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The Weird Week in Review

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Lonely Pig in Quarantine

Due to fear of swine flu, Afghanistan has quarantined its pig. Yes, the nation's only pig, normally on display with other exotic wildlife at the Kabul Zoo. In accord with Muslim dietary restrictions, pork and pork products are illegal in Afghanistan. Some visitors to the zoo expressed concern that the zoo pig could spread the new strain of swine flu.

"For now the pig is under quarantine, we built it a room because of swine influenza," Aziz Gul Saqib, director of Kabul Zoo, told Reuters. "We've done this because people are worried about getting the flu."

Runner Expected to Finish Marathon in 13 Days

Army Major Phil Packer began the London Marathon when everyone else did, but his doctor will only allow him to walk two miles a day, so he is expected to finish on Saturday, 13 days after starting the race. Last year Packer was seriously injured in Iraq and was told he probably would never walk again. However, he is walking the marathon on crutches to raise money for Help for Heroes, a British organization that supports wounded veterans. Packer's goal is to raise £1 million; he has so far raised over half the amount.

Speed Camera Boss Banned for Speeding

Tom Riall, a divisional chief executive at Serco, was banned from driving for six months by a court in London after a camera recorded him driving at 103 miles per hour in a 70 mph zone. Riall heads the Home Affairs division of Serco, the company that has installed 4,500 speed cameras to date in Britain.

Man Caught with Songbirds in Pants

150_smuggledbirds.jpgCustoms agents at the Los Angeles International Airport noticed bird droppings and feathers on 46-year-old Sony Dong's shoes. They discovered that Dong had 14 Asian songbirds hidden in his pants legs. Dong said that he had purchased the bul-buls, thrushes, and magpies robins in Vietnam for $50 each and could sell them for several hundred dollars apiece. Another California man, 34-year-old Duc Le, was arrested in the bird smuggling operation after a search at his home revealed 51 more songbirds. The birds were placed in quarantine.

It Was An Accident

A 30-year-old woman in China was performing oral sex on her boss in a parked car when a van crashed into their vehicle. The impact caused the secretary to bite off the man's penis! Emergency services were called by an investigator who had been following the couple. The investigator was hired by the secretary's husband because he suspected her of being unfaithful. The woman took the severed organ to the hospital, but it was not reported whether it was reattached.

Beetle Named for Stephen Colbert

150colberti2.jpgHumorist Stephen Colbert had expressed a wish to have a species named after him, specifically "something cooler than a spider." Insect researchers Quentin Wheeler of Arizona State University and Kelly Miller from the University of New Mexico have granted his wish and named a newly identified beetle Agaporomorphus colberti in his honor. There will plenty more beetles to be named, as there are an estimated 1.5 million species yet to be studied.

Giant Spiders Invade Outback Town

Bowen, Australia is seeing in influx of eastern tarantulas, also known as "bird-eating spiders". Dozens of spiders have crawled out of gardens and have made their way into public areas of the town. These spiders grow up to 2.4 inches long with a leg span of over six inches! Their bite can kill a dog or make a human very sick.

Audy Geiszler, who runs a local pest control service, caught one this week that more than covered his hand after he killed it.

"I think I'm going to mount this one in acrylic to show people how big it is. It'll make a great paperweight."

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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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iStock
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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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