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Archive for the ‘Special Interest’ Category

Care 2 – Update on Dexter, Kitten Beaten By Mother And Kids

Posted by 4love2love on July 9, 2011

by Sharon S.
June 21, 2011  4:05 pm
Update on Dexter, Kitten Beaten By Mother And Kids
Many concerned readers have asked for an update on the condition of Dexter, the kitten beaten at a Florida park by a woman and her two children.  While the small black and white kitten still needs constant care, he is making small strides towards recovery every day.

At 8 weeks old, Dexter and his sibling were allegedly beaten with an aluminum baseball bat at a park in Brooksville, Florida by 24-year-old Wilana Joenel Frazier and her 8 and 5 year-old sons.  The abuse took place in front of four children at the park.

One of the kittens died of its injuries, but Dexter was saved by one of the children who witnessed the beating. The boy wrapped the kitten in a T-shirt and carried him home.

Dexter suffered trauma to his brain and was bleeding from his nose and mouth. He was taken to PetLuv Nonprofit Spay and Neuter Clinic by Hernando County Animal Services and continues to be in their care.

Since Dexter’s rescue more of the details about the case have come to light. At first it was believed the kittens were brought to the park by Frazier, but Animal Services now thinks they were strays that happened to walk by the family.

Liana Teague, Code and Animal Service Manager for Animal Services reported that her agency set out humane traps to determine if there were more kittens from the litter at the park and to find Dexter’s mother. However at this time, no cats have been captured in the traps.

Teague also addressed the condition of the kitten. “Dexter is more responsive, but he still needs continuous care and 24-hour monitoring,” said Teague. “He suffered severe head trauma.”

When Dexter arrived at the PetLuv Clinic he was in critical care and developed a fever.  He didn’t move around much and had to be force fed. But day by day his caregivers saw small improvements in his condition. After two days at the clinic his fever subsided, he began to move a little and eat on his own.

Each day PetLuv gives an update about Dexter on Facebook. The clinic is amazed at the outpouring of support Dexter has received.

Here are the two latest updates:

Very happy to share the following update: He continues to eat on his own and after he makes a mess of himself by stepping in the food he is grooming his paws!! Over the weekend he started using the litterbox too!!! Now, here is the most exciting update…. he is very happy when following a little laser light toy! Yup, signs indicate that the little man can see it (or maybe shadows of it) when it’s very close…. yay!!!! Again, can’t stress enough that he has a long way to go BUT for now, he is progressing. Hope your Monday is going well, best wishes to all and keep all those paws crossed for our little furry fighter!!

Dexter continues to do well. No real changes to report… but no setbacks either – Yay!!! Will try and get more pictures over the next couple of days (maybe even a little video if we can get him to play!!) Many folks have made donations both calling the clinic and via our website… Thank you one and all, can’t say it enough… the support is overwhelming and greatly appreciated.

There have been requests to visit the little guy; unfortunately that is not a possibility. He is still a critical care patient and we must take all precautions to keep him progressing.

From all of us at PetLuv and on behalf of little Dexter…. THANK YOU!!!

Related Story: Kittens Beaten By Mother and Kids

Photo: Hernando County Animal Services

Read more:

© 2011 CARE2.COM, INC


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NY Times – For Soda, the Genie Is Out of the Bottle

Posted by 4love2love on July 6, 2011

Left, Jessica Kourkounis for The New York Times; right, Phil Kline for The New York Times

CLASSICS Eric Berley, left, makes a cherry phosphate soda. At right, a sundae at Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain.

Published: July 5, 2011

WHO killed the soda fountain?

Jessica Kourkounis for The New York Times

A milkshake is inhaled at Franklin Fountain.

Was it Franklin D. Roosevelt, who signed the 1933 repeal of Prohibition, allowing American adults to return to saloons and bars?

Or one J. G. Kirby of Dallas, who opened the first drive-in restaurant in 1936, sparking a new national craze?

“Some people say it was the guy who invented the bottle cap,” says Jeff Reiter, the owner of Blueplate in Portland, Ore., a soda fountain updated for the modern century. (William Painter, who patented the crimped metal bottle cap, ultimately made fortunes for companies like Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Royal Crown.) “Once you could buy soda at the gas station instead of having it mixed in front of you at the fountain, soda wasn’t special anymore,” Mr. Reiter said.

