Saturday, January 23, 2010

Peterson's Perfect Plug (3P's)

I tried out some 3P's, or Peterson's Perfect Plug, yesterday. The "plug" part of the name is certainly accurate. Inside the oversized tin was a very firmly packed little rectangular biscuit of tobacco, which requires a fairly sharp knife if you want to cut it with ease. I recommend cutting criss-crosses on the end of the block before paring off a thin slice, which should then easily fall away into smokable-sized bits. Having some previous experience with Peterson tobaccos, I opened the tin the day before and unsealed the tobacco from the little plastic pouch and let it air out (with the lid on the tin) for 24 hours.

In the pipe, I found the tobacco easy to pack without packing too densely. Several tries were necessary to get it well-lit, probably because the chunks on top were too large, but once well-lit, it stayed lit. The tobacco, a Virginia mix with some burley, has a very little more burley than I would like, but still very pleasant. I think 3P's may be more similar to Dunhill's Royal Yacht than anything else I've smoked lately, especially in flavor (no burley in the Yacht, though). As for nicotine strength, I'd give 3Ps a six out of ten--enough to overwhelm someone who's not used to smoking, especially if they tackle a big bowlful, but satisfying for the experienced, regular smoker. I'll want to have several more bowls before deciding how much more to stow away, but anyone who likes Dunhill's Royal Yacht, Peterson's University Flake, or even Irish Flake will probably like 3P's.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I wonder how many pipe smokers are, like me, into bikes (as in bicycles, not motorcycles). Not too many, I'd guess. But regardless, check out the pictures at
They prove that the mere fact that a bicycle CAN exist doesn't necessarily prove it SHOULD exist.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Three of my favorite things . . . .

The book is Atlas, by Glen Baxter. If you like The Far Side (Gary Larson), you'll probably like Baxter, too. The knife is there (a Victorinox, better known perhaps as the Swiss Army knife people) because it's the only tool I used to make the pipe. Right, a pipe made using only a pocket knife. And it does smoke well. If interested in details, send me an email at

Monday, January 11, 2010

Another image from Bouguereau ("Venus" detail from the Wikipedia page).
Wikipedia has a good page--lots of details and many images--on Bouguereau, the artist who did this painting. It's called "Evening Mood."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

One of my favorite pipes: 3/4" by 1" tobacco chamber, bowl made of maple, shank of poplar, mouthpiece of oak. I made it in November 0f 2007 out of woods that grew right here on Fisher Ridge in Hart County, Kentucky. (I'd rather smoke the worst pipe I made myself than the best pipe from Dunhill--I'm just funny that way, I guess.) This snowy afternoon I've been smoking some Peterson's University Flake in it--a superb tobacco, if you like straight tobaccos, a bit on the strong side (6 or 7 out of ten on the nicotine scale, I'd guess). But open the tin and leave it to age (lid on) for several days or a week, or it will taste quite waxy the first bowl or two.
The books are Black Oak: Winter Night, in a series by Charles Grant, who wrote one of the X-Files books. Pretty good so far, though it's the third in the series and I think one would do well to start with the first book. They're all available on Amazon, I've noticed. Also, there's Burning Chrome, short stories by William Gibson (who also wrote an episode of the X-Files). One of my favorite writers--I've read everything he's written, except a couple of the stories in this collection. On the bottom of the stack is Goodnight, Nobody, short stories by Michael Knight. He's a southern writer (teaches at university of Tennessee). Not strange enough to rank high on my list, so far, but a solid writer.
The pipe is leaning on a pouch of Altadis's Elizabethan Match, which is supposed to duplicate Dunhill's Elizabethan. Can't say how well the Altadis version matches Dunhill's, since I never smoked it as long as Royal Yacht (my all-time favorite smoke, many tins of which I have in reserve) was available, but the Altadis Elizabethan is good. Five out of ten on the nicotine strength scale, with a good Virginia tingle.

Friday, December 26, 2008

This old map, one of the first attempts at mapping Mammoth Cave in the 19th century, is the cover image for my book, Prehistoric Mysteries of Mammoth Cave. If anyone is interested in ordering the book, it's available from me, David Rogers, at 1753 Fisher Ridge, Horse Cave, Kentucky, 42749 for seven dollars (includes shipping). The book is 161 pages and includes photos of historic areas of the cave.

Here's the introduction:

Discoveries and Explorers in Prehistory and the 19th Century

The earliest humans to walk in the caves of Kentucky came to explore, to find salts available to them nowhere else, perhaps to make some observance to their gods of the underworld, and even at times to bury their dead. Thus, the caves represent a connection between the past and present. Annually, thousands of people come to Mammoth Cave and the caves nearby to experience what lies under the familiar surface of Earth. Each one of these visitors leaves, briefly, the common cycles of day and night, hot and cold, winter and summer, and walks down, first into twilight, and then into the darkness of history.
Caves are intersections between two worlds. The human world, with its light and warmth and technology, tries to remake things in the image of humanity. The natural world, in contrast, may tolerate or even nurture us; but to stand face to face with the grandeur of the longest cave system in the world forces one realize there are larger forces at work. The Flint-Mammoth Cave System and the other caves in the area serve as reminders that we all are ultimately part of nature, part of the same living Earth as the rocks and water and the mummies found in the caves. We humans are, at most, a tiny part of a much larger picture. Yet what a picture it is, and we are honored to have even the small part that we do.
Much has been written about Mammoth Cave and the smaller caves nearby. Nothing less than a multi-volume encyclopedic work could come close to exhaustively anthologizing everything significant that has been written. Instead, this book selects from early writings to create a view of the caves and their explorers, from the earliest days of discovery by people of European descent up to the early twentieth century. Specifically, my interests here involve the interactions between human beings and the caves. How have the caves been changed by people, and how have people changed the caves? What may future archeologists say of what we have done? What artifacts have people left, either in prehistoric or modern times? Writers such as Alexander Clark Bullitt and Bennett Young describe the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century exploration of Mammoth and Salts Caves, including the discovery of artifacts and other evidence of human presence left by prehistoric people. It is also interesting to contrast the kinds of artifacts and remains left by prehistoric and modern people. For example, prehistoric people left tools, seeds, feces, ashes, and even human bodies. People of European descent have, for instance, left saltpeter mining equipment, survey markers, directions scratched into the rock by explorers to guide them back to the surface, fences erected to protect the mineral formations, electrical wiring systems, the signatures of visitors, drawings, dates, and other marks on the stone. How different the experience of entering and exploring the cave must have been for these groups.
At least four distinct (though not necessarily mutually exclusive) motives may be identified for the exploration of caves: commercial tourism, military-industrial commercialism, scientific interests, and pure love of adventure and exploration. As the excerpts here show, all of these motives have at one time or another played a part in the exploration, mapping, and study of Mammoth Cave and other caves in the region.
The writers here are allowed to tell their stories with minimal editorial interference. In some cases, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been modernized, but always in an effort to preserve the original sense of the words. A main focus is on the artifacts and evidence of human presence, including but not limited to items left behind by prehistoric people. The writers lived and died in another century, and their styles of writing have a charm of their own. Their interests, observations, and manner of reporting are themselves now part of the history of the caves.
David Rogers, 2008