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Bright Idea

A weekly roundup of international news oddities.



Bright Idea
Arby's has turned the trend toward plant-based "burgers" on its head with the new Marrot: a carrot made out of meat. Vice reported that Arby's has definitively rejected the plant-based meats movement. "(W)hat Americans really want ... is great, tasty meat," said Jim Taylor, Arby's chief marketing officer. "So we said if others can make meat out of vegetables, why can't we make vegetables out of meat?" The Marrot is made by rolling raw ground turkey breast into a carrot shape, cooking it sous-vide for an hour, covering it with a special "carrot marinade," and then oven-roasting it for another hour. Bon appetit!

The Litigious Society
Tommy Martin, 58, of Mount Holly, N.C., hopes to see Hardee's in federal court after a "humiliating" incident at a Belmont store in which Martin was given just two Hash Rounds on his breakfast plate, rather than the half-dozen or so depicted on the company's website. Martin, who is black, told The News and Observer that he felt like he was in a scene from the segregated 1960s when he asked for more. "The manager came back and said that what you get. Got home with tear in mine eye," Martin said in the handwritten lawsuit filed June 24 in U.S. District Court in Charlotte. The cashier was prepared to give him more Hash Rounds, Martin said, but the manager, who is white, stepped in and gave him a refund instead.

Cultural Diversity
A cafe in Bangkok, Thailand, is encouraging customers to "experience the death awareness" and reflect more on their lives by inviting patrons to get into a coffin and spend some time with the lid closed after finishing their coffee. Death Awareness Café owner Veeranut Rojanaprapa told United Press International that the practice encourages people not to be driven by greed. "When the lid of the coffin closes ... they will realize that eventually they cannot take anything with them." (Hope there are air holes.)

Nightmare Neighbor
After her husband suffered a stroke in 2012, Junghee Kim Spicer, owner of the Yakima (Washington) Arts Academy, increased the number of piano students she taught in her home, angering neighbor Paul Patnode, who complained and forced Spicer to get a permit that limited the hours and number of students she could teach each day, reported the Yakima Herald. Spicer complied, according to court documents, but Patnode, unsatisfied, sued her and lost that case in 2014. Undeterred, Patnode changed tactics: From November 2015 through March 2016, he parked his diesel pickup truck next to Spicer's home, remotely revving the engine and setting off the truck's alarm each time a student walked by. Spicer and her husband won a $40,000 settlement in their resulting lawsuit, and on June 25, the Division III Court of Appeals upheld that ruling. Chief Judge Robert Lawrence-Berry wrote: "(Mr. Patnode) intended to achieve through harassment what he had been unable to achieve through legal means."

Government in Action
Health Canada has issued a seemingly obvious warning to consumers of Venus Simply3 razors: They pose a potential cutting hazard. CTV News reported that the four-packs, sold at Walmart, have been recalled because "the blades ... can become misaligned ... and pose a higher risk of cuts during use." No one in Canada has reported being cut.

Two-year-old Rayna McNeil of San Diego is an early adopter of online shopping. In late June, as Rayna played with her mom's mobile phone, she managed to purchase a $430 couch from Amazon. Mom Isabella McNeil told KNSD she had been scrolling through some couches on her phone before handing it off to Rayna, but she didn't realize the toddler had made the purchase until a few days later, when she got a "Your couch has shipped" alert. "I didn't remember ordering a couch," she said. It was too late to cancel the order, so McNeil plans to resell the item locally. "Lesson learned," McNeil said. She will make sure apps are closed in the future.

The Classic Headline
Police officers in Manchester, N.H., were called to a local hotel on June 28 after Matthew Williams, 35, of Nashua was reported to be behaving "erratically"—shouting, throwing things and "acting aggressive," according to Fox News. Officers called in a K9 unit, and when the dog entered the hotel room, Williams allegedly "wrapped his arms around the dog and struggled with him," eventually growling and biting the dog on the top of the head, police said. Williams was charged with resisting arrest, simple assault and willful interference with police dogs; authorities said the dog was not harmed.

People Different From Us
Zack Pinsent, 25, from Brighton, England, hasn't dressed in modern clothing since he was 14 years old. Instead, he makes and wears clothes that were popular in the 1800s. "At 14, I made the symbolic decision to burn my only pair of jeans in a bonfire. It was a real turning point," Pinsent told Metro News. On a typical day, Pinsent wears a floral waistcoat and knee-high leather riding boots, along with a jacket with tails and a top hat. He explains that his obsession started when his family found a box of his great-grandfather's suits. He now researches, designs and sews clothing for himself and other history buffs, to great response: "I've been all over the world and people are inquisitive and appreciative," he said.

• A baby boy born in West Java, Indonesia, in November 2018 was given a most memorable name by his parents, Andi Cahya Saputra and Ella Karin. Eight-month-old Google was so named, Saputra told Indonesian media, because "Google has a great meaning ... Google is No. 1 in the world, the site most visited by people." The Mirror reported Saputra told his own father he hopes his son will become "a useful person" and "help" a lot of people, while also explaining that they didn't want to "dilute" the essence of the boy's name by giving him a middle or surname. He's just Google. The baby's mom wasn't really on board with the idea until about three months after he was born. She said people ask if their next child will be named WhatsApp, but it doesn't bother her because they don't understand the meaning of the name.

Little Sebastian Swenson of Blaine, Minn., wanted Reese's candy and he wanted it now. So on the morning of June 11, the 4-year-old climbed into the front seat of his great-grandfather's Hyundai Santa Fe and drove at low speeds to a nearby gas station, where police met him. To accomplish this, according to Fox9, he had to reverse out of the driveway and navigate winding residential streets before getting onto a busy four-lane avenue in rush-hour traffic. Along the way, he dinged a few mailboxes and a tree, but he arrived safe and sound. Blaine police Capt. Mark Boerboom told Fox News, "I've never seen a driver this young before operating a vehicle."

Michael Wardian, 45, chose the hottest day of the year so far in Washington, D.C., to tackle a longstanding goal of his: He ran all the way around the Beltway—89 miles. Wardian, of Arlington, Va., started at 1:30 a.m. on June 29 and ran for almost 18 hours, according to Fox 5 DC. "You're like, 'I want to do this but it's never a good time,'" Wardian said. "So we just did it when we had the time." Temperatures on June 29 reached 96 degrees.

In Rybnik, Poland, a 68-year-old woman who was completing the "maneuvers" part of her driving exam struck and killed a 35-year-old driving examiner on June 24. Police believe the victim was testing another candidate at the time, the Daily Record reported. Deputy Police Commissioner Ryszard Czepczor said it was unknown how the accident happened; the woman was in a state of shock afterward, "and because of that, speaking to her would be quite difficult."

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