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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

AZ Diamondbacks could go 61-101 in 2011

(Reprinted from the Scottsdale Republic edition of March 26, 2011)

DIAMONDBACKS’ LOSSES COULD ECLIPSE ONE HUNDRED IN 2011

By Jim McAllister

I started watching major league baseball as a kid in 1954 while living and dying with the Cincinnati Reds. They usually played around the .500 mark because they had great hitting but no pitching. There were a lot of 11-10 losses but they always had a chance to pull games out in the bottom of the ninth with guys like Wally Post, Ted Kluszewski, and Gus Bell coming up to bat.

In the late 1950s there was the "Go-Go" Chicago White Sox who had great fielders but not many power hitters. However, they had good pitching and defense and scrambled for runs while actually making it to the World Series in 1959.

The Reds and White Sox had their deficiencies but won games because of being proficient in other areas. Conversely, the Arizona Diamondbacks lack pitching, hitting, and defense although Chris Young in center field and Stephen Drew at shortstop have pretty good gloves.

Last year they lost 97 games and that includes having a good pitcher in Dan Haren for half a season, Mark Reynolds at third, and Adam LaRoche at first. As much as Reynolds struck out, he did have a lot of runs batted in and homers while LaRoche had a good year hitting .261 with 25 homeruns and 100 runs batted in.

Those three guys are gone and have been replaced by mediocre and old journeymen players. The pitching staff is full of has beens, never “wases”, and rookies. The only outfielder with consistent power is Justin Upton but he is usually injured and strikes out too much with his .260 average. Probably the best guy on the team is catcher Miguel Montero.

Prediction for 2011: 61-101 and by August, Kirk Gibson will have thrown twenty Blackberries against the clubhouse wall to match the number of after game buffet tables he turns over in disgust. It’s going to take more than a new spring training home to revive this team. The Diamondbacks are a good example of bad management by former personnel who were poor judges of talent.

Jerry Colangelo has to be smiling while looking at the shiny ring his Diamondbacks’ team won for him in 2001. He may have spent a fortune on that team but at least they were winners.

Jimmy Breslin wrote a book many years ago recalling the New York Mets 1962 baseball season. The Mets were a terrible team and Breslin titled the book "Can Anybody Here Play This Game?" The title came from a statement by an exasperated Casey Stengel, who had to manage that bunch of misfits. After this season, maybe Republic sportswriter Dan Bickley can write a similar chronicle about the 2011 Diamondbacks.

There is some good news: I have been incorrect on predictions before so I will say that if I am, I will quote my favorite pulp fiction detective Nick Carter by saying, “If I’m wrong, I’ll apologize!”

(L-R) Wally Post, Gus Bell, and Ted "Big Klu" Kluszewski of the Cincinnati Reds of the 1950s. The Diamondbacks need more sluggers like these guys were. (Cincinnati Enquirer)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mr. Joe flies inaugural TWA Boeing 707

LEAVING ON A JET PLANE

In 1959, I became a small part of Trans World Airlines (TWA) aviation history. While in New York City on a business trip, a change in plans allowed me to cancel my Friday flight to New Orleans and return home to San Francisco on Saturday instead. The ticketing agent offered me two options. I chose to take the flight scheduled to depart from LaGuardia at 9 a.m. rather than 1 p.m.

On the morning of my departure, a crowd of passengers seemed to be celebrating some sort of festivity. The reason: We were flying to San Francisco aboard a Boeing 707, TWA’s first commercial west-bound non-stop cross country flight. Their inaugural east-bound flight from San Francisco had arrived in New York City the day before.

Joe Finnerty

Before boarding, each passenger received a framed certificate with the TWA logo commemorating the flight. It hangs on the wall of my den. Almost as an afterthought, they later mailed me an egg timer neatly wrapped in a TWA emblem. It’s now missing from my kitchen.

From the outset, one knew this inaugural flight would be memorable. The plane had a new-car smell about it. Everything looked spic-and-span, bright and clean.. My seat was next to the window which really pleased me.

My journey started out inauspiciously. The plane left on time and ambled along the tarmac at a slow speed toward the runway where it paused a few moments. The pilot then began to crank up the jet engines to full power. At the precise moment he released the brakes and the plane surged forward, as if on cue, a young boy seated behind me let out a yell, "Charge!" This shout of bravado and encouragement matched my emotion perfectly. For that brief moment, I thought of myself as a member of the Light Brigade, about to ride heroically into the jaws of . . . the unknown.

