A STARCHY SUBJECT

MATT AND ALL—Thank you for the wonderful piece in this last week's Merc ["Asleep on the Street," Feature, Feb 21]! There are, however, two things I wanted to mention. First, I am a community organizer, not a homeless advocate. Secondly, and this may seem minor, but I said "lots of people" not "most people" in this statement: "Where most people fill homelessness with drugs or an alcohol addiction, Nolen admits: 'I ate.'" There are lots of people out there who, like me, did not dabble in drugs or alcohol to kill the pain of being left behind by society, but looked for other outlets. I was aided on my trip to the overweight department by the fact that starches are so cheap and are considered filler foods.

   Patrick Nolen

JUST ONE NIGHT

HELLO, MR. DAVIS—I just read your article, where you accurately described the experience of a person sleeping downtown for a night ["Asleep on the Street," Feature, Feb 21]. You do good work covering homeless issues. Volunteering is common with homeless people. It might be nice if the Civic Action Group [Patrick] Nolen organizes was explained and the campaign he is working on given a bit of press. Thank you for reading this, and sorry about the lack of profanity.

Dan Newth

READING BETWEEN THE SIGNS

DEAR MERCURY—We at First Baptist Church of Portland read with great interest Matt Davis' article "Asleep on the Street" [Feature, Feb 21], in particular noting the reference to the "No loitering... police enforced" sign at our Taylor Avenue entrance. Just this afternoon I am meeting once again with some neighbors who are uncomfortable and resentful over all of the "street people" who come and go from the church. Because every Monday and Thursday, 300 of our neighbors from the streets and nearby low-income apartments are our guests for a free lunch, served with silverware, tablecloths, fresh flowers on the table, and live music. The offending sign allows us to request the removal of folks on the rare occasions when they are disorderly and dangerous, and serves to mollify some of our less hospitable neighbors. But people on the streets know that they have friends at First Baptist Church.

 Dr. David L. Wheeler, Senior Pastor   

MANIC JOYRIDE OF CUTENESS

DEAR MERCURY—I was disappointed to see that in today's issue Zac Pennington, normally one of your best writers, has offered up an embarrassingly self-conscious and substandard review of the film Charlie Bartlett ["Harold and Flawed," Film, Feb 21]. The movie isn't bad at all, and I found Anton Yelchin's performance one of the more charming in recent memory—all the more so for lacking the "teenage angst" that young Pennington sadly cherishes. At least our oh-so-indie "I don't do anything cute or spiritual" reviewer recognizes, and admits, that he is "locked in perpetual adolescence." Also... I speak from personal experience when I say that the first time you take Ritalin, if your brain is wired the right way, can be exactly the manic joyride depicted in the film.

Anthony Acid

WE'LL HAVE WHAT HE'S HAVING

DEAR MERCURY—It was shocking to me, that in the depths of a darkened city I would find the hip kids and painfully frugal slipping on wristbands of glowing light in a deep cavern beneath the city streets. The purpose was to take a stab at this little ball that shimmered akin to glowing eye of an Orc. We were to do this at the proper angle, at the proper time with the proper speed; and we were to do this in a fashion that conveyed fun and excitement. In the middle of the course there were sinking ships and people screaming as the displays came to life spitting out useless witticisms and random quotes from Russ Meyer movies. At the turn for hole eight I proceeded to lose the last little bit of sanity left in the group and I wandered around with my putter in hand exclaiming that things were not as they seem. Somehow this seemed to impress the need for hurry in the shimmering figures that slowly cornered me between the haunted porch and the wall of flaming eyeballs. We emerged from the steps onto the cool asphalt above, cradling the concrete like long-lost lovers. It was Portland to be sure.

John Nyen

WOAH DUDE, TRIPPY. Hope the coming-down headache wasn't so bad, but you can console yourself with two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater and lunch at No Fish! Go Fish! where flaming eyeballs are a delicacy.