May 2006

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006 - 7:00 PM
Meet early at Applebees in Stoughton 6:00 PM

Club Info & Events

Details of the April Meeting
We had a treat at the April meeting by having New England pipe maker Kurt Huhn (pronounced Hune) pay our club a visit. Kurt is a very down to earth guy and blended into the group like he's been a member for years. But when you think about we're all really part of the same club anyway aren't we? Kurt brought some of his pipes for us to paw over which we did. He does some really nice work. After getting the formal part of our monthly meeting out of the way Kurt told us a little bit about himself and how he got into the business. Originally wanting to craft knives he soon found out that his tools and skill was better suited to making pipes. Being a pipe smoker himself everything seem to work out nicely. Before long he was making pipes for other people and the rest is history. Kurt's been making pipes now for almost two years. After his presentation he fielded many questions from our members and found there was quite a bit of interest in his briar calabash model with the removable briar bowl. Kurt said it took some time to perfect this shape but the final product has been well received.
The subject of brand vs. briar came up and although Kurt has his own theory on that, there's not enough space (or time) to get into it here. But he did mention that good briar is very important.
I'd like to thank Kurt for taking the time out of his busy schedule to stop by and pay us a visit. You're welcome anytime. If you'd like to see more of Kurt's work be sure to check out his website.

What's in store for the May meeting?
We have a busy schedule planned for the May meeting. Starting with the First Annual SHPC Swap & Sell of the Sherlock Holmes Pipe Club. If you you have any unwanted pipes, tobacco, accessories and tobaccania that you would like to sell or trade with fellow members now's the time. This is an excellent opportunity for those of you who have been considering coming to your first meeting to finally make it a reality. For that matter it would be a great time to see some or you we haven't seen in a while (ahem... Editor, Decoy, Andy, Jay, Paul, and Suit...). If all goes well, hopefully we can make this a yearly event! Hope to see you there.

MacBaren Tobacco Sampling - At the May Meeting
As mentioned last month, SHPC has agreed to help MacBaren review some of their new tobaccos. Along with two of their new blends, Solent Mixture and the "Cube", they've sent us a box full of free gifts for helping them out. There's plenty to go around so come on by and help us out. Just another great reason to be part of the best pipe club on the Eastern seaboard.

Castello Trunk Show at Peretti's - Just a few days away....
On Saturday, April 29th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Marco Parascenzo, the distributor for Costello Pipes will be having a Trunk Sale at Peretti's. Marco will be bringing many Castello's, including rare and difficult to obtain pieces. Whether you're a Castello collector or are contemplating your first Castello, you won't want to miss this!
A Sherlock Holmes Pipe Club Adventure

The Adventure of the Brookline Tobacconist
When you were a kid did you ever get a chance to play with one of those scrambled picture puzzles? You know the ones I mean, it had a scrambled picture broken into squares with one empty space that allowed you to move the picture pieces around one square at a time until you were able to put the picture back into its proper order. The one I had featured the gang from Popey (another famed pipe smoker I might add). Well, visiting Brookline News reminds me a lot of being in one of those picture puzzles. This place is packed floor to ceiling with just about every kind of novelty item (past and present) you can think of, magazines, greeting cards, games, lottery items, cigars and more importantly, lots of pipes and tobacco. Magazine racks, display cases, turnstile stands and shelves filled with merchandise take up about 90% of the shops retail space. It is so packed with goods that if more than a few people are in the shop at one time you may have to move to the empty square of floor space just so that someone else can get by. But its so amazing to walk in there for the first time that you almost can't believe it. To help avoid this confusion, Mike the proprietor of Brookline News agreed to open up the shop for us exclusively for a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon. This was great, now we wouldn't have to dodge customers while trying to concentrate on the pipes. However, the idea was so popular with the club members that 10 of us decided to go... so much for beating the crowd.

I met Joe in Weymouth and relied on his navigational skills to get us to Brookline. Joe had been to Brookline News once before while in the area running errands but has had an itch to get back ever since. After a quick lunch we walked a few doors up Harvard St. to where the shop was. I cupped my eyes with my hand and pressed them to the door peering through the only space on the glass that wasn't covered by some type of sticker, decal or flyer and knocked quietly.


Pipes & Tobacco News & Info

Broken Pipe
Fair Winds to you brother Jack
Lawrence Kobak also known as Sailorman Jack left this world on April 20th in a Columbus Ohio hospital. Jack had been quite ill for the last few years which was seriously perpetuated by the death of his brother. Jack was a fixture at New York pipe shows where he was lovingly considered the Master of Ceremonies. His voice would boom "Attention! Attention!" before he would read off the numbers on a raffle prize ticket or make an announcement. Although Jack was considered a lovable eccentric he was also an extremely knowledgeable pipe historian and knew more than most about pipes, especially old Dunhills. He was also a loyal member of the Internet pipes group alt.smokers.pipes where his "Morning Watch Posts" were eagerly awaited by all each day. A couple of years ago Jack left his beloved New York city to take a job at the famous Smoker's Haven in Columbus. He was incredibly proud to be a tobacconist and Jack's friends thank owner Premal Chheda for giving him that opportunity.
Fair winds to you brother Jack.... D.J. Perry

