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  • SELMA
    I just watched President Obama speak, standing in the sunshine next to the Edmund Pettus Bridge, a National Civil Rights Landmark. It was, to me, one of the finest and most important speeches of his Presidency; a glorious and proud moment, and a time to reflect on what was, what is, and what is still remains to be done.

    I wish that I had been in Selma, fifty years ago, lending my voice for justice, but at the time, in 1965, I was fifteen, not yet old enough to have my drivers license, living in Tuscaloosa, an hour and a half north of Selma, Alabama. I might just as well have been 3000 miles away.


    Estimates now say there were only 300 to 500 marchers who attempted to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River, on their way from Selma to Montgomery, the Alabama State Capitol, located about fifty miles away. There were three separate attempts made by Dr. King and the marchers (March 7, 9, and 21).

    Back in 1965, fifty years ago, there were just three TV channels (ABC, CBS, NBC). No DISH, no FIOS, no Direct TV.

    Cable TV had not even been invented yet. Of course, no TIVOs or DVRs. There was 30 minutes of local TV news, followed by 1/2 hour of national TV news to watch each day. In fact, all of the TV networks went off the air around midnight and returned early the next morning. In between you could sit in silence and watch a static test pattern. Everyone my age and older will remember this very well.

    Of course, there was no internet. There were no cellphones. No social media. No Twitter. No Facebook. No CNN. No Fox.
    It was a different time, looking back one-half a century later. – Harry


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  • HARRY’S RULES OF THE ROAD:

    HARRY’S RULES OF THE ROAD:

    1. DO NOT FRIGHTEN.
    2. LIKE WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK.
    3. DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU THINK IS TRUE.
    4. DON’T GET FOOLED.
    5. CLEAN AS CLEAN CAN BE.
    6. HONOR EVERYONE WHO COMES IN PEACE.
    7. BE KIND AND GRATEFUL.
    8. SAFETY FIRST IS MANTRA ONE (the healthier the better).
    9. UNDERSTAND HISTORY AND FOLLOW THE NEWS.
    10. SLEEP HAPPENS WHEN SLEEP HAPPENS (no alarms).

    MORE RULES OF THE ROAD:
    1. DON’T GET FAT OR STAY THAT WAY FOREVER.
    2. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.
    3. BELIEVE IN SOMETHING ELSE BESIDES YOURSELF.
    4. SPEAK UP. SPEAK OUT. MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
    5. DON’T JUST FOLLOW THE LEADER.
    6. WHAT YOU THINK MIGHT NOT BE RIGHT.
    7. SEE THE NIGHT SKY, SUNRISES, AND SUNSETS.
    8. FIND BEAUTY IN FLOWERS AND POWER IN TREES.
    9. LOVE YOUR CHILDREN ALL YOUR LIFE.
    10. GOOD BBQ AND CORNED BEEF HASH ARE HARD TO BEAT.

    MORE GOOD RULES:
    1. STOP FOR THE NIGHT AFTER DRIVING ALL DAY.
    2. TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOUR FEET. BUY N.B. 1080s.
    3. THE PRIUS IS A DAMN FINE CAR.
    4. DON’T SPEND IT ALL. (is your homepage Amazon.com?).
    5. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BACK.
    6. DON’T SMOKE.
    7. EASY ON THE MAYONAISSE.
    8. JOHN PRINE IS SHAKESPEARE’S COUSIN.
    9. IF YOU AIN’T HUNTING FOR FOOD, DON’T BE HUNTING AT ALL.
    10. NYLON TRICOT SLEEPWEAR IS A POOR MAN’S SILK PAJAMAS.


