Cocktail Time

New U.S. guidelines suggest that powerful anti-viral drug combinations should be used later, rather than earlier, in treating AIDS

Now, I'll grant, Virginia City is 230 miles northeast of here, and the 2,000-circulation Chronicle's certain to be light on San Francisco news, even with Bay Area exile owners. But S.F.'s suffering a morale crisis; we desperately need an old-timey newspapering underdog, given the sad experiment in political cronyism that is the San Francisco Examiner. (I mean, really: Did you see last week's front-page item featuring the Christmastime musings of "prominent citizen" Joe O'Donoghue?)

Martin Lane, the British expatriate who sold the Chronicle to Bachler and Kaplowitz, is a top-tier journalism pro with 10 years experience as a Financial Timesof London staffer. For 8 1/2 years his prose verily sang. An attorney representing a hapless band of serial horse shooters, for example, was "a man who appears to ooze as he walks."

So our pair of Bay City pretenders have a difficult act to follow; they'll be real underdogs. In fact, if you close your eyes a moment, it's possible to imagine them as Camp Northstar denizen Rudy, the wastrel played by Christopher Makepeace in the 1979 movie Meatballs, lining up for a three-mile footrace against the rich kids from Camp Mohawk. It's possible to imagine Rudy discovering his place in the world as he pulls into the lead and wins. It's possible to forget about the nasty civic embarrassment that is the San Francisco Examiner.

Martin Lane has posted a selection of hisComstock Chronicle stories at

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