The NFL’s Labor Woes: Sudden Death, No Overtime.

Back to the picket line for the players in 2011?

Are you ready for some football?  Well, that’s too bad.  You might have to wait a bit longer than usual before you see any.

After weeks of negotiation, talks broke down between the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) and the league.   The key issue is the same one it usually is in these kinds of situations:  money.   The NFL wants to change the way it’s divvied up with more going to the owners and the players want to keep the things as they are.   There are other issues including a rookie pay scale, more benefits for retired players and the elimination of two pre-season games and expanding the regular season to 18 games.

“The parties have not achieved an overall achievement, federal mediator George Cohen said, “nor have they been able to resolve the strongly held competing positions that separated them on core issues.   No useful purpose would be served by requesting the parties to continue the mediation process at this time.”

In other words, get out of my office.  You both screwed up. 

Following the breakdown in talks the NFLPA moved to decertify as a union meaning all the players are now non-union workers.   The advantage to the players is it allows them to file lawsuits against the league to prevent a lockout.   The owners of the 32 franchises would be in violation of antitrust laws if they attempted to lockout the players.  Sports Illustrated has a good breakdown of what comes next (hint: it involves a lot of lawyers getting paid).

There’s a lot of legalese involved in all the maneuvering between the NFL owners and players and nobody benefits from this mess but the attorneys.  Both sides will wage a propaganda war in the media with both blaming the other side for  the stalemate and both swearing up and down how much they love the fans and want to get this resolved so we can all get back to playing the games next fall.

Two guys fighting over how to slice up a pie.

Don’t believe a word of it.   The players want to get the best deal for themselves and the owners are the same way.  Neither one cares that much about the fans.  There are no games being played in March.   The fans are irrelevant to the labor impasse between the league and the players.

Whose side am I on?  The only side I have a rooting interest for and that’s my side as a fan of the NFL.  Like 99.9 percent of the fans, I just want to see pro football next September.  That’s all.  I don’t care  how the deal gets done as long as it gets done. 

The standard line has been this is a fight between billionaire owners and millionaire players.  Even President Obama repeated this riff when he replied to a reporter’s question, “You’ve got owners, most of whom are worth close to a billion dollars,” the president said, “You’ve got players who are making millions of dollars.  People are having to cut back, compromise, and worry about making mortgage payments…the two parties should be able to work it out without the President of the United States inventing…For an industry that’s making $9 billion a year in revenue, they can figure out  how to divide it up in a sensible way.

The thing is this isn’t a fight between billionaires and millionaires.  This is a fight between a few billionaires and a lot more millionaire owners vs. a few millionaire players and many other guys pulling down six figures.   The average NFL player makes under $1.8 million, but less than a quarter of the  1,800 players make that much and less than half make a million dollars per season.  The élite players of the leagues like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees make the millions, but that doesn’t mean every other guy in the huddle with them are.

That’s really not the point though.  Whatever the average players makes it’s still a lot more than the average fan does.   There’s probably more sympathy for the players now than the owners, but it this thing drags on into the fall with no resolution in sight, that sympathy will turn into hostility pretty quick.

The last time the NFL went on strike, while the regular players walked picket lines, the league played continued on with replacement players (a.k.a. scab football players) who wore the uniforms of the teams, but mostly played some pretty awful imitation football.   I don’t know if that is a strategy the owners will repeat to feed the habit of football starved fans, but I know I didn’t get the NFL Sunday Ticket package to watch the San Francisco Scabs vs. the St. Louis Strikebreakers.  

Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice and that means I’m a damn fool and I won’t get fooled again into watching a bunch of scrubs, wannabees and washouts lumber through what’s being peddled as professional football on a Sunday afternoon.  Later for that.

From the fan’s perspective, none of this labor unrest means much.  Not now at least.  College basketball is nearing its most exciting time with March Madness, the NBA (which has even bigger looming labor problems than the NFL) is lumbering through the last few weeks of its dreary regular season with the playoffs right around the corner and their already warming up for the start of another baseball season for those of you who like that sort of thing.  Hockey?   Who gives a shit about hockey?

There’s still plenty of time for the NFLPA and the NFL to kiss and work this thing out.  Nobody’s fantasy football draft has been effected yet. But pro football is a big deal in this country.   Baseball may be the national pastime, but football is the national sport.   It’s the engine that drives a billion dollar machine and a lot of  others businesses from sports bars to bookies depend on the NFL to make a living.

