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From the mouths of babes, boxers, bunglers and George W. Bush--the very best quotes of 2002

Compiled by Larry Engelmann

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December


"Of the five most important things in life, health is first, education or knowledge is second and wealth is third. I forget the other two."
--Chuck Berry

"Here's what I've learned: that someone can change the course of history with a box cutter."
--Carrie Fisher

"Yes. But my eyesight is getting bad."
--Barbara Bush, asked if she still considers her husband, the former president, the most handsome man she's ever seen.

"I think if we all acted the way we really felt, four out of eight people at a dinner table would be sitting there sobbing."
--Jim Carrey

"I find that no matter what kind of backgrounds two men are from ... if you go, 'Hey, man, women are crazy,' you've got a friend."
--Chris Rock

"Second place is really the first loser."
--George Steinbrenner

"If not for me, the H-bomb would have been developed in Russia first. In the U.S., we'd now be speaking Russian."
--Edward Teller

"A good rule of conversation is never answer a foolish question."
--John Kenneth Galbraith

"I liked Michael Jackson better dark. And I liked his nose a lot better, too. If he has any more taken off, I don't know how he's gonna breathe."
--Loretta Lynn

"I would sing the blues if I had the blues."
--Chuck Berry

"She's like an older sister to me. Anything I've been through, she's been through 10 times worse, 10 times more and 10 times longer. She gives me great advice."
--Gwyneth Paltrow, on her friend Madonna

"I feel really connected to him somehow. He was really quite a guy. Most people just hear about him flying a kite. He did a lot of shit."
--Billy Bob Thornton, on the possibility that he is the reincarnation of Benjamin Franklin

"I'm Al Gore--I used to be the next president of the United States."
--Al Gore, speaking to a crowd of 1,400 investors and biotech executives at the JP Morgan H&Q Healthcare Conference in San Francisco

"Not over my dead body will they raise your taxes!"
--President George W. Bush

"I'm in a band, and I know exactly who those girls are. I know exactly what goes on backstage. I wish I had a little leash to walk him around."
--Gwen Stefani, on keeping tabs on her rocker fiance, Gavin Rossdale

"The [jokes] that take my last name and equate them to [a sex act] ... is a really cruel thing to do."
--Monica Lewinsky, who had oral sex with ex-President Clinton, on what she hates about the scandal

"Thank You James Earl Ray For Keeping The Dream Alive"
--A plaque ordered by Lauderhill, Fla., for its Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration. It was supposed to honor acting legend James Earl Jones, not Ray, the man who assassinated the civil-rights leader in 1968.

"Always chew on your pretzels before you swallow."
--President George W. Bush's warning to a heartland crowd after his choking/fainting spell

"You got to stand for somethin' or you'll fall for anything."
--Ike Turner

"As they say in sports, the older you get, the better you used to be."
--John McEnroe

"The fact is that Mike Tyson bit through my trousers and took a significant piece of flesh out of my thigh."
--Heavyweight boxing champion Lennox Lewis, commenting on the press-conference melee he had with Mike Tyson


"Enron robbed the bank. Arthur Andersen provided the getaway car, and they say you were at the wheel."
--US Rep. Jim Greenwood, speaking to fired Andersen auditor David Duncan, who invoked the Fifth Amendment in refusing to answer questions at a House subcommittee hearing on the Enron bankruptcy

"I love any movie that has a retarded person working at Starbucks."
--Chris Kattan, on the movie I Am Sam, starring Sean Penn

"Just the sight of Orrin Hatch in the mosh pit ... it's exciting."
--Bono of U2, about one of his fans

"The weirdest thing about me is that I like to walk around naked. I grew up walking around naked in my house. My mom was like that, and my sisters. My father worked nights and slept during the day, so we had no one to hide from."
--Jennifer Lopez

"States like these--and their terrorist allies--constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of this world."
--President George W. Bush, in his State of the Union address, on potential threats from Iraq, Iran and North Korea

