When you learn things

Recently Larry King sat in for an "Ask Me Anything" session on Reddit, which in itself was a pretty cool event -- two notable brands, from very different generations and departments in "media," learning and working together. 

It's fun to read through. King is super concise and truthful and direct -- basically, just as you may expect he'd be, and then even more so. You should really scroll through the whole discussion

But this part especially caught my eye (in particular, the bit I've enlarged and bolded, as it's something I continually need to remind myself):

Q: How hard was/is it for you to be non-biased as a broadcaster? 

A: Not hard at all. I was raised on professionalism. The people I admire the most in the business were the people who's opinions I did not know. Who had the ability to deliver material in an unbiased manner. I always left my ego at the door. 

My number one motto [was] and still is "I never learned anything when I was talking."

Oprah on dancing with the one that brung ya

I came across a clip from a recent Oprah Show dedicated to the "greatest lessons" she's learned over the course of her on-air career. I'm not the biggest Oprah fan, but I really liked her anecdote about why she stayed in Chicago, where her show still airs in its original 9 A.M time slot, for so long. Essentially, it's a version of "dance with the one that brung ya," an adage to which I personally try to adhere for as long as practicable.

"Years ago... I was gonna get paid a lot more money to move to Channel 2. They wanted me to move to Channel 2 at four in the afternoon to help out their news, and they were gonna pay me a bunch more money to do it. Like, millions of dollars.

And I said to [producer] Roger King, 'I'm not gonna do that.' He was like, 'Are you crazy? Did you not understand what I said? How many zeros are on the check?' And I said, 'No, because the 9 o'clock Chicago audience was where I started.' And he said, 'Do you think those people are still sitting there watching TV?' And no, I didn't.

But I did feel that there was something energetically right about staying where you were, and being loyal to the people who helped you get started. So I'm grateful to Chicago."

On great clothes and funny lines

“I attribute the longevity of my career to the fact I didn’t have to carry that [sex symbol] mantle. I was never beautiful so I’m not unbeautiful. I may not have been a leading lady, but I had great clothes and funny lines. I think I had more flexibility.”

-Christine Baranski in the NYT's new monthly feature, "Main Course"

I've always loved the simple, direct, yet sensitive writing of the NYT's fashion journalist Cathy Horyn (think Steve Jobs' memos, but on the topic of runway fashion rather than consumer technology.) But I haven't read as much of her as I'd like, since her beat often isn't of very much interest to me.

Sure, I like to read a monthly women's fashion magazine or two (Elle is my favorite), but that's more for the pop culture than for the clothing spreads. I'm not interested in keeping up with the constant treadmill of multi-city, multi-season "fashion weeks" that Cathy Horyn writes about for a living.

That's why I was happy to see that the Times has given Horyn a new monthly column called "Main Course," which is billed as "a conversation over lunch with a notable public figure." For the column's debut, Horyn sat down with the actress Christine Baranski at storied Manhattan media power lunch spot Michael's (Horyn notes that during their lunch Barbara Walters was naturally sitting one table away, and, just as naturally, Baranski didn't notice.) Needless to say, I thought the whole article was fantastic.

P.S. Although I'd beg to differ on Baranski's assertion that she's not beautiful, I get what she's trying to say. I'd take great clothes and funny lines over youthful sex symbol status any day.

On Earnestness Part 2

"All I ask is one thing, and this is-- I’m asking this particularly of young people that watch.

Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism; for the record, it's my least favorite quality. It doesn't lead anywhere.

Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard, and you're kind, amazing things will happen.

I’m telling you.  Amazing things will happen.  I’m telling you.  It’s just true."

-Conan O'Brian, during his final show

Refreshingly earnest real talk on network TV, of all places.  I like the all-encompassing promise of "amazing" things happening.  I think it's true that, at some time, and in some form, you will get back what you put in.