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The Weird Week in Review

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Squirrel Terrorizes Neighborhood

A small but vicious gray squirrel has attacked at least three residents of Bennington, Vermont in the past couple of weeks. Kevin McDonald was shoveling snow when the squirrel attacked, jumping on his shoulder and holding on. When McDonald shook him off, the squirrel returned for more. Two other people were attacked in a separate incident, and one person was bitten. There are fears that the squirrel may have rabies, but wildlife authorities say that odds are low. They speculate the squirrel may have been reared as a pet and then turned loose. Wildlife control experts have been trying to catch the squirrel for over a week.

Balls All Over

A shopping center in Perth, Scotland was flooded with small red balls when a contest went awry. An Alfa Romeo car was filled with balls for a "guess how many" contest at St. John’s Shopping Centre, to benefit Comic Relief. However, the contest organizers failed to ensure that all the car doors were locked. A child, thought to be about three years old, opened the passenger door and released hundreds of balls.

Crowds gathered and cheered the farcical scene as several of the centre’s security team battled to gather up the balls, while many young children were seen making off with a few.

Siobhan McConnell, the shopping centre manager, said: “This was a bit more comic relief than we had originally planned.

Most of the balls were eventually retrieved, and the contest resumes today.

World's Most Expensive Dog

An 11-month-old Tibetan mastiff named Hong Dong (Big Splash) broke the record for dog prices, going to a new home in China for 10 million RMB, which is £945,000 or about $1.5 million US. Tibetan mastiffs are a very old breed, but lately have become a status symbol among China's new wealthy class. A few years ago, puppies sold for 5,000 RMB, but prices have skyrocketed because of the demand. Hong Dong's new owner will likely receive high stud fees for the dog's breeding services, as much as 100,000 RMB and may earn his money back soon.

30-hour Standoff Over Car Clamp

Jessica Davey, of Salisbury, England found her car clamped on Monday morning, despite the fact that she had purchased a valid parking permit, which was visibly displayed on the car's dashboard. However, since she didn't have it on the window, Anthony Brindley clamped her car wheel and demanded £110 to remove it. Unwilling to pay the fine, and unable to pay £250 to redeem her car if it were to be towed, Davey got in the car and stayed there -for 30 hours! Meanwhile, the police declined to get involved, saying it was civil matter. They intervened, however, when Davey's boyfriend tried to remove the clamp himself. He was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage. Davey eventually removed the car clamp herself the next day, when the car clamper Brindley was gone.

Commemorative Royal Wedding Cup with Wrong Prince

Guangdong Enterprises is selling a souvenir porcelain cup to commemorate the upcoming wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The £9.99 cup features an inscription reading “The fairytale romantic union of all the centuries. 29th April 2011” and a picture of the prince and Ms. Middleton -except the prince pictured is William's younger brother Harry. Even if the offer is an elaborate spoof, it may prove to be profitable, as there are people who more likely to buy a limited-edition mistake than proper official wedding souvenirs.

Tsunami Victim Rescued 10 Miles Out at Sea

Sixty-year-old Hiromitsu Shinkawa was found floating on the roof of his house ten miles from the coast of Japan, two days after the tsunami hit his town of Minami Soma.

Incredibly, he was spotted by a maritime self-defence force destroyer taking part in the rescue effort as he clung to the wreckage with one hand and waved a self-made red flag with the other. He had been at sea for two days.

Reports said that on being handed a drink aboard the rescue boat, Shinkawa gulped it down and immediately burst into tears. His wife, with whom he had returned home as the tsunami approached, is still missing.

He was quoted as saying: "No helicopters or boats that came nearby noticed me. I thought that day was going to be the last day of my life."

Officials said Shinkawa was in good condition after being taken to hospital by helicopter.

Proposal On Stage with Robots

Chicago actress Nina O'Keefe is currently starring in the play Heddatron, which is about a woman who is kidnapped by robots. Her boyfriend, Erik Schroeder, works for a different theater company, but was called on stage for the Heddatron curtain call because it was his 30th birthday. However, that was just a ruse. After a prompting by the on-stage robots, Shroeder dropped to one knee and asked O'Keefe to marry him! The very-surprised O'Keefe said yes, after which the robots serenaded the happy couple. The proposal was captured on video.

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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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