TO THE MERCURY: In your column "Destination: Fun" ["Vintage Baseball," Aug 14], you ask "Ever seen someone try to catch a screaming line drive hardball barehanded? Probably not"

Actually, I, and millions upon millions of people in the rest of the non-U.S. world (thanks to British colonialism), have not only seen such a feat, but done it. We've played cricket, perhaps the world's second-most-played sport, which only allows one person (the wicketkeeper) to wear gloves. Everyone else fields bare-handed, catching all sorts of drives of the hard cricket ball. I suppose that may be why there are positions called "silly point" and "silly mid on" and "deep square leg." And why the British aren't the world's greatest power anymore.

But I digress. Get out a bit, and enjoy your neighborhood cricket game. Where the men are men and well they stop for tea.

Evan Manvel, Former Opening Batsman


TO THE EDITOR VIA VOICE MAIL: "My name is Michelle, and I'm a Portland promotions rep for Everybody's Fan Club for Madonna. I'm extremely upset that we gave you guys the luxury of writing about our party celebrating Madonna's 45th birthday ["My, What a Busy Week," Aug 14]. You totally told lies about Madonna and ragged on her, and we don't appreciate it. What's this about Swept Away only playing in Gresham? And 'Missy Elliott totally blows her out of the water'? She's got 'one foot in the grave'? Where are you people coming from? She has put out the best goddamn music for over 20 years, and nobody has ever done that before. NOBODY. It was really rude for you to advertise our party like that. I am disgusted and humiliated that you ragged on Madonna. You're TRASH."


TO THE EDITOR: This is for the cowardly anonymous person who hates cute kids ["Letters," Aug 14, in which the author pooh-poohs our review of the nine-year-old punk band, Black Peppercorns].

Wow, you're really an asshole. The fact that you're wrangling over the Black Peppercorns review shows how bitter and pathetic you are. Let me guess, you're an aging rocker who's pissed off because your "talent" has gone unrecognized. The fact that these two talented and, yes, cute kids can get a gig when you probably can't really wracks your balls, doesn't it?

The Black Peppercorns formed after the girls attended the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls. The purpose of the camp is to promote self-motivation, self-reliance, and empowerment in music for girls ages eight to 18 in a business that has formerly been dominated by men. The girls are lucky enough to have devoted parents who care enough to scrape together the money to help them accomplish their dream. It's hard to get pissed off about that, isn't it?

You're totally wrong when you jumped to the conclusion about the kids' mothers being rich. For the purposes of educating your pathetic ass, let me explain to you that Io's mother, after a long and painful bout with cancer, died a little over a year ago at the age of 36. Zayna's mother works full-time, for a low wage at a non-profit while raising two kids. And you have the nerve to accuse her of being privileged? Could you be more of an asshole?

Carma Watson



TO THE EDITOR: I can't believe someone can have their head so far up their rock loser ass that they have to bad-mouth nine-year-old children [the Black Peppercorns]. The Mercury is not Maximum Rock-n-Roll, dumbshit! It's a newspaper. They can write about whatever they want. Is this idiot jealous? Either this fuckneck's band sucks too badly for anyone's interest, or he has an album, but no one takes him as seriously as he takes himself, which is probably impossible.

You are an anonymous pussy. You are the embodiment of everything that sucks about music. Music is not fun to you, and you devote your life to striving for recognition you'll never get because you are an untalented, infantile, spiteful, crybaby, fuckwad coward who can't even sign his name to a critical letter for fear that a nine-year-old girl will kick your ass.



TO THE EDITOR: This letter is aimed at W. Pott, AKA Bitchy McWINEington, who couldn't help but write in and shed a few tears on behalf of some cups ["Letters," Aug 14, in which the writer makes a point that commuter mugs are also wasteful]. You're a real jerk, you know that? So you don't like ceramic cups, THAT'S FUCKING AWESOME. But don't take space out of MY paper to wussy it up all over the place. You should write the Mercury to bitch at poop-heads like you you goddamn poop-head you. If I ever meet you I'll break my "ceramic" coffee mug over your stupid ugmo face!!

Tom "Kick-Ass" Nagode


TO KATIE SHIMER: I agree that second hand smoke is dangerous and hospitality workers shouldn't be exposed to it ["Can't Stand the Smoke? Ban the Smoke," August 14]. However, it should be left up to the bars and restaurants to decide VOLUNTARILY whether or not they want smoking on their premises not a state mandate. Given the choice between closing in three months, or losing two or three waitstaff (who will eagerly be replaced by people who don't care about the statistics), it's an easy decision. I don't think any struggling business can afford a few months of 35-50% losses and expect to survive within the current economy.

