TO THE MERCURY: What The Oregonian said about homeless teens is outrageous ["Ten Stupid Things The Oregonian Said Last Week," News, June 10]. I was a homeless youth who, without help from agencies like Outside In, would still be homeless.

Why is "different" so bad? I'm body-pierced, yet I work hard at school, and I'm making something of myself. People act like they tolerate us. I don't want to be a success story for your paper... I'm just as flawed as the kids still on the streets, and so are you, and S. Renee Mitchell of The Oregonian. It amazes me that in order to make oneself feel better she has to put down those worse off than herself. To paraphrase Mr. Michael Moore, "Shame on you, Ms. Mitchell, and shame on you Oregonian for supporting her. "

Brian Budack


TO THE MERCURY: I'm moved, moved, to write and let you know that in my humble O, your "Gay Animals: Exposed and Exploited" section [June 17] is unarguably the best use of newsprint I've experienced in my two-plus years in the city. I thought Laurelhurst Falls was clever... and it was. But this is almost worth paying a newsstand price for... almost.

Jeff Cosloy


DEAR MERCURY: I hafta give a big "fuck you" to all the whining dog owners who think their beasts deserve to run free in parks. You know what? If your dog deserves to be free, maybe you shouldn't own one in the city! I worked at Forest Park for a summer, and all those supposed nature-lovers NEVER leash their dogs!

Balch Creek, which flows through the Lower MacLeay section of Forest Park, is one of the last vestiges of native cutthroat trout habitat in the City of Portland. They're effectively trapped in that little creek because of a mile or so of culvert separating them from the Willamette River. Dog owners think their mutts look so free and natural running at large, splashing through the creek and riparian area, but the dogs are seriously impacting the trout habitat by stirring up sediments which can smother trout eggs. The vegetation that lines the creek bank gets trampled, and sunlight then increases the temperature of the water, reducing dissolved oxygen levels in the stream. Bad for fish.

And besides all that, I get really sick of some slobbery dog running up to my crotch every time I wanna take a stroll through my neighborhood park. Oh, "he's really friendly," huh? Fuck you! Leash your ugly, smelly dogs, for chrissakes! And quit yer bitchin'!

Heather Arndt, Biologist


DEAR WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY: I applaud your efforts to extend inclusion and understanding to our queer animal brethren ["Gay Animals: They're Just Like People... Gay People!" June 17]. However, there comes a point at which inclusion obscures real differences and in fact, leads to unfortunate mis-understanding of the facts. I take a deep breath now as I once again set out to correct one of the most enduring pieces of ignorance on offer in our culture: APES ARE NOT MONKEYS!!!

Apes (chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, orangutans, and gibbons) are our close evolutionary relatives, species of which master technology, symbols, and other features of culture. Monkeys, unlike apes, HAVE TAILS, lack the ability to swing in trees (scurrying like rats instead), have teeny tiny little brains and are sometimes even eaten by meaner apes.

In referring to the lusty bonobo as a monkey no less than FOUR TIMES in your gay animals article, and labeling as monkeys what were clearly photos of chimps, you perpetuate hurtful misconceptions that deny what we humans have in common with the great apes, while lumping them together with those despicable, filthy, tail-dragging monkeys.

Clayton Szczech

CONGRATS TO CLAYTON who wins the Mercury "Letter of the Week!" This just goes to show that even when a letter writer is completely WRONG (like Clayton is in his ridiculous assertion that monkeys aren't apes), you can still win big with the Mercury. While Clayton would surely be better off winning a set of encyclopedias or a college education, he will have to make do with two passes to the Laurelhurst Theater and two tickets to see RKL at the Ash Street Saloon on July 23.


HEY READERS! See this week's terrific cover art? It was designed by our Mercury Auction Winner Jeffrey Kyle from Glamour Gallery--home to sweet vintage sunglasses, jewelry, and old-timey collectibles. Pop into Glamour Gallery, located at 9 SE 28th (corner of 28th & Burnside), and enter to win a $150 shopping spree! The drawing will be held July 10, so get crack-a-lackin'!