A small group of modern soda jerks (they wear the term proudly) are trying to change that. Places like Blueplate, the Franklin Fountain in Philadelphia and the Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain are leading a revival that is bringing up-to-date culinary values — seasonal, house-made, ripe, local — to ice cream sodas, sundaes and egg creams. In the process, they have unearthed forgotten, delicious and possibly risky flavors like sassafras, phosphoric acid and teaberry, and have brought back taste combinations worthy of the most avant-garde chefs.

“Even pineapple and banana were exotic once,” said Ryan Berley, an owner of the Franklin Fountain in Philadelphia’s Old City, where the Maple Leaf Rag sundae pays homage to Scott Joplin’s 1899 composition with maple syrup, walnuts, crushed pineapple and house-made banana ice cream.

When soda fountains were at their peak, around the turn of the 20th century, commercial food transport and refrigeration were still in infancy. By default, soda fountains made their own syrups and toppings. Fresh milk and cream were trucked in daily, every drink was mixed to order, and those who made them were trained professionals: soda jerks, named for the jerking motion used to pull the taps. A thriving monthly magazine, Soda Fountain, encouraged individual jerks to submit recipes for concoctions like the Peppered Cow or the Iron Cross — chocolate syrup, grape juice, sweet cream, malted milk and a whole egg.

“These were quick meals for working people, not just drinks,” said Darcy O’Neil, a historian of American drinking and the author of a book on the golden age of the soda fountain, “Fix the Pumps.”

Contemporary soda fountains are trying to restore fresh ingredients, creativity and dignity to the craft. Blueplate, for instance, stocks house-made syrups, locally grown hazelnut and huckleberry shakes as well as chai-flavored soda.

“I consider myself as much of a chef as anybody else,” Peter Freeman, the founder of Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain, said last week. (His words were slightly undermined by his T-shirt, which had the word JERK emblazoned across the chest.) The Farmacy opened last year in a long-closed drugstore in Carroll Gardens, stocking locally brewed kimchi and barbecue sauce on the shelves alongside the ointment tins from the 1940s and antipsychotic medications from the 1970s that Mr. Freeman couldn’t bear to throw away when he took over the space.

“I source my own ingredients, I take pride in my mise en place, I care about plating and presentation as much as anybody else,” he said. Mr. Freeman’s extraordinary strawberry egg cream is proof of that: made with syrup from Long Island strawberries, fresh milk from the Hudson Valley that is mixed with ice (making it much colder than refrigerator temperature) and cold seltzer from the gooseneck taps that he keeps cranked up to the maximum pressure. “Big bubbles, baby,” he said, rushing a foam-topped egg cream to a table so it could be drunk before the fizz level dropped. “That’s what it’s all about.” The Farmacy is one of few places that make cola syrup, taking on Coca-Cola with a bright brew of cinnamon, nutmeg, lavender and citrus peels.

In New York, a top-notch egg cream is required for anyone revisiting the fountain tradition, including the Swiss-born chef Daniel Humm. At Eleven Madison Park, one of the more rarefied dining rooms in Manhattan, Mr. Humm has engineered an egg cream course, served to every table between dinner and dessert. It is mixed tableside from vanilla-malt syrup, organic milk from the Catskills, a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and New York seltzer squirted from old glass siphons. (This being a New York Times four-star restaurant, the sticky, scratched siphons — delivered weekly by one of the two remaining services in the city — are cleaned and polished before being allowed in the dining room.)

“The foam on an egg cream should only last for about 30 seconds,” Mr. Humm said. “It’s like a little instant pleasure.”

He is not the only high-end chef to revisit the fountain. “I have the same standards for soda that I have for everything in my restaurants,” said John Besh, whose new Soda Shop opened Monday in the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. Mr. Besh’s sodas reflect local agriculture and local tastes, with pineapple-lemon grass and watermelon-mint flavors. The Soda Shop even makes nectar soda, an old New Orleans combination of vanilla, almond, cream and egg white.

