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The Weird Week in Review

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Woman Stuck in Toilet at Mets Game

An unidentified woman attending a Mets game Wednesday lost her gold tooth, which fell into a toilet at Citi Field. She reached into the toilet to retrieve the tooth, but then her arm became stuck. Security guards heard her screaming and entered the restroom, but they couldn't free her. A plumber was called in from the company that installed the new field's toilets. As the woman waited with water flushing over her arm, a crowd of baseball fans gathered around to watch. She was eventually freed, but did not recover the gold tooth. The Mets lost to Atlanta, 8-7.

Penguin Sports

The Penguathlon is a sporting event for penguins at the Kelly Tarlton Arctic Encounter in Orakei, New Zealand. Penguins compete in five events: football, Frisbee, surfing, swing ball, and waddle races. The colony at the Arctic Encounter has 80 King and Gentoo penguins in its colony. The sports are showcased as an enrichment exercise for the birds. The Penguathlon, which will run the rest of this month, may become an annual event.

Man Robs Store with Banana, Eats Evidence

John Steven Szwalla was arrested for attempted armed robbery of a computer cafe in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He approached the store owner, Bobby Ray Mabe while pointing something that was under his shirt. Mabe and a store customer jumped on Szwalla, held him down, and called police. The "weapon" turned out to be a banana! Szwalla ate the banana before the police arrived.

"And the deputy said, 'Ah hah! He ate the evidence,'" Mabe said. "But we had the banana peel and they took a picture of it."

Deputies joked about charging him with destroying evidence, said Major Brad Stanley, a spokesman for the Forsyth County Sheriff's office.

Doctor Uses Household Drill on Boy's Head

150rossi.jpg12-year-old Nicholas Rossi fell off his bike in Maryborough, Victoria, Australia. His parents rushed him to the local hospital, where Dr. Rob Carson saw the child's brain was bleeding. The hospital did not have the equipment for brain surgery, so he ordered a drill from the maintenance department in order to open the skull and relieve the pressure. Carson consulted with Melbourne neurosurgeon David Wallace by phone, who talked him through the procedure. Rossi was up and walking around within a couple of days, and has since made a full recovery.

Bodybuilding Event Canceled

There were twenty entrants ready to compete at the Belgian championship bodybuilding competition. Then suddenly there were none! The disappearing act was sparked by a visit from officials ready to test for drugs. Doping official Hans Cooman and two colleagues entered the venue and all twenty competitors just left rather than submit to testing. Steroid testing last year eliminated 75% of competitors from the bodybuilding event, either for steroid use or for refusing to take the test.

Nationwide Alert for Missing Teddy Bear

120_teddybear.jpgA desperate Australian student who is studying in Göttingen, Germany contacted German police after she lost the beloved teddy bear she'd had since childhood. She sent a recent picture of the bear by email. Police were touched and issued a nationwide alert which was picked up by TV and newspapers. No word yet on any possible leads in the missing bear case.

Unconscious Man Found Without Cell Phone Help

An unnamed 62-year-old man in Carrollton, Ohio was found unconscious after an 11-hour search Thursday morning. He was reported to have taken "several bottles of pills" before fleeing from a domestic disturbance. Carroll County sheriff Dale Williams contacted Verizon for help to locate the man using his cell phone signal, but the operator refused because the man was behind in his payments. Williams negotiated with the operator, and the sheriff agreed to make a $20 payment on the bill. However, police and firefighters found the man before the deal was accomplished. He was taken to a hospital and released later that day.

"I was more concerned for the person's life," Williams said. "It would have been nice if Verizon would have turned on his phone for five or 10 minutes, just long enough to try and find the guy. But they would only turn it on if we agreed to pay $20 of the unpaid bill. Ridiculous."

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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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