DEARMERCURY: I just read the comments about Bo Bice written by Adam Gnade [Up & Coming, Dec 1]. I understand that because Bo Bice was on American Idol some may automatically assume he's just the usual commercialized pop crap. From what I've seen and heard, this guy has a rock 'n' roll heart. He's made me fall in love with music all over again.



DEAR EDITOR: As noted in Rich Mackin's article on the redesign of the Hawthorne Bridge bike lanes ["The Beaten Path," Dec 1] the facilities are inadequate. What isn't pointed out is that these lanes are not even legally bike lanes! Oregon Revised Statute 814.420(2) states, "A person is not required to comply with [the requirement to operate in a bicycle lane] unless the state or local authority with jurisdiction over the roadway finds, after public hearing, that the bicycle lane or bicycle path is suitable for safe bicycle use at reasonable rates of speed."

If Maria Rojo de Steffey was unaware of the lanes' adjustment, it's quite clear no authority held a public hearing to approve the lanes as safe for reasonable rates of travel.

Jeffrey Stout


DEAR MERCURY: You'd think that with the cloud of ganja smoke surrounding Justin Sanders he would get the munchies. His review of Nostrana ["Strip-Mall Chic," Dec 1] proves four things: (1) He has never seen a strip mall. (2) He has never been to one of the Italian chain restaurants he purports Nostrana to be like. (3) He has not seen real wood and was confusing his veneer-replete basement dwelling's environs with the real deal Nostrana sports. (4) He went one time and wrote a review.

When the menu includes items listed at more than $10, the Mercury's reviewers get woozy and lightheaded and begin to confuse their hipster ideology with reality. Stick to reviewing places that have $3 well whiskeys to help your imagination.

Jim Anderson


TO THE MERCURY VIA VOICEMAIL: This is Dom. I'm kind of surprised you put an ad on your paper [Cover, Dec 1]. It seems like a weird decision, especially it being [for a Bishops party at] the Dixie Tavern, that's basically the same people as Bar 71 or something? I don't know why you would do it. But whatever.

Dom: While we ordinarily reserve our cover for artwork, our annual Online Charity Auction includes the item, "Design a cover of the Mercury." Whether the winning bidder is an artist, an ad-craving business, or chimpanzee with a Sharpie—we don't care, because it raises money for a good cause. Read about this year's charity and auction items on page 9!


DEAR MERCURY: Your article on World of Warcraft ["I Was a Hot Night Elf of Azeroth," Nov 24, in which Erik Henriksen explores the addictive videogame] brought back the memory of my first serious boyfriend. We were young and in love, until EverQuest debuted. He barely graduated high school, flunked out of college after a year, and last I heard he hadn't dated anyone since I left him. Online games are truly scarier than drugs.



TO ERIK HENRIKSEN: I was recently relayed an article entitled "I Was a Hot Night Elf of Azeroth." I am the anonymous WoW geek that "dropped out of school for WoW".

I readily admit to flunking out because of my WoW problem. Allow me to point out that in comparison to pretty much any other addiction, WoW is the best. A lot of people who turn to videogames inherently have low self-esteem, so they turn away from society and lock themselves in their rooms. With WoW, their accomplishments can be recognized and glorified, which does wonders for an ego.

WoW can be a nasty addiction, but WoW isn't the problem if you're addicted—you are. The problem isn't in your environment, it's in your head.

Sincerely, James Angel, the kid in the basement

Caeruleus, level 60 Priest

Viridus, level 60 Mage

Kittens, level 35 Rogue

Congratulations to James for winning the Mercury Letter of the Week! In hopes it will encourage him to venture out of doors, he receives two tickets to see the Honey Brothers on Dec 15 at Berbati's, plus two tickets to the Laurelhurst. Be strong, James!