Phil Kline for The New York Times

SWEET SPOT The Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain was opened last year in a long-closed drugstore in Carroll Gardens. It is one of few places that make their own cola syrup.




Phil Kline for The New York Times

The Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain.





Jessica Kourkounis for The New York Times

Eric Berley in the Franklin Fountain.





Jessica Kourkounis for The New York Times

PURIST APPEAL Ryan Berley, left, and Eric Berley, right, in the Franklin Fountain, are reviving the flavor and aesthetics of the soda fountain era for a younger generation.




One thing all neo-jerks agree on is that a true soda fountain must have a carbonator and taps. Not the soda gun seen behind bars, not the mixers provided by companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi and definitely not the two-liter bottles of club soda amateurs rely on. None provide the crisply popping, lively bubbles that fanatics consider essential.Before the 1890s, when the technology to carbonate water became commercially available, fizzy water was an imported rarity. It was considered medicinal, so the first commercial carbonators were installed in pharmacies.

At first, pharmacists added only mineral salts like potassium, calcium and magnesium to replicate those in naturally carbonated water. But soon, they got notions of making the stuff even more palatable — and profitable — with cream and sweet syrups like chocolate. (Not all the additives were so benign. Soda was also spiked with cocaine, alcohol and other exciting formulations, some of them genuinely addictive.)

Later on, mass-produced branded syrups in spectacular colors like Cherry Smash, Green River (a vibrant green lime) and Ward’s Orange Crush took over at the taps. Canned pineapple, artificial flavorings and commercial ice cream became the norm, and “the whole sad story of American food in the 20th century came to the soda fountain,” as Mr. Reiter put it. Although popular culture now identifies the 1940s and 1950s with soda fountains, purists say that the quality had already gone hopelessly downhill by then.

“I think soda fountains died because they didn’t keep up with American food,” said Anton Nocito, a chef who owns the P & H Soda and Syrup Company in Brooklyn, making moderately sweet all-natural syrups in flavors like lime, ginger and hibiscus. Similarly, bottled artisanal sodas like the ones made by GuS and Boylan’s have taken off, and homemade soda is on the rise, too. Last year, sales of sleek Sodastream home carbonator systems in the United States were at 370,000, up almost 300 percent from 97,000 in 2009, according to the company.

“Soda should be special,” Mr. Nocito said. “Coke and Pepsi killed it for everyone, in my opinion.”

For Mr. Reiter, 1925 was the golden age of the soda fountain, and he designed his menu for Blueplate accordingly. Mr. Berley sets the high-water mark earlier, around 1910.

“That was the end of the Romantic period in aesthetics,” Mr. Berley said recently, gazing fondly at the shop’s 1905 onyx fountain with solid brass spigots, topped with a Tiffany-style glass lamp; he believes it is the oldest working fountain in the country.

Mr. Berley and his brother Eric, who also is an owner, wear traditional soda-jerk whites and period-appropriate facial hair and are relentless purists. They cook hot fudge sauce in open copper pots, harvest mulberries as an homage to Benjamin Franklin (who tried to cultivate the trees and whose original printing press was across the street) and churn ice cream in antique flavors like teaberry.

“It’s the berry of the wintergreen plant, which is the flavor of Pepto-Bismol,” he said, acknowledging that teaberry ice cream’s pretty ballet-pink color can’t always overcome the stigma of the flavor. The brothers’ extensive repertory of fountain drinks includes rickeys (authentic with fresh lime juice, not lime syrup), raw egg drinks and classic phosphates.

Phosphoric acid, one of the ingredients in Coca-Cola, makes drinks tart, tasty and brisk. The Berley brothers buy phosphoric acid solution from Mr. O’Neil, who is also a bartender and chemist. In his lab at the University of Western Ontario, he concocted an acid solution with magnesium, potassium and other mineral salts that is similar to the one used by 19th-century jerks.

Side by side, I tasted a cherry soda made with syrup and soda water, another one with a dash of citric acid (another common additive when tartness is desired, it has a lemony flavor) and a third made into a cherry phosphate by the addition of a few dashes of phosphoric acid solution. It was an eye-opening experience. Only the phosphate combined the sweet pleasures of a soda with the rasp of a martini, bringing a thirst-quenching tartness and breathtaking dryness that balanced out the sweetness of the syrup.

