Local media celebrities will be showing Jimmy Fallon how it’s done at the “2014 Celebrity Lip Sync for Smiles.”

The 6 p.m. Oct. 22 fundraiser for Smile Network at Muse Event Center (Singforsmiles.eventbrite.com) will be similar to Fallon’s “Tonight Show” competitions with celebrities. But Maureen Cahill, Smile Network executive director, said, “The production aspect will be much bigger. There’s going to be costuming and choreography. The very talented Grant Whittaker, the designer/stylist, and Myron Johnson, famous choreographer, are producing the show. They are styling and training all the celebrities for the contest so as to have a level performance stage.”

Whittaker came up with the idea for breaking the talent into various Grammyesque performance categories.

My favorite is the “Pop R & B Rap” category because the performers are … Allison Kaplan, a Mpls.St.Paul mag senior editor, and Stephanie March, food and wine editor for Mpls.St.Paul.

They may perform as “Iggy Azalea featuring Salt ‘n’ Pepa, Vanity 6, Nicki Minaj, Wendy and Lisa or the Pointer Sisters,” said Cahill, laughing. Oh, please let them be the Pointer Sisters!

WCCO-TV’s Mike Augustyniak and Natalie Nyhus are in the “male-female duo” category. Emily Engberg, Kelli Hanson and Steve Patterson, from KSTP-TV’s “Twin Cities Live,” are a “group band.” Some undisclosed “Bring Me the News” staffers — I feel a Rick Kupchella performance coming on — are performing under the “Rock ‘n’ Roll” category.

Don’t be surprised if these categories don’t hold and this cast changes, but others expected are Jana Shortal, M.A. Rosko, Steve-O, Kim Johnson, Jamie Yuccas, Roshini Rajkumar.

No prime-time anchors could be booked because the event is during newscasts.


Ratner’s digital regrets

Instead of treating digital devices like appendages, former Strib copy boy Bill Ratner’s first book suggests those smart toys be used as judiciously as fire extinguishers.

The voice of Flint in the “G.I. Joe” series and on “Family Guy,” Ratner has taught workshops on media awareness for children. He began researching “Parenting for the Digital Age” 2½ years ago, after a representative for Familius Books heard him speak in Utah.

“I did a bunch of research on ‘Is there really any evidence that too much TV, too much iPhone, too much iPad [does anything] to children, families?’ ” Ratner said by phone Monday from L.A.

“I’m not a maniac, my kids have smartphones and iPads and so do I. But I think the evidence is beginning to come in that it’s having a less than positive effect. There’s a study that was done at MIT — and these are the brightest kids in the country — they are scoring lower on the same kinds of tests and classes they had 15 years ago because they are bringing their laptops and iPads and iPhones and reflexively checking their texts and Facebook and Instagram. They are absorbing less material.”

Ratner said he was guilty of nurturing the behavior in his daughters, now 19 and 27, when they were youngsters.

“I would proudly say, ‘Daddy’s in a new cartoon, a new TV commercial.’ I’d bring home the DVD and they would sit there and watch it over and over. This is good for Daddy’s ego but wait a minute. My kids were watching the episodes and saying, ‘Please buy me this, Daddy, buy me that.’… Then they got hooked on TV and then came smartphones and iPads. My wife and I were going, ‘Wait a minute, we’ve created a monster.’ ”

He said he interviewed parents who limited their kids’ digital access. “There is one mom who has her entire family park all their devices in the kitchen and they don’t leave the kitchen until the next day when they take them to school.”

If he could do it again, Ratner said, he would give this advice to his daughters: “Treat your digital devices like a fire extinguisher. Use it when appropriate, don’t just blow it off in the house for fun. … That’s not the greatest metaphor in the world, but people don’t use them [just] in emergencies. They use them for amusement, which is fine, but too much of it drains the brain of both time and imagination.”


C.J. can be reached at cj@startribune.com and seen on FOX 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count. Attachments are not opened.