NH Defeats Smoking Ban
April 6 , 2006
"Of 14 senators who spoke-out of a total of 23 present-I heard only the last two, both of whom were eloquent. One attacked the junk science and the politics of the nanny state while the other stood for individual freedom and responsibility. It was refreshing to hear legislators brave enough to speak their minds and also not to hear ban opposition based only on its effect on business. When the vote came after two hours we had prevailed 12 to 11."  [Read more]

Other News & Information for smokers:

Websites Worth A Look
Sherlocktron's Holmepage
A veritable cornucopia of Sherlock Holmes links and information. [Take a look]

Henry Zecher
The website of a true Sherlock Holmes enthusiast. Lots of info. [Check it out]

This Month's Tobacco Raffle
For this month's tobacco raffle we have two blends from McLelland's Blakeney's Best Series.

Latakia Flake.
Latakia Flake is a distinctive full English mixture, rich with smoky Cyprian Latakia and fragrant with exotic Xanthi Yaka. Toasted for smoothness, then pressed in cakes to age and marry the flavors. Result: exceptionally smooth, cool-smoking, full flavored little Levantine flakes ready to rub out.

Bayou Slice
Bayou Slice is sophisticated small slices of the smoothest Louisiana Perique aged in cakes to mellow with sweet, zesty Matured Virginia. Rich and satisfying, with Perique's uniquely mysterious and compelling aroma, enhanced by Blakeney's exclusive toasting process.

I couldn't help but think that this is what life might be like in the future, secret meetings and special knocks just to sit around and smoke with friends. A very sad thought indeed. Once inside we were instantly overwhelmed. There was so much stuff to look at you didn't know where to look first. You'd find yourself looking every which way until your eyes finally set on those familiar carved wooden objects and at last your gaze could steady. Like overgrown brush can shroud a woodland walkway, years and years of increasing inventory has shrouded the many pipe displays and cases at Brookline News. The counters are piled high with cases filled with lighters, trinkets and other items, sometimes things were stacked so high that you couldn't even see Mike standing on the other side of the counter.
Behind the counter filling the back wall were seven foot tall cases filled with a variety of pipe brands. Some may even have been there anywhere from 5-10 years. Just inside the front door to your right was a glass case under the counter, it also was filled with pipes including a half a dozen each of Peterson's, Stanwell's and even some Tinsky's. Another, smaller case sits on top of this case with even more pipes. My quest this day was to find a couple of Stanwells which have always proven to be an enjoyable and reliable smoke for me. I also wanted to pick up a few tins of Boston Harbor tobacco, a Virginia mixture blended specifically for Brookline News (and a very tasty blend at that). A few steps further down the narrow path towards the back of the store was the rest of our clan pawing over a pipe filled table supplied by RD Field, a nice collection of Estate Pipes and a dozen Dunhills that Mike had arranged for our visit. We all participated in the picture puzzle game jockeying for position in front of another section of the table. Our President-retired Don Powers and Paul Dunn who we haven't seen for quite some time were also able to be here along with the other usual suspects, Dock, Tim, Rick, Ted & Sid. And our old friend Jon "Gadget" Cohen even turned up around 2:30.

After looking over all the pipes again and again we were able to stop and take in everything else around us (sort of). We were surrounded by racks, displays and more racks of novelties like you've never seen (or haven't seen in quite a while). Like Nunzilla, a toy that looks like a Nun and breathes fiery sparks as she walks. How about a huge Gummy Heart, this could be just the right gag gift for that special someone getting ready to undergo heart surgery (just in case things don't work out). And we can't forget the "Whoopee Pen" toy that not only writes like a pen but it also makes life like farting noises when pulled (which just happened to be a favorite of Sids ... no surprise there). It's just like I said, they have something for everyone.

I had also heard that the store room below the shop looked very similar to the shop itself.... filled wall to wall with games, toys and other inventory. Well I got a chance to see it for myself and the stories were true. Dock and I ventured down the dark stairway to the dimly lit supply room. Around the perimeter of the supply room boxes and boxes went from floor to ceiling and down the center too. I would hate to have to be the one to do the inventory for this place.... that is unless they gave me a few choice selections from the pipe stock.

So a couple of blissful hours passed before the excitement began to wind down and our numbers began to dwindle. We took one last look around to make sure there wasn't anything we missed (but I bet there was). As we paid for our purchases we were all pleased to receive a nice discount that Mike was offering for this occasion. So you see... it pays to be a member of the Sherlock Holmes Pipe more ways than one. If you happened to be one of the ones who wanted to come but couldn't make it, you may be in luck as we hope to make this a yearly event. But until then, if you're ever in the Coolidge Corner area be sure to stop in and say hello to Mike, he'll be the one you can't see behind the counter.

View More Photos from Brookline News

(Sorry... but the puzzle above will only work properly in Internet Explorer)

Occasionally I'm looking for a news item to help fill out this newsletter. So if you have some interesting
pipe, tobacco or smoking related news, or would like to share your knowledge on a particular
pipes and tobacco related subject, please send it along and maybe I'll use it. (Preferably by e-mail).

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