It's not very sportsmanlike to revel in the defeat of one's opponents, but you know what? Letters to the Editor is not a game. (Except for when it is.) But first let's get serious... about cocktails!
RE: "Foul-Weather Friends" [Lush Life, Oct 29], a roundup of seasonally appropriate cocktail recommendations.
DEAR MERCURY—I'm not sure if Thomas Ross knows what he's talking about. He should have mentioned that the original Stone Fence was made with rum, not rye, and an Old Fashioned (yes, it's capitalized) is not an Old Fashioned unless it's made with whiskey, so while one with aquavit may be a variation, it certainly does not deserve the name of one of America's great cocktails.
Well... there goes our dog demographic.
(Thanks and a tip 'o the hat to Wendy Robertson!)
Shitty news, everybody.
As you no doubt remember—keeping the memories close to your warm hearts—each November for the past two years, we've done a very special thing here on Blogtown. We've held a Middle-earth themed poetry contest, with myself and the esteemed editor of the Portland Mercury, Wm. Steven Humphrey, taking the "winner" out to eat at Denny's.
But not just any meal at Denny's. A hobbit meal at Denny's, with the fine foods chosen from Denny's seasonal, The Hobbit-themed menu. O, how we feasted! We feasted on culinary delights such as "Bilbo's Berry Smoothie," as the "Hobbit Hole Breakfast," quenching our thirst with "Bowman's Brew Pumpkin Coffee" before diving in again with "Smaug's Fire Burger" and "Gandalf's Gobble Melt." Each November for the past two years, it has been a joyous and delightful time, both here on Blogtown and among the storied booths at the not-so-beloved Denny's located at 425 NE Hassalo, "the Rivendell of Portland."
But this year there will be no contest. There will be no poems—no admiration of mithril, no reminiscing of Goldberry, no admiration of Bard nor recounting the history of the Prancing Pony. There will be no jokes about how Steve would like to fuck a Hobbit hole, nor strategies about how he would trick Gandalf into giving him a gobbler. There will be no joy, and no delight—for this year, there is no Hobbit-themed menu at Denny's.
Gandalf's Gobble Melt
An Unexpected Journey
I called Denny's customer service (they can be reached at 1-800-7DENNYS) to demand answers. Their kind, patient customer service rep told me "I don't know" and "I'm not sure" when I asked her my questions and told her "I miss it" and am "sad," before offering me a bare shred of cold comfort, as chilly as the highest peak of Caradhras, distant among the Misty Mountains: "I can send over this report to our marketing people," she said, and then she took my name and my number. Denny's marketing people have yet to call me back.
RE: "It's the Mercury's Endorsement Guide!" [Feature, Oct 22], including the endorsement of a "no" vote on Measure 92, which would create new requirements for the labeling of products made with GMOs.
DEAR MERCURY—In recommending a "no" vote on Measure 92 you say, "The science we possess on GMOs indicates they're almost certainly safe to eat." First, the long-term animal and human studies needed to show product safety simply haven't been done with GMOs. Second, studies that have been done show evidence of a variety of harmful effects. Many of us are also concerned about the damage to the environment and the health of farmworkers caused by the increased use of herbicides connected with GMOs such as "Roundup Ready" corn, and would like the information we need to vote with our pocketbooks against these practices and for producers who avoid them.
HEY SEXY PEOPLE! Today marks your last chance to a) assist science, and b) find out your loved one's deepest, darkest, sexiest secrets by filling out the Mercury 2014 Sex Survey! We're taking it offline at midnight tonight, and tallying up all your ANONYMOUS responses to pressing questions... such as these!
• On average, how often do you have sex (with another person)?
• How many times a week do you jerk it?
• Your favorite type of porn… is this something you do in real life?
• What’s your favorite sex toy?
• If you hook-up with folks online, which website do you use?
• Do you have a “fuck buddy” right now? (AKA Could you text someone, and they’d come have sex with you?)
AND SO MUCH MORE! So quick! Put in your responses, and be sure to check the Mercury next week for the sensually sexy results from the 2014 Sex Survey! (Sex™: Not just for making babies anymore!)
