For her Advanced Placement World History class at Magnolia (Texas) West High School in December, Reagan Hardin constructed an elaborate diorama of a Middle Ages farm — which her dog ate on the night before it was due. Veterinarian Carl Southern performed the necessary scoping-out on Roscoe, extracting the plastic chicken head, horse body, sheep and pig, along with wire that held the display together. Warned Dr. Southern: "Don't put anything past your dog. We all say my dog would never eat that, and that's the main thing he'll eat."

The entrepreneurial spirit

Meg C Jewelry Gallery of Lexington, Ky., introduced a limited line of Kentucky-centric gold-plated necklaces and earrings in June, each dangling with genuine Kentucky Fried Chicken bones. All stems were picked clean from KFC wings, washed, dried, sealed with varnish and conductive paint, copper-electroformed, and then electroplated with 14k gold. Small-bone necklaces go for $130 (large, $160), and earrings for $200 a pair — and according to Meg C, accessorize anything from jeans to a lady's best little black dress.

"Ethical" fur designer Pamela Paquin debuted the first of her anticipated line of roadkill furs recently — raccoon neck muffs that will sell for around $1,000. Raccoons yield "luscious" fur, she said, but her favorite pelt is otter. The Massachusetts woman leaves her card with various New England road crews ("Hi, my name is Pamela. Will you call me when you have roadkill?").

Not too long ago, "generous" job perquisites were, perhaps, health insurance and little more, but Silicon Valley startups now race to outdo each other in dreaming up luxuries to pamper workers. A November Wall Street Journal report noted that the photo-sharing service Pinterest offers employee classes in the martial art "muay thai" and in August brought in an "artisanal jam maker" to create after-work cocktails — a far cry from most workplaces, which offer, perhaps, a vending machine downstairs. Not every perk is granted, though: Pinterest turned down an employee's request to install a zip line directly to a neighborhood bar.

Not as sturdy as they used to be

Some students at Harvard, Columbia and Georgetown law schools demanded in December that professors postpone final exams because those lawyers-in-training were too traumatized by the grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City, which cost them sleep and made them despair of the legal system's lack of integrity. (Critics cited by Bloomberg Business Week suggested that lawyers who cannot function at a high level in the face of injustice might fare poorly in the profession.)

Fine points of the law

Caitlyn Ricci, 21 and estranged from her divorced parents, availed herself this year of a quirky New Jersey law that requires divorced parents to provide for their children's college educations (even though Caitlyn was a toddler at the time of the divorce, chose a more expensive out-of-state college, and already had a blemished community-college record). Her parents, Maura McGarvey and Michael Ricci, are helping sponsor "corrective" legislation — because, generally, parents are not required to pay for college (but in New Jersey, divorced parents are).

Police report

John Biehn, 39, in court in Rockville, Conn., on Dec. 15 on an old drunken driving charge, was released on bail but managed to get arrested (and released on bail) three more times in two towns over the following 11 hours — twice for drunken driving and once for shoplifting.

On Nov. 30, an allegedly intoxicated Dwayne Fenlason, 48, drove his pickup truck into a ditch in Pomfret, Vt., bringing a drunken driving citation — and then drove an SUV to the scene to pull the truck out (earning a second citation), and then an all-terrain vehicle to the scene (and a third one).

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