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Jill Treacy

Stalking Cat man found dead

Man who modified his body to look like a tiger was found dead in his home


Stalking Cat man Daniel Avner was found dead in his Nevada home last week in an apparent suicide. Avner had surgically modified his face and body to look like a cat, putting silicone in his cheeks, sharpening his teeth and tattooing almost his entire body. Shannon Larratt, friend of Avner, announced on her blog that the 54-year-old US Navy veteran he had taken his own life.

Larratt described the Stalking Cat man in her recent blog post after he was found dead, saying, “In addition to being almost completely covered in tattoos, he’s also sculpted his face and body with extensive silicone work, had custom teeth built to emulate his inner nature, and regularly wore contact lenses and an artificial robotic tail.” Of Native American descent, Avner assumed the identity after a chief told him to “follow the ways of the tiger.” He took the name Stalking Cat.

In the years before the Stalking Cat man was found dead in his home, he had made appearances on Ripley’s Believe it or Not! and other shows. He also held a job as a computer programmer despite his alarming appearance. Larratt went on to tell of Avner’s life of “fame but never fortune,” writing, “A wonderful and complex person, he was at times as troubled as he was remarkable.”

Facebook stock rises after lockup releases

The well-publicized Facebook stock shot up Wednesday as more became available


Facebook stock rose 13 percent Wednesday when it was expected to plummet after a lockup of shares was finally released. Around 800 million shares for the company became available after a six-month lockup on the company stock ended. With the increase of shares in the market, traders predicted the share price to fall.

In a surprising twist of events, Facebook stock had its second highest day of trading since the company went public last spring. This was not the case back in August when the first wave of lockups was released, nor again in October when the second wave was released. Lockups are implemented to ensure that major investors wait a certain amount of time before selling their shares after a company’s stock goes public. In Facebook’s case, the company saw a huge drop after the first two lockups.

But with a personal low of $17.55 in the past, the Facebook stock closed Wednesday at $22.36, up $2.50. This isn’t anywhere near the $38 IPO price Facebook set for its stock when it went public in May, but it is a step in the right direction.

Facebook’s senior management has made millions in shares in the past few weeks, according to Yahoo Finance, namely Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg with 530,000 sold shares and board member Peter Thiel with £250 million of sold Facebook stock. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has yet to sell any and does not plan to until September 2013.

Guy Fieri responds to negative restaurant review

The celebrity chef defends his newest restaurant after harsh review


Guy Fieri has been creating buzz the past few days after a rather scathing New York Times review of his new Times Square restaurant was published. The establishment, Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar, was torn apart by Times writer Pete Wells. Fieri responded to the review of his two-month-old eatery by saying the reviewer must have had another agenda.

“I thought it was ridiculous. I mean, I’ve read reviews—there’s good and there’s bad in the restaurant business, but that to me went so overboard, it really seemed like there was another agenda,” Guy Fieri said on the Today show Thursday morning.

The review opened with the question, “GUY FIERI, have you eaten at your new restaurant in Times Square?” and went on to ask 34 rhetorical question that criticized the menu, the appetizers, the service, the seating and, finally the food. A few of the more painful questions were, “Were you struck by how very far from awesome the Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders are?” and “Any idea why it (the watermelon margarita) tastes like a combination of radiator fluid and formaldehyde?” The final and overall rating for the Guy Fieri restaurant? “Poor.”

While Guy Fieri said, “That’s tough times, especially this size of a restaurant,” he also said there’s a possibility his restaurant could not be perfect, but it should be in a couple of months.

“Without question. I’ve been in the restaurant (business) 25 years. This is an ever-changing, evolving process. Do we do it perfect? No. Are we striving to do it perfect? Yes.”

Jake Pavelka and Kristin Chenoweth dating?

The two were seen on a cozy date earlier this week in West Hollywood


Jake Pavelka and Kristin Chenoweth are rumored to be seeing each other after they were spotted on a quiet and low-key date in West Hollywood, according to Life & Style magazine. Pavelka, 34, and Chenoweth, 44, were apparently very affectionate on their dinner date Tuesday evening, holding hands and “nuzzling” a source said. The two have reportedly been going on secret dates for quite awhile now.

After striking out on The Bachelor, Jake Pavelka may have found what he’s looking for in Kristin Chenoweth. The bachelor and his previous fiancé Vienna Girardi broke up shortly after the 2010 Bachelor season, and Chenoweth dated producer Aaron Sorkin for a few years before breaking it off.

Despite unsuccessful relationships in the past, the two seemed happy and very in-love to onlookers. While they were obviously trying to be discreet with sunglasses, they were unable to hide their affection for each other.

