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The Weird Week in Review

Yule Log Video Prompts Emergency Calls

The fire department in Regina, Saskatchewan, has responded to way too many false alarms over the past few weeks. There was no prankster to be blamed, though, just the holiday spirit of the local hockey football team. The stadium used by the Saskatchewan Roughriders has a large video display, and the display has included video of a traditional Yule log burning. A festive idea, to be sure, but from a distance it appeared as a wildfire against the nighttime horizon. Over the past few weeks, four callers to 911 dispatch have reported the stadium on fire. Others say it looks like a neighborhood on fire. The fire department let the situation be known to the Roughriders organization, who agreed to ditch the video fire and change the display to a thank you message.

Fox Sends Text Message from Stolen Phone

Norwegian teenager Lars Andreas Bjercke downloaded an intriguing app that imitates the sounds of rabbits, in order to attract foxes. It worked very well. After several nights of circling the yard where the phone was left, a fox took the phone and ran off! The theft was captured on video. But the story gets even better.

Lars later called the phone and, surprisingly, the fox answered.

"There was a crackling sound and some noise," Lars told Verdens Gang.

The next day, Lars's friend wondered why he had sent him an odd text message. The message was in strange letters and numbers. Lars knew that the sender was the fox.

"I FRY o a0ab 34348tu åaugjoi zølbmosdji jsøg ijio sjiw," it said in the message.

Read more about the story in Norwegian (with a news video) and in English.

Assault with a Ukulele

A store clerk at a gas station in Seattle, Washington, saw a couple trying to steal a six-pack of Olde English beer Tuesday night. The clerk confronted the two and announced his intention to call police. As he was reaching for the phone, the male perpetrator smashed him in the head with a ukulele! The couple fled the scene, and police arrived to find the clerk bleeding from the head. He was taken to a hospital for first aid. No arrests were made, and the case is under investigation.

Serbian Vampire on the Loose

The well-known Serbian vampire Sava Savanovi? lived in a water mill near the village of Zarožje. The Jagodic family bought the mill and turned it into a tourist attraction. However, they neglected to keep the mill in good repair, because they were afraid of disturbing the vampire. Recently, the structure collapsed and fears that Sava Savanovi? is looking for a new home have locals terrified. The local council advised citizens to guard against vampire attack. Garlic has been selling like hotcakes in Zarožje.

Chicago's Highest-Ever Parking Ticket Bill

Jennifer Fitzgerald has racked up over $105,000 in parking ticket fines for a car that was left at O'Hare airport for three years. Fitzgerald says the car was purchased by her then-boyfriend, but he registered it in Fitzgerald's name without telling her. When they broke up in 2009, he parked the car at the airport.

Now three years later, the car has received 687 parking tickets, equaling a hefty $105,761.81 fine. The Expired Meter reports that it's the highest ever fine in Chicago history, with second place only coming in at $65,000 and more than 400 tickets.

Fitzgerald claimed to The Expired Meter that she didn't know the car was parked in the airport. However, even if she did, Chicago law states that any car parked for more than 30 days in a city-owned lot is subject to an immediate tow to a city pound or authorized garage. She's arguing that the majority of the tickets would not have even been issued if the car had been towed.

Fitzgerald found out about the car when the first parking tickets arrived, and she asked for it to be towed away because she did not have the keys. She had the car's license plates revoked in 2010, but it was not towed until October of 2012 -and the tickets piled up all that time. Meanwhile, Fitzgerald has lost her driver's license because of the debt.

Russian Children Take Found Lion to School

Children playing on the Russian steppe in the Rostov region found a 5-month-old lion cub -and took it to school with them! Their teacher contacted authorities, but the children played with the lion cub while waiting. The cub, named Barsik, had escaped from a car while being transported to a zoo in Dagestan.

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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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