Newsmakers: Lululemon, The Donald and a $21.99 burger

Who (and what) made headlines this week


 
Newsmakers

Sean Kilpatrick/CP

T. Rex goes extinct—again

A Wendy’s fast-food outlet in Brandon, Man., called it the T.Rex Burger, and you’d have to have the brains of a dinosaur to eat one. It consisted of nine beef patties, nine slices of processed cheese, a bun—and maybe lettuce and tomato if you want to get all healthy-foody. For $21.99, you got 3,000 calories and enough sodium to max out a person for four days. What began as a joke advert in Sports Illustrated years ago became something of a staple at the Brandon outlet. But, alas, it is no more. “Wendy’s of Brandon neither condones nor promotes the idea of anyone consuming a nine-patty hamburger in one sitting,” Barb Barker, an administrative assistant at the outlet said, reading from a statement that sounds as if it was prepared by a head-office lawyer. Not mourning its demise is Carla Taylor, a professor in nutritional science at the University of Manitoba. “Food is something I don’t think we can treat in this way,” she said.

In the downward doghouse

The Lululemon brand is all about peace, love and yoga pants, but earlier this month, CEO Christine Day shocked investors by announcing she was stepping down, sending stocks plunging. Day hasn’t gone into detail about the reason for her departure, although it follows a highly publicized recall of see-through yoga pants earlier this year—one the brand has struggled to overcome. Speaking at an investor conference a few days later, Day insisted the company’s in “great shape” and that she’ll stick around until a replacement is found. Lululemon’s already looking: A tongue-in-cheek job posting suggests the ideal CEO will communicate “powerfully, often through Sanskrit,” and can hold a 10-minute headstand.

The pole-dancing girlfriend who came in from the cold

As details emerged about Edward Snowden, the whistle-blower who leaked details of secret U.S. government surveillance programs, the public also got to know his girlfriend, Lindsay Mills. Referring to herself as a “world-travelling, pole-dancing superhero,” Mills kept a blog called Ls Journey, where she documented her life with Snowden in Hawaii and her career as a dancer. After Snowden decamped to Hong Kong and publicly revealed his identity, she wrote: “My world has opened and closed all at once. Leaving me alone at sea without a compass,” and posted a photo of herself wearing a turquoise lace bra and making a fish face. The blog has since been taken down.

These Congress kids today

U.S. congressmen: Don’t let your teenage sons on the Internet. Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake got in trouble when it was revealed that his son Tanner had used racist and homophobic terms on Twitter and in online games. Soon after that story broke, Nevada congressman Joe Heck had to apologize for his son using Twitter to call President Barack Obama good at nothing but “spear chucking and rock skipping, the sports they do in his home country.” To be fair, the kids will grow out of this kind of behaviour, but their fathers will still have the disgrace of being politicians.

The original birthday suit

Filmmaker Jennifer Nelson is suing for a long-denied freedom: to sing Happy Birthday without paying for it. Though the song was written more than 100 years ago, it’s still owned by Warner-Chappell music, which charges a $1,500 fee to any film or TV show that wants to use it. Nelson, who’s making a documentary about the song, has filed suit against the company, charging that the copyright claim is bogus and applies only to certain arrangements of the song. If she wins, we’ll never have to hear movie characters sing For He’s a Jolly Good Fellowat birthday parties to save money.

There goes the neighbourhood

Can Left Coast Vancouver learn to love The Donald? The Trump clan—Donald, his hair, and his heirs: son Donald Jr. and daughter Ivanka—arrive in the city this month to put the family brand on the latest tower of high-priced condos to grace the downtown. It’s not known how much money Trump is putting into the Holborn Group project. Perhaps he brings only the Trump name to the enterprise, but is that draw enough for buyers to shell out multiple millions for an apartment? Branding expert Steven Kates of Simon Fraser University says Trump’s Tea Party-ish antics during the last U.S. election don’t play here. Kates told the Vancouver Sun: “Questioning whether President Obama was in fact born in the U.S.—that borders on Crazy Town. Canadians don’t go for that, they think it’s absurd.”

You don’t own me

Justice Clarence Thomas has helped prevent the plot line from the TV show Orphan Black from becoming reality. Writing the decision for a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court, the justice wrote that corporations cannot patent human genes: “A naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent-eligible merely because it has been isolated.” This decision will prevent corporations from holding patents on natural genetic treatments for cancer and other diseases, and some have argued this will be a blow to medical innovation. It will also be a blow to dystopian science-fiction stories everywhere.

Dropping the dime on dopers

Dylan Armstrong, Canada’s giant of the shot put, was too much of a gentleman to air his suspicions about how he missed a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. He was beaten for third place by one centimetre, the width of a dime, by Andrei Mikhnevich of Belarus. But with word that Mikhnevich has received a lifetime suspension for a second doping offence, and had all his records expunged, Armstrong seems set to receive his belated medal. “It’s pretty exciting. I’ve been waiting for this,” he told the Vancouver Sun. Still, the native of Kamloops, B.C., says missing the chance to be on the Olympic podium “is kind of like a memory stolen.” He’s long been frustrated by cheats in his sport. He praised Canada’s Dick Pound, former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, for a new report urging the agency to “name and shame” non-compliant sports federations. “Dick, I’m speaking out,” said Armstrong.

Temple of doom

How hard is it to get a movie financed and released? So hard that even Steven Spielberg and George Lucas are complaining about it. Speaking to University of Southern California students at a celebration for the opening of a new media building, the two moviemakers gave the students some un-celebratory predictions about the future of movies. Spielberg said that the entire Hollywood business model will collapse as soon as a few big-budget movies “go crashing to the ground,” while Lucas said movies will become niche products with $100 ticket prices.

One giant leap

June 16 marked the 50th anniversary of women spacefarers. That day, in 1963, Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova launched aboard Vostok 6 for a three-day mission, becoming the first female in space. Now 76 and an MP for Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, she was awarded one of the country’s highest honours—the Order of Alexander Nevsky for meritorious public service—to mark the occasion, and laid a wreath in Moscow at the monument to Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space. Tereshkova, who was a textile worker before becoming a cosmonaut, says she’d be willing to go to Mars, despite her advancing years. “Most likely, the first flight will be one-way,” she said. “But I am ready.”

Hey RCMP, words to live by

If you judge leaders by how they handle a crisis, then Australia’s Chief of Army Lt.-Gen. David Morrison has earned his stars. After revealing a sexual misconduct scandal last week, he wrote and filmed a public service announcement that is a volcanic condemnation of ?harassment. In what has become a widely praised Internet sensation Down Under, he says the army has no tolerance for demeaning behaviour. “If that does not suit you, then get out,” he says. He demanded that all soldiers, especially officers, “show moral courage” and take action against any degrading behaviour they witness. “I will be ruthless in rooting the army of people who cannot live up to its values,” he said. “The standard you walk by is the standard you accept.”

When her ship comes in

The duchess of Cambridge welcomed a new princess into the world last week—though not the one royal-watchers are waiting for. Instead, Catherine christened a cruise ship named the Royal Princess, though she found the $1,500 bottle of Moët & Chandon so heavy, she opted to cut a ribbon that launched the champagne toward the ship’s hull. The ceremony marked the duchess’s final solo engagement before she is set to give birth in July to her and Prince William’s first child.


 
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