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The Weird Week in Review

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Inflatable Breasts Recovered

Last week we learned that a shipment of 130,000 inflatable breasts were lost during shipping between Beijing and Sydney. The shipment has been recovered in Melbourne, where they had been offloaded by mistake. The men's magazine Ralph is scrambling to get them packed inside the January issue, as was the original plan. Editor Santi Pintado said the breasts were found just in time; one more day and they would have missed the scheduled issue.

Chipmunk Disables Car with Nuts

When Hope Wideup of DeMotte, Indiana noticed her windshield wipers and turn signals on her car wouldn't work, she found a glove under the hood that a chipmunk had stolen earlier. She drove another car for a couple of weeks, and then tried it again. When the car made a loud revving noise, she looked under the hood again. Underneath were thousands of black walnuts! The chipmunk had apparently stuffed nuts in the accelerator throttle. After $242 in repairs, Wideup says she will alternate her cars so neither will sit unused for long.

Actor Slits Throat on Stage with Switched Prop

Daniel Hoevels' final scene in the play Mary Stuart called for a suicide. But Saturday night,  the blunt prop knife had been switched with a real knife, so the blood spurting from his throat was also real. The audience applauded the "special effects", unaware the actor was injured until he failed to rise and take a bow. Hoevels survived because the knife missed the carotid artery -barely. After hospital treatment, he returned to the stage wearing a bandage for the Sunday night performance. Police are investigating the incident.

Cat's Face Reattached After Accident

150edgar.jpgEdgar, a female cat in Winthrop, Massachusetts came home after a three day adventure with half her face hanging from her skull. Her unnamed owner fainted when she saw the damage. When the woman recovered, she took Edgar to Angell Animal Medical Center. Surgeons reattached the skin on Tuesday with 35 stitches. Edgar is recovering well, and seems to have suffered no nerve or eye damage. Doctors believe she may have gotten under a car hood to say warm and was injured by a moving fan belt, an occurrence that usually kills a cat instantly.

Christmas Parade Duty Saves Suicidal Man

In a scene reminiscent of the movie It's a Wonderful Life, an unlikely event saved a suicidal man from drowning. Deputies from the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office river patrol were on duty for the 54th annual Christmas Ship Parade on the Columbia and Willamette rivers. They spotted a car with the engine running on a bridge and feared the worst. A search by various agencies who responded led them to the unnamed man who had apparently jumped into the water and was clinging to a log. Deputy Ken Yohe was one of the first responders.

"Any other night, we wouldn't have had a boat out," Yohe said. "We would have been responding from home."

"He could barely move," said Yohe. Officials estimate the man had been in the water about 40 minutes, and he was suffering from hypothermia. He was taken to Legacy Emanuel Hospital, where he was in intensive care.

"This is amazing," Yohe said. " It was amazing that he was even alive."

Obama to Appear in Nativity Scenes

150obamanativity.jpgEvery year for centuries, craftsmen in Naples, Italy sell handmade figurines for Italian nativity scenes. These scenes often have dozen of figures, including celebrities and newsmakers. The top selling figure this year is the US president-elect.
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"The ones we are selling the most of are those of Barack Obama, America's new president, along with his wife Michelle," said craftsman Genny Di Virgilio.

Tradition requires that the nativity scene be built up over time until Christmas Eve, when baby Jesus is put in the manger as the very last element of the display.

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Thanks to a Wet Winter, New Zealand Faces a Potential Potato Chip Shortage
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New Zealand has plenty of unique and tasty snacks, but kiwis also love potato chips. The universal comfort food is in danger Down Under, however, as an unusually wet winter has devastated the island country’s tuber crops, according to BBC News.

Twenty percent of New Zealand’s annual potato crop was wiped out from a series of major storms and floods that ravaged the nation’s North and South Islands, The Guardian reports. In some regions, up to 30 percent of potato crops were affected, with the varieties used to make chips bearing the brunt of the damage.

Potato prices spiked as farmers struggled, but the crisis—now dubbed “chipocalypse” by media outlets—didn't really make the mainstream news until supermarket chain Pak’nSave posted announcements in potato chip aisles that warned customers of a salty snack shortage until the New Year.

Pak’nSave has since rescinded this explanation, claiming instead that they made an ordering error. However, other supermarket chains say they’re working directly with potato chip suppliers to avoid any potential shortfalls, and are aware that supplies might be limited for the foreseeable future.

New Zealand’s potato farming crisis extends far beyond the snack bars at rugby matches and vending machines. Last year’s potato crops either rotted or remained un-harvested, and the ground is still too wet to plant new ones. This hurts New Zealand’s economy: The nation is the world’s ninth-largest exporter of potatoes.

Plus, potatoes “are a food staple, and this is becoming a food security issue as the effects of climate change take their toll on our potato crop,” says Chris Claridge, the chief executive of industry group Potatoes New Zealand, according to The Guardian.

In the meantime, New Zealanders are preparing to hunker down for a few long months of potential potato peril—and according to some social media users, kale chips are not a suitable alternative. “Chipocalypse” indeed.

[h/t BBC News]

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Supermarket Employees to Compete in National Bagging Competition
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In today’s busy world, efficiency is king—especially at grocery stores, where long checkout lines can turn even the most patient shopper into a petulant purchaser. It only makes sense, then, that a nationwide competition exists among supermarket employees to determine the country’s best bagger.

As the Associated Press reports, Alysha Orrok, a teacher from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, recently won her state’s Best Bagger competition. She’s now headed to the U.S. finals, which will take place in Las Vegas in February 2018 and is sponsored by the National Grocers Association (NGA).

In Las Vegas, finalists from more than a dozen states—ranging from Washington to Florida—will duke it out onstage to see who’s truly king or queen of the checkout line. Competitors will be judged on weight distribution, appearance, speed, and technique (no smushed bread or bruised fruits allowed).

Orrok, who works evenings and weekends at a local grocery store, says she was initially clumsy on the job. “My first day as a bagger I dropped a soda and it exploded everywhere,” she told NBC Boston.

Over time, though, Orrok got so good at her side gig that she decided to compete in the New Hampshire state bagging competition earlier this month. At the tournament, "I was like 10 seconds faster than the next person," Orrok said. "I feel like I get in the zone and I just fly."

Competitors heading to 2018’s Best Bagger competition will face off to see who can achieve the best customer service in the shortest time span. The grand prize is $10,000, which will be awarded to a deserving grocery store employee “with infectious company pride and an enthusiastic commitment to customer service,” according to the NGA.

[h/t NBC Boston]

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