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From: ????????????????????????
Subject: Pipes Digest #112 - September 24, 1993

		Pipes Digest #112 - September 24, 1993

Welcome to new members:

	Peter Jonsson 		(???????????????)
	Rob Kruss		(?????????????????????????)
	David D. Urbanski	(???????????????????????????)

And this brings to 101 members -- another watershed for the Pipes
Mailgroup! We broke a hundred!

We also have a really good issue this time, starting with the
illimitable Bill Thacker... Light up and read on!

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From: ?????????????????
Subject: The History of Briar

Norm asks the eternal question:

> Where the hell is Bill anyway...

> I've been wondering if he knows how the discovery
> of Briar came about,  and who first introduced this material to the
> world.

I'll defer the latter question to philosphers and the clergy.  But oddly
enough, I've just finished researching the question of the discovery of

Traditional has it that briar pipes were introduced in the early 1800's by
one of Napoleon's officers.  At the time clay pipes were the norm (er, no 
relation), but apparently this chap took a nasty spill from his horse and
his pipe bravely threw itself between him and the ground, cushioning his 
fall but with tragic consequences.  

As no gentleman of the day would be caught without a pipe, the officer
began searching for a replacement in nearby villages.  He happened upon a
woodcarver who offered to construct a pipe from a particularly hard and
durable wood he knew of.  The officer, in desperation, consented, and soon
realized the superiority of his new pipe over clay; the briar pipe was 

Well, that's certainly romantic, and perhaps even true, yet this Frenchman
can hardly be credited with the discovery of the briar pipe.  At best, he
deserves recognition for reintroducing this bastion of smokingdom to

Nor do I put any stock in Greek legend.  Their mythology has is that Athena
(goddess of wisdom and battle) and Poseidon (god of the sea) had a contest
to gain the loyalty of the city of Athens. Poseidon created the horse; 
Athena responded with the briar tree; and the citizens of Athens chose 
Athena's gift as the more useful and took her as their patron goddess.  
Poseidon was naturally jealous, and to this day no pipe will remain lit 
underwater.  While this myth serves to explain the abundance of briar in 
the Mediterranean region, the complete absence of pipes in Greek lore 
reveals that something is amiss in this account.  

The truth lies shrouded in the mists of history.  The Calumets (or "peace
pipes") used by the native Americans,for instance,show evidence of common
lineage to the ceremonial pipes used by the natives of Kamchatka and 
Irkutsk,indicating that smoking and wooden pipes must have migrated to 
North America before the loss of the Siberia-Alaska land bridge.  It 
appears that these Siberian pipes were themselves crude copies of the 
ornate ceramic pipes enjoyed by the Chinese rulers in the Forbidden City 
during the Han dynasty.  Similar degenerate pipes are found in the ruins of
ancient civilizations throughout Asia.

At this point the evidence becomes sparse, but it seems clear that
pipes, like so many other things, were introduced to Europe by the Mongol
tribes.  These horse nomads traveled from Asia throughout eastern Europe,
bringing with them exotic customs, goods, and diseases.

The Mongols, of course, had no artisans who could work with ceramics, and
were forced to improvise pipes from the materials they had on hand.
Fragmented accounts indicate that early experiments with dung pipes were
failures (these same accounts, incidentally, provide us with evidence of
both ritual gift-giving to the Khan and detailed descriptions of capital 
punishment under Mongol law).  

Eventually, the mongols found in their travels a suitable material.  The 
discovery came during their westward migration/invasion. Genghis Khan, then
chieftain of all the tribes, had broken his last ceramic pipe (looted from
China) and was inconsolable.  His advisors, fearing the wrath of Khan, sent
scouts in all directions to find a replacement.  Two of the scouts, 
brothers named St'yek and St'yon, were sent into the high passes of the 
Ural Mountains. It being the dead of winter, simply surviving these frigid
heights was a severe test, and a quest such as this was practically a 
suicide mission.    

The full details of their ordeal have not survived in the oral tradition of
the mongols' descendants.  We do know that during their first night above
5,000 feet, their rations froze solid; it was so cold, in fact, that they
couldn't make a spark from their flint fly far enough to light a fire with
which to cook or even thaw their food.  St'yon, we learn, soon died of 
exposure and malnutrition; but St'yek, a more resourceful man, found that
his horse was so numb from the cold that he could carve a chunk of raw meat
from its flank without causing so much as a flinch, and thus he gained 
nourishment to continue his search.  

(I know this is starting to get pretty boring; stick with me, we're almost
there. 8-)

Three weeks later, St'yek's horse bore him back to the tribesmen.  He was
near death; his hands and feet were completely frostbitten, his skin was 
blue, his hair a mass of solid ice.  (His horse, needless to say, wasn't
in particularly good shape itself. )  But in a pouch on his belt was found
a small block of an unusual wood; tight-grained, dense, and strong, the 
pipe-making material the Khan's advisors had sought.  Asked the name of 
this fabulous wood, the shivering St'yek would only respond, "Brrrr.Br'rrr."  

The best woodcarvers were called, and a pipe was fashioned.  The Great Khan
was well pleased!  He described his wooden pipe as, "more pleasurable than
driving your enemies before you, seeing their severed heads lying at your
feet, and hearing the lamentations of their women.  " High praise,indeed.
He ordered that more of this Br'r wood be found, and naturally the lesser
khans soon demanded Br'r pipes of their own.  St'yek had by this time 
recovered consciousness and was able to describe in detail the location of
this vital wood.  Other riders were sent, bringing back supplies of Br'r 
wood and young seedlings, which the mongols took with them and planted at
intervals along their way.  (Nearly two thousand years later this would 
serve as the inspiration for a young Jonathan Wilson, better known as 
"Johnny Appleseed."  ) And of course, the years have transmogrified the 
word "Br'r" into Briar. 

