Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My Life – So Far!

I was a midlife surprise for my dear parents, two of the most ethical and conscientious people you could ever find. Having rejected the religious training of their youth, they joined the Congregational Church long enough before I was born to have me baptized there. This holy sacrament tethered me to my Lord and Savior in ways wondrous and glorious. I absolutely believe this is why I have always known every single time I failed God and my parents with my willful misbehavior. 

After years of successful contraception, I was conceived coincidentally – wink, wink, nudge, nudge – when my maternal grandfather died quite soon after a shocking diagnosis of advanced stage leukemia. Oops! When I arrived within hours of the 1956 Republican convention adjournment, my first but not last political act, my parents thought their family was plenty complete already with 16-year-old Richard, 10-year-old Donna and 8-year-old Bob. My grandmother, who continued to live with my family after Grandpa’s death, was determined to spoil me useless and she was joined in that pursuit by my mother and doting sister. Donna was a profound influence on my life as an example to follow and sometimes to reject. She instilled in me my lifelong enthusiasm for music, dance and merriment.

I had an active, tomboyish childhood, suffering multiple concussions and life-threatening accidents. The worst was at age 3 when my brothers were playing baseball in our Van Nuys backyard and Richard, rendered deaf at birth by a harsh forceps delivery, hit me when I ran behind him as he was swinging at one of Bob’s pitches. Poor Richard was traumatized, thinking he had killed me. Richard and I have always been close and he lives with me and my son, Chris. The first maternal feelings I ever experienced were as a teenager overwhelmed by protectiveness of Richard and awareness of his vulnerability as a deaf man with learning disabilities. He can be a handful and is still teaching me patience and tolerance.

Donna always suffered from hormonal irregularities that made her extremely tall and slender until she gave birth to her first of two sons, when she put on excess weight she spent the rest of her life trying to shed. To shame her into dieting, her husband warned her in a misguidedly joking way that he was waiting for me to grow up, which prompted her to start informing me of my every flaw, physical and otherwise. At age 13, after childhood fluctuations between quiet introversion and obnoxious extroversion, this made me horribly self-conscious and socially shy for the next decade. I know Donna didn’t mean to inflict such damage and we remained the closest of sisters and friends. After her husband’s shocking murder, I helped Donna and my parents raise her young sons. I developed a genuine appreciation for boys that enriched all my relationships with men.

I adored my smart, cultured, gifted mother and came later to value my father’s natural intelligence, incredible work ethic, and admirable moral code. I thank God every day for such amazing parents. From my strong, stubborn mother, I inherited a passion for food, reading, politics, and knowledge in general. From my father, I learned humility, honor and humor in abundance. They both instilled in me convictions of steel, which kept me safe and self-respecting as I grew more independent from their cozy shelter. What unique and unforgettable characters they both were.

When I finally shed my awkward adolescence and the selfish childhood patterns set by my grandmother, mother and sister, I became a reformed do-gooder, committed to helping others and making them happy. Fresh out of college, I wanted to have a baby in the worst way – so I married one. I had never been in love and sadly wasn’t with my first husband. He was my first big altruistic project, a man-child broken by abuse suffered at the fists of an angry alcoholic father. When my beloved Chris was born, I wanted a better life for him than his dad could provide. After one disappointment too many, I took my 6-month-old son and moved back with my parents until he started Kindergarten. Those early years with Chris before I returned to work full-time were the absolute happiest of my life.

My intense mother love for Chris placed him firmly at the center of my universe, which was finally in balance. Our bond has always been unbreakable and unshakeable – and a threat to any men in my life. When Chris was five, I fell in sublime storybook love for the first and only time in my life. He was the first man who didn’t want to share me with Chris, which led to a premature breakup while we were still deeply mired in the potent throes of attraction and longing. The romantic spell endured for another decade until I met the man who became my last husband.

My second marriage was the biggest risk I have ever taken and I have never been one to gamble. He was much younger, different from me in every visible way, but we clicked quite unexpectedly. I remember clearly the precise point-of-no-return moment when I decided to proceed, accepting that this handsome young man full of remarkable potential would likely outgrow and discard me. In the most momentous act of blind mortal faith outside of my God love, I committed myself whole-heartedly to my husband and our life together.

I have known great love and great disappointment. My relationship with my son is the joy of my life and he honors me immeasurably. My second marriage tested me and I gave everything to make it the exceptional success it seemed to be for 9 years. We were the envy and inspiration of everyone who knew us. He was the only man I ever trusted completely apart from my dear father and my Savior. He stood by me with near perfect loving support when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003, had disfiguring surgery and began the first of many treatment regimens that have brought me to this special day. His constant devotion finally stripped away my fears of his inevitable abandonment.

When I began my cancer adventure with all of its unexpected blessings and detours, I asked God to please let me live until my 50th birthday to see my son reach adulthood. That was five years and two additional cancer recurrences ago. I have seen my clever, handsome son fall in love and develop his God given talents. I watched my Christian husband, who began studying for the ministry after I received a miraculous remission in 2007, change into a wicked stranger who tried to convince me to stop chemotherapy and die for his financial convenience two years later. Aside from not getting cancer, I honestly don’t know what I could have done to prevent the slow motion train wreck he made of my family’s life. God granted me the gift of acceptance, which has made my life easier and more deeply contented in countless ways. I recognize that I may never fully understand what happened to my husband, but I have long since moved on. If you want the gory details, you can read more here and here.

I have enjoyed a fabulously full and varied life, which is not defined by any single chapter in my story. Friends encourage me often to write my autobiography and I have several drafts of a fictionalized version that I never seem to finish. There are too many strange and unlikely events and people to fit them all into one book. Since childhood, I have experienced prophetic visions and dreams. On the day my father died, an anonymous woman followed me around a supermarket before handing me the Bible tract from Psalm 23: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." I have assorted accomplishments that I keep in perspective, but the greatest of these is my faith.

I can state without ego that I was an excellent wife and mother. I have loved and been loved as every human desires. Until my second marriage in 2000 and diagnosis of cancer in 2003, I used to catalog my daily regrets at bedtime. Until I reached middle age and lost both of my parents, I deferred gratification of my personal happiness because of my innate sense of unworthiness. Cancer forced me to stake my faith in God first and foremost, bringing me peace and joy and hope that sustained me through what could have been my wilderness years.

Since December 2008, I have survived through five chemotherapy regimens, all of which worked for a substantial period of time before losing effectiveness as they all do. The current drug was approved by the FDA less than a year ago and is derived from sea sponges. I have been taking Curcumin supplements since 2006, which I know have extended my life and allowed me to live with cancer in my liver for the past three years. I have lost old and new friends to cancer and I don’t know why they were not as blessed. Clearly, God is not quite done with me here yet.

Today I celebrate my 55th birthday and a lifetime of cherished memories. I love my life, my family, my friends, my job, and above all He who gave everything to me and who waits for me with a perfect new body and a perfect new life. But I’m still here, so we are going out to party – but not anywhere that offers a senior discount.

Look at me – I made it!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Alles Gute Zum Geburtstag, Grandma Rosina!

My German Grandma Rosina was born 125 years ago today, the same birth date as her first born granddaughter, my cousin Gail. My maternal grandmother exerted a powerful influence over three generations of Kramer family, as my cousins and I have been sharing recently on Facebook.

Grandma was born on May 15, 1886 in Buchbrunn, Germany and died in Garden Grove, California on December 14, 1970. In the last few months of her life, my mother had to move her into a nearby assisted care center with great reluctance and a heavy sense of dereliction of daughterly duty. The facility was located where the infamous Islamic Society of Orange County now stands, known as the mosque where homegrown terrorist Adam Gadahn, aka Azzam the American, converted to radical Islam.

Duty to family and God was the defining attribute of my grandmother’s life and legacy. The eldest of 11 children born to poor Bavarian parents, young Rosina helped raise her ten siblings, learned to cook and manage a large household, and developed the indestructible character that carried her through a lifetime of often overwhelming challenges. Barely an adult, she left the comfort of family and familiarity to become cook and nanny for a German couple residing in New York who sponsored her emigration in the early years of the twentieth century.  It was an enormous personal sacrifice in a strange new world to provide financial support to her beloved family utilizing the only marketable skills she possessed.

When World War I erupted in August 1914, our grandfather Wilhelm (later Americanized as William) was a chef aboard a German ship that was interned by the U.S. government, which at the time was still a neutral party, for a brief period in Boston Harbor. After being released as a detainee, he made his way to New York in search of a culinary position. Grandpa was the adored son of a devoted mother who encouraged him to pursue his passion for food. My grandmother, an accomplished cook herself and symbol of the Teutonic female strength of his mother, must have seemed a much safer, more welcoming harbor.

After they married, they had their first two children in short order: my uncle Eitel (aka Bill) and mother Elisabeth (aka Lee), with my uncle Willie following several years later. Despite all the responsibilities caring for a young family, Grandma worked closely at Grandpa’s side to fulfill his dream of opening his own restaurant, which later expanded to a grocery market and real estate holdings. From their separate arrivals with empty pockets and substantial cultural disadvantages, together they built a business empire so successful that it was highly rated by Standard & Poor’s.

Grandpa was an extremely creative force of nature, an extrovert who loved to name drop and an alcoholic with enormous appetites and ambition. He was a writer, a poet, and a frustrated musician who had some of his own compositions performed in New York theatre. Grandma was the quiet, reserved architect of his loftiest plans. The family of five enjoyed the rewards of wealth and hard work, even my modest, unassuming grandmother. The children’s clothes were handmade by private designers and they received a well-rounded education fostering a love of learning and the arts. They lived in a large house covering two normal lots on Long Island and socialized primarily with other emigrants in their close knit German community.

Grandma was a quiet stoic, never comfortable with physical affection, but she expressed her love by constantly serving her family and handling all their needs. Although she was completely devoted to all three children and her demanding husband, she permitted herself the pleasure of overindulging her youngest, my Uncle Willie, who enjoyed special perks including music lessons.

My mother and uncles spoke their parents’ native language at home, but they were American kids through and through. When Adolf Hitler rose to power, Grandpa received a letter from the new regime inviting him to bring his talents back to the motherland. The three children immediately vetoed the move, thank God.

The Great Depression eventually took its toll on the family businesses. Tender-hearted Grandpa could not bear to charge customers or evict tenants whom he counted as friends and inevitably the restaurant, market and real estate holdings were lost. One renter gave him a genuine Gutenberg Bible as payment, which was later stolen from the foyer where my grandparents displayed it. Deeply ashamed and devastated by the greatest failure of his life, Grandpa left the family for a distant job as a cook, sending home the money he didn’t spend on drinking binges. Grandma and Mom told me they had no assurance he would ever return. The money my grandmother counted on for my Uncle Bill’s college launch was gone, along with the family dreams for him to explore his uncommon intelligence and personal gifts. It was one of Grandma’s greatest disappointments, as she confided to me near the end of her life. Grandpa finally came home to the comfortable, low maintenance life Grandma created in his extended absence.

Fortunately for all their spouses, for my first cousins and for me, the parents who married into the first American Kramer generation provided their children with plenty of affection to balance what I must describe as some very peculiar traits we inherited from both of our German grandparents. Uncle Bill wed fun loving, high spirited Aunt Esther and they started their own family of seven children. Uncle Willie found in Aunt Joyce the feminine strength and unselfish devotion his father immediately recognized in my grandmother, plus all the affection and adoration that two generations of Kramer men craved. Like Grandma, my mother married an alcoholic and they had a son, my brother Richard who lives with me. Despite his family’s financial assets, Richard’s father insisted the baby be born in a charity hospital, where a forceps delivery led to congenital deafness and learning disabilities. Soon fed up, Mom hit her first husband over the head with a heavy frying pan during one of his daily drunken rages and moved back home with her parents.

When World War II called the most able-bodied men of her generation to distant shores, Mom left Richard with her parents in New York and moved to Detroit to work in the factories that supplied the tools of war. She made the most of the experience, befriending the other young women whose patriotism and diligence lifted the nation out of economic and political catastrophe. When homesickness overwhelmed her, she returned to New York, the stability of her mother’s constant support, and her young son.

On a New York City outing with a girlfriend, Mom was gaily window shopping when a young sailor pulled on the back of her curly auburn locks. It was my father on Navy leave in the middle of the Great War, falling in love at first sight with the tall beauty, her ready laugh and her long, gorgeous legs. After their wedding, which took place 5 months after his involvement in the Normandy invasion of 1944, he shipped back out to the European front.

After the war, my parents bought their first home adjacent to my grandparents’ on Long Island and near my Uncle Bill’s family. My sister Donna and brother Bob were born soon after and my father lovingly raised Richard as his own. Grandpa was still working as a chef and Grandma enjoyed the extra time with her growing family so conveniently close. When Bob was born in 1948, my grandparents took the short walk to greet the baby’s homecoming. Apparently Grandpa was expecting a special drink to celebrate the occasion but was offended by what he was offered. “Water I have at home,” he sulked before walking down the street to his private reserve.

Dad, a self-taught man with a surplus of common sense, natural intelligence and an impressive work ethic who could fix anything, struggled to establish a stable career in the new economy as did many returning soldiers. After Bob's birth, my dad reluctantly decided to move his young family to the southwest in the hope that Texas and New Mexico would provide the financial opportunities so scare in the northeast. Soon Grandma and Grandpa joined them, turning over their large Long Island house to my Uncle Bill’s family. Dad found jobs as an electrician, plumber, and skilled maintenance worker but not the career he sought to secure his family’s future. He enlisted in the Army early in the Korean War, leaving his wife, three children and two parents-in-law to live in a tiny, single wide, desert hot, overcrowded mobile home, to which he returned at the end of his second military service.

Dad had come to love the California he discovered on long Indian motorcycle rides during his bachelor Navy years and purchased a home there for his Kramer-Herrick family in Lakewood, one of the first planned residential developments in SoCal. Soon he began a steady, successful career in the burgeoning aerospace industry and was hired at the Douglas plant in Santa Monica, where his talents attracted the attention of Sandy Douglas who later personally selected Dad to be the first lead quality control inspector to open the new Huntington Beach plant in 1964.

In November 1955, Grandpa sustained a painful fall at home and was hospitalized, where he was diagnosed with end stage leukemia. Within 2 weeks he was dead and, despite whatever birth control practices that worked so well for my parents during the preceding 8 years, I was conceived as a mid-life surprise. During my teenage years as a nonbeliever investigating astrology and alternative pseudo sciences, I wondered whether I was the reincarnation of my late grandfather. Certainly I helped fill the void he left in my mother’s and grandmother’s lives. Grandma spoiled me rotten just as she had Uncle Willie decades earlier and soon a competition between them ensued, abetted by my sister Donna, to smother me with attention and all the goodies my family could not afford during those earlier years spent on the brink of poverty.

Mom inherited Grandma’s willful stubbornness and aversion to initiating physical affection. I later learned quite happily that Mom loved to receive affection and lavished it freely on young children, but she feared rejection as we all grew older and more independent. I can only imagine that Grandma was the same way, because I have no memory of her ever voluntary hugging or kissing me. I never had the opportunity to meet my grandfather or observe his marriage to my grandmother, but I understand the secret to my parents' connubial contentment was my father's immediate acceptance that all disagreements were entirely his fault, despite any evidence to the contrary. My parents were well matched in the uncompromising ethical code they learned from their mothers, which they followed even to their own detriment.

Grandma and I shared a bedroom at various times during my childhood. She took amazing care of me when Mom returned to work briefly when I entered Kindergarten. Every day after school, we would stroll north to the Sav-On drugstore at Fallbrook Square in Canoga Park to get ice cream cones and exercise, instilling in me a lifelong love of walking. On rainy days she played hide-and-seek with me and came to my swift rescue when I had attacks of claustrophobia under the beds. She practically ordered my parents to give me dance lessons beginning at age 5.

Grandma loved to tend to her garden of pansies and roses. She and Mom shared kitchen duties and mealtime was always a culinary delight, but my mother never rebelled against Grandma’s preferences, which must have been frustrating for a maturing woman in her own home and with her own family priorities.  

When we moved into a brand new house in Orange County in 1964, Grandma bought me my own piano after hearing me spontaneously play some popular songs by ear on a neighbor’s keyboard and then paid for 5 years of weekly lessons. This led to one of the most shameful episodes of my childhood. I was a tomboy who vastly preferred outdoor fun to daily piano practice. In defiance, I staged one of my frequent trantrums, stubbornly refusing to waste another minute on the piano. My stubbornness was nothing compared to Grandma's, who hastily marched to our shared bedroom, packed some belongings into a large bag, and announced she called a taxi to move her to my Uncle Bill’s house in Canoga Park. Duly horrified and firmly reminded of who exactly was in charge, I raced to the piano bench and played as perfectly as my shaking fingers would allow.

Grandpa craved success and verbal validation, which he supplemented with a habit of name-dropping that his sons inherited. He lacked Grandma’s steely self-discipline, humility and introspection. Grandma was a loyal friend and matriarch, but she enjoyed solitude vastly more than socializing. My Uncle Bill seemed to share her pensive thoughtfulness and resembled her most among the three siblings. Uncle Willie was a lot like Grandpa and Mom was a more verbal, Americanized version of Grandma.

My grandmother’s long silences were quite imposing, but often her words were unexpected and unusual. Some of her habits were strange and strangely amusing. In her last decade, she liked to sit in the kitchen and snack alone on favorite treats like pumpernickel and liverwurst. When there, she would pass gas quietly and then suddenly utter the word “poop” in an elongated, drawn-out, sing-song way with her voice rising several notes to stretch it into “poooooop” so that everyone in the house could share her experience. My brother Bob, a typical Herrick smart aleck, enjoyed teasing our seemingly humorless grandmother and in response she enjoyed kicking him hard with her reinforced orthopedic shoes. At family gatherings, Mom always made a delicious wine-club soda punch with frozen strawberries and pineapple chunks. When Grandma would retire to her beautiful wooden rocking chair to sleep off the alcohol, Bob or Donna or Richard would place the empty wine bottles next to her chair and snap incriminating photos.

Somehow Grandma’s idiosyncrasies never detracted from her spine-stiffening pride or her air of authority. She was ever graceful as she aged, reminding me of an Indian warrior goddess. She had waist length silver hair that fell into glistening waves as she brushed it nightly at bedtime. She had a quiet faith and incredible inner peace with her life and her God. When I chose to become a Lutheran the year before her passing, she was so pleased. It was difficult to know when you received her approval, but there was no mistaking her disapproval.

I was incredibly blessed to have such exceptional, ethical role models in my parents and grandmother. Regrettably, I contributed so little to my grandmother’s life except for my mere existence in her last 14 years in proportion to everything she did for my benefit. One of her greatest gifts was something she endowed unintentionally. In the aftermath of her death, my mother reappraised her spoiled teenaged daughter and finally tired of my prolonged juvenile self-absorption. In truth, I was ahead of her in my self-loathing by many years. I worshipped my mother and for years cried myself to sleep after I was old enough to understand mortality and life cycles, which Mom later confided she had done as a child over her own mother. When as a young adult I developed the Kramer passion for food and cooking, she was deeply gratified and thoroughly relished all the new dishes I prepared for her. Before she died in 1994, I spent the last weeks of her life kissing her feet and pouring out all the affection and adoration she secretly yearned for.

At age 14, I was long overdue for fundamental personal changes that were far from easy to implement, but Mom and I survived to establish the kind of mutually loving and respectful relationship I would wish for every parent and child. She gave me her often unspoken love, her mother’s timeless values, and an enduring example of indomitable strength to overcome all adversity. I could not ask for more.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day 2011!

I posted dozens of videos of what I think are the best, albeit little known, love songs at my Facebook page. You can find them here.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Happy Birthday, Uncle Ronnie!

Ronald Reagan wasn't really my uncle. He was, however, the greatest president of my lifetime and the only man under God whom I didn't really know but truly loved as if he were a family member.

My parents were born in the same decade as Reagan and of the same history that forged their similar characters. Like Reagan, they were FDR Democrats who reluctantly came to accept that their party and its political values failed them. In the 1950s, my parents became Republicans and embraced the new conservative movement articulated by William F. Buckley.

I was born and raised in California where Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan were colossal figures of immeasurable influence. As a young child, my mother took me to meet Nixon at the Van Nuys Airport when we lived in the San Fernando Valley during his unsuccessful 1962 gubernatorial campaign. My parents wanted to believe that Nixon was conservative, but he disappointed them repeatedly.

In 1964, we moved to famously conservative Orange County. That year Reagan officially entered politics when he campaigned passionately for his friend Barry Goldwater. My parents had Goldwater campaign buttons and a Barry bobblehead doll. Here is Reagan's legendary speech for Goldwater in which he established himself as a conservative heavyweight, "A Time for Choosing."

My mother had observed and admired Reagan's parallel path from liberalism to conservatism. She was a stay-at-home mom, a political news junkie who routinely talked back to the liberal radio and TV commentators. I started reading her National Review magazines before the 1964 election, always with a dictionary at my side, but Reagan communicated the same principles in language that an 8-year-old could more easily comprehend. During the Goldwater campaign, Ronald Reagan became more than an actor to us. Always the smart aleck, I started calling him Uncle Ronnie because there were more pictures of Reagan adorning the walls and furniture of our new home in Westminster than of family members. When he decided to run for governor, it was a turning point in Republican politics, in American history, and in my life.

On a stereotypically sunny and warm California day in 1966, Ronald Reagan had a campaign bus stop in front of a shopping center in Garden Grove a mere 3 miles from our house. There my parents got to shake his hand and tell him how much he meant to them. He flashed that perennially optimistic smile and patted me on the shoulder in passing. Later that afternoon, we joined thousands of supporters at a rally featuring Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas, and Max Baer Jr., aka the Clampett family from TV's "The Beverly Hillbillies." The rally was held at Santa Ana Stadium, which is adjacent to the Orange County courthouse that was renamed in Reagan's honor in 1992.

I turned 18 shortly after Nixon resigned and it was a devastating time for a young Republican. That year I volunteered in a Congressional campaign for a former POW whose bracelet I had worn throughout my teenage years. The candidate had been rushed into politics before he was ready and while he was still dealing with personal trauma from Vietnam. As a candidate, he was MIA and the local pols were not always kind to him. But for the heartening example furnished by Reagan, my naïveté about the idealism of politics would have hardened into cynicism.

In 1976, the year of the American bicentennial, I cast my first presidential vote for Uncle Ronnie in the California primary. That August Mom and I were glued to the Republican convention, hoping against hope that Reagan would emerge triumphant as the GOP nominee. As in 2008, it was painfully obvious in 1976 that a moderate Republican would lose to a Democrat who offered little but personal assurances and the result would be a national and international calamity.

