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.


One last Halloween thing, before we consign it to the trash heap of 2013.  Actually, it’s one of the few things I don’t mind too much about this stupid event:  the way celebrities go out of their way to make even bigger fools of themselves than we know they are already.  That said, there are some benefits, especially when it comes to showing the flesh.

Take Mrs. Ozzy Osbourne, for instance:

…who was actually copying some else’s “costume”:

Oy, Sharon…

Then there’s Heidi Klum, who went the other way this Halloween and actually covered up (as opposed to being semi-naked most of the time):

Then there’s Jonathan Ross (“Wossy”)’s daughter Honey:

Okay, I’ll need to make amends for that one (no man should):

Okay, that’s enough of that.


Turns that occasionally-funny Brit comedian Russell Brand has been a Naughty Boy:  shagging women all over the place, molesting women on set, hosting orgies, groping strange women… all the stuff that makes Teh Wimmynz angry.

Golly, if only there had been some kind of clue,,,

I remember him being interviewed by two stern TV female journos on, I think, Faux News.  As much as they tried to shame him, or make him look like a fool, he just overpowered them with wit and savage mockery.

At the end of the interview both women gave identical statements:

Then there’s this tragic tale… try not to giggle.

Women just love a Bad Boy, and our Russ is now being pilloried for actually being one.

Stupid Argument

Loath as I would ever be to bestow any kind of acknowledgment to the Ginger Whinger’s Duchess CaringSlut, on this issue I am firmly on her side.

The Duchess of Sussex once wore diamonds grown in a lab on a royal jaunt, but jeweller Eddie LeVian is not impressed. 

‘I’m concerned people think it’s the same as a diamond,’ he tells me at the Tower of London, where his brand Le Vian hosted a show. ‘It’s misleading.’

Of course, he makes his livelihood pimping overpriced rocks for the ghastly De Beers diamond criminal cartel, so of course he would sniff at “man-made” diamonds as not being “the real thing” — although they actually are.  Even if they were grown in a clean laboratory somewhere instead of having been hauled out of the ground by child laborers in Africa, their chemical composition, their hardness and appearance make them real diamonds, absolutely indistinguishable from their bloody African cousins.

Which of course makes the diamond industry quake in their expensive handmade boots, because it means the end of their tidy little cartel which has established itself by dint of creating an artificial shortage through the imposition of “controls” mostly illegal — ask yourself why De Beers doesn’t have an office in the United States (RICO coff coff ).  And gawd forbid that diamonds should be priced at even semi-precious levels rather than as the horribly-overpriced geegaws they are.

So while the Duchess Formerly Known As Third Actress From The Right may well have worn said manufactured gems because of Evil Child Labor Exploitation — not actually a bad reason, for once — the fact remains that all the pouting about the diamonds being fake is being driven, as always, by the greed and self-preservation instincts of the fucking awful diamond industry.

Who are far, far worse a cancer on society than the Markle creature could ever be, try as she may.

Why Indeed?

The question is asked:

Why DO US megastars Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and George Clooney prefer the UK to California?

The answer is actually quite simple, and it’s one of the reasons why I love going there too.

The pat answers, of course, are manifold — especially in the case of the above reptiles — and the first, obviously, is that anywhere in Yurp (including Britishland) is preferable to the shithole that California has become, especially when the said reptiles are also filthy rich and can buy things like “cottages” on the Thames River or castles in Devon;  and being all part of the same mutual admiration society, they can also count on their buddies to put them up for a day or week.

Then they can play the part of the “locals”, and go to quaint little pubs and tearooms and drink “pints” and drink PG Tips tea, go to Wimbledon and thus hobnob with all their precious little Hollywood buddies also visiting “for the occasion”.

And if the weather turns shitty (as it sometimes does in Britishland), they can simply jump into a first-class seat on an airliner and head off to, oh, Cannes, Como or Malibu.

The thing is, it’s very easy to fall in love with the U.K. under those circumstances.  All that British stuff and the matchless beauty of the countryside is like one big theme park, and it is just how it’s described:  charming, quaint and pretty.

And I haven’t even touched on the history, the kind one experiences when finding out that people have been worshipping in a little stone church since the 12th century, or stumbling across some broken clay pots from the Bronze Age in a field somewhere, or seeing the outline of a Roman road winding across an impossibly-green meadow where now a flock of snow-white sheep are grazing contentedly, safe from predators like lions, bears or even wolves.

