HR Strange But True!
May 04, 2005

Dennis "Cat" Avner is moving away from the San Diego area. He's not finding much demand there for a computer and electronics technician who's been tattooed and surgically altered to look like a cat.

As a photo accompanying a story in the San Diego Union-Tribune demonstrates, Avner, 46, really does look like a feline. Besides tattooed stripes on his face, there are implants in his forehead to give his face a more animallike look. And metal studs in his upper lip, so he can put in his whiskers when he wants. And ears that, again thanks to surgery, come to pointed tips. Then there are the inch-long nails (painted tiger orange with black stripes), the contact lenses that turn his pupils into oval, catlike slits, and the set of fangs--dentures that couldn't be installed without removing his teeth first.

"It's something I need to do," Avner said of his transformation, which began 25 years ago. "I have to do it. It's part of who I am."

He told the Union-Tribune that it all stems from growing up in Michigan as a member of the Huron and Lakota tribes. He was given the Indian name of Stalking Cat and began following what he called an ancient Huron tradition; he is changing himself into his totem of a tiger.

But while he's been on more than 50 television shows and made personal appearances around the world, Avner so far hasn't been able to live on his looks alone. It's one reason he's giving up his apartment in Guatay, California, and moving to the state of Washington, according to the Union-Tribune.

That's despite help from people like Dave Dailey, who runs a hardware store near Avner's home. Dailey refers customers who need computer repairs to Avner, whom he called "the smartest guy I've ever known."

Source: San Diego Union-Tribune

What constitutes discrimination based on appearance? How restrictive can you make your dress code? Get the answers on the newly redesigned

$187,500 in OT: Now That's Dedication

More than 100 employees of Cook County, Illinois, which includes Chicago, made $50,000 or more in overtime pay last year, reporters for the Chicago Tribune have discovered. That includes a nurse who tacked $187,500 onto her salary of $92,700.

The county spent $76.7 million in overtime last year, up from $32 million in 1996, the Tribune reports. Six security guards at one hospital more than doubled their salaries with overtime in 2004, as did a janitor at another; he made a total of $80,000. Twenty-five guards at Cook County Jail also made at least $25,000 in overtime in 2004.

But the OT champion, according to the Tribune, was Usha Patel, an advanced practice nurse at Oak Forest Hospital who put in an extra 2,746 hours. Asked for comment by the newspaper, Patel said the nursing shortage has made it necessary for many nurses to work overtime. "It's not all for the money," she added. "It's for the safety of the patient. You need trained nurses to do what we do. It's not like you are working with machines. You are working with human beings and their families."

Indeed, the Tribune notes that county officials routinely cite the nationwide nursing shortage when questioned about overtime. Still, the newspaper's reporting has prompted Cook County Board President John Stroger to propose a prohibition on any employee working more than 20 hours a week in overtime, unless there's an emergency. "If a person works too many hours," he said, "a person--he or she--becomes ineffectual."

Source: Chicago Tribune (registration required)

Best Recruiting Website? Hold onto Your Shoe Phone...

You may have heard of the Webby Awards--they're billed as a sort of Academy Awards for websites. Every year since 1996, the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences has honored sites in a slew of categories. And when it hands out the 2005 award for best employment site on June 6, the winner will be...the Central Intelligence Agency. That's right, the CIA.

Where is this model recruiting site? We could tell you, but then we'd have to kill you.

Just kidding:


Compiled by Kevin Flood, Sean Dean, and Elaine Quayle

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