A pretty good sound bite for a 40-page autobiography

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 27, 2010 - 8:16 PM

It was Joan Steffend's night at her "... and she sparkled" autobiography release party. Colorful members of her family tried not to glimmer too much, and they mostly succeeded.

The former KARE 11 anchor and host of HGTV's "Decorating Cents" was dressed in purple, the color of her book, for the party thrown at Robb Whittlef's Historic design studio in St. Louis Park. Whittlef is the design guy who was a contributor on Steffend's HGTV show, no longer in reruns.

"I had forgotten who I was," said Steffend, metaphysically speaking. "This is actually my life story. It's about going back and figuring out who I was and then claiming my life. But it's told like a television reporter would tell it -- in 40 pages, with about 12 words on every page. So it's not going to take you more than five minutes to read."

Hennepin County public affairs director Carolyn Marinan, a two-time roommate of Steffend's going back to their days at KARE 11, said: "It's the first book I've read in a long time. Elegantly simple. Joan is one of the most wonderful people I know, and she's always sparkled. Joan's a gentle, lovely soul."

Does Marinan have any friends who aren't lovely souls?

"Yes, I do, dear. We are a pretty scruffy bunch, some of us from the TV days," said Marinan, who, as you can see at startribune.com/video, was at the party along with Teri Knight, Diana Pierce and others.

For a much better video than mine, check out the one from Steffend's director/producer husband, Joe Brandmeier, at www.tinyurl.com/294ktmf.

It's difficult to keep the genie that is Brandmeier's personality in the bottle, but he tried. "I'm going to do a Brett Favre imitation," said Brandmeier. Rethinking that, he decided not to because "This is Joan's night."

Brandmeier's Favre act does not involve snapping photos of bodily 50-yard lines, showing off "Open Fly Jeans" or causing heartache to a spouse. Brandmeier does "Pants on the Ground," from the now-wistful, innocent Favre file.

Instead, Brandmeier showed his happiness for his wife by joyously recalling how when their daughter Jordan was a baby, and goatees were always drawn on her face so people could see how much she looked like her dad. It's like he's looking in a mirror, even on video, especially when a goatee is stuck on Jordan.

Chip off the old Randy

To the surprise of no one, Randy Moss has a child who is a hoops phenom.

Sydney Moss, a junior at Kentucky's Boone County High School, "is already one of the best female basketball players in the country," writes SportsbyBrooks.com at www.tinyurl.com/33hpbq4. Sydney is quoted as saying that when she's out with her dad, the public reaction is "crazy," but she's used to it.

TedWilliamsHead.com noted that in 1993 and 1994, Sydney's dad was West Virginia's high school player of the year in basketball. Sydney has siblings, so there could be other Mosses rolling onto sports scenes as well.

Too big to answer?

Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods" epicurean Andrew Zimmern has gone totally big-time on me.

Can't seem to be get a response via phone or e-mail as to whether BigTime recalls Allen Kurzweil as a high school chum at NYC's Dalton School.

When I crossed paths recently with Kurzweil, he told me on startribune.com/video about knowing Zimmern years before Andrew became a world famous aficionado of animal testicles and "Talk Soup" favorite.

Kurzweil was at Fox 9 promoting his eco-friendly science kit for kids, Potato Chip Science, which encourages kids to "turn the recycling bin into their own laboratory supply house." The kit's packaging peanuts are made by Starch Tech in Minneapolis. "They are completely edible," said Kurzweil, and "they serve as ammunition for the confetti cannon in the Potato Chip Science kit." Edible doesn't mean tasty, in this case, but these packaging peanuts are probably a lot more delectable than some of the stuff Zimmern eats.

Maybe somebody can ask Zimmern about Kurzweil Thursday night at Walker Art Center's fundraiser for Cultural Jambalaya, a nonprofit photography organization that promotes understanding for all cultures.

Via e-mail, I asked Troy Tepley, a senior associate at Exponent PR and Colle+McVoy, to ask Zimmern if he recalled attending high school with an Allen Kurweil.

After too many e-mail exchanges for an uncomplicated question, Tepley wrote, "Andrew wanted me to pass along the note that you should give him a call on his cell."

Not happening. I clearly have not been upgraded to the cell phone Andrew actually answers.

C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or cj@startribune.com. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. Attachments are not opened, so don't even try. More of her attitude can be seen on Fox 9 Thursday mornings.

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