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The Weird Week in Review

Bear-safety Lecture Interrupted by Bear

Last Friday, Yellowstone National Park bear biologist Kerry Gunther and park spokesman Dan Hottle were being filmed by a CNN news crew about bear safety. While recording the segment, they spotted a hiker and a black bear nearby. The bear was walking toward the edge of the water, and the frightened hiker jumped into the water. A group of kayakers helped the hiker, Erin Prophet, back to land. The bear was minding its own business and did not appear to pose a threat. Gunther said the incident was only memorable because the news crew was present.

North Dakota May Not be a State

Looking at the fine print, 82-year-old John Rolczynski of Grand Forks, North Dakota found evidence that North Dakota might not legally be one of the United States. When the state was founded in 1889, the state constitution did not conform to federal requirements, which say the governor and other officials must take an oath of office. Rolczynski pointed out the mistake 16 years ago, and finally the matter may be resolved, as State Senator Tim Mathern has introduced a bill to correct the state constitution. The matter will be put to North Dakota voters in the spring.

Driver Wore Colander for License Photo

Citing religious reasons, Niko Alm demanded the right to wear a colander on his head for his driver's license photo in Vienna, Austria. He is a pastafarian, or a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. He was granted his request by licensing officials -but that doesn't mean pastafarianism is recognized as an official religion by the state. A police spokesman said that the pasta strainer Alm wore on his head did not violate any license rules, which merely state that a driver's whole face must be clearly visible in the photo. Therefore, a religious exemption for the headgear was not necessary.

Owl Leaves Perfect Print on Window

Sally Arnold of Kendal, Cumbria, UK, found an almost-perfect picture of an owl imprinted on her home's picture window. But the owl itself was nowhere to be found.

The bird had apparently crashed into the window of Sally Arnold's Kendal home, leaving the bizarre image - complete with eyes, beak and feathers.

Experts said the silhouette was left by the bird's "powder down" - a substance protecting growing feathers.

The detailed picture leaves the "impression" that the crash was pretty hard, but the bird left no feathers behind, and so was assumed to have flown away on its own.

Man Reports Marijuana Theft to Police

Twenty-year-old Max Fleck called Chicago police and reported that he had been robbed by three men who entered his apartment. He said the men hit him and his 19-year-old friend and left with two pounds of marijuana and a laptop computer. One of the intruders had been to the apartment earlier that evening. When police arrived at the crime scene, they found more narcotics and arrested Fleck on two counts of possession of a controlled substance and two counts of marijuana possession.

Town Sings Songs to Soothe Angry Elves

Townspeople in Bolungarvik, Iceland were upset that a new tunnel and avalanche barrier required the use of dynamite. They believed the explosions bothered the "hidden folk and elves" who subsequently began playing pranks such as rolling rocks down the hills. Seers asked Bolungarvik officials to apologize to the unseen spirits, but they refused. So, to placate the hidden people, who were never consulted about the construction, a ceremony was held and songs were sung. Heavy machinery was shut off during the rites, then crews went back to work on the avalanche barrier afterward.

Hiring Strippers for Funerals

One entertainment option for funerals in Taiwan is the Electric Flower Car, a lighted stage on which young women will strip to their underwear. The show is more common in rural areas, and the performers also sing for the mourners and onlookers. Reasons given for the strippers vary, from pleasing the lower gods or distracting ghosts to having a funeral that the deceased would have enjoyed.

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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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travel
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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