C.J.: 'CCO radio and TV gigs have sports guy biking to the Max

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 23, 2011 - 7:20 PM

WCCO sports guy Mike Max was on a roll.

While straddling a most ecofriendly mode of transportation, Max also passed along hope to a Vikings fan tremendously worried about the franchise relocating to Los Angeles if it doesn't get a new taxpayer-funded stadium.

Max rides a bicycle between weeknight appearances on WCCO-TV and WCCO-AM. "I can do it in 90 seconds," Max said proudly of the six-block jaunt.

After he finishes the 6 p.m. TV newscast, he bikes over to the radio station for his 6-to-8 p.m. gig, after which he hops on the bike again and rides back to the TV station for the 10 p.m. newscast. On Fridays, the night he's always scheduled to anchor sports on TV, he tapes the first segment of his radio show. In a pinch he can do radio at the TV station because it has a radio hookup.

Max claims he wears a helmet, although he was without one on the Friday night in October, when my startribune.com/video captured the sports guy also not wearing any reflective gear and riding on the sidewalk. (End of the penalty phase of this item.)

I was in the company of Shaun LaBelle -- my pal the TV commercial producer who had just finished bemoaning his all-consuming fears about the future of the Vikings over steaks at Manny's -- when I noticed that the really well-dressed guy on the bike approaching us was Max.

"I've got a question for him," LaBelle said, interrupting us (and without doing his first-rate Mike Max vocal impression). "Are these politicians going to screw this up? Are we going to lose our Vikings, seriously?"

"No," said Max. "I talked to [Minneapolis Mayor] R.T. Rybak," and he said if Arden Hills doesn't work there are other good options, Max reassured Shaun.

"What about this [Minnesota state Sen.] John Marty throwing in this stupid Metrodome thing in the equation? Come on?" LaBelle said.

Said Max: "Know what I said? I said, 'On Sunday we should put Adrian Peterson at quarterback and Christian Ponder at running back.' Now that's a terrible plan that'll never work, but at least it's a plan. Right? Why they have a plan that they know will never, ever work and throw it out there is beyond me."

Challenge that prenup!

"Kris Breaks His Silence," misleads a headline on the cover of OK magazine.

Turns out there are quotes from "pals" and "insiders" but not one direct quote from NBA player Kris Humphries about the sudden end of his 72-day marriage to reality TV star Kim Kardashian. The story appears in the current issue of the magazine that purports to tell "His Side Of The Story: Deceived, ignored and humiliated."

The only fresh nugget for chewing is this: "Kris should keep those [wedding gifts] from his relatives. ..." The magazine confirmed what I told you already about the deal with Kim's gaudy engagement ring: "Kim agreed to pay Kris for her engagement ring. It's valued at $2 million, but an insider says Kris only paid a six-figure sum for it."

It's almost a certainty that Kardashian had Humphries sign a nondisparagement clause, so if he ever speaks he will say only nice things about being duped. He should say:

I was a very poor judge of character, as proven by the fact that I married someone who was apparently disingenuous. For that reason, I should challenge this prenup. My reasoning is that if Kim could be this knavish about our marriage vows she probably was not forthcoming in the prenup. ...

Santa's mixed signals

Had an encounter with a man who looked, about the hair and whiskers, like Santa Claus in the parking lot outside Bloomington's Hancock Fabrics store a few weeks ago.

Noticed him in the driver's seat of a van as I retrieved a shirt from my car to match with fabric in the store. He waved to me. He waved to others.

Feeling as though he was watching me too closely, I went over to tell him how odd his attention felt.

Santa remarked that Mrs. Claus was in the fabric store. No doubt because the fleece material had just arrived!

Eventually, I noticed the driver's "HOHOHO" license plate and decided it was safe to turn my back to this man, as opposed to backing away, while returning to the fabric store.

The tableau brought back all my childhood Santa anxieties, which were a shock to my mother when I revealed this distress as an adult.

As a child, and apparently an inscrutable one, I was absolutely terrified of going to sleep on Christmas Eve. There was something terribly unsettling about Santa sneaking a peek at me while I was sleeping when he dropped off the toys.

My annual terror was finally alleviated by Terry Steele, my next-door neighbor in Albany, Ga., and a college man home for the holidays. Terry gave me some special information regarding Santa back when I was about 10.

A few years ago I tracked him down, got the phone number to where he now lives in Georgia, and thanked him for that insider information and generally being nice and nurturing to his pint-size neighbors.

A couple of days after my fabric store encounter, a nice autographed picture from "Santa Dan Lundeen" arrived in the mail. Turns out he was looking at me and being friendly because he recognized me -- a possibility that almost never occurs to me in the moment.

"I'm the fellow in the parking lot. These pictures should make you agree that I clean up good and look much more like the man you believe I am, right?" his note read. "I read you, along with Mrs. Claus, in the Star Tribune. We enjoy your column!"

At the behest of my editor, I wrote Lundeen a note thanking him for reading but also expressing some confusion:

I thought Santa didn't like naughty?

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 this attitude can be heard Thursday mornings on Fox 9.

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