There’s no pressure on either side to work out their differences quickly and they probably won’t.  But if by the time the leaves start turning brown comes around and there’s still no football in  sight, I wouldn’t be the least surprised if you don’t see Congress and even the president, making unmistakable noises to the NFL and the players, to “get a deal done or we’ll help you get a deal done.”

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Keiko Matsui: And The Road…goes on.

Keiko Matsui has been out of the studio but relentlessly trotting the globe since 2007’s Moyo (Shout! Factory), her acclaimed South African-inspired recording that featured the Japanese-born pianist/composer/producer collaborating with trumpeter Hugh Masakela, among others. The Road… (Shanachie, 2011) marks the further evolution of her signature sound and demonstrates a new chapter in her artistic growth. “When I started this project I spent a lot of time reflecting on the soul and where it comes from,” Matsui explains. “I am on a new journey and have come this far and I still find that is life is wonderful…even the challenges create a beautiful tapestry and the road continues.” The lush and elegant musical soundscapes of Matsui’s style remain intact on The Road…, but with a greater emphasis on rhythm and interaction with her band than ever before.

All About Jazz: Welcome back, Miss Matsui. It’s been four years since Moyo, and that is the longest drought we’ve had to go between albums. Where have you been?

Keiko Matsui: Actually, I was traveling so much touring the US and Europe and, at the same time, I had to reorganize my business, so I now have a new team handling my management.

AAJ: It’s good to have you back. The Road... seems like a continuation of the journey you began with Moyo.

KM: Since I was traveling through many countries, the experiences I had were so special. I really experienced the music beyond culture, religion and all those things. The spirituality is very important to my music. Going through this great experience and at the same time hardship, because the tour on the road is not on a fancy bus. It is a really hard trip. All these experiences really reflect through my music. At this time, I wanted to make this record really unique. Technology is really happening and I wanted to make this music with some very special musicians.

AAJ: You have both old, familiar musicians on this record like Gary Stockdale, Derek Nakamoto and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, as well as some new ones like Kirk Whalum and Richard Bona. How did you meet Richard Bona?

KM: I met him about four or five years ago. We were introduced by a Japanese journalist. She recommended him and I met him when he was playing in Tokyo. When I started thinking of my last album, Moyo, that was my first self-produced album and I thought I would invite him to be on this one. We met in New York and at that time we did two songs together. He is a great artist. He co-produced three songs and co-wrote two songs.

AAJ: So, it was pretty much a collaboration that clicked pretty easily?

KM: Yes. I was composing the material and I brought them to New York. He listened to it and started improvising, then we went into the studio and started recording. Usually, I’ve been doing all the composing of the material and for me the melody is very important. I communicate at the piano and collect all the material. The next part is developing the song, but in this case it was very special with Richard.

AAJ: Kirk Whalum’s saxophone sound is distinctive, and this is the first time he’s played on one of your records. What made you decide to ask him to play on The Road...?

KM: I have known Kirk for many years, and we’ve met at so many concerts and festivals. I knew he was a great artist and a respected person. When I composed the song “Affirmation,” the melody that came to me seemed right for Kirk. I thought of him because this is like the anthem for my life. I immediately thought of Kirk’s sound. This is the first time I invited him to the studio and it was a great session.

AAJ: Vinnie Colaiuta is someone you played with when you were first getting started as a recording artist, isn’t he?

KM: Yes. He played on four or five songs on this album. Vinnie played on my first album, A Drop of Water (Countdown, 1987). When I first recorded in the US, he was the first drummer for me. He and [bassist] Nathan East were my first rhythm section. That was a great memory and I know he has been playing with great artists. I thought I would ask him if he would play on my record again and he said, “I’d love to do it.”

AAJ: “Embrace & Surrender” might come as something of a surprise to anyone who thinks, “Oh, she plays smooth jazz.” It’s what Keiko Matsui would sound like, if she only played straight-ahead contemporary jazz.

KM: That song is very special to me. When the melody came to me it just spoke to me. I thought, “I don’t need a horn section or anything.” I brought the material to Vinnie and Reggie Hamilton, the bassist and we started playing. James Hara played guitar and Derek (Nakamoto) arranged it. I really like this song and I hope the audience will too, when we play it in concert.

AAJ: Are you and Bob James planning to do any more four-hands piano duets?

KM: We are going to release an album of our duets, but we don’t know when. Bob has a Fourplay album to promote and I have The Road..., so we have to wait awhile before we can put the record out, but it should be this year.

AAJ: When you called this record The Road…, did it mean something more than just all the touring and the time you spend traveling?

