Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Leave the Crystal Ball at Home

Insecurity, emotional baggage . . . a crystal ball? Check out my latest free-lance piece for here:

Image by Napalm filled tires

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Tina Fey Comedy Litmus Test

My blog is called Do I Amuse You? as a tribute to one of the oddest exchanges in mob movie history and as a rhetorical question (because otherwise you may just answer, “mmm, not really”). For some reason - yes, psychotherapy would offer a plethora - I require validation in everything I do. I think I’m funny and I make people laugh, but it’s usually when playing off of their conversations. I have reactive material and like to believe I’m quick like 'at. With this blog, I have to start the dialogue, and there is no give and take. My validation metric (my apologies for using the brilliant corporate replacement for “measurement”) regarding humor has been to get the people in my life I find hilarious to laugh. Now, I’m ready to reach higher.

The funniest person on the planet is Tina Fey. Everything she does (head writer of SNL, creator and head writer of 30 Rock, screenwriter of Mean Girls, and her sketch and sit-com acting, delivery and timing) is just spot on. And she recently won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Comedy (, which was totally deserved.

I most appreciate the self-deprecation in her humor. I attempt it in some of my own stuff like my recent blog on balding (
) and one of my first blogs called Why You Gotta Be Like That? (

So for my ultimate validation, I’d like to hear that Tina read something of mine and laughed. Out loud.

I’m not pining for a dream job-offer or for Tina herself. I mean, she’s totally hot, and smart…and married. This is a professional appreciation and if just one of my lines, or concepts, or articles, hit the mark in her opinion, I would know I’m following the right path.

It’s not your typical male fantasy, but it is mine.

So if any of you know Ms. Fey, please pass along my wish and a link to my blog, but don’t embellish with fabrications like I’m dying or a 12-year-old Make-a-Wish candidate or something.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Balding: No it’s really not OK to pat my head

It’s my own hang-up, but I doubt I’m alone in this sentiment. Why is it that people, strangers or dear friends, feel it’s totally OK to mention that I’m balding, losing my hair, have a receding hairline, have a five-head, comment on the shine? It’s genetic, not due to anything I’ve ever done and completely out of my control. It’s a perpetual bad hair day. Yes, I’ll use the term balding as long as there is any hair on my head because it’s an ongoing process. Just like aging; another fact of life out of our control. I won’t get plugs, or surgery, or a rug, or a weave, or a sophisticated clinically proven plastic grid system based on Barbie® technology. I also won’t try pills that carry a danger just by touch, not that I’m nursing or pregnant.

Look, I don’t pat your stomach to acknowledge a loyal regimen of pizza, beer and chocolate, or the pending birth of your child. I don’t tug on your cheeks or jowls, or giggle at the ripple effect after smacking your derriere. So for the love of Pete, don’t pat my head to show me what used to be there. If you’d like to buy advertising on this space, we can talk.

I understand no real hurt is intended, and I don’t cry myself to sleep over it (I save that for the playoffs), but men are vain creatures with self-image issues just like the fairer gender. As you can see from the pictures above, when I was a young man I had a freakin’ mane, man. Long, spiral curls like Daltrey in his Tommy days. We’re talking my generation (pun intended). Today, it’s more like Daughtry, except his looks damn good and is by choice.

When I was in middle school, my hair was uncontrollable and usually a mess. I didn’t get to that rock star hair until the end of college (no perm was necessary) because I also wanted to have straight, feathered hair like everyone else. Sad, because when I finally let it go natural in college (pic above) it only lasted for a heartbeat. When it was time to leave school for the real world, apparently it was time for my hair to leave too. But just like adult children finally heading out on their own, it’s taking its damn time.

My favorite poster was in my 8th grade science class, a shot of Einstein in all his wiry glory with a simple caption: “It’s not the hair that counts; it’s what’s under it.” True words that helped me get through my insecurities as an adolescent and still help me get through my insecurities in mid-life.