As we flew across the country, the pilot provided a running commentary, relaying our air speed and current location. We flew too high to see the landmarks he identified below, but we strained to see them. Was that the Mississippi? The relative lack of noise compared to piston-driven planes astounded me. We encountered some minor turbulence on three occasions during the five-hour flight, but it was the smoothest plane ride in my experience.

Actually, this was not my first encounter with jet flight. In 1947, while stationed at Ladd Field, Alaska, a P-80 Shooting Star jet fighter plane approached the runway on its first flight to the arctic, accompanied by an escort of two P-51 Mustangs. As the three planes flew by the control tower, just a few hundred feet above ground level, the P-80 pilot hit the jet engine throttle, and then pulled the plane straight up into the sky, leaving the escorts in its wake. In that flash of time, one could see that jets had made piston-driven engines obsolete.

Not every passenger enjoyed the flight. The editor of the Wall Street Journal, West Coast edition, sat next to me. He grumbled before, during and after takeoff. The airline had bumped him from first class, even though he had booked his flight months in advance in order to be aboard this first jet trip. He fumed when I told him that I had purchased my seat just a day earlier, and had no idea of its maiden status.

In 1966 my wife took our six children ages 1 to 9 to New York City (by herself) to visit relatives. The cost staggered us. I asked TWA for a discount because of my pioneer status with the airline. They told me, in polite terms, to ‘take a hike.’ The value of my inaugural flight status had declined faster than a jet zooming up on takeoff.

It’s regrettable that TWA folded before it could offer me a chance to be aboard its first flight to the moon. I need another egg timer.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Food fads come and go

Food fads come and go. Remember when energy drinks were the rage? The only one I see lately being pushed on TV is 5 Hour Energy. It brags about its four calories and no sugar and that it gives you a nice boost like a cup of coffee would except you can just down it out of the bottle and not have to mess with cups and coffee pots. Maybe that’s good for the kids who are ready to party on a Friday night and need that extra boost to get them to when the band starts but for me, I’ll stick with the good old cup of mud.

Energy drinks aren’t all that has been “faddish” reports Phil Hawkes of the AFMA Journal. In today’s hurry up society, bagged salads are expensive and popular since they cut down on preparation time for those who like the easy way out of cooking. Also, what’s with the sudden love of everything pomegranate? I love the ads with the half naked girl twisting her anguished body around a bottle of Pom but what is so great about that stuff? I’ve broken open a pomegranate and found nothing but a bunch of sour seeds inside. Maybe someone can explain this to me.
Now, there is a new kid on the block. Its Greek yogurt and its dollar sales were up 160% while unit sales were up 203% in 2010. Regular yogurt dollar sales were up 3% during that time with unit sales up only 1%. Besides that, Greek yogurt costs significantly more. Why is this happening?

As a long time yogurt eater I can say I like the Greek stuff better because of the more tart taste and its smooth, thicker, consistency. Non taste reasons are listed as double the protein of regular yogurt and 50% less sodium. That’s fine and I’m glad it is healthier, but taste is my number one priority and the Greek stuff has it.

There are several brands but the only one I have tried is Dannon and it is excellent. Phil Hawkes mentions other brands like Stonyfield, Fage, and Chobani. I understand that Trader Joe’s brand is excellent too. If you like yogurt, the Greek style is for you.

More food news from the AFMA: Did you know that “re-fried beans” is incorrect as a result of a translation error? They are actually only fried once. Frijoles refritos are well fried beans, not re-fried.

Did you know that the FDA allows 30 insect fragments or one rodent hair per 100 grams of peanut butter? Wow! I’ll bet that news has you rushing to the pantry to make a couple PBJ’s for lunch!

How about that Worcester sauce you like to spread on meats and other items. Did you know it is made from dissolved anchovies, bones and all? I guess if you like anchovies, it’s no big deal. If not, try to forget what you just read.

As for me, I guess I’ll stick with the pomegranates and yogurt.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dad, me, and a '56 Chevy

I saw a 1956 black Chevrolet convertible go by today. It was a thing of beauty as it looked completely stock like the day it rolled off the assembly line fifty-five years ago. That car is a memory maker for me as I was 15 when it was built plus we had one in our family. It had a white top that gave it a classy look and was a stick shift with a “Power Pack” V8 engine. Needless to say, that baby would really go and it gave me chills when it whined through the gears. That’s a sound that has never been duplicated.

