Repeat Performance?

Reader JD asks:  “Are you going to do your Favorite Things post every year from now on?  There was some really cool stuff there.”

Hell, no.

What I might do is post links to Favorites #1 and #2, and create addenda to said lists — just not as many, because I don’t see that much stuff that I like anyway, nowadays.  (The aforementioned lists were created from untold links collected, and also a few purchases made, over many years of Intarwebz drooling.)

Unsurprisingly, my tastes don’t change that much, so few if any of the things will fall out of favor or be replaced by some new flavor-of-the-month item.  (This may not apply to cars, because I fall in live with different models at different times as often as I fall in love with different redheads and/or old rifles.)  On most things, I’m fairly set in my ways;  yeah, I know, you’re all shocked — shocked! at that.

Another Reader asked why single malt Scotches were conspicuous by their absence from the lists.  I dunno;  maybe it’s because I’ve settled on an “everyday” single (Glen Morangie) and see little incentive to change that — unless someone in a bar / barman suggests something else to try, in which case, sure.  I might give some of the new Japanese whiskies a shot (or two), just as soon as I can afford them.

Sorry, I appear to have wandered off topic and into the wilderness here, but that’s often how it goes, these days.

My Favorite Things (Part 2)

Here’s the second part of the above topic (Part 1 here), this time of 50 excellent things costing less than $750.  Some of these might be decent / affordable Christmas presents…

51. LG CM4590 XBOOM Audio Set$250

52. Zassenhaus Manual Bread Slicer$220

53. L.L.Bean Snow Sneaker Boots$140

I’ve been wearing these since 1987, and I’m only on my third pair (purchased last month).  They are comfortable, last almost forever, are waterproof and astoundingly warm.  Best of all, they are much lighter than regular winter boots like Sorel.  If you live in a cold climate or are traveling to a cold country, I cannot recommend them highly enough.  (Pro tip:  use cheap Dr. Scholls inserts to make them even more comfortable and easier to pull on.)

54. Mont Blanc Meisterstück Classique Fountain Pen — $725

55. Saddleback Doctor’s Leather Duffle Bag$600

56. Naked Armor Straight Razor$120

57. Ruger Single-Six Convertible Revolver (.22LR/.22WMR) — $700

58. Marks & Spencer Linen Shirt$50
Every time I go Over There, I buy half a dozen of these, and they last until the next time I cross The Pond.  Best casual shirts in the world.

59. Steiner MM1050 Military-Marine 10×50 Binoculars$500

I’ve tried almost all of them — and these represent the best cost / performance / ruggedness option.  I never travel anywhere without mine.

60. Barton Leather 3-Watch Case$110

…which may not be sufficient for serious watch collectors (like Reader Weetabix), so there’s this one:

61. TAWBURY 24-Watch Case$220

62. Standard of London Antique Brass Desk Compass $70

63. Stainless Steel Water Pitcher with Ice Guard$35

64. Wheeler Space Saver Screwdriver Set $15

65. Scandal$20

The Christine Keeler story, and very close to the actual history.

66. Armored Steamer Trunk$250

Mine has wheels, but whatever.

67. The Last Detective Complete Collection$150

68. Caldwell DeadShot Front and Rear Bag Set $20

69. Jack Pyke Fleece Gilet$45

70. Braun Series 9 Pro 9465cc Electric Razor$300

71. Russell Hobbs TR9250WTR Retro Style Toaster$120

72. Thursday Boot Co. Captain Model$200

73. Chopin Nocturnes — Valentina Lisitsa $90

74. AeroPress Original Coffee Press$45

75. Foyle’s War: The Complete Saga$50

76. Springfield 1911 Mil-Spec$750

77. Barbour® Bede Wellington Boot$150

78. The Second World War (Hardcover) — $120

79. Roland CUBE 120XL Bass Amp — $600

No link because Roland stopped making it, the idiots [2,000-word rant deleted].  But it’s unquestionably the amp I would have carried around and used back in the 1970s, if they’d made it then.

80. Husky 18″ Wide Mouth Tool Bag$65

I actually use one of these as my range bag;  stronger, more accessible and doesn’t advertise that it’s a gun bag.  Also much cheaper than most of same from one of the “operator” brands like 5.11.

81. Marks & Spencer 10pk Pure Cotton Cool & Fresh™ Trunks$68
I buy these every five years, two packs at a time, and I wear them exclusively.  I’ve tried other “premium” brand undies from time to time, and they’re lousy, all of them.  Life is too short to be uncomfortable.  And yeah, only in black.  Because life is also too short to waste time deciding on the color of an undergarment.

