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The Weird Week in Review

Jesus Goes Up in Flames

A 62-foot tall statue of Jesus at the Solid Rock Church on I-75 near Cincinnati was sometimes called "Big Butter Jesus" or "Touchdown Jesus" because of his upstretched arms. Monday night, the statue was set ablaze by a bolt of lightning. The structure was made of foam and fiberglass over a steel frame. After the fire, only the frame remains. An adjacent amphitheater was damaged, and fish in the pond beneath the statue were killed. No one was injured. Police warn they will ticket anyone who stops on the interstate highway to take pictures of the damage.

Big Tip Allows Taxi Driver to Retire

Mary Watson of Newquay, Cornwall, England used the same taxi driver for 20 years when she went shopping. He was always kind and courteous. Then when Watson died in her 80s, she bequeathed Don Pratt a very large tip in her will. She left the driver £250,000! The sum includes the woman's savings and a house.

"When I was told she had left everything to me I just couldn't believe it. We were sad to hear she had passed but thankful she had left us this money.

"We are very grateful for her generosity. In nearly 30 years as a cabbie, this is certainly the biggest tip I've ever had."

The 65-year-old Pratt then announced he was retiring from driving.

Thief Steals Suit to Wear to Court

Phillip Northmore was facing shoplifting charges in Exeter, Devon, England. He didn't want to wear jeans and a t-shirt to court, but that was all the clothing he had. So on the way to court, Northmore stole a pair of trousers, jacket, shirt and tie so he would look respectable as he faced the judge. Instead, the 26-year-old was arrested and later pled guilty to theft and other outstanding charges.

Woman Arrested for Mayonnaise Vandalism

Boise, Idaho has seen a series of vandalism incidents involving condiments over the past year. Joy L. Cassidy was arrested Sunday moments after she was spotted putting mayonnaise into the drive-through book drop at the Ada County Library. The 74-year-old woman is under investigation for previous incidents in which librarians found books covered with corn syrup and ketchup. She is suspected in up to ten other condiment crimes.

In Other Mayonnaise News

Authorities in Destin, Florida closed off a neighborhood and called in a HAZMAT team after two residents complained of trouble breathing and irritated eyes as they inspected their new home. They also reported a funny smell. Neighbors who were evacuated speculated that the cause might be a meth lab or a terrorist cell. The HAZMAT team found a large barrel which contained five gallons of rancid mayonnaise. It had been left by the previous residents of the home.

Woman Fined for Nursing Baby -While Driving

An unnamed 47-year-old woman in Mettmann, Germany was pulled over by a policeman when he spotted her breastfeeding her 18-month-old while driving.

The woman objected to being pulled over, explaining that because her home was nearby, mother and child would have certainly made it home safely. But the officer refused to let her continue driving in that state.

Instead the woman was issued fines for failing to provide proper security for her child or herself while driving.

Man Calls 911 over Sasquatch Sighting

In the 1970s, Cleveland County, North Carolina had a slew of sightings of an mysterious Bigfoot-like animal that was dubbed "Knobby". The stories died down until Tim Peeler called 911 to report that he had seen a giant ape with a man's face in his yard. A Cleveland County deputy was dispatched to Peeler's home, but did not find the Bigfoot. Peeler says he'll be armed with a camera next time it happens. With video.

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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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