EVEN CYCLISTS GET OLD
TO THE EDITOR—In your November 8 issue, you published a letter from a cyclist who says he breaks traffic laws partly to keep car drivers "twitchy" ["Nervous Navigation"]. My father rode his bike to work for many years, a roundtrip of about eight miles. Note: He did all this in his 40s and 50s. Now, at 73, he drives his car. You may be a self-righteous cyclist today, but will you always be healthy enough to ride? Neither bikes nor cars well serve the needs of seniors. Stop this stupid "us/them" bike/car stuff. You use cars. I mean "you" plural, "you" and your family, you and your girlfriend/boyfriend/children/best buddies. Last time I looked, not even local organic vegan food gets to the city by horse cart.
DEAR MERCURY—"Called a 'citizen-initiated citation,' anyone who has the name and address of a driver can file a citation alleging a traffic infraction. The driver can either pay the fine, or contest the citation" ["Citizens' Patrol," News, Nov 29]. They do realize that by doing that they will give everyone a much, much better and more logical reason for bike riders to be licensed and insured? The auto drivers will allow a one-sided ticket giving campaign for about 10 minutes, and then they will come out in force and either demand the law be rewritten, or a similar law be enacted against bike riders.
YOU WEREN'T THERE
DEAR MERCURY—Okay, here's the deal, Neil ["Bob Dylan: Ehhhhh...," Letters, Nov 29]. You were not there (1960s), so you don't know. No one's calling Dylan patently genius. Have you listened to his music and lyrics? And no, we are not all about ourselves. Again, you were not there and have not a clue. Yes, we are now defined by soccer moms, Bill Clinton, and a bunch of clueless CEOs, but many of us are NOT that, at all. What is the legacy of this generation? Dylan and the rest of the music of the '60s and '70s (much of which you will never hear on classic rock stations) was revolutionary for its time. Dylan was and continues to be a remarkable and enigmatic person.
TRY A TRIAL
PORTLAND MERCURY—Thank you for your recent article regarding the price increases to contraception at local colleges ["A Bitter Pill," News, Nov 29]. I wanted to address one point in the article: Without citation, Ms. Furniss refers to clinical trials as "controversial." I would like to confront this, and state that the history of research has resulted in very stringent guidelines for the conduct of research. Our Women's Health Research Unit enjoys a very high level of retention, and, frankly, our patients love us. Additionally, in many cases, women are receiving an FDA-approved medication, and compensation for their time. Research and clinical trials are not for everyone. However, for proactive individuals interested in furthering the progress of women's healthcare, and health policy, we may be a good match for the provision of healthcare outside of a more traditional setting.
Heidi Printz, Ph.D., Women's Health Research Unit at OHSU
LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS
DEAR MERCURY HATERS—I think you're all being a little too hard on a free newspaper published as entertainment and as an informant. I know it's fun to see your witty comments in print, but stop expecting the paper to be more than it is. Pay your 50 cents and buy the boring, over-hysterical piece of newsprint, the Oregonian. Maybe if you do that, then I'd be willing to waste my day of pretending to do work defending your honor as well.
CONGRATULATIONS TO JEN for sticking up for us against all the meanies out there and winning the Mercury letter of the week! Jen gets two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater and lunch at No Fish! Go Fish!, where we once had our heads flushed in the toilet by bullies... not really. Okay... really.
NOT INVITED BACK TO 2008!
HEY READERS! Don't forget to send in your nominations for 2007's most annoying local annoyances. The top five responses will get a Mercury "Tiger" T-shirt, and the best ideas will wind up in our year-end "Things Not Invited Back to 2008" issue! Send your nominations (and a brief 100-word explanation) to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, December 12!