82. The Colony Hotel, Miami Beach$120/night

Art Deco decadence, found in the right place for it.

83. Straw Fedora Beach Hat$35

I’m on my third or fourth one of these, since about 2004.

84. Estwing E15S Leather-Gripped Hammer$60

85. Pelikan Classic 200 Fountain Pen$200

86. S&W 686-6 PLUS .357 MAG$750

87. LP-099 Multi-Region PAL/NTSC HD CD/DVD Player$30

…backup for when you-know-who starts “offlining” your online streaming purchases.

88. Panasonic Lumix ZS100 / TZ100$600

This is the camera I’ll get when my Olympus and Nikon finally bite the dust — or maybe even before then.  (It’s called the ZS in Murka, and TZ in furrin countries.)

89.  J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variationen$20

Okay, if not Barenboim is not to your taste, then Klára Würtz is wonderful, as always.)

90. Waterman Expert Ballpoint Pen$80

91. Stag Arms AR-15 Left Hand Upper Receiver$600

…for the kack-handers amongst  us.

92. Wire in the Blood: The Complete Series$40

Scariest and most intellectual detective series I’ve ever watched, and Robson Green is excellent beyond words.

93. DOVO 5/8 Bergischer Lowe Buffalo Horn Razor Set — $500

94. Ariat Heritage Round Toe Boot$200

95. Fender Acoustic 100 Amp$450

96. Minnetonka Moosehide Classic Moccasins$100

Most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn;  been wearing them nonstop since 1996, and replace them every other year or so.  If I could only wear one kind of shoe for the rest of my life, it would be these.  (In winter, #53 Snow Sneakers as above.)

97. Buffalo Jackson Roosevelt Leather Pilot Bag$350

98. Barbour Classic Beaufort Jacket$450

As with so many things on this list:  buy it once, buy it for life.

99. GALC No.2 Shave Kit$350

Last, but most certainly not least:

100. Citizen Steely Dan (box set) — $60

Nothing like ’em, before or since.

That was fun.  And Oprah?  Eat my nuts.

Black Friday Stuff

Wait, that didn’t work.  What didn’t I do?  Oh yes, add some whiteness:

That’s better.  The ammo is from AmmoMan, the handguns and long guns are at Palmetto State Armory.

And just in case you need a few more options, there are these from Outdoor Supplies:

…just in case anyone didn’t get their Ammo Day purchases done.

Reminder:  I get no kickbacks from anyone.

HOWEVER:  if some kind (and generous, and wealthy) soul from one of the above outlets does want to send me one of these for Christmas …

…the link is in the pic.  (I’ve wanted to own a CZ 75B — just like the one in the pic — forever.)

Utility Over Beauty?

In my Saturday post of Favorite Things (Part 1), Reader JC comments:

“With your well-known love for God’s Own Pistol, I’m surprised a custom 1911 was not on your list.”

Well, yes.  Except that I addressed the issue the previous week in my post about the Ed Brown 1911.

I dunno.  Maybe it’s that I regard a 1911 the same way as I do about a Land Rover Defender or a Toyota Hi-Lux pickup:  they are so utilitarian that fancying them up seems kinda pointless.

I wouldn’t add diamonds to a watch for the same reason, unless it was a present for a woman (because most women have an undeniable attraction for sparklies).

I love luxury, don’t get me wrong:  I am not a Puritan or neo-Amish type.  But as with all things, luxury has its place, and utilitarian tools ain’t one of them.

Here’s another example of what I’m talking about.

I would prefer an Estwing hammer over a bog-standard Lowes-type budget-rack hammer, any day of the week.

But would I gild the Estwing’s metal?  Of course not.  (I might, however, be seduced into buying an Estwing with a leather grip because ooooh.)

You see where I’m going with this?

Sometimes quality has a point to where improvement is not really worth it — especially if said improvement has a 4x multiple over the original, e.g. an Ed Brown 1911 over a Springfield 1911, or a Porsche 911S over a Porsche Cayman S.

And if the original product, so to speak, isn’t total shit and is already far up the quality curve, that’s always something to take into account.

My Favorite Things (Part 1)

Well hell, if Oprah Winfrey can do it, then by golly so can I.  Okay, a little background:

Every year, the media mogul, 69, shares an expansive gift guide filled with a range of products like kitchen appliances and cooking supplies, furniture and home goods, clothes and accessories, and skin, hair, and makeup items.

And 2023’s is no different. With 109 items in total, this year’s list has ideas for fashion lovers, at-home chefs, food connoisseurs, beauty gurus, and workout fanatics. 

