Archive for the ‘Pipe Smoking’ Category.

Basic Zippo Stuff

This started when I was digging around online to see at which point lighter flint circumference became standardized. I obsess over stupid things when I least expect it. Why does every one of these lighters, of every possible configuration, dating back at least to my own 1920’s lighter in my collection, use the thickness flints? I mean, countries can barely co-operate enough to share food, so how did that stupid lighter flint thickness end up being the standard?

Yeah, well, I still haven’t found my answer, but while digging around online, I stumbled across a lot of sites that had weird information about Zippos and similar lighters in general. I gotta throw in my two cents, on some of the most basic points that are bothering me.

gallon jug

I’m pretty sure you can use beer for lighter fluid.

1. I like cheap! I like free even better! But one of the boards I came across were how you could save money buying a gallon of this or that to fuel your Zippo. I have to wonder why the hell you would conceivably buy a gallon of anything just to fill your Zippo? There’s always the zombie apocalypse, but beyond that, geez, if all you want is lighter fluid, friggin’ spend the few extra dollars for something specifically designed for your lighter. You don’t need a gallon.

2. Here’s another thing about a non-butane lighters: it’s fuel is flammable and any ignitable liquids evaporate. Almost all of these types of lighters are NOT airtight. Your Zippo will run out of fluid even if you don’t use it. Those zombies come, you’re f*cked, but until then, just keep a little extra lighter fluid around.

3. Okay, did a Zippo ever stop a bullet? Can it? Not if that’s what you planned on. But I can show you plenty of x-rays of people who survived point-blank gunshots to the face because the bullet didn’t penetrate their skull. C’mon…dumb luck is dumb luck. Better to be lucky than use your ninja skills to throw a Zippo in front of a speeding bullet heading right at you. I was saved in a car wreck by my bowling ball, and I’m not planning on lugging it around for protection from random car wrecks. Also, bowling balls are absolutely useless for lighting a pipe.

bug spray

“Skull means…pirate, right?”



4. Gasoline? Lamp oil? Aftershave? WTF is wrong with you? Go buy some lighter fluid. God, if I could come through an Internet connection and just slap the shit out of some idiots, I would. Nail polish! Who the…why would nail polish even occur to you? Augh! Yeah, you think I’m kidding…here’s an exact quote from a message board. “could i posssably use nailpollish remover or bug spray” I was going to use a link there, but I refuse to talk to someone who’s considering using Raid in their Zippo.

What makes a Zippo special is that sound and the brand-name. And a lifetime repair or replace warranty. But that sound…you could be anywhere at anytime and if someone flips open and uses a Zippo, you’re never going to mistake that sound for anything else. Unless you’ve been filling your lighter with bug spray.

Really, basic sense here. You’re buying a Zippo because you want a Zippo. If you were in dire straights for just a lighter, you’d go and buy a cheapo disposable lighter.

So in summary;

Don’t buying a gallon of raw naphtha at the hardware store because it’s cheaper than. If you’re that broke, you can’t afford anything you’d need to light with that lighter.


Generally, a higher mortality rate than cancer.

Don’t immediately think your new Zippo is defective if it runs out of fluid. Unless you’ve used it to protect yourself from bullets.

Don’t go anywhere that your Zippo is your only protection from bullets. If you plan on using it to stop bullets, you need to rethink your life as a whole.

Don’t use anything but lighter fluid. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. If you’re putting nail polish in your lighter, someone probably had to read this aloud to you.

Now you know why canned peas have more complex instructions than “Heat until hot.”

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Stroke Me

You are WAY too young to remember that, but it was a Billy Squire song from when I was in high school, and dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Anyway, yeesh, I thought I’d blabber more about the TIA I had. That’s a transient ischemic attack. Fancy name for a mini-stroke; a stroke that lasts from anywhere from 5 minutes or less.

I was by myself in a closed post office, and I remember just suddenly getting sleepy out of nowhere, then right behind it getting really, really tired, then next thing I knew, I was on the floor. Just like that. No warning, nothing. Just BAM!

