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Once again it is mailbag time, when I take a few minutes to answer some of the more important letters I receive from time to time. Keep them coming, by the way. I love to read them, especially if they don't include threats.

QUESTION: I read with enormous interest your announcement in a recent column that you are in fact running for governor. The picture depicting Gov. Bangerter wildly applauding at the thought of your candidacy was also a nice touch. But as yet I have not seen any TV ads, billboards or even that bus you talked about with your name and face plastered all over it? What's the deal? Is your candidacy in trouble? - Barbara from BlandingANSWER: Funny you should ask. As a matter of fact, my candidacy for governor has fallen on some hard times. Although Bangerter seemed excited about it at first, he was recently seen attending a fund-raiser for Mike Leavitt.

Even though I'm running a hard-hitting, insurgent, political-outsider type of campaign, I'm having trouble breaking into the big time. I think the major problem is that none of the other declared candidates is attacking me. I'm hoping those 3 million home videocassettes depicting my humble beginnings will turn it around. But don't you worry - I'm staying in this race until the end!

QUESTION: I just read that Rep. Bill Orton had introduced his very first bill in Congress. Isn't that a little late, considering the fact that he is already running for re-election? - Fred from Farmington

ANSWER: The fact of the matter is that most of us would rather have a congressman who just keeps the seat warm. Those guys who tear up the House of Representatives by introducing bill after bill are just big troublemakers.

Besides, he isn't writing any checks, and that's all we care about. We look for representatives who don't do things rather than those who do. It's a lot safer. Most people also don't realize that Orton's middle name is Bill. His first name is No.

QUESTION: I always thought Mr. Mac had the TV ad market cornered - you know, with the big guy doing his own ads. But recently I've noticed that Ken Garff has been showing up a lot sitting in a car and looking backward. Does he represent serious competition for Mr. Mac? - Orville from Orem

ANSWER: I've noticed those ads too, and I think it's healthy to see other entrepreneurs get in the game with Mr. Mac. Wendy's dad should not be allowed to dominate the airwaves either. In fact, I've heard rumors that Ned Nordstrom, Benny Baci, Burger King and Kay Mart are going to start doing their own ads, too.

QUESTION: I'm getting upset with the grocery stores. I've noticed that lots of products are getting smaller while the price is going up. Tampax used to have 40 and now it has 32. A can of tuna used to be 61/2 ounces, and now it is 6 and one-eighth. A can of salmon is slimmer on the bottom. Even the cereal boxes are getting smaller. What's going on? - Byron from Bountiful

ANSWER: You are too perceptive for your own good. We're not supposed to notice that everything is getting smaller. It's just part of the market economy that is on the rebound. And if you tell everyone, it might interfere with the rebound. WHAT ARE YOU, ANYWAY, A COMMUNIST?

QUESTION: I just heard that the most popular names for Utah babies are Michael for boys and Ashley for girls? Why do people choose those names? - DeMont from Draper

ANSWER: Because our prejudiced culture still tells us that boys should have traditional names that lead to business success while girls should have cutesy or glamorous names. It ain't right!

QUESTION: Why did Tom Harkin drop out of the presidential race so early? I sort of liked him. - Mary from Murray.

ANSWER: Because his assigned Secret Service code name was DODO BIRD.