QUIRKY WORLD ... A daily look at some of the world’s stranger stories

USA: It was a caffeine-charged Hollywood whodunnit:

Who created the ‘Dumb Starbucks’ coffee shop that popped up and started serving free drinks from the corner of an otherwise uncelebrated California shopping centre?

After several days of speculation, the news came: The shop was a Canadian comedian’s publicity stunt. Nathan Fielder told a crowd he was pursuing the “American dream” — before acknowledging that he planned to use it on his Comedy Central show Nathan For You.

Dumb Starbucks caught the attention of the real Starbucks. “While we appreciate the humour, they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark,” spokeswoman Laurel Harper said.

At the front counter of Dumb Starbucks, a FAQs sheet said the store was shielded by “parody law”. Fielder told a news conference he did not need Starbucks’ permission and he was glad they had not pursued a “case they know they can’t win”.

LEFT BEHIND
ENGLAND:
An angry NatWest customer was forced to call police for assistance after being accidentally locked in a bank for an hour and a half.

The woman, who did not want to be named, went into the branch in Waterloo, central London. However, she was forced to stay longer than expected when staff forgot she was on the phone talking to the bank’s customer services department in a side room, according to The Mirror.

“I was calling out when I noticed the alarms were going off,” she told the newspaper. “I rang the police and told them I was locked in a bank. They said they wouldn’t be able to send anybody round for 60 minutes. It’s unbelievable, it’s surreal. I’ve never come across anything like it. The bank needs to be much more professional.”

CHART TOPPER
ENGLAND:
Pop star Ed Sheeran has scored a high climber on a different type of chart after becoming one of the UK’s top “weird crushes”.

The singer has ranked in second place in a list of fanciable stars who are not conventionally good-looking compiled by Heat magazine, shooting up from last year’s number 10.

Top of the weird crush 2014 list is TV presenter and comic Matt Richardson, known to viewers for his appearances on The Xtra Factor. The 22-year-old deposed last year’s winner, comedian Russell Howard, who has slipped from the top 10 completely.

USA: They are making bacon in so many different ways at one casino that you can drink and even wear it.

The Tropicana Casino and Resort’s Bacon Week includes off-beat recipes such as bacon milkshakes and chocolate-covered bacon shaped like roses.

There is bacon bourbon, margaritas, beer and vodka, bacon icecream sundaes, and a BLT sandwich with a full pound of bacon at the Atlantic City venue. There is even bacon-flavoured toothpaste, dental floss, and lip balm.

FRANCE: A museum employee is in hot water after being unable to resist the temptation of sitting in a 200-year-old folding chair once filled by the derriere of Napoleon.

The red leather that had held up the French emperor through numerous campaigns gave way and the cinema director-style chair’s wooden structure was also damaged, officials at the Museum of Fine Arts in Napoleon’s birthplace, Ajaccio on the island of Corsica, admitted on Monday.

The incident actually happened on Thursday but had been covered up until being revealed by local media following an emergency visit by a restoration expert from Grenoble.

“The end result is that the chair has now been very well restored, which it previously had been but less well,” said museum curator Philippe Costamagna.

The employee concerned faces a disciplinary hearing.

The chair is part of an exhibition due to run for three months, featuring the last existing tent used by Napoleon during his military campaigns and a collection of the furniture he used.

CAR CRASH
USA:
A 10-year-old girl has been cited for reckless driving after her mother’s car crashed into a Division of Motor Vehicles office in a Denver suburb.

Police sergeant Andy Coleman said a woman parked outside the office and left her 12-year-old and 10-year-old daughters in the vehicle. That is when the younger girl apparently started the car and put the vehicle in gear.

Mr Coleman said the car rolled slowly through the office’s front window until the mother jumped in to stop it causing more damage. No one was hurt. Anyone 10 or older can be charged with a crime in Colorado, so police gave the girl a ticket for reckless driving.

LEAST ROMANTIC
ENGLAND:
The Thames Valley town of Slough, vilified by poet John Betjeman as “not fit for humans now”, has been voted the least romantic destination in Britain.

Slough has replaced Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire as the UK’s least-romantic place in a survey by Hotels.com.

Next least-romantic place was Birmingham, followed by Scunthorpe.

The most romantic spot was the Lake District, followed by the Cotswolds.


Lifestyle

Setting sail to travel the world as part of your job has a romance all of its own but for marketing manager Máire Cronin and engineer Mark Crowe it led to love.Wedding of the Week: Cruise ship co-workers Máire and Mark sail off into sunset

One of the genres that has seen exponential growth in the podcast world is the sleepcast. Open Spotify on your phone in the evening and a number of offerings are available, writes Eoghan O'SullivanThe Podcast Corner: podcasts that will put you to sleep

Cutting-edge animation was paired with the look of an old-fashioned family film for Call Of The Wild, writes Esther McCarthyCall of the Wild: CGI dogs have their day in new Disney adventure

A new exhibition recalls the late entertainer Thom McGinty, writes Richard Fitzpatrick.Remembering The Diceman: street performer and social activist

More From The Irish Examiner