FILL IT OUT HERE! BY MIDNIGHT!
RE: "It's the Mercury's Endorsement Guide!" [Feature, Oct 22], particularly our endorsement of a "No" vote on Measure 92, which would require companies to label any foods made through genetic engineering.
DEAR MERCURY—As [a] physics major in my senior year, I've come to appreciate that science is about observation. In physics we isolate single body systems a lot to identify the fundamental interactions—then we can apply those fundamentals to a system of many bodies. But if observation does not align with what we think we know, then we don't claim to "know" it. It is instead called "hypothesis," and if well founded, "theory." Biology, I'm sure, does a lot of the same. Health, though? Health is an overlap of multiple sciences involving thousands of interactions with thousands of lifestyles, choices, and distributors. Therefore no one is in a better position to make observations than YOU the observer.
As anyone who's told tall tales around a fire can attest, it's always good to have a scary story or two up one's sleeve. And for this week's Halloween issue, we enlisted staff and friends alike to share their true (and not so true) recountings, along with illustrations by Dominic De Venuta:
Aaaaaand, we have one more bonus story for you from the Mercury's resident metal music writer, Aris Wales, who has "been dabbling in horror/Twilight Zone-y stories for a while now." Of course he is. Check it out below, and check the rest out over here.
Francis digs graves. While his name may sound fragile, a gentleman he is not. Francis is a Sodomite. A vile man. A gluttonous pig. He drinks, smokes, snorts, shoots, and fucks whatever he can, whenever he can. To supply his vices and solicitations, Francis steals from the dead. Anything that will fetch a price. Even a man’s boots.
Due to overwhelming demand, the Mercury is pleased to extend the deadline for our crowd-pleasing and nethers-wetting SEX SURVEY for another week! Hilariously composed by Blogtown sex columnist Bri Pruett, the Mercury Sex Survey is a great way to learn how other people in Portland "do it"—and maybe get inspired to "do it" better yourself! Here's a letter we just received from a happy sex survey submitter.
I want to thank you for the Portland Mercury Sex Survey 2014! It started out as a stilted but playful interrogation of each other's sexual habits: laughing at how absurdly inapplicable some survey answers were; guessing what the other's answer would be; smirking after guessing right and loving it even more when we guessed wrong because that meant we learned a little more about each other.
But soon after my boyfriend of 3 years and I were prying the secret, deep down kink genres and tastes in porn out of each other that we had never talked about—I had even promised myself I'd never tell him about my secret "-phelia." We played sexy rounds of Hangman to coerce the kinks and -phelias out of each other that were too hard to say out loud at first.
After telling all, an astounding weight was lifted from my shoulders that I had never even realized was there and—as if by osmosis or some tricked-out kind of alchemy—quickly morphed into a raging boner on his end. Since then, sex has been so much more fun and just-plain sexier because we can both pull from each other's interests much more than before.
Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks. It was a great survey and really breached a divide between us that I never knew was there.
You've got a fan for life ;)
Want to "sex up" your life more? Whip off your pants (with a loved one or not) and fill out the MERCURY SEX SURVEY HERE! Deadline now extended to FRIDAY, OCT 31 AT MIDNIGHT!
There's more to correspondence with your local media than internet comments, you know. Sometimes people write us emails, and usually they put more thought into those emails than people tend to put into internet comments. You should read them! They take shape (along with some of the better internet comments) on the weekly Letters page. Then, make your own!
In this week's mailbag we have opinions on the efficacy of prison sentences, the difference between an open relationship and polyamory, and some strong urging that you (re)consider life in Portland east of 82nd avenue:
RE: "The Burden of Proof" [News, Oct 15], regarding questions over the effectiveness of alternative sentencing programs in Oregon.
DEAR MERCURY—Mr. [Dirk] VanderHart missed an opportunity here by failing to ask the district attorneys, who're demanding rigorous data be gathered before investing in alternative sentencing, for proof that incarceration actually works. Does sentencing people to prison, especially for nonviolent crimes, improve our society?
