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The Weird Week in Review

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It's not a tumor, it's a towel!

In 1983, surgeons at the Asahi General Hospital in Chiba prefecture near Tokyo performed ulcer surgery and unknowingly left a surgical towel inside the patient. Twenty-five years later, the unnamed 49-year-old man sought help at a different hospital for abdominal pain. Doctors found what they believed to be a 3-inch tumor. Surgeons only realized the mass was a towel when they removed it! The towel is blue-green, but they are not certain of its original color.

Goat Boarded Bus, Didn't Pay

An unaccompanied pygmy goat walked onto a bus in Portland, Oregon Monday. The driver called dispatch, who sent a police officer, who took the tiny goat to the animal shelter. By then, the goat sported a note that said "Didn't have correct fare." Police checked the classified ads, and found a notice on Craigslist for a missing goat. Poppy, as the goat is named, was reunited with her owner Wendy Dean on Tuesday.

Man Jailed for Faking Death

When Gandaruban Subramaniam fled Singapore 20 years ago to avoid creditors, he faked his death in a most dramatic way -by claiming he had been killed in a shootout between Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tiger rebels. However, he returned to Singapore and married his widow under his new fake Sri Lankan identity, and even fathered their fourth child! A lawyer uncovered the scheme and 60-year-old Subramaniam was arrested last October. He now faces 3 years in prison for fraud.

Olympic Pinhead

150chinaneedle.jpgDr. Wei Sheng of Nanning, in southern China, has Olympic fever, and he's showing his support by sticking 2008 needles into his head, face, hands, and chest. The needles are supposed to be in the five colors of the Olympic rings. It's not the first publicity stunt for Dr. Sheng, who set a world record in 2004 for sticking 1790 needles  into his head.

Fake Bus Stop for Alzheimer's Patients

Nursing homes in Germany are trying a novel approach to corralling patients who have wandered off. They construct bus stops near the facilities, in places where the bus does not stop. There, hospital staff can find confused patients easily. Franz-Josef Goebel says the idea may sound funny, but it works.

"Our members are 84 years old on average. Their short-term memory hardly works, but the long-term memory is still active.

"They know the green and yellow bus sign and remember that waiting there means they will go home." 

Giant Beetle Can't Find a Mate

150_beetle.jpgAn elephant beetle nearly five inches long made its way from Costa Rica to London in a shipment of bananas. Pest control officers took the beetle, an endangered species, to the Linton Zoo. Now the beetle is ready to mate, and zoo officials are having trouble finding a female elephant beetle in England. Linton Zoo director Kim Simmons says,
"We haven't been able to find Billy a Betty from zoos. Now we're pinning our hopes on private collectors."

Time is running out, as elephant beetles only live about four months.

Fake Call Enabled Museum Heist

Gold artworks worth $2 million were stolen from the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia near Vancouver. Before the heist, cameras mysteriously ceased to function, and a caller identifying himself as a representative of the security company told campus security that there was a problem, and that they should not respond to any alarms! Authorities believe the theft is the work of an expert jewel thief who was out of jail at the time.

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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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