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The Weird Week in Review

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Violinist Gives Thank You Concert for Cabbies

Violinist Philippe Quint took a cab home from the airport in New Jersey last month, and left his 285-year-old Stradivarius in the car. Cab driver Mohamed Khalil returned the $4 million instrument to Quint. As a "thank you," Quint performed a special lunchtime concert for about 200 cabbies in the parking lot at Newark Liberty International Airport.

Artificial Beak for Bald Eagle

Beauty is an Alaskan bald eagle whose beak was shot off several years ago. She was taken to a refuge, but her beak did not grow back. Next month, Beauty will get a new nylon-composite beak, thanks to the work of volunteer engineers and veterinarians. The bird must remain in captivity, but will be able to drink and eat properly.

Self-tracheotomy with a Steak Knife

55-year-old Steve Wilder of Omaha, Nebraska awoke one night and couldn't breathe. He had a similar episode once before, in which his air passage swelled shut. Figuring he didn't have time to wait for emergency medical help, Wilder used a steak knife to cut a small hole in his throat, which allowed air to enter his windpipe. Doctors expect no adverse effects from the self-tracheotomy.

Chunky Monkeys Put on Diet

fat-monkey.jpgVisitors to Ohama Park in Sakai, Japan love to feed the monkeys. Now 30 percent of the monkeys at the zoo are so fat they have trouble getting around, and some weight three times as much as they should! Zookeepers have instituted a strict diet, and visitors are asked not to feed the monkeys.

X-ray Shows Python Swallowed Kitten

An eight-week-old kitten in Australia's Northern territory was killed and consumed by a five-foot python. The cat's head was three time the size of the snake's head, but the python unhinged its jaw and swallowed the kitten whole, as an x-ray shows. The kitten's owner found the bulging snake, and called a snake wrangler after rounding up the other cats. The python will be released after he has digested his big meal.

World Record Lego Tower

150legotower.jpgLegoland Windsor in Berkshire, England has the world's largest Lego tower ever! The tower, shaped like a Viking longboat, was completed with the help of park visitors. Children built 20 cm sections, which were hoisted in place by crane. The previous record is held by a 96-foot tower built in Toronto last year.

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Little Baby's Ice Cream
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Food
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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iStock

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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