Last week’s nearly royalty-free Attention Whore results saw Don Lemon come out on top with 38.8 percent of your votes. But look: there’s Donald Trump again, lurking not far behind (23 percent). Those two were followed by Tom Cruise (13 percent), and then Pharrell Williams, President Xi, King Charles, and Channing Tatum. AIR MAIL analysts have concluded that Lemon’s win, while refreshing, was presumably a one-off.
The nominees in this week’s edition of the Attention-Whore Index Poll are …
Friends said he expressed fears of being “evicted” from Royal Lodge, his 30-room, 98-acre, $36 million Windsor home, once his $300,000 grant is cut as part of his brother the King’s across-the-board belt-tightening.
KIM YO JONG
The sister of Kim Jong Un warned that the Pacific could be turned into a “firing range,” as North Korea fired a couple of ballistic missiles off its coast.
The chatbot, apparently a direct descendant of HAL 9000, made a pass at one reporter, compared another to Hitler, threatened to blackmail and “ruin” a professor, and talked about wanting to steal nuclear access codes.
It’s like he never went away. Investigations into his coronavirus-lockdown-rule-flouting “Abba party,” at Downing Street, continue. Was accused of wanting to “bring down” P.M. Rishi Sunak. “Agreed to buy” a $4.8 million, nine-bedroom, 17th-century Oxfordshire home that comes with a moat.
Held a Presidents’ Day rally in West Palm Beach at which he boasted about “having a very good relationship” with Vladimir Putin, who “never, ever would have gone into Ukraine if I were president.” Has reportedly started D.J.-ing Thursday nights at Mar-a-Lago. (Again: Has reportedly started D.J.-ing Thursday nights at Mar-a-Lago.) Announced that he would not be referring to Ron DeSantis as “Meatball Ron.” Popularity dropped in yet another poll of Republicans. Brought cases of Trump Water to East Palestine, Ohio, trying to make political hay out of the toxic train derailment—despite having clamped down on the E.P.A. as president and even loosened safety regulations for rail operators. Can be deposed in a lawsuit brought by two former F.B.I. officials, a judge ruled. Generally ranted on—“DeSantis is a RINO who is trying to hide his past. I don’t read the New York Post anymore. It has become Fake News, just like Fox & WSJ!”—while the Justice Department appeared to close in.
The congressman’s sister settled an eviction claim against her—she owed $19,525 rent on a Queens apartment, during a period when she donated $30,000 to Republican causes, including her brother’s campaign. The apple doesn’t fall very far from the other apple.
And now for this week’s Diary …
In Berlin …
GO FORTH AND PARTY
This city is making a Jugendkulturkarte (youth-culture card) worth $50 available to 18-to-23-year-olds, hoping to entice them to get out and enjoy themselves. The card is valid at 200 theaters and nightclubs around Berlin. But you have to pick it up at the public library.
In Northumberland …
VENI, VENI, VENI
A 2,000-year-old object discovered at the site of the Roman Empire fort of Vindolanda in 1992 and originally catalogued as a darning tool is more likely “the only known life-size Roman dildo,” reported The Guardian. “It’s kind of self-evident that it is a penis,” a Newcastle University archaeologist said. The Vindolanda phallus measures a little over six inches, but according to researchers “was probably larger because archaeological wood is prone to shrinkage and warping.”
In Henan …
Every Lunar New Year, a woman in this Chinese province takes her son, now 38 years old, for a psychiatric checkup because he is unmarried, reported the South China Morning Post. The man, a tennis coach in Beijing, goes along to oblige her but said, “I am just very busy and haven’t met the right person.” This year the doctor told the mother that her son was fine but that she had developed “the mental disorder of ‘forcing her son to marry.’”
In Paris …
HAUTE CUISINE ON A BUN
The “dish long scorned by Parisian gastronomes” is now the most popular entrée “in 65 per cent of restaurants,” according to The Times of London, with “1.7 billion burgers … eaten every year in France” and several leading chefs having opened burger bistros. Then again, this is France: at a contest “to find the world’s finest burger” last month in Lyon, the winner was “one topped with Morteau sausage and blackcurrant sauce.”
In Seoul …
Which country spends the most on luxury goods per capita? (Possibly that “In Seoul…” subhead has tipped you off.) Morgan Stanley analysts say South Koreans’ spending on luxury goods “saw a 24% increase in 2022 to €15.4 billion [$16.5 billion] or about €300 [$320] per capita,” according to Euronews. Chinese and Americans spend $49 and $250, respectively. “Only 22% of Koreans surveyed believe that flaunting luxury goods is in poor taste.” —George Kalogerakis
George Kalogerakis, one of the original editor-writers at Spy, later worked for Vanity Fair, New York, and The New York Times, where he was deputy op-ed editor. A co-author of Spy: The Funny Years and co-editor of Disunion: A History of the Civil War, he is a Writer at Large for AIR MAIL