The Mill
Jan. 20, 2017
I'm not, and never have been, a cigarette smoker,
although I'm not above rolling something good, like a
Stokkebye Danish blend, especially if we're on a trip in
Europe and that is the easiest, most convenient way
to get an after-dinner smoke when a pipe isn't an
Yet, there are others who are natural born cigarette
lovers, and while many work hard to extinguish the
habit, the pleasure they derived from inhaling that
tobacco is something that haunts them regularly.
Maybe it's like a person who, for health reasons (or
imagined health reasons) has gone vegetarian, but still
longs for great barbecue.
Some years back, I bought a book called,  
Are Sublime
, and it's somewhere on one of my
bookshelves, but I've never read it.  I think it's a paean
to cigarettes by a professor, and to have even been
published is a positive  testimony to the book's
readability.  Well, that's my take on it.  I could be more
authoritative if I had read it, couldn't I?
In this past Wednesday's New York Times book
review, Dwight Garner, among all the books he could
highlight, reviews
Nicotine by Gregor Hens.  Hens is a
German writer and this book is translated into English
by Jen Calleja.  I mention Jen because translating is
so hard to do and brutally difficult to do well.  
I've no reason to recommend the book.  I haven't read
it and the review doesn't propel me to the local
bookstore.  It's the quote at the end of the review that
brought me, and thoughts of the book, to this page,
and I'll get to that soon enough.  It does occur to me to
tell people like Hens that they don't have to go so cold
turkey all the time.  If they love their cigarettes so
much, why don't they just smoke, say, five or less per
day.  It won't kill them, and I'm sure it's not as bad as
inhaling car exhaust fumes, & tire and brake particles,
which they do all day, every day.  And the excuse that
"once I start, I can't stop," is probably just will power
bullshit.  They're already proven they can stop for long
periods, and have probably done that numerous times
in their adult lives.  And if he's living in Germany, what
he's eating will probably kill him quicker than
cigarettes.  On one of our pipe-buying trips to
Germany during the winter, when vegetables and
fruits are near non-existent (and remember, I'm a
Californian) it came to me that we didn't need to bomb
Germany during WWII.  If we had just sent them all the
food they wanted to eat, they would have killed
themselves in two years.  (And to think that some
people call me cynical...)
Dwight Garner, the reviewer is an ex-cigarette
smoker, which is maybe why he chose to review this
book.  He confesses that "Some of us who quit years
ago like to imagine that we will start again at the end
of our lives."  He finishes with a line I had not heard
before, maybe you have: "We agree with the English
writer Charles Lamb, who hoped that 'the last breath I
draw in this world will be through a pipe, and exhaled
in a pun.' "
P.S. J
ust posted were two Buteras and a Will Purdy on
the U.S. page.  Check 'em out.

Pease Southlinch from 2002 NASPC show. $90
Friedman & Pease Winter's Tale.  $100
Balkan Sobranie Virginia # 10 50 grams. 4 tins.  
$290 each.  
New Tins arrived, including
Mephisto, Blackpoint, Abingdon, and a bunch of
others from 2003 and starting @ $40 a tin.  
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

When an opera star sings her head off, she usually improves her
appearance.                                            Victor Borge

If you leave the smallest corner of your head vacant for a moment,
other people's opinions will rush in from all quarters.
George Bernard Shaw

The amount of noise which anyone can bear undisturbed stands in
inverse proportion to his mental capacity.
Arthur Schopenhauer

I can forgive Alfred Nobel for having invented dynamite, but only a fiend
in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize.   G.B. Shaw

Assassins!      Arturo Toscanini to his orchestra.  

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

Nature is a hanging judge.                            Anonymous

The murals in restaurants are on a par with the food in museums.
Peter DeVries

A mother-in-law dies only when another devil is needed in hell.
Francois Rabelais

Getting out of bed in the morning is an act of false confidence.
Jules Feiffer

On Marilyn Monroe: She was good at playing abstract confusion in the
same way a midget is good at being short.    Clive James

Morality is a disease which progresses in three stages:
virtue--boredom--syphilis.                                    Karl Kraus
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