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, August 30, 2007

Hey, it works!

Our new Time-Warner Roadrunner broadband was hooked up today and so far works great. Now that we no longer use Juno, my new e-mail address is I wonder how long it will be before I quit typing the old one? So now I'm going back to switching it on more websites than I care to think about.
Not that I can do a thing about it now, but Juno's e-mail setup is far superior to aol's. Win some, lose some.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Pathetic, Isn't It?

What a week this has been and here it is only Tuesday!
First came the disgusting display of NFL quarterback Michael Vick admitting to having played a leading role in a dogfighting operation on his Virginia property. Then he admitted lying to the NFL commissioner, the owner of his team and just about everyone else. Next he asked for forgiveness and then put a capper on everything by uttering the time-tested words of countless criminals: "I've found Jesus."
If he ever plays another game in the NFL it will prove it lives up to the name many already call it, the National Felons League.
Before there was time to digest that miserable bit of theatrical bull, Idaho Senator Larry Craig admitted to pleading guilty to an incident in a Minneapolis men's restroom. It doesn't take much imagination to visualize the incident. This happened five months ago but he didn't tell his wife, he didn't tell the leaders of his political party, he didn't tell anyone. Then a newspaper dug up the facts and printed the story. So who does Craig blame? The newspaper.
But that's small-change stuff compared to the President of the United States warning of a possible nuclear holocaust. That's worse than pathetic. Playing the fright game is not only dangerous, it's despicable. The faint of heart take such talk seriously and sometimes irresponsible statements become self-fulfilling prophecies.
When I was born, Calvin Coolidge occupied the White House. He hardly ranks among our great presidents, but they called him Silent Cal because he had enough sense to keep his mouth shut most of the time. Any chance that we might have a Silent George for the next seventeen months? About as much chance as anyone has of winning the powerball lottery.
This man who sees himself as a Texas cowboy in the 1860s is truly dangerous. I'd rate him the second most dangerous to come along during my 82 years on earth. Adolph Hitler is a clear winner of first place. With a loose-lipped man who ducked out of the fighting in Vietnam in charge, this country is in real peril for the next seventeen months. It shouldn't be this way and that makes the situation more than pathetic.
I've been offered the opportunity to receive a weekly newsletter from Newt Gingrich. From who . . . Newt Gingrich? Puh-leeze! A man can take only so much and I've already gone over my quota for the week. And as I said, it's only Tuesday.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Snowed Under With Invitations

At no time in a lengthy life have I had to choose between invitations, accepting one and being forced to decline others. The truth is that when invitations are being extended, newspaper reporters seldom are at the top of the guest list. Many people don't even like to sit at a restaurant table with a reporter, let alone invite one to some gala affair.
So invitations have been few and far between. Until now. The problem is that suddenly several websites for writers have sprung up and one of their features is the ability to invite people to be your friend. That means displaying your friend's picture on your site, stuff like that.
For a reason I haven't figured out, scads of people want to be my friend. Perhaps it's because my own website displays a notice reminding me every morning that I have no friends.
Whatever, my e-mail has been overflowing with requests for friendship. Sometimes to one site, sometimes to another, sometimes to both. Not wanting to be considered a self-centered, stuck up, boorish oaf - well, some people do think of me that way - I have been accepting all these offers.
All but one. A pleasant young lady obviously sent out one of those mass mailings and my name happened to be on it. I say obviously because it was a request to join a dating service.
Now there may have been times in my life when I would have leaped at the chance to chat with young ladies throughout the world. I mean c'mon, boys will be boys. However, at the ripe old age of 82 I find my desire for such pursuits has waned. I mean who wants to get the reputation of being a dirty old man? Besides that, my wife won't let me.
So the bottom line is that I now have oodles of friends. In fact I have so many that I'm hoping to open my e-mailbox some day and not find a dozen invitations from even more people hoping to attain that exalted status. I'll admit, though, that so far I have not deleted that one asking me to join a dating service. What would happen, I wonder, if I clicked on that "accept" button? Well, as they say, ignorance is bliss so I suppose I had better remain blissful. That should avoid such future problems as not being served lunch tomorrow.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Am I the Only One?

