I have been informed that people can remark upon the electronic version of these columns, which are colloquially referred to as "webisodes." In last week's web-isode, a reader named Fred in Ohio queried, "A. Birch Steen, what happened to your usual rant and raving diatribe? You were not in last week's, and this week, there is this?" First, I am happy to note that my efforts are not going unnoticed in the Buckeye State. I spent a particularly adventuresome childhood summer on the banks of the mighty Cuyahoga—one might say I learned the ways of love there.
But more importantly: Two weeks ago, in flagrant violation of my contractual and ethical obligation to examine every issue of this catalog of misfortune, Mr. Savage informed me that my column was to be cut to make room for the hormonal ramblings of lust-addled deviants. When I returned to my post a week later, the paper featured a long poem by former Stranger sports columnist Sherman Alexie. The only logical response was a brief expression of disgust, relayed via the ancient Oriental art of haiku. But rest assured, Mr. in Ohio, that A. Birch Steen remains dedicated to decoding The Stranger for any innocent, right-thinking readers who may stumble upon it, thinking it is instead an issue of the far superior Seattle Weekly.
This week, let's examine the portion of the paper dedicated to "music." CHARLES MUDEDE dithers about a musician named Anthony Johnson. The headline refers to Mr. Johnson's "strange territory," which means that Mr. Mudede has, once again, confused music with geography. And presumably "geography" is an extended metaphor for Mr. Mudede's own manhood, as usual. A perusal of the article reveals that the words "existential" and "sexual" appear in the same sentence, which confirms, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that Mr. Mudede is, in fact, the author of this article.
Further in, DAVE SEGAL waxes nostalgic for the youth of a guitarist. He clearly scrawled this column on some dirty bed linens while in the midst of an identity-clouding psychedelic "trip." ERIC GRANDY, coining the should-be-unprintable word "porno-riffic," opines on the performance of a bluesman named "Cool Keith"—no last name for the musician was given in the article, which suggests to me that Mr. Grandy's journalistic capabilities are just as shoddy as those of the rest of the staff of The Stranger.
Speaking of which: The majority of this scandal sheet is taken up with ELI SANDERS's aimless gloating over the demise of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Just because Hearst continually ignored my telegrams urging them to lean the P-I rightward—Seattle is literally dying for a good conservative newspaper—is no reason to smugly ridicule them, as Mr. Sanders does in his article. For shame, Mr. Sanders; don't you understand the mystic laws of karma? Soon your paper, too, will fall, and you will rise to the position your talent practically screams out for: junior mop artist at an ecdysiast's club.