First, a bit of housekeeping: Attentive readers (as in, those who pick up this publication for more than "music" listings and the titillation provided by "escort" advertisements) will notice that I have been given a new title. No longer will I be known as The Stranger's ombudsman; from now on my title shall be "Public Editor." It's a dubious honor, to be sure, one that was foisted upon me by the drug-addled horse-hockey jockeys that run this miserable publication. Apparently they noticed that the New York Times has a public editor and so the powers that be at The Stranger, delusions of grandeur filling their tiny heads, decided they had to have a public editor too. Regardless, I shall live up to the title. The bright side: The Stranger will now have at least one intelligent and responsible editor. The bad news: My powers of influence will surely remain painfully limited.Attentive readers will have also noticed that I have dispensed with the usual table of contents format for the week. After speaking with the public editor at the New York Times, Mr. Byron Calame, I know something that Mr. Savage apparently did not when he elected to change my title. The public editor at a newspaper can do as he pleases, using his "column inches," as they are known in this vanishing trade, as scandal or whim dictates. So there is no table of contents this week. I am confident, however, that Stranger readers will be able to navigate this issue without it. You can rest assured that all the usual garbage can be found in all its usual bins.Which brings me to this week's miscarriage of an issue.In this week's edition most of the usual bins are filled with trash about uncles. Uncles. Just what, I couldn't help but wonder as I read through the advance copy, was "Editor In Chief" Dan Savage thinking when he assigned this issue? Or, more to the point, what was he smoking? With all that is going on in the world—numerous wars, a congress in crisis, imminent flu pandemics—why would Mr. Savage, whose skills at shameless self-promotion are trumped only by his ineptitude as an editor, unleash such a potato-headed scheme—excuse me, "theme"—on the readers? Visions of bongs and crack pipes sprang to mind.Then I remembered something else that Mr. Calame told me about being a public editor: I may demand answers to my questions from any and all of the miscreants on The Stranger's staff. Just as Mr. Calame demands and gets answers from Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, and quotes Keller at length in his column, so too may I demand answers from Mr. Savage and run them in this space. (Full disclosure: My sister-in-law used to own a summer home next door to Mr. Keller's, and we have shared cocktails over the grill on numerous occasions.)I sent this e-mail to Mr. Savage: "What, pray tell, were you thinking?"His response was long-winded, defensive, unreflective, and without insight: "Families are shrinking in size, assbaggage, so uncles are dying out. It used to be that a person had at least two uncles, often three or four or more. Now people are lucky to have even one. We wanted to tell some uncle stories before uncles were completely gone and forgotten."There you have it. An entire issue of this paper dedicated to the proposition that uncles are dying out. A disappearing breed. An endangered species.What rubbish.I sincerely doubt that anyone—outside of that small cast of characters somersaulting around in the marijuana cloud that fills Mr. Savage's head—has given the subject a moment's thought. I sincerely doubt that anyone will give it a moment's thought after they finish this issue. Still, with the paper seemingly in Mr. Savage's grasp indefinitely (Mr. Savage is now the longest-serving editor in chief in the sorry history of this excuse for a paper), there was simply no one left on staff who could stand up to Mr. Savage. Any gifted writers, courageous dissenters, or sensible, sober adults that had been in the paper's employ long ago departed of their own free will or were pushed out by Mr. Savage. Thus The Stranger's Uncle Issue, tastefully labeled "Touched by an Uncle," wherein a gaggle of imbeciles pontificates on all things uncle, from tales of molestation to tales of chronic inebriation. In other words: space, meet wasted.Mr. Savage, however, strongly disagrees. In an e-mail responding to a series of follow-up questions Mr. Savage wrote, "Fuck you, Steen." Ah, the wit and wisdom of Mr. Savage. He is the Johnson of our times.COVER ART Joe Newton,