Thursday, June 28, 2012


      Former "Today Show" co-host Ann Curry may not have been able to hold on to her morning show crown for long, or claim ratings victory in the cut-throat battle that is morning television. But one thing is crystal clear after her excruciatingly painful sign-off today: She emerged the only winner in this behind-the-scenes tug-o-war created by NBC, though it's doubtful she feels that way now.  
    Whuh? Winner?  That's right! This episode in the network's programming of missteps (remember that guy Conan?) will haunt her the rest of her life, yes. But her heartfelt and tearful goodbye to her television audience this morning, and the way she has conducted herself in recent weeks as the speculation and gossip fueled by anonymous 'insiders' grew in size from a tropical depression to a category four hurricane, was nothing short of graceful and dignified.
   She deserves the Emmy the show received. Throw in an Academy Award for best performance while you're at it for  having to sit next to co-host Matt Lauer, who reportedly helped seal her fate. Handling herself with the-show-must-go-on composure and still reporting for work is admirable. 
   Firing someone, or demoting them, is never easy. But shame on the network for breaking the cardinal rule of putting it out there for the courts of public opinion, a few leaks at a time.  The anonymous executives who were critical of Curry's style in the NY Times may have hoped they were providing justification for making changes (which they certainly are entitled to do), but allowing information to leak out BEFORE things transpired was a dirty trick to pull on someone who had given so many years of loyalty.
   I'm a tv news veteran, and well aware of what is at stake and why changes are made. They are purely business decisions, not  personal. But it is impossible, as Curry has said, to NOT take it personally when the 'situation' is handled so insensitively. 
   Some years back, I was the small-market version of Ann Curry, only my exit was somewhat thinly-veiled as a 'new' opportunity. A dear friend of mine suffered the same fate a number of years ago on the morning show of a rival network, again, for the masses to watch. 
    So i've been doing a lot of empathizing the past couple of weeks with Ms. Curry.  Props to her for displaying class and grace, when certainly no one would blame her if she ranted on twitter or Facebook like everyone seems to do these days.
   Most people's demotion or firing won't be played out on such a public stage. For the rest of us, if or when it happens, take cues from the likes of Ann Curry, whom I will regard from now on more for being such a class act than for being an experienced correspondent.
   If you are on the receiving end of the pink slip, hold your head up high. Hard as it may be, try not to take it personally. Don't exit kicking and screaming. Express nothing but appreciation and gratitude for the opportunity, and the relationships you were able to build.  Reserve your criticism, especially in the social media orbit.  That workplace bridge may now have cracks in it, but for heaven's sake don't burn it down by badmouthing your former boss or co-wokers. 
   Curry-gate may be over for NBC, but long after the former co-host resumes filing reports from faraway lands, my hunch is the network will still be remembered for mishandling this  employment situation, while Ann Curry will be praised deservedly for the decorum she displayed by rising above the mess and carrying on with a brave face and a head held high. THAT, Really 'Manners' A lot! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


   'Tis the season to take entertaining outdoors, take formality down a few notches and enjoy the company of family and friends in a relaxed setting.  Whether you are having a picnic at a park or a barbecue on the back patio, the focus should be on whom you've invited just as much as what's on the grill.
   Invitations are usually telephoned.  Impromptu is okay.  Despite a more laid-back mood, the menu can be as easy or involved as you like. You can certainly have a beautiful and elegant dinner outdoors with china and crystal, but for casual barbecues, I prefer to keep it simple with plastic cups, utensils and paper plates  which make for easy cleanup. Although, if you are grilling meat, have regular steak knives available.  Just make sure you count your flatware BEFORE the meal to make sure you still have the same amount at the end of the night and one or two didn't go into the trash.
    Have plenty of beverages on hand, and a good variety too. Not everyone may want (or be old enough) to have an alcoholic beverage.
    If you are having a picnic elsewhere, pick up after yourself. Dispose of everything in a receptacle. Don't expect the ants to take care of it!
   If you are lucky enough to have everything in your own backyard, make the most of it. We turn our water feature on in the pool, have blow up beach balls for the kids, light tiki torches at nightfall, and make sure there are at least three or four different areas to sit, including enough stools around the barbecue's bar. 
  I'm also big fan of music too.  It should blend into the background, not make it impossible to ear what someone is saying.  If you have an outdoor entertainment center, find a nice tropical station to help set a festive mood.  Better yet, if there is a playoff game on television, turn it on! The men in the group will love it!
     Make sure you have plenty of finger food.  It can be as easy as shelled peanuts, especially if a baseball game is on, popcorn for the kids, or easy-to-make Nachos.
    The most important thing is to bring people together for conversation and good times, and make them feel welcome and as if they never want to leave. The host and hostess set the tone. Long after the last burger has been grilled, the hospitality you offered at your gathering will be what is remembered the most.  Now get grilling! Remember, It 'Manners' A lot!

