Earlier this month, Yale librarian Fred Shapiro came out with his annual list of the year's most notable quotations.5 comments on this story
The rundown included such memorable lines as "Don't retreat, reload" (Sarah Palin), "I'm going to take my talents to South Beach" (LeBron James), "Chi! Chi! Chi! Le! Le! Le!" (chant at Chilean mine rescue), "You're telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?" (Delaware senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell), "We have to pass the (health care) bill so you can find out what is in it" (Nancy Pelosi).
And, the two that tied for first place: "I'm not a witch" (Christine O'Donnell, again) and "I'd like my life back" (British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward).
Since quotes have a way of bringing the entire year into focus, as Shapiro's list capably demonstrates, I thought I'd take a stab at Utah's most notable quotations of 2010. Ironically, they also include an oil spill and a Hayward.
Here are my nominations:
"I do not, no" — Ronnie Lee Gardner, convicted murderer, when asked if he had any final words prior to his June execution.
"There's nothing I would have done differently" — Jon Richey, the Salt Lake Police Department detective who questioned a veiled Elizabeth Smart at the Salt Lake library in the fall of 2002 and let her go.
"Well, they told me they booed John Stockton, too, so let's hope history repeats itself" — Kevin O'Conner, Utah Jazz general manager, on the chorus of boos from fans when the Jazz selected Gordon Hayward as their lottery draft pick.
"It's hard to be called a racist or a bigot when all I want to do is enforce the law" — Stephen Sandstrom, state legislator and architect of a proposed bill modeled after Arizona's tough immigration bill.
"We need to not only demonstrate to the people of Salt Lake City that we are taking full responsibility for this incident. We also need to re-earn their trust" — Dan Johnson, Chevron Oil spokesman speaking in June after a ruptured pipeline poured 800 barrels of oil into Red Butte Creek — six months prior to the same pipeline rupturing in December.
"People looked me in the eye and said, 'We don't care' " — Bob Bennett, three-term U.S. senator from Utah on being voted out of office at the state Republican convention.
"I had a 10-second meeting with myself" — Chris Hill, University of Utah athletic director, on how long he considered remaining in the Mountain West Conference after the Pacific 10 Conference extended its invitation to the Utes.
"Today is a wonderful day!" — Elizabeth Smart, after a jury returned its guilty verdict for kidnapper Brian David Mitchell.
"Had we known that was in place, we would not have shot" — Major General Brian Tarbet, commander of the Utah National Guard, verifying that during a training exercise Guardsmen fired live ammo despite a Red Flag wind warning, sparking a fire that destroyed three homes, scorched 4,300 acres and caused the evacuation of 1,400 homes in neighboring Herriman.
"First I heard of it" — Gary Herbert, Utah governor, when asked at a press conference about a $13 million government settlement paid by the Utah Department of Transportation to a contractor that finished second in the bid for the Utah County I-15 reconstruction project.
Lee Benson's column runs Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Please send e-mail to email@example.com.