File photo. iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While the idea of cave dwelling may conjure images of Fred Flintstone, one desert sculptor has created a home that rivals those above ground in architectural beauty.
Ra Paulette, a New Mexico-based artist and subject of the 2014 Oscar-nominated short documentary CaveDigger, has carved out sweeping halls and cathedral columns underground for years using a pick, wheelbarrow, and only his dog for company. Many of the caves are on private property, while others on public lands remain unmarked, unknown and uninhabited -- a happy surprise for hikers to stumble upon.
But one special hollow acts as a serene abode -- and even features electricity and running water.
Shel and Liz Neymark having been residing in their cave for the last 15 years. The home was recently profiled in Du Jour magazine.
Featuring skylights, built-in drums, bed platforms excavated into walls and beautiful carvings, the home was a labor of love on Paulette's part after Liz Neymark was diagnosed with advanced melanoma and breast cancer in 1997. Fortunately, she remains alive to this day.
Paulette could not immediately be reached by ABC News for comment. But the artist offers some explanation of his process on his website.
"When digging and excavating the caves I break down all the movements into their simplest parts and reassemble them into the most efficient patterns and strategies that will accomplish the task while maintaining bodily ease," Paulette wrote. "Like a dancer, I 'feel' the body and its movement in a conscious way."
He calls this step “the dance of digging.”
But if future homeowners are excited at the prospect of living in a cave in the style of Neymark's home, they face a good possibility of disappointment.
For the last 20 years, Paulette has been working on a project called Luminous Caves, "a cave complex illuminated by the sun through multiple tunneled windows," he describes on his site. At 65, the artist said he considers the piece his final project.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The financial markets soared on Monday following the release of encouraging data on consumer spending and home sales.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the session at 17,976.31, up 263.65 from its open.
The Nasdaq rose by 56.22 to close at 4,947.44. The S&P 500 was also up by 25.22 points to close at 2,086.24.
Consumers spent slightly more in February, following two straight monthly declines, according to newly released data. Incomes also rose, a development that economists hope will keep boosting spending in coming months.
The Commerce Department announced on Monday that consumer spending edged up by one-tenth a percent last month. Income grew a solid four-tenths of a percent in February, matching January’s rise.
Pending home sales were also much stronger than estimated in February, up 3.1 percent despite winter weather impacting a large portion of the country. Buying activity jumped in the Midwest and West, while dipping slightly in the Northeast and South.
Maureen Flaherty(SUMMERFIELD, Fla.) -- A Florida woman who purchased a $43.50 lithograph print of a dog at a Goodwill store is now auctioning off the painting for charity after learning it could be worth thousands of dollars.
Maureen Flaherty, of Summerfield, Florida, was paying for items she purchased at the grand opening of a local Goodwill store on March 19 when a lithograph print of a dog caught her eye.
"I looked over my shoulder and saw it up on the wall and asked the cashier if I could get still get that,” Flaherty, 49, told ABC News. "She and another cashier went and got it down from the wall for me.”
The artwork was priced at $43.50 and Flaherty says she rounded up the total to $44 as a donation to Goodwill.
When Flaherty walked out of the store carrying the 39 1/2-by-29 1/2 inch print, she says she was stopped by a local antiques dealer who told her, “You just walked out with the most valuable thing in there."
The dealer, identified by Flaherty as Jess Sturtevant of Braden River Antiques, offered to buy the print from her if she ever wanted to sell it, but Flaherty says she "just loved it" and took it home with her as planned.
“Once I was home I thought, 'Let me see why he was so interested in it,'” Flaherty told ABC News.
The print, Flaherty learned after doing her own online research, is one titled “The Brook Hill Dog" by artist Alexander Pope in 1911. Flaherty says the vintage advertising tins such as the one she purchased were distributed by Friedman, Keiler & Co. Distillers to be displayed in bars and saloons.
With the news that her $44 purchase could be worth a lot more, Flaherty got back in touch with Sturtevant of Braden River Antiques, but told him she did not want to sell the print to him. Instead, she wanted to auction the print for charity.
"I foster dogs so I had the idea that since it’s a dog print, let’s auction it off so half the funds will go to a dog fund,” Flaherty said. “The other half is going to go towards a book I’m writing on about fostering dogs."
