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The Weird Week in Review

Police Chase Elephant Through Zurich

Swiss police are not accustomed to a chase scene like this. An elephant named Sabu led them on a chase through the financial district of Zurich last weekend. The escapee from a visiting circus roamed the city for an hour before a trainer was able to control the animal. Sabu stopped for a dip in Lake Zurich during her spree. No injuries or damages were reported, but a part of the chase was captured on amateur video.

Drunk Driver Was Distracted by Alligator

An unnamed Texas man was arrested in Crestview, Florida for driving under the influence when he drove into a ditch. The man explained that he'd had about six beers and that he was distracted when he saw an alligator in his headlights.

During his conversation with the officer, the driver warned them about the lions and leopards around him and warned the officer to be careful.

The officer suspected that the man was impaired and administered a field sobriety test. The man almost fell over during one portion of the test, the report said.

Chinese Farmer Fights Developers -with Rockets

Yang Youde does not want to give up his farmland on the outskirts of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Officials tried to buy his land, but he rejected the offer, saying the property was worth five times the offer. When developers came to seize the property, Yang fired on them with a homemade cannon consisting of fireworks mounted on a wheelbarrow. During the first eviction attempt, Yang ran out of ammunition, but was saved by local police. For the second eviction attempt, he had more rockets, which are capable of traveling over 100 yards, and a makeshift watchtower to fire from. No injuries were reported.

Woman Calls 911 Looking for a Husband

Audrey Kay Scott of Alliance, Ohio was looking for love in all the wrong places. She dialed 911 five times and asked for a husband. The dispatcher warned she could be arrested for misusing the emergency number, and threatened to send an officer. Scott thanked the dispatcher, since sending a man over was what she wanted in the first place. Scott was arrested and a judge ordered her to attend daily Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. The news story includes an audio recording of the call.

'Moss Men' Take Over Spanish Town

A festival called Hombre de Musgo (Procession of the Moss Men) takes place in Bejar, Salamanca, Spain every year on the on the Sunday after the festival of Corpus Christi. Honored residents dress in stifling hot costumes made of moss and parade through the town, while locals throw flower petals at them. They represent heroes from a historical event.

Back in 1397, a group of Christians disguised themselves in moss before launching an attack to conquer the city of Bejar, which was under Muslim rule.

Legend has it that the original event took place on the day of Santa Marina, a virgin who lived in disguise on the nearby mountain of Castanar.

This year's procession can be seen in a video with the story.

A Wedding Inside a Shark Tank

April Pignataro and Michael Curry of New York City got married on Sunday. The bride wore a white wetsuit and the groom wore a traditional black wetsuit as they climbed inside a 120,000 gallon shark tank to take their vows at Atlantis Marine World in Riverhead, N.Y. Both are experienced divers, and said their "I dos" over a radio transmitter with an officiant who did not get in the tank. The ceremony was captured on video.

Married Couple had Crossed Paths as Toddlers

Alex Voutsinas grew up in Canada. His wife Donna is from Florida. The couple were looking through Donna's old photo albums and came across a picture of her trip to Walt Disney World when she was a toddler. Alex recognized a man in the background of the photo -it was his father, pushing a stroller containing a very young Alex! Alex's mother also had pictures of the trip that confirmed that the two children were at the theme park at the same time. The couple didn't meet until they were adults, and fell in love while working for the same employer. It's a small world, after all.

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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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