Saturday, December 28, 2013


Contrary to Edward Snowden's assertions, this past year you didn't have to be the NSA to overhear some pretty damning stuff. Repeated endlessly was President Obama's assertion that "If you like your health plan, you can keep it." But there was also Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's admonition at the Republican National Committee meeting that "We've got to stop being the stupid party." And in an statement that seems like it was uttered by a character in a Saturday night Live sketch, but in fact came from the mayor of Toronto Rob Ford, "Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine. Have I tried it? Um, probably in one of my drunken stupors." As writer Christopher Buckley once noted, in the comedy business these statements are what are known as "low hanging fruit."

But it wasn't just politics that provided fodder for the list of top utterances of the year. There was Barry Manilow on the opening night of his Broadway show: "I was the Justin Bieber of the '70s. Really. Ask your mother." Then-IRS official Lois Lerner, in responding to reports that the agency was selectively targeting right-wing groups for audits, noted, "I'm not good at math." And how to take Kanye West (anytime, to be sure, but in particular) when he says" If I had to write my title, I would literally write ‘creative genius' except for two reasons: Sometimes it takes too long to write that, and sometimes I spell the word ‘genius' wrong. The irony." The irony, indeed.

Herein are some of my favs that likely rank below the top ten, but should not pass unnoticed.

"I'm basically the healthiest fat guy you've ever seen." - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

"If you're not getting a call from a terrorist organization, you've got nothing to worry about." - South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on NSA surveillance.

"I always feel like an idiot every time I fly first class because I'm a kid. And I just sit there, and everyone's got their newspapers and they're on the computer, and I'm like, ‘Can I get a coloring book, please? Can I get some crayons?'" - Actress Jennifer Lawrence.

"This administration does not support blowing up planets." - Paul Shawcross of the White House Office of Management and Budget in rejecting a petition for the creation of a national-defense "Death Star."

"I told you Skyler, I warned you for a solid year: You cross me, and there will be consequences." - Walter White in "Breaking Bad."

"The Pope buys a 1984 Renault. Now, there's a man who believes in the power of prayer." - Tom and Ray Magliozzi of NPR's "Car Talk."  

"Some of us feel we are in a circular firing squad." - West Virginia Republican Representative Shelley Moore Capito about the government shutdown.

"I'm worried that if we don't win, I'm going to shout out obscenities and that's not classy." - Actress Betsy Brandt on "Breaking Bad" Emmy nominations.

"The daily activity that contributes most to happiness is having dinner with friends. The daily activity that detracts most from happiness is commuting. Eat more. Commute less." - Writer David Brooks in a commencement address at Sewanee: The University of the South.

"There are still generations of people, older people, who were born and bred and marinated in prejudice and racism, and they just have to die." - Oprah Winfrey.

"If standing for liberty and the Constitution makes you a Wacko Bird, then count me a proud Wacko Bird." - Senator Ted Cruz.

"They kind of stayed on the perimeter like the Red Sea. I felt a little like Moses." - Kobe Bryant after playing the Brooklyn Nets.

"I was lucky enough to know Jimi Hendrix. How cool is that?" - Paul McCartney at the Bonnaroo Music Festival.

"She can't dance, her body looked like hell, the song wasn't great, one cheek was hanging out. And, chick, don't stick out your tongue if it's coated. If you're going to go that far, then think about it before you do it." - Cher on Miley Cyrus' Video Music Awards performance.

"I share this with my sweet friend Amy Poehler. Amy, I've known you since you were pregnant with Lena Dunham." - Tina Fey on winning a Screen Actors Guild Award.

"I need this job like I need a hole in the head." - John Boehner, Speaker of the House.


Marc Wollin of Bedford loves a good quote. His column appears regularly in The Record-Review, The Scarsdale Inquirer and online at, as well as via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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