Jason DeJesus, 36, and Chanelle Troedson, 33, who share an upscale 4,600-square-foot home, with pool and courts for playing tennis and beach volleyball, in Morgan Hill, Calif., were arrested in December and charged with luring a 50-year-old handyman to their home, forcibly detaining him, and requiring him to make various repairs over a six-hour period. He managed to escape and notify police.

Old is new

Chinese fashion designer Lu Ting told China Newsweek in November that her sales had “quintupled” since she began using her 72-year-old grandfather to model her clothing styles for girls. “[It’s] helping my granddaughter,” Liu Xianping said. “I’m very old,” he said, and “I have nothing to lose.”

Jerky’s back

Leading a “jerky renaissance” is Krave, a Sonoma, Calif., company creating nontraditional flavors such as turkey jerky and jerky flavored with basil citrus or lemon garlic. Jerky’s main obstacle, a Krave competitor’s CEO told the Wall Street Journal in September, is “jerky shame,” in which some male consumers remain mortified their girlfriends might see them eating it.

‘MacGyver’ spider

Biologist Phil Torres, working from the Tambopata national park in Peru, revealed in December that he had witnessed a tiny Cyclosa spider construct a replica of an eight-legged spider in a web made of leaves, debris and dead insects. Since the real spider was found nearby, Torres hypothesized that the wily arachnid had built a decoy to confuse predators.

Pigeon-eating catfish

A team of French researchers writing recently in the journal PLOS ONE described a species of European catfish, growing to a length of 5 feet, that feeds itself pigeons by lunging out of the water and snatching them, even if the leap carries it to shore. Like Argentinian killer whales, the catfish are able to remain on land for a few seconds while wriggling back into the water to enjoy their meal. The lead researcher said he filmed 54 catfish attacks, 15 of which were successful.


The Jiangdu District kindergarten in China recognizes that providing a quality education requires supporting the child emotionally, and toward that end, it requires teachers to hug each pupil twice a day — provided the parent has paid the monthly “hugging fee” of the equivalent of about $12.80.

Plan gone awry

William Cook Jr., 27, was arrested after a manager at a Wendy’s restaurant in Rome, Ga., complained that Cook was acting strange and disturbing customers, and when police asked for his ID, he provided bogus information. In a search, officers found a note in his pocket, reading, “How Bill Cook intends to rob the Wendy’s on Martha Berry and get away with it,” followed by lists labeled “Plan A” and “Plan B.”

Jail to get working locks

The county commission serving Atlanta voted to break a longstanding 3-3 tie that prevented buying new jailhouse locks — even while knowing that inmates could jimmy the old ones at will and roam the jail, threatening and assaulting suspects and guards. The three recalcitrant commissioners were being spiteful because a federal judge had ordered improvements to the jail, costing $140 million so far, and the three vowed to spend no more. The 1,300 replacement locks will cost about $5 million — but won’t be installed right away.


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