In June of 1956, my 19 year old brother drove that Chevy from Cincinnati to Albuquerque, New Mexico to visit some friends. Since he had flunked out of college, he was looking for something to do so he joined the Air Force while in Albuquerque leaving the car at the friend’s house. That made it up to my dad and me to go to Albuquerque to retrieve it.

Thus began a summer trip I will never forget. Even at 15 I had a bit of wanderlust in me and the thought of going all the way to New Mexico from Ohio had me on pins and needles. It was going to be just me and my dad heading west!
We caught the Santa Fe Super Chief train in Chicago which was exciting as hell with the dining car, a bedroom of our own, and the excitement of waking up the next morning and seeing Dodge City, Kansas.

After we got to Albuquerque and picked up the car, we headed east on Highway 66 for Chicago. I didn’t realize it at the time because there were no such thing as interstate highways, but I was riding on a road that would later become a legend and a historical attraction in many places as it wound northeast to Chicago. The diners, the bars, the motor lodges, and the gas stations were all part of the lore of Route 66 which would sadly become obsolete by the mid 1980s. But, who knew that in 1956? All I knew on those hot summer days was that I was 15 and my dad let me drive a ’56 Chevy halfway to Chicago. He was strictly old school and didn’t worry about me not having a driver’s license! What the hell, I was still a good driver!

When we reached Chicago, dad would spend the few days we were there at the horse racing track while I caught the “El” to either Comiskey Park or Wrigley Field to watch baseball. I felt like I was really cool for a 15 year old being allowed to run around Chicago on my own. But, my dad had grown up in an era where kids had that freedom so it was no big deal to him.

After those few days in Chicago, it was back to Cincinnati and reality. By September, I was back in high school but when I looked at my classmates, I smiled to myself feeling certain that none of them at age 15 that summer had driven a ’56 Chevy convertible up Route 66.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Camelback Mountain, Phoenix, AZ

I’ve had this photo (below, top photo) from the Library of Congress in my file for a while and thought I should post it to let you see what the area around Phoenix looked like in 1908. That is Camelback Mountain in the hazy background so using that as a bearing, you can pretty much figure out where the photographer may have been standing (click on photo for much better view). I would guess somewhere east of downtown Phoenix and in what there was of south Scottsdale or north Tempe at that early date.

In 1908, Teddy Roosevelt was still President, Barry Goldwater would not be born for another year, Carl Hayden was 31 years old, the canal built by William Murphy through Scottsdale was twenty-five years old, and the population of Phoenix was pushing 10,000. In 1911 the Roosevelt Dam was completed while in 1912 Arizona would become a state with its capitol Phoenix during the administration of William Howard Taft.

I wonder what those cowboys would have thought of all that happening so soon before and after this photo was taken. We have no documentation but some say the cowpoke on the horse in the foreground with the rope on the saddle is our own reader “TrailBoss”. He looks like he may have just had a cup of cowboy coffee while tending to the herd!
click on photo for better view of Camelback and TrailBoss. (Library of Congress)

Camelback Mountain, c. 1950 (DS Hinkle)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

P. J. Crowley, Blockbuster

P.J. Crowley has resigned as the State Department spokesman adding to the growing list of those who have departed Obama’s administration. Crowley is dissatisfied with the treatment of document leaker Private Bradley Manning at the Marine Base in Quantico, Virginia according to a report from James Rosen of Fox News.

This isn’t a funny story but I thought this comment was funny if not a bit strange: “At least twice, Manning has been made to stand at attention in the nude at the front of his cell in the morning. Officials at Quantico declined to explain those measures, other than to say it was for his own protection.” Protection from what? I never could figure out the Marines!

BLOCKBUSTER BUSTED: This was not hard to predict. I’ve wondered how they held on this long after posting losses from last November to January of $65 million. They had their day though in the late 80s and into the 1990s when they wiped out the business of every poor independent guy trying to rent films.

As often happens quickly these days, someone came along with a better idea. That was Netflix, who starting in 1999 would allow customers to rent films which were then sent to them by mail. By 2005, there were also the Redbox kiosks in stores like Walgreen’s renting films for low prices.

There is a Blockbuster near me, or at least there was until a few weeks ago when they closed the store which was about 4,000 square feet. I was surprised it took them that long to shutter that dog with the rent they had to be paying. All that is left is the outline of the removed letters on the building.

Things happen fast in our society. With people downloading programs to their computers, can films being mailed by Netflix stay competitive? Will people still drive to Walgreen’s to use Redbox? I’m sure those companies are considering that in their business plans. If not, they can learn a lesson from former record and video stores who went out of business like Tower Records, Sam Goody, Musicland, and Peaches. It wasn’t long ago those stores had thriving locations in all the big malls. Have you seen one lately?

Every mall had a Sam Goody's

The electronics business is always in a growth mode. I’ve seen 8 millimeter silent home movies grow into VCR tapes, DVDs, DVRs and Blue Ray. I remember finally giving up my VCR and buying a DVD player at Circuit City (remember them?). I think that while I was driving home with it the DVR came out and made the DVD obsolete.

It’s the same with music. I remember 78 rpm records, 45’s, 33 1/3, cassettes, and CDs. I’ve heard CDs are now obsolete. Can someone please tell me how I would buy a single song now?

And then, there are TVs but let’s not even get into that. I have a bigger concern at the moment: What the hell is going to be the new name of Blockbuster Pavilion? It can't be Cricket Pavilion; it’s already been called that.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Oscars, newspaper films

James Franco (Getty Images, Rick Rowell)



ACADEMY AWARDS: I don’t watch the Oscar telecasts anymore and apparently this year was a good year to be sure not to watch. Some guy I never heard of named James Franco was the host along with a gal who is a pretty good actress, Anne Hathaway. I hear that Hathaway gave it a good try but hosting awards shows doesn’t seem to be on her list of things she does well. The consensus was that Franco was terrible.

So, who is this guy? Time says he writes fiction, is working on a Ph. D from Yale, and has appeared on the soap “General Hospital”. When told the ratings for the Oscars were dismal, he replied, “You know what? If it’s the worst Oscar’s show ever, who cares?”

That’s a pretty cocky attitude from a guy who is basically a nobody who blew his chance for a great gig. I hope for his sake, he stays in school. He’s probably going to need that degree. Where the hell is Bob Hope when we need him?

I was looking over a list of past Oscar hosts and I would have to give David Letterman the booby prize as the worst I have seen. He hosted in 1994 and really laid an egg from the start with that silly “Uma-Oprah” nonsense trying to make a joke of the introduction of Uma Thurman and Oprah Winfrey to each other. It was embarrassing to watch but I think Letterman is always embarrassing and I wonder how he holds his late night job. If they want a late night host to do the Oscars, try Jimmy Kimmel, a guy who IS funny.

FINAL NOTE ON CHARLIE SHEEN: Charlie is getting his 15 minutes and then I think we will not see much more of him in anything noteworthy. Charlie says, “I’m tired of pretending I’m not special.” What a great line that is: Just think of what Dana Carvey could do with that as the church lady.

Charlie never was a BIG star. He milked his dad’s influence and because he was so adept at playing himself, made “Two and a Half Men” a hit. Now, he is pushing 50, appears to be strung out on that airline made of snow, and his prospects appear to be minimal. I love “Two and a Half Men” and hope he straightens out but I’m not holding my breath.

GREAT NEWSPAPER FILMS: Most of you know I love the films from the 1930s through the mid 1950s. I realize I am a member of a small group but there were some great films then especially about newspapers. “It Happened One Night” (1934) won all 5 major Oscar awards. In the 1940s it was “His Girl Friday” (1940) with Cary Grant. In the 1950s it was “Deadline USA” (1952) with Humphrey Bogart. Before you say, “Huh?” let me say that if you don’t enjoy the story, it’s still fun to see how newspapers operated in those eras. Check out TCM for running times.

As far as modern movies which involve newspapers, I hear “Iron Man 2” (2010) is pretty good. Has anyone seen that? If so, what did you think? IMDB gives it a 7.1 out of 10, not bad.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Walmart is losing customers

A recent AP article discusses how Walmart is missing out on the supposed consumer comeback. That’s quite a statement. Could it be that the public has grown tired of cheesy Walmart products coming from China? It didn’t seem to matter a couple of years ago that they had Christmas lights that exploded, low quality toothpaste, and toys painted with lead paint among other junk items.

I guess customers are wising up to bad quality, long lines, bad service, and out of stocks plus having to drive to get them. Or, maybe those photos of the “Walmartians” are legitimate after all. Those guys with high heels and dresses to complement their beards scare me!

The drop in sales at Walmart has been going on for about two years and possibly none of the above reasons have anything to do with it. Some blame mistakes in merchandising and pricing along with the financial stress on the many low income people who shop there. The holiday season was also lackluster and didn’t help much compared to business done at some competitors.

Walmart seems to be scrambling to restore a lot of the products they discontinued during the last year plus they have gone back to offering discounts across the store instead of using big discounts on selected items. It’s become a “whatever works” attitude as sales dropped 1.8% last year at the stores in the United States that have been open at least a year.

One more important factor in lower sales may be the changing habits of consumers. With gasoline prices skyrocketing, a lot of people are shopping closer to home, especially for essentials like bread and milk. Also, the rise of the dollar stores has to be a factor. Those places are everywhere and have a lot of nice stuff for a buck.

The changing consumer buying habits have also changed with the rise of Internet sales. I never leave my house to shop for Christmas items and plenty of other items too. The demise of Border’s Books was no surprise to me. Who wants to pay full price on a paperback or other book when they can save a trip, avoid lines, and buy it considerably lower on the Internet at places like Amazon with no shipping cost? But, Border’s has a coffee shop! That may have mattered a few years ago but not now. Can Barnes and Noble be next?

Today’s customers are buying closer to home and are only shopping when they really need things. Some of the things they may not need at this time are new electronic items. Ultimate Electronics found that out recently when they were forced to close their stores.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Guest writer Joe Finnerty speaks

On February 23, I wrote a column for the Scottsdale Republic reflecting on the challenges the newspaper business has faced since the introduction of radio in 1920. These challenges were not only from radio but from wire services, television, and now, the Internet. In spite of them, the hard copy newspaper still exists.

Mr. Joe Finnerty of Scottsdale was born in 1927 and at 83, has four great grandchildren. He also is a lifelong newspaper reader who has seen many changes in the newspaper business. This is a piece he wrote fifteen years ago relating to newspapers as he has seen them through the years.

I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE by Joe Finnerty

Years ago I subscribed to both the Arizona Republic and the Scottsdale Progress, the former a morning edition, the latter a late afternoon publication. The Mesa Tribune acquired the Scottsdale Progress, renamed it the Scottsdale Tribune, and began dropping many of the editorial columnists I liked to read. Then, it switched to become a morning newspaper. I found two to be too many, and set about trying to determine which subscription to cancel.

It proved to be a difficult choice to make. I liked many of the Tribune’s features, especially its New York Times crossword puzzles. However, I found that the coverage provided by the Scottsdale section of the Republic, published every Wednesday, more than met my need to find out about my fair city. That made my decision easier to make. I canceled my subscription to the Tribune, with some second thoughts.

Selecting which of two papers to spurn is akin to choosing between a spouse and a mistress. They both have their unique appeal. It is possible I will renew my subscription to the Tribune if my lust for it becomes unbearable.

Growing up in Metropolitan New York provided me with ample opportunity to evaluate newspapers. I had my choice of the following: The New York Times; Herald Tribune; Journal American; World-Telegram; Daily News; Daily Mirror; Brooklyn Eagle; New York Post; Jersey Observer; Hudson Dispatch; and a few more.

In my grade school years, my mother chose to read the Daily Mirror because it arrived at our candy store minutes before the Daily News. This gave her a head start in reviewing the horseracing program for the following day, information vital to her economic well-being. On summer nights, while people sat on apartment stoops, my mother would send me across the street with a nickel in hand. This provided sufficient capital to buy the Mirror, a real cigarette for her, and a candy one for me. Pleasures were inexpensive back then.

I came to love that paper because it had wonderful coverage of New York's myriad sports teams and the best comic strips, including Dick Tracy. I learned important news by reading Walter Winchell, the quintessential gossip guru. The front page carried screaming headlines and pictures of gore and blood, with details on page three.

After college, I began commuting via subway to my job in lower Manhattan and began to consider other possible newspaper choices. I tried them all, at one time or another. Gradually, I came to favor the Times. The crossword puzzles captured my attention more than the editorial page.

The convenient size of the News, Post, and Mirror made them easy to read in a crowded subway and accounted for their popularity then and to this day. In contrast, it took skill to fold the other papers down to a manageable size for reading while standing in a moving railcar, hanging on to a strap, crushed in by a crowd of other riders. Many of them cared little which paper they read as long as they could pick up a discarded one. No class, dat's what some of dem New Yorkers ain't got.

I bought both the Times and the American on Sunday. The Times had all the heavy stuff, whereas the American had the funnies. I figure the Times cost me a lot of extra dough over the years by refusing to print comic strips. I called them the “American" and the "Un-American." I would purchase both after attending church. Occasionally, for some reason or other, the candy store would run out of Sunday papers. I would go ape. How could a citizen enjoy a Sunday without a paper? I would trek around Hoboken to see if I could buy one elsewhere, but this added inconvenience made the papers less interesting. It spoiled the whole ritual. As a last resort, to guarantee availability, I began pre-paying for them.

In my late twenties, I moved to the San Francisco Bay area. There, I soon discovered I had few choices when it came to newspapers. I subscribed to both the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Mateo Times. One was a morning paper, the other an evening edition. However, it took quite a while for me to get used to them. They did not compare favorably with New York’s papers. I thought the editorials and the columnists were less than first rate. It took years to overcome my bias toward the New York papers.

For a while, I continued to subscribe to the Sunday New York Times, but the cost was too prohibitive for my purse and I had to drop my subscription. I never renewed it. I had access to another worthwhile paper to fill the void.

During my working years in Arizona, my employer paid for my subscription to the Wall Street Journal. I paid for my own subscription for a few years after I retired, but my enthusiasm for reading financial stories dwindled. Articles covering the state of the copper market, for example, no longer seemed of vital interest to me.

The public criticizes newspapers for what they print, or how they report the news. Many readers notice and complain about the numerous spelling and grammatical errors which appear with some regularity. Just a few days ago a feature editorial in the Republic read, "taking it to this plain" when the spelling should have been "plane" for all to see. I sympathize, however, because the relentless pressure to meet press deadlines, day after day, week after week, must be nail biting. It is a tough business.

The biggest advantage to dropping my subscription to the Scottsdale Progress is the reduction in trash. As it turns out, my recycle container is barely large enough to hold my weekly toss-outs. If the Republic would tailor the paper to meet my specific criteria, it would please me. I would prefer never to receive the Sunday want-ads, for instance, which I deep-six upon delivery.

Newspapers are folding faster than I could fold them while riding the Hudson Tubes. Struggling to print all the news that’s fit to print on paper, they are switching to an electronic format. While the day is not far off when a computer network will be able to provide me with a newspaper matching my specific interests, I will not subscribe. Who wants a computer in the bathroom?

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Charlie Harper is Charlie Sheen

I really enjoy the TV sitcom “Two and a Half Men”. Reruns are usually shown for one to two hours a night on the FX channel. I can honestly say that I usually laugh from beginning to end at the antics of Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, Angus T. Jones and the rest of the cast.

Unfortunately, after nine seasons of success with the show, Charlie has decided to become difficult. Translated, that probably means that at his $1.8 million per episode he feels like he has enough leverage to start calling the show’s creator, Chuck Lorre, a “maggot” and “a hymie”.

Charlie apparently has a drug problem which has seen him make the news several times for destroying hotel rooms among other forms of bad behavior. On his behalf, the head of CBS Television, Nina Tassler, says that in spite of his behavior he has always showed up for work on time and known his lines. However, because of his recent outburst aimed at Lorre, the final eight episodes of the show have been canceled.

It’s a shame Sheen has gone off the deep end but some experts claim it is not atypical behavior for someone with a drug addiction problem. When Charlie was younger he was a big time party boy. A lot of us were too although we probably were not in his league. Plus, in most cases we grew out of the party mode and went on with our lives. Not Charlie Sheen, he is now 45 and hitting the skids hotter and heavier than ever. Besides his role on “Two and a Half Men” he may lose a movie part in an upcoming production of the “Major League” film series where he plays pitcher “Wild Thing”. Executives now doubt whether they want the troubled star.

Charlie Sheen was born in Dayton, Ohio and lived there until his father moved to California. While living in Dayton he became a Cincinnati Reds baseball fan as Dayton was a short interstate drive north of Cincinnati.

By the early 90’s, Charlie had the big bucks and loved to throw parties for the Reds’ players when they came to California. One of those parties was after the Reds won the 1990 World Series. The other was in 1992 and, according to one unnamed Reds’ player, was quite a wild affair. He mentioned that two topless women attended and the alcohol flowed freely. The players also traveled to the party in a fleet of stretch limos that Sheen sent to their hotel.

The Reds’ player was amazed at Sheen’s Malibu home saying it had three decks with a fountain Jacuzzi on the top deck supplying water to the other two. That Charlie was quite the guy at 27! He still is at 45.

If you watch “Two and a Half Men” you probably notice that Charlie Harper on the show is actually living the lifestyle of Charlie Sheen. It’s no wonder Sheen plays the part so well: Harper IS Charlie Sheen.