Randoms of the week

A new twitterer (is that the right term?) – HT to Kalim Kassam.

Ferguson on Murray

Murray on Murray

Larison on Murray

Mangan on Murray

– Shit the (wonderfully reactionary) dowager countess says:

– Noah Millman’s new blog at TAC.

Deleveraging, much like austerity, is a myth. Don’t get me wrong, both deleveraging and austerity need to happen. They’re not happening though – despite what you’ve been told. No doubt the official history of the current recession will be that austerity prolonged the crisis, even though no actual national government appears to have actually reduced its spending.

– The happiest and healthiest communities in America

How and why to smoke a pipe (HT). I’ve decided that it’s time for me to start smoking a pipe.

– What if a depression happened and there were no Keynesians? It would end quickly and be erased from history. (Related)

– I’m on my third continent in three weeks, so blogging may continue to be light, I apologize

19 Responses to Randoms of the week

  1. Samson J. says:

    I would smoke a pipe of smoking weren’t so *awfully* bad for you.

    • Foseti says:

      It’s not clear that pipe smoking is so bad. There’s no inhaling after all

      • Samson J. says:

        Well, then I will leave you with this: just yesterday I saw a man in clinic who has had radical mouth and throat surgery for tobacco-related cancer. Yes, he smoked cigarettes, not a pipe, but if you want to take your chances, start piping. I’m not going to.

    • chris says:

      Pipe smoking isn’t as bad as cigarettes, but it is not without risk. On the other hand, a drink or two of alcohol a day increases risks of oral, esophageal, and pancreatic cancer, too, but few people are bothered enough by the risk to stop drinking.

  2. Samson J. says:


  3. chris says:

    If you are going to start smoking a pipe, you should really check out Gary Schrier’s Confessions of a Pipeman (get the 2nd edition). Pipe smoking is a dead culture that was much more involved than I realized, and Schrier is a good place to start. Also, the book Tobacco by Iain Gately is fast and interesting.

  4. Handle says:

    Welcome to the pipe club. We’ve been waiting for you. Been dabbling for almost a decade. Great minds think alike I suppose. Sure beats “tweed rides” as a way to adopt certain parts of the Victorian aesthetic. The preferred accessory of the sophisticated Reactionary.

    • Foseti says:

      Any recommendations for a beginner? Pipes? Tobacco?

      Sent from my iPad

      • Handle says:

        Alas, I’m hardly an aficionado or connoisseur – that’s for Scotch and Women.

        I prefer classic French designs in smooth briarwood, (like you’d see in that Magritte painting) such as Chacom or Waldorf because they have continuous curve and just the right lenght and size. But it’s a personal aesthetic taste.

        In terms of purchasing, the best consistent values and widest variety of pipes can usually be found on Ebay. I think it’s best to browse for a design you like, and buy something cheap to start, to get the feel for it. Once you get going, and if you like it, you can move up the price range – but you certainly don’t need to start spending a lot of money at the high-end at all.

        As far as tobacco – just go to your local place and ask the gentleman for something mild and easily-managed (the blends can be quite different, flavors, burning speed, etc). He’ll know what’s best for a beginner, and if he’s like every seller I’ve ever met, he’ll enjoy passing down his knowledge without trying to make a hard sell.

        It’s also a good place to get a little pipe tool for tamping and scraping, and maybe a good lighter. I tend to use kitchen matches, but it’s annoying if I can’t get a good burn going on the first one.

  5. Kalim Kassam says:

    The more common term is “tweeter”. Let me be prescriptivist and just say that’s correct.

    Re: the Dowager Countess of Grantham

    My favourite thing about her is her contempt for the bourgeoisie, which doesn’t take the envious form that is so common (and off-putting) in our culture, but instead seems to be borne of pity.

    Here’s another hilarious scene that didn’t make it into that video collage: http://youtu.be/i2bfYw1B_Ww

  6. sardonic_sob says:

    Pipes are awesome.

    May I recommend to you Richard Carleton Hacker’s books on the gentle art of smoking? Mr. Hacker’s books on smoking are simply a joy to read as well as being quite informative. Unfortunately, I think his two “big” books (Ultimate Pipe and Ultimate Cigar) are both out of print, but his updated “Pipesmoking: A 21st Century Guide” appears to be available on Amazon. I have had the pleasure of corresponding with Mr. Hacker and he is a fine, fine gentleman. Even if his website is woefully out of date.


    Also, I am sure there are many fine tobacconists in your area, but I would be remiss if I did not also implore you to visit, if you are ever in Chicago and have the opportunity, the Iwan Ries store, which is a place which must be experienced to be believed. Their website is nice, too. You simply can’t go wrong with some Iwan Ries Three-Star.


    Regarding the risks of pipe smoking:

    The infamous Surgeon General’s report, believe it or not, indicates that cigar smoking has no significant effect on longevity and that people who smoke pipes have a small but statistically relevant *increase* in lifespan. (This is as likely to be because people who smoke pipes are wealthier and/or of more moderate disposition than because of any actual benefit of smoking, but one never knows.) Smoking either pipes or cigars *does* increase slightly the risk of some oral cancers, but only with quite a lot of smoking and the risk is not large. Even if you inhale, and only a boor inhales cigar smoke and only a barbarian inhales pipe smoke, they’re still much safer than cigarettes due to the lack of chemical additives.

    I’m not advising you to take up cigars – I find pipes more enjoyable anyway. But it is inevitable that someone who takes up one will try the other. People usually seem to end up mostly doing one or the other: one meets few people who smoke cigars and pipes in equivalent amounts. (Not none. But few.)

    • sardonic_sob says:

      Incidentally, one huge advantage of pipes over cigars is that only the most rabid anti-tobacco fanatics will object to the smell of a pipe, whereas cigars, while usually less offensive than cigarettes, will draw as much if not more ire. Pipes are just generally positively interpreted.

  7. spandrell says:

    Somebody please tell me what’s the point of smoking without inhaling? Using drugs without letting them in your bloodstream? You enjoy the bad smell or what?

    • tenkev says:

      Spandrell, the nicotine enters your bloodstream through the blood vessels in your mouth.

    • Sardonic_sob says:

      As pointed out, nicotine is absorbed when smoking but not inhaling, just not as much.

      If you don’t like the smell of tobacco, don’t smoke it. Otherwise, de gustibus, non disputandum. Many of us enjoy the flavor, the visual and tactile sensations, the ritual. To each, his own.

      • spandrell says:

        Just asking fellas, I am curious.
        I enjoy smoking but the smell of my mouth afterwards is not part of the pleasure.

        Now that I know how pipes work I guess I’ll have a try.

      • sardonic_sob says:

        I have never noticed any unpleasant tastes in my mouth after smoking a pipe, although it’s happened a few times after a particularly strong cigar, or one I didn’t care for the flavor of. The only time I have ever felt even the slightest bit unwell after smoking a cigar or a pipe was after a few minutes of my first, last and only “double claro” cigar. That was just nasty. And the taste was hideous. The phrase, “smoking banana peels” comes to mind.

        Alas, while one can *taste* the smoke, one cannot smell the smoke of one’s own pipe. Like coffee, pipe smoke doesn’t taste quite the same way it smells. But it still can be an enjoyable flavor – I think it must be something like oenophiles go on about when tasting wine. All wines taste pretty much the same to me (awful) but I enjoy different tobaccos and can tell them apart very easily.

  8. dearieme says:

    When I started smoking a pipe, you “smoked in” your first pipe – and yourself – with a tobacco called “Baby’s Bottom”. It’s slogan was “Nothing’s smoother than Baby’s Bottom”. I’d be surprised if it’s still around in thus prurient age.

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