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  • Doug Ashford. – R.I.P.

    daProducing a FolkTree concert at Carnegie Hall. The FolkTree Team, circa 1989 (well, part of it, anyway). L-R, Richard “Gidge” Villeaux, Doug Ashford, Kristin Kunhardt, and Harry Lipson.
    —————————————————————————

    On the 26th of February, 2015, Doug Ashford (2nd from L) passed away after a quietly courageous battle with cancer. Doug was a friend and colleague, and a fount of musical knowledge. I never knew anyone with a better cd collection. And Doug knew every record, every track. He absorbed the liner notes.
    It was music that connected Doug, not just to me, but to a lot of his friends.
    With a passion for live music, If there was a good show in the vicinity, you’d probably find him there in the crowd. If there was an interesting festival across The Pond, or in some far flung outpost, you might very well find Doug there, as well. He made these musical pilgrimages to be present when alchemy connected everyone and everything through the incredible power of song.
    Intelligent, organized (his event calendar was the best such resource in New England), and kindhearted – are some of the things that come to mind as I remember Doug. When the grieving is over, we will have fond memories of all the good times we shared. – Harry


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  • High Heels?

    Tell me that high heels aren’t Big Fashion’s war on feet and ankles.
    If it is just image that you are bringing to the party, perhaps vanity is driving Miss Daisy.

    Notably, orthopedic surgeons overwhelmingly agree. You aren’t doing yourself any favors, and wearing them indicates that you are a slave to fashion’s demands at the expense of you own comfort.

    It is not a secret that some are wearing spiked heels because of height insecurities. Point is, it is quite ok to be whatever height you are. What is the first thing you do when you get home? You kick off the heels. Right?

    While they undeniably make you taller, you don’t need them to be perceived in whatever way you want to be seen.
    It is time to say no to those stilettos. And men who wear elevator shoes because they want to be a few inches taller than they really are; well, not to blow your cover, but you aren’t fooling many people.

    Body image has become such a big deal. Thin, fat, tall, short. We pay a lot of attention and money in pursuit of popularity and self confidence. Psychiatrists couches are filled with worriers.

    I’m not a shrink. I am not a fashion plate or a guru offering the latest and greatest, whatever that may be. Note to the liberals out there: Think of all the cows that will be saved if they aren’t bred, raised, and slaughtered for their hides that get strenuously processed to turn them into your next pair of polished leather high heels. Think of the money to be saved. Think of the extra closet space you’ll have by liberating your under-represented toes.

    You can be fashionable all you want, but high heels look, to me, like someone is trying too hard. – Harry



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  • DANICA

    I am a racing/motorsports aficionado.

    Be it Formula One, Indycar, NASCAR. TUDOR United, Rolex, LeMans- I follow them all. I will get up early and I will go to bed late, watching races from Australia, to the streets of Monte Carlo (The Principality), from Motegi, or Abu Dhabi, to the high banks of Talladega.

    For more than forty years I been following the men who put the pedal to the metal, and for the past ten years, I have been following Danica Patrick, as well.

    In Indycar Danica had a rain-shortened win and three poles.
    In NASCAR’s Nationwide, Xfinity series, she earned a pole.
    In NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, Danica has one pole (a Daytona 500), but she has neither won, nor finished in the top 3 in any race.

    Tomorrow, Danica lines up on the 10th row of the grid, for the 2015 Daytona 500. Like always, it’s a big deal.

    I am here to tell you that Danica Patrick is a gutsy driver who gives as good as she gets. She belongs.

    Some, however, think otherwise, including some of the very same drivers she rubs fenders with in NASCAR every week.
    To make matters worse, Richard Petty, the aging NASCAR legend, doesn’t hide his misogynistic disdain for all things Danica.

    On the other hand, the legendary Darrell Waltrip has not been shy in defending her. And DW is, of course, a mensch.

    If you go through the history of women who have raced in the upper echelons of motorsports, there are pioneers such as Lyn St. James and Janet Guthrie who paved the way. There were quite a few others, like Denise McCluggage, wo raced over the decades, going all the way back to the 1920s.

    These days, Katherine Legge pilots the experimental and semi-competitive DeltaWing in the Tudor United racing series, Jennifer Jo Cobb races in NASCAR’s Truck series, while Susie Wolff is slated to see track time with Williams, in F1, this season.

