A Long Moretti Morta

Marco Biagini is the consummate craftsman behind Moretti pipes:

He has just made me an extra long morta pipe. Morta is wood from trees that have been buried and fossilized in peat bogs.

No picture will do justice to any Moretti pipe; this lovely pipe is almost ten inches long, a real beauty:


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The Obsession Continues

With Moretti pipes being so beautiful it is impossible to wean oneself off them.

Here is my latest Moretti: a sandblasted lovat made with the arbutus briar. Pipes made from arbutus briar are great for smoking because they taste sweet. Finding such a big arbutus piece is rare and Marco Biagini has turned it into a lovely pipe, truly a collectible.

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Don’t Let the Wrong One In

For my first date with my wife, more than three decades ago, I took her to a fancy restaurant. Prior to our second date, she told me she would be quite happy eating at food courts. At that moment, I knew she was the girl I wanted to marry.

For people of my generation, there was no escape route; you get married, and if things go south, you work it out. Divorces were so rare they were reported in the newspapers.

I am therefore alarmed to hear many young people nowadays saying “Nehmind lah, if doesn’t work, can always divorce and marry again mah.” To me, that’s a fucked-up mindset to maintain. I even know of one retard who divorced and re-married the same women twice. Poor bastard clearly needs help.

I am no expert, but after having been happily married for something like 35 years to the same wonderful woman, who continues to accept me and my increasingly cantankerous moods and shitloads of caustic, scathing and risqué remarks emanating from my mouth these days, I think I am entitled to some speaking rights about marriage. I hope this will benefit my friend’s son who seems frenetic wooing a girl, with no sign of the girl wooing him back. So here it goes, my two cents’ worth; Lohcifer’s Dirty Dozen to getting hitched:

  1. Dump the bitch who mindfucks you – yes, the cock-teaser who “tests” you and puts you through all kinds of exasperating horseshit. It’s a foretaste of more hell to come, so dump her. You’ll be sorry for not heeding this advice. No woman will agree, and bra-burning feminists will want to lynch me, but allow me to let you in on a little secret: all women are power-crazy, they love nothing more than to see you grovel or tremble like a piece of jelly in front of them; they enjoy seeing you eat out of their hands, like a dog or whimper like a hungry puppy when they make you crawl and suffer, so don’t fall victim to that nonsense unless you are a confirmed masochist.
  2. Your true love should accept you, warts and all, and will stand by you through thick and thin, in sickness and in health. Now, that’s a tall order. That’s why marriage vows should be taken seriously. When you are broke or jobless, when you are confined to a wheelchair with one leg amputed and receive your sustenance through a tube in the nose, and shit your crap into bags and urinate through a catheter stuck in your urethra – will she still love you and care for you or will she be glued to the TV watching Korean soap operas?
  3. Does she give you space? I have a friend who cut off all ties with his friends, even his best friends from way back, because his wife wants him all for herself. She also intervenes in his choice of barbers and tailors. Is she so super special that a man is willing to descend to that level just to win that bitch’s hand in marriage? Doesn’t he possess any self-pride?
  4. Is she a helpmeet? Now, that’s a biblical term so check it out. Or does she expect to be pampered like a princess 24×7 who won’t lift a finger to do anything? I have a friend whose wife negotiates everything with him – you want to go out and smoke cigars with your friends, okay, I want that Hermès handbag; you want to go and attend a friend’s birthday party in London, okay pay for my vacation in Japan. He has to get “visas” from her before stepping out of the house. You get the idea. She also refuses to clean the toilets in their house. And she won’t step into the kitchen. When he’s hungry in the middle of the night, she snaps at him and tells him to drink water but when she’s hungry, he gets up to cook for her or drives out to buy food for her. Being her husband is worse than being a nurse in the ICU. I’m sure my friend is happier wiping the backsides of comatose patients, to be honest. Net net: Will she make you a better person? Will you both make each other better human beings?
  5. This girl whom you have the hots for now, can you imagine spending the rest of your life with her? Really? Think again. Remember, God has endowed you with brains, that’s the organ in your head, not that appendage between your legs.
  6. Does she relate well with your family members? Or does she think your dad is Jabba the Hut and your mum is mental and your sister is a whore?
  7. Love is indeed blind – now that you are so obsessed with her, you will not see her faults and flaws. But they are there, trust me, they are there. Just focus and visualize – would you still love her if she picks her nose in front of you, farts every half an hour, burps like a buffoon, and grow as fat as an elephant one day or get cancer and lose all her hair and half her nose and wears adult diapers? Ever smelled a soiled adult diaper?
  8. One key to maintaining and nurturing a marriage is open communications – are you prepared to have no secrets between you? Is she the type who will squirrel money away in her own private bank account to buy gifts for her ex?
  9. Will your friends be proud of her? Will you be ashamed to take her along to the office Christmas lunch, know what I mean? Are you worried what your bosses and colleagues will think of her? That they will scoff at your choice of a spouse. I know a guy whom we call Mr Perfectionist. He returns 90% of everything he purchases because he would find flaws in them. So we all expect his wife to be a Miss Universe type or at least a Miss Singapore type or at the very least, a Miss Yishun standard, but when he took along his wife to a party one day, all of us wept oceans of tears in sympathy for him. Sorry, I digressed. But that gives me an idea for another blog post another time.
  10. Look out for the basket cases – like those who make you pay the price for their past bad experiences. Some cunts will jerk you around and refuse to commit themselves to the relationship or whatever because they have had bad relationships in the past. Be wary of anyone dumping their emotional baggage onto you! Remember other people’s monkey doesn’t need to be yours. A wise monkey never monkeys around with other monkeys’ monkeys. Those bad experiences happened before you came into her life. So get your head screwed right and your perspective right too. You cannot afford to be a full-time psychiatrist to your spouse for the rest of your life.
  11. Love shouldn’t be full of agony and pain, so if the pleasure and joy is more than the anxiety and worry, please do yourself a favor and walk away. A man walking around looking like he’s constipated is not the face of a man in love, but that of a man who’s a victim of what he thinks is love. Love emancipates, it does not imprison.
  12. Finally remember, she’s not the only woman in the world, and that your time WILL come. It may come five, even ten years later, but it WILL come. Plus – and listen to this! – singleness is a GIFT and a BLESSING. Singleness doesn’t come with encumbrances and frees you to be your real you. Come on, if milk is so cheap, why buy a fucking cow?
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Wet It First?