KM: Yes. I am the mother of two children and it is very difficult for me to leave my children behind. They usually stay with my mother in Tokyo, but sometimes I do take them with me. When I cannot, we are all very sad, but it is always better when we are with each other again. For me being on the road means some sadness when I away from my family, but it also means joy, because I can play my music and know that I am bringing some happiness to others.

AAJ: This is your 22nd album, and you have been making music for 24 years. You don’t do cover tunes. You don’t try to keep up with changing trends or tastes. You don’t pander. You just make very honest music. Is it hard maintaining true to your musical vision?

KM: I never thought I would be able to do this, but music is for me a spiritual journey and it makes me happy to know there are people who want to share this journey with me. I am thankful for the great musicians who play on my albums and in my band and I am thankful for the people who come to see us. My music is my way of sharing my dreams of peace on earth.

This interview originally appeared at All About Jazz.com.

Colonoscopy or Cancer? An Easy Choice.

Note:  This is an article I wrote five years ago.  Despite the passage in time it still remains sadly relevant.  African-American men are 44 percent more likely to die from colon cancer than white men, and African-American women, 46 percent more likely to die than white women.  This is a cancer that can be treated, but you have to get tested and to get tested you have to get over the reluctance to.

When I turned 50 last year, I was stunned by the fact that I was now older than I had ever been.   However, despite my doctor telling me it was time to get a colonoscopy; it wasn’t exactly something I was looking forward to doing. 

I knew I should have it done.  I also knew I didn’t want to have it done.  Like most men, I don’t think of my colon very often.  As long the internal plumbing seems to be working well, who thinks about …back there?

  Maybe it’s just the word “colon” that makes strong Black men freeze up.   “It’s an exit, not an entrance,” is just one of the cute, but dumb one-liners I hear rothers use as an excuse why they don’t want to get checked out. 

Being embarrassed is no reason to not know how healthy you are.  It sure isn’t a good reason to let a possible cancer go untreated.  Sometimes you just have to “man up” and put a leash on your imagination.  

Quoting from The American Cancer Society website, “African-American men and women are diagnosed with and die from colon cancer at higher rates than men and women of any other U.S. racial or ethnic group.” 

The news doesn’t get much better for Black folks. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer for Black men and women and the third leading cause of cancer death among Black men and women.  

The mortality rate of African-Americans for colorectal cancer is higher than that of Whites and so too is the incidence rate.  The kicker is African-Americans are more likely to die from cancer than any other racial or ethnic population and colorectal cancer takes out Black folks than any other racial or ethnic group in America. 

How’s that sound?  We’re Number One!  Too bad we’re “winning” in a category where the only accomplishment is you lose your life. 

If you knew in exchange for a slightly embarrassing medical procedure you could spare yourself all the pain, problems and unnecessary drama of dealing with a treatable form of cancer, why wouldn’t you do it?  

Let me answer that for you:  Because a lot of us have a phobia about anything dealing with the colon.   Even more of us don’t want to go to the doctor because we don’t want to hear any bad news.  Of course, if you wait until things get so bad you have no choice but to drag yourself into a emergency room, you may have waited too long to do yourself any good. 

This wasn’t something I wanted to do.  This was something I had to do because in my rational and reasoned mind, I could not allow fear and uneasiness to prevent me from doing the smart thing.  Ignorance is not bliss.  Ignorance can make you sick and dead. 

The preparations for a colonoscopy are simple. You make the appointment and once you’re scheduled you prepare yourself a day before the test.  The doctor will issue a prescription for laxatives (either pills, liquids or both).  In some cases an enema may be needed to empty and clean the colon so the view isn’t obscured.  

The day before the colonoscopy procedure you have to mix up a gallon of the laxative. The solution will clean you out (so the camera gets a good, unimpeded view of the inner workings) and you’ll probably be spending a good portion of the day close to the toilet. 

The soul singer Teddy Pendergrass died from colon cancer.

No solid foods the day of the procedure and only very light dining the day before.  Not that orange Jell-o doesn’t make for a fine dining experience.  Yuck! 

The next day, you get up and have someone drive you to the doctor’s office for the procedure.  You need a designated driver because you’ll likely be under sedation and the doctor won’t want you to drive yourself home.  The procedure itself takes 15 to 30 minutes.  After I changed into a robe, a nurse inserted an IV drip and wheeled me into the procedure room.  