HI‚ PERVERTS! My name is Bri Pruett (local funny lady and author of the popular Mercury blog column, "Let's Do It by Bri Pruett"), and I'm honored to be the author of this year's Portland Mercury sex survey. I will be your Cock Cousteau (or if you'd prefer, Jacques Coust-HO), setting off on an exciting sexploration into the murky darkness of Portland's coital depths.
If you've never filled out a Mercury sex survey before, rest assured that it's completely anonymous—so don't be shy! (God knows I'm not.) Simply fill out the form linked below by FRIDAY, OCTOBER 24... and be honest with yourself (and me!). You can fill it out alone (or with a horny friend)—but really think about your complicated sexuality, your sexual relationship with yourself, why you choose the sex partners you do, and, as always... butt stuff. We'll have all the results for you in our HUMP!/Sex Issue on WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 5—so have fun, and LET'S GET DIRTY!
Alright, let's do this Letters to the Editor:
—Have you seen our new spinoff publication, True Parent? I you are a parent, you might like articles like this one. Chelsea did! If not, NM.
—Local arts orgs are putting some elbow grease into diversity, but people living with disability are not always a beneficiary of that. More over, in the media, "Too often, when disability is the topic, even in an affirmative piece like this, we still see micro-aggressive and dismissive language," points out Cheryl.
—Has everyone gotten their grievance over the loss of Tiga off of their chest? The new occupants of the space want everyone to lay off: "Portland can't have it both ways—get pissed when the same five rich white guys open a 10th restaurant, not when two dykes put their entire lives into a business."
The weird and the witty are both on display in this week's Letters to the Editor:
• Oat poses the question: "What do Captain Cook and Warren Buffett have in common?" I confess, I do not know.
• Michel takes his drug references seriously, and chastens that, "Quaaludes have not been a real thing since 1985, and have since been replaced with less hackneyed and anachronistic references."
• In reference to Project Pabst, one could make the argument that more so than Modest Mouse, "it is difficult to envision a world without oxygen."
• It's good to pour money into Albina, everyone agrees, but John would like to remind everyone that "the purpose of affordable housing is/should be to create diversity and mitigate segregation, not concentrate economic/racial minorities in certain areas of the city."
• E has a dispatch from under the Burnside Bridge, where, "This is gentrification in effect; herd them like cattle and get them biting at each other's throats to clear some bridge that has a major development being planned on the other side of it."
• Something tells me it won't be easy to forget about East Portland for much longer, where "many people have much higher per capita property taxes, which makes homebuying here less attractive, which keeps the area un-invested." Weren't we just talking about this yesterday?
If you let the weekend slip by without observing who had final word on the goings about town on the current issue's Letters page, let's review:
—Ian Karmel continues to excite and anger with his weekly Everything As Fuck column. Reactions are still rippling after his early September piece on the treatment of new Portlanders, his ensuing tussle with townie Carlos, and now we have C. and Alan writing in to say "I've hated your column from the moment I read it." Can't please 'em all, folks.
—This recycling shakeup is causing worry amongst "casual returners" to those who spend entire days on the endeavor. Of the idea of a relatively remote dedicated location for returning cans and bottles—and less of that happening at grocery stores—SokMunki posits, "Reducing the number of returns at stores in order to keep the lines moving does make sense... presuming these new centers were easily accessible to people returning mass amounts of recyclables. Which, whoops." However! Mehhh chimes in to remind that "The city is going to be fixing that entire area entering into Delta Park from N Interstate pretty darn soon to make it better/safer for cars, bikes, and pedestrians, so while it might not be the most convenient spot right now, it will be in a couple of years."
—And now we return you to another Ian Karmel-sparked debate already in progress: Football! Aestro admits that, "I still love watching football, but I know sometime in my lifetime the sport will either have to go through some serious changes or end completely." And eprophet compares the enjoyment of the sport to the enjoyment of bacon: "Two key survival skills: compartmentalization and rationalization." And AnotherSN recalls "the Sisyphean task of blocking [Ian] in 6th grade." So cute.