Flaherty says Sturtevant offered to help her auction off the painting as soon as she told him of her intention. Another woman, who had previously adopted a puppy from Flaherty, offered to pay the shipping costs for the sale so that Flaherty could make it a national auction as opposed to local.
Flaherty has designated Safe Haven Animal Rescue, a local animal shelter she works closely with, to receive 50 percent of the proceeds.
“I just thought it was a gift for me to be able to get something like that,” Flaherty said of the print. “I had it in my home but I thought, ‘What more could I do with it.’”
A spokeswoman for the local Goodwill region confirmed to ABC News that Flaherty did purchase the print from the charity’s new 23,000-square-feet store, and says that it was her luck to spot it in the store.
“We teach our pricers to locate certain authors, certain designers but, with that being said, you can still find great items because we’re human and sometimes we miss things,” Kelly Davis Strausbaugh told ABC News. “We have real people doing the pricing so occasionally you’ll find these really great items."
Makenzie Ball/Twitter(DAVENPORT, Fla.) -- An 86-year-old Florida grandmother is a viral star after her granddaughter shared photos of her humorously posing in her home on Twitter.
Yolie Ball, who lives with her husband, Don, in Davenport, Florida, says her phone has been ringing off the hook since Thursday night, when her 15-year-old granddaughter, Makenzie Ball, called to tell her she was now a viral star.
“She called me last night at 7:30 and said, ‘Grandma, I’m going to tell you something,’” Ball told ABC News. “I did something and I don’t know if it’s going to be good or bad.”
What Makenzie, a high school student from Virginia, did was post photos on Twitter of her grandmother popping up in pictures taken by Ball’s daughter to be used to help sell the couple’s home.
Makenzie’s tweet, posted last Wednesday, has now been retweeted over 25,000 times.
I thought the pictures of my grandma were hilarious and I wanted to share,” Makenzie told ABC News by email. “I didn't expect them to get so popular. I thought like 40 RTs from my friends MAX.”
The photos show Ball casually sipping coffee on the lanai, poking her head out of a bedroom, reading a magazine in the living room and leaning on a kitchen counter. They were taken by the Balls’ daughter, Sandra, when she visited them from the family’s native Massachusetts last month.
The couple is trying to sell their Florida home to move closer to their other daughter in Nashville, Tennessee, and took new photos of their home for a real estate guide.
“The first picture, the one where I have my head sticking out of the bedroom door, I was going to pull back and Sandra said, ‘No, mom, stay right there,’” Ball said. “It went from there."
“She’d say, ‘Oh, lean on the counter,’ or, ‘Go sit on the lanai,’” Ball recalled. “It was just a joke. We’re always doing silly stuff.”
Ball describes herself as a “dinosaur” when it comes to technology but she did know enough to know what her granddaughter meant by Twitter when she called.
Though the response has been “overwhelming” for the retiree and her husband, it is all in good fun for the tight-knit family that includes a son, Makenzie’s dad, in addition to their two daughters.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images(ANAHEIM, Calif.) -- It's the diamond celebration for one of the world's most beloved theme parks.
In the 60 years since it was built, Disneyland has become a part of so many travel memories. It's hard to imagine that it wasn't so long ago that the theme park was just a patch of dirt.
In the time-lapse video below, look out for the creation of iconic attractions like the clock tower and historical moments like the very first guests coming into the park.
Though the park's official anniversary is on July 17 -- it opened on that day in 1955 -- the celebration starts on May 22 with three new evening celebrations: Paint the Night is an evening parade down Main Street, U.S.A.; Disneyland Forever, a fireworks show featuring two new original songs; and World of Color—Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney, a "special edition of the popular nighttime showcase in Disney California Adventure Park."
The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ABC News.
Volvo Car Group(NEW YORK) -- Volvo will soon be making cars in the U.S.
The Swedish automaker announced on Monday that it will be building its first manufacturing facility in the states, adding to the company's two factories in Europe and two in China.
“Volvo Cars cannot claim to be a true global car maker without an industrial presence in the U.S. Today, we became that,” said Volvo President and CEO Håkan Samuelsson in a statement. “The U.S. is an absolutely crucial part of our global transformation and today’s announcement makes it perfectly clear that Volvo is in the U.S. to stay.”
The carmaker will invest approximately $500 million in the new assembly plant.