"My biggest dream in the world is for everyone to become vegetarian, so there won't be any more suffering."
--Alicia Silverstone


"I think it will take years before we can repair the damage done by that statement."
--Former President Jimmy Carter, on President George W. Bush's "axis of evil" comments

"I'd say you were a carnival barker, except that wouldn't be fair to carnival barkers."
--Sen. Peter Fitzgerald to ex-Enron CEO Ken Lay

"I've had so many rebirths, I should come with my own midwife by now."
--Cher, 55, on reviving her career once again

"We've never gone to a government rally and spoke against anybody. We're about getting laid."
--Alien Ant Farm's Mike Cosgrove

"I always hated my hair, so now it's going away."
--Billy Joel

"On the day I left, on Aug. 14, I believed the company was in strong financial condition. I wasn't there when it came unstuck."
--Former Enron chief executive Jeffrey K. Skilling, during congressional testimony about Enron's collapse

"Within a couple of years, I am just going to bow out. I have a stripper pole in my bedroom. I was thinking that I would just take pole-dancing lessons and go on the road with Kid Rock."
--Pamela Anderson, on her career plans

"If you watch the tape real closely, you can see that indeed, in Morse code, she is thanking me with rapid eye blinks: 'Thank you, Matthew. I couldn't do it without you. Please give our dog Sally a hug and a kiss.'"
--Matthew Broderick, on his wife, Sarah Jessica Parker, at the Emmy awards ceremony

"No wonder I think they're evil."
--President George W. Bush, on learning that North Korea's Peace Museum displays two axes used to kill American soldiers in the Demilitarized Zone between the Koreas in 1976. Bush said North Korea formed an "axis of evil" with Iran and Iraq.

"He is either a man bereft of an elementary reason or a politically backward child. We are not willing to have contact with his clan."
--The North Korean Foreign Ministry dismisses President George W. Bush's call for dialogue, accusing the president of insulting Kim Jong Il

"I put this coat on layaway. ... It was this brown-suede thing, and I thought it was fabulous, the ultimate. I had it for about two days when our house got robbed, and it was stolen. ... If you see me sobbing in a movie, I'm thinking about that."
--Julia Roberts sharing one of her acting secrets--calling up a tragic incident from the past

"Just you get me in a room with this Salinger guy, and I'll get those rights."
--Miramax's Harvey Weinstein, on his expectation to be able to buy the film rights to J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, which the author has refused to sell for more than half a century

"The one thing I've always had going for me was people's low expectations. Nobody ever expects a whole hell of a lot from me."
--Chris Isaak

"Mr. Koppel wears a suit, Mr. Letterman wears a grin, and that pretty much sums up the difference."
--Roger Kimball, managing editor of the New Criterion, on the prospect of ABC-TV replacing Ted Koppel and Nightline with David Letterman

"I feel like 45. I don't look bad for someone my age, with my history of illnesses and operations and all those anesthetics. When they knock you out, it gives you time to catch up on your beauty sleep."
--Elizabeth Taylor

"Call off the dogs, please. I apologize. I am chastened and will never use 'hot tub' and 'Marin County' in the same sentence again."
--Former President George Bush, in an apology to Marin County, Calif., residents for describing American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh as "some misguided Marin County hot-tubber"

"You're confusing me with Cher."
--Arnold Schwarzenegger, responding to a reporter's remark that the 54-year-old action hero must have had a face-lift because he looks so good

"I just hope once they get to know me, they'll understand that, besides the blood worship on Thursdays, I'm an average guy."
--Corey Taylor, of the extreme metal band Slipknot, on the neighbors of his new home in an upscale part of Des Moines, Iowa

"I think Bush is amateurish and self-serving, and frankly, it's disgusting."
--Sandra Bernhard, comic and actress

"Have you heard the song? It really sucks."
--A U.S. Department of Justice lawyer describing a patriotic song--"Let the Eagle Soar"--penned by Attorney General John Ashcroft in the wake of Sept. 11. Ashcroft wants his staff to sing it in office sing-alongs.

