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The Weird Week in Review

Basketball Player Caught Reliving His High School Years

It almost sounds like a movie script: a high school basketball coach in Texas welcomes a 16-year-old Haitian refugee into his home, who becomes a standout player on the team. Sophomore Jerry Joseph was living that dream until other coaches recognized the player as Guerdwich Montimere, a 22-year-old graduate of a Florida high school. After an investigation, Montimere was jailed on charges of presenting false identification. Now the school's basketball record is in danger, and authorities are trying to determine if Montimere dated any of his fellow students.

Man Stuck in Mud Too Embarrassed to Call for Help

Twenty-five-year-old Xiao Chen sunk up to his waist in mud at the edge of the Chang Jiang River in China one night. Although he had a cell phone with him, he was too embarrassed about his predicament to call for rescue! He tried to get himself out for four hours before asking for assistance from passing fishermen. The fishermen then summoned professional help. The rescue took another seven hours after emergency responders arrived. Firemen worked to free Xiao, but their efforts to pull him out were hampered by his refusal to remove his pants.

Truck Full of Lingerie and Sex Toys Stolen

A fully-loaded truck was stolen in Plymouth Township, Michigan. The merchandise from Lover's Lane was ready to be delivered to twenty different stores when the truck and its cargo disappeared.

Marketing Specialist Eric Gorde said the truck was full of its spring line of merchandise such as "lingerie, dancewear, club wear, toys, lube and all kinds of romantic stuff."

The truck was recovered on Monday, but all the product is still missing.

Authorities will be on the lookout for suspicious online auctions and sales offers.

Suicide Brought Them Together

Andriej Ivanov was depressed because his fiancee died in a car wreck the day before their wedding. Maria Petrova's parents threw her out of their home because she was pregnant. Both decided to end their lives by jumping off a high bridge in the town of Ufa in central Russia. That's where they met. Ivanov persuaded Petrova not to jump, and the two talked to each other all night. Now the would-be suicides are engaged to be married and begin new lives together.

Thief Returns Beer Because It Wasn't Cold Enough

A clerk at a gas station in Clarksville, Tennessee noticed some cases of beer had disappeared from the store front while she was working in the stockroom. Shortly afterward, an intoxicated man came in asking if he could exchange a few cases of warm beer for chilled beer. The clerk asked if the man had paid for them. The unidentified man became anxious, asked for directions, and left, according to the police report.

Cat in Tree for Six Weeks

Lucky found himself 90 feet up in a tree in Hartsville, South Carolina and was so frightened he didn't come down for six weeks! In fact, he would still be up there if it weren't for a brave tree climber. The fire department, a utility company, and a tree service had tried several times to bring the cat down, but didn't have equipment tall enough to reach him. Lucky's owner, Richard Nall, was relieved to have his cat back.

"He was alert, his eyes were wide open, ( he was) skinny as a rail, very dehydrated, and probably was in his last few days," Nall said of Lucky's condition after he was freed from the tree.

Family friend Debbie Wilkes immediately transported Lucky to his veterinarian in Bishopville.

The cat lost nearly half his body weight, but is expected to recover.

World's Heaviest Hamburger

Canadian chef Ted Reader made a big hamburger. Big, meaning it weighed 590 pounds! He put the burger together at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto, in an attempt to get into the Guinness Book of World Records. The previous heaviest burger weighed only 185.8 pounds. The Toronto burger took six hours to cook, and was then dressed with the usual fixings. The stunt raised $8,500 to beneft a camp for burn victims.

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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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