The importance of St'yek's discovery cannot be overstated.  St'yek, as a 
result of his frostbite, lost both hands and both feet.  A man in this 
condition, unable to ride a horse, would normally be abandoned by the 
mongol tribesmen.  But Genghis was so thankful for the young man's 
discovery that he granted him the lands of the south Ukraine and Crimea for
the perpetual use of his family, and gave him the the honorary title, 
"Tartar", meaning "Wood Finder".   Though his contribution to smoking is
nearly forgotten today, the gourmets of the world are more grateful;
St'yek Tartar's name is celebrated on restaurant menus world-wide in honor
of his culinary innovation.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Bill Thacker             AT&T Network Systems       attmail!att!cbemf!wbt
(614) 860-5294  	 Columbus, Ohio              ?????????????????
          "Giving money and power to government is like giving 
	 whiskey and car keys to teenage boys." - P.J. O'Rourke

[ Thus earning an editorial moan! -S. ]

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From: Allan Janus <????????????????????>
Subject:      Homebrew

I've been reading Homebrew Digest for a couple of months now, and it seems
pretty flame-free now.  I agree, however, that when the flame is in, reason
goes out.  But an ember or two from time to time can warm upa dry discourse.

Allan Janus

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From: ?????????????????
Subject: re: Pipes Digest #111 - September 17, 1993

Just a note on the discussion of vintage cigars...Macanudo makes
a range of Vintage Cabinet Selection cigars.  Two years ago I smoked
a box of five vintage 1988.  I'd say that the price--$5 a
cigar--is justified; they are considerably better than your
average 2 or 3 dollar cigar.  But the price is still prohibitive
for me most of the time.

I think aging may have something to do with the quality, but the
main thing is the vintage year.  The box says that in 1988 Macanudo 
acquired an especially good crop of cigar tobacco. 

I'd recommend trying one of them, if you've got 5 bucks you don't
especially need.

Steve Houser

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From: ????????????????????????????
Subject: Me

Thank you for such a speedy response.  As it happens, I am a Graduate student
at Marquette University, and I have been smoking pipes for about four years
now.  A friend of mine and I decided that because we were studying Philosophy,
it was imperative that we begin smoking pipes.  I have come to see that this
was a wise decision.
	Here in Milwaukee there are two tobacco stores that I enjoy going to:
	1)Uhle's - famous in Milwaukee, for pipes and tobacco.  The tobacco
they sell tends to be dry.
	2)Edward's - up and coming.  The blending they do here is unmatched in
Milwaukee, as far as I know.  Their tobacco tends to be sweeter.  They have an
outstanding variety.
David D. Urbanski

[ Welcome aboard, David! And I agree with you and your friend. -S. ]

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[ And, just in case you were wondering about the tobacco newsgroup,
here's a short note from Andrew, plus a smoke report. -S. ]

From: Andrew Lewis Tepper <[email protected]>
Subject: Consensus Results

The winner is: rec.tobacco

Here's how the votes came in:

	                        1st	2nd	3rd
rec.conoisseur.tobacco   	2	  4	  0
rec.tobacco.X             	0  	  2  	  0
rec.fine-tobacco         	0  	  1	  5
rec.tobacco	              	5  	  0	  1
rec.matchstrikers        	1	  0  	  0
rec.conoisseur.X	        1	  0  	  0

...Where X is an initial split of cigar/pipe subgroups. In nearly all
weightings, rec.tobacco won. Rec.conoisseur.tobacco comes in second.
(Since you were about to start calculating: a weighting of 6/5/1 gives
rec.conoisseur.tobacco the edge.)
    As was always the case, the group will be moderated. We still need a
site that can do the moderating. (Steve, Colin and I will moderate.) I
assume that this will work by setting up a common account that the three
of us have access to, and allowing us to telnet to a machine with that
account. I understand that moderating software is available. If anyone
on the list is able to set up such an account, let me know. It should be
on a site that will be around for a while.


P.S.: We haven't actually discussed our favorite topic in a while, and
I'd like to give a smoke report: Yesterday I had a perfectly humidified
La Gloria Cubana Soberano. It was almost a cross between a Hoyo de
Monterray Excalibur, and some of the cuban cigars I've had: considerably
more harsh that the Hoyo, but even richer, more complex flavors. This is
the second time I've tried a La Gloria Cubana, and each time I was
impressed. I've been told that the cuban cigars that I've had (and that
I considered _very_ full bodied) are actually mild by cuban standards.
I'm still waiting to try a large, blockbuster cuban smoke.

[ Let us know when you do, Andrew! -S. ]

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 )				       *   *				  )
( Pipe smokers will rule the world!      *   ??????????????????????	 (
 ) (if they don't run out of matches...) *   Steve Masticola, moderator	  )
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Article Index

  1. Subject: Pipes Digest #112 - September 24, 1993
  2. Subject: The History of Briar
  3. Subject: Homebrew
  4. Subject: re: Pipes Digest #111 - September 17, 1993
  5. Subject: Me
  6. Subject: Consensus Results
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