Texan drawn into comic bestseller
He's known for coloring outside the lines in the staid U.S. Senate. Now children large and small can color in Sen. Ted Cruz. St. Louis publisher Really Big Coloring Books Inc. is offering a book featuring the Texas tea party darling. Company founder Wayne Bell said Thursday the book was already in its third printing after six days. The first run of 10,000 sold out in barely 24 hours, and the second went nearly as fast. The flourishing tea plant stalks are stenciled with "Ten Commandments" and "U.S. Constitution." Leaves include "Gun rights," "Free Enterprise," and "Lower Taxes."
N.J. home holiday display goes awry
A New Jersey man who tried to put some levity into his Christmas display instead got a 1 a.m. visit from the police Saturday. Kevin Maurer hung a dummy from his roof dressed as Clark Griswold, the hapless character in the Christmas Vacation film, the Star-Ledger reported. For a couple of weeks, neighbors applauded the quirky display. But Maurer forgot to turn off the spotlight on the hanging mannequin before he went to bed. The other Christmas lights were timed to turn off at 11 p.m., so a passer-by saw the dark house with a figure above a toppled ladder. "I'm fast asleep and all of the sudden there are five cops at my door," Maurer said.
Floridian accused of wacky gift haul
Pennsylvania state police say they found 20 pounds of vacuum-sealed marijuana in boxes wrapped as Christmas presents after a traffic stop. The Centre Daily Times reports that 38-year-old Randy Jesus Valdivia of Surfside faces drug charges after the stop Thursday on Interstate 80 near State College.
3 pandas at zoo are girls, not boys
Genetic testing has revealed that three young giant pandas born at Atlanta's zoo that were thought to be males are actually females. Zoo Atlanta spokeswoman Keisha Hines says an examination revealed 3-year-old Po is female. Hines says the zoo then tested twin cubs Mei Lun and Mei Huan.
Dinner latches onto swimmer
Joseph Ali dived into the nighttime waters around a California pier and came away with the catch of a lifetime. Ali tells the Orange County Register he was closing his father's business in Huntington Beach on Dec. 9 when he decided to dive for dinner. Down about 15 feet, he saw the giant. It was too big to grab properly, but it latched onto him and he wrestled it to shore. The lobster weighed nearly 18 pounds — even a 5-pounder is trophy-sized — and was likely at least 30 years old.
Compiled from wire services and other sources.