QUIRKY WORLD ... The heat is on as Santa Claus comes to town

ENGLAND: Selfridges has opened its Christmas store — with the temperature outside at 19C and 145 shopping days left to buy all the festive essentials.

Christmas has come almost five months early to the London retailer where the fourth floor has been decked out with 50,000 decorations.

Selfridges said it was the first department store in the world to launch its Christmas shop this year — and even Santa Claus was in town for the opening.

Spinnin’ around

USA:

The White Stripes singer Jack White has made history by playing a vinyl record in the Earth’s stratosphere for the first time.

Using a “space-proof” turntable and a gold-plated disc, White and his label Third Man Records were able to play a record featuring Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan 28,000m above Earth.

A special space mission took place on July 2, with the record playing for about 80 minutes as the craft ascended into near-space until the high-altitude balloon burst and the craft fell back down towards Marsing in Idaho. The record had to be plated in gold to survive the mission.

Burps land boy in court

USA:

A US court has upheld the petty misdemeanour arrest of an Albuquerque student accused of repeatedly disrupting his class with loud burps.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision ruled that the officer and educators named in the lawsuit were entitled to immunity, and the arrest was justified under a New Mexico law that prohibits anyone from interfering in the education process.

The then 13-year-old was a student at Albuquerque’s Cleveland Middle School at the time of the May 2011 arrest. His mother filed the lawsuit against the principals and the police officer who escorted him to his patrol car before patting him down, cuffing him, and taking him to a juvenile detention centre. He was held for an hour before his mother arrived. She argued her son’s arrest was unlawful and resulted in excessive force.

Caveman

ARGENTINA:

A 79-year-old man has lived in a cave in northern Argentina for 40 years.

Pedro Luca survives without running water or electricity in his cavern high in a mountain in northern Tucuman. When he gets hungry he picks up his rifle and goes hunting or heads on a three-hour trek down the mountain to the nearest settlement of San Pedro de Colalao. A creek is his main source of water. “It’s the purest, richest water there is,” he said.

His cave mates are 11 roosters and two goats that roam the mountainside during the day and return at night looking for shelter from pumas and other predators. Luca has become a legend in San Pedro de Colalao and town dwellers often give him food and supplies.

Brush with the law

USA:

New Hampshire police are trying to find out who spray-painted “I’m drunk” on the side of their station over the weekend.

Portsmouth police Sgt Chris Kiberd says officers noticed over the weekend that someone had spray-painted the message at some point overnight.

The police department posted on its Facebook page that officers immediately began working to remove “this artist’s thoughtful and insightful creation”.

Meaty stuff

USA:

What started out as a joke became reality when a Maine restaurant cooked up a 100lb (145kg) burger to celebrate its first year in business.

Owners of Dirigo’s Public House in Yarmouth worked all day Sunday to cook a freshly ground, 70lb beef patty that weighed in well over 100lb with all the toppings added.

Ben Grant says he and his fellow owners were looking for something creative to celebrate their restaurant’s first birthday when someone suggested taking their burger to another level.

Customers purchased tickets for a chance to get a bite of the burger, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting a local food bank. Grant says it seemed inappropriate to do something this excessive without giving back.

I’ll drink to that

ENGLAND:

A new cocktail bar offers something truly old-fashioned on its menu: The chance to talk to real people instead of staring at your mobile phone.

The Gin Tub in Brighton has won rave reviews in its first week of business by installing a signal blocker and placing throwback rotary phones at its tables. They can be used to dial patrons at neighbouring tables or the bar for another round.

The Gin Tub is reckoned to be the only British pub blocking phones by using a Faraday shield built into its ceiling, an exception in Britain’s 2006 Wireless Telegraphy Act that otherwise outlaws the use of signal blockers.

Proprietor Steve Tyler says: “Mobile phones have killed pubs. When you go out socially, you don’t need social media.”


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