In one sense, it’s been available since the very first episode, but the mansion from which the Roses were evicted at the beginning of Schitt’s Creek is now officially on the market. Situated in the St. Andrews-Windfields neighborhood, the cozy “single-family” faux-Versailles home—12 bedrooms and 16 bathrooms spread leisurely over 24,000 square feet—can be yours for just under $12 million. Fans of the show have reportedly viewed the listing more than 33,500 times, though presumably not all of them are serious potential buyers.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, has been trying to re-invent himself as a middleman for hire between China and various African nations. Why re-invent? Well, there was that awkward spate of allegations around the time he resigned from the I.M.F., in 2011: of sexual assault (brought by a maid at a New York hotel; charges dropped), of rape (brought by a French journalist; investigation dropped), of possible involvement in a gang rape in Washington, D.C. (investigation discontinued), of “aggravated pimping” in Lille in connection with a global prostitution ring (acquitted). A period of laying low might conceivably have suggested itself.
So far, though, not so good, rebooting-wise, for the self-styled D.S.K. “Strauss-Kahn’s firm Parnasse International recently lost a lucrative consulting contract with the government of the mineral-rich Democratic Republic of Congo, which is trying to re-establish links with the IMF,” reports The Times of London. “There was further disappointment when a recent debt-suspension initiative announced by the G20 produced a flurry of African contracts for consultants peddling advice but Parnasse was left empty-handed.” More recently, D.S.K. has approached Umaro Sissoco Embaló, the president of Guinea-Bissau, and offered his services. While there are no takers at this point, the formerly high-powered economist remains at least geographically well positioned for a West Africa–based career resurgence: D.S.K., who once described himself as a “simple swinger,” lives with the fourth Mrs. D.S.K. outside Marrakech.
“Meh” means “meh”: iConsent, a Danish smartphone-based sexual-consent app that allows participants to respond within 30 seconds of being asked, is drawing a tepid response from users—low ratings, lukewarm reviews, a concern that it might be abused—as well as from observers, many of whom lament the innovation’s dehumanizing component. As the iConsent Web site notes, “Samtykket gælder for ét samleje, og ophører uanset hvad efter 24 timer.” (Sorry: “The consent is valid for one intercourse and expires no matter what after 24 hours.”) The Danish daily Berlingske called the app as “unsexy as a corona news conference” and said it “removes any kind of human warmth from something we still need to be together for: sex.” And one Danish sexologist said, “Reading others sexually is a skill. If we shift that into an app then we will deprive ourselves of some of the possibilities to learn this skill.”
A smuggler of endangered plants has been sentenced to a year of “intensive supervision” and 100 hours of community service in New Zealand, The Guardian reports. Wenqing Li, who lives in Auckland, pleaded guilty to strapping nearly 1,000 succulents and cacti to her body and transporting them from China to New Zealand, where she was arrested at Auckland Airport. The plants’ value was said to be more than $10,000. Li’s recent Birnam-Wood-comes-to-Dunsinane re-enactment isn’t her first foray into illegal botanical import/export, says the newspaper: in 2019 she “was found to have 142 unauthorised seeds hidden inside commercially packaged iPad covers in her luggage—as well as more than 200 plant pots, one of which contained a snail.”
And now, take-out couture: you choose outfits online from a range of designers, pick a time slot, and then wait for a courier to arrive with the goods. At that point you have 40 minutes to try on the clothes, either with the courier functioning as a “style concierge”—joining you in the comfort of your home to provide “honest feedback” (they’re not on commission) and “styling suggestions”—or, if you prefer, waiting patiently outside for you and your verdict. After 40 minutes, just hand back what you don’t want to keep and pony up for the rest. (You’re not obligated to buy anything.) Harper Concierge is already offering this service in London and is reportedly planning to expand to Paris and New York. As a shopping concept, will it have post-pandemic viability? That might depend in part on how much you miss waiting in post-office lines with your arms full of returns.
The skiing has been sepia-toned this past week in Italy’s Aosta Valley, the Tyrol in Austria, Leysin and Val Ferret in Switzerland, and Les Contamines-Montjoie and Val-d’Isère in France, among other resort areas—courtesy of an early-arriving sirocco. The sandstorm blew in from the Sahara and turned everything a kind of rusty orange, in the process obviating the need for tinted goggles. Next week: locusts.
It’s not exactly news when an older Brit in casual gear disembarks on a Caribbean island in February. But this particular visitor—a 70-year-old grandfather named Frank Rothwell—got there by rowing, alone, across the Atlantic. Rothwell, who took on the challenge to raise money for Alzheimer’s research—his brother-in-law died of the disease during the journey—departed from La Gomera in the Canary Islands on December 12, pointed his bow more or less westward, and reached Antigua 56 days, 3,000 miles, and nearly $900,000 raised later. Clearly a slacker, Rothwell had previously sailed a yacht around the world, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and spent five weeks on a deserted island. It was not entirely surprising to learn that he is the founder of Bunkabin, a company that manufactures portable sleeping accommodations.
George Kalogerakis is a Writer at Large for air mail