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The Weird Week in Review

Armed WWII Grenades Used As Bookends

The bomb squad blew up two World War II hand grenades in Deland, Florida last Tuesday morning. A man told police he had been given a hand grenade by a neighbor. The man had pulled the pin on the grenade, then replaced the pin, set the grenade outside, and called police. The neighbor said her late husband, a World War II veteran, had used the grenades as bookends. Police detonated both grenades in a field, which left a two-foot crater in the ground.

Woman Finds Drugs Inside Vacuum Cleaner

An unidentified woman in Green Bay, Wisconsin, received a vacuum cleaner as a Christmas gift. When she opened the box, she found other packages: two pounds each of crystal methamphetamine and cocaine!

"This was an 'are you kidding me' incident," said Lt. David Poteat, who heads the Brown County Drug Task Force.

It's likely that a smuggler inserted the drugs into the vacuum cleaner box before the unit was shipped from the Juarez, Mexico, area, where it had been reconditioned, Poteat said. No one, including the Green Bay retailer who sold the vacuum, noticed anything amiss, he said, until the woman opened the package and called police.

Police believe the woman who received the package had no connection to the drug-smuggling scheme.

Texting Shopper Suing Mall

Cathy Marrero walked through the mall in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, while texting on her mobile phone and plunged headfirst into a fountain. Her mishap was captured on security cameras from at least two different angles. A video recording of the security staff watching the incident over and over and laughing was posted on YouTube where it received over two millions views. Marrero didn't think the video was all that funny, and said she is suing the mall because security guards should have been helping her instead of laughing. It is not clear how long after the incident the recording in question was made.

Update: And there's even more to the story.

Police Catch Drug-smuggling Pigeon

Police in Bucaramanga, Colombia found a pigeon a block away from the local jail trying to fly, but couldn't because of the weight of its baggage. A pack strapped to the bird's back contained 1.6 ounces of marijuana and 0.2 ounces of crack cocaine. Police believe the pigeon was supposed to deliver the package to jail inmates, but weren't sure whether it had been trained by inmates or accomplices on the outside. Pigeons have been used to sneak cell phone SIM cards into prisons before, but they weigh much less than the drug pack this pigeon was wearing.

Twin Sisters Give Birth Minutes Apart

Identical twin sisters Amy Gilbert and Allison Oliverio of Clinton, Michigan, grew up together, both married their high school sweethearts, went into the same profession, and then became mothers -on the same day! The sisters were put in rooms next to each other in the maternity ward of the local hospital, so Dr. Timothy Kim could attend to both births. Amy delivered a little girl and Allison had a son 14 minutes later. Only time will tell how alike the cousins who share a January 12th birthday will be.

Police Detain Drunken Owl

Police officers in Pforzheim, Germany, were called Tuesday to investigate an owl that appeared to be sick.

"A woman walking her dog alerted the police after seeing the bird sitting by the side of the road oblivious to passing traffic," Frank Otruba, spokesman for the police in the southwestern city of Pforzheim, told SPIEGEL ONLINE.

The Brown Owl didn't appear to be injured and officers quickly concluded that it had had one too many. One of its eyelids was drooping, adding to the general impression of inebriation.

"It wasn't staggering around and we didn't breathalyze it but there were two little bottles of Schapps in the immediate vicinity," said Otruba. "We took it to a local bird expert who has treated alcoholized birds before and she has been giving it lots of water."

The owl will be released when sober.

It Didn't Stay in Vegas

New York City college student Hubert Blackman filed a lawsuit against Las Vegas Exclusive Personals over an incident that occured while he was on vacation in December. Blackman says he arranged for a stripper to come to his room. He says the stripper also performed a sex act, for which he paid, but she didn't stay for the contracted hour. He demanded a refund from the company the next day. When the business refused, Blackman called police to complain. The police advised him that he could be arrested, as prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas. In the lawsuit filed in January, Blackman is asking for his $275 back plus $1.8 million "for the tragic event that happened." The Vegas company denies dealing in prostitution, saying the adult dancers it uses are subcontractors.

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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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