RE: "The 'We'" [Portland as Fuck, Jan 16], in which columnist Ian Karmel explores the unifying power of the Portland Trail Blazers.

TO THE MERCURY AND IAN KARMEL—Loved this column. Informative, descriptive, and engaging. Now will read column every week.

Birds & Fishes

RE: "School" [Portland as Fuck, Jan 30], regarding the injustice of student loan debt.

The US used to be able to afford to pay for higher education without charging high tuition and forcing people into debt bondage before "priorities" shifted. For all those who insist Occupy had no coherent program or set of goals, this is one of the things you missed out on/chose to ignore. But of course the internet is full of commenters who love to scoff at all the silly college students, ignoring the system that holds them in debt and relies on them as a cheap labor force in a bad economy as they struggle to pay off their debts.

posted by geyser

The education system would be much better off if every kid would be forced to move out of their parents' home and take a shitty job to make ends meet for like two years before going into college. I remember being 19 and thinking I was a fucking genius for knowing who Immanuel Kant was. I kant remember now, so maybe I was. Give kids a crash course in what a shitty job is like and how much money actually matters in life, make them budget their paycheck, and show them how much they'll be paying and for how long after school. Then let them decide whether to go to school, what to study, and whether they want to sit on the couch getting stoned instead of going to class.

posted by Aestro



RE: "White Squall" [Film, Jan 2], a review of The Impossible by Jamie S. Rich.

DEAR MERCURY—Jamie S. Rich sounds pretty ignorant as your movie reviewer whether he tried to be PC or not. In his review for the tsunami movie with Naomi Watts, he said that the original Spanish family was substituted with "white" British actors. Does Jamie know that Spaniards and the British are both European? I understand nobody wants to belong to that pseudo-category invented by the Anglo-American world of WHITE! No problem there, but it also smacks of Spaniards along with Italians—in American Nordic ideology—being "greaseballs," not quite European. Where does Jamie stand on this?? A Spanish European family being played by British actors, who cares?

Ella Mintel



RE: "Off the Grid" [Feature, Jan 23], about the history and mysteries of Portland's street grid.

DEAR MERCURY—I have been a longtime reader and appreciator of your fine paper, but I have had a growing suspicion, and this week it was confirmed. I am quite certain you are unaware that there is an entire section of Portland that lies beyond downtown, below the Skyline-dominated West Hills... and is still a part of Portland incorporated. Have you ever driven on SW Barbur beyond the confines of downtown? The only places you mention as anomalies to this grid are the West Hills, Sandy Boulevard, and Ladd's Addition... the streets out here are cray-cray! I have had many an Eastside friend try to find my house and become lost for days, only to wind up at the Original Pancake House in desperation. As a lifetime resident of this "forgotten quadrant," I feel under-represented by your paper. It seems that you think only Eastside Portlandia types and Westside Skyline snobs inhabit Portland... SW is the true heart and soul of this town, and it would serve you to learn a bit more about your fellow Portlanders. Just find your nearest cross street first and I can direct you.


WE'RE SORRY to have made anyone who lives in the part of Portland beyond the grid feel left out. But seriously, we can't find our ass with two hands out there. It's scary. By way of amends, we're sending LJL two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater, where the streets are sensibly alphabetized and numbered.