"It's easier to write songs when you're single. "
--Lucinda Williams, musician

"Last night, we were all watching Harry Potter in bed, and I thought, 'This isn't something you have when you're single, that's for sure.'"
--Rob Lowe, on having a family

"I'm sorry. I'm very young."
--Britney Spears, on why she had never heard of Yoko Ono or Linda McCartney

"Mick's womanizing is a sickness. I have suggested he have therapy, but I don't think he wants to admit he has a problem, particularly when lots of guys tell him how lucky he is."
--Jerry Hall, on ex-husband Mick Jagger's weakness for younger women

"It allows us to get information from terrorists in a way we can't do on U.S. soil."
--An American diplomat explains why the United States has been secretly sending detained Al Qaeda suspects to countries where torture is used during interrogation

"He called me 'Woody,' and nobody calls me 'Woody.'"
--Washington Post assistant managing editor Bob Woodward, on the nickname used for him by President George W. Bush

"I think MTV should consider using subtitles. Half the time, even I can't understand what the fuck I'm talking about."
--Ozzy Osbourne

"What is this, a Keystone Cops operation?"
--Florida Rep. Mark Foley, in response to the Immigration and Naturalization Service confirmation of student visas for two Sept. 11 hijackers. A Florida flight school received notice on March 11 that the visas for Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi were approved.


"I don't give a [fig] about the morality of it. I just felt very bad for my poor old parents. I didn't care. Everyone's a dirty beast."
--Hugh Grant, on being caught with prostitute Divine Brown in 1995

"And so, in my State of the--my State of the Union--or State--my speech to the nation, whatever you want to call it, speech to the nation--I asked Americans to give 4,000 years--4,000 hours over the next--the rest of your life--of service to America."
--President George W. Bush, trying to explain his community-service initiative

"Were you born that way?"
--Jesse Rogers, Chicago Cubs radio broadcaster, while interviewing reliever Antonio Alfonseca, who has six fingers on each hand

"I love thongs. The day they were invented, sunshine broke through the clouds."
--Sandra Bullock

"I'm an attention freak. I want all the women in the world, and if I don't get them, I fall to the ground and start kicking my feet."

"I thought America needed to see what a normal family was really like."
--Sharon Osbourne

"A heterosexual husband."
--Elton John, joking about the perfect wedding present for Liza Minnelli, who married producer David Gest

"We look at this as something to heighten the hearts of Enron employees who are losing their jobs."
--Playboy Magazine spokeswoman Elizabeth Norris, on the "Women of Enron" issue

"I would like to be paid for this."
--Don Rickles, at the funeral of fellow comic Milton Berle

"Actually, I have just read two scripts with sperm in them. And I said yes to both films. So maybe that's exactly what's needed. I don't think I've had my share of sperm yet."
--Cameron Diaz, on whether she would do another "hair gel" scene, as she did in the 1998 film There's Something About Mary


"Look at him and how fried his brains are from taking drugs all those years, and everyone will say, 'I don't want to be like that.'"
--Dan Quayle, praising the "anti-drug" promotional value of heavy-metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne

"I put a mustache and some eyebrows on, and I looked just like Nicolas Cage. ... We have the same amazingly handsome good looks."
--Marilyn Manson, on his resemblance to other celebrities

"Sometimes, I claim I write because I put in an application at Sears and they've never called back."
--Bestselling writer Sue Grafton, author of the 16-volume Kinsey Millhone mystery series

"If you know why you fall in love, then you are not in love."
--Luciano Pavarotti, when asked why he fell in love with his new mistress, who is 34 years his junior

"If they didn't have their clothes on, you would swear they were having sex."
--Marshall Peterson, principal of a Columbia, Md., high school, defending his list of dancing rules for this year's senior prom

"First I was 'angry,' then 'spiritual.' Now I don't know what I am."
--Alanis Morissette

"When you can spell subpoena without thinking about it, that's when you know you've made it."
--David Lee Roth

"He looks like a girl."
--Marlon Brando, on Leonardo DiCaprio

"For some reason, I'm more appreciated in France than I am at home. The subtitles must be incredibly good."
--Woody Allen


"There's nothing more deep than recognizing Israel's right to exist. That's the most deep thought of all. ... I can't think of anything more deep than that right."
--President George W. Bush

"I'm not into this detail stuff. I'm more concepty."
--Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

"Do you have blacks, too?"
--President George W. Bush to Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Condoleezza Rice quickly informed the American president that Brazil probably has more blacks than the United States.

"I know at times I come across like a Neanderthal or a babbling idiot, but I like that person."
--Mike Tyson, on his behavior that drew millions of fans to his fight with Lennox Lewis

"This is a nation that loves our freedom, loves our country."
--President George W. Bush

"My life is an open book. With illustrations."
--Hugh Hefner

"He seemed like a gentle, decent man. It's a shame. If he wasn't a killer, he'd have been a decent person."
--Jessica Hahn, famous as the paramour of evangelist Jim Bakker, on her friendship with the late John Gotti

"His daddy had Saddam, and he needed Osama. His presidency was going nowhere. ... This guy is a joke."
--Lt. Col. Steve Butler, in a letter to the Monterey County Herald about President Bush that prompted his suspension

"I didn't know who Osama bin Laden was. ... He could have been a character in Star Wars for all I knew."
--Department of Agriculture official Johnelle Bryant, on her failure to report Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta as suspicious after he threatened her and praised the Al Qaeda leader while applying for a government loan in May 2000

"We are advising people to stay calm."
--Vince Sweeney, University of Wisconsin's associate athletic director, while announcing that one of the school's Bucky the Badger mascot outfits had been stolen


"John and I play Naked Stewardess together."
--Kelly Preston, on her marriage to John Travolta

"I wouldn't murder him, but if it was a fair fight, I'd definitely take him out."
--Geraldo Rivera, on his feelings toward killing Osama bin Laden in a fair fight

"You don't see people in prison treating each other the way people do on the outside, and the reason is that if you're rude to somebody in prison, you get killed."
--Sonny Barger, former leader of the Hells Angels, pointing out that "manners are important"

"My fantasies have gone from Gulfstreams to Airstreams."
--Matthew Naythons, a former Silicon Valley paper-millionaire on the downsizing of his great expectations since the high-tech bubble burst

"I will probably go to jail, but do you know what? There's a lot of good people who go to jail."
--U.S. Rep. James Traficant Jr., during an investigation of his felonious activities during his terms as a congressman from Ohio

"I know some people are offended by the fact that I'm spending a lot of money trying to win the America's Cup. I could have given all that money to charity."
--Larry Ellison, billionaire CEO of Oracle, explaining that he already gives lots and lots to charity


"A cigarette in the hands of a Hollywood star onscreen is a gun aimed at a 12- or 14-year-old."
--Joe Eszterhas, screenwriter, now suffering from throat cancer, apologizing for putting so much smoking in movies like Basic Instinct

"That's a real job, and a musician's life is spent avoiding real work."
--Bruce Springsteen, explaining why he doesn't want to run for the U.S. Senate from New Jersey

"Children recognize me from Free Willy, and their parents recognize me from Reservoir Dogs. The kids are like, 'There's Glen,' and the parents are like, 'Don't go near that guy.'"
--Michael Madsen, on the 10th anniversary of Reservoir Dogs

"When I think about New York, it really boils down to this triangular piece of pizza. That, and the girls."
--Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, on why he loves New York


"San Francisco is a very nice small town."
--New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, on his city's sole remaining U.S. rival to host the 2012 Olympic Games

"[He is] a rookie mayor uttering words frankly out of turn."
--San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, in response

"I actually don't understand a word Paula's saying anymore. It's like a new language."
--Simon Cowell, on his inarticulate fellow judge Paula Abdul on American Idol

