It's common knowledge that the staff of The Stranger can be bought quite easily. Sometimes the staff requests drugs for a favorable story; sometimes (when writing about nubile young college students or farm animals) they request sexual favors in exchange for positive coverage. I hear tell that a certain Stranger book-section editor once wrote a glowing review of a mystery/thriller because a comely female publicist agreed to cuddle with him, fully clothed and with both feet on the floor, for five minutes. So in this very "special" issue of The Stranger, we are supposed to be elated that the staff has sold off the content of their whining mockery of a tabloid for charity. Only two words came to mind as I was informed of this state of affairs: One word is "Ho." The other is "Hum."

Let's look at this "special" edition, shall we? BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT gets drunk at a bar. BRENDAN KILEY lusts over a burlesque-cabaret temptress. JEN GRAVES blathers about something that passes for "art." DAVID SCHMADER uses the electronic- mail messages of others to compose "his" column. A clearly doped-to-the-gills LINDY WEST mistakes Bellingham for a city that matters. ERIC GRANDY gloats about his special access to a depraved rock-and-roll ensemble. DOMINIC HOLDEN, GARRISON BLISS, and BRENDAN KILEY prattle on about the minutiae of an industry too complex for them to understand. And PAUL CONSTANT tries to spread his brain-damaged irreligiousness as far and wide as he has disseminated his nasty case of syphilis.

Where, I ask you, is the "special" in this menagerie of Stranger "news" stories? To my mind, this is the most mundane issue of this fetish publication to ever see print. The only good thing to come from this sad state of affairs is that there is precious little room left for gloating about the inauguration of The Stranger's cool black friend, Barack Hussein Obama. For eight years now, the architects of this hobo-blanket of a paper have pretended to be real reporters, feigning outrage every time the president achieved another mission accomplished. Once the scandals start rolling in from the newly corrupt White House, I fully expect The Stranger to sally forth with a collection of columns berating the candidate it endorsed.

I jest. I'm sure that when Rahm Emanuel is indicted for buying his position from the Obama crony Rod Blagojevich, The Stranger will publish an essay by one or another of its scribblers entitled "Oddly Shaped Items I Found in My Body Cavities." The only difference between that upcoming issue and the one you hold in your pitiable hands is that the featured vegetables and children's toys pulled forth from their diseased bodies won't have paid for the right to appear in the pages of The Stranger.