Saturday, June 25, 2011

Saturday at the Hut - 6/25/11

It was a fun day at The Tobacco Hut where the time just seemed to fly by. I got there around 12:30 and Joe K had just arrived. I settled in with one of the Crown Viking freehands I bought from Lou a couple years ago. Filled with G.L. Pease's Chelsea Morning tobacco, it was a wonderful smoke. Chelsea Morning consists of Virginias, Orientals, Latakia and a pinch of Perique. The Latakia is in just the right amount to balance out the sweetness of the Virginias. In every puff, the pungent Cyprus Latakia reminded me that this is why I love English tobaccos so much.

Joe took delight in pointing out that those wacky liberals in New York state passed the gay marriage law yesterday. I was wearing my "Think Outside the Fox" t-shirt, so I was able to ward off any political attacks with ease. That and my NPR shirt are like Superman capes, able to withstand any right wing assaults.

Peter arrived shortly thereafter and handed me my first order for promotional products! Thank you Peter - very much appreciated! He also purchased four more of Paula's paper bead bracelets. Another big thank you to Peter! I got a closer look at his new car today, the Kia Soul, later in the afternoon. What a cool car. It appears relatively small, but is actually quite roomy on the inside. Very stylish as well.

Ed B arrived and we ended up talking movies, TV shows, and old comedians. We remarked how Peter Falk had passed away yesterday, and talked about other really old actors, many of whom we thought were already dead. In fact, Peter mentioned a Boston DJ who runs a sort of dead pool on aging actors. Wasn't there a pretty poor Dirty Harry sequel called, in fact, "The Dead Pool"? I wonder if Clint Eastwood is on this dead pool...

Scott R's brother-in-law Jeff came in and bought some cigars. He's been in before, but we've never really talked to him. He stayed for awhile so it was nice to get to know him. I don't think he planned on staying as long as he did, especially without actually smoking a cigar, but he obviously experienced the lure of the Hut and got sucked into the conversation.

We covered a myriad of subjects, from why the Rays' attendance is so poor, DirecTV versus Verizon FIOS versus Brighthouse, and even computer networking (Jeff's specialty). I hope we see more of Jeff in Saturdays to come.

Speaking of Scott R, he e-mailed me a couple photos from his recent stay in Maine. As many of you know, he has migrated northward and is now settled in his hometown of Palmyra, New York. Here are those photos, posted with Scott's permission. Nice shots, Scott - keep 'em coming!

Photos from Scott R's recent visit to Maine
(Click to enlarge)
Toward the end of the day, it was just Lou and me, and we talked about some of the various trips and vacations we've taken over the years. He said that one of his most memorable trips was when he and Dotty drove to Maine and beyond, eventually ending up in the Peggy's Cove area of Nova Scotia, back in the late 1960's. I was in Peggy's Cove just a couple years ago, so am posting this picture just for Lou. I took it just a few minutes before the fog rolled in completely and obscured most of the view. Hope it brings back good memories for you, Lou!
Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia
(Click to enlarge)
Lou asked me if Paula and I were going out to dinner tonight and I said no, she was preparing Shepherd's Pie for us. Lou remarked that he had never had it, so I explained what was in it and he said it sounded pretty good. Indeed it was, Lou! In fact, if you follow this link to Paula's blog, Positively Perfectly Paula, she put the recipe up for all to enjoy. We shared this recipe, which was actually my mother's, a couple years ago with a friend of ours and she loved it so much she fixed it six times in a month's time for her and her husband!

Well, at the risk of turning this into a cooking blog, I better sign off now!

 - Bob

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Saturday at the Hut - 6/18/11

Today was the much-anticipated Father's Day Celebration at The Tobacco Hut, and we had a nice turnout. I'll do rollcall in a moment, but first a shout out to Darryl G and Lou for putting everything together. Darryl supplied wings, chips, pretzels, peanuts, and even adult beverages. Lou - well, Dotty - supplied delicious homemade cookies. I brought in a tray of pinwheel-rollup-appetizer things that Paula picked up at Target.

We had quite a few in attendance this afternoon: the aforementioned Darryl and his son Greg, Joe K, Vic, Peter G, Box Ed, Major Ed, Preacher Jim, Barry C, Tarpon Cop Scott, Kevin & Paul (don't know their last names, but see them from time to time), and another guy of whom I don't know his first or last name.

Vic was kind enough to bring in a supply of homemade liverwurst. A friend of his in upstate New York makes it and Vic brought in a tube(?) of it. What is the "unit" that liverwurst is sold in? Sleeve, tube, carton...? I don't know. Anyway, Vic brought it in with some crackers and Joe made a beeline to it. There wasn't much left by the time the party ended, so it was definitely a hit.

