The Mill
Aug. 24, 2014;
   I have said this before, so please
excuse the repetition, but if you
become Philosopher-King of the
country, I want to be your Truth-in-
Advertising Czar.  (Now that I think of
it, that “czar” connection is apt, as I'll
bring this economy to a crashing halt,
like no Russian ever could, even a
  What reminded me of my life's dream
job was a commercial on the T.V. in
the locker room of the gym I go to to
keep some of my blood flowing at a
lazy pace.  As I was donning a pair of
white socks, I heard this exact line:
KFC, the “world's best chicken.”
That statement has to be  offensive to
anyone housing anything even
resembling taste buds.  Even with a
loose interpretation of what constitutes
“best,” that insult should not be
allowed to stand unchallenged by the
authorities and the public, both.
  I'm not going to dwell on the quality
and/taste of KFC, because there must
be hundreds of equally egregious
commercials cluttering up our lives
and, worse, brainwashing our
children.  (Think about how
susceptible we adults are to whatever
bullshit appears in front of us on the
written page...probably one of the
strong reasons that people take
religious books like the bible, the
koran, the torah, so how
is it  can we calmly expose our children
to the abject lies told to their
undeveloped brains by food and toy
hucksters on Sat. morning T.V.?  The
hucksters are criminal in the lies they
tell and we parents are criminally
negligent in letting the kids see and
hear that crap). Why, then  is there
such an objection to the odious
behavior of the commercial cigarette
companies?   What is different about
what they're doing?  If you smoke 3
packs a day, you're likely to die at 69.  If
you eat a fast food burger once a
week, you'll probably die at 70.  Of
course, with me, it's a burger, a huge
soda and then a cigarette, but a fine,
hand-rolled Stokkebye Danish Export,
for dessert.  Not only should I be
dead... I'm not feeling that great right
  If such stringent regulations can
legally be placed on tobacco products
(amounting to a de facto prohibition)
and nobody has the gonads to fight it,
then I say, go right ahead and ban the
sale of sugary soft drinks on the same
grounds...the grounds being that your
health is not your business.  The
precedent has been established and I
see no reason why people who like
Coca Cola or Dr. Pepper shouldn't
suffer the same way we smokers do.  I
am also deeply concerned, in the way
that only I can be deeply concerned,
that all our little bastards will be
influenced by seeing we grown-ups
drink flavored sugar water and try to
emulate us.  
  Following through logically, eating
things like ice cream in the open
should also be banned, and definitely
not allowed in homes, or cars, where
youngsters are present or likely to be
able to see in.  Misery does like
company sometimes and if I'm going to
be denied the simple, innocent,
harmless pleasure of lighting up a pipe
in the out of doors, others should be
denied their pleasures, as well.  (And
I'm not for States  Rights, either.  I do
believe that I am a Marxist.  As in the
Groucho song, "Whatever It Is, I'm
Against It." )
  Let me reminisce.  Years ago, the
1970's to be more exact, I could go to a
S.F. Giants baseball game, me and
about 1200 others in that big ballpark,
and if I had the extra couple bucks,
could buy a Partagas and watch the
game, keep score, as I like doing, and
puff on that cigar to the rhythm of the
summer game.  Cigars, I think, are
better designed for baseball than are
pipes.  Just an opinion.  Nobody
minded.  No one flung themselves off
the upper deck because they smelled
tobacco burning.    In fact, what stunk
during those years were the S.F.
Giants, not my long fill premium cigar.  
  Now, the new ball park is considered
sold out for every game, no smoking is
allowed even though the patrons are
exposed to the outdoors, and instead
of an hour and fifty minutes, a typical
game probably takes 3 hours.  In short,
my enjoyment of what was once our
national game has pretty much been
destroyed.  I don't think that's
unrepresentative of what is happening
in all spheres on this planet.  The
population is such, and the rules and
laws are such that I am feeling severely
encroached upon.  This is not a rant
against big gov't., (I could be for big
gov't. if I were the Truth-in-Advertising
Czar) although that is an inevitable
outcome, it is the result of 8 billion
people on the planet.  Soon enough, I
suppose, I won't be one of them.    
Quotes & anecdotes from "The Portable Curmudgeon"

I've neglected this box for far too long.  We are up to the letter
"M."  It starts off with quotes on Man.

The earth has a skin and that skin has diseases; one of its
diseases is called man.    Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Man is a puny, slow, awkward, unarmed animal.
                                                      Jacob Bronowski

I love mankind.  It's people I can't stand.  Charles Schulz

To succeed in the world, it is not enough to be stupid, you
must also be well mannered.   Voltaire.

Life is a God-damned, stinking, treacherous game and nine hundred
and ninety-nine men out of a thousand are bastards.
Theodore Dreiser

Literature: proclaiming in front of everyone what one is careful to
conceal from one's immediate circle.     Jean Rostand

For certain people, after fifty, litigation takes the place of sex.
Gore Vidal

London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers of the Empire
are irresistibly drained.                               Arthur Conan Doyle

London, like a bowl of viscid human fluid, boils sullenly over the rim of
its encircling hills and slops messily and uglily into the home counties.
H.G. Wells                                                                                      
The monstrous tuberosity of civilized life, the capital of England.
Thomas Carlyle

Isn't it nice that people who prefer Los Angeles to San Francisco live
there?                                                              Herb Caen

A big hard-boiled city with no more personality than a paper cup.
Raymond Chandler

Everything in Los Angeles is too large, too loud and usually banal in
concept...The plastic asshole of the world.     William Faulkner

I figure you have the same chance of winning the lottery whether you
play or not.                                               Fran Lebowitz

Love is the delightful interval between meeting a beautiful girl and
discovering that she looks like a haddock.  John Barrymore

Love is the state in which man sees things most decidedly as they are
not.                                                               Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

A temporary insanity curable by marriage.             Ambrose Bierce

The delusion that one woman differs from another.
H.L. Mencken

In the forties, to get a girl you had to be a GI or a jock.  In the Fifties to
get a girl you had to be Jewish.  In the Sixties, to get a girl you had to be
black.  In the Seventies, to get a girl you've got to be a girl.
Mort Sahl

By the time you swear you're his,
Shivering and sighing,
And he vows his passion is
Infinite, undying--
One of you is lying.                                          Dorothy Parker

Many a man in love with a dimple makes the mistake of marrying the
whole girl.                                                                       Stephen Leacock

Many a man has fallen love with a girl in a light so dim he would not
have chosen a suit by it.                                         Maurice Chevalier

It is a mistake to speak of a bad choice in love, since as soon as a
choice exists, it can only be bad.                         Marcel Proust

It's possible to love a human being if you don't know them too well.
Charles Bukowski

Love is only a dirty trick played on us to achieve the continuation of the
species.                                                                        W. Somerset Maugham

The only true love is love at first sight; second sight dispels it.
Israel Zangwill

Boy Meets Girl.  So What?                                       Bertolt Brecht
This photo was taken only days before my beloved San Francisco
store, Sherlock's Haven,  was closed for good in June of '06, thereby
diminishing the quality of life on this planet no little and quite some.  
The man to my right was my trusty pipe tobacco and cigar taste-tester,
Johnson, of the sensitive palate.  He is now  plying his trade in
Phoenix.  The tall gent behind him is Jimmy Walker, hand picked to be
my successor until lease negotiations broke down.  The hoodlum
looking character to my left is my good friend and Consigliere, Steve
Brunner.  Among the regulars are a number who are still friends and
with whom I have regular intercourse.  There has never been a more
congenial spot than Sherlock's Haven, the Camelot of tobacco stores.  
As its proprietor is how I'd like to be remembered.
I wanted to caption this photo, "I knew more about pipes when I was
seven than you know now," but my P.R. firm nixed that idea.  So, let's
try, "With the pristine palate that accompanies youth, Marty smokes a
blend without a full complement of Latakia for the first time in his life."
I don't actually know what was going through my mind at the time, but
the photo was taken circa 1950, and probably in Williamsburg, Virginia.
(And no, I did not actually smoke a pipe until I was 18 years old, really.)
Shortly after my mother met my wife, she told Joy that all it took to
keep me happy in the back seat of our 1938 LaSalle during our annual
one week vacations was a pipe in my mouth and a cap on my head.  
Joy responded with the fact that nothing has changed except that now
I'm in the front seat.  
Above is my sister, with whom I contentiously shared that large back
seat, and my father.  The sweater was knitted by my Aunt Rae.  The
site was most probably Niagara Falls and the year 1949.  I'm guessing.
Welcome to Pulvers Briar
This website is devoted to pipes and my enjoyment of talking
about and showing them.  For your part, I hope you derive some
pleasure in seeing and reading about briar and meerschaum
There are plenty of pipe websites and lots of good pipes other
than mine.  What will distinguish my site from most of the others
is the willingness to voice my  opinion in the relatively rare
occurrence when a pipe is not superior, or has a noticeable flaw.
Mostly, I'm pleased with the pipes I choose to offer for sale, both
in pipe quality and price.  But please, look and decide for
You will see new and used pipes for sale, the new often having
been hand picked and the used always having been cleaned
and reconditioned and ready for you to smoke upon arrival.  
Please enjoy your time spent here today, and please come back
I'm almost always happy to hear from you and to field your
questions, concerns, ideas or other input.
Feel free to write.
Marty Pulvers
Pulvers' Prior Briar
P.O. Box 61146
Palo Alto, CA  94306

(650) 965-7403
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