by Mark Irwin

PIPE ACQUISITION DISORDER, or P.A.D., first recognized by kapnismologist Dean James in a classic ASP post at the turn of the new century, is by now a well-known disorder among pipe smokers the world over. It strikes without warning, afflicting the pipeman regardless of age, class, station or rank. It is actively encouraged by retailers, brick-and-mortar tobacconists and even the pipe makers themselves, without apparent regard for the well-being of those who come under its influence. Yet little is known about what triggers it, capitulating otherwise sane pipe smokers into the howling abyss. Read more



by Mark Irwin

WHEN I MET UP with Luca di Piazza in his rooms a few weeks ago at the Chicagoland Pipe Show, he asked if I knew the sad fellow who’d just left. I’d missed him, but as Luca described him I knew immediately who he was—“he’s a patient of mine, actually,” I said. The man—boyish face, scraggly multi-color goatee, early 50s—whom we’ll call “Charles Mundungus,” had just left to see if the plasma donor center in St. Charles was still open, hoping to get  few more dollars more to pay for a pipe Luca had agreed to hold for him. “It’s very sad,” Luca said. “This man has a very deep love for Italian pipes, but has, how do you say, ‘very shallow pockets’? I do what I can for him, but I sometimes worry at night about how he feeds his family.” Read more