Can you say mutilation 100 times fast? Thanks for illustrating just how ill-conceived an idea it is to have an exotic cat as a pet ("Off the Leash," Jeff Stratton, November 2). The USDA just made it illegal for a license holder to declaw an exotic cat. This link will give you a lot of stats on how many of these pets die or are abandoned because their owners are never willing to provide proper care: http://www.bigcatrescue.org/animal_abuse.htm.
CEO, Big Cat Rescue
That kitty ain't tame: Although I respect the dedication shown to the animals by the exotic pet owners portrayed in the article, I feel that the ownership of wild animals as pets was heavily glamorized by these owners. The American Veterinary Medical Association opposes the keeping of wild carnivore species, such as the Russian lynx and Arctic blue fox described in the article, as pets. Reptiles that could be inherently dangerous to humans, such as the anaconda and ball pythons also mentioned, should not be kept as pets. Pet ownership is a very rewarding experience, but a pet should not be chosen simply for the "novelty factor," shock value, or trendiness of the animal. Domesticated species, such as dogs and cats, have lost or weakened their wild, instinctive behaviors to become suitable pets. Wild animals retain those behaviors, and the expression of their normal behaviors in a human environment can result in property destruction as well as injury or death of other animals or people. The potential lethality of these pets should not be downplayed or overshadowed by the attention they attract. The keeping of wild animals requires special education and training and should be left to experienced professionals.
Roger K. Mahr
President, American Veterinary Medical Association
The poisonous liberal agenda scenario: The East Coast is living up to its reputation of scurrilous political maneuvers an 11th-hour attack with too little time before the election to frame an answer or respond within the news cycle time frame ("Crist Denies Trysts II," Bob Norman, November 2). You guys in the left-wing press will do anything, including lies, libel, and personal destruction, to support your liberal cause. Have you no shame? (Silly question of course you don't!)
The Republican conspiracy scenario: I don't understand why reporters are not trying harder to get out the real news about Charlie Crist. If he were a Democrat, this would be plastered all over all the papers and TV. Why isn't this story getting out there? I do believe that people need to know the truth.
Do this at home, please: "Eat My Meat" (Gail Shepherd, October 26) was a great article. Ever since I came back from vacation to Buenos Aires, Colombia, and Uruguay a few months ago, I have been a big fan of Argentine and Uruguayan cuisine. I could relate to your valiant attempts to make an Uruguayan parrillada at home. I've been there!
Coincidentally (or not), on the day before I was planning on making chivito Uruguayo for my wife and a few friends (for the first time!), I happened to find your article. Your description of the chivito was a big help in making my lunch party a success.
They're the worst liars of all: In regard to your October 19 article "Charlie Crist Is NOT Gay" (Julia Reischel), I really don't believe that Crist is gay. I would, however, profile him as a bisexual. They are, for the most part, the biggest liars I have ever come across. They lie to their spouses, their colleagues, and most of all themselves.
Richard B. Golden
New Port Richey
Our would-be date with Charlie: Why all the stories about politicians' sex lives? Is there a reason you want to out these men? Have you focused on any politicians other than Republicans? If you are trying to get a date with Charlie Crist, this is definitely not the way to do it!
As an indy voter, I don't care what a politician does in his bedroom. As long as he isn't having sex with underaged boys or cheating on his wife and family, I don't care. It's what they do in office that matters.
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Even a restaurateur ought to have guts: Gail Shepherd's columns are great. Discriminating taste and good, fearless writing. Regarding Burt Rapoport and his restaurants ("Hocus Opus," June 15, Gail Shepherd): While he has undoubtedly scored with some, remember the disaster of Mon Ami. When it opened, I thought I was going to have a good French brasserie just down the street, reminiscent of my native Montreal. It's debut was less-than-stellar, but there was potential for authentic and reasonably priced fare. Then came Iraq, and apparently deciding to succumb to paranoia in the era of Freedom Fries, it was converted into an "American" place, even changing the sign. It seemed to lose direction at that point, and it turned into an undistinguished version of the Cheesecake Factory.
My only suggestion is that you hammer restaurants in South Florida for exorbitant pricing. Seems to me that these days, I can get under-$20 meals, and better ones, in New York, Washington, Houston, etc., but not locally.