RE: “Things To Do” [July 26], in which Senior Editor Ned Lannamann encouraged Mercury readers to see Neil Diamond at the Moda Center. “No one’s taken more knocks than the perennially uncool Neil Diamond,” Lannamann wrote, “and yet here he stands, more than 50 years after his first hit, ‘Solitary Man,’ still packing arenas and making grandmas happy as countless hot-new-things have fallen by the wayside.” Lannamann also wrote a piece about the deep cuts in Diamond’s catalog [“Play Me: Neil Diamond’s Best Albums”] and a glowing review of the concert on Blogtown.

I don’t normally deal in false outrage, but “perennially uncool”?? Sounds like somebody couldn’t get tickets. Listen: I was there. I can assure you that Neil Diamond has more cool in his yellowing old man toenails than you have in your whole body (probably, I don’t actually know you). And no, I’m not geriatric, and yes, I have a thriving career, and also, if you’re wondering, I get laid on a fairly regular basis. So, you know... there.


Zulema Renee Summerfield


RE: “Muay Thai Saved My Life” [Feature, July 26], Rachel Petrovich’s story about learning Thai boxing. “I’ve had wonderful spiritual practices in my life, but muay Thai gave me religion,” Petrovich wrote. “I wish this for everyone, but mostly for all the 13-year-old girls out there. To them I say, ‘Go get some gloves, a mouthguard, a good teacher, and go fucking MAKE YOURSELF, kid.’”

Beautiful treatise on self-determination and its benefits. Well done, Rachel.


Thank you for sharing your story. Very inspiring, both for the 45-year-old dad in me, and my kids! Keep fighting and keep writing.



RE: “Don’t Worry, You’ll Be Able to See Practically the Whole Eclipse from Portland Anyway” [Blogtown, July 25], in which that Neil Diamond-hating jerk Ned Lannamann found another object for his scorn: those traveling to see the upcoming solar eclipse. “The vantage points from here in Portland will see anywhere from 98.9 to 99.6 percent of the thing. Which, if you round up, is basically all of it,” Lannamann wrote. “So if you totally forgot to plan ahead, you’re looking pret-ty smart right about now.”

Even at 99 percent obfuscation, the sun is still 10,000 times brighter than it would be during totality.


Hey Ned, just thought you should know, a 99.4 percent eclipse is not the same as 100 percent. If even a speck of the Sun’s face is visible, you will miss totality, as the brightness drops by a factor of 4000 when the Sun is completely covered. The pupil of the human eye opens to allow more light if any portion of the Sun is visible so that you perceive daylight, not darkness. This is a common misconception. But many will understand after August 21, and I would be sorry for anyone in Portland who could make the short drive to totality but will not, thinking they’ll see the show from home.  You will see a strange sky that day, but it won’t be totality with the faint and delicate solar corona.

Jay Ryan, American Eclipse USA

And the Mercury’s letter of the week goes to... not the eclipse nerds! Zulema Renee Summerfield, your impassioned defense of Neil Diamond has earned you our coveted letter of the week prize: two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater, where, hopefully, they’ll play The Jazz Singer soon.


The July 19 edition of “Hall Monitor” [News, July 19] incorrectly stated that Portland police officer Samson Ajir hadn’t yet been interviewed by internal affairs investigators for a May 10 officer-involved shooting. In fact, he had been interviewed on June 23. The Mercury regrets the error.

Letters and comments may be edited for space. Email us at