Am I the only one sick of having the United States acting as police force for the world?
Am I the only one tired of hearing about that cauldron known as the Middle East?
Am I the only one disgusted by what we have done to the people of Iraq?
Am I the only one who thinks about the good that could have been accomplished in this country with the billions spent on offshore adventures?
Am I the only one who doesn't care who runs the show in Pakistan?
Am I the only one weary of hearing politicians say that if we pull our troops back home the terrorists will follow?
Am I the only one who feels there is something cowardly about always trying to fight our battles on someone else's turf?
Am I the only one who finds it laughable that we can kill all the terrorists around the world, many of whom we have created?
The terrorists don't have to wait for our troops to come home, all they have to do is stroll across this country's unsecured borders, especially the one to the south.
If I were in charge I'd bring all American forces back to this country and let events unfold as they will. The generals say that if we leave Iraq there will be genocide. There already is genocide in Iraq.
If our military forces were here where they belong just how much could terrorists accomplish? If they did something, how long would it take to run them down?
I feel great sympathy for the people of Iraq. By getting rid of their evil dictator we have made several million leave their country, have forced several million more to lose their homes. Those who still have a home in Baghdad and many other cities are frequently without drinking water and electricity. They are in danger every time they step out on the street and sometimes they don't even have to do that to be in danger. The puppet government we set up and call a democracy is a joke.
Would you rather have a democracy or a roof over your head?
Would you rather have a democracy or a supply of water?
Would you rather have a democracy or electricity?
Would you rather have a democracy or streets that are safe for your kids to walk on?
The people of Iraq have none of the above, thanks to us. Least of all do they have a democracy. They have nothing. How much worse than that can it get?
Am I the only one who believes it is time for Americans to look out for Americans and let others do the same?
No, I'm sure there are many who feel the same as I do. I'm also sure they have the same amount of influence that I do. In other words, none. Vote and bring about change? Please, let's be serious. What's the answer? If I knew that, people would bow down in the streets as I passed.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Got those dial-up blues and I'm feeling low as a man can be,
Ten more days before there'll be some relief for me,
Can't call up my picture to display my forlorn face,
Can't have no fun with this slowed down dial-up pace.
Call up my website, then sit here waitin' half a day,
Try lookin' up somethin' but it won't come up no way,
So I've got the dial-up blues and DSL was just as bad,
Now all I can do is sit here moanin' and feelin' sad.
So don't look for no blogs 'cause there won't be none to see,
Guess I'll just shut this thing down and maybe go have a pee.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Out of Action

Thanks to a problem with the internet provider I've been out of blogger action this week and will continue to be so until Roadrunner is installed on August 29.

I will add that thanks to being too slow to hit the mute button on the TV remote I heard that some new quarterback for the Cleveland Browns is charging from $175 to $215 for an autograph. That could be because he just signed a contract for $20 million but may be a little short on pocket change.
This fellow has never played in an NFL game. That is something we have in common because I have never played in an NFL game. That being the case, I feel he is charging too much for an autograph so I will be more realistic and you can have one of mine for a measly fifty bucks. The line forms at the right. Don't get pushy or try to crowd ahead because I will continue to sign until everyone is satisfied.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Ol' CBS and His Western Shirts

I wore my western shirt a few days ago, the one Jackie hates. I put it on once every summer to remind her how much she despises it. She was ironing it this morning and grumbling the way she always does so I told her once again that I inherited it from my father, Clyde Bauer Stodghill, Ol' CBS.
She never thinks that's true. "I've heard the stories about him and seen pictures of him," she always says, "and he had good taste. He'd never wear a western shirt with those funny little snaps instead of buttons and those awful patterns."
Well he did buy it while he and my mother were visiting her sister in Colorado in 1969. Wherever he went he wanted to fit in, be right in style, although when I was in Colorado I never saw anyone wearing a western shirt.
Anyway, if Ol' CBS had gone to Ireland he would have come back with an Irish walking hat and a shillelagh - one of those little clubs Irishmen carry under their arms to use for hitting people. Had he gone to Germany he would have been wearing liederhosen and one of those funny hats with a long feather sticking up from it when he returned. No matter that Germans don't wear those things and Irishmen seldom carry a shillelagh. He would have thought they did, or certainly should have.
Ol' CBS never bought just one of anything that was smaller than an automobile. If he needed a shirt, he'd go into a store and buy three. If his hat was getting shabby he'd go to a hatterie and come out with a new fedora, a homburg and maybe a borsolino. He once saw a tobacco pouch he liked and bought six. I still have five, four of them brand new.
So when Ol' CBS found himself in Colorado he bought three western shirts and a couple of those funny string neckties with metal studs on their ends. Jackie shuddered when I told her about his favorite western shirt, black and yellow checks with red stripes. She's thankful he wore that one out. That one and the blue and white one with red, green and purple stripes. I'll admit I'm pleased about that myself.
I'm also glad Ol' CBS never went to Texas. Sure as anything he would have come back with a Stetson and Jackie really would have drawn the line if she caught me wearing one of those. Not that I would, of course, unless I had dipped too heavily into the gin. She draws the line at that, too, now that I'm in my eighties. I assert my independence, though, by wearing that western shirt. A man has to stand up for himself every so often, doesn't he?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Read the Fine Print

Jackie received a check for $9.25 in the mail and hadn't done a thing to earn it. She got it because she has a Chase Bank credit card so its a good deal, right? Yes, until you read the fine print. By cashing it, some outfit called Buyer Advantage would automatically bill her credit card $69.99 for a semi-annual membership, then do it again every six months.
So what do you get for $139.98 a year? Well it's a little complicated. You get refunds, or you might say a discount, for the things you buy, but there is a $500 limit. A few items are excluded, however. These are motorized vehicles and their parts, live plants and annuals, food and beverages, services, jewelry, tickets, negotiable instruments, weapons, layaway items, and one-of-a-kind items. Oh, and things purchased at liquidation sales and going out of business sales.
You also get new purchase price protection with a $1,000 limit, but the above items are excluded. So are computer software, personal care products, tapes, records, CDs or other recorded media, printed materials, products for commercial use, art objects, forgeries or counterfeit items, collectibles or perishable items, and secondhand, used or damaged items.
So what the hell does that leave?
The point, I think, is twofold: always read the fine print and never trust anybody about anything.
It's strange when you really think about it. If a guy sticks a gun in your ribs and takes $139.98 out of your pocket he's eligible for quite a few years behind bars. But the above mentioned highway robbery is perfectly legitimate. Given a choice, I'd prefer the straightforward approach of the armed robber. He's upfront about it and doesn't resort to fine print.
How many suckers do you suppose will rush out and cash one of those checks? A lot of them or no one would bother working a scam like this. Chase Bank says it has nothing to do with this business. Oh, really? Didn't they provide the names of their credit card holders? They sure did.
Now if someone still believes this is a good deal, send me $139.98 and for a year I will offer the same advantages. The above listed items are excluded, of course. And that ripping sound was Jackie tearing up her $9.25 check.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Whatever Happened to Pay Toilets?

Remember those pay toilets you used to find in every railroad station, airport and bus station? A lot of department stores, too. You'd drop a nickel in the slot to enter a stall. Down at the very far end was a solitary one that was free, but one look at it and you'd dig around in your pocket for some change.
Those pay toilets were an inspiration for poets. In my dad's day, when you flushed the necessary appliance by yanking on a chain, there often was a note scratched on the inside of the door reading: "They sank the Maine, to hell with Spain, and don't forget to pull the chain."
If you don't know your history, that one may not make much sense. In my day the message found on the door in pay toilets everywhere was more down to earth. Jackie would skin me alive if I wrote the whole thing but it began, "Here I sit, broken hearted, paid a nickel to . . ." The censor said stop right there. You'll have to either call on memory if you're old enough to remember pay toilets or use your imagination if you are not.
While I have numerous memories of pay toilets, I have even more of those that were free. Some memories are good, some I have tried to erase from my mind without success. I don't know about today's Army but during my two wars they didn't have stalls, just a line of stools side by side. In the avarage barrack there were four in the latrine. Transient camps had more, of course.
In the book "Normandy 1944" I told of the most magnifcient latrine I ever encountered. It was in England at a staging area, the last stop before boarding a boat to cross the channel. Seventy-five toilets were lined up on one side of an aisle ten feet wide, 75 more facing them on the opposite side. Imagine it, a 150 seater. Even with that number, after breakfast there always was a line of men awaiting their turn. It was an impressive site, one that could never be forgotten, to look down those longs rows and see 150 men sitting there staring at the guy across the aisle.
To discourage loitering, a corporal paced back and forth calling out, "Let's cut it off short, men, let's snap . . ." When a man would arise the corporal would whirl around like an MP directing traffic and stop crouched down with one arm pointing toward the next man in line, the other toward the vacant stool. Impressive. Unforgettable. Something to think back upon fondly on a summer morn.