To quote the fine people behind the 24 Hours of LeMons (a specialty racing series for vehicles-of-questionable-provenance-or-mechanical-integrity) on organizing last year's Southern Discomfort event: "Weather: Clear and mild, or muggy and miserable, or freezing rain alternating with shine...who the hell knows? It's the Carolinas in February." Well, for this Monday what we've been dealt is a break from clear-and-cold in the form of muggy-with-alternating-rain-and-sunshine. I won't complain though, as it's still providing a rather fine atmosphere for a good English blend.
The on-again, off-again downpour has, however, delayed today's scheduled commencement of our office's long-awaited "Big Barn Cat Project", a team-building exercise being spearheaded by one young go-getter known as Katie Ranalli. Over the past few years, you see, the stray cat population that inhabits the Smokingpipes "campus" has been building steadily in numbers, litter, upon litter, upon litter, and is now threatening to reach a critical mass wherein feline outnumbers human. Each night as we walk to our cars, there of late seems to be more and more fiercely-shining little eyes watching us from the shadows. It's probably also getting rather more expensive for those of us who insist on feeding the blasted blessed furry darlings. (John, Lisa, I'm looking at you.) The stated goal is to capture them one-by-one, and have them fixed.
I myself have been drafted into this humanitarian (felinitarian?) endeavor on the basis that I grew up with cats. The the only one that was considered to actually be "mine" (only technically speaking, of course; he had some very different opinions) was a big, ill-tempered, unusually tenacious mongrel of questionable origins who once nearly cost me an eye is unimportant. Then again, perhaps the roughly eighteen years of experience in handling a semi-feral, domesticated-in-name-only predator which that particular fur-ball granted me is indeed why Sykes chose me to volunteer as a part of this little adventure. Still, with the good, sturdy raccoon trap we've generously been provided with, I'm confident we'll carry it all off at least mostly unharmed. Besides, what are a few emergency rabies shots when it's all for a good cause, after all? I'd alternatively suggested either creating a number of cardboard boxes rigged with one-way-only, bamboo-spiked entrances (we all know how cats cannot resist a good cardboard box), or the procurement of several South American bolas, but alas those were all vetoed by the rest of the project's (predominately female) volunteer pool.
I bring this subject to attention, of course, to show that we here at Smokingpipes really do care -- not just about you, our customers, but even for society's lesser, more potentially dangerous and/or flea-ridden creatures as well.
And on that note, while our local feline population may now be able to look forward towards a less Malthusian future, you, of course, can look forward to more fresh pipes -- today, right now. With this Monday's update we're happy to present to you new artisanal pieces by none other than Michael Parks, joined by quality offerings from Luigi Radice and sons, plus Castello as well. Following those up we have great selections from the likes of Mogens "Johs" Johansen, France's own Sebastien Beo, and the popular marques Tsuge, Savinelli, Petersonn, Butz-Chouqin, and Vauen. You'll also find plenty of estate-pipe offerings, some new smoking accessories, and cigars by both Perdomo and Arturo Fuente.
Eric Squires: Copywriter