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Talk about a “fecally contaminated environment,” to borrow a phrase. The past year has been quite the humdinger on the world and national stage, and we faced our own pileup of startling news from the stunning departure of the Chargers to the grim toll of disease and government inaction on the homeless.

Words, as always, had plenty to reveal. Consider the earthy aforementioned description of the stinky state of affairs on downtown streets. Or  the “Omg” and “Wtf” that we uncovered in internal government agency emails leading to a major transportation planning scandal.

But not all of 2017’s memorable quotes brought bad news. Some were just plain goofy. Here’s a look back at the most memorably offbeat quotes of the year:

The Slurpee: A Gateway to Gentrification?

“Some residents say the 7-Eleven…will make the neighborhood more expensive.” — A San Diego Reader story about the prospect of gentrification in San Diego’s Cherokee Point neighborhood near City Heights.

Good heavens! Could an Arco be next?

911 Callers Say the Darnedest Things!

A now-defunct Twitter account called @sandiegoscanner provided plenty of unintentional entertainment through the first part of the year by transcribing events heard over local police radio frequencies. Here are a few highlights:

“The [caller], who goes by Jesus, as in Christ, would like an ambulance b/c his feet hurt.”

“She has no weapons. Nor any pants.”

A caller complained “about alarm going off every 10 mins or something for like 10 seconds for past 2 hrs.” Response: “It’ll be the foghorn on the pier…”

Caller “wants to advise he is naked in front of Jack in the Box and has lost his mind.”

Now we know what happened to the little baby 2017.

Thank You for Reading! Now Do Shut Up

“Do I need people who don’t know how to do my job who think they know how to do my job telling me how to do my job? Ah, no.” — Union-Tribune sports columnist Nick “Sez Me” Canepa ordering readers to stop giving him grief for writing about the departed Chargers.

So sez the guy who sits at a desk and critiques athletes for a living.

Mimi’s Cafe Takes Stand Against the Confederacy

“If you are in a restaurant where you don’t want ‘trouble,’ use a very small 1st Nat’l. flag — there’s no point to pushing this issue only to be asked to NOT hold your meeting there. (Happened to SCV Camp 302 at Mimi’s, San Diego, in Feb).” — A recent item in the Daughters of the Confederacy’s California division newsletter that I turned up while writing a story about a Confederate memorial in a public cemetery. It refers to a kerfuffle over a Confederate flag at a chapter meeting of Sons of Confederate Veterans.

And who can forget the fabled Moons Over My Hammy Skirmish at Denny’s in 2005?

What Hath Taco Wrought?

“More than 1,000 times a minute, someone bites into what has been described as a wet envelope of cat food — and keeps eating. Jack in the Box is known to most of the country for its hamburgers and bigheaded mascot. But for many of its devotees, the magic of the fast-food chain lies in its interpretation of a taco.” — The beginning of a Wall Street Journal story about the famed Jack in the Box taco (“fans call the deep-fried treats disgusting but irresistible”).

No wonder they used to call that place “Gag in the Bag.”

Just Like Opinions, Everyone Has One

“He’s just like he is on TV. He’s an asshole, but he’s our asshole.” — Rep. Duncan D. Hunter on the president of the United States, as reported by the Union-Tribune.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the president was a friendlier human organ, like an elbow or something?

Sports Writer Discovers Sundays Off the Field

“So this is what you all do on an autumn Sunday? You sit in the house in gym shorts and no shirt and try to convince your wife that what you’re doing is necessary so she she’ll stop ‘wondering’ if you might actually get some work done.” — Union-Tribune sports writer Kevin Acee in a column titled “So This Is What It’s Like Not Caring What Happens During a Chargers Game?” It’s about spending a football-season Sunday at home for the first time since 2004.

Someone give that wife a column! And a break.

Pothole Description of the Decade

“Note the playful erosion of the asphalt around the base of the manhole and how it juxtaposes with the attempt at orderly decay as depicted by the rectangular settling. The whole construct artfully captures the internal conflict felt by Man in the face of crumbling societal norms.” — CityBeat reader David Blumberg, describing his submission of the Pothole of the Week, a doozy in East Village.

Sheesh. Everyone’s an art critic.

Alexa, Tell the Anchorman He’s a Dingbat

“I love this little girl saying, ‘Alexa ordered me a dollhouse.’” — CW6 anchor Jim Patton in an on-air report about how a dollhouse and cookies worth $160 landed at a Dallas household after a 6-year-old girl told an Amazon Echo that she wanted them. Patton’s words supposedly set off Amazon Echos around San Diego, the U-T reported, although it’s not clear if any dollhouses were ordered.

Now Alexa, forget everything I just said about my boss. Alexa? Alexa!

Go Fightin’ Social Dynamos!

“I want us to be University of California for the Socially Dynamic!” — Pradeep Khosla, UCSD’s chancellor, on his hopes for the university (sometimes dubbed “University of California Social Dead”) as it begins to play in a higher NCAA division.

“I hereby encourage students to engage in activities that promote personal connections on an interactive level!”

Pooch on the Loose on a Royal Street

“Small dog in orange dress walking up Viceroy Dr at 5:45 p.m.” — An online post about a wandering pooch in Rancho Bernardo.

Can’t blame her for escaping. Orange isn’t my color either.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. He is also immediate past president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors ( Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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