Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hamburgers don't inhale

A bit of a hodgepodge today.

The Freie und Hansastadt Hamburg, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, is a city state in Germany that is near and dear in spirit to Whalehead household.  The city has a very eye-catching flag.  Crisp, simple design.  Fortress Hamburg, the busiest port in Europe.  Remarkably, its sister city in the United States is Chicago, not New Orleans.  One would think these two major ports would share closer ties.  Perhaps some day.  I know one Hamburger who feels deep affection for the Crescent City.

Speaking of another flag that has caught my fancy recently:
Corsica!  That's a beauty.  There isn't any New Orleans connection here, except that the island was the birthplace of Napoleon, who is fondly commemorated in the Crescent City even if he did sell Louisiana to Thomas Jefferson.  Besides Napoleon Avenue, there are streets named after his major battlefield victories, as well as Marengo Street, named after Napoleon's horse.

I'm fascinated by the Corsican flag for reasons that may someday bear fruit.  Until then, keep that image in mind.  You saw it here first.

Speaking of the Hamburg flag, I've added a patch to my summer motorcycle jacket.  Here, our model looks suitably ready not to take any nonsense, as Hamburgers have sometimes been known to be when the subject of fast food comes up...
In other news, a parcel arrived at Chez King.  Some old-time, no-nonsense, pipe tobacco.  Sugar Barrel on your left, Sir Walter Raleigh Aromatic on your right.
I can't find these in New Orleans locally.  They aren't premier blends, just things that have been mass produced for longer than anyone reading this has been alive.  There's a reason these blends stick around from one century to the next, even if you don't see many people smoking pipes nowadays.  They are good.  They take no effort to enjoy.   

Anyone thinking of quitting cigarettes and taking up the pipe is encouraged to do so.  Either of these blends, or anything else available at a drug store, is a recommended way to start.  New Orleans is blessed with a surfeit of fine tobacconists that offer a wide range of pipe tobaccos.  Some of these are better suited for a more experienced connoisseur.  I've seen more people smoking cigars in New Orleans than anywhere else I've ever lived.  It would be nice to see a few more pipe smokers out and about.

New Orleans drug stores do carry pipe tobacco: Prince Albert, Carter Hall, Half and Half.  I would recommend the first two if you are thinking of taking up the briar.  Most drug stores also offer bags of generic tobacco.  You can give it a try, but I'd stick with a name brand that has withstood the test of time if I were you.  The local druggists also stock Dr. Grabow pipes for about $26.00 a piece.  I don't own one but they have their admirers.  Again, this brand has been around for seemingly forever, so it is a solid bet that it will treat you right.  If you can find one though, buy a corn cob pipe for $5.00.  Don't listen to the tobacconist who wants to sell you something pricier.  A corn cob pipe was good enough for Mark Twain.  Experienced pipe smokers swear by them.  I own three.  They are good enough for you.

The next time you see me on the street smoking my cob, you can greet me with the traditional Hamburg, "Hummel, Hummel."  I will respond, "Mors, Mors."  Then we can duck into a saloon to share a toast and a smoke.


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