Explosion by cyderak
Tia by JackDSRS

BAM! Not pictured; small, blue,
furry Marvel copyrighted character.


My cell phone slid out of my shirt pocket about three feet in front of me, and I couldn’t move my arms or legs, and it set off my peripheral neuropathy, so my pain receptors were lighting up like Christmas trees, and I thought, mind you, that I wasn’t dying, but, “Shit, this is how I’m going to die. It’s going to friggin’ hurt like hell, I’m not going to be able to move, and I’m going to be staring at my effin’ cell phone just out of my damn reach.”When I could wiggle my fingers, it took my 45 minutes to drag myself to my cell phone, and another 15 minutes to dial 911. Then, I kid you not, an hour for the EMT’s to come from literally from the hospital ACROSS THE STREET. Don’t have a stroke in Auburn, Washington. Just sayin’.

During my lovely three day stay, one of my worries was that I was going to get kicked out of the deviantART Anime-Catgirls group because of non-participation. I also had two projects in the works I had promised I was going to finish, and I couldn’t even hold a cup of water, much less type.


the cat sleeps tonight... by Giorgiacosplay
Totally worth surviving a stroke.


I got back to work after a week, and was hassled about calling in sick, which came as no surprise, so I had my documentation all ready. It’s just the nature of being a grownup and working for a bumbling government bureaucracy.So, got my brain magnetized again. I’m planning on making a portrait of one of my MRI images for my desk just to disturb people. I’m fine. I was lucky. The TIA hit the area already damaged by my existing genetic disease (SCA), so it’s not even noticeable, and I’ve got a disturbing amount of brain cells to spare.


The Madman\'s Brain! by JackDSRS
Despite all of your suspicions, there’s still a brain in there.


We do know that certain parts of the brain control physical functions, but there’s many documented cases of functions being rerouted through other areas of the brain, and of course, individuals adapting and overcoming their disabilities. I think those few of us on dA who are combat military vets know all about “adapt and overcome,” eh?And…there is no truth in terms that one side of the brain controls the type of thinker you are: logical or creative. What can impact you is mental illness. Fighting with my bipolar illness has been more of a struggle than this physical stuff in terms of creativity. I can be unmedicated, extremely and wildly creative, but suicidal; or medicated, stabile, functional, rational and a nice human to be with, but as creative as a brick. That, my friends, is the real fight in terms of maybe something more applicable to art and creativity.

Anyway, back to whatever: Jack. Stroke. Survived. Not fun.

First test comes back. I’m malnourished. What? Okay, so I’ve lost 60 lbs. in about a year and I have no appetite while this stupid disease whittles away at me. Now I have to drink protein drinks for breakfast, eat lunch, which I usually do, and force myself to eat a dinner.

Weight Loss by JackDSRS

Oh, c’mon! Exaggerate much?


Quit smoking my pipe. I said, “Well, you can take that off the table right now.” The doc and my wife started squawking and I said, “One, there’s no empirical evidence that pipe smoking contributes to a stroke, especially compared to cigarette smoking. Two, it decreases stress, which decreases blood pressure. My blood pressure is insanely low. Three, cigarette smokers do not have card carrying clubs with lounges and pins. They huddle in anti-social clusters, shivering in the cold, hoping their bosses don’t see them. Four, pipe smokers have their own international holiday. Five, pipe smokers have competitive slow smoking championships. Six, the three pipe smokers in my family lived into their 90’s.” Hey, I’m already dying from a genetic illness. You are not messing with my pipe.

PipeClubLogoSmall by JackDSRS

Does that say Seattle Cigarette Stinkers?
Clearly it does not.

Not sure why I’m sharing, other than strokes suck, I survived, once you have one you’ll probably have another, and I refuse to die until I make it to Sakuracon, for which I already paid. I refuse to miss girls in cosplay, and hitting my credit limit on manga, anime, figurines, and posters that I have absolutely no room to put up but looked really cool in the booth. I’ll be in a wheelchair this year, so my secret goal is to convince young ladies I’m harmless and innocent, and get them to sit in my lap so a friend can take pictures. Moohahaha…

Leetle Girl by JackDSRS
No, really, sit on my lap. I’m in a wheelchair.
Perfectly harmless…

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Color, Repair, and Verify Meerschaum Pipes

Since nothing is forever, especially websites, and the original post had an illustration that’s already disappeared, I thought I’d better duplicate the post before it disappeared. It’s without permission, however, it is from a long out of print book to begin with.