There was a CD player in one corner of the room where the sounds of James Taylor were serenading me into sleep.  The doctor came in, introduced himself and explained what he would be doing today.  The last thing recall was drifting off to the sounds of “You’ve Got a Friend.” 

Next thing I know I’m back in the recovery room looking up at the smiling face of my wife. 

The doctor reappeared and informed us that the procedure revealed no polyps and that I checked out completely well.  He told me I was good to go for the next ten years. 

I wouldn’t call the whole experience anything remotely resembling fun, but it didn’t hurt.  Not even a little bit.  I’ve had blood tests and fat-thumbed nurses fumbling for a vein that hurt a lot more than the colonoscopy did. 

Somebody might giggle at the idea of having a camera inserted where the sun don’t shine, but the way I look at is unless conditions change, I’ve checked out free from cancer for the next decade.  Knowing that is a lot more fun than making dumb jokes.

Mike Huckabee’s Wingnut Week

You see a cute squirrel. Huck sees lunch.

There are things to like about Mike Huckabee even if you dislike his solidly conservative politics.  He doesn’t hate President Obama.  He defended First Lady Michelle Obama from idiots like Sarah Palin from the cheap shots they directed at her anti-obesity efforts (a topic near and dear Huckabee’s own heart having shed 110 pounds).  Huckabee is an ordained Southern Baptist minister who pressed for all-White churches to allow Black members and says it is wrong that inner-city Blacks get harsher sentences than Whites for the same crime.

Huckabee is a smart guy whose smarts are underrated due to his “aw shucks” Forrest Gump speaking style, hanging out with aging tough guy Chuck Norris and admissions he once fried squirrel meat in a popcorn popper.   Misunderestimate him at your peril.  Huckabee is extremely perceptive when he wants to be. He can even be a nice guy.  What he can’t be is both at the same time when he goes into initial presidential campaign mode as some polls have him as the slight favorite for the GOP nomination.

Yet, he has wisely observed the difficulty any Republican candidate will have in defeating President Obama when he said on ABC’s Good Morning America, “You don’t beat presidents easily and this idea he’s just an absolute one-term and easy to beat—this race is going to be like climbing a ladder, pointing toward you, because Barack Obama is going to start this race with a billion dollars, he’s going to have no primary opponent.”

Huckabee wants to have it both ways on the “Obama wasn’t born here” Birther nonsense.  At one point he’s saying in the same interview on ABC, “I just don’t think it’s completely necessary for us to delve into such extraneous matters.   And I’ll tell you, the idea that he’s not a citizen–you know why that’s nonsense?  Because if there was a shred of truth to it, Hillary Clinton and her wonderful investigative opposition research team would have found it and used it.  And for Republicans to be even bringing it up, I think it’s a waste of energy and time.  Let’s focus on the issues with which we have disagreement, not on really the extraneous personal things that are immaterial.”

"Freak On A Leash?" You got it!

Sounds like a reasonable man, but, you can’t count on Republicans being reasonable for long.   A few weeks after saying Birther rap was “nonsense” and “immaterial” he goes on a conservative talk show and in response to a question whether the former governor of Arkansas was troubled that “we don’t  have a health record, we don’t have a college record, we don’t have a birth certificate” for the president.

“I would love to know more,” Huckabee replied, “What I know is troubling enough.”

“If you think about it, his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather,” Huckabee continued, “their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different that ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather.”

The president was born in Hawaii in 1961 and grew up there.  He would later spend several years in Indonesia and did not visit Kenya until later in life.  His father abandoned him and his mother when Barack was two years old. 

A Huckabee mouthpiece said his boss didn’t mean to infer the prez wasn’t born in America and “clarified his remarks.”  Problem solved, right?  Nope.  Huckabee, who’s pimping a book about small government nobody is going to read, went on another right-wing radio show and gave a “what-you-think-I-said-is-not-what-I-meant” explanation.

Bryan Fischer:  Well, Governor, what got lost in all the shuffle was the legitimate point that you were making which is that we may have a president who has some fundamentally anti-American ideas that may be rooted in a childhood where he had a father who was virulently anti-colonial, hated the British, might have something to do with the President returning the bust of Winston Churchill back to England.  You know, I was struck by the fact that when he made his tour to Indonesia, he made a point of going to an Indonesian memorial that celebrated the victory of Indonesians over British troops–again, part of that anti-colonial thing.   And so, I’d like you to comment on that; you seem to think there is some validity to the fact that there may be some fundamental anti-Americanism in this president.