Before I go on, I had to figure out how liverwurst is sold. I mean, you say "block", "round", or "wedge" of cheese, or by the slice. I realize you could just indicate that you wanted, say, 8 oz. of liverwurst. But what was the actual package called? As always, Google is my friend. Apparently, it is called a "chub." So what Vic brought us was a chub of liverwurst. Now I went to the dictionary and discovered that a "chub" is also the "common name for Leuciscus cephalus, a thick-bodied European river fish with a gray-green back and white underparts, popular with anglers." Are you reading this, Scott R? The next time you're in Europe, make sure to fish for chubs.

We also had two new arrivals at the Hut today to enjoy the festivities, Alan & Daphne. They've been in before, but this is the first time they've stayed for awhile, at least on a Saturday. Wanting to give them a proper introduction here on the blog, I was careful to ask for the spelling of Alan's name, but I was remiss in asking how Daphne spelt her name, so I'm assuming it is "Daphne". I believe there are other ways to spell it, like "Daphnie", but hopefully I've gotten it correct. In any case, the name is an old one, originating in the Greek language and means "laurel tree". I knew it was of Greek origin, but had to look up the meaning. Sorry Alan, I have no idea where your name comes from or what it means! BTW, Alan and Daphne, I usually send out e-mail notices when the blog goes out so, if you want, send me your e-mail addresses and I'll add you to the mailing list. Hope to see you both again soon.

Ohioans were in abundance today at the Hut - Alan, Box Ed, and I are all from Cleveland, Lou is from Columbus, and I believe Joe was born in the Dayton area. Daphne, Vic, and Barry are all from New York. Peter, of course, is from Bahston, as in "pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd."

When we speak of who was here today, one immediately thinks of who wasn't here. Three notable absences include Steve B, Tom L, and Adrian R. Steve was probably busy with work or Miss December, Tom indicated earlier that he was busy with his son at a hockey tournament, but Adrian. Apparently Adrian has no problem showing up during the week, but when I am there on Saturdays, he's suddenly a no show. The last time we played chess, he beat me three games in a row, and I've been anxious for a rematch. I've said tongue-in-cheek lately that he's not been in attendance on Saturdays recently because he wants to hold onto his crown, but now I'm convinced of it. C'mon Adrian, where the hell are you?

Also hope to have seen Paul V today - he's always fun to talk to and is extremely knowledgeable on a myriad of subjects.

Scott R was absent but he's slowly making his way to upstate New York, so he gets a pass. I know he wanted to be here for the party and was hoping to master the "be in two places at once" trick but hasn't mastered it yet. Leave the magic to me, Scott!

Mike G actually made an appearance from Tennessee. Well, not an actual appearance, but one by phone. Knowing that Lou was giving away free cigars for the event, Mike called hoping that would be enough to score a free one or two, but no dice. Apparently Lou didn't even give him a raffle ticket for a chance to win a prize. Sorry, Mike, maybe if Lou has an extra hat he can mail it up to you. Good to talk to you, by the way.

The party started at 1:00, but Joe and I had the same idea and that was to arrive about an hour early to secure good seats. I got there about noon and Joe shortly thereafter. Darryl and Greg were already there so, in fact, we were just able to get our traditional seats. Thanks to Greg for letting the old man (Joe) have the comfy chair.

I gave out some more of Clipper Pens and hope to secure some orders for them. Kevin looked at it and said, "Oh, Scott (R) has pens with this logo on them". Great, no orders from Kevin now as he'll be buying from Scott - LOL!

I finished up Paula's website this past week for her new line of paper bead bracelets. Peter's wife Stacey likes the two she bought a lot and will be selling a few of them at a local restaurant they frequent. Take a look at the website and if you'd like a bracelet for your wife, mother, girlfriend, sister, aunt, grandmother, daughter, etc., let me know. They make great Mother's Day gifts too - start shopping now for next year!

As many of you know, Joe's son James K got married recently. They apparently had a lovely wedding on Davis Island (of course, we wouldn't know since none of us got invited for some reason) and their wedding was featured in the most recent issue of Tampa Bay Weddings Magazine. Shot by Ashley Brooke Photography, the magazine put a nice piece together about the event. Here's a link to Ashley's blog and the article on their wedding. Great article, and fantastic only fear now is that James's head will grow even bigger now that he's been featured in a magazine.

Alas, there were only two pipe smokers in the room, Box Ed and me. I was smoking some Tinder Box Reserve 1928 in the Cassano pipe I got in Boston a year ago and Ed was enjoying some of Lou's Baker Street in the meerschaum I gave him. Baker Street has it all, great taste if you're the smoker and a wonderful room note if you're nearby inhaling the light, slightly sweet aroma.

Congratulations to Preacher Jim who just purchased a 1978 Corvette. It sounds like it's quite the hot rod and hopefully he'll drive it to the Hut next time he comes up. Would love to see it. I might even pray that I get to drive it around the block!

Thanks to everyone who came out today. I think we all had a great time and thanks again to Lou and Darryl.

 - Bob

P.S. Joe took a couple pictures with his iPhone and was supposed to send them to me. As soon as he figures out how to send them, I'll post them here.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saturday at the Hut - 6/11/11

Congratulations to me! I didn't realize last week as I was writing the blog that it was my 100th Sweetest Smoke blog post. I started it in late 2008 and have had a lot of fun along the way. I don't think I've strayed too far from the initial goal of talking about pipe smoking and the "sweepings from the local tobacco shop." I hope you have enjoyed reading the blog and that you've been able to keep abreast of what's happening each week at The Tobacco Hut.

I've begun two other non-related blogs recently, with an eye toward promoting some side businesses of mine. You can read Bullseye Marketing Tips and the Seneca Promo Idea Blog at the links provided, and I'm thinking about expanding my writing to other venues. There are some websites out there that pay a few bucks per article written, on a wide variety of subjects - some even pay for photography - so I might start exploring them a little.

Joe K, Darryl G, and Peter G were in attendance today. Darryl confirmed that he was bringing wings for next week's Father's Day party and Lou said that some his vendors have supplied some items for raffle prizes.

Scott R has sent me a couple e-mails during his slow journey to the north. The latest dispatch was from the mountains of North Carolina where he was enjoying a 63ยบ morning on the front porch. Continued safe travels, my friend.

If anyone's keeping a tally, today I smoked a bowl of Baker Street in a Crown Viking freehand. 

Peter's new ride.
As I mentioned last week, Peter survived a harrowing car accident the week before last, totaling his Chevy HHR. He rolled up today with a brand new Kia Soul. It's a great looking car - very unique and stylish. Congratulations Peter - have fun with it!

As I drove home, Monty Python's famous Argument Clinic sketch ran through my head for no particular reason:

Until next time.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Saturday at the Hut - 6/4/11

A few of the regulars were missing today at The Tobacco Hut. Joe K told us in advance that he wasn't going to make it and Scott R is stomping around the bayous of Louisiana, taking the scenic route to New York. I don't know the whereabouts of anybody else, but Peter G showed up as promised. 

Peter was close to never showing up again as he had a harrowing car accident a couple days ago. He was on I-75 coming home from work on Thursday when someone cut him off, causing him to swerve off the road. After a couple barrel rolls, he ended up on his roof but - thank you Jesus!* - he was okay. Just a couple minor cuts on his arm. Glad he's still among us and not one of Tom Dobies' customers just yet. *The "thank you Jesus" line was for you, Joe!

Peter and I had a good conversation about marketing, advertising, and the wholesale food business. Peter's back in the industry that he knows inside and out and just a few weeks from being cut loose from the training program. As a former restaurant owner and food service account executive, Peter's knowledge of restaurant operations, marketing, and food service in general is impressive. More importantly, you can tell he's passionate about the business. 

Today found me smoking a David Jones rusticated Canadian. From the first light of the Tinder Box Reserve 1928 to finally dumping out the fine gray ash, it was an incredible smoke. I've raved about this tobacco before, but I continue to enjoy it. I was getting a little low on it, so recently purchased a replacement can from my former manager, Mike Spicer, at the Tinder Box in Dublin, Ohio. 

A few weeks ago I decided to start properly storing the half-opened tins of various tobaccos I had laying around. I went to Ace Hardware and purchased a dozen 4-oz. Mason jars. Once home, I carefully poured the contents of each tobacco tin into a jar. Some of the tobaccos were a little dry, so I filled a humistat with water and placed it in with the tobacco. Put the lids on and screwed them on tightly. I should have done this a long time ago, because all my tobaccos are now fresh and don't dry out as they did with just a plastic lid on the original tin.

Lou reports that several of his cigar vendors have supplied him with prizes to raffle off at the Father's Day celebration on Saturday, June 18th. The party starts at 1 PM and will feature food, beverage, and the aforementioned prizes. There will also be a wet t-shirt contest. Okay, I made that last part up. But mark the date and make sure to tell a friend. Hope to see lots of people there!

Paper Bead Bracelet
crafted by Paula
(Click to enlarge)
Time for a shameless many of you know, my wife Paula makes jewelry in her spare time. She has recently discovered a unique kind of bead, made of paper from recycled magazines by women in Uganda. The beads are imported by a company out of Colorado and made available to beaders throughout the U.S. Each bead is different and Paula has started making bracelets out of the beads. The women who make the beads have raised themselves out of abject poverty through the sale of their beads, and Paula has sold quite a few so far. They're only $5 apiece, and if you're interested in one, just let me know, and I can bring it next week to the Hut.

One more shameless plug, if you're a small business owner interested in maximizing your marketing efforts, surf on over to a blog I've started recently titled Bullseye Marketing Tips. Its mission is to provide marketing tips and strategies especially for small businesses. Take a look and let me know what you think!

Thank you!
 - Bob