I know in the grand scheme of life, hair is unimportant. And if I’m going to keep things in perspective, my hair loss is genetic and not a reflection of my health, which is excellent. So I’ll count my blessings. Sometimes hair loss is the result of a person’s intense battle with cells within their own body, which itself is a sign of beauty because all I see is a fighter. How dare I be so vain. Bald can be beautiful, baby!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Top 10 Mantiques

Matt Titus used a wonderful new term today on the CBS Early Show: “mantique”. It means an outdated appliance you'll find in someone's home (most likely your significant other's). So I had to throw together a quick Top 10:

Mike's Top 10 Mantiques
  • 19” RCA XL-100 TV – It’s the only appliance I know of that has a new model every year and never changed the version number! Guaranteed it’s a console if she needs your help moving

  • Corded Landline Telephone - But it is touchtone

  • Desktop Computer - Hopefully newer than a 486

  • Single-tray CD Player - No, it doesn’t read MP3s either

  • VCR – Hey, there’s an 18-hour Benny Hill marathon on – If I can find enough of your store-brand six-hour blank videotapes, I’ll record them at low quality and only have to swap them out three times (better set the alarm), then I get to play them back with a grainy picture on your RCA! Where's the Jiffy-Pop?!

  • Dial-up Modem - Yes, even if you have two 56Ks linked together. "Get off the computer, I'm on the phone!"

  • Non-programmable Thermostat - Cold? Slide the stick to the right. Hot? Slide the stick to the left. What temperature is it in here anyway? The plastic, mercury-filled weight bar says it’s between 60 dot and 70 dot

  • Long-distance Calling Card - First dial 1-800-888-8000, then enter your 16-digit calling card number and 6-digit pin; listen for the dial tone; dial the 10-digit number you are calling which you cannot recall because all phone numbers are stored in your cell phone, which is dead, and her e-Machine desktop doesn’t have a USB port to charge it!

  • Charcoal Grill - Honey, can you put the steaks on? Um, the coals need another gallon of high-octane, combustible fluid that I’ll pour while standing on your 4-foot apartment deck. Then only another 30 minutes until they’re gray and ashy – that means we’re ready to cook!

  • Map - Without a GPS and no broadband, she hands you a fold-out to find the wedding in upstate New York. She also has an Atlas, if it helps.
Matt Titus is a professional matchmaker and co-author of Why Hasn’t He Called? with his wife Tamsen Fadal, who will both be starring in the Lifetime reality series Matched in Manhattan, premiering tonight on Lifetime (

Mike Morucci is a blogger.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

My New Year's Resolution: Not to ask for yours

People are reluctant to say "Merry Christmas" to me, an Italian - a pretty safe bet that I celebrate (or at some time celebrated) the holiday - but have no problem asking "What's your New Year's resolution?" It's equivalent to saying "Which problem of yours, and there are many, my dear friend, Michael, are you going to half-heartedly attempt to fix before giving up in futility like everyone else this year?"

OK, I'm putting a lot of assumed offense-intended on my friends, which truly there isn't, but it does bring up a point. A resolution is required to resolve something (solve an issue, unravel a mystery, fix a problem). I don't like to make New Year's resolutions because I never really took them seriously and in the past I repeatedly set myself up for disappointment. Instead, a few years ago I decided to try making small but serious tweaks in my life that would slowly become part of my routine and not a sudden shock to my system, and hopefully improve me in the process.

I didn't go on a crash diet, I slowly changed the portions of food I eat. I didn't give up my favorite foods, I simply cut down on them. And smaller portions actually made me feel a lot better. Once I got used to the portions, I started paying attention to what I was eating. Could I try wheat or whole grain bread instead of white? Sure! Could I find food without trans fats, nitrates and nitrites, high fructose corn syrup, and ingredients that don't read like a chapter from organic chemistry? Absolutely! So now I read the labels and am more discerning in my shopping.

After a stress-induced trip to the cardiologist, I didn't hit the gym but I did try a free Yoga class. Then signed up for a Yoga session. Then attended a few more. I recently took a break and learned I need to have a class to attend because I don't have enough self-discipline to practice enough on my own. Did I make a resolution to attend Yoga again in 2008? Not really, but I did think about it. So maybe one of the positive things I can say about resolutions are they get me to look over the past year and see if there are some new tweaks to consider.

I didn't resolve to get thin, lose weight, join a cult or gym, or be a better person. I did consider what other new routines I can try to introduce that I could benefit from or could make me even happier. Writing more is definitely one of them - nothing quantitative that I will ultimlatey come up short on; just more.

And I hope you'll like reading some more from me.

I did quit smoking at the very end of 1996, but I didn't announce it to the world (until I really announced it in my Smoke-Free World blog).

So maybe resolutions aren't all bad. Happy New Year!