This is coming from the faraway land of Panama. I've been away from you for several months now. On a whim I decided to read the Merc website and the I-Anon blog for a laugh. Wow. Sadly, reading that blog was like what I would imagine it would feel like to eat a cold dead horse's foot. The bitch-about-everything culture and vibe that is proliferated through the rant blog are, to me, the epitome of what Rob Brezny calls "pop nihilism." For the 99.996% of readers who haven't read his book "Pronoia" despite reading his weekly horroscopes...pop nihilism is that "fuck everything" trend. The "pessimism is reality" mentality. Why not write to the Merc with anonymous raves? Why not spread the love of this city and her people...the reasons you still live here despite the rain and the apparently deadly rival gang violence between cyclists and motorists? The Merc readers need a metaphrical whiff of island breeze, a slice of fresh papaya, and a hot Spanish-speaking lover to fuck the "fuck everything" fantasies out of you. Swallow your sour attitudes and welcome a fresh squeezed reminder of your blessings to slide down your parched throats. Have some mother fucking pride in your town, your state, and your compatriots. Admit to all the ways Portland tickles you! Give it a try and see if we can't change the proclamations Portland advertises to the world. Then when I read the Merc I don't become tense and hateful and hopeless but rather nostalgic and giggly and proud.