A pompous self-declared “cigar king” once said he sometimes puts his cigars under the tap before smoking them to enhance their flavors and the overall smoking experience. One joker heard about it and actually picked up two 2008 Ramon Allones Small Club Coronas to try.

His sage advice: “In order to wet your cigar, you need to place it under a running tap and keep it there for 6 to 7 seconds. The wrapper acts as a repellent, preventing the water from getting into the filler.”

His concluded that the wet one delivers smoke that has a cooler feel. What the fuck! Of course lah, if you wet your cigars or even a stick of celery it’s gonna feel cooler than a dry one, unless you use hot water.

He also said “both cigars burn evenly at start, but the wet cigar starts burning unevenly after the first half. This could have been caused by the wrapper being more soaked on some parts.” Duh!

But he did say that “the wet one produces ample smoke, more than the dry one, that has a richer texture and a darker color” and flavor-wise, the wet one is “more robust and full.”

So if you are retarded or wealthy enough to try, be my guest.

As for me, the only thing that will wet my precious Behikes would be my own equally precious saliva.

What will all those deranged nutcases think of next? Shaft a cigar into a bodily orifice before smoking it?

Well, Bill Clinton may know a thing or two we don’t. Didn’t he do that with that fat cunt Monica Lewinsky?

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Moldy Cigars?

My box of La Gloria Cubana Inmensos in full bloom.

Without realizing it is plume, also called “bloom,” a cigar merchant dusted them off my box of vintage La Gloria Cubana Inmensos I had kept at his store. He thought my cigars had turned moldy.

I don’t blame him. Many people shrieked at the sight of plume, thinking that it is mold and dump the affected cigars into the trash can.

If a cigar merchant can’t distinguish between plume and mold, what more ordinary mortals.

Plume is basically solidified oil, which usually is a sign that your cigars are aging well. Mold is a sign that your cigars are in too humid an environment.

Plume appears as a white or off-white and sometimes, even grayish dust on the surface and may have a bit of a sparkle and seemingly luminescent glow. This occurs when the oils within a cigar come to the surface and crystallize. Unlike mold, plume is never green in color and tends to cover the entire body of the cigar. Mold usually appear as spots and sometimes round little circles embedded in each stick.

Some of my more enlightened friends, when they see cigars with plume at a cigar store, they will purchase the entire box without a moment’s hesitation.

I once got a few boxes free – was in a cigar lounge when the manager was about to throw them all away when he spotted plume and thought that it was mold. I attempted to argue with him that those were plume, not mold, but he insisted he knew better and was going to throw the boxes of rather well-aged Hoyo de Monterrey Double Coronas away. I told him if he really wanted to dump them, he might as well give them to me. He did, and even thanked me for helping him dispose of them. As a matter of fact, he even gave me two sticks of Cohiba Lanceros as an expression of his gratitude. It was my lucky day. Since then, it has been my daily prayer that super-smart people like him shows up every day in my life. (However, God seems to be hard of hearing.)