As expected, her list is full of useless shit like face creams and bubble baths:  not the kind of thing on a Real Man’s list unless he’s buying stuff for his wife / mistress / both.

So without further ado, here is Kim’s Favorite Things List (Part 1 — Part 2 next Saturday) with something for everyone.  Oprah did 109 items;  I will only do 100 because unlike Oprah (who had staff to do all the work), I had to do it all by myself.

Aside:  I’m also 69, so there we have it:  battling lists from two Olde Pharttes.

Oh, and one last thing:  all the items below give me a warm & fuzzy feeling when I look at them:  it’s a “favorite things” list and no more.  (Unless you’re very wealthy, it’s not much good as a Christmas list either — unless of course you’re wealthy and want to indulge yourself.)

Buckle down:  this may take a while, but hey, it’s Saturday:  what else are you gonna do?  Let’s kick off with the spendy stuff (all prices are approximate), and there is no order of preference or cost.  It’s all good.

1. 2002 BMW Z8 (4.9-liter V8) — $212,000

Anyone can have a silly Ferrari, Aston Martin or whatever that breaks all the time, for even stupider money.  But there are only a couple thousand of these Beemers left in the world. (And yes, the hard top is removable.)

2. Mauser M98 Standard Diplomat (in your favorite caliber; mine would be 9.3x62mm)   $14,700

…with manly iron sights, of course.  The optional companion piece:

3. Kahles K 3.5-18x50mm scope $3,300
…or, if you’re going to be using your M98 for close-up dangerous game: 

4. Kahles K16i 1-6×24 3GR Reticle $2,200

5. Annual Range Membership (your choice) $600-$25,000
(This is Texas Defensive Shooting Academy — TDSA — but whichever is closest to you.  Dallas Gun Club, FYI, costs $25,000 per annum last time I looked, and there’s a two-year waiting list.)

6. African Hunting Safari (flight, luxury lodge accommodation only;  add $10,000 for several small-game license fees, up to $35,000 for lion, buffalo etc.) $15,000 per person

7. Handmade shoes from Ludwig Reiter (Vienna) $660-$1,200
Buy once, wear for life.

8. Matched pair of shotguns (links in pics) $40,000-$$tupid
…for those of the “Over and Under” persuasion.  But for the more civilized amongst us:

9.  Classic watch (e.g. this Omega Genève from the 1970s) ~$2,000-$5,000

  You may have to search around, but the search is part of the fun.

10.  Sickafus Montana  Shearling Coat $1,700

Unless you live in the tropics.

11. Martin D-35 Standard Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar $3,500

Possibly the best-sounding off-the-shelf acoustic ever made.

12. Saddleback Hardside Suitcase $1,000

13. Zeiss Victory RF 10×54 Rangefinding Binoculars $4,000

14. Browning Buck Mark Medallion Rosewood .22 LR Pistol$600

Add the Vortex red-dot scope, for $300

15. Mini-Moke Classic Electric$30,000
Yeah I know, it’s a damn Duracell car;  but I’d make an exception for this one.

16. Rhino Ironworks Gun Safe$6,000

Ugly as hell;  but how cool is it…?

17. Chiappa Firearms Kodiak (.45-70 Govt) — $1,750

18. Leathercraft Conner Recliner$5,000

19. Winnebago Solis Pocket Camper$150,000

Don’t need much more than that, really.  We are not rock stars.

20. Canon EOS R6 Mark II$2,500

21. London’s Lights (Leonid Afremov, 60″x40″)$900

22. Longines Avigation$2,700

23. DW Collector’s Series Purpleheart Drum Kit$9,000

…add over a grand when you add the cymbals, stands, bass drum pedal and stool.  All worth it.

24. Hacker-Craft Destroyer — $375,000

I’m not even a Boat Person, and I love the look of this thing.

25. Karl Hauptmann Double Rifle (.375 H&H Mag)$40,000

26. Angora Executive Desk$25,000

 27. 1972 BMW 1602 (1600 cc 4-Cyl. 4-Spd manual) — $20,000

Before Beemers got really fuuuugly.

28. Nord Stage 3 88-Key Keyboard$5,500

29. Beretta Mod 74 Target (.22 LR) — $850

30. Orient-Express: Paris to Istanbul$20,000 (per person)

That’s the cost of the Grand Suite;  smaller cabins are (not much) less.

31. 1997 Land Rover Defender 110$66,000

32. Mesa/Boogie Fillmore 50-watt Tube Combo Amp$2,700

33. Seychelles Vacation (Four Seasons Mahé) — $15,000/week

Excludes flights.

