DEAR MERCURY—In response to I, Anonymous, Dec 20: Your letter, "Mind Your Mammaries," sadly proves how in people's minds, breastfeeding is much like a sexual act. You are the dent in society that has rendered the breast as only an object of sexuality. Just because we are breastfeeding children doesn't mean we are in a cult or are feminists on our high horse. You undoubtedly aren't a mother. I applaud all women and men who support public breastfeeding and risk the scorn of a misinformed and bitter woman like yourself.   

 Cali C.


DEAR MERCURY—Thanks to Wm. Steven Humphrey for the Santa's lap article this week ["Up on Santa's Lap," Feature, Dec 20]! When a crazy old bag lady ordered a bagel and coffee and paid for all of it in pennies and nickels while non-stop whinging about her ungrateful children, instead of lunging over the counter and tearing her throat out with my teeth, I just muttered to myself "Chocolate Santa" and chuckled a little.

Melissa Shirley


DEAR MERCURY—I hate to point out the obvious, but I've read your scathing words toward "vegan cyclists who smoke" enough times to feel the need to do so ["Things Not Invited Back to 2008," Feature, Dec 27]. I'm VEGAN because it depresses the shit out of me to eat flesh and otherwise cause suffering to living things. I BIKE as an alternative to the glaring destruction caused by both absurdly inappropriate methods of transport and oil dependency. And I SMOKE, on the street and in backyards, and the harm I cause is reserved to my own lungs—because when it comes down to it, the only thing I'm okay with hurting is myself.



DEAR MERCURY—Pardon the rage, but: well, who the hell invited you in 2007 ["Things Not Invited Back to 2008," Feature, Dec 27]? Because I bet that's when you moved here and got some ugly haircut that you wear while you swill PBR tall boys and talk about growing up in Michigan and how maybe next you'll move to Providence.



DEAR MERCURY—Greetings. I enjoyed Alison Hallett's review of Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, and have been glued to much of Pollan's work over the years [Arts, Dec 27]. Hallett alleges with some smugness that Pollan's advocacy of whole and local foods is "hardly revelatory" to eaters in Portland, which "practically coined the term 'farm to table.'" Certainly Portland has made much hubbub about certain chefs and their conspicuous return to farm-to-table eating, but Portland is hardly any sort of epicenter. But also... I feel like it's important to note that, like street crime sensationalized on the news, farm-to-table eating in Portland seems like as much a topic du fad as a solid tradition or practice. Having run a restaurant in Oregon I can tell you that a huge majority of the food we all eat on a daily basis commits many of the sins that Pollan illustrates, and unless you actually eat at Le Pigeon for three meals a day every day, you're probably eating FrankenTomatoes from the Salinas Valley or Argentina on the regular.

Chris Lohrey


DEAR MERCURY—I wanted to say thanks for making the Portland Mercury excellent wrapping paper for those of us who are poor, or don't see the point of paying for something when it is provided for free every Thursday in boxes spread around the city. It is great, and sometimes people think it's cool that I used a weekly paper for wrapping their gift instead of wrap-specific goods, which is odd because I'm not cool.   

 Mark Walsh

CONGRATULATIONS TO MARK for recognizing one of the many non-literary uses of the Portland Mercury. Don't forget, we are also great for lining birdcages, stuffing shoes and boots so they retain their shape, and—in a grave pinch—wiping your nose or ass (be wary of ink stains). Mark wins two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater and lunch at No Fish! Go Fish!, where he will be treated like the cool guy that he is.