Published on: October 7, 2011
Now here’s an idea that someone should have thought of a long time ago.Reuters
had a story the other day about how Mexico City lawmakers are debating an entirely new definition of “until death do you part.”
According to the story, “Leftists in the city's assembly -- who have already riled conservatives by legalizing gay marriage -- proposed a reform to the civil code this week that would allow couples to decide on the length of their commitment, opting out of a lifetime.
“The minimum marriage contract would be for two years and could be renewed if the couple stays happy. The contracts would include provisions on how children and property would be handled if the couple splits.”
As in the US, half of the marriages in Mexico City end in divorce, though the rate is much lower outside the city limits. As would be expected, the Catholic Church is lobbying against any changes in marriage laws.
However, I think this is a great idea. Takes all the sting out of relationships gone bad.
Of course, Mrs. Content Guy - to whom I have been married for more than 28 years - would not be surprised by my position on this.
When we were coming up on our 25th anniversary, I was fond of saying that marriage licenses should be like driver’s licenses or fishing licenses - at a certain point, you ought to be able to let them run out without penalty. And when she would ask me about my intentions, I was purposefully vague, like I had not made up my mind.
I was being a wisenheimer.
On our anniversary, I told her I’d come to a decision - and that I was re-upping for another 25 years.
“That’s nice,” she said. “I’m re-upping for 10.”
Served me right.
Maybe I have to move to Mexico City...
Thanks to all of you who asked how my college reunion went, after I wrote about my anticipation of the event a couple of weeks ago.
It was fabulous. One of the best weekends I’ve ever had, hanging out with great people, most of whom I had not seen for 35 years. It is amazing, even after all this time, how conversations took on old rhythms, and familiar repartee emerged. It was great, and strangely enough has awakened a whole series of online discussions. (These days, it usually is the other way around.)
There was one odd comment that I can’t quite figure - one guy said that I was taller than he remembered. Which is odd, because after 35 years you expect people to say that you are shorter, balder, grayer or wider ... but not taller. But I’ll take it.
Furthermore, I was reminded when I was walking the campus of Loyola Marymount University of how much I love that place, and how important it was to me. I may have the opportunity to do some speaking there next year, and I’m really looking forward to it.
With the death last year of author Robert B. Parker, his estate and publisher have found new writers to continue his various series. Ace Atkins, a mystery novelist who wrote the excellent “The Ranger” (recently reviewed here), will have his first Spenser novel out next year. And “Robert B. Parker’s Killing The Blues,” by Michael Brandman, is just out in bookstores now, continuing the adventures of small town police chief Jesse stone.
Brandman has long experience with Parker’s work; he has produced all of the Tom Selleck movies about Jesse Stone, as well as three Spenser movies starring Joe Mantegna, and Monte Walsh
, a western starring Selleck and written by Parker. And so he knows the characters well, and uses his first novel to merge the published and television universes inhabited by Stone, and which had diverged more and more over the years.
To be honest, it isn’t a great book. As I read it, I kept thinking that it reminded me of a pretty good cover band - it may play the same music and sing the same lyrics as the original artist, but it is never the same. That metaphor isn’t chosen idly. When I interviewed Parker years ago for a newspaper story, he told me that that he believed that people liked to read his books because they enjoyed the rhythm and cadences and beats of the language, which he intended to be almost musical.
I enjoyed “Killing The Blues,” and I’ll read the next one, in part because I’m invested in the characters and the series, and in part because I’m curious to see if Brandman gets better with practice.
There’s a really good movie out there that you need to see - 50/50
, the title of which refers to a young man’s chances of survival after he is diagnosed with cancer. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Adam, a somewhat tentative radio producer living in Seattle, who is knocked for a loop when he is told of the disease by one of the most unfeeling doctors ever shown onscreen.
The thing about 50/50
is that it is a funny, uplifting movie that never gets morose or maudlin; much of the humor is provided by Seth Rogen, who plays Adam’s best friend, and who makes it is mission to help him exploit the diagnosis as best he can (and if it helps him get girls, too, so much the better). Some of the humor is crude, but never gratuitous; it is organic to the characters and situation, and so it really works. (This is probably because 50/50
is based on a true story, and Rogen was actually the best friend of a guy diagnosed with cancer. So the moments feel absolutely real and never contrived.)
There are two other excellent supporting performances - Anna Kendrick as a hospital therapist assigned to help Adam cope, and Anjelica Huston as his mom, who drives him nuts. The thing about both characters is that they take turns you don’t expect, and that keeps the film alive and fresh.50/50
didn’t do a lot of business when it opened last weekend; I suspect that’s because the subject matter seems off-putting. But I am telling you to go see it - it is beautifully written and acted, and is a lovely piece of filmmaking.
I have several wines to recommend to you today...
• the 2009 Christian Bernard Select Block Gamay, with just enough heft to stand up to a good burger.
• the 2006 Duffy Waldorf Zinfandel from Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley, which is thick and smoky and wonderful.
• the 2009 Alto Nero Davola from Sicily, fantastic with spicy Italian food (I’m partial to Cajun shrimp and pasta).
• and the 2010 Zull “Lust & Laune” Gruner Veltliner, which is light and really drinkable.
That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you Monday.