Celebrating the Long Way 'Round
Today is Columbus Day, named in honor of the Italian fellow who sailed Westward towards a seemingly endless, empty, and rolling horizon in search of shorter and less dangerous route to the lucrative trade to be had in the Far East. Those who know their history, know it had nothing to do with "proving the earth was round" – that was already considered the model amongst the educated of his time, and mathematical calculations regarding the circumference of the globe had been floating around since the heyday of the ancient Greeks. Indeed, much of the dismissal Christopher Columbus’s proposed venture received went along the lines of "You're going the long way around, you ninny!" Which, as it turned out, he was.
More importantly, there was a considerable obstacle waiting to block his path, in the form of two rather large continents, which, as it just happened, would prove to stretch nearly from pole to pole. Sadly, not having attained the goal he set out with, the old explorer went to his grave believing all his efforts to be a complete wash. (Things didn't go too stunningly for the natives, either - tens of thousands of years of relative cultural and biological isolation from the European, African, and Asian continents may have spared them from Alexander the Great, the Black Death, the Huns and Mongols, and so forth, but it had its consequences as well.) One silver lining, however, was that he just happened to run smack into Cuba along his way, where some of his men discovered the native Tainos engaged in an extremely curious pastime: Rolling a strange leaf, of curious properties, in wrappers of palm or plantain, lighting one end on fire, and then puffing away at the resultant smoke. As absurd as this practice may no doubt have seemed to their eyes, some of them gave it a try (they were sailors, after all), only to discover... that it was fantastic.
And sure enough, within less than a century the practice had caught on like wildfire, while just as surely, various self-styled potentates were scolding happy smokers for engaging in the practice – all for their own good, of course. And so here we are, some several centuries later, still enjoying ourselves as we please. Those potentates themselves are long gone, and so too the power of their dynasties, but today we happily have at hand a vast cornucopia, an ever more refined and improved variety of artisan blends and cigars, which to those first curious sailors would have seemed even more unimaginable than the original practice of those anonymous natives once was.
So it is that today, in honor of this long tradition of enduring contrariness, we're happy to bring you yet another fresh update. This Monday you'll find for your edification a fine, globe-spanning selection of briars including artisanal pieces by J&J, as well as the offerings of Tsuge, Dunhill, Rinaldo, Radice, Peterson, Savinelli, Vauen, Sebastien Beo, and Butz-Choquin. Joining them of course are plenty of estate pipes, as well as some new additions to our accessories department – and finally, and rather fittingly, several excellent sampler packs by Ghurka, Punch, and CAO.
Eric Squires: Copywriter
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