Pulvers' Prior Briar
P.O. Box 85
Los Altos, CA  94023

The photo depicts one of the final days of the Camelot of
tobacco shops, my own Sherlock's Haven.  To my immediate
left is both good friend and my professional consigliere, Steve
Brunner.  To my immediate right is one of the great tobacco
palates, relieving me of the chore of tasting and rating each
pipe tobacco and cigar, Johnson Tacalon.  And the tall guy
behind him was the store Mgr. and current close friend, Jim
Walker.  We're surrounded by good guys and true.  
I wanted to caption this "I knew more about pipes and tobacco
when I was 7 than you do now," but my PR dep't. said that
would be a bad idea.  Looks like old curmudgeons start as
young curmudgeons, doesn't it?  Years ago, my mother told my
then newish wife that when I was a kid, all they had to do to
keep me quiet was put a hat on my head, a corn cob in my
mouth and shove me in the back seat of the car.  My wife
replied, "nothing's changed, except he's now in the front seat."
          The Mill

Sept. 10, 2019.

Do you think brainwashing is a fascinating
topic?  We don’t look at it much…seeing it only
as an evil device used by nefarious people in
order to have innocents do the dirty work. (Have
we ben brainwashed into seeing it through that
single lens?)  We rarely think of it as a
fundamental aspect of all of our lives.  Quite
possibly, without brainwashing, none of us
would function well.  I’ll try to support that
statement below, but because of a strong
aversion to research (read “work”) nothing here
will be documented, except perhaps by
The idea of talking about brainwashing came to
me because, as almost always, this space begs
to be filled, and also as the result of three items
recently read.  Plus, the hope that you might
find it at least mildly interesting.  

The first item, and the one that got me thinking
about the matter, is the best selling memoir
“Educated” by Tara Westover.  I think it was
mentioned previously.  It is a book with pretty
powerful punches.  Westover was raised in a
fundamentalist, survivalist Mormon family in
either Idaho or Utah. Her charismatic, but
mentally askew father drilled his paranoic,
extreme anti-government, extra-strict religious
beliefs into his children, including his daughter
Tara.  By all of our standards, one would think,
she was emotionally abused and her big, strong
enraged brother kicked the crap out of her, with
her father and mother (a true enabler) willfully
failing to see what was happening.  By almost
any standard, she was brainwashed into
believing the religious education she was
getting, without the benefit of receiving a
normal, formal education that might have served
as a bit of an antidote to what she was hearing
at home.  She entered no elementary or high
school building, rarely interacting with others of
her age.
After reading about that fairly obvious
brainwashing job (which Tara finally came to
understand as such after she drove herself to
get a formal, highly regarded education at BYU,
Harvard & Cambridge) came a letter to our little
daily paper in Palo Alto (my neighboring
community).  The writer bemoaned the
brainwashing that children were getting in our
public schools, fearing that the agenda included
nothing but communist/socialist propaganda
and what was needed to offset this was
privatization of the schools so that the kids
could get dosed (but not, in his mind,
brainwashed) with Capitalism.  Apparently the
writer, neglecting to note the billionaire
entrepreneurs (yours truly, alas, excluded from
this club) all around him, believes that we are
turning out nothing but a bunch of little Marxs.  
As this letter appeared shortly after having
finished “Educated” my mind was somewhat
focused on the brainwashing issue, so a letter
to the editor was called for and what it said,
besides noting that a public education was
likelier to include more diversity in opinion than
a private education, thus vitiating the impact of
brainwashing, was that the letter-writer need not
worry because we are, incontrovertibly, all
brainwashed.  It is universal and can only rarely
be avoided.  We are all subject to the constant
repetition of the ideas… political, social,
religious…of our parents.  That is how people
are raised and that is the definition of
brainwashing.  If you’ll note, there is a huge
corollary between the religious and political and
social beliefs of parents and their children.  That
is not coincidence, that is the result of
brainwashing, well intended or no.
Before you come after me with pitchforks, this
is not to say that because you were
brainwashed in to believing that which you do
about so many fundamental issues your
religious or political beliefs are not the one True
belief.  Neither I nor anyone else can know that.  
Neither can you.  Remember, it is a belief,
perhaps a faith, but not a fact.  Still, it can
certainly be the Right One.  But you have that
belief, or beliefs, because it was deeply
ingrained from an early age…probably from
birth, the best time to start brainwashing for
best results.  Don't delude yourself into thinking
that the beliefs in which you have been
immersed in since your earliest memories are
the result of rational thought.
Better yet is a quote remembered from a Prof.
in grad school: "All logic is based on a pool of
Then came a short tale told by my daughter, a
first grade teacher in a school not far from
here.  In going over the names of her new
students before this school year began, she
came across, not just the standard “Jane Smith
7 year old girl,”  but one notation that described
the student as “non-binary.”  Even my
daughter, with about 20 yrs. Of experience in
the system was a bit shocked.  Does a 7 year
old describe themsels as non-binary?  Where
does that come from?  In some kind of effort,
one I consider misguided, the parents of this
little girl, for so she is, are clearly, and rather
consciously, brainwashing their daughter as
regards what should be her sexual identity, and
who knows what more.  Yes, we are all
brainwashed, without a doubt, but this is a
severe, contrived form.  Don’t you feel sorry for
this girl?  Let’s hope she doesn’t grow up
confused, and when a bit older, confused about
her feelings and those of others.
That’s it on brainwashing.  I wash my hands of
it (clean hands, sullied brain is the usual phrase,
right?).  The next note appeared in the same
paper as the letter about brainwashed public
school students and is a source of amusement.  
It’s included here because it also deals with
politically correct matter, like the non-binary
first grader (who, one could easily argue, is
truly non-binary based on the mostly asexual
nature of first graders…so once again, I’m
probably all wrong).
The photo article was headlined “Man, two
women engaged to marry” & showed one young
man and two young women who are planning
their threesome wedding (in Amsterdam. Is this
acceptable there?).  Yup, one wife isn’t enough
for this guy.  Every single one of you married
men out there should see a lot of pain coming
down the road for this shlemiehl.  Yes, there
have been societies in which polygamy was
common practice and may have functioned well
for those involved.  Early Mormons, etc.  
Remember, however, that in these communities,
women were subservient, they were used to,
and comfortable with, taking orders from their
husbands, and carrying them out.  In this case,
one of his proposed wives owns her business.  
Do you think she’s more used to taking or
giving orders?  The other wife is also a young,
modern (judging from her nifty green hair)
woman.  We’ve recently talked about love,
haven’t we?  Yes. Well, to paraphrase a Randy
Newman verse (“I Know What Love Is”)  this
guy, who claims to love both these two women
(perfectly believable and understandable) is
going to learn what love is.

