TO KATIE SHIMER: You nailed my drinking habit and personality perfectly ["Off the Sauce," July 10]. Regretfully, you failed to mention that any punch in the face from a 12-stepping cry baby would have been countered with a blow of thrice the force, followed by a couple of steps on his tear-and-blood besmirched face.

Don't forget, this old sot can still equal his age in push-ups. By the way, please send future copies of the Mercury to my attention at Gratersford State Prison, Schwenksville, PA 19206. (I'm in on a bunko conviction, but would have preferred a federal prison.) Bottoms Up!



TO THE EDITOR: Julianne Shepherd did a good job of explaining some of the issues around music file sharing ["Steal This Song," July 10. This is from Dave Allen, formerly of the punk outfit Gang of Four--ed. ] I say some because there's no clear way to lay out all the issues in an article like this. In their letter [July 17] Kathleen McConnell and Amy Neymeyr seem to have overshot their mark.

Copyright is the issue! Our archaic copyright laws allow artists, musicians, and other creators to hang on to their rights for far too long before they enter the public domain. Today's technology allows for any creator with a computer to manipulate any sound file available.

Mashing is one example, wherein a musician with a computer takes a song, pulls out the vocal melody, and literally mashes it onto another song. One great example is Madonna's "Holiday" mashed with a Sex Pistols song. Technically it's illegal but it's also good fun and more interesting than a lot of schlock out there.

Today's talented artists will always run afoul of current copyright laws because it's an eternity before anything drops back into the public domain. So I say all you computer whiz musicians should go forth and grab a Gang of Four track and mash it onto a Christina Aguilera song just for the hell of it. I'd be pleased because it's an inventive use of my copyrighted work. It's the gatekeepers that are stifling creativity and innovation online.

Dave Allen


DEAR MERCURY: What's wrong with your movie review staff? My case in point is Dan Howland's recent review of Pirates of the Caribbean [Film, July 10]. Lacking imagination, Dan tosses out shallow attacks against the acting to lure readers to his side. Johnny Depp is a "swishy" pirate, says Dan, suggesting he walks like a girl. Dan should think back to the original cinematic pirate of pirates, Errol Flynn. Dashing, debonair, and a flaming fag. So back off; the world of pirates can afford a little bit of Johnny Depp's swagger.

It's just a movie, and some movies are there to entertain us and have a little fun. My wife and I went with cardboard swords wrapped in tinfoil, and I wore an eye patch. We can never be five again, but I'd rather be keelhauled than stop tryin'. HAAAARRRGGHHHHH!!!

Cap'n Evil, Lucky Sylvian


TO THE MERCURY: I find your lighthearted article on drunk driving to be rather disturbing, especially in light of the recent drunk driving deaths in the area ["Me & My DUI," July 17]. Drunk driving is a serious issue; anyone who would drive after drinking is seriously lacking in intelligence, education, or both. For Ms. Skinner and her friends, I suspect it is the former. I've had plenty of opportunities to drive drunk. Opportunities never taken because not only did I realize that vehicles can easily become killing machines, but the subject of drunk driving was covered numerous times at school!

Ms. Skinner portrays herself as being more concerned with keeping her status of cool with her friends than actually educating and helping prevent further drunk driving deaths.

Rachael Albright


TO MARJORIE SKINNER: Hey, aren't you that chick I saw on Elimidate last year? I knew I recognized those mug shots. Damn, girl, you are one hot little mommy! This may sound forward, but I'd like to take you and three retarded sorority skanks out on a "date," then see which one of you gets drunk enough to let me suck her toes. All I'm saying, baby, is that I'm a pervert (with a heart of gold), and that you are damn cute (and I guess you're probably smart and/or funny or something, and Marjorie is a very sexy name). P.S. Heed the wisdom of Little Stevie Wonder: "Don't Drive Drunk."

Late for Dinner

CONGRATULATIONS TO "LATE FOR DINNER" for winning the Mercury "Letter of the Week" and two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater. Would you like a staff member to suck on your toes? Write us and you could be our next winner!