If phosphates are an example of the gems buried in soda fountain history, I can’t wait to taste flips, fizzes, ades, yips and floats, not to mention malts, rickeys and cows, all within the purview of an expert jerk. (Gregory Cohen, the owner of Lofty Pursuits, a classic soda fountain in Tallahassee, Fla., has managed to lay out an extraordinary taxonomy of fountain drinks, color-coded according to ingredients and techniques.)

Peter Freeman of Brooklyn Farmacy admits he has little knowledge about fountain history, and does not necessarily want to learn. He and his sister, Gia Giasullo, run the Farmacy with a strict sense of quality and a vision for the future: the modern soda fountain as all-purpose neighborhood hangout, market for local artisans and corner store for local produce and flowers.

Like the other modern jerks, Mr. Freeman is determined to avoid running a retro or theme restaurant selling nostalgia without content.

“When the older people come in here and start talking about the sodas they used to get, I almost want to say, ‘I don’t care about your memories,’ ” he said. “Don’t screw this up for these kids by putting it in the past. This is happening now.”
© 2011 The New York Times

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NY Times – How 10,000 People Keep a Secret

Posted by 4love2love on July 6, 2011

Diner en Blanc De Paris

POP-UP The Dîner en Blanc, or impromptu “dinner in white,” in the Cour Carrée at the Louvre in Paris. New York is having its own.

Published: July 5, 2011


THERE are picnics, and then there are picnics.

Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

DRESS CODE Notre Dame was one of two sites for Paris’s Dîner en Blanc. Guests, all in white, brought their own tables and food.


Three weeks ago, in the golden light of an early-summer evening, thousands of Parisians dressed entirely in white converged on two of the city’s most picturesque locations — 4,400 of them in the plaza at the cathedral of Notre Dame; 6,200 in a courtyard of the Louvre — for a feast that was neither advertised nor publicly heralded. They had brought along not only their own epicurean repasts but also their own tables, chairs, glasses, silver and napery.

At midnight, after dining and dancing, they packed up their dishes, stowed their empty Champagne bottles in trash bags brought for that purpose, stooped to pick up their cigarette butts from the cobbles and departed. The landmarks were left immaculate, with no traces of the revelry of the previous three hours.

This annual event, called the Dîner en Blanc — the “dinner in white” — is like a gustatory Brigadoon, equal parts mystery, anachronism and caprice. Now attended by thousands at some of the best-known Parisian spaces, it began humbly in 1988. That year, François Pasquier, now 67, returned to Paris after a few years abroad and held a dinner party to reconnect with friends. So many wanted to come that he asked them to convene at the Bois de Boulogne and to dress in white, so they could find each other.

But while in certain circles in Paris, everybody knows about the Dîner, many Parisians have never heard of it. And despite the precision that goes into its planning, it retains an air of surprise.

For the first time, New York will have its own Dîner en Blanc, on Aug. 25, rain or shine. A thousand people — half invited, the others drawn from an online waiting list ( — will participate in this refined flash-mob feast, at an as-yet undisclosed location in Manhattan.

The New York event is being spearheaded by Mr. Pasquier’s son, Aymeric, who lives in Montreal, where he inaugurated the Canadian version of the Dîner en Blanc in 2009. But can brawny Manhattan, with skyscrapers from top to bottom, innumerable regulations and a dearth of public spaces on a Parisian scale, possibly approximate the romance of the French pique-nique? The New York organizers, Daniel Laporte and Alexandra Simoes, are hopeful.

“The emphasis is on spontaneity, but we are making absolutely sure to be completely in accordance with all city rules,” said Ms. Simoes, an elementary school director at the Lyceum Kennedy, who volunteered for the Dîner organizing job. “But we don’t want the guests to be impacted by our concerns. The guests should only be concerned about the dress code, and the tables they’ll carry, and what kind of food they will prepare.”

