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Shinn's Favorite Quotes

Other people seem to say things much better than I do, so starting February 13, 2021, I'm compiling some of my favorites with a short explanation of each. Enjoy! 

Nov. 4, 2022

My mama told me, you better shop around. ~ (Smokey Robinson) 


As I dealt with the high cost of my new prescription medicine (see The Physical Shinn section) this song came to mind. It was the first big hit song for Motown! Despite growing up in the burbs of Detroit, I was never a big Motown fan, but Smokey was an exception. And the advice of the song is so, so true. If a price seems goofy, shop around. You might be pleasantly surprised, even pleasantly shocked!

Oct. 3, 2022

Lead, follow, or get out of the way. ~ (unkn, often attributed to T. Paine)  


I heard this from somewhere in the business world, but it kinda led me out of being in bands. I found through the years that I couldn't lead one, and hated following those who could, so I indeed got out of the way. There's a lot less gear to carry around. And I'm playing guitar more than ever, and I get to pick my own songs. And I even get to choose what songs I want to do!

Sept. 2, 2022

Never trust a fart. Never pass up a drink. Never ignore an erection. ~ (Walter Cronkite) 


This from "the most trusted man in America"? So Walter Cronkite was often called by the end of his celebrated career as a newscaster. I read this quote in his biography (by D. Brinkley) and it's all over the internet attributed to him. As he got older, I suppose his priorities changed, or perhaps he simply became less guarded, but I wonder if this is how he wanted to be remembered. Or perhaps he's looking down from heaven, marveling at how he made me cite such a weird quote. Whatever. Here's to you, Walter.


Aug. 7, 2022

Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty. I see a glass that's twice as big as it needs to be. ~ (George Carlin) 


George saw things a bit differently than most people, and in doing so, became one of the great comedians of all time. I got this from the recently published "A Modern Man." I didn't realize he wrote books, but he published several. I found I liked his work as a stand-up comedian better, though most of his routines made their way into his printed work. This quote kinda typifies Carlin at his quirky best.

July 1, 2022

It’s easier to beg forgiveness than to ask permission. Cardinal Barberini in the 1600s


I always thought this was from the business world somewhere. It was so applicable in so many situations, but the website says otherwise. The Cardinal was dealing with saying wedding vows and how it would be expedient to get them over with ASAP! Still, so often true.

Jun. 2, 2022

I got nowhere to go, I can go anywhere ~ D. Hall of Hall and Oates


This was from their song "When the Morning Comes" which I performed about 45 years ago with Mike Fedorka. The song has no great relevance to me, but the line kinda sums up where I am right now, given my relatively empty calendar.

Apr. 7, 2022

Hit ‘em where they ain’t. ~ Wee Willie Keeler


Keeler was only 5' 4" and 140 pounds but is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He played in the late 1800s and early 1900s, retiring as one of the greatest hitters ever, a distinction he holds to this day. In 1897 he hit .424, still a record for left-handed hitters. Yeah, he was undeniably great. When asked the secret of hitting, he gave his classic line, "Hit 'em where they ain't." Well duh.

Mar. 7, 2022

When have any of our plans actually worked? We plan, we get there, all hell breaks loose. ~ Harry Potter – Deathly Hallows Pt. 2

I'm a big Harry Potter fan. After six years at Hogwarts, this was his endorsement of planning. I had six years at Eastern Michigan and Michigan State, and I couldn't agree more. Shows you what good education is.

Feb. 1, 2022

Nobody cares that you can’t dance, just dance. ~ D. Barry

Dave Barry is a prominent American humorist who made the above observation. I always took dancing far too seriously and would probably have been smart to heed his advice. Instead, dancing became part of the social skill set that I never developed.

Jan. 6, 2022

There is no right house, there is no right car… It’s not supposed to be anything. Tobey Maguire from the movie "Pleasantville"

A quote from one of my favorite films. It's a sobering thought, really. So many people telling us what life is and how we should live it, but there is no blueprint. Deal with it.

Dec. 2, 2021

Necessity is the mother of invention. ~ W. Horman

I offer this famous quote its go with my lead article this month. Actually, Horman wrote "Mater Artium Necessitas" in his 1519 best seller "Vulgaria" and it evolved. If you ask me, Invention is a terrible name to give your child, but I suppose if I were saddled with a name like Necessity, I'd want to even the score too.

