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The Weird Week in Review

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Dutch Moon Rock is Fake

A former prime minister of the Netherlands received an Apollo 11 moon rock as a gift from U.S. ambassador J. William Middendorf in 1969. After the death of Willem Drees in 1998 the rock went to the Dutch National Museum in Amsterdam. In 2006, a space expert saw the stone on display and questioned the museum about the rock. An investigation revealed the rock was not from the moon after all. The museum called NASA and confirmed that moon rocks were not given away in 1969, and any rocks given away were from later Apollo missions. Middendorf, now living in Rhode Island, said he received the rock from the US State Department, but couldn't remember the details.

Legless Turtle Walks Again

Lucky is a turtle living in Petaluma, California. On July 31st, Lucky was attacked by what his owner Sally Pyne believes was a raccoon. A veterinarian amputated what was left of Lucky's front  legs. But Lucky can walk again, since the vet put plastic chair sliders under the front of his shell, allowing his back legs to push him along without catching his shell against the ground.

130 Miles in a Wheelchair to Propose

An unnamed 67-year-old man traveled 130 miles over four days in his wheelchair to propose to a 66-year-old widow. He went from Minden to Salzwedel in Germany propelling himself with his arms as the wheelchair was not motorized. The woman rejected his offer of marriage, and he set out for home. On the way, he was hungry and decided to help himself to corn from a field, but his chair went into a rut and overturned. He called for help on his cell phone and was rescued by police. The man then refused a ride home, preferring to continue with his wheelchair.

Live Turkeys Stuffed with Cocaine

150turkeysOfficials acting on a tip searched a bus in Tarapoto, Peru for cocaine. They had been alerted that the cocaine was in a crate of turkeys, but they didn't see any. However, the two live turkeys appeared bloated. Police chief Otero Gonzalez said the turkeys a seam under the wings showed that the birds had been surgically implanted. A veterinarian removed over four pounds of cocaine in capsules from one turkey, and over six pounds from the other. The turkeys survived the surgery and are recovering.

Bridge Smeared with Butter to Stop Suicides

Officials in Guangzhou, China were tired of traffic jams caused by drivers slowing down to watch suicides on a steel highway bridge. In one month there were eight deaths and numerous others who changed their minds after climbing the bridge. Guards and signs were posted, but that didn't discourage those who wanted to jump. Then they ordered workers to smear the bridge with butter to discourage those who would leap off the 1,000-foot-long bridge to their death. The butter makes it difficult for would-be suicides to climb to a jumping point. So far, the bizarre plan is working.

Flintstones Wedding

150flintstoneweddingTwo couples from Norfolk, England got married in a double wedding dressed as characters from the TV show The Flintstones! Andrea and Simon Bean dressed as Fred and Wilma Flintstone, and Richard and Jill Noble were Barney and Betty Rubble as they took their vows at Weston Park Golf Club. The guests also dressed as cavemen and cavewomen. The processional began as the traditional Wagner, then switched to the Flintstones theme. All of the participants had been married before and felt no need for a tradition wedding. In lieu of gifts, the couples received donations for the Children's Liver Disease Foundation.

Appendix Ruptures a Month After Removal

Mark Wattson of Swindon, England was diagnosed with a ruptured appendix in August. He thought the doctors must have made a mistake, since his appendix had been removed in July! Nevertheless, his appendix was removed in a second surgery. Wattson endured an infection from the second surgery and spent several days in the hospital fighting it. His employers did not believe his story of two appendectomies and fired him. Wattson is considering taking legal action against the hospital. He wants to know what they took out during the first surgery.

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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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