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Caught up in ‘Duffingate’

First it was the cronut, the croissant-doughnut hybrid that had people in New York City waiting in line for hours.

Now, the latest entry in the world of pastry hybrids is the “duffin,” a cross between a doughnut and a muffin, and it’s creating quite a controversy overseas.

“Duffingate,” the war between coffee giant Starbucks and an independent London bakery over the origin of the mash-up of breakfast favorites, has been chronicled in print or online by New York Magazine, Bloomberg, the Atlantic, the Guardian, Time and USA Today.

Turns out there’s a Buffalo connection.

A poster in Bea’s of Bloomsbury, the London bakery that claims it was selling duffins long before Starbucks, informs customers: “We have now discovered Starbucks’ factory supplier Rich Products Ltd. have trademarked our name ‘duffin’ and could prevent us from using our own creation that they copied in our own stores!”

From its headquarters at the foot of West Ferry Street, Rich Products said it has all been a misunderstanding.

Yes, there were no existing trademark registrations in the U.K. for “duffin,” so the company filed an application, said Dwight Gram, Rich’s vice president of corporate communications.

“As a family-owned company, we certainly understand why folks like Bea’s may be concerned about our intentions,” Gram said. “But we have no plans to stop Bea’s from selling their own version of the Duffin. The more awareness and excitement that’s out there in the marketplace about the Duffin, the better it is for all of us. We wish Bea’s nothing but success.”

A balloon-hat-wearing hero

It was an emergency responder’s nightmare last Saturday morning on Bidwell Parkway during the weekly Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers’ Market. Despite a wailing siren, a Buffalo fire truck was stuck in that single narrow lane of traffic that’s left when market shoppers and vendors park and double park on Bidwell.

Suddenly, an unlikely hero emerged to unsnarl the jammed street – a balloon artist wearing red suspenders and a balloon animal as a hat, according to an observant reader. He had no trouble getting attention as he stepped out and stopped the traffic on Elmwood Avenue. Then he proceeded to wave the cars out of Bidwell, clearing the way for the fire truck so it could answer its call.

Don’t quit your day jobs

Tuesday’s Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School Board meeting might have lacked the excitement of a game show like “Wheel of Fortune” but it still had its moments of levity.

During an otherwise dry presentation called “Non School Building Sale and Program/Personnel Disbursement Exercise Report,” Board President Bob Dana and School Superintendent Mark P. Mondanaro were asked to hold up a large architect’s blueprint. The two men in business suits each grabbed an edge.

“We’ll never be confused with Vanna,” Mondanaro quipped.

Striking a powerful pose

This just in from the Department of Posture.

Or, the University at Buffalo’s Psychology Department.

Researchers conducted no fewer than four studies about how different postures – think imposing boss standing up and leaning on a big desk – mean different things in different cultures.

One study found that American subjects who put their feet up on the desk had greater feelings of power, but East Asians did not have the same response.

Americans who put their feet on a desk in an expansive pose were more likely to take risks, compared to American subjects in constricted poses, such as sitting with hands under their thighs.

Studies found that for both groups, standing with hands spread on a desk or sitting up straight with one ankle on the opposite knee, created greater feelings of power than those who were in constricted poses.

So, go ahead, sit up straight.

Written by Jill Terreri, with contributions from Joseph Popiolkowski and Dale Anderson. email: offmain@buffnews.com