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April 2012

Losing the sense of smell

A young woman who realized in college that, without a doubt she wanted to become a chef, grabbed the offer to start as the dishwasher in a famous Boston restaurant and she loved it, covered in butter, chicken fat, sweat. One morning, on a morning jog before work, she was hit by a car and among other bad injuries, had shattered her skull. Two weeks later, making a recovery at her father's house, she made a bad discovery - her sense of smell was gone. Heat was all she sensed of the cinammon-laced apple crisp, a favorite dish, when it was just drawn from the oven and held under her nose.

Birnbaum went on to study the sense of smell and her experiences with its loss(a condition called "anosmia") and wrote about in her 2011 book,"Season to Taste." Along her journey she spent much time with the olfactory scientists the Monell Chemical Senses Center with whom she presented "Forgotten Sense: Exploring a World Without Smell" as part of the Philadlephia Science Festival.

Also attending the event is a doctoral student in information sciences at Drexel University, (shown below) who speaks about her own experience with anosmia.

Can't Smell

At the National Mechanics Bar and Restaurant in Old City, Philadelphia.

Watch video here.

Exploding Carbon Dioxide


Fred Schaefer of the University of the Sciences, conducts an explosion experiment with liquid carbon dioxide at Earth, Bread and Brewery in Mount Airy, Philadelphia. Tonight's experiments were part of the 10 day Philadelphia Science Festival  and here he was assisted by Faye Flam, who writes about evolution in her "Planet of the Apes" column in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Schaefer holds "tabletop science" evenings once a month at the restaurant! Watch video here.


Harajuku meets Lolita - Fashionistas Japan style

At the Japan Society Sakura Sunday Cherry Blossom Festival, Japanese fashion took center stage.  Tamagawa Taiko dancers and drummers performed wearing traditional Japanese dress, followed by models wearing fashions inspired by Tokyo's Harajuku District, designed by students of the Art Institute. Meanwhile Frilladelfia girls pirouetted about in their frilly Lolita outfits imported from contemporary Japan and harking back to the dress of Victorian England.




“Students from the Art Institute designed outfits for this show. It’s a Harajuku style so we have the more fun, colorful and bright style. Then we go into formal wear which is what I’m wearing. Then it’ll go into a more gothic [unintelligible]” (Pointing), “Hers is a much more of a fun style… hers is a really bright Harajuku, and a fun – really.” Heather Chow “It was made from a Kimono that I ripped apart and turned into a skirt and a top. So kind of re-inventing itself into a young Japanese look for now… This is one of my friend’s designs. Her name is Latoya. She turned this kimono into a wrap dress." Monica Monique, shown above.

Watch video here.




WHAT’S JAPANESEY ABOUT YOUR OUTFIT? It’s from Japan.  It’s a fashion style called Lolita. L-O-L-I-T-A.  AND WHAT’S IT CHARACTERIZED BY?  It’s pretty much female modesty.  Typically you’re going to see poofy skirts, dresses and over-the-knee socks. Stuff like that. This is Japanese fashion style. We’re a Japanese fashion group. DO YOU STUDY FASHION? I don’t but several girls do. I just like it. AND WHAT ABOUT YOUR OUTFIT? DID SOMEONE MAKE IT FOR YOU OR DID YOU DESIGN IT? Oh no. Except for two of the girls, we all purchased our outfit from Japan. Or from China. There’s some Chinese companies getting into it now.[talking about her soft pretzel] It’s good. AND IS THAT A JAPANESE TRADITION TOO? No it is not. It’s  a Philly tradition. Except I don’t have cheese or mustard. YOU’RE MIXING YOUR TRADITIONS HERE. I am. It’s a yummy tradition.

Watch video here.

Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, Horticultural Center, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, PA

Nayus, battles dragon priest

cu cherry blossom 201202

“Nayus, son of Hamuka. You wish me to talk into your box, yes? There’s a man in there. He captures the moment as though it was real for all the world to see. He comes to the festival to partake in such beautiful festivities. Look at the lovely, lovely lasses as they play their music. Nayus likes to  do such… Nayus is actually from a place called Tamriel. Yes, for you see he was transported here. Oh yes, my name is Nayus, apologies yes. Nayus, son of Hamuka is my name. I am from a place called Tamriel. A lot of people don’t understand what Tamriel is.  Maybe you have actually heard of Skyrim, yes? No, you have not heard of Skyrim? It is a place really popular among these people, they understand. Nayus, on his last trip, he encountered, how you say, the dragon priest, yes. And the battle raged on for hours on end. And finally, Nayus finally got the upper hand on the dragon priest and the dragon priest got weak and tired and ripped open a portal and sent Nayus through the portal and here is in this realm amongst all the lovely young women and lasses and lads. And now I am here but I really wish to return to my home even though, like I said, the lasses are truly beautiful. Yes, that is who- Nayus…” Nayus, son of Hamuka, of Tamriel of Skyrim, in the realm of the Japanese Sakura Festival, Fairmount Park Horticultural Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Watch video here.

Quiet fallen firefighter played "Prince Charming"

Recalling fallen firefighter, "Prince Charming"

Bishop McDevitt High School Admissions Director Christopher Seifert smiles recalling the memory of former  schoolmate Daniel Sweeney. The  young Philadelphia firefighter  died from injuries suffered battling a blaze in a vacant building in the city's Kensington section. Sweeney, a junior when Seifert was a senior, was so quiet around school, that Seifert was surprised when Sweeney assumed the lead role of Prince Charming in the musical Cinderella they were both acting in. Sweeney's mother still teaches at the school and his  youngest sister  just graduated. There will be a memorial service at the school with the family in the next month. Wyncote, PA. Watch video interview here.