Anyway, if your cigars show a covering of crystalline powder, just brush off the powdery residue before smoking them. If they are moldy don’t trash them, give them as Christmas presents to the assholes in your life.

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Mario Grandi Pipes

The Mario Grandi line of pipes was created in 2006 by Italian pipe-maker Aldo Pierluigi as a sub-brand of his mainstay brand Mastro Beraldi.

Mario Grandis are very affordable yet of great quality.

Two recent purchases:

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The E & O Hotel, Penang

The Sarkies brothers were a group of brothers of Armenian ethnicity, born in Isfahan, Iran and best known for founding a chain of luxury hotels throughout Southeast Asia.

These include the Raffles in Singapore, the Strand in Rangoon, the Oriental in Bangkok, and the Eastern & Oriental in Penang. They also founded some other hotels that are no longer operating.

My recent stay at the E & O completes a personal wish to stay in all these great hotels at least once. (Click on picture to enlarge.)

But it wasn’t a very pleasant experience.

I stay in suite 121 from September 18th to 21st at the old wing, called the Heritage Wing. 121 is on the first floor or second level and is a longish room – you walk in, turn right to find the toilet, and next to it, a walk-in wardrobe with a dressing table; walk some more and there’s the bed room, the living room and a working area and then a window with a view of the sea front.

Housekeeping standards were dismal, amenities were not replaced, and for the price they charge you would have thought they would include a shaving mirror in the toilet; the floor creaked and the entire old wing – plus my suite – had a very eerie feel. Staff didn’t seem motivated or enthusiastic, some told me business is really bad and the evidence was that when I showed up at the Farquhar’s Bar at about 10:00pm on the first night – was craving for a Partagás Lusitania – I was told it had closed early. (The bar was supposed to be opened from 11:00am to midnight.)

Upon check-in, the Rooms Division Manager sent a card to the room and you could see it was pre-written with my name filled in later. And guess what? They got my name wrong – I am NOT Mr Wright!

The bathtub was enclosed in wood and guess what it looks like!

It doesn’t help with so many stories about the hotel being haunted and this being the Chinese 7th month when the gates of hell were supposed to be opened and ghosts roamed freely.

I slept all three nights with all the lights switched on. (Yeah, humans I can handle, but I have enough of grappling with ghosts.)

Then the waves from the sea started to cause a racket all night, every night.

All in all, an unpleasant stay.

If the staff smile a little more, it might help, but smiles were infrequent at the E & O. I smiled at some who actually turned away.

I know my wife didn’t marry me for my looks, but I’m sure I’m not that fucking ugly to have people turn away when I greet them and coming from staff working in the hospitality industry, that’s unthinkable.

What a shame.

The whole hotel exudes coldness and an atmosphere of neglect and complacency.

One thing for sure, the Sarkies brothers must be turning in their graves if they know this.

By the way, in case you are curious, my favorite Sarkies brothers hotel is the Oriental in Bangkok. I must have stayed at least 20 times. The Strand in Rangoon is situated in a very depressing neighborhood and the staff at the Raffles treat you like intruders and criminals if you are a local Singaporean.

But the next time I go to Penang, I will stay at the Macalister Mansion. It is a boutique hotel with a great cigar bar and you can see lots of smiles and sense hospitality there. Me and a friend from Penang were there two nights in a row fellowshipping for many hours over Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchills, Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especials, Arturo Fuente Opus X Perfection Xs, Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition and Wira Wira Church Block.

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Toh Soon Cafe, Penang

Was in Penang last week and came across this little roadside “cafe”:

Toast is done the old-fashioned way, on a grill above coals in a stove:

Now, the fellow doing the toasting, patiently waits for the toast to be ready, while keeping watch to make sure they are not burned:

The finished product! Yummy with a cup of local coffee!

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The Moretti Obsession Continues

There’s something about Moretti pipes! Here’s one that just came in; its almost 10 inches long and what a beautiful masterpiece it is!

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It’s been a long time, but I still have nightmares from that hospital room. I still hear the humming of the machines. I still smell the antiseptic.

Why was her life so short?

Years after J was gone, whenever I was in a crowd, I would still see her again. Only when she turned around, it wasn’t her.