We've done extensive research, and have come to the conclusion that Mercury readers enjoy 1) Food and 2) Music. Which is why we're bringing back our second annual Chili Jamboree!
As you may recall from last year's stunning success, our Chili Jamboree (or Chili Jam for short) is built around the brilliant cooking of some of the cities finest chefs, as well as the countrified tunes of Portland's fine musicians. This year, the event is split into two shift on Sunday, Oct 5 at Mississippi Studios. Black Prairie, Hook & Anchor, and the Earnest Lovers will throw down sets of boot-stompin' live music at both, and the breakdown of culinary brilliance will be spread about as follows:
Wear your eating pants, because you'll want to sample as many of these rib-sticking creations as possible, and vote on which cook receives the coveted Chili Belt!
Tickets for each session are $20 each, but right now, for a limited time, you can enter the discount code CHILI2015 for five bucks offa that. I suggest you do so, and make haste! It pays to be an early, dirty country birdie.
So in this week's Letters to the Editor, Harry wrote in to compliment the Mental Health Association of Portland's Jason Renaud and Jenny Westberg on their guest editorial regarding the lack of data being kept on police shootings. (Which is definitely worth a read if you've yet to do so). We also got a voicemail suggesting that our Soiled Mattress Down by the River seek public office based on its responsiveness to the will of the people!
But the real action was in response to Ian Karmel's column about the kinder, gentler attitude longtime/native Portlanders might consider taking toward newcomers. A truncated version of the exchange that ensued between self described "pissy townie" Carlos Covarrubias made it into the print edition, but behold the argument in its entirety, and after the jump, weigh in on who you think won.
What can a pissy townie like me say about this? I've been in this town my whole life. I used to like it when I was about 13 years old and thought Korn was cool; I'm 28 now and figured out that Portland like Korn also sucks.
Maybe the problem "oldcomers" have with newcomers is that they are loud spoken fake liberals (secret libertarians) that wear their controlling politics on their sleeves.
Sorry to give a little bit of push back on this but the last thing a brown guy like me wants to hear considering that I have and will continued to be hassled and profiled by the racist ass Portland Police, given shit service at hip dive bars in my gentrified old 'hood cause I wear a Blazers' Jersey rather than a Timbers scarf, and told to hold my tongue by a bunch of drunk hipsters when I tell ya'll how you are directly contributing to a perpetuation of the same busted ass bourgeois system that has been in place in Portland, Oregon for the last 100 years.
Do you all know that Portland ends at 162nd, not 82nd? Quit voting down taxes for Portland Public Schools and quit talking shit on poor people that live in Gresham, they're just people trying to get by. Thats why we don't like ya'll. Thanks for not having kids. See you next rant.... Pricks.
Since you didn't really get the point of my column, I guess I'll just try to address your points...
Maybe if they had kids they'd care more about schools. I absolutely don't believe you've been given bad service because you wore a Blazers jersey. If someone tells you to hold your tongue, tell them to fuck off, I don't care if they're a hipster. Hipster, by the way, has become a uselessly encompassing term. You seem like the kind of person who would call someone a hipster because they had a bicycle and a button-up at the same time. I do know where Portland ends, I'm from Portland. I'm capable of reading maps. When I write about Portland, I tend to write about Portland as a cultural force that affects the world as a whole, and that shit tends not to be happening in the suburbs. When Tigard, or Gresham, or Beaverton, or 152nd and Powell become the epicenter of culture in our city, I'll write about that. If it hurts your feelings that the street you grew up on isn't what people think of when people think of Portland I suggest you do something to change that.
Until you do that, I continue to welcome people to our city who actually want to contribute and build and move Portland forward. Everyone has to move here at some point, right? Or their parents? Or their grandparents? Or is Covarrubias a [Chinookan] name, Carlos?
There's another episode of the week's greatest hits from the Portland's Pretty street/party style blog; a word on an imminent trio of collaborations between local makers and Rejuvenation (which gets props for using its newish Williams-Sonoma powers to afford broader exposure for the little guys); a reveal of Wildfang's latest "1990's Marc Jacobs meets Where the Wild Things Are" lookbook; and the ball-cap version of your favorite Oregon license plate.
