My very own list: Most fascinating people of 2012

Barbara Walters may be onto something. Every year the goddess of the newsmaker interview gets people excited about the headliners she finds most fascinating. So what about us mere mortals? We have our favorites, too.

Please note: Although some picks may seem a bit goofy, I am genuinely interested in the activities and antics of these people. I wonder what drives them and ponder their inner lives.

These folks may not have done anything particularly fascinating in 2012, but I found them fascinating anyway.

It’s really hard to pick a favorite, so I am listing my picks in alphabetical order.

The cover for Adele's single Make You Feel My Love
The cover for Adele’s single Make You Feel My Love (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Adele. The zaftig and beautifully groomed English singer has an amazing voice and songwriting chops. One expects her accent to be plummy and upper class, speaking of a proper British boarding school followed by  classical training. But, no: Adele’s accent is all north London. You hear the street, the commoner, the young woman raised by a single mum.

English: Cory Booker at the 2011 Time 100 gala.
English: Cory Booker at the 2011 Time 100 gala. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cory Booker. I have a crush on the Newark mayor. He saves people from burning buildings and goes on food stamps to prove a point. He Tweets the quotidian and the profound.

Flo, from the Progressive commercials. Who is this lady and why is she so mesmerizing? My favorite Flo ad is probably the one in which she sabotages the “Flobot,” but they’re all good.

Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson of the Los Angeles Police Department. Granted, she’s a fictional character–perfectly played by Kyra Sedgwick on The Closer–but, still. The Southern accent twanging, chocolate treat sneaking Johnson was a real television treat. Her flaws and foibles, travails in the workplace, and vulnerability resonated with me. I was missing her even before the TNT show wrapped this year.

John McAfee. In the category of “you can’t make this stuff up.” McAfee made big money by being smart, creating an anti-virus software that’s a household word. Now he’s, well… Where to begin?

English: President Barack Obama runs down the ...
President Barack Obama runs down the East Colonnade with family dog, Bo, on the dog’s initial visit to the White House on March 15, 2009. Bo came back to live at the White House in April. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bo Obama. Okay, he’s not a person. Nevertheless he fascinates me, and I’m not even a dog person. You may remember the 2009 photo of Bo the puppy running alongside President Obama in the White House. Did the presidential pooch have any idea what he was getting into? Probably not, but I believe that today, the more mature Bo knows his family is kind of a big deal, and–more importantly–so is he.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle...
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are joined by their daughters, Sasha and Malia, and Michelle Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, Monday, April 13, 2009, as they wave from the South Portico of the White House to guests attending the White House Easter Egg Roll. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mrs. Marian Robinson, President Obama’s mother-in-law. That quiet smile. That look that says, “Yes, I hang out at the White House. No, it’s not all that.” I like to think she allows herself a few private moments each day of deep satisfaction and pride in her family, although she would never show it.

Yoani Sánchez, Cuban blogger and dissident, Tweets in Spanish and English.
Yoani Sánchez, Cuban blogger and dissident, Tweets in Spanish and English.

Yoani Sanchez. This Cuban dissident and blogger may go down in history as one of the new Cuban revolutionaries. Blocked from leaving her country to speak about the true state of things there; dogged by police; and arrested, she Tweets truth to power–in English and Spanish. She loves her homeland.

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