    Still, Danica stands out among them. For one thing, she is photogenic and chooses to market herself, or be exploited (depending on your viewpoint), as an object of desire and attention. She has gotten pretty rich being pretty.

    I think that Danica Patrick is among the best “interviews” in all of sports. Answering questions directly and usually unfiltered, you can tell that she is a hard-nosed competitor who wants to win every time she straps in.

    There are rumors floating out that Danica will be headed to Formula One in 2016 with Carl Haas’ Racing. If and when she goes, I’ll be cheering her on, as always.
    – Harry


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  • David Carr: 1956-2015. Media columnist at The New York Times

    carr I am extremely sad to hear that David Carr passed away tonight at age 58, dying while at work, shortly after moderating a New York Times podcast. This tragic news comes on the heels of Bob Simon, of CBS, dying when his limo crashed in Manhattan 24 hours ago.

    Great losses both. And all this within the same week that Brian Williams is banished, for good reasons, from NBC’s Nightly News and then the announcement that John Stewart, resident genius of the Daily Show, will be walking away later this year, ending an incomparable 17 year run which had an influence beyond easy measurement on our culture and society. 

    Now more than ever, we, the public, need fearless reporters/newspapermen/TV anchors who aren’t afraid to find the unvarnished Truth and give us informed analysis on politics, politicians, breaking news, as well as the latest information regarding health, energy, business, and technology.

    We need intrepid reportage that can be found on battlefields, and in far flung outposts. We need the news, good or bad; determined and explained by those we come to trust in media, in print, on the web, or on TV.

    Farewell to Bob and David. So long Brian. Thank you, John.
    It has been a terrible week.

    -photo of David Carr courtesy of Chester Higgins/The New York Times.


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  • Brian Williams

    I stand in modest defense of Brian Williams.

    I am not eager to hop on the bloodsport bandwagon’s career destroying “gotcha-ness” of the Vox Populi.  A feeding frenzy has surrounded Brian Williams and the damage is likely irreparable.  In Brian’s case his “misremembering” and exaggerations have been self-destructive, so the scorn and ridicule are well earned, so it seems.

    Brian, projecting a likable guy-next-door casualness, now tenuously holds on to a very shaky seat as the longest serving of the three network news anchors, where he is also the Managing Editor of the Nightly News on NBC.  He is on a “self imposed” short break from the Nightly News, to which he likely will never return.

    Nonetheless, through momentous occasions, Brian Williams has been a steadying and comforting presence.   I don’t know whether he merits, or will be thrown a lifeline, a second chance, a get out of jail free card.  But I think we will be missing him long after the tarring and feathering ceases.

    We are no longer a society that forgivingly appreciates the better qualities of a lifetime of work and competency.  Brian Williams screwed up.  We caught him.  Now all that is left to do is decide whether he will be thrown overboard to the sharks, or tossed off the mountain from an unsurvivable height.   We, the Circus Maximus, are pointing  thumbs down.

    There is joy in Mudville tonight.  Another man done gone.  Perhaps we would be better, and better served, by having a humbled Brian Williams sitting at the anchor desk, rather than starting again with the next one up.  Whether it is Savannah Guthrie or Lester Holt, or Jerry Springer, we might look ourselves in the mirror and study the reflection.

    Harry Lipson,  2-8-2015


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  • P1030194

  • FINAL GAMEDAY THOUGHTS

    I am pumped up for the Super Bowl. So come ON New England! On the other hand, I am a little deflated about you know what. Tom Brady may have made the first mistake in his life. We’ll have to see.
    I will always love the Patriots, Tom Brady, and Bill Belichick. Winners, Winner, Winner. I grew up with Bear Bryant so when I say that Belichick is the real deal, you can take that to the bank.
    I am not apologizing for Deflategate but I will wait for the NFL head office to let us know what happened and what didn’t. If they broke rules, then they will be penalized pretty harshly.
    Nonetheless, I wear Red, White, and Blue and I am a Pats Fan – last century, this century, next century. Let’s Gronk this thing.


