the legal system (my opinion) in order to get his way. And what is his way? Bludgeoning other tenants in his apartment building that smoke. He claims that the slight whiff of smoke that is noticeable in the common areas of his building is an affront. Because he is a “super lawyer”, he has notified the smoker in question that he intends to sue her into submission. ABC’s John Stossel presents the story of abuse and indigination. In Selber’s letter to the smoker he states “We are both lawyers, and both litigators, for whom the usual barriers to litigation are minimal.” He was referring to his wife as part of the we. What a tool.

14
Mar
08

Smokers Unite!

The prime minister of Lithuania obviosly don’t give a crap about no smoking regulations. Gediminas Kirkilas fired up his pipe in the bar of the Klaipeda hotel. The hotel has been slapped with a fine. Kirkilas said he would pay the fine on behalf of the bar. Right the f*ck arm!

17
Feb
08

Licensed To Smoke?

Think smokers have it bad right now? Sure, in many places they are taxed to the Nth degree, huddled into tiny little corners, and told that it’s just the government trying to protect them form themselves. Or worse yet, trying to protect others from some undocumented impact to non-smokers or users. And, of course, all that tax money rarely goes to any substantive health program. I mean, if everyone quit, the funding would disappear and we cannot have that. Time for the next crock of shit scheme.

The UK has a new plan cooked up by Health England. Smokers could be forced to pay £10 for a permit to buy tobacco if a government health advisory body gets its way. Professor Le Grand, a former adviser to ex-PM Tony Blair, said cash raised by the proposed scheme would go to the NHS. He said it was the inconvenience of getting a permit – as much as the cost – that would deter people from persisting with the smoking habit. “You’ve got to get a form, a complex form – the government’s good at complex forms; you have got to get a photograph. “It’s a little bit of a problem to actually do it, so you have got to make a conscious decision every year to opt in to being a smoker.”

I’m kind of curious as to how he vets the statement that “70% of smokers actually want to stop smoking”?

28
Dec
07

No Smoking C’est la Vie…

Another smoking ban ratchets up. No more smoking anywhere that is closed or covered in France (with a few exceptions). French cafe’ society is sure to take a hit. Yes, folks should have the right to go to places that are smoke free. But merchants should also be allowed to cater to clientele that wants to smoke. And if somebody doesn’t want to work in a place that smells of smoke… don’t work there.