Chuck Ross

Potpourri: An Email from Oprah; Surviving Carmageddon

Jul 15, 2011

We’ll get to Oprah in a moment.

First, as any resident of Los Angeles knows, we’re on the eve of Carmageddon — a wonderful phrase coined a few months ago, though I’m not sure by whom.

Carmageddon is the insane closing — for 53 hours — of 10 miles of the busiest highway in the country, starting at about midnight tonight, July 15, 2011. Interstate 405 will be closed from the middle of West L.A. clear through to the beginning of the San Fernando Valley.

We’ve been told that it’s necessary so a bridge over the highway — we call it a freeway out here — can be torn down.

If you know L.A. traffic — even on a weekend — you know what a traffic mess we can likely expect from this closing.

Our advice — go with the flow and go nowhere further than your living room couch.

We’re surprised no one has thought of putting on a Carmageddon marathon on TV. It would consist, of course, of favorite road movies.

So we’ve come up with our own list of such films. Go out and rent some of them and relax over this Carmageddon weekend.

We’re talking road picture in the broadest sense of the word. So besides some of the good Bob Hope-Bing Crosby-Dorothy Lamour films that actually have "road" in their titles — “Road to Morocco” is probably the best — we’d argue that a film such as “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” is a terrific road movie.

So, with a tip of the TVWeek cap to my colleagues Dennis Liff, David Klein and Kurt Gardner, here are some more enjoyable selections. We’ve tried to be more creative than just mentioning the National Lampoon vacation films:

“Sullivan’s Travels”
“Duel” (TV movie)
“Mad Max” (released in 1979—the original “Road Warrior” movie)
“O Brother, Where Art Thou”
“It Happened One Night”
“Easy Rider”
“Ride the High Country”
“Bonnie and Clyde”
“Gun Crazy”
“Little Miss Sunshine”
“Y Tu Mama Tambien”
“Breathless” (French version)
“Planes, Trains and Automobiles”
"Narrow Margin" (original 1952 version)
"Silver Streak"
"North By Northwest"
"The Grapes of Wrath"
"Hot Rods to Hell"
"The Wizard of Oz"
"Midnight Run"

And perhaps our all-time favorite in this category, Albert Brooks’ classic "Lost in America."


Now, on to the email I received the other day from Oprah. OK, I must confess that she probably sent it to some of you as well. When her show ended I signed up — as I’m sure thousands of others did — on her website to get emails from her. (Turns out she’s posted this on her website as well.)

Here’s her first email to all of us Oprah fans that popped into our in-boxes on Wednesday, July 13, 2011:

Hello friends of Summer,

I haven’t written lately because my technically challenged self could not access
this email account.

So many barriers were put in place to protect the account, I ended up barring
myself from access.

So here we go… Last week was at Allen Conference, with all the movers and
shapers of our world. Met some fascinating people like Sheryl Sandberg, COO of
Facebook. Dynamo woman. So exciting to see women crack that glass ceiling and
burst through it.

Came home inspired to work harder and do better.

Started out the week taking swimming lessons. Moving beyond my amateur doggy
paddle. Learned the breast stroke today.

Over a year ago I pulled a picture from O mag of a woman gliding through water.
It was such a striking image of Freedom and possibility I put it on my vision
board (which I’ve still not completed). Today when I finished my swimming
lesson I passed the vision board lying on the table where it’s been since 2009.
I had an aha moment. I had just become that woman, gliding through the water!

For years I’ve been a challenged swimmer, afraid of the water and fighting it.
Today I learned to move with the flow.

This I’ve known forever is the great metaphor of life. "Move with the flow".
Don’t fight the current.
Resist nothing. Let life carry you. Don’t try to carry it.

Sometimes we just have to be reminded. A swim lesson did it for me.

I’ve brought the metaphor to life as I try to evolve OWN into its full
potential. Erik Logan and Sheri Salata, presidents of Harpo today will bring
their unique partnering leadership into alignment with the network.

In all things you must have alignment for "flow" to occur.

This I’ve known forever, but couldn’t make it happen, because we were all so
focused on ending The Oprah Show.

So as of today… Harpo Team and OWN team become ONE.

Our intention is to use the cable platform and the internet platform and the
mobile platform to create messages that fill you up and bring you to new levels
of awareness about yourself, ourselves, and our world; our potential…

It’s an incredible challenge ahead trying to figure out what kind of shows and
programming will resonate with you, inspire you, bring a little piece of light
into your already crowded existence. But I feel called to do it, and will be
relying on your feedback, emails and tweets and message boards to let me know
what you think.

We’re gearing up for October, The Oprah Show team of producers will be producing
the Rosie show in Chicago at Harpo studios.

I’ll be in L.A working on "Next Chapter".

I’m also taking The Oprah Show library of 4560 shows and redesigning them into
the 100 best lessons I’ve learned about everything that can help you live a
better life. Those will start airing Oct. 10. Same day as Rosie.

At my core I’m a teacher, masquerading as a talk show host.
And now I’ll have a nightly class on OWN.

But for now, I’m enjoying every breath of Summer.
I hope you all are appreciating the warm sun and blue sky where ever you are.

Everyday I wake up grateful. For the smallest things and big things:

Health. Living in the U.S.A. Freedom. Democracy.
Promise and Potential. Growth.
And tiny pleasures like bathing my dogs or picking vegetables.

I have a garden, and every Thursday we harvest our veggies. I grew up in
Mississippi, too young to appreciate what it means to pull beans from the vine.
Then I just thought it was work, now I get a little thrill from every onion and
corn stalk. Yes I’m growing CORN in my back yard. And beets and lots of basil.

I cook for Stedman, but have a limited repertoire.

Next I think I may want to take one of those Tuscany cooking courses.

Will let you know how it goes.

The Best of Life to you,
Oprah Winfrey#

One Comment

  1. Going with the flow is good… Except when your going over the falls. Then you may want to grab that dangling branch up a head?

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