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The Weird Week in Review

Woman Tries to Steal Puppy at Gunpoint

24-year-old Ashleigh Johnson of Kellyville, Australia placed an ad to sell a Chihuahua puppy. An unnamed 26-year-old woman who responded to the ad went to Johnson's home and met the puppy named Diego. While the woman was holding the dog, she pulled a gun and said she "needed love" and was taking the puppy without paying the $1500 price. Johnson's father, a security guard, grabbed the gun. Johnson's brother, a police officer, helped to restrain the woman until she could be arrested. Diego was not harmed and is still for sale.

Rescuing a Parrot with a Cherry Picker

A 13-year-old macaw flew 50 feet up into a tree and was too scared to fly down. Emma Hooper of Botley, England believes that Cleo flew away because she was distressed at moving to a new home. When the RSPCA refused to come, Hooper called to rent a hydraulic lift, but was told it wouldn't be available until the next day. Hooper stayed by the tree all night long. The cherry picker arrived at 7:30 AM, and Cleo was finally brought down. She had spent 16 hours on the same branch.

"Hitler's Skull" Belongs to Woman

Recent DNA tests show that the skull purported to belong to Adolf Hitler is not his. Hitler committed suicide in 1945. His remains were burned the next day by the Russian Army. One year later, bone fragments were recovered from the site and kept by Russian authorities until they were cremated in 1970, with the exception of a piece of the skull, which showed a bullet hole. American scientists who examined the bone found it to be suspiciously small. DNA tests revealed that the skull is from a woman. It is not believed to belong to Hitler's wife Eva Braun because there was no evidence that she was shot.

Fat Skunk Put on Diet

A skunk named Mr. Bumble was turned over to the RSPCA when his owners could no longer handle him. The skunk weighed in at 14 pounds! It is thought that his love, described as an "addiction," to bacon sandwiches is to blame. Mr. Bumble is now at Tropiquaria Animal Park in Watchet, England and is on a vegetarian diet. The regimen includes long walks as well.

It Pays to Dress Nicely for Court

Robbery suspect Ronald Tackman walked out of a Manhattan courthouse before his hearing Wednesday morning. He hasn't been seen since. He had left a holding area and went behind a courtroom. A security guard saw him in his business suit and let him out, assuming he was a lawyer. The 54-year-old Tackman had escaped jail once before, in the 1980s.

Dwarf Village is a Theme Park

120 little people live in a village near Kunming, China. The village was set up to protect the dwarves from discrimination. You can't live there if you are over 4 feet 3 inches tall.
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Now the group has turned itself into a tourist attraction by building mushroom houses and living and dressing like fairy tale characters.
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"As small people we are used to being pushed around and exploited by big people. But here there aren't any big people and everything we do is for us," said spokesman Fu Tien.

Sports Announcer's Goofy Prediction Comes True

Seattle Mariners color commentator Mike Blowers was asked to make a prediction about the Mariners matchup with the Toronto Blue Jays. Blowers got very specific and said that 1. rookie Matt Tuiasosopo would hit his first home run since joining the majors, 2. the hit would come in a 3-1 count, 3. off a fastball 4. in the second inning, and that 5. the ball would land in the second deck. Four of the five predictions came true! The ball barely missed the second deck.

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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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