“He just looked star struck and in love at the same time—just beaming and smiling the whole time,” an eyewitness said about Jake Pavelka on the date.

Kristin Chenoweth said last year that she was ready to move on and start a family.

“I want to be married,” the actress said. “I feel finally ready for that.”

Maybe Jake Pavelka is the guy for her. 

Facebook couples page not a hit

Many feel Facebook has gone a little too far with the new page


Facebook couples are getting their own page now, similar to the friendship pages that Facebook created two years ago. The Facebook couples page displays photos, posts and events shared between the two lovebirds, and even though users may have the option of hiding relationship status information from profiles, they do not necessarily have that option when it comes to the new couples’ page. While it’s not an invasion of privacy because all information used is provided by the Facebook users themselves, the new arrangement is not sitting well with users who are Facebook couples.

“Mr. Zuckerberg: by all means keep giving people new tools—as you did when you created Facebook,” writes Emma Barnett, editor at The Telegraph, of the new Facebook couples page. “But when you start doing things for us—the experience is anything but social or remotely positive. You have infantilized my relationship for me with the creation of facebook.com/us. Only I should get to do that. And you may have just forced me, a newlywed, to finally take the plunge and break up with my husband on Facebook.”

Blogger Jennifer Wright simply wrote, “I want to vomit.” Wright states that while people are in relationships they are still individuals and shouldn’t have “to combine your entire identities onto one page.”

While friendship pages exist, showcasing the Facebook history of two friends, the main difference between the friendship page and the Facebook couples page is that the latter has an actual Internet address.

In another fun twist, it seems as though the only way to not have a Facebook couples page is to completely delete the relationship altogether. If deleting it all together seems extreme, it is possible to control the content on the page by deleting posts or untagging yourself from photos that may appear on the relationship profile.

One question though, what does an “it’s complicated” Facebook couples page look like?

Texas secession dismissed by Texas governor

Despite past hints of secession, Rick Perry says he doesn’t want Texas to secede


The Texas secession petition has reached over 70,000 online signatures, reported CBS News, but governor of Texas Rick Perry says he does not want Texas to secede from the United States. The secession petition to “Peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government” was posted Friday on the White House website We the People. Perry’s Press Secretary released a statement on behalf of the governor, responding to the Texas secession petition.

“Gov. Perry believes in the greatness of our Union and nothing should be done to change it,” Frazier said about Perry’s stance on Texas secession. “But he also shares the frustrations many Americans have with our federal government. Now more than ever our country needs strong leadership from states like Texas.”

The Texas secession petition was posted on the We the People website shortly after the re-election of President Obama. It states that the citizens of Texas would like to separate from the United States and form their own government system, citing a passage on the “dissolve of political bands” from the Declaration of Independence.  The website claims that if a petition gets more than 25,000 signatures in 30 days, then the Administration will review it and respond.  In this case, the Texas secession petition has far surpassed the necessary number of signatures.

In an interview with the Associated Press back in 2009, Perry also stated frustration with the federal government. When asked about a possible Texas secession, Perry responded by saying, “We’ve got a great Union. There is absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what may come out of that? But Texas is a very unique place and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.”

Other states have posted petitions similar to the Texas secession one. Louisiana is the closest behind Texas with a little over 15,000 signatures. New Jersey, New York, Montana, Nebraska, Georgia, Mississippi and California were amongst other states that posted secession petitions.

Obama and his administration have yet to respond to the Texas secession petition. 

Elmo puppeteer faces underage sex charges

Kevin Clash has taken leave from “Sesame Street” to deal with accusations of an underage sexual relationship


Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash has found himself in a bit of a pickle. The Sesame Street puppeteer has been accused of carrying on a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy in the past. The accuser, now 23-years-old, laid the charges on Clash in June 2012. While Clash acknowledges the relationship, he says it was carried on after the accuser was legally an adult.

“I had a relationship with the accuser,” Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash said in a statement. “It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to characterize it as something other than it was.”

Sesame Workshop quickly addressed the issue with their Elmo puppeteer, meeting with both the accuser and Clash. The Workshop said that the charge of underage relations was unsubstantiated, but that Clash has been disciplined for inappropriate Internet usage.

According to TMZ, the man behind the Elmo voice reportedly used his Sesame Street email account to contact his accuser back in 2010. Sent after the accuser turned 18, the email includes Clash apologizing for “talking about sex” and later saying “I love you and I will never hurt you.” Clash also writes in the email that he was going to have his assistant book a flight for the accuser to visit New York to talk in person.

