Re: stem worries
It's probably a bead of solider - is the stem egyptian or syrian? If it's a KM, then a REAL good cleaning will be in order as some seem to have a grease like substance in them.
If it's solider, then you might be able to knock it out with a long stick, but be careful, it could damage the weld and make a hole, allowing for smoke/air leakage.
I take it is effecting the draw, right?