Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Let's Restore Respect

A major hospital in Cleveland, one with a worldwide reputation, recently made a brilliant move so I am joining the fight to make that move universal. The hospital may pack more clout than I do, but even so I'm taking up the cause.
If you've been around long enough you remember when two groups of women gained your respect on sight. The first was comprised of nuns. Regardless of a man's religious beliefs, and that included those with no beliefs at all, he knew that a nun had sacrificed a lot in order to help mankind. She was someone to hold in respect, someone to call sister.
The second group consisted of nurses. In a crisp white uniform she was someone to trust with your health. Her very presence made you feel better. There are male nurses, of course, and they were seen in the same way even though they didn't wear dresses. At least none did so while on duty.
Then some idiot decided that nurses should dress like any slob that wandered in off the street because patients would appreciate the lack of formality. What a crock, what a con job. A patient wants professionalism, not informality.
So now if you are in a hospital room or a doctor's office and a woman walks in you don't know whether she's a nurse or a cleaning lady. Literally. It's a fact. Cleaning ladies perform a necessary job and also deserve respect. Still, a nurse ranks a bit higher, or did so at one time.
It's a little like a time-worn joke about the woman in a hospital for tests. As she was lying there naked on an examining table several men dressed in white entered the room and stood looking down at her. As they started to go on, one said to her, "The doctor should be here soon." Somewhat startled, she said, "Aren't you doctors?"
"No," the man replied, "we're the painters."
That was funny in its day, but no more. The way some doctors dress today that lady would have known at once that those men were the painters.
And the same thing applies to nurses. That feeling of trust and respect is gone and now they are seen as no different than cleaning ladies because you can't tell one from the other.
That hospital in Cleveland is changing all that. Nurses will have to go back to wearing white, and it's about time. If the practice catches on we soon will be holding nurses in the high respect we once did. Why? Because we'll know who they are. No longer will we see them as possibly members of the janitorial staff. They deserve better so maybe some of them will take up the cause themselves. Clothes do make a difference. Always have and always will.
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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Trouble Comes So Easily to a Man

It's true, you know. Even the most innocent of men - a man such as myself, for example - finds that through no fault of his own he is up to his neck in trouble. More often than not this is because of a woman. Particularly a wife. Now Jackie is as fine a wife as a man could hope for, yet there are times when it's obvious she's out to pin me to the wall. Being a woman, she has the knack that all of them seem to possess for taking the most innocent actions or words of a man and make them come out far different than intended. It's a little like a fly being led step by step into the web of a spider. Before this gets me into additional trouble let me make it clear that in no way am I implying that Jackie has any of the characteristics of a hungry spider.
Now about that trouble I'm already in. I sometimes check out the PublishAmerica message board. When a person posts a message, his or her picture accompanies it. Today, as I was innocently reading a post, Jackie came into the room and said, "Why is it that every time I come in here you're looking at the picture of a woman?"
"I'm not," I explained. "This is a message board and there are pictures with the messages."
"But you're always reading a message from a woman and looking at her picture. Are women the only ones that post messages?"
"Of course not. There are just as many men on the board as women."
"Then why is it that every time I come in you're looking at a woman?"
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Thursday, November 23, 2006

'tis the Season, But What Does it Mean?