It’s a gentle country, so unlike the harshness of the U.S. — and especially so when one is living in a wealthy cocoon like Clooney or Depp.  And it’s really easy to love a place when you’re not forced to live there as a native:  by family tradition, work or heritage.

If I sound familiar with the topic, it’s because I feel exactly the same way, having spent weeks and months living in Britishland, whether in Wiltshire at Mr. Free Market’s country house or The Englishman’s farm or in the latter’s cottage in an impossibly-beautiful Cornish seaside village.  After the first couple of weeks I was last there, I found myself browsing the real estate listings, wondering just how I could perhaps buy a little cottage in Devizes or Burton-on-Trent or Norton St. Philip or… or… or…

And if I had the wealth of the Cooneys, Depps, Cruises or their ilk, I would have done exactly what they have done.

Here’s the problem, though.  As I discovered, at some point you get sick of living in a foreign country, even one as pleasant as Britishland.  At some point, you get sick of the high prices (Brits are ripped off more than tourists in Manhattan, and it happens all the time);  sick of the tiny little roads that are so picturesque, and such a huge pain in the ass to use when you need to get somewhere in a hurry;  sick of the class- and wealth envy that you see every day on TV and hear in conversations in those quaint little pubs that serve delicious bitter ale, at £6 ($7.70) a pint.

You get sick of the stupid TV — oh, don’t get fooled by Downton Abbey or Midsomer Murders:  those are the very few jewels scattered around in the dreck and swill of Strictly Come Dancing, Love Island, TOWIE, the empty-headed morning TV hosts, and Piers Morgan.

And you get sick of how primitive the place is — a place which has simultaneously the best newspapers in the world and the worst Internet service (unless you live in London).   A place where you can wait a week for an electrician to come and fix your plug outlets, or where train service can be interrupted for days on end by chilly weather (!), not to mention the frequent strikes of the pampered working class.  Where a lowly bureaucrat can stop you putting up a privacy fence on your property, or after you’ve put it up, tell you to take it down because it’s six inches too high.

You’ll get sick of the petty crime that abounds everywhere — even in those postcard-pretty villages — and the indifference of the police to the problem.

And yes, you get sick of the weather, eventually.  Even those who prefer cooler temperatures and overcast skies will get sick of the ceaseless drizzle, the chill that seeps into your bones, and the inability of your clothes to ever dry out properly.  Like Seattle, only twenty degrees colder.  Why else would Britain boast the largest per-capita percentage of expats who move to Spain, Portugal, France and gawd help us Australia, in ever-increasing numbers?

None of this matters to our celebrity part-time Brits, because their careers take them off to film sets in California or Colorado where they can become, once again, Americans.

I still miss the place, terribly. I just don’t want to live there.


It’s not often that I comment on celebrity stuff, but this takes the cake:

The American people still hold a grudge against the Royal Family for how Princess Diana was treated, claims a senior journalist at ABC News.
The late Diana, who died in a car crash in Paris in August 1997, captivated the hearts of people worldwide with her charm, grace, and unwavering commitment to humanitarian causes.
And she had a particularly strong impact in America – with rumours she even planned to give up her life in the UK and move Stateside.

What a load of bullshit.  I dunno where this “senior journalist at ABC News” conducted his poll — no doubt among his “senior” journo buddies, over several cocktails at some foul Manhattan bar.

I doubt whether the average American under age… I dunno, maybe 60 — even knows who the Virgin Princess was.  And among the over 60s (like me), the reaction is most likely in the “who gives a rat’s ass?” class.

Indeed, the whole Royal Family concept is treated with barely-concealed contempt Over Here, with only a few royalty groupies even aware of the dramatis personae  in Britishland’s little social soap opera.  (I know who most of these parasites are, but that’s only because my university degree is in Modern Western Civilization — such as it was — and it’s necessary to know these goofs only because of the part they played in European history prior to WWI.)

And as it turns out, Prince Charles only married this upper-class twit because he couldn’t marry Camilla — yeah, that worked out well — and even better, she wasn’t the saintly Lady/Princess Di, but a shallow little Sloane Ranger (Britain’s Valley Girl equivalent, named for their fondness for the shops and clubs of Chelsea) who won the ultimate Sloan Prize:  to marry royalty.  And that worked out well, too.  Not.

Anyway, there is no “grudge” Over Here towards the Royals.  I bet this “senior journalist at ABC News” only made that statement to create some controversy prior to Charles’s coronation next week.

Sic semper iournalisti (or however they would have put it in 100 AD).