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THE LIFE OF O'REILLY

"We must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose," said Indira Gandhi.

I thought of this after appearing on Bill O'Reilly's show. I've known and liked Fox News Channel's popular questioner for years. It's newly astonishing to sit across from him on air, as his aura of command is fascinating. Success gives him extra authority. He is diamond bright, ready to pounce and never at a loss for words.

I fear my expressing a few liberal thoughts made little impact. I suggested a Manhattan Project from the Bush administration to make the United States free of fossil fuels and expressed dismay at the disappearing lines between church and state. Bill reacted as if our gasoline problem has already been solved, and never commented on my second point. At talk's end, he asked me to name an important Hollywood celebrity who has impressed me. I think my answer disappointed Mr. O'Reilly.

I named Annette Bening as leading an exemplary professional life, dedicated to her craft, a gifted mother of four and successfully married to Warren Beatty. A woman who "has it all." Bill thought I'd have named Katharine Hepburn. (Miss Hepburn didn't believe a woman could "have it all!")

I left Mr. O'Reilly's super-hot domain trying to think of whom he reminded me. It finally came to me: Gen. George S. Patton. The general, complete with ivory-handled revolvers on his hips, couldn't exude more confidence, certainty and know-how than Bill O'Reilly. No wonder Fox feels he's their gem. His mojo is at an all-time high!

James McBride, the Carlyle Hotel's general manager, offered his glamorous hospitality to Literacy Partners Inc. for a cocktail kick-off in their beautiful, second-floor reception rooms, in the drive for our author's readings at Lincoln Center on May 16. Our spring honorees are Sarah and Lachlan Murdoch and Christine and Stephen Schwarzman and the readers will be Lauren Bacall, Edward P. Jones, Sue Monk Kidd and Renee Fleming.

Lesley Stahl, Barry Diller, Liz Rohatyn, Peter Brown, Jonathan Farkas, Veronica Hearst, Liz Fondaras, Diana Taylor, Dominick Dunne, Carroll Petrie, Mary Higgins Clark, Mary and Mike Wallace, Yanna Avis, James Brady, Chris Meigher, Linda Fairstein, Joni Evans and Bob Perkins and Deb Shriver were just a few on hand. We also had Parker Ladd and Arnold Scaasi back from Palm Beach. Do call 212-573-6933 and get in on this effort to teach 1 million adult New Yorkers how to read and write. We need your help.

Last week was contributing to my downfall. In being out and about on TV shows promoting my new food book "Dishing," I visited "Good Morning America" with Diane Sawyer ... "The Early Show" with Julie Chen ... "The Insider" with Lara Spencer, and each had cooked up some of the book's recipes.

As I left "GMA," Ms. Sawyer was helping herself to chicken-fried steak prepped in ABC's kitchen. As the CBS show ended, Ms. Chen, (looking as if she subsists on lettuce leaves) and I had collard greens and cream gravy, and examined, but did not eat, the epic deep-fried Snickers bar.
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