DEAR MERCURY—What is up with the love of the homeless in this city ["Sit and Spin," News, March 22]? First of all, if you are young and healthy, let's say under 35—and especially if you are wearing better shoes than I am—I have zero sympathy for you. Get a job like the rest of us! If you are over 35 and homeless, maybe you have some real problems: mental illness, chemical addictions, job loss, or some other unfortunate circumstance. But that is why there are missions, churches, and government programs that try to help. And how do you suppose they are funded? Taxes and donations. Aggressive panhandling and fear of crime scare away customers and tourists—especially in the downtown area. This causes businesses to lose money or go out of business, lowering the amount of funds that are available to be paid in taxes and donations, lowering the ability to help the homeless. So in the end it might be more compassionate to enforce those sit-lie ordinances and other measures.

Big Al


DEAR MERCURY—Is Jesse Gray a "fat, gay, and loud" feminist who also happens to be one of the smartest, most down-to-earth women on earth [Letters, April 5]? Is Beth Ditto "bigoted" to note the plain fact that straight white boys have an awe-inspiring advantage in almost every single aspect of the universe? [Jesse's] letter appears to be a pretty flaccid attempt at defending the system widely referred to as "straight white boy privilege," which he at least realizes is best ignored only if you somehow benefit from that privilege.



DEAR MERCURY—The Merc has been downright hostile against vegans of late. Between the lamb slaughter ["Silencing the Lamb," Feature, Jan 4], Ms. Skinner's rant on the benefits of leather ["Love and Death in the Fur Industry," Sold Out, March 8], and then the Pork Issue [March 29], I ask myself why I continue to read a publication so hostile toward my world perspective.

Geoffrey Kleinman


DEAR MERCURY—Just one of the many things I love about your publication is that each week when I hungrily pick up my Mercury I know to expect the unexpected. "An All-American Salute to Pork" by Alison Hallett is a case in point [Food Issue, March 29]. I couldn't resist picking up the gauntlet thrown down in the form of the statement, "Is it because pork is the only meat that can also be used as a verb?" Granted, "hog" may be the most common of the verbs from the meat section, along with "pig out" and "pork out." However, ma'moiselle, referring to charcuterie certainly extends the classification of meat to include the horse, which is favored in France. Who hasn't "horsed around" in their day? Then again, here at home, people speak of "beefing up" or "cowing to." And of course, if fowl, reptiles, and rodents are included, people have been known to "duck," "pigeonhole," "snake past," "bear up," or "squirrel away." I'm sure there are many more examples, but as a vegan my vocabulary is not much more omnivorous than I am. Anyway, I just had to grouse about this in order to keep up the image of the uptight tree-hugger. As a staunch supporter of individual choice, I don't often get the chance, so thanks for the opportunity. 

 CE Jones

CONGRATULATIONS TO CE for "taking up the gauntlet" with one of the things most treasured by word nerds like us—word games! Not that we're "fishing" for the ever-more-rare affections of vegans, but we'd like you to have two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater, as well as lunch for two at No Fish! Go Fish!


THREE CHEERS for our FOUR winners of the Mercury's first annual "Squeal Like a Pig" contest in which readers called our voicemail and... umm... squealed like a pig! For their enthusiastic and dead-on hog calls, readers Colleen, Tom, Kevin Kennedy, and Jeffrey "Arnold" Ziffle will EACH receive a $25 gift certificate to the meat-a-licious GARTNER'S COUNTRY MEAT MARKET (7450 NE Killingsworth), home of the largest meat case in the Northwest! WANT TO HEAR THEM, AND MANY MORE READERS SQUEALING LIKE PIGS? Check out our Mercury podcast this Friday to hear the best of the best. You'll squeal in delight! Soooo-WEEE!