LET'S START ON A POSITIVE NOTE

TO THE MERCURY VIA VOICEMAIL—Oh hello, I just happened to pick up the Portland Mercury yesterday, thinking oh, it might be a good alternative to the other trashy newspapers around, and I guess yours is the trashiest I've ever seen. I was so offended by the debate tips for Sarah Palin [New Column! Oct 2]. People don't even have a chance to see what the candidates stand for because of crap like this, so I would never ever pick up your paper again. So that's my opinion, and I think you guys are totally disgusting.

MY EVIL CAN BEAT UP YOUR EVIL

DEAREST MERCURY—After reading Ezra "Ace" Caraeff's review of the new Grails album, I was left wondering if he has been sprinkling a little too much PCP on his crack in the mornings ["Lights Out," Music, Oct 9]. The intense beauty of Grails far from "smothers the most promising glimpses of hope," but is rather reminiscent of the sweet, soothing lullabies that Satan lovingly whispers into my ear each night as I drift off into the embracing nether regions of sleep. Perhaps "Ace" has lived a sheltered life musically and has never witnessed the invocation of true evil in the aural realm; maybe the live shows of Missing Foundation and Crash Worship were before the little tyke's time. Regardless, Grails are indeed one of the finest bands in Portland and completely upstaged SunnO))) at the Berbati's show—they are indeed coming into their demonic own....

—Chris Lovett

GOLDEN OLDIES

HELLO MR. [PATRICK ALAN] COLEMAN—Some comments on your "Old People Make Me Bawl My Eyes Out" [Blogtown, Oct 13]. I have a Google news alert for "Fred Knittle" and that's how I happened upon your review [of Young @ Heart]. I loved your snide comment about Coldplay's "insufferable ballad"; I never ever would have thought that a Coldplay song would touch me. After I saw the documentary I was so amazed that that song got to me so, I decided maybe I'd misjudged Coldplay so I went to YouTube and tried to make it through Coldplay's version. I was immediately beyond irritated just at the SIGHT of his fake emoting, let alone having to hear it... "insufferable" indeed! And then from a totally different emotion, your description of the oxygen machine as "the saddest percussion in the world" was utterly beautiful. Thank you so much for the best critique of Fred Knittle's "Fix You" that I've read.

—Becky Willard

THE ASS THAT NEVER WAS

DEAR MERCURY—In recent articles (last week's One Day at a Time [Oct 9] and this week's I Love Television [Oct 16]), two of your eminent columnists used the phrase "assless chaps," or some variant thereof. Chaps are, by definition, assless, and therefore the adjective is superfluous. That is all.

—Jimmy the Tiger

PICKING ON CHAPS (EW)

DEAR MERCURY—While I love television just as much as Steven Humphrey, I take issue with his use of the bigoted term "assless leather chaps" ["On Gay Slavery and Cannibals," I Love Television, Oct 16]. If [chaps] had asses they would just be uncomfortable leather pants. Please give this article of clothing the respect it deserves, and stop drawing attention to its unfortunate lack of an ass.

—Shannon

TESTY

DEAR MERCURY—In your endorsement of Measure 60, you state: "While the measure could be burdensome if it leads to more standardized tests (and therefore fewer teachers willing to take on the toughest assignments in low-income areas where students historically score lower), we're more optimistic." I'm sure we can all think of numerous examples of school boards spending many hours developing fair and creative ways to assess teacher performance, eschewing the convenience and pseudo-objectivity of standardized tests. My daughter's teacher—one of the good ones—told me this week that if Measure 60 passes, she will leave the district for one of the lily-white suburban districts that consistently does well in standardized testing. While your inexplicable endorsement of Measure 60 might understandably lead to the conclusion that the Mercury's editorial board had been taken over by Sarah Palin—or someone else whose brain likewise consists of two neurons connected by a spirochete—we're more optimistic.

—Dr. Jon

NO ON M60

DEAR MERCURY—This endorsement of Measure 60 is horrible. This is bad for kids, teachers, and Oregon. It's very vague and will cost Oregon big bucks to sort out. It's not good that it's vague. If you think teachers will get to be involved in making any decision about how measures will be made you obviously have never spent any time in a public school. Please reconsider this endorsement. It's hurtful. There are way too many variables in public schools to ever make merit pay work. There are many certified teachers who work with kids to increase learning but don't have a classroom. How will they be measured? This is a very unfortunate position to take. 

—Amy Ballard, certified school employee

CONGRATULATION TO AMY for taking the time to write in and provide a counterargument to the Mercury's endorsement of M60. Amy wins the letter of the week, with two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater and lunch at No Fish! Go Fish!, where adults can agree to disagree (even about Bill Sizemore!).