Charlie Sheen Checks Into Rehab – What Year is This? (January 29, 2011)

I feel like this same drama plays out every five years or so since around 1986, when Mr. Sheen caught my young eye playing the “Bad Boy in the Police Station” flirting with an otherwise unfriendly Jeanie Bueller in the great comedy Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Little did I realize that Sheen was either the world’s greatest method actor or he probably looked coked out sexy because he arrived onset that way.

Charlie Sheen, born Carlos Irwin Estevez, is the father of five children: a 26 year-old daughter named Cassandra from a previous relationship with Paula Profit, two adorable little girls, Sam and Lola, produced during his tumultuous marriage with actress Denise Richards, and twin boys named Bob and Max, hardly more than babies. In between spreading his seed, Bad Boy Charlie made a tabloid name for himself by shooting then-girlfriend Kelly Preston in the arm in 1990. Puzzlingly, she ended the relationship shortly afterward. His name was heavily tossed around during the titillating events of the Heidi Fleiss scandal in 1995. That’s when we learned the man likes hookers – a lot.

In 1998, Charlie overdosed on an injection of cocaine, leading his beleaguered actor father, Martin Sheen, to issue a public plea for support before turning his own son in for a parole violation. I am sure it was a gut wrenching decision, but Mr. Sheen Sr. is obviously a caring father. He should have been rewarded with a post-rehab, together child.

But of course we know that’s not what happened. Back in the professional hot seat and richer than ever due to his starring turn in the long-running CBS comedy Two and a Half Men, Charlie picked up right where the party left off. Denise Richards has had the class (something I never figured her for) to stay quiet, but rumors abound that she dissolved her marriage to the actor for the same old reasons: drug and prostitutes.

A later marriage to the gorgeous Brooke Mueller seemed like Charlie might be settling down for good. Mueller was not involved in the Hollywood world and they stated their intentions to start a family as soon as possible. But then we learned, oops! Brookie likey the nose candy too, culminating in the Christmas 2009 arrest of her husband for domestic violence and second degree assault. The grapevine had it that both halves of the couple were in an alcohol and cocaine-fueled rage when Charlie held a knife to her throat.

Of course he received little more than a slap on the wrist from law enforcement, and voluntarily entered rehab in February 2010. Much good that obviously did.

During the early morning of October 26, 2010, Sheen was removed from his hotel room at the Plaza Hotel after causing damage to the room and admitting to having been drinking and taking cocaine. There was also a woman (you guessed it! a hooker!) locked in the bathroom. Did I mention that ex-wife Denise and his five and six year-old daughters were in another room across the hall?

Finally, just this week, Charlie was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Hospital “for severe stomach pains” stemming from a reported three-day coke binge and the usual harem of adult movie actresses. After the scandal, Sheen has once again entered a rehab facility. Is there any reason to believe it was work out this time?

His bosses at the network continue to pay him $2 million a week, not daring to take the chance of losing their #1 show. The court system has been unusually kind, rendering Sheen some sort of Teflon multi-felon. When there are no real consequences for one’s long running bad behavior, how can one routine trip to the emergency room finally bring the clarity needed?

Fat chance. I admire Mr. Sheen’s body of work, particularly from before 1995, but so what? He is a loser at life in everyway that matters: as a son, a husband, a father and a human being.

Consequential Disparity (July 13, 2010)

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In a 2010 reality of rising costs, flat wages (for those lucky enough to have a job), foreclosures, 401k loss and just about every social, political and environmental ill you can dream up, one of the few free sports left to us “small people” is the amusement of watching the rich, famous, powerful and greedy stumble over their own hubris and excess to fall on their pretty faces.

Admit it people – last Thanksgiving was a real downer for a lot of us. But witnessing the fallout of Tiger Woods smashing into a fire hydrant before the world became aware that he was an epic manwhore, was good clean fun for those not named Elin Nordegren (side note: I wonder if she noted the irony before she decided to place a well placed swing at her hubby’s cranium). Tiger, as we have all seen by now, will be more than OK, even if he lost his family in the process. His wealth, fame and prestige are (largely) intact. Tiger is definitely not one of us, is he?

Because for the rest of the world, the ones who swim upstream in the ever thickening sludge of actuality, had we made even one of Tiger’s mistakes, our lives would be effectively over. Had we been the ones to crash our vehicles in the fog of an Ambien coma, I think arrest, if not a heavy fine, would follow in short order. If we made a mockery out of our own image as a solid, sober family man, only to be exposed as a total hack, we would not be able to pick up business as usual after hiding from the media for a couple months. Respect would be lost, prospects forgone, and a broken family in the “real” world cannot be atoned via a large alimony payout.

And now we get to the heart of my post. Is anyone else demoralized by the consequence-free environment in which the top 1% of the American public lives? I extend benefactors’ rights to corporate and non-human entities, as well as the golden ones who enjoy society’s free ride. I realize it is not good for my soul to root for the downfall of anything, but it feels cold and alone out here sometimes in the place where the laws of physics rule. In my world, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. But not so for the banks, BP, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Roman Polanski, or our favorite whipping boy of the moment, Mel Gibson.

Charlie Sheen held a knife to wife Brooke Mueller’s throat last Christmas. We are now approaching mid-August while Charlie decides which option he likes best from the probationary roulette wheel. Meanwhile, he has gotten a huge raise from CBS for the next, and possibly last season of his hit sitcom Two and a Half Men. Our man Charlie was hardly a choir boy before this. Anyone want to wager on the fortunes of you or I had we found ourselves in a similar scrape?

Roman Polanski drugged and raped a 13 year-old girl in the 1970s, and has enjoyed 30 years of freedom as a European citizen and Oscar winning film director. On Monday, Switzerland effectively closed the book on any hope of justice served, by denying the U.S. government the right to extradite the pedophile. Let’s just say I had been caught en flagrante with a grade schooler. Mary Kay LeTourneau anybody?

Wall Street is hiring again. The very charlatans who led us into this prolonged economic predicament are back and feeling better than ever, while the rest of us choose between groceries and filling our prescriptions. BP has been allowed to lie and fuck up everything it touches for months, but we all know that in the end, they will survive, even if the same may not be said for the Gulf of Mexico. If I went to the shores of Lake Michigan right now and dumped even one gallon of crude into the bay, I would be arrested as an eco terrorist (rightfully so) before I had time to get back to my car.

What I am trying to get at folks, beyond the larger, obvious and unchangeable circumstance of life not being fair, is that it isn’t only the financial gulf that widens perceptibly between the haves and the have nots. There is, quite literally, a whole separate reality for the privileged, that may go a long way toward explaining the seemingly disproportionate current anger of the middle and lower classes. We are so helpless, even after playing by the rules, while those who flaunt every one of society’s guidelines, fly away unencumbered, free to continue worsening the lives of those around them. And they will, because unlike the rest of us, they haven’t learned a damned thing