RE: First Thursday, crappy art, and our multi-use paper product.

SIRS, MADAMS—Last night I was out wandering through First Thursday in the Pearl, enjoying the façade of safe commercial art. At NW 10th and Couch, I heard a street musician's guitar strumming "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen. His voice rose above the hollow masses yearning to be cool and filled my head with the only art I was to experience that evening. I wanted to sit on a nearby fake plastic-wood bench and listen. Alas, the bench was all wet from the rain. Fortunately, there was a Mercury news rack right there. Voilà, I had found a use for your paper. As I sat down upon its face, enjoying a dry bottom, I realized how grateful I am that you still print that weekly shopper of yours, after all. And keep up the good work—i.e., don't get any thinner than you already are, or you won't be able to absorb the moisture on a typical fake plastic-wood bench in our esteemed arts district.

Gary D Aker



RE: Portland, you, rain, and why you should be grateful.

DEAR FELLOW, FAR-AWAY OREGONIANS—Winter, or let's just say, the rainy season, is setting in out there. I know that soon many of you will be drinking heavily, eating too much, cursing under your breath, and asking yourselves why you live in this godforsaken rainforest. You will start swearing to all your friends that as soon as you save enough money, you are moving to Arizona. But as all the rain-induced misery sets in, please read the following letter to Portland from one of her daughters, who has wandered too far and too long, now wishing only to return to her wonderfully dippy, drippy, truly weird home. I miss you. I lived in you for six years—after 14 years farther down the valley—bitching and complaining the whole time. But I'm sorry. I took you for granted. I had to leave and spend two years wandering the earth to appreciate you. I miss rhododendrons and azaleas and roses. I miss the forest of firs, ferns, and moss. I miss the peek-a-boo view of Mount Hood from my backyard on a clear day and the sweeping view of her from I-205. I miss Walla Walla onions and Hermiston watermelons and Yukon gold potatoes. I miss salmon season—oh, how I miss salmon season! I miss Zupan's and New Seasons but I also miss Fred Meyer and WinCo. I miss Jackpot Records and Powell's. I miss Forest Park and Lake Oswego. I miss seeing Portlandia the statue instead of Portlandia the TV show. I won't say I miss the rain, exactly. I miss the smell of the rain. I miss passing my fellow Oregonians on Hawthorne when it's pouring and sharing that "we're all in this together" glance. I miss knowing the same wet, chilly force that is destroying my roof and making slippery invisible moss on my porch is also feeding my dogwoods and camellias that will become a riot of pinks in May. I miss the conglomeration of people, flora, fauna, and spirit that [make] you the special, strange place that you are. I refuse to quote that lost chick from Kansas with the red shoes, but Portlandia, there's no one quite like you.

 Renee Rufeh, Portlander at Large



RE: My, What a Busy Week! [Nov 6], in which we chose Alex Falcone's live talk show as one of our entertainment event picks of the week, as well as our ongoing coverage of Portland's active stand-up comedy scene.

HEY MERCURY—Thanks for always printing select local comedy acts, specifically Alex Falcone's Late Night Action. As an aspiring local comedian, it warms my heart to see my friends' names in your newspaper. I forget that Twitter isn't something everyone accesses, so it's nice to have a physical paper to guide people to our shows.

Chelsea George

THANKS FOR NOTICING, Chelsea. We love our local comedy scene too! You win this week's Mercury letter of the week along with two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater, where you can laugh or cry, depending on what's screening on any given week, right into your pizza and beer.