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The Weird Week in Review

Woman Says Boyfriend Beat Her with a Cat

Police arrested 49-year-old Lasalle Davis in Hoboken, New Jersey Tuesday for domestic assault. Davis' 20-year-old girlfriend told police that he punched her a few times and hit her with a "feline cat". The woman wished to file a restraining order against Davis. The whereabouts and condition of the cat were unknown at the time of the report.

Bearded Lady Reunited with Son

Richard Lorenc never knew his biological mother, and began searching for her at age 33. The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services provided him with a name six weeks later: Lorenc's mother is 62-year-old Vivian Wheeler. He also found out that both his mother and grandmother had hypertrichosis, which causes abnormal hair growth, and that Wheeler was born a hermaphrodite. Wheeler worked most of her life at a carnival sideshow as a bearded lady. She is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the woman with the longest beard -11 inches! Lorenc was reunited with his mother, and learned the story of how they were separated all those years ago. Wheeler is considering leaving her home of Bakersfield, California to live closer to her son in Kansas.

Exploding Sauerkraut

Who says high school science is boring? A hazardous materials team was summoned to Kelly Road Secondary School in Prince George, British Columbia when a can of sauerkraut exploded last Friday. The 24 students and four staff members in the Food Science class were quarantined until the substance was identified and tested for botulism. The sauerkraut had been fermenting for years. When the hazmat team was finished, students were sent home for the day.

Squid and Broccoli

A truck hauling 30,000 pounds of squid dumped its load Tuesday near Soledad, California. The 71-year-old driver lost control and overturned the vehicle, spilling its contents into a nearby broccoli field. The driver was not injured, and no other vehicles were involved. The highway was not blocked, but everyone involved in the cleanup probably lost their appetite.

Mini-moo: The World's Smallest Cow

A tiny British cow has been named the world's smallest cow by the Guinness Book of World records. The 11-year-old cow named Swallow lives in West Yorkshire, England and measures just 33 inches tall. She's a Dexter cow, which is a small breed, but Swallow is particularly small even among other Dexters. She has delivered nine calves, the youngest of which is already bigger than its mother, and Swallow is working on her 10th.

Failed Break-in Leads to Surprise Reunion

Police responded to a report of a man trying to break into a house in Bloomington, Illinois last weekend. It was determined that 21-year-old Christopher Kunder was trying to get into his own house to surprise his mother who didn't know he was on leave from military service in Afghanistan. The problem was that his mother was not home.

“Hey!” said Christopher, “could you call my mom, tell her there’s an emergency and she needs to come home immediately?”

Officer Martin said, no, he couldn’t do that. He is a police officer, after all.

Instead, he asked for Christopher’s mom’s phone number and called with nothing but the truth.

“Mrs. Martha Sternickle?”

“Uh, huh.”

“This is Officer Martin of Bloomington Police. We’ve had a report of somebody trying to enter your home. It was unsuccessful but you might want to come home to make sure there’s no problem.”

When Sternickle arrived, Officer Martin led her to the police car to identify the "suspect" in the back seat. A joyful reunion followed.

98-year-old Dies, Leaves 379 Grandchildren

Henry Brown Sr. passed away at his home in Florida last week at age 98. He was in good health and had just finished raking leaves. Brown had ten children (seven survive), one of whom was named Florida Teacher of the Year in 2002. He also leaves 61 grandchildren, 130 great-grandchildren, 162 great-great-grandchildren, and 26 great-great-great-grandchildren. When the six generations assembled for a reunion in July, the group picture had to be taken in segments. Brown lived an interesting life which is recounted in part in his obituary. Funeral services will be tomorrow.

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Weird
The Origins of 25 Monsters, Ghosts, and Spooky Things
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Though dressing up as an angel is acceptable, it’s ghouls and goblins that truly capture our imaginations during the Halloween season. As lit jack-o’-lanterns beckon and monsters lurk in the shadows, we explore the origins of 25 frightful things that go bump—or boo—in the night.

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Food
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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