"I hate to say it, but Art's kid is still taller than Paul Simon."
--Craig Kilborn, after Art Garfunkel sang at the U.S. Open with 12-year-old son James

"If promoters paid as much attention to security as they do to keeping bottled water out of concerts, we'd be a lot safer."
--Paul Wertheimer of Crowd Management Strategies, responding to Rolling Stone magazine's report that the Rolling Stones' concerts "are likely to be heavily guarded affairs"

"Let's suppose 10 people are killed by a small bomb on a street corner in some city in America. The first thing to understand is that there are 280 million Americans. So there's one chance in 28 [million] you're going to be one of those people. By such heartless means of calculation, the 3,000 deaths in the Twin Towers can approximate to one mortality for every 90,000 Americans. Your chances of dying if you drive a car are 1 in 7,000 each year. We seem perfectly willing to put up with automobile statistics. ... There is a tolerable level to terror. Let's relieve ourselves of the idea that we have to remove all terror."
--Norman Mailer, author

"The Western world is ... looked upon as being arrogant, self-satisfied, greedy and with no limits. And Sept. 11 is an occasion for me to realize it even more."
--Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, speaking to the CBC, on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks

"When you're president, you learn to act like you know what you're talking about. And it's a great skill."
--Former President Bill Clinton

"To the extent that they have kept their nuclear scientists together ... one has to assume they've not been playing tiddlywinks."
--Donald Rumsfeld, secretary of defense, on Iraqi nuclear planning

"He's 21 years old, and he worked as a busboy and then at Edy's ice cream, and he's supposed to be the mastermind of a jihad?"
--Kevin Ernst, attorney for Farouk Ali-Haimoud, one of four Detroit-area men charged with operating a sleeper terrorist cell

"I want to be a legend, like Celine Dion."
--Beyonce Knowles

"Mr. Bush, we're asking for your support, to be the president that looks towards the future."
--Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, urging President George W. Bush to attend the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, at an Aug. 12 rally

"We've known each other since we were 4 years old. We are very different people in many ways. It's strange. We know when to stay apart and when to let things bring us together. We can't get divorced. You can get rid of the old lady, but I can't get rid of Mick, and he can't get rid of me."
--Keith Richards, on Mick Jagger

"We need an energy bill that encourages consumption."
--President George W. Bush

"It's a lot easier to complete a maze if you start at the end."
--Dale Watson, retiring FBI counterterrorism chief, defending the agency for an intelligence failure

"Who's the enemy here? The president of the United States or Saddam Hussein?"
--Sen. Trott Lott, rapping Sen. Tom Daschle's criticism of President George W. Bush

"When we hear phrases like 'New World Order,' we release the safety catches on our revolvers."
--Pat Buchanan, conservative commentator, giving reasons for started a new right-leaning magazine, The American Conservative

"I was talking to Donna Karan at an event last night, and she said, 'You know, Ralph, I still don't feel rich.'"
--Ralph Lauren, on the self-esteem problems of the rich and famous


"I didn't have a big fat Greek wedding, but I have a lot of fat Greek friends."
--Pete Sampras, who is Greek, when asked about his wedding to actress Bridgette Wilson

"I was very involved with the very early punk scene. I remember meeting Johnny Rotten when he was known as Jack Overripe."
--Kermit the Frog

"If people are not smoking, they'll probably be drinking more."
--New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, speaking before the City Council, explaining why bar owners would actually make more money with a ban on tobacco in all public places, including bars and restaurants. The statement was not intended to be ironic or humorous.

"[Osama bin Laden is] either alive and well, or alive and not too well, or not alive."
--Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, clarifying the situation

"It's hard to be bipolar and bicoastal at the same time."
--Ryan Adams, on the difficulties of dating and touring as a singer

"It's not until recently that I could even imagine myself as an adult. But these kids today, they look at me like I'm Neil Young. Nirvana is a band their parents listen to."
--Dave Grohl of Nirvana

"The legend, the myth of the band--I'm not interested in it. You know, people find this hard to believe, but my memories of Nirvana are really good. I think of the people, the road trips. I think of that white Chevy van that we used to tour in, that stunk of gasoline. I remember us having a really good time. Obviously, it did not end well, but my memories of Nirvana are just so much more powerful than any myth, and I won't let anything destroy that."
--Dave Grohl of Nirvana

"When you get arrested it's in big letters. When you get acquitted it's in small letters."
--Charles Barkley, on press coverage of celebrities. Barkley has five arrests on his record--and five acquittals.

