Old Man Jack-ism #5: “Shit from Shinola”

shinolaWell, Old Man Jack always spoke his mind.

I’ll give him that but that’s maybe why we were close.

He didn’t care who was there when he spoke.  His thinking was it was their fault for listening in to something they had no business in.  Lot of truth in that, I guess.

But it was if his departed wife came down from above and washed his mouth out with soap when my kids were in earshot.  He spoke like an angel.

Well, not quite…but almost.

Some of his more oft-used phrases (light-heartedly said) were:

  • “You dumb shit.  Shut up and listen,” or,
  • “They thought they knew everything but found out the hard way,” or,
  • “Them Marines thought they owned the beach but they forget who brought them there.”

When he would say these phrases, it would likely be when he was story-telling on some of the more memorable moments on those “stinkin’ islands”.

But one of Old Man Jack’s phrases keeps popping back into my head with fondness:

“They didn’t know shit from Shinola.”


For some of you, no explanation is necessary.

But for you younger folks, Shinola was known for shoe and boot polish.

And for Old Man Jack’s phrase, the dark brown Shinola boot polish would be implied…which has a strikingly similar coloration to cow poop.

Hence, “…doesn’t know shit from Shinola”.

Pardon the French.

And yes, the phrase arose from the ranks of World War II military personnel.


And while Old Man Jack DID get the local newspaper delivered to him, he never really read them.

He’d look through them for some restaurant coupons.  That was about it.  I asked him why and he said he doesn’t believe half the s*it in it.

(Odd why there’s an asterik there when I quoted him earlier.)


Which brings me to one thing that depresses me immensely: the lack of legitimate oversight on our media.

They use their own medium without restraint.  To suit their pocketbooks.

How they deem fit…and pay no mind to us.

Doctors get controlled.

CPA’s get controlled by the government now.

Everyone else does…  Oops.  Not the lawyers.  They’re as bad as the media.  Did I say that before?

But certain media “stations” or “newspapers” love to castrate law enforcement personnel…or shame soldiers or Marines doing their best to protect us after one incident.

It is like they were the judge and jury before the case could come to court…or actual facts disclosed…or the brutal environment in which our young men and women trying to protect us is truly displayed.

THEY deem it wrong.  That’s similar to discrimination.


But to close this story – and as I blogged once before – please compare these two webpage screen prints taken within minutes of each other.

First CNN.  Notice nothing is highlighted about gun control (when that was all they could write about at that time) or the murder of four Americans in Benghazi…but they deem news of a woman who shows up after 11 years to be crucial to Americans.  Certainly nothing embarrassing to President Obama.


And here’s the webpage from Fox News.  It does highlight the murder of four Americans and brings up guns…and makes only small mention of the mysterious woman that CNN deemed important.  But certainly, the first two items could embarrass President Obama.



“If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re mis-informed.”

― Mark Twain

Old Man Jack was right…again.

So what are we to read?

After all, we need facts and truth so that we’d be able to tell the difference between shit and Shinola.

What do you all think?

24 thoughts on “Old Man Jack-ism #5: “Shit from Shinola””

  1. Once again you cut right to the chase…now I wonder where that old expression comes from? Good observations, and thanks for the history lesson.

  2. I grew up with that quote, Koji… among the kids but not the adults. As for the media news, I listen a lot less than I did once. Growing up we got two newspapers. I remember we always stayed up until 11 so we could get the local news at 11… as well as the natioanl news at 6.

    1. And that is why you are so educated! But wait a minute…can we believe anything you tell us since your knowledge base is constructed from…news? LMAO

  3. That’s a really tough question. My father said during the war, his general told him to believe half of what he saw and NONe of what he heard – maybe that should apply to today?

    1. Your father had received great advice! As for today, good question… We can’t sometimes believe what we see because digital pictures can transformed completely… So yes, that applies today!

  4. Don’t think Shinola was a brand in Europe but sh*t sure seems to be these days. Wonder where the ‘pinch of salt’ saying comes from, probably as antidote to bad luck/news.

    1. I don’t mean to paint a doomsday image of the “news”…just that we – the listeners and readers – need to seek other sources for corroborating evidence to learn the naked truth… Thanks for reading!

  5. We watch both channels, and several others – and then try to form a balenced view, realizing most of what was told us was shit, shined with Shinola to pretty it up. Realizing CNN is “liberal, democrat” and Fox “GOP” helps a lot – you know what kind of spin they’re gonna put on it.

    PS: I think the best answer I’ve read so far is Punkie’s “I read blogs”, LOL! Great answer, Punkie.

      1. LOL, all my kids say they wish they had inherited my brains – I tell them: “No – you do not.” I’m just glad they got some – tho’ Lord knows not from my side! (except my youngest daughter, bless her little crazy & whacked out heart. LOL!)

  6. I certainly grew up knowing the Shinola brand as well as THE phrase. I didn’t understand the reference was directly from WW II. I read the paper and listen to a wide variety of news sources. I find that if something strikes me as out of synch with what I think I know or believe, I simply need to dig a little further and ask a few more questions. I don’t believe I ever hear a news source that isn’t biased in one direction or another. I have confidence in my own critical thinking, but it isn’t easy!

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