Charlie Sheen

Charlie Sheen is the highest paid sitcom actor on TV. The guy makes more for a few hours’ work a week than many of us could make in several lifetimes. Yeah, I can see why he’s all depressed and self-destructive!

Sorry, CBS, but I’m not going to contribute anymore. Two and a Half Men is now off my DVR scheduler. Let me know when he straightens himself out — Robert Downey Jr. was able to do it. I’m sure Charlie can pull it off too if he puts his mind to it.

Firing and hiring

Two different news stories out this afternoon, two very different vibes.

Yahoo is laying off another 100 to 150 workers in Sunnyvale.

Meanwhile, Google is planning to hire another 6200 people in the biggest expansion of their workforce yet.

Keith Olbermann’s departure

Regarding Keith Olbermann’s ouster from MSNBC… and I’m pretty sure this was an ouster… this was also a negotiated exit. Keith wasn’t happy. NBC didn’t want him around with Comcast taking over.

NBC probably paid him lots of money to leave before his contract was up. In return, he’ll honor the noncompete agreement, and he’s probably barred from telling us how it all really went down.

In the meantime, TMZ has some alleged insider information – and they’re usually pretty good with the inside media stuff. You can see their article here.

I’m really sad to see him leave. Countdown was part of my afternoon ritual when I get home from the office. But, depending on the terms of his exit, we may have him sooner rather than later on radio or the Internet. It’ll probably be awhile before he can do another TV show though.

Human trials for tinnitus cure: the good news and the bad

The Interwebs have been humming the last couple of weeks about a new treatment for tinnitus showing great progress in perhaps actually ending the condition for good – a combination of sound therapy with an electrical stimulation of a certain nerve.

The really good news is that human trials begin in WEEKS.

The bad news is that they’re in Belgium.

Almost as soon as we published that very popular post about University of Texas at Dallas researchers’ efforts to silence that high-pitched problem known as tinnitus, readers began leaving comments and sending e-mails in which they all asked the same question: How can I  participate in the forthcoming human clinical trials?  So I asked Emily Martinez, the UTD spokesperson charged with publicizing the efforts of Drs. Michael Kilgard and Dr. Navzer Engineer.

Martinez said trials are actually beginning “in the next few weeks,” but, sorry, they’ll take place in Belgium. She wasn’t sure when they’d move back to the U.S. — or even where in the U.S. So she put me in touch with Dr. Engineer (whose name, I’ll admit, I love saying aloud).

Engineer said they’re beginning in Europe for one simple reason: “The approval process for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration takes a long time, as you can imagine, especially compared to that in Europe, where approvals are much faster.  We want to see what happens in the first three, five patients in Belgium, then come back to the U.S. and say, ‘This is the effect it has on patients with severe tinnitus.’ So the time line isn’t clear.” He hopes to have solid results in human within the year, at which point trials will begin locally.

But if there is a chance of expediting clinical trials on U.S. soil, it rests with the military — which is particularly interested in the results, given the hundreds of millions spent each year treating returning combat veterans. (Engineer says two groups have expressed deep interest in the tinnitus “cure” since it was announced last week — soldiers and musicians, no surprise there.) Says Engineer, “We hope this year we can facilitate or strengthen that relationship with the military.”

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