Piping Up - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Piping Up

Re: Lawrence Henry’s Pipe Dreams:

A friend forwarded the article “Pipe Dreams,” by Lawrence Henry, to me. We are both pipe smokers, and members of an un-elite group of same types (pipe smokers), a sub-set of the few in the world, and therefore have similar life experiences!

We, like a few of the pipe smokers in the USA (land of pipe-smoking, etc. freedom) are members of pipe-smoker “clubs.” Ours is the Conclave Of Richmond Pipe Smokers (CORPS). Our website is: www.cornpipesmokers.org (we are also in the 21st century!). I invite you to take a look (and, come to our “Pipe Smoker’s Celebration & Exposition” in October!

In case Mr. Henry hasn’t Googled pipe smoking, I am happy to report that there is even a pipe smokers magazine “Pipes & Tobaccos Magazine”! I will forward Mr. Henry’s article to its Editor, Chuck Stanion. Perhaps P&T would be interested in interviewing Mr. Henry!

I’m not familiar with The American Spectator, but now will be. We pipe smokers do understand and appreciate certain values…
Linwood Hines
Chesterfield, Virginia

I’d like to tell Mr. Henry that I participate in his pipe smoking anachronism (although my 50 pipes beat him by a touch) and truly appreciate his article. He should know that we are not alone (look at our fellows on the pipes.org website). It is a small fellowship, subject to the edicts of the ever-expanding nanny state, even in Virginia, but still alive and well. My prayers for his health.
Spike Herbert
Kingstowne, Virginia

Ohmygosh, there are at least two of us!

In smoking my pipe, I had come to think of myself as quite unique. I had heard that there were others but never actually saw any. Oh I would catch an occasional momentary glimpse of what looked like a pipe clenched in the teeth of an ancient driver some days while driving but did I really see it?

Anachronism is way down the list of things that I hear, with polluter, health hazard, old geezer, jerk and “get out of my air” easily passing it out. Also like most other smokers, I have been banished from the more civilized areas where good folks congregate, like my own living room. Even my sainted wife has fallen victim to the bleatings of those concerned with everyone else’s health, So in spite I head for my unheated garage and generate huge clouds of smoke in a silent but fragrant protest.

I know I should offer penance for all the innocent non pipe smokers that I have dispatched to a hopefully smoke free heaven, but sinner that I am, when I light up (multiple times and by the way, wasn’t the Bic lighter a great invention?) to ponder the moral question, I just figure that I’ll do it tomorrow.

I’m afraid that I’m about to lose the wonderful blend that I’ve been smoking for over 30 years. The Calabashe Shoppe where I faithfully picked up my monthly allotment of “Thornton” has been sold and being is converted to a cigar shop. The nice lady proprietor has graciously decided to keep supplying her old pipe clientele from her home, but for how long. It seems that our days are numbered. Maybe it’s time for another fragrant protest.

I wonder if Condy Rice has ever tried giving the Israelis and Palestinians a few nice briar pipes, with a fragrant pouch of Thornton before starting negotiations? I’ll have to think about that. Now where’s my pipe?

Nice article! But be prepared for backlash. It was an oasis of thoughtfulness in the desert of today’s PC society.

I’m tired of all the “anti” propaganda and publicity in the media these days. Whether smoking is good or bad, who the heck are you to be telling me, or anyone else for that matter, what they can or cannot do? Unfortunately politicians ears are easily bent by whineorities — the people who have nothing better to do than complain about something that upsets them. While most people are laid back and easy going, the little old lady who doesn’t like the smell of your pipe or cigar in the park begins a tirade that suddenly has smoking banned in yet another public place.

In a couple years, square corners will be banned. Mark my words: some mother, whose Precious Little Snowflake of a child, runs into a sharp corner at home, school, in a park, or in a public store, will damage or lose an eye, or possibly suffer a cut that may leave a scar. Sharp corners of every kind will be banned. Walls and floors will be padded. Kids (and older people) are already being forced to wear helmets while riding bicycles. Remember when you were a kind, and didn’t have to put on ANSI-rated protection equipment to ride a bike? I don’t remember anyone dying or being maimed on a daily basis back in the 70’s. Parents are already going through extreme lengths to prevent children from seeing/hearing anything naughty on TV or the internet. Luckily they can learn about life from other sources- friends, dad’s porn stash etc. We’re approaching the creation of a society that attempts to protect us from the real world.

Cynical? Perhaps. But at least I remember the sweet aroma of a pipe. Burning leaves. Campfires. Backyard grilling. Sharp corners. Riding downhill on a bike. Stuff that will be outlawed completely in the future.
J. Palmer

I don’t remember why I was so attracted to pipe smoking. When I was a boy, it just seemed like something I would do when I grew up. Thus, once of age, I bought my first pipe and tobacco without uneasy self-consciousness or hesitation. It was even better than I imagined pipe smoking would be. I quickly built up a small collection of inexpensive pipes and tried just about every tobacco I could find in my small college town. (A real pipe shop was 70 miles away.)

