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All these years I thought that I just had an increasingly adventurous palate, and it ends up that I’m just getting old.

There was a piece in the Boston Globe this week saying that my palate isn’t actually evolving. Rather, I have degenerating olfactory nerves – and so do all baby boomers.

According to the story, baby boomers “are losing their ability to taste - and turning to spicier, higher-flavor foods to overcome their dulled senses … unlike previous generations, the nation's 80 million boomers have broad appetites, a full set of teeth, and the spending power to shape the entire food market.”

I have no reason to question this research, and in fact it makes perfect sense, and certainly should have an effect on how food retailers come to market. Lowest common denominator food may be less welcomed by consumers, which can only be a good thing for American cuisine.

But in some ways, I hate knowing these things. It doesn’t quite ruin the experience, but it was more fun to think of myself as evolving as opposed to devolving.

It sort of reminds me of the spoken introduction on the original version of “Woke Up This Morning,” by A3, which eventually was turned into the theme song for “The Sopranos.”

All of a sudden I'm overcome by a feelin' of brief mortality.
'Cause I'm gettin' on in the world.
Comin' up on forty-one years.
Forty-one stoney gray steps towards the grave…

I’ve always loved that dark imagery … forty-one stoney gray steps towards the grave … and now I guess I should take some comfort from the fact that the food is going to get hotter even as the path gets colder.

As I write this, Joe Torre is still the manager of the New York Yankees. And I cannot imagine why Steinbrenner would want to fire someone who is so classy and so good at his job.

(I beg the indulgence of MNB readers who don't care or know anything about baseball. For me, and many, baseball is how Robert B. Parker described it: “It is the most important thing that doesn’t matter.”)

But if Torre is fired, here’s my fantasy.

He comes over to the NY Mets, where he serves as bench coach to Willie Randolph, sort of being to Willie what Don Zimmer was to him when Torre first joined the Yanks.

And, when he comes, he brings a couple of free agents with him. I’m thinking that Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera would be nice.

I know I’m dreaming here … but permit me my fantasies.

One more thing about baseball. However you feel about Hillary Clinton, the moment she had the least credibility to me was during the debate when she said that during a World Series between the Yankees and the Cubs, she’d have to go back forth in her rooting because she was born in Illinois and is the senator from New York.

Which is absurd. You simply cannot do that. You have to make a choice.

Given a choice, she pandered.

Of course, this isn’t something she’ll have to worry about now.

However you feel about Rudy Giuliani, he has the courage of at least one conviction – he rooted for the Yankees during the playoffs, just as he has rooted for them all his life. He may have risked the Ohio vote in doing so, but he showed up at Yankee Stadium and rooted against the Cleveland Indians.

I hope he gets better results if he ever gets the chance to dictate foreign policy, by the way.

Have you see the new online video for Dove products entitled “Onslaught”? It is a wonderful follow-up to Dove’s “Evolution” video, and continues the company’s push to redefine how girls and women think about beauty.

I’m going to show both of them to my daughter, and you should, too.

In fact, I’m also going to show them to my sons. Because boys need to be educated about this stuff as much or more than women do.

I know that I could be wrong about this and that not all the statistics will back me up.

But I simply don't know how Tom Brady and Tony Romo get mentioned in the same sentence. Because Romo plays quarterback…and Brady is an artist.

“Michael Clayton” is one seriously good movie, and it represents yet another career high for George Clooney, who consistently makes some of the most interesting acting choices out there. (“Good Night, And Good Luck” remains one of my favorite movies of the past few years, and I’m also an enormous fan of “Out Of Sight” and “Three Kings.”)

Clooney plays the title role in this new adult thriller, which has no special effects and no comic book heroes – just exceptionally talented actors playing complex characters in a story that will have you on the edge of your seat. Michael Clayton is a “fixer” with a New York law firm, and he’s brought in because one of the firm’s founders and chief litigators has suffered a nervous breakdown – allegedly because he’s discovered that the chemical company that he is defending in a class action suit actually is guilty of poisoning hundreds of people. Tom Wilkinson plays the crazed attorney with a bit of Howard Beale-like mad bravado; Tilda Swinton in some ways is the most complicated character, playing the chemical company’s chief legal officer, who finds that the ethical morass in which she finds herself is just a deeper version of the career quicksand with which she deals every day. And Sidney Pollack is excellent as Clooney’s boss, all oil and polish as the guy who runs the law firm but is more interested in the business than the law, as of course he must be.

But Clooney remains the center of the movie, providing the moral gravity that centers it. He’s a little lumpy here, with nothing Hollywood about him – there are dark circles under his eyes as he tries to fix his law firm’s problems even as much of his personal life seems unfixable.

“Michael Clayton” is written by Tony Gilroy, who wrote or co-wrote all of the Bourne movies, and he is a revelation here. There’s none of the jumpiness of those movies, which was entirely appropriate there. Rather, “Michael Clayton” feels like movies such as “The Parallax View,” “Chinatown,” “All The President’s Men,” “Night Moves,” and “Three Days of the Condor” – those wonderfully paranoid thrillers of the seventies that were literate, smart and far more thrilling than what often gets made today.

I have three red wines to recommend this week:

• Spellbinder, a non-vintage blend from Washington State’s Sleight of Hand winery, which is a bold mixture of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and sangiovese, and which went unbelievably well with a lamb burger that I had last night. (If you ever have the chance to go to Lola’s for dinner in Seattle, you have to try the burger…)

• the 2004 Glen Fiona Syrah, also from Washington State, which is smooth and strong and goes with any red meat.

• the 2005 Director’s Cut Pinot Noir from Francis Ford Coppola, which I enjoyed this week with a simple caprese salad at his Zoetrope Café in San Francisco.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you Monday.

KC's View: