For the last six weeks, I have not read The Stranger—call it a sabbatical, or a preserver of sanity, or whatever you like. Instead, I began reading the Seattle Times again. And may I say: Hallelujah! The effect is like that of spending six months in some squalid foreign land and then at last having a lengthy, agreeable conversation with a native-born American about, say, the idiocies of the death tax.

But for every moment of pleasure I take from reading the Blethens' storied publication, three inferior intellects are led astray by the chronically stoned mop-tops at The Stranger. My job here as the single glimmer of reason is too important to ignore any longer. And so I speak to the indigent, to the borderline illiterates, to the reprobates and to the deviants: Right-thinking has returned to The Stranger once more, and I will continue my sworn duty of standing athwart this foul-mouthed publication, yelling "Stop" in your name. You will thank me later, when you own a house and a car and have something to offer society.

And what a week I have chosen to redouble my efforts as the voice for the voiceless: ELI SANDERS, the faithful mouthpiece of the Washington State Democratic Party Machine, inquires rhetorically and at length about the whereabouts of gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee. This is the first of what will doubtless be a dozen Sanders-penned profiles of Inslee between now and the election in November in a failed attempt to sink the campaign of Republican Rob McKenna, who is far and away the clear favorite in this fight.

The rest of the paper is frankly anemic. In music, every writer The Stranger can afford to underpay pontificates in as hyperbolic language as possible on a new musical effort by a duo of African American lesbians. Naturally, their exotic identities figure into the "reviews" more than the actual music. (Perhaps next week the staff will discover a differently abled Hispanic polka band to deify. That would be very obscure and therefore "cool," wouldn't it?) Continuing the "many hands make light work" week here at the hobo ranch, three Stranger staffers set out to discover the best hamburger sandwich within stumbling distance of their offices. Do they succeed? I know not. I gave up after the first hangover joke, approximately three sentences in.

And finally, in my absence, it seems a column has sprung up in the rear written by one SHERMAN ALEXIE, a Native American whose children's books are banned in the saner regions of the United States for excessive references to masturbation. Apparently, Mr. Alexie wanders around South Lake Union and then scribbles a tiny column about his own genitals. I never thought I would say this, but I miss Mistress Matisse. recommended