Tobaccos – 2

Notes and blends for favorite pipe tobaccos. My tastes are changing! Updated August 19, 2006

Alex’s No. 1 Mix (new) Five stars

My current order formula: 1 lb Medium Burley from Altadis, 1 lb Lane Limited BCA black cavendish, 1 lb Latakia blending pipe tobacco, and 2 lbs Lane Limited HS-3. I experimented with Perique, but went with the Latakia, which complements and defines the full flavor in a very satisfactory way. I am very happy with this mix and have stayed with it for over a year. I still order my bulk tobacco from Habana (PipesandCigars.com). Despite a respectable stock of other enjoyable blends mentioned on this page, I rarely smoke them.

Alex’s No. 1 Mix (old) 4.5 stars

I mix burley, black cavendish and HS-3 golden cavendish in a 1:1.25:2.5 blend (4:5:10). My current favorite. I am using Medium Burley from Altadis, Lane Limited BCA black cavendish, and Lane Limited HS-3. These fresh individual components beat bagged retail blends as mixers every day of the week, turning an “OK” mix into a prize.

Trout Stream 4oz. 3.5 stars

Eric’s Adirondack Series. This is a mixture of Golden Cavendish Slices mixed with a sweet Black Cavendish. Perfect for tying flies or stepping out of your tent on a cool misty morning.

My comments: Mild, no bite down to the bottom of the bowl. Not as robust as anything I mix, but a very pleasant flavor. Excellent aroma in the bag or in the smoke. Seems ideal for the first smoke of the day, or last of the evening. A real pleaser, this has twice been a reorder item. Source: store.pipesandcigars.com

Milk and Honey 2.5 stars

Scotty’s Blends. Another house favorite. Loaded with the finest black cavendish and a single malt highlight. Perfect for the cool night.

My comments: Moderately robust, flavored blend gets better as you smoke it. Mild nutty flavor. In the bag, a hint of an aroma like strawberry jam. Not sure what “single malt” means in the blended tobacco context. Possibly a bit much for my liking in a big bowl; might be perfect for a standard 3/4 bowl or a bantam. Source: store.pipesandcigars.com

LL 1Q 3 stars

Lane Limited. Golden Cavendish blend but with a hint of fire-cured blended in provides a scintillating taste and flavorful aroma.

My comments: Nice smooth taste, nice aroma. I keep this one around. Best smoked alone, as its subtle qualities will be lost in a reblend. Many find it bland, and I would not argue the point, but it is a pleasant “dessert” change once in a while. Source: store.pipesandcigars.com or paylesspipes.com.

LL RLP-6 3 stars

Lane Limited. Blended with just the right proportion of Golden Virginia and Burleys, the basic blend of Toasted Cavendish tobaccos gets better as you smoke it.

My comments: Lots of Toasted Cavendish gives a more robust flavor, nice aroma in the bag or pipe. Golden Virginia gives an interesting variety compared to golden cavendishes. Although I generally prefer the golden cavendishes, this one is kept on hand for an after dinner or special smoke. LL-7 is a better example of this genre. Source: store.pipesandcigars.com

LL-7 4 stars

Lane Limited. Lane LL-7 A majestic combination of toasted Cavendish enhanced with premium Burley and Virginias that provide zesty taste, enchanting aroma and an unsurpassed smoke.

My comments: This instantly became one of my favorites. Source: store.pipesandcigars.com

LL HS-3 (blender) 3.5 stars

Lane Limited. Aroma, one of the most important aspects of any pipe tobacco, is the paramount consideration in this blend of Golden Cavendish tobacco. Everyone within smelling distance loves it!

My comments: Sweet, aromatic, wonderful taste on the tongue. As aromatic as they claim. Excellent mixer, this is my staple source of Golden Cavendish. I have already been through a couple of pounds of this. Source: store.pipesandcigars.com or paylesspipes.com.

LL RHQ3 2.5 stars

Lane Limited. A unique blend of Golden Cavendish tobaccos with a touch of Mellow Burleys enhanced with a delicate nutty and fruity flavor for a distinctively pleasurable smoke.

My comments: A pleasant but bland mix. I seem to be leaning to more robust blends. LL-7 has replaced RHQ3 and even RLP-6 as favorite in this category. Source: store.pipesandcigars.com.

Altadis Medium Burley 2971051 (blender) 3.5 stars

Altadis Bulk Tobacco.

My comments: A great mixer. Much nicer in-the-bag aroma than generic bulk bought at places like Walgreen’s. This is an enjoyable smoke with a nice nutty natural flavor, the best of the straight burleys I have tried so far. Source: store.pipesandcigars.com.

Lane Limited Light Burley 2.5 stars

A straight mild burley, no bite, burns a little hot unless repacked, and has a nice mild flavor. A good palate cleanser after a diet of aromatics. For smoking variety, I am looking for the “right” straight burley and this is a candidate. Source: Cup O’ Joes

Walgreens Golden Burley (“Blender’s Gold”) 2 stars

This was mentioned in the pipe.org forum: “It has no bite and a decent, if not exciting flavor.” I have most of a bag of this left and will dip into it from time to time. Walgreen’s sells a line of decent, above-average and interesting mild blends, as retail tobaccos go.

Walgreens Mellow Blend (“Blender’s Gold”) 2.5 stars

I started with the Walgreens “Mellow Blend” and instantly left Walter Raleigh behind forever. Adventuresome smokers interested in purchasing custom blends from tobacco houses, or in blending their own from bulk, can do far better. But, for someone starting out, on a budget, or just wanting a decent smoke, the Walgreens 12 oz packagings under the “Blender’s Gold” house label are creditable, economical, and pleasant, reliable smoking.

HGB-2000 Burley & Black 2763051 2 stars

Altadis Bulk Tobacco. Source: store.pipesandcigars.com.

My comments: Promising. More robust. Flavorful. Lots of Black Cavendish. Nice aroma in bag. A little more bite. I liked this at first but find myself going to the other canisters.

R-18 “Danish Cavendish” 2.5 stars

Lane Limited. Perfect burning quality and rich flavor combine to form one of our most popular blends. dark and Light Cavendish tobaccos. Source: store.pipesandcigars.com.

My comments: another Cavendish mix from LL. It’s getting hard to express a preference between some of these mixes. Smokes nice even in a brand new Nording. Mild sweetness. Starts out pleasant but light at the beginning of the bowl, progressing to a rich complex near-robustness toward the end, with not a hint of bite or artificiality. Mild.

Alex Forbes © 2005. Last updated August 19, 2006

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Hard Sudoku

A “Very Hard” Sudoku that turned out to be pretty easy …

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Saturday Sudokus are rated “6 stars”, and are considered very hard. Many weeks, they won’t even “validate” when I load them into my Sudoku program, which supposedly indicates there is no unique solution. Some weeks, I don’t even bother trying these puzzles. My experience with this one was different.

Newpaper Sudoku

In solving Sudoku, the generally accepted approach is to begin by filling out the obvious entries that you can “eyeball”. Once you’ve exhausted the empty squares that can plainly hold only one number, you’re left with squares that could be any two or more different digits, but, usually could not be some other subset of digits without violating a rule.

To the left, it is easy to see which numbers are “given” in the puzzle, and which numbers I have penned in. For these, I use a non-erasable black pen because it is easy to see, and because there is very little chance of making a mistake at this stage. I’ve been playing the game for about half a year, but I was surprised at how many numbers I was able to fill in this way today.

Once you fill in a number, it forms a new clue for our puzzle, and you can build on that. The ‘2’ in the top right cell (3×3 grid) is obvious: a ‘2’ can only go in that cell’s middle row, and there is only one open space in that row.

The ‘2’ in the lower right is much less obvious and you can skip this if it gets difficult. Where can the ‘2’ in the middle right cell go? I don’t know, but it can’t go in the middle row because I already had a ‘2’ in that row. It can’t go in the left column because of the ‘2’ in the top right that we just added. So it could be in either of the empty squares in the middle column.

Looking at the bottom right 3×3 cell again, now we know the ‘2’ can’t go in the middle column or the left column, and it can’t go in the bottom row. We already had the ‘9’ position. The ‘2’ has to go in the upper right square. It takes a little practice before you can “see” that without penciling in the possibles with teeny little numbers.

The newspaper scan above represents my best ability to jumpstart the solution. Sharper or more experienced players will undoubtedly do better. The next step is to pencil in “possibles”: the possibles for the lower right square of the lower right cell are, by simple elimination, {7,8} at this point.

Unfair Puzzle warning!


(1) Pencil Tips filled in:

Filling in the pencil tips

However, my Pappocom PC puzzle solver doesn’t think this is a fair puzzle. What an ego boost! But not every program can be perfect. At least it accepted this puzzle. For this article, I used the program to fill in all my “pencil tips” at once. If your eyes are very good, you can do this on the newpaper or puzzle book, but my eyes aren’t that good, and I make too many mistakes.

I already solved this puzzle, but here I have reverted it and re-filled in my pencil tips with the “possibles”. You will get a few “freebies” like the ‘8’ in the middle 3×3 cell, since that middle square can’t contain any of the other numbers. [Why not ‘7’? See “(3) Tricks and Rules” below].

This means you can eliminate any other 8’s in that middle 3×3 cell, and in that middle row, and in that middle column. In the row where we can fill in the ‘8’, we now also know which square is the ‘1’ and which is the ‘7’, further eliminating 1’s and ‘7s in their associated 3×3 cells, rows, or columns:


(2) Partial Solution:

Partial Solution

Rationalizing the 2 and the 8 Filling in the ‘1’ and ‘8’ we found for the middle row (fifth row down), we’ve eliminated the associated 1’s and 8’s, since a number can only occur once in any row, column or 3×3 cell.

This reveals a definite solo ‘4’ and a definite ‘8’ in the middle and bottom right-hand cells, respectively.

Filling these in, and further eliminating possibles that are no longer possible, allows us to complete the middle right 3×3 cell. Given the single ‘4’, can you see which is the ‘2’ and which is the ‘8’?

We’re well on our way to solving this puzzle. There is not much more we can do with the right-hand 3×3 cells until we complete some of the other grids. In the upper left cell, there is an extra ‘4’ pencil tip that should not be there, in the middle square, since there is already a ‘4’ in that column. But fixing that error does not give us a new grip on the puzzle.

If you are intending to try to complete this on your own, I might next look for the ‘2’ in the fourth row. While you’re in that middle cell, look for the ‘7’.

When you complete a square, don’t ever forget to rid your pencil tips of eliminated possibles right away, or the patterns will be much harder to spot.


(3) Sudoku Tricks and Rules

There are a number of logical rules one can memorize and practice to help speed solutions. I am learning them now, and at some point will publish my own notes. But they are just rehashes of compilations I have already found elsewhere. Visit www.sudoku.com for an excellent set of tips, and through this site, or Google, you can also find other excellent sites with tutorials.

I do not think I found it necessary to use many of these tips to solve this puzzle. There are reports of young kids who solve these puzzles without tricks or tips just by looking at the possibles and eliminating impossibles, one square at a time. There is also an excellent article in the current Scientific American, The Science Behind Sudoku, which gives the clearest expression of the general principles that I’ve seen yet.

The only example I will discuss here is PAIRS:

Naked Pairs:
If two cells in a group contain an identical pair of candidates and only those two candidates, then no other cells in that group could be those values. [Solving Sudoku, Angus Johnson]

(The term “group” is always used to refer to any row, column or 3×3 cell of 9 squares.)

In our Sudoku partial solution above, we have a pair of {4,5} possibles in the middle 3×3 cell. We don’t know which square is the ‘4’ and which the ‘5’, but we do know that no other square in the cell can be a ‘4’ or a ‘5’. The pairs rule means we can eliminate the ‘4’ in the {2,4,7} square, so this square is really only a {4,7} — it can really only contain a ‘4’ or ‘7’.

But, this is the only square with a ‘7’ in the middle cell, so, the pairs rule doesn’t help tell us (this time) which is the ‘7’. We already knew that, since no other square in that cell (or in that row) was a possible ‘7’.

In reviewing this article, I found a PAIR which was used to solving the puzzle. Look at figure (1) again where we have penciled in a lonely ‘8’ in the center 3×3 cell:

We know that this square can’t be a 2,3,9 or 6 because its row already contains these values. It can’t be a 1, 4 or 5 because its column already contains those values. That leaves a ‘7’ or ‘8’, so why can’t it be the ‘7’?

This column contains a pair of {6,7} possibles. By filling in our pencil tips for the column, we have learned that one of those squares must be the ‘6’, and the other, the ‘7’, though we don’t know which is which yet. Since one must be the ‘6’ and one must be the ‘7’, we do know no other squares in the column can be a ‘6’ or a ‘7’, as the Pairs rule formalizes in logic. So, by elimination, we know this square can’t be a ‘7’. It has to be the ‘8’.


(4) Solved Sudoku:

I finished this one in the PC puzzle application 15 minutes 29 seconds, which is pretty nearly a personal record for me for any difficulty level. That doesn’t include “pencil time” for “obvious” entries on the newspaper itself. There is no exact order required for a solution. I don’t always fill in all the pencil tips at once, but only for the cells, rows or columns on which I am actively working. This helps reduce clutter. When I can go no further any other way, I continue filling in pencil tips until the whole puzzle is filled.

I don’t know why this puzzle was rated “very hard”. There must be a mathematical algorithm or reason for the difficulty ranking. Whatever the reason, it is a great confidence-builder. Any puzzle which does have a unique solution can be solved by using the simplest logic and rules.

It is possible to use the PC Sudoku program to “cheat” by guessing; this particular program will flag an erroneous entry in red. But I try not to do that, and didn’t have to guess to complete this solution.

I loaded the original newspaper puzzle into the Pappocom Sudoku program. The program displays the original puzzle clues in blue letters. My solved entries are in dark gray.

Finished Puzzle!

Alex Forbes ©May 27, 2006

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Sudoku Puzzles

We were late getting into this worldwide favorite. We’ve done crossword puzzles for decades. Recently we paid attention to a numbers “crossword”. The first one we tried had a difficulty rating of five stars (hard). It took several hours and we had to cheat a couple of times, but we solved it.

On easy puzzles (one star), after we learned the rules we could pencil in the solution. A few erasures, half an hour, and we’re done.

On difficult puzzles, we’re still printing out blank forms with plenty of room to pencil in our “pencil mark” guesses. The newspaper forms are too small, and they don’t like erasers very well. We’re getting better, but a five-star puzzle still takes us several false starts and several hours.

Because these puzzles can be so challenging, we did a web search to see if anyone had posted tips for solving. It turns out – wouldn’t you guess – there are several dedicated sites. At www.sudoko.com you can also order a program that calculates solutions, helps you solve without cheating, and (if you prefer pencil and paper) print out today’s puzzle.

Here’s an easy puzzle that gratifies the ego. This one came from today’s San Francisco Chronicle. Be sure and check out the tips on the linked sudoku website. I posted the solution below.

Complete the grid so that every row. column and 3-by-3 box contains every digit, 1 to 9.

date: 12/12/2005
difficulty rating: easy
Easy Sudoku
solution:
Easy Sudoku

Alex Forbes ©December 12, 2005

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Home-Made Squirrel Detector

Since we published C.Bear’s story “The Elusive Mr. S”, we’ve already received a request from a fan who wanted to know, “Where can I get one of those Squirrel Detectors?” Actually, it’s so simple that we make our own. Now, you can do the same. Just follow these simple instructions. Before you know it, you’ll be in the squirrel detection business as well.

PARTS LIST

1 cedar shingle
1 helical copper wire coil
1 dipole receiver antenna, approx. 1-1/2 in long
1 used watch or motherboard battery
1 5/16 or 3/8 steel nut (metric OK)
1 tube Duco or Ambroid household cement

Figure 1 (click picture for larger image)

click picture for larger image

CONSTRUCTION

Locate a cedar shingle in good condition, not too weathered. First, split it along the grain so you have a piece approximately 3 inches wide. Now trim it to a more compact length, say, about 5 inches long. Plan your cut so that the 5″ section includes the feathered thin edge of the shingle. The feathering enhances detection of birds, while not impairing squirrel detection in the slightest.

Exact dimensions are not critical in any part of the construction.

The detection parts consist of a (1) power source, (2) receiving and (3) transmitting antenna, and (4) the actual detector.

1) Any old battery will do, as this is a very low-power device. Flat batteries are easier to glue to the shingle.

2) You can wind your own receiving coil with a stiff copper or baling wire. Wrap several turns around a form (a magic marker is about the right diameter). Carefully bend the last 1/4 inch upright to impress your friends.

3) Fashion your dipole (transmitting) wire from matching wire stock.

4) Locate a good 5/16″ or 3/8″ nut. We favor sprocket nuts from old Schwinn bicycles, but anything of about the right size will do. Metric is excellent, and will enhance old-world bird detection as a bonus. Chrome-plated nuts are hard to find, but they do show off your detector to the best advantage.

Now, glue the parts into place. Referring to Figure 1, along a left to right center line, glue your receiving antenna, transmitting antenna, battery, and detection nut. Allow to dry overnight.

No wiring or soldering is required. The parts are already interactive. Although no particular voltage is required, locating a battery holder allows you to more easily replace your battery with a fresh one, if desired.

Finishing touches: Perfectionists may want to spray varnish the assembly with several coats of marine spar varnish. Cedar is excessively absorbent, so be warned you will need several coats for a uniform gloss. On the other hand, natural cedar ages gracefully to a fine grayish patina, so we side with purists who deem the detector “finished” once the parts are glued into place and dried.

TESTING AND USAGE

Now comes the best part. You are ready to test your genuine, original new Squirrel Detector (though truthfully there is so little that can go wrong).

Take your detector to a park, garden, back yard or wooded area that squirrels are known to frequent. You can place your detector on your car dashboard, or aim it in your hands in a sweeping motion around the grounds. Either method works equally well. When you see a squirrel, go “Beep! Beep” to train your detector. Thereafter, when you see a squirrel, go “Beep! Beep!” to keep your detector in prime condition.

Congratulations! Your detector is already trained and working!

EXTRA FEATURES

Your squirrel detector is also capable of detecting some bird species (assuming you used the end of the shingle with the feathered edge):

When you see a duck, go “Quack-Quack!”

When you see a goose, go “Honk! Honk!”

When your friends see your detector in operation, not only will you be the talk of the neighborhood, you alone will hold the secret of how to construct a genuine Squirrel Detector!

NOTES

1. Results may vary. Do not be discouraged if you don’t start detecting squirrels right away. Try a different park. Since you are responsible for fashioning your own detector, we can offer no warranty, expressed or implied.

2. Not intended for use in the Mojave, Gobi or the various continental ice shelves.

3. Your Squirrel Detector already has the built-in Language plug-in. On hearing the special cue words “Beep! Beep”, “Quack-Quack!” or “Honk! Honk”, savvy bystanders in any country will have no trouble understanding what’s going on here.

4. Never point your device at large, menacing wild animals.

Copyright Alex Forbes May 15, 2005

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Tobaccos – Notes and Blends

Notes and blends for favorite pipe tobaccos, January 2005.

Alex’s No. 1 Mix

I mix burley, black cavendish and HS-3 golden cavendish in a 1:1:2.5 blend. My current favorite. I am using the burley and black from “Blender’s Gold” (The Tobacco Center”) retail rack blender bags. These are OK but perhaps not premium. I am sure I could do better. At first I often started with the Tobacco Center “Burley and Black” or “Mellow Blend” packages as a base mix, adding HS-3 and ending up with roughly the same mix by trial and error.

Trout Stream 4oz.

Eric’s Adirondack Series. This is a mixture of Golden Cavendish Slices mixed with a sweet Black Cavendish. Perfect for tying flies or stepping out of your tent on a cool misty morning.

My comments: Mild, no bite down to the bottom of the bowl. Not as robust as anything I mix, but a very pleasant flavor. Excellent aroma in the bag or in the smoke. Seems ideal for the first smoke of the day, or last of the evening. A real pleaser, this will definitely be a reorder item. Source: store.pipesandcigars.com

Milk and Honey

Scotty’s Blends. Another house favorite. Loaded with the finest black cavendish and a single malt highlight. Perfect for the cool night.

My comments: Moderately robust, flavored blend gets better as you smoke it. Mild nutty flavor. In the bag, a hint of an aroma like strawberry jam. Not sure what “single malt” means in the blended tobacco context. Possibly a bit much for my liking in a big bowl; might be perfect for a standard 3/4 bowl or a bantam. Source: store.pipesandcigars.com

LL 1Q

Lane Limited. Golden Cavendish blend but with a hint of fire-cured blended in provides a scintillating taste and flavorful aroma.

My comments: Nice smooth taste, nice aroma. I would keep this one around. Best smoked alone, as its subtle qualities will be lost in a reblend. Source: store.pipesandcigars.com or paylesspipes.com.

LL RLP-6

Lane Limited. Blended with just the right proportion of Golden Virginia and Burleys, the basic blend of Toasted Cavendish tobaccos gets better as you smoke it.

My comments: Lots of Toasted Cavendish gives a more robust flavor, nice aroma in the bag or pipe. Golden Virginia gives an interesting variety compared to golden cavendishes. Although I generally prefer the golden cavendishes, this one would be good to keep on hand for an after dinner or special smoke. I will definitely stock it. Source: store.pipesandcigars.com

LL HS-3

Lane Limited. Aroma, one of the most important aspects of any pipe tobacco, is the paramount consideration in this blend of Golden Cavendish tobacco. Everyone within smelling distance loves it!

My comments: Sweet, aromatic, wonderful taste on the tongue. As aromatic as they claim. Excellent mixer, this is my staple source of Golden Cavendish. I have already been through a couple of pounds of this. Source: store.pipesandcigars.com or paylesspipes.com.

LL RHQ3

Lane Limited. A unique blend of Golden Cavendish tobaccos with a touch of Mellow Burleys enhanced with a delicate nutty and fruity flavor for a distinctively pleasurable smoke.

My comments: Nearly indistinguishable from my own 1:1:2.5 mix; I think I use a tad more HS-3 Cavendish. This, after all, is a Lane Limited blend. I could be very happy on a desert island with a 5 pound bag of this mix. Source: store.pipesandcigars.com.

Medium Burley 2971051

Altadis Bulk Tobacco.

My comments: bought as a mixer. Much nicer in-the-bag aroma than generic bulk bought at places like Walgreen’s. Source: store.pipesandcigars.com.

HGB-2000 Burley & Black 2763051

Altadis Bulk Tobacco. Source: store.pipesandcigars.com.

My comments: Promising. More robust. Flavorful. Lots of Black Cavendish. Nice aroma in bag. A little more bite. Needs to be smoked away from a biting cold wind, in order to get the aroma. Try this in Phoenix.

Alex Forbes ©January 21, 2005

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Pipes & Tobacco

Against all conventional wisdom, I’ve taken up smoking my old pipes again.

I like Falcon pipes and a Cavendish-based tobacco mix. Three of my Falcons actually go back thirty years, to the days when I thought Walter Raleigh was great stuff. I would “sweeten” it with orange rinds to disguise the marsh bite and oddly artificial taste. These old pipes, with a decent blend of bulk tobaccos with no additives, are still the sweetest-smoking in my small collection of Falcons.

I’m an amateur pipe smoker, not a connoisseur. Despite having smoked pipes on and off for thirty years, all but a few months’ experience has been with off-the-shelf tobaccos of the corner liquor store variety, and more than a few cheap but interesting pipes. I discovered online pipe stores this year, I mix my own blends from bulk, and it’s a whole new world of smoking pleasure. I don’t inhale. 🙂

Current Pipes – Falcon

typical Falcon - Dublin bowl picturedThe Falcon pipe system consists of an air cooled aluminum stem and threaded, detachable briar bowls. You can purchase bowls and stems as a unit, or separately, meaning, you can mix and match from a broad variety of styles. I generally use Pazryk Ltd. as my source for Falcon.

The Falcons are lightweight, rugged, attractive and well built. One could buy just one stem and swap out dozens of bowls. The threaded briar bowls unscrew readily, so they are obviously easy to clean. These pipes are great for home or traveling.

Falcon Bowls

I started 30 years ago with a rustic Dublin-style bowl, an oversize rustic snifer-like bowl, and a smooth straight-walled Algiers bowl. All had straight aluminum stems. I don’t recall the circumstances of this happy purchasing decision. These bowls are thoroughly broken in. They’re incredibly sweet-smoking.

I’ve recently added four more bowls, and have a fifth on order. The smaller “bantam” meerschaum-lined bowl is nice for a quick smoke. I believe these fine clay linings need longer to break in, but are never harsh. When I can afford the luxury of stepping outside for a 20 minute smoke, I prefer the larger “Classic” bowls. Every pipe and every bowl develops its own distinctive flavor, even using the same mix — I have not graduated to the ranks of those who smoke different mixes for different occasions.

Below are some of the bowls I’m fond of. The FP7121 has not arrived yet.

Algiers Smooth Billiard Meerschaum Classic Hyperbole
Classic Meerschaum Dublin Rustic

Falcon Stems

I ended up ordering an individual stem for each Falcon bowl. While this seems to defeat the utility of interchangeable bowls, you can still swap out bowl and stem styles, and I do. Below are a couple of stem styles I use. The bent stem works particularly well with the larger Classic bowls.

Stem- bent, anodized (black or brown)
Stem – straight, gold

Current Pipes – Nording

Nording Freehand - click image for larger picture.

I received my Nording Freehand from Payless Pipes in November. For only $60, it shows excellent construction and finish, a beautiful woodgrain, and has a larger bowl. It quickly became a sweet-smoking pipe and is already clearly one of my favorites. The deeper briar bowl tended to clog, as the one-piece stem joins the bowl about a quarter of an inch above the bottom. As tacky as it sounds, I drop a small pebble into the bowl before packing this pipe. The draw is much smoother, non-clogging, and the small amount of moisture that accumulates does not make the last of the tobacco soggy.

Current Pipes – Dunhill

This prized #4120 Dunhill Amber Root just arrived, also from Payless. Only 5-1/2″ long, it has a standard 3/4″ bowl interior. For whatever reason, it was a sweet smoker from the very first break-in load. As you’d expect, finish and fitting is remarkable. Balance and feel are perfect. I can’t say how happy I am to own this pipe.

Tobaccos

My smoking “breakthrough” was the discovery of golden Cavendish, a popular and aromatic tobacco. You can buy it bulk, and I have found two kinds I like, blends IQ-1 and HS-3 from Payless Pipes – also a reliable source of fine pipes and tobaccos. HS-3 is more or less a “pure” Cavendish. The claim is that no one will not like the smell of a Cavendish. I can see why. Sweet without overpowering, these tobaccos contain no additives or artificial flavorings.

It seems that the most serious issues I had with “over the counter” grocery and liquor store tobaccos was these chemicals, fake flavorings and additives. All these years, I thought Walter Raleigh, Rum and Maple and Half and Half were as good as you could get, and yet I could not really bring myself to really “like them”. No wonder!

My first step toward discovering real tobacco was a prepackaged blend I can only find at Walgreen’s in Phoenix. “Mellow Blend”, a “Blender’s Gold” product from “Master Blenders”, contains some mix of burley, black cavendish and golden cavendish, which is more or less what I am smoking now. I would guess that it has more burley and less cavendishes than I like best, but it is a fine smoke. This firm also markets “Burley and Black” which I am still using as a mixer.

My “mix” is mostly Golden Cavendish, with burley and black added. If I had to guess, I would estimate proportions of 1:2:4. For me, mixing my perfect blend is still a matter of trial and error, but I know it when I get there!

©Alex Forbes January 2, 2005

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Puzzle – Had Had

This puzzle also seems like it should be easy, but it’s not. It’s obnoxious, stoopid, annoying and it won’t go away until you solve it. Why? Because you know you can. HINT: Can you think of a sentence with “had had” in it?

Thanks to: Dave Norton

Punctuate the sentence below correctly, giving it a credible meaning without rearranging the words.

dave where alex had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the reader

Once you get the hang of it, there’s more than one credible way to punctuate the sentence. It helps to show your work.

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Puzzle – Trash Talk

This puzzle seems like it should be easy, but it’s not. It’s obnoxious, stoopid, annoying and it won’t go away until you solve it. Why? Because you know you can. HINT: Put your Crossword Puzzle thinking cap on. We’ve found two unique solutions so far.

Thanks to: Dave Norton

Restate the sentence below in four words, each word starting with the same four letters, all in the same order.

“Deny disenfranchised dumpster divers.”

Question: What would be a non-giveaway example of the format you are looking for?

Answer: chat chatty chatters chatterly

Find one, two or more UNIQUE solutions, without borrowing from the same word root for more than one solution. The solutions we found are credible and do not use any root word from the original.

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Puzzle – Garden of Eden

OK, so you couldn’t solve the Zebra puzzle. Here’s one submitted by Stacy on December 15, 2002. We sense there’s a solution, but our truth table approach isn’t working — so far. See how you do. Challenge yourself!

February 17, 2003 – we found the solution. Send us yours and we’ll tell you whether that was the result we arrived at. How to publish solutions without giving away the answer — that is the question! (There’s a HINT somewhere in the YaBB Forum).

2/20/2003 Someone named ’24fan’ sent us an email with a 560K total size. It was titled “Garden of Eden” and may have contained a solution. It also contained the W32.Klez.H@mm worm virus. Norton Antivirus intercepted it, so we never got to see its contents. If this is you, we recommend disinfecting your machine! Going forward, in this age of proliferating viruses and cyberterrorism, we ask readers to please write us before attempting to send us email attachments.

2/26/2003 Our first reader solution, from N.W., and a good one too!

Everything was perfect in the Garden of Eden, until one day somebody ate an apple from the tree of knowledge. The immediate result was that you could no longer trust people to tell the truth. In fact, when all the residents were questioned about the events, only one of them answered all the questions truthfully. All the others told some lies, though no two of them told the same number of lies.

Adam
1. The snake ate the apple.
2. The snake was in the garden.
3. Eve has not weeded the garden.
4. Abel failed to do his chores.

Eve
5. Adam ate the apple.
6. We are not all equally truthful.
7. I was out weeding the garden.
8. The snake lies.

Cain
9. Abel ate the apple.
10. Abel doesn’t always tell the truth.
11. Mother has always preferred Abel.
12. The snake never lies.

Abel
13. Cain ate the apple.
14. The snake can’t see over the hedge.
15. I have done my chores.
16. The snake ate the apple.

Snake
17. I was not in the garden.
18. Eve ate the apple.
19. Cain is Eve’s favorite son.
20. I can’t see over the hedge.

Who ate the apple?

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Vonnegut Speech, or Urban Legend?

Everything below this paragraph has been forwarded to someone, from somewhere. It obviously originates from e-mail and/or chat groups, but beyond that, I have no idea of the authenticity or origin of the material. But it was new to me, and I enjoyed it, so I put it up on SummitLake.com. I hope you enjoy it too.


The speech is pasted below this article. Some of you have already seen it. It struck me as awesome the first time I read it (the speech), and I continue to like it today.Skip the article if you want, but read the speech at the bottom.


‘Vonnegut Speech’ Circulates on Net 6:13pm 4.Aug.97.PDTA copy of Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s recent MIT commencement address made heavy email rotation on Friday. The characteristically pithy, funny, thoughtful speech was passed from friend to friend stamped with such comments as “worth a read” and “check this out – it’s great.”

And it was great. Trouble is, it wasn’t Vonnegut’s. “Kurt Vonnegut Jr. had never given a commencement address at MIT,” said Robert Sales, associate director of the school’s news office.

It turns out the “speech” was actually a column penned by the Chicago Tribune’s Mary Schmich. The column ran on 1 June – five days before UN Secretary General Kofi Annan delivered the actual commencement address at MIT. That speech “was a lot longer and maybe not as clever” as the purported Vonnegut address, Sales said.

Much of Schmich’s column – which consists of advice for graduates – sounds like stuff Vonnegut might say: “Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours…. Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how…. Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements…. Do one thing every day that scares you.”

Nobody – least of all Schmich – can figure out why Vonnegut’s name was slapped onto her column. “Some prankster apparently decided it would be funny. Why is it funny? If you can figure that out, you’re a genius,” she said Monday.

Perhaps the act itself wasn’t funny, but some of the fallout has been. First of all, there’s the fact that (ahem) Wired News ran part of the column as its Quote of the Day on Friday. Also, Schmich says she’s gotten as much attention from the incident as just about anything she’s written. “My email’s just flooded with messages,” she says. And she says she’s actually been accused of plagiarizing Vonnegut – and vice versa. On Friday, she managed to reach Vonnegut, who, Schmich says, said the whole thing is “spooky.”

In her column on Monday, Schmich writes that she wrote the piece “one Friday afternoon while high on coffee and M&M’s.” And, she insisted, “it was not art.”

In part, Schmich blames the “cyberswamp” of the Internet for all the trouble. “At newspapers, things like this have to go through a barrier before they go out to the world,” she said. But on the Net “anybody can put anybody’s name on anything.”

Nonetheless, she added, “No one involved in this did anything bad, except the person who started it.”


Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '97:Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now. Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 P.M. on some idle Tuesday. Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself. Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how. Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone. Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room. Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them. Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders. Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

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