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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Monday, January 21, 2008

His way with words might prove addictive

That distinguished looking gentleman at the left isn't me, although it well could be because our ages seem about the same and he's an old newspaperman who at one time worked for The Evening Press. I'm sure we could have shared some fine tales over a pitcher at Frosty Miller's after the paper had been put to bed - but, alas, my Evening Press was in Muncie, Indiana while Con Houlihan's was in Dublin, Ireland.
When a man such as myself defies all odds and reaches what some call a ripe old age, the last thing he needs is another addiction, yet thanks to Con Houlihan I have acquired one and he is it. Or, to be more precise, his writing is it. If some of my distant relatives in County Cavan - and I'm sure there must still be men with the names of Lynch or Hanley to be found there - do not feel the same it would come as a distinct shock.
His most recent column in The Independent, a fine Irish newspaper available to all online, is headed "My Dublin days of milk and brandy and papers" and includes this passage about the old days:
"Of course many of my happiest hours were in the context of The Evening Press. I loved that paper. Usually I worked the column out in my head during the night - occasionally in some congenial pub - and got up about four in the morning and wrote it.
"By eight o'clock it was in the safe hands of the Sports Editor, Tom O'Shea, and I was in my favorite corner in The White Horse - the corner nearest the quay. There I loved to read The Sporting Life and I sustained myself with a glass of milk mildly tinctured with brandy. So I had something in common with the Queen Mother: at eight o'clock every morning that same paper was brought to her bed accompanied by a large measure of gin and a bottle of tonic water."
He sustained himself. Now who but an Irishman could have written those words? And can anyone not wonder just how mildly that milk was tinctured with brandy? I'm sure, too, that few readers failed to notice that his column was not safely in the hands of Tom O'Shea, but in the man's safe hands. It was little matters such as this that lead Mark Twain to say, "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug."
Yes, this man Con Houlihan has hooked me with his way with words. The same, I feel, might happen to anyone of a certain age so I highly recommend calling up The Irish Independent and reading a bit more of his work. I warn you, though, that not only is it Con Houlihan's writing that may prove addictive but The Independent itself. So fine a newspaper is it that a morning never goes by that I fail to spend some pleasant moments with its many pages. As yet I have not done so with a glass of milk mildly tinctured with brandy at hand, but who knows?


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