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  • A Super Bowl Ramble

    P1030194I live in Boston.   Like Tammy Wynette said, I am standing by my man.   I am standing by Tom Brady and The New England Patriots.   Now, would I rather be cheering a football team that all of you admire and respect?   You betcha.   Am I a tad bothered by some of the things we’ve been accused of doing?  Yes.

    On the eve of the Super Bowl here are my thoughts. First, what I know is that the New England Patriots are the winningest NFL team in the 21st Century.

    On “SpyGate”: – The Pats were caught taping the sideline signals being relayed by the hand signals and gesticulations of our opponent’s assistant coaches.  This was in 2007, in the first week of the football season.  In our defense, I will say three things.
    1.  We did this.   2.  We did not hide the fact that we were taping them since it was done in plain sight.  3.  Many other teams were also doing exactly the same thing. That doesn’t make it right, but we had a lot of company, we got caught.  

    The practice of taping opponents sideline signals was shut down after that first week of that season. New England went on to win it’s next 17 games, and were 18-0, undefeated, and played in the Super Bowl.  We did that without spying on anyone for those final 17 games, and we won them all.  Should we have been taping and did it really make much, if any, difference?   The answer to both is No. It was small potatoes, no big deal in actual fact. But, for that we were labeled “cheaters.”  That was SpyGate.

    Fast forward 8 years and here we are in the Super Bowl, and it was determined that our footballs were a bit low on air pressure in a game we played against Indianapolis two weeks ago.   I don’t know what happened but here is my guess.   It has been 15 years since Tom Brady became our quarterback.   Way back when, I suspect that Tom Terrific told some equipment manager who prepared his game day footballs, that he preferred footballs that weren’t over-inflated (FYI, Aaron Rogers of the Green Bay Packers has said he liked them on the over-inflated side).   Tom liked the football a little under-inflated. That was his preference and that was all very legal.  League rules allow for footballs to be legal and in regulation if they have between 14.5 and 12.5 psi (pounds per square inch).  

    Nonetheless, I can’t justify or entirely explain how some of, or most of, the Patriot game footballs were up to 2psi off, when checked during halftime.  None of our opponents footballs were off when they too were simultaneously checked.  Our amazing coach, Bill Belichick, says that atmospheric conditions could have caused this. As the rules allow, each team brings their own game balls that are prepared ahead of time to the liking of the quarterback.   This is legal and all teams do it.  Depending on whether a game is going to be played in rain/snow or in dry conditions, each time provides either 12 or 24 balls to the referee several hours before every game.  It was a rainy game so each team in this case supplied 24 footballs to the refs, who supposedly inflated all the footballs to the legal preference of the two opposing quarterbacks.   We don’t know yet what the psi of Andrew Luck’s footballs were.   The legal range was anywhere between 14.5 and 12.5.   Let’s say he preferred 14.5psi.   If, at the half, his footballs, when checked again by the officials, was say 12.5psi, they were legal still, but they had already lost 2psi.   Now if Tom Brady’s footballs started out at 12.5 and they too lost 2psi, then they were at 10.5 and were therefore underinflated and no longer legal.   Still and all, both teams footballs would have lost the same 2psi.   There is a tape, apparently, that shows a ball boy retrieving the Patriot game football and then disappearing for 90 seconds in a bathroom, before taking the footballs out on the field. Could the footballs have been tampered with right then? Maybe. This is DeflateGate.

    Belichick has said, as has Tom Brady, that nothing illegal was done by us to the game footballs.  Belichick went further and said that he, personally, had little interest in and was unaware of football psi and Brady’s personal preferences.   I believe Belichick on this.   He had many other, more important, things to worry about. I believe him.   He may be cranky and have a dry sense of humor.  He may not suffer fools gladly.  But he is at the top of his profession and to some extent, lives in a fishbowl during football season.   He and Tom Brady are the two most recognized and famous people, outside of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, in all of New England.

    As for Tom Brady, who has had a squeaky clean image for his entire career, I believe Tom, but I also think that the equipment managers knew and were aware of how Tom liked his game day footballs.   Sticky, not sticky.  The breaking in of footballs is apparently a multi-day process that every team, every quarterback goes through and ends up with footballs that are handpicked by each QB.  All perfectly legal. Every team every quarterback does this.   I don’t think that Tom was always reminding the equipment guys how he wanted the game balls prepared.   Over the years, they became familiar with his preference and proceeded accordingly. Maybe his preferences changed over the decade and a half he had been playing. Maybe finger strength lessens as you age. I don’t know.   So somewhere along the line, what Tom liked was understood by the equipment managers and they always set things up on the lower end, say 12.5psi, of the scale, all perfectly within the rules. I believe Tom chose his 12 or 24 game day footballs by throwing each of them and finding some he liked and others he didn’t.   That is what every QB does.

    So I stand by Tom Brady.   I stand by Bill Belichick.  As a result of all of this, Belichick has said that in the future, we will overinflate our game day footballs to the maximum legal limit of 14.5psi, so that if the footballs naturallly deflate a couple of pounds that they will still remain legal. I also stand by Robert Kraft.   It may not surprise you that I also stand by my New England Patriots.   Was some air let out of the footballs by some equipment guy?   Could be.  We await the NFL’s final jugdement when the investigation in Deflategate is finished. Finally, I have never known a more friendly, goodhearted, well-spoken athlete than Tom Brady.   I have seen him interviewed a few hundred times. He wears the white hat.  He is a good guy.   He remains my guy.

    I know that many of you will root against New England because of perceived notions about our coach and about our quarterback.   I wish that were otherwise. – Harry


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HarryShotsRadioIcon

John McEuen

“Carolina Traveler” by John McEuen and Earl Scruggs

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My favorite instrumental piece.  World class masters Earl Scruggs and John McEuen lay down a driving, rollicking tune, with back up help by acoustic bass great, the late Roy Husky, Jr.  The word is that Roy arrived very late to the session and there was some concern on the part of Earl and John that he didn’t know the song and what was going to happen.  They played it though once for Roy and then they recorded it.  Roy came through with flying colors.

It is a treat for me to recognize Earl Scruggs, who was such a musical influence; Earl being the pioneering banjo player that he was.  John has his own amazing discography, solo, in collaborations like this, and with his group, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.  So here’s “Carolina Traveler”.  I recommend that you play it over and over about six times in a row.  Fire it up gentlemen.  Harry Lipson




In Memoriam: Earl Scruggs 1924-2012

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click to download this fabulous instrumental at Amazon music

One of my musical heroes passed over tonight.  My heart aches for Earl Scruggs.  He does leave us with a wealth of records, three generations of banjo pickers, and legions of fans the world over.

Soft spoken, so far as I know.  Shy as a goldfinch, Earl had a big ol’ case of stagefright for a long, long time.  But he was Mr. Banjo.  Earl invented the Scruggs style of fingerpicking and his genius brought bluegrass, the banjo, and good music to millions throughout the world.  What a mighty oak of a musician.  Earl is a founding father of Bluegrass, with no apology to Bill Monroe, himself a founder and the Father of Bluegrass, for whom Earl worked, beginning in the mid 1940s.

Lester Flatt was never my taste, apparently not Earl’s either.  They split up their Flatt and Scruggs duo after something like 20 years together, as something less than bosom buds.  I know that John Hartford, John McEwen, Tony Trishka, Bela Fleck, Bill Keith, Alison Brown, Steve Martin, Herb Pederson, and Emily Robison thought of Earl in reverential tones.

We lost a living legend but we still have all the music that the legend created.  There are fewer and fewer of the great pioneers left.  We still have Doc Watson, Ralph Stanley, and a handful of others, but we lost one of the very best today.

In tribute, here is Earl with John McEuen and Roy Husky, Jr. in one of my favorite instrumentalsCarolina Traveler.”  HL


The Quotes of "Whatever"

  • Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” – Abraham Lincoln




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  • It’s a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn’t want to hear.” – Dick Cavett




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  • What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists, is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant.” - Bobby Kennedy




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  • Good pitching will always stop good hitting, and vice versa - Casey Stengel

     

     

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  • If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn’t thinking” – General George S. Patton

     

     

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  • Electricity is really just organized lightning” - George Carlin

     

    from the HarryShots.com Quotes of Wha


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  • The greatest mistake you can make in life… is to continually fear that you’ll make one - Elbert Hubbard

     

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  • The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.” – Henry A. Kissinger




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  • You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” – Johnny Cash


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  • Motivation is simple. You eliminate those who are not motivated” –  Coach Lou Holtz

     

     

    The HarryShots qUoTeS oF WhAtEvEr


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  • The quickest way to a man’s heart is through his chest.” – Roseanne Barr




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  • The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” – Henry David Thoreau




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  • Skiing: the art of catching cold and going broke while rapidly heading nowhere at great personal risk.” – Anonymous




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  • hudI laugh so hard ’til the tears run down my leg - a rare Delta Blues joke, from the seminal blues tune, Silverado in My Pathway

     

    …from the harryshots.com “Quotes of Whatever”


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  • Women who seek to be equal to men lack ambition.Marilyn Monroe




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  • Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein




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  • MANThe shortest way to do many things is to do only one thing at a time” – Richard Cech

     

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  • I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” – John Burroughs




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  • A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking” – unknown author

     

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  • I hate housework! You make the beds, you do the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again.” – Joan Rivers




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  • You can lead a man to Congress, but you can’t make him think” – Milton Berle

     

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  • A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault“. – John Henry Newman




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  • Sometime the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” - Dr. Seuss




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  • “What inspires me most are people who imagine and implement solutions to challenges in their own lives, in their own communities, in our country and around the world.” – Chelsea Clinton




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  • I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.” – President John F. Kennedy




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  • Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway




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  • If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” – Red Adair, oil well fighter




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  • You wouldn’t have won if we’d beaten you.” – Yogi Berra




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  • My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me” - Coach Jim Valvano

     

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  • ppThe best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up” – Mark Twain

     

    from the harryShots.com Good Quotations


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  • Knowledge is realizing that the street is one-way, wisdom is looking both directions anyway




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  • When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them.” – Rodney Dangerfield




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  • USA“You can’t turn a ‘no’ into a ‘yes’ without a ‘maybe’ in between”     – President Frank Underwood, House of Cards (season 3, episode 3)

  • Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out“. – Coach John Wooden




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  • ballsI can only please one person per day. Today isn’t your day…and tomorrow don’t look good either” – anonymous

     

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  • Husband and wife drive by a farm, and see half a dozen large pigs rooting around in the mud. Husband says “relatives?” and the wife responds “yes, in laws.”

     

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  • “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it”Maya Angelou

     

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  • edEvery day is Earth Day

     

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  • If you can give your child only one gift, let it be enthusiasm.” - Bruce Barton




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  • When it rains….rain’s my choice.” – Dr. Harry “Big Daddy” Lipson, Jr.




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  • When Thomas Edison worked late into the night on the electric light, he had to do it by gas lamp or candle. I’m sure it made the work seem that much more urgent” - George Carlin

     

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  • The amount of sleep required by the average person is about five minutes more.” – Max Kaufmann

     

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  • Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible” – The Dalai Lama

     

     

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  • Time is nature’s way of keeping everything from happening at once.” – Woody Allen




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  • The best comedy I ever did was when people didn’t know who I was.” – Chevy Chase (I’m Chevy Chase and you’re not)




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  • A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle” – Erin Majors

     

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  • When someone tells you that nothing is impossible, ask them to dribble a football

     

    The HarryShots Quotes of WhAtEvEr


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  • pigProcrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday

     

     

    from the HarryShots.com Quotes of Whatever


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  • We don’t have to sacrifice a strong environment for a healthy economy.” – Dennis Weaver




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