The 52-year-old Clash was open about being gay, though saying it was a personal matter, and stated that he will be taking a leave of absence to deal with the allegations.

Kevin Clash has been with Sesame Street since 1984, making Elmo one of the main faces of the show. He has won multiple Emmy’s for his role as the Elmo puppeteer, and his life as a puppeteer has been chronicled in the recent documentary Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey.

It is uncertain how long Clash’s leave of absence will be. 

Guatemala earthquake kills dozens

The country is in shock after 7.4-magnitude quake hits


The Guatemala earthquake has the Pacific coast communities reeling, with an estimated 52 dead, 150 injured and 23 unaccounted for, according to the New York Times. The earthquake hit Wednesday morning, destroying houses, government buildings, schools and roads. The hospital is the only building with electricity after yesterday’s earthquake. People are said to be huddled in the streets in fearful anticipation of aftershocks and more destruction.

“They have no drinking water, no electricity, no communication and are in danger of experiencing more aftershocks,” Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina said in a news conference. According to Perez, the area has seen 70 aftershocks 24 hours following the initial quake.

Damage is reported in 22 of the 23 Guatemala states and the earthquake was felt all over Central America. San Marcos was reportedly hit the hardest, where around 30 homes, the police station and courthouse, amongst other buildings, completely collapsed. President Perez says this is the largest Guatemala earthquake since 1976.

The hospital, while suffering damage, is not only treating patients, but housing many displaced from their homes as well. Patients and patients’ families have complained that service has been slow and the hospital is understaffed for this situation.

Firefighters and soldiers have been working to uncover people trapped from falling debris and cleaning up roads and destroyed buildings. Most of the missing people were from San Marcos where the earthquake hit hardest. 

Diabetes linked to newly discovered protein

Researchers say early detection and treatment is possible with the discovery of new protein


Diabetes researchers in Sweden have linked a newly discovered protein in blood to a risk of diabetes. The protein allows researchers to indicate early on those at risk for type 2 diabetes and therefore treat the disease in its earlier stages. High levels of the protein SFPR 4 in a person’s blood puts them at a higher risk for diabetes than a person with normal levels of the protein.  

“We have shown that individuals who have above-average levels of a protein called SFRP 4 in the blood are five times more likely to develop diabetes in the next few years than those with below-average levels,” said Anders Rosengren, researcher at Sweden’s Lund University Diabetes Center (LUDC).

Researchers also said SFRP 4 takes part in the inflammatory processes in the body. This is the first time the protein has been linked to type 2 diabetes and the first time the connection between inflammation in beta cells and diabetes has been proven, according to Yahoo! News. Author and researcher Taman Mahdi says the inflammation weakens the beta cells to the point where they cannot produce insulin anymore, thus the development of diabetes. The new discovery could lead to future prevention of excess SFRP 4 in beta cells in order to allow the cells to continue producing insulin.

Rosengren says the indication of risk for diabetes will hopefully instigate a healthier lifestyle.

“If we can point to an increased risk of diabetes in a middle-aged individual of normal weight using a simple blood test, up to ten years before the disease develops, this could provide strong motivation to them to improve their lifestyle to reduce the risk,” Rosengren stated.

Diane Sawyer responds to 'drunk' Twitter claims

The TV anchor tweets about her criticized performance on Election Night with humor


Diane Sawyer made almost as much commotion about her performance on Election Night as President Obama did winning the election. The legendary TV anchor appeared to be, dare I say, happily intoxicated during live coverage of the 2012 election. Word of her ways spread rapidly through the Twitter world. Sawyer acknowledged the tweets Wednesday morning with nonchalance and humor.

“Awe for the @ABC powerhouse team. Hail the techs who kept us on air…during the 25 minute power outage,” Diane Sawyer tweeted. And then, “Read your tweets the good, the bad and the funny. See you on @ABCWorldNews.”

Some of “the good, the bad and the funny” include “Watching the Drunk Diane Sawyer show on ABC. Where is she hiding her flask?!? #Election2012” from @higgypiggy38 and “The delightful @RandyRainbow gets drunk dialed by Diane Sawyer…” from Twitter handle @AlecMapa with a video to go along with it.

The 66-year-old TV anchor was seen slurring her words, rambling and pronouncing the president’s name as “Barack Orama-Obama” as she kept the ABC News audience updated on election news. A senior network source at the studio said she was simply suffering from exhaustion. Well, that’s not as fun.

Apparently she’s rested up and ready to get back to work, announcing that she’s headed off to D.C. to interview Republican speaker John Boehner.