During the disastrous Carter years, Reagan honed his message through radio commentaries in which he displayed his deep understanding of economics and world affairs. He also enjoyed dabbling in show business on his own terms. Here he displays his irrepressible wit and gift for public speaking at a Dean Martin TV roast of George Burns.

More often than not, I vote with one hand while holding my nose with the other. But my 5 votes for Uncle Ronnie as presidential candidate and nominee were a privilege and an honor. Once elected, Reagan did not always act as I expected or preferred. But I trusted him and the unprecedented success of his record defends itself. After two terms as leader of the free world, he left it more prosperous and peaceful than he found it. His implementation of tax rate reductions became such a national fixture that not even the Obama era Democrat majority dared to undo them. His dedication to individual liberty and unshaken faith in American exceptionalism dominate his unique legacy. His alliance with Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II freed millions of hostages from communism and socialism without a single bullet being fired.

My only child Christopher was born in 1983 and I would have named him Reagan had I not been inspired by an even higher authority. During the 8 years of the Reagan presidency, it was an exhilarating time for this young conservative woman to be alive. My most severe disappointment is that, in George H.W. Bush, Reagan selected a successor who was not a keeper of the flame. Neither Bush nor any of the GOP presidential nominees since 1992 has been a genuine Reagan conservative. None defended Reagan when Democrat opponents made outrageously false claims about his record. 

Ever since Uncle Ronnie retired to his California ranch, conservatives have searched in vain for The New Reagan as though the experiences of his lifetime that forged his character can be duplicated. When I remember my dear mother and father, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II, I know we will never see their like again. Reagan remained humble, gracious and wise throughout his public life. He said in one of my favorite quotes, "There is no limit to what you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit."

Conservative values endure and are making a comeback in the wake of spectacular liberal failure. Today conservatism has its best opportunity to revolutionize the world since the Reagan era successes. But it will take a more enduring commitment from the political class than words of tribute on the occasion of Uncle Ronnie's 100th birthday.

Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in Review: My Favorite Videos of the Year

Marco Rubio: A Generational Choice

In his flawless campaign ad titled A Generational Choice, Senator-Elect Marco Rubio showed why he is the most promising and exciting conservative politician in a generation and shot to the top of the list of 2012 GOP vice presidential candidates.

24 Series Finale

Like his loyal sidekick Chloe, I blubbered as we bid a sad farewell to Jack Bauer and the must-watch experience that was 24.  The film version of 24 won't come soon enough for me.

Red Eye Favorite Intros of 2010, Part 1

Red Eye became my favorite TV show in 2010 thanks to its unique blend of humor, political irreverence, libertarian sensibility, and entertaining cast of panelists. Host Greg Gutfeld controls the mayhem with such a light touch that it is easy to underestimate his contribution to the show's success and growing popularity. As of this writing, Red Eye is the third most discussed TV show on Twitter.The cheeky guest intros must test the limits of the Fox News Channel censors.

Red Eye Favorite Intros of 2010, Part 2

Bedbugs Take Over the USA
The clever Taiwanese animators from NMA World Edition are plugged into American news and culture. They seem to be watchers of Fox News and fans of Red Eye as evidenced by the bedbugs video below.

Dennis Miller on Jimmy Carter's Presidency

Dennis Miller's regular segments on The O'Reilly Factor provide the funniest TV moments outside of Red Eye. Miller finally made his first Red Eye appearance on my birthday in August.


Best Commercial of 2010: Jack in the Box

This Drummer Is at the Wrong Gig 

Wrong gig and the wrong band. Dude.

Favorite Pet Video #1

A singing parrot? If you don't recognize the song, it is Let the Bodies Hit the Floor.

Favorite Pet Video #2

A talking cat? Is this video real or fake?

Favorite Pet Video #3

A talking dog? Maybe.

Favorite Pet Video #4

Cats are easily amused as are cat lovers like me.