Volvo said it has drawn up a short list of potential locations for the U.S. factory and will announce more details at a later date.
Musk offered no other details, so we'll have to wait and see. However, some reports suggest the announcement could revolve around a home battery that Musk teased about during an earnings call last month.
iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — Although all the signs point to an economic resurgence six years after the so-called Great Recession, a lot of folks remain in the financial doldrums.
That's the chief finding by the Chicago-based Center for Financial Services Innovation, which polled 7,000 people. According to the survey, a staggering 57 percent of adults in the U.S. claim to still be struggling financially, with 40 percent admitting that it's difficult for them to pay their bills.
The worries of Americans are so acute that over 20 percent surveyed say that if they were thrown out of work, they'd have little clue as to how they would survive financially.
One of the top recommendations of virtually all financial gurus is that people need to spend less and save more.
However, while almost three-quarters of the survey respondents said they do have a savings account, over half admit to not having a planned savings habit that could benefit their future short- and long-term needs.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A surprising number of Americans have more than just looking good on their minds when they purchase cosmetics.
Nielsen surveyed 1,000 people regarding their attitudes of how cosmetics are manufactured and 57 percent said the most important packaging claim is that it's "not tested on animals" and "cruelty-free."
Nearly as many, 56 percent, claim the SPF (Sun Protection Factor) claim is crucial to their decision on which cosmetics to buy while the label "all natural" is "very" or "somewhat important" to 53 percent of consumers.
As for opening their wallets a little wider, 46 percent would pay more for all-natural cosmetics, while 43 percent said they would spend extra on products that are not tested on animals.
ABC News(NEW YORK) -- For the first time since his ouster, former American Apparel CEO Dov Charney is talking publicly about being at war with the company he built and overcoming a reputation tarnished by allegations of sexual misconduct and mismanagement.
"I want everybody to know I’m not 'the Sleaze King,'" Charney told ABC News' 20/20 in an exclusive interview. "'The Sleaze King' is another guy."
Since being fired as the chief executive of American Apparel in December, Charney, 46, claims he is broke, but still lives in his 10-bedroom Los Angeles mansion where he plots his return to power. Inside his master bedroom suite, which he calls his “war room,” the walls and mirrors are covered in a collage of notes and newspaper articles.
“I've had a minute being on the outside to re-strategize how I want to take the company, you know, control of the company again, and I intend to,” he said.
To some of his employees, Charney was - and still is - a hero. There have even been rallies of garment workers who believe he can save the troubled California-based company.
But Charney is not universally adored. He is also infamous for building the brand by pushing the limits of good taste and sexual propriety when it came to marketing its clothing. Charney was criticized for using young models in provocative ads, but he says the models just looked younger than their real ages.
“I’m sure we pushed the envelope too far a couple of times,” he said. “That’s why you make the next ad right away.”
When he founded the company in 1989, the American Apparel brand distinguished itself by being a company that, against every trend, manufactured clothing in the U.S. and paid its workers far above the industry average.
“A good worker can make $13, $14 bucks an hour and their colleagues are working in sweatshops where they're paying cash for $5,” Charney said.
By 2005, the company was growing by leaps and bounds, earning $211 million in profits. Two years later, it went public.
For Charney, it was always about breaking boundaries, which became the driving force behind both his rise and fall.
As profits rose, so did allegations that his sexual enthusiasm wasn’t just a marketing ploy, but that it also created a sexually charged, hostile work environment. Charney denies ever sexually harassing an employee.
“I’ve never engaged in any activities that could be characterized as sexual harassment,” he said.
Despite his denials, Charney has been the subject of numerous scandalous headlines and lawsuits, many revolving around sex. Charney admits to sleeping with employees, but says everything was consensual and denies any wrongdoing.
“All those accusations against me are crap,” he said. “There’s allegations… we’ve resolved them. None of it — none of these allegations - were ever proven.”
When asked if he knew how many times he had been sued for sexual harassment, Charney said, “Maybe a dozen, maybe less.” He added that some of the lawsuits were settled and others were dismissed.
Despite the allegations, American Apparel’s board continued to keep Charney on as CEO for years, until this summer.
“The experience of two, three years, yeah, we lost a couple a hundred million dollars,” he said. “I never thought it would be such a difficult job.”