Back in the long ago - actually Thanksgiving of 1950 - a friend and his wife joined me in spending the day at my parents' house. In the evening when my father was going to play a few phonograph records the friend's wife said she would like to hear some Christmas carols. This seemed a little over the top to me because Christmas was a month away. True, in late afternoon the two major department stores in town would open the drapes on their holiday window displays, but few if any people would rush out the next morning to open their wallets in a spending spree.
Actually no one went out the day after Thanksgiving in 1950, at least not in Akron. It had rained all day and was still raining when I went to bed about 11 o'clock expecting to spend Friday driving a cab for 12 hours. At four in the morning I got a phone call from the dispatcher telling me not to come in. When I asked why he said, "Look outside." I did, and saw a foot of snow on the ground. Before it ended we had 26 inches of the stuff and I was off work for a week.
But I digress. The point of this, if there is one, is to ask someone to tell me what Christmas is all about. Is it a religious holiday, a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ? Come on, get serious. The last time it might have passed for that was around 1960. Certainly no later than the 1970s. Now it's an undisguised time for merchants to urge people to spend more money than they can afford - in their store, of course.
The TV commercials begin in late September. A few years ago J.C. Penney aired one at that time telling us "It's almost Christmas." In late September? This year Best Buy has one reminding us that it's the time of year "to buy." Then some items costing many hundreds of dollars are mentioned so we'll know what it is that we should buy. One store says there won't be any payment due until January, 2008 if you buy today. So where does that leave the buyer next year when he is about to pay for this year's purchases?
Now a good many stores don't wait until Friday to display their greed They are open today. Wal-Mart, Kmart, you name it and they're probably open. The greed just oozes out of every TV set, every radio, every newspaper.
So where will it end? Christmas advertising the first of August? No, that's being too optimistic.
I remember a better time. Arriving at the home of an aunt on Christmas Eve in 1933 and finding my uncle putting up the Christmas tree. Scrimping about 1955 so I'd have enough money to buy my wife her only present, a $17 Elgin wristwatch. In Cooperstown, N.Y. helping decorate Main Street on December 16 in 1978.
Can you imagine any of that in the 21st century? Putting up the tree on Christmas Eve, decorating the streets on December 16, putting money aside so you'd have enough for a $17 present? C'mon, man, break out the credit cards, spend a week's pay or a month's pay and watch the greed merchants rubbing their hands in glee.
Well, the churches don't seem to care even though few people give a moment's thought to what it's supposed to be about. So why should I care? I don't know, and yet I do. I'm sick of seeing Santa Claus in early November, sick of the hypocrisy, the pretense that it's anything but a huge money-making venture, a con game that we've all fallen for.
And remember "Merry Christmas?" No, it's "Happy Holidays" now. So move over, Scrooge, I think I'll join you.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Disgusting Beyond Belief

Everything concerning the O.J. Simpson book has been off-putting in the extreme, but at least Fox finally woke up to that fact, killed the book and the TV special. On the Tuesday lead-in to the 10 p.m. news on Cleveland's Channel 9, however, the female half of one of those aren't-we-cute news reader teams truly went beyond the pale in not allowing the story to die.
You can't rightfully call these people news reporters and the term "anchor" makes them sound more important than they are. The British refer to them as news readers, which in the words of the late Howard Cossell, tells it like it is. Between periods of cuteness they read the news, that's all they do. Just about every city in the country has a team, or several of them, and you could switch them from place to place and no one would notice the difference.
So before we could change channels last evening a female news reader named Stacey Bell proudly announced that even though the O.J. special would not air on Fox, she and her partner Bill Martin were going to tell Clevelanders where they could see it. While this was being said, Martin sat there with the insipid grin on his face that is part of every news reader's personality.
Now wasn't that exciting news? Forget Iraq, forget the bus crash that killed four high school students in Alabama, forget everything except getting to see the O.J. interview. It seems that is the sort of thing that arouses the prurient interest of the lowest, most pathetic group of TV viewers.
In the past we have occasionally watched Bell and Martin read the news and display their cuteness, but we won't be doing so again. We don't care to be part of any crowd that finds their garbage-can presentation appealing. I'll bet we aren't the only ones that feel that way.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Book is Doing Well, So Thank You

The book Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War has been selling quite well and a good share of its success is due to the efforts of a few special writers at PublishAmerica. They took it upon themselves to promote the book in every way possible and it's surprising how much they have been able to do.
In addition, there have been five very good reviews written and posted on Amazon as well as three fine reviews in newspapers. On top of that, PublishAmerica has named it Book of the Week for the next seven days.
So what has been the result? Amazon lists 26,111 titles under the heading of Normandy. These are books from every major publisher in the world, many of them written by the most eminent of military writers including men such as John Keegan, Max Hastings and the late Stephen Ambrose, author of Band of Brothers. So as of today, Normandy 1944 ranks tenth. Not bad, making the top ten in a field of 26,111. I'm grateful for all the support.

Friday, November 17, 2006

A New Beginning

As a blogger I've been a complete failure thanks to a heavy workload of writing projects - three books published this year, three short stories sold. So from now on things will be different. Short blogs written regularly, that's my new goal.
You would think that after suffering through an election - putting up with ugly yard signs, mailboxes overflowing with campaign flyers, mud-slinging Tv commercials - we'd be entitled to a lengthy break from politics. Those of us naive enough to believe such a thing were wrong. Before all the votes were even counted some politicians began announcing plans to run for president in 2008.
Well, guys and gals in Washington, I'm going to borrow a phrase from those wrestlers known as Degeneration X and say, "I've got two words for Ya: Shut Up!"
We don't want to hear it. We've had it up to here with politics. A year from now, OK. But for now the only one who wants to hear it is Wolf Blitzer. And you shut up, too, Wolf.

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