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The Weird Week in Review

Man Steals Ambulance with Patient Inside

Police in Madison, Wisconsin say a drunken man got into an ambulance in the parking lot of a ski resort and drove off Monday night. Emergency personnel were in the back of the ambulance with a patient at the time! Police stopped the vehicle as the man was driving it around the parking lot. 24-year-old Nicholas Pontillo was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, driving while intoxicated, and vehicle theft. He also had two outstanding warrants.

Scottish Man Goes Home with Two Left Feet

76-year-old Patrick Morrison of Bathgate, West Lothian, Scotland went to a hospital in Edinburgh to have his right foot amputated. A prosthetic foot was attached before he returned home. When his wife removed the bandages, she was surprised to find he now had two left feet!

Patrick reportedly said: "She just burst out laughing. I phoned the hospital and they cut off the bottom of the limb and replaced the foot."

The prosthetic expert at Astley Ainslie Hospital that fitted the foot to Morrison has been fired.

Millionaire Gives Away Fortune

Karl Rabeder of Telfs, Austria amassed a fortune of around £3 million after growing up in poverty. But his riches didn't make him happy. Now he is selling his properties and giving the money to charity. Rabeder is selling his luxury home in the Alps by a raffle, and his other house in Cruis through a real estate agent. The furnishings are being sold as well. The money will go to a microcredit charity he founded that lends small amounts of money to people in El Salvador, Honduras, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Chile for development and small businesses.

Turkey Vulture Hitches Ride in Helicopter

Paul Appleton was piloting a helicopter and taking pictures during the Super Bowl in Miami last week when a bird crashed through the windshield. The turkey vulture landed in Appleton's lap -and stayed there. The pilot decided it would not be safe to push the big bird out, so the buzzard rode for twenty miles sitting in Appleton's lap. When the helicopter landed, the bird flew out, stumbled around for a while, then flew off for good. The incident was captured on video.

Shackleton's Whisky Recovered

The New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust is restoring the shack used by explorer Ernest Shackleton during his Antarctic expedition of 1907-1909. In 2006 they discovered two cases of whisky, but only recently have they been able to free those crates from the ice. Then they discovered another case of whisky and two crates of brandy! Although the crates and most of the contents must remain with the historical site, a sample of the whisky will be retrieved for the distiller. Richard Paterson, master blender at Whyte & Mackay, says they will analyze the whisky in hopes of recreating the recipe, which had been lost since Shackleton took the brand to Antarctica.

Lame Duck Teaches Disabled Boy to Walk

Becci Lomax of Plymouth, England encountered a baby duckling that was going to be put down because of a lame leg. She took the duck in and nursed it back to health. As Lomax gave the duck, now named Ming-Ming, a dose of physical therapy every day, her 4-year-old son Finlay, who was born with cerebral palsy, watched and learned.

"This is the most amazing thing because in doing physio on the duckling, the same as I do for my son, Finlay took his first three steps after watching me doing the physio with the duckling.

"I was brimming with pride.

"Finlay uses a frame at home but even that's increased. He said 'I walk like the duck Mummy'," says Becci.

Is this quack medicine? We'll see when she gets a bill.

How Do You Steal a Washing Machine?

A man in Fort Walton Beach, Florida was seen pushing a washing machine down the street. A sheriff's deputy pulled up and asked him what he was doing. The man said the washing machine had been discarded, along with two dryers. The owner of the machine had appliances outside, but had posted a sign saying they were not to be moved. Nathan Earl Roberts was arrested on burglary and theft charges. Next time, he will probably make an effort to read the sign.

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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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