Bill Smokes Alone

You would be shocked if you went to last week’s staff meeting. It was horrible. It was like going to . . . a meeting!

Normally things go like this. Everyone shows up. I don’t know what happens at the very beginning because I’m usually a little late, but I think it’s just some chit-chat.

Phil usually has different tobaccos for us. Some pipe tobacco, sometimes cigars. we can have what ever we want. Lots of times things we talked about one week shows up the next. I think he’s in the Smokingpipes VIP Diamond Club. He gets stuff fast!

So we pick out what we want. Pour ourselves some drinks. It being this hot out, I go for a cold one, if you know what I mean?

Zippos are clacking away and everyone settles back. Very relaxing.

When we are all settled in, things turn to business. we go over some things about the website. Stuff that is working, things that are not. We talk about ideas we can do for our advertisers. Then we see if we can come up with any new ideas. Things that will interest readers. For example, I wanted to do a story about people who accidentally set themselves on fire when they are smoking. The idea got shot down, but I thought it would have been funny.

The Meeting Begins

As we move off the subject of the website, we start talking about related things. Like new pipe smoking videos on YouTube. We can’t watch them all but if one of us sees something that is good during the week, we bring it up at the meeting. Phil brings a laptop computer so we can all watch it if we want to as a group.

We talk about different stations and which ones we like. No offense but sometimes I fall asleep. don’t get me wrong, it’s better than listening to my wife, but please, get to the point. [ed: unlike Bill is doing now]

Did I mention snacks? We don’t get dinner or anything like that but there is usually something to have. Once in awhile we get a pizza or there are hot dogs. Those are the best meetings. It will be like that when Phil has the weekend off of work.

After awhile we are talking about anything under the Sun. One time we were arguing whether or not bowling is a sport. I say no. Anything that you can gain weight while actually doing it can not, and should not, be called a sport.

Not This Time

Remember I told you that you would be shocked? this was the worst meeting ever. Nothing is even a close second. Smokes – No. Snacks – No. Booze – a ton. When I got there I was greeted with “not now Bill”. I didn’t even say anything. All business. It was that manic kind where everyone is all on the edge of their seat, kind of business.

One of the guys had a cigar he gave me, but I was the only one smoking. What was the point?

As a side note, it was one of those Don Tomas cigars. The Corona Grande that comes in a tube. 6.5 x 44. What a great cigar. Let me tell you something about those Don Tomas cigars. I don’t think there’s a more consistent cigar out there. They are exactly the same. You know exactly what to expect and it delivers. I don’t care if you had one five years ago, when you have one today it will be the same. I don’t know how they do it but they pull it off. Must be some great quality control at the factory.

I give it the big Critic’s Corner seal of approval. Is there even such a thing? If they let me give away something at Christmas time, I might pick the Don Tomas cigars. You can never go wrong.

Back On Track

So, back to the meeting. No fun. I can’t tell you the particulars or the subjects but it was like trying to figure out how to shove 100 pounds of potatoes into a 50 pound sack.

Lists and lists and lists of things that had to be done. the big problem is the items on the punch list nobody here knows how to do. So something comes up and they have to figure out a way to find someone who can solve the problem.

You can imagine the problems of getting a lot of people involved. Some want an arm and a leg. some say they will help and don’t do anything, so you have to get mad at them or find someone else. Often people try to help but screw it up. A very tiny percentage of the people want to help, get right to it, and actually do a good job.

Also it’s one of those deals where you need to get one thing done but when you get into it, you find out there are ten other things you need to do first. A lot of short tempers. So much clacking at the computer it was hurting my head. Not my thing to say the least. I was watching some old horse races when nobody was using the computer.

Someone is Going to Drop

I have this terrible feeling it’s going to be like this for many weeks to come. don’t be surprised if one of those guys has a heart attack. They better not because if I have to take over some of that, the website is going to just be a blank screen.

What I should have done is bring with me a big order of wings and a pizza, extra anchovies. They wouldn’t have been able to resist the smell. Once you get a big blob of that grease and junk in your gut, you just want to lay around and do nothing.

I have to be careful saying that. The last time I was at the pizza parlor I saw on the menu the large pie and wings combo was something like $30! That’s too much. I wonder if I did bring that if everyone would chip in to help me pay for it? If there were four of us and we each pitched in $10 that would cover the cost of the food plus my time.

Nothing to Worry About

Let’s hope that things start to run smoother. Go to the websites and look around. Click on the advertisers, they really do have some cool stuff. Also, sign up for the newsletter. For some reason they think that is really important.

I’m going to spend the week coming up with some great ideas. They are going to be so fun and popular that everyone will freeze in their tracks. They will be amazed by my genius.

If they would only get me that open tab at the smoke shop and the locker, it would really help me think better.


Bill is the acting Briar Report Chief of Staff,

he is also the Managing Editor of

To reach Bill, send email to

Follow him on Twitter @StogieReport

I don’t normally add to Bill’s comments, but in this case I thought it was appropriate.

Bill is correct about this past week’s meeting, it was a little hectic. That is not the norm, it’s just we have been a touch busier than normal.

This coming week we already have some great plans for our meeting. We are not known for doing our own tobacco reviews, but we do want to participate in the Sutliff Virtual Pipe Club. the upcoming meeting will focus on that and I’m sure we are going to have a ton of fun.

Which, by the way, if you haven’t heard about the Virtual Pipe Club you should be following some of the news coming out of Sutliff. They have really taken things up a notch over there.

Next week the motto is: Less coding, more fun.

If you find coding fun, you are sick.