"If more people in the past had taken a position of not speaking out, Tiger Woods might be a caddie at Augusta."
--Martha Burk, National Council of Women's Organizations chair, on Woods' not commenting earlier on Augusta National Golf Club's men-only policy

"I'm not particularly fond of kissing strange men--contrary to popular belief."


"This is the first time in history that a baby has weighed more than its mother."
--Caroline Rhea, on model Kate Moss and her baby girl, Lola, who weighed 6 1/2 pounds at birth

"I hyperventilate opening a box of chocolates. I'm the most nervous guy in the world, a frightened little man on red alert from when I wake until I go to sleep. I was born with fear."
--Ozzy Osbourne

"I had big dreams when I was a boy. And I can't say that I never saw a beach house in Malibu in those dreams."
--Pierce Brosnan

"This is a love story. If you want to see a biography, read a book."
--Salma Hayek, defending the movie Frida against its many critics

"If I was president of the good old U.S.A., I'd turn the churches into strip clubs and watch the whole world pray."
--Kid Rock

"What a moron."
--Françoise Ducros, director of communications for Canadian Prime Minister Jean Cretien, describing President George W. Bush. Ducros was later forced to resign.

"I was raised in a household where I read Nietzsche and Dostoyevsky and Kant, and I was never taught that my mind was feminine. I'm aware that my body is."

"Who cares if I had sex? It's nobody's business. Trust me, I'm not going to hold a press conference to announce it."
--Britney Spears

"If you act like you know what you're doing, you can do anything you want--except neurosurgery."
--Sharon Stone

"I might have made a tactical error not going to a physician for 20 years. It was one of those phobias that didn't pay off."
--Warren Zevon, rock musician, on his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer, in an interview with David Letterman

"He's just like me--except he's 7-foot-6 and Chinese."
--Houston Rockets point guard Steve Francis, on his similarities to teammate Yao Ming

"The trick was to get rid of the 6,000-mile extension cord to the freezer."
--Jerry Darsch, who directs the Pentagon's food program, on the long process to develop sandwiches that won't mold

"I have two weapons: my legs, my arm and my brain."
--Michael Vick, Atlanta Falcons quarterback

"People have no morals, I swear to God. The things that people do for ratings! It's unforgivable."
--Madonna, criticizing Good Morning America for showing footage of a mother breast-feeding her 8-year-old son

"I know something about being a government. And you've got a good one."
--President George W. Bush, stumping for Gov. Mike Huckabee in Arkansas

"She came, she stole, she left. End of story."
--Ann Rundle, the deputy district attorney who prosecuted Winona Ryder

"I feel good. I'm just very happy. I'm tired of being stupid.''
--Iron Mike Tyson, at a news conference announcing a Feb. 22 fight with Clifford Etienne

"I don't like pop music."
--Michael Jackson, King of Pop, in Berlin


"I never learned anything while I was talking."
--Larry King

"If you don't have a flag sticking out of your ass, you must be a communist."
--Chrissie Hynde, on the new American patriotism

"I know some tricks."
--Jennifer Lopez, on how she lured her future husband, Ben Affleck

"Relationships are like sharks. They've got to keep going into deeper, colder water, sometimes scarier, darker territories ... to stay alive."
--Richard Gere, on relationships, after marrying his longtime love, Carey Lowell

"I was the class comedian, as opposed to the class clown. The class clown is the guy who drops his pants at the football game. The class comedian is the guy who talked him into it."
--Billy Crystal

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From the January 1-8, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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