5 Worst Ballads Ever Written

Ranked in ascending order of awfulness, and all inexplicably popular:

  • MacArthur’s Park — Richard Harris (most obscure and meaningless lyrics ever)
  • All Out Of Love — Air Supply (actually, any AS ballad could be inserted here)
  • Halleluya — Leonard Cohen (maudlin cheesy tearjerker)
  • It Don’t Matter To Me — Bread (beta-male whining)
  • Diary — Bread (the ultimate cuckold song)

No links; I refuse to be party to mass vomiting.

Your suggestions on the topic in Comments.

Definitely In Contention

Thinking of Playboy stuff last week reminded me of a strong candidate for Kim’s Online Object Of Desire (the one to replace the now-too-skinny Nigella Lawson).

She’s 52, she has one of the sexiest smiles ever caught on film, she’s one of the greatest ever to play her sport, and OMG it’s Katarina Witt:

…and yes, those incredible legs are still, well, incredible:

In keeping with the season, here she is in some demure Oktoberfest-Kleidung:

Definitely a gold medal contender. And speaking of Playboy, Hef would have wanted me to post at least one of those pics…

Dollars And Scents

Continuing on from the post about my naked face, I decided to shop for aftershave / cologne fragrances. Oy, vey.

As I intimated, the last time I used this stuff at all was in the 1970s / early 1980s, so times have changed [sigh] and as always, not necessarily for the better.

I used to use Halston 1-12, but it’s no longer in production and while it’s still available — and cheap! — I fear starting to use something which is no longer made because after a while, it starts to cost more and more because of diminished supply.

And anyway, just because it smelled okay on me back then, there’s no guarantee it would still smell good on me now, because one’s body chemistry changes with age (I’m told).

So I would have to, I thought, start looking for a “new” fragrance and experiment over time to see which one would work — and just for the hell of it, I hie’d me off to Macy’s. Dear God.

Firstly, the prices… sheesh, I’m a guy, not a chick. You can’t expect me to spend $100 (or more) just for some smelly stuff, when there’s ammo to be bought from the same pitiful bank account.

Plus, I think that the product offerings are just proof of the Pussification Of The Western Man,, to coin a phrase, and I suspect that the fragrance people use the poxy inhabitants of the West Hollywood YMCA as product testers. A few samples:

Eros? by Versace? Nope. Next:

Perhaps if they spelled their name (and product) with a “U” instead of that pretentious Latin equivalent… but no. To proceed, then:

Sorry; Dior to me means “chick stuff” and while I am quite secure in my masculinity, I wouldn’t use a product called “Kotex” either, even if it came in 140-grain boat-tail softpoints.

Ditto anything made by some Spaniard, and also, did you see the price of it?  That’s five boxes of quality self-defense .45 ACP, at the discount price! Next!

“Chanel’s Bleu by Chanel” — from the Department of Redundancy Department. Also: Chanel? See “Dior”, above.

Even the perfumes in “masculine” packaging look as gay as Brian Boitano:

“Viktor and Rolf”?  “Spicebomb”?
A man could get some exotic venereal disease just by buying that stuff. To continue:

“Guilty” of what? Spending too much money on bullshit smelly stuff?

No no no no no. No. Clearly, I would have to resort to the more old-fashioned scents and/or potions. But which?

$105 for Ralph Lauren? It is, as they say, to laugh.

So I quit Macy’s because clearly I was looking in the wrong place, and headed off to Amazon.

Before I entered their online portal, however, I decided to do a little pre-research, because I was going to have to try more than one cologne, just to avoid problems with unsatisfactory smells etc. So I called up an old girlfriend (Skype is a godsend) to get her ideas on the topic.

“I remember liking the way you used to smell.” (After so many years… hubba hubba.)
“Do you remember what cologne I wore back then?”
“I liked the Old Spice… it always smelled fresh, you know?”
“Great. So I’ll get some of that…”
“Wait… I also liked English Leather on you. You wore it to that party at Carol Beith’s house, and I remember it.”
Better and better. “Remember the Halston 1-12?”
“Oh yes — YES! I loved that smell!” [pause] “Or was that the cologne that Kissy Foss [my replacement – K.] used? It’s SO long ago.”

