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The San Francisco papers are a constant source of amusement — if you have a very twisted sense of humor. But I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry this past Sunday over a front-page story in the Examiner.

First of all, they have some kind of a quota system at both papers. Every day, each of them has to run at least one story about AIDS or homosexuality. This particular edition of the Examiner had one of each. Now that doesn’t mean the paper could skip a day. Oh no. These are among the most politically correct newspapers in the country — especially the Hearst-owned Examiner. Old Citizen Kane must be turning over in rosebud-laden grave.

Anyway, the story that caught my attention Sunday was headlined: “S&M a hit with tourists.” When I was running a conventional daily paper with lots of extra reporters, I would occasionally come up with a really good headline and then ask a reporter to go out and write the story to go along with it. When I read this headline in the Examiner, my first thought was that some editor at the Examiner had done just that.

So, in the name of multiculturalism, I’m just going to give you the first three paragraphs (without permission and without comment):

“It’s Wednesday night at San Francisco’s Trocadero Transfer nightclub, which means patrons in a dimly lit corner are crammed against a metal fence to gawk at Bondage a Go-Go.

“Couple after couple clad in black leather, silver chains, or barely anything are taking turns whipping, slapping and pinching each other — all for the benefit of the crowd, which ranges from drooling tourists and articulate voyeurs to serious S&M practitioners.

“‘It’s the future of sex,’ says Cezanne, a college student from San Rafael, who frequently ventures South of Market to watch the weekly floor show with her fiancé. ‘It’s nice, because nowadays the way things are with safe sex and monogamy, this is the way you can use your imagination,’ adds Cezanne, who is not comfortable enough with the scene to reveal her last name. …”

In Russia, the cows fly

A friend of mine, whom I believe, swears this story is true.

The German Foreign Ministry in Bonn recently received a report from its Moscow Embassy on air safety in Russia. The report said a group of Russian soldiers in Siberia used a large transport plane to steal some cattle.

But when they were flying over the Siberian coast, the cattle started moving about uncontrollably a la Disney’s “Dumbo Drop.” To avoid crashing, the soldiers opened the landing bay at the tail of the plane and let the cows fly.

One of the falling cows hit a Japanese fishing boat and sank it. A Russian patrol boat rescued the fishermen, but arrested them because nobody believed their story about flying cows. Later, Russian authorities investigated and learned the story was true.

So, next time you’re fishing off the coast of Russia, keep an eye on the sky.

The women-in-combat debate

I think I have figured out why the Clinton administration chose Air Force Gen. Joseph Ralston as top candidate for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff knowing full well he had a deep, dark secret about adultery in his past and knowing full well the implications of such a nomination only days after the Kelly Flinn fiasco.

With the political acumen of this administration, no one can believe for a moment that it believed the selection of Ralston would actually be approved. Oh no. There has to be more to the story than that.

My guess is that this administration chose Ralston because it understood he would not be approved — and thus his rejection, unfair as it is, would help to build a broader consensus throughout the country for the idea that these “antiquated” rules about adultery have got to go.

Think about it.

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