TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN—I am horrified that anyone would write the ad that a bar called Moloko Plus has [Ad, Sept 7]. For a refresher I have written the ad's text below:

"September 11th PARTY. Mark the tragic events of that day in style with themed cocktails and freedom lovin' jams. All in the smoldering ruins of Moloko Plus, 3967 N Mississippi."


DEAR PORTLAND—The events of September 11, 2001 affected us all. There was a time when it would have been possible for those effects to be largely positive. After the attacks, most of us felt closer to our fellow citizens. Many of us sought a greater understanding of our world. Furthermore, the world was largely united behind us. However, due to consistent efforts by our government and the media outlets that propagandize for it, the lessons of those events have become distorted into a simple argument for paranoia, confusion, and coercion. [The event was] intended to draw attention to this manipulation and the jingoistic exploitation taking place all around us. 9/11 belongs to all of us, and democracy requires that we each assign our own meaning and our own rituals to it.

Christian J. Fitzpatrick

Owner, Moloko Plus


PORTLAND MERCURY—I was at a coffee shop the other day and my four-year-old stepson says to me, "Look! Batman and Robin are smoking!" [Cover, Sept 7] I am outraged that you would put a picture of two kids smoking [on your cover], and even worse they are dressed like Batman and Robin. It is apparent your employees are not parents... or are just not thinking!

 Ben F


DEAR MERCURY—From the article in the Mercury ["Smokescreen," News, Sept 14], a quote from our District Attorney [Michael Schrunk]: "Smoking is no good for you, but then, neither is eating a cheeseburger, and we're not outlawing that." Only thing is the scent of a cheeseburger might just cause hunger pangs. Cigarette smoke, on the other hand, is becoming socially unacceptable. Let's follow the leads in California, New York, and even Paris—let's ban smoking in public places!

Jasper Jon Barber

CONGRATULATIONS TO JASPER for his watertight analysis of the faulty comparison between cigarettes and hamburgers. They are indeed very different. Jasper wins the Letter of the Week and two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater and $30 to No Fish! Go Fish!, where the only thing smokin' is the food.


Congratulations to Maria Galindo Montoya, the grand-prize winner of the Mercury's online treasure hunt entitled The Del Monte Code! Because she possesses the tenacity and the brain cells required to crack this extremely difficult month-long contest—which asked readers to search and solve various puzzles on the Mercury website—Maria won the hot new 30 GB video iPod (kindly furnished by The Mac Store). Read more about how Maria (and our runners-up Seth Denlinger, Kaya Blauvelt, and Tim Brown) solved this puzzle at portlandmercury.com.

[Pictured: Maria receives her video iPod from the Del Monte Corporation mascot, Monty, the Genetically Engineered Ear of Corn.]