[Letter writing is a lost art. However! Who needs letters when you have so many web comments? Here's a smattering left by our readers this week at portlandmercury.com.—Eds.]

KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES

It's great to see Portland and Oregon co-housing grow ["Hot Houses," Feature, Oct 2]. Oregon is stepping up to join the other hotbeds of co-housing activity in the United States: California with 27 built communities, Washington with 13 built communities, Colorado with 12 built, Massachusetts with 10 various places in the state, North Carolina with seven, and Oregon with... six. Note: This only includes those communities that have raised their hands to be counted in the directory of the Cohousing Association of the United States (Coho/US).

posted by Craig Ragland, executive director, Coho/US

FIVE AGAINST ONE

In this case, DHS [Department of Human Services] is not looking out for the interests of the children, they're retaliating against a woman who just wants control of her family ["Family Feud," News, Oct 2, in which Matt Davis reports on the case of Carollynn Smith, who has been denied custody of her grandchildren]. In a recent meeting, Smith was asked to meet with five representatives of DHS—and told she couldn't have any representation of her own (five of us showed up to provide advice and support). We were told to leave, but in the impromptu negotiations, we also made it clear the meeting wouldn't happen unless it was Smith vs. one DHS representative. This was still not optimal—Smith deserved to have counsel in that meeting. DHS knew they could control the situation and outcome with so many "experts" in the room.

posted by Brian Stimson—The Skanner newspaper

DON'T MENTION IT

I agree with everything else you say here ["Off the Leash," Savage Love, Oct 2] except this: "Spend 10 minutes surfing around mr-s-leather.com, medicaltoys.com, or christiandomesticdiscipline.com to get a taste of how much more extreme your daughter and son-in-law's interests could be. Then go sit down with your daughter and ask her to explain a bit about her turn-ons to you, because you need some reassurance that she's not being abused and that her sex life with the son-in-law, whatever form it takes, is mutually pleasurable, consensual, and rewarding." First of all a DAD as naïve as this guy will not be comforted by a trip to Mr. S. Surely you know some tamer BDSM books that discuss things like consent at great lengths that you can recommend for him to read, BY HIMSELF, without his daughter being forced to discuss her personal sex life with him. Not only do I think that she probably feels violated enough that she does not need to be subjected to that kind of bizarre conversation dynamic, but we all know that if you are into BDSM, making it safe and okay for your parents takes all the fun out of it! I vote for him to get a book, apologize to her profusely, and never discuss the specifics of "her turn-ons" with her, her mother, or anyone.

posted by Shirla

BIBLE BABBLE

Sir: Mr. Maher is refreshingly arrogant, and deservedly so ["Religiously Incorrect," Film, Oct 2, in which Bill Maher's film Religulous is reviewed by Alison Hallett]. He reads. He's educated. He's smart. And he's tired of all the good old-boy, red-necked, Joe-six-pack dumb asses who resent anyone who can and does read. Don't like it? Tough luck. It's the educated, smart, and literate who really run the world while you're slogging around in the Nicean Bible (one of three accepted Bibles) looking for salvation from your own stupidity. And you don't even know the history or sources of your religion. Let's try a really simple question. Who was the first head of the Christian Church after the death of Jesus? St. Peter? Saul the Usurper (AKA St. Paul)? No, neither. It was James the Elder, brother of Jesus, who spoke for the Church until the sacking of Jerusalem in 76 AD. Who did you think Saul was writing to in his letters? Why does the Nicean Bible deny the existence of James the Elder? Because Saul, who never met Jesus during his lifetime, and whose "salvation" was not witnessed by anyone but Saul, felt he knew more than James and the surviving Disciples. Offended? Tough. Learn something about your own religion rather than self-righteously denying the truth.

posted by Jacomus

CONGRATULATIONS TO ARLENE SCHNITZER for winning this week's Mercury letter of the week! Sure, she didn't write a letter or post a blog comment (that we know of), but she's the wealthiest Portlander we can think of! Oh what, are you tired of the rich getting free shit thrown their way for no reason? Then make sure the Republicans don't win—show you care about the state of American politics by joining the Mercury for the presidential debate happening on Wednesday, October 15, at the Clinton St, Theater (all ages, but with beer available for grownups) and Roots Organic Brewing (21+ only)!