The skinny

The skinny: 'I'm not a witch' picked as top quote of year

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biggest news stories make best quotes

Christine O'Donnell's TV ad declaration "I'm not a witch" during her U.S. Senate campaign tops this year's best quotes, according to a Yale University librarian. O'Donnell's quote is cited by Fred Shapiro, associate librarian at Yale Law School, who released his fifth annual list of the most notable quotations of the year. In the ad, O'Donnell was responding to reports of her revelations that she had dabbled in witchcraft years ago. "It was such a remarkable unconventional quote to be a part of the political discourse," Shapiro said. The quote by O'Donnell, a tea party favorite running in Delaware, tied for first place with "I'd like my life back," the lament made in May by BP's CEO Tony Hayward after the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. Shapiro says he picks quotes that are famous, important or revealing of the spirit of the times for his Yale Book of Quotations. They aren't necessarily the most eloquent or admirable.

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Frankincense, myrrh and copper?

Police said someone trying to steal copper wire burned down Birmingham, Ala.'s 35-foot Christmas tree. Officers said someone stripped electrical wires off the Norwegian Spruce at Linn Park about 4 a.m. Wednesday, then started a fire. They believe thieves were attempting to separate the copper wire from the plastic insulation on Christmas decorations. But the fire spread to the tree, engulfing it in flames. Parks director Melvin Miller said the tree would not be replaced, but a radio station donated a new one within hours.

light music

Early bird catches the female's favor

Light pollution may give certain male songbirds a reproductive edge, according to German scientists who have been studying small birds called blue tits. The scientists found that males living near roads illuminated by streetlights along the edges of a forest were more successful at mating with more than one female than those living in the heart of the forest. Because the natural light-dark cycle affects behavior, researchers hypothesized the streetlights advanced the start of dawn singing in males living near them. Females nesting deep in the forest would hear the early-rising crooners and leave their social partners for dawn trysts.

holiday jeer

His delivery is a little too special

A Wisconsin postal carrier says he simply wanted to cheer up a woman on his rounds who seemed "stressed out" when he decided to deliver mail in the buff. A police report says the 52-year-old man told the woman he would deliver the mail in the nude to her office in Whitefish Bay to make her laugh. The report says that on Dec. 4 he brought the mail wearing only a smile. The mail carrier was arrested for lewd and lascivious behavior several days later.

Compiled from Times wires.

The skinny: 'I'm not a witch' picked as top quote of year 12/15/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 6:12pm]

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