This section is from the Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.

How To Color a Meerschaum Pipe

  1. Fill the pipe and smoke down about one-third, or to the height to which you wish to color. Leave the remainder of the tobacco in the pipe, and do not empty or disturb it for several weeks, or until the desired color is obtained. When smoking put fresh tobacco on the top and smoke to the same level. A new pipe should never be smoked outdoors in extremely cold weather.
  2. The pipe is boiled in a preparation of wax, 8 parts; olive oil, 2 parts; and nicotine, 1 part, for 10 or 15 minutes. The pipe absorbs this, and a thin coating of wax is held on the surface of the pipe, and made to take a high polish. Under the wax is retained the oil of tobacco, which is absorbed by the pipe; and its hue grows darker in proportion to the tobacco used. A meerschaum pipe at first should be smoked very slowly, and before a second bowlful is lighted the pipe should cool off. This is to keep the wax as far up on the bowl as possible; rapid smoking will overheat, driving the wax off and leaving the pipe dry and raw.

How To Repair Meerschaum Pipes

To cement meerschaum pipes, make a glue of finely powdered and sifted chalk and white of egg. Put a little of this glue on the parts to be repaired and hold them pressed together for a moment.

Note: I’ve used superglue successfully, but it does leave a visible line, and it doesn’t color normally.

How To Verify Genuine Meerschaum

For the purpose of distinguishing imitation meerschaum from the true article, rub with silver. If the silver leaves lead pencil-like marks on the mass, it is not genuine but artificial meerschaum. If no such lines are produced, the article is genuine.

Note: I’m not sure if this will verify whether the pipe is made from carved meerschaum vs. pressed meerschaum dust.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Weekend Science: The Physics Of Smoking A Pipe

Hank Campbell

If you’re one of those cultural mullahs who thinks smoking causes lung cancer – even a cigar or a pipe – you can stop reading. This article is not for you. I have never smoked a cigarette in my life but gradual efforts by the modern temperance movement to ban smoking everywhere(1) should be resisted by anyone claiming they care about independence, tolerance and diversity.(2)

Cigars and pipes are the perfect way to clench your fist in indignant rage at yet another progressive inroad into our personal lives(3). If your significant other is on the fence regarding your new potential pastime(4), I recommend a pipe and an aromatic tobacco – they’re quite nice. But smoking a pipe isn’t as easy as you might think and you will still need the awesome power of science.

If you are like me, and you grew up watching Sherlock Holmes, heck even if you watch “Mad Men” today, you see pipes. Once a minute, someone will thoughtfully take a puff, a cloud of smoke will appear and something intelligent will happen.

I call rubbish on the media. If there is one thing I know, it is that you, being a novice pipe smoker, have zero chance of looking intelligent smoking a pipe. Instead, you will be spending all of your time lighting it. A lot. I am here to help.

If someone is smoking a pipe, they automatically get +30 IQ points. You never see dumb people smoking a pipe. (5). Courtesy:

The pipe itself

A pipe is essentially just what it is called – a pipe. That means the laws of physics trump what you see on television. Fluid dynamics is crucial and because bodies are different, so will the best pipe be but you can narrow down your odds. If you are getting a new pipe or trying out an ‘estate’ pipe you found at your grandfather’s, the simple test is to draw air through it, just like you might when smoking, so take your best guess. Whistling is bad because of our friend Bernoulli. If the airflow is restricted the air is moving faster and you hear that turbulent whistling sound. Restricted airflow means it will be a struggle to smoke and stay lit, the turbulence in this case is the smoke being separated from the air; smoke is essentially heavier moisture particles and it is being pushed to the sides when that happens.