If you ever want to take the temperature of the streets and see what's on the minds of Portlanders, simply turn to the Mercury's Letters page (just don't be surprised if you don't always like what you see).
—Maybe someday people will learn that if you step to Ann Romano, the immediate result is her fans' coming to her defense. Like CJ, who protests the characterization of the beloved One Day at a Time columnist as a "buffoon," suggesting that "Tom W. can go back to yelling at kids to stay off his lawn, or whatever people who don't know who J Biebs is do."
—Bored of weed? Read Dirk's article about Oregon watching Washington's mistakes so that someday we will be king of the weed states! Or something. Anyway, it worked for Ted. Also andalso suggested a law that "simply states, 'Steroid-addled pigs cannot throw you in a cage and the justice system cannot ruin your life for using weed, because there's no reason for that.'"
—David on the recent approval of police reforms and one surmises, his doubt for their effectiveness: "We need better cops and better cop leaders. Not laws or policies that anyone with half an ounce of compassion would just inherently do as a normal part of their psyche."
—Regarding Ian Karmel's argument that Portland OGs go easy on newcomers—Californians being of particular complaint—torkfool reminds us that "If your city inspires people to live in it, then, mathematically and geographically, the likelihood is that some of them will come from a nearby, heavily populated area that takes up almost all of the West Coast. Uzbekistan? Or gee, maybe California."
—Finally, POP QUIZ! "Which of the following would be the least absurd thing to unfold within the pages of your fine publication? (a) Dan Savage writes a guide to cunnilingus, (b) Denis C. Theriault becomes BFFs with Ron Frashour, (c) Humpy grows out of his Bieber phase and discovers a newfound appreciation for Phish, or (d) Ann Romano denounces the invasion of celebrities' privacy?"
What do think? Maybe you should write a letter about it.
Contrary to the opinions of some (aka parents of school-aged children), summer is not over! IN FACT, it's feeling kinda Indian summery this year (hello another weekend in the 90s). That translates to the viability of outdoor activities for weeks (and hopefully weeks upon weeks) to come. To celebrate that slow burn, the Mercury is throwing an event centered around one of Portland's all-time favorite sports: Kickball!
It's called Kicktoberfest, and here's the deal:
Portland Mercury and Recesstime Sports have joined forces to KICK OFF the Harvest Season with a summer picnic, kickball sayonara!! Festivities to take place at Southeast Portland's Bloomington Park on Saturday, September 20th from 10 am to 5 pm.
Fast pitch & Slow pitch divisions available: SIGN-UP HERE!
At KICKTOBERFEST we will pit 32 teams against each other in a fierce (or not so much) best-of tournament, designed to give winter bragging rights to the BEST Kickballas in PDX. Sign up your team! Pack your coolers and picnic baskets! Come celebrate summer's favorite pastime and one last day in the park. All teams guaranteed 3 games in round robin format. 8 team elimination round to follow.
Hundreds of $$ in undisclosed prizes for winning Team along with feature in following Portland Mercury print edition and on social media. Games refereed by officials in accordance with Recesstime Rules. Signed waiver must be completed before play. Participants 21+ years old only. See you on the field!
Do it for the fame, the glory, the fun, or the monetary value. But do it or you'll be KICKING YOURSELF come February.
You can go light, and you can go heavy, and a combination of both makes for a well-rounded life, just like the one being lived on this week's Mercury Letters page.
—B looks at a story about the city considering tiny houses as a partial solution to homelessness and sees a nascent conversation about climate change. Yoshi, meanwhile, notes that "one should be skeptical of any housing plan for the homeless introduced by a mayor who has never once, that I've seen, been remotely involved in actually getting to know the homeless on these streets."