Friday, June 15, 2012


   If, as Hillary Clinton suggested, it takes a village to raise a child, then most certainly the chief of that tribe is dear ole' Dad.  He's the head honcho, the guy where the buck stops, and dispensary of priceless wisdom and advice. My father, one of six children born on a farm in the nation's Wheat Belt, brought a lot of Kansas sensibilities with him to California.  My sisters and I have been the beneficiaries of his many life lessons from the Plains ever since.
  My earliest memories of my father are of his laughter. There's a dry wit that blows off the wheat fields of the Midwest. His has always been couched in subtle irritation or annoyance. I'm convinced his medicine cabinet has been stocked full of laughter all these years.  If we can't do anything about it, we might as well laugh about it, he'll say.  Of course, not everything in our life has been a laughing matter, but we have always been able to find the humor in something.
    Fix it. The father of my children is a brilliant legal eagle, but i'm not sure he would recognize a hammer if he saw one.  My father on the other hand, has always been ever at the ready with a tool kit to tackle any household repair. When my mother died, I looked for anything and everything that needed fixing.  In time, those menial tasks helped fix his broken heart as well.  Time is a gift, don't leave it idling like an engine or let it go to waste, he says. Anything can be repaired, especially fences needing mending.
    Family First.  At the end of the day, all we have is each other, my father says.  Now in the sunset of his life, whether in a hospital bed or medical office waiting room, he will often say, "I don't know what I would do without you girls."  The man who brought my sisters and me into this world, cradled us, fed and nurtured us, now finds himself in a reversal of roles.  Frankly, I don't know what we would do without him, or his lessons of the importance of honesty, integrity, saying what you mean and meaning what you say, working hard, and loving and laughing even harder.
    On this Father's Day, a tip of the hat to my wonderful dad, Herschel Kimble, and all the other men in my life and others who have left indelible marks on their children and grandchildren in their greatest of jobs - fatherhood. It 'Manners' A lot! 

Thursday, June 14, 2012


    Today is Flag Day, a commemoration of the nation's Stars and Stripes believed to have first originated in 1885, according to, when a Wisconsin schoolteacher arranged for students in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School District 6 to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777) as 'Flag Birthday'.
    On May 30, 1916, Flag Day was officially established by proclamation by President Woodrow Wilson, and while it was celebrated in communities across the country for years after that, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.  
    In 1923, the United States Flag Code was first adodpted, prescribing flag etiquette and the treatment of  it. Despite that, however, over the years, our nation's greatest symbol has been woven into the fabric of Americana, both tastefully and with brazen vulgarity. 
    According to the U.S. Flag Code, "No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America."   The National Flag Foundation has helped decode the code for easy understanding of the do's and don'ts. Among them, ALWAYS display the flag with the blue union field UP. Never display the flag upside down, except as a distress signal. If the flag is hung vertically, the blue union star-studded field should be observed to the LEFT
    Raise the flag enthusiastically, but lower it slowly. Don't hang a flag after sundown unless you are able to illuminate it. And NEVER let the flag touch anything beneath it such as the ground, floor, etc. 
     In recent years, with conflicts overseas, Old Glory has been painted on windows, sides of buildings and on garage doors with words like 'Proud Navy Parents' written across them as an obvious expression of sentiment and pride. However well-intended, to do so is a gesture of disrespect to our national emblem.   As per the Flag Code, Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 8, and again, interpreted by the Flag Foundation, the flag should NEVER have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture or drawning of any nature  
    So hoist our Stars and Stripes today with grand treatment of our national treasure and all that it represents, because 'It Manners A lot'!


Thursday, June 7, 2012


     The inappropriate-language-on-television train left the station a long time ago.  Condolences to all.  But it is still a train wreck out there. (Hello, Bravo, you listening?) Friend and fellow blogger Jim Walker summed it up best in his latest blog,

   There is no question that civility within the spoken word has gone down the drain.  Check out Jim's take, and take pause.  May we all clean it up (yours truly included), because It 'Manners' A lot'!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


     Today many people are heading to the polls to cast their vote for candidates and measures.  Tempted as we all are to weigh in on social media sites about our like or dislike for a cause or candidate, let us all keep it civil out there.  Friend Judi McCarthy, whom I admire greatly, summed it up best this morning on Facebook:  "Election Day. So here's the thing: we all have preferred candidates, but need we descend into vitriol and malice toward the "opposition?" Can't we shift perspectives a bit to be GRATEFUL that some citizens are willing to serve, unlike many of their critics and in spite of the beating they'll take in the press, their social circles, and even social media? FB friends that are also political firebrands, please remain dignified."
       I couldn't have said it any better.  Thank you Judi for the reminder that today, as always, there is no grace in being an ugly competitor, pompous winner or sore loser.  Let's cast a vote today for civility as well.  Remember, it 'manners' a lot!