So that was my research. I know, it’s a sample of only one ex-girlfriend — but I couldn’t do any more without running afoul of the restraining orders.

The next question, as I clicked on the Amazon link and started to enter product names in the search bar, was: does anyone still make these things anymore? Well now, lookee here:

…and just for kicks, and the hell with Kissy (his actual nickname) Foss:

English Leather wins out, on a cost per ounce basis anyway; but I’ll try them all, get some feedback from some of the (very few) women whose opinions I trust, and make my final decision. Then I’ll order a boatload of the winner, so that I won’t run out anytime soon.

Or maybe I’ll just grow my beard back.


Afterthought: In response to Reader goingtothefields (Welsh? no matter) in Comments, I need to tell y’all something.

I too know something about the fragrance business — back in the days of sailing ships, I worked at an ad agency whose client was Max Factor, and at whose behest I did a one-week course on fragrances: their types, their classifications, their histories and most tellingly, the trends.

As with all things, scents follow a pattern — one falls out of favor, another comes in, and the large perfumiers can actually predict what fragrances will be popular up to five years out: musk, floral, citrus, spice(s) and what have you are all combined in different measures to create the product, akin to the creation of blended whiskies and whose formulations are closely-guarded secrets..

It’s all a lot of bollocks, of course. Basically, the costs in the fragrance industry are 65% marketing, 20% packaging, 10% merchandising and 5% product: hence we end up paying retail prices of hundreds of dollars per ounce for perfume (as opposed to cologne / eau de toilette, which are cheaper, but less effective because of dilution).

“Dear Dr. Kim”

“Dear Dr. Kim,
I grew up in a very strict Jewish family, and when I reached my late teens I rebelled against the stupid rules and left home. Eventually, I got a job at a very nice pre-school kindergarten — as it happens, an Orthodox Jewish one — and things were going well. Then I met a man, fell in love and moved in with him.
Guess what happened next? The school fired me for ‘living in sin’! Can you believe it? What can I do now?”
– Shameless, London

Dear Sluttiness:
Let me get this straight: you hated the strict Jewish thing, so you left your family. Then – and I want to be sure I read this correctly – you found a job in an establishment that is the epitome of “strictly Jewish”, run by a group that has some very old-fashioned ideas about things like unmarital sex.

And you wonder why you were fired for shacking up? Can you even spell S-C-H-M-U-C-K? Did you also snack on pork pies and shrimp cocktails during your lunch breaks with the children? (Wouldn’t surprise me.)

The next thing you’re going to tell me is that you plan to compound your schande by suing the school for baseless termination, or some such idiocy.

Forget about it. You’re an idiot. And if your new husband has any sense, he’ll fire you too because morons like you should not be allowed to breed.

— Dr. Kim

What Have I Done?

Yesterday morning, a stranger’s face peered out of the mirror at me. This was because, in an uncharacteristically-impulsive action the night before, I shaved off my beard and mustache; and now, for the first time since Army boot camp in 1977, my face is naked.

Actually, it wasn’t impulsive. My facial hair grows like wildfire, and I just got sick of having to trim it about every other day. So I’m going to try this new look / sensation for a while*.

I grew a beard right after graduating from high school back in 1971, and even then I tired of trimming the damn thing — no Muslim-type ragged growth for me, thank you — but I was fortunate that I was always able to find a willing face-gardener to do the tiresome chore for me.

And speaking of which: several women in my long and checkered love life adored my beard and muzzie — one said that after kissing me, all other men felt like she was kissing a woman — but as my chances of ever kissing a woman in that way again are depressingly slim, I don’t really care. (And I’m going over to Britishland again in a few weeks so the odds grow even slimmer.)

Not that I’m looking to kiss a woman again, mind you. For one thing, cooties; and more importantly, that would require some kind of affection on my part, so fuhgeddabaht it.

I also trimmed my luxuriant British-styled hair back to its usual 3/4″ all-over length (no kidding, I did have my hair styled Over There), but that’s not really a change.

I think I look like a mugshot of a man wanted in twenty states for serial murder, but Doc Russia (who has a full, luxuriant Orthodox priest-type beard) thinks the clean shave makes me look younger.

