DEAR JULIANNE SHEPHERD: You are the Bridget Bardot of words. You are pithy. You are soulful. You are amusing. You like Either/ Or best, too, and, (to quote you) its "quivering intimacy." ["Up & Coming," Dec 14] If you were to write a novel it would be like a Ramones song: short, funny, and catchy as hell. I will always love your mind, but alas, my body belongs to another. I'll think of you and your catchy phrases whenever, on cool, orange-y, October afternoons, I put on Either/ Or.

Your Literary Admirer

DEAR ANN [Author of One Day at a Time]: Of everybody who writes for the Mercury, you are the most humorous. That Humphrey dude [Author of I Love Televisionā„¢] is really blasé. Don't even get me started on that Sean Techaracockroach dude [Author of From Where I Sit] (the one who works in that rats nest, the "Falcon's Hive"). But truly, the muse did bless you with the wit of Wilde [Author of The Importance of Being Earnest] and the humor of Boccaccio [Author of The Decameron]. Keep up the good work.

Lakin Soldate

TO "ANONYMOUS": While reading a recent I, Anonymous, I saw your little tirade against a preadolescent getting a free ride on your bus route ["Transfer Thief!" Nov 30]. Do you feel better after writing that piece of vigilante prose? Are you now ready to take on World Hunger and Political Reform, or do you need to write about a few more punks who don't put their glass bottles in the proper recycling bin?

I didn't see you, but your tiring need to spew forth anger about the trivial things in life is no doubt as distinctive as your anger-taunt face. Here's hoping something invades your life worth ranting about and that you aren't too busy with the inane to overlook it.

Also Anonymous

TO KASSTEN ALONSO: So "a bastard child of that hard fucked muse conceived out of an impetus less virtuous or fulfilling than the joyous ecstasy of love." ["Faulkner Did It for the Money," Nov 30] What kind of verbal wankery is this trite bullshit? I was keen on you until your closing paragraph and I realized your article was less about the authors discussed and more about your own need for intellectual approval.

Why is Portland full of all this self-congratulatory ego posing mother fucking? "I was working at Ozone Records, disgustedly selling kids Tori Amos CDs for change they'd hustled on the street," to quote Jamie S. Rich ["Introducing the Man," Nov 30]. First, music is not ideology, and if you have to define your personality by what bands you listen to then you probably ain't much of a person.

And please help me understand all this ironic negativity masked as wit [Overall tone of the Mercury, Nov 30]. Enough. Jesus Fucking Christ, only in rich countries (like ours) do so many young people have so much free time to bitch. Positivity not negativity. Flyman and Bernie made me laugh ["Laugh While You Can," Nov 30]. I want to like this rag, but why? And lastly, the latest batch of Beatles infomercials (i.e. TV "Specials" and "Life Stories") proves once and for all that the Beatles are mere prostitutes ["I Love Televisionā„¢" Nov 30]. Peace.

K. William S.

TO OUR READERS: Nobody loves the Baby Jesus more than us, and that's why we're taking the next week off to sniff booze and chug paint thinner (waitasecond scratch that, reverse it). So did ya get that? THERE WILL BE NO ISSUE FOR THE WEEK OF DECEMBER 28--DECEMBER 3. Are we going out of business? No, we are not. Is the Willamette Week buying us out? No, they are not. We are going on vacation for one week, and ONE WEEK ONLY! So until Thursday, January 4th, please note that we have double music listings, double Up & Comings, double My, What a Busy Week, and double the "ironic negativity masked as wit" you've come to expect from the Mercury. So once again, we aren't going out of business, we're just taking a vacation, and we swear to Baby Jesus we'll be back on January 4th. See ya then! --eds.