Funny Business with Jane Wells

Oh We Don't Mean That Brando ...

Marlon Brando in "The Godfather"

Marlon Brando’s heirs are suing a furniture company for naming a line of home theater chairs the “Brando,” without a licensing agreement, reports the Los Angeles Times. Palliser Furniture is accused of making millions selling the Brando chairs, along with others named Eastwood, Bronson, and Cagney.

BUT HERE’S THE BEST PART: The furniture company reportedly claims the Brando chairs aren’t named after Marlon Brando, but after a tourist destination on the island of Corsica! The Times quotes Brando estate attorney Jeffrey Abrams as saying, “I can’t wait to find out what tourist destination the Eastwood was named after.”

By the way, I checked, and there really is a Brando, Corsica. At, it describes what the place is known for. “Not to be missed -- the music festival of Erbalunga, in early August.” Clearly it makes sense that a HOME THEATER CHAIR would NOT be named after an Oscar-winning actor but after a Mediterranean enclave which celebrates Erbalunga (what??).

Governor Announces Watching Grass Grow
He is worth a few hundred million dollars, according to estimates. He runs the world’s sixth (seventh? eighth? we’ve dropped a little) largest economy. He has learned to market himself despite a thick accent and limited acting skills. Arnold Schwarzenegger is impressive by any measure. But do I really have to know everything he thinks and does?

Every day my email inbox is bombarded with press releases from the Governator — six just today, plus two from his wife -- with titles like: "Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Little Hoover Commission Hearing on Career Technical Education." Here are just a few of the press releases from a single day this week:

  • “Governor Schwarzenegger Applauds U.S. Dept. of Transportation and Virgin America,”
  • "Governor Schwarzenegger Authorizes Additional Funding to Freeze Victims,”
  • “Governor Schwarzenegger Calls on President Bush and Congress to Pass Comprehensive Alternative Fuels Legislation,”
  • “Governor Schwarzenegger Supports Bipartisan Congressional Legislation to Reduce Gang Violence,”
  • “Audio Statement as Governor Schwarzenegger Discusses Fighting Gang-Related Crime,”
  • “Governor Schwarzenegger Inhales, Then Exhales, Then Goes to the Men's Room,”
  • “Governor Schwarzenegger Declares California Insolvent due to Subprime Meltdown”

Ok, um, those last two are not true, but you could see how you’d miss the insolvency announcement if tucked in between “Governor Schwarzenegger Announces Appointments” and “Photos of Maria Shriver in Compton Continuing Her Statewide Earned Income Tax Credit Initiative”—I’m not making that up. Hey, wait, maybe that’s the point. Bombard me with mind-numbing announcements so that I’ll start hitting the “delete” button and miss the one about how he has to resign …

Money-Making Procedures You've Never Dreamed Of
One thing I like about this job, I learn something new every day. Today I learned a new word: umbilicoplasty -- turning your "outtie" into an "innie." Apparently belly button reconstructive surgery is growing in popularity, especially among women. Which begs the questions, what is left to fix? Skin grafts for rough elbows (“Fresh Flesh”)? Skull reshaping (“Numb Skull”)? Permanent eyeball whitening (“White In”)? Don't laugh. There's money to be made.

Because Reporters Are Stupid
Finally, in the Why Publicists Crack Me Up File: a PR guy for a medical devices company sent us a demo of a "conception kit" the company hopes to market which will help people make babies. He quickly followed up with an email saying, "Company says not to actually use the kit we sent, since it's a demo and they can't vouch for the sterility." Good, because I was just gonna …

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