Charney was officially fired in December 2014. Some of the allegations listed in his termination letter included misusing company money, violating the company’s sexual harassment policy, and offering significant severance packages without board approval to numerous former employees to insure his alleged misconduct wouldn’t subject him to personal liability.
“Those accusations are completely false,” he said, calling his termination “ridiculous.”
“I had been working 365 for 10 years solid, OK? Built a massive brand that captured the imagination of the world,” Charney said. “Then to treat me like that, to throw me on the street... shame on them, shame on them, that’s my message to them.”
Charney has alleged that the company conspired to destroy him, citing, among other things, the suspicious leak of a now notorious video shot in a New York City apartment that shows him walking around naked in front of a coworker and a friend.
Charney says the video hit the web one day after he was ousted. He is convinced the leak must have come from inside the company because they “had access to all of my personal affairs.”
“Hours after I'm fired, a personal video shot by a friend, who had not distributed it to anyone ... was released in the public,” Charney said. “It has to be connected to the company's activities, OK? So the company went as far as to release a video of me that was personal.”
Since Charney’s firing, Paula Schneider has taken over as CEO of American Apparel. Her mission is to restore the company to profitability, save workers’ jobs and distance the company as far as possible from its controversial founder.
Schneider denies there was an underhanded plot to fire Charney and says that the company never leaked the video.
“I have great respect for what he built here, but there were challenges,” she said. “In the last five years, the company has lost over ... $300 plus million. So you know, it wasn't a financially healthy company, and my goal is to take it, turn it around.”
“Even the best of American companies had periods of losses," Charney said about the claims he mismanaged company money. "What's important here is about the 'go-forward' opportunity at American Apparel, and I believe I had a good strategy to go forward.”
Aside from the losses, Schneider said Charney was fired “for violating our sexual harassment and our anti-discrimination policy” and “for misuse of corporate assets.”
When asked how Charney was allowed to continue on as CEO for years after repeated sexual harassment allegations from employees were reported, Schneider said that was “hard to understand.”
Getting the company back on track, Schneider admitted, does mean that workers periodically have been furloughed, “and I feel tremendously bad about that,” she said. But the company pointed out that plenty of workers were elated by the news that Charney was fired and banned from the facility.
The company directed ABC News to an American Apparel employee who asked ABC News to call her “Sam” and not to reveal her identity. Sam said she worked with Charney before he was ousted.
“When you work at American Apparel closely with Dov, you’re pretty much scared all the time,” she said.
Sam claims Charney was cruel and vindictive.
“He will yell at you, call you names, humiliate you until you feel down, broken,” she said.
Schneider said that Sam’s statements echoed others she had seen in human resources reports.
When asked about Sam’s allegations, Charney said that was simply “one person's point of view.”
“There's many different points of view,” he said. “I'm not going to get along with everybody. This is a tough environment. It's the apparel industry. Not everybody has to work at American Apparel.”
But he doesn't deny he can be a tough boss.
“I’ll tell you one thing, I’ll push my white collar workers harder,” he said. “I was combative, I was a pushy boss, I was a hammer on my white collar staff, that’s for sure.”
Charney refused to further discuss the sexual harassment allegations and claimed his ouster was the result of a “witch hunt.”
Despite Charney’s plans of returning to the company, Schneider said that he will never be reinstated.
“He is not allowed to be an employee, or an officer, or CEO of the company. Period. There's no option there,” she said.
This week, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced it was investigating what led to his termination. Charney declined to talk about the investigation.
ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- There’s a new app for bros looking for other bros to hang with, and it could be the salvation of the modern male heterosexual friendship.
It’s called Wolfpack and, yes, it does howl.
The brainchild of Nile Niami, a movie producer turned real estate developer, he said a recently divorced friend inspired him to create the app.
“A lonely guy that lost track of all his buddies because he was married for 20 years and when they got divorced he had … nobody to do anything with,” Niami said.
Women just seem to be better about keeping close friends around than men, he said.
“I think the women, they keep in touch or they have a group of women that they stay close with,” Niami said. “So if anything happens in their life, they would have somebody to talk to."
Here’s how the app works: After users log in, they list their hobbies, interests and a few other details about themselves. Then guys can either sign up to attend a Wolfpack event or create their own, basically a group man date, such as a pick-up softball game or bar meet-up for a drink or a movie night.
Just launched in January, Niami says Wolfpack has 4,000 users so far, mostly in the Los Angeles area. With Wolfpack, users can pick and choose friends, and discard ones they don’t connect with, not so unlike today’s online dating apps, but Niami said Wolfpack is not meant to be a dating app.
“We were very cognizant from the very beginning to make this a manly site,” he said.
One user named Kevin Thomsen said he was married for 10 years, and is recently divorced.
“I used to be on a bowling team... but the bowling team was literally my brother-in-law, and his uncle, and another co-worker of hers,” he said. “And at some point you just kind of had to slice that out and try filling the holes in other ways.”
Thomsen said he tried other apps, like Meetup, but felt that it was too broad to find others with whom to connect.
“There would be people there but not a whole lot that I had things in common with,” he said. “I like to hike, so I thought, ‘Oh, maybe I’ll join a hiking group and make some new friends,’ and no offense to people, but I get there and there’s like a 65-year-old woman, which, awesome that she hikes, more power to her, but we’re not going to go hang out after.”
Wolfpack, which is available for iOS devices, narrows the interest field, letting guys bond over “guy stuff,” however they want.
SeanPavonePhoto/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- One of the pioneers of the premium burger market is now expanding into Pakistan.
Steak ‘n Shake announced on Friday that it will open 15 new locations in Pakistan, after signing an exclusive agreement with FM Foods Pvt. Ltd., an affiliate of MJ Holdings.
"FM Foods is the perfect partner to introduce the Steak 'n Shake premium burger and milkshake experience to Pakistan" said Jim Flaniken, Sr. Vice President of Marketing for Steak 'n Shake, in a statement.
Steak 'n Shake expects to open its first locations in Lahore, Pakistan later this year.
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- A preeminent venture capital firm was mostly victorious in Silicon Valley's biggest sex discrimination suit.
A jury has ruled in favor of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in the case. At the center of the lawsuit and court case is Ellen Pao, 45, the interim CEO of Reddit and former partner at Kleiner Perkins. She filed her complaint in May 2012 against the prominent venture capital firm, which is based in Menlo Park, California, near the headquarters of Facebook, one of the many tech firms in which it has invested.
The jury initially decided in favor of Kleiner on three questions: the firm didn't fail to promote Pao because she’s a woman, that it did take reasonable steps to help her and that it did try to prevent discrimination, if any. The judge ruled that the jury should continue deliberations on the fourth question, because only eight out of 12 initially decided the company didn't retaliate against her for complaining. The jurors later found in favor of Kleiner Perkins on that count as well.
Pao's attorney Therese Lawless had urged the jury to make a decision that would send a message to the venture capital industry.
“Today’s verdict reaffirms that Ellen Pao’s claims have no legal merit. We are grateful to the jury for its careful examination of the facts," the partners of KPCB said in a statement. "There is no question gender diversity in the workplace is an important issue. KPCB remains committed to supporting women in venture capital and technology both inside our firm and within our industry.”
iStock/Thinkstock(MILLBRAE, Calif.) -- The owner of a Chinese restaurant in the California city of Millbrae, near San Francisco, is taking a stand against a scathing review, and he says he has video to disprove the negative comments.
Yelp user “Dan W.” gave Wonderful restaurant a one-star review, claiming it was “busy and potentially understaffed. It’s not that classy of a place, but they refused to seat [him],” so he says he left after waiting one minute.
Wonderful owner Joseph Xue, who could not be reached for comment, and his management team responded by posting surveillance video on the restaurant’s website from the day in question. It revealed that a man who they surmised was Dan W. walked into the eatery, looked at the waiting list, then left after about 22 seconds.
Yelp’s website crowdsources reviews on local businesses from users like Dan. W, and allows the companies to reply.
The management team says on their website that Dan W. is banned from Wonderful, and if he returns, he will be arrested for trespassing. Dan W. responded by toning down his original review, accusing the restaurant of online bullying, according to the restaurant’s website. He also requested the management take the video down.
Dan W.’s comments about Wonderful are no longer on Yelp, but the restaurant says it has screenshots of both the original and the tweaked review on its website.
ABC News was unable to identify Dan. W so he could not be reached for comment.
In a statement to ABC News, Yelp said, “Our records show user Dan W. has closed his account and removed his Yelp review himself.”