Nov. 3, 2021

Hindsight ain't worth a damn ~ Billy Carter

Yeah, the brother of former president Jimmy said that if he had it all to do over again, he'd probably just screw his life up again. Yeah, Billy, I think that's true of most of us.

Oct. 6, 2021

A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest. ~ P. Simon, (The Boxer)

If we were only a bit more discerning when we read social media, perhaps Zuckerberg wouldn't be in so much trouble!

Sept. 6, 2021

It never hurts to suck up to the boss ~ Quark (The Legends of the Ferengi)

Quark was a character from the Star Trek series (TNG, DSN and Voyager) who was a Ferengi, a race whose culture was based on making profit. If ONLY I had listened, I might have been somebody. Being a fictional character, Quark had to tell his stories to Ira Behr and Robert Wolfe.

July 30, 2021

So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains, and we never even know we hold the key. ~ J. Tempchin & R. Standund (The Eagles, Already Gone)

Many of my favorite quotes come from songs. This is one. I find that it applies to much more than romance. Jobs and other bad habits come to mind.

June 2, 2021

I think we can all do better. ~ Jim Jeffries.

Jim Jeffries is an Australian comedian who had a weekly show on Comedy Central. It lasted three years and I really liked it, and kinda hoped he'd get a shot at coming in before or after The Daily Show. This was his sign-off line. No finger pointing, no politics, just a needed challenge. And so true!


May 7, 2021

If you don't expect too much from me, you might not be let down. ~ Doug Hopkins.

Doug was from the Gin Blossoms who did the song "Hey Jealousy" from which this line came. I wish people would make such allowances for me!

Apr. 3, 2021

If I'd have known I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself. ~ Eubie Blake

How true, now that I'm 70! I first heard it from Mickey Mantle, who utterly had trashed himself, but it was originally from jazz pianist legend Eubie Blake, who performed well into his 90s. May we all do so well and live so long.

Mar. 2, 2021

We have seen the enemy and he is us. ~ Walt Kelly aka Pogo

I swear, humanity's problems are brought on by ourselves. This quote is a parody of Oliver Perry's War of 1812 quote "We have seen the enemy and they are ours." Funny, I always thought it was Douglas MacArthur. 

Feb.13, 2021

You're only young once, but you can be immature forever. ~ Germaine Greer

I first saw this as a quote from football player Larry Anderson, but later saw it ascribed to Germaine Greer among others. It matters not to me, I immediately took it as my mantra. It just seems so... me. Kind of in the mold of my age: old enough to know better, young enough to do it anyway. Sage advice!

July 5, 2024

No amount of planning will ever replace dumb luck. ~ Unknown

This came from a small poster an old roommate gave me long ago. It's been a favorite quote of mine ever since. It's somewhat akin to March 22, 2022. Henry Ford was known for saying "History is bunk". Perhaps the same can be said of planning.


June 6, 2024

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. ~ Hunter Thompson

I ran across this quote on someone's Facebook page and verified that the attribution is correct. It seems so funny and true. I've not read any of his books, even "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." I guess it's time I did.

May 4, 2024

What a f#&%ing nightmare! ~ Mona Lisa Vito (as portrayed by Marisa Tomei in "My Cousin Vinny")

A little earthier than my usual quote of the month, but it pretty well sums up my feelings about the end-of-life planning process which is making me crazy lately.

Apr. 6, 2024 

Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the hell happened. ~ Unknown

I saw this somewhere on the internet. Having just had another birthday, I took notice.

Mar. 2, 2024

Courage is knowing it might hurt, and doing it anyway. Stupidity's the same. And that's why life is hard. ~ Jeremy Goldberg

Goldberg is a British historian. I really think he got this one right.


Feb. 6, 2024

It's like talking about people behind their backs ~ everybody wins. ~ April Ludgate (as portrayed by Aubrey Plaza in the TV series Parks and Rec.)

I love reruns of this show, and April, the ultimate cynic, is one of my favorite characters. Okay, they all are.

Jan. 5, 2024

If you can’t think of anything better to play than the melody, play the melody ~ Wes Montgomery

I played lead guitar in many bands over the years, but if I was ever caught needing to improvise a part, this advice from one of the jazz greats would always get me started. So simple, so spot-on. One of my teachers, Michael Locke, shared it with me. Thanks!


Dec. 6, 2023

I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker color ~ Wednesday Addams, The Addams Family

A great line from a great character played by Christina Ricci.

Nov. 7, 2023

I never said all that shit- Confucius

Okay, this was really seen on a bumper sticker which was then cited on Facebook, but how many of the "quotes" attributed to this ancient philosopher actually came from him? I really don't know, perhaps most of them, perhaps just a few, but either way, I thought this was funny!

Oct. 7, 2023

Delightfully Annoying ~ Steve Bates


Steve is a neighbor of mine who I often see when I take my walks through my neighborhood or he takes one of his own. Thus he is familiar with my playing guitar on my porch, which I often refer to as "annoying my neighbors." He recently came back with the idea that if it's annoying at all, then it's delightfully annoying. Yeah, I can live with that!

Sep. 7, 2023

There never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do once you find them ~ Jim Croce

From his song "Time in a Bottle". No comment needed.

July 9, 2023

Having is not so pleasing a thing after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true. ~ Mr. Spoc

I was always a huge Star Trek fan, though I did eventually retire of the interminable franchise spin-offs. Like most fans of the original series, Mr. Spock was a favorite character. This bit of wisdom is one of the classic lines from the show and explains so many of my purchases through the years, especially guitars. I've learned to resist, though, and I'm better off for it. Besides, my last musical purchase was my Rickenbacker bass. Remarkably, having it is much BETTER that wanting it ever was.


June 7, 2023

Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing. ~ Ron Swanson, (as portrayed by Nick Offerman in the TV series Parks and Rec.) 

I never saw Parks and Rec in its original showing, but I've discovered it in reruns. A great ensemble cast led by Amy Poehler. Here, Amy's boss gives his take on multi-tasking. Words of wisdom worth considering by one and all.


May 7, 2023

Out of the mouths of babes come things you never should have said in the first place. ~ (Doris Shinnick, my mom) 

Yes, in honor of Mother's Day, I offer this bit of wisdom that my own dear mother used to enlighten me with. Yeah, she found out the hard way that little kids will repeat things you never should have said in their presence in the first place. It's wisdom that many politicians would do well to practice, but in reference to their lawyers, not babes.

Apr. 3, 2023

Early to bed, early to rise, and your girl goes out with other guys ~ (Sonny Eliot)

Sonny was a local weatherman in Detroit when I was growing up. The term "dad jokes" was coined much too late! This was one of my favorites.

Mar. 6, 2023

We can either have an imperfect community or no community. ~ (Laila Ibrahim)

Laila was addressing our church which is going through a period of turmoil. But I saw her statement in a broader context. We just aren't geared to perfection. Deal with it.

Feb. 4, 2023

Reality is an acquired taste. ~ (Matthew Perry)

Matthew Perry was, of course, one of the main characters from the hit show "Friends". He has recently, like so many others, made quite a number of appearances on the talk show circuit describing his many misdeeds while under the influence of opioids which nearly killed him. He's written a book about it which I haven't read. The quote is reminiscent of the earlier "Reality is just a crutch for people who can't handle heavy drugs." Sad but funny at the same time.

Jan. 7, 2023

Something's lost but something's gained by living every day. ~ (Joni Mitchell)  


From her song "Both Sides Now" which was first recorded and made famous by Judy Collins. I agree with the song's sentiment that the more you learn, the less you seem to know. You experience stuff, but in the end can't get to a final answer. It may not be satisfying, but that's okay. Perhaps as we cross over into the great beyond, all will be revealed to us, but likely our existence was irrelevant. You just can't win.

Dec. 4, 2022

Aging is the process of collecting ologists ~ (John Shinnick)  


Yeah, this one is mine. I currently have a urologist, a dermatologist and now a cardiologist. Though a widely used suffix, "ologist" isn't really a word. Like the quote, I made it up, so my spell checker wants to change it eulogist. My spellchecker's sense of irony is profound.

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