Huckabee:  Well, that’s exactly the point that I make in the book and I don’t know what these reporters—maybe they can’t read, I guess that’s part of it because it’s clearly spelled out and I’m quoting a British newspaper who really were expressing the outrage of the Brits over that bust being returned and the point was that they felt like that due to Obama’s father and grandfather, it could be that his version and view of the Mau Mau Revolution was very different than most of the people who perhaps would grow up in the United States.   And I have said many times, publicly, that I do think he has a different worldview, and I think it is, in part, molded out of a very different experience.  Most of us grew up going to Boy Scout meetings and, you know, our communities were filled with Rotary Clubs, not madrassas.

How much clearer can you say, “Hey White folks, this Barry Obama guy?  He’s a militant Black guy who didn’t grow up here, hates the Boy Scouts and Rotary Clubs and White people too!” 

As regards Obama removing the bust of Churchill from the Oval Office and sending it back across the pond to the Brits?  It didn’t happen that way.  It was loaned by ex-British prime minister Tony Blair to ex-President George Bush in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.  When the Obama Administration came in they replaced Churchill with a more decidedly American hero.  Was it Martin Luther King?   Malcolm X?   Rick James?

Close, but it is a bust of the Great Emancipator (and Republican) Abraham Lincoln now adorning the Oval Office.  Boy, that Obama, First it’s Reagan and now Lincoln; he’s always co-opting Republican icons.

First Huckabee “clarifies” his remarks about Obama, then doubles down with the Muslim dog whistle and now he’s picking on tiny preggers Oscar winners.  The Huckster hit another right-wing radio show (this is becoming a running gag now) and found a new enemy of American values.  Natalie Portman. 

Natalie Portman causes unwed pregnancies. Huh? What?

MEDVED:Well this was a – this was a low audience. However, there was – there was one moment where a very brilliant and admirable actress named Natalie Portman won Best Actress, and she won for a movie which I loathed called Black Swan. But in any event, she got up, she was very visibly pregnant, and it’s really it’s a problem because she’s about seven months pregnant, it’s her first pregnancy, and she and the baby’s father aren’t married, and before two billion people, Natalie Portman says, ‘Oh I want to thank my love and he’s given me the most wonderful gift.’ He didn’t give her the most wonderful gift, which would be a wedding ring! And it just seems to me that sending that kind of message is problematic. 

HUCKABEE: You know Michael, one of the things that’s troubling is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts of, ‘Hey look, you know, we’re having children, we’re not married, but we’re having these children, and they’re doing just fine.’ But there aren’t really a lot of single moms out there who are making millions of dollars every year for being in a movie. And I think it gives a distorted image that yes, not everybody hires nannies, and caretakers, and nurses. Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can’t get a job, and if it weren’t for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and never have health care. And that’s the story that we’re not seeing, and it’s unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out of children wedlock.

You know, right now, 75 percent of black kids in this country are born out of wedlock. 61 percent of Hispanic kids — across the board, 41 percent of all live births in America are out of wedlock births. And the cost of that is simply staggering.

MEDVED: It’s tremendously staggering.

What’s even more “tremendously staggering” is neither of these moralizing morons know that Portman is engaged to marry her fiance in a matter of weeks.   On one hand Huckabee is perceptive enough to know the distressingly high rate of out of wedlock births, but dumb enough to suggest it’s all Natalie Portman fault.

If Huckabee is going to continue running off at the mouth without knowing the facts before he does, let’s just stop now and change the first initial of his last name from an “H” to a “F” because he’s fucking up royally this week. 

Huck’s never been accused of being the smartest guy in the room, but this week he’s laying claim to being the dumbest.

"Fried squirrel on a stick? Pass some over here, dawg."

Charlie Sheen’s Role of a Lifetime

Good Time Charlie doesn't have the blues.

The matter of the train wreck the life of Charlie Sheen has become is one of those topics that has been exhausted its already minimal interest.  Really, what more is there to say?

This much more::  There is no “Charlie Sheen.”  That guy doesn’t exist.  There’s only Carlos Irwin Estevez playing “Charlie Sheen” and passing for a White celebrity with all the trappings that follow with it.

If Charlie or his fellow drug addict, Lindsay Lohan were Black, both of their sorry asses would have been locked away and quickly forgotten about.  But Sheen is a cash cow for CBS and that meant as long as he delivers the goods they’ll overlook his nasty habits.   They forgave him the drugs, the porn stars and prostitutes, the trashed hotel rooms   Whatever Sheen’s ethnicity, he’s a drug-addled mess.  Turn him into Dave Chapelle and they would have drop kicked to the curb him by now.

