Friday, October 21, 2005

I've been storing up thoughts here and there to string together in my latest edition of Non-Sequitur Thoughts and Musings (Or whatever I've called it in the past.) Not a lot to write about lately, or possibly there is much to write about, but little desire to do the writing. Anyway, here goes:

Non-Sequitur Thoughts and Musings (Or Whatever I've called it in the Past):

Tonight, I was at Wal*Mart, and happened upon Ashlee Simpson's new CD, I Am Me. Apparently, her first CD was called Autobiography. Sources tell me that her next release will be called Self-Interested, and that she may or may not be putting out an unplugged re-release of songs called simply Ashlee Simpson, or perhaps Ashlee Simspon's Ashlee Simpson: The Best of Ashlee Simspson (Unplugged).

People are always commenting that she's obnoxious and talentless compared to her sister. I've never had much love for Jessica Simpson, but it doesn't take much to beat out a self-obsessed diva with a severe case of sibling rivalry and an identity crisis. Then again, Jessica Simpson's CD titles are apparently Irresistible, Sweet Kisses, and In This Skin, so apparently this a genetic thing, like their family need to make up unique spellings of names and words (Jessica Simpson's Christmas Album is Re-Joyce, because apparently the memo that the word "Rejoice" already is related to the word "Joy" was in the same envelope as the one about the actual contents of Chicken of the Sea.)

I just hope there aren't any more Simpsons siblings on the way.

There's this commercial that's often showed on the Turner Networks (IE, Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network, and TBS, which has somehow managed to obtain the rights of every show I love.) about the Gerber Grow Up Plan, which is Life Insurance for babies. In the commercial, the mom/spokesperson is talking in a heart-to-heart sort of way about how the Gerber Grow Up Plan will protect your baby. At least four times in this commercial (I will get the actual count) the phrase "Protect your baby" is used. So, uh, excuse me for pointing this out, but, uh...

The goddamn plan doesn't do *anything at all* unless YOUR BABY DIES. Then it gives YOU money!

Protect your baby by buying into a varitable lottery that pays off in the event of it's untimely childhood death. SIDS has never seemed so fun!


Last but not least, fucking Paul Newman. Fucking Paul Newman.

Paul Newman has a line of Salad Dressing's called Newman's Own, which, incidentally, is the only kind carried at McDonald's. Newman's Own is a Non-profit Salad Dressing Company, and on the back of every container (or in my case, little, difficult-to-open packet) the following line of text is proudly displayed: Since 1982, Paul Newman has given more than 175 Million to Charity. Of course, one's initial, thoughtless reaction to this is something along the lines of "What a charitable, upstanding fellow." But I got to thinking about this.

Now I'm not saying this is exactly how it happened, but if I were one of Paul's personal accountants trying to protect Paul's already sizeable assets and movie star earnings from the wicked IRS, and if I were a very bright young accoutnant, indeed, I might come up with the idea that Paul should start up some sort of organization, say, a food company that was named after him, that, after a minimal initial investment (Quickly paid back), would end up being self-sustaining (Make no mistake: Paul's not personally signing the checks or paying the bills, the money earned from the salad dressing, etc., does that, and then whatever's left goes to charity.). That way, millions of dollars that *technically* belong to Paul are going to charity every year, which creates a nice little tax shelter for Paul, who now gets to casually keep the income from those little *film* things he does, and he gets free advertising for the fact that, unlike most of his contemporaries, he's not dead yet, and he's got millions of people (and studio executives) thinking "What a charitable, upstanding fellow." And all he has to do for it is occasionally pose of a drawing of him in a funny period costume, and, let's face it, they probably got one picture of him on file years ago and he stopped coming around after that. And, who knows, he may even get tax-protected royalties on the use of his likeness, or even his name.

I'm probably going to get a bill.

Now, obviously, this arrangement benefits everyone: the charities, the accountants, the many factory workers that toil over his salt-saturated sauces, and Paul. It would be bad for public policy to be overly critical of set-ups like this, and certainly not in anyone's best interest to suggest, for instance, that he is less a hero of the people than, say, a Dirty Tax-Evading Piece of Hollywood Trash. For example. I just feel it's my duty to point out that maybe, just maybe, the next time you're looking at a tally of how much money Paul Newman has given to charity, you won't have that obligatory twinge of a middle-class guilt, nor the accompanying defensive feeling of a half-assed admiration. And for god's sake, don't feel the need to buy the awful dressing: buy whatever brand you like that doesn't taste like Little Miss Morton's Vomit and shove the (probably sizeable) price difference into the Jimmy Fund jar in the check out lane, or, better yet, the cup of the blind guy pan-handling outside. That 50-75 cents just tripled or quadrupled the amount of your Newman's Own purchase that would eventually have gotten to charity, after the bulk of the money got deposited safely into the accountant's 401k. Tax free.

On with it.