After we cover brain washing, presumably later
this week, a further topic will be the pipe
hobby's  generation gap.  Subscription is cost

The latest postings include an
unsmoked Mastro de Paja with a
Calabash-like shape, a Savinelli
Autograph 0 (used priced to sell) and a
Jacono Queen, likewise well priced, all
on the Italian page.  

Remember: "
We are all bozos on this

A riff on the above quote came in today from
a friend: Blessed are we who can laugh at
ourselves for we shall never cease to be

It is time for me to begin wrapping up the
Rolando Negoita project on this site.  Thus, I will
be  reducing the price of the pipes on the
Specials page by degrees, until they are all
gone.  We have reached phase 8 of the
discounts and all pipes that were donated for
Rolando will be reduced by 35%.  The next
reduction commences Aug. 20th, and will make
the discount 37.5%.  Check out the Specials

The ability of so many people to live
comfortably with the idea of capital punishment
is perhaps a clue to how so many Europeans
were able to live with the idea of the Holocaust:
Once you accept the notion that the state has
the right to kill someone and the right to define
what is a capital crime, aren't you halfway
there? -Roger Ebert, film-critic (18 Jun 1942-

I finally got to post pipe # 4 in my Human Folly-
HumanTragedy series, which I am doing in
collaboration with pipe maker Don Gillmore.  
This pipe is The Children's Crusade,
representing all the centuries children have
been abused physically and emotionally,
creating a foundation for a screwed up next
On the front of the pipe's bowl is an
etched Knight's Templar Cross.  
Somehow I jumped over pipe #3 in the
Series.  The pipe, a volcano representing
the folly of building a city under a regularly
spewing Vesuvius, is in stock and only needs to
be posted.  I'll do that soon.
# 3 in the Human Folly/Human Tragedy series is
now posted.  If you think that building a city
under a live volcano, as the citizens of Pompeii
did, consider how much we've learned as a
species, with California, a state of over 30
million inhabitants, doing nothing but building
skyscrapers in cities like San Francisco, Oakland
and Los Angeles over huge fault lines.  Brilliant.

Don't forget to see the Original Sin Apple
on the Human Folly page.  It's called
"Paradise Lost" & it's the first pipe in our
ground breaking series that  points a shaming
finger at instances of thoughtless human folly
that inevitably led to human tragedy.  That first
five sold out quickly, and the 2nd group, three
of them, have just arrived.  If you want one,
please let me know now as it will be awhile
before any others are produced.
We now are also showing pipe #2 in our Human
Folly Series, The Helen of Troy, a Yachtsman
(what else) to symbolize "the face that launched
thousand ships"  and provoked a 10 year war
that culminated in a demolished great city
Also on the Specials page is pipe # 4, The
Children's Crusade, a reminder of the way we
abuse kids physically and emotionally, assuring
a screwed up next generation.  The shape is an
Acorn of sorts, but the defining detail is the
Cross etched on the front of the bowl.  
Pipe # 3 in the series is ready to post, too.  It is
a Volcano, which might help you remember Mt.
Vesuvius and the devastation it did to the com-
munity that oh so wisely decided to camp and
build at the bottom of a deadly, active volcano.  

It is horrifying that we have to fight our
own government to save the environment.  
Ansel Adams, photographer (20 Feb 1902-1984)

Philanthropy is the refuge of rich people who
wish to annoy their fellow creatures.
Oscar Wilde

All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his
delusions is called a philosopher.
Ambrose Bierce

If you wish to understand a philosopher, do not
ask what he says, but find out what he wants.
Friedrich William Nietzsche

n.  A route of many roads leading
from nowhere to nothing.
Ambrose Bierce

Those who lack the courage will always find a
philosophy to justify it.
Albert Camus

available tins
Pease Southlinch from 2002 NASPC show. $90
Friedman & Pease Winter's Tale.  $100

New Tins arrived, including
Abingdon, and a bunch of
others from 2003 and starting @ $40 a tin.

More old, collectible tins from the 1990's:

For easy access to the address of other fine
used pipe dealers, please visit Estate Pipes
The web site is: