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[whitespace] Cameron Diaz "I don't even own a TV because I think it's the devil."

--Cameron Diaz

Say What?!

Last year was a time when many in the public eye would have done well to remain speechless. But alas, out poured their words--of wisdom, wit and wild nonsense. Here are some of the most memorable quotes of 2001, captured by scribes, journalists and television cameras.

Compiled by Larry Engelmann


"My creativity comes from an unhoned place, if 'unhoned' is a word."

--Monica Lewinsky, on her work as a handbag designer

"George W. Bush loves golf because it's like the election--low score wins."

--Jay Leno

"A very nasty man just tried to kill us all."

--William Hagan, British Airways captain, to a planeload of Nairobi-bound passengers, after a man broke into the cockpit, grabbed the flight controls and caused the jet to lurch

"The world is now multicultural the same way the world is round. It's not a selling point, it's not a 'quirky' feature, it's not a cynical marketing ploy, it's not an artistic statement, it's not even a plot device. It's a fact, like seedless grapes."

--Author Zadie Smith

"This is a culture of peaceful revenge that I have chosen to use to embarrass and hurt the blood-stained Khmer Rouge leaders."

--Laboratory technician Pok Leakreasy explains why he has launched a line of urinals and doormats sporting the images of former Khmer Rouge leaders such as Pol Pot. Cambodia's parliament is debating a law to try Khmer Rouge leaders

"I am proud of and committed to my party's principles and its heritage. However, the campaign is over."

--Former President Clinton's Commerce Secretary Norman Mineta, accepting the nomination to become George W. Bush's Transportation Secretary

"I mean really wonderful. In teaching. Personal epiphanies. About life. About different perspectives--help with different perspectives that you have. You know what I mean? Relationships to nature. Relationships with the self. With other people. With events."

--Actor Keanu Reeves, 36, on the "wonderful experiences" he's had with drugs

"Every time I turn you on, it looks like a Matlock book club."

--Jon Stewart, 38, to host Larry King on the pundits who frequent CNN's Larry King Live

"A lot of people think that I'm a Michael Jackson impersonator."

--Michael Jackson

"I have two dogs. If I had retarded children, I'd be a hero. And yet, the dogs are pretty much the same thing."

--Bill Maher on Politically Incorrect. When program guest Cynthia Garrett of NBC said she had a "nephew who is retarded" whom she has "never thought of as a little dog," Maher responded, "Well maybe you should."

"You can never have a closed mind about these things, but we prefer that people cook with it."

--Procter & Gamble representative Shanae Gibbs, after learning that controversial attorney general nominee John Ashcroft was anointed with P & G's Crisco oil before being sworn in as a Missouri senator

"The ground is no place for a champion. The ground is no place that I will wallow on."

--Jesse Jackson, returning to public life after announcing he'd fathered an illegitimate child

"I don't think the president has the intellectual competence to go into an adventurous act like this."

--Ernesto Maceda, presidential spokesman, defending his boss Joseph Estrada from charges that he was behind a string of bomb attacks in Manila prior to his resignation

Bill Clinton "You gave me the ride of my life, and I probably gave as good as I got."

--Ex-president Bill Clinton, to a crowd greeting him in New York after his arrival from Washington on Air Force One. It was later discovered that a set of monogrammed Air Force One glasses was missing from the plane after the Clintons' last flight on the plane.


"Now we are going to forever and always be dealing with him at dinner parties. He will be 'the big get,' the leading extra man, because he'll be here and Hillary will be in Washington. And he is just a terrible dinner guest. In the first place, he isn't interested in any woman over 30. He has nothing to say to an older woman. He doesn't listen, either. He lectures and rambles on. This is going to be horrible--having him in New York."

--A woman diner at "Swifty's" in New York, "who is almost as famous as the Clintons," according to gossip columnist Liz Smith, complaining about Bill Clinton's presence in New York

"We don't do pop-star parties, we don't do drugs in toilets. We just make music and refuse to grow up."

--Offspring guitarist Noodles Wasserman, on immaturity

"Britney Spears became my talisman. I became obsessed with wearing Britney T-shirts. I felt it would bring me luck. And it did."

--Madonna, on lucky charms

"It's very expensive to be me."

--Former Playmate and sometime actress Anna Nicole Smith, testifying about how she managed to spend $6.7 million on clothes, jewelry and homes during her 14-month marriage to her late husband, octogenarian-millionaire J. Howard Marshall II

"A warning light is flashing on the dashboard of our economy, and we just can't drive on and hope for the best."

--President George Bush, sending Congress his plan for $1.6 trillion in tax cuts

"I am actually for the first time looking forward to a litigation."

--O.J. Simpson, surrendering to authorities on charges stemming from a December road-rage incident. He insisted that the altercation was being "blown out of proportion."

"I don't think there is any doubt that some of the factors in his pardons were attributable to his large gifts. In my opinion, that was disgraceful."

--Former president Jimmy Carter, on former president Bill Clinton's last-minute pardons

"In [my] youth I was smacked around."

--Arnold Schwarzenegger, on being disciplined as a child

"Jesus, what the hell was that?

--Comdr. Scott Waddle of the USS Greeneville, as his submarine rammed a Japanese ship, according to one of the sub's passengers.

"We're concerned about AIDS inside our White House, make no mistake about it."

--President George W. Bush

"We all need to take a deep breath and think about being a Bush daughter and having that cross to bear. I'd go out and have a couple of drinks, too."

--Julia Roberts, on the troubles of First Daughters Jenna and Barbara


"Jesse Jackson was spending time with his family, or families."

--P.J. O'Rourke on why Jesse Jackson was present at the George W. Bush inauguration

"Self-esteem is the goddamn root of all evil."

--Roseanne Barr

"Those who can't do, teach. And, as Woody Allen says, those who can't teach, teach gym. And, as I say, those who can't teach gym become experts. That's who we look to for answers these days--the people telling you how to make your marriage work. Men telling women how to raise their self-esteem. The only thing that cures everything is talking to people who have the same problem you do. The rest is just a moneymaking bullshit scheme that some asshole is getting rich on."

--Roseanne Barr

"Maybe they'll end up making out."

--Moby, anticipating Eminem's performance with Elton John

"Let's not bequeath the pop charts to just children."

--Bono of U2

"I'd give anything if I had stayed my butt at home."

--Sean "Puffy" Combs, on his whereabouts the night of the December 1999 Club New York shooting

"What we have to be judged by is the work we try to do. It's public service, not perfect service."

--Jesse Jackson, facing allegations about financial improprieties in the nonprofit organizations he runs

"The kids let out an 'ooh' sound."

--Kenosha, Wis., resident James Twomey, parent of a third grader who was shown a pornographic film in class. A janitor had accidentally left the tape in a school VCR and the teacher didn't notice until after pressing PLAY.

"It becomes about 'those greedy rock stars.' But understand, 80 million records later, I don't know what the fuck to do with all the money I have...The real issue, for me, is choice."

--Metallica drummer and Napster foe Lars Ulrich, on his right to choose what happens to his music

"They are from a different planet. Definitely not of this world."

--Kenny Baker, better known as R2D2 in the Star Wars movies, on fans' extremism--some fans have started a movement to adopt the "Jedi way" as a legitimate religion in New Zealand.

"If we sack officers for corruption we will be seriously short of staff."

--Maj. Gen. Bui Quoc Huy, Ho Chi Min City's police commander, on the battle he faces in cleaning up the city's force

"In the '90s it was irrational exuberance. Now it may be irrational doom and gloom."

--Robert Reich, former labor secretary, on the stock-market drop

"Some of my best friends are Italians."

--James Michael Cosner, who attacked a marble statue of Christopher Columbus with a sledgehammer in the city hall of San Jose, Calif., because, as Cosner put it, "I have issues with oppressors and tyrants and mass murderers and genocidal maniacs."

"What is very dangerous now is that our brain functions in the same way as a computer. When one side of the brain is not used it starts to degenerate."