While the law in NY went statewide a few weeks ago, it's been in effect in Manhattan since early April. I have a few friends in NYC who have lost their businesses and/or jobs due to the smoking ban. Your "anecdotal evidence" is my harsh reality. One friend closed up his restaurant by mid June following the ban when 60% of his clientele just stopped showing up. Rather than hang out in the Financial District for Happy Hour after work, his customers went home to NJ to smoke and unwind. His business barely made it through 9/11 only to recover and be snuffed out by this stupid law. To dismiss things like this as a knee jerk reaction which will correct itself within a year does too little too late for guys like him; people who actually believe a temporary loss in business will be the case are only kidding themselves.

And as for the effect on smokers, six out of eight people in our regular barhopping group won't go to places where they don't allow smoking inside. Smoking outside during our three nice months of Portland weather is pleasant. However, during the other three-quarters of the year when your only choice is smoking outside in the cold/rain/hail, do remember to keep your whining and bitching down to a minimum or don't. If the place you're in has banned smoking, I'm sure I won't be close enough to hear you.

Marlboro Man


TO THE MERCURY: I support Amendment SB 722 [which would phase out smoking in bars and restaurants]. Portland has excellent nightlife, but I can't go out and enjoy it very often due to the effects of smoke inhalation. The current law is weak, and panders to the Oregon Restaurant and Bar Association, whose pockets are deep, and their support from the tobacco lobby, whose pockets are bottomless.

My father died from emphysema, as did my brother. My best friend died a couple of years ago from lung cancer. I've been smoke-free for four years, and the battle was much, much more difficult than alcohol and other substances. Unfortunately, the toxicity of nicotine in public areas goes into my system and triggers addictive responses days, weeks after exposure. Therefore, it's more than just an annoyance to have to bear tobacco smoke in public, it's life threatening to me.

Darren Littlejohn


DEAR EDITOR: It is people like your writer Katie Shimer that enable the government to take away more and more of our freedoms ["Can't Stand the Smoke? Ban the Smoke," Aug 14]. It sickens me when people think laws need to be created to protect us from ourselves. I can't stand poser smokers who smoke 45 cigarettes in one night just because their friends are doing it and they think it's cool. POSER SMOKERS ARE THE REASON BARS ARE SO CHOKED WITH SMOKE. Regular smokers do not feel compelled to smoke 45 cigarettes in one sitting--their addiction requires them to smoke around the clock on a sustained basis.

People in America have the right to destroy themselves. If we don't want to wear a seatbelt, don't want to eat right, want to have an abortion, don't want to wear a helmet, want to have 10 children and unprotected sex--that is our choice. We don't need the government to make more laws because people like Katie Shimer are too weak to control themselves.

I lived in L.A. when the smoking ban went into effect and we were shocked when the law went through. We didn't even get to vote on it. The politicians decided what was best for us. Frightening.

Just like strippers, bartenders have a voice in where they choose to work. They are not victims deserving of our compassion. Let's put the burden where it truly belongs: make bar owners install proper ventilation. That way posers can be posers, smokers can be smokers and we can all decide for ourselves how we want to live.

Heather Jones



TO THE EDITOR: I wholeheartedly agree with Katie Shimer's opinion on the smoking ban; "Rationally, what are we hanging onto?" I do however feel there are some other problems that need to be addressed along with a potential smoking ban. First is the jukebox problem. I'm sick of being constantly offended by the music other people play--I have rights and the jukeboxes will just have to go. Second is the pool table menace. These things are definitely a potential fire hazard, not to mention the countless times we've all been jostled in the crotch by someone lining up a shot--am I right? They'll have to go. Dartboards? Who are we kidding? Unsafe! Gone! Lastly is the alcohol problem. I'm sure we can all agree that one of the leading cause of car accidents and liver disease is booze and places that serve this foul grog are dens of vice! And the last place we want our smokers is in a den of vice.

Lukas Ketner


DEAR ANN ROMANO: Your column is one of the funniest and most well-written that I've read anywhere ["One Day at a Time"]. Your wit, your choice of words--excellent! But, my heart sank when I read your August 7 bit about Larry Flynt [who is running for Governor of California]. You used the word "vagina" to refer to everything between a woman's legs and below her belly-button. That is so ignorant! (It's sexist, too, because it makes women seem simpler than they are and diminishes their sexuality.) Get out your Our Bodies, Our Selves and get accurate please!

Cervine Kauffman

CONGRATULATIONS TO CERVINE (and her "vulva") for winning the Mercury "Letter of the Week!" She will receive two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater, two free passes to the Mercury Summer Movie Megathon, and two tix to see Mum at Berbati's Pan on August 27. Put those in your vagina and smoke it!