34. Five-Rifle Set$1,200

Every so often, J&G puts one of these deals together and at the price, they’re an utter bargain.

35. Breitling Transocean Day & Date$3,500
…or you can drop an extra $5,000 and get it in gold.

36. Mont Blanc Meisterstück Around the World in 80 Days LeGrand Fountain Pen — $1,000

37. CZ 457 Varmint MTR .22 LR$850

Same hole, all day long.  And for its glass:

38. Trijicon Huron 2.5-10×40 30mm BDC$700

39. Fazioli F308 Concert Grand Piano$290,000

To my ears, the best-sounding grand piano of them all.

40. Viking River Cruise:  Amsterdam – Vienna$7,500 (per person)

41. Fender Precision Fretless Bass — $2,500

My #2 choice for a bass guitar.

42. Wiesmann MF4 Roadster / GT — $150,000

…if you can find one, that is.

43. FN 49 Luxembourg Contract (.30-06) — $2,100

Shoots smoother than a Garand.  Still regret losing mine in the Brazos.

44. Stetson El Amo Premium 500x$1,100

45. Driven Pheasant Shoot (UK) — $1,200/day
Assumes a 20-bird tally per shooter. Ammo, food, booze etc. not included.

46. Colt Single Action Army 3rd Gen. (.45 Colt) — $5,000

47. Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus Stereo Amp$1,250

… unchanged since the 1970s, it’s one of the longest-lasting and most popular guitar amps ever, and deservedly so.  As is the next one:

48. Fender ’68 Custom Twin Reverb Amp$1,800

One of the cleanest-sounding guitar amps of all time.  Except when you don’t want it to be, and then it gets dirtier than Miley Cyrus on a Saturday night pub crawl.

49. Longshore Tides Dolores Bar Cabinet$4,500

50. 1975 Rickenbacker 4001S — priceless

Why is it priceless?  Because that’s mine, is why.

Next week, the “budget” 50 favorite things.

Popcorn Time

Ooooh, I like the sound of this, oh yes I do:

Football hooligans are planning to ‘team up’ and ‘protect’ the Cenotaph from pro-Palestine protestors… with police fearing more than a thousand will come to London where a rally against war in Gaza is set to take place.

For those Murkins who are unaware what this is all about:  unlike party-latecomers U.S. of A. to the fun and games of the WWI trenches, the Brits and French had been ritually slaughtered for several years in the trenches of northeastern France.

The First World War, in other words, had a far greater impact on British society (and it still does) than Over Here.

The Cenotaph in London is the great monument to the fallen of that war, and it is probably the single most unifying day in Britishland, where the entire nation falls silent at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, and wreaths are placed at the foot of the monument by kings, queens, princes and princesses.  It is, in short, important.

So the Great Unwashed — in this case the fools who are protesting the current unpleasantness — announced that they were going to hijack the ceremony to make their little strident protests.

Whereupon the working class of Britain — then and now the most patriotic of the British citizenry — have apparently decided that this shall not stand.  (Note that they’re called “football hooligans” by the Loathsome Jackals Of The Press, instead of “people who have a sense of honor” who, it should be said, have had enough of all this bullshit.)

Incidentally — and this predates the Balfour Declaration — had Britain not invaded Judea (the area now mistakenly called “Palestine”) back in that selfsame World War, the area might still be a satrapy of Turkey.

But enough history.  What I want to see is the lads from the Millwall, West Ham, Crystal Palace and other such fan clubs stop beating each other up (the normal Match Day pastime) and converge on the Cenotaph en masse.  Then they can start beating the shit out of the terrorsymp protesters, without the cops doing anything but nod approvingly and, if there were any justice in the world, corral the terrorsymps and prevent them from escaping the festivities.

That won’t happen, of course, more’s the pity.  But I hope just a few hundred terrorsymps get fucked up so badly that they have to wait in the interminable NHS waiting lines to have their broken bones, skulls etc. patched up.

I’ll be Over Here, raising a pint of Fuller’s London Pride in the lads’ honor, oh yes I will.  I’m even going to tune in to the ghastly BBC World TV channel in the hopes that a few BBC journos (who are almost without exception terrorsymps themselves) get their heads broken as well as they try to put their pathetic spin on the event.

That would call for magnums of champagne, never mind pints of ale.

Dogs of war, baby, dogs of war.  I want to see them unleashed, with extreme malice.

If I were in London right now, I might even put on a Millwall supporter’s shirt and catch the Tube over, just to see what I could do to help.  I haven’t been in a decent street fight since I battled apartheid cops in the streets of Johannesburg, and it’s about time.