While I was on leave in September, I played a lot of bridge and occasionally assisted my niece with her trigonometry schoolwork. Though I confess it comes quite easily to me—a man cannot make real money in this world without a good grasp of revenues and margins—it did not come easily to my niece, and while I would normally chalk that up to her youth and her gender, mathematics clearly does not come easily to DEREK ERDMAN, either. Judging from the doodles he submitted to The Stranger that for some reason the editors decided to publish—perhaps it was accidental, perhaps they were desperate for content at the proverbial last minute—Mr. Erdman does not even understand that a chart representing proportionate values needs both an x axis and a y axis. Thus his representation of "Most Popular First Names of the Pacific Northwest" represents nothing. (Furthermore, should it not include Bill? Is this region not rife with Bills?) The rest of the charts are so juvenile and putrid they are beneath comment.

When the content producers of The Stranger aren't making little drawings of their feelings, they're relentlessly humiliating political leaders who happen to be conservative—a pastime they engage in with relish. This week, a freelancer apparently called GOLDY is given free rein to hyperventilate over Representative Dave Reichert, a congressman representing the Eastside who happens to believe more jobs and lower taxes are more pressing than the state's inventory of spotted owls. The entirety of this week's denigration is formed of subjective impressions and presumptuous speculation regarding—no joke—the contents of Representative Reichert's mind, and how those contents may have been mildly jostled while the representative was doing backyard chores. I have long assumed that The Stranger delighted in the misery of anyone who doesn't swear allegiance to the liberal talking points fed to them by MSNBC, but now we have proof.

As for the rest of this issue... COVER: a painting of a variety of bread favored by Jews, here for no earthly reason I can discern... CITY: Cars are evil and so are you if you use one, to paraphrase the news department (and the mayor)... THEATER: Skipped it (though I find myself fond of the photography)... BOOKS: The miserable books editor is taken with a lesbian poet who talked poorly of Robert Lowell; color me unsurprised... VISUAL ART: Contains the words "a painting that makes you think simultaneously of American appropriationist Richard Price and German expressionist Georg Baselitz?!" as if either reference means anything to anyone... CHOW: Skipped it (though I find myself, again, fond of the photography)... MUSIC: Skipped it (though I find myself, as ever, fond of Erica Grandy's column photo)... FILM: Short and uninteresting reviews of mostly foreign films... SAVAGE LOVE: Notably less gay than it often is, but still marked by heterosexual depravity (polyamorous marriages are unhealthy and painful, and so is rape—this just in!).

Follow A. Birch Steen at www.twitter.com/strangerslog.