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Talk about gas savings…

A group of Venezuelan researchers reportedly have come up with a new way of fermenting beans that will not only make them more nutritious, but also reduce the flatulence they induce in people who consume them.

Flatulence, apparently, is caused by compounds in the beans that are less digestible than other compounds. The scientists found that by increasing a certain kind of bacteria in the fermentation process, it actually reduces the compounds.

It's good to know that the Venezuelans are on the case.

I have concerns about this. After all, this may be good for the bean business, not to mention for social acceptability among people who eat them.

But what about the comedy business?

Without the old fashioned beans and their old fashioned effects, "Blazing Saddles" would have been a far less funny movie.

Saw "The Sentinel" last weekend, and I can report that it is a decent, serviceable thriller that doesn’t stand up to too much scrutiny but has some pleasures nonetheless – chief among them the return of Michael Douglas to the screen as a Secret Service agent accused of treason and setting up the President for assassination. As always, Douglas is great – he's aged well as he moves into Harrison Ford territory, still vigorous but willing to be out of breath during chase scenes. (They both sort of remind me of Burt Lancaster or William Holden in their later years.)

The biggest problem with the movie is the presence of Kiefer Sutherland as another agent – not because he isn’t good (he's fine), but because he reminds the viewer that "The Sentinel" isn’t nearly as good as "24" is on a weekly basis.

The fact is that "24" has set a new standard for thrillers, both on TV and in movie theatres. Every week, they ramp up the tension to almost unbearable levels…and even as the plot takes twists and turns that defy imagination (and sometimes, admittedly, credibility), it is hard to take our eyes off Sutherland's Jack Bauer.

It is TiVo time this Sunday.

There's "The West Wing," which is winding down its seven-year run with some terrific stories about politics and governing…and this week, the previews hint, it will deal with questions of mandates and partisanship in ways that people rooting for a Kerry-McCain campaign ticket might approve of.

There's "The Sopranos," which continues to be a fascinating and unorthodox look at a New Jersey mob family. This year has been a little obtuse, but riveting nevertheless, as Tony Soprano watches so much of what he believed to be permanent slowly but perceptibly crack apart.

Finally, there's the third Jesse Stone movie – "Death in Paradise" - starring Tom Selleck as the former Los Angeles cop, a world-weary functional alcoholic looking for redemption as police chief of fictional Paradise, Massachusetts. Based on the terrific novels by Robert B. Parker, this series of movies has so far proven to be the antithesis of the "CSI" approach to crime series; they are deliberate and moody, character-driven and thoughtful…and Selleck, as always, is the definition of a TV star as well as being an underrated actor.

We had a wonderful new beer the other day – a Maudite Red, which is from Canada, and is thick and rich and distinctive. We checked out the company's website and discovered that this mahogany-colored beer is "the first beer brewed in America that improves with age. When served young, it is very smooth, but when served after several years of storage, its flavour is reminiscent of port."


Monday, I celebrate 23 years of marriage to Mrs. Content Guy. Which speaks volumes about my good taste in women, and even more about her patience, forbearance, sense of humor, tolerance and patience.

And the best thing about it is that we have relatives who lose money every time we celebrate an anniversary.

They said it wouldn’t last.

That's it for this week. See you next month.

KC's View: