372. Get Ready to Mug It Up for the Blog’s 10th Anniversary!

Medallion art for the CPG Coffee Mug

The 10th anniversary of the blog is just around the corner in 2024. To celebrate, I’m brewing up some special Pete Geek events, beginning with the second event first, the official CPG Coffee (or Tea) Mug created for us by Deneen Pottery.

I say “second event first” because it’s the nature of PG events that the time between ordering and delivery varies considerably. The 2024 10th Anniversary POY, for example, is already in the works even though it won’t appear until next fall. The first Pete Geek event—which I hope to talk about next week, on the other hand, has a shorter lead time and may even be ready for us before Christmas. But I digress.

Two shapes are on offer: Tall Belly (left) and Ramsey (right)

For me, like many campaigners, coffee has always been my first choice of beverage—as Raymond Chandler says in The Long Goodbye, “I went out into the kitchen to make coffee – yards of coffee. Rich, strong, bitter, boiling hot, ruthless, depraved.  The life-blood of tired men.” Yup. That’s about the size of it.  I made the discovery as an undergrad when I found I had to do my studying either very late at night (after I got off my night job as a radio dispatcher) or in the wee hours of the morning (well before the 8 o’clock class). It made such quick inroads with me that before my sophomore year, my best friend and I had begun our own zine, Pipeman’s Quarterly: For Pipe & Coffee Connoisseurs. While pipes were the dominant interest, we always included articles and artwork on our favorite brew.

Coffee & Pipes: the Thinking Man’s Go-To Combo

Almost forty years later, I’ve been wanting a really great Pete coffee mug and I can think of no pottery better able to create one than Deneen. If you’ve ever visited the US National Parks, you’ve seen Deneen mugs and probably even brought one home.  They have a heft, texture, dynamism and distinctive aesthetic which are unmistakable.

As I said at the outset, I wouldn’t begin so early on the 2024 CPG Events, except that each one takes quite a while to develop—a little over three months from ordering to shipping in the case of the CPG Mug.

If enough of us decide we want one (or more!)–and we need 96 mugs to order–shipping will occur in early March.

Two colors are on offer: solid black (left) and forest w/sunshine glaze drip (right)

There will be two shapes and two colors: the Tall Belly in Black and in Forest w/Sunshine Glaze, and the Ramsey in black and in Forest w/Sunshine Glaze. This adds up to four distinct mugs for you to choose from (or any combination thereof) or hey, a complete set:

1. Tallbelly in Black
2. Ramsey in Black
3. Tallbelly in Forest Green w/Sunshine Glaze
4. Ramsey in Forest Green with Sunshine Glaze

The forest green with sunshine glaze epitomizes the beauty of Ireland to me and was a natural first choice.

The black was chosen because in combination with the tan medallion, it echoes Peterson’s black & gold color combination seen on boxes, catalogs, ceramic ashtrays and ceramic pipe stands from the Dublin era.

I’ve tested both shapes extensively from mugs in my collection and can attest they keep the coffee hot (but remember to preheat your mugs, which you presumably already know to do), don’t drip down the sides, and at 14 oz., keep you from running for more coffee every five minutes. They’re both dishwasher and microwave safe. One thing I’ve noticed on some of my oldest Deneen mugs is that they seem to “weather” really nicely, becoming even more handsome, like the best stoneware teapots.


The medallion artwork features a 309 Demonstrator which has previously graced the virtual pages of the blog. The backstory here is that I first saw a System demonstrator at Ted’s Pipe Shop in Tulsa in the late 1970s and was immediately struck by it, so much that whenever I’d go in with my high school and later college buddies, it was the first thing I’d look for.

What strikes me spiritually as well as aesthetically about the demonstrator is that—like an empty coffee cup—it shows the essential emptiness and simultaneous infinite capacity for being continually filled (think Zen Buddhism or St. Paul’s kenotic hymn in his letter to the Philippians).

As with all PG events, you won’t pay until the mugs ship in March, if we have enough interest in the project.

  • Price is $29.95 each
  • US Shipping: Priority Mail – $11 for orders of 1-2 mugs / $13  for orders of 3-4 mugs
  • International Shipping: FedEx International Connect (where available, otherwise US First Class Intl) – $24 for 1 mug / $28  for 2 mugs mugs / $32 for 3-4 mugs (this does NOT include any customs/import fees) 
  • Deadline: Monday, 4th December, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. CST (GMT-6)
  • You will invoiced through PayPal when the mugs are ready to ship in March 

If you’d like to get one or more mugs,
fill out the Google Form here:


“We have this treasure in earthen vessels.” –St. Paul



The coming year marks the blog’s 10th anniversary, and with it another rise in PPN’s web-hosting fees. November 28th marks “Giving Tuesday,” so for the very first time I’m here with begging bowl in hand to ask you to support the blog’s growing costs.

You’ve probably noticed this is a non-monetized site, free of the ads that plague so many other blogs, as I’ve always believed pipe smoking is essentially a contemplative act and ought, from the hobby side, to be as free as possible from commercial considerations as possible.  The storage and site domain fees of a blog like this one—which depends on a lot of images—necessarily go up as more posts are published, and the Adobe Cloud software products that go into its visual creation are a monthly concern.

A few years ago, my good friend the late Jørgen Jensen asked me to install a “Donations” button. I told him I didn’t want anyone to think I was looking for a handout and he told me he didn’t want to read it unless he could support the work and costs that went into it. So I installed it, and Jørgen, bless his heart, used it on a regular basis, as have several of my readers since then.

The compliments, kindness and praise that come my way from any particular post richly repay the work that goes into it, not to mention the friendships that have grown out of the blog in a mutual love of the world’s greatest pipes. If the spirit prompts you, know that anything you contribute will be received with a grateful heart.




Cao Jianle, CPG







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