Alex Zielinski

OLD MAN YELLS AT CLOUD

RE: “Rock ’n’ Roll Requiem: Steven Hyden’s Twilight of the Gods” [Books, May 9], Senior Editor Ned Lannamann’s review of Hyden’s book about the death of rock. “If all of this sounds like yet another case of ‘aging white guy waxes nostalgic while complaining that his interests, once mainstream, have been displaced,’” Lannamann wrote, “Hyden’s way ahead of you.”

To portray classic rock as “old white guy music” is lazy journalism and could not be farther from the truth. At the time this music was released, you could hear any kind of music on a given radio station, from soul to country to pop. The diversity of music was astonishing, not the one-flavor banality that exists today. Bands such as Fishbone, Bad Brains, Living Colour, Death, and the like understood that music can speak to anyone regardless of what cultural idiom they come from. If, solely for that reason, you won’t listen to someone’s music, then who is the racist?

Jim


THE INTERNET: THE NEWSPAPER OF THE FUTURE!

RE: “With Municipal Broadband, Cities Are Taking Back the Internet—and Making It Faster and Cheaper. Can Portland Do the Same? [Feature, May 9], Managing Editor Erik Henriksen’s story about the possibility of Portland building a publicly owned fiber network like the one in Sandy, Oregon—which offers a local alternative to internet service providers like Comcast and gives residents gigabit-speed service for $60 a month.

I have two residences in PDX—one in Sellwood, where only Comcast provides internet, and one downtown, where I have CenturyLink. For both, I have internet-only for $39 a month, and the prices are for life. I stream Netflix and Amazon Prime at both, with no problems regarding quality. And I despise Comcast, like any red-blooded American.

Okay, so “net neutrality” is gone, which I guess is a bad thing. But I haven’t noticed any limitation on content or source of content. So if you think I am going to be a big fan of paying DOUBLE what I pay now for municipality-supplied 1-gig internet, for which I have zero need, then someone needs to schedule a few therapy sessions.

Thin-ice

From the Personal Telco Project to the tease of Google Fiber, internet for all remains a complex challenge.

Internet for some, in the form of peer to peer (p2p) communication, is solved many times over. Email and the web allow anyone to communicate with anyone, but it turns out nobody wants to communicate with everyone. People mostly want to talk to their friends, family, and coworkers. P2p communication is made for a human-sized internet.

New Android smartphones can be purchased for less than 50 dollars. When (during setup) the phone asks you for your carrier, just say, “No thanks.” Now you have a pocket-sized, battery-powered p2p computer that can use Bluetooth and WiFi. Portland is awash with free WiFi in public establishments and libraries.

Municipal broadband is a worthy service from the top down that might happen some day. P2p communication from the middle outward is happening now.

Trevor Blake


THE PLANTER CONSPIRACY

RE: “Someone Mysteriously Placed Cement Planters in a Regular Homeless Camping Spot";[Blogtown, May 10], News Editor Alex Zielinski’s post about numerous large planters that have been illegally placed on Southwest Naito beneath the Morrison Bridge. Since the appearance of the planters, “the number of campers under the bridge has plummeted,” Zielinski wrote, adding, “no one knows where the planters came from.” While some suspect adjacent property owners City Center Parking are responsible, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) “only investigates these encroachments if someone files a complaint.”

The story mentioned that PBOT couldn’t investigate the planters unless a complaint was filed, so I went ahead and filed one. I thought it might be helpful if others want to do the same (not to encourage such activity, of course) to print the number to PBOT’s complaint line: 503-823-1711 or 503-823-CODE (2633).

Taylor


Taylor, your participation in civic life is laudable—and has won you the Mercury’s letter of the week, plus two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater, where the only complaint you’ll have is that the popcorn is JUST TOO GODDAMN GOOD.