Last Christmas, in an (uncharacteristic) act of random kindness, Unreal gave away all of our toys. Apparently, someone appreciated the gesture, because this year Christmas for Unreal came early. The gift? The coolest pipe we've ever seen. In fact, it's ice-cold.
It's a solid chunk of ice about the size of lunch pail. Two short lengths of plastic tubing protrude from the top, one at each end, and a small passage has been drilled through the center of the cube for smoke to pass through. Embedded within is the RFT logo, rendered in classic red, white and black.
The pipe is the work of a professional ice sculptor who works out of Just Add Ice Productions in south St. Louis County and goes by the handle Harvey Iceman. Equipped with a chain saw, chisels, and Dremel tools, Iceman carves pipes and hookahs — for tobacco use only, mind you — from blocks of ice.
As a fan of all things cool and smoky, Unreal just had to know more.
Unreal: How did you come up with the idea for these things?
Harvey Iceman: Well, I've been carving ice now for three and a half years. I do sculpture, wedding pieces, corporate logos, Halloween and Christmas parties, the whole gamut. I also do shot luges for alcohol. One day I figured, "Maybe I can smoke out of one." I tried it one night and I've been perfecting it ever since.
How did you do the RFT one?
It's called a reverse. I come in from the opposite side and do the lettering in reverse, so when you look through it from the other side you can see the lettering. It's two pieces. The "RFT" lettering is one piece, and a clear side is the other half. Glued together, they are the form that you see. For the lettering I carved them out and I filled the empty spaces with colored sand. The small lettering, the white "Riverfront Times" spelled out, was done with a really fine Dremel bit.
What do you smoke out of?
Plastic tubing that sticks out. Sometimes I prefer to put my mouth on it when taking a hit, but most people don't because that gets it all wet.
We were speculating that if you licked it, your tongue would get stuck to it.
Well, if you put your mouth on it, after a while it gets kind of weird because it leaves an impression of your lips in the ice. It's like kissing somebody. Or something. Weird.
On your Web site [www.harveyiceman.com], it says you have to be careful because every time you touch your pipe a little bit of it goes away. That's a really sad way of looking at things, isn't it?
It is, but it's the way you've got to look at it. It's a high-class type of thing. If you bust one out at party, it's a status symbol because you're saying, "I spent some money on this and it's going to go away, but I'll just get another one." I've had pieces last up to nine months with a whole lot of care, but it can fall apart on the first night if you're not careful.
What's your favorite non-pipe piece that you've done?
The studio I work at does a competition in St. Charles every year called the Fête de Glace [this year's takes place January 26]. Last year we did a six-foot stallion fighting a bear — it was a Super Bowl scene. This year we're going to do a six-and-a-half-foot tower with a Rapunzel theme. You'll be able to see a staircase spiraling up inside the tower. It's going to be tight.
Could you turn that into a pipe?
I can turn anything into a pipe.
You sound like a MacGyver smoker: Get me an ice pick, an avocado and a snorkel!
Exactly. Before I started carving ice, I was in the culinary field. I have a culinary degree, so I've smoked out of every vegetable in the kitchen. That's kind of how I got the idea for these. Everyone is standing around at the shop saying, "We don't have a bowl." Well, we have ice everywhere — let's make something.
Sex by the Numbers
Unreal is so obsessed with the recent Washington University survey that revealed a correlation between alcohol consumption and the willingness to indiscriminately do it that we hallucinated a conversation with a Wash. U. alumnus, one Juan A. Tapdat, who two decades ago reported similar findings in a treatise titled "Wine Me, Dine Me, Sixty-Nine Me." Tapdat's article sent shock waves through campus when it was reported in mimeographed form in a March 1976 fraternity newsletter.
Unreal: You claim to have "bedded 97 coeds" during your three year "romp" through Wash. U. in the 1970s. How'd you do it?
Tapdat: I had two things going for me. First, I had this irresistible tuft of chest hair. I still have it. It's sexy as hell, see? Second — and most important — I always kept plenty of booze on hand. It's like the guy from Dirt Cheap says: "The more she drinks, the better you look."
You flunked out of college your junior year. How'd you get the idea for the article?
Basically, it started out as a log — you know, recording which ladies I'd scored with that weekend and how we accomplished coitus. Later I recorded what we had to drink prior to our lovemaking. Before I knew it, I had this incredible data set that basically confirmed it: The more I drank, the more I got laid!
Why has it taken the scientific community so long to confirm your findings?
They said my findings didn't follow strict scientific controls because sometimes I'd lose track of precisely how much I drank and what type of alcohol I consumed.
Speaking strictly anecdotally of course, did you find that any particular type of alcohol worked better than the others?
If you want prolific numbers — we're talking two to three partners a night — nothing works better than keg beer. But if there's a special person you want to have crazy monkey sex with, then nothing works better than jungle juice: Everclear and Kool-Aid mixed in a trash can.
Answers to the 2007 Unreal News Quiz
We have a winner! Unreal extends our heartfelt congratulations to Kim Syron of Affton, who topped all who took on the Unreal News Quiz.
For getting 93 out of 103 answers correct, Kim won herself a lovely toilet, which she stopped by for and schlepped home last week — but not before we extracted a promise to call us if, instead of re-gifting it to her mother, she opts to sell it in the Post-Dispatch "Bargain Box." Imagine that installment of "Somebody Buy My Crap" — it'd be the post-postmodernest!
Oh, yeah — one other piece of housekeeping: Unreal made a teensy error in formulating Question 68: Kidnapper and child molester Michael Devlin drove a Nissan pickup, not a Toyota.
And now, without further ado, the answer key: