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The Weird Week in Review

Waffle House Worker has Wild Ride

Andrew Brian McKnight was standing outside the Murfreesboro, Tennessee Waffle House where he worked when three teenagers walked outside, followed by a waitress who said they hadn't paid for their order. McKnight approached the group. The three jumped in a car, and the driver started forward, bumping McKnight. He fell on the hood of the vehicle, which took off. While the car sped down the road, McKnight managed to call 911. 18-year-old Christopher Allen Miller drove for about five minutes at up to 60 mph with McKnight on the hood. Police arrested Miller, and turned his two juvenile passengers over to their parents. McKnight was not injured.

Survival Tip: Disrupt the Power Grid

Imagine you are stranded in the woods with no way to call for help. An unnamed man in Saskatchewan found himself in just such a position, but he figured out a plan that worked. He cut down some power line poles! Several hundred people in Wollaston Lake and Hatchet Lake Denesuline Nation lost electrical power for two days. But the power company found the lost traveler.

"He was found under his boat in a very distressed state, so essentially he was stranded for a number of days and just desperate for people to know where he was," SaskPower spokesman James Parker said.

The man reported he had been on a boat on the lake when he hit bad weather. He ended up stranded in the bush, with no way to communicate with the outside world, Parker said.

But he had an axe and he knew SaskPower would have to check the downed line, so he went to work.

"Essentially it was mission accomplished, because we got the call, we chartered a helicopter "¦ and on Friday around noon we discovered him," Parker said.

Funeral Crasher Was There for the Food

A man spotted at dozens of funerals in Wellington, New Zealand, has been warned away from further attendance. He has not been identified, but the staff of the Harbour City Funeral Home took his picture and distributed it to other funeral homes. The respectably-dressed middle-aged man would show up for as many as four funerals a week and fill his backpack with containers of food. He hasn't been seen since a staff member took him aside and told him he couldn't take food home.

Flying Over the Airport Tollbooth -in a Car

A car approaching the tollbooth at the Dallas-Fort Worth International airport struck a concrete barrier and flew over the booth. Security cameras recorded the car's launch. When it came to rest, the driver got out and started making a call on her cell phone. That's when the vehicle exploded. The tollbooth operator and other drivers were uninjured, but driver Yasmine Villasana sustained a broken wrist. Villasana was arrested for driving while intoxicated.

Transgendered Men Not Arrested for Flashing Breasts

A group of transgendered men caused a commotion at Rehoboth Beach in Delaware last weekend when they took off their tops to show their enhanced breasts. Beachgoers complained to lifeguards, who requested that the men cover up. When they refused, someone called police. The group however, had covered up by the time police arrived. No citations were issued, because technically it is not illegal for anyone with male genitalia to expose his chest, although it would be illegal for a female to do so.

"We'll see if we need to address it," said Kathy McGuiness, one of Rehoboth's commissioners. McGuiness said this will be a topic at a town hall meeting next week.

"I can't speak for the mayor or anyone else. I can speak for myself because I am a commissioner. I hardly see us reversing the topless law. I don't think we are going to repeal it and allow women to go topless. Now if someone is going to go through the process of having implants, then they probably should think about following the laws of the person they would like to become," McGuiness said.

Observatory Dressed as R2D2

A unidentified group of students at Carleton College in Minnesota staged a very big prank at Goodsell Observatory on the campus. The entire front of the building with its distinctive dome was dressed to resemble R2D2, the Star Wars droid! The facade was also outfitted with sound effects. See a video at Facebook.

Engaged Couple have been Together Since Birth

Amy Singley's mother and Steven Smith's mother became friends when they shared a room in the maternity ward at St. Luke's Hospital in Fountain Hill, Pennsylvania in 1986. Their babies were both born on April 17th of that year. The two families remained in contact over the years as they attended the same church. Now Amy and Steven, who have dated since high school, are set to be married on June 12th. Neither of them will ever have an excuse for forgetting the other's birthday.

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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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