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         The Mill
Nov. 21, 2015;
   " Cogitation with decent, altruistic, well
educated males while sharing a pipe is the only
shortcut to better world conditions I've been
able to spot."

  I wanted to get that quote in before I attend to
any other business on this site because it
comes in not from a famous person, but rather
from a customer.  A customer with superb
academic credentials, but we're not discussing
academics here, we're looking for as short a cut
to a better world as possible.  Why, I'll aver that
if a poll were taken among every single person
reading that quote, it would receive unanimous
assent.  But that's just a guess.
  Nor is the quotee a male chauvinist pig (to the
best of my limited knowledge).  He just doesn't
think that the distaff would try to take that short
cut through the tobacco field.  But he's more
than willing to listen to any good plan
have, as long as it includes letting us si on the
porch, swing, sip and smoke our pipes.

he other business I want to discuss
concerns money.  
Money catches the attention of most people,
and the reason I'm thinking of it is not a matter
of desperation, but rather one of bemusement.  
In the Friday paper I came across a full page ad
by Sotheby's, the auction house but now also,
evidently, a real estate firm, albeit not one that  
is interested in l
isting you and your hovel.   One
in that ad of 30 pictured homes
caught my eye
because it is listed for
sale at $159,000,000 (marked down, I
guess, from $160,000,000).  I looked at

the number 3 times, thinking that my brain
added an extra trio
of 0s.  No, I
read it right.  If you
are interested, it is in Florida, and that surprised
me, too.  I do not see giving that kind of money
for the whole state of Florida, but that is just
showing my bias and will
undoubtedly lose me some customers who lov
e their home state, as they should...until they
go somewhere else and s
ee the light.  
  Seeing that p
rice caused me to look further
into the ad, although we are not thinking of

moving or buying another house.
listed out here, in Sonoma County (a
couple counties north of San Francisco) is a
140 acre
ranch and is marked "price upon
request."  Since the ad belongs to the same
company that has no compunction about
publicly asking for $159,000,000 for a house,
this must truly be one of those classics for
which, if you have to ask the price you can't
afford it.   I can hear the conversation now.  My
rich cousin decides to move out to Calif.  He
likes the idea of some elbow room and the smell
of cow shit, so he calls Sotheby's.  "Sotheby's
International Realty,
may I help you?"
  "Yes, I would like to inquire about the asking
price on a property you have listed...a 140 acre
ranch in Sonoma County, Calif."
  "Listen, bud, if you have to ask the price on
that property, clearly you can't afford it," as the
phone slams down and I lose another
opportunity to have my cousin move a bit
  If you are looking to buy, but want something
a bit less expensive, you can try Darien, CT.  
Clearly a depressed community, you can pick
up something in the 5 BR, 6 bath size for under
$4.5 million.  It's just that I'm not up to returning
to the North East for winters.
  My home, a very modest, quite small lean-to
with a 4th wall, the thing having been thrown up
right after WWII to house returning servicemen,
is notable for another reason, and one that real
estate people the world over
recognize...location, location, location.  We are
not in a shaded glen, or on a beautiful street
(but the neighbors are friendly).  It's the huge
red X painted on my roof.  It's a flat roof,
making that X visible to 'incoming.'  See, we live
in what is the heart of Silicon Valley (aka Santa
Clara Valley, my preferred designation) and with
the convenience of that flat roof, all of the
enemies of the U.S., including Russia, North
Korea, Iran and now ISIS (maybe Venezuela, but
I don't think they had the cash to chip in for
their share of the red paint) have targeted the
Silicon Valley because of its value as a n
center for the nation.  What are they going to
use to pinpoint their ICBMs?  My home, o
course, with the big red X painted on the roof.
It is not 100% ground zero, but with the

detonation power of today's weapons, it is
close enough and the flat roof makes for a
perfect homing
-in landmark.  

  Thanksgiving is a mu
ch greater time consumer
than Christmas as I do the bulk of the
.   I mention this because I do not
want to hear any flack if pipes are not posted.  
Even if I posted some, it would be a strain to
pack and ship.  But, I might post a few, so you
certainly encouraged to take a peek if you
so I am working on my Thanksgiving poem.  
When I become national Advertising Czar, it will
be a requirement that every single Black Friday
ad i
nclude an original Thanksgiving poem,
thereby providing, hopefully, some work f
 starving poets.  (How many of them
deserve to starve is another topic.)  This could
make up for the damage done to the
clerks of
the involved stores
who are forced to come in
at ridiculous hours
right after Thanksgiving.  
  See what happens when I start typing?  I
should not be allowed near a keyboard.
  In Advance, Happy Thanksgiving.
  Wait, wait...I'm not done yet.  My wife has the
TV on, and I just saw where Mark Zuckerberg
has donated $75 million, or maybe it's $175, to
an S.F. hospital.  He's the punk who owns most
of Facebook, which I do not patronize.  My face
would not enhance business.
I am irritated, though.  For the a
nnouncement of
the g
ift, the S.F. Mayor, and other dignitaries, I
imagine, appeared in proper
attire: suits, ties.   
, instead,  stood in front of the
audience in a T-shirt.  It was pocketless,
boot.  So, having money absolves one of good
manners?  Is he so disdainful of all of us that he
doesn't believe he has to show respect to those
to whom he is donating money?  I am hardly
ocially  conservative, but I am old and
enough that I have a belief in good
being a sign of respect.  Could I
defend that
position in a philosophical debate?  
No, I
suppose not.  Still, I think the position has
validity.  What do any, or all, of you
think?  Am I
nothing but an old idiot or does
respect extend o the way you present yourself
to others?  

If you were going to a close friend's for
anything more than a casual dinner, wouldn't
you put on at least a shirt with a collar?  I would
like some insight from you.  My e-mail address
is Mpulvers@aol.com.  

Quotes & anecdotes from "The Portable Curmudgeon"

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.

Manners are especially the need of the plain.  The pretty can get away
with anything.                                   Evelyn Waugh

He marries best who puts it off until it is too late.  H.L. Mencken

All tragedies are finished by death.  All comedies are ended by a
marriage.                                               Lord Byron

When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most
insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are
required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal and
exhausting condition until death do them part.   George Bernard Shaw

A ceremony in which rings are put on the finger of the lady and through
the nose of the gentleman.                Herbert Spencer

A friendship recognized by the police.    Robert Louis Stevenson

The dread of loneliness is greater than the fear of bondage, so we get
married.       Cyril Connolly

I got married the second time in the way that, when a murder is
committed, crackpots turn up at the police station to confess the
crime.                                 Delmore Schwartz

It is often pleasant to stone a martyr, no matter how mch we admire
him.                                     John Barth

There is a certain impertinence in allowing oneself to be burned for an
opinion.                               Anatole France

Women want mediocre men, and men are working hard to become as
mediocre as possible.                           Margaret Mead

The main difference between men and women is that men are lunatics
and women are idiots.                          Rebecca West

Method acting?  There are quite a few methods.  Mine involves a lot of
talent, a glass and some cracked ice.       John Barrymore

Military justice is to justice what military music is to music.
Georges Clemenceau

Make money and the whole nation will conspire to call you a gentleman.
George Bernard Shaw

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