Say what you will about his musical or moral integrity, but when it comes to merchandising, KISS bassist Gene Simmons is the undisputed champion of shameless hucksters.  Over the years, KISS had peddled practically every tchotchke known to man, from condoms to caskets.  But Gene's latest transaction might just be the greatest achievement his illustrious career.

Last week, during a trip to England, Simmons was the guest on a television show.  During the broadcast, he announced he would be auctioning off the piece of bubble gum he was chewing during the interview and donating all the proceeds to a local charity.  Nearly 100 bids were made during the course of the week long eBay auction until it eventually sold for the astronomical price of £153, 800.  At the current exchange rate, that works out to $247,710.28.

I've purchased several KISS albums during my lifetime.  I've seen them in concert four times.  I've had many KISS T-shirts over the years, including one that I wore last weekend.  I'm sad to say, I was once the proud owner of the KISS Psycho Circus Action Figure Set.  I was "that" guy; a grown man who played with dolls.

As shameful as my many contributions to Gene Simmons' wallet have been, at least I didn't shell out nearly a quarter of a million dollars for a chewed up stick of bubble gum.  That's nearly enough to buy one of Ace Frehley's old houses after the bank forecloses on it.  Just imagine how much Gene could get for Shannon Tweed's original nose?  I'm thinking at least a half million.