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Saturday, January 07, 2006

Craig the Deranged

I was searching through my archive photos for something to post today when I came across this photo taken at TAPS in 2000. The lunatic-looking character is Craig Tarler of Cornell & Diehl, making his best silly face for the camera while Patty and Bob do their best to look respectable. The "open humidor" aspect of US pipe shows is one thing that I miss the most. In France, having open sampling tins is illegal under the byzantine French tobacco laws, so tobacconists can't showcase the wonderful "tobacco bars" that we have in the US, and pipe shows can't have open tobacco sampling. This is another great example of shooting your own foot off just to be different, for no good reason, since open sampling leads to a huge amount of sales (Try a free bowl, enjoy it, and buy two pounds on the spot!). If one can't sample the tobaccos, one is left looking at the pretty tin decorations and trying to judge what's inside based on nothing more than art and hyperbole ("Cool and mellow!"). Fortunately there are good online companies like Synjeco that provide useful descriptions and solid information.