DEAR WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY: I find it shameful and unethical that you would give one of your own events, the karaoke night at the Blackbird [Jan 6], the attention it got in the Mercury. I came up to Portland from L.A., where the two major weeklies (New Times and the L.A. Weekly) both have strict policies about their staff not giving "picks of the week" to themselves and their friends. This creates a more level playing field, where events are garnered attention based on the talent and hard work of the people involved. Please consider adopting similar policies at the Portland Mercury.

Jonn Walterscheid

Wm. Steven Humphrey responds: Congratulations on being from Los Angeles. But here's how the Mercury does things in Portland: We pick the best shows of the night--period. If Liza Minnelli had come to Portland that day, we would have gladly deferred to her talent. (And though I suspect you already know this, the New Times and L.A. Weekly really suck.)


TO THE EDITOR: In Phil Busse's article about the Cascadian National Party ["Don't Tread on Me," Jan 10] there were several inaccuracies concerning The State of Jefferson. The State of Jefferson did in fact secede on December 4, 1941, but they seceded only from the states of Oregon and California, not from the United States.

Naturally, the US involvement in WWII slowed the momentum, and civil disputes were set aside in favor of national unity, but the movement was by no means dissolved. In the 1970s, there was a resurgence of the movement, evidence of which, is easily found driving through the area. Yreka, California is the chosen capitol of the State of Jefferson, and headed northbound on I-5, you will pass a large barn painted with "The State of Jefferson." More information may be found on the State of Jefferson official website, www.jeffersonstate.org.

Nicole Gladwin


HEY MERCURY: Which dumb-ass sent a guy to review the Vagina Monologues [Theater, Jan 3]? Maybe someone with a vagina might appreciate the show a little more than Justin Sanders.

In his review, Sanders wonders why "hundreds" of "liberated women" attended the show and loved it. Apparently, he forgot to ask any of them for their perspective. That'd a be a swing-and-a-miss for Mr. Penis.



TO THE MERCURY: Many thanks for your coverage of our unionization campaign at Nature's on Division St. ["Hippies of the World Unite," Jan 10]. But come on can you guys just come off the high horse with that over-generalizing word "hippies"? Workers at Nature's are making a genuine effort to improve the conditions of their workplace and earn a decent wage for the hard work they do. Your derogatory classification of those efforts is misleading and lazy. Besides, Wild Oats doesn't give a damn about "hippies." It's the upper-middle class money they want, and their organo-chic propaganda seems to be pulling it in.

And, it's the INDUSTRIAL Workers of the World, not INTERNATIONAL. It's a name you'll be hearing more often, so enter it into your political spell-check, please. Kudos, and thanks for the overall positive reporting.

Ryan Gaughan
Nature's Organizing Committee


HEY MERCURY! Are you punishing me for my mean thoughts? I was just thinking about how your clearly enthusiastic and rather charming theater reviewer, Justin Sanders, hasn't read enough plays to be a reviewer. Other reviewers read a play before seeing it, but Justin goes out for a few beers and walks into the show shit-faced and ready for a good ride. And in a confused attempt at customer service, you read my mind and ELIMINATED THE THEATER SECTION! I'm sorry for my indecent thoughts. Bring Justin back. His "man on the street" style is kind of cool and gives people who haven't read the stupid play an idea of how they might respond. I will be good to him from now on. RESURRECT JUSTIN! FORGIVE ME!

Madeleine Sanford

The Mercury responds: Don't fret! After a short break, Justin is back in business. And for her tearful confession, Madeleine wins two passes to the Laurelhurst Theater for writing the Mercury "Letter of the Week!" Send in your rants and raves to the address above, and you could be our next winner!