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The Weird Week in Review

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Jesus Christ Dismissed from Jury Duty

A woman named Jesus Christ was called for jury duty in Birmingham, Alabama this week, but was dismissed for disruptive behavior. Her name was Dorothy Lola Killingworth before she legally changed it.

Court officials told The Birmingham News Tuesday that the 59-year-old was excused because she was disruptive and kept asking questions instead of answering them.

Efforts to reach Christ for comment were unsuccessful.

Elf Arrested Over Dynamite Threat

45-year-old William Caldwell was dressed as an elf when he was arrested at Southlake Mall in Morrow, Georgia. He wasn't working as an elf, but got in line to see Santa Claus. According to police, he told Santa that he had dynamite in his bag. Santa immediately summoned mall security. The shopping center was evacuated, but no explosives were found. Caldwell was arrested on several charges.

Toddler Locked Mom in Closet for Seven Hours

Karen Kilgour of Auckland, New Zealand, was the unintended victim of her 14-month-old son Harry in a game that went horribly wrong. She was tidying up clothing in the toddler's wardrobe when he playfully shut the door on her. The other closets in the home have magnetic locks, but not this one. Kilgour spent several hours trying to open the door, and then hours trying to keep Harry calm as she worried about him. She finally sang her son to sleep, and Kilgour's husband came home about 4:30PM -seven hours after Kilgour was shut in the closet. The family plans to get a handle put on the inside of the closet.

Prime Minister of Vanuatu Fired for Absences

150vanuatuEdward Natapei was the prime minister of Vanuatu until he lost his job as he was attending a meeting of government heads in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. His trip triggered a rule that says ministers lose their seat if they miss three consecutive legislative sessions without notifying the speaker. While Natapei was gone, an extraordinary session was held to debate the tiny island nation's budget. A new election for prime minister was called for by Maxime Carlot Korman, current speaker and former prime minister himself.

Pig Farts Spark Gas Scare

Residents of Axedale, Australia called authorities when they smelled what they believed to be a gas leak. Firefighters responded to the home and found a 120 kilogram pet pig, which they found to be the source of the gas.

"She got very excited when two trucks and 15 firies turned up and she squealed and farted and squealed and farted," said fire chief Peter Harkins.

"I haven't heard too many pigs fart but I would describe it as very full-on."

The pig's owners were embarrassed over the incident and refused to let the pig be photographed.

Denver Plans to Welcome Aliens

150CloseEncountersIn 2010, Denver voters will have a referendum on the city ballot to approve a new panel called the Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission. If approved, the seven-member commission will develop protocols for establishing diplomatic contact with extraterrestrials. The initiative is the brainchild of Jeff Peckman, who collected over 10,000 signatures to put the referendum on the ballot. Peckman was also behind a vote in 2003 which would have introduced municipal stress-reduction techniques in Denver. The voters rejected that proposal. Peckman says he has seen only one UFO, on the day that Michael Jackson died.

Pornography Study Fails to Find Control Group

Scientists at the University of Montreal designed a study to compare men who watch pornography with men who have never used it. However, the project ran into a roadblock when researchers could not find any men in their 20s who hadn't been exposed to x-rated images and video. In interviews with twenty male college students, researchers found the average age of their first exposure to porn was age ten. The study was not completely abandoned; it was merely redesigned to study men's pornography-using habits.

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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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