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Liz Smith

by Liz Smith

Charlie Sheen: No cocaine, just a laugh-induced hernia!

“I’M NOT saying I’ll never be with a prostitute again. But it’s hard. Parts of it are soulless and parts of it are nourishing. It’s always a roll of the dice.”

That’s our always candid friend, Charlie Sheen, talking to Playboy magazine for July/August (“Massive Summer Double Issue” it says, directly above cover girl Jenny McCarthy.)

Charlie is Charlie. Don’t try to make sense of anything he says, because mostly it doesn’t. And he knows it. Is it malarkey or the real deal or some wild combination of the two, which seems to be working for him. (His new show, “Anger Management” is doing well.)

Yet at least he admits to being unfair to his longtime “Two and a Half Men” co-star Jon Cryer, in the heat of Sheen’s firing. “I whaled on him unnecessarily ... he’s a beautiful man and a fabulous dude and I miss him. I need to repair that relationship, and I will. I will reach out to do whatever is necessary.”

As for the now-legendary tale of a suitcase full of cocaine being delivered to his house, in the midst of a wild party, Sheen insists it never happened. Nope. He was watching a Dave Chappell sketch on TV and laughed so hard it gave him a hernia. The hernia did not occur because of too much partying and illegal substances.

Look, that’s his story and he’s sticking to it. And even if he doesn’t, it apparently won’t make one bit of difference to the fans who support him.

WHICH LEADS us to the conundrum of Tom Cruise. Tom doesn’t smoke (anything) drink, or carouse with hookers. He has never assaulted a woman or been accused of such a thing. He takes care of himself, his popularity has not waned. He is still, according to Forbes magazine, the highest paid actor in the world. And yet, on the front pages of the newspapers, Tom is the devil, scaring poor Katie Holmes so much that she has to have a ring of bodyguards surrounding her when she ventures out. What’s Tom crime? He’s a control freak who belongs to the mysterious and controversial Church of Scientology. OK, maybe that’s not pleasant to live with, but the public seems to find his driven personality and religious/spiritual beliefs more unsavory than anything Charlie Sheen does.

I guess bad boys do, somehow, get more breaks.

As for Miss Holmes, she will be fine. She’s made her point, with her bodyguard photos, and the bits of business that have slipped out; her fears for Suri, etc. Nobody is going to be kidnapped or forced to do anything they don’t want to do. She’s been clever. I suppose she’s had to be.

Let’s not forget, she knew exactly what she was getting into. It’s not like Tom became a Scientologist during their marriage. There were plenty of warning signs. But Miss Holmes, apparently, was in love or lust or infatuated with his image and the attention he showered on her. And so it has come to this sorry state of affairs.

Tom? Another hit movie and people will probably go back to shrugging off his beliefs. Next time (if there is a next time) Tom should marry a nice, docile Scientology girl with whom he can share his religion.

I WAS chatting with a friend recently about how much Internet technology and computers, cellphones, iPads, etc., have taken over every part of our lives. Everything is controlled and connected it seems to one huge grid. What if everything blanked out one day, even for 24 hours? We’ve all become so dependant.

Well, just a day or two later, the New York Times had a story about a summer storm in Virginia that took out part of Amazon’s “cloud” computing service, in which hundreds of companies store data. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been, and Amazon responded pretty well, but this story gave me pause. The Times reported: “The ability to deal with failures has long been a feature of any computing system, but like much else in the cloud, there are no common standards to guide how much protection against disaster is enough.”

We are so concerned about our borders on the ground. Perhaps we should spend more time with our heads in the clouds. That’s where I think the real storm of apocalyptic nightmares stores its “data.”

WELL, IT’s beginning to look like all the fan-whining over Andrew Garfield is evaporating as “The Amazing Spider-Man” continues to break records even before this all-important weekend. (But then these days, every weekend is “all important.”) The film, which co-stars Emma Stone, made more than $35 million in the United States its opening weekend. In Asia, the take was more than $50 million and climbing.

So he was too tall, too gawky, too British, not Tobey Maguire? Well, whatever he is or isn’t, Mr. Garfield is probably set for two more installments, and set for life financially, as well. That skin-tight Spidey suit is no fun to get into for hours on end. (And it’s impossible to wear anything under it.) But in-between films, he’ll be able to devote himself to more comfortable Prada, Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein or Burberry. (He wears Burberry in a deep blue shade on the cover of Teen Vogue. He’s paired with Miss Stone, who is supposed to be his real-life girlfriend. Well, at least until the film hits the $500 million mark.)

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