Cothran

Prize for Succeeding: One week's freedom from ridicule in my column.

Punishment for Failing: See Hinckle item.

Guest Driver: Edward Epstein, City Hall reporter for San Francisco Chronicle.

Course: Must zigzag through traffic cones as Mayor Willie Brown beats him violently over the head with a ball-peen hammer.

Goal: To express even the slightest form of dismay about the mayor's violent attack.

Prize for Succeeding: A horsy ride on Willie's knee.

Punishment for Failing: To watch someone else get a horsy ride.

Guest Driver: Willie Lewis Brown. Jr., mayor of the City and County of San Francisco.

Course: Mayor Brown must drive from Candlestick Point to Market Street, mostly along Third Street, calling out each stop and explaining to each entering passenger why the best possible economic development plan for a depressed part of town focuses on cutting a football stadium deal with a man who 1) is about to be indicted on charges of felonious stupidity and sleaziness, and 2) does not have full control over the football team the stadium will house.

Goal: To explain himself without once claiming the press is racist, the public is racist, or the bus that he is driving is racist.

Prize for Succeeding: Four more years.

Punishment for Failing: Keep bus route for rest of eternity.

Guest Driver: Bruce B. Brugmann, editor and publisher of the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Course: Anywhere he chooses to drive, so long as he powers his electric bus from a non-PG&E source. (At the starting line, Brugmann will be given 1 ton of cow waste, an iron drum, plastic tubing, firewood, lighter fluid, and one match.)

Goal: Obvious.

Prize for Succeeding: The entire populace of San Francisco, declaiming at once, "You have been right about everything all along, Mr. Brugmann, and we are sorry we thought of you as a clinically obsessed whack-job for so many years."

Punishment for Failing: Must be Willie Brown intern. (Thong optional.)

When I chatted with her last week, Muni spokesperson Sharyn Saslafsky said that the Muni Rodeo would grow too unwieldy if activists and other San Francisco semicelebrities were allowed to compete. She is right, of course. But I respectfully suggest opening the contest to two "wild card" San Franciscans, chosen by Internet ballot. This year's nominees:

Guest Driver: Larry Martin, international vice president of the Transport Workers Union.

Course: Must drive N Judah line streetcar at rush hour under command from a faulty computer.

Goal: Answer all passenger questions about breakdowns without claiming the computer, or the computer's designer, is a racist dog.

Prize for Succeeding: Massive, citywide sigh of relief.

Punishment for Failing: Muni general manager job.

Guest Driver: Andrew Sullivan, chairman of Rescue Muni.

Course: Must drive any bus on any bus line -- from the very back seat.

Goal: Stay on schedule.

Prize for Succeeding: A brand-new Muni uniform.

Punishment for Failing: Must be roommate for life of Larry Martin.

I know what you all are thinking. What about me? What karmic justice do I deserve? I have a fairly obvious conflict of interest in answering this question, and thus open a new contest. I hereby invite, in hard copy or e-mail form, a proper, Muni-related punishment for my sins against journalism and logic.

Ground rules: Must be clever. Must be absent excessive bile and malice. Cannot be submitted by Kevin Keating, anyone who knows Kevin Keating, or anyone who admires, even in the least little bit, the so-called activism of the larval yuppie known as Kevin Keating.

Good news: The top five entries will win something. Bad news: I'll pick the something.

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