One fateful day in my second year of college, I was puffing away in a friend’s dorm room when another friend of his dropped by. After about five minutes, he looked at me and sneered and: “Why don’t you stop being a stuck-up phony and smoke cigarettes like the rest of us.” It wasn’t a question — it was an accusation. This guy never liked me and I returned to favor; so I just thought he was being the jerk he was. Besides, didn’t he know that pipe smoking and smoking cigarettes aren’t even on the same plain of human existence? Over the course of the next few days, I discovered to my dismay that the jerk’s prejudice was shared extensively — even among my own friends. Since that time, with a few exceptions, I smoke my pipes alone and out of sight. I didn’t want others to ruin pipe smoking for me.

Today, I spend an hour or two at my desk at home quietly smoking while paying bills or writing. It turns out that learning to smoke alone has accidentally served me well because all smoking in general has been pushing out of public spaces.

Unfortunately, pipe shops have become few and hard to find even in the largest of cities. I can usually find a cigar shop or two that have a few different kinds of pipe tobacco in the back. Given the high prices of cigars, proprietors act like their losing money by pay attention to me while a moneyed cigar aficionado might stroll in. Thank the Lord for the internet. The selection is much wider and the service is very dependable.

Unlike cigarette smokers, I never feel the need to have a smoke very couple of hours. When I first began, I bought dozens of cheap, junk pipes. Now I limit myself to buying one very good pipe a year. (To say one hunk of wood is pretty much like another is much like saying every car is like another because they are just piles of metal.) On the other hand, some of my oldest pipes are treasures that could never be replaced.

In the end the, best story about pipe smoking is also the truest: A man was wronged by another and so he resolved to kill him. He decided to smoke his pipe and then follow through with the murder. After he finished his first pipe, he decided that instead of killing the other man he would just thrash him. He then sat down to smoke his second pipe. Afterward, he decided to not thrash the other man but instead sternly curse him to his face. After his third pipe, he decided to forgive the other man.
Mike Dooley

Pipe smoking, interesting. Thanks for the memory trip. My grandfather always smoked a pipe, and had a stand with 8 or 10 at the ready. I cannot fail to remember him fishing with me when I was a boy. Pipe often clenched in his teeth and him saying, “Oh-h, it’s a big one!” when he would get a fish on the line.

Good memories, good times, and it’s nice to know someone, somewhere is still garnering some enjoyment from such a simple pleasure that was just part of what I remember about my grandfather. Pipe cleaners galore indeed, and light, relight, and on and on!
Roger Ross

Re: W. James Antle III’s The Emerging Filibuster-Proof Democratic Majority:

James Antle’s article (“The Emerging Filibuster-Proof Democratic Majority”) states that “Melissa Bean, the Illinois Democrat who toppled Phil Crane in 2004, has an A-List challenger.” Her opponent is a high-school dropout and former minor-league hockey player who has never run for office. If that’s the A-list, what does the B-list look like?
Matt Flamm
Palatine, Illinois

W. James Antle III replies:
That’s a pretty uncharitable and incomplete description of Steve Greenberg’s resume. His improbable start aside, he’s a very successful self-made businessman who is wealthy enough to finance his own campaign. In a year where the outsider tag is the Republicans’ best (only?) hope, someone who has never run for office before and can self-finance is not such a bad bet.

Re: Philip Klein’s Bidding Starts at $30 Million:

Maybe what McCain needs to do is point out that the Democrat party is the party of the rich (Washington Times, November 23, 2007) and what Democrats are really proposing is bailing out their rich and elitist voters who bought homes they could not afford and then walked away from their responsibilities hoping to get taxpayers to bail them out. This is very much like the SHIPS scam rich Democrats were trying to pull to get their kids free healthcare at working American’s expense. Despite Democrats and the media’s disdain for us “simpletons” in the middle class we can understand this simple explanation. Republicans need to forcefully ask “why working Americans should keep bailing out rich Democrats and their special interest groups?” This isn’t class warfare its speaking truth to powerful Democrat liars and scam artists.
Michael Tomlinson

First of all, and as is always the case, I challenge any proponent of this “homeowner” bailout to point to the specific passage in the U.S. Constitution (by Article and by Clause) that authorizes the Federal Government to get involved.

Secondly, what Madame Hillary does not seem to understand is the difference between a $30B loan guarantee for JP Morgan vs. a $30B outright giveaway to state and local governments to purchase foreclosed properties. In the case of JPM, it is simply a backstop to underwrite liabilities on Bear Stearns’ ledger (which the USG shouldn’t be involved with from the get-go). In the other case, it is simply an exercise of direct welfare for those who do not know how to make informed decisions and who refuse to take individual responsibility for those decisions when they go bad.

In either case, the taxpayer gets to sit in the middle and suck on it.
Owen H. Carneal, Jr.
Yorktown, Virginia

Re: James Bowman’s Bill Clinton Was Right:

Mr. Bowman’s essay is very insightful and I believe very accurate. Mr. McGovern was an unprincipled man who tapped into what my Dad called the “rich kids’ rage.” He explained that to mean that we had a generation raised by veterans of WWII, who hand been told there would be no hardship anymore — we won the war. Then they found out they couldn’t stay in college for the rest of their lives. For that epic wrong rich kids hated America.

Mr. McGovern made that hatred the underpinning of his entire Presidential campaign. Unfortunately for Mr. McGovern only a small percentage of Americans felt that hatred.

But I believe what William F. Buckley called “liberal mania” was born from this Democrat candidate. Distorted Democrat thinking viewed the loss as some great evil visited on them by the Republican anti-Christ and they to this day continue to hate America in the fiber of their party.

Their actions speak loudly. John Kerry ostensibly trying to aid the North Vietnamese in Paris; Jane Fonda and Ramsey Clark trying to get our soldiers killed by encouraging the NVA to keep on fighting. Nancy Pelosi going to Syria and thinking she was empowered to represent Israel while running down our country to them.

I think there is nothing new under the sun and that Hate America First will have to be surgically from their body politic.

I only wish more Americans could be exposed to irrefutable logic of Mr. Bowman’s prose.
Jay Molyneaux
North Carolina

While there are sill conservatives fawning over Barack Obama for his ability to enunciate, James Bowman was correct when he congratulated Bill Clinton for getting right about Obama’s lack of patriotism. Obama long before the Jeremiah Wright scandal broke made clear he was a member of the anti-American left and ready to sell out the U.S. to tin pot dictators in Iran, Venezuela and North Korea. What the Wright controversy has left unspoken is that Barack Obama’s political soul mates are not George McGovern and Ted Kennedy, but Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez and Kim Jong-il.
Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

Never thought I’d ever give Bill Clinton a nod for anything, but as you point out Mr. Bowman, he has adroit political instincts. So, with respect to his comments about Barack Obama, here’s a little tribute to the virtually unchallenged Demo Senator from Illinois, who hopefully, will remain thus, leaving the executive branch to the GOP.

Jeremiah Was My Pastor (with thanks to 3 Dog Night)

Jeremiah was my pastor (at Trinity)
And a good friend of mine
I never listened to a single sermon there
But, I always drank the wine
Yeah, they always had some mighty fine wine.
And we sang…

Joy to the world
It’s for all the boys and girls
Joy to liberation theology
Joy to you and me

When I am the President
Tell you what I’ll do
I’ll outlaw cars, and cigars, and all wars
And raise your taxes, too

Joy to the world
It’s for all the boys and girls
Joy to liberation theology
Joy to you and me

Ya’ll know my little lady
Loves to have her fun
She’s my high pitched flower into rainbow power
My smooth talkin’ sweet honey bun
Oh yeah, my smooth talkin’ sweet honey bun
Now sing it…

Joy to the world
It’s for all the boys and girls
Joy to liberation theology
Joy to you and me

Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

Re: Michael Jondreau’s letter (under “Unwittingly”) in Reader Mail’s Hispanic Integration:

I am an editor and an English major, and I can read. Therefore, I am compelled to correct Mr. Jondreau’s assertion that “in his review, Christopher Orlet sneers that any teen with an iPod could refute her theories.”

In fact, what Mr. Orlet said was that this particular Wirehead (who was playing video games, by the way, not iPodding) could refute her THESIS, which is entirely different from a theory. Viz. to wit:

n. pl. the-ses (-sz)
1. A proposition that is maintained by argument.
2. A dissertation advancing an original point of view as a result of research, especially as a requirement for an academic degree.
3. A hypothetical proposition, especially one put forth without proof.

Now if Mr. Jondreau could please disconnect the wires in both ears, drop the Blackberry, turn off the cell phone, and locate a dictionary, perhaps he could understand the other long words in the review.
Kate Shaw
Nit Picking English Major
Toronto, Canada

Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s Pants on Fire:

Thank God I finally found and read your article which include the words, “lie,” “liar,” and “shameless,” in writing about the Clintons. What is the matter with us? How can this type of behavior be absolved in the media, ergo in the minds of their supporters? Thank you.
Chery McBride

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