Hi, I’m Mike, and I’m Not a Mormon

But I do know a compelling marketing campaign when I see one.  

A series of “I’m a Mormon” TV and radio spots are running rampant in St. Louis, and they are striving to convince the non-LDS masses that Mormons aren’t as freaky as we might believe.

Not surprisingly, these vignettes make no mention of such contentious “Mormon issues” as polygamy, special underwear, baptizing the dead, or Joseph Smith and his golden plates.

What they do present are attractive, articulate, successful men and women talking about their lives and interests. Joy is a world-champion longboarder. Jeff is a sculptor and motorcyclist. Cassandra is a painter.

So why are our LDS friends investing in this high-end, pricey media campaign? Some have surmised that these spots (which are running in nine mid-sized “swing-state” cities) were created to help normalize the Mormon faith in advance of Mitt Romney’s run for the White House in 2012.

Spokesmen from the Mormon organization have vehemently denied this accusation, but I’ll admit it’s a compelling one.

We’ll have to see if the campaign spreads to other cities and builds momentum alongside a certain former governor from Massachusetts.


The man behind the curtain?


Even a counter-campaign is spawned!


My Dancing-with-the-Stars Recruits (#DWTS)

I’ll admit I can barely distinguish a Quickstep from a quick lube. But I can spot a must-see TV lineup from miles away.

That’s why I am coming to the rescue of the Dancing with the Stars producers with some kickin’ nominees for next year’s season.

Despite exceptional ratings for this (my virgin) DWTS season, it’s going to be a challenge to maintain the momentum next year. So I have taken it upon myself to suggest a DWTS Dream Team, representing the finest in politics, athletics and show business:


Gloria Allred – I’ll bet this ambulance-chasing “attorney” is just aching to kick off her sensible shoes and kick it into high gear.

Sylvia Browne – Clearly, this psychic wonder needs to get off her psychic ass and start her blood a-pumping.

Ann B. Davis – At 84, this Brady-loving maid could show up that spotlight-craving Florence Henderson in no time flat.

Mindy McCready – In and out of jail (even after her stint on “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew”), this country gal is poised for a Texas-sized comeback.

Janet Reno – Ever since Saturday Night Live concocted the infectious “Janet Reno’s Dance Party,” I’ve craved a glimpse of this former Attorney General busting a spicy cha-cha.

Raquel Welch – No 70-year-old woman has a right to be this hot. But since she is, let her dance, people!


Dennis Kucinich – His wife is half his age and twice his height, so this presidential hopeful has absolutely no trouble reaching for the sky.

Yao Ming – At the other end of the spectrum is a 7-foot 6-inch, 310-pound man who consistently tears it up on the basketball court. Let’s see what happens when King Ming is mainstreamed with normal-sized humans.

Dick Cheney – Rumor has it that this ticking time bomb of a former Vice President has some impeccably fancy feet.

Joe Paterno – This legendary, nerd-like Penn State football coach has the potential of becoming the first contestant eliminated before the music even begins.

Brett Michaels – Who doesn’t adore this heavy-metal-god-who-nearly-died-then-won-the-Celebrity-Apprentice? The camera loves him. He loves himself more.

Mel Gibson – He’s offended Jews, blacks, women and various other minorities. That still leaves a good portion of us ready to witness another meltdown.


Any other nominees you’d like to put forth?


Prancing with the (loosely-defined) Stars


It was Kurt Warner who first lured me into considering what I’ve happily managed to avoid for a whopping 10 seasons.

When I heard that my rags-to-riches football hero (and hero at large) would be joining the cast of “Dancing with the Stars,” I knew it might be worth a view. Then after I discovered the melting-pot-of-a-cast also included such luminaries as Bristol Palin, David Hasselhoff and the 76-year-old Carol Brady (host of The Florence Henderson Show on the Retirement Living channel), I knew I was down for the count.

So after enduring two hours of fancy – and not-so-fancy – footwork, I offer some heartfelt, snarky commentary:  

Audrina Patridge (and Tony):
She may not be the brightest bulb in the box, but this reality-show diva sure looked like a million bucks in her warm-up gear. Her final costume choice and disco moves, however, created an unfortunate Saturday Night Fever vibe.

Kurt Warner (and Anna):
I don’t think the Viennese Waltz was conceived as a vehicle for a stock-boy-turned-quarterback – even if he has a charming boy-next-door smile.

Kyle Massey (and Lacey):
He looks like a pudgy school crossing guard, and dances similarly. But his partner…VA VA VA VOOM!

Rick Fox (and Cheryl):
This big galoot of an LA Laker really tried his darndest, and some of his moves were OK. But the height difference was hard to overcome.

Margaret Cho (and Louis):
Madame Butterfly meets The Lorax (and that’s just a description of Margaret).

Brandy (and Maks):
I think I may have witnessed the stiffest black woman ever.

Bristol Palin (and Mark):
Mama wasn’t in the audience, which is probably why Bristol moved like a true-blue hussy.

Florence Henderson (and Corky):
Little Miss Potty Mouth tried a bit too hard to convince the crowd she’s MUCH racier than Mrs. Brady ever was. Her numerous facelifts give her a decided advantage in the smile department.

Michael Bolton (and Chelsea):
I’m just grateful he didn’t sing.

“The Situation” (and Karina):
Mr. Abs of Steel has got some serious ’80s rhythm.

Jennifer Grey (and Derek):
She looks nothing like she looked in Dirty Dancing, but turned in a dramatic performance dedicated to her late co-star Patrick Swayze.

David Hasselhoff (and Kim):
Even cheesier than I had hoped it would be.



