Hair
I just had to comment on Paige Williams’s beards photo essay (“A beard is a scarf …,” January 2009), as beards are among my top three Northwest pet peeves (including Northwest dress and Subaru drivers). I find it interesting how the men in the article thought wearing a beard could make them appear to be someone else, or older, or tougher/more burly. Yeah, those are all good things—“I can’t wait to be older and die,” or, “I want to be more unapproachable.” Because that makes sense.

This comment was trite: “A beard helps solidify the cultural significance” (read ‘laziness’) “of the Northwest and the rugged people who live there.” To which I say: How many people complained about our recent snowfall and how “difficult” it made life? Or how about when the weather is ninety-plus degrees and everybody flocks to the mall in their SUVs to escape? Northwesterners get all in a tizzy if it’s anything but the usual fifty degrees and raining and we can’t wear our ski coats with khaki shorts and smelly stocking hats.

Chris Heflen
Vancouver, Washington

I just wanted to thank you for your spotlight on the beards that make your city great. I am a beard fan, and a beard grower, and I am constantly on the lookout for new, interesting, and hairy locations where my facial locks might fit in. Just this morning, gazing into the mirror, I wondered, “Is it worth it to continue? To grow in spite of a bald-faced society?” After reading your article, my faith is affirmed. One complaint, though: artist Thomas Cobb (Whiskery City, an accompanying beard slide-show on Portlandmonthlymag.com) shouldn’t be so hard on Florida. Having been raised here, and having been inspired to grow my original beard by the founding fathers of beardcore, [the band] Hot Water Music, I think Florida should be recognized as having its own viable claim to the beardedness of modern America.

Micah Vandegrift
Tallahassee, Florida

Danger
Claire Martin did a wonderful job of capturing the essence of Kauai’s natural beauty in her Beyond the Bridges article (“Paradise Found,” January 2009). However, one place she enjoyed that I would strongly urge people to avoid is Queen’s Bath.

People are lured by the beauty and uniqueness of this oceanfront pool created by a natural rock formation. But Queen’s Bath is deceptively dangerous, and people can easily find themselves being battered on jagged rocks, or, worse, swept out to sea. This past October, two sisters-in-law who were walking along Queen’s Bath drowned after being dragged into the ocean by a large wave. Because of this tragedy and other incidents, many have called for the area’s closure. There is a seemingly never-ending array of beautiful sites on Kauai for people to safely experience. Queen’s Bath is not one of them.

Sue Kanoho
Executive Director
Kauai Visitors Bureau
Kauai, Hawaii

Docs
I enjoyed your excellent article “Inside the Modern House Call” (by Jill Davis, part of “Top Docs 2009,” January), about local clinics. There are local physicians and nurses who are making actual house calls for patients who are housebound due to severe disabilities; many of these patients are bedridden. There is a huge need for this medical service in the Portland area. I am one of the physicians that spend a portion of their practice time outside of their clinics. There is also a wonderful group called Housecall Providers that is involved in this modern medical service. House calls are not a thing of the distant past.

Dr. Les Franson
Northeast Portland

Math
My sixth-grade math class used your “Neighborhoods by the Numbers” package (Real Estate issue, April 2008) to study various mathematical measures of center, including mean, median, mode, and range. We used line graphs to compare neighborhood crime statistics and look for correlations between other indicators. Thank you very much for producing a tool that helped us learn more about math and our city!

Joan Campbell
teacher
George Middle School
North Portland

Spirits
In John Chandler’s article “Strange Brew” (December 2008), about Oregon’s state cocktail, Hike, Fish, & Go Camping Punch, he suggests renaming it “Pendleton Round-Up.” Given the ingredients, I think he was real close. I would call it “Let ’er Buck.” (This is also the theme of the internationally known rodeo.) After a few of these, your Western spirit will be set free.

L.M. “Chad” Chadwick
Lake Oswego