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The Weird Week ending December 14

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Blitzen Held Hostage

Someone has stolen a decorative reindeer from outside florist Christine Small's shop in England, and left a ransom note demanding £56.60 for Blitzen's return! A threatening phone call followed. A taxi driver returned the reindeer a few hours later, saying he had found it, but it was stolen again within minutes. Police are looking into the matter.

Glocat.pngGlow-in-the-Dark Kitties

South Korean scientists have produced cloned cats that produce RFP (Red Fluorescent Protein). The two Turkish Angoras glow in the dark when exposed to ultraviolet rays. This should make walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night a bit easier.

Man Drinks Two Pints of Vodka at Airport

A 64-year-old man trying to avoid airport security regulations banning liquids was told he would have to pay a fee to ship his vodka or throw it out. Instead, he quickly drank the quart he was bringing home from vacation! He was taken to a clinic to be treated for alcohol poisoning, and is expected to go home in a few days.

Coming Soon: Spider Web Clothing

Researchers in Tokyo have injected spider genes into silkworms so they will spin cocoons made of spider web. The strong material produced may replace nylon as well as silk in clothing and other items.

110_tulipisland.jpgDutch Plan to Build Tulip-Shaped Island

The government of The Netherlands is considering a barrier island to fight overcrowding and hold back the rising sea. The tulip shape is one proposed design that may give mapmakers fits.

Teacher Calls Police Over Guns"˜N'Roses Song

A teenage school custodian and two friends were playing around with the school's public address system, thinking they were alone in the building. A teacher working after hours heard the custodian singing "Welcome to the Jungle", which contains the line, "You're gonna die." She felt threatened, barricaded herself in a room, and called the police. Officers found the three teenagers and straightened the story out. As a state policeman said, "These things happen."

Cat Comes Home with Snake Around Neck

Reptile Rescue workers in New Zealand were called to unwind the deadly copperhead from Jelly's neck. After veterinary treatment, he is expected to recover from a bite and is anxious to resume the eight lives he has left.

Space Shuttle Atlantis 180_spidershuttle.jpgAttacked by Giant Spider

The videotape from NASA clearly shows the arachnid approaching and overpowering the shuttle as it sits on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral. The next launch of the Atlantis has been postponed until February.

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Little Baby's Ice Cream
Pizza and Cricket Cake Are Just Some of the Odd Flavors You'll Find at This Philadelphia Ice Cream Shop
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Little Baby's Ice Cream

Ice cream flavors can get pretty out-there, thanks to the growing number of creative scoop shops willing to take risks and broaden their customers’ horizons beyond chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Intrepid foodies can cool off with frozen treats that taste like horseradish, foie gras, and avocado, while Philadelphia's Little Baby’s Ice Cream is pushing the boundaries of taste with chilly offerings like everything bagel, Maryland BBQ, ranch, and cricket cake.

Cricket-flavored ice cream, created by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

Everything Bagel-flavored ice cream, created by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

As Lonely Planet News reports, Little Baby’s Ice Cream launched its first signature “oddball” ice cream—Earl Grey sriracha—in 2011. Since then, its rotating menu has only gotten quirkier. In addition to the aforementioned flavors, customers who swing by Little Baby’s this summer can even try pizza ice cream.

The store created the savory flavor in 2011, to celebrate neighborhood eatery Pizza Brain’s inclusion into Guinness World Records for its vast collection of pizza memorabilia. The savory, Italian-esque snack is made from ingredients like tomato, basil, oregano, salt, and garlic—and yes, it actually tastes like pizza, Little Baby’s co-owner Pete Angevine told Lonely Planet News.

Pizza-flavored ice cream, made by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

“Frequently, folks will see it on the menu and be incredulous, then be convinced to taste it, giggle, talk about how surprised they are that it really tastes just like pizza … and then order something else,” Angevine said. “That’s just fine. Just as often though, they’ll end up getting a pizza milkshake!”

Little Baby’s flagship location is in Philadelphia's East Kensington neighborhood, but customers can also sample their unconventional goods at additional outposts in West Philadelphia, Baltimore, and a pop-up stand in Washington, D.C.’s Union Market. Just make sure to bring along a sense of adventure, and to leave your preconceived notions of what ice cream should taste like at home.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

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Nalcrest, Florida: Where Postal Workers Go to Retire
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You could say that the Nalcrest community in central Florida delivers affordable retirement housing for seniors. And with amenities like a pool and tennis courts, you might even say it has the whole package [PDF]. Or you could just go with the pun that the community itself has landed on: “Nalcrest: A First Class Community.”

Nalcrest, you see, is a retirement community exclusive to members of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC); the village has 500 ground-level apartments available for postal workers to enjoy after they’ve delivered their final Oriental Trading catalog. Garden-style units start at just $374 a month, including water, sewage, trash removal, basic cable, maintenance, and use of all of the recreational facilities.

The idea for an affordable, profession-specific retirement community came to NALC president William Doherty in the 1950s, when he toured Europe and saw similar setups organized by labor unions, religious groups, and fraternal organizations [PDF]. He proposed the idea for U.S. mail carriers as early as 1954, then pounced when Congress passed a law in 1959 that provided loans to build housing for seniors. Doherty was there to break ground on July 1, 1962; Nalcrest officially opened for business less than two years later on January 20, 1964. The dedication ceremony included a band of mail carrier musicians and a separate group called “The Singing Mailmen,” a group made up of—you guessed it—singing mailmen, as well as a female water skiing team that proudly flew pennants spelling out “Nalcrest.” After a stint as the ambassador to Jamaica, Doherty himself retired to Nalcrest, living there until his death in 1987.

Though residents may not be traipsing a daily mail route anymore, they still have plenty of options to stay active. Nalcrest has shuffleboard, horseshoes, bocce, miniature golf, tennis courts, an Olympic-size swimming pool, walking trails, and a softball diamond (home to the Nalcrest Eagles). It also boasts a travel club, a women’s association, and free art classes, among other activities. There’s one thing, however, it doesn’t have—dogs. With the exception of therapy dogs, Nalcrest has a no-canine rule in deference to retirees who were bitten in the line of duty and have an aversion to the animals.

If a dog-free community seems like paradise for postal workers, the other thing Nalcrest lacks cements its status as letter carrier nirvana: There are no mailboxes, because there is no home mail delivery. Each resident has to visit the Nalcrest post office to pick up any correspondence.


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