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The Weird Week in Review

No Facebooking During Deliberations

Protip: when serving on a jury, do not "friend" those on trial. Joanne Fraill was a juror for a British drug case involving four defendants. After one defendant, Jamie Sewart, was acquitted, Fraill found her on Facebook, friended her, and struck up a conversation -about the case, which was still going on. Sewart reported the communication to her lawyer. The trial, already the third trial for this case, was aborted. A fourth trial with a new jury is now necessary, and Frail was charged with contempt.

Escapee Goes to Prison Guard for Help

While serving his fourth prison term, James Edward Russell escaped from the Olympic Corrections Center near Forks, Washington, on Tuesday. He wandered the woods for the day, and just after midnight, went to a cabin and asked to use the phone. Russell was still wearing his prison uniform. The cabin happened to be rented by an off-duty prison guard, who knew immediately that Russell was an escapee. After a scuffle, the fugitive fled and was captured soon after the guard reported him. Russell was sent to a higher-security facility.

Man Tries to Remove Wart

Sean Murphy of South Yorkshire, England, tried to remove a wart from his finger the old-fashioned way -with a gun. Murphy was at work when he shot a stolen 12-bore Beretta shotgun at the offending wart. He ended up shooting off most of his middle finger.

But he said: “The best thing is that the wart has gone. It was giving me lot of trouble.”

Murphy, a security officer at Markham Grange Nurseries, Brodsworth, at the time of the incident in March, has since lost his job. He had suffered with the wart on the joint closest to the tip of his middle finger for more than five years.

Murphy was arrested for theft of the gun and other firearms charges. Prosecutors said alcohol was involved.

Portland Drains Reservoir Over Urination

Officials in Portland, Oregon, closed a drinking water source and drained 7.8 million gallons of water from a Mt. Tabor reservoir because 21-year-old Joshua Seater peed in it. David Shaff of the Water Bureau said the cost of the drainage is about $7,600 and lost revenue would be around $28,500. Although dead animals are pulled from the reservoir without incident, and the water is treated before entering the system, Shaff said this was different because people would be "squeamish" about the urine. Seater has not been cited or arrested yet. He said he thought the treatment facility was a sewage plant.

A Drunk Driving Trifecta

Police in Timaru, New Zealand, pulled over a 15-year-old on State Highway 1 near Pareora and gave him a breathalyzer test. The unnamed driver registered three times the legal alcohol limit for teenage drivers. He was taken to the police station, where his mother was summoned to retrieve him. However, the mother was stopped on her way and registered twice the adult driving alcohol limit on a breath test. She subsequently called her partner to come and get her from the police station. He, in turn, was stopped on the way for suspected drunk driving as well. His test registered 150% of the legal limit. Supposedly the family was reunited -in jail.

Firefighters Rescue Sheep from Roof

Firefighters in Bridgend, Wales, were called to a home in Pontycymer because a sheep had been spotted walking around on the roof. A fireman at the scene said,

“It was running back and forward on the roof, but eventually it must have realised how many firefighters were there trying to get it down and thought, I’d better come down now, I think.

The sheep was absolutely fine and not harmed at all, and it was certainly an interesting call-out, it’s not where you’d expect to find a sheep, really quite funny.

“It brightened up our weekend, that’s for sure.”

The sheep was back on the ground about 40 minutes after the fire crew arrived.

Frozen Dead Guy Festival for Sale

The Nederland, Colorado, Chamber of Commerce has been staging the Frozen Dead Guy Festival annually for ten years. The name comes from the corpse of Bredo Morstoel, who died in 1989 and has been stored in dry ice in the area since 1993. The festival, which attracted 15,000 people this year, includes a coffin race, a parade of hearses, and more typical events as well. The festival has become too expensive, and the Chamber is looking for an event company to purchase the festival and stage it.

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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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