Not that I care about that, either.

Thank goodness I have a decent badger-hair shaving brush and a choice between a single-edge (if I’m in a hurry) and straight razor (if I’m not). I do need to look at aftershave lotions, though; the last time I bought any was about 1979. Does anyone know if Halston still makes 1-12, or am I dating myself terribly by even suggesting it?


*No pics; I don’t do selfies and I can’t imagine why anyone would be interested in this nonsense either.

Pack Sizes

As manufacturers of consumer products juggle the balls of sales, cost and price, they come up with all sorts of schemes to “fool” customers — the snack bar people like Cadbury or Hershey are experts at this, decreasing the product’s size without raising the price thereof, so that people think that they’re still paying the same for that chocolate bar, and they are, except that they’re in essence paying more per ounce. It’s an old game, and one that I’m fully familiar with (and one that everybody should be fully familiar with, by the way). And as long as it happens with non-essentials like snack bars, I’m indifferent.

Unfortunately, now we seem to be facing this nonsense in our most basic of commodities, .22 ammo. Here’s an example, in an online flyer I received in the old Inbox just yesterday:

We’re all used to the venerable 500-round “brick” (as seen in the Remington Thunderbolts), of course, which is basically just a combo pack of the normal 50- or 100-round boxes. But we also see CCI’s little sneaker: the 300-round box which keeps it well below the $25 price point and Federal’s 275-round box which keeps the purchase below the $20 price point; but on a per-round basis, boxing the ammo like this can disguise a horribly-expensive price. At least this doesn’t seem to be the case here, because it’s a “Sale”. For those who don’t want to do the arithmetic:
Thunderbolt — 6 cents per round
CCI — 6.25 cents per round
Federal — 5.8 cents per round

Likewise, at the bulk end of the scale, we find products like this:

…which equates to 7.9 cents per round. Note that the quantity is 1,575 rounds and not the “three-brick” 1,500 rounds, making brick-by-brick price comparisons impossible without a calculator.

Indeed, all this pack-size differential seems to be designed on just that basis: to confuse the consumer. Certainly, it’s not to overcome pack design constraints or anything like that. So here’s my call to the ammo manufacturers:

Quit fucking us around with this nonsense. Sell your ammo in quantities of 50, 100 and 500, just like you always did, and quit trying to hide the fact that your company’s .22 ammo has become too fucking expensive to support a plinking habit.

I note, incidentally, that Lucky Gunner helps its customers by ranking their .22 ammo on a cost-per-round basis, which makes me smile because you can get to the heart of the matter easily when faced with a choice like this:

…just in case you didn’t notice that the “lower price” on the Browning applies to 400 rounds and not, like Aguila’s, to 500 rounds.

By the way: I love what Lucky Gunner is doing, but they are not always the cheapest, e.g. on the aforementioned Remington Thunderbolt 500-round brick, where the flyer’s price is $29.99, and LG’s is $38.75. But to be fair, the flyer’s price is a “closeout” deal (like they’re going to ever quit selling Thunderbolts — it’s probably a one-off loss leader ad item, more likely) whereas LG’s price is an everyday price.

Also, caveat emptor: a lot of times, the “great deal” you get on ammo isn’t, once you factor in the S&H costs — which differ widely between suppliers.

I’ll be talking a little more about the .22 LR thing in a later post. And just for the record: unless I’m buying target .22 LR, I refuse to pay more than 8 cents per round for the stuff. Even that price sticks in my craw, but I reluctantly accept the fact of supply and demand, and inflation, albeit with snarling hostility. My go-to CCI Mini-Max 40-grain ammo used to cost $5.99 per hundred — I have ummm several boxes with the price tag on them, dated 2006 — and now it costs $7.99. It’s like the ammo manufacturers don’t want us to shoot anymore.


(Note that in all the above, I’ve used 40-grain bullets as the common factor, and ignored any perceived quality differences in the brands. Frankly, .22 LR ammo is plinking feed, and unless you get a dud rate of more than 0.5%, they’re all pretty much of a muchness. Target/match .22 ammo is another story, and I’m not talking about that here.)