Mr. Laporte, a Canadian-born architect whom Aymeric Pasquier asked to participate, said: “Everything is extremely carefully organized, because to seat a thousand people at the same moment you need a lot of planning. But the most important thing is for everyone to have the best memory of the night.”

In New York, as in Montreal, the Dîner en Blanc is being conducted openly, facilitated by Facebook and Twitter and other online aids, and coordinated with municipal authorities. But in Paris, despite the tacit approval of government officials, the Dîner is private — a massive demonstration of the power of word of mouth, and the strength of social connections. The guest list is made up entirely of friends, and friends of friends. And despite the dinner’s vast and visible attendance, it has remained discreetly under the radar. Paris is still a class-stratified society — “It’s horizontal, whereas Montreal is vertical,” Aymeric Pasquier explained — so unwritten rules of privilege have allowed secrecy to surround the event. Nobody is sure who decides, year in, year out, which people are invited to create tables for the evening.

François Pasquier calls the party-list formation a “pyramide amicale,” a friendly pyramid; trusted friends invite their own trusted friends. The event’s exclusivity was evident just before the Dîner en Blanc in Paris on June 16. As I hurried with my dinner companions along a bridge to Notre Dame last month, passersby stopped us.

“What’s going on?” a man asked. “Haven’t you heard?” joked my friend Aristide Luneau (who had invited me). “It’s the end of the world.”

One tourist asked, “Do they do this every night?” If only.

At 8 o’clock, clusters of diners emerged from the Metro or chartered buses to gather at rallying points, where they had been instructed to meet their “heads of table,” the organizers who had invited them. The site is revealed at the last moment, both to avoid gate-crashing and to preserve instantaneousness. The guests, decked out in white suits, dresses, skirts, feather boas and even wings, carried heavy picnic gear and delicacies like pâté de foie gras, poached salmon and fine cheeses — each table brings its own meal.

At about 9, with the sky still light, the site was announced. Guests hurried across bridges and side streets to reach their destination. By 9:30, all the tables had been deployed in orderly rows, according to diagrams in the possession of the heads of table, with men all along one side, women along the other. The guests quickly covered their tables with white cloths; laid out the crystal for Champagne, wine and water; the plates for hors d’oeuvres, main course and dessert; and began tucking in.

As night fell on Notre Dame, a clergyman appeared and blessed the throng, and church bells rang out overhead; at the Louvre, opera singers serenaded the diners. At 11 in both places, diners stood on chairs and waved sparklers — signaling the end of dinner and the beginning of the dancing (to D.J.’ed music at Notre Dame, and to a brass band at the Louvre). An hour later, the frolickers switched off the merriment and packed up their tables to depart, like Cinderella, on the stroke of midnight.

Needless to say, New York presents its own challenges. As in France, the organizers have created a fleet of “heads of table” who will collect picnickers at various meeting points around the city and shepherd them to the location. But some differences will apply. For one thing, it’s likely that Champagne will not be permitted, if the Dîner is held in a public location. For another, the proceedings are expected to end at 11.

“Even if we can’t have Champagne, it will be nice still,” Ms. Simoes said.

Mr. Laporte said, “After this year, the city will know the beauty of the Dîner,” adding, “We can show them that a big group can be very respectful.”

As in Paris, guests in New York will have a strong incentive to uphold the code of conduct. If they misbehave — for example, by bringing uninvited guests, getting too rowdy or not showing up or helping to clean —  they will receive a punishment worse than any police fine: being barred from future dinners.

“Any guest who doesn’t respect the rules of behavior will be put on a blacklist and never invited back again,” Aymeric Pasquier said.

Initially, Mr. Laporte and Ms. Simoes worried that New Yorkers would find these rules too demanding.

“But the more we talked to our New York friends,” Ms. Simoes said, “the more we realized that they were fascinated by the idea that it was difficult and special, and that you have to build your own dinner and bring your own table.”

Mr. Laporte added: “Our first impulse was to rent tables for the event, so people wouldn’t have to carry them.  But we realized that would change the spirit of the dinner too much. Part of the event is the journey there.  To think ahead, to get ready, to get the table, to prepare your picnic, to choose your outfit.  Not making it easy is part of the allure.”
© 2011 The New York Times

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