If he wasn’t “Charlie Sheen” he would be.  Ditching Carlos for Charlie opened doors that might have remained closed with a Spanish surname.   Martin Sheen, who has appeared on Charlie’s show and played his father in Wall Street explained why the name change.

“Whenever I would call for an appointment, whether it was a job or an apartment, and I would give my name, there was always that hesitation and when I’d get there, it was always gone,” Martin told interviewer James Lipton on Inside the Actors Studio. “So I thought, I got enough problems trying to get an acting job, so I invented Martin Sheen. It’s still Estevez officially. I never changed it officially. I never will. It’s on my driver’s license and passport and everything. I started using Sheen, I thought I’d give it a try, and before I knew it, I started making a living with it and then it was too late. In fact, one of my great regrets is that I didn’t keep my name as it was given to me. I knew it bothered my dad.”

Porn stars. It does a body good.

Martin was able to leverage his Americanized name to become President of the United States on The West Wing.   Charlie followed suit and success in both film and television followed.   Along with the head-patting indulgence lavishes on its stars as long as the drugging, drinking, infidelity, fetishes, escapades and other misadventures (and crimes) don’t get in the way of the box office or ratings.   Charlie boasts how he always hits his marks and as long as he does he pretty much has license to (almost) kill in La La Land.

These are some of the perks that come with passing for White.   With great access comes little to no responsibility.

I don’t watch Two and a Half Men but if CBS wants to give a Charlie nearly $1.2 million an episode, it’s not coming out of my wallet.  They seem confident they’re getting a good return on their devil’s deal even if it hinges on the erratic mood swings of an addictive personality.

If you’re White (or passing for White) in Hollywood you’re rarely a pariah for abusing drugs, banging porn starlets and being a raging egotist.   You’re just colorful.  If you’re Black they’ll lock your monkey ass up, but before they do that, first they’ll make sure you never work in this town again.

It is interesting how CBS put up with Sheen’s naked and ranting, porn queen banging, hotel room trashing rampage in New York last October where he was found in the nude, with cocaine on his face punching the wall screaming, “NIGGER, NIGGER, NIGGER.” That was forgiven and forgotten.  So was Charlie holding a knife to his estranged third wife’s throat. It took what was characterized as an “anti-Semitic” rant on a radio show when he called Chuck Lorre, Two and A Half Men creator by his Jewish name before CBS shut down  production and bounced Charlie out on his butt.

Proving once again some forms of bigotry are more easily forgiven in La-La Land than others.    There’s also a possibility Charlie and CBS are together hustling the public and press.  This all could be CBS not letting a perfectly good crisis go to waste.  According to Entertainment Weekly, the eight year old sitcom still draws an impressive 14.6 viewers each week and will earn $600 million in revenues over the next few years for Warner Bros.   Now there’s an even bigger buzz for Two and A Half Men thanks to its leading man melting down wherever a microphone is nearby.   Can CBS and Warner Bros. walk away from that kind of money?

Don’t believe the hype.  This will all get worked out.  CBS majority owner and Viacom chairman Summer Redstone severed the media conglomerate ties with Tom Cruise when his couch-jumping antics and Scientology proselytizing became too obnoxious to ignore, but he has nothing to say about Charlie Sheen’s even more offensive behavior.    Redstone’s silence now speaks volumes.

Sheen is playing the role of his life.  He’s “Good Time Charlie Crackhead” and he’s playing everyone else for the fools he sneers at in his Today interview.   When, not if he returns to the show (and the show must go on because nobody’s walking away from $600 million bucks) all the hatchets will be buried and everyone will kiss, kiss and make up.  When Charlie swaggers or staggers on to the set flashing a victory sign and cracks another limp dick joke, the sudden ratings surge will blow the roof off the sucker.

Charlie asked in a rare moment of lucidity with all the other stuff going on in the world, why is his cocaine fueled benders and candid admission he likes getting stoned and screwing porn stars such a source of interest?  Maybe Charlie has a point.    He isn’t the first star to have more resources than imagination, but there’s far more time devoted to in-depth analysis and immediate updates on the fast-evolving Sheen story than the Wisconsin budget impasse or the situation in Libya.

Maybe it’s us who are the addicts craving yet another hit of toxic “celebrity” and the dealers of the media and entertainment are all too happy to feed our habit.   Charlie Sheen isn’t hooked on a drug called Charlie Sheen.   The rest of us are and we need to detox.

Charlie Sheen puked here.