If you are looking at a cheap pipe, try a different pipe, they’re all machine-made to tolerances but you may just have gotten a bad one. If the pipe is an older one, there may just be some build up in it. If your pipe is curved, like my Stanwell, boring is crucial so if you are getting a cheap pipe, keep it straight and there is less chance of getting a bad one.

Here you can see why pipe smokers yell at each other – a lot – over the physics of the draw. If my Stanwell is changing height and diameter (bad drilling or buildup), in a time we call dt the fluid at a will move a distance ds1, while the fluid at c will move a distance ds2. If smoke is incompressible, then conservation of mass plus a change in kinetic energy means turbulence – and to a lot of confusion, since anecdotal evidence is often considered valid in the pipe world. Companies like ANSYS, Inc. regard turbulence as the multi-billion dollar problem they want to solve well. Fluid mechanics diagram: Texas A&M


If airflow is a concern, the obvious question becomes why don’t pipe makers just make a bigger aperture and bore out the stem. There’s an aesthetic and structural concern. People want a pipe to look like a pipe so boring a larger aperture means less structure. A novice smoker will be more likely to bite through the bit and claim the pipe is lousy.

My Stanwell is a briar pipe, but if you want to just try a pipe, get a cheap corn cob variety. Seriously, it is a low cost way to figure out what you like. A Briar pipe is made from the burl of the Erica Arborea tree and it is literally the default in the pipe smoking world. You can’t go wrong if it is decently made. You may even get crazy and try pipes made from different woods, like Rosewood or whatever – due to the many factors that go into taste and the numerous ‘tones’ it has, materials and structure and type all make a difference, just like in music.

Like an iron skillet, you want the pipe to be a little seasoned. If you got an old one, no issue, but if you have a new one you may get inconsistent behavior. The fast route to seasoning your pipe is to ‘cake’ it. Take some honey or scotch, depending on how hardcore you are, mix in some pipe tobacco ash so that it is just like it sounds, a cake, put a pipe cleanere in the stem airway so it doesn’t clog and spread a thickness of about a U.S. dime coin in the heel of the bowl and the bottom half. Let it dry for a day and then smoke a bowlful all the way to the bottom. The heat does the work for you. If you bought an old pipe it may have a substantial cake and you need to ream it out. You can use anything for that, though in modern times pipe aficionados will tell you to buy a tool for 20 bucks.

Do we have an official Science 2.0 pipe? We should, we have stuck our logo on everything from video cameras to wine bottles.

Keeping it lit

Good luck. I will give you advice, just like I could give you advice on starting a site like Science 2.0, but experience will make the difference. Heat, like airflow is a killer. Airflow is a controversy, like I said, because of the aperture. Some say a wider bore will be too hot and the pipe won’t stay lit, others feel it is a better draw. How will a new person know? If you are buying a pipe in a store, they are not selling you something bored at 5/32 inches or larger and if I wanted mine larger, well, look at the thing. It’s curved. Not a trivial matter to re-bore a curved pipe.

If the draw is too little, you will get a sore mouth – you are literally working pretty hard at it, and the same goes if you are puffing all of the time trying to keep it lit.

Intuition says staying lit is a matter of making sure the material is dense so heat transfers easily. Not in this case, though you are right with a cigar and its gigantic draw. The bite and a sore mouth are a sign the pipe is packed too tight.

To get the best chance of having an even draw, fill the bowl up, and press it down lightly. Then fill it again and press it down firmly. Fill it again and press it down with a pretty good use of your finger. It will be below the rim. Use a match and try to light the entire thing evenly at first, charring the tobacco a little, then light it and take 5 or 6 puffs. Don’t puff too often, even if you are worried about it going out. The throat strain is not worth it. Tamp it down here and there and that should help. Some people recommend blowing gently into the stem and then covering the chamber and drawing on it but use with caution until you know what you are doing.

With practice, it will come to you but get used to the idea of re-lighting it a lot at first. If you need a dramatic pause in the conversation before saying something pithy, that is a good time to re-light your pipe. Then you can lean your head back and intone, “You know, it’s all inductance when you get right down to it” and people will nod their heads as if you said something profound – because you are smoking a pipe.


(1) Dal Baffo in Menlo Park, California was one of the best cigar restaurants in the entire country. When California did its back-door banning of smoking in restaurants, not only did it eliminate a thousand businesses that did not have outdoor patios for smokers, it eliminated an elegant pastime and further homogenized California culture into being mainstream, vanilla plastic people. I literally have not been to Morton’s or an expensive steakhouse in California since. It feels wrong to not have a cigar afterward.

(2) Yes, of course smoking is bad for you. Everyone knows this. Continuing to pile on smokers with fundamentalist nonsense is pointless, some people are going to do it. If your next argument is “society will have to pay their medical bills’ then you obviously recognize we should not be paying medical bills either. 10% of smokers get lung cancer and 50% of lung cancer victims never smoked. It is a risk factor, and smoking certainly aggravates it, but medical science finally got called on the carpet after three decades of a supposed ‘war on cancer’ so they have stopped exaggerating.

(3) Not in the house. Divorce will not be all that great for you either.

(4) I also tell young men who ask for advice to not only introduce every flaw, vice and bad habit early on in a relationship, but to throw in a few new ones as placeholders. It has been long established that significant others allow bad habits you showed up with – but not a single new one. Ever.

(5) Curious George, for example. No one ever called him dumb.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

In defense of tobacco

BY DAVID HAMMOND August 23, 2011 11:52AM

Tobacco leaves can lend a smoky flavor to custards and sauces. (AP)

When Europeans arrived in the New World, they found the natives smoking tobacco, an indigenous leaf the Dominican chronicler Bartolome de las Casas said made them “benumbed and almost drunk.”

From the start, however popular it was among some, tobacco was judged by many to be very bad. King James I of England wrote a treatise against it, damning smoking as “a custome lothsome to the eye, hatefull to the Nose, harmefull to the braine, dangerous to the Lungs, and in the blacke stinking fume thereof, neerest resembling the horrible Stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomelesse.”

Tobacco is a member of the nightshade family, whose siblings include potatoes, tomatoes and chili peppers, all of which contain some nicotine.

Even those among us who don’t smoke may confess that the smoldering aroma of good pipe tobacco or a fine cigar can be pleasant. The good news is that tobacco can be enjoyed in ways that don’t involve sucking hot smoke into your lungs.

The culinary possibilities of tobacco have been explored by innovative chefs such as Thomas Keller of California’s French Laundry, who infused coffee-flavored custard with tobacco leaf and served it to fellow chef and TV personality Tony Bourdain.

About two years ago, I ate a dinner at Tru that paired small batch Pappy Van Winkle bourbon with several dishes, including a lobster lightly smoked with tobacco. The beverage and leaf, both sons of the American South, were quite complementary, reflecting the fundamental culinary principle that what grows together, goes together.

The James Beard award-winning Chicago chef Carrie Nahabedian of Naha warns, though, that, “You need finesse when dealing with tobacco and food. It’s a fine line between beauty and nausea, just like using too much lemon balm: one minute beautiful and fresh, too much and it’s like a bar of soap.”

Nahabedian once prepared sweetbreads with a veal reduction infused with high-quality tobacco at the Four Seasons in Los Angeles for an Academy Awards party. She remembers the dish as “haunting in flavor and aroma, with a rich, smoky, earthy, leather-scented finish.”

“Haunting” is a good way to describe the flavor of tobacco, which we do not usually associate with fine dining, except, perhaps, in the form of an after-dinner Cohiba.

Which brings us to chef Rick Gresh of David Burke’s Primehouse in the James Hotel, who has been experimenting with a medium amber ale finished with Blue Note pipe tobacco, a relatively sweet and mild Black Cavendish.

Gresh says he brewed this beer without a lot of hops to achieve “a sweet tobacco finish and that sensation of ‘I just smoked and now I’m drinking a beer.’ “

David Hammond is an Oak Park writer, Chicago Public Radio contributor and founder/moderator of culinary chat site E-mail

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter