The Mill
Oct. 20,  2014;
There are some columns that deserve
to be repeated yearly, for new arrivals,
or even as critical reminders to regular
visitors to this spot.  This is one of
those articles, although it has been
some years since I last delivered it.  
Yes, it would be a bit self-serving to
dip into files (there aren't really any files
here, but let's pretend) to avoid the
pain of having to think of something
new, but there is the possibility that
years of experience will help a
customer avoid a lot of pain and
financial loss.  
 The subject is pipes and divorce.  
Divorce in today's world (Italy, Ireland, I
don't care what country you name,
Catholic or otherwise.  Well, maybe not
Muslim countries.  In those nations I
think they maybe have another way of
taking care of the issue) is a fact of
life.  If you're stupid enough to get
married in, say, your early 20's, you
should place a bet on it.  A bet against
yourself in this instance allows you to
win either way, actually.  
What does divorce have to do with
pipes?  Asking the question proves
your naivete.  It has everything to do
with pipes, mainly your pipes.  Or,
more trenchantly, those pipes that
were once yours.  
No, the ex is not going to garnish the
pipes as part of the settlement.  She
will just make certain you're not going
to keep them.  They will be destroyed,
given away or thrown away.  Your
collection, whether it's a compilation of
brands sold by S.S. Kresge or an
exclusive Swiss tobacco shop, is
“Why, Marty,” you ask, “would you
make such an assertion?  My wife
never exhibited any animosity toward
my pipes, or my purchase of them.  In
fact, she often expressed how much
she liked the smell of them and even
liked to take occasional puffs.”  
I don't question any of that.  But that
was then and this is now, so to speak.  
When the alienation of affection segues
into the legal morass of divorce
proceedings, and the spouse has time
to reflect and synchronize her feelings
with her thoughts [for the sake of this
essay, I am going to assume that the
spouse is female.  I am not sexist; my
experience with this dynamic in same
gender couples is non-existent, and I
prefer to talk only about that which I
know, (unless there's money in it for
me) but I wouldn't be surprised if the
response is exactly the same.  Human
nature is pretty consistent] those pipes
are in jeopardy.  
Think about it.  As warmth, intimacy
and love have dissipated, one party to
the other, the pipe collector has
continued bestowing deep care and
concern to that briar collection.  The
pipes are held, daily.  They are cleaned
and caressed.  Their needs, real or
imagined, are attended to.  Affection
toward them has not waned  an
may even have increased, in some kind
of see-saw as spousal affection has
decreased.  When the collector leaves
the house, the pipe and all its
accoutrements, leave the house, too.  
The nearly ignored spouse does not
leave the house, or leaves alone.  
Indeed, the pipes even get rotated; the
non-pipe-smoking spouse has not
been rotated, as it were, for years.  
All of this adds up to a syndrome that
is designed to turn an otherwise
neutral-toward-pipes wife to a loathing
of pipes, even if it is only a semi-
conscious or even unconscious
loathing.  That hate, directed toward
the object of the collector's love
(assuming, as we will here, that there
is not a co-respondent in this schism)
just has to be expressed.  And I
guarantee you it will be expressed.  
If you need specifics, imagine your
pipes being thrown out of the car
window, one-by-one as the Mrs. drives
down the Interstate for the morning
commute.  Or, think of them being
tossed into the fireplace to bolster the
flames of a cold winter eve, as you are
out at the pub for a pipe and pint.  
Outright smashing, with the male's
best hammer is not unknown, at all,
whereas gentle women might just
avoid any physical violence and bring
them to the local Goodwill, as a friendly
gesture to all the other pipe smokers in
the community, albeit pipe smokers
who have not devastated her.  
Each of these methods, and others,
have been brought to my attention by
customers who have come to me in
need of something to smoke as they try
to psychologically, and economically
regroup but yet too upset to envision a
new collection.  
Your divorce lawyer won't tell you
about this, your best friend or brother
or even your mother or father won't
talk to you about this near-certainty.  
So I have to tell you.  Uncle Marty will
do the tough, dirty work.  
What will Uncle Marty tell you?  Easy.  
He's telling you, right here and now
(and next year, when, again, I can't
think of a column) to get those pipes
out of the house at the first signs of an
inevitable separation.  Do not hesitate
and do not think that your wife, that
admirable woman whom you loved
(maybe still love...that's perfectly OK)
would not do such a thing.  Divorce
must be a terrible event and the
emotions it brings on start as deep
down in a person as emotions go
(with, maybe, the exception of
impending physical violence).  When
they arise from those depths, you, I and
the perpetrator don't know what will
come up.  Something, for sure, has to
arise and under that extreme pressure,
explode.  Don't try to guess when, or if,
that might happen and then have to
write the “Uncle Marty, you were right
yet again”  letter.  Get those pipes to a
Save those pipes.  Save those pipes
because your personal ass,
psychologically, economically and
every other way, is grass.  At least
save those pipes.  They might be your
only solace in the ensuing months.  

P.S. Posted were a gourd Calabash in
like-new condition and an historically
interesting cheroot holder, both on the
Misc. page.
On top of that was added a GBD made
in France on the Specials page,  a 1967
Dunhill, and an Upshall on the English
page, a used Jody Davis on the U.S.
page, a Heiner on the German page
, a
used Lasse and a new Former on

the Danish and two new Il Duca pipes
on the Italian page, including a Stack
and a Morta.

P.P.S.  Very Important Information:
The West Coast Pipe Show is on for
Nov. 8th & 9th this year in Las Vegas.
We want you to come, and you
want to be there.  We all know that..  
Plus, your wife would love to be rid of
you so as to have a weekend of  peace
and quiet and no bloody football. So,
as a slight nudge, here are some
of the attendees.  It's a great line-up.

*Pipe-Makers*  (Not a complete list)
JT Cooke - USA
Jeff Gracik of J Alan Pipes - USA
Adam Remington - USA
Jonas Rosengren - SWEDEN
Adam Davidson - USA
Richard Friedman - USA
Tonni Nielsen - DENMARK/USA
Ernie Markle - USA
Nathan Armentrout - USA
Revs Pipes - USA
JnJ Pipes - USA
Michael Parks - CANADA
Nate King - USA
Werner Mummert - GERMANY
Brad Pohlmann - USA
Todd Johnson & Pete Provost and
Icarus Pipes - USA
Lee Von Erck - USA
Brighton De Los Santos - USA
Colin Rigsby - USA
Scott Klein - USA
Steve Liskey - USA
Premal Chhedda - USA
Jesse Jones - USA
Jerry Crawford - USA
Ryan Alden - USA
Ian Walker- England

*Retailers bringing fine stock* - Mike Glukler
Smoker's Haven of Columbus, Ohio

TPC - TobaccoPipeCollectors - Mike
Brigham Pipes and Brian Levine

*Tobacco People*
Russ Ouellette
Scandinavian Tobacco
MacBaren / Sutliff Tobacco

If you are already coming, and have
taken a table, but are hoping to
somehow find a way to leave the table
in safe hands and walk around the
room, we have a wonderful option for
you.  Mario Persico is not bringing his
marvelous collection this year and
phoned specifically to o
ffer his
services as man servant and watch  
your table as you make a bit of a get
away.  I personally have
known Mario for some decades now,
so your pipes will be in extremely
secure hands.
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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