For years, I ambled along as I walked, like a boat unmoored from the dock, hoping against hope – frantic, primordial desperation of hopeless hope – eager for the off chance that I will actually see her again, see her, face-to- face, a real person in flesh and blood, and not an apparition.

In my dreams, I strode, discombobulated, through dusty, fog-filled rooms in a huge mansion, its windows open, its frayed draperies blowing in the wind, a musty smell in the air; I looked for her, yearning for a look, just one look. Sometimes I see a glimpse, a quick shadow of her ahead of me and I would run after her, but she could never be found.

Some nights I woke up screaming. Once again I saw the medical staff turning away and leaving the room as I looked on in horror. I saw the hospital blanket pulled over her face. It was as if I was hovering high up in the room, invisible to everyone, looking down as the unthinkable scene unfolded below me. Once again I saw how I cried so inconsolably, how strong hands pulled me away – hands so forceful they hurt my upper arms as they attempted to prise me from the hospital room – how my legs turned to jelly and how I collapsed, wailing and keening.

When I came to, when the service was over, and the mourners have departed, everyone treated me as if I was an untouchable, damaged beyond redemption. Many simply didn’t know what to say, some avoided me, for not everyone knew how to relate to an aggrieved fiancé, an emotional wreck who was living out his days zombie-like, as if in a state of drunken stupor.

The emptiness I felt was an emptiness of deep, dark void; mine was a life changed forever. How could I ever be the same again? I was dispirited and felt alienated, knowing the world was spinning, and hurtling forward, but not feeling being a part of it. I was angry at how the rest of the world has moved on when mine has ended the moment she vanished from my life and my world.

It was as if a missile had shot through me, leaving my being with a hole the size of a crater. I felt as if a large part of me had been ripped off and torn away. An incomplete life with a huge sense of loss and hollowness accompanied me for decades. It took me years to process J’s passing. How could there be closure when in place of youthful laughter and happiness, often the only sound I hear was that of the clock ticking.

Then came S. And the aching was soothed somewhat though the relationship was tumultuous, fraught with uncertainties and more-than-frequent bouts of exasperation and anxiety. Still, the years passed, and time flew. And as if I wasn’t already dented and bruised enough emotionally, I was blindsided because she too was snatched away from me.

I have experienced enough bad news in my life but the one news that continues to plague me was when the doctor put an end date on S’s life.

Through tears, we said our peace, poured our hearts out, said what had to be said, worked out the forgiveness and all but I stayed away like a deserter as S deteriorated. I couldn’t bear to sit at the side of another hospital bed, with the result that friends who couldn’t understand thought me cold and heartless while S slid rapidly downhill until she was no more.

At my age, I understand very well the unescapable passage of time. As months and years passed, the darkness in my horizon seemed to slowly recede. They didn’t seem to cast much of a pall on daily existence. The gashes inflicted seemed mostly to have scarred over. But the scars were there and a return to life as usual was illusionary at best. Throughout the years, the memories of loss and desolation I tried burying for so long would inevitably rear its head when I least expected it. Opening a drawer, the things I glimpse – trinkets, cards, a note, a bookmark – would bring everything back. Catching a whiff of someone’s fragrance, and tears would flow. Chanced upon a tune, and I get all choked up. Fleeting memories of events and persistently recurring flashbacks infiltrated all too frequently into my daily life.

I could not forget.

To this day, I still hear the humming of the machines. I still smell the antiseptic.

Now you came along and for fifteen years you cradled me in your embrace and nursed me and soothe my hurts. You cared when no one else did. Sure, everyone showed concern but with empty words not backed by any action. Everyone was busy with their narcissistic, self-centered pursuits, posting food photos on the Internet, struggling with inane personal issues, bragging on social media about their supposedly glamorous lives, asking mindlessly existentialist questions while millions in the world die from starvation, obsessing about their hair color, bragging about their latest material acquisitions, agonizing over the color of their nail polish, blaming their parents for their messed-up lives, catastrophizing minor setbacks, fighting with inner angst, worshiping their lovers, ad nauseam. In the midst of all these self-absorbed individuals that crowded into my life – shallow and empty people so preoccupied with their own frivolous fixations – you made big, bold strides pulling me off the edge.

You empowered me to be the me I was meant to be. But now, it looks as if life has stood me up, yet again…

Words cannot possibly describe the depths of my sorrow.

How many blows can a person take?

Outside, the birds are chirping, a light breeze blows through and the branches on the nearby trees move a little. I can hear children playing downstairs. Not far away, sounds from a construction site can be heard. The world is as it is as the day is filled with everyday sounds, but I am no longer the man I once was.

Is returning to normalcy even possible, I wonder.

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