10 Most Fascinating People of Katie’s 2006

Tonight Barbara Walters is presenting her 10 Most Fascinating People of 2006. She already announced the list, minus number one, on The View and I was underwhelmed. Therefore, I’ve decided to devise my own list, called the 10 Most Fascinating People of Katie’s 2006. Don’t worry. Sachen isn’t on the list. He was fascinating last year. This is a list of people who first became fascinating to me in 2006. Some of them aren’t exactly people, but you get the idea. I had trouble ranking them (except number one—that was obvious) because my sense of fascination isn’t fixed. Anyway, here it is.

10. Jordan Garcia He got into Yale and Stanford and a host of other elite universities and these hoity-toity institutions offered him academic scholarships. All this and he graduated (albeit valedictorian) from humble little North Side High School in humble little Fort Wayne, IN. Jordan fascinates me because he’s so smart and so brave to go all the way to California to chase his dream. I dig that I can say I know him.

9. Mary Ann Cain I’ve already broken my own rules. Mary Ann was fascinating last year (and the year before, etc.) but she became even more fascinating to me this year when she told me that my novel (as far from being finished as the war in Iraq is) could be published commercially—like by a big name publishing house, not a small, independent press. Again, I dig that I can say I know her.

8. Sheryl Crow I was surprised when she and Lance broke up because even though the relationship took some getting used to, it seemed solid. I think Sheryl doesn’t want to get married and they would still be together if they hadn’t gotten engaged. She is a private person, and I’m always wondering what she’s really like. I guess that’s where the fascination comes from. When Wildflower came out, I was fascinated all over again. It’s different from her other stuff—quieter and softer and more thoughtful.

7. George Mason University’s men’s basketball team Where did they come from? Last March, GMU showed us exactly why college basketball is great. Regardless of how the season plays out, anything is possible come March. At first, of course, I was irked. How dare they beat Michigan State? But gradually, as I paid more attention to them, I became fascinated. They were so excited to be in the Final Four, and I couldn’t help but be excited with them.

6. Ashley Myers and Kenny Hansen Barbara has a couple on her list (Brangelina) and Ashley and Kenny are mine. I take a weird sort of misplaced feminist pride (after all, I didn’t raise her) in the idea that Ashley didn’t find it necessary to date and date through high school. She never seemed to me like the girlfriend type, and now I find it difficult to think of her in my mind as Kenny’s “girlfriend.” I think of them as partners in the way that I think of myself and my husband as partners. Anyway, Kenny is a football player and Ashley is a band geek and there they are. I know Kenny was in band, too, but he isn’t a geek. I’m having trouble explaining why they’re fascinating, but trust me, they are. (Well, Ashley is really neat on her own. I don’t want it to seem like she’s only fascinating because she’s with Kenny…)

5. Aunt B. of the Tiny Cat Pants blog I don’t know how to do links, but she does—just one reason she’s fascinating. I am always impressed by people who know things, and Aunt B. is just so smart. I don’t usually read blogs by people I don’t know personally, but I made an exception for Aunt B.

4. Rosie O’Donnell Barbara thought it would be suspicious to put Rosie on her list, but I can put her on my list. I don’t have to worry about what my 2.7 readers will think. She is fascinating because I honestly didn’t think she could pull off The View. I didn’t like The View before and I don’t really like it now. However, I TiVo it everyday just to watch that first half where they all talk at the same time, and Rosie is just herself—or the closest proximity TV allows. Daytime TV is a conservative genre, but Barbara Walters put a lesbian on The View anyway. She talks about being a lesbian, and nobody died. The ratings this season are better than they were last season. Go figure.

3. LOGO This is not a person, but it is fascinating. I didn’t know what was missing in my TV experience until I got LOGO. Here we have a network just for LGBT viewers, with commercials for Sears/Craftsmen featuring a couple made up of two men and shows that are, simply, about gayness. I watch it all the time, and I am fascinated.

The second on the list has two parts. They are related so I made them one instead of two.
2a. The North Side football program The way Coach Kolkman and the football players rallied around the Doyles surprised me. I was never so proud to be associated with North Side than I was this year.

2b. Steve Doyle He’s still here when I would’ve fallen apart. I suppose I’m fascinated because I had never really thought about the quality of Steve Doyle’s character before his little brother died. Now I’m paying attention and he is so strong. The way he carried himself at Christopher’s funeral both honored his brother and betrayed a sense of loss so compelling that I cry even at the memory of it. Because I have weird reactions to things, at the funeral, watching Steve, I found myself thinking that I couldn’t have written the moment better.

1. Jennifer Beals Are we shocked? Nothing influenced me more in 2006 than The L Word and Jennifer Beals was the first thing about that show that fascinated me. I look at her and watch her and I wonder why she isn’t the biggest deal in the world. Why are we talking about Angelina Jolie all the time? My favorite thing about Jennifer Beals is that she isn’t over-exposed. Not a lot of people even know who she is. She’s kind of my secret. There are other points of fascination. Her hotness is part of it, but she is more than pure hotness. The way she talks is worth listening to as much as what she says is. On Live with Regis and Kelly, Jennifer was asked about how she researched her role on The L Word, and she replied that she studied art. I smile every time I think about that.