Pictured (from top): two faces of Kurt Warner, floozy-next-door Bristol Palin, 76-year-old sex kitten Florence Henderson and the ever-limber David Hasselhoff. The season’s first cast-off will be revealed on live TV Tuesday night.


Eat, Pray, Run for the Hills


Before I launch into my mini-tirade against the new movie Eat Pray Love, I must come clean and admit I haven’t seen – nor do I plan on seeing – the film. Haven’t cracked the spine of the book either.

Given that admission, you might conclude I have no right criticizing it. You would be absolutely correct in that assertion.

Still, I hate the film.

Make no mistake, I’ve got nothing against eating, praying OR loving. Do all three, in fact (though the latter one is a bit rustier than the others…)

I’m also a fan of Julia Roberts as an actress. She kicked butt in Erin Brockovich — and Pretty Woman still ranks as one of my mom’s all-time favorites of the modern era.

So why my disdain for the movie?

It all boils down to something I call the “sap factor.” I’ll assume the term is fairly self-explanatory…

Some have surmised that my scorn for so-called chick flicks is because, deep-down, I’m afraid that one of them might actually pierce through my exoskeleton and unleash a torrent of girlie emotions. I’ll admit, the thought has crossed my mind.

Worse yet, I could discover that I actually enjoy these sap-fests, resulting in immediate evisceration of my masculinity.


To avoid these frightening outcomes, I have pledged to steer clear of Eat Pray Love, as well as any of the following films:

Sleepless in Seattle or You’ve Got Mail (Meg Ryan should’ve just retired after When Harry Met Sally)

Fried Green Tomatoes (not the least bit appetizing)

Steel Magnolias (way too much high-priced estrogen in this one)

Dirty Dancing (the greatest tribute to the late Patrick Swayze would be to expunge this one from his resume)

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (can’t we just meet for lunch at Chipotle?)

An Affair to Remember (I keep getting this confused with the new John Edwards biopic)

Gone with the Wind (I’ve heard it’s like 12 hours long, although there’s apparently a scene when a girl gets thrown from a horse)

Hope Floats (but bombs sink)

Waiting to Exhale (an apt description of me while being forced to endure this atrocity)

Like Water for Chocolate (a.k.a. Like Ipecac for Cyanide


Got Baggage?

GSN (the network formerly known as Game Show Network) has lured me with its latest salacious-pleasure-of-a-dating-show: Baggage.

Hosted by the strangely endearing Jerry Springer, this program gives three potential suitors a platform for earning a date with an opposite-sex protagonist. But rather than strutting their stuff to woo the potential date, each contestant is required to reveal his/her liabilities. One by one, they open up small, medium and large bags (corresponding to the size of the “baggage” within):

– “I’ve been required to complete anger management classes.”

– “My longest relationship lasted three weeks.”

– “I like to go to strip clubs.”

– “I’ve been abducted by aliens.”

One guy even admitted he had a small penis on national TV (his transparency earned him a swift elimination – accompanied by a lifetime of ridicule from friends and family).

After the three contestants are pared down to one, the protagonist must disclose a piece of personal baggage, leaving the last one standing with the final decision of whether that baggage is a deal-breaker. Oh, the intrigue!

So why am I drawn to this ridiculous show, you ask?

  • Because I live vicariously through the contestants, having no baggage of my own? [stop snickering]
  • Because it sure beats watching the latest drama between Levi Johnston and Bristol Palin? [truly]
  • Because I am a game show junkie whose viewing resume includes The Dating Game, Love Connection, Studs, Blind Date and The Bachelorette? [I’ll never tell]
  • Because my third wife controls the remote? [AS IF!]

The real reason: because baggage was meant to be shared. 


Got luggage? Lots.

My Proposal for 12 New Business Clichés

My junior year of college, I lived next door to the master of clichés. It seemed like every time Neil opened his mouth, out spewed at least a couple tired phrases. Just for fun, my roommate and I used to try to out-cliché him:

“I think I failed my calculus exam, but you can’t cry over spilled milk, because that’s the way the cookie crumbles – and heck, it’s no skin off my nose.”

You get the idea.

Amusing as Neil’s reflex was, it also sensitized me to the fact that clichés were just throwaway phrases, the victims of their own fame. Meaningless, but so darned fun!

The business world is chock full of clichés – from “thinking outside the box” to “win-win situation” to the ridiculous “paradigm shift.”

Weary of these expressions, I think it’s high-time to unveil a new crop of business clichés (for the new millennium).

Here are 12 nominees for your consideration:

Wall envy: The inevitable outgrowth of an open-plan workplace.

Meeting mirage: When a pointless meeting appears to be drawing to a close, only to be given new life by an inane participant.

Super-value proposition: Even better than the original.

E-mail diarrhea: A descriptive term for the steady stream of meaningless messages to your inbox.

Tossing the Facebook frisbee: Cross-posting on the Facebook walls of your co-workers during work hours.

Pink slip parade: Sort of like a ticker-tape parade, but much bloodier.

Nurturing a vulture culture: Allowing employees to pounce on the furniture and/or supplies of their recently laid-off co-workers.

Turbo-charged ascendancy: An employee who “earns” numerous promotions on the fast-track to the executive suite.

Grazing at the holiday trough: The tendency to pig out on all the edible goodies sent by vendors during the Christmas season.

Far-too-casual Friday: The patent abuse of a relaxed dress code.

Uninventing the wheel: Ignoring previously expressed wisdom to pretend the company needs you to develop it.

Elvis – and IT – have left the building: Where are they when you need them the most?

These phrases, of course, will only ascend to cliché status if you start using them – early and often.

I’d appreciate your cooperation, and I welcome additional nominees to add to the list. For inspiration, here are more business clichés than you can shake a stick at