—We wrote about diversity in Portland's theater scene, but Stephen points out that, "Nowhere does the piece address gender or LGBT status. There is scant mention of socioeconomic diversity. And sadly, once more, artists and audiences with disabilities—such as the ones served by PHAME, Disability Art and Culture Project, Wobbly Dance, and many more organizations—are absolutely left out of the conversation."
—And finally, who would have guessed that a soiled mattress down by the river would ever be so well loved?
Letters: Say your piece, man.
If you've lusted after any of the Mercury's monthly Fancy T-Shirts (illustrated by both local and international graphic artists) but never got around to getting yours, here's your opportunity! Join us tonight—with many of the participating artists—for a Mercury Fancy T-Shirt Collection Blow-Out Sale Party!
Gaze in wonder at our very smart-looking fancy T-shirts while having FREE BEER FROM WIDMER, and hobnobbing with many of the participating artists. And it's all going down tonight, Thursday Sept 4, from 6-9 pm, at the only place you can get these fashionable sweeties: Upper Playground, 23 NW 5th! And they're all on sale for $18, or two for $30!
You are going to look so sexy in these! See you tonight!
Hang on to your wieners, it looks like we've got a hit! The Mercury's first-ever Wiener Takes All wiener dog race on Sunday at Lucky Lab was sneaker of a hit, with an astounding 600-person turnout and 78 racing wieners! Winner came away with prizes packages from folks like Bean Goods and a portion of the proceeds went to Oregon Dachshund Rescue, Inc!
Now, meet our adorable, racy Year-1 Wiener Winners!:
First place and the wiener that takes it all... BLAZER!! (pictured center). Second place goes to Blaze (left) and our third place finisher is Pancakes (right).
See you next year!
Guys! Don't let this week's issue of the Mercury ride out over the horizon before checking out our second annual Pet Issue feature! The adorable illustrations by Susie Ghahremani are reason enough alone to treasure it:
In honor of the tightness of our bonds, we explored some of the more extreme paths pet ownership can take, from the pros and cons of adopting wildlife creatures, to a guide on what to do if your pet has a medical emergency. We also went beyond food, water, and poop-scooping to look at next-level pet projects like creating photo stories from your cat's perspective and polishing up your canine (or horse) massage tactics. We also spoke to someone with an extreme animal job working as part of the Humane Society's rescue team, and coughed up a pretty extreme rant about Portland's propensity for pets as trends.
There are things you don't like, and some things that you do, and all are up for debate on the Mercury Letters page:
—You do not like it when some punk who moved here merely in 2007 threatens to "get all the musicians, artists, and every other hipster who is fed up with the bullshit, and we'll leave," in reaction to rising rents and condos. Nope. You will tell them how it does not compare to the homelessness that drove you, as a native to flee to South America. You will reminisce how, as a "68-year-old ex-hippie" you've seen the same thing in "the Village, East Village, Woodstock, SoHo, Chelsea, and Brooklyn. Also in Sausalito, the Haight, and SoMa." And you will posit that, "This is a magical place where rampant insecurity has been turned inside out into arrogance of such monumental proportions that [MH] thinks that she and her friends are the ones who define Portland coolness."
—You really like burgers, though! Especially if you are "Burgersandy," who "personally did 19 burgers in six days" during our 2014 edition of the Portland Mercury Burger Week. WOW.
Our problems may seem small at the moment, but the little things add up:
• Size-ism! Fashion doesn't have to be synonymous with skinny, but as Linda puts it, "You have to get rid of the mental crap."
• GO COUGARS! No really, get out of here. I know it's the peak of Portland tourist season, but your visits could end poorly, like with you in a Laurelhurst Park petting zoo, as Timothy suggested, or even as a scapegoat for rising rents as Mary joked. Mmmm... goat.
• Portland's ruination! MH bemoans the loss of cheap housing, the rise in noise complaints, and increased density of clog stores (?), ending with a threat: "We'll just get all the musicians, artists, and every other hipster who is fed up with the bullshit, and we'll leave. When all you have left is $15 sandwiches, half-empty apartment complexes, and a bunch of yuppies looking around going, 'Why isn't Portland cool anymore?' you'll know you only have yourselves to blame."
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