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The Weird Week in Review

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Eyebrows Shaved for Charity

72-year-old Si Burgher had eyebrow hairs as long as three inches. They were so long he brushed them every day. Not anymore -the Bloomfield, Illinois Rotary Club  sold people turns at trimming Burgher's eyebrows! Trimmers paid $100 each, with Burgher's wife Amy getting the first shot. The stunt raised $1,600 for PolioPlus, a polio eradication campaign. Burgher himself has donated about $7,000 over the years to the campaign to pay for polio vaccine in developing countries.

Flying Car Launched

A team of British adventures led by 45-year-old pilot pilot Neil Laughton has taken off on a 42-day trek from London to Timbuktu in a bio-fueled flying car. The Parajet Skycar is essentially a dune buggy with a fan and a paragliding wing. The car was designed by 29-year-old engineer Giles Cardozo, who will join the expedition for part of the journey. Civil aviation official will not allow the car to fly over the English Channel, but they plan to fly over the Straight of Gibraltor.

Woman Kidnaps Washer Repairman

Tracey Fox of Thornley, England bought a washing machine ten months ago and requested service for it five times. When it finally quit working altogether, she had to do without three weeks before a repairman came. The repairman told her she would have to pay for repairs, even though the machine was under warranty -and that such repairs would cost more than the machine was worth. Fox said,

"Then he was going to leave and that's when I lost it. I told him he'd have to dial 999 because there was no way I was letting him out until it was fixed.

After police were called, the situation was resolved and Currys have since offered her and her husband Terry, 44, a new washing machine.

Man Arrested After Returning Reassembled Lobster

110_lobster.JPGWalter U. Tessier of Amsterdam, New York returned a lobster to a grocery store, saying it was bad. The clerk was arranging for an exchange when he noticed the lobster was only a shell. When confronted, Tessier ran from the store carrying a bag of crab legs. When police visited him at home later, he had already eaten the crab legs. Tessier was charged with petty larceny.

Director Shoots Actor During Rehearsal

A stage production of John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men was in dress rehearsal Monday night in Sarasota, Florida, when an actor was almost killed by a gunshot. During the final scene, director Bill Bordy shot 81-year-old actor Fred Kellerman at point blank range in the back of the head. Bordy was shocked that the Smith and Wesson pistol was loaded. Luckily, the bullet only grazed Kellerman's head. The worst effects were the sound, which temporarily deafened Kellerman, and the tetanus shot he received after the incident. See a video report here.

Hitching a Ride to the Inauguration

150branson.jpgTwo Dutch students, Omar Kbiri and Lennard Hulsbos, found themselves on a last-minute trip to Washington, DC to watch the inauguration, thanks to Virgin founder Richard Branson! Branson was at a conference Tuesday in Amsterdam and mentioned he was flying back to the States for the inauguration. He then opened the forum up to questions via SMS. One message asked, "Can you take 2 broke students to Washington DC?" Branson answered "Yes." Kbiri and Hulsbos were taken by limousine to Branson's private jet and flown to Washington. A volunteer spontaneously offered to pick up the cost of hotel accommodations for the students.

Frenchman Speaks Non-Stop for 124 Hours

Lluis Colet talked about Catalan culture, Salvador Dali, and other subjects to break the world record for non-stop speech in Perpignan, France. Colet spoke for 124 hours straight- five days and four nights! Notaries were on hand to act as witnesses for the Guiness Book of World records. Crowds who gathered to hear Colet speak at a railway station broke into applause when he finished. It is not known if they were applauding his world record or thanking him for stopping.

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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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