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The Weird Week in Review

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Man Hides in Attic for Christmas

A family in Plains Township, Pennsylvania were astonished when a stranger came down from their attic! 21-year-old Stanley Carter was staying with friends on the other side of the duplex until he disappeared December 19th. The friends had reported him as missing.

"When he came down from the attic, he was wearing my daughter's pants and my sweat shirt and sneakers," homeowner Stacy Ferrance said. "From what I gather, he was helping himself to my home, eating my food and stealing my clothes."
The Ferrance family had noticed strange sounds and missing items over the Christmas holiday. Police found him on Sunday, along with a note labeled "Stanley's Christmas List" which chronicled the stolen items.

No New Year's Eve Music for Zune Users

Thousands of people who listen to music on 30GB Zune players experienced a simultaneous meltdown on Wednesday. Microsoft blamed the problem on leap year. Since 2008 had an extra day. the players ended the year one day early. Users are urged to let the battery die and then recharge it. Zune Pass subscribers may also need to sync the device with a PC to "refresh the rights to the subscription content".

Giant Turquoise Flying Rabbit

An emergency call reported a man riding a giant turquoise flying rabbit in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England last week. Instead of dismissing the call as a prank or hallucination, police, firemen, paramedics, and even a helicopter were dispatched to the location. They found the turquoise rabbit, which was a large rabbit-shaped helium balloon. There was no one found with the balloon. Police are looking for anyone who could be missing such an object.

Chasing a Robber with Car Wash Spray

150carwash.jpgAn armed robber wearing a mask confronted car wash employee Chris B. Truax at work in Portland, Oregon. Truax later said that he could tell the gun the robber used was broken or a fake. As the gunman helped himself to cash from the till, Truax grabbed a high-pressure washer wand from a pail and sprayed him. The dripping robber fled, and is still at large. Truax, for his trouble, was arrested on a 7-year-old DUI warrant when police investigated the incident.

Senior Citizen Grabs Attacker's 'Cahoochies'

An 88-year-old woman in Portland Oregon found a naked man had entered her home early Tuesday morning. According to Deputy Paul McRedmond of the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, the man assaulted the woman by pushing her face into a chair.

"Before whatever plans the suspect might have had, the woman reached behind her and grabbed the man by the crotch, 'giving him a good squeeze', McRedmond said.

He added, "The man tore free and ran back out the way he had come in."

Police later arrested 46-year old Michael G. Dick, who was found by tracking his license plate number. The victim wishes to remain anonymous.

Man Sits on 40,040 seats in 48 Hours

150twining.jpgBritish Army Sergeant Terry Twining has broken a record by sitting in all 40,040 seats of the King Baudouin national football stadium in Belgium in only 48 hours. He averaged one seat every two seconds! The stunt raised over £4,000 for Marie Curie Cancer Care. Twining also donated 2,000 euros to a local hospital in Belgium. Twining performed his feat December 15th-17th, only weeks after triple hernia surgery. This is not Twining's first fundraising stunt- the Irish-born Twining has raised over £50,000 for worthy causes. Donations are still coming in at his website.

Baby born during trans-Atlantic flight to Boston

A woman from Uganda gave birth on a flight from Amsterdam to Boston on New Year's Eve. Two doctors who were on the flight assisted in the birth of the 6-pound girl named Sasha during the eight-hour flight. The mother was eight months pregnant and went into labor two hours before the plane landed. Mother and baby were taken to a hospital upon landing in Boston. Sasha is considered a Canadian citizen, as she was born over Canadian airspace, although there is no comment yet from Canada's immigration department.

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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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