--French author Bruno Lussato, worrying about the cultural and social impact of the Internet and arguing that people are becoming overreliant on the analytical left side of their brains rather than the creative right side

"I guess you could call them blind dates, but they're really only half blind."

--Monica Lewinsky, on being set up by her friends a couple of times each month

"You don't have to change diapers, or worry about the sheriff bringing him home at 14 for underage drinking. At 11 o'clock, you'll know where he is."

--Attorney Robert Noel on why he adopted violent felon Paul "Cornfed" Schneider, an inmate serving a life sentence in California's Pelican Bay Prison

Willie Brown "They elected the symbol of Ebonics to the presidency of this nation. There ain't no brother in Oakland, or anywhere else, that would run the phrase or mix up the words the way this cat does. It raises serious questions about whether he's really white."

--San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown on President George W. Bush


"I understand what they felt in Oklahoma City. I have no sympathy for them."

--Timothy McVeigh, on his bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building

"I don't think they like me."

--Mike Tyson, on women

"I have to get out before I become the grotesque caricature of a hatchet-faced woman with big knockers."

--Jamie Lee Curtis, on growing old in Hollywood

"Unless you've hunted man, you haven't hunted yet."

--Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura

"I'm starting to mistrust my judgment."

--Leona Helmsley, on learning that boyfriend Patrick Ward is gay

"There's a lot of stress involved when your house is underwater."

--Wisconsin Gov. Scott McCallum, slogging through the flooded streets of Prairie du Chien after the Mississippi River overflowed its banks

"Neither in French nor in English nor in Mexican."

--President George W. Bush, on taking questions at a photo opportunity with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien

Britney Spears "I hate it when you go somewhere and 9 million people are staring at you."

--Britney Spears


"Yes. There are some suck-ups."

--Ashley Bush, on what has changed at her school since uncle George W. became president

"My father said I was perfectly suited for Washington because I've always worked around nuts."

--Leon Panetta, former congressman and Clinton aide, who worked in his family walnut orchard as a child

"Now he's all mine."

--Luisa Ejercito, on her jailed husband, former Philippine President Joseph Estrada, after he is said to have asked her--as friends, allies and mistresses deserted him--to forgive him

"I just like French fries."

--Mary Clark, a 106-year-old Denver resident who claims her daily dose of fries keeps her healthy

"I would kiss Tipper much longer."

--Al Gore, when asked what he would have done differently during the 2000 presidential race

"When I was young I had a security blanket and a pet dog. The dog got sick and died and the blanket had to be burned, so I guess I was trying to recreate the image of security in the bunny. It was a Citizen Kane/Rosebud thing."

--Hugh Hefner, on the image of the Playboy bunny

"Eating a cow for a Hindu would be like eating your own mother."

--Attorney Harish Bharti, who filed a lawsuit against McDonald's on behalf of Hindus and vegetarians. They charge that the company has misled customers about the use of beef in French fries.

"It's good for young people to be angry about something."

--Former President Bill Clinton, after he was egged in Poland

"What we learned is money doesn't grow on trees."

--Web consultant Jakob Nielsen, on the lesson of the Internet age

"I'm so glad to be back in New York. Los Angeles can be so cold, so cruel after you've been--what's the word?--oh yes: 'fired.'"

--Bette Midler, on the cancellation of her sitcom

"I really believe that inside me there is just this big black person that keeps trying to get out. There is so much soul in R&B, and soul for me is just the most important thing. And I relate to people who have a lot of it."

--Denise Rich, songwriter and friend of Bill Clinton

Snoop Dogg
"I keep hearing about muth----ing Harry Potter. Who is this muth----er?"

--Snoop Dogg


"If you set aside Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, the safety record of nuclear [energy] is really very good."

--Paul O'Neill, treasury secretary, defending the Bush energy plan and its advocacy of nuclear power

"When you get over 95, every day is your day."

--Bob Hope upon turning 98

"I figure if I kill the first one, the word will get out."

--Charles Barkley, on handling his 12-year-old daughter's future boyfriends.

"I am disappointed. And I earnestly ask you not to abuse alcohol."

--Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of Russia's nationalist Liberal Democratic Party, in a letter to Bush twins Jenna and Barbara

"We certainly don't blame the people at the zoo."

--Sharon Stone, after her husband, San Francisco newspaper publisher Phil Bronstein, was attacked by a Komodo dragon while he was observing it inside its cage in the Los Angeles Zoo

"Bug eating and backstabbing are the stuff of great entertainment."

--Mark Burnett, on the success of his TV show, Survivor

Tom DeLonge "Spending so much time on the road, I get to fart all the time. Then when it's, like, Thanksgiving dinner and I'm sitting with my grandmother, I can't fart for, like, two hours."

--Tom DeLonge of Blink-182


"Since I don't have access to the White House pastry chef anymore, it's done wonders for my figure."

--Former president Bill Clinton, on losing weight

"I remember in kindergarten everyone got invited to a party but me and one other boy, and I just want to tell all the geeks that it does get better."

--Mills College computer science professor Ellen Sperus, who was crowned Sexiest Geek Alive at an annual Silicon Valley contest that drew 10,000 contenders

"It's still too early to say how my wife will influence my life. But I do already know that it's sometimes hard work living with her."

--Guy Ritchie, on Madonna

"Some of my favorite songs--and I don't know if this is the right terminology--are white-boy classics."

--Shaquille O'Neal

"Women are my biggest defenders. It's that bad-boy syndrome. Now girls chase me."

--O.J. Simpson, on life since his 1995 acquittal

"It's an unimaginable honor to be president during the Fourth of July of this country."

--George W. Bush, when asked at the Jefferson Memorial about the true meaning of July 4th

"I wear [socks and underwear] once and throw them out. Even when I'm home...I wouldn't think of washing them."

--'N Sync's JC Chasez

"They put their faces on their paws and watch. Of course they know it's me. They only get to watch my show, because I turn off the television after it."

--Martha Stewart, telling TV Guide about her pets'--four dogs and six cats--viewing habits

"We are the caretakers of God's creation. We have a moral obligation to treat them humanely, and, when we do slaughter them to do so in a painless manner."

--Burger King spokesman Rob Doughty, outlining his company's policy toward treatment of animals

George Clooney
"I didn't have time. I was too busy breaking up Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman's marriage."

--George Clooney, on rumors that he's the reason Julia Roberts and Benjamin Bratt split up


"Here's the weird thing about the Murdoch family; They believe what they read in the papers."

--Public relations executive Matthew Freud, who plans to marry Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and was surprised by his future father-in-law's objections to articles about his daughter.

"The great thing about America is, you don't have to listen unless you want to."

--President George W. Bush

"Of course you don't want your kids [swearing.] But remember how fun it was to cuss when you were in the first grade?

--Eminem, on being a responsible parent

"When people say I'm powerful, it scares me in a way. If you saw what I see when I wake up in the morning, you wouldn't think that either."

--Britney Spears

"It's just one big merry-go-round."

--Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, on the frequency of affairs between congressmen and interns

"Herbal medicine shave worked for a thousand years and on trillions and trillions of people. But what we need is proof."

--Cao Zeyi, vice-president of the Chinese Medical Association, at a meeting of doctors from China and the U.S., doubting the science behind tried-and-true natural remedies

"Well, I can wear heels now."

--Nicole Kidman, 5 foot 10, on life after Tom Cruise

Fidel Castro
"Someone very strange, with very little promise, has taken charge of the leadership of the great empire that we have as a neighbor."

--Fidel Castro, in a nationally broadcast speech on President Bush


"I was very aware when I went to the Academy Awards that it would probably be my first and last time. So I thought my input should really be about fertility, and I thought I'd bring some eggs."

--Singer Bjork, on the swan dress and ovum-inspired purse she wore to the Oscars

"It's either one of the best things I've ever done, or one of the dumbest."

--Janet Reno, on her candidacy for the governorship of Florida

"You win some; you lose some, and then there's that little-known third category."

--Al Gore, campaigning for Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Belton

"I'm discriminated against all the time."

--Slobodan Milosevic, facing genocide charges, complaining of the monitoring of his jailhouse conversations with family and friends

"I think I am a moral man."

--Gary Condit

"If God had wanted you to wear earrings, he'd have made you a girl."

--Gov. Don Siegelman of Alabama, on a local school board policy banning earrings on boys

"I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough."

--Bill Ayers, former fugitive and member of the Weather Underground, on the violent record of the organization

"I say to our enemies, 'We are coming. God may show you mercy. We will not."

--Sen. John McCain

Ellen DeGeneres
"What would bug the Taliban more than seeing a gay woman in a suit surrounded by Jews?"

--Ellen DeGeneres on being host to the 53rd Emmy Awards


"Lice, dirt, blood."

--Former Soviet general Aleksandr Lebed, on his recollection of fighting a war in Afghanistan

"I don't look back with any bitterness, though there are a couple of judgment calls and some '80s hairdos that I'd like to do over."

--Rob Lowe

"What I thought, you can't print. What I said, you can't print."

--New York Times reporter Judith Miler, on opening an envelope filled with a powder that may have contained anthrax

"They control culture. They control ideas. And I think the revolt of Sept. 11 was about 'Fuck you! Fuck your order!"

--Oliver Stone, lamenting the corporate control of entertainment in America

"The good news is that there are many federal agencies working on all of these issues. The bad news is that there are many federal agencies working on all of these issues."

--Sen. Fred Thompson, on the government's response to bioterrorism

"I'm very secure with the fact that I'm not black."

--Bono, of U2

Madonna "Oh, they'll get old and wrinkled and die too."

--Madonna, on why she isn't worried about her twentysomething rivals on the pop charts


"I don't have anthrax."

--President George Bush

"If I have a problem, we change the product."

--Bill Gates, promoting Windows XP, on where he turns for tech support

"I tell him to shave. I mean, he's an attractive guy...men go through these stages."

--Bob Dole, talking about former Vice President Al Gore's new beard

"With respect, this is not the Mona Lisa or the Venus de Milo."

--Justice Antonin Scalia during a Supreme Court hearing on virtual porn.

"Greed will win over fear. There's a point at which a fare is just too good to resist."

--Richard Coplane, American Society of Travel Agents, on Thanksgiving travel

"Until you have him, you do not have him."

--Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, on expectations that suspected Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden will be captured soon

"Two words: who cares? The American people are more concerned about our nation's security and economy than any umpteenth recount of an election that was decided over a year ago."

--Katie Baur, spokeswoman for Gov. Jeb Bush, on public apathy at the results of the media analysis of Florida's Election 2000 ballots

George W. Bush
"You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test."

--President George W. Bush, on his education-reform plans


"We no longer have to intimidate each other to reach agreements."

--Russian President Vladimir Putin, on his agreement with President George W. Bush to cut down on nuclear weapons

"I'm honored and humbled and I want to thank all our fans. I also want to assure Miss Piggy that, for my sake, she deserved to win."

--Kermit the Frog, Voted America's Favorite Muppet

"I don't think it will be a black mark."

--Former President Bill Clinton, discussing the historical impact of his impeachment

"I love all of you men, but you women even more!"

--Sen. Strom Thurmond, on turning 99

"I'm learning all the right vocabulary words -- 'You're right, I'm wrong.'"

--George Stephanopoulos, ABC correspondent, when asked how marriage has changed him

"It's so warm now, and Thanksgiving came so early -- is it just me, or does it not really feel like Ramadan?"

--David Letterman

"I love cabdrivers. I love their unpredictable manners. I love the pictures of their families on the visors. I love the fact that most of them think I'm Martha Stewart."

--Diane Sawyer

"Evil knows no holiday."

--George W. Bush, on why the White House will be closed to Christmas tours

"I grew up in Detroit, and I hated the police with a passion. They were always stopping and bothering me."

--Andrew Kirkland, Portland, Ore., acting police chief, refusing an FBI request that police interview young Middle Eastern men on visas

"I would feel a little awkward because of my connection with politics."

--Monica Lewinski, on why her new purses don't feature U.S. flags

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From the December 27, 2001-January 2, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.